Read the last one first! - Epilog

If you read my last blog entry, you might have realized how precious life is and how it can change in a heart beat! Most of the time adverse events are a blessing in disguise, as you can prosper and learn from them.  Many things have happened since what I called "The Adventure of all Adventures."

First and probably foremost is that I have been given a second life, and I don't take that lightly.  I appreciate things everyday now that in the past maybe were taken for granted. For example my wife, my family, my friends, and having an attitude of gratitude for all the things that we enjoy.

Recently I graduated from a six week cardiac therapy course that consisted of eighteen ninety minute sessions on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  They were held at our local Banner hospital, only minutes from our home. The class was made up of five people with different heart ailments. On check in we would put on a heart monitor, have our temperature checked and blood pressure taken.

We would exercise on a treadmill and an elliptical trainer for twenty minutes each and thirty minutes each on Wednesday.  Then it was on to exercising with weights, then stretching.  This usually followed with a movie on different facets of health and a discussion lead by the nurse and questions and comments from fellow classmates.

The exercises were important because it would help build a habit that would continue for a lifetime.  The health lectures, with take home handouts, I considered to be of utmost importance because we learned the importance of proper diet and exercise among many other health issues.  I made the comment several times in class that I wished I would have been aware of proper diet when we were much younger, but the usual response was "would we have paid attention?" Probably not. When we're thirty we think we're bulletproof, then when we get older we learn the downfalls of things we should have been practicing all those years. 

We learned the importance of reading food labels.  If you're on a diet you look for "calories," if you're diabetic you become aware of "sugar," if you recuperating from heart problems you look for "sodium." In our lectures we discussed many things pertaining to "A happy and healthy life."  One of the big lessons was everyone should cut down on sugar and salt!  

Lastly, I want to thank the Banner hospital staffers who greeted us each time with a smile and enthusiasm. Those three persons were Marina, JoAnne, and Chelsea. Nurses have that unique quality of compassion, caring, and kindness and I thank them for that! On my last day I presented them with a photo that they allowed me to take.  Thank you for being you.   (Click on Photo)


The Adventure of all Adventures!

It was mid September of 2020 and we had experienced the hottest summer in Phoenix, Arizona's history! Add to that the COVID crisis and people are creating ways to escape the heat and just get away from it all.

About this time friends of ours took a weekend drive and explored the city of Show Low, Arizona where they ended up purchasing a cabin.  Soon after we drove there to visit them, fell in love with the resort and also purchased a cabin.  We moved in quickly, escaped the heat of the valley and started a new life for summer living.

But things would soon change.  Days after moving into our summer retreat I went to the ER at the local hospital with shortness of breath and chest pain.  Nurses and Doctors evaluated the situation and I was admitted for what turned out to be a week's stay.  After many blood tests, EKGs, and Cat Scans, on Wednesday I was sent to surgery and had five stents inserted on the left side of my heart. This surprised the staff nurses as it's unusual to have that many at one time.

Things got worse and I was transferred to ICU where on Thursday evening I almost left the building to be with the Lord. As luck would have it a Doctor was only feet from my door and his team brought me back. I thank Summit Hospital for having the policy of letting a loved one be with the patient as my wife was at my side the entire time.

It's Friday morning now and at 7 am I had another downer. Doctors discussed the situation and it was determined that I would be air lifted by helicopter to St. Joseph's hospital in Phoenix.  Boarding the chopper just outside the hospital emergency entrance, I felt a feeling of calm and peace. Flying was not a stranger to me as I retired after a career in aviation. I flew gliders, hot air balloons, single and multi-engine airplanes, turbo-props and jets.

My wife and our friends stood near by and waved as we lifted off.  I was propped up on the gurney next to the pilot with two nurses sitting behind me. This was a totally different flight.  I used to fly as high as 41,000 feet, but this time it would be low and slow.  Flight time was one hour and I thoroughly enjoyed each minute of viewing the mountains, valleys, rivers, and canyons. The weather was severe clear and beautiful.

We landed on the sixth story roof of St. Joseph's Hospital and was immediately wheeled into surgery where a skilled team of one Cardiologist and four nurses inserted another three stents, this time on the right side of the heart.

This week was the "Adventure of all Adventures!"  I experienced life and near death. I experienced incredible Doctors and Nurses who dedicate their lives to helping others.  No words can be spared for this dedication at both hospitals. St. Joseph was only one overnight, Summit in Show Low was four nights.

Summit Healthcare Hospital is associated with the Mayo Clinic.  I can't say enough good things about my care there.  Staff was incredible, so much so that I wrote a letter to the CEO and mentioned many names that deserved special credit!

In February Summit signed a contract with a Doctors Corporation in Phoenix to supply doctors and surgeons on a weekly basis.  They would commute back and forth by air shuttle or car. Here's where I really had luck on my side.  The Cardiologist who performed my five stents on Wednesday in Show Low, was the same Doctor that performed the last three in Phoenix on Friday!

I write this experience on my blog, not only to relive that incredible week, but to strongly encourage you to listen to your body.  If something doesn't feel right take action, get immediate help.  Men are especially stubborn and I knew a few friends including my father who ignored signs of ill health and died at an early age.

This is my Cardiologist four days after the last surgery on a post op visit, telling me that "I can go climb Mt. Everest!" 

Years ago this would have entailed open heart surgery with a long recovery and is just another example of today's awesome technology.

Because of him and all those wonderful other people who served me, I have been given a second life on planet earth with my wife, my family, and friends, and am eternally grateful to them and God.  
(Click on photos for larger view.)

Living with Covid-19

My wife and I live in Sun City West, Arizona.  The community was originally started in 1978 by a man named Del Web.  Today it's voted one of the most desirable retirement communities in America!  SCW features hundreds of clubs, nine activity centers, nine golf courses, grocery stores, restaurants, a hospital, and even its own radio station. (Click on photos for a larger view.)

The recreation centers feature tennis courts, pickleball courts, racquetball, a 30 lane bowling alley, a 30 billiard table lounge, bocce ball, mini golf, walking tracks, lawn bowling, swimming pools, outdoor concerts, and much more. These are just some of the bocce ball courts.

Now with the advent of the coronavirus we are, for all practical purposes, a "ghost town."  We're all still here, but essentially confined to our homes.  If you do drive to the grocery store most people are masked and keeping their distance.

Thank goodness the golf courses  are still open!  Those of us who play golf can play our favorite course, enjoy the outdoors with all its beauty and breathe in all the fresh air.  There has been talk about closing the courses, but that hasn't happened yet.

Anytime of the day you'll see hundreds of people playing sports but now things are at a stand still.  Parking lots are empty, and swimming pools are lacking swimmers. It's strange not to see people at the rec centers!

One of the most popular golf courses is Grandview.  The pro shop has everything and the restaurant is a very popular place to gather, especially if you sit outside. Wednesday and Fridays feature "all you can eat fish and chips, Thursdays $2.79 cheeseburgers! Now the pro shop and restaurant are closed. The outside chairs and tables are all in storage except for a few.

I'm sure this is all mostly true no matter where you live. Most eating places just have drive thru or carry out.  This is our local McDonalds, and boy are they staying busy!  Thankfully we have plenty of food and other essentials, and hope you do too.

These sidewalks are empty now, but soon we'll all be back to some kind of normalcy.  The coronavirus is contagious, but so is panic, paranoia, and hysteria, so let's just relax and put our faith and trust in God.  It's all about "Faith over Fear."

I took these photos and wrote this Blog on Monday, April 6th and on Tuesday the 7th the powers to be announced that the golf courses will close until further notice on Tuesday, April 14th.

I'm curious.  If this is such a crisis why would they wait another week?  In my opinion if they close the golf courses then why not close the sidewalks?  I don't see how anyone could catch any type of disease out in the open when all the golfers are riding in their privately owned golf carts or walking.  I called the Briarwood Country Club, where we live, and they are staying open.  That means we'll sit on our patio every day and watch all the golfers go by,  but we can't play the Sun City West public courses.

Epilog:  On April 22nd it was announced that 5 of the 7 public courses will open on May 4th, but only under strict rules.  In my opinion they went way too far with this as the State of  Arizona is open for golf.  Reference: Golf World.

The New Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

A couple of blogs ago I wrote about not believing all the hype that you have to update your phone every year.  Being a tech guy I admit that I was one of those persons who did just that until I realized that major advances don't happen every year.

With that in mind I waited for three new versions of my Samsung phone before deciding to upgrade.  The first week of March Samsung released the new S20 series.  I did a lot of study and research of early reviews and decided on the S20 Ultra, which I pre-ordered.

The decision for the "top of the line" model was because I'm a photographer and the specs are mind blowing!  After using the phone for two weeks I'm just utterly amazed! If you want to take a photo in very high resolution it features 108 megapixels. Unheard of in a smartphone until now.  If you purchased a DSLR capable of that the cost would be 40 to 50 thousand dollars!  Of course you wouldn't shoot in this mode unless you wanted to print a poster size photo.

Super Wide Angle
The phone features a super wide angle lens, a normal 27mm lens, and a zoom lens that is incredible!  Let me show you some examples. We live on a golf course and the houses across the fairway are over 200 yards from our patio. I sat in a chair and took these shots hand held.

The first is a super-wide angle. We are going to get closer and closer to the house just to the right of the palm tree. #2 is a normal 27 mm shot. #3 is 4x zoom. #4 is 10x zoom.  It's scary to show you how much further it can zoom! (Click on photos for larger view)

This phone has to be the best one you could own today, if you want to take awesome photos!  The iPhone 11 pro is very respectable and takes great photos, but just doesn't have the specs that the Ultra has.

Here are some differences between the two. I'll quote the iPhone first and the Galaxy Ultra second.

Price: $1,199 vs $1,399. Display 6.5 vs 6.9 inches.  Rear Cameras: Three lenses, 12 mp primary, 12 mp telephoto & 12 mp ultra wide vs Four lenses, 108 mp primary, 48 mp telephoto, 12 mp ultra wide & 12 mp live focus.  Front camera 12 mp vs 40 mp. Video 4K 60 fps vs up to 8K 24 fps. RAM 4 GB vs 12 GB. Storage 64 GB vs 128 GB.  Micro SD card none vs Yes, up to 1TB!

This house photo was taken even farther than the others. That is incredible! Yes, the price is ridiculous, but it looks like prices on most phones are going up, up, and up!

Another photo that is very impressive.  The Galaxy has a "Night Mode."  I took this shot after dark in our back yard using this mode. Of course you could do this with a DSLR, but it would take time to set up the shot with all the different settings. This photo was one click; pure magic. You know it's dark because all the solar lights are on.  The night mode is really something special!

Before I sign off, let's go back to the white house and zoom in just a little bit further.  You've probably seen Samsung's TV ads that say you can zoom to 100x, but would you believe this one is only 30x?  What's the end result? I'm a very happy photo guy with this amazing new Galaxy S20 Ultra phone!  Oh, and I didn't mention it also has 5G and an F1.8 aperture! 


God shed His Grace on Thee, and Crown Thy Good with Brotherhood, from Sea to Shining Sea!"

I'm writing this entry because of the unbelievable events that have transpired in our government the last few years!  I say "unbelievable" because that's what's on the minds of people with common sense and a love for the greatest Country on planet earth.

A lot of Americans may not even be aware that a very slow migration toward socialism has been escalating since the 1930s.  Sometimes we are not cognizant of things that move very slowly and seem so innocent.

Today socialism has raised it's ugly head and leading this cause is Bernie Sanders, a self proclaimed socialist running for President.  Socialism leads to communism.  His platform may sound encouraging to people who don't want to provide for themselves;  people who want everything for nothing.  My friends, it can't work that way and this has been proven in other Countries.  There is no free lunch, someone has to pay and that's why he has promised to raise taxes!

The left just can't get over the fact that Hillary lost the last election.  Their hatred for President Trump has led to nothing but chaos during his entire time in office. The talk of impeachment started the day he was elected!  Despite this total disruption and the millions of dollars spent trying to get him out of office, the economy has boomed, unemployment is at an all time low, the list goes on and on and Americans are better off than any time in history.

Our Country is known as "The United States of America."  Do you think we are "United" today?  Far from it. Nobody can say anything today without it being "Racist!"  We are bickering and fighting about everything!  Just think about what we could have accomplished in the last three years if we would have been "United." 

Speaking of "United,"  I can't comprehend people that we elect to Congress not representing the citizens that elected them.  My home state of Arizona elected Senator John McCain and after his death, elected Senator Jeff Flake.  Both of these Senators did not represent the Republican party who put them in office!  They went totally against the grain of conservative ethics for which they promised in their campaigns.

The latest example of this is Senator Mitt Romney.  In 2008 my wife and I drove back to our hometown of Davenport, Iowa, to visit family, friends, and to attend a class reunion.  We had no sooner driven back to Phoenix when my cousin called and said, on the spur on the moment, that they decided to open up their farm and host a Romney Rally.  We immediately purchased airline tickets, flew back, rented a car, and attended this Romney for President Rally.  It was incredible how hard the Frye family worked on this project.  Keaton and his wife Lauren spearheaded the movement and it was very successful!  National TV and local media were in attendance. 

My wife and I are both Precinct Committeemen for legislative District 22 in Arizona, and were very proud of this event. So, the person we worked hard to elect as the Republican nominee for President in 2008, and who at the present time is a United States Senator voted to impeach President Trump.  Mitt Romney is the only Senator ever to vote to convict a President of his own party!  You are entitled to your own opinion, but in my opinion Mitt did not convey the trust of the citizens of Utah or the rest of American Republicans that elected him!  Romney said he had to follow his conscience and talked about God. Senator Lindsey Graham told him "Your religion is clouding your thinking."  You be the judge.

I don't have words for Nancy Pelosi and her gang. How dare you display such a childish temper tantrum during the State of the Union Address. You embarrassed America and you were a disgrace to the coveted office of Speaker of the House. Your own daughter, a democratic strategist, called your tantrum "An Italian Grandma Move!"

No matter which side you're on, Americans today are totally disgusted with politicians.  Start doing  your job for the good of our Nation, or  resign.  If you don't resign we will vote you out!

In 1961 I volunteered for three years in the United State's Army.   I was proud to serve and defend.  I love my Country, and support the man who America elected as President. Despite all the chaos, times are good!

Remember the 1992 Los Angeles riots when Rodney King emotionally stated "Can't we all just get along?"

Come November America will turn down one of two paths.  To the left we face Socialism.  If you don't know what Socialism is, it's a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realism of Communism.  A turn down the right path America will continue as we have since our forefathers wrote the Constitution.  We are a Country based on free enterprise and all our other freedoms that just maybe at times we take for granted.

Let's keep moving forward in a positive manner, a manner that benefits all Americans!  

Who will you be in 2020?

It's here, it's now, and that's exciting!  The year 2020 even sounds cool, and it could be much better than last year because we want to be a better person. But how will we accomplish this?

Lot's of people make New Year's Resolutions but most fizzle out soon after big promises.  Why?  Mostly because we don't give the resolutions time enough to really take effect.  We lose perspective because we don't see immediate results!

I want to be a better person this year and you probably do too.  I think one way of improving is to ask yourself, right now, "what do other people say about me?"  Good question and it will require a little thought. They might be saying "Oh he's a pretty nice guy.....but...."  So now we have to ask ourselves what are those buts?

In my case they might be saying "He's a little impatient at times, or he can be judgmental."  It's hard to ask a friend about your faults because that becomes a little ticklish as they don't want to hurt your feelings.  We know our faults and shortcomings so we can answer this ourselves.

So, who will I be in 2020?  Personally I want to be able to laugh at myself and don't take little things too seriously.  I want to find the good and positive attributes in people and put any negatives aside. I want to be a better father, husband, and friend.  I want to be a better  photographer.  I will practice these things, not all at once, but in small steps daily.

Putting this into faithful practice I will be a better person at the end of 2020.

"We are what we think about, and we become what we think about."

"Live with Passion, in a Constant State of Joy, and with an Attitude of Gratitude!"

We want to be better, but we want America to be much better in 2020 also.  Pray for our Country.

Epilog:  I got the inspiration for this post from a series entitled "Atomic Habits" at our church.