Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Gift of Life and The Gift Friendship

I have a group of (retired)  friends who were all administrators with me through the years.  There are five of us who get together whenever we can to talk, laugh, commiserate, etc.  This has been going on for several years now.  When I was in Gilbert, we tried to get away for a weekend three to four times a year just to have fun.

Since I have been in Douglas, these wonderful friends have come down twice and I have been able to see them for dinner whenever it has worked out when I was up in the valley.

One of these friends came to Gilbert as a Junior High Principal the year that I moved from teaching third grade to the Interim Director of Personnel in 1988.  We became friends immediately and I have so valued having her in my life.  

About 15 years ago, Jill became very ill.  She ended up having to receive a kidney transplant.  The fortunate part was that her husband, George, was a perfect match for her (in more ways than just the kidney).  She had the transplant and has been relatively healthy ever since.  However, the amount of medication that she has had to take for rejection, etc., has caused her health to not always be perfect.  

Jill is always upbeat and positive and finds the good things about life.  She has taken care of herself over the years since the transplant, despite some setbacks.  I truly admire what she has done.

Last summer (2011) I was able to go on a really fun cruise with Jill, George, and several other friends.  Jill and George were doing all the things that I would never do on the day excursions. 

Last January, my friends were planning a trip down here and it was cancelled just before they were to come.  I didn't think much about it, but then I started to get worried.   I was up in the spring and I could see that she wasn't doing as well as she had before.  I was worried about her, but she was always positive.  I saw her again in late April and I knew then that things weren't going well.  That is when I found out that Jill was going to need another transplant.  Although she had taken care of herself so well, transplants only last a certain number of years and Jill had made it 15 years.  The scary part for Jill is that she was having to do dialysis during this period of time.

She was on the donor list which is incredibly long unless you have someone willing to donate.  We found out that she had an anonymous donor and everything was a great match.   Jill then found out who the donor was.  She is the daughter of a former teacher who worked for Jill when she was a junior high principal.  This young lady is also a teacher.

Her surgery was scheduled for July 4th, but had to be rescheduled because of an infection that Jill had.  But after much frustration, the transplant was done.  Everything turned out very well and both Jill and the wonderful young lady who gave her the gift of life did very well.

In the middle of all of this, Jill took the time to send a birthday card to my Aunt Teresa on her 90th birthday, which was July 30.  For her to think of Teresa's birthday when she was dealing with her health issue speaks volumes as to who Jill is as a person!

I hadn't seen my friends since the surgery, but had kept in touch with them through email, etc.  

During this time our friend, Susie, lost her father fairly suddenly.  I felt so bad that I was unable to make it to his funeral as I love Susie, too.

Monday night I was in the valley for meetings and a conference.  We were able to get together and it was so good for me to see these dear friends!!  And Jill looked absolutely wonderful!!!!!!!!  You would never know what she had been through.  And her positive attitude is still amazing.

As I told her, what a tribute to the kind of educator she was to have the daughter of one of her teachers be willing to give her a kidney!!    

I would like to say thank you to this young lady for giving my dear friend, Jill, the gift of life and for giving those of us who call Jill our friend, the gift of having Jill in our lives.

We had a wonderful evening talking and laughing.  For me it was a rejuvenation in so many ways.  This is one thing I do miss about being in Douglas--not getting to see my friends as often.  But they have a trip down here planned sometime in the next few months.

So Jill, Susie, Sharon, and Bev, thank you for your gift of friendship to me.  I value you more than you know and that I can ever express.   You are the best!!

One of my all time favorite books is The Prophet by Kahil Gibran.  I love quotes and found one from him that I think is very fitting for this post.  "In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.  For in the dew of little things, the heart finds its morning and is refreshed."   My heart has been refreshed once again because of these wonderful friends.

Monday, September 3, 2012

What I Did on Summer Vacation.............

This summer I took vacation days to plan for and have the family reunion and celebration for Teresa's 90th birthday.  I took about two weeks in July.  I have found that the only way to truly get a vacation in my job is to leave town and get out of cell phone range!!!  Of the days that I took off in July, I went into the office at least two times each of the days except for the last day.  The last day of my vacation was also the last day of our reunion.  So I spent the day cleaning up and putting things away.  

This past week I received a call from a family friend and another cabin owner up in Cave Creek where our cabin is.  He told me that our cabin had been broken into.  So later that day, I had to drive up and give the keys to  a lady who offered to help get the window fixed.  I also wanted to see if there had been any damage done.   Fortunately, the only damage was the window being broken.  We don't leave anything of much value up there.   Once the person got in through the back window, they weren't able to open either of the doors to take anything because we have so many locks on the doors.  Our cabin is very remote and we have had some problems over the years--thank goodness, nothing major.

As we were looking at the window, one of the people there to help noticed that the pole holding the back porch up had been clawed by a bear!!  Since the fire last summer, bears have been coming down further than in the past.  I have never seen one at the cabin and the only time I remember hearing about one was when Teresa saw a bear several years ago.  

Then on Friday I took a vacation day to go back up to the cabin so that the outhouse could be cleaned out.   We have had the cabin since 1960 and I believe the outhouse has only been cleaned out twice.  I remember many years ago our Uncle Johnny cleaned it out with a shovel. I remember that very well because I spent the day climbing up a mountain so I wouldn't have to "deal" with this particular job!

When I got up to the cabin, I had to wait for about 45 minutes for the guys to arrive.  My poor puggies were not happy with this huge and very loud truck on our property.  Notice what a brave pug Diego is..............

They put 300 gallons of water down the hole and then used some kind of tool to break things up.   I certainly don't wish to go into detail on this blog...  They got as much as they could but there are so many tree roots that have gotten into the hole that they weren't able to get everything.  As the guy told me, the outhouse is a "smorgasbord" of nutrients for all of the trees--never thought of it that way.

By the time I got back into cell phone range, I had a text from Kerri saying she was sick and they wouldn't   be able to make it down for the long weekend.  Needless to say, I was disappointed as we were going to celebrate Cameron's 14th birthday.  When I talked to her, she sounded awful.

Since I had already purchased everything for the weekend and was really looking to get away from my cell phone, etc., I decided to go up anyway.  I had also invited one of our administrators and his family for Sunday.   So the pugs and I packed up and headed backup for the third time this week.  Fortunately it is only about an hour away.

Although it was a bit warm during the middle of the day, it was still beautiful.  There isn't much water in the creek which is very unusual for this time of year. There has been a lot of rain, but obviously not in the right places to cause the creek to flow.  The desert between Douglas and Portal is absolutely gorgeous--so green.

It was a peaceful, restful weekend.  Didn't see any bears or burglars!!     Listened to music, read two books, enjoyed my friends yesterday and totally relaxed.

I love the cabin and the area around it.  It is so peaceful and so beautiful!!  It is so great to be only an hour away!!