"Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong.
The amount of work is the same." ~Francesca Reigler

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Heaven's Gain

Yesterday I lost one of my role models. My old co-worker Lydia. She battled stage IV cancer for six years. That's one year longer than her prognosis. And for that she's a fighter. Thank you to those who prayed for her this week. It was greatly appreciated.

When I describe where I used to work, it becomes apparent that my co-workers were more than just that. We were a family. That was our company culture. And more importantly, she was a fellow Marketeer. A member of the company's marketing team, of which I was a part of. That made us doubly close.

She was a role model for me. A wordsmith/grammarian extraordinaire. She was a published author, can be found on Wikipedia (not everyone can say that), and was a lifeline for folks in the bleeding disorders community as a font of information. She was my editor and the writer I wanted to be.

Lydia had the best sense of humor. Very offbeat and totally cerebral. But ready with a zinger at the right time that really caught you off-guard. So clever! She held her own amongst a team of strong personalities.

Lydia, Ellen, and I (the women of the Marketeers) wrote a short story called "Dueling Banjos", which dealt with a sisterhood of three strong southern women who shared a deep friendship and an heirloom deviled egg platter of dubious origin. I laughed when she wrote her part, naming her subdivision as Lurking Pines. The story has since been lost, but the love and spirit behind it is still there. Oh how I wish we could find it and revisit those days. I truly wish I could share that story with you. You would love it.

I haven't had a good cry over this yet, but I'm sure I will. While for some this will be a sad time, but for me it's a happy time. I'm happy knowing that she's at peace with God. She leaves behind a full life full of love and fond memories. And most of all, a legacy of words and wisdom.

Please join me in praying for her loved ones. Please pray for their strength, wisdom, faith, and peace during this difficult time.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Yep, it's Monday

I love my front door screen curtain. It lets the air flow through the apartment. 

Good afternoon! It's unseasonably warm up here in Washington State. Temps are in the 80s/90s. To most of you that might not be a big deal, but up here that is about 10-20 degrees above normal and folks here do not have air conditioning.

For example, our apartment does not. We are lucky in that our unit has a north/south ventilation system going with the windows. Right now I have the front door open with one of those screen curtain thingies and the windows in the back open, along with a ceiling fan blowing. Between that, my tank top, and unsweet iced tea (decaf), I'm doing OK and enjoying the inside air temp.

I'm lagging today not because of temperature, but because of lack of sleep. Last night I experienced a situation we call in our household, "failing open". It's an engineering term that when something fails, it does not revert to it's normal failure state, but fails in a more dangerous way. I made the mistake of drinking coffee yesterday afternoon (big no-no) then I stayed up late watching a really good show on Netflix. One thing led to another and I am hurting for sleep. So for me, "failing open" is being so over-tired, I cannot sleep.

The other reason I'm lagging today is that I found out an old colleague of mine is at the end-stage of her breast cancer diagnosis. She posted on Facebook yesterday that her good days have outnumbered the bad, but it's starting to turn. I knew that a few months ago she wasn't well, so I was expecting this message.

She received her diagnosis the same summer I retired from my healthcare job (2006) and was already at stage IV. She has beaten the life expectancy of five years with her stage/type of cancer and turned it into eight so far. I'm so proud of her for beating the average. I'm also proud of her that she has accepted her fate. It takes a lot of guts to admit that you're dying to other people. It really does. She's not quitting, but just stating the inevitable. The good days will become fewer until there are none left. She's accepting it with grace and dignity. I only hope that if/when I'm faced with such that I accept with as much grace and dignity.

On that note, I ask for prayers on her behalf. Or perhaps just peaceful thoughts. Whatever you deem appropriate to your beliefs. I know it will really mean a lot to her and her family.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Good Friday

Today was a good Friday. I'm just sorry I didn't get to toddle on over to 7-Eleven to get a free Slurpee (it's 7/11). But then I don't drink those anyway.

Last night I had a good committee meeting. We hasve a busy couple of months ahead with event planning and I'm looking forward to a break. I announced that I may be stepping down to allow someone with fresh ideas to assume the position. I'm a firm believer in term limits. We'll see. I'm not entirely convinced yet, but leaning toward retiring my position and starting a couple small study groups.

That being said, I"m very proud of my committee staff. Last night I banged out the rest of 2014, and got a good schedule made out for 2015. We even got a month or two into 2016 done! Yay for us! If it weren't for my staff, I would be totally insane. They rock!!!

My committee is for event planning. The "fun" events.  And to know me is to know that is a task I hate. Event planning turns me into an obsessive-compulsive perfectionist. And those OCD perfectionists drive me batty. Hence, I drive myself batty! LOL!

This morning about 1am, I finally got the meeting notes edited, the calendars adjusted, and the whole she-bang sent out for review. (See? I told you I get obsessed!).THen I was so wound up I didn't get to sleep until later.

Today I celebrated by going out on a short morning/early afternoon road trip with some quilting friends. They wanted to check out a shop south of Seattle. So me being the trusty labrador that loves to go for rides, decided to come along. They loved the shop... I didn't so much. It looked like a lot of old merchandise that just wasn't my style.

The shop sent us to a small cafe for lunch and I ate one heckova mean cheeseburger. It was a garlic, blue cheese bacon burger -- a three-napkin burger!!! That and a big huge glass of iced tea (unsweet) and I was in pure heaven! I've passed it several times coming from trap/skeet shooting with hubby. Now we know to stop and grab a bite. It was really good. I'm kicking myself for not taking home a piece of the homemade blackberry pie in the case.

We then made a stop at my favorite local shop where I did some shopping for an upcoming class and checked in about a discussion/study group I'm part of.

I'm beat from being up late last night, so I'm headed to bed in a few. Yes, I know it's only 7::30pm, but it's hot and I'm tired. This way I can sit near a fan, read, and relax. It's a perfect ending to a good day.

Hope your day went as well as mine, if not better. And I hope you got to eat your "blackberry pie"

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Feelings... Nothing more than feelings...

No, it's not karaoke hour here in my happy place. Just some general feelings of disconnection and restlessness. Nothing earth shattering or something to be concerned over. Just feeling out of sorts. I guess it's my long to-do list that's knocking on my emotional/physical door.

I also haven't been "creating", which tells me I'm needing to slow down more and get some of those mental obligations off my mind. I've been so busy with stuff that I haven't had time to play. I gotta fix that. And that is well within my power.

And like any over-fed, over-programmed person, I'll deal with my obligations like I'd deal with a submarine sandwich -- one bite at a time. All this will pass in due time.

I'm over committing and I'm going to put a halt on a few things after the first of the year.

What I'm noticing is that as I've goten older, I'm finding it more and more comfortable being a creature of habit and being less flexible. That bothers me. I used to be able to change modes at the drop of a hat. Not so much these days. It gets me discombobulated.

I'm chalking this up to hormones (or lack thereof). I know.. it's a lame excuse.

...Speaking of hormones, I have been having MAJOR hot flashes recently, as that "time of life" known as menopause is in full-swing. One of my savings graces is that a friend recommended a tool to help with hot flashes. Frogg Toggs makes a wonderful product called the Chilly Pad. It's an evaporative "towel" that you place around your neck. It helps "cool" the body. Or gives the illusion of a lesser hot flash. For what it's worth, mine is hot pink. It's a special soft foam-like material that you wet and wring out, and as it dries, it feels cool to the touch. Beats lugging a fan around!

Life is good. Very good. I'm busy, am able to spend time with friends and family, and have a roof over my head and a bed to sleep in. I also have food on the table. I'm very thankful for the blessings that God has bestowed upon me. I'm also thankful that this "blip" is just a blip and that I have the will to power through it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Two Lives

We just got back from a visit to the Farm. I missed that place.

We got to stay in our airstream...

See all the kids and have fun with Bill's ex's family...

And celebrate with a firework show put on by youngest stepdaughter. (I'm sure next year, people will be flocking to the Farm for the big show. She did an awesome job!)

But despite all that, I found myself missing home in Washington. Funny how things work out.

It's like I live two completely different lives -- my life in Tennessee and my life in Washington. It's a very strange feeling. Very rarely do the two meet. That feeling is difficult to describe. Best thing I can say is that it's like I live two completely different lives.

I wish there was a better way to meld the both together. But that's impossible.

The kids are growing like weeds. Littlest one, Miss A-Bug, is about a week or so from from walking. She's a happy little one. Always smiling and fairly easy-going. Miss Gg has gotten taller. That child is solid, too -- all muscle. I suspect she'll be into sports. And Miss Gg's energy is boundless. Wish I had it. I love her little voice... except when she gets stubborn... She's three, so she's testing all the boundaries she can find. Bless mommy and daddy... When they get through this with Gg, another will be taking her big sister's place in the toddler category. LOL!

I'm glad I got to see my two brothers. Wish I could've seen my nieces and more of my side, but that wasn't in the cards. Such is life. I'm just thankful that all is well.

Suffice to say I'm glad I'm home. Back to routine. Back to my quiet life. I've become such a creature of habit. It's busy week this week. Lots of meetings. I don't think life will get normal until next week. We'll see...

Monday, June 23, 2014

Sunday Drive

It's Sunday night and we survived another week on this beautiful planet. how blessed we are!

Hubby and I took a short road trip today to Mount Rainier. I love the drive down there. It's an all-day affair, as it takes several hours to go down, up to the mountain, and down again. But no matter the time or season, it never disappoints. And what a better way to celebrate the first full day of summer than with some snow. Right?

I know, we're crazy as hell! It's sure beats the 90+ degree weather in TN! Can I get an amen?

Yesterday's bus trip went well. I saw lots of new (to me) quilt shops that I'll be heading back to in the near future. I scored a whole seat row in the back of the bus this time. My knees thanked me, and I was able to relax the whole way.

I discovered a new app from the library for books and movies... it's called Hoopla. Loving it. Been watching documentaries on the Pacific Coast Trail (a walking trail that goes from the American-Mexican border all the way up to the American Canadian border) and another on Jerusalem (in which I learned how the city is religiously sacred to Christians, Jews, and Muslims).

Then on Netflix I've discovered The Borgias with Jeremy Irons (one of my all-time favorite actors), and Longmire (about a Wyoming sheriff). To be honest I don't miss network TV at all. And frankly, I could probably do without Netflix, but it's so reasonable.  And I do like the breadth or options it offers.

This week is a little less busy that last week. I need to get back on the house-cleaning. I have company coming in July and I want to make a good impression. I really need to tackle the kitchen from top to bottom.

Hubby wants me to get one of those Keurig coffee pots tomorrow for home. Honestly, I'm mixed about that. On one side, I like the fact that there won't be coffee grounds, spilled coffee, and water all over the place (hubby's not so tidy in that respect) and he'll waste less coffee. For the life of me I can't get it though his head that it is okay to make 1/2 pot. Doesn't compute. We end up throwing half out. That's waste. I don't like the trash those little k-cups make and the cost. I'm sure I'll be finding those things littering the counter. but it beats constantly mopping up the coffee, grounds, and water. I figure it's worth a shot. I bought him one for the office earlier this month and he likes it. He's the big coffee drinker, so I bow to him. I usually drink one mugful/day, but I do try to make it count. I prefer a much stronger brew than hubby. His coffee is like pee-water. blech! (I've recently resorted to a french press versus our drip for a better brew).

These lined bifocals still take some getting used to. I love the amount of space I get lens-wise for reading, but I'm still struggling to find the right spot on my nose for the perfect look down/look up spot. That's about it. I'm still challenged when going down steps. I think once I find that magic placement spot I'll be fine. My mid-range pair of bifocals (lined as well) work great for the laptop and I'm sure they'll be great for sewing. I'm loving the sunglasses that are purely distance, too. I'm sure I'll get used to the regular pair soon.

I can't believe that it's been 25 years since my mom's been gone (June 21, 1989). I've been thinking about her a lot lately. We didn't always have the best relationship, but I do love her and miss her. I catch myself several times wondering what she would think of this or that. I've done a tremendous amount of growing since then. Seeing things from a much more mature point of view, I now know why she was the way she was and wish we could do it all over again. I know she knows this now. For those of you who still have parents and older relatives around, please appreciate them. Life is never the same without them. Soon you'll be the one in their shoes.

Friday, June 20, 2014

That Very Moment

You know that very moment when you pull the trigger on something and you take that deep breath and think, "What have I done?" Today I had that moment. My resume along with a profssional contact name is out to the powers that be and my desire to work has been made known. I think I'm ready for this. No, that's wrong. I AM ready for this!

I have a sincere desire to help out the company the best way I can. It's my way of paying forward the kindnessThey have shown us by bringing us out here. I want them to succeed. This job will be like putting a puzzle together. And I love puzzles.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Today I did some running about before I go on a day trip tomorrow. It's our anniversary and I'm leaving hubby to mind the house by himself. Lord help us all! Hahahahaha. That's what 13 years of marriage has come to -- me abandoning hubby on our anniversary. Nah, he's totally okay with that.

Tonight's a big huge gourmet dinner night. I found some hot dog buns at the store like the ones out in New England. The way buns should be. They look like super thick slices in bread cut in half lengthwise. So I made up a batch of hot dog sauce and potato salad. All I gotta do is cook the dogs, warm up some beans, and assemble the meal. Easy peasy and perfect for a casual Friday dinner.

Tomorrow's an early day for me. It's going to be an eually early night.

Have a great weekend!!!!