Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wednesday of Holy Week

Anyone for an electrical extension cord??  As I continue to work on Liam's I am going off in different directions and cleaning a bit.  My goal is to have my shop looking ordered, neat and nice.  Well here is what I have found in terms of cords!!  I don't think I will be buying any more soon, I mean ever.
Today is the first day I have been in my shop without my longjohns on and I feel almost naked but it feels so so good.  I don't mean the naked part, just the no long john part.  Well I do have a picture of a naked guy running away with his feet in the air and it says "happy retirement, free at last".  Will D was so taken with the picture he wants one for his hall way!!!!!!   I'll be happy to take a picture of the picture and send it to anyone who is retired and FREE.  For a moment I thought I had lost weight, but no dice.
As I sit here blogging the temp shows that it is 74 outside but it actually feels warmer than that.

One and half of the guys could not make it to men's group tonight so I canceled it.  Maybe I will use that time to clean a bit.
Had a trigger this morning.  I needed to change some things on the Servant Camp blog in terms of Gail's and my bio.  I looked at the picture of us and decided to keep it on the web site for now, maybe forever.  She should let me know if she and George Simmons have started a camp in heaven!!  Really, I looked at the picture and cried.  She looked so happy, her arm around me and both of us, well it was difficult
There was a story about how Jesus may have really looked on the history channel last night.  It related to the cloth that might have covered his face after he died etc. but it was on at mid-night and I fell asleep and woke up at 2:30!  I will have to see if it is on again. 
I had better get out again and see if I can figure out where to keep all those cords so I use them.  Or--maybe I could sell them on Craig's list or give them away or something.  I think there is enough length there so I could string a cord from my house to Mark/Mary's in ND.
Also I need to get my walk in today.  I have been walking alone the river with Wallace and it sure is nice.  I am so lucky to live near such a nice walk way.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday of Holy Week

I was reminded of this picture as I have gone up to St. Kates a few times in the last week.  This was one of the last times we had the grand kids up to the campus before Gail got too weak to have the kids over.  It was taken in April of last year.
Well I spent some time in the shop on Liam's bd present with the idea I would finish it but I made a mistake so had to take some time to correct it and finishing it will come another day. 
The temp hit 70's today, a bit too too hot for March. 
Larry B stopped over this afternoon and Hugh S is coming over to talk about camp in a little bit.  I can NOT get my self into camp and I need to, some prayers would help.
Had the guys over for meditations this morning and that is always good.
The big thing for me this week is I am trying to not eat so much, like only 1000 calories a day.  I am now almost finished with day 2 and so far so good.  I have to be the worst diciplined adult in the world.  It is just way to easy to eat too often.  Lord I need your grace this week.
Not a lot today.  I did get my walk in and a short bike ride.  I needed a battery so got on my bike and rode up to get it instead of taking the car.  I really should do that more often but much of the time I am lazy.
Aaron's Amy e-mailed this afternoon and said that Ruby Gail will be baptized June 6 so I will be in Madison that weekend. 
Gail would be loving this weather and she would have the flower beds planned etc.  I am not sure what I will do as I never was the flower man.  In the sense of bringing flowers to Gail, yes, but planting no.
I am hungry----I had better keep busy tonight or I will fail on day 2.  Can't do that.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday of Holy Week

Here is my brother and his family perhaps about 1975 or so.  I am sure they came up to Devils Lake in their Ford Mustang.  Lisa, the little girl standing will have a BIG birthday Friday!!  I will not say how old she will be.  Sorry about the quality of the picture but Dave and Marlys haven't changed a bit!!!
Kind of a quiet, normal day.  I actually slept late.  I missed the recycle guy.  Got some woodworking in, saw Travis for a bit, John for a bit and Cynthia twice. 
I returned from a walk about 7:45 and it still was quite light, very nice.  Then about 9:00 I just took a short walk up to the corner and the moon is pretty tonight.  I would say that today/tonight is about the first time a person can go for a walk in a light jacket or none at all.  It still is hard to believe that spring has sprung but maybe it is here to stay.  As we head towards April it is hard to believe that we had not even snow flurries in March where on the average we get 10 inches so a bit dry.
I am going to give suffering during Holy Week my best shot.  I will try to limit calories to about half what I need.  I hope I can last the week but self-discipline is not my strong point.  However I really do want to become more spiritually tuned in this week and IF I can endure a bit of hunger that would help me be closer to what God wants and has for me.  I am usually a positive person but I am afraid that I will fail, time will tell.
There was one time Gail and I fasted for a week.  The results were really wonderful and the funny part was when we broke our fast we went up to the corner cafe for a salad and to this day that was the most wonderful salad I have ever eaten!  Somehow God always seems closer when I am not so content or so full.
Not much more tonight.  I hope that each person who reads this blog this week in some way, in some form can be drawn closer to our Lord and his tremendous love for each of us. 

Sunday, March 28, 2010

It's been a year

I missed it but last Tuesday, March 23 was the 1 year mark of my blogging.  Since I wrote that first blog I have written 357 entries.  I don't know if I will ever go back and read all of them again but it is a pretty detailed family history for that period of time.  I will have to pray about how much longer.  I do enjoy writing so at present I don't have plans to stop but I suppose at some time "they" tell me time will heal much of my hurt and pain and then what do I write?????  Some thoughts for me to pray about.

They dangled and dazzled

As I sat in church at 7:00 AM this morning the elderly lady sitting in front of me had clip on earrings.  I can not remember the last time I noticed someone wearing them.  It was a trigger as pictured here is Gail's earring.  It was about the only pair she had as she never had her ears pierced.  I thought they were the most gorgeous piece of jewelry a woman could wear and they melted me.  I wonder now if Gail knew that!!
Well today is a new day and I am confident that it will be better than yesterday.  I was thankful for the prayers offered as I did not take my bike out but went on a walk and really came home much better.  This may sound strange but I put on a decent pair of pants and took my wallet.  I thought if I got into the village area maybe I would stop in at the local pub for a beer.  I have never done that my myself, ever!!  Well I did not stop but my walk was good and when I arrived home I watched a couple of movies on showtime.  I do not get that on my cable but they are showing it free over the weekend.  There was a movie with Helen Hunt and I don't know who and it had a happy ending!!  I do not watch many movies but I like Tom Hanks, the gal in sleepless in Seattle(I always forget her name), and Helen Hunt the best.  Why do I mention that as it certainly is not important!!
We have a community area meeting this afternoon.  I don't know if I can go, those triggers lately have been a bit much and for some reason being around many of the people who were and are so supportive just plain makes me cry a lot.  Isn't time supposed to heal that????   I am beginning to think I am tooo sappy.  I knew I should not have said anything a few days ago when I said maybe I was past that stage.  I prefer the lump stage over the wet teary stage!
Here it is now 10:45 PM.  I did go to the community area meeting and the highlight was a wonderful conversation I had on the way out to the car after the meeting.  I talked to a couple, he lost his wife to cancer about  15 years ago.  He remarried and has a wonderful family now.  It was a conversation that one does not get too often as I have not talked to a lot of men who have lost their spouse.  It does really change a person, it changes the way you look at life, the way you think, the way you hear things and on and on. Anyway it was fun.  When I arrived home Cynthia and kids were here so that was fun.  Also had a good time with John and kids and a nice conversation with Aaron.
Holy week is here and then glorious Easter Sunday in a week. 
I find myself when special days come up thinking of a year ago and saying now that was Gail's last one.  I am not looking forward to Mother's Day. I do not want to be negative but that one will be difficult.  Gail's last Mother's Day was interesting and will maybe talk about when May comes around. 
It is about time to get some sleep.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Just a quick note.  I know that some people read my blog most days although it is less on weekends.  IF anyone happens to read it today a prayer would be great.  Tough day, just too much "absence of Gail" I guess.  I am going to jump on my bike and try to clear my head a bit.

The transition is slow and painful

This picture is a plate that Gail would use often.  You put it over a burner and then whatever you set on top of it gets warm.  Gail would usually use it mostly in the winter to warm our plates as she was making a meal.  I used it for the first time this morning and it was one of those BIG time triggers.  I kept the pan cakes warm as I made the second batch before we sat down to eat. 
Every once in a while  I do something more to change things from LWG to LAG (life with Gail  and life after Gail) and this morning I did some little things.  As I was working in the kitchen I moved some glasses that I have not used in the last many months to a place that is out of the way and then I had more room for the things I use often.  It sounds like a tiny thing but each time I do that I am reminded of many things.
I slowly got out of bed at 5:00 AM to get breakfast ready by 7:00 this morning.  The strata dish and pancakes were very good and it seemed like everyone enjoyed the eats and treats.  Mark L helped with dishes afterward so I don't even have to clean up!!!  How nice is that.
I need to get a walk in and then get out to the shop but I needed to sit and relax for a bit after everyone left.  As I sat in the rocker that Gail gave me for my birthday one year, I thought to myself, weekends are different.  They are different than the weekdays.  For 38 years of work it seems like I worked Monday-Friday and always looked forward to the weekend.  It was more time with Gail, time to work together, time to go some place and just a different time than the weekdays.  Well as I sat in the rocker this AM thinking about that the absence of Gail seemed to hang like hazy in the morning of a hot summer day.  The walls seemed to be closer to me, the rocker seemed to move in slow motion and the tears seemed to be extra hot, extra moist and extra long in reaching my chin.  What I really wanted to do was reach out to catch Gail's hand and twirl her around the room but I knew if I reached out from my slow motion rocker I would only catch the emptiness of her absence.  So I just sat and stared out the window for a time and asked myself what if???  I really asked God what if there were no weekends and he said EVERYONE needs weekends and I said I don't and he said yes you do, just look for the weekend rainbows and you will know how much you need them.  Well I believe but I don't see at this time. I said I can't see the rainbow through the hazy and he said the hazy will lift in time and the rainbow will be bright and beautiful again.  So I believe for another day.
After my walk it will be onto Liam's bd present!!  I don't know, that Liam is so so funny.  His birthday is Friday, April 2 and his aunt and uncle with their large family will be in town for Easter.  Liam must be expecting to have a party on his birthday but he told me yesterday that he didn't think there would be room for me at his party!!!!  Kids are so darn funny the world would be so dull if it was full of adults.
Got to get to that walk.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Another weekend is here

Here is Gail sitting by the picnic table in 07 in PEI.  It certainly brings back many many good memories. 
I am putting off some work I must do tonight.  Eight guys will be here for a breakfast meeting at 7:00 AM tomorrow.  I need to pick things up and get a strata dish together tonight as it is supposed to be made and put in the fridge the night before. 
I finished Cyn/Mike's project today and they are delivered so one project down.  I forgot to walk today.  I headed out to shop this morning, arrived home and went into the shop and totally forgot to walk.  Took care of Henry, Liam and Audrey for a couple of hours this afternoon and then had dinner at John/Mary's and Cyn and kids were there too. 
It was a bit on the cool side today but still nice for March.  NO snow this month, what about April??
That is it for the day, I do have to get at the dishes etc.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tis better than Baileys

I spent much of the day in the shop.  The smell, the dust, the noise and all of it actually is better tonic than a glass of Baileys!!!  I am close to being finished with the toy containers for Cyn/Mike.  It will then be on to Liam's bd present and then to Will's.  Above are the 2 styles of cribs I have made thus far.  On the right is the first one and it went to John/Marys.  On the left is the one that went to Aaron/Amy and to Cyn/Mike.
The blessing has been that I have been able to put the absence of Gail out of my mind some of the time.  I had to go to Home Depot for some screws and I found myself singing all the way there.
I am in the lump stage now!!!  That means that tears come less often but instead I get that lump in my throat.  I find that I do go from lump to song to lump to song.  How goofy is that??  But--it is the way I am so I guess I need to embrace it and try to move on to what ever comes next.  I did have one of those lingering thoughts on my way home today.  I found myself shaking my head and thinking, is this real?  Is this really life from now on?  I felt the cell phone in my pocket and thought about how I would always call when I was on my way home to see if Gail needed anything.  Then I thought she needs NOTHING now but I do, I need her but....
Paul W is coming over tonight with some of his homemade brew.  I will provide the Papa Murphy's pizza and he the brew.  Sounds like a good deal for all.
I have to learn to watch what I say.  I have this habit of thinking anyone I talk to or e-mail knows me and where I am coming from which of course is not true.  I have been exchanging some e-mails with a high school friend and I made more than one reference to what I intended as a joke but of course it did not come away like that.  She was so upset and rightly so.  I just felt so so badly it kind of ruined my day but I guess I need to learn to communicate better and more carefully.  Sometimes I just think I should become a recluse but then maybe that is not the answer.  I guess I could try to change for the better, I will try.
I need to get the saw dust out of my clothes, off of my body and out of my hair before Paul arrives.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

An important day

Here is an old slide.  Dad is on my cycle and for the life of me I don't know who's cycle Gail and I are on. 
I spent much of my day in the shop.  It was good for my soul.  I lost myself for some of that time.  I was able to not miss Gail so much, forget about e-mail, forget about a disordered house, forget about everything but wood and it was fun.  Of course when I needed a break I came into an empty house and it hit me but that is life for now and it will be fine.  Will D brought me an apple fritter so enjoyed that and had a nice chat with Will.  I do have a small project to do for him and need to get that done soon.
The day and actually the week has been a bit slow and I guess I really needed that.  I find that even though I am now almost 7 1/2 months beyond life with Gail the process of letting go, of putting a new life in place and figuring out everything is still exhausting.  I can do a little work and just be tired out and some times I can do almost no work and be tired so the story line is still time--time--time--time. 
I think I need to find a "filler" for the evening hours.  Those were the times during the last 6 years of Gail's life when we would often sit, talk and spend time together.  We talked about me getting into something during those times as Gail would knit etc. but now the evening can tend to be LONG.  I can keep myself busy with computer or work but really I need to come up with something that I can use as "down" time and not so feel the emptiness of Gail.  Something that uses my physical skills and uses my time so that I am doing something useful and the time goes by. 
It is again hard to believe that one week from today is the last day of March.  Wow it doesn't seem possible but yet time seems to speed up each week.  Can't be, right?
Tonight is one of those nights when I feel a bit down.  Not depressed, not totally sad but rather like someone who is madly in love with their spouse and that spouse is away for a few days.  I think I am beyond feeling like Gail should be here, time has let me know that she is physically gone.  But I do sometimes have a feeling like I am just not complete, not whole and actually I guess that is correct.  It will come, it will come, it will come, that is what I need to say again and again.
In men's group tonight Ernie talked about how God has made it so that he needs our love to be more complete.  I feel that is just like a marriage.  A couple needs each other to be all each of them can be.  As a marriage grows so do the individuals in that marriage even though they are not really individuals any more, they are one.  Now for me it is a whole new experience, I need to be all I should and can be but I need to learn how to be or do that without Gail, I will try my best.
Where there is expectations there is hope, where there is hope there are dreams and where there are dreams there is life.  I have expectations, I have hope but I have yet to dream, it will come.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Might I have a bad hair day?

I think there may be a bit of static when the kids jump on the tramp!!!!!!!
Kind of a busy but OK day.  Had meditations at 6 AM and that was good.  After that Jerry W and I went out for breakfast.  Cynthia stopped by with the kids and then John/Mary and kids came by in early evening.  They caught me napping, not too smart on my part.  I was able to get a walk in and a fairly short bike ride.  Aaron did such a super job on my bike I don't know if I can count riding it exercise as it is so easy now.  BUT---the big thing was I did get into my garage.  I worked on a wood project for about 2 hours and it was OK.  Of course I wanted to show Gail what I finished but no Gail.  So I just looked at it myself and said it is going to turn out fine.  I am making something similar to an Ikea toy storage for Cyn/Mike.  It will not be fancy but will be usable which is what they asked for.  Also need to get a book case cut out for Liam's birthday next week and then he and his dad can build it.  Did one for Henry and it turned out well last August.  That is actually the very very last time I did anything in the wood shop.  I really should clean it up FIRST but I want to get these 2 projects done and then will sort, clean, throw etc and it will look great.  Larry B came over at 3:30 while I was in the shop.  He said it smelled good.  I was just cutting pine but the smell of wood is much better than a fine perfume!!  Maybe not as good as that certain perfume Gail used when we were dating!!!!
The weather was oh so nice today.  Sunny all day and the temp was up to high 50's,  will we pay later?
Last night I went to bed without any Advil PM.  I jumped in bed at about midnight and did not wake up until the alarm sounded at 5:15 AM.  I can not remember the last time THAT happened but I am guessing it may have been as long ago as early January of 09.  It felt so so good.
I continue to sneeze, blow my nose and feel like a Mac truck hit me.  I can't shake this cold.  It is not the worst but it makes me feel kind of not the greatest.  
I can not get over how all the grand children change so fast.  It still is difficult when I am with them as they all were just the love of Gail's life.  I know that her love for me had no bounds but those little kids were so so special to her.  She often said that she never had a grandma and she wanted to be the best grandma she could be because she thought it was so important.  She was right.
I have not made ANY progress in ordering the house more but it can wait and I will not lose any sleep over it.   The dust, is seems to multiple over night sometimes. 
I think I have said enough.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Go Green!!!!!!!!!

Here are great examples of our family go green.  Henry and Liam are doing the pedal power way of transportation and I hung out the clothes.  I would say I enjoyed hanging out the clothes but not in the way Gail would say.  She loved to hang the clothes on the line and then smell the fresh clothes as they came in the house.  Of course there was always that "saving" mentality too when she did it.
It is almost 2:00 PM and I am taking a break.  I made a list of things to do this morning and I have done many of them.  I have been to the compost place, to the bank, to Best Buy, to Joanne's fabrics, have gotten my walk in and now I am ready to get into the garage so at this point in the day I give myself an A but then I do grade myself pretty high just to build up my self-esteem and do the "feel good" thing which is in vogue in our culture today.  Don't ever blame me for not being the modern man!  I almost forgot, I also stopped into RC Dicks and picked up a pair of walking pants on sale.  I was sure to not get any of those pants that show everything, even things that should be hidden but rather I went the modest route with a pair of Reebok pants that are for old men!!!  I may not have that young chiseled body at my age but I have some middle age class!
I think I have taken a long enough break so will try to get out into the garage while the temp is still above 50.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A short walk---a long journey

This is Ruby Gail picture night.  I should think that the littlest and the youngest should get star treatment at least once.  At this time grandpa thinks she is the cutest but then I thought that same thing of each of the first 6 so go figure!!!!!!!!!!  Grandma would say she sure is a keeper.
The shower was nice today.  I would say there were about 30 in Gail's family there and it sure is nice to have those little kids there.  I even played volleyball.  I did fall once but I did not cry.
I took a short walk tonight and it turned out to be a long journey.  I walked around the block and then I wandered up to St. Kate's campus.  I spent a bit of time there and that was the journey.  Some of the memories I laughed about and cried about were:
  • The boys bringing back fish eyes from the pond
  • Gail's and my last grandma/grandpa day was spent there
  • The many times the grand kids came there to climb the trees, chase the ducks and play in the play ground there
  • sliding down the hill towards the pond and hearing Gail's laugh as she did that
  • taking family pictures there the weekend of Cynthia's hs graduation
  • holding hands with Gail as we took our walks around the campus
  • walking across the campus to the boys' soccer games at SPA
  • Cyn danced there once
  • feeding the ducks bread
  • Some of the last walks Gail/I had were around the campus 
My emotions, there was no use in holding them back.  They came like the water cascading down a waterfall without the noise.  Actually I guess there were some sniffles so there was sound.  I am happy there was not a soul around as they may have called 911 in seeing this strange man acting strangely.
The shower was the 3rd family function I have gone to alone.  The first was a wedding, the second was the Christmas thing and now today.  I was in control today pretty well.  I hope I can adjust to St. Kates as it is so close and a fun place to walk.
I am hoping and planning to get in the wood shop tomorrow, I will see if I can be successful.  I have not looked at the weather but hope it stays kind of warm.
I am going to try and sleep in tomorrow, will see if it works.   

Saturday, March 20, 2010


I don't really know why I am signing on again.  When I went up to the store the thought of "journey" came into my head and I just can not get it out.   I was thinking how life IS a journey, it is not a honeymoon, it is not a vacation, it is not a mission, it is not a movie but it is a journey---One that we all must walk even if we don't like it.  We often have no choice but to take detours, there are often steep hills to climb, there are often dark places we must visit, there are sometimes bright sunny skies that we never want to leave behind, sometimes we meet people who we do not like, sometimes we meet people who we fall in love with but must leave, sometimes each step feels like a thousand and sometimes a thousand steps seem like one.  AND when our journey ends, like Gail in September, we will stand before our maker, our creaters and will answer.  The questions will be something like these:
  • Did you give life your all
  • Did you love the Lord your God
  • Did you smile at the sad and help the poor
  • Did you expect to serve and not be served
  • Did you help those who could not help back
  • Did you love those who could not love back
  • Did you walk the extra mile
  • Did you forgive and forget
In my journey now I feel like I am walking in darkness.  My family is so great but yet my current walk is one of living in the absence of Gail.   Each day I feel like there is a wall to climb.  On that wall are emotions, memories, loneliness, tears, questions, helplessness, fatigue, emptiness and sorrow.  I don't feel that I am really sad or angry but really my journey is one that I and only I can walk.  After all Jesus died on the cross and he was alone.  Now I am not equating myself to any holy person but rather looking at Jesus as an example in how I or anyone must walk the journey.  I know that in time my journey will be beyond that wall in many ways and then there will be more sunshine, more comfort and more joy.  I have joy now but it is only in knowing that I am on the right path, I am going in the right direction and in the end my journey will be life everlasting with the Lord and with loved ones in my life like my beloved Gail.  So for now I am happy, not in the sense of emotion but in the sense of doing what is right. 
Like I said I don't know why I signed on but I am in a better place now then a while ago today.

One from each family!!

Here I is, alone in the house after a peak time of 17 people here.  We all enjoyed a breakfast of 18 eggs, 30 pieces of bacon and 2 batches of buttermilk blueberry pancakes.  I think everyone had a good time, grandpa sure did but I would have to admit a bit tired.  Was up at 6:00 to be sure the papers were here and breakfast was ready for all by 9:00.  It was a great day and the only thing that would have made it better if our beloved grandma Gail could have been here but----.
I think I have said it all for today.  The kids are growing so fast, Henry and Liam spent a lot of time riding bike around the block and of course eating much of the time!!!  It was nice to have Lizzia and Betina join us.  Aaron/Amy and kids are off to enjoy Amy's brother and his family so grandpa is going to shave, go up town to get a couple of things and perhaps get some early shuteye. 
I would say that I did pretty well today.  Only a couple of times in conversation did those darn tears make a limited appearance for which I was thankful.  Everyone knows that Gail lived for these kind of times so the emptiness in my soul is very THERE but I am thankful for the healer time.  It does make things better with each event that comes and goes.  I suppose that the lump in my throat and the dryness in my mouth will not disappear ever as I say the meal time grace but then God never promised us that life would remain the same forever.  As family changes, as events come and go, I remain thankful for all the blessings that I have at this time.  The past, it was very rich, the present OK and the future who really knows.  The only constant in one's life remains God's promise that he loves us and will always be at our side. 

Friday, March 19, 2010

The gangs all here

Liam-5, Leo-3, Henry-6+, Audrey-1+, Faustina-almost 2, Jude-7 months, Ruby-7 weeks
A first, all the grand kids together.  They had a grand time biking, jumping on the tramp, reading books, playing with toys and eating!!!
Everyone was here tonight and will come again tomorrow morning for breakfast. It was a good time.  I would not say I ran out of food but we ate all that I prepared.  Times change so fast.  Henry and Liam can now ride bikes and they all grow so fast it is unreal. 
Gail would have had a grand time.  Especially with Ruby and those little twins (Faustina/Audrey).  They are not twins but are so cute together and almost the same size. 
Not much tonight.  I spent all day cleaning, getting food, washing dishes etc.  God is so good as I am so blessed with family.  They all are outstanding in their own way and Saint Gail is smiling and clapping her hands in heaven.  Thank you Gail, today of course would not have been possible without your love, your sacrifice, your wisdom and all the things you did in motherhood.  We love you, we honor you and and thank you.
Most of all we miss you so much----but someday we will meet again.
I need to have bacon, eggs and pancakes along with coffee and tea ready by 9:00 tomorrow so thank you Lord for your blessings.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

That goofy Liam

As I was leaving today I noticed in the corner of the living room near the fireplace the 2 Christmas musicial snow men.  I thought where in the world did they come from.  I have not had those down here since Christmas.  It then dawned on me that Tuesday when Travis, Henry and I were working in the garage with wood Liam was "exploring" upstairs.  I would bet he brought them down because they were down here when Grandma was with us!!!!  He did not say anything, he just brought them down and set them on a table in a corner by the fireplace.  So so interesting.
I am feeling lousey today.  Can't seem to shake this cold and not feeling great otherwise either so I canceled out on my evening meeting and will try to go to bed really early.
The last few days I have looked at some cars but have decided to not do anything for a bit.  I found a Honda Accord today that had low miles, wonderful interior and was great to drive but----car payments at this time just don't sound very appealing.  I have decided to downgrade in size so when I get something different it probably will not be an SUV but rather a medium size sedan.  We will leave things for another day.  As many of us know it is dangerous to test drive cars that are so nice.  I suppose I could go by the motto live a little and drive a lot but not for now.  My Highlander just turned 181,000, maybe my goal should be 200,000.  I also drove a 2 year old Camry hybrid and it was fun to drive but a bit noisy in the cabin, I was surprised. 
I got together with Gail's brother Al this afternoon at the Happy Gnomo.  It is always fun to do that and we do not see each other often enough.  Will see most of Gail's family Sunday at the shower.  Ryan/Abby will be having one of these destination wedding kind of things so will not be part of that so must make the shower fun.
I am going to actually try to go to bed by 7:00 tonight and see if extra sleep can shake this cold that just kind of hangs on and makes me sneeze a lot with a stuffy head.  Gail, I need some of your TLC!!!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A new realization--good but sad

Just a quick note with no picture.  I went to men's group tonight.  We took time to pray over each other for things and it was very good.  God's grace is so present when that happens.  During this extended time before the Lord I realized that it was the FIRST time since Gail's death that I had been able to worship or pray without losing my composure.  However on the way home I was driving alone and I became aware that for the first time I was beginning to think of myself as me and many of the things I had in my mind were me, not we.  As I thought about that I lost my self for a short period of time.  Of course I KNOW that I must get to that place all the time and the times of Gail and I going, coming or whatever need to be contained in my memory bank but not in my real life.  I just thought Lord I don't really know if I am ready for this.  The "me" seems real but yet quite empty, pretty dull, not alive enough but I am sure it will change with time and I can enjoy the memories and live in the real that I go places, I do things, I make decisions and the I goes on and on and on.  The Lord must know I am ready if he put it in my mind but if it were up to me I would say please wait a while, I want to remain living in the us for a period of time--but.
I was invited out for St. Patty Day green beer tonight but declined.  I don't thing I am ready to celebrate in that way but I did appreciate the thought.  I think my St. Patty's Day celebration may be going to bed at 10:30, sounds boring but inviting.
I also realized that I need to get to work and not check my e-mail so much.  I was busy this afternoon so I did not check it for about 7 hours.  As I arrived home I opened it up excited that I would have some notes to read and much to my disappointment there were none.  It was then I said wait a minute, you had better live for life, not e-mails!!!!  Some how those e-mails seem to fill the void of an empty house but I think that needs to change.  I guess if that is the most important thing I need to change it isn't too bad.   However it isn't!!!

Happy St. Patty's Day

May we all enjoy the green brevage of our choice!!
The caption on the back says Gail at 2 months.  That would be fairly close to our little Ruby Gail Lee, the famous Girl Bucky Badger.  This will be the end of Gail's pictures from Oakland CA. 
I am so bad, I forgot to mention yesterday that it was Mary Lee's birthday, happy birthday Mary.
Another perfect March day.  Sunny and almost 60, can't really get any better than that. 
Not too much happening today.  I was so tired (there is a reason God intended us to have children at a young age) that I took 2 Advil PM, went to bed at midnight and did not get up until 8:30.  I think that most real people are half finished with their work by that time in the morning but I convinced myself it was OK and not to feel guilty.  I supposed I could sugar coat it and say really it was only 7:30 because of daylight savings time but I will use that excuse for another time.
I wanted in the worst way to get some work done outside but NOT.  I did get a bike ride in, took the dog for a walk, took a friends dog for a walk, ran an errand, checked Johns sap bucket on the front tree (he has about a gal of sap), and then did a few dishes.  Will go to John/Mary's tonight and than to men's group at 7:00 so all in all it may be kind of a full day. 
I feel that in the last few days I have been able to have a bit of a bounce in my step which is refreshing.  I know, it will come and go but as of today it is on the go side and that is a good feeling.  When Henry and Liam were with me yesterday Liam talked about Grandma several times and it was OK.  People are so different as Liam wants to talk or refer to Grandma a lot and Henry does not.  I know that it is just a difference of people as of course they both loved Grandma so much.  For me I sometimes see that I may bring her up too much.  Many people, in fact most people and almost all men, do not know what to say or where to go with a conversation that involves Gail.  I understand that and it is OK but for me I NEED to talk about her sometimes.  I could almost hear her today saying that we had to go on a walk as it was so nice outside.  I could her her saying that she should be in doing dishes but she could not resist the sun.
My excitment for my wood shop is getting stronger as the weather gets warmer so for me that is good.  Next Monday it will be clean up and work on Will D project and Cyn/Mike's project.  Both are so small but will be fun to do.
I think I will try to get somethings done before I leave for dinner.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Gail as the little Oakland CA dolly.
I am back from taking Henry to school.  I have to admit that I have become a bit lazy.  As I looked at this week yesterday I said to myself that is one busy schedule and I think I became a bit up tight.  But really it is perhaps what should be my normal life so I think I have grown complacent. 
Yesterday was a very fun time.  Mark L dad is great.  Here is a guy who will be 84 this year and when Mark asked him how much wood he had split and stacked he said about 80 full cords!!!  It appears that he keeps himself busy all the time, about everything he has was purchased at auction and then he fixes and makes things work.  His house is, for a wood worker, a dream as the entire house inside and out is made from wood harvested off his land, milled, dried and cut.  I would say his main room has  ceiling of 20 feet or so and it is all tongue and groove birch.  Kitchen cabinets are made in the same way and the list goes on and on.  Anyway it was a fun day and the only problem was I bought too much wood.  I came home with about a 1/2 cord of firewood, a birch 1/2 log about 5 feet long and weighing perhaps 200 pounds and around 270 board feet of tongue and groove birch.  In the cities the cost would have been about $1100 and my bill was 382.  Now do I need all of the wood?   Not at this time but Arnie is not milling birch any more so I purchased the last of what he had.  I thought at that price I could not go wrong and I will use it over a long period of time.  Now with the oak I have, the walnut tree that is cut  in 10 slabs and birch I had better stop buying wood and start making things!!!
I had better get some things done.  Liam is here and his cartoons has to be limited so need some games and maybe even some work!!

I goofed

As I look at this photo I made too big of a deal of it.  It actually looks like an ordinary guy who has a lot of work to do.  There is not any resemblance of poster boy material.  But you can see the dirt, grime and paint on the overalls so I do think that it shows I am real in some ways!!
Busy day with meditations just finished and now it is Henry and Liam most of the day.
Some place I picked up a very bad cold, please cold go away as I am miserable.
I have all that wood that needs to come out of the pickup so need to figure out a way to find time to do that.  I thought about Henry and Liam helping but I think most of the wood is too heavy.
Wow, this is shaping up to be a very busy week, not sure that is good or bad but will see by Sunday evening.  The week will end with a family shower all Sunday afternoon.
Meditations have come and gone.  I woke up with a little head ache so went back to bed to get rid of it.  Looks like the guys came, prayed, discussed and left.
There is some rain this morning.  Hope we see the sun before the day is over.
Got to run and pick up Henry and Liam.  I think I have to stop at Cyn first as she has one of my car seats.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Gong up north

Here is Gail in an outfit she had made for herself.  I really do not know what year this was taken.
It is early Monday and I am about ready to head out to pick up Mark L and head up north for the day.  I am looking forward to a day out of the cities, a day with Mark and and chance to spend a small amount of time with Arnie, Mark's dad.  He is an interesting guy and certainly one of the "throwback" guys that are becoming more and more rare.  During the winter of 09 he cut, split and stacked 40 full cords of firewood.  When I asked him if he used a mechanical splitter he replied, "They are too dam slow."  By the way he was 82 that winter.  He wears hard work and honesty on his sleeve which is refreshing.
It is day 1 of a somewhat busy week.  A day trip today, I will be busy out of the house all day tomorrow alone with 6 AM meditations, Wed will bring men's group, Thursday an evening meeting and then Aaron and family arrive Friday PM for the weekend.  By the time all that activity is finished we will be looking at hardly more than a week left of March and before you know it Easter will be here.
I need to get the coffee ready and then it is off to the north country.
I did not get this sent this morning as I almost over slept.  It was a great day .Mark and I had a wonderful trip up and back and we came back with the pickup loaded with about 1500 pounds of ash and firewood.  More on the trip at another time.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I don't know what the occasion was!!!!

Here is Gail and Allen.  I don't know what they were doing but a guess would be some kind of field work.  Whatever it was looks like it could not have been too hard work as they are as happy as can be.
The weather is glorious today.  Sunny all day and the temp must be close to 60.
I over slept this morning as I did not have the time change on my mind.  I got a good walk with Wallace in, was able to try out my bike and it is super (Aaron did a wonderful job on it), got the back yard picked up of dog poop, was able to go over some of the grass lightly so it will dry better, cleaned up the pickup which was nice and enjoyed a short visit from Cyn and family.  I stopped at John's on my bike ride but nobody answered the door.
I have decided to post the bib picture on Tuesday.  When I look at it I think I hyped it up too much as it does not look all that bad but it is proof I have bib overalls and use them.  The story behind that is there was a time when I was little all I had to wear was bib overalls and I got to hate them.  When I got a bit older I said I would never wear them again.  I think I hated them because I never saw my dad wear them so naturally I thought grownups never wore them.  They did come in handy when I picked the eggs as I was able to fit 13 eggs in all the pockets and never break one!!!
Well I was not going to mention it but here it is, 6 months ago this afternoon Gail met Jesus.  I think I have been focusing on it too much.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Six months ago...............................

The memories
they flood my mind like
raindrops in a torrent rain
they seem to wash away
the good things of life

the thoughts
they fill my mind like
the pennies in a small pool
they make the reality of
my being seem so small

the wishes
they remain ever so vivid
like the stars in the sky
on a moonless clear night
to be seen but yet unrealized

the dreams
they have all disappeared
not to come true and
perhaps not to be remembered
to come again I know not

the tears
they feel warm and wet
as they slowly trickle
down my face to pool
on the edges of my set jaw
they blur and sting my eyes
they dull my senses until

My God
He seems so distant at times
ever so near yet
ever so far from the reaches
of my soul

it seems to rush
without a moment to
stop, wait, forgive or renew
it goes to never be seen

The future
is it to be of joy
is it to be of sorrow
or is it to be like
a cloud
in the distance which
hides or reveals the sun

My Gail
old age never visited
dreams mostly unrevealed
your call was something
you knew not but
yet you answered
because your God called

what will it bring
we know not but
your being will be afar
your spirit will be near
my heart will ache for
your touch,feel, smile
and yes your embrace
not to be but
not to be forgotten.

I LOVE this picture

Allen is going through his parents slides and sent some pictures to me.  Here Gail and I are in Indianapolis Indiana in the summer of 1964.  You can see again Gail with that little head band on, it just melted me every time.  Our band went to the Memorial 500 race and marched in the parade and also the day of the race inside the track.  The trip along with our trip to the state basketball tourney were the trips Gail and I were together on.  Our band was very good and our uniforms were super.  Along with what you see we also wore black shoes and white spates (sp) and the band looked very sharp.  We also did very well where ever we marched.  We took 2 or 3 coach buses on the trip.  Gail's parents went as one of the couple chaperons but we made sure we were NOT on their bus!!!!
I worked the parking lot at the fair for 4 hours today.  It was a bit cold.  I debated before I left if I should wear long johns and finally I put some on.  I would have frozen if I had not worn them.  My back bothers me a some when I am walking or standing on parking lots for a long time so right now my back is sore.  I have to keep reminding myself that old age is mostly in the mind.
Enough, I did not intend to blog again but I love that picture of us. I guess it brings back many many good memories.

Out of season but not out of character

I love the expression on Gail's face.  Again look at that curly curly hair.
Yesterday we did not see the sun for I would guess the 5th or so day but I think there is a change coming and a good one.
I slept for 6 hours last night without waking up once, it was so so nice.  It has been perhaps a year since I have done that.  I would say it is a good sign.
I did my walk in yesterday but I did not do any work.  I am beginning to think this might be OK!!   No not really but I think my mood is becoming a bit lighter and I still think I am close to launching out on some project.  Today may not be the day as I need to leave shortly to work a parking lot on the fair grounds but it is just until noon so not all day.  I am hoping I don't have the experience that I had when I went to fill out the paper work.  The fair grounds work was Gail's idea so there is a piece of emotion there.  I am hoping that sun that is supposed to come appears in the morning.  The last time Gail worked the fair grounds was the first part of May and the weekend was so nice and Gail just had a super time being outside in the sun with her funky Tilley hat on.
I drove to Burnsville last night and had dinner with Larry B.  It was supposed to be a meal with several people but his wife Jeri was not feeling well and others did not show so it was a twosome.  I actually do appreciate eating with someone else most of the time.  One of the hardest things is to make food for one person.  Gail would always say that in her women's group it was nice to eat together because there often were 2 or 3 single gals.  Gail would say "I know they really like to eat with others".  She was so correct.
The rain has almost melted all of the snow.  There is some left and a bit of ice but you can see much grass now.  The ground has also started to thaw as the water is not pooling by my garage, it is soaking into the ground.
Wallace came home with a grand haircut.  I had them cut his hair shorter around his head and I like it better.  He should be good now until June.  It would actually be nice to get a cut every 2 months but for the cost every 3 months will do.
I did do the dishes yesterday.  It does not take a long time to do them as it seems that there are mostly glasses but it is just getting to them.
I am hoping Amy had a great birthday yesterday.  I am getting lonesome for their family, for sure that little Leo.
I am thinking about six months ago, (September 13) it was a Sunday night and Gail had gotten cathator(sp) in as she just was too weak to get out of bed.  At this point she was not eating anything but she could still converse a bit.  It was Sept 11 that she wrote her last words as she could not talk.  She asked in the long skiem of things was she better or worse.  She was beginning to have a hard time talking.  I was able to put my arm around her about noon and she sat up and managed a weak smile.   This was some of the hardest hours for me as it seemed that she was in pain.  Dr. Zenker and a nurse assured me she was fairly comfortable but it was difficult.  About 3 weeks previous she had 5 cups of fluid removed from one lung so I think that was beginning to fill again.  I may need to do something tomorrow  so that I don't dwell too much on Gail's last few hours.  It seems like yesterday and it seems like a life time ago.  I would say that I am so THANKFUL to be able to have cared for and loved Gail at home until she met Jesus.  That was special in many many ways with all the family here.  I know that Gail wanted that and was happy about that as well.
I got to go to work so will post this now.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Another day, another cute picture

Here is again that wild hair that Gail seemed to have when she was little.  NOW I know where Travis got his hair when he was little.  I never knew that before.
Happy happy birthday AMY!!!!  Hope your day is a great one!
Not much to say.  I seem to be getting a bit closer to getting into some work but I am not there yet.
A strange thing has happened as I have connected in some small ways with a few high school classmates.  I think I have e-mailed or sent a note, or called 6 of them.  First, it is difficult to try to imagine what they are like 45 years later.  I just can not get myself to think of them as myself, 63 years old and not the 18 year old I knew them as.  I got a note from a gal who actually served in the MN house and senate in the early 90's but of course with her married name I would not have known.  She and her husband now live in Florida.  I have not done any in depth communication with any except a gal who recently lost her husband, I have shared more with her but to think for the most part after 45 years what would one say after a few notes or calls or whatever.  We all are so different now, certainly not the same person that we were when we were friends a long time ago.  Anyway it is a somewhat strange kind of situation.  It has been interesting and fun to reconnect but of course all of us are into the family around us and friends around us and I think that reconnecting is fun, amusing and interesting but very limited in most ways.
In my pondering and thinking I feel I have come up with a solution for my guest room, I will put a futon in it and then that can be pulled out and used when someone comes.  Putting a full sized bed in that room almost takes up the entire room and it almost blocks the attic door so I felt I could not do that.  The thing is I don't have a futon but I can buy or build one.
Wallace is at his hairdresser!!!!  I get a haircut once in a while for $14 and he gets a cut once in a while for $75, go figure that out.  Gail would cut it and I may have to try as the weather gets warmer.  He needs to get a cut at least every 3 months or he looks like a sheep.  When Wallace is gone it sure is quiet.
Weather is still cloudy, rainy and a bit depressing.  By early next week it is supposed to be low 50's and sunny, my bike will be out for sure. 
I took the time yesterday to take a self portrait with my bib overalls and Makita hat.  The dirt, grime and paint on the bib overalls is real, got there from work and sweat.  I have not decided when to post it as I am concerned that my sister may like it so much she will show the picture to everyone and I may start to get calls from Carhartt or Makita to be their poster man of the year.   That would not be good as I do not want to be famous and for sure I don't want to be rich.  I will warn you a day in advance of the posting so you can skip that day, it may depress you!!!  Lucky for everyone I have several more days of Gail coming up.
It is really time to see if I can do a bit of work around here.  Dishes seem to grow dirty in this house now so I need to roll up the sleeves and clean.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Gail, day 4 and she is as cute as ever

This is Gail the day of her first communion.  She actually, to me, looks like a little saint.  I think of her as my saint in heaven now.
As I look out the window there still is no sun and the sidewalks are wet.  The temp is 35 and I don't think we have gone below freezing for several days now.  The snow fort in the front yard which has held up since Christmas is sadly not much now.  I just heard a very loud thunder, doesn't sound like winter yet it is really not to spring like out either.
Most of yesterday I thought of Gail.  I think that in many ways it would be time for me to step out a bit more and begin to make that new life that God has for me.  I say new life from the view that Gail is no longer a part of my physical life, only in my heart.  I can do that in my head but I am having such a difficult time doing it in practice.  I know that I am not able to keep my mind on things in the right way.  Last evening I went to take my vit and meds and I had taken my evening ones in the morning.  Now that is just not me.  A couple of days ago I went to the store in the morning and late that afternoon I found some things in the sack that needed to be in the ref so my mind is NOT.  I know that one of these days I will be able to switch gears and in a good and healthy way will be able to start doing, thinking, and being like I should be but that has not started yet.  The bad things about it all is I am becoming aware that I should be able to move on a bit.  So that makes me up tight and actually at times makes me think that I am being too too "not normal" about Gail's death.  I know that 1000's of people lose their spouse and move on to a new and exciting life so I say to myself why can't I move yet?  I can tell my self 100's of times, I can look at myself in the mirror but still I just can not get my heart past that awful feeling that Gail is gone.  STILL I often just say out loud "I can't believe that Gail is not here".  The thing is most of the time now I am not terribly sad but I can't seem to get past the idea that my life is now a 50 piece puzzle and 25 pieces are missing and try as I might I can't find them.  It could also be likened to playing the drums without the drum sticks, how stupid is that.
NO my thoughts are almost spiriling down hill so I had better stop.
I am going to be a bit busy starting with the weekend.  Friday morning Wallace is in for a haircut, Friday night  is dinner and a play, I have decided to work Sat AM 8-12, on Monday it will be all day to northern MN with Mark L to get wood and then I will be busy all day on Tu as well.  I only hope that a busy person is a productive person.
Tomorrow is Amy Lee's birthday and then next Tuesday is Mary Lee's birthday.   Time to celebrate.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Again today

I am trying to avoid working so will blog again.  No picture as I will save another picture of Gail for tomorrow.  I ended up going to the auto show.  I would say that if Gail could have been with me we would have been one of the younger couple there.  As it was I was a bit out of place, alone.  I found a parking spot fairly close and plugged the meter for 2 hours.  I would say that I was somewhat successful there but I did not find a convertiable that I liked, they were all to cheap!!  Here is what I found:
  • If you have not looked at new cars lately you should look, the prices are almost amusing
  • I did not buy that $3.25 bottled water, success or that $3.75 soda success
  • The most reasonable car there was the SMART Car.  As I looked at the price and the car I thought that is not a bad name for it.
  • I resisted the sales pitch of those lovely young Toyota ladies in modest (yes modest) striking red dresses.   I think Toyota has the best sales approach and with all that they have going on that is wise.  The young ladies walking the floor giving info were by far the most effective.  They knew more, they were more available, they were more visible in those red outfits and I would say Toyota is on a mission.
  • I could not get the price of a entry level Ford Taurus from the elderly man behind the desk.  He also said he had no idea how Taurus compared price wise to Honda and Toyota!!  I think that was his way of saying the Taurus is more expensive.  I asked the price because I thought the Taurus SHO on the floor for $53,000 may not be your typical working man's ford.  In the end I was able to find out that an entry level Taurus is $25,000+.  I would say the Ford is no longer for the working guy but rather more for the "in debt" guy.
  • I arrived back at my car with 4 minutes on the meter, not bad
  • At $57,000 I decided the Ford Expedition was out of my price range.
  • I liked the new Honda Crosstour but not for the $38,000 price tag
  • Of course most car companies have the 2 or 3 top of the line cars at the show.  Almost all the prices would give a 4 year old heartburn.
  • If tires on those sport cars get any larger they will look like self-propelled sprayers on Dale and Mark's farms.
  • I failed, on the way home I ate lunch at BK.  BUT I got filled up for $3.28  not too bad
  • Success I did not stop at the DQ for a cone
  • As I got on I94 it was stopped so I was able to get off and take University--success
  • The new Honda Insight is not bad looking
  • The Toyota Highlander Hybrid is way way over priced
  • Toyota with it's no money down and no interest for 5 years is tempting
Enough, I arrived home to realize that I had never turned the heat up this morning so the house was 62-burr.  The temp outside is near 40 but it is damp and chilly.
Maybe, just maybe I can do a tiny bit of work.

Gail, day three--big eyes all the better to see you

Gail would often say that in the spring when the snow would be melting and there would be a lot of humidity her hair was impossible to control and I could never see that but now I do.
I am going to warn you right now that you may not want to see this blog in a few days.  Sister Helen can not believe I have bib overalls so soon I will take a self portrait and post it.  I may even wear an old dirty T-shirt with it and flex my mighty muscles!!  For sure all of you working men would guess that my bib overalls are the one and only Carhart--the only clothes for real working men.  I will give a day notice so you can black out that day if you want.  Maybe I'll even put my Red Wing work shoes on and that old hat that has so much character and do a full length shot.  Helen may want to print it off and frame it for their picture gallery.
I had a great time with Dr. Paul yesterday.  We went to this pub that has 50+ beers on tap and another 400 bottled beers.  I am getting so socially savoy that I even remember what we had, each of us ordered a flight!!!  That is you can pick out any 5 beers on tap and get a small glass of each one.  Helen, you are on for that place when you come up, Dave no dice and I don't know about Joan!!!!  It is a great way to taste different beers.  Helen, they do not sell Miller Light, Bud Light etc., just beer!!!
My work is like watching paint dry on a cool humid day.  I just can not get out of this funk.  I don't feel that I am depressed or sad or that kind of thing.  I think I just am in a time frame here where I don't know how to start living without Gail.  I have mentioned in the past that when she would be gone for a day or two my intent would be to get so much done but I would end up walking around the house and walking and walking and walking and I would do nothing.  That is where I am now, I move but I don't do anything.  I am finding that there are so many things I miss now that I am alone and one of the big ones is I don't have Gail as my sounding board.  I bounced everything off of her, some would have said too much but that was me or us and it seemed to work but now I look at her picture on top of the fireplace and ask her what I should do.  She  waves that little hand and smiles and says "I am fine, you will be fine live your life for God and family".  Perhaps that is saying that so many of the worldly things I/We tend to do are important but really not.
I am upset with Allen and Helen.  I thought I had that word from the Lord as both said you need to get a convertible BUT one suggested I get a turquoise and the other a flaming red so that confused me, I don't know which to get so will settle for nothing.  I did get one thing out of that whole car issue.  Helen finally admitted that her tiny Miata is too small!  Maybe Mike will buy her a real "grown up kind" of car in August as she has that BIG birthday coming up.  For people who have never met Helen you would never believe she is having that BIG birthday, why she is actually younger than me.
I am going to stop at Starbucks and get a small cup of coffee today.  I always get an Americana but they have this promotion now.  For 8 weeks you get a different kind of coffee and get your little book stamped and then at the end of 8 weeks you get a free pound of coffee.  Now I never do that kind of thing but I will do it this time just for the fun of it.  There is a gal Sandy who works in there Wed and Thur.  I coached her son in baseball and soccer at Highland.  At the end of one of our first soccer games she approached me and said your are Christian aren't you?  With my NRA hat on I thought she would not be able to tell but.  Anyway I go into Starbucks either on Wed or Thr as those are the days she works.  So why did I talk about that, who cares!!
It is still raining today and the snow is fast disappearing.  I would think this would not be too good for flooding
in places but have not heard much.  
Got to go, things to do, places to go, people to see--That is what Gail and I would always say.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day Two of "Look how cute Gail was"!!

The note on the back says Gail was 4 and her Aunt Elsie Hill Pond made the hat.  I am not sure she looks like 4 but that is what the note says.  I also never heard of that aunt.  Maybe she was an honorary aunt.
Yesterday was a replay of the days past.  I got a 3 mile walk in and not any work done.  You would think I am a broken record that keeps playing the same same thing.
Each day I am inching closer to getting the bike out.  There is really no ice on the sidewalks now and the weather says in mid week it could reach 50, wow.
I am going to be in my shop in about 30 minutes.  I turned the heater on when I fed Wallace.  I don't know how long I will be out there and I know that it will only be to pick up and clean up but that is a start.  The last time I used my wood shop in any way was a month before Gail died.  My heart just has not been able to go there.  Her words will be etched into my heart forever.  In March when I brought a table leg in the house to show her she turned to me with misty eyes and said, "I can't die soon because I need to see all the things you will make."  With those words often in my head I just have not been able to do any woodworking but I think I may be getting close.  Cynthia/Mike have a very simple project and I may takle that.
Meditations were good this morning as they always are.  Jerry, Don, John and Harold are a wonderful mix of men to discuss with, talk with and spend time with.  How blessed I am to have great male friends to share life with.  As I continue to grieve the loss of my beloved Gail I, more than ever, cherish the male friendships I have.  I think I have put to rest forever the idea of putting on bib overalls for the next year, not shaving and holing up in my shop away from all human life!!!!  Actually I guess all I have to do is look up at my picture of Jesus, the carpenter, to know that following the Lord involves a bit more than living the life of a recluse.  By the way the picture of Jesus fits well on the wall next to the deer head with small horns.  The deer does not stink any more so that is good.  You may think a deer head in a shop is gross but my family had a deer head in the living room when I grew up.  It appeared in every family picture.  So maybe I have come a ways in refining the Lee Way.  Actually the deer head may say more about me than anyone wants to know.
Enough, I will put on my bib overalls and see what my shop looks like and what it may need.
I am back in the house an hour and 15 minutes later.  It was cold in the shop but on a scale of 1-10, 10 being finished I landed on a .2    Tiny but progress.  I think that it is colder in the shop than outside.  Maybe more tomorrow.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Gail is cute week!!!!

My pictures this week will be of Gail during her first 3 years when she lived in Oakland CA.  Here she is dancing as a little bee in a costume her mother made.  She is 3.  She looks to me like she is giving it her all which would have been par for the course all her life.
Not much to say today.  I have yet to go on my walk but will do that soon.  Had breakfast with Jim C at 6:30 and will enjoy having dinner with John/Mary and kids tonight.  I would say friends and family take care of me much better than I deserve.  Am also looking forward to having an afternoon beer with Dr. Zenker tomorrow as well as 6AM meditations tomorrow.  I am going to try to get to the auto show sometime this week.  I would like to take the lightrail downtown Mpls and then buy a $50,000. car.  I am thinking that will make me feel important, it will impress people and I will be happy all the time then.  My only question is what color should I get.  I mean after all I can do anything I want now and I am as free as a bird.  Ouch, that bird just got shot.
Before I leave for a walk I must tell a story about Gail.  She loved to journal but her trouble was she would start and then not keep doing it.  I do wish I had kept all of the books etc. in the house that she had started journaling in.  I found one a few days ago.  On the cover it said "Our trip to Italy".  I opened it up and on the top of page one she wrote, "Travis drove us to the airport".  THAT WAS THE END OF THAT JOURNAL!!!    I could almost not stop laughing.  I just said to myself Gail I loved you so much and you were one of a kind for sure.
Got to get going on that walk.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I missed a few

I don't know of a good way to put several pictures on but there they are.  I missed Jude as he was sleeping when I took these this morning.  Travis was not here and of course we missed Aaron, Amy, Leo and Ruby Gail but we will get them in 2 weeks.  I have not seen Henry with that kind of expression ever.  That Faustina loves her 3 cousins but she is always talking about Henry.
I seems that I am in a bit of a rut.  I can't really get out of my Gail mind, I can't really get into the Carmen mind and I just am in netural but then someone told me today that is much better than being in reverse!!  I did get my walk in today so that was good.
I think that I have gotten myself into a thinking process of way too much "me".  I think I need to just stop thinking so much about how much I miss Gail and try to focus more on what to do and how to do things.  I know that I CAN'T forget about Gail and I never will but I mean I can't just sit too much and remember.  It is almost like I think I feel sick---no I AM sick.  Maybe I thought I was ready for more "thinking" time and really I am not.  I would have to admit and this may scare you but if some woman, any woman, would have rang the door bell last night I may have grabbed her and hugged her so tight she would have called 911.  Now I am not starved for women but just that warm human embrace.  That said I hope nobody decides to not come over because they are afraid!!!  Of course I would never give anyone a 911 hug but......  The more I think of it the more I know that it just is coming to grips with reality that says Gail is not here and never will be again.  To know that, to feel that, to experience it after 6 months is different than experiencing it a short time after she left.  She may be smiling at me now saying just cool it Carmen and get out in your wood shop.
Enough for now. I know that in my mind this week will be the fact that Gail left us 6 months from next Sunday.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A new realization

As I sat here tonight it just struck me how quiet it is to be alone on a Saturday night.  Then I thought well in 41 years of marriage there were 2132 Saturday nights.  Of course I do not know but I am guessing I was alone maybe a hand full of times and without Gail maybe 25 times.  Now I am sure since September I have been alone on Saturday night but really I just do not remember them but tonight it just stared me in the face and I said I don't think I like this at all.  Now I would say that I have enough support and sometimes I want to just slow down and be alone but tonight I just can't stay here alone so maybe I will go to Barnes and Noble or go for a walk or something but it is too quiet, too empty now!

Only one time

Gail only got to go camping with any grandchildren one time.  Here she is with Henry and Liam in October of 2007.  It was so bright out that night you could actually read a book by moonlight.  Of course the boys wanted to sleep with grandma in the back of the pickup so poor grandpa was stuck in the tent my himself!!
Today was uneventful.  Had 7 men for a meeting and breakfast, went on a 3 mile walk and not much else. 
I actually am very happy I stuck to my exercise this week and Monday through Saturday I walked everyday for a total of 21.4 miles.  I would like to make it a daily thing but I am terrible at sticking to things like that but I will give it my best shot again.  I just need to convince myself that it is good.
I have had a difficult time getting much energy up but maybe that is not all bad.  I know I can't be lazy all my life but I need to maybe relax for a while. 
That's it, much today.

Friday, March 5, 2010

It's Friday night, what's a guy to do?

Here is a camping picture on Prince Edward Island and I use this today because this was taken on a Friday.  Friday nights was Gail and my "date night"  I have said it before but again I would leave school as early as possible and the rest of the day/night was our time most of the time.  Sometimes we would do something fun, sometimes we would just be around home but I knew it was a night that I would not have meetings or any other thing that would take me away from Gail.  So here I am sitting, thinking, maybe shedding a few tears but really at this time I am able to recall the good times, the blessings, many of those special Friday nights and more than anything else just be thankful to a God who is so good, so great, so loving.
I can smell that camp fire and I can taste those Tonka toasts with egg and sausage in and then blueberry filling for dessert!!
In that picture we were the ONLY ones in the campsite, just like me tonight, the ONLY one here!!
Here Gail is looking out over part of the ocean.  Sometimes I feel I am looking like that as life just goes by so so fast. 
Actually today was an exception.  I did not have any meals planned, no meetings and I just did not do a lot.  I as able to get in a 4 1/2 mile walk which made me tired towards the end.  I need to shape up my physical being, but what is new????  I felt like one of those solar lamps on my walk, just soaking up energy as the sun was so nice, warm and energizing.
For the day I have no news, no energy, no ideas and it doesn't bother me one bit.  How about that for a somewhat lazy attitude.
I did take my tiller to a friend who fixes small engines.  I purchased that tiller in 1972 so can he resurrect it, I don't know.  I have been nursing it alone for about 5 years now and decided that this spring was the time to fix it or nix it.  We will see what happens.  If it gets fixed I will rejoice and if it gets nixed we will find a proper place for it's final resting.
I want to get my den and kitchen picked up and in order but it has not happened  but there is always tomorrow.  At least I am planning on a tomorrow.
It is now 4:30 but I am pondering if I deserve a nap after my long walk!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I arrived home at 11:37 AM.  I promptly went to Gail's china cabinet, took out one of my favorite cups that Grandma Saunders gave Gail and I (the ones with horses on that Uncle Frank made), poured some Baileys into it and toasted Gail.  It is done, the monument is ordered.  It was 172 days ago that the man from Resurrection Cemetery said that I may not want to do anything with a monument now but deal with that later.  Now, after countless hours, several trips to different places, holding emotions in and letting them out too, some e-mails to family, much soul searching, checking bank accounts, talking to many people, asking the Lord for advice and many many tears it is done.  The monument is ordered, the price is set, the color is decided, the location is decided, scripture is picked, and it is done.  The 3 pieces of granite will come in about 60 days, I will then go look at them and it will be put together.  As  I stood up to leave today I extended my hand to 84 year old Chester to thank him.  As I held my hand out and looked at him I knew that he is in a business but really he loves his job and he likes to help people.  He took my hand in both of his old wrinkled and gnarled hands, held my hand tight and said we will do our best to make it just as you want.  At that moment I could feel God's hand in his and together they held my love for Gail and her love for me tightly.
One could ask why is a monument so important or what is so special about it.  Well:
  • The granite comes from a guarry 100 miles from where Gail and I grew up and were molded and formed into who I am and who Gail was.
  • Our names will be in Gail's own hand writing.  Her writing was an extension of who she was.
  • The scripture is taken from Grandma and Grandpa Saunders' Bible.
  • The edges will be unpolished, natural like Gail tended to be.
  • The granite will last perhaps forever.  It stands for how strong Gail was and how she stood the test of time in grand style.
  • The bench will be a place to sit, talk to God, listen to God and perhaps hear Gail's sweet voice once again.
  • The scripture is a reminder of how much Gail loved God's word.
  • The entire monument will be something that reminds us that Gail is gone but yet still remains with us.
So I am ready to put this monument exercise to rest.   I think that one of the difficult things about it was my name goes on it too.  Maybe I should look at it as now I am special, after all how many of you have your name etched into a granite stone?  Or maybe it is just the fact that with Gail gone I am left to face the reality of my own mortality which will face me each time I visit the grave site.  It is perhaps not important how I look at it but really putting it behind me is a big load off my shoulders and a relief. 
No, the Winds are coming over for dinner tonight and the house looks like, well lets say it needs some help.  I am also behind in camp as I promised an e-mail to the program directors yesterday and I do have a meeting at 7:30 tonight so it is now down with the last drop of Baileys and on to some work.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I hope

It may be pie in the sky but this picture was taken March 8 five years ago.  I hope we don't see that again this year.  I know that March normally has 10 inches of snow butttt one can hope.
What I am going to share next actually sounds a bit sappy, if that is a word I don't know but it somehow explains what I felt.  I went on a 3 mile walk this morning and as I walked north towards the University of St. Thomas the sun was shining on my back.  It felt as if God had his hand on my shoulder.  It was so warm, so comforting I felt like walking forever.  As I then walked towards the river and headed back I could almost feel and hear God at my side.  Like I said a bit sappy maybe!!!  Any how I so enjoyed the hour walk.  When I am able to do that I don't take a radio or anything I just simply walk, listen and think.  It seemed to me that today as I walked God was saying I need time.  I need to heal, I need to relax and I need to just be me for a few months.  It seems that the "absence of Gail" will linger for a time.  It never will cease but it will hang in the air, heavy like a cloud for some time yet.  I am amazed at my emotions.  As I drove to the store today I was singing one minute and the next I had tears.  I was happy for a while and then I just was so sad.  I may have said this before but I am not sad for Gail, I am not said to be alone it is just the "absence" that hangs so heavy at times and knowing that so many of the plans, so many of the dreams we had of living together into old age will never come to pass.  Of course I accept that, I can live with that but for now it makes me sad at times.  There are times I just sit and think what will I be doing in a year, in two years, in five years.  Maybe that is some of that ability to "dream" coming back that I totally lost when Gail died.  We will see but for now I need to live life one day at a time.
I will go have soup with Cynthia tonight and then to a men's night at Jim's. Maybe I should get some work done now!!!