Cave Dwellings: May 2014
Cave Dwellings

Buckhorn Creek, Lake O' The Pines, Jefferson, TX

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Gut Check

Well, this has been a long week.  Sometimes things happen that really give us pause to realize just how fleetingly we pass through this earthly presence. Our family had a bit of a reality check last Thursday. I got a call at 2:50AM from our son, telling me that my brother, Michael, was taken to the local hospital(  in Ottawa, IL) with an Aortic Aneurism which left a tear in the Aorta at the back of his heart.  They first did an EKG and found nothing, then a scan and found it.  He was immediately airlifted by helicopter to Peoria, IL for possible emergency surgery to save his life.

Long story short, they did further more intricate scans and decided  he didn’t  need surgery…yet.  He was put on blood pressure meds, 300 mg 3 times a day, and they kept him to observe him.  It seems you can live with just a tear in your Aorta, and you have to have it checked often. He was released from Peoria hospital on Sunday and is home now.  He will be seeing his cardio doc in Peoria in 2 weeks.  They will re-assess and keep observing him.  It is possible that at some time he WILL have surgery. Meanwhile, his blood pressure is to be kept on the low side. What they DON’T want to happen is for the aneurism to rupture suddenly…that would be bad…very bad.  Michael is a bit…a lot like my Dad.  He has no time to be sick and his patience is being tested. Luckily his wife, Helen, worked on our Sandwich Ambulance for a while, and our son and daughter-in-law (paramedic and nurse) will hover and see he behaves..somewhat. In the meantime, he cannot do any more bow hunting. He now has to use a crossbow. (My brother is an avid hunter..deer, turkey…With his beard, he looks like Uncle Si). 


As I said, this was a reality gut check for all of us.  Yes, Heart Disease certainly does run in my family.  But, it could have been much worse. Michael is alive to see our family, and they can fix this if need be…Life is good and Carpe Diem!

MacGyver was called upon by Terrie to help repair their swimming pool filter this week. We use to have an above the ground pool, so he knows lots about those filters..

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Terrie is pretty good at learning how to do things on her own.  She inherited Den’s love of anything problematic and tries to fix it. After watching her Dad work on the pool filter, she now knows what happened and can do what it takes to get it running again. Apparently after the filter sits in the basement all Winter, some things are stuck...I have NO idea what he did, but Den said it probably is fixed and won’t happen again this year. Obviously I am NOT NOT NOT like my husband…John Hatch, (FD5, retired) says “That MacGyver is handier than a pocket on a shirt.”

Dennis and I were busy in our yard putting down 37 bags of mulch…and boy do I feel it!  We have been trying to deal with our Al Qaeda squirrels here in our yard.  Every morning I get up to plants on our deck and in the front of our house being nearly dug out by those nasty rodents!! I stick them back in the dirt and pat it down…every morning..This is getting frustrating!!

On another medical note, I had a Nuclear Parathyroid Scan done at Rush Copley Hospital in Aurora, IL yesterday. I was there from 9:30AM until 1:30 AM.  They injected me with some kind of radioactive juice..waited 15 minutes ..and then CT scanned my neck for 20 minutes. Why is it when someone tells you not to  move for 20 minutes your nose itches??? Anyway, after that I waited another 2 1/2 hours and they did another 10 minute scan…With the radioactivity inside my body, I very possible could have “lit up a room” when I walked in…That would be a first for me!

OK, so this blog is a mish mosh of stuff. And I will add one more item to the stew…I got a real FIND at a garage sale the other day….

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We have here a Twin Star electric Ben Franklin fireplace/heater!

Price? you asked…a mere $3.00!!!! SCORE!!!!!!!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

“In Flanders Field”


In Flanders Field

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

                                                                                                                                                              ~Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, Canadian Army

Monday, May 19, 2014

Great Weekend….followed by Great Monday!

  Last weekend we had another Cave-a-Palooza here at the Cave Casa…..The usual cast of characters, and a few more canine relatives…

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Meet Murpy A.K.A. “Murph” the Weimaraner …and Finley A.K.A. “ Princess Finley, the Silky Terrier. These two are Kelly and Cindy’s new additions.


Princess Finley has her own car seat…Murph could probably fit in a child car seat..Well, maybe not..his legs are longer than most kids!


Molly, A.K.A. Molly Angel, the Black Lab was part of the canine crew too…AND, our local Mayor stopped to say “hi” …Thanks for stoppin’ by Rick!

The reason the Wolff family came up was that Chris was running a Marathon in Schaumburg, IL (up by Chicago) with Terrie and Tim (who were running the 1/2 Marathon there also) on Sunday AM at 7:15 AM.  We all had major food and drink here on Saturday …tacos, lasagna, and adult beverages for those who were NOT running the next day.  Those 3 who were running did not imbibe…they wanted to be 100% and that alcohol will dehydrate ya! 

Chris rode home with Terrie and Tim to Sugar Grove Saturday evening  so she could  hitch a ride with them to Schaumburg at 5:15AM Sunday…John and the boys stayed here Saturday night.  Sunday AM we all got up and left here at 6:35AM.  Den and I drove our truck to Terrie and Tim’s house, left it there, and rode the rest of the way with John and the boys to Schaumburg to watch our family “racers”…

We got there just in time to catch Chris, Ter and Tim at about mile 5 of the race. For those of you who are clueless, the Marathon is a 26.2 mile run, and the half (Mini) Marathon is 13.1 miles…I would have trouble even riding my bike in just the Mini!

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Left, is Chris and right is Ter and Tim….This is where the Marathoners split off from the Half Marathoners…Chris went one way , Ter and Tim went the other way…

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We jumped in the car and caught them at the next check point…Ter and Tim came through first, Chris was a bit later because she was running the full route…This was where we had to leave Ter and Tim and follow Chris for her next check point.  We knew we couldn’t watch both, and Ter and Tim were not far from their finish line…We caught up with Chris one more time before she crossed the finish line…




Lookin’ Good, Chris…on a great pace and still smilin’. At this point I texted Ter and told her we would meet them at the finish line to watch Chris cross it…They had already crossed and it would be about another hour before Chris crossed it. John knew just about when she would cross it. He and Chris ran a Marathon together in Indianapolis, and he knew Chris’s pace…FYI, John ran in the Boston Marathon, 2013…never to be forgotten!

About this point, Aiden and Maddox were getting tired of just waving and cheering for their Mom…They were ready for her to be done and wanted her back with them! We drove back to the finish line and met up with Terrie and Tim..They were there waiting for Chris.  There were still some Half Marathoners coming across the finish line and a few of the Marathoners were beginning to cross too..Everyone had the same finish line, some just ran different mileage to get there….



Still smilin’ 26.2 miles later, Chris crossed the finish line with all of  us screaming and clapping for her!!

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Terrie and Chris had their personal best times…Terrie ran 13.1 miles in 2:27.53 hours ( with a kidney stone, I might add).  Tim ran  13.1 miles in 2:27.55 hours. Chris ran 26.2 miles in 3:48.17hours.


Team Wolff and Team Heiser..and their medals. WOOT!WOOT!

After the race, Den and I hugged the Wolffs goodbye. They were leaving directly from Schaumburg for the drive to Indianapolis. We jumped in Terrie and Tim’s car and rode back to their house to pick up our truck..Thanks to the Wolffs and the Heisers for hauling our mooching asses to and from the race…Yes, we are spoiled.

I said in the title of this blog that we had a great Monday, too.  We sure did. We met John and Bridget (FD5 and his better half) at the Sandwich Fairgrounds where they were camped. We walked up and had coffee with them this morning in their Mobile Suites…Fred and Dennis are in love. Fred IS a rock star!!!

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Having so much fun, they came down to our house and we went to lunch to continue the gab fest…We went to The Bull Moose Bar and Grill, our local attraction in town. I have blogged about this place.  This train car, a Palace Car, served Teddy Roosevelt from 1900 to 1913, and was used in his presidential campaign in 1912. I suggest you click on the link if you are a history buff!  The server took our photo, but the background light fooled the camera…You can, however, see the original stained glass windows.

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OK, we all look a little blurry, but you get the gist of it…We sat inside the old train car for lunch..What a fun day we had. We all came back to our house and laughed and talked for another couple hours…These two are about the vintage of our kids and just as crazy and fun, too!! Thanks for going out of your way, John and Bridget,  to come see the Crazy Caves!

Well, That about does it for another blog. Hey, at least this one was more than just what we ate for dinner and documenting our mulching…We actually DID something!!

"I go running when I have to. When the ice cream truck is doing sixty."

                                                                                                    ~Wendy Liebman


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Memories of the Cougar….

Not much going on here…I am feeling much better, and figured either I passed the kidney stone, or it moved to another location to aggravate me another time. Either way, I’m in a much better place than a few days ago. This past week we had some nice warm temperatures here, and with it came the high humidity. Of course, it would have to be this week that Dennis and I decided to put down 30 bags of mulch in the yard.  We started Monday morning, in the 88 degree heat and high humidity..Not sure what they were, but we were beleaguered by hoards of tiny bugs that BITE!! They seemed to be coming out of the dirt as we dug around.  Even Deep Woods Off wouldn’t keep them from feasting on our flesh. I really got nailed. I guess I  had the most “skin in the game”. I counted 58 bites. (some were behind me and hard to see ;-)  Today it’s Benadryl and After Bite, in heavy doses! And we still have 18 bags left to distribute!!

Since I cannot come  up with one interesting thing we have done, I have chosen to put a few pics of our first 5’er we owned on the blog…a 2004 Keystone Cougar. We owned it almost 4 years before we decided MacGyver’s feet hanging off the end of the bed wasn’t cutting it…Neither were the 3 blow-outs on the tires..That’s when traded up for our 2007 Hiker..So, if you want, join me for a walk down “Cougar Lane”…

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Above left and middle photos were taken at Van Horne, TX on our way to Arizona. Right pic was taken at Alamo Lake State Park, Arizona..Another nice place!

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Above, Den looks across Alamo Lake..They even have bass fishing tournaments there!…The stars at night there are beautiful. too!…no city lights because the nearest little town is 40 miles!

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Above pics taken at Pedernales Falls State Park, the Texas Hill Country..another nice park!


From Pedernales Falls SP we could easily drive to visit Luckenback,TX..”ain’t nobody feelin’ no pain”..




This was taken while you could still drive across Hoover Dam on the way to Las Vegas.  At this time, they had  just begun building an alternative bridge to this one. A bridge that DIDN’T cross the dam.  After 9/11,  the government decided to be smart and avoid another disaster.  A truck full of explosives set off on that bridge over the dam would be a terrible thing to even imagine…Therefore, we can no longer cross that old bridge. I was glad we actually did get to cross it one last time…The Border Patrol and State Police were pulling ALL vehicles over and searching them before allowing anyone to cross!






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I took these photos as we crossed the dam….It sure was a beautiful view…sad that no one can do it anymore, but I understand the reason.

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The 4 photos above were taken in 2005, Noglales, Mexico….when it was still pretty safe to walk across there at the Arizona border…

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Ah, yes…The ol’ Cougar was our very first RV…and we got bitten by “Hitch Itch” immediately! (Left was taken at Rend Lake, IL 2005)

We really had a great time in that Cougar.  I do think it was a bit of a lemon, you can get those now and then.  And we discovered the tire problem was due to a bent axle from the factory. Being dubbed MacGyver, Den ordered a new one from Indiana, went over and picked it up…AND changed the axle himself. By that time, we were dreaming BIGGER!…Our Hiker is almost 7 years old now… Yep, MacGyver’s big paws are now tucked completely under the covers!


Notice here that Dennis was about 30 lbs heavier..and HEY! who the Heck IS that blonde he was with, anyway??????

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

One GREAT young man, and….Stoned, yet again!

  The good news is that we had a great day at the College Champions Illinois Wisconsin track meet last Saturday..The bad news is that I came home to a dreaded reminder that I still have a few errant kidney stones lurking around inside.  Let’s do the best part first..the track meet.

Our great nephew, Joshua Eisenberg, is graduating from Augustana College, Rock Island IL, this May.  Not only does he have 3.96 GPA, but he has competed athletically all through college. This year he competed in the CCIW championships Heptathlon (indoor), getting first place, he also competed in the CCIW championship Decathlon (outdoor) and got 2nd place. We were there for that one. Oh, and did I mention he has been accepted at Loyola University in Chicago to study Pre-Med….I recommend you click this LINK to read the article in the paper about our Joshua Eisenberg. .Here are a few photos of Josh…

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A beautiful campus…on the right we saw this Heron eyeballing the fish in one of the ponds on campus…


Above is Leanne standing next to the hurdles Josh jumped over..They come up to her chest, and these are the LOW hurdles!

There were 10 events to compete in and it lasted 2 days.  The first 5 were done on Friday, but we didn’t make it for those..The last 5, Hurdles, Pole Vault, Javelin, Discus and 1500 meter run were done Saturday…and we were there to cheer him on!!

joshfans Couple on bottom to Josh’s right are his Grama Coultrip and her friend…Next to Josh on right is his Grampa Eisenberg (Den’s brother-in-law). Next row up left to right are Brenda,( Josh’s proud Mom), Tom (Josh’s Uncle), Leanne (Josh’s Aunt), and me. Top row is Mark, Josh’s happy Dad, and Dennis.  The meet was held at North Central College in Naperville, IL, and what a wonderful day we had. We did a little tail gaiting in between events.

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Molly, Tom and Leanne’s new dog went along with us..She was such a good girl. She is about 11 weeks old and 22 lbs. now.

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Molly couldn’t go out on the “astroturf” football field, so she watched from the sidelines. Obviously she was worn out from so much action.

So, now with the “bad”….As the day wore on Saturday, I began having familiar “pangs” reminiscent of my battle with many kidney stones over the years…Lets see:

1967…first kidney stone, 1968…another one….reprieve for a few years….1974, third one, while I was pregnant with Chris, no less...This was a whopper! The surgeon had to go in and dig it out of my kidney. I have the scar in my back to prove it and I was hospitalized 3 weeks. These days they just blast them with ultrasound…something called Lithotripsy. Oh, and I had that done with my 4th kidney stone in 2006. But WAIT! There’s more! I had another one that year, the Doc snuck in through the “trap door” and snagged yet another one by the horn and drug it into daylight. Nope, not done yet! Kidney stone number 6 appeared in 2010…another “blasting” was in order. SHEESH!!!

My Urologist is a God-Man.  I showed up at his office in Aurora unannounced and with no appointment, last Monday morning. He worked me in and ordered a KUB (kidney xray), ordered me some pain meds and I went home and waited for the call. Can I just say that the back pain is excruciating, but the pelvic/ “down there” pain is almost worse..Let’s see, how can I gently describe this?  It feels like there is a little knife stabbing into you, and it’s coming up from the toilet to get you…if you get my drift. AND you spend most of  your time on the “throne” trying to pee.  AND when  you do,  it is much akin to battery acid…How’s that for a fun time?

Long story short, yesterday the whole nightmare magically just went away…Either I passed the stone and wasn’t aware, or…it moved to a place that isn’t bothering me, waiting to strike again.  I prefer the first explanation.  Enough about my almost Merry Medical Mother’s Day…So….how is everyone else doing?

“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best two cures for anything.”

                              ~ Irish Proverb