Friday, December 23, 2016

Feeling Blessed

It's been a very weird year.   And as 2016 winds down, I have to feel blessed.

In September 2015, I started to get very weary. Exhausted actually. I could barely make it home from work before I crashed in my chair at home and fell asleep. Now, I'm not one to nap. Usually I am up til midnight, get 5 or 6 hours of sleep and I'm good to go. But gradually, I got more and more tired. I couldn't get more than 2 hours a night of restful sleep. I was becoming incredibly forgetful, and stated worrying that I was getting Alzheimer's. I was having difficulty making it thru a day of work.

I was diagnosed with mild apnea 7 years ago, so I thought I should make an appointment with a sleep doctor in January 2016. During a routine check, Dr Jacob Coleman discovered a tumor on my Thyroid! Omigod. Subsequent biopsies showed I had cancer and a 2.5 cm tumor. What the heck? Cancer? Me? I was scheduled to have it removed in March. My only concern, which I asked my surgeon. Dr. Milas, was will I be able to ride Fury 325 at Carowinds the following week. My sister Susan, Brother John, and Daughter Taylor were planning to come to Charlotte to ride coasters...I didn't want to miss out. He assured me that if I was up to it, I could go...

Nothing could stop me...I was alive and there I was (in Sunglasses). Think I was happy?
To finish this saga....The tumor and thyroid were removed, and I am clean. (Knock on wood). Thank God for Dr. Coleman for discovering the tumor, and Dr. Milas for removing it. My heroes!

Next came a sleep study, a CPAP machine, and I am now back to sleeping a good 7 hours thru the night. I'm feeling rested. I'm back to learning a ton at work (Web development) and feel like a new man. I've read roughly 40 novels this year, learning a great deal via online programming tutorials, and feel like I have a new lease on life.I can't get enough!

The only thing I had bothering me was a bum knee. My left knee had no cartilage and has hurt for 10 years. Countless shots thru the years just did nothing for me anymore. I told my Orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Griffin that I just couldn't take it any more. They say a knee replacement lasts about 15 years. My Dr's have always said, I'm too young. Wait as long as I can.

Well the time came. I'd rather enjoy the next 15 years and be active, than wait until I'm too old to enjoy anything. So total knee replacement surgery was scheduled for October 13th (not a Friday!). This surgery is not for the weak at heart. No kidding - I was in pain for weeks. I always heal fast, and in this case, it's not good for a knee. I healed and developed scar tissue which hampered recovery, and set me back a few weeks.I couldn't bend by knee (or straighten it for that matter)..But now 8 weeks after surgery, I made it back to work! Thanks to all my Physical Therapists (Monty, Rosalind, and Jillian) They're the best!

As I thought about it last week, I really started to feel blessed. It is the first time in 10 years that I was not in pain! 10 years! I'm still limping and need to keep up with my exercises, but I'll be ready for Golf in the spring and hiking in the summer!

What else am I thankful for this year? I was best man at my son Jordan's wedding. What a wonderful time in my life. So proud of him and my daughter-in -law Shelbie.

My daughter's Ashley and Taylor are healthy and happy. as is my step-son Andrew. When their lives are going well, I'm happy.

And I have the love a my beautiful wife Sue. Who as always is super supportive and got me thru this crazy year. Couldn't have done it with out her.

Can't wait for 2017...It's all up from here!

God Bless you all. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year!. Be safe, and happy.

Life is Good!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

On the Road With Em - Salisbury, NC

As you may have surmised from pervious posts, I enjoy looking at old things. Whether it be people, or buildings, or stuff. Not sure why, but I see it happening more and more as I get older. I never cared for history when I HAD to learn it, but maybe I have more free time for it now. Or maybe I've just grown up. (nah...don't worry).. But I just finished reading a history book of Mecklenburg County and Charlotte. Yes, an actual Non-Technical, non-Photography, non-fiction book. And I really enjoyed it!
I think it all links back to photography in actuality, because I like to understand what it was like way back when at the places I go. Guess I have a lot of reading to do, because I do like to get out and explore!

Anyway, this weekend Sue and I went to Salisbury, NC. It's about a 45 minute drive from us, Northeast up I-85.  I heard there was a lot of shops in Salisbury (pronounced Saulz-Ber-ee ), and it sounded like fun. I grabbed my camera of course, and Sue grabbed her knitting bag, knowing full well that I'd be jumping out of the car periodically to take a picture of some rotting building or rusty sign. But, I really just wanted to spend the day with her (awwww, I can hear you saying), and go to some antique shops and set some lunch. So I didn't take any pictures.... HAHAHAHA... Ok, well I did just jump out of the car twice. (and yes, it was in park)... This mural was on the side of a building on W. Fisher St. A really neat depiction of life back in the day.

Salisbury Mural

And this one:
Drink Cheerwine

I guess that Cheerwine is a soda that was created in Salisbury back in 1917. Still being bottled today, although I only had a beer when we stopped for lunch...How, odd!

Other than that, my Canon stayed in it's case all day...Yes Really.

But I did have my iPhone! So I do have memories from the day.
We drove down E. Innes St. and didn't see much activity. From what I read online, I figured it was a hustling, bustling town. Seemed quite dead to me...But we stopped at the Okey Dokee general store. Awesome vision into the past. Some stuff was for sale, but nothing we really needed. It was great to look at though.

Where'd I leave my matches?

Great to look at, but nothing I need

We then turned down S. Main St., and saw more activity. First stop was Salisbury Sq. Antiques.
Tons to look at, but I escaped unscathed. Sue spent a grand total of 54 cents...I'm still kicking myself for not buying this Cool Old Ball:

Cool Old Ball

We're trying to simplify our lives and not buy a lot of stuff we just don't need. So I'm proud of myself for not buying anything...But I may have to go back and see if this ball is still there. Why? Beats me...I may need a Cool Old Ball.

Next stop was the Old Candy Shoppe!
There I heard someone say something disparaging about the Red Sox.. So I jumped to their defense. Turns out that Nancy (one of the owners) was a big Sox fan from Needham and in no way was dissing our team. Her husband Don was from Chicago and was a White Sox fan. The four of us chatted quite a while. Very enjoyable people...Except Don was of Norwegian descent and said a joke that poked fun at my ancestral homeland (Sweden)...Eh, he doesn't know any better....Being from Chicago.. :-) Nancy and Don gave us great tips on where to go for antiques. Nice, nice people. Could have chatted them up for hours.

This is gonna be fun

We met someone who suggested where we could eat and where we shouldn't eat. We missed something in the translation, because we went to the "avoid" restaurant. I don't like to put disparaging info on the blog, but why bother to write if I can't give you some tips.  Uncle Buck's had very good food...but we ordered wraps and it took an hour to get our meal. Won't go back there....End of Public service announcement.

Someone suggested the Salisbury Antique Emporium on E Kerr St. That is an old converted sawmill. Great place with all sorts of things I don't need but love to look at. Here's the results of that stop:

It's Good Taste


Jug and Cabinet

Animal Crackers!

Ton's O' Caps
Coffee And Chicory


The Legend?

Let's You Sleep
The New Gear

Pardon me.. But Do You Have
Prince Albert in a Can?

Well, enough of the shots. It was a fun day in Salisbury, and I'll have to get back there sometime when I have more time to wander and explore. A lot of old buildings and history. Some good, some not so good. (think Civil War Prison Camp)

But these days, it's a nice friendly town with lots to see and do! Check it out!

S. Main St. Salisbury, NC

See you on the road!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

On the Road with Em...Claremont and Catawba, NC

2/17/2014 President's Day:  I had a rare day off, and decided to skip the sales and take a road trip. Started out of the driveway at 10am, and heard Sue yell for me from the balcony. I had dropped a glove in the hall. glad she did call because it was dang chilly out. 38 degrees. And just the day before I was out on the same balcony reading 'Fritz Weatherbee's New Hampshire', in t-shirt and shorts.

Reading Under a Blue Sky
Ok. Reset. Let's try this again.  Have my gloves now, hat, coat, hiking boots, camera gear, food, water, and fireballs, and away I go at 10:01. Pull out of the complex, hit the first light at the corner at 10:02…Wait 5 minutes at the light,  and away I go at 10:07. Aye Aye Aye... Seems like I’ll never get out of here. Lights in Charlotte are for the birds.

But, finally I’m off. To where? Claremont NC. Why there?

To Claremont, via RT 16
Well, after I fell far short of my goal of shooting all 54 of  New Hampshire covered bridges, (short by about 46), I decided to try a less loftier goal of all of the North Carolina covered bridges. Of which there are 2. The Mt. Pisgah covered bridge which is about 2 1/2 hrs from me, and the Bunker Hill covered Bridge. That us about an hour and 15 mins away from me on the border of Claremont and Catawba. I decided to save the Pisgah for a weekend trip and pointed my Escape Northwest up Rt. 16 to Claremont.

Down the Road a'piece*
I had planned the trip the night before. Followed the route on Google maps and spotted some places that may have old barns. I figured I would stop in 3 or 4 towns. Turns out, Claremont itself had plenty to keep me interested for hours.

Welcome to Claremont
First stop was Hewitt's Store downtown at the corner or E. Main St and S. Depot St. Couldn't find any info online about it. Looked like an old antique store with Tin ceiling, and all sorts of beautiful junk inside. Sign on the door said "Open Saturday's only", but that sign looked antique. Anyway, of course, this was Monday. Saved myself some money probably. 

Hewitts Storefront

Hewitts Storeside

About 2 miles east of Claremont Center, down I-70 you come to a park on the left, home of Bunker Hill Covered Bridge

After parking, and a short hike down along the Lyle Creek, you come to the bridge, built in 1895. Felt like I was back home in NH.  Incidentally, there was major restoration to the bridge in 1994 by the Arnold Graton and Sons firm of New Hampshire. YAY NH!

Bunker Hill Covered Bridge
Throat of the Beast

Finger Pincher
BHCB - Instagram Shot

I wandered around the bridge for about an hour and a half. Studying it, admiring it, reading graffiti, etc. Time does slip away from me when I'm out in my element. I really didn't want to be gone all day, so I was going to skip the extra towns I wanted to stop at and just head home. But, the good thing about taking country roads, and just flying by the seat of your pants:  you can be pleasantly surprised. I found what I have been missing by being in Charlotte. Peeling paint and Rust! Utopia!

Red Barn - How Original

Road-side Gem

Do you feel a draft?

Catawba Farm Service
It was a great day away from the office. Fresh air, country scenes, and a memory card full of shots. Just what the doctor ordered. 
Ok, where to next? Don't know, but I'll be sure to let you know!


* Down the road a'piece is a term my grandparents (Mamie and Papa Swanson) always said when I as little and we went for a walk at camp "Lets go down the Road a'piece and stretch our legs"