Random thoughts from my everyday life....

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Weather, Lunch, Cards

Woke up to snow.
So it's been weird weather here so far in 2017.  We expect January air inversions and cold.  We always hope for snow because it really is kind of a desert-y area.  In January we had tons of snow. And some really cold temps.  Not so much inversion because of all the storms that kept coming through.  But February has seen cooler weather, warmer weather and weirdly warm - Tuesday it was 64 out. There's been crazy strong winds, and we've had rain and more rain. There's been flooding in lots of areas.  And today it's snowing. Again.  With more snow predicted for tomorrow.  That's the kind of weather we see more in late March or April.  The poor trees have leaves that want to spring open and all the flower bulbs are stretching toward the sky.  Makes me nervous for the summer.

Favorite Reuben Sandwich
Yesterday I braved my nervous fears and took Trax downtown to go to lunch with a friend.  She's such an example to me of courage and strength and dignity.  What a treat it was to spend a couple hours chatting with her. I'm so grateful that she seems to welcome our time together. We went to the Oasis Cafe and I had one of my all-time very favorite sandwiches - the Reuben.  It was so yummy, huge enough for a couple meals but I wasted no time scarfing the whole thing down.

Scooting between the falling snowflakes I brought in the mail to this delightful card.  What is it about bicycles that reaches out to the romantic kid in me?  That kind of bike just evokes thoughts of gentle meandering rides through sheltered trails in perfect weather.  The inside contained a sweet thank you. I love that people are thoughtful enough to say thanks.

Love this card.
The mail also contained a pair of summer sandals that I splurged on.  I shouldn't be spending money on anything luxurious like that this time of year. But I saw some the other day in DSW that I liked, went searching for a cheaper price on them and stumbled across these at Amazon that are more supportive and were only $10 more than the cheapest price of the first pair.  (And the same price as the other ones were in DSW which totally justified me getting them.)

I've got creamy chicken stew in the crockpot for dinner, the ironing is finished and there's a book just calling out for me to sink into its story for a little while.

But first, a quote for today.  The lack-of-sunshine-gray-skies call for something uplifting.

“If you are lonely, please know you can find comfort. If you are discouraged, please know you can find hope. If you are poor in spirit, please know you can be strengthened. If you feel you are broken, please know you can be mended.” 
― Jeffrey R. HollandCreated for Greater Things

“I testify that no one of us is less treasured or cherished of God than another. I testify that He loves each of us—insecurities, anxieties, self-image, and all. He doesn’t measure our talents or our looks; He doesn’t measure our professions or our possessions. He cheers on every runner, calling out that the race is against sin, not against each other.” 
― Jeffrey R. Holland

I'm grateful for the gray days that help me to appreciate to summer days of unending (and sometimes relentless feeling) sunshine. I love the weather here that has contrasts from season to season. (I'm definitely not one of those who only likes fair weather.) I'm grateful for sick days from work.  I'm grateful for kind souls who like to go to lunch, for thank you cards and for crockpot dinners.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Back To The Routine

Only a few minutes into my walk.
The Husband's mini-vacation-time-away-from-work is over.  How sad I was to see him head off to the office (even though it's only a few steps away and under the same roof).  I have so loved just doing what we pretty much felt like doing for the last while.

I'm pretty sure that he'd retire in an instant - if only he could. He went back to several hundred emails, piles of problems, and multiple meetings.  None of which are the core work that he truly enjoys.  But he's a good sport and still has a smile so it'll be ok.

I did manage to get a walk in yesterday morning.  It's peculiar how I can never sleep in on a work day, but when it's a holiday or a Saturday or Sunday when sleeping in is possible, I can manage to delay my waking for an extra bit.  Yesterday was the perfect example.  I didn't wake up until nearly seven - late for me.  So it was fully daylight when I left the house.  The pictures are all ones I took yesterday morning.  The weeping willow is notable because of it's tinge of green.  We've flower bulbs in the gardens that are several inches high, the peonies are poking through the dirt and it's only February (and mid-February at that!).  It concerns me.  (Yes, I admit, I am a worrier.) Today it was 64 degrees out.  Yeah, that's not the way things should be here in the Salt Lake Valley in February.  I surely hope the summer won't be a scorcher.

Those clouds looking west were so lovely.
It seems lately everywhere I go, I'm noticing older people.  Sometimes they're just cranky old individuals.  But as often, it's an older couple.  This afternoon I had to run to the post office (and as is pretty much always the case, had to wait in the seemingly interminable line) and had time to watch an older couple.  They were clearly transplants, barely-barely spoke English.  If the husband topped 5 feet it wasn't by much, slow in their movements, and didn't really lift their feet off the ground.

I mention this because the gal behind them in line was a bit impatient. (She also barely spoke English but was probably in her late 20's, had plenty of energy to expend and apparently too much to do in her allotted time.) And I'm finding that I hope I'm more patient with the elders. I'm almost at that stage of life.  I watch the elders shuffle along, uncertain on their feet, probably with aching knees or joints.  And I think that'll be me in a few short years.  And I hope people are kind, even though inside they might be screaming at me to "just hurry up, would ya?" I hope I can be solicitous and helpful without demeaning. And give them the time they need to accomplish what they've got in mind without assuming I know what they want.

The sun was bright on the mountains those long miles away.
I'm discovering a new respect for their stage in life.  Today's world is much changed from the one they entered as new adults. As it is and will be for me as I acquire more years.  I'd like to think there's someone watching out for them, grandchildren enjoying their association, neighbors who keep in touch, friends who laugh with them.
Green on the weeping willow.

I'm so grateful for their example - it's a reminder that I needn't always do everything in such a hurry. That it's ok to wait for someone kind to open the door for me, (and to considerately open the door for someone else), to just sit on a bench in the sunshine.

I'm also grateful for women friends that I visit teach that aren't at all embarrassed to come to the door in their robe (because their dressing time had been taken up with a phone call from someone who needed a few minutes), and who understand that we didn't mind in the least. I'm grateful for my bestest who always makes sure I drive a well-maintained, reliable car that doesn't make awful noises when I drive. Who always always greets me with a much needed welcome smile.  I'm grateful for hugs from daughters - that's something I've had to work at (hugging others), I was raised in a very non-touching family (to my detriment).  Who knew how much power can be in a hug? I'm also grateful to witness someone remembering another's birthday and how it pricked my teensy conscience to be kind even though the recipient might not deserve it.  I'm grateful for uplifting words.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Peaceful Thursday

Woke up this morning and decided to just stay cuddled next to my sleeping husband for a while. That's an unusual way for me to begin the day.  Pretty soon my wakefulness wouldn't allow me to stay under that warm comforter any longer and I decided to go for a walk anyway, even though it was much later than usual.  

To my delight, The Husband grabbed his clothes, jacket and gloves and said, let's go!  So off we went - the two of us - on my morning walk.  It was so beautiful out - the moon hadn't yet set, but the brilliant blue sky trimmed in white clouds was the perfect frame for it.  We wandered down the trail to return a book to the library and took the long way home.  When we finally walked in the door it felt like time for lunch!
Yes, that's the moon up there in that beautiful morning sky.

The Husband has had the entire week off - some days from December they were supposed to take (but couldn't because of the work deadline) plus one vacation day and one Monday holiday (coming up) and it'll be ten straight days of together-ness with no real obligations.  He mentioned that his personal goal was to take me out to eat at least once each day and he's pretty much fulfilled that. (That's the kind of goal I can get behind - and totally enjoy!)  This time has convinced me that we could easily enjoy retirement together.

And I've begun a book that was recommended.  So far, so good, I hope it continues to live up to its promise.

I'm grateful today that the young man from our ward has been returned safely to his family.  (I have so fussed over this since I heard.) I'm grateful for the luxury of eating out, for company on my morning walk, for something good to read and for BYU Women's Conference to look forward to.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Valentine

My cute valentine!
Even as a kid I disliked injustice.  I've always liked things to tilt more toward the "fair" side of things. That imbalance of life was always pretty obvious at Valentine's day.  There were the popular kids who took home tons and tons of valentines.  And those less popular who had very few.  I always felt so bad for those who only got a few.  (Of course, this was long before the days of political correctness and inclusiveness. I was always somewhere in the middle, my box had a medium amount of cards from classmates.)

And you know, I've never really been fond of Valentine's Day to start with.  Obligatory displays of affection don't impress me.  The Husband and I haven't ever made a big deal about it.

And yet, being somewhat contradictory in nature, I've always harbored a secret desire for a valentine.(I guess I want to feel like someone notices me.) A few years ago, one of our YSA's showed up on our doorstep with a chocolate cake for me on the V-Day.  I was stunned.

This year, I received some valentines!  I received a couple verbal wishes first thing in the morning.  A late night text from a granddaughter.  And The Husband gave me a card!  It was delightful - people noticed and extended love.  I so wish that to be the case for every single person. Every one deserves some love, enough so they can thrive.

I've been mentally fussing - a young man (15 years old) from our ward is missing.  Has been for several weeks.  My heart just aches for him and his parents.  I know those teen years are hard for everyone. If I were to see him again I'd give him a hug (wanted or not) and tell him I care. I know his parents love him.  I know the kind of hurt that makes you want to just go away. I'd like to be able to fix things for them all.

Today I'm grateful for thoughtful valentine's wishes - ones that lift my heart.  I'm grateful for morning walks in the sunrise with air that's fresh and clear.  For evening walks with my favorite-est  friend who is so tolerant of all my foibles.  And for prayer that provides hope for Heavenly help for hurting souls.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Another Monday / No Pictures

• So, The Husband arrived home safely Friday just in time to take me to dinner. I was ready to fix something, figuring that he'd be tired of eating out, but he's unselfish that way. Right now I can't even remember where we ate, only that I didn't have to cook which was delightful.

• Saturday was uneventful - just mostly hanging out together and feeling whole again.  Cleaned some clothes out of his closet and ran them over to the thrift store.  Went for a walk.  It was lovely.

• Sunday was kinda different for us.  I'm still getting used to our church block being two hours later. We walked over to church, even though it was a teensy nippy out.  I was lucky enough to play the piano for primary.  There's a little guy (I think he's about 5 years) in there that was a bit out of control yesterday, his teachers are only newlyweds and not very experienced with special needs children.  So, he was running around, getting his teacher to chase him (the 2 foot high kid and the 6+ foot high lanky teacher).  The teacher was trying mightily to not make a scene.  Anyhow, all of a sudden one of the primary girls, I think she's about 7 or so, just got up out of her chair, walked over to him with her arm outstretched, she was ever so calm - and the little guy must know her, he curled right up in her arm and let her lead him to the teacher.   I was so grateful to witness such spontaneous care and service - not only of the little guy but the teacher, too.  She'll be one of those who serve with great love.  I was so impressed.

• Then we were told church was ending 15 minutes early, we were all going to walk over to a member's house and sing a hymn or two.  This brother recently underwent his second liver transplant. It's been an interesting event - they didn't know the first liver had a fungal infection and the transplant failed. Then they had to wait for another liver - apparently the second transplant is a bit more challenging and it hasn't been without complications.  So this brother came to Sacrament meeting - he's definitely frail (after the first transplant he looked so great so fast, this has been different all the way around) and then went home.   Frankly, I wasn't all that excited to walk over en masse and sing. And boy, did I ever get one of those invisible slaps up the side of my head.

He came to the porch and spoke for just a minute, he was pretty emotional. Yes, this was a tonic for him, he really needed it.  They've been through a lot, but have been quite open about all the blessings that have come their way through the difficulties. It was a really nice thing for the ward to do.  I should be more open to things like this. And I hope the ward continues to think of ways to brighten the lives of our members - there are a few other really hard challenges going on.

• The Husband was supposed to take 4 paid days off work in December.  Because of the rigorous schedule imposed by the managers (I deleted several other terms in favor of trying to be kind) his team wasn't able to take them.  We figured they'd just be lost. Surprise! They didn't just disappear, but The Husband's grandboss wanted him to take those 4 days as soon as possible.  So, this is the week. He's taking one day of vacation, the 4 paid days and then next Monday is a regular paid holiday, so he'll be off work for 10 straight days.  Very very unusual for him.  And he's so funny.  After running his car over for some service and starting the "vacation" properly with breakfast out, he's taken care of a few things on his list.  And between times, he'll come and sit or stand near me and say, "What are we doing now?" He's so out of his element being at home and not working.

I told him this morning I thought this week would be a good indicator of how he's going to handle retirement.  Or if he'll decide to keep working somehow.  He's had a nap, washed some windows, worked on the gas fireplace and is now watching some pre-recorded tv.  We'll see how the week goes.

So today I'm grateful.  I'm grateful that other people are kind and thoughtful.  I need to learn that behavior better so it comes more naturally to me.  I'm so grateful The Husband made it home safe (I confess, last week was rough for me).  I'm grateful for beautiful weather.  For the ability to keep our cars in working order. For some vacation days and breakfasts out.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Mid-Week

About 6:50 a.m.
And it feels like spring outside!  The temps are upper 50's, not too windy and the day has been gorgeous.  The morning was so lovely I took numerous pictures on my walk.  And while it feels like spring, I'm not rushing the season...not like the girl I saw the other morning.  She drove up, parked her car, and trotted into the high school.  Shirt sleeves, gym pants and barefoot!  That morning it was in the mid-30's.  Yeah, that had to have been cold.

About 7:15 a.m.
I took the cross-stitch in to be framed, the cost was about as expected.  I have a goal to do one for each of my granddaughters.  Recognizing that it is probably more for me than them, but if they keep them, perhaps at some point in their lives they'll be glad I cared enough for them to take a few hours to make something just for them.  My usual framer wasn't there today - she's out on maternity leave and I didn't even know she was expecting.  I count on her eye to help me choose the mat and frame. Today, without her, it didn't feel quite the same.  I'm sure it'll turn out fine, at least I hope so.  I'm anxious to see the finished product.
About 7:30 a.m.

About noon thirty
After ordering the frame I meandered my way out of the store.  When you shop as rarely as I do (which really isn't very often) everything in the stores seems fresh and new and fun.  I stood in front of a couple of wall hangings and seriously thought about where I could hang each of them.  Decided instead to just take a picture and came home.  (The frame for the cross stitch was more than enough money spent!)

I liked this one.
And I always love bikes with, especially with flowers.
Day after tomorrow, The Husband will be home and my world will spin properly once again. Life is so different without him here.  Even with all the technology at our fingertips, it's a bit of a challenge for me when he's gone, I have to dig pretty deep to find even a semblance of cheer.

I'm grateful today for words of hope that encourage and uplift.  And for the times (though they aren't near as frequent as I'd like) when something helps me to keep from speaking when I really do need to be silent. At 65 years of age I'm still learning those social graces, I have more of the social almost-graces. And I'm grateful for food gifts cards to choose from where to eat tonight.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Clumsy

Black is always in style.
So glad for gloves!
I've long blamed my mother for my clumsiness.  I fear I've mis-applied the blame.  I think I'm clumsy all on my own.

Was peeling potatoes and carrots for the crockpot (love my crockpot, especially on Sundays!) yesterday morning and peeled the end of my finger.  Sigh.  I didn't yell out, or cry or swear, but I sure felt dumb! So I'm sporting a bandage.  These Curad performance bandages are the best we've been able to find.  Their adhesive sticks but doesn't leave residue.  And we love their funky colors - I guess if you're going to wear a bandage you might as well be bold about it.  Today's is blue (even the pad inside is blue).  The black was quite the fashion statement yesterday at church.

Waffle grilled cheese sammich
We've gotten a bit smarter over the years about household supplies. We now have a small stock of these vinyl gloves - sized for The Husband and me.  It's amazing how useful they are.  I was able to finish the day including meal preparation and clean up without having to change out the bandage.  (And on a side note, I'm always surprised at how much orange staining comes out of carrots!)

Was given a sammich the other day.  How immensely creative - making sandwiches in the waffle iron!  I love the way the bread ends up a bit crispy.  Totally fun.

So Saturday was another movie-free day.  It'd be nice if some really good movies came along so we'd have some fun recreation each Saturday.  That's kind of been our thing.  Instead The Husband worked on a cantankerous clock, filled some shelves in the shop (freeing up the floor space - yay!) and finished up the metal electrical boxes for the lighting in the bathroom that he's been anxious to finish up.  We had a yummy lunch at Cubby's and I even dragged him along to a needlework shop - I'm gathering supplies for my next project, the current one is nearly finished.

Loved my morning view!
It was lovely to spend the day together, accomplish a few things and just generally enjoy some stress-less time.  Even the weather was beautiful.  I often complain about the wind, but this time of year, I actually look forward to it and the way it scours all the gunk from our air.  Though I does make it a mite challenging for my morning walks.

After months of being together, this is the week The Husband is in CA for his work.  It's going to be an interesting week.  The management edicts (and personnel changes) have impacted his work, and not in a good way. I already miss him terribly.  The house feels less vibrant when he's gone.  But I've lots to do - I try to keep busy so I don't get so sad.

So today, I'm grateful for airplanes that make his travel (and his working from home) possible, for cell phones that help us keep in instant communication.  For vinyl gloves to keep my finger dry and healing quickly.  For morning walks in clean air with music playing in my ears and cloud filled sky that keeps my eyes happy.  I'm grateful for kind friends that agree to do a bit of serging for me (my skirt has been waiting a long time for some help so I can wear it).  I'm grateful for leftover soup in the fridge for dinner. And for an almost done project.  I hope she likes it.