A New Roof, A French Treat & More - une femme d'un certain âge

Thursday Miscellany: Home Improvements & More

My Stylish French Box contents. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

There’s Still Time…

To order My Stylish French Box for February. The theme of this box will be Dans Ma Cuisine and should be fabulous! (One of my favorite past boxes also had a kitchen/cooking theme.) Sharon Santoni hand selects each of the uniquely French items included in each box. And don’t miss out on her gorgeous magazine, My French Country Home, which includes a column written by Tish Jett.

A (New) Roof Over Our Heads…

Roofers removing old composite roof. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

We’ve been talking about replacing our 25-year-old roof and installing solar panels for some time now, and have finally started the process! The old composite roof (seen above) has been removed, and repairs to the underlying wood are now underway. Fortunately there are several days of dry weather still in the forecast, and the new roof should be done within a week. The solar panels will take a little longer as there are permits to pull, etc.

We’ve been told that the newer composite roofing materials are more energy efficient (don’t absorb as much heat in the summer) so in addition to the solar panels, we’re hoping this update will make our small home substantially more energy efficient. And the color of the new roof should be more compatible with our exterior color scheme.


It’s been a touch-and-go with our dog Coco the past couple of weeks. She had a stroke early in January and seemed to be bouncing back quickly from that, but then suffered a bad bout of pancreatitis a couple of weeks ago. Her recovery has been slow and halting. Mostly she just wants to sleep, and some days isn’t interested in eating (though she is drinking water and avoiding dehydration). We’re of a mind to do what we can to keep her comfortable, but not subject her to more tests or interventions at this point.

We’re hoping for the best, but prepared for the worst.

Coming Full Circle

Photographer as subject: a Parisian mirror selfie. More from Paris at une femme d'un certain age.

When I was young, I had dreams of being both a writer and a photographer. The other morning, I realized that I’m actually now both of these, though it didn’t take the form my 12-year-old self had imagined.

It was a moment of profound gratitude for me. We’re never too old to realize our dreams. Stay open to possibility.

Stay in touch.

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  1. Myra
    January 30, 2020 / 5:12 am

    Your life looks so interesting and exciting to me! I’ve wondered why you’re able to travel to France so often, if it’s your husband’s profession or a passion fulfillment? None of my business, and you may have covered this in earlier days of your blog. I love that you’re writing, enjoy your blog posts and photos!!

  2. patricia valentic
    January 30, 2020 / 5:59 am

    Lovely post. You are so right we need to stay open to our dreams. I love your looking back at your 12 year old self and seeing the power of your dreams come true. Also, I think gratitude is important. Thanks for sharing. patval

  3. Maria
    January 30, 2020 / 6:56 am

    Well of course you’re a writer and a photographer! I’ve enjoyed your writing and photos for many years (at least 7) and have learned many and varied things, such as about travel and how to tie scarves. I’m delighted about your realisation. Please also know that your readers feel gratitude for your work.

  4. Jen
    January 30, 2020 / 7:27 am

    Thanks! I needed to hear that!

  5. January 30, 2020 / 7:33 am

    I am so, so happy that you’re finally honoring the dreams of 12-old you:).

  6. Debbie
    January 30, 2020 / 7:34 am

    I just had solar panels installed in late November, but because of all the paperwork and permits and the holidays, I am still waiting for PGE approval to turn it on! Meanwhile my bill this month was $411. SIGH…. we live in a bureaucracy. I did get the battery as well so if we have outages (because of the fires in Sonoma county) I will be OK for a few days. Good luck and DO use someone reputable for the long term. It is the NEAR future!

  7. Debbie
    January 30, 2020 / 7:37 am

    PS…. you ARE a writer and a photographer! On your terms. It is just great! Living your dream (((<:

  8. Rondi
    January 30, 2020 / 7:56 am

    I understand it is difficult to have a precious pet struggling with health issues and old age. I applaud your decision to not intervene any more with further testing. I am sure she enjoys just being close to her people. And I really loved your comments about your career. Your example is so uplifting. You show by example that women of a certain age do not have to be put out to pasture. We embrace new careers and hobbies and look great while we’re doing it! Bravo! I hope all goes well with the roof redo also.

    • January 30, 2020 / 11:06 am

      I was going to comment, but Rondi you said everything I was thinking.

      • Rondi
        January 30, 2020 / 6:15 pm

        Thanks Susan!

  9. Anon
    January 30, 2020 / 8:24 am

    The political climate in the sunny place where I live has changed. I imagine there will be maximum bureaucracy in place to prevent alternative energy now. Government even said solar panels don’t work in the winter. Did I mention it’s sunny all year long here? And we know, because we can see the sun all year long?

    • Guest
      February 1, 2020 / 4:58 am

      We have solar panels and in sumer we end up generating enough power to sell it back into the energy grid. We have a short winter, so on cloudy days, we don’t generate as much power, but ignore the government, renewables are the future. Our next step is installing a Tesla battery so we can generate our own power and not have to rely on the energy network.

  10. Nancy MK
    January 30, 2020 / 8:34 am

    Our cat Lomdet went so peacefully, just lay down pointed towards his breakfast bowl, surrounded by love as is Coco. We feel for you.

    • Lagatta de Montréal
      January 31, 2020 / 7:22 am

      Yes, my black cat Renzo (a rescued stray) did too. He was over 20. I still well up with tears thinking of him, though I have Livia now, another rescued stray black cat, but half the size of long, lanky Renzo. “Medical heroics” (acharnement thérapeutique in French) are rarely the best thing for elderly mammals of any species; human, canine, feline or others.

      I imagine that your new roof will also be lighter in colour than the one being dismantled, which will make your house cooler in the summer and further reduce a/c bills. Not too much solar here, though we can get bright winter sun. That is because Québec has privileged hydroelectricity, and also exports quite a bit of that to the Northeastern US and neighbouring Canadian provinces.

  11. Berenice Wolpin
    January 30, 2020 / 8:44 am

    I love your realization that you are, indeed, living your 12 year old fantasy life – just slightly differently than the way you had envisioned it. Isn’t that what life teaches us all – that things frequently do not go as we may have wished, anticipated, or even planned – but that if we can remain present in our lives we can continue to be delighted by our own evolution and the gifts we receive? Good luck on the house projects, and hoping for many more hours of snuggling with Coco. You will know what do to. And – not sure if I should thank you or shake my virtual fist at you: I just fell down the rabbit hole of My French Stylish French Box – oh! The photographs! The reminders of that marvelous french life and style. Sigh. (although things are not all bad here – as there is a cat curled up net to my computer and a bowl of apples and kiwis, with soft late January sun shining on them all….

  12. Jan Whichard
    January 30, 2020 / 9:01 am

    Sweet little Coco. Went through this with my darling poodle Remington and it was difficult to say the least. Hang in there Susan and try to focus on all the unwavering love you and Coco have shared. My warmest thought are with you.

  13. Amy
    January 30, 2020 / 9:53 am

    Congratulations on living your dream! You’ve worked hard and should be proud. We all are benefiting from your labor of love.

  14. Carol Montanti
    January 30, 2020 / 10:09 am

    I am so struck by your comments about the gratitude you are feeling, I have just recently had a couple momentous moments of gratitude and realized this is how I should always feel. And one of those moments came one minute before I read your blog today! Just shows how your gift of writing and photography makes connections between people who have different lives in far off places. It’s just so interesting, isn’t it? Thanks, Susan.

  15. January 30, 2020 / 10:30 am

    Exactly! I’m doing the same although it wasn’t exactly the path I expected. I’m sorry about your Coco. We’ve been through this with a cat and a dog. We love them. ~~Dee

  16. Joyce Hodge
    January 30, 2020 / 1:31 pm

    Susan, I think you inspire all women of a certain age or at least I hope I’m not just speaking for myself.
    If we don’t do what we love now, when? If we aren’t the best we can be now and into the future, when?
    Following passions until I am full and no longer feel the urge is how I live, everyday and I think you do the same. Those who wait may find they no longer are able or have lost the desire. Until then, forward and upward into whatever the future holds; makes every day an adventure.

  17. January 30, 2020 / 1:57 pm

    Félicitations! What a happy, even momentous, realization! xo

  18. January 30, 2020 / 3:13 pm

    I always dreamed of being a writer too. As a young adult, I had a few articles published and I still remember the thrill of receiving a cheque in the mail, but once my kids were in school and I went back to teaching there was no time to keep it up. I always knew that I’d write again in retirement, but I had no idea that such a thing as blogging would come along. Now my blog is 12 years old and I love writing it as much as the day I started!

  19. January 31, 2020 / 12:59 am

    That realization of having achieved what you dreamt of must have given you a very warm and happy feeling.
    The roof is quite an undertaking but you already did the kitchen so you are experienced. We have done the roof and solar panels as well. Years ago. We really need new solar panels.
    Wishing you strength with Coco.

  20. Avicennia
    January 31, 2020 / 5:23 am

    Susan — your comment about looking back at your 12 year old self is very moving. My family is going through difficult times, but I’m hopeful we’ll avert tragedy. My topmost concern is helping my young daughter build resilience. I’ve often thought that what matters is the perspective she’ll have when she looks back from adulthood. I’m filled with hope today upon hearing that your look back fills you with gratitude. Things may not have turned out as you planned at 12, but today you wonder at the possibility in your life. Beautiful! And, if I haven’t commented before, the new color palette is becoming on you.

  21. Maria
    January 31, 2020 / 6:46 am

    What a terrific and accurate realization for both dreams! I am truly grateful for your mindful, thoughtful and extremely helpful posts.

  22. Lark Snouffer
    January 31, 2020 / 3:25 pm

    Prayers for Coco, you and family. We surely adore our pets

  23. SuD
    February 1, 2020 / 4:35 am

    So sorry to hear about Coco. I can empathize, having lost my much loved kitty a few years back. They are a part of our family.
    How lucky to be realizing your dreams! I am on my way to that goal as well. Life is too short to be stuck somewhere we don’t want to be.

  24. Susa
    February 1, 2020 / 5:05 am

    Sorry to hear about your little dog and I hope she remains comfortable. Good luck with your solar panels? We had 36 installed on our roof a few years ago and we are tremendously happy. If you live in an area where drought can happen, the installation of slim line rain water outdoor tanks are a great way of watering your garden and lawns if you have them. Our neighbours have their water tanks built underground so they are not visible. As I mentioned above, a Tesla battery is our next purchase so we can generate our own power.

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