Saturday, September 24, 2022

Like A Drunken Sailor

Do they still use the expression, "spending money like a drunken sailor"?   Probably not, because although people themselves seem to get ruder and ruder with every social media post, popular expressions are mostly more careful and "politically correct" than they were when I was growing up.  Mostly that's a good thing, I think, and I certainly would not want to offend any of the drunken sailors out there.  I have been chastened by how many insensitive things I have inadvertently said over the years, which I learn about when my grandchildren learned to sit "criss cross applesauce," or when there is casual talk about the occasional friend's gender identity.   And I have been frankly horrified by how much history I was not taught.  

But I digress.   My most recent "drunken sailor" news is that we finally found some furniture to buy and, although it seemed too pricey when we first saw it before the pandemic, it looked like a bargain this weekend.  One of our local Amish furniture stores was having a customer appreciate day, where we were offered free coffee, donuts, and a 10% discount (which was enough 'saved money' in our case to justify buying another item).  We (reluctantly) skipped the donuts because we came straight from breakfast and couldn't eat another bite (although it was fun to see neighbors walking to the store JUST for the donuts!), but we made good use of the discount.  I will need to post photos once the things we bought are delivered, which will be whenever the store owner is able to arrange with someone who drives a truck for him when he has deliveries.   But we bought a roll top desk that Jack has wanted for years, a chest to store blankets in one of our bedrooms, a cabinet that Jack intends to use to hide our electronic devices while they charge, and a hutch for the kitchen that I hope will hold the many (many) things that are strewn around, waiting for storage.  

We also bought and carried home a roll top bread box that I hope will hide our variety of fruit and medications from view.  I haven't figured out quite where to put it yet since it has a plain back and should probably be against a wall, but wall-space is at a premium on our counters.  The store's furniture is hand-made and good quality and the family that owns the shop is lovely; in fact the owner ran out after us when we went to our car to tell us that he thought his young son might have accidentally overcharged us and asked us to come in so he could re-figure the discount.  Honesty, which used to be taken for granted, is a rare treat these days.  We also stopped at a new-to-us restaurant that has been on my list for a couple of years, so that, all in all, the day felt almost like a mini vacation.  My sweet friend Marie Louise has encouraged me to find ways to "get away," and I have been trying to take her advice to heart.  Today was a good beginning.

It is starting to get cold here in earnest, or at least I feel the threat of it growing.  I am still putting off turning on the furnace, so I am wearing two sweatshirts and a quilt inside the house, and drinking a lot of hot tea.  Outdoors, at least when the sun is out, is warmer by a bit.  It is perfect sleeping weather, and not bad for curling up with a book, but I am avoiding the shower (getting wet sounds like torture) and not sewing yet today.  But the chill has put me in mind of Christmas so I arranged for a family photo-shoot in November to use on this year's cards.  I  never sent many Christmas cards before I had photos to share, but it has become a fun tradition these past 3 years.  Baking special treats used to be one of my favorite things about winter, but several people in the family were diagnosed with diabetes this year, and my own little family is not that big on sweets anyway, so whatever I bake I am almost certain to eat so I will make careful choices.  I suspect we will scale down on gifts this year, too, since none of us needs or wants much anymore, so it is time to put on my thinking cap and come up with fun surprises to make our family time festive without sugar or excess.  Of course, with my now-proven "drunken sailor" spending tendencies, anything could happen between now and then!

Wednesday, September 21, 2022


 Growing up as I did, long before the internet or home computers, I knew that making friends, and staying in touch with friends, got harder as I got older.  I carefully wrote down the phone numbers and addresses of people I knew, but I am not that well organized, and none of those slips of paper have survived my many moves.  Once in a rare while, over the years, I’ve had a brief reunion, by Facebook or letter, with someone I once treasured, but generally our lives had gone in such different directions that the thread of our friendship had disappeared and we were strangers once again.  As a result, I’ve lost touch with all my high school and college friends, and was in occasional touch with only one childhood friend until that friendship fell to the wayside as our political paths took extremely different directions just a couple of years ago.    I am not terribly outgoing, and have little patience for superficial conversation, and so I got used to an increasingly small circle of contacts as the years went by.  And the current political and pandemic climate has reduced that small circle even further.

And so, in the 15 years that I have been blogging, I have come to treasure my virtual bloggy friends, even though, on some level, they are not “real.”  In common with “real” friends, they have sometimes come and gone, but unlike the “real” variety, they exist only in the internet, with no physical presence.

Until this week!!

My bloggy friend Barb, from Cat Patches, came to town and she is a Real Person!  

We spent the day together.  I got to (briefly) see Smitty -- who it turns out is also a Real cat (and just as hunky as expected), but his cohort Sadie declined the opportunity.  I got to meet Barb's (handsome and friendly) husband Mike.  Although we didn't do anything special, I had such a good time.

And the amazing thing was that, after communicating only by blog-comment and email for so long, we found that we really did know each other, and we really were Real Friends, or so it seemed to me.  As Barb pointed out, we have shared many things over many years, so it was no real surprise that it felt like we had known each other forever.  With all my bloggy friends, we tend to share things that don't often come up in the casual "real" friendships over coffee, where we are more likely to discuss the muffin flavor of the week.  And it was a nice reminder that it is the internal connection that really informs and even sometimes changes our lives.  It can certainly  make them better.  I value my "imaginary friends" so very much.   Spending the day with Barb was a lot of fun, but maybe more than that, it restored my faith in some way.  It reminded me that there really are people, real people in the world who share my beliefs and interests, even when it seems like there aren't.   We may not live close enough to share a glass of wine on a random evening, but it is a comfort to know that you exist, and to hope that someday our paths might cross, even for a little while.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

This and That

My life is pretty simple these days, and quiet enough that even a single scheduled task is enough to cause excitement around here.  So imagine the internal drama when one of my teeth broke on Friday — the top of it just fell off — while I was chewing.  It looked like the tooth had broken in half but, thank goodness, apparently it was a crown that I didn’t even remember getting; nothing recent, for sure.    I think if it had been the whole tooth it might have really hurt but, as it is, it doesn’t hurt and isn’t even sensitive.  But let me tell you, it sure looks ugly.  I am a walking talking no smiling zone.  When I finally got to see a dentist he decided that there was a teeny tiny barely there bit of decay (which of course I have no way to contradict) and that, rather than glue the old crown back on for a very low cost, he would need instead to redo the whole job for a couple thousand dollars.  I would like to have called his bluff and glued it on myself, but it is, after all, my health and tooth (and brain) at stake so I am scheduled to be back into his chair next week.  I am NOT a fan of dentists, important as they may be.  Frankly, I would gladly give him the money just to leave me alone, but it doesn’t seem to work that way.

(Actually our BIG excitement happened when my bloggy friend Barb came to visit, but she deserves her own separate post, so that will wait until tomorrow!)

The search and rescue group that I used to belong to, and where Jack is still active, have been called out a few times lately.  They are called out again tonight, in fact.  Michigan is not a good place to get lost, petty politics interfere too often.  I could go on for hours about the frustrations caused by ego and power grabs and turf wars that end up hurting the vulnerable, but of course this is probably not the best place for that.  The search volunteers, who receive no money for their services and are called out at all hours and in all weather, work their hearts out when they are allowed to do the jobs they are all trained for.  It’s hard work, tromping through rough terrain and keeping focus both on navigation and on the search itself.  Suffice to say, one of the people they found recently was out in the elements for so long that s/he may not survive, and it should not have happened that way.   

The weather continues to change, often cold and hot in the same day, but steadily moving toward the cold side.  Patches of leaves are turning.  Soon Jack and I will turn our chairs, which face the windows in the warm weather, toward the fireplace instead.  I will miss the summer, but I do love sitting by the fire, wrapped in my quilt and reading a book or writing a letter.    Still, before that happens, I am hoping for just a few more chances at summer.  I still want to get to Lake Michigan before snow flies.  

I have done a few little sewing projects and played around a bit lately with freestanding lace on the embroidery machine.  I have no idea what to do with the little designs now that they are done, but it is kind of fun to watch the magic happen.  


When it comes to sewing, Jack is the more productive of the two of us, and has been making little shirts for the baby.  I love seeing the things he makes, he is just fearless once he gets an idea!


That's about it for the 'ordinary life' report - and it is past my bedtime so time to end for now.  But tomorrow I will write about my first  ever Blogger Sighting, and the day I finally met Barb, my long time imaginary friend.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Summer's End

Labor Day falls on the first Monday in September, and it traditionally marks the end of summer.  In past summers, it would have been the end of school summer vacations, but this year the kids had already been back in class by then for a week or two . . . or three, depending on the school system.  My “school year schedule” has begun, although it is still somewhat in disarray.  Once the older grands sign up for clubs or other after-school activities, I will have a better idea of how often they will need me to drive to Saginaw to pick them up after school.  They often have complicated schedules, and both of them are busy during the school year, and I am glad and grateful to be available to help.  My kids sometimes apologize for the need, but I know very well that it won’t be long before the grands don’t need my help, won’t be very long before I am incapacitated or dead, so I am glad to have the chance to see them and listen to their day and just bask in my love for their company.  They both have their driving permits now, but neither of them really wants to drive, and I am (selfishly) not urging them along.

We watched baby George most of the summer, so although my bigger grands were home for the summer, George was still a full time job.  He started daycare a few weeks ago but between the provider’s holidays and his sicknesses, we have still had him some days in each week.  He seems to be never quite well, and we aren’t sure whether that is just the new normal now that people aren’t wearing masks and are mingling again, or whether it is cause for concern.  We had planned to take a weekend away right after labor day but I came down with one of the baby’s viruses and our plans had to be scrapped.  Now it is hard to tell when our next free time will fall into place.  I am so persistently tired these days that it hardly seems to matter.

We did get away for one overnight in the middle of the summer to Lavender Hill, a little farm that boasts the largest lavender planting in Michigan.   it was much smaller than I thought it would be but it was something different to do and a chance for a mini getaway.   I have also  taken time to stop at our local Dahlia Hill a time or two, just to stop and smell the flowers!

I also visited both Michigan siblings, my oldest brother who is 100 miles north of us and my little sister who is about 130 miles south.  I don’t see either of them nearly enough, but of course I do see them lots more often than our brother in Seattle!  He says he is coming here for Thanksgiving, but it’s too early yet to know for sure how plans will shake out.  We tried to set up a visit to my 97 year old aunt in the Traverse City area but she is so confused that she kept changing the dates until the visit became impossible.   We will try again before snow flies.   Although we are still having some warm spells, the days are getting darker and colder way too quickly.