When I looked at my outdoor thermometer on Sunday, the needle registered ten degrees below zero, so I decided I did not want to leave my warm house and go to church. Then I wondered what I would do with this stay-at-home time.

I noticed a stack of letters, apparently half of them opened, and decided to read them. What a wonderful several hours I had reading them. Most enclosures were about family happenings that occurred through the past year. Two letters had been returned. Some told about living adjustments because of deaths in the family. So I'm busy updating my address book.

I noticed that some of my former friends who had lost their spouse in death are still alone, but they seem to be carrying on with the usual activities. Next year's message from them will perhaps show how they have handled their aloneness.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention some new additions to my wearing apparel. It gives one a lift you can't get any other way. I don't care how old you are, you still want to look up to date in your apparel. My family is aware of that, and I'm grateful for some new "duds." Now I will feel a little more with it.

I'm learning patience these days! When I had to let someone else be responsible for "kitchen detail," I didn't realize how I would be looking in vain in the cupboard of drawers where I just knew I had placed that lid or small pan or skillet. And now sometimes that small item gets taken out of circulation altogether. It is one of the changes I have to accept as I give up some of my household chores.

I never really liked to cook and didn't do much until I retired. The first five years of married life, I had a country girl who filled the bill nicely in the whole household.

I still laugh at my cooking abilities though. One of my serious boyfriends wanted to know what kind of cook I would be, but I failed that test with a pie baking chore.

It was only after my sons were born that I seriously worked and enjoyed the challenge of putting together acceptable and nutritious meals. I had to organize my kitchen and was satisfied that it should be orderly in the pots and pans cupboard too. And to learn to put the kettles, etc., back in their usual place.

I'm working on this problem, as I know I must share household duties with someone else. I may find something out of its original place but I'm learning to accept it might not be there when I get ready to use it.

I'm working on that, too, as I adjust to a different kind of life as a much older individual.

Harriette Leidich is a Banner columnist.