My Novels

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Friday....THE Big Day!

If everything goes according to my renter's plans, she'll be handing me the keys to my house around noon Friday. This will only be the second time I've been in there since DH and I moved out nearly three years ago. I biked past there earlier, and felt expectant, not really anxious. I always loved living there, and DH and I were happy in that house for 28 years. Though we weathered the usual ups and downs, there were no awful tragedies, like what happened at the farm. It will be interesting to see how I feel as I walk through the empty house for the first time, yet I may be so focused on what needs cleaning/updating, I might forget the emotional impact. I'll know soon though.

Today I spent several hours printing out the rental application/information, and will put the "For Rent" sign up Friday in the yard, with a few applications attached in plastic. I also need to get the gas/power transferred to my name, until I find a renter.

And now...for something I was hestitant about posting here. But what the heck...

Saturday night I met a very nice man with whom I'd gotten acquainted via the internet. He lives just across the county line on a 40 acre farm, we had some things in common, he's same age, so we met for coffee (yes, in a public place in my town). He was extremely well-mannered, polite, soft-spoken, easy on the eyes AND even opened doors for me. Been a loooong time since a man did that for me! Will we meet again? I don't know. He was very compassionate about DH, listened while I talked and talked about him...and I found that wonderful. I was afraid he'd think my unending praise of DH to be a bore, but quite the contrary, he could understand -- his wife was killed in a car accident years ago. It's really up to me, whether we see each other again...and I haven't made a decision yet.

Now, as I've written previously, I WILL NEVER marry again. Nor will I live with a man, or have one living with me. But if I learned one thing from DH's sudden death, no one is promised tomorrow. Time is fleeting, and we do not have unlimited, endless days, years in which to sit around and bemoan our fate. I want companionship, and since I really have no close girlfriends (and yes, my family has been wonderful but they do have their own lives too) would be pleasant to enjoy a Sunday afternoon drive, or a good movie, or dinner with a gentleman friend now and then. I only dated two boys before I married DH at the age of 19, and in some ways, that was a mistake. I've been granted a chance to meet interesting people now, on my own terms, and that is ALL I'm planning to do -- have a few male friends whose company I enjoy.

Additionally, as soon as I get the renter house ready and rented, I plan to start looking for employment, even if part-time. It will get me out of the house, and help pay the exorbitant Cobra medical insurance.

I'm still writing the memoir, and it is coming along...but oh-so-slowly. Like pulling teeth at times, not the happiest topic I've ever engaged!

Tomorrow my sister and brother-in-law will be here; he is supposed to pressure-wash the vinyl on my brick house, and mow the yard. This past weekend we had severe storms and gully-washer rains...the grass has grown a lot. The autumn weather is here now, and I LOVE the cool, fresh breeze, letting it sweep through my open windows every day and night.

Now I'm heading for a shower and then some TV viewing -- if there's anything on tonight.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Long delay in posting

But I DO have reasons: I've been a painting fool lately. Our weather has been so nice, I had no excuse to put off some painting.

I have a small storage building out back, and though it has some leaks, the rusted spots on the outside made it an eyesore. Ergo, I painted it with tile red oil-based paint I had left over from the red barn at our farm. That was a two-day job, done entirely by brush! Whew! It looks GREAT though, and I'll try to get some pictures soon.

The cool breeze meant I could also open my windows/doors and finally paint the exterior doors on the back and front of my house. That was another two-day job, two coats, done with a brush. I painted the doors a dark grey, and will also paint the shutters the same shade -- which matches the dark grey roof and some darkish bricks on the house. Then I plan to have grey seamless gutters all across the front of the house (which is needed for drainage problems) and that should give the exterior an entire MAKE-OVER! Will have pictures when it's all done.

Unfortunately it turned warmer today, humid, and uncomfortable outside. I did some errands/shopping in town, and hope to just stay indoors this weekend since we're supposed to get rain, whoopee! My memoir is coming along, but still slow-going.

Cats are well. Family is fine. What else is there to say? Life goes and goes...until one day, it's all over. Till then, we just keep on keeping on...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Best EVER bike ride!

We had a looong day of much-needed rain today, downpours which continued until around 6 o'clock. I had to drive to a my G.P.'s office for my regular six-month checkup in a drenching white-out -- since I found a great female doctor near the small town where we owned the farm. She is so understanding though, that I want to continue seeing her as my primary physician. Everything is fine, my health seems good, and in mid-October I'll have a blood test done just to make sure there's no problems.

At any rate, though I like the doctor, I've realized I HATE going anywhere near that farm; it is SO depressing, because I keep having flashbacks of the frantic middle-of-the-night trips taking DH to the ER and how scared we both were. That place has bad 'ju-ju', so far as I'm concerned.

When I got home, I did a few household chores, talked to my sister on the phone, ate a bite for supper...and then, since the rain had almost stopped, I took off on my bike. My FAVORITE time to ride is when it's cool and a fine mist is falling; PERFECT! And that is exactly how it was this afternoon...ideal. The droplets of mist hit my hat, keeping the moisture off my face, and the cool misty air prevented me even working up a sweat. I LOVE that kind of ride, but it seldom happens!

Got to go now, get busy on my memoir. My doctor asked me today if I'd been able to write (she knows I'm a writer) and I told her about the memoir. She thinks it is great I'm writing again, and the last thing she said when I left was, "I want to read that book when you're finished." that a great doctor, or what?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Are you a nerd?

Here's my results of a test to determine how "nerdy" I am:

I am nerdier than 76% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

About 9/11

Let me just say, as a fairly recent widow, that I think there is entirely TOO MUCH coverage EVERY year about 9/ll. I'm having enough trouble adjusting to the death/loss of my husband, but at least I don't have to watch a "new version" of his death every year on TV. For God's sake, how many, many more versions can there be of that awful day? Give it a rest, I say.

How much of it is politically motivated? MOST of it, I think. Whipping up a Bush supporter base because the elections in November are important to those morons who think the Repugs have fought terrorism successfully. Smoke and mirrors will help cover up the fact that there was NO REASON to overthrow Sadddam in Iraq, of what a horrifying MESS that is, and will remain, for years.

Oh yeah, and about those falling gas prices -- I'm sure it has nothing to do with the upcoming elections in November! (sarcasm)

My life goes on, and I'm still writing the memoir. I'm into Chapter Four, but it's still slow-going. I just read a heart-wrenching memoir (always read/study similar material to what I'm writing) titled, "The Glass House." A must-read for anyone who came from an impoverished, neglectful childhood.

Enough ranting. It's in the wee hours of the morning, and I'm about to finally shut off this laptop and go to sleep.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Fun Labor Day

I had a fun day Monday with family. Lots of laughter, talking, EATING! I ate too much, and if I don't watch myself, I'll have to endure the dreadful "cabbage soup" diet again soon.

Here's a photo of me and my nephew's daughter, Sarah. She is only a child, but stuck by my side, giving me tips on not drowning in the pool. I can't swim, hence the life-jacket. Pitiful, but I had fun anyhow and DID get in the pool!

The memoir is coming along; I'm on the last part of Chapter Three. Dredging up old childhood memories isn't all happy and light work, but I am handling it well. Still feel this IS the right time to get this down in writing.

Our weather is a bit cooler, even a hint of fall in the early mornings since overnight temps are in the 50s. Hope we get an early autumn. I'm able to go on my bike ride earlier, around six o'clock instead of seven.

With that, I'm otta here for now.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Brief Update

Finally, finally....finally I am writing daily again. Hurrah! I was afraid I'd never find my voice again, or be able to actually stick with a project. (Not counting the numerous entries at this journal, that is.) And while I'm not sure how long it will take to finish the memoir, it FEELS right, moving along almost effortlessly.

I usually spend part of my afternoon making notes, either from my memory or stuff my family remembers when I ask. Then I go on the bike ride by the old neighborhood, carefully observing everything -- surprisingly little has changed. I see little kids playing, and it's as if they are US, staring, yearning, hoping, wishing...making believe they aren't living in poverty.

Around ten, I get ready for bed, then sit down in my comfortable chair in my bedroom, and fire up the laptop and write, write, write. The memoir is taking shape -- each chapter has three parts, and moves time forward, as well as exploring various people, places, events, family trouble, dysfunctional neighbors on the block, etc. I have even located two of the children I grew up with there who are in prison for murder. I sure know how THAT could have happened, coming from abusive, violent, most often alcoholic homes.

I am not sure what I'll eventually do with the manuscript. One of my nephews, who is in college studying architecture, has taken an interest in creative writing. He is writing stories occasionally, and if he continues to show signs of the writerly affliction (as well as becoming an architect), I may leave ALL my past and future work to him. Some of it is already online, but I could still arrange for him to have CDs of my work to do with as he wishes in the future. Time will tell, I suppose. I've never had the great ambition necessary to pursue print publication, and don't see it developing at this late age.

Otherwise, life goes on smoothly here. I'm thinking of turning the rental house over to a real estate agency to manage for a small commission. They screen tenants, do credit/background checks, handle all the tenant/financial details...and I can deduct the fee at income tax time. I'll decide when my tenant is gone, at the end of September.

Our family has a get-together planned for Labor Day. A nearby sister and brother-in-law just had an above ground pool installed, and invited us to come there for a cook-out, and to enjoy the pool. I don't know if they can get me in the pool (I can't swim), it just depends on my mood that day! The only bad thing about family get-togethers these days is that it makes me miss DH more; it always seems he should be in the other room, or just out of sight, teasing the kids, wrestling with the teens, which they loved. Everyone misses him so much!

I haven't started on the novel about the past two years, but I am thinking of leaving that for November and NanoWrimo -- an online group who strive to write the rough draft of an entire novel during that month. Could be a fun challenge too.

As some of you know, I collect news articles about people who live past 100 -- and the enormous farce that we can "control" our lifespan by diet, etc. Yes, I DO believe in eating sensibly, exercising daily, avoiding being overweight (I've had bouts with anorexia)...but in truth, I have begun to wonder if we all aren't "destined" to die at a certain time. Fate, if you will, determines our lifespan. Or maybe Karma. Who knows? I do believe genetics play a large part in a few deadly diseases (such as what happened to my DH), but genes alone DO NOT determine longevity. I read an article about that recently too, and when identical twins were studied, it was found that one usually died a decade or more before the other. Genetically, they are as close to similar as you can get.

At any rate, here is another article with a curious situation of a man who lived past 100:

Man Lives to 112 Despite Junk-Food Diet

Sep 1, 2:00 PM (ET)


LOS ANGELES (AP) - George Johnson, considered California's oldest living person at 112 and the state's last surviving World War I veteran, had experts shaking their heads over his junk food diet.

"He had terrible bad habits. He had a diet largely of sausages and waffles," Dr. L. Stephen Coles, founder of the Gerontology Research Group at the University of California, Los Angeles, said Friday.

The 5-foot-7, 140-pound Johnson died of pneumonia Wednesday at his Richmond home in Northern California.

"A lot of people think or imagine that your good habits and bad habits contribute to your longevity," Coles said. "But we often find it is in the genes rather than lifestyle."

Johnson, who was blind and living alone until his 110th birthday when a caregiver began helping him, built the Richmond house by hand in 1935. He got around using a walker in recent years.

Johnson was the only living Californian considered a "supercentenarian," a designation for those ages 110 or older, Coles said. His group is now in the process of validating a Los Angeles candidate who claims to be 112 years old.

Coles participated in an autopsy Thursday that was designed to study Johnson's health.

"All of his organs were extremely youthful. They could have been the organs of someone who was 50 or 60, not 112. Clearly his genes had some secrets," Coles said.

"Everything in his body that we looked at was clean as a whistle, except for his lungs with the pneumonia," Coles said. "He had no heart disease, he had no cancer, no diabetes and no Alzheimer's.

"This is a mysterious case that someone could be so healthy from a pathology point of view and that there is no obvious cause of death."

The family was in favor of an autopsy. Relatives said Johnson wanted them to allow it if it would help science.

Born May 1, 1894, Johnson's father managed the Baltimore and Ohio Railway station in Philadelphia.

Johnson was working in 1917 as a mail sorter for the U.S. Post Office when he was drafted into the Army. The war ended a year later, and he never served in combat.

Two years later, he and his wife moved to Northern California.

"It was a great adventure in those days. We were young and wanted the experience," Johnson said in a March interview with the Contra Costa Times.

The couple settled in Fresno and remained there until 1935, when they bought property in Richmond. They used lumber salvaged from dismantled buildings to build their house.

During World War II, Johnson worked at the Kaiser shipyard in Richmond and later managed the heating plant at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in Oakland.

He remained in good health and continued driving until he was 102, when his vision began to fail.

Johnson's wife died in 1992 at the age of 92. The couple had no children.