A "New" Day

Moving forward into my new life.


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A New Endeavor: My Etsy Shop: WendyHoyOriginals

It has been quite a while since I updated my blog…..I seem to have even skipped writing about how my retirement is going or how I felt on the four-year anniversary of Jeff’s death. I guess that means that my life is moving on, which is a good thing.

Actually, my days have been so full that sometimes, I am busier than I was before I retired. I love not having a full-time job…I get to do what I want when I want, for the most part, and that is awesome!

So what do I do with my time?

I work 40 hours a month, sometimes more, as a health care consultant. That seems to be going well. And I am proud to say I have also, developed a new sales training which got great reviews.

From a volunteering perspective, I became a Guardian Ad Litem for a young child whose mother is in the court system. This is more rewarding and interesting than I even thought it would be although I am not allowed to talk about my case because of confidentiality concerns. But, what I do seems to make a difference so I am glad about that.

I talk to my long-distance friends almost daily (still trying to make local friends) and take great joy in seeing my four grandchildren (as well as my children) as often as time and distance permit.

And this week…drum roll please…I launched my new Etsy craft shop which has a unique assortment of jewelry and home decor items that will gradually be expanded over time.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/WendyHoyOriginals?ref=ss_profile

My only question is how to get more people to visit my shop. Online marketing is definitely not my area of expertise nor do I have the funds for paid ads at the moment.

If anyone has good ideas on how to promote my Etsy shop, feel free to share (and thanks to my sister, Deb, for her great idea to write about it in this blog!

By the way, I do have a Facebook page, too for my creations, not that I necessarily know how to manage that either, but, I will learn!

https://www.facebook.com/wendyhoyoriginals/

Before I end this blog entry, I want to give a shout of appreciation to everyone who has supported my endeavors over the years and has been there for me as I worked through grief at Jeff’s passing. That includes family, friends, close acquaintances and those I have only met through blog correspondence.

You are all special and I would not have my head on straight right now without you!

Just so you know though, from this day forth, the focus of this blog will not be the past anymore but, the future. Not sure what I will write about but, am looking forward to finding out! Time will tell…

In the meantime, one quick request before I go:

It would be great if you would “like” AND “follow” my Wendy Hoy Originals Facebook page, (if you have not already done so), and click “Favorite” on my Etsy shop. Also, if you could share and tweet the Etsy shop as well, that would be fabulous!

Apparently doing these things makes both more visible in search engines which is what I need if I want to sell anything!

Thanks in advance and xo!


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March 1, 2017: Retirement Day

With my eyes barely opened, I looked at the clock at 5:45 AM…and went back to sleep. Even though I was barely conscious, I was lucid enough to realize that, as the saying goes, today is the first day of the rest of my life. I am now retired from full-time work and can do whatever I want whenever I want, including luxuriating longer in dreamland.

I am fully awake now, and ready for the next phase of my life. Looking around the house and then, walking outside to get the paper, I am struck by my lack of stress.

I hear little things like the birds chirping and the wind rustling, and notice the weeds around my flower beds, and the debris that needs to be cleaned out of the little pond by my front door. I have no judgement about any of these things, just a calmness that is somehow soothing.

Coming back inside, I think about what I will do on this landmark day. Should I try something completely out of character or just have an ordinary day of running errands and puttering around the house? Somehow, what I will do does not really seem to matter; it is the fact that I have a choice that is so special.

As I look ahead to what my retirement life will look like, I am so excited. I will be working several days a month for my old company during times of my choosing, as well helping a friend with her company. I will be opening an online Etsy store and selling a few of my crafts as soon as I have enough items to post. I will occasionally travel including visiting my family in California. I will be identifying a volunteer opportunity so I can give back to my community and meet some local folks after being away from home so much with my old job. And that is just the start.

I have thought about Jeff a lot in the past few weeks as I wound down to this day. Sad to say, I think I am better prepared to retire than he would have been as he saw himself as his work, and could not separate the two. Still, it would have been wonderful to have new adventures with Jeff. I do miss him so much but, have learned to adapt well without him.

Interesting enough, I can write about Jeff now and not cry. Time does help heal all wounds even though we may wish things were different.

Now, as I finalize this blog entry, it seems like my body is vibrating and ready to spring into action. I do not ever remember feeling this free before and it is an amazing state of mind.

Truly, a new day starts now.


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Christmas 2016

I just got up to a quiet house on Christmas morning. While it is not a holiday I celebrate as I am Jewish, it is a perfect day to reflect on the past year in the stillness of the morning.

It has been a good year.

I count my blessings as I have adjusted more comfortably into my single status.

With more than 3 years since Jeff has been gone, I am enjoying doing what I want to do when I want to do it. Independence is actually pretty fun.

There are still times though when grief creeps in.

Yesterday, after a leisurely morning of fun cooking, I surprisingly stopped by the Hospice House where Jeff had died. It was a spur of the moment decision to drop off some goodies for the staff.

My plan had originally been to take treats I had received as a gift (but, could not eat because I am vegan) to a fire or police station as a thank you for their work, but, the fire houses were closed (weird), and my town does not seem to have a police location. So, the Hospice House just popped in my mind as a substitute destination.

Yep, there are no accidents.

There I was, standing in front of two volunteers at the desk explaining why I was there with my cookies. And I started to cry.

I was quickly handed a tissue! One of the ladies was lovely, said she understood, and walked me down the hall to give my food directly to the nurses and aides.

Again, I choked up as I explained to the hospice staff that my husband had died there. I told them I had not been back since, and I just wanted to thank them for all they did for him, and for what they do for others.

Then, one of the nurses asked me my husband’s name.

Just by her asking that question, and me saying Jeff’s name out loud made his death feel immediate again. But, it also seemed to indicate that Jeff’s life had mattered to them, which was a touching moment for me.

At this point, it was time to leave. I said goodbye to the staff after being thanked for the cookies. The volunteer who had been accompanying me inquired if I wanted to stay a while and talk.

We chatted briefly about her husband who had died 8 years earlier. The volunteer said it had gotten easier over ttime to be alone but, she still cannot talk about her husband to anyone even now, without tears coming to her eyes. “Tears are normal”, she said.

An important statement: tears ARE normal.

After thanking the volunteer for her kindness, I walked to the back of the Hospice House to stroll along the path that wound around a lake; a path I had followed several times as Jeff lay dying inside the building.

Being outside on the path was a peaceful, reflective time in a beautiful place. Even having a quick conversation with a man who had lost his wife of 42 years 5 years earlier, and who came by the hospice every Christmas Eve, was comforting.

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I left the Hospice House and shortly afterward, went to my daughter’s home for dinner with her family and in-laws. We decorated sugar cookies, and I sneaked one of the vegan peppermint cookies she had made especially for me before my little granddaughter could see!

Dinner was amazing including a vegan Wellington and vegan s’mores made over the fire pit that were also, thoughtfully and deliciously provided.

So, here I am now, back to Christmas morning.

How do I feel?

Grateful and happy.

Yes, nowadays, I actually am allowing myself to say that.

Why?
• I am healthy.
• I have a wonderful family, whether those near or far away.
• I have a few friends who I wish were closer but, who are there for me.
• I can putter on projects around the house and in my art room whenever I want.
• I can watch really dumb movies on TV, cry at the endings, and be okay.
• I can look at Jeff’s picture on the wall, and for the most part, just smile.
• I can look forward to retiring from full-time work on February 28, and be able to pick and choose what work I want to continue to
do, if any.
• I still have things I will do that can make a difference.
• I am doing 100 stomach crunches every morning and tightening up my core (which was pretty wobbly!)
• I have a cardinal that comes to my bird-feeder in the morning that I can watch as I drink my coffee.
• I live in a lovely state where I do not have to worry about black ice on the road.
• My house is close enough to the grocery store and other shops that I can walk.
• I am continually working on living in the moment, and often, that works!

For those of you who read my blog, thanks for taking the time to do so. Your comments have supported me, given me hope when I had none, and gotten me through some pretty rough times.

I wish you very Happy Holidays and as much joy as you can hold, both for now and in the future!

Love, Wendy


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10-21-16 Western Adventure

I am now home after being gone for two weeks. The work portion of my trip was productive and good but, it is the personal part of my journey that I am just now processing.

For my first week out of town, I vacationed in Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota taking the trip that Jeff and I had always dreamed of doing together. My friends, Karen and Jim, accompanied me as did Hieronymus Bagel, my personal mascot, who provided me with comic relief. But, while the vacation was great, I realized last night that tears were overdue.

Last week, I spent 6 days marveling at nature’s majesty. Magnificent canyons, roaring waterfalls, steaming geysers and snow-topped mountains competed for my attention with the abundant wildlife. We stopped often to take pictures of bison, elk, moose, antelope, deer, coyotes, prairie dogs, horses, sheep and cattle that wandered in front of us, next to us and in nearby fields. Hikes included meandering around bubbling ponds of hot water and mud, the graveyard at Little Big Horn and the carved brilliance of Mount Rushmore.

Throughout it all, I stayed perky since I was traveling with friends. But, inside, I would have loved to have talked about how I was feeling to be in such beautiful places without Jeff. I had mentioned him several times over the course of the week, but, could feel the atmosphere change when I would say Jeff would have liked this or that, so I did not pursue any conversations about how I felt without him.

Last night, while having dinner with my friend, Gloria, (after this week’s work portion of my trip) she asked me how I was doing as she knew my vacation was a memorial of sorts for Jeff. For the first time in a while, I started to cry.

Truthfully, I felt a sense of relief through my tears and I thanked Gloria for asking about Jeff and allowing me the opportunity to get bubble up all the emotion I had held back the previous week.

So now, with my western pilgrimage over, and my sadness addressed, I am ready to move on again. If grief is its own journey, my vacation was all of the following: a bump in the road of my recovery, an amazing adventure and a closure.

While I wish I could have shared so many moments with Jeff like the moose hiding in the brush less than 10 feet away or the buffalo ready to charge me while I took its picture from the car window or the eagle that flew past the car, I accept my anger that he did not get to share those experiences with me.

Next year, I will be making some changes (more on that soon), and am energized and excited to do so! And my friend, Hieronymus Bagel, will continue to come along for the figurative or literal ride to help me document my evolving life. Should be fun.

(Be sure to follow Hieronymus’ adventures on Instagram or Twitter at wendela12).


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September 30, 2016: Hieronymus Bagel

I can’t believe I have not written in my blog since January! Not that I have not thought about it, but, somehow, the time just did not seem right.

Now, with the anniversary of Jeff’s passing coming up fast on October 5, I am getting excited about the trip I am taking next week in his honor. It will be 3 years since he is gone and I am going to Yellowstone Park and Mt. Rushmore for the trip we always wanted to take together. I will be accompanied on my journey by my good friends, Karen and Jim, as well as a new friend, Hieronymus Bagel!
(I wrote a story about Hieronymus for my granddaughter who, for some reason, loves made-up stories about bagels, and I fell in love the star of my story, Hieronymus!)

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I am looking forward to documenting my adventures in Instagram though I have not yet figured out how it works! If anyone wants to give me tips on how to post my pictures so people can find them, let me know!

Stay tuned for Hieronymus Bagel’s great adventure! And mine!


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January 31, 2016: Pre-birthday

I had been thinking for a few weeks that my blog needed to be updated, and after several people asked me to do so in the last two days, now is the time. Interestingly, it just happens to be the day before my birthday.

And, what is so strange and amazing, is that I actually feel good.

I am not sure if it is the passage of time, the fact that I had a wonderful day with my family yesterday, the fun of opening birthday gifts today (I opened them this morning since I fly to Toledo early tomorrow in the morning), the multitude of vitamins and supplements I ingest, or a combination of all, but, I seem to be energized after so long feeling like I did not even want to get up in the morning.

My high points in the last month in no particular order:

• Discovering the website Lab Door (https://labdoor.com/ ) which made me realize some of the vitamins and supplements I was using were not living up to their labels. After I switched to one of the top probiotics tested by Lab Door (PB8), I quickly found myself less depressed and more willing to leave the house to participate willingly with the world. Probiotics seem to be good for way more than I had thought. (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131114094754.htm)

• Receiving birthday gifts from my family based on my Amazon wish list; I got exactly what I wanted!

• Going to the mall today and spending part of the birthday check my mom sent me at Chicos and Penneys.

• Having a special pre-birthday celebration with my daughter and her family yesterday including lunch at a vegan restaurant, wandering around Moccasin Lake Park for the first time in years and seeing an albino peacock (among other creatures), receiving tickets to “The Book of Mormon”, and ending the day with Chinese food plus a vegan apple crumble my daughter had baked for me that went so well with the coconut milk vanilla bean ice cream my son-in-law had stashed in my freezer.

mocassin lake albino peacock 2

mocassin lake alligator

mocassin lake blue peacock

• Receiving a fun vegan cookbook, “Thug Kitchen Party Grub”, and lovely noted from Jeff’s daughter, Heather. I am looking forward to seeing Heather and the rest of Jeff’s family, hopefully, this summer as part of a Colorado-Wyoming trip I want to take.

• Continuing to get random calls, emails and invitations from people that love me.

• Dreaming every night last week about Jeff being alive and right next to me…and realizing that he is.

All in all, I am blessed to have my family and friends, and so grateful to be fully present (no pun intended) for my birthday tomorrow!

Happy Birthday to me. It is time.