Archive for The Family


So Many More Memories… And a Phone Call

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Grandpa's GangLast night after I wrote my post about my Grandpa “Cookie”, so many more memories were filling my head as I tried to bounce between monitoring some chats at work and ultimately trying to drift to sleep.  Amazing how the mind works… I have always claimed my memory isn’t very good.  Yet vivid details of growing up with all of my grandparents kept filling my head.  Most, due to the circumstances, were centered on my Grandpa (and Grandma) Carlen.  Memories of their house, and how all of us kids loved going down to the basement and playing billiards (even if we weren’t supposed to).  The bar in the basement, complete with an antique (was it really antique back then?) cash register and all of the old, detailed glasses behind the bar.  A carousel of poker chips.  A bottle with numbered, round die that we would spill out of the bottle — I guess this was used to play some game of pool, but all I know is we had to make sure we didn’t lose any of the numbers.  The somewhat scary–at least to a young child–storage area which was adorned with a sewing machine for grandma and fly fishing lure making equipment for grandpa.  Of course, this is also where the large, wooden Santa sleigh and reindeer cutouts were stored when it wasn’t Christmas time.Bug Zapper

The backyard of my grandparents’ house always had a garden–a rather large one, at that–and grandpa spent a lot of time trying to get the sprinkler system just right to cover it properly.  Oh, and keeping rodents and rabbits out of it!  Won’t mention the “gear” he used in assisting with his garden patrol efforts.  Not sure why but three other things about the backyard really standout.  First, the clothes lines that hung in the middle.  Second, the bug zapper that was always at work on the patio, and third, the bushes around the fence which had secret paths we liked to go in and hide, as well as see the barking dogs next door.  And how could I fail to mention the cinder blocks near the garage, where we as kids would take the large bark from around the trees and put them in the openings of the blocks, pretending they were mailboxes, just like the mailboxes at the post office where we would go, a few short blocks away, with grandma or grandpa to get the mail.

Grandpa loved bowling and rolled at least one 300 game in his time (don’t know how many, but know he had his name on plaque at bowling alley and had a ring to prove it!) and helped teach me to golf.  I think the man golfed nearly every day of the spring-fall while he was able!  So did my grandma.

American FlagEvery time I see a long Lincoln Town Car  or similar with an American Flag clipped to the window, I think of Grandpa.  Oddly enough, I saw one here in the OP just a few weeks ago.  Grandpa always drove around with an American Flag flapping by the window.  He loved his country like he loved his family.  I remember the last time I road in a car with G’pa driving.  Scared the hell out of me.  I believe this was after my grandma passed away, and clearly grandpa was at the onset of his horrible disease.  He was driving me from the airport, and entering I-25, he failed to get over into the actual lane.  Yep, we were driving on the side of the road.  I had to speak up to get him over.  Thankfully, he did, but it became crystal clear to me that day, driving shouldn’t be in the cards for him anymore.

Grandpa and I at my Wedding

Grandpa and I at my Wedding

Grandpa visited Rebecca, Spencer and I about five years ago with his lady friend Betty who had family out here in KC.  They came out here for the Renaissance Fair and visited my old house.  He came again when Rebecca and I got married.  I may have the order of these two visits backwards, but I am so thankful he got out here and saw me where I live.  Every moment is precious, and a great memory.  I am thankful that he got the opportunity to meet my entire family, including Brody, before he passed.  I know he doesn’t remember it, and neither will Brody, but it was important to me for that to happen and I have pictures to show my kids later in life.  Brody’s middle name is Carlen, a tribute to both my grandma and grandpa, and I am so thankful that Rebecca suggested the idea.  I haven’t mentioned how much Grandpa liked to give the ladies kisses and hugs.  Never will I forget all of the kisses he gave my Princess Braelyn when he met her.  I so wish I could go back to that day again.

I finally drifted to sleep last night, probably around 12:45.  Within a half hour, the phone rang.  I didn’t have to look… I knew.  It was my mom.  Instead of saying “hello” or anything else, I answered the call with “Our prayers were answered?”.  My mom replied, “Yes, it is over.”

I have been on this earth 14,630 days now, and today is the first without a living grandparent.  I feel blessed to have known and to remember each of my four grandparents–I know not everyone gets that opportunity.  While I am saddened that each of them are now gone to a better place, I am thankful that my grandpa’s struggles are over and that he is dancing again.

Love to my family, and thanks for your prayers.  They helped.

–Ryan

 

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It’s Been Awhile… Now Praying for Grandpa

Monday, April 9th, 2012

It sure has been awhile since I last posted on my blog. Far too long. The emotions of writing about my brother-in-law and his battle against Cancer is just too much, I guess. Sadly, I return to WordPress and my blog to write about another great person who is about to end his earthly journey…my Grandpa”Cookie” Emmett Carlen.

Grandpa Cookie

Grandpa back in July 2010

As I type, my grandfather lies in a bed in an Alzheimer’s home in Southern California. My mom and aunt spending every last day with him. Mom was encouraged to come last Friday, as the end was near. Grandpa is the last remaining grandparent I have, and he, too, will soon be gone. My family is in constant prayer that the Good Lord will take him soon, as his quality of life has diminished and is beyond repair. This, though, began many years ago as Alzheimer’s began to set in.

G’pa was, and is, a great man. When my grandma, the love of his life, passed away back in 2004 after her own bout with Cancer, the signs of Alzheimer’s were already showing. I think my grandma knew it when she departed this world into the next… she prepared as much as she could for him (including birthday cards for all of us throughout the year). Of course, she always took care of him, and the two were quite the duo. You could never leave their house without a smile on your face–their playful arguments. I will never forget them. I do remember as a child being astonished one day as I stood in the living room of their Mills, WY home, hearing my grandpa say “Come here, shit head!” I was so thankful when it wasn’t my grandma that followed him out of the kitchen, but their poodle, GiGi. For some reason, that and the candy jar, usually full of either root beer suckable candy or Atomic Fireballs that was strategically (and secretly) placed by “Grandpa’s Chair” (Grandpa’s Chair was the chair no one could sit in for very long, because when he returned, anyone in it was booted!) Another very fond memory is grandpa sitting there in that very chair, sucking on his candy, using his electric shaver, and watching the TV…either golf or QVN (yes, grandma and grandpa bought quite a bit of stuff off of QVN!).

Grandpa Dancing

Grandpa Dancing

My grandfather worked for as much of his working life as I can remember at the Casper Texaco Refinery. A hard worker and a very handy man, he wasn’t afraid of fixing anything and electrical stuff was his specialty. Grandpa and Grandma both were the odd-balls of the family–basically the only liberals in my family–and boy would they argue their side. Arguing (and farting) was their game — each blaming it on the other or the dog, but we all knew they were equally guilty.

Another vivid memory I have of my grandpa is his “hatred” of Christmas (not the holiday itself, but the commercialization of such). This was quite the contrary to my grandmother who absolutely loved it and all of the decorating that comes with it. I am pretty sure that Grandpa really did love Christmas, he just couldn’t admit it.

Dancing… my grandpa LOVES to dance. So did grandma. And whistling… you could always hear grandpa whistling.

My Family with Grandpa

My Family with Grandpa

Then evil came and began to take his mind. My family has, in recent years, experienced a lot of tragedy when it comes to evil diseases. As if Cancer weren’t enough, I can tell you Alzheimer’s in some way is worse, if that’s possible. At minimum, equally as bad, and definitely hard on the loved ones. C&A are two diseases that I pray will be eliminated in my lifetime or my children’s.

The last time I saw my grandpa was a almost two years ago when most of my family went to California for a vacation and to spend some time with him for his birthday. He looked much better then, physically, at least compared to the pictures I have seen of him lately. My mom sent me one today which just brought tears to my eyes. It’s undoubtedly time for Grandpa to go to the better place, and to spend eternity with his Maker and the love of his life, Grandma Cookie. I have no doubt they will be swing dancing soon, and I hope and pray it will be soon as the suffering needs to end.

Sending lots of love to my mom and aunt Lynda who are with him now, as well as to my Uncle Randy who could not make the journey from Casper. They are the three wonderful children of Emmett and Virgina Carlen, the crazy Democrats who are responsible for me, my sisters, my cousins and all of our kids. Grandpa, you did well. We love you, and we wish you a peaceful journey Home.

Grandpa, Mom, Lynda and Randy

Grandpa, Mom, Lynda and Randy

–Ryan

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Still Undefeated in My Mind : Michael Lovato (7/23/67 – 7/18/11)

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Just received word that at about 2pm Mountain today, my brother-in-law Michael Lee Lovato passed away after a major battle with Cancer.  Mike has always defeated his foes, and I for one still consider him undefeated.  Cancer has been disqualified for cheating.

Mikey and My Sis

Mikey and My Sis

To my sister, Stephanie… I love you so much and will be with you soon.  To my nephew Stevie, you are a stud because of your mom and dad, and we will always be there for you.  To my niece Ashley, we’re there for you, too.

More reflection later.  Rest in Peace, Mikey.  For the first time in a long time, you’re free of health issues.

–RE

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Michael, My Hero

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

My stepson Spencer turns 18 next month.  Crazy.  He’s a pretty typical teenager, minus getting into a lot of trouble.  An atypical trait that Spencer posseses is his fear and hatred for roller coasters.  While I have always enjoyed roller coasters, the one my brother-in-law Mikey and my sister have been on is not a fun ride.  And our whole family has been along for the ride.

In January, if I recall the month correctly, Mike was diagnosed with cancer.  While this was not the beginning of the roller coaster (one could say it was much later in the ride as Mike had twice had to have kidney transplants), it was definitely the beginning of the biggest, fastest, curviest, scariest part of the ride.  Since his diagnosis, there have been a whole lot of downs and a few ups along the track.  Often, we feel as though there really isn’t a track.  Now, is one of those times.  Mike was proclaimed cancer free just a few months ago, and within two weeks of that, he was given a few days to live as more cancer…very aggressive cancer…took hold of his body.  Mike, being the champion fighter he is, defied all odds and doctors’ wisdom and got better.  Not cancer-free better, but better.  He put weight back on, started eating (and tasting food) again, regained his memory, and became the Mike of ‘ole.  Me and my OP family had feared a few months ago we would be heading to a funeral for Mike.  Now, we have a roadtrip scheduled next week to celebrate his 44th birthday.

Another drop on the roller coaster surfaced just a few days ago, and this one is steep.  Mike is now, once again, on his death bed.  While no new abnormalities show in his blood work, an infection has taken over his immune system-weak body; one that doctors don’t think antibiotics will help.  Mike refused to go to the hospital last night, and in-home hospice was arranged.  Just moments ago, my mother sent me one of the most horrible text messages I have ever received:

“He told us goodbye a while ago.  Said to tell everyone how much he loves them.  He doesn’t want to fight anymore.”

The doctors say he won’t last long, I am told.  He has defied them before.  Only God knows when Mike is going to go, but once the will to fight is gone, well, it probably won’t be long.  To go from thinking we would be celebrating a birthday with Mike (a miracle in itself) just a few days ago, to fearing I won’t ever see him again, is just mind boggling.  I want this coaster ride to end; but with Mike healthy and happy.

Michael truly is a hero to me.  He came into our lives long ago and became the father my niece Ashley needed and deserved.  He became the man who made my sister Stephanie truly happy for the first time in a long time.  He and my sister brought my 9 year-old nephew Stevie, a black belt, into this world.  He treated my wife and kids as good as he treats his own wife and kids.  He fights, fights, fights and overcomes all obstacles in his way.  He boasts about how much work he does, even sick, as compared to his coworkers.  He melted when he received an honorary black belt when Stevie earned his.   Mike is all things good, even when it seems only bad things happen.

Maybe Mike has given up on this battle; maybe he hasn’t.  Whichever it is, he is a champion and an inspiration.  I pray to God I will see him again, but I also pray to God to have mercy on him and my sister, nephew, niece, and entire family.

I love you Michael Lovato.  While I am not liking this roller coaster ride, we’re on it with you.  We got your back, just like you always have ours.

My response texts to my mother:

Oh my.  We love him, too.  Please thank him from me for being such a wonderful husband and father to my sister, Stevie and Ashley.  Please tell him that for me.  And for being a great uncle and brother-in-law.

Peace,

Relledge

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The Fighter Continues His Fight…

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

I do not know what more to say about my brother-in-law Michael Lovato.  I do know this… I always knew he was a fighter.  What I guess I did not know is just how strong of a fighter he is.  After several days of being completely unresponsive, the last few, he has been all but that.  I was so amazed yesterday when I called my mom for an update.  She was at the hospital and actually put me on the phone with Mike–who talked to me!  I was so blown away that I didn’t say everything I wish I would have said, but I did tell him that I, along with my family (the OP Elledges), love him so much and are praying for him hourly.  He thanked me, and it was a joyous occasion.  Then today, I wake to the news that the doctors and nurses are amazed that he is where he is today, and they decided to resume treatment rather than just hospice care.  I do not know today if Mike will win the ultimate battle of his young life, but I am convinced more than ever he has a lot of fight left in him.  And based on his past, I would not  be surprised in the least bit if he doesn’t knock out his opponent, despite him being the underdgog.

Mike truly gives me a whole new perspective on life.   I sit here today, troubled with my own life events… but nothing compares to what Mike is going through.  And I know, if he can continue to fight the good fight, well hell, so can I.  And today, more than ever, I intend to.  If I learn nothing else from Mike, I learn that fighting to overcome hardships and obstacles ain’t no thing.  So I will.  And it WILL change my life.  He is fighting for life, and inspiring me to change mine.  I pray the outcome for both is a victory.  Don’t get me wrong at all… Mike’s fight is much more real and courageous than mine.  But I am going to model my remaining life, no matter how long that is, to be like his.

I continue to pray for Mike and my sister and family,  I pray for comfort and I pray for him to defeat this big, bully “Cancer”.  I know he can.  And I know my sister can remain strong.  And further, I know I can learn from them both, and change my life accordingly.

Love to and prayers for Mike, Stephanie, Stevie, and Ashely, along with the rest of my family….

–RElledge

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Mike & His Fight

Monday, May 30th, 2011

My brother-in-law Michael Lovato is a fighter.  No other way to describe it.  Today, he lies in a hospital room in Casper, WY fighting cancer.  He has already fought and won two rounds of kidney transplants.  Mix in a courageous fight this year against cancer, which just some three weeks ago he was declared “cancer-free”.  Our entire family rejoiced that God had been with Mike and he had beaten the big C.  But now, in just the last week, a very progressive cancer has spread and taken over his body and mind.  The prognosis is grim.  I know if there is anyone who can beat it, it is Mike, but at this point, it looks like a heavenly intervention would be required.

Lovatos_Grandpa

Stevie, Mike, Grandpa, Stephanie and Ashley

My sister, Stephanie, is such a strong woman, or at least she shows herself to be.  I do not know how she remains so strong with all she and Mike have been through.  It is amazing, to say the least.  I am so proud of her for demonstrating such strength and courage in the face of adversity, but I know on the inside, she is weeping like the rest of us.  I’m sure she has her private moments where she let’s it out.  That is good…she needs to.  I know she is trying to be so strong for my nephew, Stephen, and my niece Ashley, both of whom are also showing amazing strength.  My thoughts and prayers are nearly exclusively with them all.

Mike entering our family over 12 years ago was truly a blessing for my sister and my niece.  Mike became the father figure Ashley so desperately needed and longed for.  While he is, on paper, only her step-father, it does not ever feel that way.  He loves Ashley as if she was his very own.  And Ashley needed that.  So did Stephanie.  Then, thanks to Mike, we were blessed with the addition of Stephen some 10 years ago.  What an awesome, strong young man he is.  I can only imagine what is going on in his head.  He absolutely idolizes his father (and rightfully so).  I know Stevie will be the same fighter Mike is, I just pray he doesn’t face a fraction of the battles his father has.  I hope his battles will be the fun kind, as he continues his pursuit of his black belt.

I feel helpless sitting here in Overland Park while my big sister is going through this; but that’s what she wants.  She told me on the phone she wants me to stay here–she doesn’t want me to remember Mike how he is right now.  She wants me to remember him as the champion fighter he has always been.  And I will, no doubt.  This is just another sign of how strong my sister is.  I want to be there for her, but she wants to be there exclusively for Mike.  I respect and understand that.

Cancer is the most hideous disease I can ever imagine.  It takes far too many people, far too soon.  I pray for the miracle that will allow Mike to win this fight.  He is definitely up against the ultimate opponent.  While the odds may be against him right now, I know that I, for one, don’t count him out.

Sending love to and prayers for Mike, Stephanie, Stevie and Ashley, along with the rest of my family,

–RElledge

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Happy 1.1.11

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Happy new year to all of my family and friends. I have no doubt that 2011 is going to be a crazy and chaotic year (thanks, Braelyn & Brody). I just hope it will be a better year than 2010–not that 2010 was all that bad, but you always hope things get better with time.

Braelyn turns three next Sunday, and she’s so excited for her Minnie Mouse birthday party next Saturday. She picked out the cake and everything. Crazy how much she has grown over the past year, as shown in her Christmas pictures from Dec. 24th 2009 and 2010.

Braelyn also just started preschool. She went for a practice day last Thursday, and Monday will be her first official day of pre-school. That and her weekly gymnastics on Saturday are two of her favorite things… aside from any toy that Brody happens to be playing with.

Speaking of the Brodster… he turned one in September and is quite the character. He, too, has grown considerably.

Brody begins toddler school on Monday, at the same place Braelyn goes (La Petite Academy). He loved the place last Thursday when we dropped Braelyn off… so much he got mad when he had to leave. So thankfully, both kids should do well in their new school.

Rebecca is loving her job at Treo Solutions, though she travels to Albany, NY a bit more than I enjoy. I do not think I am cut out to be the primary care giver. Rebecca is awesome at it… I just am “OK” at it. For 2011, Rebecca has vowed to not be grumpy (I give it < 1 day till she breaks that one), to give up soda (Diet Coke has been her cocaine), and until we go to Maui (January 17!!!), she vows she isn't drinking a drop of alcohol. Best of luck to her as she takes on these three monumental tasks at once. She is one tough cookie, though, so I bet she gets 2 of the 3. Spencer is doing real well in his junior year at Blue Valley Northwest High School. He has had a tough past year, with two friends taking their own life. He is a strong kid, and has pulled through. He really is turning into a fine young man. Says his mom is already going through a state of depression, trying to deal with Spencer being out of high school in a year and a half. Something tells me it's more Spencer than his mom, at least at this point. Something else tells me Spencer will be around a year or two after he graduates... time will tell. The big dawg Hoover is doing well. Still a bit gimp from his bad legs, but he is handling quite well. He has even been going up and down the stairs to the basement quite a bit of late. He's a great dog... and just over 5 years old. We will have had Hoover for 5 years in just a few weeks. As for me, I'm doing well. Lost about 12 pounds in the past month, but not completely by diet and exercise changes... while I have been going to the gym a bit more of late, I also took back to my old bad habit of chewing which I gave up on January 1st of last year. It really surpresses my appetite. I made it to labor day weekend without one, but only had a few while at the Gorge. Then I resumed on a regular basis the last week of November. I intend to quit it again right after Maui. I need to keep up the weight loss until then! Work is going strong and keeping me busy... a good thing. Resolutions for me for 2011? Not much, really. Will quit chewing again after Maui. Still don't drink pop (gave that up last NYE). I guess just keep going to the gym and eat better. Be healthy. Yep... sounds familiar, I am sure. Oh, the other thing... as of today, I have seperated my twitter and facebook accounts, and do not intend to post status updates via either. I have grown tired of that, and realize it's pretty much a big waste of time. As such, more about me and my happenings will be found right here on RyanElledge.com. Oh, and twitter will become more of a work thing for me. Less personal, more professional. That's the plan, anyway. To any of you who have stumbled upon this, in whatever manner you came, thanks for stopping by and reading. I hope you have a tremendous 2011. It will be quite a year... and one without my beloved Dave Matthews Band since they are taking the year off. Ugggghhhhhhh. Peace, RE

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Thinking Pink

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Thinking pink this October 1st, and remembering the great lady, my gradma, who my family lost to breast cancer.

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Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

I guess it’s only Christmas Eve right now, but nonetheless, Merry Christmas to you. I hope you and your family have a safe and joyous Christmas Eve and Day.

In just a few hours, Rebecca, Braelyn, Brody, Spencer and I will head to a church service and then home to open up presents. While this will be Brody’s first Christmas, I really think this is going to be the first Christmas where Braelyn will just absolutely have a blast opening all of the presents, or “pretties” as she likes to call them. She understands this Santa Claus guy this year, but doesn’t quite realize that Santa is coming tonight to bring her plenty of toys and clothes. I know when she sat on Santa’s lap, when asked what she wanted for Christmas she whispered to him “can-e and toyz”. I wish I could have been there, but it happened while I was out-of-town for work. Anyway, tonight is going to be a blast, and then she’ll wake up and have another gift or two that Santa might put under the tree for her.

Brody will get his share of goodies, too… he just won’t really comprehend since he’s only a few months old. Next year I am sure he’ll grasp it, as I am quite certain his big sister Braelyn will explain it all to him once the tree goes up next November.

The biggest question I have is will Santa be good to Spencer? I suspect so, since Spencer has been, for the most part, a good little boy this year.

It will most definitely be a quieter Christmas… just the 5 of us, plus Hoover and Sophie. It will be sad not to experience it all with my family or Rebeccas, but that is what living in different parts of the country do for you. Rebecca’s family is scheduled to come up tomorrow for Christmas lunch, but those plans are in jeopardy as Old Man Winter plans on making an appearance tonight. Actually as I sit here in my home office and look out the window, I notice the wind has picked up (making me feel like I am back in Casper), it is drizzling rain and approaching freezing. Supposed to turn to snow after 5pm tonight, and they say we’ll get anywhere from 2 to 6 inches of snow. It will, most likely, be a White Christmas. They say that there hasn’t been a Christmas Day with 1″ or more of snow accumulation since 1969 here in the Kansas City area. That is crazy to think about. Sure there has been snow on the ground on Christmas Day, but actual snow fall on Christmas Day, not since 1969.

Crazy to think that this year is almost done… and a decade, as well. Just think, ten years ago we were all wondering if the world was coming to an end with the Y2K issue. Now, the same thoughts go through our heads, but it’s the government we need to worry about, not some potential computer hiccup. Yep, thanks to Santa Reid, a crazy version of health care reform passed vote this morning. I still hold out hope that the Senate and the House won’t get a compromise, but seems likely they will. Funny to think that Santa Reid has clauses (yes, pun intended) in there to prevent any future congress from removing parts of his bill. At least we can all be thankful that this congress knows so much more than all others before them and that will come after them. Thankfully, I am sure the courts will probably not allow some of this garbage.

Man, I guess it’s sad that I can’t even post a Merry Christmas blog without going down the PoliTICKS me OFF route. Sorry folks.

Anyway, to you and yours, have a Merry Christmas. I hope the real Santa Claus brings you everything you want.

Peace.

–RElledge

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DMB, Vegas, the Wife and a Birthday

Monday, December 14th, 2009

First, happy belated birthday to my wife Rebecca. She turned 3X last Friday (Dec. 11), and we spent her birthday and a few days surrounding it in Sin City. While what happens in Vegas is supposed to stay in Vegas, I will share a bit.

On Thursday and Friday, we enjoyed two Dave & Tim shows. This was the first time Rebecca has experienced Dave & Tim… and the two nights were awesome. We heard Angel from Montgomery, which was the first time Dave or the full band has performed it since August of 2001. That was a nice surprise. On her birthday, we heard Rebecca’s two most-desired Dave songs: Crash and Satellite. Yep, she walked down the isle to the riff of Satellite when we got married, and we enjoyed our first dance as a married couple to none-other-than Crash. We also heard a new, never-before-played song by Dave: After The Gold Rush. Dave played it on piano. When he went over to the piano, I was certain he was playing Out of My Hands, but no… he had a surprise for us! It was awesome. Dave said he screwed it up, but since it was the first time ever playing it, who was to know? The concerts were definitely great. I wish I had been at the Saturday concert, as I would have gotten to hear A Christmas Song, which was the one song I really wanted to hear. Oh well, we enjoed Mystere, the Cirque De Sole show. Second time I have seen it, but the first for Rebecca and Eli & Heather Bowman, our friends who joined us on the trip.

Ok, since I am often asked, that makes my 68th Dave show. It may actually be a couple more than that, but I think I have captured all that I can remember on DMBAlmanac.com’s website. Click that link if you want to see the exciting stats of my shows.

On Thursday, we had a wonderful… and I mean WONDERFUL… dinner at Prime, a steakhouse in the Bellagio. Our table overlooked the fountains. While expensive, it was a great meal no doubt.

Eli told me on the trip that they say you should walk 10,000 steps a day for health. I am healthy for the next few months based on our excursions in the bitter air in Vegas.

Well, that’s enough for now. Happy Holidays… and by that I mean Merry Christmas… to ya’ll out there (sorry, Obama… America is a Christian country, no matter what you say). Excited to see what changes 2010 will bring… 2009 has been a somewhat up-and-down year for me. Definitely up from a family perspective, mixed on the work side of things, and down on some other items which aren’t exactly things I want to post about. I am just thankful I have a great job in this economy, have the most awesome baby girl in the world, was blessed with the birth of my son this year, my step-son is doing better in school and is an awesome big brother to Braelyn and Brody, and my wife is the best (wrinkles and all!). I am also blessed to have such a great family and for all of my friends.

Here’s to a great 2010, including another “change” in Washington DC that will hopefully offset some of the change we’re seeing from the current mess in the corrupt capitol.

Peace.

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