Tag Archives: england

Summer Has Finally Come to Oregon

I love my little home, all 888 square feet of it. When you stand in the living room you can pretty much see the whole house. There’s the guest bedroom, there’s my bedroom, there’s the bathroom, there’s the kitchen, and off the kitchen is the laundry room and garage. That’s it, there aint no more.

I started laundry last night and finished it this morning. Then I swept, vacuumed, cleaned the bathroom, rearranged a few things, then ran to the store because I had invited my folks over for veggie burgers. My little home is pretty spotless and uncluttered and I have windows open and fans going. It’s a lovely early summer day. I feel really lucky.

This house is not without its challenges, in particular the mortgage each month, and the overgrown trees and shrubs that need to be taken out or seriously trimmed, but I bought myself a battery powered lawnmower and I “mow my weeds” like a boss. That reminds me, I need to plug that in tonight. The battery weighs more than the mower!

One challenge is telling myself that I don’t have to have the yard perfect in a year, or even five or ten years. I can keep it under control, more or less. But most people can look ahead to a day when they can put money into a long awaited project. I can’t see that happening for me. Except maybe a small project if I get a tax refund. That’s another time when having a life partner can make things easier. You can plan those projects together and make your home your own.

But I looked for so, so many months until I found this place and I know that it was meant for me. The inside was refinished and is almost all new. New kitchen cabinets that silently close. New subway tiles. A decent aggregate type counter top and the vinyl floors in kitchen and bathroom aren’t bad. I don’t like the carpet in the living room and bedrooms, but at least it was new carpet.

I didn’t have to do much — I paid for two new windows in my bedroom because they were the old metal ones and the rest of the house had replacement windows. I bought a used washer and dryer. Then the old fridge that came with the place died and I had to buy a new fridge. I didn’t really mind because the old fridge was the only old thing in the kitchen.

Because I’m a “creative type” I love to set things up to be pleasing to me. Small, uncluttered vignettes that just make me feel good to look at them. I bought a brand new couch and living room chair — had to wait six weeks for it to be made in Portland. It may be the last couch I ever buy. There are certain things I don’t like to cut corners on.

But I can walk around my house and point at all the things I bought at thrift stores, both in the USA and England. I can recall where I bought stuff — I really loved living in England, except for the poverty, mental torture, and missing my family back home. I could have stayed there forever if my ex could have only found a way to make some money.

I could have probably found a job, but I was never there legally. He never had the means to sponsor me.

Ironically, the vicar who married us in London has become an Instagram friend and she’s nearing retirement and has invited me to come to her home anytime. They will be moving to a village not far from Stonehenge. That’s the part of England that Christianity came to very early on. I really hope I can go. I’d rather use a tax return for that trip than take out a tree in my yard. Priorities!

So my parents came and we ate and they left. I washed all the dishes and here I sit. I played some David Bowie and whistled loudly as I washed the dishes, not worrying about what anybody thinks of that.

I’ll get together with them again tomorrow for Father’s Day — I’m making tacos at their house. I bought dad a sweet little yellow bird feeder with seed for small birds. I invited my sister but she hasn’t responded if she can come or not. Don’t get me started on that.

My life is pretty simple. There are few outings. I’d like to do more, but I’m such an introvert and I am pretty socially awkward. It’s a good thing that I just love being in my home, puttering around, or watching something on Netflix and I’m comfortable just being alone. When the clock hits 9:30 or so, I brush my teeth and go to bed. I know, I’m a wild woman.

But I’m pretty contented and it’s all mine.



Just Hold On

I really do embarrass myself when I get so down that I can’t see the bigger picture like most grownups seem able to do. Then I remind myself that I have not had an easy go of it and try to cut myself some slack.

I’m a little damaged. I’m wound too tight. I expect too much from myself. I’ve made a few (many) wrong turns and I’m in a precarious place at nearly 59 years old. When I compare myself to my mythical peers then I think surely I am a failure. I have no partner, no home of my own, no plans to retire any time soon.

But you know it’s all relative, isn’t it? Yes, it is.

I’m relatively healthy. I managed to get a job (at 58) that I truly love, with people I love and admire. My only regret there is that I didn’t find this job 20 years ago. My young co-workers seem to like me. They invite me to stuff and sometimes I say yes. They’re amazing young women.

I’ve repaired my credit score after cheater-ex left me bankrupt. I’ve saved a significant amount of money for a down payment. And I’m poised to buy a very modest house this summer or fall if I’m able to find one I think I can afford.

My relationship with my parents is as good as it’s ever been. We’ve forgiven each other for our youthful mistakes and are making the best of it. I’m grateful for this time I have with them.

I’m not a lush. I don’t hang out at bars. I’m not registered on any dating sites. I’m just living day by day and getting the swing of things and learning that I actually, for the most part, like myself. I’m comfortable in my own skin. I can entertain myself.

I have attainable dreams that make me feel excited about being in my very own home such as getting back to painting. Listening to Bach (loud). Having a treadmill in the living room. Cooking for myself. I’ve never lived alone. I’m excited and scared.

I returned to God and to church, having left it when I was 12 or so years old. When I take the time to remember God, I find him loving and reassuring. It’s my job to try to remember him more often. He’s not a habit for me yet. But when I think of him, I feel that he is there for me, waiting patiently as he has all those years we were apart.

We should really never compare ourselves to someone else — there’s simply no point to it. Comparing myself to school chums who didn’t marry four times and stayed in one home is pointless. My life has been sort of a mess, but which part would I skip next time? Which part would I erase if I had that ability? Very little of it. Apparently I needed the excitement.

Even the eight years I spent with my cheater ex would be hard to give up. It allowed me to live in the outskirts of London, yes, in poverty and despair at times, but being there enriched me beyond measure. I have found that I’m an insatiable Anglophile who goes out of her way to watch British television illegally and watches a documentary about English history every night at bedtime. Something about England clicked with me and it’s now part of who I am at my core. I count the days until I can go back on my own terms and experience it anew.

I’m weird. I spend a lot of money on the few pairs of shoes I own, but very little money on clothes, hair, or make-up. I have no home of my own nor many friends, but I recently purchased eight gorgeous champagne glasses (made in France, of course) at a charity shop and I find it a little hilarious that I would ever have occasion to use them. And I would not have bought them if I didn’t know where they were made. I’m incredibly snooty about certain things. It’s weird. I’m weird. And I’m finding that people don’t mind me for it.

I did see my therapist last week and immediately felt better because she looked at me and more or less said, “Whoa, back up. You’re not seeing yourself as you really are.” And she’s right, I wasn’t. I do that sometimes. More often than I’d like to admit.

So I have made five other appointments with her, one every other week. And I will work on my work/life balance and cutting myself some slack over the fact that I can’t keep up with all the extra responsibilities they’ve given me at work. I will keep my eye on the fact that I will have a raise and a change of position in July.

I may not be able to get out my floor easel and work on large paintings, but I can get out my watercolor pencils and have some fun on a smaller scale.

I can ask my parents if they’d mind if I bought a treadmill and kept it on their patio until I move. I think I’d use it and it’d be good for me. I need it desperately.

I can make an attempt to get out into the beautiful nature that is not far from me here in the Pacific Northwest. A MeetUp hike, for example, or a photography group. I know for a fact that nature makes me feel more calm.

For all of next week I’ll be out of town for a conference for work. I’m so grateful that they decided it would be worthwhile for me to go — it’s another sign that they value me. I’m going to really enjoy being out of the office and I now have very few outward signs that I was sick for the last 5 or 6 weeks.

I just needed to hold on and know that I would get better. Tomorrow I’m going to church for the first time in many weeks. I’ll light a candle to acknowledge that I still have so much to be grateful for.

And the people who read and/or comment on this simple blog are among the things I’m thankful for.

My cheater ex just hated this song, so I’m happy to include it here: