It’s been a few months…

The writing bug appeared to have moved out and left me to my own devices — and apparently my own devices involve ignoring my blog. Sorry about that (she says in a Canadian accent).

So let’s see: when I last visited with you, The Scout was still hiking– he’s home now. I don’t want to reveal too much for those who will be getting the Christmas letter (you know, the one that hasn’t been written yet), but he hiked about 1,500 miles before deciding he “was good with that” and came home via Greyhound. His 3+ year headache had gone away! Wonderful! Unfortunately, it returned in early November along with the return of decreased brain function the following week. As I type this out, he’s having a difficult day. So we’re back to square one, making appointments with neurology.

Humorous-Juniorous joined the Air Force and spent summer and autumn at Officer Training School. It was such a good course, he did it twice. (He’s very lucky.) We flew down to the southland twice as well: the first time to hit up most of the Civil Rights memorials and museums, and the second time for graduation.  SuperDad commissioned him as a brand-new 2d Lt. just last week.  Since then, H-J has been spending time on airplanes, getting a flight physical, and reporting to his new duty station. He should be home for Christmas.img_20191212_1033329432

The Barefooter has been working for the US Forest Service but that temporary job will soon run out of hours. He likes it well enough — he’s getting paid to walk through the woods (with a vest filled with paint cartridges and measuring equipment in order to mark trees for thinning) — and his schedule has been 2 weeks of steady, daily work in a distant location followed by a week at home.  He’s been sent to a variety of places: South Dakota, Colorado, Oregon, and Arkansas.

It’s been six months + 2 weeks since my ankle fusion. The procedure worked very well and seems to have cut my pain by about 50% which is the best outcome I had been able to expect, so I’m pleased with it.  Unfortunately, I’m already developing arthritis in the first two foot joints downrange from the fused ankle joint. This is to be expected over time (8-20 years) but I might be an overachiever who is going for the “under a decade” mark before those joints also need fusing. Still… I’ve been able to withstand doing more each day that I could during the past year.  My goal is to spend 1.5 to 2 hours in the therapy (exercise) pool, three times each week.  That time is more beneficial and enjoyable than sitting for hours on airplanes.

Five days from right now is Christmas Eve, filled with family and church, candles and choir, excited children and tired adults. Hopefully we’ll get the traditional family picture taken while we’re dressed up and looking spiffy. I might have already written the Christmas letter and sent it out early if we’d managed to get that picture taken after my dad’s memorial service in May (but who am I kidding? — I still wouldn’t have those envelopes addressed).  Per usual, I am not ready for Christmas.  Also per usual, Christmas is coming whether I am ready or not!

May your holidays be sweet and filled with love, and may your time management skills fly high above my own!


News from the one left behind

The comings and goings have peaked and eased. Over the course of the weekend we burgeoned from a household of 4 up to 11 people — and briefly even an additional dog — before settling down to only 3 of us on Sunday afternoon.  My BFF stopped by for lunch on her way home from the airport to pick up her plants. She courageously entrusted me with plant-sitting her herbs and tomatoes; thankfully, they weren’t forgotten in the heat, we watered them daily and found them some extra shade, and they are now safely back in her care.

Little Foot at wedding

Little Foot at the wedding (cell phone picture. Obviously.)

The entire clan (dh’s side) was in town for the nephew’s wedding. I was really impressed when the photographer managed to get Little Foot to look at the camera, and even more impressed when he easily managed a gaggle of additional 6 kiddos and their adults — a total of 33 for the big family photo.  I’m looking forward to seeing the results. Also, I fibbed: we were missing one person; there should have been 34 of us but our niece’s husband had to stay back home and work. We had a wonderful time at the wedding. We danced, and I paid for it with a swollen ankle that is still a little sore tonight, but how often is there a party like this?  



We stayed until the music took a decided turn for the younger set (wedding party members and friends). My MIL seemed to be surprised that I danced, but I’m equally surprised that the 80-and-above folks were looking fresh at 11pm when we walked back to the car.  

Last minute packing, T-minus 90 minutesIt occurs to me that some of you may wonder: did the 24yo wear shoes? And yes, he did! (Footwear was policy at the event location and it was a formal event.) However, I’m pretty sure he took them off as soon as he was out of the building. He left earlier than the rest of us and walked the 3.5 miles home — ostensibly to pack, but that didn’t begin until 2 hours before his bus was scheduled to leave on Sunday morning. At that point SuperDad was by his side, putting his own expertise to work.

 H-J came home via Greyhound Bus, carrying all he needed in a small knapsack. For his return trip, he was joined by his brother hoisting a somewhat larger pack. Yes, The Barefooter is off on his big adventure.

PCT-ready, 9 July 2017 WEBSZED

This next week will be a return to our new normal: family dinners for three; work and time spent on beading (I’ve got a special order for this week’s market), card-making, and reorganizing my crafting area at home for me; The Scout and SuperDad getting that Eagle paperwork completed and preparing for the last hurrah of Boy Scout camp.  We’ll be busy but it will be quiet.  I might need to take a nap first…


Waiting for Warm-up


When you choose to not drive…


and leave your car at the side of the road,



the snowplow will eventually come by…


to ensure that you go nowhere.


Joining in with Carmi for this week’s Thematic Photographic: messy.
The driving around here is particularly messy now that we’ve started to thaw during the day and ice back up at night.

Can you see yourself? I can!

  • I find it ironic that the colors red, white, and blue stand for freedom, until they’re flashing behind you.
  • Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.
  • I’m great at multi-tasking–I can waste time, be unproductive, and procrastinate all at once.
  • If you can smile when things go wrong, you have someone in mind to blame.
  • Doesn’t expecting the unexpected mean that the unexpected is actually expected?
  • Television may insult your intelligence, but nothing rubs it in like a computer.
  • Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes.
  • Ever stop to think and forget to start again?
  • When I married Mr. Right, I had no idea his first name was Always.
  • There may be no excuse for laziness, but I’m still looking.
  • Women spend more time wondering what men are thinking than men spend thinking.
  • Women sometimes make fools of men, but most guys are the do-it-yourself type.
  • I was going to give him a nasty look, but he already had one.
  • I like long walks, especially when they’re taken by people who annoy me.
  • Sometimes I wake up grumpy; other times I let her sleep.

If You Give a Pal a Paint Class…

I took another painting class recently and this was the result:

Cross painting, cropped

I thought it would look nice next to the collection of crosses I received from my dad. He’s a retired minister who collected crosses from antique stores for a few years. His wife had some of them in a framed display (not quite a shadow box) which looked quite lovely. A few years ago, after Dad entered an assisted living facility, he divided his collection up among all four of his kids and his wife mailed them to each of us for Christmas. I’ve been meaning to do a display of the crosses I was given but just hadn’t gotten around to it.

Now, however, I have an additional reason to get moving on displaying them all — we were offered a free used piano. The Scout’s piano teacher thought we would be a good home for it (she knew the person giving the piano away); I convinced my dh that this was a fine idea but none of us knew where we would put such a large musical instrument, so last month she came over and found the right place in our house. Then she gave us the man’s name and phone number, and a few days later was moving day.

DSCN2366  playing piano on back of truck, websized

The Scout didn’t wait to move the piano into the house before playing it.

DSCN2370  Moving piano with skateboard, websized

Where there’s a will, there’s a way — and sometimes that means using a homemade skateboard as a furniture dolly. 




Adding a new piece of furniture meant rearranging sofas, chairs, lamps, tables, and pictures — which, honestly, is still happening because we can’t move anything just one time.  I got first shot at telling young men where specifically to place certain items. Then the next day SuperDad put them to work rearranging my arrangement of the furniture. Within 24 hours, I was moving the coffee table and recliner myself — not the smartest activity in which to indulge but when you can’t sleep at one o’clock in the morning, what else do you do?  That was how it all went for the first 4 days, before we moved on the placement of lamps and pictures. I’d go to work and come home to an arrangement that needs tweaking by me (but only when SuperDad was not there to see what I’d done to his plan). It’s now been a month since the arrival of a piano disrupted the living room furniture arrangement, and I fear that inertia has exerted its powerful force on the hanging of pictures.  I don’t really like where some any of them are placed but no one has the energy to move them (the flu hit 2 out of 4 of us… so far) and rearranging would probably mean more holes in the walls. And then we’d have to patch and paint walls! Of course, if we’d been really smart, we would have painted the walls before settling the sofas and chairs and piano into their new places, but simply agreeing where to put each of those rearranged furnishings was difficult enough. Plus it has been well documented that married couples have difficulty choosing paint colors.


DSCN2386  new piano, cropped, websized

The piano and piano bench are the only items of furniture which have not been moved at least twice since this photograph was taken. 

At any rate, we have a new-to-us piano (the water damage might get partially covered by a table runner when I get back to sewing), a rearranged living room, and there will soon be a cross collection on display — if we can agree on where to put it.



Truly Living = Enjoying The Now

Christmas is basically 2 weeks away. We could quibble about a few days here and there, but for me and my schedule, I’m at C minus 2 weeks.

As I write this post when I should be doing other things I feel like I need to get this out of my head and into some kind of tangible format. I am wondering why I procrastinate. Why delay tasks, and what do I do with my time instead?

Like any one of you (yes, you!) I have many different “hats” to wear, many identities and duties I’ve taken on over the years. We all started quite simply, as children. We could just be — play, dream, read, sleep — while someone else took care of us. And there are many times we’d like to escape back to that simpler time in our lives because we grew into adults and took up a myriad of duties. Many — if not all of — those things started out joyfully and I hope the joy is still there for you.

My top three titles are wife, mother, and homemaker. If you have a home and you take care of it, doing your best to make it a place of refuge for you and/or others, you are a homemaker! If you have a job that earns money to put food on the table and a roof over your head, add that title to your list. There are other hats to wear, too: friend, volunteer (we all do things in our communities). Do you have hobbies? Anything that takes up your time counts. I find joy in each of one of the vocations that define me as a person.  While not everything on my list fits on a calendar (e.g., wife, mother, and friend are constants), they all take time.

Some people seem to handle life with great competence. They put on their multiple hats and walk as though it wasn’t a challenge to keep everything in balance. Admittedly, those people are few and far between, and I suspect they are hiding something. But there are plenty of other folks who put on their multiple hats, juggling them if they must, and rarely drop a hat. They manage their time well. Stuff gets done. On Time. I personally know some of these people. They amaze me.
I am not one of those people.

I find it hard to be industrious and take care of a big family (now 7 of us, plus extended family and a few friends who are like family) when there aren’t the sights & smells of Christmas in the air.
If I’d been really smart, I would have decorated right after Thanksgiving, so it would be done… but I like my fall decor and hadn’t really taken the time to enjoy it. That was a big mistake. The mistake isn’t about decorating for Christmas in late November; I was trying to get other things accomplished before my foot surgery and Christmas decorations didn’t make the short list. No, the mistake was that I failed to enjoy what was happening now. I think that is key: Enjoying The Now. I didn’t look up, didn’t look around, didn’t soak in what really mattered.

I was busy with other stuff — what that stuff was, I don’t recall. 

OUCH. If I was truly living, I should be able to account for that time. Not that life is a spreadsheet to be turned in for a grade, but we should probably know where our time has been spent and what we did. If I was truly enjoying the activities (or at least enjoying the product of those activities), if I was truly present and involved, I would know exactly where and how my time was spent. And yet, much of my day disappears in a haze of busyness with little account for “where the time went.”

So right here, right now, I am sitting and thinking and tapping out words from my head and onto the keyboard. I am looking at what is right in front of my eyes. I’m at home. I’m looking up and looking around at the room in which I am sitting. I force myself to pause on each object, to consider why it is there. I look back at what I have written here. And I think.

I think I know the answers to my questions: I procrastinate because the task either feels overwhelming and/or I don’t feel up to beginning to work on it.  And what do I do with my time instead? Well, sometimes I just sits and thinks… and sometimes I just sits… but let’s break that down and lay it on the table for us all to look at it, because I’m not opposed to daydreaming, in moderation. It’s part of being a creative person! ButI waste a lot of time on the computer. There it is, in tangible form.
[If my husband read my blog, he would be so proud of that admission.]

There is, of course, good and useful time spent on the computer. Like right now, for instance! I can account for this time spent. I’m basically journaling. When I click “publish”, I will be sharing myself with friends and others.
But the hours spent playing solitaire and looking up useless information, filling time by roaming facebook and sometimes, yes, even blogging! — that is not time well managed or well spent. There are hats to be worn, hobbies to enjoy, life to be lived. If my eyes are only focused on the screen in front of me, I’m not enjoying the now. I’m not participating in things that bring me joy. I’m not truly living.  This revelation prods my mind, pricks my conscience, jabs my soul and delivers a sucker-punch to my heart.

On my previous blog, I wrote that I have a convoluted relationship with my computer, that the computer can easily take over “real life” (including time to get everything done in the day, and time I’d like to spend on hobbies), so I’m trying to learn the art of balance.

Obviously, I am a slow learner on a life-long journey.