Behind every great man, there's a great woman....rolling her eyes, shaking her head, crossing her arms, and tapping her foot. Hi everybody! Welcome to another week in Paradise. I'd like to dedicate this blog to my friend who's sitting right in front of me. She's typing as I dictate. I still can't really type, (nor could I type before, actually). Anyway, she's been doing this blog with me. It's been almost 3 years. You know, I always say I'm getting better, but I never really talk about what I'm getting better at. It's good to have goals. You know, a friend of mine is in the military and they have a program for their training. It's to get them through the rough stuff. It also applies to anyone going through surgery. It's basically a 4 step idea. It's something people should study before surgery and after surgery. The four steps are these: 1. Take each day step by step. In other words, get yourself through breakfast. Then get yourself through lunch. Then get yourself through dinner, etc., etc. What I mean is, break up your day. Have something to look forward to. 2. The other thing is visualize where you want to be. Have a strong vision or goal or challenges you're going to meet. 3. You know, we talk to ourselves all day long. We make comments to ourselves all the time. When you talk to yourself, talk positively. Talk to yourself in a positive way. Don't say things like, "I feel terrible," or "I have a headache." Say things like, "I feel good." or "I'm going to do this," or "I'm going to do that." Keep things positive. And the 4th thing is, breathe. Take deep breaths every once in a while. Just breathe.
You know, right now, I have a goal. I'm working towards traveling across the country taking photos. I'm going to stop and see my daughter along the way. But, you know, it's a huge challenge for me to travel like this. So my goal is to work up towards making this long journey. Right now I'm working on stepping up into my trailer. You see, I have to pull over every 4 hours or so and take a nap. Just talking like this is exhausting. So I'm working on stepping up into my trailer. You'd think that would be easy, but it is like an Olympic event for me. I'm even doing water therapy to get better at taking a step up. The other thing I'm doing is I'm taking small road trips in my special car. Right now I'm up to an hour, an hour and a half. It's to build up my endurance. But they won't let me drive for some reason...
Now that we're talking about therapy, I'd like to talk about altitude. You see, I can't go to altitude right now. That's why I'm planning on taking a southern route when I go west. I have to stay at sea level as much as possible. A friend of mine said, "How high can you go?" I replied, "I'll let you know." Anyway, I've got to stay at low altitude and I can't fly either. I'll research neurological ERs that are on my route. Always have back up, and remember, if you're in a condition like this, you'll always want an ER that has a neurological team. Many ERs have no neurological team.
Other things that are getting better, when I say I'm getting better, are I don't feel as claustrophobic as before. Before I couldn't even sleep in the dark. I would have to have a light on. I couldn't lie on my stomach. I'd freak out. Now I can lie on my stomach. It sounds boring, but I can guarantee it's a big deal when you're in a state like this.
OK, enough of the boring talk of my medical condition. Let's tell a few stories. My friend here has some scans from Nevis. I went on a great shoot to Nevis. One of the better moments was I had the afternoon off so I decided to go to the driving range and hit a few golf balls. I didn't have anything with me like clubs or stuff like that so I called the front desk. They said, "Oh, Mr. Nice, you want to go to the driving range? No problem. We'll pick you up in 10 minutes." In ten minutes a golf cart showed up with a pitcher of cold water. The golf cart and the chauffeur took me to the driving range. When I got there, it was amazing. they had an umbrella set up for me, a chair, a pitcher of water and ice, a towel, a beautiful stack of golf balls in the form of a pyramid. A full range of golf clubs, some tees. You get the idea. It was a first class driving range. Oh yeah, I had a butler as well. My view was amazing. There was a long fairway with palm trees on either side, going off into the distance, and at the end of the fairway was a volcano. The butler said, "Would you like anything sir?" I said, "Yes, actually, I'd like an extra dirty martini, 2 olives in a chilled glass." It was a great afternoon.
Now I'll tell a few random stories. When I was in college, my roommate had a friend. This guy would always hang out. He was like a piece of furniture. The guy would show up in his car which was a car that I always wanted. It was a 442 Oldsmobile Cutlass, cherry red with mag wheels. It was a convertible. Anyway, the guy would show up with a bunch of video games in his car like PacMan, Astroids, etc. He worked at a game store repairing video games. Our whole apartment was filled with video games. You know, like the ones they have in bars. Anyway, my neighbors hated me because all you heard was "hoooo hoooo hooo" the sounds of PacMan and Astroids. It sounded like a gaming arcade 24/7. We had fun though. Thank god I was a photography major.
The reason why I went back to Australia many years ago was not only to start my career as a photographer, but I went there because I loved the place. My grandfather and grandmother used to go there all the time. My grandfather would go to the middle of Australia, mine for black opals, and bring them to Hong Kong to sell. With the money he made in Hong Kong, he bought a ranch in northern Australia. He wanted to start a macadamia nut farm. I used to go there a lot. It was a great place. Anyway, one of my fondest memories was he brought me to the rain forest to pan for gold. Well, we used to always go into this specific spot. It was a stream in the rain forest. It was beautiful. Shafts of light would come down to the stream as we were panning for gold. And the shafts of light, huge butterflies, like the size of your head, could dance in the shafts of light. It was beautiful. Anyway, I went back to there as an adult. I wanted to show my wife at the time were we used to pan for gold. I couldn't believe I found the stream, but it was all dried up. There was actually no trees. No rain forest. It had been cleared as far as the eye could see. All there was was bull grass. It makes me teary eyed just to think about it.
Anyway, now there's a big dam where the rain forest used to be. Those dam forms made a huge man made lake. My friend used to take me water skiing there. The guy was crazy. He'd say, "Come on mate. Let's ski close to the shore. The water's really smooth there, but don't fall because there are ironwood trees right below the surface." The trees never rotted because they are ironwood, a really dense wood. They were like 4 feet under, but every once in a while one would be close to the surface. It was good incentive not to fall. It was fun there, but there were things like giant spiders, big poisonous snakes. I could go on and on. It was a beautiful place though. I miss it. I wish I could go back there. The stars were incredible.
Anyway, that's about it for this week. If you're like I am, keep working hard. Stay positive. Oh yeah, I wanted to say one other thing. It's so weird but I keep saying how the body wakes up, you know this has been going on for like 3 years now, but it's as if, over the past year or so, I'm waking up more and more and more. It keeps going on. But I'm definitely more aware. I keep saying it, and I've said it before, but it's amazing. I can't believe the stuff I've been through. A lot of shit. Maybe ignorance is bliss, cause I'm starting to get positively pissed off. Anyway, see you next week. Love, B. Nice