Month: December 2008

  • Realizing I've been a Recliner Recluse for the past month, I decided maybe I should go for a walk.

    Just a short one, mind. No point overdoing.

    Tell you what, I discovered a definite difference between mall-walking and walking in the neighborhood: walking in the neighborhood highlights how many yards are accessorized with dogs.

    Lots, that's how many. At one point my walking down a street set no fewer than three dogs to barking. Felt as if I was in the middle of of "101 Dalmatians".

  • A month ago today.

    Don died a month ago, on November 29.  I'm torn between "Has it been a month already?" and "Has it only been a month?" 

    Realized last night that yesterday marked six weeks since he left for Corpus Christi, and in those six weeks he only spent one night at home....the Thursday night he arrived back.  So except for that one night, he's been mostly gone from the house for six weeks.  Feels like either six days or six years, isn't that odd?  Doesn't feel like six weeks.

  • A couple of photos from deep in the bowels of The Closet.

    The first is Don's passport photo from February, 1981 when he was 30 years old:


    Wasn't he cute?  I'd forgotten he'd grown sort of a handlebar-style mustache, and could twirl the ends of it.  Hard to believe that was a father of four, eh?  We were going for a few days to London as part of a radio-sponsored trip.  Braniff was in trouble and there were packages going for, IIRC, about $500, including airfare and hotel (per person, of course).  I'm thinking this is the trip where he stayed on in England an additional week so he could attend a foundry conference or something, while I flew back alone.  Well, Alex was only six months old at the time, so I hadn't wanted to be gone too long in any case, but I had always been desperate to visit England.  We had a great time!

    Now this second one baffles me and I'm hoping either Mom or Jeanne can say when and where it was taken:


    I haven't the slightest idea!  e-headscratch

  • Thanks to my friend, John C., for pointing me to this great story.

    Especially as it took place up in Grapevine, which isn't that far from here.

    Yet I didn't hear about this from the local news; instead, it was reported by an ESPN columnist: There are some games where cheering for the other side feels better than winning.

    If this doesn't warm the cockles of your heart, you're a Grinch's Grinch, that's all. 

  • Christmas 2008, Part II...

    This evening we gathered at Kirstin's for dinner and some gifts, though it was with Jonathan, Dmitry, Joe and me being late due to my managing to get lost.  Joe was following me and must have thought I'd completely lost my mind, considering the convoluted way we went, including being stopped by a barricade where a street ended.  I'm managing alright since Don's death but there's no denying my equilibrium is not what it was (and it isn't anything to write home about under the best of circumstances), and I'm easily flustered and confused.

    However, eventually we - by dint of being talked in by Kirstin via cell phone - arrived.

    Here are Faith and Bridgette, a pair of Christmas sprites:


    And here are Brianna and Bethany with Bryson (they'd been singing carols):


    Bless her heart, li'l Kirsten was upstairs, helping to mind the kids:


    Who included Hannah and Bryson, who have enjoyed deep philosophical and theological conversations when together, from what I hear:


    Benjamin had been dressed casually at first but then insisted upon changing into his "nice" clothes.  One does admire a young man with a proper appreciation for appropriate attire:


    Dmitry and Joe - especially Joe! - manfully shouldered carving duty, slicing the turkey and ham:


    The came the lighting of the Advent wreath, with various children getting a turn:





    After dinner it was finally time to let the kids get at their presents:



    Jonathan Andrew gave each of his nieces and nephews money, but the trick was that it was in various rolls of coins, and the children drew numbers to see who picked a box - or whatever - first.  By jingo, he was right, and the first child to choose (Brianna) chose the heaviest box, which held $20 in pennies.  Bryson had been last and was quite distressed to get the "smallest", even though it was actually worth the most, i.e. $25.

    What Jonathan had not foreseen was the children's immediate unwrapping of their rolled coins.  $20 in pennies is a bunch of pennies, folks.

    Then came the highlight of the evening, when Matt herded everyone outside so I could present Jessica with a joint gift from me and several family members.....a fully loaded 2006 Malibu, to replace the rattletrap she's been struggling along with.  At first she didn't get it:


    But then she did:


    Here she is checking out her new wheels:


    And a bunch of the others checking out her excitement:


    A photo of a happy Jessica with her girls:


    Here's the Flip Video I took; I can't believe I laughed like a loon throughout almost the whole thing, and at a couple of places had it facing the wrong direction but can get the overall:

    Considering that it was the first Christmas without my dearest Donald, it was a pretty good Christmas.  Hope y'all's was as well!

    Merry Christmas! 

  • Christmas 2008, first installment...

    This afternoon Elaine and Hal graciously opened their home for the Gambill Christmas gathering, providing cocoa and cookies....perfect Christmas munchables.  ;^)

    Here are John, Dad, and Jonathan looking at someone arriving:


    Ah!  Jessica and the girls have arrived!  Here she is with Bridgette:


    Dmitry and Jill, with the latter taking the head-toppers more in her stride than the former:


    Odd.  One would think Dmitry didn't want to wear Santas on his head.  Go figure.

    Here's John, Dad, and Jonathan listening to something Benjamin and Bryson were telling them:


    Faith learned how to make fish faces!


    Aunt Jessica shows her how it's done:


    Beth and Hannah, opening presents:




    Alex and Dad:


    Jeanne, Dad, and Mom:


    Omigoodness!  It's about time to head to Keller and Kirstin's house for the Ivy gathering.  Later! 

  • This first Christmas Eve without Don hasn't been as ghastly as I'd feared.

    Elaine and Hal kindly allowed me to accompany them to St. Andrew's Episcopal for the Children's Service at 5:30 p.m., which was just about perfect as it lasted only about half an hour, included three boffo carols ("Angels We Have Heard On High", "Silent Night", and "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing"), and the kids were cute.

    Worked for me.  ;^)

    Then I came home and the boys and I exchanged gifts.  Sad to say my imagination has been on hiatus so Dan and Joe got the same thing:  an emergency flat-tire-inflator kit for their cars (well, they drive a goodish distance to get to their jobs, and for Dan to get to Sarah's home) and a hooded shirt/jacket thing.  Nothing terribly exciting, but they were polite enough to at least seem pleased:




    Then it was Dmitry's turn:


    Guitar Hero World Tour for the Wii which, to be honest, he probably wouldn't have gotten if Don were still with us.  I don't watch much television and don't mind the boys playing the Wii in here, but Don did like television and wasn't keen on having the guys' Wii games played while he was in the room. 





    They played for a good while (Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again" and Survivor's "The Eye of the Tiger"!) then set out, Dan to Sarah's and Dmitry and Joe out to see if they can find somewhere open to get something to eat.  What do you want to bet they wind up at IHOP, which seems to have become one of their favorite hangouts?

    I figure they can't get into too much trouble at IHOP. 

  • In the Dallas Morning News there's a story about a hospice that "works to preserve patient memories...Patients are encouraged to record their life stories for posterity, which often provides peace of mind."

    How I wish Don had been able to write down or tell me everything he could remember about his first year in college at NTSU, and remind me again of the name of the ficitious band member he and some friends created at Arlington Heights and which became firmly fixed in the minds of students and teachers alike as being real, and oh, all manner of memories.

    When did he first realize - or at least suspect - that he loved me?

    What was his happiest childhood memory? Which from our marriage? Which trip did he enjoy most, and why?

    All those memories are gone now.

    A month ago today was the last time I heard his voice and got to actually talk with him. Unfortunately, he had that Bi-Vap thing strapped to his face so it was hard for him to speak, plus he was so exhausted, and when he did, it was grimly giving me instructions after I'd told him that he was going to be in the hospital for at least one to two weeks, and on a ventilator and sedated after the bronchioscopy. When the bronch team arrived about noon and I had to leave the room, I'm pretty sure we managed an "I love you."

    I hope so. It never once crossed my mind that would be the last time we spoke to each other.

  • Watching the Cowboys v. Raven game isn't near as much fun without Donald.

    First, I miss him dreadfully. Terribly. Horribly.

    Second, I didn't have to pay particular attention to the game, as he would tell me what I needed to see and replay it for me with the TiVo.

    I've never understood the TiVo so am stuck sitting here trying to keep an eye on the dumb game.

    You know, ladies, if you're a "football widow", count your blessings.....that beats the socks out of being a real deal widow. Believe me when I tell you this.