My Novels

Friday, November 28, 2008

Dedicated to my late husband

Holidays, of course, remind me of my late husband. Tonight I was listening to music videos on YouTube and found one of my favorites. As I listened to the lyrics and watched the video, I thought that IF there is a Heaven, this is where my husband now resides:

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Thursday, November 27, 2008

World's oldest person dies

I'm fascinated with the long-lived and have tried to post articles about this -- for my own reference. This news article is on MSNBC:

Ind. woman, world's oldest person, dies at 115
Edna Parker didn't drink or smoke; outlived her husband by nearly 70 years

SHELBYVILLE, Ind. - Edna Parker, who became the world's oldest person more than a year ago, has died at age 115.

UCLA gerontologist Dr. Stephen Coles said Parker's great-nephew notified him that Parker died Wednesday at a nursing home in Shelbyville. She was 115 years, 220 days old, said Robert Young, a senior consultant for gerontology for Guinness World Records.

Parker was born April 20, 1893, in central Indiana's Morgan County and had been recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's oldest person since the 2007 death in Japan of Yone Minagawa, who was four months her senior.

Coles maintains a list of the world's oldest people and said Parker was the 14th-oldest validated supercentenarian in history. Maria de Jesus of Portugal, who was born Sept. 10, 1893, is now the world's oldest living person, according to the Gerontology Research Group.

Parker had been a widow since her husband, Earl Parker, died in 1939 of a heart attack. She lived alone in their farmhouse until age 100, when she moved into a son's home and later to the Shelbyville nursing home.

Although she never drank alcohol or tried tobacco and led an active life, Parker didn't offer tips for living a long life. Her only advice to those who gathered to celebrate when she became the oldest person was "more education."

'She's never been a worrier'
Parker outlived her two sons, Clifford and Earl Jr. She also had five grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and 13 great-great-grandchildren.

"We don't know why she's lived so long," Don Parker said before his grandmother's 115th birthday. "But she's never been a worrier and she's always been a thin person, so maybe that has something to do with it."

Parker taught in a two-room school in Shelby County for several years after graduating from Franklin College in 1911. She wed her childhood sweetheart and neighbor in 1913.

But as was the tradition of that era, her teaching career ended with her marriage. Parker traded the schoolhouse for life as a farmer's wife, preparing meals for as many as a dozen men who worked on her husband's farm.

Parker noted with pride last year that she and her husband were one of the first owners of an automobile in their rural area.

Coincidentally, Parker lived in the same nursing home as 7-foot-7 Sandy Allen, whom Guinness recognized as the world's tallest woman until her death in August.

Hmm, was it being skinny, or never marrying after her husband passed away that kept her living so long? ;-)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Family Gathering Photos

We had a great family get-together last Sunday, an early Thanksgiving for us. My sister, Glenda, and her husband invited us to their house. We haven't been meeting for our family holidays at her house since the first T-Day after DH died. At that time, it was somewhat traumatic for me, as well as my mother since my step-dad died in late October of that year.

Everywhere I turned, I kept expecting to see DH, hear him joking with the kids, talking with my brothers-in-law. So I didn't attend other gatherings there, until this year. It went well, but I have to admit, I STILL felt as if DH would walk into the kitchen at any minute.

Some widows/widowers apparently like to stay in familiar surroundings, the same house, the same places after losing a spouse. I don't think I could have coped had I not sold the farm, and moved here to a house where DH had never been. The move, of course, did not stop my memories or thoughts about him; rather, I just didn't expect to see him drive up in the driveway, or be sitting in the other room -- because he'd never been here, never lived here.

The rental house, where we lived 25 years, is always a reminder of him when I'm there working between renters. I find that at first, I like the vivid memories, but after a week or so, I become depressed. I cannot bear to be in that house around supper time, when he would have come home from work. I am still not ready to sell that house though, but I doubt I could ever live in it again. As with all grieving and coping after the loss of a loved one, each person deals with it differently. Apparently I do better not living where we once did, though I do occasionally drive by the old farmhouse -- just to see how the young couple are caring for the farm (they keep making improvements to the property too).

At any rate, two of my sisters, their husbands, two nephews and the other nephew's two little girls, mother and myself were present. Mother is looking pale and becoming more vague; her last kidney function tests showed her one kidney continues to decline. She has refused dialysis and has a living will, so we're all concerned she won't be with us much longer. But we had a wonderful day of family sharing, good food (several veggie dishes prepared for me!) and fun conversation.

Here's a few pictures:

Left to right: myself, mother, my two sisters

Sarah, nephew's girl (a real beauty & mischievous), mother and in the background, my two brothers-in-law

Yours truly, taken with self-timer in my den Sunday morning

Bitty Kitty moments ago, she's in a mood! :-)

I've been using my exercise bike every night, since the weather has become cold here. Today the high was only 38, brrr! A stiff wind this morning, but it died down by late afternoon.

I'm going to start a job search sometimes next month, just to see what is/isn't available. IF possible, I would like to return to work in early January (new tax year!).

Renters continue to be great; Sherry helped me hang vertical blinds in my den/study last week. She raked leaves at the rental house, ran them through her lawnmower mulcher and will bring those over to put on our garden spot sometimes this week. We're making plans for the veggie garden, and there is a cement slab near the garden space where an old storage building stood. I'm thinking of buying one of those small green-house enclosures and put it on the slab, so we can start plants early, etc. Just hope this drought improves during the winter and before next spring!

With that, I'm outta here for this time.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Post-Election Relief

Of course I'm happy Obama won! It's been a long time coming, and I don't mean just the fact of Obama's race/heritage, I mean seeing a Democrat in office. The Republicans under Bush's reign of disaster have taken this country and the whole world down into a bottomless pit...and I don't think Obama can get us out for a long, long time.

My doom and gloom nature has not changed; every day seems to confirm the bleak economic picture. We'll be lucky to pull up enough not to hit a total depression, and frankly, I wouldn't bet we won't. No matter how much Obama and the Democrats try to stave it off, I fear we are too far down that dark path to reverse gears now.

Oh, and by the way, Prez Bush, Cheney & Company still have two months to finish us all off before leaving office. Look for more problems coming faster than a speeding bullet.

Well, I have my freezer stocked for a few weeks with delicious home-made vegetarian dishes. Easy and quick to heat in the microwave for nutritious meals. One thing I've learned while discovering vegetarain cooking is how much money I can save by preparing meals from scratch, dividing up and freezing. For example, I had enough bean/veggie/rice cream soup for ten individual servings. I'd estimate the cost at about 25 cents a serving -- which shows how much the "pre-cooked" soup companies make off their product. With everyone trying to find ways to save on grocery expense, it's a good thing to look into.

I bought a new laptop a few weeks ago, but mostly use it for writing. Occasionally I surf the web on it, and it has fast wireless (I installed a wireless router in my house). I decided it was a good investment, just in case I should be unable to sit at my desk, sick or whatever. I also got a good deal: I went to Walmart, picked out a laptop I liked, then ordered it from a discount electronics website: $420.00. I saved nearly $100.00 over Walmart's price, and got FREE shipping!

I've been exploring "internet radio stations" of late. LOVE the many choices of free listening with iTunes (a free program for your computer). Have heard older songs I hadn't heard in years and years. Everything from oldies, country, folk, blues, soul -- you name it, there's a station with ONLY that kind of music on internet radio. Free, of course.

Sherry, my renter, paid the rent today. Wendell, her husband, sent his paycheck to her. He'll be in Ohio for another two weeks, then come home for Thanksgiving. He is a truckdriver, has a CDL, so there's always work. In Ohio, he's working for his uncle, driving a truck, making $17.00 an hour. Anyway, Sherry has been doing all kinds of improvements inside my rental house, painting, wallpaper, she's real handy. She and a friend also set up a wood-working craft shop in the garage, and tomorrow they will go to a craft show with their Christmas wood crafts. She's a go-getter!

Just now on internet radio I'm listening to "White Sports Coat" by Marty Robbins. Who-hoo, long time since I heard that one! It was a favorite of mine when I was a teenager!!! However, just to clarify -- the most popular hits back in "the day" were Elvis Presley and the Beatles. But I liked "some" country even back then. LOL

And last but not least, Propostion #2 passed in California. What is that, you may ask. It is huge progress for humane treatment of farmed animals -- Prop 2 stops poultry farmers from keeping egg-laying hens in tiny, cramped cages for their entire LIVES! It also requires sows must be allowed to have quarters wide/long enough for them to move around. Can you believe sows are kept in small square stalls with NO room to even stand or turn around THEIR ENTIRE LIVES? Piglets are taken at birth, never cared for by the sow. Yeah, that is just purely EVIL. I tell you, don't look into the mass meat farms if you don't want to become enraged and physically sick at WHAT they do to animals. Oh, and your meat? May I just mention that antibiotic overuse in farmed animals is WHY we now have such problems with staph due to becoming non-resistant to antibiotics. Antibiotics are used in farmed animals so filthy conditions they live in won't give them infections! If you're conscientious and want to explore this topic, start with any vegetarian website on the internet, or click above on the "Meet Your Meat" link.

So I'm exceptionally HAPPY the Humane Society and other activist for compassionate animal treatment got Proposition 2 passed.

And with that, I'm off to watch a rented movie DVD from the library.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Get out and vote!

I have been truly remiss in not posting more often, but I've been engaged in "other stuff." Not an excuse, just a reason for the lack of posts.

I started my novel last night with a prologue. The story will be based on real events at our old farmhouse/land. It will practically write itself, since the plot follows what really happened. I doubt I can get it done during the month of November, but maybe by next spring? I am rereading all my journal entries at this blog as reminders of how events unfolded, since I kept a fairly accurate account regularly. Nice reference!

And now, let me say: PLEASE GET OUT AND VOTE TOMORROW. We have a chance to make history with this election, and if no poll shenanigans take place, I feel optimistic the change we need will happen. Either way, please vote!

After the election results are in (who knows when that will be?!), I'll have more to write about. Again, since this blog started with Bushie's election, I'm hoping to turn a page on a better future without his ilk in office.