Tag Archives: friends

Happy August

Jillian here. I’m looking around and wondering exactly where this year has gone. Can’t believe it’s August already. Zipping along through 2019 for sure.

My August started nicely with a fun wedding. As y’all know, I have two sons. I’ve been blessed with having one best friend of each of them work for me for a time while they were in college. One went on to be a lawyer (the older one) and the other one works in the governor’s office (the younger one). I like to think I had a little something to do with their successes, but that just may be my ego talking. Lol.

Anyway, the older one has been married a while and is the father of two adorable children. The younger one got married this past weekend. There was a a lot of laughter and love in the room. He’s Hispanic and his mother sang for him and his bride and also had some lovely Spanish dancers perform and there was a red ribbon they danced with and then wrapped around the couple. It was an interesting insight into their culture.

The mother of the bride was a different story. The bride herself is charming and shy and doesn’t say much. The mother offended a number of people by her rude behavior. Even my son, who thinks I overreact and see rudeness where there isn’t any, thought this lady was rude.

A number of people were walking down the entry hall toward the chairs set up for the service—we’d literally just walked in the door—and this woman starting yelling at us all to “Turn around, turn around. Stop right there and face the wall.” (Like we were bad schoolchildren).

Stunned, we did as ordered and in about a minute, she said, “Turn back around. The bride was in the area. You can do what you want now.”

I thought she was the wedding planner who was full of herself, but my son pointed out she was the mother of the bride. People talked about it all night. It was that weird.

Other than that, we had a nice time, some people overindulged in the wine which was kind of surprising. I’m always amazed that some folks take the risk in over doing it with no designated driver. Not that I’m preachy or anything, but that can lead to tragedy. It’s irresponsible.

The venue was the Mission San Luis. An interesting museum in Tallahassee that encompasses a lot of history of the state. They even have a virtual tour on line. Check it out if you have the time.

Here are a few photos. Oh, and the cake picture reminds me that I saved the groom from his first marital faux pas. The ladies cutting the cake asked him if they were saving the top and he said no and they could cut it. I told him he better check as they are supposed to save it for the first anniversary. He told me they didn’t have room in the freezer and turned to the ladies and told them just to save two pieces. I reiterated that he better go check and that he was no longer autonomous and had to confer with his wife. He returned a few moments later and told them to save the top. He hugged me for saving him.  😁

Happy March

Jillian here.  Today March 9 and a Saturday. Yay. This past week was crazy busy. Court for three days and one was an important trial and so I was very ready for the weekend.

I DID get to take part of the day off on Tuesday. I have a friend who lives in Indiana who is a charter bus driver. She brought a bus load of basketball players down near this area. She drives down and then hands the bus off to another driver as they are limited to the hours they can drive. She gets a rental car and so she visited a number of people she knows in the panhandle area. We took a ride out to our local lighthouse and had a seafood lunch. Lots of fun. And it was awesome to spend a few hours with her in a stress filled week.

Today, the husband and I went to an architectural salvage place about 50 miles from us (outside Mobile, Alabama). It’s very cool. I was looking for an old door to make a table from but eventually decided (they have 7 barns full of stuff) on a piece of iron to build the table around. It’ll be in the center. The guy there repurposes a lot of stuff into unique furniture and he had some he’d done with the wrought iron so I chose to go that route. I also got a small table to paint and add a chunk of granite that was left over from my new kitchen counters. It’ll be a side table. And I got a carved teak candleholder that weighs a ton. Here are some photos.

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Of Writers’ Retreats and Friendship

I have a very dear friend who has an uncle with a house on a small lake a couple hours drive from me and twice a year, he allows her to use it and invite her writer buds over. These retreats are in March and October. I have been blessed to be invited by her to the last three. The ladies there, for the most part are nice and we get a lot done even amongst the laughter and eating. I’ve made what I feel are some lasting friendships with several of them.

Sadly, there is one who seems to be either harder to get to know or just doesn’t care for me. I fully own that I can be overly sensitive but I have a strong sense about people and what they are feeling as well. I have highly tuned empathic skills which means I can tell a lot about how someone is feeling and sometimes take on those feelings myself.

We arrived at the retreat on Thursday and from almost from the time this one woman arrived, she was all about being gruff and unkind to me. I tried to ignore her and put it on the fact that these ladies have been friends for a while and I am the new girl. On Saturday night when she came over and joined in a conversation that she was not part of, I was okay with it. But when I said something in that conversation and she told me to stop talking, I was pretty sure about her feelings for me. Then when she added, and I quote, “In fact, you can just leave.” I knew! You don’t have to hit me over the head, lady. WOW! I was flabbergasted to say the least.

I left the room and went on the porch in tears. Then I came back in and went to get my suitcase as I was heading home right then- never mind it was 9:30 pm and I had a two hour drive.

BUT the women in the group who love me gathered round and said they wouldn’t let me go. They led me out to the porch and talked for a long time until I agreed to stay until morning. I was so glad for their friendship and that they agreed she’d been incredibly rude.

When I came back inside, the woman (and I give her partial credit for this) came over and apologized. What I don’t give her credit for was saying she’d been teasing me with all the things she’d said over the prior three days. It was most assuredly not teasing and I think she knew I knew it- it was almost as if she was seeing how far she could push me and I did take it from Thursday afternoon until Saturday night. It was not the way I envisioned the weekend going.

Not too sure I’ll be going back but I am so torn as I love, love the other people. It would be like punishing myself if I don’t go. But I also don’t want to set myself up for that kind of misery again. It’s a conundrum that I have until October to figure out. What do you think? Am I being too sensitive?

The good news is that I got 8,000 words done in a new story. This one has pirates!!!

Happy March! Jillian

When they actually can hear you scream!

Okay, so November has sort of passed in a blur that is NaNoWriMo, but happy to say the end is now in sight and on the home run. Yay!

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience of NaNo and it seems to have had the desired effect of getting me back into the writing mindset. The story has absorbed me, and the best part of all, I’m enjoying writing again. But November hasn’t been all work and I’ve made time for some fun along the way.

Every month a nearby town holds a community theatre and movie night, which has turned into a girls’ night out. We four do the whole thing: popcorn, wine (for those who aren’t driving), ice cream and a shared box of chocolates. Last night’s movie was Me Before You which was really excellent. I haven’t read the book (being a happy-ending kinda gal) but absolutely loved the movie. Excellent acting, a good story, and although a sad ending it wasn’t mawkish. Highly recommended for those who might not have seen it.

We also had a theatre trip into Bath to see The Woman in Black. This was billed as being ‘the most terrifying live theatre experience in the world’ which, for those of us who love to be scared witless by such things, was impossible to resist. So off we went, the fearless four, armed with fortifying chocolate and comments such as “bet it’s not as scary as they say” and “whose idea was this anyway?”

The play was the stage adaptation of the movie of the same name and is based on Susan Hill’s story of a lawyer obsessed with a curse he believes has been cast on him. In the stage play, he employs an actor to help him exorcise his demons, but soon what is real and what is make-believe begin to blur with spine-tingling results.

One British newspaper gave the play five stars and said: “The atmosphere is so charged up that on more than one occasion, the entire audience screamed in terror”  Well, I read that with a little scoff…until I actually did. The play was spooky and I lost count of the number of times I jumped out of my skin. It was incredibly well acted, with excellent sound effects and visual aids. During one loud and blood-curdling scream which seemed to come from right behind us, we all instinctively grabbed for each other and yes, actually screamed right back. Since most of the audience were engaged in a kind of hushed nervous laughter, I don’t think we were alone in that.

So, two hours later we emerged, a little shell shocked and with the chocolates still in their unwrapped state. Testament indeed to a good night had by all.

 

(n.b. apologies for the formatting of this post – did something wrong somewhere and couldn’t work out how to get it back to normal!)

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Late Again!

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Jillian here. I was supposed to blog yesterday but never thought about the date since it was Sunday. I’ve never really blogged on weekends so it slipped my mind that it was my day. Hope everyone is having a great … Continue reading

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.

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!

 

It’s Ladies’ Night by Valerie J. Patterson

It’s ladies’ night!  Oh what a night!

Last month I invited the ladies from the office over for a little dinner and some poker.  I expected it to be a good night.  I expected us to have a couple hours of playing cards, eating, and talking.  I expected everyone to have a good time.

I was wrong…

It was a great night!  It was several hours of non-stop laughter and shenanigans!  And everyone had a fantastic time!

I can’t wait to do it again!

Oh my!  Put five ladies in a room together, add a deck of cards, some poker chips, food, snacks, wine, and dessert [and a charming male who makes intermittent appearances throughout the evening] and you have the recipe for an exceptional evening!

We ate.  We played poker.  We ate again.  We played poker.  We ate again.  We played more poker.  We talked about everything under the sun, laughed at ourselves, discussed work for perhaps 30 seconds, and then went straight into carrying on again.

Did I mention we played poker and ate?

It’s good to get together and get away from the stress of the job, the worries of the family, and just relax and laugh and share…and be with other women who understand that we all need to escape once in a while, let our hair down, and be completely at ease being who we are individually.

The time passed so quickly that evening, but oh my how fun it was to be there in the midst of it all as one of the gals!

Until next time, may you gather your friends together, laugh until the cows come home, and play a little poker!

I Ate Bacon and Eggs at 8 AM by Valerie J. Patterson

On April 15th that was the text my husband sent me.  Never before has such a simple sentence brought forth such varied emotion in me.  I laughed.  I cried.  I rejoiced.  And I gave thanks to my Heavenly Father.

Really?  You might be asking yourself.

Yes.  Really!

You see, he sent me that text two days post colon resection surgery.  March 22nd, Steve had a routine colonoscopy.  When the doctor came to get me in the waiting room, he very gently told me he found a tumor and believed it to be cancerous.  Immediately, my heart broke and I began to cry.  He placed his hands on my shoulders and told me not to cry, that Steve would be all right.  I asked him the survival rate and he replied, “Ninety-nine percent plus the Lord Almighty!”

Instantly, peace filled me and I believed right there that he was telling me the truth.  Steve didn’t know yet.  He was in recovery.  When he went into his room, I went in and as soon as his eyes locked with mine, the tears welled in my eyes.  How could I tell him?  How could I break this news to him?  First I had to calm down.

I drew several deep breaths, stood at his bedside and told him they’d found a tumor, but that he was going to be all right.  Steve’s dad came in and we three talked and tried to laugh.  Finally, the doctor came in and explained in more detail what he found and then he recommended a surgeon, stressing that surgery needed to be sooner rather than later.  And thus began our journey.  This blog article is not about the cancer.  It’s about the courage, the hope, the faith, the power of prayer, and the people placed on our path for this particular journey.

The Surgeon: A humble man who–upon hearing us thank him for his expertise–said, “Thank you, but I am not as good as [the man upstairs].”  When his eyes lifted Heavenward, I smiled because it was proof that God had placed him on our path.  I trusted him at first meeting.  He set us at ease as he explained exactly what would occur as well as the healing process.  He answered our many questions, and he took excellent care of my very best friend, my biggest blessing.  Just before he took Steve into surgery, he squeezed my hand and told me it would be all right.  When he came to get me in the waiting room, our eyes met, and he hit me with an enormous smile.  “It went very well.  Took a little longer than expected, but it went well.  I got everything.”  We are thankful that he is on our path.

The Oncologist:  A very sweet, very intelligent, very knowledgeable, very patient man.  He is perhaps the very first–and only doctor–to ever look at me and ask me what research I had done prior to arriving at his office.  I told him what I had read and he took the time to explain what I’d read, how it applied or didn’t apply to Steve, and then went on to not only explain his course of treatment for Steve, but also the science behind it.  He provided us with literature to back up his plan.  When he explained that Steve would not require chemo or radiation, tears sprang to my eyes because I and so many others were praying for this.  He never missed a beat.  He smiled understandingly before handing me a box of tissues.  Our journey with him has only begun, and yet I am thankful he is walking this path with us.  We’re trusting him with Steve’s health.

The Church:  Our church family has been standing in the gap from the beginning.  When there is an entire body of believers praying, miracles happen.  There is power in prayer.  Every night, Steve and I would hold hands and pray.  When two or more are gathered in His name, He is there in their midst.  There’s power between those two.  Imagine the power of hundreds of people joined in the same prayer!  Steve’s cousin’s church was praying.  Our church was praying.  Family and friends were praying.  I am so very thankful for each individual.  I am in awe of the love shown to us through prayers, cards, lawn mowing, offers of meals, hugs of support, encouraging texts, phone calls.  I cannot begin to show my appreciation.

Our Pastor:  Our pastor was with me at the hospital during the long hours of waiting while Steve was in surgery.  He was there to visit with Steve, to pray with him, to encourage him, and to bolster his faith.  He was in our driveway at the first sign of an emergency that put Steve back in the hospital for an 8-day stay.  He was only a text away.  He and his wife provided me with comfort, hugs, care, love, and encouragement.  They were the source of a smile when I needed it, too.    And their care has not ended.  I do not have words enough to express everything I’m feeling.

Our Family:  The glue that holds us together when we are facing the tough, the difficult, the heartbreaking things that life throws our way.  It’s easy to take family for granted, but truly life is too short to not tell those precious to you that you love them, value them, and appreciate what they bring to your life.

Steve’s journey will be long, but the hardest is behind us.  We are thankful.  We are grateful.  We are fully aware that we are not walking this path alone.  We are rejoicing for blessings small and great.

Like millions of people, I never wanted to hear the “C” word, but now that it’s out there, I’m genuinely thankful for the very special people who are on this journey with us.

I am thankful for proclamations like: “I ate bacon and eggs at 8 AM!”

Life got extreme, and we fell to our knees.

Until next time, may your journey be peaceful and may there be exceptional people walking it with you.

They Found What?!?! by Valerie J. Patterson

Picture it: Monday afternoon, a lovely day for al fresco dining, a pleasant meal, good company, and, well, rodents!

There, I said it.  I didn’t want to say it.  I don’t even want to think about it, but there it is.

Monday, my friend and co-worker, Debbie and I went to a local eatery for lunch.  As soon as we stepped outside the courthouse and into the sunshine we were refreshed and happy to be anywhere but inside.  We walked a few blocks to one of our favorite places–a Mexican restaurant–and were delighted to see new wrought iron tables and chairs and big umbrellas lining the sidewalk.  I looked at Debbie and smiled.

“Shall we eat outside?”

“Absolutely!  It’s gorgeous out here!”

We went inside and informed the host we would have a table outside.  He grinned great big and said we would be their first patrons to use the new tables.

Outside we went.

The sun was shining, the service was excellent, and the food was as tasty as always.  Plus we both tried a new dish.

Then, a few days later a friend texted me and asked, “Hey, did you hear the Mexican place was shut down because of a rodent infestation?”

I thought for certain I was going to lose the dinner I had just finished eating.  I left my kitchen where I was doing the dishes, and sat down on the sofa and gagged!  I texted back that I had not heard that news, and that I was trying to process it without being sick.

How does this happen?  How do you run a restaurant and not know you have a rodent infestation?  How do you not take care of it immediately?  How is it possible that you have to be shut down by a Food Safety Inspector before you deal with it?  How do you continue to serve unsuspecting patrons?

Truth be told, if I frequented the Department of Agriculture’s website and viewed the reports of the restaurants I eat at, I’d never eat out again.  Ever.  I’d brown bag lunches and my freezer would be stocked with meals I had prepared myself.  And let’s be honest, this would be far healthier for me anyway.  Again, let’s also be honest in admitting every now and then we all enjoy a good meal out somewhere.  Who doesn’t want or need a break from the kitchen here and there?  Or to step outside from work occasionally?

I recently read an article that said if you want to know how clean a restaurant’s kitchen is, use the restroom.  If the restroom is not clean, neither is the kitchen. If this is true, then perhaps if I had used the restroom before dining al fresco, I wouldn’t have eaten at that restaurant Monday.  I’ll never know.

What I do know is this: It’ll be a long time before I go there again…if I go there again.  Even though I know it will be up to the standards of the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety when it reopens, I will be remembering that they didn’t care enough for my health as a patron to run a clean kitchen to begin with.  It took me almost 2 years to return to a restaurant that had received a bad report, and they weren’t closed down–for rodents or anything else!

Until next time, may your kitchen pantry always be full of a variety of inviting choices and may the restaurant you choose to eat at be clean and rodent-free!  Maybe check the restroom before you sit down!