My friend’s son Ian,12, made national news last week.  He was at a baseball game, caught a ball and then realized the ball was meant for a younger kid.  Ian saw how upset the kid was and without hesitation, gave him the ball.  The announcers saw his kind act and word spread from there.  He was taken into the broadcast booth and given a signed bat.  The next day, he took batting practice, threw out the first pitch and was “person of the week” on ABC. The video of his “heroics” went viral.  To say I was a proud would be an understatement.

It also made me think about the news.  I do not watch the news on a regular basis. (Unless you count SportsCenter)  I catch bits and pieces at the gym or in the evening.  I prefer longer “60 Minutes” or “Dateline NBC” type shows.  I feel like I should watch the news, but when I do, I get very frustrated.  Like recently with this Casey Anthony case.  The “Today Show,” which I thought was a reputable news outlet, was tracking a possible plane she might or might not have been on.  They might as well have been TMZ.  The local news is frustrating as well.  They report mostly bad news or random fires, train crashes and car accidents that happen throughout the country.  The reason for all of this I know is the “R” word.  Ratings rule the world and the people of America like to see fires and follow Casey Anthony’s plane (and watch Reality TV, but we have been down that road before!)

The good news is that occasionally there is a feel good story that makes headlines.  Ian was one of those stories.  Thank you Ian for giving us all a break from the news we normally have to endure.

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Trashed

July 17, 2011

The first time I ever visited Arizona, I was amazed at how clean the city was.  I have now been here almost 20 years and my opinion has changed.  I take a walk each day with my dog Bella.  We usually go early in the morning and it’s a nice way to burn some of Bella’s endless energy.  Our route takes us around my neighborhood and past a local high school.  I can not believe the amount of trash that we encounter.  The last few days, I have taken a trash bag and tried to do my part in cleaning up. This morning I walked less than 1 mile and my bag was full.  This makes me absolutely sick!  Why do people think it is OK to just throw trash out of their cars?  I remember a commercial when I was little where an American Indian was crying when he saw someone littering, I feel like that Indian.

There are three main litter bugs that I can see when picking up trash.  The first are smokers.  There are endless cigarette butts and even empty packs of cigarettes.  I find it ironic that people are willing to smoke and pollute their bodies but do not want a cigarette butt to “dirty” up their cars.  The second are construction workers or people with pick-up trucks. This group puts their trash from Circle K into their pick-up beds and the trash flies out when they are driving. So even though they are not consciously throwing trash out of their cars like smokers, they are still responsible for the mess by the side of the road.  The third group are the drinkers.  I am not sure whether these people are drinking and driving and want to hide any evidence or they are underage and hiding evidence but there are way too many beer cans, broken bottles and empty minis littering our streets.

I am not very “green”  I drink water out of plastic bottles.  We own an SUV.  I like a light on when I watch TV.  I don’t have a garden.  But I don’t litter.  If all of us can do our part and just pick up a piece of garbage if you pass it.  Maybe even take a garbage bag with you on your next walk?  If we all just do a little, it could be a lot.  And it would certainly make my walks with Bella more enjoyable.

6 Months of Good & Bad

July 13, 2011

July 12th marked 6 months since my accident.  July 18th will be 6 months since surgery.  I am not sure which date should be marked as an anniversary so I thought if I updated the blog somewhere between those 2 dates I’d be safe.

I am always one to measure and reflect as time passes.  I think about what I was doing last week at this exact time and what I might be doing next week at this exact time.  I think about what has happened a  year ago, a month ago, 2 months ago and obviously when something as major as a broken neck occurs 6 months ago there is a lot of reflection.

There are a lot of things that have happened: some good, some bad.

Good:  I lost 15 pounds (maybe even 20) and have kept it off.  This gives me the option of wearing every item in my closet (although most are too big) and has given me an excuse to shop for new clothes.

Bad:  The reason my weight has stayed off is because I still can’t swallow well so I don’t really enjoy eating like I used to

Good: I eat ice cream almost daily

Bad:  There is no bad to this one.  I love ice cream!

Good: I started reading a lot more and have read a lot of really good books.

Bad:  Only that I should have started this hobby way earlier.

Good:  My neck moves really well up & down

Bad:  My sideways neck movement is not good.  It seems to be getting better but my range of motion is very limited.

Bad:  Because of my limited neck movement, golf and tennis are difficult.  I was hoping to play in some Legend’s Tour events this year, but that is on hold and I was hoping to move to a level 3.5 in tennis but that also will have to wait

Good: It’s too hot for tennis in AZ in the summer anyway.  The Legend’s Tour will be there next year. (this one hurts but I am trying to stay positive)

Good:  I have an awesome support system that really stepped up when I needed it.

Bad: Nothing here for this one:-)

As I look back on this list, the good far outweighs the bad.  Sure there are a few things that I have to deal with, but don’t we all.  I still think back to that day, and wonder.  One second of not thinking changed my life.  I was lucky though and I know that.  Life is Good and I am trying to enjoy it and that is a very good thing.

Book Smart

July 2, 2011

I saw that three of my favorite books are opening as movies this summer:  “The Help”  “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” and Sarah’s Key”  I am not sure how I feel about it.  I know I will see the movies.  As I’ve stated before, I love going to the movies.  But these books hold a special place in my head and heart and seeing them on the big screen may change things.  Why is it that a movie is never as good as a book?  It’s hard to believe that describing something in print can be better than seeing it on a huge movie screen especially to a visual person like myself.  But the reality is, that yes, reading about something and  picturing the places and the people in my head makes the experience richer.  I am trying to think of an exception and can only come up with “Love Story,”  but that may be because I saw the movie first.

My family and I were talking about reading on my recent visit home.  My mom was amazed that all 4 of her children love to read.  As young people, my older brother and sister were readers, my younger brother and I, not so much.  I remember reading a few Judy Blume books like “Are you There, God, It’s Me Margaret”  and “Blubber”  My sister (who is 6 years older than me) had Blume’s “Forever” and “Wifey”  I definitely read those but that was probably for the dog-eared sex parts!  At that time of my life reading was a chore.  We had to read in school and I didn’t appreciate books as I do now. I was out of college and traveling all over the world when I started reading for fun.  I read more now than ever before. I am always looking for suggestions from friends and family. Two years ago, I got a Kindle.  I wasn’t sure if it was for me.   I liked the feel of a book in my hands. I liked to display it on my  bookshelf  like a shrine  But now I like my Kindle.  I download books all of the time.  It is so easy and I can even make the print bigger for my 45 year-old eyes. Besides, I ran out of space on my bookshelves!

It’s funny how some kids like to read and others do not. I am trying to get Hannah, who is my  10-year-old little sister in The Big Brother’s and Big Sister’s Program, to read more.   She is like me at her age and thinks reading is boring.  She’d rather play video games or play outside.  My goddaughter Sydney, on the other hand, who is 11, loves to read and even wanted to take her book to the Twins game the other day!   My hope is that Hannah will one day find like I eventually did that reading is a great way to relax, learn about the world and lose yourself even if it is just for a short while.

So do yourself a favor and read “The Help” “Snow Flower and The Secret Fan” and “Sarah’s Key” before you see them at the movies.  These books will make you laugh, make you think and make you cry.   I am guessing that is the reason Hollywood has made them into movies.