Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's All Good!.......

How good can it get?! We have been in the high 60's since the beginning of the week. Sunshine! What a mental and physical awakening. The birds are coming back. Saturday there must have been 8-10 yellow finches at the bird feeders. They are so beautiful; and then there were these ruby-headed birds, though I don't know what they are. The ruby and yellow colors were a sight to see. The chipmunks are out and about too!

Haven't checked on the perenials yet; most are still covered with hay and leaves. Maybe I'll get a chance to do that this weekend. Gotta split the day lillies and Stella d'Oros and maybe the hostas. That means making a couple more flower beds. Don't know where or how I want to plan it out yet.

My dad made it through his first chemo treatment with no after effects. He went for his second treatment yesterday; won't know about that til later this week.

And son-who-found-a-job also got an apartment! He can move in on the first of April. Can it get any better!!!! Things are finally coming together. Thank you, Lord.

For Easter our sons and grandson are coming for dinner. Daughter is staying home, having dinner with her girlfriend. Weird, because Easter Sunday is also daughter's birthday - her 40th. I was planning on having birthday cake. Oh well, maybe we'll get a chance to take her out for dinner sometime next week.

Finished the cabled socks. Haven't taken pictures yet, but I will post them soon. Still spinning, almost done with the blue glitz.

We got a nice surprise from ---- of all places ----- the IRS!!! Seems we missed a deduction on our tax return. We got more money back!! Although this makes me a little leary, thinking this is a mistake and we'll be hearing from them again soon telling us so and wanting their money back. Ah, what the hell ----Walmart, here we come!!! Home Depot, get ready!! Paint, wallpaper, new curtains ---- yaaahoooo!! Maybe even some new solar lights for outside!! Now I'm REALLY getting Spring fever!!

Well, BH is still in bed; CSpan is garbage today; I'm going to spin for a while. You all have a great day!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

And She's Off!..........

Ok. BH left at 5:00am, driving to North Dakota to pick up son coming home from Seattle.

I did some knitting; halfway through the second cabled sock! Made the bed; changed sheets on the guest bed; did 2 loads of laundry; took a container of bean soup out of the freezer for dinner; added wood in the wood stove (it's 10 degrees here this morning! above zero, so that's good); reconciled my check ledger; made a new drive band for the spinning wheel. I haven't put it on yet; I sure hope it works. I dipped the end in wax; waiting for it to dry.

I'm going to feed, water and exercise the bunny; run the sweeper over the floors and then I think I will spin!! Almost done with the blue cloud with glitz. I found a bobbin of painted single ply. This will be perfect to ply with it. And I'm already thinking of what will be the next color on the wheel. After I get back to finishing the white merino on the currently driveband -less wheel! Because I've got plans for that, too!

I'm also thinking of what to knit up next. I don't mind having 2 or 3 things going at the same time, but it takes longer to finish one of them up when bouncing among them all. At least it takes the boredom out.

Supposed to be a very nice day here today. The sun is shining brightly! I love days like this. Tomorrow is back to work......aarrgghhhh.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Mind Meanders.......

What a week this has been so far. Monday, no work; Tuesday, no work; Wednesday and tomorrow, days off from work. Did I mind? Hell no. Son stayed Sunday night again, which meant getting up at 3:00am to make sure he was up. Which he wasn't. Was out with his friend the night before, maybe tipping a few, I'm not sure. But he came home at 10:00pm, said he was going to bed, and off he went. Well when I woke him up at 3:10, he got up, and went directly back to bed. I asked him if he was awake, he said yes, so I went back to bed. He did get up, washed up, packed up and off he went about 3:45.

I tried to go back to sleep. Couldn't. Laid in bed thinking at least I was resting and that was good. Got up at 5:15. And so the day went. Did some spinning, knitting, straightened up the house, went to the store for a few things and took care of the bunny. Talked to my sister Monday night about my dad's consult with the chemotherapist.

Tuesday, called work; no work. Ok. I've got things to do. Namely, my daughter has her re-certification for her subsidized apartment on Wednesday. I need to get all her financial records in order. Cleaned the house somewhat and did a load of laundry. And took care of the bunny.

Today, went to daughter's. Took care of her appointment. Then I had to evaluate her hip. She hurt it at work last Thursday. This is the hip she has had 3 replacements for in the last 14 years. She called the orthopedic center; they're booked till next week. Call the Urgent Care clinic. Got an appointment for this afternoon. I cleaned out her vacuum cleaner - the kind you don't need replacement bags for, so the dust and dirt and hair cling to the canister and the filter and the whirly tubey thingy. Egads! Give me the bag anyday. Then she wanted me to clean her humidifier. Forgetaboutit! Why do they make things you can't clean?? Things as important as giving you clean, cool air?? The opening on the tank is too small to get anything in there to clean the tank; the fan housing is not removable, so you can't clean the blades on the fan that are gunked up with dust and hair and the filter - OMG - even after soaking it in bleach, it was still horrible. We threw the thing in the garbage. I told her we will look for a better model next year --- one we can actually clean -- all the parts!!

Oh, and the doctor's appointment --- they took xrays and he determined that everything was in place; she probably pulled a ligament or tendon which takes a very long time to heal. Recommended she go to PT; and gave her a note for work stating "light duty" until Monday and return to regular work on Tuesday! Does this not negate the "takes a long time to heal" diagnosis??!! Well, I'll tell you what -- PT is OUT! I don't want her hip messed with. I think we'll opt for the appointment with the orthopedic surgeon when we can get one. Until then, she will ice and heat the area, take Tylenol and stay off her feet as much as possible.

That's right. Every mom knows "MD" should follow their names!

This may sound paranoid, but I get the feeling that since the Health Care Bill passed the other day, this medical runaround is a forebearer of things to come!
Why? Because she's a regular patient at the orthopedic center; they know her history and they know how critical it is to make sure her hip socket does not pop out of place, being that she can't really feel a lot of pain and she can still walk on a popped out socket!

I'm rambling, I know...........sorry.

BH is leaving tomorrow at 5:00am to pick up son (who went to Seattle 2 weeks ago for work but is coming back home) in North Dakota! Yes, they're not flying home - I don't know why. But got a ride from his friend's father who lives in Montana and is an OTR truck driver. He's dropping them off about an hour from Fargo heading west.

I asked him if he wanted me to go, he said no, he told the guys he would be picking them up by himself. What the hell does that mean? Maybe they want to have some quality guy time -- in a car--driving for 7 hours or so -- stopping at fast food places, or worst yet, gas stations, to eat and listening to Rolling Stones music all the way. Don't ask.

Ok by me. I get quality time, too. Finally. All day. Hallelujah!!

The computer? Oh, it seems from son who is the computer tech that the modem we got when the cable company hooked up our high speed is outdated! That's right. It's been discontinued by the manufacturer. Not even any firmware for it.
So, he says to disconnect the modem for a few minutes, plug it back in, wait a few minutes more and then turn on the computer. Had to do this twice since this past weekend. So far, it works. But the day it doesn't --- look out. That's going to be one phone call you'll be glad you're not answering at the cable company!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Uh Oh, Trouble

For the past 2 days the computer has been acting up. Or not acting at all, actually. The darn thing won't turn on. I don't know if the button is bad or......oh no! the dreaded motherboard is on it's way out. Son has been saying for the past couple of months that something is wrong; it sounds funny; it's grinding. All technical terms, you understand. Not his; mine.

Well it was a very good day here. Did what I said I was going to do. Beautiful day; sunshine and a little warm. I even managed to take the Christmas lights off the deck! Did a lot of spinning. Made potato pancakes, ham and green beans for supper. Took care of the bunny. Called my son in NY; haven't heard from him in a couple of weeks. And being that my grandson got his driver's license at that time, I was a little apprehensive as to what was going on back there. All is fine.

My sister called this evening to give me an update on my dad. He had a consultation with the oncologist today to get the results of all the tests and biopsy that he had last week. Monday he meets with the chemotherapist.

This past Monday my brother called at 7:00am. Shocker. My brother never calls except maybe at Christmas. He said "did anyone tell you about Ma?" NO, what happened?

She tripped over her oxygen tube Sunday night and fell. Had to call an ambulance to take her to the ER. She dislocated her shoulder. They put her out and reset the shoulder. She needs to wear a sling until.........she sees the GP.

Good Grief!! I told her "that's it. All us kids are putting the house up for sale and you guys are going to have to move into Assisted Living." She laughed. I didn't think I sounded funny.

I guess this is the time in our parents' lives when they become the children and WE become the parents! God help us all!

Peach Pie

I don't know why, but peach pie has been on my mind lately. I love peach pie. I'm thinking of making one this weekend. Oh, it won't be with fresh, beautiful, plump, juicy peaches. I'll have to buy canned; just thicken up the syrup with cornstarch and it'll be good to go.

Pot Roast

Yep, that too. I love pot roast with carrots and potatoes roasted along with it. If I can find a good one at the grocery store, I think we'll have that for dinner on Saturday. Yum, Yum!

Since son-who-now-has-a-job has been gone during the week, coming home on the weekends, I have a Sunday supper on Saturday. Because he usually leaves late Sunday afternoon to go back to the Cities. This works out real good because Sunday for me at work is a long and busy day. I am exhausted when I get home. The last thing I want to do is prepare a big meal - especially in a hurry because my son is leaving soon.

Redecorating HeeBeeGeeBee's

The weather is getting warmer. Some of the windows are opened. Sunshine fills the house. Oh no. I'm getting that feeling again. Change the paint color; change the wallpaper; change the curtains; shampoo the furniture and rugs; scrub and clean and throw things out. I hope this doesn't last too long! Maybe if I keep spinning and knitting, it'll pass. That's the plan.

Besides, BH and I are constantly talking about just a few more years and we're outahere. An apartment would be nice. So what's the sense of going through all that trouble redoing the house, right?

Well, if I don't post anymore for a while, you know that this computer finally bit the dust. More dust! Go figure.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Rabbit Ate My Driveband...........

You know, like "the dog ate my homework". No joke. BH and I were finishing up breakfast Friday, the bunny was running around. She likes to sit under my traditional wheel that I have covered with a tablecloth. But today was different. Do I hear the scraping of wood? Indeed, I do. She's chewing at the treadle! Shoo, shoo, I tell least a half dozen times. Sit down. BH says "what's that thing hanging from the wheel?" "What thing?" says I, irritated, up from my chair, walking towards the wheel. Then I see it. Yep. The driveband is hanging like a limp spaghetti strand. She gets scolded and put back in her cage. I pull off the piece of twine. Oh well. Easy enough to replace.

That day I go over to the storage house because I know I have tons of twine somewhere that will work. Aha! I find it - a whole roll. She can chew til her heart's content! I can replace the driveband! Of course, I have not replaced the drive band yet. Why? you ask. Because the bobbin is white merino --- I'm not working on white merino just yet. I'm still finishing up the blue on my Joy wheel.

Yes, I did manage to get a good amount of spinning in last week. Many hours, in fact. Just about done with this color.

Today I am exhausted. Got up at 3:00am to make sure son-who-has-a-job-now got up in time to head back to the Cities for work. He was too tired to leave Sunday. Put on a pot of coffee so he could take a cup with him; he didn't want a cup of coffee. I drank 2 cups and went back to bed at 4:00am. Couldn't sleep. Was it the coffee? Possibly. Got up; it's now 5:10am. Turned on local morning news; got another cup of coffee and resumed knitting on the cable sock. Had more coffee; turned on CSpan; more coffee. Oh geezz, 6:15. I better get in the shower. Put on a fresh pot of coffee for BH.

I am sooooo looking forward to my 2 days off this week. So far, no errands, appointments or shopping in the forecast. 2 free days!! A little housework, a little laundry, a little cooking ----- and hopefully, hopefully ----- a lot of spinning!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spinning My Wheel(s).......

Alrighty, then. I have finally gotten back to spinning.....for 3 days now! Well, not actually days....I should be so lucky. But enough hours that I am just about finished with the sky blue. Then it occured to me last night that I have a light blue cloud of mohair/wool with glitz in one of my stash totes. Son-of-a-gun!! I do believe I will ply that with the sky blue! Then the denim blue I will ply with a navy blue....and beads!
Wow, I just got my pictures to upload where I want them! This was always a struggle; frustrating! This will be a banner day! I can feel it in my, it's not arthritis.
Straighten up the house; fold the laundry; make a pot of Chicken Chow Mein for supper and chocolate pudding for dessert. And Spin, spin, spin. Wish me luck! You know how the gremlins of best laid plans can rear their ugly heads!!
Rain in the forecast for today. I don't mind the rain when it's fairly warm warm, I mean anything above freezing. This is Minnesota, after all.
A good day to stay inside with the wood stove pumping out just enough warmth to be cozy and comfortable and.......spin! I'm going back at it right now while BH is snoozing in the recliner. It's very quiet. I love quiet.
Everyone have a great day!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Another Day

Good day today. Left the house at 8:45am to take son and his buddy to the airport. They're going to Seattle for work. We had a good trip down to the Cities; lots of rain and fog today, but kind of warm. We dropped them off - they didn't want us to wait around til flight time, 2 1/2 hours later. I was kind of nervous. We got their tickets for them - etickets. Had some doubts that the tickets would be okay; worried that the flight might be cancelled due to the weather. But all went well. They arrived in Seattle at 8:10pm pt.

After we dropped them off we headed out to see our friend in the rehab home. She just got back there after spending 10 days in the hospital with pneumonia. She looks awfully drawn. Said she was feeling very tired. We visited for about 25 minutes; brought her the flannel shirts she wanted from her apartment. Then they came to take her to the dining room for lunch. We were going to join her, but it was crowded with residents. So we said our goodbyes, we'll see her in a couple of weeks, and left for home. We stopped for lunch and continued on our way. Rained all day and the fog was pretty heavy in areas. Supposed to rain all day tomorrow and Friday. But at least most of the snow is gone!

Tomorrow is house cleaning, laundry, maybe some grocery shopping. Same ol', same ol'.

I am still knitting the cabled socks. Had to rip the heel out 4 times before I finally got it right! And I've done this sock pattern before! The gusset is done, now just finish the foot - and then knit it's mate.

Still haven't touched my spinning wheels since don't know when. Oh, I think about them every day - "I'm going to do some spinning today". Nada. I even went through my stash of accessories (I can't think of the right word here - tired? or brain fart?) and found 2 tubes of glass beads in all different shades of blue. I think I'm going to spin them onto the denim colored roving to ply with the sky blue I'm (cough)spinning now. That'll be pretty.

Embellishments, that's the word! geezz.

Well here's hoping for tomorrow. "After all -- tomorrow is -- another day". I've gotta get some sleep.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Random Thoughts.........

It's late. I should be in bed. But if I go to bed too early, I wake up a few times during the night....thinking it must be time to get up. I love waking up early. By myself. Turning the coffee pot on. Taking the first cup before the pot is full. Enjoying the quiet. By myself. Then, within a few minutes, I hear's all over.


I have a "faceyspacey" page. Tonight I felt like finding old friends from high school. Are you kidding me? You have 129 friends? I don't even know 129 people!

Age Is Just a Number.......

While perusing said website, I came across some pictures of these high school friends. OMG!! I ran to the mirror. Do I look THAT old?? Holy Crap! No way! What the hell happened to those people?! WOW! Even my kids don't look as old as their age, in my humble opinion.

When Do I Get My Time?

Ok, here's the truth of the I want to retire - again.
I have no time for myself. No real time, that is. Oh yeah, I can sneak in an hour or two throughout the day. That's not "time" - that's a coffee break. I'm talking the whole day - to do whatever strikes my fancy.

That's What Mother's Do.......

Remember that saying from a commercial? I can't recall which one; just remember a daughter saying something and then the mom, in an old and decrepid voice, with a smile on her face, saying "that's what mother's do". Who says?! Where is it written? What contract was that? I know I didn't sign anything like that. What definition are these people attaching to "mother"? I do believe that after a certain amount of years, when children have become adults, "Mother" is a term associated with a special day of the year for honoring, thanking and appreciation. You're work is done! Like the Judge says "stick a fork in me, I'm done".

Spring Cleaning........

Oh yeah. That's rich. Things at work are slowing down. It's not the holiday season; snowmobile season is all but over; no funerals or weddings. Now Spring cleaning will be starting at the hotel shortly. Last year was my first experience with this. I haven't done Spring cleaning in my own house in the past 4 years!! Are these people crazy?! This involves everything! washing walls; flipping beds; washing all the furniture; taking the plumbing apart and cleaning out the pipes! I kid you not. Reglueing the baseboards; painting the walls. I am a "housekeeper"; not a maintainence person. Yes, I need to retire.

Make a List........

Here we go. I do get the urge to do things in the house when the weather starts getting nice. I've had 4 gallons of paint sitting in the closet for the last.......4 years. It's on my list.
*Paint the bedroom; family room; utility room and bathroom
*Paint the ceilings in the kitchen and dining room
*Remove wallpaper from kitchen, dining room and hallway. Replace with new paper.
*Make new curtains for the dining room
*Find or make new drapes for the family room
*Shampoo the sofa, recliners and carpets
*Clean out all the closets and paint where appropriate
*Clean out kitchen cabinets
Then there's yard work. I won't get into that now. I am totally exhausted.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Snow is Melting!!

Alright!! 48 degrees at 10:45 am! The sun is shining! This is going to be a great day! The down side is our driveway looks like something from an old Western movie - you know, where the street is a sea of muck and mire. We have a dirt/sand driveway. BH has to get out there with the shovel and rake and fill in, smooth over the ruts from the vehicles. And do it again. and again. and again. Until Summer is here. Oh well. keeps him out of my hair for a while.

Our trip to the vet yesterday was a success. Once we got the bunny into the carrier. I started getting a little panicky when she wouldn't take any treats as I was trying to lure her into it. No, no. She only wanted the treats in her cage. No way was she falling for that "carrot on a stick" routine!

BH:"Just pick her up".
ME: "I can't. She bites!" As she's lunging for my hand with the treat in it.
BH: "Let me do it".
ME: "You gotta pick her up a special way; you have to support her back legs. She kicks like a mule"
BH: "I'll pick her up"
ME: "Wait. wait. I have an idea."

I run and get an old flannel baby blanket; give her a piece of kale; throw the blanket over her; scoop her up and "viola!" , into the carrier she goes. Whew!!

Did I mention she weighs only 3 pounds??!!

The veternarian and techs did all the work. Took her; trimmed her nails; brought her back in said carrier. Thank you, Lord. "She was sooo good", the tech tells me. "Never squirmed or tried to jump". Heh! because you people use hypnosis, I think to myself.

10 minutes after we got home, son arrived. He was startled that we took her by ourselves. Of course, he had to look her all over to make sure she was ok and the nails were trimmed properly. Geezz.

Yesterday was a good day, also. Baked some hard rolls; made Chicken Cacciatore for supper and made an "apple sheet pie" for dessert.

Today is laundry - son's and our friend in the rehab home; straighten up the house, change the bed, and washed the 3 Andean hats I knitted. Tonight is Sloppy Joes and french fries. Son is leaving about 3:00pm. Last night he said he might stay til Monday and leave about 3:00am to get to work. I don't like him driving that early in the morning for a 3 hour drive to the Cities. He needs an apartment. He needs money for said apartment. Right now he's bouncing back and forth between his brother's, uncle's and motels. Good Grief!!

My dad is scheduled for all kinds of tests - blood, CT, PET, etc. next Monday. He meets with the oncologist on the 17th. The doctor told him his esophagus opening is about the size of a pencil eraser right now. He needs to eat to keep his nutrition and strength up. Make a slurry of meat and potatoes, plenty of ice cream, soups, and those liquid nutrient drinks, he told him.

Monday and Tuesday, BH will be going to other son's to pick up things he wants to store. Wednesday, it's off to the airport.

Everyone have a glorious day!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Wow, that was scarry! I signed in to the blog only to be told my password was wrong. When we switched to high speed, and I had to notify everyone of the email change, I knew I needed to re-write all my passwords down. No, I did not.
I really think I should make that a priority today. My mind ain't what it used to be!

Right now I am waiting for son-who-found-a-job to come home. Thought he would've been here last night - especially since the Bunny has to go to the vet today for a nail trim. But he's not here. Appointment is in 2 1/2 hours. It takes nearly 45 minutes to get there. It's probably my fault. We were talking about this last week. I had to cancel her appointment because he didn't think I could handle her. Pppfff. Handle a 3 pound bunny. Be serious. Of course I can handle her. All I need is something to tempt her with to get in the carrier, get out of the carrier and onto the exam table, and something to tempt her to get back in the carrier. Pick her up? No, no. I can't pick her up - she jumps out of my arms as if I were wearing a wolf costume!

Ah, but today, I just might have to handle her. OMG.

I took the weekend off from work. Right now I am regretting that decision. Why did I do that. Because I was tired, stressed and thought it would be a nice weekend to go to the Cities to see my brother. Now, not so much. Mainly because as of this past Monday, we found out we will be taking our other son to the MSP airport. He's going to Seattle for work. Looks like he will be moving there permanently. I can barely get myself to go to the Cities on a good day, much less have to make 2 trips down there in a week. Been there; done that. Move on.

So another free weekend, another bust. I think I'll call work tomorrow and see if they need me.

BH is in a funky mood. The weather has been terrific all week; will be for nearly another week. But the snow is not melting fast enough. He can't get outside and "do things". It's definitely not fishing season (his kind of fishing, not ice fishing). And he can't saw, chop and stack wood in the snow. He's crabby. Which does not make for a fun weekend. I need an apartment.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


We found out yesterday my dad has throat cancer. This is his third bout with cancer in 12 years. The first was prostate; then skin,which they had to peal his face and do skin grafts; now this. He beat the other two. They say this one doesn't look good. He is scheduled to go to the cancer hospital to talk to an oncologist. His GP says surgery is out of the question because of his emphysema; radiation and chemo would be the way to go. We don't know yet what stage the cancer is at or if it has spread. He is going to be 83 at the end of April.

My Dad

When we were little kids, we called him "Papa". There were 6 of us; 4 brothers, 1 sister. I was married, out of the house and my first son was 1 month old when my mom became pregnant with my 5th brother. Now there are seven of us.

As we grew older, I was about 12, I remember asking my dad if we could now call him "Pop"; he agreed. So "Pop" he's been since. It's nearly impossible to find Birthday and Father's Day cards that say "Pop"!

My dad grew up during the Depression, the second child, first son of first generation Irish American parents. There were 4 surviving siblings in his family; my grandparents had 8 children. He dropped out of school in the 8th grade; joined the Navy at 17 and was a "SeaBee" in Hawaii during WWII.

He met my mother through a mutual friend. He was "gaga" over her from the beginning - her, not so much about him. In her words she thought he was "a skinny, lanky kid". But that all changed. They married when he was 21 and she 18.

My dad worked as a maintainence man at a local school, got his boiler's certificate; got hired at the local Chevy plant, and then found employment with the New York Central Railroad as a fireman (stoking coal into the boiler - steam engines back then). And there he stayed for the rest of his working life, retiring as a railroad engineer. In times of layoffs he was a milkman, a package delivery man, he delivered meat to the markets, had his own washer/dryer repair business.

Our life was never easy; we never knew an abundance of money in our house. But we were taught manners, ethics, responsibility, compassion and love. My parents struggled all their lives; they stuck behind us all through good and bad. My dad had a temper that we all feared growing up but we were never afraid to go to him when we needed help.

I can still remember him helping me with my homework when I was in high school; he loved History and Math.

When I was sick or in pain (I used to suffer terrible leg cramps in my calves), he would come sit by my bed. When I tore my finger open on a broken glass, he wrapped up my hand and rushed me to the hospital for stitches. My mother could not stand the site of blood! When I was going to Crystal Beach with my girl friend for our town's Beach day, he slipped me an extra $5.oo. And when my mother was coming up to the hospital to bring my first born son and myself home, he told her "you be careful driving. That's my grandson in that car!"

My "Pop" is also a life-long alcholic. He has been in detox and rehab twice about 30 years ago, the second time 22 years ago. Through the years, he has beat this disease on his own.

He was an avid hunter and fisherman. We lived on venison and smelt when we were kids. He built an addition to our house; he could fix a car, an appliance, anything that needed to be done.

In the past 25 years, he became a carpenter of sorts. He has built beautiful pieces of furniture for mom, me and my sister. I cherish them. He built doll houses, toy chests, doll cradles for the grandchildren and picnic tables and benches for each of us kids. His carpentry ended a few years ago when he could no longer take the saw dust. His fingers are scarred and battered.

He and my mom used to come out here for vacation, driving the 1900 miles here and back; they would spend as much as 3 weeks with us. In the beginning, they would come out twice a year, Spring and Fall. About 4 years ago was their last trip. It was a family reunion of sorts. My brother from Washington state, my sister from New York, my brother from the Twin Cities area and the assorted grandchildren and now, great-grandchildren. It was Memorial Day weekend. We had a great time! But something wasn't right with Ma. She couldn't rebound from the trip out here; kept saying she didn't feel well. Then the day every one left for their homes, she had a heart attack that night. 10 days in the hospital; 2 weeks recouping with us and then we drove them 1/2 the way home, meeting my sister to take them the rest of the way.

We have been back there numerous times; unfortunately mostly because of their ill health.

They celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversay a year and a half ago. We had a big party! We also had a big party for their 50th. We told them for their 70th, they're on their own!!

My Pop is getting more forgetful now. More impatient with his lack of energy; of not being able to do the things he used to. More angry with himself for the onset of random illnesses. He gets confused more easily.

But my Pop never misses an opportunity to talk to us on the phone; to give his advice on matters we find bewildering; to spend time with his grandkids and great-grandkids. He loves to play cards with them; tell them about his youth, his experiences, his family.

My Pop is a "bull". A man who constantly told everyone he wouldn't live to see the age of 50, is still here with us. A man who technically died 3 times during his first detox in the hospital, is still with us. A man who had blood poisoning when I was very small, spent 2 weeks in the hospital, is still with us today.

We never forget his birthday, Father's Day or their wedding anniversaries. He is still quick with an Irish joke, and Irish song and a smile that my husband says the gleam in his eyes personifies "When Irish Eyes are Smiling"!

I love you, Pop.