Friday, December 19, 2008

Venturing Out

The Old Christmas Creche

I dug out the family creche from our childhood. It's not in very good shape and the original cardboard box has seen it's last. The newpapers that Dad used to store the various wood pieces date from 1955, '67, and '71. I've not had it out in many years. The plaster figurines are very beat up but it still makes me smile.

Mixing and Mingling

Monday one of the guys from our small group celebrated his birthday with us and a bunch of other friends. It was my first social venture with a co-ed singles crowd. It was interesting. I kind of go quiet when I'm around a lot of people I don't know and I only knew about six people out of about 30 who were there. So I didn't say much.

I remember how being with other singles is different than being with other married couples. Not better, not worse, just different. I feel my socializing gears shifting back to a mode that I've not engaged in a long time. It will be an adjustment. And I've grown and I have changed much since I was single before.

The Next Phase

I feel like the next phase of my life is about to begin. I've done a lot of grief work in the current phase. And I will probably continue to hit emotional land-mines every once in a while and I'll get to grieve another aspect of missing Trudie. But I think I'm ready to put this behind me. Christmas will happen in another week. I'll grieve missing her for a little while longer but it is drawing to a close.

It is time to start to move on to the next phase. Going to group singles events is the beginning.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Nutcracker in House Christmas Lights

This is unbelievable. Watch the video:

Friday, December 12, 2008

Meet Logan, The Sky Angel Cowboy

This is an amazing story. It touched my heart and will touch anyone's who is dealing with a loss.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Decorating for Christmas

Today I took time to break out the Christmas decorations. I knew it would be tough work so I got Uncle Bob to come over and help. He helped me setup the tree and to hang all my outdoor lights. He was a great encouragement and a big help.

Grief is hard work

Then I got down to the work of going through all the ornaments. It was tough. Trudie was an "ornament person." By that I mean that every trip we took, she bought one or multiple tree ornaments to remember the trip by. So I was sad going through the boxes of ornaments. I have my favorites but a lot of them are B.M.T (Before My Time). There were some very special ones that were hard to bring out and remember the times they represented. It was tough work but it is the right "work" for me to be doing this year.

It's been a sad day for me but then this is what I need to be doing right now; I need to feel my sadness and walk through my grief to get past it. I know that "this too shall pass."

Friday, December 5, 2008

Gracie Shares

Avery says,
I took Gracie out for ice cream. She insisted on sharing with her teddybear.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Don't give up on giving

Give even when things are tight

Here's a great blog article by Tim Sanders about keeping on giving even when things are tight. I like the quote:
When you give, especially during tough times, you teach yourself that there is enough to go around.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

A Good Time Was Had By All
From 2008 Thanksgiving

My sister, Millie, and her husband, Drew, had us all to their house in Charlotte, NC.

My brother John and I drove up from Atlanta on Wednesday afternoon. So did half of Atlanta try to leave at the same time. A normal three hour drive became a five and a half hour drive. Lewis, Avery and Gracie drove over from Durham on Thursday.

Millie, Drew, and John worked all day Thursday cooking. The turkey went in the oven about 11 AM. The "cooked-to-death" green beans started about the same time. There was potato salad, dressing, sweet potato cassarole, cranberry relish, rolls and an apple pie to end off with.

I had a good time with Gracie. She is still in her terrible-twos stage but was pretty well behaved for the weekend.

We finished off the day with a rousing game of "Mexican Train" dominoes. I lost badly.

On Friday, Lewis, Avery, and Gracie drove back to their house. Andy and John did a minor house repair. Millie and I worked on her computers. She had a program on her laptop that would peg her CPU utilization at 100%. I found the offending process and looked it up on Google. Changing the service to start Manual instead of Auto fixed that. Avery was very grateful.

John and I drove back today.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

E-mail error ends up on road sign

From the "I hate when that happens" department

The English is clear enough to lorry drivers - but the Welsh reads "I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated."

Be careful of the e-mail responses you get from your translation department. Make sure they are translating what you want properly.

Read the story at BBC.

Technology is great - when it works.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Anniversary Comes - Anniversary Goes

At the Grave Side

Here are the pictures of the grave.

The grass right on her grave is having a problem. The replacement sod is not doing well.

I think it is because, while Trudie was an avid gardener, a South Carolina and then Georgia Master Gardener, and she loved most all growing things, she greatly preferred flowers. In fact, she on more than one occasion stated that "She HATED grass." She thought grass was just boring.

So I think it more than poetic that the grass on her "final resting place" is not doing so well.

Of course, Trudie is not there and where she is I believe she has made her peace with all of God's creation, including grass.

How am I doing?

I'm doing well. I'm grieving and know that "this too shall pass."

Thank you so much to everyone who have been praying! I have needed and have felt your prayers. I'm at peace about where I'm at today and I'm looking forward to what God has in store for me in the future.


I'm spending the holidays with my family. We will be all together and that will be a good time. I'm looking forward to having quality time with Gracie!

Single Guys Exhortation (to say the least)

Perry Noble - New Spring Church

This "aside" was made by a megachurch pastor in Anderson, SC.

Watch and see what you think.

Beautiful_02- Single Guys Outtake from NewSpring Media on Vimeo.

Where I agree

Us single guys need to be the initiators. We need to be the ones doing the asking out. We need to hold the door open for our dates. We need to be the ones purposely searching for a woman of noble character.

Where I disagree

I don't think you can just tell a guy "grow a pair!" John Eldredge states, "Remember—masculinity is bestowed by masculinity." We need a father-figure to help us in growing a pair. We just can't grow them on our own.

This is an outtake from a series he did for women titled "Beautiful!" For the rest of this message visit

Monday, November 3, 2008

First Major Anniversary

Our Wedding Anniversary

Yesterday (11/2) was our wedding anniversary. We would have been married 18 years. This is the first of the major anniversaries that I will get to grieve through this season.

I didn't grieve much yesterday. I was not feeling any emotions because I was sick. It's interesting how feeling physically badly will trump feeling emotionally badly.

Today, I wasn't feeling much better but I went into work anyway. I worked most of the day and my boss let me come home a couple of hours early. I'm glad because I will get to get to bed at a decent time tonight. I hope I'm on the mend from my cold. It's been hard the last few days.

Election Tomorrow

I asked to be able to telecommute tomorrow. My boss also approved that and I will be able to go to the polls and vote some time during the day. Tomorrow will be a very interesting day indeed.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Being Sick is no Fun

It started light

I first came down with what I thought was a cold last Tuesday. I stayed home from work Tue & Wed and felt better and went back to work on Thursday. But the 10 hour day was probably beyond my energy level and then Friday I was wiped out. I did meet with a friend for lunch but I didn't sleep good.

Then it REALLY Hit

Saturday I was on the couch all day. I was able to get up to heat soup and that was about it. I called the church and let them know that they probably needed to find a substitute for me for today. I was scheduled to serve and I hated to give up my spot, but I'm glad today I did.

This Too Shall Pass

I know I'll feel better in a few more days. I've called a few friends to cheer myself up. When I was a kid and got sick, Mom would always get me a plastic model plane or boat to put together. I had a lot of fun assembling and painting those plastic models.

What do you do to cheer yourself up when you get sick?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Facebook Rocks!

Researcher: social networking trumps porn in web searches

That Ars Technica article headline caught my eye! There is now more Internet traffic for social networking than for porn. I can believe it.

This year, I joined Facebook and now have 38 "friends" that I keep up with. I must admit it is addicting. I find that I login at least once a day and see what my friends are doing. I don't update my status that often. I change it every week or so. I am a firm believer that one can put out TMI (too much information).

Is social networking replacing old-fashioned person-to-person socializing? Or is it using technology to do better socializing? Opinions?

Tommie Powell

Tommie the Mommy

Born January 3, 1920 Died October 16, 2008

My mother-in-law passed to Glory recently. She was an awesome lady.

She was very active in her church and the choir. They had a group of like-aged folks that called themselves the "XYZ" and was the life of the party whenever they went on trips. She was an expert in Scrabble and practically unbeatable. She also was know to reprimand an AJC columnist if they violated a grammar rule.

When my wife and her sister were growing up, all their friends called her "Tommie the Mommy." She was much beloved by all.

You can read the obituary here.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mossy Creek Barnyard Festival

Great Weekend Weather

This was the 29th annual fall Mossy Creek Barnyard Festival. Trudie had done this show since the first year it was held. It was good to go back and spend time with Avery, Lewis, & Gracie. Avery has been an exhibitor for a number of years. Now, the promoters have given Avery the spot that Trudie used to be in. It was great weather all weekend and it was fun to see some of our friends.

It's a Tough Job but Somebody Has to Do It

That is being a grandPop to Gracie. She is now 2 3/4 years old and very much in the throws of the terrible-twos. The screaming show she put forth when she DID NOT WANT to take a nap yesterday was truly three-booths-down head-turning. I did take Gracie to the petting zoo. We had lots of fun together.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I'm Having Way Too Much Fun

People can't believe it!

I am totally enjoying the reaction that I'm getting when people first seem we without my mustache and beard. It is total shock and awe. I look SO different now. At church last Sunday, they introduced me in the big volunteer meeting as the "new face" on the team. Most people say they like the change. Most people also remark on how much younger I now look. The minimum they have said is that I'm 10 years younger. Some have even said 15 years. I'll take even 10 years younger.

"Pictures Please!"

I've had a number of requests for digital pictures. I will be happy to meet you at your convenience and you can take all the pictures you want :-). I'm having way too much fun to spoil the surprise and I want to see your reactions.

Where's the video?

I had some friends shoot the whole beardectomy process. I have 35 minutes of raw video I will put into a story. It will take time. Please be patient.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Shave Plus 3

It sho' feels weird...

I've been sans beard & mustache for three days. The barber shop shave was awesome. There's a reason shaver ads compare themselves to a "barbershop shave." My face was as smooth as baby's skin on Friday. So yesterday was the first time I've shaved it myself. It felt so weird to shave areas that I have so carefully avoided for decades.

It also feels weird not to have lip hair to comb. I still whip the comb to it when I fluff my coiffure. Woops! nothing there!

I'm slowly getting used to it. I'm also being mean to some friends. At church yesterday, I walked right up and stood in front of a fellow production team member, he glanced at me, and kept going about what he was doing. I didn't say a word so he had no reason to know it was me. I sent him a message later in the day and he was flabbergasted that he didn't recognize me.

I'm liking it more each day. I think I'll keep it.

Friday, October 3, 2008

It's Done

I can't believe I did it!

Yes, I did it. I shaved the whole thing off! I'm having a "reveal" party tonight so I won't show you what I look like just yet. This is almost the last picture of me with whiskers.

It took the barber over an hour for the haircut and shave. He did many passes with hot towels, shaving cream, oil cream, and the razor.

I'm going to create a video of the whole thing. It is going to be my next video story.

In the mean time. Here's a teaser photo:
From The Great Shave

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Dave Ramsey on the Financial Mess

Check out Dave's take on the economic mess: And guess what, he doesn't recommend going into more debt to solve it! [Surprise, surprise]

Most of all, we need to pray! pray! pray! for our countries leaders!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Financial Peace University

Dave Ramsey

I've signed up for Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. Dave Ramsey is a news radio talk show host who gives people advice on their financial situation. He teaches at big event seminars and has written a couple of best-seller books. He has written an 13 week course that you take, usually at a church but not always, with a group of folks like ourselves.

I'm not in trouble. I just want to make my money achieve some savings goals. For example, I want to do a very weird thing, I want to pay CASH for my next car. Dave says it is do able. His famous line is that "we must live like no one else now, so that later we can live like no one else.

How it works

What we do is each week watch an hour DVD video of Dave teaching. We then discuss the principles Dave has taught with each other. We are then given homework assignments. The thing that clinched it for me was this point from their "How It Works" page:
80-20 Graph
Beat Debt Build Wealth
The goal of Financial Peace University is not just
information - we're looking for transformation!
Financial management is only 20% knowledge
and 80% behavior.
We help break the bad habits
that rob people of true financial success.

I'm really excited about this course. I believe it will help me realize the savings goals I want to achieve and have more peace of mind about my money.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The "Best" Way

Vs. Getting Things Done

I have an illness. This illness usually results in in-action. It is something I struggle with and sometimes am successful in conquering and sometimes not. This illness is the compulsion to not do anything until I do it "the best way." This is an illness I have struggles with all my life. I'm in recovery now and I usually can get things done without it having to be the best. But recently, I've had a relapse in the disease. I have a lot of things to find new homes for. I have an inventory of Trudie's work that I know people want. I have a bunch of nick-nacks that I no longer need and have been loved in the past but are no longer appreciated by the present owner. I want to move on but I also want to do "what's best."

As I have said before, one of my new favorite sayings is "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing poorly." I still have times when I don't do anything but now I tell myself that it's worth doing poorly and I go ahead and do it.

Do you have times of perfection paralysis?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My Bosnia Video

Digital Story Telling Workshop

I've been wanting to make better videos. I've known that good technical video technique did not necessarily make a good video. What makes a good video is a good story. This is an area in which I am weak.

Last week I spent three days at a workshop in Washington, DC, put on by the Center for Digital Story Telling. We went through a quick but intensive time making my first digital story.

I made it about my experience in Bosnia. Here's my finished story:

My Bosnia Story from Patrick Bartkus on Vimeo.

My thoughts on creating this

I had a great time making this video. I had great feedback from the instructors and other students in the workshop. We worked hard and we all came away with great videos. I already know the topic of my next video: My Beard and the Great Shave.

Your thoughts on this

So what do you think? I'm interested to know what you think about what I've made.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Mark your Calendar

The date is Oct 5th

That is the date I will go to a barber shop and go under the straight razor. I'm going to a local barber that still uses a straight razor and he will do it the old-fashioned way. I've got a couple of friends who are coming with me to video tape the whole process. I plan on putting together a story video with the footage at a later time.


I am having a "coming clean (shaven)" reveal party that night. If you need details, e-mail me and I'll send you an e-vite with directions. It looks like it is going to be a fun party with food and games.

What will I look like?

I don't know. It has been since April 12, 1972 that I've been completely with no facial hair. That's 36 years. Hopefully, I'll look better. If I don't like it I can always grow it back but it will be a while before I decide that.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Rain, Rain,come this way!

Thank You, Fay!

We got almost 5 inches from Tropical Storm Fay. The plants are much more happy!

Here are "before" pictures:

Here are the "after" pictures:

Monday, August 25, 2008

Beardectomy - Mustache Too?

How Far Do I Go?

I've decided to shave my beard. I've located a barber shop that still does straight-razor shaves. I've got a couple of friends lined up and they are going to video tape the operation. But I haven't decided how far I will go.

Should I leave the mustache or shave it all?

Leave me comments as to your opinion and why I should or should not shave the mustache too.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Weekend Fun

Downstairs Bathroom

I've had a bit of a mold problem in the downstairs bathroom. I had a mold inspector come out and said that it was just a little bit of mold and was under the limit for a full mold remediation project. He said that this was a home owner project. So I asked brother-in-law Drew to help and he and Millie came down last week. I took a day of "vacation" and he, John, and I attacked it. Mainly it was Drew and John. It was even less of an issue than what it appeared to be. We replaced less than two square feet of sheet rock. We had some awesome games of dominoes too.

Bosnia Video

I have digitized all of the video (3.25 hours) I took in Bosnia. I also made shot lists of all the different shots. Now, I need to make time to edit it to something worth watching. I'm struggling as to how to tell the story. But I guess that's why I'm taking the three-day workshop next month in digital storytelling.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Back from Bosnia

We got back from Bosnia a little over a week ago. We flew in on Tuesday (8/5) just in time to greet evening rush-hour traffic. The next morning I was at work. There has been much going on at work in my absence and now that I'm back I have much to do.

Trip Results

We had an awesome time there. We saw many sights and learned a lot of Bosnia history. The Childrens' Festival was a huge success. The kids had a great time and the Novi Most center had a great response. The kids had never seen such toys, games, and the bounce house. I'm sure it's being talked about for weeks.

Video Man

I took my video camera and got some good shots. I'm trying to sift through over three hours of video now to show how to make it interesting.

The Spiritual Journey

This was an amazing spiritual trip for me. I'm calling this year my "boot camp" year because it has been such an intense spiritual walk. Well, this trip was the 20-mile hike with full pack! It was very tough - and I'm so glad I did it.

Thank you so much to all of you who supported me on this trip. I had a lot of financial support but, more importantly, I had a lot of prayer support. I needed the prayers and they were felt.

Thank you!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

In Bosnia

On the Mission Trip

We are here in Bosnia on the trip. You can read all about it on our blog site.

I'll post personal stuff here as I get time.

Friday, July 25, 2008

We're Leaving on a Jet Plane

Off to Bosnia

Tomorrow we head off to Bosnia. You can follow our adventures on the trip blog site.

Prayer Helps

I've sent a couple of e-mails asking people to pray for me and for our trip. I believe it working. This week I've felt much more serene than I have been before. Thank you all who are praying. I REALLY appreciate it.

Gracie Cuteness

This photo was sent by Avery of Gracie. A grandPOP can't help himself...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

With a Little Help from my Friends

Barron - my friend
Barron has been around all through the illness and my journey since. He is an agent for artists so we talk much about music now and of music of the "golden era" '68 - '75. I go watch his band play at a bar-b-que and jive to the blues. Barron is one of the friends who have been a great support for me this year.

It's starting - the anniversaries. This week marks the first anniversary of Trudie's first doctor appointment. The blood tests came back and the doctor said "there's something wrong with these numbers." - no kidding.

Good Grief
One of the things that was suggested to me when I first started this grief journey was to go to the Grief Share web site. I did and signed up for their e-mails. They send out a daily e-mail of encouragement to us going through this process.

Yesterday's message said in part:

Good grief is accepting the fact that your loved one has died, accepting the sorrow and pain, and knowing there is more to come. Good grief is getting through the days, the months, and, eventually, through the years.
Your life will never be the same again, but you will get through the grief. The grieving process is a transition into your new life.

"He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age" (Ruth 4:15).

This really resonated with me. I'm still in the middle of the grieving process. It's not easy. But, I will survive and eventually move on.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Avery Visit

Avery Visit

Avery visited last week for a few days. But what she got done was so helpful. She went through the studio and got a lot of the cloth-for-the-millennium out of there. She also found her old baby book which we feared was lost.

Avery also showed me her phone which a treasure trove of Gracie photos. I got her to send me the one to the left. She is so cute!

Avery posts the latest Gracie story on her blog at The Blig on Live Journal.

Grave Marker

I had finally ordered Trudie's grave marker last month and they sent me notification that they had delivered it.

I went by on Saturday to see it. It's the first time I had been able to get up the gumption to go there. I couldn't find it at first so I had to ask at the office but the nice man led me right to it.

It's been a sad time for me. I'm leaning hard on Jesus the last couple of weeks. I know this is part of the normal grieving process and I'm glad I'm going THROUGH it and not around it. But it is not easy. "This too shall pass."


Most of you know that on July 26th our team leaves for Bosnia. We will be updating the Bosnia Youth Festival '08 blog to let you know how we are doing. Put your e-mail address in the side-box and you'll get updates to your e-mail.

Friday, June 20, 2008

What's been going on...

Yea, yea, yea...

I know. I haven't posted anything in a L*O*N*G time. Like everyone else "... I've been busy ..."

And it continues...

This weekend I'm doing 24 (See NPCC Production).
[Update: The videos are HERE. We did the one “Space Colony M301″ (Gladiator as Sci-Fi).]
Next weekend I'm shooting video of a good friend son's wedding.
The weekend after that I'm going to Pittsburg, PA with friends for a convention.

Then I have a weekend with nothing planned [how did that happen? Let's see how I can fix it :-}].

Then I have a local gathering of friends.
And then the weekend after that we take off for Bosnia.
The weekend after that we come back from Bosnia.
The weekend after that I have another gathering of friends in Macon.

Did I say I was busy???


In May, a very good friend Tim and I went to Charleston, SC. We did the guy-thing and went the Patriot's Point where they have the Navy ships. Tim and I climbed all over the aircraft carrier and the WWII destroyer.

We had a great time together.

I gotta run I got to be in Buckhead in about an hour...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bosnia Youth Festival Mission Trip

Short Term Mission Trip

I'm going on a short term mission trip to Bosnia. We leave July 27th and return on Aug 5th.

Read all about our team on the blog we've setup:

We will be posting things along the way and while we are there. You can subscribe to that blog and get e-mailed when we've added new postings.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mossy Creek Spring '08

Mossy Creek with Avery

Avery was offered her mother's old spot at Mossy Creek and she gratefully accepted it. I spent all of Saturday there and most of Sunday with her. I wanted to be there to speak with the customers who hadn't heard the news. It turned out to be more of a grief-processing weekend for me than I had anticipated. I was able to be sad about a number of things surrounding the show, the lack of my sweetie, a number of the old-time exhibitors who are no longer there, and others. I'm very glad I went even though it was hard.

Remaining Dolls

I also wanted to pick people's brains about what to do with the few (approx. 20) dolls that are unsold. I want to honor Trudie and her faithful customers in where they go. I got some good thoughts from a number of people. I'll mull it over and let God let me know when the time is right for a decision.

Springtime in Roswell

Everything is in bloom and pretty. (sarcasm) Oh boy, yet another opportunity to grieve. (end of sarcasm). The flower beds are a mess. Weeds are sprouting up everywhere and I am not a happy weeder. And the flowers popping up (all on their own) are really pretty. And it all is yet another reminder of Trudie.

Mission Trip

The newest adventure for me is that I've signed up for a mission trip with my church. Our team is meeting to plan out what we will do for the festival. We will have several meetings including a retreat before we go on July 27th.

I'm looking for some people who would be willing to be a prayer partner or a financial support partner. Send prayers to - well you know where. Send financial support to me. We have to turn in our money as a team. Make the check out to "North Point Missions" and my address is:

4911 Sturbridge Cres. NE
Roswell, GA 30075

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Spring has Sprung

The First Bloom

A couple of weeks ago I took this photo of the first bloom of Spring. It's from daffodils that we got from our parent's home in Oak Ridge many years ago. Trudie transplanted them to Columbia and then moved them here.

Since then, many more flowers are starting to show their colors. Trudie loved her flowers.


I took a vacation last weekend. I flew down to visit Ralph and Valerie for a long weekend. I drove over to Kennedy Space Center and toured the place with some cousins. We were very lucky because we got to see the shuttle Endeavour sitting on the launch pad awaiting it's liftoff a couple of days later. I won't mention their names because one of the them had to call in "sick" to come up for the day. Here's a link to my web album.

I later got to visit with my Aunt Dot whom I hadn't seen in many, many years.

Then on Saturday, Ralph, Valerie, and I went to see a spring training baseball game. The Braves played the Houston Astros. The Braves didn't win but we had fun anyway.


I'm keeping busy. I'm taking one day at a time. I am learning how to have fun. I'm serving at church a lot. Every once in a while I'll get ambushed by something that reminds me of a good time with Trudie and I'll be sad. But for the most part, I'm just doing what is the next-right-thing and leaving the rest to God.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Three Months Ago


Today, 2/22, is the three month anniversary of the night Trudie died. I've been very sad this morning. I'm again grieving that the light of my life is now dark. The weather today is chilly and gloomy to boot (39 degrees F and raining). So I've been feeling and letting myself feel my sadness this day. I was told that anniversaries would trigger another "wave" of grief and it has. This too shall pass.

Sari Update

I talked to Charles a day or so ago and he says that Sari is settling right in on the farm. He says she shows a strong aversion to being in the house and she loves to romp around all their open land. I said that the aversion is probably due to all the time we had to keep her cooped up in our house while there was no one home.

He reports that they are extremely please that she gets along well their family members young and older alike. She gets along well with all their extended family who stop by to visit as well as all of their kids. He said she and the incumbent alpha-female have had a couple of fights. After the first fight one came away with a hurt paw and after the second fight the other came away with a hurt paw. So it seems that Sari and she have developed a mutual respect for each other and have called a truce. He said that Sari has formed friendships with younger males there and is just having a grand time.

I, in the mean time, am enjoying not having to worry about her needs for potty or companionship. The house does seem quieter and I'm adjusting fine to that.

I think we are both better off with this arrangement.

One less Volvo

I decided to donate the 940 to a charity. Selling it myself would have been a lot of hassle. And this way I'll get some tax credit when I file next year. Also, the charity plans to give it to a staff member who is need of transportation. So it really is a win-win move. I've not decided what to do with the 240 yet.

Mission Trip

I've been accepted to go with a group of folks from my church to Bosnia Herzegovina. We will be there from Jul 27, 2008 to Aug 04, 2008. The details of the trip are here. You'll be hearing more about it later...

Monday, February 18, 2008

A car that beeps!

[paraphrasing Mr Miagi:] "one beep, lock on; two beeps, lock off"

I now have a car that beeps! My sister sold me her former car. It is a great car. It is a 1998 Lexus ES 300. It's such an upgrade from the Volvos I have been driving. I will donate or sell the Volvos. They have been faithful servants to our family now for many years. But, it is time to move on. When I drive it now I have a new sensation that I've not felt since I owned a 280 ZX. I feel pushed back in my seat when I push on the gas. WoW! And it gets just as good of gas mileage as the Volvos. Thank you, Millie!

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day was a rough one. I have had trouble the last two or three weeks avoiding the "sea-of-red" isles in the stores. It was such a strong reminder of my loss. Next year it will be less so. This too shall pass.

Friday, February 8, 2008

St Joseph's Letter

A Letter expressing my feelings of the care we received

I composed a letter right after Trudie died. But just like Jesus says about plank in my own eye, I wanted to let it "marinade" and to clean out any of my own issues.

I ran it by many people and asked their opinion. Then I went into "I got to get it just perfect" mode. And so I fretted, I grieved, and I got scared. So I just put it aside.

This week I decided it was time to send it. Well, to he honest, I had some help from some friends who gave me a loving K.I.T.A. to get it done [definition: Kick In The ... you get the idea].

So today I made one or two minor tweaks, printed it, and now it is waiting in my outgoing mail. Is it perfect? Probably not; but it's the best I can do now.

You can read my St Joseph's Nursing Comments from Google Docs.


I'm glad to get it out the door. I don't know what is going to "hit the fan" but I'm not in control of that. I'm glad that I've done it and I hope it will help others who have loved ones admitted to St. Joseph's.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Dog Free!

Sari's new home

Yesterday I took Sari to Charles & Erline's. They are the breeders that Trudie had found that concentrated on temperament rather than show ability. They had graciously agreed to take Sari back.

Good for her, good for me

It is really is the best for both of us. Sari will have other dogs to play with and people around her all day. I don't have to keep relying on friends to come and let her out in the afternoon.

So it is the best for both of us. - And I am feeling a little sad. She was a pain in the ass to live with. She was demanding when I did come home. She wanted petting and she wanted petting NOW. But she was very cute and people were impressed at her beauty. And she had personality in spades. So I'll probably miss her more than I anticipated.

What about Yoshi?

I've had a couple of people ask about what happened to our other male dog, Yoshi.

You probably remember that he was having a hard time getting around during the Summer. We were even talking about building a ramp off the back deck for him. His hind legs didn't have much strength and we frequently had to help him get up by lifting his hips. Well, when Trudie came home from the physical rehab after her back surgery, she was using a walker. Trudie could get around but it was very tentatively. A time or two, Yoshi could not get out of Trudie's way. He started having trouble getting up on his front legs too. He started to be a almost a danger to Trudie.

Trudie had a heart-to-heart talk with a dear friend and realized that it was time for Yoshi to be put to sleep. She realized that Yoshi had lived a long (he was over 12 years old) and had a happy life with us. I told Trudie that her safety was more important than keeping Yoshi. So I took him to our vet's and they put him to sleep. That was a sad day too.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Slogging & Decisions

Fewer Things Accomplished

I'm surprised that I'm still suffering from "slogging." This is what I call not getting as much done on the weekend like I used to. Each weekend I make a list of things I want to accomplish like I always have, but I'm finding that at the end I only have four or five things accomplished. I used to be able to knock out eight or 10 items each weekend. Not now.

I'm getting better. I am getting slowly better. Today, I did a dreaded, scary (for me), home-repair job. It wasn't a big deal but it sat was square on top of one of my fear nerves. But I did it anyway. That's the good news. The bad news is that I didn't get much else done. I did get a pot of stew made and I vacuumed the house. I'm grateful that I was able to get done what I did.

Sari going back

I've been struggling with Sari. Three days a week I have time to be with her. But the four days a week I work, I hardly see her. And I still have to find someone to let her out for a potty break during the day.

This week I talked with some guys and now I've decided that the best thing for her and me is for her to go back to the breeders. I've talked with Charles and Erline and next Saturday I will take her back. It will be good for Sari because she will have a nice farm that she can run around in and other dogs to romp and play with. It will be good for me not to have to deal with the responsibility.

This has been a hard decision to make but I feel it is the right one. I know that I will initially be sad with her not around but I believe that I will soon be over it. Also, Erline said that Sari would not be going anywhere for a while so if I changed my mind, I could come and get her back. This is very gracious of them to offer this to me. I wasn't ready a month ago to make this decision when I first blogged about it, but now I believe it the right time.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Myrtles' Resturant

Surprise Sight

A friend of mine saw this resturant on his way to Hilton Head. I'll let you know if I find out about where it is.

He met THE Myrtles when they were here for Trudie's funeral. He was very impressed with the group. So he stopped to take this photo when he saw this. Thanks, Paul!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Is That Snow?


Late yesterday afternoon it started snowing. They hadn't predicted snow - I remember a mention of flurries - but maybe they did and I missed it. Well, there at 5:30 PM it started coming down. Big flakes of wet, slushy white stuff. I skipped the meeting that I had planned to attend and went straight home.


It made everything look white and pristine the way newly-fallen snow makes it look. The landscape looked like a winter wonderland.

And then the sadness hit. I wasn't expecting snow to cause a wave of sadness but there it was. It was white and pretty and beautiful - and I couldn't share it with Trudie. I was alone and felt very alone. The beauty of it all made me miss a beauty that used to be a big part of my life but is no longer.

So I made a batch of comfort food - spaghetti. It briefly dulled the pain but it's still there. Oh well.


I can't seem to stay asleep for more than six hours lately. I go to bed early some nights and then wake and can't go back to sleep. And then I'm nodding off in meetings. Hopefully I don't snore. :-) I guess it's time to start taking my St. John's Wort again.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The New Normal

The First "Normal" Week

The beginning of this week was tough. On both Monday and Tuesday I had many times of sadness. I wasn't sure why until I realized why.

Trudie died Thanksgiving night. Then there was a couple of weeks of funeral, etc, hub-bub. [No, that's not a techie term; I just made it up:-)] Then there was a couple of weeks of Christmas hub-bub. Then there was New Years hub-bub.

This has been the first week in which there was no hub-bub. It was a back-to-normal week.

Except, it's not normal; there's no Trudie in my life. That is why I've been sad.

The New Normal

So, while I'm mourning Trudie not being here, I'm starting to build my new-normal life.

I'm getting back involved in a number of volunteer efforts. I'm talking to people about renewing their web sites using the new content management technology. I'm excited about this technology and am just learning how it works.

I'm learning a new production team position at the church I attend. I'm learning how run the critical video switcher. It is a great opportunity and I am grateful that they are providing it as a new way to serve on Sunday morning.

I'll still be able to serve as a roaming camera operator: [see photo to the right]. I've served at this position for four years and love it.

I'm also investigating going on a mission trip this Summer. I've been on three other trips but it has been a while. I also want to go with some video projects in minds. I want to come back with some footage that will get others excited about serving on a short-term trip.

I also decided to change the photo on the blog site. This is a recent shot of my mug. While I'm not excited about how it looks, it is what it is.

So I'm settling into a new life. I still have times of sadness and I experience them and move on.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

A New Year

Happy 2008!

Well it's a new year - whoopee.

I had a harder New Year's Day than Christmas. I realized that I emotionally didn't want to leave 2007. In 2007 I had Trudie. Now, in 2008, I don't. It's another reason to be sad.

I'm dealing a lot with sadness these days.

Small Group

Tonight, we are having our "goodbye" small group meeting. I'm leaving the group. I don't feel right in a group with a bunch of married couples. I'm very uncomfortable now around married couples. Trudie and I were the leaders of this small group. And, in it's own way, the group is grieving the loss of Trudie. But, I think it is time for me to leave. I'm sure that they will go on; Trudie and Patrick didn't keep the group together. But for now, it's time for me to move on.

I am starting going to a new small group environment with the new grief group at church. And I'll probably join a single mens' small group sometime soon. I've been part of small groups for the last 20+ years. I know I need men in my life to whom I can let down my mask.

A Female "Fast"

It has been suggested by more than one adviser to me to not get involved with any women for at least a year. While I can see the wisdom of this intellectually, it will be very hard for me emotionally.

When I was single before Trudie, I had many women friends. I enjoyed having platonic relationships with women friends. I gave them all up though when I committed to Trudie. She, rightfully so, wanted my complete emotional commitment. It also forced me to make better friends with the guys in my life.

So now, while my desire is to make new girl-friends, I am deciding to forgo any relationships for at least a year. This, I believe, will help me in a number of areas. 1) it will cause me to "reboot" my thinking on women. 2) it will help me develop a even closer relationship with my Lord, and 3) it will help me develop a closer relationship with myself.

So, while this female fast will be difficult, I think I will be a better person to have a relationship with at the end.