I’m so excited that Yvette Prior invited me for an interview on her Priorhouse blog. Yvette and I met and followed each other in this blogging community many years ago. She is enthusiastic and friendly. When I was formatting my debut publication, Song of Heartstring: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude, she kindly offered to look at my manuscript and gave me valuable input. We helped each other to spread the word about each other’s books. She read my latest book, The Winding Road, and wanted to interview me, not only about this book but also about other aspects of my life.
I invite you to head over to the Priorhouse to read about this interview. While you’re there, check out her book Lady by the River: Stories of Perseverance, which is an anthology with Yvette as the author and compiler. This is a valuable self-help book with stories contributed by nine authors.
Today’s Priorhouse Interview features MIRIAM HURDLE
MIRIAM: Hi Yvette, thank you for inviting me to share my book with your readers. I also hope to get to know your readers as they find out a little more about me.
Hello everyone. I am Miriam Hurdle. I grew up in Hong Kong where I finished college and worked for several years before coming to the United States for my graduate studies. After my schooling, I worked two years as a rehabilitation counselor, then went into education, taught for 14 years, and was in administration for 10 before retirement. In my retired life, I enjoy volunteer counseling, reading, writing, blogging, gardening, photographing, and traveling. I’m married to Lynton and we have one married daughter. My older granddaughter, Autumn, was born on September 28, 2017, and my younger granddaughter, Nora, was born on March 22, 2020.
PRIOR: Congrats on your blessed grandchildren – and for those readers who already follow Miriam’s blog, you know how cute they are!
MIRIAM’S MEMOIR: THE WINDING ROAD
PRIOR:Many readers might already know about Miriam’s memoir, The Winding Road. I ordered a paperback copy of the book to read because I wanted to pass it along to a widow friend who lost her spouse to cancer in 2022. However, my second cousin’s wife, Nancy, was recently diagnosed with skin cancer and so I am going to gift her a copy of the book too. I think she will be encouraged by Miriam’s journey.
Can you tell us a little about The Winding Road?
MIRIAM: I would love to share about my book, The Winding Road, Journey of Survival.
It is a memoir of my cancer journey between 2008 and 2009. Four of my close relatives had cancer, and three died from it. Cancer affects a lot more people than we realize. What I had was something terrible, but it is also a common disease. Yet my cancer experience had several layers of impossibilities, which further complicated the disease itself. Each circumstance pushed and expanded my limit of patience, faith, trust, and gratitude.
My healing journey taught me to let down my guard, show my vulnerability, and accept my being rather than doing.
My daughter Mercy and her husband had an early Valentine’s Day celebration on Sunday. It was a Superbowl Sunday. My husband, Lynton, wanted to stay home to watch the Superbowl. I babysit my granddaughters by myself while Mercy and Will went on a dinner date. They stayed out until 11:30 pm. Mercy appreciated that we now live so close to them.
We moved into our new home in Beaverton, Oregon on January 10 this year. Our belongings are still in storage in California. Lynton’s niece is getting married in February. We want to attend the wedding. So we killed two birds with one stone, go to California to attend her wedding, and move our stuff to our new home on the same trip.
Have you talked with someone in an empty building? The voice echoes. When Lynton spoke to me from another room, I only heard muffled sounds. Nine out of ten times, he had to repeat to me.
It seems like I had a lot of free time living in an empty house, yet it was overwhelming with the projects we wanted to do with the house. It’s about making the house we feel at home. There’s a hardwood floor downstairs. The former owner seemed to prefer black color. The floor had stained the darkest brown. After several appointments with the flooring technicians, we went with the option of sanding off the dark stain and applying several layers of refinishing. It took several weeks from start to finish. During the sanding period, Lynton wore earplugs to reduce the head-pounding noise from the heavy-duty sanding machine. I stayed away from the house by running errands. The fume from the refinishing was terrible. I didn’t leave the house soon enough, and it burned my eyes. It scared me to see my dark red eye. It took two and a half days of applying eye drops to get rid of the red eye. We had the hardwood floor done in three phases. Lynton worked on his projects in the garage during the refinishing. I simply went to Mercy’s house for several hours. It’s finally done three days ago.
Talking about black, all the outlets and plugs for the entire house have black plates and yellowish switches. It’s a personal taste, but it’s not ours. Lynton stumbled upon an electrician who is a retired electrical engineer. We hired him to change all the switches and plates to white. There are 42 downstairs and 48 upstairs, and probably 10 in the garage. I’ve never seen 100 outlets and switches in any homes. Mr. Song did a great job changing them plus fixing any electrical problems.
The former owners had the interior painted ivory white before listing the house. Everything black or dark brown doesn’t blend in. The dark brown baseboard in our new home is not our preference. We just have to change them to white. The flooring technician could install the baseboard for us, but he didn’t have time to purchase them. We wanted to have the baseboards ready for him to install. Last week, Lynton and I went to the store to buy the baseboards. They are 8 feet long. Longer than our cars. We didn’t want to rent a truck for that purpose. He brought a handheld battery-operated saw to cut them into 5.5 feet and 2.5 feet to fit them in one car. While Lynton was cutting the baseboards in the parking lot, a police car was patrolling. He parked his car one aisle away and faced us with the headlights on a high beam. He stayed there until we finished cutting and loaded everything into our cars. The bright lights were a big help. I wished to thank him but didn’t. By the time we loaded the final pieces into the two cars, it rained. Mission accomplished in time.
Okay, downstairs has the hardwood floor. Upstairs has carpet. The carpet in the primary room is in decent condition but the other two rooms were well-used by the owners’ kids. Replacing the carpet seems to be straightforward. It took the least amount of effort to choose the style and shades and order. The installation will be on February 14, our Valentine’s gift.
The major remodeling is the kitchen. I did the preliminary measurement and sketched a layout, then picked a style between our old kitchen and Mercy’s current kitchen. I used a store’s Design Your Own Kitchen to program my kitchen. After the sketch was done, I sat down with a kitchen specialist to design our kitchen. It was time-consuming, but we’ll get the cabinet style, countertops, and sinks exactly what we want. It’ll take 10 weeks for the cabinets to arrive before the demolition and installation.
We took a 20-year span to do the remodeling for our old house, one project at a time. We now took 5 weeks to make our new home look familiar to what we used to have. But doing major home improvement projects in an empty house is so much easier.
On a personal note, our granddaughters visited us several times. They asked why they ate lunch in our office! We don’t have tables and chairs yet, but the office has a built-in desk. We’ve been doing everything in our office.
Mercy takes Autumn and Nora to the Beaverton City Library, which is 2.5 miles from our house. I meet them there for their Storytime. The girls go to the Oregon Gymnastics Academy, which is 5 miles away. The Emler Swim School, where they take swimming lessons, is 4.2 miles away. I went with Mercy and the girls to two children’s concerts. It’s wonderful to be so convenient for me to attend their activities and do things with them.
Mercy and I did our painting together last Saturday, just the two of us. We watched the demonstration on YouTube first, then followed the instructions to do the painting. It was a treat for us to do this mother-daughter project. It’s also a treat for Mercy to have a fun time without the distraction of the kids.
As I mentioned in the last post that our new home was originally a custom home. We love the layout. Our neighbor told us that two owners ago, the wife had cancer and passed away. The husband and wife gave up on the maintenance of the house. The husband of the last owners worked for Nike. I had never seen so many Nike shoe boxes in one’s garage and Nike sweatshirts in one’s closet. He and his wife were relocated by his company. I imagine they didn’t have a sense of belonging in this house. So it went for maintenance. We love this house and are happy that our agent negotiated a reduction of the selling price. We don’t mind making this home ours, even though I was overwhelmed with all the home improvement projects.
After we move our things to this home from California, we can gradually settle in and relax. I look very much forward to it and will have more time to visit you and your blogs!
I couldn’t help but reposted my daughter’s post on Tinybeans on July 15, 2022.
On this day, Mercy, her husband Will took the kids to a park. The kids had fun at the splash pad with their dad.
After playing, Autumn and Nora were wrapped in the beach towels, warmed up in the sun.
There was an ice cream vendor in the park. My daughter Mercy said, “The ice cream vendor only took cash, which we didn’t have. We told the kids this and immediately there was a torrent of tears. A kind woman who witnessed all this happening gifted us a few dollars to buy them some ice cream 🙏”
My comment was, “Aww! What a kind soul! She made these girls very happy!”
Andre is the guest host for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week. His theme is Summer Vibes. He posted some biking, mountain climbing, hiking, swimming, diving, sailing, surfing, kitesurfing, and beach sailing photos.
He said, when it comes to the style of spending this most valuable time of the year, wishes would differ following their personal preferences.
I spend a lot of my summer in my garden
I love the cheerful sunflowers. The bees like them as well.
This baby grasshopper stayed on the African lily long enough for me to take a few photos. It’s the size of a grain of rice.
The monarchs have been doing very well this summer. I’ve raised about 50. There are still two chrysalises and one caterpillar. Then I’ll be done for this year because I’ll be away quite a bit the rest of the summer.
I also take summer trips with my husband and family
Hubby Lynton dived in Great Barrier Reef, Australia.
Our family went on a whale-watching trip at Huntington Beach.
Photo on the left, Lynton and I went hiking at Waimoku Falls in Haleakala National Park. Photo on the right, we watched the crashing waves on Makena Beach, Maui, Hawaii
I love to watch my granddaughters having fun in the summer
Autumn and Nora were building sandcastles at the beach in Three Creek Lake Campground, Deschutes National Forest, Oregon.
Autumn is getting good at paddle boarding at Three Creek Lake, Deschutes National Forest, Oregon.
We canceled the Mother’s Day trip to see my daughter’s family because the kids caught some non-Covid virus from daycare. The entire family was not feeling well.
I rescheduled our trip for Memorial Day weekend. It is also my daughter’s and her hubby’s anniversary. Whenever we visit them, I offer to watch the kids so they can go on dates. Since this last weekend was their anniversary, they went on a two-day trip to the beach.
Mercy is a master planner. She made a comprehensive list of suggestions from breakfast to bedtime for us to go by. Even though I’ve been watching the kids for four and a half years, it helps to have her suggestions to fall back on.
Autumn has no problem with mommy and daddy going on dates or a short getaway. Nora is attached to Mercy. She was not happy to see mommy walking out of the door after breakfast on Saturday. Fortunately, I had a special treat for the girls to distract them, at least to calm down Nora.
It turned out that both Saturday and Sunday went smoothly. The girls painted the garden stones, read, and played together, but did something separately with grandpa and grandma. Grandpa is Nora’s favorite. Grandma is Autumn’s favorite. It is just perfect. It was easier for us to handle while they got our individual attention.
It was raining most of the day on Saturday and Sunday. Whenever the sun peeked out a little, we headed out to the school playground right away. One neighbor has some goats. Nora loves to feed the goats. The kids rode their bikes to the playground on Saturday and just walked there on Sunday.
There was something I tried to do this time around. I asked Lynton to read bedtime stories to Nora and put her to bed. Amazingly, it turned out to be a success. Yay!
It worked out perfectly because Autumn wanted me to read her many books. I could just relax to spend time with Autumn without worrying about Nora.
During the two-day trip, Mercy and Will went wine tasting, hiking, and strolling on the beach. They came home after a late-night movie on Sunday. I was happy that they had a wonderful time.
Monday was the Memorial Day holiday. We went on a family walk together. The girls rode their bikes, and Will rode his skateboard to keep up with the kids.
By the way, Lynton and I did the cooking for all the meals from Thursday to Tuesday. We tried to cook different main dishes, such as salmon, veggie & sausage casserole, pizza, and tofu. Lynton cooked mashed potatoes a couple of evenings. I cooked the same mixed vegetables. It turned out perfectly because we could eat what we normally eat at home. Mercy and Will loved to have some days off without doing cooking.