Grandchildren, Judson, Landon, and Ella Diane at California Dreaming, in Charleston, July

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for a Wonderful New Year to friends and family – and to all others of good will!

This year, 2017, has been busier than an old lady with respiratory problems would have liked. I’ve begun to feel a bit desperate about getting my life in order before kicking the bucket. I want to finish several projects – mostly writing projects and photo-album scanning. I’d like to clear out my house and sell it in the next year or two, and then move into a long-term care facility near one of the children, most likely Elisabeth.

Friends Ellie and Jane at Jane’s house

This year, I’ve continued sorting, scanning, and distributing photo albums. I discovered an album of my father’s, with photos that go all the way back to when he was a baby (1912). That’s the oldest album yet! Childhood photos of my sister, Virginia, really resemble Dad as a child.

Another photo album I’ve discovered recently is from a tour of the Eastern Mediterranean in 1997 with Ellie Setser. This was probably one of the first commercial tours I’ve taken. The photo album included several slides; some have been taken to a local photo professional for digitizing. Also found the journal for that trip and I’m transcribing it. Don’t know if I’ll try to make a travel booklet of that trip or not.


Book signing with other UU writers

This year, two books I’d been working on were published – a short story collection, Speaking with Strangers, and an autobiography, Saving My Life. They’re both available on my Amazon site.

In the past three years, I’ve been trying to find an agent for a book that’s been in the works for more than six years. (I’m basically a multitasker – sometimes called scatter-brained.) The book is a self-help health-care book for lay readers, intended to help folks understand and care for the only body they’ll ever have. It also offers tips for communicating with physicians. The tentative title is Body Wisdom, Body Care. Dr. Susan Reynolds, a former student, has been medical consultant for the book. Many friends, fellow writers, and a couple of editors have offered input on this endeavor over the years. I intend to get it out into the world next year, whether through a commercial publisher, an academic publisher, or by self-publishing. I spoke with an agent about the book at a SC writers’ conference in late October. He asked me to send him a copy of the manuscript, which I did in early November. I haven’t heard back from him, yet. I won’t contact him again until after the new year. A couple of other books are in the pipeline for next year: another short story collection and some essays “on being a woman.” One good thing about not being able to travel much is that I can stay at home and write – and revise. I did take one short trip this year, though.

Danny and Judi with Elisabeth and Trey, Landon and Ella, Nolensville High School

In July, I drove to Nolensville, TN (outskirts of Nashville), to visit daughter, Elisabeth, and her family in their new home. Her Aunt Judi and Uncle Danny were also there to see Judson play and march in the high-school band. The grandchildren – Judson, Ella Diane, and Landon – have grown so much! The two older ones are now really teenagers. Several scanned photo albums, including a couple from my mother’s youth, were given to Elisabeth to keep and pass down in her family. I’ve sent a few pwithhoto albums to Briana and Maria, as well.


With Fran in Conyers, GA

On the way up to Tennessee and back, I stopped in Conyers, GA (outskirts of Atlanta) to visit a friend from days past at MUSC. Fran Cameron, who is still going strong in her late eighties, is an inspiration!

Notable natural events of late summer and early fall were Hurricane Irma and the Great American Eclipse of 2017. Irma gave us a LOT of rain and a few downed tree limbs, but no major damage.

The eclipse, a brief, brilliant experience, passed over Charleston as well as across cities where two daughters, Briana and Elisabeth, live. I did a couple of blogs on the eclipse, and posted some photos of the flooded back-yard on Facebook.

Imagining the eclipse with friend, Nancy.

The year has been sprinkled with lunches and dinners and other get-togethers with wonderful friends – too many for me to detail here. One was a birthday party for Sue Prazak, a woman who has been a member of the UU Church in Charleston for longer than I have!

Birthday party for Sue Prazak (right) organized by Toni (next to her). Other friends around the table: Gail , Susan , Marilyn , and Susan







Another pleasant surprise was a meet-up with two friends from many years ago, Ann Baker and Susan Kay, who came from out of town for the Spoleto Festival this year, and they invited me to lunch with them.

With Ann and Susan, friends from the Women’s Movement of the 1970s. Sigh…

Grandson Blake is scheduled to fly to Charleston today from the cold North Country (Duluth, MN, not too far from where he goes to college in Ashland, WI). He will be spending three weeks in the “sunny south” to help his grandma clear out some of the stuff she can’t bring herself to get rid of on her own – mostly books and mementos. He will earn some spending money and I’ll have both help and motivation. It should be a wonderful chance to spend time together! I haven’t seen him for more than two years. We used to take trips in the RV during summers when he was young.

Despite the current political turmoil, 2017 has been a pleasant year in Charleston.

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