Happy Birthday Ernest Lee

It’s my baby’s birthday. I could not possibly love anybody as much as I love him but that doesn’t begin to explain it all. It’s way more than that. We’ve got some hard things going on but we are very, very lucky.

One of my very favorite pictures of Ernie. It’s the little hunch of that shoulder.
No words really necessary, huh? He still does that thing with his tongue when he gets giggly.
On a trip to Boston many years back.
At our wedding, with Pat Dailey in the back, a bit of Joe Loesch by my cupboard and a bit of Eileen in the mirror.

Buster and the Hard Stuff

It’s been a hell of a week.

I put the photo of the best moment at the top of this post. Cosmic Charlie and Carrie Chandler (two thirds of Carrie Sue and the Woodburners). They were wonderful and did my heart SO much good. We wholeheartedly recommend them. Long live the mighty Rosebowl.

OK, here goes. We woke up Monday, no, wait, Tuesday, in foul moods. Not irritated with each other but definitely not pleased with the world. Teri had invited us to her Rotary meeting and that’s where Charlie and Carrie played. As I mentioned, they were great and it was nice to chat for a moment too. Live music forever.

Ernie had dropped me off pretty close to the Lake House. I used Joe (the shillelagh) and was doing ok although it was a harder walk than I expected. And as someone with mobility issues I must say that the toilet in the Lake House is possibly the lowest I’ve ever rested on. I was quite amused but managed to get up. I headed outside knowing Ernie would catch up but I got just a little ways and realized my legs were not working the way one would expect one’s legs to work. I leaned against the wall. Teri ran to get a chair and a truly kind woman named Linda stood with me, kind of propping me up while Ernie ran to get Red Rider (the walker). I just didn’t expect this so I was a bit freaked out. I thanked Linda and made it to the car with Red Rider but it wasn’t easy. I was, of course, in tears by that point. We were supposed to head over to Carle so Ernie could get platelets. Instead he raced me home and got me in the house because I didn’t think I could navigate Carle at the moment. He got his platelets but when they tested him again, his count was even lower. Geesh.

Yesterday we headed back to Carle. I got to the doctor’s office for the appointment but I mustn’t have looked on top of things as the nurse offered me water. Lord she was kind. She’s one of our favorites. I know I complain here and there about Carle but there are some extraordinarily kind folks there, particularly in the Cancer Center and Vasireddy worlds.

Yesterday was a great day for clouds…view from the Cancer Center valet parking

The Pod Gods must have known we needed a break because we got POD FOUR!!! Pod Four in the Infusion Suite is just is a bit more private and quiet and that can make a huge difference. He was just getting Keytruda so we were out before noon.

Unfortunately I am still having difficulty walking much. Getting upstairs last night was harrowing. Today there’s stuff I need to get done but I’m trying to focus on both of us relaxing and calming down a bit. Deep breath in, deep breath out. Deep breath in, deep breath out.

On the up side? There are MULTIPLE baby Busters!!! Damn, life is good despite the hard stuff.

Also, we are extraordinarily touched by the folks that have donated blood in Ernie’s Blood Drive (which goes through noon tomorrow). Truly. I’ll write more later but it means a lot to us. He heads back for a six hour infusion (only two hours for platelets, the rest is an infusion for his immune system) on Monday. Funny how your perspective of what is important changes as you move through life.


Oh, wait, one more thing. You gotta admit…. Buster and the Hard Stuff would be a great band name. I mean I still want The Cynthias who will cover all my favorite songs but I really like Buster and the Hard Stuff for originals.

Buster II is recovering from the woodchuck attack. We’re not asking which woodchuck did it.
Hoping to have some Jon Byrd news soon!

Sinus headache so just some random notes

I feel as though I haven’t posted here in a month but in all actuality, it appears to only have been a few days. There’s lots I want to say but my mind is too muddled. Allergies are kicking my ass this year. So for now, a few photos and random notes.

Beautiful memorial for Roger Blakley and Ceal Allen yesterday at the Esquire. They were so loved. We saw lots of friends and familiar faces and, oh, the slideshow of photos was incredible. Old/new friends Matt and Libby kindly let us share their table (thank you guys!). I was relieved to have a seat but I gotta say after and hour or two sitting on a backless stool my back was killing me. I was almost in tears by time I got into the car. When we got home I gave in and took a pain pill, which I absolutely hate because they knock me out. So sadly, we missed one of our favorite things, our beloved Sasha and Dick’s summer party. Next year.

One stolen picture of Roger and Ceal. It’s so glorious that I couldn’t help myself.

I love this picture. The inimitable Kathy Harden singing one of Roger’s favorite songs, Dylan’s Forever Young, with Matt Stewart accompanying. I just love the way the young boys playing pool stopped and stood at attention. There were a lot of very good people there, because that’s who loved Ceal and Roger. I so wanted to speak to one of Ceal’s daughters or sisters but I just couldn’t manage it. I regret it but I know Ceal would understand.

I know we have an old house but would it have killed them to make the closet the same size as the door?

One of the best meals we’ve made in ages. I know, I know, I’ve posted a million pictures of pasta and asparagus but this one was incredible. I took a Y shaped peeler (known as the Heather peeler in our house) and peeled the asparagus into thin slivers. It made a world of difference. After peeling them we put them in a bowl of cold water so they crisped and curled up. We melted some butter with a good dash of red pepper flakes and let it get just the slightest bit brown. Popped the asparagus in, stirred it a bit and covered the pan so it would steam a bit.

We tossed it with the spaghetti as well as about half a cup of pasta water and added about 1/4 cup of grated parmesan. Ohh, and good dash of pepper as well as a bit of salt. The difference in taste with the ones I’ve made with chopped asparagus was startling. This had that green grassy taste that I love alllll the way through it. Highly recommended. Note: gluten free pasta comes in 12 oz boxes unlike regular pasta. I think next time I would add more asparagus. One bunch of asparagus is probably perfect for 8 oz of pasta.

Just LOOK at my salt and pepper shakers. It was glorious having Tal here. They were good enough to take a picture for me.

When texting Leo about something else I found out they gone to Allerton. I begged for a picture. This is what I got. Geesh, they really are perfect for one another.

Another food picture. Sorry. We haven’t had shrimp in ages but Schnucks had a good sale on some. It was one of those don’t-want-to-cook nights. We dusted the shrimp with cornstarch and hell, I don’t remember, cumin and something else along with salt and pepper, cooked them quickly in a bit of olive oil and put them on some salad greens. A dash of the wonderful olive oil and lemon balsamic (💚 to Carrie and Bill) and that was it. Ridiculously good, particularly for the amount of effort.

That’s all I’ve got on this headachy day. Ernie’s at the store. We’re both kind of tired and out of sorts so maybe we’ll just find a movie to watch when he gets back.

I leave you, on this Memorial Day, with a picture of my beautiful father, Joseph Edward Voelkl. He hated war.

Love to all. Onward.