Thursday, October 28, 2004

10/27/04 - Four swans in a row? Reminded me of an arcade game or those carnival booths where you shoot the animals with a water pistol. So I took this shot just before they broke apart. Posted by Hello

10/27/04 - This is Robinson Creek located on the other side of the road from Robinson Pond. The creek eventually empties into the Great South Bay. I wish there was a landing on the other side of the mouth because it would make an awesome jump. Posted by Hello

10/27/04 - As promised a much better shot of the lake. The 2pm to 4pm sun in the Fall creates such a warm light. Posted by Hello

Saturday, October 23, 2004

10/21/04 - A view from the stone wall along the sidewalk boardering 'Robinson Pond' chock full of more local fowl seemingly about to curse me out if I don't offer them some bread or cracked corn. Alas, I didn't bring any with me. But on the next sunny day, I promise to fatten these buggers up before they make their way to the vacation spot this winter! Posted by Hello

10/21/04 - Here are some of the local fowl I was referring to. These guys are here practically year round in milder winters, otherwise they're off during late November, December, January and February. Posted by Hello

10/21/04 - This is another shot of 'Robinson Pond.' At this point, I had begun to attract the local fowl which call this lake their home. See the mallard's head poking into this shot? I think if there is a brighter day soon I will retake and post another shot of this lake because the coloration is simply head-turning as you drive past. Posted by Hello

10/21/04 - Took an afternoon hiatus and ventured to a lake near the house I grew up in. Too bad the day was overcast, because we are now at our 'peak' for Fall foliage displays on Long Island. This body of water is known as 'Robinson Pond' but it is a lake since it is deep enough where sunlight cannot penetrate to the bottom. Posted by Hello

10/9/04 - This is the other half of the room at JJ Foley (opposite Pop's bathroom). One thing I could not get over was how clean the room was. The hospital rooms (especially the floors) always look so dingy. All in all, I was happy with the room. Posted by Hello

10/9/04 - Pop's own bathroom. I felt this was great not only for the size (10x12) but the fact that he would not have to share with anyone else. I wish I had this set-up when bathing Pop at home. The nurses should have a lot easy time 'wheeling' him into the shower. Posted by Hello

10/9/04 - Pop sleeping on day two. This was typical of his first four days at JJ Foley. They had prescribed to him a trans-dermal pain patch for his bed ulcer that also had a sleep inducing effect. Posted by Hello

10/8/04 - A bigger view of Pop's room at JJ Foley. I can't get over how large the room (18'x24') really is and that's not including the bathroom. Posted by Hello

10/8/04 - Pop sleeping in his private room, after arriving at JJ Foley. The private room is pretty big and should help Pop adjust during this critical time. Posted by Hello

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Another Tough Week For The Record Books

Well, I have said time and time again that 2004 would be the quintessential year of memory for me when I become old and grey. Not all of the memories will be good ones either. I'm not even grey yet but I can still imagine myself sitting in a La-Z-Boy rattling off the year 2004 in review - my own senile version. "Yep, that was the year the shit hit the fan," I will proclaim. Boy has it been, and the scary part is that it is not even over yet.

Since it is so fresh in my mellon I will get this out of the way first. YES, I am born and raised in New York. YES, I am a Yankees fan. And YES, I am very disappointed that the Yankees lost the AL pennant to the Red Sox! Hmm. But, I am a gracious fan and I cannot blaim anything but the lackluster performance of the Yankees themselves for letting the pennant slip away. I mean, a 3-0 lead? Obviously, coming back from such a deficit is unprecedented and there was bound to be a team someday to do the unimaginable. But, the Red Sox? Against the Yankees, no less?? Truly unexpected on my part. All I can do is wish the best for the Red Sox at this point because I think they have their work cut out for them with either winner from the NL pennant series. This will be decided tonight, of course, but already people are romanticizing the likelihood of Clemmens facing his old team in the 2004 World Series. Perhaps, we will see more history in the making for the rest of 2004. Either way, it will be a welcomed distraction from what has been going on on the home front.

Pop has begun to battle his situation in his own way which is not so unique from many others who have had to cope with similar life situations. Of course, Pop is still at JJ Foley but has started to exhibit strange behaviors. Beyond going into all his physical ailments in detail (I will mention these later on as they become critically relevant) , Pop is a wreck. Right now, his care consists of treating the most life-threatening ailments hoping that all the others won't progress too fast in the meantime. Mentally, he is still up and down. His Altzheimer's seems to be progressing as is usual in the early stages. Pop has been hallucinating periodically and having quite lucid moments at other times as well. On a day to day basis, you really do n ot know what you will see when you get there. Sometimes he is sleeping or having one of his mini-twitching fits when I arrive. I wait until he opens his eyes and looks around to let him know I am there because I know he struggles to get rest. At night they have to constantly shift him from side to side to help eleviate the pressure from his bed sore (really big one). So his sleep is interrupted at night. Other times I will arrive and he will be a bit "wired up" and will be asking me all sorts of questions and then seeing things that aren't there. I notice that when he is wired up he is also in an agitated state and confused. He becomes verbally abusive and thinks he is being held prisoner. He has three of these episodes since he has arrived and I am sure there will be more to come.

On Sunday, my uncle Bobby and I arrived together to see Pop and possibly watch the game with him. I usually try to stay a while on the weekends and watch some of the football games with Pop. But if he is sleeping or if they have him on a sedative, I try to let him sleep and I usually only stay a couple of hours. Since Pop seemed like he was up and alert we thought we would watch a game with him. After Bobby and I were there for about ten minutes Pop started asking why he was tied down in the bed. He wasn't tied into the bed. He simply cannot move his legs well because he is a bit weak from the stroke he had. Also, his circulation is very poor and this generally contributes to his weakened condition. After Bobby showed him that he was not tied down Pop proceded to tell us that the people at JJ Foley were making him weak by giving him drugs. To say the least it was a bad situation. Pop told me that God would punish me eventually for doing this to him. He said some other equally hurtful things. Everyone who eventually made it into the room with us when Pop was carrying on told me the same thing. Pop is NOT the one who is talking. He is confused and he is not all there. I shouldn't take what he says too seriously and that I was doing the right thing by having him there so he could receive the level of care he can at the facility. I am aware of all this, but it was still a shock to the system standing there while someone who you had looked up to as a child basically was making you feel like the anti-Christ.

We left shortly after the nurses and aides began to change the dressing for his bed sore. Bobby noticed on my face that I was a bit upset. To be honest, I needed a break anyway, because I have been there for almost two weeks every single day for three or more hours at a time. That type of thing can weight heavy on you day in and day out. So I took the rest of the day at home to do domestic duties and to relax a bit. I still had thoughts of what happened earlier for the rest of the day, but I tried my best to relax.

One good thing that occurred was the team meeting I had with his various therapists and nurses on the Wednesday after the episode on Sunday. Turns out that Pop has begun not eating properly and refusing food in general. They will be re-fitting his dentures and giving him an appetite stimulant to help encourage him to eat more. His bed sore will eventually stop getting better if he does not take in the proper nutrients to help his body repair. The medicine will only go so far. So this is important. Also, they will look into giving him another kind of sedative that will help level-off his mood a bit and not have him be so drastically different from one day to the next. Plus, the overall leveling of his mood will allow him to be more comfortable and let the nurses do what they need to to treat him. The last thing I want to see happen is for him to go downhill due to his own refusal to cooperate. I know that eventually, his quality of life will be in question and there will be a new set of priorities accordingly. Until then, however, I'd like to see him stablized a bit even though he will never be stable enough to come home again. Things like this are not easy, but they are a fact of life. I just have to remind myself that the guilt I feel is not from doing anything wrong but from knowing that Pop has slowly lost control of his own life. I only hope I am in better condition when I get to his age.


Friday, October 15, 2004

Stuff Like This Makes Me Wonder

I received this message from Steve, who runs the volleyball league I am a member of. Steve, aka "Fruitpie the Magician" has a sick sense of humor himself but also likes to pass little tidbits of humor along to others. I should be thankful I receive humor and not hate mail. Anyway, I want to post it here because after reading it I was not only entertained but it made me contemplate as well. Plus, the author is one of my long time favorite comedian/actors, Robin Williams.

Robin William's plan.(Hard to argue with this logic!)

I see a lot of people yelling for peace but I have not heard of a plan for
peace. So, here's one plan.

1.) The US will apologize to the world for our "interference" in their
affairs, past & present. You know, Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo, Noriega,
Milosevic and the rest of those 'good ole boys,' We will never "interfere"

2. ) We will withdraw our troops from all over the world, starting with
Germany, South Korea and the Philippines. They don't want us there. We
would station troops at our borders. No one sneaking through holes in the

3.) All illegal aliens have 90 days to get their affairs together and
leave. We'll give them a free trip home. After 90 days the remainder will
be gathered up and deported immediately, regardless of who or where they
are. France would welcome them.

4.) All future visitors will be thoroughly checked and limited to 90 days
unless given a special permit. No one from a terrorist nation would be
allowed in. If you don't like it there, change it yourself and don't hide
here. Asylum would never be available to anyone. We don't need any more cab
drivers or 7-11 cashiers.

5.) No foreign "students" over age 21. The older ones are the bombers. If
they don't attend classes, they get a "D" and it's back home baby.

6.) The US will make a strong effort to become self-sufficient energy wise.
This will include developing nonpolluting sources of energy but will
require a temporary drilling of oil in the Alaskan wilderness. The caribou
will have to cope for a while.

7.) Offer Saudi Arabia and other oil producing countries $10 a barrel for
their oil. If they don't like it, we go some place else. They can go
somewhere else to sell their production. (About a week of the wells filling
up the storage sites would be enough.)

8.) If there is a famine or othe r natural catastrophe in the world, we
will not "interfere." They can pray to Allah or whomever, for seeds, rain,
cement or whatever they need. Besides most of what we give them is stolen
or given to the army. The people who need it most get very little, if

9.) Ship the UN Headquarters to an isolated island some place. We don't
need the spies and fair weather friends here. Besides, the building would
make a good homeless shelter or lockup for illegal aliens.

10.) All Americans must go to charm and beauty school. That way, no one can
call us "Ugly Americans" any longer. The Language we speak is
ENGLISH.....learn it...or LEAVE...Now, isn't that a winner of a plan.

"The Statue of Liberty is no longer saying 'Give me your poor, your tired,
your huddled masses.' She's got a baseball bat and she's yelling, 'You want
a piece of me?'"

So that is my little chuckle for today. And what a nasty day it is today. Yesterday it got real humid all of a sudden and very damp it night. Today seems a bit better but since there are grey skies above I generally do not feel 100% today. I am a sun person. It could be 30 below zero outside but as long as the sun is shining I feel great, albeit a bit chilly mind you, but great nonetheless.


Tuesday, October 12, 2004

A Welcomed Weekend Diversion Part Two

Still feeling all wired up and gitty after the many laughs we had at the Brick House, H-Bomb, Tiffany and I decided to go out for a drive and possibly head to an after hours spot. This was cool with me because I wanted to hang with H-Bomb some more as well as continue to get to know Tiffany. I know I mentioned in last post that Tiffany very much seems to be a great match for the Working Man.

H-Bomb decided to leave his whip at the Brick House so we could all ride together. I have an SUV so it is cool, we could continue to chat it up on the way. I started heading west from Patchogue on Montauk Hwy and just continued as we chatted it up about dinner and about some crazy things H-Bomb and I have done with the crew. Speaking of the "crew" I will have to dedicate a spot on here to them in the future. Anyway, back to post-Brick House antics. H-Bomb and I began telling Tiffany about one night when we all loaded up in his brothers Lincoln LSC to try and find "midgetville." Turns out there is a private gated community on Long Island (built some time in the '50s I think) made up of homes built for little people. This community has been an urban legend here on Long Island for over 50 years. That night we set out to find it but never made it as we were pulled over by a police vehicle patrolling the neighborhoods of Oakdale, New York. We were pulled over and after whipping up a quick story about how we were looking for a party but lost the address, we were kindly directed back to Montauk Hwy and simply gave up that night.

A few years later I started my graduate program at Dowling College which is located in Oakdale. I became familiar with the neighborhoods south of Montauk Hwy in Oakdale because I used to drive down by the water to either read or catch up on assignments between classes. If time permitted I would try to find new spots to park by the water. Eventually I came upon this gated community and decided to pull in so I could see if it ended up taking me to the bay where I could park. Soon I began to take note on how small the houses were compared to the vehicles parked next to them and it dawned on me that I had finally found the so-called "midgetville." As I began making my way deeper in to the community I began to see people in there yards and getting in and out of there cars. Not all of the people were little people and I figured perhaps the neighborhood was not considered such a haven for them because of the decades of school kids basically terrorizing the little people. I used to hear stories way back in high school about kids being able to hop right onto the roof and be able to jump from roof top to roof top, like something out of the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Now I had seen in broad day light how close the houses were to each other. You would have to be an Olympic caliber long jumper to be able to jump from roof top to roof top, even though you could easily hop up onto the roof from the ground.

With this all in mind, we decided to go out to midgetville that night to show Tiffany because she said she had never seen it. After a fifteen minute drive we were there and we pulled in. Its funny how streets and landmarks look so different at night. It was as if this was a new place I had been. Instantly, H-Bomb and tiffany were amazed at the size of the houses compared to the size of the vehicles parked outside them. Tiffany couldn't stop laughing but I could also sense that she was a little nervous that we were going to be pulled over. As we were slowly driving down the streets I rolled my windows down. I could hear that some of the homes must have had guests over because you there was lots of loud talking and music playing. H-Bomb wondered what all the homes could be celebrating. Tiffany and I had no idea. One of the things that was eerie about the place was the lack of street lights which made many roads very dark. From the road you could see people looking out of their windows when they saw the head lights of my truck. Taking this into account and figuring that it would only take one call from a little person to send the cops our way, I decided to head on out of the neighborhood. When we reached the main entrance the gate was padlocked shut. This immediately made H-Bomb uncomfortable. He had said earlier in the evening that he was having muscle spasms from a pulled oblique muscle, and he was starting to feel it now of all times. Tiffany began to voice her concern about how we were going to get out.

At first, I thought I would just go off-road and see if there was a way to get back to Montauk Hwy through the woods. After a second thought I didn't do it because I figured the worse that could happen was I would get the truck stuck, and that would be harder to explain to the cops. All three of us checked our cell phones and none of us had a signal (way to go Sprint, AT&T and Verizon). I started to drive back into the community to see if they had anything posted on how to open up the gate in case you wanted to get out. It instantly dawned on me that every occupant of the community must have their own key to get in and out. Then I thought out loud that it was very odd that we were only here about fifteen minutes (maybe twenty, tops) and someone would close the gate. Unless they were looking to catch us in here after calling the cops. I grew concerned and asked H-Bomb if we should go back to one of the houses who was having a party and see if they would let us out. H-Bomb thought we would be in for it because if little people answered the door they might yell at us for being there in the first place. I convinced him that if he told them we were looking for a "secluded place" to park that it would be looked at as an honest mistake. So, we pulled up to a house that was obviously having a party because of the loud music and carrying on. H-Bomb got out and went to the door. Tiffany at this point was extremely nervous, so I reassured her that if they were giving him a problem I would go up to them too for back up.

Well, as H-bomb was greeted at the door I immediately hearing a voice start to interrogate him. So I hopped out of the truck and headed on over. Turns out the occupants of the house were not little people! But boy were they high off their tits as the ganja smoke kept billowing out of the door as H-Bomb and I stood there. Apparently, the woman that answered the door was immediately on the defensive because she thought we were complaining about the noise and carrying on. When H-Bomb told her we were locked in she then proceeded to interrogate him asking him who he was looking for, why he was here, etc. More people came to the door and were nicer about the situation, and actually joked with us about it after I told them the whole "rehearsed" story (I mention nothing about midgetville). The soberest dude in the lot offered to follow us to the gate to let us out. As H-Bomb and I got back into my truck and this chick came up to my window and asked me what was going on here. I told her what we told the other people and she said she was the one who closed the gate behind us! Turns out that the community has a curfew for student guests at 12:30am and she assumed that when we came rolling in that we belonged there and locked up the gate. We all had a chuckle about this as she explained that the "special" residents and the student guests share the community, whereby certain rules applied. The house we pulled up to for help was an off-campus house for college students. I guess the housing in the community was cheap enough for those guys to have to stand hunched over while walking inside the house. I couldn't get over how low the ceiling was in the house we went up to. I guess if you are sitting or lying down you don't really know the difference.

On the ride home the three of us joked and laughed about the whole scenario. I'm actually still holding back laughter as I am writing this. Pretty eventful for a Friday night! I better cut this one off here as there is a lot of fat to chew.


Sunday, October 10, 2004

A Welcomed Weekend Diversion Part One

This weekend was definitely a flashback to my days when I was still in college, although the terrain has changed drastically. Long Island itself, compared to many other locales, is a unique social scene. Many things have changed but some are dead ringers of experiences past. Monday, I had played volleyball and Monkey had said he would like to get together for a few drinks on either Friday or Saturday night. So in the back of my mind all this past week I knew I was heading out instead of spending the weekends in the usual manner, reading, domestic duties, watching DVDs, etc. This had become the norm while Pop was still at the house here. Now that he is at JJ Foley it seems like there is more time to do things and to general have a moments thought to myself. This weekend was definitely going to be a weekend to not simply relax and think but to get out and do.

So Friday afternoon, I visited with Pop and noticed that he was still a bit loopy from the pain meds but generally seemed comfortable. After I left I went on a drive to the north shore to Baiting Hollow and made my way back west to Stony Brook, then South back to Patchogue. The entire drive took about an hour or so, but it was nice just to drive and have absolutely no where to be for a brief time. It also allowed me to contemplate the who, what and where for later on that night.

I called up H-Bomb on a whim and wondered what he had planned for that night. He said he was planning on getting dinner with his new girlfriend (this was news to me) and then just hang out. He asked if I would like to come along. Not wanting to foil his plans I let him know that Monkey and lil' Mike might be game to hang out as well. H-Bomb said this was fine and that we should meet somewhere around 8:30pm. The Brick House Brewery is where we would go. They have great food and good microbrews so it was a sure thing. After beaming the necessary text messages things were set.

Turns out lil' Mike had to bail out because he was having a guest over that night (awesome for him) and Monkey pulled a MIA and was incommunicado. So that left myself as a potential third wheel for the evening - not what I had in mind. But I thought, "what the fuck" and decided to go out with them anyway. Having some company for dinner would be a good for a change.

It turned out that the Brick House was having the U2 cover band 2U perform so at least there would be some enjoyable music instead of the same old bluesy, folk shite that lots of local brands would bring to the Brick House on a given Friday/Saturday night. H-Bomb's new squeeze is Tiffany. She's a really sweet girl and I was happy to see that they were getting along smashing, baby. Kenny has had a rough time was the sheilas in the past and it seems Tiffany is more of a match for him as far as personality and general attitude. I thought she was very charming and had a good head on her shoulders. Cool, indeed. I had ordered a pitcher of Oktoberfest but didn't realize that H-Bomb can no longer drink due to his Crohn's disease and Tiffany simply doesn't drink. So needless to say I was going to have a good time getting through the pitcher myself. I'm known for being a typical guy of Irish decent complete with the cast iron liver, but more about that some other time.

Our waitress (I wish I could remember her name, she wrote a note on my receipt but I don't have it right now) was very, very attentive which we began to pick up on. Kenny tends to play me up a bit too much because of how well I used to do in school and because of my degrees, but Tiffany was wondering if I had known that waitress because it seemed were like old friends. I had never seen the waitress before but I did sense things were going unusually well. Not being in the market, I thought I would at least foster this situation and see what would happen. So without looking too obvious, I began to open up the charm a tiny bit and the results were consistently great. I asked for pickles with my sweet potato fries, for example, and she brought back nearly the entire jar of Vlassic Kosher Dills. It made for great comedic fodder at the table as the evening went on. Finally it was time for dessert. Now when I was a kid I was a certified sweets nut! Candy, candy and more candy! At about the age of 14 I started not to eat as many cakes and cookies, etc. Now I rarely touch anything sweet and I don't even eat ice cream anymore. I do like chocolate mousse. But you rarely see it offered at too many restaurants, so whenever I see it offered I usually indulge.

Well, the waitress said they indeed had chocolate mousse so I figured I would give it a shot after she repeated to me three or four times that it was, "sooo good!" She was right and after the first taste it was really good. At the table, Tiffany, H-Bomb and myself continued to chat it up on all sorts of subjects including our attentive waitress. Like clockwork she hopped back to our table to check in on us and asked me if the mousse was great. I said she was really on the money about the mousse to which she replied with a wink and a smile, "I can see the way you are eating it it's good. I could just take your spoon and lick it clean!" Say what? After the waitress turned the corner, I looked at Tiffany and H-Bomb a bit in disbelief. All H-Bomb could do was smile and Tiffany leaned in and asked, "Did she say what I think she just said?" I said apparently so because I figured if I misread and it was something tamer, Tiffany wouldn't have been so inquisitive. There in lied a dilemma of what to do next. After a brief moment to calculate what was going on, I decided not to pursue the waitress. Now some of you reading might be labeling me a real schmuck, but I can explain why I came to this decision in a future post. Let's just say I felt like the evening had a decent comedic climax to it and now was the time to make a graceful exit. Of course, my exit was so graceful and succinct (prompted from the short note on the back of my dinner receipt from the waitress) that I left my credit card at the Brick House. I didn't realize it until the next morning when I went to put my wallet back into my pocket and it looked a bit different because it was missing a card. I'm afraid the night still had a bit of adventure left to it and I will continue this in another post.


Thursday, October 07, 2004

A Brief Apology Regarding Entries

I know I stated already in my Introduction that I would submit entries on a semi-daily/weekly basis and that initially there would be a flood of submissions because I had worked on content already and would add it here as soon as possible. I think I need to also say that most of the future entries are going to be very much in the moment and will not be edited too heavily (grammar and punctuation will of course be present). The language I tend to use is more casual geared to young adults; basically we are talking about my peers. I have been known to use the occassional curse word here and there but this will not be a forum for useless crude language. I am not in practice of using profanity for lack of more appropriate ways of expressing my ideas, nor am I niave to the fact that there is at times no other acronym quite like "fuck" (merely for example) to truly convey the real world undertone of a situation or observation.

Keeping this in mind I would like those that submit comments and suggestions to abide by a similar principle. After all, I do not want to offend anyone during this project. Certainly there will be those who do not share my views or philosophies, such is life. Besides, there are only so many corners we can huddle in in life because this sand box is geting smaller and smaller every day!

Some Working Plans and Goals For Life

I currently hold a teaching degree (Master of Science in Secondary Education with a focus on Biology and the Life Sciences from Dowling College) but have not been able to pursue teaching full-time due to events mentioned relating to Pop as well as the fact that, due to the commitment necessary to be an effective classroom teacher, I could not function as a teacher with the situation I had at home. Teaching is a very important and rewarding career that requires as much time outside the classroom as it requires in the classroom to really impact the lives of students. I want the opportunity to teach in a place where there are as little distractions as possible so I can do my job well and really help children learn. New York is a great place don't get me wrong but after seeing much on the city of Lincoln, NE over the years and the lifestyle it has to offer I really look forward to teaching there as well as have a family and raise children. Of course, my future as far as family and children are concerned remains up in the air, my future as a teacher is totally within my capabilities. I look forward to this very much.

Background circumstances / What's on my plate

My grandfather Robert Payne (who will be referred to as "Pop" so as not to confuse my grandfather with his son who also has the name Robert Payne too) and I have lived in the same house for over six years. I moved in with Pop shortly after my Mother had died realizing that, because of issues I had and still have I could not live with my father in a comfortable way. This decision to live with Pop seemed to be a good decision in light of his immediate medical ailments which began occurring shortly after moving in. Pop had to have a Hip replacement surgery about six months after I moved in and required much help while undergoing his extensive therapy and rehabilitation. A couple of years after this occurred Pop needed open heart surgery for a quadruple bypass. His recovery from this procedure was considerable and he was put on an extended maintenance program for the rest of his life. This program as well as Pop's normal daily needs were balanced along with my academic and work schedules. More often than not, this arrangement placed academic and financial strains on myself that I am presently sorting out. Also, to put it bluntly, Pop did not follow the maintenance program as faithfully as he should have.

Because of his attitude towards his health there were some major set-backs along the way resulting in hospital stays, more medicine therapy, physical therapy and more strain on things in my personal life. During these past years, my grandfather has become accustomed to doing less and less for himself, which has put a considerable burden on myself and my fiancée Melissa who recently moved back home after living with us for three years. Her and I agreed that she needed to be with her family in order to sort her life out. As it stands now, I really cannot refer to Melissa as my fiancée but I do hope her and I can reconcile our relationship for the better in the future. I love her very much and I miss her terribly and this has played a role in my decision to eventually relocate to the Midwest, for a fresh start, to teach and finally concentrate on our relationship. I ultimately want to be happier then I am now and being apart does not make me feel any better. I have to allow myself to follow my heart despite what Pop will think in his present situation and mental capability. I am not leaving because of Pop but because I need to follow my heart and take a chance on life rather than stay here and have no life for myself. I know I will eventually reach my goals but it will take time and due process.

Who is David, really? Long Story...

Now that's a tough question! I never liked those writing assignments where the teacher would say something like, " fifteen hundred words, describe yourself" or better yet to imagine that you were writing to a 'pen pal' across the big pond and you had to introduce yourself to the limey. Sort of like a trans-continental icebreaker, really. I always thought it was a daunting task, especially when considering the fact I never knew where the assignment was heading once I got started. How do I cram myself into fifteen hundred words? Let us imagine our pen pal is not on the other side of the big pond and lives right in our home town. Who the hell would want to read what we have to say about ourselves when they can simply do what everyone else does and come to a conclusion after five minutes of observation? We all know about these things. Observing passively what items that chick is placing into her cart from the pharmaceutical section in the supermaket or how that dude sporting the "fake 'n bake" tan parks his car in a parking space. Yes, it sounds tragically shallow in black and white, I know. But these are the commonalities in life which bind us. I will, however, give you the benefit of doubt (and varying attention spans) to endulge yourselves at your discretion at what is to follow.

So, who is David? I was born David R. Marlborough. Forgive me for insisting on using my middle initial "R" (which stands for Robert in case of a bonus question down the road) for not using it has caused me grief in the past. You see, not only is there myself, David Robert but there is also a David Joseph Jr., David Joseph Sr., and I think a David Frances but he has been dead for quite sometime. Anyway, the point is that the Marlborough clan has had a real hard-on for the name David over the past three-four hundred years. I grew up always emphasizing that I am David "R." Marlborough instead of simply David Marlborough. (I should warn you now I can be a bit on the windy side.)

I have currently been breathing with varying degrees of difficulty for seven months shy of three decades. You see, I grew up with adolescent asthma and that coupled with the fact that I received the gift of girth at birth for all that it was worth, was a hell of a stigma for a kid. So you can appreciate that I spent many a day out of breath and the rest not breathing too well. I was formally diagnosed around the age of four or five and consequently I was attached to an inhaler for many years after that. I used to romanticize the situation as being born into bondage so to speak. The asthma proved to be a shackle around my ankle that every so often would break the skin a bit and hurt something fierce. Either way, the shackle would have to be broken. The obesity proved to be a fence off in the distance that I would in some way have to climb over. I needed to conquer both in order to get to the next step, receive the next challenge. While I am happy to say that I have won the war with asthma (threw away my inhaler and haven't had an attack in four years), I haven't yet won the war on obesity. Don't get me wrong I have won many, many battles along the way with the help of athletics, weight lifting and an ever growing socially relevant self-confidence which began to blossom around the age of fourteen. These bullets in the arsenal proved effective at making changes to my body and my spirit during those formative years. But the war is still a bit far from being won, and I am up to the challenge.

One of the things I did receive in the genetic lottery my parents held on my behalf on that warm indian summer night back in September 1974, was a well equipped mellon on top of my soon to be broad shoulders. Too bad they didn't splurge for a couple of added inches on my neck, bummer. They say that people tend to take the gifts they have in life for granted. My mind was no exception. Many things came easier for me as my parents used to enjoy describing at length to me at the oddest of times. It seems I was born two weeks early on 6:23AM Memorial Day Monday May 26th, 1975. The doctor held me by the ankles, slapped me on the ass and I proceeded to piss all over his face and chest. My Pop (not to be confused with my dad) always said it was better to be pissed off than pissed on - you may insert snare and hi-hat here. I learned to walk early at just under nine months and, despite the old wives' tale that babies who walk too early develop bowed legs, my legs are perfectly straight. Thank heaven, really! Could you imagine if I was fat, had asthma and a pair of bowed legs? I'm sure I would have had major marquis value as a bull rider but being born and raised in Patchogue, New York would somehow foil my credentials a bit. Everything else, you can imagine a child being able to do came very early to me. Talking, reading (especially), writing, mathematics (especially) all came to me a lot earlier than my peers. In a way, this helped me to "compete" with the other kids who had obvious physical advantages over myself. I remember my Mother always telling me that I might be faster or slimmer than the bullies in school but, I was smarter. My Mother could always say the right thing to make me feel better about myself. This served to give me confidence at times when I was running low on it. My Mother and father also helped to mold me into an independent thinker early on. They always wanted me to be a leader and not a follower. Sometimes this leadership quality would lead me right into mischief. Alas, boys will be boys.

Being an only child was tough in its own way. True, I never had to share any toys or clothes with brothers and sisters. At Christmas I always received plenty of gifts. I appreciate the sacrifice my parents made in order to make me not be in the want for most things. Besides, many of the things I was in want for they could not give me and I recognized this at an early age. You could say this was the spark that drove me for much of my early childhood. I would look at the kids who could run fast and I would want to try and run as fast as they could. At times, I couldn't do it for a number of reasons including my health. But I would always want to be out there playing, running, climbing, being with other kids. Of course, with a last name like Marlborough I was popular nevertheless in school and other kids I would meet usually knew my name already. I was picked on a lot as a child and for a while being over-weight really made me angry at thin kids. But a funny thing happened to me when I was young that sort of turned the tide a bit in my favor.

Even though to my teachers I was considered the meek, portly kid destined to be the teacher's pet, I really held school in contempt. I just could not get into those "Pug" reading books when I could go home and read the National Geographic magazine. Yes, the adult version! Remember, they didn't have a childrens' version until years later around the mid-eighties if memory still serves me. Believe it or not, I started to read the national geographic at age three. It actually was my father's subscription until I turned six when he thought it was a good idea that it come to the house addressed to "Davis." Davis means 'son of David' and my family name will be Davis until I have a son and then he will become Davis to the family. I wouldn't say that I am one of those traditional tight asses but I am fond of how the children are named in my family. You see, first borns will receive the name David. For their middle name, they will receive the name of their mother's father. So in my case, I am David Robert because I am the first (and only) born son of David and my Mother's father's (Pop, who I mentioned earlier) name is Robert. Now you might be asking why were there two David Josephs, junior and senior, in a row? It just happened to be that both wives' father's were named Joseph. Commonly, when tracing my family tree you will not see Sr., Jr., III or any suffixes like that, at least not with David in them. My father and grandfather on the Marlborough side are the only exceptions I know of. Sorry for that tangent. Back to where I was heading with this story...

Along with my rapid development, I seemed to also display an uncanny knack for getting into all sorts of trouble. Nothing malicious, mind you. The trouble I used to cause was more a product of my imagination and at times being a little too bright for my own good. While other kids might have been content with luring their unsuspecting friends into sticking their hands into holes in the ground filled with dog shit, I had other ideas. Like piecing together old, broken-down department store mannequins, placing sheets over them on Halloween night and sending them down a hill in a shopping cart. Did I mention cars would be driving down the road at the same time? Yes, I would agree with you in saying that a prank like the latter is border-line criminal. Let's just say that I have grown up a lot since then. Sometimes the lessons you learn are the lessons learned the hardest. This can also be said about dealing with bullies. I had my share of those during childhood up until I started participating in sports (more precisely, before I started lifting weights). Mean little bastards come in all sizes and shapes, much like profylactics do. While they might slip on rather awkwardly in the beginning and shroud your life with ridicule for a brief moment, all it takes is a purposeful "tug" in the right direction and the bully will roll right off. This leaves you to deposit it in the appropriate receptacle whatever that might be for you.

I will take a brief break and allow you to chew and digest all this fat I have presented. Besides some might not have made it this far in one setting and might need to come back to this latter on. For those who have read to this point, I thank you and feel free to say hello and to comment on anything discussed so far.



Once again, I welcome you all to Walking Wounded! This project centers around a fellow who is still trying to find himself and happiness on this third stone from the sun. In case you are wondering who this fellow is, it's me David!

My aim is to use this venue to share my opinions, life's experiences, lessons learned, and wisdom collected (so far, so good) in a constructive, interactive way. Posts will be semi-daily to weekly depending on my ever changing schedule, commitments and appointments. My world is turbulent at this time and this will be reflected in my posts I am sure. The subject matter will tend to be broad at times so there should be something of interest for everyone. I hope to shed some light on many issues that I am sure effect not only myself but some of you out there as well. Comments are welcome. Advice is taken seriously and always looked at objectively.

During this initial "launch" phase I will be posting often as there is a heap of content I have been working on over the past few weeks in preparation for Walking Wounded. So do not hesitate to chime in here and there and let me know if there is something I should add, subtract or otherwise revisit. And above all don't be afraid to say "hi" and y'all come back now y'hear! LOL