Sunday, November 09, 2014

Washing his clothes

Today, as I was cleaning, preparing for my friend Carole's visit, I came across Mark's clothes. He had brought them over hastily, late for the train that would take him west, far away from here and from us. I found them in the room his sister once had, now a guest room.

I was doing a load of darker clothes, so I pulled the non-whites out, one by one, then in groups. Some of them carried memories, others not.

It had been years since I had washed my child's clothes. In desperation one day when my children were probably about 10, 12, and 14, I said--"Okay, you are going to do your own laundry now." I was tired of the work, washing clothes for five, and of the complaints of not being able to find clean or unwrinkled clothes or matching socks. The job was delegated to them, and I never looked back.

Till today. Even though I think these clothes were cleaned (at  least before they were left here), I could still smell Mark in them. He is a physical worker and player--hauling sheetrock or mudding walls by day, hiking, climbing, biking and exploring by night and on weekends. The clothes smelled like exertion and adventure.

Today I launder without complaining. I remember the little boy, before the long hair and bushy beard--back, back, to the jeans I washed when he was in grade school, the myriad t-shirts, socks that seemed to multiply like rabbits, towels, bedding, sweatshirts and pajamas. I remember washing baby clothes in Dreft detergent, as I had washed his brother's before him.

Now, my link to him is my phone, where I receive  occasional texts and calls  as he bikes from Seattle on down to northern California with his buddy Steve. I try not to worry, to think of all the things that could go wrong. Instead, I remember, and hope for the time I'll see him again, smell his clothes as I embrace my boy, and hear of adventures out west.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

More drama with Christina

So, last night Tim and I were chill-laxin' and Tim gets a phone call from Christina's boyfriend Travis. "Christina is okay, but we're at the hospital in Maple Grove." Immediately I get in mom mode and get ready to head out the door. Apparently she had been throwing up all day, they had ended up in Maple Grove near the brand new hospital there, and after going to Urgent Care, they sent her right to the hospital across the street. So, by the time we got there, she was being prepped for surgery--diagnosis: appendecitis--surgery scheduled: immediately.

Before she could have surgery, she needed to take out all of her piercings. She was not too happy about that, but she did amazingly well getting the job done considering she was all morphined up. Belly piercing: check. Lip piercing: check. Nose piercing: check. Tongue piercing: check. Ear piercings: check check check. The lip one took a little doing--she had to sort of unscrew it. I'm hoping the piercings will stay out for good but oh well.

The surgery went well--Tim ran home to get our laptops so we could update our Facebook statuses and not go out of our minds during surgery. The hospital is awesome. It's small--only 300 beds, I think, and it was eerily quiet for a Friday night, but it's only been open a couple months. We could actually park in a lot not far from the door.

Surgery took less than an hour, I think, and then she was in recovery in her room, I believe. They said they came looking for us but couldn't find us ? which is hard to believe because we were the only people in the waiting room where they told us to be. Anyway, I didn't have very good reception, and Tim had left his phone in the car, but a few minutes after they called my cell I got a voice message that she was up in room 3220. So, after logging out of our numerous sites, we scampered up to her room where she was sleepy but smiling. She had a private room with a huge flat screen TV, and on her remote control she could cause the shade on the window to go up or down. She even had a nice shower in her bathroom, and a pull out bed and recliner for overnight guests. We stayed till about 2:30 am before heading out. She checked out before noon, and was feeling pretty good this morning. She hasn't had any infection at all, so we are grateful for that. One thing I asked the surgeon before she went under was what was the probability of CDif, since my dad had that this summer and it was NO PICNIC. She said that probably woudl not happen, and she isn't coming home with any antibiotic since her incision site looks really good and she hasn't had a fever the whole time she was in the hospital.

So, now all my kids have had surgery! The boys had some male things done when they were little (nothing major) and of course I've had four surgeries (tonsillectomy at 10, 2 c-sections and one laproscopic hysterectomy). Tim is still bragging about never going under the knife.

So, Tim is back at taxes today, I'm waiting for Christina to stop over, and our friend Dan is coming over today to shoot a three-minute film with us for a church film-fest.

Oh, in other news, I received my post secondary teaching certificate! See picture above. I'm starting to explore adjunct positions, beginning at Bethel in the adult education programs.

Well, Christina just called and she should be here in a few minutes. All's well that ends well. Thanks for those who got our Facebook status updates and prayed--we appreciate it more than you know!

Blessings to you all!

Till next time,



Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

I especially want to wish my sweet husband of almost 27 years a happy and love-filled day. This painting of him was done by Luke Hillestad of our church (Solomon's Porch).

He has blogged for the first time in months here.

Till next time,



Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The van that blew a rod

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Back home after a Tennessee Christmas

There's no place like home. Even though our time in Tennessee this Christmas was wonderful, it is so, so good to be home.

We were very excited to have our former exchange student from Bolivia, Carla, join us for the holidays this year. She arrived on December 12, and is staying till January. She is delightful.

So, we had to rethink our Christmas plans a bit. The past couple of years the five of us have crammed into our Toyota Highlander, which seats five comfortably for short trips, but is a bit of a challenge for longer rides. Six would be impossible. So, Tim found a great van on craigslist for $750. 1985 Chevy van, but one owner, very clean, all the records available, and low (127,000) miles for a vehicle that age. We jumped.

Our ride down to Tennessee was very comfortable. Except when the cooler without a plug leaked water onto our daughter's purse and laptop. She was loudly unhappy until she discovered that there was no real damage (whew!).

We arrived the night before my dad's 80th birthday. All of us kids were there--my sister who had moved a block away from my folks to be nearer them, my sister from Chicago, and my brother from 3 hours away in Nashville. Sister Cheri (Tennessee resident) made a cake that we shared with the Sunday school class. Also, all the grandchildren were there with the exception of Cheri's three grown kids (and one great-grandbaby).

The day was wonderful with family. Sister Lori and her son Richard had to leave Monday morning to head back to Chicago, and sister Cheri headed up Chicago way with her husband to be with their kids/grandchild for Christmas. They had a flight cancellation but made it the same evening. We got to spend a little time shopping with Cheri, so that was fun.

A new crisis: our daughter's cell phone stopped working. We heard about this frequently and loudly. Finally she settled on a phone that was $10 and worked great, although it was definitely not her first choice.

We did some more site-seeing in the beautiful Smokie Mountains, and even did some hiking up past some beautiful falls. My Aunt Norma arrived from North Carolina, so we had more fun to look forward to.

Christmas Eve included some last minute grocery/stocking stuffer shopping and church which was come-and-go communion. Very nice and contemplative.

Christmas day I helped prepare a ham, green bean casserole, biscuits, au gratin/scalloped potatoes and pumpkin pie. Did you know there's been a shortage of pumpkins in the US? We finally found a can of pumpkin so we could make a pie. My aunt taught me how to make a fancy fluted crust by shaping it with your index finger. After naps and packing, we loaded up for the trip back to Minnesota, leaving about 5:30 pm on Christmas day.

As we drove through Kentucky, we noticed that the van was losing power going up some of the hills in the mountains. It wasn't too bad, so we didn't worry too much about it. But around 10 pm, the van started shuddering and Tim pulled off at an exit. It made a loud bang and started to smoke. Tim was able to pull over on the shoulder of an exit in the northern suburbs (Georgetown) of Lexington.

Fortunately, we had AAA, and we were within walking distance of a hotel (about 1/4 mile). Tim waited with the van, and the kids and I took the luggage we could carry and started walking along the shoulder and across a bridge to the Super 8. We checked in and waited.

Meanwhile, Tim was driving around town with the AAA tow folks (there were two of them). Aftere several stops, they finally found a place that had Saturday hours. Tim came back to the hotel, and we tried to sleep, but ended up on Facebook till the middle of the night, restless and concerned.

In the morning, Tim walked to the repair shop. Turns out they only do tires. He finally was able to contact a mechanic who determined that we blew a rod. Now we had to decide how to get back home. So we started looking for used vans on craigslist again. We finally found one, but it had a cracked windshield, a broken running board, doors that didn't close tightly, etc. But it had a great engine and at that point all we wanted to do was get home.

The owner brought us to his thrift store and had his mechanic replace a casing that had been removed when he put a new water pump on a few days before. It took the mechanic over an hour to do this. Meanwhile, Tim and the owner went to a US Bank (our bank--fortunately there was a branch in Lexington).

So, after hanging out in the thrift store with some friendly, mostly toothless Kentucky folks, we were finally on our way again! We found that it took a long time to fill up the tank--I don't know if there was an air bubble or what, but after about 10 minutes the tank was full. The windshield wipers didn't work so well, and neither did the heat. Somewhere in Indiana (just past Indianapolis), we found an auto parts store (thank you, O'Reilly--Auto Zon had just closed), and got new windshield wipers and a gallon of anti-freeze.

However, even after filling up the anti-freeze and the wiper fluid, we were still cold and the windshield was a challenge to see through. We were also running into some snow and wind and a bit of fog.

Finally, the heat seemed to give up almost completely. We had some blankets, and there was enough heat to defrost the windshield. But after driving for a couple of hours, the driver's left foot would feel like a block of ice. It was impossible to get warm, and our breath came out in frosty puffs. But it was the middle of the night on Dec. 26/27, and we were determined to get home. Besides, Christina wanted to be home for her birthday on Dec. 27. So, we swapped drivers every so often and kept on heading north. Fortunately, the roads and visibility improved. If we had arrived earlier, we probably would have hit more snow and icy conditions.

At 8:30 am we arrived home, after dropping Christina off. Raven and Kayla, our friend/dog-sitter/house-watcher were glad to see us. Raven gave us each a big hug, as only Raven can do. Luke was rather anxious to get on his way, but we had come home to over a foot of snow. Kayla and our neighbors had shoveled/snow-blown the driveway, but there was still a mound where the plow had come through. The van had come over it easily enough, but Luke's Camry got hung up on the mound. Really hung up. Finally, with some pushing, shoveling and chiseling, he was able to get out.

Mark's truck, also in the driveway, was frozen shut. After several attempts with a hair dryer, he was able to get in and get his truck started. He got out just fine (hurray for four-wheel drive!).

So, we were settling in--Kayla had left to go back home, and we were getting ready to go to church with Carla for the 5 pm service. Around 4, Mark called. He had a flat tire just off the highway. Tim took the Highlander's jack (apparently Mark didn't have one) and went to rescue Mark. However, the jack wasn't made for Mark's truck, so it broke as they were just getting the tire on. Fortunately, no one was under the truck at the time and the tire helped it from crashing to the ground. So, Tim called AAA. They came out, but their jack didn't work, either! Fortunately, Tim had his work truck with him, and eventually found enough material to put under the AAA jack to get it hoisted up enough to put on a new tire.

So ended (we hope!) the adventures of the trip home. I hugged my Highlander as Carla and I drove to church, thankful for a newer, reliable car with all wheel drive, heat and comfort. Tim met us at church late, and then we went to Chipotle with friends after church to relay our stories.

I slept this morning till Raven came in, barking, ready for his morning walk. Now I'm ready to face a week at home (don't have to be back at work till Monday the 4th) and hopefully will not have any more weather/vehicle challenges.

Merry belated Christmas, everyone! Have a very blessed 2010!!

Till next time,



Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Now that the dinner is cooked and eaten and the kitchen is (mostly) cleaned up, I thought I'd blog how I'm thankful for family, friends, and of course the God who created those special people and who gives us good gifts so abundantly. As I look forward to my birthday tomorrow, I'm especially thankful for my parents who gave me life. I put the picture here on my Facebook as my profile picture--me now and back almost 52 years ago.

I'm thankful for my family==parents, siblings, husband, children, in-laws, and on and on (including a special nephew who has joined us for the feast today). I'm thankful for work, and the chance to have a break from work.

Hope you've had a great Thanksgiving! And, tomorrow is only four weeks from CHRISTMAS!

Till next time,



Sunday, November 22, 2009

A fun week

Well, last week we enjoyed the company of my sister Cheri and her grandson Josh. Jon and Kristi, Cheri's son and daughter-in-law, reluctantly left Josh at my house while they traveled to San Diego for a conference.

The picture here is one I stole from Cheri's blog of Josh and our dog Raven. One of Joshy's favorite things to do was stand behind Raven and have his face brushed by Raven's wagging tail. They got along great. (Josh has a cute dog named Chloe at home, but she does not have a bushy tail.)

Speaking of Raven, yesterday I took him to the vet to get his stitches removed. The vet almost cried when she saw how well he was doing. She helped us nurse him to recovery from his dog bite this past summer, guided us through the 2 1/2 months of his "cone-head" humiliation, and helped us treat his wound when it opened up after surgery. Thankfully he didn't need a second surgery, and the vet was very pleased with his outcome. Her own 14 1/2 year old German shepherd mix passed away less than two weeks ago, so she was glad to see our almost 11-year-old doggy.

Since finishing my teaching of ILA (except for posting final grades--getting close to that!), I've been busy getting my teaching portfolio ready for my Post Secondary Teaching Certificate class. I'm almost finished with the Journalism class I've been attending: Critical Issues in Journalism, and enjoyed participating/learning/helping with the seniors in that class as they prepare their final projects and get ready for graduation this spring.

Now we are getting ready for Thanksgiving. Tim's parents and my nephew Daniel (Cheri's youngest--a student here in the Twin Cities) are coming, as well as the three kids. I've bought everything but the turkey--I don't want to get a frozen one, so I'm waiting till tomorrow to pick up a fresh bird.

Should be a great week! In less than three weeks, our Bolivian daughter Carla will come for a month visit! It's been almost 10 years since she lived with us as an exchange student. We are SO excited!

Oh, and other big news--Christina has moved to a property Tim owns in Minneapolis. Tim got her a cute puppy--Rottweiler/German shepherd mix. That dog is only 6 months old, but he is going to be BIG! He's already 45 pounds--almost as heavy as Raven!

Well, hopefully it won't be so long till I blog again. I'm sure I'll have more adventures to report on--after all, my birthday is this Friday!

Till next time,


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