Monday, December 28, 2009


'Twas a beautiful, peaceful and relaxing Christmas. This was the scene shortly after we arrived for our Christmas Eve visit with Jason, Alison, and Teddy. Teddy kept staring at LM, trying to size him up, we guess. It wasn't long before he really warmed up and began to show us how wonderfully adept he is at walking and running all over the place. We all shared a nice dinner (Teddy did not approve of the oven-fried sweet potatoes but we loved them!!)
Nana had lots of fun holding Teddy while his Mom worked on our meal.
Daddy, and a wonderful Daddy, indeed, likes to hold him up high....After dinner, we adjourned to the family room and Teddy showed off his best cat chasing skills and Sting was quite obliging.
Teddy is still enjoying a lot of his birthday gifts and one of his very favorites is the blue steering wheel given to him by Kristi. Notice the decorations on the lower part of the tree. The stacking rings make perfect kid-proof ornaments. Good thinking on Alison's part!
I have made it a tradition to give each of my grandchildren a mirror on their first Christmas. This year was Teddy's turn. He was thrilled and had a lot of fun laughing at his new-found "friend."
Reaching for Sting as the smart cat made a leap up to the back of the couch.
We had brought Teddy a hooded shark towel from Discovery Cove in FL and saved it for Christmas. That, too, was a huge hit, as he draped himself in it and rolled around. It has a fin and tail on it.
Almost bedtime.....
Sting enjoying the peace and quiet after Teddy retired for the evening! That is quite the cat tummy, isn't it?
Christmas morning found us having leisurely time to open some gifts. LM did some very nice shopping for me, and Ms G, too!
Ms G with her very special log of catnip. She had such a fun time....and loved all the ribbons and plastic she had to play with. I made an hilarious video (well, hilarious is relative to the sanity of the cats former owner) of Ms G helping LM to wrap her gifts, and I hope to try posting it later. It is in Vimeo now - anyone out there have any idea of how to embed it into a blog posting? All help is appreciated.
Next stop was to visit daughter, Sara, and her family, and help Samantha open some of her gifts. Her favorite thing seemed to be a toy mouse for the cat, Gizmo.
LM helps Samantha learn to ride her first bike. She still hasn't quite mastered the art of pedaling but I am sure she will get it soon.
Next it was time to play Princess dress-up. She had received a trunk full of princess stuff so we had a great time with the earrings, tiaras, etc.
In the evening on Christmas Day we visited with Kristi and her mother and shared gifts, before going to visit John at the prison, where, we are certain, he is spending his last Christmas!! He is doing so well.
All in all, it was a perfect Christmas. Now we are on to the New Year and looking forward to some interesting plans and maybe a trip here and there.
To update you on Trish's progress. She is still very much under siege with her health situation. Tomorrow she will have a Cisternogram for definitive diagnosis and then we hope to have more news. Meanwhile, she is quite uncomfortable and in a lot of pain, while still having to lay down at all times.
Happy New Year to all my faithful friends and family here, and I wish you the very best in 2010. With much gratitude and love, I thank you for helping me to get through 2009!!

Friday, December 25, 2009


Love, Joy and Peace to all!

Sounds like Trish will be home for Christmas and the weekend. Thank you for all the prayers and caring. Further treatment is necessary next week and she needs to remain prone but at least she will be home and surrounded by love.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's the Little Surprises that Count

Thursday morning, UPDATE on TRISH: This is what she has: Spontaneous Spinal Cerebrospinal Fluid Leaks and Intracranial Hypotension
and it will require a procedure to stop the leak. There are several ways but she is waiting for an MRI to confirm before anything can be done. She has to remain in the hospital as she cannot sit up. Lots of prayers and positive thoughts are forthcoming, and we all hope this will be resolved soon.

Meanwhile, anadama bread (molasses and cornmeal) is rising in my kitchen, the car is just about packed, and at noon, I will leave work to begin the festivities. Tonight LM and I will have dinner with baby Teddy and his parents. I love the magic of Christmas Eve. May it be beautiful for one and all. Tomorrow we will see Samantha and her parents, and also have a lovely quiet day to ourselves in which we plan to reflect on the many blessings we have.

As you all know, I frequently go to the Lighthouse Beach to savor the beauty of the sea, as well as eat my lunch. The cat napper, aka, LM, always calls me on my lunch hour, so yesterday, with the sun beaming on my face, several seagulls perched nearby hoping for crumbs, we were chatting away and discussing our plans for the holiday. All of a sudden the passenger door of my car is approached and opened, and into the car comes my wonderful man. Just typical of the sweet things he does. Of course, I am sure he was here in the Village doing some last minute shopping, but it was such a treat to have him by my side for 25 minutes or so.

On a more serious note, my brother, Sam's wife, Trish(aka as Bob the cats Mom) has been in the hospital since early Monday, very sick with severe head pain. So far, a diagnosis has eluded the doctors and we are hoping for news soon. It was first thought to be a migraine but we still do not know the real cause. We wait, pray and send her all our love. I am sure she wants to be at home, especially with Christmas so near.
We all love you very much, Trish.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


The temptation of the tree is just too much for this poor little soul. She sat there and promised me she would not do anything but look cute, but that package with the bow was too much.
First there was a slight effort to divert my attention by chewing on the tree. Not as good as crinkly bows, she says.
Once again, she sat there looking very innocent.

I was out of sight for two minutes, and she dragged the box by the bow and began to chew. Seeing the package is from our friend, Debbie, I let her be, and soon enough she had her fill of bow chewing for awhile.
She'd done her job as usual and gave me a few minutes of diversion and laughter. Gotta love her. She is just the cutest!
Merry Christmas to everyone from Ms G, and she says to tell you she adores all her fans!

Monday, December 21, 2009


We had the most wonderful blizzard here over the weekend! What a gift of beauty! It didn't hurt one bit to be snowbound with my darling, LM, either. Although, I must say he had to work so hard to get us shoveled out. I was finally free to come to work by noon today.As I sit at my desk, now, at the end of the daylight, the low setting sun is casting the most beautiful light across the fresh snow and laden trees.

Despite my missing Mum and Dad, LM made the weekend so special and loving, that I just felt so happy and safe. The feelings of loss seemed to evaporate as soon as I was within reach of a hug or touch, and I am sure that made Mum and Dad happy.

It was fun to be with Ms G and to witness her catch her very first real mouse this weekend. Proud little girl and she is now a true heroine in LM's eyes!

We had a lovely early Christmas dinner with LM's daughter, Meg on Saturday night, and were very pleased to get to know her new beau, Hosea. He was a wonderful guest, very interesting, and we were so pleased to see how respectful he is of Meg. A very happy evening! It brought us both to that "all's well with the world" feeling to see Meg so happy. That is all we want for our children. (we were having such a good time that I forgot about taking a photo of the adorable time).

With the countdown to Christmas on, we feel ready, and look forward to time with baby Teddy and with Sara and her family, as well as with Kristi. It is peaceful, and I'm wishing the same for all of you, too, my dear readers!!
Merry Christmas, once more.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Today would have been Mum's 93rd birthday and it is also the anniversary of the day she died in 2001.
I even think this photo was taken on a Christmas eve....maybe around 1961. The cup on the chair arm belonged to the punch bowl set and most likely held some eggnog.
Happy Birthday, are with me all the time. I love you so much.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Memories

My friend, Debbie over at Happy Days wrote beautifully recently about a poignant and heartwarming Christmas memory in her family, and asked others to write their memories.

Christmas memories are more collective than individual for me and revolve around my mother's way of creating Christmas in our hearts and in the hearts of everyone she met. Amidst all the craziness, noise and rough and tumble activities that go along with having 7 children, Mum was always so busy creating happiness for others year 'round, but Christmas was the best.

In October the excitement would begin as Mum assembled the ingredients and began to bake her famous fruitcakes. Once baked, and hopefully, not eaten while they cooled by the MANY cats who shared our life, they were lovingly wrapped in cheesecloth and stored in containers in the hall linen closet. Weekly she would pour some kind of liquor over them (not sure if it was bourbon or rum) and re-wrap them tightly. There was also a lot of other baking happening and the huge freezer in the cellar would begin filling with Swedish tea rings, cranberry bread, date and nut bread, cookies, and all sorts of yeast breads and rolls. No one who visited during the holiday left without a baked gift, adorned with a bow. Fruitcakes were mailed around the world to friends, and every egg customer's purchase was accompanied by a gift from the freezer.

A few weeks before Christmas my grandmother would put up a table tree in her "front room" and often I helped her to take out her precious and very old ornaments. She loved a blue butterfly which I'd made in school....probably 1st or 2nd grade! It was cut out of blue oilcloth and held together with a painted wooden clothespin. I had it until 2004. When my disastrous relationship ended I lost all my old ornaments. I'm over that loss, but it was tough. My grandmother was so very special to me.

Our Christmas tree was purchased a week or so before Christmas and not brought in until Christmas eve. Dad would bring in a heavy chicken feed bucket filled with coal, and that held the trees nicely, well most of the time. Upon occasion a cat or two brought the tree down with a great smashing of bulbs, etc. In the early years, we never saw the decorated tree until Christmas morning. The surprise was so delightful and we could not wait to tip-toe down the stairs, turn on the lights and see all the gifts set carefully around the tree. Decorated sugar cookies adorned the tree along with the delicate glass ornaments, and many handmade ornaments from our school classes, along with a few construction paper chains.

Christmas Eve was my favorite time as a child. All day we would help (or in many cases, hinder) Mum as she prepared for our annual Christmas Eve visit of my godmother, Eleanor and her husband, Jack. There would be the huge punchbowl filled with homemade eggnog, heartily spiked with rum, and many other beautiful canapes and goodies, all arranged on the elegant dining room table. We would help to deck the fireplace mantle with greens and candles, and eagerly await Eleanor's arrival. She'd arrive, bejeweled and dressed to the nines (as Mum would say), always wearing her very elegant mink coat. Without batting one of her false eyelashes, she would lay the mink coat on the floor or a bed so that all the cats could stretch out on it and have a Christmas nap. Somewhere there are pictures of that very event, but......can't find them now. It was a yearly event and we could not wait....Eleanor loved all animals, but cats were her favorites, and I am sure she is at least partially responsible for my enduring cat passion. Those parties seemed so grand to me as a child. In retrospect, I cannot believe how hard my mother worked on making those Christmas events so memorable. After a visit we children were urged to bed lest Santa not stop unless we were asleep, and the adults enjoyed the rest of their party by decorating the tree and setting out gifts.
Christmas morning was a time of "torturous" waiting to open presents until my grandparents would arrive so they could share our excitement. It would seem forever for them to be at the door. After presents, we would have a beautiful Christmas dinner.

I never cease to be amazed at the work that went in to giving us these beautiful, enduring and loving memories. Thank you Mum and live in my heart everyday.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

How it REALLY is

Despite the fact that I have pared Christmas down to close family, with no huge events, etc. I am swimming way too hard against the tide of my emotions.
I tried sorting this out in counseling the other night and all we came up with is the fact that I am too demanding of myself at all times. Now, I ask, how do I control that? I've been snarky and downright mean lately to people I love with all my heart. I am blessed with patient loved ones.
It breaks my heart when I am impatient, strident and unsympathetic to those I love.

There are times I feel anger - mostly at myself. My intuition tells me it could be grief. I just do not know. On top of it all, I have anxiety so severe that it stops me in my tracks and causes painful stomach cramping. Pro-actively, I have been trying to get rest, eat healthily, and do a lot of focused breathing, as well as little walks.
It is not just the holidays.....Saturday is Mum's birthday and anniversary of her death, Dad is not with me to talk about it, nor is he here to relive our old holiday memories. My life was so intertwined with theirs and I realize this is all just an adjustment. Similar to how our monetary system has been adjusting itself. Necessary but painful.
Not sure where I am going with all this, but it seemed important to write.
This will all will continue to flow, understanding and love will abound, and eventually, I will feel joy and lightness again if only for a time, and I will be deeply grateful for that glimpse. I have faith in those facts, and perhaps this post is a way of reminding myself to believe, mostly in myself.
I need to stop swimming so hard or I will end up like the salmon.

Monday, December 14, 2009

One Year!!

Teddy had a grand celebration of his first birthday last Saturday and even Aunt Anne came all the way from FL for the event.
Here's the sweet birthday boy, beginning his day with some Cheerios, while entertaining his Mom, Aunt Anne and Nana.
After breakfast, we all began cooking for the lunch/birthday party which would begin just after noontime. Meanwhile, Teddy helped by dragging out pans and chewing on them in between making lots of noise. He is so happy with such a simple "toy."
Anne made a wonderful hearty rendition of her famous Italian meatball soup, Alison made a delicious macaroni and cheese casserole with buttered panko crumbs on the top, and I made a sheet of pizza with polenta crust topped with spinach, mushrooms, roma tomatoes and a combination of fontina, parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. There were also some delicious cranberry chicken salad finger rolls among many other treats. We tried to make food to appeal to the many children and it was all a hit!
Kristi arrived with LM and was so happy to see Anne again.
The very proud parents with the birthday boy.
Opening presents amidst a sea of little cousins who loved helping. Alison's Dad, Alan's gift of maracas helped up the decibel level, and brought sheer glee to Teddy's day.Samantha and Nana had a ring side seat to watch Teddy with his presents.
All three of my children in one photo....a rare occurrance which made for one happy Mama.
L is Sara, then Anne, and Jason is 3rd from R.Alison created this beautiful Teddy bear cake all on her own by following a photo. She did a beautiful job! By the time Teddy was finished opening his presents he was getting pretty sleepy so he was hustled to the kitchen and he had barely finished his first piece of birthday cake, when he began to fall asleep.
It was a really big day, surrounded by loving family and friends and bringing joy all around.
On Sunday, LM and I had a lovely day at his house. He put lights up outside, I cleaned and put out some Christmas decorations, made a wreath for Kristi's housewith greens from the garden, and then we put up the tree. As you can see, the inspector general was quickly on her job to assure that the tree was thoroughly inspected. So far so good. No ornaments have been destroyed in the inspection process and sleeping under the tree seems to be her favorite place right now.
Oh, and by the way, social phobia and all, I had a nice time at the company party on Friday night!
As we continue to approach Christmas, there is a hurdle to jump on Mum's birthday and the anniversary of her death. I am honoring her, and distracting myself by planning an early Christmas dinner at LM's house on Saturday night. Our guests will be LM's daughter, Meg and her boyfriend, Hosea.
It seems I am climbing a lot of emotional mountains these days and am promising myself to relax and enjoy this beautiful season.
Wishing you all peace and love!

Friday, December 11, 2009

I'm Finally Convinced!

Short and attitude, demeanor and self-esteem are directly related to how my hair comes out on any given day. It's a good hair day, tonight is the company Christmas party, and LM will be by my side!!!!! MMMMMMMMMM.
A good hair day to all of you, my friends, from a very chilly Cape Cod.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Oh my, Christmas is coming quickly. I cannot seem to find time to put two coherent thoughts together. There are many posts in my head.....still more of the interesting adventures from our trip, and Christmas memories, but there is a lot in the way of the quietness needed to write. Missing Dad (and Mum) makes a noise in my soul that disrupts all other thinking, and there is a numbness that seems to be divinely designed to fly me over Christmas. Sort of like Santa, I'll look down on the lights, bring everyone a little present, cook several nice meals, and then retreat to the company of my very closest loved ones.

Tomorrow brings my company Christmas party at Wequassett Inn. It will be very lovely, I am sure. LM will come with me this year. The numbness finds me even incapable of dreading the party as I usually dread social events. I will just be there and maybe even enjoy it despite myself.
Weather promises to be VERY cold so the pretty knee length outfit I planned to wear may just be put aside for velvet pants and a warm sweater.
Saturday is baby Teddy's first birthday party. BT is enough to make the coldest soul glow with warmth and happiness. Daughter, Anne will be arriving from FL and we will help Alison with the cooking for the party. She has not met BT yet and I know she will fall immediately in love. LM and Kristi will join the fun as well. These days, BT's daddy, Jason, often calls me in the evening, so I can hear the shrieks of happiness which BT frequently lets out. JOY! Having Samantha and Teddy together again will create some more beautiful memories. There will be lots of other little cousins there so it will be a noisy and joyful day! The party theme is Teddy Bears and Alison is creating a teddy bear cake.
Stay tuned for party pictures and I am wishing all my blog friends a lovely Christmas season and maybe even some snow to soften the landscape and set the mood!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Along the Way - more from the FL trip

When we travel, LM and I love to be off the beaten path and spend a lot of time looking for "little signs of true Americana." This trip we didn't have too much time to seek out our favorite past time, but one afternoon while we were staying at Chincoteague in VA, we ventured off the island to see what we could find. LM is very well-known for his knowledge of all things fishing related! He is often in print, and on the air, and he is a renowned instructor of salt water fishing. He loves things related to his life's passion, thus, finding this site along the road in VA caught my eye very quickly. This little roadside stand displaying hand carved and painted fish caught my attention quickly but we were on the wrong side of the road so I made LM promise we would "stop on the way back" (often famous last words, which never come to fruition). As we were passing the stand on the way back, LM resisted stopping (he is always reluctant to do nice things for himself), but after some plaintive cries from me of, "you have to stop," followed by a "stop now," we were turning around and pulling in to what looked like the parking lot of an abandoned store next to a trailer which looked uninhabitable. We walked through a little row of trees and found the hand-cut and painted pink pig sign asking us to ring the bell.

Very shortly, an elderly man in an old paint-spattered sweatshirt (the shirt a work of art in its own right), appeared, and we launched into a most delightful visit with the artist, himself, Tom Burton. These fish are just beautiful; hand carved, painted on both sides with exterior house paint, and the most wonderful examples of American roadside folk art!
Here's my striped bass expert with Tom Burton, holding his just purchased fish! Tom lives alone in that old trailer with his much loved cat, and he is one of the sweetest men I have ever met, not to mention talented. Our visit was a very bright moment of what had already been a spectacular trip.
Our beautiful Tom Burton striped bass now adorns the front of LM's house and he is just so happy.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Need I Say More?

Life is good at chez LM and Ms G.........That blanket on which she made a little nest Sunday morning, is the softest, of course. We were in the process of making the bed but that had to stop for the duration of her highness's nap.
From her favorite vantage point she can see what is happening in most every direction on the first floor.

From brother, Sam's cell phone comes this photo of Bob......he's certain that he is half his size and somehow can insinuate himself into the smallest places. A lot to be said for positive thinking, huh?
The morning after that picture was taken of Bob, he and his, "Mom," Trish, teamed up to corner and capture a flying squirrel who had somehow worked his way into the master bedroom! Bob is a busy boy!

Last night, LM came over for dinner and we worked out a survival plan for Christmas. We were both concerned about keeping the celebration very low key, finding time to be with those we love, all while having time for us to continue the development of our life together after a year which brought incredible changes, grief and abundance to both our lives. We want to begin new traditions for us, for our children, and bring Christmas into LM's new home. This weekend we will begin some decorating. I think we've got the spirit!! We are keeping gifts as simple and as homemade as possible.
May you have peace in your spirit, as well!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving, but first "For Kristi Part 2"

I promised Kristi last night that I would post this photo taken on the last day of our recent trip. We stayed the last night in Ramsey, NJ with longtime friends of LM and Kristi. Chris, on the left, and Mara on the right next to Kristi. Chris drives the bus, was home for her morning break, and to see us off on the last leg of our drive back to Cape Cod. You are awesome Kristi! Oh what a wonderful 4 days off and celebration of Thanksgiving! I'd been wondering if the approach and celebrations of the holidays would trigger the grief which has been dancing around in my soul for the past 9 months, but with the exception of a brief private tearful moment with my nephew, Danny, the day was delightful. Having baby Teddy and little Samantha present added such lightness and laughter. LM by my side, attentive and loving, as always, was my dessert!
Brother, Sam and SIL, Trish, welcomed us warmly to their lovely home, as the scent of Thanksgiving promised a delicious repast and celebration of all we have.
The table, set beautifully by Trish.

Dinner time nears as Trish and Sam apply the finishing touches.
Daughter, Sara and son, Jason, help the cousins, Samantha and Teddy to greet each other, and, below, DIL, Alison and Samantha share a hug. Baby Teddy gets a lesson in how to climb stairs from his cousin, Danny!! Wish I could share the sounds of GLEE coming from BT as he was allowed to negotiate those stairs. It was hilarious.
Children bring so much joy and comic relief. It was such a lovely day.

I am still completely friustrated by Blogger. For the last month or so, I am unable to put photos in sequence or to move them within a post. ANNOYING, to say the least.
Hoping everyone else had a lovely Thanksgiving.