Travels to Portland, OR

In early November I had a work trip out to Portland, Oregon. I was excited. We were working an event with a great client and I was going to have a bit of free time to explore. I have never been to the Pacific Northwest and Portland was always one of those cities I thought would be great to live in.

flying into Portland
Flying into Portland was a beautiful. The sky was sunny allowing full view of the gorgeous terrain. After landing, it was another story - overcast and rainy.

After getting checked into the hotel my tummy was grumbling. Across the street was a Burgerville, an area fast food restaurant which uses only local ingredients. I slammed down a Blazers Burger before meeting up with the crew for the pre-production meeting.

I had a lot of beer bars and breweries to visit while in town and knew it wasn't possible to hit them all. I convinced the crew to come with me to the world renowned Horse Brass Pub for drinks and eats. Upon walking into this British style pub I instantly knew it would be amazing. The beer list was phenomenal loaded down with so many unique selections, mainly from Northwest. I drank plenty here including Alaskan Brewery 2010 Smoked Porter, Limped Brewery Old Tavern Rat Barleywine, Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin, Deschutes Los Meuertos Sour Wheat Ale, Ninkasi Oak Aged Renewal Porter and some delicious fish & chips. It's all about the breading! This place is a must stop for beer lovers.
inside the Horse Brass Pub

Since we were only a few blocks away we stopped by Belmont Station so we could pick up some bottles to take back to the hotel. By the time we got back another member of the crew finally arrived. He wanted to find a place to eat. So a couple of us went with him and ended up at McMenamin's on Broadway. I split some tasty Cajun Tots and sipped a Terminator Stout. It was getting late and we were all tired. Plenty of beer in my belly made me fall asleep with ease.

The next day we cranked out the set for the general session. Afterwards we went walking around the Broadway area and ate at a nice little eatery/bar called Aztec Willies. I took down a tamale, enchilada, chips, and washed it down with a Fort George Working Girl. This was election night and polls were running close. By the time I got back to my hotel room it was announced Obama had won.

Day three consisted of tweaking out general session, production run through of day one show, and helping the breakout crews get finished. We were still done at a decent time. A few of us decided to head out for foord and drinks. We ended up at Broadway Pub & Brewery. I ate a calzone about as big as my head and washed it down with a Pacific Porter, Smoked Lager, and a Black Magic. It's a decent place. 

The fourth day was a long one as we had general session in the afternoon, followed by rehearsals for the early morning session, and a set up/tear down for a magician. Plus there was the Colts at Jacksonville game many of us wanted to fit in. No real exploring occurred. 

Friday was my last day in town. We finished up with our morning session and had everything torn down and loaded by 1pm. It was time to head over the bridge and see some new places. A couple of guys made the trek with me. The first stop was food. We ended up at Kells Irish Pub. The beers started flowing early as lamb stew entered my system. The next stop was dessert at Voodoo Doughnut. Where else? It didn't take too long to move through the long line. I ended up buying three and ate one, the bacon maple bar. My stomach was so full of sweetness.

tasty treats from Voodoo Donuts

I still wanted to checkout Baileys Taproom and have a couple more beers. The other guys were tapping out. I dont blame them. It was only 4pm and we were all stuffed. I persevered and made it to Bailey's. I found a seat at the bar and ordered a Flattail Honeymoon Saison, the a sampler consisting of Maui Hawaii 90 Wee Heavy, Columbia River Paddler's Porter, Elysain Omen Stout, Ninkasi 2010 Critical Hit Barleywine, and a Silver Moon Twisted Gord. After a glass of Terry's Migration Porter my stomach felt like it was going to burst open. Plus I was starting to feel pretty good. Bailey's is a nice establishment with friendly bartenders and a mixed crowd.

walking over the bridge at night
The brisk early evening air did me good. I got back to the hotel around 6:30pm. I packed and just chilled out for awhile before heading down to the hotel bar for a couple of last drinks.

The next morning came and so do my ride to the airport. I had heard that PDX can be rather busy and take a long time to get through security so I arrived a couple of hours early. I was ticketed and inside the gate in under thirty minutes. I guess PDX isn't so bad a 7:30am on a Saturday. I walked around the terminal killing time. And ate an incredibly spicy sausage from Good Dog/Bad Dog. Soon after the journey back Fort Wayne began. 

one of my favorite signs

Portland is an incredibly unique city. I really enjoyed it out there. Great food and great beer culture and I met a few fine individuals as well. Plus I hear there are so many activities to do in nature, of which I did not have the time to partake. My previous thoughts were correct... I could make a this city my home. 
Maybe some day.

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Indianapolis Colts (2012 1st Half Recap)

At the beginning of the season I predicted the Colts season. Here's how I've done through the first eight games.


Week 1 (9/9): at Chicago Bears
Loss, 41-21
What Happened:By the end of the game Andrew Luck looked like a rookie throwing three interceptions and the defense folded quickly after a solid 1st quarter. The far superior Bears routed the Colts to a loss.
Prediction: Loss (0-1)
Actual Record: (0-1)

Week 2 (9/16): vs. Minnesota Vikings
Win, 23-20
What Happened: Solid offense gave this team the early. They got way too conservative with play calling in the 2nd half and allowed the Christian Ponder - Percy Harvin connection to take over the lead late. Luck makes a comeback and Viniterri kicks a last second, game winning FG.
Prediction: Win (1-1)
Actual Record: (1-1)

Week 3 (9/23): vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Loss, 22-17
What Happened: The Colts couldn't stop MJD who almost rushed for 200 yards. The Colts jumped to early lead but again came out flat in the 2nd half allowing Jacksonville to come. They missed a late FG, defense stepped up with a stop, offense moved the ball and hit a FG with under a minute left to take the lead, the defense immediately gave up a 80 yard TD pass, and then the offense tried to make it interesting by moving the ball into scoring position. They failed as time ran out and loss the game due to inexperience and foolish penalties.
Prediction: Win (2-1)
Actual Record: (1-2)

Week 4: Bye Week
Tough week as Coach Pagano was diagnosed with a form of Leukemia. He is lost for the season. The impact on the team will be interesting. 
Week 5 (10/7): vs. Green Bay Packers
Win, 30-27
What Happened: Colts got down early. Then the defense got ramped up and the offense started scoring. They got the lead late in the game. A bad decision on a fair catch, a three and out, followed by a long TD run gave the Packers a narrow lead with 4:00 left. Luck and Reggie Wayne seemed to will this team to a TD and the we saw the Pack shank a long FG attempt as time expires. An amazing game and a great victory.
Prediction: Loss (2-2)
Actual Record: (2-2)

Week 6 (10/14): at New York Jets
Loss, 35-9
What Happened: I stick by my statements that the Jets aren't a very good team. They did have home field pride going for them as they already lost their two previous home games. Coming into the game the Jets had many significant injuries. So did the Colts, which seems to be a theme every damn year. The Jets overcame those injuries and whipped the Colts handledly in what I think was this team's worst game of the season thus far. Indy looked completely unprepared. The defensive line couldn't stop anyone from running the ball. The offensive line could make holes to run the ball or give Luck time to pass. Plus the receivers had way too many drop balls, another theme this season. A terribly disappointing game which has the Colts still looking for their first road victory of the season
Prediction: Win (3-2)
Actual Record: (2-3)

Week 7 (10/21): vs. Cleveland Browns
Win, 17-13
What Happened: The Colts possible played their most complete team game of the season. Luck didn't have to throw out any last minute heroics, the run game was solid, run defense was outstanding, and special teams was fabulous. Cleveland hung around to end making the score a little closer than I would have liked but mental mistakes cost them in the end. A good game to build on.
Prediction: (4-2)
Actual Record: (3-3)

Week 8 (10/28): at Tennessee Titans
Win, 19-13
This game was ugly for both teams as silly mental mistakes proved costly. It also was a surprisingly low scoring affair despite both teams moving the ball quite well. Indy went into the half down by a TD, thanks to a blocked FG, but rallied and tied the game at the end of regulation. The won the toss, drove down the field on mostly running plays, and Vick Ballard scored one of the sweetest looking TD's on the season. The Colts win an important game within the division and equally important get their first road win of the season.
Predicted Record: (5-2)
Actual Record: (4-3)

Week 9 (11/4): vs. Miami Dolphins
What Happened: Another week against another young team searching for an identity due to new personnel. It's a common theme in the first half of the season. Miami hasn't done much to impress me in the pre-season. Well except trading Vonte Davis to the Colts. Today he makes the Dolphins wish they didn't and leads the Colt defense to its best performance of the season and the Colts to it's fourth straight win.
Predicted Record: W (6-2)
Actual Record: (5-3)

My Thoughts:
I'm one game off on my predictions. And I am more than fine with the how the first half has played out.

This team has played with more heart, character, and emotion than their talent level indicates. Call it #ChuckStrong or "Building a Monster" or what ever you want. But as a fan, I am gitty with enthusiasm.

Luck is every bit as good as advertising and if the receivers would stop dropping passes, his numbers would be even better. The run game has been adequate when the line blocks and heading in the mid-season the starters have yet to really play together due to injuries.
The defense is playing well enough. They have a lot of guys who are not suited to play this style of defense but are trying and over achieving. Again, injuries are hampering a lot of the squad's progress.

Heading into the second half one thing is plainly clear. The AFC has a lot of mediocre teams and the Colts play many of them. They are hitting stride and getting healthy at the right time. Also playing on the inspiration of Chuck Pagano may carry them right into the playoff.   

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Fringes of Horror

Just a reminded. 
If you enjoy the world of horror entertainment be sure to check out my Fringes of Horror  blog for quick reviews for the things which cross my path. Direct link can be found on the above tabs.

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Indianapolis Colts 2012 Predictions

My Outlook

For the first time in years I have been excited about the pre-season and I'm am overly amped up about the regular season. As a long time fan who sat through many bad teams from 1986-1998, I got rather complacent after the Colts won the Superbowl in 2008. 

Their was nothing to fear. Peyton would find a way to win between nine and thirteen games a year with a playoff run. No big reason to get worried about the regular season.

As we all know, that changed last year. The reset button was hit. The franchise went into complete overhaul. And while I will never get used to seeing Peyton Manning in a Bronco's jersey, letting him go was necessary. If the pre-season is any indication then there will be a lot to be excited about this year. 

Andrew Luck is the real deal. While I'm not going to pencil him down as one of the all time greats (yet) the team will be in good hands for years to come. The teams has some weapons and they have still holes which need to be addressed and both sides of the ball are still learning the philosophies. The team will learn and hopefully grow as the season progresses. 

And let's be honest, their schedule has several winnable games. This is how I see it playing out.

This franchise has put its success on the shoulders of a top tier quarterback for a number of years now. This time around it's not any different.

 The Season

Week 1 (9/9): at Chicago Bears
"Da Bears" look to have another solid team that will be in the hunt for the playoffs and possibly even the Championship. Their offense will put up some points. Playing at Soldier Field will be a test for a young Colt's team still coming together. I look for the Luck to lead a couple of scoring drives while under pressure all day long and not much help from a running game (sound familiar fans). In the end, Chicago is far too superior of a team and shows it in an easy win.
Record:  (0-1)

Week 2 (9/16): vs. Minnesota Vikings
The two keys in this game will be stopping Adrian Peterson, if he's back, and keeping Jared Allen from creaming Luck. I see these two teams being at about the same talent level. But it's the Colts home opener and I have a feeling they will be pumped which leads them to victory.
 Record: (1-1)

 Week 3 (9/23): vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Much like the Colts, the Jags are trying to find their new identity. If Maurice Jones-Drew is back in uniform then this becomes a much closer game. If he's not then it will still be a tough, physical game. It's just how these two usually play. But the Colts walk away with their second win. 
Record: (2-1)

Week 4: Bye Week
Time to regroup and get an extra week of practice in preparation for the mighty Pack!
Week 5 (10/7): vs. Green Bay Packers
It would take a miracle game of perfection for Indy to win against the Packers. I simply dont think the defense can stop Aaron Rogers from carving it up. Luck may have a decent game but it will be largely because of playing catch up. Green Bay wins easily.
Record: (2-2)

Week 6 (10/14): at New York Jets
Playing on the road in New York is never an easy task. The Jets have proved to me one thing this pre-season - they aren't a good team. They have an outstanding defense and a very suspect offense. 
This is a tough call but I say the Colts pull out a win.
Record: (3-2)

Week 7 (10/21): vs. Cleveland Browns
The Colts once again face a young team trying to find their identity. In this game Luck wins the battle of rookie QB's. The Browns simply just don't have the guns yet.
Record: (4-2)

Week 8 (10/28): at Tennessee Titans
An important division game against an old rivalry with a new look. The Titans are in the category as Indy, a young team with new coaches and philosophy. These teams always play hard against each other. But I think the Colts are riding a bit of momentum at this point in the year. They head into Nashville and pull out a tough game. And that my friends, is what we like to call a winning streak.
Record: (5-2)

Week 9 (11/4): vs. Miami Dolphins
Another week against another young team searching for an identity due to new personnel. It's a common theme in the first half of the season. Miami hasn't done much to impress me in the pre-season. Well except trading Vonte Davis to the Colts. Today he makes the Dolphins wish they didn't and leads the Colt defense to its best performance of the season and the Colts to it's fourth straight win.
Record: (6-2)

Week 10 (11/8): at Jacksonville Jaguars
The second meeting with the Jags plays out a bit different.This team shows its youth and maybe slight cockiness of a win streak. MDJ is back, or traded by now, and the Blaine Gabbert to Justin Blackmon connection is in full force. The Colts make too many mistakes and they lose a close down in Florida.
Record: (6-3)

Week 11 (11/18): at New England Patriots
The Colts looks bad going to New England. At least in the first half. They gains some composure to make it slightly interesting but the hole is too deep to climb out. Chalk this one up as a loss and a learning experience. Damn I hate the Patriots.
Record: (6-4)

Week 12 (11/25): vs. Buffalo Bills
I just have the feeling Buffalo turns some heads again this year. They have a potentially high power offense and stellar defense too. Indy makes it competitive and gets back on track. Unfortunately they still lose the game.
Record: (6-5)

Week 13 (12/2): at Detroit Lions
This has all the makings of a classic shoot out. And that is exactly what it is, a high scoring affair. The Lion offense looks unstoppable today but the rookie Luck impresses today as well for a huge game too. When the smoke clears though, Indy suffers their fourth loss in a row.
Record: (6-6)

Week 14 (12/9): vs. Tennessee Titans
The second meeting against the Titans plays out a lot like the first. The defense keeps Chris Johnson in check for most of the game and the offense scores plenty. The team gets back in the winning ways today.
Record: (7-6)

Week 15 (12/16): at Houston Texans
Indy goes to Houston to play the new darlings of the division. I admit, when healthy the Texans is a good team and right now they are healthy and gearing up for the playoffs. Indy puts forth a good effort but it isn't enough to get the victory.

Week 16 (12/23): at Kansas City Chiefs
I think the Chiefs will be a pretty good team this year. At this point in the season they will be fighting for their division or a wild card spot or both. And guess what, Indy is in the hunt for a wild card too. But Arrowhead is a damn tough place to play. Today the team cant over come the odds and basically eliminate themselves from the playoffs.
Record: (7-8)

Week 17 (12/30): vs. Houston Texans
This will be an important game. Indy will want to close out the season with a win putting the team at .500 for the season. The Texans will be playing for playoff position and possibly even a bye week. This game is fought hard and goes down to the wire. The Colts dont win the game but prove they are not a push over and a team to watch out for in 2013.
Record: (7-9)

In the end: 

I honestly believe this team can finish up around the 8-8 mark. Maybe blind optimism is clouding my judgment. This is a better team than last year and any where from six to nine wins is extremely realistic. It depends on two big factors: the offensive line and the entire defense. 

Can the line protect Luck and more importantly block well enough to make the running game relevant? It hasn't been in a number of years.

Can the defense adjust to the new 3-4 hybrid style defense and does this team have the right type of players to make this scheme work over the season? Right now I think they have certain pieces to make it work but not an entire group. But that doesn't mean the players they have cant adjust and make a statement.

Regardless, it's going to be an exciting season of Indianapolis Colt football. I will be eager to watch it unfold.

2012 Motto "Build the Monster"

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Another Day, Another Issue

What a person might know before becoming a caregiver for a retaliative is how time consuming it becomes. At least I had no clue and only don't perform this actions full time every day. There is no way I could. When I have my grandmother up to stay with me, it becomes over whelming. From the moment she wakes up until she goes to bed there is always some "issue" needing attention. Then throughout the night she is up and moving around and beating down my bedroom door. It's exhausting and after about the third day I simple cant deal with it any more. 

Luckily for me, the situation only happens every few months. But still as the main decision maker in regards to her health and estate, a good portion of my day is spent dealing with her issues, the problems she is causing, the insurance companies, and figuring out how to make her money last while doing what is best for her. It is also exhausting. 

Dementia is a cruel disease.

Two months ago we had to move Grandma into an assisted living facility. I was a bit apprehension, for numerous reasons, but neither myself or my sister could take on the responsibilities of being a full time caregiver. The situation lasted six weeks. Due to her wandering around at all hours of the night, occasionally in nothing more than her undergarments, and not respecting the privacy of other resident's apartments by simply barging in on them whenever she wants, I was asked to move her out. 

My choices were to quit my job and become full time caregiver, move her into a different facility closer to me, or move her over to the full care side of her current facility. After about a week of debate and weighing out the factors of all these options and talking with Grandma in an attempt to make her understand why she had to move again; the solution was made. She has friends at her current facility and the staff knows her so we choose to move her to the full care side, which runs about three times as much per day for a shared room. 

I think she understands why but doesn't believe she was doing any of the above mentioned things nor does she want to leave. The not remembering part makes it hard to convince her that it's a safety issue and she needs to be monitored more closely. Sharing a room with another person is the last bit of her independence being taken away, at least in her mind. At least she went from being very mad and throw fits about the move to simply voicing her opinion saying "You know I dont want to leave."

Today was the move. I think she will do better on the full care side. So does the nurses and social worker at the facility. She often gets bored and is always asking "what am I suppose to do". The hard part is she has lost almost all interest in most activities so she shoots down my suggestions on how to stay busy. On the full care side there is more people to talk to and she might hear the activities going on and head down to check them out. It was another big move and another big adjustment for her to make. 

Today wasn't easy for her. Glimpses of her old personality comes through tearing my insides apart. But those moments aren't true reality as that really person doesn't exist anymore. It's a shell of her former self and it will only get worse. I've witnessed it first hand. I keep telling myself this is the best situation for her at this stage of the disease. Hell, it's really the last option. 

Dementia is cruel. To it's victim and their loved ones.

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Brew Haven 2012 (It's All About the Beer)

It's all about the beer.
Tasting craft brews from breweries one can't normally get to and the creations from local home brewers.

The Trion Tavern hosted Brew Haven 2012 over the weekend. In only its second year the beer festival grew by leaps and bounds from the inaugural event. As a drinker of craft beers and a fairly frequent visitor to The Trion, I was eager to see how the event would improve. And partake in more than a few new to me beers in the process.

The brewery representation listed before the event was impressive and almost tripled from last year. A lot of Indiana flavors showed up from the emerging craft beer culture including Triton Brewing, lechyd Da Brewing Company, Figure 8 Brewing, Bare Hands Brew, Four Horsemen Brew Company, Mad Anthony Brewing Company, New Albanian Brewing Company, Flat 12 Bierwerks, Barley Island Brewing Company, Summit City Brewerks, and Upland Beer. The state of Illinois was represented by Goose Island and Finch's Beer. Kentucky had samples from Against the Grain Brewery and Bluegrass Brewing Company. While Michigan brewers Greenbush Brewing, Founder's Brewing Co., New Holland Brewing Company, Bell's Brewery, and Dark Horse Brewery were all on hand. Basically every bordering had some sort of brewery except Ohio. I'm not sure why because Great Lakes Brewing Company, Hopping Frog Brewery, and Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. all produce good products and can be found in stores in the area. Other notable breweries with multiple samplings up for grabs were Colorado's New Belgium Brewing and Breckenridge Brewery and Great Divide Brewing Co., Boston's Harpoon Brewery and Samuel Adam, Saint Louis' Schflay Beer, Granite City Food & Brewery, New York's Six Points Brewery and Schmaltz Brewing Company, and California's Mendocino Brewing Company. Plus there were lots of other bottles from other breweries across the nation available to try and the local MASH (The Fort Wayne Homebrew Club) with their array of concoctions. All in all if a person couldn't find a beer they liked or wanted to try then they just shouldn't have been there.

I ended up buying a VIP Pass. It cost more but for me it was plenty worth it. In addition to the sample glass for their unlimited tasting and a meal ticket, the VIP's also got a lanyard to hold the glass and a tee shirt. More importantly for me the VIP's got in an hour earlier. Plenty of time before the masses can congest the area.

So I entered the area about 12:45pm and started scoping things out, getting free gifts from the brewers, and checking my hit list (yes I printed off a list as all serious drinkers should and I was far from the only one). There was lots more space this year with two tents and a large spaces to walk around in. It was a much improved layout. When the drinking began at 1pm I started checking off my first tier choices and talking to the brewery reps. It was then that I discovered not everyone was associated with a brewery. There were lots of workers from the distributors merely pouring select brewery samples. Unless you wanted to discuss beer with them, a person wouldn't notice or probably care. The actual people working for the breweries are so much more passionate about their product and always seem willing to talk. If I had to guess there were maybe fifteen to twenty people actually working for breweries. I could be wrong and it's still far more than last year. One minor complaint about being a VIP. There were suppose to be a select few beers poured only during this time. These were never announced and we were never informed to what these special brews were. Maybe it never happened.

My second tier choices started about 2pm when General Admission started coming in. The GA'ers were lined up around the corner and down the block. My VIP decision  proved to be a worth wild investment. About an hour later the tents were getting pretty full of people. If you didn't know what was where before hand you might have a hard time navigating through the people standing around. The lines still moves at a decent rate. The MASH seemed popular again this year. Unfortunately I missed out and failed to try any of their creations. There were just too many other items on my list. At around 3:30pm I barely managed to hear the Dragon's Milk firkin was being tapped. So I made my way to the New Holland area and waited. Some more speakers for the PA system next would be a wise move.  Around 4pm I needed a breather and went inside the Trion to cool out for awhile a sip on a Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. As the hour neared 5pm I decided to go eat and went back out to consume an always delicious pork sandwich. About a half hour later I decided it was time to head home. I left the festival content and happy.

As I knew it would, Brew Haven 2012 was a fun Saturday afternoon. I meet some new people who share a common interest of drinking craft beer and saw a few familiar faces to share a sample. I did miss a few things on my hit list. I'm not sure if these were poured later in the day and I missed them or if the breweries changed it up at the last minute. In the end, it's not a big deal as I was able sample many new to me beers and have some standard favorites. 

The second year far surpassed the inaugural event. I feel like there is some minor tweaking to do for the next year's event, as there will always be if it continues forth and keeps growing. But for the cost of a ticket and selections of beer one can try the Brew Haven event simply cannot be beat. Especially since there is nothing like it in the immediate area.

An amazing job by Trion Tavern owner Greg and his always pleasant staff for pulling off a spectacular event. Hopefully word will spread and more people will come and more breweries will want to be at this event in person to mix it up with the increasing circle of craft beer drinkers of Northeast Indiana. I know us beer enthusiasts would love to have them.

Mark your calendars because Brew Haven 2013 is being held on August 3, 2013

Beer of the Day: Founder's Fragelic Mountain

Other Notable Brews: Bare Hands Imperial Porter, Greenbush Anger Black IPA, lechyd Da 1635 English Dark, Flat 12 Belgo Porter, Triton Four Barrel Brown 

On a side note: Greenbush, Triton, and New Albanian are three breweries that have impressed me greatly this year. I have yet to drink a bad beer from any of them and all are rapidly shooting up my list favorite breweries.

And now a plug for the Trion Tavern. If you're a fan of craft beer then you need to check out this place. The bar has a great look, the staff is awesome, and the food is tasty. Plus there is the 58 rotating taps which is always revolving and many are hard to find in this area.

Yeah! Beer! Good!

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Life Changing Situation (Dealing with Grandma)

You may know from previous posts that my 85 year old grandmother has dementia. It's been about a year since it was officially diagnosed. Looking back I think the signs were there almost two years ago. Read about the trails and tribulations in this previous post "My Grandmother"

Flash forward to beginning of the year. I decided to hire a part time caregiver after my sister moved out. For the first three months it worked out fairly well. Sure we had issues but it was manageable. 
Then about two months ago, for a couple of reasons I had to hire a second caregiver to help out. In the last month she's covered most days almost all her waking hours (about half the day).

During this time grandma started to display more frequent violent outburst towards the caregivers, my sister, and me. It was either a verbal or physical episode nearly every day for the last month. She has also started falling more frequently. Many days, her confusion has increased. About once a month I'd get a call from LifeLine and an trip to the hospital emergency room followed. 

For the couple weeks I've been debating a lot of scenarios. It became clear to me that Grandma was unable to stay by herself. Three options were the choices: Round the clock in-home care, moving her to Fort Wayne with me, or moving her to an assisted living facility. Each presents its own problems and hazards. 

I always told her that I'd keep her at home as long as I could. 24 hour in-home care is just too expensive for the finances she has left. It was always out. Keeping her out any type of facility was my top priority. It always felt like a death sentence. Moving her in with me proved to be the strongest candidate and also the one with the most issues. My work is incredibly unpredictable. It requires travel and weird hours. I would have to see about getting reduced schedule. Then there was my house. It simply isn't big enough. The need to buy something new, in my price range, and with a certain layout would be a must. Then I'd have to either try to sell or rent my current house. Even with all these red flags, it was the decision I was leaning towards.

Then everything came to a head last week. She fell again. Another night at the hospital to make sure nothing was broke. A couple of days later we took her to the doctor to get checked up. He basically confirmed what I was already thinking. The doctor said she could no longer live alone and should be in assisted living. He went over the reasons why moving Grandma in with me wasn't a smart idea. Coincidentally the assisted living facility we were on the waiting list for called the day before the doctor visit with an available apartment.

After weighing all the options based on her care and her savings, I made one of the decisions I have ever made. Moving her to the assisted facility at the end of the week. I broke the news to her and was met with the "I dont want to leave my home" saying over and over. I spent the two days mopping around feeling guilty and questioning if I made the right call. 

Today the realization came over me that it was the right decision. 
I still dont feel any better about it.

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Colts 2012 Draft recap

Yes, I am way over due on giving out my thoughts on the Colts 2012 Draft. Well better late than never. These thoughts reflect back to a time in late April.

R1, Pick 1 (1): Andrew Luck, QB - Stanford
- The obvious choice in my mind. The most polished QB in the draft. He seems like the perfect candidate to take over the position for the franchise. I sad and angry as am to see Peyton leave, this team should be just fine for years to come with Luck under center. He's a smart kid with great intangibles.
the new face of the franchise

R2, Pick 2 (32): Coby Fleener, TE - Stanford
- I had my fingers crossed for Fleener to still be on the board. There was lots of ways the Colts could have gone, but with Luck's safety net from college ripe for the picking it seemed like an obvious no brainer. These best friends should hook up for many scores over the next few seasons.

R3, Pick 1 (64): Dwayne Allen, TE - Clemson
- At first I was perplexed as why they didn't try to get a CB or NT here. Then the more I thought about it the more I liked it. The TE set will create huge match up problems for opposing defenses. And the Colts now had the top 2 in the draft.

R3, Pick 29 (92): T.Y. Hilton, WR - Florida International
- The guy is a burner and a tremendous kick and punt returner. That's good because it's a spot that has been neglected for far too long. And they need bodies at the WR position right now. Still, not sure why they had to trade up and get him.

R5, Pick 1 (136): Josh Chapman, DT - Alabama
- A solid nose tackle is a must for a 3-4 defense. The Colts took a pretty darn good one here. The guy played with torn knee ligaments all season and still was a beast. This pick could end up being a steal.

R5, Pick 35 (170): Vick Ballard, RB - Mississippi State
- Not exactly sure I would have gone for a RB here, but I cant argue the teams needs depth. Ballad has good upside and is a hard nose runner. He has a great chance to get some reps this season.

R6, Pick 36 (206): LaVon Brazil, WR - Ohio
- Another WR who can return kicks and is speedy. Even though this team desperately needs bodies at WR right now, they also need CB depth. At this spot one cant really call it a bad pick and Brazil has a chance to stick.

R7, Pick 1 (208): Justin Anderson, OG - Georgia
- Again a team looking for players to add depth to the roster and maybe find a diamond in the rough. Anderson will have an opportunity but with all the free agent acquisitions already I really didn't think they needed to draft a linemen this year. Secondary help please.

R7, Pick 7 (214): Tim Fugger, OLB - Vanderbilt
- Dont know anything about this guy. LB depth is needed, though I personally think it should have been more focused towards the ILB position.

R7, Pick 46 (253): Chandler Harnish, QB - Northern Illinois
- Honestly I have no problem with this pick. Hopefully the team learned it's lesson last year by only keeping two QB's on the roster (they did it for years). Depth is always needed at this position. Let Arians groom another QB along with Luck. The worst case is the kid doesn't pan out and the best case is he becomes a quality back up they can trade to another team.

Overall I think the Colts has a great draft. There top three selections should be the catalyst for the offense over the next several seasons. And three or four of the other guys have a chance to come in and be immediate contributors. A little puzzled as to why a CB wasn't selected in the mid rounds but there are a lot of holes to fill and new style on both sides of the ball. For the new regime's first crack at a draft I think they did well.  

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Observations of an Illogical Mind by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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Mi-AM-Mi (the hotspot for wrestling in Spring 2012)

If you read my blog a frequent basis then you know that I am a fan of pro wrestling. And I have a great group of friends from acquired over the years from this interest. This year the gang gathered in Miami.

Our trusty leader GregH made the hotel arrangements. He got us rooms at a Hilton time share hotel right across from South Beach on Ocean Drive. Basically in the heart of the district.

Right outside the hotel

In year's past I felt too ran down trying to squeeze too many wrestling shows into a short amount of time. Burn out happens rather quickly. This year I really needed this to be more of a vacation. So I limited myself to one show a day. The rest of the time would be dedicated to drinking, eating, beaching, and hanging out with people only see once a year.

I rolled in on a Thursday late afternoon to Fort Lauderdale airport and waiting from my friend AaronS to get in. He reserved a rental car. We avoided most of the rush hour traffic but getting anywhere around South Beach is a slow process. It is packed and this was the beginning of the weekend for some and in the middle of Spring Break. We find the hotel, park the car, get our rooms, and make contact with the people already there.

Food was the immediate need. Our chef friend in the group, Joe, wanted to go to a moderately upscale restaurant called The Dutch. I'm always up for a good meal so AaronS, Jon from the UK, Anthony from Boston joined us and we went a walking to find this place. The restaurant is hidden inside the W Hotel. I feared we were vastly under dressed and wouldn't be able to get in without a reservation. We got lucky on both counts. The guys at the counter in the tee shirts, that was us. I had the lamb ragu and a couple little oyster sandwiches washed down by a couple local Cigar City brews. Bottle line it was an amazing meal. Every once in awhile you got to treat yourself.

We walked around the crowded for a bit. Anthony got berated by some strung out, homeless dude. It was quite funny. We ended up back at the hotel to see more arrivals. Some people went out to hit up the bars while other sat around chatting and drinking. I was in the later group. Clubs aren't my scene and I didn't want to deal with any more deuce bags on this evening. The area is full of them. Plus it was a long day of travel.

The next morning woke up and walked around. The area is still busy being mid morning but not as packed as the night before. I really like the look of this area. It's unique. Too bad the streets are already filling up with shirtless jackasses and snotty chicks wearing hardly a thing. Honestly, I dont mind the half naked women. There good for my eyes. 

I joined Robby and Larry for morning beach time. I have never actually swam in the ocean and wanted to the stingy salt of the Atlantic in my eyes and the hot sun rays coming down on me. After about an hour the waves made me a little nauseous and I feared my bald head getting burned. I retreated back to the hotel. 

GregH has plans to head over to Fuji Japanese Buffet. I love Asian cuisine so I'm game. The restaurant is basically a sushi buffet with lots of other soups, salads, and traditional fair. Nothing sets out a long time. The chefs are cranking out over fifty different types of treats. The meal with very good and a very good price.

There was still time to kill so Joe and myself walked around and ended up at The Clevelander Hotel Bar where we drank over priced slushy drinks. Eventually about a dozen guys ended up joining us before it was time to get our asses to wrestling.

The evening brought the first Ring of Honor event, Showdown in the Sun Night 1 held at the famous War Memorial Auditorium. My seats were rather crappy but the company was good. Joe sat with me and by chance the guys we know from Australia sat behind us. The show was solid and fun. Match of the night goes to Kevin Steen vs El Generico in a Last Man Standing Match. Classic feud blow off between these bitter enemies.

Ring of Honor at the War Memorial Auditorium
After returning to home base around 1am, it takes about as long to navigate through South Beach as it did to drive to the venue in Fort Lauderdale, some of us wanted late night grub and drinks. Well we found food just down the street in a delicious place called T-Mex serving up, what else Tex-Mex food. A huge ass burritos and much more for cheap. This place would be a must after drinking all night which is probably why it's open until 5am. I went back to hotel to hang because it's Friday night in South Beach and twice as packed as the night before. Asshole quotient is high.

After a late night with little sleep (is there another kind of night in South Beach?), we all had another wrestling show to attend. Ring of Honor Showdown in the Sun Night 2 started at 1pm in the afternoon. Today it was front row madness for this guy and it's completely different atmosphere. You actually feel like you are part of the show. RoH put on another fantastic show with the Match of the Night going to Davey Richards vs Michael Elign for the RoH World Championship. This just might be the match of the year. It came out of the blue and harkened back to the days when every RoH event felt like you had to be there live or miss something great.

Tonight I was going to check out a microbrewery in the area called Abbey Brewing. Anthony went with me and Josh showed up a little later. We walked though the Spanish district and the smells drove me crazy with hunger. However I was on a mission to drink some good beer. The bar was off the beaten path and in an area that actually appeared to be normal. We got the establishment and bellied up at the bar. I tried a couple of their home brews which weren't bad and couple of other things. With a nice buzz going on I felt like I could manage the jammed packed streets once again. Some quick food stop and was ready to go back and hang out with the guys until sleep came. And that is exactly what I did.

Sunday morning and the tantalizing prospect of brunch arose. GregH had plans to go over to the Front Porch Cafe and meet up former wrestler and current RoH color commentator Nigel McGuiness. He's a good guy who I have conversed with a couple of times. At that time he was trying to raise money via Kickstarter to help fund a documentary about his wrestling career. It's a shame really as the guy was immensely talented in the ring only to have a career cut short due to injuries and he's only early thirties. He was taping the meal. You'll probably see me in it. I'm the sexy, bald dude. Anyways order a Cajun Scramble and Bloody Mary's. Thoughts about our friend Paul who died earlier this year. We did a similar Sunday morning in Atlanta last year. The final time I saw him in person. A good way to start the day.

With a little bit of time to kill before we needed to leave for wrestling I walked around the beach with my friends Steve and Robby from Ireland and the UK crew of Jon, Mark, and Aaron. It was at this moment I learned about all thing surrounding the television show The In Betweeners.

We got Sun Life Stadium for WWE Wrestlemania 28 rather early. I always like to get to my destination then wait as opposed to waiting in traffic and rushing. AaronS drove and I convinced him to go early. Along for the ride was Chris for Malta and Grand Rapids own Scotty. Plenty of time before the start we grab some fairly decent stadium food and drinks. Scott, Anthony, Chris, and myself go to our seats. We discover big pillars obstructing two-thirds of our view. Looks like we're watching the Jumbotron tonight.
Wrestlemania 28
 I go Wrestlemania for the spectacle and this year did not disappoint. The Rock vs John Cena was deafening. HHH vs The Undertaker in a Hell In a Cell Match was epic. But CM Punk vs Chris Jericho went down to be my favorite match of the night. The show got over and back to the hotel in a decent time. We all hung out eating and drinking at a huge after party GregH coordinated. It was a fun evening.

The trip is almost over as the final day in town begins. I once again head to the beach for another go around at the ocean. Joe, Frank, Robby, and Anthony were already there. The water was so warm and delightful for being early April. A little over an hour later I called it quits. Then Chris and me walked around some more on South Beach. It's not crowded at all on this Monday morning. I actually dont mind the situation right now.

Today's was also JohnnyZ's birthday. So a few of us went out to Havana1957 for an wonderful meal. I had Masa de Puerco Frita and we all had lots of caipirinhas. It's was Johnny's night and he wanted large glasses of slushy drinks so we went to Wet Willies. I wish we would have gone to Club Deuce instead but at least these were stiff drinks. We made it back to the hotel all a glow watch the final hour of WWE RAW. After Johnny got some sleep because he was graciously taking me and some others to the airport at 4:30am. The night was spent talking and sipping booze and saying final goodbyes to people I truly adore. A band of misfits bonded together over wrestling. By the time my plane took off at 6:30am I was asleep and waiting for landing.

 Almost two months later I finally get time write this post. I'm trying to recall details. Like most things these days it's a blur.  As middle age is rapidly approaching me, the notion of just stopping to take in the beauty of the world with all its sights, smells, and sounds with people you enjoy hits full force. I need to do it more often.

My final thoughts on South Beach are slightly mixed towards the negative. The traffic is horrible, it's hot, and being an asshole juice head must be a prerequisite if you are under thirty. But there is so much a person to do in this area, great food, and the working class folks I managed to mingle with were alright. Perhaps if I came during a less crowded time of year... if there is such a thing in South Beach.

Creative Commons License
Observations of an Illogical Mind by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Please feel free to share the link but contact me for any other uses or publication. Thanks.