Thursday, July 31, 2008

And they call it Rodeo

Kev and I went to the opening night of the Dodge City Days Rodeo last night. He had volunteered to work at one of the booths. I wasn't signed up, but helped anyway. And, then we decided to stay for the Rodeo cause we had free tickets. And, we had a great time.

I grew up going to rodeos. When I was little, Daddy rodeod some. Strictly amateur, but still, we went to a lot of rodeos. He roped, calf roping, heading and heeling. I can't remember if he headed or heeled. But, being a real cowboy, he roped. I remember him roping at the Dodge City Rodeo--at the old arena--and before it went PRCA. Most of my young memories of him roping had us behind the chutes, back where the cowboys and cowgirls hung out. I know the sights, the smells. It all smelled like home to me. Still does.

Dad quit rodeoing when so many rodeos went straight PRCA. We couldn't afford the membership fees, so he just quit. Well, there were some local rodeos still, and some of the guys would get together on Sunday afternoons to just rope, so he still "played." But, as Steve and I got older, he "played" less and less.

Our fair used to have a rodeo too...For many years, it was amateur, then they changed it to strictly a kids rodeo, but never got it sanctioned with Little Britches, it was just a kids rodeo, you had to be under 18 to participate. Steve usually did. Oh, they had events for the Backseat driving, where the wife directed her husband around an obstacle course. He drove a dune buggy and was blindfolded. Sometimes there was the wild cow milking or the wild horse saddle events.

My favorite event when Dad rodeod was Ribbon Roping. That's where you have a roper, a calf which had a ribbon on its tail and a girl runner. Dad would rope the calf, my job was to then run out, grab the ribbon off the calf's tail, and run across the finish line. Best time won. We got 3rd place one year! I was in First or Second grade and was the youngest girl runner. Only drawback was when the calf pooped all over the ribbon, or when it wasn't caught until it was at the far end of the arena. Do you have any idea how hard it is to run in plowed up dirt?

I didn't become a good horsewoman. I rode quite a bit when I was little until I borrowed Jimmie Lou's barrel horse. We were between Kindergarten and First grade. The rodeo was over, and we were all messing around. Jimmie Lou, a friend of mine, had her horse still saddled. She was practicing barrels in the arena and asked me if I wanted to try. Of course I did.

I was fine until we came around that last barrel. Then, that barrel horse took off running for the finish, just like it had been trained. Me, I got scared, cause there was no way I was in control of that horse. And I knew it. I was in tears when he stopped. And I didn't ride again for a couple of years. (Yes, Dad admits he should have made me go right back out there. But he didn't...maybe because it was close to midnight.)

I was getting my confidence back when a couple of things happened over the next year. One, I was on Jake, the most excellent cutting horse ever born. Jake cut, I didn't. Then another day, Jake stepped on some wire, for some reason it spooked him, and he took off. Now, Jake was 16 hands high. It's a long way to the ground. I stayed on that time, but it scared me. And then, there was my most excellent ride in the Grand Entry at the County Fair. I decided to ride double with Steve in the Grand Entry. He got the saddle, I rode behind. The cinch was loose. I held on to Steve too tightly, and pulled him and me right off as we came around the last corner. I don't think he's ever forgiven me for that , but it was one of the last times I rode until I got to college.

Rodeos. Good memories, and humiliating memories. I wonder if that's why they call it Rodeo...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


They say that women are always changing their minds.

Well, They don't live with Andy.

Who was going to go out for football this year, his Senior year, at Bucklin. He last played football when he was in 8th grade. But, Bucklin plays 8 man football while Colby played 11 man football. And, because of his size, and because he's now in a small town, They have been "after" him to play football this year.

Monday morning was the first day of football camp--which in my mind is just a fancy way of saying "practice." Andy had had a long weekend, and slept right through that early morning practice.

So, on Monday night, he decided that he wouldn't go out for football. Because, he didn't enjoy it way back in Middle School and, well, he just didn't think he wanted to do it. Fine with Kev and I. It means fewer games we have to go to and more free Friday nights to enjoy.

This morning, Andy was up and in the bathroom at 6:30 a.m. "What are you doing up," I asked.

His reply, "I'm going to Football Camp. I've never played 8 man, so I think I might go out after all."

Yeah, they say women change their minds all the time. They should live with a teenage boy.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Remember the eggs?

Do you remember my excitement about finally having eggs again? On last Friday, I got 9 eggs! Excitement city! Then, the very next day, Andy called to tell me that the dogs had killed 8 chickens.

E I G H T chickens. I had 25 hens and one rooster, so that left me with...let's see here, 25 minus 8 equals...[insert jeopardy music]...wait, let me use the calculator...15 minus 8 equals...7! So, that left 17 hens and one rooster.

But, when I got home...I only counted 15 chickens...14 hens and one rooster. So where are my missing 3 hens? Dang. No clue. No bodies, no one's talkin either.

And, no eggs for 3 days. Dang dogs, they killed my layers. But, then, miracle, we got one lonely egg, and last night, we had 3 eggs. Whew.

Now, in defense of my dogs...well, Kevin's dog and Miss Kat's dog, neither one is MY dog. The deceased chickens were either really stupid or it was a case of mass suicide, because all were killed in the Dog Pen.

So, picture this, a quiet Saturday evening. The dogs were quietly laying in their pen, listening intently for the sound of Andy's pickup, minding their own business when, suddenly, their space is invaded by a chicken. How dare that chicken invade their space just to eat their weeds. The nerve of that chicken. So, the dogs stealthily corner the trespasser, and attack in tandem. The chicken sets off the vocal alarm, alerting all her sisters who rush to her aid and then, while they had power in numbers, lacked mass and intelligence to escape the slaughter.

Their sanctuary quiet and peaceful once more, the dogs resume their slumber, surrounded by their vanquished adversaries.

That's the dog's version, anyway.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

librarian stuff...

If you think librarians are weaklings; think again. Today I moved National Geographic magazines. 20 years worth of National Geographic. In boxes. Each box weighed about 10-15 lbs. I moved each box two times. And, I pushed the cart holding them--and 10 other boxes of magazines--all over the library, from one end to the other. That cart, full, weighed more than 150 lbs. And, I pushed it uphill, both ways. (Ok, only one way, and it was downhill, which is actually more dangerous than pushing it uphill. Let's just say runaway cart!)

One thing that will drive this librarian insane...well, ok, there's more than one thing. But, today, one of the things that drove me nuts are 5 little books. (And, this will probably only be understood by other librarians...) The Foxfire books. I found volume one in 975.8. Good logical place for it. (975.8 is the Dewey classification for the State of Georgia which is the local that these books are about.)

Volume 2, I found in 016.1. 016 is the Dewey classification for...get this...Bibliographies and catalogs of works on specific subjects or in specific disciplines. The key word here is bibliographies (I love typing bibliographies it feels good and it's fun to type...kinda like encyclopedia...bibliography, encyclopedia, bibliography, encyclo...sorry...) The Foxfire books are not bibliographies. Nor are they a catalog.

To make matters more complicated, I found volume 016.2. And Volume 4 was simply in 016 while volume 5 was in 016.3. Ok, so if these were in order on the shelf, by Dewey number...we'd have volume 4, followed by volume 2, then 3, then 5 and volume one would be way far away...which it was. What the????? Where's the logic? Where's the consistency? None of the books belong in 016, and for cryin' out loud, why were they all classed and put in separate areas--some were 2 shelves apart! Sheesh, they are volumes in a series, put the dang things together. Much less work to do that. Whoever cataloged these--in the 1970's wasn't a cataloger, I can guarantee you that. It's enough to make me pull out my hair...even the ones that aren't grey.

Now, let's talk about weeding and shifting...(Jody, you need to call the people here and warn them about me weeding and shifting. Cause I don't think they will physically tackle me like they should.) We got some free books from the Scientology group. L Ron Hubbard books. Since the section in this library dealing with Scientology was so bad, we added them to our collection. Only, there wasn't any space on the shelves to put these 10-12 titles. No problem, we set them temporarily on a cart until I had a chance to shift. But, you see, I can't just shift, I have to weed; it's an illness.

--we interrupt this blog to explain what weeding and shifting is. Weeding is the process of removing titles from the collection. In other words, we toss some books, withdraw them, remove them from the shelves, eliminate them from our collection, whatever. When you weed, you look at the age of the book, you see if it's being used, you look at it to see if it's a classic title in that subject or if it's got historical value and you check the physical condition. If it's a book on first aid with a copy right from 1970 and it hasn't been used since 1971 and the covers are gone and it's woefully out-of-date...then you weed that book.

Shifting is the physical action of moving books from one shelf to another creating more room for new books. Shifting is tiring physical work--especially if you are doing it alone--because you grab a handful of books and move them to another shelf while hoping and praying that the books left on the afore-mentioned shelf don't fall over, and you hope this group of books in your hand won't fall over when they go on their new shelf, and you pray you don't drop them on your foot. If you are working with another person, then it's not as hard, but it is hard on your hands. Many librarians get carpel tunnel from the repetitive motions of shifting. Now, back to our blog...

Like I said above, I can't just shift. It's physically and mentally impossible for me to shift books and not weed. I've tried doing it. I've tried not taking an empty cart to the stacks, but then, I find myself stacking books to be weeded all over other shelves and on the floor and, well, I just can't do it.

Last week, I went up to start shifting. I started looking at the shelves in the 200's, (Religion) trying to find a logical place to start shifting...but there wasn't one. So, I moved back into the 100's (Philosophy and Psychology) and still didn't find one. So, I moved back into the 000's. And then, I paused in the 020's (Library and Information sciences). Yeah. Three carts full of books and several tears later, I had space to shift. (Does anyone need a book on new media in the library circa 1967? If so, let me know today, cause I've got one!)

Today, I went up to actually start shifting...but I couldn't. I kept finding more books that need to be weeded and, and, well, you see, I'm out of boxes for the weeded books, and...and...well, I just didn't know where I'd stop, or if I could stop. So, I didn't start.

Instead, I pulled off the Foxfire books. Those I can fix and then, I'll feel better.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Our idea of date night

We all hear how married couples need to make time for each other. Some couples have an established date night where they go out, or stay in. Just the two of them. Kev and I, we don't have a date night, but we do like to do lots of things together and we enjoy each other's company. Our dates very seldom cost us any money, but they are usually unique.

Like Saturday. On Saturday, we went down to the farm and played in the dirt and rocks. And, we had a great time!

See, Kev's putting in another pond. Actually, he's putting in two ponds, with a stream and a waterfall and whatever else he decides to do. And, there's lots of rocks around here, so we've been gathering rocks for the pond rather than buying them. We'll probably have to still buy some, but we are gathering as many as we can. While we are out walking along the dirt road, we'll pick up rocks from the side of the road. But on Saturday, we went to my Dad's farm and looked for rocks there.

The farm has lots of cleache soil, it's a type of clay/chalk soil. There are cleache rocks too, they are a soft rock, but do have lots of character. So we picked up some of the larger boulder size chunks for dry areas of the pond area. They won't hold up in the water, so we can only use these in dry areas. We did find some river rock and other nice rock down in the creek and along the side of the road near the creek. Then we drove back into the pasture to check out some of the red rocks and dirt.

Part of this project of Kev's includes putting steps into the hill, leading up to the front of the house. That's where the doorbell is, but no one ever put steps in to get people to come up and use the door bell. Most people come to the basement door and there's not a doorbell there. So, we are wanting to lead people upstairs to the main entrance of the house. For those steps, we are using big pavers and we needed some fill sand/dirt.

At the farm, what isn't cleache, is red dirt. There's a bank along one area of the creek that has washed out over the years, and has great fine sandy fill dirt. So, Kev and I dug some of that up and loaded up the back of the pickup with it. We probably had a good ton of rocks and dirt in the pickup.

On the way home, we found a patch of Sandhill Plum bushes with ripe berries. We stopped, picked some, then noticed we were standing in Poison Ivy! Needless to say, we stopped picking, but did take the time to dig up a couple of shoots to transplant at home. There's nothing better than Sandhill Plum jelly! I can't wait to make some!

To top off our day, we took Miss Kat with us to a Nut Fry. The local cafe had nuts for a Supper special. We love Nuts (or Calf Fries, or Mountain Oysters and technically testicles...whatever you want to call them...) Miss Kat had Chicken, but Kev and I dined on Nuts. And, tasty nuts they were too. (Andy didn't go with us, he was off playing basketball.)

So, other couples can go to the movies, or go to dinner, but for Kev and I, Saturday was a wonderful "date night". We spent time together, and we got to play and get dirty in the rocks, dirt, and poison ivy, and topped our day with a great meal. Can't beat that!

What I like...

One of the things I'm enjoying at our new home is the amount of wildlife we're seeing regularly. Last night, we had two Cranes flying around our place. I'm not sure if they were Sandhill Cranes or if they were Whooping Cranes. But, there they were, flying and makin' noise right near my chicken house. They caught my eye, and I waited to make sure they weren't hawks. Kev said he's seen them and thinks there must still be some water in the creek for them to be hanging out near our house.

We also have lightning bugs. Now, I know that might not be special to some, but we didn't have any in Colby. Not one. I never saw lightning bugs (or fireflies) in Colby. But, on still nights, the pasture around us looks like it's strung with twinkling Christmas lights. I've really enjoyed sitting outside, watching them light up the sky. As a kid, we'd catch them and stick the "lights" to our hands where they would glow. And, we'd catch them in jars and watch them blink on and off. My kids are too old to do that, but it's fun sitting with them on the porch, watching the lightning bugs.

Deer. We had deer at Colby, but seldom had any on our place. Here, we've had deer in the garden. Which isn't necessarily good, but, they seem to be more evident here than what we are used to.

We've got a couple of quail hanging around, and pheasant. No turkeys in our area, yet, we don't have enough trees. Haven't seen many coyotes, but we've heard some. And, I have been fortunate not to have seen many snakes. Certainly not any rattlesnakes. But, I'm watching out for them.

We have had oodles and oodles of frogs and toads and even turtles around the house. I just hate walking outside and catch a glimpse of something moving in the grass at my feet. So far, it's been a toad or frog. Kev's found some salamanders and a few lizards around, but neither one of us has seen a horny toad. That's one animal I'm eagerly watching out for. I used to love playing with horny toads. But, I haven't seen one in years.

But, I am enjoying all the wildlife we are seeing at our new home. It's nice and relaxing and it makes me feel special to share space with so many of God's creatures. That's something I really like.

Monday, July 14, 2008


First things first.

We have EGGS people! Whoo hoo! Real eggs, tasty eggs, bright yellow eggs. Teeny tiny eggs, but hey, them's real eggs! I've been getting 3 or 4 a day for the last 4 days. But, yesterday is the first day that I actually found one IN the nesting boxes. Gotta teach these stupid girls to actually LAY in the nesting boxes, not just rest in them. Gotta teach the girls that it's safer to lay your eggs in the boxes rather than on the floor, where the humans might step on them. And, I need to make them understand that it's nicer to the humans to lay the eggs there than all over, under, and around the chicken house in the grass and weeds.

And, I'm glad to say that the rooster has finally figured out how to crow. He still sounds pretty pathetic, but I heard him finally crow. Now, I need to see him show some interest in the girls He hasn't shown any yet, which is good for the girls, but it seems odd having a rooster who isn't randy...

This is the strangest bunch of chickens I've had. They follow me around like a herd of dogs whenever I'm outside. Not when I want them to follow me around, but they will follow me around as I walk around the yard, and they'll go with me to check on the rabbits and they'll even follow me to the chicken pen. But they won't go in. It "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."

They aren't afraid to come up onto the deck either. Which annoys the heck out of Kevin. And, it is a little disconcerting to be sitting at the supper table and have a chicken looking at you through the patio door. But, Kev is so annoyed by it, he's ready to build a taller fence around the chicken house.

Another odd thing, is the way they act when startled. These hens will hunker down and kind of shudder. They're more nervous that way than any I've had in the past. They're easier to catch and pick up too, cause they'll hunker down like that. I'm not sure their mental capacity is that great, they just seem more stupid than any birds I've had before.

One annoying habit they have is pecking my toes. It doesn't hurt, but it's damn annoying to be feeding chickens and have them think that your toes look pretty appetizing and try to take a bite. These girls also tend to peck at my hand if I'm not quick enough with the feed. I've never had birds that peck at ME so much. And, those of you who are thinking "Well, she shouldn't be barefoot, or should wear better shoes than sandals out in the hen house", well you guys can just shut up. I will wear the shoe apparel that I want. If someone does peck at my toes, and it hurts, I will boot them pretty high up into the sky, sandals or no sandals. So there!

One hen committed suicide on Saturday night. Well, I think she did. She may just have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. We splurged and went to a Nut Fry on Saturday night. When Miss Kat went to pen the dogs up, she told me that there were 6 chickens in there. So, I went out to herd the chickens out. (Funny, but when I want them to follow me, they won't...) Since they wouldn't follow me, I had to herd them out. Either I missed one, or one flew back in after we put the dogs in the pen. As we were ready to walk out the door for the Nut Fry, we heard Midnight barking and carrying on as if someone was in their pen. We ignored it, cause, you know, we were on our way to the Nut Fry, and Nuts are more important than a barking dog any old day...

When we got home, with bulging bellies, we sent Miss Kat out to let the dogs out. She ran back to inform me that there were at least 2 dead chickens in the dog pen. I went out to pick up the birds--thinking I'd just go ahead and butcher them and put them in the freezer. Not that I wanted to, but I didn't want to waste the meat and I didn't want to toss the dead birds in the pasture to attract coyotes which might alert them to the presence of 26 other succulent dinner selections.

I only found one bird in the pen, and she looked like the dogs played tug-o-war with her. Her breast was in one spot, the rest of the body in another spot, entrails somewhat scattered, and a missing head. I never did find her head. But, I cleaned her up and gave her a decent burial. She's the first chicken we've lost so far.

But, hey, I'm gettin' eggs!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Does anyone have a kleenx?

Now, this really, really bothers me.

There's a kid here in the library. He comes in almost daily, as he's a football player and has to spend time studying in the library.

But this kid is constantly snorting and sucking snot back up in his nose. Every minute or so. For at least 2 hours. It's driving me crazy.

I so want to march over to him, hand him a Kleenex and tell him to quit snorting. He sounds worse than any pig I've been around. It's a sound that makes me flinch. I react as if it were chalk on a chalkboard. It just sends shivers down my spine, and my ears flinch. Yes, my ears actually hurt listening to this kid snort and suck. Sometimes it's short snorts, sometimes it's long snorts, but each one causes a physical reaction and I just get the heebie-jeebies...

I can't be out front when he's in here, it's too distracting. But, I can also hear him in my office!

Lord, help me, save me from dreaded snot suckers... Cause if he doesn't leave, I'm gonna kill him. soon. I really think I will.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

T. H.

I got some terrible news last night. The kind of news that you really don't know what to do with.

A boy in Miss Kat's class in Colby was killed last night in a 4-wheeler accident. We knew this boy, we know his dad fairly well. How on earth do you express sympathy to a father who's just lost one of two lights of his life? How on earth do you express sympathy to anyone who has lost a child? Their sorrow is one that can only be understood by other parents who've lost a child.

That kind of sorrow, I hope I never have to feel.

I had to tell Miss Kat the bad news. She wasn't sure how she was supposed to react. How difficult is it for a 12 year old to understand death? At that age, you feel that life is...long and that nothing bad can ever happen to you or to any of your friends. Sure, old people die, but not someone who sat next to you in class.

I worried about her last night, because she didn't want to really talk about it, and she didn't ask many questions. She did say, "Well, sometimes, T was annoying." I told her, "yes, he was a boy, and most boys are annoying. Just because he died, you don't have to make him perfect. Just remember him as he was, and think of his family. That's all we can do now."

Then today, a friend of mine, who happens to have a son in Miss Kat's class, and one of T's friends, forwarded this on to me. It's an email from Miss Kat.

T. H.
He will be missed.

Sign your name if you wish T happiness in heaven.

And, she sent it on to all her friends, who have forwarded it on and on and on. All are adding their thoughts and their condolences, a bunch of 12 year old kids... sharing, and maybe finding a way to express their confusion and grief.

Right now, I'm so proud of Miss Kat for taking the time to think of an "annoying" boy, and to find a way to honor his memory. Maybe she's a good kid after spite of her parents.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Miss Kat's room


Finally--here's the photos of Miss Kat's bedroom. Bright green walls with a pink accent wall. Kat found the border and it matched her colors perfectly. Believe me, this is probably the cleanest her room's been in a very long time...

The following photo is looking the other direction, toward her bedroom door. The picture is one that my dear friend, Sharon cross stitched for her when she was a baby. The shelf is new and it's full of special items, as is the top of the dresser. Did you see the pink footprint? That's Kat's footprint. We decided to do something...silly! All in all, it's a unique room for a unique girl.

Cleaning up memories

This past weekend, we cleaned out Grandpa's apartment and moved his stuff back to Big E. Sandy and I then cleaned the apartment after the menfolk took everything home. Mom somehow got out of this part, because she was at the elevator. It's harvest, so she had to be there, but dang, it was a convenient excuse!

After we had the apartment empty, we drove down and started on the house. Oh my. Note to self: do not buy any more crap. And throw away all the crap you have... Seriously, Grandma and Grandpa haven't thrown anything away in years and years. And, fortunately, Mom was able to join us. (She had help at the elevator, and they weren't getting in many trucks, so she got to help.)

We started out in the house, watching the guys haul in furniture...and being typical men, they just stacked it where ever, willy-nilly. We left it for a while. Mom had ordered a big construction dumpster and the first thing that went into that dumpster was the loveseat. It was literally rotting, but Grandma and Grandpa loved that icky old thing, so it was still there, in the house. The second thing to go into the dumpster was that 1952 wool mattress that weighed about 1000 lbs. Ok, maybe not 1000 lbs, but it was heavy. And then the springs went on top. YEAH!

Then the hard part started. Where to start, what to do with all the...stuff... We discussed having a sale, but really, nothing is valuable. We talked about a garage sale, but no one ever comes to Big E for a garage sale, it's been tried and failed. Ok, then we discussed Sandy and I taking stuff and trying to have a garage sale in our communities, but we really couldn't face boxing up all this stuff just to make a few dollars. In the end, we decided to just toss the majority and divvy up the rest, again, setting aside things that we thought someone in the family could use. Miss Kat and her BFF, Miss Jenna rescued some stuff. Which means, that Miss Jenna took home some lovely pieces back to Colby. Thanks Jenna!

Before the day was over, we'd filled up the dumpster. We moved from the house out to the garage and to the trailer house. Most of what we tossed was from the garage and trailer. But we did find some interesting things...

In the garage, there was an old barrel that was sealed. In it, we found, Mom's baby quilt, a pair of a child's bloomers and 1/2 a corset. Under these were more quilts--old quilts that were shot when they were sealed up. We looked at them all, and we know that there are people who love old quilts, but these were just shot and not worth saving, cause believe me, we examined them and debated but, in the end, they went in the dumpster. (they were really nasty. Sandy thought that they were saved in case Grandma and Grandpa ever got poor again, they'd have something to keep warm with.) I kept the bloomers and showed them to the girls, who were not impressed with bloomers for underwear. (Somehow, the thought of them being crotchless just turned the girls off. Big ick factor for them!)

There were a couple of neat discoveries, in the trailer, we found a box labeled "Carol and Sandy baby clothes." There were little dresses and coats and an outfit of Sandy's that Mom remembered her wearing a lot--with rubber pants still intact. There were also cards from when Sandy was born. Remember, she was a "surprise" child, and many of these cards talked about what baby boys needed, and how nice it was to have a boy. Quick reminder here, Sandy is NOT a boy. But, we decided these must have been from a shower before Sandy was born and that most in the community thought she'd be a boy. It was an interesting peek into 1950's society.

We also found an old suitcase with my Mom's high school scrapbooks in it and other "stuff". One item was a thank you note, from my Dad that said:

Thank you for the tie, HONEY. I hope someday you'll be getting mail addressed as Mrs. instead of Miss. Hope it's soon! Eugene

I love you."

Now, I got a kick out of finding that, and shared it with...well, everybody... Mom got embarrassed, Dad got a laugh out of it. But, it's neat finding something that shows your parents as young people, in love. It was my favorite find.

But, we filled the dumpster, so we had to stop. We've still got lots of cleaning to do and lots of crap to get rid of. Those short episodes of fun are necessary when you find a box of Reader's Digest magazines from 1952, and you find yourself wondering why were they saved? Really, why? That's a question we asked repeatedly, why did they keep this stuff?

It's hard, dirty, but necessary work. I'll be glad when it's done...and, honestly, it will be sad too, because when it's done, we will all have closed a chapter in our lives and this is one chapter that I don't want to see end. I understand that this needs to be done, but...but...this is all evidence of a life--of the life of a family...and once we're done, it will be over...and, in the will be the end...