The Friday Five ~ September 22nd

The Friday FiveAnother week has gone by. I made it! I did not just survive it, I reveled in all I got done. It wasn’t just a good week. It was a great one! Here’s what’s been happening.

  1. I now have two new toilets, two new shower heads, and a new kitchen sprayer/faucet. I have wanted to do this for a while, but Jack always found excuses. But like any depression-era kid, he was pretty used to his folks saying it was fine just the way it was. In any case, it is nice to have these new items! Positive #1.
  2. I got a quote from a carpenter to repair the trim on the house. Yay! I am so happy about this. Positive #2.
  3. I went out three times for a meal. Once to Hart’s Turkey Farm, Vida Mexican. It was a great Taco salad.

    And the other at George’s Diner. Poor Harts.


    A very drunk driver went right into the front of the building. Luckily, no one was seriously injured. It was all pleasant and nice to be out. I learned to eat alone and played with my cell phone while I ate. Positive #3.

  4. I got three loads of laundry washed, dried, and put away. And the dishes made it into the dishwasher. Positive #4.
  5. After dying slow deaths, the replacements for my blowdryer and electric toothbrush arrived. Just in the nick of time! Positive #5

So, that’s the list for this week. Have a great weekend, everyone!


It’s All About…Finding Your Way

Dog Pablo Picasso
It’s all about…finding your way.

I’ve been part of a couple for a very long time. Even before Jack (35 years!) I was married for 11 years to my former husband. Quite honestly, before that, I lived at home as a teenager. So, I never really had a solo identity. Now, I am suddenly with no other halves or close family. (All at a distance)

The other day, I was walking around the grocery store and didn’t see anyone I knew. I walked around, and part of me felt invisible.

During the last few years of Jack’s illness, I did not go out much. I was on-call 24/7 as his nurse and wife. The last six months especially.

There is no right or wrong here. Jack needed the care, and he wanted to be home. Long ago, I had promised that, if possible, I would keep him at home. I did it. Despite how difficult it was in the end, I feel good that it was one promise I could keep.

So, I am trying to get the improvements made on the house and slowly make it my own.

The important thing is to keep moving and keep living. Make a new life for myself.

I know there is a place for me in this crazy, mixed-up world. I need to find it.


The Friday Five ~ September 15th

The Friday FiveThis week seemed to go on forever. I tried valiantly to stay on top of everything, but unfortunately, I failed. So here goes the crazy week that was.

  1. First thing Monday morning, I was off to the Social Security office. The clerks there are very friendly and helpful. I fear the people operating the computers on the other end messed it all up. This was my third trip there; I hope it will be the last.
  2. When I saw my dentist last week to have my stitches removed, they asked about my insurance. I told them that it should be okay now. Ha! I called Delta, and my insurance is all screwed up, despite paying the Cobra amount for myself. They also took a full payment in August for our joint healthcare, and let’s face it, in August, Jack had ceased to have any health at all.
  3. I am fighting it all. Social Security and health insurance that I know I have. It all just needs to be fixed. I am feeling overwhelmed by all of this though. I stopped by the cemetery, walked over to Jack’s grave, and sobbed. I also yelled at him.
  4. This is something that has surprised me. I miss him, I’m grieving, but I am so angry at him. I know that makes no sense at all, but I am. But since he left it’s all been so hard.
  5. Today my plumber arrives to install some new things. After 23 years, a few things needed to be replaced. Call me happy!

So that’s it. I hope everyone stays safe as Hurricane Lee approaches. I am far enough inland, so all I expect is rain.



We can all tell you where we were and what we were doing on that fateful day in September.

September 11, 2001

It was a beautiful day here in New Hampshire. Sunny, bright, clear with blue skies. I was showering and getting ready for a dental appointment while Jack was shingling the house. It was a day like any other here.

Jack had the TV in our bedroom pointed out the window so he could listen to the morning news.

Suddenly, I felt a hand on my arm and Jack told me I had to get out of the shower now; something was happening. I was a little dazed and confused. I shut the water in the shower off and grabbed my towel.


Jack and I watched Fox News, ABC, and CNN in our family room. A plane had hit one of the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center in downtown New York City. Jack, as a former Airline Pilot knew immediately, that it was no accident.



While we watched, suddenly another plane came in and hit the other Tower!
We were both in shock. We listened to reports. No one was saying terrorism, not at first. But both Jack and I knew.


I look at this picture, and I know that none of those innocent people got out alive. That thought brings me to tears each time I see it.

We watched the Towers come down, one and then the other. We knew people had died. We just didn’t know how many.

At 12:30 I drove to my dental appointment. There was not another car on the road. Not one. I got to my dental appointment and found that I was the only patient that hadn’t canceled that day.

When I got home, we watched TV all day. I called my family and my close friends. Just to hear their voices.

It doesn’t matter your political affiliations or how you feel about war. What matters is on September 11, 2001, innocent people died in New York City, In Washington, DC, and in Shanksville, PA.

People like you and like me. Just because. That day I learned that we are no longer safe here at home.


I also learned that when our country is attacked in such a manner, we pull together and unify.

God Bless all who lost their lives that day, to their families, who will never be the same, and all who serve this country each and every day to protect and defend us.

September 11, 2001: Basic Facts

8:46 AM Plane crashes into the north tower of the World Trade Center.
9:03 AM Plane crashes into the south tower of the World Trade Center.
9:17 AM The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) shuts down all New York City area airports.
9:21 AM The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) halts all flights at U.S. airports. It is the first
time in history that air traffic has been halted nationwide.
9:38 AM Plane crashes into the Pentagon. Evacuation begins immediately.
9:45 AM The White House evacuates.
10:05 AM The south tower of the World Trade Center collapses.
10:10 AM A portion of the Pentagon collapses.
10:10 AM Plane crashes in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
10:22 AM The State and Justice Departments, as well as the World Bank, are evacuated.
10:28 AM The World Trade Center’s north tower collapses.
10:45 AM All federal office buildings in Washington, D.C. are evacuated.
1:44 PM Five warships and two aircraft carriers are ordered to leave the U.S. Naval Station
in Norfolk, Virginia to protect the East Coast.
4:10 PM Building 7 of the World Trade Center collapses.

The Flights
American Airlines Flight 11
From: Boston, Massachusetts (Logan Airport)
To: Los Angeles, California
Lives: 92 people on board
Crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 AM

United Airlines Flight 175
From: Boston, Massachusetts (Logan Airport)
To: Los Angeles, California
Lives: 65 people on board
Crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center at 9:03 AM

American Airlines Flight 77
From: Washington, D.C. (Dulles Airport)
To: Los Angeles, CA
Lives: 64 people on board
Crashed into the Pentagon at 9:38 AM

United Airlines Flight 93
From: Newark, New Jersey
To: San Francisco, California
Lives: 44 people on board
Crashed into rural Pennsylvania (southeast of Pittsburgh)

Victims came from more than 90 countries around the world.
The following are the number of people who died at each site:

World Trade Center 2,823 (includes airline passengers)
Pentagon 125 (not including plane victims)
Flight 11 – 92 people on board
Flight 175 – 64 people on board
Flight 77 – 64 people on board
Flight 93 – 44 people on board

The initial numbers are indelible: 8:46 a.m. and 9:02 a.m, the times the Towers were hit. Time the burning towers stood: 56 minutes and 102 minutes. The time they took to fall was 12 seconds. From there, they ripple out.

That day, these first responders also died as they raced to the scene trying to save anyone they could.

343 Firefighters (including a chaplain and two paramedics) of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY)
37 Police Officers of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department (PAPD)
23 Police Officers of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and 8 Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics from private emergency medical services.
1 Patrolman from the New York Fire Patrol

Fact Sheet
U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC
August 15, 2002


The Friday Five ~ September 8th

The Friday FiveThis week, I have been so busy. More paperwork, trips to Concord and Manchester, New Hampshire, and to the shipping store to send off documents overnight. Whew. So, here is what happened this week.

  1. On Tuesday, on my way home from Manchester, I stopped in Boscowen, NH, at the Veteran’s Cemetary. I received a phone call from the office informing me that Jack’s headstone had been set. They told me the lot number, row number, and space number. Another funeral was going on in Jack’s section, so I sat and waited. Then, I walked over to his section. I started to count rows and then laughed. I did not need to count.2023-09-05_12-30-22

    I looked up and allowed myself to look for the German Shepherd head I’d put at the top of the stone. It took me ten seconds to find it.

  2. I walked over and glanced down. I stroked the stone, which was smooth and beautifully engraved.2023-09-05_12-32-06

    I think it is something he would have liked. I have no idea about this, as he told me where he wanted to be but not what he wanted on this stone. Jack got his first German Shepherd when he and his first wife got married, and he reported to flight school. That female had a litter of pups, and a beautiful white pup was in this litter—the first of many White Shepherds in his life. Hulda was the love of his life, and it seemed right that this German Shepherd mark his resting place.

  3. Many people gave me a hard time about getting a black car. But here’s the deal. My “black car has silver and blue sparkles in the paint, and the rugs and black rubber mats are all an upgrade. It is beautiful!
  4. Flash forward to today. A friend helped me load up the car to bring my TVs, Monitors, and Printers to be recycled. I brought them in, paid my fee, and decided to see the plumbers to speak to them about a few things. I noticed dirt/ink/something not good on my hand. I went to the Highlander and glanced at where the printer had been on the third-seat floor mat. There was a puddle of black ink. I returned, got more paper towels to sop it up, and then went home.
  5. I parked my beautiful car away from the house. Then, carefully, I rolled the mat up and removed it. I brought the mat down the little hill away from the car, used a cleaner, and washed it off. Black Matt, Black Ink. And none of it got on my car. Yay! I swear to God, I would love to get plastic to cover everything and bubble wrap for the car. I guess we all have disasters that befall our cars. This was the first and, I hope, the last…for a while.


The Friday Five ~ September 1st

PA090005And just like that, the summer is over, cooler temperatures have started, and some trees have begun to turn. This is a picture I took several years ago, and that one red tree in the picture has started to change color. Autumn is upon us as we head into the home stretch of another year. So, as we start the month of September, here are my thoughts.

  1. I received two letters from Social Security, both denying me any payments. I called Social Security (I waited for one and a half hours on hold.) and finally spoke to a very kind and competent woman. She advised me to get all my certificates and two photo IDs and get to my nearest Social Security Office in person.
  2. The next day, I drove through a pouring rain storm and got to the Social Security Office early. Once again, I was fortunate to get a kind and intelligent young woman. She got my social security number and reviewed the paperwork and my ID. Apparently, they marked Jack dead and me as well.
  3. This made me think of Mark Twain’s famous quote when responding to press claims that he was apparently on his deathbed: “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” And so it is with me. If I am lucky, this appointment will resolve the problem.
  4. I’ve been watching a great series. All are tied together because the people involved are members of the Dutton Family. I started with 1883, then onto 1923, and now is the show that started it all “Yellowstone.” The first two are streaming on Paramount-Plus, and Yellowstone is being shown on Peacock and Paramount Network. It’s all so well written and acted.
  5. I am happily watching the US Open Tennis tournament. I was never good at playing tennis, but I love watching it. It brings back memories of watching tennis on PBS, in black and white, with my Uncle George.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!


And Just Like That…

Your life changes.

Monday was a good day. I accomplished a lot, even if my hounds only allowed me 4 to 5 hours of sleep. Here’s hoping they allow me to get more tonight.

I had an appointment with our Dermatologist. I’d printed up Jack’s obituary and photo to bring with me. As soon as he came in, he asked me where my partner in crime was.

Those times are always a little tough for me. People are so kind, and I work hard not to break down and cry.

This is a new part of my life. Being a Widow is quite odd. While you are married (or sharing life), you share things with each other. There were times Jack drove me up the wall, but at the end of the day, and during my hard times, he tried to be there.

I would not have wished the last six months of Jack’s life on anyone. He suffered so much.

What I did not know then, but I do now, was that Jack was in the last phase of his life. The Hospice Nurse who wrote this small book I read calls it active dying. As I read the book, I could see all of Jack’s symptoms in his last six months on the pages.

I’m at peace with this now. I find this home we built together devoid of his presence. And I am trying to make it my own.

If people call and ask me out, I go. If I am invited to dinner, I go. And last weekend, I even went to a Craft Fair.

I’m alive and working my way back to the land of the living. I even took my car out to drive and learn more about her.


The Friday Five Plus One ~ August 25th

The Friday FiveThis is the last Friday Five of August.  I’ve been feeling entirely lost, but my sister, and especially my brother-in-law, came up and took charge. They helped me go through bookcases and piles of junk, and we filled a huge dumpster, and the house was starting to feel open and lighter. We also brought six large bags of clothing to a charity shop. Here are some of the highlights.

  1. A few weeks back, I ordered a new car. Jack and I had been talking about it, and my new beauty arrived. I got a 2023 Toyota Highlander XLE.a2566a13-73b6-487e-b756-7c5a5c02d4ce She is black with a black interior, a backup camera, and all the bells and whistles. She drives beautifully, and best of all, I got a great trade-in for my old Highlander.
  2. My sister and brother-in-law leave today. They have things going for a few weeks but will be back in October.370031767_10161207672571499_3234463726634511189_n

    I am so blessed to have them. Thank you!

  3. The phrase “No, don’t throw that away! You might need to use that before you die!” is no longer to be used in this house! Ron had me memorize “Throw, Sell, or Keep.”  I also asked myself if this item brought me joy. I threw out a lot!
  4. Some Foxes and Kits have been visiting our yard. Oh, what fun it is to watch them play! I took this picture of one of them.369730574_10161208633771499_7972553987286004413_n

    Probably the best one ever!

  5. We worked hard all day. So, at night, we did our evening meals out. We had Turkey and Lobster, and tonight was actually breakfast for dinner—an all-time favorite of mine.
  6. It’s been wonderful that Heidi is crate trained. In fact, she likes to go in there and sleep. Since Jack passed, there have been days when I have needed to protect her from my crazy German Shepherd! It’s been good. If I had one thing to tell the new puppy owner, is this: Crate train your puppy. You never know when you might need this!

The Friday Five Plus 1 ~ August 18th

The Friday FiveWell, here we are. Another week has passed, and this was a tough week for me. Ah, but like any good New Englander, I soldiered on…

  1. On Monday, I got some help from Elena filling out various documents. This was easy, as Elena is so pleasant to work with.
  2. Then came Tuesday. I had been told I would meet with someone who would help me fill out all of the VA documents. This was not exactly the case. Each time I began to ask a question, he would cut me off. He also started throwing papers on the floor, and after 55 minutes, he announced that he had only scheduled 45 minutes for me, and I had already used 55 minutes! Did I feel bullied? Yes. Did I feel intimidated? Yes. It was not good!
  3. Wednesday, I attempted to get things done, but I failed. I just wanted to crawl into a corner and hide.
  4. Thursday, I went out to our local farm for vegetables. I stopped in and got the mail, and when I arrived home, I started working on some paperwork. I needed to find some dates for documents, and it took me a long time to find them. Eventually, I did. Whew!
  5. Lastly, I needed to find the Title of my Highlander. Usually, we have kept them in the file “Auto Titles,” but it was not there! I searched and searched, and I decided to look into the glove compartment. Yes, there it was!

+1 Today, I have dental surgery. I’m not sure exactly what they will do, but I have a feeling it will be painful.

So there we are. My car is due to arrive soon. I hope my dental work won’t be too expensive and will not hurt too much!

Have a great weekend!


The Friday Five ~ August 11th

The Friday FiveI had hoped to have more downtime this week, but it didn’t happen. Oh well, here is this week’s Friday Five.

  1. My face began to swell over the weekend, on the side of my face where the lousy tooth is. It was then I started to panic.  I got in first thing on Monday morning; sure enough, it is infected.
  2. Next week I go in for dental surgery. I blame my mother for this. Although she was good in so many ways, dental care was not one of them.
  3. The “Oh, so simple” signing up for Medicare and Social Security was not so simple. So I gathered all my documents and headed to the nearest Social Security Office, where I got both done in less than an hour.
  4. Next week is a crazy week. The biggest pain is I have an appointment with the VA to fill in a 40-page document so that I will receive my Widows Pension. The thing that frustrates me the most is that they already have this information.
  5. Lastly, as I have thought about Jack’s passing, I realize that there were several phases of his life with me.Wedding

    The first was when we were both younger, healthy, and running mini-road races. We did so much, and we traveled the world. Life was one big adventure. That’s the Jack I am missing. That’s the Jack I wish would saunter in the door with stories about his flight patterns and jokes he’d heard along the way. That’s the Jack of my heart.