MY NAME WAS RICKY
I got quite the surprise yesterday morning. Here I was, having a pleasant visit with my 86 year old mother. Just sitting on the couch, chilling, chatting and relaxing. Then all of a sudden ... BAM! I got this piercing pain in my lower left abdomen. It felt like a bad cramp. A REALLY BAD cramp. I winced in pain, trying not to show too much as I didn't want to get my mom all concerned. She has enough issues of hers alone to deal with. I got up and walked around a bit to try to "walk it off" and hope that it would pass. It felt a little better so I went to the basement to get her boxes that she used for her Christmas decorations and bring them upstairs for her. It was only two trips but BAM!, the pain came back with a vengeance. By now my mom knew someone was wrong and I told her that I just had a pain in my side and that it would probably go away. I told her that I was going home and we said our goodbyes and I started on the short walk home.
I live about a block and a half from my mom, so it was a short walk in the winter cold and the pain would not subside. As soon as I got in the door I went to my computer and Googled "pain in lower left abdomen". The first few results came back with "kidney stone". I thought "what the fuck? Where the hell did I get a kidney stone?" I got up and started pacing hoping to walk it off. But, it didn't help. I started to think I might have to make a trip to the local ER and I certainly didn't want to wait at least 3 hours in the waiting room there. As an FYI, we might have universal health care, but the waiting times in our local hospitals are ridiculous.
And then I had what I thought was a great idea. If it really is a kidney stone perhaps I could flush it out. I drank a half litre of water and the pain felt a little better. After my second half litre it all but disappeared. I thought it was a miracle. And then it occurred to me that if I am really flushing it out, it's gonna have to find it's way out. I've heard passing a kidney stone could be very painful, the prospect of that started to concern me. Then, I had to pee. Lot's of pee but no stone. I continued to drink water and about 10 minutes later I had to pee again. I started to pee and, if you'll excuse me, amidst the stream, a black object came out and fell to the bottom of the toilet. I hadn't felt anything so at first I thought that if was some fluff that fell off of my clothing. But, then I thought, fluff would float. This went directly to the bottom of the toilet. I had to find out for sure. So I held my breath (don't know why) and reached in the toilet and retrieved the little black object. Sure enough, it was hard as a rock. Ureka! I passed my first ever kidney stone and the pain had pretty much gone away. I washed up and went up stairs and proudly showed it to Josh. He was grossed out for some reason.
But I was pretty proud of myself that I was able to get rid of this and not make a trip to the hospital. Lord knows what they would have done to me there. I'm keeping this puppy. Maybe I can turn it into a necklace or something. Any thoughts?
It's been a while since my last post. One of my many New Year's resolutions is to post more regularly. So here's my first post of 2017! In my last post I wrote about Jessica's and Derek's move to Whitehorse, Yukon. Well ... in just a few days it will have been one month since they left so I thought I might give you a little update.
First off, I'm happy to say that they arrived safely. Their flight was a little late taking off from Toronto because the plane had a flat tire. Yikes! Glad they found that! But other than that, things went reasonably well. When they arrived in Whitehorse I think it was a balmy -28 degrees celsius ... that's -18 degrees farenheit for you non-metric readers. Suffice to say it was frickin' cold. Derek's cousin, Neil, met them at the airport. Thanks Neil! They shared a nice meal together and they spent their first night in an AirBnB that they had booked. Ironically, Neil and his girlfriend, Courtenay happened to be friends with the owner.
And if getting situated wasn't enough, Jessica started her new job a couple of days after arriving with the Government of Yukon as a Speech Language Pathologist. It's had the usual challenges of starting a new job and getting to know everyone, complicated a little by starting it in an entirely new city while trying to get settled in a new place. But, other than that, the job is going well and she is liking it quite a bit.
The daylight ... or lack of it, has taken some getting used to as well. Sunrise is around 10am right now and sunset is around 4pm. Slowly but surely the days are getting longer and the kids can't wait. Granted I think it's reversed in the summer time, so they'll have to get used to all the day light come June.
They've been getting in some social time. Neil and Courtenay have been great introducing them to their friends. They go to trivia night most Wednesday's and have been able to get out to the movies a few times as well. But I guess the theatre is something to be desired. It's the old-fashioned kind from my era with no stadium seating. Eek! I hated those theatres. I always seemed to have the biggest guy in the theatre sitting smack dab in front of me blocking my view of the movie. But it has popcorn ... which always puts a smile on Jessica's face.
As you can imagine, we are in touch everyday. We have discovered the wonders of SnapChat (still trying to get the hang of it) as well as Facetime. Never really had the need to use Facetime until now ... and I'm lovin' it. It's so nice to see them and talk to them at the same time. Gives a parent that assurdness that everything is all right. The grandmother's love it too. They miss them dearly and they love to come over and have a little chat with them. It's particularly funny when they are watching a SnapChat video that Jessica sends and the grannies start talking back to it. And if we are not doing that, there is always texting and. of course, a phone call. How archaic!
But so far ... so good. For the first time on their own I think they are doing a great job and making a great transition to their new home. When Derek's car arrives, they plan on taking in more of the sites of Whitehorse and the surrounding area and take in the many winter activities that are available to them. I'm very proud of them and what they've done in such a short time. Love you guys! Stay warm. LOL!
January 17, 1991 ... one of the best days of my life! Our first child came into the world to greet us. We named her Jessica.
Fast forward ...
December 11, 2016 ... one of the saddest days of my life! My little princess is all growed up and leaving the nest for the first time. She's moving to Whitehorse, Yukon. Now I don't know how familiar you may be with Canadian geography, but Whitehorse is about as far north and west of our hometown of Niagara Falls as you can get. It's right up there next to Alaska. People have joked with me - "whatever did you do to piss your daughter off that much that she's moving that far away from you"? I just laugh it off cuz I know nothing can be further from the truth. I love my daughter (and son) more than life itself and I know that my daughter loves me. I know that she's looking to start a life on her own. To find her own way. To make her own way. And ... to have an adventure while doing it. I am so very proud of her to do this.
As any young graduate knows ... jobs are tough to come by. Jessica holds a Masters degree and is a Speech Language Pathologist. But even with all her credentials finding full time work is tough. She's had as many as three jobs at one time to make her way. She's been fortunate to find some meaningful work locally filling in for maternity leaves at Hotel Dieu Shaver Hospital (which she absolutely loves) but alas those were coming to an end. So rather than sit idly by and "wait" for something to happen she persisted to make her own "luck" and found a job working as a Speech Pathologist for the Yukon government in Whitehorse ... and I couldn't be prouder.
As a parent, the comforting part is that she's not doing this alone. Her boyfriend Derek is going with her. Derek is blazing his own trail too. He's finding his way and I know he will have great success in Whitehorse. Besides, they make a great team together, and together the "buddies" will be there for each other, making a life together and taking great care of each other.
It will be an enlightening experience for both of them being their first time on their own. But as I said, they make a great team. They compliment each other. I know Jess will be there to encourage Derek and pick up his spirits on those days when things might not be going so well. And I know Derek will be there for Jess when she is having one of her "moments". They're adventurous and free spirited and I think Whitehorse might just be the place for them to start a life together. It's a beautiful city that has a lot of outdoor adventure to offer. I know the two if them will take great advanatge of that as they muddle their way through the challenges of day-to-day life.
The other comforting thing is that, with today's technologies, they will never be that far away. Texting, Skyping and Facetiming will be a regular occurence for sure. Probably daily at the start ... right Mama bear? Jess has told me to get a SnapChat account so I'll guess I'll have to look into that. And I'm sure there will be time to visit them next summer. And who knows, maybe even sooner.
And finally to Jess and Derek, if you're reading this ... please know how proud we are of you both. As you start this chapter of your life together there are a few "rules" to follow. Never go to bed angry with each other. Always say "I Love You". Righty tighty, lefty loosey. Lots of hugs go a long way. Be there for each other at every moment ... good, bad and ugly. Keep the toilet seat down. And, most of all, laughter really is the best medicine. If all else fails, hold each other, and laugh. I've seen the two of you often enough togther to know that won't be difficult to do.
We love you and wish nothing but the best for the both of you. Enjoy your adventure together, seize every moment of every day and make each and every one of those moments count.
And hey, if time permits, start your own website/blog to record your Yukon adventure for everyone to enjoy. You can do it for free using Weebly! If I can do it, you can too! Love you guys!
This is a first for me. Sitting here at the pool at The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas writing a blog post.
Sophia and I were finally able to get away to celebrate our 30 years together. We chose one of our favourite destinations to celebrate the occasion. We're pretty fortunate. This is our fifth visit in the last six years. If it's not obvious, we love Vegas. There is always so much to do here. We're not huge gamblers ... although Sophia has had some good luck at the slots. Me ... not so much. We take in some of the sites, see some shows, eat way too much food and have a few beverages. This year we went to one of my favourite spots, the Hoover Dam. That thing is awesome. I can never get over how the dam was built in such a short period of time and in the period ie. post Great Depression, that it was built. It truly is a wonderful marvel. This year we finally did the dam tour. Kinda funny to write that. It is even more spectacular on the inside than the out. If you're ever in Vegas you gotta see the Hoover Dam.
Last night we took in the Mat Franco magic show at the Linq Hotel. He was awesome. Mat won America's Got Talent a few years ago. I think it was season 9. Man was he ever fantastic. We've seen Cris Angel, Penn and Teller and David Copperfield during previous visits. They were all great ... with Cris Angel being my favourite. But Mat Franco absolutely blew my doors off. No giant illusions like making an elephant disappear or sawing someone in half. Mostly cards and "simple" props. But his slight of hand with cards, balls, bottles of wine ... you name it, is a site to be seen. I highly recommend his show. It is must see for sure. He is hugely entertaining, humorous and definitely gets his audience involved in every aspect of his show. And you don't have to sell the farm to see him. The theatre is relatively small and there isn't a bad seat in the house and the tickets are modestly priced. Even by Vegas standards.
Speaking of of buying tickets. If you're ever travelling to Vegas wait to purchase any show tickets until you get there. And once you are there buy your tickets at a Tix4Tonight outlet. They have several locations along The Strip and Old Downtown on Fremont. They sell tickets for same day performances at heavily discounted prices. We're seeing Mat Franco, Terry Fator and going up the Eiffel Tower for a little under $250. That's about $55 per ticket per show which we think is a fantastic bargain.
Well we gotta get ready to see Terry Fator and have a beverage or two. Ciao.
Today, October 4, 2016, Sophia and I are celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary.
It actually brings a tear to my eye, the good ones, when I write that. On a cold, rainy day in 1986, we made a life long commitment to each other. A promise that so far has been 30 years in the making. And, I am very proud to say, going strong.
I'd like to say things have been fantastic for all those 30 years. But, we've had our ups and downs. Times when you think you've had enough and it just can't go on any longer. We both have our warts to bear. I'm definitely "wartier" than her. I've given her many reasons to pull her hair out and scream from the roof tops. I'm from Dutch heritage. And if anyone knows anything about the Dutch, we are very stubborn and think we are always right. As the expression goes "Wooden shoes. Wooden head. Wooden listen." Needless to say, she has been very patient and understanding with me. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
It's actually been a much longer road for us. Believe it or not, we originally met in grade 3 - around 1970. Sophia and her family had recently moved from California to Niagara Falls. Don't ask why. I'm still trying to figure that one out. We went through grade school, elementary school and high school together. Never giving the other a second glance. It wasn't until the summer of 1982 when I woke up and finally noticed her. Some friends and I had gone to a park to play some ball. Coincidently, Sophia and some of her friends had gathered at the same park. We all knew each other from school and I remember saying to myself "Wow. That Sophia Miglioranza really grew up". I later found out that she was dating someone. So I left that stone unturned. But, as fate would have it, I met her again at a bar called "The Library" in the other Niagara Falls (New York) a short while later. We got to chatting and low and behold, she was no longer dating anyone. I made my move ... not that I had any. But I did suck up the courage to ask her out on a date. And darn it all, didn't she she accept. So there it was. Our life together began on our first date in October 1982.
And here we are, 34 years from that first date, 30 years married and I couldn't be prouder of what we've accomplished together. A honeymoon in Cancun (before it was a spring break destination). One apartment and two houses along the way. Two fantastic children of whom we could not be prouder. Several family trips to Florida, Disney World, Universal Orlando and California. And now we are preparing for our fifth trip to Las Vegas to celebrate what we've accomplished together. But our biggest accomplishment (aside from our kids) is, by far, that after 30 years of marriage we are still together. And, I dare say, Love each other as much, if not more, than when we made a promise to each other all those years ago. I can't imagine being with anyone else.
30 years is a long time. And I wonder how did we do it. And I think it comes down to one word ... COMMITMENT. It just seems so easy today to walk away when things get a little difficult in a marriage. Being together all those years. Raising two children. Worrying about careers and finances. Dealing with family issues. It can get tough and it can wear on you. But 30 years ago we made a promise to each other. And it's that promise that we have kept. Sophia is the real deal and we have learned to accept each other warts and all. I love her dearly and am very happy that she has been part of my life for all these years and I look so forward to whatever it is that the future holds for us ... together.
Happy Anniversary Mama!
I Love You!
I haven't been posting as much as I've wanted too lately. The nice weather has finally arrived and I find myself spending much more time outside enjoying the weather, doing yard work and other odd jobs around the house. I'm hoping to getting back to posting more regularly in the future, at least weekly. So to catch up a bit I have somewhat of a long post as there have been a few things going on.
It was 12 years ago today that I lost my dad. My #1 fan. As far as I'm concerned my father was taken far too soon. He was 76 years old when he left us. Some of you may think that 76 is a long time ... and it is. But considering the way my dad led his life, his passing was far too early and extremely unfair.
My name is Gary Janssen, aka "Ricky". I'm a husband, father and first time blogger. I write about family & life, my favorite sports teams, TV shows and movies, my Apple Mac and my home town of Niagara Falls.