Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him. (Oswalt Chambers)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

My New Ride

Monday Jay and I picked up my new ride at the Subaru dealership, breaking my thirty-five year tradition of Toyota loyalty.

She's a 2015 Subaru Legacy all wheel drive sedan in Carbide Gray, a medium dark gray with strong blue overtones. I love the color, and so far I love the car.

She's not officially named yet, but I'm leaning toward calling her Smokey.

Smokey replaces a fifteen year old Camry, my Y2K car.

I loved my old Camry. Until a month ago I planned on replacing her with another Camry and considered that a no-brainer decision.

In fact, I was just waiting for the 2015 Camry to be available because I didn't like last year's Camry taillights (picture below). They looked like someone chopped a hole in them to insert the 'Camry' name. I figured the hole would get filled in by 2015.

And the hole did get filled in. I like the 2015 Camry from the rear. But the huge grill they put on the front (picture below) is very much not me.

The more I tried to appreciate the front of the 2015 Camry (picture above), the more I realized it wasn't going to happen.

Then my old Camry developed a CLUNK. It was the kind of CLUNK that I knew fixing would cost more money than the car was worth. Car shopping got serious. Since I wasn't over the 2015 Camry grill yet, I did what any woman would do - - I whined to my husband.

Husband Jay was very helpful. He pointed out that when we open the door from the house to the garage we are staring directly at the front grill of my car. He was too nice to say that he didn't want to hear about that Camry grill every time we opened the door, but I'm sure he was thinking it.

He also mentioned that I have friends driving Subarus who love them and Subarus have all wheel drive for Michigan winters.

We took a Subaru Legacy test drive and I was sold.

The Subaru picture (below) was taken from our doorway to the garage. Every time I go out that door, which is often, I appreciate the wisdom and kindness of my husband.

Smokey and Porky (Jay's Explorer) are happy together in the garage.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Monday Was a BIG Day

Monday morning I turned in the keys to Mom's apartment. That means it was empty and reasonably clean, one of the biggest tasks I have done in years. Considering all the things I've done in the last few years, that makes it a very big task indeed.

I did have plenty of help, all of it younger and stronger than me with the exception of Jay who is stronger but not younger. Ultimately the responsibility was mine and there were many days when I wondered how I was ever going to get it done. It's a huge relief to have it finished.

The timing wasn't planned, but it worked out perfectly that I was ready to do something happy and exciting on Monday afternoon. I bought a 2015 Subaru Legacy all wheel drive sedan to replace my 2000 Camry.

Before I went to the dealership Monday, I had the exact model, options, and color picked out. The salesman looked up the list of Legacys due to arrive and found an exact match except for one additional option, the remote start.

It's due to arrive in Kalamazoo the week after next.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Snapshot of My Life on May 2, 2015

Weather in SW Michigan ...
It's springtime!

The village grass has been mowed for the first time. Not our grass. Our grass is just sprouting. But everyone else's grass looks great.

A new house/condo is going up across Chuck's Circle. Chuck is our neighbor. He was first to build on this circle and he named the circle after himself.

Really? ...
While I was writing this blogpost we had a 4.0 earthquake in Kalamazoo.

It was my first, and hopefully last, real earthquake. What surprised me most was the noise. Didn't realize earthquakes came with so much noise.

It was scary and I didn't like it. Now I have new appreciation for the places that get big ones. Yikes.

Something from the kitchen ...
We brought some (legally purchased) cacti and succulents back from Arizona. No, we don't know how to care for them but we do have a book.

Number one rule for the cacti: Don't pick them up bare handed. Those spikes are super strong and they want your body.

I am creating...
These socks have been on the needles and ignored for a long, long time. This week I knit on them and they're almost ready to get a heel.

The yarn is Opal Graffiti. The pattern is my basic sixty stitch sock with k5p1 ribbing, and the socks are for me.

I have been procrastinating ...
I've been thinking about buying a new car for the past five years. There has always been a reason it wasn't the perfect time. That, combined with the fact I hate car shopping, have kept my fifteen year old Camry in service.

The Camry still runs great but the underbody is suffering from fifteen Michigan winters and it has developed a worrisome, clunking noise. I do not want to spend anymore money on this car.

Yesterday we visited the Subaru dealer and test drove a Legacy sedan. It's possible my thirty-five year Toyota brand loyalty is going to end soon.

Special thanks to husband Jay who dragged me out to the dealership when I would have been happy to procrastinate a few more days. He keeps me doing what needs to be done and I am grateful.

Just want to say ...
Last Sunday after church we stopped for lunch and saw the man who married us, Pastor Bruce. He asked if we are still happy.

Just in case anyone else is wondering, we are still happy.

Something new for me ...
Condo living is amazing. Last week a professional window washer came and washed the windows. They look cleaner than I have ever been able to get a window, and I didn't have to do it.

The landscapers showed up and put fresh mulch in the garden, and the sprinkler people showed up and set the timing on the sprinkers. We do not mind giving up these tasks.

A few plans for the next few days
Next week is going to be the end of cleaning out Mom's apartment and turning in the keys.

Then I'm going to schedule some lunches with friends I haven't had much time for recently so we can laugh together and catch up.

And I may possibly buy a new car.

Giving thanks for ...
Everything mentioned above and the final item below. Minus the earthquake. Although the earthquake did make Saturday more interesting.

And ...
Daughter Heather and long time partner Jason got married yesterday. Jason has been a member of the family for years, but now it's official. He can't get away from us. Love him and I'm very happy about this.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Mom's Ashes and Wedding Dress

Last week I was so blessed and thankful to have my brother Dave come to Kalamazoo from Oregon to help sort out Mother's personal things.

Wednesday evening it was cold, windy and snowing. With two outdoor jobs to complete, Dave needed a coat. Our first stop was at the mall. I told him he would never find a winter coat in April, but I was wrong. He found a great, warm $200 coat for $23 in Macy's and it fit.

Second stop was at Lowes for a torch, fatwood, and some kindling. Then on our way to Marshall, Michigan for some sentimental tasks.

Mom pre-planned her cremation, but wouldn't give me a wish for the disposition of her ashes. She said we could sprinkle them where ever we felt they should go.

Dave and I sprinkled Mom's ashes on Dad's grave.

Next stop was more complicated. We had Mom's wedding dress and a few other very personal things we wanted to burn. But where?

We ended up at a park along the river. It had everything we needed, especially a screen to put over the flame because it was very windy.

Dave started the fire with a Bernzomatic Torch, the torch our grandfather, Mom's father, helped design when he was a consultant to the Turner Corporation in 1965.

One moment I'll never forget is when we realized we needed to stir the flame and separate the layers of the gown. I looked down on the ground and there was a long tongs looking back at me like it had fallen from the sky.

Dave and I think Mom would have enjoyed the spectacle of us together burning the dress in the cold, wind, and snow.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Good Things

** A pictureless, personal blog post. **

I have personal rules about what I will and will not blog about. Most of the past three months falls in the latter category. It was a time of stress, confusion, and horror as we lived through the rapid decline and death of Mom.

As life begins to return to normal (if leaving for a four week trip out west can be counted as normal) I want to take a few minutes and list some of the good things that happened during that time period.

Brother Dave and I got to know each other very well. He is a kind, caring man who spent Mom's last month with her while ignoring his business in Oregon. We gathered information and made life and death decisions together. We meditated and prayed together, each respecting the other's spiritual beliefs. We talked for hours and hours, and realized that we like each other very much.

Husband Jay was my earthly rock. He did all the grocery shopping and ran mundane errands so I didn't need to be concerned about having food or whatever else I needed. He cooked some great comfort food. Twice he did all my laundry. ALL of it. He let me talk about things he didn't want to hear about, and he let me cry in his arms. When we had wintery roads, he gave his 4WD Explorer keys to brother Dave and insisted we take it. And he prayed for us.

The strength of the Lord carried me through. I could not have done this without my faith, my Bible, and the prayers of my friends.

After five years, I am now able to visit son John, daughter-in-law Anne, and granddaughter Sydney in Idaho. I am caretaker to no one and dogless. It feels new and strange and I'm still adjusting to the situation. Next Tuesday I leave for Oregon to spend spring break with my Idaho family, then fly to Phoenix to meet Jay and spend some time with his family. Jay is driving us back to Michigan via the Grand Canyon and several other national parks. We're going to do some furniture shopping in Illinois and be home whenever we get there - very strange indeed!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Margarete Monette 1922 - 2015

Mom died February 9, 2015 after four weeks of hospital/hospice stay.

On her wedding day in February, 1944.

She would say the happiest days of her life were the births of her four children, but I think it was this day.

She never managed to look her age, even when she was dying.

Even though Louise is not on mom's birth certificate as her middle name (or maybe it is, the document is written in German Swiss), she gave it to me as a middle name, I gave it to my daughter (center), and my daughter gave it to her daughter (left). We enjoyed being the four Louises.

Goodby Mom. We've been together for seventy years and I will miss you.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Getting Settled When Unsettled

We are settled enough to be functional and only occasionally have the need to get into unopened boxes to find something. That's the encouraging news.

On the other hand we need furniture, we are working on getting files and finances joined and in order to do taxes, and I am distracted by everything involved with my mother's valve replacement next week.

Also, the weather is not cooperating. Since this is January in Michigan, that is not a surprise. The snow isn't overly deep, but the single digit temperatures (F) we are having keep the road salt from working. The roads are scary.

Last week we got brave and punched the first hole in our pristine walls to hang Jay's, now our, cuckoo clock. It's sweet to hear it calling out the hour and the half hour again. Love this thing. Putting it up made Oak Haven feel like home.

Last week we ordered shades for our windows. After several false starts with businesses that didn't work out, we finally ended up getting them through Costco. They referred us to a local business with a large showroom owned by people who have been installing quality shades and blinds for over thirty years. So far it's been a pleasant experience and in a few more weeks we will have window coverings. Finally.