Monday, March 9, 2009

The Winter That Never Ends

Well, I didn't intend to let several weeks go by again without posting here. I also would not have expected that when I finally posted again on March 9th, the hard winter we've gone through this season would still be continuing. Like Rex has often said, "I left Chicago to get away from this stuff!" The snow that fell Saturday night and again today didn't stick, but the fact that it did even snow (and came down hard for awhile there) and the lows are still in the low 20s, with spring only 12 days away on the calendar, has not been expected or welcomed, and has made this feel like the winter that never ends. We went to Daylight Savings Time yesterday, so I should be walking now in the evenings from the dock to the park n'ride, which I haven't been able to do since late Oct. due to the darkness, as well as walking from there to the dock in the mornings. But it's just been too darn cooooold! I imagine there will come a day this summer when it will get up around 90 (which thankfully is rare but does happen), and 20's with even a little snow will sound refreshing. But I am far from that point. I want SPRING!! At least we don't live in Snohomish County up north, where they got a few inches of the white stuff. And I do like that's it's light out now till after 7:00.

Several things have happened since I posted last. We received word that Rex's dear sister Val's husband Joe passed away on Jan. 28th at age 71. It wasn't a total shock, since we knew Joe had been battling cancer for several years. But I felt so badly for Val, who survived a heart attack last year, and who we couldn't afford to travel 2,000 miles to KY to be with her. I E-mailed her and told her I wanted to make her a Barbie angel and to please let me know what color hair and dress she'd like. At that time I'd made two angels for myself and a third that I'd decided to give Dianne for her birthday in Feb. Val said she would like a blonde with a blue dress. I'll eventually get pictures of all the Barbie angels placed on crochet page #4 on my site. But I'll go ahead and post Val and Dianne's angels here:

This is Val's angel. I was really pleased with how she turned out. Rex and I never knew Joe very well; he always kept to himself, really quite opposite of her. But they were married for a lot of years, so I know they had a great marriage.

The day after Joe died, we lost another of our sweet little guinea pigs, Meg. She was the one that, based on what I read online about agoutis (which was actually what she was; a South American relative of a guinea pig), I thought would outlive all the others. They are supposed to be much longer-lived than guinea pigs, but (if the age we were told when we adopted her was accurate), she was only 4. As with the other piggies we've lost suddenly in the past year, we don't know what went wrong. She was quite inactive compared to the other piggies, but we attributed that to her having a calmer nature and not to anything being wrong. So now we are down to six piggies, which thankfully all seem fine, including Meg's cagemate Rosie. I once again regret still not having gotten around to taking pictures of the piggies, even though I will never forget how each of them looked and acted, so I could share them on my "furballs 3" page on my site. I definitely need to do that before we lose any more.

Three of our four precious dogs are also fine. However, our Colby is beginning to show signs of aging. We know he is at least 11, since his estimated age was 4 when we adopted him 7 years ago (2/26/02) as a stray, and we also know he is very overweight. Lately, he has experienced stiffness in his back legs and sometimes gets stuck when trying to climb back up the three front steps to come back inside. We have to get behind him and lift his back legs slightly so that he can get up the steps. He also sometimes whimpers, which he didn't use to do, and we hope he's not in pain. We pray he doesn't wind up like Farley, who lost total usage of his back end when he was not yet 11 and we had to have him put to sleep. We're not ready to say goodbye to Colby yet.

Dianne and I had a great day together on Sat., Feb. 14th for her birthday. She wanted to go to Vashon Island, which she had never been to, but which I've seen 5 days a week since May '06 since, of course, I work there. But I figured it would be fun to go on a weekend and know I didn't have to rush back to the office, and it was. I told Dianne her timing was amazing, since the quilting store in town had just expanded and moved to the main business strip, and she has gotten into quilting the past couple years. So of course, we spent some time in that store and others, had a nice meal at the Green Ginger (my favorite restaurant on the island), and did some lovely sightseeing at Point Robinson lighthouse and Gold Beach. There is still much of the island we didn't get to see, so we will go back another time. Afterwards we went back to her home and crocheted, and she opened her presents from me which included a beautiful beaded evening bag I found on eBay (which she used for her birthday dinner with her family the next day) and the Barbie angel pictured below.

I now have also completed three angels for myself and started the fourth and what may be the final one. I have several other lovely Barbies to crochet for but will move on to other types of fancy outfits for them, including the bride I hope to complete later this year. I also want to crochet clothes for my 4 16 to 18" girl dolls and my newborn-size baby boy doll. I just acquired the 4th 18" girl doll; I found an imitation American Girl doll on eBay for a great price and she arrived today. She has red hair and is very pretty. I may take a break from the Barbies and create an outfit for her next.

In a long line of firsts at my new church (which I officially joined on Feb. 1st), I experienced my first Lenten service last Wednesday, and my first Ash Wednesday service the week before. I love going to a church where we observe Ash Wednesday, Lent and Advent. I continue to marvel at how beautiful and meaningful the Lutheran services are and how much they minister to me. I just wish Rex felt the same. It's still all a bit too different for him. I just donated 7 scarves and 4 hats to my church; the proceeds for the sales of any of them will go to the Relay for Life cause (cancer prevention). I will be walking in the wee small hours in this relay with a team from church. More on that when the time comes! Dianne and I are also supposed to be going on the trip to Long Beach, WA that we had to postpone last year, in mid-May, at which time I expect to be at my job three years. Hard to believe, after all those years of temp jobs, wrong jobs and layoffs. This job has been very stressful at times, but I like most of what I do there and it pays the bills (and it beats having to get up at 5:45 or earlier which I had to do for years - though I may still eventually need to do that again one day - but it's been nice to have a break from that schedule, especially with my insomnia getting worse in recent years. Speaking of which, it's 1:00 and I need to at least try to get some sleep now....).