Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving

I have so much to be thankful for.  The turnout at the benefit was amazing.  I can't believe how supportive the community and our friends and families have been throughout Stan's illness and passing. Even though it's been a rough road, it's been filled with the beauty of seeing people living their faith, caring for us and showing their love. I know that God knew just what was important when he created this world we live in. 

I'm thankful that I've got a nice warm home, the best neighbors in the whole world, two wonderful sons and a nice little flock of sheep in the barn.  Not to mention tons of wool to felt with (when I get done with all my paperwork -- thank you notes are top priority -- right after final grant reports), a supportive community and lots of opportunities to keep making my art.

I have some nice birds too, but those ducks are so mischievous flying all over the place -- including the roof and on vehicles. They and the geese are mean to the chickens so I have to keep them separated now.  It seems that 99% of the chicks that hatched here this year were roosters.  I think I may have one little black hen for replacement. So I'll call my friend Marianna to see if she wants some roosters for her freezer (mine is already filled). 

In August of 2010 we had a big storm and a HUGE oak tree fell in our sheep pasture -- right on the fenceline.  Well now I have plenty of wood to see me through the winter.  I love making a fire down in the "man cave" which is so empty these days.  The fire brings warmth and life back to Stan's space.

I've been doing okay, there's a lot to do. A couple weeks ago, Matt and I ran over to pick up some hay from the 40 acres in Ogilvie.  I backed the truck into the pole shed and hopped in the back to start stacking the bales Matt threw to me.  Well, it wasn't long before the truck slipped out of park and started slowly moving out of the building. I contemplated hopping out, but it picked up speed as it rolled into the hayfield with Matt running along pulling on the tailgate.  I was beginning to think I'd end up in the swamp, but fortunately it came to a stop in the middle of  the field.  Then there was nothing left to do but hop out of the back and get back in, put it in reverse and make sure I used the emergency brake this time.  I'll bet Stan got a chuckle out of that!  And it was kind of exciting.


The next week, the battery on the pick up died and I replaced it (with the help of the neighbor guys).  After the first 6" snowfall, there was no shortage of people volunteering to plow my driveway.  I shoveled the sidewalk and a path out to the pole barn myself and it felt good.

I also went to a concert all by myself last Sunday. There's a wonderful little Lutheran church in the country about 12 miles away from here. They have monthly concerts with pie afterward.  I've really gotten into bluegrass music this year, so I went to see the Galactic Cowboy Orchestra (which offers a pretty eclectic musical repetroire) and enjoyed the wintery afternoon in the little church with the late afternoon sun shining through the stained glass windows and the statue of Jesus behind the drummer and electric guitars. It's really a cool place for these intimate concerts.  I only knew one other couple, and I hoped to find a seat next to them when it came time for the pie and coffee. I had considered just leaving after making a free will offering for the band, and I have to admit the worrisome thought of my van slipping out of park and across the road crossed my mind too. But the pie smelled so good, I decided to stay. Of course the couple I knew was surrounded by others, so I sat next to a couple of strangers. They turned out to be very nice, but I didn't stay long because it was already dark. I was so glad I went and had a fun afternoon. 
Dora, Rita and me

I also found an esophageal cancer widows support group online.  How cool is that?  I didn't know about them until after Stan died and they invited me to join.  I had lunch with two members from Minnesota last week.  I can't tell you how good it was for me to sit and talk with women who have had such a similar experience. One lost her husband exactly a week after Stan died. Her husband was diagnosed in July, just a couple weeks after Stan was diagnosed. So she's in the same boat as me.  The other gal lost her husband four or five years ago when he was 46 and she was 45.  He lived a year after his diagnosis. Esophageal cancer is a tough one to beat, the chances of survival are very low. The worst thing is it usually has no symptoms until it's pretty far advanced and then it's just too late. I want to work to get the word out about this deadly disease and the effect it has on so many lives.

Well, I've got animals to feed and then get ready to head down to my mom's and Stan's sister's for Thanksgiving.  I'm bring the homemade pumpkin pies, from homegrown pumpkins.  Yummm!
Hope you all have a great day.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Memorial Benefit Today

I've got to pull myself together and get ready for the benefit for Stan today. It was supposed to be for Stan, but now that he's gone, it's more in honor of him.  Lots of people have donated tons of really nice stuff (jewelry, Vikings memorabilia, hunting equipment, way too much to list here) which will be auctioned and raffled off.
Coborn's of Mora has donated food (pulled pork sandwiches, salads, dessert, etc.) and my musician siblings and friends have volunteered to come and play.
Stan's siblings and co-workers at Coborn's have worked hard garnering all the donations and organizing.  My hat is off to them for all their efforts. 
This event is so bittersweet for me though, it certainly isn't what I had envisioned when we first planned it.   But I will pull myself together and put on my new sweater and have a good time enjoying Stan's friends' support. The weather is beautiful for the middle of November, so who could have asked for more?
Memorial Benefit at Bowe's Restaurant and Bar, 118 Railroad Ave., Mora, MN
2-10 p.m. November 12, 2011
Pulled Pork Dinner from 3-7 p.m., Silent Auctions ending at 4, 6, and 8 p.m., music, raffles and games of skill throughout the day.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Catching Up

Cavalia tent, partial view
Sorry it's been a while since I posted.  Lots going on here. Went to see Cavalia this past Saturday - it was really good.  I know the tickets are expensive, but what a show!  It was fun to get out with my mom, my sister, my niece, and Bev, a neighbor that Stan and I had when we first moved to Mora back in 1977.  We had fun and laughed a lot. The show was great, the costumes, the choreography, the lighting, the music, the people and the horses were all really good. I see it's held over in Minneapolis again this week, if anyone is considering going, by all means go! 
I'm getting a little more used to life as a widow.  It's been a little over two weeks since Stan died and I'm trying to come to terms with all I've been through these past months and weeks -- the whole medical ordeal, the visitation and memorial service, the legal stuff, and carrying on with the house and animals. I've got tons of thank you notes to write and the last of the funeral flowers are fading.  But I feel so blessed that I still have project ideas bubbling around in my head that I want to do. Stay tuned as I try to refine them in my mind and make them presentable to the public. I really miss having Stan here to give me honest, man-on-the-street feedback and keep me grounded. 
I have lots of widowed role models to inspire me and offer advice. One told me that she still talks to her late husband, so that's what I'm doing.  I talk to Stan and it feels more like normal. He very seldom answered me anyway. :-)
I got so teary washing his clothes for the last time and putting them in his drawer knowing I would never do it again.  But when I told a friend about it she said, "You can wash those clothes as many times as you want dear."  And I guess I can!
I took off my wedding ring, the indentation is still on my finger.  Thirty-six years of wearing it doesn't disappear all that quickly. Stan hadn't worn his wedding ring for several years, so now the two of them sit together in the drawer.

Breeding season is here for the sheep. I could tell that Hattie was cycling last week, so I let her in with Hansel.  The two of them were inseparable for a couple days and then it was Heddy's turn. I marked the calendar for March 19th for Hattie's lambs.  I can't wait to see what she produces! I'm not certain that Heddy was bred, but she would be due a few days after Hattie.
I still have Camille to get bred and then Hansel is free to leave.  He's in with Socks, our wether, but they share a fenceline with the ewes so I'll know when Camille cycles and I can just let her in with Hansel.  Also if Hattie and Heddy didn't take, I can put them in if they cycle again in the next week or two.
It looks like I have three female muscovy ducks. I love how they can fly so well and roost up high, but I was not thrilled to see this when I looked out the window on Sunday afternoon.  Time to park the vehicles in the garage!

Lots to do today including my annual physical and a meeting with a lawyer.  It's finally starting to get light outside so time to get busy.