Monday, August 31, 2009

Top 5 Toughest

3 years ago, our mother's best childhood friend, Hermelinda, passed away from ovarian cancer. During her final days, Mom could not discern the difference between "is dying" and "has died." She would call us sobbing that her friend had passed away, only for us to find out (embarrassingly, I might add, after sending condolences) that her friend was still alive. Informing Mom that Hermelinda had not yet passed brought forth such joy and celebration that we realized we were just setting her up to repeatedly experience her friend's death. What to do, with a fragile mind? Finally, when there were only hours left, we did not tell Mom that she was still here.

Teri and I have worried, over the past couple of years, and more so in the past few months, telling Mom about Teri's prognosis. Teri has prodded her slightly, explaining matter-of-factly that she would one day die of cancer, but that it was not to be focused on now. We have discussed and contemplated what and when to say. I have made myself sick, lately, with the prospect of being handed this particular responsibility.

I have been surprised to realize, in the last few weeks then, that Mom knows. Her conversation, agitation, and line of questioning have made it quite clear that she knows. She is talking about death constantly. Her father died. Her husband died, she still misses him.

Since the last time we visited Teri, she begins talking about her as if we have already been talking about her for hours. The conversations go as such:
"Hi, Mom."

"She loves feeding the squirrels. She bought peanuts for them. I love her so much."

"I love her too. It's ok to cry."
I brought her to the house yesterday, to hang out while I prepared food for a small cookout for Brian and a few friends & family. Mom approached me with an obvious question at her lips, but didn't say anything. I pushed a little: "You looked like you were going to say something." She finally blurted out, "I was going to say something! I want to KNOW something. I want to know: Is Teri going to be all right?"

And I looked into my mother's eyes, and I told her "No."

I can count the toughest days of my life on one hand. Arriving in the emergency room to find my then-5-year-old son strapped to a backboard after falling 2 stories out of the waterslide. Walking out of a courtroom with custody of my best friend's daughter. Picking out my father's casket. Sending my kid to war.

And now, informing a woman that she is about to lose a child.

This shaking will stop, someday, I know.

Friday, August 28, 2009

My head hurts (+ a bit of good advice)

My head hurts, and I'm warning you that yours might too, by the end of this post. Feel free to come back another day, this isn't a feel good entry.

It's been a rough week, and the next few weeks won't be easier. Hospice, last week, informed us that Teri has about 4 weeks left. 10 days have passed since that estimate was passed on to us. We trimble more with every passing day.

Tim is home now, caring for her. His employer has sent him home, with pay, for as long as she needs him. (Let's hear it for Mac's.) We marvel over the care he gives her, holding her vomit bucket, donning gloves and spreading nausea medicine that absorbs into her skin, and doing whatever else she needs done.

Clint and I took Brian and Mom to see Teri on Wednesday. She began throwing up almost as soon as we arrived. It is hard to know what to do; we don't want to flee the scene when the vomiting begins, but we also want to give her whatever space she needs. When there seemed to be no end to it, she asked us to leave. Apologizing: She was apologizing and we were apologizing, and Tim was apologizing, and good Lord, we all know that apologies are ridiculous but we are all just so damned helpless and sorry.

I have not come right out and told Mom the final prognosis. Neither do I lie. Teri's condition is not entirely lost on her. She is distraught, and asks, after visiting: Does Teri take any medicine? When I say yes, she says "Oh, good, I hope it makes her better." Eight months ago, we would have all replied, "we hope so too," but I now steer her elsewhere, telling her that meds make the pain go away, but they do not make the cancer go away. She cries. Can HER doctor help Teri? I tell her no. She cries more, and I tell her it's ok to cry, that I cry too.

It has just occurred to me, just this week, that I will be unable to shield my mother from this, and that it would be best if I stopped putting energy into figuring out that particular solution. Did you know I'm not really Super Woman? I forgot.

A crisis of this magnitude is bound to creep into one's relationship. Clint and I are both a little edgy these days. As I do for my Mother, Clint tries to fix all things awry in my life. He has kicked himself for not coming up with just the right words, at the same time that I'm not looking for words, just open arms and a t-shirt to sop up some tears. I, in the meantime, cancel all plans for the next 3 weeks, and shake off guilt at asking Clint to do the same, for me. I need him here...because I need him here...and that's the only reason I can give. So. He's here. We forge ahead, together.

And here I am. I don't know what to do, don't know whether to call or drop in or ride shotgun or let them rest. I just hover, calling every day to offer to shop or cook or visit, and in the meantime, leave myself open for direction. I'm still shaking, and still crying and still howling at the moon...but I'm here, waiting to do whatever I might be called to do.

I only have one more thing for today: Some advice.

Good Advice:

Remember a few weeks ago, I mentioned a few things you could do or say to comfort someone? Well, my niece and I got together and vented the other day, and we both agree that there are a few things that you should not say while trying to comfort someone that's losing a loved one:

Do not, I repeat, never, never say:

"This is all for the best."

Really? Would you care to explain how that could possibly be true, you stupid jackass?

Also, don't say:

"There's a reason for this."

As if cancer, and losing a loved one is all part of a grander scheme that one of us someday stands to benefit from? And all we have to do is wait for it? Are you even listening to yourself?

Those are The Big 2, but while you're at it, go ahead and leave out "This is God's plan." At a time when we're struggling with our faith, it doesn't endear us to God one bit. Maybe giving you a big fat bloody lip is God's plan too, howz about that?

Ok, maybe we aren't running around handing out fat lips, but there have definitely been moments that we've fantasized about it. It makes us forget about our headache.




For those of you that are asking me what you can do for Teri & her family, I simply am at a loss. Many people have been bringing them food, and stocking their freezer, and it has been very much appreciated. Shopping and cooking are chores they don't need right now.

In this light, it has occurred to me that gift cards to restaurants that carry out may come in handy. When thawing and reheating may be too much at the end of some days, sending one of the kids for a hot meal may be a relief. If you have questions, hit me up,

I simply don't know what else to tell you right now. When I think of something, I'll post it here.

Much love.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hi Ya'll

That's all I have today. Hi. How are you?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tumult & Thanks

I am not feeling so strong lately and there is little to be done about it. Hospice has given us news that has shaken this family to the core. My sister's situation is grave, and we brace ourselves for what we cannot wrap our minds around. It's too much for me to elaborate on right now.

I'm overwhelmed and exhausted. I begin to notice stress manifesting itself physically. My hands shake a lot, and when I retire at night, my entire body shakes for a few minutes before calming into sleep. Hives break out on my scalp. My skin is duller, my eyes darker, and I'm putting on weight. I try to get a grip on all of these things for my own sake, but sometimes just don't have the energy or the desire to do something as mundane as moisturize.

I am getting help with Mom. We have an assessment with senior resources on Monday that will determine what help they can do for us, and at what cost. Mom is edgy about this, but I am, quite simply, burning out. One evening surprisingly cleared up for me this week, and I was ridiculously (and ashamedly) relieved to have an extra 2 hours to myself. To suddenly be able park my car and take a stroll and clear my mind was a luxury.


Hey! I have a Son! And a Daughter-in-law! They are on the road home as I write this. Brian & Courtney got married on May 19, and my head spins at how little time I've had to communicate with them. I haven't ordered wedding photos from their photographer yet; I haven't given them the address book I wanted to. I don't call enough, email enough. I'm banking that they're taking care of each other, while I take care of...whatever it is I take care of here.

This trip home for them is both a source of joy and great heartache for me. It will be his last trip home before he deploys to Iraq in October. I've had so many distractions that I've put his deployment on the back burner in my mind. Denial is probably more like it. I don't want to say goodbye to him for a year, could I just scratch this off of my list of things to do?


We are all gathering, tonight, at Courtney's parent's lake house. There will be BBQ-ing, laughing, and celebrating. I'm going to go enjoy my kids, and try not to feel guilty about what I'm leaving at home for 24 hours, ok?

A friend that I reconnected with on Facebook, Rachel, has been reading my blog and FB updates, and stepped up to help me out with Mom, recently. She took a lunch and dinner "shift" when I had to be out of town, and now her daughter is going to start dropping in and helping out. She has Mom covered until we get back tomorrow evening.

A coworker friend brought a big batch of cookies for me to take to Teri's family yesterday.

Another coworker friend fixed up a plate for me for lunch yesterday, a Filipino dish called Pinakbet. That was just crazy-nice.

Another coworker and friend that is currently undergoing chemotherapy, Sue, and her partner Cindy, honored Teri and Tim in the most unique way yesterday:

They named these wild turkeys in their yard "Tim" and "Teri." Sue felt it was a dubious honor as turkeys are, well, kind of stupid, but Cindy insisted that these are bright turkeys, and brighten up a day, like the human Tim and Teri do.

We visited Tim and Teri last night, and Brandi hauled out the laptop and showed them Tim and Teri Turkey. Teri was feeling like hell, had taken morphine for pain, and something else to counteract the nausea from the morphine, but still she laughed at her Turkish namesakes.

Another soldier's mother, Kathy, is cooking up something for Teri & Tim's freezer (we're back on the human Teri & Tim again).

I'm getting better at accepting and asking for help. I have to admit that I'm more likely to accept offers if they're "insistent." I'm not sure why we have a tendency to say, "no thank you," "I'm fine," or "we couldn't possibly"...even in the midst of our minds screaming "Hellllllp!!" The few people that I've let step in, despite the dozens of offers, are those that have had to put their foot down with me and have said "Dammit, I'm here and I'm not budging!" And I say, "well, fine!" and am instantly so relieved to have something taken care of for me.

I'm working on this. Most days, though, I myself don't know what to do. Other days, something comes up right-this-instant and I think, "dang, now would have been a good time to get some of that help."

I finally thought of something, and asked someone to do something: Kathy, above, is going to the farmer's market for me tomorrow, and picking up basil. Brian wants me to teach him how to make pesto this week, and where am I going to get that much basil if I'm out of town in the morning? So. Yay me. Yay Kathy. Yay teaching my kid to make pesto.

I can't thank you all enough for your cards, gifties, comments, emails, and your support. I have too much going, and even though I have so many great people around me, every word and gesture means the world to me; your card or note may just come in after a cry and a nap, or just when I could use a break from being alone with my own mind.

A distraction, a smile, a word, is often what we need to just get back up and get moving. And that's where I am, today. Tired, grieving, thankful, shaking, appreciative, happy, scared, laughing, crying, sick. I'm taking it one minute at a time.

For now, I just want to get out of here and hug my kid.

I'll let you know, tomorrow, what I/we need next.

Thank you, and much love.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Happy 26th Anniversay, Teri & Tim

Love you both!

Don't forget, they're over HERE if you want to send them a message!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Gnightgirl: 1/3 of 1 Tough Day

Sis isn't doing so hot. A blood transfusion on Friday night left her feeling perkier on Saturday, so I took Mom to see her yesterday.

While we were there, I found out that Teri lost a contact lens, and has no glasses. She's 2 years overdue on an eye exam, and thinks the eye doctor won't give her a new lens. The effects of the blood transfusion aren't lingering as long as they usually do, and Teri doesn't have the energy to deal with the phone calls. I told her I'd take care of it.

I called Teri's eye doctor at 2:00 this afternoon, and spilled my guts. The Story. The. Entire. Story: There is no way that Teri can get into that office for an eye exam. We realize that the Rx has expired. We just need a one set of replacement lenses. Yes, I am asking for special consideration.

The girl that I was speaking to replied "Gawwwwwwwwwd!" While I was thinking, "yes, I know, we are in a pickle here," she replied "She hasn't been here for 3 years!!!

My teeth clenched up. Yes. She was there 3 years ago. Her eye exams slipped her mind while she's been traveling back and forth to St. Louis and suffering through chemo and cancer and hospice for the last two years. That is why I'm calling.

Ms. OMGawd called me back 2 hours later, and said "Sorreee, we can't give her any contact lenses. It's been too long." I was in a public place when I got this call, and I didn't care who heard me when I said, "DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE CIRCUMSTANCES HERE?"...and some more, it was hard enough to say it then, I'm not going to say it again.

She mumbled something unintelligible, and when I asked her to repeat, she LAUGHED, and said, "well, I don't suppose you have a backup pair of glasses?!" As sure as I am that her laughter was wrought of sheer nerves, the girl was damned lucky that one can't reach through a telephone. That fucking giggle left me shaking with anger, and I told her I'd try to see what Hospice could do for us.

My next phone call, then was to Hospice. It was my first encounter with them, and as I told them who I was and why I was calling, I broke down. I didn't stop though, I kept talking and crying and asking for help: Can't they pull some string and get the prescription? My sister isn't going to be able to see across the room for the rest of her life?!! These doctors send people home with trial lenses every day. We're not asking for a free ride here, we will PAY for contact lenses.

They were so kind, and put a note into Teri's doctor to ask for help. They're to call me back tomorrow.


I arrived to Mom's house after this conversation, to have Mom confront me with this news, after talking to her own sister today: "My Dad died." Yes, yes, he did, he died in the 80s, he died a long time ago. Come outside and talk while I walk the dog.

When we get outside, I finally *get* that Mom is a mess. She explains to me some of her father's history, how he moved to California. She tears up, and wishes he didn't die.

I hitch the dog to the chain, and sit my Mother down. I'm straight with her, and I tell her this: "I have to tell you something. You were there with him when he died. It doesn't matter that you don't remember it now, what matters is that he knew you were there with him, and you stayed with him until the end, ok?"

She's so happy to hear this. We take the dog in and give him a Beggin' Strip.

While I'm at Mom's house, Teri calls, for an update on the eye doctor. I give her the update, and then she tells me that she's been on the floor.


She's been on the floor. For 4o minutes, until son Dane got home to help her up. Gahhhhhh, I had just talked to her, and she didn't need me to come over today, and then she spent 4o minutes on the floor?! I cleared time off this week to help her out, and she's on the FLOOR?!! ::profanity, profanity::


A storm rolled in. I amusedly watch kids on the street run from home-made basketball courts, then drive home to Clint's arms during a break. The skies open up again, and while we stand and talk about our day, water begins running out of the new range hood, down my newly painted walls, flooding the floor under the stove.

The culprit, it turns out, is...ME. While Clint worked yesterday, I promised to close all of the upstairs windows for the storm due then. He pointed out to me not to forget the upstairs bathroom window. I swear, I morphed into Dustin Hoffman's Rainman, repeating to myself, "don't forget the bathroom window, don't forget the bathroom window..."

I DIDN'T forget the bathroom window; I forgot the West Bedroom Window, and 1.25" of rain in 6o minutes blew in that particular window...thus flooding the kitchen...

I swear, I somehow get a "Get Out of Jail Free" card on these times when he would be justifiably angry with me.

He wasn't though, and thank God for that. I hadn't told him yet, about the rest of my day, and while he pulled the stove out and cleaned up the mess, and layed towels in the as-yet unfinished flooring upstairs, I just wanted to collapse for awhile.


And I've been bummed all evening, but as I wrote this my sister commented on the last post I wrote, making jokes about country breakfasts, and wrestling birds for a bite of anything.

And her humor just turned my day around...

...and my sister, she is, once again, the one that keeps me afloat.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Our Latest Obsession: Birdwatching

Although I've really never considered myself a "Birdwatcher," I was brought up keeping bird feeders filled. My Grandmother maintained hers daily until she went into the nursing home, and until just a few years ago, there was always a 5-gallon bucket of wild birdseed just inside Mom's door.

I've always had feeders in my own homes, until my bird-feeding diligence fell off when I moved into a home with a back yard the size of a postage stamp. Still, I'd informed Clint ages ago that we were going to try to attract the gorgeous brilliant yellow finches that flit around our area. These were the first 2 feeders we hung, with Nyjer Thistle seed, specifically to attract them.

We were giddy when they started coming around in about a week, and we now have flocks of them and have to fill these feeders every other day. We are constantly keeping one another posted with a finch report. Dorky, huh? We know, but we love it!

Next on our birdie wish-list was hummingbirds. We hung this feeder in the same tree, and had our first hummingbird in 24 hours. They are rare visitors, though, and I begin to wonder if I'm supposed to freshen that nectar...this same sugar-water cocktail is about a month old now. Anyone have any nectar scoop?

What we're really hoping for next are blue finches. We see them darting around, but they simply don't visit our feeders. The books indicate that finches "love, love, love" water, and that a birdbath is a must. Out we went....

I thought there would be a party every day in this thing, but no. We've seen a couple standing on the edge, but we think it's only to catch the thistle that's blown into the water.

I broke down Saturday and went to FS Farmtown to get my birdseed in bulk. The expert there that suggested I put a separate finch station on the property, to draw the blue ones. The blues just don't like socializing with the yellows; maybe they're afraid they'll have little green finch-babies. I was encouraged to try this thistle sock; the finches just dig their little toes in and start pulling out the seeds.

Just to draw a few other pretty-pretty birds, I put out generic wild birdseed in other places on the property, away from the finch feeders. Mom bought me this teacup feeder a couple years ago.

Suet cakes are popular with all birds, I was told, but the woodpeckers FLIP over this stuff. There's a woody area across the street that I hope to lure woodpeckers from.

This feeder was originally $29.99, and on clearance for only $8.00. I saved $22 by buying it!

This is one I dusted off from amongst Mom's mountains of stuff. I put a finch mix in it, but apparently finches are finicky, and don't go for scattered food. The birds didn't touch this one, and the seed molded. I gave it a good scrubbing today, and will try it in another place, with another flavor of food.

Here's the birdseed inventory, as of this morning. We have to scrounge up a few more buckets with lids to store the stuff in, before mice run inside this autumn.

Unfortunately, my zoom lens for the Nikon went kaput on the first day we moved into the country casa. It's killing me, I can't get close enough to any of these birdies to get a photo without the zoom! It's off to the lens doctor for this one. In the meantime, here's something that was slow enough for me to sneak up on with the regular lens:

If you click to enlarge, you can see beads of water on it's back and legs, as I'd just watered this plant. With a little help from Facebook buddies, I figured out that this is a Wheelbug, named for the wheel or cog-shaped armor on its back. It's a "beneficial" insect, eating the bad guys out of the garden for you.

It will also, I read, bite the heck out of you with that giant proboscus. If I'd known that, I'm not sure I would have gotten quite so close for this photo, nor would I have hauled the flowerpot around, giving the bug a free ride.

We still wouldn't consider ourselves birdwatchers, I guess, but we sure are enjoying luring them to the yard, watching their antics fighting over perches, and recognizing a few that are becoming braver in our presence.

I'll keep you posted on blue finch and woodpecker reports, and if you have any advice, let us have it!

Country Breakfasts...

...are WAY better than country spiders.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Country Spiders...

...are just out-and-out bigger than city spiders. I think they have more squirrels and raccoons to feast upon.

(Darling, there's a run in your web;
a little clear fingernail polish should fix that right up.)

I know it doesn't look like much in this photo, but click on the photo to enlarge...this spider is larger than the mice my cat has begifted to me since we moved out here.

Deep breath...I can do this. I can live in the country...

...but I'm going in through the garage, thank you very much.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Phase 1: Check.

I've still been chugging away cleaning Mom's house, and last night, with Clint, Craig, and Jordan's help, knocked out the last of Phase 1: Tearing out carpet from the last 2 rooms, and cleaning out the shed.

Gah! The dreaded shed! Unopened for years, it's become a critter hotel. Amongst garden supplies, toddler toys, and baby cribs were tucked nests and poops and a nasty skeleton with a hairy tail still attached. As the guys were in charge of lugging stuff to the dumpster, there was only me left to pick through spider webbings, tense and praying that I wouldn't uncover an angry badger when I lifted out the next box. Suffice it to say that I left a clear path to the door at all times.

Here are the fruits of the last month's labor, ready to be hauled away on Thursday.

Next up: Phase 2: Tearing out the carpet left me with a new chore: scraping the rubber backing off of the tiles in the 2 bedrooms. Oh, joy. The roof and ceiling still have to be fixed, and lots of wall-washing is in order. Once that's done, boxes can be unpacked, curio cabinets filled back up and the house restored to it's natural, but tidier state.

When all is done, Phase 1 will have costed us about $1000.oo, including dumpster rental, garbage bags, cleaning supplies, industrial mop buckets, and muscle.

It's been well worth the money and the work. Mom functions better in this tidier, emptier house; there is simply less clutter--it is more difficult to lose a thing when it can only be out in the open. I still see signs of her hoarding: drawers that haven't been explored in years are pulled open and the contents are trotted out and carried to her bed, or put in other unlikely places.

Luckily, I also function better in the tidier house. I can now set things back in order with a quick sweep of the house, and turn my attention to Mom.

After watching my mother's life and home deteriorate for the last several years, and facing her resistance to change, finally being able to make some progress and make her life easier is extremely gratifying. It is one weight, at least, lifted off of my shoulders right now.

I'll keep you posted on Phase II!

Friday, August 07, 2009

How To Comfort a Friend

I was flipping through the "Take Our Advice" edition of the Reader's Digest recently, and noticed a 1/2 page blurb entitled "How To Comfort a Friend." It states that if you ask someone in a crisis how they're doing, and they say "I'm Great!," it means they don't want to talk.

I couldn't disagree with that advice more.

I talked at length with my niece today, about how awkward it is, sometimes, to talk about the heartache in our life right now. For me, a "how are you?" brings me up short for a second. My brain does this weird data-scan, analyzing the tone of the question, calculating the degree of the possibility that the person I'm speaking to knows what's going on in our lives, and how much they really want to know how I am.

I have to decide, and answer accordingly.

I've answered honestly before and realized that I just dropped a bomb on some unsuspecting soul. Other times I worry about the ambush effect, respond with a polite "just fine, thank you," and end up wondering if I haven't given someone an inadvertent cold shoulder.

So, Reader's Digest, "I'm Great," doesn't always mean "shut up, you."

And yet, other times, it does.

My sister and niece both have expressed exhaustion at answering the same questions over and over again. On bad days, it can be deconstructive to rewind, replay, remember, or dwell on not keeping the mashed potatoes down or getting a port cleaned out. Yes, sometimes "I'm doing great" does mean "shut up, you."

As much as we struggle with our responses, we know that you also dance around what to say or do. It's interesting to me to note variable strengths and courage in people. Many are bold and step right up, with offers, cards, food, phone calls. Others run for fear of being awkward; or say "I just don't know what to say." Others, still can take us completely aback. I was once left speechless after opening up to someone who responded cheerily, "wow. Sucks to be you."

I'm sure that comment was wrought from sheer nerves, an attempt to make a joke. We are all, quite simply, comfortable and uncomfortable with different things. One of the most comforting notes I got from a friend after telling everyone that Teri's care would be turned over to hospice read "Well, fuck." Not everyone would have found that comforting. Other people are less blunt, more concerned with propriety and pleasantness, and smoothing over certain subjects and certain words.

Maybe we all just don't know what to say or do sometimes, but I think the most important thing, in the long run, is that everyone is making an attempt. We express our concerns, and we accept well wishes.

If we have to dance around one another now and again, that's ok. I can promise you this: Whether you are bold or terrified or competent or awkward, we are infinitely comforted that you are just brave enough to show up for the dance.

Gnightgirl's Advice on How To Comfort a Friend:

Show up for the dance.


Thursday, August 06, 2009

5:45 A.M.

Here's the view of the moon out of our bedroom window this morning when the alarm went off. I was going for the snooze button, but the fog hovering over the beans won out, and I had to get up and grab the camera.


Poor me.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Days of Joy, Days of Heartache

Life has been odd lately, and I simply don't know where to begin when I sit down to write. There's just so much going on, and my life seems to alternate, sometimes from hour to hour, between elation and heartache.

In the last week and a half, Momo & Woof & Matilda were guests in my home, here from North Carolina. I dined with Becky, Dave, Jack, & Goldie-Grandma, here from Arizona. I attended a fantastic house concert at Cynthia & Ernie's house. I crashed a class reunion, and met a friend from LA for the first time. And I joined another clan to raise glasses with my friend, Jennie, in town from Brooklyn.

In the last week and a half, my sister has gotten shockinlgy weaker. She has had oxygen delivered to the house. She has vomited up her guts, fallen and busted her lip, and yet, she has gotten out of the house for family photos in the park. We talk every day that she's able. Our conversations are sometimes "fluffy" and other times poignant enough to bring me to my knees. She is on my mind every second of every day.

And there's the house, and there's Mom, and oh, I have to work for a living, and hey! Brian and Courtney just got their married housing in Fort Benning, and I receive touching letters from soldiers that want all of the beanie babies we can send.

See? How can I possibly choose which of these things to write about? I am paralyzed with indecision.

But I have photos.

North Carolina: Marcy, Matilda (Woof not pictured here)

Teri & Mom

Tucson, AZ: Becky

Tim, Teri, Mom, Dane, Brandi

France: Amy Rigby

Champaign bloggers

Me, Teri

Los Angeles: Mark

Teri & Kids

Brooklyn, NY: Jennie

I have a story about each of these photos, and a story about everything else I tagged up to tonight, and several more that are missing here. I guess I'll either catch up or I won't, when I feel a bit less discombobulated. For now, though, my pillow beckons, and I thank you for sticking with me.

Also, phone calls and visitors wear Teri out a bit, but she tells me she still LOVES logging on and reading your well-wishes, when she feels well enough to. Send her some hearts on her guestbook, if you get a chance!

The rest of the family photos can be viewed here.