A Slow Ending

Tomorrow marks 7 weeks since my close friend was diagnosed with leukemia (AML), the fastest type of leukemia. The doctors gave her one to four weeks. She has fought valiantly to stay strong, to be able to get up and move around, spend time with her family as well as her church family – of which I am a part.

Last night, after services, I went to the house to visit. She had no strength, couldn’t even lift her head off the pillow. Part of the reason was that she had been up to be bathed. That her strength was spent was so obvious. Yet she held on when I held her hand as we talked. She apologized for not being able to sit up – always thinking of others.

Such an amazing lady. She has been like an older sister, and sometimes mother figure, to me these past 18 years. Her death will have an incredible impact on our church family. Her declining health has proven that.

Even though I hate the fact that we are losing her, I am equally happy that she will have no more pain. She is going to a perfect place where others of her family, including her daughter, have gone before. The loss of her oldest daughter changed her and the loss of Miss Donna will profoundly change those of us who will miss her every day!

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Sorrow or not?

This is the middle of week 6 for my “friend” who was diagnosed with Leukemia – the most fast moving type of the disease. The doctors predicted she would live between one and four weeks.
We can all see that her health is deteriorating – and she knows that as well. She has less energy, spends more time resting, her voice is not as strong as it always was – except when she sings. Singing praises to the Lord gives her joy.
I used the word friend in quotes because Donna is more than just a friend. She has been like a big sister, and sometimes mother, to me for nearly 20 years. She has always been willing to help anyone – friend or foe – as long as I’ve known here.
When I was wheelchair bound with two broken ankles, she drove to our house to help me shower. The day after my surgery when I was flat on my back for 72 hours, she and another friend drove out and cleaned house for us EVEN THOUGH she had to work an 8-hour shift at a nursing home that evening.
It is so difficult to even think of life without this amazing woman in it. Even more difficult to watch her waste away. I visit 2 or 3 times each week, short visits so that she doesn’t feel she has to be strong during the time I’m there.
I have made a few meals for the family. Her only daughter and 3 grandchildren are here for the duration, filling the house with youth and helping where they can. It’s hard for all of us, a close-knit church family.
Her husband is our pastor & he is having trouble dealing with the situation. She is such a huge part of his life, he doesn’t want to live without her.
Oh, but what is waiting for her on the other side! To be welcomed to heaven by her Savior, what an awesome thought!!

Getting skunked

I have NEVER ONCE gone fishing without catching anything… NEVER!!  Until Sunday!!

It was “free fishing weekend”.  Every Father’s Day weekend (Sat & Sun) in Montana, everyone can go fishing – no license needed. I haven’t been fishing for many years. It’s not really worth the cost of the license when you only go once or twice each summer. Call me cheap, but I don’t like to waste money that can be put to better use. You know, for things like craft supplies. But I digress.

In my younger days, and even since marriage, I have always been able to catch at least a few fish. Up until a few days ago any time that hubby and I went fishing I either caught more fish or bigger fish than him. I kid you not. He was always a good sport about it. Let me clarify by telling you that this weekend is only the fourth time he has taken me fishing. (Maybe that’s why he has been such a good sport.)

Anyway, even though hubby & sons caught fish (one was a good-sized sucker), none of them were worth keeping.

Here are photos of  youngest son and hubby with part of their catch at Warm Spring Creek:

Finally spring!!

It has been about 2 weeks since our last snowfall. Since then we have had 80 & 90 degree weather, rain, windy & cold weather, & back to the high 70s. That’s about to end. It’s currently 78 degrees in central Montana but a cold front will be moving in tomorrow afternoon. With it comes rain, wind and possibly hail.
On the plus side, my niece is coming out from Indy to take a little trip with me. We plan to go to Seattle, tour the Pike Place Market and see other sites as well. I want to go to Bainbridge Island as well. We will have to take the ferry & spend the day.
I’ve been thinking about heading down into Oregon before going to Seattle though and add another state to my “visited list”. I’m not the best at planning ahead for things like this. Our “vacations” the past 20 years have been either visiting family in Indy or spending a week at the cabin while hubby archery hunts.
Guess there’s a first time for everything!!

Hurry up and wait…

Ah, deadline days!! How we love to hate them!

The challenge is to put the pages together in a timely manner while making sure the photos/graphics are arranged sensibly within the story. They also need to be placed so that they “draw the eye” to different areas of the page. Probably more than you need to know about composing a news page, but that’s what happens.

Some days there is too much content for the space allowed. Other days, not enough. Hitting the right balance is the key and it’s a difficult target to hit most of the time.

When all the pages are together, proofed and made ready to send to press, there is a final proof. However, the editor & publisher are the ones who do the final proof and their afternoons are not without interruptions. Thus we wait… and wait… and sometimes, wait some more. All the  pages have to have a final proof and be approved before being sent to the printer. Many days that happens in a timely manner. Then there are days like today.

Spring is happening outside. The sun is out, the cold weather seems to be retreating, and all of us wish we could go home early. But that isn’t happening. Thus, we are frustrated, stuck inside, and in my case, without any windows to even look outside. I just want to leave, drive my cute little car home, taking the long way.

Oh… I bought a “new” car. It is a couple of years old, but way newer than the 2004 Trailblazer sitting in the driveway and the 2004 truck in the garage. I paid for it… NO PAYMENTS. The money came from the last insurance  policy on my dad. He died on new year’s eve and finally, everyone & everything is taken care of – the lawyer, his trustee, funeral expenses, etc.

Dad repeated the last few years that he wanted to make sure his girls were taken care of.   I’d say he did a pretty good job of it. My sister has used her money to update & improve her house. I’m proud of what she has done. The place looks really good (according to the photos I’ve seen on Facebook).  Most of the funds I received are in a savings account. I am thinking about making a transfer to my 401K account this year and again next year. It will be 5 (FIVE!) more years before I can retire with full SSA benefits. Hope my body lasts that long!  “)

Birthday!!

Today is my birthday!!!  Wish I was going to have a good time, but I’m at work.

Actually, I came in to a desk full of flowers – daisies, mums & roses – from my editor. Not just a bouquet, they were sitting all over my desk in individual champagne flutes! A great surprise! Oh, and “Happy Birthday” confetti all over my desk.

There was also a gift from my longtime co-worker, “Willis”. She is the only one that I exchange birthday gifts with and we always do Christmas as well. And there was the card signed by all the worker bees with one signature telling me he owed me the $20 that he took out of the card because, “I needed a Dr. Pepper and gas in my truck.”  Gotta love that!

Looking forward to the rib eyes on the grill tonight. Hubby is lucky the weather is unseasonably warm in Montana this week. He really hates to grill in the snow!

My desk was covered in flowers this morning for my birthday.

My desk was covered in flowers this morning for my birthday.

You just never know

Looking back on recent posts, I saw that I was going to take vacation days the first week of the new year. I did NOT work that week. It was not a week of vacation though. It was 4.5 days on the road – driving just over 3,000 miles with hubby and one son who had a terrible cold & cough. The reason was explained in the last post – my dad died.

Now I’m thinking of taking a week and going to Washington state. I came across a website that had a myriad of loose teas. The store is on an island outside of Seattle. I’ve never been to Washington state or Idaho, for that matter. I’m thinking late spring would be a good time to travel to that area. Instead of driving to southern California to visit my son.

Why would I not visit my son? Well, because he will be visiting us (supposedly) this summer. I would like to go to California, but it’s almost 1500 miles. The trip to Seattle would be shorter. And I would not be doing this alone.     Since hubby has very few vacation days left until Aug., I would take along our pastor’s wife. She is a few years older than me & is more like a combination best friend/mother figure. We get along very well. Most of the trips they make are to see family back East – almost to the East coast. She has been to the Seattle area before, although it has been a few years. It would be an entirely new experience for me. Thinking about it makes me want to start planning now.

Excuse me while I go visit google maps. I forgot the name of the island where the tea/yarn shop is located. I’m also going to look into B&Bs and rates for the spring as well as ferry rates.  Having a few extra greenbacks tucked away makes this possible. Have to be careful, though & use them at least somewhat wisely!!