First, let me share with any of you still reading this blog my little piece of holiday cheer--the kids playing music together for Lee's dad.
They had never played together before, but I sure hope they do it again. We spent Christmas with Lee's dad, who is dealing with some bad health issues. We have been visiting there at least monthly since we got Ursula the RV (he values his privacy, so staying in the trailer is a real invasion of space). I have grown to really enjoy the visits--it is fun watching Lee's dad enjoy his fancy new tractor and watching Lee and his nephew, who has been mostly staying in the area since Lee's dad has needed someone around these past few months, do stuff with each other. The farm has become a lot more organized, and a lot more fun.
For example, when there was a scary brush fire caused by a welding spark, a bunny got injured by the tractor. Lee's dad has been caring for it for a couple of months. It has really grown!
|Bun Bun wishing it had more of that gourmet lettuce Suna brings|
|He was a sweetie pie.|
Why I Have So Much Western Gear and More Ups and Downs
I said there were ups and downs this year. Maybe it will be easier to just enumerate things. Then move on.
1. Jobs. I really loved working in the small office with the wonderful view and the wonderful coworkers and the wonderful lunches together. However, I did not love never knowing if there was actually something to do on any given week. When people began to leave, I decided to stop ignoring all those calls about other jobs and go for them. I had turned down one job this time last year, and resolved to not repeat that. I told myself I would take the first thing that came up, even a contract. There seem to be more jobs out there now, so I had more confidence I could find something else. So, I took a job at Dell. The pay was most excellent, and I learned about Agile Project Management and Oracle products. However, in the entire time I was there, no one ever said "hello" or "goodbye," or asked me how I was doing. I was spoken to about work and that's it (they were perfectly nice and very smart people, but sitting in a cubicle staring at a 200 page technical document with no breaks was more than a little tedious). So, I kept applying for "real" jobs and ended up having two offers at the same time--one for the job I didn't take last year and another very similar job that had more training to it. It was hard to decide, since the people were nice at both places, and while the second one paid more, the first one was much closer to home. I decided I would lose all that extra money in gas and traffic sitting hours, so I took the first position as contract to hire. Hip, hip, hooray they actually liked me and I am now full time there. It's a really nice company with good ethics, and I am doing better than I thought I would at doing nothing but making one e-learning module after another. They do let me do a bit of editing, too. So, ups and downs, yes, but it has ended on a big up. The people are fun, and I have made more good friends!
2. Life and Death. After a truly wonderful 80th birthday party, I hugged and hugged my dad before I left. I am glad I did, because 5 weeks later, his best friend died at the wheel of the truck he was driving. Dad was the middle passenger. They veered straight into Interstate traffic. The next two weeks were unbearably difficult. I went to NC and stayed as long as I could with him in ICU. That was horrendous. Since people read this, I will omit some of the reasons, but it is sufficient to say that emergencies bring out the worst in some people, and Dad married into that kind of family. Dad's funeral was not quite as bad, because I had my wonderful husband and kids with me, and my wonderful husband did a great job easing things for everyone. The ensuing issues with wills, property and other stuff were difficult, but my brother did a good job executoring. Hopefully at some point the remaining little bit of bucks in Dad's checking accounts will be taken out and that will be over with. Sigh. I cannot tell you how much I miss my dad. There are a lot of things that come up internally when something like this happens!
|Dad's 80th Birthday|
And it hasn't stopped. There have been some deaths of friends' family members that have been very sad, too. But, it's a part of life, and most of the time I bear that in mind and do OK.
3. Spirituality. The church I have attended for well over a decade continues to be a big ole source of stress, strife and difficulty. There are also good parts, which is why I have so much trouble separating myself. I guess it is a good thing we spend so much time camping, farming and ranching these days--being in nature settles my soul much better than crabby infighting ministers, power plays, political maneuvering and public displays of all of the above! They way people have treated fellow church members in the past few months appalls me. Much like how people on different ends of the political spectrum just say awful stuff about each other. Why on EARTH do that? These are your friends who have a different perspective from yours, not enemies. I have tried really, really hard to listen to everyone, act according to my conscience, and plug away, but it is very, very hard. I had loved singing in the rock group, but the leader moved away, and while choir is OK it is no longer much of a challenge--I feel like more of a hindrance than a help there these days (to be proactive, I have rejoined the choir I sang with a few times years ago, and hope that will be a fun experience over the next few weeks.)
|Fun with Funkatonic|
|Ranch, looking toward woods.|
I love looking at the birds around the tanks (ponds), wandering in the woods, and exploring the fields. The place feels good. That's what counts. Obviously we are still working, so we won't be moving anywhere for some years, but it will be great to have a place to retreat to. I need it. The world is such a contentious, unpleasant place these days. I can cope better with some "hermit time."
There is more, way more. But at least I have sort of caught up on this year. Next year I hope will be calmer, with more travel (RV and otherwise) and fun with friends and family. Because for sure, friends and family are what counts most. It's been a transition period for friends, but the ones who remain are treasured all the more, and I feel fondness for the good times with those who have moved on to new adventures!