Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Not having kids, our kitties became our children... and got all the attention and love a beloved child would have.
Yep, spoiled kitties here.
A year ago, due to diabetes, we had to put down our sweet RowdyGirl Kitty. It broke our hearts... including the SqueakersCat, who got lonely for her sister.
Squeakers got a little neurotic... and a lot more attached to my husband. Lately, she's been attached to me, too.
Squeakers has had a lot of nicknames over the years...
Baby Good Morning Kitty
Squeaker T. Beast (T stands for "the")
Whatever we've called her, she's known we were talking to her and loving her.
When she started losing weight, we thought it was the heat and weather. When she hid under the bed, we thought she missed my husband when he went back to work. Were we just blind?
Now, it's obvious that she is sick.
And tomorrow is heartbreakingly NOT looking good for this home team.
Monday, August 29, 2005
Several friends been pretty close to the path of Hurricane Katrina. I fretted about them quite a bit. Each has checked in and each is doing well. The one closest to the storm had a huge tree fall, just missing her home. The others have had tornado warnings all day long. I am just happy the storm didn't hurt my friends.
It's end of month at work. Chaos. One co-worker dared to call in sick... saying she'd be in tomorrow. Yeah, right. Her pattern is to call in sick on Monday, say she will be in on Tuesday... and take the entire week off, never really 'fessing up to what was wrong with her... but always having a lovely new wardrobe.
Upcoming long weekend... earlier this summer, we planned to go away for the long Labor Day weekend, but realized that we might not be able to do so with my husband's job situation. Put it on the back burner and gave up the idea. Today, we made reservations for a romantic getaway! I'm already planning for our time together away from home and the stresses of life.
Quilting... YES! After work and dinner, I came into my sewing room and got lost in my first quilt project. Oh... this is such fun! I've got the quilt top about 2/3 done and might even finish the top tomorrow. Already I am tickled with how pretty it is!
Sleep... oh, yeah, that sleep thing. Maybe, just maybe, this quilting bug is a good thing for relaxing me, relieving stress and letting me release creative energy... and allow me a good night's sleep.
May there be mercy on my sleep tonight...
Sunday, August 28, 2005
My goddaughter is 12... almost a teenager and very much a drama queen. I call her Sweet Pea. Once she got old enough to understand that a sweet pea is a flower and not sweet "pee", she decided she liked her nickname from me!
My godson is 5. I call him Monster Boy. Not because he is one, but because it was an affectionate name that my own sweet Daddy used to call each of us. Monster Boy doesn't realize that this is a name of affection yet, he just looks at me like I'm a little silly and says, "I'M not a monster!" He has an adorable lisp, but it's fading. Someday he won't say it as "monser."
KC has always enjoyed teasing her kids. When they want something they can't have, instead of just saying "no", KC will usually say to go over to the window... look outside... and tell her if pigs are flying. It's always been humorous. Usually gets a good eye-roll from Sweet Pea and the understanding that the answer is no.
Tonight, Monster Boy wanted a treat just before dinner. KC told him to go over to the window... look outside... and tell her if pigs were flying. We went back to conversation, forgetting that this was the first time she had said this to Monster Boy.
In the middle of our conversation, Monster Boy comes running back to announce, "There's no pigs ANYWHERE out there Mom!"
He was a little embarrassed when we all broke out laughing. Good thing that 5-year-olds get over that quickly.
It was a great evening of wonderful food, time with friends who are family and laughter.
Saturday, August 27, 2005
Normally I am fairly creative, can just look at something and know pretty much what to do with it. This fabric has me stumped.
It feels silly to me. It really shouldn’t be quite so difficult to decide on what project to place this fabric.
But… this fabric is special to me, and therein lies the difference. Most fabric I purchase or cut from old clothes that no longer fit, but I still like the pattern. This one, I didn’t purchase. This one was done special, with someone thinking of me while she painted it!
The lady who painted it for me is one of those special people in life. Funny, charming, loving, compassionate, supportive, encouraging and a sense of humor that won’t quit.
And, amazingly, while we have corresponded almost daily for over 2 years, and we talk on the phone weekly, we have never met. I am blessed to count her among my dear, dear friends. Someday we will meet… and I look forward to that time!
Now, the difficulty has become obvious to me. I have too many choices of things I could do with this fabric.
I can add it into a quilt and hang it on my wall.
I can make pillows with it and enjoy them in my living room.
I can add it to my denim jacket, making a one-of-a-kind piece.
I can make a tote bag with it for my day-to-day things to take to work.
The possibilities are endless with a lovely piece of hand-painted fabric.
Breaking the creative block has become a necessity in my heart! I want to use this fabric and soon!
So I went to a fabric store today and spent quite a bit of time talking with the owner. What a fun place! Since I already sew, my next goal is to begin quilting. That was the real purpose of the visit to the fabric shop. To talk about classes and supplies and how-to and… buy the items for a first project!
The creative block had me stumped on getting started on a quilting project, too.
But that visit to the fabric shop made the difference. My creative juices are flowing. I am seeing projects in the existing fabrics on my shelves. I have a better idea what I will do with my hand-painted fabric.
The shopkeeper helped so much! I now have a book, the fabric and the tools to start my very first quilt. It is a gift to myself and will hang in my home. The fabric has been washed and is waiting for me to begin cutting…
Thursday, August 25, 2005
I have a desk in the corner of the office... and the blessing of not only 1, but 2 windows. The light pours in year round. I love it.
It's a fairly private little spot as far as customers are concerned. They come into our lobby and cannot see me. Others great them and help them. I happen to like this arrangement because it allows me to concentrate and get a lot of work done.
But... as they walk from the parking lot to the front door, they pass by my windows. Interesting things happen outside my office window!
There are the couples that are obviously very young and purchasing their first home. I can see the excitement on their faces and the thoughts of how it will be... once they have moved in and claimed it as "home".
There are people who have been in financial trouble and are refinancing their existing home. Their faces are sullen, sometimes hopeful and sometimes sad. They are hoping for a fresh start, but not certain things will really work out.
I see customers who live in my community, who smile and wave at me as they pass by.
There are couples in the middle of a fight. I can see their ongoing arguments and the anger, even though I cannot hear the words.
I see ambulances and fire trucks and police cars racing down the boulevard... and pray for those on the other end of their hurried flight.
There are people who use the pay phones in the gas station next door to the office. Some are families in transit and some are obvious drug dealers.
The Fed-Ex lady, who will one day hit my desk with her truck since she drives so fast in our parking lot. I swear she is gonna come through the building and hit me.
One day I looked up to see a guy picking his nose!
Another day, I looked up and smiled at the customer... only to have him wink at me.
I see the trees changing with the seasons. The rain pouring down or the sunshine bathing me in pure light.
Interesting things happen outside my office window.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
But I decided to find the good in the day, in spite of my exhausted state.
I had tea with honey.
I was surprisingly productive at work.
My best girlfriend called me to meet her for lunch and we got to sit outside in the sunshine.
A friend gave a wine recommendation.
I got to chat with online friends.
My husband hugged me when I got home.
Not an exhaustive list, but since I happen to BE exhausted, it works.
Now, for a good night's sleep and prayer for mercy on my tomorrow.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
… as if it were that simple.
What race child do you want? Or do you care?
Will you accept a child with emotional and/or physical disabilities?
What about parental drug use while pregnant?
Will both the parents sign off on the adoption?
Can I love a child that isn’t biologically mine?
Monday, August 22, 2005
Sunday, August 21, 2005
The housecleaning, yep, even that.
The planning of a meal or an event.
Setting a pretty table so my guests feel special.
Choosing a wine, oh... so many choices!
The anticipation of good food, great conversation and laughter shared with friends.
I love it all.
And I have a secret...
... I am the QUEEN of making meals that taste and appear like I slaved for days, but are so simple they can be done in 15 - 20 minutes.
I love that part best of all!
Setting up a simple, yet elegant and tasty meal for friends to enjoy makes them feel special... and in setting it up this way I can enjoy my time with them. No stress. No tension. No one feels like they have to do anything except relax and have fun... especially me!
Friends are coming from Portland as I type...
The house is clean.
The table is set.
The menu is planned.
Appetizers are ready.
Dinner is set to cook in 15 minutes worth of time.
The wine is chilled.
... and I am anticipating a wonderful evening!
Saturday, August 20, 2005
I’ve debated all day whether to write about the sounds of my neighborhood or my client with cancer. On the one hand, (or topic) it’s semi-frivolous, which is good for Saturdays. On the other hand… dealing with cancer is a far more important topic. So I mix them both tonight.
The day has been filled with normal Saturday things. Cleaning the house, running errands, finding some fun, time to sit on my deck and let the sunshine feed my soul… and grocery shopping… ah yes, grocery shopping.
I live in a fairly small community. Most folks know if something major is going on in someone’s life. And if something major is going on, everyone pitches in to help or celebrate. In whatever form that may take. Bring ‘em a meal if they have had surgery or a baby. Sit with ‘em if they just lost a family member. Rejoice with ‘em if they just got a job or a promotion.
Set up a fundraiser to help with the huge expenses of chemo and radiation when they are self-employed and haven’t the insurance to cover the costs.
I’ve known for weeks now that a client has cancer and is not doing well. It is well known that she probably won’t make it. But…
There is a surprise fund-raiser set up to help her with financial issues. It’s scheduled for next week. People in the community are donating things for live and silent auction items… and there is a big lunch set up to do this auction, with all the proceeds from the lunch going to the lady with cancer. The restaurant is only keeping the exact costs of the food… and donating their wait staff time.
Several folks from my office have donated items. I’ve given a set of picnic-ware to be auctioned off.
But today I went grocery shopping…
… and there she was. A woman on a store scooter, wearing a pink scarf tied around her head to hide the loss of her hair. Hard to recognize, but it certainly was my client with cancer.
She didn’t see me and I could have breezed on by. Since she didn’t see me, she never would have known that I saw her. Pulling Kleenex from the shelf and putting it in her cart. Riding the store scooter because she doesn’t have the strength anymore to walk to do her shopping.
I had to go back and talk to her. It was good. She was so glad I stopped. We talked about how hard chemo is (I saw tears in her eyes) and if I could help with casseroles for her freezer. I think I will never forget how her face lit up when I told her that I’d recognized her for her face in spite of the loss of hair.
I came home, hugged my sweet husband and went outside to sit in the sunshine and let it feed my soul. Listening to the sounds of children playing hide-and-seek in my neighborhood. The buzzing of bees as they check me out and inspect my glass of wine. Hearing mariachi music from down the street and my next-door neighbor pressure washing his house in order to paint it.
Reflecting on how good my life is, no matter how stressful my individual days may be.
Friday, August 19, 2005
IF you knew all the words to The Friday Song and IF you could be the right caller, you would win a prize.
I always tried, since I knew the song, but I was never the right caller.
I still sing The Friday Song because it’s such a cute little tune and because it just cheers everyone up.
♫ Friday, Friday, Friday is my favorite day ♪ My co-workers wait for me to walk by on Friday mornings…
♪ Friday, Friday, Friday is my favorite day ♫
♫ Monday is a bummer…♪
♪ Tuesday’s only fair…♫
♫ Wednesday’s gettin’ better…♪
♪ Thursday’s almost there, but…♫
♫ Friday, Friday, Friday is my favorite, ♪
♫Friday is my favorite, ♫
♫ Friday is my favorite day ♪
My co-workers wait for me to walk by on Friday mornings…
♫ Friday, Friday, Friday is my favorite day ♪
“OH! I was waiting for you to come and sing to me!”
I have friends all across the country who have made me call their cell phones and leave them voicemails with The Friday Song… so they can save the message to play every Friday.
It’s become quite a fun phenomenon for me. Who gets to hear The Friday Song … live… this week?
Gotta love a silly little ditty that brightens up everyone’s day.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
…get up and exercise, but that’s so NOT fun. I actually consider exercise to be 2 four-letter words shoved together and shouted to make me miserable. I don’t enjoy it and when I’m done, the only thing good that has happened is that it’s over!
… go to work. Well, that’s certainly not dedicated to fun. I like my job and what I do ... I like getting a paycheck… and I like most of my co-workers, but it’s not dedicated to fun for me.
… errands on lunch hours… enough said there!
… come home and cook dinner, only to clean up afterward… again, not fun except during the weekends when we can have friends over and I just putter in the kitchen.
... helping my blessed father-in-law with things in his home…
… visiting my sweet mother-in-law who lives in a nursing home because she has Alzheimer’s. She doesn’t know who I am, but is always nice to me.
… straighten up the house and then collapse for just a few minutes of conversation with my husband before we head to bed… only to start it all over again in the morning.
Not much time for fun for me in the workweek, eh? I also squeeze in time for any friends who are having a hard time with life, needing to talk or needing physical help.
Weekends are spent trying to get projects done around the house, church on Sunday and trying to fit in time with our cameras if the light is right. If at all possible, I love to sew, but lately it hasn’t been possible.
Where is the time for fun for me?
Scheduling time with girlfriends is hard since they all have kids and we don’t. They all think I live this great free-wheeling lifestyle with no stress since we don’t have kids. While there are plusses to our life, not having children certainly wasn’t what we wanted… and our stress levels are quite high with health issues for us and for our aging parents… not to mention the myriad etcetera in the stress factors.
So… where is the time for fun for me?
It takes a lot of planning for me to be able to have dedicated time for “me” fun. Planning and flexibility with other people’s schedules. Sometimes it just feels like too much work to get any fun out of the deal! But… in spite of it all…
… right now I’m planning some fun for me… and a complete 10 days of it. It will take all of the remainder of my vacation time for the year, but will be so worth it.
The planning alone is giving me some fun.
The anticipation is lovely.
I can hardly wait for the time to arrive.… some time for me….
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
I hate stopping at the grocery store on the way home from work. I always have and at age 45, I don’t think that is going to change.
I don’t mind doing a full-blown grocery shop, but I hate to have to stop at the grocery store on the way home from work. Usually my sweet husband will do it for me. Since he doesn’t cook and I am a great cook, it’s only fair that he run cooking errands for me.
Unfortunately right now he’s working overtime, so I have to make my own stops on the way home. Ugh!
Leave work, list in hand, drive to store, go in and get all the things on the list. Good, that’s done! Now I can reward myself… a little lingering in the wine department!
I love to try different wines. I love browsing in the wine department. I adore little wine shops and going to wineries. (The picture is of the Sommelier at Mission Hill Winery in British Columbia, a fabulous place to visit!) For me, it’s even more fun to buy wine and see it in my wine rack, bottles full of the promise of something wonderful.
The promise of laughter and wonderful conversations with friends in my living room.
The promise of romance and passion when my husband and I have a great meal followed by a dessert wine and superb dark chocolate.
So I lingered in the wine department after I’d dutifully filled my basket with the things on my list. Looking to see what promises lurked there this time. After a lovely chat with the Manager, I picked a bottle and headed toward checkout.
I’m sure the look on my face was priceless when the cashier asked, “May I see your ID?”
“You’re CARDING me? Honey, I’m 45 years old and you’re carding me?” I started laughing in my disbelief.
Apparently she was serious because there I was, 45 years old, proudly showing the very well earned grey in my hair and small wrinkles around my eyes… giving this young lady my ID to prove I was old enough to buy that bottle of wine!
When she told me that my glasses made me look very young, I told her she was my new best friend. Guess I need to call my old best friend and tell her she has been replaced, eh?
My husband and I have had a great chuckle over this… and decided that bottle of wine definitely holds the promise of laughter.
Monday, August 15, 2005
An interesting day. Chaos at work with 4 key people in my department on vacation... which led to me having a need to be in the sunshine.
Something about sunshine feeds my soul.
I grew up in San Diego, on the beaches and in the sunshine. While I DO miss my family and DO NOT miss the big city, I miss parts of that sunshine and beach lifestyle. I love living in small town America in the Northwest, but it only has short periods of absolutely perfect days wherein I feel like my soul has been fed with that sunshine-y feeling.
Today was a sunshine-y, perfect, feed my soul kind of day... and I glory in it!
Work really was chaos. Four very key people in my department of only 13 were out of the office on vacation. It is also our busy season, and the phones ring constantly... and clients flock into the office like seagulls after a snack.
My soul cried out for time in the sun...
Usually, this time of year, I take a campchair and sit in the sunshine with my lunch out in back of the office. Clients chat with me after they park and are walking into the building.
"You sure know how to take a lunch break!"
"Yeah, I do, don't I?!"
We all smile and go about our business. They go into my office and purchase their new home... or refinance their existing home. I sit and read my book in the glory of the day.
Co-workers tell me they need to remember to bring their campchairs so they can join me... but they never do. I sit alone in the sunshine...with my book... soaking up the joy in the glory of the day...
Today I did not get to glory in the day at lunchtime. Errands and work interrupted the thought of feeding my soul. But...
... my blessed, sweet husband called to tell me he had to work overtime...
I race home.
I throw on my bathing suit.
Grab the lawn chaise...
And on my deck with a glass of wine I go... in the sunshine... with my book...
Time to feed my soul with some evening sun. Bliss. Absolute bliss.
In the privacy of my backyard deck, I listen to the sounds of my neighborhood. The neighbors behind me are teaching their grandson to play baseball. He is about 5 and they are praticing... "you are doing great, but I know you can do better." I hear them encouraging the boy. "Hold the glove, and chase the ball, don't wait for it to drop into the glove, chase it!" And the best of all... "you can do it!" As they move to batting practice, I hear him call, "look at me, Mommy, look at me!"
We glory in the sunshine together and apart... separate and enjoying the same thing...
... each enjoying, each feeding our souls.
Sunday, August 14, 2005
Sleep does not come easy for my husband and I. We each have health issues that do not allow for the simplicity of a great night's sleep that used to come so easily when we were younger.
Now, it's a great night when either one of us has gotten 5-6 hours of uninterrupted rest.
And yet, we still have to work a normal day... being productive and acting as if sleep, and rest, were not an issue.
Sometimes I miss the days of 20 years ago. Being able to stay up dancing or, more likely, talking until sometime between midnight and 3 a.m. Still able to be up and ready to take on the world at 6:30 a.m., not to mention being able to work a full day after such a short night's sleep.
Now, health issues have caused me to feel old and tired when I stay up late... and sometimes when I don't. I crave sleep. But sleep avoids me.
So tonight... I pray mercy on my sleep...