Taking the Scenic Route

Joy in hospital

31st December 2004

Joy in hospital

My SIL, Joy, is in the hospital with a systemic blood infection of some kind.  I am not clear how serious (or what it is), but I assume it isn’t good since she is in the hospital, especially considering her underlying heart condition.  Prayers would be welcome.


She has gram positive cocci and will be on some strong antibiotics for the next few days, but they beleive they got it before it became staph.  She is an outpatient right now, but goes in daily for antibiotic IVs.  The suckiest part is that the phlebotomist on call for the next few days isn’t comfortable doing pic (sp?) lines, so she has to get a new IV every time she goes in.  She is very, very hard to hit due to the long history of IVs and HATES getting new holes poked into her.  So, current prayer request is that they hit her on the first try each day so she doesn’t have to go through that agony.

So, the news wasn’t spectacular, but definatly better than we were initially thinking.

***UPDATE FROM MY MOM****  (for those who don’t read the comments)

I talked to Steve a couple of times this evening. She will be going in every few hours for the weekend. Then they will take more tests on Mon to see how the antibiotic is doing.

She will be coming to our house tomorrow (Sat) because Steve will be going to a college basketball game. His former coach, Guiot, is the coach, and he doesn’t have very many games in Ks. Steve has been planning this trip for months. Joy INSISTED that he go. Thats how comfortable they are with what is going on. She didn’t want to be alone, and she’s comfortable being here, so I’ll take her to the hospital for her treatments several times tomorrow, and maybe Sun, depending on when Steve gets home.

So thats a bit more of an update for you. The IV is still a big concern. I’ve been there quite a few times when they have had terrible trouble hitting a vein, and it’s terribly hard to see her having that done so many times. Steve said tonight that the person who did the IV today did it so that the vein could be used several times, similar to how a drug addict uses the same vein numerous times. So things are looking a bit better now. At least we have a NAME to a couple of her problems. That in itself helps to some extent. Thanks to everyone for your continued prayers. That helps.

Jennifer’s mom

Posted 12/31/2004 at 11:15 pm
****UPDATE FROM MOM AGAIN****   (from the comments)
We just got back from another session of IV antibiotics. This one went quite good. The vein worked for another session. The nurse was very very happy about that. We/she has another round tonight about midnight. Keep praying for the vein to hold. She actually is keeping some liquid down. Thats good news too. Thanks, gals!
Posted 1/1/2005 at 5:37 PM

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29th December 2004

Wednesday December 29, 2004

My funny little one.  It was warm enough today that we took the trike out for a bit to let him ride.  He took off and promptly bumped into the wall.  We thought he was just having problems steering.  We took it back away from the wall and he did it again, this time with a “crashing” sound effect.   

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29th December 2004

Wednesday December 29, 2004

For those wanting to help the earthquake victims, Mennonite Central Committe already has workers in place and has begun relief efforts.  They can use any donations at the link above. 

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29th December 2004

Wednesday December 29, 2004

Ok, I have had several requests for this, so I worked on making a pattern for it.  The original hat was knit freestyle, but the pattern should be close.  If you have problems with the pattern, please let me know and I will do what I can to help.  The decreasing is the part I had the toughest time trying to figure out what I did, so if you have a way you prefer to do the decreases at the top of the hat, go for it.  When you get down to 6 stitches(Row 98), pick the pattern back up at that point to make the goofy top.

Zane’s “Dr. Seuss” Earflap Hat

Zane’s “Dr Seuss” Earflap Hat Pattern

Gauge:  in garter stitch:  18 stitches/4″,  19 ridges/ 38 stitchs/ 4″

used wool from Fabric connection, probably on a #7 circular.  (might have been an 8, but I think it was 7)

cast on 3.  The tail that is left can be incorparated into the braid when you finish the hat.
~~ work in garter stitch, using circular needles as if straight needles.  You can work both earflaps on the same set of needles from different balls of yarn if you want to make it all come together at the same time.  You are starting at the tip of the earflap and going up the hat~~
Row 1:  k3
Row 2:  k1, m1 (make 1/increase 1), k1, m1, k1
Row 3:  k5
Row 4:  k1, m1, k3, m1, k1
Row 5:  k7
Row 6:  k1, m1, k5, m1, k1
Row 7:  k9
Row 8:  k1, m1, k7, m1, k1
Row 9:  k11
Row 10: k1, m1, k9, m1, k1
Row 11: k13
Row 12: k1, m1, k11, m1, k1
Row 13: k15
Row 14: k1, m1, k13, m1, k1
Row 15: k17
Row 16: k1, m1, k15, m1, k1
Row 17: k19
Row 18: k1, m1, k17, m1, k1
Row 19: knit 21
Row 20: k1, m1, k19, m1, k1
Row 21: k23
Row 22: k1, m1, k21, m1, k1
Row 23: k25
Row 24: k1, m1, k23, m1, k1
Row 25: k27
Row 26: k1, m1, k25, m1, k1
Row 27: k29
Row 28: k1, m1, k28
Row 29: k30
Row 30: k1, m1, k29
Row 29: k31
Row 30: k1, m1, k30

~~If you haven’t made the second earflap, scoot the current earflap over on your needles and make the second one now.  Look at the two earflaps.  You want the sides you kept increasing on to butt up next to eachother and form a mirror image.  If that isn’t the case, remove one earflap by slipping the stitches off on to a double pointed needle, turning it around so it looks right, and slipping back on to the needle.  Remember – the two sides that kept increasing are the sides you want next to eachother. (the sides you stopped increasing on go on the face side and you will eventually cast on to make the section for the forehead between these two sides)~~

~continue in Garter Stitch~
Row 31:  this is where you join the two pieces to form the back of the hat. knit across the first earflap, when you come to the end, instead of turning it around to knit the other direction like you have been doing, just pick up the first stitch available on the other earflap and create one large earflap.  This will leave a tail on the second end. Break the unused yarn and either knit it into the hat as you make the next pass or weave it in at the end. k entire row
Row 32:  k64
Row 33:  k15, k2tog, k30, k2tog, k15
Row 34:  k62
Row 35:  k15, k2tog, k28, k2tog, k15
Row 36:  k60
~~Row 36 is where you begin to make use of your circular needles.  You will cast on the front and prepare for knitting in the round~~
Row 37:  k14, k2tog, k28, k2tog, k14, co18(I use a cable cast on)
~~Stitch count after Row 38 is 76 stitches. Get a stitch marker to place after you have made the join so you know the end of the row~~
Row 38:  p76, join circle
Row 39:  k76, put in stitch marker
Row 40:  p76
Row 41:  k76
Row 42:  p76
Row 43:  k76
Row 44:  p76
~~knit in stockinette from this point until the end.  As it starts decreasing and pulls too much on circulars, change to double pointed needles.  At this point you have the earflaps completed and if you have a favorite hat pattern and want to knit that instead, just start the pattern a few rows up.~~
Row 45 – 60:  k76
Row 61:  k8, k2tog, k17, k2tog, k17, k2tog, k17, k2tog, k9
Row 62 – 68:  k72
Row 69:  k2tog, k16, k2tog, k16, k2tog, k16, k2tog, k16
Row 70 – 75:  k68
Row 76:  k7, k2tog, k15, k2tog, k15, k2tog, k15, k2tog, k8
Row 77 – 82:  k64
Row 83:  k1, k2tog, k8, k2tog, k7, k2tog, k7, k2tog, k7, k2tog, k7, k2 tog, k7, k2tog, k6
Row 84 – 86:  k57
Row 87:  k2tog, k4, k2tog, k3, k2tog, k3, k2tog, k3, k2tog, k3, k2tog, k4, k2tog, k3, k2tog, k3, k2tog, k3, k2tog, k3, k2tog, k3
Row 88 – 89: k46
Row 90:  k2, k2tog, k2, k2tog, k2, k2tog, k3, k2tog, k2, k2tog, k2, k2tog, k2, k2tog, k2, k2tog, k3, k2tog, k2, k2tog, k2, k2tog
Row 91 – 92:  k35
Row 93:  k2tog, k2, k2tog, k1, k2tog, k1, k2tog, k1, k2og, k1, k2tog, k1, k2tog, k2, k2tog, k1, k2tog, k1, k2tog, k1, k2tog, k1
Row 94:  k24
Row 95:  k2tog all the way around
Row 96:  k12
Row 97:  k2 together all the way around
Row 98 – 101:  knit 6
Row 102: k4, k2tog
Row 103 – 106:  k5
Row 107:  k3, k2tog
~~put all the stitches on one needle and knit as i-cord~~
Row 108 – 110:  k4
Row 111:  k2, k2tog
Row 112 – 115:  k3
bind off.

make a pom pom and attach to end of I-cord.
to make ties:  for each side, put 6 equal length peices of yarn on a tapestry needle and pull through the bottom row of earflap tip until both ends are the same length (making, in essense, 12 pieces of yarn).  Divide the yarn into 3 groups, taking equally from in front and behind the flap and braid the strands.

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29th December 2004

Wednesday December 29, 2004

Major Frustration:  My computer.    It has gotten increasingly buggy over the last 2 months.  Almost nothing opens without crashing any more and my mouse will stop working (problem with the drivers, not the mouse).  Zach is working on it now.  For the last week or so I have had to work from dh’s computer most of the time because mine is making me want to throw it across the room.  It is a fairly old computer, as computers go, and still runs on Windows 98. 

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28th December 2004

Tuesday December 28, 2004

Our Baby Turned 3!

How did that happen?  Time is going entirely too fast for me.  I can not believe it has been 3 years since I held a tiny newborn.  We had a fun birthday with him yesterday.  Again, we had a house full of people.  Grandma was still recovering from Christmas and Joy wasn’t feeling well, so those three didn’t make it this time, but Mom & Dad, Robert & Dori and their three made it.  For the first time all the boys played together with no fights.  They all seemed to have a great time playing with the trains.  We picked up 3 pizzas from Papa Murphys and I decorated a cake for him.  I did learn why you don’t decorate with Cream Cheese frosting, lol.  It was pouring out of the decorator and made it a little insane trying to decorate.

Alex, Cody & Zane enjoy their pizza

The food

The crowd

The cake

Zane ready to blow out the candle

Proud of himself

Mmmmmm, sugar

Zane was enchanted with Eilysh

Time for presents!  Notice the red present…Alex was really proud of himself because he wrapped it all by himself. (A “Finding Nemo” Video)

Veggie Tales!  He got a matching video and playset from Grandpa & Grandma Z.  We all enjoy Veggie Tales around here.

We got him some add-ons for his GeoTrax Train system.  (Yes, I know, he now has two train systems, but we were not anticipating to be able to afford the Thomas stuff)  We got him the two main elevation packs (the ramps and flats) and the clock tower.

He has been playing with his GeoTrax train for quite a while without batteries.  He was amazed and delighted with the idea that it could go around the track without him pushing it.  He giggled like crazy when it would get stuck and make this funny little shaking, or when it flew down the hills.

As the boys were getting ready to leave, Zach took the Hummer out to show Dad & Robert and the boys how fast the thing was.  Zane was not impressed.  He does not like it when th thing moves and went after it and pulled it back into the house and to his room.  He was fairly overwhelmed at the time and his little body is not use to sugars or dyes, so I am sure that was not helping his mood.  He crashed into a deep sleep after the boys left.  He was so asleep that even a kiss and hug from Grandma didn’t cause even a stir. (Now that is asleep!)   He napped for about an hour and a half and then woke up to play with trains and some of the cars from Christmas Day. 

Mom & Dad got us a plaster handprint molding kit, so I am going to try and do that this week.  Maybe New Years day, that would be sort of cool.

Three years old.  WOW!

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28th December 2004

Christmas Day 2004


Christmas Day

What a beautiful Christmas Day!  It was cold outside, but our home was warm and happy.  Upon waking in the morning, we cheerfully exclaimed “It’s Christmas” to Zane, despite our serious lack of sleep.  He looked more puzzled than excited.  We took him into the living room and showed him the tree and his full stocking and he maintained his “I’m not totally awake yet” gaze for a while, so we unhooked the stocking and showed him there were goodies inside.  As he began pulling out the contents, he started waking up and becoming more and more excited.  It took a while because he took the time to explore each item as he removed it from the stocking.  What he found was a collection of Little People “Noah’s Ark” collection of animals (we don’t have a Noah’s Ark yet, but hope to get one this spring), some Crayola “first write” pencils (large barrel pencils that are easier for little hands), some Crayola twistable, erasable crayons, and a “Count to 20″ Dot-to-Dot book. 

The Christmas Stocking

After the stocking was explored, Zach & I got to work.  We had so many little bits to get done for the dinner, even though we had done the bulk of them the night before. 

The food:  (Not the conventional Christmas dinner this year.  Everybody wanted their favorite comfort foods, so we just did that instead of the traditional thing)  Zach’s Six cheese crabmeat lasagna (picture on left; gooey, cheesy, and much requested specialty), Potato Knepp (German-Mennonite dish – potatoes, thick noodles, bacon, cream), and Chicken Noodle Soup (home made - the stock was made Christmas Eve Day with lots of fresh veggies & herbs and a hormone free chicken) as the main courses.  Rolls, green beans with bacon, raw carrots & broccoli, baby dill pickles, and other assorted little things for the table.  (I had also made homemade cherry pie filling and crust, but never got to compiling the dessert in the morning and nobody was even remotely hungry for pie after all the food, candy, and home made fudge, so I still have the unfinished pie makings in my fridge right now) 

Everybody started arriving around noon.  My maternal grandma was well enough to make it (although she did have to lay down in the afternoon for a while), my folks, and Steve, my brother and his wife Joy.  Joy had also been ill, so we were glad she was able to make it.  We ended up setting the table up in the living room since we didn’t have enough chairs for everybody and used the couch as some of the chairs.   As Zach and I were finishing up the meal in the kitchen, Zane was getting hungry and entertaining everyone with his antics.  He would go to the couch and get a fork or spoon, use it to scoop something out of a dish (like a pickle), balance it on the utensil and crawl under the table carefully balancing his treasure, and then coming back up the other side to place it on his plate. 

After dinner, we cleared the table and moved it back to it’s normal place, filling it with nuts, nutcracker, raw veggies, pickles, candy & home made fudge for people to snack on.  Then we got to the presents.  It was so much fun this year because we were able to get things for Zane with our own money for the first time.  We have been getting things here and there ever since Zach’s first paycheck.  We knew we did a great job of picking things because after opening each gift, Zane could not be distracted from playing with the object for a while to open the next present.  Mom & Dad got him a selection of hand made simple wooden trucks and cars they found at a farm auction, then he started opening the Thomas the tank engine engines we got him (Gordon, Percy, James, Salty, a milk tanker, & Toby the Tram).  He then got to the Fisher Price Castle accessory set (with a tree house looking thing and a dragon in a little cave), and the Petting Zoo accessory set (with a Zebra and some other animal with 4 pieces of fence).  Zane also got this great Melissa & Doug (oh, I just love their stuff) chalkboard/magnetic board/whiteboard with magnetic alphabet & numbers.  It was a good fit for Zane!  Joy got Zane a gigantic, yellow, remote controlled HumVee.  Joy was really excited to get it for him since it is her dream vehicle.  I am not sure if Zane will be able to work the controls for a while though…it is a pretty complicated thing.  The thing even has headlights, back up lights, and little side mirrors. 

The wooden vehicles from my folks


Some of the Thomas the Tank Engine vehicles


Mazes, Coloring Book & Dora book


Steve & Joy setting up the figure 8 track – much harder than it would appear.  (you can see the Hummer from Joy in the background)

Close up from above photo that gave me a big smile.  Steve examining a “hot wheels” car we got Zane.  That was always his favorite repeat gift over the years.  The look on his face was just priceless.

I was able to finish only Steve & Joy’s scarves.  I had started both Dad’s hat and Grandma’s scarf, but hadn’t gotten finished yet, so I still have some work to get done fairly soon.  I overestimated the speed at which I could knit this Christmas.  Mom gave me her traditional gift, calendars.  I got a “Mr Rogers” calendar I just love, and Zach got the “Dilbert” calendar.  Zach’s dad also got us “The Power of a Praying Parent” book that I am looking forward to reading (as soon as I finish my knitting, lol)  We also got some “folding” presents which helped a great deal with some things we were really wanting for Zane…specifically, some storage shelves for him since his room was a mish-mash of containers for his stuff lined up along the walls.  It seems like there was something else too, but I am forgetting just now. 

Ok ***drum roll please*** now for the really big gift for Zane, the one we knew he was going to go nuts over.  Mom and Dad got him a Thomas-compatible octagon train table from Sams.  He got pretty excited just seeing the box!  The words “some assembly required” simply didn’t describe the product well.  We opened the box to find probably HUNDREDS of peices.  It was a good thing that there was a Mechanical Engineer (Steve),  an engineer mind if not the title (Dad) and a Scientist (Zach) in the bunch.  lol.  It was a group effort to put the thing together.  At one point, when Steve and Dad were analyzing the wisdom of some of the instructions, they decided it would have better structural integrity if done slightly differently than the instructions.  We all had a good laugh when Steve declared ”I know the people who write instructions like this…trust me, they don’t always know the best way to do things.”

The table was much larger than we anticipated.  (major understatement there)  Zane studied everything they guys did and even helped a bit as they assembled it.  He also had a ball crawling through the holes and walking over the rails as the table was being assembled.  Once the table was together, Joy, Steve and I helped Zane get the rails set up.  It took up our entire living room with barely enough room for the adults to walk around it.  The thing was HUGE!  lol.  Zane was beside himself with excitement.  He is a pretty good natured kid for the most part, but he was absolutely giddy.  The engine that came with the table is a battery powered engine and Zane really got a kick out of watching it go around the track. 

The box illicits much excitement

Helping to build the table

In an oft repeat phrase in our family: “It sure didn’t look that big at Sams!”

Aunt Joy helps set up the tracks

Zane and his trains


Zane and Great Grandma (my maternal grandma)


After my family had left, Zach’s Dad called and the phone was passed around at that family celebration, so Zach got to talk to a lot of his family from down there.  It sounded like everyone was doing really well.  Among other news, Kirsten is pregnant.  I think Zach said she will be due in July.

Playing with the letters from the M&D board while Zach was talking to his Dad’s family.


Later that evening we were releived to get a call back from Yvonne.  Kaz had called earlier in the day stressed out because they had taken Grandma to the hospital.  Grandma has NEVER taken any pain meds in her life (including OTC meds like tylenol) and hadn’t even taken an antibiotic until 2 years ago.  She NEVER complains about anything.  I imagine it took some doing to convince her to go.  She has been having hip problems for a while now, but a fender bender last week really aggrivated it and she was in enourmous pain.  They were able to get some pain relievers perscribed to her and she went home for the night.  Yvonne (and maybe others, don’t know) left some time after the meds had kicked in.  She is doing much better now…such a releif.

We got Zane’s table moved to his room later in the evening.  It was causing major traffic issues in the living room. It is just HUGE!  lol.   He was absorbed in his playing most of the evening.  I am not sure we will ever be able to get a gift that so thourally delights him again.  I hope so, but finding something that perfect is rare.

The HumVee batteries finally charged up and Zach tried it out.  It almost plowed over our Christmas tree and was able to climb the crib mattress (we had to remove the “diaper storage” crib to make room for the trains and it was laying in our living room) and that was on low speed.  The thing was far too fast for our little apartment.  It completely freaked out Zane, who clammered up my lap, and was shaking while he nervously and half heartetly laughed.  Once it stopped moving he was ok with it again, and pushed it around like a giant tonka truck or something, but I don’t think we will be playing with it much until we go out to the farm and a 10 mph vehicle has some room to move.

The evening, as a whole, was much like Christmas Eve, except with trains and sitting down instead of making food.  We found some Sacred Christmas Music programs and had that playing as we went around our day.  One of my favorites this year was a handbell chorus done by a group that has the largest collection in the world. (Raleigh Ringers maybe?…not sure of the name)  We also found some combined choral and orchestral music that was just beautiful.  Made for a comforting backdrop for the evening.

It was such a wonderful day, filled with family and one very happy child.  It was relaxed, laid back, and fun. 

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28th December 2004

Tuesday December 28, 2004

Christmas Cookies

 Pressing the Christmas Tree shapes into the dough


Wait a minute, that is sugar, not flour.  YUMMMY!


Carefully carrying the cut out cookie to the pan


Putting the cookie on the pan

(notice the cookie mid-air on it’s way to the tray)


In charge of the sprinkles


Sprinkle love


Finished cookies




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27th December 2004

Scarf knitting

eta:  for those going “where did this come from?…I accidently posted it as “private” instead of “public”

The knitting I haven’t been able to post until now.

This isn’t everything…I forgot to photograph two of the scarves…Joy (was made with the Caron Cozi in “Blue Jeans”) & Steve’s (was the same Bohemian yarn as the one pictured, but a slightly narrower/longer scarf since he is so tall).  On the needles currently is a scarf for my maternal grandma with some of the most infuriating yarn I have ever encountered (cha-cha), and a hat with earflaps for Dad out of the Paton’s Bohemian (on the needles currently). I will be making scarves for my Mom, Zach, and Aunt Pauline as soon as those are done.  Oh, yeah, and a Rasta Hat for Kaz someplace in there too…need to order some specially dyed yarn for that.  Mom is also wanting a vest, and I am wanting to make Zane an Easter sweater vest, then a whole bunch of cotton summer knitting for all of Zane’s cousins & Gabe (Jesse & Kaz’s son)…that is about 5 things…3 boys, 2 girls, and then another for Zane of whatever I make.  I don’t even know what I am going to do yet, but I want to make them all something small at least.  Ok..well that should take me to next Christmas knitting. lol. Somehow the idea of matching sweaters for Zach, Zane and I for next Christmas is looking a little far reaching when I read all that out.

Anyway, here are the photos.

First two scarves (description following)

Paton’s Bohemian “Beatnik Blues” in Garter stitch (on left of above photo)
This is a beautiful yarn and perfect for a lot of guys in my life.  It has tan, dark burgandy brown, medium brown, and a light blue that matches the eyes of a number of the people I am making scarves for.  It is great because it would match about any jacket in the tan-brown-black or blue coloring…the majority of men’s jackets.  It is wonderfully thick and soft and warm too.  I wish it came in more colors because I would use it even more, expecially because it knits up pretty quick.    Maybe they will expand their line.  It is even washable.  yeah!

Caron Cozi “Meadow” in Garter stitch (on right of above photo)
I really like this yarn…very soft and great colors.  Joy’s scarf was like this except denim blue.  The other photo has another scarf in this yarn too.

Second batch

Bernat Galaxy “Venus” in Garter Stitch (on right in above photo)
beautiful yarn, fairly soft & silky, somewhat more challenging to work with, but not as bad as that “cha cha” stuff.

Caron Cozi in “Popourri” in Garter Stitch (on left side of above photo)
the photo doesn’t really do it justice…it is a medium plum purple color with gold & copper highlights.

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22nd December 2004

Wednesday December 22, 2004

Current prayer list:

Heidi, my mom’s close friend’s daughter who was induced earlier this week due to some problems.  I am not sure what the problems are, but there was something wrong with the amniotic fluid  (my guess is not enough, but I don’t really know what other problems their could be).  The ultra sound showed some “white spots” that might indicate a problem with the kidneys.  Her mom drove to her yesterday and my mom hasn’t heard anything since.

Joy, my SIL, who is dealing with a very painful possible infection.  She will be in the hospital to run more tests.  She has heart problems and the pain might have to do with her scar tissue, or a complication from having her chest cracked open so many times.  Anyway, she is in pain and feels horrible. 

My mom, who has set aside everything to work in the store while Joy is so ill during the busiest week of the year.  She is flat out exhausted and worried about Joy.

My dear mentor, Arnie.  He was dx with Cancer.  From what I gather he is not being treated.  I am guessing that is due to his age and the fact that treatment would probably diminish the quality of his life, even if it did increase the quantitiy.  The drs have been rather baffled by his ‘numbers’  (something to do with white blood cells) are not acting like they expected.  He is either improving or simply not getting worse at the rate expected.  He attributes it to the power of prayer, and I think he is right.  He is a truly amazing guy.  I choose him to be my mentor when I began catechism (pre-baptism classes) as a teen and he has been like another grandparent to me.  He and his wife have spent the fall and winter shut in, only getting out to go to drs. appointments since one or both of them has been ill for months.  (colds and such). 

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