Wednesday, December 31, 2008

happy new year!

...may there be mercy and moments of great joy for each of us this new year.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

merry christmas

...may there be mercy and joy in your celebrations.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

quick thoughts

Quick thoughts for this evening.

Kim's party: huge success. Huge. In spite of tacky and rude people. I let all that go and just celebrated my friend and the fact she was well enough to enjoy her party. Everyone had a great time.

Thanksgiving:  fun time in spite of the change in plans. We did not go to Portland as is our usual custom. Our friend's son is deployed and the daughter-in-law is far too pregnant to travel that far and also chase her 18-month-old daughter. So we met at the daughter-in-law's house and brought the party to her. We did all the cooking and cleanup, but there was much love and laughter. It was good.

UAQ: thanks to the ladies at Kim's party, I got a solution to the UAQ and am hoping to finish it soon. It will always be the UAQ in my eyes, but at least it will be the completed UAQ!

Like I said, it's quick tonight. I want some of our usual Saturday night "man, movie and wine" time.

...may there be mercy and joy in the quick moments of life.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

tacky and rude

So... I'm planning a birthday party for Kim. It's going to be Saturday. In spite of the fact she's been so sick, she wants a group of quilters to get together and spend the day quilting together. Fun idea, right?

The local quilt shop has recently expanded and added a nice classroom. In anticipation of this room being used - and in the thought of renting it out for fun events like this - until the end of the year, the owner is letting clients "rent" the room at no charge. Cool!  Room holds 10 people, has cutting stations set up, ironing stations set up and a tiny kitchen area. Perfect for an all day quilting party with lots of great munchies - a continental breakfast, snacks, lunch and a special birthday sweet treat for Kim. Brownies being her favorite, I've been planning on what types to make.

Unfortunately, sometimes people are thoughtless, rude and tacky.

Invitations went out with a request for an RSVP by Saturday the 15th... last Saturday, in fact. Heard from most folks by Sunday that they would come. Cool!

Except for that person who said, "can I invite this other person?  She feels like she is close to Kim and would like to come." Huh? Now when I have been invited to a party, I have always been appreciative of the invitation and given my answer without asking to invite others. Especially when there will be food that must be prepared for a group! My mama always taught me that it would be tacky to ask if I could bring someone if the invitation did not specifically say that I could. 

And there is that other little mean thought in my head that the person feels close to Kim... but Kim apparently doesn't feel quite as close or she would have been on that invitation list, eh? 

Oh, and then there is the other person who assumed that because the invitation was addressed to her partner, she is invited also... and she rather rudely braced me on the issue today on the phone. I didn't exclude her because of her status as the "husband" in the relationship. I excluded her because I was not given her name on the invitation list - because Kim doesn't like her and she does not quilt. 

Why would you want to force your way into a quilting party if you don't quilt? I understand she tends to take over any gathering and make it all about herself instead of the actual reason for the gathering. Ugh!

Then there are those who have been calling Kim to invite others to her party... when the invitations clearly state that I am the hostess and contact person. I mean, really, the party is FOR Kim, not being given BY Kim. Why the heck are you calling her?? Sheesh!

So I'm in a crappy mood now because my friend has been so ill and we have been so looking forward to her party... and there are a few people who are being thoughtless and rude and who may take over the party and make it about them instead of Kim. And I'm upset because Kim is disappointed already by her friends. 

It was supposed to be a joyous celebration of our friendship with Kim. Now I just want it over.

But I have to get all the extra food prepped first.

...may there be mercy and joy in spite of tacky.

Monday, November 17, 2008

still concerned, but progress

A quickie post before work. Talked to Kim. Friday they popped her butt back into the hospital and drained off an equal amount of fluid from her lungs as the first time. She still doesn't have any answers, but her doctor appointment is today.

If they do not have a treatment plan that will work and a specific cause, she is going to be heading down to the University of Washington Medical Center.

I'm so relieved they have that plan in place!

...may there be mercy and some answers soon.

Friday, November 14, 2008

very concerned

Kim has had a return of the fluid on both heart and lungs... and now has pneumonia on top of it all. I'm not happy about this and, quite frankly, am very concerned.

...may there be mercy and healing for my dear friend.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

quick rambles

Just a couple quick rambling thoughts for this Saturday morning.

Boeing:  we're heading out to do the contract vote in the next 10 minutes. At the end of today, we will know if it got approved. If it goes as we think and is approved, my sweet husband will go back to work on Monday.

My work:  after a high-stress day yesterday, it was sweet to come home with no one laid off and no pay cuts for staff. Hallelujah!!! Well, there was that pay cut that comes from our office benefit package that - for the first time ever - asked staff to pay 30% of the premium for spouse/dependent medical insurance. Company still pays 70% of that premium and 100% of the premium for the employee. Since my sweet husband has medical insurance available at his work, it does not affect our income at all. We elected to decline coverage at my office for him.

Friends:  have spent this week visiting friends in the hospital. Nancy had a tumor removed. They could not determine pre-surgery if it was on the kidney or intestine, so they removed a small portion of her kidney and a small portion of her intestine. Ended up being in the intestine and benign. Hallelujah! She took a while to stop having post-surgical complications, but went home yesterday and will be fine. Anytime they tell you that you do not have cancer, you will be fine!

Kim has been very ill. She had fluid around her heart and on (not in) her lungs. She was admitted to the hospital in the "progressive care" unit on Tuesday. Progressive Care is one step down from Critical Care. Yikes! Wednesday they removed almost a gallon of fluid from her lungs. It was amazing the difference in her color and breathing that night. Thursday they removed about 12 oz of fluid from her heart. This is a lot since there should only be about 2 tablespoons worth there. Again, her color and breathing were dramatically changed... but they moved her to Critical Care post-procedure. Scared the daylights out of me until I found out that this is normal protocol for this procedure. She was better last night, but really pissed off that she was still in the hospital. They will do another couple tests today and hopefully have final determination of the underlying causes for her. Once they know, she can go home.

Okay, those weren't such quick rambles and now I've got to run so we can play a bit today.

...may there be mercy and quick healing for my dear friends - and a calm, less-stressful week next week!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It really all boiled down to this one question:  would you sign an employment contract that clearly stated your employer could - at any time and for any reason - give away your job to someone who did not even work at your place of employment? (It's called outsourcing.)

Of course you wouldn't.

Sadly, the media did not talk much about this part of the Boeing strike. They consistently reported the strike as "issues of wages and medical benefits."

Thanks much, media. Would you have signed that contract with your station?

Yes, negotiating a good financial and benefit package was important. It is in any contract negotiation. But this time it was more important to negotiate the actual jobs, the job security issue and keeping those jobs for employees who actually work for the company. The folks who made them so very profitable. Oh, yeah, those guys.

Thanks to the media almost non-reporting of this most important part of the reason for the strike, I've had 53 days of verbal abuse by a boatload of folks. 

No, I don't work at Boeing. Never have. But my sweet husband does. And yes, he has been on strike for 53 days and counting.

The most recent abusive comment to me:  You guys are just greedy, selfish bastards! You should be grateful to have any job at any pay in this economy. What gives you the right to strike against your employer? Do you realize how many people are losing their jobs and taking cuts in pay? Greedy sons of...

Well, you get the general drift of that one. It went on. Sadly, it was another comment from yet  another friend. I didn't even respond. I was too tired of being the punching bag for the anger of those who didn't care to find out if there was another side of the story.

Thanks much, media.

For those who don't know, yes. I actually do understand all too well the fear behind those comments.  Come Friday, my own job may be cut or my pay cut. We will find out at a meeting that day. With my health, the most important part of everything is the issue of health insurance availability. Currently our insurance is held with my job, so it's been pretty dang scary at times. But I am trusting that God will provide for our needs. It's what I believe. It's what I'm living.

As of last night, a tentative agreement has been reached between the Boeing Company and the Machinists Union. In preliminary information, it's looking pretty dang good for both sides. As soon as we get a full copy, we'll read the fine print to be sure. But from all the reports, it's looking like it will be a winner.

It's been interesting lately. A week or so ago, I moved into "refuse to discuss" and self protective mode. I know people are simply scared and taking it out on me. I'm trying to avoid damaged relationships, so I won't talk about it with anyone now. Hoping that once the guys go back to work, people will focus on something else and we can move past the hurtful things said.

...may there be mercy and a grace in forgiveness.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

lovely weekend

We're just home from the Fall Color Festival.  Too bad there wasn't any color yet!! In about 2-3 weeks, the color will be glorious. Today, the day was glorious, but the color was just starting to turn. Oh well, we had a fun time anyway.

The plan was to take our cameras, pick up a buddy from work and go enjoy this festival. Since the color wasn't cooperative, we never got our cameras out of the trunk. Big disappointment on that, because I really wanted some picture taking time today.

I'm embarrassed to admit that we've never visited the local wineries, with the exception of the one that is across the street from my friend's house - and that one only when they have had events raising money for breast cancer research.

The first winery, Eagle Haven, is the closest on the drive upriver. It's a young winery, only open since 2004. The tasting room is cozy and inviting and pretty. The staff is just plain fun. Obviously they enjoy people and are knowledgeable about wine - in spite of the fact that the employee today in the tasting room really is a whiskey drinker! We laughed with her, learned a little about this winery and enjoyed a relaxed and fun tasting. This is the first year they are selling a Pinot Noir. It's young, so it's a little on the light side rather than full bodied, but it does show they have potential. The Sangiovese was lovely and I brought a bottle of that home. I will go back there again.

The second winery, Challenger Ridge, is in a pretty setting overlooking the river. The tasting room is very pretty, however it's quite dark and has the feel of a smoky jazz bar with a slightly odd twist of being back-woodsy. We were told they are planning for the future in that they want to become a destination winery with a bed and breakfast, restaurant, etc. Great plan! We need a destination winery.

It's too bad that we felt they are a bit stingy! The person running the tasting room had a great personality, but gave very small tastes - small enough that I didn't feel anyone could really get a sense of what their wines actually taste like. I've never seen a winery that only poured enough to show a little bit of color in the bottom of the glass... really just wetting the glass and a sip more. I told my sweet husband that the two sips worth of wine were not real sips, just "wet your lips" sips. Not enough to taste the wine and determine if I liked it.

The other thing she did that turned us off was that she raved and raved about how their Cabernet Sauvignon is wonderful, the best seller, etc. - but oh, sorry, "we're not tasting that one today." Huh?? She had a full tasting room, about 10 people, half of whom wanted to taste it (most of whom would have probably purchased it) and refused based on the fact they would not be open in the tasting room for the next several days. To save the cost of the leftovers of a single bottle of wine, she threw away the profit on at least 5 bottles. Actually more since there were more folks in there at the time. Everyone in the tasting room at the time thanked her for the tasting and walked away without buying a thing. Not the way to get that plan of a destination winery going!

The last winery was Glacier Peak Winery. Probably the loveliest setting of the 3 wineries, surrounded by mountain peaks and boasting a glorious view of Glacier Peak. The tasting room is a bit of a letdown visually and is nothing special in the way of decor, but is light and open. The person running the tasting room didn't have the personality of the other 2, but she was pleasant and knowledgeable. While we would not make that long a drive to this winery again, we did enjoy their Glacier Red wine made from Hungarian Agria grapes. It's a bit on the sweet side, but has a surprising hint of pepper to counteract the sweet. They sell it as a dessert wine and it will be good with sharp cheeses or rich dark chocolate sometime this winter. Definitely in front of the fireplace!

As we headed back down river, we realized that we had not visited the Apple Shed at Perkins Apple Orchard... on the same property as Eagle Haven Winery! Silly us! Yep, we stopped back there on the way down. Sue, one of the owners and the Grandma/matriarch of the family was manning the Apple Shed. She was adorable! She cut apple tastes for us from about 10 different varieties of apples. Yum! Some of the varietals of apples I'd never heard of, but enjoyed immensely. They also sell honey from hives on the property and apple cider. Walked out of there with 4 pounds of Jonagolds, 4 pounds of Arlets and a gallon of fresh cider - so fresh that it was pressed this morning.

After dropping my buddy off at her house, we headed for home and some quiet time. It's been a busy, but very fun weekend for us. A little time tonight of "man, movie and wine" will complete the weekend nicely, allowing me to return to work refreshed.

...may there be mercy and many weekends like this one.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

lots o' stuff

Okay, here comes the monster update on life, living, friends from all over the place, health, work and more boring stuff than one could imagine. But the summer blogging didn't happen and some have been asking me for updates. Here goes.

Work: Well, that's the interesting thing for us right now. My sweet husband is on strike. Has been for a month. Remember all the weekends he worked overtime during the summer? Yep, that was the strike fund so we would be prepared and could survive financially. Thus far, we have not had to touch the strike fund at all. Hallelujah! If things continue as is - with us living carefully - we think we will have to raid it around November 1st. Hopefully the strike doesn't last that long. I'd really rather use the strike fun to remodel the bathroom!

With the current economy, my work is so slow that we expect a layoff there. It will be interesting to see what happens. Will the board allow the layoff of the 2-3 lowest paid and least knowledgeable folks? If so a board member's daughter will be laid off. Will the accountant determine that we must lay off folks with higher salaries and more knowledge? If so, then I fall squarely in that range of possible people. We just do not know what will happen... but we have made plans for any "just in case" issues. I'm one of the extreme few in the office who is not afraid. Don't get me wrong, the tension is so big that no one is stress-free. It's just that we have worked out what to do if it is me, so we are okay.

Friends: It's been an amazing summer of time with friends from all over the country. Scoot was here from Alabama and we spent a glorious day with Carrie in Seattle. One of those spectacular Seattle summer days with great weather, lots of laughter and an incredible lunch where we were treated like royalty. Then, 2 weeks later, Melissa from Florida and SuziQOregon surprised me... as y'all read about earlier in my blog about rockin' friends. Still can hardly believe they pulled it off and how lovely it is to have friends who will do something that outrageous - just for me. Love you guys!

Another 2 weeks and sweet Karen from Mississippi came to visit with her nice husband. It was such a fun weekend showing them the areas we enjoy, talking, laughing, eating way too much and getting a big kick out of their enjoyment of our very contemporary church that is so very different than their more traditional churches in the South. Hearing sweet Karen's glorious voice raised in song during church is one of my precious memories of the summer.

Another 3 weeks and we head down to Portland for an impromptu party to celebrate my friend Terry's 50th birthday. It was tons of fun, mostly because Terry is like my brother and we always egg one another on until one of us laughs so hard tears run down the face.

My friend Jenna got married in August in one of the most beautiful ceremonies I've seen. Over lunch - or was it breakfast - early in her engagement I gave her a bit of advise. Ensure that the last couple days before the wedding are errand and duty free so that you can be a very relaxed bride, prepared for your celebration both public and private. I was proud to see how she took that advise to heart and how it impacted her day. She was a joyful, relaxed and stress-free (not to mention stunningly gorgeous) bride. The ceremony and reception were filled with meaning and family and joy. It was my great honor to be celebrating with them!

Family: my dumb-ass brother is back on drugs and living on the street with the "will work for food" sign, where he makes almost $300.00 per day so he can buy his damn drugs. I'm angry at him and totally heartbroken at how he has thrown away his life, once again. When he gets arrested, and he will, he will then have to face up the the California 3 strikes law... and spend the rest of his life in prison. My family is so torn up by him, again. People keep calling Mama to tell her they have seen him. I'm angry with them, too. The first time someone calls is bad enough, although I could excuse it because the motivation could very well be letting Mama know that he is alive. But the 6th time the same person calls - within a month's time - just speaks to the fact that the person can't get enough of humiliating Mama. Heartbreaking all around.

Health: My sweet husband is being treated for a terrible case of varicose veins. Bad enough that the doc is trying a bunch of different treatments, but expects to have to do surgery anyway. Gotta go through the gyrations for the insurance company. Not life threatening, thankfully, but painful and a pain in the butt for him nonetheless.

I've been diagnosed with genetically induced high blood pressure. Thanks to both Mama and Bud, my birth father. Yep, I called them both to thank them for sharing. We were all surprised that it hit me so early, but taking a single pill each day is far better than having a stroke, eh? Besides, if I had a stroke, I probably couldn't quilt! Due to the high blood pressure, I've finally gotten serious about exercise and am walking 3 miles each morning before work. It's been good for me to do this. Between the meds, walking, eating better and losing a few pounds, I'm feeling better than I have in years. Yay!

Quilting: Not a lot has happened for a while. I'm stuck. It's the dang ugly-ass quilt (UAQ) that I'm making for my sister-in-law. I made the mistake of letting her pick the fabrics... and they do not go together at all. In fact, the ones that do go together end up looking muddy and boring, then add in the other fabrics that do not coordinate and you get the UAQ. I made myself get to a point on it and I'm stuck. I do not want to work on the UAQ, but I won't let myself work on anything else until it's done. Including Christmas gifts, which will need to be sent out in about 60 days. Yikes!!! I may have to put the UAQ aside until after Christmas and get it done in time for her birthday in March. We shall see.

Life: in spite of all the oddities and stressors above, we are happy and doing well. Yay! Our needs are met and we are spending time with one another, enjoying conversation and all the other good stuff.

And now my dinner is almost done, so I will go pull it out of the oven, pour a lovely glass of wine for us and do some of that enjoying with my sweet husband. It's good.

...may there be mercy and continued recognition of the good, in spite of any stress.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Just a ping to note that I'm still here, just been crazy busy.

Really need to do a monster sized blog about my friends coming to visit from Mississippi, health issues, life, the ugly-ass quilt I'm making for my sister-in-law and other oddities of life.

Soon. But today I have to meet my friend for lunch and hear all about her life as a newlywed!

...may there be mercy and some time for rest soon.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

rockin' friends

So... a couple months ago, my dear friend SuziQOregon emailed me to discuss the possibility of a Girls Weekend. Her husband is a runner who does the Hood To Coast Relay. Her thinking is that since she's done the supportive wife thing already, why don't we have fun instead. I'm totally on board with this plan! My sweet husband will probably have to work anyway. We set our plans for her to come up here and both got excited about having the time together.

In the interim time, I'm on the phone with our mutual friend, Mel, who lives in Florida. During the course of the conversation, I learn that Mel has some flyer miles that need to be used before October. I encourage Mel to check her calendar to see if it would work for her to come here during the Girls Weekend. Let's surprise SuziQOregon! Mel checks her calendar, only to discover that she had already lined up a business trip for that weekend. Dang!

SuziQOregon and I continue to anticipate a fun and yet relaxing weekend. I find a cool bottle of wine for her. That's the thing we do. Most times when we see one another, we give a gift of wine. Some very fun bottles have been exchanged!

Finally, Saturday morning arrives and I'm at the restaurant, impatiently waiting for her to arrive. I'm distracted by the fact I've agreed to loan some stadium chairs to a co-worker who is picking them up from me at that same time. SuziQ walks in as my co-worker is leaving. Big squeals and hugs! She says, "I'm sorry I didn't bring you a bottle of wine today, but I thought you'd like this better." She steps aside.

Standing behind her is Mel from Florida!!!

More squeals and hugs and I am rendered completely speechless! (y'all know how hard that is do to to me!) I'm overwhelmed and tearful and amazed that they pulled off this absolute surprise for me. Apparently they had been planning it from before the time SuziQ emailed me in the first place. Totally cool!

SuziQ and Mel have been listening to my heart. They have heard about the loss of a long term relationship and have helped me in my grief over that loss. They have listened and encouraged me during the stress-filled moments of this year. To be completely honest, they have done so for longer than that. They put their love and friendship into a practical application of a joyful time together.

I'm still overwhelmed at how fantastic the weekend was for us. We have these great memories of our time... even if we never made it to the Casino or Applebee's. But we did see the Muffin Man, so it's all good.

...may there be mercy and blessings poured out on my precious, rockin' friends.

Friday, August 22, 2008

little old folk

Bob... he's 85 and walks faster than I do. (my pace is 3.5 - 4 miles per hour) He's been Mall Walking every day for 15 years. He's the encourager of the morning crew. Walks with everyone, matching his pace to theirs. Getting folks to move while he finds out their stories and loves them.

Jack... he's 90 and walks slower than most anybody. But he walks... leaned over, slow as the turtle and greeting everyone with a smile. His handshake is still firm and pleasing.

Dale... he's old and crabby, the stereotypical "grouchy old man". When I asked him how he was the other day, he told me "I always hurt when I walk". It obviously makes him mad, but he does it anyway. Brutally honest, but persevering in spite of cancer. He teased me today and I thought that a wonderful thing.

Arlo... he's a flirt! "Good morning, pretty ladies" is his byline. To us, in our late 40's or to the other ladies who are well into their 60's and 70's. But when you talk to him, he always mentions his beloved wife, who passed 10 years ago. And there is always a tear because he loves her still.

George... he walks with a cane and his carriage is still erect, more so than most. He forgets a lot, but not to come to the mall and walk. The other little old men look after him and make sure he is okay.

Dee... she's mid-50's and walks fast! She told me that she used to walk at the mall years and years ago, and that the same little old men were walking back then. It's cool to hear that.

Mila... she's a professional woman, 60's, who walks at a good clip and seems a no-nonsense person. Yet, she's got a frivolous side because she revealed her vanity when she told me she wished her hair would do like mine does when it looks nice curly or straight.

Rosemary and Zach... in their 70's, they walk together. I think they are married, but I'm not sure. She is a painter whose projects I've seen exhibited. Beautiful! He has lost his voicebox and speaks with the aid of technology. Their smiles are joyful.

Mr. "T"... can't really name him because he is my boss's dad. He walks like a bulldog, and can't quite figure out how I know who he is (or how I know when his birthday was!), but he moves along at a great clip in spite of injuries to his leg from an infected spider bite.

Mrs. "T" and the girls... she's my boss's mom and walks with 2 clients of mine. They chatter and laugh and keep themselves fit in their late 60's, early 70's. It's glorious to see their smiles and hear their laughter!

There are others who walk in the mornings at the mall and are only faces yet. But... they are faces that I know and care about already. They look for us in the mornings. They ask about either of us if we are missing. They care.

...may there be mercy and joy in the presence of those who are older.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

it ended!

After 4 weeks, the neverending garage sale has finally ended. As I drove home this evening, I watched them put the last item on a truck. The yard is cleaned up.

Really too bad there wasn't anything interesting enough to stop and see what all the hullaballooo was about.

Also really too bad that they didn't sell more stuff because that truck was loaded to the gills.

...may there be mercy if they are moving and nice new neighbors.

Friday, August 15, 2008

neverending garage sale

About 3 weeks ago, some neighbors put what seemed like everything they own out in the yard for a garage sale. As I passed by that weekend, many things left and the amount of items lessened.

And then it started.

More things came outside and were placed into the yard. A few things were gone that night. For about 10 days, more items appeared each day, with just a few things leaving. Then... another 10 days when nothing new came out, but each day a few things were gone.

Today, a boatload more items came into the yard!

Yep, neverending garage sale is here! I watch it with interest because the things that look like they might actually be useful are still there, 3 weeks later, but the things that I consider garbage are gone within what seems like moments.

Trash or treasure, it's all about perspective.

...may there be mercy and a good sale (with a cleaned up yard soon!) for my neighbors.

Monday, August 11, 2008

tough day

We lost another friend and co-worker today, the second one in about 8 week's time.

Dwight lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. His wife said that it was a peaceful passing.

We will miss this lovely man.

...may there be mercy in mourning and comfort for his family.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

baby steps

This whole making better choices thing can be really hard to do. It's just so dang easy to grab anything that is convenient to eat or to decide I'm too tired to get up and exercise.

But... the good news is that I am doing it!

Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely enjoying myself some days with extra treats. But did you notice that it's "some days" and not all day, every day? Yep, that is some huge progress for me. Especially the part where I am deliberately choosing to have a piece of fruit instead of a candy bar when I want sweets!

I'm also getting up at 5 a.m. every work day in order to get awake enough (and coffee'd up enough!) to meet a coworker at the mall for a 2.5 mile walk. Yep, I'm officially one of the "Little Old Lady Mall Walkers" now. I find it hilarious and am enjoying the time.

One thing that I've decided in all this... for the moment, until I get myself back to a healthier normal, I'm not worrying about my weight. Now that does not mean I'm eating myself into oblivion. Instead, I'm making far more healthy food choices, but not worrying about the scale or following my Weight Watchers plan.

More important for me to concentrate on the input of healthy foods, getting my exercise and ensuring my sleep. This body has not been cooperative lately and I do not like that at all!!

One thing at a time and baby steps. Once I'm back into a healthier mindset on what I am doing for intake, rest and exercise... then I'll take the next step and start journaling food again... and adding portion control back in, along with figuring out exactly how people really do stop eating when their bodies are full.

...may there be mercy in the baby steps.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

day 3

It's day 3 of the planned taking better care of myself. Days 1 & 2 were not too difficult. The hardest part is for me to avoid sugar...

...and today it's hitting a little harder with the sugar cravings.

Sleep has been a terrible problem. Had to resort to a couple nights of sleeping pills to get myself rested and refreshed enough to be able to think and function at all. Today is much better for functioning.

Am making the decision to eat healthy foods, in spite of what I want!

... may there be mercy in a return to healthy choices.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

rested and refreshed

Yep, we are home from our travels and feeling quite rested and refreshed. Tomorrow will bring us back to the confines of reality. But I don't care. It's been a great time off for us!

...may there be mercy as we return to our normal jobs.

Thursday, July 03, 2008


Ahhhhh! Vacation time has finally arrived.

That packing thing is just about done and I'm just about done in for the night. We have a couple little things to do, then it's wind down and get to sleep. We're heading out early.

Back in a week with the Days of Wine and Railways report.

...may there be mercy and rest as we get away.

Monday, June 30, 2008


24 working hours until vacation! Not that I'm counting or anything! ;-p

This is a link to part of the fun things we will be doing on our trip:

Yep, gotta please the train guy!

And of course, there will be winery visits. This is one:

It looks cool to me because it is one of a very few in the world that is aboriginal owned and operated.

I'm ready now! Well, except for that packing thing. Soon.

...may there be mercy and joy in our time off together.

Sunday, June 22, 2008



Crappy, cruddy, we haven't gotten warm enough to really get summer bronchitis-y type virus has hit me - and hard. Today is the first day since Wednesday that I think I might actually live.

...may there be mercy and warm enough weather to bake this out of me...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

time to play

Saturday... I love Saturdays, especially when we can have Sleep In Day and the promise of some fun together. Since my sweet husband has this weekend off, this is one of those lovely Saturdays.


...may there be mercy and joy in our day.

Monday, June 02, 2008


Home...and so very glad to be here. I’ve missed of my quiet little life and my quiet little home and my sweet husband.

The trip was both good and very difficult. I was so far outside of my comfort zone this trip.

Home...where we have structure and our routine instead of chaos. I’ve missed the normalcy of our life where the day’s activities and mealtimes are mostly planned.

The days there are completely unstructured. Everyone goes to bed and gets up when they want to, even the smaller grandchildren...who may stay up until 2 a.m. playing computer games even when the adults go to bed around 10 p.m. Whatever happens is fine. No planning of any part of the day, whatsoever. Breakfast is anytime from 10 a.m. to noon. Dinner is sometime between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. - whenever everyone gets hungry enough and my stepmother is ready to fix it. No midday meal, just potato chips and candy available for whenever anyone wants a snack. The biggest events of the day are letting the dogs out to run the property and watering the gardens...whenever they decide to do it.

Home...where even when our home is messy, it is just a simple mess and clutter. I’ve missed feeling clean.

I admit to being a lazy housekeeper at times and a messy person, but I’ve never seen anything like this before. The only word to describe it is squaller. Outside, there are at least a dozen junk cars on the property. Some are just rusting hulks with parts already gleaned from them, some are waiting for dissection. There are 2 buildings that are each equal size to the house - each used for storage of unknown stuff, completely full. Inside the house are pathways to chairs, kitchen, bedrooms, between the bed and the door, etc. No open space at all...mostly I think due to a hoarder mentality. With the exception of the dishes, nothing inside the house has been cleaned since I was there 4 years ago. There are items on shelves that have not been moved in those 4 years, with the accumulated dust and filth of those years showing. The entire house smells of urine since one of the toilets overflows daily. They bathe once a week, brush their teeth twice a week and change clothes about every 4 days. In New Mexico the temperature is about 85 this time of year...and everything there pretty much stinks.

Home...where we have actual quiet and calm. I’ve missed the simplicity of quiet.

I like a good TV show or movie and will usually play my music pretty loudly. There are 5 TV’s at my birth father’s home. All of them are on, 24/7...and loud! There are 7 living grandchildren, any or all of whom are on site at any given time. Everyone is clamoring to be heard over the noise of the TV’s or the other people.

Home...where we have actual conversations with one another instead of thinking out what stories we will tell while the other person is talking. I’ve missed the give and take of a real conversation.

My sweet husband and I sometimes argue that the other person is not listening...but it’s not completely true. We hear one another and respond to the conversation or “spirited discussion” appropriately. There, everyone is so busy thinking up the next story to tell or what they want to say that nobody ever asks a thing about anyone else. It was a time of being talked “at” instead of talked “with”. One would think that a birth family would want to get to know a person...what they think, like, want, do, etc. Apparently it was more important to ignore what I was saying about my life (when I could say anything at all) and tell me more about the things they have done.

Home...where we have openness coupled with caring instead of undercurrents of fear, concern and hostility. I’m so grateful that my sweet husband and I discuss the things in life that make us concerned for one another - whether health, work or just daily things.

My birth father is 82 and starting to fail, but nobody will talk about it. I could see the concern, but it was very obvious that it was not open for discussion even if I had not been there. My sister is just beginning to allow herself to grieve the loss of her 17 year old son who died in November. No one will talk about it with her. Instead, they watch her with deep concern, but will not even ask her how she is doing. I did...and discovered that she is in a self-destructive mode. I am so glad I asked, because we were able to talk through some of her grief and how to get her some help so that she gets out of the self-destructive mode. She will never truly get over the loss of her son, I understand that part, but she needs to be able to cope and move out of self-destruct mode.

Home...where making up after an argument is sweet without requiring a trip to the ER and another argument is waiting on your return.

My sister’s oldest son spent much time with his dad after the divorce. Sadly, he was told many things about his mother that were not true. There is bitterness, resentment, and a large lack of respect. The night before I arrived, they got into a fight and he threw a kitchen chair at her...causing a bruised heel-bone and the need for crutches for the next several weeks or months. Another night while I was there, they got into a yelling fight just after I went to bed. The only way I could cope with their fight was to turn on the fan, put my pillow over my ears and whisper to myself, “shut up, shut up, shut up!” I worry about them both.

Home...where I am loved. I didn’t miss out on being loved.

In spite of all the stuff I’ve written, they love me and are not afraid to show it. There was a little planning to show me the areas they tell me about - where they hunt elk for meat, where they camp, where they log trees for firewood - going 4-wheeling in those areas, and also a massive family BBQ where we laughed and teased one another. Even me, as if I’d lived there always. I wish this post didn’t sound so judgmental. I love them and am glad I went. The contrast between our lives is just so harsh.


...may there be mercy as I process all the emotions of this trip.

Friday, May 30, 2008

new mexico

Am posting on my last day here. It's been a good visit, but one filled with a ton of conflicting emotions. A bit of overload. Will be glad to be home with my sweet husband tomorrow. I've missed him!!

More on this trip to see my birth father soon... when I'm not posting from my phone!

...may there be mercy as I process and as I travel.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

catching up

Wow... been a while, eh?

Got a nasty bout with bronchitis... followed by a relapse of bronchitis... compounded with a couple family emergencies... and topped with a lovely trip to the ER since I am the Queen of Klutz.

Big sigh.

Yep, I'm on crutches, with a brace on my leg from upper thigh to almost my ankle. It's simply lovely and just the accessory a shoe maven would want for the summer. Thankfully I think I'll only have it for another week.

Oh, you want to know why, don't you?

You know me. You know I'm a Klutz! How about the good story or stories that I've come up with instead??

1. Got into a bar fight.
2. Took on a motorcycle gang.
3. Joined the Roller Derby (this is my personal favorite, and the most believable since there really is roller derby nearby.)

Oh, you don't believe these and are laughing at me.

Real story... BORING!!!... is that I didn't realize the vacuum cord was around my ankle and took a step...


Yep, like a tree in the forest, down I went. All 5 foot 9 inches of me... full weight... on my right knee.

Did anyone hear the bad words where you live?? I'm sure they were loud enough.

So fast forward a bit through the ER visit and the follow up doc visit 6 days later. No broken bones. Not torn in bad ways. Hamburger for parts of the knee and swollen still to almost twice the normal size. (a full week later!!!) Equates to a horrific sprain that will take time to heal.

So... I'm traveling to Albuquerque tomorrow to see my birth father... with this huge brace and crutches. Should be fun, eh?

...may there be mercy as I travel and fast healing.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

bronchial blues

Have been sick all week with bronchitis. Ugh!

...may there be mercy and a quick end to coughing.

Monday, March 31, 2008

3BT spring

Just need to take a moment and find some beauty...

1. matching up fabric triangles for a quilt. It's for my sister-in-law and I let her pick the fabrics. I would not have picked them to go together, but the colors are pleasing nonetheless.
2. having a brand new radiant heater under my desk at work. It sends a little warm glow over me and I feel better.
3. hearing Mama's voice today.

...may there be mercy and moments to find beauty.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

quilt of love and hate

It's National Quilting Day and yes, I'm spending today quilting away. This quilt is for my friend, coworker and the Official Office Big Brother, James... who has inoperable, terminal liver cancer.

Last year I made 5 quilts for friends with cancer. As I sewed, I prayed for each of them. For healing, for comfort, for the awareness of how much each of them is loved, for strength in the treatment process, for peace.

And for a year not filled with making quilts for friends with cancer.

Thus far, each of them is kicking cancer's ass... even Dwight, who has pancreatic cancer and we know that he probably won't see Christmas. But he wasn't supposed to see last Christmas, so the fact that he is still with us, fighting with all he has, means he is kicking cancer's ass.

But James... sweet, loving, caring, generous, big-brother James... his health has been so bad for so long that he doesn't have that much left in him to be able to fight as hard. Bless him, he hasn't given up yet, but his ability to fight as hard as others might... well, it just isn't there.

So I'm working quickly on this quilt. For many reasons, I love this quilt. For other reasons, I hate it.

I love it because the fabrics are rich and lush, yet simple in the designs. They speak to me of James. Civil war reproduction prints that are beautiful. I hate it because James is so much a part of my life and he is being taken away from me.

Love it because it's tested my ability to allow imperfections without fretting about them. Love isn't perfect, and it's about letting people be imperfect. Hate it because James won't be able to enjoy it for very long.

Love it because the quilting in the border is symbolic of hugs and kisses and the hope that he feels wrapped in love when he uses it. Hate it because I so hate cancer for the suffering and pain it causes.

As I stitch, sometimes the tears block my vision so badly that I can't tell what I'm doing.

Enough rambling... I need to dry my eyes and put the binding on this quilt of love and hate.

...may there be mercy in the sorrow and joy in our time left with James.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

normal life

So... ummm... yeah, it's been a while.

A lot has been happening and yet, nothing more than normal life.

At the same time, normal life is a wonderful thing.

Here's an overview of stuff. If you are interested in more detail on any of these things or anything else... email, call or sit down over coffee with me. Y'all know I love to talk. Besides, it will give me a chance to catch up on you - which is more important to me anyway!

• Health: Neck is doing better after a series of trigger point injections and some really good physical therapy. Yep, that's injections, plural. Lots of needles (with medicine in them!) stuck into my neck, shoulder and upper back. During the sticking... a bit on the "OWIE" side. Within a couple minutes, waaaaaay less pain and I'm liking that! The best news is that so far this year I've not gotten the terrible congestion-type crud that has been making the rounds at my office.
• Work: mostly equates to same stuff, new day. Nothing terrible, nothing wonderful... but that's actually kinda cool right now. At the same time, we are really hoping for it to get busier soon.
• Family in San Diego: Mama and sisters are fine. Big brother continues to do well in spite of the toll his illness took on his body. Next brother is holding on, but barely. His life is horrible right now, but he is chosing to stay where he is in order to have a positive influence on his young son, age 6. I bless him for this choice... and worry about him for it at the same time. Last brother has deliberately chosen to go back into the drug culture and is using again. I'm really, really pissed off at him. Long story. Since it was a deliberate choice, I'm pissed.
• Precious Father-in-law is doing well for an 85 year old man. We spent the evening with him recently and just enjoyed our time so much. He makes me laugh!
• Sweet husband is delightful. He bought me a new ring to celebrate our 20th anniversary... and it's stunning. We put the diamond from my original engagement ring into it. He was so cute and had such a sweet grin on his face when he slipped this new ring on my finger. Gosh, but I love that man.
• The timechange will take a few days for us to acclimate. I've never done well with the spring loss of an hour. Takes me longer than most folks to get over that exhausted feeling of getting up earler.

And... thanks to that timechange issue, I'm exhausted and going to stop rambling for tonight.

...may there be mercy in our normal life issues...

Friday, February 29, 2008

another check in

Been a little overbooked with schedule lately. Lots of chaos with family stuff. Got a couple emails checking in to see if I am okay.

I'm okay!

Will make a stab at a real blog post over the weekend.

...may there be mercy in the chaos...

Monday, February 11, 2008

checking in

Waving and letting y'all know I'm still kicking! Just busy and a little on the overloaded side. Nothing that will kill me, just juggling a little too much... and trying to throw back some of the balls being juggled!

...may there be mercy as I find a better balance.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

one for me

According to my sweet husband, I've made quilts for everyone in this solar system and then some... and it's about time that I made one for myself.

He's cute, but he tends to exaggerate a bit.

In spite of his exaggerations, he's right in that I've made a lot of things for other people. I've only made things for myself if it was for a particular class in order to learn a particular technique. I had not taken the same amount of time and care and love to plan a quilt for myself.

This afternoon, I finished the first quilt simply made with careful planning, designing and love for ME. It's wonderful and makes me smile.

The fabrics were mostly gifts, with a couple that I found to add into the mix. The black and white theme is what I'm changing my house to be... all black and white with my quilts, my husband's trains and our photographs to add color.

In this black and white quilt, there is a bit of purple sprinkled in. The purple speaks to me in many ways. The biggest heartspeak is because it was a gift from a dear friend.

When I wrap myself in this quilt, that purple reminds me that she sends big hugs to me... and that makes me happy.

...may there be mercy in the warmth of my quilt and my friends.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

3BT, weekend of celebration

1. sitting in front of the fireplace in our hotel room, late at night, sipping wine, laughing and talking with my sweet husband.
2. sitting in front of the fireplace in our hotel room, early morning, sipping coffee, looking at the water view, watching the gulls soar and hearing them calling.
3. holding hands, sharing hearts, twenty years, wow.

...may there be mercy in the beautiful things that make up our lives...

Friday, January 11, 2008

3BT... new year, new BT

Well, my blessed friends, it's a new year. We are going away for the weekend to celebrate that lovely thing of being married for 20 years.

My sweet husband deserves a medal or more for putting up with me for that long, but that's a whole 'nuther story that will never be told in this venue!

Tonight will be a quickie 3 Beautiful Things night and then we are gone.

1. my co-worker's 2 year old niece trying to say "see ya later" and how adorable it sounded as more of a "waiter, waiter" than anything else... and the fabulous grin that accompanied those sweet sounds. ( I really wanted to ask for coffee or dessert or french fries when she kept saying "waiter"!)
2. the way cool email from the hotel concierge when I told her that we are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary at her hotel and that we prefer wine to champagne... and how she totally JUMPED at providing wine instead for us. Not to mention the lovely congratulatory thoughts she expressed to us.
3. the hug from my favorite grocery clerk today when I gave her a rice bag I'd made. One of those simple, little things that take less than 5 minutes to make, but help much when the body is hurting. She injured her hip a few months back and has been limping... but she's been worried more about my neck pain than her own. That hug was so incredibly sweet.

...may there be mercy and we find beautiful things each day.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

20 years

Tomorrow marks a special day for us... my sweet husband and I will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. Wow!

It's actually pretty dang cool since at the time of our 10th anniversary we were so close to divorce that we never thought we'd make the 10 year and one day mark. God worked miracles and healing in both our hearts.

Tomorrow we will have a simple evening together. Probably go out to Johnny Carrino's, maybe stay home... we haven't decided yet. The bigger celebration will be in our going away for the weekend.

Nice man has planned a romantic getaway for us at a hotel. Wine tasting in the lobby. Fireplace in the room. Champagne and hand made chocolates. Dinner at a nice restaurant. Time together... blessed time together.

...may there be mercy as we celebrate and many more years together.