Wednesday, December 31, 2008

almost a new year

I hate to admit it but if this recount continues in Minnesota we may not know who our other senator is until summer. Right now that famous comedian is ahead by 50 votes or so. I can see why they are fighting over ballots, originally Coleman was ahead by 250 and now he is behind. I wonder why ballots can't be checked at the polling place and corrected before the voter walks away. I suppose that this would negate the secret ballot process, but wouldn't it be easier than this! It is later now, I was interrupted by trouble with my retirement check that I won't get into the subject here. Also dealing with the Veteran's administration, which I might say goes much, much smoother than dealing with the company that I worked for for 40 damn years. We had a late Christmas at our house last weekend with all the family except for the DeFors who just happen to be spending the season in Rome. For updates on that trip and I do mean trip see Rachel's blog, I have links at the top of my blog to all of my kiddos. We had a good time and everyone stayed healthy, PTL. Other than the weather which is, as usual not that nice cold and windy. I think that December has been the snowiest on record and the temp has been below normal almost everyday also. Just more proof of global warming. I had a phone call from John Wilson tonight, it was really good to hear his voice again. We hadn't spoken for quite some time. We are old, and I use that term lightly, Air Force comrades from Ellsworth AFB. He was in the Bomb-Nav shop and I was Electronic Warfare and we spent a lot of time hunting in the Hills or out on the prairies. On another subject. It's New Years Eve and I'm at the keyboard and Jan is watching TV, pretty exciting huh? I never was one to go out on this night, too many drunks trying to have a good time. Just the two of us hanging out together. I hope that you younger couples out there live long enough to get to this stage of life where you can communicate without talking to each other, very warm and fuzzy. Anyhow I'll throw on some Christmas pictures to give you an idea of the festivities at our house.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

another hurdle crossed

I used to run 110 yard high hurdles in high school and I think that I can use that event as a kind of analogy of life's' journey if you don't mind. Think of life's' major events such as births of children, marriage to your partner, deaths of loved ones and friends, etc, etc. Well I just passed over a pretty good sized one today let me tell you. I had my three month visit with the surgeons that worked on me three months ago and had a good check up, in fact they really don't think I would need anymore physical therapy if I don't want it. My leg is healing nicely and my mouth must look good too. Anyhow, to back up here Jan and I drove down to Rochester Monday afternoon to board with the Theobalds for the night. It was good to see them again after the fiasco on the week before Thanksgiving. Gen and Steve had things going on after work so Jan and I got to watch Sam and Gus for awhile while they were gone. We had a fairly late appointment today but were afraid of the weather, which this winter is turning into a real threat. I think that we have been getting off lightly so far but we still have at least 2 feet on the lawn and the banks are getting higher along the streets here in town. We have gotten into a rut lately of snow of some amount every other day and high winds from one direction or another. Today coming home from Rochester we saw two cars in the ditch before we got to Kasson. It has also been cold with a capital C, with many days not getting above zero. With everything white around here including our vehicles I think that I will dig up some more summer photos, so we can dream of warmer times. Take care and stay in touch.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

another garage

Yesterday I ventured off to Jay Leno's garage. Believe me it is a whole lot more interesting than mine by far!! If you are interested in performance vehicles of any kind take a look. For instance, he has a 427 Cobra replica that he says the 427 side-oiler was giving him trouble so he slips a 427 SOHC in. After going over the car it's " lets take it out for a drive", did I mention that these are videos? Anyhow it's cars, bikes, airplanes, you name it he's got one or is going for rides in. Anyhow I marked that site in my favorites list for return visits. This time of year has me dreaming about all the riding that I want to do next year, and you thought that I would be dreaming of Christmas, speaking of which, I also need to start on my Christmas letter too. I head out to the garage, turn on the heat, fire up the amp and the cd player or the tv and putz around with the bikes. I am entertaining the idea of thinning out the herd some to generate some traveling funds, but it's just a thought for now. After following the book by Neil Peart I got a cd by "Rush" and have it in the player in the garage, I like it a lot. Sitting at breakfast this morning I had this whole train of thought about how I was going to do this blog but by the time I got sat down and the computer fired up it was gone, rats. To quote a close relative,"whatever". PT has been going well I guess. I am hard pressed to see any progress, but trying to stretch the jaw further open is the major project now. At least progress there is measurable. Also the work area on my calf is getting better with only one point left that needs covering, so I guess that that is moving forward. Friday Jan and I will head up to hear Donna's concert at Woodale church in the Cities, it's quite a production and spend the night at Phil and Laura's. There have been a few PGR missions this last week but I just don't feel like freezing my feet off lately even though the cost of driving to these mission locations has come down considerably. If I can find some pictures of summer biking on the hard drive I will throw them on too. Take care and leave a comment?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

December 3rd

Several things have crossed my mind lately. Last night I was thinking about how many roads there are that I haven't traveled yet and I thought about my aunt Arlyne who was wearing a shirt when I saw her awhile back that said " so many books so little time" on the front. That would go for me too I guess, reading and riding have been a big part of my life since I learned how to read and ride. Ask Saint Jan how many atlases I have by the bed sometime, along with topo maps of most of the surrounding states. I see by the news that Al Franken will probably lose the election regardless of how many times the ballots are counted and re-counted. I will throw a picture in here that we took last Fall when Hans was home to see his Grandma. This was also the day that I got my cancer diagnosis, boy, does that feel like a long time ago. For lunch today Mom, a neighbor of hers and I drove down to Ormsby for the annual customer appreciation lunch. I wonder how many banks still do this anymore? It is a small part of mid-western Americana, with ham sandwiches, potato salad, bars, cookies and all the coffee you can stand. We sat across from a former neighbor of ours from Galena township, Ervin Wassman, who is a WWll vet. I asked him what his service had been and he talked for quite a while about his service in the south Pacific with an artillery unit. He feels incredibly lucky to have missed several initial invasions of islands in that campaign. They ended up in the Philippines training when Okinawa started off so slow and then figured on being sent into Japan as a decoy unit to the primary invasion force. This turned into an occupation after the a-bombs were used. I don't know how many readers out there are American Legion members but the latest Legionnaire paper has a terrific poem along the lines of"Twas the night before Christmas" but it is about the men and women guarding this country in places around the world. If you should get a chance try to read it. As far as my recovery goes things seem to be progressing if I think back to what I was doing a few weeks ago. I am chewing carefully and walking more all of the time with virtually no limp. I figure I should be ready to ride by spring.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Winter Returns

Joe and Annie on the stairs and with his LeapFrog . Below is Rachel with her new shirt and Aaron sitting on his great-gramma's lap.

Just a short one here. The ground is white from a weekend dusting and the wind is out of the northwest and its about 20 degrees. Rachel, Joe and Annie are already back in Germany with Hans. We followed the flight back for them and they were an hour late out of the Cities because of de-icing the plane. I think that I was up after mid-night and they were over Ireland at the time and a little over an hour from Stuttgart. I just talked with her and they are headed over to Garmich tomorrow, whew, off the plane and into the car. Saturday I ran down to Sioux Falls for a PGR mission for a veteran and an ex cop. the internment was attended by both the military and the Sioux Falls police force and us. Luckily again, it wasn't too cold and I was dressed warmly except for my feet. I will attach some photos from the past week to keep you informed.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

midnight musings

It has been a busy week here at our humble abode what with the get together on Saturday when almost every attendant came down with the double barrel flu-if you know what I mean. Rachel, Josiah and Annika are here from Stuttgart until Saturday when they start the trek back to Germany via the Cities etc. Everyone keep you fingers crossed that they are all feeling at the tops of their game when the plane is boarded. Today we had Thanksgiving or should I say that Jan had Thanksgiving here. My Mom is still not feeling well and now Eli is upchucking as well so rather than 11 people we were short a couple of guests. Now we have the curse of lots of leftovers to eat through, but no pumpkin pie, we killed that off the other day. My recovery seems to be moving along finally. All of the sudden the trach site healed up and everyone keeps saying that the swelling is getting less in my jaw area although I would be hard pressed to see the difference from day to day. The bone harvest area on my calf seems to be getting some better but is progressing veeerrryy sslloowwllyy. I have had a couple of stitches come to the surface lately so I guess that is a good sign.

Yesterday I had an early get up to drive to Spicer Minnesota for a Patriot Guard mission. It was for a Viet-Nam vet and close friend of one our group. The day was quite nice with low winds and sunshine.. They had a large turn-out for the funeral at a church in Spicer and the internment was at a cemetery on a lake in New London, I think. Afterwards we had a get together at the Legion in Spicer for a little ceremony for one of the guys honoring his Purple Heart. Rumor has it that he may have a Silver Star in his future for actions in an ambush in Viet-Nam 40 years ago. It is fun to hear these guys who actually spent time with people that were actively trying to kill them in any manner possible laugh about some of the goofy things that happen in war. Although at the time they weren't so funny. People that lived through that share an extremely special bond, that I envy some times. Back in about 1968 I thought about enlisting in the Army but with my electronic training in the Air Force I would probably ended up in a technical job but maybe I would have been there instead of just flying over it. I have had a few troops tell me that the B-52s saved their bacon in Viet-Nam on occasion so that is gratifying.

Back to the title of this blog, while lying awake at midnight I have more thoughts about things, things that are important to me, like my wife and family among other things. I should keep a note pad handy or get out my recorder to record my thoughts. This being Thanksgiving a list of what I am thankful for would include my wife Jan, daughters Rachel and Genevieve, son Eli. My sons in law Hans and Steve and daughter in law Lindsey. Then comes grandchildren Josiah and Annika, Samuel and August, Leah and Aaron. I am thankful for the country that we live in, men and women that are willing to sacrifice all in defense of this country. I could go on and on but you know what I mean and who I mean. I will throw in a couple pictures also to give you the reader an idea of the festivities here. Sleep tight, I know I won't, tomorrow is Black Friday.
As`a post script here while looking at pictures to upload I remembered that Saturday night we had Aaron's baptism at Long Lake Church. It is a small church in the country near Ormsby and this all happened before the scourge hit us, so it went very well. Now I'm done for now.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Visitors from Germany

Jan has been after me to do another post, so I will do one today. I guess that a lot of things have been going on here lately so I need to bring the one reader up to date although she does live in the same house as me. About a week ago Eli gave me a ride up to Lake Crystal on his way to work in Mankato. It had rained all morning but broke around noon so I grabbed my gear and got the GS out of the shop in the afternoon. I had a nice ride home on a round about route through Hanska and Godahl. So I have all the bikes back under the same roof.

Sunday afternoon Rachel, Joe and Annie dropped in for a stay after spending a few days with Gen, Steve and the boys ( see tatertot hotdish). Later on Sunday evening Eli, Lindsey and kiddos came over to see Rachel and family. As you may imagine with three youngsters things got a little crazy for awhile, luckily Aaron isn't mobile yet or it could have been nuttier. Jan was holding races down the steps with the three eldest. They were sliding on their tummy's on the carpet. I was figuring on carpet burns but everyone survived, maybe laughter insulates you?

Yesterday I went on the first Patriot Guard mission that I have been on in a couple of months at least. It was for a local man that had served his country in the 50s. We met in Butterfield for the briefing and social time prior to the funeral. I am not sure what the temperature was but I was glad that I was all leathered up cause it got pretty nippy before the funeral got started, at least we got to hang out in the basement during the actual service and get a cup of coffee in. Then out to the cemetery for the internment, what with the wind etc. people did not hang around for long. The honor guard policed up the brass and headed back to their van asap and the family was gone 15 minutes later. It sure felt good to see the guys again after missing most of the Fall missions.

I have been going to PT a couple times a week lately and the PT guy says I am doing just great. I am always a little suspicious of his encouragement, being a natural pessimist at heart, although the site of the tracheotomy is finally shrinking to a small point and not drooling down my chest. Now if the swelling in my neck would just go down and the right calf would heal up I would feel better. I admit that I seem to walk without much of a limp anymore and I have more energy than before but now the problem is trying to sleep nights, man if it isn't one thing it's another. Anyhow I will throw some pictures in but I am not sure what order they will show up as.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

On the Road Again

The top two are from a couple of reunions that I participated in over the weekend. Upper left is at Mom's house with the five of us. Next is at my cousin Kay's home in Fairmont with the majority of my first cousins on the deck. It was tough to get all of us in one shot unless you have a wide angle lens. To the left now is me after a short run on the GS (Fritz) on Sunday I think. With the weather as nice as it has been it was pretty difficult to sit and look out the window and listen to the bikes running up and down the streets. I had to borrow a line from Willie Nelson for the title today that about sums up how I feel. My recovery, even though the therapist says it is going great, is not moving fast enough for me let me tell you. It doesn't help, I guess that I am reading a book by Neil Peart about his ride around North America after his families death. The things he writes about out on the road are the things that keep most riders ready to turn right around and go again, the smell of fresh hay, onions or garlic around Gilmore, even a slight wiff of cow manure isn't so bad. Anyhow where was I? Oh ya, the reunion was a lot of fun again. It seems as if this bunch always enjoys the company and the potluck dinner would attract strangers off the street if we would let them in. It is fun catching up with what has been going on in other people's lives even though they are much more complicated than they were 50 years ago. We have been a pretty lucky bunch come to think of it, as we have only lost one of the original cousins, correct me if I am wrong. We, the immediate family got together on Sunday for lunch out in honor of Mom's 88th birthday. I'll admit it was over a month late but Kathy was here now to sit in. Yesterday (Tuesday ) I ran the GS up to the dealer in Lake Crystal to have a couple of recalls worked on and except for the high winds the riding was great. I just hope that when they get done it isn't snowing, which it could do real easy in this part of the world. I appreciate the replys to my last blog, the witty repartee is more fun than the blog itself. Take care and please stay in touch.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thanks for the Replies

If you wish to refer back to yesterday,s photos, I will give a little explanation. Evidently MamaD4 spent too much time rolling her eyes when she was younger as I scrolled through my slides. The top two and a lower one are taken from the I.P. position in a B-52D of another B-52 refueling from a KC-135 over the South China Sea on our way into South Viet-Nam, I think in May of 1966. I did a couple of ride alongs on combat missions over the South. I made one flight to the Danang area and one west of Saigon around Tay Nihn. I think that I was included in these missions in case the EWO had trouble with our equipment (electronic warfare equipment). As it turns out there isn't too much I could do anyway because 90% of our black boxes were outside the pressurized compartments of the aircraft anyhow. I got to admit that training missions in the States were much more fun, with lots of low level (200ft) through Wyoming and North Dakota badlands etc.. I even got to ride in the right seat and run the throttles at altitude once and view the Cascade volcanoes at sunset as we headed west, great fun all in all. I hope that this clarifies some things.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

what a drag it is to look in the mirror

Yesterday Jan and I went for my weekly PT and encouragement session here at the local hospital. He says that I'm doing well and so does Jan and the site on my right calf that looks like a hunk of raw meat is coming along nicely too. I'd show you all a picture but I'm afraid it would gag some people that have sensitive stomachs, like Eli perhaps. Anyhow, we, wife, sister,brothers, sister in laws, grandchildren, Mom and Mom in law all drove to Rochester last Saturday for Sam's birthday party. It was a pretty good time to say the least. I don't recall, but did I blog about this already? Judging by the replies that I am getting on this blog my wife-Saint Jan is the only person reading this account of my life and I can talk to her at home, although she will say there is damn little of that either. I think that I am getting more cranky all of the time, with the glacial rate of recovery that I am experiencing. Day after day I keep hoping for some sign of improvement but it just seems to be the same morning after morning. Man, I just started re reading " Ghost Rider" by Neal Peart. He is the drummer and lyricist for the band "Rush". He lost his wife and daughter in less than a years time and took off on his BMW and rode all over North America trying to cope with his loss. The book is from his journal while he traveled around. It is interesting reading but it can be depressing in places. I also started scanning in some of my slides from my Air Force days and that has not been going well. Scanning 4 at a time, sometimes gets all 4 and the next batch comes out as one picture or only half of the slides are scanned in. At one time I was going to scan in all of my slides-6000+-but at this rate I don't think that the project is feasible. I need to figure out what is going on with that scanner and I suppose that it means a call to tech support in some third world country. I'll throw in a couple of slides here to show what I have started out to accomplish.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Back on the PC

Me and the grand kids, well anyway 1/3 of them. Leah and Aaron stopped over on Sunday for a visit before they went for a walk with Eli and Lindsey. Jan had been busy with outdoor stuff, planting the mum that I got in the hospital and surprisingly enough a straggler that has survived several winters next to the kitchen foundation. We moved it out to where it should have a better chance of getting some moisture. We also unwrapped the trailer and winterized it with lots of anti-freeze. Yesterday-Monday- was my first day at PT and it was pretty much exploring what exercises I need to do to keep the ankle loose and stretching my jaw out. We also had a misunderstanding corrected. I had thought that the doctors had removed a section of the fibia to repair the jaw but the therapist showed me that the bone is still in one piece. Evidently just sections were transplanted. Now I need to make out a chart of some kind to keep track of my exercise routines similar to the one that I made up to keep me up to date on meds.This weekend we will be running back to Rochester but this time it will be for Sam's birthday party. My sister Kathy is flying in from California today and Jan and I will be picking her up in Mankato later this afternoon. Well, that's about it for now, I'll post more in the future. Bye

Saturday, October 18, 2008

one of these days

Just a short post here. I will bring you up to date on the goings on here, or lack there-of. I have pretty much been devoting my time to getting better, although from point of view it is going way too slow. I must listen to the professionals who tell me that I am ahead of the curve, but maybe they just say that to keep my spirits up. This week I have been eating my meals with a spoon out of the blender. Every time I run up a can of soup etc. I look at the blender and think of Linda Ronstad- think about it- it's a Waring blender. Anyhow, Pastor Johnson stopped by Friday for a short visit and Mom and I went cruising in the afternoon. We went the usual route to Mt. Lake, down to Bergen and cross country through the windmill farm back to Ormsby and St. James. She brought me over some home made soup of hers which went through the blender and down the hatch for supper. As usual it has the commercial brands beat hands down. I have also been limping around the house without the walker more lately too and it seems to be going well but awkwardly. Today Jan and I are going to run up to New Ulm again for some shopping. Other than that it has been a quiet week here in St. James. Oh ya, I start PT on Monday so we will see how I am doing a week from now. Just think 3 weeks ago I was just out of surgery and wondering if I would live to see Sunday. The curve has definitely been steeply up since then. I don't what I would have done without Saint Jan at my side the last weeks, literally.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Things just keep getting better

This blog will be an upbeat one for sure. Jan and I drove over to Rochester for my follow up visits with my Doctors. I wonder some times if they aren't a little magicians for some of the things that they do. Doctor Moore's assistant Eli met with me yesterday after the swallow tests etc. I get the impression that they are like kids unwrapping a present when the see me or take off wound dressings. I think that they have a little wonderment themselves at what they have been able to accomplish. Anyhow, first off was the swallow test where they had me stand in front of a type of x-ray machine and watched me swallow liquids of varying consistency to see how the plumbing was working. Praise the Lord everything went down like I hadn't stopped eating by mouth 2 and a half weeks earlier. Next up was Dr. Eli and his staff. He pulled out all of the staples and stitches and last but not least the feeding tube. I must be tougher than I think I am because he warned me about pulling the tube was going to be really unpleasant. I found it kind of unique, feeling it come up from the bottom of the stomach and out through the nose. God, what a good feeling to get that chunk of fuel line out of my nose. Oh ya, first he had to snip the stitch out of my nose that held the tube in place, even that was not too bad. We went from there to the visitor cafeteria where I had some mashed potatoes,yogurt and a chocolate milk. It went well and after that we met Gen at the Hilton building for a bit before we headed back to St. James. The last couple of photos are of Gen and me, then there is one of me actually eating scrambled eggs and cheese. Later in the evening Eli,Lindsey, Leah and Aaron dropped by and there is a photo of the kiddos here on the kitchen floor. Today I had for dinner a can of soup that Jan ran up in the blender and it was terrific,about the first thing that I have been able to just slurp up and swallow. I have been praying for blessings for all the people that have praying for me, so I hope that all the help that I have been receiving will reflect back on an awfully lot of people. I think that it is time for a nap after dinner as I still don't have near the stamina I had before. Take care and leave a comment, please?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Saturday Cruise

In my latest post I have thrown in some more recent pictures. The upper left is my left thigh where they pealed off the skin graft to cover the hole in my right calf where they harvested the fibula to fix the jaw bone that was removed to get rid of the cancer. According to all reports, the mission has been accomplished,praise The Lord. Next photo is me out on the deck getting some fresh air, as you can see the orange mums have opened to a yellow center. Then another of the flowers.This afternoon nurse Jan chased me out of the house and told me to get busy raking leaves. I think that the leaves were falling faster than I could rake them up.

Luckily in the nick of time my Mom drove up and rescued me from an afternoon of toil. She was on her way to Odin to a birthday party with our Neighbor Leona Shellum. Jan and I cruised up to New Ulm again mainly to get a prescription filled but since we were going by Target and Herbergers she just had to stop and check out the bargains and she got some. I am having a hard time getting used to the idea that I don't seem to have much stamina since surgery but everyone says that being on table for 10 hours takes a lot out a person. Every day seems to get better though, especially when I think back to how I felt 2 weeks ago. Keep up the prayers, it really does help to know that so many are pulling for me. Thanks for all of the prayers so far.