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30 November 2010

Still at home?

Yesterday i wasn't feeling all that great, and i didn't do as much to get ready to go down the hill (mostly laundry) but i still had every intention of going.  It didn't occur to me to stay home.  In fact, if it had occurred to me, there are a couple of other items at the grocery i would have bought.  But this morning i woke up and it was plain that going down the hill would not be a good idea at all.

The sore throat has turned into a deep chest cough and i just feel yuck.  I've never had pneumonia, just over and over severe bronchitis, but i've a fear (now that i'm older) of developing pneumonia and i just don't want to take a chance.  So Duane went alone.  

I don't want to cancel my clients for this week.  But would they want to be worked on even if i were able?  I doubt it.  And, it would be awful to be sick at my ILs for three days and not be able to come home.  

I'm not terribly sick.  I don't usually get terribly sick these days.  I think it is a combo of good food, good supplements, and taking care of myself as soon as i do think i'm getting sick.  It is kind of hard for me to do that last one.  I remember being a teen and having my dad tell me i "coddled" myself too hard and didn't push.  Of course, he didn't understand that i had Chronic Fatigue - no one even knew what it was then.  But it has been difficult for me to get over that disparagement and the feeling that i was being lazy.  However, i have learned how bad it can be when i don't give way to being sick.  

I'm hoping i can do a few things around the house, anyway.  But i've been in bed all day today.  I got up around 1 to get myself something to eat and was surprised at how weak i felt.  Today is simply a rest day.

So, for this last day of November:  I am grateful that i was able to post most days.  I'm grateful that i have the kind of job that i can rest when ill, (even tho i hate to disappoint my clients).  I'm thankful that i get to stay home to recuperate.  I'm thankful that my home is Sugarbear!  I'm thankful that the cats have been snuggle-ly.  I'm thankful that i have food in the house to eat.  Most of all, i'm so thankful for each of you who come here to read my words, and to you who leave me encouragement!  God's blessings on you!

I'm going to be starting a new blog, soon.  It is simply a list of recipes i want to share.  I think it will all be gluten free, and most of it vegetarian (but not all, Duane still eats meat and i still eat some fish).  I wanted to share my recipe for the GF crust i used for the cheesecake instead of a graham cracker crust.  I think it came out good.  I miss shortbread cookies, and will probably make some in the next couple of weeks.  I've already got some stuff started on this blog, one recipe posted, but i'm not going to make it public for a couple of days yet. 


29 November 2010

Monday, Monday

 Back to normal.  I've a ton of laundry to do, and some dishes yet, too.

Yesterday was a very busy day.  We went to church (Lutheran not Baptist, after all), were invited to a community theater thingy that afternoon, went to the yarn shop (Duane would like an orange hat, we couldn't find yarn he liked), picked up one of N's kids, Kip, went to a Christmas boutique (they didn't have what i wanted there), went to lunch, then to the C.A.T.S. production, "An Old Fashioned Christmas." Over all, we enjoyed it very much.  Kip (i formerly called "C" because i didn't know how his name was spelled), is very easy to be with.  He doesn't ask for a lot of things and seems just to enjoy being with us.  

But none of this was very stressful, and i didn't get exhausted being up for a day.  This is a first, i think.  On the other hand, i acquired a sore throat over the past few days and nothing i do seems to make it any better.  I'm not really sick, but i don't feel quite right.  

The pics at this post by Chiot's Run make me think of my granny's flower garden.  Not that granny's garden was ever so neat as these pics show.  My mother's parents had an enormous garden north of their house, between the house and the barn.  On that side, too, granny had grapes growing.  I remember them as the most delicious grapes i've ever had.  But to the other side of the house was a horseshoe driveway.  In the inside of that horseshoe, granny had a riot of flowers.  I remember cone flowers, and foxglove, and columbine, and any number of other things.  How she ever kept it, i don't know, for i don't remember any division of flower beds, just all those flowers mixed in however they would grow.  

The house is now gone.  It was torn down a few years ago.  The barn still stands, but time is taking it quickly.  Duane and i drove by there December of 2005 (this pic is from then) and last summer when we were there.  Last summer we actually drove that horseshoe drive, tho we couldn't have done that if i had not known it was there.  The two pines i remember from the front yard are huge now, enormous trees.  I never thought of them as young trees when i was a child, but they were then.  All traces of the flower garden is gone, and the grapes too.  I remember swinging on granny's front porch swing, and there was a tire swing in the tree off to the side, too.  That tree is gone as well.

That granny was not a particularly warm and fuzzy type.  Oh, she gave us hugs and seemed glad to see us.  But she had raised 11 children and had more grandkids than i can count.  (I think i have 31 blood-related first cousins on that side.)  She was firm at me at times when i was a child.  My other granny made much of us when we visited, and in comparison, mother's mother seemed a bit harsh.  

However their roles reversed when i was a young adult.  My father's mother didn't like choices i'd made and i got the rough side of her tongue for the first time in my life.  My mother's parents, in comparison, seemed to have mellowed.  I visited them when i was 19.  It was just the three of us, and that is a memory i will always treasure.  I so appreciate that i had that visit, for it was the last time i saw my mother's parents.  

Today i'm thankful for family, and precious memories, and my granny's wonderful, out of control flower garden.  


28 November 2010

Mish Mash

We got another 1-1/2 inches of snow.  The total so far for the season (in the valley, at least) is 7 inches.

Think we'll go to the Baptist Church this AM.  We've not been for a long time.  It isn't a format i care for, and (yep i'm bad) when i think of that service, all i can think of is an hour of sermon.  That's simply too long for me!  They have about half an hour of music and announcements, too.  It just doesn't feel like a "finished" service to me when the pastor quits talking and simply says, "Have a good week!"  But we do enjoy his speaking, and it is one of the ones we said we'd attend sometimes.  

The Lutheran (these days the one we attend is "the Lutheran" as opposed to the one we were kicked out of) is planning a joint service with the Presbyterians in a couple of weeks.  I think that is cool.  I'm very much into being ecumenical (united).  Not that i think it is entirely possible.  Folks have too many differences of opinion and preference of style.  But i like it when these churches can at least dialogue.

There is a boutique in town, today being the last day.  It is a bunch of different products, mostly from folks off the hill.  We are planning to stop by.  I was thinking it costs $5 to get in, and $10 to get in for Elsa and myself was too much.  Turns out it is only $3 admission, and there is a two for one coupon, so we could have gone, but neither of us were that much into it.  But today is "local's day" so Duane and i can go without paying admission.  I don't know if we will buy anything.  I think i need a better Christmas list in hand before we go.  But i haven't any idea what to get the nieces and nephews, so maybe this will help me have some ideas.  

I really need to get farther on the projects i'm doing, too.  I did some while home last week, but once Thanksgiving is past, i begin to feel a sense of urgency.  I'm trying to "scale down" Christmas gifts and giving, but that means i try to make many of the gifts, and that can become its own pressure.  I've not sent out Christmas cards or letters the past couple of years.  We really need to do that this year.  I wanted to get the letter ready last week, but got distracted with other things. 

We saw Harry Potter yesterday.  I think it is very well done, tho it has been a while since i read the book so i didn't catch if they deviated from that.   The whole Harry Potter thing is quite an issue for some Christians.  Quite another discussion.

Today i am thankful i can breathe!  Night before last i woke up gasping for air because my nose was plugged but i kept trying to breathe thru my nose.  Mouth breathing in this dry air is really uncomfortable, so i guess i knew i had to breathe thru my nose, but simply could not do it.  Starving for air is uncomfortable!  I'm so thankful that this is not a problem for me normally.

I'm thankful i had such a nice visit (if short) with my sister Elsa.  It is delightful to spend time with her.  And i'm thankful she's willing to come, because she's somewhat allergic to our cats, although i do try to be sure the house is well cleaned before she comes.  And the room we put her in is blocked off from the cats, but that means that it doesn't get much heat.  It gets cold in there!

I'm also thankful for a (mostly) warm house and reliable transportation in our snowy weather!  :)

(P.S. - "normal size font" looks really small to me when i post, but the next size up, "large" looks much too big.  I'm erring on the big size.)


27 November 2010


I'm thankful that Thanksgiving is over.  I don't mean that in a bad way!

It was a wonderful day.  Elsa and i got so much work done, tho we couldn't have done as much had Frye not come and done dishes for us frequently.  We made 4 pies and a cheese cake, cranberry relish, two types of green bean casserole (with the homemade cream of mushroom soup i made the day before), a corn salsa, and we baked store bought rolls.  Elsa did most of it.

Elsa did most of the pies and the corn salsa.  She made two apple pies, one with regular crust and another (well, i kind of did the crust) with an almond crust.  I'll explain that if i need to (if you want to know).  I did almond crust for the cheesecake, too.  She also made two pumpkin pies with gluten free crust that we didn't even try to roll out; we just pressed it into the pie plate.  The green bean casserole turned out fairly well.  Next time on mine i'd use almond slices instead of slivers.  The slivers made it a bit too crunchy.  The cranberry relish turned out well, too.  Tart, not too sweet, but, i used too much liquid so that it was rather too runny, but the taste is good.

This pic of Elsa and Frye is from last year.

 (This is also from last year; we've not had this much snow quite yet.) 

Elsa's corn salsa is just amazing.  It is the most unusual combination of things i would never think to mix.  It has raw onion, raw jalapeno, cilantro, corn, tuna, and some mayo (we used Vegenaise).  Frankly, i don't like raw onion or jalapeno much at all, but the combination of all this is something i do like very much.  Duane's cousin said, "It is like a party of multiple flavors in my mouth."  Elsa and i both thought that very accurate.  (We made a small amount for Duane that was everything but cilantro, which he does not like.)  She made a very large bowl of this and there was only a little bit left to divide when we came home.  

Duane's family was so very thoughtful, too.  They made things with me in mind that did not contain any gluten.  The result of all this was that i, quite frankly, had far too many carbs and was very sleepy after the meal, but it was nice and pleasant, and i'm fairly certain i didn't get any gluten contamination.  I do think one of his aunts (who had brought a number of desserts) was upset with us for bringing so many (we left one pumpkin pie at home).  But i eventually explained that if we didn't bring any that i would not have been able to eat any dessert at all.  And i wanted dessert!  That seemed to calm her down.  

Of course, i don't need any dessert, but i did want it!

His family was amazing, too.  He has one cousin who in the past has not been particularly pleasant.  But each year i'm just amazed at how she has matured and is so considerate and friendly.  And - a very thankful praise, no uncomfortable family issues came up.  It was just a very pleasant time, tho both Elsa and i were pretty tired.  

Elsa and i did a little shopping yesterday, but neither of us were really "in" to it.  I bought some yarn, mostly.  They left about 2 yesterday afternoon.  I spent most of the rest of the evening knitting, tho i didn't do much.  I've so many projects i'm working on, i shouldn't be starting any that are new!

We've not yet begun to decorate for Christmas.  I know lots of folks do, but i'm not comfortable with doing it until December, at least.  We always have the tree up before the 10th.  I really lean toward wanting to put it up Christmas Eve, but that is a difficult tradition to hold in our culture.  Many more people put it up early and take it down on Boxing Day.  The tradition of putting it up on Christmas Eve and taking it down after Epiphany is long gone, i think. 

I'm simply thankful for it all.  It was a nice holiday, and this weekend will be a nice breather to be ready for the next phase.  :)


23 November 2010

I won't do that again!

Well, we had all of 3 to 4 inches of snow.  The storm was not as bad as predicted, but the wind blew a lot and drifted what we had.  I've been going thru a lot of wood!

Because i thought it was going to get warmer and the driveway would probably melt off, i didn't go out and shovel.  Really bad mistake.  Yes, some has melted off.  But every tire track, every footstep, and particularly the berm turned icy.  I've spent an hour (in divided time so i don't get too worn out) today breaking ice and clearing the driveway.  I got most of the ice off.  What is left will probably melt tomorrow.  But had i simply gone out on Sunday afternoon once the storm stopped, i probably could have done it much quicker and with less of an energy expenditure.  That will teach me not to procrastinate!  

It is pretty chilly out right now.  Local report (the "local" news in LA is rarely correct) is that it is 28F with wind chill at 22, but the wind has gusted up to 32 MPH and it sounds like the wind is just getting started.  

Often, when i take a week off and stay home it feels to me like i've not done much of anything.  That is not true this week!  I still have so many things on my "to do" list yet, but i have stayed quite busy.  Not all the corners i wanted cleaned have been done, but a couple of important ones have.  :)

I did take some pictures today of the fire in our stove, and the snow, and the (mostly) cleared driveway, but i don't know what Duane did with the cord to the camera to load them.  So here is a pic of the snowbear my sis made last year when we got snow 2 days after Thanksgiving.  :)

It has been hard the last couple of days to wake up to Duane's side of the bed empty.  Yesterday i was listening to something funny on the internet (i usually work with the sound off, i find the sound distracting), and thought, "Duane will wonder what i'm listening to!"  It was a couple of minutes before i realized that he was NOT in his office as i am used to.

So, i am thankful today he is returning home.  And i'm thankful that the roads are now largely clear so travel should be safe.  They (Duane and Elsa) are coming up later than they intended.  I think Duane had a frustrating day at work, from what i've gathered.  I'm thankful that i had the energy to get the drive done so it is ready (and hopefully not icy at all).  I'm thankful K came by for a while today to do a really good vacuum in preparation for my sis coming.  Elsa is somewhat allergic to the cats.  

I'm thankful that i did NOT slide into a tree today (when i was on an icy side street).  I'm thankful that N does not seem extremely upset that i'm having K to work again.  (It was K's job before anyone else's, but K was in Australia for a year.)

Yesterday i was thankful that K came and did such a wonderful job on the house.  I love and appreciate her so much.  She is such a grace in my life. 


21 November 2010


I think posting every day isn't quite my "style."

Yesterday i was thankful because Duane made it down the hill safely.

Today i'm thankful that i made it to church and back safely.  

It rained a lot last yesterday, and then we got about 3 inches of snow today.  I might not have gone to church, but the neighbor's granddaughter was baptized today and i told them i'd go.  I'm glad i did, but i pinwheeled at the bottom of a small hill where there is a curve.  Glad no one was at the stop sign there or i probably would have taken them out.  Got to church and home with no other mishaps.  Decided to stay in for the rest of today.

The sun did come out later.  I tried to get some pics, but the battery was going.  I hope to get some more later.  I did get a few things done yesterday and today, but i've a long list and not much checked off.  Kimmy is coming to help tomorrow.  :)


19 November 2010

Friday - storm is a coming!

A quick one for today.  If i've said these things before, i'm still just as thankful.

I'm thankful our wood stove is working so well.

I'm thankful we have the money to pay our bills and keep food on the table.  We know so many others who are struggling.  

I'm thankful my hubby is so wonderful and wise.  

I'm thankful that folks are so good to read my silly, funny, (sometimes complaining) words and leave me wonderful comments, even when i'm not always so good at replying or letting them know how much i appreciate it.  (Yes, i am talking about YOU!)  

:)  I'm thankful that smiles are free.

Duane is going down the mountain for SAR training tomorrow and Sunday.  He is going to work in OC on Monday and return Tuesday afternoon (with my sis).  With the storm coming (although not a lot of snow is predicted) we both feel it is safer for him to simply stay down the hill.  When he is done with training on Sunday, he can head into OC & put in a full day's work on Monday, and i won't have to worry about his commute.  It means he will be gone a LONG time! But i'm glad he is willing to do it.  Best be safe. 


18 November 2010


Yep, i'm making an unhappy face.  Currently X is feuding with Y, and G is angry with E, A thinks B doesn't treat him/her right, and it is all like a house of cards.

The end result is that Duane's parents are not coming to Big Bear for Thanksgiving.  They are going to his step-brother's house.  I think Duane is tempted to stay home and make dinner here, but we have already committed to going to his Aunt and Uncle's place.  Well, step-Aunt and step-Uncle and things are getting so that i don't know that we will use titles in the future.  Huh.

However, this means that i don't have to host 5 other folks at my house.  I kind of freak when Duane's parents come, thinking my house has to be "perfect."  It means that probably Thanksgiving will be more relaxed.  We will spend some time with the group of folks, but not as much as we would have, otherwise.  

I'm thankful, too, that we have the option to decide how to respond to whatever comes our way.  Of course, we are struggling to decide the best way to handle things, but i'm so thankful to know that we do have choices.  

Today i also ran into a friend (Duane asked if the vehicles had much damage!).  It was fun to chat with her for a few minutes.  I always forget she works at a big bookstore in town.  I rarely go in there.  

The doctor visit went well, too.  He laughed at me when i told him i was nervous about seeing him.  He is very pleasant.  But he strongly encouraged me to stick to the dietary restrictions, especially the items i'm struggling with the most (milk, eggs, tomatoes).  He did give me an opening, however.  I've been trying to eat "low carb" with all the other restrictions.  He said let that go because with all the restrictions i currently am under, low carb is not do-able.  I doubt i'll add much grain into the diet, but it means i don't need to feel guilty if much of what i eat ends up being corn and peas (organic, of course).  And, i don't have much intention to sticking to restrictions during the coming holiday!

One other thankful - my husband has such a good sense of humor.  It is fun to giggle together.  :)


17 November 2010

What is wrong with me?

I'm not usually a tearful person.  But every once in a while, i seem to hit a day where everything seems to make me sad and feel like tearing up (tho i rarely do).  Today a be landed on my windshield and i carried it about a mile and a half north of where it landed.  Will it be able to find its way back?  Was it dying?  What on earth is wrong with me?

Also, i seem to have "lost" two days somewhere.  In my head, today is the 15th.  What is up with that?

I think part of the problem is my dear sweet hubby has an issue in his life we can't fix.  Has to do with family.  I cannot in any way make it better.  All i can do is stand by and pray that i'm a comfort rather than a hinderance.

Trouble with gratitude here?

Ok.  Deep breath.  I'm thankful i'm seeing the naturopathic doctor tomorrow.  I'm still really struggling with the diet issues and i'm hoping he will have some answers (tho i'm a bit afraid to see him, too).  I'm thankful that i've the money to do the shopping for our guests coming next week.  Money has been tight recently, so i'm thankful there is the cash to buy groceries.  :)

I'm thankful i've more energy, too.  The improvement has rather leveled out, "plateaued" as it is - but i have a greater amount over all.  That is a BIG thank you!  Also, as i reported a while ago, the cough is almost all gone.  This is also a BIG thank you, as that malady for me normally takes a couple of months or more to heal.  I also had a fairly busy (for me) week at work.  And i didn't struggle to do it all, either. 


16 November 2010


Thank you, Mr. Calvin Squirrel, for the title suggestion.  :)

Today i'm so grateful that our prep for coming down the hill went so smoothly.  I'm thankful every week for that beautiful drive.  Several of the trees, mostly California Live Oak, still have their golden leaves and with the sunlight on them, it is a sight to behold.  

I almost posted snow pics a couple of days ago, but i thought, "Nah, i'm not ready for that yet!"  Snow is predicted for this weekend, Saturday, Sunday, into Monday, down to 5,000 ft.  Don't think it will be a lot of snow, but they say it is coming!  The ski hills have been making snow for a couple of weeks now and this past weekend they had a couple of runs open, a beginner's and an advanced.  Duane is away this weekend for SAR training.  I'm praying he will be safe in traveling.

I'm thankful that i get to stay home next week.  And i'm thankful that my sis is coming up a couple of days early so we can have a little extra time together.  I'm thankful that we won't have to travel for Thanksgiving.  :)

I'm thankful that i've not been having headaches much recently.  I'm glad that when i do have them, they resolve on their own rather quickly.  And i'm thankful that i work in a chiropractic office and that the doctor i work with is willing to work on me.  I'm so thankful i can have regular work done.  


15 November 2010

Positive Attitude

I've frequently shared here that i struggle to have a positive attitude.  I DO look "on the bright side" as much as possible, and i DO work at being grateful for all that i have, which is a lot.  But much of my life i have also struggled with a complaining spirit.  It comes out here in the blog rather regularly.

Today i had the joy of going to the knitting group with Kimmy.  We went to breakfast/early lunch together after wards.  Kimmy is lately returned from Australia.  She and her hubby were there for about a year.  He is Australian.  She is now a dual citizen.  But i've missed her so much, and am so happy she is home.

Kimmy is one of the quintessential optimists.  She is so very positive.  She has every right or more so to complain about things.  She's a number of challenges going on (of which i know only because i've known her for about 3 years now and even if someone never complains, you do learn of these challenges).  Yet, she is one of the most positive folks i know, and is so encouraging.  She is also so very friendly and has such an ease of conversation with everyone she meets.  

She also ascribes to ME the very things that i think are part of HER own nature.  She says i never complain.  !  Huh!  She says i have a quiet, gentle, loving spirit.  She is just so encouraging, i so enjoy being with her.  She makes it easy.

Of course, she denies many of her good qualities, or downplays them.  That does bother me a bit.  But i must say, she relies on God as her support more than just about anyone i know, except maybe frequently mentioned (here) Gitz.  

I'm so thankful for my friend Kimmy. 


14 November 2010

Feeling weak on giving a title

Some days a title just won't pop into my head!

It feels like i say the same things over and over.  I am so thankful for the blue, blue sky, evergreen trees, and sunlight i wake to every morning!  (I guess after today this is simply a given on any day.)  Such a joy to wake to this.  

Digression - i love plaid!  The mixture of two colors brings me so much more joy than one color alone.  My favorite is Blackwatch plaid.  This old Teddy of mine is on a kind of Blackwatch plaid.  I like all plaids, but a mix of blue and green is so pretty.

I'm thankful that the Christmas presents are coming along.  I'm thankful for friends with whom to spend time.  I'm thankful there are so many good churches here from which we have to choose that sometimes it is hard to know where to attend!

I'm thankful i get to see Kimmy tomorrow - it has been too long!  I'm thankful i got to visit with Dawn on the phone today.  I'm so grateful i had time today with my handsome hubby.  :)


13 November 2010


I'm thankful my dear hubby has friends he meets and plays games with online.  It keeps him involved and active in their lives.  I sometimes wish we lived close enough to visit in person more often, but i'm so grateful the internet gives him the chance to stay in touch.

I'm thankful the internet gives me the opportunity to be in touch with friends, too, and to make new ones.  :)

I'm so very thankful for my friends.  I appreciate them, their love and support so very much.  I also appreciate that they not only listen to me, but that they trust me enough to share their lives with me too (when i shut up long enough for them to get a word in edgewise!)

I'm thankful for a little white cat curled up next to me.  :)


Thoughts on a Saturday Morning

 Duane and i frequently come up blank on "what to do" on a weekend.  I do get frustrated that when i ask what he'd like to do, the answer often is "Idonno."  Sigh.  Of course, he is pretty limited because i'm pretty limited.  If he suggested hiking to the top of Sugarloaf, well, it would just be cruel.  

Our frequent default is to see a movie.  We do rent movies inexpensively, but often we want to "get out."  Frankly, the cost for the two of us to see a movie here in Big Bear is less than one of us seeing a movie in Orange County.  The cost isn't very high here to begin with, but if we see a matinee it is less, and they have great coupons too.  So going to a movie for the two of us is pretty reasonable.  

Still, i wish we could come up with more things to do.  Of course i have plenty of work that we need to do.  A large part of our woodpile is still too big to fit in our stove.  I need to pick up twigs and all for fire starter.  We could actually do some of the things that we have discussed doing like building a shed or a greenhouse.  But the building takes money.  I also have laundry to do.  I could do cooking/baking.  We often don't do these things, however.  Our lifestyle is that we can be rather lazy.  We don't often have work we have to do (it is amazing how that the many things we procrastinate just don't ever have to be done).  My energy limitations hold us back some, too. 

Of course, we are somewhat limited financially right now.  Our budget is very, very tight at the moment.  With the idea that we've company coming for Thanksgiving (we won't have the big meal here, but there will still be folks to feed other meals and we will be bringing stuff to the big dinner) most of the money we will have will be going toward food.  

I've lots to do that doesn't cost a lot of money (well, no more money; i have the supplies).  I've been making things to give as Christmas gifts, and i've always lots of projects - knitting and other crafts - to do.  But that isn't something Duane joins me in doing.  Although, maybe he would enjoy doing some of them, i'll have to ask.

No big deal.  We just are going thru another of our lazy Saturdays.

I follow a blog by Jess called The Macs.  It is one of the first blogs i ever followed.  She lost a daughter age 10-1/2 months to chemo about 20 months ago.  Her son is about 10 months old.  This week she has been talking about friendship.  She especially has been focused on it since reading Lisa Welchel's book Friendship for Grown-ups.  Jess has a lot of friends.  

I think many of the bloggers i read do have a lot of friends.  I think that is why i'm attracted to them.  Friendship is something that does not come easily to me, although i'm blessed with several wonderful friends.  It is something with which i have always struggled, although it is important to me.  

But i also think that when you reach a certain age and do not have children, friendships can become a bit more challenging, especially if previous friends began to have families.  Of course, i'm past that part (friends starting families) most of my friends and family are now having grandchildren.  

There are times when i comment at mommy blogs (i read a few) where i feel very limited in my comments.  I can only comment from my own experience in childhood or adolescence, i do not have the experience of being a mama, experiencing whatever thru my children, from which to draw.  I was a nanny for several years, but i've had the feeling (in the past) when i commented from that experience it wasn't much appreciated.  There are times i feel a certain "failure to launch" in life, because i never had the opportunity to take this path.  I feel that i only have the childhood part of the picture, not the adult side.

Thus it was with some surprise that i read this week a recent report on childlessness at another blog:  Fertility of American Women.  Of course, i don't really see this report as fertility.  Many women may have been fertile, but unable to have children due to other circumstances unrelated to physical ability.  

What surprised me most is that the data shows that among women age 40-44, 18% do not have children.  That is almost 1 in 5.  It also showed this pattern across many demographics:  Race, education, income level, and location in the US.  

I thought, "How is it possible that 1 in 5 women don't have children, yet i know so few of them?"  But on further thought, i find that is not true.  I began to make a list of the folks i know (some are good friends, others i just know) who do not have children.  

Elsa (yes, my youngest sister)
Sheree (although she is 37)
Debra Ann
Emily (not yet 40)
Jessica (cousin, she may not be 40 yet, either)
Melody (maybe not yet 40)
Michelle (different one)
Jessica (another one)
Sharon (another one)

These are just the folks that i know or have met personally.  There are at least another dozen i've met online.  Some are still wanting to have families, others are no longer pursuing that and have begun putting together a life with a family of two.  Some are single and never had the opportunity.

And, of course, i don't know the reasons for all these women on my list.  Some have never met a partner with whom to share life.  They are not folks who would consider being a single parent by choice.  Others have had infertility struggles.  And some, i simply don't know.  We've never discussed it. 

The website i read this report at seems to be (i only found it recently so i don't know the full story) of childless by choice, what they call "childfree." 

And in thinking over this list, i began to realize why i was so ignorant of the number of childless women i know:  We don't have a unifying pull.  

What i mean is, when a woman becomes a mother, she joins this great sorority of shared experiences that seems to draw them into a circle.  When 2 women meet, if they both have children, they immediately share a bond that they can usually find topics on which to discuss easily.  If one is not a mama, it may be more work to find a common topic.  If neither have children, there is not an immediate "oh we have this in common" - childlessness alone doesn't necessarily make that bond.  

Those of us who do not have children do not meet for a "no mommy no me" morning.  We don't meet and share experiences at schools as we have no children in those schools.  Preschools, "Mommy and me" programs, after school programs, Vacation Bible Schools - all these things are geared toward children and parents. 

Pamela Jean did a great job in choosing the title for her book, Silent Sorority, but i'm afraid that the fact is non-mamas don't really share a similar bond.  Even if two childless not by choice women meet, they do not necessarily speak of this childlessness.  It is not, it cannot be the same as the bond shared by mamas.  I'm not making an emotional or critical statement here, simply relaying facts.  Sharing some observations. 

Of that long list i have above, i have only discussed children with six of these women.  With the others, i simply do not know.  

Often these things are just too painful to ask, and it is hard to know where to take it.  If someone has been thru a long, difficult fight with infertility and chosen not to pursue it any farther, they may very much not want to talk about it.  Others may want to talk about it but don't have the chance.  

The daughter of a friend lost a baby about a year ago.  (I don't know the daughter well, but have been around her all the time she was growing up.)  I very much wanted to send a note to her, remembering the kindness of a family who sent a note to us after our loss (the only note anyone sent us, i think).  However, i didn't have an address and when i asked, the family said she didn't want to talk about it any more, she wouldn't appreciate a note.  

It is also hard to know how to respond to people.  When asked if i have children, these days i will usually just say, "No," or on occasion, "We haven't been blessed."  In the past, trying to relate to people, i would say we wanted them but that we haven't been all that lucky, or on occasion i would even mention our losses.  It doesn't seem to me that such a thing should be impossible to mention, but the reaction i usually had was so much discomfort that it stopped rather than encouraged conversation.  I've had to stop doing that because it just isn't helpful.  But i admit, i rather resent that i cannot mention our desire for children or disappointment.  I also resent that if i mention it anywhere (such as at Facebook), the lack of response is heartbreaking to me; however the one or two who do acknowledge the loss means more to me than i can say.  I don't know if any other culture is better at this than we, but our culture definitely does not handle any kind of loss or disappointment well.  

But the culture is not to blame alone.  Just as my response to a note after loss was very different from my friend's daughter, the experience of going thru infertility is so very different for each woman.  It is not at all the same as sharing the experience of giving birth, nursing, raising children.   The reasons for not having children is also very diverse.  Women who are childless do not have a unifying experience to bond them.  I know i said that before, but it is becoming very, very clear to me right now.  

Also, good or bad, right or wrong, it seems disappointments and loss can drive a wedge as often as it unites.  

I'm thinking of a conversation with a distant cousin a while ago.  She was sharing how depressed she feels at holidays, being around the family, family with children, etc.  How disappointed she is that hasn't happened for her, how sad she is.  I tried to commiserate with her, our disappointment about no children is intense, too.  But when i tried to "connect" - her response was, "At least you have a husband!  You have someone in your life who loves you!"  In general she is a very upbeat person.  She does not usually respond in this manner.  However, this is my experience frequently with folks.  They tend to say, "At least . . . " in other words, "my pain is still worse than yours."

I've run into this many times on many levels.  Most recently it was with someone i know who lost an adult child (many years ago).  I spoke of the pain of childlessness and her response was "At least you didn't have to go thru the raising of them only to see them die so senselessly."  What i felt but did not say was, "At least you got to be a mama.  At least you knew the joy of being called mama."  

I did not say this because this "At least . . . " stuff is insulting.  It is rejecting the pain of one in preference of the other.  For me to say that to her would be to discount her pain of the loss of her child.  The fact that she was discounting my pain does not make it right.  I don't really understand why we do this.  But i do know it divides rather than connects.  There is NO comfort in an "At least . . . " statement. 

Wow, this is long.  And negative.  Think i'll have to do "grateful" in a separate post.


12 November 2010

Winter is coming

Today, as it frequently is, is a day of beautiful blue skies and evergreen trees. 

I'm thankful that our house is green now instead of this blue!

Yesterday the high was 37F and the low 14!  That is winter weather, although it is still fall and we don't yet have snow.  Today is warmer, it is 48F out now.  I'm thankful for our wood stove, although a bit concerned about how quickly we are likely to go thru our wood pile.  

Yesterday Duane drove all the way home as i was feeling very achy and sick.  I rested most of the evening, and had some pomegranate and cherry juice laced with some vitamin C.  (Also took a large dose of Vitamin D3.)  I had taken quite a bit of Vitamin C Wednesday night in 4 divided doses.  Yesterday i took a larger dose, not giving it much thought.  I took it to "saturation" (TMI alert, if you want to read about it, you can check this info:  Doctor Yourself.)  I find this very uncomfortable.  My body doesn't tolerate much Vitamin C.  While this website proposes huge doses of Vitamin C to combat many illnesses, and i don't deny that he has good info, i hit "saturation" and discomfort at a much smaller dose.  My max is about 3 grams a day.  

But i'm feeling better today, tho i've not done much.  We'll see how the rest of today goes.  I think i'm going to stick to mostly juices for the next couple of days.  With Manuka honey of course.  And i've been slowly munching on our pine nuts.  I'm also rather tempted by the cookies and bread N made while we were down the hill.  

I think this weekend will be mostly rest, relax, maybe make a few Christmas gifts, and plan for shopping next week.  The following week we'll be having company, tho we are not having the Thanksgiving meal here at Sugarbear.  Duane's Aunt and Uncle have a weekend home west of here a couple of miles.  The family come up for Thanksgiving there, although some of the folks stay with us.  I'll be staying home to prepare.

So, i'm thankful that for Thanksgiving we don't have to travel.  I'm thankful that i don't have to have the big meal at our house.  I'm thankful that we will be with family for the holiday, but i get to sleep in my own bed after wards.  I'm thankful that my work schedule allows me the freedom to take time to prepare (which for me includes much rest.)


11 November 2010


I'm always so thankful to go home!  :)  

Sugarbear and kitties, here we come (in a few hours).

I'm also thankful that i can have CranioSacral Therapy done.  (I've an appointment with Kim this morning.)  I essentially never need meds any more for migraine because i have the CST done regularly.  In fact, i rarely (like once every year or so) take any med any more.  I was in some pain last week, and wondered if i should go buy some ibuprofen, but then i didn't and the pain resolved in a couple of days.  :)  For that i say, thank you, thank you, thank you!  I am so grateful.  

I'm so thankful for the opportunity to use natural products.  Wednesday afternoon i began feeling a bit "off."  I can't explain it better (well, i could but it would take a lot of words).  I've been loading up on vitamins (D3 and C) and some of my other pet remedies.  So far it seems to be successful, but i may not know until later today.  Many countries are outlawing the OTC use of vitamins.  I would be very unhappy if i had to see a doc (particularly a MD) in order to take what they think i need.  The fact that we do have access to most natural health products - and the internet to check them out - means so much to me.  :)

Oh, just to go with that, i'm so thankful for Hawkes' Health.  It is a wonderful site/forum where folks post.  It is also a good resource to look up info and/or ask questions of folks on different health issues.  It is wonderful.    


10 November 2010

10 November 2010

It is impossible for me to believe that 10 days of November are already gone!

I'm so thankful for Sara Frankl and her blog, GitzenGirl.  This post is one of the reasons why.   She does gratitude and joy better than anyone i've ever known, and under much more trying circumstances.  I wish i was more like her.

I'm thankful that i was able to attend St. James Church at the midweek, midday service today.  It is always a blessing to attend a Mass/liturgy with which i'm very familiar.  (This picture is the sanctuary where Duane & i were married.  The midweek service is actually in a much smaller, adjacent chapel.)

I'm sure no one needs me to tell them how much i love and appreciate and am grateful for my wonderful husband.  I am so thankful for him each and every day.  I love these goofy pics of him.  :)


09 November 2010

Quality of work

 One of the companies Duane works for has a number of different divisions, including one that sells the toys and accessories for RVs.  They sell these covers, large size, and wanted a small one for a display.  They had me make it (i was rather reluctant).  I did most of this, Duane (who manages pretty well on the sewing machine) put the top on it.  They then took it to a company that does the embroidery who added the logo info.  

They are getting ready to ship it off somewhere, and wanted to know if i want to go see the finished product before it goes.  Um, not really.

The truth is, i can see all the flaws in this thing.  I kind of dreaded making this, and procrastinated quite a while.  It came out okay, but that doesn't mean it meets professional standards.  What looks really good on this thing - to me anyway - is what i did not do, the embroidery. 

My mother taught me to sew, and she is professional in all the sewing she does.  So, when i make something, i usually see all the flaws rather than the assets.  

I'm very happy that Duane's company is pleased with this . . . thing, but, i have a hard time looking at it.  I know exactly what it should look like if it were professionally done, and this falls very short.  I guess they want a few of these.  I told Duane that i will try a second one, but that if that one doesn't meet "professional standards" in my eyes, i would prefer to recommend someone else.  I can think of at least 2 places that would do a good job with these.

He didn't understand this at all.  I could make a little pin money on the side.  I kept trying to explain, but he didn't get it until i said, "Sweetie, imagine you wrote a computer program that works.  It works.  It works just fine.  But it isn't perfect.  The margins don't line up.  The color isn't quite right.  It works, but it isn't right.  Tell me you wouldn't be bothered every time you opened that page.  Tell me you would not be bothered if it was just okay instead of really professional."

I could tell from his face he knew just exactly what i was saying.  I've seen him work hours and hours to make web pages of things look perfect, well designed, professional.

So, i don't know where this will go.  If i do something that will be taken to stores and used in displays, i want it to look right.  If i can't make it look right, then, please take it to someone who can!

I'd ask your opinion on this, and i'd be glad to hear it, but frankly, the way i feel about my work and the quality of my work is not something anyone can change.  It doesn't go by opinion!  There are some things in my life with which i'm fine with "okay." (How well the wood is stacked in the basket by the stove doesn't matter all that much.  "Smoothing up" the bed - at home, not my MIL's - is fine.  I'm not too perfectionistic about having the forks on the "proper" side when i set the table.  Sewing a shirt or clothing for myself, something that no one else will be examining, doesn't have to be perfect/professional. So many things just don't matter all that much.)  

There are other things that need to be done right!


Down the hill

Our low last night was 16F !  It was still pretty chilly when we left around 9 AM.  

The road down the hill was simply golden in places.  The live oaks turn a yellow/gold/bronze color.

This is from last year, but this year looks much the same.  There is one curve we take that every time we come upon it (this time of year) it simply takes my breath away.  It is stunning.  

 I had fun the other night, spending a lot of time looking at old things still available from the Vermont Country Store.    My granddad always loved the soft peppermint sticks they had, instead of the rock hard sticks that are more common.  So many other older things there too, formulations of shampoo from the 70s and those funky elves that are holding their knees.  A fun place to visit.

I'm thankful that we have such a beautiful drive up and down the mountain.  I'm so very thankful for that 2 hours each way that Duane and i have together.  I'm thankful that our kitties don't mind us being gone (in fact they seem to prefer us to be away - they get regular treats that way!)  

I first saw this over at Amrita's blog, but i think it is accurate.  I'm so thankful for bloggy friends.  And i am so thankful for each and every comment.  It makes my day that y'all would take the time to speak to me.  :)

I'm thankful that i can work, if only a little bit, and that where i work does appreciate what i do.  And i am very, very thankful that my certificate arrived in the mail this morning, so i don't have to wait another week to post it at work!  :)  It is a very pretty document.  I need to get a frame so i can hang it.