Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Our son, Chris, left this morning to return to his home in Alaska. It was hard to let him go after only having him home for a few days, but the call of the wild is strong in him. I do not envy him the flights he had today, though. He was flying from Minneapolis to Los Angeles to Anchorage! A bit out of the way, don't you think? I once went from Minneapolis to Houston to Anchorage and thought that weird too. We hope we'll be able to go up to visit this summer.

The happy news is that we THINK the RV has sold. Our friend/dealer said she thought it was for sure sold, and for that we would be extremely thankful. We should know tomorrow. If it's sold, we are purchasing a small camper, big enough for the two of us and that's about all. We probably won't get in many trips in the near future, and this little trailer will be just fine for what we'll be able to do. There is no more full time RVing planned, so we sure don't need the big 35 foot 5th wheel anymore.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Kari posted pictures of the shower for my granddaughter Katie that was held at our place. Isn't Katie going to be a beautiful bride? I have a picture of her and her two sisters, Kjirsten and Anna that I think is pretty cute. This one is of the toilet paper bride contest winner. Kjirsten's team made this flowing TP gown for her, which would be lovely as long as it didn't rain or snow, but since we keep having those kinds of showers too, I think Katie should stick with her original wedding dress that she purchased. Besides, she looks so lovely in it.

The halibut from Chris' luggage was in my freezer for one day before it found its way to my belly! Boy, was it ever good! And tomorrow night Chris is cooking again. This time it's a couple of Thai dishes which he is making for us and for his sweetie Amy's parents, Tom and Margaret, who are coming down from the cities to have dinner with us. But first we need to make a grocery run. My mom and sister need some things too so we'll stop and pick them up and make it a three generation family affair shopping trip.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Whoohoo! My Alaskan kid is home, and tucked in a Styrofoam box in his big canvas bag was a couple of packages of freshly caught and frozen halibut! Brain food! Fresh caught Alaskan halibut is probably my favorite food in the world, and we have some in our freezer. It doesn't get any better than that. Well, yes it does. Having our son home for a few days is the best.

Chris just went out for a run to try to work out the kinks in his back. Five hours from Anchorage to Minnesota, sitting crunched in the middle seat of the space limited airplane, in enough to cramp up the most limber body. Hope the futon in the spare room didn't cause him any pains.

When he returns we will run in to see my mom, Chris' grandmother, who has been waiting patiently for three years for him to come back home to see her. She's never been to Alaska, so his lifestyle is not familiar to her, and she's interested to hear the stuff legends are made of. Then we are invited down to Kari's place for supper tonight. It sounds like her kids are really excited to see their uncle Chris. Adam, one of the grandsons we took to Alaska with us two summers ago, is probably having a hard time sitting through his classes in school today! He is bound and determined to move up there himself.

I'm sure the next few days will go by quickly and all too soon it will be time to say good-bye to Chris. But you'd better believe that he's not going anywhere until he cooks me that mouth watering treat waiting in the freezer!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Tomorrow at about four we will head for the airport in the Cities and pick up our northern kid, Chris, who lives in Alaska. He is coming home for a short time, mainly to visit his grandma. We should be seeing him outside the Northworst gate at about six. And I can't wait! We haven't seen him for almost two years. This is the son we visited in Alaska in 2006 when we took the two grandsons along for the summer. That is way too long for a mom to have to go without seeing one of her kids. So lots of hugs are in store for my wandering kid when he gets here! He is only going to be around for a few days, so we have to make the most of our time. I just hope he cooks me a meal as he is a wonderful cook. My own personal chef!

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Yesterday was a day that no one wants to relive, but it's over, we've done it, and mom and my sister are in their new apartment. A very nice apartment, by the way. It's in a large building or "community" only about a mile from their old place. The new home is just that, brand new. No one has lived there before them. It's cozy, appliances include a dishwasher and washer and dryer, and it's clean and light and airy. I pray they will be happy there, but I realize it's going to take mom some time to adjust.

Mom was anxious all day, shaky on her feet, and also in her mind. Things just weren't making sense to her, I guess, and she had a lot of questions, so it was hard to ask her to make decisions. We just kind of put the place together in a way we thought she'd like, and I think we did well. Before I left last night we went into her bedroom to make sure she could find her nightgown and bath items. The bedside chest wasn't to her liking, so we made a few adjustments, moved some lamps around, changed the location of her clock, and added another blanket to her bed. I'm praying she slept well and will wake refreshed. We told her that no one was going to wake her up this morning, in fact everyone was sleeping in today, so I haven't talked to her yet to see how the night went.

My sister has a nice room too, small, but light and airy with it's French doors opening to the wide hall way. A couple of nephews came to help with the move, and one of them works at one of the big electronics type places, so after purchasing a couple of new cords and some additional memory, he set up her computer and speeded it up a bit. I'm sure she is very thankful for that. Thanks Dan!

Today is a day of rest. We'll put up the living room curtains and maybe hang a couple of pictures, but that's all. The rest of the boxes will still be waiting for us tomorrow.

Thank you to my friends for your support. I appreciate the emails and comments, especially from you friends I've never met. This has been an emotional couple of weeks, and I've been strengthened by your thoughts and prayers. Thank you.

PS: Lest anyone think we didn't have help yesterday, I need to set you straight. We had a crew....a large crew. My sister Betsy and her husband Ross and their son Erik, my sister Ruth and her husband Ike, my brother Paul and his wife Carolyn and their son Dan (and his wife Jen who told us an exciting secret!), my sister Lois who lives with mom, and Ernie and I and our son-in-law Mike made for an efficient crew. Wonder if the young folk ache as much today as us older folks do!

Thursday, April 17, 2008


It seems that a friend always shows up when you need one. God knows when we're needing a friend to lean on or to share with, laugh with or cry with, and I think He moves them to us, sometimes by having their paths cross ours, or sometimes by just a phone call or an email.

God pointed two friends in my direction today and I thank Him and praise Him! It was another full day at my mom's old apartment, sorting, packing and moving things to the new apartment. And at the new place we unpacked and tried to put into place some of her treasures so she would feel less confusion about this whole ordeal. There were a multitude of questions today. Why? Where? What? How? When? Who? Over and over. I feel so bad for my mom. She was always such a strong woman, always so involved in activities. She wanted to much to help do things, but she was fragile in body and mind today. She was anxious, nervous, confused, shaky, weepy, and bewildered. I wanted to protect her from all that is making her so confused. I gave more hugs and reassuring touches today than I ever have before, and it still didn't make her better. I wish I could do more. By the time I took her and my sister back to their old place and headed home I was pretty fragile myself.

When I got home I wanted to just sit and do nothing, not even think, for awhile. Then I checked my email, and found beautiful notes from two friends. Actually, one was from my daughter's friend who has also become my friend. This friend had lost her mother too soon, and she wrote about wishing I could have met her mom. I wish I could have met her, for the woman who gave birth to this incredible gal had to have been a very good person, one I would have called friend had I known her. Thank you for your email. You'll never know what it meant to receive it today.

The other was from a friend who became my friend the day she became my son's mother-in-law. She and her husband are wonderful people who love my son as their own, just as we love their daughter who is now our daughter-in-law. Her words were from someone who has dealt, and is still dealing, with an aging mother, her father, and also her mother-in-law. So she is further into the process, and can offer me words of wisdom from one who has been there. Her advice was welcomed and her offer of an ear to listen was appreciated even more. Thank you and I will be taking you up on your offer.

I thank you God for the gift of friends.

Monday, April 14, 2008


No, it was not December 1963, as the song says. It was last night. Kari and Mike treated us to a gala event in the big city. We attended a fundraiser for the organization she works for and experienced life as the other half sees it! Black was the color of the night; black suits, black dresses, black skirts, black sweaters, well, you get the idea. Everyone who was anyone wore black. I must be half someone, as I wore black slacks; Ernie had not a speck of black on, being most comfortable in his khaki Dockers and jacket. He must not be someone. But I digress.

The event was held in the banquet hall of a downtown restaurant. Tables lined the perimeter and held the donations of the wonderful folks who support this non-profit organization. There were weekends in a castle, romantic dinners, airplane flights to view fall leaves, baskets of pampering spa items, a vacation in Mexico, dinner with the former governor and his wife, and a Vikings jersey sporting the signature of Adrian Peterson, all set up on the auction tables. It was great fun to watch the bidding progress from a hundred to thousands of dollars. Great people, people who put their money where their mouth is. I'm guessing they raised a good amount of money.

There were also two tables of wonderful appetizers, or hors d'oeuvres as you call them when you're in the company of former governors and upper crust folks. They provided small plates, about four inches across, and someone I live with filled his plate at least three times! You would have thought it was an all you can eat buffet by the way Ernie loaded his plates! There were some interesting and unusual items on the table, and I'm sure he didn't miss a one of them. Oh, sure, I also sampled my share. Nummy!

And then came the big show. We walked next door to the theatre and attended the Jersey Boys and were transported back to the days of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, and American Bandstand was on every afternoon at four. Oh what fun we had! We drove the 80 miles home with real rock tunes playing in our heads. They sang: Silhouettes, I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Earth Angel, I Still Care, Sherry, December 1963 (Oh What a Night), My Eyes Adored You, Dawn, Can't Take My eyes Off of You, Rag Doll, my favorite Walk Like a Man, and countless more. The story behind the making of the stars was interesting, funny, and sad, and I loved every minute of it. This is my kind of music.

Thanks to Kari and Mike for this very special treat. We enjoyed it immensely!

Thursday, April 10, 2008


On January 18, I posted about The Days of our Lives, and how my life seemed to be divided into sections, and that we were heading into a part of our lives that was unknown to us. We are now living that part of our lives, and had we the choice, we would not have chosen to travel this road in a hundred years. In a thousand years.

My mom is experiencing memory loss, and I am experiencing the loss of my mom. Oh, I know that the aging process often involves the stages of forgetfulness and confusion, but it shouldn't be happening to my mom. My mom should be able to identify everyone in that photo. My mom shouldn't have to ask, maybe four or five times, who is coming tomorrow, or what time we leave for church. My mom would know the name of her bank or the roads to take to the grocery store. And my mom would stay the same way she always was, a bright, interesting, fun and loving woman, the one person I could rely on to always be there for me and who would always take care of me.

But God in His infinite wisdom apparently has other plans. We can't argue with Him, as we have been taught, by our mom, to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and that He will direct our paths. This is where we are now. Trusting. Trusting Him. Trusting each other. And asking mom to trust us as we make decisions for her. We are now taking care of our mom.

The past couple of months have been spent making plans to move mom, and my youngest sister who lives with her, to a new apartment where she will be safe and where help would be available if needed. We are sorting through mom's things, agonizing over what to keep, what to discard, what to gift to others, and we are asking mom to make many very difficult decisions about things that she considers treasures. It is extremely hard, and often I return home tired, upset and confused, so I can in some small way imagine how confused mom is.

Only a bit over a week and we will have the big moving day. I pray my siblings and I are doing the right thing. I pray we can get mom settled in quickly, and that the confusion will lessen and she will quickly adapt to her new home and that she will be happy living there. I pray we can have our old mom back for just a little longer. We still need her.

Friday, April 04, 2008


Two weeks ago on March 20, my favorite author died. Jon Hassler was a true Minnesotan, born in Minneapolis, graduated from St. John's in Collegeville, taught in high schools while earning a master's from UND, taught at Bemidji State, and then returned to St. John's University where he taught from 1980 until he retired in 1997. He died of a disease similiar to Parkinsons.

I love his novels! He wrote of a mythical town in Minnesota named Staggerford, which was also the name of his first novel in 1977. Many, if not most, of his characters were senior citizens. Agatha McGee was his most memorable invention. She was a retired school teacher, prim and proper, who turns out to be a brave loveable old woman. My favorite character was the retired professor from Simon's Night, Simon Shea, who voluntarily commits himself to a rest home when he began to forget things and negligently set fire to his kitchen. The New York Times Book Review said about this book: " of the most delightful novels I have read in years, a work of manifold virtues, felicitous, intelligent, and very funny...full of anecdote, right with scenes and characters of tremendous comic vitality." And the St. Louis Post-Dispatch calls Simon's Night "A simple, beautiful novel."

I have read all of his books, including: Staggerford, Simon's Night, The Love Hunter, A Green Journey, Grand Opening, Dear James, Rookery Blues, North of Hope, The Dean's List, The Staffggerford Flood, and the New Woman. He has also written several short stories, some non-fiction, and even a couple of children's books.

I will miss his writing. It is so real, his characers so believable, and he wrote with such compassion, and as the Chattanooga Daily Times said: "It is hilariously funny...touchingly sensitive, a narrative that touches life in all of it's reality."

Jon Hassler, we will miss you. But I understand we have one more treat coming. Apparently he finished his last book just a few weeks before he died. Unable to type anymore, he whispered the words to his wife who typed them. I can't wait!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Today is the 25th anniversary of the day that we stood in the courtroom and told Judge Mason that we wanted these 4 kids to be our forever kids; and the kids said they wanted to be our forever kids. At that time the kids were 10, 11, 12, and 14 and our 3 biological kids were 11, 15 and 16. The two youngest had been with us for over 4 years as foster kids and the two oldest lived nearby so we had known them all along. We were moving from the area and asked to take the two boys with us and the answer was: Do we have a deal for you! We were fortunate to be able to adopt their older brother and sister, too.

Twenty-five years ago we were given no training, no services, and no advice. We were naive and thought if we loved our kids, everything would work out. Well, basically, it has. We have made it, with the family still intact. But I can't help but wonder how things could have been different had we, and the kids too, been given some help, some education, some advice! Had there been counseling for anger issues, services for learning problems, support groups for me and my husband, or any number of other services for the family, I wonder if things could have gone smoother. I wonder if the problems could have been avoided, or addressed and worked on.

But let me be clear about this. Even knowing what we know now, even going through what we'd gone through, I would not change one thing about any of our seven kids. Each is completely different from the other, each has strengths and weaknesses all their own. And I could not love anyone of them any more than I do. And I thank God that He gave us each of our kids. I love you all dearly!