I'm OK. I really am. It's funny how there are certain, unexpected times in your life that you thought would be - I don't know, terrible or depressing and strangely - they are not. Fifty has turned out to be one of my better moments I think - I look my age but inside - I feel 24. Right now, right here I feel happy. I'm not rich, not poor, my house is just right. My weight is almost where I'd like it, my cat is the best cat in the universe and I like my little corner of the world. Not that everything is perfect mind you - I worry about Adam getting out of the navy and Jackson being in Afghanistan, Claw the Evil cat spends her days sleeping in the root cellar and I think it will not be long now. Not a day goes by that I don't miss Setsu and Mikio or think of them - I still can't figure out how I could forget that I liked peanut butter at some point in my life when I can't even remember ever eating it. But I get the privilege of being fifty - being young enough to go hiking and old enough to spend the weekend sitting and knitting. I'm young enough to enjoy my job and find it exciting - and old enough to know how to do it. I get to be past all the very bad stuff, it's way back there in my rear view and I look to the future of puttering about, trips to Ohio - when I mean to and when I -oops! - didn't mean to - life is no longer a race but a canoe in the river. I enjoy feeling safe. I have no idea what the future holds - will our money hold out, will the economy stagger and sink? Am I going to be healthy? Or not? Will I run out of yarn before I run out of time? I could ponder and worry, but right now I just don't want to - this weekend I'm on call so I can't go hiking (no cell service in the woods) - but I'm going to be putting my knitting book collection up on my new bookshelves that David built for me, I'll walk the dog and go grocery shopping. I'll read and knit, knit and read, watch TV and talk to David. It's not always true but sometimes, sometimes happiness is in your own backyard. And more importantly - if you find happiness you need to appreciate it for what it is, because it goes away much faster than it comes.
Mom and Fred were the first Official Subjects Of Hostessing, they visited Janet and Diane first and then made their way to our house. I must have given good directions as they arrived no worse for the wear. We had a very good time and except for a few little bumps and bobbles it went pretty well. Fred is unable to walk too far due to his spinal stenosis so we went to the Gallitan Wilderness House which is historic but is a limited amount of walking. I would like to say here that if people visit us again and wish to drive around the country side it might behoove everyone involved to take their water pills AFTER we get back and that's all I'm saying. We did the Boston Beanery and I had my beloved Beanwich - I spent about 20 minutes picking all the tiny bits of bacon out but believe me, if you ever come to West Virginia and go to the Beanery have that for lunch - you'll be hooked forever. They left yesterday morning and I went back to the Salt Mines. David is now working down the list, we were approved for a home equity loan but that doesn't mean we need to spend the entire thing so we have a list of things we want to complete the house. For now. We'll be shopping for a new stove this weekend, the one that came with the house the owner's son had thought it didn't shut right. Actually what it does is sneaky incinerates your food every time you leave the room. I put frozen pizza in there last Friday and it was like cooking. cooking, coooookking..... then when I left the room it magically transported the pizza to the Fiery Pits Of Hell and back so when I checked on it I discovered we were having hockey pucks. Three pizzas later we had dinner. David is doing the bookshelves this week, we are extending the driveway - we're buying bedroom furniture but that's when we find something we like so it's no hurry. Most of it is small stuff - a kitchen faucet, a new dresser, maybe new counter tops, maybe not. We're also considering a swimming pool but that will be in the summer and we'll revisit that then. We've started looking for another dog, we might wait until spring if we don't find one we want, warmer weather is better for puppies and babies anyhow. I'm on call for the first time this week, not looking forward to it but it tends to be a necessary evil in my part of the world.
I love LOVE graveyards - the more remote, the older, the more Gothic I'm there! I feel about headstones, crypts and mausoleums the same way some would view the Louvre or the Mona Lisa. The thought and care that was put into the construction and the amazing artwork leaves me wandering amongst the dead in open admiration. I stopped at a mausoleum, it's a place where there are no markers, just flat little names on stone. In order to dress it up they stick fake bunches of flowers in plastic cones all over which makes it look a bit like Tacky Land but that would be one woman's opinion. There was a big structure in the middle which I assume houses the Hoity Toity Bunch - it was super pretty. I parked behind it and tried the door - score! - it was open. It had a pink puffy couch in one corner, some pew like seating and pulpit. I considered having my lunch there instead of in my car (I was out seeing patients) but I think the people in the office were peeking at me. I had a 50/50 chance of being able to eat in peace and I did have a back up plan that if someone came to see what I was doing I would kick my lunch under the couch and look all pious and stuff. I would have to pick and memorize a name on the Wall Of Our Dearly Departed so I could pretend to be grieving or something but then that would most likely be going to far so I just did a little bit more of peeking about and off I went. To Work. Did too. Yes I did. Shut up. I saw a couple more patients and then had a little time before the next one and I found another graveyard - with three crypts all in a row. One had a broken door that looked like you could push it open....... BONUS!! Oh yes I did - are you kidding?? When opportunity knocks, well you should open the door. And I super did! It was just like I thought it would be but fancier. All the coffin shelves where made of marble and the entire interior was lined in white marble too. There were no coffins by the way, I have no idea - maybe they didn't pay their rent or moved on to a fancier piece of real estate. And that got me to wondering - if I bought a grave plot right now, would it be mine to use until I passed on to that Great Yarn Shop In The Sky? Could I eat my lunch there? Read? Take a nap or better yet - camp for the weekend? Would I just own the top or would I get to utilize all the way down six feet? Would I have to put my gravestone up - I would rather have something cheerier before the Big Event. And since I'm planning on being cremated could I sublet it? If I built a crypt of my own with little windows it would be a great place to get away from it and since most crypts have little air holes it would be perfect. And I have no idea why they have little air holes but I'm sure there's a good reason. ZOMBIES!
I was thinking of you all day today - it's a shame we've given all this lip service about bullies - and yet nothing changes. I won't give you another It Will Get Better speech - we both know it will, I told you that and so did your aunt. It's that crappy middle getting to the better part. The mean kids seem to know who to target - Priscilla certainly did. For 3 years I had to use the bathroom in the nurse's because that stupid bitch and her sidekick would lay in wait for me - along with the locker room, hallways, when the teacher wasn't looking, two against one most of the time - and given the fact she outweighed me by at least 50 pounds never a fair fight. Everyone knew and no one tried to help. She wasn't the only one - but she was the most persistent - and it was at a time in my life I really didn't need anyone to make me feel worse about myself - I had been told from the time I could remember I was nothing and worthless - and that was at home - I just didn't have the self esteem to fight back. So I won't tell you to keep your chin up or other crap you don't need to hear. I will tell you what I did - and you can do with it what you want. Find a couple of teachers you trust - mine were Mrs. Brisel, Mrs. Ringers and Coach Fitz. They listened and even helped me - they gave me a reason to keep coming to school. Try to stay where they can't get to you - and I'm not just talking about physical damage - those kids tend to keep their mouths shut in front of adults - they're not stupid you know. It won't stop it but it will help cut down on the crap. Join the school newspaper or something like that - everyone fits in there. And use your guidance counselors - they're a great sounding board at times. I had two (I was only supposed to have one, but given my circumstances both of them made sure I could see them). When the shit hit the fan, one of them had me placed in a group home on an emergency admit - I'm not recommending it, but at the time it saved me. And stay away from drugs - I know I know - taking drugs probably won't keep you living in Allys as an adult but it will delay you from succeeding. I got into that briefly and then I not only had to deal with personal and social problems but then I had to deal with that on top of the mountain of problems I couldn't deal with in the first place.And make a few friends - good ones that mean something. Once I hooked up with Liz, Richard and Kim my life got so much better. Then we attracted more friends - then we had people that wanted to be friends with US - go figure. I guess what I really want to say to you is what I wish someone had said to me - that it will end when you graduate. When you get out of that microbe and leave it will disappear faster than a library fine, it will be yesterday's news. Concentrate on getting your grades good enough to get the hell out or get into the service - every day you go is another day down. You'll go on and you won't forget - none of us ever do. But the real friends you make in that school will have your back forever.
Today was the farthest we've ever walked, Pearl and I did 3 and a 1/2 hours, we were dragging it back to the car, but I was so proud of us! My legs are killing me because we did not take the easy paths either - well at least not easy for me, Pearl is another story. Pearl was off the leash for most of the walk as we went early and we had the place to ourselves, she enjoys it so much more when she can run - she darts around and harasses the chipmunks relentlessly. She's doing better people-wise too, we saw two joggers and she ran to the them - but to visit, not because she was scared. I did have to remind her she did not know one of the joggers as she started jogging after him, much to his amusement. She is still waiting for Gabe, it's not as intense as it was, but it's so sad - there's nothing you can do about it but let time take care of it. But she's a busy dog between hiking and hunting season starting soon - and David came home with the news today he was asked to do some guiding next week at the local hunting preserve - she'd better eat her Wheaties! We got approved for the home equity loan so we'll be putting in the electric fence - and then maybe then, we can think about getting Pearl a live in friend. We're excited too because now we can finish the house the way we want to. We've learned that being debt free is nice, but buying cheap and then replacing it later down the road just ends up costing more money - you're better off borrowing and just paying it all off once instead of twice. I finished the socks I've been working on and balled up the yarn I bought on my vacation last year. it's a 60% pima cotton 40% merino wool mix from Peru - now I have to find a project for it. This is a little different because I want to make a shawl out of it BUT I only have exactly 900 yards so the project will have to fit the yarn. And I can't buy more as it's a specific dye lot - made once, never again. In progress on my diet - I've hit a wall, not only have I not lost anything in the past two weeks but I gained a pound. I know I've plateaued but that doesn't make it any easier - you feel like you've done all this work for nothing. And I know I've lost steadily but I guess the big issue is I was only 7 pounds away from my goal - so I have to regroup and go on. Dammit.
Pearl and I stayed home today for the first time in a month - the weather this weekend has been grey, cold and rainy. Pearl continues to watch Gabe's house, she either sits on the hill or lays on the property line, gently watching. She plays of course, but always stops to look for him. But like with us, it will fade eventually. Not being able to go to the park today didn't help - but we will go next week. I did a lot of cooking today, I try to make at least a couple of meals ahead of time so that during the week we can just pop them in the oven when I get home. David is 80% done with the master bedroom - I'll take pictures later in the week. He painted it a mustard gold color and with the white ceiling it looks amazing - it's actually the same as this blog. He's got to install the fans and lighting next and then we'll be up there. There's a few more things that need to be done but it will have to wait for now. I'll be glad when my stuff comes back out, my books and things. Right now everything is still stored - my clothes are in the walk in closet but I'm still missing a few things. Work on Monday, still working on the sock, nothing much. I heard from Jackson, he got the care package we sent and we will be sending another one of course. We sent him snacks and magazines, his hat that he loves, this and that. It's hard with him so far away for so long - we did it with Adam so it's not a new thing, but it's difficult when you know you won't see them for a year or two.
It was finally time for the Buckwheat Festival - and the day of course dawned Dark and Gloomy with Intermittent Spats Of Rain. The temp has dropped down so much we have the heat on, but I'm certainly grateful I HAVE heat now! We parked at the church - $5 a car and then headed in for buckwheat pancakes. All of the churches, firehouses, etc charge for parking and it goes to that facility so you don't mind paying. The breakfast is all you can eat but if you've ever had a buckwheat pancake you can't eat much so they make out well with that. It was fun walking around the fair grounds, looking at the 4-H farm animals and seeing who won a prize for the best in show, etc. 4-H is pretty big around here and the way it's done is you get two animals, one to raise as your show animal and the other to raise and give back to 4-H. They sell it and buy more animals for other 4-H kids to raise, at least that's the way it was explained to me years ago. I bought buckwheat flour for Ray and Ramp Wine for myself - I'm very curious about how it will taste! I saw the knitting exhibits and I have to say I could have won it hands down! Next year I will win it - the entries had to be in by the end of April so it was too late for me but it's on my list for next year. I did manage to stay on my diet, I've lost over 25 pounds so far and have only about 5 (or so) to go. The last few pounds are the hardest - before it was sliding off, now it's going ounce by ounce. I guess however it goes is okay - as long as it goes. On the way back we stopped at one of my favorite farm stands, when I was a visit nurse I was there every other week at least. It's so inexpensive and you can buy all sorts of stuff! We just sort of meandered home after that, a little here, a little there. I did some knitting in the car, I'm almost halfway thru sock number two and am sort of plotting what my next project will be. I have some wonderful blue yarn I'd like to knit a shawl with - I know I have 900 meters so I have to sort of match the yarn to a pattern because I know I can't get anymore of it. Pearl is still mourning her friend Gabe - she doesn't know what happened to him of course and that makes it harder. When we go outside she stands and stares at his back porch as if she can will him to come out. She snuck over there this morning and was looking for him, he had a favorite spot under the porch. She has not quite realized he won't be coming back, I guess it takes awhile. We are playing around again with the idea of getting another dog but we're going to wait until we can think clearly. I know Gabe was not ours, but we saw him everyday since we've moved in - if he wasn't on my back porch peeking in and wagging his tail waiting for his friend to come out, Pearl was over there on his back porch. He will be greatly missed.