Saturday, October 5, 2013

Old Friends, Old and New Cars, and This Blog

I've been very much aware that I haven't made any entries to this blog since the beginning of this year. The year got off to a very unexpected sad start due to the sudden loss of my all-time favorite guinea pig, Connor, at the end of the previous year. Before that, I again had the lofty goal of losing my excess weight this year, and I also had made plans to go on a trip that seemed made for me -- an 8-day Alaskan cruise (the week of my birthday) featuring three concerts by my favorite singer Collin Raye (and the opportunity to spend some time with him). The year took an upswing when my best friend from 7th and 8th grade in Chicago (and the teens and 20s, though we went to different high schools) found me on Facebook. I had wondered for over 20 years where and how she was. We had fun reminiscing for a few weeks, as well as sharing our both being in the Lutheran church and being yarn crafters (she had become a knitter). Then we had a falling out. After that, my '88 Mercedes, "Bianca", needed expensive repairs, and our eldest dog, Archie, age 11, needed surgery to remove cysts. Following those expenses, I very reluctantly decided I couldn't afford to go on the Alaskan cruise and would settle for a birthday trip to Portland instead. I reached out to my childhood friend to rekindle our reunion, which proceeded to go beautifully the next few months. But now....she feels hurt that I didn't readily remember certain details from our pre-teen and teen years that happened decades ago. (I don't remember everything Dianne and I did this year, let alone details from umpteen years ago. It's great that my old friend remembers so many details, and maybe I should too, but my brain just doesn't function that way.) She feels hurt to not have been mentioned on my web site or blogs, though she had been out of my life for well over 20 years. I won't go into more detail here, but she is disappointed in me and that's unfortunate, since I do care about her. The time we spent together and things we did was a huge part of my life, but she doesn't seem to believe that. She feels it's an "excuse" when I explained my full-time job involves what I call "multi-tasking on steroids" and that it takes up a large percentage of my brain cells to keep everything straight, working on about 20 events at any given time, and expected to complete them all by a certain deadline...whereas she is retired. I don't know where we go from here, and I pray God gives us both the wisdom to know what to do. I do want to remain in touch with her, but I can't handle the discord.

I did take a 3-day trip to Portland during my birthday week last month and had a much better time than 2 years ago, when I had gotten a severe migraine halfway through the trip. I ended up postponing the trip by 2 days due to thunderstorms on my original 1st and 2nd trip days, and the hotels I paid for were not refundable, but I was not going to take the trip in terrible weather. I actually took the train to Vancouver (WA), rented a Toyota Camry there, visited Camas and Washougal, WA and then drove to Portland. Realizing I still do NOT enjoy driving in Portland, I did everything the next day by foot and bus -- walked to a Lutheran church 1-1/4 miles from the hotel, took a few bus rides and walked a few neighborhoods, visited a yarn store, and by that time I'd walked at least 6 miles and had painful blisters on my foot. The foot was still hurting too much the next day to walk any more than I had to, so I just hung out in my room, then returned the car to Vancouver and waited there for the train back to Tacoma. I had one more day off work, then worked the next three, not knowing that Friday evening turned out to be the last time I would drive "Bianca". That Sunday, when I tried to get to church, she would not start. Hubby couldn't start her either, and he took me to and from the park n'ride the following week so I could get to work. He talked to our mechanic, and we made the very difficult decision that it would not be economically feasible to try to keep my beautiful car running. Her final mileage: 204,996. The following week, Wed. the 25th was the day hubby was available to take me car shopping, so I took that day off work and prayed I'd come back home with the make of car I've wanted since I first saw them...a Chrysler PT Cruiser. I loved their retro look and felt they would be such a fun car to drive and easy to handle.

Doing online research of dealers, we were very surprised to realize that the dealers in our county seemed to charge considerably more for used PT Cruisers than dealers in towns 30+ miles south of here, such as Auburn and Puyallup, so that was why I needed to take the day off to car shop. Though I was open to other cars, in my heart I KNEW I wanted a PT Cruiser. I didn't think we would buy the first and only car I test drove, but that's how it turned out. We both test drove a silver '05 Cruiser in beautiful condition (aside from a bit of paint scraped off her bumper and a missing tail light which the dealer said he would mail a replacement for) with 116,000 miles. She handles like a dream, and acts and looks new. We were able to obtain same-day financing and I drove her home that same day. I had already decided to call her "Cassie" ("Cass" for short) because the name is cute, old-fashioned, starts with C like Chrysler and Cruiser...and rhymes with chassis! We get along beautifully; I do feel she is the perfect car for me, and I pray I will get to drive her as long as "Bianca" (who was already 17 years old when we bought her) if not longer. We are hoping to sell "Bianca" to someone who is very handy with cars and would have the desire to get her running again. She is still a beautiful car and I don't want her to end up in a junkyard yet...

So now the days are getting short, and as always, I do NOT look forward to having to commute home from work in the dark. And instead of losing any weight this year, I "achieved" a new all-time high weight recently (only 2.3 lbs. more than the previous record, but still...) and surely am presently hovering right around that area. One of the original goals for this blog was a before and after weight chronicle, and while I don't want to say that will never happen, it's easy to give up hope when it's this many years (decades) with not only no progress, but going in the wrong direction. My job takes up so much of my time and I've already referred to the stress, which leaves very little time, energy or motivation to try yet again. Unless this ever changes, I am probably not going to add to this blog for the foreseeable future, concentrating instead on my crochet blog at, which I plan to continue to update about 4 times a year. I will add updates about our pets to my Furballs pages at (and to my Facebook page). If, God willing, Archie makes it to age 12 in a little over 2 months (Dec. 11), he will be our first dog to reach that age. Heidi and Tessa came within a few weeks, Colby was 11, Farley was almost 11 and our dear Gus (who had a stroke) was only 7. Our other dogs, Jesse and Susie, and our remaining guinea pigs, Patches and Pudding, are doing well.

So I guess this will be my last entry for I said, unless anything drastic happens in my life to change that. If anyone actually reads these long rambles, thanks for doing so.