Saturday, November 29, 2008

Scenes from a Lovely Day

Dad was just walking out his door when I arrived to pick him up for the short ride to Sam and Trish's and he had a great smile as he ably made his way to the car. He was happy to know we would see his friend, Bob the cat, too.

Trish's beautifully set tableNephew, Nate (center) entertained us with his drums while we finished preparing dinner!
Sam carves the turkey
Dad graces the head of the tableBob takes a nap while we enjoy our turkey....this boy knows how to relax!
It was really a lovely day, and after dinner, Trish, the daughters of our other guests, and I, walked two miles to Cohasset's Black Rock Beach. It was a fairly warm day and very nice to walk off the meal....I was doubly grateful for the lack of pain in my knee. Wonderful to be out in the air! After dessert (Dad ate 3!), I brought him home and then headed back to the Cape. We shared some nice moments and the meal was delicious!! As I said good-bye to Dad, he hugged and kissed me and said "You are a wonderful daughter." Another moment of deep gratitude for his presence.

If I sound less than enthusiastic, it is because I have not been feeling well for 3 days...hard to explain but it started with an episode of cramping in my legs, arms and hips overnight Wed night. I didn't sleep at all, as I could not lay down without the cramping causing a lot of pain. I was up walking the floor most of the night. It is accompanied by an uneasy stomach. I so hoped to have sleep on Thursday night but the condition was even worse as soon as I tried to sleep. Yesterday was sort of a lost day although I did go out to 6 thrift shops at local churches....stocked up on books and found a little Christmas present for Kristi....the rest of the day was knitting and just feeling pretty low. I finally slept with no cramping last night but today I feel weak and my stomach is still rocky. The cramping is a problem which occurs once in awhile but this was the worst episode ever. I take supplements to keep my potassium, magnesium and calcium levels where they should be, I stretch but I have no idea what makes this happen.
Oh well....

My son and his wife will give birth on Monday morning via c-section. I am going to be with them. It will be at 7:30 am. Very excited to meet my new grandchild!!

LM is back from N and we will get together later today and stay at my boss's with the dogs tonight. Nothing very exciting right now except the impending baby!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Best wishes for a beautiful Thanksgiving Day to everyone. I am most grateful to my readers and for all the kind words you send my way.

This year, my company has initiated a plan to raise funds for the Cape Cod Times Needy Fund which does so much to help those in need. The Cape appears to be wealthy but there are many, many people here who live well below the poverty line, and with the severe economic downturn we are experiencing, the need is greater than ever. This week we sent letters to our client list and many with whom we have done business in the past, as well as some some of our vendors.
The company is going to match the funds donated to the Needy Fund. Today's mail brought in the first check....$5000.00!!! We are just so thrilled and humble about being able to make a difference. Today my boss and I looked at that check and then each other and realized we both had tears in our eyes. This is only the beginning!! We are profoundly grateful!

There are so many other reasons for deep gratitude today:
  • LM's continued recovery from near death last February, and the love which continues to grow between us.
  • My beautiful children and grandchildren who light the way of my everyday
  • My Dad still thriving at 96 and his buoyant spirit
  • My incredible bothers and sisters
  • My job
  • My health
  • Good friends from so many places
  • Ms G!!
  • The beauty around me

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Post Script and Further Adventures of Theo

After writing the post on Thanksgivings-past Monday night, my dreams and early morning reveries were filled with other memories of this lovely holiday. One certainly has to be the turkey soup which followed several days after the holiday. Mum had a huge pot into which would go the carcass, left over stuffing, and bits of veggies , as well as more celery, onions and carrots. To this day, I have never been able to duplicate the taste of Mum's turkey soup, and have never had any in good restaurants to compare. I asked her time and time again, how she did it but she always answered that there was no recipe, "just throw everything in to the stock pot and simmer." Easier said than done! I love to make soup and make other types very well, but not the turkey soup from my childhood.

And, from North Central Fl comes news of Theo's latest adventures.....The Christmas tree was put up early strictly for Theo's enjoyment and he is having a great time....not only climbing and rocking it, but he is also chewing cords....bad, bad! I do not think there will be any wrapped presents left under the tree when this "little darling" is done. I hear he is banned from my grandson, Marshall's room for destroying cords to his various games. Ah the joys of kittens....Theo is really becoming more beautiful everyday. His tail continues to amaze us all! I cannot wait to meet him in person when I visit at the end of March.
Baking pies this evening!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Memories

Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day are my favorite me quirky, but that is the way it is...they both represent love to me.
My family just loves food. We love to talk about it, prepare it, savor it, watch movies about it and read books and talk about it some more, and we cultivated this lifestyle at the hands of the best. My paternal grandparents lived next door to us in a lovely farmhouse and my grandmother was a wonderful cook. It was a privilege to have Sunday dinner with Nana and Di-Di, and they also took us out to restaurants and introduced us to fine dining. My grandfather had an office in Boston and once in while he would take one of us with him to work. The day usually involved going to a nice place for lunch and I can remember dressing up and being expected to use my very best manners. There was even a time that he took me to the Ritz Carlton for tea but first he made me go to the front desk myself and request a room (I was 8 years old)!!! Just for practice!

Anyway, when it came time for Thanksgiving, my grandmother would plan for weeks and weeks. The menu would be all worked out, shopping and much cooking and baking done in advance. It was a grand feast around her big dining table. Thanksgiving morning many of us piled in the car with my father or grandfather to go to the Cider Mill to get the cider to accompany dinner. I can remember being so eager for the dinner to be served...there was the requisite turkey(often locally grown), stuffed with an oyster dressing, gravy, mashed potato, sweet potatoes, blue hubbard squash, green peas, boiled onions with cream sauce, homemade cranberry sauce (always served in a lovely blue Depression glass dish), and then there were the homemade breads such as cranberry/orange, date and nut, and dinner rolls, and a huge relish tray with cream cheese stuffed celery, olives, and pickles of all types.The relish tray piece de resistance, was my mothers treasured sweet pickled watermelon rind.

There was always mincemeat pie for dessert, served lovingly to my grandfather with a piece of sharp cheddar cheese, apple pie, and squash pie, too. We could all hardly move after all that food! The leftovers were such a treat, too.

When the time came that Nana could no longer manage all the work, my mother took over and began to produce her own lavish version of the same meal at our house. It was always such a nice day and the door was open to any and all, so many of our friends would stop by and share with us. No one left empty handed and my mother always had a loaf of homemade bread to hand out to anyone who came to the door. I do not have any idea how she did it, with 7 children and helping my father on the farm as well as caring for my grandparents as they aged. She managed to keep up these wonderful family gatherings well into her 70's.

Now all the siblings are scattered and my youngest brother, Sam and I will be the only two together this year but it will be lovely. He is a wonderful cook and I was very touched today when he sent me an e-mail to ask me to be in charge of the gravy.....I am bringing a cherry pie, too. That is a custom I have carried over from my mother, as she always made Sam a cherry pie at Thanksgiving. My mother taught me to make great gravy! My Dad will join us Thursday along with some lovely friends of my brother and his wife. They have 9 children and are such great company, making it feel like the old days!

Around the country my other siblings and some of my children are carrying on the traditions started way back on Twin Cedars Farm in the 1940's.....this week we have all been talking about what we will have and I am sure there will be more talking about it after the fact! It is a lovely thread we have kept going all these years. I feel very very grateful for the gift of all the years of wonderful holiday dinners with my family.
Alas, there is only one of my siblings brave enough to tackle the pickled watermelon rind and that is my brother in Baltimore. Ev has manged to duplicate Mum's recipe very well and on occasion he has brought me a jar as a gift.

Tomorrow night I will make my pies to take along. I will look down and see Nana and Mama's hands as I roll the crust and prepare the fillings and each step I take will be guided by their words and my observations from years in their kitchens.

Just a little note, as I was saying good-bye to Dad after our visit last Saturday he made a point of asking me to be sure to ask my brother to cut some very thin slices of turkey for him on Thursday, "just like Mama would do." He is thinking about food and just how he likes it, too! I will be sure there are some very special thin slices just for Dad!

Oh, and about the way of producing good gravy is to place the turkey (rubbed with butter) on top of a layer of fresh herbs....thyme, sage, and parsley..... several cloves of fresh garlic chopped, several ribs of celery, a whole sliced onion, and a sliced carrot. I do not use a rack in the pan! Cook the turkey on the lowest rack in the oven, basting every 1/2 hour. All these herbs and veggies cook down to make a lovely base for the gravy. When the turkey is done, let it rest for 20 min or so (very important), then place on a platter and drain most of the fat from the pan and scoop out the solid pieces. I then mix flour with the rest of the pan drippings and stir in the broth in which I simmered the giblets (use chicken or veggie broth if you don't cook the giblets - plain water or water from cooking veggie is fine, too). Scrape the pan and bring heat up slowly, adding water as the mixture thickens. Let the gravy simmer in the pan, stirring often and season to taste. Add more liquid, as necessary.

PS. My brother always brines his turkey....there are many, many brining solutions available on line and in cook shops. I think it does make a difference.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Peace and Quiet

Just a few notes from the weekend which really turned out to be so peaceful, loving, quiet and exactly what LM and I needed. Last week gave LM more than his share of stress with his children and I found myself prodding him daily to do something for Kristi which he has put off for two months. Granted, he has been very distracted by his other two children and their needs, but I was really getting annoyed that it hadn't been done. Friday was the day! There was a palpable relief and I got thanks for the gentle prodding! Not that I needed it but it was such a relief to know that soon Kristi will be attending a 3-times a week program with other mentally disabled adults. She so very much needs social contact and will have a lot of fun in this program. With a little luck, LM will drop off the final paperwork tomorrow morning and Kristi will begin next week.

It is really very cold and windy here!

The trip off-Cape to deliver a truck went very well on Saturday. We also enjoyed a very nice visit with Dad and were so happy to find him thriving! It was funny to be "two flies on the wall" at his place. When we arrived he was in the community room participating in Saturday morning trivia. As we sat in an adjoining room out of his sight, we could hear him answering almost all the questions. We had to stifle our laughing as we were just so amused by his full participation in life there. After a great conversation with Dad and his former neighbor, Kathy, who also stopped by, we headed back to the Cape after a stop for lunch at Hingham Harbor.

Last night, LM asked me to make him cupcakes so I did.....vanilla cupcakes with raspberry filling and mocha frosting. I just made a few and he thought they were the most delicious treat.

Today after a leisurely morning in which I made pie dough, in preparation for making 4 Thanksgiving pies on Tues (the dough keeps well in the freezer), we picked up Kristi and took her for some shopping she wished to do and we got groceries at Trader Joe's. Love that place! So crowded....I am sure they will do well right now as their prices are so reasonable.....soon we were back home and shared a nice dinner after LM helped me fix a few things in the house. He is always so willing to help.
Just a quiet sort of weekend which gave us time to relax, just be with each other and to talk. He will be away over Thanksgiving and I find myself blue over that fact. I was invited to go with him but I really do not want to leave my Dad or be too far away from my son and wife, as their ba,by is nearly due. So as I did last year, I will go to my brother's for dinner where Dad will join us and on Friday I will have a "date" with LM's friend, Bob, as I did last year when LM was away for Thanksgiving. Christmas we will all be together....much better.
It seems we all ask for peace and quiet at times but maybe don't really focus on the value of those words....this weekend really fit them well.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday....Too Early....Rambling

Way too early to be out of bed on a Saturday morning when LM is actually in my house and Ms G totally agrees. Her two "heaters" dared to disturb her purrfect nest in the covers. Alas, there is money to be made (conveniently, a car to be delivered to Quincy not too far from Dad's place), Dad to be visited, a birthday cake to be delivered and many other fun things.
Here, I sit, a half-eaten bowl of Cheerios and a cold cat next to the computer, waiting for LM to finish his shower. The minute we leave, Ms G will climb back into the bed, warmed now by an electric blanket, just for her. What a life!

Today is the anniversary of *JFK's assassination. This date is indelible in my memory. I was a very young mother in those days; Anne was 5 months old and I remember the week following so well, as my husband and I lived in front of the little TV at my mother & father's house, surrounded by other family, mesmerized by the horror, and sobbing as we watched the events following JFK's untimely death unfold. My mother cooking and presenting her delicious food as salve, for she knew not what else to do. Just like now, as Obama is about to take office, we had so much hope and faith in our government, at least I did. I remember vividly, holding my daughter so close to me as I rocked in the big chair and cried, crying which I thought would never stop. We were all crying! For days! Thus today, the memories of those years when JFK was president, and how I felt at 20 yrs old, are fresh in my is now a nice memory and freshened by the hope I feel with the new presidency about to start.

As an aside about JFK. When I was 15, I was given an amazing opportunity for a very sheltered farm girl from rural MA. A friend from HS, was the daughter of parents (my friend lived with her grandparents in my town during her HS years, while her parents were out of the country) who served in the US Foreign Service as Consul Generals to many Middle Eastern countries. Over the summer of 1959, they were in the Washington area and invited me to spend the entire summer in DC as their guest. They took me everywhere and into the workings of our government - inside the State Department, the White House, the Treasury, also to theater, and to see all the memorials and other sights in the area. It really is a most incredible part of my life. My friend and I got to sit in on State dinners and to help her parents entertain many dignitaries. During the course of that summer, they took me to see JFK address the US Senate as the Jr Senator from MA and then to meet this awesome man. That was a privilege!!! Thank you Lynne Atherton, wherever you are!!! I would sure love to find you.

*The news of JFK's shooting came to me as I sat nursing Anne, and watching "As the World Turns" at my little house on Canal St in Green Harbor, MA. Nancy Hughes was in her kitchen talking to Grampa Hughes when the news broke in. I can remember that horror so clearly, and Walter Cronkite's cracking voice throughout that week. I called my mother and then packed Anne in the car and drove the 30 minutes to my mother's to feel the comfort of family. My husband joined us as soon as he could.

Time to hit the road!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Birthdays and Birth Days

Today is my middle child's 44th feels like such an important birthday this year as Sara has had to struggle very hard for these years. Through several of my broken marriages, uncertain living situations, then on to a very young disastrous marriage of her own, and facing the ravages of drug and alcohol addiction recovery, she has continued to have spirit, the desire to be a successful mother and help those in the situations she has found herself in time and time again. I am proud to say that on many levels she has succeeded. She is now a very devoted and caring mother (in the past she was not capable of that role and two children suffered deeply) to her sweet daughter, Samantha, now 20 mos.), and she is a most tolerant and supportive wife to her husband, Richie. Richie comes from a huge family of lost souls and Sara has made it her job to help them, and she really shows a lot of compassion. I am grateful for that part of her nature, even if at times, to me, it seems she is wasting her time. Today she lives in a nice place (for many years, there have not been such nice places), she is warm, relatively healthy, and she appreciates each day as it comes. She has a lot of challenges, a major one being severe epilepsy, and yet she does her very best each day, and I am proud of her. Tomorrow some friends and Sara are having a party to celebrate her birthday and tonight I will make the cake. I will bake using a recipe of my mother's and try to emulate the love my mother always put into everything she made. Sara adored my mother and it is a special link.

This morning finds me anxious for my son, daughter-in-law and new baby to be. She is just about full-term with their first child and over the weekend began to notice that the baby was not moving any longer. She spent part of yesterday at the hospital and had an ultrasound and other testing. The baby has a strong heartbeat and is in breech position. They gave her several methods to use to encourage the baby to move....placing ice packs on the area where the baby's head is present, I guess, causes the baby to move in some cases. She is to monitor how often she feels movement over the next few days and if movement is infrequent, she is to go back for another ultrasound over the weekend. Tenterhooks!!! They have waited a very long time and been down a painful road to have this child and I so want everything to be fine, but then don't we always want that for our children?? Looks like we could have a new baby before the due date of December 8-9. Alison is very positive that everything will be OK....but I know my dear son is nervous and on edge.

LM, too, has some painfully worrisome issues happening with his children, too. We are looking forward to some time this weekend....WE ARE NOT DOG SITTING, YEAH!!...just for us, to create a little space, putting worry aside to just have fun. Might be a challenge, but we are pretty adept at getting to that space, if only by going out and seeking relief in "our church", nature.

Whew, there is a lot going head remains clear, there is a pork roast in the crockpot, it is a very cold and clear morning with beautiful sunshine, and I just felt so alive as I stepped out the door for work. Speaking of work, it is a sad place today as the economy forced a painful move here yesterday. My very favorite co-worker and dear friend, Nick, was let go. We both stood outside after work and shed a lot of tears. He is a true craftsman and the builder of the beautiful models of our homes which are normally produced for our clients to see what their house will look like when complete. These days clients are not having models made as they are too expensive. Nick is a talented set designer and has vast theater experience and I am certain he will find a job which will suit him just fine and he will be a bright light wherever he lands. Having him here everyday was such a pleasure. Without his gentle presence, his joyfulness and caring nature, and his wonderful sense of humor there will be a huge void in my everyday. Our friendship will endure outside the office, though. Ah, there are so many things happening...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


The past three days have been the most even, productive and happy days I have had, it seems, since LM's sudden heart attack and resultant surgery last February. I guess it was just time, and receiving the news that I would not need knee surgery on my left knee has made a huge difference in my outlook. Being free of unrelenting pain and weakness has brought a lightness to my spirit which feels so good. My creativity is at a high I have not known for years and I am finishing projects! This is a mock cable scarf in process. The beautiful yarn was hand spun by my SIL Jennifer and gifted to me last Spring when I really needed a lift in spirits.

There are people all around me who are struggling terribly from the effects of the current economic downturn and everyday I give thanks for my good job, which is a mile from my house, and the fact that I have a relatively nice place to live in this very affluent area where rents are beyond reach for many. I was fortunate enough to find a place which is less than half of most rents, easy to heat, etc. Each day I am still conserving in many ways, though. I make fewer trips to see my Dad (2 hrs each way), and am making careful choices about purchases of all types. I have given up cable TV, reduced the services to bare minimum on my cell phone, and am foregoing any Christmas gifts except some cookies which I will make with LM's daughter, Kristi.
These changes are all doable for me and accepted as just the way life will be right now. I am one of the lucky ones, I know. Today I found out my rent will go up by $50. in January and that hurts a lot. I am trying to stay calm and positive about it but I am feeling resentful. Who do I resent, though??? My landlord beautifully maintains all his properties, responds to any and all calls for help almost immediately, and his insurance rates are rising at the speed of sound. He was very sad to tell me about the rent increase. I guess I should be angry at ME for my life being impoverished at 65, but that is wasted energy. Anyway, I guess I have been feeling so well this week so that I can absorb today's news and not have a meltdown. Somehow the forces bigger than me have a way of arranging things like that!

On the Ms G front....she is a happy, happy girl at the moment as I have allowed her to have a twist tie to play with for a little while. She loves those things and carries it around like it is a fresh kill, throwing it in the air and jumping and twisting. I will take it away before I go to bed as she has a tendency to try to eat things. Then I will have to live with the guilt she imposes!!! Better than the guilt I am prone to imposing on myself!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Stormy Skies bring Feasts for the Eyes

Ryder's Cove in ChathamAs I have mentioned before here, I have known LM for many, many years, and it is only in the last 18 months or so that we became a couple. At some point during the time we were professional acquaintances, we had a discussion about this very spot in Chatham. Both having a strong interest in nature, the history of the Cape and little known places of interest, we got talking about the fact that there were often very interesting birds to be seen at this spot on Ryder's Cove. I drove by it on my way to work everyday and was often treated to the sight of great blue herons and other spectacular sea birds. This led LM to tell me that hidden away at this corner of the cove is a no longer used herring run and that he often stopped there to scoop a few herring to use for bait. Henceforth, in my little world, unknown to anyone else, this place inmy daily path became "LM corner," and each time I drove by I would look to see if he might be there....always with a little flicker and flutter of hope in my heart. It never did happen but since then I have revealed my little secret wish and we now always say aloud, "LM corner" as we drive by these days holding hands!
That is a round-a-bout way of showing you these photos I took last Saturday. We were having a very wild weather day and as we were listening to tornado warnings, we suddenly had brilliant sun and a bit of clearing as I was driving toward this spot. I first spotted the swans "fishing" on the corner, then my eyes were drawn up to a wonderful rainbow. I was really astounded and so thrilled that I had my camera, and that I could pull in to the tiny parking place on LM corner, that is usually occupied. I just stood there on the bank breathing in the beauty and giving thanks for my serendipitous timing.....not 10 minutes before, it had been raining hard.

A raft of large seabirds, in from the open ocean for protection....I believe they are buffleheads and mergansers, were working the cove which is a signal that there is a storm at sea, and right they were, as the surf was roaring in my ears as I took these photos. Because it was getting near time for sunset, and the skies remained so dramatic, I thought there would be potential for some interesting photos on the SW side of town and sure enough, by Stage Harbor, the sky started to light up. If you enlarge these photos you can see some gulls soaring. It was very windy.
Within a few minutes we were back in driving rain and it howled all night although we escaped any tornadoes!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Life is Good

We woke up to soft rain this morning and the sound of dogs shaking off sleep outside our door. Quickly I was up and off to let the doggies out and prepare their breakfast so I could hurry back to LM and cuddle for awhile before heading over to see Ms G. Above are the lovers as I was preparing banana oat pancakes for breakfast....This was a quiet moment but seconds before, Ms G and LM were boxing and she was just so happy to have her fave person here at her disposal.

She is still eating the faux treats and I am thrilled as they are so much better for her.

It will be a quiet day with a walk if the clearing continues. Tonight we are taking friend, Bob, out for a birthday dinner. NICE!

Last night, as we settled in at my boss's house with the doggies...we watched an old movie, "Charade" with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. It is a wonderfully written and acted movie and held my attention and kept me awake....a rare thing for me on a Friday night. Of course, being next to my resident movie aficionado helped a lot. LM remembers every movie he has ever seen and is a wealth of information on their backgrounds, etc. Fun!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tricks with Treats

"I'll do anything for treats" says the very cute Ms. G!!

Last weekend Crazy Aunt Purl posted an hilarious piece on her blog about the addiction her many cats have for a certain brand of cat treats. It really struck a chord with me as our dear Ms. Graysea eats nothing but Whiskas Temptations and the price has been rising at an incredible pace. Those of us with treat-addicted cats cannot help but notice that the very second that one's hand reaches and touches the treat BAG, the cats come running, eagerly awaiting a treat opportunity. Purl deduced that perhaps it was the treat bag and not the treats themselves which hold the fascination, SO, she took an empty treat bag and filled it with the regular dry cat food which normally sits uneaten in a dish on the floor. Alas, the darling little critters, loved their "new" treat, and now we know it is the bag which is the lure! Ms. G has been happily eating her regular Purina chow, now dispensed out of the dearly loved yellow Whiskas Temptation bag!! I just hope this trick does not turn on me, but thus far, it is working like a charm.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Good News

Yesterday I saw the surgeon who did my total knee replacement almost 2 and a half years ago. First on the docket was to thank him heartily for my new right knee. It has been a complete success. Next up was dealing with what was causing the pain and weakness in my left knee. I have spent a lot of time worrying about having to face another knee replacement surgery and that is a daunting sword to have hanging over my head. As usual, with me, I do worry about things which aren't worth a moment of my precious time! It seems I have a tear in the meniscus and an ACL tear but they are not serious enough to do anything about and have been there a long time. I also have a sac of water on the back of the knee - again, not a serious thing. So, with a new med in my hand and a cortisone shot to the knee, I was out the door and feeling much better. It is OK to exercise now as long as I do no twisting lateral moves and we will just check in on things every year or so!

Just having to share the good news, I found LM and got a warm hug and sweet smiles of happiness. I love the fact that we still get all blushy and share longing looks when we see each other. We seem to fall in love anew each time. Enough gushing....

Next, I was on to celebrate with daughter, Sara and little Samantha.

Samantha loved the talking zebra I found for her in Saratoga and we had a great time at a little local restaurant with a fireplace that was perfect for the very chilly evening. Poor Sara seems so tired these. She has just recovered from a kidney infection, a move to a new house and many sleepless nights as Samantha is teething. It is toddler syndrome and will pass, but right now she needs a break. It is heartening to know that she and Richie seem to be doing well and their new place is better than where they had been living. Despite it all, Sara is mothering with loving dedication and I am proud of her. She has come a long way and overcome many steep challenges.
After I got home last night....a full moon lighting the sky, I found myself laughing crazily at Ms. G. She was running around the house, all fur blown up, back arched,head tilted, hopping sideways and growling. It was hysterical....and try as I might, I could not get a photo. This went on for about an hour. She would hop out from behind doors at me and just wanted to play. Very funny little critter. Perhaps she was celebrating my good news, too!

Next up....3 days of dog sitting for my boss, yet again! LM and I plan some relaxing time, long walks and taking our friend, Bob, out for dinner to celebrate his birthday.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I'm back after a lovely trip to Saratoga on the weekend. I drove out with my co-worker, Deb, who has a niece there. I spent 2 days with my friend, Nan, who is such good company and, as always, wherever she lives, creates a beautiful and welcoming space, iside and out.
We caught up on our lives and shared some nice meals, and even though it rained on Saturday, pre-empting our plans to walk a lot, we went shopping, where I finally found the new winter coat I needed very much, and Nan scored some great pants at a fun vintage/consignment shop. After a little soup at "The Bread Basket," which overlooks Congress Park in Saratoga, we went to see "The Secret Life of Bees." The movie was so true to the book which we both had thoroughly enjoyed a few years ago, so it was very touching to now share the movie and a few tears over its touching moments. It was fun to chat about our usual things....cats, food, work, love, life, etc....the things which make our friendship such a gift. Also, two nights of great sleep were a gift, away from the chores at home which are always calling my name
It was really heartening to see Nan and her slightly LARGE and dear feline friend, SeaRay, settling in to her new area, even though, I know she really misses Cape Cod, and I miss having her here very much. It seems to have been a good move and being closer to her Dad will yield its rewards in the long run. As you can see, SeaRay certainly lives a life of luxury!
Nan took me to meet Deb at noon on Sunday and we began the tripback to Cape Cod on a brilliantly beautiful afternoon. Ww took a scenic route through the hills of NY state just east of the Hudson River and near VT. Deb made a point of taking me to see the historic village of Round Lake, NY, which was once a Camp Meeting (a religious summer campground many of which were scattered around the country years ago). The village is on the National Historic Register and was Deb's home for many years. There are many tiny and interesting Gothic cottages, and the original meeting hall houses the world's largest pipe organ. I managed to get these two photos of a charming octagonal cottage. Many of the cottages are painted in bright colors and have lots of gingerbread.
From there we kept moving east through some very rural areas toward our next destination, which was a stop to visit Deb's sister-in-law who is a shut-in due to a life long degenerative nerve disease. She is such an inspiration with her gentle and bright spirit and we found her crocheting with one of her beautiful white cats on her lap. She welcomed us warmly and we shared a great conversation.
As we were preparing to leave she called my attention to a beautifully framed wedding certificate on the wall above her chair. It commemorated the marriage of her maternal grandparents and to my amazement her grandmother's last name is the same as mine....quite a startling moment for all of us and we are now working on tracing a bit of the heritage as it seems we may be distant relatives.
The rest of the trip back was beautifully lit by the setting sun, the backlight causing the deep rust colored oak leaves to glow. A sunset view from our fast moving car on the MA turnpike!
Yesterday morning saw me dealing with a flat tire and also going back to the dentist for another procedure and I have not felt well at all since is a holiday for me and as much as I really need to rest and recover, I am up very early to go to Hyannis for 4 new tires on my car. LM will meet me there to assist in the process. If I feel well enough afterward, I will take Kristi with me to visit my Dad. Otherwise, I am coming home and sleep. My mouth is so painful that I just want to cry. I have reached the end of my patience with surgical recovery, not being able to eat anything but mush and just feeling low. Tomorrow will be a new day with a better outlook...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ms Graysea is Worried

Ah, yes, she is looking very worried because the suitcase came up from the storage area and is being packed with clothes! As excited as I am about going to Saratoga Springs tomorrow to visit a friend for 3 days, it pains me greatly to leave my dear little friend. Her beloved, LM will come by to visit but it is not the same as having me here.

I am really looking forward to this weekend with my longtime friend, Nan. We have not had some girltime in a long, long time so this will be a treat and I will love seeing more of Saratoga as it is a very beautiful place. I am trying to stay very brave , though, as that very place is also the home now of the predator who nearly took my life with domestic abuse in 2004. I am going to hold my head up, enjoy this weekend and not let the fear of him rule my life. Some in my life are very uset that I am going to the town where this man lives. I promise to be careful.

Tonight I am packing and arranging things, and LM is coming by for a little visit as we will not see each other again until Sunday night. It seems "we" have been pre-empted alot lately and it makes me very unsettled. We both have our very taut silken thread of love, though, and so I go with a full heart and the knowledge that I will receive a very warm welcome home on Sunday.

LM finally had his appointment with the Social Security Administration yesterday and we think we finally have resolution for Kristi. It was difficult but they did find out that 7,000.+ of the money is Kristi's to keep, although, in a strange twist, she MUST spend it down within 9 months. It seems so sad that she cannot put some money into CD's for her future. SS really needs reform desperately. Meanwhile, she can finally have a TV and a few other little luxuries.

Have to much to do and most importantly I must allow for some lap time for my dear little friend.
Be back on Monday!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A New World

YEAH!! What a fantastic night for CHANGE, OBAMA, our country and the world!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Evening Update

My dear sister-in-law sent me an e-mail about 8:30 this morning and it was entitled "Rubber Band Man". I knew immediately that it meant Dad had bounced back....sure enough, he agreed to eat a little food this morning and said perhaps he would get up and shave and read the paper!! He just amazes us time and time again. I really fear one of us is going to keel over from stress before he passes on. Not that we are in a hurry for him to leave at all, it is just the drawn out years of these near misses.
It was a beautiful day here today, so warm and perfectly suited for the long lines which formed at the polls. Now we wait....I cannot wait for the suspense to end and for the "Yes we can" party to take over. It is about time for it to happen.


Sometime before dawn yesterday morning, Dad decided that he was not going to get up again, and not going to drink or eat. When he didn't arrive at the dining room for breakfast, staff went to investigate and found him comfortably sleeping under a log cabin quilt I made many years ago. They called my brother and wife, Trish, and Trish went over to see what she could do. At the last minute before she left home, she tucked Bob, their cat, whom we are convinced is my mother in a cat suit, under her arm and brought him along. He is one of those cats that is happily portable. He loves to ride in the car and is very relaxed. As soon as they arrived at Dad's room, Bob went immediately to Dad and cuddled into him tightly and stayed there all day. Trish took the photo above with her cell phone but you get the point......
Anyway, after much imploring, visits from other family members and friends, Dad maintains he is fine, that he is ready to "go". He said he had a dream the night before (actually his father's birthday), and someone told him in the dream that he was at the end, that it is his time to go. Trish woke him often during the day yesterday to ask if he was OK and his steadfast reply was "I am wonderful and peaceful". He's making his own decisions! Perhaps this morning will find him up and ready to go to breakfast as usual with his friends, perhaps not, we do not know. Not taking in food or water for 24 hrs or more is serious in his state of kidney failure.

I feel some peace and we have been assured by the facility where he lives that he will not be taken to the hospital or a nursing center and will be kept comfortable by hospice. My dear, SIL Trish is watching over things and will let me know this morning how he is. Meanwhile, dear sweet Bob is at home. Trish said she was just amazed to watch him next to Dad, at times getting up to turn around and cuddle in closer. Bob stayed until 7 pm when my brother Sam visited and reluctantly gathered Dad's guardian into his arms for the trip home.

So we wait.
This morning I am going to vote, and vote for change.....OBAMA!!! That is my decision today and about the only thing I can control right now. I'm sitting in the stream of life and calming warm waters seem to be flowing around me as they move along. There is a quivering in my heart. Ms G is watching over me, staring intently into my eyes with her head tilted.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Weekend Update and Finally Home Again

Everyday this lovely tree greets me when I arrive for work....I have always thought that it looks like it is dancing, especially on windy days when all the branches are swaying. Halloween morning as I arrived for work and saw this beautiful dancer in her lovely yellow dress, I just had to have this photo. The trunk is twisted in an interesting way giving the illusion of movement. A former resident of the condos which are to the right of the tree, wrote poetry inspired by this graceful beauty and I feel so very fortunate to have it in my sight all day.
(Double click on any of the photos to make them bigger and get the full effects....especially the Halloween shots)
A little later Halloween morning, Waldo, AKA my friend and co-worker, Eric, appeared at my door and he continued to pop up around the office all was such fun.
On to the rest of the weekend.....
Busy, busy but really nice.
Being with the dogs each morning and night kept me happily at a beautiful house in the woods surrounded by lovely foliage and sunlight. I was delightfully surprised when LM was able to join me on Friday night. We did welcome 2 very funny trick or treaters....the dogs welcomed them, too, with HUGE barking which rocked the house but the minute we opened the door those two hooligans were all wagging tails and happy greetings.

Saturday morning I was off to see Dad....such a perfectly sparkly pretty day and the foliage is still really lovely. We had lunch at his dining room and then went for a nice ride along one of his favorite routes, to the beach at Nantasket. The two photos below are of Boston Light and taken from high on Allerton Hill.

Next on our ride was a trip along some of the lovely streets in Hingham and we came across this wonderfully decorated house just outside the center of town....luckily, there was a place to park where we could take it all in and have some great laughs. Each one of those pumpkins was exquisitely carved. After that Dad decided he need to have ice cream! This request came out of the blue as he had, within the last hour eaten a HUGE lunch followed by a large piece of Boston Cream Pie. I was happy to get him ice cream, though, as he really loves food and is underweight. His ability to keep going just amazes me, especially after the awful week he had. He had surgery to remove a nasty skin cancer from his lower eyelid and upper cheek. He just has such a resilient spirit and during our ride was commenting on world affairs (better informed than I on most recent events), listing all the new projects being built in the area, and all the books he is reading....WOW....for 97 he is amazing. It was also heartening to see how he greets all his fellow residents in the dining room, asking them caring questions and proudly inroducing me as his "first born baby and beautiful oldest daughter"!

When I dropped Dad off he was going to rest and get ready for the evening movie. They were showing "Little Miss Sunshine" and I assured him it is really great movie. He was happy that they would be showing something a little more contemporary as they usually run very old movies. I sort of chuckeld to myself Saturday night as I found myself watching "Face in the Crowd" with Andy Griffith and Patricia Neal as well as some other very well know stars when they were really young. There I was watching one of the old time movies and Dad was getting a newer one!

Anyway, before I came back to Chatham that afternoon, I stopped and had a lovely visit with one of my dearest friends, Sue. I am so ashamed to say that we have not gotten together for almost a year. We do keep in touch on line but with many family obligations for both of us and the fact that she is working full time as well as attending college classes a few nights a week, just seems to eat away our free time.
This was the greeting party when I arrived.....her beautiful, crazy-funny and inquisitive cat, Jaxson. I noticed that he has "trimmed" all those pretty plants behind him and Sue said he will look right at her and start chewing...he is a naughty boy!
After the royal sniff from Jaxson and lots of pats, Sue welcomed me into her wonderful living room and the warm fire and we spent the next three hours talking non-stop, drinking delicious ginger tea, sharing all that has happened recently and taking up where we left off. We go back a lot of years and have seen each other through some very tough and very happy times.
As I drove away after my visit with Sue, I suddenly felt alive and so very happily renewed in many ways, and today has been a day different than many I have had over the last few months. There was a genuine happy light feeling about my spirit.
Being with friends who really know you, with whom you can just be yourself, be open and honest, is so so important. Her friendship is such a gift.

Today started more leisurely. I finished up with the dogs and made my way home to MS G. She is very needy at this point and I am trying to give her as much lap time as possible, in between doing a few things around the house in preparation for colder weather....put up some heavy drapes, as that makes a big difference. I was also able to have a leisurely breakfast, talk for a while with my FL daughter, and read the paper in the sunshine. LM left very early this morning to give a talk regarding his recreational fishing legislation.

This afternoon I attended a great lecture by the design principal of my firm. The lecture is part of a series which are being held in conjunction with the exhibit at the Cape Cod Museum of Art which features photos, plans, models of many of the projects the company has done in the last 10 years. The lecture was really well done and explained the design process of one of our largest projects. It was particularly nice that the lecture evoked great questions and discussion. It is very nice to see the exhibit in the main museum gallery designed and built by our company. I had invited a new woman friend to attend the lecture with me and she really enjoyed it. Having worked for architectural firms it was of great interest to her.

Well, that about winds up the weekend and I will leave you with several laughs....after I dropped my friend Katherine off this evening, I passed a boat parked along side of the road and its name was "The Silence of the Clams", and from the totally inane department....for 3 days I have been searching for my big bright yellow box of plastic food wrap....I've looked everywhere then decided that somehow I must have thrown it out in the trash. Well, tonight I came home opened the refrigerator and there it was!!! Bonkers, I tell you, bonkers!!
Have a great week....early to bed for me.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Gone to the Dogs...Again!

A quick note....I am housesitting for my boss again and will update with some photos of today and other news...maybe tomorrow.
Poor Ms G is home alone and not happy. One more night! Meing her is not easy sometimes, nor is it being me, for that matter.....busy day including a visit with Dad as he recovers from some surgery, then a lovely long visit with a very close girl friend.
Dogs are barking.....a demain.