Luann

Missing . . .

May 25th, 2014 by luann

It’s odd how missing something/someone can hit me out of the blue.  I was just sitting at the computer playing a mindless game and suddenly got such a feeling of melancholy.  I am missing my work friends.  It’s been three years since I retired.  I love my retired life, love the area I moved to, love being near my son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren.  I enjoy making my own schedule – sleeping in when I want, staying up until 2 a.m., making a habit of exercising three hours or so each day, getting my chores done at my leisure, spending lots of time with my husband – all very enjoyable.

I don’t miss work itself so much, as I manage to keep myself pretty busy.  I do miss feeling useful.  That’s a quirk of mine – I like to feel useful.  I like to feel like I accomplish something that means something to and/or is helpful to someone else.  Whether it was helping re-write policies or simply ensuring personnel got their rightful pay and benefits, I always felt I was serving a purpose – maybe bringing others some security and happiness.  Now, I still accomplish things – my home is clean, cupboards stocked, my yard looks nice.  My husband appreciates the little things I do, but somehow I’m not feeling so useful.  Once in awhile, I’ll get the opportunity to proof read something as a favor to a friend or type something up . . . then I feel useful for a time and that is a good feeling to me.

I find what, actually who, I miss most are my work friends.  The people who I saw frequently – those who came by my office with a smile, a hug, a simple “Good morning!”  I miss them so much.  I’ve come to realize that my work was the majority of my social life.  I’ve always been a bit of a wallflower – tend to be quiet when among a crowd – I’m not comfortable socializing in general.  The people at my work though – they became family over the years.  I saw their children born, saw many of those children grow up and marry.  I watched them go through personal struggles and losses; as they watched me.  We gave each other comfort, strength, laughter, joy . . .

I gained a lot when I retired and moved away, but I lost a “family” who meant so much in my life.  I’m missing them . . .

Posted in Blogging, Family & Friends, Ponderings | 4 Comments »

Snowpocalypse

February 16th, 2014 by luann

Me in the snow storm  (photo by Thom) (2/7/2014)

Last week was memorable for me as we had an unusual weather event – three days of heavy snowfall.  I love to watch the snow fall.  I find it pristine, beautiful, pure and very calming.  It just seems to be such a wondrous event.

I was used to getting random snowfall when I lived in the high desert of Southern California; and I loved it when that happened.  Most often though, the snow would fall for an hour or so and then melt in the next hour.  There was one heavy snowfall event in the high desert, but it did not compare to the snowpocalypse we just experienced this past week here.

With the temperature outside staying right at 20 degrees, the snow started softly falling on Thursday . . . and it kept falling and falling and falling.  I was excited to watch it out the window and take pictures as it slowly built up.  By Thursday night, the lawn was solid white.

Upon awakening and looking outside on Friday morning, everything was covered in snow – lawn, bushes, yard decorations.  The wind was blowing so hard that the snow was coming in horizontally and strange drifts were building up at the front door and in the back yard.  There was no thought of going out and driving at this point – the roads were just too hazardous and the news was advising people to stay home.  As the schools were closed due to the weather, neighborhood children were out building snowmen and trying to sled down the snow covered streets on trash can lids and cardboard boxes.  The snow fell all day and all night – still beautiful, but coming down not quite so peacefully – high winds and huge dense snowflakes.

Saturday morning came and it was still snowing.  At this point, I was feeling a bit house-bound and stir crazy.  I don’t know how people who live in places that have lots of snow every winter can stand being isolated at home for days on end.  Then again, those places are most likely better equipped with snow plows and other equipment to get the streets and roads passable fairly quickly.  The snow continued through the night, but had stopped by Sunday morning.

Our House - Day 3 of Snowpocalypse - Feb. 8, 2014

Sunday afternoon, we got a downpour of icy rain and sleet which put a blanket of ice atop the good 8-12″ of snow.  Definitely nothing to go out and drive in.  Monday, the temperature rose to low 40′s and the snow began to slowly melt.  A bit of rain fell and helped with the melting process.  I got inspired to clear the driveway and sidewalks in front of our home – so, for the first time in my life, I shoveled snow.  I found this to be a very labor intensive and tiring task which resulted in me having very sore shoulders and a stiff back by end of day.  I was kind of proud of the job I did though.   Turns out that if I just waited another day, the snow would be gone due to heavy downpours of rain on Monday night which melted and washed most of it away.

So, there you have my snowpocalypse story.  I do realize that people in real snow country would consider this an “every winter” event in their lives; but, for me – it was rare and special.  Worthy of a short blog anyway.

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This and That

July 8th, 2013 by luann

Ocean at Shore Acres

This is a picture of the waves splashing on the rocks at the beach area of Shore Acres Botanical Gardens near Coos Bay, OR.  at the end of June, we went on a five-day group camping trip that was absolutely fantastic.  We camped at the Cape Arago Group Camp Site at Sunset Bay which was within walking distance of the botanical gardens, numerous trails, tide pool areas, and beach areas.  Jim, Becka and the grandkids were all there; along with two other families and their children.   Altogether, our group consisted of seven adults, two teens, and eight children ranging in age from 18-months to 11 years old.  Thom and I are now “Grandpa and Grandma” to many more children – what an honor to be adopted by them all.

We had a blast walking the trails, playing with the kids, listening to spooky stories told by the children around the campfire at night; and even having a sing-along one evening while Thom played his guitar.  It was a wonderful family and friends fun time.  We hope to repeat it at the same camp site next year.

Just prior to our camping trip, we celebrated Miriam’s 13th birthday at the Goings’ home.  The week following our camping trip, we picked up Miriam for her birthday sleepover with us.  She stayed three nights – first night we took her out to dinner, second day we took her shopping at the Salem Mall so she could spend the gift cards she’d received for her birthday, and the third day, we took her to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport (her birthday gift from Thom and I).  We had a wonderful time together.  The aquarium is fairly small, but very nice.  I loved the puffin enclosure.  I just find that bird to be strangely beautiful and fascinating.

The entire Goings clan came to our place to celebrate the 4th of July.  A lot of neighbors around us set off fireworks; so after a delicious dinner and waiting until 10 p.m. for it to get somewhat dark (it stays light here until very late this time of year), we all went outside and watched the sparks fly.  There were actually some quite impressive fireworks going off around us.  Spending time with family made for a very enjoyable Independence Day.

Well, there you have my current “this and that” – stay tuned for more adventures to come.

 

Posted in Family & Friends, Great Outdoors | 13 Comments »

Tree to Tree Zip Line Adventure

April 29th, 2013 by luann

 

Hannah and Grandma at Completion of Adventure

 

Our eldest granddaughter, Hannah, just turned 14.  Thom and I have made a sort of tradition of doing something special with our grandchildren at birthday time.  Hannah wanted to go on a zip line challenge course at the Tree to Tree Adventure Park in Gaston, OR.  I elected to join her on this challenge, while Thom chose to follow along below us on solid ground to take pictures.  He did a terrific job.  If you want to see the full pictorial of our adventure, just click here.

Hannah and I were with a group of five other people.  We decided to go last in line so I wouldn’t slow anybody up (me being the oldest in our group – or any of the groups as far as I could tell).  We received orientation training on how to use the equipment properly to ensure we were safely tethered to a cable at all times should we happen to fall off any of the course challenges.  After orientation and a training run on a simple, close-to-the-ground course, we were on our own to go on to the more difficult (and higher off the ground) courses.

We got through the first course, not easily, but still pretty darn proud of ourselves and feeling we were better at this zip line challenge thing than we expected.  So, full of confidence, we happily trotted off to the second course.  I must back track a little and tell you that while Course 1 was challenging, most of the sky bridges (my terminology) we had to cross were solid and immobile – they just felt sturdy and secure under our feet for the most part.  Course 2, we discovered, was quite a bit more difficult.  Nothing felt solid under our feet.  Every sky bridge tipped, swung, swayed, and tilted.  As Hannah aptly described it at one point ”that one was terrifying”.

Hannah was awesome and made it through both courses incredibly well.  I was so impressed!  She did get a bruised knee with a semi George of the Jungle impact with a tree when landing on one zip line platform; but she faced every obstacle with admirable determination.  I, on the other hand, lost my battle with balance on one Course 2 sky bridge, cutting my hand up when I grabbed the cable to try to keep myself upright.  I ended up having to let go and thus was left dangling in the air wondering how in the world I was going to get back up on the sky bridge which was now above me.  With verbal guidance from a staff member on the ground, I was able to haul myself up and I made it to the platform exhausted and shaking.  This course takes balance, muscle and stamina – and my supply of all of these was about depleted at this point.  We still had three more obstacles to conquer before the end of Course 2 and getting our feet on solid ground.

We finished Course 2 with no more physical trauma – just more stretching of our nerves and draining of our energy.  By the time Hannah and I landed back on solid ground at the end of Course 2, we were both so physically exhausted that we were shaking.  We had the option of continuing on to two more challenge courses, but wisely opted to head on home and soak our weary bones and muscles in the jacuzzi.  Just completing the two courses took us a little over two hours – quite the workout I would say.

This zip line activity was fun, challenging and frightening.  Even though you know you can’t fall completely because of the safety tether, the fear is still there.  We were both glad we went on this adventure; but we both say we wouldn’t do it again.  If ever I go to Tree to Tree Adventure Park again, I will opt to do the straight zip line tour and leave the challenge course to more hardy-hearted people; or I will watch from the ground and take pictures of our other grandchildren who wish to do the course.  Hannah and I did it once, and that was enough for the both of us.  An adventure was had and memories made – ah yes! – wonderful memories made.

Posted in Family & Friends, Great Outdoors | 35 Comments »

Updates

April 7th, 2013 by luann

Crane in Tree at Dead Horse State Park, AZ

 

I decided to be a bit lazy and address a few updates in one blog post versus addressing them in separate posts.  I last blogged in mid-February, so these updates cover the time between then and now.  Here we go…

My knee is healing nicely.  I still have some pain, but it is minor compared to what I was feeling back in February.  I’m finally able to sleep through the night mostly undisturbed by knee pain, and that is a big plus.  I have found that I am not a very happy person when I don’t get enough sleep.  I went to my last physical therapy appointment last week.  As much as I liked my physical therapists, it is very nice not to have to go there three times weekly.  Now, I just do my therapy exercises at home in addition to taking long walks and pedaling my stationary bike.  It feels great to be outdoors walking again and I’ve built back up to a six-mile walk, so I’m happy with that.  I’m told it takes a full year for the knee to heal completely, so I’ve got many months to go until that point; but I’m happy with my progress thus far.

I finally posted six months worth of photos to my Flickr site - from Thanksgiving with my folks in Yuma, to multiple grandkids’ birthdays, to Christmas day, to Doobie Brothers Concert, and Air Show photos – they are all there; including pics of our most recent trip to California and Arizona to see family.  Oh!  And miscellaneous pictures of our cats and spring flowers.

The picture I posted here of the crane in the tree was taken at Dead Horse State Park in Arizona.  My sister, Lisa, and I took a long walk there when I was visiting her in March.  There are few things more special than time alone with my sister -  walking, talking, goofing off, shopping, laughing – we had a great time together.  I’m so looking forward to spending more time with her come September when we are planning to meet up at the Grand Canyon.

There you have it – a fairly short and sweet update of the past few months.  Until next time . . .

Posted in Family & Friends, Ponderings | 2 Comments »

Ouch!

February 9th, 2013 by luann

I had total knee replacement surgery on January 8th and I have to say “OUCH!!!” with capitals and exclamation points.  Although I presumed there would be a significant amount of pain, I was not prepared for how much there actually is.  I’m four weeks past surgery now and still have to take a pain pill to get any sleep at all.  I was so discouraged and tired at my last physical therapy appointment, that I spent the whole hour in tears, nearly begging them to tell me when the pain is going to stop.

I’m happy with physical therapy overall – they have some awesome people there.  I didn’t expect physical therapy to be easy and it certainly is not.  According to my physical therapists, I am doing exceptionally well as far as swelling going down, incision healing up, and my flexibility.  I’m happy about that also; and I’m very dedicated to doing all the exercises they expect me to do so that I can heal quickly and get back to normal.  If it weren’t for the ongoing pain that sometimes ebbs a bit but never completely goes away, I would be pretty happy.  As it is, I am pretty much exhausted from never getting uninterrupted sleep due to the pain waking me up when I roll over or move my leg in my sleep.  I am longing for just one night of uninterrupted sleep.  I’m sure I would feel refreshed and more able to face each day.

Like I said, I didn’t expect it to be easy . . . I just never imagined the pain being so harsh nor lasting so long.  I’m told, since I’m entering my fifth post-op week , that things will start getting easier and I’m holding on strongly to that hope.  I know I don’t see all that clearly when I’m sleep deprived, so I have to  cling to the hope that getting this knee replacement was the right thing to do.  Today, I think my pain was a bit less than it has been.  It’s 4:30 p.m. right now and usually I’m grimacing and pushing through to pass the time until 10:00 p.m. when I can take a pain pill and go to sleep to get some small respite.  Right now, my leg is bothering me in a hard aching sort of way, but not so much in the usual stabbing pain I get by this time of day.  So, let’s hope things are on the mend and I can post again in a few weeks and sing the praises of being pain free and having a good working knee.

In the meantime . . . OUCH!!!!!

 

Posted in Weight-Health Related | 1 Comment »

Six Months . . .

December 23rd, 2012 by luann

My sister, Linda, recently mentioned that it has been six months since last I blogged.  I have good intentions.  My plan was/is to blog once a month (or so).  I even have a recurring calendar alert on my phone to remind me to blog.  I am guilty of ignoring that alert by telling myself “I’ll get to it in a day or two”.  I have become a blog procrastinator.

Truly, I am sometimes amazed by how full my days can be.  I am retired after all.  I should have lots of time to blog.  I do have lots of time, but it is very easy to fill my days with things other than blogging.  I get up, we go in the spa for half an hour, we then exercise for two to two-and-a-half hours, I then do my daily chores (laundry, taking out the trash, cleaning the litter box, etc.), we then (on most days) take a run to town to drop off mail or pick up groceries.  By the time we get through all that, it is late afternoon or early evening.  So then, it’s time to have dinner, soak in the spa again, play games on the computer, watch our favorite TV shows . . . and the day is done.

The last six months have been quite eventful.  In June, we went on a three week vacation, traveling through over a dozen states.  We spent time in Michigan, visiting some of Thom’s relatives and touring South Manitou Island and the lighthouse where his mom was raised.   We went from there to Kentucky to visit my best friend from Junior High/High School and her folks whom I had not seen in over 30 years.  It was a most memorable vacation and you can visit my Flickr photo site to see lots of pictures.

In November we went on a two week vacation trip to California, Arizona, and Nevada.  We visited family and friends in San Diego, Palm Springs, Indio, Victorville and Silver Lakes in California.  We spent time with my girlfriend in Nevada; and celebrated Thanksgiving with my sister, brother, and parents in Arizona.  That, too, was a wonderful time all around.

Now, I am excited about spending Christmas with Jim, Becka, and the grandkids at their home in Hillsboro.  There is nothing better on this earth than spending Christmas with family.   I will close on this note and I expect my next blog will be to tell you what a wonderful Christmas I had. Of course, my next blog might be next week, next month, or six months from now.  You know . . . because time seems to race and I’m constantly trying to catch up.

 

Posted in Blogging, Family & Friends, Ponderings | 6 Comments »

Family Picnic at Willamette Mission State Park

June 5th, 2012 by luann

Me and the Grandkids (photo by Jim)

On Sunday, June 3rd, the Goings family came over.  We packed up some picnic items, loaded into Jim’s van and set out for Willamette Mission State Park for a family day of fun.  We had a mild setback when we got to the ferry only to discover that it was closed.  We ended up backtracking a bit and going the long way, but we got there.  The park is quite large and very beautiful.  We scoped out a parking spot and then set out on a long walk.

A side trail we took led us down to the river for a bit; then we went back up to the main trail and meandered through the woods.  Lots of beautiful trees and greenery.  There was a view point along the way with informational plaques describing the Willamette Mission history.  The mission no longer exists, but there is a silhouette of it built on the far side of the river so you can see where it used to be.

We arrived back at the van; then found a good picnic table and barbecue.  Thom barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs; and we had a picnic feast.   We all played charades for awhile; then the kids played “super ultimate hide and seek freeze tag”.  That was a joy to watch!

It was a terrifically fun family day, filled with laughter and happiness.  Wonder where we’ll go next time . . .

Posted in Family & Friends, Great Outdoors | 1 Comment »

Rosie Posie and Lulu

June 5th, 2012 by luann

Rosie Posie and Lulu

Rosie and I had planned a vacation together over a year ago.  We were supposed to spend several days at the beach in Carpenteria; but Rosie got ill and was hospitalized so I spent several days visiting her in the hospital instead.  After impatiently waiting to find another moment in time where we could reschedule our planned vacation, we finally succeeded.

In May 2012, Rosie (affectionately called Rosie Posie by me) and I (affectionately called Lulu by Rosie) spent a wonderful five days in Carpenteria, CA.  We walked on the beach, dined on fish tacos, played dice and had “Sex on the Beach” (a yummy drink) with our mutual favorite friend, Doug.  The weather was beautiful, the company was awesome.  We had a blast.  It was simply a perfect vacation all the way around.

Posted in Family & Friends, Great Outdoors | 1 Comment »

Mothers Day 2012

May 15th, 2012 by luann

Me and Jim - Mothers Day 2012

Jim, Becka, and the grandkids came over to our house for Mothers Day.  We all had a wonderful time.  The weather was perfect – sunny and warm.  We barbecued steaks, played board games, went to the park, and the children played in the spa.  Late in the day, Thom put on some Boston and had all the kids dancing like crazy.  I learned that you just can’t listen to Boston softly – it has to be loud to be fully appreciated.  Another family day full of good memories.   Lots of love, fun, and laughter – couldn’t have asked for a better day.

Posted in Family & Friends, Home, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

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