Thursday, April 30, 2009

UnknownTerritory

I'm wandering about in a place I've never been. Nothing seems quite right, there is little or no comfort, and the energy to move along to a different place is elusive, sometimes I am so tired, I just sit down and sleep right there, with no regard for things which "need" to be done, or other places I "should" be. Sleep, even, is filled with struggle dreams. Out of nowhere, for happy or sad reasons, tears well up, start to flow, then stop, leaving me pensive, sad, frustrated, thwarted. Somehow, I manage to get out of "the place" and go to work, but even there seems like a different version of the maze, voices of friendship seem to come from within a tunnel. I make attempts to walk a different path, go toward brightness, love and creativity, but quickly the darkness fills in the speck of light and all direction and intention is lost. Conversations are rote, hollow or disjointed.

Twilight finds me walking side streets and trying to inhale some clarity.....returning home there is no memory of what I have seen or felt and it seems it was a dream, except walking shoes are on my feet and I am exhausted in a way I have never known, my limbs like dead weight after little more than a mile.

The office was being painted yesterday afternoon, so I came home an hour early.... sat in a chair with jacket on and went to sleep for an hour.

Painful numbness......cheeks heavy, wishing I could talk to Dad, I get ready for another day in the maze.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Renewal

Another scene from my walk with Teddy on Saturday.
Is it just me coming out of a very dark period, or does forsythia seem unusually beautiful this year?

Ahhhhh....there is a glorious sunrise, birdsongs are wafting on soft breezes, and it will be a warm day. For a brief moment, Chatham will have a taste of early summer weather!

Just a message from my healing mind this morning. Being in the garden, my "church," over the weekend has given me clarity revealing a vivid sense of renewal. Things seem comfortably in their place right now in my world, even if Ms G is still with Lou. It is OK and perhaps that is how it should be. Lifting the many layers of overgrowth and brush from Bob's garden will reward us with the fruits of many years of labor, and bring us beauty to enjoy. No matter how much "stuff" got piled onto the garden, its need to bloom could not be denied. After a day of rest, I can clearly equate it to my place in life......

In other areas of renewal, Chatham is waking from Winter. Many, many people are here and the shops seemed really busy over the weekend. Nice to see. Also, as we attempted to make a dinner reservation on Saturday night, everyplace was very busy. Either people are eating out to soothe their worries, or the economy is waking up, as well!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sweet , Gardens and a Visit with a Queen

A lovely weekend in this beautiful place and there was sweetness all around. Actually the first two pictures below were taken of my dear granddaughter, Samantha as we enjoyed some Mexican food a week or so ago. She is very sweet, funny and engaging and I miss her every minute I am not with her.The weekend began quite early on Saturday morning with a drive to Sagamore Beach to be with Teddy for awhile so his Mom could work in her garden. Teddy was ready to have a bottle and a little nap (I was ready for a nap, too after waking at 4 am), so we enjoyed some morning sunshine in the chair and both had a snooze for about an hour! Alison came in and got this shot just as we woke.
Taken from my perspective as Teddy napped in my lap.
Next it was time for a walk. Poor Teddy looks like he is a bit unhappy here, but I think it was just the bright sun. We walked for an hour along the Cape Cod canal. Pushing the carriage at a brisk pace in the biting wind warmed me up quickly. Many deep breaths and the happiness of being with Teddy in such a beautiful place, ate away at the grief.
I found wild violets blooming everywhere in their neighborhood.
Back at Teddy's house, and a view of Alison's garden. Cutting in to a steep hill to create their building site, it was necessary to have a wall, and Jason built this rock wall by himself. Alison has created lovely gardens all along the top and cascading down through the rocks. The ground flox are looking lovely right now.
Around noon it was time to get myself to Lou's house to begin the gardening. There is a lot to do, and after 5 hours Saturday and most of the day yesterday, I have accomplished so much and opened up some area that had become overgrown. Bob had created many little sitting areas in his garden, and I had him heavily in my mind and heart as I uncovered the special little areas he loved. There is still much to be done, and I think I have found my way to heal.
This is a terrace at the back of the house and a lovely private area where a table and chairs sit now, waiting for us to enjoy tea and shade on warm days.
Front steps pansies. The ivy is closing in and will eventually be trimmed radically to avoid growing on the house as it would like to. There is work to be done next week along the front fence. Scraggly roses are there now and I will replace those with new roses that will cascade on the fence.
A sweet spot as you enter the back garden/terrace area from the driveway.
Pansies at the backdoor for Bob.

And, last but not least, the one glimpse I had of Queen G on the weekend. She made a brief appearance to have some treats....as you can see, they are placed on a fleece blanket on the sofa, so she can dine in full comfort. Looking regal, don't you think?
That was the only glimpse I had of the dear one.....she is afraid I will try to make her go home in the carrier....brainwashing is complete. I miss her.....

Friday, April 24, 2009

Weekend's Here

It has been a quiet week, not too productive unless you consider doing some housework on my mind as such. I think I just needed to quiet things down. Creativity is rustling around in at least one room in my head, which led me to pull a book on crazy quilts off the shelf, read it with a new eye, and begin the process, if only in my mind, of planning a project. Progress, albeit, at a snail's pace, but that is how I feel my life is right now, despite the fact that I am busy.

Tonight I baked a rhubarb coffee cake to take to LM's tomorrow to share with him and some guests we may have later in the day. Early on I will go to Sagamore Beach to spend some time with baby Teddy so his mom can work in her garden. Teddy and I are going to go for a walk along the Cape Cod Canal, on what is forecast to be a picture perfect day.

Around midday, I will head to LM's house and work in the garden there. Maybe I will see LM's new cat, Ms. G......seeing she has not come back to me, I think he has succeeded in making her his baby. He claims she will come home this weekend.....heard that story before. I am really OK with it because I can visit her alot, but I do miss her at night.

Meanwhile, from Florida comes a Theo update that finds the little darlin' in danger of being sauteed. Crazy as ever, it seems, he climbed right in to the frying pan, just after it was washed! He is maturing into a great beauty!
Jared had his hands full here......
Happy weekend everyone and I will return on Sunday or Monday with pictures of garden work accomplished, baby Teddy, and maybe some of the catnapper and his very willing hostage.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

In Other News

Today marks the 113th running of the Boston Marathon. Our family has an interesting connection to the mother of all marathons, due to this incredible young woman, Jean Driscoll (shown here holding my sweet and growing way too fast, grandson, Teddy, at the reception following Dad's funeral on March 13th). Up until today, Jean had won the Boston Marathon more times than any other athlete (today the winner of the men's wheelchair division tied Jean's record of 8 wins). My brother, Marty was her coach for all the years she was competing. Today she works at the University of IllinoisChampaign/Urbana in the program which my brother helped to develop and produced some of the finest wheelchair athletes in the world. She is also a very busy motivational speaker. Because, she is best friends with my brother and his wife, she has become a member of our family. Every year on Marathon day many of us would gather in the early morning in Boston, and while Jean was making her way to the starting line with all the other runners, we would have a beautiful breakfast at the Four Seasons private dining room overlooking the Public Gardens and the swan boats in Boston. After the breakfast, we would all begin the walk to the Copley Plaza hotel, where we would watch the beginning of the race on the TV in Jean's room. Dad was always with us and he LOVED that day. When the runners were getting close to Boston, we would head over, with our VIP tickets to be at the finish line to see Jean come in. There were tears of joy and lots of shrieking. Happy, happy times. Thus, when Dad died, Jean made time in her very hectic life to be with us all. She is a delight and beautiful inside and out.
The picture of Teddy with Jean is a little over a month ago, and below is Teddy last week with his Daddy.
Teddy had just shown Nana how he can now roll over...he even surprised himself.
Teddy with his own personal guard cat, Sting.
Update on the catnapping of Ms G....her captor made mention of the fact that she might be returned home tonight if conditions were just right. In a second statement, he described the toys he is making her and how she is begging him to play fetch......a return sounds unlikely.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Catnapped

Yes, I believe it is time to just face the fact that Ms G has been catnapped. It is a daring, yet subtle plot, which has taken her to a new home. Under the guise of a promise to care well for the little diva while her Mummy was basking on the island, she was moved to the perpetrator's house. Three weeks later she remains there and shows no signs of coming "home."

Now, I am fully aware that there is an ancient law on the books in Massachusetts that a cat may decide where his/her home will be, but there seems to be some coercion in this case. There are many sunny spots available, each kept supplied with a fresh supply of "kitty crack," aka known as Whiskas Temptations (an evil plot against cat owners if I ever saw one), there is an ever available lap at her disposal, and a 24 hour playmate, willing to rough-house, just the way she likes it, and there is a certain someone who will not get out of bed in the morning until kitty cuddle time is deemed over by Ms G. Sounds like an evil plot to me.

Sadness prevails here at Chez Graysea and she is evermore conspicuous in her absence. She is needed here these days for her amazing ability to take the clouds from any day. Grief is giving me many such days right now.

Overnight I visited the place she is "held hostage" and the little darling was very loving to me, as long as I was in a prone position. The brainwashing process used by her captor, has rendered her terrified of me the second I am on my feet or near the door. Her captor, aka LM, claims she must go home, and soon, but he reneges on his promises. He truly does need her, I concede, for now. Maybe this week.

Anyway, it was lovely to be with my furry friend and my love, and we got a lot done. I planted and did lots of pruning.....put in pansies and did some lovely pots for the steps in memory of Bob.
We cleaned and we shared a nice dinner and an hilarious movie "Death at a Funeral." It is a laugh-out-loud funny British comedy.
From feeling very low on Friday, I went to feeling energetic and happy. Each day is a gift, even if my dear gray friend is "captive."

P.S. She's a happy little prisoner!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Island Food

When it comes to sharing time with my family, especially, Anne and David, days often revolve around planning a nice meal made with locally available ingredients. Anne and I thoroughly enjoy baking together and after buying a decadent cinnamon roll at the Island Farm, we decided we should make our own. On Eleuthera, the flour is different than what we have available in the states. It is a Canadian product and very, very fine. After one unsuccessful attempt, Anne made a second batch and these were delicious. Now I must work them off my hips but they were worth it.
Not the best photo but this was a collaborative effort - surf and turf. David cooked the lobster tail he had brought back from a diving expedition (just off the cliffs near the house). He grilled it and then served it with garlic butter. We also had steak and potato cakes which I made from leftover mashed potatoes and broccoli we had enjoyed a previous night to accompany a beautiful pork roast. Anne made a great salad from local produce. The incredibly sweet island tomatoes were perfect in Anne's salad. Dinner enjoyed with a Kalick beer!!

Grilled chicken and papaya with crispy onion rings, served at Tippy's in North Palmetto Point.
Anne with a beautiful plate of bruschetta she made to take to a neighborhood party during my visit. Heavenly with the fresh basil we acquired at an island aquaponic garden.
Lunches we enjoyed at Coral Sands on Harbour Island:

Local greens, strawberries, goat cheese and balsamic dressing. Perfection!

My lunch: Grilled shrimp and pineapple spears with a basil aioli - a lovely and delicious combination
Grouper fingers. Really delicious with an herbed batter
Our dessert choice: fried banana with caramel, homemade ice cream and beautifully spun sugar. Decadent but the perfect choice to share three ways.
Artisan breads at the Island Farm. Two days a week, the Farm features multiple baskets filled with these beautiful baked items and they go very fast. There were garlic breadsticks, wholegrain breads and sweet breads.

Choosing fresh spinach
Especially for me, David had brought a batch of his homemade raviolis so on the next to last day, they made a perfect light dinner. David makes these delights in keeping with a tradition started by his father, and almost always has a batch in the freezer ready to enjoy. He even has an especially wide counter at home where he rolls out his pasta dough and does his shaping and cutting. Using the last of our island tomato supply, I created a very light and rustic sauce to top the ravioli. It is simply chopped and lightly sauteed tomatoes, minced garlic and fresh basil, topped with some buttered and toasted crumbs made with one left over croissant we had from a local bakery. It was a perfect meal! Scattered around the plates is a bit of the seaglass we collected.
There was other wonderful food enjoyed, too. Cracked conch is an island specialty. It is the meat of the conch, pounded to soften, then sliced and deep fried. It is quite sweet akin to fried clam strips. Another highlight were the steaks at The Rainbow Inn. They have top grade, grain fed beef flown in from Chicago weekly and it is grilled to perfection by Richard, the owner of the Inn. The Inn also grows their own vegetables and herbs, which enhance every meal there. I admit to indulging in a delicious filet mignon, along with a Goombay Smash....enough said.

Happy memories, made sweet by all the good food and lots of love.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Island Funnies

Today was a lighthearted day so I thought I would show you some of my favorite funny/quirky moments from the trip.....
I was not sure this photo would even come out as we were inside Preachers Cave in N. Eleuthera. This cave is at the site of the original landing point for the settlers of Eleuthera. As I took this shot I was looking directly above my head at the "eyes" to the sky. I love the end effect, as those "eyes" seem to be looking right back at me. Maybe the face of a giant?? It was a fascinating place and is preserved as a park area.There are chickens EVERYWHERE on the island, even in restaurants, and it was like old home week for this daughter of a poultry farmer! This shot was taken on a side street in Governor's Harbor.
More chickens at the Buccaneer Restaurant in Governor's Harbor....great cracked conch here! They do not cook the chickens.
Mother hen with her chicks on Cupid's Cay. We had to wait for them to cross the road - she did not tell us why!Vegetation is so lush on the island and it grows out of rock and many other seemingly impermeable surfaces. Flowers make their way up through the cement of Anne and David's front steps and porch. The top plant is an orchid.
David went diving and fetched me a lobster and of course he made me hold it up for viewing. Very different from New England lobster, but tasty prepared with butter and garlic.
Eleuthera is famous for its wild dogs which are affectionately called potcakes. They are everywhere and are mostly friendly. The name potcake comes from the fact that they are known for calling at the backdoor to be served the "cake" which forms at the bottom of pots in which the Bahamians make their famous peas and rice. This handsome potcake came to see us as we had a lovely lunch at Tippy's restaurant in Palmetto Point.
Another one of Tippy's potcakes...obviously tired. He'd been swimming at the beach just before he came to our table to see us. Fortunately he did not shake on us!
Golden coconuts growing at the island farm near Governor's Harbor
When we traveled south on the island one day, we saw laughing gulls everywhere and their hilarious cry filled the air. These two were right in the center of town at Tarpum Bay.
While touring Harbour Island on our own golf cart, we happened upon this crazily decorated cart.

One early evening we set out to go to a beach to collect seaglass. We drove down a very rutted dirt road through old farmland, no one around for miles, and as we reached the beach, we found Eleuthera's version of a phone. We tried to make a call but the line was busy! We did find amazing seaglass.
After several drinks at the Rainbow Inn, we happened upon this scene and thought for sure it was a hallucination. We kept going.

On the way back he/she continued to graze, not concerned about cars, etc. As you can see, animals (there really are very few) have no bounds on the island.....come to think of it, neither do many natives and visitors!On the next to last night, David surprised me with a fashion statement. An outfit his father has carefully preserved since the 70's. Very retro and straight out of Miami Beach.
We laughed alot and it was such a great part of my visit.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Still Catless in Chatham

Dear Ms G, the lovely little blog namesake who used to live with me, has moved herself over to LM's house and settled in with a flourish. LM claims he is "unable" to capture her, although, I suspect their love affair is very serious and enduring, and they both wish to continue co-habiting. Meanwhile, here I am in my eerily silent house, thinking I see her walking into rooms or hear her in the night.
My heart is warmed by the fact that she has really become so attached and trusting with LM. Ah, what to do - Let her stay there, as I will be moving there at some point anyway? Call Judge Judy?
Actually, we are having a bit of fun with it all. She is a wily critter and the very second we make a move to pick her up, she vanishes. I do suspect that LM does not want to be the one to do the dirty deed and put her in the carrier.

....and, on the serious side of life, I am reflecting on the memories of "the island" and trying to process the grief for Dad. It comes over me in waves of tears, sometimes onto soft feelings, sometimes onto jagged cliffs of pain. Just as on the island...many beaches are flat, soft and perfectly peaceful, and the others are ruggedly absorbing repeated hits from huge rolling waves.
It is a process, I am just coming to know, but really, can one know? As I give myself permission to just feel it, here are some photos of the magical mystery tour I experienced
on enchanted Eleuthera. Here is a link for my daughter and son-in-law's house www.eleutherabreezesgetaway.blogspot.com

My beautiful island host and hostess at the island farm where we got lovely artisan breads and organic produceThe view from their porch where we endlessly stared at the ocean by day and gazed at the stars and moon by night
The door to my room. This doorway framed the rising sun in the morning
My room.....peace and the scene of many naps!
Casuarina trees at Alabaster Bay Beach (Coco di Mama resort) - Caribbean side of the island.
Surf at Preachers Cave Beach - Atlantic side - N. Eleuthera. Here I stepped into the beautiful tropical waters for the first time!
Sunrise from the porch
Mother and daughter...seemed to be turquoise day
Near the end of a day, after dinner, Island Kalick beer in hand, we set out to discover hidden beaches on the Atlantic side of the island.....reminds me of Ireland
The ubiquitous bougainville adorning a sweet house on Harbour Island
More interesting and beautiful Harbour Island foliage.
Anne and David generously treated me to a very elegant lunch at this posh Harbour Island resort....Coral Sands. More on the island food in another post.
The Governors Harbor library.....in my opinion the most beautiful building I saw. It is at Cupid's Cay.David at cliffs just south of their house on the Atlantic side. There are caves in the center. Was he considering a jump? He may have at one time in his youth.

Enjoying a Bahama Mama at the hurricane bar in the Rainbow InnClub Med beach. There used to be a thriving Club Med on the island but it was wiped away in a hurricane in the 90's. This beautiful beach now remains virtually empty. We spent a magical afternoon here being served drinks by our own personal "cabana boy" aka, David. We also took a lovely walk.
Looking down on Gregory Town which is just north of Rainbow where A & D have their home.

Plumbago blooming just outside the door to my room and next to the delicious outdoor shower which we used every day, another first for me!The brightly colored porch of Pam's Island gifts in Gregory Town. Pam is a friend of Anne's and she makes lovely jewelry from sea glass and shells such as conch. I made some acquisitions here!
Saying good bye on Sunday.....A & D sit on the top step saying one last good-bye to their haven.
An aerial view of their subdivision as we flew away from the island. See you again, Eleuthera.
PS. Tonight LM promised to get Ms G home to me ASAP....he knows how much comfort she brings me. It will be nice when we live together. MMMMMMM!