Just between us….

In theory, it is possible that I could help clean fish….if I could handle a filet knife, if I could use my thumb to scrape out the innards…. My thumbs are just not strong…I said IN THEORY!

I totally earned this bottle of wine..or so they named it!  

He said he needed some help…RUN

Gusty winds were blowing his newspapers around and his innards grocery sack ….. so I helped.  I held the bag and watched every deliberate move in the cleaning of 5 trout.  After the first announcement that this was a mama fish because of all of the eggs, I had to look.  On fish number 3 I watched the gutting process…the fish actually rubbed against my wrist..a little red food coloring substance…. I looked in the bag and saw the heads with eyes looking at me.  I swallowed a few times and made it through….by fish number 5, I thought if this is the worst of it…in Theory….I could do it.

I leave you with another picture of the stream…closer to the outlet to the Niangua River.  It really is paradise here.

Awning up, awning down

I used to think I was the social butterfly.  Our immediate family has thrown around the introvert/extrovert labels quite often.  Always labeling me as the extrovert and he and the girls introverts. After an Internet search, I was comfortable with a new half/half label but I can’t remember what it is.  FF to the camping him.

I took this picture when we first arrived at the campgrounds.  Since then, he has spoken to everyone around us….he took the trash to the dumpster two nights ago and didn’t return for 30 minutes…talking to some guy about trucks.  Yesterday he and our weekend neighbor (from Union, MO) started working on our awning and next thing you know, we are in their ritzy 5th wheel with drool coming out the corners of our mouths.  Me…you ask?  I’m walking, sitting on benches and reading.  Happy as a lark to be just inside of me.

Very breezy here.  Temps in the 70s but it feels much warmer.  We’ve putthe awning up and down several times because of the wind gusts.  Here’s a pic of the 5th wheel….we haven’t named her yet.

We are parked in the full service campground this time….first time ever.  It’s very convenient but is your typical big girl camper set up…few mature trees and all old people like us.  In order to have the ease of camping, we have given up the ambiance of the upper Bennet spring campgrounds…not sure which is better.

He’s down at the stream fishing, I walked back to get my IPAD and got my first mile in.  Here’s the first batch of fish.  We ate them in two days.  Time to replenish….if he’s as good as I Think he is, we may bring some home…

Until next time….

Somehow you know when you’ve found your place on earth

I remember the first moment I knew I was home at Bennett Spring State Park.  We were being introduced by my good friend, Brett.  In case you are keeping up…Brett was my girls High School Band Director and became one of my best friends.  He met us after our 6 hour drive from Newton and we rolled into park, around the curves by the stream and up up up to the campground.  That July it was bloody hot…we all slept in tents…he had rigged his up with an air conditioner.  We spent many camping trips with Brett and his family at Bennett. Our last trip was the fall of 2008.  He passed away from complications of lymphoma in April of 2010 and we hadn’t been back…..until now….and it’s okay to be here without him.  I sat on a bench today, did a little reading and a little vaping and a little rewind of the memory strip.

While HE did this

Trout for dinner tonight….he filleted them as Brett taught him.

Now that we are finally back, I’m positive that Brett is saying…HEY GIRLLLL…what took you so long!!

Until next time….

Taking a break from the kinder, gentler Ninasusan

Missouri tree pollen allergies are hitting me even harder this year.  I have lived the majority of my life in timber….I have never had tree pollen allergies in the spring.  I don’t get it!  Jaxon suffers too until about mid May so I’ve been taking my Claritin, using essential oils and running two air purifiers.  As long as I don’t go outside, I’m pretty good but I find this habit impossible!  When I was in Des Moines the last couple weeks, I was fine so it is obviously something different here. 😷

I had a meltdown last night watching the Royals/Tiger game.  It was broadcast on Fox and the continuing drivel from the Fox MLB staff sent me over the edge with their drivel!  I’m sure I’m being overly sensitive because I’m so used to the Voices and style of the Kansas City announcers but…..when the moron was talking about every other ball player not even playing for the Royals or Tigers, I wanted to scream.  When He said that one of the Royals pitchers wasn’t hitting his normal high 90mph pitching he said….don’t be alarmed.  Don’t be alarmed….what the hell are you talking about…have you ever seen a Royals game.  Then in the middle of the 8th, they switched over to watch the rest of a Cubs game so we could see the pitcher finish up his no hitter.  OMG I thought my head was going to blow off.  If this was more important to Royals fan than the Royals game, I promise we would have switched over to it.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME.

Okay….ramped up again.  I’m going to watch Bubble Guppies and try to calm down.

Until next time….

The funeral home

My friends are at the funeral home today….making arrangements for a public goodbye to their mom.  I would say that the real goodbyes to her soul were said in the week before she actually stopped breathing and her heart ceased to beat.  Those are the goodbyes…the funeral is a ritual we endure for closure….our last attempt to perhaps send our memories of the physical body on while fulfilling last wishes…perhaps with clothes, jewelry and music.

I know some folks who,say they can’t do funerals.  I understand in theory that they cannot let their grief manifest in tears, sobbing, sadness and fear.  Sometimes we have to let ourselves go there.

I remember when my dad died, I was able to rationalize in my mind that this was my dads body that had broken down…that housed the soul that I had loved all of my life. But the body laying before me was just that….the recognizable body.  His soul was not in that body anymore and I was actually carrying that part of Dad in my heart.

Funerals are closers.  Those who have loved that person come together in heart and spirit to support each other with loss.  The funeral is for the survivors.  The loved one has moved on.

Peace and love.

What I learned about life in death

Death is inevitable….dying with love and grace is a last gift that Neva taught us.  Like everyone, I’ve lost a lot of friends and loved ones to the inevitable but I’ve never spent all day and night with someone ending their journey.

Neva wanted to die at home once she got the word that her kidney disease was terminal.  She didn’t want any medical intervention.  She knew.  She just wanted to go home and die in her nest…surrounded by peace and love.  She had children who were willing to give her that peace and love….because this is what she gave them and her friends throughout her life.

She wrapped her caregivers….her kids, the amazing hospice caregivers and me in love, kindness every day of her final time here.

She was sad and didn’t want to leave her kids and only grandson but she woke up everyday with a smile…a good morning…a thank you to each of us for tasks completed to make her comfortable.

As a child, she loved me and in death she loved me and there was no question about her kindness and grace.  She gave me another example of peace by living simply, loving nature and loving with her whole being.

Thank you, Neva Jean!

My new favorite place to walk

While walking at Grays lake is beautiful near the heart of Des Moines….I’ve walked the Iowa State Fairgrounds twice this week.  It’s totally surreal to be able to walk around the acres of concrete, buildings and memories.  I’ve always loved the Iowa State Fair.  I took this picture from one of the higher points at the fairgrounds today.


While sitting on a bench after my walk, I wished that I had taken the opportunity to visit the fairgrounds off season when I lived in Iowa…but then I realized that I wouldn’t be able to feel as refreshed and renewed today if I had visited often.  Endorphins shooting through my bloodstream and my favorite music shooting through my earbuds with the wind through my hair…perfect!

Here’s a picture of a necklace Neva gave me yesterday.  I will always cherish it!  Neva and Nina.

Until next time…

The most awesome thing I saw today…

On my way back to Sue and Neva’s house this afternoon, I stopped at Gray’s Lake Park to take a stroll around the lake and what should my wandering I observe.

An eagles nest with one of the parents feeding their baby.  I, so, wished I would have had a nice camera with a zoom lense.  I wasn’t the only one stopped on the trail to take in the awesome site!

I also snapped a picture of downtown from the park

Today is Neva’s grandsons 23rd birthday…I’m so thankful she is still around to celebrate it with him.  We had pizza and DQ ice cream cake.  She enjoyed every minute of it.  Here’s a picture of the family.

Hoping for a quiet night tonight and a bright eyes smile from Neva in the morning.

Until next time…..


Haven’t seen him in a week…after 36 years of marriage, that is a long time to be apart…I think only once before when he went to Mexico with his brothers.  So we each drove half way this morning and met in Bethany, Missouri for an overnighter.  This isn’t a vacation destination … We spent the first few hours browsing antique stores, checked into the Comfort Inn, ate dinner at 4:30 at the Toot Toot Restaurant.


We walked to the restaurant from the hotel to test out our fitness app on our new Apple watches and saw this pulling away from the gas lane….seriously…I couldn’t get my phone out in time to snap the picture while he was filling up whatever it was filling up.

I’m heading back to Neva and Sue’s tomorrow to continue the bedside vigil.  It has been a week brim full of emotions.  Today was good!

Until next time…..

Sometimes we heal in the most unusual circumstances….

Neva is weaker today.  Physically and mentally.  We were not greeted with the bright eyed smiles and love this morning for her morning routine.  Yesterday my attitude about doctors took a huge swing and I realized that down deep inside they are human like the rest of us.  Her nephrologist, Dr Shrader came to visit.  Not a medical house  call, he just came to visit a patient he has become fond of.  He looked at old pictures and gave this dying woman some of his time.  That means a lot.  Sue and I noticed that after he told her that no…for sure….there is nothing left to help her and she did nothing to bring this on herself, she started letting down.  After he left, she said her goodbyes to her real daughter and son and then to me.  She held my hand told me she loved me, she told me with tears in her eyes that she knew how my mother treated me but she could t do anything about it…she had talked to her and she was sorry.  I’m very lucky that I went with my heart to help her daughter through this life transition.  Finally at 60 years old I have been enveloped in a mother ‘s love.  Healing comes during the most unexpected times if we open our hearts to it.

I hope she goes to sleep today….for her and for those who love her.

Until next time…..