Friday, December 31, 2010

Good Bye 2010

Tomorrow as we wake up it will be a new year, perhaps a new beginning, maybe new excitment but whatever term will define 2011 for us one thing is certain.  Life will go on, change will take place and we need to hear the Lord and act.  I am wondering what he may want me to change this year, what he may want me to do, where he may want me to go but of course time will tell.
I put the bike on my last blog of the year as it kind of sums up my year.  It was an item that I spent more money on than anything for myself in my life.  It was something that Aaron in such a special way guided me through so that I could get what I desired and then he ordered and built it for me.  I realize that "things" are not really important but for many reasons this bike is special for me because of who made it, how it was put together, what I can do with it and it surely sums up my life at this point. The only thing that it does in a wrong way is it is such a fast bike and I still have this slow body!!!!
This year was really not too eventful but yet was special in many ways.
  • Our family was able to all be together July 4th weekend at a camp ground.  That was special.  Even when I ended up in the hospital with a bad back it was great to be together as a family.
  • Servant Camp was again so powerful in how God worked.  It was inspiring to be part of it.
  • For sure the highlight was February 1st when little Ruby Gail Lee arrived in Madison.  I just can not believe that a little female Bucky Badger can be so cute!!
  • Christmas Day was special this year as we were again all together.  We almost did that earlier in June but Mike was out of town so we were all together minus one then.
  • Perhaps the most difficult part of 2010 was to see John/Mary/Audrey/Liam and Henry move to South Bend IN.  No doubt it was what God intended for them at this time but for me it was very difficult to see them move 500 miles away.  In our world now that may not be very far but when you desire to stop in for a cup of coffee on a cool rainy day it is too far!!
  • On a personal level biking and exercising was a highlight.  I have not gotten to my desired weight but I was able to lose weight, in fact I am now 35 pounds less than when I retired 3+ years ago.  Carrying less weight makes me feel better, makes me look better, helps me be more spiritually tuned in to God and it also gave me several new shirts and pants that had been too small!
  • Getting my bike was another highlight.  It may sound crazy that a 63 year old guy would be so excited about a bike but it was wonderful and I am so thankful to Aaron.
  • I would say that I did not accomplish 2 of my biggest goals this year.  Those were to get the electrical redone in the house and to paint the garage BUT I did finish round 2 and 3 of cleaning, ordering, throwing, and recycling.  The biggest of that was to completely clean the front attic of the garage.  In doing that I found a few things that I needed to find but really most of it was tossed.  
  • My "down" of the year was my inability to do much woodworking.  I tried and tried and tried to get out into the shop and mostly all I could muster up was some clean up, some ordering and then emotional turmoil would set in and I would sit and think of times past.  I have not given up on my woodworking so will try again in 2011.  Little did Gail know what went though my mind that sunny June day in 2009 when I brought in part of a project to show her.  She looked at me with those eyes and said, "Carmen I can not die yet because I want to see all of the beautiful things you will make in your shop".
  • I did get a new car this year.  It is always fun to have that but it was not a big deal.
So what will 2011 bring??  We do not know and would not desire to know ahead of time but for sure change will happen.  My hope and prayer is that I can embrace  and know what God has in mind and of course my free will enters into that in a big way so Lord give me wisdom and grace to live and act according to your desires for me.
I intend to spend a quiet last day of this year.  I may stop over to some friends for a short time this evening but for the most part I will be quietly ending this year and spending time in prayer and thought about what tomorrow and next year may bring.
For those who read this I pray that 2010 has been a good year and that 2011 will be full of "Godly" things.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A day of contrasts

Gail would have turned 65 today.  I visited the gravesite and of course in the winter it is desolate and lonely feeling.  I remained there for a time just to remember some of her most happy birthdays.  The one where we gave her the table and chairs, the one where I gave her the special coat, the one where we surprised her at the Dodges, the one where we went out with Al/Deb and about 40 people came over and where here to surprise her when we got home.  Yes there were many times to remember BUT here I am looking at 2011 and it seems so strange that we lost Gail in 2009.  I am so thankful for the time with her.
The day was indeed strange.  We received rain most of the day and one could see that the snow went down but there is still much much left.  I spent about an hour and a half taking ice off of the two areas on the north side of the house.  I was able to get maybe 20% of the ice off but more importantly was able to make a path so that water will not build up but will drain off of the roof.  I expect and I hope that will take care of any problems before they start. 
I now have ALL of the Christmas things put away and it looks kind of stark in here.  I put all of the things in the attic as they were in my closet in the past.  Before I took the tree out yesterday I still could smell it which was interesting as it had gotten very dry.
I had to think to myself as I came in this afternoon that really my body at times tells me that things are different than 10 years ago.  I really did not like to be on the ladder near the roof line and when I got in the house I knew that I had worked for some time chopping.  What is this, am I really getting to middle age????
I just finished eating and as I ate I watched gunsmoke---a show from the past. 
I think it is time to do dishes.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A visit--a tear--a smile

Not a whole lot to say today.  Family gathered at the gravesite at 8:00 AM to remember Gail as it would have been her birthday tomorrow.  After a short time we motored to Starks where we enjoyed breakfast as a family.  We missed A/A/L/RG who of course are in Madison but be it Gail or other family members who are not here life continues to move oh so fast and change at a pace that is almost breath taking. 
It has been kind of a difficult day for me so far.  Thinking back on Gail/my life as her birthday approachs is difficult and then saying good-bye to John/Mary and family as they head back to IN has made the day a bit sad.  I will be OK but maybe will need a small amount of time to recapture God's grace now.
The title is about the morning.  A visit to the grave site, a tear for the sadness one feels and a smile for ALL the memories Gail gave each of us.  Liam said he remembered grandma actually being unhappy with him one time when he threw something in the living room and it went on top of the fireplace.  Of course he remembers all of the love that grandma gave him the most!!  The example Gail was to us for what she gave to family, what she gave to each individual was amazing and something one is so so thankful.
I have much to do as I plan to head out in a few days to get some warm weather, visit family and friends and just take some time to be "me" as I did not get a vacation this past summer.  I have decided to forget work at home, forget getting more order in the house and just be.  I also have some important things to get done while I am gone as I need to try to find out what I should do with my life.  I think it will help to get away, pray, visit, talk and just think  about my future.  Will D just stopped by to get something and I said I plan to take bike rides and maybe fashion a sign that says "I am Carmen and let me know if you have any ideas what I should do" but then as I thought about it that may not be a good idea!!!!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A future rock star!!!!

Here is Liam on Christmas Eve playing his new guitar and rocking to Christmas music!!!  He fashioned a new hair style just for the song and I have to say he looks grand!!!!  For a 5 1/2 year old guy he is certainly a hoot to be around and observe.  He has a heart of gold and a mind that I dearly love. 
Here we are only a short time away from a new year.  What will it bring, what will happen and how will God appear in our lives daily??  They are questions that only time will answer and we wait, pray and hope each day. 
Today we have a wonderful weather day.  It is about +30 with bright sunny skies and no wind.  I see where it is supposed to be warmer tomorrow and Thursday with maybe rain!  How can that be when we have at least 3 feet of snow on the ground?  We have had record snows for the month of December and there really is not much space to put more.  I should get out to clear out the driveway again.  It was all clear before the last snow but when it snows all one has to do is drive on it once before the shovel hits it and it is packed down. 
In about a half hour there should be a dozen or more people here and it will be time to have hot dogs over the fire in the fireplace and then sit back and enjoy smores for dessert!!  The fire has been stoked since 8:30 so grandpa is ready.  Tonight a friend of John/Mary's is coming over and then the sad part---tomorrow morning the whole crew packs up and heads to IN again.  I have told them time and time again that it is a BAD idea but to no avail.  No I believe they are in the right place, the place God wants and intends for them but it is really too far away for grandpa.  So what do I do???  I guess I make the best of things and stand proud that they so carefully listen to God and what he desires for them.  It is indeed a wonderful thing when anyone of us can pray, listen, hear and obey our Lord.  It sounds like God is blessing John in his work and their family in many ways so Thank you Lord. 
I need to check the fire and get things ready for the hot

Monday, December 27, 2010

Here they are!!!!!

Here are the munchkins in the order of their age.  Of course it goes without saying that they certainly are the cutiest, smartest and best grand kids in the world.  Each has such a personality that it is wonderful to observe and see how God creates all of us in such a different way.
Here we are on the last Monday of the year.  Have a great day!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Thank you Lord

Liam-5, Henry 7, Audrey 2, Jude 1, Ruby Gail 11 months, Faustina 2, Leo 3
I guess I forgot to say Grandpa 63!!!!  
It was a day to thank God for the wonderful gift of his Son.  A gift that is unsurpassed by nothing.  However it was also a day to thank God for family, for friends, for blessings and for the entire  year of 2010.  There were so many changes but will get into that at a later date.  All of family came yesterday and it was a good day.  We thought about Gail, we remembered Gail but yet we all know that she is in heaven and we must and we have moved on.  She will remain in our hearts forever and the gifts of love and family that she demonstrated daily we try to live out daily.  It was a day with some sad moments but a day to rejoice for so many reasons.
Now, December 26 we already begin to think and pray about 2011.  What to do, where to go, how to use the blessings that God gives us and the list goes on and on.  We already started things in a good way by all meeting at the place where Travis hangs out.  There is a wonderful water park there and for 2 hours we swam, talked, played and enjoyed ourselves.  John/Mary and family then went to friends for dinner, the rest went to Travis' for pizza and I came home to relax and go to bed early.  Life has been busy and good the last few days.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Here we are at Christmas 2010.  May our mighty God continue to be with us, continue to love us, continue to be patient with us and protect us from the wrongs of our world.  Thank you for your Son, Jesus, who came to save us, love us and be an example for us.
It has been a busy place round here.  John/Mary/Henry/Liam and Audrey make for a full and fun home.  Better company, better food, more fun and all the rest when the home is full and busy.  Not much time to blog as this wireless is still giving me trouble and do not like to have it sitting in the kitchen with kids around.
I forgot to put out the stockings last night so had to do it at 5:30 this morning but you could guess Henry and Liam were up!!!
No I need to go, put the french press coffee on and spend some time with those guys.  They are getting so so big.  They each opened one present last night and Liam got a guitar.  He is such a performer!!  He may be the rock star some day.  His moves already can rival the best----at 5 years old?????

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas's past

Here is Leo (2 years ago) modeling his Grandma made PJ's which turned out to be Gail's last sewing project and the only project she did on her fancy 40th anniversary sewing machine.
Today was one of those days that one wants to just put behind them and not think about things again.  I had 2 situations where I just came away as an emotional wreck.  I do not know how people view me but I am kind of thinking that many friends would be surprised to hear me say that I absolutely hate conflict, disagreement or any kind of confrontation.  Gail would always tell me that I could not see reality some times and I just wanted everything to always be happy, fine and never have disagreements.  That may be a fairly true picture of me.  Anyway today was not one of my banner days.  DETAILS---well there will not be any here but it is enough to say that I feel batted down, stepped on and then left for fodder!!  Not that anyone did anything wrong, no that is not the case.  I just hate it when I know people are sad, upset or bothered in a big way and that happened today.  Of course things will be OK, life will be fine tomorrow and if half the people in the world had no bigger problems than me it would be a greater place than it really is.  But the truth is my day was not good.  It was more a product of who I am and not related to others.  Sometimes I just wish I could be different or have less faults or just was able to put things aside without attaching emotions to things but I often seem not able to do that.  So when I fail it seems to me that I fail big time.  Anyway I do need to gather my wits about me after a good nights sleep as Christmas is getting near and the focus needs to be on our mighty God and how he gave us his only son to be our savior.
It seems early but I am spent so will try to see if the pillow gives some relief.

A ride down memory lane

Here is our family picture of 2008.  Since then we have lost our Gail and gained Jude and Ruby Gail. 
As I was riding my 30+ minutes on the bike this morning I listened to Christmas music to help the time pass but I also spent the time reflecting on life over the last many many years.  Some of the thoughts were:
  • Life just moves way to fast
  • I have always been one to say I don't want to go back into the past I just want to move forward with my life and I guess I still say that but with the Advent Season here and Christmas fast approaching it is difficult to really have that in my heart.
  • I remembered the presents at home on the farm.  Mom and Dad always put them above the kitchen cupbroards.  I remember the reflectors on the tree lights.  
  • I remembered my all time favorite present which was a clock radio.  I knew I would so enjoy listening the Harry Cary and the St. Louis Cardinal baseball as I fell asleep in the summer time.
  • I remembered Gail's and my first Christmas together with our Charlie Brown tree.
  • One of the most fun Christmas presents in our family was when we gave a computer to the kids.  Each one had a present to open and it was maybe the printer or the key board or another part and the screams of delight still ring in my ears.
  • Of course the many many times we would go and cut our tree.  One year Gail decided she wanted 2 trees, one for the living room and one for the basement.  On the way home one of them fell off the top of the car!!
  • The first 2 Christmas' we were in St. Paul most of my family came.  We had aunts, uncles and cousins sleeping every place possible.  It was one of our most fun extended family times.
  • All our Christmas times after grandchildren arrived were special
  • I thought about the Christmas we gave each of the boys a tool box that I made.  I think they may still have them.
  • There was the time we drove to CA to be with grandma/grandpa Saunders
The thoughts went on and on and on.  As I glanced at my timer and saw that my 30 minutes was up I was ready to reflect just a bit more on today.  Here I was riding my bike at about 11:30 AM.  I had been to church, had read the paper, had a bite to eat, spent time praying and now was finishing some exercise.  As I went to take a shower I glanced at the guy in the mirror as I passed.  My what a life can do to a person.  It was not visible but I knew that in the back of that head was a bald spot, the arms did not look so strong, the neck had some wrinkles, the stomach was a bit too big, those biking legs were actually not bad, the chest didn't seem to be as broad as I think I remember BUT---with my best effort, with the attitude of a brave guy I smiled, held my head up straight and said in a voiceless tone, "God I am happy to be alive, I am happy to be here, I am thankful for a wonderful family and if I ever forget to be grateful please forgive me.  Thank you for the gift of your son and I promise you that I will always try my best to love and serve you."
Well it is on the a couple of things before a 3:00 Christmas program I will be going to.

Friday, December 17, 2010


The new picture on the blog is of the Nativity scene that I gave Gail for her 40th birthday.  It has stayed fairly nick and damage free for the last 25 years.  We have used it almost every year and it has been in many different places.  One year it was on the deck protected by  plastic.  It still is bright in color and of course has many memories attached to it.
It is hard to believe that one week from tonight will be Christmas Eve.  The season is here and it certainly is a time to rejoice for how good our God is.
One really nice thing this year is I have received many pictures in Christmas cards.  Actually I have not gotten that many cards yet but many of the ones that have come have pictures which is nice.  It is always fun to see friends, their families or their places. 
I think it is time to go to bed

I love that dog

Here is Wallace showing how much he loves me.  He is sound asleep using my shoes as a reminder that he loves to be near me!!
Not much new on my end.  I have been kind of marking time in some ways.  Can hardly wait to see everyone for Christmas, especially those little ones from South Bend.  It has been 4 months so I may not know who they are as they probably are so big now. 
I have gotten some work done in the house in preparation for Christmas.  I will share the details later. 
It seems like yesterday day that I had the open house and here it is a week ago so there again time flies when you are having fun.  I finally got the last of the things put away yesterday, things that are used only for parties etc.  Of course I again will get them out when Christmas comes. 
I did drive down to Burnsville today as that is now the closest woodworking store.  Well actually there is one in Bloomington but I like the one in Burnsville better.  While I was there I stopped in at the Burnsville shopping mall.  I think that is the first time I have been there.  I remembered our friends Marty and Dick Weber while I was there.  For some reason that was Marty's favorite place to shop.  Both of them died at a fairly young age several years ago.  Marty had some illness that caused her finger to just shrink and disappear kind of.  I remember how brave she was and how difficult it was for her to go places but she did get to all of her son's soccer games etc.  Times past, wow the memories are there for sure.
I did get over to John Krause's place tonight as some of us helped him get much junk out of his garage.  It is in my pick up now and will drive it out to the junk place tomorrow.  It was nice to help him get some of that stuff out of the place.  As I was driving home I thought about the attic in the garage and the fact that it is now clean--- so so thankful for the energy and means to get that done this fall.
Enough for now as it is way way way past my bed time.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A new day and all is white

Here is Niles Ave looking east towards St. Kate's.  The snow ended about 4:00 PM or so on Saturday and this picture is at about 4:00 PM Sunday.  No sign of snow plows yet.  As I write today there has been some plowing which means one can drive (carefully) on Niles.  The day is bright and COLD.  Not really as cold as the forecast said but at about -7 with a breeze it reminds one that winter is here.
Not much planned for the day.  Will have to get out and about later today as I have been home since Friday AM and it seems like I need to get some fresh air and new scenes.  Not that I don't like my home but enough is enough so will venture out later this morning.  Maybe I can find something to shop for even though I am pretty much finished with Christmas shopping.  Fleet Farm sounds kind of inviting.  I enjoy looking at the sporting goods and farm toys.  Maybe I should pick up an international M tractor just like the good old days!!  No I guess I am beyond that so will look at something else.  Anyway my driveway is shoveled and the street is kind of passable so will get out to rid myself of this "closed in" feeling. It actually would not be a bad idea to go for a walk but I think I will ride bike inside for exercise today.
I did finish picking up the house yesterday as party things were all over the place.  Got the table back in place, the card table down, the dishes washed and now it is what do I do with the left over pop and candy??  I could save it for when John/Mary come but I kind of think they may not want the kids to feast on that kind of stuff.  If I do that they may not want to come back to visit and that would be bad.
I think I may jump on the bike for a while, shower after that and head out to Fleet Farm to see if I can spend a dollar or two.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A party--A storm-A time to relax

Wow so much in so little time over these last 48 hours. 
To start out the open house was a success.  I am guessing about 40 people came to enjoy goodies, the season spirit and wonderful conversation.  We had too much food but why would one complain about that??  Cynthia's lefsa was again a hit as the picture shows.  Faustina and Mary Oberg became great friends and I did not get a picture of Jude but he had to be the hit of the party.  With his chubby legs, his famous smile and then running around in his diaper showing off his figure he was a hoot!!  I was happy the storm held off as 40 people over night---I don't think so!!!
I woke up to much snow yesterday.  I am guessing the yard stick is pretty much proof that we got about 19 inches.  I put the yard stick down until I hit the old hard snow so it is real.  As I write this morning, Sunday, I am the only one with a shoveled walk on my side of the street.  I have my driveway open but the street is about impassible so it is once again home alone for the day.  Wallace was so good as he did not want to venture out into the snow to do his business but he did and you can see that he and I could play house out there as the path to the garage is deeper than he is tall. 
The storm is kind of nice.  No mail, no paper and no company.  That means I can do computer work, read, watch TV, sit and think, pray, take a nap and all is fair play as the outside is off limits for now.  Don't start the car, don't venture out in the -30 degree wind chill, just hang out in the house and pretend that one is on vacation.  I did forget but maybe I should turn off the ringer on the phone.  I do know without a doubt that this kind of mini-vacation makes sisters Helen and Joan want to live in the midwest again!
With this snow and cold I am beginning to think about a possible vacation in January where I could stop at Helen/Mike's for a time, go to Flordia and visit a couple of friends who spend part of the winter there and then drive back and spend time in South Bend and Madison.  If I do that I would need to be back for Grandma Saunder's birthday February 5 but 4 or 5 weeks in warmer weather sounds kind of fun. Maybe??  It would be pretty exciting to put the bike in the car and head out to places one could ride.  Oh I almost forgot I suppose I would need to see if Helen/Mike are going to be home as they travel sometimes.   Anyway it is nice to dream and we will see.
No I had better see if there is any food in this house.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A party today

Here is the picture of the shoes from our open house last year.  We will see who comes this year.  I hope some neighbors and friends show up so we can laugh, share and get to know each other better.  Last year I met some people I had never talked to and that was fun.  If only Gail could be here to enjoy---but we will have fun and we will share memories of times past.  As I look at my life today and look at it a year ago I feel that I am ready to move on with happy memories and an excitement for the future.  I know that I will have to do that with dishes in the sink sometimes, dust under the table for sure, a bed that is made but looks like a man made it, grand-kids who love grandpa but miss grandma so much even though they do not realize it and perhaps most of all a heart that is healed to the point that only occasionally does it seep loneliness and emptiness.
I do think it may be time here to get some more work done.  The den is still a mess, the living room is not ready for a party and in general the entire house shouts with a loud voice "A man has prepared this place for Christmas and it is lacking MUCH!!!"  I had better be thankful for that "whoever" that left some goodies, some Kona coffee and some beautiful wreaths that are now on the front of the house.  I guess to be honest I am happy with what is done in the house and I know that the people are the most important so all is good.  Anyway it is what it is and tonight should be a fun time. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Happy Birthday John

 Forty-one years ago John came into our lives and of course things were never the same in a good way.  He always had a way of reving things up, making things happen, exploring the new, doing things differently and in general making family interesting, fun, loving and new.  Today of course he has a wonderful family, is practicing being a super husband and father and as always makes his dad (and of course in the past his mother) proud of him.  Each of my children, in their own way, are creative, fun, loving and precious but today I salute you John as one of the BEST!
I continue to prepare for the open house Friday.  I brought some coffee to Cynthia this morning to thank her for the goodies on the deck but she said they were not from her.  So someone out there thinks I need help in Christmas goodies and decorations and they may be right.  Who ever left things on the deck for me a huge THANK YOU and next time let me know who you are so I can thank you in person.
I put the lights on the tree this morning so now must arrange them and get some decorations up.  I am not making a big deal of Christmas decorations but need to do a few things. 
I pray this Advent season will be great for all.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A relearning of a life lesson--AGAIN

Here we are on a Monday morning.  Another weekend is in the books and we are ever so close to Christmas.  Seems that Christmas now comes more than once a year the time flies by so fast!
I had an uneventful weekend but I did relearn a life lesson.  One should not have expectations of others for many reasons.  I went into more than one situation last weekend with expectations.  Of course when a person does that more often than not the other person or persons do not know what is on your mind.  When that happens of course things will not happen as one wants or thought they should.  Let down!!!  What I am talking about was not life changing, not terribly disappointing, not really that important but still when things happen like that they tend to be a bit of a downer.  So as I was in bed last night thinking of the day I was able to realize that what I had experienced was really a short coming on my part.  I know and I realize that I should go into social situations or family situations or what ever with things in mind that I need to give or things in mind that I need to do but to have expectations of others is a recipe for failure as all too often expectations are not met or not even possible.  And even more they many not even be right!   So as I slept last night I asked for grace to change, to realize that my shortcomings come all too often.
I am looking at some work that needs to be done before my open house on Friday.  Not a lot but some cleaning, some decorating, some ordering of things that need to be done.  It will be interesting and fun to see if the open house this year is as successful as last year.  I hope it is as people who came last year seemed to have fun and enjoy gathering, talking, sharing and having treats and eats that went with the season.
I do have a breakfast get together this morning at 7:15 with Jim C.  It seems like we have not gotten together for some time but we have tried to do it monthly. 
In the family we have John's birthday Wednesday.  It is so hard to believe that Gail's little red head and my little boy arrived 41 years ago.  Gail was so so ready to be a mother and oh my goodness she did such a wonderful job.
Maybe I will make myself some french press coffee before I meet Jim as we are going to a place where the coffee would be a B- at best.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Time goes just too fast

Here it is Friday and it seems that I blogged only yesterday but it really was Sunday.
The week has gone very fast.  What have I done???
  • I have been able to ride bike indoors each day for about 30 min or so
  • Had 2 breakfasts out with friends
  • Had 5 guys over for meditations Thursday at 6:00 AM
  • Cynthia/Mike/Faustina and Jude have been here since Wednesday afternoon as they are having some work done on their wood floors.  The smell is too strong to stay there.  They may be here tonight again.
  • I totally finished my Christmas shopping
  • Have gotten out the invitations for my open house next Friday
  • Have gotten out about 15 Christmas cards so far.  At this point I will send out cards as I get some
I guess that is the bulk of what I have done.  I can not believe how fast the time flies.  Here we are at December 3 already and almost finished with the first week of Advent.
Not too much more to say.  I do need to do some serious work in the house before my friends/neighbor open house next Friday but that is a week away so do have some time.  Before that I need to get the tree in and put up some decorations so a person knows that Christmas is coming.  Of course that is a VERY strong point in my skills so I am sure when all is finished it will look really really nice. NOT    Really it is not that bad but it always was Gail's thing and I never helped too much but one can always learn new things.  I think last year it turned out not too bad.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's OK to pretend

I hopped in the pickup this morning and drove into Wisconsin about 45 miles to cut down my Christmas tree.  BUT the picture you see is not from today.  It is from 2 years ago!  WHY??  Well the story is in 2005 Gail and I drove to get a tree at Wagon Landing Tree Farm.  In 06, 07 and 08 John/Mary and kids came and we stopped on the way home each time for lunch.  Last year John/Mary/family and I went to get a tree and then there was 1!!!  The 1 is "I" so I felt why not do the same thing even if I go solo and so I did.  However I did not stop at the family cafe as we always did but rather there was a fast stop at McDonald's on the way home.  My my how things change quickly.  I did get a Fraser Fir again but decided not to get such a large one.  Mainly because I am not great at making it look pretty and the smaller the better for me.  I decided not to go too far back so I did not go to Gail/my first Christmas when we settled for a Charlie Brown tree that was about 2 feet tall nor did I go back to the next year when we lived in Old Main on campus of the North Dakota School for the Deaf and our ceilings were 12 feet tall.   We picked out the tree that was left in the lot which the local church did not want and it reached to almost the 12 foot ceiling!!    Anyway my tree is now in the truck in the garage and I will have to decide when to bring it in and put it up. 
The last few days have been busy busy busy.  Aaron/Amy and kids arrived Wednesday afternoon and were here until Friday late afternoon.  Cynthia/Mike and kids were here for Thursday and again some on Friday.  Also for Thanksgiving were Lizzia, Betina and from Mike's family Jeanne and Jordan.  It was a fun day, good food and great conversation.
Yesterday I was out and about for a while and finished the little shopping I need to do.  Well I do have to figure out stocking stuffers and actually I am sure I do not have enough stockings so not sure what I should do about that.  I find it difficult to pick out things for little girls so struggled a bit with Audrey's and Faustina's presents.  Ruby Gail's was a bit easier as she is not yet 1 so a stuffed animal is fine.  Getting something for Jude was a slam dunk as he loves to throw the ball and I had purchased things for the 3 older boys some time ago.  For them I probably went with things that are a bit old for them but it should be OK.
I spent some time yesterday getting rid of about a dozen things that are now too large for me.  I do not like things to fit tightly but some of the shirts and pants were beyond the loose fit and well into the baggy tag and that was not good.  Goodwill here I come tomorrow.  I also was able to clean up my bedroom as I had let things slip a bit and it looked like a room of disaster.  I have now made my bed so many days without missing that I am almost ready to say it is a habit.  NOT yet but soon can I say that.
I have been able to get on my bike on the trainer Aaron left here but am finding that I am out of shape big time.  I rode for only 20 minutes yesterday and 25 minutes today and I was sweaty and tired.  I did get the seat adjusted and I think that helps me much so I do sit better on the bike.  I think the resistance in the trainer makes riding a bit more taxing than if one were on the road but I do not think that is all bad. 
The weather is glorious for late Thanksgiving.  As I sit here it is sunny and in the high 40's so can not get much better than that.  Keep it coming Lord.
The Binde's will be stopping by this afternoon as they used my I Pass on their trip to DC and will travel back this way today.  Will be fun to hear of the good times they had.
Need to get going so that is enough for now.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

My title is a day early but with company here much of the next 2 days it may be my only time to wish people, who may open my blog, a happy and blessed Thanksgiving.  You may say what a goofy picture to wish someone a happy Thanksgiving BUT   I view the tree as a symbol of love, hope, things past and things to come.  As I looked at this picture I could not help but think of the summer.  Things had been green, the tree had new growth and it was a thing of beauty--life sure parallels that I think.  Then the tree turns to a golden red and people forget the summer foliage and say what a thing of beauty--really it is not any more beautiful than the summer, just in a different way, kind of like life can be.  God is always with us and in us but really we need to look at ourselves in different ways at different times.  In a short time it will be bare and then people will not notice it or make any comments.  In fact they may walk or drive past and think what an ugly tree that is.  But really it is the same tree but only in a different stage.  Could we be like this tree in many ways?  Sometimes I do wonder if people look at me and put me in the "beautiful" stage (I know you can laugh if you want!) or if they put me in the ugly stage.  Whatever they may do it is only as deep as the bark, I mean skin.  Of course the next thing is the tree will change as buds come and it will again be a thing of beauty and at that point it will be bigger, stronger and perhaps more beautiful than ever before.  I hope I and you can be like that tree in some ways.  Always being the same on the inside but yet growing, changing, improving, loving God more, serving God more and being an instrument of His change here on earth.  I feel that I am a changed man over these last 15 months.  I hope I have remained the same on the inside but on the outside I hope I have become an instrument of God's kingdom here on earth more than in the past. 
Travis is coming at noon to help me a bit.  Aaron/Amy with Leo and Ruby Gail are coming this afternoon and then tomorrow we will all enjoy each other, the food and all that goes into special holidays.  Of course we will miss our Gail so much but yet will also rejoice in the knowledge that we had her with us for some many special times and were so blessed my her.  I am sure she is enjoying maybe a Thanksgiving EACH day in heaven and perhaps having something much much better than turkey and dressing!!!!
I still do not have my wireless fixed so I will take this computer out of the kitchen and may not have it set up for a couple of days. 
If you happen to read this have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, remember where all of your blessing really come from and pray for the many many people who have so little.

Monday, November 22, 2010

My get up and go has got up and went!

The picture is of my recycling a week ago.  Today I also had 3 large boxes of things out.  It is good to have so much of those things out and gone but of course there is so much more to do.  I often ask myself why did I keep so many things so long?  The answer is unimportant but never the less I do ask it.  Yesterday day I spent much time in my wood shop.  I found things that I have not seen for a LONG time.  Why why why?
  Perhaps it is laziness, or too much work, or lack of money or maybe just a matter of what have been my priorities over the last 33 years.  Whatever the answer I want, I need to declutter, clean and have things in OK order.  I am hoping to make another trip to the refuse place today but by the title of my morning write I may not get there.
I woke up with great ideas, great plans and a desire to "get it done".  THEN I climbed out of bed and wilted.  Even though the house was warm I was chilly, even though I was rested I felt tired, I looked at the temp and it said 30, that is warm but when I went outside I thought it was cold, I wanted a nice breakfast but settled for a cold slice of meat on a bun.   The point is something left me from the point of waking up to the point of getting dressed and I can't find it!!!  I am thinking a nap may help but that sounds pretty pathetic at 9:00 AM.  Then again maybe I don't feel well and a rest would help:)  I actually think that could be building a case for laziness.
Regardless of what I do or don't get done today I am thankful for good health, a house to live in, enough resources to live on and a God that is so loving, so forgiving and so protective that I feel like a king.  Thank you Lord.
As I write I am sipping my french press coffee and it may be giving me some energy.  I will sign off and see if the get up and go that got up and went is anywhere to be found!
I have an idea.  As we look at this week we are marching towards Allen/Debbie's 34th wedding anniversary on Friday.  You may want to pick out a card and send it to them telling them what a wonderful family they have and what a wonderful couple they are.  They are responsible for me being in this house as we needed money for a down payment and they gave us $10,000 as a loan so that we could close.  Thanks again Al/Deb.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Every little bit helps

Every little bit helps.  I spent much of my weekend moving, sorting, throwing, recycling, cleaning and I have much more to do but as the pictures show some work was finished.  The pile of wood is toungue and groove ash (300 board feet), hard maple and a log that could be used for a bench, fireplace etc.  The bench is beginning to look like I may be able to do some work on it.  I have not been able to get into the shop since Gail died.  I still can hear her words when I showed her a table leg which I had made in May of 2009.  She said, "Carmen I can not die yet because I want to see all the beautiful things you will make out of wood.  Each time I walk into my shop I hear those words and the emotions just well up and take over any energy I may have entered with.  This weekend was a bit different.  I was able to do some things and I am hopeful that I will get some work done.  I have a few projects to complete, that is if the people they are for still have the patience to wait for me. 
The weekend has been a slow, peaceful, kind of a lazy time.  Have not heard or seen any family or really any friends either so it has been kind of a "go it alone time" for me.  I continue to try to focus on "decluttering", keeping the weight off, getting some exercise in and just being the kind of person I feel God is asking me to be.  I did get a couple of loads of clothes washed and I used the dryer for the first time this year as I have been hanging things on the line. 
I did enjoy having the Binde's stay over night Friday and then making breakfast for them Saturday morning before they continued on their way to Washington DC for their fall trip. 
I also did have a follow up Dr. appt Friday morning and all is fine.  Sometimes I feel they want you to come back for advice or whatever just to get their co-pay.  I hope I am finished with Dr. for a while.
Not much more to say.  I do have  few things to do before Aaron/Amy arrive Wednesday for turkey day.  It will be fun to see them again but for sure will miss John/Mary and kids.  I am hoping to see them in early December but not sure yet.  I want to travel down there but have not made final plans yet. 
I need to do some paper work tonight.  I received a call from Chase today saying that someone had tried to charge $10,000+ on my credit card.  Wow, I had better do my homework to be sure things are in order there.  Got to go.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Time flies

Oh my how the time goes by so fast.  It is now Thursday and it seems like it should be Tuesday or so.  I don't really know if that is good or bad but for sure it means that I am not bored in any way.
Some things that have happened this week. 
  • Enjoyed dinner at the Winds last night.  Susan is such as wonderful cook.  The stew last night was to die for and of course I ate too much. 
  • Am going out again for dinner tonight and am looking forward to it.
  • Travis and I went out for lunch today as a belated birthday meal.  Not like the birthday meals Gail used to so enjoy making for the kids but that is the way life is right now.
  • I took the last load of junk out today.  That means that not only is the garage front attic clean but all the junk that was up there is now in junk heaven.  After so many bags, so much recycling and $60 poorer it does feel good.  I have already started to put some seasonal things up there to clear out the front of the garage.  Hope to get that done and a car in soon.
  • Today was meditation day but instead the guys came and we enjoyed breakfast while sharing what God is doing in our lives currently.  I over slept a bit but still the egg dish was ready by 6:20 AM so not too bad.  We currently have 7 guys, including me, who come and it is always a rich time in the Lord.
  • Had a meal over at Cynthia's earlier this week.  She made a dish out of kale from my garden spot.  It was strong but I ate it all so almost feel like Popeye now!!
  • Have finished the plans for Thanksgiving day next week.  Am looking forward to A/A coming but we sure will miss J/M.
It looks like winter is here to stay.  Not much snow in the forecast but the temps will stay down so all the snow will not melt.  At this time we probably have 2-3 inches on the front lawn.  For this time of year not bad and really the weather has been nice. 
Enough for now.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


It has been a slow Sunday.  It is the first day that we have woken up and gone to sleep to the sight of snow snow.  Some melted but much remains and maybe it will go later in the week but am not sure. 
The sunrise picture was taken during deer hunting.  That is one of the reasons it is fun to go hunting when a person gets to enjoy God's beauty. 
I did do some work in the garage attic and totally finished cleaning it.  It has been a long long time since it was clear and it looks great.  A very nice feeling to have that done.  I wish I had taken a before and after picture but I did not.  Tomorrow I will put out many boxes of recycle papers and then the front of the garage will be ready to clean so that the car or the pickup can go in.  Last winter the pickup went in.
Travis is on the left and it is his birthday today.  Way back in November of 1971 we went into the hospital late evening of the 13th and Travis was born about 6:00 AM on the 14th.  Back in those days fathers could not go into the birthing room so it was wait and wait.  About 8:00 AM or so Gail was doing fine so I left and bagged a nice little buck about 10:00 AM.  Not sure I would do that if I had it over again but it was that way and Gail did not seem to mind or at least she did not say anything.  When Cynthia was over here tonight we looked at some of the old movies and Travis was a cutie.  Today at 39 he is such an outstanding guy and I am so proud of who he is, what he stands for and his outstanding character.  By the way that is Aaron on the right.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

No more Indian summer

Here is a picture of the snow about 2-3 inches ago!!!  It goes without saying that outdoor biking is history for a while and the order of the day for several months is probably indoor activities.  No complaints as you either like Minnesota weather or you can move and I don't plan to move.
I see that the last blog was Wednesday.  I can't believe that but I guess the computer does not lie.  I say to myself that I will blog each day and then I sit down to do it and the last one was 3 days ago. 
The weekend is here and there are no big plans.  With the snow I think it may be best to stay home, light the fireplace and either read or clean the den.  I know I SHOULD clean but will see if I do.  I almost finished going through the garage attic.  I started 23 garbage bags ago and am almost finished.  More than once I begin to say to myself "Gail why did you keep this" and then I thought of all the things I could do better and I then changed my thoughts to "Gail you were so wonderful and I loved you so much".  I may take a bit of time to put some things up there that are on shelves in the front of the garage.  I think that would help me get the car in between the shelves on the west and the wood on the east.  It may not be until early next week before the car goes in but it will happen for sure.  I currently have about 4-6 large boxes of recycle things that are sitting there and they can not go out until Monday AM. 
It will be interesting to see if the snow stays.  I think it will melt as the temps are supposed to get into the low 40's or at least the high 30's in the next few days and there is still a lot of warmth in the ground. 
My back took a turn for the worse a few days ago.  Not as bad as last July but not real good either.  I have been on IB and ice for a few days and it does seem to be a little better each day.  As I move around it is not too bad but if I sit for a while getting up is a pain, really a PAIN.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A great stand but no deer

Here is Dale standing in my stand.  It certainly worked well but I do think that if the weather had been cold I could not have stayed up there too long.  I can see why many stands are enclosed.
We are getting rain as I write.  I do not know how much we will get but for some time it came down in buckets.
I have gotten about 35% of the things out of the garage attic.  I did not realize how much was up there.  Clothes, clothes and more clothes.  There are also some boxes of papers etc.  I have no idea how this happened but in one box I found my SS card.  I was sure I had it maybe just before I retired but could not find it for the last few years.  Well there it was in one of the boxes.  It now is in the safe.  I really do not know if I will ever need it again but it is nice to have. 
With the time change I am reminded how very long the dark hours are and I do remember how last year the evenings dragged on and on and on.  I have to come up with some idea to prevent that again as that was very difficult.  When it gets dark at 4:30 or so the evening stretches out for ever it seems.
Not much happening this week.  It is nice to have kind of a slow week.  I do have some things in the next couple of days but with coming home on Monday the week is shorter and time flies so fast. 
I do have men's group in a few minutes so will close.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Home again

Here is one of my favorite deer hunting pictures!!  I know these are geese, not deer but it is what it is!! 

The deer won again this year.  Not many signs, not many deer but I will admit that maybe they were playing right below my deerstand as I took pictures.  I sat in that darn stand for 11 hours on Saturday and again the same on Sunday.  Then on Monday I sat there for about 3 hours and never fired my gun.  I thought that maybe, just maybe if I sat there all week I may get off a shot and then I asked myself do I want to sit here for a week??  I decided that would not be a lot of fun so I came home yesterday afternoon.  I really did enjoy most of the time there.  I arrived in the stand about 90 min before sunrise and at that time the sky was clear and the stars were spectacular.  I marveled when I would see a star shoot across the sky and wonder how God ever came up with such a creation plan.  As the sun would peak over the horizon the sky would turn many many colors and it was fun to see the changes.  I also enjoyed looking across the land and seeing only darkness then slowly, ever so slowly land forms, trees and all the rest would appear as the light came and it would look almost like magic. 
That being said I really did have my heart set on a deer but it was not to be.  I did have a deer in my scope twice and could have shot but it was so so far that I decided not to fire.  Maybe another time or another place.
I do need to go get Wallace today.  He is at the Obergs and he may not want to come home as he loves them and for sure those young kids.  He will be spoiled for sure. 
I also will get the bike trainer today as Jean Larken will drop it off this afternoon.  I will not use it for some time as here we are November 9th and the temp is supposed to be 67 today.  One must ride outside when it is that warm so will climb on the bike this afternoon and go for a ride.  I am guessing that not often would a person be able to go for a nice ride this late in the fall. 
I think I need to get my razor out too as I have about a week of stubble on the face.  Most of it is gray and maybe if I leave it people will think I am old and smart or most likely they will just think I am old!!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

It truely is fall

Here I sit writing a short short note before I head north to build, think, enjoy, visit and maybe, just maybe shoot at a deer.  I always think at this time of the year about why I hunt deer.  Is it for being outside, is it for the venison, is it for getting away, is it for the fresh air, the sunrises and the sun sets.  Or maybe it just is tradition, family, dad, brothers as I meld all those into memories that I so enjoy.  I would really like to bring home a deer this year if for no other reason to say I built this great deer stand and shot a deer from it.   But if I come home empty of deer but full of mini candy bars, sausage sandwiches and honey crisp apples that will be fine.  Of course it is always fun to visit with Deb/Dale and for the second time in 3 years I will enjoy lunch with Grandma Saunders on Friday.  We made a date for 11:00 Friday so that should be fun.  It will be interesting to see how much we talk about our Gail.  I would be remiss if I did not mention the times Gail went with me and she and grandma made apple pies or we just sat around in the evening and chatted. 
So here I be, a bit later than I had thought but I am ready to hit the road and go places for a few days.  I doubt that I will sit at a computer until I arrive home which could be as early as Sunday or as late as Wednesday, whenever the spirit leads!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A great helper

Faustina came with me to the voting place so she could let me know who I should vote for.  She was a great help and I am sure between her and grandpa we voted for all of the winners!!
I will spent much of tomorrow getting the final things ready for deer hunting and then will leave later in the week.  I am hoping Dale has that big buck tied up for me but then again maybe that should not happen. 
I had a fire in the fire place for the first time this fall.  It was almost too warm but really was fun and the little ones were here to help me enjoy it.  I was wishing Leo, Liam, Henry could have been here to roast hot dogs.  We will have to do that over Thanksgiving or Christmas. 
The election results are pretty much in and it looks like we will have a split congress so can that lead to more cooperation and getting things done???  It perhaps is doubtful.  The way our elected officials seem to think that it always has to be their way or the highway it almost wants us to go back to the "good old days" where they argued and argued and then at 11:59 PM they huddled in the back room and came out at 12:05 AM with a deal that was OK for all and not great for anyone!  Those statements probably tell people that I am over 60!   Whatever happens it sure would be nice if our elected officials knew how to argue, debate and get outraged but in the end knew how to compromise and get something done.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy 30th birthday Cynthia-the mircle-God's gift to Gail

First a baby who loves her mother so much--then a daughter who loves her mother so much and finally a mother who loves her daughter so much!!!   God is good.

Today is a very special day.  My Cynthia turns 30.  The fact that she turns 30 is not special but the story of how Cynthia came into this world is a miracle, a gift and a blessing.  The story goes like this:

In the fall of 1974 the world seemed to be so wonderful.  We had John (5), Travis (3) and Aaron (1).  We wanted more children and we wanted a girl.  Gail was of course so happy with our family but she certainly looked forward to having a daughter, someone she could raise in the likeness of herself and someone she could relate to as a woman and mother.  Disaster struck in the fall.  I was asked to attend a conference in Fargo and I begged Gail to come with me so we could spend time together in the evenings.  Grandma and grandpa Saunders agreed to take the 3 boys so we could enjoy some time apart from parenting.  It would be the first time ever we had done that.  The first night in Fargo Gail started to feel sick.  In the next couple of hours she would say she was really sick and then would feel better.  In between times as the TV was on Gail became frighten and said she saw the Devil on TV.  We knew no doctors in Fargo but finally we had to go to the ER room.  For the next 10 days Gail got sicker and sicker and they could not diagnose what was wrong.  Finally we changed hospitals and she had surgery.  She had been in the hospital for those days with a burst appendices and it was slowly slowly killing her.  She ended up staying in the hospital for 4 weeks, she lost 25 pounds and would suffer for the next 2-3 years from scar tissue etc.  The doctor also said that it was good we had our little family because there was major damage to organs and there would be no more children.  This news was heart breaking for Gail as the dream of a larger family and the dream of a daughter was gone.  For the next 3 years we lived with the idea of no more children but then in the summer of 1977 we decided to look into adoption.  At this same time we begin to look into moving to St. Paul from our home in Devils Lake ND.  In August of 1977 we stopped in Fargo on our way to St. Paul to discuss adopting a little girl from South America.  In the end we felt that our move made things so busy that adoption would be put on hold.  For 3 years we settled into St. Paul, the boys in new schools, me in a new job and of course we became very very involved in People of Praise Christian Community.  During that time adoption came up infrequently and both of us kind of settled in to the idea that a family of 3 boys was fine.  One morning in February I woke and in a strange but powerful way I knew Gail was pregnant and I knew God would bless us with our little girl.  As I dressed for school I became excited to tell Gail.  I hurried downstairs and announced to her that she was pregnant.  She burst into tears and became very angry.  She went on to explain how difficult it was for her to accept no more children and then when she finally had kind of accepted it here I was making a joke of it.  I tried to explain but needed to get to school and I left with my wonderful Gail angry, frustrated and in tears.  That day I came home for lunch with fear that Gail would still be upset with me.  No she said she was fine but please no more talk like that.  I said really honey you are pregnant.  A week or two later she thought maybe that was true and sure enough she was expecting.  No tests, no anything but we knew God was giving us a little girl so several times in the next months I would come home with pink this and pink that.  Well 30 years ago today Cynthia came into our world and Gail's dream had come true. 
I must say that for sure John,Travis and Aaron are just as special as Cynthia but to have such a wonderful God who was so generous as to give Gail a daughter is just a miracle.  I could go on and on about the dresses the first few years, the refusal to wear them as she got older, the times that were so so special and of course the times that were not perfect!!!  I would say that Gail's relationship with Cynthia really begin to come into focus as she graduated from high school and after that with each day it seemed to get better and better and more special and more special.  Of course I can remember times when Gail was not that happy with Cynthia but mostly I remember how proud she was, how thankful she was and how much she appreciated God's gift to her.  As I write this I do not mean to down play my relationship with Cynthia as having a daughter is very special to me too but for Gail it was the ultimate gift of life that God gave her.  It certainly was another gift as she was able to be there during the birth of her first granddaughter.
I can not say a lot more.  God is good, he is loving and for that I am so thankful.
Happy birthday Cynthia.  You are special, you are such a wonderful mother and wife, you are beautiful and I am so thankful and so proud to say you are my daughter.  I love you.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A day of work

It was again a day of wonderful weather for the fall.  I was able to get much work done outside.  In the morning I got a load of clothes hung on the line, I was able to move all of my firewood, got somethings cleaned up in the garage and some things picked up in the yard.  It was kind of fun.
I also was able to get in a short bike ride.  The 8 1/2 miles was short and a little chilly.  I was so happy as my shoulder did not bother me much so maybe that is getting better.  I sure hope so as I just hate pain. 
As I write this the time shows 8:00 and really that should be just the beginning of the evening but for some reason I am tired so will try to get to sleep early.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A first for the fall

When I woke this morning the temp was 25 and there was frost all over.  The first of the fall and here we are almost into November.  Wallace's water dish was frozen so I know that we are closing in on our winter season.
I did get out for a short run this morning.  My hands actually got cold and I was only out for 25 minutes. Have not been on my bike for some time and don't really know when or if that will happen.  It certainly will not happen if we have more mornings of 25 or lower.
I had a fun evening yesterday.  I came home from doing some errands about 6:30 with the idea that I would not do any more for the day.  A friend called to say that some friends were going to a play in Burnsville and one person did not show up.  I said I would take the ticket and it was a fun time.  I may have to do more of that to get a little cultured!!
There really has not been a whole lot happening in the last week or so.  I had wanted to and thought about driving to South Bend this weekend but then the thought of a short trip and over a thousand miles of driving just did not sound very good.  I plan to go visit sometime after Thanksgiving and maybe around John's birthday. 
I am looking forward to deer hunting next weekend.  I may be out of town for a few days as I need to go at least a day early to finish the deer stand and then it would be nice to stay until I could shoot a deer.  Of course that could be until Christmas or so!   No the season is only 10 days but for sure I will not stay that long. 
Monday will be Cynthia's birthday.  My or my it just does not seem possible that she can be 30 already.  Many many people know the story of her birth but will share it in detail on Monday.  I do think that the day Cynthia was born was close to the happiest day of Gail's life and it may have been THE happiest day.  God was so real, so loving and so close to us November 1, 1980 that I almost get goose bumps yet when I think of it.
I did make a trip to the dr today as my shoulder from the bike fall still bothers me a lot.  The X-rays showed that there is nothing broken or fractured but it still is very sore.  The dr said that I should give it another 3-5 weeks and if it still is very sore they could do an MRI.  I am not sure what good that would do but will see what happens.  I am almost beginning to think that the shoulder is fine and I just can not tolerate pain of any kind. 
Time to watch the news and then maybe try to get to bed early.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Alone and empty

OK so again it was one of those days that come and go and you want never to come again.  It was the kind of day that shows me again and again how weak I am and maybe how empty I am. 
It started out with a 7 AM men's meeting which was good but for some reason I kept having thoughts during the meeting of how OUR (Gail's and mine) life had been in People of Praise for so long and now of course it is no more.  From there I went to a memorial service for Mary S who Gail knew.  Mary died of breast cancer this week.  Those functions are difficult and when I knew them quit well and breast cancer was involved it is more difficult.  After a 90 minutes service and lunch after that I stopped at the Krauses to see how I could help John.  His wife Jeanette has cancer.  On my way home from there I stopped at Cynthia/Mikes but they had company so I did not go in.  After working on some wood thing for John I returned to work with him.  Later in the evening I decided I needed a Jude and Faustina fix but as I stopped in front of their place it looked like they had people over for the evening so I got in the car and drove home.  As I sat at home thinking of the day I just could not avoid feeling sad and lonely.  Having spent time thinking about Mary this morning, working with John whose wife is very very ill and then having memories flood my mind of time gone by when our family was younger, kids were at home, company came over and the whole world just seemed so much happier, so much more peaceful.  Of course I know that much of that is not true.  I know that Mary's husband Ken will grieve much but he will be OK, I know that John still has time to love and cherish Jeanette, I know that Cynthia and Mike were and are still having a great time with friends.  Even with all of that and God's love and glory in it all I just could not help feeling lonely, sad and empty.  So goes another day and I am sure as I go to church tomorrow and experience God's presence in a special way things will look up and joy will be there again.  Often I wish I could avoid these times but I know I can not.  I do believe there is good in them it just is difficult to see at times.  I am thankful they don't come too often and when they do come it seems I can cope much better now than in the past. 
I think I may take an early "out" for the evening and get some sleep.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Last??????

I went on the Greenway bike path for the first time today.  The weather was great except it was very windy.  I went as far as St. Louis Park and then decided that I could not answer a question.  I could not figure out if the bike seat was breaking my butt or my butt was breaking in the seat!!  With that unanswered question I turned around and headed home.  With the wind making the work a bit harder my shoulder could feel the work out.  All in all it was a good ride but a bit sad as well when I felt that it may well be the last outdoor ride of the year.  We may luck out with some warm weather yet but when the temp does not get above 60 the rides are cool to say the least.  Tomorrow's normal high is 54 so we are closing in on the last for us fair weather riders.  Arrived home and after a hot bath sat on some ice for a while.  Did it help, I am not sure.
Aaron sent touch up paint for the bike and a computer and will put that on tomorrow.  I do not know if I can do this but I think I have ridden about 40 miles on the bike so far and it would be ice to set the computer on 40 miles.  Travis said he expects me to put on 10's of thousands of miles so I should start at the right place.
I did forget about the work today for the sake of the ride.  Well it is not accurate to say I forgot about it, I would be much more honest to say I just did no work today.  I did figure the work can wait and the ride may not happen again for a long time so it was perfectly reasonable to ride and not work!!
As I sat alone tonight watching the baseball playoffs I did think that the house was unusually big, empty, quiet and as I looked around for sure kind of dusty too.  I am sure I had a puzzled look on my face as I tried to figure out how one person can make so many messes, have so much dust and make the house so so so lived in!  I then comforted myself by reminding me that I have actually made my bed daily for at least a week now.  I think that is pretty great!
No after a windy ride it seems to be bed time.

Hanging In There

This is a flower I saw on my walk with Wallace yesterday.  I marveled that it was October 21 and still we have such beautiful flowers that have not fallen victim to our MN fall temps. 
Our fall weather just goes on and on and on and it is such a blessing.  Again today, Friday, our temps should hit in the 60's.  I need to work but I think I HAVE to get in a bike ride.  It may be the last of the fall. 
I got more bags of leaves raked up today and they will go on the flowers when it gets colder. 
Not a lot to say.  Deer season is creeping up and with it the thought of field sunrises, fall beauty, maybe deer running around and for sure those sandwiches and candy bars that I enjoy while hunting.  Sometimes I think the sunrises, the sun sets, the candy bars, the sandwiches are a lot more important than the deer.  For sure I must get that deer stand more sturdy so I can climb up into it with my gun and my camera.
I think and I feel like it is bed time. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Happy Anniversary---4 times over!!!!!!

Here are Cynthia/Mike almost a year after they were married.  At this time there were no children, both were teaching at Trinity and life was great.  Today they so enjoy Faustina and Jude, Cynthia is a stay at home mother and Mike is at a different job.  Life changes so rapidly yet today they look as young, as happy and as great as they did 3 years ago. 
I so remember 4 years ago today, the wedding at the Cathedral, the reception at the MN arboretum and all of the family and friends who were in town to celebrate our little girl's wedding.  Gail was so excited to see her miracle and one and only daughter getting married and maybe, just maybe there would be the little girl arriving in the form of a granddaughter that Gail could rejoice in the same manner that she rejoiced when God blessed her with a daughter.  I remember that I was stunned at the beauty that I saw when I walked Cynthia down the isle.  The happiness and the sadness all melted into one big emotion as I tried to stroll so proudly with Cynthia at my side.  As I approached the front of the church where Mike was waiting I could see out of the corner of my eye joy and tears in Gail's eyes as she watched her one and only daughter go from being mommy and daddy's little girl into the strong sure arms of this handsome man who Cynthia would promise to cherish and love for the rest of her life.  It was a day of memories, of joy, of tears that was shared with so many many family and friends.  Of course I am not the one to say but will say it anyway that the wedding and reception was one of a kind that would be impossible to duplicate.  So today I sit here and with tears and sadness I rejoice without Gail but with the memories that God blessed us and Gail with that special daughter. 
Cynthia and Mike---you are a great couple and your love of each other and of God is something that is for many others to want.  I love you so much and mother is so proud of you and your family.  Of course I too am proud of both of you but I want to remind you today that mother was so proud of the young lady that you grew to be.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Not yet completed

Well it is not finished yet.  I did not foresee the tall, slender and heavy stand well and I know it is a bit top heavy.  I may have to shoot a really big deer early on opening day and then just lay it over one of the braces to weigh it down.  NO        What you see away from the tractor is the ladder up and the platform will go on the 4 boards 3 feet from the top.  then 4X4 sheets of 1/4 " plywood will go around the top with 2X4's around the top to make it more sturdy and to lean on and shot that big buck.  BUT before I venture on top there needs to be an X brace on two of the sides to make it more stable and then 4 more braces going out from the sides and staked to the ground.  I will do that, which will take about 2-3 hr the day before hunting.  Should be interesting to sit or stand that high above the ground.  If nothing else I will be sure to take my camera to see if I can get some great pictures of the sunrise, sunset or maybe of the BIG buck that I missed!!!!
Got some more biking in this weekend and have decided that I need to read about the seat on my bike.  I ended up with a sore behind and I kept sitting too far forward on the seat, I think.  I will have to see.  I did not fall off any more so that was good!!  I did find out in a big way that I really really like the bike. 
Also got some more time to sit, reflect, think and pray about the future.  Sometimes I think I make life way to complicated. 
I arrived home this afternoon.  Went to get Wallace right away and he was so glad to see me.  He has gotten more affectnate as he has gotten older and now when I leave him outside for a long period of time if I am not home he digs out under the fence and lays in the front yard waiting for me to return!  Not sure that is good.
I think my agenda for the night is a hot bath, turn the TV on and fall asleep watching Monday night football.  If If I go to bed early I know I will lay awake but the TV tends to put me to sleep fairly fast.  Am I getting old, strange or just weird?  I know, that last sentence is an invite for some smart comment from sister Helen.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A learning curve----YES

I did find out that the new bike and the new shoes do have a learning curve!!!  Later
Dale/Deb Binde were so good in helping me with the deer stand yesterday.  I just had not thought through the stand enough to realize that something made of  4X4's and 2X6's is so heavy and then to have it only a bit more than 4 feet at the base and 16 feet tall---well it was a challenge to say the least.  It took Deb, Dale, me and his trusty tractor and loader to get it in the air on a very windy day.  It now stands in the north grassy area  of their farm but I will need to go up a day early for hunting to put on more braces and more stakes.  As it stands now I would not want to climb up and use it.  It was fun to design, fun to build and fun to put up but there were some weak areas in all of my plans.  Anyway I do plan to use it and we will see if it helps to get a deer.  I suggested Dale make the bottom into a pen and put some salt in it but we decided not a good idea.
I arrived at Itasca State Park in the afternoon. It was a nice day but for sure a bit cool.  By the time I figured out my shoes and how to get them on my feet but the shoes in the bike pedals too there was not much time left to ride but it was fun.  Today I will spend doing some writing, some thinking and maybe some biking and then tomorrow on the way home perhaps more biking.  It will take some time to get used to the bike as it rides so so different than my other one. 
If you happen to be reading this today, Sunday, you have figured out that I decided to forgo the camping bit and get a hotel room.  I maybe am getting soft in my mature age but the thought of warmth, of a bed and of a place to write with the computer just seemed so more inviting than sleeping in the back of the pickup.
No, it does look like a nice day so maybe just one more cup of coffee and then outside for a bit.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


I spent most of yesterday building a deer stand.  I should be able to put it up or take it down in about an hour.  It was fun but now I will need to see if it works!!  Maybe I should have built a cage on the bottom of it to catch the deer.  That way I could take a nap if the day gets too long.  I will be on the road shortly and hope I can stay awake.  Hope to get to the Binde's by 9 or so. 
Will not plan to blog for a few days as I will not come home until Monday.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

An exciting and tiring day

I drove to Madison today and Aaron turned over my new bike to me.  We had the frame custom fit for me and Aaron ordered all the parts.  Then he and his buddy Josh built it over the last two days.  I am so excited to try it out.  I do need to be careful as I also purchased biking shoes which attach to the pedals.  I have never ridden with those and Aaron says there is a learning curve!!  Last time someone told me there was a learning curve I found out the hard way so will see this time.  I am hoping the curve doesn't lead me right into the ditch or down a steep hill where an old body like mine could get hurt. 
My shoulder would be much better now but little sister Helen has no mercy and I am sure that is the reason it is not much better.  That should make her feel a little badly!!!  No, I am thinking I may not do the deer stand this weekend as the shoulder just does not want to do a whole lot.  I will see tomorrow.  I may must take off with my bike and try to do a bit of biking (limited at best) and then try to do some more thinking and writing like I did last spring.  I think I need to make a decision tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A remembance of the summer

The rose bushes are a thing of the past for now but we still can enjoy them through these pictures.  This rose bush was full of roses all summer and was so pretty.
I am having one of those days that one likes to forget.  Went on a 2 mile run this morning and then decided to take a very short bike ride.  As I turned into Cynthia's driveway I turned too sharp and me and the sidewalk meet up close and personal.  Of course as one would expect I lost and the sidewalk was none the worse for the encounter.  I came away with a bloody knee and a very sore shoulder.  It got to the point this afternoon that I was a bit concerned so went into EC (ergent care) and they confirmed what I thought, a bad bruise but nothing broken.  However it did make my day almost unless in terms of work.  I was thankful for Cynthia who drove me to EC and then brought along dinner for me to eat while I waited to see the dr.  As she waited she was able to access the internet on my new fancy phone and show a lady there one of her knitting projects.  I would say that for sure now I am justified in getting the new phone!!!! :)
So I sit here tonight with ice on my shoulder, missing men's group and for some reason the house seems extra big, extra dark, extra empty at this time.  I hate to admit it but as I sit here there is not a stream of tears but a little trickle of salty water running down my cheek, onto my chin and dripping on the TV tray that my computer sits on.  As I glance at that little puddle of water it reminds me that there are times of joy, times of despair, times of gain, times of loss but always a time to thank our God for his goodness.  For his love and goodness overcome much pain, much despair, much disappointment and much sadness.
I am thinking that if my shoulder is good enough tomorrow I will drive to Madison to pick up my bike and drive home.  On Friday I may go up to the Bindes in the afternoon and take material for the deer stand.  Then On Saturday and Sunday I will take time away to reflect.  I did that in the spring and it was good.  I will bring my thermorest, sleeping bag and covers in case I decide it is warm enough to sleep in the back of the pickup.  If not I will bit the bullet and find a place where I can be alone a bit.  I actually have thoughts about if I will be able to work on the deer stand as this shoulder is pretty sore.  The dr did say tomorrow will be the worst and then it should get better.  I suppose I could look on the bright side and say that I am now a "real" biker with road rash on my knee and a sore body!!  Travis suggested this morning, jokingly, that I better get myself a spandex outfit and shave my legs.  Well we will not go that far---the spandex maybe after I lose 10 more pounds. 
Time for some more ice on that shoulder.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fall colors have arrived in full!

Fall colors are here.  In fact in some places the leaves are already covering the ground.  One must say colors because the fall temps certainly have not come yet.  As I write it is 68 and we have yet to experience a killing frost. 
Today has been just like the last many days.  It is calm, warm, sunny and perfect for anything you might want to do outdoors. 
I got an e-mail from Aaron and the bike is almost ready.  The frame came and Aaron said the only problem is Amy likes it and wants it.  Aaron and his friend will work on building it tonight and Aaron said it may be finished tonight.  I was/am planning to go up to the Binde's to build a deer stand but will have to rething those plans.  As of now I am not sure what I want to do.  So many decisions and so little time to decide!!!!!  It certainly would be nice to get some rides in before the cooler temps arrive which I do not know when that will happen.  I am getting a little nervous as that bike becomes a reality I am thinking I may have to cave into the biking culture pressure and purchase some of those spandex kind of biking pants.  Some of them look so tight that I think you could see a tiny pimple in the wrong place!!  Kind of on the serious note I will look out of place on that fancy new bike wearing clothes that look like they came from Goodwill.  On the other hand I can not really remember the last time I was concerned about what others thought of my clothes.  Now if I was trim, fit and chiseled like a young man and those spandex would attract some pretty lady that may be a different story!  But of course I am not fit, I am not trim, I am not chiseled (if you want to get real honest I am not young either) and there is no doubt that there will be no pretty ladies looking in my direction.  I guess it is what it is and maybe I should start to live in the real world.
I have a camp meeting tonight.  We will enjoy each other, eat out and sadly say good bye to Molly as a program director.  That will mean that we lost Gail last year and now Molly is too busy with her work so will lose her as well.  I am sure we need to add someone even though we received much help from many people last year.  With that in mind it still is a good idea to have at least 1 more program director as we need many ideas. 
I accomplished so much yesterday but not much today.  I did enjoy a nice lunch with Lizzia who used to live next door to us and is such a good family friend.  She and Gail were so dear to each other. 
I should try to get some things done before dark.