Monday, May 31, 2010

Playing the Farmer bit

I sat in the back yard for about an hour today.  Here is part of what I saw.  A cardinal looking for the worm maybe and the yellow ??? scratching itself in the tree. 
I am spending Memorial Day working in the yard.  I had to take a break and enjoy God's gifts to us.  There are not as many birds as there used to be since we had to cut down some trees years ago but still enough to enjoy.
The weather is ideal with 80, sunny and a slight breeze.  Can not get nicer than that.  I cut the sod for the first time today so will see how that does.  It should be OK.
There is not much else.  I think I have shared before that this was the day before our wedding, 42 years ago.  At this time way back we were driving as fast as we dared in hopes that we would get back in time for the rehearsal and we did.  I was thinking that today a young couple would say I will not walk for the graduation ceremony but back then it seemed not to be an option, you just had to take part in such a big event.  Not to say we were right or wrong and today they are right or wrong, just a different time.
I think I have had enough of a break from the yard and will get back to watering, cutting, digging and in general playing a bit of farmer.  When I lived on a farm I said this is not for me, now that I live in the city I enjoy pretending I am a farmer.  One could almost say that guy is more than a little mixed up but then what is new in your life???????

Can't find it

Here it is Monday, May 31.  Travis and I drove to Lake Park yesterday for Dan Binde's graduation.  It was nice to see many family as we do not get to see them often enough.  Left at 10:00 AM and returned at 9:30 PM so it was much driving and a short trip.
I searched for a long time and can not, at this time, put my finger on a picture of Gail 42 years ago today.  Regardlessshe walked through the graduation ceremony for college, we jumped in the car and drove 300+ miles to reach Cayuga in time for our wedding rehearsal and the dinner that followed it.  It certainly was a long tiring day but so exciting. I would not want to go back to those days but it surely is fun to remember them, relive them in one's mind and to smile or chuckle at the youth, the naivety, the excitement and the innocence of the time.  We were so much in love, not even understanding love AT ALL, that every moment, every word, every smile, every look was an adventure and a time to cherish.  Of course that was and still is true but there is something so special about those early years that a person just could never capture when one got to a place where we "understood" what life really was.  Isn't that funny.
I told Gail's mother yesterday at graduation that we were so thankful for all the work she put into our special day as we were both going to school far away and much of the work was left to her.
Enough, I need some sleep.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A nondiscript day

A little done and kind of a normal day.
I worked in the rose bed for about 2 hours.  Finished by putting some coco beans around them after I had dug up the dirt and weeded.  I also dug around the edge where the dirt meets the lawn.  Gail always wanted to line that with baseball size rocks from the farm but we never did get that done. 

The temp hit in the low 90's so it was warm.  I think it is not supposed to be so warm now for the next several days.  The sod is soaking up water and the bare spots where I seeded grass is coming up.  Don't know if that will continue but hope so. 

I need, in a big way, to get a fence up on the west side.  Wallace has gotten out a few times and now he is a pest in that regard.  It really is not his fault as the fence not only looks stupid but could not hold the rain out.  I am not sure what I will do tomorrow as I will be gone all day to the Binde's for Dan's graduation and I don't trust Wallace in the yard now.  I think I will have to call on Cynthia again.

Am kind of quiet today.  John asked if I wanted to come over for dinner but for some reason I just did not feel like being with anyone.  Am not sure that is good but today that is the way is was. 

I did drive through the cemetery on my way home from Sams.  I really should get some flowers out early tomorrow morning.  I will not go out Monday as it looks like it could be crowded.  They have port-a-potties, big tents and all kinds of things up as Monday, Memorial Day must be the biggest of the year.
Perhaps Memorial Day followed by June 1st causes me to stop, think, reflect and be sad.  I have not really felt sad, but I would say maybe a little numb and melancholy.  Not real sure right now.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Of course I am looking at another of those "firsts" on Tuesday when Gail and I would have celebrated our 42nd anniversary.  It is so difficult to believe that there will be no more celebrations.  Of course we did not celebrate in a big way much of the time but most of the time I would save a personal day from school so I could take the day off. Maybe I will tell some weird or funny or maybe sad stories of things we did on our special day.  Regardless of what happens in the next few days I know that next Tuesday will be mighty empty.  I have said it before and will probably say it in the future, "I can not imagine how a person can go through losing a loved one if they do not have a strong faith in our loving God. God is so good, He is so near, He is so loving and He is so protective.
I went to a funeral today.  A good friend Jim R mother died.  Jim was an only child and his mother and grand mother raised him so losing his mother was difficult even though she had lived a long life (87).  I have gone to several funerals since we lost Gail but for some reason it was difficult to get through this one.  I left after communion as I had difficulty drying my eye during the whole mass.  It will get easier I think.


Just a short note:
God's blessings are so evident this morning:
  • My grass seed is up
  • My kale is growing
  • The swiss chard looks good
  • radishes are about 1/2' tall
  • beets look good
  • the sod is taking and looks wonderful
  • the weather this morning is to die for (must be my age when I say that about the weather and not food)
  • I feel the cool morning breeze could push me to wonderful places where I could see things I never dreamed about and talk to people I never met and do things I would so enjoy
The only thing that would make things better is guess what??  Well it is not to be so thank you Lord for all you are to each of us.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

It's all about me!!!!!!

Forty-five years ago today I graduated from HS.  Dad took me to Fargo a few days earlier to get a suit.  It was the worst suit EVER.  I remember when we arrived at the school I got out of the car and my suit was so wrinkled I looked like a wreck that just happened.   Anyway here are some of the memories from years gone by.  One can certainly look and say wow, the 60's were a bit different than now.  Life travels so fast and goes so many places and takes so many turns that it actually is good once in a while to stop, reflect and take stock of who God is, how good he is and where we are in our daily walk.  Thinking back on my days at home, my grade school days and my high school days I have so much to be thankful for.  Our family was so so poor but I don't remember feeling badly about that, my dad never went to my games but somehow God shielded me from that disappointment, my mother was so faithful in her love and care of me and I know I did not show how appreciative I was---you get the picture.  I would say for sure, those were the good old days, would I go back and relive them?  No way would I do that which would cause me to erase all the happy memories I have over the last 45 years.  God has been too good, too generous to ever think I may want to start over.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A penny for your thoughts--A dollar for your tears

Here is the start of the garden season.  The radishes took a whole 2 days to come up and I put the tomatoes in today.  We will see when/if they start to grow.  There are 13 that I started from seeds.  I don't know the tomatoes are in the same spot as last year and every good farmer knows that you rotate so we will see what happens.

I finalized the monument things so the next time I see or do anything will be when it is in place.  They said the granite should come in any day so.

As I write tonight it is raining.  I am not sure if we will get much but we do need water. 

I drove out to Resurrection tonight.  I did not stay long but drove around a bit.  I need to bring flowers again as the heat took all of the ones left a few days ago. 

I kind of did a normal routine today.  I watered the sod, did the dishes, ran some errands and I did take a nap which was nice.  I woke at 5:30 ready to go so that was a good sign.  On my way from Schoenrock to Midway center I drove a route that I drove often in the past but have not been there for maybe 3 or 4 years and the changes were stunning.  The place I used to buy camp ribbons is now a large grassy area, Joe's sporting goods, which was big store, is now a uniform place and the list goes on and on. 

Those changes and the memories that go alone with what used to be are the dollar for your tears kind of thing.  Not sure why but could not help but think about Gail, the things that used to be and how life changes.  As I drove past Joe's Sporting goods I remembered how I had stopped in there one time and purchased a jacket for Gail.  I could see the look in her eyes and feel her arms around my waist as I gave it to her.  I remember her eyes said something like Carmen this is really nice but you know I didn't really need a new jacket.  Her arms around my waist did not say anything other than I want to be so close to you and I love you so much.  I often wonder why I am such a gift guy.  I so enjoy giving people gifts. 
It actually was a pretty good day, not too sad, not to high, not too low, just kind of a normal this is your life kind of day.

Enough for tonight.

I goofed again but in a good way!!

My question is can a person goof in a good way?  My answer is YES. 
As I was working around the house this morning I realized that I had not blogged yesterday.  Now for me blogging daily has been my therapy, my time to think and write, my time to mourn and my time to grieve.  SO if I forgot to do that yesterday I say that is a good sign. 
On Sunday I went to a prayer meeting celebrating Pentacost.  One of the things that happened is anyone could go up front and asked to be prayed with for any of the spiritual gifts they wanted for the first time or wanted more of.  Towards the end the guy who was sitting next to me leaned over, put his arm around me and said he had been prayed over for wisdom and he was going to step out and use it.  He said he felt God wanted me to know that he was willing to take my sorrow, my grief and shoulder that for me.  I claimed it and said many many thanks my Lord.  I think he did it.  Now I know my grief is not over, I know God has always been at my side and I know that the rest of my life will not be happy and wonderful all the time BUT I claim a new time for my emotions. 
As I sit this morning blogging it is 7:30 and I am finished with the dishes and on my 4th cycle of watering the sod.  I put it on for 30 minutes and then move it and let it water for 30 more minutes.  My stomach is saying I need to eat something but that can wait a bit.
Someone asked me a few days ago what I did with all my time.  Here is a sample of what I did with my time yesterday:
  • woke up about 6:00 and started watering the sod and flowers
  • made some breakfast during that time and of course coffee
  • paid a bill on line
  • went through my e-mails from the last 3 months to make sure I had not missed a staff for camp and I found I had forgotten to write one down 
  • worked on some other camp things
  • filled the water filter that I have and filled a plastic jug so it would be full for Travis or Cynthia
  • put a load of white clothes in the washer
  • drove to the cemetary to look at Milbank granite with different writing on 
  • went to Gerten's Garden Center and asked them about apple trees
  •  on the way from Gerten's drove past the clinic Gail went to a year ago--big time trigger
  • went to Lowe's and shopped for about an hour
  • came home and hung 4 shades in thekitchen
  • hung the clothes on the line
  • put the AC unit in the living room
  • mowed the lawn
  • had some lunch
  • fixed the fence as Wallace got out
Now it is 3:00 and I was tired.  I could not understand as I was sweating so much mowing the lawn and then I was reminded that it was 95 out.  I took a 45 minute nap and Cynthia called to invite me for dinner.  I just can not turn down dinner invitations so spent about an hour with Cynthia/Mike/Faustina and Jude.  I tell you Jude's smile lights up the entire world and then some.  He truely is a son/sun.
So now I know how I spend my time.
After I eat I will go to Schonrock Monument this morning and make the final changes for the monument.  I am thinking that my time line of mid June is going to be pretty close.  Memorial Day would have been nice but not to be.  On my way home I will stop to get the door latch for the drryer so I can fix that. 
The weather is a tiny bit cooler this morning so I turned off the AC units and opened some windows.  It is nice to get fresh air in the house. 
I am still 10 days away from seeing Leo and Ruby Gail but I am getting excited.  I am sure she has changed so much and that Leo just talks and talks more each time I see him.  Of course it is always nice to see Aaron and Amy too.
Time to go----places to go, things to see, work to be done and people to visit.

Monday, May 24, 2010

I goofed again

A short little note.
I picked up Gail's brother Mark and his family from the airport at midnight.  I seemed like they had a great time on vacation and the wedding sounded like it went off just fine.
My bedroom is a bit warm.  I will have to break down tomorrow and put in the AC.  I wanted to see if I could go without it and I have decided NO.
I really goofed today.  Went to Faustina's birthday party and did not bring my camera.  She got a BIG car, big enough for Henry, Liam, Faustina and Audrey to ride in.  It even had a radio and Audrey was bouncing up and down to the music, I needed my camera.  I know Gail never would have forgotten.
I am looking forward to this week and really nothing special is happening.  I think it may be the first time in 16 months I have said that, incredible but true.
I THINK I have decided to go with Gail's handwriting on the monument and it will look a bit different.  I am going to drive to the cemetary in the morning to find a monument from Milbank SD that will give me an idea of what it may look like with the frosted area. 
The weather coming this week sounds more like July and I know I missed June. 
My clock just turned to 1:00 AM, time for sleep.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Don't know if Gail was right.

 Happy birthday Faustina, can't wait until you party today.
Gail often accused me of being unrealistic, of not seeing the entire picture.  I don't know if she was right or not.  I had a good day and actually perhaps a few consecutively. 
I started the day with a 7:00 AM meeting and then spent an hour at home with Jerry W.  After that I cut some flowers from Susan down the street and brought them to Gail.  I drove home in the rain but a short time later the sun came out, the temp went up and I spent the entire day working in the shop and garage until dark.  When I am able to have a day like that and then it was followed by the last couple of days I tend to say, "Lord, maybe you are ready for me to become more real again!"  Just maybe I can begin to compile and file those thousands and thousands of happy memories in the right place and begin to live the life of NOW.  I still tend to think of how Gail is not here, she will not be here tomorrow and not next week either.  So I ask the Lord what does that mean?  He has not given me much of an answer yet but I know he will.  Maybe I am coming to the end of the tunnel but then Gail did say I was the eternal optimist.
We get to celebrate Faustina's birthday tomorrow.  The party starts at 12:30 and the fun starts at the same time.
Oh my goodness.  It is so late and I thought I was tired at 11:00 but then I thought I am not sure if Mark and Mary need to be picked up at midnight tonight or tomorrow.  I always thought it was Sunday at midnight and I guess I was correct as no call tonight so I had better try to get some sleep.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A day on the go

It is late so no picture.
Here was my day.
  • Got to get out into the wood shop--no I had better water the sod
  • Better get out into the wood shop--no I need to go to the monument place
  • I think I will go out into the shop--no Cynthia is here for lunch
  • Time to get some wood working done--no better get some fence from Menards
  • Now, out to the wood shop--wait I need to plant the garden
  • Got to get out into the shop--no I better patch the bare spots in the lawn
  • I really need to go in the shop--Hi John lets talk
  • Now I can go work in the wood shop--John/Mary and family how about going to Bucas?
  • Maybe I can get some wood working done--I have one row of garden to plant
  • I think I'll get out into the shop--wow it's almost 8:00 I should never work out there when I am tired
That's it, much done but no wood shop work.  I guess there is always tomorrow.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A year ago

Faustina is 2 today.  This picture was a year ago on her birthday.  It was the last birthday cake Gail was able to make. 
It was a busy day.  I spent a few hours visiting some friends who have a lake home.  They were having new windows put in the house.  Nice house, nice lake home and better people!!!  It was fun.
Was able to get home in time to have a short meeting, go to John/Marys for dinner and then bring a birthday hot chocolate to Faustina.  Did stop at Lizzia's for a short Also got the flowers watered some how too. 
As I was up at 5:00 I think it is time to turn in. 
Weather continues to be too warm for this time of the year but will not complain as it is beautiful. 
Cynthia finished putting the last of the flowers in so that is done.  I think the job is an A. 

They tell me it's about Mars and Venus!!

Just a short note as I finish my morning coffee before I venture outside. 
A really funny thing this morning that relates to the title.  Cynthia and I have been working hard at making the front yard look nice by putting flowers, bushes etc in.  I think it looks so much better than it has in the past and of course the sod helps a lot too.  Mary, down the street commented yesterday now nice it looks, my neighbor said it looks nice and a couple of other women have made nice comments as they passed by.  This morning five guys came for meditations.  All walked up the front walk and into the house.  Not a word about the flowers, the yard or anything.  As they left I laughed and thought no wonder I miss my Gail so much!!!!!!
I did it my way, not the easy way this morning.  After the guys had left I went up town, got muffins and bacon and then came home and made myself two egg-bacon sandwiches.  Now I am not saying that is the greatest breakfast but at least I put some effort into it.  Much better, I think, than a peanut butter sandwich which is quick or a slice of toast with jam on it or even a cheese sandwich.  I thought I need to put more time and effort into my meals as it is so easy to just do something quick for one person.  Now maybe I need to work on the healthy issue, I will try.
Much to do today as the sod needs MUCH water, more yard work, wood shop things, should cut the grass, kill the dandelions and the list goes on for some time.  I forgot to say as I was coming home I did stop at Starbucks to treat myself.  I am getting a bit better at not feeling guilty when I spend a couple of $$ on that kind of thing. Sandy, the gal I know who works there Wed and Thur, and I have this on going joke when I come in about how I only come in when she is working and I always say she needs to work only 1 day a week as I can't afford to buy coffee twice a week.  I call her the Highland icon as she as worked there since it opened perhaps 10 years ago.
The challenge continues to be how to remember Gail, how to digest her values and mine now, how to put all of those wonderful memories in the right heart compartment and then live for the here and now.  It may sound like it's easy but for me it is a daily and sometimes hourly challenge.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

More done

More yard work was done today.  It is fun to get things looking pretty and yet it is not so fun without my Gail.  I almost feel guilty that I have spent the money.  Gail never wanted to spend much money and was so so aware of the dollars we spent on the yard.  I know it is OK now but it does give me thoughts.  Cynthia has done a wonderful job and Faustina supervises in a good way as long as Teddy is near.
I went to Susan down the street who has so many flowers and she said I could cut flowers anytime so I brought 3 beautiful ones out to Gail.  They have put in the foundation and it makes such a difference.  Of course it will be so nice when the monument is in but just getting the foundation in is great progress.  Now for the time being we could set potted plants on it if we wanted to do that.
The weather continues to be absolutely perfect.  Today no bugs, no wind, full sun and about 75 or so.  Now there just is nothing better than that.
I have been somewhat better today but I continue to be so lonesome.  George M, who lives down the street, lost his wife 12 years ago at about the age of 53 or so.  He drove by today and stopped to talk a bit.  He said that the first year for him was so so difficult and the second was better but it takes a long time.  Now, 12 years later, he has a girl friend.  I was so excited for him.  It is funny as I have these intense feelings about things now that I never had before.  He said he did not know where it would end up but just the thought of him being able to enjoy a relationship now made my day.  The same is true, in a different sense, with a high school friend who lost her husband in February.  I have not seen this gal since graduation but when I heard she lost her husband I was so sad.  Now she is raising 2 teenagers and one of them is going through a difficult time and I just feel so badly about it and I have never met them.  Life and death does really affect a person.
I have been eating too much of the wrong things the last few days.  When I feel stressed out I eat.  Not good but that is the way it is.
Not much more to say.  I really should be sitting on the deck enjoying the back yard, the flowers and the weather but doing that alone just is not in my mind set yet.  Maybe if I poured some Baileys that would help but I really doubt it.
I think that is enough.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hydrangea Heaven

The big thing yesterday was changing the landscape in front of the house.  The top pictures are the east side before and after while the bottom is the west side before and after.  I can never get the pictures to be in the place I want so my directions may be off.  Cynthia and Faustina did much of the work!!!  Actually Faustina supervised.  I am excited to see how the flowers grow and look after a few weeks.  And really, the beds looked as bad as they are in the pictures before the work.
A lot was accomplished yesterday but oh there is so much more to do.  Bored, I will never be but I am thankful for family to help, health to work and finances to pay for it.  Well, Cynthia did not give me the tab yet so I THINK I am thankful for the finances.
I have been thinking about a lot of things lately.  I will not go into those things here but many important things and it has been hard for my body to settle down.  Have been taking Advil PM maybe too often to sleep.  I am not in a depressed state or really a sad state just in a bit of turmoil emotionally so prayers are welcome.  My stomach has been kind of knotted up for a few days and my nerves have been a bit on edge.  I am guessing it is all part of the change from one life to another so I am expecting it to come to a close soon.  If it comes to an end, then what?  Not sure but I know God is good so I should not worry.
I am looking forward to school being out.  No, it does not affect me in a working way but I think I can spend more time with the grand children, biking and things like that.  I hope------many times it seems that my schedule gets so full so fast and I don't even go look for things to do.
At this time I am thinking the only trips I will make before August camp is for Ruby Gail's baptism in early June and then our 3 night family camping trip during July 4 weekend.  I think, I am not sure, that after Labor Day I may get lost for some time and be on the road.  Where to????   I may just duplicate what Gail and I did in 07, know what my destination is but leave the journey there and back again to a daily decision.  I am rethinking how I should go.  My plugger pickup is my camping mode but with gas prices and with a nice car to drive I may change that.  If I could think of enough friends and family to stay with on the road I may not camp too much, I will see as that is several months off.  As I write that I am thinking I just may be starting to dream again, WOW.
The last reading from Did I tell you:
Did I tell you these things as we went along the way?  If I did I am humbly grateful.  If I did not then you must choose for yourself.  If it has meaning accept it and make it your own.  If it does not discard it.  Your life is yours to build as you choose.  And did I tell you.....I hope it will be a good life.   I love you Mom!!
I have several things to do today, none of which is work but got places to go and people to see so best be off.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A new week and marching towards a new life

As I write this I am sitting at Cynthia/Mikes.  Cynthia has Jude at the dr for a check up on his kidney.  Faustina is still sleeping.
As the sun comes up this morning it looks like a glorious day.  I am hoping the sun and the rain of last week will make my new sod take root and grow well.  I think it is time now to plant some more things as those tomato plants I started look ready to go.  I remember last year they did not really take off until the warm weather in June but it is time to get them in the ground.
I am going to try hard to get out of my funk of yesterday afternoon.  Those kind of times are really difficult for me now.  Up to lately I could look at them and say TIME is needed but now that perhaps is still true but I feel God is urging me on to a new life.  In that new life I don't think there is room for funky times.  I know I will miss Gail forever, I know there will be triggers of emotion and I know that the sadness will be there but I do not think God wants me to dwell on that now.  It can come and it can go but I need to exhibit new life, new dreams, new ambitions and I need to be more alive than I was yesterday afternoon for sure.  As I was thinking yesterday I kind of had this vision of my heart in many compartments.  I think I need to move Gail into a different compartment.  The new compartment needs to be full of joy, full of love, full of happy memories and full of thankfulness BUT it can not contain the NOW.  The now needs to be full of grand kids, my children, camp, community, woodworking and DREAMS.  I actually do not know if I can or if I am ready for the "dream" part as that was so much a part of the "we" but I will give it my best shot.
Another thing I have to really work on is projects.  I realized yesterday that I just am struggling with doing things because it seems so empty to work towards things that are for me.  I mean things like making the yard nice.  Fine, but to work towards that and then to say to MYSELF that is nice seems so empty right now.  The lack of being able to share with Gail how to do something or that is pretty or whatever is something I need to over come.  I am not sure what my goal or focus should be as I know God wants us to take care of our things and be good stewards of what he has given us but to not have the intimate person to share that with is difficult.
One last thing.  I have found that not having Gail to talk to is a huge huge huge loss for me.  I have family to talk to and that is good, I have grand children to talk to and that is fun, I have friends to talk to and that is fine but to lack that "one" person who is close, who is real, who is intimate, who is understanding and to be perfectly honest who thinks just as I do just makes my life a bit empty.  The mind is such a powerful thing and for sure I need to make adjustments in the directions mine takes me!!!
From did I tell you
And did I tell you the challenge of being a man-the challenge of balancing your worlds--The need to achieve and the need to nurture.  The need to be strong and the need to be tender- The need to meet the tests that life brings yet always keep love at the center.  letting it be the star by which you set your sail.
I think I hear Faustina.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

No picture, just memories

Warning this may get a bit weird!
I just arrived home after spending 2+ hours at the cemetery.  I have never done that before.  At the stage I am in can't beat people watching at the cemetery!!!  I wondered what the elderly man had in his mind as he sat in his folding chair, suit and tie on and just being.  I wondered what was in the mind of the young man who drove up in a chopper, knelt down in front of a grave stone, lit a smoke and then rode off, I wanted to ask the lady I offered tissue to what she missed the most about her loved one and I couldn't help but wonder the background of a middle age couple who drove up, could not find the site and finally settled on this is the spot.  After they left I walked over and looked, there was NO grave there.  Don't know!!!  Some of the things I thought about while I sat there:
  • What should I do June 1st, our 42 wedding anniversary?
  • What will I feel like the day I see the monument up?
  • There is a tiny, almost dead tree near Gail, should I ask to replace it?
  • What did we do a year ago today and then I thought I could look it up.
  • As I walked around many areas today I noticed that many people died younger than Gail
  • I could not get Gail's face out of my mind
Having said all that I was not really sad sad.  Lonely, yes but sad I don't think.  I then went on about an hour of mind games.  I thought about life as something like a highway, perhaps Route 66 (Gail and I had talked about driving that old route and camping along the way!!)  I thought that life is really the highway but then different things in life take you off the main road and into small towns, (experiences) and then back on the highway again.  I thought this greiving journay is like a detour or side road.  Then I thought that really as one takes those side roads or detours they in themselves have mountain tops and valleys.  I thought of the last 8 months and said yes, I have been on mountain tops and I have been in valleys.  When I think of it that way life seems more bearable.  I wondered when I would come off of this side road I am on and back to the main highway and God kind of said when it is time you will know.  I also asked if I had more side roads to travel and he said nothing.  Oh my I could go on and on but I would say the afternoon was interesting.

I did see Buddy, a former student of mine, on the way home.  I stopped and asked him how he was.  The last time I saw him he came to my house to tell me that his mother had brain cancer.  Buddy said his mother died about a month ago.  Buddy is challenged in some ways so I asked him if he had enough help and he said he did.  I am guessing his mother was about 55 or so.

I need to get outside to water the sod.  I will do that once a day and decided that I would do it in the afternoon so need to do that soon.

From did I tell you?
Did I tell you to laugh, to dance, to sing.  There is a lot in life that is hard, but take it as it comes and find the good.....and make time to dance.  Did I tell you to be creative to explore the seed within you.  Find your creative spirit and let it grow.

Enough for today.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A new yard

It has been a busy 2 days.  Yesterday I drove to Ham Lake and purchased 40 rolls of sod.  Today 4 young people and an adult came over and worked from 9:30-3:45.  All the sod was put in, a table was taken apart, the garden space was leveled, the back of the garage was cleaned up and a load of junk was hauled out.  In addition to that some came over last night and cleaned my blinds and cleaned my china cabinet.  What a wonderful blessing to have young people and adults who are willing and eager to help.  The young people in People of Praise do this every spring for a weekend.  Now it is up to me to keep the water on it so that it takes off and grows.
I have been thinking a lot about me lately.  I think that now, 8 months after Gail left us it may be a time for me to take stock in a serious way who I am, where I am going and what I should do.  Not to make big changes or anything like that but I think I am, to some degree, beyond some of the emotion and could perhaps think better than I have done the last few months.  I still have tears but not too often.  I still miss Gail so much but I do not think of her 24/7.  I still have many many triggers that bring me back to "marriage days" but when that happens I can think a bit more clearly now.  I think the open wound of my heart at least has some kind of scab over it.
So tonight I met Ernie R for dinner and then after that I drove to my favorite spot near the river to just sit and think.  I found myself thinking of Gail some, of my children, my grandchildren and then I thought really what should I do?  I have to admit that I get lonesome.  Of course I am lonesome for Gail but I know that my past is not going to keep me going for the future.  So I asked myself some of these questions:
  • If Gail had lived after I died what would she have done and is that important or not?
  • How much should I be involved in the lives of my children?
  • How much should I be involved in the lives of my grandchildren?
  • How should I spend my time?
  • How should I spend my money?
  • Is there a road trip for me in the fall?
  • What tasks can I do that Gail did and what tasks that she did should I not do?
  • How many more years should I do Servant Camp?
  • Is my house too much house for me?
  • How important is my woodworking?
  • How should I divide my time between family, community and friends outside of community?
  • Do I view myself in a realistic manner?
I know and I realize that God needs to be the center of my life and he needs to be in all that I do but really given that I still need to be myself and be the "I" that God wants.  He knows more than I that I wanted Gail in my life for many many more years but he had other plans so I need to trust him to let me know the answers to the questions and I am sure he will.  I suppose I need time and more time and more time and..........
I find myself these days not too down, not too up, not too excited about life but really not to disappointed with life either.  I would say my bad days are farther and farther apart but I would say my really good days have not arrived yet!!!!   I am sure that is to come.  This grieving process is a very unique thing.  I have had in my mind since September that "one year" was the magic but I am finding I think I was wrong.  I think that God has a time table for each of his people and we need to find it for our self.  For me it may be 9 months but then it may be 2 years also.  I really think it will be on the shorter side but I certainly do not know that. 
So I guess I will just try to live life on a day to day schedule and see what happens.
From Did I tell you?
Did I tell you to serve other people if only in a small way.  There is growth and satisfaction in being part of something larger than yourself and your life will be richer for knowing this.
I know that for tonight I am not really sad but I am lonely.  There were times in the past when Gail and I would sit in the living room and ask ourselves what we should do for the evening.  What a wonderful problem to have!!!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

8 months today

Here is Gail's women group plus some guys!!  This was to celebrate Mary Ann's birthday and Gail and I sang a song to her about her little garden.  That song is on my cd that plays often so I am reminded of that day often.
Nothing new today.  I did drive up to Ham Lake and get 40 rolls of sod.  In garden centers around here it is $3.49 a roll but by driving up to the sod farm I paid $1.00 per roll.  Hope to get it down tomorrow.
I worked in the house much of the day as I had to get my bedroom picked up and some things in order so did that and it looks much better now.  I intend to do some tilling this evening to get ready for the sod tomorrow.
From did I tell you:
Did I tell you to be bold.  to be not afraid of the unknown, but to live life to the fullest, and meet each new experience with joy and anticipation.  And did I tell you to be cautious.  To temper your daring and sense of adventure with good judgment and consideration.
That's it, I hope all have a great weekend.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Happy Anniversary---10 times over!!!!!!

Here are Amy, Aaron, Ruby Gail and Leo ten years after A/A tied the knot.  I would say they are quite the great looking couple and family.  Those 10 years have, as you see, brought precious Leo and Ruby Gail, an advanced degree for Amy, a wonderful home in Madison WI, good jobs for both, many super woodworking projects,  and I am sure a treasure of great memories to start building towards 20 years!!!  Congratulations A/A, a marriage well done and Dad is so proud of you and your family.  Of course we wish that Grandma could be physically with us and you today as she had such a huge part in your life but we are so thankful for all that she did for us and today especially for you.
That is the news of the day.  I did have guys over for our 6 AM meditations and then Jerry W and I enjoyed breakfast out.  Actually a big event occurred this morning.  For years Gail and I talked about doing a will and the legal work that goes along with that but we never did get it done.  This morning I met with Bill W for a hour or so and all of the necessary legal work I need to do will be finished in 3 weeks or so.  To get that done is big for me. 
The Winds will be here tonight along with Cynthia/Mike and kids.  We have not gotten together for some time and I actually have Kona Coffee to serve.  I splurged as I felt with the cooking I have done I needed to treat myself to a mother's day treat.  I know, I am not a mother but I am now a homemaker and I think that qualifies me to treat myself!!!
From did I tell you:
Did I tell you to be courteous not to display empty manners with no meaning but to live the courtesy born of caring.  And to express this caring through the small formalities and customs born of the years.
I have work to do before dinner so got to go.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Here are Gail and I in Prince Edward Island.
I had a Dr. appt this morning.  I had a lump on my ankle and wanted to be sure it was nothing.  After taking a sample and looking at it the Dr. said it is a ganglion cyst and nothing serious.  I will leave it for now and in the future if it bothers me I will have it removed. 
I very cool but dry day.  I think the temp is in the 40's.  Really too cool to do much work or plant anything. 
Enjoyed having Cynthia and kids over for a bit this morning. 
I starting reading a book last night and it is certainly what I needed.  The only problem is I did not put it down until 2:30 or so and now I am tired.  It is "On Grief and Grieving" by Kobler-Ross and Kessler.  It is not a spiritual book but very very good on what happens inside a person as you lose someone you love.  It talks about the many things that happen but most people can't talk about or most can't hear them.  I am about 2/3 finished with it.
From Gail's book to John on Did I Tell you?
Did I tell you to be thoughtful.  Not to be a martyr or doormat to be trod upon, but to be aware of other people and their needs.  To meet others with awareness and within your own framework be able to meet them halfway and on occasion go the other half joyfully.
That was our Gail.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Gail in her element---family and grandkids

I found a small book that Gail gave to John for high school graduation.  For the next several days I will quote from it as I think it says MUCH about who Gail was.  The book is called "Did I tell you?"
"Did I tell you to love, not with a fair weather love, but with a love that accepts and cherishes unconditionally, Love not with a quick and passing love, but with a love that is a quiet peace within your heart."

Monday, May 10, 2010

Pictures pictures pictures and MIA

Here are 5 of the 7 little people in grandpa's life.  The MIA are Leo and Ruby Gail.  On days like yesterday we miss them more than ever but I will get to see them in 4 weeks when Ruby Gail is baptized.  In case someone forgot in the order you see are Faustina, Audrey, Henry, Liam and Jude. 
I spent some time yesterday thinking and praying and I thought about something I had not given much thought to in the past.  I was remembering Gail, how she was so precious to the very end, how her eyes reflected God's goodness and love so clearly and how she used her talents and gifts that God gave her.  I realized that when God blesses a marriage he also pours his spirit out into each person and makes them part of each other.  I thought if that is true, and I know it is, that means that my gifts which I have were made more whole and more usable by Gail and in turn the gifts she so freely gave to others were really part of me as well.  I then realized that for a marriage to be as complete as God desires it is absolutely necessary that each spouse love, serve, encourage and complement their partners.  I was so blessed by Gail to the very last day of her life but really when she gave of herself she really was giving of me as well.  Of course we can take no credit for what God has given us but we can continue to do our very best in using those gifts.  Of course I also thought a lot about how Gail did so much to cover my back side so that my many weaknesses were not so evident and I had to wonder how now, in my single life, I need to be a better person as there is no cover for those weaknesses any more.  I think I need to pray daily that my family and friends will have have a forgiving heart towards me.
I am blogging early today as I am tired and my energy is lost to the wind.  Maybe this "sitting" for a while will allow me to catch my breathe and get some things done.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Another First and it's the last thing I wanted

As you can see when Uncle Travis is around he commands the attention of each one of those little people!!  Here he is showing funny pictures on his cell phone and of course Henry and Liam think that it is the funnest ever.  Nice to have a great uncle.
I would grade the day a C-.  I really can't do better than that when Gail is not here.  It really went well but I would say that there was sadness in the air all over the place.  It was the kind of day when you could have eaten and eaten the best food in the world and still there would be that empty feeling in your stomach.  Well we are about through it and can check off another FIRST in this year.  Travis remarked that it is hard to believe that looking at a year ago and now one can not only say Gail is gone but on this Friday it will have been 8 months.  It seems like an hour and it seems like 5 years.
Everyone left by about 7:00 and so here I am blogging.  On days like this I want to be alone and I do not want to be alone.  And having said that it sounds so crazy but really it is 100% true. 
I am kind of tired and I am going to put my best effort into getting to sleep early tonight.  I have a 6:30 breakfast with Jim C and then I think I will sit down after that and try to plan the week.  I think I have a fairly open week, will see how it turns out.
Time to close and call it a day.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A long day

Could not sleep real well last night so was up at 3:00.  I was able to get the potatoes boiled and the eggs boiled along with some camp work before I headed to the state fair grounds to work from 9-2.  Came home and cut up the eggs and potatoes before Faustina came at 4:00.  Faustina went down at 7:00 so I was then able to mix the p salad up and I think for tomorrow it may be a B or a B+.  It may be a bit too liquid but we will see.  So here it is 11:30 and it is time to get some sleep. 
Tomorrow is of course another first, the first Mother's Day without mother.
Travis and I will go to 7 AM church and then out for breakfast.  From there we will go to the cementry with flowers.  After that I may spent some time alone before the afternoon grilling here with the potato salad!!  It sounds like a full day.
As I was making food today and caring for Faustina I thought God certainly has strange plans or at least they are ones I don't understand.  Making the P salad and caring for Faustina is really grandma territory but there I was doing the best I knew how and yes I shed a few tears.  I am hoping my mind stays focused and on task tomorrow as I don't mind a few tears but God, please no water shed.
Time for bed.

Friday, May 7, 2010

It doesn't hurt to wish!!!

Here are Gail and I during the fair of 2007.  Big smiles, sunny weather and the expectation that life is good and will go on for ever.  Well today was different.  Gail was not there, the weather was rainy and cold and as I parked cars I wondered to myself what God has in mind for me next.  I guess life is kind of like an unplanned vacation.  You never know when the next bend in the road will be in front of you.
I did come home cold.  I stood in the rain for 5 hours and my hands did not work when I left.  Gloves did not help as they just got wet right away.  The event was a plant sale.  They opened at 11:00 and started giving out numbers at 6:00.  When they opened the doors over 1200 numbers had been given.  I think people who came at opening had to stand in line for over 2 hours.  Not my kind of event.  Tomorrow will be a bit different.  It should be no rain and we may even see some sun in the afternoon.  I think I will be happy at 2:00 tomorrow.
I intend to boil the eggs and the potatoes for the salad tonight and then make it tomorrow afternoon.  I do not think I will have the energy to do it all tomorrow.  BUT I think I could do the boiling tomorrow and maybe make it after Travis and I go out for breakfast on Sunday.  Maybe that would work.  I do not know if it is better right away or a day later.  I know that Gail often thought in the second day it may tend to get a bit dry.  Joan give me the recipe, which I really appreciated, but no amounts.  It seems that to dice and slice and dump things in may be dangerous for a guy like me.  I will try and if there is a lot left over I will know it didn't turn out the best.
I have thought a lot about Gail today but with not many tears.  A year ago she was at this time still doing very well and feeling like she may be getting better.  Now a year later we are coming up on 8 months after her death.  I do feel like I am doing much better but right at this time it seems like I have almost too much on my plate and really it is not much at all.  Maybe I function a bit differently at 63 than I did at 53 or 43.
My brother Dave sent a picture from Jamestown ND where they live and it looks like January there
I am soliciting advice tonight.  I took a woodtic out of my leg and think I got it all but it left a sore spot.  I am wondering if I need to do anything.  I did put some onitiment on it.  I need my nurse!!!!
Enough for tonight.

No Rabbit

No rabbit this time!!!  We saw one but it ran.  Went with John, Henry and Liam to a farm near Prescott WI and shot 22's for about an hour.  It was the first for the boys.  I NEEDED my camera but I did not remember to bring it.  Liam did great but is pretty young and he shot perhaps 5 times and hit the target once!!  Henry shot perhaps 20 times or so and he did well with the 22 that had a scope.  It was so fun to watch them and it brought back memories of giving rifles to my boys and living on the farm growing up and my dad lived to hunt and shoot.  As the boys were shooting I could see the blackbirds fall out of the trees behind our out house and feel the pride when I would go to pick the bird up to give it to the cat.  It also brought back the terrible memories when my 14 years old cousin got killed in a hunting accident.  I was not there but I remember my dad and how hard it was on him.  Anyway the afternoon was fun.  I think the boys really enjoyed it and for sure they enjoyed the McDonalds on the way home!!!!I did not get any work done today and it did not bother me in the least.  I did find a recipe for what looks like a good cookie so I will try and bake them for Mother's Day along with the potato salad.  I only hope that the boys do not eat a cookie and say it is not good and perhaps Liam will then say when is grandma going to be resurrected!!  He does ask that sometimes but not in reference to cookies!  I am kind of excited and kind of fearful of makeing potato salad.  I guess I will give it my best shot and what ever will be will be.  I am going to try to peel the potatoes by boiling them and then putting them in ice water, hope it works.
I will be working parking lot again this weekend but it will be only Friday and Saturday.  The weather forecast for tomorrow is cold and rainy, ouch.  It looks like the weather will be not so good tomorrow and maybe better on the weekend. 
I had better get some sleep as last night I did not sleep well and here it is past 1:00 this morning but darn it, I wish I would have brought the camera.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Should be tonight

Here was our fire when we camped with Henry and Liam in late October of 2007 but it should actually be tonight.  There is a brisk breeze, cool temps and it would be great to be sitting around the fire with a goodie on a stick to roast!!!
I spent the entire day working on camp.  Got several things out, more things printed and in all a very productive day. 
The weather is now more like early to mid April but for sure there had to be some pay back time for the super weather we had the last month.  Maybe some light snow Friday, ouch!!!
I do not have anything new for me or anything!!!  I continue on the path of keeping busy, looking ahead and being thankful for how good our God is.  As I was looking for this picture I had to go through many old ones and I skipped them as fast as I could as now is not a good time to look at things like that.  For some reason my emotions are so raw right now in terms of pictures, memories etc.  I think I could do better with things like that a month ago but now NOT.  My day was fairly positive, not very emotional and over all I would say maybe a B+. 
Had Men's group tonight, will have meditations at 6 tomorrow and then will go with John and the boys to do some 22 shooting after John is done with school so that should be fun.

I sent a note to my sister Joan for our mother's potato salad recipe so I may try to make that for Mother's Day.  I had sent a note to the kids saying I didn't want to do anything for that day but had a change of heart so will do something to honor Gail.  Can't really use the word celebrate at this time.
Enough for now.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A house day

I got outside this morning to spray a bit of the weeds but then after that I spent about 6 hours of almost nonstop work in the house.  I had not really done any work towards betterment of the house in several weeks so it was good to get a little done.  I worked in the basement for much of that time.  I actually made much progress but it is not noticeable right now.  Then got up stairs, did some work in the den, cleaned up the kitchen and did some dusting and moping so the first floor looks OK now. 
Had a camp meeting tonight and all of us miss Gail at those meetings.  Tonight we kind of just sat around and did not get much done.  Things will get done as we have done it for so long but it will be a bit slow.
I have been in a much better frame of mind the last few days.  I am not sure what it is but I suspect that I have spent way too much time the last month thinking so keeping busy is still the best.  I think too,  that I have come to be more accepting of living alone and that makes things seem more natural.  Of course there still are many many times that I sit back and say, is this really true, am I alone and Gail in heaven?  At times like that I find myself almost reaching out to see if I can touch her. 
I do know that I have to stop saying to myself I wish she were here.  That is a sure thing to make me sad.
I have several things that will keep me busy for the rest of the week and I thought this week was going to be a slow one!!!!
No, it will be a shower and then bed.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A reminder

I stopped in to State Farm today to let them know about the car and then I asked them for a new atlas.  On the cover was a light house very much like this.  This picture was taken in PEI in 2007.

It was a day where I did much.  I have not had many like that but some of the things that were done:
  • went to State Farm Insurance
  • made a trip to Goodwill
  • went to Menards and Home Depot
  • got the lawn mowed
  • trimmed some grass
  • got the gas trimmer started
  • arranged some things in the basement
  • measured to see that I CAN get both vehicles in the garage
  • did some work in the shop
  • did some camp work
So there was some things done which is good.  I forced myself to sleep past 6:00 and then did not get up until 7:15 so certainly should have slept enough.   I did not walk but ran around a lot including mowing the lawn so I think I got enough steps in. 
I did get a call from the state fair and they needed someone to work this Friday and Saturday for 5 hours each day so I will do that.  I was not planning to work until late June.

I was not planning to do anything for Mother's Day but got an e-mail from Travis and talked to John so am rethinking that.  Not sure what I should do but I do think that will be a difficult day.  I spent some time tonight reading my May 2009 blog but soon realized that I probably should not do too much of that now.  At a later time it may be OK.

I think I will watch some of the Twins tonight and relax a bit.  Maybe I will turn down the sound and read as I watch. 

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday May 2

I am not going to take the time to post a picture.  Here it is about 9:30 and I have about closed the chapter on a busy weekend. 
I did work this morning for 4 hours and now I will not be working until sometime in late June.  Had a meeting this afternoon and then I did get a 2 mile walk in. 
Something tells me I am ready for the up coming week.  I think and I feel I will get some things done.  I also hope!!  The lawn needs to be cut tomorrow and I would also like to make a trip to Goodwill with some things that have been sitting around here for some time.  Like would you believe MANY years!!!    I continue to slowly clear out some things that I need not and will never use.  I have to keep telling myself that some of those things maybe are good and useful and I know Gail had so many ideas for things but ME---I have not the talent, the skill nor the interest in many things so they need to go.  It helped me the other day as I thought what might it have been like if I had died and Gail had been the one to clean, sort and go through my garage and shop.  Many of the things she would not have had a clue as to what they were for, how to use them or whatever so with that picture in mind it has helped me some.
Time to soak my sore back in a warm tub and get some sleep.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Happy May Day

It was a busy day.  Up at 6:00 for a 7:00 meeting.  Left the meeting a bit early to get to the fair grounds by 9:00 for 4 hours of parking cars on the asphalt which is hard on my back.  The last event Gail worked was this event a year ago.  Many thoughts, many memories and many questions without many answers.  Then it was off to the wedding events.  The wedding events were nice and I sat with people I knew etc. but really to look into my heart would have been to look into an empty vase.  Not much there, not much beauty and not much life.  Of course this will pass, it will get better but for the moment it is real and it hurts.
I did arrive home before 8 and spent the rest of the evening not doing much.  Here I am at 9:30 and feeling that my physical energy is almost gone for the day and my emotion energy is way past empty so will see if rest helps.  As I have said so many times it is again time to think less, work more and live for the moment.
Tomorrow is another day with 4 more hours of parking and a meeting in the afternoon and then it will be to head into a week that actually looks not to busy.

I missed Friday

I did not write yesterday but here it is Saturday at 6:00 AM.  There is a meeting at 7:00 AM followed by working at the state fair grounds from 9-1 and then a wedding and reception so it looks like a busy day. 
Yesterday consisted of a date with Faustina in the morning (much of it was spent at Sam's Club following her around the place.  she picked up garlic, 2 books and some olives!), Will D stopped by at noon, got some work done in the afternoon and had dinner with John/Mary and kids in the evening.  I could not believe I did this but actually took about 20 min and wiped the car off with a sponge and chamois so it would be clean again.  It was kind of fun.
I need to take care of Wallace before I get ready for the meeting and then off to park cars.  You might think I am a ordered freak if you saw my dress shirt pants etc laid out for the wedding.  Had to do that last night as I was not sure I had a clean-ironed shirt!!  Not sure what I will do when it comes time to iron that thing.  If I would, by accident, put a big scorch in the shirt maybe I could write on it with crayons or markers and make it look like it was supposed to be there.  I could maybe start a trend!  Carmen's Creative Clothes could become as big as some of those shirts etc with little symbols on that so many people wear.  As I think about it I can see lines and lines of people waiting over night to get into the store to get the latest colorful scorched shirt by C Lee.  It could be the start of becoming rich and wouldn't that be fun??  Well, maybe I could be unrealistic.  It may not be a good idea to write so early in the morning.
Instead of dreaming dreams I think I will get dressed and ready.