Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Turning the Corner

It seems like Spring is finally on the way.  We are having a heat wave here, with temperatures in the 30's, whoo hoo!   There is still lots of snow on the ground, but patches of grass are starting to appear near sidewalks and roadways, and the deer are out in numbers, grazing as if their lives depended on it.   I am cutting back on bunny feed, encouraging my herd of rabbits to remember their wild roots, but they still show up on my back porch each evening just to reminisce.  There are no flowers blooming here yet, and no green to be seen, but daffodils have appeared in the grocery stores, and I bring them home every time I go.
At the search and rescue group, I am learning - and teaching - knot tying.

Spring fever  has set in, and with it a strong urge to have my house clean and clutter free.  Sadly, the energy and ambition it would take to accomplish that has not yet taken hold.    My son and his wife just bought a house and it exhausts me just to observe them cleaning and packing and sorting.   It should be a wake up call to me to do the same but so far my slacker nature has prevailed.   Maybe tomorrow. 

Work goes on.   I am burned out and no excuse for it.  The strongest lesson I have learned from my hospice patients is that I should not be in a job, at a place, where I am not happy.  Life is much too short.

Meanwhile, I am spending part of my much-too-short life today at the car dealership, spending several hours and a thousand dollars on routine car maintenance, and planning to buy tires later in the week.   Life may be short, but some months money seems to be even shorter, lol.    

Enjoy that sunshine, wherever you find it!  :)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Not Losing My Marbles

When you target shoot, as I do, for Marbles, and when you are hopelessly outmatched by your competition, it is a wonderful day indeed when you finally win. 

And today was such a day.    I beat my worthy opponent by a mere 6 points (he had offered to spot me 10 points, but I didn't need his stinkin' patronage and earned myself a natural win, a point I've had to mention many times already!)    Victory is sweet, and my martini trophy glass is not quite so empty anymore! 

It still feels very much like winter here, we still have lots of snow and ice.  But a friend's chicken's are obviously feeling optimistic lately and I am hoping that they know something I don't know.   When the hens start laying again, spring can't be far behind!   Let's hope!  :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bitter Cold

It has been bitterly cold.  Sunday night my car thermometer registered at 13 below - that's a real number, not a wind chill number - although by the time I arrived home an hour later, the temperature had risen to a balmy minus ten.   A nearby community was 24 below, so I felt lucky to live in the tropics.  But the wind chill by my house was 35 below.    Brrrrrr.    Today it was 10 degrees ABOVE zero when I went out, and it felt like a heat wave. 

Strangest of all, a friend and I were driving the other day when, (literally) out of the blue, a bird dropped dead right out of the sky, falling right in front of our car.  I've never seen such a thing.     I know there are parts of the world that are colder, and I hope they have way better socks and gloves than I do.   For mid-Michigan, this is cold weather.

Today is Mardi Gras, so yesterday the Littles and I decorated the King Cake that I ordered, as I do every year, from New Orleans, with the traditional green, gold and purple sugar.   An hour later we were all in sugar shock.   Love it.  :)    And since I live in Michigan, where paczkis are the order of the day on Fat Tuesday, I managed to eat one (or two) of those at my early morning meeting at work.   It's good to know that I am all ready to celebrate Fat Tuesday today -- I've got the fat already packed on, lol.   Hey, it's a matter of self defense when the weather is this cold!  I need that insulation to keep me warm.  :)    I hope you are all feeling as fat and happy this Mardi Gras as I am!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

How Can I Be So Busy and Still Nothing Is New?

It's only February, but I already have that "where is the time going" feeling this year.    It's the shortest month, but I feel like I'm pretty much ready for it to be over.  Although there is not much to show for it, it's been ridiculously busy, mostly with self-imposed tasks, of course, so no room to complain.   Here are the highpoints, which (I think you'll agree) are not very high.
There has been a lot more snow and a lot more shoveling.  The rabbits show up every night for the kibble I set out for them, and I can tell when there is fresh snow that there are more of them than I would have expected -- it looks some days like there has been a bunny stampede out there.

My car got smashed by a neighbor who hit it while I was briefly parked on the street, waiting for someone to pull out of the driveway.   The neighbor's explanation: there isn't usually a car there so I didn't look.   Two weeks later and I still haven't been able to schedule for the two days that are required for the repairs.  

I left a bathroom faucet on by accident one busy day last week and came home to find an inch of water on the floor.   The good news: the bathroom floor is now cleaner than usual.
Our search and rescue group had a January drill in the snow.  My clearest lesson was that, dang, I am old.   Trudging through snow is very hard work and I was exhausted long before we were finished.    I was glad for the walking stick that makes me look here like a blind person, lol.  Thank goodness the drill required frequent stops for compass shoots and flagging.  The secondary lesson was that I quickly forget the exhaustion and someone convince myself that it was a lot of fun and that I can't wait to do it again.   Sort of like birthing a baby.  :)
I have tentatively decided that I will not stay in my hospice job after this year.   I don't feel that I'm bringing the energy that my patients and families deserve; although I have cherished the lessons that this job has taught me, it is time to think about doing something else.

My grandkids and their parents will be moving from their house on my block this summer.  They bought a new house, not far away, but no longer in my neighborhood.     Change is inevitable and they (and I) are both nostalgic and excited about this one.  They love the new house and, although there will be a few adjustments in all our lives, I think it will be wonderful for them in the long run, and it feels like a new stage of life for me.
I won a 'boot bag' from a local ski shop, big enough to be a Go-Bag to keep in my car for unexpected Call Outs or times when I am snowed in at a friend's house and don't want to make the drive home.   I love winning, of course, so this was a fun surprise.
I've been making cookies for the local sheriff and 911 operators the past few months.   So far, as far as I can tell from the feedback, the Valentine's Day cookies have been their favorites.   Who would have guessed -- maybe they are a bunch of closet romantics?  

In the crafting world,  I used the theme of Masks in one of my grief groups and we talked about the 'masks' we wear and created a few to symbolize where we were or wanted to be emotionally.    I love seeing the expression of emotion through craft.
In my own, still messy, craft room,  I started making scrappy quilt squares, pretty little things.   If I find the time (and focus) to make enough squares, maybe I will try to finish a for-real-grown-up flimsy that I can have quilted for my granddaughter.   Don't hold your breath on this one; they will just as likely end up being yet another tote bag.
This week is Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday, time for a whole new mood-set.  I hope I will find time for reflection moving forward, and will feel more settled as we move into the next part of this year.   For many of my friends, 2015 has had a difficult and rocky beginning, with too much sickness and sadness and death already.    I am counting my blessings and hoping that things smooth out for all of us as the next weeks go by.     Remember to celebrate the little things.  :)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

So Far So Good

We had our first 'real' snow today and I started my day off by shoveling.    I love the quiet that snow seems to bring, and it was only an ordinarily cold morning, not bitter or windy or wet, and this first snow was soft and light, so I was glad to be out in it.
I have already had a few fun days in 2015, a nice way to start.   My family and I went on a tour of the Alden B Dow Home and Studio, an architectural delight.   I have rarely had "house envy," but I loved almost everything about this one-- of course, with over 16,000 feet of living space, there is a lot to love!   Most of all, it was fun to see the Littles respond to such a creative design, and to hear them talking about what they might do if they were designing a house.   Their parents have already signed them up for Architecture Camp next summer so that they can explore those ideas.

I have been enjoying my Chirstmas gifties, too.    My son's family gave me some cool tech-y lights that I can control through my cell phone, so that I can make the house look occupied even when I am away.   They turn themselves on when they sense I am nearly home at night, and turn themselves off when I drive away.    Coolest thing ever!  Someday everything in my house will be smarter than I am!    And my sister -- who is NOT supposed to give me anything because we agreed not to exchange gifts -- gave me this fantastic pair of Boggs boots.   I can't wait for muddy spring weather to slosh around in them!   These boots will brighten any dreary day, that's for sure!
 One little gift was a total surprise.   On Christmas morning, I found a pair of slippers on my back step.   A friend has teased me all year about being "queen of the bunnies" since I take so much delight in them, so I knew immediately where those slippers really came from, although the card was signed by my "lagomorphic friends." 

The same friend gave me (and his adult kids) a nano helicopter, and we had several Air Contests this week  -- as terrible as I am at it, they are not much better, so it's been a lot of fun.   The goal is to send the little drone into the next room, turn it around, and bring it back without landing or crashing.   Sounds simple, doesn't it?    And yet none of us have managed to accomplish it yet -- those little copters move a lot faster than my reflexes do!   I have successfully flown mine into the other room, landed it, and then flown it back, but no prizes until one of us can do it without stopping.

And, another gift of sorts,  I had a very unexpected phone call today from an old friend, the best boss I ever had, a retired judge who I haven't talked to in many years.  He is 89 years old and told me that his very best friends have all died, so it is time to cultivate his second best friendships, something so sweet and true that it made me laugh.    It was very good to hear from him. 

All in all, 2015 is off to a good start, with fun and friends.   About all that could make it better would be a cleaner house --  mine definitely needs a thorough cleaning, but so far I have done everything I can think of to avoid doing it.     In fact, I think I hear my sewing machine calling me now . . . maybe housework will happen tomorrow.  :)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Catching up -- December NewFOs

November was mostly a no-sew month.  But once my sewing machine was back from the repair shop, I got moving in December!   I had a lot of things to finish in time for gift-giving, so I not only started projects, I actually finished several!     I sewed 14 infinity scarves (one of the favorite gifts this year, quick and easy to make, and really appreciated by the recipients),
a tote or two and some zipper bags,
and I finished the grand-doggie jacket.
Then I started on a few kitchen towels out of scraps from my overflowing scrap bins.

Including this one for a Morse Code friend who invited me to lunch --- an embellished towel that says "dry" in Morse Code symbols (even though it is not a written language and is meant to be heard, not seen, I think it's pretty cool looking).   Towels might be my go-to gift next Christmas.   I am a fan of fun, easy and practical. 
I also made (and tested) two different styles of cozies for french press coffee pots at the suggestion of a friend.  They work about equally well, although the full cover kept the coffee about 5 degrees warmer after 90 minutes.   The person who received these as a gift uses the two of them together for coffee that stays hot as long as it lasts.

None of my projects were complicated or artistic, but for a slacker like me, I'm counting December a sewing success, and looking forward to a new year.  :)   I am linking up to Cat Patches NewFO party, as sewers and slackers alike celebrate our starts and finishes for the last month of 2014.   I hope the New Year brings us lots of joy, no matter what projects we use to move forward.  :)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Beginning the Annual Year End Review

I have been reflecting on 2014, a year of good times and disappointments, as all of them are.  For the past two years my New Year's 'resolution' has been to have ridiculous amounts of fun and the Best Year Ever.   It's worked pretty well for me and there have been lots of laughs.   But since my birthday this year when I turned Really Old, I have been more pensive about it all.   Daylight is burning, I can feel the heat, and I need to think about what things are still important to do.   I am content with who I am, thank goodness, and my life is a good one, but there are lots of things left to do to make it even better.   I realize, a little late, that I have been far too reclusive in my life, and it is much harder at this point, especially given my definite preferences in people, to find the kinds of friends who would fill the bill.   I have a family I adore and one friend who brings great joy into my life but I can hardly expect them to fill every minute and the bulk of my time is spent alone.   But it does no good to brood over what I would have done differently (more children! more friends!) if I had it to do all over again.  And besides, old or not, I am having more fun than ever before in my life.   So . . .

I don't want to get caught up in regretting the past or dreading the future.  What I have is today, and so I am thinking this week about where to put my energy going forward.    I want to learn some new skills and do some new things, and it would be nice if they added bonus friends to my life.  What could I get pretty good at in a year if I started now?   Learning something new is good for the soul and often leads to meeting new people.  And since I would like to quit working in the next year or so, I really need to build a structure that will enrich my mind and my time going forward.  

My brother suggested learning to pilot a plane, but I am deterred by cost and my own fears.  Scuba is a possibility - despite the cost - but my doctor insists that I  not consider it until I take a stress test, which I expect to do this spring.  I am thinking of buying a mountain dulcimer, an instrument I played in college about a million years ago, but that is also slightly pricey and (worse) would most likely end up being another solitary activity.   I will probably buy a new sewing machine at some point -- I'm still having too many tension troubles with my old one -- and there will be classes to take if I do that, to hone my pitiful sewing skills, but sewing is rarely a group activity either.    

Next year I will continue to find time for the things I already like do, amateur radio, search and rescue, Morse Code, sewing and crafting and cooking.  I will certainly try to fish and kayak and hike more, whether alone or with people, outdoorsy things are very satisfying activities, mentally and physically.   And I am thinking about planning a trip.   I would be a solo traveler and know I do not much like to travel alone so I am considering a tour of some kind.   If I could find an interesting place where I could also do or learn something interesting that would be a bonus.   I might just write whatever ideas I come up with and decide by a blind draw.   Because really, it doesn't make much difference what I choose, it just matters that I do something.

So I have much to look forward to.   But I am open to new ideas about things new to me, and hoping that someone out there will introduce me to thoughts that will lead me into uncharted territory --  Do you have any ideas to throw into the hopper?  What should go on my list?