Madeline Island

Sue and Nick at Madeline Island

This is the last GOOD photo of us together. We did get one a week later at the Mustang Run but he was looking so ragged that day. And for some reason I cannot find that photo. I have it framed and it seems to be missing.

We had a good time on our ‘Bittersweet Farewell Tour’…as good as one can have when you are in such pain. He was a trooper and did everything he possibly could. It was all I could do to keep that smile on my face all the time.

I look at photos of him from then and think how the  HELL  did he walk as much as he did. How did he survive as long as he did. How could he smile at me when I knew he hurt so bad.

This photo was taken July 17th. He died 5 days later. I think I’m glad I didn’t know how close he was to dying. I would have been far too…..clingy? hovering? driving him nuts?

Nick 71716

The next 6 – 8 weeks are going to be very difficult.  Going thru all the firsts is almost over. The two big ones being the 22nd and the 27th.

Wonder if I can order a semi of Smirnoff?

Posted in Me

What a CRAPTASTIC kind of day….

For some reason today, I’m just NOT in the best mood. This anniversary stuff popping in my head is making me struggle more than normal. That, and some serious talking with a dear friend last night has got my mind just swirling again, questioning my choices, trying to understand why I can get nothing done at home, and why I just want to get away for a while.

Nick at Grand Marias on the way up to

I have a 4 day weekend coming up. I should just leave. But, once again, I’ve made promises. Of course, I could take off Friday after work and I don’t HAVE to be anywhere till church Sunday morning. And I don’t even HAVE to be there for that. I don’t HAVE to be anywhere till Wednesday morning. I scoop up Grandson #6 on Sunday, and take off. To parts unknown.

I wish people would promise ME like I do them. I help my family. I can’t get them to come to my house. I have some serious house issues needing resolution. I need this shit DONE.

One year ago today I was in Canada with Nick. He slept most of the time we were there but we still managed to do things. Like this photo, paddle boating around the lake. It was awesome. My legs got a real work out! Nick didn’t have the strength to help much. I didn’t care.  paddle boating

I was just happy to be where he was, making the last of his time fun and worthwhile.

Nick at Cross Falls.jpg

How little did we know how short that time would be.

One month after this photo was taken, I was at the funeral, trying to make sense of it all.

Posted in Me

A painful letter to write … and yet

Nick’s corneas were donated. He died at 2am, they called me at 7am. It stunned me to be contacted so soon but time is of the essence in organ donation.

It’s been almost a year. They told me I could meet these two men after a year. So I’ve started the process of contacting them through the eye bank that harvested his corneas.

Below is the letter I wrote this morning.


Greetings and salivations!

Above is a photo of the wonderful man who, many years ago, made the best decision – to put on his driver license “Donor”. I know he wished we could have donated more of him to help other people. It’s how he was. He loved helping people.

Nick and I were together for 23 years, engaged for almost 20 of those years, and married for 4 months/2days before he died of gastric cancer, the reason more of him could not be donated.

I hope your surgery was a rousing success, that you are seeing the beauty around you, and that one day, we can get together so you can ‘meet’ the man I loved more than life through photos and videos.

Nick and I have 10 grandchildren. He loved them all even though biologically they were not his. They were still his in his heart. He would ‘hug the stuffin’ right outta you!’ he would say to them. And proceed to do so. They loved it and miss him so much..

It’s been a little over 11 months ago now, that he left me. The last month we did SO many things that made his last few weeks so much better. We took a trip to Canada and Madeline Island in Lake Superior. He also felt good enough to go on the Mustang Run, to Falcon Nationals, and on July 11th, I even managed to set it up for him to meet one of his idols, Jack Rousch of Rousch/Fenway Racing – one of my proudest accomplishment for July of 2016.

He also went to the Falcon Nationals in Baraboo.

He died a week later.

As you can maybe tell, he was a Ford nut. All of his cars were Fords except 2, Lincolns (owned by Ford) I have had little choice but to sell most of them, but I am keeping his 1952 Lincoln Capri and his 1969 Mustang Mach 1, hoping to have them both on the road one day.

His final request was to NOT have his ‘final ride’ in a GD GM product. We used his 1957 F100 pickup as his hearse. I know he was happy about that.

Nick was a loving, generous, kind and fun man. My life was richer for knowing him. He is sorely missed.


Posted in Me

Biking…it’s good for you. Right?

My backside ain’t so sure ’bout dat right now……

Yes, I have a gel seat on my bike.

No, it didn’t seem to help this time.

Can gel get too hard to do any good? hmmmmmmmmmmm

But I tell you! I feel like a million bucks today everywhere else!!!

So I rode my bike up to my friend Kevin’s house. He has an inversion table.


ow OW ow!


I think I need to use it every night. My left hip feels SO much better today. It was incredibly painful at the time but I sure can tell a difference today!

It is a beautiful sunny day. I have my old truck in the parking lot. I put the hood off the Fusion in my truck by myself (YES…I CAN DO IT ALONE!! sense of accomplishment? ACCOMPLISHED!) to get to John tonight. I also meet with Neil who connected with John and those two are figuring out paint for the Fusion. I would like it done and out of my garage. It’s going to be a project but I can’t keep storing these cars. They need to be on the road and in someone ELSE’S garage.

4 cars left to deal with.

1956 Victoria.

1969 Ranchero

2006 Fusion

1989 or 90 Lincoln Mark VII parts car. May just take this one to the junk yard. After I find out what is inside. The missing sled and yard tools perhaps? I’m too chicken to push thru the burning nettles and pull the rubber sheeting off to see what’s hiding in there. My luck it will be masked bandits.


Y’all have a NICE day!!

Posted in Me

Nonna? Can we go to Cancer?

….and wake up Papa?

lennox and his loud eyes

The questions of a 3 1/2 year old.

Oh my little man, I really wish we could!

“Where IS Papa?” – Under your feet, so get off his stomach OK?

“Why is he here?” – because he died, honey.

“Why did he died?” – Because the cancer just got to be too much for him to fight off.

“Can we wake him up?” -no love, we can’t.

“Can I come see him again?” – anytime you want to little man.

“I LOVE YOU PAPA!!!!” – Papa loved you more than life, little man.

Posted in Me

2 of 6

This young man turned 17 yesterday.  We were having some AWESOME wings and fries and egg rolls at this North Side place. This ‘snow globe’ was there. If you could get the golf ball to sit on the tee, you won a free drink. This one got me a drink. The next 3 times he did it, got the rest of the group each a drink.

I love this kid beyond reason. He is so awesome.

Cullans 17th with golf ball

We were sitting across from each other when he looked me in the eye and said “Gramma, it’s 11 months today.” I said I know. I miss him so much Gramma. I know, I miss him too. I think pretty much anyone who knew Papa Nick does, Cullan. He was a force, a strong personality, and he loved his grandchildren with passion.

This little man…what a goof. He’s not understanding what Papa’s leaving is about. So we’ll be going to the cemetery soon. “Can we go visit cancer and see Papa?”

lennox and his loud eyes

Wait ….. what? So we’ll take him to where Papa is and talk to him about it. I’m amazed a 3 1/2 year old remembers something from a year ago. “Papa’s dead, right?” omg yes he is.

lennox and mustache.jpeg

As soon as he was done saying THAT, these photos were taken. He’s such a card. I know he doesn’t understand anything but the fact he can’t see Papa anymore.

This will be a difficult trip.

I left this wonderful family and headed over to meet the birthday boy.

I woke up with a hangover this morning. What a freaking headache for only 2 drinks. I think she used pretty low grade Tequila in my Sunrises.




Posted in Me

422 posts in 4 years

I’ve written a LOT.

Granted some are just photos or funny things, but still.

I’m talking with my friend T, about turning this blog into a book.

I like this idea.

And so does she.

Onward and upward.

Last night we celebrated my #1 grandon’s 17th birthday.


Nonna had her first headache hangover in YEARS.

And I only had 2 drinks.

I must be getting old.

Posted in Me



Here’s a nice photo of a giraffe….my favorite aminal.

So many of you know my Samsung S5 went swimming in the lake on Sunday.  Monday I went into the Verizon store and got all set up with a new S7. Or so I thought.

“It takes 2 days to ship, it will be here Wednesday.”

Good, cause I have Wednesday open, Thursday I have a board meeting, AND it’s my oldest grandson’s 17th birthday, Friday is my Pampered Chef retirement party, Saturday I have to run my truck BACK to Winona for them to fix where they put tire marks on my tailgate, Sunday I have a Graduation party and there is NO way in hello I was waiting for Monday to pick up my phone.

I get there yesterday. “um, I said it takes two days to ship and HOPEFULLY it would be here Wednesday.” Well, no you didn’t and that is why I am here on Wednesday to pick up my phone. And I said “See you Wednesday” when I left on Monday. No rebuttal to THAT.

On Wednesday morning, I tracked the phone on the email I got and it said THURSDAY. So I called the store. Oh we have an S7 in stock. Come on in, we’ll get you set up!

So I stop in on Wednesday after work to find out for some reason the Mfg does NOT track the serial or the SIM card # till AFTER the store receives and scans the bar code on the box. Um…you don’t scan the code BEFORE you ship it to make sure they get the same one?? No wonder inventory is not correct.

So they couldn’t cancel my phone from my account and set up the one they had in stock that came in on TUESDAY. They gave me a loaner iPhone instead.


People? When you are used to Android? iPhones suck. I can do SO much more on my S5 than I can on this …whatever the hell it is. I can’t even find my CONTACT list. I have almost 200 phone #’s in my S5. “Oh good, your contacts transferred.” um….only 30 of them did. Only my daughter’s did. None of the rest of my other families did. None of my grandkids, my friends, my Pchef contacts…….man!

The only thing I do like better is how you listen to your voice mails. MUCH easier.

I checked with Verizon while I was there. I bought my first phone 14 1/2 years ago. This is the FIRST time I’ve ever had to replace a phone due to something gone wrong. I usually just went in every 2 years and got a new one. None of my phones ever stopped working.


So tonight, once again I have to go back to Verizon (out of my way tonite) get my phone, head BACK the other way to my board meeting, then hopefully out for supper with my grandson en fam for his birthday.

Meanwhile, I’m running on too little sleep. Too much to do. Not enough time to get done what I need to get done. A dog that purt near broke my finger. Thank God he’s only 40 lbs or he would have. My other dog has decided he needs to dig in my garbage *bad DOG!!* when I forget to put the ‘twisty’ thing on it. The cat………..*waves hand* …….is the cat.

My friend Greg in CA has been silent for too many days. I worry about that with what is going on with him.

AW is to be here next weekend. Barring any more disasters. I’m getting very nervous now. Excited to meet him finally and yet worried.

I have to spend tonight after I get home, getting ready for my Pchef retirement party Friday night. I need to shop for that too…………….

*…………….makes a list………………….*

Posted in Me

I do strange things in bed….*snortz*

Like last night. I pulled out the Journal I had started writing notes in early June about things as I knew everything was coming to an ‘Ending’?

Nick was getting thinner and thinner. He stopped begging me to stay home with him every day. This is part of the process when they turn into themselves. Incredible highs like Falcon Nationals, meeting Jack Rousch, doing the Mustang Run, our trip to Canada.

And the incredible lows like when we found out after all this time, the tumors were not shrinking but growing and moving to other organs. June 16th the decision was made to stop Chemo. I watched him shrink as he told her; yet walk tall out of the doctors knowing he would feel better for a while. Chemo weighed heavy on him. He just did not have enough weight on to fight the cancer and the side effects of Chemo, too.

Nick did get stronger for a bit. Enough to make our vacation to Canada. Enough to do the Mustang Run and meet Jack, Nick and Larry going to Falcon Nationals. Larry describes the things they did with a smile on his face because Nick would grin. He knew Nick felt like crap but he kept doing things anyway.

He just kept trying.

I love you and I always will. Your spirit never wavered. Your will was strong when your body was not. I miss you.

Posted in Me