Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Funny


Life doesn't always turn out the way we want,  we know that.   But the funny thing is, sometimes that's because the things we really want aren't the things we think we want, or don't come the way we expect.   

I always wanted to live in a certain kind of place, a more country place, a prettier landscape.   In fact, living in a pretty place where I could do the homey country-things I like to do was on my bucket list.   I have spent time in Massachusetts and Sanibel Island and the west coast and Italy, and in a variety of cities in Michigan, and I guess I could have lived in any of those places.    Instead I live in Saginaw, Michigan, probably not on too many top ten Pretty Lists.   And yet, for the first time in my life, I am doing more things that fit my fantasy of where I wanted to live than I ever did when I was spending lots of time in the picture postcard places I thought I wanted.    I've lived in far prettier places, but here I am doing the outdoor things that I thought I needed a pretty place to get to.    Funny.

I always wanted to have work where I felt Uselful.   And now I have a job where some days I feel completely useless but on others I am almost overwhelmed with the needs that people place on me.    Being useful in spurts has taught me that my life lacks balance and I struggle with ways to smooth it out.    There's a lot of pressure in usefulness.  Three years in, I often feel like I need to shift back to work that has less value just to escape the roller coaster of emotion.   Funny.

I always wanted to be in a Relationship, something that has eluded me.   And eludes me still.    And yet, for the first year in my life, this year I had a friend who made the time fly by, who I trust and respect, and who trusts and respects me, who makes me laugh and can make me smile simply by crossing my mind.   Because we are going Nowhere, because we are Just Friends and not A Couple, my sister and other friends think I deserve more.   Frankly, I don't disagree.   But I spent years in a relationship that they  encouraged, and I was miserable.    I've had far more traditional relationships with people who pledged that they wanted to spend their lives with me, but here I am enjoying the occasional day with someone in a way that I never have before.   Other men have claimed to love me more than life itself but this friend, who claims no such thing, encourages me, challenges me, makes me happy and lets me be more fully myself.   And yet I often find myself brooding and discontent, wanting more.    Funny.

Maybe that's why I no longer make resolutions for improvement, maybe I am finally learning that my life doesn't lend itself to planning-promises and that the things I Improve end up being disappointments.    I want to be open to the unexpected gifts along the way, the things I might have turned my nose up at in the past.     Because, I am finding, that is where the sweetness lies.    But I am a list maker, no escaping it, so I am constantly thinking of things I could do, things I am afraid I will forget if I don't write them down.   And New Year's cries out to me for a List.
So of course I do have "resolutions" for 2014, but they will be the same as they were in 2013 -- I'm going to do my best to make 2014 the Best Year Ever and have ridiculous amounts of Ridiculous Fun.   It worked well for me in 2013 and I expect it to work well again.  Maybe I didn't have any  more fun than usual, but I stayed more open to new things and I paid more attention to my choices.   In 2013 I earned all three amateur radio licenses, leaned Morse Code, and climbed a rock wall.   A year ago, none of those things were on my radar.    I also went fly fishing and target shooting, tried and tasted lots of new things, made new friends, joined and trained with a Search and Rescue group, acted like a lawyer again, and let my heart soar, just a little.  I learned so many things, from so many people.   I stayed aware all year that my choices and attitude were what would make the year good, and it was, truly, the best year I can remember, if only because I paid enough attention to the good things that, even when they were over, I actually DID remember.

And so, with that in mind, in 2014 I am hoping to pack in even more fun stuff, and I'm thinking that will be more likely if I start planning now.   I'm not putting any pressure on myself, these are not things I 'have' to do, but they are ideas of things I think will be fun or useful to me, even if I have to push myself (hard) to get up the nerve to actually do some of them.

1.  Despite my claim that there are no have-tos, I AM going to go zip lining in 2014.   I am.   I already bought the ticket, and as soon as the park reopens, I'm planning to go.    Yes, Kim, I promise.   Meanwhile, I'm trying not to think about it.   And trying not to think about how afraid I am of heights.   I'm not sure why, or what (if anything) it will lead to; it doesn't matter.  As I tell my grief support groups every month, when you are stuck, you need to do something.    It doesn't matter what, because every action leads us.     It will either go well, or badly, and either result provides data.   So that is my bottom line.    I'm doing it, and that's that.  

2.  And I AM going to do Morse Code on the air in 2014.   Not once, not twice, but enough times to feel that I've either conquered my fear or given it a sincere effort.    Words cannot express how afraid I am of this silly goal, but it simply doesn't matter.   For exactly that reason, I am not telling this goal to my Morse Code Elmer.    No sense in asking for more pressure than I'm already putting on myself. 
And if he gives up on me, I'll find someone else with a rig that I can use.    But I'm doing it, whether I want to or not, and that's that.

3.  I hope I am going to take scuba lessons and get my open water certification in 2014.    Yup, this scares me, too.   Um, breathing under water, too far under for me to get to the surface if I need to take a breath  - need I say more?   And it's not cheap, so I will need to do some budgeting, and then I will need to pass the classes, but it's on my goal list.   Ironically, I used to go to Florida every year, sometimes several times a year, spending as much as a month at a time, but I never took advantage of the fly fishing and diving adventures that entice me now.   So I will most likely be diving in cold Michigan water if I get to dive at all, but I still want to do it.   It isn't going to get any easier or more likely if I put it off, so now is the time.   I stopped into a local scuba shop and talked to them, and talked to my doctor, too.    Despite every excuse I could come up with, all systems are go.   I've started taking the classroom portion on line, so I'm on my way.

4.  I am going to try really hard not to get my heart broken in 2014.   The trick to that will be to stay in the moment, and to accept that what is, is.      No one wants to hurt me, I just need to be careful not to hurt my own silly self by creating a fantasy that exists in only my mind.  But the flip side is that I will also try really hard to keep my heart open, even though it means being open to hurt.

5.  I know that it's a lot easier to have fun and enjoy the best if I am feeling good, so I am going to try really hard to eat well and exercise more in 2014, hopefully getting back into the regular walking schedule that worked so well last year.   I might look into counseling with a dietician if I can find one I trust.    I need to feel fit to take part in the search and rescue activities that I love, and will need that, too, to enjoy zip lining and scuba.    In the 'circle of best,' taking care of myself is always going to be important.

6.   I am going to continue to try to find a fuller purpose in my life.    As a person who believed since childhood that my purpose would be in helping and being with others in the context of a marriage, it is perhaps time to accept that this life is not going to lead to the life partner I always expected to appear.     Although I never wanted to live alone, I have lived alone for a very long time.    I have a family that I cherish and I have always been, and continue to be, involved in community service,  but there has always been a void in my life, waiting.      I thought I knew what was missing, but it's out of my control and, after a very long wait, it's time to move beyond that personal fantasy.   I have relationships I value and I don't want to taint them with the brush of what they are not.   So it will be a goal in 2014 to try to figure out what else to put in that empty place.  

7.  Most of all, I hope that, as often as I can, I am going to try new things in 2014 that I haven't thought of, maybe haven't even heard of, maybe simply haven't dared to do.   I will again try to listen for ideas that come from outside my circle of comfort, and learn whatever I can, wherever I can, whether it involves craft or food or physical activity or people.   I hope I will dare to do things I don't expect to like but haven't actually tried.   I hope I will conquer, or at least confront, some fears.    I hope by the end of 2014 to be able to say that I discovered and experienced things I didn't even knew existed today.   It's going to be the Best Year Ever.  :)

Happy New Year!    I hope 2014 will be the Best Ever for you, too.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Thinking Ahead

I was so disappointed in how little I accomplished with making gifts for Christmas in 2013 that I decided to get a  head start on 2014.    I started with fleece tubes, sometimes called Cowls or Buffs.   I wear these when I go out treking, or in search and rescue, and they can be pulled up like a hat or used like a scarf to keep the neck warm.   I bought the ones I use now and paid over $20 each.   I love them -- they are warm, the stop the wind, they wash easily and dry quickly.    When I was (supposed to be) cleaning my craft room the day before Christmas, I was gathering up fleece remnants when it hit me -- there is no earthly reason why I can't make them instead, for pocket change instead of dollars.   Using the scraps I had on hand, I made the first couple that same day, instead of cleaning the room.    I will do almost anything to avoid actually working.     The first one I made took me about 15 minutes, and that included changing the thread in the sewing machine.
I'm pretty excited and only wish I'd thought of this sooner (which might have happened if I had considered cleaning the craft room sooner!)    I think this will be a good gift next Christmas, assuming I can hang onto them that long, because there is still a lot of cold weather ahead!   I will be raiding the remnant bins at JoAnn's this week, while they are still filled with the scraps from all the fleece blankets that the more ambitious people around me made as gifts.     The concept still needs a little tweaking -- They don't fit quite as perfectly yet as the $20 variety, but I have a whole year to get it right!  :)
I also decided to get to work on pot holders.   I said LAST year that I was going to make pot holders as gifts, and I did make a few, but only a few, and there weren't any left to use as Christmas gifts.   So this year I am getting started with some Christmas-y ones, making it more likely that I will wait until later in the season to give them away.  Clever, right?    I have three of them cut and sandwiched, ready to stitch, and it's only the day after Christmas.   I am already way ahead of last year!

[Edit:  These are things I started and finished in December, as are the few projects I blogged about as December Craft Finishes, so I am linking them all to Cat Patches and her December NewFO and Linky Party!  :)  

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

December Craft Finishes

After a long, much too lazy 2013, at least I finished a few things before Christmas.    I am pretty happy with my first rag quilt -- it isn't perfect, and I'm not sure I will use it as a gift, but I love it anyway.   I love the colors, and it is soft and warm and cozy.   If no one else wants it, I'll keep it for myself.  And I definitely plan to make more.

I also finished at least a few of the zipper bags on my list, one for my daughter (I've made several with these orange and brown fabrics because I just like them.    I filled the one for my daughter full of trial-sized make-up), one for my brother's former girlfriend (a combination of blue fabrics that I sent empty and I forgot to take a photo), and one for my chicken-loving friend who brings me eggs when 'the girls' are productive.   The chicken panel didn't work out quite as I'd hoped, but she liked it and the next one will be better, maybe.

I also made my chicken-raising friend a pot holder from the same fabrics.   She loved that, too!
And my granddaughter put in a special request for me to make Santa hats for a couple of her little stuffed dogs.     I was happy with them and so was she.
Some of the things I planned to do didn't get done, but we expected that, right?    The quilt top I had hoped to finish is not even sandwiched (but I bought material for my next quilt project, of course).    I'm okay with that because I'm not sure where the unfinished quilt will go yet, so there is still plenty of time to finish it.   And although I bought the fabric, I didn't make the sleeping bags for stuffed animals.  That decision was a choice, not a failure.   I decided that the kids are outgrowing that idea and that my time this month was better spent on other things -- like picking up the thousand or so straight pins I accidentally dumped on my sewing room floor.   Oh baby, that room is a hot mess.

The scarf I intended to finish is still on the needles -- about a trillion more rows to go.    
Another thing I did NOT make is a Noodlehead basket, although it was on my Meant-To list for 2013.  
Lucky for me, I WON one from SarahQuilts, and it is really beautiful, she is a much better sewer than I am.    I got the basket in the mail today, on Christmas Eve morning, so it was just a lovely gift and an inspiration to me to work a lot harder next year.   I would love to be able to make something so pretty as gifts . . . . next year.  :)    And Sarah even filled the basket with a beautiful assortment of scraps and remnants to get me started.    What a sweet way to encourage me to work on some projects of my own.  So the good news is that I have things to do even after the holidays and plenty of beautiful new fabric to do it with!    

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

End of Year Plans for the Next Beginning

Working in Hospice, I too often equate "end of year" with "end of life," and that makes me a little sad.    The road ahead looks way too short.  As my mother used to say, too soon old and too late smart, and I am feeling that lately, big time.    My brain, my courage, my emotions are just finally starting to get to where I am comfortable with them, while my body is galloping into decrepitude.     It is annoying, at the very least.    So instead of wondering what I want to do in the next year, I wonder a little bit what I still can do.    I hope I won't let those fears stop me, because it is my plan to push on, to have more Ridiculous Fun, and to have another Best Year Ever in 2014.    This year has been pretty darn good, and the biggest reason for that, I am convinced, is that I insisted on seeing the good in it.
So.   This coming year I plan to go zip lining.    I plan to target-shoot as much as I can, as often as I can find ammunition, whether or not my shooting buddies will go along.    I plan to see more movies and eat more vegetables.    I plan to spend more time being grateful for what I have than anxious about what I lack.
I plan to stop abusing my body with sugar and junk.     In 2013 I got healthier and more fit, and in 2014 I want to get healthier still.    I plan to take a chance or two in relationships, maybe.  Maybe give up a useless fantasy or two while I'm at it.   I plan to try not to send myself so many ugly hate messages, so much nasty self-talk.   It would be nice if I could be as nice to myself as I try to be to others.   
I plan to really truly seriously regularly practice my Morse Code so that I can regain and improve my skills.    I plan to go on the air weekly, starting no later than February, no matter how terrified I am of doing it.    I have a good friend who promises to stay with me like a big brother teaching a little kid to ride a two-wheeler, making sure I don't fall, so I have no excuses not to push through my fear.
I plan to try new things, eat new foods, meet new people, and experiment with new hobbies as often as the opportunity arises.   I plan to catch a fish -- surely I can finally catch a fish.
I plan to keep a promise to a friend that I will try to keep my conversation and thoughts a little less broody.   Just because I work around a lot of death doesn't mean that I need to bring my work home to my friends.    I will try to journal a little more and perhaps share a little less.
I plan to get more pedicures.

And last but not least, I plan to get some crafting and sewing mojo on.   Barbara at Cat Patches has set up a challenge to encourage us to plan for next year's NewFOs, projects to start and hopefully finish (or at least agonize over) in 2014.    She is even offering prizes!   Most of the people who are linking up are serious sewers and quilters, and I have no plans to be anything but a slacker.   But since I am in a planning mood, I plan to quilt the zig zag quilt-top I pieced in 2013.   I plan to make a crib-sized rag quilt in case my friend's child gets pregnant, as we all hope.   I plan to make rag quilts for my grands, too, because they are so cozy that I just love them and so easy that there's no reason not to.    I plan to finish the scarf I started this month, maybe by next Christmas.    I love my little zipper bags and I plan to try a bigger bag or two. 

This has been a very good year.    And next year is going to be just as good.    It's again going to be the Best Year Ever.    And maybe,  just maybe, I will follow through on a few of my plans.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Finished and Unfinished

I dreaded my birthday, but it ended up being just fine, as always.    First of all, I found 700 rounds of ammunition after months of not finding any at all -- this was a wonderful birthday gift, and will make it possible for me to target shoot a couple of times this month!    And then my kids took me out to dinner!    They gave me the cutest ever birthday gifts --  a stuffed wolf who eats the grandma (who can then be rescued by 'cutting' open the wolf's belly.   Since my blog is called Shedding the Wolf, and since I am a Grandma, it was the perfect present.  :)    [You can read about the idea behind my blog's name here.]  

They also gave me some beautiful paintings by a couple of up and coming local artists who I have admired for some time -- in other words, my grandchildren.   I love them!
My birthday has always been the symbolic beginning of the Christmas season for me, and most years I have had most of my gifts well in hand by now.   Not this year.   Maybe I've been too busy having fun!   I had planned all year to sew a bunch of stuff for Christmas but I only started last week.  Where has the time gone?!   I don't even have all the materials on hand yet, so I'm not holding out a whole lot of hope that my original plans will come to fruition.     So my list of UFOs I intend to finish this month is a little limited by lack of time and poor planning.     I definitely want to finish my rag quilt, whether it turns out well enough to be a gift or not.   I am using Boundary Waters flannel by Moda, which I absolutely love.    I arranged the squares and sewed the strips together but ran out of thread, so I need to get shopping before I can go any further.    I have another quilt top I had also hoped to finish, but there's no way I can get it done be Christmas because I have to work and will be out of town for a week, too.

I also need to finish a few zipper pouches for my daughters and a friend.   Like these, but with fabrics chosen for them, fabrics I haven't purchased yet.    I need to get to JoAnn's soon!     
Finally, I am hoping to make a couple of sleeping bags for the Grands' stuffed animals.    I think they would make a fun addition to sleepovers!  Well that settles it -- no more time to blog.   I need to get to work!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Grateful

I am so lucky in so many ways.     I have a sad enough past to be truly blessed to have moved beyond it.   I live alone and am not crazy about that, but I know enough to know that living with someone can be even worse.    I have a good education, a lovely family, a job, and pretty good health.   I have enough money to get what I need, but not so much to take away my pleasure at little things.    I have long lists of things to do that keep me busy, including my fly tying and my first ever rag quilt-in-progress.
I had a non-traditional Thanksgiving, shooting with a friend, playing a dice game with him and his son, eating the worst thrown-together meal ever.   
Imagine cream of mushroom soup accidentally cooked with french vanilla creamer and mixed with hamburger.    Oh gag.    
I begged him to let me cook from now one.    My pecan pie only added to the too-sweet experience, but we laughed about it all.   My son's family will come on Sunday and we will have the usual turkey and dressing and all.   Hopefully that will banish the remembered taste of french vanilla beef.

Today is my house cleaning day and I have, not to my surprise, done everything I can think of but clean.    I have a dozen half done projects spread throughout the house, and a bunch of cooking-adventures-in-process on the kitchen stove and counters.    It is the last day in my life to be 63, and I am not a happy camper, so not inclined to be too tough on myself today.    This is a good day to start a gratitude jar.  Life is good, and worrying about it being too short does nothing to make it better.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Quince

My cooking adventure this week was Quince -- something I'd heard of but never tasted.    I heard a piece about the fruit on NPR, and so did a friend, so we discussed it and both thought it would be fun to try.   So when I saw it at my local supermarket, I bought a dozen (despite the considerable expense!) and went to work.
The fruit is hard and dry when it is raw, with a very woody inner core.   But it softened nicely after cooking for nearly an hour.   I made half of the quinces into paste, and the other half into sauce.    I spent hours -- yes, hours -- stirring the steamy pot at the stove and, since I didn't start with very many fruit, I also didn't end up with much to show.   Four small jars of sauce, to be exact, and a small log of paste.

 
So it was a lot of work and, I thought, not worth it.   Until I tasted it.   This stuff is good!    The sauce was okay, like applesauce but tasting a little like a combination of pear and apple, only better.   But the paste, which is more intensely flavored, is my favorite --  absolutely delicious.   I've been eating small cubes of it with cheese and nuts, and can't wait to try dipping little squares into dark chocolate.   I gave a slice to my son's family, ate a (couple of) slice(s) myself, and am trying to save the rest until my friend can come over for dinner so that I can share the experience.     Don't you just love trying and cooking with new foods?!     I know I do.  :)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

First Snow

It snowed last night.    It has snowed a few times already, but this time it seems to be staying on the ground and there is more snow in the forecast.     A clear signal that this year is coming to an end.     This was my self-declared Best Year Ever, and it has been a fun and good one, overall.   I came close to love -- or at least, I had a lot of fun and came close to feeling like I had a shot at it again, although that feeling sort of slipped away again, at least on the part of one of us.   Still, what a gift.  I had forgotten how much I love that feeling of promise, that hope that someone might care as much as you do.     I learned and tried a bunch of new things -- amateur radio, Morse Code, search and rescue -- and I was reminded that learning and trying new things is absolutely deliriously delightful.    I made a bunch of crafty projects, and even got a little better at some of my crafty skills, including putting in zippers, tying flies, and basic quilting.   I learned a lot from the people I work with and for in Hospice.   They reminded me over and over (and over) again to keep my heart and mind open.  I spent time fishing and target shooting and walking and training.    No regrets.
At the same time, I started to feel old.  Really old.   Like a building that still shows the lines of what it once was, but now peeling and probably damaged beyond repair.    I am pushing my body, but nothing about it is effortless anymore, and I am always aware that it hurts.   I remain foolishly hopeful for love some of the time, but my wrinkles jeer back at me like an overdue expiration date.    Worse, the decrepitude is making me feel self conscious, and it is never good to be wondering how you look, if your turkey chin is showing, when you are trying to relate to people.     It's a mixed time of life, I feel better mentally and emotionally than I ever have, and just wish I had the time and energy to take full advantage of it.  

But for sure I am thankful for many things.      I am thankful for good friends, for warm hugs, for healthy children and grandchildren.   I am grateful to be learning new things, both for the opportunities and for the discovery that I am still capable of learning.   I am thankful for the basic comforts of life, the warm house and utilities, for too much food where my biggest problem is choosing what to eat, not whether to eat.    I am thankful to be healthy enough to complain when I don't feel as good as I wish.   I am thankful for aching feet and a tired back that remind me that I need to get off the couch and keep moving.    I am thankful that I have enough money to be comfortable, but not so much that I don't appreciate little luxuries.    Life is good, and if this has been the Best Year Ever, I am already daring to hope that next year will be even better.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The weekend is nearing to an end, and it's been a hectic couple of weeks  -- it's funny, two weekends ago I was busy busy busy at a search and rescue field training.  
Last weekend I was busy busy busy at a search and rescue classroom training, and there were tons of meetings and appointments the last two weeks at work.  We made adorable crafts in one of my grief groups, and I tied 70 flies -- with a goal of 100 -- for a charity.

I spent time with friends, drove down to see my sister, and celebrated my grandson's 9th birthday (where DOES the time go?!)   I won peanut clusters from sweet Maggie at Just Between Me and You, and ate myself silly.    In self defense I started walking again, usually only a mile or so, but one day made it to 3 miles just to try to burn off that chocolate!   I made some more zipper bags, finally pieced together a quilt top from fabric someone was throwing away, wrote letters, and practiced Morse Code.    
But today there is nothing special to do, and so I am feeling whiny and alone.    I am such a spoiled child inside myself, wanting company and amusement all the time.    I hate to have to say it, but I might finally have to break down and clean this house!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Where Have All The Trick-r-Treaters Gone?

My goodness, I have a lot of candy left!    Last year I ran out, so this year I guess I over-bought.    Our community specifies that trick or treating goes from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.   And although it had rained all day, it was warm and merely damp by evening.    Even so, there was no steady stream of children, just dibs and dabs all evening.   I started out giving one piece, but by 7:00 pm I was handing it out by the handsful.     I had every good kind of candy I could find, and what turned out to be my biggest temptation?    Laffy Taffy!   I gave away the Snickers and Reeses and Twix and ate bunches of that nasty artificial putty-textured stuff.    Yum.   My daughter in Louisiana is always thrilled when we have a low turn out up here, because the leftovers all get mailed down to her.   Except that she'll miss out of the Laffy Taffy because there isn't any of that left!
 The highlights this year?  Well, my grandchildren, of course.    But I also met a Prince Charming (I told him I've heard it all before and was no longer impressed), and a recent divorcee who repurposed her wedding gown (she showed me her wedding pictures) to symbolize her efforts to build a new life.     And one young couple, pushing a very little guy in a stroller, told me flat out that he couldn't have it but they were still hoping for some candy.   I gave them two handsful because I know that feeling well! 
Maybe cutest of all, one little boy spontaneously looked up at me (before I'd given him a thing) and declared to his daddy, "that is a very nice lady!"   Another child told me earnestly that some people do scary things on Halloween and he does not like that one bit and he was happy I was not scary.   I think I was probably wearing my Grandma Face, and it was nice to have it noticed.

My friend did more work on my house this week, to my delight.   I know he doesn't really have the time to spare, so it was especially sweet.  He put my basement sliding doors back on track so that I can hide the messes within.    And he added wire and created a place for my 2 meter  radio antenna to come into what will be my shack once I am done buying the equipment I need (with a cleverly inserted length of fishing line to pull up the coax for my second antenna when the time comes.   The 2 meter has already made a difference, because when I attached my HT and put out a call, I got responses on several frequencies, way more action than I usually scare  up!  :)    He also stayed for dinner, which was my favorite part of all.    Anyone who likes to cook and doesn't have anybody to cook for anymore knows exactly what I mean.  :)
This weekend is search and rescue training,  and I've somehow twisted my foot.   It hurts like heck to put weight on it, but my plan is to walk it out until it either gets better or bad enough to need treatment.   No sense babying it.    It will be interesting to see how my plan works out.    One thing I know, if I walk out with the group into the brush, I need to keep up until we get back.    No slackers allowed.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Nearing Overload

I have been complaining about wanting something new to do, about needing to add something to my schedule, and claiming that the Universe would provide it.   Boy howdy, that Universe is always listening!   I opened my mouth once too often and ended up on a bunch of Search and Rescue projects this week.   I am not complaining, not really, although it certainly sounds like complaining when I say it out loud, but I am now on 2 sub-committees, in the middle of reviewing a bunch of lawyerly issues and documents, and planning the Christmas party to boot.    Too bad I can't afford to quit my job, because my hobbies could certainly fill my time!

This has been another busy weekend.   Yesterday was cold and rainy, but I worked an amateur radio station at the Boy Scouts Jamboree on the Air, letting scouts of all ages work the radio and contact other hams and scouts in a variety of places.   Our tent had four stations and between us we made contact all over the world, including many states, England, Italy, and Scotland.   At my stations kids talked to people as young as 3 years old (a little girl named Hope who did an amazing job!) and to adults who had been scouts 50 years ago.     Some of the scouts went absolutely nuts over it, and I expect to hear them on the air someday soon because they wanted all the information about how and where to get their license.   Others were more nervous about the whole process, but I won't be surprised to see them consider amateur radio somewhere down the line when they've grown out of their nerves.   Lots of fun for me, although it got mighty damp and chilly after 7 hours in our open tent!     Afterward, dinner and a movie with a friend, made it pretty much the perfect day, despite the weather.

Today was spent on another radio exercise,  an emergency drill in our local ARES group.   I got to work the digital Packet station for the first time, while also copying voice traffic, and that was a lot of fun, as new things generally are.   One of the guys offered to help me set up a Packet station at home which was good on several levels -- mostly because I'd like that, but also because I think this group is finally accepting that I'm planning to stay.  :-D

And now it's back to those many documents and a review of the dreaded legalise.    I thought I had packed my lawyer hat away forever, so it needs a little dusting off and I can't help but hope for rescue in the form of a better way to spend the afternoon.   But it has to be done, so I'll pull on my Big Girl panties and get to work.   

After that, barring a better offer, I'll put together a few more blocks of the baby quilt I started an embarrassingly long time ago.    The blocks have been done and spread on my craft room floor for almost six months -- it's a good think nobody's pregnant!

I hope you are all having a fabulous weekend, filled with fun.  :)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Preaching Again

I visited today with a woman whose husband will not live many more hours.   She told me that two months ago he was well, appeared to be healthy, and was just going about his usual business.  Two months.    Obviously I see this stuff in hospice pretty often but I must not believe it because it feels like a new priority-spotlight-crisis every time.   

So now I am running around again like Paul Revere (or chicken little?), raising the alarm.     And trust me, I'm preaching the same line to other people and to myself.     But I've got to say it to you, too. 

No kidding, no matter how much you love what you are doing, find some time for the people you love and those you would like to.   Find somebody to snuggle up.    Because no matter how much you love your job or your hobbies, I don't think those are the things you will cherish if time suddenly runs out.    Do and say whatever you would wish you had done or said if it turned out that you are under a two month limited time offer.   Because even if it isn't two months, it IS a limited time offer.

You may now return to your regularly programmed life.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Cutest Garage Sale Sign Ever!

I saw this garage sale sign on my way home today, just a little way from my house.   I had to share -- just thought it was the cutest thing ever.      I wish I were so creative!  :)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Around The House

I have been busy this weekend, lots of goings on at work,  but not as productive at home as I'd like.    That lazy streak is never far from the surface with me, but I did get a few things done.    I did 'finish' painting the white part of the front porch (the blue trim still needs some touch up) -- actually, the whole porch could use another coat or two of paint and a whole lot of clean up.   I didn't do a very good job.   But I finally ran out of paint and decided that was as good a way as any to decide that the job was complete.    Even a poor job is a big improvement, as you can see from the before and after photos!

It took me several days just to unpack my gear from the Search and Rescue training and get it cleaned and ready to go if I am called out.    Once that task was done, as a reward to my aching feet for getting me through all the woods-trekking last weekend (and to remove a lot of white paint from my bad habit of painting in bare feet), I went for a long overdue pedicure this week.   I found Serenity Spa, the cutest ever salon, right here in Saginaw.   Jessica did a wonderful job, my happy toes were filed and smoothed and painted Princesses Rule Pink.  :)

I did accomplish the usual odds and ends -- changed my sheets, got groceries, wrote a thank you note, did some research projects for clubs I am in, spent an evening with my grandchildren.    I also finally packed and mailed a little housewarming gift to a friend's daughter who just moved to a new apartment.    I don't know her very well, so I tried to make a little "blessings box" that I would be happy to receive.     I included local honey (with the wish that her life be filled with sweetness),  one of my potholders (protection from harm),  a candle (light through darkest times) and a foot scrub (love of friends and family to ease every burden).   Definitely not a big deal - the gift cost less than the postage -- but it was pretty cute, if I say so myself.  I hope she likes it, too. 
Tasks still on the list for today are laundry, maybe a baking project (it is wonderful baking weather today!), CW practice,  some general housework and, I hope, a walk out in this glorious weather.     Tomorrow I will be doing a funeral for one of my patients, and getting ready to start the week all over again.