I see the moon and the moon sees me…

Do you remember this lovely lullaby? Whenever I hear it, it brings back so many memories of a beloved aunt. I adored my Aunt Chris. She was only ten years older than me and we were very close. As a child, I’d watch her get ready to go on dates and she’d let me try out her make-up, she’d style my hair, and later when I slipped into teenager-hood she gave me loads of advice about boys. When she married I was one of her bridesmaids (that’s me in the ankle socks – stylish, or what 🙂 ) and later became god-daughter to her two babies, who I also adored with a passion.

Her husband was in the military and when the babies were still little they were posted to Singapore. It was my first taste of grief. I remember waving them off in the taxi that would take them to the airport, then disappearing to my bedroom to cry my young heart out. I missed them so much. We wrote all the time, my Aunt Chris and I, but it wasn’t the same, of course.

I remember one night I was in the garden looking at the moon and feeling sad when my lovely dad came out and sat by me. We chatted for a while and then my dad reminded me that the very moon we were looking at was the same one my aunt and little cousins would be looking at, too. It’s strange how the simplest thing can make you feel better, because my dad reminding me of that brought my long-distance family closer.

When they came back to the UK we had the biggest party. My little god-daughters were school age by then and I was well into the dating scene. My aunt picked up the mantle as if she’d never been away and we were back to the make-up, hairstyling sessions and, of course, the tips about handling guys. A skilled dressmaker, Aunt Chris soon became really busy and much in demand to make the most amazing creations for people. One day this chap I’d had a crush on for forever asked me out. Of course, I didn’t have a thing to wear! I bemoaned the fact to my aunt and when I got home from work that night, excited to prepare for my date but still not sure what to wear, there was a gorgeous pink shift dress (mini of course, it was the late sixties) laid out on my bed, a replica of the very one I’d been drooling over in a magazine. She must have worked like blazes to make that for me, despite the fact she had such a busy schedule.

Sadly, my aunt died a few years after returning home to the UK. I still feel the closeness we shared and think of her often … every time I look up at the moon.

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Time for Boating in Peoria

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Here in the valley of Arizona it’s boating time.  When we bought the house in August it was too hot to take the boat out. You rarely saw anyone on the lake. But now even with temperatures at about 10 degree’s … Continue reading

January Hijack by Hobbes

Hobbes here. Jillian is a bit stressed over a litany of things happening in her life so I told her I’d take over her post this month—actually, I hijacked it. 😀 I know I haven’t helped her out much lately other than to sit on her head in the mornings to wake her up, knock things off the table for her to pick up and constantly assist her in exercising by having her get up and down to open the door to let me out on the porch or back into the house. I’m pretty helpful that way. 

We’re in a new year now but man, did we have some adventure—well, I did—in December. 

It started the month the Sunday after that weekend they call Thanksgiving when the humans brought in the tree. I love, love the tree. I don’t know why they don’t leave it up all the time. They put this brown blanket under it and I love snoozing under the limbs with the scent of pine— or whatever that tree is—in my nose. Maybe a fir? Doesn’t matter. I love it. I never mess with the pretty baubles on it. I’m dignified like that. 

Wrapping boxes is another thing Jillian does while that tree is up. Don’t know why. It’s kind of a weird habit. She hides them under the tree like she thinks no one will see them there. She also gets a bit peeved at me while I help. I mean, she needs that tape and the scissors batted to the floor, right? And the pen she uses to write on sticky little sheets of paper is just so tempting. It rolls quite nicely. Biting the paper and sitting on it to cut it for her is also fun but she fusses at me to get off of it. Testy woman. 

The biggest adventure of the month was this small human coming to visit with his parents. He squealed every time he saw me and chased me. Little terror, he is. I tell ya. I’d get the nerve to venture out of hiding and, as soon as he spied me, he was after me. Crazy little human. He also couldn’t say Hobbes so he called me Bob. Bob? Oh the indignity. 

They stayed for what seemed forever but Jillian said was only seven days. God created the world in seven days but I bet his seven were more peaceful than mine even with all the work he was doing. 

Anyway, they eventually went home and I was able to enjoy free rein in the house again without living in fear of a tiny human chasing me and yelling, “Bob.”

Life is sort of back to normal now. They just took my tree outside after Epiphany so, I’m sad about that and about the brown blanket being back in that cabinet at the end of the hallway. 

Here’s a picture of me hiding on Jillian’s bed on my favorite blanket, with the door closed, so the Bob fanatic would leave me alone. 

Happy New Year to all. Hobbes

Endings and Beginnings

Happy New Year! It’s really just another day, but it feels full of new possibilities. I always have a more positive attitude at the first of the year. Yes, it degrades a bit as the year goes on, but each year, I think I make it further and further before that happens. Lol.

Before retiring, my husband worked as a construction electrician. Every job he started, he knew he would eventually work his way out of when the build was completed. It’s very much the same way with writers. Every story we start, we are working toward a finish line. When we reach it, we start the next story or series.

Such is the crossroads I am at. The sixth and final planned book in the Willow Bay series will release on the 14th of January. If you’ve read any of the books, you’ve met Willow Bay’s resident street-person/matchmaker, Gladys. In Operation Ethan, not only does the grumpy town Fire Chief meet his match in the playful hotel manager, but Gladys’s own story unfolds.

I love Willow Bay. I love the characters, the townspeople, and the town itself. I will be sad to leave it, to not write more fresh stories set there. We grow our characters into heart-whole people who learn to live life to the fullest on the pages and now, for me, it’s time to move on. I can’t say I won’t ever write more Willow Bay stories, but for now, it’s time to say goodbye.

I am both sad and excited. There’s a grief that lingers when you leave characters behind, but also excitement for the new story, new setting, new series. And that’s what I will be looking forward to after January 14th. And maybe, just maybe, one of those secondary characters from Willow Bay will get their story down the road so I can revisit my happy place.

I wish for you beginnings that are peace-filled, full of laughter and joy, and lots of words, either written or read.

Hubby and I out for a chilly winter walk. 🙂

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It’s (almost) a wrap…

… of 2022 that is. Where did it go? You may well ask, and I only wish I knew.

There’s something about the start of a new year that is exciting and scary in equal parts, at least it is for me. Exciting because of all the potential new opportunities ahead, and scary because there are things I’ve loved about 2022 that I don’t want to let go of and hope will continue with me into the new year.

No resolutions for me this year, instead I’ll be listing out my ‘intentions’ in my shiny new 2023 journal. The list is pretty long and may well get even longer since there’s still a few days left to think about things. I do a little ritual on New Year’s Eve which I really look forward to, and this year I’m adding a few new ones. We’ll be out during the evening, so I’ll get them done as soon as the light fades around teatime here in the UK.

My main ritual involves writing down all the things I don’t want to take into the new year with me … such as hurt feelings, past mistakes, fears, disappointments… and then tearing up the paper and setting light to it (this is done outside and in an appropriate container, of course). There’s something very freeing about watching those words go up in smoke, taking with them all those negative emotions. After that’s done, I write down all my intentions for the new year while burning a candle and playing some music, assisted as ever by my trusty companion, if she can let go of her favourite Christmas toy for an hour, or so.

After that we’ll grab a bottle of bubbly and head along to a neighbour’s house for some New Year merriment, happy in the knowledge that I’ve let go of the old and am ready to welcome in the new.

So, all that’s left is for me to wish everyone a very happy, healthy, safe, prosperous, and successful 2023

Oh, and here’s my choice of Christmas 2022 TV advert this year. Have the tissues ready…

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December 2022

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December has been really cold in the Pacific NW. The temperatures are below average in Arizona too but that means mid 60 and 70’s.  We are supposed to get snow here today but so far it’s too cold.  Kris (daughter) and I … Continue reading

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I Finally Found It!

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So this is December, another year almost over and we have had snow. Not a lot, at least not where I live, just a dusting of the powdery stuff but enough to look pretty. But boy, it has been cold … Continue reading

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

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I can’t believe it’s December and in just a few weeks we will be celebrating Christmas and New Years. I have to say the last half of this year has really flown for me. It seem just like yesterday it … Continue reading

Merry Christmas Trees from The Richards-DAR House

Jillian here. Happy December. As some of you may know, I am a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. My ancestors on that side of the family came over in 1690. We’re from the Gresham family in England with Sir Thomas and Sir John as two of our illustrious ancestors– they contributed greatly to the City of London. My ancestor, another Thomas Gresham, fought in Washington’s Army in the Revolutionary War. He was one of the brave souls at Valley Forge.

This past weekend, 14 members of my DAR chapter in Pensacola rode over for the Christmas tour of the Richards-DAR House. It is a beautiful home built in 1860 for Captain Charles Richards, a sea captain. It is 10,000 square feet of gorgeousness. It has a Baccarat crystal chandelier in the dining room and another in a bedroom, Carrara marble fireplaces and a cantilevered stair case, among other treasures and items of beauty. It’s now owned and maintained by the four DAR chapters of the Mobile area.

Since there is so much there, I decided to focus my post on the Christmas trees in the house this time of year. So, I am attaching those pictures here. To find more about the house, click here.

We had cookies and lemonade in the courtyard after our tour and then lunch at a local seafood place. An all around fun day full of love of history, Christmas and the company of friends.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate.

Happy 92nd birthday!!!

I’m a day late on my blog for this month. Actually a day and a half, since I usually set them to post shortly after midnight my time. But I had good reason. I wanted to take this month’s blog to pay homage to my Aunt Merna, who turned 92 years young today.

As a child, I remember my Aunt Merna as this impeccably dressed woman with an impish smile, a great sense of humor, and a hug for any kid within reach. She couldn’t have children of her own, so adopted all of us nieces and nephews, and there were/are plenty of us to hug.

Now that I’m older, I realize that she was Wonder Woman in a day and age where women stayed in the background.  She worked full time as an administrative assistant and kept up with everything around the house. All the cooking and cleaning, etc. An independent woman.

She needs a little more help these days, but that doesn’t diminish the sparkle in her eyes or that impish grin of hers. She finds joy in each day, even though her body complains. I admire her.

Several of us got together and took Aunt Merna out to lunch today to celebrate and the woman who said she didn’t celebrate birthdays anymore ate it up, along with the free hot fudge sundae!

Happy, birthday, Auntie. Let’s do this again next year. 🙂 And a merry, merry Christmas to those who celebrate. To everyone, whether this is your holiday or not, I wish you a peaceful and happy December and entrance to a brand new year full of new possibilities.

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