Monday, February 26, 2007

The Basswood Eagle

Today we were sitting in the computer room, when suddenly, out of the
window Dick saw a huge eagle land in one of our basswood trees. The eagle was
busy fishing the river - watching the fishing hole very carefully. He
took off and went up the river, but then he turned around and landed in
the same tree.

He was big and beautiful - an awesome sight - up close
and personal :)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Kraut Babies

Tim and Susie's cabin on the Manistee was our destination today. We learned how to make kraut babies - no kidding!

You take thawed out bread dough and roll it out and cut it into
triangles or rectangles - it really doesn't matter. Then you load the
cut-outs with cooked hamburger meat, sauerkraut, cheese, and
seasonings, pull the dough over all and bake for approx. 20 - 25
minutes. Yum! Serve withmustards and a big salad.

Tim did all of the rolling and cutting, Susie was in charge of the meat and the
terrific salad, and Dick and I filled 'em up and stuck in the

We stayed for about 4 hours, assembling, baking, eating, and drinking cherry wine. It was a delightful afternoon. Thanks Tim and Susie.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Obituary For Mom - 1908-2007

Mother's nurse at Bortz called at 10:30 p.m. last night to report that Mother had passed away peacefully. We had been with her all afternoon, and then I called to check on her at 9:30 p.m. and at that time the report was that she was breathing shallowly.
This is the obituary that will appear in the Record-Eagle:
Marian Geib Kanitz passed away on February 17 at Bortz Health Care at the age of 98. She lived to an advanced age with grace, dignity, intelligence and independence.

She was born September 8, 1908 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the daughter of Fred Peter and Mary Blanche Rice Geib. Marian graduated from Grand Rapids South High School in 1926 and the University of Michigan in 1930. She was recently honored for the 75th anniversary of her membership in Alpha Xi Delta sorority. For one year after graduation she taught physical education in Grand Rapids.

On June 27, 1931 she married Tharel T. (Dutch) Kanitz, and they were wed for 68 years when he passed away in 1999. Dutch and Marian lived in Mt. Vernon, Iowa and Big Rapids, Michigan before moving to Traverse City in 1941.

In the 1940s and 1950s, she was an active volunteer for the American Red Cross. She also administered Civil Service tests, and substituted in the First Congregational Church office. Marian was a salesclerk for over 25 years at the J.W. Milliken department store in downtown Traverse City until her retirement in 1970.

For four decades, she and Dutch went to University of Michigan home football games in Ann Arbor, and she maintained her interest in sports into her nineties. She was a member of the First Congregational Church, Munson Medical Center Auxiliary, the Ahgosa Dance Club, and many bridge clubs. After retirement, she became an active volunteer in the First Congregational Church Thrift Shop, and the Munson Medical Center Gift Shop. She enjoyed walking to her volunteer positions from her home in the Central neighborhood, where she lived in the same house for 53 years.

Marian was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Tharel (Dutch) Kanitz, three siblings in infancy, and two sisters, Katherine Geib Block and Dorothy Geib Marvin.

She is survived by her brother Frederick (Ruth) Geib of Traverse City, and sister Eleanor Geib Ross of San Diego, her son James (Emilie) Kanitz of Saginaw, her daughter Nancy (Richard) Steiger of Traverse City, five grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.

The family would like to thank the staff at both Concord Place and Bortz Health Care for their compassionate and thoughtful care of Mother over the past two years.

Marian has requested that no memorial services be held. Cremation has taken place, and interment will be in Oakwood Cemetery with graveside services at a later date. Memorial donations may be directed to the First Congregational Church, 6105 Center Road, Traverse City.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


We enjoyed our workout at Vital Step this morning. There are so many nice folks there working out alongside you - sharing stories and talking about the weather. Most of them are there because of some kind of past injury or heart problem, and most of them are in their sixties and seventies. They come to stay flexible and strong, and to get their hearts beating.

In the afternoon, we went to the hospital where my Aunt Ruth (age 89) is on oxygen and morphine, and appears to be at the end of her life. She is totally unaware and unresponsive.

After that visit, we went to Bortz where Mother (age 98) is on oxygen and appears to be at the end of her life. Mom is weaker and less responsive than I have seen her for the past two weeks.

These two lovely ladies are both in such a sad condition that one can only hope that they don't linger long. Neither one of them during their lives would have wanted things to end this way - to be totally dependent upon others for everything.

Is this what lies ahead for all of the kind folks at Vital Step, including us? Are we all strengthening our bodies and hearts so that we can lie longer in a nursing home bed unaware of our surroundings? How ironic.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Winter Social

We had a wonderful trip - we enjoyed every minute. The weather was bitterly cold, but we had so much fun it didn't matter. The Event was in Eureka, but we all stayed in DeWitt because Eureka is kind of a non-place, although the Hall was perfect.

We even managed to find 4 caches despite the cold. The Event on Saturday was super special. Here is Dick's log:

2/10/2007 You attended MiGO Winter Social 2007 "5th anniversary" (Event Cache)

Since this was our first trip in more than six months, we knew we'd enjoy ourselves, but this event surpassed our expectations. Our event started the night before when we were warmly greeted by Sandrich and CoyChev as we pulled into the motel parking lot. The last time I saw something as large as the new CoyChev-mobile wiggle its ears was in a Walt Disney movie. They were on their way to Eureka to join the other volunteers in setting up the hall. You can get a feel for cachers through their profile, their finds and hides, their "age" and forum posts, but as we have matured in "the game" we recognize that most of what keeps us going and growing happens behind the scenes with little public awareness. We are deeply grateful to all of you who hustle and bustle around out of our sight keeping the rest of us happy.
Arriving at the hall on Saturday, we were signed in by the LightPeople and then directed to Aardvark and Soggy Boots to check in our auction items. All this time, S&B and the other busy beavers were putting the finishing touches on the hall. We are deeply grateful for all of you and your efforts.
Thanks also to Banjo Jim, Slewfoot, Fiddlefingers and Retro J for their contributions to the excellence of the event. You certainly do play our kind of music.
We don't want to leave the regional VP's off out kudos list. Thanks to Sleepy, Victory and 333 for your efforts and reports. We'd like to thank also, those who contributed to the auctions and those who bid. We know that the money will empower the BoD to continue building a vibrant organization. A special thanks to those who bid on our items, we are looking forward to the excursions as much as you are.
Congratulations to the coin recipients, Trashcan, Cache Hound, Max B, Radman, Cyclops and S&B. We're glad that we had a chance to chat with all of you. Your honor is well deserved. Finds are nice but more important is the honor and respect of your peers.
Finally, to those friends new and old that we had a chance to chat and laugh with, thanks for being there. The day would not have been the same without you. To those who attended and we missed greeting, we look forward to the next time. We know that cachers that we haven't met are friends we haven't made yet. To the long list of folks that we had hoped to see but who were unable to attend, we missed you and hope to see you at an event in the future.

Susie is helping me decide what to bid for. I won the scrapbooking basket!

Here we are - enjoying every minute!

Friday, February 09, 2007

On the Road Again!

Spent an hour and a half with Mother first before we left for the Winter Social. Mother is pretty much the same. Four aides came in while I was there. One of them said to Mother, "How are you doing?" Her response was "Not".

This geocaching event is giving us the chance for our first road trip since my injury in July. The therapist told me that I shouldn't sit longer than 2 hours without walking around a bit. That turned out to be no problem at all. We had lunch at "real mashed potatoes" in Cadillac, and dinner at The Wheel Inn in St. Louis. Real American Food (read bland) at both places.

We found one cache this afternoon, and then decided that it's just way too cold to go caching. We're leaving it to the younger set.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Hooray for Brothers and Fudgsicles!

Took Subie the Subaru to Jerry (Trashcan) for refurbishing so we'll be ready for our trip to the Winter Social this weekend. I stopped off first to visit Mother.

She's officially on palliative care (comfort care) which means no trips to the hospital and no heroic treatments or equipment. They've taken her off most of her meds, which has resulted in a limited return of appetite - the meds were making her sick!

Today while I was there she ate 3 fudgsicles - the perfect food - she can eat it herself, it doesn't have to be cut up, and it's tasty.

My brother came up from Saginaw on Tuesday, and he's coming up again on Saturday so that we can go to the Winter Social with a clear conscience. Hooray for Brothers!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Son from Saginaw

First we had Vital Step, and then we went to Bortz to meet Jim, who drove up from Saginaw today.

It was splendid timing, because while we were all there, the nurse practitioner came in and officially explained how Bortz handles "comfort care". She talked to Mother, and to all of us and it was very helpful and educational for everyone. She's taking Mother off of most of her meds, but leaving the oxygen on because that helps to make her more comfortable. Mother is now officially on palliative care only.

Jim and I went over some financial details - I handed over the tax documents to him - yaaaaaay!

The three of us went out to lunch, which was most enjoyable. We went to South City Limits - and Jim and I had meat loaf - it's genetic! We were so glad he came.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Sad Super Sunday

Today Mother was very weak - unable to eat or drink anything, and barely able to talk. She lays very still and quiet in her bed - there's no complaining or moaning and groaning or anything like that - just silence. She spoke less than 2 dozen words the whole time I was there today. Her longest sentence was "Why do I have to be so sick?"

We take comfort in the fact that the Bortz staff is very upbeat, thoughtful, and considerate. They are taking very good care of Mom. I think that basically Mother is living her worst nightmare - being totally dependent on others. It's a very helpless feeling for me - all I can really do is just be there for her - and she keeps telling me to go home!

Dick made great chili - in fact it was Super Bowl Chili. We're rooting for Chicago.
P.S. Our support didn't help the Bears - it was probably a jinx!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Queen of the Snow

First you take bushels and bushels of light, fluffy snow. Then add gusty winds for lots of blowing and drifting. Temperatures in the single digits add to the general ambiance. This is definitely our week of winter. It's quite beautiful really. I feel a little like the Snow Queen of Narnia.

Visited Mom at Bortz while Dick went shopping at Sam's Club and Meijer. He bought lots of groceries plus 10 fifty pound bags of salt for the water softener. He got the ingredients for our Super Bowl chili tomorrow. When Dick got back to Bortz, we went out to lunch at La Senorita and had yummy quesadillas.

Mother seems about the same today as yesterday. By late afternoon though, her voice was a mere whisper - very weak indeed. She's still not eating or drinking.

When Dick came to pick me up around 4, we went for a little ride around town and then headed home through the whiteness of the bushels and bushels of snow.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Very Still, Very Pale

The day began with successful questing on WoW. At 6 a.m. I started working on the Sea Lion quest which involves joining the Pendant of Aquatic Endurance from the ocean near Silverpine Forest with the Pendant of Aquatic Agility from Sludge Fen. (You can google it if you're confused.) Ta Da !

We planned the day - at 10 a.m. a haircut for me at BoTangles while Dick went to Jiffy Lube. Then we planned to stop in at Bortz to say hi before running a couple of errands, and then have lunch at La Senorita.

When we entered Mom's room we were shocked to see her in bed lying very still, looking very pale, and on oxygen. She wasn't able to tell us what was wrong - when asked "How are you?" she just said, "Not very good". It was especially shocking to me because since I've known Mother, she has never spent a day in bed outside of a hospital.

Dick went off to run the errands and I sat down by Mother and tried to figure out what was wrong. Right away the head nurse for Mom's unit, Denise, came in to update me. They think that Mother experienced a myocardial infarction sometime around 9 or 9:30. She had chest pains and was having trouble breathing. Dr. Jackson was called in, and he gave her nitro under the tongue, and ordered the oxygen.

Since we were not home when they tried to contact us, Denise called Jim. She said she felt she had to notify someone in the family. I called Saginaw and Emilie said that Jim was on the road on his way to T.C. Since we were having a very snowy day with 8 inches predicted, I told her it was a good idea for her to call Jim and have him turn around since Mother seemed stable and was comfortable and was not alone and also because it was a bad travel day weatherwise. Jim called from Freeland and I explained the situation. He had a chance to talk to Mom and she told him there was nothing he could do - so he turned around and went back home.

Dick brought me iced tea and lunch, and I elected to stay by Mother, so he went home.
While I was with her she would rouse about once or twice an hour, say a few words and then go back to sleep. I think there were about 9 or 10 different people who came in to see how she was doing, and if there was anything she needed. She didn't eat all day, and took about 4 sips of water the whole time I was there.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Stool Scoot

Day 2 of Vital Step went really well. Dick and I both have trouble with the elliptical trainer - we'll see how much progress we can make! One of Dick's hardest assignments is the stool scoot. (Explanations available upon request!) My hardest is still the leg lifts - my left leg is still noticeably weak, but it has to be improving, right? I've been in therapy since Nov. 1 .... so it has to be better than before!

This morning we got my bowl of oatmeal at the Hard Luck Cafe. It was perfect! Really really hot and yummy.