Tag Archives: New York City

Top ten list of things I have difficulty or am unable to do because of seizures and my cerebral palsy

Greetings, readers. Today, we are going to have a top ten list, a long overdue top ten list, and I think I’ve found an interesting topic. It is jobs and hobbies that I have difficulty doing or am not allowed to do by law because of my health issues and medication. As almost all of you know, I have cerebral palsy, and every great once in a while one of the side effects of it is a petit mal seizure. There are many professions I dreamt of doing and would have loved to do but at age 16, when the first seizure hit, those doors were slammed shut. Those professions will be featured in choices two and one. Okay, so here we go, let’s start it off.

#10. Circus performer. [Now, I know some of you are thinking, why did this even make the list. I’ve never dreamt of being a circus performer; however, with my bad balance due to my CP and that minute risk of a seizure, anything like a trapeze artist or a high wire act is absolutely out of the question. I could be a clown or some other act on the ground, but really the whole circus thing really wouldn’t appeal to me.]

#9. Mountain climber. [Again, I have absolutely no desire to go climb a mountain, but if I did, it would be one of the most unsafe hobbies I could try. You need two strong hands to grab on to the rocks; I only have one strong hand.]

#8. City high-rise window washer. [If I lived in New York City or Los Angeles, that could be a job that I could try, but I think my bad balance and fear of heights would petrify me so much that I would freeze in one spot and not be able to move. Now I know there is harness equipment to keep you from falling to the ground, but I don’t think that would be enough to overcome the blind panic.]

#7. Police officer. [A police officer has to be strong, well-coordinated, and able to run fast. I am none of those things. Oh, I could drive the police car, no problem, but if we were chasing someone in a car at 80 miles an hour, my bad coordination would come in to play and I would most likely wrap the squad car around a light pole. It would be a fun job, but … no, not for me.]

#6. Firefighter. [As a child I loved the show Emergency!, and later the short-lived series Code Red wasn’t bad either. It made me dream of wanting to be a firefighter. I’m sure I could hold the hose on the first floor, but carrying heavy things just isn’t going to happen. I would tip over and fall, or drop the heavy piece of equipment or person. Not good.]

#5. Drive a train. [I love my train simulator game, and I wonder what it would have been like to drive one in real life. My daily medication regiment makes that dream impossible. ]

#4. Play professional sports. [When I was a child, most boys, myself included, dreamt of playing sports. Ah, the dream of scoring the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl, or the game winning hit in game seven of the World Series. Now, I don’t mind telling you, I was a pretty fair Nerf football quarterback, but as far as going out for the high school team, forget about it. I was not strong enough, big enough, or coordinated enough.]

#3. Do all tasks of my job and do them fast. [At my fast food job, there are a few jobs I can’t do, like the take out window, because the drink lids are different from the coffee lids, and I will tend to spill the drinks when my shaking left hand gets in the way of my firm right hand. That tends to make my manager an unhappy camper if I goof up and spill a drink. I take pride in getting thinks correct. That means at the register I will take a couple of extra seconds with each customer. People have rewarded me through good reviews for my extra effort. If you want speed and accuracy, well I can’t count change as fast as anyone else. I might be one of their friendliest cashiers, but I am in no way the quickest. Every day I do get a little bit better, but with these fingers, I’ll only be able to get just so fast. I have to remember to stay within myself, and be the best me that I can be. What else can anybody ask of me.]

#2. Truck driver. [The thought of driving down the interstate in a big-rig filled my dreams many times, especially after watching Smokey and the Bandit thirteen consecutive Friday evenings at the movie theater. Yes, the movies were only $2 back then. When my seizures began, again there went that employment opportunity. I doubt highly that any trucking company would hire anyone with seizures and who is medicated to the point where at the end of the day his favorite word is nap. I guess I’ll just have to stick to playing Euro Truck Simulator 2 for my gaming channel.]

#1. Commercial airline pilot. [This was my big dream as a child. I loved airplanes and still do. I was in awe in big airports. Everything jumbo jet fascinated me. I wanted to fly for TWA or Pan Am. And again, then the seizures hit. Not to be too redundant, but no airline in their right mind would hire someone on four different types of seizure medications. Plus, with my weakness in my left side, yes I could lift the yoke up and get the plane to fly, however, if the hydraulics failed, I know right now I would not have the strength in the arms to keep that aluminum bird flying straight and level.]

Well, there you have it, the long overdue top ten list for today. I’m planning on taking a personal day tomorrow, so Rebecca will do the entry for Thursday. Until next time, have a great weekend, take care, and as always, happy reading.

I might have to get my left leg looked at again

Greetings, readers. I slipped and fell on September 5th and all X-rays that were taken were negative for breaks, thank goodness. However, today on November 1st, I am still hobbling around. This is really beginning to worry me. It is so bad in fact, that I have to put another chair near my recliner so that when I stand up I have something to hold on to for my first steps. The left leg just does not want to move.

I am seriously considering going back to my doctor and asking for more X-rays. Half of me wants to do this and the other half does not. If there is a slightly cracked bone that the initial X-ray missed, I would likely be casted or put into a boot. I have seen with a co-worker of mine that a boot and a greasy floor don’t go together too well. There is a possibility that I would just need physical therapy for the muscles. In that case, that will eat into my work time and my free time. There is a laugh for you.

Speaking of my free time, ha ha, when I come home, instead of writing or working on personal projects, I’m usually asleep by 8:00 on a work night. I used to stay up until 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 in the morning. No more. I come home and switch off the engines. The other day at 5:30, I turned on an old football game on YouTube (an exciting one), and because I was so exhausted, I feel asleep. When I came to, I said that’s it, bedtime. The time was 8:30.

Another worry of mine is for my December 1st performance. I’m planning to sing to the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl album for the folks at Addison Court Apartments. Now, I love to give a good show, but I’ve just not felt up to doing full-scale rehearsals. The leg just hurts too much, and I have to go to bed so early. I am debating whether or not to post pone my show for a month or two. I will keep you up to date.

I’ve been keeping tabs on the World Series and my team is not going to win. There is not much of a chance that the L.A. Dodgers will blow a game 7 at home. I just gave away my secret; yes, I am pulling for the Houston Astros. They’ve never been to the World series and a championship would be great for that city. I am also keeping up with the NFL and was very unhappy to learn that the New England Patriots traded away their wonderful back-up quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, leaving us with a few more years with the cheater Tom Brady. As a matter of fact, the whole New England Patriot organization are cheaters. Sorry, Robert Kraft, I’ll be a Patriots fan again when you sell the team … which will be the 32nd of neverwherey.

Lastly, my condolences go out to families affected by the terrible terrorist attack in New York City yesterday. Why can’t we all get along?

So until tomorrow, take care, have a great day, do tell your friends about this blog, and happy reading.

Bear Spring Camps 2016 was one of the best ever

Greetings, readers. I can’t believe I’ve been home almost a week. Time is flying already. In the early morning hours I’ve had time to reflect on this past vacation. I have so many fond memories. Were some things different? Yes, and even though I don’t love change, I must admit, I enjoyed the changes.

For the first time since I’ve been going without Mother to Bear Spring Camps, I traveled up with Dave Trost and family in their minivan. I was still able to take most of the things I always took, and seeing the sights as a passenger again was welcomed. We did leave for Maine, and leave from Maine, early in the morning. So the first few hours were in the dark. We had to pick up David’s daughter Emily’s friend in New York City; that was most interesting. We drove right by Newark International Airport. As some of my regular readers know, I am a flight simulator hobbyist, and have “flown” out of that airport many times. Everything looked so familiar.

As we approached New Hampshire in the daylight, I anticipated seeing the Piscataqua River Bridge and my favorite state of Maine. The Trosts take a different route than I do when I am driving the route to camp, and shoot off from I-95 to I-295. Somehow the Lord must have awakened me at the proper time, for just as I opened my eyes, we were passing Portland and I got to see the baseball stadium, the East Deering Swing Bridge, and the B&M Baked Bean factory. It was like someone plucked me from the vehicle and put me back in my train simulator. What a thrill!

We arrived at camp in time for dinner, the noon meal, and right away I noticed a major change. The wooden dining table chairs, which I had seen since childhood, were replaced with brand new metal chairs. Oh, my. After the shock of “I hate new things” wore off, I accepted Dave’s logic that they will be much easier to clean. Before the vacation was over, I must admit, I actually liked them better.

The first few days were quite routine, picking right off where we left off, visiting friends, taking the boat out, and doing all the things we did 52 weeks before. As I mentioned in my first camp book, it truly feels like you never left. We pushed the play button and continue the movie. An odd but wonderful sensation.

Mid-week brought the heat wave and Thursday’s happy hour. Tallie, a Mosher family relative, came for her annual visit and boat ride. It was a gorgeous day. Tallie and I took many pictures with various views of the lake.

The rain came on Friday. That was fine with me, for we got our morning fishing in before it really came down, and then the afternoon was for packing anyway. I must say, I was grateful for the rain; it was way too dry in New England. Leaves were already turning.

Before departure evening, allow me to share what I consider the highlight of the trip. Dave’s nephew Cole had the fishing day of fishing days. He caught a couple of white perch, several bass, and his prize, a 24 inch pike. He had that for supper, before he ate his lobster, and enjoyed every bite. Cole was using top water lures for the most part and got extremely excited when a good fish was on his line. He’ll even agree that he sounded like a little kid, whooping and cheering, and yes, shaking. After the pike was reeled in, he needed help to get the fish unhooked, not only because the fish was biting the net, but Cole couldn’t control his shaking hands. So yay, Cole, on the best fishing day I have seen in quite a while.

Finally, the last night was bittersweet. Packing preparations were made with the checks and double checks to make sure nothing was left behind. Then it was time to wait. Dave and family leave early in the morning, so I slept from 9:30 until about 2am. I sat patiently until they arrived in a driving rain to pick me up at 3:30. I went back to New Jersey with them, for what they call lobster fest. It was delicious. I then took a bus from Harrisburg back home.

Overall, I consider this one of my finest Maine vacations. It was relaxing, stress-free, I walked a lot, and eat like a horse. I give this vacation a 9 and a half out of 10. Had there been more Yahtzee, it would have been perfect.

Until next week, have a good weekend, take care, and happy reading.

Top ten list of the worst tragedies

Greetings, readers. First of all, my heart goes out to the families of the victims from the attack on September 11, 2001. Never, ever, forget. Keep them close to your hearts and hopefully a tragedy such as that one will never happen again.

Here is a top ten list of tragedies that I remember; that have either happened in my lifetime or that I have read about.

#10. The Oklahoma City bombing. [Ruthlessly planned and executed, it destroyed a building, killed human beings, including little children in the first floor daycare center.]

#9. The Gulf of Mexico oil spill. [For 87 days, oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig owned by British Petroleum, completely destroying the eco-system in that area.]

#8. The Johnstown flood of the 1977. [A terrible line of thunderstorms passed over Pennsylvania and stalled over Johnstown. Almost a foot of rain fell on the city. Dams broke and roads and bridges were washed away. This was Johnstown’s third flood. Some of this information came from the flood museum site.]

#7. Hurricane Hugo. [A massive storm which killed many, injured more, and did billions of dollars in damage, in South Carolina.]

#6. Branch Davidian disaster in Waco, Texas. [After a 51 day stand-off, the authorities moved in on a cult and an inferno began. It is not clear how the fire started but almost everyone inside burned alive.]

#5. Titanic. [In April of 1912, one of the worst maritime disasters occurred. The so-called unsinkable Titanic hit an iceberg and went down. There weren’t enough life boats for everybody and a real pity, which I found out many years later, was that they were only approximately one day away from their destination of New York City.]

#4. The Hindenburg. [On approach to Lakehurst, New Jersey, the massive airship was either struck by lightning or a massive static charge ignited the hydrogen. It quickly became a fireball and its metal frame fell to the ground. Very few survived and most burned alive.]

#3. Hurricane Katrina. [In August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina went over Southern Florida, gained steam again in the Gulf of Mexico, then slammed into Louisiana and parts of Mississippi. The beautiful city of New Orleans was effectively drowned. Not only from massive storm water amounts, but also by a break in the levees. In my opinion, relief from the federal government was slow and grossly ineffective. There are many families still trying to recover.]

#2. Pearl Harbor. [The Japanese thrust us into World War II with this attack. On that fateful December day, numerous seamen lost their lives, and the destruction to ships and the military base was great. This would have made number one on my list, but my next choice occurred when I was alive.]

#1. The attack on September 11, 2001. [Just the phrase 9/11 still conjures up visions of death and destruction. I can vividly remember sitting in front of my television watching reply after reply on CNN or Fox News. The twin towers, a symbol of our financial strength, was destroyed. The Pentagon, a symbol of American’s military might, was damaged and then repaired. United flight 93, some experts concluded, was on the way to the capital building; we will never know. The first heroes of this war brought down that aircraft, denying the terrorists their prize. In the months following the attack, I must admit President Bush had his shining moments, but the war on Al Qaeda, because there are so many of them, I fear will go on indefinitely.]

#1 and #2 were attacks on both ends of the country. We can never allow this to happen again.

There is my top ten list. I hope it stirs emotions in you, and I invite you to leave comments on Facebook, Twitter, or here on the blog.

Until next week, have a good weekend, take care, and happy reading.

Our voyage on Voyager of the Seas

Greetings, readers. When I was married to then Georgia Kockelmans, she and I went on a cruise in 2005 which was one of the happiest times we spent together. It was a ten-day grand vacation, with two days down and two days up on the Atlantic Ocean, and four ports of call in the Caribbean. Our ship was Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas.

Good friends of ours drove us to Cape Liberty cruise port in Bayonne, New Jersey where Georgia and I waited several hours for the ship to be cleaned and re-stocked. We had much to do in the meantime; there was customs to go through including showing passports, and baggage checks. I had the eager anticipation for this trip of a little boy. It was the first time I had been on a liner since 1973’s Queen Elizabeth 2 crossing of the Atlantic Ocean with my parents. I was wide-eyed at the whole experience. Then we got the news: something had delayed our boarding and we were all going to be in this waiting area for much longer than anticipated. Since we were all checked in, that gave people time to smoke, stretch their legs, and get a drink. However, we weren’t allowed to venture far away from the boarding area. Finally in the evening around 7:00 or 8:00 as best as I can remember, we were allowed to board.

When we got to our stateroom, our luggage was in front of our door, just like it was for other passengers. If memory serves, when the ship was finally ready to cast off, we were already three to four hours behind schedule. It was going on 11:00 p.m. Georgia and I went out to our balcony and watched our ship sail under one of New York City’s bridges. We swore the top of the ship was not going to clear the bottom of the bridge, then we both looked at one another as if to say, “I’m sure this captain has done this a hundred times. It must be safe.” We watched it safely go under the bridge and out to the open ocean. Then Georgia and I went into the stateroom and enjoyed the complimentary beverage that was given to all passengers.

While I don’t remember every single detail of this voyage, I shall now tell you a little bit about the ports of call. We visited Labadee, Haiti; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; and Freeport, Bahamas. What I think we did was go to the southern most port and work our way back north, but I’m straining my memory eight years now so I hope I’m not fibbing.

At one of the lovely ports, Georgia and I decided to go swimming with the dolphins. Now, I can’t swim to save my life. For insurance reasons, even the most avid swimmer was made to wear a safety vest. One of the park employees had to hold me while I kicked my feet, so that I could use both hands to pet the dolphin, and give it a little kiss. All of the sudden I saw Georgia’s eyes get big. I looked over and saw the person holding me up was swimming in front of me. I had one of those hey, wait a minute, moments. I thought to myself, “Hey, if you are in front of me, who is holding me up? I must be treading water all by myself.” And sure enough, I was. As soon as I realized it, I began to flounder like the Titanic. The guy came back over quickly and caught me.

At another port, Labadee, Haiti I believe, I went hog-wild with my souvenir buying. I wanted remembrances of my trip. Of course, everything was hand-crafted, and quite expensive. Looking at the items much later, Georgia and I both chuckled over the fact that they were probably not worth the money I paid. It was worth it as I had these reminders and do to this day.

Two highlights now from on-board ship. While neither Georgia nor I was big on dressing up for the formal dinners, we did do it once out of the two formal nights. I rented a tux from the shop, and Georgia looked elegant in her best outfit. We sat at a big table with many of our fellow passengers and enjoyed delicious food, wine, dessert, and coffee. We fit in as best as we could. All other times, we dined in leisure clothes, on our time schedule, at the venues on the promenade levels, cafes, the 50’s style diner, or our personal favorite, room service.

The other big on-ship highlight was the couple’s massage at the fitness center. Two words describe that: completely scrumptious. It was an hour-long session, being rubbed down and pampered from head to toe. We left feeling like a million bucks.

On the cuter side of the ship’s decor, in every elevator was a plaque on the floor with the number of days left in the voyage. Changing them every day must have been a lot of work. Other niceties on the ship included the clubs and our ultimate favorite place, the casino. Georgia, my hat’s off to you for your prowess on the slot machines.

As the ship approached Bayonne, New Jersey, we both knew that something magical was ending. I always expected to take another cruise one day, but we never did. The whole ten-day experience is something I will always treasure. Years later I found on the internet a webcam mounted to look over Voyager of the Sea‘s promenade deck. It instantly brought back the feeling of being on board.

Next Wednesday will be a personal day, and Rebecca has asked to do the blog entry on Thursday. On Friday or the following week, since a lot of my readers seem to be big into the Air Crash Investigation series, I will do another blog entry about that show. Until soonest, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

The calm after the storm

Greetings, readers. Here in Central Pennsylvania, I believe we were extremely fortunate during hurricane Sandy. Yes, we had wind, rain, and temperatures in the low 40s, but relatively little damage around here. Then, I saw pictures on the Yahoo! news page from places like Atlantic City and Manhattan in New York City. The pictures were surreal. I saw the historic roller coaster and part of the boardwalk in Atlantic City literally underwater. New York City taxi cabs and other vehicles were floating down the city streets. Subway tunnels looked like swimming pools (thank God, Mayor Michael Bloomberg decided to stop service Sunday night). I have personally never been in a hurricane. From the photos I saw, I don’t want to be.

Now, I’m not saying that Pennsylvania didn’t receive damage. I’m sure that Philadelphia and places closer to the coast were much worse off. State College, where I’m from, lies in between a few tall mountain ranges. I’m not trying to be cute here, but they do wonders for breaking up windy storms.

Last night I contacted several family members. I called my cousin Ed in New York state, who luckily was North/ northwest of it all, and hardly got any rain. My brother David, who lives in New Jersey, near Philadelphia, lost some shingles off his roof. Other than that though, they survived. And my aunt in California wanted me to keep her up to date on how I was.

Of course, one of the biggest threats in a storm like this is power outages. Pennsylvania had its share of those. I found out one thing about my apartment building. We do not have a back-up generator. So I, along with a few other people, bought batteries, water, and other basic storm necessaries. My computer weather forecaster says we aren’t to see the sun before Saturday. I’ll be doing a lot of flight simulation between now and then.

Until next time, take care and stay safe where ever you are. And Happy reading.