Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Favorite Book, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

It is only a few days in to 2017 and I am sure The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick will be on my favorite novels of the year list. Arthur is lonely and depressed after the death of his wife when he discovers a gold charm bracelet of hers which he did not give her and had not seen before. He gains a new passion for life as he searches through the help of the charms to find out more about his wife’s early life, and begins with a phone number which leads him to a man in India. He has an encounter with a huge tiger roaming on a rundown British estate, and I laughed out loud at the comic danger Arthur was in. He makes friends far and wide on his quest, from his nearby neighbor Bernadette to a woman who owns a dress shop in Paris. This is very upbeat, fulfilling and hopeful, and a needed antidote to hard times  at my home.
I am joining Rose City Reader for her Book Beginnings on Fridays posts.
Here is the beginning of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper:
"The Surprise in the Wardrobe." (Chapter one). Each day Arthur got out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m. just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. " Skipping ahead a few sentences, his kind neighbor brought him food, which he did not appreciate. The book continues "Last week he had found a sausage roll in his hallway, peeking out of its paper bag like a frightened animal."

Thursday, December 29, 2016

My new dog companion Bounce

My sons and I visited five times to three places to pick out an ideal dog companion for me, and we found him. In the shelter he bounced up and down, meaning "pick me, pick me." He still does that.
Above is a Christmas time photo of us, and below Bounce in a favorite spot, looking outside.

At the animal shelter they pulled two of his teeth and neutered him. He is a Chihuahua Terrier mix and was found as a stray and weighed only 7.8 pounds. After a month at my house he weighs 10.4 pounds which the veterinarian says is the ideal weight for him. She said he must have been skin and bones when they picked him up. He looks a lot like my childhood dog, Chili Rey of Martini, a Chihuahua.
He is very Bouncy now and deserving of his name. I love this little guy and so do my sons and he loves us right back. My cat is fine with him, thank goodness.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas to All

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16

Yes, friends, this is my first Christmas without my dear husband, Will, and our sons and I will spend Christmas together. Hug your loved ones please.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Create an easy-peasy Santa's Chair in December

Thank you friends for all your kind comments on my previous post about my dear husband Will.
Here is a post I wrote in advance so I am going ahead and posting it today.

Here is a useful and free idea for helping Christmas to be a relaxing holiday at your house. Can you tell from the photo that I took an armchair and put a Christmas theme blanket over it? Cathy Messecar wrote, in our Christmas book: "At the beginning of December, designate a chair in a quiet corner of your house as the "Santa Chair." Place a comfy afghan, throw pillow, or even a huge red bow on the chair back. Anytime someone in the family needs a break from conversation, household noises, or the hoopla, they can retire to the chair for a few quiet moments. Yes, moms and grandmas, this can be a ten-minute relaxation chair for the kiddos and for you - a time out to recover from the Christmas bustle, too." Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts: Stories to Warm Your Heart and Tips to Simplify Your Holiday." p. 105. And the chair will be a refuge for all including dads, grandpas, aunts and uncles and visiting neighbors.
This is the book we co-authored, by Trish Berg, Brenda Nixon, Karen Robbins, Leslie Wilson, Cathy Messecar and Terra Hangen.
Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Sad news about my husband Will

The worst day of my life was two weeks ago, when my beloved husband Will died unexpectedly.
Our sons and I are in shock, stunned and finding it hard to believe.
The above is a recent photo that shows him smiling and in our back yard.
Below is Will with one of his several mountain bikes.
Our sons stayed with me at our house 24/7 for two full weeks, and then returned to their homes and work. It was wonderful to see them treating each other and me so beautifully and tenderly.
They stayed busy at our house doing an amazing job of home improvements including buying a rug cleaner and cleaning the rugs, clearing out the back addition to our house, buying a big shop vacuum and cleaning and clearing the garage, buying and putting up new curtains in the living room, had our fireplace inspected so we can use it, bought me wood, bought me an Alexa Firestick and taught me how to use it (you talk to her and she plays what you want on tv) and so much more. Together we made 5 trips to 3 places for rescue dogs to find me a dog and we found a cute Chihuahua terrier mix at the animal shelter.
I will post more about Will soon, he was a super good husband, dad and very talented and creative.
Still, there is no way around it. We are heart broken. I am exhausted and sad, sad, sad. But Will and I had 45 years of marriage, so we were blessed in that. Please, hug your loved ones. I know you will.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Rudy Day and a Bible Christmas gift idea

Rudy Day is each month on the 25th and helps us get ready for Christmas.
This is the "ESV Daily Reading Bible: Through the Bible in a Year". I treated myself to a copy last Christmas and I find it very easy to read about 15 minutes a day in this Bible. At the end of one year you will have read the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice. Today I looked at and it is only $6.99.
No, I have no connection with that online store, but love that low price!
A wonderful Scottish pastor, Robert Murray M'Cheyne (1813-1843) created this reading plan. I was stunned to see he lived to be only 30 and yet left this lasting treasure.
I think this Bible would be a great Christmas gift to yourself or anyone on your gift list, and then they could start in reading on January first.
What gifts are you planning to buy?

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Retirement and finances, for those thinking about retiring

I notice when I write about retirement those are among my most read posts. So today I am inspired to write what you might like to read. This post touches on retirement and income and is aimed at people who have not retired yet. I live in the USA so that is the retirement info I know.
If you are already retired leave us a comment telling us how you are doing.
Many people worry that they won't have enough money once they retire.
That could be true if you are in the USA and will only have social security for retirement income. If you will also have a pension and/or investments likes a 401(K) or a 403(B) through your job you may be in good shape financially for retirement. For 30 years I worked at a place that has pensions and that pension is one reason I stayed there. Lots of enjoyment in my job and with my co-workers but some blood, sweat and tears too! I retired from full time work a few years ago. If you are still young you might want to consider working at places that offer pensions, cuz I notice we get old fast. Ha ha!

If you live in the USA one good thing is that when you retire you will no longer pay into social security, so that is hundreds of dollars each month you will not have taken out of your check. Plus you will not have hundreds taken out for Medicare and money taken out for unemployment / disability insurance (in California they take money out for that). Plus where I worked charges $60 a month for parking which of course I no longer pay. That cost was due to my work place being on top of a wooded hill surrounded by forest and grass lands and they built multi-story parking buildings to save the forests, the parking being expensive to construct.
All this is to say that you may have more money in retirement than you thought you would have.
If you will only have social security as income, I hope you are saving money as a nest egg. If your job allows you to put pretax money in to a 401 retirement account be sure to do that. Some employers match the money you put in to a 401 account, that is a great incentive to put in the maximum you can. If it is pretax, that means that 100 dollars put in your 401 account will not result in take home pay of 100 dollars less, but a smaller amount will be taken from your paycheck, perhaps 90 dollars. Even 20 dollars a month in a 401 plan adds up over time. When our children were young and finances were tight, we managed to put in even a small amount like 20 dollars a month.
Hope you like the happy photos of Kermit in the snow and people hiking.
This post is about USA retirement. I am interested in people who live in other countries and how retirement works in your countries. If you don't live in the USA I would love to hear how retirement finances are good or bad in your country.