It is Thanksgiving Day as I sit here writing, and like many others, I’m thinking of what I’m thankful for. I’m also aware of some of the frustrations in my life this year. So this Thanksgiving, I’ll do a balanced assessment.
FRUSTRATIONS THIS PAST YEAR
Leg still a problem: Since my trip to California last Christmas, my one leg has been a problem. Not sure what caused it. It’s not the knee; it’s the muscles we think. By “we,” I mean the physical therapist, my doctor, and a personal trainer. I can’t straighten my right leg and whenever I sit or lie down for more than an hour, it’s like I have to learn how to walk all over again. And it really hurts if I bend it. So stairs aren’t much fun. After 12 physical therapy sessions and working with a personal trainer and working out at the Coastal Fitness gym here in Florence, that leg is still a problem. I walk very slowly––like an old lady.
New glasses: Last August, I spent a bundle on new glasses. It had been seven years since new glasses and three years since my eyes were last checked. I didn’t need new lenses then. After I received the new glasses, I spent a few weeks trying to adjust to them, but whenever I was reading or driving, my left eye would automatically close after awhile. And I continued to feel disoriented, like I was wearing someone else’s glasses. So I took them back, and they were readjusted. That didn’t help. Since I would be gone most of October, I took my old glasses on the trip. I did go back in with the glasses a couple of weeks ago and they took notes and made an appointment with an optometrist. This past week, she rechecked my eyes. She thinks that the new glasses are making me see double. My new, new glasses should be ready in a week or so.
Election hard to accept: I’ve been a Hilary fan for years and felt she was the most qualified for the job. I still can’t believe that Trump won. He scares me. So it’s very hard for me to accept. Part of me wants to move to Canada for the next four years, but my life is here. So I’ll stay.
Book sales drop off: The tourists are gone, the rains have begun in earnest, and sales of everything have dropped off at the coast. So no calls from venues requesting my books. This happens every year, so I shouldn’t be surprised. But it is disappointing.
Computer hacked: Last July, my computer was hacked. While I was checking emails, I clicked on one that I thought was from an FFOB participant. My email disappeared, and I had a message pop up that I needed to respond immediately and there was a customer service number to call. So I called it. For a hunk of money, my email would be returned and I would be signed up for a year of antivirus and security coverage. Like a fool, I fell for it. I found out later, it was a scam.
Norton renewal: I kept getting notices that I needed to renew my Norton antivirus plan on both my laptop and desktop. I wondered why I needed it on my desktop, if I already had another plan. When I tried to install my Norton security and antivirus just a couple of weeks ago on my desktop, it wouldn’t work. I tried to get both my laptop and desktop on the same plan this time. No problem installing on my laptop, but it took three long phone calls involving the solution of several problems for the desktop. Most problems were because of the hacking last July. This is when I found out I had been scammed also. Now almost everything on my computers is back to normal.
Facebook problem: Facebook is not back to normal. It disappeared when I was hacked. So I started a new page and then someone else took it over, and I couldn’t even get into it. I have since changed the password, and tried but not successfully to discontinue the new page. And I still can’t get on my old page, which is what I’d like to do. AARRGGHH!!
Mice in garage: Since I keep a lot of my books in the garage, I don’t like the idea of mice in there. So as of a couple of days ago, we have mousetraps set in both garages.
Need motion sensor lights: Since we had the cougar on the upper deck last spring, I have wanted to have motion sensor lights installed in the back. This is especially important now that is dark as early as 5 p.m. on rainy days. I thought I had someone lined up to do the electrical work involved last August. Months have passed and nothing. So I called someone else, and he is supposed to be here this coming Monday. I will also put a motion sensor light at the side door of the garage, since that is where Carole, who lives downstairs, goes in and out. And my lights on either side of the garage need to be replaced. One just quit working the other day. So I will finally be getting all these lighting projects completed.
Yard work: I was not able to keep up with my part of the yard work for a second year in a row. I need to get more help. The weeds and pruning are the main problems. Whenever I put in more than a couple hours in the yard, later in the day I got hamstring pulls. And that takes a week or more for me to recover from each time
WHAT I’M THANKFUL FOR
Outside work: Todd Hiatt has weed wacked the grass in my back area since 1988, and now he has added keeping my roof cleaned off and gutters cleaned out and in general blowing away leaves etc from the front and pathways around the house. He also has redone the drainage system that collects from the front of the garages and the roof, and he has pruned the ivy on the woodshed and elsewhere. Since I don’t climb around on the roof any more or on the woodshed, he has become even more invaluable.
Cancer still managed: My cancer that I was diagnosed with two years ago is not cured or in remission, but it is managed. At least, that is what my oncologist tells me. I go in for another appointment in December and he’ll decide if he wants me to take another PET scan in January. As far as I can tell, there is no problem—no pain like I had before, no weight loss. I feel good.
Having hair: I’ve had my hair back for about a year as well as my eyebrows and eyelashes, and I’m just so glad not to have to wear a wig or hat or use an eyebrow pencil. I could never get my eyebrows to look alike.
Car made trip safely: My 18-year old Camry with almost 200,000 miles on it made my semi-annual 2,000-mile round trip to California with no problems. Before the trip, I had the car serviced and tires checked. In the past––despite pre-trip checks––I have had problems with tires, but not this time. I just love my car and hope it makes it a couple more years.
Good family visit: My mom is doing about the same as when I saw her last April. When I come down, I become the caregiver, housekeeper, cook, and gardener and give my brother and sister and the caregiver (who is there in the mornings) a break. Mom has a routine, which I adjust to, which involves playing gin rummy in the afternoons when I’m there. About a third of the time Mom wins. And each evening family members come for dinner. On this visit, I especially enjoyed collaborating on some dinner preparations with my sister. So it was a busy, but enjoyable visit.
Birthday party: Since my birthday falls about a week after I return home each year, my family always has a birthday dinner for me before I leave with cards, presents, and a birthday cake. It’s always a special occasion for me. Among my gifts this year was a mop that squirts. Who knew I’d get so excited over a mop
Visited friends: Before visiting my family, I saw Theresa (formerly from Florence) in the LA area. We visited the Huntington Art Museum in the Pasadena area and another day went to the beach in Ventura where we also visited one of the missions. We had a wonderful time even though the temperature was in the 90s––in October. After visiting my family for 2 ½ weeks, I spent a couple of days with Rosemary, a friend since we were in 7th grade together. And I also spent a couple of days with Phyllis, a college roommate who has remained a friend ever since. On these last two visits, we did a certain amount of galavanting around that involved going out for meals, seeing a movie, and shopping.
Friends: I am very thankful for my long-time and newer friends from far and near. Friends make life special.
Victorian Belles: This past weekend, the Victorian Belles craft group had their annual holiday sale at the event center at Three Rivers Casino. They always invite three of us to participate—Connie Bradley, Karen Nichols, and me. It was a marathon of selling or trying to sell books. It lasted Friday–Sunday, and the first two days were from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday ended at 3 p.m. The first day I didn’t sell any books until 4 p.m, and then I sold four. On Saturday, I made up for it by selling 15 and five on Sunday for a total of 24. Not too bad!
Vintage watch: For the last couple of years, I’ve admired the vintage watch jewelry made by Meredith Draper. Her work is in Backstreet Gallery, and she had some of her necklaces and earrings at the Victorian Belles sale. After staring at a couple of her necklaces for three days, I bought one with birthday money given to me by Mom. I just love it.
Backstreet Gallery: I’ve had my books at Backstreet Gallery this past year, and I enjoy being part of this community of artists. I also have a good time when I’m on duty chatting with the visitors that come into the gallery. And my books sell there.
Got last seat on one-stop flight to Bakersfield for Christmas: I didn’t want to drive to Bakersfield because of bad weather this time of year, I didn’t want to take the train because it takes so long, and I didn’t want to fly because I seem to get stuck in Eugene, San Francisco, or Bakersfield whenever I fly through San Francisco. Flying seemed to be the best option, though, and all flights between Eugene and Bakersfield go through SFO. And many have two stops of which one is SFO. Once I decided to fly, I went online. I was thrilled to get the last seat on the only flight left not all booked up for Bakersfield through SFO that had only one stop. My boarding times are good on the Eugene end, but terrible on the other end. I arrive a few minutes before midnight and 11 days later have to leave at 6 a.m.
Life is always a mix of positive and negative, but this year I seemed to have more negatives than normal. Nothing major, thank goodness, just a lot of frustrations. Since I tend to see the glass as half full, I’ll concentrate on the positives and be thankful.