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Sunday, December 21, 2008

December 21, 2008

Due to the overwhelming lack of responses to my blog, I feel I must warn you, I am going to continue anyway.

If I remember correctly I left our hero (me of course) facing his doom. OK I am going to pause here, from now on I will refer to our hero in first tense, I mean what gives with the our; he, his, they etc? Now where were we? Oh yes, I remember. I believe I had just been told I was running head first toward my impending doom. My doctor knew of my fragile condition, and refused to alter his Monday day off policy, or his out of town leaving me to sweat policy. He left me to my own mercy for the week end. I of course did what anybody in my frame of mind could do,I carried on as if my doom really didn’t matter. It was business as usual.

Before I continue I really must start with a disclaimer: I really like my doctor, he is excellent and has treated me with respect along with giving me the utmost medical care.

With that being said and understood, remember I am facing certain doom. I am at my limits. My weekend has been ruined. I want immediate answers and solutions. I could ask the age old question "why me?" But instead I ask a brand new question "why can't the doctor work on Mondays? And what is so all fire important that he needs to be out of town in my hour of crisis?" By the way neither question was answered. My weekend progressed along just fine. The rest of the world apparently didn’t get the “impending doom of Raballard” news flash.

But I digress, the appointment was now etched in stone. (OK that's a metaphor, because I am pretty well sure my doctor has all the modern conveniences of an appointment calendar) I will hear all about my fate Wednesday, October 1, 2008. There was nothing I could do but comfort Mrs. Raballard.

The weekend for her was not kind, She is the worry-wart kind of person, and is prone to a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth. Also the weekend dragged very slow, as if someone had found a way to alter time, and not in a good way. Alas after millions of tears shed, family and friends notified, wills revised (not really I don't have a will) it was finally judgment day. Did I fail to tell you my appointment had been changed from the morning to the afternoon? So finally it was judgment day, a little later than I had planned but judgment day never the less.

We all went to my appointment, my wife, daughter and I. You don't think I am going to face this all alone do you? Remember, my wife is an emotional wreck. She doesn’t take it well with the gloom and doom stuff. Plus I needed someone to drive home, just in case I was too much an emotional wreck. It is very hard to drive with tears flowing down ones cheek.

We left Daugter Raballard in the reception area, just in case the doctor discussed nether regions that would embarrass her or me. Mrs. Raballard and I were escorted to the waiting for the other shoe to drop waiting room. I can see why they call them waiting rooms. We waited, and waited, and just for good measure we waited some more. After almost an hour the doctor came in, carrying my file. (Which is about the size of War and Peace.) He was also carrying a lovely color map of Venus. He showed me what I thought was the next NASA landing site on our nearest planet. I was soon to discover it wasn't a map of Venus or any other planet in our solar system. The lovely 8x10 was a map of my bear-trapped "keester". The landing site happened to be my cancer. (I had no idea that cancer was so colorful)

Daughter Raballard joined us after the color, model demonstration was complete. The doctor did not say anything to embarrass me. We settle down for some intense negotiating, problem solving, and solution finding. I was told I had four options.
Option 1: I could do nothing, prostate cancer is a slow moving cancer (well most of time) If I was to choose to do nothing he could almost guarantee maybe ten years of good life, with another three to five years of not such a good life.
Option 2: I could use radiation, which gets out the cancer most of the time.
Option 3: I could freeze the cancer out, which has the same results as the radiation.
Option 4: I could have the cancer surgically removed. He also said there are certain drawbacks when that option was chosen. I of course am too embarrassed to say those drawbacks. Suffice to say I had very little possibility of any chance of ever joining the Mile High Club.

We had already decided this was a no-brainer. We deliberated for about fifteen seconds on the previous Friday night. We were going to choose surgery. We told the doctor we would opt for surgery, and I crossed the Mile High Club off of my to do list. With the decision made the only thing left to do was to schedule the appointment for the surgery. I could only hope the surgery date landed on a day my doctor worked.

Within fifteen minutes my surgery was scheduled. The appointed date was to be October 28, 2008, a date that will live in infamy. I was ecstatic to learn it was a day my doctor worked, and a day he planned to be in town.

I also learned a very valuable lesson on the day of my impending doom, judgment day. I mean other than my "keester looks like Venus. The lesson was simple and to the point, there is no such thing as a "find out you have cancer-schedule your surgery and be done with it procedure" That is only the beginning. There are plenty of other lead up to the surgery procedures that had to be done.

Well fan, and soon to be fan, my time is up. (I mean with the blog for today, not as in the meet your maker time is up) Look for part three of my adventure, coming to a blog near you.Please feel free to leave a comment on your way out to the lobby.

Until next time.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

December 17, 2008

It's been a while since I have been here. I do have a perfectly good excuse as to why I have let my blog grow dormant.I will tell you my excellent excuse.

I have been on an adventure since the last time I posted a blog. OK I know you are wondering what kind of adventure is so all important that I would leave my blog unattended. Yes, yes I know I am not the type of blogger to ignore the important task as the upkeep for a seldom read blog. In my defense it could not be helped. An adventure so compelling, so breathtaking, I could not resist.

My adventure began in the most unlikely location, but looking back now I suppose a lot of adventures begin exactly where mine began. My adventure began at my doctor's office. Yup you read me right.

I am not the type that choose a doctor's office to hang out in. If by chance I am found at any doctor's office, including my own doctor, you can rest assured I am there under duress. In this case I was fulfilling a request from Mrs. Raballard. She has a thing about me taking care of myself. Being the loving dutiful husband I try to humor her. I was there for my annual check-up. You know the one, the one that every male over the age of fifty needs every year. My doctor, which I secretly think is in league with her to keep me healthy began my adventure with a very simple statement, "We need to check your PSA." I was unaware at the time my journey had begun, but it had.

What could I do? They ganged up on me, Conspiracy complete, my PSA was checked. Don't expect results right away, nope it takes about five business days for the results to come back. I suppose that is because they send it off to some underground lab, where it will be dissected, bisected, or what ever sected is left. They did comfort me they would let you know either way. My fate was sealed. I left, actually sprinted from the office. The whoosh heard down the halls of the medical center was me. OK I didn't whoosh, I paid my co-pay, picked up my nifty sticker, and left.

Five business days came and went without as much as a "how do you do?" from my doctor. Obviously doctors don't have the concept of time to an OCD guy like myself, five days is five days. They also have no idea how impatient I can be. I have no idea my cable provider is included in the doctor/patient confidentiality, apparently they are. The phone call did not come. I couldn't stand it any longer, I had to know, so I called my doctor to see if my results had been returned. "No, the doctor will call when the results come in" (sounded like a rehearsed answer if you ask me). Two more days went by without an a phone call. I was a nervous wreck by this time. As opposed to my usual just plain wreck. On the 8th day I got a call from my doctor's receptionist requesting that I make an appointment for a biopsy. It seems as if my PSA is slightly elevated, something like three times normal. I was at the point of no return, my adventure had taken a slight detour. My adventure was now a train wreck in the making.

If any of you have never had a biopsy done in your nether regions, you are in for a treat. All I can say it is kind of like placing your "keester" in a bear trap, four to six times. Fun was had by all. After my biopsy I was informed that it usually took five business days for the results to come in. I know kind of deja-vu all over again, huh.

True to form the results had not been returned by the five days. I am sure my biopsy was under close scrutiny by the NSA, how else could the delay have been explained? Finally on Thursday, four days after the five business days I got the dreaded phone call from my doctor's receptionist "The test results are in, however the doctor doesn't work on Thursdays. He will be in Friday afternoon to read the results. He will call you after he has read them. (Aren't adventures such fun?)

On Friday afternoon my doctor called with my results. "We found cancer in the biopsy, it is just a small amount, but cancer never the less." He then waited for my reaction, tears welling up. "I will turn you over to my receptionist so you can make an appointment. We need to go over your options."

"Options? what options are there? I want it removed," was my immediate response.

"Make an appointment. We can discuss it at that time."

Remember this is Friday afternoon. I told the receptionist I would like an appointment first thing Monday morning. I mean, I had to face the weekend with the knowledge I had cancer, and I didn't want to prolong the agony one second later than I had to.

"He doesn't work on Mondays, and he will be out of town on Tuesday, the earliest I can fit you in would be ten o'clock on Wednesday."

Great! An extra three days of living in fear. At least it didn't have to wait five business days. I don't think I could take that.

I will finish the tale of my adventure on my next blog. I will be back in five business days.

Friday, September 5, 2008

September 5, 2008

"Nothing you write, if you hope to be good, will never turn out as you first hoped"
---Lillian Hellman---

I had an accident yesterday morning. Don't worry I wasn't hurt. There wasn't any damage, there isn't any reason to file a police report. I was not anywhere near my car at the time of the accident. Truth be told, I was sitting in my chair at work. Yup, sitting in my chair, reading my messages from Query Tracker.

My accident was not one of your typical run-of-the-mill work place accidents. I was unfortunately at the right place at the right time. There I was minding my own business, reading my messages, when i was ran over by a steam-roller, driven by reality.

You ask yourself how could this happen? I'm getting to that.

I was reading my message sent by someone that had taken the time to read my first five pages, which I had posted in Query Tracker. I had great expectations for this particular person, they had always liked other posts which I had posted.

What is the worse that could happen? I expected to be told that I had a ton of misused commas, or that my punctuation sucks. Wrong! They hated my first five pages. I mean completely. There was no redeeming values. My main character was not nice enough. On the whole it was a complete waste of time.

I was devastated. It's time to quit came flashing through my mind.

But wait, "Why am I still breathing?" I asked myself, as I was picking up my heart, from odd of the floor.

I am going to explain why, but first I need to transport you back in time. Don't worry, it's safe, I have done this dozens of times. I admit I have never done it with real people, but I am almost positive I can do it.

August 25, 2008..........Place "Why are you a writer) Query Tracker Forum

{I grew up being invisible to all but a very few of my Friends. It is almost as if i invented shy, if I didn't invent it I surely perfected it. I made up fantasy tales in my mind, mostly to compensate for my shyness.As time went by, my tales (to myself, and a few of my friends) became more vivid, while my shyness increased (if that is possible).When I finally married (I was 33 the first time) and we had children I would tell our children made-up bedtime stories, which they enjoyed. My son would tell me I should write them down, which i never did. As the children got older, and the marriage came to an end, I stopped telling the bed time stories. I reverted back to telling them to my number one fan (myself). Many years passed, another marriage failed, and I was still making up fantasy realms and stories for my number one fan (still myself).When I met my current (and greatest) wife, her daughter was 11 at the time, so I started telling her my fantasy stories. My wife and daughter both told me I should write them down, to which I said "Someday, I just might do that"Well life got in the way. We were living in San Diego, and let me tell you that great weather comes with a price, mainly fast living and high costs. Not to mention fires (yes we were evacuated during the 2003 wild fires in San Diego, the fire actually came within a few hundred feet of our house) Finally we had enough of "big city" living, I got a job in a small (actually 3rd largest city in Missouri) town, life slowed down to a comfortable pace. One day we were riding in the car, headed for Branson, and I mentioned I might just start writing a children's book, to which my amazing wife said "Ya I have heard that before, why don't you shut up and do it?"I don't write for the money, I write because I love it.}

Yup, I wrote that. I keep looking back at that post, and I think it is Corney, out of place and somewhat pathetic. I thought that until I read this.

"........unpopular through out my schooldays, I had the lonely child's habit of making up stories and holding conversations with imaginary persons...."
----- George Orwell -----

George reminded me of me, except I am not famous, and I survived 1984.

Rereading my Corney, out of place, somewhat pathetic post, again gave me an epiphany. No matter how Corney this post happened to be, there was no way of denying the truth of that post.

Now that I have mastered the science of time travel, I need to fast forward to September 1, 2008. Place "American Idol" Query Tracker Forum.

{I ask myself, am I the singer from American Idol that just can't sing? You know the ones, the ones that think they are sooooo good, but when they open their mouths crap comes out.They have no idea they can't sing. They are shocked when Randy or Simon tell them how pathetic they are. They actually thought they were the best singer in the world. Every viewer and the judges knew otherwise.Am I the terrible singer, and are the literary agents Randy and Simon?}

Yup I wrote that one too, but it did generate some marvelous responses.

"Can I not write?"
"If you truly love what you do"
"Can you walk away?"
"I have to write."

are a paraphrases of a few of the responses, and on September 1 my answers to theses responses would have been.

"No,I don't need to write."
"Yes, I do love what I do"
"Yes I can walk away, in a heart beat"
"I do not now, or will I ever need to write"

Fast forward to the time of my unfortunate, flattened by the reality driven steam-roller accident.

Being ran over by reality leaves one heck of a side-affect, namely clear vision. I know now why I write.

Years of living in oblivion and invisibility has its advantages, it defined who and what I am.

I was not born to write. My childhood set me on the path to writing. My life led me down that path. I have not been able to leave that path, no matter how hard I have tried.

My journey down that path came to an end August 28, 2007, when I came face to face with the only outcome my childhood would allow. There I was face to face with myself, a writer. Yes me, a writer, forged with years of failure, success, good times and bad times.

I had no choice. I had to write. It is what my childhood chose for me.

"The only reason for being a writer is that you just can't help it"
---Leon Rotsen---

Writing is not a job. It's not a hobby. It's a drive, a journey. It's something within us that needs to be released.

My journey down the path ended abruptly, but I am now on my way on a new path. I can't give up. I need to write, I love writing, I can never walk away from writing.

I am not the person that can't sing on American Idol.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

August 30, 2008

I can remember very little about my childhood, my wife remembers things she did when she was 4, but I don't. I can remember facts, history, birthdays (actually anything with a date). If you ask me for stats about my favorite baseball players, the stats come to my mind immediately. My mind is full of useless trivia. I would make a great Jeopardy player, if it weren't for the fact I am too shy, and would blend into the scenery. Heck, I am even somewhat smarter than a fifth grade.

There are very little childhood memories, good or bad.

I do remember my sophomore picture in the yearbook (some call it an annual), my mother had just given me the worst hair cut in the history of motherly bad haircuts (when you grow up with 6 children in the family, mothers give the haircuts) anyway there I was with my bad haircut, horn rimmed glasses, smiling (well half a smile) for the camera.

I was so humiliated when I saw the finished outcome. For my junior and senior year I refused to have my picture in the yearbook. I had an aversion to having my picture taken for many years.

But my blog today is on another memory. One I haven't thought about for years.

When I was maybe 8 or 9, I slept in our basement with my brothers (all 5 of us), the basement was unfinished and quite frankly spooky. I did not like the arrangement at all.

To calm me down my older brother would read books to me (when we were supposed to be asleep). We would huddle together under the blankets, flashlight in hand, and read.

This is where I had my first encounter with Pinocchio, Huck Finn, a dog named Kazan, and other great literary figures. I learned to love reading and books while under that blanket.

I haven't seen my brother for years, he and I chose different paths. I think he still lives in Utah but I really don't know, we have lost contact. But I do cherish that memory.

I wish I remembered more, but that's the way the cookie crumbles

My next blog wll be "Is the fact my sister has more brothers than I have fair?"

Till next time

Sunday, August 24, 2008

August 24, 2008

Allow us to introduce ourselves; our names are raballard, obviously not our real names. We write middle grade fantasy. There is a good reason that we do not use our real names. We tell the truth. We make every effort to remain true to our fabricated truth; the Black Realm has placed a price on our heads. We are enemies of the state. We will not be silenced, which brings us to the reason for this mysterious blog.

For the purpose of this blog, and to cover our tracks, we will dispense from using plurality and change over to first person singular. I hope you the readers will indulge us, but never forget there are two of us in this mess.

I know the truth of our totally made up. The Realm does not exist. Our non-existent fantasy, magical kingdom, is known only as the Black Realm. It called the Black Realm for good reasons they have been ruled for generations by the epitome of pure evil. Because I am privy to the made-up truth my life has been in peril for years (at this time it is really actually only my life, the “we” part of us is yet to get involved. She has no idea the intrigue that lay in store) Because of my vast knowledge of the non-lies, and not real evilness that exists in the Black Realm, I have placed myself in danger. For the last 30 years rats, toads, and all manner of evil creatures have hunted me, trying to stop my one-man vigilant crusade against the injustice created by these evil rulers. They have pursued me from the City of Great Salt, in the Rocky Mountains, to a small hamlet 90 miles east of the famous “Bay” area, only to be discovered. I ran back to the City of Great Salt, back to the hamlet, to a city with a beautiful Arch. I could find no place safe. Returning to the City of Great Salt, I had resolved to meet my doom like a man. (Hiding in my easy chair with the remote control) Imagine my horror when the Great City of Salt is awarded a great sporting activity (the 2002 winter Olympics) I had no choice I had to leave my beloved City of Great Salt for warmer and safer environs. I was drawn to the Disneyland area to seek refuge. What was I thinking of, did I mention I was being hunted by rodents? I could not explain why I felt the compulsion to move there. It was like a moth to a flame.

OK this is where the “we” finally stumbles into my hectic, one-step ahead of sure doom life. It is here that I meet the “a” part of raballard. It was actually love at first site (for me, it took some time to convince “a” she was in love), I had to be cautious, I had already met two fair maidens in previously, only to find out they were magically transformed toads, and working for the Black Realm.

“A” finally falls in love with me, at that time she had not been informed about my dangerous life, we get married and live happily ever after. Wrong. Oh, don’t get me wrong “we” are happy and very much in love, it is just the after part that gets a little iffy. Soon after the marriage my nemesis evil toads, rodents, etc discovered us. We are forced to flee our happy, sunny home. Salvaging only a meager amount of our belongings, (it filled a very large moving van)

It is in our new home, in the “Show me State” I tell “a” about the dangers involved in being married to an enemy of the Black Realm. “A” showing her true colors (and proving she was not a magically transformed toad) tells me that we needed to tell the world about the evil Black Realm, It was our moral duty to inform the world. Are you ready for this; this is where “a” shows her shear genius. Write the story “r” she told me, but write it for young adults and middle grade readers. They will believe. I still marvel at her wisdom.

There you have my, our story, hope you have enjoyed.

Next blog “Literary Agents, professional ignorers? Or employees of the Black Realm”

Till next time, Readers