House Again with Furniture

Apparently some of my stress about the house was worrying about it being too much to repair.

Now that we have everyone coming in (except a roofer–have not got a roofer yet), I feel much better. If the house has significant issues, we will know and can make decisions from that. If the house doesn’t have significant issues, we will know and rejoice.

I quite like the house. I wish some of the space was divided a little bit differently, but I do think we can work with what we have.

The laundry room is huge. We plan on putting a regular refrigerator out there after we get a fridge-only refrigerator for the kitchen. I think that will be plenty for our frozen goods. I don’t know where we will plug it in, but hopefully there is somewhere.

Also in the laundry room I think we should put the high table. It would be a good table for folding clothes and it can be stretched out when you need more room and retracted when you don’t. I quite like that idea.

I said I wanted the yellow bathroomed bedroom at the front for my office–and that probably is the best choice for my office because it is farther away from the master. It is a little smaller than the other bedroom, but it is a good place. I like its closet better–though that definitely needs work.

What will I put in the office? Grampa Ben’s dresser. My chaise lounge. A couple of bookshelves. (We are trying to figure out where to put those and that seems reasonable.)

I don’t know. The bathroom in that room is better for getting dressed, which I am going to be doing way more than our guests. Maybe I will have to purchase a bigger armoire for my clothes. That closet definitely doesn’t have much space.

Even though it isn’t really necessary, I kind of like the three-way mirror dresser. Mom bought it for me from Debra (my friend from KW for a year or so) because it reminded me of the one we got when we lived in Kerrville that was stolen when we lived in Tyler. But honestly I don’t need it and it doesn’t hold much. I guess I could give it away… Do I need to? I am not sure. I won’t really know until we’ve moved in and I’ll have to make the decision before then.

The china cabinet that was my Grama Helen’s will go away. I am a bit sad about that because it is my only Duncan Phyfe piece, but I am also okay with it. It won’t fit in the house and the white IKEA cabinets will show the blue glass off much better and match the kitchen well enough that they won’t look wrong.

I am starting to think that the armoire might be useful in the new house, though I also think that it wouldn’t really hold a lot of clothes. I will have to consider that more carefully perhaps.

There is an interesting/odd/funky corner where I think I might put the small cabinet my mother purchased and had in her dining room. I like it and it holds part of my collections. Of course, it would also be a good place to put bookshelves and a small chair.

Ron said I can put blue glass in the inset in the den. I am not sure how that will look, but I am certainly interested in giving it a try.

The red couch is going to have to go in the front living area, because I think it would clash with the brick on the den floor. Does that mean we will put the brown couch in the living room? Or will we buy “appropriate” mid-century modern furniture? I enjoy looking, but I’m not sure how good I would feel about buying online… It would be cool to have a royal blue couch though. I would quite like that.

The front room could be a media room–and then the back could just be Ron’s office, if he wanted. I wonder what the acoustics are like in the house? It would be good to know that, but I am not sure how I would find out before we try it out.

I think the big coffee table will probably go in the den.

What will go in the guest room? Ah, the small three mirrored dresser, a bed. That might work quite well. The room is pretty big. I could probably even put my grandfather closet in there. It seems to be about the right height for that house.

You know, we aren’t going to move this furniture over. I can see hiring movers to move the furniture, but that also means we are going to have to get boxes (again) and pack up my glass. That means something besides just boxes or it will break.

Oh well. Has to be done unless I want to give it all up. NOT.

I was thinking that the pool table would fit in the living room–but that would make that room way too crowded for the media room, I think. Maybe not. 24×14? Is that what it is? I don’t know. Ron has the measurements. Anyway it would be the first thing you see when you came in the house and I don’t think that is a good idea.

The man cave is going to be hot in summer and cold in winter–much like the room we have now. I’m not sure that is a good thing. I guess you can’t have everything, though. Seems like you should be able to.

Too bad there isn’t a bathroom in the back. We could make that the guest room.

What if we put the pool table in the man cave and the media room in the living room? That is where they have their television. Of course, their tv isn’t as massive as ours, nor on as huge a piece of furniture.

You know what, I don’t think our dining room table will fit in the dining room if it is extended for more people. Going to have to check that out. Dining room is 12x 14’6″. Guess I gotta get up and measure the table. Okay, not the table. It is 8×4. The extension is 2 feet long. So, with the extension, the table is 10×4. That means that when it is extended it will stick into the kitchen. Not sure how I feel about that. Guess we’ll put it together and find out.

At one point I was thinking about putting bookshelves in the dining room to cover up that weird window into the garage. Don’t think I really want to do that, though. The dining room just isn’t big enough.

Maybe use one of the red curtains from the back room in there. It would pull the red from the living room into the dining room.

My next question is–where are we going to put our art? I quite like the big Tarkay and would put it in the living room with Suzanna. I wonder what Ron thinks of that. The colors are right and they’re huge like the room.

Not as sure what we will put in the den. Do you want to put holes in that grass cloth? If you don’t, what would you hang the pieces with?

I told Ron that my awesome blue office chair would be great in our new house, but I am not sure I want to bring it home and share it. When I’ve looked online in the past, I have not found a similar chair. Of course, I’ve also looked in the cheaper places. Maybe there is a cool chair like it in blue on one of the more expensive sites.

House

After talking about the house for three weeks, having seen it twice, we decided to go back and look at it again and make an offer. It probably says something about my mixed feelings that all the good things in the house I took for granted (the awesome floors, the cool lights) and I saw all the visible flaws.

I am sitting here right now keeping my mouth shut, but thinking about how it isn’t going to really work for us. The man cave is dark, which I guess is good for movies, but not great for SADS. Why is he taking the man cave for his office? Because there isn’t another one. There aren’t four bedrooms, though the man cave makes the third living room.

It doesn’t have big closets… or it has some big closets and others that are big but not set up for hanging clothes. It’s enough of an issue that Ron says we will need to buy armoires. Why are we buying a house without closet space? That was one of the problems here. Well, it does have closet space, just not in the bedrooms.

The yard is HUGE, which means I will be purchasing a riding lawn mower.

The sprinkler system may technically be installed, but it doesn’t work at all. The pump isn’t even on our property. What the heck is up with that?

Ron wants me to get rid of the pool table, again.

I thought about saying I would take the man cave and he could have a bedroom for his office, but that won’t really work because I need a bathroom and there’s not one back there. I also thought about putting in a bathroom back there and making it the guest room, but he’s planning to use it for a television viewing room. That will definitely keep it away from the master in terms of noise, so I am looking forward to that.

I’m not too thrilled that it feels like it isn’t a solid house. The beams in the structure are wooden. How long does wood last for that? Well, the good news is the piers are concrete. And in 2014 there didn’t seem to be any problem with the wood, so maybe that is fine. I think it is weird that the N4th house had steel and this house, built 30 years later, has wood. But according to what I read, that’s not really a problem.

That’s good.

The house inspection report from 2 years ago shows several areas of deficiency:
electrical, which they did nothing about
ducts and insulation, which they did nothing about
water leakage under the house, which they did nothing about
plumbing/drainage, the draining and the flushing were slow, there was corrosion, AND there were cast iron pipes visible in the crawl space–which I guess means we should have a plumber come out and check–Ron will not be happy about calling a plumber. Although a plumber could also look at the water heater and tell us what needs to be done about that.

He has already called HVAC people, electrical, and foundation. He hasn’t heard back from foundation people or electrical on whether they can come. What are we going to do if they can’t? We really need to know. Our house here was $20k to do foundation. The owners took half of that. Why did we buy a house with $10k in repairs? Because we liked the kitchen. However, $10k ended up being $15K once we moved in, so I really want to know as much about issues as we can.

Does that mean we should just plan on needing an extra $5k once we get in? Maybe. That sucks.

How much is going to be too much repair for this house? If we’re talking tens of thousands of dollars for delayed maintenance, I am not going to be happy, but I don’t think Ron would care. He flat out said we could put $20k into and not be a problem.

The realtor says the house is priced low, but the house isn’t priced low for that area. The two Moore houses and the Whittier house are all in that price range and that square footage.

I am afraid this house, cool and funky though it is, is going to be a sinkhole for money. Yes, we have money. No, that is not how I want to spend it.

The KW house people are looking at getting a new mortgage now. We may get that money soon. That would be awesome. Of course, it would have been more awesome to get it while we were still looking for houses. At this point it would be most awesome to get it before we have to pay for a loan. God, could we get it soon?

Thinking about Houses

Like EC best of the three, in terms of house. Scares me neighborhood (resale and saftety) and yard, though.

Like V best in terms of space. Like the yard. Small kitchen. Most expensive house in its neighborhood, so bad resale.

I would be willing to settle for either of these houses. I think either would work better than the house we have for us, our stuff, and for entertaining.

Because they have issues, and because Stonecrest didn’t have issues, I think it might be possible to find a better house for us. However, Ron is sick of talking about it and I haven’t thought it through in words well enough to satisfy me.

Be done.
Be dissatisfied.
Be frustrated.

Ketogenic

If I don’t have a fat bomb, this will be the third day in a row that I have overeaten my carbs. This morning my urine was at trace. It hasn’t been that low since I started the ketogenic diet.

I know this diet helps me feel better and lose weight.

I need to have a fat bomb. Please excuse me while I go create such a concoction.

House Hunting 2

It turns out I was wrong on how much house we could afford.

We lost my favorite and Ron’s favorite (which I also liked) to other buyers.

I have been looking back through all the listings and considering whether a smaller house, a house in a less nice neighborhood, or a house with an issue would work.

Thankfully (or not) one of the houses I was considering that is smaller went off the market on pending within a day of being listed. Also thankfully (or not) the house on Poplar went pending today.

Of the other houses on the market, the death house, the mid-century modern house, and the Home Owners Association house are my favorites. All are in our price range. Ron has seen two of them and liked them well enough, but not enough to make an offer.

The other he just says no to. –It does have a smaller (and fairly dark) kitchen, but taking off the wallpaper and painting would fix most of that. There is wallpaper other places, but again that is just cosmetics. I couldn’t keep the truck, which might be a blessing or might not, because there is no where to park it. There would scarcely be room for the dog outside, but I walk her three to four miles a day… It has a lovely side yard with nice landscaping. I think he would like it if he saw it.

But that’s the deal. How many houses are we going to look at?

If we put the house money in the credit union (where it is harder to spend it without noticing) and wait till next August, we will have quite a bit more buying power. But I do keep looking at the houses and Ron thinks I won’t stop–which seems likely because it is something to do with my time and I need that with something that doesn’t use all my brain power up.

Should I just go back to our list and say, “This is what we want. If it doesn’t have everything, there is no point to seeing it.” ??? If I do, then I will quit bugging Paula quite so much.

Of course there is also the problem of the nice and less expensive places getting offers within a week or two at most. But I suppose that is what we will need to deal with.

So now (or soon) and a little bit more than our house or later (16-18 months) and an extra $100k (from the sale of our house in H-town, which we financed).

I guess really I should do the waiting thing. I should do the waiting thing. The waiting thing is the right thing to do.

Didn’t I just pray about this? If I prayed about it, why am I obsessing about it? Because it is easier to obsess than to let go. Plus, if I let go, what will I do with my brain when I need brain fluff to think about?

House Looking

I like to look at houses. I have enjoyed this as a pastime for years.

When I realized how stressed I was, after Dad died, I started looking at houses for fun. Then, when we thought we would have lots of cash coming in, we moved up the time frame for looking for a house and I was on the house hunt in earnest.

That hasn’t worked out quite as we expected. The $ from financing our Houston house isn’t due till 2017–not this year, as we were thinking. The $ from Exxon hasn’t arrived. The $ in Dad’s account was in an IRA, so that won’t be coming out either.

But still I’ve kept looking.

We have our house already paid for. We have enough for a downpayment. I’ve been pre-qualified for a loan.

Recently, however, I’ve discovered that the process of looking for a house has become stressful.

One second I will think–and say–we will just quit looking until all the money has come in (so 18 more months) and the next I will be texting the real estate agent about a house to look at.

One second I will think that there is nothing wrong with our house and we should stay there. The next I will be sure that this one house, that I haven’t liked at all, would be perfect.

I stopped and talked to Carolina today. I told her this and that the stress was getting ridiculous. I didn’t tell her about all the stressors. (What if we spend the money we have? R doesn’t want to get a loan, even temporarily. Etc.)

She told me the story of the house she and Tim live in now.

When they first moved to Abilene in 2006, they had a weekend to find and buy a house and there were very few on the market. They saw a handful and purchased the best one. They lived there until the kids had graduated from high school… so the next four or five years.

Then she got a job on the hill and they decided they should move.

They started looking at houses.

She found a house that was beautiful, but it sold before Tim could see it.

She found a house she had always loved (a mission family home), but it was too expensive. Then the sign was gone and it was sold. She kept looking.

Then she got an email. “I hear you are looking for a house…”

It was from the owner of the house she had always liked. The sale had fallen through. The price had dropped to below the cost of her present house. The owner was willing to make a “contingent on selling” contract.

Six weeks later, with their old house sold and already having moved in to the new house, Carolina was happy. Never again–she told me–has she looked at someone’s house and thought, “Oh I wish…” This is her house.

What she did is pray about it. She prayed about it and she stuck with that prayer.

God, you know I’ve prayed about it, but not consistently and not well and not being sure of what I asked for. I want to change that.

I don’t know, God, what we should do about the house. I have conflicting information, conflicting emotions, conflicting emphases.

You, on the other hand, know exactly what we need, what will be best for us, where will be best for us, what will work out in the long term… God, please bring that into our lives and make it obvious. Let us know what house to buy, how and when to buy it, and let it work out. I have wishes, Lord, and wants and dreams. But I also don’t want to get into a financial, legal, or emotional mess.

Please, Lord, if we are supposed to move, show us the house we are supposed to get, make it obvious, make it clear, make us happy about it, and help us get it. Move us in the right ways to be prepared for that house, as far as finances, preparing and selling our house, and going from one house to the other. Give me wisdom on releasing furniture and books and other things, so that we will fit comfortably, even expansively, in the house you know should be our home.

Also, Lord, please take the topsy-turvy, ricocheting attitudes, anger, and frustration with the house hunt out of my life. Replace that wasted effort and emotion with joy and peace (and a determination and the ability to get all my work done well and quickly).

Thank you, God, for loving us. Thank you for sending Carolina to remind me that you do care about where I live and when and how. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to move. Thank you, Lord, for preparing the house that we should move to for us.

Please bless those whose house it is now and bless those who will be buying our house.

If we are supposed to stay in our awesome house for a while, please also give me peace with that. It’s a good house and I like it, even if it isn’t perfect as we would prefer. Help me to be grateful for what I have and to recognize your gifting in it.

I do want what is best, even if I don’t know what that is, Lord God. Please grant us that best.

Even my prayer seems to be going in circles. Maybe I’m just circular right now. Thanks, Lord, that there aren’t sharp edges on circles.

Benefits

We received word the first week of December that there was insurance money on Dad. When Chris called, they said it would be 2.5-3 weeks for them to process it and 2.5-3 weeks for the insurance company to process it.

When Chris called back, they said they sent it to the insurance company on Dec. 24, exactly three weeks later.

Okay. It’s the Christmas holidays. I don’t actually believe that the three weeks will apply now.

Jan. 6 the insurance company mails me a letter saying they have all the information and will begin processing the check.

I wait three more weeks from Jan. 6 to call them back.

Today when I called them, they said they contacted the company on Jan. 8 because they need to know if Dad actually worked for the insurance company long enough for the insurance to be viable. The insurance person said that on Jan. 11th, the company wrote back and said they would check into it.

Today is Jan. 28. She said she has not heard from the company.

So I called the company back (I had just called) and shared the information from the insurance company. The woman from Dad’s employer wasn’t happy, but neither was I.

First, Dad can’t be the first person to die insured from this company. So why didn’t they send the info to start with? If they did, why didn’t they immediately re-send it when insurance company either lost it or didn’t receive it?

So it is now 5 weeks from when the insurance information started and it looks like it will be another three weeks.

Plus, the IRA that was supposed to be finished yesterday is now “next week.”

I wouldn’t have this money if my father hadn’t died. I would give it all back to have him here. But he isn’t here and I don’t want to think about it any more. Please. Just get it done so that I don’t have to fill out any more paperwork, get any more signatures notarized, and once again receive a faux sympathy note from some company who doesn’t want to do the work they took Dad’s money to do.

Dream House

Found a remodel project that could have been my dream home–mostly untouched (though some ugly stuff) for 90 years… But the lady they brought in to do the auction bid it out from under me.

Here are pictures of what I would like… Though I didn’t know I would love the sleeping porch, but I did.

These are all from different restored Craftsmen.

Craftsman 6

Craftsman 5

Craftsman 4

Craftsman 3

Craftsman 2

Craftsman 1

craftsman kitchen detroit

This is from a Victorian (later) home, that just needs the fussiness reduced:
1916 Victorian dining rm take out ornate = beautiful

And this is a Tudor Revival that has the same sort of feel:
1916 Tudor revival like

KC said that there are LOTS of homes in Abilene that have this and aren’t painted. They have friends two blocks down from N3 house that bought cheap and put $100K into the house… It’s not finished yet, but she said it is beautiful. So there is hope.

Dream house wish list:
Craftsman or Craftsman-type
Should be well-built
Door frames not painted, wainscoting not painted, trim not painted.
hardwood floors, at least recoverable.
unpainted built-ins with leaded glass or some kind of cool glass.
Original fireplaces and/or originally updated gas fireplaces work.
Original windows and storm windows.
At least 10 ft ceilings (probably not going to find higher in a Craftsman)
Prefer:
red color (mahogany?) over oak, though oak is nice.
Trim that is more detailed
Sleeping porch (converted or not)
Cool outside details
Grand, eye-catching
General house:
4 bedrooms (at least)
lots of closets and/or big closets
at least two bathrooms, preferably large (which would be unusual)
2 car garage
large kitchen with gas
room that would be a good/great media room
open living/dining (and preferably kitchen, but I can deal)—big enough for all our furniture easily and a bit more
big pantry
good size yard with mature trees, preferably a mix of live oak and pecan
good neighborhood

Cleaning and the Kitchen

I suggested to Ron that we go through the kitchen and give away, throw away, and rehouse everything. He said it would take multiple days and he wasn’t up for that. I can’t imagine why he wouldn’t be. Just because my office and the media room are covered in things I’ve been “tidying” he thinks it will happen again?

Yes, he’s right. I’m not working on but I am thinking about my office.

Tidying

I need to clean up the house. I need to get rid of stuff. It is starting to stress me out to the max, but the idea of actually doing it is also freaking me out.

I wonder if I could find someone to come do it with me?

Today I spent most of the time doing Toastmasters and then driving around looking at potential home sites with Ron, even though we won’t be moving for quite a while.

I have hours, but I just can’t bear to deal with it. Maybe if I just hired someone to take it all away?

Weight and Measurements: A History of Mine

WEIGHT
Lowest/Highest
The lowest weight I have on record was 9/04 at 154.8. This was after another week (back) on BFL, 100 days on QWLC, following 48 weeks of BFL, and 12 or 15 weeks of Physique Transformation.

The highest weight I can find is 179/180 which is from 2012. But that’s also where I was (unrecorded) at the middle of November of 20015.

So 170s appears to be my “I can’t take it; gotta get it off” weight. My sticking/set point appears to have been 154/155.

154/155 is my lowest weight in 21 years.

I am within 14 pounds of that, which does not seem to be a stretch for do-able. But maybe the weight is just way slower than I think. … Looking at the 154 as my lowest weight, I must have been almost 200 when I started BFL. (I know I gained weight and never really got down low on Physique transformation.)

2002/2003:
Looking for measurements and weight on this blog, I found some the end results of my BFL experience from 2002/2003.
January 26, 2003
After 44 weeks on BFL and having lost a final count of 42 pounds and 27 inches, I am bailing. I’ve been losing muscle, not fat, in the last few weeks and nothing I could do would change it.

On BFL I lost 45 pounds of fat in 42 weeks or 40 pounds in 48 weeks. (It depends on whether you look at the end or where I lost the most.)

2004:

On October 6, 2004, I weighed 155.8. (That was after being off BFL for over a year.)

In 2008, looking through my paper reports I wrote:
My lowest weight in the last 12 years was in September of 2004 when I weighed 154.8 after 100 days on QWLC and a week [back] on BFL… Maybe to get the best weight loss, I need to cycle through the diets.

2008:
March 17, 2008 176.8

2015:
I started on the ketogenic diet with my measurements at 43-37-43 and with my weight at 176.6.

Two weeks and 7.7 pounds later (168.9), I am at 41-36.75-42.75, so all the weight loss appears to be in my bust. However, my new bras still fit well, so I am not too distressed at that. It may mean, however, that I need to wait to purchase more bras until another month or two into the program.

MEASUREMENTS
2008:
March 17, 2008- Happy St. Patrick’s day to ya’, darlin’.
176.8 43.9% fat (78 lbs)
I need to go get my measurements.
43-34-43 My waist is bigger than my ribs. (So that 34 was probably my belly button)
th 23.5 calf 15 upper arm 13.5 wrist 6.75 neck 14

2012:
Looking at “measurements” in my phone, I find that in 2012 I was on a diet. These measurements are from July and August.

The first two weeks (7/16/12-7/27/12), I lost 4.55 inches, but I had not written my measurements into my phone at that point.

On July 27, 2012 my measurements were
40.75 breasts
33.5 under ribs
38.25 belly button (which is the widest spot)
42.5 hips
13.8 upper arm
22.75 thigh
14.75 calf

I would guess that quite a bit of the measurement were off the breasts, but some off the other points. That is just guessing.

July 22, 2012 my weight was recorded at 176. This was in the middle of the first two weeks (mentioned above). I would guess that my weight was probably 179 or 180 when I started. That is only a guess though.

19 days later the measurements (August 20, 2012) were
39 breasts
32.75 under ribs
35.5 belly button
42 hip

At that point I was obviously lifting weights, because my arm and thighs went up and my calves, which went up in the interim, were back down to 14.75.

2013:
In November of 2013, I took measurements.
40.5 breasts
33 under ribs
35.75 belly buton
41.25 hips
13.5 arm
22.75 thigh
15 calf

I don’t know what my weight was.

2014:
July 20, 2014, when we had been in the UK for two months, I also took measurements.
41 breasts
35.5 under ribs
41 belly button
43 hips
24 thigh
15.5 calf

I am surprised that my belly was so large. That is quite a bit larger than I have been in years. Note that my breasts are smaller than my hips, which usually indicates I have been dieting or doing a lot of exercise. That’s a big belly.

I was a solid size 12 (16 UK) when we were in Holloway (London) at the end of our stay.

Based on the fact that we were doing quite a bit of walking, I would guess that the leg measurements are due to increased muscle.

2015:
November 30, 2015 are the first measurements I took this year. (Though the week before I had weighed 179.6.)
43 breasts
37 mid-belly (which is close to the belly button but not exactly, maybe a quarter of an inch difference)
43

Today (12/13/15) I took new measurements.
41 breasts
35 under ribs
36.75 mid belly
42.75 hips
13 arm
23/21 thigh (at largest and smallest)
15 calf
weight: (which was not recorded on some of the others) 168.9

Hip and breasts are very close today (12/13/15) to the measurements I took in England (7/20/14).

Ketogenic Diet

We’ve been on a ketogenic diet (or trying to be on one) for 2 weeks now. I have been looking at research into ketogenic diets, which still includes “high protein,” though the diet we are on limits ideal protein intake to 20% of calories. (Same for the carbs.)

This meta-analysis shows that a ketogenic diet improves the human body.

It lowers diabetic incidence.
It lowers epileptic seizure.
It encourages weight loss.
It lowers problems related to Alzheimer’s.
It reduces autism.

At two weeks on a (mostly) ketogenic diet, I have lost 7.7 pounds. I had lost 3 pounds the week before we started (which was Thanksgiving week); I attribute this to being at my in-laws and just eating less in general.

TMI: I slept in and after lunch today I had two large bowel movements, which lead me to believe that had they preceded lunch, I would have registered more weight loss.

Inches lost remains minimal in areas of interest.

I read somewhere related to Dr. D’Agostino (probably the keto-diet resource) that exercise is 20% of the change in body and diet is 80%. That has definitely been my experience.

December Thanks

Dec. 1
I am grateful for the internet, where I can see how friends and their kiddos are doing, look up calorie counts, and browse real estate. It can be fun, relaxing, and calming–in addition to other, less positive, attributes.

Dec. 3
I appreciate how much my students care. They have a lot of zeal.

Dec. 4
I am so grateful for second chances. I know that none of us is perfect; certainly I am not. And sometimes I don’t want to give second chances. I don’t want to regrade that paper because student wasn’t paying attention in class before the paper was written and therefore will get a 0 for not citing any of their sources. But I will. And I will be grateful that I can give second chances. I am grateful that many someones over the years have given me second chances.

November Thanks from FB

I am grateful to be with family over the holidays and to know that my dog is in good hands at home. I am grateful that not all the trees here had lost their leaves and I was able to see a bunch of beautiful autumn colors today as Ron Davis and I drove around NW Arkansas for about an hour. I am grateful for good food and football–especially since we got near malls, but everyone was home because the Razorbacks were playing.
I am grateful that I know what real love looks like and that I have seen so many other couples who love each other, too. (Link to What Real Love Looks Like.)

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Facebook friends, near and far. May the blessings you have received in the past year shine brightly in your memory this day. Thank you for being my friends!

Grateful for the opportunity to play board games with my family. We played several rounds of Splendor, Kim B! Thanks for the introduction.

I am grateful for a safe trip to Arkansas and in-laws who are blessings.

I am grateful for people who stand for right and compassion. Please, God, give me more compassion and the strength to stand up for what is right.

I am grateful for freedom of religion and assembly, for church and supper clubs, for sharing meals with folks and friends. (We had supper club that evening. It was awesome.)

Missed 21st.

I am grateful for my siblings. Chris calls me at least once a week–and often every day. Stephanie always opens her home for me to stay at, even when I don’t have time to hang out with her. Jeanna is such a caring, giving person–she took care of our folks when they were ill. Thank you, God, for sending me three great folks to call family.

I am grateful for students who are interested in doing well, who work hard throughout the semester, and come into the final weeks with a strong record behind them. I am also grateful for students who are less interested–or less knowledgable in how to do well–who continue working and come in for help so that they can finish strong. I guess I am grateful to have students. I have such awesome ones.

I am grateful for my husband, who listens when I want to talk, cheers me up when I am blue, holds me, encourages me, and generally walks beside me. I am grateful for MAD and EJ, the two sons that God gifted me with 23 and 24 years ago. I am grateful for my family and the wonderful memories that I have of the boys growing up.

I am grateful for rain–and the lack of it while walking the dog this morning, a dog to walk, a warm house to come home to, healthy and tasty food to eat (and the sugary really bad for you stuff, too), nice clothes, and a job I love. Thank you, God, for the blessings you have filled my life with.

Three sets of my students from my business writing class participated in the final rounds of Springboard’s Elevator Pitch. All of them did a good job. Two of the groups won cash prizes.

Missed 15, 14, 13, 12.

Honoring all who served… Special thanks. To all the veterans who have served this country, I give my thanks.
Thank you, God, for a wonderful place to live with freedom of speech, religion, assembly, press..

I am grateful for my bunko group–and our regular subs, like Stephanie Hamm. Thank you, God, for my friends and sisters in bunko.
Thank you for your service. Happy birthday, Marines.

I am grateful for the friends who made my transition back to Abilene a blessing: KLC, MD, and DJW. I’ve enjoyed working with y’all.

My sister Jeanna’s birthday. I am thankful for all three of my siblings: Chris, Jeanna, and Stephanie.

Ethnos was AWESOME!

Today I am grateful for my boys who ate lunch with me at Pizza Hut.

I am especially grateful today for five dear, close friends who have supported me throughout the years: KB, AB, AC, BG, and PM.

I love fall. I miss forests of trees in burnt oranges, burgundies, scarlets, and golds. One thing I am grateful for is that the trees were turning when we were in Flagstaff.
I am grateful for my nephew, Ashton, and my three nieces, Emily, Reagan, and Aby. KVT, when you see the Houston three, please give them hugs for me.

On this third of November, a month of blessings among all the years of blessings, I am grateful for a comfortable bed, a cool pillow, and a sexy man to sleep with. Thank you, God.

For dia de los muertos, and the month of thanksgiving, I am remembering those who have gone on before.
My great-grandmother Rill who taught me Psalm 117 when I was two years old and let me dip crackers in my hot tea at the Chinese restaurant.
My grandma Helen who had a basement full of art supplies. Even though I rarely found anything I could use, I loved to investigate her treasures, and she was always willing to let me.
My grandma Haston would make a 10-pound bag of potatoes for my brother and I for breakfast. (This was before I knew about my nightshade allergies.)
My great-grandfather Ben who bought me a yarn and cloth doll with blond hair, blue eyes, and a blue dress.
My grampa Guy whose rough voice and hands were gentle talking to the grands. I loved cigar smoke because of Grampa Guy.
My uncle Guy who would carry us around on his shoulders and let us be 8 feet tall.
My great-grandmother Lee, the granddaughter of Annie Fisher, Cherokee from the Trail of Tears, and how quiet she was when we visited her.
My grampa Haston who said “a whistling woman and a crowing hen will always come to no good end.” So far, I’ve avoided that prophecy! He would pick cherries and give us some straight out of the bucket. Same for grapes. I remember him tipping his coffee into his saucer and drinking it from there. I loved pipe smoke because of Grampa Haston.
Oma White, who I know was waiting for Momma when she arrived.
Bee Shaver who was also there, waiting to welcome my parents home.
I’m old enough now that I could write a long time on this post. Mostly though, I just wanted to say, thank you, God, for sending me folks to love me throughout my life who have marked the trail ahead of me and let me know that while the passage isn’t always comfortable, it is a journey worth completing.

November 1, All Saints’ Day. I am thankful for my parents–Mom and Dad–who have been gone 6 years and 2 weeks… I am thankful that God gave them to me and me to them. I am thankful that they were with me for so long (though it feels too short). I am thankful for photographs with them in it, my father’s journals, my mother’s firm belief in God and his willingness to answer our prayers. Thank you, God, for all the saints who have gone before us–especially our parents.

Nov 2 Thanks

Barnstar_Día_de_los_muertos Ph03nix1986 WC CC4For dia de los muertos, and the month of thanksgiving, I am remembering those who have gone on before.

My great-grandmother Rill who taught me Psalm 117 when I was two years old and let me dip crackers in my hot tea at the Chinese restaurant.

My grandma Helen who had a basement full of art supplies. Even though I rarely found anything I could use, I loved to investigate her treasures, and she was always willing to let me.

My grandma Haston would make a 10-pound bag of potatoes for my brother and I for breakfast. (This was before I knew about my nightshade allergies.)

My great-grandfather Ben who bought me a yarn and cloth doll with blond hair, blue eyes, and a blue dress.

My grampa Guy whose rough voice and hands were gentle talking to the grands. I loved cigar smoke because of Grampa Guy.

My uncle Guy who would carry us around on his shoulders and let us be 8 feet tall.

My great-grandmother Lee, the granddaughter of Annie Fisher, Cherokee from the Trail of Tears, and how quiet she was when we visited her.

My grampa Haston who said “a whistling woman and a crowing hen will always come to no good end.” So far, I’ve avoided that prophecy! He would pick cherries and give us some straight out of the bucket. Same for grapes. I remember him tipping his coffee into his saucer and drinking it from there. I loved pipe smoke because of Grampa Haston.

Oma White, who I know was waiting for Momma when she arrived.

Bee Shaver who was also there, waiting to welcome my parents home.

I’m old enough now that I could write a long time on this post. Mostly though, I just wanted to say, thank you, God, for sending me folks to love me throughout my life who have marked the trail ahead of me and let me know that while the passage isn’t always comfortable, it is a journey worth completing.

Dying and Funeral

This is for my children, Micah and Elijah.

First, and you both know this, if any of my organs are usable, have them take my organs.

Second, if they can’t take my organs, see if you can donate my body. Science Care will/may take my body. If they do, they will provide the cremation for free. (They may not. Body condition/illnesses must match current research.)

Only if this mortal coil I’ve shuffled out of cannot be donated should you simply cremate me.

What I want when I am dying:
I would like y’all to be there, but you don’t have to stay 24/7. If it is too stressful, feel free to leave. I love you and always will. I have spent a lot of my life without you and I will be okay without you at the end, if I need to be. Please know, though, that if I had the choice, I would have you with me because I love you.

If anyone wants to come see me, let them. Let them come. Let them talk. Let them stay. Even if they yell at me, let them. If someone is making you upset, though, you can ask them to let me rest. It’s not worth your pain to let someone else do that.

I would say you could go through my phone and text all the people on it. What would be a sample text you could just copy and paste?
My mother, S… H… D…, is dying. You are in her phone list. If you would like to see her, she is at XXX. You may come XXX. If you cannot come or do not desire to, please remember us in your prayers during this difficult time.

When I am dying, don’t just stare at me. Feel free to talk to me. That doesn’t mean you have to talk to me the whole time, but the watching television instead of the family talking–I don’t want that. The long hours of someone staring without saying anything, nah, I’ll pass. Music is okay if you don’t have anything to say. Reggae or your dad’s country and Christian playlists. Maybe his happy playlist, if you can stand that.

You can have conversations with others while I am there. I’d even like it if you had good things to say about me, but the topic of conversation does not have to be me.

Please don’t talk about my care without talking to me–even if I can’t answer you. I probably want to know what you are thinking and doing.

For my funeral or memorial service:
I expect to be cremated, but that is not a requirement. Do whatever you need to do.

Mom (Gram) had Grama Bunny embalmed, pre-cremation, and you boys, me, Mom, and Oma White went to the funeral home and had a service. We sang songs from church and other songs you wanted to sing. Elijah said it wasn’t a very good statue of Grama Bunny because it wasn’t missing a toe. Gram slipped Grama’s shoe off and showed y’all that it was missing. Elijah did not like that. I think he did know it was Grama Bunny and she was dead and thinking of her as a statue had been easier–but that is just what I think because he never said. Songs I think we sang included Jesus Loves Me and the Barney song–“I love you. You love me. We’re a happy family, with a great big hug and a kiss from me to you. Won’t you say you love me too?”

If you want to have me embalmed, fine.

Otherwise skip it. It costs more money. (Well, if I am going to be cremated. If you decide to bury me, don’t skip it. If you do, the body will stink soon.)

From my own experience, I believe a funeral or a memorial would be easier than not having one. If you have one, folks can write down what they want said and have someone who doesn’t know me read it. I’m okay with that. I just don’t want an impersonal funeral/memorial. But I also don’t want anyone trying to talk who can’t or doesn’t want to.

I don’t want all white flowers, if you have any flowers at all. I like bright colors–yellow roses, orange day lilies (or anything else), hot pink and purple are good too. If they have delphinium (the blue flowers I gave Dad and Mom for their funeral) that would be fine. Or lilies of the valley, if they are in season. Do NOT order flowers that are out of season for my funeral. Too much money. You don’t have to have flowers. Just that folks send them, so you might.

Songs:
Your Dad wanted Billy Sprague’s What a Way To Go and that’s a good song. I would not mind it.

My favorite song recently has been How Great Thou Art.
I also always liked “I Come to the Garden Alone.”

While Dad (Grampa) was dying, “I Can Only Imagine” came on the radio. That made sense to me and I’ve been singing it a lot since then. I’m okay with a song on the phone (or whatever tech we have then), as long as it’s a fairly standard rendition. Make sure people can recognize the songs.

While Grampa was dying, “It’s Just My Temporary Home” came on. That is somewhat apropos, but so sad. That’s not what I want.

My favorite song of that topic is, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through. My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.” I learned in in West Virginia at a youth meeting when my family lived in North Carolina, maybe 1975.

Chris’ favorite song used to be “Low in the Grave He Lay.”
Grama Haston (Pa’s mom) used to sing “I’ll Fly Away” when she was sweeping.
Grama Jenn, my mom, liked “Safe in the Arms of Jesus” for funerals.
Grampa liked the song “Just a Few More Days.”
I would love to have a bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace.” Uncle Chris played one right after Grama died.

I like singing, though. Many of my favorite memories of growing up and churches involve singing. I’ve thought about trying to put a timeline of my life together via song, and I think I could do it, but I also think it would take more effort than I have the energy for right now. (I can’t sleep and it is 3 am less than 10 days after Grama and Grampa’s funeral. Really I should be grading, since I’m up anyway, but I don’t want to do that.)

Favorite verses?
“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me and I will listen. You will seek me and you will find me when you seek me with your whole heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8

I John 4:7-21
I used that, along with some verses from John, in a Bible reading I did in a contest at Bandina Christian Camp when I was 10 or 11 and we lived in Corpus Christi. I won the contest. But I’ve always loved John’s writings.

Favorite memories:
Too many to list.

When Micah was a little baby, people would hold him and pat him on the back. So he learned to pat us on the back. We’d pick him up and put him against our shoulder and his little hand would come out and pat our back. Such a sweet baby (and boy and man).

When Elijah was about two, I was really upset about something–I have no idea what–and I was crying, but trying not to upset the boys. Elijah came up and asked me what was wrong. “Mommy’s just sad,” I said. He climbed up into my lap. “Mommy, don’t be sad. I’s a good boy,” Elijah told me. He patted my cheek.

I guess I liked the boys patting me!

I will try to come back to these some time, but if I don’t manage it, know that I have many memories I am so grateful for having held on to and probably many more that were wonderful that I don’t remember.

You were loved and you loved me.

November Thanks

November 1, All Saints’ Day. I am thankful for my parents–Mom and Dad–who have been gone 6 years and 2 weeks… I am thankful that God gave them to me and me to them. I am thankful that they were with me for so long (though it feels too short). I am thankful for photographs with them in it, my father’s journals, my mother’s firm belief in God and his willingness to answer our prayers. Thank you, God, for all the saints who have gone before us–especially our parents.

Folks Notes on FB

There were 100+ more. These are just the ones that either talked about my folks or from folks who knew them.

October 1
Sherry: I’m so thankful you’ve had these past months with him nearby. I’m sorry your family is having to go through this time. I love you.

Susan: I bless your grieving heart, Suanna. Hugging you from afar. Jesus, surprise Suanna and her dad with your grace and peace. Assign ministering angels to deal with the pain and terror of reduced lung capacity.

Paula: Glad you made it there.

October 7
Rex: I remember many visits with you and them when I was new to Houston.

Karen: What’s your teaching schedule? How can I help? I teach MWF 10 & 1; TR 9:30, 12:00, & 1:30.

October 16
Ted: I believe they are quite proud of you and I know you are a great source of encouragement and love to your entire family.

Dora: so sorry to hear of your loss. I am very glad you were with him through all this. You are a good daughter and yes missing your Dad will be hard. Thinking of you.

Heidi: Good words escape me right now. Celebrate what was good, let go of the mundane and bad. Ponder the goodness of the ordinary and seek to flourish as I know they would want. You are deeply loved still, and they would want you to cherish that. I will lift you and yours up to God.

Rachel M from KW: Praying for your family. I hope that getting together you can all smile, laugh and cry as you reflect on the memories that made him the man & father you respect so much.

Leslie: Your family was so kind to me in high school. Your mother was an angel then, driving us like 10 hours to watch that basketball game. She never seemed overwhelmed she just kept smiling and moving. Your dad was so quiet, I only heard a few loving words he said to you all…You were blessed with a wonderfully warm and generous set of parents. I know you miss them, but I am so grateful for how they raised you all to be so open and generous with your friendships. I am sad for your loss, but I know he isn’t hurting any longer, and that is a blessing. I wish you had more time with them both. My thoughts are with you and your family.

Bev: I am so glad you were able to spend his last days with him. Continuing to pray for you and your family.

October 22

Rex: I love you tons, and will always remember your parents fondly.

Paula: That made me cry to see the pic Suanna. My prayers were with you all day. Especially at sunset.

October 23

Gail: Suanna is funny, smart, beautiful and most of all, a believer in God and Jesus. she homeschooled her boys for years, i tried it for five minutes. what else could parents want? smile emoticon

Susan: I didn’t have the pleasure of getting to know them personally, it I figured they had to have been pretty potent people to produce such a witty person as Suanna. Ron’s words helped bring them to life for me.

Kristy Vick: Very well said and so accurate. Two very precious people I had the privilege of knowing.

Denise Wolfe: WOW! I cried and I never meet them.

For a Meeting

Al asked me to present to students on a book that had made an impact on my life and a difficulty I was facing. Obviously, my dad’s death would be the main difficulty/challenge recently.

I wrote stuff down so I could stay within the time limit and not cry.

A recent challenge is that I became an orphan. My father died two weeks ago. We buried both my parents last Thursday. How am I dealing with it? In the best ways I know how. I am doing little things that remind me of them but don’t make me cry. This necklace is one my father purchased for me on an international trip when I was in high school. These earrings were my graduation gift when I got my PhD. When I was about 13 years old I said I wanted emeralds and my mother remembered.

Truthfully I’m sad and lonesome and my brain doesn’t concentrate. I am making notes and setting alarms for everything. I’m issuing lots of apologies, working long hours to catch up with the time I was gone when my father went on hospice, and mostly ignoring the loss.

Other professor friends have told me that I’ll slow down over Christmas and it will hit me then. To tell you the truth that terrifies me; if it is going to be worse over the holidays, I may become a hermit.