Category Archives: Independence

Becoming Handy On My Own


I’ve learned a lot in the past six months of living in my home, the responsibility of doing everything from taking out the trash to hanging pictures, from paying the bills to daily maintenance, but the learning curve is steep and always there.  This weekend I though I would tackle two little tasks that had been on my mind, but not gotten done.  I needed to attach clips to hold the mini-blinds on the back door in place so they would stop swinging wildly every time I opened and closed the door and replace the hose valve.  I was feeling pretty confident, so I developed a plan for the mini-blind clips first.

I figured out where to place the clips and had the great idea to use a small bit of earthquake putty to hold them in place (since I don’t have four hands) while I marked the holes for the nails.  From experience I know that it is easier to hammer nails into a pre-drilled hole so I charged the drill battery and found a bit a little smaller than the nail and drilled a small hole.  Then, to make things really easy, I pounded in the nails part of the way, then removed them, stuck the clip on the door with the putty and carefully hammered the nails in.  It was a process, but it worked!

Now I was really feeling empowered!  I decided to take to old  hose valve off so I could buy the correct replacement valve size.  I disconnected the hose and then began to unscrew the valve when about two turns away from being done, water began shooting out everywhere!  I was soaked and there was, of course, no way to put the valve back on.  It never occurred to me that I should turn off the water to the house before I started taking off the valve.  Rookie mistake.  I remembered where the water shut off was and quickly ran over to turn it off.  It worked!  I went to the hardware store to get a new valve, remembered to ask about wrapping silicone tape around the pipe to seal the connection and headed home to finish my repair.

I did it!  Wrapped the pipe, screwed on the new valve and voilà!

These might seem like small accomplishments, but for the majority of my life, I have depended on someone else to do these little things for me.  Sometimes the pressure of being the one to do everything seems like a lot, but other times it feels like liberation.



Filed under change, choice, Independence, Life thoughts


My first solo trip, I am in the Bay, San Francisco and Berkeley to be exact, and I’ll be honest, I am not totally alone, staying with my cousin and visiting my daughter, but I flew here and am navigating the cities myself. I have used Lyft, Uber and BART. What started out, as a scary unknown has become a familiar luxury, and an interesting adventure.


These amazing sunflowers were taller than me!


The Lyft and Uber drivers have been pleasant for the most part and some have been really interesting. I have been able to view the city without worrying about navigating it myself so I have seen amazing architecture, bustling streets, people walking, biking, taking dogs for a stroll and the many homeless people here.


BART is like a ride at Disneyland complete with the voice announcing incoming trains and the stops along the way. Interacting with the other riders is pleasant and people aren’t afraid to strike up a conversation. It is so different from the solitude car culture of L.A. that I am used to.


Walking around Berkeley is relaxing and the homes and gardens charming. The climate brings out the best in both vegetables and flowers. The front gardens are sometimes tame but usually haphazard, with a variety of flowers and whimsical decorations. Walking gives me time to think and I don’t distract myself by talking on the phone, or listening to music. I want to hear the world around me and notice everything.


This first solo trip gave me a lot of anxiety as it was approaching, but I feel like I have crossed a hurdle and can relax a little, at least in this one new experience, and hopefully in the other new solo areas of my life.


Leave a comment

Filed under change, hurdles, Independence, Life thoughts, Walking



It’s Independence Day and I am practicing. I started the day with family in my nest and as they flew off in different directions, I found myself sitting alone in the moment. The day loomed before me, hours of nothing and my mind filled with lists of things to get done. The tasks are really mine alone and though I can ask for opinions and assistance I am draining my resources.

Today’s theme reminds me to try to think of things I can do by myself so I start with laundry, my old standby. I tidy up from a weekend of the hustle and bustle of busy family to the sound of the old Kit Cat Clock, getting everything restored to its original status. Beds made, bathrooms restocked with fresh towels, leftovers disposed of and those hours are still there.

I decide to take care of business so I log on and file a luckily purchased insurance claim to get a refund for the tickets to a concert hopefully purchased back in March. The claim requires documentation to support the needed refund so I attach the death certificate. That should suffice and I am notified by email that I should hear something within 10 days.

I’ve been Independent for a couple of hours when I hear the familiar ring tone of my sister calling. She provides a much-needed pep talk filled with good suggestions and experienced advice, the kind sisters know how to dose out, with measured understanding and sympathy. There is no time limit and I relax into the comfort of our conversation, the kind you can have with someone you’ve known for almost your entire life and have shared parents, childhood bedrooms and the majority of the firsts in your life with.

I hang up and feel better, ready to step into Independence again and take a hard look at the living room bookcase. I am kind, but ruthless to the departing companions. They have been read, pages turned and information absorbed. It’s time for them to be shared and knowing they will have a new life allows me to feel less sad filling the bag, as long as I repeat that over and over in my head. New life, new life, new life…

It occurs to me that is what I wish for myself as I practice my Independence, a new life, a chance to feel some peace and some calm without waiting for shoes to drop. A life with some hopefulness, healthy habits, creative hobbies, a family circle with a different configuration but love as strong as always and friendships old and new.

With planes flying love overhead and the promise of fireworks approaching, the sky seems filled with celebration, recognition of hard-fought freedoms. I look up at the pink tinged turquoise sky (my mom used to call it sky-blue-pink) and look for a sign of Gary; birds resting on the wires, hawks circling, bats coming out to feast, the first stars twinkling but like the new moon, almost invisible, he hides somewhere, making my Independence the only thing to hold on to tonight.


1 Comment

Filed under choice, Family, Focus, Independence, Life thoughts