This is a note for our friends about my best friend and adopted kid sister SHIWO, and I.
After 45 years in New Jersey I'm home, Davis, California where 5 generations of my family lived.
A move I've been planning for over 10 years.
SHIWO was my private nickname for our mutual friend until it got outed last year. There were several different definitions floating around, so this is the official version.
It will also serve as notes for a couple of chapters in my memoirs.
How I meet SHIWO:
SHIWO and I first got acquainted when we were in the same small group at a Liberty Corner Presbyterian Church disciple class about 15 years ago.
I thought she asked really good questions.
In 2012 they announced at Church that she was in the hospital; she had a serious heart operation. She didn't live far away and was very attractive with a charming personality, so I offered to help her out during her recovery 😉 .
She returned the favor when I got my stent.
We trained together for three half marathons.
We enjoyed collaborating on numerous home projects.
I didn't have a sister and she didn't have a brother we decided to adopt each other as brother and sister.
S - Started out as a single word but evolved to the list above. |
These are obvious to people who know her, however I have to expand on "Smart"
After working with her on a variety of projects around our houses and sharing some joys and concerns in our lives I've learned that smart is not just some encyclopedic knowledge of a bunch of facts, but includes strong analytical skills, ingenuity and practicality in a variety of areas from home projects to relationships. Wise and pragmatic are a better words. An inquisitive mind keeps me and the rest of her friends on our toes. A contrast to people my age where stodgy inflexibility and bad habits start to overtake judgement. 😏
She has a MS in Computer Science and worked at Bell Laboratories.
Handy - The only woman I know who will crawl under her sink with a pipe
wrench and finish the plumbing job when her helper gets a sore back.
If I was marooned on a deserted island, she is the one person I'd like to have with me; Not just because she's sexy. 😃
Cajoles her running partner into going out at 11 PM to run/walk 4 miles in the ice and snow, so we won’t get off our training schedule.
In 2015 SHIWO, her daughter and sister finished the Savannah half marathon with high temperatures and 99% humidity, putting conditions in the red zone on the "Heat Stress Danger chart". One runner died.
In the 2016 Philadelphia Half Marathon she wanted to beat her sister, but Jean had pulled ahead out of sight at the halfway point.
At the 12 mile mark SHIWO thought she saw her pink sox way up ahead and with a little over a mile to go, SHIWO pored on the steam and caught her sister at the finish. Did I mention competitive?
2016 was a year that would have driven most people to their wit's end. SHIWO was hit with the loss of her job and a series of family catastrophes, that were particularly upsetting because of the closeness of her family. She maintained a stiff upper lip throughout and was pilar of strength for her kids, demonstrating an emotional strength and fortitude matching her physical tenacity.
She drove a truck full of furnature from the sister she had recently lost straight thru, 450 miles, from North Carolina to New Jersey at night, competing with 18-wheelers which take over the interstates then. She arrived after midnight completely spent mentally and physically and needed to go to the ER.
After a record snow fall, over 2 feet, in 2016 she decided to clear her 185 foot driveway by hand with the help of her son and a friend. I calculated the weight of the snow moved over two days from the water content and area cleared was 13 tons.
She cleared the leaves from her yard with a dozen or more large trees by herself this Fall.
At the end of a 6 mile hike up a mountain (we call them hills in Califoria) and across bolder patches in Norvin Green State Forest we were all pooped but SHIWO was in a hurry to get to the first pub we could find or just get away from some big snakes we just saw. She took off like a gazelle for the last half mile, leaping big bolders in a single bound, leaving us in the dust.
Cleared snow from her 185 ft. driveway again in 2018, this time without help in
5-10° temperatures with 45 MPH wind gusts driving the wind chill to -10 to -20. Finishing late at night (She's a night owl). Even though there was less snow, she get's an extra star for tackling the job alone in blizard conditions.
In the 3 days before the closing on her house, she got only 1 night's sleep; pulling all-nighters the other two nights, packing, moving and cleaning. I thought only college students could do that.
Suffering from FAD (Furnature Arranging Disorder), SHIWO stayed up after 2AM two nights in a row trying to fit furnature from here large home into a small apartment.
SHIWO and a friend climbed Mt Tammany at the Deleware Water Gap in NJ. It was in the 90's with high humidity and the climb had a 1,190 ft of elevation gain. I've got to change her name to carbon fiber woman. (carbon fiber has 10 times the strength of steel). On the way she grinned down a bear (an old Daniel Boon trick).
Lest you think this is encouraging reckless behavior let me remind you that "Smart" is the first word in SHIWO.
She is also an Iron Willed Woman - Resolute when she decides on a course of action.
One of her friends offered "Super Hot and Intelligent WOman" for SHIWO, so that has become an alias.
This is only a definition of the acronym; SHIWO has many other attributes to numerous to list.
|(Some images below are clickable to enlarge)|
Well, I can't resist adding a few individual thoughts.
Just being a single Mom requires an iron woman. Her kids may not have thought she was the perfect Mom while growing up (I don't know of any teenage kids who thought their parents were perfect), but I've had the privilege of getting to know both her daughter and son and can see the love they have for her and the exemplary character traits she's instilled in them.
I've also seen her struggle with letting them go now that they are young adults, but she has found her adopted big brother still needs some mothering. 😀
Despite all of her SHIWO exploits, raising two outstanding and talented young adults is the thing she's most, deservedly, proud of.
As I was writing this Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's "Teach your Children" played on my Spotify. (See Meanings".)