Category Archives: Love

LEJOG – Peter’s 70th Birthday Challenge

Well he did it! 12 days averaging 80 miles most days in awful weather much of the time, Land’s End to John O’Groats.  Approx 910 the route he took.  I feel in awe and so proud.  I was of course logistics back up in my little Skoda but what I had planned to be a leisurely role was anything but relaxed or stress free.  I was constantly aware of the huge effort Peter was making day after day, drawing into the depths of himself but had not considered what it would be like to wave him off each morning and wonder if I would see him again.  I am not exaggerating, he looked small and vulnerable alongside some of the huge vehicles thundering past him.

I hope you won’t mind but so much has happened I will write about the trip in instalments.  No worry then of missing any crucial bits out.  We set off on Saturday 8th September for what seemed then like a long drive to Cornwall, paled into insignificance when I set off for Scotland in 30 mile stints.  We stayed in a hotel at Lands End but it was such a rip off, I was embarrassed as so many tourists make a bee line for the place.  Despite the surroundings the views of the headland are breathtaking and the hotel staff so friendly and kind.  We had a photo taken at the temporary sign as the main sign which is up in the day is “owned” by a photographer who charges a lot of money to take photo.  Business is business I know but this is taking advantage. Enough moaning as it did not detract from our efforts.

At 9am Sunday 9th September after a hearty breakfast Peter set off on his marathon ride.  I felt very emotional waving him off, apprehensive and proud all at the same time.  I admit to a few tears so walked part of the headland before setting off myself.  We met up after 40 miles or so at Truro for a lunch break and for Peter to stretch his muscles.  I found supermarkets helpful to get supplies and hot drinks.  Another lone rider left just after Peter, I passed both of them at different stages, and we met him again lunch time.  He was cycling a much shorter distance but appreciated having someone to chat to during a break.  We coincidently met up the next day too at Okehampton. En route to Taunton. Sunday we stayed at our first Premier Inn at Liskeard, the routine was repeated 7 other times during the long journey and Premier Inns were an ideal break.  Even had bike sleeping with us!!

Monday 10th September we rode (not together!) over parts of Dartmoor to Taunton.  The scenery was stunning but once in Devon the hills were testing for Peter.  Tuesday 11th we stopped in Bristol at our eldest son’s house for a family reunion as our younger son left yesterday for a new life in Turin with his Italian wife so more emotions again.  Adam, the eldest, then cycled with Peter to Monmouth over the Seven Bridge which was great for Peter.  3 counties in 3 days and ending up in my homeland Wales.  Next day Wednesday 12th September onwards to Shrewsbury via Ludlow which was when I started to compile a list of places to revisit.  Each day my schedule was tight but a routine soon developed.  No time for sightseeing!  We stayed north of Shrewsbury in our third Premier Inn where there was an interesting welcoming committee. Yes alpacas in the middle of Shropshire!

I’ll finish here for now but more next time. Thank you for your support and encouragement in this venture.  It has been a life enhancing experience in many ways.

Advertisements

I’m Super Late

Jillian here. I feel like the white Rabbit. I’m late, I’m late. I knew yesterday was my day to post but somehow, the day escaped me and then today did, too. I got sick from movie theater popcorn and have been kind of worthless since then. So, forgive me for my lapse.

I had a busy August. Traveled to see my son and his wife in the Orlando area and met the grand dog for the first time. Such a sweet hound. She never makes a sound and is so gentle and sweet. Precious.  We went on a lovely boat ride as well and had some nice meals. We just kind of hung out as my son had a deadline and my daughter in law had an open house for her real estate work. She and I did go boutique shopping one day and taste tested a ton of olive oils at one place. My son is very stable and settled with his wife and his architecture work. He’s found his bliss.

My younger son moved to the Chicago area and we had to get him set and all packed. His dad drove him up towing a U-haul trailer. It’s crazy expensive to have a car up there so we’re keeping it here. While it’s hard to let go, I want him to be happy and this is what he wanted to do. The good thing is he’s living with his best friend from school- they’ve been buds since the 4th grade and his friend has been living in Chicago a year with his girlfriend – they got a bigger apartment so my son could come up and see what kind of work he could find as he finishes his German studies. His goal is to be a translator and already has French and Spanish. He’s going to take some kind of proficiency exam while up there in order to qualify for the German part.

Seeing both my kids happy is something I’ve prayed for all their lives and having one already settled is great. Just have to keep praying that the other one finds his bliss as well.

Have a great September. 8C2F49D0-A7D4-4EC1-AA29-24584F012111AB713081-CFE9-4748-9E52-8FE3A230BCB4285F741F-04F4-4A18-B3F0-EE40AD8ACE0A09006E05-BA19-425B-8213-66A6A1017533

 

Gallery

Kennedy – Six Months

This gallery contains 5 photos.

Oh – my – gosh, how fast time flies. Kennedy is six months old. I could write a blog featuring her every month. I’m betting every grandmother out there could. This blog is going to be more pictures than text, … Continue reading

Gallery

Kennedy

This gallery contains 3 photos.

Kennedy Lee is two days old in this picture and has absolutely captured our hearts. She was born May 13th and came into the world showing she knew how to express her opinion. Since then she has been teaching her … Continue reading

Turkey Stuffing Makes Me Cry by Valerie J. Patterson

Who knew?  I mean it’s not something that’s ever happened before.  I had no idea that stuffing and I were so close it could make me cry.  But it did.  In a very big way.  And I was caught unaware right there in the aisle of the grocery store.  Unaware and unprepared for the force of emotions that washed over me and left me sobbing and left my husband bewildered.

It was a very innocent trip to the store to stock up for Thanksgiving dinner.  Had everything in the cart and turned down the aisle with the bread crumbs and the premixed stuffing selections and the seasonings.  I looked up at the canister of bread crumbs and instantly, tears began to stream down my face as I choked back sobs.  Steve came beside me, placed a hand on my back and rubbed gentle little circles between my shoulder blades.

“What’s wrong?”

“S-s-stuffing…”

“I don’t understand.  What happened?”

“I saw the bread crumbs and it reminded me of my mom.”

“Okay…”

My mom passed away October 20th, and I’m in that phase of mourning where just seeing something or hearing something brings a flood of tears.  Mornings are the worst for me.  I’ll be getting ready for work, see the time on the clock and break down.  But stuffing caught me off guard.

From the time I was old enough to wield a knife, I sat in the kitchen with my mom and dad and–while they did other things–I chopped onion and celery into microscopic slivers for my mom’s homemade turkey stuffing.  Mom liked the flavor of both in her stuffing but hated biting into chunks of either one.  After I got married and moved away, my dad took over my dicing duties unless by some stroke of luck we arrived early enough for me to do the honor.

It’s been many years since I last chopped any onion or celery in my mom’s kitchen, which is why I was taken aback when, right there in the aisle, I was overtaken with emotion.  I guess I just never expected a canister of bread crumbs to affect me in quite a personal way.

Mom was an excellent cook.  She was the best friend I never expected, but was blessed to have.  She was strength and grace and beauty and charm.  She was warm and funny and loving and tough.  She was heart and soul and faith and light.  She was generous and giving and sympathetic and compassionate.  She and my dad were active participants in my life and I have equal parts of both of them inside of me–of the person I am.  And because of all of that, stuffing can make me cry!

I miss my mom.  I will miss her for the rest of my life, but we will meet again, and what a reunion that will be!

2016 has been a year of hard knocks and loss, but it has also been a year of great blessing, and I have much to be thankful for.  And I am indeed thankful.

Until next time, may you always be able to see the blessings in your life and may the memories you share add flavor to your days!

September

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.

George & Louise…A Great Love by Valerie J. Patterson

George and Louise Boldt–their story is one of a great and deeply felt love.  It’s also a tale of tragedy and a future with a broken heart.  George was a poor immigrant in the late 1800s who managed to gain employment at the famous Waldorf Astoria, and later would own it and another hotel here in Pennsylvania.  It was while he was working at the Waldorf that he met Louise Kehrer and fell madly in love with her.  While vacationing in Alexandria Bay, more particularly, the Thousand Islands, he bought Hart Island, which he legally changed to Heart Island.  In 1900, he commenced building a castle there for his lovely Louise to live in.  In 1904, tragedy struck and Louise Boldt died suddenly at the young age of 41.  That same day, George sent a telegram to the island and ordered all construction to cease and all workers to leave the island.  The heartbroken George never stepped foot on Heart Island again.  He never allowed his children or their families to visit the island either.  Boldt Castle was 96% finished the day Louise died, and it would remain unfinished, too.  So great was his love for his wife, and just as great was his pain from losing her, that he could not bear to live there without her.

In 1977, the heirs of George Boldt sold the castle and Heart Island to the state of New York for $1.00 with the following conditions:  1) The castle was to be open to the public and every cent from the sale of tickets was to be put into restoring the castle, which had been vandalized over the decades it remained empty; 2) the restoration was never to go beyond 96% completion, which was the last Louise had ever seen; and 3) no one was ever allowed to live there or stay there.  To date, $38 million have been used in restoring the castle and only one and a half of the 6 floors have been fully restored.

Beginning at the top left corner and continuing clockwise, the photographs are: A view of 75% of Heart Island as seen from our hotel suite’s balcony; the Italian Garden at the rear of the castle with the castle’s power house (also a castle-like structure) in the background; the view of the castle’s main arch entrance where George imagined his guests docking their boats and visiting he and Louise at the castle–to the right is a 6 story playhouse he had designed and constructed for his children and their guests; a rear view of the castle; and, again, the arched entrance to the island.

Steve took me to the Thousand Islands for our anniversary trip, and I was instantly overtaken with the immense love George Boldt had for his wife.  I snapped over 500 photographs, and I apologize that I don’t have a closeup of the front of the castle for you, but those are on another camera card that I have not yet downloaded.

The entire time we were exploring the castle and its grounds on a self-guided tour, Steve and I discussed George and Louise.  All around us were visual signs of their love from heart-shaped flower beds to hand-carved granite benches with huge hearts carved out of the center of each bench’s backrest to the portraits of Louise to the Italian Garden with its carved granite statues.  We wondered what George would think of all the people tramping around the grounds and invading the castle.  We wondered how he would have looked upon the vandalism each room on each floor suffered from careless youths who didn’t know the story behind the castle or perhaps knew it and didn’t care.

As we sat on a magnificent porch, on a heart-shaped bench, I became weepy thinking about George and his immense love of Louise.  With all that Steve has been through this year, perhaps George’s story hit a little too close to home.  Or perhaps I’m just too softhearted and enjoy a good love story.  Maybe a little of both.  One thing I know for certain, George and Louise Boldt are now a part of my own history, and their love story reminds me to be thankful for my own love story!

Finally–so as not to leave on such a sad note–It has been my dream to own an island.  Strange dream, I know.  But ever since I learned that Raymond Burr owned his own island, I’ve wanted to own one myself.  During our stay in Alexandria Bay, we came to learn that there were 3 islands for sale.  The first one we saw had a price of $1.4 million.  The second one we saw had the hefty price tag of $5.5 million.  And the third one was selling for $80,000.  I’ll leave you with the photo of the third island, which is still swimming around in my thoughts as a possibility!

DSCN1396

It’s not the size of the house that matters, but rather the island itself that remains important to me.  <grin>

Until next time, may you be as loved as Louise!!  ❤

Boldt Castle