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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


Mother is home and doing well, very grateful that daughter was there to help. MIL is back in Nebraska just waiting for the house to sell now.
Going to relax and take it easy today. Next week should hopefully be back to normal.

Friday, January 26, 2007

When it rains it pours

Just got MIL out of the hospital, daughter called this morning and my mother is in the hospital. She should be getting out later today or tomorrow. I'm glad she was there to help, which is why Mom wanted her to stay there. Mom can take care of Dad, but there really wasn't anyone to be there if something happened to her.
MIL is still here at 5pm. SIL was supposed to pick her up early this morning and leave for Nebraska, but I guess it's taking longer to clean up the house. This late they'll most likely leave tomorrow morning. Most of her friends have been calling and talking to her. A couple came over last night and spent time with her. It's nice that they care.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Brother-in-law came in with MIL Sunday. They've been packing everything up. Tuesday morning we got a call that MIL was having trouble breathing. L took the day off and MIL was admitted into the hospital where they ran numerous tests. We both took Wednesday off to work on getting packed. We wound up spending most of the day trying to get MIL checked out of the hospital. They took forever getting all the paperwork done. She stayed with us last night and will tonight. E took BIL to get the truck this morning and it is just about all loaded up. SIL flying in tonight to drive MIL back while BIL drives truck. They have friends who will help them drive then fly back. The house is now on the market. I wouldn't have thought it possible to get that much done in that short of time.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Random thoughts

Friday we had the wake for Robyn. About fifteen people showed up and we had a celebration of a wonderful person's life. I had asked her when she first told us her diagnosis if she had any family and she said "No". Come to find out at the wake that her mother is still alive and her sister quit her job, moved here and took care of her for the last three months.
The school is collecting donations in order to plant a tree in her memory. We discussed what kind of tree would be most appropriate to represent her. Since she was so thin and tall we want a tree like that. Someone suggested a poplar, but they are rather short lived trees. I'm partial to aspens, but being on the mesa our elevation may be too low for that tree. We have plenty of time to research and come up with one. The courtyard for the school is scheduled for a complete renovation over the Summer and we'll make sure her tree is given a prominent place.

Today was "Sanctity of Life Sunday" at church. Grinnygranny held her breath waiting for me to start World War III, but I was good and didn't say anything too controversial.

Grinnygranny's mother and brother are back in town. MIL is putting the house on the market and they will be packing things up for the trip back to Nebraska. We've taken some boxes down and E's going to be helping. BIL and Grinnygranny are pulling their hair out trying to get MIL to get everything out of deceased Father-in-law's name and into hers. She hates doing the paperwork. BIL is finally putting his foot down and making her get some of this done. Just seems to me that there is an awful lot to do in just a week.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Time passing

  1. I haven't had much sleep the last few days. This wretched congestion just won't go away. I took the day off to get some rest. It wouldn't look good to join my students sleeping in class. We have another cold front meeting up with tropical moisture and could get up to six inches of snow or more late Friday and Saturday. Can't seem to get rig of this cold weather either.

    Mom and Auntypesty have finished reading my book, Dad is reading it in small pieces. I've been getting a few words of "I really like what I've read so far," at school from those who've bought it.
    Brian at an audience of one (you'll have to click the link on the blogroll as the link button's not working right now) has done a really detailed review and recommended his avid readers buy a copy. I hope they do. Now if I could only get Bruce to say something on his blog or maybe give me a plug on his radio show.
    This weeks Baptist New Mexican (I have if from a close source) will be including a press release on it, and I'm doing a book signing at a Hastings in a few weeks.
    And I thought all the work was over when I finished writing it!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Remembering Robyn

Three years ago a wonderful lady moved into the classroom next to mine. The first thing you noticed about her was how tall she was, over six feet. She had a warm voice and friendly style that was refreshing after the other tenets of that room. While cleaning out furnature she wouldn't use I was able to get computer tables for my newly aquired mini-lab. I gave her for some reason my favorite teacher's chair. It was a discarded administration chair from my previous high school and was a hideous green, but it was comfortable. Something told me she needed a good chair. As we talked I found out she only came lately to teaching, that in fact she had worked construction most of her life as an electrician. I mentioned knowing an electrician and came to discover she had worked with him at Intel when it was being built.
Later that year she was diagnosed with lung cancer. She had already survived ovarian and bone cancer, and the doctors gave her only six months at most. I watched and prayed and helped her through chemo therapy, as did our entire department. We covered her classes, and found it amazing how well behaved they were, even the students were respectful of her condition.
She made it through that year and came back the next. She was out for nearly a month while at MD Anderson for treatment, but they sent her back. Her voice was much weaker and she was getting very frail. In the spring we had a party at her house to say goodbye as most of us didn't think she would make it through the summer.
When school started there she was. I moved out into my portable and she moved across the campus into M hall. I missed seeing her and talking to her. By the end of September she became so weak that teaching was no longer possible. The cheerleaders raised money for a microphone system to help her, which was a nice gesture. The last time I saw her was in the teacher's lounge. I gave her a hug and told her how much I missed seeing her every day. It was her last day at school. We had another party in her honor, but I came down with a cold, not wanting to add to her weakened immune system I stayed home, and talked to the dept. chair by phone expressing my regrets.
Word came to school today that she has gone on to another plane of existence. She had no family and there will be no services. What she wished for was for all of us to get together for an old fashioned Irish Wake, get rip roaring drunk and toast to her memory.
I'll be there. I've never been drunk in my life, and am not about to start now. I guess that will make me the designated driver for alot of fellow teachers.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Memories of winters past

While I'm bundled up snug as a bug in a rug, and it is colder than blue blazes outside; it's made me think of other really cold winters.

At the beginning of A Christmas Story, the mother dresses the kids up for school in coats, hats, golashes, gloves, scarves, etc. I can't see it without remembering growing up in Pueblo Colorado as a small child. I still remember the golashes that had metal snaps and walking to school through snow drifts. The night my sister was born (I was nine) Dad took Bruce and me out to get a bowl of Green Chile Stew. The first time I ever had that dish. He said that was the only way to warm us up. It was thirty degrees below zero as we stepped out of the restaurant. And he was right, we barely felt the cold as we walked to the car.
I remember a project at school where I took a toy saw to make a hogan. A couple of friends and I walked home and on the way we sawed the arms off all the snowmen in the front yards.
That summer we moved down to Albuquerque, and I have never experienced such a cold winter since. I don't remember any "snow days" where they called off school for the rest of elementary school and junior high.
In January of 1971, my junior year in high school we had the coldest winter on record. It started snowing friday night, and we only got a few inches, but it got down to seventeen below zero. It's still the record low for Albuquerque. Bruce and I got up for Chruch on Sunday morning and were doing a good job of making up the hill when we saw someone from our Sunday School Class stuck on the ice. We stopped and gave them a push which got them on their way, but then we couldn't get moving so I had to sit on the trunk for traction. It wasn't far to the church, but I was nearly frozen by the time we got there. School was canceled for the rest of the week, which though not getting as low as 17 below still stayed around 10 below with the highs for the day being only 10 or 15 above zero. Natural Gas was in short supply and they closed schools and alot of other businesses so houses could be heated. My maternal grandparents came down from Canyon City, Colorado for a visit that summer and we were still talking about the cold snap. I can remember Grandpa saying "Well we had a cold snap then too, but it only got down to 17 below and we didn't think much of it."
The year Grinnygranny and I were married we had a freak snowstorm hit right at rush hour traffic in the afternoon. I drove down in my big as a tank 1969 Fury III with three boxes of books in the trunk for traction to pick GG up from work. She was afraid her 1976 Maverick wouldn't get her home. I had little trouble getting to her office because it was downhill, but on the way back uphill it was a different story. We did alright until we got right in front of UNM on Central Ave. It was bumper to bumper and the street was so icy it was hard to get any traction at all. College students came out and helped give people shoves to get started. It took us three hours to make it to Mom and Dad's house, which was only two miles from where GG worked. It was another five miles to our apartment so we decided to stop there for the night. Just as we started getting into bed Grinnygranny remembered she didn't have her birthcontrol pills with her, and she took them at night. So at 10pm I get dressed drive the five miles to our apartment and back with the magic pills. (She's going to kill me when she reads this)
In the 20 + years of teaching there have been maybe three 2-hour delay days with perhaps one closed day per decade. Albuquerque really doesn't get that much bad weather over an entire winter. We will sometimes get more snow in March or April than in January or February.
We took a trip to San Antonio durring Spring Break in 1993 and on the day we left it snowed on us all the way to Fort Stockton, Tx. But spring snow is wet and slushy not icy like winter snow.
When we moved into our house on the west side we had a snowstorm while I was teaching at a school on the other side of town. They announced it was a two hour delay, which for me meant leave at the normal time because it will take two hours to get across the Rio Grande and hope you make it the rest of the way by the delayed start time. And I did get there, just as I was pulling up to school the radio announced schools were closed, and I had to turn around for the return trip. I decided the next two hour delay I'd call in sick. Never had another one until I started teaching where I am now which is within walking distance.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Bed sweet bed

I am spoiled. I enjoy my bed. It is adjustable and I can set the tension to my comfort level. I hate it when we leave and I have to sleep on a regular flat bed. With my acid reflux it is not a pleasant experience. We just got home from a nine day trip to Texas. Love my family and enjoyed Christmas and the time we spent there, wouldn't have missed it for anything, but boy did I miss my bed. We had to stay an extra day in Lubbock as New Mexico was shut down by snow. Grinnygranny had to take me to an emergency room the first night. The cold that has been a problem now for two weeks had worked it way up into my eyes, and I needed relief. I got some gooey ointment that has helped alot, but the only thing the doctor said about the sinus and chest congestion was to keep taking the over-the-counter medications and wait it out. When we checked out of the motel Grinnygranny told the desk clerk to treat the room as a hasmat situation. We went through over two boxes of tissue.

The drive home was quite an adventure. It started good enough. We made it to Clovis and ate lunch at K-Bobs as usual, went on to Fort Sumner, but the road to Vaughn was closed which forced us to drive up to I-40 and Santa Rosa. When we got to Santa Rosa I-40 was closed, but another road to Vaughn was open. So we wound up driving 120 mile to get to Vaugn instead of the usual 60. We then took the southern road that runs from Encino to Mountaire to Belen. It's 53 miles from Encino to Mountainaire. It took us an hour and a half. Most of it on a ten mile stretch that was icy and so fogged up to be white out condition. Once past that stretch it went quick again. When we got by the Monzano Mountains and started down into the Rio Grande Valley we got back into the heavy fog. From Belen to home it was nerve wracking trying to not get clobbered by some dipstick behind you wanting to drive the speed limit in white out conditions.
When we got home we couldn't get in the driveway it had a full foot of snow on it. We had to shovel off one side to get parked and unloaded. It was really cold and did not help with out colds.
Taking it easy today and actually have clear enough eyesight to use the computer again.

Happy New Year to Everyone that frequents the Family and Friends Blog.