Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Holidays almost over

I just spent three days at the new townhouse and now I'm back in Westcliffe.  I probably won't be going back up there until January 18, moving day.

I was able to locate my mailbox and discovered I had a lot of mail.  Christmas cards and bills, etc.

When I got back here I had a letter from VA approving a check for burial expenses, so I will have another check coming.  Then I think I will be pretty much done with the VA.  The only thing left is the grave marker.  And that could take until springtime to get.

The next few weeks are going to be hectic so unless something really noteworthy happens I won't be blogging for a little while.

Marshall's birthday is February 1 -- he would have been 70 -- so that will be another sad day.


Friday, December 25, 2015

Some of Marshall's Favorite Things

Marshall's grandson, TJ, holding a photo of Marshall on his motorcycle.  I don't know why some of these pictures are all screwy.  I tried to fix them but finally gave up.

An enlarged photo of the motorcycle:

Marshall and his sister Audrey:

Marshall with me and my boss Fred at a Dumb Friends League fundraiser:

Another picture with the eagle:

The handler has a trick that makes the eagle spread his wings -- isn't it gorgeous? Marshall was thrilled.

Part of his gnome collection -- they resemble him, yes?

Marshall's cousin Janice and her son Bill in Chicago:

Marshall with his daughter Tanya and grandkids Alexis, TJ and Brandon (taken at nursing home last January) -- you can see that Brandon has a sense of humor...I couldn't get him to be serious!

This is a small representation of some of his favorite things and people. I've stopped going through photos, it was too emotional.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Christmas Day

First thing this morning I went down to the neighbor's house to feed Joseph and Solomon and go for a mile-long walk. When we got back to their house, Joe and Sol sat real pretty in anticipation of the biscuit they knew was coming:

Then I fixed a "Marshall" breakfast: Two eggs over-medium (true-to-form they came out over-hard just like they always do when I make them -- Marshall would have expected that), 2 pieces of whole wheat toast -- buttered liberally, some Colby cheese, and, also true-to-form, I had some ham to go with that and forgot to get it out. Marshall would have expected that, too. (I can hear him now: "Uh, honey, didn't you say we had some ham?"). But I ate it and it tasted good to me

Late morning it started snowing like crazy and there was 4 inches of snow in a short amount of time. Then it quit suddenly.

I went out and swept a path out to Marshall's tree (yes, the snow was just powder and easily swept). I got the spot all ready to scatter the ashes. And then came in and got everything together. I took the flag I was presented with out to the spot, along with a cup of coffee, since he would sit out there for a hours drinking coffee and looking at the view.

While I was outside getting ready to scatter ashes, I got a call from Marshall's cousin Janice and her son Bill in Chicago, two very dear people. They couldn't have called at a better time -- they stayed on the line while I spread the ashes. That was special. Here are the photos:

The ashes:

I wanted Coco out there with me, but when he got out in the snow he decided he didn't want to be part of this ceremony so I brought him back in (and I have no idea why this photo decided to take over the screen!):

The "Wyco Holler" tree:

The memorial flag and a cup of coffee sitting on Marshall's chair. The photo I put in the flag frame was Marshall's absolute favorite photo. It was taken at a Dumb Friends League fundraiser at Fred & Jana's house and they had a rescue group there who did a demonstration with Eagles. They took this photo of Marshall with one of their Eagles on his shoulder (the "handler" is actually holding the eagle and she is ducked down behind Marshall.)

The view that reminded him so much of West Virginia:

I feel Marshall's presence everywhere. I have had a few crying spells, but mostly I am having such a nice Christmas. I figure I'll fix the hodge-podge meal around 4:30.

Love from Marilyn, Coco, Jerry and Okie:

In memory of Marshall:

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, December 24, 2015


More views I will really miss. These were on my way to town this morning to get the mail.

This buck and doe were in my front yard.

These were taken from my road.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Sold the ATV

Over the weekend I sold Marshall's last trailer and this morning I sold the ATV, so all of the big items are now gone. I'm glad that's done, but as his things disappear it gets kind of sad. It's like he didn't exist ... hard to explain.

One of the most important things in his life was his military buddies. For the past 10 years we went to every single military reunion and he planned for it all year long. Well, today I got a Christmas card from one of those guys with an absolutely lovely message for me about Marshall. But it made me realize that this guy -- so far -- is the ONLY one of the several hundred military buddies who has bothered to send their sympathies. That brought tears to my eyes. Marshall would be so disappointed. He would have done just about anything for those guys. You just never know, do you?

This morning it occurred to me that I should make sure all the animals are up to date on shots and vet visits so that when we move I won't have to worry about that for a while. So I called Julie, the vet here in town, and she made a special trip in to the office for me. I took the cats in and they got their shots and their checkup. And Okie got microchipped. The other two were already chipped. Coco has a different vet and I'll have to get an appointment for him after the holiday. He has many old-age problems and I want to be sure all is well with him before the move.

I had a large carrier and I put Okie and Jerry in there together. It was very reassuring to see that they didn't fuss or cry or anything, they just cuddled together and handled the whole vet thing like big boys. I hope that is a precursor to how they will handle the trip up to Thornton when the time comes. I've been a bit worried about that (yes, if there is something to worry about, I will worry about it).

Jerry weighs 17 pounds -- he is definitely a big boy!

I'm getting ready for spreading some of Marshall's ashes on Friday. Here's a picture of his favorite spot -- you can't really see it, but the sign on the tree says Wyco Holler (I always teased him about his pronunciation of "Hollow") -- this is where Coco and I will spread some ashes and reminisce on Friday.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, December 20, 2015

118 boxes

Yes, I am now up to 118 boxes.  I'm getting there.

Today I went to the store and bought all of Marshall's favorite foods.  So for Christmas dinner, I'm going to play Christmas songs and fix ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, potato salad, green beans casserole, dressing, macaroni and cheese, coconut cream pie, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream.  (Too bad his sister isn't here to make her special "Marshall" dishes.). I should have enough leftovers to last for weeks!

Saturday, December 19, 2015


Since I am going to be here for Christmas, I offered to watch my neighbor Jim's dogs while they visit family for the holidays.

It's kind of fun because, first of all, I love animals, and second, I plan to walk them every day and I haven't walked around here in a long time. When we first moved here I loved to hike and walk around our property but a few years ago the Department of Wildlife started putting out some warnings about an aggressive mountain lion as well as being careful to never position yourself between a mama bear and her cubs. So little by little I quit walking.

Well, Jim's dogs are big guys and I feel comfortable walking with them so it is especially nice to be able to do some walking in these scenic mountain areas during these last months of living here.

Here they are -- Joseph and Solomon:

They took off running and hit an icy spot and Solomon hit the ground...

After the walk I decided to try to take a selfie with the dogs, but it was hard trying to get both of them and me in the same picture. Here's me and Solomon:

You can see that the perfect selfie just isn't going to happen:

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, December 18, 2015


Went up to Thornton with Coco this past Monday through Wednesday. Monday turned out to be a monstrous blizzard and when I opened my front door Tuesday morning a foot of snow blew in. There's a Walmart two blocks away so I went down to Walmart and bought a snow shovel.

The storm didn't stop the garage door opener guy, though, so by early afternoon I had a garage door opener.

On Wednesday I had cable, Internet and phone installed. And Coco and I came home Wednesday afternoon. It looks like the washer and dryer are going to have to wait until next year.

Tony came by with his friend Troy and they are going to do some building up around the loft ledge so that the cats can't jump up on the ledge and slip and fall 15 feet. They are also going to install a gate on the stairway and a gate on the patio. And also storm doors.

Still no word from the VA on the after-death expenses or on the headstone.

I am staying here in the house for Christmas. Since it will be my last Christmas in this house where Marshall and I had so many good times, I want to be alone here with the boys (and Marshall's "spirit") for this holiday.

Marshall had a favorite spot on this property that he said reminded him of where he grew up in West Virginia and he loved to sit out there in that spot with his morning coffee (or his evening beer). I made a sign for him that I attached to the tree that said "Wyco Holler."

On Christmas Day I'm going to get bundled up and go out there with Coco and spread some of Marshall's ashes in that spot, along with the ashes of his beloved dog Marlee. Then I'll sit there with a cup of coffee and reminisce about good times past.

Next year the family will get together to spread the rest of Marshall's ashes in West Virginia and in Ohio.

The boys are being especially clingy. I guess that's because I've left them alone so often in recent weeks. Thank goodness for my neighbor Cathy who comes over and checks on them. Jerry usually hides from visitors but he loves Cathy. This week she left me some YUMMY Christmas cookies! And Cathy's husband Dave made sure my road was plowed so that when I got back here on Wednesday I could get to the house okay.

Anyway, the cats are unbelievably clingy. Jerry -- who is the big cat weighing in at 17 pounds -- is constantly on my lap, which is unusual, and even sleeps with me, which he doesn't usually do. As I am typing this Jerry is plastered to my side and trying to lay on my iPad -- see photo.

It will be interesting to see how they handle the big move.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Another trip to Thornton

Well, I changed my moving date to January 18 and 19 so there's a little more breathing room

I still haven't heard from the VA with the burial expenses I am entitled to but I did get a letter from the VA that they are working on the claim and I should hear soon.

I'm going up to Thornton on Monday (taking Coco) to be there for an appointment on Tuesday (getting a garage door opener installed) and an appointment on Wednesday (getting cable, internet and telephone).  And my friend Tony is going to bring his contractor friend over to see what can be done to "cat-proof" the ledge around the loft.

Things are moving along.

But I'm having more and more Afib episodes and that's getting me down.  My next appointment with the cardiologist is February 1 and I believe the medication will need to be adjusted.  I am just not ready for surgery yet.

Monday, December 7, 2015

More packing

Well, I packed 8 more boxes today and I still can't see much progress.  I have now packed 106 boxes. I actually know why I'm not seeing any progress -- it's because I've been emptying cabinets and drawers so of course that's not immediately obvious.

Still, it would do my motivation good to actually see a reduction in "stuff."

When I went up to the townhouse over the weekend I took Marshall's motorcycle vest and his favorite hat and I have them hanging in the closet so that Marshall is now up there with me, too.

Today I tried to make an appointment for a garage door opener company to meet me next week at the townhouse to get a garage door opener installed.  Well, the woman asked me so many foreign questions:  "Do you want Liftmaster or Genie?  Is your garage door 7 feet or 8 feet? Do you want chain or belt?  Do you want battery backup or not? Do you want an upgraded motor?"  My goodness, I sure miss Marshall.

I called a friend in Denver (Tony) and he's going to call the woman tomorrow and answer all the questions and then I can make the appointment.  Thank goodness.  Tony told me that shortly before Marshall died he talked to Tony and asked him to watch over me.  Boy, am I taking advantage of that promise!

My next purchase will be a washer/dryer and the choices are ENDLESS!  Marshall made it all look so effortless.  I feel like throwing a dart...

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Spent the weekend in new house

On Thursday I went back to the dentist and this time he discovered an infection.  So I am now on antibiotics and pain free.  I am so relieved.

On Friday, Coco and I drove up to Thornton to spend the weekend in my new townhouse.  We hung some cheap temporary curtains and shower curtain and other small things.  It was so weird hearing traffic noises all night long -- I haven't heard traffic noises in 12 years.  And I'll bet I went up and down the stairs about 100 times. Good exercise.

Saturday night I went to our firm's Christmas party and had a wonderful time.  It was so nice seeing people I haven't seen in a long time.  And I left Coco alone in the new place for 5 hours while I went to the party and he handled it very well.

I got back to Westcliffe this evening. The real estate agent called and said there is some interest in my house.  We'll see where that goes in the next day or so.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


I forgot to report that I got another letter from Medicare addressed to the Estate of Marshall Mullins and to the University of Coloado Hospital.  They have now approved that charge.  Good news.

I am falling apart...

I was able to get in to see my doctor today (a miracle in itself) and talked to him about my three problems.

1.  My thinning hair.  He says that it could be stress related coming from the past four years and that it may slowly start growing back.  He advises patience and a good vitamin regimen (he recommends zinc, magnesium, Vitamin D and the B vitamins).

2.  My shaking hands.  For the past year or so I've had trouble with trembling hands that I can't control.  He says that is actually a condition in older people called "intentional tremors," which is a dumb name, don't you think?  He said there is no cure for it and it probably won't get any worse.  He said it isn't Parkinson's because in Parkinson's when the hands tremble they kind of clench and when mine tremble that doesn't happen.

3.  The tooth/face pain.  All day today I haven't had any pain whatsoever and I chewed, I ate ice cream and I drank a hot liquid.  No pain whatsoever.  There is no rhyme or reason to this.  Dr. Bliss says that it is very possibly trigeminal neuralgia.  He said it could be caused by shingles.  I told him I have had shingles on that side of the face (way back in the 80s) and he said there is a SLIGHT chance that could be connected.  He also doesn't think TN can be caused by stress, but anything is possible.  I told him I was seeing the dentist again on Thursday and Dr. Bliss said that if the dentist doesn't figure it out I will need to see a neurologist.

I told him I was using Oil of Cloves whenever there was pain and the oil really killed the pain.  He said that the oil of cloves has a numbing effect and it can numb the nerves as well as numb a toothache.

So now let's see if I stay pain free until Thursday.  And I hope to get some answers.  But I am definitely falling apart (ha).