Sunday, December 28, 2008

To Uncle John, with love

Uncle John died of complications of surgery and life at 4AM this morning. We are, to say the least, mourning the loss of our favorite uncle.

The hospital called yesterday while my brother and I were cleaning up John's house in anticipation of his return home.

They told us his blood pressure was falling and his kidneys shutting down. They were taking him to the cath lab to see if it had something to do with his heart.

Mike and I took off for Billings. The doctors did their best, but there were too many things going wrong at the same time.

Cousin Kay was with him when he passed on. She is the most spiritual person I know and as hard as it was for her, we are very thankful that she was there for him.

He knew, right up until the last few minutes, exactly what was going on and made the choice to accept the pain medications that ended his life.

Uncle John has been a part of nearly every aspect of our lives for as long as I can remember. I really can't imagine life without him.

John's main concern at the end of his life (as it had been since she came to him), was for his beloved dog, Tilley. We will do our best to make her remaining years happy.

Friday, December 26, 2008


Just a brief note to wish everyone a belated Merry Christmas. Things have been crazy here, as it seems they have mostly been since I came home.

I blogged about my dad being hospitalized with pneumonia over Thanksgiving and I want to let you all know he is doing very well now. He spends most of his days "paddling" around the nursing home, chit chatting with the staff and other residents. He even played checkers with another resident yesterday! Rumor has it they didn't exactly follow the rules, but I figure if you want to make up your own rules at the age of 85, go for it, you've earned the right!

Continuing with the trend of elderly family members being hospitalized during the holidays, my favorite uncle spent Christmas in the Billings Hospital. My brother had taken him to the local hospital at 12:30 AM on Monday. The doctor mistakenly identified a hernia as the cause of his excruciating pain and sent him home with a truss.

Several hours later the pain became unbearable and Mike brought him to Columbus and I took him on to Billings to a hospital there. The doctors did a cat scan and he was in surgery an hour later. They discovered a cancerous blockage in his colon. The doctors are quite certain they got it all, but sent off lymph nodes to the lab to be sure.

Needless to say, Uncle missed out on the family Christmas celebration, but we are thrilled that he is doing well and should be coming home tomorrow or Sunday.

This is just one more reason I am thankful to be home and very grateful that I am able to be here now, when both my dad and uncle need me.

I guess you really can go home...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Timing is everything...

Things happen for a reason. Be they good, bad or indifferent, if you keep an open mind, I believe you will see a reason behind everything.

While I hadn’t really planned on quitting my job the way that I did, the timing really couldn’t have been any better.

I had just mailed my resignation letter, when dad got sick with pneumonia.

I spent two nights with him at the nursing home and he just wasn’t getting any better, so my brother and I decided to break the living will and have him admitted to the local hospital for more aggressive treatment.

The doctor and nurses pumped him full of fluids and antibiotics and gave him breathing treatments every few hours. They could not have been nicer to him or to me. In fact they doted on me as if I were a patient most of the time.

They tried, gently, to let me know that he might not make it, but me being me and all, didn’t want to consider that possibility. I carried on as if he were wide awake, talking to him and telling him how much better he was getting. Mike came in before and after work and the cousins came to see him as often as possible as well.

It was a tough fight, the first couple of days he didn’t respond very well to treatment. He wouldn’t eat anything and barely woke up most of the time. I napped by his bedside, holding his hand and telling him I loved him. I have to say there were times when I was afraid to close my eyes for fear he would pass away while I slept…

Along about day four, dad started to rally. He was hungry, a very good sign!

It was decided that he had aspiration pneumonia, which is caused by the inability to swallow properly. The food goes down into the lungs and causes pneumonia. A very wonderful speech pathologist came in and worked with dad on his swallowing. Food was ground and liquids were thickened. Dad was soon eating like his old self!

Soon daddy was back in his wheelchair, paddling around the hospital, grinning at the nurses, and then it was time to return to the nursing home. The nurses were sad (but happy, If you know what I mean) to see him leave, but the nursing home patients and staff were ecstatic!

Things happen for a reason. If I hadn’t quit my job when I did, I would not have been able to spend all those days and nights with dad. I am not saying that I think he wouldn’t have made it without me, because I know how strong he is and how much he enjoys life, I’m just saying that I would have felt awful if I had not been able to be there for him.

The timing of my job resignation could not have been better for another reason too. The day after I officially decided not to return, I read a help wanted ad in the local paper. Applications were due at 4:30 , Friday (the next day), so I updated my resume’ and filled out the forms. I made it to the HR office with 20 minutes to spare.

On Monday they called to set up an interview. The following Monday I interviewed for the position and they called me at 8 am the next morning to offer me the job. Of course I took it! The pay is good and the benefits are outstanding! The biggest “perk” is being about 2 minutes from dad. I eat lunch with him every day and go see him when I get off of work at 5.

It doesn’t get much better than that, does it?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I am very thankful

I have been a blog slacker lately, but for good reason. Dad has been in the hospital with aspiration pneumonia, which is fairly common in patients with Parkinson's disease. It was touch and go for awhile, but he is doing much better now and will most likely be returning to the nursing home tomorrow.

The staff at the hospital has been wonderful to him and are going to miss him, but the folks at the nursing home are excited that he is returning.

In other news, Wolf DID make a it home for Thanksgiving and a wonderful time was had by all. We had a huge family gathering in Billings and then went to see dad. He ate a monstrous meal of pureed turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie and whipped cream.

I forgot my camera, but Wolf took quite a few with his cell phone and will send them to me when he gets back to Denver. He is on the way as I write this post. The roads are nasty, so please say a little prayer for his safety if you would.

I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving, and I will try to post more frequently in the future.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


It's official. I've resigned my job and am moving on with my life. I gave so much of myself to my work that there was nothing left for me. I plan to change that and am, in fact, doing so as I type.

With the help of some wonderful friends and family members, I have moved from my apartment in Forsyth. Emily and I are happily ensconced in our new digs and enjoying it very much.

I am doing some part-time work on web design and graphic art work and may also be doing some photography. It seems odd to be making money doing the things that I love, but I'm not complaining.

In other news, my son may be coming home for Thanksgiving and if so we are planning a huge family bash. I promise this time there will be pictures.

I have a lot going on right now and will fill you all in on the details when I have more time. Suffice it to say I am healing well and enjoying all that life has to offer.

Monday, October 20, 2008

All is good...

You know how you can save voicemails on your cell phone and they periodically come up for review, then you listen to them again and determine if you want to save or delete?

Well today the voicemail Cousin Dale left when he arrived at the hospital in Denver for his bone marrow transplant in March of 2007 came up for renewal.

This is not an unusual event in and of itself, it does so every 40 days...but that it came due today, on my 52 birthday, when I am convalescing from surgery (I'm so not a good patient), away from my son, my favorite feline, unable to visit my dad and feeling quite sorry for myself, does seem a bit uncanny.

I choose to believe that it is Dale's way of telling me, as he said in his message to me, "all is good".

Thanks, Dale.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Saying ta ta to the ta ta's...

I've had neck problems for most of my adult life, but they have worsened considerably in the last 2 years. The doctor said it is because my body has gotten smaller, but the "girls" have not.

I woke up in the morning shortly after my 16th birthday with enormous breasts. I was a tall, thin and lanky and loved to play basketball and shoot pool and these unwanted female accessories did nothing but foul up my free shot and my break. In later life, my son's friends would comment to him that I had "bodacious ta tas". Sigh...

My recent weight loss has put a lot of stress on my neck. Apparently the girls, who haven't shrunk at all in cup size, are too heavy, now, for my significantly smaller frame.

Neck problems, shoulder problems, numb arms and hands and a constant headache finally took me to a doctor who told me she thought the cause of my malaise was my overgrown knockers.

Having long since tired of having the pains and aches they cause, I visited a plastic surgeon who, after a myriad of tests they apparently have to give to a woman of my advanced years, advised a breast reduction.

I am NOT a fan of surgery of any type and the thought that my mammary glands would be whittled upon truly scared the sh*t out of me, but a two month headache finally turned the tide and I decided to go for it.

Tomorrow is the big day. I have had almost 3 weeks to "prepare" myself for the operation...and the closer I get, the more nervous I become. The kid cousins have entertained me with shopping, board games, twister and even poker, and it has been a godsend to have them keeping my mind off of things, but as the time draws nearer, I have to say I'm very anxious.

I just have to keep thinking that by doing this I will be free from the headaches, my shoulder and neck will stop aching all the time and it is even possible that men will notice that "my eyes are up here".

I believe it is a win-win situation, but after having waited this long...a monstrous winter storm has hit the city of Billings, knocking out power lines and causing all kinds of chaos. My hope now is that the weather will stabilize and I will be able to have the surgery in the morning and all will go well.

And I will finally be able to say ta ta to the ta tas.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

They say it's your birthday...

It's that time of year again when I beg you all to send my daddy birthday cards.

His birthday is September (thanks WW) 29 and since that is a Monday, we are holding the party the Saturday before.

There will be cake!

And balloons!

And presents!

And most importantly...


and friends.

A few will be missing for one reason...

or another

but we know their spirits will be with us.

So please, if you have a moment this week, send a card to dad. It would mean a lot to all of us.

Bill Kelley
350 West Pike Avenue
Columbus, MT 59109

And if you are in the neighborhood, by all means, stop by! We'd love to have you join us.

Friday, September 05, 2008

What I did on my summer vacation...

Much of my vacation was spent enjoying the company of my wonderful family and friends. I doted on daddy, spent time with the cousins and kidcousins and even saw my brother for a short while. I truly had a magnificent time.

I hardly even thought of work, for once (thanks for that, Bobbi--friend and co-worker), and was able to unwind for the first time in I can't remember how long.

I even managed to take a one day trip to Yellowstone Park, but true to form lately I forgot my camera! Thankfully my companion had an old one along so I was able to get a few shots, including this one of an elk and her youngun' wading in the Yellowstone River.

And this one of a buffalo (why, oh why did I forget my freaking camera?).

Here's one my friend insisted on taking. Once again I say, how much weight do I have to lose before I only have one chin? Does anyone know the name of a good plastic surgeon?

Our turbo trip took us to Yellowstone Lake, probably my favorite place of all, where the last three shots were taken.

So there you have it in a nutshell.

I've missed you all and very much look forward to going to your blogs to catch up with what is going on in your lives.

Big hugs and lots of love,


Monday, August 18, 2008

Color Me GONE!

Flatlanders, eat your hearts out. I am going here...

and here...

To see most of my favorite beings in the universe.

Don't hate me, please, but in four days I will be escaping the confines of my office and life here in Forsyth to go to Billings and Absarokee. I'll see my dad, my brother, my cousins, the kidcousins, Shasta the Disasta and Gabby girl.

In order to make my escape, I have to put in a hellishly long week (3 major events to put on in three days), but it will be worth it in the long run. I am taking eleven, count them, 11 days off and I'm telling the office that unless someone loses an arm or a leg, I don't even want to know about it!!!

So hugs to you all...

and have a fantastic week!

Saturday, August 09, 2008


Obviously, I've not been blogging much. There are several reasons...

I work too much.

It's been too hot and the central air in my apartment isn't working very well.

A gal's gotta sleep sometime!

Seriously's currently 98 degrees outside, 82 inside, and although I usually LOVE LOVE LOVE the hot weather, it is starting to get old.

Today I found myself longing for...

I'm scared to say it...

Are you ready for this...


Sunday, July 20, 2008


My brother Mike is a doter. He took wonderful care of our mother and now of our dad. He spoils his nephew (Wolf), Uncle John, the kid-cousins and pretty much everyone he knows, (including myself) rotten.

His dog, Shasta, is as extremely well taken care of and so are his two newly acquired cats.

A few examples...

His cats, Cuddles, the one he inherited from Lois our favorite neighbor, and Floyd, the one that traded in his old owner (traded up in my opinion), were shedding quite a lot. I attributed it to the change in weather, but Mike set out to find a solution to the problem.

Since neither of them were fond of being brushed (can you say kevlar gloves and sleeves needed?), he went to Pet Smart and bought them kitty treats that were
guaranteed to prevent excessive hair loss in felines.

There was one had to get them to eat them. Neither cat was at all interested in the crunchy delights, in fact they avoided them like the plague...going so far as to walk around them on the floor or even leave the room altogether.

Mike, in his infinite wisdom, decided that the treats were
RADIOACTIVE so I agreed to take them home with me.

My cat, Emily, did NOT find them radioactive, in fact she loved them so much that she carried the bag around in her mouth...she loved them so much that I have recently bought stock in the company.

Not long after the ill-fated cat treat adventure, Mike went online in search of the perfect cat condo.

A few weeks later it arrived in the mail. Standing almost 7 feet tall it had seven levels upon which were situated a house, a cave, several pedestals of varying sizes and a hammock. Yes...a hammock. :-|

Once again...

Apparently Emily is immune to radiation.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


I haven't had any time for blogging or anything else lately. Today I had some downtime, before going to job #2 and when I tried to view blogs (my own included) I was unable to do so.

I'm not sure when this started...a friend from Canada said he's not having the same problem, so I'm not sure if this is my computer (and the dreaded Vista) acting strangely or if there is a problem somewhere else.

So...I'm asking that you please let me know if you had the same problem and if so, how did you fix it.

Thanks so much!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

It takes many colors to make a rainbow...

As most of you know, I'm the proud mother of a wonderful gay man.

On my recent trip to visit him, I was lucky enough to be able to attend PrideFest 2008. It was an incredible gathering of incredible people who were there to celebrate diversity.

I could NOT have had a better time. I was loud and I was proud!

The photos that follow were taken at the parade held on Sunday, June 22 in beautiful downtown Denver.

I cried a dozen times during the 10 hours we were in downtown Denver, hanging out with my son and his friends.

I cried for joy at the beauty I saw, the hands of the young lovers entwined...the parents marching in support of their gay children...the children marching in support of their gay parents...the mothers and grandmothers arm in arm...all of those things made me cry.

Other things made me cry too, but not for joy: the words of my son's roommate who said Pride weekend was the one weekend of the year that he could hold hands with his lover in public without fear of being mocked...the people holding rude signs and chanting "repent sinners" as the parade passed by their "church", and most of all, I cried when I thought of all the young gay men and women who had to move from states like Montana and Wyoming to find a modicum of acceptance in the big city.

I wish I was a poet, or even a writer...I'd have profound words to say...words that would make a difference, but I'm not and I don't and I can't.

Next year Pridefest will be held on June 27th and June 28th in downtown Denver and I'm going to be there. Once again I'm going to be loud and proud.