Sunday, January 22, 2023

On the Water TV, Fishing TV, and You Tube

    As you can imagine, having back pain and managing my newfound diabetes I have done very little the last few moths. As you all know, I am very active. Days off from work usually meant leaving home to go birding or fishing before the sun came up. Evenings after work usually resulted in me finally eating supper after dark. That all changed late June 2022.

   For much of the past few months, I would only be vertical for a few hours before I'd have to lay down. Trying to read was impossible and so was being comfortable enough to watch tv. Many nights involved me going to bed between 6-7 pm. The highlight of my week would be my physical therapy sessions with my PT Ryan.

   Fortunately, my back is feeling somewhat better. I'm nowhere near healed and hiking will be in the far distant future. During the long winter hours I have found some interesting tv that has not only gotten me through but I learned something also.

    On the Water TV

   If you are a fisherman in New England, chances are have a subscription to On the Water Magazine. It is a great magazine. The writers are fisherman. If you have a good idea for an article, you can write a query to the editor. If he likes the idea he will give you the go ahead. The editor will read your submitted article and if it is well written, you will be published. You don't need to be a nationally famous writer to be in the magazine. I've written multiple articles for OTW before I fell in love with birding.

   On the Water has also been doing a tv show for almost twenty years. It is broadcast on Comcast New England. I had watched a few shows when I'd be home. I discovered this winter that their shows are available to watch on their website. Obviously they have been for a while, maybe years, but still, it was a nice discovery.

   I've watched all of the episodes that interest me. Some of the shows I've skipped over but from many I learned s lot. I'm probably not going to watch an episode about striper fishing with mackerel in Boston Harbor for two reasons. One, I don't own a boat so I won't be in Boston Harbor any time soon. Secondly, I've caught thousands of stripers so a show about them really doesn't interest me.

  That said, I have wanted to catch King Salmon from the Salmon River in New York for years. There are multiple episodes about the Salmon River and other Lake Ontario tributaries. You can bet I soaked them up. 

  There were many other episodes I enjoyed from party boat fishing in the canyons for Bluefin Tuna to Landlocked Salmon fishing in Maine. All in all, I have enjoyed watching and learning about fish that I've dreamed about for years.

   Fishing TV

   For months I've been getting adds on Facebook for Fishing TV. I finally checked it out. There is a seven day free trial followed by $6/ month streaming fee. The amount of content is very extensive and I've barely scratched the surface. Basically, you can watch shows or movies about fishing. There are many series. One that I just watched was called "Fishing Trip USA". It is hosted by an older Scottish gent. He started in the Keys and worked his way up the East Coast to Maine. He fished for everything from Snook in Florida, Stripers in NJ and Maine, and trout in Georgia. There are about twelve episodes.

  There is a search bar on Fishing TV. So if I type in Massachusetts, I can see anything that involves Mass fishing such as the famous Deerfield River. There are also categories such as Fly Fishing, Predator Fishing, and even Carp. I typed in Peacock Bass and watched multiple shows on them in the canals in Florida. I took notes on where they were caught and strategies to catch them. Not every show was up my ally, I want to catch them on lures so I skipped the episode catching them with shiners.

    Fishing TV is going to keep me busy learning and watching programs for the next couple of months. If my back is better in March, I'll cancel my subscription for the warm weather as I usually do with all streaming services because I'd rather be fishing for trout than watching a show about them.  You may want to check it out though. For six dollars/month it is a hell of a deal.

You Tube

   Okay, I did not just discover You Tube. I've been watching things on it for years. You Tube is great because you can watch anything on it. If I need to know how to set up new a tv I can find a video of someone demonstrating how.  Also, I've watched plenty of fishing on You Tube. The latest was watching a guy catch Flathead Catfish on the Susquehanna. Caching a huge catfish is on my bucket list.

   However, the main thing I've watched on You Tube the last few months has been music. You Tube is a godsend for the content it has of my radio heroes. At least one or two nights a week Laurie and I will just surf the tube watching videos and live performances mostly be singers that are now dead.

   I love classic country music. You Tube allows me to "see" the songs from musicians that may have died twenty years before I was born. Just last night we watched Hank Williams Sr sing  "I saw the light" and Conway Twitty sing "Lay You Down". We watched videos for hours so I won't bore you with every song. But we covered everyone from Waylon to Steve Earl. What an honor it is to see a young George Jones sing "He Stopped Loving her Today"

   Along with the classic country there is a ton of content from oldies and classic rock. Some of it brought back memories. When I was in 7th grade our fundraiser was music in the for of record albums. My mom bought a record to support the school by Elvis called GI Blues. This was the soundtrack for a movie he did after he got out of the service. Now, I have no idea where that old 33 is, but I can watch the King sing GI Blues and Frankfort Special.

    A few days ago, I watched almost the whole concert by Simon and Garfunkel's concert in Central Park from 1981. The Momma's and Pappa's did California Dreamin on the Ed Sullivan show and were told they had to lip sync it. While the others played along, Michelle Phillips ate a banana while performing. There's just thousands of  performances that I will never get to however, the nights we watch these videos are some of my fondest memories of this winter.

   Right now as I finish this up, I'm listening to Clapton at Live Aid in 1985. I'll never waste my time watching a cat do tricks or some twelve year old with his own channel, but  I feel we are lucky to watch our radio heroes sing songs that beats the hell out of the crap produced today.

   Streaming TV Shows

   I won't bore you with why I liked certain shows but here is a short list of shows I've watched this winter that I really enjoyed

    Wednesday (Netflix) aa good as advertised!

    Jack Ryan (Amazon Prime)

   Emily in Paris (Netflix) girly but fun

   National Treasure (Disney +)

   Andor (Disney +)

    All oft he Marvel stuff on Disney + is awesome

    Obi One (Disney+)

    George and Tammy (Hulu)

    OF COURSE Yellowstone!!! 

Thursday, January 19, 2023

The Best Fishing Show in New England, The Fly Fishing Show in Marlboro

  Friday thru Sunday the Fly Fishing Show in Marlboro will be going on ( Jan 20-22). In my opinion, it is by far the best and most run well outdoors show in New England.  The show has everything for a fly fisherman. There are booths to buy everything from premier rods to dry flies. 

   All day long there are casting demonstrations in a casting pool. There is a large triple booth selling a library of fly fishing books. There are charter captain's and river guides advertising their expertise. You can talk to them at their table and pick up a flier, pamphlet or card. The nice thing about walking up and down these aisles is everything is fishing related. More and more, many outdoor shows are selling crap like garage doors, curtains, and tractors. I understand the marketing teams want to rent out all of the space so they'd rather rent space to a garage door company than leave it empty, but it does diminish the quality of the show. At the Fly Fishing Show, there is no such worry.

   The main reason I go to the Fly Fishing Show are the seminars. Each hour there are SIX seminars. Two of the seminars are in the Catch and Release rooms. These seminars are usually "how to". How to fish a nymph more effectively and fishing dry flies on still waters would be two examples. The other four seminars each hour are in Destination Theater. The seminar rooms are in a different building either a five minute walk up the parking lot or you can take a quick free shuttle.

   These seminars at Destination Theater are run by guides, charters, lodge owners, and authors. I live for these seminars and I can tell you I take a ton of notes. You would think that these guides would give you a general overview of an area, but they can give a lot of specific information. For example, the former owners of Lobstick Lodge in Pittsburg, NH talks about fishing the headwaters of the Connecticut River. The owner explains what fly patterns work best throughout the year. He goes right down the river with slides explaining the depth of each pool, what hatches you might encounter and the best riffle to cast for a salmon. Yes they really do get that specific. 

    Pretty much every presenter I have seen in a seminar has been top notch. You can find destinations as far away as Patagonia and Belize but also closer world class bucket list places such as the Upper Delaware (NY), Salmon River (NY) and Grand Lake Stream in Maine.  Just like Lopstick Outfitters, most guides will explain the water, the flies and seasons. Of course, if a lodge operator is doing the seminar they will go over accommodations. Some of these places like the Alaskan bush require a float plane ride and the only lodging for a hundred miles might be those cabins.

   On top of the How to seminars and Destination Theater there other ways to keep your interest up all day. Each hour there are fly tiers giving a talk on how to make specific flies. They make their fly in front of you with a magnifying glass attached to a tv screen so you can see how the flies are made without squinting.

   Also each hour, there will be either one or two authors in the Authors Booth. As I mentioned there is a bookstore selling a lot of different books. You can get many of them signed by the author during the show. I'm a sucker for where to books (such as Best Tailwaters in the Eastern United States). I got my copy signed while I was there.

   Lastly, besides all of the free seminars you can take half day classes with experts. These will cost you a few bucks, but the classes are small and you will learn from a true expert. Examples of these classes would be learning to cast further, Euro Nyphing, and Shoreline Night Fishing. I can not speak to how well done they are because I have never paid for one of these Featured Classes. However, I'd have to assume you'd learn a lot being taught by true celebrities in the fly fishing world. 

    If you go to the show on Friday and you don't want to leave when it is over, after the show is the International Fly Fishing Film Festival or IF4 for short. For an additional $15 (ten if you buy in advance) you can watch a film festival. The shows/movies are fairly short. I went to the IF4 a few years ago. They movies are made by fly fishermen. Some are just showing off the beauty of an area and the great fishing. Others are actually really funny and could rightly be called comedies.  The downside is it starts at 6:30 and continues a very long day. Still, if you have Saturday off, it might be worth staying for the IF4. 

    So there you have it, between all the gear and charters at the tables, how to seminars, destination theater, authors and fly tiers I can easily spend a day at the Fly Fishing Show. My plan this year if my back holds up is to go Friday and Sunday. There are so many seminars I want to see I need to go both days to see them all. Having Six Seminars and hour, there are multiple hours where there are more than one I want to see. If I go back on Sunday I can see everything. Again, here's to hoping my back makes it through two days of a lot of sitting. Below is the link to the show


https://flyfishingshow.com/marlborough-ma/

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

End of the Year Review

 

Cottonmouth, 
Alligator River NWR, 
June 2022

    Obviously I haven't blogged as much as I usually do. I'm still nursing a bad back and learning what I can and can not eat with diabetes. I do an End of the Year review each year. Normally each year has a "theme". These themes usually happen organically. One year I decided to trout fish all summer in New Hampshire. Another year All I did was surf cast for stripers and blues. Usually these themes just work themselves out and I usually don't plan them in January.

   This year was no different. I went on two vacations the first half of the year. One to DC to see cherry blossoms and Civil War battlefields. The second was to North Carolina where I saw a whole bunch of wildlife. Besides my vacations, my theme was going to be "herping". I spent much of the spring and early summer looking for snakes, frogs, turtles, and toads. I got very lucky and saw cottonmouths in North Carolina and three Black Racers in MA/RI. I had multiple lifers.

   Then reality hit me like an eighteen wheeler. Late June I hurt my back and have been basically laid up since. The second half of 2022 I did very little. As each month of pain went by, I was hopeful I'd be better the next month. Then by Christmas. None of this happened. As of now, I'm scheduled for two more MRIs and an Ultra Sound on my kidneys. I've been going to physical therapy for over three months. While my core and back have grown strong, the pain persists. So without question, the theme for 2022 was pain and trying to take care of my health.

Sometime in August I decided to write down my favorite memories from the first half of the year. They were only quick notes. Usually when I do an end of the year review I write about the birding, fishing, and wildlife I've seen. This year I just kept track of my favorite memories. So below, this probably isn't great reading material for you, but at least I will have a written copy of the things that made me happy.

  I do believe I got seven lifers this year ( Common Gull, Northern Fulmar, King Rail, Brown Booby, Red Cockaded Woodpecker, Yellow Bellied Flycatcher, Monk Parakeet). I left a lot of birds on the table because I was not willing to do the three hour round trip to Westerly, RI because my back kills while in a car. 

  If you read down the list, any fun that I had after North Carolina probably involved a pain killer or two so I could enjoy myself and also allow Laurie to enjoy herself without having to watch me in pain. 


Painted Bunting

Spring Peepers (actually seeing them)

RISD Museum

Blue Winged Teal /Muskrat/ Wilson's Snipe

Common Gull

Washington DC

    Cherry Blossoms

    Blackwater NWR (Sika Deer, Delmarva Fox Squirrel, King Rail, Carolina Chickadee, BH Nuthatch)

    VA Battlefields- Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, The Wilderness

Great Horned Owl and Pileated at Wollomonopaug

Plum Island May 12/13 Camping 

    May 20 Fallout Great photos of Wilson's Warbler, Blackburnian

 Yellow Throated Vireo, and Canada Warbler at Mia

Sue's King Rail

RI Pelagic - Northern Fulmar

Baltimore Checkerspot

North Carolina

   Monk Parakeets, Jamestown, Yorktown, Dolphin Cruise, NC Aquarium Camping at Hattaras Light (Chuck Wills, Common Nighthawk, Fireflies) Alligator River (Gators, Bears, Cottonmouth, Two Rat Snakes, Bobwhite, Barred Owls, Blue Grosbeak upgrade, Ash Throated Flycatcher, Spotted Turtle, Mud Turtle, Box Turtle)

   Red Cockaded Woodpecker, Brown Booby, Monk Parakeet  lifers

   Assateague Island Horses, Bombay Hook Black Necked Stilts

Northern Red Bellied Cooters at Myles Standish

Pickerel Frogs and baby Fowler's Toads at West Hill Dam and Northern Water Snake at River Bend Farm

 Black Racer at West Hill Dam jumping out of the net at me

Red Pharalope at Second Beach

Cape Ann Whale Watch

Buddy Holly Story North Shore Music Circus

Brown Booby from Cape Cronin

Dirty Deeds and One Night of Queen at Bold Point

Quashnet Wild Brook Trout

Jesse Liam concerts

Boothbay Harbor overnight

Yellow Bellied Flycatcher

Central MA camping trip Eastern Newt/ Bald Eagles

The Nutcracker

Was told on Christmas "I love you' by the person I have loved for over twenty years


Saturday, December 10, 2022

An actual adventure

Razorbill

 On Wednesday my friend Sue found out from a friend of a friend ( Jan and Mike ) that there were a lot of Dovkies and Razorbills in the Cape Cod Canal. Though a few Razorbills can be expected in the canal during the winter Dovkies are much rarer. 

   Sue and I decided to meet up and see if we could get lucky with some photos. Neither bird would be a lifer for us. We were actually standing three feet from breeding Razorbills last year on our trip to Machias Seal Island. However, at least for me, a photo of a Dovkie would be a life photo no matter how bad. 

   We pulled in at almost the exact same time near the marina on the island side. We saw quite a few birds including close Razorbills. There were some Dovkies but they were usually flying right past us. We aimed and shot, hoping our pictures would be in focus. 

 

Dovkie, a miniature flying football

   A bonus was that Sue found a  Black Legged Kittiwake swimming with two Bonaparte Gulls. Despite being too far for a good photo, that was worth the trip.

   Towards the end of our adventure a Dovkie did decide to swim a bit in front of us. It was on the other side of the canal. Although we wished it were a hundred yards closer, it was cooperative and we watched it for five minutes. There were plenty of sea ducks, loons, and gulls to keep us entertained in the brisk wind also.

  We left about 3:15. I only had a short ride back to Laurie's house in Norton while Sue had to drive back to Westerly, RI. All in all, I was thrilled to get out and see some good birds. Despite doing my normal Physical Therapy exercises that night, I still had to ice my back in the middle of the night to get back to sleep. A price I was hoping not to pay, but the adventure was still worth it.  

Heavily cropped photo of a Dovkie on the 
other side of the Cape Cod Canal. They aren't much
bigger than a tennis ball.



Saturday, December 3, 2022

Wild Brook Trout on Cape Cod


    One of the things on my East Bucket List was to catch wild brook trout on Cape Cod. Both the Quashnet and Mashpee Rivers have wild sea-run brookies. These fish have access to the ocean since both rivers empty into Waquoit Bay. I have wanted to fish for these wild trout since I first learned about them. I went to a seminar at one of the fishing shows many years ago about these trout. The speaker was a guy named Ronald Lasko. He wrote a book called "A Tale of Two Rivers". I bought the book devoured it.

   This summer I got a chance to go down to Mashpee/ Falmouth and fish for them. I had never seen either of these rivers so I considered it a scouting mission. I really wanted to catch one but if I didn't I figured I'd still learn a lot for a future adventure. I accepted I would probably get skunked, but really was playing for one. One would mean I could check off this experience off of my bucket list. Catching one would mean I wouldn't have to take the ninety minute drive again if I didn't want to. But it also meant I would be really excited which meant more to me than the check mark.

   I started my adventure on the Mashpee. I stopped at the Mashpee Conserve first. It is where my GPS took me. I walked down a path that parallels the river but even though parallels it, the river wasn't even in view of the path. So I went further north and tried another spot. There was a path straight to the river but the access was muddy. I decided to try the Quashnet. If I didn't find access I still had many hours to explore the Mashpee. 

   I found a parking area along the lower Quashnet and decided to really explore the river. I put on my waders and walked down the path until I found a fisherman's path toward the water. I was hoping to bring my little six foot/ two weight fly rod, however I didn't have the right size fly line for it. So I had to use my nine foot/ five weight. The problem with the long rod was it was jungle fishing. Most of the river is covered with trees and limbs right over the water. Multiple times I had to duck under branches to move up river. There were multiple runs where I couldn't even cast because there wasn't room. Even if I had my six foot rod, there wouldn't have been room to lift it.

   So


I made due with my nine footer. I think it worked out okay. Using my fly rod I'd hold it straight up and cast my leader in front of me. At no point in six hours of fishing did I have more than two feet of fly line out. There just wasn't room. The good thing about the long rod was I'd flip the  leader upstream with a fly attached. So each "cast" was about eighteen feet. If I had my six foot rod, and flipped the fly in front of me, my "cast" would have only been twelve feet. 

   The Quashnet is only about fifteen feet wide in the widest places and under eight feet in others. As I was walking upstream I started to build confidence that I might actually catch a trout. I worked my way up river casting at any place I had daylight above me and tree limbs. 

  After only fifteen minutes I had a hit on my ant fly. Very happily, I hooked the trout and actually landed it. It was a beautiful wild brook trout in spawning colors. I took a few photos and let it go. A quick note- these two rivers are catch and release and artificial lures only. Meaning, you can't keep any trout and you can't use bait of any kind. I didn't even bring a spinning rod. It was catch them on a fly or bust. 

  I was ecstatic that I caught one of these little wild treasures. Obviously I didn't stop fishing. I hooked a little tiny brookie a minute or two later. Still, it was beautiful. Long story short, I hooked and caught a few more. I hooked about a dozen more fish and landed about six. Most of the fish were in the eight inch range. They are not big fish. I foot long trout would be a trophy. You don't fish for them for size. They are beautiful and wild non-hatchery raised trout are a rare treat in Massachusetts.    

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Things that I am thankful for

   

This photo is on my wall and the first photo 
on the right of my blog. Both Dave and I
caught keeper stripers on a rainy, raw night in
January. 

   Every year that I have kept a blog I have done a post at Thanksgiving about all of the things I am thankful for. Usually I write about how much I love going to New Hampshire and Striped Bass. There is usually a line about bear, alligators and moose. If I went on vacation, I mention a favorite memory. For the most part, if I write twelve things I am thankful for seven or eight are the same every year with new memories to replace ones from the year before.

   That changed with last year's Thanksgiving post. Two big events happened in my life last November, both were fresh in my mind when I wrote my post. First off, as you may recall, I almost drowned at Key West. I went snorkeling at a beach. Laurie didn't have her fins so I gave her mine. I went to swim out to a jetty and the water was rough and the current strong. I made the smart decision and turned around. On my way back, my mask started filling with water and I had a panic attack. I couldn't control my breathing and it felt as I took every stroke I was no closer to the shoreline.

   When I was twenty feet from shore but still well over my head I went under. I don't know how I found the strength to pull myself up. Fortunately I did because even if anyone saw me go under, they never would have found me. Visibility was almost zero and with the current, I would not have been near where I was last seen with in seconds. When I made it to the shoreline, I sat at a picnic table for twenty minutes before my breathing calmed down.

   Also in November, I lost the cousin I was closest to due to Covid. I had gone on vacation with my cousin Mark and his wife Dottie to Florida once and I visited them in Maine on a couple occasions. We had a falling out due to politics and we hadn't been close for a couple of years. Despite not talking with him, and having completely different views, I still loved him.

   So last year writing my post, it wasn't about vacations, gators, or moose. It was just about being thankful for being thankful. All my life I have been appreciative of all the good things I have encountered. You could make an argument that I am this way because I lost my mom when she was 45 (and I was seventeen), but even before she died, as a kid, I always seemed to know life was precious and to enjoy it. Obviously for me, that pretty much meant nature. Whether it be fishing, birding, or quahogging, I love doing those things and never once took any of them for granted.

   So even though I lost a cousin and almost lost my own life, I wrote last year's post with my heart. It wasn't nearly as self serving as every Thanksgiving post the years before. After my near death experience, I went snorkeling two days later to make sure I wouldn't have fear of the water. I rarely think about it now. 

   Mark, on the other hand, I think about several times a week. I think about how stupid it was to stop talking over politics. We were both in the wrong and I only take fifty percent responsibility. However, if I would have known how little time I would have left with him, I would have done things different. However, when I think of Mark, I don't spend much time thinking about politics or our falling out. Instead, I think about the fun we had. We went fishing almost every day in Florida. We had great conversations. When I visited him in Maine, we ate so much steak tips, steak, and potato salad that we should be ashamed.

  Which finally leads me to this year's post. What I am thankful for. Well, if Thanksgiving were in June, I would have been thankful for two amazing vacations. Seeing the Washington DC cherry blossoms was the highlight of my year. On that same trip I saw Sika Deer and Delmarva Fox Squirrel at Blackwater NWR. North Carolina was even more amazing. We saw everything from Dolphins to wild horses. We watched Cottonmouths for hours and had Black Bears walk right behind my car feet from where I was standing.

   Part two of this year has been quite different. Since the end of June I have been in pain every day. Whether it be my back that won't heal or the nerves in my stomach that feel like fireworks. Throw in the diabetes diagnosis, and this has been the hardest five months of my life with no end in sight.

   As I write this, it feels like I have an arrowhead stuck in my spine. Leaning against the back of a chair is not an option. I have an MRI the first week of December which will hopefully lead to a Cortisone shot and be pain free (hopefully). The nerve issue is awful and I've gotten some nerve blockers that have helped but not taken away the pain. 

   So as I write this, I'd say it is much easier to be thankful when you have your health. It is easier to be thankful when you just got back from an amazing vacation. It's easy to write about stripers when you catch thirty pounders at the Canal, or get photos of bears from eight feet away. 

 

My best friend at Black Pond, NH

    However, what I am  most thankful for are the people in my life. Every year I do include how grateful I am for Dave and Laurie. However, this year, as I have been dealing with issues, I appreciate them more. I am basically living in Laurie's spare bedroom. The bed is much harder than mine and I am in less pain. There have been many nights where Laurie and I were going to hang out but because of pain, or pain meds, I'd be in bed before 8 pm. She has cleaned up after me multiple nights. She drives almost all of the time when we go places. I could write paragraphs about how great she has been.

   I've known Dave for years and I also consider him a best friend. We fished together A LOT. I could be hanging out with him fishing every day except it kills my back to drive. Fishing would be fine, but the driving, especially the ride home, no matter how short can be excruciating. Despite this, Dave checks up on me at least once a week. We talk for quite a while. The conversation usually starts with him asking how I'm doing. I give him an honest answer whether I'm doing good or bad. Then he gives me words of encouragement. Followed by a fishing report and some gossip about the fishing world.  He is a great friend and I can't wait to get out fishing with him again.

To both Dave and Laurie, neither of you will ever know how thankful I am to have you in my life, I love you both.

I am thankful my brother has been guiding me through diabetes info. I'm positive he knows more about the disease than most doctors. Without his advice and more importantly, his calm deminer I would have handled the situation much worse. Thank you. 

   I am thankful for the other people that have checked up on me. There are some work friends and some birding friends, and of course, relatives that have asked me how I'm doing. Some of them have kept in contact multiple times. Thank you.

    Because of how much I birded the last three years, I know ninety percent of the people I run into birding. Some of them are mere acquaintances. Many, I am friendly with and others are friends. However, there is a core group that I consider family. I care about them just as much as people I share DNA with. I have more in common with my birding family than I do with most of my blood family because birding can become an obsession. Unless you are obsessed, it is hard for an outsider to understand it. It is impossible for a non-birder to comprehend standing in one spot for three hours in January waiting for a Yellow Breasted Chat to show itself.

   For those birders that I consider family, I am grateful for you. I have used the word love in this post many times, but make no mistake, I take the word seriously. I can honestly say I love you. I won't name names for fear of forgetting someone, but chances are you know who you are. Thank you for memories of Block Island, pelagics, Christmas bird counts, sharing your vacation stories, and road trips But most importantly, thank you for the time we spent just talking and being in each others company.

My proudest achievement and one of his 
students.

   Lastly, but probably most importantly, I am thankful for my son. Words can not describe how proud I am of him. I always talk about him being an adventurer which he is. I envy his ability to travel to foreign countries.  He figured out a way to live the life he wants. For the last couple of years he has been teaching in Cambodia. He loves it because he feels he is changing the world by being a teacher. However, he also has a bartending license and he worked at the fancy El Tovar restaurant at the Grand Canyon. Meaning he could get a job anywhere in the world. He is 27 now and no longer a kid. He is a man closer to thirty than his days as a Cross Country captain. He is a good man. He cares, he loves, he lives life to the fullest. I could never have hoped for a better son. 

  If you read this entire post, you obviously must be thinking I am more emotional than you are used to seeing. You would be correct. Pain and diabetes, for sure, has made me emotional. I have not cried from the pain, the diagnosis, or that there seems to be no end in sight Not because I'm a tough guy, but because I'm not letting the pain or diabetes win. Not once, Fuck them. That said, my feelings and emotions are much stronger than they used to be. For better or worse, that has happened. While I have not cried, I am more emotional. When DJ and I are talking and I tell him I have to go to bed, and he says I love you first, I can't tell you how much that means to me. For that and all of the people I mentioned above, I am thankful!


Thursday, October 27, 2022

Type 2

    This is a post i have been stalling on. Not because I'm afraid to write it, but just because I haven't had the motivation. Without going back on all of my posts to confirm, it is a good bet that between my post about Marge in Paris and this one, it is the longest time span between posts.

   Simply put, I haven't had a reason to write. I am still dealing with my back issues that I've had since late June. Though the pain is no longer constant, it can still be really bad. Last night I did not fall asleep until 3 am due to it hurting and that was only after icing it at 2:30. 

  However, I have another problem that is also slowing me down. Last month I was diagnosed with diabetes. As you can imagine, this was not welcome news. Diabetes does run in my family. My mother got it at nineteen. My aunt and my brother both have it. I suspect I was destined to get it at some point.

   The problem I am facing is, because of my back problem, I can not really control the sugar levels with exercise until it heals. The day after I was diagnosed, I went for an easy six mile walk around a pond in the Blue Hills. My back hadn't hurt for a few days and I was told by both my doctor and my Physical Therapist walking was okay. However, walking that far was not okay. After less than three miles my lower back started to swell up and there was pain up my spine. It took almost ten days and three physical therapy sessions for it to get almost pain free. 

  So right now, I am at a stalemate. I can't do much walking or cardio. Also, no matter what I eat, I can not seem to get my blood sugar to go down to optimal levels. I check my blood sugar level multiple times a day, and have eaten extremely healthy. When I have "experimented" with foods I hope to include in my diet, it hasn't gone so well. For example, two weekends ago, Laurie made a pumpkin pie but we used a sugar replacement. Didn't matter, sugar level spiked. 

  I have a doctor appointment a week from tomorrow and I suspect they will up my medication. On top of that, I need a referral for an orthopedic because my PT guy thinks I have a slipped disk and may need a Cortisone shot. Not looking forward to that. I do all my stretches and exercises at home twice a day faithfully but the pain seems to have it a wall in the healing. 

   I write all of this not because you want to read seven paragraphs on my medical history, but so you know why I haven't wrote anything in a month. I really haven't done anything. I have gone fishing twice in the last four months. Once for wild Brook Trout and once for Albies. Both times I was successful. Besides my walk around the pond in the Blue Hills I haven't went on any good hikes. 

   I did go camping twice. Laurie drove and I lied down in the back seat. I took muscle relaxers to fall asleep on both trips. That is the extent of my summer. Two times fishing, two camping trips, and a walk around a pond that basically crippled me for ten days.

   Hopefully I will be better soon. It has been very hard to be optimistic. When you go to bed at 9 pm and you are trying to lie in any position that will make the pain go away for six hours, depression will set in. It was tough to waste away my summer and it has been equally tough to watch these beautiful autumn days slip away knowing that cold weather is just around the corner. 

   None the less, I'll keep doing what I am supposed to. Hopefully the orthopedic and a Cortisone shot will work. I don't have a timetable any more because every time I think "I'll be better in a month" the month comes and goes. I would love to be able to contribute to the Christmas Bird Counts at the end of December but I will have to wait and see.

A special shout out goes to Laurie Devine for being there for me through all of this. I have basically lived at her house for the last month or more because her firm spare bed has been easier on my back. She has been an angel. Also, Dave Pickering calls me at least twice a week to check on me and encourage me. Sine I have fallen off the face of the earth, it is nice that he checks on me. I've had other friends call/text me to see how I'm doing and I appreciate all of you. Thank you.