Monday, March 31, 2008


Men with bushy eyebrows. My Dad has the same sort of bushy guy eyebrows. Jim had them. I would tease Jim about him trimming his eyebrows and it was a moment that would then us both smile. Very sadly, I remember touching my fingers against his eyebrows as he lay on the hospital table getting colder. I wanted to feel the hairs once more. He also loved to try and grow a beard. He couldn't grow facial hair on the sides of his face, but he could manage a goatee or mustache. He said the facial hair thing was his 'indian' heritage. He loved to expound upon it as he was in the bathroom shaving and getting ready for work. His bathroom rituals were like clockwork. An orchaestra of well timed parts to a whole. The finished product.

I miss the little details of life that came with being married.

I thought of putting some of the 'Red' perfume on the other day and then decided not to. This was a scent that belonged to Jim. He got it for me as something for me to wear for him. It is not expensive, but it was special. I loved to put some on and then see his head tilt a little as he breathed in the scent. His lips on my neck and my shoulders scrunching up because he was tickling. His arms wrapped around me holding me against him and the complete feeling of safety that was found there.

The contact that we had with each other was an always thing. From the start of our relationship we had no inhibitions about touching. Holding hands, hugging, rubbing legs as we sat in the diner, touching foreheads, it was good to be that comfortable so wonderful comfortable as to not be shy.
Exercising. Jim always tried to keep in shape and he would exercise. Jogging in the mornings or getting on the Total Gym or using the treadmill. He joined a Gym when we lived in Boston. He would go down there in his black and white camo field pants, an old tee shirt and a sweatshirt with the sleeves cut off. He didn't get the concept of sweatpants or an outfit for the gym, he wore what he was comfortable in. He loved to go running in the mornings with the dogs. First it was with Gryphon and then with Mercury. He didn't run with Tigger because he said her 3 legged gait threw him off a bit.

Then were was the singing. Jim always had a walkman or an ipod or something playing as he ran. He would sing along with the music. At home he had some wireless headphones so he could go anywhere in the house and do chores or exercise and still have the music on. He loved the BeeGees and Donna Summer and all the music from Saturday Night Fever. Toby Keith, Johnny Cash, The Village People, Barry Manilow, Bruce Springsteen. Yep, he had a great variety of music on hand. I learned to love his taste in music because it was playing so much.

I will admit, he could get a lot of things done around the house when he got moving on them. I am sorry that the last two years of his life he was so tired. He seemed tired. Maybe it was the heart disease catching up with him. He was trying so hard to keep things up and going and on track. But he found himself more interested in staying in and watching tv than going out to socialize. I can think back now and in my mind see all the couches we had and all the times he was sprawled out on them - usually with a dog on one side of him and the cat nearby.

Interesting. I went from eyebrows to perfume to exercise to music to sprawling.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Thinking works

After a couple months with no Jim in my dreamworld, he was there last night.

I woke up remembering his smile and how he chatted with my Dad. We three were driving somewhere with my Dad in the front seat and Jim driving and me in the back. I don't remember much else except that, but am glad that he was there.

I thought about Jim a lot last night and as I went to sleep. Playing events over in my head. I think the dream was to comfort me and it did.


Late night rambling. 10 months without Jim.

I miss his voice and touch and find them fading more and more and I hate that. I look at photos and sometimes it hurts so much I can't stand it and sometimes I talk to them. It hurts as I look at the picture because I see what was and what never will be again. I see the look and remember the expression that was his. There is a peace to hearing his voice and laugh again if even in my head.

I miss Jim's presence in our home. Sometimes lately I have felt like that time., that 17 years we had was a world away. And other moments it feels like just yesterday when he was hugging me. It is hard to ignore the feeling inside, it is playing games with my head and I feel guilty because I think of the time with Jim as a time that has passed. A time in the past. I can't believe it. And I don't want it because that means I have lost a little more. I don't want to lose anymore of him.

The memories still hang on and sometimes it is funny when one crops up that I had forgotten. Just a simple phrase or gesture and Jim is there with me, in my head again. There are nights when I go to sleep and can't imagine another day going by. Then a friend calls or writes and I find a form of support I hadn't looked for but am glad is there. A friend that doesn't even know they are offering support because all they are being is a friend. Thank you friends.

Today marks 10 months since Jim died in the emergency room. Ten months and I can still see the last moments clearly and try every day to get them out of my head. And after all I wrote, I do try to remember the beauty and fun he gave me.

Ten months. Some days it is much better and some it as bad as ever. Yet, right from my heart is the love I have for Jim. Right here in my heart. And with that I know he will be with me, near me, forever.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

New 'do

Got my hair cut for summer.

That's all.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Iron Man

The Iron man movie is coming out on May 2nd. Jim was soooooo looking forward to this and I can picture him sitting in the theatre, munching the popcorn, drinking diet soda and very entralled by the creation the came from comic and was put into a movie. He would either be watching the midnight show (the first showing on may 2nd) or the ten o'clock a.m. show. He would probably be seeing it at least twice in that day and would be taking off of work to see it. That was just the way he was. Embracing the small bubble that the movie would surround him with and keep the real world at bay for a couple hours. A reprieve into his imagination come to life.

I have mentioned Jim's Superman addiction. In comics, this carries over to Batman, the Fantastic Four, Ironman and others. I know I am forgetting some (Thor, JLA, Hulk, Spidey) but these pop in to my mind. Each time one of his favorite comics become a movie he was cheering it on. Daredevil was one of the worst, but we doggedly went to view it. I think Superman II with Christopher Reeves was his all time favorite from the 80's. It opened a door. Most recently the Fantastic Four was on high on his list, with talk of him making a costume coming from it.

There are many movies that have come from comics and I will always remember and probably never view again the one I saw on May 28th with Jim. It was Spiderman 3. Neither of us had seen it, we went to the 7 p.m. show and then came home at 9 to relax. Jim went into heart arrest and died 6 hours later. But I keep tight the memory of us at the theatre, holding hands, sharing popcorn and enjoying the thrill of the movie.

A hole at dinner

There was an empty seat last night at dinner. It was Jim's seat.

I went out to dinner with my Dad, his wife, my brother visiting from Ohio and his wife. All that was missing was Jim. I even made reservations for six people, not five. Oh boy. So we went to dinner and were having fun looking at the view. Only I realized at one point that as we were laughing and trading quips, that Jim should be there quiping also. He was good at dinner conversation and making people enjoy themselves.

I sort of went weepy when I looked at the empty seat across from me. It was where Jim would have sat. I even tortured myself then by thinking about what he would have ordered for dinner. I don't think anyone noticed because a moment after that thought crossed my mind I slipped my Ice Tea. Right across the table to the spot where Jim would be sitting.

All in all it was a nice time with my brother and his wife and I enjoyed that.

Jim, we sure could have used your quick wit. I love you. I miss you. Always.

Monday, March 24, 2008

I Believe

I Believe - by Diamond Rio

Every now and then soft as breath upon my skin

I feel you come back again

And it's like you have'nt been gone a moment from my side

Like the tears were never cried

Like the hands of time are holding you and me

And with all my heart I'm sure were closer than we ever were before

I dont have to hear or see,

I've got all the proof I need

There are more than angels watching over me

I believe, I believe

That when you die your life goes on

It doesn't end here when youre gone

Every soul is filled with light

It never ends and if I'm right

Our love can even reach across eternity

I believe, I believe

Forever, you're a part of me

Forever, in the heart of me

And I'll hold you even longer if I can

The people who dont see the most

Say that I believe in ghosts

And if that makes me crazy, then I am 'cause I believe

There are more than angels watching over me

I believe, I believe

(Thank you Linda for suggesting this)

Sunday, March 23, 2008


He is Risen!

Jim is now like the wind, I always feel him around me,
know that he is there, but never see him.
And with that, there is comfort.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Saturday

It was a good work day. Working around the house and yard.

My dogs let me sleep late which was really nice. I still don't know why, but they didn't bark or whine and I slept till about 8:30 am. Which in this house is really late.

I tried to make french toast and it failed miserable. Thank god for the bacon! I will practice more with that french toast. I boiled some eggs for Easter and will decorate them later and show some pics. For me that is one of the highlights of Easter. That and the wonderful, glorious songs that are sung in church. I love good church songs.

Working out in the yard was very cleansing. I was able to do a few things I had been wanting to do, envisioning how to do and making it work. I could see the bulb of daffodils I planted finally starting to come up. We don't get a lot of sun in the backyard so it is tough on growing.

My dogs and I had a nice quiet moment in the late afternoon. We were sitting on the plastic loveseat that has been a part of our household for almost 15 years. It is a favorite for the dogs to get up on and view the world. I can sit on it and have a dog on either side. Well, we sat there and watched the sun set. We weren't looking at the sun, but rather the sun as it hit the house behind us. We could watch the color change to reflect the setting and the twilight approaching. I think I may have been the only one noticing the change, the dogs were just enjoying having their ears rubbed as I sat there.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Doc's

So I haven't been so good about taking some medicines that I should have. Blood pressure and water reduction pills. It was last year about a month after Jim died that I saw our doctor. He is a great doc and looks a little like Ray Liotta. I took the meds for BP and somewhere when they needed to be renewed, I just didn't do it. I know it was in the fall when I had no motivation to even get up in the morning.

I called his office last week to make an appointment for a check up. It was hard the last time I went to see him because everything reminded me of Jim. I mean, this was Jim's favorite doctor and even when we lived in Boston, if Jim knew he was coming down here, he would make an appointment with the guy.

For the last week I have been talking to myself about doing better this time with the medicine and making sure I had it and that basically I had to watch out for myself because there really was no one else to do that. It's a sad realization. I know many people that live by themselves and do the same thing. It's just I haven't done it in awhile. I have to relearn/readjust to doing this.

What came of this visit besides the BP meds is that I am going to have my first mammogram. I requested a referral for that. Also, I found out that I have lost almost 15 pounds in the past year. Some call it the widow's diet. Going to the doctors with my stepmom I also learned of a great place where they sell homemade polish sausage. We got some on our way home. She has been buying it there for 50 years.

My doctor and I were talking and I mentioned Jim and not having him to watch out for me. He something then that gave me a bittersweet smile. He told me when he heard my voice in the hall, at the scale, he also expected to hear Jim's voice. It's nice that he can remember Jim with a smile because the two of them in the room were always trying to out joke the other one.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


This week has seemed like a veil has been draped over me. I don't feel really in touch with what is going on around me. Moving in and out of situations and conversations with a void of emotion.

I am sad that I can say that I haven't cried in 4 days now. The longest without tears since may 29th. I am sad as I think of Jim, but nothing has occured to bring the tears to the front. They are always there in my head ready to burst.

It is not a numbness but more a dullness.

As I walked to lunch today I was thinking about all this and realized that the time has passed so quickly and mostly in a blur. I went back to read some of the earliest posts and am glad that I wrote them.

I had a 'Jim mement' the other day. By that I mean it was on of those things that he would do or say or would be associated with him. My friend Elaine picked me up from work and she was waiting in the car for me. I walked up from behind and when I did I leaned inot the corner of the car and bumped it - then faking as if she had hit me. It was something I did and then as I was doing it I realized it was because Jim used to do this. It gave me a fleeting smile and a bigger one when I got in the car and Elaine said 'okay Jim, cut it out' to me. She remembered it too!

Monday, March 17, 2008

photos of the weekend

Photos taken this weekend were either beauty or the beast. Well the beasts are beautiful also. I took these at the Botanical Gardens in Washington DC, and think they speak for themselves.

Oh wait, the last one was taken on the kitchen table.
They are parrot tulips brought for a Happy Thursday.

The next photos were taken early Saturday morning, as the mist
was coming off the water and the sun was just reflecting to
make the mirror images. Mercury in this first photo
was posing and he didn't even know it.
The others are variations of that same
hour of quiet before the world wakes up.

This one is a 'Mommy has a Treat' photo.

And yes, Mercury, King of the world, loves to pose!!

Tired dogs

I went away for the weekend, to a friends, not far, but away from the house.

Came back with some really really tired dogs!!

Very funny. These guys had the run of the bottom level of the house, the large patio, the hill that was filled with trees and led to the long dock with some boats on it. They had a blast and couldn't stop running around. Chasing squirrels, running up and down the hill and even out on the dock. My one guy Merc who really doesn't like the water was great on the dock and even almost jumped over onto one of the boats.

I went out with them early Saturday morning and got some nice photos of the dogs on the dock, with the water and boats and sun rising. Mercury did a great job of posing.

We could have done without the dogfight, but it was just a couple dogs talking to each other about whose patio it was. The neighbors dog came running over saturday afternoon and met up with Tigger. Both females and both thinking they were defending their patio. And silly male dog Merc just hightailed it out of the way to let them females do their thing. No one was hurt, and Tigger was the last dog on the patio. It is not an uncommon thing and while scary for us humans, it is not a big deal for dogs unless they really get down and dirty. This was not that. A rough and tumble thing.

Sunday we went to the Botanical gardens in Washington DC. It was beautiful and I had fun exploring the uses of my new camera. I will post some pictures tomorrow of the dogs on the dock and the flowers.

We came home and they just pooped out. This morning waking them was tough and they did not want to walk, muscles were sore. It was like the day after you take the kids to the amusement park and they wear themselves out. These guys were aching. The rest today helped and they were up and running this afternoon. I think it was the hill that did it.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

In his eyes

I was leaving for work yesterday and looked down at myself. I wasn't dressed up, I don't need to for my job. I thought, I will never be beautiful again.

I looked up and saw the large photo I have of Jim, he is looking right at the camera and smiling. It was like he was looking at me. I walked over to it and touched his eyebrow. He looked at me and I heard his voice telling me I was beautiful.

He would do that. When I berated my own looks, he would take and hold me and look me in the eyes and touch me. And tell me how beautiful I really was. It made me warm inside. When he said it, I would always deny it, I had been mocked by kids all my life and was always the odd one. But Jim, he would cup my face in his hands and look me right in the eyes and tell me, yes, yes I was beautiful, in ways that not all can see, but I was.

Well, that morning it was like a frozen moment in time, this conversation with a photograph. I looked at the photo and said out loud that No one will ever see me as he did. See me as beautiful and make me FEEL it. But I heard his voice, kind gentle soft and loving, not to worry.

As selfish as it sounds, I want to feel beautiful, it was such a gift that he gave me. Such a wonderous gift. But I find it hard. Hard to feel it. Not sure if anyone will see me as beautiful as he did.

I cried as I told him this and then I found that I couldn't even bloody well look him in the eyes as I said I wasn't beautiful. Damn him. I couldn't even look a photo in the eyes, because in my mind, I saw him and heard him and felt him. I chuckled when I realized I was looking away.

I said a prayer and thanked him for making me beautiful. In his eyes and heart and thus in my eyes. I can't wish enough that he was here.

later - thinking about this, I know the comments will come, but it's not that I am not beautiful (in some way) but it's that I will never be beautiful in the way that he saw me and in that way he made me see myself.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I recently was emailed by a woman who has a blog about grief and had read some of my blogs here. She has some great posts and I recommend it.

If you do visit, check out the blog for February 28th. It's me!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Fill light

I was playing a bit in picasa2 with photo on the previous post. I used the 'fill light' feature. The picture itself was a nice find. I had forgotten that I even had the photo until I was cruising some old picture files and stumbled upon it.

Anyway, here is the photo revisited with some editing help to show the man behind the silhouette. As I said, Jim is at the airport, we are back from Florida and we were waiting for a friend to pick us up.

Interestingly enough, I found that I had taken about four or five pictures of Jim while we waited. A couple show his new superman tattoo and one just shows a very tired guy. It was September and pretty warm in Florida, hence the cut off shirt. However it was brisk in Providence, hence the flannel shirt tied to the waist.

Though I know it was a sunset when I took it, I was thinking this version of the photo could be a sunrise. Either way he is taking in the beauty of it.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Be Gentle with Yourself


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,

whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Copyright 1952

I have had this poem for many years, copied off the internet and hanging on a wall in my office. It caught my eye tonight as I was folding clothes and I wanted to share. The photo was taken of Jim in Providence RI when we returned from our first trip to Orlando and to see his brother.

With all its broken dreams, It is still a beautiful world.

Making it my own

More cleaning today. I worked in the kitchen and dove into the baskets and containers that had 'stuff' in them. I went thru all of Jim's medical basket - it had insulin and needles and one touch and I didn't quite know what to do with them. I ended up tossing the insulin and needles in a bag and then in another bag and then in to the trash. It took a big gulp to do that.

The cleaning has evolved into a feeling of making this space my own. Not a space for two people, but a space for one lonely person. I can't get rid of the very personal things that were Jim's, but I can toss the old stuff that has no meaning. I found his old glasses and tried them on. I couldn't wear them for long because it hurt. It hurt to think that they were his. I found his Con badge from Shore Leave 2006 and had to put it aside. No problem with tossing the old pills and the medical items.

It was odd the things that I could find and look at and have trigger an emotion or a memory. I am glad that I can have the privacy in my home to let the emotions out. It is so tough sometimes out in the real world to not say everytime I think it "oh Jim and I did this or stopped there or it was a regular place for us to go". I do it all the time when I am out with friends. I mean I do it in my head. I don't know if they are tired of it, but I feel like they are. So I stopped.

I know I talked about this a couple posts ago, but it came into play today when my friends and I went to a particular diner for breakfast. The diner that Jim and I always went to. How to explain to someone the rush of a feeling that wells up inside. The trouble it is to just breathe as you step in and sit down. To say "it was never this busy when Jim and I were here" and remember the times when you were there.

Coming home from that breakfast I didn't want to interact anymore and just took a nap. The dogs needed some loving so when I got up I took them for a walk. I think the walk helped me clear my head a bit and I talked to Jim as I walked. Setting my mind on the task of the kitchen, I came home and attacked it with music and dogs as companions. I can't imagine what they must have thought.

"How are you doing?" is the question I got asked today by a friend that called. I hadn't spoken to him in awhile and he was really more Jim's friend than mine. How am I doing? I could say life sucks. But usually I say I am okay. As friend Laura said in her blog, Okay is about the best to define it. Crappy, lonely, miserable, just above laying down and giving up, sad, frustrated and missing the one we love. I guess that can equal okay.

Our house is now my house and I have to make this work because of financial restraints. This is my space and I have to make it my own. I have to make it okay.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Rainy Saturday

Today was definately a Jim kind of day. It was slightly misting rain, with spurts of harder rain and a pile of movies to watch.

What did I do?

From 8:30 till noon I hauled stuff, I bagged up stuff and hauled more, and cleaned. It started out as just a simple case of taking a few things down to the dumpster. The neighborhood has a dumpster put out in certain areas so that residents can use it if they can't drive to the dump. I started with just getting rid of the containers of roofing tar, old paint and leaves that had built up along the fence edge.

Then it started raining so I moved into the laundry/tool room and as I went thru things there, I found more and more to go thru. Jim had some buckets filled...well...stuff. Nails, screws, latches, socket things, plastic things, thingie things and extension cords. Lots of those.I found a nice 70's music station and started looking at it all. So, in sorting it out, I threw some out, put some in containers and hung some up.

It stopped raining and from there I moved to the idea of pulling old stuff in the corner and sweeping and bagging all that.

It was hard to stop. I hauled the old door out that we replaced and the door has been behind the couch for months. I got the two end tables that were pretty run down out to the dumpster.

I ordered pizza at noon and crawled into a shower and then the bed for a long afternoon nap.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Sunlight on the couch

The weather the last couple days has been really nice. In the 50's and such for the beginning of March. I hope it stays like this.

Mercury is laying on the couch in the sunlight. He loves to lay in the sun. He looked very tranquil and relaxed, I couldn't resist a picture. The dogs when they are snuggled on the couch are very comforting. To feel the heat from their bodies and to know that there is someone depending on me. I wish I could take a photo of them some evening when they are bookends on either side of my legs and I have a black fur neck wrap that is called a cat.

Looking at the photos of Jim that I put up on the wall just a couple months ago is getting more painful. Maybe because by looking at the photo I have to acknowledge that he is gone. I keep looking though, I just can't bear to not see his smile. I can look at a picture and hear his voice, his laughter, his sigh.

I went to my regular wednesday lunch place and the waitress there sat down and asked how I was doing. She talked to me for a few minutes about Jim and it was nice. We talked about our two weddings. She is divorced now, but what was sweet was that she asked me to bring in a wedding photo. It touched me.

The fact that some people handle death differently than others is evident every day. I am pained by death seen on TV, in movies and even talked about in a conversation. I didn't use to be. I wonder now if the acceptance that every death is not Jim's will come to me. I see someone on tv with a intubator and have to quickly change the channel. I hear people in a restuarant discus deaths of their friends or relatives and I wonder how can they talk about it so calmly. However, I also remember that I used to be one of them.

Lately I am finding that sometimes it feels like I am making progress and sometimes I am plodding thru life and doing things to do them, because I am expected to do them. Work, eat, laugh, cry, go out and be with people or stay home alone. I wear this armour that is to fool everyone. Yes, I am okay. (sure right ha ha) The armour is on, the shield is up and the inside is still pretty gooey.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Just still so hard to believe that Jim is not here. I let the dogs out tonight at 11:30 and went into to turn lights off and thought about Jim upstairs already in bed reading comics or watching Futurama. Then I put my head on the door jam and said why. why. why.

Don't you have one?

This is my absolute most favorite shot of my niece. She is 5 or 6 and it was taken in 1992 at my Mom's by the pool. I think she was trying to do Signourny Weaver from Aliens. Tough girl with big gun. What a face! I love this picture!

My niece now is in her early twenties and has gone thru college, marriage, divorce and back to college. She is a strong smart woman. Her two sisters are not too shabby either. I have other favorite pictures of relatives but for some reason my smile broadens when I look at this pic. The red hair has always bonded me to her a little more than the others but some of it is also just that look on her face.

"Come on world, give me what you got, I will give it right back to you."

As an edit to this post - Please think of my oldest niece and her husband Dave your prayers. It was discovered just this weekend that he has clots in his legs and has to be on a severe diet and medication. He is given not long to live if the medication won't help. They were married in June 2007 just a few weeks after Jim died.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


Here is a classic Jim face. A hint of a smile and a sort of twinkle in the eye.

The picture in the last post was from our trip to Georgia to visit Jim's brother. It was March 2007 and it was just after Jim had shoulder surgery.

Here are some more favorites of mine from that trip. It was the last time that Jim and I travelled together and last time he saw his brother and sister in law.

I was reminded of this trip because in my cleaning frenzy this weekend I found a memory book that his sister in law made for us. It has lots of pictures from that weekend. I will be emailing to ask for them on a disk or such. So, more pictures may show up here.

Here is a picture of him and his older brother. They were similiar in nature. Both caring and loving and concerned with others happiness. I believe they got this from there mother who was very much that way. You see Jim in one of his favorite hawaiian shirts. It seems like that is all he wore during that trip, but all these photos were taken on Saturday.

Here is a great pic of Jim, his brother in law and his brother. I don't know why Jim had that look on his face. I can see the eyebrow raising. I must have been saying something really silly to try and get them to smile. Jim usually is a clown in front of the camera. He also would tell me not to take a picture, however once I started he would ham it up. I am happy becuase I love looking at the pictures now and am glad they are around.

Here is a closer look at this Jim face. Hmmm. What is he thinking. Probably either wondering why I am goofing around or more likely thinking about the luncheon we were going to. We were at the arbeoriteum in Athens Georgia and it was beautiful. Flowers and birds and a calm atmosphere. It was a welcome change from the stress of the job and the shoulder surgery he had just had and his brother's illness. We drove down with his sister and brother in law and it was a fun family trip. I am very glad we went.

The family portrait. I have about 5 other pictures of these few minutes. We had a hard time all fitting in right on the steps, smiling at the right moment, not giving each other bunny ears, not breaking into silly laughter (which we did anyway) and telling stories of other family portraits. I had my camera sitting on a makeshift tripod - a chair with a box on top of it with the camera on top of that to get the right height for the photo. I guess it worked!

And now that I see it, I cropped everyone else out and made this close up of Jim and I. I am going to have this printed out and frame it for the Jim gallery I have on my wall now.

I really like this photo close up of Jim and I feeling the warmth of family. And the warmth that we have for each other.

)I apologize for the sort of disjointedness of the layout. I kept trying to get it to flow and it kept not working and images were all over the places and spacing was so far off! Argh)