Current Journal (June 1, 2005)

Wednesday - June 29, 2005 - Thanks to Granny, I have a picture of Grandma and Grandpa's stone which I will put in here.  The internet - how did we live without it!?!?  This morning when I checked the guestbook, there was a very nice note from Hannah.  She didn't put in her last name, but I think it's the Hannah that was in Jarrett's class.  What a lovely message she wrote.  Thanks Hannah!!  Last night, Bob and I were talking about how smart Jarrett was.  We knew that Andrew had an extremely high IQ, and Jarrett's wasn't as high.  However, Jarrett used his intelligence, whereas Andrew sometimes did and most of the time didn't.  Bob said that after 6 months of studying chess, Jarrett could easily beat him (and Bob was always a VERY excellent at chess).  Had he lived (and not lost interest), Jarrett probably would have been the top chess player in Illinois high schools.  No doubt in my mind.  His memory was awesome.  We do spend a lot of time these days reminiscing about the boys and Grandma and Grandpa.  Every night we sit outside on the deck by the swimming pool and talk and talk.  I have those solar lights out there, and of course, the many, many, many flowers.  It's my favorite place to be in the summertime.  Plus, our yard is so private with all the trees and the shrubs.  It's almost like a park out there.  I started writing Grandma's obit yesterday.  They just put the bare minimum in the paper.  This one will have more information.  Then, like I did for Grandpa, I'll write the story of Grandma's life so that her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, etc. will know about Grandma.  When I re-read what I wrote about Grandpa, I totally enjoyed it.  I'll have to put it in here somewhere. 

Okay, I just remembered this story that Bob told me.  When he went out to put those purple silk irises with the angel boys and the flag on Grandpa's grave a few weeks ago, he was thinking about his dad on the drive over there.  When he finally got to the cemetery, he picked up the flowers and started to walk to the stone.  Then, he pleaded out loud to his dad, "I know you came to see Donna when you died.  Dad, please give me a sign that you're here with me now."  As soon as he finished uttering those words, with the NEXT step he took his sandal strap broke.  He was quite stunned and he said in disbelief, "But I LIKED those sandals!"  He felt that his dad was really there because of so many reasons.  His dad had a lot of trouble walking in his final years, which is what happened to Bob after the sandal broke.  Like I always say, Be careful what you wish for, you just might  GET it!  bye for now, djb+ 

Tuesday - June 28, 2005 - The oh so familiar and dreaded words:  funeral home, casket, burial, etc., ad nauseum.  It's hard to put the feelings into words.  I just went in and cropped a picture of Grandma for the undertaker (another creepy word - sorry Bruce).  Oh, I think now, it's funeral director.  Still gives one pause.  When I talked to Bergy this morning and told him where the accident occurred, he was quite familiar with the location.  He said that there have been many accidents at that intersection.  We don't know exactly why it happened but the end result is still the same:  Grandma is gone.  It's still very, very hard to believe.  Like another nightmare.  There's been an accident.  I hope I never hear those words ever again!!!  We're having Grandma's visitation and funeral at Unger-Horner Funeral Home in Rochelle on Thursday (6/30) and Friday (7/1), respectively.  The visitation will be from 5 til 8 p.m.  The funeral will be on Friday at 11 a.m.  Then, we go to Washington Grove Cemetery to bury Grandma next to Grandpa.  Two years after Grandpa had died, Grandma still hadn't gotten his marker because she just couldn't decide what saying to put on it.  So, Bob and I decided that we would get one with both of their names on it in the same style as the boys' stone.  It's quite beautiful.  I have a picture of it somewhere in my files.  The Burkholder name etched in granite.  It's eerily familiar, yet somehow comforting that they have the same stone.  I miss my boys.  I hope they were able to meet Grandma when she arrived on the heavenly side.  God bless them all.  Must go now, djb

This is the last picture I took of Grandma with our new friend, Allison on June 23, 2005

later Monday - 6/27 - This afternoon, just before 3, I got a call and learned that Grandma Burkholder (Bob's mom, Andrew & Jarrett's Grandma) was killed in a car accident south of Rochelle.  She apparently died instantly when she was hit by semi-tractor trailer truck.  We are mourning her loss, not only because we loved her dearly but because she had spent those few days (Wed, Thurs and Friday morning) with us and we had such a wonderful time with her.  She seemed happier than she had been in many years.  She's now in Heaven with Grandpa Burkholder and Andrew & Jarrett.  We are sad for our loss.  We will miss her dearly.  She ALWAYS told us that she loved us.  God bless you, Grandma.  Please give the boys a hug from me.  Also give Grandpa a hug and Uncle Bob, too.  It doesn't seem real at all.  We are completely devastated.  Remember what I've always said, "You NEVER know when it's your time to go.  Be nice to everyone you love.  Then, you'll have no regrets."  good night, djb

Grandma, Grandpa, Bob, Jarrett and Andrew - 4 of them are gone to Heaven.  God bless them all!!!  We miss you.

Monday - June 27, 2005 - I can't type much because I have to go into town and get some stuff.  Let me say this, however, it's going to be ANOTHER summer day in the 90's.  We spent a lot of the weekend by the pool and in the pool.  Yesterday, Elliot asked if he could come over and swim.  Of course, we said he could.  He brought his mom over, too.  We like Donna a lot because she's very nice.  Plus, she jumped in the pool and got her hair wet!  That's a good mom for ya.  Elliot is so funny.  He constantly makes us laugh, and that's a good thing.  Maybe that's why I feel less sad today - because I laughed yesterday.  Gotta go. bye, djb

Sycamore swimming pool - this is where I didn't learn to swim

a little later - (6/26) - Here are some flower pictures I took this morning with a little help from Hobbes. bye, djb

The front flower bed looks WAY better than this in person - it's hard to get a good wide-angle shot - maybe I need a new camera (don't tell Bob)

Another view - you can see the slide

Another view - you can see the dead grass and the our fire number

Yellow mutant - next to the rudbeckia

Pink lily - I don't think I've taken his picture before

True red lily - simply lovely

Pink curly daylily - looks like the peachy one, except that it isn't

Hobbes in the middle of his morning cleaning ritual

Two pink freckled lilies - I don't DARE say they remind me of Andrew and Jarrett!!!

Sunday - June 26, 2005 - I think Bob's project of walking the course and carrying his golf bag is finally paying off.  He did more work in the yard yesterday than he has in a long time.  Of course, the reward is that after getting hot and sore, he can jump in the pool.  He cut down those yukky climbing weeds and also cut down a tree that was growing in the bushes.  NOW, my burn pile is getting even larger.  Legally, we can't burn until September 1st.  By then, my tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers will have been harvested, and I'll won't care if we start a conflagration next to the garden.  It's been fun to watch them grow.  There's something embedded in my genes that makes me want to grow things.  Even in winter.  I have to have something growing and blooming around me at all times.  The funny thing is that I never cut my flowers outside and bring them in the house - they seem to last longer if I leave them alone.  Once I had to cut the daffodils because it was going to freeze and snow.  Okay, so that was fun.

We went to Ben's graduation party last night.  Because of Bob's lumberjacking (his grandfather was a lumberjack BEFORE he found his calling as a barber), we got there a little later than we had planned.  But as we were walking in, we ran into half of the neighbors walking out.  It's fun to see everyone.  Mostly, we have very nice neighbors.  Except for the kids who grew up around here, I didn't know any of the other kids who were milling around.  It's a bit unsettling to realize that I have no idea what's going on in the local teenage world any more.  My children will never get to have a graduation party or any of that.  It's sad.  And when I see these kids all grown up, I remember that mine will forever be 15 and 17.  There's no way I can't be sad.  I miss them so much all the time.  I wish I could find some comfort in something.  I just can't seem to and I try.  I don't hear from any of the kids any more.  I know why.  We're just too pitiful.  Who wants to be around the tragic figures that we've become?  No one.  What can you say to us?  Nothing.  Sorry about your loss.  Have a nice day.  It may seem that we're happy on the surface.  Underneath, there's an all pervasive sadness that will never go away.  Who wants to pick up on that vibe?  NO ONE!  A gentleman that Bergy knows lost his daughter 40 years ago.  He told Bergy that you never get over it - never.  That's such a comfort.  Maybe that's why I enjoy my flowers so much - it's something to take care of.  Kind of ironic that they all die, too.  Gotta go walk, djb

Uncle Bergy, Andrew & Jarrett (saying "queso") at Rosita's  

Saturday - June 25, 2005 - Only 6 months until Christmas - have you done your shopping yet???  It's HOT again today.  Not as hot as yesterday.  We only got up to 96 so it wasn't a record.  Still, it was HOT.  Bob played 9 holes of golf at Deer Valley.  That's the place they all went to first to learn how to play golf.  I've got a picture of them somewhere in my extensive files.  Anyway, some wacky man almost hit Bob with a golf ball (it was ---this--- close).  Instead, it hit his car.  I think it's funny to have a golf ball ding in his car - I'm assuming Andrew had something to do with it.  Today, while I was cleaning out the dead daffodil stalks from my middle flower bed, I came across one of Andrew's golf balls.  It's been out there ever since he hit it there (and couldn't find it).  It's a treasure for me.  Bob's doing his annual cutting of the weed that grows in the honeysuckle bushes.  No, he's not playing golf.....yet  He also vacuumed the pool.  Later on, he's going over to Hughes to practice putting.  I woke him up at 7 so we could walk around the block.  (The Bergs are our inspiration for walking.)  It was kind of humid but not too awfully hot.  We saw no foxes, and I'm thankful for that.  Apparently, there's ANOTHER fox family living under someone's driveway down by the lake.  Yikes!  They have 3 babies.  While I was out front pruning the bushes, a deer ran by the other bushes on the edge of our property.  I didn't even see him.  It's a wildlife refuge out here.  This morning, I ran across another picture of Bob and me at the Kierland Resort in Scottsdale, so I'm going to put it in here.  See ya later.  Gotta go slide..............djb

Bob, Jarrett and Andrew at Deer Valley many years ago

Bob and me in Scottsdale - I got sunburned under my eyes - nice look, djb.

Friday - June 24, 2005 - We're supposed to get close to the record high temperature for this date - 97 degrees.  Yesterday, I was finally able to get in the pool!!  After I took the solar cover off, I was so hot - so extremely hot that I had to cool off asap.  The pool is refreshing - not too cold.  Plus, after Bob vacuumed the pool, I went down the slide several times.  That means that it is officially summer.  oh boy!!  Last night, we decided to take Grandma over to Fisherman's Inn and sit on their outdoor deck and eat appetizers (Bob & I shared some escargot!!!!!).  While we were sitting there, a couple came out to enjoy the view, and after a while we started talking to them.  They are from England and have been living here for 3 years.  They just found out that they have to return in three months.  Very interesting folks.  They've been  all over the country sightseeing and have been to Mount Rushmore a few times but they think that Crazy Horse is going to end up being more impressive.  Mount Rushmore - can't wait to go there.  It's on my list of things to do.  I've already watered all the flowers ONCE this morning.  I'm sure I'll have to do it again this afternoon because it's going to be brutal out there.  I think I might have to sit in Bob's Father's Day present just to check it out.  Okie to you later, djb

View from the deck at Fisherman's Inn - Americana panorama

The Deck - you can see Main Street in the background - it goes to Kaneville

Big Birdie sitting on a fake wooden alligator

Allison, Grandma and Gareth (eyes closed) at Fisherman's

Gareth's Kawasaki motorcycle - nice night shot!

A sunflower seed fell in this flower pot - at first I thought he might be a weed, but I just let him grow to see what he was and here he is!  You can see the dead grass in the background!!!!

The lucky sunflower

They didn't know the price of this geranium, so they charged me two bucks.  What a deal!

My first Stargazer

This pink lily had so many blooms - I think it's a mutant!!

a little later - (6/23) - I forgot to put these pictures on.  See ya later, gator.  djb



Thursday - June 23, 2005 - Grandma got here safe and sound yesterday afternoon.  We went over to the Silverado restaurant for dinner.  Bob and I go there from time to time in the winter, and I've always wanted to sit outside!!  SO, last night, we sat outside on their patio.  It has a 6 foot stone wall with hosta planted in it.  Quite tasteful.  We were the only ones out there.  It was fantastic because it was so pleasant outside, and because of the drought there were no mosquitoes.  While we were eating, my cell phone rang.  (Only about 7 people have my number - for no good reason - I'm just not a technophobe)  Of course, I get very excited because it plays "When the Saints Go Marching In."  It was Karen.  She and Krissy were bringing the car over for Grandma to drive down to Woodhaven tomorrow.  When Bob asked about the car, he was told, "IT'S ALL GOOD."  That's the NEW hip phrase from the youngsters.  Anyway, it was all BAD.  The car hadn't been cleaned inside in quite a long time.  Food under the seats, an orange crayon had melted on the driver's side seat, the carpets were so dirty, yuk, etc., etc.  So, Krissy, Karen, Bob and Donna worked for an hour and half cleaning it.  And it is clean.  Actually, it was kind of fun to work on project together.  In the meantime, Bryar found the animal crackers that I'd bought for the little people (she was one of the young people I bought them for).  The multi-colored FISH are so cool.  I'm going to have to go back to Target and get some more.  I think some of the BIG people were eating them, too. 

Today, we're going to hit 92 - they're yakking about rain.  I don't think so.  It's going to dissipate once again.  That's just wishful thinking.  It's too hot for the clouds to form.  Everyone's grass is dead.  Oh yeah, that's right.  I did mow the grass yesterday - some of it.  A lot of it is sad looking.  Remember:  Grass is a water hog.  Someone told me that many years ago.  I have to get going now.  It's time to do some work.  The weirdest thing happened.  Some critter ate my red roses.  One of them had actually bloomed.  Maybe it was the fox.  Maybe that's how the fox keeps his red coat!  hmmm  I'm sure it wasn't a person because it was cut short - not long - and there was no sign of any humans.  I just can't seem to grow roses.  It's a pity.  Here's some pictures from summer of 2000 at Woodhaven.  That reminds me.  I have a sunflower growing "wild" in a flower pot.  I've got to get that picture.  It's pretty funny.  bybye, djb

Andrew at Woodhaven in 2000 - if Jarrett was 12, then Andrew was 14 in this picture

Jarrett at Woodhaven in 2000 - so he was 12 in this picture

Glen Burkholder at Woodhaven in 2000

Bob Paul at Woodhaven in 2000

Bev, Bob, Grandpa 

Wednesday - June 22, 2005 - My OCD is coming back to haunt me.  My name is Donna, and I'm an obsessive compulsive saver of stuff.  Last night, I took some boxes down off the top of the cupboards in the garage.  First of all, EXTREMELY dusty.  Second of all, lots of useless STUFF.  Bob reminded me that the Leo's (the young Lions) are having a garage sale this weekend.  Tomorrow, they'll be accepting donations.  That's just perfectly serendipitous.  It's amazing that I hadn't missed anything that was up there.  Plus, I'm cleaning the family room downstairs where Grandma will sleep while she's here.  Haven't had any reason to clean it until now.  Not that it's dirty, just mostly dust.  We're VERY dusty out here in the country.  Yesterday was not unlike Tuesday except that I had to go to Target and buy stuff I had put off buying for a long time.  Procrastination is the name of my game!!  Then, I HAD TO go out to the farm and get a couple of more red geraniums.  On my way back, I stopped at the cemetery to water, weed whack, prune the flowers and CLEAN the stone because it was very dirty and quite DUSTY!!!  Then, it was back to the ranch and I had to pot the flowers I got, had to open the pool and give it some chlorine.  Then, Ron came over to check on the 220 power for the pool heater.  I still can't get in the pool because it's so COLD.  Very, very, very cold.  The only people who have been in it are Bob, Elliot and Jake.  Bob, because he has to.  Elliot and Jake, because they're teenagers and that's what they do. 

Don't know if you heard this or not.  I hope you're able to see the moon tonight because it's going to appear larger than usual.  Maybe even brighter than usual.  I won't try to explain it here because I'm sure it's explained in great detail somewhere else.  But that is very exciting.  I love the moon.  And it is a moon in June.  I'm not exhausted but I am tired.  Oh shoot.  I just remembered that I have to mow the lawn a little bit.  That's what I've been forgetting....on purpose.  A lot of the grass is burned because we've had no precipitation in quite some time.  For some reason, though, the grass in the shade likes to grow unevenly.  It's always fun to get on the tractor and pretend I'm a farmer.  haha  All right.  Better go.  see ya, djb

I took this picture of the moon while Bob and I were driving back from DeKalb - a Rosita's trip, no doubt!

Tuesday - June 21, 2005 - The FIRST day of summer!!! Oh boy!  Yesterday, I painted the deck from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.  Kevin came over for several hours and helped paint the fence (what a pain that is).  It was very HOT.  I used the painting stick so it went fairly quickly once I got all the flowers and the chairs moved out of the way.  Plus, I had to get rid of many, many, many maple tree twirly-guy seeds.  We had millions of those in our yard this spring - it was kind of creepy.  We weren't sure what it meant.  There's some message from nature involved in that situation, I'm SURE!  Anyway, after all is said and done, I'm sure glad I don't have to do that every day.  God bless everyone who does because it's back-breaking hard work.  Rumor has it that we "might" get a severe thunderstorm later today.  The coverage was projected to be minimal so who knows what we'll get.  It may even dissipate.  I'm just glad the deck painting days are over......

Howard, Irene and Patrick are going to Washington, DC (our Nation's Capital) today or tomorrow or maybe they're already there!  They had the family picnic last Saturday on Long Island.  Haven't heard how that went, but they didn't have rain, so at least they had that going for them.  Howard and Patrick want to see the Smithsonian for sure.  I don't know what else they have on their minds.  Chad went out there a few weeks ago with Price.  Haven't heard about that trip either.  Grandma's coming up to Illinois tomorrow from Florida.  She'll stay out at Woodhaven while she's up north.  That's why I put that particular picture on the Casa Page.  Woodhaven - the casual getaway place!  Plus, I like to see my boys' faces.  It's time to get my skeedaddling shoes on.  Have a LOT to do again today.  It's supposed to get to 86 degrees.  WOW.  That's fantastic.  seeyalater, djb

They put some different chemicals in the lake to kill the algae - something went terribly wrong and ALL the fish died from a lack of oxygen.  How perfectly bizarre is that?!  They can't restock it until next spring.  Very, very sad....  But, here's a look at a happier time at the lake.

Monday - June 20, 2005 - Tomorrow is the first day of Summer!  That means we'll be ready to get in the swimming pool.  NOT!  Here's a cute picture from many years ago of Andrew and Krissy in the baby pool in North Aurora.  I don't know why there are bubbles in the pool.  Could be one of a number of reasons - or maybe multiple reasons.  It's time to check on that darn cat.  He's out and about....who knows where?  bye, djb

Andrew and Krissy in the baby pool - why the bubbles????  Don't know.

much, much later - (6/19) - We had a busy day.  It was 82 degrees - a PERFECT day!  Bob went golfing with Kevin this afternoon while I scraped paint off the deck.  They had a lot of fun.  Then, Kevin came back to our house and he's going to help me paint the fence tomorrow.  What a good boy!  Plus, Elliot and Jake came over to swim.  They were the first visitors in our pool last year, too.  I do have a picture of them.  I also have a picture of the pool and the lounge chair that I got for Bob for Father's Day.  Plus, I have to put in the pictures of Hope eating her birthday cake.  They're pretty darn cute.  Oh yes, and the TWO yellow light lilies that bloomed TODAY - I planted them in between the angels that look over Andrew and Jarrett's pond.  So sweet.   I'm exhausted.  Must be going now.  nighty night, djb

Jake and Elliot contemplating getting in the FREEZING COLD pool (though it is sparkling clean) and you can see where I've scraped some of the paint off already.  It's so much NOT fun!!!

Bob's pool chair - the picture on the box had blue and white stripes.  I was shocked when I saw the pink hibiscus pattern!  Kind of girly if you ask me, but he likes it anyway - very comfy.

Hope is saying, "Hurray, I'm not a baby any more!"

Hope with her very fancy and cute cake, with Zoe looking on.

Zoe EATING her cake with her God-given fingers

Lemon-yellow lilies

Lilies between the angels that were given to us when the boys died.

Sunday - June 19, 2005 - FATHER'S DAY - We had a great time at Stephanie's wedding to Rob.  At the reception, we saw Stan and Karen (that's Super Stan to you) for the first time since they moved away a few years ago.  It was so fantastic to see them!!  When they lived here, Stan was always in his yard doing something constructive, for example, trying to capture moles and voles!!!  It was always hilarious (almost like Bill Murray in Caddy Shack).  Plus, he used to run a few miles every morning, so when something was going on in the surrounding area, he would inform us of the situation.  Like the time that he saw the dead, red fox.  We all piled in the car and drove over to see it!  No, seriously, it was our first look at a red fox.  Karen's on the board at our local CC.  I told her that we always vote for her!  They built a house down south, then a few years later, they moved further west to be closer to the family business.  Anyway, it was so great to see them again.  We sat at a table with Ron & Phyllis and also Jim and his wife (he used to work for Bergy!).  What a small, small world after all.  Oh yes, the wedding was so very lovely.  You could not have asked for more perfect weather - clear blue sky, not too hot, not too cold - just right.  Stephanie was a gorgeous bride.  She and Rob look so sweet together.  I hope they have many happy years ahead of them.  It was nice to be there.  Of course, I'll keep my eye on them when they come to visit Gene and Brenda and their little dog, Toto.  (haha  I'm so funny.  I make myself laugh.)  Well, enough chit chat.  I have to go outside and check on Hobbes.  I might be back later.  Have a Happy Father's Day, if you're a father.  If not, then just have a happy day!  See ya later, djb

Super Stan, Karen and Bob in the background -(notice the spirit orb?)  It must be Jarrett because he's the one who inspired the Super Stan name.  Doncha just love it!!

later (6/18) - Bob was out finishing up vacuuming the pool and a lady came driving up in the driveway and she said that she had some flowers.  Then she looked at the card and asked if I was Melissa and I said no.  So, she started to leave and then she came back and said, "Are you Donna?"  Of course, I said yes.  She said these are for you.  Who are they from?  It doesn't say who they're from but they said, "Don't be sad, Andrew and Jarrett are always with you."  She didn't leave a card, but that's what she told me.  Isn't that amazing?!  yes.  When she went away the first time, I said those are beautiful "girly" flowers.  And imagine some wonderful person sent them to me.  It made me cry but in a good way.  Bob asked if I knew who they were from, and I said that I can't imagine who they're from because I know so many thoughtful and kind people.  I just don't know.  But that makes it even more sweet.  Whoever you are, thank you very much.  It made my day.  Well, they were supposed to be delivered yesterday but their printer wasn't working at the flower place, so they came today.  Any day is a good day when someone sends you flowers!!!  Amen to that.  God bless, djb

Aren't they simply stunningly gorgeously beauteously fantastically perfect?!   Yes.

Saturday - June 18, 2005 - It was very cold this morning.  However, that did not stop Bob from going to Shabbona to play golf with Tom.  It's NEVER too cold to play golf.  That's wrong, it's really never too HOT to play golf.  That's the saying I've heard many times.  We're going to Stephanie Anderson's wedding.  She getting married in Elburn.  She and her parents, Gene and Brenda, stayed at our house when we had Andrew and Jarrett's wake and funeral.  You know how the robbers read the obits and then go and rob the house while the people are gone!  Wait a minute.  That happened to someone on our block when we lived in North Aurora.  Too bad it wasn't next door to us because I'm very nosy and I AM the Neighborhood Watcher (a la Gladys Kravits!)!!!  One time, I used my telephoto lens to take pictures of someone we thought was stealing firewood across the street.  Turns out that he may not have been stealing it, but I think his story to the cops was kind of flimsy.  Back to my original story.  The Andersons are a very large clan in Elburn.  Gene is Terry Nelson's first cousin.  Also, Gene's parents are friends of Louie and Frenchy.  Louie is Grandpa's first cousin.  If you live around here long enough, you can find the 6 degrees of separation fairly quickly (usually way less than 6).  For example, my Aunt Rachel and Cindy Crawford's grandma are first cousins.  The boys always told their friends that they were related to Cindy Crawford.  I told them that wasn't true, that their cousins are related to her.  I mean, how many people have posters of their cousin in a swimsuit on their bedroom wall!?  Hopefully, no one I know.  haha

Better get going.  Yesterday, I potted the red geraniums that I got at the farm.  They are so gorgeous.  Debbie's sister has the greenest of green thumbs.  Bless her heart.  I love going out to the farm to buy plants because they're so healthy.  Then later on in the summer, we get to go out there and get the freshest sweet corn.  Oh boy!!!  See ya later.   bye for now. djb 

This will be me (well, it really is me) in a few days - the pool is finally CLEAR enough to see the bottom - now THAT is good news!!!

Friday - June 17, 2005 - It's below 50 degrees this morning - that is just wrong!  How am I supposed to swim when it's THAT cold?  Yes, I don't normally ask for warm weather, but I am this time - bring it on!!!!  Bring on the heat.  Although the farmers are desperate for precipitation but we never get just an evening rain, we also have to get fierce winds, golf balls sized hail, etc.  As I was driving back from the store the other day, I noticed that the corn did NOT look good at all.  It was doing so well earlier, and we had all these forecasts for rain but it dissipated before it got to the fields. Poof!  Earlier this week, they published a survey they conducted in Chicago asking people how much they believed the weather forecasters.  Basically, no one.  As Tommy Skilling said, "Meteorology is not an "exact science."  That's funny.  Remember last year when the smart guys said that Charley was headed for Tampa - oops?  Sorry about that.  How would you like to have a job where you can be wrong all of the time, and still get paid huge sums of money?  Nice gig if you can get it.

Today's going to be a busy day.  I have to paint the deck.  The weather is perfect for that job.  There's a lot of wood that's been ravaged by the elements since last summer.  We used to put deck stain on it but it leached into the pool and turned the pool orangey.  Not very inviting.  All right.  I'm out of here - oh wait a minute.  Hope had a wonderful celebration on her birthday.  Grandpa and Granny called to wish her well.  I'm SURE they sang to her because they ALWAYS sing Happy Birthday.  That's fun.  And they're also enjoying the water aerobics class and exercise class at the Y - four days a week.  Who knew it was going to be so much fun and so helpful to their circulation?  Also, I got an e-mail from Judy this morning.  She experienced her FIRST earthquake.  Had to get under a desk.  Oh my gosh.  I know how that feels.  We had one in 1968 when I was at SIU (caused by the New Madrid fault).  The scariest feeling because there's nowhere to go.  How do you leave the earth?  I guess, a person could get in an airplane.  Unsettling - majorly.  That's enough chit chat for now....I must go do some stuff.  Miles and miles and miles to walk before I sleep.  see ya later, djb




just a bit later (6/16) - Here's the hibiscuses (or is that hibiscusi?) today.  They're so gorgeous.  It's funny that when I bought them, I didn't know what colors they were!  What a nice surprise!  bye, djb

Rose peachy hibiscus

There are actually 7 yellow guys today but one is hiding (I think he's camera-shy)

Thursday - June 16, 2005 - TODAY MY GREAT NIECE, HOPE (Esperanza en espanol) is one year old.  HAPPY BOOFDAY, HOPE.  How exciting to hit the one year mark!!  Congrats.  It's a coolish day in Illinois - but I'm sure it's hotter than ever in AZ.  The other day, they hit the century mark.  Of course, it is a DRY heat.  Don't forget that.  Bob and I were so happy to hear from Jessica Angell.  She's been leaving flowers and different little things for Andrew these past two years.  It always comforts us to know that he's not forgotten.  I'm not doing very well these days.  I'm just so sad.  Everything makes me cry.  On our back from AZ, I was reading a book that said the average time to feel "normal" after the death of a child is 4 freaking years.  Oh good, only two more to go!!!!!!   That's not considering TWO children.  That's just one child.  So, does that mean that I'm going to be "NORMAL" IN 6 MORE YEARS??  Holy guacamole.  I don't think I'm going to make it.  I'll say one thing, though, I'm cleaning up a storm today.  It's cool outside and I feel like cleaning.  That's amazing because I NEVER feel like cleaning any more.  I mean, what's the point.  It's just going to get dirty again.  Not as dirty as when Andrew and Jarrett were here.  sigh........  Okay.  I have to go outside and check on the situation.  I'll be back.  see ya later, djb

This guy was playing the bagpipe after we came back from dinner on Saturday night - out back at the hotel.  Very nice.

later (6/15) - This afternoon, I went into town to get some much needed stuff!  Then, I came back and went to the post office.  AND then, I went to the farm to get a couple of geraniums (don't tell Bob, but I got 6 and they're gorgeous).  Before I left, I took some pictures of the flowers, and here they are.  bye, djb

My new yellow hibiscus - the left side got whacked by the 25 mph winds

I call this one the Berg daylily - I have a picture somewhere of them standing beside it many years ago after they took a walk around the block

The new clematis in my front flower garden

Freckled-face pink day lily with yellow throat

The blue morning glory also got whipped by the fierce winds - reminds me of Grandma O'Malley

Don't tell the others, but THIS is my favorite day lily

The Grand-daddy of all my clematis

Curly reddish day lily in Andrew & Jarrett's pond garden - I used my 10x zoom

Wednesday - June 15, 2005 - This month is half over.  Yikes!!  It's totally cool here, it's still very windy.  I thought I'd put some more pictures in here of the Arizona girls.  My new hibiscus has a bloom today, so I'll have to take a picture of that later.  Bergs sent me a picture of their blooming ginger plant and also their sansaveria is blooming.  That's a rare occurrence!  Howard and Irene and Patrick are in New York for the family picnic on Long Island (Irene's family).  I think Dennis is in Creston and Ron's in Algonquin.  haha  Gotta run.  Very, very BUSY.  see ya, djb

Gayla holding Hope with Zoe smiling sweetly

Hope after her nap being held by Zoe with Gayla watching - I said hi to her and SCARED her and made her cry.  Poor baby....


Zoe with the drawing book that Aunt Donna, the Great gave to her for her birthday

Jake and the girls

The BIG swimming pool - no kids allowed!  You can see the kid's pool in the background (plus the water slide and lazy river are located there....oh boy!)

The peachy pink roses I bought at Safeway for our room - I have to have flowers!


Zoe doing the bridge.  I used to be able to do that!  Nice form.

Tuesday - June 14, 2005 - It's FLAG DAY today.  I didn't put my flag up yet because it's SO WINDY.  I'm afraid it'll blow away.  We're supposed to be getting cooler weather for the next few days (in the 70's).  That's good for a lot of reasons - I can plant some plants without fear of them getting heat stroke!!  Always good to transplant in cooler and overcast conditions.  Yes, thank you.  While I was looking for the flag picture, I came across these pictures from many years ago.  It was 1987.  We were all still pretty young then.  haha  Sorry I can't write much.  I have so many things to do.  It's a non-stop situation.  Talk to you later.  If it rains, I'll be back. bye, djb

Bob with Andrew in his little person swing

Andrew in motion with his red bat

Andrew at a young age practicing his throwing

Monday - June 13, 2005 - Okay, so I lied.  I didn't have time to do ANYTHING today but work my fingers to the gone all day!!!  Flowers had to be moved.  Flowers had to be potted.  The pool had to be nursed back to good health.  Food had to be bought.  Lawn HAD TO BE mowed.  It was a frenzy of activity.  Non-stop.  Then, all of a sudden, I realized that it's Judy Berg Zitkus' birthday today!  I'm not sure how old she is, but she's way younger than I am.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JUDY!  I know I'll see you in August.  Until then, here's a picture from the good old days. bye, djb

Kathy, Judy, (Gran in the back), Diane, Donna

Kathy, another one of our dear, sweet angels

Sunday - June 12, 2005 - We got back from Arizona at about 3:30 this afternoon.  I'm too tired to write very much but I will say that we had a very wonderful time!!!!  I'll write more tomorrow - Plus, I have a ton of pictures.  I'll put in a picture of my great nieces - they are Andrew and Jarrett's first cousins once removed!!  They're so sweet!!!!!!!!  Really and truly, it is a DRY HEAT.  I'm not kidding. bye, djb

PRINCESS ZOE - she just turned 6

BABY HOPE - she'll be one this week

Bob and Donna roasted and toasted in AZ

Tuesday - June 7, 2005 - It's going to be 90 degrees here today!!!  Can you believe that?  That's fantastic.  Finally, it's summertime.  Of course, we haven't had much rain in a long, long time so yesterday I had to water everything in sight.  It's supposed to be HOT for the rest of the week.  oh boy!  Tomorrow is Irene's birthday.  If you have her e-mail, please send her a card.  You have been warned.  In fact, you can get her e-mail from the Andrew and Jarrett's Guestbook.  Okie dokie.  No excuses.  I have an excuse for not sending Zoe a birthday card because NO ONE REMINDED ME.  Basically berserk.  Hi Bergy!!  Hope Bergy's computer is working again.  What a bummer.  Instead of winning the Lotto, lighting struck.  Go figure, eh?!  Life's uncertain, eat desert first!  That's what I always do.  Just ask Granny. 

I'm taking a 4 day hiatus after today.  I'll be back on here Sunday afternoon.  It's time for me to chill out.  That's funny considering that the temperature is 90!  haha  My sense of humor even makes me laugh!!!  Hi boys!  I heard that Chad is going to Washington, DC with a friend.  That's pretty neat.  It sounds like a long weekend adventure with his friend and his mom.  You know that teenagers can rarely travel alone.  I think it's illegal.  I still remember the packs of kids that would end up in our house when Andrew and Jarrett were alive.  It never goes away.  I still miss them terribly.  All day, every day. 

There's some sort of weird discussion going on these days about the crosses by the side of the road marking where people died.  It's one of those things that you can't really understand unless it's your loved one(s).  Some people are offended by them.  Isn't that a riot?!  It's like the moment of silence argument.  I can see both sides.  I used to be on the happy, carefree side.  Now, I'm on the sad side.  Bad side to be on.  It's not the winning team.  Unless you consider the fact that Andrew and Jarrett are in heaven (my opinion, not shared by everyone in our family) with Jesus and Grandpa and Uncle Bob.  How can that be bad?  Besides, I got news for ya:  We're all gonna die!  Not morbid, just fact!  Have a nice day, djb

Irene on the day she married my brother, Howard

Monday - June 6, 2005 - It's the one year anniversary of my broken left foot!  That was a 100% nightmare.  I was supposed to sit with my foot elevated for a month.  Of course, I didn't.  At the end of the month, I took that stupid boot off and threw it across the room.  It hurt more to wear it than to not.  Well, God bless my bone - it seems to be fine.  Bob and I walked around the block both Saturday and Sunday mornings.  Didn't see any foxes!  whew.  Hobbes has decided that after his morning walk around the yard, he wants to come back in the house and sleep on the sofa.  Fine with me.  It's SO HARD to keep him in the house.  I have LOTS TO DO, so I'm cutting this short.  Here's a flashback picture - see ya later, djb

My left foot.

Sunday - June 5, 2005 - We had a horrible thunderstorm yesterday afternoon.  While I was mowing the back yard, I kept an eagle-eye on the western sky.  After a while, I decided - better safe than SORRY - to drive the tractor to the shed.  While I was de-tractoring, Bud was walking to the mailbox (probably to get his mail) and as he walked back to his house, he told me that there was a big RED thunderstorm headed this way.  I asked him how soon it would be here.  He said TEN minutes.  Yikes!  Well, I had to let the tractor cool off for at least 5 minutes, so I ran over to the deck, put the umbrella down and started grabbing my plants of their hooks to get them out of harm's way.  Earlier in the day, I had heard that there was a possibility of hail.  Yikes!  So, I dashed around like a crazy woman and got everything situated.  As the first drops of rain started to pelt me, I put the tractor in the shed and closed the door.  Then, I ran into the house and came down here and unplugged the computer.  whew!  The wind was extremely fierce, however, it was fairly fast moving so it didn't last long.  We only got about a 1/3 of an inch of rain - maybe less.  Just enough so I couldn't finish mowing.  This morning, I had to go over to Super Wal-Mart in DeKalb to get pool supplies and I heard a lady ask another person if they had much damage.  SO, just before I started writing this, I went to the Daily Chronicle in DeKalb and read about the damage at the Faivre Farms.  I just went past there on Friday - it's on Perry Road (my favorite road).  Go and read about it.  Amazing damage.  Plus, the traffic lights were out on 38 in Maple Park.  A house down the road on 38 which lost part of a tree last year in the microburst, lost the rest of it in yesterday's storm.  Yikes!  There's a definite tropical feel to the air.  I LOVE it!!!!  Bob just left to go over to Chana to put some flowers on his dad's grave.  I had a pot of beautiful silk purple irises, plus a flag, and then I also gave him two little boy angels that I had in a flower pot last year.  Patrick gave me two new ones for Mother's Day, so I still have two little angels.  How sweet.  That's enough chit chat for now, I have to go out and check on the pool situation.  Once we get it filled, we're going to vacuum to waste and get the scum out of the bottom.  It's so exciting.  The raccoons think that my Andrew and Jarrett pond is their own personal drinking fountain.  Gotta love those paw prints on the inside top edge of the pond!!  Raccoons, foxes, coyotes, deer, etc.  We must be in the country!!!  bye, djb

Andrew and Jarrett's pond as of yesterday (June 4)

Orange-red poppy - not quite open yet

The orange and pink poppies living in harmony in our front yard 

Saturday - June 4, 2005 - It's a gorgeous morning.  Supposed to get up to 82 today.  woo hoo!  Don't know if it'll rain or not.  Of course, the farmers need the rain, but I don't.  The folks in the Florida said that they needed rain a little while back.  Now, it's been raining day and night for the past week or so.  Lots and lots of rain.  The tourists always have a hard time driving in the rain in Florida because it comes down so hard and fast.  I still remember the time I was coming into Orlando after work on I-4 and there was a 12 car bumper to bumper accident - in the RAIN, of course.  It was a sight to see.  Speaking of sights to see, I now have nails and toes that are painted.  It's so much fun.  Krissy did an awesome job with that plus the haircut and the facial.  mercy!  It was a hoot to be there all day.  After 3 hours, they give your car a ticket, so after I had my feet prepared for their painting, I had to go out in floppy flip flops and drive my car around the block.  That was pretty funny.  Either that, or get a $20 ticket.  That's the silliest thing I've heard in a long time.  As you get closer to Rock Falls and Sterling, you start to see signs for the birthplace of Ronald Reagan.  That's quite interesting.  Plus, Dixon (Lee County seat) has petunias all over the place and other Reagan-related activities.  Quite patriotic.  It was fun to drive somewhere that I've never personally driven before.  As I was driving down the interstate to get over there in the morning, I remember thinking, "Americana panorama."  It's so vast and flat out there in the heartland of America until you get near a river, then the hills start to roll more and the single trees become forests.  It's simply quite lovely.  Today, we're going to work on the swimming pool and then go to another graduation party.  So, here's a picture I came across that reminds me of summers long ago.  Boys having fun in the pool.  See ya later, djb

Andrew sliding down the slide, Chad and Jarrett doing something else in the pool in the summer a few years ago.

Friday - June 3, 2005 - This is Hobbes.  I'm in charge today because my sidekick, Donna Jean, has gone to Sterling (that's not silver) to see Krissy at the beauty school (and boy, does she ever need some help!!).  She's going to get her paws sharpened, I think.  Plus, there's something about hair or maybe it was hairballs.  I can't remember.  All I want to do is go outside and fight with the fox!!!  After all, I did win the last round. meow, Hobbes

Me.  Aren't I handsome?

Me with Jarrett.  He wouldn't share his scrambled eggs with me!  The nerve.

Here's Jarrett holding me.  All I wanted to do was get away and chase a squirrel!

Jarrett's got that goofy bow on.  Hey wait!  There's a goofy bow on me, too.  Andrew must've put it on me.

I always wanted to "get" that ferret! 

Thursday - June 2, 2005 - Today is Sharon Berg and Mike Asay's birthdays.  They were born the same year I was.  I wonder WHERE Michael is these days.  He and Sandy (and Garrett) were living in Tokyo,  London and then Paris.  The last time I saw him, I knew I'd never see him again.  He was a great boss.  Well, happy birthday to them guys!  This morning, my latest iris came out.  It's so different from the others - very girly-looking.  As I recall, it was planted last fall.  That's pretty amazing that it bloomed the first year.  hmmm.  Well, I must be going now.  I have a LOT to do and miles to walk before I sleep (and I think the grass needs to be mowed!). bye, djb

Peachy iris - very lovely  

June 1, 2005 - Yikes!  Another anniversary!  Jake and Gayla also got married June 1st in Maui two years ago!  Oh boy!  That's where Bob and I got married in 1985.  Okay, so here's a picture of the kids with Zoe on the beach in Hawaii.  It took me a while to find this picture. I have some other pictures, but of course, I can't find them.  They're in a SAFE place!!   later, djb

Gayla, Zoe and Jake Deaver - June 1, 2003 - Just Maui'd - pretty cute

Important Alert! (June 1st) - Today is the FIRST DAY of hurricane season!  If you live in Florida (or in another hurricane state) are you prepared?  Have you battened your hatches yet?  Oh yeah, you don't do that until right before it hits!  Yikes!  Good luck to ya'll and I sincerely hope that you don't get ANY hurricanes this year.  Last year was enough to last a lifetime.  Okie dokie, since you asked, here's a picture from hurricane season 2004.  see ya later, djb

I think this was taken somewhere around where Ted and Vada live.  It's not Disney World!!

later - (6/1) - I'm VERY busy planting things.  Yikes!!  I know I have a mental illness called plantitis (not to be confused with plantar fasciitis).  It's an inability to stop buying plants.  Don't tell Bob (although I think he suspects something).  Granny sent me these two pictures of Alan and Veralee's wedding.  Somewhere I have the picture of the whole wedding party.  There's one place I can check, if it's not there.  Who knows??  Gotta go.  Hobbes is outside sleeping on the deck.  You know what they say about letting sleeping cats lie.  hmmm  bye for now, djb

Alan and Veralee - June 1, 1968

Alan (just back from Vietnam) and Veralee (just back from Creston) cutting their cake.

Wednesday - June 1, 2005 - Today is Alan and Veralee's wedding anniversary. Okay, give me a minute and I'll tell you how many years they've been married.  2005 minus 1968 = 37 - Yeah, that's right.  Congratulations to them both!!!  I was in their wedding.  Let's see if I can find the picture.  hmmm  I'll have to look for it, but I do have them with the grandparents, so I'll put that in.  Also, to my horror, I realized that I forgot Zoe's birthday.  (Hint:  I have to be reminded because I can't remember much of anything anymore!!!)  Maybe I should write the birthdays on my calendar.  Darn.  That's a good idea!  Anyway, I'll take care of that.  Plus, Irene's birthday is coming up, too.  I think it's June 8th.  I'll have to check.  Oh, there goes the school bus.  Last day of school for the kiddies.  Now, the FUN begins. 

Last night, Bob and I couldn't get Hobbes to come in the house after it got dark.  We kept trying, but he wasn't interested.  About 9:40, I heard the most horrendous, horrible, awful, hideous, guttural sound I've ever heard, and it was loud!.  IT WAS THE FOX.  Holy moley guacamole!!!  I yelled at Bob to come to the door and listen.  Yikes!  He grabbed the flashlight and told me to turn on the big overhead lights that light up our entire yard.  I did that asap.  He opened the garage door and all of sudden, the red fox ran one way - into the front yard and Hobbes ran the other way - onto the deck.  Whew.  He said that it was about 20 feet from him.  His foxy tail was longer than his foxy body!!  WOW.  It was unbelievable.  Then, we spent the next 45 minutes trying to get Hobbes, a/k/a Fox Bait, to come into the house.  He would have none of it.  It was as if some kind of basic animal adrenaline or instinct kicked in and he wanted nothing to do with humans - he was after a fight with the fox!  Yikes!  Finally, we gave up and went to bed.  Then, when Bob couldn't sleep, he got up and finally the big orange dummy came in the house about midnight.  I told the boys to watch over him when I went to bed, and I guess they did.  Thanks, guys!  Bob said that it seems to him that when it starts to get dark outside, Hobbes turns into a feral creature....more wild than domestic.  We have to get him in the house way before the sun sets.

Yes, I did go into Menard's and get a new pump.  Of course, nothing is ever easy, is it?  The pump alone cost about $3 more than the entire butterfly garden kit that I got last year - pump included.  Plus, a nice butterfly house.  So, I had to get the kit, of course.  Now, we have a cover for the pond in the fall.  It got SO dirty last year, that it was completely disgusting.  Bob cleaned it out and I'm glad he did because it smelled so bad.  gag time!!  Anyway, to make a yakkity story even longer, I got the pump to work.  And I got some water plants to put in the pond.  Of course, the critters had to knock one of them over into the water.  It's like a wildlife zoo out there in our yard at night!!!  I'll have to figure out something to anchor them better.  Plus, we got the cover off the pool last night.  The water is clear but it's got stuff in it that needs to be removed!  They're saying it's going to be 87 degrees by the weekend.  That's just wonderful!!  I love the warm and so do my flowers.

It's time to go.  I'm going to go into town so I'll take a picture of the boys stone.  The best time for picture taking is in the morning.  All right.  Let me find that picture of Alan and Veralee's wedding.  Take care, ya'll.  See ya later, djb

Left to right:  Grandma Georgie, Grandma Ocker, Grandpa Ocker, Veralee, Alan, Grandma O'Malley, Grandpa O'Malley, Grandma Berg, Grandpa Berg - June 1, 1968