Sunday, May 27, 2018

Decades Ago, Horses, Camping, Bedouin Camel Races

My sister and I riding horses, in 1955 or thereabouts. I adored horses, didn't most young girls? When I rode at the local riding stable the guide there was a young guy named Shorty, who rode his own horse. I was shocked to learn one day that Shorty sold his horse and bought a motorcycle. Things change.
My mom and dad loading up the family car for our annual camping trip. I love that family car, quite classy. My sister and I grew close to nature on those trips.
I saw camel races by Bedouins outside of Jericho, Jordan, during Easter week in 1966. I was attending college that year in Istanbul and my friend Carol and I traveled to Jerusalem, Jericho. Petra and Beirut at Easter.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Being a Widow and What I've Been Up To

 You know I post on different subjects, and don't want to bore non-widows with too much widow stuff, but it is part of my life now, and quite a few of my blog friends are in this same boat. We don't like to think of it but every loving marriage ends with a loved one as a widow or widower. This week when a lady said she wants to be more kind to her husband, I reminded her of that fact. She says yes, she thinks of me when she starts to say a harsh word to him.
Above photo is of my husband and a favorite mountain bike. He loved bicycling in nature on wild paths.
I have been a widow since November 2016 and I realize I am not the same Terra as I was the day before my husband Will died.
Much of me and much of my life has changed forever. Much of this change is unpleasant for me and there are a few good points too. Here is a lamp I bought with its beautiful colors.

I think many widows and widowers will agree that when you lose a long time spouse everything changes. You eat breakfast in a different way and sleep a different way. When you want to share some little thing, like a funny line from a book, your partner is missing.
In the first year I felt I was missing an arm, a leg, half of my brain and half of my heart. A friend whose husband of 40 years recently moved out and is filing for divorce says she feels the same way. It is about losing someone we love, someone who was part of our every day life for decades. People talk about the "widow fog" and I sure felt it. Now I am recovering but the new Terra is not the old Terra.
In Bible study recently with 14 women I realized 10 of them had not known me "before". So they never knew the old Terra before I was broken and began to slowly rebuild. A few precious friends knew the old and the new me.
I recommend Griefshare, just do an online search and there will likely be a group in your area. You do not need to say anything or you can share and my healing was helped by attending.
My house is so quiet now, which is kind of nice, yet kind of sad and lonely. I trained myself to say "my house" when for 34 years it has been "our house." And I at the same time love being alone to set my own pace to eat, read, watch TV, etc. That is relaxing. I do NOT want a roommate. There is a luxury to living alone.

I am redecorating my house. Painters came in and painted the long hall way and the kitchen, including the ceilings. They cleaned the walls before painting and fixed a few spots that needed putty, etc. I treated myself and bought a leather recliner (see photo above. Can you see the dulcimer that my husband Will made for me?). The chair is very comfortable and swivels which is a great feature, plus it rocks. The new recliner is from a local company that sells green earth friendly materials and it is all made in the USA.You can go ahead and laugh but I chose the color tan to coordinate with my tan dog. The dog hairs don't show.
My friend who was widowed when I was is freshening up her house too and we talk of it as steps in healing.
I am still wearing my wedding and engagement rings as I still feel married to Will. 
Aren't friends essential? Do you like having coffee with a friend? I meet friends at a coffee shop or at one of our homes once a week or so. Those chats range from light hearted to deep discussions and are fun.

Don't forget my little Bounce who gets me out of the house twice a day for walks, rain or shine. Here in California it is mostly shine.

If you have a partner give them lots of affection and attention while you can.
Word to the wise.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Four books (now seven) arrived at my house

Four new books have arrived at my house recently. The first one I bought at the little book store of used books in our public library. The pretty cover attracted me and the theme of friends in their 60s who move to Fiji made the sale, as they say.
The second one I borrowed from the library and it is the second in the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt detective novels set in Victorian London. I am happy to have found this series and read the first one. The Victorian setting and customs are very accurate which adds to the charm.
I bought the third one "Driving Miss Norma" which is the true story of a lady who when he doctor prescribes intensive cancer treatment for her, tells him "I'm ninety years old and I'm hitting the road" as she travels across the USA in an RV with her son, daughter in law and poodle.
The 4th is special because a blog friend, Diane, mailed it to me as a surprise for my birthday in April.  "The Underground Railroad" is a Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Colson Whitehead and I began reading it yesterday and it is very compelling and brutal and hard to stop reading. In my college years my best friend and I formed a campus group to work for equal rights for African Americans so the topic is meaningful to me.
After I wrote this post, but before publishing it three more books came to my house. A friend had a car trunk full of books she gave away and I am pleased I chose only one, telling her "I am a bookaholic and am limiting myself to one." She said the book I chose, Knowing God, is excellent.

This next one "Writing Hard Stories" has chapters by people who wrote memoirs of getting through hard times, and which I found at a Little Free Library while walking Bounce. Abigail Thomas is in this book and I love her books and have written about them on my blog.
And finally another book I found at a different Little Free Library. Some reviewers said they cried a lot when reading this book about a dog that is ill so I am approaching with caution. The cover and title are so cute and the price was right, it was free. Remember, I have NOT read any of these books, so am not recommending, just showing you some new arrivals at my house.

What books have appeared in your reading life recently?

Saturday, April 21, 2018

My replica of George Washington's Inaugural Sword

George Washington appeared on the balcony of the Federal Building wearing a brown suit and wearing his inaugural sword. At six feet three inches tall he made an impressive figure when the average man was five feet six. His speech showed his modesty as he said he had retired to his farm and had hoped to stay retired.
I have one of 1,000 full size replica copies made in 1974 of his inaugural sword that I inherited from my dad, plus the matching ceremonial silver dagger. Actually these belong to my sons but the sword and dagger are still at my house. The sword is 34 inches in length, made in London, and has a sterling silver hilt and is an exact replica and it could, as the paperwork says "if necessary, be used advantageously in combat." My copy is a strong metal sword made in the traditional way by the Wilkinson Company. The original sword was presented by Washington to his nephew and remained in the family until 1889, when it was obtained by the Washington Association of New Jersey. The original is on display at Washington's Headquarters in Morristown, New Jersey where he spent the winter of 1779.
Here is a description of events at the inauguration of our first President: "George Washington even stooped over and kissed the Bible when he was sworn in as President. Then he led everyone present across the street (in New York City, our capital in 1789) where they participated in a two hour prayer service at St. Paul's Chapel, which still stands a block away from where the World Trade Center stood." From "The Book that Made America" by Jerry Newcombe.
What a handsome and meaningful sword and the detail on it is amazing which makes it a work of art in my view. The same company that made the original sword made this replica, and  that company was founded in 1772. Hurray for Wilkinson Company of Great Britain, and thanks to my dad for passing the sword and dagger along to me, and eventually to my sons whenever they want them.

Friday, April 13, 2018

This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance, book I enjoyed

I found this book by serendipity recently and was very pleased to read it. I love books with senior citizen main characters, in this one Harriet is seventy eight.
Here is my review:

Harriet Chance is a lady I cared about; 78 years old, recent widow, difficult relationships with her son and daughter, and a rather brave gal. There is plenty of humor in this book, and Harriet faces difficult times after the death of her husband a year earlier. She did not have an easy life, starting when she was a baby. The novel moves between Harriet at different ages in an easy to follow way. Will Harriet go on the cruise, deal with some shocking and unpleasant news about her husband, smooth out her rocky relationships with her adult children, be able to keep her home? And what about her dead husband who keeps reappearing and chats with her? I recommend this book with its light hearted yet serious look at aging and its main character, Harriet.
Today it is only $1.20 on Amazon for the Kindle and $9.00 for the paperback. Be alerted that though there is humor here, there are dark things happening. Not everything gets resolved in a pretty happy ending. I don't want to give away any plot turns or the ending so will say no more.
Evison also wrote "The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving" which is now a movie "The Fundamentals of Caring." Again, many dark things in that book and movie but I aim to read the Caregiving book and see the movie.Update: on April 17 Evison's "The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving" was $1.20 as a Kindle, so I bought it.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Shaping Up: My Kitchen

My yard is shaping up this year. My home is shaping up too. Am I shaping up? Ha ha. That is for others to say.
Above is a photo of six counter top stone samples for my kitchen counters. I like them all. Two are grey/white which will go well with my stainless steel kitchen appliances, the others are brown/tan which will go well with my cabinets. Next step is to choose one. They are from an environmentally friendly company. The new counter will be one solid piece, not little squares, these are just samples. The samples are on my old counter which is mainly white and as old as the house, sixty five years old. Time for a change I say.
Below is a terrifically exciting photo of my new off-white walls. That "exciting photo" is a joke friends. Oh dear, in contrast with my white orchids the wall looks grey. Trust me, the walls are white and make my rooms look more spacious.

Painters came in and painted my kitchen and twenty foot long hall way. The first half day they washed the walls and ceilings,  applied putty as needed and painted trim. The next day they spent eight hours painting. The color is off-white. It doesn't look very eye catching in photos but trust me, it is an improvement. Plus before they worked I took everything off the walls and am keeping most of the things off the walls, a visual de-cluttering which I like.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Easter Sunrise Service at the Ocean

It is foggy and of course dark at this sunrise service on Easter and many people gathered to hear the sermon and worship and I was happy that many strangers came too, some of whom I am sure were just walking along the cliff when they saw us.