Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010

2010 - the new decade not the movie.

I will be one of those people that will be saying "twenty ten" and one of those other people that will call it "two thousand ten". It will depend on what pops out of my brain when I say it. I don't like the sound of "twenty eleven" so when it gets to be a year from now what will I say.

This has been a decade of craziness. In 2000/2001 Jim and I were visiting a friend in NH and seated in front of a fireplace and we had the vhs in the vcr playing the intro music 2001 as the clock turned to midnight. We had packed and gone up there because that was when the world was going to come crashing down around us. I had the tub of TP, water, canned stuff, blankets and such in the car. I don't know if I ever told my friends about it.

It was in 2001 that my mom passed away and in 2002 we moved back to Jim's mom's house where we stayed. I don't remember much of 2003 or 2004 (I probably will after I type this out) but 2005 is when I had my bad accident and had to stop driving. 2006 Jim got his job with the super stressful job at the USPS and I started a new job. 2007 we lost Jim's brother in March and Jim in May and the world crashed around me. 2008 Dad passed away and more of the world crashed. 2009 was when I lost my dog.

That all sounds so sad. Okay, lets try again. 2001 we had a Dal picnic and I got to see several of the Dalmatians Jim and I had rescued and fostered come to visit with their new owners. In 2002 we moved. That was both good and bad so I will list it twice. I have to go look at what we did in 2003 and 2004. I know one thing was to get back in touch with my siblings and get much closer to my father. That was the best thing about moving back here. Dad and I bonded. In 2005 I learned once again how much Jim loved me. He was so patient with me about the accident and getting me to and from work. 2006 brought us our TiVo - a new toy that was a lot of fun and let our tv watching addiction get fulfilled by our not missing shows.

2007. Well before Jim died we visited Jim's brother in Georgia and it was a wonderful trip. One of the things his brother said at the funeral has always stuck with me. He said he knew how much we loved each other when in one stolen moment that we were visiting Jim was not feeling well and stayed in the car while the others went out to the store. I stayed with him and we held hands in the backseat and Jim kissed my hand and put his head on my shoulder. He said it was a precious moment that he viewed.
2008 I got my license back and inherited my dad's car. In 2009 I traded it in for cash for clunkers and got my new beautiful I love it Versa.

For the next decade? I don't know. I can only hope.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

December 29

It's another Tuesday morning. Another 29th.

I walked around remembering that horrid tuesday and still after 2 years and 7 months. It seems odd but the significance and thus memories it hit me at different times of this day.

The internet can find anything for you. Calculate time from one date to another.

945 days

81,648,000 seconds
1,360,800 minutes
22,680 hours
135 weeks

I am missing you Jimbo. Still and always missing you.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sharing the need for gifts

Christmas is past and I am taking a deep breath. All the presents have been given out and received and the meal eaten and now is the time of momentary relaxation before the new year begins.

A friend of mine who is divorced and has no family was chatting with me about 'no surprise' christmases. I brought up that it is hard to have a christmas when you know what all the presents under the tree are. No surprises from the husband or children. We both have said that yes we buy a couple big gifts for ourselves but it is not the same as having a handful or so of little trinkets that you see and say "I know so and so would love this" and stick it under the tree. So we decided to exchange box full of presents with each other. We had a limit and the gifts had to be small, almost stocking stuffers, but not quite.

Well, shopping was fun. I got some whimisical and some practical things for her and in return got some of the same. But they were things that teased me all wrapped up and under the tree for almost two weeks before Christmas. Oh boy was it tough not to open them!

We have already decided to do this again next year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

thursday

Today has been a symphony of moments. A moment to get addresses for holiday cards and another moment to address and lick them. All done to the beat of the little drummer boy or the ho ho ho up on the rooftops. Another moment to grab something to eat echoed by the groan when I saw the parking ticket on the car after dinner. A rush here and a rush there and there a rush and everywhere a rush because it's beginning to look a lot like a holiday. The music is louder here where the wrapping paper is drowning out the sound of the cat leaping in and out of the boxes and the dog eyeing the christmas cookie. It all swirls and swooshes into a thursday the likes of which we have never seen.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

End of the year

Last night I had this blog all written out in my head. I was lamenting (to myself) about how I hadn't kept up the writing and why.

Some of the reason was time. That is an issue. I find myself coming home from work, and not wanting to look at the computer screen. I had looked at one all day. I wanted to crash on the couch and not deal with dishes, clothes, food or anything. Just watch some tv and fall asleep there. Stumble up to bed when I wake myself to my own snoring and start again the next day.

Some of the reason was what was there to say that I hadn't already said. I have thought out what to write and then shook my head. I have thought I would just sit down and vent and then thought it would just sound like I was venting and whining and what was the point.

Mostly I think it is because if I start writing then I have to admit a few things to myself.

I have had a really rough fall. It crept up on me but somewhere this fall I started getting hit BAM with lonliness. Maybe because it is birthdays, anniversaries and holidays all crammed into three months. Bam bam bam. I am in a mind set that I hear a song and start to cry alittle. I see a cute thing in the store and think how cool that would be for Jim and then am sorry that he will never see it. Oh, I manage day by day and am okay. I still put on clothes and go to work and get things done there. But home is just a stasis cube. A place to be between work and sleep.

Maybe it is the early darkness. I can blame it on that anyway.

November 29th came and went without me mentioning that marked two and a half years without Jim. That made me sad. Almost every other day I think, I need to add to the blog. I am not sure where the motivation went. I hope to get it back.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

A moment to remember the Military Veterans.

I like days like this, even though I try to remember and thank them when I see them, this day is makes a bigger imprint.

Remembering my father, Samuel, a WW2 Veteran, in the Army, and was a POW, awarded a Bronze star, and 2 Purple Hearts. He served under Patton in the 94th Infantry.

Remembering my husband, Jim, a Vietnam Veteran, in the Navy, serving at sea (some ship I can't remember) and on land in Guam.

Remembering several of my friends and my Uncle who have served in the Marines.

Thank you all.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Anniversary

It was 20 years ago today that I became Jim's wife.

The day was very melancholy and the evening pretty quiet. And full of memories.

I was remembering on our 15th wedding anniversary we went back to the visit the church we got married in and had dinner where we had our reception. At the church, believe it or not, the organist was there that played at our wedding. He actually remembered us, because of the music. I told him I didn't care what I walked down the aisle to - I wanted the Liberty bell march to be our recessional music. Liberty Bell march is the theme music for Monty Python Flying Circus. Which was a favorite of Jim and mine.

I was remembering all the special dinners we had for our anniversaries. Some were cooked by me, many were eaten out and one was done by my mom.

I was remembering how our anniversary came after halloween. My cousin often had a big halloween bash and we were known to take off work a few days before and after the party so we could combine the party with the anniversary.

Mostly I was remembering what it was like to run my hand up Jim's arm. To hold his hand and feel it tighten in mine and to kiss him with tender love.

A friend sent this to me -

All My Tomorrows
Kenny Lattimore


All my yesterdays, all so blue. Days spent waiting, waiting to find you.
Now those sad yesterdays, they're so far behind. Another lifetime.

Sign your name on my future
Write your name on my heart
Your the one that I need in my life and my arms.

All my tomorrows, they're all for you. All of my always, for all my whole life through babe. 'Cause you're the one I want, I want to give tomorrow too. You'll always have all my tomorrows. They're all for you.

All your everydays, I'll be there. You'll have no doubts how much that I can care.
There'll never be a day when I leave your side, not in this lifetime.

Write your name on my future,
Sign your name on my soul
You're the one that I'll hold for all time, and I'm never never letting you go, no no baby 'cause...

All my tomorrows (all my tomorrows), they're all for you. All my tomorrows (all my tomorrows).
All my heart and my soul, all I have, have it all. All I ever will need is you here with me, sharing with me...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

29 on 29

Not much to say but I can't let the 29th month go by without something.

I find I am walking thru the house more and more saying "why do I need this, why do I have this, why am I keeping this?" Clutter. The house is cluttered and I would like to solve that by getting rid of things I haven't laid eyes on in years. Literally years.

When Jim and I moved to Boston from down here it was a fresh start. We moved from a large townhouse here into a small cramped apartment there...that luckily had a nice basement to store our boxes of stuff. We found a nice country house to move in to and it was rambling. Lots of space. We unpacked a lot of things, however there were still a few boxes that were left in the new basement awaiting their turn. Then we moved here. From lots of space to cramped space again. Those poor boxes of mostly books and memorablia that got moved from one home to another, three moves now and it has yet to be unpacked.

Guess what. I don't think I need them anymore. I have to get up the nerve to actually move them out the door, but I don't think I will miss them much. They haven't seen light of day in about 10 or more years.

I want to break the cycle of keeping things. Of keeping more than I need and maybe learn to live with what I have. It is an important lesson and intellectually I can achieve it but realistically I find myself ignoring it.

What to do with the pots and pans I almost never use, but have in the cabinet "just in case" I might need them. I may start in the kitchen to get rid of extra things. I have glass jars from speghetti under the sink. Clean and with lids. Why? Well, I am not sure, just because I hated the thought of throwing them away. Now, granted, they did help when I had a live mouse in the washing machine and needed some way to transport him outside. He ran right in that and I put the lid on and whisked him to the park and freedom. But for the most part the jars have sat there...waiting....for me to do something with them. I will. I will.

And my thoughts today turned to Jim many times. Replaying some of that terrible day in my head and wondering why and feeling like I have come so far and yet hardly far at all.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Milestone and memory



On a mountain/hillside outside of Boston, on Jim's birthday just 9 years ago.

Happy Birthday Jim!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Speaking

The summer is gone. The fall is gone. I mean, really there was no fall. Maybe a one week window. The shortest fall in history. Cold chills have set in and the heat is turned on.

This weekend comes the fun of packing summer and unpacking winter clothes and then taking screens off the doors and putting up the storm windows. This is the signs that winter is here.

Tomorrow is Jim's birthday. He would have been 56. Just throwing that out there.

I have noticed in the last couple months that I have changed a bit in how I speak of him. I mean, I do speak of him and what we have done. Instead of just sort of speaking to myself because I figured no one would want to be reminded of him, I am past worrying about that and now am bringing things up. And I may still be getting the same reaction, but it doesn't worry or bother me as it did.

One thing that many widows (or anyone that has lost someone) is the feeling that no one but you will want to know the little things about the person that died anymore. Like when you are in a conversation and bowling is brought up. The other person may talk about when her and her husband went bowling, and I used to stop myself from saying "oh yeah, Jim and I loved to bowl" because when I had done that the people would stop talking and change the subject or just sort of ignore what I said. It was very odd. Now, I can see it may be because they are uncomfortable with it and I thought before that I should stop doing it because of that. And I did stop for awhile, but not anymore. I am sorry if it makes someone uncomfortable, but it is a comfort to me to speak.

Jim was a part of my life for 17 years. Almost half my life. I have moved forward. I have made changes. I have conquered many things. I have learned many things and yet in doing all that, I miss having him at my side.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Oct 16

Chatting with a newly widowed friend the other day brought back a rush of memories that had been pushed back for awhile. I wanted to share with her that she was not alone and that what she was feeling was not wrong or strange but rather what every other widow has felt.

The memories of those first days after Jim died. The first hours. The first few minutes of seeing him laid out in the hospital and them letting me say my goodbyes.

My friend is going thru the long nights, the not wanting to get up and the taking naps to try and get thru the day. Hell I think they call it.

I look back at those days and wonder how I got thru it. I know some of keeping my sanity was due to this blog. To be able to write out what I remembered of my Jim and to write out what I was feeling.

Gosh I miss him. Still. It pounds on my chest. And yet, I try to say 'yes I miss him' and then go on with what I was doing. I can only do that. There is no other choice.

Jim's birthday is coming up. And our anniversary. And then all the rest of the seasonal holidays. Oh boy.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Random thoughts

When I first started this blog I was here almost everyday sharing memories and keeping the events in Jim's life fresh so he and the events would not be forgotten. I have been very lax the last couple months. Mainly because the memories are fading and they are becoming jumbled with the new memories. I went thru the whole day of Sept 29th with a feeling that there was something I was forgetting. I didn't realize it was the 29TH until Sept 30th.

Don't get me wrong, they are not being forgotten, but rather a memory that can be shared and not hurt so much. I am still talking about things that Jim and I did together and about our life together. I still say 'we will have to..." instead of "I will have to..."

But the urgency of the blog is not as critical as it was.

I did take the first year of the blog and print it out and put in a binder.

I am thinking of starting a new blog. A blog for betsy.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Weird dream time

I had a very vivid dream last night and Jim was in it. He was the focus of it.


We were at our friends Lance and Cindy's renewal of wedding vows and Jim was the 'minister' for them. Only he wasn't acting like a minister but more like a host for a Roast. Their was a long front table that the main group and he were at. He was making bad jokes and would start the ceremony and then stop to make a bad joke and Lance was glaring at him and I would say "Jimmmmm" in that voice I used when he was being bad and didn't GET that he was being inappropriate.

I was sitting next to John Weber at the table in front of the main one where Jim was so I would give him the 'evil eye' and get him to stop what he was doing, then he would go off on some other tangent. He even did some thing with a cigarette and pretending to have a trachetomy and held the cigarette up to his throat and the joke was that he couldn't get any air so he turned it around and burned a bigger hole....only he didn't really have a hole, he was acting it all out like a character.

He finally got the point that Lance and I were making and he settled down and finished the ceremony and it was very sweet. He came over to give me a hug and then I woke up.

Monday, September 7, 2009

1000 miles




Seems like songs and photos are sometimes my best way to express myself. I found Jim's old ipod nano,hooked it to my itunes library and reconfigured it. I then spent the evening singing as I hopped around the house and cleaned up what I should have cleaned yesterday or this morning. The last post was Shania Twain. This one is from The Proclaimers. Maybe this is a bit of romantic wishful thnking, or ego, but he made me feel like he would walk 1000 miles. So when I sing it, all I can think of is Jim singing it to me. That makes me love the song even more.


When I wake up, well I know i'm gonna be,
I'm gonna be the man who wakes up next you
When I go out, yeah I know I'm gonna be
I'm gonna be the man who goes along with you
If I get drunk, well I know I'm gonna be
I'm gonna be the man who gets drunk next to you
And if I haver up, Yeah I know I'm gonna be
I'm gonna be the man who's havering to you


But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walks a thousand miles
To fall down at your door


When I'm working, yes I know I'm gonna be
I'm gonna be the man who's working hard for you
And when the money, comes in for the work I do
I'll pass almost every penny on to you
When I come home(When I come home), well I know I'm gonna be
I'm gonna be the man who comes back home to you
And if I grow-old,(When I grow-old) well I know I'm gonna be
I'm gonna be the man who's growing old with you

But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walks a thousand miles
To fall down at your door

da da da (da da da)
da da da (da da da)

Da Da Da Dun Diddle Un Diddle Un Diddle Uh Da

da da da (da da da)
da da da (da da da)

Da Da Da Dun Diddle Un Diddle Un Diddle Uh Da

When I'm lonely, well I know I'm gonna be
I'm gonna be the man who's lonely without you
And when I'm dreaming, well I know I'm gonna dream
I'm gonna Dream about the time when I'm with you
When I go out(When I go out), well I know I'm gonna be
I'm gonna be the man who goes along with you
And when I come home(When I come home), yes I know I'm gonna be
I'm gonna be the man who comes back home with you
I'm gonna be the man who's coming home with you

But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walks a thousand miles
To fall down at your door

da da da (da da da)
da da da (da da da)

Da Da Da Dun Diddle Un Diddle Un Diddle Uh Da

da da da (da da da)
da da da (da da da)

Da Da Da Dun Diddle Un Diddle Un Diddle Uh Da

da da da (da da da)
da da da (da da da)

Da Da Da Dun Diddle Un Diddle Un Diddle Uh Da

da da da (da da da)
da da da (da da da)

Da Da Da Dun Diddle Un Diddle Un Diddle Uh Da

And I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles
To fall down at your door

Looks like





Us thru the years.


Jim, I have been singing this one to you, for you, about us, for many years. I just heard it on your ipod that I am reconfiguring and when I sing it, know my love, that I will always be singing it to you.

As the song goes, we made it thru the ups and downs, the times we weren't sure we could last and we thought we had lost our way, but we came out together at the end. We always realized that we had each other. The strength of our love kept us together.

Oh my love, we had almost reached the dream that we had fought so hard for. Jim, we made it and you are still the one.


(When I first saw you, I saw love.
And the first time you touched me, I felt love.
And after all this time, you're still the one I love.)

Looks like we made it
Look how far we've come my baby
We mighta took the long way
We knew we'd get there someday

Bridge:
They said, "I bet they'll never make it"
But just look at us holding on
We're still together still going strong

Chorus:
(You're still the one)
You're still the one I run to
The one that I belong to
You're the one I want for life
(You're still the one)
You're still the one that I love
The only one I dream of
You're still the one I kiss good night

Ain't nothin' better
We beat the odds together
I'm glad we didn't listen
Look at what we would be missin'

I'm so glad we made it
Look how far we've come my baby


---Shania Twain - You're Still The One

Saturday, August 29, 2009

2 years 92 days

I am looking at this blog and can't believe it has been 20 days since I was here. August has been a balancing act of getting various things finalized and figured out. Often I find myself stopping to contemplate if I make this step (whatever step that is) it will take me one more step away from the dreams that Jim and I had for our life. The chest aches when I think this, but the reality is I have to take those steps.

And as I think about the pain in the chest. There really is one you know, a pain that feels like a punch. I think that there is nothing positive in holding on to the past. I do hold onto the love and the husband that I miss each day. That missing is not going away. No matter how it seems to fade, it is still there ever present in a mind that can not forget.

So I do that thing. That moving forward thing. I do things that I think are right for me. For my future. It is all I can do now. And it hurts aches burns my soul to say this.

I worked in the yard today and thought about where 27 months has gone. I think about the morning I came home from the hospital, leaving Jim there. The scenes flash thru my head. Our very small house filled with people - family and friends that had come for support. This line of thought leads me to think of the new friends I have made since then and how I wish Jim could meet them. Some have never been met other then via cyberspace.

There is still an ache when I find something in the house that was Jim's. An example would be the iPod. His iPod that he got for work and that had me ripping music to. His music. Donna Summers, BeeGees, Lennon, Beatles, ELO, and so on. I listened to it for a week, cried a little and then decided to make it my own. I am working my way thru our cd's and creating a new flavor to the iPod. Listening to Donna Summer and ELO made me cry because I could hear his voice singing along.

Jim was a multi faceted man. A jack of all trades and not afraid of a challenge.

The months pass but the ache doesn't really fade. It hides for the most part, but it doesn't go away. Jim and I had a friendship, partnership and love that lasted thru lots of trials and tribulations and joys and delights and surprises. We used each other to grow and embrace and live.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Missing my safety valve

I am missing my safety valve very much.

Jim was my safety valve. He was the one that stopped me from going off on tangents, he kept my red head temper in check, he would step in front of me and talk in the soothing voice.

My poor Vet. I just went off on her about a charge I wasn't expecting. I went to pick up Mercury's ashes and was charged for the office visit on top of the creamation and the shot to put him to sleep. I wasn't expecting the extra 40.00. Last week when I was leaving I was told 170 for the creamation and 40. I didn't know about the other 40. Well, I raised a fuss. Why? I don't know. I went in there all level headed and then boom, that extra amount triggered it.

They did surgery and had not charged me for three subsequent visits to check on him. So I was hit with a surprise. I just didn't have Jim to sooth me and remind me or even to send me to the car while he handled it so then later I could bitch at him and he would take the brunt for the vet.

I am mad at myself now and don't want to leave the vet with this bad feeling about me. I stormed. She took the charge off and I didn't even thank her for it....she said as I was leaving "your welcome" and I realized I hadn't. I did thank you but it came out all snotty and not good. I was outright rude.

I am using the blog here as a place to get this out. It is not pretty what I did and I am ashamed. I want to go back and pay and apologize. I want to be able to bring Tigger there for treatment. I am probably banned.

My thought is to take a card with a check in it. A thank you card for how well they treated Mercury while he was ill. They didn't deserve my grief anger. I am going to take it over just before they close for the day and apologize. I can't just mail it in, I need to look her in the eye and say it.

Jim I miss you. I know I have to learn how to handle these things. I know it. And I am trying. We were a good team and maybe he shouldn't have let me lean on him, but that was what made us good together....he leaned on me and I was his safety valve for some things too.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mercury



I am not really ready to write this. But I guess it is time.

Our Dalmatian Mercury died on Saturday August 1st. He had been battling cancer in his lymph nodes and tongue and he had just deteriorated so much there wasn't anything to do. I held him in my arms as he got the shot and the doctor let me have some private time to say goodbye.

Mercury came to us a few months after we had to have our first Dalmatian baby Gryphon put to sleep due to renal failure. We weren't expecting to adopt another Dal for a little while, but he was a rescue from a kill shelter in NYC and while we were transporting him and another Dal pup, I fell in love. Merc was what they call a 'liver' spotted Dal. He had beautiful chocolate brown spots instead of the normal black ones.

Merc was with us about a month or so when we rescued Tigger and ended up adopting her also. We don't adopt all the dogs we rescue, most were just fosters being primed for their new homes but these two touched our hearts. They have grown up together. Tigger was just 11 months and Merc was 6 months when they came to our family. Now Merc was just shy of 10 and Tigger is 10 1/2.

He was a very mellow dog. A couch potato, well at least until you got the leash or the food bowl out. He had his priorities! He didn't lick faces or jump at you. He would sniff and decide you were okay. He loved being a lap dog and would lay on Jim's lap while they were both on the couch watching TV together.

Mercury bonded with both of us, but in different ways. I think he thought of Jim as more like a 'brother' but he knew me to be 'mom' and the one to listen to. Well being a Dalmatian he listened when he felt like it.

I am worried about how my gal Tigger is going to be. She doesn't seem upset at the moment, but Mercury has been gone for a few days at a time before - when he was at the vets for surgery. I hope she will be okay. Mercury was a little depressed for awhile after Jim died. He would lay on the couch with me and then right around 10pm he would get up and move to the front door, lay down along it and wait. About an hour later he would get up, come over to the couch and climb back up beside me. He was waiting for Jim to come home. That was the time that Jim usually came back from work in the evenings. I cried when Merc did this. It was like Lassie waiting for Timmy.

Mercury was a wonderful friend and a good dog. I was ready for his death, because of his illness, but it sure doesn't make it any easier.

I can only hope that somewhere, Jim has scooped Mercury up in his arms and is giving him hugs while Gryphon dances around to see who this new guy is.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Out of left field

I am going to blog tonight about the plumber that came to look and see about putting in a garbage disposal.

He is the son of a neighbor and he stood in the living room looking at Jim pics and said he still can't believe Jim was gone. He told me how he was at the memorial service (i never saw him).

He was about 15 years younger then Jim but they grew up on the same street. He stood and told me about how Jim would tease him and make him laugh and even stood up for him when a bully was around. He talked about how Jim came up to him when he had skipped school when he was 15 and went to the movies. Jim was working at the theatre and he didn't know it. So Jim sat right down next to him and started asking him why wasn't he in school and where was he going after this and does his mom know he was there....the guy said Jim had him worried and then at the last minute Jim offered him and his buddies a ride home and they laughed all the way.

This is the plumber that redid all the plumbing in this house back in 2002 when we moved in. He did a great job. He told me tonight that Jim and I helped his marriage. He said that when he was here and working on the plumbing he saw Jim and I do the 'rock, paper, scissors' thing to solve an argument. He said he talked to Jim about it and was told that was how we made sure we never go to bed mad at each other. And that is true. We did that for years and years, it was a great solution. Anyway, he told Jim that he started doing that with his wife and it has helped them. I had to chuckle at that one.

It was sort of out of left field all of this, but it made me feel good. Good that Jim is still remembered by others than just me.

Oh and I am not getting a garbage disposal. The electrical would cost more than the plumbing work. Oh well.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

24 plus 2 and so much more

It is a hazy hot humid day and I am thankful once again for the inventor of A/C and Jim insisting that we have it installed in our home.

There has been a lot going on in my life. Jim is in my thoughts all day and through out the day and popping up in unusual ways. I was talking to a friend about tattoos and showed him the one I had done in Jim's honor. Mentioning of course, my having some of Jim's ashes mixed in the ink and now in my tattoo. My friend thought that was a very sweet thing to do and then he complained about the dust in the air and wiped his eyes.

The big news for this week is that I am now the proud owner of a brand new 2009 Nissan Versa. I used the 'cash for clunkers' deal and traded in my Dad's Caprice (sorry dad) and got a spankin' new car. Yes, there is a car payment, but I can handle that. I couldn't have done it without the clunkers program or my Dad's car. I had someone say that he would have wanted it and I know this to be true. Last year in May and June I was looking for a used car to put a couple grand into. I talked to Dad and he said to look at a couple that I knew were out of my price range. I told him that and he said "Don't worry, we will take care of that" and I knew he meant he would pay for it. I remember walking down the street talking on my cellphone to him and starting to get teary. See, I was trying to be independent and strong and there was Dad still helping and watching over me. I think he would be happy for me. I can only hope that both Jim and Dad are applauding me for the good business sense and choice and how I ran all the new car dealers around here ragged for a couple weeks. I got good at saying "no, I can't commit now but I will call you back". Boy did I get good at that.


So the Nissan Versa is a great little car - 4cyl and a lot more space on the inside then the outside. It's my Tardis car. I like it!

I had Jim in my dreams on Saturday night. I was exhausted from the car deal in the morning, driving home and then my niece and her fiance visited to help me do some things around the house, then there was my cinema club meeting. It was a busy, busy day. But I woke up on Sunday morning around 4ish and I had been seeing Jim's face and hearing his laughter. I don't remember why, but I know it was a good feeling and that he was with me. His support is important and it helps me get thru each day.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Jim Wall

I spoke to Jim's brother tonight. Mostly to ask about some confusion with the property and things I hadn't known about when he sold it to Jim after their mom died. Amusingly the deed said "sold for the amount of: a brothers love and affection" and then under that, One dollar.

Speaking with Jim's brother after almost 18 months of not speaking was interesting. We fell right back nto the pleasantries of how are you doing and how is work and such other small talk. I asked him my questions and then he told me about Jim's wall.

They had some work done in their yard and had a support wall built around a perimeter area. He told me that when doing it, it reminded him of the stories Jim told about putting up the fence in Boston. Digging and finding more rocks under the first ones and such. So they decided that it would be 'Jim's wall'. A place where they can go and sit and relax and watch the dogs play in the yard. I know Jim would have liked that.

the Power of your kiss

I Miss My Friend
by Darryl Worley

I miss the look of surrender in your eyes
The way your soft brown hair would fall
I miss the power of your kiss when we made love
Oh but baby most of all
I miss my friend

The one my heart and soul confided in
The one I felt the safest with
The one who knew just what to say to make me laugh again
And let the light back in
I miss my friend

I miss the colors that you brought into my life
Your golden smile, those blue-green eyes
I miss your gentle voice in lonely times like now
Saying it'll be alright
I miss my friend

The one my heart and soul confided in
The one I felt the safest with
The one who knew just what to say to make me laugh again
And let the light back in
I miss my friend

I miss those times
I miss those nights
I even miss our silly fights
The making up
The morning talks
And those late afternoon walks
I miss my friend

The one my heart and soul confided in
The one I felt the safest with
The one who knew just what to say to make me laugh again
And let the light back in
I miss my friend

I miss my friend

Sunday, July 5, 2009

yeah what to do

Here it is the fifth of July. I had a very nice backyard cookout and today is total relaxation day. However it is so pretty out I want to be out doing something. I just don't know what.

Sadly, I have yet to get past wanting someone to do something with instead of just going out to do it myself. Well, at least in certain situations. Today is one of them it seems. Everything last night went fine but today I want someone to drive to Pennsylvania Dutch country or go to the beach or just be in the car as I travel. And there is no one. At least not today. Sometimes when I feel like this one of my friends will step in and go help, they don't know they are helping, it's just me saying 'hey let's go....'

I will get past it in a little while. I just am missing my lost friend right now.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Late night driving

I was driving home from a Fourth of July party on the evening of the 3rd and turned the radio on to keep me awake.

This was playing.


"Un-break My Heart"

Don't leave me in all this pain
Don't leave me out in the rain
Come back and bring back my smile
Come and take these tears away
I need your arms to hold me now
The nights are so unkind
Bring back those nights when I held you beside me

Un-break my heart
Say you'll love me again
Undo this hurt you caused
When you walked out the door
And walked out of my life
Un-cry these tears
I cried so many nights
Un-break my heart
My heart

Take back that sad word good-bye
Bring back the joy to my life
Don't leave me here with these tears
Come and kiss this pain away
I can't forget the day you left
Time is so unkind
And life is so cruel without you here beside me

Un-break my heart
Say you'll love me again
Undo this hurt you caused
When you walked out the door
And walked out of my life
Un-cry these tears
I cried so many nights
Un-break my heart
My heart

Don't leave me in all this pain
Don't leave me out in the rain
Bring back the nights when I held you beside me

Un-break my heart
Say you'll love me again
Undo this hurt you caused
When you walked out the door
And walked out of my life
Un-cry this tears
I cried so many, many nights
Un-break my

Un-break my heart oh baby
Come back and say you love me
Un-break my heart
Sweet darlin'
Without you I just can't go on
Can't go on....

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

25

Two years, one month.

Yep, I am still counting, even if it just to myself.

I have been really emotional for the last few days and couldn't quite figure out why. The 29th sort of snuck up on me. I have had some early morning tears and some late night 'why's'. And just this evening driving to Walmart I thought about Jim's daughter and her new baby and a stray thought that popped in was "please tell him good things about his granddad" and it exploded in my head and it was all I could do to drive and cry at the same time.

It exploded because I know how much Jim would have loved to see his grandson. And how much he loved and was so proud of his children and what they had achieved. And how I really wish there was a way for his grandson to learn about him and I can only hope they he does.

I really don't like this being alone stuff, but I don't know who I could be with other than Jim right now, so I am stuck alone. There is no one to yell 'let the dogs out!' or to ask to get you some ice cream from the freezer or to help by rubbing their shoulders after a stressful day. He is missed.

Monday, June 8, 2009

2 years of blogging

It's been a long trip.

Just about two years ago I started this blog and tried hard to use it to capture memories of my beloved Jim. The special things that was no one elses. The quirk of an eyebrow, the twinkle in the eye, the jokes, the personality of the man. I wanted to keep the memory alive, so that he would be still alive, even in his death. Photos and stories that were told. Dreams we had that were reached and the ones that from his being gone, are not possible anymore. My inside was a shell filled with pain and the healing that has come was in the sharing.

The missing of Jim is still with me. Each day, with each breathe, but and there is that big old but. But I am finding that I can breathe without him. It hurts, and I don't want to be able to, but I can. I am.

It was two years ago that I started blogging. And I thank everyone that has read my blogs and journeyed with me. Thank you for sharing the journey that is Jim. A man that was very special in this world of mine.

The posts have gotten much spottier because work has been cranked up and taken my energy. Mercury's illness is pulling energy out of me in a different way. I want to take some time and read what I have written and make notes - I am thinking that as I read, more memories will be triggered and more things will not be forgotten. The journey is not done, but it is pulling over to the side of the road for a moment.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Grandmother, me?

Oh my, what news.

Jim's daughter, my stepdaughter, is about to have a baby. That would make me a Grammy. Or a step Grandma. I never imagined this day would come. And I am so very sorry that Jim is not alive to enjoy it. He would have been a wonderful Grandfather. He loved children - maybe because he was able to reach into his inner child and connect with them.

My relationship with my stepchildren was tenuous at best while Jim was still alive. It has been non-existant (and not a surprise) since his death. His relationship with them was wonderful until the divorce. Then it slid downhill, as I saw, it was because of his ex-wife and her influence. Both Jim and I were very happy when his daughter reconnected with him about 5 years ago. He met with her and they got to know each other as adults.

Last week my cellphone did a systems update and it retrieved phone numbers from my old contact list. This meant I had many numbers doubled and some I had deleted show up again. Jim's daughter was one of those. On the 29th I called her to let her know I was thinking about her, and how I still had some of Jim's ashes set aside for her. She responded on the 30th with an email that gave me her address and the news of the baby to come in just a couple weeks.

Oh my, what a wild high I was on that day. A grandmother!!! Kind of, sort of. I know I won't be involved a lot in the baby's life, but I can at least visit and see him/her and maybe ask for some pictures thru the years. I would love to see how much of Jim's genes are peeking out.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Can you read my mind?

I think many times in the last two years, I have mentioned in my blogs that Jim was a Superman. He loved comic books and superheros. He was always helping those in need from a small thing like a ride somewhere to helping them have the wedding they could never afford by holding it in our house. It was just his way.

Superman was one of Jim's favorite movies. He watched the version with Christopher Reeve too many times to count. A kazillion or more. We have lots of Superman stuff in the house. Many of them are t-shirts. The backwards S symbol on the right is from one of his favorites. It's a purple Bizarro Superman shirt. If you don't know what that means, google it. I wore it to sleep in last night and it is like eating chocolate. The shirt is a comfort and gave me warm smiles and good memories of Jim because when he wore it he was in good spirits and happy. A friend sent me this song in an email this morning. It seemed a good thing to share.

Sometimes with Jim I did feel like his 'Lois' and wondered if he could read my mind because he would know what to say, when to give me a hug and just how to make me smile. I can only hope that Jim is reading my mind now. He is missed here.

Can You Read My Mind


Can you read my mind?
Do you know what it is you do to me?
Don't know who you are
Just a friend from another star

Here I am, like a kid at the school
Holding hands with a god or a fool
Will you look at me, quivering,
Like a little girl, shivering
You can see right through me.

Can you read my mind?
Can you picture the things I'm thinking of?
Wondering why you are
All the wonderful things you are.
You can fly - You belong to the sky
You and I could belong to each other.

If you need a friend,
I'm the one to fly to
If you need to be loved
Here I am
Read my mind!

Will you look at me, quivering,
Like a little girl, shivering
You can see right through me.

If you need a friend,
I'm the one to fly to
If you need to be loved
Here I am
Read my mind!

Read my mind.

Jim's remembered and growing

Last year I sent an email out asking friends and family to do Jim the honor by planting something. My Aunt and Uncle did this. There is a beautiful flowering bush in their front lawn that they call "Jim's Bush". They sent me a picture about a month ago when it was in bloom. I love it.

When I stayed at my brothers at Easter time I was able to plant a bush in his backyard in Jim's honor. I used my brother backyard because ours will not fit any kind of plant other then in a pot. Anyway, in my brothers yard now is a small shrub that has a very pretty blue/purple bloom and is said to attract butterflies. It is called the caryopteris Dark Knight. I knew as soon as I saw it, I had to have one. Jim being the Superhero Comic book hero that he was, it was perfect. I put a small stone near it that had "I Love You" etched on the side. I hope it grows big and bushy and flowery.

I especially liked the "attracts" butterflies part of this plant because one thing that has stuck in my head is the wives tale - when you see a white butterfly, it is a loved one watching over you. I saw many white butterflies last year and hope to see them again this year.


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Several other friends planted in Jim's honor. My friend Robin has a plants in the form of the Superman symbol in her backyard and another friend sent me a photo of the flowers she planted in her front yard.
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I have been very lucky in being able to not only keep green and alive but also to have thrive, three plants that were sent in an arrangement to the funeral home at Jim's viewing. I don't know who sent them. I wish I did so I could thank them. I have not had luck in the past with houseplants. One was a peace lily that lives in my bathtub. In a planter, but in the tub because it has the best light for the plant.
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The other two plants are at work and one is some vine that is amazing in it's growth. I smile as I see it because it is doing so well it makes me happy. Of course it is one of the 'easiest' houseplants to grow, but still, I used to have a black thumb. Now I feel more confident. This plant represents a love that someone had for Jim, and by them sending it, wanted me to know that he was special, not just to me but to others. The plant is a lot longer than this one in the photo, the vines reach down almost 3 feet. It has been fun to watch it grow over the last two years.

I am going to the nursery up the road tomorrow to look for another 'Jim' plant and try to see what I can find. I love the thought that plants are growing strong in honor of Jim.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

More thoughts

Here is the one thing that has been on my mind on and off today.
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When Jim died I went into a pretty severe shock. There was all kinds of things with all kinds of people and no one really said 'okay betts here's what we need to do'. Looking back it seems things were figured out in a haphazard way. We were all in a bit of a shock. Some things were sort of done but others were forgotten. As I reflect maybe I should have done more. I created the photo board for his viewing and it was an all day project that taxed my emotions as I looked at our years in the pictures. His years.
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Anyway, what I am sad about and thinking about is that there was no 'wake'. No time after the viewing for all of us friends and family to be comfortable and have some food together and talk and remember him. It makes me sad now. I feel like it should have happened, but no one organized it. The viewing itself was very nice and lots and lots of people showed up and lots spoke about how Jim affected their lives. So I will hold those memories dear to me.
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I remember my father saying that Jim was like a son to him. This really struck deep in me because my dad is not one prone to say things like this. Many years ago I remember my Mom telling me how proud she was of Jim and I and that struck deep also.

Those days


For Jimbo


Thank you for the days,

Those endless days,

Those sacred days you gave me.

I'm thinking of the days,

I won't forget a single day,

Believe me

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Betsy and Mercury and Tigger

Taken last week by a friend. I don't have many of me and the dogs because I am usually the one behind the camera. Which I don't mind, except sometimes, it is nice to see yourself. Then I grab at my hair and think 'oh my god why didn't he tell me it looked like that'. Mercury and I went out for a walk and the photographer followed. Then we came back and snuggled on the back porch with Tigger.






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Monday, May 25, 2009

As long as I live

As long as I can
I will look at this world
For both of us.

As long as I can
I will laugh with the birds,
I will sing with the flowers,
I will pray to the stars,
For both of us.

As long as I can
I will remember
How many things
On this earth
Were your joy,
and I will live
As well as you
Would want me to live
As long as I can.

Sascha
For Both of Us," Wintersun

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Not much here

It's thursday and it's warm out and I am not sure where this will go but I wanted to write. So it will be a rambling blog.

My life right now is a creative mass of super stress and super brain exploding situations.

Super stress at work as the clock ticks down on the date of the Community Health fair that I am the organizer of and is being sponsored by the office. I am finding exibitors, making calls, emails and checking off lists. I didn't know it would be this difficult or that I would be doing it alone. Wow, doesn't that sound familiar.

Brain exploding situation is Mercury and what is happening with him. The vet said it was a matter of one or two months depending on his pain level. The cancer is back, the pain is still there when he eats sometimes. He is quiet and snuggly most of the time. Looking at me with those brown eyes that are melting my heart and making me cry for him. Then ten minutes later, if it involves getting up and going outside for a walk...he is ready, chipper and up.

It hurts just to know that he won't be around soon. But I am trying to do the best I can for him. I am afraid that I just won't know 'when' the time will come. I don't want him to be in pain, but I don't want to let him go yet either.

There is more stacked on top of both of these, but that's the big gist of it. Last week was the super stress, this week has been more 'get 'er done' type of mood. The health fair is sneaking up on me (June 20) and I have to get more people locked into coming.

I realized today at lunch with a friend that I have not eaten at home since Monday at lunch. Monday night I went to dinner with friends, same for Tuesday night and Wednesday night. Wednesday lunch I was out with our office to celebrate one woman getting her masters. I will be home eating left overs from the doggie bags tonight. It's been fun, different foods each night and different places to enjoy. Tuesday night was some really great Greek food, yesterday lunch was a fantastic turkey cheeseburger with sweet potato fries. Yummy.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Smiles

I Find Your Love
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I'll catch your smile on someone's face
Your whisper in the wind's embrace
Through diamond stars and songs and dreams
I find your love in everything
The sun, the sky, the rolling sea
All conspire to comfort me
From sorrow's edge life's beauty seems
To find your love in everything
I've come to trust the hope it brings
To find your love in everything
Even as I fall apart,
Even through my shattered heart
I'll catch your smile on someone's face.....amazing grace



The poem was found on a messageboard for those that have lost loved ones. I read it and thought of the smiles that Jim always had. And the special ones he had for me.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Drool and flowers

This past week has been a whirlwind of moments. At work, at home, out and about. Keeping up has been hard to do. And coordinating it has been tricky. My blog posts have been neglected.
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Mercury and I go to the vets tomorrow to see what is up. But I already know. He is showing the same symptoms with food that he was showing a few months ago. And the base of his tongue - what is left of it - is very red. I need to see how much he is suffering, if antibiotics and pain meds may help more and make decisions. I was hoping for more time.
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That is either the cancer coming back or irratation when he eats. I am trying to make the food up myself and feed him, but he wants to eat, to chew, to taste. He walks around looking for things to try and eat. He is trying so hard to make it work. Then it gets stuck in the front of his mouth and he doesn't have the tongue to push it loose. Then it just becomes a drooling mess.
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Home is a challenge because with Mercury sick keeping things clean is nigh impossible. Things like the couch, my pants, my shirt my arms, the kitchen floor - they all get drool in various stages of ickiness on them. I have him regulated to two rooms and outside. I sat down last night to watch Lost and he came up, rubbed his face on my shirt and looked up at me. My shirt was soaked but his eyes stopped me from saying anything. I took the shirt off, wiped the rest of his mouth and chest with it and tossed it in the wash. Then I cried a little for him and yes, for me too and gave him another pain pill.
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I have about a dozen or so pictures of the two dogs in the doorway to the house. They love to sit there and just smell the outside. To watch the neighbors up and down the street and enjoy the breeze. I am usually on the steps just below the doorway making sure that a) they don't run out and b) the cat doesn't run out. I was sitting there the other day when I thought "photo op" and came back out with the camera.
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The bright light this week was in the wonderful amass of colors in my backyard. I went back out and got some more flowers and potted them for various spots around the yard. I also got this great hose - it is a coil hose. I love it because of the small yard, but especially because of the nozzle. To be able to 'shower' the flowers or 'jet' the concrete where the dogs pee or just 'mist' in the early morning is really neat. It is a simple pleasure, a simple toy, for a simple mind.
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The picture to the right is the yard. And it ends just about at the end of the grill in the right corner. Small and cozy. The graffiti on the back wall is mine. I did that one afternoon when I was tired of just looking back there and seeing the fence. It is a larger version of a doodling design that I find myself doing whenever I have paper and a pen and am on the phone. It is different all the time and there is some pyschological things to be said about it, but I don't know what.
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I can't remember the name of the flowers in the hangling baskets. Purple bursts of Pleasure. Well, this picture doesn't do them justice, but I absolutely love the colors and find them uplifting when I look at them.
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To look out at once was grey cement, grey fence and bare dirt where there should be grass, and see all this is cool for me. I find that I shake my head up and down saying 'yep, you got it right this time'. That makes me smile.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

2 hours

Aren't Saturdays great? It can be either a day of energy and ambition or a day of sloth. I decided to combine the two. Energy for two hours, sloth for two hours. It works.

I got up energized and did some cleaning. My cleaning has become straightening the areas that the public may walk in and see. The upstairs gets a once over and hanging of clothes. Not a great method. Every once in awhile I really attack the other areas - bedroom and office and ignore the downstairs.

Then it was sit hang out in the yard and pretend that I am gardening when really I am talking to the dogs and admiring the plants that are in bloom. Good choices this year and the yard really pops.

I have talked about the Sundays that Jim and I had - drives to no where and days spent together. Saturdays for most of the marriage either he or I or both of us had to work. That was one reason Sundays were so special. The last couple years before he died, I was working 9-5 and M-F, so my Saturdays were my own. I enjoyed this sort of 'personal space' day. I would do chores, run errands and yet still have the quiet house and ability to read or watch tv without worrying about coordinating things with Jim.

It is still strange to have 7 days a week like that now. I have to think about the dogs and cat, but not about the other human and what they might need. It has only been in the last six months that I have really come to realize this. Going to see my brother at Thanksgiving was a turning point in that I traveled, where I wanted and when I wanted. And I could do that again...if I wanted. It is interesting how things sometimes just 'click'. Oh I certainly would happily give up this freedom to have Jim back, but my brain is finally acknowledging that he isn't coming back. Unless I finally do wake up and find that it has been a life lesson for me (think wizard of oz or christmas carol). Though I wonder if it counts when I still talk to him.

So now my relaxing two hours is up and it is onward to errands.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

couches

What an interesting month May is.

I never noticed it before, but there is a lot going on. May 1st is May day. May 2nd, well that's my brothers birthday, May 4th is May the Fourth be with You day, May 5th is Cinco de Mayo day. All that in just one week.

Coming up is Mothers Day, Memorial Day and Jim's memorial day. This is enough special days for 3 months.

I realized tonight that we are becoming our parents. They always said it would happen, but it is. My siblings and I got together this past saturday and we were comparing stories and sharing family events. 3 of the 4 of us talked about falling asleep on the couch around 9pm and then waking just as the news came on at eleven. I was one of those 3. I found myself doing it again tonight. Dinner and dishes done. Dogs walked. Settling down on the couch to watch some tv and finding myself falling asleep.

I thought about how my mom would do that and I would say "no way - if I ever get that tired I would go to bed". Silly young me didn't think that what she was doing was what I was trying to do tonight. Spend time with the kids. I feel like I never really spend time with the dogs except on the couch or on a walk. Mom may have been pushing herself to stay awake so she could be around us as kids. Ah, if we only knew.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

23 and more

April 29th, 2007 and Jim was still alive. He was putting in a transfer to try and get a job in PA and maybe we could move. I had started a new job in January. His brother had passed a way from cancer just a few weeks earlier and he was struggling with that. It was all just 23 months ago.

I have been so busy at work that I didn't even realize the date till about 3 p.m. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks and my brain froze. I was in almost a meltdown stage when I got home, let the dogs out and looked at the mail. There, in the mail, a card. I wasn't expecting a card, it's not my birthday or any holiday. I opened the card and found a note and a couple of photos of a bush with some pink flowers (forsythia?). The card was from my Uncle Ed and Aunt Audena. It was a thank you card but really it was a note to tell me that they were thinking of me and more, they were thinking of Jim. The bush in the photos had been planted in memory of Jim. I didn't even know they had done this. They said they think of him when they look at it. It made me realize, once again, how many people he had touched.

Visiting my Aunt and Uncle on some of the holidays after my Mom passed away was something Jim and I did and enjoyed. Maybe once or twice a year we would go up and hang out with the cousins and have some fun. Great Halloween and NYE parties were found there. The fun really came in the family togetherness and the way they adopted Jim into the family so easily. They live about an 90 minutes away so we would drive up and make it a day trip.

I really miss driving with Jim. Or rather, riding with Jim on the day trips we would take. It was like we would get in the truck and just shoot in different directions. One time it may be due north and we would stop and see the cemetary where my Mom and grandparents are buried. Or maybe head west and stop in Gettysburg for the weekend, or East and just travel till we found someplace good to have dinner and then head home.
The fun was in the traveling together, the talking and sharing our favorite music with each other. Until I played some Toby Keith for him, you wouldn't have guessed that Jim was a country music fan. Well, he wasn't. Just Toby Keith fan I guess. He loved singing those songs. I learned Beatles music from him. Oh, and a lot of Beatles trivia also. I wasn't a Beatles music lover till I was in the truck with Jim singing it. He would look over and sing it right to me. Those were special moments.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Unwilling Tourist

One of the things left to me from my Dad is a 30 page memoir of the time he spent in the Army during World War 2.
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My father never spoke about this time while we were growing up. That is common for the soldiers of that time and for the ones of today. He was a civilian soldier. That was what they were in WW2. Not drafted, didn't join to make it a career, they joined because their country needed them. The photo to the right is Dad just out of boot camp. On leave before going overseas.
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My father was in Company A, 301 Regiment, 94th infantry, Third Army. He volunteered to join the Special 1st Battalion Recon. The 94th infantry was under General George Patton. Something my father was very proud of, and yet as children it was not spoken about (though I remember him taking all of us to see the movie Patton when it came out, I was 9). Dad fought in France and was in several battles and then captured and was a POW for 9 months.
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The memoir gave a lot of information about not only the battles but what his state of mind was during that time. It was fascinating for me as a daughter to read this and get this insight into my father. To read of his bravery and his fear and his hunger and his hope. Well, it was amazing.
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I have attended several of the 94th infantry reunions that were held. They have had one a year for the past 59 years. My dad found out about them in 1986 and went to them every year since then. The photo on the right is him and my stepmom at the reunion in 2008. He died about a month and a half later. He seemed to know this and told us at the reunion that it would be his last one. He had all his children and several of Betty's kids and he paid the bill for all of us and our rooms. He wanted us all there.
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The hat he is wearing is now on mantel in a shadow box with a couple of his other 94th items. I have it next to Jim's flag given to me for his service in the Navy.
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At the reunions in the past I found myself listening to the men as they spoke of their time during the war. Some told stories about fallen comrades and some argued points of strategy from a battle 60 years ago. A few years ago I was at one of the reunions and Jim was not there. He came to most of them, so I am not sure why he missed this one. Work most likely.
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Anyway, as it got into the night, the men at our table seemed to forget I was there and they shared stories of a particularly bad battle that at least 3 of them were in. My dad was not. I started taking notes in dim light on paper napkin. One man was telling how he and his buddy went in to the battle and his buddy fell, dead, two shots in his chest. The man scooped him up and tried to carry him out of range. More shots rained down around him and he said, almost in tears, that he used his friends body as a shield so that he could get to safety.
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Dad was captured along with others on January 16. 1945. His memories of his time as a POW were both interesting and sad. He wrote about the hunger when they were prisoners and the red cross boxes that never made it to them. There was one potato a day for 12 men and how they would have to stretch that to make it thru till the next day. He was an artist and to do something while the days dragged on, he would draw using charcoal from the fire. He started doing this on walls of barns where they stayed and he wrote that many of the other POW's would ask him to draw on their jackets. He said the things most often requested were pictures of food. One interesting observation that my dad made was the division of black and white in the army. And yet, how that dissolved when they became prisoners.
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The 94th Infantry has a monument for their service down in Fort Benning, Geogia. My father designed it. He was very proud of this and worked on it for months. All four of his children attended the dedication ceremony in Georgia. This is a photo taken of him (on the left). The ceremony was wonderful and afterwards we visited a room just filled with war memorabilia - jackets, maps, guns, lots of photos and many more things that members had donated for the museum.
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I am going to create a pdf of his memoir and send it to my siblings. I would like them to share it with their children. I am very honored and proud of my dad and what he did for our country.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Big and Red

I am getting a Fire Truck!!!

The fax from the Fire Department came today and they said they will have a Fire Truck coming to the Health Fair for 2 hours. The Health Fair is an event that I am organizing and 98% has been with no help. That wasn't how it was supposed to be, but since I am the one committed to it, I am the one doing the work. I am feeling good about what I have gotten done and who is lined up to come. It has been a couple months of sending emails, calling offices and getting confirmations. I don't think I will ever do anything like this again, but this once taught me a lot.

Just doing the happy dance about the fire truck. Now, if I could get somebody to walk my dogs down there, I could get pics of them with the truck!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Sunny day and the Dark Knight

Yesterday was a simply gorgeous day. Bright sun, no humidity and warm temperatures. I decided to make it a backyard day.

First was to spend a couple hours helping my fellow neighbors to clean up our streets and alleys. There is a 'clean up day' twice a year when we go out in small groups and attack various parts of our neighborhood. We had both young and old helping and it was nice to see them together. Granted, the young male teens all gravitated towards the slightly older but still young pretty young grad students that were there, but no matter, because it got the job done.

I came home and took in the view from my bathroom of our yard. Yes, the bathroom has a huge window, much larger than is normal for a bathroom. It overlooks the backyard. I looked out there and thought of how things have been the same for 6 years. So I closed my eyes and thought of how to rearrange the yard and more specifically the things in the yard. I came up with a plan and started in on it.

First thing was to go get some color. It was off to Home Depot, Walmart and a local nursery. I got some hanging baskets of pansies, some tiger lily's and some pretty purple plants I am not sure what they are called.

Then it was move everything out of the yard, hose all the cement down and put things back the way I wanted. There are still modifications to be made, but I think it will work rather well. My table won't be sinking in the dirt (it's on the cement area) and the dogs space will be easier to clean. An encouraging note was when I found the small japanese maple that I put in a pot last year actually survived and seems to be growing. When I say small, I mean small. It's height is about 8 inches and it has some very miniature leaves. It did persevere the winter and I gave it some fresh dirt and some plant food. I got that as a freebie last year from our community garden. They advertised free trees. I went expecting something a couple feet tall and got a small sprout. I wanted to plant this in honor of Jim. Well, I guess I did, and hopefully it will keep on going.

Speaking of planting in honor of Jim. While visiting my brother I was able to see what a great garden and landscape area he had. They went out to the nursery as a family afternoon event and I went along. I just wandered the back area of the nursery looking at plants and trees and bushes. While there I stumbled across a bush/shrub called the caryopteris Dark Knight. It is a small shrub that has a very pretty blue/purple bloom and is said to attract butterflies. I knew as soon as I saw it, I had to have one. I talked with my brother and he agreed that I could plant them in his yard. I bought two. One in remembrance of my father and one in remembrance of Jim.

Now, here is what you must understand. Jim is a Batman fan. I mean, he has the comics, the model Batmobile, he can quote lines from the movie, he has Adam Wests autograph on a dvd of the Batman movie from the 60's. Hanging in a closet is the Batman costume that he made himself and wore for halloween one year. That is special because I helped, after seeing him struggle with the mask part, I found in a Halloween shop a latex mask at half price. It was the perfect touch to the costume.

Batman is even a part of what brought us together. I went to his store to apply for a job and had the Batman button on my coat, he noticed and mentioned it when I got the job application from him. I pinned it to the application so he would remember me. He did.

Finding this bush was a sign. I mean, Batman is the Dark Knight. Jim is Batman. This was the perfect choice for something to plant for him. Which amusing me because I struggled last year to have a tree planted at the one year mark and didn't make it (well, except for the small japanese maple in the pot out back). I knew that nothing I had seen to plant was right. Yet.

I asked my brother to plant these in his yard because he has the space and he will be in that house for many more years. I left a rock with "I love you" on it at the base of the plant.

At the nursery yesterday I learned that these plants can be kept in a large pot for the deck and will last a few years before they may outgrow it. I am going to pick one up next week and have it in the yard. A Dark Knight to watch over me.

Sunday and photos

A friend of mine was talking about memories of her lost one. Her daughter. It started me thinking this morning, early this morning about memories of my Jim.
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I started the blog to try and remember all the things I could about Jim and I and what we had together and to do this so he wouldn't be forgotten. So I wouldn't forget.
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I was reviewing my photo files in a hope to get them organized. I have tons of photos stored on my pc and external hard drive. Many are duplicates that have been put into two or three files - the same photo under "Jim" and "Family pics" and "Jim and Betsy". I am not sure of a good method to get them sorted out.
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However, I did pull up one of the last photos taken of Jim. We were visiting his brother and wife in Georgia and there is a great shot of Jim and I on a bench at the local market. I magnifyed the shot of Jim's head and sat here staring at it.
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I started to think about all the things I really loved about this man.
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The eyebrows, and the feel of them under my fingertips. He had bushy eyebrows that reminded me very much of my father's. Jim kept his trimmed and neat, my Dad let his grow wild. From there my eyes strayed to his eyes and looking at this picture I could almost feel myself touching his warm smooth skin. He was a good looking man for his age and though life had not been easy for him, his face didn't show it. .
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I smile as I look at the mole above the right eye on his forehead, just because it was a part of him. I smile more when I look at the small scar above the left eye. That's where he said his first wife hit him with an iron. Oh he was a charmer, he was. I smile and shake my head at the goatee he has in this picture. I wasn't crazy about it, and so when asked, I told the funeral home to shave it off. He would grow a goatee every few years and this last time was when he got his new job - he wanted a new look. He was very proud of his 1/16th or so American Indian blood he had in him. He claimed that was why he was not able to grow a full beard. He really had no facial hair along the side of his face and it was an interesting quirk.
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I look at his face overall and I see the love of life that he had. It is projected even though he isn't really smiling in the photo, there is a hint of one. But rather in the whole way he looks and how he is on the edge of a grin with the eyes twinkling and the slightly cocked head. Yep that was Jim. He really loved his laughter and to have others laughing.
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You can't see me in this cropped version, but beside him in this photo is me. I am sitting there and smiling. I have this look on my face which you see in many photos of Jim and I. It is a look of pride to be next to him. A friend said it is a look of happiness to be a part of this duo.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Dog food meatballs

Today was the first low stress day in a few. Getting in the groove with taking care of Mercury has been a strain but adding another dog that is jealous of the attention and shows me she is jealous by peeing as soon as I walk out the door or if I go upstairs. Yes, that is Tigger I am talking about.

Mercury's diet consists of dog food meatballs. I haven't gotten them perfected yet, but if I can make them small and sort of toss them at him they go deep down his throat and he doesn't have to struggle. They vet says that eventually he will learn a new way to eat, but for now this gets him his food. There is a bucket of water out back now with water for him. It is easier for him to drink that way then with the regular bowl. He sort of slurps it up.

I suggest to anyone who has a dog that has had 60% of his tongue removed to never ever look inside the mouth. I did it yesterday and I totally freaked. There was just this hole/space/nothingness where there used to be a big lappy drooly tongue. I sat and cried.

Dogs aside, I realized last night that I am catching myself forgetting things. Jim things. The feel of his hands on my hips or his kiss is more a memory of a memory. I long to hear his voice and may run the one where he is in a play. He is saying lines like a character (Clark Kent) but it will still be his voice.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dog days

I picked up Mercury from the vet yesterday. He is off of pain meds and seems pretty chirpy. The vet said he is eating, but we have a special method to get around him having to chew too much and thus use the tongue. He is drinking a lot of water and I am not sure if that is because he is dehydrated from the kennel or if it eases his tongue. He snuggled on the couch with me last night and it was wonderful to have both dogs near me.

I know there is a limited time with him, but am unsure how limited. I guess the trick is one day at a time.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Painting the bunny

Jack is hunting for Easter eggs.

This Easter was spent at my older brothers home and with his family. It was a good weekend and a lot of fun. He has a couple of great daughters and his wife and he open the home up to extended family every weekend. I loved their tradition of Friday night/family night dinner and the big Sunday evening family dinner. It shows a wonderful spirit of what we had when we were growing up with my parents.

My great nephew is a little guy named Jack. In the photo below he is helping Nona (grandmom) to 'paint the bunny'. Painting is what he called it when they were putting the icing on the cake. After done icing it they put some jellybeans in for the ears. Well Jack decided that two jellybeans was not enough and proceeded to stick jellybeans wherever he could on that poor bunny.
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He is a very intelligent and quick learning two year old. He remembered me from my Thanksgiving visit and wasn't shy about interacting with me. He is also the first grandchild so he is surrounded by 7 adults ranging in age from 21- 81. Oh, yes, he has his melt downs but then what two year old doesn't?

One thing that was interesting - my brother and I talked about what I wanted to do in the future. I told him I never really felt like Baltimore was 'home' even after 20 years here. And I would like to be closer to family. It was okay when Jim was around and my Dad was nearby, but now, there is no family to lean on or visit with. He told me that even after 20 years where he is, it didn't feel like 'home'. We even briefly talked of my moving closer to them. I was happy that he didn't dissuade the idea. He even told me of a place to apply for a job. I left feeling good about life at the moment and it was definately a good visit.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Thursday

I will be in and out most of the weekend, so posting will be spotty (ha ha).

Mercury update - I went to the vets today and they want to keep him a little longer. They did let me sit in an exam room and see him. I talked to him for a bit, rubbed his ears and gave him hugs. He rubbed his slobber and bits of blood on me and then lay down and put his head on my lap while I lavished love on him. I talked to him about how his daddy was watching over him and making sure that things were okay. I told him the cancer sucks but maybe daddy is lonely and needs to have Merc because they were buddies. Gryphon our first Dal is hanging out with Jim but Gryph was more my dog than Jim's. Mercury bonded to Jim a lot more. So I told him that we would have a great summer together and we would see how things went along. There was a lot of wet food in his future and I know how much he enjoys that. At the word "food" he perked his head up and looked at me with those adorable brown eyes. I had to stop talking for a bit. I think in the end though, we both felt calmer afterwards.

The vet tech said she was happy to see how calm he was because sometimes seeing an owner gets them all riled up. But he has always been a pretty calm guy and I am sure the drugs he is on helped too. Well, and besides my calming personality (again, ha ha). I tried anyway. At one point when I was noticing how dusty it was and my eyes were getting leaky, I stopped and told myself that he shouldn't feel my agitation and I calmed down.

On another note, shopping for an Easter outfit is really tough. I couldn't find any pretty pastel colors to wear and I am not sure what I will do. All the suits with pants or skirts are for the fall and winter, so they are dark. I hate fashion. I am happy in a polo shirt and jeans and some crocs.

Extensive

So my last newsflash was a bit premature. I mean, it was good in that Mercury made it thru the surgery, but not good in that the report the vet gave me afterwards was bad.

The vet was able to remove only 60% of the tumor on his tongue. And he said it was extensive, more than he thought, and that being so, it will come back aggressively.

I may have the summer with Mercury. We are not sure what timeline to give it. 4, 6 or 8 months.

I will enjoy the time and let him know that he is loved.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Out in the field

Newsflash:
Mercury is okay at the moment. He had the surgery on his tongue to hopefully remove all or most of the cancerous cells. I called the vets and they said he is groggy and they may want to keep him overnight, and I should call back at 6pm to actually talk to the vet about it. I am happy because his coming out of the anathesia was a worry. What is next is a bigger worry.

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So now, you will get treated to a few more Mercury and Tigger pictures. These were taken just Saturday at my Dad's.
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They started the day off running -
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And they end the day in utter bliss and exhaustion!