It’s all about change

I’ve written quite a bit here about our change of church this past year. That was a huge change in our life, but we have embraced it with faith and gusto and have found a lovely new church home and family at Westminster Presbyterian.

Another change I’ve been dealing with is friendship. Those of you who have been with me for so many years will remember that I had two long time friends, going back to the time of our daughter’s birth, 37 years ago. We had met at our workplace and forged this bond that seemed fail-proof. Here we are, back in the late 90s, at a birthday lunch.

Me Shirley Gail

At Thanksgiving, 2011, one of the three died, and it was up to the remaining two to clean out her home and get the estate ready for the attorney to settle. Then the other friend’s husband got a bad case of shingles and things really changed. All of this within a  few months, and it has never regained its old stability. We hardly ever see each other. The other friend is not on social media, refuses to text and seldom reads her email. Due to her husband’s illness and need for constant attention, she can’t even talk on the phone. I have tried going by their home a few times, but felt thwarted in that they seem to want to remain secluded. 

When we have talked, I get the feeling that she does not want much contact with others and finds it difficult to make plans or to try to go out. I’ve left the ball in her court only to find it lies there for months. I recently sent her an email and got a reply but no other word to my reply, saying “yes, let’s go to lunch. You call me and tell me a good time.”

I miss my friends. The one who has died is gone and is not coming back, but I’m beginning to feel the same about the one who is still living. It is a change that I’m having trouble grasping.

Stay away from those negative Nancies (or Nathans)

Sometimes we just feel like whining, don’t we? Things don’t go our way and it seems that the world is crashing down around us. Even I, though I try to stay focused on the positive and wait for God to work, get down in the dumps and feel sorry for myself every now and then. Like with the air conditioning affair. But, moving on…

There should be a 24-hour rule for all of us. Whether we experience victory  and want to celebrate or we are defeated and feel the loss, we should only focus on it for 24 hours. Then move on. If we focus on the loss, it keeps getting worse. There are some people who just keep rehashing the failure or the bad stuff.

We can all be compassionate and offer sympathy, up to a point. When the sympathetic ear takes too much energy, or zaps our joy, then it may be time to move on. There is a cost to being around negative people. Especially if they are always negative and only want to tell you about their problems and issues.

As I get older, I’m finding that I want to spend my time with people I enjoy. I want to be around people who may have problems, but they are also seeking solutions. Seeking solutions and following through to solve their problems. Not keep harping on them.

The decision to take away the keys

Have you had to make that decision for an elderly friend or family member when you know they are no longer safe to be driving on the road? Or have you made the decision for yourself?

I had a friend who, at the age of 88, was still driving, and believed to be doing it well. She turned the corner one day, and realized she had almost hit a pedestrian in the crosswalk who she saw too late. She drove to her daughter’s house,parked the car, and gave the keys to her daughter. “I’m done driving,” she told her. “If I killed someone, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.” The daughter decided to have her mother’s vision checked and the doctor found the beginning of macular degeneration.

Yesterday a fellow who has a business in a downtown area of Fresno posted to Facebook the photo of a car that he warned others to avoid as the elderly woman driver was driving erratically and had nearly missed the UPS driver and then stopped her car in the intersection at a light. Most of us responded with the advice to call police and/or highway patrol to report the license plate number, which he had on the photo. Someone needed to tell this lady that it may be time to stop driving. Or, at least take a course in driving for seniors.

AAA offers such a course. They will even give you a discount on your insurance if you take it. California DMV now requires everyone who turns 70 to come in for an  exam.

Terry’s mother had two accidents, neither of which harmed any person, just property, before she finally stopped driving. She wrecked the car so badly on the second accident that she had no other choice. I kept telling Terry that she shouldn’t be driving, but she and the other two brothers thought she was okay. I told Terry, “How will you feel if she hits and kills someone?”

I am hopeful that I will be like my friend who whom I started this post, who knew enough to give up her keys without being made to do so, and before harming self, others, or property.

Finally fixed

We noticed the warm air last Friday. The air conditioner, along with the hot temperatures, was not making life comfortable here. Unfortunately, we didn’t notice it soon enough to call before the repair service closed on Friday. So, we suffered through the weekend. We have five fans but one of those gave up the ghost due to continual use. The fans and lots of ice got us through.

Terry was able to find a company that could make the service call this week rather than waiting for two weeks (!) which was what the original installer could offer. The service technician showed up on Wednesday afternoon only to find that the unit was frozen over and would have to thaw before he could determine the problem. He went away to another job and came back about 4 p.m. Fortunately, there was a cloud cover which helped keep temperatures a big lower (102 instead of 106).

The technician worked very hard, even going into our attic and checking all of the ductwork. He cleaned and serviced the unit and the air was a bit cooler coming out of the vents. However, after he left, the cooling didn’t go any further. The temperature held at 86 degrees. By now it was long after 5 p.m.

Terry called again Thursday morning and was told a technician would be out in the afternoon. Sure enough, at 1:30 another fellow rolled in. He worked for 2 hours, even turning on the heater to melt the ice cover. Made me think of a soap opera that I watch where the villain attempted to kill his nemesis by turning up the furnace to “cook” them in a small closet. Life imitating art here.

This time it seems to have worked. The thermostat is now down to 80 degrees which is where we normally keep it during the summer months. I am very grateful for cool air. It was again uncomfortable here today with 60% humidity and  official high of 98 degrees. More high clouds with another promise of thunderstorms tonight. Wednesday night the San Joaquin Valley had over 500 lightening strikes.

It has been so hot in this house, with more heat building up each day, that now it feels almost chilly. But I’m not complaining. As I said earlier, I am grateful that the air conditioner is fixed.

My hot weather fashion 

This is how I’m dressing around the house on these warm days. Fortunately, I have 3 dresses like this one. Unfortunately, this one has bleach stains from one of my counter cleaning episodes. 


What else can you expect? It is 4th of July week

And hot as a firecracker! Well, today will be. The past few days have stayed below 100 but today the forecast calls for 106 as there will be plenty of sunshine. We’ve had a monsoonal cloud cover that has kept us cooler, Thank God. On Friday of last week our air conditioner decided it was tired and wasn’t going to work as hard as it had been. We usually keep the thermostat set at 80 in the summer (70 in the winter), but the compressor decided we would have to be happy (!) with 84 to 88.

Terry didn’t realize how poorly the unit was functioning until late Friday afternoon and the heating/cooling place had closed for the weekend. When he called them on Monday, the best they could do for him was an appointment two weeks out. Well, that’s just ridiculous. And this is the company that installed the unit. Fortunately, he found another reputable company that can come out tomorrow. I am hopeful that it will be a part that can be replaced easily and quickly and that we won’t have to replace the whole unit. That would be about a $5000 job.

Because it has been so hot, and we are in a drought, I’ve noticed the wildlife looking for water, too. I’ve been leaving a bowl of water at the base of the tree where the squirrels and birds come to feed. Even the cats stop and get a drink from it rather than making their way up to the patio to their own water dish. Every morning I have to dump the cat’s water as the bugs have drowned their sorrows in it the night before.

One of the blue jays has been coming on the patio to eat the dry cat food so I put a bowl of crunchies on the greenhouse pad so it doesn’t have to come as far and chance getting caught by a cat. One very early morning I saw a raccoon making its way along the greenhouse wall after eating and drinking in the yard. Just think of me as the shortstop cafe for wildlife!

Taming the monster

The cat seems to have made peace with the “monster” of new patio chair pillows. 


I’m glad to see her sleeping on her own patio.