an arch wherethro'

"I am a part of all that I have met; yet all experience is an arch wherethro' gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades for ever and for ever when I move."
Ulysses by Alfred Lord Tennyson

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Location: Searcy, Arkansas, United States

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

December 6, 2017 ??????

Ian stayed with his grandmother until Tuesday morning. I'm glad because she gets so lonesome. She also told me that he had borrowed $170 from her so that he could make a rush trip to Hot Springs on Thursday and get a rush passport. This is the same passport I filled out and gave him all the paperwork in August, which he lost. Then near November 1, I filled it all out again and put $139 in his account so he could pay for it. He assured me he had mailed it off and we werte just waiting for it. I guess he spent the money and never ordered the passport. I mentioned last week that I would go alone if he hadn't received his passport. That may have sparked panic. I hope he pulls it off.

He didn't come home or call last night. When he came in at 7:30 this morning he said he was sorry. I responded, "no you're. not, or you would have called and it wouldn't happen so frequently." I went home for lunch and Sarah was there. I just got my stuff and left. The old Hee Haw show had a phrase, "gloom, dispair, and agony on me."

What Am I Going To Do? (12/2/2017)

I knew that Keri’s death would change everything. I just did not know the extent. I find myself wishing that I could have just gone with her. I told myself that I had to look after Ian. I had no idea what a joke that was. We haven’t looked after him in years. He may or may not come home at night. He doesn’t have a job and doesn’t seem interested in finding one. He calls when he needs someone to pay for his meal, otherwise I never hear from him. Even on my birthday, he called for me to meet him and Sarah at Chili’s but only had a $10. He told me to come straight back after ASCDS because he had a card and something for me. I did, of course, and he said hi and went out and sat in the car with Sarah until I was in bed. I was disappointed but not surprised.

Today I asked him to do some things around the house and he said he was going up to his grandmothers. He actually went climbing with CJ and then back to Conway. It’s 9:22 on Saturday night and he still is in Conway. I now realize that I have absolutely no one to depend on and that he will tell me whatever he thinks I want to hear. I fall for it every time because I so want to believe him. I’m not a fool. Well, I guess I am. I just so want to believe him. What do I do now? What am I going to do?

11:32 pm Ian is now on the road headed to his grandmothers. I hope he sleeps in the car. He doesn’t need to disturb her at this time of night. What is wrong with that kid????

POSTSCRIPT: (12/3/2017)
He did sleep in his car. He pulled in at Clarksville and stayed in a parking lot there from about 1:30 until 9:00 Sunday morning. He then drove up to his grandmothers. At 10:30 she called and asked if I had been trying to call her and I told her it was probably Ian because he was outside. He later said that he had had a flat and was just too exhausted to change it.

Thanksgiving (11/25/2016)

I’ve been at mom’s since Wednesday morning. Mom’s OCD is getting worse but she is chugging along. Ian did a racing trip to Georgia to climb with some friends on Wednesday. He was supposed to be back to mom’s by noon but it was obvious (GPS tracker) he wasn’t going to make it so mom and I accepted an invitation to Faye and Stan Sawyer’s. It was a nice meal and visit. Ian made it by 8:30 so we had dinner for the three of us.

Friday we started decorating mom’s house for Christmas. Ian did the outside and I worked on the inside. At one point, I went out to help Ian and a lady bug landed on my hand. To me, it signaled Keri’s presence. We got a lot done.

This morning, Ian headed to Dover to climb but missed the climbers (lack of planning) so is currently deciding whether to go to Searcy to help the lady that often hires him to put up her lights. Who can predict from minute to minute what he will do.

25 Years Later!! (11/20/2017)

It was a good weekend. This was the 25th anniversary of the election of Bill Clinton as the 42nd President of the US. Keri and I received our invitations and I started not to even consider it. At the last minute, I called and they welcomed Ian as my guest, so we went. The Arkansas Traveler reunion was Friday evening. Jim Guy Tucker and Jimmy Lou Fisher recognized me and came over to visit. I introduced Ian to them and we remembered good times. I introduced Ian to Mark Prior as well. I could not have gone without Keri if Ian had not gone with me. We went back Saturday for the Kumpirus Lecture featuring Bill and Hilary, moderated by James Carvill. We had a reserved section close to the front. It was a great presentation. I told Ian that it illustrated all the reasons I was a Democrat. There was a “picnic” afterwards at the Clinton Library. Ian said he had a good time and his presence made it possible for me to go. I missed Keri desperately of course, but I was there with our son.

Sunday, I came to Coal Hill and helped mom. This morning we’ll go shopping and I’ll head back to Searcy tonight. It was a good weekend.

Retirement Letter (11/14/2017)

I submitted my retirement letter. I always thought I would compose this grand letter and there would be some drama around the announcement but the reality is that I announced it in a CSD faculty meeting and sent an email this morning. It seems strange that my career should end with so little drama.

Return to Arkansas (11/12/2017)

ASHA is over and we are headed home. The trip was OK and it was great to see old friends. We learned and played, but there was something missing. Although Keri seldom went with me in later years, I was always excited about telling her about our adventures. I’m going home to a vacant house. Ian is away.

There is excitement about my upcoming retirement. I have a great amount of discarding to do in my office. It will take me until the end of June to get it straightened out. I am going to go to Africa for several weeks in May so I need to use my time wisely.

California Dreaming (11/9/2017)

I’m in Los Angeles, CA for the ASHA Convention. I’ve missed the last two ASHAs and I really can’t seem to get into it this year. Beckie, Tim and I took a colleague that we first met at a restaurant in the Arcade in Lusaka, Zambia. We had a great visit and she provided a lot more information about things in Zambia.

Alzheimer’s Walk for a Cure (11/4/17)

We walked yesterday in memory of Keri and Poppy, and in honor of Tony. It was the AR Walk to Cure Alzheimer’s. Jill Valentine, a friend of Keri’s from college, works at the Searcy Edward Jones office. Edward Jones is the major national sponsor so they asked in June if they could honor Keri. Keri died a week later so it changed to “in memory of”. As of yesterday, we were the top fundraiser in AR. Jill designed the t-shirt and managed all aspects of the “walk.” It was a good, but emotional day.

I drove back to Searcy to participate in the “Jammin for Jesse” event in support of suicide prevention. I took Ian back after supper last night. I think they had a good turnout.

Another Cub Weekend (10/27-29/2017)

Chris called this past Monday and asked if I would work the Cub Camp Weekend. I had no firm commitments so I agreed. There is something strangely comforting about being here. Many of the staff knew Keri as well and I can talk about her in this place without those strange glances. I worked here for 4 summers with Keri being a part of 3 of them. I would like to come up with something to mark her presence. I’m thinking about a marble bench like they put up for Denise Bounds. I’ll need to talk to someone about that.

Arkansas beats Ole Miss by 1 point. Keri, this one’s for you!!!!!! Penn State also lost to Ohio State by 1 point. This hasn’t been my “football day.”

Harding Homecoming 2017 (10/21/17)

This is my first homecoming without Keri. The HUE 2003 group had a reunion which I attended. I just couldn’t bear the regular tailgate this year. Keri and I started it together during the Fall of 1998 and, with few exceptions, we always attended it together. She was even able to go last year and I have several photos of her there. One keeps popping in my mind. I see her sitting in her chair as we packed everything up until finally, the only things left were her and her chair.

I stopped by the Original Tailgaters a couple of times, but spent the rest of the time with the few HUE people who attended. It was good to see them but that also made me miss my Keri. Ian is at a camping trip with Troop 96 (1 boy). He so wanted to be here.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween 2017

It is a lonely day. Dad died 13 years ago this morning. The Samhain dance last night was nice and I was so glad I went, but I so missed Keri. Halloween was always her thing. She got dressed up and decorated as much as she could. She even got out her Halloween houses with the sound effects and put them by the front door. She used to love to sit there as a witch with Hattie, our black cat laying beside her, waiting for the trick-or-treaters. As I posted last year, I got her dressed up and we sat in the front yard so that she could participate.
Keri Tullos, October 31, 2016
She had a good time, I think. I may have known that it would be her last, but I didn't think about those things. I sure miss her now!!! It will be a lonely, lonely night.

No Visit at Samhain

Yesterday, I was sitting at my desk when I heard Jack Shock come in and ask if Beckie was in. Martha told him no and he asked to leave something. He didn't ask if I was in and made no effort to see me, even though my office door was next to Beckie's and standing open. It made me realize how much water has flowed under that bridge. I would have to say that we considered hime one of our best friends for a good portion of our lives. The illness of his neice and the falsehoods that were presented to him by her and by Beckie effectively put an end to that. Keri and I both hoped he would see that he had not been told the truth but it never happened. I always thought that he would see that the things that he had been told were untrue, and maybe ask me about that time. Unfortunately, I realized yesterday, that there will not be a change and that our friendship had indeed ended.

Last night, I went to the social dance for the ASCDS. At one time, we had a big Samhain weekend with a workshop during the day and a ball that night. Keri and I went all out and decorated with a Scottish Halloween theme. We held it several different places and finally ended up at Park Hill Presbyterian Church, where we danced last night. It was a really big deal with fog machines, our own design, t-shirts. Several people last night said they still had their t-shirts but I can't find ours. It was a good evening.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

ASCDS (10/16/2017)

Ian said he was coming to NLR for Scottish dancing tonight. He said he wanted to take the class and I paid the $60, but he has not come consistently. I thought, after the events of the last several days, that he would come if he could get out of his class in time. I saw he was at the house at 5:45 so I was glad he would be coming. It is now 6:29, and he’s still at the house. He has no intention of coming but will tell me that his class didn’t let out in time, or some other made-up excuse. I so despair for his future.

I checked around 9:00 and he was still at the house. I knew, deep down, that he would leave before I got home, and that’s exactly what happened. I don’t know what time he left because I was driving back to Searcy. But leave he did, and he will be out late, so I’ll go to bed. Oh darling girl, I miss you so desperately.


He was home before midnight so maybe we are moving in the right direction.

Win & Loss (10/15/2017)

On Friday, Ian did not get up and go to work after staying out very late on Thursday. Unfortunately, I left for ArkSHA at 5:45 am so I was not there to help. He lost his job as a result. I’ve known it was coming, I’m just surprised it took so long. Thus he lost his recommendation from the only real job he has ever had. On Saturday, he won 2nd place in the King of the Crag competition. He told me about both tonight. I want so much to celebrate something, anything with him. When I tried to talk about the job and prospects he smarted off and I told him to just go. I so want to celebrate something with him.

Friday, October 13, 2017

ArkSHA at Hot Springs (10/13/2017

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Maya Angelou

The above quote was used during one of the presentations At ArkSHA. It is indeed profound. I am at the ArkSHA Convention in Hot Spring again. It may well be my last while working for Harding. Keri and I always had such a good time when we went down for this. She usually had a massage and we always visited with such great people. For 11 or so years, I was on the ArkSHA Board and very involved with all aspects of the Convention. The younger ones have taken over and it was a good meeting, but I couldn’t help but remember being involved with all the hustle and bustle. There were a few of us old hangers-on. Martha Allan, Gretchen Hicks, Sharon Ross and Kathy McDaniels were all there. Kathy even presented with the Clinic Directors. Jan Traughber and Jennifer Fisher represented us well. Melanie (Lowry) Meeker is now on the Board and will be putting on the Convention next year. It’s in good hands and it’s time to let go. Being in Hot Springs with Keri was sad.

Gus Blass Scout Reservation (10/6/2017)

I’m back at Gus Blass for the first time since I drove away with Keri in March. I’m back for a weekend Cub activity. Our cabin is still there and Keri’s hummingbird feeder is still hanging on the porch. I’m in the room at Reynolds I lived in the first summer Ian and I were on staff. It feels strange to be here without my darling girl.

(10/7/2017)

I didn’t sleep well so I’m sitting at the check-in tent at 6:30, waiting for Cubs. It’s quiet and I find myself dwelling on my Keri. She so loved it here and we were always involved in some adventure or another. I’m understanding the term “bittersweet” more and more. I almost feel she’s with me (and so want her to be), but I’m glad we had our time here and that is calming.

Jesse (9/29/2017)

“Some people say time heals all wounds but i disagree some wounds are so deep that all you can do is learn to live with them... it will get easier with time but the scars they leave will always be there..... i love you Jeremy M. James and i can only hope and pray that with time you will learn to live again.”

My friend, and the child of dear friends, Joey Hacker, posted this on Facebook yesterday. It is so perfectly said that I had to copy and place it here. Jeremy and Jennifer lost their son, Jesse on Friday. I don’t know all the details but apparently there was bullying and Jesse took his own life.

Eggnog (9/30/2017)

Walmart has their eggnog out. I have been dreading it (and looking for it) because that was always such a treat for Keri. We would always treat ourselves to the first carton we saw.

Goodbye Mamaw (9/26/2017)

I don't dream much, or if I do, I don't remember them the next day. However, I woke up to a dream this morning of my grandmother, Gladys Rusk Chrisman, my Mamaw. It was bizarre and involved getting a riding lawnmower on the balcony of a nice hotel and the struggles to get it off. From there it evolved into all of my family coming to the hotel to see us before we headed out for a flight, all still at the hotel. I was going to travel with Alesa and Dave Garner but I got separated from everybody at the hotel. When I finally made it back to everyone on the ground floor it turned into the gate at the airport and my Mamaw was there to see me off. We walked together holding on to each other, talking, until she gave me a few pieces of candy. Then I woke. It was a sweet dream which fills me with longing. It may be an emotional day.

What Can I Say (9/25/2017)

Ian went with me to the Mandela and Art of Africa opening last night at the Clinton Library. He slept most of the day and seemed unable to get ready. We left 35 minutes after we planned. It was a good evening but he went out after we got home and didn't get back until 1:00 AM. Now he is not getting up. It is now 7:04 and he was supposed to be at 7:00. I have no idea what is wrong with that kid.

The End of Troop 96 (9/19/2017)

I'm sitting at, what appears to be, one of the last meetings of Troop 96. Ian has tried valiantly to keep it going but has been unable to get any parent support. We had counted on a large group of Webelos Scouts to come over from Pack 98 but discovered that they have formed their own Troop. Unfortunately, Willie Abrams and Jack Exum were/are involved with the new Troop 98, so Ian and I feel that we've been betrayed. The District and the Council helped with it all so we've just been kicked in the pants. Add to that the fact that there is only 1 Scout here tonight. Ian is teaching the Metal Working Merit Badge to Ben because no one else chose to come. I've sent an email to Jay and Rusty (our DE) to ask about the process of disbanding. Once I receive that, I'll talk to Ian and Sue Bufford about what we need to do now. One more cause for Ian's severe depression.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle will always be a special place for me. When Keri and I were planning to go to Europe for the first time in 1993, I asked her to make a list of things that she absolutely had to see or do. She worked on it for awhile, and finally came up with only two "absolute necessities", Eilean Donan Castle and the Sound of Music tour. Of course we did both. Whenever I see anything about either, I instantly think of Keri, and us there. This photo of Eilean Donan appeared on Instagram today and, of course, I'm transported back to 1993, in this exact location. Happy memories!!!!!

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Teal Light Night (9/8/2017)

Tonight was the Arkansas Ovarian Cancer Coalition night at the Clinton Library. Keri and I had such a good time last year and we have gone every year. I felt the need to go. Tammy Higdon and Renee Gentry were there with Alesa. Jessica James was there with a friend. Eddie Shields, a friend of Keri's from Pleasant Valley who lost his wife to ovarian cancer was there with many of his family. It was not as hard as I thought it was going to be. I'm so glad I went. The bridges in LR were lit up with teal lights and there were three luminaries there for Keri again this year. Last year Alesa, Lauren, and the coalition had luminaries in honor of Keri. This year, Alesa, I, and the coalition had them in memory of Keri. During one of the videos, there was a picture of Keri and I went to the Facebook page and there were several of her. She is remembered. I AM glad I went.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Ian Worries, Chapter 479..or whatever (9/6/2017)

My worries for and about Ian continue. Ian is ill. He's not eating, etc., but I can't get him to get any sleep. He could not get up and probably barely made it to work. He turned his phone off sometime during the day and hasn't come home. I found his house key in the bathroom and asked him to come get it and I haven't heard from him. Who knows if he will come home tonight. Another sleepless night for me.....

We Remember Them (9/5/2017)

We Remember Them by Sylvan Kamens & Rabbi Jack Riemer

At the rising sun and at its going down; We remember them.
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter; We remember them.
At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring; We remember them.
At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer; We remember them.
At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of the autumn; We remember them.
At the beginning of the year and when it ends; We remember them.
As long as we live, they too will live, for they are now a part of us as We remember them.

When we are weary and in need of strength; We remember them.
When we are lost and sick at heart; We remember them.
When we have decisions that are difficult to make; We remember them.
When we have joy we crave to share; We remember them.
When we have achievements that are based on theirs; We remember them.
For as long as we live, they too will live, for they are now a part of us as, We remember them.

Bad Day ... Bad Bad Day (9/4/2017)

It's been a really hard day. Ian seldom comes around anymore. He spends most of his time with Sarah. He did come home late without his key (after I was in bed) and, since today was Labor Day, stayed in bed this morning. Of course I had to work. He spent the last three nights away. I guess this is now my life and I'm very emotional about it. 

I was very emotional about everything at work today as well. I wish I had retired but I stayed on for Keri. Now she is gone. I'm glad I outlived her so I could take care of her those last several years but I wonder if there is anything left for me. I planned for a trip to London after Christmas but I can't even get Ian interested in doing that with me. I've been trying to get him to sit down with me for weeks to fill out the paperwork for him a new passport, but he can't be bothered. I finally did it myself and layed it on his bed. I think now it would have been better for me to go by myself. He has his life, and I guess he should get on with it. I'll take some sleeping pills and go to bed. That way I won't lay there worried about him. I wonder if he will even bother to come home tonight.

Goodbye Mr. Parks (9/3/2017)

I came up to Mom's yesterday to help with the yard. In casual conversation, Mom mentioned that Mr. Mac Parks had died. When she showed me the obituary, I realized that he had died shortly after we talked with him on Saturday, August 12. He was at his usual post at the exit of Walmart and his last statement to me was asking if I would be at Church the next day. Apparently, he wasn't feeling well and went to his truck during break. That is where they found him. He was such a kind man and I enjoyed knowing him all these years. His daughter Mittie was one of my undergrad students. He will be missed. 

Ian has deserted me. He is 20, but he appears to have moved in with Sarah. Of course, he doesn't talk to me about it. He just leaves me awake at night waiting for him to come home. This is certainly not the life I had expected to lead. Of course, I understand that "home" is not where he wants to be since his mom has died, but it breaks my heart.

Depression (8/30/2017)

Ian is depressed. I hope to call Richard Duke tomorrow and make an appointment for him. He called in this morning so he wouldn't need to go to work. I asked him to come home for awhile tonight so we could talk. He did but cried throughout.  He does need some help. He's starting to lose weight.

On My Honor (8/22/2017)

Tonight was my first Troop 96 meeting in about a year. It was a little bittersweet because Keri's death allowed me to return. Nico and Gio are back but the other faces are the same. They are planning camping trips and other activities but still have no adults to accompany them. Nothing has changed, except that there is now a Troop 98. Willie Abrams, Jack Exum, Holly Money, and all the kids and parents from Pack 98 have created a new troop. Now they are asking us to pair with them (so they can use our equipment, I'm sure). I was writing Jay Niederbrach an email when he walked in. I unleashed my frustration but of course it's not his fault. Ian feels especially betrayed by his friends and by the Council. What should have been a positive evening just fed my depression.

We Saw It, Darling Girl (8/21/2017)

Ian and I went to see the total solar eclipse. We drove to Farmington, MO and stayed with Enola's sister, Debbie. The media had talked about the crowds and how difficult it would be, but we never saw any crowd. It was just Ian, Debbie, and I, with our eclipse glasses sitting on her back deck. She even grilled some hotdogs. It was perfect. So we did see it, like we planned so long ago. If only Keri had been with us. 

When did I start calling Keri "Darling Girl"? I think it was when she stopped talking back and our conversations became a monologue. I really noticed it during those last several weeks.

Killer Cat (8/10/2017)

Ian and Sarah worked for much of the afternoon cleaning up the library. They found all kinds of things that Keri had stashed. There was a beautiful shell chip and dip tray, stacking bowls, and some Mardi Gras serving plates. I will keep the plates, Sarah took the bowls and I guess I'll send the chip & dip to Goodwill. I hate to but I will probably never use it. 

I guess all the activity threatened Allowat in some way because he got more and more aggressive. He kept following us around hissing and he finally went after Ian and bit his hand hard. I then swung a shirt at him and he came after me and scratched my right arm badly. It got worse and he came after my leg as I was trying to get by and I kicked him into the air. I don't know what is happening but I am going to have to get him neutered and declawed.

Goodbye Glen Campbell (8/9/2017)

Glen Campbell died last night. He had been suffering from Alzheimer's for many years and even went on a last tour. He became the face of Alzheimer's as we were dealing with everything. Several of the tributes today have brought tears to my eyes. 

Steve just called and we had a good visit. He kept asking how I was and I just lied through my teeth as I said, "I'm OK." I guess that will be true for the rest of my life. 

After our talk yesterday, Ian sent me a text around 11:00pm that they were watching a movie so I thought maybe he heard me. Then, when I got up around 6:30, he was coming through the front door. He hadn't even bothered to call or text and say he wouldn't be home. I give up! I absolutely give up. 

"I Always Tell You What I'm Doing" (8/8/2017)

Ian and I are unable to communicate and it seems to be getting worse instead of better. I came home yesterday at 3:00 and Ian and Sarah were cleaning in the bathroom. It upset me because I've asked that she not spend time in this horrible house. I picked up what I needed and headed back to the office. Tonight, he said I was never here when he planned to be so this was two sided. Maybe we can get through this but it certainly won't be through conversation.