44 years, 44 lessons

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I am turning 44 years old, tomorrow, July 15, 2016. Repurposing a theme I did when I turned 40, and adding to the list.

If you find any of these useful, please consider making a special donation on my behalf to Diabetes Hands Foundation.

Here are 44 random lessons I’ve learned, in no particular order:
1. Play peek-a-boo with crying babies in airplanes.
2. Always stay in touch with your childhood friends.
3. When you read a good book, tell others about it.
4. Share good jokes: the world needs more people smiling.
5. Adopt a dog: they are great companions.
6. Dance a lot! It’s good for your heart and your soul.
7. Gardening is good exercise and makes you love plants even more.
8. Grilled sandwiches are the best!
9. Learn to play an instrument: you will have a blast.
10. If someone compliments you, take the compliment.
11. Stare at the sky long enough to watch the clouds moving.
12. Take a deep breath… exhale. Repeat… repeat…
13. Rioja wine. Yep, that’s it.
14. Prog rock, for college years. Ambient and jazz, later in life.
15. When the opportunity opens up, travel: go places!
16. Some Sundays, wake up to baroque music.
17. A cup of black coffee in the mornings: hmmm!
18. Rogaine can help with baldness… if you put it on.
19. If your blood sugars are bad one day, try again the next day.
20. Learn a new language or two. You will discover new worlds.
21. When you travel, don’t take a tour bus: walk around the city.
22. When you are upset, get away from the keyboard, take a walk.
23. Embrace gray hairs: celebrate birthdays!
24. Go inside a photo booth and goof off with friends.
25. Buy local, even if it costs a little more.
26. Have a thick cappuccino every so often.
27. Go to Farmers Markets.
28. Praise in public. Criticize in private, one-on-one.
29. Once in a while, wander, don’t pick up a map.
30. Park as far as you can, don’t use the stairs: walk more.
31. It’s OK to feel afraid. Just don’t let fear control you.
32. Straight or gay: it’s all the same. Everyone is a person.
33. Minnesota and Venezuela are closer than you’d believe.
34. Smile when you are on the phone: other people can feel it.
35. Don’t take yourself too seriously… Seriously!
36. Give to at least one charitable cause every year.
37. Aisle is better than window by a long shot.
38. Once in a while, play a song you love real loud.
39. I have an accent, believe it or not: even in Spanish!
40. When in doubt, remember to tell people how much they rock!
41. Give surprise backrubs. People appreciate it.
42. Avocado with a touch of salt: you heard it here first. šŸ˜‰
43. Read audiobooks… Or listen to them. Just do it.
44. Karaoke with friends: priceless!

Being comissioned a Kentucky Colonel!

It’s been a long time since I blog in here… It’s been very busy.

Today, I want to share some very special personal good news. I received this in the mail today:

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I can think of few things as unexpected as being commissioned a Kentucky Colonel:

The commission of Kentucky Colonel is the highest title of honor bestowed by the Governor of Kentucky. It is recognition of an individualā€™s noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to our community, state and nation.

Just to imagine for a second some of the people who have received this honor before me makes me feel incredibly humbled!

It reminds me of how much more work to be done lies ahead…

Repeating herself. Repeating herself. Repeating herself.

If you read this blog (though I wouldn’t blame you if you don’t), you probably know that my mother has Alzheimer’s. She was diagnosed several years ago, and I would like if I said it’s been an easy road: it hasn’t.

Along this journey, before yesterday, she has had at least three “leaps” we’ve been able to observe:

  1. That “OMG” moment, when it became obvious to me that something was off: I had dropped her off in church, to pick her up an hour later. After mass was over, I kept waiting and waiting for her, to be surprised by her phone call… from her home. She had gotten a ride back home, because she had forgotten I was outside. Soon after that day, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
  2. She had been living for nearly two years in an Independent Living facility, and some things pointed at the need for her to get more assistance in her day-to-day, things that resulted in her taking less care about herself than we were used to see her do. When I spoke with the Executive Director at her residence, she told me we needed to find my mom a place where she could get Memory Care… she was taking a “leap” into a new level of care.”
  3. For a few months now, more often than not she doesn’t remember I am her son. She still associates me with someone “familiar” (a kind gentleman, and at times, she is sure I am her younger brother). The first time that this happened, it was very hard to accept…

Yesterday, a new “leap” happened. I was used to her repeating herself: conversations with my mom have been cyclical for quite some time. The same topic comes back over and over. But yesterday, she started repeating words and short phrases, over and over. For example, she would tell me:

“SeƱor, seƱor, seƱor, seƱor, seƱor…” (“Sir, sir, sir, sir, sir…”)

This is all very fresh, and not easy. We will continue to be there for her. But it’s not easy… it’s not easy… it’s not easy…