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Yesterday the introverted thinker and I went water skiing. On Mount Baker. It rained the whole time. Cold! And the introverted thinker's knee hurt. We bagged it once I had ice puddles in my ski boots and could squeeze a stream out of my ski gloves.

On the very first lift ride, I realized that my wrist pocket was unzipped. Cash was still in there but the car key wasn't. We skied down and I checked each place I'd been. No key. We got back on the lift and watched. There were a lot of small black specks. We discussed how much fun it would be to wait for AAA on the top of the mountain.

We skied down, going very slowly right under the lift.

FOUND IT!

Whew. After that neither of us whined. We skied until we were soaked. Her knee was being uncooperative and she was skiing warily. I couldn't wear goggles because then my glasses fogged too much. Neither of us could see much through the rain. We went up a higher lift and then it was heavy wet slushy snowing. Then we really couldn't see. Both nearly crashed skiing by proprioception, when a dip was invisible. I stopped at a sign and then fell backwards, visual cues just weren't working for balance. Unhurt.

We turned in the skis and ate a late lunch. Happily used the car key to get dry clothes. Changed and drove back to Bellingham. We had a fabulous dinner looking out over the bay with a wonderful sunset.

Blessings all.

I have no idea where to start so I will begin in the middle of my day. Once again, it was Happy Birthday to me. I wasn't feeling well, I didn't go to church, a friend of mine and his girlfriend came over to help me bring my new TV inside, and I threw on clothes to see them, but once they were gone I slopped around in my comfy clothes. An aunt of mine sent me a text asking me to call her, but I didn't feel like talking to her at the time so I ignored her. Then I felt terrible. What kind of a person am I turning into that I've become so selfish and unwilling to do things for others? But I know the answer, people have controlled me and I resent it. Being asked to call felt like a form of control so I resisted it. I laid down thinking that if I didn't actually sleep I could get some rest. I must have fallen asleep at some point because I woke up to my phone ringing.

Another aunt of mine is visiting New Zealand. She has always had the travel bug, and I am happy for them. Sometimes I wish I understood why I have no real desire to travel, but I know it is just because I am so tired I can't imagine dealing with all of the things that traveling brings. A friend of mine from California who is an Angels fan reached out and asked how I was doing. We chatted for a while until I said I wanted to get to the art studio so I could work on my painting, but by the time I arrived, it was closing for the day. Without a destination in mind, I headed east. I tried calling my mom, but she didn't answer, and I hate leaving voicemails because so few people actually listen to them so I kept driving. Eventually I decided to try calling my step dad. He said that my mother had gone into work, and I should try her there.

She answered right away, and was glad to hear that I was blocks away. I had a lot of anxiety as I parked my car in one of the new parking spots across the street, but I told myself that I could leave at any time. Because my mom is the responsible type she and another woman were there printing out W-2 forms for the company. My mom was happy to see me, but she was in the middle of a project, and then I felt bad I had dropped by when she was busy, however my mom is always busy. That probably sounds like an exaggeration, and it kind of is, but it also is largely true. I have a hard time sitting still and really concentrating on what others are saying, and I come by that honestly. By the time the tax forms had been printed she had discovered a $225 mistake, and the woman she works with had isolated which batch needed reworking.

My mom asked if she could take me out to eat, she does this even though I have told her numerous times that I do not care to go out at all. I could feel myself getting annoyed with her so I was planning on leaving, but she was angling for more time, and I was thinking that it really hadn't been quality time spent with her since she had been working while I was knitting - she fixed my knitting for me so I am back to that again, and it was a huge relief to have my mom redo whatever I had accidentally done. She tries to show me things, but I keep telling her that the way she explains things is not the way I learn, and I did observe her, but since we knit with opposite dominant hands, it doesn't translate well. My mom can do her own patterns and pulls apart anything that isn't perfect. I never count, I just knit. I'm not even making anything, and I know that bothers her too.

I agree to go to her house with some trepidation, but it's been a while since we played Scrabble, so long that I can't even remember our last game, only that it was a tense and unhappy affair. She wanted to put the board on this crate, I objected, and thankfully she listened. I could just see her trying to knit while she's playing Scrabble, that's the kind of thing that seriously annoys me, and to be very fair to her, she was able to give me most of her undivided attention during the game. As a result we had a lot of fun, I was on my phone some, looking up words, but also taking some screen shots and posting updates to social media because I want those memories to stay there, and I needed my friends around if anything suddenly went south during the game.

When I had said a quick game, I forgot that my mom and I both deliberate about our moves. As a result the game took a lot longer than it could have. I don't really mind since the goal had been to spend time together. It's funny, this was a reflection I had during the game, we're so opposite in so many ways. My mom and I are both fiercely competitive, we can be empathetic, but apparently we are competitive in areas where the other is empathetic and I wonder if that's why we often have trouble getting along. My mom has very little head for strategy, I told her that she could learn how to play the way that I do, she looks for ways to open up the board, I play a much tighter game, she likes the idea of creating better plays, and there were several times when I flat out told her she needed to find a better move because I knew she had one.

My mom doesn't like putting a letter or two down even if the move is efficient and strategic. To me the game is math and geometry more than actual language, when she asked why I didn't play online anymore, I didn't have a great answer for her. One site was shut down, I remember the Words With Friends app being buggy, one day I just stopped and there probably isn't really much more to it than that. The game dragged on and I told her we needed a timer. She told me that would be dreadful, but I reminded her that constraints forced creativity. When I played online we had a two minute timer. The look she gave me when I shared that piece of information was funny, and I thought there was a touch of situational irony coming from the woman who times herself doing everything. This is probably one of the reasons I resist it myself, but I also really don't care about the passage of time the way that she does.

It bugs me that my mom doesn't think she's that great at Scrabble. I did end up beating her, she let me put down the Q after she ran out of tiles, but even so I would have won. Then she said that not only had I won, a considerable number of her points had come from me. I don't mind helping my opponent that way, I like that kind of a challenge. I want to feel like I won, maybe it's like sex. When you have someone who isn't very good you can reach the finish line quicker, but you don't have nearly as much of a challenge as you do when you get someone who takes you right up to the tape without crossing over it until you are positive that they're never going to let you actually implode. My mom doesn't care about keeping score, we didn't have to, but I thought we should so we did. She's way better at math, but she did something that goofed up my score, and I'm not sure we ever did satisfactorily figure out what went wrong where.

I made her go back through every move, this is another area where our brains work differently. I can go back through the board and remember who made which move, and in which order. I may have gotten one or two wrong, but she was really off and had more trouble recalling the sequence that went RAY - GRAY - GRAYS. She's better when it comes to adding up the scores unless there are multiple words in layers, then she has trouble figuring out which words need to be counted. I played a W on a double letter spot, she did well with that the first time, but then wasn't sure if it should count again for the second word which I thought should be more obvious. By that time it was late and we were both tired. She offered to put the game on hold, but I was determined to finish, that's another funny point too, because normally she's addicted to closure, and I'm more lax about things like that.

Probably the two best points of the evening were her giving me my birthday money on the spot. I really appreciated that. I don't need a card, if all you're going to do is sign it, you can keep it. I like it when people write meaningful things to me, signing your name seems like a cop out unless the card says what you need it to, then I'm okay with it. I like blank cards and personalized messages, however I rarely send them, so maybe it is nicer to get a card that is just signed, and this is me being peculiar. My point is that I didn't feel cheated because she had the money, but no card. I showed up out of the blue so it isn't a very realistic expectation to have her carrying around a card and cash in case I decided to appear at her office on my birthday. The other time where she was cool was when I told her I bought myself a TV. I was prepared for a lecture on my finances, to her credit I don't think she did more than blink twice, probably because it was so unexpected.

One of my 2019 goals is better relationships with people in my family. I know my mom loves me. I love her too. We are just very different people. We value different things, we have different hobbies, our minds work in ways that seem foreign to the other person, and we're both strong willed, and like to get our way. I can't remember if I wrote about the bids for connection article, but if not, my mind keeps going back to that. How when someone says or does something, it can seem like a toss away comment or small gesture, until it is shot down, or they feel as if their attempt at reaching you was rejected. It was among the better articles on communication I've read this past year, and I hope I can find it again so I can go back to it as I think it would really help me. I'm proud of myself for buying a TV even though that was scary, and I'm super proud of my mom for letting that comment slide without saying anything negative because I could sense she was holding that commentary back.

Tomorrow is a short day at work, then I have a day off again which is awesome because even though I love my job for the most part, and have great fun with the majority of the people, it is still work, and I still need to do the things I didn't do today because I do almost nothing I don't want to on my birthday. I have a new idea for an opening scene and I'm excited about that. It's been a while since I wrote any fiction. Work has been busier, and I've been doing more of other things. I know I will go back to it, for some reason I have been resisting, and I wonder if it was just because I was stuck and needed this new inspiration. I have a new idea for a painting too, and that's driving me back toward the art studio. Maybe 2019 will be the year where I get better at planning out when I am going to do what. This has nothing to do with that, but I have a weird red spot on my ear that really hurts, it almost looks like I burned it, but I can't imagine what I would have had near my ear that would have made it hot and raw like that. Heading to bed soon, praying I am able to sleep soundly and without interruption.

Xoxo,

J

P.S. This was a birthday for the books. Best one ever and I feel really good about the upcoming year as well.

j

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