Thursday, December 31, 2015

Year in Review 2015

Time to wrap up this year.  
Trica is a Nurse Practitioner in  Northern Minnesota.  She commutes daily and likes her job.   Trica’s husband Richard is in the Radio Business.

Jennifer continues to teach English at a Community College.  She  is the Mayor of their little town.   Jen’s husband Andy teaches Electronic Technology and Automated Systems at a Community College.  He is the Fire Chief in their little town.  Andy is a First Responder.

Savannah is going to a Community College for elementary education.

Madison is a Senior this year.  She still loves all animals.  Her Golden Lab Deacon is sometimes called Goose.
Paige is a Junior and plays Hockey, she is taking some college courses.

Noah would be technically a Junior in High School, but he is a PSEO Student at a Community College. (Post Secondary Enrollment Options.)  He plays guitar and violin.  He is a Certified Nursing Assistant and wants to be a Doctor someday.

Adam is in eighth grade.  He plays basketball and cello.  He is in Vex Robotics.

The grands Oldest to youngest
The Grands oldest to youngest. November 2015
Chance is 11 years old.  He is really slowing down this past year.
Miney, Little Elvis and Chance  May 2015
Miney must be about ten years old and Little Elvis is five years old.

Jade still lives with Trica and Richard.  Deacon /Goose lives there too with Maddie.

14 year old Chaucer the cat with many lives or “The cat that almost died” is still kicking.  The front porch was an intensive care unit where a great struggle was held between life and death after an encounter with a mean old Tom cat. Chaucer technically belongs to Noah but he is more of a family cat.
I cannot keep track of the other cats…Bailey, Luna, Ziggy and Skittles…but they all seem just fine. They come out and hiss at Chance when we visit.

Trigeminal Neuralgia may be in remission temporarily.  We have to wait and see.  Far Guys newest disorder’s protein may be helping with the unbearable pain of the TN.

Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency.  A Genetic Disorder passed down to Far Guy by both of his parents.  They were both carriers an MZ and one an MS which is which we don’t know at this point in time.  Far Guy is an SZ.  I am an MM.(Normal)  Trica is an MS and Jennifer and MZ.  Savannah, Madison and Paige are MM.  Noah is an MM.  Adam is a MZ.  Far Guy’s sister is an MM that is how we know what type their parents carried.  Far Guy gets weekly infusions through a port at home.  He takes Aralast, it is very expensive.  It runs from a high $82,000 to a low of $56,000 a week.  Yes, that is a WEEK, it is not covered by Medicare.  So it all falls to our secondary insurance.  So far the infusions are helping to keep his lung function at 21%.  ( Yes 79 % of his lungs have been destroyed  by the lack of protein…everytime a Doctor said “Oh it is just a virus and antibiotics won’t help…they were wrong.”)
Biggest Change:   For me: Learning to access a port, mix expensive medications and infuse my husband.  I didn’t know if I could do it…I can.

Biggest Frustration: The medical and medicare system.

Deaths: In May our friend Mary Lou from Iowa died at the age of 87.  My cousin Arthur’s wife who we called Auntie Kathy died in May after cancer invaded her body for 32 days, she was 66 years old.  In May Cousin Nickie’s husband Jim died of Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma at the age of 66. Our friend Chuck in Indiana died in October at the age of 77.  In November our longtime friend, Marilyn who is also the Mother of two of our very special friends died at the age of 89.  In November my Uncle Dennis died after being ill for five days, he was 78  years old.  May they all Rest In Peace.

Births: None in our immediate family.

Happiest Moments: Simple things shared, a new wildflower or a pretty bird in the yard.

We still enjoy woodcarving and spending time outside taking Chance for his daily walks and an almost daily ride in the car.
Indigo Bunting
Indigo Bunting May 2015.
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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Wistful Wednesday : Christmas 1988

Oh lets go back 27 years.  Why not. December of 1988.
Christmas 1988
A polaroid taken by Far Guy’s Dad.
Back: Ronald, Bethany, Janice, Jennifer and me.
Far Guy, Trica with Baby Snuffer and Far Guy’s Mom.
Trica would have been 16 years old, Jennifer 13. Bethany would have been 7.
Far Guy only has one sister.   They had more siblings : twins, a brother and a sister that died shortly after birth of lung problems. ( In retrospect they probably had Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Defiency)
Christmas Dinner 1988
Here we are at the dinner table. White tablecloth pressed perfectly and the candles lit. The good China and the silverware was silver.  Most of the glasses are part of a set called Platinum Leaves or possibly Frosted Silver Leaves.

On the table: A beautiful lead glass dish that had three compartments dividing the pickles, green olives and black olives. Another plate with carrott sticks and celery with the valley filled with Cheese Whiz.  A fancy smancy mold that is probably cranberries and Jello. Also serving:  Homemade dinner rolls.  Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy.  The vegetable was most likely green bean cassarole.  Dessert would have been an assortment of homemade cookies and candy…possibly with some perfect pink or green Divinity.

Does anyone even made Divinity anymore? 
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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

In Town

One day we headed to town, I was feeling better and it was good to get out.  We visited my parents, I had been staying away from them because of my cold/crud.  We had coffee and Chance got more than a few cookies…no wonder he starts to drool as soon as he sees their house.

I had a Wallyworld list…and guess what I saw in the parking lot…proof that six idiots had visited the store.  Far Guy said “take a picture”  so I did.
Shopping carts
Yes, it had snowed and the lines denoting the parking spots could not be seen…but really there is a sign plain as day.  Doesn’t Wallyworld have video cameras?   Certainly someone saw all the carts taking up a handicapped spot?

It takes a lot of nerve to just leave your cart in the regular parking lot.  It must take people with partial lobotomies or voluminous testicles to push a cart into a handicapped spot.  
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Monday, December 28, 2015

Eight Years

I began this blog in 2007 on December 28, it only appeared locally in the online newspaper as a wordpress blog.  Recently I found out that those early blog posts have been archived.   Not sure if I can resurrect them or not.  I do have hard copies of them all…I think.  That is a project for the new year.  

I began writing on blogspot on September 5, 2008.  At that time I wondered what would happen to the blog entries and worried that someday they would all be lost.  I wrote the same exact thing and published both wordpress and blogspot with live writer.  I published with wordpress for six years then I abandoned the blog that appeared in the Fargo Forum online.  It was like giving up a baby… but I had to make the decision because they wouldn’t allow me more photo storage.

Live Writer was the best software ever to write blogs with.  Now it is called Open Live Writer and has a few bugs which may or may not get worked out, some wonderful Microsoft volunteers took it over and are working on it.

So anyways I have reached another milestone. Eight years…hardly seems possible.six ladys slippers
Yellow Lady’s Slippers or Cypripedium parviflorum

I have thought about it and I still have some stories to tell and photos to share.  So I will continue.  After all I am retired…the evenings get long up here in Minnesota especially in the winter.  Television is not all that exciting most nights.   I read, play a few card/word games online and write the blog.  I am a night person so most nights I am up past midnight anyway.  I do my best sleeping in the morning. 

Other than Wistful Wednesday I have no idea what I will write about until I sit down at the computer.  Most times I just think..okay what do I want to share with my best friend, my children and my grands?  Sometimes I am just bitchy…I write it all down and then delete it. Then I can go on and write something nice…most times.

My brothers say I have no tact very little tact.  Some days that is very true, I tell it the way I see it….I used to say I tell it like it is…but my husband says that is not true, so I just go with his flow.  
Many Ladys Slippers
Showy Lady’s Slipper or Cypripedium reginae Minnesota’s State Flower
Thanks for reading!  See ya’ll tomorrow!
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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Thoughts December 27

I am feeling a bit better. 

Far Guy is recouping slowly.  He is a tad impatient with his recovery, sometimes he gets real frustrated with his health.

Yesterday we ventured out to do the recycling and take the garbage to the dump.  It had snowed. Roads were slippery.  On our way back we were slowing for a stop sign, another vehicle was coming from the west travelling too fast and attempted a right turn…he missed us by inches and went into the ditch. Far Guy said “He is not gonna make it!”  We waited to see if he was okay…he was…but couldn’t get enough traction to drive out of the ditch.  Luckily for the driver some of our neighbors stopped by to help out.  One is driving the car and the other is pushing. 
Minnesota Nice to help someone out of the ditch.
I am not sure what happened next, traffic was starting to back up so we left not wanting to cause another near accident.  I think our neighbor either pulled this kid out of the ditch or called a wrecker…either way we were all lucky.  Far Guy said “Our guardian angels were looking out for us.”

Earlier this week our Granddaughter Madison (Maddie)was in a car accident.  Her beau was driving… rounded a corner couldn’t stop and hit a number of trees.  Luckily they had their seat belts on and the air bags deployed.  Maddie was checked out in the ER …she has some soreness from her seat belt across her ribs and upper body.  Her car was totalled.  They are lucky kids.  I hound them relentlessly about seat belts.  Every time Maddie takes a selfie in a vehicle…I say “Put your seat belt on. I don’t care if the car is parked…if you are in it put on your seat belt.”  We are thankful that she is okay.

We had a quiet afternoon at home. I watched some crazy movie on Netflix that I promptly slept through.  Alaska Guy joined us for a late afternoon visit and supper.  He and Far Guy had a good visit.

Chance is catching up on his sleep too.  He is in a funk…he misses Miney and Little Elvis something fierce.
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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Day Report

Four of the grands and their parents were here on Christmas morning.
Always good to hear the sound of laughter in the house.
The grands Dec 25 2015
What a good looking bunch of kids.  Savannah was elsewhere for Christmas.
The grands shortest to tallest
Shortest to tallest.
Maddie is taller
Now Maddie is taller than everyone!
They ate, opened gifts and ate some more.  Jen made a wonderful egg bake with ham and cheese,  Far Guy’s famous Cinnamon Rolls recipe was tweaked a little and they are better than ever.  His Cinnamon Rolls are really Caramel Rolls…but whatever he calls them they were delicious.

Jennifer stayed most of the week with us.  I got whatever crud Far Guy had and now have another ear infection plus a sinus infection.  Thanks to Jen I was able to rest and let her take over with food preparation and Doctor’s visits.  Trica brought over her look in your ear thingy and then washed some wax out of my ear.

We have nothing major planned for the next few days…other than to rest. 
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Friday, December 25, 2015

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve

I will let the Shiny Brites speak for themselves.
Merry Christmas
Hot Pink Merry Christmas
Bright Pink
Soft Blue Merry Christmas
Soft Blue
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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wistful Wednesday: 2004

In 2004 Far Guy’s Mom was 90 years old.  We had a small gathering at the Nursing Home for her birthday.  Far Guy and I got married on her birthday…what a gift.  I am certain that no one could ever meet her standards as a perfect wife for her son.
Willard Louise and Evelyn 2004
Uncle Willard, Aunt Louise and Evelyn.  Willard and Evelyn are brother and sister.
2004 Evelyn Gene and Connie December 18
Far Guy, Evelyn and me.
Gene Evelyn Jenny and Adam 2004
Others guests were Jennifer and Adam.  Adam was a little guy back then.
Gene Evelyn Jen and Adam 2004
In the background of this photo our dear friend Rhonda who had Multiple Sclerosis since the age of 25 is being wheeled back to her room in the corner.

A few days after these photos were taken Chance would pick Far Guy for his owner.  Evelyn was just thrilled with Chance. He would learn all about wheel chairs, walkers, automatic doors and cookies at the home.  Chance was a regular visitor at the home until Evelyn died early one morning in March of 2006.

Christmas in the Nursing Home was a little depressing, for as long as we could manage we brought her to our home and when that didn’t work we made a meal to take to the home to share…usually Salmon because that was one of her favorites.
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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Unsilvered Shiny Brites

These WWII era Shiny Brites are not flashy and shiny because silver nitrate was used in the war effort so ornaments were left plain or sprayed with a transparent color and trimmed in mica or colored glitter.   As far as I know these ornaments were never reproduced in later years.   Often the ornaments had paper tops instead of metal…metal was also used in the war effort.  They may have had their original paper tops and strings replaced sometime in their travels from tree to tree.
Clear round
This clear striped ornament has been painted with a transparent paint and decorated with mica…sometimes  called sugar mica.
From Chance (2) Lantern
Chance gave me this clear lantern shaped ornament that is trimmed in colored glitter.
Tornado shape
This tornado shaped clear ornament has a heavy coat of mica. 
They are other shapes also…bells, I have a few, and what are called UFO’s…think the opposite shape of the tornado. The striped round ornaments can be small two inch size or three to four inch sizes. There may be other shapes and sizes also.  I am not an expert…I can only talk about the ornaments I own or have seen. 

So not all Shiny Brites are shiny after all.  These ornaments are the easiest to date.  Since they are not as flashy many people just pass over them but they are sought after ornaments by Shiny Brite hoarders collectors. They were only produced for three or four years.

I think they are beautiful in their simplicity, especially so since they were purchased by someone during the war years, what stories they could tell.

The Christmas Cards have been mailed, the shopping has been completed, most of the decorating has been done, neighbor JoLynn made cookies and brought us a tray full…so we can have cookies and coffee.  Menus are still in the planning stage but our brunch will be simple…juice, fruit, Far Guy’s famous cinnamon rolls and something eggy.

Far Guy is feeling a bit better.  Sadly he has shared with me, but with cold tablets and Aleve I almost feel like a real person.
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Monday, December 21, 2015

Winter Sunset

The sun is on it’s southern most track.  For us that means we can catch a sunset over Guyles Lake. 
But you have to hurry because this time of year the sun set comes on really fast. 
Sunsetting near Guyles lake
Chance and I were hurrying along, trying not to miss the sunset.   He knows the roads and keeps a look out for deer or turkeys…we saw neither.

Sometimes it is all about the chance for Chance.  The chance to go for a ride, when some days he has to be content with staying at home in the yard…so anything beyond that is exciting.
Sunset over Guyles lake
We just barely caught the sunset.   Those trees that circle the front of Guyles Lake are Tamaracks and even if they look like dead sticks all winter in the spring they will turn all lush and green.

Once again we are thrust into the darkest part of the year.  Today our sunrise is a 8:05 AM and sets at 4:36 PM for 8 hours and 31 minutes of sunlight or 15 hours and 29 minutes of darkness.  The Winter Solstice officially happens for us at 10:49 PM. I always look forward to the return of the light little by little minute by minute.

It is good to finally be officially in winter.  It is probably my least favorite time of year, I am ready to get it over with already. 
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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Shiny Brite Tree and a Anniversary

Finally the Shiny Brite tree is up.  For those of you who follow my blog and the Shiny Brite journey, you will remember that I had a really tall tree…like 9 1/2 to 10 feet tall.  It was just TOO much.  We barely got it in the air last year.  So I sold it.  Yup not the ornaments just the tree.
This is what it looked like last year.
The whole tree
Chance and the Shiny Brite tree 2014.
I purchased a 7 1/2 foot tree after Christmas last year knowing that a shorter tree would be better.  This one I can set up all by myself.  Next year I must put the tree top ornament and a few ornaments on the very top before I put it all together.
Chance at the Shiny Brite tree
In previous years Chance would come up the stairs all by himself to check on me and look out the door or cuddle up on one of the beds and nap.
This year he had to be coaxed upstairs, the cold weather that settled in really kicked up his arthritis.  Mine too …such is life when you are older. 
Chance hiding his face
He really didn’t want his photograph taken. 
The tree is done Dec 19
This year the tree is in front of the french doors.  I have decorated it all around, front and back and sides.  Not sure how many ornaments are on the tree…enough.

Lots of memories on the tree, many ornaments are named. Some are still with us and some have passed on.   Grace, Rae, Lillian and Susans, JoLynn, Edie, Sandy, Chance, Gene, Madeline, Minnie, Tom and Lindas, Leann and last but not least Jennifer.  I think of all these people that were so kind to gift me with Shiny Brites over the years.  My Sandy’s were purchased at her estate sale and my Minnie was a gift from Edie. All special.

Today is our anniversary!  We have now been married 46 years, through thick and thin want and plenty, better and worse, richer and poorer, happy times and sad times we muddled through together.   We will celebrate when Far Guy feels better.  
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Saturday, December 19, 2015


It turned cold.  I knew there were sundogs out there.  My other baby brother called to confirm it.  Chance and I took off.  I just grabbed my zoom lens not my wide angle one….how stupid was that.
This sundog pillar was quite tall.
sun and one sun dog
Sundog on the left and the sun just out of the frame on the right.
the other sundog
The other sundog was not as tall and harder to see.
Sundogs are ice crystals that are picked up by the suns rays.  Think rainbow but only partial and without all the colors.  Although I have seen sundogs ring the sun.

Far Guy thinks he has the flu now because he aches all over.   He had the flu shot and it was the special one for those over 65.  He might be a tad better…but not much.

I suffered through the mid part of the day with my ear buzzing and fluttering so I finally gave up and had a nap.  That ball of wax that is 64 years old just doesn’t want to give up the fight…it must be attached to a really really long ear hair.  Needless to say nothing Christmasy got done.
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Friday, December 18, 2015

Lionel Flag

We finally got the Lionel Christmas Flag up.   Far Guy found it some place or another on the net and ordered it for us.
Lionel flag
Lionel Flag featuring Santa and all kinds of train stuff.
I like to change out the flag quite often.
We are done with the Christmas cards and might even get them mailed when the roads are better.  We got 3 plus inches of snow over the past two days.
Red shovel
My new snow shovel works just great and it is a good leaner too.  You know when I need to rest it becomes a leaning shovel.
I worked on the Shiny Brite tree, it is nearly done.  Maybe tomorrow. 
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