August Again

Here it is again.  The dog days of summer. August has started out not so treacherous.  Lower 90’s instead of near 100.

I so want to have enough energy to do more in the evenings after the 9-5.  It just doesn’t happen.  By the time I get to the house, I just want to sit and stare out the window or scroll through Instagram. I am scheduled to retire next summer.  Everyone asks me what will I do with myself retired.  I can’t seem to make them understand how important taking care of him and keeping house is to me.

I might write more. I might read more. I might be able to get my house the way I want it. I have some painting to do and some floors to recover and windows to redress.  I might even be able to get every closet, pantry and drawer cleaned out and organized.  I have some special projects still sitting in the wings.  I also have a major ambition to pursue.

With my pain level like it is, the fatigue overtakes me and then I cycle into a downward spiral.  My 9-5 job is very high stress and not rewarding emotionally or mentally.  Just an endless round of reports and meaningless data collection for the politicians. It drains me.  I hate feeling like this.  The upside is that it leads to an early retirement and lifelong health insurance for both of us.

I want to be able to do things with him and for him to make his life better and happier.  I try to research what to do, but then can’t focus long enough over the days to make the changes called for.

I am not alone in my frustrated state.  Many of my friends have the same or similar issues.  Not necessarily the pain, but the fatigue and the seeming inability to make things better despite having some vague ideas of what would help.

It is not that we have such desperately terrible lives.  I count myself among the blessed in this world.  I live in Texas. I have a solid house with hot and cold running water, two indoor toilets, a bathtub and shower. I have a well equipped kitchen and pantry and freezer full of food.  I have central air that I can afford to run.  I have good health in the sense that I don’t have to take any medications for anything right now.  And insurance if I did. My vehicle is new and I always have gas money.  My children are grown and independent and well.  Both happily married and raising healthy children.  I don’t have aging parents to take care of, though I wish I did.  They have all been gone for many years.

I guess my point is that everything should be fine.  But, somehow I have this nagging sense of unease.  And the physical pain and fatigue that no doctor seems to be able to figure out what is caused by nor how to fix it.  I have made yet another appointment with yet another doctor for later this month.  He has a reputation for non-traditional evaluations and treatments.  Maybe he won’t try to give me anti-depressants. I’m not depressed.  I just don’t feel well enough long enough to get more than the minimal tasks completed.  And that frustrates the daylights out of me.

Enough of this pity party.  I am blessed. I love and am loved.  I will do what I can and be glad for it as much as I can.  I will try to forgive myself for all I can’t seem to get done and for the anxiety that builds up and causes me distress.

The cicadas just started buzzing close to this porch window.  He will be home soon.  The evening shadows will blend into dusk.  The night will bring restless sleep, yet the coming dawn will break on a fresh, new day.  Please, Lord, help me rejoice and be glad in it.

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Armadillo Blessing

To anyone reading this who knows me and is still wondering if I am touched in the head, this will leave no doubt, most likely.

I was blessed with an armadillo under the porch. I have been hearing him over the past couple of months and finally this past Sunday morning, he was caught outside.  Caught with a bullet, by him. Not me.  But, he ran back under the porch.  So, suddenly the situation became disastrous rather than a concern. It was a concern because we have a dog and a cat. An armadillo is a potentially disease carrying critter that could become an issue with one of the pets.  Now it was a disaster because I probably had a dead armadillo under the porch.  In July. In Southeast Texas. In a heat wave. If you don’t understand from that, you wouldn’t be able to imagine.

Our house is on a slab, but the porch is pier and beam. He pulled some of the skirting off.  No sign of the critter.  He decided it was as good a time as any to pull out the back stoop that was in need of replacement.  He might be able to see from that angle.  Still no sign of the critter.

He did notice that the air-conditioned air was flowing freely between the cracks in the floor under the carpet.

Let me back up a bit.  This back room started as a screened porch. But, it was too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer.  We don’t have anything in between much here.  Mama had windows and a window unit a/c installed. She had indoor/outdoor carpet put down. The carpet was to keep the mosquitos from coming through the cracks that had developed between the floor boards that were just wide enough for them. We replaced the window units with central air and I just open the French doors to cool or heat it.  After all these years, the carpet is still in decent shape, but has a few stains and a lot of set in dust. I have been wanting to replace it with stained plywood.  I saw that in a place that was on Village Creek at a wedding reception years ago and I think it would be perfect here.

So he noticed the central air flowing right through the floor cracks and indicated the porch could no longer be air-conditioned until after the floor has been corrected.  It has been running in the upper 90s for a while now. I should have been upset. Remember the armadillo under the porch?  The dead one?

Another factor involved in this very complicated story is that I am on vacation, or staycation this week, if you would rather call it that.  I never work on my birthday, so I took off last Friday. And I like to be off for a week this time of year and stay home puttering around the house.  So, I am off all this week. First time I have done this in years.  My time off in recent years has been spent traveling to Hawaii, California and Houston. Traipsing after my children and granddaughters.  I have really needed this week off at home.

Here is the miracle. There is no smell from the armadillo that is dead under the porch.  Did he have a hole that deep? Did he make it out and away into the woods before he died?  There is no smell.  I thank my Heavenly Father for the very personal favor He has shown me in this matter.  I can think nothing else.

He will be replacing the back stoop in a day or two. And all the skirting will be replaced. We may have to wait till the jungle subsides in the cold for that.  And the floor on the porch will be redone sooner rather than later.  He has a lot on his plate these days.  So, the armadillo wasn’t a blessing for him. Still, I am glad for it.

Here is the blessing for me and why you will finally know I am not quite right in the head.  I have enjoyed not having a/c on the porch.  Years ago, I spent most of my summers outdoors.  As kids, we all played outside.  There wasn’t any a/c going in the house anyway.  And later as a young adult I just stayed outside.  I would take a book out to a shady spot and enjoy the heat, the sounds, the feel of summer.  I sit at a desk in a windowless office all year these days.  I love being on the porch. I love it now with all the windows open and the fan blowing and feeling the summer, again.  Oh, I have been in and out throughout the days.  I have all that puttering to do.  But, I return to sit out here and listen to the cicadas and the birds and the hum of the fan.  Feeling alive and at peace in the Texas Heat.

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First Monday

In August, I decided I would post on first Mondays.  I was preoccupied with Harvey for September’s first Monday.

I’ve been enjoying some time outside.  The intense heat and humidity has been a bit less.

I have been trying to decide on whether to expand a flower bed or not.  I have been moving toward simpler and now this would not be simpler. It would mean more to tend.  I’m not sure if I want to commit to taking care of twenty feet of border.  For years.

I read back over some posts from earlier this year.  I have continued to get rid of unneeded items.  I read the Kon Mari book.  My impression of the writer is that she has no clue what it means to be a traditional Southerner. Sentiment and keepsakes. Decorative trinkets and festive decor are part of life.  And our life has included households of deceased relatives to deal with.

He is not a minimalist.  He likes to have two and a spare for most things.  I have a problem with books and clothes I never wear among other things.

We have our daughter’s salvage from their apartment stacked here.  I can honestly say it has not stressed me having it everywhere.  If it was my stuff, I would be having a stress meltdown.

Our prayer is for she and her family to find a home quickly.  Not because of the stuff in the kitchen or the cats on the porch. But, because they need to get resettled from being displaced.  The Harvey flood effected so many.  And many of my dear loved ones.

Strength and resilience.  Now that the urgent phase is passing, the long haul through restoration is beginning.  Grief must be dealt with.  Then a new normal can grow into a renewed life.

I praise Him for being Grace and Mercy and Strength and Hope.

 

Time to Rest

I have finally become a dot net thanks to our daughter and son-in-law.  A gift from them was to pay my annual fee and our daughter set it up for me.

This spring has been extremely busy.  He and I took a trip to San Dimas to see our son, his bride and our little California Dream.  Then our daughter and and son-in-law welcomed our Yellow Rose of Texas into the world.  Dream came to Texas to meet her little cousin.  I had a grand couple of weeks!

I haven’t quite caught my breath from all the goings on over the past couple of months.  Every weekend has been packed with activity.  Evenings have been busy, too.

I have reached my step off point.  I am not feeling well at all.  Time to do some tending to me.  Tonight will be a super hot bath and a long stretching session.  Some pain reliever and an early lights out are in order as well.

Tomorrow is iffy for the 9 to 5.  If the morning starts like this one, I’m out.

But, my Physician is with me.  He will provide the healing required in His time.

Not much else to say right now.  Just figured it was past time to set words on the screen.  Especially with my new identification as rainingorchids.net.

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Away Too Long

I didn’t realize it has been almost a month since my last post until this evening.

The orchids have continued.  I’m not sure what kept me from the page.  I noticed my private journal has been somewhat quiet most days.  Just a spell, I guess.

My next to oldest friend came to see us.  It was so comforting to simply visit with him.  I look forward to him coming again and bringing his bride.  She is my oldest friend.  Fifty years this summer since we started playing together as babes.

Our best friend’s step dad passed away.  We went to see him and his mother one evening.  It was good to see them even with the circumstances.  His mother was in her characteristic animated mode.  Showing off the cows and wild deer and wild ducks.  Feeding everything that moves.

I attended my littlest niece’s birthday party.  She is three already!  I got to see several beloved family members and friends that are family. Pizza, cake, piñata and lots of toys to open.  Great fun!  Our baby girl, the one about to be thirty and a first time mother was there with our acquired granddaughter. She has a ten year old step daughter and is expecting our new girl in May.

Two dear friends and I went to the annual ladies’ retreat sponsored by our association of churches.  We had a special time.  It was a time of bonding for the three of us that is not possible in the settings where we usually encounter each other.  The retreat itself was okay, but we came away with inspiration and direction that came more from left field, so to speak.

He has been terribly busy with many obligations.  All I can do is continue to lift him up to Him for care and protection.  I try to stay alert to his needs that I am able to meet.  The Father is blessing his work in all areas.

I have some friends recovering from or going for surgeries and other medical procedures.  I am trying to be careful to lift them often to the Physician in my prayers.  He heard me the first time.  But, it builds my compassion and matures my heart to maintain contact with Him on their behalf.

I have worked on my Facebook news feed and my Tumbler dashboard and my Pinterest account to increase seeing scriptures and praises and prayers on them.  I have adjusted other things to reduce adverse exposures.

My friend asked me if I listen to contemporary Christian music.  I told her no.  Our area has limited reception to most contemporary Christian stations.  But, I have set my dial to some so I can try to tune in when possible.

I want to draw closer to Him.  I want to be more for Him.  That is one prayer I know He will answer.  Anyone who seeks Him with a sincere heart will be rewarded with Him making His presence known.

We anticipate a visit with our California Dream in the near future.  I can’t think about it too much.  I get giddy with excitement.  More than a kid on Christmas Eve.

So, yes, the orchids have been pouring down.  A sweet fragrance of blessings all round.  This is short and sweet, this evening.  I give myself credit for showing up on the page.  It is enough for now.

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One More Week

I have one more week to complete my January plan to finish it or forget it.  I need to make a good push the next couple of evenings.  I need to make sure I haven’t missed anything that I wanted to get resolved.  It is unlikely I will get everything done as intended.

Those big frames are still causing a roadblock.  I haven’t done the project I planned.  It was actually about the third plan for one of three.  I like the idea of the project.  But, I don’t want that hanging on my wall.  What was I thinking? Back to square one.

If I do what I promised myself, the frames have to leave on February 1.  This late in the evening with the week I have had, I don’t know what the outcome will be regarding this matter.

Monday, I went in to the 9-5 in tears.  We have an upcoming audit and I was certain a critical portion of documentation was missing.  He knew of my dilemma and prayed all morning for me.  That afternoon, I found the documentation in my file right where I would have looked had I not been so certain I didn’t have it.  Not only was the paperwork there, it was complete.  That is the power of a praying man.  That is the mercy of a loving Father.

This evening, while riding home from church, I told him he has a red phone directly to Him.  It’s one of those that doesn’t even have a dial.  He just picks up and it rings in Heaven and He answers.  He told me I have the same.  I told him no.  I have to dial my phone.   Someday, perhaps I will have faith as large as his. Meanwhile, I am very grateful and blessed because of his direct red phone connection to Him.

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Trending

I have been noticing and reading about hygge.  It is trending in my web orbit on various sites.  As I read about it, I am not finding anything new to me.  The Danes are crediting with creating a way to survive the long, cold winters by doing certain things.

Here in Southeast Texas, long cold winters don’t happen.  However, we do have days strung together of damp, grey rain.  This morning is one.  Yesterday was one.

As long as I can remember, I have set myself to enjoy such days.  I have the curtain drawn back and the window open to hear the rain.  The lights are low.  A candle flickers.  My pillows are propping me up as I snuggle under my coverlets.  A cup of tea is steaming on the nightstand.  I have my journal at hand to scribble my thoughts.

I have spent time this morning thinking and planning.  Pondering where I want to go with the projects I am working through this month.  As an update, over the past week, I have hauled off some odds and ends to the charity shop.  I have added things to the costume box for our daughter’s theater.  I have dumped some projects.  I will be continuing to haul off the junk associated with those projects.

Additionally, I have determined to dump the mindset that tells me I must have everything on our place clean and orderly before I can actually feel happy, content or satisfied.  Several years ago, in an effort to fight off this very mindset, I wrote an exhaustive list of all the things necessary to achieve such a situation.  I actually included: no fire ants anywhere on the place.  We live on seven acres in Southeast Texas.  I included no fire ants.  Of course, it was one of those extreme exercises designed to show me how ridiculous are my thought processes.  In the quiet of this morning, I recalled that and laughed all over again.

What does that have to do with now?  I have some items on that very list that are not so ridiculous still holding sway over me.  I am determined to rewrite the tape that plays in my head.  “If this, then that” goes round and round.  If I could get this done, I could have that.  But, I am like the mule at the millstone going round in circles chasing the carrot that dangles on the line out in front of me.

Already I have significantly reduced the incoming flow of stuff.  I have unloaded things.  I am focusing on the things I really want to pursue.  Not pursuing them, yet. I am thinking about those things rather than the carrot dangling out there.

I am allowing myself to truly enjoy the art of doing nothing.  I am giving myself permission to be happy with being imperfect.  I am granting myself leave to embrace my oddities.  I was once described by a friend as one who marches to the beat of her own drummer.  I have tried so hard to seem normal.  To be less strange.  To not distance people with my weirdness.  I am giving myself permission to let it all go and see what stays.  See who stays.

This is a good trend to follow.  “To thine own self be true.”  What year did W.S. write that?  After 400 years, it is still a good trend to follow.

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