April 30, 2011


Finally! I'm enjoying some much needed downtime. I put in a 40-hour work week covering for the clinical manager. I am not an office person, so sitting in a chair was really hard to do. Plus, Danny had off two days last week and I missed hanging out with him.

Of course! On a Saturday, I woke up early, but it was so quiet. I just sat and listened to nothing. Golden! Then, the house started to stir. Danny had to pick up Marisa from a friends house. Tony went in to Habitat to volunteer. The dogs chased squirrels and ate bird seed in the backyard. I decided to play games on the computer. I'm now playing Mahjong Trails and Gardens of Time.

Laundry is going, but at a slow pace. Let the clothes sit in the dryer for a bit. I'm in no hurry. Kitchen is clean because I haven't cooked anything. Coffee pot is still on even though it's mid-afternoon. The sun is shining and it's cool outside. Awww.....

Nice. Downtime.

April 25, 2011

Teen Speak, Part II

Top ten statements that Danny and I are really tired of hearing:

10) 'We don't have anything to eat." (Translation...'I'm too lazy to make something myself.')
9) 'Are you watching TV?' (Translation...'I want to play xbox and you're in my way.')
8) 'Whatever!' (Translation...'That's stupid, shut up!')
7) 'So!' (Translation...'I don't care what you say!')
6) 'That's so gay!' (Translation...'Wow, you're old!')
5) 'Chill...' (Multiple translations...'hang out', 'calm down')
4) 'Shut my door!' (Translation...'I want to text in private.')
3) 'I'll be home in a little.' (Translation...'Don't tell me a curfew.')
2) 'Seriously?' (Multiple translations...'really?', 'no way', 'are you kidding?')
1) 'I know, right?' (Translation...'I know, right?')

April 23, 2011


I could not get this puppy to be still for the camera. She's just like a kid!

We took Liebe to Petco to be groomed today, because she managed to get gum in her fur. Imagine that...at our house!

She is definitely a designer pooch monster! Oh, by the way, those bows...gone already!

April 21, 2011

Yellow Tulips

One of the most admired and beloved Spring flowers, tulips represent Eternal Life.

Originally, tulips meant 'hopeless love'.

Now tulips mean 'cheerful thoughts'.

Tulips say 'there's sunshine in your smile.'

I received these beautiful tulips from my co-workers today.
When I brought them home, Marisa wanted to take pictures of them.
She did a marvelous job capturing the 'meaning' of tulips.
Thank you, Facility South Team!!

April 20, 2011

I Have Grieved

Grief is personal, a process, a journey. The journey is different for everyone. I understand the stages of grief: numbness, disorganization, and reorganization. Intellectually, I get it. Ironically, I help other people in the beginning of their grief process in the work I do everyday. Emotionally, I'm living it, too!

I grieved in Texas. Went through the process of 'wrapping up' Dad's affairs in Texas. Going through the motions. Then, I returned to Colorado. Wow! Again, I went through those initial emotions of loss. 'Dad would never come to my house again. Dad won't get to play with our new puppy. He won't see our new stove. If we move, Dad won't know where we are.' Not all these statements are rational, they are words from a grieving daughter.

My grief is compounded because my mom died 2 years and 2 months ago. I was just getting used to not calling her everyday on the way home from work. I was just getting used to not hearing her nebulizer and oxygen machine humming. One of the last words I heard my mom say was to my daughter in response to what kind of golf shoes to get. I could hear her over the phone yelling, "Foot Joys, get Foot Joys." My daughter made the golf team that year!

How have I been grieving? I've been fortunate enough to have off work. Can you imagine being a hospice social worker at this time?

So, I watch TV; do laundry; read; eat ice cream; sleep; write 'thank you' cards; go through photos; post my blog; update my resume; play with the dogs; cry; reminisce with the kids; check in at work; fold and unfold blankets; got a haircut; text my brother a million times; and, just sit on the sofa.

Tomorrow I go back to work for half a day. I have a feeling it will be a difficult day.

April 18, 2011

Bo, Boy

I believe there are reasons for everything. 'Things' happen and we can't fully explain them. After Dad passed, Jase and I found a poem written by my Aunt Claudie, Dad's sister. We were very fortunate enough to have it read at his memorial service. I wanted to share it with you! Finding this poem when we did is one of those 'things'.

Bo, Boy

Hi there,
Bo, Boy,
My oldest, best,
And dearest friend.

Bo, Boy,
I've never told
You what you
Mean to me,

Because, mostly,
I've felt that
The telling was
Uncessary and

Now, though,
It seems
Prudent for me
To tell you
What I think
And to tell you
How really
Special you are.

Hi there,
Bo, Boy,
My oldest, best,
And dearest friend.

Bo, Boy,
You are special;
You remain
To me
The best little boy
And friend
That there will ever be.

Love, always

April 17, 2011

Silent Sunday - Marisa's View

Along the highway through Raton Pass

April 15, 2011


I've come to realize the importance of gifts this past week. Gifts don't have to be wrapped up in a package with a pretty bow. My first gift was a hard one: visiting Dad in the nursing home, not knowing it would be his last day. I read from a Larry McMurty book called Boone's Lick. He had started that book last summer for something to do during his monthly infusions. Dad had several visitors on this last day. It was a gift to meet with them and learn how Dad had touched their lives. These encounters were really uplifting and will not be forgotten.

After Dad passed, I contacted as many of his friends that I could find to let them know. This is when I recieved a second wave of gifts. Dad had lots of friends! I mean LOTS! It seems that once Dad made a friend, you were a friend for life. He had friends from his childhood that he still kept in contact with, not to mention his 'golfing buddies', and even Mom's co-workers! I was blessed to have found Dad's old-fashioned rolodex wheel. Through scratched out phone numbers and worn out yellowed cards, I was able to contact MORE friends.

The gifts continued! Condolences, well-wishes, blessings, offerings of support and meals. I was hearing and reading about my Dad through the memories of others. Heart-felt stories, funny stories, typical "Jimmy" antics! Family members shared childhood memories. Some of these stories were new to me, while some were not. I listened to them and heard them differently this time. I appreciated these stories, longed for them.

Dad struggled with his health for a very long time. He was lovingly and jokingly called 'our kitty'. He overcame Polio as a child, beat the West Nile virus, lived with Diabetes and Myasthena Gravis. Later, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's. Then...he broke a hip. While losing Dad was certainly not a gift, his passing gave him peace. No more pain. No more suffering. The comfort in knowing Dad is no longer suffering is a gift.

My fourth gift has been with me for 43 years, my brother. Two years ago, my brother and I started on a journey that molded us into adult caregivers. Our Mom entered hospice in 2008 and passed away in 2009. I was in a position to fly home every 3-4 weeks to help with her care. My brother took the reins when Dad fell last November. Dad needed him close to home. I wrestle with the guilt of not living closer, but recognize the gift of my brother's sacrifice to care for Dad day-to-day.

You may know this man as 'Jim', 'Jimmy', 'Jimbo', 'James', or simply 'McDowell'. I know him as 'Dad'. The best gift of all!

April 10, 2011


My Dad passed away today. We are so incredibly sad, but take comfort in knowing he is with his beloved wife, our mother, Ruth, in eternal peace. I love Dad's service pictures. He was so young and handsome. I spent this weekend with Dad. He didn't talk much, in fact, he didn't talk at all. I got to take care of him one last time.

"I enlisted on 20 Nov. 1952 and was assigned as an Airman basic to Lackland AF base for Basic training. Promoted to A/3c and assigned to Francis Warren AFB on Feb. 18, 1953. On June 4, 1953 I reported to Camp Kilmer NJ. For assignment overseas. Spent 10 day on a troop ship crossing the Atlantic to Bremerhaven Germany. Put on a rail car through some of the worst hit towns during WWII. I will never forget the devastation we inflicted on Germany. You couldn't help but notice all of the women and very few men. You could get anything you wanted for a pack of cigarettes. We road that train to Paris where we immediately boarded another one headed to Bordeaux. We finally arrived there on July 3rd, 1953. That was my home in the tents for the next 36 months. Promoted to A/2c on June 1, 1954. Promoted to A/1c on February 1, 1956, I left France on June 4, 1956. On July 15, 1956 I reported to Biggs AFB, El Paso, Texas. Discharged from active duty November 19, 1956. I was released from the Reserves on November 19, 1960. I had the Good Conduct metal and the national defense service medal. I qualified as an expert marksman, and was on the rifle team with the highest ranking on our base. I had a secret clearance one of only two on our base. The other one was the base commander. I was in charge of all the ordinance on the base." James E. McDowell, 1/2003

April 8, 2011

Sister & Brother

I love to reminisce over old photos.
I remember this one like it was yesterday.
I thought my brother made a cute sister.

April 5, 2011

Miss Priss...Not ME!

I got this link from my cousin Wendy's blog. Sounded fun, so I thought I would play. The Prissy Meme

1. What is your favorite lipstick color and why? I have lots of lipsticks, but I wear light colors or just clear, because I don't really know how to match them all.

2. How long does it take you to get ready to go to work in the morning? About 30 minutes

3. Do you have your nails professionally done? Mani? Pedi? Yes, when I can afford to, or if I have an important event to attend.

4. Tell us about your latest spa experience - real or imagined. I get spa days at Christmas and Mother's Day from my family.

5. Is there something you'd like to change about your appearance? Would you ever have cosmetic surgery? Yes, less wrinkles! I broke my nose playing softball, so fixing that was cosmetic surgery, and insurance paid for it!

6. How do you take care of your skin? BeautiControl products

7. Tell us your secrets for vibrant, shiny, healthy-looking hair. Wen (from the infomercial and Meg's friend Louise!)

8. What is your favorite fragrance? Georgio

9. Everyone has a certain color they love to wear. What is yours? Blue

10. Do you have ink? Yes...two

11. How would you describe your personal style? From 'down-to-earth' to 'social work-ish'

April 2, 2011



Our Rodriguez family reunion was last summer and I'm just now getting the photos printed and into the album.

The first two pages are a combo from the cousin's pachanga at Urban's house and main event reunion at Danny's parent's house.

These next three pages are from our fushia family (the descendents of Alejandro AKA Papon).

Lots of dancing! Even Danny showed his 'Elaine' moves with Tia Bebe!

Lots of hugs! Marisa got her share, too!