20160916_140445I love September, the colours, the early morning chill which often turns to warmth midday and cool evenings. The song  Autumn Leaves,  especially Nat King Cole’s version, expresses my feelings about autumn which has become favourite of mine over many years ago and a newer version by Andrea Bocelli conjures more recent memories.  There is an underlying sadness but also positive tones in the words.  A must do for my family in September is to go blackberry picking, make a pie but also freeze some berries for Christmas.  It has become a tradition with my son’s and daughter’s families which Peter and I keep too.  Recently we had a session over our local fields which have a bumper crop of sweet, succulent berries this year.  It has been important to keep to these rituals for me as my summer months have not been as I anticipated, autumn and winter look set to follow a similar pattern.

I began a personal journey in June this year when a breast abscess developed in my left breast. Subsequent tests revealed early cancer cells too so early in July I had a biopsy followed in August with an operation to remove the cells, abscess and two lymph nodes. Tests showed all was clear.  September is a rest period of sorts waiting to begin radiotherapy in October.  Hopefully just after Christmas I will get the final all clear. I have been helped on my journey by family, friends, especially tremendous medical care and support which is ongoing.  People I have met along the way have been truly inspiring. Lots of humour has smoothed some difficult times but I feel so LUCKY. Odd word some may think but if I had not had the abscess the cells would not have been discovered until next summer when I was due a mammogram, there was no indication that anything untoward lay hidden away. So dear friends please have regular medical checks and scans.  I wasn’t going to write a blog this month or talk to you about this journey but I realise how much help I have had and want to share what a positive experience I am having.  Not everyone is so lucky I know.

Tricia recommended a book called Show Me by Laurie Ryan, yes our Laurie, which is so positive and well written, though poignant even sad at times it made me feel positive myself.   Tricia has been one of my mainstays through this process but the main thing we do is laugh!  Books, Music and the odd glass of Prosecco have been companions too and your blogs.  I do not want this blog to be depressing and hope you all understand that my journey is very different from other people’s experiences.  One thing I have learnt is that we are all different, react differently to situations but a smile along the way helps so much.

Enjoy September in your own ways but keep smiling.

Mt. Rainier

MTAUT1A friend and I ran up to the Mountain last month. We’d been having weather in the high 80’s and 90’s but this day it was in the mid 70’s. Perfect— or not. The mountain was fogged in. Oh well, the news had been reporting a line to get into the park. We breezed right in. As you might guess the photo is from a few years ago.

On the way up we passed a place that displayed metal art sculptures. The car did it’s 2016-08-28T21-46-46-40usual U’eee and we pulled into an experience. First of all it was extremely clean. It even had an outhouse that was cleaner than many inhouses. The gift shop wasn’t open so guess 2016-08-28T21-46-46-66we need to think about a return trip🙂, but we walked around and enjoyed the peace and art. I wish I had taken a picture of the inside of the outhouse.2016-08-28T21-46-46-70

Next stop at Longmire for a browse through the gift shop and a potty break. Until then it was overcast but no fog. That changed about the time we hit the first parking lot. It’s down from the Visitor Center and Lodge and used for hikers and people that want to stay longer than the two hours designated for the upper lot. Going up we noted a sign that said parking full (guess thats why no waiting at the entrance. Everyone was ahead of us), we drove on hoping to park on the side of the road. Didn’t happen, almost at once the road turned into a one-way and was going down. We drove for what seemed like forever until I was pretty sure we were headed down the eastern side of the mountain. We finally pulled over and looked at the park map. Why don’t we do that sooner? I thought only guys didn’t look at maps or ask directions.🙂

After a few miles we came back on the main road and again made our way up the mountain. After driving around the upper lot a few time we ended up in the lower lot and walked up the mountain. I am soooo out of shape.

Scones at the lodge and wandering around we headed back down. We finally got a glimpse of the mountain after we exited the park. We stopped for lunch at Elbe at the Mt. Rainier Railroad Dining Co. We ate there with Laurie and Mark a few years ago. Remember that trip Laurie?


Even with the fog it was full beautiful day.  Stuffed with a decadent hamburger and the scone I vowed to do it again it’s a great day trip.








AUTUMN Can you believe that we are already in the middle of September?  We have had an extremely busy summer, mostly just getting caught up on the farm.  Jim has had an amazing garden this year (I’m glad it’s almost … Continue reading


It’s September and that means fun

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Part of the reason I love September is the Washington State Fair (formally the Puyallup Fair).  Until I moved to Washington, I’d never attended a state fair. I really love the fair.  Who am I kidding, I love the fair … Continue reading

Free at Last, Free at Last!

Jillian here.  The case that has been absorbing my life for the last nine months went to trial today and it is over!! Praise the Lord. I am so relieved. It has absolutely been a nightmare and many nights I have gone home too wiped out to even function much less keep up with my friends and loved ones at home and on the web.

I plan to be able to do a lot more commenting and being supportive than I’ve been able to lately and hope you can all forgive me for being lax and preoccupied. I really didn’t intend to fall off the face of the planet.

And yes, before you have to ask, I won. My client prevailed on everything and I am so very glad that he’s happy with me and my work. He really, really, really wanted to settle the case for some ridiculous amount of money to make it go away and I kept telling him no. He FINALLY let me loose to do my thing and came out better than that settlement.

I made him repeat after me after court, “I will trust my lawyer. Always.”

My adrenaline level is off the charts and I can’t even focus on anything- I am so relieved this is over.  I have my life back!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy September!


Sadness and Love

I’m not sure what to write about today. I know what I need to start with, and that’s that last month, we lost our mother, Florence, at age 92. Sigh. There is a profound sadness in losing someone we were so close to. No way to get around that. But there were so many blessings that we have mostly managed to focus on all the memories. Mom didn’t suffer and her passing was peaceful. As well, we have a large enough family that we managed to have someone with her at the hospice facility 24/7.

Mom’s Celebration of Life turned into a weekend of hugs, happy memories, and love abounding, from the Friday night spaghetti feed at my brother’s to set up the tables to the Saturday service where over 100 people showed up to remember her. I might have dodged some of the harder work Friday and Saturday by getting in the pool with the grandchildren. They needed an in-pool lifeguard, I was certain of it.🙂

We visited through the afternoon and well into the night, then again on Sunday before the out-of-towners had to leave. It was a weekend of stories, laughter, and tears and I will remember it always with smiles and love. We did it Mom’s way. Informal, relaxed, and with a lot of hugging.

So while sadness still fills a portion of my heart, there are just too many happy memories to let it take over. I’m grateful to my mother for everything she taught us, but mostly, I’m grateful for the love she surrounded us with.

Then n Now 2

scan0067I will miss her forever, but I will also smile each and every time I think of her.

So now it’s time to find a new normal, after eight months of taking care of Mom. I’m lucky, being retired from a 9-5 job. My writing and editing have been on hold for a while and I’ve promised myself to take September off to “process.” I’m dealing with Mom’s will and her remaining belongings and I just don’t want to push myself at all.

Well, I managed to fill an entire blog talking about Mom and myself and our family, so I guess any other subjects will have to wait for October. For now, I hope you all have an easy transition into Autumn. It seems to have already arrived here, even though there are 3 weeks left of summer. I am one of the minority (I think) who likes the crisp coolness of fall.

Have an awesome September, everyone!

The Memory Box

I suspect the majority of us have lots of photos capturing special moments from our lives, from holidays to weddings and birthdays, gardens and those magical, often funny times. I too have loads but my biggest treasure is my Memory Box. No, not my brain, but a storebox full of those other mementos and keepsakes. In here is a collection of my life, the good and the bad. I was rifling through this yesterday in search of an item particularly pertinent to today, the third of September.

2016-09-03 11.16.01From the hospital record of my pregnancy to the order of service for my grandmother’s funeral plus sadly, many other relatives and dear friends who are no longer with us. The majority are reminders of much happier times.

A serviette and silver cake decoration from my sister’s wedding. Cards and gift tags and luck horseshoe from mine. Special cards, leaving cards, get well cards, Xmas cards; a letter of commendation from the police; letters from my mother (we used to exchange letters to keep in touch years ago because I never had a telephone), postcards, travel guides, theatre tickets and programmes, press cuttings, a video of the quiz show I took part in on television. The cork from a bottle of champagne enjoyed on my honeymoon and an envelope of first day cover stamps from Australia filled with other stamps from around the world. My daughter’s last school report, a Christmas folder she made at school. Wedding invitations. Thank you letters and cards.

So many things to ponder over and recall fondly and wonder where all the years have gone. In sorting through the box I quickly came to realise I need another box just for the kept special birthday and Christmas cards alone. One birthday card is extra-special – one that means the whole world and a rarity – one from my husband (he doesn’t do birthday cards so this was indeed so full of meaning and love!).

And there I was four hours later, still looking at all these things, opening folded letters from friends not read for a long time, the change of address notes. A complete set of decimal coins I won in a competition, and of set pre-decimal coins all dated the year I was born.  Finally, at the bottom of the box, I found what I was looking for: several ringlets of my daughter’s hair from the first time she had it cut. She must have been 4 years old. Her beautiful mane that would curl up into soft ringlets when it was washed, I loved to twine it in my fingers. Sadly, after that first cut it went straight, and has remained so ever since. Such a shame.

But why were the ringlets pertinent to today. Well, today is my daughter’s 46th birthday. It seems like only yesterday when she arrived in this world, a tiny copper-haired bundle of life the relied on me totally for her survival. She and I have come a long way since that day. There’s been good times, dark times and funny times and, with good fortune and care, there will be lots more birthdays to come. Happy Birthday, Katie.

And time to pack the Memory Box away for the moment.

I definitely need a larger box.