Thursday, September 22, 2016


OK. I am back in business, home (why do the spiders think they can take over a home and make webs everywhere as soon as they realize you are gone?) to a house that needs a huge amount of attention. We have 31 things on our to do list. Truly. Yesterday felt so good...we got rid of some old 45-year-old furniture in tatters and took it to the dump. We moved Dick's desk  (well, not me but our wonderful friend and Richie's colleague Brandon) from the den upstairs to downstairs and now Richie is starting to organize a man cave. He has tons of books and stuff from his office that was just heaped down there when we left. A guy came to hook up cable TV in there and we have Dad's "pheasant" Lazy-Boy for him. There is a bed if he want to nap and cozy carpet and once he is organized, I think it will be a room he loves. Am buying him a laptop today as a retirement gift so he even has his own computer. 

My brain cancer is eroding! Praise God! Of the original 16 tumors last year,there have been only 5 as of spring left. Those 5 they have been watching. And yesterday, 2 of those were unchanged, 2 were slightly smaller, and the 5th, they couldn't find!! I am so grateful for this gift. I will have another lung scan in 3 more months and see what those are doing. The last report said "stable." I will take that again!!

The summer? Cool. Used the heaters every morning because the cabin was so cool. I was in the lake once. I wore shorts 3 times. We have had very hot summers in the past but not this one....will go down as the coolest (maybe 70 by afternoon) and rainiest we remember. I read maybe 25-30 books! The upside of cool and rainy days!!

We had 2 reunions, 2 weddings, a Twins game, a baby shower for my sweet niece Betsy, my brother's bluegrass June gig which we went into Duluth to see, etc. We were on the go. 
We took a field trip one morning that we have wanted to take for years. We found "The Lost 40" and walked the trails through it. It is 40 acres of virgin pine (some so tall you can hardly crank your neck back far enough to see the tops). It remains virgin timber because it was platted incorrectly when they did logging in that area decades ago. It is now a protected piece of land.

Here are a couple pics from the summer.  We don't take many any more. When Sam stopped living at the cabin with us in the summers, we don't have the camera out much! We did not capture any pics of our mama deer and her twin fawns, but they walked by the front windows a few times. We saw plenty of herons and loons and often, an eagle.

Dick in the LOST FORTY
Mornings on the lake were so quiet

Me in the LOST FORTY

Dick and Sam built this cool new fire pit near the shore.

A snapping turtle crossing the road

My brother Mike's amazing bluegrass band, ROADKILL BOYS. Mike is in the Coke shirt.

My physical strength is still poor from the steroids eroding my muscles. I can't bend or pick up anything or get a pair of pants on or squat without a lot of pain and having to hold onto something. My balance is bad because the radiation affected my inner ear. I have some vertigo. I need to get a hearing aid now because of the inner ear issue. That does not make me happy. I feel like I am 80 years old some days. Nothing can be done about the vitreous detachments in my eyes. I long for clear vision again. 

That said, I have been granted LIFE right now and I will live with these deficits until such a time as God chooses to heal any of them. My husband stands in the gap for me about anything I cannot do. Anything I struggle with, he just picks up the slack. He is a blessing.

Sam has a new part-time job that I pray with grow to "big and prominent" one day soon. It is a long-story God thing how it was thrown in his lap. He and former NFL Quarterback Sage Rosenfels do a 20-25 minute podcast on the new website LOCKED-ON (Sam does it solo on Tuesday and Thursday). They talk Vikings. Angles, predictions, after-game breakdowns, inside scoop from Norm Zimmer that Sam gets at press conferences, etc. It is good stuff. Their  "listenership" is growing daily and they need those growing numbers to continue.

These duos have been formed all over the league for every team for the NBA and the NFL. He is in some astute company. Paul Allen, the "voice of the Vikings," was asked first and he declined so Sam was asked!

If any of you are Vikings fans, you will enjoy it. Check it out! The podcasts are at

There is a summary of that day's topics under each podcast. Even if you don't have time to listen to the whole thing, your going to that podcast and clicking on it counts toward their numbers. If you check it out, thank you!

Happy autumn!!

Saturday, September 17, 2016


I owe my blog readers a big long post, which I intend to do this next week after my chaotic life (from moving home) is under control and we are all unpacked and settled. I will wait until after Wednesday when I get the results of my Monday Brain MRI.

In the meantime, I leave you with this image: Lest any of you think I am a self-absorbed woman who cares what others think of the way I look, think again. There is no glamour at the lake. Most days, I am "poor pitiful Pearl." This was "all ready for boating on a very cool September morning."

Will be talkin' to ya......

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


For those of you who are checking in and wondering about my PET scan results, I am happy to say that they were good. Barely discernible change in both SUV uptake and size. They considered it "stable disease." The boys and I are very grateful!!

I am spending a couple weeks being an activist on my lakeshore, soliciting signatures for people who want hi-speed internet brought in, Not only is everyone interested, but I've had the fun of meeting all these new cabin owners ----all so nice.

Going to a wedding in Mpls this weekend and next weekend tto Dick's class reunion. Been a busy summer. Thanks for checking in!!

Thursday, July 14, 2016


I am on the grid for about 30 minutes, then I will be retreating again into cyber-obscurity. We have had to admit it is tough to live without internet these days. Even our cell phones cannot get clear calls. Some texts just don’t get to us. While the internet can be used for heinous reasons by evil people, for those of us who need to google something or find an address or check email, it becomes almost a necessity-----and we are without. It gets tougher each year.

Summer has not officially begun in northern MN. Maybe 8-9 days of sun and warmth. It’s been heavy with clouds and cool and rain. We have not been in the lake and only have fished once (I went with Sam and Gretchen one evening where we resembled the 3 stooges trying to release Sam’s big northern from his lucky lure).

Had my whole family out for a day and night. 22 of our 26 Hiebs could come and we had such a great time together. Our last connection was at Mom’s funeral and we needed a year later, to just love on each other and laugh and talk. It was a special time. We missed Anna and family who are in Denver.

I have a PET scan next Tuesday. Mom’s birthday. We will drive all the way home to do this. Enough of using local medical care for oncology issues. It is a lung scan, not another brain scan. My muscles still are daily painful and stiff and I still can’t squat and get up yet. I have faith that God will someday restore my musculoskeletal system.

Dick works hard every day on the shore and in our woods. He was born a woodsman. We want to get the cabin painted too. I am painting and distressing some old tables and trying to learn how to etch words into barnwood. Dick brought me a bunch of old barnwood he got at an abandoned farm in North Dakota over July 4th weekend in Kenmare. I am so tickled. LOVE barnwood.

My biggest treat is a new dryer which will be delivered in a week. My 40-year-old dryer, held together front to sides with duct tape, will be going to the landfill. It still works, but the duct tape, after 3 years, can’t keep holding the heavy pieces together. It’s all sagging. It is time.

Hard to believe summer is half over. We got a late start this year, but can make up for it by staying a couple weeks into September. Reading some really good books. I will try to keep track of them and post them later.

Hope you all are having a good summer!                                               

Saturday, June 4, 2016


Dick's retirement party was really special. Friends, past employees and students came to honor Dick. He was given his emeritus title, officially, and had 4 of his faculty (and former faculty) get up to say how Dick has influenced them and students. The Dean of Health Sciences was a real dear man, has only been here for two years, and yet he knew Dick well enough to say, " Three words to describe Dick are a man of action, humble, and loving." He said he was an exemplary professor. I was so moved that he really knew him. Indeed, he is all of those. The students mentioned a couple "funny incidences with Dr. Ekstrom, like the time he schooled us in 3 on 3 basketball." Some humorous stories.

It would take many paragraphs to tell what they said about my guy, but Sam and I were very touched. I don't think any kid is tuned in very much to the impact their parents have on others in their workplace. I think it was so great that Sam could be there to hear what his dad has meant to so many.

I put up just a few of the pictures Dick's colleague Joy took that day, including one of the 2nd and 3rd year classes who wanted one last picture with one of their best profs. Sam and I are so proud that he is our husband/dad!!

Retirement official starts for him in 5 days. A new life ready to begin.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


For the second time in my life, I have experienced identity theft. Once about 8-10 years ago, and now. Dick and I have become pretty anal about never sharing our credit card number over the phone and very careful even on the internet when it is encrypted. But the only thing which we never do----and did, carelessly, while on vacation in March, was give our card to the server in a restaurant to pay our bill. It must have been then. NEVER again do I hand that card to another person who is not my family. When they bring the bill, they will have to deal with me following them to the credit card machine!

Luckily, Chase, our credit card company, caught the hacker. It amazes me they catch someone trying to use your account. They notified us immediately and we closed down our account and they gave us new Visas. It is a great company to take care of theft. I had my new card number memorized in about 10 minutes, so all is good. (For anyone raising their eyeballs at that, I admit to having a numbers thing. I still know my 13-digit VIN number off my 1974 green Chevy Vega and my dad's serial number when he was in the Army.)

Dick's retirement party is tomorrow. He teaches til the 10th and then retirement starts. Things really won't feel any different until fall when he is still at the cabin in late August and September and not sitting in a PT class. Sam is able to come tomorrow!

Our animal control officer just left. I had him set a raccoon trap in our yard. One recent morning I happen to look down into my window well and there were 3 very large piles of feces. Richie and I wondered who had paid us a visit, so we googled images of "animal poop." Instantly we knew that we had a raccoon who preferred to do his business in private. It was cleaned up and about a week later, it happened again. I have pictures, but I am going to restrain myself from publishing them. We cleaned it up (we as in Richie) again and I poured a gallon of beach in the well. Saw 2 more live raccoons in the neighborhood this week. We battened down the window wells with plywood and bricks and now animal control is setting a trap. One across the street too, I guess. I'm anxious to see if we trap one!!

We are packing up for the lake. Anxious to get up there.