What is happening?

Got up in my pretty usual mode of being totally awake and unable to stay in bed, so, I did the right thing, I got up.

After brushing my teeth and such, I went downstairs, started the coffee process, and then went into the family room to check on the progress of the upgrading of my iPhone software.  I am convinced I have an iTunes/laptop issue and it was still “processing” just as it was when I went to bed.  So I force a shutdown and reconnected.  At this point it said I needed to do a “system restore” which was just what I expected.  I tried more than once and now it says there is some unknown error.  This is why I don’t like to update, this has been happening since my previous phone and it is making my laptop (which I am writing on) look more suspicious.

Once Mikey gets up I am going to grab my netbook, used mainly for travel, and see if I can find success restoring my iPhone with its iTunes.  Since Mikey’s possessions are still in California, I have lent him this computer for the time being, it was just sitting around anyway since I am no longer working much for the language lab company, if at all.  It has iTunes on it so maybe that will be the answer to my issues.

I can only hope so.

I did get an e-mail from George Washington (my former boss) regarding some training that he wants me to do in Batavia, far west of the city.  He had asked me if I had heard from the teachers.  Originally I had and fielded their issues by forwarding their concerns to the IT people working for the company.  Of late, that is something I do frequently.  Then I had heard nothing from the school.  He wants me to contact them.  I told him I thought we should wait a bit, I know they are anxious to get back to work now that their Windows 7 vs. the language lab software issues are now in check, but they are usually good about contacting me when they need help. I reminded him that it is final exam time, so that is probably why they aren’t following up on it.

Anyway, this morning is not exactly promising to be a fun day.

I may have to hit the Apple Store, once again to deal with those issues if I am unsuccessful with my netbook.  The good news here is that today is the game between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears.  I am probably one of the few males around who has no major plans to sit in my easy chair and spend time watching the progress of that contest.  I am not into watching sports on TV, something that inhibits my conversations with fellow males.  I am finally at a point in my life where my inability to have a conversation about something that doesn’t interest me is no longer an issue. I am who I am.  I am remiss here; however, “inability” is the wrong choice of words.  I usually just have “passed over” doing somewhat of a fake when I respond to the typical sports’ related questions.  I have gotten darn good at it.  My sons pretty much follow my path but they do it far better than I do.  They have learned just enough to be able to do it more convincingly. Due to college, they might have some interest, anyway, in their alma mater’s teams and actually do watch occasionally. They also have a much better version of the “I really don’t care what others think” sentiments than I have had in the past, but I am much better at that than ever before.  Somehow, I sense there are more guys like me out there than anyone might realize!

Did I mention that this is not going to be a fun day?  Well, just about thirty minutes ago, the phone rang and I picked it up.  It was the local police calling to speak to me.  They asked me if I was Mary Nylund’s son.  They even got my first name wrong.  Given the amount of times they have called and that we have had the same conversation, this surprises me.  Then again, it doesn’t, because I remember what and whom they are dealing with, my mother-in-law.  Poor soul that she is, at the age of ninety-one and a half, living alone in an apartment less than a mile away, suffering from dementia and the other mental issues she has had most of her life that were never dealt with, and we get the news that once again she has fallen and is being taken by ambulance to the hospital.  At the risk of seeming to be cold-hearted, I must say that my mother-in-law’s hobby has always been her health related, medical issues.  They are the driving force of her existence, her claim to fame, and her way of getting attention. Years ago, this phone call would have elicited a different response from us, but the frequency of the, as I call it, “hangnail/911/Emergency room” calls has changed our reactions.  Through the years we had asked my in-laws to please call us before dialing 911, but that was rarely the case.  They were the local 911 “frequent flyers” and so when I received the call today, Mary Kay and I agreed that we would wait a bit before going to the hospital.  My father-in-law, God rest his soul, enabled the poor lady and by taking care of her real and perceived needs not only paved her way to being Queen of Highland Park’s ER but also undid himself and frankly undid his own fragile health.  He has been gone for over a year, my mother-in-law still calling us frequently to ask where he is. She incessantly thinks he is out drinking with our oldest son.  Amusing since I never saw him have more than two beers at a sitting and that was only when we “forced” them upon him at our house since he wasn’t allowed to have anything but non-alcoholic beer at home.  I say “forced” because that way “Nana” pretty much had to leave the situation alone since we had instigated it.

Mary Kay did receive a call from Nossi, the sweet caretaker (who my mother-in-law, despite her dementia, and still having a wicked streak, calls “Nazi”) who told us that she was currently in the apartment and felt that my mother-in-law was fine.  We figure she will be out of the hospital by early afternoon.

We needed to get over there anyway as the lovely Senior Apartments have been undergoing renovations on an apartment by apartment basis for years.  We know that since, until about a year ago, my mom had a beautiful apartment there as well and we were acquainted with the situation.  The kitchen is getting redone and we knew that we had to get over there to remove everything from the cupboards so that they could do the work. 

So, despite the fact that we thought we had a calm day here, between my silly iPhone issues and my mother-in-law, we are going to have fun.  Really?

How early is it appropriate to have a glass of Scotch?  The funny thing here is that I am about as close to a teetotaler that you can get and I ask this question!

Oh, wait, where is my blood pressure checking equipment?  I need to check that, but perhaps I should wait until later.

I just went to find the granola for breakfast.  I realized that some may think that I have made up these stories.  The scary thing is that they are only the tip of the iceberg.

Did I mention that Mary Kay is doing crossword puzzles right now?  Are we coldhearted? 



The picture says it all!

The picture says it all. Samantha’s gift to the Koerner family is moving and growing! Her sniffles have managed to hit just about everyone. A bit of life, that is what it is.

We are thus relegated to fighting the cold that has attacked us. So, this morning, after my coffee, some nice herbal tea was had to make me feel a bit better.

It is Wednesday so I attacked my Wednesday jobs so that I can rest up. I shall use this as an excuse to chill out a bit, that is, if I can pull that off. One slight moment of feeling better and who knows what task I might attack. My normal tasks include watering the plants, removing dead leaves, pulling down the wind up cables of the grandfather clock. I have switched this job to Wednesday from Sunday that way I feel Sunday can be a bit more of a day of rest!

I do have some tutoring to do today, pretty much finish up the pre-finals work that will most assuredly dwindle into little tutoring. That remains to be seen.
It is horribly icy out, the warmer day yesterday was just enough to cause everything to freeze in a sheet of ice. It is snowing lightly.

I just cleaned up some computer files (I have to clean something!) and intend to do something decadent, like read a book or maybe even do something I haven’t done in a long while, do a crossword puzzle.


Swimming meditation revisited

Today I went swimming for my exercise and unfortunately or fortunately, I was surrounded by more noise than one could believe.  I had neglected to think about the fact that private swimming lessons would be going on today and the gym had set aside one lane for laps. 

I had mistakenly thought that no one was in there when I spied the keys given out for the pool area from the desk when I signed in to the gym.  When I arrived there, the parents (all dads) and swim instructors were there with a lot of little ones, all about Samantha’s age, about two.  In the past, I always amused the gym desk personnel as I would run over to the pool area before checking in, seeing that there was a lane free.  I found that it doesn’t really matter so I gave that up.  Now they have less to be amused by…lol!

So I went in and I thanked my lucky stars that I am a master of tuning out extraneous noises because there was a loud cacophony of noise from the children, even one who screamed for ten minutes straight.  I used to drive people crazy when I was younger because my study habits did not need silence.  I actually liked to have a TV or radio on and I would just tune it out as I studied.  I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone, but that is just the way it is for me.

So, my meditations went on with the noise and that was fine.  My only disappointment was when, toward the end of my stint in the pool, someone asked to share and once again I had to swim with the professionals.  It was particularly hard since the lane was the one with the ladders. 

Mikey and I discussed my swim (or lack thereof) technique and we both came to the same conclusion.  Although I don’t swim the standard stroke, I still get an “interesting” workout and perhaps the workout isn’t as important as the meditative quality of what I am doing.

I came home and took my blood pressure and it was lower than it has been all week, so I am happy. Now for the rest of my day, I am wondering what the tutoring sessions shall bring!

Day Thirteen of Daddy Boot Camp

So, we have arrived at day thirteen of Daddy Boot Camp.  Life is settling into the routine that it seems my body and personality so crave.  Am I totally comfortable with the new routine?  Yes and No.  Do I miss the old routine?  Yes and No.  Has it been smooth?  Very, with a minor blip or two along the way.  Frankly, if there were none, I would be worried.

I think that blips are sometimes blown out of proportion.  Blips are a necessary part of the healing process and are part of just about any process. I have counseled countless parents over the years who complained or worried about their “normal” kids because they would have an issue or two, not be as academically motivated as they should, or just not be as “perfect” as the kid next door.  My take is that the mini issues are a normal part of growing up and that the so called perfect ones are the ones I would really worry about. So often that “perfection” hides some very scary things that might surface at a later time.

Although a blip might well be unpleasant, it is necessary and it must be dealt with and not shoved under the proverbial rug.

It is cold outside and the heat seems to be going nonstop since early in the morning when our house started to warm up again after its thermostatic setback for the night.  Ali is sleeping in a semi awake pose at my feet as I look out the window as I write. She is getting ready to greet the rest of the family when they wake up and come downstairs.

Mike has pretty much been cooking up a storm here.  He has always loved to cook and he does it extremely well; it is also a great way to heal as you creatively mold the food items into a sparkling dinner array that soothes the soul, and it really does.

It is going to be a somewhat busy day.  I have three tutoring sessions in French today in the afternoon to attend to.  Tutoring is a most amazing experience at times as you see the light bulb go on in a student’s head as he/she finally understands the concept. It can be deadly as well when you are tutoring someone who is being tutored because the parent is unhappy over the French grades and yet the student hasn’t bought in.  As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to the water but you cannot force it to drink.  One thing I try to impart is the love of the language and culture in general.  Sometimes, that is lost in the usual French class and as a tutor I can actually easily inject that in the one on one situation. 

The most important thing I need to impart when tutoring is confidence which leads to motivation.  When the confidence isn’t there, and it usually isn’t when I have to tutor someone, the language learning is severely impacted. I find so often that the students just really think that they cannot handle it and I remind them that millions of less than brilliant French children learn to speak French every day!  Perhaps they shall not all reach French speaking nirvana, but they can earn to communicate well, if they have the inclination.  For some reason, in our teaching of things, the one thing we could truly work more on is in intimidating them less. 

I have mentioned that things happen for a reason in my life and I am currently reading a book by one of Christian’s friends from high school, Sum Lucid by Jason Shimberg.  Jason explains that the title is in Latin and means “I am sane.” I find it to be a therapeutic moment and my understanding is that his writing served that very purpose for him.  Jason acknowledges the fact that he is bipolar and has had an often frightful journey through life reaching his tender age of the early thirties.  He talks of “incarceration and hospitalization” and helps the reader experience the pain of living in a society that neither understands nor accepts his situation.  Last night as I was lying in my bed with my therapeutic night read before going to sleep I chanced upon a sentence in his book of prose intermingled with poetry that clearly is sitting in my head, “I was in and out of psych wards like balanced people go through socks.”  I just keep wondering about all of the various issues that arise as we journey through life and keep questioning why we cannot learn to better deal with them.

Jason’s book is not one that I would ever normally pick up and read, it is not my genre.  Given that he is a friend of my son’s, I made sure to purchase a copy and see what it is all about.  I am so glad I did.  Not only is it an interesting read, it gives so much insight into the plight of a really good, talented, intelligent individual.  He is trying to make his way through life and finds that there are a million roadblocks above and beyond his actual illness, roadblocks that probably inevitably destroy most people, but as I can see, will not destroy him.  He has the human spirit necessary to heal and to help others at the same time.  He has figured out what he needs to do.  He is helping himself, helping people who are bipolar, and others like me who are dealing with different, yet similar issues.

Mary Kay is up, the little coffee left in my Christmas mug is no longer hot, yet it still tastes good to me as I sip it bit by bit.  Snow is falling lightly and although the sun isn’t shining, it is one beautiful day in the northern suburbs of Chicago.  Life goes on and it is still good!

Une lettre à nos amis français


Mes chers amis,

Ici tout va bien et il faut certainement me pardonner le retard en répondant à votre message.  Chez les Koerner il y avait pas mal de choses arrivées pendant la saison de Noël. 

D’abord je dois commencer avec les nouvelles que l’entreprise Koerner, Koerner Enterprises n’est plus.  A mon avis, nous pouvons tous remercier notre ancien Président Bush qui nous a joué un très mauvais tour. Cela continue malheureusement assez mal et le chômage est affreux.  Christian a tout de suite trouvé quelque chose afin d’avoir un salaire de quelque sorte.  Richie va continuer à faire à peu près la même chose…et pendant cette saison il enlève la neige, heureusement notre endroit semble toujours avoir de la neige,  Richie et Emily (sa fiancée) habitent dans la maison des parents de Mary Kay.  La mère de Mary Kay habite dans le même immeuble où ma mère habitait avant de déménager…actuellement elle habite dans une maison de retraite tout près de Deerfield.  La photo a été prise le 9 janvier, le jour après son anniversaire.

La mère de Mary Kay crée toujours pas mal de drame.  La démence qu’elle a se montre presque tous les jours, la mémoire qui ne fonctionne pas très bien et un très mauvais côté où elle se montre toujours très fâchée avec n’importe qui…

Et puis, des manques de communication avec Mikey en Californie…La famille a été totalement ensemble au mois d’avril à San Diego.  C’était magnifique sur la côte de l’ouest mais moins d’un mois après ces vacances Mikey nous a annoncé le divorce.  Le problème est que Kt, malgré tous les efforts de Mikey et également de la famille, se montrait très  étrange et semblait souffrir des maladies mentales pas soignées des médecins.  Résultat:  Mikey ne communiquait pas bien avec nous malgré nos efforts et se sentait très seul…il commençait à se droguer. L’ambiance californienne est telle que ce résultat arrive assez facilement (nous, dans le midwest, nous disons toujours que la Californie est un autre pays, un bon endroit pour visiter mais non pas pour y vivre…

Mikey était prévu venir chez nous à Thanksgiving, ce qui n’est pas arrivé, puis il me demandait toujours de changer son billet d’avion…Il est enfin rentré le 15 décembre, un jour après son vingt-sixième anniversaire…malade, mais nous ne savions pas encore pourquoi…

Il nous disait que c’était un virus, en réalité il était victime de l’oxycodone (je crois que c’est le nom en français, normalement oxycontin en anglais).  Il est venu sans drogues croyant qu’il pourrait s’en tirer tout seul, mais plusieurs jours après son arrivée il nous a dit la vérité.  Nous avons parlé à nos médecins et dimanche nous sommes allés aux Urgences.  Lundi, grâce à Dieu, nous lui avons trouvé une place dans une clinique.  Il y a passé deux semaines.

La bonne chose, seulement un mois et demi de ces drogues.  C’était sa décision de rentrer sans drogues et de se guérir.  Dans la photo vous verrez Mikey comme il est actuellement.  Il habite avec nous, nous allons en Californie retrouver ses affaires à la fin du mois et il va recommencer une vie normale.  Nous sommes tous contents qu’il soit revenu mais franchement cet épisode nous a traumatisé tous.  En réaction à cela, la famille a re-souffert des traumatismes émotionnels de la fin de l’Entreprise Koerner.

Heureusement tout le monde nous soutient et nous essayons de nous débrouiller avec les problèmes mis dans nos mains.

J’écris un blogue, si vous vous intéressez jamais (c’est en anglais, des fois en français) vous pouvez retrouver ce site internet:  koernerr.wordpress.com

J’ai reçu un message de Christine…à mon insu elle lisait mon blogue et je dois dire que les événements qui nous sont arrivés sont détaillés là, nous sommes ouverts et des incidents de notre vie familial peuvent y être vus.

En espérant que tout va bien chez vous et que vous aurez une année pleine d’espoir, de bonté, de bonheur, et de bonne santé!


Cherchant le calme près de la cheminée


Searching for calm by the fire is my title for the day. It is about eight o’clock as I sit and sip my eight o’clock freshly brewed coffee and sit in the old armchair next to the fire.  I am, once again, searching for calm.  It is day seven of Daddy Boot Camp.

I don’t mean to give the impression that I am a total bundle of nerves or an emotional mess.  Not that I shouldn’t be, mind you, but I am not.  I find that I am perhaps more dramatic as I sit and let my fingers fly on the keyboard.  I find that that, in and of itself, is calming.

I am planning on Al-Anon, I believe the meeting is in the same church where I spent so many years as Advancement Chairman for the boys’ boy scout troop.  I think it will be helpful.

I took my blood pressure and it seems to be a somewhat reasonable, for me, reading at 126/62.  I have already started a fire in the beloved fireplace that inspired my tale of the Arrow to Ugliness.  The Westminster chimes are mysteriously still operational.  Is that a good omen?  I do think so.

The coffee is soothing.  I am one of those odd people who really doesn’t crave coffee for the caffeine, my body seems to produce that in abundance and it is incredibly mirrored in Michael as he flits about the house in a seemingly energizer bunny mode (so typical of a Koerner) and inhales food every step of the way. 

Yesterday gave way to yet more discussions, discussions that continue to lead toward healing and the long sought after catharsis.  When I started writing this blog, I included the word in the title; I must have known something was going to come to pass.

We continually have more ideas as to how to sew up this passage of time into the family annals, ideas have sprung giving us more thoughts on how we are going to take charge of the California situation and bring Mikey’s possessions home.  Thoughts on U-Haul versus UPS are still up in the air and frankly I think that we just need to be out there to assess the situation.

My sleeping was somewhat odd, the preceding night I was dreaming and a recurring name kept going through my head:  Garesh Speyerling (Speierling?).  Go figure!  I googled the name to no avail.  The mind is a strange thing.  This past night I kept smelling vegetable soup.  Finally, around six I turned to Mary Kay and asked her if she smelled anything.  Here is something I have never understood in the case of evolution.  Why is it that I have a long nose and yet it is pretty non-functional when it comes to truly discerning smells?  You would think that I would have a career in perhaps, wine tasting, or something on that order.  Yet, Mary Kay is far more proficient in that area. Anyway, she didn’t smell anything.  Makes a person feel crazy. Later, as she was doing her toilette, she suddenly smelled vegetable soup.  We still haven’t figured it out.  We wondered if it might be the sautéed onion from last night’s steak dinner. 

We are all now awake.  We are sitting in the living room, listening to the crackling fire and enjoying the ticking of the clock as we read the Sunday paper and continue to sip on our fresh coffee.

Outside it is cold and brisk.  There are still a few miniscule mounds of dirty snow, reminding us, along with the cold, that it is still winter. This reminds me that I need to take care of my boot situation so that maybe I can get in some cross country skiing.

Christian came over and he and Mikey are going to ice skate in the local park.  Hopefully the Park District will have gotten its act together and not done the usual illogical preparation of the ice rink.  I remember so well hearing that they took hoses and shot the water up into the air one year with a result that there were mini mounds on the sheet of ice in the ice rink.  It is amazing how sometimes easy things become ridiculously hard!

Partying is on for Grandma K’s 90th birthday.  I took her flowers yesterday and stayed with her for a bit. I asked her nurses if she even knew it was her birthday.  She has dementia, but not to the point that she doesn’t recognize who you are.  Once we knew that dementia was taking hold we were able to get her on Aricept.  In her case, the Aricept has made her dementia level off and not get worse. Calendar stuff like birthdays and such are pretty much meaningless to her.  Her nurses told me that she had no clue it was her birthday.  It turns out they had serenaded her and that is how she found out.  That makes me happy.  Having her in the nursing home makes me sad, especially since on Medicaid, it is hard to have a nice facility.  Her location is wonderful, however, as it is not truly beautiful in atmosphere, but everyone is nice and caring.

We have a room set aside and we are going to bring in her favorite coconut pie to fête her ninety years.  The Cleveland contingent is unable to come in but the Chicago area group will all be there: three grandsons, and the great granddaughter. It will be a nice day for her.

I am sitting too far from the fire and need to get closer; Mikey had taken my place near the fire when he descended from his cool bedroom lair.  One thing he has found hard to deal with is the thermostat settings we have in the winter that pretty much demand that you be in good sweaters.  We keep the temp way down at night.  California and Texas people have difficulty adjusting to it.

Signing off for now, breakfast is looming and I need to warm my toes before then…

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Life is good!

My original title for this entry was, “Control Revisited, Day Four.  By the end of my written meditation, a visual came into my mind that I am sharing with you at the end of this article. For some reason, control is the one thing I think about more than anything.  I am totally convinced that control is one of the biggest parts of our lives. I really wonder how many people are aware of the power and influence that control has in their lives.  It is a two pronged item, one being the control that others and situations have on us and the other being our need for control to satisfy our own needs.

I think learning to deal with both aspects of control is so important to much of our happiness.  When it is a situation of the control that life and people have over us, it is important to be aware of it and to be able to manage to be happy with it and in spite of it.  There are so many things over which we have absolutely no control.  Not realizing it often makes us unbearably unhappy, on the other hand, being aware of it can allow for complete happiness, if we are so inclined.  It is so important to be able to objectively look at life situations and to say to oneself, “I cannot do anything about that, I need to modify my needs and/or compromise my wants.”  Tragedies, deaths, catastrophes are all things over which we often have no control.  We need to deal with them and move on.  This is not to say that we should see things occurring and just lie down on the train tracks and wait for the locomotive to arrive, but it means that we must recognize when our actions will have no import over them. I firmly believe that too many people just don’t get this concept.  Thinking with a clear mind and trying to visualize the total picture helps so much in terms of understanding what we can and cannot change. I recall in my teaching career the rabidity with which certain people would demand things that would directly impact my life.  Sometimes, they were just stupidly annoying as I could see that these demands were nothing more than people trying to satisfy their own egos and not really concerned with the students they were serving.  I realized that battles must be chosen carefully.  If the students were to be negatively affected by the needs of these individuals then I would allow my hackles to rise and prepare for a battle.  On the other hand, if the effect on the others was negligible and/or unimportant, and it was just the others’ inherent needs to satisfy themselves, sometimes I just let it be.  The fight is not always worth it.  Being able to recognize the feelings and needs behind their motivation is oh so important and thus allowed me to decide what to do, to move on, and to let go of my need for control.

I like to think that I can recognize my need for control and to deal with it appropriately.  It is not always easy to let go, but once again, if you can objectively look at the situation, it is easier to do.  When something is really important for you, it is certainly harder to let go.  It is important, however, to see the total picture so that you can make a decision.

Control came to mind today as I fight my need to control as we are in day four of my so called Daddy Boot Camp.  I am a parent, a father, and I so want to take matters into my own hands and “heal and make appropriate changes” in my son’s situation.  He is an adult. I can offer counsel if he wants it, I can give my opinion, when necessary, but in the end I have absolutely no control.  It is this acknowledgement that made me realize that locking the wine and other alcoholic beverages away is nothing more than a silly idea.  It is not that I want to make my son’s life and choices difficult but I am aware that no matter what I do, that these choices are going to jump out at him in every aspect of his life.  What I can do is support, be there for him, and do my best to try and be aware of all that I can do to appropriately help him as he and I, along with the rest of the family, recover from  this unexpected (to me) nightmare.  I had a glass of wine last night, he even cooked with wine and I couldn’t help but think, “Am I doing the right thing?”  I keep returning to the idea that honestly I have no control and although there are things that I should and need to do, there are also things that I might do just to satisfy my own need to control, but that it might be nothing more than a negative.

One of my pet peeves in life is seeing people who “Grab defeat from the jaws of victory,” my own switch of a well known statement.  It makes me want to cry when I see people, and I have seen them in my classroom, among my peers, and in my family, take what seems to be a perfectly wonderful life and situation, not be able to see it clearly, and make the decisions that will inevitably negatively impact them and their lives.  It makes you want to take them and give them a whack on the side of their heads.  I realize that that will not work.  If they cannot see it, they are going to have to live with their decisions.  I guess I am saying I find it hard to relate to the people who continually see the glass half empty.  I myself have been there but I didn’t enjoy that philosophy so I fought my nature and did my utmost to see things otherwise.  I also realized that anger and negativity works against us in a destructive fashion most of the time, I would much rather take the anger and use it in a positive way, to get something beneficial.  Although I try to do this, I still fall victim to holding, what my wife calls, “grudges” that I hold on to tenaciously.  I tend to see this differently.  I don’t see them so much as grudges, per se, but as situations where someone has perhaps treated me a certain way, I deal with it, but I am never, ever going to allow it to occur in the future and I thus “write them off.” 

Yesterday started out a bit rough from poor sleep for Mikey, but today is better, he realizes that without drugs that his fast metabolism needs to be properly stoked at night so that his body has enough protein to calmly get through the night. My home made granola spiked with some chocolate apparently fits that bill and he just came down to tell me that he had a much better night.  I hope that this is a sign of where the recovery is, but I reminded him that he may still have bouts of less than perfect sleep and that he has to be prepared for this.

Once again, we had good communications about all sorts of issues, from his recovery to his plans for the future and bit by bit we are piecing the puzzle pieces together to make good use of our time. Not that I had huge plans on my mind for what I am doing at present, but I feel somewhat like my life is on hold.  It is easy for me to see that the loss of my full time job to the recession may well have been a good thing.  I am able to do so many things we could not otherwise do.  Being here for Mikey is one of them and I thank my lucky stars that I am able to do this.  Life is so interesting, it is an amazing journey.

I so want to be able to wave my magic wand and make everything perfect, assure myself that my sons are all on positive journeys and happy.   Coming back to the control issue, I realize again that my input into that situation was when the boys were younger and that now I have a much lesser role.  As a parent, however, we so want to be able to make positive changes for people, especially when it is clear to us about what needs to be done.  I know that we cannot change and/or repair people.  My biggest disappointment in teaching that I learned early on is that there are people we cannot reach, cannot help, and that we are forced so often to stand by the sidelines and watch as we see them flounder.  That is the way it is.  I recall the hurt when a student would complain to me that I wasn’t meeting his/her needs and even more hurt when he/she would say something to the effect that I didn’t like him/her.  That cut to the quick.  You just cannot reach everyone, no matter how hard you try.

I also keep coming back to my philosophy that no matter how bad a situation is, that there is something good that can be taken from it.  That is always the case.  It is purely a question of how we view things. 

I have not mentioned anything this year about New Year’s resolutions.  I seriously do have a few, but overall I have one major one, and that is to be the best person I can be, to be there for everyone in whatever way I can, and to realize that sometimes I just have absolutely no control and I just have to accept.  So be it. 

Years ago, Mikey got a hold of a magic marker.  He took a jar of skin cream that he needed for some reason at the time, and wrote on it of his own volition, “Life is good.”  He was and is oh so right.  We saved that jar, relegating it to a spot in a bathroom cabinet.  We couldn’t let go of it and the Koerner family needs to take a long look at it and absorb its message.   We just all need to recognize it and make the best of what we are given and do our utmost to give back.