Sunday, April 28, 2013

Friends of My Friends

    Last week was very emotional for the entire New England area.  Funeral services were held for the four victims of the Marathon bombing, and thousands  attended to support the families of those innocent by- standers who lost their lives.   Our hearts and prayers continue to go out to all of them.  May they stay Boston Strong!
   We have learned a lot more about the injured, and it seems that we all know people who were their friends, neighbors and co-workers.  The Boston 1 Funds has raised over $26 million dollars to help with medical bills and prosthetic legs.  It will surely take the generosity of the entire country to help with the long road to recovery. Americans really do know how to work together, and take care of each other.
    We are learning about the ordinary citizens who did extraordinary things, and helped to save strangers.It is wonderful to know that all those who made it to the hospital after the explosion will survive!  They have begun to tell their stories as they are strong enough to leave the hospital.  They will have to stay  Boston Strong --wicked strong!
     I heard a comment that it was stupid to pick on a city where 9 out of 10 Bostonians are related to a cop. I can validate that statement because I have three cousins who are all policemen.  My grandfather was a Boston cop.  Several of my neighbors are police officers, and all of them deserve a shout out and our thanks for keeping us safe.
      A Boston Bruin was interviewed  before a hockey game last week, and he stressed that people from Boston and the surrounding cities are tough.  He reminded us that they call themselves "Mass-holes".  We usually only hear that term when someone with Massachusetts license plates cuts us off in traffic, but this time it seems to have a more positive meaning.  I'm proud to see the defiance in the hearts of the community.  It will take determination and perseverance to get through this.
      My favorite comment of the week reminded us of the importance of Patriots Day.  Without Boston, we may not have a country.  If it weren't for the actions of Paul Revere and his friends who took a stand against British tyranny on April 15, 1775, there would not be the United States of America.  Boston was the city that started our country.  I guess that means that Mass-holes have been Boston Strong  for 238 years....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on.......

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Boston Strong--Wicked Strong

   New Englanders  will never forget what we were doing Patriot's Day 2013 when the bombs exploded at the Marathon.  I was at work, and speaking with someone whose granddaughter was there to watch a friend race.  She immediately called her daughter, and then waited hours to find out that everyone was safe.  Southern New Hampshire is only a short drive to Boston, and many of us work there and  have friends and family in Massachusetts.  We all know someone who was running in this year's Marathon, because so many run for charities.  I contributed to help a friend's sister raise research money for Dana Farber.  The hospital cared for their young cousin who died of cancer a few years ago.  Another acquaintance is married to an avid runner, and they actually plan vacations around races throughout the country.
    The bad guys seemed to have calculated everything except for spirit of the people who would be at the finish line.  I'm convinced that so many are alive today because of the kindness of strangers.  The medical tent was staffed with doctors and nurses ready to help runners. Ambulances were on hand and got the injured  to the hospitals within 5 or 10 minutes.  At 2:50 pm the Marathoners still running are not elite runners, but regular people, doctors, nurses, soldiers, police and firemen, teachers and every other profession imaginable.  All of them were running for their own personal reasons, just trying to finish the race for their cause.  Many of them stopped and ran back to help administer first aid.  Others ran another couple of miles to give blood at the nearby hospitals.
     Boston is pretty small for a big city.  The man who tried to save the young boy who died recognized Martin, because he knows the whole family.  Family and friends were together that day, and so many members of the same family were impacted.  The news covered another story about a mother and daughter who share a hospital room because mom lost both legs and the daughter had serious injuries.
    One of the young guys from the New Hampshire Swat team went to school with our son, and his parents still live in our neighborhood.  I have three cousins  who are all cops in Boston and Cambridge, and I watched in horror as the gun fight in Watertown was shown live as part of our local news coverage.  Like everyone else, we were glued to our TV all day Friday.  I absolutely loved the fact that people took to the streets when it was all over, and cheered and clapped as police drove out of their small town.  I was touched that the Yankees, and other baseball teams played "Sweet Caroline" at their games and the fans sang in support of Boston.
     During the week, our President was cheered as he spoke of his time in Boston.  I was touched that the Yankees, and other baseball teams played "Sweet Caroline" at their games and the fans sang in support of Boston. The out-pouring of love from the entire country means a lot to the community.
   The Bruins had a beautiful ceremony before Wednesday's game and came up with the term ''Boston Strong''.  Anyone from Boston knows that some neighborhoods would say "wicked strong".  The Bruins always give their game shirts to fans after the last home game, and today they thanked  runners, and cops, and doctors.  Every player gave the shirt off his back to a person who had gotten involved.  Fans cheered and cried at the same time.  Yesterday, the Red Sox played their first home game, and also had a ceremony to honor those who died and were injured.  They thanked many who helped with the injured, as well as the police and investigators who worked the case.  Big Papi said it best, and he even swore at the bad guys.  He said what every American was thinking "this is our F--ing town and no one gets to dictate our freedom."
    I heard a reporter who covers the mid east and the wars say that the bad guys would be shocked at the defiance of the American people.  They believe that we are soft, and if we get knocked down, we will cower and hide.  They would never expect to see citizens in the streets  cheering and thanking law enforcement.  I guess they underestimate just how much our freedoms mean to us.  Even though we live in dangerous times, we will fight to be able to live in a  free and open society.  Boston showed us this week how much can be accomplished when we all work together.  I'm proud to be part of that community, and I hope that the spirit of cooperation continues to help the injured and the families of those who were killed.  I'm praying for you all....and the beat goes on...the beat goes on......

Sunday, April 14, 2013

April 15th

   This year I'm counting my blessings.  Our taxes are done, and we are getting a refund.  Like most Americans,  I'm always happy when we have paid in more taxes than we owe.  I definitely believe in paying my fair share of taxes, and having a government big enough to insure that we have clean air, clean water, safe food and safe airplanes.  I want my government to be in the business of safety,  and I hope it is able to pass new laws regarding gun safety.  It broke my heart to watch the news conferences with the Sandy Hook parents.  I cannot imagine losing a child, and Americans must do everything we can to protect innocent citizens from getting shot.  Most of us are in the sensible center on most issues, but nine out of ten never agree on anything.  Since ninety percent of us expect our elected officials to represent us on this issue, something positive must get done.  I cannot buy allergy medicine without showing my license, which I'm happy to do.  I understand there are bad folks out there who break the rules, but law abiding citizens don't break laws.  I cannot get on a plane without a background check, and if a fellow passenger does not want to go through security, I do not want them on my plane. Period.  It's that simple.
   April 15th is also the day that Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball.  Before that, baseball was segregated, with Blacks playing in the Negro League.  The Movie '' 42'' tells the story about this brave man, and the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers who decided to take a stand.  It seems unbelievable to me, that this all happened just a few years before I was born.  It does not seem possible that some of Jackie Robinson's own teammates would not even shake his hand, and that he and his family received death threats.  Tomorrow all players will be allowed to wear the number 42 in his honor, although all teams retired that number sixteen years ago.  Mariano Rivera from the Yankees is the last player to wear that number, because he has been playing baseball for twenty years, and had worn number 42 for several years before baseball implemented this rule.
   Patriot's Day falls on April 15th this year, and thousands will run in the Boston Marathon.  I know several people who will run tomorrow, and they all deserve a lot of credit.  It looks like the weather will cooperate, with temps in the fifties and no chance of rain.  I cannot imagine the commitment and dedication it takes to be able to run 26 miles.  Good luck to all the runners.
   I'm trying to decide if I can do a 5 k walk-run race before I turn sixty.  It has been on my bucket list, and there is a website called "couch to 5 k" that encourages beginners to get out of our recliners and get moving.  The training is three days a week, and takes about thirty minutes each day.  All of this seems manageable.  It is recommended to allow nine or ten weeks to complete the program.  I plan to begin walking now, and build up over the summer months.  Then in August, I'll get serious and start to run.  At first, I'll run for thirty seconds, then build up to ninety seconds.  I am allowed to repeat any level for as long as it takes to be comfortable, before I take on the next challenge, and run for extended periods.  I'm told there are many races around Thanksgiving, and I hope to be able to enter one.  I was told to take a few weeks, and work on getting mentally ready to accept this challenge.  I also need to find proper running shoes and other gear.  I realize that I'm getting older, and I see cousins my age with real serious health issues.  It makes me want to push myself and try and accomplish this sooner than later, because we do not know what the future holds.  I'll keep you all posted, and update again when I have a  plan...and the beat goes on....the beat goes on....

Sunday, April 7, 2013

It's a Dog's Life

   Our new pup Bruno had a stomach bug last week.  We found out at the vet that there is a dog flu going around New Hampshire.  Apparently one of the newspapers have even done a story about it.  We have had dogs and cats since we were kids, and we had never heard of it before!  It seems like most of the dogs in Bruno's obedience class have been sick also.  Thankfully, it comes and goes ( sorry about the pun) in twenty-four hours.
   It turns out that dogs and people can use some of the same home remedies.  Bruno was put on a limited diet of cooked chicken and rice.  Portions were very small, but he was fed every couple of hours.  We could not get an appointment with the vet till the next morning,  so it was going to be up to me to help him get better.  Our vet gave me instructions over the phone, and I followed them to the letter.  It turns out that a child's dose of anti-diarrhea medicine can be very helpful.
   By the next morning our dog seemed much better, and his plumbing was working perfectly!   I decided to keep the appointment for a couple of reasons.  Our puppy had all his shots when we got him, and so our vet had never examined  him, and they wanted to check for parasites.  All the tests came back normal, which was a huge relief.  The vet prescribed a medicine that came in a tube, and smelled like peanut butter.  This was going to calm down the stomach, and help regulate things again.  The dosage was measured in C-C's and the dog is supposed to eat it from the tube.  Bruno spit it out, then ate it off the floor, so we just put it in his dish.
    I'm happy to report that everything is much better, but there is still work to do.  Apparently  Bruno needs to cut down on the calories.  He came to us underweight and so we may have over fed our pup. He gained more than twenty pounds in fifteen weeks.   He no longer needs three meals a day, and so he will get fed morning and evening.  We have found a few types of  low-calorie training treats, and Bruno can have all the ice cubes he wants. Unfortunately, he takes after me, because he just looks at food and he gains weight!  Hopefully daily walks and portion control will take care of those five extra pounds that he is carrying around.
  Bruno has short hair, and is all white with a large brown patch around one eye.  His ears are pink and he has freckles on his belly.  Our vet thinks he is very fair, and will need sunscreen if he spends a lot of time outside.  I've never heard of any dog needing sunscreen, and I cannot believe that my dog may get  sunburned!  I'll  update you all during pool season ....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.......