Kids, Grandkids, Great-grandkids, Boys and Girls

We seem to be experiencing a popular boom with several new grandchildren arriving this spring.  I am seeing it at work, too.  Lots of grandbabies being born which means a lot of us want time off to go be with our new little people.  Congratulations to all you grandparents and welcome to your prodigy!

Hob sent me an email about daughters and how fathers with several daughters have to do certain things to meet the needs of the girls in his life.  (Hob has a son, so he won’t ever experience this personally.)  Here are his thoughts: Susan,  I was thinking about this yesterday. What fathers of our classmates had the most trouble getting to use the bathroom when their daughters got to be older and dated and worried about their appearances? Lana G had 4 girls in her family so George had trouble on the weekends when the girls were getting spruced up to go out and Janice C has 2 sisters so her dad had a similar situation as did Mike Klingbeil. Does anyone else come to mind? This is based on a story a few years ago in the “World Herald” that prom time this farmer from Shelby Ne. had 3 daughters close in age. He had to add another bathroom to the house and addtional electrical outlets for plug ins for beauty devices for hair. The dad said he knew on the weekends and especially prom time, it was impossible to get any time in the bathroom. 

It is ironic because I was reading yesterday’s World-Herald and there is an article about smelly teenaged boys called “Adolescent Boys Take Smell to Extremes.” (page 4E)  So, being a parent of either sex has its challenges and joys. 

In the article, they talked about how the popular deodorant, Axe, is used (or overused) by many boys.  It said, ‘Eau de Boys come in two unforgettable scents: Locker Room and Axe.”  Either boys use Axe or don’t use anything, it seems.  The article reads “If you live with the Locker Room variety, then you have one of those boys who won’t shower and whose socks and T-shirts must be decontaminated by a HazMat team before going into the laundry.”  It goes on to describe the Axe teen by saying “But if it’s the smell of Axe deodorant you’re used to, then you’ve got a kid who creates giant vapor clouds everytime he sprays himself with the stuff, causing you to run around opening windows, hoping it dissipates before the entire family passes out.”  Apparently, there are studies that show that puberty changes the perception of body odors, plus puberty emits strong body odors!  The article said “The female nose gets more sensitive, but the male nose gets worse.”  So, apparently, we girls can smell the odors more and the guys are clueless at that age. Also, girls respond more to peer pressure about odor and appearance whereas boys don’t.  The Axe ads seems to tell the boys that they will get the girls if they use it, though. 

When all three of our boys lived at home, we often had a huge mountain of athletic shoes by our front door.  Mostly, boys’ shoes, sizes 13-16–huge shoes.  The smell of testerone and sweat permeated the house.  Our cat used to climb into the shoes, stick her head inside the toe of the shoe and take a big whiff.  We thought she was probably getting “high” on the fumes.  All of the boys’ friends took their shoes off at the front door, a practice our boys learned while living in the Chicago area where it common practice for everyone, children and adults, to remove their shoes at the front door.  The huge pile of shoes was a result of this practice.  Oftentimes if a girl was among the crowd occupying our basement and playing videogames, her little size 6 shoes would disappear into the abyss.  Our cat didn’t seem to like the girls’ shoes.  She would sniff at them then turn away. 

Mike was at a party last weekend and when Dennis dropped him off, he talked to the mother as they stood in her doorway where an identical pile of shoes had accumulated.  The mother of the band student having the party described to Dennis how her cat likes to smell the shoes.  Like our cat, her cat also discriminates between those belonging to the males and those of the females.  I guess our cat isn’t so unique in that way.  Maybe other cats are shoe sniffers as well.  Maybe they should start a support group!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit with Bill F and Bruce W.  We had a great time.  The guys drove up from Lincoln and we met at one of the western exits on the interstate (Cabela’s exit).  We ate lunch at a Runza,  (Bill and I didn’t realize that BBow has a Runza and that Bruce had been eating at it all week while he was up visiting his mom!)  We talked and talked, and after awhile we were the only customers in the place.  The gal from behind the counter walked over to our table.  We thought she was going to kick us out.  Instead, she offered us some complimentary ice cream.  I think she was using it as an excuse to see if we still had a pulse.  She probably saw us there, not moving from our seats and thought, “I wonder if those three old folks over there are still alive?!”  Anyway, that was a nice gesture on her part.  We enjoyed our visit, then she took our picture for us.  Aren’t we as good-looking as ever?

  DSC01978  Bruce, Susan, Bill


Guess what I did today!  I totally dressed myself!  Wow!  I feel like a toddler, learning to take care of myself again after surgery.  Without the help of Dennis or my mother-in-law, I was able to put on all of my clothes today.  And like a 2-year-old, it was a struggle at times and my shirt was crooked and lopsided, but I had my arm in each sleeve and the shirt was right side out and front side where it should be.  I just took a little longer and straightened my clothes out until they held some semblance of order. 

I have a little more use of my left arm, but the doctor doesn’t want me to overdo it.  My PT yesterday went well and Dan, my therapist, added some more movement to my arm.  We are starting to move my arm back so I can start to reach behind.  Dan measured the angles that I can move my arm at the shoulder.  He said I’m doing real well.  He warned me that I could plateau, though, so to keep challenging myself. I continue to be impressed with him.  He teaches me a lot as we go through the exercises.  I thought I had good PTs before, but they just basically told me what to do and helped me do it.  They never explained why or what it was doing for me.  I still don’t have much pain with PT.  I heard so many horror stories about how painful PT would be, but that has not been my experience.  I guess I lucked out.

The Burke jazz band dance was at the Marriott Sunday.  It’s a neat fundraiser they have.  This is the second year.  The band directors invite the junior high jazz bands to play, too.  (That way you have a captive audience of even more parents!)  Of course, the public is invited to come, but most who come are band parents.  This year the band director also included a couple elementary schools, so we saw some 5-6th graders perform, too–more proud moms, dads, and grandparents to pay the $7 admission!  The band booster parents help set it up and we sell cookies and punch.  This year we also had a silent auction.  Some former band parents own a dance studio so they give lessons at various times during the dance.  Most people don’t dance; we just sit and watch the kids play, but there were probably 10-12 people who did get out on the small dance floor and dance.  One of the numbers the high school kids played toward the end was a samba, so the dance teachers led a conga line.  It was fun to watch!  The “dance” was from 3:00-5:00, so not a typical prime dance time!  The Marriott likes our group to come do that, though, because it is an “off” time for them, too, and some of their guests wander down to watch, too. I ended up with a gift certificate for flowers from the silent auction.
Dennis’ mom will spend one more week with us. She has been a great help.  She mentioned yesterday how she had never seen Mike (or any of the boys) play in concerts, etc. until now.  She’s been here a month and she’s seen Mike in the pit for the high school musical (Once Upon A Mattress), last weekend at the jazz band competition in Bellevue, this past Tuesday at Burke for the spring concert and the dance Sunday.  I told her she made up for lost time!!
I spent most of Saturday morning working on the reunion pictures for DVD and I thought I was all set when Mike told me we didn’t have the right software to burn it to a DVD.  So, he figured out if we pasted each picture to Paint and created a separate document, we might be able to burn it.  It took us 4-5 steps to do that.  First, we had to find the slide on the Power Point that I just finished. Then we hit Print Screen, Alt/Tab, then we pasted it on “Paint” and Saved as a file on My Pictures.  We did that with 211 pictures only to discover that when we saved it a big white line or stripe appeared across the top of some the pictures!  Out of 211 pictures, only 85 looked right!  All the rest had the white stripe and the bottom cropped off!  So, now we are trying to figure out what to do.  I may need to redo all the pictures.  I have a plea for help out to some of our classmates who know computers better than I do.  Hopefully, they will come up with a good solution for me!
Needless to say, it’s not too late to send pictures!  Also, I am still working on the booklet, so send your questionnaires! 
I am planning to meet Bruce W and Bill F on Thursday.  Bruce is in BBow now and will stop in Lincoln on his way home to Oklahoma.  He and Bill will get together and come up to Omaha to see this poor crippled old lady!  I wanted to have the DVD done by then so I could give it to them.  Bruce won’t make it to the reunion, so I thought it would be nice to have a copy for him.  Bill is helping me burn copies of the DVD, so I wanted to have a DVD for him to start on.  Oh, well.  The best laid plans of mice and men…
The best laid schemes of Mice and Men oft go awry,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!
Robert Burns, To a Mouse (Poem, November, 1785)
Scottish national poet (1759 – 1796)
Son Mike turned 18 Friday.  Hard to believe!  He even registered for the draft online!  We didn’t do a lot to celebrate his birthday.  He preferred to go out with his friends.  We took him to Old Chicago on Saturday night, but other than that, it was a fairly low-key birthday.  Mike has been offered a full-ride at UNL next year because he is a National Merit Scholarship finalist.  Lincoln is offering four years full tuition, plus housing allowance and a couple hundred dollars a semester for books.  Mike has decided he will likely go to UNL instead of Chicago.  He has received several scholarship offers, but Lincoln’s is the best.  He wants to major in History and Secondary Education, so UNL is fine.  I had hoped he’d look into international studies and consider a career in diplomacy or something, but he wants to teach.  He has to follow his passion, not his mother’s aspirations for him.  He had some excellent teachers at Burke and throughout his school years, both here in Omaha and in Chicago, so I think he was inspired by them. 

Every year on Mike’s birthday, I send a “Thank You” to the nurse who helped deliver him.  (She and I have known each other for over 30 years.) Jenna stayed with me from 3:00 pm until 5:00 am the day Mike was born.  She was with us for the majority of my 15 hour labor!  She didn’t want to go home until he was born.  (Her shift was over at 11:00 pm but she stayed throught the night) I always tell her that Mike is so smart because he didn’t lose a single brain cell during labor and delivery because of her good care of us!


One-armed Blogging and No Irish Clogging

 Recovery is coming along well. I have my good days and bad days, but mostly good.  I feel like the planets were in alignment for me!  I had an excellent surgeon, a friend for anesthesiologist, a great hospital including a nurse’s aide named Seraphim (an angel), and now a wonderful physical therapist.  My mother-in-law has been here for nearly a month, helping me out, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and helping me dress.  She will leave next weekend and I will have to fend for myself!  And FINALLY, I have had the support and prayers of many of you!  I appreciate all the tips you have given me.  I have found that your help has been invaluable.

Prior to my surgery, I wondered how I was going to be able to cope.  How could I do things one-handed?  I thought a lot about how my roles were going to change and I didn’t like that.  I didn’t want to be dependent on others for things I typically do myself.  I remembered my knee surgery and how helpless I was and I didn’t want to go through that again. I dreaded the thought of surgery and wished I could just not do it.  But, I had no choice.  It helped when I heard from those of you who had gone through the same surgery.  I saw that you made it  even though it was a long process.

It helped me so much to hear the good and the bad from others.  Everyone who had rotator cuff told me that it hurts like hell but you get through it.  Everyone told me to “do the PT!”  I received all kinds of tips on how to adjust my lifestyle. (Although I have found my own way of doing things.)  Physical therapy has been fine.  Not overly painful like I expected.  Dan, my therapist, is great.  He even has a device he invented and patented that I use at home for passive movement.  He is teaching me a lot about muscles and motion.  I think he is the best therapist I’ve ever had.  (His device can be seen on this website:
A lot of my concerns and worries prior to surgery have been unfounded or haven’t been as big an issue as I thought they would be.   It remind me somewhat of when I give shots to the kids in the office.  Some of them get so worked up about it beforehand that they are out of control by the time I go into the room.  I tell them, “Worrying about the shot is always worse than actually getting it.”  (Of course, getting a shot is nothing compared to surgery and recovery!  Wish surgery was that easy!!)  My recovery is much like what I hear the kids say after the shot, “That wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.”  Of course, it’s not fun, and I’m not anxious to ever do it again, but I had to have it done and it’s over and now I am slowly working toward recovery. 
So, thank you to all!
How was your St. Patrick’s Day?  I didn’t do much.  We had a concert to go to at Burke, so our evening was nice but very non-Irish.  No green beer.  I missed out on the Irish soda bread that St. Leo’s parish sells each year.  They sold out by the time I  got there. Joe, however, had a great time!  Even though he gave up “junk food” and alcohol for Lent, he still had a good time.  (That’s Joe for you!  He tends to have fun no matter what!)  He and his friend, Ben, dyed their hair and Joe dressed up like a leprechaun.
 DSC01958 Joe 058
He and Ben went to the Brazenhead and met their friend, Katie.  Joe said there were all kinds of characters there including a guy dressed up like St. Patrick himself!  He wore a bishop’s robe and miter (hat) and carried a long staff. Wish Joe had gotten his picture!
Mike’s birthday is tomorrow.  He will turn 18.  Hard to believe my “baby” is that old.  We have a birthday every 1-2 weeks now.  The “Bristol Birthday Season” is in full swing.
Thanks to you who sent in your questionnaires lately.  Better late than never!  Please send pictures and questionnaires as soon as possible.  Time is running out!  Also, thank you to Susan Anderson Bader for her recent donation to the class fund.


One-handed keyboarding is not easy–very tedious and I grow impatient, longing to use both hands!

As you recall, I had surgery almost two weeks ago–rotator cuff repair.  The surgeon had to open my shoulder to fix it.  I have a small incision (4″-5″) on top of my left shoulder.  The tear was too big to fix by arthroscopy, but also not so bad as to require a huge incision. I was in the hospital overnight (or as the insurance people say, I was a “23 hour stay.”)  The Nebraska Orthopaedic Hospital is very nice and the employees are very professional.  I ran into some old friends there.  Neil Davis was my anesthesiologist.  I ‘ve known him since his residency in the 1980’s.  He is Chip Davis’ brother from Mannheim Steamroller.  Neil is a musician in his own right and plays with a band for fun. He told me his next “gig” is in April, so we may have to go check it out.  He played at Dr. Kent’s daughter’s wedding a few years ago.  Anyway, it was great to see him after all these years.  We reminisced about the NICU years. I also saw a nurse I used to work with 15 years ago, so that was fun. 

My doc said the surgery was pretty clear cut–no surprises. Now the fun begins!  Physical therapy three times a week for the 6-8 weeks starting TOMORROW!  Wish me luck.

DSC01916 DSC01913 DSC01911 Flowers and cards after my surgery.  The teddy bear doctor kit flowers are from Dave and Carlota.  The other bouquet is from work.  I also received several cards, books, and a couple DVDs.  My friend, Maggie, who is Dave’s godmother, brought over dinner.  Dennis’ mom has been here to help out so we haven’t needed much so far.  Other friend are planning to bring dinners after Dennis’ mom goes home to Valentine.

Mike was in Minneapolis this weekend on a field trip for jazz band.  They went to Hard Rock Cafe, Mall of America, etc. but the highlight was the concert by the Lincoln Center jazz band lead by Wynton Marsalis.  The kids got to go backstage and meet Wynton Marsalis.  Mike got his autograph, too.  Being a trumpet player, Mike was thrilled to meet him in person. (Mike in blue shirt below.)

Mike and Wynton Marsalis Wynton marsalis

I had hoped to chaperone this trip like I did the one to Chicago last year, but my surgery interfered. I also missed the Burke musical (“Once Upon a Mattress”) the week before.  Oh, well.  At least, I should be in fairly good shape by the time our grandbaby arrives!  Friends had a shower for Carlota last weekend.  It was also Dave’s birthday.

daves bday-carlotas babys shower 041 daves bday-carlotas babys shower 004

Cindy Ellingson Rogers has a new grandson, born March 2.  He is her fourth grandchild.  His name is Joseph.  Vikki also sent me some pictures of her newest great-granddaughters, Emma Rose and Skylir.  Very cute babies!  Her email made my day because I got the pictures just before my surgery and it reminded me that I need to get better fast so I can hold our new baby in May. 

Thank you for all your emails and support.  You have been very helpful.  Plese keep all of our classmates in your prayers.  There is a lot of stress and heartache out there right now.  Please think of those classmates who have lost their jobs, who have health or financially difficulties, or who are going through some very tough times. We remember Lana’s dad who died of cancer recently.  Bless you all!