Well, here it is, the day before Bird-Day. I will be heading to the Texas Hill Country on Thursday morning, having been invited by my good and supportive friends to spend some days with them. They are one couple who has NOT discouraged my contact or involvement. The wife knows that I am NOT after her husband, and I consider her to be my very closest friend here in Texas. And he is up there with her, in support and friendship. And they both like wine!
Last weekend: Friday evening, after my return from work, I was busy. Finally decided what I would bake for the church bazaar. This bazaar is always on the weekend before Thanksgiving, and there is a tea room as part of it all. You can buy a cup of coffee or tea and a single-serving of some nice baked products - for example, I saw a wonderful red velvet cake and also rosettes - and then eat that there. Also, church members bake and contribute goodies for sale to the public. So I made two 8 x 8 sized pans of triple-layer peanut butter brownies. But not just any brownies - I make these with the Ghiradelli brand brownies, and they are to die for. After the brownies cool, you make up one batch of instant vanilla pudding, using only half the milk usually called for. And you blend in a cup of peanut butter plus a cup of powdered milk with the pudding. Spread that on top of the cooled brownies (the peanut-butter pudding combo is enough for the 2 pans). Then melt 3 squares of semi-sweet baking chocolate with (approx) half of a container of Cool Whip (unthawed, to start with). Stir the Cool Whip and chocolate together, then spread thinly on top of the peanut-butter layer. Refrigerate until shortly before serving. Yummmm..... They put a price tag of $12 on each pan, and they both were sold before too long. So I feel like I at least contributed something to the church bazaar. I just couldn't bring myself to sign up for working at any of the areas where they needed help. Maybe next year - if I am still in Houston at that time.
Two of the women I met at the Widows group, came to the bazaar, too. We met, browsed and shopped, then went to lunch together. I had met these 2 the night of Greg's birthday, which was coincidentally another W/W meeting-dinner. A and E are fun, close to my age, and E brought her sister-in-law, who matched wits with us over lunch. Fun group to talk with and laugh with. We had (the widows) all, separately, come to the same conclusions about a few who are in the W/W group. And we may start to back away from that group and "do our own thing" in our portion of suburbs. The organizer of the group seems hell-bent on dragging her "boyfriend" (also widowed) with her to all the meetings now, kind of (IMHO and shared by the other two women) in a "look what I have and you don't" way. I am happy for her... BUT. It seems like such a juvenile approach, sort of an attempt at one-upsmanship. Maybe we are ALL wrong about this. And we all think the assistant organizer, B, is off-balance. His wife has been dead about 2 years, he can't forgive the guy who caused the traffic accident resulting in her death, and his 26-yr-old unemployed son lives at home with his dad and stays in his room. Weird. And I think he "likes" me - the others share that viewpoint too - and I try to say snippy little comebacks to him, to discourage him. I don't think that he "gets" that, either. If you saw the guy, you would realize that there is NO way in hell that he would be on my "dance card", so to speak.
We got to discussing cruises - these women have gone on several, me: none - and they said that if we all go, the 3rd person signing up goes for free. So we could split the cost of 2 tickets, by 3. Sounds like a good proposal. I am just hangin' back on this, to see if they decide to plan a cruise. I don't know: 3 middle-aged women on a cruise sounds like the plot for a sit-com. And I don't want to find a cabin steward as my "dream date", either!
Anyway, it was nice to have a week that didn't involve family occasions to bring sadness. There was another family death, but it was a cousin that I have never met (long family story behind that). Still, sad to lose another family member. I will probably send sympathy cards to some of his family. I am in touch with this cousin's surviving brother and sister-in-law, but have not met them, either. Meeting this couple IS in my plans, and I hope to do this soon after returning (permanently) to MN.
So... I am thankful for family and friends. And for (most) co-workers. I am thankful that I will receive a pension (for which I have not had to contribute one dime) and also social security, when the time comes. And I have faith (or maybe misplaced confidence) that my deferred compensation (457b plan) will come back in value, and I am still buying - buy low, they say - and I am grateful that I do NOT need this money right now. My biggest thanks goes to my late husband, who gave me years of laughter and love and companionship. I miss him terribly, but each day gets a little easier. I'll just have to remember what your hugs were like, babe.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!