Sunday, November 30, 2008

the world really is flat.

I need to start this post with the following:


Xmas is coming and AE has a pretty short Xmas list - she really, really, really wants an iPod Nano - green to be exact.

She said her life will be complete if she receives this from her loving parents, or Santa.

On Black Friday while my lovely sister was out fighting the crowds for JG's perfect gift - thanks again Amy!!! - I went online and ordered up AE's dream gift in less than 5 minutes with no lines involved.

I logged on tonight to take a look at shipping progress and Dan and I were shocked. The new Nano will be the most traveled member of our household this holiday -

it is traveling more than half way across the world for our little girl -


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I know all the words for the entire song

because AE has played 349 times over the past week...

Even JG can recite the Kanye part. He thinks the "pea coat" part is funny. It is really hard to explain what a pea coat is to a six year old boy because in the end he can't figure out why it isn't named for a bodily function or a vegetable he hates. 

It is a catchy little tune, which I guarantee will be in your head the rest of the day.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Has anyone else...

clicked on the Next Blog link at the top of the page? 

There is some weird stuff out there? 

It got me to thinking, maybe our little diary of daily life has been someone's Next Blog and they thought:

There is some weird stuff out there.

Monday, November 24, 2008

For Bobbi and her curtains

This is one of my a good laugh tonight thanks to Bobbi's curtains

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A long, long, time ago in a galaxy far, far away

OK still hooked on Facebook - tonight had a pleasant surprise with one of my former classmates from Gillette stopping by (on the screen) for a little chat.

She and I sat by one another in choir during Junior High, she was always eccentric (in a good way) and I really enjoyed getting to know her and her good heart. She went through some tough times when we were in school - we all remember how cruel kids can be and unfortunately she was on the receiving end of more than her fair share. Through it all she has become an amazing woman with a family of her own and stories to tell.

We chatted about many things I had forgotten, the good, the bad and the very, very ugly. I found out one of my best guy friends from the tennis team committed suicide a year or so ago. I always wondered what happened to him, he had such big dreams, planned to go to Harvard, see the world. I am saddened by knowing he is no longer in this world.

We also laughed about some of the paths our classmates have taken with their lives. One is married to a satanist and lives in California - she was always after the shock factor and pretty much takes the cake.

Don't know if she will make it to the reunion (I have been invited BTW by the official committee).

My friend asked, "Do you think she will come? I wonder if she is a shape shifter?"

"Hmmm," I replied. "Bet she will be the black cat in the back of the room"

"Black cat, no way," she responded. "Bat, yes."

We had a good laugh and signed off, I still have a smile on my face. She was so kind and remembered me fondly.

She said that I was well liked and was kind to others - what more out of life could you want?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Putting the pieces together

I know Bobbi blogged a few weeks ago about Facebook, Karen and Stromer have mentioned it as well... I am now addicted - big time. I am connecting with people from all through my life and places I have been.

When I was young we moved quite a bit because of my dad's job. Before I was five we lived in:

Sioux Falls, SD (where I was born)
Rochester, MN
Maple Grove, MN (I drive by our old house every day)
Rapid City, SD

I went to school in:

1. Rapid City, SD - Grades K-4 - Meadowbrook Elementary

2. Gillette, WY - Grades 5-10 - Paintbrush Elementary, Sage Valley Junior High, Campbell County High School

3. Pine City, MN - Grades 11-12 - Pine City High School

So, guess I have always felt a bit like an orphan how it all chunked out. When people ask me where I am from I say, "I grew up in South Dakota and Wyoming, but graduated from HS in Minnesota." They then usually look overwhelmed by too much information which I can't say that I blame them.

However, with Facebook I am connecting with friends from each of the chunks of my life and having a great time - it is one of those things where you think maybe people won't remember you because you didn't officially graduate with them, but I am finding out that the opposite is true.

I am connecting all of the pieces and people and not feeling so orphan like anymore, but instead feel very blessed to have so many diverse people and experiences that I can call my life.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dorothy Galarneault

Age 95, passed away Monday, November 10, 2008. She was a longtime resident of Aitkin, MN, and recent resident at the Terraces of St. Therese,
Hopkins, MN.

She was born August 30, 1913, in Wells, MN, the daughter of Emilie (Schweer) and Edward Kuechenmeister. She was a graduate of Wells High School and the University of Minnesota where she was a member of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority and president of Theta Sigma Phi, journalism sorority. She came to Aitkin in 1936 to join the staff of the Aitkin Republican. She married John T. Galarneault of Aitkin at St. James Catholic Church on August 6, 1938.

Throughout the years she was active in school, church and community affairs, serving as president of the Aitkin Parent-Teacher Association, the Aitkin Public Library Board, St. James Council of Catholic Women, Brainerd Deanery CCW and chairman of the Aitkin County Citizens Committee on Aging, the Aitkin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority and the East Central Regional Library Board. She was a charter member of the Aitkin Hospital Auxiliary and one of the organizers of the Lawyers Wives of Minnesota, serving as the first treasurer. She served two terms on the Advisory Committee of the Brainerd Community College, was a member of the State Committee on Library Services, a member of the Blackrock Terrace Board, and served as secretary for the Aitkin County Committee for the Minnesota Statehood Centennial in 1958.

She was presented the Aitkin Area Centennial Outstanding Female award in 1971 and was named Aitkin's first Senior Queen of Riverboat Days in 1986. In 1989 she received a Certificate of Appreciation from the County Committee on Aging for 30 years of valuable contribution. She was selected by Senior Options North as winner of the "Success Over Sixty" award in 1990 in recognition for her outstanding service to seniors. That same year the community room at Maryhill Manor was dedicated in her honor. During the ceremony she was presented a Certificate of Commendation from Gov. Rudy Perpich in recognition of her role as a community leader and volunteer in Aitkin County and in honor of her years of volunteer work in aging programs as well for her hospital, library, church and educational organizations. She also received a Certificate of Superior Service from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in appreciation of 25 years of faithful and honorable service to the Housing and Redevelopment Authority of Aitkin County.

She was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, St. James Council of Catholic Women, the Brainerd Deanery of Catholic Women, the Seven County Senior Federation and the American Association of Retired Persons.

Surviving are her four sons and daughters-in-law: John K. and Margarita, Golden Valley; Edward and Sharon, Pine City; Robert and Phyllis, Minneapolis and Thomas and Carol, Delano; one sister, Mrs. W.D. Highsmith, Chapin, SC; nine grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, the Honorable Judge John T. Galarneault, her parents, two brothers and three sisters.

Dorothy's life will be celebrated with a Mass of Christian Burial 11 AM Friday, November 14, 2008 at St. James Catholic Church, Aitkin, followed by interment at St. Thomas Cemetery. Visitation will be 5-7 PM Thursday evening at Sorenson-Root-Thompson Funeral Home, 31 Minnesota Ave., Aitkin, and one hour prior to Mass on Friday. Memorials preferred to the Seminarian Fund at the Diocese of Duluth, 2830 E Fourth St., Duluth, MN 55812.

Monday, November 10, 2008


My grandma loved to laugh, and I honestly believe she is laughing right now after the adventure I have had trying to get the word out that she has moved on to a better place.

Gram wrote her obituary 20 years ago and asked that I "update" it once she passed, so yesterday morning I got up and started typing the hardcopy, manual typed pages into Word. Finally I decided to call the Aitkin Independent Age to check on when exactly I would need to submit it to make the deadline.

At 10:37 a.m. I called and found out that it was due by noon.

So I got to typing and updated all of the info and let it go off into cyberspace all 572 words telling of Gram's life. I gave them my credit card and they charged me $60.00 for the obituary in the weekly paper.Next step was pulling everything together for the Star Tribune. I knew I was going to need to scale it back a bit, but wanted to make sure I still captured many of the important events in her life. So, when all was said and done it came to 295 words.

I went online, submitted everything and decided to call to see how I should pay. I spoke with a very lovely woman named Irene and she was so very helpful. She informed me that they put the text into the layout and then call with a quote. I told her that sounded great and thanked her for her help.

Irene called 10 minutes later with the quote.

Irene: Hi Susan, I have your quote.

Susan: Great, I have my credit card here and I'm ready to go.

Irene: So, for two days the total will be $1,074.60.


Irene: Are you there?

Susan: You've got to be kidding.

Irene: Well it was 50 lines at $9.95 per line times two days is $1,074.60.

Susan: Wow, and I trimmed it back. So, tell me how do those people do it that take up a whole column? It has got to be more than the whole funeral.

Irene: Well, I don't know about that. Most of those people are Star Tribune employee's families.

Susan: I am going to need to think about this. I can't imagine my grandma would be very happy about me spending over $1,000 on her obituary.

Irene: I understand.

Susan: No I don't think you can understand the talking to my grandma will give me when I get to the other side if I spend $1000.00 on her obituary.

A gift

Tonight my grandma gave my mom a gift - the gift of being with her when she passed. I believe it is as it was meant to be - just the two of them talking and together.

I just had a feeling it was going to be tonight, when I left I thanked grandma and told her I loved her like every other night, yet I felt it was going to be for the last time. I just felt that she was waiting to be alone with her Sharon.

My mom was a little tentative when I walked out the room, but I told her to call me and I would let everyone else know if anything happened. I also told her everything will happen as it should so relax and try to get some sleep.

I had just walked in the door at home, talked to Dan for a bit, heated up some soup and sat down to eat when the phone rang.

"She's gone, grandma's gone." she cried. "She just gave me the most special gift..."

Sunday, November 09, 2008


Gigi is still hanging on. I cannot believe her constitution - to use a "Gigi" word. The last four days have been a roller coaster - we have had three different occasions when all of the family has been summoned to say their goodbyes. Each time Gigi has regrouped and soldiers on.

We took AE and JG to visit last night. I struggled with whether or not we should do it, but in the end I am glad that we did. She sure loves her little JG, she was awake when they came in and JG talked to her about playing bingo. AE sat with her and held her hand and was able to have her time to say goodbye.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

so thankful

The other night I had an exchange with Gigi that means the world to me, the last one when she knew who I was, so I just need to write it down, so I won't forget.

Actually I don't think I will ever forget it, but wanted to share with Amy and my folks.

Gigi: I am so tired, I just want to go home.
Susan: Gram I wish you would be able to go and be in your own room in Aitkin.
Gigi: I have a nice room.
Susan: Yes you do it is so calm.
Gigi: I want to see them.
Susan: Who Gram?
Gigi: Mother, dad, John.
Susan: They are all waiting for you.
Gigi: I know they are. I want to go.
Susan: Margaret and Fran are there, so are Tom and Don (her siblings). Elsie, Esther and Sarah are there too (her dear friends). They are waiting.
Gigi: Yes they are.
Susan: Gram will you be there waiting for me someday?
Gigi: Of course, you know I will be.
Susan: And we will laugh.
Gigi: Yes, we love to laugh.
Susan: I love you.
Gigi: Love you too. I am so tired.

It's picture day

This morning AE declared:

"Picture day is the worst day of the year."

JG wanted to wear his seersucker plaid shirt - AGAIN. We have so got our moneys worth out of that purchase. I tried to explain that you should wear seersucker in the summer, not November. No dice, finally was saved by the hole in the front which was caused more than likely by a button ripping off.

JG dealt with it, however as he walked out the door he said:

"Mommy I am still sad I can't wear my other shirt because it wanted to be the rainbow on a cloudy day."

You know what JG? You color my world every day.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Wait and see

First of all I want to thank you all for your comments, emails, phone calls etc. checking in on Gigi. I appreciate it more than you know.

Quick update - my dad and his brothers decided to have a temporary feeding tube inserted this morning and are going to see if there is any improvement in her condition and to see if she will begin swallowing.

After five days they are going to re-assess the situation and determine next steps, until then I am going to take every opportunity I have to spend time with her.

Think I will go down tomorrow with one of her favorite reads, The Far Pavilions and start reading - out loud.

Monday, November 03, 2008


sur·re·al \sə-ˈrē(-ə)l also -ˈrā-əl\ adjective

1: marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream

That is the only way I can describe tonight - surreal.

I went to the hospital after work and it was just bizarre - when I arrived I had heard Gigi moved to a new room - 514 versus 515 - when I arrived at 514 there was a police officer standing outside of the room with his arms crossed.

I stopped. "I'm sorry I must have the wrong room."

"No, I am with the person in bed two." I looked in and Gigi was in bed one - sleeping.

Her roommate however was lying in bed with the curtain closed - all I could see was her leg which was shackled to the bed.

The irony - a judge's wife rooming with a convict.

After this is pretty much went down hill.

Gigi slept from 5:30 - 7:30. At about 7:35 she starting screaming that she ate too much. I told her she had not eaten and she then screamed she was a big pig who ate too much - over and over and over.

I tried to calm her, but it didn't work, I think she is so hungry she may hurt and she thinks she ate too much. It was too much and I sat and cried while the guards watched CSI with the convict and laughed at Gigi as she screamed.

My dad and his brothers need to make a decision about feeding tubes tomorrow since Gigi cannot swallow. They are also going to get the MRI results which will hopefully help them.

When all is said and done I think it is going to come down to the definition of "extraordinary measures".

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Not going to be the same...

Gigi had a stroke yesterday and is at Methodist. It happened yesterday sometime between breakfast and 10:30 a.m. She is doing better, she is able to move her left hand and complete sentences. However, she is not able to swallow which is a big issue.

I had time with her tonight after my sister left, she had a choking episode and tried to get out of bed because she thought I was hiding popcorn from her. She is very, very hungry and confused.

We talked quite awhile about how she wishes she was home. She thought she was a child again living at home in Wells, MN. She said she needed to complete her lessons before school, but she really wanted to go downstairs and see her sister in the music room. She also thought I was her best childhood friend, Mary Harrington.

We need to investigate options for nursing homes before they discharge her because she will not be able to go back to her assisted living apartment in Hopkins. My friend Lori has graciously offered to help with the assessment, which is so very kind.

It is going to be a long week and so sad.