Monday, June 30, 2008

Helping Hands

Life has been handing me a lot of adversity and challenges lately, and somedays I handle it well, and many days , not so well. Depression can get a grip on me and I stubbornly keep it to myself, maybe telling one daughter - poor girl - she is so far away and really can do nothing. I struggle and put on my game face daily, madly doing everything I know which works to lift me above the "rocks" and hold me steady. This photo which I took in Acadia National Park last year said a lot to me then and now it means even more. In talking with a person who often helps to guide me, I am reminded once again that I MUST reach out and ask for a hand of suport. She called me on always saying, I must handle this MYSELF. I need to step out of my self-imposed isolation, and believe that it is OK to reach out.
My close girlfriends have either moved or their lives have taken different turns and I find myself needing a kindred spirit, one I can just "be" with - a girlfriend. Hopefully, by just expressing this, I can draw some new friends into my life. This is an insular world here where I live. Almost all wealthy retired, and most activites are held during the day. Sure I have LM, but he cannot be what I am missing in my life. He can only be the frosting on my cake, and by the way, he certainly is that. We have magical dates every weekend, and we share everything. He is frequently giving me that hand up, and I do the same for him with great pleasure and gratitude. I also have amazing family...daughter, sisters, sisters-in-law, daughter-in-law, yet I feel so alone.
I have no idea where to begin in this search as many option of places to meet people with common interests are just not available to me. Even the Senior Center (eeek, did I really say that??) is not available to me as I am working full-time. Bookclubs at the library are held during the day. Yes, I could start my own....just do not even know where to start. This sounds whiney to me, but it is very real and just where I am.
I wonder how many other women feel this same way....and I also know that part of this is my own doing....there have been people who have reached out hands of friendship to me and I have been "too busy" etc. There is a bit of agoraphobia in me and I want to step beyond its bounds.
I know depression plays a role in all this, too. Finally I am opening up a little about it. The dialogue has started and maybe that is the hand I need to get me through the hard rocky surface I seem to have over and around me right now.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Rose Cottage etc.

This morning at 7 am I stood in the center of this quiet street and took photos as I turned around. So much beauty standing in one spot. Rose cottage is always changing. The truck in the driveway belongs to the full-time gardener. He obviously loves his job and the talk around town is that people have been waiting for years to acquire him to tend their gardens. The hollyhocks which will bloom a little later in the season are the most beautiful I have ever seen.
Enjoy and Happy weekend!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Beauty to behold........
Several scenes of my sister-in-law's beautiful garden! Trish built the pond on her own. Their property is literally built into ledge which created the perfect spot for the pond and waterfall.
This magnolia is just outside their family room window.
Instead of looking too hard beyond myself to find the reason for my recent depression, I decided the problem could be right under my nose, and be very fixable. That led me to list the changes I have made in foods, supplements, etc which I have made recently. There were only two or three so this morning I cut out the new calcium carbonate, magnesium, vitamin D tablets I started a week ago. I also stopped the cup of green tea which I had been having at my desk when I arrive at work. Today, I feel even, happy and had no nausea at all. This morning I even faced having a flat tire, getting to the repair place only to find that I need new brakes all the way around, and walking to work without getting stressed at all and being thankful that I was near home, work and the garage when all this happened. My spirit just feels calm. If you could only know how I loathe anything which has to do with car repair, maintenance (although I have it done faithfully on time), even getting gas, you would know that this is remarkable to be handling this day all on my own without a meltdown!

Thank you to everyone for the care and concern after what I wrote the last few times.
For today, life is beautiful, and in reality, today is all I have. Looking back and wishing for things which might have been is useless and draining, looking ahead (well, too far, anyway) is also time not well spent.
LM is in New Hampshire this afternoon enjoying a lunch with school chums of 55 or more years ago. They are lovely people and it would be fun to be there but I will share his joy vicariously when we chat later.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Out of the Fog

As Dad continues to improve, for this second at least, I'm still climbing out of the blackness I was in on the weekend. Depression is dancing around somedays and completely enveloping me on others. The weekend was a good example of the dance. I was all over the place. It is so scary and there is a constant wrestling with ideas to get a handle on why this is happening to it stress, so prolonged that I cannot seem to remember when it stops or starts, is it diet, exercise, a med I am taking???? Daily I try to adjust things, do everything I can to lift my spirits. Sunday, I was so low that I dragged myself through the day, even went for a 5.5 mile walk with LM and Kristi. After the walk I fell into a coma like sleep, got up and cooked the dinner which was postponed from Saturday, as LM got consumed by an issue with Kristi's, Social Security (very serious as the government is dunning her to the tune of 1000's of dollars a day) and never came over to have the planned evening. I was not able to sleep for one minute Sat night due to anxiety about Dad (I think). Sunday evening after dinner, I asked LM to go home so I could sleep....another fitful night and I awoke with extreme serious depression yesterday morning. Managed to get my self to work looking presentable but feeling like I needed to call someone for help. THEN, by 10:00 am, I felt FINE. The rest of the day was lovely. I am baffled as to why this is happening to me and can only think it must be biological. This morning is much better and I will just monitor things and see my Dr if it happens again.
On the bright side, as a result of LM's dogged pursuit of help for Kristi, a call has come from Senator Kerry's office and they are already petitioning for Kristi's records with SS and hope to solve the mystery of why our local office is doing nothing to help and WHY she is receiving threatening demands for money from SS which she does not owe. In fact, she is owed many $1000's of dollars for years of underpayment. One wonders how many other people, with no one to advocate for them, are being threatened in the same way. I commend LM for his calm determination on Kristi's behalf.
We've been having daily high humidity and t-storms and it is really dark....hoping to get for a walk to take photos of Chatham in full flora regalia. The roses are amazing this year already! Maybe this afternoon.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Dad rallied enough yesterday for Trish to receive a call around 9:30 am that he could go back to his place at assisted living. For a brief few hours we thought this was a typical Dad rally but after settling him in at home, Trish and I spoke and she feels strongly that he will not be able to stay there and will need more intensive nursing care. She said he was unable to really do more than get in bed and would need help with meds, eating, etc. Just waiting for more news.

LM and I did not go there last night at Trish's recommendation. We came back to the Cape to our separate places so we could rest. This morning I am up after a struggle and feeling sick and dangerously depressed. My head will not clear and I am so tired that I can barely drag myself around. No idea what is wrong unless it is exhaustion from stress. I am going to now force myself to get in the car and go to the Sat. farmer's mkt because it always makes me feel better. Hoping to find "Cape" strawberries and more of the wonderful greens which I enjoyed this week.
Supposed to get together with LM's daughter, Meaghan today but time will tell.
That is it from gloomy me this morning. So many things I SHOULD do and no inclination at all.

The Farmers Market cure worked again. The long awaited display of still-warm-from-the-field strawberries awaited and drew me like a magnet, I was on them fast, as were crowds of others, and have procured some of the luscious gems, plus an extra box to take to Bob and LM. Too beautiful, not to share. The scent in the car was heavenly. I also got some more beautiful greens from the Boxwood Gardens stand (they were already sold out of spinach and radishes), and some wonderful multi-colored baby swiss chard from the Cape Cod Organic Farm. Soon they will have their nutty/buttery fingerling potatoes. By the time I left there and drove over to LM's, I was feeling so much better and the warm loving greeting was further salve to my soul. We all went out for a cup of tea and some good laughs observing the tourists who have descended in hordes.
A lovely morning. LM has gone off to do errands and I am home after stopping to buy freshly caught flounder and a visit with my friends at Nantucket Wild Gourmet to ask them to order me Ruby Red Jasmine Rice . Yesterday, Gluten Free Girl, Shauna wrote a nice piece including a recipe for a salad using this rice so I am very inspired to try it in my never ending quest for healthy cooking.

Dad is OK this morning, although still needing to stay in his room with assistance, he did get up and get dressed and was reading his dear Boston Globe at last report. Trish, who since yesterday has been suffering terribly with severe vertigo, managed to get herself over to check on Dad this morning. She is now back home in bed. She has been under tremendous stress caring for Dad, but this is not the way to get a day of well-deserved rest.

I am working on conscious breaths and enjoying the cool breezes. Sometimes the bleakest day can become bright.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sustained by Cuteness

The latest shipment of Florida cuteness comes in time to sort of distract me as I await news on Dad. He is fairly unresponsive, in the hospital and his tests revealed no cause for the heavy bleeding on Tuesday. It seems the state he is in is related to the kidney failure, and Dad had chosen many months ago to not receive treatment for that but to let nature take its course. So we wait. Will he rally, as he has done in the past? Will this, his 96th year, be the end of his journey with us? As much as we are all so thankful for all the time we have had with him, I am not ready to let go of my Dad. He has been a best friend to me all my life; my favorite date with whom to share the beauty of the world, the quirky, and the commonness in everyday, and all the news.

Sleep escapes me and I am waiting for 5 am so I can respectably go for a walk , talk to the dawn and gleen some peace from the beauty around me. Not sure if I can even see it this morning. My brain feels like it is immersed in a fog of worry and every other issue pressing is thickening that fog. This will be a very long day. After work, I am driving to Providence to pick-up LM at the airport. He is driving to southern NJ this morning to deliver a car and will fly back via Philadelphia. After I gather him up, I am hoping we can drive to the hospital to see Dad. LM will have had a very long day, as well.

This has been a most beautiful week here and I am grateful for the soft and beautiful air which has given us lovely evenings lit by the early summer sun. Hoping that sun is also shining on you.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Just some notes on the week so far.
Dad is still in the hospital. Hopefully there will be news today on the results of the colonoscopy which finally was done yesterday. Trish has been keeping me updated. I await news with the uneasiness which seems to fall over me the second I hear that Dad is not doing well. At his age, one would expect these things, but it still grips me and will not let go.
LM is very busy this week as he begins committee meetings on his fishing legislation today, and he has spent considerable time trying to get John assimilated back into the mainstream. Not too much has been accomplished yet. We visited briefly at lunch yesterday before he hurried off to decrease his long "to do" list. SWEET! Amidst it all, he manages to send me little notes to remind me of our love and support me while I wait news.
In an effort to steady myself, I walked last night as the sun was beginning to set. It was nice not to have to drive to a place to walk. Just went out the door and down a lovely quiet residential street which ended at a town landing from which I could look back toward the village, count the steeples against the beautiful early evening sky, lit by the low sun and seeming to glow. As always, I had a bit of rejuvenation from this time in nature. There were pretty gardens along the way and a green heron balanced on a wire watching me pass before flying off to gleen in the green marsh. There was a lovely cottage on that walk. It used to have an old quarterboard above the door which said "Diana" and it was just quaint and so "Cape Cod". Now it has been completely rebuilt and the sign is gone. I reluctantly admitted to myself that the re-build is nice and the view to the back, over a small marsh is lovely. Sometimes change is so hard to see.
Someone else along the walk has created a garden which contains an American flag made of seaclam shells, some left white, some painted red and blue. Very clever and "Capey". There were lovely peonies to stop and sniff and admire.
For a time, this walk took away the veil of sadness and worry.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Not Always as Planned, Sometimes Nicer!

Some scenes from Father's Day at my brother's home:
Trish's beautiful Alium, pink spirea and hydrangeas coming along near the front steps

LM and his girls

Sam, Kristi (his number one fan) and Trish

We had planned Father's Day differently, but everything changed at the last minute and it was just perfect. We headed out early to collect LM's children. Newly free J, unfortunately could not be located in time but turned out he was fine with friends and we connected at the end of the day and he spent the night with us in Chatham, sleeping in a soft and comfy bed for the first time in a year, and I KNOW his Dad was very relieved to be under the same roof with him, if only for one night.
After a stop to visit with my son & DIL's cat, Sting,(they were in NH visiting her father) we headed out in the deluge to my brother's and to spend the day with my Dad. It was lovely and Dad, at nearly 96, was in great spirits and enjoyed the wonderful dinner we all shared. LM's daughter, Kristi was a big help and, as always, just loves being around my brother, Sam, and he is so sweet with her.
After coming back to the Cape, we got the girls home and went to find J to spend time with him. He looks great and was quite tired after walking a lot of the day and just enjoying being outside. FINALLY, we brought him back to my house and we had time to visit, and make J comfy. He was facing a big day Monday having to report for probation and many other tasks which will help him rebuild his life. LM got him set up with a cell phone and helped with paperwork. It seems very daunting and I am worried for LM's endurance. LM is working today so J is reliant on others for help. We are holding our breath, envisioning him finding a job and being able to secure housing someplace near. It is very tentative for these young offenders. They are put back into the mainstream without a single word of assistance, help or encouragement. Certainly the jail called "Department of CORRECTIONS FACILITY" is a misnomer. There was not a word of counseling offered during the entire year. Parents have no rights, either. Very sad. On the plus side, J is very devoted to working out and eating healthy and did spend a lot of time studying ways to nurture fitness.

Meanwhile, I was back to work and had a crazy day, only to come home to an e-mail from Trish telling me Dad has been admitted to the hospital with severe rectal bleeding. It was an awful scene. He has been admitted and will undergo an endoscopy this morning to determine the origin of the bleeding. At least he is safe and not alone. Poor Trish had quite an ordeal, though. She truly is an angel in our midst for all the loving care and patience she shows with Dad...constantly on call for his care and driving him to appointments, and interminable ER waiting. She has a way of creating beauty wherever she is, though, and is apparent in the garden glimpses in the above photos. Her garden is just magnificent right now. I missed getting a good shot of her pond, waterfall and bridge which she has created over the course of years. Sunday her peonies were just amazing, although a bit tumbled over by the heavy rains. Her roses were profuse as well.
Off to work....Dad's condition tugging at my soul, and J's welfare at my nerves.

Update on Dad: He will have a colonoscopy at 4 pm today. Trish is standing-by. More later.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Landmark Day and then Some!

What a happy and wonderful day this has evolved ibecome. J is free - nearly blinded by the brilliant daylight - and so happy to be reunited with his family, especially his wonderful Dad whom he almost lost in February. J called me and we had a great conversation and we cannot wait to see each other later this evening. Also, tomorrow we have all been invited to celebrate Father's Day with my brother and family and my Dad will join us. What a great day it will be!!

The Farmer's Mkt was amazing this morning, even though it is mostly plants, flowers, greens and handmade things at this early summer point. I got an amazing big bag of spicy greens which included mustard greens, arugula and assorted baby lettuces. Came home and had a nice bowl full.
Got chives and "scapes" which are curly green garlic tops and will be a nice addition to pasta.
I was also able to get some perfect Georgia peaches and sweet Washington State cherries, as well as indulge (it's the weekend, of course) in an artisan loaf of apple raisin bread.

Oh, and after the little shopping trip, I did come home to find Ms. G still curled up on my unmade bed and I DID climb in and have a nap with her...BLISS.
At this moment 8:30 am June 14 , LM's only son, J (19) is being released after serving his one year jail term. I am happy for all of us as the stress, expense and loss has been really hard to endure. We now step in to an unknown. Will J be able to build a life, find a job, a place to live, etc.? J's Mom picked him up and will take him shopping for clothes then bring him to be with LM at the Cape Cod Salties' Fishing clubs's "Learn to Fish Day". At some point they will make their way to Chatham and me and I will finally get to hug J for the first time.
As much as I try to live in the moment and have faith in LM and our love, common sense says this will be another huge test for us. It is a beautiful day and the first time J will feel sunshine on his skin in 1 yr! He will have so many emotions to feel today, we all do. I am stepping back a bit, taking the day to myself to do some things I rarely have time to do, rest, bake something for our little Father's Day gathering tomorrow and go to the Farmer's Mkt. First of the season and oh how I relish eating locally here!

This week found me spending a lot of time putting my house in order. When I start cleaning out my clothes closet, it always means I am wrestling my mind around something. It helped a bit and the closet looks great, but there remain jumbles in my thinking, and I am strangely detached. Seems to be how I cope.

On other notes:
In an effort to get out of myself, I went to a wonderful play Thursday night with my dear friend, Nick. We saw "Intimate Apparel" at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater's new Julie Harris Stage. It is a beautiful venue and we thoroughly enjoyed the thought provoking, well-acted play. Dinner beforehand at "Finely JP's" was awesome in their beautiful new space. Nick is such a dear friend. I am fortunate to work with such nice people. Nick is an actor, director, set designer and also one of the kindest, most caring people I know. His wife, Mary, was dear to share him with me for the evening!

LM had an eventful day yesterday as the news about the coming enforcement of a federal registry for salt water fisherman hit the big newspapers and LM spent the morning on the phone, on radio, TV etc to explain why enacting a state registry would negate the federal mandate and actually be of benefit to the fisheries in MA. Next week a committee to go forward with the state legislation will convene and LM will sit on that board.

That's it from my world today....Ms. G is curled in a tight ball of fur on my unmade bed....she barely lifted an ear as I stopped to bury my face in her sweetness to kiss her. Happy girl!
Also, it is peony time here and they are beautiful everywhere...roses about to be at peak, too.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Baby Pictures: Samantha and Theo

Grandaughter Samantha
15 monthsTig supervising Theo's hijinks

Too sweet for words!

Slow Motion

We have been plunged into a major heatwave here.....last week I was wearing my down vest to work with heavy sox and closed shoes! I feel like my mind has slowed to a crawl and I cannot get out of my own way! We got all the fans out and set up yesterday and I am resisting putting in the AC. See how long that lasts!

The weekend was low key and very nice. LM and I shared a rare very lazy and enjoyable Saturday morning. We planned a nice dinner for Saturday night and invited his friend, Bob, to join us, after which, we shared an evening walk through the old-village area of Chatham. It had actually, as it is want to do here by the sea, cooled down enough that we needed sweatshirts. As we walked the quiet streets, we had beautiful gardens and views to enjoy and, as always, we felt as though we we had been transported back to the turn of the century. After a tourist/summer resident-filled Memorial Day weekend, the town is very quiet in June, as people are busy with graduations and weddings, but within a few weeks we will feel the summer-effect as the streets come to a crawl and at 9pm every sidewalk is filled with visitors. Hopefully, the gas prices will not deter the process this year as, aside from fishing, tourism is our economic base.

Yesterday found us up and out of the house early into the sweltering heat to visit LM's son....our last visit EVER, we hope, at the Barnstable County Jail. J has been there one year, and it has been a very hard year on his Dad. It was for an offense which harmed no one, physically anyway, and the punishment seems to have been effective. He will come out next Saturday and we are trying to gear ourselves up to help him assimilate back into society. There are numerous challenges as he has no job, no driver's license and no funds and is only 19. We are thinking positively and will take it one day at a time. J is a tall, handsome, well-spoken and smart young man, talented artistically who made several bad choices. I have always been very fond of J, having known him since he was very young. He has always been resourceful and now we hope those skills will help him to build a life. He has a game plan, and we are here to guide and encourage. It almost seems appropriate that the heat has slowed us down a bit, as helping J will require a lot of patience as we need to step back a bit and let him use his plan and his resources, although they are few, to put his life back together. A tough test for parents.

Kitten and beautiful granddaughter pictures later!! Trying to get my slo-mo morning in gear to go to work!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Waiting for her Boyfriend

Ms. G sits in this spot on the back of the sofa ONLY when LM is visiting. She patiently waits for him to emerge from his morning rituals, knowing he will give her one on one play time. She was just barely tolerating the paparazzi here! Love that face!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Standing Still

Nick, my dear friend and co-worker (he builds models of the projects which my company designs and constructs and is also a talented set designer), decided that I MUST watch all 6 seasons of Sex and the City, because I just have to see the new movie. He warned me that I would be addicted and just love the show. The marathon watching began yesterday. It is all such fun and the writing is amazing. There is a moment in time when Carrie asks Mr. Big to just stand still with her, savor the moment. Not a novel concept, for sure, but one which I have grown to treasure about my relationship with LM. We do that. It takes practice but when applied the benefits are so amazing and I have said from the beginning that one of my favorite things about LM is when he is with me, he is with me....incredibly romantic! With others it was all about "when we do this, when I get to this point", etc. At this point I just want to savor.

At my office today, I came face to face with an example of savoring right where you are. It was a very dark and dreary day and I was looking out the nice big window which is right beside my desk...gazing across the street into the trees wishing it were sunny again. When I shortened my gaze, not 3 feet from my chair was a huge rhododendron bush in full bloom and I could see the bees buzzing from blossom to blossom and, I was reminded once again to just be still and experience the beauty right there in that spot.

Back to Sex and the City.....I think there is a contradiction here somewhere...Nick told me it would happen!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

One of Those Days

The weekend is about over and I was gifted with a Sunday which was a dream day....nothing spectacular happened but it is the way the day felt from the very start...I woke up naturally at 6 a.m., the house was enshrouded in heavy fog and humid air and I just felt GOOD. It was the first time in ages when I was pain free and emotionally even. I enjoyed a simple breakfast (my favorite cottage cheese topped with homemade applesauce and cinnamon and a cup of green tea). I was on the road headed to see Dad and my grandson, Matthew, by 8 am. Of course, everytime I head off-Cape, I have a list of errands to accomplish which cannot be done on the Cape and today everything was just a pleasure and easily accomplished with no rushing. By the time I crossed the bridge leading off-Cape, the sun was shining and I was having a delightful phone conversation with my love as he drove to the middle of the state to lobby further for his recreational fishermen's registry. Everything just seemed beautiful right down to the wind in my hair, the sun on my face and love in my heart.
The visit with Dad was wonderful and we toured his favorite places by the ocean, sharing them with Matthew, then had a lovely lunch overlooking the water. Sharing Dad's memories with Matthew and an interesting dicussion of ancient myths.
On the way home, I stopped to buy a blue hosta for LM's friend Bob (he has a really nice garden he enjoys tending) and stopped by to deliver it and spend a little time with LM, was so upbeat, loving and fun and as I drove away he stood in the driveway throwing me a kiss.....ah, yes, all a bit corny but nonetheless indicative of the day.
When I got home my neighbor was out looking at her new car. I have lived here for 4 years and she has never spoken despite my efforts, today after I said that I loved her new car, we had a really nice conversation and exchanged names....amazing. She too, spent years caring for elderly parents!
So I happily came in the house, did a little baking, had the luxury of time to read the Sunday paper, and organize things for the week ahead. The more I think about the day, the more I think it is all in attitude. It is a choice to have this kind of day.......I thought I better save this day by writing about it.....someone please remind me of how good it can feel next time I start whining about "problems" in my life. It could have been different, as yesterday LM and I disagreed on a matter relating to his daughter. It was a very civil but strong disagreement and we worked it out so nicely. It was a first but I felt so respected and actually comforted by the way it was resolved.
He is a genuinely kind man and I am honored to love him. Something tells me that today was such a good day because some air was cleared and LM and I learned a little more about each other by virtue of disagreement. I loved that the problem was solved without ever going off the subject or making hurtful accusations.
Time for sleep and to give thanks for this day, the last 24 hrs, I would say!