Dear Quarantine Diary – Week #42

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‘The Answer to the Great Question… Of Life, the Universe and Everything… Is… Forty-two,’ said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.

Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Dear Diary -It’s week 42. Did you learn the “Answer to the Great Question… Of Life, the Universe and Everything…”? No? Me neither! I know the pandemic has made me lazier less energetic and this year I’ve noticed a lower level of laziness energy in our local squirrels too. Or is it ingenuity?

It’s that time of year again when the squirrels dine on the fence and leave their half-eaten apples behind. Squirrels don’t eat apples, you say?

I’d say he’s horking that down like it’s his last meal! Where’s the ingenuity in leaving a mess for someone else to clean up? It’s not there – it’s here! Why scrounge apples off the ground when you can eat them IN the tree?

It’s making me rethink the whole shopping/cooking/clean up experience. Why go through all that bother if can just dine right there in the grocery store?

Dear Diary – My clock is still pyscho. It still indiscriminately starts counting the hours and bipping every time it hits midnight, regardless of what tropical paradise I was sunbathing in, in my perfect bikini body! On Sunday, it was dancing between 7:51 and 5:38. The correct time was 7:51 but at 5:38, I was flirting with Dwayne Johnson. I wanted to switch it with the clock in the office (they are the same model) but it got weirder. Thinking it might be the battery, I yoinked it out and plugged it in, but it remained frozen at midnight. So I put the battery back in. It’s still frozen at midnight and now the radio won’t turn on either. Take me away, Dwayne.

Dear Diary – It’s not outside, but inside! Believe me, I checked. There is a definite new single spider thread in the front window of my car. I’m not sure which is more terrifying. The thought that there’s a spider in my car or a mouse in Hubby’s. We don’t know if there’s any new evidence of our mousey friend since I avoid his car like the plague.

We had the shingles of our carport and back porch replaced this week. I voted for a new couch! The roofers were supposed to come Tuesday morning so I got up early. They showed up Wednesday morning while I was still in bed. They were done in a few hours and told us the bin guys would be by later to get their bin. It’s Thursday morning and there’s no sign of them. Hubby’s car is trapped in the carport and he has to go in to the office tomorrow so if he’s not home before I have to drive Little Guy to youth, I don’t have a car. Even if I did, I’m not keen on taking that mouse for a car ride. If it ran under my feet, there would be an accident. If not my car in the ditch, then I’ll be struck on the road fleeing the vehicle. Unless the bin people come.

I’m trying to work on my fear of spiders. A couple weeks ago, Little Guy came up from the basement and stood in front of me, blankfaced. “Yes?” I asked suspiciously. While he admitted he hated asking for help, he needed help. Spider! So I grabbed a shoe and the fly-swat and followed him down. It was a big one. A big black one. On the wall. Next to his pillow. [shudder]. I whacked that sucker so hard I’m surprised I didn’t crack the wall, AND I made sure there was a body. Or what was left of a body, before I went left the scene of the crime.

During our Thanksgiving dinner, I noticed a white spider creeping ever so slowly through my Mom’s flower arrangement. It took every ounce of energy to not just grab my plate and leaves. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Eventually Auntie M came to the rescue. She coerced it onto a leaf and put it outside. The leaf was so tiny. I’m so impressed. White spiders are no less horrifying than than black ones.

But I think I’m getting braver. Instead of hollering for my Dad Thanksgiving weekend, I did this…

Sure, I did the heebie jeebie dance right before I yelled for my Dad! But see? Getting better.

Dear Diary – What new fresh nightmare is this? I’ve been scheduled to lead worship on Sunday, which is a pleasure. The nightmare is that at my new church, there’s an app for that. Specifically, an app for the background tracks used along with live instrumentation. It means I have to set up the playlist with all the settings for instrumentation and arrangement in advance. It means in addition to speaking, playing and singing, I have to click the correct buttons at the right time from the platform, or risk an incredibly awkward silence during the live service. I escaped the nightmare last month by begging asking my friend to work it for me. And he worked it, baby! But this time, the responsibility is all mine.

Learning a new app shouldn’t be a big deal, unless you’re getting to be an old dog who is prone to panic attacks while learning new tricks! This app has colours and buttons, symbols and squiggly lines that all mean something important. I know they do! And even if I knew what they all did, at the same time no less, I have cold hands. My iPad doesn’t recognize the almost undead, so when I tap the screen, it doesn’t respond. On several occasions now, I have had to bellow for Little Guy to come “make my stupid iPad work”. Inevitably, his one tap sends my iPad into “yes master” mode and it jumps into action. I confess that sometimes I want to take that happy iPad and use it to wipe the smirk off Little Guy’s face. It’s just not fair!

I watched the tutorial after another worship leader talked me off the ledge and showed me how to use it. I’ve procrastinated a large portion of the week and I fiddled with it the rest. I have no idea if I’m even close, but I’m sure 5 minutes into rehearsal tonight, I’ll have my answer. I will have either done it all correctly or I will have blacked out from the stress. Either way, I’ll know.

Dear Diary – The bin guy came so Hubby’s car is released and I can drive my own car Friday night. Too bad I wasn’t dressed when he arrived…and Hubby was in an important meeting. I think he was more embarassed than me when I slipped out to move my car out of his way, in my nightie and robe. It was less embarrassing when that cop drove me home and I was wearing my glow-in-the-dark piggy jammies. Is everyone dressed by 10 a.m.? Normally I would be but I have a very important blog to get out.

We recently experienced a FaceBook Blackout. I didn’t even know about it until long after the fact. Immediately following it, my blog had a 306% spike the next day. I’d like to think I was wildly popular for that one day, but I think it was a panicked reaction to sudden social media withdrawal, and we all need to find something better to do with our time.

I should probably shower and get dressed…

What’s in My Cup: Coco-Rooibos Chai

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Friends who buy you tea are friends for life!

OK, so a friend didn’t buy it for me, but she shared and that’s close enough! She knows I like Rooisbos tea and Chai seasonings! In this case, it was cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger. This tea also has coconut flakes, and pink peppercorns!

Pink Peppercorns are actually members of the cashew family and get their name from it’s pink berries. So while its flavour resembles black pepper, it’s actually sweeter and  slightly citrus-y, rather than hot and spicy. As with many spices, it’s a great way to add punch without pounds.

Coco rooibos

This particular tea is from David’s Tea and is back from retirement, baby! It’s a Kosher, caffeine-free rooibos base, which gives it a lovely golden colour. It’s also a Fair Trade tea so can feel warm inside too. The aroma from spices delivered what was promised, a warming with a rewarding spicy kick. My only disappointment was that I could barely taste the coconut flakes, which would help to set it apart from other chai. I think I’ll stick with one of my favorites, Rooibos Cinnamon Chai! Or maybe chocolatey S’more Chai or Chocolate Chai, or  the delicious Baked Apple Chai…so many to choose from…

David’s website suggests infusing Coco-Rooibos Chai with hot milk for a chai latte. I’m lactose intolerant, so if you try it, let me know what you think!

Finding friends with the same mental disorder – priceless!

Cheers! Happy Monday!

Dear Quarantine Diary – Week #41

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Dear Diary – It’s Day 6 of turkey leftovers, and while I’m enjoying being lazy pulling out a nightly leftover buffet and telling the guys to “heat what you want”, I’m pretty sure their enthusiasm for turkey is waning. I’m sure they’ll perk up when I tell them there’s more…in the freezer!

This year only Little Guy and I made the trip to my folks, but I shopped ahead to leave a turkey and all the trimmings for Hubby to cook on the weekend. I even baked him a spice cake. From a mix and a can. This “Martha Stewart” needed to save her energy for the holiday traffic, and we encountered some.

But like every good baker, I had to taste-test it. Now Little Guy thinks it’s amusing to move or hide my food when I’m not looking. It’s frustrating because I can’t always remember if I finished what I was eating, or I dropped it, and I’m worried that I’m going to find perfectly good chocolate melted into the couch. I worry more about the chocolate than our burlap sack couch.

Thursday night, he made a serious error in judgement. He left his piece of cake on the coffee table and wandered into the kitchen. I grabbed his plate and tried shoving the whole thing under the coffee table, but the cake was too tall. Don’t worry…I cleaned the icing with my sock. So I tucked the plate on the shelf underneath the coffee table, and crossed my feet in front of it.

Little Guy came back, paused, looked around a bit, and finally reached for Hubby’s plate. Without moving my eyes from the tv, I said, “ that’s dad’s cake”. So he returns to the kitchen and I hear intermittent movement and pausing before he strolls back to the living room, looks at table, and goes back to the kitchen. I’m trying so hard to pretend I’m watching tv and not smirk. I hear more movement and pauses, cupboard doors, even drawers, opening and closing, followed by the fridge door opening and closing, twice!! Hubby was struggling not to giggle but a snicker leaked out and that tipped him off. It was probably the best 5 minutes of the year!

The next night, we split town as soon as school was over. Traffic was heavy but moving. I took a rest stop and filled up with gas before waiting in the drive-thu for 30 minutes for 2 boxes of french fries. The fast food restaurant was severly understaffed, and the wait inside would have been longer.

While most of the birds who frequented my parents’ diner have flown the coop, Hoover the chipmunk is still around and still living up to his name. Not only is he covering every square inch for every crumb, but his tail stands straight up like the handle of upright vacuum (except in every photo I took), and, like a water divining stick, it never ceases twitching.

He’s putting on a little pre-winter, post-covid weight

Dad mowed the lawn Saturday afternoon, and very carefully mowed around giant mushrooms growing in the yard so I could take some pics. I went out the next morning, but the grass clippings had dried on the white tops. These things seriously looked like flattened coconuts!

This kind won’t take you to Wonderland!

We had our turkey dinner Saturday evening. I don’t know if it was a boy or a girl; apparently we sacrifice both. Dessert, of course, included 2 kinds of pie for dessert: pumpkin and green tomato. A slice of each, please; I must follow tradition!

I was still blissfully snoozing in bed Sunday morning when my dad brought me my phone. He said it was chiming. It turns out it wasn’t my phone but an alarm on my iPad. Which the settings said was turned off. I had set it for Saturday morning so I could go grocery shopping (yes, on my holiday), but it had failed to go off. That was my fault – I set it for 9 p.m.

It was a good weekend, filled with good food, a few games, and a lot of doing nothing! But all good things must come to an end, and we hit the road again Monday morning. We were only 20 minutes into our two and a half hour journey when traffic started to slow. By 40 minutes, we were parked and not thinking happy thoughts, when a fire truck screamed by us on the shoulder. We had just passed an exit, which was lined up all the way to the highway. Now we knew why. We crawled along patiently for another thirty minutes, trying not to think about peeing, and seeing no sign of an accident or an exit. Normally, we would have passed the next exit in 5 minutes. Then, as if someone flipped a switch, we were cruising over 100 km/hr again. It slowed in places again but never that bad. I had a guy in a truck pulling a trailer cut me off, twice. Just so I didn’t feel bad, I saw him cut other people off too. He never shoulder-checked!

Hubby is on vacation this week, which makes little difference to me. He occupies the same space whether he’s at work or not! We got a text last night from his brother saying that his father would be at our house around noon. He had asked Hubby to go with him to a neighbouring city to pick up a tool and I hope the 6 hour drive is worth it! While they’re out, I’m going to sneak in some video games. I hope it’s worth it!

We missed Big Guy, who was serving in his church on Sunday. I’m proud of him, but also warning him. He needs to book off Christmas! He’s promised to visit soon.

Big Guy recently sent me some photos from his work site… Most people laugh when I say he climbs trees for a living, but his kind of work makes me both proud of him and terrified for him.

It’s not just the height…it’s the hydro lines. And the sharp power tools. I’ve watched CSI. I know what a chainsaw can do! At times, it’s the height, the tools AND the hydro lines during a heat wave, a tornado, or an ice storm. He may be a grown, skilled worker, but he’s also my baby…with ADD, hanging from a rotting tree branch. I love him.

“Ok, now just pull back and let’s see if I can slingshot over to catch that Ol’ Roadrunner”

CMMC: Orange or Light Green

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October is the opal month of the year. It is the month of glory, the month of ripeness.
It is the picture-month.

Henry Ward Beecher

Auntie M shared these pretty ornamental plants from her garden. These fast-growing perennials are called Japanese lanterns, Chinese lanterns, winter cherries, bladder cherries, or strawberry groundcherries.

The large, bright orange pods contain the fruits or seeds. They have a white flowers in July, which turn into green pods in August. By September, the pods transform into orange, which can become very deep over the winter. By Spring, the papery pods will break down, releasing their seeds for the new crop.

Oops…we’ve got company!

They can be invasive because they are very hardy and spread quickly, so while they provide excellent ground cover in a garden and colour in the Fall, they will need a firm hand.

These pods can be dried indoors and will provide colour and texture in arrangements for many months.

I’m so glad we live in a world with Octobers.

Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

This is my post for Cee Neuner’s Midweek Madness Challenge: Orange!

Dear Quarantine Diary – Week #40

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Dear Diary – It’s the month for ghost and goblins, and last night I had a terrible fright. I caught my reflection in the microwave with a ghostly creature hovering behind me. It was nearly a full head higher and it was smiling menacingly with gleamy white pearly teeth. It was my youngest son still delighting in being taller than me. The scariest part – he’s not done growing!

Dear Diary – I always thought I wasn’t vegetarian because I was too lazy. Or because I was raised on good country beef. Turns out, it’s both plus vegetarian cooking requires way more skill and planning that I possess. I baked a red lentil pie this week. It was a marginal success. This time, it wasn’t my fault. I followed the directions, even though I questioned the ratio of water to lentils. I ended up with slop, which Hubby patiently drained in my baking sieve. The pie turned out okay but my family was underwhelmed. The best part really was the pastry, and it came out of a box. I think I should stick to steak. 😉

How low as people do we dare to stoop, making young broccolis bleed in the soup?
Untie your beans, uncage your tomatoes, let potted plants free, don’t mash that potato!

Arrogant Worms, Carrot Juice is Murder

Dear Diary – After investing what felt like our life savings into repairing the sewer line (I could not stand another 27 hour day), we still have toilet troubles. It continues to be a fickle fiend that doesn’t always like to flush. The other morning Hubby woke me gently to ask me to “work my magic”. He had tried but he doesn’t have “the touch”. Most women want to be praised for their fantastic food or their breathtaking baking, not their pure plunging skills. But since I can neither cook nor bake without procuring disaster it seems, I’ll take it. I will be his queen of the latrine.

Dear Diary – It was supposed to be a quick trip to the fabric store, not a 3 hour tour. In the rain. But that’s what happened. My friend was like a kid in a candy store, running from display to display choosing fabric she would love to have as a mask. I understand. I get giddy in the store too. It’s why I own pounds of printed paper for papercrafting, which sit in a drawer, unused. They’re too pretty to just give away! But I’m also holding purse strings that are worn terribly thin and I have to be restrained. Somehow, I ended up also going to 2 drug stores, a convenience store, a grocery store, and Tim Horton’s. I sat in the car for most of those, slightly soggy and confused as to why I wasn’t home by now! I wonder if the people on Gilligan’s Island ever felt this way?

Dear Diary – I was blessed this week to re-connect with a couple friends in person and it made me realize how much I almost miss human contact. I spent a pleasant afternoon in a neighbour’s garden, being sassed by a squirrel while we caught up. I brought my own tea, because tea and conversation go so nicely together, and I left there feeling refreshed.

Another afternoon, I visited with an old friend (old as in known a long time) and it felt like no time had passed since our last meeting (which was several years ago). We were hesitant at first, until she passed me a gift…

I simply couldn’t stop the laugh that bubbled inside and gushed out like a geyser.

We grew up together. My parents and grandparents were friends with her parents so there were monthly rotating dinner gatherings. While the adults played cards, my friend, my brother and I made our own fun. Our families sometimes camped together. We served in church together. My mom taught her piano and after her lesson, she’d join us to watch Star Trek or Little House on the Prairie (depending on if it was my night or my brother’s).

Where do the lips come in? One summer we worked together as guides in a historic house, a living museum. I had grown up in this house too, volunteering from a young age alongside my Mom. It was my dream summer job!! On Wednesdays, we baked bread in the brick oven. On Thursdays we served Scottish Cream Tea, hustling as cooks, servers and dish washers. Sunday afternoons, if it was quiet, we were prepare out own tea time with thick dollops of leftover whipped cream.

It was a tough summer. Some new patrons with big plans and narrow hearts alienated and hurt all of the faithful volunteers who had served in the house for decades. The director and assistant director resigned. They were replaced by snobs who knew nothing and cared nothing for the “home”. For them it was a place to host wine tastings for the “important people”, and we were caught in the middle.

We made up a song that summer, mostly to help us laugh, to the tune of the 12 days of Christmas, starting with the new director, “an over-anxious, up-tight, red-lipped broad”. “Lips” as we called her – because she always wore a thick smear of glossy, red lipstick painted “outside the lines”, liked to float around in costume and tell us what to do. She was completely incompetent and we had to hold her hand for everything! By the end of the summer, my heart was so broken, I never went back. My friend went away to college, and while we’ve kept in touch, we’ve lived apart.

So we sat on my back porch in the autumn chill, draped in lap blankets, drinking tea and savouring scones. We talked about the challeges of the last year. We talked about emptying nests and new beginnings. And we talked about getting together again. Soon.

It was kind of nice to talk to someone who knew me when I was young and stupid, and who recognizes that young, stupid person still inside of me, and doesn’t judge me when inner stupid shows her face. (Like when I lost the butter knife through the cracks of the porch. I will not be crawling under the porch to retrieve it. I’ll use my finger from now on).

Growing apart doesn’t change the fact that for a long time we grew side by side; our roots will always be tangled. I’m glad for that!

Ally Condie, Matched

CFFC: Curves and Arches

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This week for Cee Neuner’s Fun Foto Challenge, I thought about taking a selfie, since the theme is Curves and Arches, but nobody wants to see that! Instead I stuck to architectural forms because, while they may start to sag in places, they didn’t gain any covid weight. 😉

The Market Square

Architecture arouses sentiments in man. The architect’s task, therefore, is to make those sentiments more precise.

Adolf Loos

Happy Wednesday!

Thistle

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Most china cabinets have at least one tea cup with the markings “Occupied Japan” or “Made in Occupied Japan”. So what does that mean?

After World War II, between 1945 and 1952, Japan was occupied by the U.S. and all imported items from Japan to the United States were marked accordingly. Some may have also been simply marked “Japan” or “Made in Japan,” but serious collectors will opt for the “Occupied Japan”and “Made in Occupied Japan” markings because these pieces are guaranteed to be within this specific timeframe. When assessing your china, check that the markings are under the tea cup’s glaze as many fraudulent marks have been added to boost the price of the piece. This can be done carefully with nailpolish but be careful, and never use any chemicals on a piece that isn’t glazed.

These marks were included on the china for American consumers who believed that the purchase proceeds would help to make war reparations. The predominant patterns during this time were roses, chintzes, violets and pansies. This particular tea cup is marked “Occupied Japan” and was produced by a company called Princess China.

If a man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty.

Japanese Proverb

Happy Monday!

Dear Quarantine Diary – Week #39

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Dear Diary – My alarm clock went psycho this week. It started beeping a single bip at 6:30 one morning, every 20 seconds. I counted. It woke me up and in my fog-induced mind, it took awhile to deduce that the clock was the infernal source of noise. At first I was genuinely confused – did I actually hear a beep – and I froze under the blankets and waited for the intruder. When the high-pitched bip went again, my mind started mentally checking off the list of devices and their known “sounds” but none of them sounded the same. My next thought was the carbon monoxide detector in the basement, and fearing for Little Guy, I roared from bed and stubbed my toe. The pain reminded me that if it were the detector, everyone in a 10 mile radius would be pain, serious ear pain. It didn’t sound like a smoke detector, having been rudely awakened and tormented at various hours of the night in the past. So I stood there in the dark and willed the source to bip at me again.

What I found happening with the clock was truly confusing because the red digital numbers were counting the hours and minutes, all 24 of them, and singing a bip every time it hit 12 a.m. Nothing was pressed up against the buttons on the back. Neither sliding the alarm on and off, or turning on the radio, stopped it’s manic countdown and infuriating bip. I felt like I was in the midst of a cheesy Twilight Zone episode. Chills ran down my spine; the hair on the back of my neck stood up. It was probably because it was cool in the room and the fan was blowing cold air on me, so I unplugged it and crawled back in bed. Hubby woke me around 9, worried I was ill. “No,” I said, rolling over, “my clock went psycho”.

Speaking of psycho, I nearly ended up in a padded room, weaving baskets and singing kumbaya on the weekend. When I mentioned last week that unless you’ve done it, it’s hard to comprehend what’s involved in handmade goods. I forgot to mention time. When I cut out my pieces, they are identical and should fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Instead, they fit together more like a store-bought car model. It all fits together except one or two pieces inevitably don’t! I was working on a buffalo plaid bag for a friend (one for which I won’t get paid) and I got stuck on 1 seam for 2 hours. I was so hot, and frustrated…and hot. I ripped and sewed, and ripped again. I shortened the strap multiple times. I ended up with 3 raw edges, and there should only ever have been 2. I knew I should just walk away and start fresh in the morning, but I stubbornly forged ahead. I refused to be bested (yet again) by a piece of fabric. By the time I pinned it at the end of those 2 hours, I was exhausted but elated. They stitched together effortlessly the next day and the stupid bag has been delivered. Every member in my household rejoiced.

Dear Diary – Hubby was off last week and I asked him to tackle one of the jobs on the expanding “to-do” list for our home. I’d be happy to tackle some of the projects if I had a clue how to do so. I don’t mind heights but would probably struggle to lift shingles on the roof. And I’m scared to clean his room. He chose to regrout around our 1959 seafoam green bathroom. The grout was textured and mildew adhered to it as if it were velcro. I couldn’t scrub it away. It took him a few days, which meant we were without a tub and fighting for a position upwind. By the third day, I had to take action. At some point, sponge baths aren’t enough. So I took matters into my own hands and I bribed my friend with Tim Horton’s. I used her shower and in my defence, I had to attend worship team practice that evening and I’m having a hard time making friends. Showing up smelling anything less than like roses was not going to help. I left her place imagining this is how it feels after time in a spa.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born to help in time of need.

Proverbs 17:17a

Dear Diary – Yesterday was National Son Day. I couldn’t post any photos because Little Guy refuses to have his photo taken. I managed to talk him into the obligatory first day of school pic, but it’s literally his hand waving behind a closing door. I’ve been told it’s just a phase but I’m beginning to wonder

Dear Diary – I was explaining to Little Guy, again, why I would like to get a cat. Both Hubby and Little Guy are anti-cat. Actually, they’re both kind of anti-pet. Anyway, as I was explaining, Hubby leaned over and licked me. A wet, sloppy full-cheeked lick. He thought it was hilarious. I thought I was going to throw up. I have serious spit issues. I will not use anyone else’s toothbrush. I will not share my toothbrush. Only when I am feeling brave will I wipe the edge before sipping from someone else’s glass. I did not share ice cream cones with my kids. If it melted and ran down the sides, they got sticky. No child has ever died from being sticky. It’s just the way I am. Were the licks from a cat, however, I would be fine. I want a cat that much! 🙂

Dear Diary – I received the initial paperwork for jury duty selection. It’s not that I object to performing my civic duty, it’s the thought of rising early in the morning and traipsing into the city in the dead of winter, which takes over an hour, to sit all day knowing I can only use the restroom when they tell me I can use the restroom. And that’s not taking covid into account. I’ve sat in court numerous times, taking notes of testimony as part of my job. Unlike television, there are no dramatic courtroom reveals, surprise witnesses, or last minute additions of evidence. It’s very dry and detailed. I’ve been part of the jury selection process too, and it’s dry and detailed too. Thankfully, I was rejected on the grounds that I worked in the legal field. I’m not sure my new job title, “keeper of the home fires” is going to make me ineligible.

Plus, they’ve changed the system.

I wish they’d pick on someone else. I’ve filled out the initial forms for jury duty at least 3 times in my life. Hubby has never been asked, and he’d like to be. Maybe we should trade names.

Dear Diary – A serious search ensued this morning. I woke up around 8 and popped out my malicious mouthguard, and shoved it under my pillow. I was going to enjoy my final 20 minutes in peace. It’s been 6 months since I started wearing it and some nights it keeps me awake fearing that I will die in my sleep…by drowning in my own spit. All’s well until I pop that plastic in and I become Pavolov’s dog without the bell. Or the yummy reward. But I digress. When I got up, I stuck my hand under the pillow to grab the guard and put it in its case. But it wasn’t there. I lifted the pillow and started smoothing the sheets with my sheets. Still no stinky plastic. I moved the bedraggled pile of bedding. I reached into the pillowcase, both sides. But no guard. I checked the floor, under the bed, even the case, just in case I was dreaming it had been in my mouth all night. It had vanished. Frustrated to be so frustrated so early, and severely decaffeinated, I went on with my day.

Later that morning, another serious search ensued. It had glued itself to the underside of my pillowcase.

Dear Diary – My clock is still weird. Today, the alarm came on and it had changed the radio station. I like classical music but not as much as my 80’s tunes. It took several attempts to find my station again. It was really in the mood for country. This clock may have to die!!!

Dear Diary – The excitement was short-lived. The scales said I’d lost 10lbs, but I knew better. I have 6 pairs of jeans in 6 different sizes that say it isn’t so. I also know that moving the scales by 2″ can change the number that much. I put it in the usual spot and I’m down 3 lbs. Finally things are looking up, by moving down.

Dear Diary – I lead worship with a team on Sunday for the first time at our new church. It was an incredibly difficult and heartbreaking decision to leave. It’s also been incredibly difficult to start over in a new place. I’ve been disappointed with the lack of friendliness, but I know that covid has made us all wary of people in general, not just new people. It takes times and I’m not always very patient.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had to select the songs for a Sunday, and I’ve missed it. I’ve missed the long conversation with God to select the songs that He most wants to hear. And, as always, I am blessed as He shows me threads between the songs that connect them. Sometimes He even whispers something I need to hear. This week it was simply the reminder that I belong to Him. That even though we are struggling to connect in a new church family, we are still part of His family.

Bonus: I could actually be heard. My short stature has meant my voice has a short range, and often my mouth is moving in the recording, but there’s no sound. And while I didn’t get any likes or comments when I posted the link (except for my friend who sang with me), I wasn’t leading for the likes or the comments. I was singing for my Father.

Who am I that the highest King
Would welcome me
I was lost but He brought me in
Oh His love for me

Ben Fielding, Rueben Morgan, Who You Say I Am