I had the misfortune to go and see the local footy team playing in a local derby last night. It ended Hull City 1 Leeds United 2. Both teams were rubbish, the officials were apalling (for both teams) and I was sat next to an idiot who insisted on talking to me throughout the game using only grunts and swear words. Not only was he verbally obnoxious, but not once did he offer me one of his m & m's, f****** greedy b******.

It's harder than I thought it would be

I have a wonderful photo of Leroy and Elizabeth -- the one I posted on the 18th. I told E that I have it and I promised to send it to her.

But I can't. It's so hard to make myself fine-tune the photo for printing, to put the photo paper in the printer, to print it, to frame it, to send it. Because if I do those things, then my brother must really be dead. And how can that be?

Once again, I find myself asking, "How can this amazing wonderful man -- whom I loved my whole life long -- be dead?" It just makes no sense to me; it can't possibly be true. It didn't make sense when Nick died; it makes no sense now.

Once again, I find myself in that mindless stupor, wandering around the house not quite sure what it is I am supposed to do next. I hate that! I felt like I was finally getting a grip on "things," and now it's all slipping through my fingers again.


And I have to say that I dread my trip to Arizona. It's going to be so hard to see Jane in her current condition. The doctors are pleased with her recovery, but Mother says she's in a lot of pain and looks dreadful. Everyone is eager for my arrival: Mother and Pierre (Jane's husband) desperately need me to relieve them of some of the caretaking they've been doing, even at the hospital. I suspect that Mother will simply collapse when I arrive. She's been pushing through "all this" by sheer force of will. My arrival will allow her to let her guard down a bit. It's not going to be a fun trip at all -- no side jaunts through the desert, no picking up another fabulous piece of Southwestern art. It's going to be physically and emotionally exhausting.

Of course, I have so much energy to spare...

What's the point

A burglar alarm went off locally this morning at 4am and was still going at 7am, so no sleep for the neigbourhood. The whole purpose of Burglar alarms are to protect your home by deterring burglars. Why is it all they seem to do is annoy everyone else, and now that you can get a DVD player from ASDA for under a tenner is there any point in burglary anymore? Maybe there's a new currency in certain pubs across the city, " I'll have a pint please barman" "certainly mate That'll be a DVD player"

I'm here

... and I'm humbled and amazed that you are, too.

The little site meter in the margin keeps ticking upwards, which is one thing. But when I go to the admin page for the site meter, it tells me that so many of you have been coming back again and again over the last several days. And that's another thing altogether. I know that you are checking on me, worrying about me, praying for me.

And your faithfulness means more to me than I can say.

Before all hell broke loose, I had lots of things I wanted to post about ... one year of blogging, two years of posting on the widow board, 13000 hits to my blog, several fun memes I've found here and there, the meaning of the word meme, lots of pictures from Christmas, the evolution of my expectations of and experiences at widow gatherings, etc etc etc. Maybe some other time, some other life.

Yet even though all hell broke loose, I am still here. And so are you ... astonishing (said in my best Spock voice).

I'm ready to write about my brother's funeral -- and about him. I can describe it in fine detail, but it will take time to actually write about it.

Also, I am glad (can you spell understatment?) to report that my sister is doing well. She actually called me from the ICU last night. I was amazed to hear her voice. It was both wonderful and terrible at the same time (more on that later). The big great wonderful news is that the pathology report came back clean: No cancer in the lymph system. She may have a few doses of preventive chemo, but nothing intense. What surprised me most was the tone in her voice of hushed awe when she acknowledged that miracles have transpired, that prayers have surrounded her. Again, more on that later.

I'm flying out to Arizona on Friday the 2nd. I suspect it's going to be a tough time ... Jane out of the hospital, Mother with her two girls, the three of us mourning Lawrence.

There's so much to say, and it will spill out here by drips and drabs; I won't be putting anything about my brother and sister on the widow board, because I don't think it belongs there. Actually, I don't know when I'll go back to the board. I'm reading all the time, keeping track of my friends; but I feel like I have nothing to say right now.

Except that I am still here, and I am so grateful that you are too.

What is it?

I found this in my shed this morning, on the workbench, It wasn't there the other day. I have some thoughts on what it might be, what do you think it is?

Soundtrack To My Life

I nicked this meme from M (see Links), I think it's self explanatory.

Opening Credits: Radio- Rancid
Waking Up: Alright- Supergrass
First Day of School: I Can Do It- The Rubettes
Falling in Love: Waves- Blancmange
Getting it on: Song For Lovers- Pete Doherty
Fight Song: Oi Oi Oi- The Cockney Rejects
Breaking Up: Pure- The Lightning Seeds
Prom: Dizzy- Vic Reeves & The Wonder Stuff
Life: Roll With It- Oasis
Mental Breakdown: I’ve Bin Stone Before- Gong
Driving: Union City Blue- Blondie
Flashback: You Wear It Well- Rod Stewart
Birth of Child: Happy Birthday- Altered Images
Final Battle: War- New Model Army
Death Scene: Into The Valley- The Skids
Funeral Song: Yes- David McAlmont & Bernard Butler
Closing Credits: Bye Bye Badman- The Stone Roses

View from work

This is the view from my office window, taken today, you can see the snow has all but gone.


Those of you who live in Hull will know this photo wasn't taken today, because it snowed this morning. This was taken yesterday morning and I liked the way the sun was shining up from behind the building.

Checking in

So many of you have been holding my family in your thoughts and prayers...

My sister's surgery went as well as could be hoped. The surgeons removed the tumor and all of her stomach, but they did not have to touch her esophagus. The preliminary biopsy shows no cancer in her lymph nodes; if a full lab analysis bears this out, she may not have to have chemotherapy. Regardless, Jane has a long recovery in front of her: minimum 10 more days in the hospital, minimum 1 month before food passes through her lips. Thank you for continuing to hold her in the light.

I got back from Idaho at midnight last night. My brother was an adopted member of the Nez Perce Indian tribe and was, in fact, one of their sacred drummers. Lawrence was buried with all the honors the Nez Perce ascribe to their holy men. His funeral was more moving and powerful than I can describe right now; it was not so very different from the rites of my Melkite Greek Catholic tradition.

I don't know when I will blog or post on the widows board again. My heart is worn out, and I just can't do it right now. But when I am ready to write, I will.

My love and thanksgiving to all of you for your support and love and prayers. I need each and every one of you in my life.

Big Boy

Whilst getting 3 year old Harry dressed this morning, he informed me that he had a "monster in his underpants". Like father like son.

This is one of the views from the Scarborough to Filey road. Every time we round the bend and see it we say we should take a photo of it, but there is no where to park. So this is wifeys attempt taken from the car as we sped along at 40 mph. It doesn't do it complete justice but it's not a bad effort.

No words, just pictures

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Christmas 2006

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Miriam, her son Lawrence, his son Shalako, HIS son Kaden

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Leroy and Elizabeth

Okay, a few words just to let you know what's going on.

I fly tonight to Miami, where I will meet my mother as she comes through customs from Chile. Tomorrow we will fly to Idaho together, and Lawrence/Leroy will be buried next to his 3-year-old granddaughter who died in 2002.

Sunday, I fly home to be with my boys. My mother will fly to her home in Tucson, so she can be at my sister's side on Monday, when Jane has her stomach and that FuckingBeastCancer removed.

Thank you for all the love and prayers and support that have enabled me to get through the last 24 hours and that will surely see me through the next several days.

-- Pentha, in humble gratitude

I took this snap of a Turnstone at Scarborough on Sunday. They're called Turnstones because they turn stones over to find food. A lot of birds are named after what they do, Oystercatcher springs to mind, but I'm not sure where the Blue Tit fits in.


My 50-year-old brother just died of a heart attack.

A couple of boaty snaps from Scarborough harbour on Sunday.


I am going to be extremely busy today so there will be no post or blog visiting until at least 6.30pm, and that's being optimistic.

Tall trees rising high
Pointing up into the sky
Green fronds reaching out
I said to wifey "I've done a Haiku to go with this photo cos it's arty".
"poncy more like" she said

When the kids got me up this morning I looked out the window and saw a perfect crescent moon. I went and took a picture of it, but it exploded.

Bon voyage!

I'm off to Florida for a weekend with the widoweds -- including Ron. ::Grin::

Alas, Gulliver didn't arrive in time to join me. Oh well, he'll get a more authentic experience with me here than he would on the beach.

The list, updated

  • Laundry, lots of laundry to wash and fold ... maybe even put away
  • Pack my clothes
  • Pack boys' clothes for the weekend (they're going off to P&B's)
  • Get guest room ready for my BosniaBuddy tonight
  • Pay bills, lots of bills
  • Get cash
  • Take boys for haircuts (Schedule the dang things first!)
  • Grocery shopping
  • Dump photos off camera
  • Recharge camera batteries
  • Take down Christmas decorations? Naaahhhh....
  • Book flight to Arizona for my sister's surgery on Feb 5
  • Find someone to watch boys while I'm in AZ
  • Clean family room
  • Take out trash/recycling
Some things have been scratched off. Here are the add-ons:
  • Vacuum the family room
  • Put hold on mail
  • Put hold on newspaper
  • Fill bird feeders
  • Feed fish

(Are you still lurking?)

So angry I could cry

Nick's brother and his wife live 20 minutes from the boys and me. We were never close while Nick was alive (can you say "oil and water"?), and they really irritated me after his death by suddenly wanting to be part of the boys' lives and assuming an intimacy that didn't exist. "Anything we can do, anything..." I decided I'd give them a chance, and at first, they really were sincere in their efforts.

They live 20 minutes away. My SIL does not work outside the home (she does some interior design consulting). They have no children. Yet they presume to tell me what the boys should wear in church and how they should behave. They presume to tell me that active boys like Rock need structure and discipline.

But are they available when I call them for help? Could they come over last winter when I had a 104-fever and needed someone to take care of the boys so I could be sick? Could they come over on my wedding anniversary so I could have quiet time at the cemetery? Could they take the boys Christmas shopping so they could by a present for mom? Could they come over for 3 hours this Friday afternoon, to meet the boys after school until they go off with friends for the weekend while I'm in Florida? No. They couldn't. It really just isn't convenient.

I am the first to admit that I call them only when I need something. I don't choose to socialize with them. In fact, I'm really annoyed that they've started attending the church that Nick and I made our home for 10 years. I'm the first to admit that the boys don't like them -- but maybe HardPlace and Rock wouldn't object to them so much if they were around more.

I have made one more request for their help. I need someone to stay with the boys so I can go to Arizona when my sister has her surgery. This is not a casual favor -- I know that I'm asking a lot. I need someone to stay with the boys for three nights, to get them to and from school three days.

My BIL and SIL live 20 minutes away. They don't have kids. She doesn't work. They KNOW why I am going to Arizona. Can they help? Is it convenient for them. No.

I'm not surprised. But I am so angry and frustrated and needed to vent. And I am done with them.

Ron lives 800 miles away. He is willing to fly out here and take care of the boys while I'm at my sister's side. Is it any wonder that I love him?

Back to the beginning

This blog has its roots in a to-do list I made in preparation to go to Fort Lauderdale for a weekend with the widoweds. I had so much to do that last day; I posted a list on the widow forum and kept updating it throughout the day, with encouragement from my friends. It was great fun.

I'm heading off to Fort Lauderdale in less than 48 hours, and I have a lot to do...
  • Laundry, lots of laundry to wash and fold ... maybe even put away
  • Pack my clothes
  • Pack boys' clothes for the weekend (they're going off to P&B's)
  • Get guest room ready for my BosniaBuddy tonight
  • Pay bills, lots of bills
  • Get cash
  • Take boys for haircuts (Schedule the dang things first!)
  • Grocery shopping
  • Dump photos off camera
  • Recharge camera batteries
  • Take down Christmas decorations? Naaahhhh....
  • Book flight to Arizona for my sister's surgery on Feb 5
  • Find someone to watch boys while I'm in AZ
  • Clean family room
  • Take out trash/recycling
I'm sure I will add to this list, as steadily as I scratch things off. Wish me luck, and cheer me on!

(Remember, no lurkers allowed!)


Radio ga-ga

I had the misfortune to hear a snippet of Radio Viking this morning. The presenting duo, Sam and Mark where presenting a feature called "Fact of the Day" and Sam came out with the fact that "in the olden days only rich people wore underwear", Mark followed this up with this remarkable insight "you mean poor people didn't wear pants". Tomorrow it will go something like this, Mark "I've got a 3 legged dog", Sam "you mean it's got 1 leg missing". Sadly there will be people in Hull tonight repeating this in the local hostelries adding to the belief that Sam and Mark (and indeed most DJ's in the world) are entertaining.

Todays word of the day:- Vacuous

So I've been busy lately

I haven't posted very much the last week or so. But if I had been posting, here is what I would have said:

Wednesday, January 3

My grief counselor is amazing. I sobbed in her office for an hour, talking about Jane. She really helped me sift through all my emotions. It's so hard, because my sister's illness and the fear of losing her has roused up all the pain surrounding Nick's death. Which really was not so very long ago. The most important thing that I walked out of her office with (aside from having had a safe place to sob and sob and sob) is that Jane and I have something that Nick and I never did: Time. More reflections on that later, I suspect.

Thursday, January 4

The news from Jane is mixed: Another endoscopy reveals that the cancer is likely stage 3, BUT the tumor is apparently contained within a membrane, which should make it "easier" to remove.

Meanwhile, I spent $ getting ready for my big party on Saturday. It's gonna be a great mix of widoweds and people who have been my support this last year.

Friday, January 5

Mmmmm... chili. I spent all day long making 33 pounds of chili, FILLING my big ol' pot. While I was making it, Jane called, which seemed serendipitous, since I use her recipe. We had a wonderful conversation, very real, very honest, just the right mix of laughter and tears.

Saturday, January 6

Epiphany. Twelfth Night. The Visitation of the Magi. Dia de Los Reyes. Theophany. The Baptism of the Lord.

It doesn't matter what you call it: Today is a holy day. I preached a sermon about this day some 20 years ago. The gist of it is that if "Emmanuel" is God Among Us, "Epiphany" is God Made Known to Us. I would preach a different sermon today than I did 20 years ago, but the message would be the same: God has been revealed to us. May our lives reflect that revelation.

Tonight is "our" annual party. Every year of our marriage, Nick and I celebrated Twelfth Night. I make a HUGE pot of chili and invite enough people to consume it. Even when we lived in a 2-bedroom apartment, we had 35 people over. One year in our first house, we had about 75 people. Tonight, I expect about 40 people -- mostly widows and a handful of friends who have been important to me this last year. It's important to continue this tradition -- and to make it new as well.

Sunday, January 7

Smiles and exhaustion. The party was wonderful, the laughter true, the memories honest.

Monday, January 8

Mother goes to South America tomorrow, on the long-awaited trip that she and Jane were supposed to take together. I called to wish her bon voyage, and she told me that today was a really hard one for Jane. She's angry and upset and doesn't understand WHY. Jane has left the comfort of denial and is simply angry at how wrong it is, how unfair it is that she is (most likely) dying.

I need to call Jane tomorrow. My poor Janie... I am so sorry that she has to go through this.

National Delurking Week!

This is the week that everyone comes out of the closet.

If you read this blog at all please show yourself. You don't have to say much, but say something!

Widows: No more lurking!

Not Lincolnshire

Apologies to the Lincolnshire bound Lozman, we went to Walton Street market instead, mainly due to wifey getting up late, so unable to report on the relative merits (or not) of lovely Lincolnshire. Walton Street market used to be a thriving car boot and market, but seems to have degenerated into a counterfeit DVD and CD hypermarket. Apparently the Trading Standards people won't do anything because they are frightened of being duffed over and the police won't get involved because it is Trading Standards responsibility. The police in Hull tend not to get involved in very much but that's another story. It's a shame for all the people who used to enjoy a good "car boot" but I guess if the counterfeiters weren't selling anything they'd stop coming, so as long as the people of Hull keep buying, nothing will change. maybe I should move to Lincolnshire as well, were I'm sure they must have a better quality of car boot and market.

A Good Day

Returned a vacuum cleaner to Currys today. We bought it last week but wifey decided she didn't like it. We got our money back, no question which was nice and then returned home to spend some time in the garden. The garden is in a bit of a state, as it usually is at this time of year, but after a couple of hours hard graft it looks much better (not really) and we found some parsnips that we had forgotten about, so that was a bonus. Went for a walk to the local shops after lunch to get some wine for tonight and batteries for Harry's remote controlled car. On return, chilled out in front of the telly, not a bad day at all.

Imagine, if you will...** Spoken in my best Rod Serling voice

... a bra for a very well-endowed woman.
Now, imagine that bra the size of an airplane.
Now, imagine that bra flying through the air, caught on the wing or tail of an airplane.

That, my friends, is what you will find if you dare to enter ... The Twilight Zone.

That, my readers, is what has been in my dreams for the last two nights. Anybody care to offer an interpretation?

Daddy Day Care Part 2

After lunch a decision was made to go to Little Monkeys, a place were the kids can run around a climbing frame with slides and ball pools etc, whilst Daddy sits and reads a book for an hour or so, this is what's known as a win win situation. However, on arrival at Little Monkeys it was plain to see that all of Hull had the same idea, there was not a parking space to be had. Unfortunately children do not worry themselves with such things as no parking spaces, they just get upset at "we can't go there"and so tears began. In a desperate attempt to retrieve the Daddy of the year award, I suggested we try Big Fun. I say desperate, because Big Fun is a place that can seriously damage the body of a 46 year old man. Fortunately (in one sense) for me, Big Fun was also too full, cue more tears. So eventually we ended up at the local park, where I pushed swings, chased round mazes and helped down slides. I didn't get any of my book read though!

Daddy Day Care

Wifey's gone to work and Daddy's in charge of the kids today, so decided to go somewhere different and ended up at Tophill Low, Yorkshire Waters reservoirs near Driffield (or driff draff niff naff as we call it) also a nature reserve. The kids thought it was great so that was a result, but it was very cold and we didn't see many birds. The picture is of one of the reservoirs.

Happy birthday to me

blithering blathering idiot

That's what I am today.

My sister and her husband spent 2-1/2 hours at the surgeon's office this morning.

On February 12, she will have drastic surgery to remove all or most of her stomach. Assuming of course, that the biopsy of her lymph nodes -- which is the first thing they will do when they've cut her open -- is clean. If they find cancer in the lymph nodes, they will simply sew her up and send her home.

The doctor wanted to schedule the surgery for next week, but my sister told him that she's supposed to go to South America with my mother for two weeks. He said, "Go." Two weeks will not make any difference in the outcome of the surgery. If it would have a good outcome next week, it will be fine on the 12th; if it would be bad next week ... well... Go. Take the trip.

Mother is going to South America alone. She was born in Argentina and wants to see it again. My sister and her husband are running away to Hawaii. They are in shock and denial. I wish I had that blessing.

But I don't. I knew in my gut from the moment I first heard about the possibility ... I knew. I know.

I don't know if I can explain this next part, but I'll try.

I frequently cry out to Nick, asking him to help -- especially with the boys. When I called out to him about Jane

When I called out to him about Jane, I started sobbing, because even as I was saying "help her!" I knew that the help he would give is to help her die, to not be afraid, to to to

And all I can do is sob for my big sister, my Janie. All I can do is cry and hope that it's not too terrible for her.

All I can do is cry and hope and pray.

Egton Bridge

After trogging round Cawthorne Woods we drove over Wheeldale Moor and ended up at Egton Bridge where we went to see the stepping stones. As you can see they are only just passable at the moment, and any more rain will cover them completely.


Interesting funghi in Cawthorne woods.

New Year

1st day of a new year, and very nice it was too. Bright and sunny, allthough a little chilly. This is Cawthorne Woods.

Thank you

There really are no words to express how grateful I am for the compassion my cyberfriends have shown me. I have met one or two of you, but most --- I would pass by on the street.

It's a really hard time, and right now I miss Nick more than words can say. But you, my friends, are holding me in your thoughts and prayers ... in your IMs, PMs, postings, and emails. It means the world to me. Thank you.