Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The end of another month

Here is Cynthia working hard at the employee parking lot which we watch each night.  She is almost finished with a baby sweater that is really cute.  As you can see the work is hard and never ending.  You also see the props.  The coffee to stay on top of your game but mostly to stay awake, the top shows some barriers so people don't run you over in their hurry to get home and of course the knittiing needles which serve to keep the hands busy.  Now the mind, who knows where it may go or what it may entertain!!

We did have a storm move through the lot this morning about 3:30.  I am guessing it gave us an least an inch of rain and it was also windy.  That is the first rain we have had this year.  Today is supposed to be the beginning of the end of our hot spell.  As I write the temp is 82 and yesterday at this time it was 90+ so cooler fall like weather is on the way.

Not much more to say.  Now and for the next 7 days it is work 13 hours of the day, sleep 4-6 if possible and the rest of the time try to get a tiny bit of things done.  As the saying goes, this too shall pass and on the other side the sun will shine brightly. 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Some success

Here is some fruit of my labor.  Now I would be the first to say that I have not done much work with the garden but the tomatoes are very good and I did start them from seed.  I am claiming that my green thumb of farming from my childhood is not completely gone.  What am I going to do with all the tomatoes?   I do not know.  I remember on the farm one of our favorite foods during tomato season was to cut them up and put cream and sugar on them!!!!!   Don't think I will eat like that today but I remember they were delicious then. 

I took some Advil PM and was able to sleep until 11:30 this morning--progress.  That means I should be good to go for a bit as 4 1/2 hr of sleep is the best I have done so far.  Now I am taking naps so they keep me going.  I do hate that Advil PM as when I wake up after sleeping it keeps me in a physical fog for some time.  That I can do without but when one needs sleep I guess it is necessary.

Another HOT day as the temp shows 95 out side in the shade.  I think this is the last of the HOT HOT days.  I have gotten to not really like hot weather all that much. 

I decided to not do the count down some much for the fair as it seems to drag then.  I am thankful on days like today that I am not standing out in the sun in the pavement telling people where to park.  That would be no fun.

As I sit here Wallace is by the back door cooling off.  He needs a hair cut big time but I try to do it only every 3 months and he isn't due until mid September.  His hair is so thick that on hot days he needs the coolness of the house. 

I did run some errands today so I can say that I did some work.  I THINK I am getting ready to take off with projects and things after the fair.  I did some work last night in writing down some goals, some areas to work on and projects to do.  But maybe, just maybe when the fair is history I will say, "Carmen you need some time off to regenerate your batteries" and with that I may be lazy again!!!!

I have a dr appt today at 4.  There is a wax build up in my left ear that needs to be taken out.  The way I have been for the last long time I am concerned that when they remove the wax they may look right through my head and see out the other side.  What a depressing thought that is. 

I am finding that my mood, my frame of mind or whatever one would call it is still going up and down and up and down but the down times are less and less and I feel a bit normal.  I am not claiming to yet be normal and in fact I am not claiming I ever was but the thought is positive.

Need to go and get some things done.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


No picture and just a quick note.
Cynthia and I are ow 1/4 done with the night fair work.  Cynthia is doing well with it and I am not excited about it.  I find that I have so much to do around the house, I want to get back into my wood shop and when I come home from being up all or most of the night I am just no good for anything.  I have been going to bed at around 7:00 when I get home but do not sleep beyond 10:00 or so.  Can't figure that out but that is what is happening.  So I guess it must be grin and bear it for 9 more nights when September 7th rolls around and it will be finished.  I have been spending some of the long night hours by riding my bike in the parking lot.  The last 2 nights I have gotten in about 17 miles each night but then seem to run out of energy as morning draws close. 

I do continue my journey towards September 14 and don't really know what that will bring.  I suppose this time leading up to that date is a bit emotional but what can one do other than trust in the Lord and move on as best as one can. 

Our weather yesterday, today and tomorrow has been hot (90+) which reminds me of camp.  As the week gets into mid and late week the temp is supposed to be more close to normal.  The hot weather actually makes me thankful for night work as they have been pleasant.

Enough, I should try to nap but don't know if that is possible.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

ONE year old Jude

Here is Jude at his 1st birthday party 2 weeks ago.  That cake was really really good.

Cynthia and I are now past day 2 of the fair with 10 more to go.  I have stayed up most of the night and it has gone fairly well.  I am now tired but hope to get more sleep in the days ahead.  I have not been able to come home and get in a good sleep.  Today I headed upstairs at 7:00 but could not sleep beyond 10 so not much there.  We are thankful for the weather as the nights have been a bit cool but not cold and no rain so far. 

Of course this is a different year from last year.  Last year Travis would insist I sleep during the late night hours as I would go home and care for Gail during the day.  What a difference a year makes!!!!

Talked to sister Joan last night and discussed the Lee family reunion coming up in July of 2011.  That sounds like a long time in the future but time goes so fast it will be here before we know it.  It should be a good time as we really have never had that kind of gathering.  I am hoping that most people can make it.

I find that with this fair work I have little energy in the afternoons.  I am planning and hoping to get work done when the fair ends and I have most days to work.  Much to do for sure. 

The weather is hot today.  I think the temp as I write is 88 so for those who are at the fair, HOT.  Cynthia and family went, hope they do not get too hot.

Not much to say.  I am in the survival mode for the next few days.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Can you see my teeth?

Here is Ruby Gail just short of 7 months showing off her teeth.  She is a cutie.
I am home from my first night at the fair parking lot.  I must not be too excited to do it this year as I would have to say it is nice to have 1 of the 12 nights behind me!
I will have to bring long pants as the temp was a bit cool in the early morning hours.  I still say 12 hours is too long but then why would I complain when I would not HAVE to do it so I should keep my mouth closed and just do it.
I really should be in bed now as I stayed up for all but an hour of the night.  Too many waking hours and too few sleeping hours for this guy.  I will try to get to sleep soon and then maybe get up around noon or so.
I do have some things I need to do this afternoon before Cynthia and I leave again for the 6:00 starting time.  The weather says over the weekend is should be hot and then cool down early next week again. 
I think I am recovered from camp almost so that is a good sign.  It did take me a long time this year. 
Not much more to say as I am getting more tired by the word.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Home Sweet Home

There is John/Mary/Henry/Liam and Audrey's new home.  It resides at 110 S Coquillard Dr, South Bend, IN 46617.  For those who may want to write or send a card you now have their address.  Everyone seems to be doing well.  Henry and Liam love their new school as Henry is 1st grade and Liam in all day K.  Audrey seems to be able to more than hold her own in whatever she does.  Mary, in her wonderful organized way is getting their new house to look like a cozy home.  John is in to his new position and I do think he is over doing the work but sometimes that needs to be done.  I hope he can keep his pace until there could be a day or two break perhaps in October or maybe not until Thanksgiving.   Grandpa was not thinking real well as he arrived the morning after they had slept in their house for the first time.  I know I was in the way as they were so busy but yet their were so kind and loving and I was able to be a wee bit of help on Monday before I headed home yesterday.  I was there long enough for Liam to get in yet another of his famous quotes which seem to come out of nowhere.  As Henry, Liam and Audrey were taking a walk with me Sunday night Liam comes up to me on his little scooter and says in his sweet 5 year old voice, "Grandpa, I savor this time with your!"  Where he comes up with these things only God knows but they are so special, so precious and are a big part of the reason grandpa is able to do OK with the grandkids.  I still struggle with my role as grandpa without grandma but it is getting somewhat better. 
It was a long trip in a short time.  I left Saturday morning and returned Tuesday evening and traveled 1060 miles.  Not really the ideal way to spend time alone but I did want to spent some time with Aaron/Amy as I had not seen them for some time and I wanted to see John/Mary's new place.  If they come to St. Paul for Thanksgiving I will travel to SB maybe not until the new year but if I do not see them in November I may venture down there in early December.
I talked to Aaron about getting a road bike.  I think it will happen and I am excited.  I may be a bit extravagant with it but now in my life who is to say do not do that!!!!   No, I wouldn't mortgage the house to buy it but I may get something that is somewhere beyond what I need.  I don't think I have done anything extravagant for myself since I decided to marry  Gail.
I am way behind in my pictures on the blog.  I have a great picture of Jude eating his cake at his 1st birthday party and some pictures of little Ruby Gail showing off her new teeth.  Will have to post those as the days go by.
Tomorrow Cynthia and I begin our 12 night work at the fair.  That means not much or maybe nothing will get done in the next 2 weeks.  However I do feel that I now have my feet on the ground again.  So much behind me and I am expecting so much ahead of me too.  I was amazed at a note I got yesterday.  A first year staff at camp wrote and said she thought camp went better than ever this year.  It just goes to show me how God works inspite of our weaknesses and shortcomings.  I certainly did not make camp that way so of course it had to be our wonderful God.
I have so much to do I am not sure where to start.  My dining room table is covered with papers, my clothes need to get into the washer, the suitcase needs to be unpacked and put away, much much yard work to do and for sure I need to get on the bike and ride a bit.  I missed that.  I was happy as when I was gone I was able to maintain my weight so I am hoping to continue my downward ways now again.  I NEED and WANT to lose 20 more pounds and then maintain that.
Forgot to mention that I did finish my 10 CD book on tape just before I arrived home yesterday.  The book was kind of goofy but it certainly makes the time go by faster than just driving and thinking!!  I also tend to get myself into trouble when I think too much.  I also keep track of my gas when I was gone and was pleased to see that I averaged 35+ MPG.  That also helps be justify my new car.   I know I don't need to do that but will try anyway.
I am very mindful of September 14 coming quickly.  I know that the date will not be a magical fix for me nor will it signal the end of something and the beginning of something else but still it is a day that looms large in my mind and I am almost afraid of it.  ONE YEAR--it can't be can it?  Oh my the grandkids are all so much bigger, Ruby Gail is new on the scene and my life is so so changed.  I almost can not wrap my mind around the changes but don't know if I need to.  Perhaps I just need to live one day at a time and depend on God to guide, love and lead me where ever that may be.  The way I am feeling now that may be right out doors to get some work done!!
No the day is going and I need to get off this chair.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


It is Saturday, August 21 and I will be off to Madison and South Bend in a couple of hours.  Will stay with Aaron and Amy in Madison tonight and then with John and Mary in South Bend Sunday and Monday night.  I will get to see Henry the day after his birthday, their new house and see what part of South Bend they live in.  Should be fun but too short.  Maybe another trip before the end of the year.

It was fun last night going to Barb Ferber's wedding and reception.  The reception was at River Ridge and very nice. 

I am now slowly creeping up on September 14 and I don't know what to expect.  A year after Gail almost seems like it is impossible.  I may have said this before but truely I think I am doing so much better after camp.  Last night at the wedding reception I actually had a fun time.  I don't think that had happened before.  It was fun talking to people and being among so many friends.  I also had that feeling at Jude's birthday party on Thursday.  I enjoyed the time with family.  Maybe I am getting close to turning that corner and heading down a new road, a new life and into a time where I can live, dream and be kind of a new person.  Have I been here in the past?  I think close but not as close as I am now.  I will see and as I ponder I will really try to be positive and full of hope. 

No it is early but need to do a bit more packing, eat some breakfast and ready myself to get on the road.  I do not plan to blog while I am gone and will return Tuesday afternoon or evening.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Can't Believe

I can not believe it has been 3 days since I last wrote.  I am not sure if that is good or bad.
I am about to leave for Madison and then South Bend.  Will take in a wedding tomorrow and then head out to Madison Saturday morning and then to South Bend on Sunday.  I am excited to see John/Mary, the kids and their new house.  I feel I have not seen Aaron/Amy, Leo and Ruby Gail for a long time so am excited to see them too. 

This week has been a time of decamping my mind, my heart and my house.  Not sure how successful I have been on any of those fronts but I am trying.  I do feel so so much better now that camp is behind me.  It was so good, so fruitful and so blessed but to have it in the past is very good for my emotional state. 

When I return on Tuesday I need to get into the mind set of working the state fair for 12 nights but it will be fun to do that with Cynthia.  Then I will be finished with that the morning of September 7th and at that time I KNOW I will be at a place to get back to my woodshop, house projects etc. 

I will try to write a bit before I leave on Saturday but I know when I return next week I will be full of things to say.

Monday, August 16, 2010

No bumper sticker

John and Mary drive a blue Dodge mini-van.  There must be a hundred in the area.  The only way I could tell if it was their van is a Trinity bumper sticker on the back.  So what am I doing, still looking at blue vans for that stick even when they are now in South Bend!!!!
If you were to write a special weather request to God it would have been what we had today.  High 70's, sunny, a bit of a breeze and perfect. 
I think I am in my post camp mode.  Did some things today, got some work done, drove some errands and all in all was happy with what I did.  I think I may still be a bit tired but not bad.  I think I may feel a bit of new energy and if that is true that would be great.
I am leaving Saturday morning to visit Aaron/Amy and then on to South Bend to see John/Mary's new home.  I am excited to see it.  Not too much time as Cynthia and I start our State Fair work on Wednesday, August 25 so need to be back for that.  I can hardly wait for 13 nights of work without a break with the hours from 6 PM to 6 AM!!!!
We will have our camp sharings tomorrow night at the community meeting which should be fun.  We will end it with a 10 min slide show which is always great.  That will be the end of camp for 2010.  The program directors  and I will meet in mid September to talk about the camp and then to head towards 2011.  There is no rest when you are having fun!
Will close for now.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A rare sunny time

Camp came and went and so now is history.  It only remains in the minds and hearts of those who were there.  It was great, it was hard, it was HOT, it was WET, God was there, his daily visits were precious and I am so happy I was there but am so happy to be home. 

Pictured are some girls who are drying out their tent after one of the many many rains.  While we were there we received well over 6 inches of rain while enduring at least 4 major downpours.  As the picture may indicate the tents 200+ kids slept in may have been OK but rain proof they were not.  The campers and the staff were unbelieviable.  In spite of wet, humidity, heat and all the rest they remained upbeat, positive, and greatful for being able to serve our younger brothers and sisters and give them the chance to experience God in an up front and real way.  Our theme was friendship with Jesus and with each other and never in the past 32 years of camp have I seen so much happen in relationship to the theme.  I know that God will continue to work powerfully in the lives of campers and staff in the days, weeks and months ahead. 

I wish I had some profound wisdom to say about camp but I do not.  All I can say is God was there in such a real way that if anyone would have stopped in to visit they could have almost seen him, touched him and for sure they would have known that "this place is special" and it remained that until I drove out of the camp yesterday.  Thank you Lord for your goodness, your love and your protection.

Here I am now.  Camp is behind me, as I blog this morning I am 11 months beyond my life with Gail, John/Mary and family are now safely in South Bend IN and I am beginning to sense that God may be up to something in me.  Perhaps a new enthusiasm, maybe new energy, or a new outlook or maybe just the same things as in the past but with a brighter outlook on things.  I do have much to do with unpacking, sorting camp things, cleaning up things and of course my "should do list" which has evolved from my old "honey do list" is ever growing and laying on the table almost with a menacing look.  There are many small things that I could do fairly quickly but there are also some major things that are long term work intense that I almost don't want to look at. 

I would be remiss if I failed to mention that camp was oh so difficult for me this year.  It seemed that every nook or corner or field had Gail's signature on it.  So so many times I almost could see her come walking into the room or around the corner with her Tilley hat that she really didn't care for but needed for sun protection.  I could see that tiny little smile that seemed to be permanently on her face even in spite of difficulties or pain.  I found that these last many months I have gone through birthdays and holidays with some difficulties but always the next day was brighter but for camp it was tomorrow and the next and the next so the week did seem long.  But camp was good and now I need to move on and put those things in my memory bank to be enjoyed as time goes on.

I emptied my rain gauge yesterday and found that during camp St. Paul received a bit over 5 inches of rain.  Needless to say things are now a bit soggy and the humidity is high.  The good thing is flowers and grass are so beautiful yet.

Here it is 9:10 and if I continue to sit here the day will be gone and the work will be yet ahead of me.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The big day

No, camp has not started so that is not the reason for the big day.  If you are reading this August 7 it is little sister Helen's BIG birthday.  Need I say more!!!!!
Camp is here for me.  Saturday afternoon I will leave for camp and will not be home until Friday afternoon.  Staff comes out Sunday AM and campers flood the grounds at 4:00 PM on Sunday.  It should be a good time with God in the middle of everything. 
I will not blog until I get home as I will not have internet at camp.  Can I survive for a week without internet, I better be able to!
A year ago Gail and I were sad with the fact that Gail just did not feel good enough to come to camp.  Little did we know that she had only a month left with her earthly family at that time.  I remember talking to her each day and the week of camp was difficult for her.  Well this year I know camp will be fine but the week of camp coming up is likely to be difficult for me this year.  God will be there for sure, wonderful staff will be there also but my Gail will be cheering us on from heaven and for that I am happy for her but in my earthly world I will be sad, very sad. 
If you read this please pray for a safe camp and good weather.  It looks like it may be a bit hot but that is better than storms so bring on the heat and keep the storms away.
I will write again next Friday.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Count down

I now have a full day tomorrow and then it is out to camp on Saturday afternoon.  Things seem to be getting done but there are of course many loose ends yet.  Still a couple of campers who are they coming or not???  I am keeping my eye on the weather and I think it looks OK for camp.  Heat we can put up with but would rather have cool but for sure keep those storms away.  Not much fun to wake at 2:00 AM and have 300 people head for the dining room basement.

Our last full pre camp meeting tonight and it was pretty good.  One could always hope for better things but it seems we are on track for Sunday opening, we will see in a short time.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A day closer

No picture today, only thoughts that we are now only 5 days from the beginning of camp.  It has gotten so I think I can taste it!!!   I have now printed out the final list of 211 campers.  Please no more new campers at this time.  The staff list is complete so hopefully no changes in that either.  Many of the loose ends are being mended, tied up, cut off or whatever!  The many many things that Gail ALWAYS did are slowly being done by me and a legend of others.  Of course not in the same orderly neat precise way but they are getting done.  For sure I know that they are not being done with the same selfless joy that Gail seemed to have cornered and worked out of all the time but I do so much appreciate the work so many are doing.  
Maybe the weather will give a a bit of a break today.  Monday, 95 and humid, Tuesday, 93 and humid but I think today should be a tad better.  As for next week I am not sure.  I vividly remember several years ago when on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we had a heat index over 110 each day.  Lord please not that again. 
Of course I would be remiss if I did not mention that little sister Helen is counting the days until Saturday, August 7, not because of my camp but rather that is her BIG birthday---I can hardly wait.
No I could not sleep so was up at 4:00 so I may try to get some more shut eye before the sun peeks over the eastern horizon.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Think cool

Here is a picture taken March 5, 21005.  It may be a good idea to think about this today.  It may cool you off or it may make you thankful for the weather we expect to have most of the week.
I had my annual physical today.  I think all the reports were A+.  I had a weight goal for today and I made it by 1 pound.  That means that I am now down to a weight that I have not seen since about 1990.  In return for losing 19 pounds since mid May my blood pressure is now down to an OK number.  My goal is to lose about 18 more pounds which would put me at my late 1970's weight and that would be very good.  I have found that I have needed to change my eating, eating less, but mostly I need to exercise and for me now it is riding bike.  I was able to ride 14 miles yesterday with an average speed of 15 MPH.  Most of the time I can clock in at maybe 12-13 but it felt good yesterday.  I talked to my dr about that this morning and then I commented that my oldest son went on a 30 mile ride Sunday and with some effort he averaged 21.5.  Dr laughed and said I am sure he is the spandex rider and you are the T-shirt/padded shorts guy and of course I said you are right!!!  What can I say, 63 and counting I guess I should be happy with 15 MPH.  It did turn out to be so fun and it kind of fueled the idea of a nice road bike but time will tell.  Regardless the point for me is I need/desire to lose weight and riding is a good way for me to do that at this time. 
Here it is noon on Monday and I am kind of avoiding camp work by blogging but that is not all bad.  Camp work does not go away and it will get done, one way or another.
Back to my physical dr said that my cholesterol was ideal which is the first time I have heard that.  I also make my weight goal by 1 pounds and I would say that is the first "personal goal" I have made for a long long time and it felt good.  One of the reasons I wanted to lose weight was I wanted no additional blood pressure meds and that happened so GOOD.
No I had better get busy on camp.  I also put in a load of white clothes so need to get them out on the line.  Most of you know that in thick or thin those domestic duties never cease to need to be taken care of.