A Kick to the List

October 5, 2008

I have several dozen regular readers on this site; I’m not sure who they are or what drove them here and I know that 60 people a day does not a blog-star make.  But for those who are following the journey, I apologize for being offline for a while.

About a month ago my wife and I experienced the loss of an unborn child.  It was quite mellowing and if not for the incredible supports our families – both through blood and through the church – have provided I could see how so many people could end up in a world of hurt that lasts for ages when they lose a baby.

It is hard coming back and seeing things about family and children and growing our family as things that I want to chase, and I really wanted to make sure that this whole thing meant the same to me.

I know that we are taken care of (everything you need has been provided) and there is nothing on the list that will change the course of humanity or make my kids love me more or make my marriage stronger or even necessarily make a difference in anyone else’s life but my own.  Though I just started this journey, I need to make sure that I’m actually tracking somewhere that my kids can be looked after, that I connect with and the community inside and outside of my church life, that my wife and I find peace and happiness and where something bigger than pain lives.

We were so blessed to have the love shared with us as we struggled with the loss.  I guess what I’m looking for now is a way to share that experience with other people, and that in chasing this list that I actually find ways to do that.

Baby Chambers, you are with your Father now and I can’t wait to meet you when I get home…

Curing Diabetes

July 27, 2008

This is one of the toughest items to knock off my list.

To be clear here, I’m talking about Type 1 Diabetes, the insulin-dependant kind that is a result of having part of your pancreas killed by your immune system. 

I am the father of a Type 1 Diabetic.  My now-six-year-old son was four when he was diagnosed.  Two years – and over 6000 needles later – we parent in a way that we hope will instill in our son a sense of self-belief, a sense that he can manage the disease and live a long, healthy life.

I don’t rightly believe that I, myself, can cure diabetes.  But I believe I can help.

Next year I am embarking on cycling trip that will span 2500 kilometers (about 1550 miles) in 21 days, stopping in schools and visiting service clubs and media along the way.  We’ll be talking about Type 1 Diabetes, what it is like to live with the disease, to raise awareness of the JDRF and to raise $100,000 for research in finding the cure. You can find out more about our quest at http://www.bikingforacure.com

Still, even if we meet all our goals, it won’t necessarily mean that I can stroke this one off.  It may very well be the one that lingers on for five years…a decade…maybe more.

My son is a bright, energetic kid who will make the most of his life.  He already knows to make good with what he’s got – bloom where you’re planted – and he’s got a great support network around him to help him take this thing by the reigns and keep it in control.  He tests his own blood sugar, he’s great at taking needles and I don’t know of any other six year olds that can guestimate carbs per serving quite like he does.

Guess I don’t suppose I think I should…

Still, it’s hard to know that over his head looms the risk of heart disease, organ failure, coma, DKA.  Every time he sighs in his sleep you wake up wondering if his blood sugars are crashing.  I don’t want this for my son.

I don’t want this for my son…and so it’s on my list.

In 2003 I submitted a proposal to MSDN Magazine called “The Depths of Regular Expressions”.  They accepted the proposal and had me write 5000 words (plus code and related projects) for an upcoming issue.

I worked hard, researched the topic intensely, got very active in forums and even made my first deadline!  Feedback was very positive and the editor said he was looking into placement as soon as possible.

About six months later I sent an inquiry as to the status of my article, which had not yet been published.  About two weeks after that I got an apology; my article didn’t really fit their current line of content.

I never did get a release so I wasn’t able to post the article anywhere else.  I also didn’t get the $150 cheque you’re supposed to get as compensation for holding up the article…but no grudges held.  Burried in my boxes of things I haven’t looked at in years is my first ever publishing contract.

So, I changed my entry in the list.  This time, I want to write an article for MSDN Magazine that actually gets published.

Hey…I never said the list should be easy.

Starting Over

July 26, 2008

My wife and I have been talking about what it is we really want to do in life.  Big things.  I mean, there are things you want to do every day, like being a good parent, eating right, being a good neighbour (and everyone is your neighbour).  But those things are who you are, every day.

When I was a kid I made a list of things I wanted to do.  At first, it was things like riding a horse, or seeing Mount Rushmore, but it started to grow.  I had becoming an astronaut on the list, sky diving and more.

My list has changed – significantly, I might add – but Angie and I have decided that we are going to live our lives in such a way that we can be the people we want to be – good parents, good neighbours – and do the things that we had abandoned as unachievable.

So, today, I’m making a new start.  I have added a page to the site called The List.  I don’t yet have the courage to set a date for having these things completed, but I will get to that soon.