This year I find myself behind in many aspects of my life. The situation is both good and bad. It is good that I have so much to do there is no time to get bored. It is not so good in that I am behind and constantly trying to catch up. In 2015 the movie, “Queen of the Desert,” came out starring Nicole Kidman, telling the story of Gertrude Bell. I love history and researching the areas of the middle east and India has been an interest of mine over the years. Yet, I had never heard of Gertrude Bell before that movie. That definitely makes a statement about my research skills, or does it? Gertrude played a very important part the the creating of the country of Iraq, yet you will not find her name mentioned in their history books.

Gertrude Bell (1868–1926) – Mountaineer, Explorer, Diplomat and Spy. Travelled widely through the Middle East, spoke every dialect of Arabic and Persian and was responsible for drawing the lines of what became modern Iraq. She was the founder of the Museum of Iraq in Baghdad and worked tirelessly toward that end.

As the daughter of wealthy British parents, she had no interest in the social life of the London elite. Balls, receptions, and a life of privilege brought her only boredom. Aspiring to some usefulness in her life, Gertrude decided to join her uncle, who occupied a high diplomatic position in Tehran. Thus began her life long love of the Arabian Desert and its people. Her love for and knowledge of that area brought her to the attention of her friend T.E. Lawerence, better known as, “Lawerence of Arabia,” and Winston Churchill. Like so many aspects of my life here I am 8 years behind my goal of researching the, “Queen of Arabia,” as she was often called. In her personal life she was unlucky in love. She fell in love with a wonderful young man, Henry Cadogan. Because he was poor Gertrude’s father forbid her to marry him. Devastated he took his own life. Later she fell in love with Richard Wiley. Unfortunately he was already married, but then was killed in battle. Gertrude never married. For the remainder of her life she completely devoted herself to exploring and writing about the Near East and her knowledge of the tribal leaders was used by the British to establish the Kingdoms of Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Lawerence of Arabia
Henry Cadogan
Richard Wiley

From time to time I question whether heroes are born or are they ordinary folks who arise to the occasion. I have come to the conclusion they are both. Gertrude is a hero in her own right. She definitely rose to the occasion but she did so because she had the means, was born with great intelligence, endless energy, bountiful strength and endurance, was fearless, and loved adventure.

Gertrude’s life ended with an overdose of sleeping pills. To this day it is unknown if it was intentional or an accident.

Gertrude was a top notch mountaineer rated one of the top climbers of her day.

I am presently reading, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, by Lawerence of Arabia. I am about 20 years behind in reading one of his books which I at one time told myself I was going to do.

On a different Note: More close to home, on a simpler scale, there are many things needing doing that I have not done yet.

Usually by now the wind chimes are stored for the winter, but not so this year. I have not finished hauling in firewood as it has been raining for weeks, with wind, cold, and nasty. All the wood I cut must be hauled to the house via wheel borrow as there are no roads into my woods.

A gift from Teresa
A gift from Jason and Jeannette purchased in Hawaii.
A gift from Wilma Driver purchased in Alaska
Bringing in the scrap wood

The mower, one-wheel, and Latah’s motorcycle all waiting for the rain to stop and the chance to be used again, at least one more time, or to be winterized and put in storage.

Black Saddle Mushroom, growing next to the house entry, which I generally remove by this time of the year.


Jason and the rest of my family are good sports to put up with my silly greeting cards.

One more thing: I had meant to post this photo of Jason’s Confirmation reception but as usual I am behind on getting things gone. HaHa

Photo taken in the mid eighties