Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Longing For a Sister (While loving my brother to death!)

I call my little granddaughters Elsa
and Ana. I'm so glad they have each other.
Both of my parents-in-law were only children. My father-in-law was not supposed to have been “attempted” because his mother had given birth to a girl, who was not stillborn, but I believe only lived a few hours. The doctors advised against another pregnancy, but who listens to doctors?

I’m not researching this, but my memory tells me that she (Ruth) was born in 1916. Perhaps it was late in the year, because I don’t think they were three years apart. Donald was born February 15, 1919. He would be 98 today.

My mother-in-law does not have a similar story, but her parents didn’t have any more children. I don’t know why.

What I do remember her telling me, was that she wished she had a sibling in older age. She didn’t “speak” for her husband, but I had the impression that siblings on both sides would have been welcome. They loved their four children, their eleven grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren. They loved them, but they were not their peers.

The point of this is the desire for familial companionship in our elder years. I wouldn’t take a bazillion dollars for my baby brother, and I do speak plainly to him with matters of health; but I sometimes wish I had a sister, who thought like a woman.

I have a wonderful cousin who is 13 months younger than I am. We were raised together. Our grandmother bought us matching clothes. We were as close as could be, as our mothers were sisters. I know I can call her just about any time, and that could be happening more often as we age, but she has four children and seven grandchildren, a husband and the two of them are still working! Life is full.

My three sisters-in-law are fabulous people; but if you paid attention to those numbers earlier in the blog, you can picture the sized families they have! My one sister-in-law married a man with two sons, two daughters-in-law and four grandchildren that are not counted in the above numbers because my In-Laws didn’t know them. This alone shows that they are extremely busy with their families. We women are all retired, except the one who works in her son’s office one day a week.

I text the sister closest to my age quite a bit. You never know what she’s doing, coming, going or whatever, so she can return as she is able. She and I became what I call “fast friends” in our youth. I can only say that about three people in my life. I can talk to her just about anything.

My husband’s older sister is eleven years my senior, so the “chum” part isn’t there, but she’s a nurse and sometimes I need to call her. We eventually get off subject and by the time we’ve run through what all her kids and what all my kids are doing, it’s easily an hour. She’s usually home and settled in the evenings, so that is her best time.

My brother-in-law's wife and I are not as close, but there is a logical reason for that--she is one of eight children, only six survive today. She has A LOT going on with her aged mother, and her own three daughters and four grandchildren (and two step-grandchildren). We get along fine, but it's seldom. This past year her husband had a very serious medical situation, but I got the details second-hand through my husband. MANY prayers were said!

All of this is great, and I am thankful for them, but there is something missing.

Many of my wonderful friends live in my town and attended the school my children went to, and they have their friendships and “gangs.” They are all still close and they are there for each other, but I’m not a part of that.

I have truly loyal and friends that are like family, but most of them have left the area. I don’t have that “gang” that gets together regularly. I have a high school classmates luncheon every month, and we are very inclusive, which includes men, so it’s not like best buds. It’s great people going through life together, and I am thankful for this group.

I have one friend that I could call anytime, but even so, as much as we care about each other, she has 7 grandchildren, and she spends much time with the elderly widows of her family. A nurse, she’s another to call if I need advice that I haven’t found on the Internet and she has taken care of me with every surgery that involves changing of dressings that I can’t reach. I really WISH that we could go on a girl’s trip, but I don’t see it happening. Maybe one of these days.

I am grateful for the many relationships in my life, church, family (both, after 39 years it’s all the same), but I do wish I had a sister, that person that I could call anytime, anyplace, regardless of what else is going on in her life. And vice-versa.

It just doesn’t always work with a spouse.

Friday, February 10, 2017

My Sixth Anniversary!

I knew it was about time to check, and yes, yesterday was the 6th "anniversary" of my first post on this blog. Since I have previously discussed how writing this blog has changed me, I won't rehash all of that.

At this stage of my life, there isn't much "change," for which I am very thankful. Occasions come up like the Induction of our HS basketball team into an "Athletic Hall of Fame" and I want to write something for posterity.

I've been writing family stories for the next generation to be able to read---sometime. There will be sometime in the future that we think of another story worth keeping. I don't write about my husband's family generally, except to compare it to mine.

ALL blogs are pre-approved before publication if they involve another person (s). I don't write about my grandchildren unless their parents approve it.

At this 6th anniversary, it is winter and life is fairly stagnant. We are dealing with some health issues, which means doctors' appointments, but otherwise, not much new. However, I am always aware that something will happen that just BEGS an entry.

Grandchildren are always at the top of the list; it's Chorale Season and we are singing Brahms's Requiem in German. There are church activities, and we each have lunch with a group of friends once a month (separately). We also have dinner with the Homeowner's Association once a month (together). We have other friends that we see separately and we have friends that we see together. Jerry continues to volunteer at the hospital. I attempt to see my mother once a week. I continue my activity with the Medway Historical Society.

So we are in a "Life Goes On" period. This year is our 40th wedding anniversary and we are going out west to see Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone and Teton National Parks, and visit Jackson Hole, Wyoming. We are also going to Salt Lake City and hope to see some old friends there. This is with a tour so we aren't driving and parking and arguing about where to eat!

Some of my previous topics are ongoing: decluttering, weight and health issues, and I am not going to "report" all the time. Suffice to say, it continues. I will continue the Derges' Digest as our Christmas Letter.

Some of the topics have been requested, such as settling estates. Others are guest blogs, which I always consider!

So, life indeed goes on. If any reader has a subject they would like me to take a look at, I would consider that. I don't write about politics, and religion would be sparse, so those are not subjects that I would tackle for another person. But I will teach you how to set up a blog!

I'll just close by saying how thankful I am for my family and my friends, and the ability and time to be involved with these other activities. Life without big events is OK too.

P.S. There will be something coming with our trip later.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Thrift Simplified: Just Buy Less!

I haven’t been particularly thrifty this year as in “looking for the best deal,” and I haven’t had one of those “no-spend” months, or years, or anything. This is where I’m at: I just don’t buy as much anymore!

It’s as simple as that!

As I have spent the last two to three years in a major purge, moving into a condominium and finding good homes for many of the things my children do not want and there is no point in keeping them. Those things are things that I don’t need in a banker’s box in the garage and could be used by the historical society, or the Women’s Center that gives out baby (and small children) clothes.

The things that I keep are the things that I love. I want to look at them. They bless me in some way. This morning I was looking at the seven belts that I have and I know there’s a purge coming there; but one of them will NEVER fit this body again. It was made by my father, and it’s not going anywhere!

The long and short of this is I just BUY LESS!
  • We don’t need as much food. Period.
  • When I get rid of clothes, I don’t replace them, unless I have a need.
  • I don’t buy books.
  • I DO pay $8.00 a month for Netflix, but I don’t go to movies. Well, I never did much anyway.
  • At Christmas, I reorganized my spending, and although it didn’t come to less overall, I bought less.
  • I’ve gone out to eat less.
On the other hand, I did treat myself to some things. Because I oversee the Class Reunion, I got myself a room at the hotel. I did find a roommate; but had she not shown interest, I wouldn’t have cared at all. I was worth the reduced stress. Besides, it’s only every five years, and I did NOT buy any new garments.

One of the things I have done less of is use savings apps. They are getting to be so plentiful these days and I know the next generation uses them all the time, but it means signing up for, and giving my information to more people than I am comfortable with. Also, you must BUY to SAVE! (I remember my Mother-In-Law telling me that). And, I am NOT BUYING!

I am leisurely talking about selling some big-ticket items that I don’t use. This might involve paying someone who uses e-Bay. I am not in a hurry.

In a very calculated and planned way, I did buy a new laptop and a wireless printer. The other, while perfectly fine, is 11 years old, and lasted through three computers. I also planned to buy an iPad mini and I LOVE it. They offered me $65 for the old one and I said “No, the kids will watch it.” (They are not touching my new one!) These are items that I use every single day in one way or the other. I can never go back to handwriting anyway, the arthritis in my thumbs is so bad.

I do try to find homes for things, but if not, I will donate to Salvation Army. I never plan this, but somehow, when we’re doing taxes, it helps there too.

So I guess my mantra will be BUY LESS and plan big purchases.