Monday, June 3, 2019

Joy, Post 4

     This was my last morning (Saturday) for Dusty snuggling and belly rubs, as his peeps return today from NOLA. As soon as they arrive, it will be "Grandma who?" for Dusty.
     The band stayed at the Laporte house overnight, and Dennis started Saturday off well with a Starbucks coffee for me (visiting our younger son who works there) and a walk for Dusty. Dennis fixed us a lovely breakfast of eggs, bacon, hash browns and biscuits, yummy good.
     I headed just before noon to the Denver airport to retrieve my older son and his partner, back from a fun trip to NOLA. Driving on I-25 between Denver and Fort Collins is what I refer to as "running the gauntlet," so it's always a relieved joy to conquer it safely. It was so fun to hear about their adventures and to report that their doggie was a very good boy for me. It brings me great joy to see how caring and loving they are with each other.
     On Saturday evening, the sons, their girls and I went out to the favorite Mexican restaurant in Fort Collins to celebrate the 30th anniversary of our younger son's arrival on the planet. I love these kids more than life itself, so "joy" doesn't quite cut it to describe how I relish being with all of them. I love listening to their banter, teasing, adventures, trials, dreams and silliness.
     Sunday dawned an absolutely glorious Colorado day. Son Derek and I took Dusty on a long walk that included Dusty catching the frisbee and swimming in the Poudre River for stick-retrieval. I think that 8-year-old pup would keep retrieving till his legs wouldn't even hold him up anymore. For a golden retriever, fetching is pure joy, and his love is infectious.
     Since we couldn't get a tee time to golf, Derek and I just hung out for a few hours and talked. There are few greater joys for me than the conversations we have, covering a huge range of subjects and going down deep on many. It feels like we know each other better than I ever knew my parents. That pleases me so much.
     Derek's love was on the job at Whole Foods, so we went there to visit her and for a late lunch and beers. Yes, in radically-ingenious Colorado, the Whole Foods has a tap room, and you can buy a delicious meal from their many food bars and enjoy it with a beer there.
     In another example of joyful synchronicity, the sons are starting their own business, and Mom, who has been doing tax prep work for several years, has plenty of knowledge regarding businesses and taxes. So our ride to the Denver airport was an interesting Q&A about that.
     My flight back to Wichita was delayed due to storms, but I did get home safely, albeit two hours late. I had the forethought before I left to wash my bedding, so the final joy of this trip was crawling into my own clean bed for a lovely night's sleep.
     I hope these four "Joy" posts have inspired you to consciously recognize those times, often "ordinary" life-stuff, that ignite your joy flame. The more we notice, the better life gets.
     Joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart,
             Leta


Friday, May 31, 2019

Joy, Post 3

     The Raptors won NBA Finals game one, and Fred VanVleet, a former star at hometown Wichita State University, was great. Woohoo!
     I again awoke to snuggle time with Dusty, who loves the simple belly-rub. When I read a randomly picked inspiration from Science of Mind magazine, the affirmation was "I greet each new day with eagerness for another opportunity for joy." Amen!
     I joyfully report that my neck/shoulder ache is considerably better. Thank goodness it did not interfere with swimming, as I was able to swim a mile this morning. Swimming is pure joy for me.
    As I was driving into Fort Collins, I passed a garden center, and the sign said, "You know you make me want to sprout." Joyful giggle.
     One of my culinary treats in Fort Collins is Culver's. So after swimming a mile, I felt fully justified in having a butter burger and malt. Yum!
     In a rare move, I cooked a spaghetti and meatball supper for my husband's band, who arrived at supper time for a gig at the Swing Station. It's a bar about a hundred yards down the street from our son's house in Laporte. Younger son and girlfriend joined us for supper too, and gave me a dog-walking break by taking Dusty out while I did the dishes. Feeding folks and now having a clean kitchen are joys to me.
     I am reading and really loving "Becoming" by Michelle Obama. She wrote a paragraph about her mother's extensive annual spring cleaning and finished off the paragraph with this: "It's because of my mother that still to this day I catch the scent of Pine-Sol and automatically feel better about life." How joyful is that!
     Friday finished off with seeing my husband's band, The Haymakers, playing at the Swing Station. Lots of our sons' friends came out, and it was great fun.
     Blessings of safe travels, good friends and family together, good food, good times, life is a joy!
     More joy to come...
            Leta


Thursday, May 30, 2019

Joy, Post 2

      Probably the thing that Dusty and I are both pros at is napping. So after Wednesday's lovely afternoon nap, I met up with my younger son, his girlfriend, her 6-year-old daughter, and the girlfriend's parents at O'Dell's Tap Room for a beer and a sit on the patio in the glorious sunshine. It was the 6-year-old's last day of kindergarten, a big and joyful milestone. It was a rare event and quite a treat to be with this son's whole family.
     I came back to the house, took Dusty on another walk, and settled in to watch the Cubs finally win one after a several-game losing streak. I was asleep much earlier than the previous night and slept very well.
     Joy hit a rough spot when I woke Thursday morning and moved. I was stunned by shooting pain in my neck and left shoulder. This is an area that annoys me occasionally, but there was no hint of this coming when I went to bed. I worked to resurface my joy with the mantra, "this, too, shall pass." I believe it's a result of the strong doggie pulling me on the leash, just more muscles out of practice that will adapt.
     Despite the irritation, I took Dusty on two short morning walks. It's another beautiful sunny day. (I'd note here that I had come from Wichita where we've had record-setting rain in May with very little sunshine, so sunshine itself is a joy.) Otherwise, I spent the morning reading a good book, a luxury I seldom give myself, though I'm not sure why.
     I met the same crew from O'Dell's for lunch, before the parents left to return to Nebraska and before the 6-year-old went to her dad's house for a few days. I asked my younger son if he would come and walk Dusty with me, so that he could hold him and give my shoulder and neck a break. He agreed.
     Colorado has some stores which sell products that offer mighty-fine pain relief. For the first time, I went to one of those stores all by myself. (For me, the overwhelming number of options and my lack of knowledge can be quite intimidating.) I got a pain-relief cream and had a lively discussion with my service person who is, unfortunately, a White Sox fan. Our discussion resulted from my Cubs t-shirt, always proudly worn. I was joyfully satisfied walking to the car for having done it "all by myself."
     I got home right at nap-time, and Dusty and I continued to perfect our skills at napping. My younger son came over late afternoon, and we went on a walk with Dusty, including a stop at the schoolyard for ball-chasing and stroll along the Poudre River. My son handled the dog, giving my body a break. I told my son what a joy it is for me to have time alone with him to talk and catch-up. He's at a point of new adventures in his life, and I am so happy for his ability to create a great future. He's also about to turn 30, and I am overjoyed at the wonderful life he has made for himself in Colorado.
     So it's evening. Dusty is sacked out from the walk and ball-chasing. The NBA finals start tonight. I'm a big Raptors fan. So you know what I'll be doing tonight.
     More joy to come...
            Leta


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Joy, Post 1

     Back in March a dear friend and I traveled to Oklahoma City to see Rob Bell's "Introduction to Joy" show.  He is still on tour with this event, so if you get a chance to see it, I highly recommend it.
     The gist of the show is that joy is found in nearly every moment if we are present to it. Being present is the key.
     I am currently on a grand-dog sitting vacation in Colorado. Dusty is my son's dog who stayed with us for 11 months last year while Derek was off on his Australian adventure. Just being with Dusty is pure joy to me. This dog-sitting adventure began last evening (Tuesday). I am committing to seeing those moments of joy and sharing them along the way. Here are the starters...
     I am dog-sitting because my son and partner are away on a trip. They left Denver Tuesday morning and left their CRV in the west economy lot for me to pick up after my Tuesday evening flight. The key was in a magnetic box hidden in the wheel-well. My flight was great, even landing 20 minutes early. I made my way through the airport in the general direction of ground transportation, eventually looking so confused that two security officers asked me what I was searching for. They directed me to the shuttle for the parking lot. Despite the long, winding walk, I found the bus. I did not, however, find much joy in the weather--40 degrees, windy and raining. Thank goodness I was wearing a hoodie.
     The bus driver had only one passenger, me. I told him the vehicle I was looking for, and the row and section of the west economy lot where the CRV was parked. Instead of just dropping me off in the general vicinity, he drove me around until we found the vehicle. What an angel! What joy, for finding the vehicle was the part of the trip I was most stressed about, multiplied by the yucky weather. I reached my hand into the appointed hiding place and landed right on the key box, no searching necessary. Hallelujah, to be inside the vehicle and out of the rain. Joyful relief!
     The hour-plus drive to Dusty's house went fine despite the rain. Given that his people had left him earlier in the day, and he had been alone for a few hours, Dusty was quite happy to see me. He gave me the paws-on-shoulders hug of greeting that I love so dearly. Big joy!
     I got settled in, texted the family regarding my safe arrival, and climbed into bed, with Dusty taking his (large, he's a Golden Retriever) space mid-bed. Both of us slept well. When I woke up, he crawled up to me and put his head on my belly for petting time. Speaking of joy!


     Dusty and I went out for a walk, a beautiful, cool, sunshiny morning. We ended up not on the usual route as it was time for kids to be arriving at school, and there were too many people and too much traffic for an excitable and exceedingly friendly dog. We did, however, have a lovely encounter with an older gentleman who is a crossing guard. There are a lot of dogs walked around this area of Laporte, and he carries a pocket-full of treats ("cookies") for the dogs. Dusty had him pegged. Treat received. Joy for both Dusty and me!
     Back at the house, I talked with my son to ask a few questions that hadn't already been covered. I learned the awesome news that he got the part-time job he really wanted, starting mid-June. More joy! 
     After a shower and clean clothes, I walked down the street to Me Oh My Pie, a bakery and cafe in Laporte that I have passed many times but hadn't yet visited. Oooooo, biscuits and gravy on the menu. Dare I? I'm very picky about this dish, because my husband makes the world's best. I went for it. It was great! It's a very cute place, convenient, yet another joy-spot in my day. 
     Now, Dusty and I are hanging, soon time for another walk. Life is good. 
     More joy to come...
          Leta


Saturday, May 4, 2019

I Have My Garden Back!

     For years, at least five, the neighbor's fence directly behind our house has been falling down, mostly on my garden. It was only a couple of shrubs on our side of the fence that held it up, sort of. The falling, rotten fence also revealed the neighbor's dump of a back yard--all weeds, rotting play set, discarded mattress, you name it. Needless to say, there was no reason for me to enjoy being in our backyard, so my interest in gardening languished, and I did only the bare minimum.
     I have no idea what finally initiated the fence replacement, but it was completed several weeks ago, and we no longer have to look at their dump. Hallelujah! I had turned several areas of garden plots back to lawn over the years, due to too much shade for vegetable gardening, and it being more than I wanted to care for as I got older and also as I travel more. So now I have a manageable size garden that I want to play in.
     Alas, doing only the bare minimum has left me with many projects. A couple of landscape timbers edging the big backyard bed had rotted. I replaced those today, which included drilling holes for re-bar to hold them in place. Yes, I can still operate a drill. The drought of a couple winters ago killed both of my huge double-knockout rose shrubs, and those had to be dug out, no small challenge, but also "mission accomplished." Because of extensive tree-trimming we had done last fall, I now have enough sun again to grow herbs in my herb garden, and I planted a half-dozen varieties there this morning. I also planted peonies, ornamental grasses and a giant hosta.
     Multiple projects remain. Those include ongoing lawn restoration, weeding, debris (limbs, rotted lumber) removal, and several empty spots to plant, naturally, my favorite thing to do. It's time to get my fountain going again. I have a lot of nice rock with which I can do something creative.
     I am so excited to look out on the backyard with joy rather than disgust. My muscles ache with the pleasure of hands-in-the-dirt, manual-labor efforts. I'm good about pacing myself, knowing that it will all get done eventually. And for the first time in years, I want to go hang out in the backyard and enjoy the fruits of my labor.
     Hallelujah!
              Leta

Friday, April 26, 2019

Surprise!!!

     Do you like surprises? I love them. Of course, I'm not talking about the "you've got cancer" sort of surprise. I don't think anyone likes that sort of thing sprung on them.
     Our older son's partner, Caila, also likes surprises, and arranged this past weekend for Dennis and I to surprise Derek for his birthday on Sunday. On Saturday, Derek called me, and the conversation eventually meandered to him asking when we were coming out to see him, saying he could sure use some "mom and dad time." It does make one feel good when a 30-something offspring still yearns for some "mom and dad time." I had to tell him I didn't know for sure when we'd get out there again, knowing full well I'd see him in less than 24 hours. What fun!
     We drove to Colorado on Sunday, and via texting with Caila, agreed to meet up at the Crown Pub. Derek was seated with his back to the door, talking with Caila. I walked up behind him, put my hands over his eyes and started singing "Happy Birthday" in his ear. He was thrilled, especially when he saw that both Mom and Dad had joined in the surprise adventure. Thus began a fantastic visit, wherein Derek must have thanked us 50 times for coming to Fort Collins and surprising him.   
     I have noted in my lengthy marriage that my husband does not care for surprises being sprung on him, and that has made him unlikely to surprise me. I've learned to be OK with that. I don't have to plan surprise birthday parties for him, and I don't expect them for myself. The occasional surprises we do plan for each other have been great fun, probably because they are so rare. We joke that if he ever surprises me with flowers, I'll know he did something REALLY bad, as he is not at all the flower-giving sort of guy.
     Bringing joy and delight to another is part of the fun of living. The couple of weeks leading up to  Derek's surprise were full of planning and excited anticipation. Is there some way you can delight someone in a joyful way? Little surprises are just as fun as big ones.
     Life is good!
            Leta

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Full Circle

     This is a story of my life as an addict, a food addict to be specific and name my substance of choice. I came by the addiction "honestly," as I was raised in an addictive household by a mother who was, herself, a food addict. I spent all of my elementary and secondary school days in a very obese state, and was the brunt of much cruelty as a result.
     Assorted diets offered me varying success over the years, depending on my motivation. I have lost literally hundreds of pounds in my life. I have weighed as much as 100 pounds more than I do now. No method of self-abuse with food surprises me. I've probably done 'em all.
     One thing about food addicts--we have an extreme love-hate relationship with food. Food was my best friend from an early age. It calmed me down, enabled me to stuff down feelings, and thereby get through each day of craziness. Truly it was my survival mechanism growing up. It's not a good idea to try and come between a food addict and her food. Just so you know, commenting about what a food addict is eating puts one in a very precarious position. Even a questioning look at an addict's full plate can set her off. It's a very volatile situation, dealing with an addict. Such was my early married life, and my poor husband never knew what he was faced with as I tried without success to control my eating behaviors. 
     The catalyst for change was the birth of our first child. I gained 50 pounds during the pregnancy with unbridled eating, and much to my surprise, I did not have a 50-pound baby. I was rapidly becoming aware that food and excess weight were symptoms of the problem, not the core issue. Then a friend of mine talked with me about his addictive behavior with food. I was stunned to learn that there was someone else on the planet that was as nuts about and with food as I was. He also offered a solution, which I latched onto like a drowning person grabbing a life preserver. I was committed not to pass addiction on to yet another generation.
     Fast-forward through three decades plus of recovery from compulsive eating. The efforts involved in recovery are totally worth it, as they have enabled me to create a great life and have great relationships with people, rather than with food. My most important relationship, with my husband, is what brings me to the "full circle" focus of this post.
     My husband was telling me recently about a friend who is a great cook, but his wife doesn't much care for food in general, or for his fine cooking. My husband said, "I'm so glad you love food and continue to enjoy my cooking." It would be way less fun for him to make his many wonderful dishes if I didn't much care about them. Instead, I love them, and I truly appreciate his efforts. 
     Lastly, to follow up on the previous post, I was successful, in huge part due to my husband's supportive cooking efforts, to not only keep my weight steady during tax season, but to actually lose a few pounds. Unlike the previous three tax seasons, I feel great physically, and I'm so glad I don't need to lose the "tax season 10."
     Food addiction--blessing or curse? It's been both for me, but the full circle is one that is mostly filled with blessings.
     Grateful for the journey,
          Leta



Sunday, March 17, 2019

Random Thoughts

     We are 2/3 of the way through tax season, four weeks to go. While the six-day-a-week grind of getting up very early to get to work (with possibly a lap-swim workout before) is getting old, I'm still digging the mental challenge, and happily making lots of overtime pay. I keep going by regularly reminding myself of all the fun I'm going to have the rest of the year with the funds I've made doing taxes.
     I did take a break last weekend to visit my sons in Fort Collins. I drove there Saturday and returned Monday. I had a great time and a much-needed mental break.
     One of my biggest challenges in life has been to let go of my kids. They are quite successful adults and have their own lives. I do pretty well when I am away from them--I don't call a lot and I try hard not to be pushy or nosy. I think they would say that I do OK not being nosy. On this most recent visit, however, I feel I overstepped my "mom boundaries." No details are necessary here, but it left me feeling not quite right, and I made amends and apologized. As usual, it was a bigger deal to me than to them. Because I miss the sons so much, it's really hard when I get to be with them not to go into excess-mom-mode. 
     The other challenge is that it is a 9-10 hour drive to get to Fort Collins from Wichita. While I can do it myself, and have done it many times, it's not my favorite thing to do. That long drive home after a great visit is really a downer. Flying would take almost as much time and create additional inconveniences for the sons. I know options and solutions will develop over time. We shall see...
     Back to tax season... I committed this year not to gain the "tax season 10," weight I had put on in previous years due to stress-eating. My husband is supporting me tremendously in this effort by cooking lots of healthy food for my lunches and dinners. I've also avoided eating out at lunch, which was a big contributing factor to the weight gain. So far so good--I've stayed steady at my starting weight, and I feel so much better than in tax-seasons past. I keep reminding myself that this is not just for tax season, that this is how I want to eat for life. Occasionally my sweet-tooth gets a bit too wound up, and I've noticed that more sugar in my diet makes for more aches in my body. It's a good connection to make, because the hurting is not worth the sweet treats.
      Lastly, oh joy, Opening Day of baseball season is March 28. As John Fogerty wrote in "Centerfield," "We're born again, there's new grass on the field." I already have tickets to the Cubs-Rockies game in Denver, and I have a spot reserved in the California five-stadium baseball tour. Go, Cubs!!!!
      Thanks for reading my random thoughts,
                     Leta
     

Friday, March 1, 2019

The Selectric

     I took typing class in high school. I don't remember if it was required, but in hindsight, I'm glad I took the class because it has been a very-much-used skill my entire lifetime. I'm using it now to write this.
     I'm not sure what brand of typewriters we had back then at Huntingdon High School, but I think they were IBM Selectrics. This was back in the mid-1970s, and yes, they had been invented by then. The electric typewriter was quite the hot item. The Selectric has this awesome auto-correct ability where you press a certain key and it backs up and whites-out the mistake so you can retype it correctly. No more gunky white-out.
     I went through several decades of life without touching a typewriter, as computers developed into tools of everyday use. Then several years ago, I acquired a bookkeeping gig that required me to type one 1099 form and one 1096 form each January. Because I was only doing one of each, I didn't want to invest in costly software and bulk packages of the forms. That left me with needing an "old-fashioned" typewriter to successfully handle the multi-part 1099 form.
     The old downtown Wichita Public Library had typewriters in the business section for public use. I went there for several years to do my annual ten minutes of typing. Once the new library was completed, I learned that the typewriters were not included, and that the new library doesn't even have a business section. Where could I find a typewriter? Meanwhile, my way-into-new-technology husband is trying to come up with ways for me to not ever need a typewriter again.
     Fortunately the office I work in during tax season is attached to a bank that has an electric typewriter. I used that one this past January to type my 2018 forms. We also use it occasionally to type an envelope or mailing label. It is quick, handy and useful.
     My co-worker and I set out this year to clean up our office space of old computer equipment and assorted ancient junk that had been sitting around for years. In one corner that I had truly never paid attention to, we discovered an IBM Selectric. Literally, I had worked there for a full nine months (over three tax seasons) and never noticed this typewriter in the corner underneath an old fax machine.
     Woohoo! Our very own Selectric! We moved it near an outlet, plugged it in, turned it on, and... nothing. It wouldn't start. Dang. Could it be fixed? The quest was on.
     I googled "typewriter repair in Wichita." Needless to say, there were not a lot of options. One phone number was disconnected, the second said "closed," and at the last option, the person who answered the phone said, "No one fixes Selectrics any more, you can't get parts."
     But I'm determined. I asked Joe, the CPA I work for, if he knows anyone who fixes typewriters, because Joe seems to know everyone. I kid you not, his several-times-a-week workout buddy, George (not his real name), used to work for the premier typewriter repair company in Wichita, still fixes them and "has a garage full of Selectric parts." (This stock was later confirmed in person with George.)
     Off the Selectric went for George to resurrect. Fortunately George is a determined soul also, and he and Joe are good friends, because this was a lengthy job, mainly to de-gunk the ancient thing. This past Tuesday the Selectric returned to our office in perfect working order. By the way, I did George's tax return, and he makes enough money servicing typewriters that he gets some 1099s for it (that means he makes at least $600/year from an organization for the repair work). I'm not the only person around who finds a typewriter to be a handy tool.
     I've used the Selectric several times already. It works great. It feels like "my baby." It makes me giggle that it was able to be resurrected and restored to working order. George says it will work better the more we use it. If you are one of my letter-writing partners, you just may get a Selectric-typed letter from me next time. Albums and turntables have made a comeback, why not typewriters?!?!? 
     Merrily typing away,
         Leta
   
   

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Be Kind to Your Tax Preparer

     I'm beginning my fourth consecutive year of working as a tax preparer. While things start out slowly in mid-January, by February, things get crazy and keep getting crazier till the filing deadline (not necessarily April 15). I'm a "numbers nerd," I learn a lot, I enjoy the folks I work with, and I love the job. The work matches my skills nicely. Plus this job supports my travel habit during the other nine months of the year.
     In general, I would offer that the folks who write and pass tax legislation don't have a clue what they are actually doing. All political parties are equally clueless. When a tax preparer hears the word "simplify," we know automatically that the tax code and systems to support it will become infinitely more complicated. The whole "file on a postcard" thing is a silly fantasy.
     The CPA I work for attends a weekly tax luncheon, wherein tax accountants and attorneys discuss the latest changes. There is an extraordinary amount of detail relative to the tax bill that Trump was able to get passed that is still not defined enough to be programmed properly in the tax software. Many questions remain. If these pros don't know what's going on, there's little hope for the rest of us. Then there are the changes which are made retroactive, which adds on a whole 'nother layer of complication, because where records should have been kept, they probably were not.
     Then there is the government shutdown to contend with. Effects of that are still becoming known. We don't know if the filing deadline will be extended. Deadlines for forms being mailed have been relaxed somewhat, pushing even more work toward the already busy end-of-season.
     So be kind to your tax person when he says, "I don't know the answer to that right now." Or when she asks for more details. Or when he says that the software isn't complete enough yet to actually file the return with the IRS. Or when the refund you were expecting turns into an amount owed. You are working with folks who are in a nearly constant state of trying to hit a moving target. Please be kind. We truly are doing our best in each moment.
     Digging the numbers,
                 Leta

Thursday, January 17, 2019

A Much-Bigger Perspective

     I've been watching a series on Netflix called "Nature's Weirdest Events." One was an ice tsunami that came ashore and destroyed a bunch of homes. There are several instances of bug and bird invasions. There is a frog that is metabolically built to freeze solid in the winter and come back to life with the spring thaw. It's very interesting stuff. While it would not be my first thing to study, there is at least one fire ant expert out there, and it was fascinating to learn how those tiny vicious creatures operate. There's a tiny parasitic moth that preys on the fire ants, a glimmer of hope in controlling their invasion.
     I am also very fond of the Astronomy Picture of the Day (click here). These are fabulous photos of earthlings looking skyward, or into deep space, or from space back at our magnificent planet. I love seeing our planet from space because 1) there are no border lines, 2) I know I have no concept of how big Earth is, 3) something bigger than me did an outstanding job of making this extremely unusual world that supports such a huge variety of life. If you look at photos of Mars and Earth, the difference is mind-boggling. How did this amazing, water-based, rich-with-life planet happen?!?!
     Two important life reminders come to me through these sources. The first is that our planet is a living, intelligent system that is perfectly capable of taking care of itself. While I believe we should take excellent care of our earthly home, I don't buy into all the fuss about global warming and such. The planet will simply have cycles of change, and one human lifetime is a minuscule speck of time in its long-term existence. Certainly human life and property may be damaged along the way, but Earth will do what it needs to do to sustain life, or if necessary, wipe it out and start over. That's happened in the past.
     The other life reminder is "there's nothing to worry about." The Intelligence that has created our planet and the mind-boggling variety of life on it, much still undiscovered, is way bigger and smarter than me. If It can do such a great job with our planet, then I can rest assured that I don't really have to worry about much. Live well, feel good, do good, have fun, love. I believe in the goodness of all things, and the magnificence of planet Earth is a pretty fine indicator that we are eternally loved and cared for. What a glorious playground!
     I encourage you to find some ways to reach beyond your day-to-day, limited perspective and get a bigger view of the glorious world we live on. Learn. Travel. Hang out in nature. Hug a tree. 😊😊😊
     Appreciating life,
                  Leta

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Grateful Goodbye to 2018

What an interesting year 2018 was, with many out-of-the-ordinary happenings for me and our family.

WORK I completed my third season doing tax preparation. I was really active with MELT Method teaching, including classes, workshops and private lessons.

HEALTH Surgery was a biggie for the year. Dennis had shoulder surgery in June, and successfully completed six months of physical therapy. After x-rays showing arthritis in my left hip, I arranged for and got myself psyched for hip replacement, but that never happened due to a rather bizarre set of happenings. I'm in wait-and-see mode for now, not ready to reschedule a hip surgery. My pre-surgery evaluation, however, was comforting, as all my numbers were in the normal/healthy ranges.

TRAVEL Our older son, Derek, and his partner, Caila, spent most of the year working and playing in Australia and New Zealand. What a challenge having them so far away, and a joy that they were able to experience that adventure. I enjoyed trips:

  • Chicago and Ohio (Cubs game, friends and family visits)
  • Eastern Canada, exploring Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa, Toronto and Niagara
  • East Coast baseball tour thru Baltimore, Philadelphia, NYC, Cooperstown, Boston
  • Timber Creek Retreat
  • Dallas for an Abraham-Hicks workshop
  • Fort Collins, in September to visit Eliot, and December, for Christmas

DOG We kept Derek's Golden Retriever, Dusty, while he was in Australia. While I was not initially excited to have our first dog ever in our home of 33 years, we became very attached to this great critter. We got him all caught up on vet care, including neutering. I went to a six-week obedience class with him, which achieved the primary goal of him learning to walk comfortably on-leash. We returned Dusty to Derek at our Christmas visit. Coming home after Christmas to no dog at home was heart-breaking.

FAMILY We were blessed with sons' visiting Wichita when Eliot and Aliza arrived for a Memorial Day weekend (friends' wedding) and Derek and Caila passed through after returning from New Zealand. Eliot is now the proud owner of the newest car in the family, a 2016 Honda Civic, his first car purchase.

MISCELLANEOUS
I received my first Social Security payments, woohoo!
I played lots more golf than in the past few years.
We had a major tree-trimming job done around our home and attempted lawn restoration.
My birthday-gift-to-me was registering for the California Baseball Tour in August 2019.
I added five MLB stadiums to my bucket list: Baltimore, Mets, Yankees, Fenway, Toronto.
I set a new personal annual lap-swim record of 136 miles.
I had a CUBS World Series ring on my hand.

All-in-all, a very good year, despite all the unusual happenings. I feel so grateful and blessed!
     Looking forward to a great 2019!
              Leta