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July, 2010: 17 20 21 30

7/17/10-Sat.-It has been a hectic but generally productive time since I returned from vacation last month. Have continued with my Alanon Step 4 workbook responses and now am close to completing them and moving on into Step 5. Have also, of course, been keeping in touch with several Alanon contacts, including my sponsors, and going to both Newcomers and Men's Group meetings most every week.

Fran's and my good friend, Glenda, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer late last December, died early on 6/18. Quite sad over this, but the memorial service, on 6/24, was moving and healing. Fran and I also took her husband, Matt, out on 7/2 to a favorite Indian restaurant for lunch, in honor of his upcoming birthday. He seems to be coping well, if in his usually driven way, packing in all the tango activities he can over the next several weeks and months.

Frances, as usual, has been keeping extremely, yet rewardingly busy with both music gigs and her nature hobby involvements.

We enjoyed a low-key 25th anniversary recognition, on 6/22, a more modest celebration than the Alaska trip I had had in mind, but probably one blending better with our lifestyles and personalities. Chances are we shall have several more no-fanfare anniversary acknowledgements in the years ahead.

Fran got me, in honor of our Silver Anniversary, a nifty, very cool wi-fi capable little lap-top, for use on trips like I had just gone on, the lack of which then meant several inconvenient stops at libraries, etc., while away, to be able to go online and send/receive e-mails. I was initially put off when I learned she intended to use it on her separate trips too, thinking it was not really a present for me, but a third lap-top toy for her (for she has gotten, and for various purposes still uses, two others, before I've had one), or like a new refrigerator "gift," something we'd both use, and so not truly a present for me.

I needed to reframe it, though, to see its true value and appreciate it as I do now: it is a means of enhancing our mutual communication when we shall inevitable have such times apart, and that's a rather neat way of noting our 25th Anniversary, indeed.

It will also enable stock trading while I am away, and chess playing, etc., all the usual internet operations I take for granted at home, a real upgrade, then, from my usual situation while on these long vacations!

Over the July 4th weekend, we took our terrified-of-fireworks pet, Puff, who usually here in Austin (with all its illegal explosions at that time of year) is a nervous wreck for about 48-72 hours, up for a visit with my mom in Waco, where in her upscale neighborhood such displays are a rarity and all had a relaxing time, except for the also visiting (with their parents) kids, Allen and Nina's children, who are not well disciplined. Yet, even after "scarfing" close to a pound of sneaked candy, they eventually wound down and quieted for the night. Allen is having quite a time of it. His wife is more child than adult, and he must, by default, be the sole grown-up in the household. It is more than anyone should have to cope with. He is often exasperated and remains perpetually sleep-deprived. He is nice guy, too nice it seems at times, but his stress tolerance is continuously being tested.

Fran and I have this week gotten another set of our monthly newsletters finished and published.

Now she is finishing off a checklist of tasks left to do before a three-week or so trip she will be taking to visit with her mom and then with her sister, Trudy, and her family (in WI). Trudy is celebrating her 50th birthday on 8/7. I had originally suggested Fran and I go up to see her sister and her family about that time. However, the feeling was her mom would be more likely to go if Fran went over to her place, in FL, and the two of them traveled up to WI together. That is how it has worked out. I figure Trudy probably cares more about her mom being there for the occasion than having my presence there then, and Frances definitely prefers a camping trip with her mom, to get the two of them up there, to another long driving and motels trip with me to the same destination we had reached late last December.

So, Fran will be leaving the day after tomorrow, and I shall be batching it for awhile.

I have begun physical therapy treatments for significant difficulty with my right shoulder. Apparently the ball of the joint is too far anterior in the socket. This increases the chance tissue will then be trapped between the ball and socket, causing painful inflammation and limiting ranges of motion. This has been happening. Bother.

Next week I have my first short shift with a new volunteer agency, BookSpring. Am not sure this will work out any better than my last foray into working with young people. They want me to serve in East Austin, out near the airport, quite a long drive and again with disadvantaged kids. Does not seem a match made in heaven. Their website had made it seem one could work in the libraries of elementary schools in one's neighborhood. Evidently not, though.

7/20/10-Tues.-Went for my initial meeting with the volunteer coordinator of the non-profit in which I am interested that distributes children's books to elementary school kids and reads to them. In the past few days, I was worried about this, of two minds about whether I was getting into something I would not enjoy at all, and so was wanting to maybe just tell the agency "never mind" before even finding out more about it. On the other hand, I thought I ought to really make a go of it, in case it might be something rewarding for me, more so than the last volunteer experience (after school with disadvantaged children). The lady with whom I met this morning was very nice and helped relieve my concerns. Nonetheless, the info I learned made me less eager to do the main volunteer work involved. I had, though, at least expected to be doing book processing today and for the next several weeks. However, she said they were now caught up on such admin type duties. Instead, what they have is a chance to work with elementary classes in the fall, reading a few pages to classes of them and encouraging them to pick out books for themselves, repeating this process about four times a day. There would be no chance to really relate with the youngsters or even see them again. It would be more like giving them a one-time sales pitch, with the sell being getting them to read. I am sure it is very worthwhile, but this is not for me. So, I am still looking into other options for my extra volunteer hours.

7/21/10-Wed.-Had another PT session this morning. I am not sure but may be making a little progress in getting my shoulder back to normal.

Am also winding down the last few pages of my Alanon Step 4 workbook. Should be finishing in the next week or two.

Have stopped at the Tres Amigos on Hwy. 360 for Tex-Mex vittles on the way home from the physical therapy treatment. Squirrels are eating the tortillas left for them outside the big windows on the west side of the dining room. One creature is missing most of its tail. Must have had a close encounter with another animal. His or her disability does not appear to be discouraging. It is as active as if completely able-bodied.

7/30/10-Fri.-Am on the way back to Austin from Waco and a visit with Mom (and my nephew who lives with her, Joel).

Mom and I also spent a couple hours with her lawyer. My main interest was in seeing to it that loans due Mom from her relatives (currently about $100,000) would be dealt with in the will as owed to her estate, if she should pass before they had all been paid back, such that amounts still owed could be deducted from the share of the estate otherwise due to her lendees who were also heirs. The attorney agreed with me that the will ought to make this type provision, and Mom agreed to the change as well.

The devil, as they say, is in the details. Even if the wording in the revised will facilitates obtaining the missing funds, the lawyer noted what I had foreseen years ago, that good, up-to-date records of the loans and their balances would be needed to assure an easy, practical transition once it comes time for an estate settlement.

Even when the lawyer was reinforcing the notion that it might be good to have someone else assisting her in keeping these records (which her several major deficiencies in the past have also highlighted), Mom was insisting that she be the one to control the loan records and did not need any help with that. The best she would agree to was keeping me (as the designated administrator of her finances - if she becomes incompetent - and her estate executor) informed of changes in the loans' situation. She has made such commitments in the past and to date has always fallen down on that job. As she is getting older, she is also getting not just less capable of managing her own important record keeping but also apparently the more defensive and territorial about it. Bother.

While we were in the meeting, Mom also asked that the alternate administrator of her finances now by not just my brother, Horace, as had been the case since the early 90s, but also Ernie, whom she had rejected for that capacity originally. In fact, she had not even asked Ernie if he wanted the position before ordering the rewrite. Horace, already chaffing that he is not the executor and first pick to be her administrator, instead of me, is sure to take offense at this revision. Since he knows I was going to be there with Mom, he will likely suspect I was behind, or at least part of, the decision to make the change. In fact, Mom did not confer with me about it at all. From my point of view, there is no reason to have Ernie named at this point, especially as it may alienate Horace, since, as the designated administrator, I could name whomever I want for that role if for any reason I do not wish to carry it out myself.

I am chairing the Alanon meeting tonight.

Later. Have now completed my Alanon Step 4. Yippee!

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