Thursday, December 21, 2017


Got the best picture of Ian and Liam in my Christmas card!  It's on the frig--with an Ian drawing above it.  They're about 3 1/2 years and 3 1/2 months.
Was having IBS issues Tuesday and Wednesday.  Mary did show up--without calling ahead, as usual.  I was okay at the time so we did visit.  After she'd been here about an hour she suddenly remembered that she had tried to call me and figured she had the wrong number.  She showed me her paperwork and--yes--she had my old land line number from where I used to live.  ??  I don't know why they gave her that number.  I thought I changed everything when I moved with the county, state, and federal.  ?? 
Unless she looked my number up herself in an old phone book? lol!
I gave her my correct number.  Later she suddenly remembered she had to babysit for her daughter and rushed out the door.
Anyways, after she left and I ate dinner I was really in worse shape (IBS).  Also, couldn't sleep that night--till morning--and then only slept a couple of hours.  I thought--say, didn't this happen last time she was here?  
Well, I journal every I looked it up.  Yup!  I am having progressively worse stress reactions to Mary's visits.  Fibro and stress are not friends.  By now, things should be getting better and not worse.  I signed up for a senior companion thinking it would be fun.  Honestly didn't expect it to be more and more stressful and something I didn't look forward to. 
I think we're just a poor match--despite having a few things in common.  Mary is always tired, rubbing her eyes, doesn't give much eye contact, and can't even remember to call ahead.  Even though every visit that was the last thing I said--reminding her to call ahead--and the first thing I said to her when she got here--you didn't call.  Every single time she'd say--oh, afraid you'll forget I'm coming?  Or, did you forget I was coming?  And every single time I'd have to explain to her--no, it was due to health issues and having bad days in my pajamas.  And every single time she'd say--oh, yes (like she'd remembered) and then tell me she's forgetful and might not remember.  And she never did.
Just has never been any kind of "connection", you know?  Not even casual acquaintance kind of connection.  There have been a couple of times already that I mentioned something I talked about in a previous visit and there was a blankness to her she either didn't remember or wasn't even listening at the moment.  (Bigger stuff like Dagan having heart defects, not small talk.)  So, I had decided to give it till the end of the year and if things didn't get better to just opt out of the program.
Dagan came by last Friday to shovel off my patio for me.  We'd had rain and ice buildup so it got too crusty for me to handle.  I told him about the latest with Annie.  :):)
I woke up on Thursday the 7th and saw Annie sitting in the doorway to the bedroom.  I invited her up on to the bed like I have many times before --but this time she came right up!  She only stayed a couple minutes the first time.  But once a barrier is broken with her inner shy self--things can change rapidly.  
Well, within 4-5 Annie comes and goes on the bed with me all the time!  She's a bad influence if I am half awake, deciding whether or not to get up, and she pops lightly up for a quick nap.  Too easy to doze off for a while with her.  ;)
 Here she was deciding whether to head up on the bed for an afternoon nap.  I don't know why she pauses to seemingly think it over because she picks that spot almost every afternoon.  Silly girl.  Cats do like to make choices, though.
Tuesday Caroline came to clean.  I told her about the Mary dilemma and Caroline agreed that Mary and I certainly didn't connect.  She thought I should quit Mary, too, but suggested maybe I wait till spring and try somebody else.  We'll see.  I thought I would give it another try with Mary but I was already not feeling well on Tuesday...again.  
Late Tuesday night Leah came over to make a Christmas gift card holder card.  She was here from 11pm till about 2:30am!!  I should have taken a picture of the card--duh!!  Loved it!!  We plan to make a spin-off of smaller Christmas cards.  This one was a larger size because it will be hand delivered and didn't need an envelope.
While Leah was here I made the decision that I was done with Mary and would call her boss and opt out of the program--could just say health issues because that's true (unless she asks for more of an explanation).  Hate to say anything bad about her.  She didn't really do anything; can't help if she's ditsy and forgetful, like she says; or that we just didn't seem to connect for whatever reason.  Mary never seemed comfortable, either.  Or interested, for that matter--LOL!  
But I still had to cancel for the next day...and I couldn't sleep again after Leah left.  I texted Mary at 6am to tell her that I had been up all night and was cancelling our visit.  I finally made it to bed at 8am.  Restless--up and down.
   I heard the phone ring at about 1:15pm.  Mary finally did call to ask if it was okay to come for her visit--when I had hoped she wouldn't call--ROFL!!   I called her back and told her I had texted her that morning about being up all night.  She said she doesn't remember to check for those.  This entire companion thing has been a non-stop comedy of errors.
  Anyways, since then--my guts stopped rolling around and I just felt relieved.  I never would have guessed that having someone over to visit and have coffee would have been so difficult and stressful.  I don't need to feel like work for somebody to get through--like they would rather be home in bed or doing something else--an obligation, you know?  Great idea, but maybe not for me.  So that's the end of the senior companion adventure. 
Maybe after eleven years alone over at West Winds and my two years here (where I have attempted to be a little social but it didn't seem to take) I have become more of a recluse?  Can one be a chatty introvert?  
In these last couple of years I have definitely learned that I have absolutely no desire for company just for company's sake.  Maybe I was a hermit in a past life.  A hermit scribe--LOL!  I am quite content alone and only seeing people that lift my soul just to lay eyes on.  (McFamily, of course, is number one on my in-the-flesh list.)  My social life is more on paper these days--LOL!  I have been a letter writer since I was nine and the last decade or so have added bloggers and email to the mix.  Envelopes in the mail, emails, blog posts--they make me light up, too.
Maybe it's the priorities, you know?  When you have limited good hours to spend--minimal spoons--you want to spend them the best, most positive way you can, right?  I am very content with the way things are.  Annie and I will watch the birds... social life will be mostly conducted through my finger tips...and I will continue to feel the occasional joy of seeing loved ones walk through the door.  What was I thinking!?  I, honestly, have no complaints.  :)
Meanwhile, back at the ranch...
We had a bit of snow last night!  
Enough for the plows to be out and small snow banks to appear.  I'm delighted, of course.  Christmas isn't Christmas without snow up here.  :) 
 I tossed out some seed on to the snow this morning.  Looks like there were a lot of visitors.
Can you see where the grouse dug in against the cold?  Was 3 below zero when I got up this morning.  (That's minus 19.4 C)
The girls dig a hole in the snow, snuggle down, fluff up, and tuck in a bit to be protected from the wind.  So they are very happy to have snow, too.  ;)
Speaking of--the five are out on the patio right now pecking and digging away for seed.  The sun is shining.  I have a stack of letters to answer.  And I slept really well last night!  ;)  Life is good.
If I am not back before then...Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate it and Happy Holidays to everyone!  From the Fargo recluse?  LOL!
"There's a difference between solitude and loneliness."
Maggie Smith

"It is only in solitude that I ever find my own core."
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"Some people can't stand being alone.  I love solitude and  silence.  But when I come out of it, I'm a regular talking machine.  It's all or nothing for me."
Celine Dion


Anonymous said...

Mary sounds quite ditsy; you don't need her in your life!!

Janie Junebug said...

I'm glad you decided to wave goodbye to Mary. Having people in my house is stressful for me, too. I know how you feel about Annie in the bed. It's hard for me to get up with Penelope next to me, but she's so sweet and cuddly. Now that she's gotten used to my bed, she sometimes leaves my side during the day to relax on the bed for a while. She's even gotten so brave that on warm days when I have the backdoor open, I've found her in the yard wandering around. In the past, she wouldn't step outside without me.


jinxxxygirl said...

I find very few people get the solitude thing Rita... They just don't understand being most comfortable in your own company... The company i had over Thanksgiving and then a three week visit from family really stressed me out although i know noone around would quite get that.. I notice its taking a little bit to 'get back to normal' so to speak.. to relax and calm down.. Today is the third day since company left and the house is finally back to normal and i have sneaked away to have time in the craftroom. I find myself too tired to do much but just piddling around in there has calmed my nerves. Maybe i'm just getting older.. I don't deal with things as well.. So good seeing you post my friend.. I think i'll relax over writing you a letter here very sonn. :) Hugs! deb

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Mary and you were not compatible. If you want companionship, you might ask for a different person. But, I feel you are a bit like me, and prefer your privacy. At least you have Dagan and Leah, so you are not really a hermit like me (grin).

I sleep such weird hours, neither cat knows when I'll be napping. But when I lie down, they are both there, Bleubeard at my legs, and Squiggles in my arms. No wonder they are so spoiled. Guess I am, too, though. SO glad Annie has now taken to sleeping with you. I call mine my motor boats and they put me to sleep as soon as we all lie down. I'm sure you and Annie have found your stride, too.

LOVE The photo of the boys. Great shot.

Merry Christmas, dear Rita, and if I don't "see" you before the new year, have a safe and joyous start to 2018.

Jon said...

I think the best thing you can do is ditch Mary. She certainly doesn't seem "right" for the job and it's obvious that she's causing a lot of unnecessary stress. I'm sure she doesn't mean to be that way, but she is definitely a burden rather than a pleasure.

It's so sweet that Annie now joins you in bed. I don't mind having my cats in bed, but they never let me sleep in the morning. Bosco constantly and intentionally wakes me up.

So, you're going to have a white Christmas!! Lucky you! The weather is supposed to turn very cold here by Christmas, but no snow is predicted. I'm rather disappointed. Have a wonderful holiday!

froebelsternchen said...

I also agree that Mary and you aren't compatible!
We have to get rid of persons who get us down. I love to hear that Annie gets so trustfully now - lovely!
The boys are ADORABLE! You can be such a proud granny -
I wish you a very Merry Christmas Rita,
so much snow in your area - ours all has gone again - no snow in sight for Christmas.
In case we don't "see" us before the new years starts:

oxo Susi

My name is Erika. said...

Those boys are the cutest. What a great holiday card. And you look as white as we are here in NH. Winter really has arrived. For good or bad. And sorry to hear about your companion. I think you might want to connect with the "office" that sends her because I think neither of you sound all that happy with each other. But mostly, you need someone who works for you and who you connect with. You should look forward to her visits. But you know that. Happy holidays Rita. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a very very happy start to your new year. Hugs-Erika

DJan said...

Rita, you made the right choice about Mary. And that picture is just wonderful of your beautiful grands. Annie is such a sweetheart and a gift. I'm so happy for you in your life right now. We've been friends for almost a decade now, and you are as important a part of my life as any of my "skin" family. :-)

Intense Guy said...

Merry Christmas to you and yours (the cute grands!)

:) Surely "they" can send someone other than Mary?

Krisha said...

Merry Christmas Rita! Thank you for the beautiful Christmas card.
Definitely time to part with Mary, wish we lived closer, I would love to come for a short cup of coffee and maybe some craft time.
I love my family and friends, but there are times I would like to have them leave a little earlier than they do.....LOL! I really don't mind being alone either, even though I still have DH here off and on through the day.......sometimes I wish he had normal working hours. Not sure how I will handle him when he retires.....LOL!
Adore the photo of the little handsome!

Divers and Sundry said...

What an adorable photo!

Your visitor seems a bit scatterbrained. Or careless. Or maybe she's doing this for reasons of her own and isn't considering you at all. I wouldn't hesitate to explain that it wasn't the program itself but this visitor even after opting out of the program entirely. You can't tell me she's disinterested/forgetful/careless only with you. I'd think they'd be helped by knowing.... Of course, if you're like me you'd find telling them that quite stressful ;)

I'm so happy to hear about Annie's growing confidence.

SNOW?!!! Watching a birdfeeder in the snow is great fun :) We've got rain and temps in the low to mid-60sF lol

Joyce F said...

Great picture of the boys.

Mary didn't sound like much fun. I would have been stressed too. I so relate to your comment "My social life is more on paper these days" and I'm quite content with that (most of the time anyway!)

No snow here down south in KS. Gray day after gray day - wish the sun would shine! Colder today too. Birds are flocking to the feeders. It's fun to watch them as you and Annie know. Merry Christmas!

GrandmaG said...

Never been a Celine fan, but that quote fits me exactly! I'm friendly and social when I'm out. But just as happy (probably happier) home alone. I always chuckle when I hear things like "it was a gathering of their 500 closest friends." Seriously!?! Who honestly has that many "close" friends or even acquaintances? For me a truly close friend is a significant time and attention commitment. So I choose them carefully. Merry Christmas to my one-and-only Fargo friend :)

Carol said...

I can so relate to the "Hermit" lifestyle. I keep saying I'm going to quite working my little 12 hr a week job and stay home... my daughter freaks out and worries about me never leaving the house. I reassure her that I will have to out to pick up groceries... I don't tell her I order them on line and pay for them... all I have to do is drive up and tell them I'm in the parking lot and they bring them to the car. LOL!!! I do get out and go into the craft store and the yarn shop though. At least for now.
The boys are adorable in their photo ♥
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Bless New Year

Jenny Woolf said...

Sounds like you have learned something about yourself too, Rita, realising that no company can be a whole lot nicer than company you don't want! LOL! Definitely the right thing to say goodbye to Mary. Annie on the other hand seems to be well and truly settling in.! I thought she would. I remembered my sister in law's cat, a stray, who was so suspicious at first. Now, she's the most loving cat imaginable.

Rosie said...

It seems you have made the right decision especially when your health is affected. I have an auto-immune disease and stress affects me so it is best to live your life the way you want. It is nice to have company sometimes but it is not always the right time. Hope you have a health and happy Christmas.

Serena Lewis said...

A lovely photo of Ian and Liam!

Mary does not sound like a good match at all especially if your IBS and/or Fibro flares up after her visits. I would have suggested opting out of the program. She doesn't check her text messages? Especially when she is in the program? That's just nuts!

I love to hear the latest with Annie's progression. Awesome that she is on your bed now. It seems that cats are thinkers and like to weigh up their options. haha

As long as I had my blog and occasional visits from the kids, I think I could easily be a hermit too. Growing up intensely shy helped me feel comfortable with just my own company. I've always been a bit of a loner although I do love furry or feathered companions. We are kindred spirits, my friend.

OH, that snow looks heavenly! We are trying to cope with very hot and humid days right now. No air-con...tomorrow is Christmas Day and it's forecast to be even hotter with possible thunderstorms. Not looking forward to making a hot vegan roast lunch for me and the kids.

Perfect quote selection...I can identify with them especially the first two.

Wishing you and your lovely family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Love and hugs xo

pearshapedcrafting said...

Oh My! What a fabulous photo - Ina looks so proud of his little brother! I think you are right to stop Mary visiting - there are other ways to stop you feeling isolated - should you ever!!! Love your news about Annie too - she is becoming a true companion! Very late here so I must get to bed!! Just in case I don't 'see' you before - have a wonderful Christmas! Hugs, Chrisxx

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

I think many people become more hermit like the older they get, going out seems too much work so they prefer to stay home.

Children bring so much joy to Christmas.

Mary may be a nice person but she seems a bit of a scatter brain and not such a good match for you

Far Side of Fifty said...

Sounds like Mary is history! Probably just as well if you were getting sick from her should have been fun for you! Nice photo of your Grands...what fun they will have this Christmas! Merry Christmas! You must be a cat whisperer to get shy Annie to come out of her shell:)

TammyVitale said...

What a lovely photo of your grands! That's a keeper for the fridge for sure!

Interesting about your "companion" - She probably had good intentions but maybe she's a better match for someone else or maybe she needs to rethink her commnitment! I think you made a very wise decision. And yes, you can be a chatty introvert. I"m an introvert - not too far out on the scale but I do refresh best by myself. And enjoy chatting when *I* arrange it. :) no drop bys. Not that anyone does anymore. Still, I like to be in control, as in "tonight I don't think I"ll go to that meeting. Just not in the mood" ;) I think your body did a great job of telling you how you feel about the whole thing!

I love the grouse "holes" - I had no idea. The feral cats are using the straw bale home I made for them - they snug behind it between the house and the fence, under the plastic and the matriarch seems to have claimed the whole inerior space those when it get cold I can't imagine she will not want company (speaking of company). It has plenty of space for cats to snug together.

Wishing you a very merry day and coming year!

Lady Fi said...

I really really hope you start feeling better soon.

Sounds as if you should ask Mary not to come around any more... Maybe ask for a new companion?

All the best - big hugs!

Feral Turtle said...

Merry Christmas Rita. Thank you for the lovely card. What a surprise! You are definitely one talented lady!!!
Love the pic of McFamily....ADORABLE.
Poor Mary sounds like she has the start of dementia. Definitely opt out. Nothing should ever bring you stress. Aren't most of us bloggers a bit
I hope you have a wonderful New Years my friend. Cheers.

Joy@aVintageGreen said...

Hi Rita, good to meet you today - and then I started reading backward through your posts and then went to the beginning and started from your first post - you are an amazing recorder and writer. I am almost finished June 2006, followed and added your blog to my blog list so I can carry on reading. I found your blog through Far Side (another great writer).

Jenny Woolf said...

I hope you had a good Christmas Rita, and that 2018 is good to you. Happy new Year!

Harvest Moon by Hand said...

That's an adorable photo of Ian and Liam. That sounds like a stressful situation with Mary. May be worth exploring ending the visits if it is affecting your health. You've had a lot of outdoor visitors!

Becca said...

I seem to be making my way backwards through your blog, but Mary sounds like a piece of work. She needs to get it together before she can be someone's companion!

Joy@aVintageGreen said...

Hi Rita - I finished reading the book of your life since June 6, 2006 to now. You are such a good writer and you have kindness throughout your writing as well as being clearly description and 'telling it like it is' each post. You have the best Son and Daughter-in-Law and now wonderful grandsons. Hugs and Love.