Monday, August 31, 2015

A Happy Cat

Dear John,
Thank you for praying for the cat. About half an hour after I asked you to, he started getting better. I called the vet this morning, and instead of bringing him in, they had me pick up some antibiotics. I got them over my lunch break, came home and gave him one before I went back to work, and he was his normal self when I got home after work. Right now he's draped over my legs, purring his little heart out.
He was so glad to feel better tonight! After I got home, fed them and myself, changed clothes, and sat down, Hunter came and shared a prolonged affection attack with me. He head-butted me, purred, rubbed, and nuzzled. Then he curled up in my lap and when to sleep. I'm very happy and relieved to see him so much better. He's eating and drinking well tonight, too. He has two weeks of antibiotics to take. I'll keep you posted on the pill-taking issue. So far, so good.
Thanks again for praying for him. Sometimes I forget to ask you to pray for things. I'm used to you praying for me, and I know that you still do. But I can ask you when there's something special like a sick cat. I'll try to be better at remembering that.
Adore you,

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Where Prayer is a Local Call

Dear John,
Thank you - no nightmares last night. I got a good night's sleep with normal dreams. It was nice.
Please pray tonight for Hunter. He has another bladder infection, poor kitty. Late last night I picked him up. He wasn't purring, which is odd. Then he shifted in my hands and started crying. I put him down and he licked his bottom and cried for about ten minutes, then peed some pink urine. Today he's still eating and drinking - otherwise, I'd have had him to the vet ER in Fort Wayne - and peeing in small, frequent amounts. He's spent most of the day in our closet cuddled up on the carpet. Bless the other cats, they've been going in and checking on him and grooming him every little while. As with the last bladder infection, Jethro just wants to sniff his rear.
It's so hard to see him feel bad and not be able to fix it right away! I love this cat so much. This morning I texted Danielle and told her I'd be taking lunch whenever I can get him in to see June tomorrow. She said she'd put two of us at the drive-up so I could be gone whenever I needed to. I promised them I'd never need maternity leave, but I never said anything about veterinary emergencies. It's wonderful that everybody is so nice about it, since I don't have anyone else that can take them to the doctor.
It's time to turn out the lights. Jethro is asleep on my feet, Maggie in the windowsill, Hunter under the bed, and Abby going back and forth between the front window and checking on Hunter. Thank you for your prayers. You can pray so much better now, it being a local call and all.
Love you so, so much,

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Afraid to go to Sleep

Dear John,
Once again, we need to talk about your visits. Last night I had one of the worst nightmares of my life. I do believe there are better ways for you to get your points across to me.
I dreamed that you were sick and dying - of heart failure, like you really did - but you wouldn't let go of life. You were working so hard to stay alive - like you really did - and you were suffering so. I asked why you were fighting death so hard, and you said it was because you didn't want to leave me - just like you really did. I told you to think about the kind of life we'd have if it was taking that much struggle for you to stay alive and that, much as I wanted to have you here, it made me unhappy to see you suffer. So I told you to go ahead and leave, that I'd be okay, and that I'd be there with you before you knew it. Then I watched you die - just like you really did.
It was one of those dreams that followed me. An indication of how much it bothered me is that I didn't tell anybody about it all day. But tonight I realized that this dream may be healthy and important. It's still about your death, and that's an awful nightmare. But instead of fighting it, I was telling you to leave your suffering behind and move on. I've always known in my head that your death was the best thing for you; now it seems that I know that on a deeper level.
Was this awful nightmare a good thing? Maybe it was. I'm still learning this new world of widowhood so I don't really know. But it feels like a healthier dream than my many other nightmares. In any case, can we just do something fun tonight? No death, disease, or cataclysm involved? It's almost midnight and I'm a little afraid to go to sleep. Come and cuddle with me tonight.
Love you more than life,

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Screens, Dustpans, & Benadryl

Dear John,
I've had a lovely day off. I took Jethro in for his yearly vet visit today. He is at his ideal weight, and June says he's very fit and muscular. And his teeth are perfect. He's a healthy, happy dog.
After I got back, I took two of the screens out of the windows and had the hardware store re-screen them. Well, not the store itself. JJ and Dave. But you know what I mean. It's lovely to have intact screens in the windows. I have one more to get done, but it isn't as bad as those two were. They got clawed up one day when Murphy decided that he absolutely had to get to Abby. I came home to find him hanging from the living room screen by all four feet, yowling at Abby, while she spat and hissed at him. Unrequited love, I suppose, like Abby's for Jethro. We have so much drama here.
I made my monthly Goshen shopping trip today, and I found the most wonderful thing. I got one of those long-handled dust pan/broom sets. When I got home, I took about two minutes with it, walked around the house and swept up the animal hair from the usual places, and it looks wonderful. It will help keep the house clean and tidy between cleanings. I'll probably use it every day in the workroom. Hunter has decided he has to have an open litter box - he's really too big for a closed one - and he kicks litter all the way across the room.
So this is a good time for a visit! We are mosquito-free and there's no cat litter on the floors! And I'm tired and happy after having a lovely, domestic day. Jethro is sleeping off his shots and the cats are in the windowsills. I'll be taking Benadryl again tonight - I got bitten twice by a spider at work yesterday, and my right wrist is red and swollen and very itchy. Don't worry - I'm keeping an eye on it and taking Benadryl when I can.
I'm off to bed now. Do come and visit me tonight if you can. I love and miss you immense amounts.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Ginger, Mary Ann, or Annie Savoy?

Dear John,
On the way home from work today I heard The Year of the Cat. Of course, it always reminds me of our last year of college. But today it knocked something else loose in my head. So I've been thinking about an inner struggle I had that I never told you about.
I'm clearly Mary Ann and not Ginger, and I'm glad. But there were times I wanted to be, as Annie Savoy said in Bull Durham, exotic and mysterious. When I listen to songs like The Year of the Cat, or Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands, or anything by Stevie Nicks, I feel inadequate. I'm about as exotic and mysterious as a gingham apron. And I know that you like me that way. But there's still this little voice in my head telling me that I'm less than I should be.
I've always ignored that voice, first, because, as Popeye the Sailor said, I am what I am and that's all that I am; second, because you didn't want Ginger or Annie Savoy, you wanted Mary Ann. You wanted a woman who could hold an intelligent conversation on theology and then go and plumb the kitchen sink, who you could trust with a credit card,  and who knew what to do with a bushel of green beans. Your favorite lingerie was long flannel nightgowns - that says it all.
Bless you, you wanted just what I am. I didn't have to change for you, and I never wanted you to change. So I'll listen to those songs and know that you love me just like I am. Exotic, mysterious women make good songs, but they probably make lousy wives. I tried to be a good wife, and I know that you thought I was. I could have been better. But I made you happy, and that is what matters. I'm gingham and flannel, and I'm glad.
Thank you for wanting what I am. Thank you for being what I want. I like the symmetry.
Love you so much,

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Letter About Letters

Dear John,
I need to talk to you about something that makes me a bit uncomfortable. So sit down and prepare to help me figure out what's going on in my head. You've always been good at that, and I need you to do it again.
I've noticed that my letters to you have changed. That isn't surprising - I've been writing to you for well over three years, and so much has changed during that time. I've been trying to figure out just what is different. It's not the way I feel about you; it's not that I wouldn't give everything in this world to be with you. It's not emotion; it's subject matter.
What I talk about to you is different than it was three years ago. I spend more time now telling you about what's going on in my life. Maybe I was doing that from the beginning; maybe it was just that what was going on was largely processing of the past. I still talk to you about things that happened to us years ago, but not as often. And, on reflection, it seems that our conversations are getting more normal.
We always talked - for hours and days and years. We could easily talk for all eternity, and I hope we do. Every night we sat down together and told each other about our day. And that's what I'm doing now. I tell you about work and friends and family and the household and the animals and current events. I send you diatribes and reminiscences and ruminations and hopes and fears and plans and complaints. And it's all just like it used to be when you were here. The only thing is that I can't hear your end of the conversation. I know what you'd say to almost everything I tell you, but I don't get to hear about your day. That may be just as well - if I could hear you tell about being in Heaven, it would make it so much harder to stay here.
Thank you - you've made me feel a lot better. I've been feeling guilty about this, and you've helped me to see that it's not a change but a return to normal. You're probably glad; it must have been hard for you to hear how much pain I was in those first couple of years and know you couldn't fix it. It has to be nicer for you to hear that I love my job and the bills are paid and the animals love me and each other. I love and miss you no less. But I'm getting better at living this strange, new life. So our conversations are more like they always were. And that is good. Thanks for helping me understand.
Adore you,

Yarn & Bedtime Warmth

Dear John,
Today was one of the most beautiful days I've ever seen. Excuse me - yesterday was. It's past midnight now. But it's still a lovely night.
It was in the 70s with low humidity, mostly sunny with a few clouds. Perfect day. I got up early, ran errands, did a bit of housework, had some social time, took a nap, walked the dog, and knitted.
The knitting provided the excitement of the day. I made a mistake on the heel and had to take the whole heel out to fix it. Then I started on the foot and found another mistake where the foot meets the heel. I left it and came to bed. I'm too tired to be trusted with sharp, pointy objects. I'll fix it tomorrow, after I've had a good night's sleep.
We've been having lovely nights. It's been in the low 50s and, since it's me, the house is open. So I've slept the last two nights in a flannel nightgown. It's wonderful to snuggle under the covers in flannel, with just my head out in the cool night air. All the critters help keep the bed warm, too. But not like you did! You put out so much heat. I'd snuggle up to you in the winter and keep my distance in the summer.
Our nights are going to stay cool. I could use your warmth at night. Come by if you can - cuddle with me again on a cool night. The animals will gladly make room for you.
Miss you,

Thursday, August 20, 2015

On All Kinds of Security

Dear John,
My biopsy result was finally run to earth. It showed a fibroma, so normal. Much ado about nothing. I have to have a follow-up mammogram in six months. Joe was incensed about the confusion and the system of notification in general. I didn't bother to tell him what happened with your lung biopsy. While we're quoting probably-de Vere, all's well that ends well.
I worked my half-day today and went to Elkhart to the Social Security office after work. My income is well below the level that would keep me from collecting your full Social Security. Yours now is three-quarters of my current income. I have an appointment next month to go over and file for it. I could have filed today, but I have to bring our marriage certificate and my birth certificate. I can get yours until I retire, then I can file for yours or mine, whichever is more. If I work until I'm 66, mine will be almost three times what I'm making now. So at that point I'll switch over from yours to mine.
So I should be okay. I'll start getting yours in November - maybe December, since my birthday is late in the month. I can put half into savings and half toward the mortgage, and have the mortgage paid off by the time I retire. And in about a year I'll have replaced the money I will spend on the new roof.
It's a little funny. The Social Security people say that it will pay you about 40% of your current income. That seems to be based on the assumption that you will make more money later in life. But I'm the exception. I used to make about twice what I do now. So Social Security will pay me much more than I'll be making at retirement.
It will be nice to have some security as I get older. We saved, we invested my inheritance, then lost almost three-quarters of it when the economy crashed and spent the rest taking care of you your last year. I'm glad we had it when we needed it. But I ended up at zero. Which is much better than ending up in debt - the only debt I had when you died, and still the only debt I have, is the mortgage. I've achieved solvency and been able to put a little back. I'm glad to not have to worry about the future.
So know that I will be okay. And the people at the Social Security office were wonderful to me. People are so kind to widows. And that is nice, since the one inconsiderate action of your life was leaving me here by myself.
Oh, I forgot. On the way home I stopped at the Dunlap Verizon store and got my new phone. I got an I-Phone 6 - it's the 5 on steroids. It's faster with more memory, but the important thing is that it's a little bigger and I can play Sudoku without reading glasses. With my average usage - since I run the phone off the Wi-Fi when I'm at home - I could get the cheapest plan. It will save me about forty dollars a month. I'm very happy about it.
So I'm taken care of in lots of ways. My phone number is the same, so you have no excuse for not calling or texting me. Send me some pictures! I'd love a photo of Mama and Daddy, and my grandparents. Give them a hug for me.
Sleep good, and know that I adore you,

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Have You Seen Me?

Dear John,
I'm having the strangest medical issue. You won't believe this one.
After the biopsy, the mammo people told me to call my doctor if I hadn't heard results from them by Tuesday. Today was Wednesday, a week from the biopsy, so I called. They said they hadn't gotten any results from the mammo people and said they'd call them and get back to me. After waiting a couple of hours, I called the mammo people myself. And - get this - they couldn't find any record of my biopsy.
I know I had it done. I can show them the steri-strips if they'd like. And I have the titanium chip they implanted. And the bill. It really was done. They're looking into it. I hope they eventually find it. They removed all of it
, so there's nothing left to re-biopsy.
This, of course, reminds me of the debacle surrounding your lung biopsy in 2011, the one that was supposed to pin down the genetic variation you had so that chemo could be tailored to it. The mass was in a very vascular area of the lung - they hit a rather large blood vessel - you ended up getting your lung drained and two units of packed cells - and we waited for the results. And waited. And kept waiting. After six weeks of waiting, we finally found out that the sample they took was too bloody to send and there was no biopsy done. Lack of communication delayed your chemo a month and a half.
It ended up not mattering, because it wasn't the cancer that killed you. It was the damage done by radiation for the first cancer when you were nineteen. If that had not been the case, I would have involved lawyers. I hope this lost biopsy is settled in less that six weeks. It's so unbelievable that it's funny. If they can't find it, I suppose we'd go to a PET scan next. And they'll eat the cost.
I'll keep you posted on my missing biopsy. Maybe we should put it on the side of a milk carton. And now I'm remembering Crow's Halloween costume of MST3K. I'll take that into consideration!
Missing but not entirely lost,

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Everyone Belongs in the Kitchen

Dear John,
I've been thinking about how much I like the kitchen. And so I'm remembering how it got to be this way. And that, like everything else, involves thinking about you.
We never wanted or intended to build a house. After all, we like old houses, so why would we ever build a new one? When we moved here we had no choice. So build we did. We needed three bedroom and two baths, and picked the only floor plan with a front porch. And here we are.
Since we built, we got to design our own kitchen. We got oak cabinets, beige countertop, and beige appliances - in style back then. But a few years ago the appliances were all dying and the countertop was coming unglued - literally - so it was time to make changes. We went with black appliances and countertop, and changed out the brass hardware for oil-rubbed bronze. At the same time I replaced all the overhead lights in the house with schoolhouse-style in oil-rubbed bronze. We had already redone the floor. It all went together perfectly.
It made so much difference that I don't think we ever convinced your mother that we hadn't replaced the cabinets. We loved it, and I still do. The layout of the kitchen is great, and even better since we had the island built about ten years ago. I'm glad we got the over-the-stove microwave when we replaced the appliances. I use the old microwave shelf for the toaster, since there's an electric outlet there.
Not much has changed since you left. Hanging in the window is the glass flower we got in that little shop in Holland. I got new curtain this summer. You'd like them - they're blue and green and yellow plaid. There are a couple of new things on the fridge door, but the magnets are all the same. There are potatoes and onions in Mama's colander, like always, and a bunch of bananas under the place where the phone was when we had a land line. Nothing new. Our first dishes are even in the cabinet.
Anyway, I still love the kitchen. Thank you for helping design and update and decorate it. Thank you for all the hours we spent cooking, eating, and cleaning up together. Remembering them makes the kitchen even more special.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Joy of Order

Dear John,
I had a lovely day. I got the house cleaned, and Junior mowed the yard for me while I swept out the garage, watered the petunias, and filled the bird feeders. So all is neat and tidy and orderly, which just delights my little anal retentive heart no end. It feels good to go to bed tonight with everything, inside and out, like it should be. Even the bills are paid.
Bless you, you put up with my analness. You even learned to appreciate it. You used to say that I wanted to put the whole world in matching, labeled containers. And you were absolutely right. I feel like a failure if I have to look for anything; this is my house, after all - I should be able to instantly put my hand on anything in it. And it's rare that I can't.
Disorder is painful to me. It's distracting and ugly. And it takes so much less time to put something back where it belongs that it does to hunt for it the next time you need it. But there is more to it than that. Order has a kind of beauty to it. That's why I'm so drawn to Shaker design. Sensible, practical, order is beautiful.
Order didn't matter as acutely to you as to me, but it did matter and you did understand that part of me. Your mother was much the same way. And, bless you, you never threw dirty socks - or anything else - on the floor and expected me to pick it up for you. Your father would have spanked you within an inch of your life for that, wouldn't he? And I did get to see your dorm room when we were dating; it was as clean and neat as mine was. So, of course, I married you.
Thank you for liking order. Thank you for not being surprised when the first thing I got up and did after getting out of the hospital after the car accident was re-organized the linen closet. I guess what I'm really saying is that I'm grateful to you for letting me be me, and valuing all that meant.
Now I'm learning to keep house for just myself, not for you, and that is challenging. But I'm doing better with time. And tonight, all is as it should be.
Your anal retentive wife,

Of Socks & Corn

Dear John,
Work was good today, a bit slow for a Saturday, but nobody minded. After work most of us met up at the grocery store. There are days we could have a staff meeting there. It's so good to have a little grocery store here in town. I remember how excited we both were when it opened - it meant not having to drive twenty minutes to Walmart for everything. We can keep our money local, which is also good. And it's not such a disaster if I forget something.
I didn't do much after work, just knitted. I'm feeling much better, but still a little sore and tender. It's going to be hot and humid this weekend, so it's not the time for yard work. I have 2 1/4 pairs of socks finished out of a total of 11 pairs needed by Christmas.
Dinner tonight  was wonderful. I had a tomato sandwich with a fresh, garden-grown tomato, and some fresh sweet corn. I did the corn a different way that I learned from Pinterest. I trimmed off the lose husk and silks, left it in the shuck, and put it on the rack in a 350-degree oven for half an hour. And it was perfect. It was just like off the grill. And so easy to shuck! I will never boil corn again.
So if you're not on Pinterest yet, go check it out. And, for goodness' sake, get yourself on Skype. There are lots of us down here that want to see you and talk to you. I can't imagine how happy Jethro would be to see and hear his Daddy! He still sniffs your Nikes and wags his tail, then gives me the big, sad eyes.
Speaking of the dog, we had two bands of thunderstorms come through last night. As usual, I was up with him both times. He's so funny. When I'm sitting up, he will lay his head in my lap and be content through any storm.  But if I'm lying down, he has to protect me from it by covering my head. He takes his position as man of the house very seriously.
That's all for today, just a good, quiet day and a new and improved way to cook corn. How would you live without this?
Adore you,

Friday, August 14, 2015

Do You Make House Calls?

Dear John,
Recovery from the biopsy has taken longer than expected. I ended up missing work today, which I especially hate on a Friday, but the people at work were very nice and supportive about it. Tomorrow I only work four hours, so I should be okay for that. I haven't gotten very much knitting done because I can't stay awake.
I need you to make a house call. You need to come and explain some things to me. I'm not understanding the non-Southern mindset. As this Confederate flag controversy continues, people are expanding the list of Southern things they don't like. We're beginning to feel a bit beleaguered. I even had a Facebook friend tell me that it wasn't possible to like the flag and not be racist. Of course, she's never been further south than Indianapolis. But she believe she understands the South better than I do. It's okay for people to mock and belittle me for the way I talk, but not okay for me to  want to honor my land, people, and heritage.
I'm confused. You came to understand me very well, in spite of the fact that you grew up in Ohio. You were North/South culturally bilingual. So I need you to come and help me understand all this. And please tell me what constructive action I can take. I want to be authentically who I am without being inflammatory, especially on Facebook. Bless this town, it takes me as I am and never pokes fun at me. I feel less like an expatriate here than anywhere else I've lived in the Midwest. Maybe it's because the town is small enough that everybody knows everybody else. Maybe we're just too well-mannered here to poke fun at each other.
So come any time you can and stay as long as you like. This is the kind of thing you could always help me understand, and I really miss having you to answer my questions. This, like everything else, would be easier with you here. But a house call will do!
Watching for you,

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Gratuitous Drama

Dear John,
I had the biopsy done today, after two hours of gratuitous drama. I got a call around noon from the mammo center saying that Joe's office hadn't precertified it. After several phone calls, I discovered that they'd called the insurance company three weeks ago and found that they didn't require precertification for this, but they never told me or the mammo center that. We found out just in the nick of time that all was well. So it did get done.
The biopsy was stereotactic, which means they used mammogram to guide the needle for biopsy. The kind of calcifications I have don't show up on ultrasound. Besides taking the sample for pathology, they placed a very small titanium clip so it can be located again if necessary. You're not the only one in the family with titanium now - I have some too.
I have limited activity for a couple of days - no lifting, pushing, pulling, jumping around. That means no mowing, which is a shame because this evening was perfect for it. But I'm being good. I don't really want to do any of those things at the moment. It's not painful, just tender, and moving around isn't comfortable. I'm walking very gently tonight. For twenty-four hours I have to wear a sports bra and keep ice on the incision. So I will spend tomorrow knitting and watching Netflix. It's not a bad way to spend a day off.
I'll get the path results early next week. I'll let you know what I hear. You probably know already, don't you? That's okay - I won't ask you to give me a hint. I'm not anxious about it. Whatever comes is from God and is what is best for me. That's all I need to know. I really don't have a preference. I just hope I can wear my regular bra by Friday morning when I go back to work and that the grass doesn't eat the house before I can mow. Those are my big concerns.
It's getting dark and the animals are already asleep. I'll be up for a while - we're expecting a meteor shower tonight and I'd like to see it. After that, I should sleep well. I hope you do the same.
Love you so much,

Monday, August 10, 2015

I've Got This!

Dear John,
It's been a lovely day. Work was busy and the day went by quickly. I'm getting the hang of the ATM. It was hot and muggy until we had a thunderstorm this afternoon. Now the humidity has gone down and the wind is out of the north. So I've opened the windows, and the window sills are filled with cats.
I got a second roof estimate today - $1500 more than the first one. I know and trust the first guy. so half an hour after the second crew left, I decided to go with the first estimate. And, just then, Leon called me to follow up on his estimate. It seemed so divinely ordained that I had to laugh. So my choice is made and I'm scheduled for December or January. It feels so good to have that settled. I'm happy with my decision.
See what a big girl I am? I've hired a roofing company. And I've become comfortable making these big decisions. We made decisions together for so many years. But, as I've said before, Mama raised me to be independent and be able to take care of myself, and you would never have married me if I wasn't that way. So here I am, at my advanced old age, being independent and taking care of myself. And my roof, furnace, water heater, air conditioning, and goodness knows what else. And I'm comfortable with it.
I suppose it's part of the growth that widowhood requires. And yet, it isn't really anything new. I've always been this way. The way that I am just has more opportunities now. Tonight I'm a little bit proud of myself. And I know that you and Mama are, too. It's good to have my cheering section. Give Mama a hug for me tonight, and thank her for bringing me up to be this way. Thank you for wanting an independent, strong-minded, smart-mouthed woman. Thank you even more for still wanting that after thirty-four years with me!
Adore you,

Sunday, August 9, 2015

I'm Ready for Some Football

Dear John,
I rested and knitted today, and am feeling nearly human tonight. I did lots of simultaneous knitting and napping, but the sock is none the worse for it.
The Hall of Fame Game was tonight, signaling the great change of the seasons. It's Steelers and Vikings this year. I made it into the third quarter before having to go to bed.
The good news is that Jerome Bettis was inducted into the Hall of Fame yesterday. There was a long interview at halftime. It was lovely to see him again. I still miss him on the field. I well remember watching his last game with you. It was terrific that it was in Detroit. And what a heart-stopper of a game!
The bad news is that Frank Gifford died today. All the posts on Facebook were referring to him as the husband of Kathy. I, of course, pointed out that he was important in his own right. I probably puzzled the young folks, but that's nothing unusual. I'm old - I remember him playing, I remember him on Monday Night Football, and I completely forget who he married. It's a matter of priorities.
So tonight as football starts up again, I'm thinking about you and remembering how much we enjoyed watching it together. From our first date to your last post-season, it was one of our favorite things to do. Now I watch for both of us. But never without missing you.
Still glad I married a man who likes sports,

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Knitting & Sleeping Sequentially

Dear John,
I had a good time with your family. Yesterday we went out for Mexican after I got off work. Jim took out the two dying crabapple trees and replaced the posts the bird feeders were on, and Irene did some work in my flower beds. The house looks so different without those two trees. I'm debating about new ones. I'll probably just have to go across the street, sit in DeWayne's yard, and stare at the house for a while to make up my mind. Today we all went to Shipshewana for a play day, and had a lovely time. They left for home this afternoon. I enjoyed their visit so much. I appreciate their help more than I can say, but I enjoy the time with them even more. I may have said this a time or two: Thank you for having such a nice family.
I am so, so tired now. And I can enjoy being tired in a clean house that has no dead trees in the yard. Tomorrow I'm going to sleep in and do as little as possible. I have one load of laundry to do. And there are always socks to knit! I have eleven pairs to make for Christmas. I have a good start, with 3 1/2 socks done.
I've always loved knitting socks. There's infinite variety within a fairly fixed structure. And they are small and portable. It's so interesting to knit socks in public. Half the people come closer, are fascinated, and ask you a hundred questions. The other half move as far away as possible and look at you as if you're an escapee from a lunatic asylum. And many of us have had strangers come up and inform us that socks can be bought in stores.
I'm glad you understood the point of making socks. You enjoyed wearing them and watching me make them. You realized that I have a need to create beautiful things, and you supported that. You enabled my yarn addiction, bless you!
I'm starting to ramble again. To sum up: I've had a lovely weekend. I'm exhausted and will knit and sleep tomorrow, hopefully sequentially and not simultaneously. And I'll miss you, but that is no different from any other day.
Adore you,

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Fridge Door Tradition

Dear John,
It was quiet last night. No beeping at all. I did enjoy sleeping. I should do that more often.
I had a busy day today - worked until 1:00, met a friend for lunch, dusted, swept, mopped the whole house, cleaned the kitchen, did general straightening, washed the pink cat pee out of the blanket and bedspread, did other laundry, and tried to plug the holes in the screen that the mosquitoes are getting in.
It's been so wet this summer that the mosquitoes are terrible. They're coming in the holes Murphy tore in the screen and eating me alive. As a temporary measure until I can replace the screen, I bought some 2X2 screen squares today and put them in. After my shower tonight I put tea tree oil on over forty bites. I even have two on my right upper eyelid.
I found this tonight - do you remember when it was first published? We were in Durham them. I remember cutting it out of the newspaper and putting it on the fridge door. We always did love The Far Side. And you could always tell everything you needed to know about us by reading our fridge door. You'd find humor, politics, religion, everything there. That's still true. Who I am is on the fridge door for all to see. The tradition continues.
Jim and Irene got here a little while ago and unloaded tools and stuff. We'll have a fun and productive couple of days. Come and join us if you can!
Adore you,

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Concerning Abby's Parentage

Dear John,
Whatever-it-was did whatever-it-was-doing again last night, but for three hours this time. It startled Jethro when it started, so he woke me up. But I had the fan on so I slept through most of it. It I hear it when I don't have to get up early for work, I'm going to put on jeans and a tee shirt and go find out what it is.
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Remember the little imposter, the littermate of Abby's that tries to get into the house? It turns out that he's Murphy, Richard's cat. Their mother was his also. The litter was born in Tiffany's shed. How Abby ended up under Janet's bush I have no idea. I discovered all this when Richard came by to give me some of his cherry tomatoes. The cat came up and I told him that this was the cat I'd talked about, the one that clawed the holes in my screen. And he said, "Oh, that's Murphy," and the cat came up to him to be petted. So it seems that Richard and I are related somehow - I'm not sure what it's called when people adopt siblings.
I do hope to sleep tonight. If this noise keeps up, I really will track it down and find out what it is. Want to come along? It should be fun, out at 3 AM with a flashlight, trying to follow a noise. I do hope nobody calls the police on me. You're not here to bail me out! I'll keep you posted on all nocturnal adventures.
Love you so much,

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Whatever-it-Was Did Whatever-it-Did

Dear John,
I'm tired. I was sleeping so well last night, then at 2 AM there came this loud, piercing beeping noise from the general direction of Lake Street. All the animals were frightened, even the cats. I couldn't see anything outside and never figured out what it was. It lasted until almost 3, so I missed an hour of sleep in the middle of my night. And it's still a mystery - I can't even find anybody else that heard it. Of course, everybody I know was sleeping with their windows closed. I have no idea why, with highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s, but they were. Of course, I'm getting all kinds of comments about this noise that only I heard. I just hope whatever-it-was doesn't make a nightly habit of whatever-it-was-doing.
The drive-up was closed part of the day while they trenched and laid the power line to the new building. And the gutters went up this afternoon. And I learned how to balance the ATM. Normal people hate doing it, but I think I'll love it. After I was done I spent about an hour figuring out the procedure and paperwork and putting it into a form that is useful to me. You know I've always thought in diagrams and flow charts. I can handle written instructions because my mind is busy turning them into diagrams and flow charts.
I realized that there are three parts to this that have to be done and documented: money moving from the vault to the customers and the AMT teller drawer, from there to my drawer, and from mine back to the vault. That makes it easy - the paperwork is just in- and out-slips and transactions. I should enjoy the precision of it.
Hunter continues to improve. He has time to get to the litter box almost all the time. Tonight he was asleep in my lap when the dog barked and scared him. That nightgown is now in the washer with everything else that has cat pee on it. But I was glad to see that his pee isn't pink anymore. And he's eating and drinking very well.
It's past my bedtime. I'm very tired from last night, so I need to get as much sleep as I can tonight. I'm leaving the windows open, of course, and hope to get through the night without any mysterious outside noises.
Miss you every minute,

Monday, August 3, 2015

Hunter is Better

Dear John,
Hunter is better. I called June when they opened and she said to bring him right in. She wanted a urine specimen, and he promptly peed on her countertop when we took him out of the carrier. Very thoughtful of him! His urine showed blood, WBCs, and bacteria, so a urinary tract infection. There were no crystals; than mean he's probably at lower risk for kidney stones.
He'll be on an antibiotic for two weeks. June gave him the first one before we left, and he was feeling better by the time we got home. When I got home from work he was so much better that, if I didn't know he was sick, I wouldn't have been able to tell. He chowed down on dinner with great enthusiasm, ran around the house with the other cats, and is drinking plenty of water. It's amazing how fast he's turned around.
Bless him, he's not hard to give pills to. I've given pills to all three of mine and never had a problem. But I grew up giving pills to dogs, and it isn't all that different. We won't have any trouble with two weeks of one pill a day. He's a sweet cat.
Thank you for praying for him. I didn't realize how worried I was about him until I relaxed tonight. Like I said last night, I have a lot to learn about cats. But at least I know how to give them pills!
Adore you,

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Feline Distress & the Cat Cavalry

Dear John,
We have a sick child. Hunter has a bladder infection, bless his little heart. It's so hard to see him feeling bad and not be able to do anything to help.
I'll be taking him to the vet tomorrow. Bethany and I are both going to be working the drive-up, so I can leave for a while without causing major disruption. I'll go in at 7:30, call the vet after they open at 8:00, and slip out whenever she can see the poor baby.
Bless Jen - she's my Cat Cavalry. I call her with all of my cat questions. She knows absolutely everything about cats. And she somehow manages to not make me feel stupid, even when I am. It's so good to have expert advice to lean on. There's so much for me to learn about cats! Hunter is taking after me, getting sick over the weekend.
So please pray for the cat tonight. Everybody can tell he feels bad. Abby snuggles with him, Maggie lies down and grooms him, and Jethro just keeps sniffing his rear. Leave it to the dog! I'll let you know what June says. Poor baby - I wish I could make him feel better.
Pray for your distressed family,

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Widowhood as Fertilizer

Dear John,
I was right - all the sunburn is brown today. And I got more sun. Today I've mowed, dusted, vacuumed, changed the sheets, and have the third load of laundry in the dryer. It's been a good, busy day. There's plenty left to do in the flower beds, but not today.
I was thinking again as I mowed this morning, this time about the growth I've found in widowhood. I've become more compassionate. I never noticed the pain around me like I do now. And it's all kind of stuff. Brian left for three months in Greece a few weeks after your death, and Bekah felt bad about telling me how hard it was while he was gone. I told her not to be silly - you and I were separated for three months once, and I hated every minute of it. Pain is pain; there's no competition as to whose pain is worse. There's a fibromyalgia meme out there that I hate. It says something about, "I'm in pain all the time; don't tell me about your tummy ache." Well, that's rot. Please tell me about your tummy ache! They can be awful! Those who suffer should care for each other, not play pain-one-upmanship.
I've also gotten more patient. I know - there was lots of room for improvement. I still get impatient and irritable, but with inanimate objects. I'm a lot more patient with people, maybe because I'm more aware of their difficulties. Maybe I'm just not in so much of a hurry anymore. My priorities have changed - I've talked to you about that a few times.
I've always heard that suffering gentles a person. It seems that is correct. I still have a long way to go. But I appear to be going in the right direction. I'm just sorry you don't get to benefit from any of this. But I always was my gentlest and most patient with you, so maybe you didn't suffer too much. I know you were happy with me; thank you for being sure I knew that. It makes so much difference now, that I can be sure about that.

Elyssa's birthday party is tomorrow - we'll all miss you. Can you believe she's nine already? It's a good thing we don't age as fast as they do. If we did, we'd be old. But in a few months I'll turn 60 - just think about all the new senior discounts I'll get! But I'd rather have you.

Adore you,