Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My children

We had 5 children and they are such a blessing to me. I will let them tell you about their children. Since we moved a lot , we were not around the grandchildren a lot.

Currently, the children all live in Colorado. They live scattered except for our son and his wife and their 2 children, ages 9 and 7 who live in Cotopaxi. Nelson's wife , Cruz is my 5th daughter and I love her like my own. Nelson is the photographer, April is my caretaker, Elaine is the computer wizard, Colleen is making silver jewelry, and Jennifer is doing a little bit of everything. They are all very talented and artistic. I won't bore you anymore with all their talents. I am just a loving mother. I am now 77 years old.

Finished blogging for awhile : IT MUST BE TIME TO MOVE AGAIN.

Garden friends

When word spread around that I was going to retire, friends began to ask, what would I do. Of course they all knew I was a 'painter' . I said, "I think I'd like to plant some flowers. "
Gardeners are the most generous people that I know! The spring before I retired in 1994. People began to give me flowers and bulbs. Some I had to plant in the snow and mud.

Amazingly a lot of them grew and flourished. There was a small irrigation ditch running through town, behind my property. There were openings for water to be let in and shut off. Every spring the ditch needed to be cleaned. So there were lots of digging little ditches to different flowrs. It grew to be a large garden, and I put many favorite rocks around in the garden. I always had a cat or two to keep me company.

I took pictures and painted pictures of all the flowers ,cats , moutains and cliffs. I had "come and paint" groups every year. It was a busy time, and in Jehovah's great sun and wind and dirt and friends, the hole in my heart healed.
I also fit in some vacations with friends to the great south west, and back to the ocean and then across the country. How great to have 10 years of retirement!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Keenesburg, Co.

Keenesburg, Colorado is a farming community north and east of Denver. In 1987, it was a farming community and if you know anything about farmers and their families, they are plain good people. It was a good place to work and live.

The hospital in Greeley sponsored the clinic there as an outreach to the hospital. It was North Colorado Hospital Center at that time. The doctors trained young doctors in a 3 year program to be Board Certified in Family Practice. On Wed. afternoon, I would go to class with the young doctors and listen to lectures by Physicians on various subjects. I would also pick up supplies for the clinic. It was a good place to learn! The rest of the week, I would see people about their various problems, A doctor would come to see patients one afternoon a week.

Before I took this job, Leon and I discussed the pros and cons, It was 150 miles or so from Cotopaxi, and he liked it so well in Cotopaxi, That we rented an apartment for us in Keenesburg and we went back and forth on the weekends. It was not an easy solution but we made it work out.

In 1988 to 1994 , my mother from Indiana came to live in an apartment next to ours. Her greatest regret was missing her cousin that she had lived around all her life, and other friends and not driving a car! Leon would always come and take her to doctor appointments. He was very good to her and with her. She grew legally blind which was very difficult for her . In her last 6 months we had respite care come 24 hours a day. I had told her that I would not put her in a nursing home. My great friend Carol Herold was a great help with mother, and she is still a great friend.

Before my mother died, Leon was having heart problems again . He decided on having some experimental surgery at University Hospital in Denver. He lived 6 weeks. When I told my mother that he was not going to make it. She said ," Oh no, I will die before him" But he made it first.

Six months later, Leon's mother died, and about 8 months later, my mother died. The 3 deaths left such a hole in my heart. Yes, you who have expierenced it, know what I mean. At the end of 8 years in Keenesburg, I retired from 46 years of nursing and bought a little house in Cotopaxi. Home again

Working Part Time

Westcliffe Clinic was going through some problems finding Physician coverage , so I quit all my jobs and was on call every other weekend. This went on for about 3 years and then I filled in for some Nurse Practitioners vacation time etc. It still gave us time to travel a little and explore the country. Above is an old mill south of Creede, Co. It was still in pretty good shape at that time. Creede was a great place to find Creede agate, but gradually the old mining spots were closed to everyone. Some great scenery . We loved the back roads from Creede to Lake City and Lake City to Silverton. I especially remember one tent camping trip in New Mexico where we had a snowstorm. All night long the wind blew, and we would hear one car leave and then another, and another. Finally our tent blew down on top of us and we just snuggled a little deeper in our down sleeping bags. When it was dawn, we were the only ones left in the campground!

Monday, March 17, 2008


One of a family of five brothers and a sister. What a great family they have been and still are. They are all great story tellers. When someone begins a story, it is not long until all the grand kids and nieces and nephews etc. are trying to find a place to set and listen. You will have to come and visit for those stories!

Early in our marriage, we decided not to have television. A few of us manage that. Of course the first thing our children bought when they left home was a t.v. We always had books, and even moved books, on all our travels. Leon read a lot in encyclopedia's and remembered what he read. He also had a technicals library on building , mathematical equations, engines etc. And we studied the Bible.

A college professor said " he could talk to anyone on any level about any subject".
He loved kids. On Halloween, he always came up with something different. One year he took a jar of peanut butter and spead it on bread while the kids were watching and then tried to put it in their goodie sack. Then he would say something like"Dont you like peanut butter and jelly?"

And a delightful picture I have of him is when he had taken the Bible from a Jehovah Witness and was explaining the scripture to him!

When we traveled, he would know about the towns we passed through. He was like a personal travel guide.

I have not said much about him, but I could not have done better for a life companion.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Back to Cotopaxi-Westcliffe.Co

Home Again ! and I went to Westcliffe to work as the school nurse, the public health nurse, the Family Nurse Practitioner, and started a Home Health Program along with a well child clinic, and I was on call again! Never a dull moment. I was interviewing an LPN to work in the Home Health Program when I asked her if she wanted a cup of coffee or tea. She replied," no thanks" I said are you a Mormom? and she said she was! How funny, I had just left the Mormons.

Someone said one day," How terrible that we have so many different churches in this little town.". I said , " No it is wonderful" . It has been a great lifetime to live where we have had freedom to worship as we please. When else in history has this occurred? I'm afraid that the freedom will end when the Moslem's take over. Hopefully, I will not live to see that!

It was in 1980 that our son gave us our first SLR camera and I began to learn about taking pictures. Westcliffe is a great place to take pictures and to paint pictures.

Yes by 1983, I was developing the popular "burn out" in my nursing so I took a class in Drawing. Of course I could never draw as someone told me when I was about 12 years old. "You can't draw" I looked at my picture and her picture and decided she was right. I could not draw.

Whenever the children wanted to know how to draw, I said, " Ask your dad"

I had taken a nursing class in teaching people to use the Right Side of the Brain after strokes, so I bought the book"How to draw on the Right side of the Brain" by Betty Edwards. And I followed all the lessons in that book and I learned to Draw. Then I began to take classes in Pastels, then Oil. Then I joined Brush Marks in Canon City for critiques on my art work. That was the best training. One of the group challenged me to paint a picture in watercolor and after 3 times, I painted it. That was when I fell in love with the WC. I did continue to paint and draw for 25 years. Some of my best friends were artists. Oh, and there was an occasional wierd one, besides me.
Why was it so hard to be "on call" I think for essential things it would be OK, but not everything was even close to essential. It is not easy to get up in the middle of the night at 40 below 0 and see someone that was OK by the time they got to the clinic.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Utah canyonlands

Remember the saying "A happy husband makes a happy wife". So we are off to a dry country. Central Utah at 8000 feet we settled in Loa, and I worked in a clinic in Bicknell. It was Dry and Beautiful country.

There were 5 Mormon churches in the county, and no other! All activities were in the churches or the schools. The schools had all Mormon teachers. Special activities were brought down from Salt Lake City, and some were quite good. All Mormon of course. There are Mormons and the rest of the people were Jack Mormons. To describe them, good people, did not believe as the Momons did but didn't disagree with them.

Orientation was with a Mormon doctor who was also a elder. I kept seeing these young girls who came in to see the doctor and were dressed with cute little one piece chemise with lace around the neck and the panties and I almost asked, "Is this a new style"? But the next patient was an elderly male who had on the same silk, minus the lace. Oh!!! this is the undergarment that protects them from sin....... Yes, I had read a little.....

My first impression of computers was not a good impression. It was 7 foot tall and 3-4 foot wide !! Can you believe I am THAT old! I had to type in a s.o.a.p. format the patients records, send them to the Univerisity at Utah, and to the doctors office in Richfield. All that was in place of a preceptor coming to the site. For years I wanted nothing to do with computers. There were a lot of kinks to work out in 1979.

One of the young women who came to the clinic was so proud that her grandmother was one of Bringham Young's 89 wives!

A sheep herders wife, took us 60 miles out across the mountain to the sheep herders site. There in an old school bus converted to a sheepherders residence, she fixed dinner on a little stove and baked sour dough biscuits. They were the best. An experience to remember.

On the weekend, I did not have to be 'on call' unless I was home. Somehow, we packed early in an old orange volkswagon and were out on the desert or in the canyonlands. It was 50 miles east to a doctor and 100 miles or more, any other direction. I always took a medical bag with me but never had to use it. We were closest to Capital Reef Nat'l Park. Be sure to check it out if you ever have a chance! We took food and water with us, as there were few if anyplaces with either.

What to do on the desert, besides looking at the great formations, hunt rocks. Yes, we still had some of that in our blood . We found a ridge of petrified oyster shells, and dinosaurs bones, and a massive hill of selinite crystals and of course petrified wood, here and there. And have you ever seen a sink hole? Yes just a big hole with no bottom and no guards around it. I had read a book by a man who hiked all over Utah and he talked about laying down to sleep by one at night and woke up beside a sink hole. I just saw one in the daytime and that was enough to make me watch where I walked!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

North West Washington adventures

In the Darrington Clinic, as one of the FNP's , we worked days and were all call anytime. Every other weekend we were 'off'. My husband was working as a fire watch. So on the weekend we were free we traveled to see the state. It was about 3o miles to the interstate and by that time we were usually out of heavy rain . Sometimes a mist and sometimes a little sun! There were so many interesting places to explore, I can only name a few.

The trip to Anacortes was a treat. A great old hardware store there where I found the best dustmop that I ever had! From there it was a short distance to the ferry which took us to the San Juan Islands. A different trip for each island and then the longer ferry that took us to Victoria BC. There was this best museum ever, you could smell the apple pie cooking on the old wood cookstove like my mom had! And the buildings were so magnificent.

Whidby Island was another favorite place. The Ocean waves rolling onto the beach, The tide coming in or going out, looking for shells, or rocks., the feel of the wind and splatters ! They also had a large garden there of all kinds of blooming trees and flowers that grew far above normal. I think it was 35 acre's but the name escapes me. The old houses, some 3 and 4 story tall were still in great shape in 1979 and along the coast they were plentiful. Port Townsend was another favorite place and we watched the dolphins there.

The World Fair was in Vancover, Canada one year, and we toured that, but the place that beckoned us quite often was Pikes Market in Seattle. It was while walking the sidewalks someone was calling my name. No one knew me in Seattle..... but there were rockhounds from Texas, calling my name! It was always a fun place to go, and we could never see it all but we ended the day with Ivar's Oyster Stew and a few chips to throw to the sea gulls!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My friend Edna

Edna's Story

Edna was married with 3 little children ; her husband had cleaned a motorcycle with gas in the front room and when the children went out the door to get the mail, the sun caught the room on fire. Edna ran through the burning room so the children would not come back inside. As she walked down the lane to get help, the skin actually hung off her legs from the terrible fire. She was put in a hospital where they could do nothing for her. A visiting physcian from Seattle was there seeing patients when he heard her yelling with pain. He went to see her and said he would move her to Seattle and would work on her in his spare time. So that is what he did. Finally, he had no more skin he could graft so he asked if she had any relatives. She had a twin brother who gave skin for her. Very slowly and painfully, she recovered with a lot of scarring and deformed arm and much else. The doctor would not take a penny for his work on her, but said she could bake him a blackberry pie. Edna drove 90 miles each way to Seattle each year and took him 2 black berry pies and when he died, she took them to his wife until she died. And Edna also took care of her brother whenever she could. When asked why she didn't die, she said there was no one else to take care of her 3 children.

To continue Edna's story, she remarried later and had 3 more children. One day while washing outside windows, she fell from a ladder, and broke her crooked arm. She was laying on the ground when the girls got home from school on the bus. They looked at her and thought she was dead. Nora said to Cindy, "Will you be my mom now?" Edna survived and her bent arm was only slightly crooked the rest of her life.

I met Edna at the Darrington Clinic. At that time, she was cleaning the clinic. You have never seen a cleaner place! One day a doctor was there and spilled some water on the floor. He took a white towel and wiped up the water. He looked at the towel that showed no sign of dirt, and he Yelled ," Who cleans this clinic" Edna heard him and came running. He said, " I want you to come and clean for me".

Edna later became the nursing assistant. She would even stop after hours or weekends to see if she could help. We became great friends. Edna was amazing, I could tell you stories!!! She died with cancer., and I miss her. My Friend Edna

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


"I will lift my eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth." Psalms 121:1,2

Why Cotopaxi? Was it the great Sangre Christo Range of Mountains to the south and west?,
Or the red cliffs at Cotopaxi? Partly, the deep blue skies, the dry wind that blows, the sun that shines most every day? The beauty of the Arkansas River Canyon although some one named it The Big Horn Canyon. The Arkansas River Canyon it still is!

We leased, and then bought a gas and service station there. It kept Leon happy with his constant changing and building. In his spare time he bought or found old engines which he repaired, rebuilt, and got them running. A happy husband makes a happy wife.

Thinking that a change from Public Health might be nice, I started working for Dr. Cole who was starting a new office in Canon City under the Nat'l Health Service Corp. He had ordered supplies, and box after box were delivered to an empty office space. The doctor said put them where they belong. So I took the challenge and put them where they might be easy to use! He hired a receptionist and a bookkeeper and we just all worked together and learned what to do. I did not like the billing and coding department at all, and after that wherever I worked, I said, " just call some one and ask them how it is done."

Dr. Cole suggested that I go back to school to be a Nurse Practitioner. With his help and lots of phone calls, I was admited to a class at the Health Science Center in Denver . From that I learned to be Adult Nurse Practitioner. Since it was a Family Practice, I was soon seeing the young and the old. When the doctor had served his time with the Nat'l Health Service Corp. I was looking for a new job.

In 1977, we moved again, lock, stock, and barrel as they say, to Darrington, Washington. It was a logging community in a rain forest. Now THAT was a change. The first three weeks it rained day and night. Every time I woke up I could hear the rain. If you have never been in a rain forest, it is something to experience! The blackberries grow above the barn roofs, and moss all over the trees, ferns everywhere, and there are slugs too. The magnolias and azeleas are just beautiful along with fields of tulips and daffodils!

We had been there about a month and Leon had open heart surgery with 5 bypasses. It was quite different in 1977 than now. But he lived another 15 years so it was worth it.

While there, the clinic hired 2 N.P's. and they gave us liberal time for continued education. It was there that I continued my education and became a Family Nurse Practitoner certified by the ANA. I always enjoyed learning more.

We were on call, for any emergency after hours. The lumber companies hired a helicopter to fly out any injurys on the job site. They would bring the helicopter to the clinic and pick up which ever N.P. was working and take us with them. Another experience!

Monday, March 10, 2008


" Buy truth, and never sell it" Proverbs 23:23"

"Moving once, and moving twice, and moving once again"
Wasn't there a song something like that??

Having lived in Indiana for the first 40 years of my life and lived within a radius of a few
miles of my birthplace, what an adventure we were in for!

With daughter #2 now married, and daughters #3 and #4 now in Bob Jones Academy and University, we took a 6 months vacation on Lake Junaluska, N.C.

It was while moving there, I was driving a pick up truck with a large camper on the back, pulling a loaded trailer with 2 chirstmas trees on top of it through 6 lanes of traffic going both directions on some interstate through Tulsa ,Oklahoma, when I decided I did not want to move again. It is so nice that we cannot see into the future!

We found an Independent Baptist Church in Asheville, N.C. that was using R.H. Mount Jr.'s book on the ' Tabernacle' as a text for Wednesday evening study. Finally, some great teaching from the Bible. Ralph H Mount Jr. has since gone to be with the Lord. He was a great teacher with great knowledge of the Bible and the Greek translations. Our family will always be greatful for the chance of studying with him. If you ever see a book written by him, Buy It!

That journey ended in Cotopaxi, Co. in 1973 and although the 'moving' was not over, it was our home base until 2006.

In was in Cotopaxi, that we took some classes in Rock Hunting, studying rocks and minerals. What I enjoyed most was hunting for them. Just sitting on the side of a mountain, digging with a rock hammer and finding a crystal!! We actually went rock hunting in many places and states, It was a thrill to find petrified dinosaur bones in the desert, and petrified wood in many places. And we met so many interesting people who became friends. We also had an old Willy's jeep that would go most anyplace. What fun to explore the area before all the people moved in and roads were closed by some government agency.

Coming home from work in the evening, I could always spot when Leon would give one of "my rocks" away. It seems so funny now, but someone took a rock we used as doorstop to the station. Why would we use a special rock for a door stop, and why would someone steal it? The mysteries in life.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Finally--Moving to Colorado

"With someone like you, a friend so good and true, I'd like to leave it all behind , and go and find, a spot that's known, to God alone"
Maybe it was that old song or maybe from our camper vacations, I always wanted to move to Colorado.
My husband came home from work, and said someone wanted to buy our house ! He said there was a big house for rent he was sure we could move to, but I said," If we don't go to Colorado now, we never will. " It must have been in an " Overall Plan!"

It was a busy 2 weeks, We had a wedding of our oldest daughter, thanks to those who helped and it was already planned.
We drove to Colorado and rented a house.
We had a family Christmas at our house.
We both resigned our jobs and packed all our belongings in a UHaul truck.
And moved to Colorado!!!

In another two weeks, I was working in a hospital, Leon bought a piece of property above Rye,Co. and he built a house there. It was only a couple months and there was an opening in Public Health which I liked much better than hospital work. So many people have said "How could you just move? I have always been thankful for that basic RN training. And maybe a sense of adventure?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Nursing 1966-1970

In the midst of having my children, it was always nice to have my Registered Nurse license. It came in so convenient in summers when my mom was not working and a lot of time at nights. I worked part time in various hospital around since we were living about the same distance from three hospitals, and we always seemed to be in need of another crib, or diapers, or even Soy milk for the allergic babies. At that time, the soy milk, stunk and stained stained everything. Perhaps that is why, I have never tried it again!
So in 1966, I began working at the Visiting Nurse Service in Elwood, In. the hours were 8am to 1 pm, so I was home when the children left for school and home when they came home. It was a good place to work and I learned a lot.

It was about that time that we sold our 3 bedroom home on the corner, and moved to an older house that we remodeled. It had 5 bedrooms and a sewing room. Only one bathroom. How we managed that I have no idea. Some things are best left unknown! It was also the time that our country schools had all been consolidated and our 5 children were now going to 5 different schools whereas they had all been in one. That sure did not help us!! but with moving, we only had 2 schools to contend with.

In working as the visiting nurse and also the migrant nurse during the tomato season, I worked out of the Red Cross office. Mrs Haines was the Red Cross personel and from her, I learned so much in dealing with people. Does anyone remember Mrs. Haines? She was a grand person. Just by listening to her speak with such interest to people and their problems, she could entice them to tell their stories and in some way help them. It is so true that people want to share their problems, or illness, with someone who shows some interest in them.

In the migrant camp there was a long barrack like structure, with cots placed side by side the length of the building. No spaces in between, and here the migrants slept. And how do you controll head lice in that kind of place? The smaller children were sent to a day school arranged by some nuns . There, we tried to teach the older children how and what to use to get rid of the head lice. I remember one nun, (back then they had every inch of their head and body covered), who said she could just feel her body crawling with lice after she saw them coming off the kids heads when washed. I always thought" How could a louse get under that outfit"