Monday, June 30, 2008


Last week my sister was promised that she could start moving some boxes and small things into her new apartment at the beginning of the week. Didn't happen because the painting wasn't done, but it wasn't too big of a disappointment. The manager told her that he'd had to fire the painter and he was in the process of hiring another one and she could move smaller things in on Thursday. We stopped by on Thursday evening and it wasn't done. The painter had been there and had started painting, but judging by the eight empty beer cans, I think he was doing more than painting. So the manager said it would be done by Friday night and she could move in then. Oops, when we stopped by on Friday, nothing had changed since Thursday night. Lois called the manager and said that people were coming in from out of town to help her move, and if it wasn't going to take place she had to notify them. Oh, it will be done, he said.

Saturday morning dawned, cloudy and with a forecast of showers. And the apartment hadn't changed from Thursday night. But the apartment down the hall was empty so why didn't we just put everything in there, and when the place was finished we could move it all again, to the real apartment! Well, I guess we didn't have any other option, so that's what we did.

Okay, today is Monday. When we checked at 2:30 the apartment wasn't finished yet although there was progress! Lois called the apartment manager to find out the latest story, and we finally found out that we can move things in tomorrow. And the carpet would be cleaned too. Well, do you think this time we've got the true story? We hope so because we have a crew lined up to move everything again.

That is, we'll move everything after we clean the place up. The stove and fridge are filthy, I wouldn't dare put things in the cupboards, and the bathroom is totally unacceptable. So we have to clean first. And you can bet I'm taking before and after pictures. And I'm also thinking that this might be a real good time to ask for the dirty falling apart blinds on the windows to be replaced!

Friday, June 27, 2008


It has been another emotional week. We have been going through mom's things so our youngest sister will have room in her new one bedroom apartment. It's been draining to say the least. We've come across so many items that hold special memories for us: the little red wooden birds that mom had hanging over the dining room archway when we were growing up, small date books that she used as a kind of journal or diary, the beautiful glassware she had received as a wedding gift, jewelry daddy had given her on special occasions, and so much more. And of course we had to stop what we were working on to talk about each item, making a long hard job much longer and harder.

But the end is in sight. Boxes of books are packed, fragile glassware is wrapped and lovingly placed in sturdy cartons, clothes are folded in large plastic tubs, still on the hanger and waiting to be rehung in their new closet, and newspaper and magazine subscriptions have been changed or cancelled.

Of course we've also visited mom, and this naturally intensifies the already emotional project. Mom is always so happy to see us, but it's hard to visit for long as she tires so easily. She has had many visitors and is receiving cards from friends unable to travel to see her. Several people have brought her small bouquets of flowers so her room is quite cheery. We have hung a small bird feeder right outside her window, and she is treated to many hours of our pretty little feathered friends showing off their bright yellow or red or rust colored clothing.

I'm off off to pick up Lois and head to the nursing home to say hi to mom. Then we're going to the new apartment where we hope to find that the painters have finished their job and we can begin to put things in the cupboards and empty some of the boxes we have already hauled over there. We will have a busy day. And it's going to rain.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Thank you to everyone who has checked on me, by blog, email, or phone. I appreciate all your concern. I did have a couple of rough days this week, and I was unable to continue as I was. I needed some time to myself, and after reading the blog of a friend and taking to heart her advice (even though it wasn't meant for me it really hit home), I fell back and regrouped. It was Claudia who wrote about putting on your own oxygen mask first before helping someone else, and those words jumped out at me. I needed some oxygen! Yesterday was a day of recovery, and after pampering myself with lunch with my daughter Kari and granddaughters Kjirsten and Katie, picking up a couple of necessities at Target, and then having coffee with my friend Charlie, I began to feel human again. And I slept good last night for the first time in many days, so when I woke up this morning I was refreshed and ready to face life again.

Yesterday at Target I actually bought more than a couple of necessities. I found some CD's were on sale, so I started looking through them. I bought myself three CD's! I have never in my life bought three CD's at one time before, but I thought finding Josh Groban for $9.99 was a good deal, so I bought all three!

Today my three sisters and my sister-in-law and I worked at the apartment that we moved mom and my sister into less than three short months ago. We went through cupboards and sorted and packed, getting things ready for my sister to move to a smaller one bedroom apartment now that mom is in the nursing home. We divided up some family heirloom glassware and other pretty glassware and mom's cup and saucer collection. It was a long day, but we got a lot accomplished.

The best part of the day was that our cousin from Wisconsin brought his mom, our mom's sister, down to see her today. It was so good that they got to see each other! Each of us girls also spent some time with mom, as did granddaughter Kjirsten and her boyfriend. So mom had a lot of visitors today.

After church tomorrow those of us in town will go down to visit mom again, and then maybe go out for brunch together. I love my siblings and am so glad we have each other during these tough days. I can't imagine being an only child and going through this alone.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I've been putting off blogging this news, but I guess I should let my friends know. Yesterday we finally got the results of mom's brain biopsy, and the news wasn't good. Mom's tumor is a glioblastoma multiforme stage 4 which means that it is a vigorously growing cancerous tumor, the kind you don't want to have. We are fortunate that mom is having no pain, and she hasn't had seizures. Mostly she is just tired now. Tired and confused.

We met with radiation doctors, chemo doctors, social workers, and the neuro-surgeon and her regular doctor. We have decided that we won't treat the tumor. The treatments can be unpleasant and may have side effects. Why put her through discomfort to perhaps extend her life by a couple of months.

So, she was released from the hospital this afternoon, and we've found a nursing home for her. The one we wanted is full right now, but we did take this alternate option. We spent the afternoon getting her settled, moving her rocking chair, some pictures, and the bulletin board with pictures of grand kids and great grand kids. It was not easy to move her once again.

It's hard to keep control of my emotions sometimes, but so far I haven't lost it in front of mom. I have had to leave the room quickly a couple of times, but others were there to cover for me. Thank God for my siblings who usually remain strong when I'm not, and I pray I can be strong when they may be having a hard time. We appreciate your prayers.

And I am asking for prayers for another family. Have you read or heard or seen the news about the young woman from Minnesota who is lost in the Denali wilderness of Alaska? Her name is Abby Flantz, and I know her sisters, parents, uncles, and grandparents, although I have not met Abby herself. She has been missing, with a friend, since she was last seen on Thursday. Her parents have now flown up to Alaska to be close to the search area, hopefully to welcome her with open arms when she walks out of the wilderness alive. Please pray for all concerned.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


My daughter, Kari , posted a link to a version of Love Hurts that is wrong, wrong, wrong! THIS is the one and only version of that song. Sorry Kari!


The neurosurgeon and mom's regular doctor were both in this morning when my sister was sitting with mom. I think her doctor was preparing us when he said that the results of the biopsy should be in tomorrow morning, and that it probably won't be good news. I don't think any of were exactly expecting good news, but those words were still hard to hear. Yet, we need the answers so we can make plans and move on.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


We are still waiting for the pathology report on the biopsy of mom's tumor. Now they say maybe Monday or Tuesday. Mom is doing well. She was even up and walked a little bit today. Sometimes she eats and sometimes she isn't hungry. But she sure likes the potato soup!

Friday, June 13, 2008


This morning I am full of gratitude. To God for bringing mom through her ordeal yesterday, for my siblings who stay so strong when I am on the verge of falling apart, for grandkids who put a smile on my face, and for my friends out there in the blogosphere who have been so generous with their support, love and prayers. It is especially overwhelming to read all the comments and emails from you dear friends that I've never even met. Thank you so much, you don't know how much I've relied on your strength.

By the time I left the hospital last night, mom was starting to be a bit more alert. She still slept most of the time, but when someone would touch her arm or speak to her, she would open her eyes and try to focus on the visitor. You could tell when she recognized them because a big smile would cross her face when our faces became clear to her.

Kari brought Ben and Anna, my grandkids and mom's great grand kids, up to the hospital for a few minutes last night. She had prepared them for the sight of their Nana with a shaved and bandaged head in the attempt to fix her broken brain, and both of the kids did very well. Ben was interested in all of the equipment, so I showed him all the wires and tubes and explained the different numbers and readouts on the various screens, and he said "cool!" Anna had a different view on things. When they had left the room, Kari asked Anna what she thought about seeing Nana with a bald head and Anna replied: "People look funny when they don't have Nana and Britney Spears!" As Kari said on her blog, you an always count on Anna to bring a smile to your face. And the picture that I posted above always brings a smile to my face! Love you Ben and Anna!

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Just a quick update on my mom before I head back to the hospital. She had the biopsy this morning, and came through it quite well. They felt they got a good piece of the tumor, and it has been sent to pathology. Now we wait. Again.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


This morning was a tough one for mom. A nurse came in about nine, explained why it had to be done, and then shaved mom's head. She explained that the MRI had to have many little markers on the scalp so they could map the location of the tumor, and in order to make those little stick on markers stick, they had to shave her head. Then she asked mom if that would be okay. Mom's retort was: would it make any difference if I said it wasn't okay? She still has a little spunk left in her. We went to the oncology department this noon and those nice folks handed us a basket of hats/caps/scarves and said to take what we wanted. We picked out two; a soft cottony mint green and a silky blue floral one. Thanks much oncology.

Then we waited until about 1:30 for the MRI. It was a sedated test so mom couldn't eat beforehand. Why they have to make people go so long into the day without eating or drinking is not clear to me. Couldn't they do those people first? She did well, and was back around 2:30, not even realizing that she had been sedated.

The highlight of the day was the more than thirty minutes we spent in the hallway during the tornado warning. I heard the sirens howling and mentioned it to the nurse. She said they would announce over the intercom if there was a warning. She didn't finish her statement when the intercom blared a tornado warning. So we pulled mom's bed over to the doorway and spent the next half hour watching the TV set across the hall while the weather people explained the different cells and highlighted the locations where the tornado touched down.

We were safe. It rained, and the wind blew, but it was not a tornado. The news tonight is telling about a Boy Scout Camp in Iowa that wasn't as lucky as we were, as they are reporting 4 deaths.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Hurry up and wait seems to be our theme song lately. Every place we go we are given a specific time, so we hurry to get there on time, and then we wait. And wait. And wait.

This morning mom was to be at the neurologist at 8:45 to check in for a 9:00 appointment. So we rushed to make it on time. And then we are left alone in an office to wait. Mom was tired (I think she needed a second cup of coffee! I know I did!) and she wasn't very happy to wait. Finally a nurse comes in to take her vitals and fill out a form. Probably the very same form we've filled out a dozen other times, but each different room needs their own copy, you know. In this day of technology I don't see why the first person who gets the information can't just load it into the computer and then everyone can pull it up! Too simple, I guess.

Anyway, when she was working on the information, the doctor came in, so at least we didn't have to wait for him! When he finished talking to us about the biopsy procedure mom will have on Thursday he left saying "the nurse will be back to admit her." Oh? When? Today yet? We waited.

Finally the nurse walked by the open door of the exam room and said she'd be right back as soon as she finished the forms. We waited. She walked by again, and again said she'd be right back as soon as she finished the forms. We waited. Finally she returned and said we were heading to the hospital room that mom would be calling home for awhile.

When we got to her room we were surprised to find out she was in the ICU. Seems there were no other beds available, and because she'd need to go to ICU after the biopsy on Thursday, they decided to put her there right from the beginning. This is actually good, as it's a private room, and we do have to talk loud because of mom's hearing, or lack of, so it's nice to have a private room. She was put into the bed and we waited for someone to start the IV. The nurse came in and tried, but after three failed attempts, painful ones according to mom's wincing, she gave up and called the lab people "who do these things all the time." We waited. A lab technician did finally come, and after one careful stab the IV was flowing. Then we had to wait for the MRI.

We had not been told that this would be today, and there were no restrictions given, so mom ate breakfast. Now we find out that they would like to wait 6 hours between eating and the sedated MRI. She ate breakfast at about 7:30 so they set the MRI for 12:30. UMMMMM.......that's 5 hours guys? Oh well, I guess they know what they're doing. Do they? Well, we waited. They finally sent up a nurse to take mom down to MRI, so she got into the wheel chair and they started down the hall, hauling the bulky IV pole with them. OOOOOOPS, sharp turn and return to room. She can't have the MRI until 1:30 if she ate at 7:30! Oh really? Wonder if anyone told them that five hours ago when we questioned it? So back into her room she went. Guess what? She finally had the MRI, WITHOUT SEDATION!, which meant we didn't really have to wait the 5 or the 6 hours.

Now mom is alone in her room, waiting for one of us to come back tomorrow morning, so we can sit with her and wait. For another MRI. Wonder if they'll get it straight this time? I can't wait to find out.

Monday, June 09, 2008


This morning when I woke up I already felt the stress of the upcoming week hanging over my head and settling on my shoulders, making my morning aches and pains even more intense than usual. I was thinking of mom's pre-op physical this afternoon, her appointment in neurology tomorrow and then the admittance to the hospital, additional tests on Wednesday, and then the brain biopsy on Thursday. It would have been easy to roll over and slip back into slumberland, but I knew I needed to get up and face the week, knowing my siblings were most likely waking up to the same thoughts and feelings this morning.

I turned on my computer and checked email and a couple of blogs while I waited for my coffee to finish brewing. And there I found the Nicest surprise. Dear sweet Memaw over at Memaw Bake's Memories had given me the Nice Award. I was very surprised, and humbled. She said it was because of all the love and kindness I show to my mom. Thank you Memaw! But I don't think I'm doing anything out of the ordinary. Isn't that what children do for their parents? That is how my mom and dad raised all of us kids. First to honor God. Second to honor parents and family. And third to help where help is needed. It is our privilege and honor to take care of our mom.

And now I have the pleasant task of giving someone else the Nice Award. I must say that I immediately thought of this person, and after thinking about it all day I am sure that I would like to give the Nice Award to The Park Wife over at Just A Walk In the Park. This is a stay at home mom, a homeschooler, a woman who loves God and her husband, and who is raising her two little guys to honor and respect their parents and elders, and to love God above all. And she is teaching them responsibility, a quality lacking in so many of our youth. I admire The Park Wife, and I think she is deserving of the Nice Award.
So I thank you Memaw, and have passed this Nice Award off to a Nice person!

Sunday, June 08, 2008


When we were traveling, I put together a couple of easy quilts. This one is a flannel, made with 20 fat quarters, in a pattern called turning twenty. It's easy to do, and I think it turned out pretty well. I took it to a local quilt shop and had it quilted on one of those long arm machines that I would love to have! I know, no place to put it. Now I need to put the binding on and it will be finished.
This afternoon we were invited to a graduation party. This is our grandson Aaron and his girlfriend, Anna, who graduated this past week from one of the local high schools. Anna is very talented in drama. She has starred in all of the high school plays since she attended there, and has also directed plays herself. She would like to get her generals out of the way at a small local college, and then apply to the drama department at the state university in our town. Her parents had a very nice party for her, with hundreds of her pictures and awards covering the walls of a couple of rooms of their house. Aren't they a cute couple?
Tomorrow we take mom in for her pre-op physical, then Tuesday she will be admitted to the hospital where they will run additional tests. The biopsy is scheduled for Thursday if nothing shows up in the tests to prevent it. We can use prayers this week.

Saturday, June 07, 2008


Found these in the cemetery.....reminds me of my childhood.
Just a lush green tree, thanks to all the recent rains.
We followed this old car for a short distance. Sorry the picture is blurry..... I took it through the windshield.
Kari's pretty daisies with purple centers.

Friday, June 06, 2008


The memory unit where my mom is living is a wonderful, caring place. They have so many activities for the folks who are spending their remaining days there; activities that bring a smile to the face of these elderly moms and dads, grandpas and grandmas, who often can remember 50 or 60 years ago, but couldn't tell you what they ate for lunch. Every time I spend time there I leave with a smile on my face, but a tear in my eye and an ache in my heart.

There is the gentle old man who carries around a baby doll. He carefully lays the bundle on the sofa on the blanket, and sits right next to his baby, sometimes for hours. They have a cradle for him too, and he can tuck the baby away for the night and gently rock it before heading down the hall to his room. I love to watch this man, and just know that he was a wonderful dad and grandpa.

Sometimes the staff sits with a particular man or woman and plays a card game. Rules don't make any difference. Just the action of throwing down a card and laughing lets you know that this person used to enjoy playing games with their family and friends. There are weekly games of bingo, and bowling in the hallway. Some of the residents participate, some don't.

Yesterday I was on the ward with my mom, and we were sitting in the commons area having coffee. One of the girls put on a CD of old music and then passed out songbooks so we could sing along. Only a couple of us were singing, most were just sitting there, maybe drumming their fingers on the arm of the chairs in time to the music, or smiling with some distant memory. All of a sudden I heard a lovely voice singing perfect harmony. The voice was coming from the table next to ours, but the only person sitting there was an elderly woman who never talked. Well, maybe she didn't talk, but she sang beautiful harmony to all the old songs, songs she must have heard back during WWII! It was lovely!

Then I heard my mom's voice. She was sitting in her wheel chair, next to me, and she was singing along to My Wild Irish Rose. Was this a favorite of her youth? Did it spark a memory in her mind? Why this song and none of the other 20 or 25 songs? She didn't sing along very long, but this was the last song I sang. The lump in my throat was getting in the way of the sound.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Two years ago today we left Minnesota, heading to Alaska, with two grandsons in tow. We were driving our big truck and towing a 35 foot 5th wheel trailer that was our home for the next 20 months. When we left Alaska in August we returned the boys to Minnesota so they could go to school, and we continued on our way.

In the 20 months that we were full time RVing, we were able to see much of the United States and Canada. We went from Minnesota to Alaska, to Minnesota, to Florida, up the East coast to Maryland, back to Minnesota, to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and New Foundland, to Maine, to Minnesota, to California, and back to Minnesota. I was going to list every state and province, but I think you get the picture. We saw a lot of this great country.
Each place we visited was special in its own way. I love Alaska. Every time I visit there I love it more. Alaska is my favorite place we visited, but I found a lot of new favorites too. Last spring we were in Maryland, and we really loved the area around Haggarstown. The lush green rolling hills were not a whole lot different than our home state of Minnesota, and the spring flowers were beautiful. Then last summer we traveled to the Maritime Provinces and I fell in love with New Foundland. It was so green, so peaceful, so pristine and so beautiful. I would love to return there some day to take the other road. There are basically two roads, one goes north, the other goes east. We went north. This past fall we went west to Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, and California. On that part of our journey we fell in love with the area around Gunnison and Crested Butte and would love to return there someday. And we really enjoyed San Diego and the Pacific Ocean.

In twenty months we really went from sea to shining sea. We were northwest to Alaska and northeast to New Foundland, and southeast to Florida and southwest to California. We covered this great country in all directions, ocean to ocean. Now we are living back in Minnesota, a beautiful land of 10,000 lakes. I miss the adventure of traveling, the excitement of new sights, and the thrill of mountains and oceans. But I have my memories, and thousands of pictures! We did something that many people talk about doing, but we actually did it. And we don't regret a minute of it.

Sunday, June 01, 2008


Can you handle two more pictures from the wedding? I just wanted you to see these pictures of Katie and my mom and Anna and my mom. My sister took these and I'm so glad she did. I wasn't in the area at the time, so didn't get the shots myself. Thanks Ruth!

We were so happy that mom made it to the wedding. She was awfully tired, but look how she puts on a big smile when she's posing with her great grand kids! My sister, Ruth, took mom back to her room right after the wedding, so she was only out and about for about an hour. We didn't expect that she'd make the reception, and were just glad that she was able to come to the wedding.


In the twenty-four hours just past, daughter Kari and I have posted on very similar subjects, one on the wedding and the other on the latest teen alcohol related death in our community. She probably has these same pictures on her camera and was planning to post them today, but I fixed her! Somehow when we were scrambling to pick up valuables during the rainstorm that dampened our supper with Mike and Kari's family and with Claudia and Bart's family, I got her camera, in addition to my own, in my purse for safe keeping. So I get to post the pictures!

Anna is helping herself to the fruit on this table laden with the leftovers from the wedding. This was the third meal from this supply, and I'm guessing this is what is on the table again today! It was very good, so to waste it would be sinful.
A beautiful hanging basket in the apple tree on the patio.
You can't really tell from this photo, but it was pouring rain at this time, however it didn't bother the balloon decorations one bit. And it didn't dampen any appetites, either. So, now that I put up a couple of pictures I should probably return Kari's camera to her. Maybe she'll offer me some left over fruit or wedding cake!