Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Goin' home

Sophia and I are heading for Tahoka, Texas on Thursday. We haven't been to Tahoka in about three years so we're looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to seeing old high school friends, hanging with my mom, dad and sister and doing a bunch of nothing. Sophia's looking forward to taking two airplanes to get there. Me? Not so much.

And one more thing, I've somehow been snookered into preaching on Sunday morning at the Tahoka Church of Christ. So if you're in the area at around 10 a.m. on Sunday and have a hankerin' to hear a sermon on the evils of rock-n-roll, the perils of dancing and a summation of the call to aretology from our early patristic mothers and fathers then stop by. Kidding. I'll probably talk about Jesus or something like that.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

love this photo

Sophia went to the New York Aquarium with her good friend and his parents this past weekend. They took this picture of Sophia that I absolutely love:


Sunday, January 28, 2007

one good thing

Having a night nurse means having to sleep in something decent. If something goes wrong I don't have time to put on a pair of pants or a pair of shorts and then run out. I need to be ready immediately. So I sleep in shorts. This, of course, is not my preference.

The one good thing about having a night nurse cancel their shift is getting to sleep in my underwear. When I get that cancellation call I do a "I Get to Sleep in my Underwear" dance. Tonight, I'm dancin'!


Saturday, January 27, 2007

I must be on the frontrow!

So my lousy week ended on a high note. A friend took me to a Knicks game in Madison Square Garden. Now the Knicks aren't very good this season and their opponent, the Heat (last year's champions), aren't great either this year due to a prolonged injury to Shaq. But it didn't matter. All the stars were dressed and ready to play - Shaq included. It was a great game as the Knicks' Crawford dropped 52. And, oh yeah, it didn't hurt that we were sitting here:

No, not the third or fourth row from the court. On the court! (The price of the ticket was printed on the ticket. Can you say ridiculous?) I've never been that close to the action. The guys were huge but the thing that stood out the most were Shaq's feet. Those shoes of his could have easily been tossed in the East River and been mistaken for boats. Wow!

Anyway, it was a good way to end the week.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

not our week

Haven't felt like blogging this week. Monday's blog was an attempt to remember how good things have been over the past few months but last Friday's events have loomed over our lives this week like a slow moving storm that won't go away.

Last Friday we were brought back to reality. We were reminded of how fragile Ira still is. If all is well - if all the hoses are connected properly, if the equipment is working fine, if Ira is germ-free, if the caretaker (nurse or us) is paying attention - then Ira is fine. He's the Ira we've been blogging about over the past few months. But, if all is not fine - if the hoses become disconnected (and they frequently do), if the equipment acts up (it has), if Ira has some kind of virus, if the caretaker takes his/her eyes off Ira - then Ira is not fine. He's the Ira that was born into our lives - it's a matter of life and death.

It's no surprise that both Laura and I have battled small colds this week. Our emotional and physical stresses are being manifested in runny noses, stopped up heads, and scratchy throats. Sophia, too. And it's no wonder that Laura and I are in a monumental battle of wills with Sophia. I know this is a universal three-year-old thing but I don't think it coincidence that the worst of it has reared its ugly head this week.

As usual (how many times have I typed these words?), thank you for your prayers and support. Thank you for the random e-mails that you send encouraging us. Thank you for the comments you leave.

This stress will never go away as long as Ira is as fragile as he is but I do hope and pray that Laura and I can learn how to manage it in such a way that is good for our family, good for our neighbors, and pleases God. This is my prayer.


Monday, January 22, 2007

planning ahead

I'm not going to bore you with the details of what all went down on Friday. I was at work, Laura and Sophia were out and about and Ira was with a nurse. The short of it is that Ira somehow found a way to extubate himself. (Extubate means that his entire trach came out.) Ira went a significant amount of time without O2 and was blue and limp by the time the emergency response team showed up. They *got him back* pretty quickly. When I arrived at the emergency room, Ira's color was back to normal but he was unresponsive...until they started sticking him with needles, that is. Ira is, for the most part, back to the Ira we know. Thank you all for your prayers.
For the past couple of years Laura and I haven't looked that far ahead. The old gospel song, One Day At a Time, Sweet Jesus, has kinda been our familial theme song. The chorus speaks truth into our lives:
One day at a time, Sweet Jesus
That's all I'm asking from you.
Just give me the strength
To do everyday what I have to do.
Yesterday's gone, Sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine.
Lord help me today, show me the way
One day at a time.
Last winter/spring, people would ask about our summer plans. We scoffed at their cluelessness. This past summer, people would inquire about any possible fall excursions. We mocked their ignorance. Didn't they know that we were living for the day; only made plans for the day; hoped to make it through that day?

But within the last few months as it's become clear that Ira is stronger and more healthy Laura and I have started to peek into the future. Cautiously we have tiptoed into the next few months and written important dates on our calendars. We have quietly flipped the pages of our scheduling books and started to plan.

End of May - officiating wedding in Connecticut
Early June - officiating wedding in Jamaica (yep, it's hard being a minister)
Early July - family trip to Texas for my grandmother's 90th

Any number of situations can arise that will make these trips impossible to make but Laura and I are holding out hope that Ira's strength and health will only continue to improve. Whatever the case, it's nice to lift our heads up and peer into the future for the first time in a couple of years.


Friday, January 19, 2007

Got a call today around 10:30 a.m.

Joe, I'm in the abulance...

The phone cuts out. It was Ira's nurse. I was at work. Laura was out with Sophia. I gather things up and head to the local car service. I say, "I need a car." "Sure," the guy replies, "Where do you need to go?" "I don't know."

I don't have the energy to tell the rest of the story but as I type, Ira is safe in his crib in the living room, Sophia's asleep and Laura and I aren't too far behind.

I thank God my son is alive this evening.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

our idol

Laura and I are watching American Idol. We know the formula all too well: They will show us pathetic, horrible singers. Randy will moan, Paula will be embarrassed and Simon will berate them. They will show some really good singers. Randy will congratulate, Paula will gush and Simon will reluctantly give praise. We know this formula because it's been done for the many years? And yet we watch.



Tuesday, January 16, 2007

another challenge?

I first received this article from a friend in Nashville with a simple question attached to it - Could you do this? The question intrigued me so I opened up the link and read the article.

In sum, a group of 10 in San Francisco decided to go on a shopping sabbatical. The group allowed themselves food, essential toiletries and purchases that fell under the categories of health and safety but all else was off-limits...for a year.

Why? One member put it this way, "It is about being aware of the excesses of consumer culture and the fact we are drawing down our resources and making people miserable around the world."

They did it throughout 2006 and have extended their pledge throughout 2007.

After reading the article, I responded to my friend's question - Could you do it? - with the following statement:
It has the potential to be spiritually rewarding as the Bible often speaks about money, the use of it and the power it has over us. I can imagine the Lord's Prayer coming to life in new ways as one utters the phrase, "Give us the day our daily bread." But that's not really what you asked, is it? The question you're asking me is, "Are you disciplined enough to do it?" And the current answer is "no" which goes to show how incredibly pathetic and shallow I really am.
So now that I'm exposed, what about you? Could you accept the challenge of going on a shopping sabbatical? Why or why not?


Saturday, January 13, 2007

a challenge

Laura and I were able to sneak out of the house last night. We went to see Dreamgirls. I challenge you to name and describe a better scene in cinema than the scene in Dreamgirls when Jennifer Hudson's character, Effie, sings the dramatic And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going.

Go for it. Give it a shot. I challenge you to find a better scene in all, I repeat, all of cinema.

Oh, and by the way, if she doesn't win awards for her role in this movie there should be riots in the streets, people. Riots!

But back to the challenge. Anyone?


Wednesday, January 10, 2007


My named has been yelled many times throughout my life. My sisters claim that Mom and Dad were tired by the time I came around and therefore, I got the good end of the parent/kid deal. (I also blame my mom and dad's tiredness on not being as well read I should be, smart as I could be or as cultured as I would like to be. Thanks a lot, Mom and Dad!) Despite my sisters' belief that I lived a punishment free childhood, I vividly remember my mom and dad yelling my name "JOE CLYDE!!!" a time or two. And it was never for good. When my wife and I get into arguments...uh, I mean, discussions, it's not uncommon for my wife to say my name "JOE!!!" in disbelief over what I thought were very logical assertions.

It's been a long time since I've heard my mom and dad yell my name and Laura and I are on a good run these days. But that doesn't mean that my life is free from the yelling of my name.

Last night at 3:45 a.m. I hear from the living room, "JOE!!!"

It's our night nurse and he sounds frantic. I throw off the covers and bolt out of our room and into the living room. I'm fairly certain I got into the living room before our night nurse finished saying my very short name. Ira's blue and trying to cough. Laura's right behind me. I start putting together a suction kit while Laura starts checking all the connections of the tubes. There's nothing to suction and all the hoses are in tact. Turns out that the water collecting in Ira's tubes (his air is humidified) went straight down his trach, causing Ira to gag and lose his breath. It was a sloppy mistake on our night nurse's behalf. After several minutes, Ira was able to get it together.

I've heard this frantic yelling of my name before "JOE!!!" come from the living room and it is the reason that Laura and I never sleep heavily.

I would give anything to hear my mom and dad yell my name again or Laura utter my name in disbelief over my ignorant ways if it meant I never again had to hear the frantic yelling of my name coming from the living room.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

January 6 in Bklyn. Are you serious?

Going on a walk!

One of our favs was crankin' today and people were loving eating outdoors.

Shorts and a t-shirt? Maybe a bit too much but he wasn't the only one.

The park was the place to be!

I'm wiped. I need some H2O!

What a beautiful and fun day!


Thursday, January 04, 2007

a little more like this guy

Have you heard about this guy? Seen him on Letterman? The Early Show? He's a hero. A savior. An example!

Read the article but here are the facts: a 19-year-old student has a medical episode (maybe seizure?) on the subway platform. He falls on the tracks as a train approaches. A 50-year-old man with his daughters reacts, jumps down and pushes the student into a drainage trough. The subway puts on the brakes but its too late. Inches separate the two from the subway but they are unharmed. The student went to a nearby hospital while the guy went to work.

I once jumped down onto the subway tracks but it wasn't to save someone's life. It was for the $20 bill I dropped.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Ethicist

My favorite feature of the New York Times Magazine is a weekly feature called The Ethicist. Each week people send in their moral quandaries and ask The Ethicist (Randy Cohen) what the ethical answer is. Before I read what Cohen has to say about the dilemma, I attempt to work out in my mind what I believe is the right thing to do. It's a fun little game.

I've got a moral quandary that's kind of silly but I would like your opinion on the matter. You get to play the role of The Ethicist. Ready?

Sophia doesn't lie. She's still naive to the possibilities of manipulating truths for her benefit. It's a beautiful state she's currently in and I often think of Jesus's profound beatitude "Blessed are the pure in heart" when I think of Sophia and her peers. But this Christmas, Laura and I taught Sophia to lie.

The first came when Sophia opened a Christmas gift that she didn't want. Her disappointment was apparent as she slammed the gift down and stomped off. The gift giver (a friend of the family) laughed a nervous laugh but her disappointment was apparent as well. Laura and I smiled as if to say, "Sorry." After the gift giver left, Laura and I sat Sophia down and taught her the polite thing to do. "Say thank you even if you don't like the gift," we told her. Sophia was confused and started crying. We tried to make sense of it but the words never felt right. There were subsequent lessons of the same vain to follow but Sophia's a quick learner. By the time Christmas day rolled around, Sophia was saying "thank you" before she even opened gifts.

The question is, Did we do the right thing? We, in essence, told Sophia not to show or express her truest feelings but instead, show and express a feeling that is forced and not really felt. Did we teach her to lie?

I leave it up to you my ethical friends.


Monday, January 01, 2007

As She Sees It

My mom and dad got Sophia her very own digital camera for Christmas. Since then, she prances around the house snapping photos while declaring, I'm a catographer! The photo quality isn't great, Sophia's got much to learn about being still while taking a picture and her fingers often end up in the corner of her pictures but it's those qualities that make her perspective her own. Check out a few of her shots: