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I have been away for just over a week, I flew out to Broken Hill as the distance is too great to drive alone.  I stayed with one son and together we drove for seven hours to visit my other son and his family.  This is the only way I have managed to do that trip. I stayed with my younger son at a time when he had his daughter on access, we had a few fun days and then she got sick and we had two unhappy days with her.  That is life when you have a pre-schooler and he always says he loves her anyway.  I do too.  It was sad to see her so down and droopy but some antibiotics and a few days of rest and she was over it when she came back to her Dad again so I saw her happy again and she was well when I left there.

I love the silence of the outback town my younger son lives in, the noises are the noises of my youth, a dog barking, a plane flying overhead, children shouting as they play outdoor games.  My small grand daughter plays soccer ( the round ball game) and it was fun watching her try to kick the ball at her Saturday "game", her team is an under-7s team, aged five to seven,  and so had children large and small chasing up and down the field without a clue really as to what they were supposed to do.  At the end of the game each coach picks a "special person" for a certificate and as it is shared around everyone gets one in the end. She had one a few weeks ago and told me she is the "best girl in the whole world".  Ah to be young again and that full of confidence.

In small country towns the traffic noises are minimal. There is parking wherever you want to park and the shops are not crowded.  The shopkeepers all have time for a little talk.  This visit we went to some of the Art Galleries and I just loved the paintings with the sky influencing the light and a minimal approach to the surrounding landscape. As it is an outback town there are many people who are retired or semi-retired as there are cheap houses but unfortunately there is little work locally. Some love to paint the rugged scenery and the rolling red dust affected hills so plenty of art to ponder on. Some famous Australian artists have also settled there, or visit there often. I just love it as a slower paced place to live but the cold in winter and the extreme heat in summer can make for difficult conditions and some people cannot take the dust storms so the population stays low. 

My older son lives in a city on the coast so it is certainly a contrast.  The traffic is very noisy and the manners of the drivers sometimes leave a lot to be desired but we enjoyed the visit.  My three grandchildren love their Uncle and tolerate their grandmother so lots of positive interaction.  It makes such a difference to me when I am able to spend some time with my family. Older son's partner had a slight stroke in January so she and I did talk a good deal about that.  As a long term caregiver for someone who had multiple strokes I find I have to soft pedal a bit on the less happy times in my former life as Ray's carer but she seemed to appreciate some of the input.  We had a great day out on the Sunday and it was good to see my grandkids enjoying themselves.  I wish we all lived closer together but we don't so we have to make the most of those times we can be together.

It is always hard coming home to an empty house but I have a busy week ahead of me so shouldn't be too bad this time.  I am hoping this will have picked up my mood and as the days are getting longer and the temperature rising again I should be okay.  I always find winter hard to get through and this year has been no exception. I did enjoy the sunshine in the outback, here on the coast we have a lot more overcast days and that is a problem as it keeps people inside and seems to make me feel more isolated. I need to get ready for Spring so maybe I will start Spring cleaning and that will fill in some time. Of course there are always times when I am away when I desperately wish Ray was there with me, I am sure my small grand daughter would have loved her Pa and learned to twist him around her little finger as she does her Dad.

I did a lot of thinking while I was away about again making an effort to make my home more my own.  It is still in my mind the home of Ray and Sue as it was for forty four years.  Hard to put that behind me even now after nearly five years. Of course I have made some small changes but still on the whole it is the same house.  Time to look at changes I need to make now again.  It is hard to even to think of  taking some of the furniture away and replacing it with some more suitable to my shorter stature. It seems as if when I move furniture around it somehow alters the balance of the house and mostly I move it back into it's original position again.  I don't know whether others feel the same way or if it is just me.

As it is the last month of winter and the days are slowly getting longer I should be able to get the garden back in shape again with some effort.  It is mostly in pots so easy to move around into a slightly different configuration. I find working the soil suits me as I come from a long line of agricultural laborers one of whom ended up in Utah in the 1880s so that is a part of my heritage. Working outside is also good as it gives me a feeling of being surrounded by nature, hearing birds close by, audible even over the traffic noises. We do need rain though as July was one of the driest for a while and so hand watering is essential.  That gives me plenty to do though and being a dry year makes it easier in a way as the pots are less heavy to move. Hoping that means a nicer look to the garden too.


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Comment by Steve on August 5, 2017 at 5:19am
Hi Sue, you are so welcome, and I thank you again too! Yes our "official" seasons are spring is March through May, summer is June through August, fall is September thru November, winter is December thru February. I remember as a younger child, you could pretty much set your clock, by the reliability of seasons. Now, you can't here. In Southern California anyway, we pretty much have Summer from May thru November. Last year its was in High 90s just before Thanksgiving. As i mentioned before, we really don't have a winter here, winter just means cooler temps in the 50s, to 70s, on very rare occasions, we may go down into 30s at night. We do have some beautiful mountain ranges where it is high enough to snow, so we will go up there, 1-2 times a year during snow on the ground just to experience it. Both Chris and I love snow, and colder temps, so it's fun to go up to mountains.
I so agree with you about WV, I'm so grateful to this site and the people here. I found WV about 18 months after Mike passed and it was a tremendous, warm light for me in the dark every day since. Please take care, hugs to you. Steve
Comment by only1sue on August 5, 2017 at 4:31am

Steve, I have some trouble  comparing your summer to my winter too. For me the beauty of this site is that we all understand grief, we all understand the struggle to survive as a person who has lost their partner and we can all help each other to rebuild our lives and go on as a person alone. I'm glad you found someone new to make a life with, that hasn't happened to me but I can still be happy for others who is has happened to.  I think your weather in San Diego is similar to ours except for the reversing of seasons.  Thanks for your response.

Comment by Steve on August 3, 2017 at 5:40am
Hi Sue, thanks for your posts, I enjoy reading them. Im in San Diego, Ca and its so fun to me hearing about life in another country so far away. It always surprises me when I hear that seasons are different in other parts of the world, we are in mid summer here, our fall weather usually starts in late October here. We don't have a winter here, snow doesn't happen, except in the mountains, we were so fortunate to get a bunch of rain last "winter" we had been in a very long droubt for years. I relate to your posts, I was partnered for over 30 yrs to a wonderful man who was my best friend and great love. Im 8.5 years out from his passing, and still struggle with this new life. We never adopted children, but I'm still very close with his sister. We live 2000 miles apart so our relationship is mainly by phone and text, but, Im grateful we still have each other. I repartnered in my 4th year to a wonderful guy, its really tough at times our relationship as he is 20 + years my junior and I'm his first serious committed relationship, but he is a great guy, love him very much and we both try hard to learn about each other and i try to remain patient with our challenges. But we have great fun, laugh so hard and he has been wonderful in bringing some joy back into my life. Im very grateful for the years I spent with my first partner, still love him and miss him so much, but I try to make the best of my new life. 6 months after Mike passed, from cancer, my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and with my mother being an MS patient, i had to take over their lives and care for them both. Dad passed in 2016, but I still have my mother living with us, continue to care for her. Life definitely has its big challenges, but I do my best to keep gratitude in my heart, and have faith Im doing the right things. Take care, hugs, Steve
Comment by Callie2 on August 2, 2017 at 12:19pm
Glad you had opportunity to see your family and get away for a bit! I guess you will see spring as we see fall in the northern hemisphere. Our daylight is noticibly diminishing now, by October it really begins to affect my mood though I do love the fall!

I enjoy working outside too, I lose all sense of time. I play my music which puts me in a good mood, I even sing at times not caring who hears me, ha-ha! Our summer has been hot but typical, no 100 days so far. We've had an abundance of rain, our grass is actually still quite green.

Good luck with your plans on changing things around, I haven't done much but have taken care of a lot of peripherals. I know one thing, when I finally replace some furniture it will be less weightier! Have a reclining sofa that weighs a ton and I cannot move it. We have many styles and types of furniture here--a lot of it is regional, according to what part of the country you live in. Is that the case where you live?
Comment by only1sue on August 2, 2017 at 6:13am

I do miss them both Jean.  We keep in touch by phone but it is not the same as seeing them in person and spending time with them.  I found out so much talking to them, particularly about Steve's partner's stroke in January.  She and i did get to talk about that. I do now know what is bothering them when they message me.  It was lovely to see the grandkids too, just can't tell how much they have grown on the phone.

Comment by Blue Snow on August 2, 2017 at 5:52am

Glad you got a good visit with your sons and their families. That's got to make a huge difference, lifting up your spirits.

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