Archive for March, 2014

Holding hands – unknown date

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Handholding

Here are Shannon and me at a church activity sometime while we lived in Lardville. This Great Art is significant to me not because it’s a particularly good picture of either of us (left to the Loyal Reader to judge) or because it was a particularly important event (I don’t remember when it happened or even what it was, other than a Hawaiian-themed party), but because it’s the only picture I’ve been able to find so far featuring Shannon and me holding hands. My more astute Loyal Readers may recall that our hands were widely thought to be welded together, so I’m pretty surprised I haven’t found anything like that until now. My only explanation is that I took most of the pictures I’ve featured here on the Morrowlife blog and it would have been hard to also hold hands with Shannon at the same time. Although I didn’t take all the pictures, so that excuse only goes so far. At any rate, here it is at last. Great Art courtesy of our old friend Bob W, taken at a Hawaiian-themed church party in Manteca, California sometime during the past few years, and part of my famous Shannon and Event series.

Another thing this Great Art points out to me is that Shannon was a lot colder than I was. Possibly it’s because I was fat and she wasn’t. At any rate, I was wearing sandals and a Hawaiian shirt and she was pretty well bundled up. Didn’t make any difference – she was still the prettiest girl at the party.

Another quiet day today. We exercised, as predicted. We’re taking tomorrow and Sunday off. I’m planning to go for a walk around the park at some point tomorrow, just to keep things going. I think Mark will probably just rest.

Meals were pretty good today. I made waffles (batter prepared by Mark!) with strawberries (sliced by Mark!) and fresh whipped cream along with sausage, tangerine juice, and Mexican hot chocolate. Mark also had a Costco apple streusel muffin. We skipped lunch because breakfast was so late and so extensive. Dinner was barbecued chicken, which was cut up and served on cheese tortellini with marinara sauce over it, accompanied by a tossed salad. Once again, no complaints were heard from either Mark or me.

Spent a lot of the day on the phone again today. I love talking, but I should probably go dark for several hours during the day so I can get some actual work done. I’m really feeling a need to get started with that again.

I found today’s Great Art when Mark and I were looking for his immunization records. He’s applying for admission to UNLV and they needed proof he wasn’t a walking germ factory. We finally found the needed information, only to discover he was apparently behind on his tetanus shots. So we went over to Walgreen’s and got him the shot. Didn’t hurt me a bit.

I got to spend a couple hours on the phone with Sandy this evening. It was pretty late for her, but quite convenient for me. It was precious time and she really helped me work through a few things that have been troubling me. Thanks, Sandy! I appreciate the advice, the understanding, and the listening ear. You helped me feel like I’m not so alone.

Jacuzzified by myself this evening. Enjoyed it. Less sorrow than recently, more peace. That’s how it ought to be, I think.

Tomorrow morning, Ken and I are working on his pickup! He has a 1956 Ford pickup in many tiny pieces, most of which are in his garage. The body, frame, and engine are outside on the side of the house. He got the truck a few years ago and decided to restore it, so everything is brand new and beautiful. He just needs to get it all assembled. I suggested a little while ago that we should start spending a few hours together on Saturdays doing just that, and tomorrow is our first installment. That kind of thing is a lot more fun if you have somebody to work with. I’m excited to work on the truck and to eventually get it running again. It’s going to be pretty cool – a vintage look, but with modern comforts like power steering and brakes and air conditioning, to name just a few.

And that’s about it for this week. I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this shocking food violence news: all-you-can-eat crab leg assault!

See you on Monday.

Wedding day – Dec 28, 1978

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Wedding 3

Here are Shannon and me standing just outside the front door of the Washington temple immediately after getting married. We were so young! We were so happy! And we were just taking the first step in what would be an amazing, joyful 35 years together. I knew she was the one for me, and for some reason she claimed to know I was the one for her too. Great Art courtesy of our old friend Burns Newby (or possibly taken by Robin, but Burns put a bunch of wedding/reception pictures together in a photo album he gave us, which I’ve started digitizing), partially obscured by another photo from the album because they’re glued down and I’m afraid of destroying them if I try to move them, and part of my famous Shannon and Event series.

My heart just burns with a strange combination of giddy happiness and deep grief when I look at this picture. The former because we were so, so happy for so, so long. And the latter because it was snatched away from us at what I believe was our very happiest moment. I’m getting closer to the point where I can accept that what we had was enough, but not yet. How I long for more!

She was such a doll. Whatever made her choose to fall in love with me?

Pretty uneventful day today. In fact, I’m struggling to come up with anything I did at all. Mark and I went to the gym again, of course.  Today was day four. This is the point where it gets hard, I think. I’m feeling a bit sore, I don’t see any results yet, and it would be really easy to quit going. But we won’t quit, and I think we’ll just have to tough it out for a few weeks, after which the results will start coming. We’ll feel better, we’ll look better, and we’ll be able to do much more than before. I’m trying to follow the advice I read in the excellent Zen Habits website and focus on how much better I feel after having done the thing I think I should do but don’t want to do. There are lots of ideas there on establishing new habits. Highly recommended.

Anyway. Other than exercising, I can’t think of a whole lot I accomplished. I spoke on the phone with Paul, Chris, Julie, and my dad. So that’s something very worthwhile. Mark and I went to Costco and bought a few things we needed and a few more we wanted. One of the “wanted” things was a mini-flat of strawberries. Also a half gallon of tangerine juice. I took a few of the strawberries, half a banana, a splash of tangerine juice, and a few ice cubes and used my Magic Bullet to make a delicious smoothie. My astute Loyal Readers will recall how much I love smoothies. And this one was excellent. I think I’ll make another one tomorrow. Also maybe some waffles with fresh whipped cream and strawberries. And maybe some more strawberry-related dishes I can’t think of right now.

I grilled Omaha Steaks hamburgers on the barbecue tonight and served them on sourdough English muffins. Toss in some corn (the ultimate guy vegetable!) and a bit of jello I made a couple days ago and you’ve got a downright tasty meal. I received no complaints from either Mark or myself.

And that’s about all I accomplished. I start out every day with such big plans for all the work I’m going to do, and I just get nothing done, even though it feels like I’m busy all day. But I know I spend a whole lot of time goofing off. That’s just what I do. Maybe tomorrow I’ll goof off just a little less and work just a little more. We’ll see, won’t we?

And I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this shocking food violence news: bean can shooting!

See you tomorrow.

Bug inspection – July 28, 2003

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

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Here’s Shannon inspecting a bug with Andy and Mark during a hike in Hickory Run State Park in Pennsylvania back in 2003. At least I think that was a bug. Might have been a rock or a stick or something else. But let’s go with bug. Great Art courtesy of my old Minolta camera, taken during one of our all-time favorite camping trips, and part of my famous Shannon, Hiking, Camping, and Vacation series.

Remember, Loyal Readers, that we were homeschooling the boys, so Shannon was their teacher. She often used little opportunities like this to teach them something useful. How I envy them all that wonderful time together!

I went to a meetup.com get-together this evening. It was at the Peppermill restaurant and lounge at the north end of the Strip and was for single people over 40. Much as I dislike the fact, I’m now a single person over 40. Anyway, I met several very nice folks. I even made a buddy! His name: Buddy. Seems like a nice guy. I hope he likes to golf and is terrible at it. I think I’ll visit this group again. It’s really great to be out with people. I wish I was out with my dear Shannon instead, but that’s not to be.

And that’s about all I did today. Mark and I did our third consecutive day of exercise at the gym. I have some sore muscles, but I’m really trying hard not to overdo things and I think that is paying off. I can still walk! It’s not particularly easy to go there every day yet, but I expect it to take at least several weeks of constant attendance and hard work to start making us feel healthier and stronger. Then it will be easy to go. I may have mentioned that we’re not going at 7:00, as we did with Shannon right after we moved to Las Vegas. We’re going at the much more relaxed time of about 10:00. That allows Mark to get the sleep he needs and lets me get up at a leisurely pace as well, although I’m also managing to get an hour or two’s worth of work (of some kind) done before we go. All in all, I’m pleased with how that’s going.

I watched The Trouble with Harry this evening. I think it’s one of my two favorite Hitchcock movies, along with North by Northwest. Leave it to Alfred Hitchcock to make a hilarious romantic comedy involving the repeated burial and disinterment of a possible murder victim. Beautifully filmed in New England, brilliantly acted, and masterfully directed, of course. Highly recommended.

Paul reports he’s struggling a bit with his feelings about Shannon’s death. Mark told me he had a tough day today, although he doesn’t see his mom’s death as necessarily being the immediate cause. I know Katie and Andy are struggling too. I also got a very touching note in the mail from Mia today, expressing her sadness at her grandma’s death (and including a St. Patty’s Day picture of a rainbow with a pot of gold at the end!). Things are hard. I wish I had a magic wand to wave to make everything better, but I don’t. I sent a note to Mia tonight telling her that I also am still feeling very sad about the death of my own true love Shannon, but I feel that in a very real way, we haven’t entirely lost her. We still have our memories, many photos, a few videos, our endless love for her, and each other. I told her I think the best thing we can do to remember her is to live happily. That’s taking some effort right now, but we all have the ability to do it.

And I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this exciting Morrowlife Employment Agency job opportunity: train-dwelling fugitive crabs!

See you tomorrow.

Doylestown castle – May 26, 2006

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

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Here are a bunch of us at Fonthill Castle, in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, shortly before we moved to California. From left to right, there are Sandy, Mark, Shannon, Andy, me, Kris, and Annie. Great Art courtesy of Scott’s old Kodak camera, taken by Scott, and part of my famous Shannon and Architecture series.

Here’s a closeup of the group:

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I think that’s a pretty good picture of all involved. Fonthill Castle was an fascinating place. But it’s late and I don’t really have the time to tell much about it, other than that it was Henry Mercer’s place, it was all made out of cement and they kind of made it up as they went. Read about it here.

No post yesterday. I forgot. I think it may actually be a good sign that I keep forgetting to post all of a sudden. Maybe I just have less grief to put down in words every day. Not that there isn’t still grief there, and plenty of it. There’s just less. I’m happy about that. I’m not trying to rush it and I’ll never be done with it, but it doesn’t need to remain front and center in my life at all moments.

Still not feeling able to really put my nose to the old grindstone, work-wise. I’ll get there. Going to try again tomorrow.

Had a nice quiet weekend. I went to my niece Laura’s son Jarren’s fifth birthday party on Sunday afternoon. I think that makes Jarren my grandnephew. Anyway, they had it at one of those bouncy house places called Pump It Up. The kids had a great time and I enjoyed chatting with Ken, Melanie, and their son-in-law Diego. It was nice to get out and see people.

Mark and I started going to the gym again on Monday. It was his idea, chiefly. Our therapist suggested exercise to him, so we’re working on getting some. We’re going a little later in the morning than we used to do when we first moved here, which is okay by me. I’m a bit sore tonight, but it feels good to be back there.

And it’s extremely late, so I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this exciting Morrowlife Employment Agency job opportunity: pet bison!

See you tomorrow.

Campout hike – May 26, 2003

Friday, March 14th, 2014

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Here’s Shannon leading the way on a hike through one of the beautiful East Coast campgrounds we visited. What a beautiful place that was. Great Art courtesy of my old Minolta camera and part of my famous Shannon, Camping, and Vacation series.

We loved camping, and we especially loved camping on the East Coast. Virginia, Pennsylvania, upstate New York. They were all spectacular. There were a few places we enjoyed in Northern California and Colorado too, of course, and many of them were lovely too, but there was something about the greenery in the east. Plus, the state park campgrounds there were always magnificent. Just as an example, here’s our campsite from the trip featured above:

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Nice, huh? If we still had access to places like that one, we might not have sold the trailer a couple years ago.

On the other hand, we might have sold it anyway. The trailer was starting to get a bit old and pretty much needed repairs every time we took it out. On top of that, the Suburban was getting old too and we really didn’t want to buy a new one, as the kids were moving away and we didn’t need anything that big anymore. So I guess that phase is over.

Although my brother Chris suggested today that I buy a teardrop trailer and tow it behind my beloved pickup. That sounds like some fun, but I don’t think I care to spend that kind of money for something like that right now. Nevada camping isn’t world renowned for its beauty. And cruise ships have certain advantages over campgrounds. But those teardrop trailers are pretty cool, aren’t they?

Not a lot to report today. The plumber came by pretty early this morning, examined a few things and couldn’t find any blockage. Then he took the cover off the water meter vault to see if he could see anything wrong there. He found it.  Last night’s plumber left the main shutoff valve nearly completely closed. So the fix was easy and we’re back in business.

After the plumber left, I got a call from Ken. He had a small medical procedure performed on his eye yesterday and they had given him a contact lens to protect it. Sadly, the contact had come off overnight and he was in a bit of pain. So I ran over there, picked him up, and took him over to the doctor’s office. They fixed him up in just a few moments and we were on our way. To celebrate, we went to Carl’s Jr. for a bit of breakfast. I enjoyed getting together and hope Ken’s eye heals up quickly and painlessly.

Didn’t do much else today. Can’t explain why, so I won’t.

Paul sent a text message today telling me he and Melissa had just finished dinner at IHOP. It sounded good, so Mark and I went to our local IHOP for dinner too. It not only sounded good, it was good. So I didn’t need to plan dinner today. I’ll find something to eat at home tomorrow night.

Hung around in the jacuzzi for a while this evening. Mark was busy with something else, so I was on my own. Mark suggested we jacuzzify together tomorrow night, which sounds nice.

And that’s about it for another week. Life gets easier every day. Today is day 40 since Shannon’s death. I can hardly believe it’s been so long. It seems like just last week that we were still together. But time passes and before I know it, a year will have gone by and then two and then five and more. Memories will fade but my love for Shannon won’t. I don’t believe the pain will ever completely go away, but I do believe it will fade and become easier to bear.

I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this shocking food violence news: 140,000-pound walnut heist!

See you tomorrow.