20 May 2024

Vintage Therapy

 My imagination went a few ways when I thought of this title.  I'll just let it be. (if you know the history of "therapy" for women, then you'll get the joke)

Anyway.

I had to people today and as always, when I have to people: I get a treat. Because: grown-up.

Sidenote:  I got a text last week from my job partner reminding me of this meeting.  I promised that "I will try not to be feral."  Well, I mentioned that I was going to light someone's shoes on fire if they didn't start doing something correctly so I was not entirely successful.  To be fair to me, it's a simple form using checkboxes. Also: feral.

After the two hour meeting was done, during which I was mostly helpful and appropriate, I left.  On one hand, I kind of wanted to get back home. Because peopling is exhausting.  On the other hand, I had earned a treat.  And it was sunny out so just going home felt wasteful.

BUT, I also have to people on Wednesday for another meeting.  Hmmm, what to do?  What's that? Two treats for two meetings? That's what I thought too!

A few months ago, I found an antique store in my old hometown that is huge.  It's in an old grocery store building and unlike many antique stores where I live, it's open every day of the week.  That being said, it's a little run-down and disorganized but there is so much there to browse. 

It's been a month since I'd been there so I was a little worried that there wasn't going to be much turnover.  To my surprise, there was.  Also, for a Monday at lunchtime, there were a few people browsing.  Last time I was there, it was only me.

There are a few things I'm looking for:

  • orphan vintage plates, cups or shot glasses to try to make glass flowers
  • small, orphan Pyrex bowls (I don't need big dishes & it's considered rude to break a set
  • small Fiestaware saucers/dessert dishes 
  • bar stools - I ordered the ones we have for the kitchen counter in a "That's close enough, we're poor right now" way and now some nearly twenty years later, I'm looking at replacing them.
  • Tin kitchenware - specifically a matchholder

Now here's the thing.  I mentioned this to my sister-in-law the other day: It's like when my mother-in-law died, she embedded her tastes into my psyche.  Like you see in the movies where the spirit leaves the body and goes into the loved one.

Because suddenly, I've found myself wanting brighter colors in our house.  This house has always had calming earth tones.  But now I'm choosing different colors to add to the calm.

I'm also drawn to vintage things.  I've always had that interest but it's grown exponentially in the last year.  It started with a kitchen supply organizer that I bought for $20 right after my m-i-l passed.  In fact, I burst into tears telling Kevin about it because I wanted to tell Mom all about it because she'd love it and say "Oh, we had that in our house when..."

The lids lift up and are serrated for tearing


So there's that.  Then I noticed that while I browsed through these antique stores, I would think "Mom had that" or "Mom would love that" and finally I kind of began "talking" to her as I looked.  It was like visiting with her as I walked through the stores.  Shopping was her favorite thing in the whole world. 

I have to say though: the inventory in vintage and antique stores now include items from my childhood and that hurts my feelings. Toys, dishes, lunchboxes that I had as a child are now considered vintage and valuable.

Today, I found a cracker tin that matches one that we've had for years.  It's for Ritz crackers and it goes with the Saltine Crackers one that I have that was "inherited" from Kevin's former wife.  There was a little problem though.  It was on top of a high shelf and I couldn't reach.  I looked around because certainly there had to be a stool or something in one of the stalls.  There wasn't.  There were plenty of folding chairs and even I was all "Nope, bad idea".  Finally, I spotted a book.

A book? you just wondered. Yes, it was a thick hardbound book like from a library. Normally, using a book would be sacrilegious.  Until you know the title: History of the Third Reich. Well, I can use that as a step stool with no qualms WHATSOEVER.   Sure enough, it was just high enough that I could reach what I wanted.  Then I returned it to its stall, but facedown and under something.  



I was through about three-quarters of the store and was thinking that this $12 tin was all I was going to get today, which was okay.  Not exciting, but okay.  Then in my quest to find orphaned plates, a little saucer caught my eye.  It perfectly matches the set that my m-i-l left us.   She loved this set and was always looking for pieces.  This is the first time that I've spotted a piece like hers.  Well, it was $9, for a saucer.  But I could feel my m-i-l be excited so I decided to get it too.  $20 would be nothing if I were at the book store or the plant nursery.

the label said it was a lemon saucer. I'm guessing 
that's what that little hook is for


Then. Then I spotted a shelf of hobnail glassware.  Also my m-i-l's favorite.  There wasn't any pieces that I wanted, they were all blue and green and kind of plain.  But there was this tiny little pitcher. Gradient orange and yellow.  My favorite.  I picked it up and my excitement plummeted.  $22.  For a tiny and I mean tiny pitcher.  Here, look:

regular sized votive candle for scale

I left it there and continued wandering around the remainder of the store.  $22 was a lot for what it would be: a sentimental purchase, even though I loved it.  Then I found a tea tin from England that I really liked but it didn't match the others I have.  I put it back and then found myself walking back to get the tiny pitcher. 

And it makes me so happy, seeing it up in the window with the other hobnail vases that she gave me.  (I say hobnail like everyone knows what that is.  I didn't know that's what it was called until she was INSISTING that every piece be found and live in a good home)


Finally, one of the last tasks from this whole past year was going through the cedar chest where some vintage family heirlooms, keepsakes, and items were stored.  I have kept these curtains for about thirty years, knowing that I would use them someday in some way.  Well, I finally did.  Gone is the pashmina that could be seen from space and replaced with these 1940's linen curtains that I LOVE.

Slowly, I'll have a vintage kitchen; if you ignore the modern appliances.  It's time to paint the cupboards and that will complete the transformation.  Right now I'm happy with the curtains and the pyrex and hobnail.  #thanksMom





11 May 2024

That's What A Mom Does

Mother's Day is "Not My Day" or "Happy You're Not A Mom Day" for me.  A few years ago I wrote this post and now I post this essay annually, always with little additions and tweaks.  This year has a specific change, as we're nearing one year since Kevin's mom passed.  

This is our first Mother's day without her and while I've always disliked this day, her presence always helped.  However, this year there is no buying an expensive beautiful Mother's Day card.  No buying giant hanging baskets.  I had to deep breathe past the greeting card aisle in the grocery store this morning.

Then today there was a gentle knock on the door. The only one who comes to our house is my father-in-law.  Sure enough, there he stood with flowers in his hand.  "Happy Day" he said "Because I know I can't say Happy Mother's Day"  I made a joke so I didn't cry in front of him then lost it when he left.  He makes us crazy but he really is the sweetest man.

On the other side, I spent nearly $100 to not have to go to my mother's this weekend.  Kevin insisted that I at least send her flowers, which is a good solution for this particular situation. 

~ ~ ~ ~

Having been raised by wolves, as I've regularly described my childhood, other women stepped up to make sure that I was parented when my parents couldn't or didn't know any better.

As a baby/toddler, it was my mom's best friend.  As I was a trauma birth, she was the one who cared for me the first months of my life.  In fact, she made sure I was taken care of the first part of my young life. She sees me as the daughter she never had.

Even as an adult, she had that presence.  I remember arriving at a family function years ago and it had been a crap day. I was spewing all the reasons why I was late and it was an awful day and in mid-sentence she stopped what she was doing, dried her hands then turned to hug me tight.  Like a mom would.  

My paternal grandma helped while she was alive.  She died when I was six, but I still remember her babysitting and making sure that I was spoiled and had what I needed: ceramic figurines from the tea box, scrapbooks, napoleon (neopolitan)  ice cream, and affection.  

During grade school, my mom became a volunteer firefighter with a group of stay-at-home moms.  Those women also stepped up and made sure I was okay over the years.  Equipping me with wedding shower gifts and handwritten advice when I married the wrong man at nineteen, with kind of an unspoken understanding about the decision I was making. I didn't understand it then but I've since realized their support.

Where we lived when I was a child, the houses around us were all summer homes.  The mom in one family seemed quite strange to me; she did yoga and meditated and was always calm.  She was a gentle mom and I liked her very much, even though she was a mom the likes of which I had never seen. She has since passed and the beautiful obituary that my friend wrote for her described her as Soft.  As in everything about her was soft and gentle. It clarified why she was an important presence when I was young: she was soft when everyone around me was hard.

My grade/middle school best friend's mom was also just a quiet presence.  They were poor, I mean, really poor and she was overwhelmed with all these kids and the things that came with that.  I didn't realize it then but I do understand now. But I just became another one of her kids, like it was no problem at all.

Mostly I remember my high school best friend's moms.  At seventeen, I was working, going to school, paying bills, and driving.  I was an adult mostly but I still felt their watchful eyes on me. They made sure I got home, school, or to work on time, had what I needed, fed me, answered my questions.  Parented me when I needed it.

As of next week, I will be married thirty-one years and with Kevin nearly thirty-four.   My mother-in-law didn't understand me at first, having been raised by the aforementioned wolves.  (Sidenote: before she died, she said wolves are good mothers so I had to think of another animal)  In turn, I didn't recognize how she was in life was, indeed, normal. A normal mom.

Now, perhaps in some respects too late, I've realized the presence she has had in my life. The mediator, the dinners she made, the flowers she gave when she "bought too many" or as a thank you.  The mom she was to Kevin.  Yes, she made me want to drink on many, many occasions but from what I've read  That's What Mother's Do.  I just didn't recognize it at the time.

So, today I'm giving a shout out to those moms who take care of kids who aren't theirs.  Not just the foster moms or the step moms.  The moms who just take in the friends of your kids without a thought.  You might not think they notice but they do.  You  may think it's nothing or just a little thing that doesn't matter. But it's not.

I appreciate every meal, every hug, every correction, every thing they did to step up and fill the gaps.  Even now.  

And I sure miss my mother-in-law

She's smiling at Kevin, holding our card.
The last Mother's Day that she had


23 April 2024

37 Emails and 3 Phone Calls

 Historically, I am busy in the Fall; late August to late October usually.  Then there's a lull and it picks up momentarily at the new year only to lull again.  I define busy as there is a running to-do list, deadlines, and lots of need from other parties.

It usually happens again in May, when advocates and managers realize that the school year is ending and there are requirements still to be met.  

Then 2024 happened.  Work has returned almost to the pre-pandemic levels so I'm consistently busy.  It's not unwelcome, but it's an adjustment.

Then this week happened.  It started out kind of a weird day with requests requiring second steps and unclear communication.  I ended the day with a to-do list and a plan but still feeling like I was running behind.

This morning I started work at 5:30 in the morning, as per the usual.  I worked about two hours but my brain was struggling to engage.  I decided to go lay down with Lucy and rest for a bit.  I set my alarm for thirty minutes, knowing that it would probably take forty-five minutes to re-engage.

At the 45 minute point, I checked my work on my phone.  FIVE EMAILS requiring attention.  I got up, sighing "So this is how it's gonna be today..." and went to work for another two, almost three hours.

It was a constant onslaught.  My job partner was doing monitoring.  When I do it, I call it audits.  So if a team member gets an audit email from me, they know it's serious.  Monitoring is also serious but they know if it then gets to me, whew.  All avenues have been exhausted and they have work to do.

Lucy and I went for walkies about mid-day, even though I had work to do.  I left, knowing that I was coming back to light chaos.  And I did.

I finished my day at 5:00 by walking away from the computer but still getting texts and requiring one trip back to the computer.  I told Kevin that he could watch whatever he wanted tonight because my brain is exhausted.  I want to play on my phone then go to bed.

But before that, one of the text conversations prompted an idea and now I have this waiting for me in the morning:


Color coded because I knew that 5:30 a.m. me would not understand 7:00 p.m. me.

Welcome back to the New Normal.  

22 April 2024

Happy Earth Day

 


The one who plants trees, knowing that they will never sit in their shade, 
has at least started to understand 
the meaning of Life.

02 April 2024

Missed My Turn, Ended Up in Footloose

 I'm on spring break this week.  It feels odd to just have...time.  Time on my hands and really no big projects to do.  Well, that's not true.  It's just that I had two projects planned and I finished them the weekend prior to spring break.  Hooray me?

Anyway, it's Tuesday and I'm a little listless.  Not in the I don't feel well kind of way but in the whiny, school-ager "I don't have anything to dooooo" kind of way.

This morning I went to the chiropractor because I woke up in a zig-zag pattern that was uncomfortable. I didn't take Lucy because she overdid it on Sunday and had a gummy then slept on the people bed instead. Once I was done being straightened, I thought I would go to the antique store.  But I just went last week so it was unlikely there were new treasures.  Then I thought I'll just go to the book store and the second hand store across the street. 

Then I missed my turn.  Like really, really missed my turn. I was on the one of the main roads that heads out into "the county" where yes, I could turn around but there wasn't easy side streets to backtrack.  I did finally get to the main road again but now I'm well past the book store and no where near where I could easily head home. I'm now on the opposite side of the county, if you will.

There's an estate/junk/antique store in a little town further out that I follow on social media.  I decided that the universe had spoken and I would just travel the additional...twenty? minutes out there.

I'm sure most of you have watched Footloose...either version, it doesn't matter.  This town is exactly like that town.  More churches than any town should have. Blue laws still on the books...as in you can have a  bar, but not dancing. Loud music is not a thing in cars or houses.  No cursing.  For example, you know those tourist signs that say "Boardwalk - turn left, historical district - turn right, museum - go forward" kind of thing.  There was one of those but for FOUR DIFFERENT churches.

This is not a place that I'm comfortable.  It's not a sundown town but it kind of has that vibe.  Maybe more of a Stepford town.  Like a stranger pulls in or walks into a restaurant and everyone turns.  I turned down my music when it changed to AC/DC, for example.  

I found the store and went inside.  I was the only customer and as predicted, I was just eyeballed with no greeting.  I should have gone to the antique store instead.  I walked around and saw some interesting things but nothing I couldn't live without.  

There was music playing and it was SO LOUD, which I found beyond ironic.  And it wasn't soothing, smooth jazz or soft rock. It was like loud alternative music.  But CHRISTIAN music.  I sighed and tried to tune it out.

But a lyric popped through my filter and I actually laughed out loud. It was a band that was like a bad Fall Out Boy band.  It went something like "Jesus was saved...because of a...a...a... Gravedigger"

MY HAND TO GAWD.  I was momentarily stunned...I mean, what. It's entirely possible that I'm not accurate with the lyric but it's awfully close.  Now I'm all "OH HELL NO" unironically and I start for the door.  Not before flipping over a book that was left on a table of how to be a good WOMAN.  And the description was A woman is not a woman without gawd.  SIGH.

Suffice it to say, I will not be returning to that store. And I unfollowed them on the social media.  They used to be in another town and had more of a junk store vibe that what is now.  Now it's a weird mix of junk, antiques, and way too many signs referring to wine.

I left disappointed and started to drive back out of town when I spotted a second hand store and a book store literally right next door to where I was.  I had parked the opposite way and in my haste to get out, I hadn't noticed.  I debated then circled back around and parked where I was parked before.

The second hand store had some stuff but again, nothing I couldn't live without.  They greeted me as I left, which is more than the other store.  Also, there was another customer in the store who laughed when I said "Accidental pun" in response to her stating a vacuum wasn't bagless and "that sucks".  Also, that's some strong language for that town, I must say.  

Next was the book store, which was a branch of a fantastic bookstore in the city.  I wondered if it was going to be different because the bookstore in the city is Very Open Minded, in a rainbow kind of way.  And it was; a clearly a scaled down version but very basic bookstore.  I bought a book from the used rack (The Little Paris Bookshop), some puppy chip-clips that I don't need but wanted. (Swistle, I still have three Pusheen chip clips!!!)   Then impulse bought two stickers. At the bottom of a bowl of stickers on the counter were low-key rainbow stickers, more pastel than primary colors.  A little subtle  (yet deniable) sign of support in a town that probably isn't welcoming.

It wasn't a waste of time as it was nice to be a tourist and not have anyone or anything waiting for me.  I just go without the Footloose/Children of the Corn vibe.


29 March 2024

Bloggity Rewind

 Oh, hey, hi.  Not dead.  Been sick, had a meds change that laid me out for days, work stuff, busy brain.  You know the drill.

So of course I'm cleaning out my desk drawer. The project drawer.  The "doom" pile in a drawer.  Do I have work to do? of course.  Chores?  yes.  Does Lucy need outside right this very second, also yes.

But I'm at my desk on a sunny afternoon going through a box of paperwork that needs scanned into the ancestry site.  You know, like you do.

Now the alphabet brain does enjoy its doom piles.  (doom pile definition here)  I tend to only "allow" it in two places: the project drawer of my desk and the front of the filing cabinet drawer.  The problem with visible piles and my brain is that my brain will sit there and mutter-to-scream at me endlessly until I deal with it.  "Hey, psst, did you know there's clutter?  Like, right there.  Clutter as in stuff that needs dealt with.  It's right there. C.L.U.T.T.E.R.  It needs attention...It's waiting for YOOOOUUUUU." kind of thing.  Thus the project drawer.

Now with the whole past year to two years, the family tree project went on hold.  I put my notes and books and stuff into a basket and into the drawer for "later".  Well, later turned out to be yesterday when I thought of something family-related and looked up a fact about my paternal grandma. Now a full 24-hours later, I answered the question and created so many more.  (like I can't find her grandmother. I only have a name and that's it) Sigh.

Anyway, Doom pile.  Other things made it into a doom pile.  A magazine subscription card with three books written on it to remind myself to buy.  Clearly this was before screenshots or even phone cameras.  Out of the three books, I have two now so it must have worked somehow.  (Emily Giffin - The One and the Only, Maeve Binchy - Chestnut Street and the one I don't have: The Secret Life of Victoria Grant by Beatriz Williams)

A to-do list from when I was learning/creating my job.  That makes it about seven years old.  

Then there was this. This was a jolt back into time.  Back when blogging was just in its hey day or a little before.  Although, Swistle isn't on there so it has to be early blogging days.  Or I just didn't have it on the list because it was always on my desktop.  Who knows why I have this list too.  My guess is this was caused by switching a computer or job and before internet browsers were proficient at saving everything you ever looked at online.

Out of all these blogs, only a handful still exist.  I am still far-away friends with one of them but the others are lost to time.  Some people converted to social media apps and some just disappeared to time.


Excuse the alphabet brain handwriting. 
This was before I learned if I used a pencil, I wrote more legibly
AND then I discovered if I use all caps then it's even better, regardless pencil or pen.

I miss the days of having a regular list of blogs and sites to read.  I miss having the time to read them also.  Now there's so much other input: social media, television, music apps.  I miss the blogs though, having friends that lived in the computer and sharing our lives.

I feel old now.  


28 February 2024

You Don't Understand My Shoes

 Well, remember when I mentioned that things had settled down and there was a lack of constant worry?  Yeah, that lasted about ten minutes.

The absence from the bloggity is not because something terrible has happened but because my brain just needed a rest. 

Sigh.

When last we left the Raising Parents Saga, my father-in-law had requested help with his paperwork, appointments, etc.  I already monitor his med records and appointments but  I had emailed the doctors to change the contact names and numbers to me and notify them of the change he requested. He needs someone to attend with him because he'll come home and either say "Everything is fine" or "I have herpes and they're going to shave my head" when it's actually they're just adjusting his meds.

Summarized: he asked for help, we gave him help, he pouted and declared that it was too much help and "You took everything away".  Yeah, that gasp/sigh? We've been doing that for about two weeks.  We agreed, did the thing and then...

I had to contact the doctors again and explain "Even though we know he's NOT CAPABLE, we are doing as he asked.  Also: we need you to TELL US when we need to step in." They agreed but there's only so much they can do also.  

Anyway, then there was pouting.  I had told you about the being owly at the cardiologist and it only increased from there.  Until finally my brother-in-law who is not known for tact and is known for volume, had it out with him.  That is where it was determined that we were helping too much and he wanted his stuff back.  Sigh.

So, fine, whatever.  Let him do it, we'll wait for him to forget, mess it up, or something bad to happen then we'll do this all over again.  

For a minute, Kevin stayed out of it.  The f-i-l doesn't live with us so he didn't feel like it was his place/worth adding his two-cents worth.  But then the f-i-law was owly with Kevin and whew, that didn't end well.

The two things I will never forget is my f-i-l telling Kevin that "You don't understand my shoes", to which Kevin was completely befuddled.  Now, I speak fluent f-i-l so I got the mixed metaphor of "You haven't walked in my shoes" and "You don't understand"  I would have paid MONEY to see Kevin's face.

Secondly, while trying to prove his point that us pesky kids were doing too much and putting too much pressure on him to MAKE APPOINTMENTS AT A REASONABLE TIME and STOP GOING TO THE DOCTOR BECAUSE YOU'RE BORED & THE GIRLS ARE PRETTY, he was mad that we made him go get x-rays on his hand that was injured when he fell: 

"Now LOOK" he exclaims while waving his CASTED hand "This is what happens when you make me go the doctor."

I admit, I laughed.  Right out loud. Kevin told me this over the phone and all I could do is reply "You absolute heartless bastard, making him go get his BROKEN FINGER fixed"

The dust had barely settled from THAT when the "aunt" (my m-i-l's BFF - the one who kisses on the mouth)  she called last weekend when Kevin and I were at breakfast.  She invited herself to come visit the family because she misses us so much.  *insert eyeroll here* We were non-committal, at best.  

THEN, Then, and THEN, she tells me that my f-i-l told her that "the kids won't let me do anything or go anywhere."  WUT.  I mean WUT.

Ooof, Kevin was mad.  SO MAD.  He rarely gets mad. Annoyed, of course but not mad.  We debated and pondered.  Let it go? Confront him? Tell the siblings?  Kevin went with confronting him and he whole-heartedly denied it, which we know is a lie, But these parents man, they think they're clever.  This is why we call it "Raising Parents".  While we can't ground him, we can say that we're disappointed and frustrated and stop talking sh*t to people about your kids when all your kids are trying to do is keep you alive dogdammit.

But we don't understand his shoes.

A Long Winters Nap

 Remember when I said Hooray, I get to do fun things for work? Then I also said "Remind me when I have to actually leave the house?"

And now I'm saying that "I left the house and brought home a cold."  

ACK

I have a cold, it seems.  The "it seems" is because the pulmonologist changed my asthma meds to a daily steroid and not only does the initial symptoms include "cold like symptoms" IT ALSO: takes up to two weeks for the full-effect of breathing fully.  Which then means I have to use my what-is-now referred to as a "Rescue Inhaler" and I'm all BZZZZ BZZZ bzzzz then crash, snore with the double dose of albuterol and steroid.  And it is the sleep of the dead.

And to show how tired, etc. I am: the bloggity kept telling me I spelled steroid wrong and I literally sat for a half-hour and kept thinking it was spelled correctly. Then I googled it and it said "Steroid, not steriod. You need to go to bed."

However, I believe it's a cold because I slept for 36 hours out of a 48-hour span Sunday-Tuesday morning.  While I dream of having that kind of sleep- pun intended -it's unusual. Also, it's Tuesday Wednesday afternoon and I want to nap.  Like lay down on my office floor and sleep right now kind of nap.  I also have had a really barely even worth calling it a temp temperature off and on since the weekend.

What had happened was, last week I went to one school and did my thing.  The person I met with said - late into the conversation - that they've had a cold but were on the end of it.  SIGH.  

AND THEN I went to another school where two kids said they weren't feeling well and a teacher said "Yeah, I've had a headache all afternoon."  STAHP IT.

Fast forward two days and I have a cold.  I didn't feel well on Friday but powered through because I had stuff that couldn't be delayed.  Then the weekend came and game over.

So that will teach me to leave my house.  I haven't really had to leave my house for work in a consistent way until last week and now HERE WE ARE.

It is a sign from the Universe.

Also: it's not COVID.  I tested.


31 January 2024

Shades of Blue

 The other day I had a training at work. It's for the new Having to Leave the House duties that I agreed to and will likely regret. It was only supposed to take an hour, until my job partner had something come up then the training was delayed for an hour.

It was that kind of morning anyway. I mean, I had to leave the house so everything was already askew. Then there was road maintenance almost the moment I left our road and traffic on the freeway because it was commute time.  

Because of the snow and the father-in-law, I had errands stacked to do that day.  Also, the training was too long to have Lucy just wait in the truck so I was free for the morning.  So I wasn't disappointed when I had to find something to do for an hour.  

Instead of waiting at my office, I went and completed some errands; starting with getting a coffee at Starbies.  I usually go to my friends coffee stand but couldn't so I went the bougie route. It's been a minute since I've done that so it felt a little decadent. 

I had five things on my list and I knocked off three before having to return to my office.  I had to do that math of "It only takes this many minutes so I can kind of do it and still be on time" versus "Just wait and be a little early".  I hate that constant debate with my alphabet brain.  When I returned for my training, I had time to chat with one of my favorite advocates for a few minutes. Then the training, which entails more than it was when I did this observation/inspection tens of years ago in one of my old lives.  That's okay though, at least I had a basis of knowledge to begin with.

After that was complete, the next task was to drop off donations at the second hand store. I am still on a tear with culling through the house and  I'm going to need to stop soon or we'll have nothing left.  I never take the coupon they offer and I very rarely go inside.  There is just never time, it feels.  Today though on a whim, I decided to go browse.

$42.98 later, I am a happy camper. This is where I mention that this second-hand store is run by a church whose proceeds go to the Christian school. While this is not at all my belief system now, it was affiliated with the church I used to attend decades ago.  Also, I'm friends with kids who went to that school and they've grown up to be fantastic adults. So while it's not my belief system at all, ever, it's a good school that I don't mind supporting versus a corporate charity.

Anyway, tangent. My point is that wealthy church ladies donate to this store.  As a result, the quality of stuff is better than if you went to the nearby goodwill, which is now in a low-rent part of town that I try to avoid.  There is plenty of good quality, brand names or nearly new, items in the church store that are still second-hand priced.

Within about thirty seconds into the browse: I have three books.  I was drawn to the books even though usually I skip them because the to-be-read pile is increasing, not decreasing.  I bought three Nicholas Sparks novels, one of which BookTok has been raving about.  And yes, reading an author who always makes the reader cry IS a questionable decision but here we are.



I was wanting a different cover for Lucy's crate because the color scheme in my office changed from haphazard "that will do for now" to greys/blues/black.  I found a really nice tablecloth that perfectly matched the new curtain.  I could have stopped browsing right then and been happy.  But I kept looking, just in case.  There was a bright and I mean BRIGHT pashmina that caught my eye but I couldn't think of a use for it so I left it.

While browsing, I realized I had to use the bathroom.  They keep the door locked so I had to ask for the key; not my favorite but I understand.  It was attached to a cowbell, in case you want to guess one of the main industries of the county where I live.

You can't take items into the bathroom so I set my stuff aside and took care of things.  Upon returning to pick up my stuff, what catches my eye but a TARDIS.  A TARDIS.  Randomly set on a back shelf as if they didn't know how to categorize it.  It was small, like three inches tall so it was also remarkable that the alphabet brain didn't scan right over it.

Keeping track: three books, one tablecloth and now a TARDIS.

I went down the kitchen aisle even though I don't really need anything, especially since closing the parents house.  But one time I did find a brand-name small pot that I love so I always peek.  I browsed past the full china sets and requisite expensive knick-knacks.  

There was something in my head compelling me to go get that bright pashmina.  I headed to the opposite corner of the store, thus browsing most of it again, and put it in my cart.  I didn't know what I wanted to do with it but I figured I'd figure something out or worse case: bring it back. 

Oh and in the bringing back category, I bought a chair cover that isn't going to work. I can't be too disappointed because: books, TARDIS, tablecloth, pashmina.

The need to retrieve the pashmina made me go down the electronics aisle, which leads directly to the register.  I usually avoid it, I never want anything there, and second-hand electronical stuff can be sketchy.  What would catch my eye this time?  A nearly new brand-name, expensive  MONITOR.  I've been considering a third monitor for my work computer for about two years.  During my busiest times, it would really be helpful.  Sure, I can make a request through work but that takes time and a form and just nah.  Also, I just try to not draw attention to working from home whenever I can.  

$14.99 and it was in my cart.  It's at least $100 new because I nearly bought one a few weeks ago.  

Now I decide it's time to be done. Clearly the gods have shined down on me for this trip and I will not tempt fate further.  $42.98 is not a lot of money but I did kind of cough at myself when she rang it up and told me the total.  But I had a CART, that's how much I browsed and bought.  

I was so happy with my excursion, I decided that I didn't need to stop at the grocery store.  I headed straight home to play with my new toys.  I piled everything onto my desk and began to distribute them.  The tablecloth - perfect, the TARDIS matches the tablecloth.  Two books up on the shelf and one put out to read next.  The pashmina laid aside for now.  I disassembled my desk a little bit to plug in the monitor (sold as-is but assured to work)  

Featuring the new tablecloth as well

Ah, a stumbling block.  We're back to the vibe that began the day.  I didn't have an available port on my computer for the cord.  I did the debate that often happens  when you live away from town: order a new cord from the shmamazon and wait or go into town again?  Lucy hadn't been walkies yet and I was too excited to be patient so back into town we went.  (yes, yes, the monitor is no longer $14.99. Now it's probably $21.00 with the cord and fuel. I am still winning)

We did that quickly, still skipping the grocery store because: priorities. Upon returning, I hooked up everything and it worked and there was joy. Until.  Until I couldn't get the mouse to scroll across the new screen.  With a tinge of panic I go through all the settings, multiple times.  I click the help link.  I click the help link again.  I curse and pout.  

Finally, I did a search and tried a few things before stumbling onto Reddit.  (use that for random information when you can't find it on the google. Trust me)  I had told myself that it was going to be something dumb.  It's always something dumb when it comes to these things.  It was indeed something dumb.

You literally and actually have to tell the computer where the monitors ARE in relationship to each other.  As in: are they in a level row?  No.  Okay so one is higher than the other.  You click on the monitor icon and drag it in proportion to the others then repeat.  A swhoosh of the mouse and TAH DAH. I have three monitors.

And it is a GAME CHANGER.  FIVE STARS. Highly recommend.  If you work from home and have a lot of data or graphic design or even just a writer and you don't think you'll need it, add a screen.  It's amazing.

I just noticed that I need new lampshades. 
I was never a fan in the first place and now they don't match

While I was high on my successful shopping trip and I.T. task, I went out to the kitchen to make myself a celebratory lotus drink.  This is when I remembered the pashmina. A few minutes later, I had accidentally found the perfect spot for it, as I had hoped and assumed would happen.  

Dude. Bruh.

It is so bright. SO.BRIGHT.  Kevin was all "WHAT IS THAT WHY IS IT SO BRIGHT"

Terrible lighting for a photo but you can still see
how bright it is, which is the point. LOL

When I started this post, it was to share my excitement over my super-successful shopping trip.  Then as I was editing, I realized that this is the most excited and happy that I've been in months, if not a year.  That in itself is worth acknowledging.

But seriously: go get a third monitor.  LIFE CHANGING.

And I'm certain you can see that pashmina from space.

16 January 2024

Raising Parents - The Bar has been Lowered

 Remember when I mentioned during the Guide to Raising Parents that your phone is going to ring?

Yeah, THAT.

It feels like today it has rung/rang (?) every hour on the hour.  It's not even 5:00 pm and I am ready for bed now.  

What had happened was...

My father-in-law was in the hospital.  I had to call the ambulance for him Friday afternoon.  He phoned me and was short of breath so  I rushed down and he was throwing up and couldn't stop.  He said he was very weak, thought he was going to pass out and that's why he phoned me.  After some questioning, we decided to phone the ambulance. They were here very quickly this time, which is remarkable because the outside temp has been in single digits for days. I assumed it was going to take a little while.

Two of the paramedics had been here before, one that liked the sibling's dog and one that was out for my mother-in-law one of the eleventy times. In fact, he asked about her and gave condolences, which was very sweet.  "She fought to the very end, didn't she?" he stated.

I will say that he had sounded short of breath the day before on the phone but I didn't know what he'd been doing prior to the call so I didn't panic.  But then when I got there, he was short of breath again. So we told 911: shortness of breath, vomiting, weakness; which are all code for heart attack.

He has: 

  • Pulmonary edema...fluid around his heart and lungs
  • Chronic Heart Failure...exacerbated by the edema
  • Dangerously low 02 levels...he was on more oxygen than mom was when she passed. Yikes.
  • Dehydration (ironically)
  • Kidney Failure

The hospital originally said that it would be about a three - four days stay, depending on how everything shakes out.  Saturday, he announced that the doctor said he could go home tomorrow.  To which the nurse looked shocked and said No.  To add to it, they couldn't give him one dose of the needed meds this morning so it prolongs his stay by at least one half-day.  So doing the math...maybe Monday but probably Tuesday.

Then...the nurse said on Saturday it would be a few days. The doctor phoned later that day and said Well, we're probably sending him home tomorrow.  Kevin and I both were like WHAT.  The nurse seemed very surprised as well.

We explained how he is going to be alone for the majority of the time and we have concerns.  We explained what happened almost exactly a year ago with hospitalization ending in a care facility. We advocated him staying as long as possible. For him, and for us if I'm being honest.

They did a physical and occupational skills test and he passed so they're sending him home and without support. Sigh.  What we finally figured out was that he passed at baseline, meaning he can mostly do things by himself versus being measured by someone my age who undoubtedly could easily manage on their own.  The bar to pass is very low. So, there's an adjustment of expectations for us.  Also, we were comparing to how he used to be versus now and they were just looking at now, objectively.

Kevin and I talked about how I cannot be responsible for him during the day.  I had just mentioned to Kevin that it's making me nervous that he's home alone all day and I can't easily check on him. (like I could when they had their house) And now HERE WE ARE. He is less and less able to take care of himself.  Easy things like the dishes or feeding the dog or even feeding himself.  He's showering less again. And if you ask him, he'll say he's FINE. 

Oh, I forgot a big part: he fell during the early morning of New Year Day and broke his little finger.  He went a week before getting his hand checked (side-eye to the siblings about that) and now he has a cast. On his right hand.

Then during his hospital stay, he mentions that he thinks this has been happening for A WHILE.  I cannot EVEN with that.   And like Kevin pointed out: he's constantly at the doctor so how was this not been addressed earlier?

Now we're caught up to today.  

When they discharged him, they wanted him to be seen by his cardiologist AND his regular physician.  I made the cardiologist appointment and held off on the other one.  It feels unnecessary for two doctors to see him for the same thing.  This is something to add to your list, if you're keeping track: doctors will want appointments and not consider the impact on the patient and or family.  You have to advocate for them to avoid that.

Meanwhile, I went to the cardiologist appointment and he was owly.  He was not in the mood for me or the doctor.  I'm not offended and I'm also not going to play that game.  I know he doesn't feel well and he was probably expecting to be 100% in the one day that he was home from the hospital.

I asked the cardiologist if she felt it was necessary or worthwhile to ALSO see his regular physician.  She said no, because everything that needed addressed will be done at the appointment with her. Also, the issues are purely cardiology issues.  Also, I asked if we could just stick with her ONLY for the next little bit as the issues are cardiology related.  She agreed and thought that "streamlining" was a good idea. (her word, not mine)  Then I turned to my f-i-l and said "So, for right now, we are NOT calling the doctor for any appointments. We are only calling the Cardiologist from now on."  He did not enjoy that decision.  I bet he breaks that "rule" within days.

Part of the reason for that decision is a medication change is what precipitated the whole hospitalization.  Between a med change from the cardiologist and a med change from the physician, it put him in pulmonary edema and no exaggeration: could have killed him.   For now only one doctor is changing prescriptions.  (add that to your notes: prescriptions are a NIGHTMARE for the elderly.  SO.MANY.OF.THEM and from Different.Doctors.Who.Don't.Talk.To.Each.Other.)

She did an overview of everything and timelines, she was really thorough as if solving a puzzle.  She mentioned that it looked like he had lost weight but that he hadn't.  She looked at me as she finished the question.  I quietly mentioned "FRAIL" and she was relieved that we saw it too.  She said he had a marked change physically in three months, which is concerning.  However, his blood work is good, the hospital ran every test available, and on paper he's "healthy".

Then we got punched in the nose a little bit.  She sighed and said "I think what we are seeing is a natural progression of the aging process..."  Meaning: he's winding down.  She then turned and reviewed his meds and decided that "We will look at paring some of these meds down as much as we can in the near future."  I was not ready for that.  

He's transitioning to palliative care. I had to breathe through that a little bit.  He did not understand what was said or happening and I think that's a good thing.  It also made me suck-it-up-buttercup because he wouldn't have understood why I would have gotten emotional.

He has an appointment in one month to re-re-evaluate everything.  If he continues on the decline, then she'll begin to pare back his medicines.  She also wants to schedule a procedure that would take him off blood thinners and make falling not such a panic situation. (still scary, nonetheless)

So that was done.  Next Level now begun.

Then I took Lucy to the beach because we've been cooped up for a week due to single digit temps and I needed AIR.  Wouldn't you know it, as I'm standing on the icy cold beach, the phone rings.  This time it is the hospital, checking in with us regarding his status and ensuring we've made his follow-up appointments.  

I let them know that we would not be seeing his regular physician and why; they agreed.  I explained that we are starting to look at palliative care and she didn't seem surprised.  This made me think of when my mother-in-law was in the hospital and the E.R. doctor then the E.M.T. both asked us "What are you doing?  She needs hospice."  It took them to Say It, otherwise I feel we would still be devoting our time to keeping her alive to this day.

Now mix into this calls between Kevin and I as he updates the siblings, has questions, and/or I've forgotten something. 

Also: I gave up on any sort of work today.  Hopeless.  

Because as I sat down to try to work this afternoon, the phone rang.  It's my f-i-l's physician's nurse, wanting to schedule the appointment that everyone else decided was cancelled.  Clearly, they had not seen the report from the cardiologist.

I explained The Whole Thing again and our reasons for not having the appointment.  The nurse says "Well, I think that Dr. Bal really wants to see him in the office"  I admit to a little trill of annoyance. I asked "Can you tell me why?  I'm not being snarky, I just need to understand why he would need to be seen when he was just seen by an entire hospital AND his cardiologist."  To this, the nurse was a little quiet.  I continued: "If she reads the report and the hospital report and Still has a compelling reason for him to travel to Another Appointment, then phone me back and the family will work on it."  She agreed and sounded a little downtrodden so I amped up my cheeriness so she didn't think I was the internet meme version of myself.

Nearly an hour later, she phoned again.  The doctor had read everything and agreed that there wasn't a reason for him to be seen. Thank you little 8 lb. 6 oz. sweet baby jesus.

Now we have to circle the wagons, again.  We won't make any big decisions until after the next appointment when we know the next steps.  Who knows, maybe he'll rebound and surprise us. Probably not but maybe.  We won't tell the cousins until we know.  Even with all of this, we have time.

Oh, and finally, this one last piece: he joined a gym about two weeks ago.  We were reluctant but "let" him do it.  Unbeknownst to him, I phoned the gym and gave them all the information I could and instructed them to phone me if something ever goes wrong.  He went three times then ended up in the hospital.

When I phoned them to let them know he wouldn't be in for a while, they were immediately and genuinely concerned. He's already charmed them.  They were relieved he was okay and was still planning on returning.  "He doesn't know when to quit!" they said.  In a "Wow, does he know he's 85?" kind of way.

I think today he knows he's 85.  I'm not sure if he knows to quit, either. 

15 January 2024

Glimmery Complaints

 My awful former husband was on the facebook the other day.  You know how sometimes in it's wisdom, that app will feature a comment on a post from someone you know or may know?  It did that.  Sigh.  And he's still an ass, posting an inappropriate commenton a car fire traffic notification.  He's also a red hat racists so that's the nicest word I will use here.  In person, I have PLENTY worse words for him.  

So that was momentarily upsetting.  Then I made myself feel better by blocking him.  I probably should have done that a long time ago when I learned he had an account but maybe I just needed the validation and satisfaction of clicking BLOCK on that particular day.

One of my last projects from the parents is my mother-in-law's photos from her tablets.  I have been avoiding this for years.  With zero judgement: she was a terrible photographer.  She tried really hard but she didn't have that talent.  Then add in that it's a tablet camera, which are terrible.  AND THEN add in the eleventy hundred photos...mostly blurry...of her little dog.  Sigh.  Secondly only to the fifty-eleven photos of my father-in-law either sleeping or playing cards.

With that though, there were a few gems. There were also videos of her dog, which sometimes featured her VOICE.  So, if you needed me for anything yesterday afternoon, sorry but I was laying on the floor.  I haven't shown them to Kevin yet.  That feels dicey.  Of course, he wants to hear her voice again but at what cost, I wonder.  Kevin said that we're lucky to live in a time to hear her voice again, even if it's just her playing with the dog.

There is just the whiplash of going through photos still.  There was one of her house, with her standing on the deck.  It felt like one of those Google Earth/Streetview photos.  It felt a little haunting and I still am still thinking about it.


Yesterday I had to go into my old office for a meeting and that's always a little disorienting.  I worked in that office for almost three years and it still feels odd NOT working there, while I am there.  It's kind of like returning to an old workplace after you've quit.

But now because of that meeting, I'm going to have added responsibilities which will require me to travel to all the centers.  I'm excited about this now and will need reminding of that fact when it's time for me to leave the house.

I have a new stove that I'm still trying to figure out and I'm going to complain-in-privilege: it's a cooktop and I had forgotten how much I hated keeping it clean.  Or rather, the OCD hates keeping it clean. Then I remind myself that it was a gift and made having to replace the washer a week later not so painful.

There is a giant television under our bed, which is probably not the best place for it. But where does one store a 65" television in this little house?  Kevin was given a new television from his work and so we swapped it out with the one that is now under the bed, which is only two? three years old.  We didn't put it in the bedroom because that one is months old and more size appropriate.  So, yeah, first world problem: we have an extra television.  (update: which is now going to one of the nieces because I felt badly just storing it under the bed)

So, this is a list of complaints that kinda aren't complaints per se.  It's just been an odd balance of "Oh this is not good" and "Oh, this good thing happened" lately.

One would say "Well, it's always been that way" but has it?  It doesn't feel like that. Perhaps it's because the past few years have been challenging, and that's not near strong enough word for 2023, that ANY glimmer is noticed.



06 January 2024

On the Sixth Day

 We made it through Christmas with some big feelings and a few tears but overall, it was a very nice time.

The only big "oooof" moment was when the (adult) kids accidentally set a place for mom at the table. Of course, it was my father-in-law who noticed and announced "There's one too many!"  To which the room went silent for one beat then we rolled with it.

I mostly defrocked the house on the 27th.  My brain could not handle the "clutter" and things not being where they normally are.  The alphabet brain has been at full strength lately.  While boxing up stuff, I still sent items off the goodwill.  I maybe, might have, also bought some gnomes on clearance for next year.

Every year I lament how I store the actual ornaments. Usually they all fare well, if something get broken it's because I've dropped it.  It just takes a long time to rebox, or wrap, and organize them all into this huge tote that I have.  Last year I was going to buy an ornament storage box but then everything started falling apart and I promised myself "NEXT year, no matter what."

After some fits and starts, I ordered one and it arrived on a Friday.  Kevin was excited because it meant the tree was getting put away.  What happened was I got overwhelmed with putting the actual box and dividers together.  Three days later, I finally took everything down and put it away.  

Yes, the ornament box is worth it.  Once I got it together and a rhythm going, it went pretty smoothly.  Also, it fits on the top shelf of Monica's Closet so it's out of the way and lessens even more the chance of something breaking.

Then I did the superstitious cleaning of the house prior to the New Year.  I've done this for years so it's not unusual.  We stayed home for New Year's Eve because neither of us are big party people anymore. (also: 15 year sober! As of the 1st)  We watched Oppenheimer (good, long, not so much with the uplifting) then Kevin crashed.  I think "powering through" finally caught up with him.  

We went for a drive/four-wheeling on New Years Day, returning to a place of our second ever date.  We had Happy Meals for lunch/dinner and just relaxed.  

For all the anticipation, the holidays passed with little fanfare and not as many high emotions as we expected.  I say this with relief because it's been so difficult to predict.  I am glad that we kept it low-key this year, I think that was exactly what we needed.  

Now it's the sixth and I had a realization that we're good.  We're both happy, relaxed.  We're not teary or sad or depressed.  Sure we have our moments and we will probably forever.  It feels like that burden has lifted.  Like a metaphorical mantle has been removed from our shoulders.

With that, Kevin and I have always been a team because it's only ever been just the two of us. Certainly it's waxed and waned because we're human.  But we've never had the "interference" of having children and with that we have also missed many bonding experiences that people who are parents share.

However, since 2023 has happened and we're truly starting to look at and plan for the Rest of This Life, we have bonded again, similarly to the olden days when we were dating.  So, if that's the good that comes from the awfulness of this past year, then it...well, it's not worth it...but it's the shiny side.

Okay, enough of the mushy stuff sorta kinda.  Today I was finally finishing organizing Monica's Closet. But like for real, it's completely done. I've made such good progress this year, even with bringing home stuff from the parents house.  This past year has caused me to cull through things as if my life depended on it.  

I had the realization that Niece and Nephew aren't going to want this stuff. I also don't want to leave a mess of useless stuff for them to cull through.  It's time to use it or get rid of it.  I've taken one load to goodwill and made one trip to recycling.  I've put stuff out in the cupboards, up on the walls, or out where we can see it.

I have one file box left.  It has family photos that still need to be in scanned then put into albums.  It still has paperwork leftover from my childhood scrapbook that I suspect will mostly end up in recycling. There was also the half-finished scrapbook of all our trips to Vegas.  

This is where I went down the rabbit hole a little bit.  There was an album of postcards and an album of ticket stubs and ads or articles of places we went.  I went through it and added some, took out some, threw out stuff I was keeping just in case that I'll never do anything with.  I'm done with the project for now as in a perfect world, I need a bigger scrapbook.  That will be another day and it doesn't live in Monica's Closet.

While doing this, I thought about the first time Kevin went with his racecar friends and had a Hangover kind of experience, the first time I went and fell in love with Vegas, which is odd because I don't gamble or drink.  I remembered my very staid sister-in-law puking out the car door in the middle of the boulevard, Kevin hating being on top of the Eiffel Tower.  Getting murdered at the end of The Mob Experience. Racing with friends.  So much laughter and adventures with our friends. 

Next project was correspondence from my childhood best friends.  Much of that went straight into recycling as I don't recall most of the references anymore. Also: Cringe Level 1,000.   I saved some that specifically that mentioned a milestone or a person who remains important.  I'm boxing up some and sending them to my friend to reminisce.  (Frog, you can put them directly in the fire but you should peek first! lol)

Now remains a pile of photos that need to go into albums.  I'm considering doing that tomorrow while I'm on a roll and Kevin will be gone all day.  Monica's Closet is clean, organized and finished.  After living in this house for eighteen years, it's finally complete.

I spent the rest of the evening in my rocker and relaxed for the first time ever in this room; watching the fire and listening to music.  My office is finally a space I can relax and spend time.  On the Sixth Day, she finally got her cozy space.



02 January 2024

New Year's Recap - Please Play Along

 It’s here! The New Year Review Questionnaire !  I made a few tweaks this time. This was borrowed from the late Dooce years ago and I wanted to add a few.

You could do it too, it’s a fun way to look back on your year. Although no one really wants to look back at these past two three four years.  Sigh, Let’s do this anyway.


1. What did you do in 2023 that you’d never done before?

It was such a strange and sad year.  I can’t think of anything.


2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? 

Meh…shrugging…not making direct eye contact…shuffling of feet…


My resolutions for 2023:

1.   Painting.  I STILL have to fix everything I missed because I painted while actually going blind

2.   Debt reduction because oof, 2022 was expensive

3.   On previous lists was purchase a new stove because it was 18 years old.  My father-in-law bought 

       one for me as an appreciation gift so I can take it off the list, even if I didn’t actually do it.


My resolutions for 2024:

1.   Painting.  I still have to fix where I missed because I painted while actually going blind 

        And now the doors are needing it too

2.   Debt reduction because oof, 2023 was even MORE expensive

3.   Read more.  Write More.


3. Did anyone close to you give birth? 

No, we are out of that stage of life, unfortunately  Fingers crossed for a recently married niece, though!


4. Did anyone close to you die? 

We ARE in this stage of life: Kevin’s mom, Kevin’s childhood best friend’s mom, someone Kevin grew up with, and a wife of a distant friend. Then, just under the wire on the night of the 30th, one of Kevin’s childhood best friends 


5. What states or countries did you visit? 

Oh Canada and no other states but have traveled from one end of Western Washington to the other


6. What would you like to have in 2024 that you lacked in 2032?

This is a repeat and I have high hopes: A working government free from the cast of Idiocracy.


7. What dates from 2023 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

May – My mother-in-law’s passing

August – Sitting at a car show, in the sun, at the seaside, singing a Hal Ketchum song with Kevin because we couldn’t think of Hal Ketchum’s name.  

Christmas – The happy/sad of it all


8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? 

     This is silly but I finally nearly emptied Monica’s Closet. It is half-empty and my goal is to keep it that way.  It’s just so satisfying.


9. What was your biggest failure?

We added to debt instead of decreasing it. Sigh.


10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

It was the Stupid Injury Olympics this year:

*Hit and Run by a dog that injured my knee and put me in a brace for weeks (November)

*Broke two toes stubbing them on an antique Queen Anne chair in our bedroom (May)


11. What was the best thing you bought?

This is so bougie: the whole Lotus drink set-up.  The soda stream, the syrups, the spoons and measuring glass.  Not only does it feel luxurious having it, I’m drinking less sugar and caffeine.  Whether or not we are actually saving money is beyond my math skills level.  And now we added the Keurig.


12. What was the best thing you created? (it can be art, it can be a spreadsheet or an organizational thing, it could be a human!)

I love that the interior walls of our home are now all painted, new curtains and light fixtures.  It feels like a home from Better Homes and Gardens now.  Oh, and my garden!  Also, my photography


13. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Hospice workers. I know the word “angels” is overused but whew.  They are other-worldly.


14. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

This will be my answer perhaps for eternity: The entire GOP & its brethren


15. Where did most of your money go?

Ugh. Bills


16. What did you get really excited about?

It just wasn’t that kind of year


17. What song will always remind you of 2023?

       Small Town Saturday Night – Hal Ketchum

       Symphony – Imagine Dragons

       Auld Lang Syne – Dan Fogarty (thanks, Swistle.  Lolsigh)


18. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? Gah, I don’t even know. Sadder.

– thinner or fatter? Same somehow.

– richer or poorer? I can’t think about it. Poorer.


19. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Writing.  I always wish I spent more time writing


20. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Being on the phone


21. How did you spend Christmas and the New Year? 

Eve –  Here at home mostly.  I picked up Japanese food for dinner only to have to return to town because we forgot some gifts.  At 6 p.m.  Then we watched Harry Potter

Day –  Gathered with all of the family for snacks, presents, games and dinner

Eve – watched a movie and went to bed.  I watched the needle drop (Seattle reference)

Day – Slept in then went for a drive/4-wheeling


22. Did you fall in love in 2023?

Every day.


23. What was your favorite TV program? 

Grace & Frankie, Staged, Suits


24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? 

Nope


25. What was the best book you read?

 Ack, I have had a dearth of enjoyable books this year.  They were all fine, just fine.

My to-be-read pile increased instead of decreased (thanks, booktok)


26. What was your greatest musical discovery? 

Playlist suggestions on the pinterest.  One for every mood and/or setting

8-D music for neuro-divergents (click here for description)


27. What did you want and get?

 Working from home for the foreseeable future


28. What did you want and not get?

 Gosh, I can’t think of a single thing. We are also at that time of our life.

Well, also, I really wanted a certain former “president” in prison. (he’s not worthy of being named or acknowledged as a president)


29. What was your favorite film of this year?

 We have fallen out of the habit of watching movies.  Neither of us enjoy superheroes or horror so there are very few choices these days. However, we binged “All the Light We Cannot See” like a movie and I really enjoyed it. 


30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

55 – Accidentally got my birthday present on the 11th (a red Keurig). Kevin had a work emergency so my usual plans for lunch with him then shopping were dashed.  I stayed home and watched holiday movies. And my father-in-law gave me TWO bouquets of flowers so it was good that I stayed home.

It was Taco Tuesday so that was good.  Kevin & I had lunch later that week.


31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

   A little less death and injury.  It feels like a big ask but one can hope.


32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2023?

Lazy…Yoga pants and hoodies or tshirts, no shoes unless walkies


33. What kept you sane?

Walkies with Lucy


34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I don’t have anyone in particular.  However, I thought of people I follow on the ticktock. (none of them are influencers; mostly photographers, wanderers, artists, book nerds)


35. What political issue stirred you the most?

I just can’t… My hopes are pinned on November 2024


36 Who did you miss?

My mother-in-law.  I wouldn’t have guessed that last year, but I do.


37. Who was the best new person you met?

Young Padawan, Lucas.  He helps Kevin with the tune for the racecar.  If he were our son, I would be so happy.


38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2023

Use the thing or give it away.  After closing the parent’s house, I realized how much we keep that we don’t need or have intentions for that we’ll never follow-through. And how fun it is to give stuff away to people who want or need it.