Saturday, November 10, 2012

Full Circle Revisited, and A Tale of Two Friends

I didn't plan to take this long to post to this blog. It's been a disappointing year in some respects. On Nov. 1, I actually weighed a fraction of a pound more than on Jan. 1. A fraction of a pound is hardly anything. But considering I started out the year determined to finally lose 55 (or as close to that as possible), at this point, with my carb cravings as strong as ever (despite going mostly gluten-free a few weeks ago, which seems to have helped my headache frequency and insomnia, I seem to have mostly substituted one set of carbs for another), I feel this may never happen without divine intervention.

Something else I didn't expect at the beginning of this year, but which I do have peace about and feel was the right decision for me, is something I call "Full Circle Revisited". I went from a non-denominational evangelical church to a liturgical church in 2008, spent a year and a half church hopping starting in '09, and joined another non-denominational evangelical church in 2011 (due to my need for fellowship and friendships, even though the worship style was more contemporary than I felt comfortable with). time went on, I longed more and more for the peaceful, deep worship experience I had at the church I'd found in '08, with its multi-faceted liturgy, responsive readings, timeless music and kneeling up front for communion rather than "passing the plate" in the pew. I know that a lot of Christians would find this boring and vastly prefer a band up front with lyrics of "praise choruses" on a big colorful screen. I even tried to tell myself that contemporary worship is meant to be a celebration and if my heart was truly right with God, I would want to celebrate Him in that manner. But as I already knew, I guess I am not like most people and need to have the church experience that is best for ME. So I rejoined my former church two Sundays ago.

I haven't attended the non-denominational church since July, but have continued to care for and miss the people there, especially two ladies I hoped to build a close friendship with. I still hope that will be possible. But of course, it will be more challenging now that I have changed churches, and they have not tried to contact me since I last saw them in July. The weekly Tues. evening Bible study started again a few weeks ago, and the pastor's wife emphasized I would continue to be welcome there. I have not ruled out rejoining that Bible study. But when my friends (who both attend it) have not contacted me in all this time to see where and how I am, it feels a bit awkward. (And my full-time job has been so chaotic lately that I haven't felt like going anywhere any night after work, including to choir practice at the church I've rejoined.) What I may do is to attend my former church's Christmas craft night next Fri. evening, which I expect they will both be at. I want to let them know I still want to get together with them and hope we can do that, and will just see how it goes....

So after all this time, here I am back at the church I left in '08 and realized I have always missed. And similarly, after this week's election, all the campaigning and ads and anticipation of a possible new beginning, here we are back exactly where we were: same President, same Senate and same House. I (and millions of others) sure never saw this coming, especially that first item I mentioned. And thus resulted what I will call "The Tale of Two Friends". I think everyone has had an experience where you think you know someone, assumed they cared for you, but then it takes literally nothing (at least, nothing YOU did wrong) to tear you apart. Early last year, two people from my past found me on Facebook. I was thrilled to be reunited for both of them and exchanged many long letters with both of them to catch up. Prior to election day, I found something on the Facebook page of one of them that bothered me (specifically, something in favor of a President who I feel has acted contrary in every way to Christian beliefs). I asked her about it and she explained her viewpoint. While I was surprised and do not agree, I appreciated that she explained how she felt. Well....when the results were decided, I went to Facebook, expecting my other friends to feel like I did. Instead, the other person from my past thanked God for the result. This was pretty shocking to me, so I sent her what I thought was a tactful private message. I prefaced it that I love her but wondered why she felt as she did. I also stated she is entitled to her opinion but that I just didn't know why a Christian would support someone that seems so anti-Christian. Nothing inflammatory there, or so I thought. Just asking...and expecting they would want to share their feelings with me just as the other person from my past did.

I was totally unprepared for what happened next. This "friend" became VERY indignant that I would dare to question her choice. She unfriended me on Facebook and asked that I not contact her again. Wow!! I sent back a conciliatory message, explained I did not intend to offend, was just asking a question. I heard nothing back. Then late last night, I found she posted to Facebook that a "friend" sent her a "snooty judgmental message" about her vote. Double wow. I believe in forgiveness, but in retrospect, this person has hurt me very deeply and unless they apologize, I do feel it's over between us. I have never had many friends and didn't want to lose one, but her lashing out at me just because I asked her a question is uncalled for. This person has been through a lot in the past couple of years and I have tried my best to be a supportive friend to her. That she would disown me over this is stunning to me. Like I think you know someone and you assume they would care enough to discuss and try to understand any differences in opinion you may have, since that is what friends do. But it appears that will not happen. So unless God intervenes and shows her how she hurt me, I say to her, goodbye and God be with you always...

On a happier note, several nights ago I had the great privilege to spend 2 hours talking on the phone to an incredibly kind, gentle, anointed (and famous...) Christian counselor about the isolation I feel from other Christians and my need to develop close local friendships (and the difficulty that I seem to have being able to do so). I thank God for her and appreciate SO much that she chose to devote her entire radio show that night to me. Among other encouraging words and the many Scriptures she cited, she latched on to the fact that I am an expert crocheter and suggested I look into visiting women at our local nursing home who are lonely and don't tend to get visitors, and bring them a shawl or lapghan I made to let them know someone cares. This is a great idea and is something I will look into in the near future.

After I post this, I will go back to working on the 8th of 9 large (18-inch) squares of a crochet thread project, "Amaryllis Tablecloth". A picture of one of the squares pinned to the blocking mat (to stretch it into its full size and square shape) is on my current post on my crochet blog at Once all 9 squares are finished and blocked, I will stitch them together and add the edging. I hope to have it done by the end of this month (the 4-day Thanksgiving weekend will help there). After this, I hope to start looking into the possible ministry that the wonderful Christian counselor suggested. Stay tuned....

P.S. I had completed this post and realized I left out something very important! My beloved '88 Mercedes sedan, "Bianca", which I have had since (I think) 2005, passed the 200,000 mile mark 3 days ago! Yay, Bianca! Hope I get to enjoy driving her for many more thousands. It will be a sad day when I have to replace her. But so far, she is doing quite well for her age and looks much younger!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Unmet Expectations; Farewell to Pinky

Following the migraine and the severe icestorm that started out the year in January (and having lost almost 5 pounds toward my goal in spite of those stresses), once again things have reversed themselves in my previous "stronger-than-ever" resolve to achieve my weight goal THIS year once and for all. 5 months into the new year, despite posting my intentions on Facebook for accountability, I find myself 2.2 pounds heavier than I was on January 1st. Granted, this is not a lot, the way I have been (over)eating, including having polished off a SIX-pound Costco bag of my favorite craved (addicted to) snack in 10 days. But that is not the point. I have again passed a number on the scale I vowed I would NEVER see again. Why, when I know that giving in to my carb addiction is sapping what little energy I have, making me continue to feel/look like a cow and ultimately shortening my life? It's not an excuse, but with this being a true addiction, and the constant stress 24/7 between my unmanageable workload at a job I feel trapped at and coming home to the disrepair and spouse's hoarding that never changes, my choice has been to give in to the immediate comfort the excess carbs provide. I am not willing yet to give up, to say this will never change. There are 7 months left in the year and while it's highly unlikely I could still make my goal weight this year, I can make progress toward it. Whether I will remains the $64,000 question.

This is not meant to be an excuse for all the things I should do and don't, but I caught a bad cold in early March which resulted in 2 more sick days from work, then caught bronchitis in early April which resulted in one more sick day. So I had already depleted most of my sick days for the year just over a quarter of the way into the year. Thankfully -- and this IS a very good thing -- my 30+ year problem with migraines has been much more manageable so far this year. I have not had a truly bad one, the type that results in vomiting and knife-like pain for 2-3 days, since the one in January. My migraines got a lot worse last year, including two very ill-timed severe episodes that caused me to miss Dianne's dad's memorial service and ruined my vacation to Portland and Salem. So I pray this respite will continue. I'm debating whether to visit Portland again later this year for my birthday since I didn't get to enjoy last year's trip very much. I DO look forward to the one-day guided bus trip Dianne and I have planned a few weeks from now to the San Juan Islands. As relatively close as it is, I haven't visited there since the 80s. A great advantage of living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest is, if you don't have the money and time to travel far (which I don't), one can have scenic, fun and diverse getaways without venturing far. The weather has usually been great so far this spring (highs in the 60s and 70s, without much rain) so we pray that will remain the case for our trip.

I need to give a belated mini-tribute to Pinky, our pretty white albino guinea pig who passed away in the wee small hours of April 21st. We got to enjoy Pinky longer than any of our other piggies. We adopted her in Sept. 2006. We don't know what her age was at the time, but since it's said piggies live about 7 years, it appears Pinky had a pretty normal lifespan. She was a quiet but very sweet critter who loved carrots and gave us a lot of pleasure during the 5-1/2 years she was part of our household. So now we are down to three special piggies -- my precious purring, singing athlete Connor and the two pretty tortoiseshell cagemates, Patches and Pudding. We love them very much and pray we will be able to enjoy them for many more years! The doggies are all doing fine -- including Jesse, 9, who continues to amaze us with his great attitude and energy following having had his left eye removed due to cancer last fall.

I updated my crochet blog at on Memorial Day with pics and info about my latest projects, including the two cardigan sweaters (for myself and sister-in-law Val) that I spent much time grappling with crochet patterns that weren't written well and ultimately decided to make both without a pattern. They both turned out well, and it's nice to now be working on another of my fancy Barbies for my collection. I had also continued to be active on Listia, sort of a bartering version on eBay, selling crochet patterns and books and other items to gain points I then used for more patterns, purses and jewelry. I'm now taking a little break from Listia, since there is currently nothing else I need (except a new bod...). I MAY consider offering some items I've crocheted with the goal of ultimately gaining enough points for a smartphone. But I'll take the summer off and revisit that idea later in the year.

I've continued to attend and enjoy my church that it took me so long to find, despite the services still being a bit contemporary for me, and plan to become more involved there. The assistant pastor may be visiting soon and helping with a game plan to remedy things we need help with at home (especially the storm damage to our great room ceiling from back in '09 and the washer and dryer that have still never been hooked up since there is no room in our utility room) and hubby's extreme clutter compulsion....hopefully sooner rather than later since this has continued to be a major stressor for me. I missed church again today due to oversleeping and also missed last Tuesday's small group again due to the brain overload from my workload at my job (despite help from assistants, it still feels out of control). I need to try to get to my Tuesday group this week since I think we are only meeting for a few more weeks till the summer break. So....the year has not been awful but I'm disillusioned with myself and hope to have more encouraging news to report next time re the various daily battles I grapple with.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Icestorm 2012 and Other Obstacles

As often seems to be the case, January 2012 has been a weird month. Nothing really horrible happened (though that was not the case for other area people, mainly due to the weather). But it's been just annoying and cruddy enough to disrupt my usual routine and cause me to again say, "Good riddance!" I again had such high hopes of turning over a new leaf on certain bad habits from the very beginning of the year (such as staying up too late and overeating), and I've NOT given up those hopes. Not by a longshot -- I am probably even more determined now. But January, with its short, wet, windy, cold, dark days, does not provide the most conducive environment for being successful in turning such habits around. I have to believe that January must be everyone's least favorite month (at least those of us in the Western Hemisphere). It's a good thing it comes first so that we all can get it over with and move on to longer, milder days.

I already got my first major migraine of the year (the kind that force taking a sick day) the evening of January 4th and into the 5th. That was fast. I probably asked for it, since I had a fling on New Year's Eve with a certain food that I know gives me migraines if I overeat it. I only had maybe 2/3rds the usual pigout portion, but it was enough. It really does somewhat kill one's desire to eat that food, no matter how good it may taste going down. I'm finding alternatives I like almost as much that don't do that to me.

Then, after a mild winter we all hoped would continue, this area got socked but good with what has been called Icestorm 2012 -- or Icemageddon! It started slowly with an inch or so of snow in the wee hours of Sun. the 15th -- just enough to where hubby recommmended I not try to drive to church in my 24-year-old, rear wheel drive Mercedes. He drove me to the ferry dock and back the next two days so that I could get to work and get back home. Then, the night of Tues. the 17th into the next day, we got at least 6 inches (and many parts of the Metro area got much more -- thankfully, rare for western Wash.) With the hills here, even 6 inches make it pretty impossible to get around, even in a Jeep. So I got snow days off work the next two days. I liked that part, though I now only have 3 more vaca days till they replenish in May. He was able to get me to the dock and back again on Friday -- and the bosses were impressed that I made it in when most of the staff who live in the same town as my office didn't.

By now, the snow was gradually (VERY gradually) melting during the day when it got into the 40s. But this led to a whole new problem when the roads would refreeze into smooth sheets of ice overnight. My church's annual chili cookoff, which was to have been held that Friday the 20th, was postponed one week, and Dianne and I mutually agreed it would be best to wait a week for me to drive the 38 or so miles to visit her, even if I could have gotten my car out (which, however, was still encrusted in ice). Hubby did not have to work the following Sun. the 23rd (rare), so we got to go to church in his Jeep -- where I got a taste of what I was about to experience the next morning. Though they had apparently spread salt, the parking lot was still very icy and treacherous to try to walk on.

Hubby still had to take me to the dock and back for work till this past Thurs. -- that's how long the snow and ice finally took to melt. That Monday was the worst of the icy roads. There were several bad traffic accidents from the black ice on the roads, and when I got off the bus to walk the 3 blocks to my office -- wearing my so-called traction soled shoe boots -- I may as well have been wearing ballet slippers for the total lack of traction I was able to get! After trying it for 1/2 block, I realized if I was going to get to the office without falling (several time), I would have to flag down a car and have them take me the remaining 2-1/2 blocks -- which I did. Thankfully, it stayed above freezing the next night, so that was the only day I had to go through that.

Even though the weather was much better by yesterday, Dianne and I were stressed from dealing with the elements the past week and a half and decided to wait one more week to get together. I looked forward to attending the chili cookoff, since one year ago, that was when I met several wonderful people at church and decided I may need to give this church (which was much more contemporary than I was seeking) another look. I also planned to take a run over to Dollar Tree, and of course, to church today. Instead, I was inside AGAIN the entire weekend. When I got to the park n'ride on Friday, I was surprised to see"Bianca's" (my car) left parking light on -- just the one side light -- as I distinctly remembered turning her lights off that morning. I got a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach what this would mean when I got in to start her up -- and sure enough.....nothing. No Good Samaritans were around to help me; they were all concentrating on one thing and that was going home. So I called hubby at work, waited 1/2 hour while realizing I would either not get to the cookoff or be very late....and he could not start her with his jumper cables. So.....he called AAA. Another half-hour waiting for them. The man examined her and said it WAS her battery; he did get her started with his truck but recommended I not drive her beyond the three miles home till the battery is replaced. Hubby had to work all weekend (as usual) and had no chance to get a battery, so no DollarTree and no church today. I said, nothing tragic but just stressful enough to make me feel like doing not a whole lot at home besides crocheting in front of the tv. (And I did get my crochet blog,, updated today also with my latest creations.) At least my fingers are getting exercise!

The pooches and other critters are doing OK. Jesse is hanging in there well after the traumatic experience of our having to have his eye removed late last year. I vowed at the beginning of this year that as much as I long to travel this year (with my Portland/Salem trip being ruined last June by a migraine), I would instead concentrate this year on getting healthier, exercising, eating less, and paying down credit card debt instead of adding even more to it with train or plane and hotel bills. I still absolutely have this game plan but like I said, January does not lend itself well to health decisions -- especially the January that included Icestorm 2012!