life commentary


I feel a need to resurrect this-here blog of mine. Really just as a place for me to dump thoughts and ideas and the extra brain-luggage I have. It’s been a while. Lots has happened. Some things are the same. I still know how to stitch and do that once in a while. I’ve taken up knitting a bit more than stitching, but both languish a bit due to life. I’m not a caregiver anymore, in the sense that the one person I was caring for moved on to that grand adventure in January 2016, where I know she is renewing relationships with family and friends who have gone before her. And, she’s skipping and running, and hiking and doing. And for that I’m very happy.

My little Chloe May joined her last December. It was clear that Chloe had cancer like her grandma-ma, and she passed in my arms. So, she’s running and skipping by my mom’s side in that grand afterlife. I’m not alone though. I have Buster and Bob Marley. Bob joined my family about a month after mom’s funeral, when he was found wandering the neighborhood. We found each other, and it has been said by many that mom sent him so I’d have another soul to care for. Buster and Bob rule the house and it takes me almost a full Saturday to bathe and clip them both. Buster is a mini-schnauzer mix, while Bob Marley is, I believe, what you’d call a Schweenie (Shi-Tzu and Dachsund mix). His hair never stops growing, and when I found him he had obviously been on the streets for some time, or greatly neglected in the dead of a Utah winter. He had dreadlocks and a matte on his back the size of an R.O.U.S. Thus, when I took him to the vet for some care, and they asked me his name, I told them Bob Marley. Bob recuperated at our house, and wormed his way into our hearts. He goes by Bob, or Bobby now.

I’m just recovering from a long, long time of getting by day-to-day. Finding those small moments of life that I can enjoy, and not feel guilty about them. And, dealing with the added responsibilities that are upon me in my professional life. I’m very blessed. Life is good. Truly it is. I’m working to get to where life is “gooder”.

I’ve often wondered about how we can improve the driving skills of those on the road who are not-so-aware of their surroundings. I came to the conclusion long ago that it would be wonderful if we could assign vehicle types to drivers based on their driver’s test scores. For example, those who pass with flying colors should be able to pick any car they want, including sports cars, large SUV’s and vans. Those who don’t do as well, can pick any mid-sized car. Those who are on the lower end of the passing scale should only be eligible for VW Beetles, or other small cars such as the Ford Focus, or the smaller Hyundai’s.

Just for fun, I’ve added some other things to my “bad drivers” wish list. Here they are:

1) With each failure of the driver’s test, you lower your chance of getting a very large vehicle when you DO pass.

2) What if we had to pay more incrementally, each time we renew our license, if we’ve had an accident that was determined to be our fault? Add that to the increases in insurance that already happen, and it may be that some of our worst drivers would take the bus!

3) Oh, and here’s my favorite: if you’re a bad driver, a force field of some kind can be place around your car so that no cell phones or other electronic equipment can be used within the car.

As I was driving home from work yesterday, I noticed that the persons in the two cars ahead of me at a stop light, and the three cars behind me were ALL on a cell phone. Last week, I was rather amused to be able to read the lips of the woman on the opposite side of an intersection, as she very adeptly chewed somebody’s butt off, then threw her cell phone into the back seat of the car. I thought, “Good, at least she’d have to stop the car to pick that thing up again!”

I actually own a cell phone, and I have been known to talk on it while driving. A few months ago, I found that I was in my car a lot and HAD to use the phone to get things done. So, to be safer, I bought a bluetooth headset. I’ve also used a wired headset in the past. So, I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong to use a cell phone, play the radio, etc. But, when we as adults (because the driver’s license bureau in each of our states thinks we’re mature enough to allow us to get behind the wheel of a potential killing machine) cannot think straight because the conversation we’re in is too tense, or we’re distracted to the point that we don’t recognize the light has changed from red to green, then we need to take a closer look at ourselves before we cause some damage!

This thing we call the internet is a wonderful thing. And yet, it’s also a place where we sometimes show our worst side. It’s easier to spout venomous attacks at people we hardly know, about things that don’t really matter via the internet. Why? Maybe typing mean words on the computer doesn’t affect us in the same way that shouting them at a real, live person does. After all, a computer doesn’t respond with “body language”. We cannot see the pain or hurt on the screen like we can in the eyes of the person to whom we’ve directed our infantile outburst. And, I suppose that when we feel pain, we might think it’s better to just “let it out” no matter who sees or hears our rant.

I just finished reading a thread on my favorite bulletin board. You would think the board was dedicated to the subject of religion or politics after reading some of the posts in this thread. No, it’s dedicated to needlework. But, the needlework wasn’t the real subject of this thread. What appeared to be an innocent posting asking to get in contact with someone turned into a public roast of this individual (the one they were seeking to find) because of a lack of communication regarding a project exchange. What disappoints me is that even though it’s apparent that those who posted mean comments did not know the all the details of the situation, they chose to air their feelings on a public board. An even bigger disappointment is that it’s clear to me that several people were more concerned about what they received in the exchange than with what they gave. Even when a sincere apology from the person who was being attacked was posted, the attacks kept coming.

What could possibly justify such behavior? I honestly can’t figure it out. This type of behavior is happening more and more every day. I’m in a continual battle against my own cynicism and inner-meanie too, which is why I seriously considered not posting this opinion here on my own blog. It would appear that we all need to regularly check our thoughts and words before we make utter fools of ourselves in both public forums and private relationships.

If you weren’t aware of the thread I’m talking about, this post will make no sense to you. If you were, it still might not make sense. Either way, I’m going to remember to be careful about what I say and do, and ask myself the question, “Is venting my own frustration going to hurt another person? Is my short-lived pleasure worth the hurt I may cause?” I’m not always going to do the right thing I’m sure, because no one of us is perfect, but I’m going to try. And, now that I’ve ranted here, I’m going to try my best to forget the names of those who posted such mean comments.

As the season of Spring is just around the corner, I’ve taken some time to look closely at my yard. There’s a lot of work waiting for me when the sun begins to shine a little more. My lawn is in need of some particular loving-care. I was pondering on that old saying “The grass is always greener”. Some people spend their lives searching for their idea of a perfect life. It might include a wonderful relationship with family or spouse. Or a beautiful home, wonderful kids, or an exciting career. Some people dwell on the thought that their lives will be better when this or that happens. We’ve all done it if even for a short period of time. We compare our lives, our homes, our children, our career to someone else’s. And, we usually find ourselves lacking when we use this yardstick. So, we go about doing things that we believe will somehow make us happy. Our lives get busier, more complicated, and we usually find too late that all the fuss, money spent, and time lost didn’t get us any closer to the happiness we’re seeking.

You know, the grass just isn’t always greener at the neighbor’s house. It may appear to be greener, but it’s usually got some sort of fungus or cutworm underneath the surface. Even if it doesn’t have some sort of disease or bug, and it’s healthy, we need to realize that it takes a lot of effort to keep it green. The people around us who seem to have “perfect lives” never do. They work hard at making things better, they choose to spend their time nurturing their “lawns” and in the end, they have all had challenges along the way that no one could have imagined.

I decided long ago that it’s better to stick to my little old lawn, with a few brown spots here and there, and not worry about the neighbor. Someone once said, “there’s heartache within every home.” So, as you look at your neighbor’s homes, don’t compare yourself to their “perfect” life. You probably don’t know half of what they sacrifice for that life, and what challenges they’ve overcome. And, I can guarantee that you won’t willingly bring upon yourself the same sacrifices and challenges to get there. Stick to your own path, and enjoy the bits of green you do have in your lawn.

For those of you who glance at this infrequent blog, Happy New Year. I hope the holidays at your house were happy and healthy.

I, for one, I’m looking forward to another new year. It’s a nice thing that the year just starts over again if you didn’t finish what you needed to in the previous year. Just like the days. Time is a nifty thing. Speaking of time, I was able to take a vacation from school and work for about two weeks over the holidays. I started back to work today. We were able to get some items in my stitching pile framed, and I put more thread on linen. Here is one of the finished pieces…


This is “Cromwell” by The Trilogy. I just thought a snowman might make you all feel more like this is really January, whether you’re in a cold snowy climate or a warm desert one. There are more pics in my picturetrail album at http://www.picturetrail.com/stitchinmaniac, if you’re interested in seeing what I’ve posted recently. Some are oldies, but just needed to be photographed. My camera is not the best, but you’ll get the gist of things.

Until my next infrequent post, have a nice day, and be good. Santa is STILL watching. Perhaps more than he was just before Christmas. I mean, if I were him, and I’m not saying I am, but IF I were… I’d pay more attention to how people acted after I dumped all those presents, all that good will, and all of that food on them over the holidays. I’d watch whether people still gave to their local food bank in January, February and beyond like they did in November and December. I’d see if they said “thanks”, and then acted thankful the rest of the year. That’s what I would do if I were Santa. Where do you think his “naughty and nice” list comes from? He’s got magic all right, but he doesn’t use it to make split-second decisions at the mall the day after Thanksgiving.

Who said that? I think whoever it was, they were an idiot. Let’s consider the items in my garage. I’ve spent at least a large part of the last four free Saturdays that I’ve had working in my garage. I have so many things in there that I HAVE to clean it out if I want to park our two cars in it before the snow flies. I go through this ritual every fall. Usually I find a way to stack everything so that the cars fit. I stack the leftover lumber and sheetrock from my latest project. I shove the tools, paint cans, and other supplies in the corners. But, we bought a new car this past spring, and it’s slightly larger than the one we sold. So, stacking and shoving isn’t really an option anymore.

As I have spent time organizing all of the “stuff” I’ve collected I’ve discovered some interesting statistics. I have twelve putty knives. I have four unopened bottles of insect spray. I have multiple jigsaw and scroll saw blades, still new in the packages. I have five caulking guns. I would like to say, in my defense, that none of the twelve putty knives is an exact duplicate. Two are also plastic. But hey, I probably could’ve gotten by without a few of them. All of these items have been in boxes, home center sacks, or lying on the top of my table saw in piles for months. Lately it’s been harder for me to find just the tool any of us have been searching for.

Admittedly, I’ve had some huge projects and very little time to put things away. The impending winter is a good taskmaster. I now have some fairly inexpensive shelves (made of some of that leftover lumber) and pegboard on the walls. I also emptied an old cabinet that contained a hodgepodge of items; it is now filled with small power tools and some of the things that you can’t hang on a pegboard hook.

My neighbor, who spends a lot of his time helping around my house, happened to stop by about a week ago, when I was out sorting through all of the drill bits I have (I didn’t bother counting those!). I’ve always allowed this neighbor of mine, and many others to borrow my tools or anything else they needed. In fact, he has my garage combination. (He’s one of only two in the neighborhood who do though, because while I believe in sharing what I have, I also am not stupid.) My neighbor just stood in the middle of my garage, looking around at all of the tools and things that are now so neatly organized. He spied a piece of MDF leaning against a wall. I saw his eye and asked if he wanted it. I was just going to cut it up and use it for firewood. He replied that would be great. It looked like it might be perfect for a scout project his wife was working on. He said, “I need to measure it though to see if it would work. Do you have a tape measure I could borrow?” I pointed to the FIVE hanging on the pegboard and we both laughed.

I heard something this weekend from a very wise woman that sums up my feelings: “Accumulate less and share more.” I really feel that way. I’m pretty good at following the sharing part of it. (Heck, I have a tile saw that’s been sitting in another neighbor’s garage for over a year now, and was just borrowed by another neighbor. I never saw it in between.) And when I heard my feelings put so succinctly, by a woman that I admire and respect, I was glad I’d been cleaning up my garage and donating items to charity. Now onto the items in my house, like the bazillion pens and pencils I have in my office! Because if you can’t find it, how can you share it?

I recently placed an order with one of my favorite needlework shops. As I chatted on the phone with the owner, we were kidding around, and after a particular remark of mine, she said jokingly “You’re a little S#@T.” It was a little term of endearment. The funny thing about that is I haven’t had anyone call me that since I was little. My grandma used to call me that. Not the mac’n’cheese grandma, the other one. Of course, she called my little sister that more than me, but that was to be expected. She’s a redhead. I’m not. (And, don’t eMail me about how unfair I am to introduce stereotypes into my blog. My red-headed, little sister would be the first to admit she’s often a little s#@t.)
I didn’t spend a lot of time with my grandma after I was about 12 or 13. We moved further away from that set of grandparents. But, what time I did spend with her was really memorable. No, we didn’t bake cookies everytime we were at her house. She wasn’t much into cookies. I’ll have to tell you all about popcorn and Cheese Wiz another time, though. We played lots of games. Grandma was always finding new, fun things in magazines to entertain us when we visited. She tried really hard to make things fun, and to bring things down to our level. For example, Grandma had Grandpa cut the legs short on an old wooden card table. She recovered the top with green felt. We could then sit on the floor, indian-style (NO, this blog is not politically correct, but I do give credit to a people when they were the first to invent a particular way of sitting on the floor), and play our games, or have our lunch, etc.

I remember that during the cooler months, we would often go out to the silver Airstream trailer, parked on their property. That seems exotic – “their property.” Let me explain a bit: they lived in a small, mobile home, on five acres in the hills of Fallbrook, California, with the “immigrants” that came over the US-Mexican border hiding in the hills, and the snakes. They had a deck built around the mobile home, and a small yard with lawn, that was fenced. Just outside their door, there sat the Airstream. I don’t think they really used it much, except to stash “company” and to get away from each other. Anyway, one day when we were out in the Airstream, Grandma taught us to play blackjack and poker. I thought those chips were really cool. I think I must have been around 7 or 8. Grandma had her mug full of her drink of choice, and we had our root beer. The breeze blew the curtains in the Airstream as we sat around the little table that would convert into a bed at night. And, when I made a particularly surprising play of the cards, she’d call me a “little s#@t.” Not many people have such fun memories of their grandparents. I feel sorry for those people.

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