Sunday, November 25, 2012

These Are A Few of My Favourite Things ...

UPDATE: I hadn't watched the Dreamers video for quite a while and when I watched it again last night, it really spoke to me:
Whatever happened to the dreamers?  
They always look beyond the sky 
Saw a world they could believe in  
But only when they close their eyes 
Where are they now? 
They've all left town  
Bring in the clouds 

Whoever posted the video dedicated it to their brother. I hereby re-dedicate it to Lex.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

My computer having been without sound for close to nine months, it was mighty nice to get it back a few weeks ago. So nice, in fact, that one of the first things I did was start jiving with some of my favourite tunes.

Which got me thinking that, really, it was only fair to share some of those favourites (via video) with you.

So here you go, for your (and my) listening pleasure, I offer a few of my favourite things.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

One of my absolute favourite songs to listen to. It always puts a grin on my face,
I offer you Teterboro.

A beautiful video posted by Lex in the way back.

Only makes sense that this should be one of my favourite things, seeing as how many
days of my life it seems to capture lately.

Okay, not musical but ... it's always good for a grin.
And, just for the record, it's TOPGUN, one word, no caps. Fools.

I post this video pretty much every Remembrance Day.  The fact that it's sung, not
just by a Canadian, but by a Nova Scotian (Terry Kelly) certainly doesn't hurt but
it really grabs me because it's a beautiful, moving video and song.

In the category of "Not Music But I Could Easily Listen To It Over And Over Again",
I offer you what I like to title "You Can Call Them An Inspiration or You Can Can
Call Them Your Friend".

In the same category as the above - I find this incredibly moving.

What can I say? I am Canadian, eh?

This? This. Is. Just. Funny.


And last, but not least, a song so nice I named my blog after it.

And there you have it. Just a few of my favourite things.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

To Dream the Impossible Dream

It's been eighteen years since I've practiced law. That's right. Eighteen years.

Long time, no?

You see, I've always said I wouldn't go back to practice unless I could have just a "disability" practice.

In other words, not unless I could only take cases involving disability-related issues. But considering that most families with a disabled family member can't afford a lawyer and I figure that it will likely take Nova Scotia a good 20 years to get to the point where the government helps subsidize the cost of legal representation for families ... I just wasn't feeling the love.

But for the past year or so, I've been playing around with the idea of doing just that ... going back to the practice of law. No, I hadn't given up on what I really wanted or lowered my standards. Nor was the thought born out of desperation.

But I had finally come to realize (with a little bit of help from some friends) that I could use what I have been doing with the NS Legal Guardianship Kit and the presentations on disability-related topics as a springboard.

What if I went back to practice? Just on a part-time basis?

What if I could offer people the option of either purchasing the Guardianship Kit or hiring me to bring their guardianship application? Not only would my fees be significantly lower than the majority of lawyers' but I had also started to develop a reputation in the disability community. People were already asking if they could hire me to bring guardianship applications and I had to explain that no, I wasn't practicing.

So it was that I've been playing around with this idea for a while now.

Tried to talk myself out of it ... after 18 years of not practicing, just how many hoops would the Barristers' Society make me go through before granting me practicing status again? For a while, that seemed like a good enough reason not to proceed any further.

But eventually I realized that I might just be staring in the face (and yet not seeing) exactly what I have been looking for so hard for quite a while now - having convinced myself that I would never go back to practice because, after all, who could financially survive financially with the type of practice I wanted, I had been thinking that maybe the solution was finding work for a disability organization in a position where I could use my legal background and training. But that opportunity simply was not presenting itself. Although, in all honesty, I had come across what looked like the perfect job a few years ago. There was only one problem ... it was in BC. As in clear across the other side of the country. So, yeah. Not so much.

And yet this has been my passion for so many years now - how long have I been telling people that if I could find a way to marry law and disability (and get paid for it), I would be truly happy? Trust me, a long time. Said to a lot of people.

And so it was that eventually, very slowly, light began to dawn on marblehead (that would be me, in case you were wondering) and I "made the decision" (well, kind of, sort of anyway ... who says I'm not decisive?*) to take the leap and return to practice. 

The only problem was that required applying for a change of status (and forwarding the appropriate application fee) to the Bar Society, who would review my application and then tell me what hoops I would have to go through.

Now, really, that change of application fee would be hardly significant for most people. It shouldn't have been a big deal. And yet once I (kind of, sort of) made the decision to go back to practice, there just wasn't any money to spare to make the application. And then every time I planned on doing it (as in as soon as I get paid for ... whatever), something would happen and the money would be demanded elsewhere.

Oh what a tangled web we weave ....

Anyway, on a different note, guess what I did today? Come on. Guess.

No, I didn't finally *find* the money for the application fee.

No, I didn't finally start the required paperwork.

Give up? Are you sure?

All right, all right. I will tell you.

Listen carefully now.


Today. I. Mailed. The. Application.

(With. The. Cheque. Of. Course).

To. The. Bar. Society.

(more crickets)

Proud of me? I am. 

Proud. And excited. And more than a little nervous.

And so it is that the adventure continues. Wish me luck!

* In my defence, I did have a few good personal reasons for hesitating about taking the plunge. One being my health. But, hey, why let a little thing like that stop me, right? I figure if I don't try, I'll never know.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

World Record

I think we just set the record for the world's shortest IPP meeting. Ever. Well, at least the shortest one I've ever attended in 15 years of being involved with special education.

The funny thing is how I walked out of the world's shortest IPP meeting feeling quite good about the whole thing. Better than I have in the past 3 years of IPP meetings, in fact. And that after half an hour as opposed to the usual 1.5 - 2 hour meetings.

The reason, you ask? Might shorter, in and of itself, actually be better?

No. No, not at all. In fact, we have another IPP meeting scheduled for next week (minus the subject teachers who were present today but with the addition of the autism specialist) that I am sure will run much closer to what I am use to.

No, here, my dear friends, is the difference. Today's meeting was (finally) chaired by a Resource teacher that gets it.

Previous Resource teachers, although extremely experienced, who should have (and, no doubt, did) know their stuff, were so stuck in their ways of doing things that there was absolutely no room for anything different.

Did I mention there was no room? Because, really. There. Was. No. Room.

I'm sorry, but the term dinosaur does come to mind. While they may have been very good at what they did many years ago, they clearly couldn't (or, I'm thinking, more likely wouldn't) adapt to the times. It was their way. Or the highway.

But our current Resource teacher, while relatively new to "Intensive Resource", has family members with disabilities and he really seems to get it. To get the importance of life skills for a young adult like the Blue Jay. To get the importance of life skills for so many of the students in that class.

I can actually see him building a resource program that will be so much better than what this school previously had. I can actually see it benefiting so many more students. My only real complaint is that the Blue Jay didn't have access to such a program three years ago, when she first entered high school, as she should have.

Well, that and the fact that when our previous dinosaurs teachers ruled the land, nobody (and I mean nobody) seemed to have any issue with the way things were done or the way they insisted things had to be done. They were backed up all the way.

Nope, nobody had any issues with them. Nobody except me, that is.

Interestingly enough, now that they've retired, I am finding people starting to agree with what I've consistently been saying (and thinking) for the past couple of years - that things didn't have to be (and, in fact, shouldn't have been) done their way. That, dare I say it, these particular teachers were the problem.

Apparently, now they are. But then they weren't. Go figure.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


I must admit I am quite disappointed in myself.

This is the first time, since I started this blog in 2007, that I missed posting for an entire month. Not that my record over the last couple of years was anything to be particularly proud of but still ...

My. Bad.

However, the one bright spot (and in my favour) is the fact that I did significantly change the look of the blog last month. And I think it looks mighty purty at the moment, if I do say so myself.

~  ~  ~

By the by, you might notice a new pic at the top of the sidebar. It's been six months since that horrible day and Nov. 9th would have been Lex's 52nd birthday.

Please raise a glass in honour of His Honour.

And if you’re wondering whether you can buy me a beer, the answer is yes.
Yes, you can.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Not Meant To Be

There was absolutely no doubt when I stepped outside on Sunday - we have definitely entered my favourite time of the year.

I love Fall; the shining sun; a clear blue sky; warm, maybe even hot but without that summer heat and humidity that sucks the life right out of me; and, of course, the beautiful colours. What more could a girl ask for?

Well, one tiny thing perhaps ...

We live in the beautiful Annapolis Valley, well-known for its agriculture and bountiful crops. A little less well-known, perhaps, for its wineries. But we have those too.  Three, in fact, within a 15-minute drive from my place.

And yet ... and yet, I have never even been to a winery, let alone toured one. And that is something I have always wanted to do.

No excuse, really. Once or twice every year, the wineries are open for tours. And, of course, wine-tastings.

Yep, you guessed it - Sunday was one of those days.
Open Farm Day they call it. Come out and see where your food really comes from.

I must confess I am a littles less than interested in seeing where my food comes from. I mean, I ain't no city slicker, I live in the Valley ... I know exactly where my food comes from for heaven's sake.

But if you're suggesting that I should come out and see where my wine really comes from (while I taste some of yours) ... yeah, I could go for that. I mean, I wouldn't want to be rude, right?

Alas, it was not meant to be. 'Tis to weep.

I tried. I really did. But apparently first we had to go visit Farmer John's Farm (I kid you not - its real name) where summer savoury is grown. Yep, summer savoury.  Which, surprisingly, was interesting. In a strange sort of way.

But then ... then it was my turn. Right?

Sure. Kind of. We headed out to the Muir Murray Estate Winery.

A beautiful day.  A gorgeous spot.

And yet, as I said, apparently it was not meant to be. We arrived at 3:30 and the last tour was at 3:00. We even (just) missed a hay ride, which although not really my cup of tea, would have taken us through the vineyard.

Thwarted again!

There was still the wine-tasting, of course. 

Too bad that I wasn't particularly fond of any of the wines that I tried. Equally too bad was the fact that the one wine I would have really loved to try cost $5 for a "taste".

So, yeah. Thanks. But no thanks.

So that was that. Until I got back home, of course. Where I promptly had myself a glass of wine. What do you expect? Hey, I was craving the stuff by then.

They're trying to tell me that we will always have next year. But, really, just how much wine will I be forced to consume while I'm waiting?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Whazzup Doc?

1.  It's too hot.

2.  I like to complain about the heat. Because although I love the concept of summer, MS. Does. Not. Like. Heat. Or. Humidity.

3.  Period.

4.  End. Of. Sentence Story.

5.  The good news is that I am back to wearing flip flops on both feet.  That's right, no more ski walking boot in the middle of summer.

6.  Did I mention it felt like 150 degrees in that boot?

7.  The bad news is (yeah, you knew that was coming) my ankle is more painful without the boot.

8. Believe it or not, I am actually posting on the other blawg.

9.  Just not here. Not entirely sure why. Except I don't seem to have anything to say [gasp].

10. Within the last few days, I've started to get that feeling. That feeling that comes when summer will soon be over. When school will soon be starting. And, in my life, no, that is most definitely not a good feeling.

11. Not working much. Not really working much at all. At least, not doing any paying work.

12.  That last is not by choice, by the way.

13.  Pretty broke. (See above)

14.  Have a fair bit of stuff I could should be doing for my business.

15.  Haven't really been doing much of it.

16.  Now making an effort to force myself to do some of it.

17.  Spending way too much time on FaceBook. Insidious time suck that it is.

18.  Which that might just explain a lot.

19.  Heading over to the Island on Sunday to drop the Kit Kat off at Camp.   Will most likely come home the same day.

20.  Heading back to the Island next Saturday. You guessed it, to pick the Kit Kat up.

21.  Spending one night there before we head to New Brunswick to drop the Blue Jay off at her Camp. At which point, we will head straight home.

22.  Which, that would constitute our entire vacation the grown ups in the family are going to get this year.

And That's All, Folks!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Telling It Like It Is

Kudos to Dr. Brian Hennen for telling it like it is when it comes to life for persons with developmental disabilities in Nova Scotia.

I met Dr. Hennen and his colleagues for the first time the end of May when I took the Blue Jay to a transition clinic for young adults in Halifax. And I must say that I was very impressed with what they were/are doing - armed with the latest clinical guidelines for the care of adults with developmental disabilities, Dr. Hennen (a psychiatrist) and Dr. Clarke (a family doctor), joined by a supporting cast of a few other doctors and nurses offer a complete assessment of the young adult's physical and mental health, making appropriate recommendations to the family doctor for continuing care and, where necessary, referrals to other specialists.

Yeah, I was impressed - because really, how often do individuals with special needs (particularly adults) appear to be after-thoughts found on the side of the road, left to fend for themselves best as they can? Whether it be the health system, the criminal justice or elsewhere, this sadly appears more likely than not.

So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to see Dr. Hennen's op ed in today's paper - an op ed which essentially sets out Nova Scotia's history (the good, the bad and the ugly) over the past five years in dealing with persons with developmental disabilities.

Offering both kudos and criticism where appropriate, Dr. Hennen notes the self-assessment undertaken with much fan-fare in 2008 by the Services for Persons with Disability (SPD) program, following which fewer than half of the resulting recommendations were fully implemented to the two reviews conducted by that same program following reports of abuse at a residential care centre in 2010 and the terrible treatment of an autistic young man in the Braemore Home in Sydney in 2011; both resulting in numerous recommendations, few of which were actually acted upon.

From research showing that half of the 156 adult Nova Scotians with developmental disabilities interviewed were unhappy with their living arrangements to the April 2011 report to the Standing Committee on Community Services concerning the inadequacy of residential options available to Nova Scotians with developmental disabilities (including the fact that one-third of individuals referred with developmental disability and psychiatric or behavioural challenges did not actually have mental illness, but were troubled by the inappropriate residential situations in which they had been placed). Kudos to the committee’s members who actually had the guts to admit their lack of awareness of the key issues.

From the Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention program for pre-school children with autism started in 2005 (for which demand far outstripped supply) that five years later finally opened its door to allow access for all such children to the highly successful Access to Community Education & Employment (ACEE) program, piloted in 2007, that offers a one-year program in life skills and vocational experiences to youth following the completion of high school, which was finally awarded secure funding in 2009.

Alas, Dr. Hennen fails to note the ACEE program (like so many) is only available to youth who reside in the Halifax Regional Municipality, leaving many, many who could benefit from it out in the cold (and most likely stuck in high school until they are 21 due to the lack of any other options).

Looking forward, Dr. Hennen notes that although that five years ago teaching programs for health professionals had little developmental disability content, the new undergraduate curriculum provides medical students with a minimum of 13 hours of such content over four years, with a further six hours of inter-professional learning about developmental disabilities planned. Family practice trainees will also have defined learning experiences in each of two years of training.

Leaving us exactly where, you ask?

I could do no better than offer Dr. Hennen's final words in reply.
As are other jurisdictions, Nova Scotia will be judged by how well it supports its citizens with developmental disabilities in their bid to live independently and contribute to our community. As care providers, teachers, advocates and government departments, we know we can do better. 

Cross-posted at A Primer on Special Needs and the Law

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Belated Canada Day Tribute

What is this world coming to?

To think that I let Canada Day pass without nary a mention on the blog. Shameful...

But never fear, I shall make up for it in grand style today.  With two videos for our viewing pleasure.The first an oldie (had posted it to the blog a few years ago) but still a goodie.

I do realize that technically this next video is more or less ... shall we say ... insulting ... to Canada. But it's pretty funny.

And believe it or not, us Canucks have a great sense of humour, eh!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Humpty Dumpty Strikes Again

So, here we go again ... what's up with some people's apparent need to define words however they think they should be defined, either because it suits their own immediate purposes or ... it gets them in the news, perhaps? Hell, if I know.

My latest little rant involving a "study" (using the term somewhat loosely) by Canadian researchers on the effect "spanking" has on a child's future mental health. Which, apparently, is a two to seven per cent increase in the chance of said child later developing mental illness, such as mood and anxiety disorders, problems with alcohol and drugs and more.

Don`t believe me? Check this out:
Between two and five percent of disorders like depression, anxiety, bipolar, anorexia or bulimia were attributable to physical punishment as a child, the study said.

From four to seven percent of more serious problems including personality disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder and intellectual disabilities were associated with such punishments in childhood.
Oh, where to begin?

First of all, I don't know how you might define the term "spanking" but to me it does not necessarily include "harsh physical punishment," or "pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping or hitting as a form of punishment from elders".

To me (and, might I suggest, most sane people), a spanking means just that - "spanking" or striking a child's bottom, aka buttocks, aka rear end. Coincidentally, Wikepedia offers the same defintition. Now, I'm not among Wikepedia's hugest fans (then again, who exactly is?) but still ... it is what it is. And something tells me that definition would be very similar, if not exactly the same, for that of most people who stumble across this blog.

To be clear, in my mind, there is a huge difference between smacking a child on the bottom and smacking them up the side of the head; between smacking a child on the bottom and pushing or shoving them around. And I certainly don't equate the term "spanking" with "harsh physical punishment".

But who knows? Perhaps our Canadian researchers grew up in households where any kind of physical contact as discipline was taboo. Or, perhaps, they grew up in families where they were routinely "smacked around".

I suppose we should just be grateful that, unlike other supposed research studies on "spanking", this study actually excluded both sexual abuse and physical abuse "that left bruises, marks or caused injury". Wait, does that mean they included sexual and physical abuse that didn't leave bruises or marks or cause "injury"? You have got to be kidding...

But, presuming it's even possible to move past that little wrinkle, my point is that I'm pretty sure their definition of what constitutes a spanking does not equate with the majority of the world's or, at least, the majority of my generation.

But let's move on, shall we?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Very Interesting

I was cleaning out my inbox today (now there's a joke!) and came across this little tidbit from late last year.

Thought it was interesting.
A physics teacher in high school, once told the students that while one grasshopper on the railroad tracks wouldn't slow a train very much, a billion of them would.

With that thought in mind, read the following, obviously written by a good Canadian:

Shopping in Lowe's the other day for some reason and just for the fun of it I was looking at the hose attachments. They were all made in China. The next day I was in Home Hardware and just for the fun of it I checked the hose attachments there. They were made in Canada!

Start looking........

In our current economic situation, every little thing we buy or do affects someone else - even their job.

A quote from a grandson likes Hershey's candy. I noticed, though, that it is marked made in Mexico now. I do not buy it any more. My favourite toothpaste, Colgate, is made in Mexico now. I have switched to Crest. You have to read the labels on everything.
This past weekend I was at Wal-Mart. I needed 60W Light bulbs. I was in the light bulb aisle and right next to the GE brand I normally buy was an off-brand labelled, "Everyday Value". I picked up both types of bulbs and compared the stats - they were the same except for the Price. The GE bulbs were more money than the Everyday Value brand but the thing that surprised me the most was the fact that GE was made in MEXICO and the Everyday Value brand was made in - get ready for this - Canada at a company in Ontario . Their Equate Products are also made in Canada, and are very good.
Just to add my own experience on buying Made In Canada , I was looking for canned mushrooms that were made in Canada and could never find any, so I would buy fresh. But a miracle happened, when in our Foodland store I found Ravine mushrooms - made in Canada with a little red maple leaf on can. A little more money but when I opened the can I looked at mushrooms that look like real mushrooms, not a mushroom that looks like it was cleaned in bleach.

Another product I no longer buy is Del Monte or Dole canned Fruit. Del Monte is packaged in Taiwan and Dole is now a product of China. Why should we pay for their fruit when our growers are left with fruit rotting on the trees?. E.D. Smith is still made in Canada - buy theirs, at least you will know what is in it and have some quality control.

So throw out the myth that you can not find products you use every day that are made right here .

My challenge to you is to start reading the labels when you shop for everyday things and see what you can find that is made in Canada . The job you save may be your own or your neighbour's!(Your children's & grandchildren's, also)

If you accept this challenge, pass it on to others in your address book so we can all start buying Canadian, one light bulb at a time! Stop buying from overseas companies! (We should have awakened two decades ago.)

Let's get with the program. Help our fellow Canadians keep their jobs and create more jobs here in Canada.

BUY CANADIAN! Read the labels. Support Canadian jobs.
Do with it what you will. Or not.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

'Ask and You Shall Receive'

I've always suspected it. And now I have proof! All Some good things do come to those who wait.

Remember way back in the way back, some of those *fun* conversations we had at Lex"s? The ones about Canada's human rights system and how evil it was worked? About whether or not the so called "hate speech" provisions belonged in the federal Human Rights Act?

Well, they said they were going to do it. And, lo and behold, they actually did something right.

I must admit, I never thought I would find myself in agreement with these words.
“Way to go, Harper. I know we can’t get everything we want, but I stand a little taller today as a Canuck,” wrote “OneMan.”
Especially not with this Conservative government in power.

But be that as it may, I've repeatedly said that I don't think sec. 13 ever should have been added to the Human Rights Act. In my opinion, such matters are better dealt with in court - as either "hate speech" (inciting someone to violence) under the Criminal Code or, civilly, as a defamation claim for damages, if necessary.

Apparently, however, the Canadian Bar Association, who was in favour of the inclusion of s. 13 in the first place, disagrees. In a January 2010 report, it argued for the retention of the section, albeit without the penalty provisions that were attached. Their argument appearing to be that while the general "compensatory" damages provided for elsewhere in the Act are fine, the "punitive" sanctions attached to s. 13 are not.

Which, makes for an interesting argument/result, considering that, in general, the Act provides a much wider array of powers to a panel that has found discrimination in cases outside of sec. 13, both monetarily and otherwise, than it does for a violation of sec 13. But, hey, at least no one would be forced to pay a "penalty" (even if it is in a smaller amount than what can be ordered as damages for compensation for pain and suffering) as was allowed under sec. 54(3)(c). [Yeah, right, makes perfect sense to me, too.]

I am however in agreement with the CBA with it's concern that the debate surrounding sec. 13 was the start of a campaign to weaken Canada’s human rights laws.

Tell me, please, does any of this sound familiar?
Of greater concern to the CBA is the fact that the debate surrounding the expediency of section 13 has become the proxy for an open assault on the very existence of an administrative framework to protect human rights in this country. Critics have decried human rights proceedings as "kangaroo courts" which provide only "drive through justice" and advocated that human rights tribunals and commissions should no longer be permitted to operate. We reject attacks of this kind and reiterate forcefully our support for the continued importance of the work undertaken by these human rights bodies to foster human rights in Canada. Legal protections for human rights have existed in Canada since 1947 when Saskatchewan enacted the first bill of human rights in North America.
Uh huh. Could that have been taken out of some of those comment threads at Lex's or what?

Of course, now that the deed's been done, we have those who fear "free speech boost will rally neo-Nazi cyberhate". Personally, that doesn't concern me too much - although we will, no doubt, always have such idiot groups in our midst, considering that Canadian police forces reported a 42 per cent rise of in hate-based incidents in 2009, as compared to 2008, and a 35 per cent jump the year year before that, it doesn't seem to me that sec. 13 was having much of the desired effect anyway.

So, boys and girls, I am happy to report that it looks like the system can (and indeed has) work as advertised, at least in this case.

I knew it could. I knew it could. I knew it could ...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"Rules of Combat"

Making my way through my news feed on FaceBook (trying to put off at least half of what I should be doing), I came across a blog post by xbradtc concerning the second fatal accident at ATAC in the past few months (the first, of course, being Lex).

It was an interesting overview of just what that company does and why it's work is so  important. And a reminder that bad things sometimes do happen to good people. And good companies. Just because.

Having read that, I hopped around the blog a bit and landed on "Rules of Combat". Too numerous to count (okay, there's actually 126 - with many more in the Comments), they're also too good and too funny not to share.

Here are a few of my personal favourites:
1. Friendly fire – isn’t.

2. Recoilless rifles – aren’t.

3. Suppressive fires – won’t.

21. The important things are always simple.

22. The simple are always hard.

23. The easy way is always mined.

24. Teamwork is essential; it gives the enemy other people to shoot at.

25. Never draw fire; it irritates everyone around you.

26. If you are short of everything but the enemy, you are in the combat zone.

27. When you have secured the area, make sure the enemy knows it too.

28. Incoming fire has the right of way.

31. If the enemy is within range, so are you.

32. The only thing more accurate than incoming enemy fire is incoming friendly fire.

41. When both sides are convinced they’re about to lose, they’re both right.

44. Fortify your front; you’ll get your rear shot up.

52. Sniper’s motto: reach out and touch someone.

53. Killing for peace is like screwing for virginity.

56. It’s not the one with your name on it; it’s the one addressed “to whom it may concern”     you’ve got to think about.

67. One enemy soldier is never enough, but two is entirely too many.

71. The more a weapon costs, the farther you will have to send it away to be repaired.

72. The complexity of a weapon is inversely proportional to the IQ of the weapon’s operator.

76. For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.

89. The bursting radius of a hand grenade is always one foot greater than your jumping range.

96. If your flank march is going well, the enemy expects you to outflank him.

97. Density of fire increases proportionally to the curiousness of the target.

98. Odd objects attract fire – never lurk behind one.

99. Odd objects attract fire. You are odd.

105. Whenever you drop your equipment in a fire-fight, your ammo and grenades always fall the farthest away, and your canteen always lands at your feet.
112. What gets you promoted from one rank gets you killed in the next rank.

116. If you need an officer in a hurry take a nap.

119. If at first you don’t succeed, then bomb disposal probably isn’t for you.

120. Any ship can be a minesweeper . . . once.

121. Whenever you lose contact with the enemy, look behind you.

122. If you find yourself in front of your platoon they know something you don’t.

125. When accused, admit nothing, deny everything, and file counter-accusations
Now go read the rest.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Legal Edumucation

It looks like the South Shore Regional School Board finally got themselves some.

This story has received so much play over the past week that I seriously considered not wasting my life time with it, but ... really, I couldn't resist.

Not when I've waxed poetic (or not) so many times before on exactly this sort of thing. (Ah, the good old days ... the fun we would have had with this at Lex's. But I digress.)

"Whazzup now?", you ask.

Let me see ... how to explain this?

Oh, I don't know. What say we just cut right to the stupidity?
The dispute arose after Grade 12 student William Swinimer was suspended from his school in Chester Basin for continuing to wear a shirt with the slogan, ``Life is wasted without Jesus.''

He says on his Facebook site that he did it to stand up for the rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution.

Pynch-Worthylake says Swinimer and his pastor have agreed to take part in the debate that will look at how to ensure students' rights are not violated, while protecting other students from criticism.

She says it's not clear what the school will do if Swinimer wears the shirt when he returns to classes Monday.

Pynch-Worthylake said the school tried working out a solution with Swinimer before suspending him.

However, the 19-year-old says the school’s disciplinary action infringes on his right to freedom of religious expression.
“I do a lot of witnessing in school,” he said. “People talk to me and they ask me about my religion and I tell them.”

That has got him sent to the principal’s office in the past, Swinimer said.

“They say that it’s hate speech and that it hurts people’s feelings, but I don’t hate anybody.”
However, Pynch-Worthylake said the t-shirt's wording offends some people at the school because it tells them their beliefs are wrong.
“So let's recap, shall we?

A 19-year-old teen likes to take wear his favourite blankie T-shirt to school. Which just happens to read "Life is Wasted Without Jesus".  Apparently this T shirt makes at least some of the staff and students very, very unhappy. So unhappy that he is repeatedly asked not to wear said shirt. And when he doesn't heed these requests, he is given in-school suspensions. Repeated in-school suspensions.  Until this last 5-day out-of-school suspension given last week.

At which time he is warned, in no uncertain terms, that if he wears the T-shirt to school again, he will could be suspended for the rest of the year. The kid is in Grade 12. Hence, a suspension for the rest of the year means he would fail to graduate this year.

Want to hear the school board's reasoning in this regard?
If it said My Life is Wasted Without Jesus, that would be fine” because it expresses a personal belief, she said.

But the T-shirt he wore went further by telling non-Christians their lives are wasted, she said.

The school has asked Swinimer to replace it with a shirt that communicates his Christian faith without violating others’ beliefs, but he has refused, Pynch-Worthylake said.
Uh huh.

So it's okay to wear a shirt that says "My Life is Wasted Without Jesus"  but because the kid's shirt dares to state that "Life is Wasted Without Jesus", that might make someone else feel bad. And that's not just a problem.

Nope. It's A. Problem.

This whole thing is ridiculous in my mind but what really got me going on the subject was a news story last week stating that the Board intended to consult with a "human rights expert" on this issue.  I can only assume that they found someone with half a clue about human rights law, which is the reason they now say the kid can wear the T-shirt to school.

Really? Without a rest-of-the-year suspension?

Sure. With a little bit of back-tracking, of course.
“For us, it never really was about the one shirt,” Pynch-Worthylake said Friday.
Right. Gotchya.

Now, I realize that this kid might well have some other issues (around proselytizing witnessing to his peers). And I can fully understand how that might cause some problems at the school. But I think the Board was pretty clear in just about every news story - they wanted the shirt gone, it was wearing the shirt that got him suspended and would result in a further, harsher suspension.

So tell me, about that human rights edumucation. Just what will it take to get this simple concept through people's heads?

Listen carefully, class, I do not want to have to say this again.

And, yes, there will be an exam.
  1. Although there is a right not to discriminated against (on certain enumerated grounds), there is no right not to offended.
  2. And, as I've said before "... rude and insensitive remarks do not constitute discrimination. They are simply rude and insensitive remarks. Period. Full stop."
I know, I know. My snarkinesss is showing, Just a wee bit. My apologies but it's been a bit of a long life.

But seriously, people, should you doubt what we face .... yes, I do realize it's the "media", but please, I do expect somewhat better in Canada. The CTV Atlantic News ran a poll* the other day asking what people thought about this issue. 

The three choices looked something like this.
  • It's okay. Everyone has the right to wear whatever they want to school. It's free speech.
  • Religious messages are okay in school as long as they don't discriminate against another religion.
  • No religious messages at all should be allowed at school.
Anybody see a problem with these choices?

The closest one that worked for me, personally, was No. 2. But that implied stated that a religious message could "discriminate" against another religion. And, frankly, I can't see how that could work. At any rate, it certainly didn't apply in this case.

Oh well, it's nice to see that at least some people in our Province are imbued with the least common sense of all. Which, by the way, would include a national atheists’ organization, the Atlantic Jewish Council, the Islamic Association of Nova Scotia and a provincial opposition leader.


* For anyone truly worried about the state of "free speech" in Nova Scotia, you should be happy to know that close to 75% of the respondents to that CTV poll picked either No. 1 or 2, above. And the majority picked No. 1.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Today's the day. It's here. It. Has. Arrived. Most definitely.

I think.

Yeah, I may have been somewhat ambivalent with the concept (let alone overwhelmed in the part of my life that requires the actual "doing") of applying for guardianship of the Blue Jay.

Don't get me wrong. I know I have to do it.

My own ... ambivalence (and I'm really not sure what that is all about - ambivalence from She Who Preaches the Need to Seriously Consider and Decide How to Manage the Legal Relationship with Your Adult Child?) aside, it needs to be done.

Sooner. Rather than later.

And yet, somehow, She Who Created a Legal Guardianship Kit So Families with Absolutely No Legal Experience, Background or Training At All Can Apply for Guardianship Without Incurring the Cost of a Lawyer has managed NOT to do anything (and let's be clear here, I mean ANYTHING) about it in the past five weeks since the Blue Jay turned 19.

But having one big at-the-last-minute-total-surprise project off my plate (or as far off the plate as I can possibly make it go - after a presentation to the Camp's Board of Directors last evening I refuse to think about it any more right now ... uh uh, nope, you can't make me) and having an entire week before being scheduled to make a presentation (that I am totally unprepared for, by the way) to the Student Services Co-ordinators from around the Province ... I mean, really, what excuse could I possibly have for not starting the paperwork today?

Other than the fact that I desperately need to market my new business more ("more" as in so I have some actual work because I don't have any at the moment) after having worked the last day for my 12+ year client last week? But, hey, let's not get sidetracked here.

Right. Exactly. That's what I thought. No excuse. None.

But first, first I really need a cup of coffee. Then I will check my email again. Because you never know, there might just be something important there. And maybe Facebook, too, because ... you know ... it's Facebook.  'Nuff said.

But then, then I am going to be all over it. Like flies on honey. Like a rug on the floor. Like, like ... wow, I'm tired and those are so bad it's a true blessing for all of us that I can't think of any more.

But you get the point, right?

Cuz I'm going to do this. I am. Honest.

* Okay, sure, it's entirely possible that I could just be valiantly trying to convince myself here. But, then again, it is my blog. And I can cry if I want to. Right?

PS I am seriously considering adding a new label to the blog. How does "Pathetic" sound?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Beer and Skittles, Anyone?

Something to brighten up your day.

Courtesy of Hogday over at The Lexicans.

Apparently, they have good beer over there too. Not that I would know, of course ...

UPDATE: Actually this strikes me as strangely apropos my comment of the other day ... "Be careful what you ask for. You just might get it".

Monday, April 9, 2012

Still Missing

Time goes on. As does life, doesn't it?

And although time doesn't really heal all wounds, it does tend to provide a protective coating, a scab, if you will. Which, I suppose, is why it hurts so bad if and when that scab, for whatever reason, gets ripped off.

And, along the same vein, Facebook is, of course, Facebook.

And so it is that I receive a notification every time a friend posts on the Neptunus Lex Super Secret FB Page (first rule of the Neptunus Lex Super Secret FB Page - don't talk about the Neptunus Lex Super Secret FB page). Meaning I spend a fair bit of time on Lex's page, keeping up with what's going on.

But as the talk, in general, moves to being less and less about Lex and more and more about other items of "general interest" (defining the term "general interest" to mean of interest to those with a military and/or aviation backgrounds/fixations), it becames less and less satisfying.

It didn't happen immediately, of course. I followed what was being posted and found find a lot of it interesting. But after a while (defined as last Wednesday, I believe), I came to realize that the Neptunus Lex Super Secret FB page was no longer really doing it for me.  I was starting to miss Lex. Again.

I say "again" because, as I noted earlier, time does tend to dull wounds, eventually, in its own way. And life goes on. But this past Wednesday, I found myself "needing" more Lex. And so it was that I headed over The Lexicans blog.

I haven't involved myself a whole lot with that blog. Sure, I read there. Occasionally. But I haven't posted and really (at least for now) feel no need to. I guess what I am trying to say is that although I know it's there, although I "know" most (if not all) the bloggers and I visit occasionally, I don't feel any real connection with the blog. To which one might reply that we all grieve in our own ways. And, for whatever reason, the Neptunus Lex Super Secret FB page had been enough for me. Up until this past Wednesday.

So. Finding myself at the blog, I could have started reading backwards from the most current post, in what would be my usual manner. But I wasn't looking for that. I was looking for Lex. So, instead I only followed the links for "The Daily Lex" posts, moving backwards with the intent of finding my way back to the last one I had read on one of my previous visits.

"The Daily Lex" - some good soul (Todd) has taken it upon himself to find a post Lex has written for every date and post a link to it. With close to 10 years of writing (usually multiple posts on any given day), there are lots of choose from, of course. But that's the job role Todd has taken on for himself. Good man.

Back to Wednesday. I found myself reading these randomly chosen posts of Lex's. And while initially (momentarily) it quieted that need, that craving to hear Lex's voice again, it wasn't long before what looked like a hit on the good idea meter landed solidly on the bad idea meter. Because after that initial "Lex fix", it didn't take too long for the morose to return.

I went to the blog because something was missing but not long after finding what I sought, it started to hurt again. Strange, I wasn't hurting when I went to the blog. I was just searching for something ... missing ...even though I wasn't sure exactly what "it" was. But it wasn't long after finding what I was after that something changed. A dark cloud fell across the sun.

But sucker for punishment brave soul that I am, I kept on reading The Daily Lex. Going back pages and pages. Surprised at how long it had been since I had visited The Lexicans. I never did find my way back to where I had left off, not before life called me back to the present. Things to do, donchya know.

Like a good soldier, I returned to my life although I couldn't tell you for the life of me tell you now what it was that called me back to reality that day. Perhaps just the knowledge that I had been hiding out (and away from what was in front of me) for too long.

But when I returned to the daily grind it was with a definite sense ... the awareness at a very deep level that Lex is still missing. And that I continue to miss him, even when I'm not consciously aware of it.

Also came the realization that sometimes when we find what we're looking for, it hurts. That that old joke, "Be careful what you ask for. You might just get it." is often true. In other words, if I want to hear Lex's voice again, I must be prepared for that sadness to return. The ying and the yang. The give and the take. The good with the bad.

Something else that I realized the other day - I admire greatly those bloggers who, having allowed their blogs to go silent and dark in the days when Lex's voice was with us, have become reinvigorated and taken on the challenge to pick up where Lex left off and put their voices out there once again.

But, for whatever reason, that just doesn't seem to be me at the moment. I almost wish I could say that it's like this, that I can't bring myself to write of other things yet because I still miss Lex too much. But that wouldn't be true.

It's not that I don't still miss him (I just admitted how much I do) but I'm sad to say that whatever it is that had kept me from blogging the way I once did (for the past year or more) is still the culprit. And although my thoughts are developing on that subject (initially - and for quite a while now - I blamed it one thing but now I'm starting to think it's more a combination of things), I haven't yet made it to a place where I know exactly what I will or won't (or can or can't) do about it.

I guess in the meantime I will just have to sit with that. Be okay with it. Let it develop as it will. After all, it's not like I have much choice now, is it?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

On Final Approach

An absolutely beatitful post by Lex's close friend, FbL, over at Argghhh! The Home of Two of Jonah's Military Guys.

I thought I was through the worst of it (and I was) until I read her account of the funeral and reception and then I was right back where I was a few weeks ago. We will miss you, my friend, but not only did you live your life large and with a certain je ne sais quoi (that's French), you said farewell in the same way.

Nope, no passing on while snoring in a comfy chair for you. You left us doing what you loved, living your passions right up to the end. One last lesson for us all.

And one final toast to you. For strength. And courage.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Three Weeks On

It was three weeks ago today that the unthinkable happened.

It was three weeks ago today that the blogging world lost, in my humble opinion, one of it's brightest lights.

It was three weeks ago today that many, many people who had never actually met the man first felt the stinging loss of a good friend.

It was three weeks ago today that the United States lost not only one of its finest sons, but also one of its finest ambassadors to the rest of the world.

It was three weeks ago today that a wife lost her husband.

It was three weeks ago today that two daughters and a son lost their father.

People die every day, don't they? And it's sad of course, if and when we stop to think about it. We know that everybody has a family, that everyone is somebody's child, parent, sibling, spouse or friend.

But we don't think much about it unless and until it happens to someone we know. Then the standard words are "He was too young" or "She lived a good, long life" or, the perennial favourite, "at least he's not suffering anymore".

Capt. Carroll (Lex) Lefon, USN (Ret) was laid to rest today in Sandy Eggo, California.

And yet, there seems to be so much wrong with that statement. First of all, it's hard enough to think of Lex as even being "retired", let alone laid to rest. No, me thinks the man is still soaring in the sky somewhere, doing loops, and twists and turns (perhaps even a split S here and there), rushing up to feel the heat of the sun only to swoop over and fall earthward. And then start all over again. For the sheer joy that is in it.

If Heaven is that reward at the end of one's life, if it involves anything like eternal happiness and bliss, then I am comforted to know that Lex will be repeatedly strapping on his aircraft until the end of time.

But for those of us left behind, gravity-bound to the earth, it's been a long three weeks. A time of great sadness and longing, a time of forcing ourselves to turn our minds to family and work obligations while our chests hurt and our hearts are heavy.

The company of friends (again, generally, most whom we've never "met" in the conventional sense of the word) helps to dull a bit of the sting. We share our favourite stories and memories, often with a chuckle here and a tear there. But we know what we must do, we know that life is a gift and must be treated like the precious thing it is. Our family members, too, are gifts, we know and must be treated with the same high regard.

None of us know for certain how long we will be here. Perhaps the best we can do is enjoy each moment while we constantly cultivate our relationships, remaining open to new ones and never forgetting the lives that have truly deeply touched ours. Perhaps, with some luck, we will even do the same for another some day.

But, for now, three weeks later, it hurts. And the "missing" (whether it be in the form of the hole in the missing man formation, the empty chair at the solitary table or the hole that we know must be in the hearts of Lex's wife and children) can seem so huge, so empty, so sad. So eternal.

To Mary, Christopher, Ashley and Kate - I know chances are slim to none that you will ever read these words yet I feel compelled to share them. Your husband, your Dad touched so many lives around the world. Touched lives that I'm sure even he wasn't aware of. You know better than anyone else what kind of man he was and we can only thank you for sharing him with us. May it help you some tiny amount to even have the smallest sense of how many prayers are lifted heavenwards on your behalf.

After my Mom died a few years ago, a friend (whom, ironically enough, I never would have met but for Lex) told me that you don't get "over" these types of loss; you get *through* them. I have found her words to ring true. I still miss my Mom, some days desperately. And I know I always will. But life goes on. And on. And on. With its highs and its lows, its joys and its sorrows.

And, in my heart, I know that  Lex wanted for his family what my mother wanted for hers, in her absence - in her words, not to be sad, but for us to live our lives and enjoy them.

Three weeks on ... and the world still weeps.

The Watch

For many years,
This sailor stood the watch
While some of us were in our bunks at night, ...
This sailor stood the watch

While some of us were in school learning our trade,
This shipmate stood the watch
Before some of us were born into this world,
This shipmate stood the watch

In those years when the storm clouds of war were seen
Brewing on the horizon of history,
This shipmate stood the watch

Many times he would cast an eye ashore and see his family standing there,
Needing his guidance and help,
Needing that hand to hold during those hard times,
But he still stood the watch

He stood the watch for many years,
He stood the watch so that we, our families,
And our fellow countrymen could sleep soundly in safety,
Each and every night,
Knowing that a sailor stood the watch

Today we are here to say: "Shipmate . . . the watch stands relieved.
Relieved by those YOU have trained, guided, and lead
Shipmate you stand relieved . . . we have the watch!"

"Bo’sun . . . Standby to pipe the side . . . Neptunus Lex is going ashore!"

--H/T to Andy Niemyer - adopted from a traditional poem read at retirement ceremonies

Monday, March 26, 2012

Purple Passages

Monday, March 26, 2012.

Here it is. Yet another Purple Day.

The thought of which, at the moment, leaves me feeling totally exhausted.

Please don't get me wrong - I love Purple Day. My family loves Purple Day. In fact, it is the only one of the few only things we all do together.

But it's been a hell of a ride the past few weeks - flat out with too many things to really mention here (suffice to say, I am working with an amazing business/public speaking coach who is really helping me rework my flagship presentation - but it's a lot of work I am trying to accomplish by the date of my next speaking engagement on March 31st. While, you know, working. And doing everything my often interesting life can entail).

And then, of course, there was is Lex. Which, although that pain will be felt for a good long while, at least I'm thinking (hoping) that the worst of it is over.

But back to Purple Day. For a moment, please.

There were purple things that simply had to be done.

Such as getting everything to our neighbourhood daycare who so graciously agreed to do a Purple Day Bunny Hop (fundraiser) on very short notice. Thanks to yours truly. The short notice part, that is.

And cupcakes. Let us never forget the cupcakes.

Five dozen for the Blue Jay's high school - where Purple Day (complete with the provision of purple cupcakes, for a donation, of course) has become an annual tradition.

Then another three dozen for Purple Day at the Mall. Which, unlike the ones for school (part of Purple Day at the high school involving the students in the Blue Jay's resource room decorating the cupcakes they sell), these particular ones required decorating. So decorate we did.

In between working in Halifax on Friday and returning to Halifax on Saturday for a Circles workshop and before Purple Day at the Mall. On Sunday. Which would usually be done on Saturday, but I am still working on that whole being in two places at one time thing. To date, results have been ... shall we say ... mixed.

And so we spent yesterday afternoon at out Purple Day table in the Mall. Sunday was of course a bit slower than a typical Saturday, but a good time was had by all.

But when the Blue Jay and Kit Kat headed off to the Blue Jay's school this morning with their 5 dozen cupcakes, to meet up with the teachers who had agreed to provide another four or five dozen, I breathed a sigh of relief, rolled over and went back to sleep. Feeling like I deserved it, after all.

So although I am all decked out in my purple finery today and did manage to get to the grocery store to transport the Purple Day Cake I had ordered, special-like, to the little ones at the Daycare to thank them (because, let's face it, all that hopping can take a lot out of a body and it requires a  high dose of sugar to replenish itself), that is about the extent of my energy for this particular Purple Day. And for anything else today, too, I'm sad to admit.

But life goes on.

Indeed it does ... I know that for a fact because Kit Kat turned 16 a couple of weeks ago and the Blue Jay will have lived on this earth a full 19 years, come Thursday at about 3:30 in the morning. Yes, I do believe I remember that.

But 19? Really?? You've gotta be kidding. And speaking of such things ... ummm, I guess that means I better get shopping soon, huh?

Alas, there's more to being a 19-year-old Blue Jay than cake, friends, bowling and gifts. Nope, that would be too easy. You see, it's also the time my darling daughter transitions from the child to the adult system. Meaning it's the time that she is "assessed" to see where she might be placed "fit" in that lovely "continuum of services" offered by the province's Services for Persons With Disabilities program.

So that was interesting, it was.

While I met with our caseworker's supervisor to discuss the issue of how guardianship might affect the Blue Jay's eventual eligibility for the Independent Living Support Program, the Blue Jay, herself, worked through the assessment tool with the worker. They had made it about three-quarters of the way through when I returned to join them. And I must say that I was very, very impressed with the Blue Jay - with her unexpected (at least to me) insight into what she could do on her own and where she needed help. I do believe she might just be growing up. With or without my permission, apparently.

That interview took a lot out of her, though.  After a full day at her one-day-a-week work placement through school and that rather lengthy appointment, she was pretty much (understandably) wiped out for the rest of the day.

And so it goes, I suppose. We move into the next phase of her life, ready or not.

And thus it was, that driving home from that appointment Thursday afternoon, I couldn't help but think ... It's been a wild ride, honey. Hang on for Part II.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

"As If We Were Each His Closest Confidant, Friend, or Some Guy Sitting Beside Him at The Bar ..."

I've spent a good chunk of the past 11 days reading. Reading, commenting and reminiscing. Crying, toasting and hurting. And, yes, occasionally (but all too rarely), laughing.

And now, here I sit.

And although I think, like so many others, that Lex might well be wondering what the hell is wrong with all of us, I continue to struggle with the same question that so many others have attempted to answer over the past week and a half. So much ink spilled. So many pixels wasted. Because so many of us continue to ask ourselves the same question.

Why/how did this man effect me so?

I've read many a thought on that question and must confess to having gained some insight from them.

And although it would seem reasonable to speculate that the answer might well vary from person to person (as just a paltry few examples: he was such an excellent writer, always the consummate gentleman, a brother aviator or a brother in arms, a mentor, a warrior poet, a true patriot [Ed. - completely without the negative connotation that sometimes attaches to those words of late], he led by example, he was the type of Officer I would follow anywhere, he could have me repeatedly alternating between laughing and crying in the same post, his blog was a place where everyone [with the exception of trolls, of course] truly felt welcomed), I'm not sure that any or even all of those things truly encapsulate the man.

Yes, undoubtedly, he was all those things. And yet, he was so much more.

Strangely enough, the words that rang the truest for me, that came the closest to summing up why the man effected me on such a personal level, I found buried in AW1Tim's memorial:
In Lex’s blog, his stories, his observations, you got the feeling, reading them, that he wasn’t so much reporting but having a conversation with you.


Whether it was personal demons, family or job issues, the loss of a friend, or any of the myriad things that accost us all, he would write of them, openly and honestly, as if we were each his closest confidant, friend, or some guy sitting beside him at the bar. He was like that, and he was wonderful with what he did.
That, right there, comes the closest in anything I have read or yet considered to mirroring my own personal reality.

Yes, the man was an amazing writer - as I pointed out to him as soon as I finished reading Rhythms (on the first go-around), he had somehow managed to completely hook someone like me, someone with no military background or experience. Hooked me with Rhythms. Hooked me on the blog. And thinking about it sadly now, it would, of course, have been his writing that drew all so many of us in. And, yes, on some level, it was his writing that drew us back time and time again.

But that doesn't explain the effect, the reaction, the outpouring of grief that his death has caused. Sadness that a good man, a good writer is no longer with us? Sure. Regret that Neptunus Lex will no longer be part of the daily read? Absolutely.

But not this, not this “... [feeling] like something essential had been suddenly hollowed out of me, something I had always counted on for strength without even knowing it was there.” As Lex well knew, that's a feeling saved for the loss of a parent, a child, a sibling, a spouse or a best friend. Not a blogger the majority of us have never met.

I have finally concluded that it was because of the way that Lex wrote, the manner in which he shared his personal demons, family and job issues, his sea stories, his best job evah, the worst day of his life and the myriad other things he wrote about that we were allowed to get a look behind the blogger and come to know the man behind the words. That was how we each discovered for ourselves that he was the consummate gentleman and a true patriot, how we came to realize just how much he loved his family, his country and his Navy, how we learned that he led by example and was the type of Officer people would follow anywhere and why we came to admire, respect and rely on him the way we have.

I have many friends. I admire many people. But of all the people that have entered and left my life, there have only been two that I can say I totally, completely and utterly respect. Lex was one of them. And I have yet to meet any other person (either virtually or real life) who had has the ability to connect so intimately with another through the written word alone. Something tells me, I likely never will.

And yet, to paraphrase George Patton (and with thanks to one of Lex's many fellow milbloggers, without whom I never would have thought of this quote), it's also the reason that we should must struggle not to mourn the fact that he is gone but, rather, celebrate the fact that such a man has lived.