The World of Grandpa Don

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 In the World of Grandpa Don
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2017 Aug 18


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.         Grandpa Don Plefka

            Grandpa Don
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Thought  of the Week ...

Freedom is not the ability to do whatever you want. Freedom is the strength of character and the self-possession to do what is good, true, noble, and right.

 Man Praying

The Prayer Corner

Mathew 5:24
Leave your gifts there at the altar, go first to be reconciled to your brother, and then come back and offer your gift.


Prayer to St. Isidore of Seville

Almighty and eternal God, who has created us in Thy image and bade us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful, especially in the divine person of Thy only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech Thee that, through the example of Saint Isidore, bishop and doctor, during our journeys through the Internet we will direct our hands and eyes only to that which is pleasing to Thee and treat with charity and patience all those souls whom we encounter.

Through Christ our Lord,


Be kind to one another
with brotherly love and honor"

Rom. 12:10

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The plan is to update this page every Friday.
Life doesn't always go as planned.

Happenings and thoughts of the past week
in the World of Grandpa Don ...

A week ago Friday in the late afternoon the cardiologist's nurse called again with instructions for me. If you remember, I had called earlier in the day to report that my blood pressure and pulse were still high while I was taking 1/2 of a heart pill each day. The doctor had her call to tell me to alternate each day between 1/2 a pill and a whole pill, So, I replaced the 1/2 pill for Saturday with a whole pill and also adjusted the dosage for the following days.

Then came Saturday, Just before lunch, my daughter came with my supply of groceries and she made lunch. I was very tired and weak and after lunch, she went home and I went up for a soak in the walk-in-tub. After that, still feeling tired, I laid down in bed and fell asleep. At about 3, I was awakened by a call from Dan. I told him how tired I felt and he said that he would come by later. At that point I went down stairs and checked my blood pressure. It was ridiculously low as was my pulse. I was in trouble. The whole pill had done its job too well.

I called the doctor's office and the answering service connected me to the stand-by doctor. I told him what was happening and a little history and he told me to go to the emergency room at the hospital. When I told him that I did not want to go to the hospital he said to stop taking the medication completely and to drink lots of fluids. I agreed to that and notified my kids of what was going on.

Later, Dan came by. By that time my condition had improved a little and I was feeling better. Dan went for Chinese for our supper and after eating I felt even better. I will be in touch with my cardiologist on Monday and we will have a serious discussion. This bouncing up and down between high and low blood pressure and pulse rate can not continue.



Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.

 Hosea Ballou


Indeed, Mr. Ballou has hit the nail on the head for from the blossom of the attitude of gratitude springs happiness and joy. We may seem to have little but when we are grateful for what we do have it is multiplied in our hearts. The world becomes a wonderful place and life a gift beyond all expectations and measurement.

And Sunday morning after a fitful sleep I was grateful to have fully recovered from the previous day of extreme low blood pressure and pulse rate, Yes, it was above normal, as I expected, but I can live with that and quite comfortably, I may add.

After breakfast, the temperature in the gazebo was 70 with no wind and so that was my destination. It was a glorious morning, sunny and quiet, perfect for counting ones blessings. "Thank you Lord for another day in this life of mine. Help me to live it well, no matter what I find."

What a reward that will be. That alone is worth the effort to get to heaven. And it is also an incentive to pray for others. And It will be particularly rewarding if we find that our prayers for someone who has done evil have saved him! What a glorious reward that will be.

Tom came by Sunday afternoon. He had brought a new part for one of my faucets but alas, it didn't fit. But, while he was here he took mercy on my flowers giving them much needed water. The rain that had been hitting the Chicago area has been missing me.

While he was here, Dan called with glad tidings. Eric had presented Kelsey with a ring along with an offer of marriage. Of course she accepted and the wedding will be sometime next year. Congratulations to the happy couple and their parents. The family continues to expand.

The Happy ones

Have you ever seen two more happy people! I am told that it will be a very very small wedding with only the immediate family in attendance.



Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu.
(A person is a person because of other people).

Zulu Proverb


And to prove a point ... Eric and Kelsey make each other eminently happy and make each other complete.

Monday, it was after 9 when I called Dr Teplitz' office but alas they open at 9:30. So I left a message with the answering service. I assumed that she had to talk to Dr Winterfield and then to Dr. Teplitz before someone would get back to me. I assumed wrong. The call was finally returned about 11:15 by a nurse that knew nothing of the previous events. And because it was not the same nurse that I had spoken to the previous Friday I filled her in on my problem. She concurred that per Dr. Winterfield's instruction I should not take the blood pressure medication. She would relay the situation to Dr Teplitz. So I remained in Limbo ... waiting, but comfortable. I can live quite a while with elevated blood pressure and pulse rate.

In the meantime I enjoyed the garden gazebo munching on grapes and having my morning coffee just reveling in the new day given to me so generously by God. Thank You God! I was visited in the gazebo by a dove and then a small squirrel. They are startled somewhat when they realize that I am sitting there but do not immediately leave. It is only after I try to engage them in conversation that they realize I am of a different species of animal and make a departure, one by ground and one by air.

When we reveal our faults and failings, most people donít love us less; they love us more.

Contrary to logic, that happens because they can identify with imperfection, being imperfect themselves. That doesn't mean that we should not strive for perfection nor does it mean that we should strive for even lesser perfection seeking more friends of a kind. No, we strive for betterment and while we do so we try to bring others up with us.

Monday afternoon the nurse called and told me to go back to taking 1/2 a pill of the blood pressure medication. That's were we were last week and it wasn't enough but at least it was some control. So, as far as I'm concerned, I am still in Limbo at this point. Am I to live with high blood pressure the rest of my life? What effect will that have on my chemotherapy? With that question in mind I called the doctor's office again.

With that call the nurse suggested that I send my home test results to their office

 But, they do not use email and I don't have Fax service. So I bit the bullet and subscribed to MyFax and after a little trouble getting established with them requiring two phone calls I was able to send the Fax to the doctor's office. Of course, by the time I did it they were closed for the day.



When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


We don't see many stars here. We are too close to the city and even the suburbs have a lot of lights that wash out the light from the stars. But when you get to remote areas the stars are beautiful and we learn that there really is beauty in darkness. Beauty is all around us at all times. We just have to know how to look for it.

Wednesday as I ate breakfast the nurse from the cardiologist's office called. They got my test records and Dr. Teplitz said that the pulse rates were high but the blood pressure was not that bad and I should continue what I am doing, He had no reason to adjust my medication. OK, that's what I will do. If I see any problem I will notify the doctor and I will periodically send him a copy of my home test results.

My kids thought that I should delay the start of Chemotherapy until the blood pressure situation was resolved and Anne Marie was to cancel the appointment with the oncologist that I had for next week. I told her not to cancel it and that I was ready to start Chemo. When I talked to her on Wednesday she told me that she had discussed it with her brothers and they decided that Chemo should be delayed. She also told me that she had already canceled next week's appointment. I had been summarily overruled! But they are probably right in their decision for me. I can live with it. We will reevaluate the situation later in September.

I think we sell ourselves short. Yes, we are imperfect beings but we don't need to be satisfied with that ... and we shouldn't. It is my belief that God intended for us to be partners with Him in perfecting and advancing His creation and that not only includes making advances in science and technology but improving our understanding of life and working towards our personal perfection. We need not be satisfied with mediocrity and certainly not be captivated in evil ways. We must rise above that and we can. Jesus became man to be an example for us. Yes, He did some miraculous things and maybe, just maybe, we can even do that if we try hard enough. There are reports of saints achieving that level of perfection. But, I expect that most of us will not become saints, not in this life. But we can try and we can become close.

Love thy Neighbor ... and everyone is our neighbor. Being or acting superior to anyone else is contrary to the teaching and example of Jesus. Those who have taken the path of the Nazis or White Supremacists of any kind or in any degree are in opposition to Jesus and God's plan for us. The same applies to anyone who puts himself as superior to any other person or group of peoples.



The moment we choose to love
we begin to move against domination, against oppression.
The moment we choose to love
we begin to move towards freedom,
to act in ways that liberate ourselves and others.

bell hooks


Hating or despising others, feeling superior to them, enslaves us in conflict. Love breaks those shackles and frees us. It is really that simple.

 On a lighter note, I have a need. Of course we could all say that we have many needs. But this need can probably be easily and economically filled. The need arises because when I go out to the gazebo in the morning after breakfast I bring my telephone which clips on to my belt. That's no problem. But I also have my iPad and a cup of coffee. which would be fine if I could use each of my hands hand for them. But sensibility requires that my right hand is used to hold my walking stick. I do not have three hands and the iPad and coffee cup, filled with steaming hot coffee can not be carried in one hand. At present I manage the problem by tucking the iPad into the front of my pants ... a expedient solution but rather undignified looking and besides that, it has a tendency to slip downward. Now don't tell me to leave the coffee in the kitchen. I enjoy it in the gazebo too much to do that. And I can't forgo the walking stick because it is needed to beat off the women who may be lurking in wait for me. (I never see any in the yard which shows that the walking stick is a good deterrent.) So, maybe I could get a small lightweight cloth bag  that had handles on it, just sufficient to contain the iPad. The bag could be not more than an iPad "pocket" with small loops in place of handles. I could utilize an "S" hook to attach it to a belt loop, in effect, being a third hand. Maybe one of my kids could help me fulfill this rather urgent need. Do you think?

But seriously, I have a theory and recent events prompt me to share it. I occurs to me that "supremacists" of any ilk are, in fact, anything but supreme and they are driven by fear of being inferior. They fear that these "others" are, in fact, better than they are and are afraid that they will take their jobs and their place in society. Why else do they try to suppress them or eliminate them? To my thinking, I would not want to live in constant fear of being replaced. I would find a way to find peace with my fellow man in the knowledge that we are all brothers and children of God. There is no place in an educated and enlightened society for hatred of our fellow man. If we ever do reach anything close to perfection that will be gone. Supremacy must be shown for what it is and it must be eliminated from our society.

I have often said that the idea that we are all created equal is not correct. We are not all equal but have different abilities and talents which are given to us to complement each other in order to use this variety to provide all we need. But, it is these very differences that makes us valuable to each other and, in fact invaluable, so that through sharing of our talents that we make society function correctly and fully. That another is different than myself is not to say that one of us is inferior to the other. We must have equal opportunity to live and to contribute our unique abilities to the whole of society. Long live our differences. We could not exist without them in this complex world.



You do not need to know precisely what is happening,
or exactly where it is all going.
What you need is to recognize the possibilities
and challenges offered by the present moment,
and to embrace them with courage, faith, and hope.

Thomas Merton


Yes, make plans. But don't let your plans rule your life when the present moment is offering a great opportunity. Don't let your plans blind you to life. Life is lived in the present moment. Set a general course and then react to the storms, the adverse winds and the calms as they occur. Don't fight life as it is what is happening while you are planning something else. Let it be an adventure if it will.

Thursday morning, a wet morning, had me sleeping almost to 10. That left a short morning which was enjoyed in the living room. Pat call and he was back from vacation and could bring communion which he did. As always, we had a good conversation. It is amazing how the two of us think alike and agree on so many things. The visit is concluded with a short prayer service and the receiving of the host, always a rewarding experience. Thank You God.

Every moment of life is an opportunity to become a-better-version-of-yourself.

It is said, and said in truth, that the only person you have to beat is yourself. The goal is to be better than you were the day before and to progress toward perfection. At the same time we hope to bring others up with us, to be a positive influence on everyone we meet. In this way we cooperate in God's plan for humanity, for the continuation of creation and for the improvement of the world. Let our motto be, "All for one and one for all".

I have trumpet vines on my back fence. Did I make a mistake by planting them? I found this ...

I had trumpet vine on 3 sides of my yard for twenty years. My neighbors had it growing in their fence lines because they didn't care about it, they are renters. It is HORRIBLY invasive and when you cut it back, it starts new shoots underground. Even worse than bamboo. I probably spent 40 - 50 hours a season just cutting it back as hard as I could. Then I bought some powdered roundup and mixed it double strength and sprayed those vines about 4 times. That got rid of it. It was the first time (hopefully the last) I ever resorted to using poisons in my yard but it was so worth it. If it comes back in the spring, I'm going to spray it again. It was even coming up as far as ten feet away from the original plants. DON'T PLANT IT or I'm sure you'll regret it.

But the prolific flowers are beautiful, long lasting and attract humming birds. I like it. It produces seeds in oversized pods. Another source tells us that although the Trumpet vine is not poisonous, it can cause an allergic reaction. Handel with gloves and care.



It is a huge danger to pretend that awful things do not happen.

 But you need enough hope to keep going.

 I am trying to make hope.
Flowers grow out of darkness.

Corita Kent


Here are some photos ...

Back fence

This is my back fence as viewed from the gazebo.

A close up view

The trumpet flowers are past their prime and the seed pods have emerged.

Another view

Another view. We have yellow blossoms and orange blossoms. No, those are not string beans and may, in fact, be a bit toxic.

This is appropriate today ...


The only thing we should hate is hate itself. It is the ultimate of evils.


The best way to not feel hopeless
is to get up and do something.
Donít wait for good things to happen to you.
If you go out and make some good things happen,
you will fill the world with hope,
you will fill yourself with hope.

Barack Obama

This is an example of the power of positive thinking. My (adopted) father gave me books on the subject, books that helped form my attitude. I thank him for that. And I thank God for placing me in his care.

I am sorry for seeming to be a bit political here but in my humble opinion, Barack Obama strikes me as being twice the man that Donald Trump thinks he (Trump) is.

The quote at the top of the page by Matthew Kelly bears repeating:

Freedom is not the ability to do whatever you want. Freedom is the strength of character and the self-possession to do what is good, true, noble and right.

Our President doesn't seem to grasp this principle and he should. Those who hate and promote hate of others are un-American and must be denounced as such in the strongest possible terms. Instead, he defends their "right" to express their views. They have no such right. Their ranting's are on the same level as crying "Fire!" falsely in a crowded building. Please ... Wake up Mr. President ... See if you can discover what "nobility" means and act like an American President.

May I offer a definition ...
"Having honorable qualities; having moral eminence and freedom from anything petty, mean or dubious in conduct and character."

Friday morning I enjoyed a delicious breakfast of corn beef hash, heated up in a frying pan along with a couple eggs smiling up at me. Each forkful of the combination of hash and egg was a delight and at the end of the meal the egg yoke on the plate was sopped up by the remaining hash. Heavenly! A treat for a king it was.

With the world in turmoil, I am able to live a very comfortable life. Yes, I have problems but there is so much for which to be grateful. I have the best of care and my living conditions are wonderful. Some blessings come in disguise.  It is said that old age is tough but it doesn't last that long. I see that in mixed emotions but certainly not in fear.

My faith tells me that the best is yet to come and I am comforted by that. The problem is that we know what we have now and there is always the fear of the unknown that lurks in the subconscious.  We are sometimes like the man with a gun in one hand and a knife in the other trying to decide whether to cut down the ally or shoot up the street. Well, I will do neither as I try to stay the course in the most noble way I can. And yes I know, the Nobility can often be corrupted but I will try to stay with the concept of its definition.   

May God be with us all and may He guide and protected us as we navigate through life as best we can.

I emphatically and repeatedly proclaim ...

I Am Blessed
 I Am  Anointed 
I Am Overjoyed


Holy God, 
help me to conduct myself today so that the world may catch a glimmer of your presence

Grandpa Don Plefka

Grandpa Don

Be Nice
Anne wanted everyone to
 "Be Nice".

Anne ... my buddy
Anne Marie Lawler Plefka

The Lady of My Life

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