Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's OK to pretend

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

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

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

Monday, November 22, 2010

My get up and go has got up and went!

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

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Every little bit helps

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

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Time flies

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

Sunday, November 14, 2010


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

Saturday, November 13, 2010

No more Indian summer

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

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A great stand but no deer

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

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Home again

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

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

Thursday, November 4, 2010

It truely is fall

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

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A great helper

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

Monday, November 1, 2010

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

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

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

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