Thursday, May 31, 2007


Memorial Day...

threw me off a bit. I didn't even realize yesterday was Wednesday until 10:00pm and, at that point, I was too tired to do the update. Fact is, I'm pretty tired now, so this isn't going to be very long.

A friend of mine recently sent me an e-mail asking if life was just constantly busy now, or if I got time to relax. I haven't had a chance to get back to her because life really is constantly busy. On Friday I found myself thinking how much I was looking forward to getting some rest over the long holiday weekend. Unfortunately the rest never came.

I'm very glad that I did the things that kept me busy over the weekend, I just tend to forget that I can't go at my old pace anymore. However, I got to visit with old friends who I haven't seen in many years. We had dinner with the Cindy and Marty Carpenter, who live in North Carolina, on Friday night. (When I was in the hospital, really drugged up, I thought there was a bomb in my room and wanted Marty to use his Pentagon connections to save me.) Cindy and Marty were a huge part of my childhood and a tremendous help to Mom and dad after the accident.

Saturday morning I had the Pilate's benefit class, which raised $1000.00, and left me sore for the remainder of the weekend. Saturday afternoon I went to see Pirate's of the Caribbean with some friends.

Sunday morning I intended to sleep in because we weren't going to church that morning. Work put a stop to my plans to sleep in and woke me early with a question. I then tried to spend the rest of the day relaxing and getting caught up on household chores. This, unfortunately, was interrupted frequently throughout the day by calls from work. On Monday I tried to sleep in again but, to no avail, as work once again intruded on my dreams, at an early hour, with phone calls.

Monday night we had a cook out with Kenyon and Paula, who live in Florida. Kenyon is one of my Godfathers and Paula is his wife. Kenyon, like Cindy and Marty, was an important part of my childhood as well. He was also a huge support to my parents after the accident. If I'm lucky I get to see them once a year.

On Tuesday night we had Dinner with Jan and Rene, from Switzerland. Jan has been friends with Mom and Dad since their IU days, and Rene is her husband. Jan wrote the letter about the miracle that I live, that is used in the cookbook. I haven't seen Rene since I was about 5 years old. He doesn't speak much english, but (as the story goes) when I was 5 I sat on his lap and we talked for hours and seemed to understand each other. This time around I didn't sit on his lap but, even though I couldn't understand the language, I was still able to understand a lot of what he was trying to say. Strange huh?

The point about trying to sleep in is that, ever since the accident, I have a hard time sleeping. I wake up frequently throughout the night to change positions, which isn't easy without legs. Due to the long commute to work I'm not getting to spend much time at home and frequently don't get enough sleep. So, I'm tired a lot of the time. I realize that this is the price I pay for trying to be as active, if not more active, as I was before the accident. Just don't be surprised if I decide to be lazy for a while, at some point, somewhere in the future...

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Giving credit where credit is due

Last Friday's concert was fantastic! We were treated to a beautiful mix of vocal and instrumental performances at Broad Ripple High School. The three Grad students from Michigan, Joey, Nicole, Nick, and the students from Broad Ripple really poured their talent and passion into this concert. The concert was the idea of Dot Odonell, who has directed her energy towards helping others her entire life. She is a person who truly believes in the "Pay It Forward" concept. (This is a movie I've never seen but, I get the concept.)

The concert was very well attended and gave me an opportunity to visit with people I haven't seen in a long time, as well as giving me a trip down memory lane. It's so strange to think that it was all for me. However, Joey, Dot, Nicole, Nick, and several others kept thanking me for the opportunity to be a part of something so positive. I almost feel guilty accepting their thanks when what they have done is going to help me so much.

Dot took a cause and an idea and, with the assistance of a group of caring people with a variety of skills (many of whom I do not know well, if at all), managed to create an entertaining evening that was a huge success. Maureen Cornelius, Kathy Berg, Rebecca Tuttle, and Mary Lowe, have done the same thing with the Cook Book (which is continuing to gain popularity). Betty Danner and Lynn Wilson hosted and supplied a clothing sale to raise funds, which, I'm told was a huge success as well. (I don't know because it was a girly thing and I don't believe I was invited.) This Saturday Pilate's with John is having a benefit class at 9am as well as selling Cook Books daily.

I'm constantly in awe of the number of people who have donated their time, energy, money, and emotional support to me over the last year and a half. The list of people and benefit projects above doesn't come close to covering all the support that I've received. When I was called up on the stage at the end of the performance I had several things I wanted to say. A large part of my plan was to thank everyone. Fortunately I was called up early and, instead of delivering what would have sounded like an academy award acceptance speech, I lost my train of thought and decided to wing it.

There was one thing that I tried to convey, but feel didn't come out the way I wanted it to:

Shortly after I moved from the hospital to my parents house, one night after my Dad and Uncle had carried me up the stairs to my bedroom, I lay on my bed with tears in my eyes and told my father that (before the accident) I had been happier than I had been in a long time and that now the world had become cold and hard and I felt as if I would never be happy again. As I've talked about the positive things that have happened over the past year I've also tried to express my gratitude to the different players in this ongoing story. It's the kindness, caring, and generosity that all of you have shown that has brought the happiness back and made the world warm and gentle again.

Here I am losing my train of thought again. What I wanted to convey tonight is that I want to give credit where credit is due but, since there is so much credit to give to so many people, I'm bound to forget someone. So, know how much I appreciate all of you.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Season Finale of Lost

This weeks update is being delayed until tomorrow in recognition of the season finale of Lost. Be sure to tune in Thursday night/Friday morning for the update!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


A Little bit of Closure (this is a long one)

Last Saturday I met the other driver from the accident for the first time. We had lunch at the hotel where I work. She's a young girl, only seventeen, but she's got her head on straight. I could tell that she immediately wanted to cry when she saw me walk out of the elevator.

It was a little uncomfortable at first. She extended her hand to shake mine and I gave her a hug instead. We chatted as we walked to the restaurant. Once seated we talked about how we were both doing at this point in time. Then, after we were more comfortable with each other we talked more about the recovery from that night and how we had both been affected by the accident.

Several times during our conversation she started to cry. When I moved to my parents house from the hospital I was worried that she had walked away from the accident and never looked back. What I mean to say is that I was dealing with all the pain and suffering from the accident and had this fear that she had gone on with her life as if nothing had happened. I've known that wasn't the case since we first started e-mailing each other a year ago but, we never had the chance to really talk about it. Now I've seen it in her eyes.

Even to this day she is still uncomfortable in a car and doesn't really want to drive at all yet, she is more comfortable behind the wheel than when riding with another driver. We both have the same reaction when we see another driver doing something stupid. That reaction being a mix of fear, shock, and sadness. And, to be honest, I think she has a more difficult time with being in a car than I do. This may largely be due to the sense of freedom that driving gives me after a year and a half without that level of independence.

She was very easy to talk to and was able to clear up a few things about the accident. Mainly that I did swerve, to avoid hitting her on the drivers side, something that she says her mother wants to thank me for. Just the fact that she is alive is enough thanks for me.

I made the comment that, unfortunately, I may have swerved the wrong direction. Wisely, she reminded me that I can't look back and second guess my instincts. There is nothing we can do to change it and no way to know if the outcome would have been any better. As it is, that accident has made me a part of a much larger, and amazing world.

This Friday is the night of the benefit concert at Broad Ripple High School. The concert is at 7pm, and tickets can be purchased at the door, and I'll be speaking at the end. It has come together through the hard work and generosity of several wonderful and gifted people. People I didn't know until today but have opened their hearts and set their talents to the goal of raising funds to help me walk better and show the world the importance of kindness.

Speaking of hard working, generous, talented people, the first order of recipe books are in. They're fantastic, and they're selling like hotcakes! I looked through the orders and didn't see some of the names of people that had told me they wanted them. So, if you're not sure how to order them, or want to be sure we have your order, please e-mail Maureen Cornelius at, or put a comment on the blog. You can also tell a member of my family or a friend who knows how to contact me. The recipe books really are wonderful and I want to be sure that everyone who wants one gets one.

Don't forget, there's also a benefit Pilate's class at Pilate's with John on Memorial Day weekend. It's an advanced class so we don't expect anyone who hasn't done Pilate's to attend and I don't want anyone to feel obligated either. I just wanted to show that these three fund raisers are fantastic examples of the goodness in the world. A neighbor of my parents recently made a large donation and made the comment that, with all the money being spent on war in the world, this is their chance to try to balance it out. I can't express how thankful I am to be a part of that!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


At Last I Have An Apprentice!

Madeline and I have had some very precious bonding moments over the past few weeks. As Sarah mentioned in the comments from last weeks blog, I failed to mention that she sat next to me on the flight from Amarillo to Fort Worth. We had a great time, although I was mentally exhausted by the time we landed in Fort Worth. (And it was only an hour flight!) She's so very inquisitive that by the time we landed my mind needed to rest for the next leg of the trip. Honestly, I don't know how Sarah does it!

One of the most entertaining moments of the trip was when the first flight (from Indy to Fort Worth) lifted off the ground. Madeline had a huge smile on her face, lifted her arms over head (as if we were on a roller coaster), and then wanted to know when we were going to fly over the clouds. She enjoyed every minute of it!

I was called in to work this past Saturday night so, since I didn't get home until after midnight, I didn't go to church on Sunday. (apparently some members of the congregation were very concerned) Normally Sunday is the only day of the week that I get to see Madeline so I was a little disappointed. However, she and Dad came over Sunday afternoon so that Dad could spread some mulch in the backyard. That's when these pictures were taken. I have long hoped to get Madeline interested in Star Wars, looks like I'm finally making some progress!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007



At 9:30 tonight I finally got home after a long day of work. Last night I got home at about the same time. This is the nature of the hospitality industry. It's actually a slow week but, we are preparing for a renovation and, therefore, utilizing our slow days to get prepared. A friend of mine sent me an e-mail this week threatening to kidnap me if I continued to work this hard. She also pointed out that I would never meet that "special someone" to start a family with if I'm always there. I've been so busy that I haven't had a chance to respond to her. Heck, I'm typing this during the commercial breaks on Lost.

It feels good to be this involved in my work again. I'm not going to allow it to consume my life the way it used to. In order to do that I have to find a balance which means working more on some days so that I can work less on others. Another piece of it is that I started the renovation before the accident and, now that we have approval to finish it, I want to see it through.

Something I left out last week has to do with the bright side of the hectic schedule and long hours. There are moments interspersed throughout the weeks that I would miss if I wasn't working again. One such moment was on my ride home last Wednesday. As I was approaching Indy from Greencastle it was partly sunny and partly rainy. Perfect weather for a rainbow. I was treated to not one, but two, one faint rainbow on top of a more vibrant second rainbow that reached from the northern horizon to the southern horizon in the eastern sky. I had never seen both sides of a rainbow before but, more impressive than that was that I saw trees, grass, and patches of road in the distance that seemed to take on the colors of the rainbow. It was as if I was seeing the end of the rainbow, although, it moved further and further away from me as I drove closer to Indy until it ultimately faded away.

I saw this as a good sign of our travels to come that weekend. The flights went great. My worries about security and the handling of my wheelchair proved to be unnecessary. The Airport/Airline personnel handled everything very well and tried to make the experience as easy as possible for us. The hotel did a nice job. (even though it failed my inspection) My cousins wedding was beautiful and I walked for both the Rehearsal dinner and the Wedding itself. I also walked on and off of each plane and then rode the wheelchair for the long distances in the airports. All in all it was a great first air travel experience!

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