Archive for the ‘garden’ Category

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Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014


Here’s a friendly-looking statue on display at the Bellagio conservatory during their Chinese New Year celebration this past February. Great Art courtesy of the exclusive iPhone-cam, taken at the Bellagio hotel/casino conservatory in February 2014 during a visit with my Mom, and part of my famous Event, Garden, Las Vegas and Statue series.

Yeah, I know you can’t see much garden there, but it was there. Trust me. I know what I’m doing.

No post yesterday. I was in Tucson helping Chris and Jack get stuff packed and sent to Florida. Chris didn’t want to move enough stuff to hire a moving company or even rent a truck, so he packed up 12 boxes and shipped it all to himself. He’s loading up his car with a bunch of other things and driving it to Florida on Thursday, as I recall. It was nice being there to help. I hadn’t seen Jack in quite a while. He’s certainly a pleasant young man. Very impressive.

I’m sorry I didn’t get to post yesterday because it was a very important day. Shannon died four months ago yesterday. So much has happened since she’s been gone. For the first while, I pretty much just stopped living. Or at least I stopped living in the present. I spent my time immersing myself in my wonderful memories of the past. It was such a recent past that I think it did a pretty good job of masquerading itself as the present. It was so comforting to spend entire days looking at pictures of Shannon with our family, with me, or just by herself. I found old voice messages she had sent me and played them over and over again. I’m so grateful to have those; they help me remember her beautiful voice. In one of them, she told me she loved me. It was just a casual “I love you” thrown in at the end of a mundane message, but it’s priceless. I slept with the pillow she had used in the hospital to keep her knees from hurting in bed as she got thinner and thinner. I even put some of her perfume on the pillow and kind of felt like I could smell her at night. I talked to her at various times, hoping maybe she could hear me. I don’t know if she could, but it comforted me to at least keep up half of the kind of conversations we had so unthinkingly for so many years. I’m not ashamed to admit any of that.

But things have already started to change. I still treasure my memories of Shannon, the influence she had for good in my life, the wonderful children she gave me, the way she dedicated her entire life to my happiness, the beautiful home she made for me, the way she taught me how to be self-sufficient without either of us knowing she was doing it, and so much more. My life was so intertwined with hers that I don’t know how to separate them.

But they have been separated and I’m moving forward. I know it’s healthy. I have to do it. The past is distancing itself. I’ve started working a little. It’s still hard to concentrate on that, but it’s getting better. My relationship with Joanne has been a great way to help me focus on the present – not just going places and doing things with her, which has been great fun and very emotionally fulfilling, but also being introduced into a new circle of friends with interests that are new to me. Put it all together and I have a life again, for which I’m deeply grateful.

But even though the past has started to become the past, my love for Shannon continues undimmed. Even though Joanne has become so dear to me. Even though I no longer spend large portions of every day reminiscing. Even though I sometimes go for days without crying. Please don’t think, Loyal Readers, that I’ve forgotten my dear, wonderful wife. Her soul is still entwined with mine and always will be. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but just as I discovered that my love for Katie was undiminished when Paul came along and captured my heart, and then the whole thing repeated again for Andy and Mark, so too have I learned that there’s room in my heart for Joanne without making Shannon’s place there even the least bit smaller. That’s the miracle of love.

How I miss Shannon! How I love her!

And how I now love Joanne too!

Mark comes home from San Francisco tomorrow. He’s been at Katie’s house for a couple days. I’m excited for his return. Joanne and I will be at Planet Hollywood for dinner and a late show, so I might not actually see him until he next day. But I’m still excited! Drive safely, Mark!

And it’s time for bed. I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this rare toilet news: toilet seat lid assault!

See you tomorrow.

Garden dolls

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014


Here are a couple of characters in the gardens at the Bellagio hotel/casino this past February. My mom and I went over there to check out their conservatory, which was decorated for Chinese New Year. I’m not sure, but that guy in the foreground appears to be about to pick the nose of his fellow statue. Scarcely appropriate behavior for a statue. Great Art courtesy of the exclusive iPhone-cam, taken on February 18, 2014 at the Bellagio hotel here in Las Vegas, and part of my famous Garden, Las Vegas, and Statue series.

I’ve missed a couple posts! My evenings have gotten busy and I’ve been leaving my Loyal Readers in the lurch. So let’s go back in time and see what’s been going on, shall we?

Since my last post, Joanne and I have been to dinner at a nearby cooking school where the chefs made numerous dishes featuring bourbon (also a lot of bacon, since they had recently had an event featuring bacon and they apparently had a lot left over), attended a Jazz in the Park concert featuring The Sax Pack (at which we enjoyed a delicious Pei Wei takeout dinner), attended a birthday party for one of Joanne’s friends featuring way more karaoke than either of us really needed to hear but which was fun nonetheless, had Memorial Day breakfast together at a fun little place in Boulder City, and made a delicious dinner at my house featuring chicken picatta and a very tasty green salad. Tonight we’re going to a place called Grape Expectations where Joanne and several friends made some wine some time ago. Tonight is bottling night. I’ve never seen how wine is made, so I expect to enjoy that. Lots of other activities scheduled later in the week; I’ll mention them here as they come up.

Had one of those grief-filled moments again today. They’re getting less frequent and shorter, but they’re still there. How I miss Shannon still! Even though I once again have a sweet woman in my life and even though I’m busy and enjoying life, I’m still deeply, deeply in love with my wife. I don’t want that to change. I’m so grateful for those occasional feelings. In the grief, I can feel just a hint of the happiness we had together. So it’s worth it.

Mark has been enjoying himself in the Bay Area. We’ve only spoken a time or two, but he says things are great and it’s fun being at his friend’s house. I’m sure he’s enjoying it because he called a day or two ago to tell me he has extended his trip by a few days. Have fun, Mark!

And that’s about it for today. I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this shocking food violence news: hog stomach-related stabbing!

See you tomorrow.

Chinese lanterns

Monday, May 12th, 2014


Here’s the front of the City of Hope on February 1 of this year. They decorated the campus for Chinese New Year. I loved the decorations. Great Art courtesy of the exclusive iPhone-cam, taken at the City of Hope, and part of my famous Architecture, Event, Garden, Medical, Shannon, and Statue series.

Lots of famous series there. Today’s picture is also important to me because I took it on Shannon’s last full day of life. The City of Hope is still a sacred place to me and I’ll always remember it as the place where we had hope for Shannon’s recovery and life and where I rediscovered the sweetness of our love. That it had to be the place where her life ended doesn’t take away any of the meaning for me.

No posts on Thursday or Friday. Sorry about that, Loyal Readers. Stay loyal! I’ll try to do better. I might even succeed! But don’t count on it.

Pretty good weekend. I went out for lunch with Joanne a couple times and she invited me to a birthday party for one of her friends on Friday evening. We had a wonderful time. The honoree works for the company that runs the restaurant where the party was held, and they really did an amazing job. There was a never-ending stream of delicious appetizers. I met a few of Joanne’s friends and really like them all. Strangely, they seem to like me too. Kind of suspicious, if you ask me. Anyway, I’ve really liked everyone she has introduced me to.

Happy birthday to Nan McCulloch, my wonderful mother-in-law! I truly appreciate Nan for the kind person she is and for her loving care of Don all these years. I know she’s brought great happiness to his life and I trust it’s been a fulfilling life for her too.

Saturday evening, Mark and I went with some friends to the Jazz in the Park concert at the Clark County outdoor amphitheater. It was great! The evening was beautiful, the temperature was just right, and the music was very enjoyable. There was a bit of wind, but it never got bad enough to bother us. A few musicians had a bit of trouble keeping their sheet music on the stands, but that was their problem. Joanne and I are going to the one on the 24th of this month as well.

Shortly after we got home from the concert, the wind got very strong indeed. I thought we were in Kansas for a minute there and was starting to wonder which wicked witch my house was going to land on. I’m glad it didn’t get bad until after we got home.

Sunday, I went with Joanne to visit her late husband’s grave. He’s buried in a nearby veteran’s cemetery, and they recently notified her that his gravestone has been put in place. She wanted to see it but didn’t want to go alone. After our visit, we walked through the adjacent park and talked about her late husband Jerry and her extended family, and then we talked about Shannon and our extended family. We both needed to get some tears out. It was a good talk.

And that pretty much brings us up to today. The most notable thing I did today was to break the Business Casual Software website. I was trying to update WordPress to the most recent version and something went wrong. The installation got halfway done and broke the website. I pondered my options and decided to get on the GoDaddy website and see if I could reinstall the update through their website. It worked brilliantly and I’m back in business after just a short outage.

Spent 45 minutes or so in the jacuzzi this evening. It’s so relaxing I can hardly keep my eyes open anymore. So I’ll quit here!

I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this combination exciting Morrowlife Employment Agency job opportunity and food violence news: genius chair-moving, food-stealing beagle!

Longwood Gardens – June 9, 2012

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014


Here’s Shannon at Longwood Gardens on the day after my birthday in 2012. We were there to see an amazing outdoor light installation. Those lily pad-looking things in the background there were part of it. Here’s a very brief YouTube video advertising the show. And here’s another YouTube video with a bunch of still pictures of the installation. Great Art courtesy of the exclusive iPhone-cam and part of my famous Shannon, Event, and Garden series.

The thing about Longwood Gardens was the immensity of the place and the perfection of everything. It was beautiful during all four seasons and it would take you days to see everything. And everything would be perfect every time you visited. Truly one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been. We went often during our year in Pennsylvania.

How I loved going places and doing things with Shannon! She was such a fun companion. It’s only been a bit more than three months since her death and nearly 15 months since her diagnosis with Leukemia, but will this aching heart ever truly mend? I can’t imagine that wound ever healing, but I know the pain has eased greatly in the past three months and will continue to improve. But life will never be the same, ever.

I’ve mentioned my friend Joanne here a few times. She and I both feel a strong connection and really enjoy being together. But she still loves and yearns for her late husband Jerry and I still love and pine for Shannon. And that’s okay with both of us. She and I are doing many of the things Shannon and I wanted to do here in Las Vegas and having a wonderful time together and it’s still totally safe for us to both miss our spouses and wish they were still here. I’m so grateful for her sweet, feminine presence in my life. I’m finally truly feeling like my heart can still be alive without forgetting or turning my back on the wonderful life that has so recently ended.

Got a little bit more done on PhotoDoc today. I really need to get back to Common Core Classroom again. I’ve been working on just getting it to compile without errors. Every time Apple updates Xcode, they break my code. Kind of frustrating, but such is the life of the iOS developer. Fortunately, I can always eventually figure out what has happened and update things to make them work again. Hopefully having finished that process in the next couple of days, I can start adding the updates I promised my little group of users.

And that’s it for today. Our housekeepers are coming early tomorrow morning, so I need to get to sleep. I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this exciting Morrowlife Employment Agency job opportunity: joyriding chihuahua!

See you tomorrow.

Central Park – Mar 16, 2012

Friday, April 18th, 2014


Here are Shannon and Andy at The Inn On the Park in New York City’s Central Park. As you can see, it was a bit of a chilly day and they were huddling together to stay warm. Great Art courtesy of the exclusive iPhone-cam and part of my famous Shannon, Architecture, and Garden series.

Extremely Short Shrift tonight. It’s very, very late.

Mark ordered the parts for his new computer today. He’s really excited to get everything and put it together. I’m excited for him.

I tried to go to another 40+ Singles happy hour event this afternoon, but I had been feeling kind of sick for a couple hours. I went as far as driving nearly all the way over there when I decided it was a bad idea. So I came home. I’m not really sorry – there were going to be a whole lot of people there for this one and I enjoy the really crowded events much less than small ones. I’m still planning to go to the sushi event tomorrow night, of course.

Got some good work done, but not enough. There’s always tomorrow.

And I need to go to bed. I’ll leave my Loyal Readers with this exciting Morrowlife Employment Agency job opportunity: France-invading giant multi-colored slug!

See you tomorrow.