For those of you interested Only in TRAVEL, I (Jack) wrote the blog between March 2010 and October 2010 during our travels west. We saw the most beautiful places and had the best time in our big truck and little trailer. See Blog Archive below.

Jul 25, 2011

You are Forever Young, but the Orange Juice Lasts Twice as Long

Harris Beach Oregon
I like to think of you wandering around, with Lizzie, in all the places you loved.
Grand Coulee
Steamboat Springs State Park
At Home-Remember How the Pups Would Wait for You?
Lizzie - Washington State
Stanley Idaho After Her Swim

Out in back of Silverton
Grand Canyon

Herb and me at Bonanza up by Tahoe

Sawtooth Wilderness, Idaho
Leavenworth, WA
A Man and His Dog in Durango
Tillamook - Revisiting the Past
Timpanagos Caves, Utah
Hebo Where You Were Stationed
Meeting Susan at Mt. Ranier
Before We Almost Lost the Truck (Toad) on the way down. By the look on my face, I must have had a premonition!
Too many places and too many pictures--I can hear you saying, "Enough, already!" But, I want our kids to see how happy we were so you'll have to be patient with me.

As each year passes, I wonder what our lives would have been like if you were still here. I know the orange juice wouldn't have lasted twice as long no matter where we were, but I wonder where we would have been and where we would be thinking of going. I wish you were here to see your kids--you'd be so proud of each of them, and so amazed by our grandkids, too. Can you believe Amanda is a nurse and reaching for further degrees. Missy (your office manager) is in college and deep into calculus and things I will never understand--she'd like to go into cancer research. And, Kellie is graduating from high school-still the animal lover! Keely is allowed to drive a golf cart, now, and is enjoying summer with her friends, and our baby, Peyton, is about to be in high school! Hard to believe, huh?

There's never a time that I reach for the orange juice in the morning that I'm not saddened because I know it's going to last twice as long. I remember the first time thinking that after you were gone, and it broke me into tiny pieces like humpty dumpty who took a great fall and couldn't be put back together, again. That probably sounds crazy, but it represented reality and finality-that life had changed forever in a split second. Our morning talks before going to the office (solving the problems of the world) are over--at least your side of the conversation, but I pretty much know what you would be saying. Memories of all the years we spent together fill my days and nights. Jack is my constant companion--he's still the kind dog you knew. I bake him sweet potato chips for treats as he can't have any fat--sometimes reminds me how I used to surprise you with Apple Sauce Cake because it was a healthy snack. I miss you. I still haven't found my way, and probably never will. Did I tell you I miss you? Well, I could get good and soppy about, now, but that belongs in my private diary. It's the birthday you should have had this week that stirs me to write. I love you.

Remember when the kids were little and we dumped the big canvas tent ("Don't Touch the Sides!") and we went to our luxurious pop-up?
Cherokee NC - Scanning is not my forte', but I'm trying to learn.

The kids grew up in a blink of our eyes. I need to find pictures of when they were little and I'll fill in.

And before we knew it, along came the grandkids

...and they grew up. Then it was our time, but it wasn't meant to be.

Your birthday reminds me that you'll be forever young and forever missed. You were a wonderful Man, a wonderful Husband, and a wonderful Father. You have always been my hero and you are still my hero. I wrote a little poem to you many years ago. Remember? We put it on the Christmas tree each year. How corny it seems, now, but so true after all these years.

I thrive on the LOVER in you--
The private moments of our lives.
I joy at the FATHER in you
With trust and pride.
I need the MAN in you
To arouse the woman in me.
And the BOY in you
To delight the girl in me.
But it's the FRIEND who makes the bond grow strong,
And he's the one I've loved all along.
~ Nancy ~

We made the best of the time we had, and though you left us far too early, you left us with the memory of a man who always provided for his family, and kept us safe, whose children respected him, always, and with a hole in our hearts that no one can ever fill. Retirement, together, was never meant to be, but we had fun and laughed not only at the antics of the kids, but at the pups we both so loved. Here's a few more scanned photos that bring a smile to my face. I send memories to you on the wind, my sweet man.
The Princess

The Prince

How He Loved Her!

How I Loved to Dance with You
I'll Be Seeing You (Link)

Jul 17, 2011

Whoo Hoo! A Break in the Heat...

Nancy and I have been stuck in the house because of the weather, and because of her back. Fortunately, Susie has been on vacation so she has taken me for my walks which has given Nancy's back a chance to rest.

Yesterday, though, it was cool compared to what it has been. She said, "C'mon, pal, let's blow this place. I have a surprise for you."

Well, we went to a dog park that our friend, Rani, told us about. There were SO many dogs! I loved the sign with the line that crossed out the people! I've seen enough with lines through dogs, that's for sure!

None of the dogs were barking, but when I saw the balls all around, I couldn't help myself. "SOMEONE THROW THIS BALL!"

Well, actually, the first thing I did was go right into the middle of the grass to poop. I think that's the way I'm supposed to mark my territory. Of course, Nancy came running with her pink bags (there were stations all around with black bags), but oh no, she has to embarrass me with pink. Nancy said she's going to write to the company to see if they'll consider making blue bags for boys.

I collected most of the balls I could find in the park. It kept me very busy. The other dogs didn't seem interested in them so I wasn't being selfish. Some nice young man, who thought it was funny, picked one up and threw it for me and I ran for the first time in a long time. Nancy was making more noise than anyone telling me not to run...yeah, right!

Here's another one. They're not the balls I like, but they're balls and I haven't been able to play in a long time so I wasn't fussy.

Maybe there's one in the woods.

They even had all kinds of drinking fountains in this park and a place where water came up out of the ground! Lizzie would have loved it, here. So did the little kids!

Then, all of a sudden there was a dog fight between two german shepherds. Nancy got nervous and put my leash on. I think they were just trying to decide who was boss, and probably weren't hurting each other, but it was a scary sound. So, Nancy decided it was time to go. On the way out we saw a beautiful Weimaraner. Nancy said he was like the one she grew up with. His name was Baron. I wanted to go over to him because he looked so much like Bella.

Well, the park wasn't the last surprise Nancy had up her sleeve. We went to a place called Petco which is a lot like PetSmart, and she let me go shopping. I came home with two rawhide bones. Yippee! I love them. This has been the best day in a long time.

I'm hoping when I go back to the doctor on the August 3rd that he'll tell Nancy she doesn't need to worry so much.

Jul 6, 2011

Good News About Jack!

We went back for a check, today, and Jack has less fluid in his chest than he did the last visit. That means that his body is absorbing some of the fluid as it is supposed to do. He is carrying a little less than a liter which isn't causing him any discomfort or symptoms so his Vet didn't want to put him through tapping. We're not out of the woods, yet, but it's the first glimmer of hope since last November.

We don't have to go back until August 3rd unless something changes. We should know more by then. For now, I'll take this news!

He was funny this morning. When I got him into the lobby, he started to carry on and cry. I signed in and sat down to wait, calming him down. The handler came down and said they were running behind, and thought it might be best to leave him with me, as he's more comfortable than with them, and they'd come and get him when they were ready to do the ultrasound. When she left, he put his head on my shoe and went to sleep.

Once they came back for him, he went without any hesitation, and it was only a short while before I heard him coming back (vet in tow) to give me the good news. I can't begin to describe how thankful I am to our vet, here, and the surgeon from Texas.

On the way home, we stopped at his favorite place, The Nature Center, where I let him celebrate by sniffing whatever it is that he loves to sniff. He was a happy boy.

I was very nervous before going this morning so I feel like a weight has been lifted from my heart and shoulders.

I didn't get much sleep last night, but as you can see, the patient had no problem. When he sleeps, he sleeps!

Jul 2, 2011


Today was my eldest son, John's birthday. His sister, Susan, and Lisa, his wife threw a "black 50" birthday party at Susan's house. He really was surprised.
How'd you do that?
Lisa's Mom and Dad and sisters and brother were there. I missed getting a good picture of Martha. But, here's a good one of Lisa and Jim.
Daddy's Little Girl
We have such a good time whenever we get together. Odd, how 50 sounds young at this point in my life!

I was trying to get a good picture of all the granddaughters, together, but that's easier said than done.

Could Just One of You Be Serious?

I kept missing Susan as well--in my defense, son number 2 had my camera part of the time.
Hostess with the Mostest

Jack was wearing this shirt when John and Lisa arrived.

Son, Michael, relaxing.

I didn't get Lisa's sisters and brothers in one shot as I meant to, but I'm hoping someone else did and they will send me a picture to post.

Of course what kind of party would it be without crazy dogs!!!
Bella and her Shadow


Another happy note for the day. I called my sister and Mary was able to receive chemo on Friday, got her spinal, and the 2nd of four shots that go with this course. Jenny wrote the other day that it was the first time she'd seen her laughing and playing with her sister in a long time. So far so good, but on with the business of a cure. My granddaughters wrapped stacked coins for her while they were here last night, and I will take them to the bank and have a check cut for Mary from all of them.

Never Pass Up a Good Piece of Cake-Birthday or Not!

Susan has had a lopsided birdbath in her front yard for two years, now. It's been damaged since she bought the house. It's big, but the ice over the years has taken its toll. I noticed last week, when I tried to move it and couldn't, that one pie shape piece was ready to just fall off. I thought, "Hmmm, when all the guys are at the party, I'll ask them, as they leave, whether they would straighten it for Susan. That will be good for a laugh (never thinking anyone could get hurt!)" Well, we were saying goodbye to Lisa's family (only Michael had escaped early) and I ran back in for my camera to make sure I caught the action, when I heard someone yell, "Oh, my gosh!". I turned around only to find poor Leland who had taken it upon himself to help Susan. Shows you what a nice guy he is--never had to ask him. We all had a good laugh at poor Leland's expense. I couldn't click fast enough to get all of his reaction or expressions, but take my word for it, they were funny! The last two say it all!

Not far from my mind, this day, are thoughts of my Mom. She passed away 16 years ago. I miss her every day of my life. Kisses in the wind. Love you, Mom.