From August to September in only one week

 

  1. Monday was a summer day in August. My teenager was still on summer break, the day was hot, the sun was bright.
  2. On Wednesday morning, I went to the dermatologist to ask about a spot (sort of a suspicious mole but not exactly).  The doctor agreed it was worth checking out and numbed me up for a biopsy. I walked out with a dime-sized wound on my cheek well-covered by an appropriately sized bandage.  [Awareness alert and example of white privilege: the bandage color is close to my skin tone so it blends in very well when I’m not using a flash.]    I walked back in 90 minutes later to have the wound re-cauterized and bandaged again. It is best to not walk around with blood streaming down your cheek.

    Hopefully this is all just for peace of mind (worth it!)

    Hopefully this is simply the price paid for piece of mind.

  3.  I placed two bead orders this week — one to each of my favorite online bead stores that just so happen to be my favorite bead stores to visit as well. I received one package in the mail today and plan to pick up the other at the store tomorrow. [Side note: $80 worth of beads may fit in one hand.]  I sold quite a few pairs of earrings at the farmers’ market today and need to replenish my stock, so the timing of all sales — stores with price reductions, stores to me, me to customers — worked out nicely. Now to actually sit down and create! I’ve had a bit of a dry spell but am feeling inspired tonight with new vision for my new beads and some positive feelings. Having a customer return to my booth today made me happy for both of us. She had purchased one pair of earrings last week after I told her why I make them. (The very short story is that I can’t wear most store-bought earrings. My skin is really sensitive to metals, but the earrings I make I am able to wear on a daily basis without any trouble.)  She had the same experience I’ve had, being able to wear earrings again. She returned today to purchase 4 more pairs of earrings. I’m grateful for the sales, but most of all I was happy to make her happy.
  4.  On Thursday, September 1st, the clouds gathered, the wind blew, and the air cooled. It felt as though Mother Nature looked at her calendar and got busy. It rained a little overnight, and then today a storm snuck into town. The wind nearly blew several canopies away while setting up at the farmers’ market this afternoon, but the rain held off until we were taking them down again after 7pm. By the time we drove home, there were flashes of lighting. I feel a little cheated, like a kid whose summer is interrupted by fall. Nothing against fall — I love many things about fall — but I don’t feel like I had enough summer. Not camping might have something to do with that feeling.
  5. Five is the number of Fridays this month — and that’s a good thing, right?
    (Confession: I edited and changed that last bit. I had previously written “– and that’s a good thing, eh?”)  Five Fridays = five market days until the end of my vending season. I’ll miss the people and interactions, but it will be nice to have my Fridays free again.

Bonus pictures:
The Scout goes to grade 11, 8-30-16
first day of school = sad dog
Moses sad under table after his boy went to school

Have you transitioned into fall yet?

Advertisements

Slackline

DSCN2849 waterfall

Niagara Falls, August 2009

I live with two opposing desires: the desire to create and the desire to be free from the weight of too much stuff, of everything that holds me back from spontaneity.  The tiny house movement, minimalism, the popularity of the Konmari method and Marie Kondo’s book about tidying have infiltrated my brain. I think of how lovely it could be, living in a small space only surrounded with things that bring me joy. The pure lack of stuff would surely enable me to live more freely, to gather up my minimal possessions on short notice and take off on adventures. Or would it?

Life is Good Camping imageGoogle & Pinterest for the image win

Several plastic bins are filled with yards of colorful fabric purchased on sale and waiting under my worktable to become quilts; the new-to-me BERNINA is still under its cover, ready to replace the old, simple workhorse Sears model (which will continue to be used by the rest of the family). It’s been there since I broke my ankle seven months ago. I have filled more than a few acrylic boxes with organized displays of beads, just waiting for my creativity to turn them into earrings or lanyards. I taught my children that books are special friends and should be treated as such, which probably explains our full bookshelves despite multiple cross-country moves and routine purging of unnecessary items to keep below our weight limits.

DSCN2513  Bedside Books 4x6

Ye old bedside table overfloweth

And yet, I hear the siren song of minimalism: clean, dust-free surfaces that gleam with openness and possibility. Those images whisper to me that my house could look like this, too, if I would just get rid of stuff and tidy up my life. I can be overwhelmed by the piles that need my attention, those things that weren’t put in their proper places because I wasn’t quite done using them… two months ago. There are more than a few items that were set down on or near my worktable because I needed to figure out where they should live, and apparently they are imprisoned in the homeless encampment where I left them because the clutter grows into wretched, visual walls that keep me from doing anything. I am weighed down and immobilized.

The connection between these two extremes is perfectionism and self-diagnosed ADD. Once upon a time, I thought that a perfectionist was one who kept a perfectly clean and clutter-free house — and if that was so, then the minimalist lifestyle would be the answer. If I wiped the slate clean, there would be so little to care for on a daily basis that it would be simple to keep everything nice and neat and perfect. But I have since learned that a procrastinator like me is also a perfectionist. I will begin a project and fail to complete it because I don’t have enough time (supposedly) to do it perfectly. And yes, time management might be an issue here as well. I become distracted by other projects, other needs, and set what I am doing aside to finish at another time. Another project is set down right next to or on top of it, and another one, and soon I have overwhelming clutter on top of, under and around my worktable, rendering it useless.

I vacillate between enjoying my hobbies and the paraphernalia that comes with each of them — the scrapbooks, the paper, the beads, the fabric, the many supplies needed to turn vision into reality that can be held, touched, and felt — and the guilt that comes with owning so much stuff: things that no one else in my household seems to care about or enjoy. I’m the lover of the scrapbooks. I’m the one who spends untold hours looking at photographs,  working with paper to bring a book together that tells our family’s story in color. My scrapbooks are simple in design (nothing fancy here) and enable me to look back at events and remember details. Since my husband rarely looks at them (and my sons even less often) they really are for me, not the family.

Beading is another hobby in which I have invested time and money. The small clear boxes have compartments filled with semi-precious gemstones, round containers hold colorful vintage Venetian seed beads, and other small bins keep Swarovski and Precosia crystals separate from less costly glass beads. I have less guilt over this colorful and pleasing collection due to the earrings and lanyards I sell and make for my own use; however, I freely admit that I own much more than I will ever use. The call of the Pretty! and Sparkly! is a strong one, even for this not-so-girly female.

Some of my crafting supplies have come into my life as fads that quickly fade away. Counted cross-stitch, wreath-making, and stamping readily come to mind as examples, and there is no doubt that some of these supplies could improve my life by simply going away. I’d have more space, less clutter, and less guilt when I look at them because I haven’t been using them. I still use a few stamps, but most of the items in those bins are neglected and unloved. These are the items that Marie Kondo writes about, things that were once thought to be useful but no longer “spark joy” — things I hang onto because I spent money on them many years ago.

I enjoy the process of creating, gazing at colorful beads and fabric and paper, deciding which ones to use. I find pleasure in planning and envisioning a completed crafting project. I love having a scrapbook to look back at events through the eyes of the photographer (usually me). I’m realizing that while I am not what I consider to be an actual artist, I have an artist’s heart. I dream of creating something of beauty  and I see possibility where others see a mess that needs cleaning.  A blank surface is a creative void, begging for fulfillment and lacking inspiration. Emptiness on walls and surfaces is, to me, a cry of loneliness.

I read this recently on Maximum Middle Age:

Having stuff has never kept me from having experiences, or feeling joy. On the contrary, my things are a primary source of joy in my life, more meaningful than any expanse of white wall, any patch of “negative space.” My things are talismans, giving me luck and guarding against forgetfulness. They have brought me joy. They are worth keeping.

This is where I find myself: on a tenuous slackline walk between tangible reminders of past joys and the illusion of minimalist ease.  On one end is the abode with clean, clear surfaces, no excesses, no clutter and, supposedly, no guilt; on the other end is a house filled with wellsprings of creativity and memory-keepers that also inevitably bring clutter. And  I bounce in the middle, seeking to make a home and a life I love.

DSCN1354 2013 Slackline World Cup

photo taken at the 2013 Slackline World Cup tour in Spokane, WA

 

Do you sense a theme here?

DSCN1309  Themed birthday, resized for web

Thank you, KCINNOTX 🙂

 

Add a cup of coffee brought to my bedside this morning, the chance to relax — read, clean out my purse, go to the library — and a shopping trip for more beads (what else!?) before choir rehearsal, with a late supper afterward with a few friends and a pair of Coronas. No cake needed.

Friday Five: Catching up is hard to do

It’s now October, and I’m still not back to regular blogging (and let’s not discuss the status of my feed reader). Consider this my reaching out to keep in touch during a busy season of life by way of letting you know what I’ve been doing these past few weeks:

Fall earrings, Disco ball earrings, and Seahawks-theme key chains, charms, zipper pulls, and earrings -- all for sale

Fall earrings, Disco ball earrings, and Seahawks-theme key chains, charms, zipper pulls, and earrings — all for sale

  1. Keeping my farmer’s market booth stocked with new items — some of these are now up on my Etsy site as well.
  2. Working on a few special orders for lanyards and cards. Normally I only make note cards using my own photos, but a friend is now living in Guatemala and has asked me to make cards using her own photos and those of a mutual friend, highlighting scenes from her adopted country. This is the second time I’ve made a batch of cards for her to take back with her and I like to give credit where credit is due.
    DSCN4654

    Cards going to Guatemala

    Cards going to Guatemala

  3. I took boy#3 to college on September 19th, had dinner with a few friends on Friday night and then attended my high school 30-year reunion the next night. Most of the people there looked terrific and I even remembered some of them. (I moved to a new city between my sophomore and junior year of high school, so I hope my lack of memory has more to do with so little time spent with them and not a sign of memory loss.)
    Move-in weekend is a stressful time to drive in a University District in a big city.  I must be old because the two late nights of little sleep and driving back and forth across the state wore me  out!
    DSCN1097
  4. Hopefully all of that driving isn’t wearing out my minivan. She passed this little milestone on that trip:
    Betty turns over 100,000 miles
  5. On my days off, I try to accomplish a few errands and take care of appointments. I’m still going to PT for my foot which is really helping.  I can only hope that my insurance company will see the benefit of continuing those visits.

ANIMAL UPDATE: The dog has taken boy#4 for his very own and hardly raises an eyebrow at the cat. The cat was slowly realizing that the dog will not eat her up… until she looked out the window a few days ago and saw him running in the backyard chasing a squirrel. There went several weeks of progress… she is back to square one, walking around with ears pricked, jumping at the slightest noise. I moved suddenly a few nights ago and her tail fluffed out rather dramatically, the hair on her back raised at least an inch, and she is once again mistrustful of all of us.

Early September Friday Five

  1. DSCN4518 First Day of High School, resized for webIt’s a new school year and a new way of life here in my world at Spokalulu. SnakeMaster is a freshman in high school and Humorous-Juniorous is about to leave for his freshman year of college; Encyclopedia Blue is back at college for year 4 of 5 (or more… it’s hard to tell), and MusicMan and Rapunzel are enjoying a new phase of married life without the burden of college courses. It is hard to believe that in just a few weeks, H-J will be off to college and we’ll be at a 2:1 ratio of parents to kids for the first time in 22 years.
  2. Just for fun, SuperDad and I looked at some vehicles with towing capacity before poking our heads in some glampers on Labor Day. Nothing moves very quickly here so there’s no need for excitement, but in our slow-as-molasses style, we are beginning the path toward a gentler-on-the-aging-body kind of camping. Give us a few years (like maybe when the child over on the right there graduates) but I will be the proud owner of a smallish camping trailer before I am too old to enjoy it!
  3. Working in a church office continues to be a good fit for me. I grew up hanging around church offices (my dad is a retired pastor) and was familiar with much of the goings-on before I took it on as a job. I enjoy making the weekly bulletin (which doubles as a newsletter) and the little bit of worship service planning that I get to do with other volunteers. There is much I need to learn before being proficient in planning a service (what is really a Call to Worship, etc.) and dealing with money/Quickbooks, etc., still makes me anxious (I do not want to mess that up!) but it is both challenging and fulfilling — and really, isn’t that what makes a job worth going to each day?
  4. There are several older people in our congregation whom I have come to love. I see them aging, slowing down — and in the case of one, visibly becoming frailer each week/month — and it makes me sad. It brings brings them closer to heaven but it brings me closer to grief. I tear up just thinking about losing them. When they die, part of my job will be assisting with the planning and carrying out of the memorial services. It is going to be difficult. Last month was the memorial service for a friend’s husband. He had a long-term disease that slowly took his independence away but the ending was a little unexpected. It was actually an honor to find the right picture to go on the cover of the bulletin for the memorial service and make it all look as nice as possible. I hope I can feel the same way when the sweet older man who tells me “anecdotes” passes from this life to the next. His dear wife died 17 months ago and I think he is slowly dying from heartbreak, which in turn breaks my heart.
    *****Okay, time for a tissue break…

    Some of the photo note cards I make to sell, gift, and personally use

    Some of the photo note cards I make to sell, gift, and personally use

  5.  I continue to stay busy with work, family, household responsibilities, and the weekly farmer’s market on Fridays. Lately I have been averaging about $40 in sales each week, which isn’t stellar by any stretch of the imagination but it isn’t bad, either. I am selling my photo notecards (cropped photos on cardstock, blank inside, stamped and signed on the back) and beaded items such as earrings, eyeglass leashes, lanyards, and suncatchers. Since I enjoy making all of these, it is a pretty decent way to spend 5 hours each Friday. (The market actually runs from 3-7pm but I have to factor in the set-up and take-down time.)
Currently for sale

Currently for sale

I confess that my time spent on facebook probably needs an intervention. It is much too easy to park myself on the sofa in the evenings and get nothing of substance accomplished. Instead of doing many useful things that I would actually like to do (read a book, organize my crafting workspace, clean up my clutter that is strewn about the house in various places, decorate for fall, etc., etc.), I find myself engaging in the online equivalent of small-talk. Yes, it keeps me connected with people from all different parts of my life — and many of you that I know from blogging — but at the same time it has taken the place of reading blogs (which help me to form much deeper relationships). There are times when I have to agree with my husband that facebook is evil. (Not really.) (Yes, really.)  It’s true that sometimes after work I am too tired to do anything more than having to produce a “like” but I suspect it is both a cop-out (facebook rarely requires one to THINK) and addiction to easy social media. I feel guilty when I miss wishing people a happy birthday or special events in their lives; however, it is quite likely time for me to take a little facebook “vacation” in order to get back to meaningful blogging.

DSCN4468 Offering

That’s what I have to share today. What is happening in your world? 

Creative Blog Hop

Cassi is one of those blog friends who has also become an e-mail and facebook friend, and hopefully I will someday get to meet her in person.  (There’s a decent chance for this since she lives only a couple of hours from my brother’s house.)  She was kind enough to ask me if I might be willing to join in a Creative Blog Hop. I was honored to be asked and and she tagged me in her post, so here are my answers to the questions.

What am I working on?

Some of the photo note cards I make to sell, gift, and personally use

Some of the photo note cards I make to sell, gift, and personally use

I’ve been working on several projects for my booth at our local farmer’s market where I try to set up and sell a couple of times each month.  My notecards are made from my own photographs mounted on cardstock and stamped on the back with a small emblem and signed with my first name. The stamp is often a rosebud that I color-coordinate with some colored pencils and ink stamping pens.

Farmer's Market

I started out making beaded lanyards (I wear mine daily at work) and eyeglass leashes (ditto) which I continue to make available for sale, but I enjoy branching out and stretching myself with new projects.  A fun project I picked up in the past few weeks: barefoot sandals! They are surprisingly comfortable (I have unusually sensitive feet) and the first 2 models have turned out really cute.

Barefoot sandal in cerulean blue with foil bead

Barefoot sandal in cerulean blue with foil bead

Barefoot sandal in opal with coral hibiscus bead

Barefoot sandal in opal with coral hibiscus bead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, I’ve been sidelined by making suncatchers:

Suncatchers

This is a good time to mention that Pinterest has been both a blessing and a curse. There are more projects on my wish-list than I have time to devote to them.

Me, peeking over the quilt top

Me, peeking over the quilt top

Along with photography and beads, I also dabble in quilt-making (I’m a total newbie who flies by the seat of her pants) and simple scrapbooking — no Cricut machine or fancy sewing machine at my house. If it is fancy and takes an entire crate of supplies, I probably don’t do it, but I do manage to fill quite a few plastic bins and I am in possession of more stamping supplies, cardstock, and scrapbooking paper than I should confess to owning.

white cliffs of Dover, London

I’ve attempted knitting and nearly paid myself to quit. (It really was that bad.) My daughter-in-law and other friends tell me that I should try crocheting but I’m not sure they know what kind of monster that would unleash.  Many years ago, I tried a bit of counted cross-stitch and if my eyesight doesn’t give out first, I might someday pick up that 10th anniversary gift for my husband and finish it… in time for our 50th wedding anniversary.
Clearly, my creative desires and imagination reach beyond my time constraints and even my motivation! Family does take up a fair amount of my day and night — I’ve been married for 27 years and we have four sons, ranging in age from 14 to 23 years old.  I was very happily contented SAHM for 22 years while the kids were growing up and my husband was active duty military. Now he is retired, I worked myself out of the SAHM gig and into a part-time job as a church administrator, and the youngest is heading off to high school in September.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Up until recently, the only seed beads I purchased were Vintage Venetian Seed Beads. These are approximately one hundred years old and previously unused, having been in storage for many years. They originated from Murano, Italy, where there was a consortium of glass makers. (These are the seed beads you see in the photographs above and below.)  I purchased quite a few grams of these seed beads already,and while I still have a fair amount in my possession, the main source of supply is beginning to “dry up.”  Color me grateful for the occasionally foray into being a spendthrift!

While I do have a shop on Etsy, I know there are many people out there who are much, much more talented than I am. I enjoy making things for my own use, gifts for friends and family members, and being able to sell my creations on occasion is a surprise bonus.

etsy listings collage

How does your creating process work?

I am definitely an amateur in everything I do. Sometimes I will be inspired by something I saw on Pinterest or in a catalog, and at other times I simply have an idea or “picture” in my head of what I’d like to create with the camera or my hands; sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.  I seem to do a lot of creative dance steps: one step forward, two steps back, two steps forward, one step back… in quilting, this is called “unsewing” and I’ve decided to use the word “unbeading” when I am designing a new lanyard (or anything, really).
There are times when I am on a walk or a drive, or perhaps simply looking out my living room window, and I am overcome with the need to spill prose onto paper. If I put it off, the words fade from my brain and I lose them forever — so I’ve learned to stop and write if I am able to do so — but it is difficult to be driving across the state and write things down.
I can also go for days or even weeks without a creative urge. These dry times are disappointing but eventually they do end. 

Petrified Wood  (photo would have been lost in my laptop but thankfully rescued from flickr)

Petrified Wood (photo would have been lost in my laptop but thankfully rescued from flickr)

My creative friends:

I am tagging two creative friends. One I met first in person and then later read her blog, the other I met online and later proved to each other that neither was an ax murderer.

My friend Joanne is someone I met at scrapbooking retreats and with whom I recently enjoyed camping. She is the one who came up with the idea of painting rocks with the kids, crochets amazing slippers, and blogs at Trying to be Creative.

Gary is a blogger I met online soon after I began blogging in 2008 and my family enjoyed meeting him in person a few years later.  (Click here for Gary’s blog post that experience.)  Gary is a potter extraordinaire and an animal lover.

It’s W all over again: Winter Weekend

It’s back!

After a hiatus of more than two months, it is time once again to focus on thankfulness. Instead of counting blessings, I’m challenging myself to come up with them alphabetically.  (You can find the rest of the posts in this series here.)

One post wasn’t enough for the letter W when I owe you a wrap-up of a wonderful winter weekend.

I love my husband and kids, but sometimes I simply need to run away.  That’s how I spent Valentine’s Day weekend this year. I forgot to give advance notice that I was leaving a day earlier than originally planned, so there was a surprised look on SuperDad’s face when I told him Thursday night at supper that I’d be leaving the following afternoon.

The first leg of the journey was the 5 hour trek over the mountain pass to my brother’s house.  By leaving one day early, I had plenty of time to spend with his family. I hadn’t seen them since the Lovebirds got married; eighteen months is really too long!
I was too busy spending time with family to take picutres, but here is one from one of my rest stops along the way:

W is for…

DSCN2708, Slippery when wet, resized for web sharing

Waiting in line to "surrender the booty" and pay at Shipwreck Beads

Waiting in line to “surrender the booty” and pay at Shipwreck Beads

On Saturday afternoon, I headed south to spend time with my “sister from another mister” and of course, I had to also shop for beads.

My SFAM & I met at church and for several weeks wondered where we had seen each other before… it turns out we’d never met — it just FELT like we knew each other already.
Staying at her house also feels like being at home. On Sunday morning, we got up and went to church together. I hadn’t been back to visit since we moved away in July of 2007, so it was fun to surprise people.

But who stands still on such a weekend?

DSCN2718It was time to rush north to Seattle and attend a writing workshop!  This really deserves its own post [soon!] but here is a picture of me with a friend from Virginia — one of the women who co-led the workshop! She had e-mailed me the month prior to let me know about it (not knowing it took place 6 hours from my house) but hey, if you travel 3,000 miles, I might just travel 300 miles to see you. 🙂

As the rain spit and the wind blew, I drove across Lake Washington to see yet another friend. Some of you might recognize this wonDERFul woman…

Mrs. G. shows off my car magnet (license plate is only wishful thinking on my part)

Mrs. G. shows off my car magnet (license plate is only wishful thinking on my part)

Cat art and other pictures (including Gus and Chewie) will have to wait for another post.

They don't look too bad to me!

They don’t look too bad to me!

It took me 8 hours to cross back over the  mountain pass on the way home, reminding me why I have always avoided cross-state treks in the winter.

Breakdown

This is all I’ve got tonight.

RSCN9797

Today was breakdown day: the Christmas tree was denuded of baubles and brights, then taken apart and boxed up until next year ten or eleven months from now.

Tomorrow is a big football watching day. Whether or not the Seahawks win is the deciding factor in whether or not they go to the Super Bowl this year, and SuperDad decided to invite a few friends over. I think he did this to ensure that the Christmas tree would be taken down and the living room cleaned up.

I might even dust.

Or not.

Sleep has been eluding me, despite going to bed without screen time most nights and being tired. So around 12:30 a.m., I get up and heat a cup of herbal tea in the microwave oven. I write a down the list of things that is occupying my brain, or I read a short article in Reader’s Digest, or — one night — I even picked up a small stack of unopened Christmas cards and read them.  (Something in my psyche will not allow me to open the incoming Christmas cards until I’ve mailed my own out.  I know… I’m weird.)   Sleep is probably eluding me because I am practically inhaling caffeine at work. Instead of being hungry for lunch, I am using coffee = food = energy to keep going.  At least it is good coffee — Fair Trade — paying small farmers a living wage. Also, it is strong. But making a second pot halfway through the day might not be such a good idea.

In another week, I should have some breathing room. The annual report will be ready to hand out to people, regardless of whether or not everyone actually turned in the information that is supposed to be in said report.  The end-of-year giving statements will also be mailed out after triple-checking that the names at the top of the page match the address label on the envelope. (I refuse to have nightmares over such things.)

Perhaps in another week, my hero will have caught and disposed of the mouse that keeps leaving little turds evidence on the back corner of my desk.  Two such small rodents have already gone before him/her.  How many can there be? (Don’t tell me, please!)

I have beading supplies set up on my craft table, but I haven’t touched them for weeks. (How does one dust beads?) Apparently I have some tendinitis in my arm just below the elbow which not only hurts but makes it difficult for me to pinch things. Grabbing books from certain angles, holding and using tweezers, unloading the dishwasher — all these things can bring on sudden pain and the desire to drop whatever I am holding and open my hand. So I’ve been avoiding dishwasher duty. (You’re welcome, Dear.)  I suspect the tendinitis was brought on by poor positioning and repetition at the computer keyboards but it has been aggravated by my continued use of my aging body.  At any rate, I’ve been leaving favorite hobbies untouched and spending my free hours in zombie mode on facebook where I don’t have to really think or be coherent.

I haven’t even glanced at my scrapbooking supplies. There are pictures in the camera waiting to be uploaded to my laptop, thirteen (13) unfinished posts in my draft file — many of which may never see the light of day, and 231 unread post in my feed reader.

But for now, I will attempt to find that elusive thing called sleep.

V is for…

Count your blessings, name them one by one…

DSCN0245 SIGN

I’m using Thursday posts to focus on thankfulness — and instead of counting blessings, I’m challenging myself to come up with them alphabetically.  (You can find the rest of the posts in this series here.)

I’m barely getting this one in “under the wire” — at the 11th hour and then some! — but here it is…

Welcome to week!

__________________________

V is for Vacation.  Oh, yes, I am thankful for vacations. Aren’t you?

Montana vacation destination

Montana vacation destination

DSCN2335I hadn’t planned to be absent from blogging, but as cliché  as it seems, I’ve been really busy. Work comes to mind as the biggest consumer of the time I formerly referred to as “free time.”  I’m still wrapping my brain around the fact that I have a regular job after 22 years as a SAHM. Admittedly, some of my time has been spent doing fun things with different groups of ladies:  a scrapbooking day (10 hours of nearly non-stop work on my Europe album), a beading & card-making weekend, a women’s retreat with some ladies from church at a beautifully remote and scenic spot in Montana,  and a fabulous weekend of sewing and quilting.  That all represents 4 out of the past 5 weekends. I know I am blessed. This is a great season in my life!

Morning in Montana Oct. 20, 2013

Morning in Montana
Oct. 20, 2013

Then there was the weekend of  mysterious illness (possibly exhaustion) over the only two days I had nothing scheduled on the calendar. I had planned to catch up on blogging (reading & writing); instead, I napped for much of those two days and slept like a log at night. (Do logs sleep? Let’s just pretend that they do.)  

This weekend I am venturing off to yet another vacation spot: visiting my dad in Arizona.  It won’t be all fun-and-games — I’m going alone and he is in an assisted living facility. As I wrote in September, this trip is about seeing him again before his health declines even more.  I am thankful for the addition of my small income from work that allows me to go for a visit.
_________________________________

V is also for Veteran.  This coming Monday is Veterans’ Day here in the United States. My younger brother is a Marine veteran of the Gulf War. He has taught his sons great respect for other veterans and I’m sure they will be doing something of service on that day. I am thankful for the many sacrifices that our veterans have made. We owe them much more than we will ever know.

What are you thankful for this week?