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!
Happy Father’s Day to you and the fathers in your family!
“Dads are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventurers, story-tellers, and singers of song.” – Pam Brown
California lifted the Covid restrictions on June 16, 2021. It was an incredible journey we’ve been on over the course of the last 15 months. I came to Portland, Oregon on this day to spend time with my daughter, son-in-law, and my granddaughters, Autumn and Nora. We planned to have a great outing to celebrate Father’s Day.
Ann-Christine’s Photo Challenge this week is Spots and Dots. She wants us to have fun with it! But, also recognize and enjoy the different interpretations, meanings and importance of these two little words. Spots and Dots. Because even if they are small…they can make a big difference.
I came back from a delightful Mother’s Day week visiting my daughter and the grandkids. My daughter Mercy talked with Autumn about Mother’s Day celebration and Autumn understood the relationship of mothers. She said, “My mommy is a mommy. You’re a mommy and you’re my mommy’s mommy. I’m not a mommy.”
Autumn loves to have the undivided attention of grandma. She has a huge appetite for books. On the days when she didn’t go to school, I read about ten books to her after breakfast. Then she played for a little while. Her latest favorite was building a fort with tunnels. She took out all the cushions from the couches to build the formation and covered them with blankets. She didn’t want my help but wanted me to watch (with attention).
Apparently, she has nap time at school, but she doesn’t take naps at home. Mercy wants her to have quiet time when Nora takes a nap. It’s also the time when Mercy takes a nap. It takes a lot of energy to care for a toddler and a baby.
There are boxes of books from my teaching days. I pick the age-appropriate books with me on each trip.
After the quiet time, I read another ten books to Autumn. She likes to listen to the same books over and over again, especially the books with longer text. She picks up more details of the stories from each repetition of reading.
The day is getting longer, and the sun doesn’t go down until about 8:00 p.m. We take the kids to a school playground across the street from the house. The neighbor next to the school has a home farm with chickens and six or seven goats. Many kids love to feed the goats.
After the walk or playground time, we read several more bedtime books to Autumn. She would ask to read “one more,” but we must be firm, otherwise, we’d be reading all night long.
In the afternoon on Mother’s Day, my daughter’s family, joined by another family went to the zoo. Autumn wanted to see the Polar Bear and carried the white stuffed bear with her. The Polar Bear was in the water under the cave for a long time but swam outside for a little while. I was glad that Autumn was not disappointed.
Nora turned one-year-old in March, so she is learning to climb the stairs and playing with different toys. She loves to follow her big sister and does the same thing. During the several days of my visit, she learned to do new things. It’s amazing to see the kids making so much progress at these ages.
There are many small dots of progress in the child development but in a long run there’s a huge impact in one’s life these small dots make. Research shows the first two years of a human life make the fastest and most growth within the shortest period compared to the remaining life span. As parents and careers, we could facilitate and make the small dots and spots colorful ones in the kids’ lives.
This is Autumn at the zoo. How many dots and spots can you see?
Nora was fascinating to watch all the spots and dots flowing in different directions. She was trying to catch some of them.
Thank you for reading! Have a wonderful week ahead!