Thursday, January 16, 2014


This week has been a difficult one.

Three or so months ago a long time friend and co-worker was diagnosed with advance stage melanoma.  Within a week of diagnoses he was told it was everywhere in his body except his brain.  It only took a week longer for that to change.  I often hear people say "it happened so quickly".  I even experience "it happened so quickly" with my own dear dad.  Once again "it happened so quickly".  My friend, Joe, passed away Sunday evening.  His funeral was yesterday.  Joe was one of those guys who everyone loved.  He was everywhere and knew everything about our parish and our parish family.  Fr. Greg gave him a first class send off.  During the eulogy Fr. called Joe "the boss", but more than that - a leader.  When there was something needing to be done, he didn't direct, he led by doing, right alongside everyone else.  As Fr. said it, when someone would ask where something was or how to do something, the inevitable answer was "ask Joe".

The funeral home Jim works for had Joe's funeral.  The visitation was in church.  So as Jim was getting things set up in preparation of the visitation, he was having trouble getting electricity to the lights on each side of the casket.  A co-worker and Joe's son joined in trouble shooting.  Jim finally said, "You know, the problem is the guy who knows the answer is in this casket".  So they asked Joe and he told them to turn on the power strip.

I was wrong when I thought I was prepared for Joe's passing.  I have seen him almost daily for 9 years, often only for a minute when he would bring the mail in or just pass through the church building.  I can still see his slow, steady, walk as he moved from one task to another.  He had slowed down a lot the past few years, and I even found myself getting frustrated at the amount of things that weren't getting done, but Joe always gave as much  as he possibly could.  The finality of his death hit me as we walked to the cemetery... and it was gut wrenching.  My friend, JoAnn, looked at me and said, "I want him back", then we held each other, sobbing.

I want him back.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Hi all.  Surprised to see me?  Me too.

Happy New Year!

Is it really 2014?  14!!!  I remember when the world was going to come to an end when we entered into the year 2000.  I happened to be working as an administrative manager at a data center in 1999.  The dire predictions were everything was going to stop working.  Everything from clocks to elevators to every other computer program to mankind.  Period.  Programmers spent years leading up to it rewriting code to go past 1999.  I have to wonder why nobody thought about the fact, when the original code was written, that at some point we would get past the year 19something.  We were all on high alert as we neared midnight that year.  Many of our technical staff spent their New Year's Eve in the computer room, monitoring things in case everything exploded (OK, maybe I exaggerate a bit).  The rest of us were on call... just in case.  Fourteen years later, all of that is just a faded memory.

Another faded memory is that it has been 10 years since I was first diagnosed with breast cancer.  One mastectomy, a number of operations, and a bit of chemo later - 10 cancer free years!  My most vivid memory was when I talked to the surgeon after the operation, I asked him how bad the cancer was.  He responded, "you don't have cancer... I got it all".  Now that is definitely something to celebrate.

2014 has brought weather challenges to much of the Nation.  Deep freezes where there is usually no freeze.  We had quite a bit of snow and days of below zero temperatures, but nothing like our friends "out East" and the upper Midwest.  All in all we have been the lucky ones.  Tomorrow's weather prediction is around 60 (I know - crazy!)  We will finally get our artificial Christmas tree out of the living room.  The box has to be drug outside to get to where we store it.  Dragging it through snow was not an option.  So tomorrow is the day!

Did you make New Year Resolutions?  I leaned years ago that the best way to set myself up for failure is to make resolutions.  We did start working out again, after shamefully "letting ourselves go" all of last year.  We opted for good old fashioned walking, throwing a ball back and forth while we are walking (which makes me run a lot because I'm so clumsy at catching a ball), hand weights and stuff like that, rather than paying for a gym membership that we won't use because it takes us too long to get there.

I have some posts to be written in the next couple of weeks.  A big, long overdue one, is of our trip last Fall to the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Caroline.  What a wonderful experience.  I planned on coming home and shout into the blogo-sphere how great it was.  Life got in the way.  Over and over I've told Jim that we would be in trouble if we lived closer, because I would be taking classes all of the time.  Stay tuned for that post.

Here's to all - Happy New Year!