Friday, October 30, 2009


Help! Someone please apply the brakes.....time is going way too fast, weekend is here and that means "the trip" is imminent, along with so many other fun activities. It is all so happy and fun right now, that I want time to savor and enjoy.
Today is a fun party at work - a combination of TGIF and Halloween. We've all brought things and the aromas from our kitchen are harbingers of some delicious treats. Tonight it is off to a pedicure for me, and tomorrow will find Sara, Samantha and I visiting baby Teddy and parents! Really looking forward to that time together. A beautiful day is on tap and we hope to walk along the canal and enjoy some sunshine.

Sunday is the last day off before we leave so I have to finish packing, and buy one more gift. Sunday afternoon and evening will be spent with friend, Sue as she is having an early Thanksgiving celebration at her house for her closest friends. I am privileged to be on the invite list and will get some photos.
Mon and Tues evenings I will be preparing some food to pack in our cooler to avoid eating road junk.

Meanwhile, as I am on the busy social whirl, LM is doing all his own trip prep and we may get to spend a few minutes together on Saturday evening. Today he is doing the final arrangements for the rental car and preparing the house for his sister, who will stay with Ms G for 2 weeks. Little does the little chipmunk chaser know that her "boyfriend" will be gone. EEEEEK. Poor baby.

All the above explains why I will most likely not be posting for a few days. I do plan to post during the trip, so Wednesday night I will try to sneak in a wind up of the first day. CANNOT WAIT to be on the road with my love! First stop is Front Royal VA.

Happy Halloween!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Weekend Wind-up and a Walk at Swan Pond

This weekend brought together so many of my favorite things. Meeting Sue for shopping, cooking and sharing a lovely meal with she and LM. Later watching a movie that made us both laugh until we cried, while cuddled under a warm blanket topped by Ms G, and finally, the piece de resistance, having strong wind and rain outside the window as we drifted off to sleep. Oh, there were a few other bonuses in these beautiful two days. We awoke to a glorious sunny warm day yesterday, and, after a nice breakfast, I picked up daughter, Sara and granddaughter, Samantha and they came back to LM's and helped for several hours of yardwork. We got so much done! Later in the afternoon, LM and I joined one of our friends for the annual "Last Supper" at a favorite local seafood restaurant. We always have to have one last meal before they close until the Spring. it was delicious and we followed that up with a lovely walk at the Swan Pond Conservation area.

First, a shot of the Chairman of the Chipmunk Control Commission hard at work!

Looking out LM's front door at a leaf pasted to the glass during Saturday's storm

Looking down in to the birdbath outside the backdoor at LM's

Beginning our walk at Swan Pond. The woods were very quiet and beautiful and the only sounds we heard were the call of a kingfisher and the crunch of leaves beneath our feet. The path lead to a lovely hill overlooking the brackish pondOverlook toward the south
The trail down to the water

Beautiful Fall colors

A most interesting part of this walk were the mushrooms we spotted. So many different colors and forms

This one did not photograph well but it was bright purple

Low growing oak leaves
Beautiful moss along the path

It was just a perfect day and after this walk we continued Fall clean-up of LM's garden until darkness fell. We feel so blessed and happy!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Perfect Fall Saturday

Pork tenderloin with a cranberry orange ginger sauce is in the slow cooker, a chocolate zucchini cake is cooling and awaiting its drizzle of frosting, brussels sprouts and carrots are ready to be oven roasted at the last minute, and I am just about packed to take this show to LM's house this afternoon. We are having one of my best friends, Sue, to dinner!
It was supposed to rain but it is sunny, breezy and a bit balmy. Sue and I will meet around 2 to visit our favorite consignment shops and then get ourselves back to visit with LM and Ms G.

Should be a lovely day. As the weekend neared, I found myself feeling low, teary and not wanting to do much of anything, but after a good night's sleep, some hard exercise and preparing this delicious meal, I am feeling great and ready to get out of myself!

Hopefully, there will be pictures to post and a wrap up of the day. Tomorrow, LM, Ms G and I get to sleep in, see my daughter and granddaughter and then have a visit with one of his close friends for a seafood dinner.

Daughter, Anne and husband are in France this weekend for surprise birthday party for friends, and my brother, Ev and his wife are in Oregon to attend SOAR (for fiber spinners) and then they will visit my sister, El in Seattle. Very much a family on the road this week.

NICE.....wish you all a lovely weekend, too. Leaving you with a lovely Ms G poem written by my dear on-line friend, Debbie

Ms G's Discussion About Herself

My home is where my feet touch.
My bed is what's under me when I'm sleepy.

My food is anything that tastes good.
My friends are whom I choose.

The night is my safety, the day is my warmth.
I'm proud but not vain. Simple things delight me.

I love to be loved, but love when I choose.
I adapt very quickly, but prefer my routine.

I am curious to a fault.
I am beautiful, and clean, and I know it.

My soft voice can comfort, my anger is clear.
I practice my agility so none can compare.

I am what I am, and I would be no other,
I am Ms G the cat! And THAT is THAT!!


Thursday, October 22, 2009

On a Whirl

I'm not sure about others, but my mind certainly starts to whirl when I have a trip coming up. Being a fairly organized person, and a list maker, I try to make a note whenever thoughts pop into my mind about things we will need along the way, etc., but as the date draws close now (Nov 4, 3 am), the thoughts begin to mesh into one and I can feel the up tempo in my body, mind and spirit. Some good and some bad, to be honest. Checklists are now whirling in my brain, and I start getting into LM's ability to think for himself as far as his to do list for the trip...bad, bad. He is always well-prepared when we leave for a trip. Once in awhile, I bring myself up short by asking those critters in my brain,"what is the worst that can happen"...REALLY, if I forget something, I can just go buy whatever I need, and the computer will be with me, so whatever tickets I need for Discovery Cove and Busch Gardens can be downloaded easily.

CRAZY, I am! I really have issues with time.....getting close to a date, an event, an appointment, I am always so worried about things being exactly right, that I make myself very stressed, and those around me as well. It is subtle but really annoying to me and others. LM being a very patient man, knows this about me and it even gets to him, too.

In actuality, everything is very ready for the trip right now. As needs have arisen, they have been addressed, and I will do a practice run of packing a very SMALL suitcase next week sometime.

I think I needed to write this out in order to stop, or at least slowdown, the whirling in my mind....thanks for listening.

This trip promises to be one of a lifetime and to know that we will be bringing such delight and fulfilling a 30+ year dream for Kristi (LM's 41 year old developmentally disabled daughter), is happiness personified. We will all be seeing some very interesting and beautiful places for the first time in our lives, plus sharing time with other loved ones.
Now it is time to put all my effort into letting go of the lists, lighten up and get into my "happy to be on the road" mindset. I think I can do it!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Namesake

I believe it has been mentioned here before that Ms G has a serious penchant for anything with an adhesive applied. On Saturday two new storage containers arrived at LM's just after I did. Ms G was upstairs in her lair at the time, but within seconds, as LM an I were sitting in the living room, we heard the "thump" as she jumped from the stairs and landed on the dining room table. LM thought she was headed to greet me and we were both puzzled when we heard a strange noise coming from the kitchen. Before we could get out of our chairs, she came slinking into the dining room area with her "prey" in her mouth, about to make the kill. She had sniffed out a label applied with glue, and torn it off in one fell swoop! There were labels on both sides so we brought one of the containers into the dining room hoping to capture the second "kill" with the lens. Here is my effort. Not as funny as the first. She is such a character and was not happy until all labels were off both containers. She can also sniff out a closed cupboard or drawer that holds a roll of Scotch tape! Duct tape is a particular delicacy. Not to worry any of her fans....she doesn't eat the tape, just chews on it and carries it around for days. Actually, she will eat Scotch tape and that usual results in quick regurgitation....sorry for TMI.
Just a little silly entertainment for her "people," who are often in need of a hearty laugh. She's an intuitive little one.
She's still carting the chewed up labels around the house, but when I visited last evening, she was no where to be seen! Perhaps she was at a "Tape Eaters Anonymous" meeting.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Home Again!

So happy to say I am home again......

The sun is shining once more and I will see LM and Ms G (maybe) after work! What more could I ask.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Doggies on Tour

Took a little tour around the doggies house one day last week before we became trapped in a 3 day nor-easter. This maple is so pretty. Here they are, my charges, balls in mouth, waiting for me to play.
The hydrangeas are having a last hurrah
To the right, below the blue bloom, is the white one which now appears in my header. It was just perfect until the storm.
The pots at the terrace door were so pretty and blooming late.
The many holly trees have fat green berries, soon to be red
Sedum is such a lovely Fall presence
At the very back by the herb garden is a huge shrub with these berries. As children, we used to throw these at each other and create a nightmare for our mother!
Liza came running around to the front to greet me!
A Halloween greeting

A pretty hydrangea wreath on the front porch wall
A valiant rose near the garage

A pot of parsley by the kitchen stairs
This is a beautiful place to be, even if my supper gets eaten by a certain 4-footed friend!
Their "parents" will be home Tuesday.
Hope everyone has had a nice weekend!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sweetness Amidst the Storm

We are having a three day nor-easter, so I was out and about very early Friday morning. I do love to watch and feel the power of the weather, while staying safe, of course, so before the sweetness, here are some photos taken at a beach close to the doggies' house, and then a shot taken at my usual haunt, Lighthouse Beach. The wind was so heavy that I dared not get out to take a shots, as witnessed by the big raindrops on the windshield.

The car was rocking and shaking at this point...just about time to move along!

At the Lighthouse, you can see huge breakers out along the bar.
Now to the sweetness.
You know you have a good man when he HAS to call you because he just happens to see a beautiful flower.

LM and I talk everyday at lunch, so, not 10 minutes later, as I was driving back to work, I was surprised when my cell phone rang. I was hoping it would be LM with news about his son John's parole hearing which is being held today. We'd been expecting a call all day. Alas, no news on that yet, but he wanted to tell me that as he walked to his car, he noticed a single flower blooming in the garden behind the shed. In the spring, I had set an orphan bulb in the ground in the corner of the otherwise barren garden plot in which Bob used to take great pride. We intended to put tomatoes and other veggies in there this year but all the landscaping work consumed our time and energy, so it never got done.

On this very wet and stormy day, there was the lone dahlia plant bursting forth with the prettiest flowers....white with a purple tinge, and LM just had to call me to tell me how happy he was to see that beauty! That call is worth more than any expensive gift a man has ever given me.

Oh, and that earlier phone call at lunch - it consisted of silly banter about Ms G and how loving her has really corrupted him and he can hardly stand to leave her alone and go out to do his errands, etc. He has to make sure she "talks" to me, too! Poor besotted soul.
P.S. John did not get parole today. He was offered a chance to go into a special half-way program, but he declined. That does not make me happy, but then, it is not my decision, or really my business. The program would have been great as it is really aimed at these young offenders that really have not had a chance to develop any positive experience. Very frustrating! We remain hopefult hat he will "see the light."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Forgot to Shift into Dog Mode

Yesterday was so grim, but I got myself over to my dog sitting job at my boss's house and settled in. Still trying to buoy my spirits after a tearful conversation with LM about how I was feeling, I sat with the TV remote in my hand, flipping through the seeming millions of options on the huge TV. Wouldn't you know the answer to my grief popped right up....Cheech and Chong's "Up in Smoke" was just coming on! Having never seen it, and having heard it was hilarious, I decided to watch the first half hour or so. It all just hit my funny bone and I had to tear myself away from it because 4:45 am comes quickly, and not enough sleep is not a good thing for me these days. I have ordered the movie on Netflix and LM and I will have a good laugh sometime soon, thanks to Cheech and Chong.

Usually, I am deft at switching gears from cat radar to dog radar, but this time I forgot somehow. I was famished when I arrived here this evening but the doggies had to eat first, and then go out. After that deed was done, I prepared my dinner and just as I was to sit down, the critters began barking in earnest at the door. I got up to let them in, and Sammy, the big yellow lab was first in. I had to wait a bit for Liza, the black lab. In the few seconds I waited for her, Sammy got my dinner and ate every bite in a flash. There was nary a crumb to be found. My fault. I know dogs do those things and Sammy was counting on my "cat brain." Oh, well, maybe he knows I need to slow down on food intake before the FL trip. Who knows. There is a reason for everything.
Pictures of the culprit coming tomorrow.
We re having a strong nor'easter here tonight with very heavy wind and rain. My favorite kind of night!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I was not ready for the impact of the passing of Dad's birthday; just not ready at all. The effects linger, almost worse today, and I just want to be home. Home to do what, I do not know, but it feels like such a struggle to stay anywhere that I cannot cry openly.

Last night there were meaningful phone calls with friends and siblings, which brought me closer to the grief. Good, I guess, but it is one flame this moth wants to avoid, as it fears like I will crash and burn. Here I am, face on, counting the minutes. Really is it all I can do.

Meanwhile, there are friends and family who are in need of support, and LM and I are trying to unravel mysteries regarding artwork he has inherited from Bob's estate. Sort of fun, actually.

Tonight I move to my boss's house to stay for 6 days. Yup, I'm headed to the dogs in so many ways! The Fall colors are pretty over there. I think some focus on nature is in order.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lovely Days and a Milestone

Memories from the weekend.....
Dinner with friends on Saturday evening. My friend, Nan, was here from NY and we had a wonderful time catching up with her and her friend, Bob in Hyannis.
The table set for dinner at LM's on Sunday. So nice to have a few flowers to pick and make a centerpiece.

With streaks of purple daylight lingering in the evening sky, I made the 8 mile drive home from LM's house Sunday night, still always, after the weekend with my love. Yes, I know, I am a bit sappy. Can't help it. Just an hour earlier we were driving into a fiery Fall sunset as we drove Kristi home after a lovely day entertaining LM's sister, Lois and her friend, Shirley with dinner at LM's.
On that drive with Kristi, I couldn't help but bring up an event of the day. LM's sister had brought some old family photos to share.....there are very few in existence. She and LM are 2 of 5 children. Their parents placed all of them in foster care at a very young age, which splintered the family....some never seeing each other again. To this day, no one knows why. LM has no memory of his mother at all, as he was 5 when he went to live with the first of several foster families. Their father saw the children through the years and became closest with LM, in fact, in his late years he lived with LM until his death. He was a kind and smart man, talented author, who wrote biographies of some famous artists, namely Wallace Nutting (one of my very favorites), and also was active in MA historical societies. Yesterday, Lois brought a photo of LM at 5, taken on on the day he last saw his mother. There, at age 72, he looked at the face of his mother for the very first time. He is a very stoic person, emotions pretty close to the vest, unless it involves Ms G, his children or me, and his reaction was silent but palpable. Nothing else was said, he scanned the photo and then disappeared into his room for a bit. That photo showed the face of one of the most angry women I have ever seen. I wonder, often, how he became such a warm and loving soul. He was raised in a wonderful foster home, given a private school education and a wealth of love and cultural experience, things he may never have never had in his birth home. That family is still close to him today!

It was a day of lovely and delicious moments and ended with several hours of emotional sharing, both with LM and with three of my siblings.

And, in other news, Ms G has been busy dusting at LM's....note the dust on her whiskers here! She likes the back of this wing chair as she can see most of the activity on the first floor from this vantage point. Funny little one!
Today is Dad's birthday.....oh, how I miss him......This will be a second to second day, fighting tears and the sharpness of grief. I will make it......I will make it....I WILL make it!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Breezy Saturday

Such a nice day...just home doing some cooking for a dinner party with friends this evening. In a little while, I will pack everything up and drive over to LM's and we will be off to join some friends for a lovely time. My dear friend, Nan, is in town from Saratoga Springs, NY.

Tomorrow LM's sister will join us for a Sunday dinner at his house. She is going to be staying with Ms G while we are on our big trip to FL with Kristi, so tomorrow we will acquaint her with the house and with how to meet all the needs of the divine Ms G.

Teddy seems to be doing well since the implant of the ear tubes on Thurs. He was overheard on the phone this morning letting his father know, in no uncertain terms, that he wanted lunch and wasn't going to wait!

Be back tomorrow or so with party photos.
Hope everyone is having a lovely Fall day.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Today is a very special day in our family. My brother, Marty will be presented with a very prestigious award at the University of Illinois. I could not be prouder of anyone, and he is so deserving. I would love to be there but can not get time off from my job right now as I have a long vacation coming up soon. We will all be with him in spirit and he has a huge contingent of his wife, Karen's family to celebrate the day.

Also, a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my sister Margaret up in Waterloo, Ontario! Wish I could be with you, too.....lots of love coming your way, though.

2009 Harold Scharper Humanitarian Award

Martin I. Morse

Martin I. Morse, BS '84, MS '87

Olympic and Paralympic Coach
University of Illinois
Champaign, IL

Martin Morse is the recipient of the 2009 Harold Scharper Humanitarian Award. A former award-winning wheelchair athlete in track and field, roadracing, and basketball, Mr. Morse completed both bachelor's and master's degrees in kinesiology at the University of Illinois. He has coached both Olympic and Paralympic wheelchair athletes, counting among his many accomplishments his service as assistant technical director of wheelchair track exhibition events at the 1984 Olympic Games, head coach of the American delegation in the 1990 and 1991 Goodwill Games, and head coach of U.S. wheelchair track and field teams in the 1988 and 1992 Paralympics. He served as head coach of the Team Ghana Track Camp, held at the University of Illinois in 2000 and 2004, and has been a volunteer consultant on a variety of national and international athlete training systems and programs. He developed a composite glove technology to enhance performance and prevent injury of wheelchair athletes, and introduced the sport of handcycling as off-season training to maintain upper body strength. Mr. Morse collaborated with Adam Bleakney, who is now head coach of wheelchair track, field, and racing at Illinois, to build the first aerodynamic model of a racing wheelchair using high-tech carbon fiber and mylar. The working model was unveiled at the 2002 Boston Marathon. He went on to serve as a consultant on wind tunnel research and development of racing wheelchairs for the Center for Sports Innovation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Marty continues to inspire everyone he meets, and best of all he is an amazing father to Steven and Sam!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Baby Teddy Update - Shakin' the Bars

Teddy is behind many bars these days, and not the kind of bars that serve drinks!! His wise parents, have gates set up at all the doorways on the first floor to keep him in the family room area. He's really getting around, and it will not be long until he takes his first steps. That cute face just melts my heart. Teddy will be 10 months next Tues, which is also Dad's, I miss him.

Today he is going to have tubes put in his ears to hopefully stop the spate of ear infections he's had over the past months. Wish we could get to the core of the problem. My theory is allergies of some sort but that remains to be proven. It is a great frustration for many parents.
Here's hoping the tubes are successful.

Otherwise, we are having such a lovely Fall and that means we are one month from the trip to FL. It is getting more and more exciting. Lots to do beforehand but that is fun, too.
Back to taking out my winter project du jour.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

13th Century Wisdom

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

~ Rumi ~

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Blue Suede Shoes, etc

Finding shoes that fit comfortably is a true challenge for me, so, for the last 4 years. I have worn the same shoes everyday.....Merrell Encore Breeze slides. They give me good balance, are very comfy, acceptable at work, and they can be worn with or without socks depending on the weather. In winter they are roomy enough to accommodate some lovely hand knit socks which were a gift from my very talented SIL, and in summer they are cool but keep my toes from frostbite in the frigidly AC'd office. The Merrells wear so well, that the two identical pairs I own hardly look worn at all, and they can be washed.

Everytime I shop, I do glance at all the "cute' shoes and wish, but then decide to pass, but last weekend, I found not only one, but two pairs of comfy but stylish (to me anyway) new shoes. Of course, since my teen years I've been searching for a pair of blue suede shoes to pay homage to Elvis. Voila, it may have taken 50 odd years, but I now have them. (They do not show up blue in this photo, but they surely are a beautiful shade of blue)
For my next trick.....I happened upon these wonderfully comfy and tres cute Tevas, at a great sale. The only pair in the store in this style were in my size! Normally way beyond my budget, these were meant to be mine and will be perfect on the trip to FL coming up in just 4 weeks! Tevas have great support and fit my feet well and I actually wore them to the retreat on Sunday and had to prevent the other size 9 attendees from stealing them. They may be a bit funky for my age, but I really do not care, they just make me happy.
I think the Merrells are getting worried but they will be coming to FL, too!

Monday, October 5, 2009


Several weeks ago I received an e-mail flyer describing a one day retreat for women called "A Cup of Joy." Having been somewhat curmudgeonly for a while now, I decided, "A Cup of Joy" might be a good thing to help me clear the clouds and actually begin to feel again. Those who've been reading here for awhile, know that social events with new faces (even with known faces) are a real stretch for me and something I avoid whenever possible. Attending this retreat day would be an attempt to break through some of my barriers. Knowing one of the presenters, as she did the grief seminar I attended last all sort of felt "safe."

Pain in my stomach, some shakiness and a lot of apprehension came along with me as I drove over an hour to the site of the retreat. The building alone, modernistic in a wooded setting, was worth the leap over my comfort bounds. Filled with the most beautiful art, it is and was for me a place of healing. Eight other women made the leap as well, and it was a most rewarding day, planned to keep our interest and fill our bodies, minds and spirits with JOY. We got to know each other a bit and there was a connection for me with a woman who helped my daughter immensely at one point in her life. She is an amazing example of giving back and making a difference in the lives of others. In her case it is by running a landmark program to assist the homeless. Having my friend, Debra there was wonderful, as well. I am sure our friendship grew through the experience.

The second presenter was a yoga teacher and we did intervals of yoga, guided in her gentle funny ways throughout the day. The explanation of what we were doing with each of the postures, brought to life what we were feeling....the opening up of our bodies to joy and health. I did things I never dreamed possible. For me, the yoga truly began to open me up and feel whole. LOVED IT!

The sharing, journaling, laughing and wisdom of the seven other women was such a gift. There were many with grief, but there was a lot of hilarity throughout the day. Very clearly I could see that I am in control of my joy and only I can take down the barriers to truly experiencing it everyday in my life.

Outside was a perfect Fall day, and the opportunites presented themselves to walk outside several times and just breathe in the beautiful air and feel the sunshine.

Near the end of the day we did a guided meditation and then a gentle sharing of what we all felt.

The day brought me much more than a cup of joy!

When I returned to LM's house in the evening, there he was, preparing me a lovely dinner of roast chicken. After a long hug, he looked at me and commented immediately on how mellow I seemed, and he wanted to hear more about the day. We shared the delicious dinner and several quiet hours together (there was a brief appearance by Ms G). He had been out on beaches most of the day taking a number of his students on a class fishing trip...alas, no one caught a fish, but they had fun trying and learning to use their fishing equipment.

My drive home was interesting - as LM walked me to my car, we stepped out of his house into dense fog.....the densest I have seen in years -I drove away in my mellow state, and as I got within 2 miles of my house, all the fog was gone, and there was a crystal clear moonlit evening. Somehow very meaningful, in light of the day I experienced.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thursday Lunch 360

Lighthouse Beach 360 turn ...Looking SE the sky was so dramatic today- looking north it was sunny and tranquil, looking south it was dark and wintery-looking. Many visitors to my favorite spot today. I had been here at 7:30 am, as well, for my daily meditation on nature. A SE close-upDue East

Northeast. There were about 20-30 seals at the south end of the barrier beach. Shark bait, but the coast is clear of the great whites now.North

West - memorial to those who rescued many from a shipwreck off these shores, and to those who died.
South south west - Chatham Lighthouse

I love this place so much!