Monday, September 29, 2008

Mavvy in Person

After all the fuss about Mavvy being missing last week, he thought he would send along a photo to thank everyone for the good wishes and gratitude at his return. He is a red point siamese and quite the beautiful blue eyed boy. He promises not to scare us all again by jumping out second story windows!!! All's well that ends well, and that includes the now flea-free Ms Graysea, who is a much happier girl today.
What a chaotic day in the world today....I can only believe that what happened needed to happen. Enough said!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Early Morning Mini-Tour

Lighthouse Beach, Chatham
Espaliered apple trees, Fall version

One of my favorite Chatham doorways, house is a full restoration designed and built by my company and the same house which has the espalier. It is right next to the beach at the lighthouse so enjoys the view shown above.
Same house, Fall hydrangeas. They turn the loveliest color in September.

Each morning before work, I drive to the lighthouse beach overlook to gaze at the sea and sky and get my energy for the day. It is different everyday of the year but most dramatic in Fall and Winter. To think that I got out of the car and captured all the above beauty in about 60 seconds is still stunning to me.

We had a delightful dinner with our friends last night and came home to blissful sleep while the rain from Hurricane Kyle - quite far out to sea - poured outside the windows. It rained all day today, too, so, at Dad's recommendation I stayed on Cape and just enjoyed some extra time with LM, did some baking for the freezer and worked on my winter wardrobe, while giving Ms G ample lap time. She seems to be better although she is still sleeping alot. I have sprinkled Borax in the corners in all the rooms as recommended by the vet. She said it is more effective at repelling fleas than any bombs. A very inexpensive cure if it works.

Problem Solved with Ms G

Updte on Ms G.....last night she finely decided to come out from hiding (still wary of the cat carrier which sits on the living room floor) and settle into my lap for some love. I was patting her and realized she had some bumps on her neck. The more I felt around the more I could see that she had flea bites! I began using her fine tooth comb, which she loves, and got some flea dirt...Oh, OH....we have a problem, Houston!! I felt terrible that I had not noticed this before and very surprised that I had seen no fleas on myself, etc. I have a sneaking suspicion I know how they got in the house....enough said...this morning, I purchased some Advantix and have applied it, hoping to solve the problem and I will put Borax around the house which should help. Poor baby, no wonder she has been acting strangely. In all her 7 years she has never been exposed to such an indignity!
Hope that is the problem as it is easily solved. WHEW.

Out to dinner with friends tonight. Poor LM did not get home until 3 am and is now out catching up on all his errands.
I know, I know, I promised Chatham photos but I have to get ready for our date..priorities, you know.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ms G.

Not sure what is happening in the cat world this week but after worrying for several days about my friend's cat, Mavvy, I am now VERY worried about my dear one and the very namesake of this blog. For a week or so, Her behavior has been a bit unusual but I chalked it up to "cats just act weird sometimes" and it would pass. Well, last night I noticed her licking at her fur continuously and then seeing large chunks of fur around the house. She was also refusing to eat her usual treats and was not hanging on me begging for attention. This morning, she was worse and she left me a huge regurgitated hairball (forgive the graphics description here for you non-cat owning readers). At lunch time, she appeared very lethargic and didn't come to share lunch or my lap. Big signal to me that something is amiss with my dear sweet friend. I called her vet and made a 3 pm appointment, knowing full-well that capturing her on my own would be iffy. I came home at the appointed time and got the carrier stealthily, while she was captive in a small bathroom. I almost had her in the carrier but with mighty force she managed to get away from me and in a corner WAY out of my reach. In tears I called the vet to say there would be no visit. They have no time left until Monday so I can only hope whatever is ailing my baby will pass. Meanwhile, her poor "boyfriend" LM is way far away on the road and feeling very sad that he is not here to help. She had not made an appearance since I got home from work this evening. Hopefully, she will climb in bed with me as usual. Not a good week for cats!
Meanwhile, I am making ricotta roasted tomatoes again. Just love them and the roma tomatoes are from a local farm. Yummy dinner with some steamed broccoli. The recipe for the tomatoes is at
We are also under a severe storm warning here and right now the wind is howling and we have had torrential rain all day. Ms G and I will be so relieved to have LM off the road and back home with us.
The promised Chatham will appear tomorrow.....have a nice weekend.


The workday began yesterday with long hugs and tears as my friend & co-worker, Melissa arrived to tell us that her dear cat, Mavvy, had still not come back. He had been gone for two days after escaping by pushing a screen out of a second floor window. We all tried to start our days and not focus on it, after all, neighbors and others were watching carefully in case Mavvy should be spotted. Meanwhile, at the "ranch", my work computer, along with 4 others, had become infected by a terrible virus and decided to stop working, which in, essence, put the brakes on my ability to work as usual. I spent the morning cleaning, organizing, helping some of the architects prepare plans to go out for permitting, and catching up on some professional reading. About 10 am, I heard Melissa walk down the hall and quickly got up to hear her announce that Mavvy was spotted in her back yard by her next door neighbor, but he was unable to catch the elusive Mavvy. More tears....due to a scheduled audit, Melissa couldn't leave for 3 hours but eventually she was on her way home and by 3 pm she called us to detail how she had gone into the conservation woods behind her house and sat there with a bag of treats until Mavvy finally came to her....that took almost an hour. He is now home, a few cuts on his paw pads, covered with ticks and burrs, but full of purrs and Melissa's screens are now doubly secure.

I loved being part of the support the whole office gave Melissa during this troubling time. Our company is like a family and I am so thankful to be part of it all. I have been offered similar support when it was really needed, especially when I had to suddenly leave the very abusive relationship I was in. Over night, I was surrounded by help, hugs and constant reassurance, not to mention the physical help they gave me when I moved. So nice! Now, if only I can go in to work this morning and find that my computer has been, we are so dependent on this technology!

Stay tuned tomorrow for some photos I took yesterday morning around Chatham. We sit out here on an elbow extending into the Atlantic at the mercy of the confluence of a hurricane and a nasty storm arriving as this day progresses. Sure feels tropical out there this morning.

Wishing LM well today he is driving to and from PA. He left at 5 am and will not be back until very late, and I worry a lot when he drives in these heavy storms.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Memory Walk

Memory Walks were held all across our country this past weekend to raise money for Alzheimer's research and none was more special to me than the walk held in Plymouth at Plimoth Plantation. The walk chairman was my dear, dear daughter-in-law, Alison. We walked on her team which was made up of many family, friends and most of her co-workers from the Assisted Living facility where she is the director of a special unit she designed for the memory impaired to thrive. Each person has their own suite, and Alison, along with her wonderful staff, keep the lives of these people full and stimulating. It is heartwarming to see her at work. Despite being quite pregnant right now, she took on the task of running the Memory Walk event and no one was prouder than I to hear her lauded at the ceremonies on Sunday. LM and I were joined by his daughter, Kristi, my daughter, Sara and granddaughter, Samantha. It was a perfectly beautiful day and the walk took us along the Plymouth shoreline in the sunshine. Even though we were exhausted after our long car trip on Saturday, we were thrilled to be part of this wonderful event. There was a very touching moment when a 9 year old boy was honored for raising $5000. over the past year to contribute to Alzheimer's research. He held yard sales and many other events, raising the money in memory of several loved ones who have fallen to Alzheimer's Disease. Amazing!

Photos: Crowds beginning to gather before the walk
Sara and Kristi head toward the start of the walk
Kristi, Sara and LM walking ahead of slow and gimpy me.
The Plimoth Plantation main reception building
Alison and her proud MIL
Outside the barn where there were baby goats! Too dark in there for photos.
Alison and her boss giving out awards for fundraising

Not the best of photos but I was dragging at this point....while I am bragging here, Alison's incredible husband, AKA my son Jason, really did so much to help pull this event together....manning water stops, lugging all the equipment, etc.

Meanwhile, this week is half over and it is flying by. Work is incredibly busy, which amazes me with the economy the way it is. I do not see our business slowing at all and sure hope there will not be a cumulative lag down the road, but high-end design/build does not seem to be suffering here yet. I really think it is the ethic of the firm and I am fortunate to be part of it.

Ms Graysea has been spending an inordinate amount of time staring at the wall behind the toilet....go figure...cats baffle me. She's also been catching and dining on the many spiders we seem to have right now....good girl! Speaking of cats, all the women I work with are dedicated cat lovers and we all share cat stories every day. Today there is a sad and worrisome one. My friend Melissa's cat got out through a screen last night and he has not returned....please send her good kitty thoughts for "Maverick's" safe return. He has no claws and has never been out before. We are all feeling her worry. Come back Mavvy!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Weekend Scenery

At the last minute on Friday, LM was asked to do a car delivery to Cooperstown, NY. His first thought was that we would go together and make some more memories. I was supposed to work on Saturday but got the time and after some other finagling we were on the road at 4 am Saturday morning. This photo was taken just after sunrise on the Mass Turnpike headed west. It was a picture perfect day. The trip in to Cooperstown on Rte 88 was just breathtaking and we could look down on the valley and see a hint of color in the trees. Soon we were off the highway and our faithful (well usually) Tom Tom GPS guided us through some very interesting roads.....very rural farms, and then on to a one lane road which crossed over the top of a mountain through deep woods and precipitous drop-offs to one side. We were driving a HUGE Chevy pick-up and were very grateful. We laughed the whole way, thinking, this cannot be the way to a Chevy dealer, but after many miles on the dirt road, we emerged to civilization and were a stonesthrow from our destination!

Along the way to Cooperstown.
We saw a sign for a tiny garlic festival held on the grounds of Wood Bull antiques very near the dealer we went to, so had to stop. This sprightly sheep welcomed us and we bought some nice local garlic and pottery.
Wood Bull Antiques cosmos
Riding next to the rails on the way home.

It really was a great day....we drove 800 miles returning in a nice new Malibu. As always, we LOVE being on the road and seem to go into a cocoon of love, laughter, and awe at all the beauty around us. The Village of Cooperstown, famous for being the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, was teeming with visitors, very quaint and features many lovely homes on quiet tree-lined streets. Many smaller Victorian and Arts and Crafts style houses. We also got to see the beautiful Otsego Inn which sits on Lake Otsego, one block from the village. It was a long day and we were really tired......early to bed to rest up for the Alzheimer's Walk yesterday. More about that tomorrow from beautiful Cape Cod where Fall is the best time of the year! Happy Solstice.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blogger Issues

One bright spot in my week....Samantha paid a visit on Tuesday. She is the sweetest and funniest little doll.
I have been trying with great frustration to post for 3 days but it keeps failing....Not sure this will work. I will try again on the weekend. Very, very tired after a tough week at work.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Catching Up

Finally, my computer modem was replaced on Friday night and I am back on line.
A big thank you to Anne and Theo for stepping in to say hello for me last week. I thought that seeing Theo do "The Twist" was ironic considering that Chubby Checker's "The Twist" was ranked the number one listened to song of all time last week. Some sort of cosmic serendipity there, I think.

Life has quieted down and fallen back into a slower pattern right now. Several people I really love are facing very serious surgery this week so I am meditating on healing and peace for my long-time friend, Hester, who is having a mastectomy tomorrow. She has a very positive mindset and I know she will do well, but it is never easy knowing someone you love is threatened. On Friday my brother, Marty, will have surgery to repair very severe skin breaks on his hips. He is a paraplegic and has been very sick for many years. Laying on his hips has caused these life-threatening skin breaks and we are hopeful yet another surgery will help to close these wounds which seriously compromise his health. Marty became paralized after a dirt bike accident when he was 19 in 1975. He has had a long road but made a success of his life and the lives of many others.

It was a lovely weekend here....saw several movies. On Sat we saw "The Women" and it is really bad....I am so disillusioned looking at the surgically altered faces of Hollywood actresses. It is painful!! On the other hand, this afternoon, we went to see "Burn After Reading." We are big Coen Bros fans and this one certainly redeemed the horrors of "No Country for Old Men". We laughed heartily along with a very full theater. We also shared several nice meals. We had fresh swordfish last night with PERFECT corn and green beans from the farmers market.
Guess you can tell it was a rainy weekend so there were no outside activities...LM and I shared a lot of long talks and closeness and are continuing to treasure the good fortune which has brought us together and given us this past year. As we said good-bye awhile ago I couldn't help but feel I am enveloped by love, tender, compassionate and, at once, exciting love.

I have a series of humorous photos from the sisters reunion and I promise to get to them some night this week and make a new post.

Ms Graysea has been sleeping away these past two dreary days....although she did rally a bit to have some bacon with our brunch this morning. We currently have the aftereffects of Ike blowing through. LM is happy because these dark breezy nights are perfect for fishing. Tonight he is out on the starkly beautiful but remote backside beaches (National Seashore area in Wellfleet) trying to catch some striped bass. I am happy to see him pursuing his passion on the beaches but will be happy when I get the call that he is on the way home. Since his heart attack I worry when he is out there alone.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

By Way of Florida

Due to Hurricane Hannah this blog has been temporarily taken over by the southern "kin" in the family. This is Marcia's daughter, Anne, reporting in. Apparently the modem on on her computer was taken out by the bad storms which moved through the area last weekend. Hopefully she will be returning soon as I for one look forward to her daily pictures and postings.
I thought I would take this opportunity to share the most recent photo of Baby Sweetness, aka, Theo the Wonder Cat. Ms. Grace, please don't be mad, you still rule the blog world.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Waiting for Hanna

This photo was taken two weeks ago today on my visit to Pike's Place Market in Seattle. I loved that place and my time there with my sisters!!

Back to real life.....
Tropical storm Hanna is on its way to Outer Cape Cod and already the "lead scouting party" of bands has dropped a considerable rainfall. It is very dark and humid, and near the water there is a strong SW wind. It is expected to clear a little by midday and the storm should begin to fully move over us by 5 pm. I headed over to the farmers market at 8 am and managed to breeze through there, collecting some lovely bounty and be back in the car before the next downpour.
This morning I got deep yellow summer squash (something new to me this year and very tasty), baby chard, tomatoes, two huge bags of fingerling potatoes (I will take one bag to my brother Sam when I go off-Cape tomorrow to visit Dad), corn, purple green beans....sounds weird but they do turn green when steamed and they are yummy, and some beautiful basil. I got some local raspberries and a nice cucumber to have with some tzatziki (yogurt, herb and garlic dip). That is about it although I did weaken when I came across giant coconut cupcakes. They have been cut in quarters and frozen to have as an occasional treat.

This will be a very quiet day as LM is off on a car run to Brockton and will not be back until late. He also has so much to do in preparation for his upcoming meetings regarding the salt water anglers registry, and he has to deliver a speech on the subject tomorrow. He is also preparing for a meeting with the Social Security Administration to straighten out a huge mess with Kristi's account. I know that is causing him a lot of stress and he needs to focus on it to ask the right questions on the day of the hearing. He is also lamenting the fact that his favorite time of year to fish, the Fall, is here already and he is too busy. Hopefully, tomorrow night he can be out there.
We are very worried about LM's best friend, Bob. He has been having a series of health issues and the past few weeks have been pretty painful. LM feels it is most important to stay close by to be there for Bob right now. Their's is a very special and lovely friendship. I so admire that part of LM's character. He treats me with the same consideration and love and I am happy to say that I don't mind when these other things intercede. In the past I would have not been so understanding, but then, I have never been loved by anyone as dear!

So, I have several fun movies to watch, some yummy food to cook with, and time to rest. Yesterday was not a happy day in my world. I am not sure started out with bad hair, nothing to wear (at least nothing which felt right), a severe pain in my hand which required a medication to quiet it down, and dropping everything I touched, not to mention a dead computer, cranky fax and printer at work. Thanks to our great IT person, all is now well. I could not wait to be home last night and just go to bed and shut things out. That seems to have passed and I am managing to get through today with much better hair, and only one thing has dropped so far...LOL
Ms. Graysea is all curled up in a favorite chair and seems to be saying she will sleep through the storm. Hoping we do not lose power here but at least it is not cold. The worst is due to pass through overnight. Tomorrow should be clearing out by mid-morning. I will be headed to see Dad with Kristi and have promised, at long last, to take her to Kohl's and Target. She is a thrifty shopper and will have fun.
On the way back from the farmers market, I drove by my favorite beach by the lighthouse and it was like driving into a wall of darkness. The clouds are so low and eerie. We are very overdue for a big hurricane they say....this one will not get above 60 MPH or so but that is scary enough for me....I lived through majorly destructive hurricanes in the 50's and 60's which were very, very scary. I can remember seeing buildings on our farm leveled and our street being impassable for weeks by downed trees, not to mention the fact that we had no power, water, etc for a long time. As children we thought it all very exciting but now, that would not be the case.
Here's to everyone being safe for the next 18 hrs or so!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Arguing With Myself

I should be doing another post about the sisters reunion but tonight I am really tired!! When I am tired and hungry, I have a running dialogue with myself about how yummy and easy take-out would be, so, after enduring the smell of the Chinese food which the accounting department and others were enjoying at lunch today, I got it in my mind that I HAD to have some, too. Seeing that I try to avoid junk food like that (and, I really CANNOT afford take-out) I remind myself of just how AWFUL I feel within 10 minutes of eating it. Tonight I went back and forth, searching for the Asian Paradise menu in my junk drawer to no avail, searching for it on line with no success, taking a Previcid to stave off the after effects of the "junk", getting out of the chair, I headed for the door and somehow common sense prevailed and I stopped short of the outside door and detoured to the kitchen, arguing all the way.

An hour later, I surveyed the results of some healthy soup making and had finished eating a make-do dinner which was so delicious, I surprised myself.
Making soup is one of my favorite things and seeing that Fall is approaching it is nice to now have some of my veggie soup packaged up in the freezer and some for lunch tomorrow.
I don't use a recipe but here is a go at one for you to follow if you like. It is a variation of a Weight Watchers "free" soup which I have been making since the mid-70's:

In a heavy large pot (see very poor photo of my favorite soup pot above) saute the following in a very small amount of olive oil, stirring often:
3 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 lg yellow onion, finely chopped
2 lg cloves of garlic, minced

Saute the above for about 8-10 min until the celery and onion are translucent

Add a large (28 oz) can of diced tomatoes and 1 qt of fat free or low fat chicken broth

Stir well, simmer

Chop 3 carrots, finely and 1 med zucchini cut into very small pieces.

Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes until the carrots are soft.

Cool and then remove 3 cups to a blender, puree, and pour back in. Season with any herbs, spices, salt and pepper.

This soup freezes well and is very filling. Sometimes I add kidney beans or cannellini beans. You can really add anything you like!

My easy dinner was made from left over mashed about 1 and 1/2 cup of mashed potato, I added 1 cup of shredded zucchini and 1/4 cup of grated onion and 1/4 cup of grated parmigiano reggiano cheese. I then rolled them in panko crumbs and sauteed them lightly in a bit of olive oil in a non-stick pan until they were browned. On the side I put some left over mango peach salsa which I had made to accompany baked swordfish on Monday, and voila, I had a delicious dinner and do not feel sick!! Of course, as I chopped and stirred, I was still talking myself out of the run to Asian Paradise. Ah, the games we play with ourselves in an effort to remain healthy. Tonight a diversionary tactic worked! Not always the case, but then I am so far from perfect.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sisters' Reunion

At long last all the Morse sisters were together in Seattle on August 19. All our flights went very well and we were lovingly greeted by El and her boys, John and Ian. Below is the view out to Puget Sound from El's deck. It was so spectacular that I could not let a day pass without taking another photo and each time there was a lot of boat traffic and something interesting to watch, ie, ferries, giant cruise ships going and coming from the Alaskan waters, container ships and pleasure boats.
We did so much and spent so much wonderful time catching up on the family news, LAUGHING, shopping at Seattle's beautiful farmers markets, eating sumptuous fresh food and cooking! It seemed we spent an inordinate amount of time recalling the wonderful meals and events of our lives, all of which revolved around those prepared by our extraordinary mother! She was present there with us every step of the way, whether it was in our faces, our hands as we cooked, our laughter and our emotions, I continuously felt her with us, and reveled in how very happy she would be to know we were together, all best of friends and taking up as though we were not separated by large distances for most of every year. Over and over one of us was heard to exclaim, "Mum would just love this". My favorite thing about the whole reunion was being within touching distance of my beautiful sisters and hearing their voices in person.
View from El's deck
Beautiful lacy and towering hemlock trees which seem to be everywhere in WA. We called them "fairy trees" as they seem to be straight from a fairy tale with their ethereal beauty.
El and Bebo with a bouquet of teddy bear sunflowers, queen anne's lace and crocosmia.
El lives in West Seattle and every Sunday a wonderful farmers market is held in a parking lot behind the main street...
El's younger son John is truly passionate about skateboarding and we had fun watching him at a local park. John is also a true movie fan and insisted we all watch "Creature from the Black Lagoon"....a true highlight of our trip as seen on El & Steve's new 60" HD TV. SCARY!!
Last year El and family adopted this beautiful boy, Hank Williams Jr, and he seemed to always be in this window as we approached the house....waiting to greet us. Sweet, sweet!
View of Seattle from Alki. Very close to El's.
El, Bebo and Margaret. Shopping at the incredibly beautiful Metropolitan Market in W. Seattle.
Ian, me, John, El and Margaret preparing to leave for a Duck Tour of Seattle. It was such a fun time and a beautiful day. (Thanks to Bebo for taking the photo)
Flowers to adorn the table where we shared some lovely meals....wild halibut and salmon were savored!!!
There is so much more to share about the trip but I am honestly still overwhelmed (in a good way) by it all, so in the future I will pick out more of my favorite moments to share. We made some beautiful memories and I have come home with a deeply renewed appreciation for the wonderful family of which I am part.
Jet lag had a hold on me for about 5 days and I was happy to just have to work for 2 days before having the long Labor Day weekend to rest and reconnect with my dearly loved and sorely missed LM. He was just wonderful to meet me at the airport at midnight in Providence and then drive me 2 hours home. We could not stop hugging and it was heaven to be together again.
Just one last thing.....we sure did enjoy some great food, as I have liberally mentioned, Steve holds the loot and the look on John's face says it all....the mini-cupcakes were from a gourmet bakery in W. Seattle....interesting....they vanished almost instantly!!! We loved the way they were hand-packed into an egg box. It was doubly sweet because we spent a lot of our childhood packing eggs into just such boxes!