My Life Has Changed Forever

It has been over a year since I have posted here. The desire to blog comes and goes. Well, today I have a few things to write about. Life seldom if ever goes the way we think it will go. I had (I hate using that tense) been fully expecting to live out my life with Teresa and Kirk in Chesapeake. I had moved so many times in my life that I had finally said enough, this is where I am going to die. Didn’t work out that way. On April 26th, Teresa died. It was completely unexpected. She had been suffering from a problem with her jaw and her ability to eat, which caused her to lose a lot of weight. Doctors had not been able to figure out exactly what the problem was and how to treat it.

Teresa had finally paid off her mortgage and sold her rental property, so she finally had money after a life of sacrifice for her son Kirk and daughter Dana to spoil herself. And she was doing just that and loving it. Then I got sick with bronchitis for a couple weeks and just when I was getting over it Teresa started to cough and not feel well. We thought she had gotten what I had. But then she started to get weak and ache all over. She was in so much pain she couldn’t move. Then one day she threw up blood. I called 911 and the paramedics arrived. Her blood pressure was extremely low. She was taken to Maryview Hospital.

The initial diagnosis was ulcers in the esophagus. She was given a blood transfusion and other medications. She was told she would have to be on a certain medication for the rest of her life and she had to stop smoking. They were planning to release her in a few days if she improved. Then I received a call that a biopsy that was done on her esophagus showed that she had advanced esophageal cancer. A bone scan was done, and it was determined to be stage 4 of a very aggressive cancer. Teresa decided that she didn’t want to pursue and further treatments.

Teresa came home a few days later on hospice, taking morphine and an anxiety medication. She also had to be on oxygen at all times. I think at that point she basically gave up. She died a few days later. I was the last person to see her alive and the first person to see her dead. She had chosen cremation and did not want to have a service, so that morning was the last time I had with her. She had given her daughter Dana the house she had sacrificed so much to keep. Since I had been renting the upstairs mother-in-law suite for 15 years, I was going to have to move. It also meant that I would have to say goodbye to Kirk. We had been a family for 15 years, longer than any of my previous two marriages had lasted.

So now I am living in an apartment in a lovely apartment complex. There is a pool, weight room, lake, and other amenities very close to me. It is OK. My dog Cali has finally accepted that this is her new home for now. I still am grieving over losing my family. I have cried every day since I think. I know I will always miss Teresa and Kirk. Life will never be the same again. I am 73 years old and am finally starting to get tired of living. There is a quote from the movie ‘The Green Mile’ that pretty much sums up how I feel right now.

I’m rightly tired of the pain I hear and feel, boss. I’m tired of bein on the road, lonely as a robin in the rain. Not never havin no buddy to go on with or tell me where we’s comin from or goin to or why. I’m tired of people bein ugly to each other. It feels like pieces of glass in my head. I’m tired of all the times I’ve wanted to help and couldn’t. I’m tired of bein in the dark. Mostly it’s the pain. There’s too much. If I could end it, I would. But I can’t.

That is about it for this post. More to follow, I hope.

July Update

I was not feeling too well for a few days recently so I called the doctors office. When I mentioned I had a low grade fever the doctor said I must have a virtual visit as they would not let me in the door. So now it seems like sick people can’t go to the doctor in person now. I simply don’t understand that. In the past if you had a cold or the flu it was no problem seeing the doctor. Now, if you even have a temperature, which can be cause by literally hundreds of things, they won’t see you in person. Immediately, she suggested I get a COVID-19 test, which I agreed to. Today I got the results and they were negative. When is this going to end. I haven’t gotten a COVID vaccine yet and I may or may not ever get one. They keep changing the goalposts. Now they are talking about needing a third COVID vaccine shot. I mean come on.

On a better note July has been pretty good otherwise. Nice weather, other than TS Elisa paying us a visit yesterday. Lost power for 10 minutes. Now the sun is back out. Going to take a walk at the park and a dip in the pool and read a book. I have a long list of books lined up to read. Currently I am reading Dante’s Divine Comedy, as well as taking an online course about it through Hilldale College. When I am finished with the Divine Comedy next up will be John Milton’s Paradise Lost. I have numerous other books I also want to read. Never enough time to read all the books I want to read.

On the political front I continue to be dumbfounded by how far this country is turning to the left. More craziness every day. CRT, BLM, ANTIFA, an incompetent President and even more incompetent Vice-President, the crisis at the border, China and Russia sensing weak leadership and taking advantage of it, I could go on and on. Our children’s heads are being filled with garbage in the public schools. But I do see hope with more and more people finally standing up to the insanity and pushing back.

On a final note, I have given up playing video games finally. I have been playing video games since they first came out. I owned a Mattel Intellivion, an Atari 800, an XBOX, and finally on PC’s. But I have found myself spending too much time playing games, and besides, the ones today are too hard for this old man. I will miss them but not really.

That is it for now. Hope whomever reads this is doing well. Peace, love, and God Bless.

I’m Back

It has been a while since I last posted here. A lot has transpired since then. It seems the pandemic is finally ending. Life is starting to return to normal. We had our family picnic at Windsor Castle Park in May and it was great to spend an entire day where no one was wearing a mask. Our church held it’s first board meeting in person as well as our first Elders meeting. I still have not been vaccinated and likely will never get vaccinated as I don’t feel the risk of getting Covid is as great anymore and it is still an experimental vaccine.

Summer is finally here and after a bit of effort the pool is finally ready and I plan on taking full advantage of it this summer. I have gained weight due to the pandemic and swimming should help me lose some weight. The old railroad tracks are finally being converted to a multi-use trail. A lot of the work has already been done and it should be ready for use soon. If so, I plan on getting a bicycle so I will have another form of exercise.

I went back to playing video games as I realized they were a good way to get my mind off all the craziness that is going on in the world. I am sleeping better and my heart has improved, although my eyesight and hearing are getting worse. Still reading and taking online courses. I have been thinking about getting back to my volunteer work at Chesapeake Animal Services. I miss spending time with the dogs.

My depression and anxiety are under control now. I hope to continue improving. I have regained interest in some things I had lost interest in. I am more hopeful about tomorrow than I have been. I hope to write in this blog more often now.

That’s it for now.


Where have I been? What have I been doing? What the hell is going on? After a two year absence I will try to answer those questions, mostly for my own sense of sanity. Yep, it’s now 2021. The awful year 2020 is barely behind me and 2021 is not looking much better.

As to where I have been, it’s a very long story. I think my last post here was Christmas 2018. So much has changed in the intervening years. I’ve gotten older, my mental and physical health has not been all that good, and then the pandemic hit. And don’t get me started on the election and our new President. A lot of the things I used to do were put on hold indefinitely because of the pandemic, lockdowns, and all the other drama that has been going on.

I’m still staying as busy as I can considering all the changes that the pandemic have brought. But a lot has changed for good. I have stopped playing video games, which I have played all my life. I figure at 72 it’s time to spend what time I have left on more grown-up things. I am now taking online courses, reading much more, and being more active in my church. I gave up being church treasurer but am still an elder. I have started to learn how to knit, of all things. Still have Cali with me, thank God, she keeps me sane.

My heart has gotten worse although my diverticulosis has not been a problem. I don’t get as much exercise as I used to and I have not travelled anywhere. No camping in 2020, no family gatherings, no Iron Sharpens Irons men’s meeting, no volunteering at the Chesapeake Animal Shelter, no serving breakfast at Oasis any more. So much of what I enjoyed doing has gone away. Maybe one day when this pandemic nightmare is over most of those activities will return.

The reason I am even writing this after a two year hiatus is for therapeutic reasons. The depression from all this has hit me hard. I have had to go to a therapist and am on medications for anxiety and depression. So doing this will hopefully help.

That’s all for now. Oh, wait. I am still a geek. I am writing this on a new laptop and I have built a new, powerful gaming computer, which I now no longer use for gaming. But I am still doing photography and video shooting so I use it for that. I have been doing live streaming of our church’s service on Facebook for those who are still unable to attend in person. Ok, now that’s all for now. I do hope everyone is fairing well out there during these trying times. Don’t give up and keep the faith. Things will get better.


Christmas Eve Thoughts

Christmas is tomorrow and the New Year not far behind. I thought I would take a few minutes and record my thoughts and musing for posterity. It has been a year of ups and downs, as all years are. I can’t say it has been a particularly good year or a bad year.

I have had health issues that have plagued me. Three cases of diverticulitis that have landed me twice in the ER and once in the hospital. In fact it has been just over a week since I got out of the hospital after having spent 3 1/2 days there for a hole in my colon. I’m on the mend but there will probably be elective surgery next year to remove the offending section of colon that is causing all the problems.

My house search continues. The interest rates are at the highest they have been in 7 years and my stocks have taken a terrible beating in the last couple of months, making it even more difficult to find and buy a house. Did I mention house prices are up considerably too. But I haven’t given up yet although I may end up renting until the economy and my finances improve.

I am still pretty active even though I will be 70 years old in January. But age has finally prevented me from doing some of the the things I used to do, or at least curtailed them somewhat. I still would love to travel but with my health issues, did I mention my heart problems also, I have to temper where and for how long I can travel. But some things, like reading, studying, and photography, have not been affected by my getting older. Good.

But mostly I chose to write this to talk about how my recent hospitalization has made me realize how blessed I am. A big part of my life for the last decade + has been the church I attend and its members. Our church continues to thrive even though our pastor of the last 4 years has resigned to accept a ministry at another church. But church is more that just a beloved pastor. Tonight we are having our Christmas Eve service ‘Into the Light’, and it is going to be the best service ever. We have a lot of new young and very talented members who have become an important part of the church family. We now have a praise group¬† and a morning modern service featuring our praise group ‘Son Rise’.

While I was in the hospital my church family came to visit. Both the young ones and the older ones came out to see me.  After I got out of the hospital, my church family again came bearing beef stew, biscuits, soup, and offers to shop for me and do whatever they could to help me while I was recovering. They are the blessing I am writing about. That God put such caring, loving people into my life is a blessing beyond anything else I could imagine or want.

So whatever the new year brings, I know that not only my family but my church family will be there to make things better. I couldn’t ask for more. So in a few hours I will be heading to the Christmas Eve service, where I will be one of the narrators of the story of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus. What a great way to end the year. I am truly blessed.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or Seasons Greetings to all. Have a wonderful holiday and a great new year.

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 NKJV

Searching for a new home

cabinFrom my previous posts you know about the construction and destruction of the neighborhood where I now live. I have engaged a realtor, an old friend of mine, and am actively engaged in finding a new place to live.

This is a daunting task in many ways. First and foremost is the fact that I will soon be 70 years old. It’s not easy pulling up stakes at my age. I have lived at my present location for 15 years, which is the longest I have lived at one place in my lifetime. Being a Navy brat, my family moved a lot. I have lived in Florida, Texas, Virginia, Rhode Island, and New York. I have lived here in Virginia since the 11th grade. In the time I have lived in Virginia I moved 7 or 8 times. I am hoping this move will be my final move. I plan on dying where I move next.

All my friends, family, doctors, church, everyone I know, live in the Hampton Roads area. Ideally I would like to find a place to live in this area. The only problem with that is that I have grown to hate this area. I have a bit of a nomad still in me, and 50+ years in the same area is having its toll on me. Add to that the relentless development, construction, traffic, and just total urbanization of the area is distasteful to me. I want some country, not endless condos, new homes, shopping malls, etc.

I am trying to find a place where I am not elbow-to-elbow with people, I want some peace and quiet. I want to be able to look out on my back yard and see a deer, or a fox, or a racoon once in a while. I used to be able to do that here, but not any more. Plus, the cost of housing in this area if very high. You really can’t get much for what I am able to afford. If I find a house that I like, I find I don’t like the neighborhood, or if I find a nice location, there is something about the house I don’t like.

I also have a medium size dog, which adds to the difficulty of finding the right home. I would like to have a fenced yard for my dog, but I don’t want too big a yard because I will not be able to maintain it by myself for much longer. Plus I don’t need a house with a lot of square footage to take care of since it is just me and my dog. When I have found a home that suits my needs and that I can afford, it is usually too far from the church that I attend, and in which I am very active, to be able to commute to daily.

When I look at properties in the western part of the state, outside of Hampton Roads, homes are much more affordable and you can get so much more for your money. But then I would have to give up attending the church I have attended for so many years, and be distanced from my friends and family.

So as you can see, I have a lot of decisions to make. I have to prioritize what is most important in my life. And the decisions I make will be ones that will affect every aspect of what time I have left in this world. I have a great Realtor and she has been very helpful and supportive. I told her I would be finicky about where I would live. It has been tougher so far than I thought it would be, but it has also helped me to set some priorities about what is most important.

So the quest continues. I haven’t given up yet, I have placed it all in the hands of God. I will find somewhere to move to, somewhere where I can find a little peace and quiet, and hopefully escape the relentless encroachment of progress, at least for a little while. Pray for me or wish me luck, or both.


As I sat in the far back corner of the house to escape the construction noise, I thought I would give vent to my frustrations as to what is happening just outside my front door. I have lived in my present location for 15 years. When I first moved here it was a quiet, peaceful neighborhood. There were only seven houses in the entire neighborhood. Granted, it wasn’t exactly in the country, but it was nonetheless a nice place to live.

Today, 15 years later, there are 37 houses in the same neighborhood as well as a self-storage business. The self-storage was the first new construction, built on what had been protected wetlands. Somehow a waiver or exception was had and the storage facility built. Oh well, there goes the neighborhood I thought. Then the street I was on was widened, curbing and street lights added. Starting to loose it’s charm now.

At the end of the dead end road I live on there was a big parcel of land and two houses, one of them an old, beautiful, three story brick ranch. The adjacent acreage was eventually sold by the owner of the three story to a developer after a falling out among family members. Within a couple of years an additional 30 homes were built on the land. This of course resulted in a lot more traffic coming down my street, but at least the homes were a good 50 yards from us.

Which brings me to today’s construction noise. The two homes that were directly across from me were built on about 4 acres each, for about a total of 8.5 acres. They were both beautiful houses with many mature magnolia, oak, and fruit trees on them. Truly beautiful to look at. I enjoyed the view from my front porch for 15 years. Both owners died recently and both properties were sold to the same developer that built the 30 houses previously mentioned.

So before long I was a front seat observer to the destruction of those beautiful properties. The hardest thing to watch was the destruction of all those beautiful, old trees by heavy construction equipment. I have never been a tree huger but to see those beautiful trees destroyed like that, their beauty never to be enjoyed again, was heartbreaking. I will be grieving over their loss for a long time.

Now every day for the last month, until about November I am told, I have to see and hear the transformation of those beautiful acres into another housing development. Twenty five houses jammed into 8 acres of land. Look-alike houses, each sitting on less than a third of an acre. When it is all done, I will have a total of 55 new houses that did not exist when I moved here those 15 long years ago. Gone forever is the peace, beauty, and charm that once brought me to live here. I used to watch geese migrations  every year, watched foxes hunt rabbits at night, had the occasional racoon, deer, and other wildlife. All of that is gone forever now.

And that is what is called progress. So as I finish writing this, thinking about all that has changed in the last 15 years, all that has been lost, I feel this ache inside me that I know will be a long time in fading. I am actively looking for somewhere else to move, somewhere where I can perhaps regain some of that lost peace, quiet, and beauty. Wish me luck.


The Old and the New and other Stuff

Apparently I’m not very good at this chronicling my life stuff any more. Not much interest in writing in this blog any more. Guess over time your interests and priorities change. But I was sitting here this morning, on a beautiful day, thinking about life. I have just finished doing my morning devotionals. It usually consists of reading three or so devotions and their associated scripture, which gets me to thinking. I wrote last August about how things have changed where I live. That change has finally become reality as earth moving equipment has shown up on one of the properties that is being developed. I think that will be the last straw that motivates me to finally try to find somewhere else to live. Somewhere where I can live the rest of my life in peace and quiet. Not sure if such a place exists anymore but I’m going to try and find it.

A lot of the things I used to spend a lot of time on when I was younger have lost their lure. They have been replaced with other things. That is normal I know, people change as they grow older. I still love to read, but my reading interests have changed. I will always love photography, that will never change. And my love of science and technology has not diminished although the focus has changed. I am still very active in church and have recently started volunteering at the city animal shelter walking the dogs, cleaning the kennels, and doing whatever I can to make their lives better. It is sad to see the plight of these beautiful creatures. I don’t know their stories, how they got there, but I do pray that their stories will have a happy ending.

Old age is definitely catching up to me. It is hard to adapt life to a body that no longer wants to cooperate with you. Things I would love to do I can no longer do, or are much more difficult to enjoy to the same degree I used to enjoy. Hiking, camping, swimming, and just running have all had to be dramatically curtailed. I used to scuba dive, but due to health issues I had to give that up. I am applying for a new passport as my old one is no longer valid. I hope to travel soon before it becomes more problematic about traveling with my health issues.

But hope springs eternal. I try to stay optimistic. There is no value in feeling sorry for one’s self. I am blessed in so many ways. I have my family, friends, and Church. And God. With God there is always hope.

OBTW, I am writing this on my new laptop. It is a Microsoft Surface laptop. Much nicer than my old one. My old laptop was a beast. This one is much smaller and lighter and easier to use. That’s it for my ramblings this morning. Time to get out and go somewhere and do something. I hope you are going to do the same.

The Movie and the Book


I recently finished reading Jules Verne’s book Journey to the Center of the Earth. I do not remember having read it before, but I may have as a child. I thoroughly enjoyed the book; the plot, characters, and settings all being amazing. The 1959 movie based on the book has always been one of my all-time favorite movies, right up there with The Wizard of Oz.

But as I began to read, I was immediately struck by differences between the movie and the book. As I read on I became increasingly amazed at just how different the movie and book were. It was as if the creators of the movie had as a goal to make the movie as different from the book as possible. From the plot to the characters, there are very few similarities between the two.

Starting with the characters, in the movie we had Professor Lindenbrook, Alec McKuen, Professor Goteborg and his wife Karla, Hans and his pet duck Gertrude, and Count Saknussem and his assistant. In the book there are only three main characters, Professor Lindenbrook, his nephew Axel (note the name change), and Hans, sans Gertrude.

Almost every scene in the movie is either absent in the book or scenes in the book absent in the movie, or drastically altered in some manner. The differences are almost too many to note, but I will endeavor to cite as many of them as I can.

Firstly, the manner in which the secret of Arne Saknussem’s trip to the center of the earth is revealed. In the movie a plum bob with letters etched on it is found inside a piece of lava that is accidentally exploded. In the book it is a piece of parchment with writing that has to be decoded and translated.

The abduction and imprisonment of Professor Lindenbrook and Alec in the movie never happens in the book. The subsequent scenes where they escape and enlist the aid of the widow of murdered Professor Goteborg in order to obtain needed equipment that was stolen is absent in the book.

A significant portion of the book regales the travels of Professor Lindenbrook and Axel to Snefelles where the entrance is to be found. This is glossed over in the movie.

The accidental flooding of the subterranean chambers caused by the removal of a crystal in the movie is actually in the book a deliberately done act by the adventurers in a desperate attempt to find water as they had run out and were dying of thirst.

There is no lost city of Atlantis, no dinosaur fight on the beach of the underground sea, no scene where the magnetic center of the earth caused all the metal on the raft to be drawn away, in the book.

Even the manner in which they finally escaped from the center of the earth was changed. In the movie they were propelled by lava from a volcanic eruption induced when the explorers caused an explosion to remove a giant boulder blocking a volcanic funnel, while in a giant altar stone.

In the book they were propelled by water while on a raft after blowing up a blockage in a tunnel at the edge of the sea. A huge void was opened, drawing them and the ocean in and propelling them upward and eventually out of Mount Etna.

Why the producers of the movie felt it necessary to make a movie that so faintly resembled the original book is unknown to me. I am moved to go back and re-read or read some of the books that were the basis for many of my favorite movies and see how faithfully or unfaithfully they followed the book upon which they were based. I’ll let you know what I find out.

Progress Sucks, Mostly



I have lived in Virginia for 51 years now, most of my adult life. I will most likely die in Virginia. Virginia is a beautiful state, rich in natural beauty, history, culture, and with wonderful people. I have seen much change during my life here. Going to 11th grade in Virginia Beach I remember how rural it all was. I used to go surfing at the Navy Dam Neck base and the road leading in was a two lane one, with a country store on the corner.

Today the areas I remember as a young man are almost unrecognizable. Progress has brought more roads, much larger roads, along with shopping malls, countless gas stations, banks, convenience stores, and housing development after housing development. Every city I have lived in in Hampton Roads has changed dramatically. Traffic has gone from a nice drive down a two lane road to a nightmare of constant traffic jams, endless tolls, and just a miserable experience trying to drive anywhere.

And for all this progress, I can honestly say that I much prefer the Hampton Roads of my youth to the monstrosity it has become. I understand that progress is inevitable, but one would hope that progress would make life more enjoyable, but that seldom seems to be the case. Progress seems to be a lopsided trade-off between improving your life and making your life miserable.

Maybe progress is not the right word, rather growth. I just wish cities would do a much better job of managing growth so that as the area where you live grows, you don’t end up becoming a stranger to the place where you have lived your entire life.

I have often thought about moving, but the fact that my entire family still lives in this area has kept me from doing that. But it is coming to the point where even that will no longer constrain me from moving.

I have lived in Chesapeake for almost 12 years now. When I moved to where I live now, there were only five houses in the area. Two of them are beautiful properties sitting on six acres combined, both with beautiful trees and dirt roads leading up to the house. The two houses on either side of me are beautiful houses too, with great neighbors.

In the 12 years that I have lived here I have seen a self-storage facility built across the road just up a block from us. Then the old farm at the end of the dead end road I live on was sold and 30 houses built on that land. Now the owners of the two properties across from me have both died and the land has been sold to the same developers, who plan on building an additional 20 homes. So I have gone from living in a beautiful, rural area to just another over-developed area of the city.

There used to be a family of foxes that lived on the land that used to be the farm. I would see them almost every day. There was also the occasional deer. Since the 30 houses were built the deer have gone, along with the foxes. Now I see an occasional fox on the two properties across from me, but soon those properties will have houses on them and the foxes will have nowhere to live.

So the transformation is complete. My neighborhood that was once a joy to live in will soon become completely unrecognizable from what it was 12 years ago. I can’t even back out of my driveway any more without having to wait for a car to go by. And what has all this progress gained for me? How has it improved my life in any way? As I get older all I want is peace and quiet, and that is becoming increasingly hard to find anywhere in Hampton Roads.

So I think I have reached the point where I may be forced to leave the area I have lived for over 50 years. Progress has driven me out finally. Don’t know where I will go, but I hope I can find a place where progress will not find me for the rest of my days.