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Tuesday, June 27, 2017



My goal when I turn 70.
The fabulous Helen Mirren reminds me it's not over it's just beginning.
It's time for a new look on this blog. I've been fragmented for too many years, trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up (career behind me but life ahead) and kept a blog for each of my passions. I've confused myself.

CONSOLIDATE.  My new word.

I'm sharing it all here and in celebration, changing the look of my blog. I started writing at sixty when my husband passed away. That was nine years ago. Things change. People change. Dreams change. Health changes. At sixty-eight, soon to be sixty-nine, I've changed.

Confessions of the Unfaithful Widow blog is the blog that started it all so it seems the best blog to keep track of what life offers now.

It's not always easy living on your own as you get older. Fear can creep in and the what ifs are scary. A health crisis last year left me feeling vulnerable. So I put on my big girl panties (don't ask the size) and moved to the house of my dreams in a small town an hour away from my friends in Decatur. Now I see cows and chickens and goats and horses in any direction I head. Yet it is quite civilized here. A change to kick-start a new outlook.

The only real difference now, I will share all my thoughts on one blog. Maybe you will join me. My love of  writing, dogs, antiques, books, decorating, farmhouses, cottages, and sometimes men, hasn't changed. It's just pulled together here.

CONSOLIDATE. A new word for me!

Hugs from my cottage home in lovely Social Circle, Georgia!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Wrong Turn

There may be a GPS in my future. I have been fighting getting one. But today made me think strongly it is time. With Amazon Prime it will be here in two days. Once again, I got lost on my way to someplace really great. I did MapQuest the directions. I don't know if it is just my experience, or a flaw in MapQuest. There is always one missing street, the essential street that gets me on the final leg of the journey. The street that is on my printed instructions, is nowhere to be found on a sign on the road.

And when that happens, I panic. All common sense is gone. My vision blurs. I get a headache. I know I will never get to my destination. But some little voice says maybe. So I drive in any direction my lack of direction takes me. If I am in town it is unpleasant, but eventually I will find my way. Driving in the country (rural farm land) is a totally different experience. If I get lost, even AAA won't find me.

Perhaps my first error today had to do with the fact I avoid getting on major expressways if there is another kinder, gentler way to go. I might have found the coffee house on the east side of Athens had I taken a more direct route, using a highway.  Instead I took the road less traveled. Winding country roads where for miles I only saw farmhouses tucked far back from the road, surrounded by acres of land, and white fences. Or expanses of nothing except pastures. I passed towns I had wanted to visit when I still lived in metro Atlanta and dreamed of moving to a rural area. Good Hope, Bishop, North High Shoals, but not necessarily in that order (after all, I had no idea where I was). I landed in Watkinsville just as my instructions told me. If I could have patted myself on the back, I would have. But one hand was on the steering wheel, the other holding the printed words, my lifeline to the writing group. Almost there with thirty minutes to spare I felt secure I had made the right decision with the route I chose.

I drove past the delightful main street reminding myself I should come back when I could stay. Before I realized I was through town and heading on an expressway to Athens, yes, but not the side of Athens where I needed to be, and certainly not any place on my sheet of streets to follow.  So, I decided to turn around and go back to Watkinsville. How hard could it be to find the street, just before the church, to point me in the right direction? Not hard. Impossible. The street on the paper did not have a sign on the road.  I did what any idiot in a panic would do. I turned onto a street by a church thinking it might work. After all, a church was on my directions from MapQuest. Ten miles later on another country road I saw a sign for the Athens airport. This could not be right, I told myself, and turned around, backtracking back to Watkinsville. In my case today, I could honestly say all roads lead to Watkinsville.

I did what every man I ever knew when I was younger did. Refused to stop for directions. I saw several places I could have, should have, but did not pull in to ask for help. Back before there was the GPS and in the dark ages when there were paper maps, my husband would get lost and ask me to check the map. I was the designated navigator (by him, not by choice). "I don't read maps," I had to remind him. "Why don't you stop at that gas station and ask directions?" We were at an impasse. I would not read the map, he would not stop for help. Once the conversation got so heated, I jumped out of the car, and he drove off, leaving me stranded on the road. No cell phone, and at the time, I was an inside the perimeter gal. None of my friends would have come outside I-285 (the beltway around Atlanta) to pick me up. He came back within minutes. My hot temper cooled. We had a laugh and somehow got to our destination. I did learn never to jump out of a moving car again, unless I knew where I landed.

My answer to today's situation was simple. I grabbed my cell, pulled up the meet-up group web page, and left an apology in the comment section of the days event I would not be there. I was lost. Then I circled around Watkinsville one last time, heading in the direction I knew would get me home.

I did make a stop at a charming antique/junk shop that sprawled along the country road, a sign "painted furniture" drew me in. My head ached from the stress of driving and worry I might never be found if I got too deeply embedded on one of those long winding roads with nary a sign of humanity.

As soon as I walked in the door all tension left my body. So much stuff to look at. I spent the next hour talking to the owner, shifting through piles of books, china, quilts, and artwork.

Shopping. Antiques. The cure for what ails me. An unexpected adventure, just the kind I can handle. I left with two books, and original drawing of a lady sitting at a café in Paris (not that you can tell, she is a large scribble, but so whimsical I had to have her) and a set of hobnail glasses. I made a new friend with the owner. She will see me again of that I am certain. After all, the writing group meets again next month, and I will pass by on my way to Athens, my new GPS leading me in the right direction.

Or Not.

If I procrastinate like I usually do, I won't have a GPS. But you can bet, I will find my way next time.


Monday, June 19, 2017

Moving On

If you know me, you know how much I love houses. I've talked and written about my desire to sell the home I shared with my husband for so many years and find a cottage of my own.  A place to  jump start my life once again and get my creative juices flowing.  Part of that journey is captured on another blog The Cottage In My Mind.  When I wrote my widow memoir, I was still so happy in my house. So many good things came in the following years. But I knew if I stayed in my home of thirty years my life would still be good, but it would never be different. I felt change had stopped and I needed to kick start myself again.

This year I moved on. The universe and the man above took me an hour outside of Atlanta to a charming small, slightly rural, town where I now reside with my pack of hounds in a wonderful 1906 Historic cottage.

The biggest adjustment for me? There is no pizza delivery here. No delivery of any kind of food. I am the gal that doesn't cook and ordered dinner through Grub Hub so I could stay in on a rainy night or groceries from Instacart when I was too darn lazy to get in my car and buy dog food.  I am learning to plan ahead. My little town does have a grocery store, but they don't carry my brand of dog food. When you run out of kibble and have five dogs staring you down at dinner time you learn to get organized quickly.

I am fifteen minutes in any direction from lots of shopping, but I see pastures of cows and horses on my drive. I am only an hour away from my friends in Decatur so we still have dinners out. I like to go visit Decatur, but my heart and home are now here in Social Circle. My friends like to come and shop the great antique shops in the surrounding towns.

My farm fantasy is well fed. I landed here in the middle of a chicken war, where folks were campaigning to change the city ordinance to allow backyard chickens. The ordinance changed and, gee, I could have six chickens in my yard if I were a crazy lady who wanted to have five dogs in an uproar. Won't have chickens, or goats, or sheep, or horses on my property, but I see them everywhere I drive.

I think the most amazing thing is at 68 years of age I made a major move to my dream house. I didn't go to a condo. I didn't downsize because I am getting older. For some folks that is what they want. And we all need to do what we want, especially at this age. Smaller was never in my vocabulary. I am an antique furniture freak. I have a passion for old cupboards, farm tables, artwork, and never plan to give up the things I love, the way of life I have made for myself, until they put my ashes in a lovely vintage urn. Then come to the biggest estate sale my friends will conduct.

My one concession, all my rooms had to be on one floor. Gone are the days I want to climb stairs, my hip surgeries brought that message home. In reality, my dogs can't go up stairs either. The short legged hounds couldn't get to a bedroom on another floor, and we all sleep together, all the time.

I look at my cottage in awe. Eleven foot ceilings with amazing deep crown molding. A center hallway that holds more furniture than any room in my old house. The previous owner renovated this cottage so beautifully with an attention to detail that is beyond what I would have done. My hard work was hiring someone to paint all the walls white. The house sparkles in the sunlight.

The dogs love the yard. I did put up a privacy fence to keep them contained and well, private. What they don't see they don't bark at. The yard, as I look out my kitchen window, is beautiful. Flowers keep blooming. Lots of roses by the little white shed and herbs down the driveway. A huge front porch begs for friends to visit and share stories over wine.

The last twelve months were difficult. My hip surgeries, the loss of my mother, selling my house in Florida that she lived in, and finally selling my house that was the home I shared with my husband when he was alive. Letting go of so much to move on. I still have difficulty walking, but I managed to keep moving forward.

My hip surgeries scared me. Living by myself with all my dogs a constant fear nagged at me. What if something else happened? If I stayed in my old house I had the comfort of the closeness of friends and all that was familiar. I lived next door to a hospital. When my husband died, I felt sorrow, but I had my health and could run from my fears. When my health became an issue I was vulnerable. I couldn't run away from myself, I could barely move on a walker at first. In a new town I would be totally on my own.

I had to make this move. Letting fear rule was not my style. If not now, when? After all, I am not getting any younger.

The timing was perfect. My house sold the same day I listed it. I put an offer in on this cottage the next day. Thirty days later we sat at a closing table. I sold my house in the morning and purchased my new home at lunch. I had thirty days to get my act together and move.

The "cottage in my mind" is now my reality. Yes, I am getting older, but I am living on my own terms again. The move proved what I knew in my heart. With faith and courage anything is possible.


 The little house in my back yard. Plan A is to make it a studio.
Plan B is to keep it for storage of all the furniture I am still buying.