Friday, January 28, 2011

A Delicious and Furry Visit

Last Sunday, after way too much time, I went to visit my youngest brother, Sam, and family. We had not seen each other since Thanksgiving. For my family, that is a long time. LM could not go as he was settling John in for his long house arrest stay. I picked up Kristi (Sam's number one fan!) Kristi was so happy to be out and about. We stopped at a Kohl's store on the way where she found some gifts for friends. Kristi is so thoughtful and never forgets a birthday, shopping way in advance.
As we left the Cape for the 70+ mile drive, there was no snow on the ground but driving north it kept getting deeper and deeper. The South Shore of MA has received record snowfalls this year and today they got another foot.
When we arrived, Sam was at his beautiful stove caramelizing sugar in my Mum's old cast iron skillet, in preparation for making a delicious apple tart. It really took me back to what seems like every visit ever to my Mum. She would always be in the kitchen working on something divine.
When the sugar was ready, Sam layered sliced apples over the it and then covered it all with puff pastry, tucked in the pastry and popped the pan into the oven for our enjoyment after dinner.
The finished tart. It smelled and tasted heavenly.
Trish served the tart with home made ginger ice cream topped off with a ginger snap. MMMMMMMMM!
It was a very cold day and Bob seemed to be enjoying some hibernation.....he loves this bed to cuddle in and was only willing to pose for a few photos.
"You know, people, I am really trying to have my Sunday afternoon nap"
the eyes about to close.....
Harley has a comfy bed, too.....
Nephew, Nate, who has just turned 16, had his arms full........
Before we headed home, we did a couple of family shots.....
I am so sorry I caught Kristi with her eyes closed as she was so happy to be having her photo taken with Sam!
As we were leaving the sun was beginning to set and in the last light caught the icicles formed on the family room eeves....massive.
Snow, snow everywhere and a pretty sky peaking through.
It was a lovely visit and we shared a delicious dinner of flank steak, a couscous salad filled with crisp veggies, a green salad with strawberries and, of course, the beautiful apple tart.
There was great conversation, catching up on family news and wonderful love shared. LM was missed very much but he is doing a very honorable thing by helping his son.
Kristi and I stopped to shop for a few groceries on the way home and we shared some nice one on one time, too.
Family is so precious, and mine is a caring and loving treasure in my life.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Jared & Jessica Meet Teddy

From the totally discombobulated world of Ms G. LM, and me, another catch-up post from Jared and Jessica's visit. You can breathe a sigh of relief now. It's the last one! If you suppose I am avoiding the present, you are right. More on that later.

Guess who's feet these are.......yes, we, along with J and J, visited with Elmo's top fan, Teddy, and his parents, on New Year's day. As is often the case, when we arrive, Teddy is having a nap and it takes awhile for him to wake up. He's wakes early in the morning and plays hard. Wise plan for the future, dear Teddy.Jared had not yet met his cousin, Teddy, and it was a sweet time.
It did not take long for these two wonderful guys to realize the bond of cousins.
Visiting and having Teddy as the center of our attention and entertainment reminds me of when my children were small....countless times, we sat in my Mum and Dad's living room doing the very same thing.
Of course, Jared had to meet his "outlaw cousin," Mr. Squirrel. He couldn't quite get why we were urging him to visit the other cousin in the garage....we are indeed a quirky squirrel-crazy family. Jason keeps his dear squirrel as close to the family room as possible, and he's probably better off there in all his taxidermied splendor, not to mention that Alison is none too pleased with cousin squirrel.
Everyone gets some love, and the owners of cell phones and cameras get lots. Teddy and LM, lovers of gadgets, have a special and sweet bond.
Our dear hostess, Alison, as we share a delicious Mexican casserole of her creation.
Teddy was most excited to show off his "big-boy bed," so as soon as dinner was finished, we all followed him upstairs to his room. Christmas week was his first week sleeping in the new bed and there was much excitement.
Armed with Nana's cell phone, Teddy was very happy to demonstrate how he goes 'night-'night. By this time he was really winding up and getting his party face on.
Next up was Teddy changing into his pj's and a return to the family room for play.
Also, after dinner, Sting made an appearance. He played an hilarious game of hide 'n seek with Teddy. There was much chasing and squealing.
Sting came dashing through the kitchen by Teddy, seeming to invite the chase....and chase is what he got...
Alas, After a few chases through all the rooms Sting made a successful dash through his cat door into the laundry room. Inside the laundry room is a closet with another cat door leading to the litter box "room." Teddy was thwarted again and kept trying to get through the cat door. Pretty funny! We all settled down after our hearty bout of laughter and Teddy "performed" in the family room....
He had to have a few hugs from Nana and LM and never once let go of the cell phone.
Peering in to Jared's camera. I love how he does this!
After Nana retrieved her phone, he knew just where to find another from LM and here he sits quite smug with his acquisition. It really was such a fun evening......That chair is from my grandmother's house. After my Mum inherited it, she had to have the seat re-rushed so many times from the cats tearing it apart with claws. Funny memories.
We love you so much, Teddy!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy birthday to my Dearest Love!

Happy Birthday, LM!! You are my hero, father extraordinaire, Ms G's Jeeves, and my dearest love always..... Hope you will stay snuggly warm with Ms G in your birthday gift. We will properly fete you on Sunday!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Two posts in one day .....
Thank you everyone for your kindness and concern regarding our challenges with John. Warily, we are taking these changes one day at a time. John and LM appeared in court on Friday, met with the judge and the probation department and the monitoring bracelet was attached. John moved in to LM's house and has already made a nice neat place for himself upstairs in what was formerly Ms G's lair/cave. Ms G has adjourned to the floor under LM's bed in the most remote corner. She is sad and shaky. Very strict rules are in place and the Community Corrections day program begins tomorrow at 8:30 am. John has a 100 ft range from the house where a monitoring machine is set up. He has a 45 minute window to get to and from the program and LM will drive him each way daily.
Yesterday, I went over and cooked a nice dinner with lots of left overs and we shared an enjoyable time, although tense for LM and me as we know there is no time for us to really be alone. It was nice to share a lively conversation with John about my memories of him as a child, and good to laugh a bit. He desperately needs this feeling of family, and i intend to do everything I can to help LM establish that environment for his son. I came home to my house around 8 pm. There is a dramatic change in LM. He is nervous, and he is needy. Two things I have not seen in him before. He is only showing this to me but it is palpable. He's very determined to give this last ditch effort for John and assures me we will be fine. He's made known to John that this is having a dramatic impact on our lives.

So today, I took Kristi to visit my brother and family and it was a nice distraction. We had a great meal and conversation. I will download some lovely pictures I took of the day when I can.
Right now I need to prepare for the workweek and am going to settle down and watch "Downton Abbey" on PBS. LOVE IT!

The wind is howling here and it is so bitter cold......hope everyone is cozy warm comfy this winter evening.

Jared and Jessica's Visit - More Holiday Catch-up

What better way to distract myself from the coming changes in our lives, than to reflect on a lovely visit LM and I shared with my grandson, Jared and his sweet girlfriend, Jessica. They drove to Cape Cod from Ocala, FL right behind the big blizzard we had just after Christmas. Seeing all that snow and being so far from home was a first for Jessica and she got an eyeful!
The lovely couple.....
Ms G assesses the visitors from her little bed....J
Jared has lots of great memories of visiting Chatham with his parents and was excited to share those places with Jessica.....they were quickly settled in to my house, and I, having finished house sitting for the doggies, moved over to LM's house. As on previous visits with his parents, Jared was soo off to show Jessica the Lighthouse Beach overlook and all the other sites. They took quite a few very chilly walks on the beach and lots of pictures.
New Year's Eve found them in Boston at the huge First Night celebration, and they even braved the subway system to find their way around to see the ice sculptures and the early evening family fireworks on Boston Common.
On January 2nd we took a drive to the Outer Cape to see the damage to the National Seashore Atlantic-facing beaches and also to visit Provincetown. The Christmas week blizzard had been accompanied by exceedingly high tides and the roiling ocean had taken its toll once again. It's all to be expected on these shifting sands we call home, but the power of the ocean never ceases to amaze.
At Lecounts Hollow Beach, the parking area lost many yards of itself, and this house to the north was left dangling at least 100 feet above the beach(it came down within days). The high tides, erode the sandy dunes, and one storm can eat heartily at the underpinnings of these houses.
J & J at Lecounts Hollow Beach. it was a very foggy and mild day.
Standing on the edge of a 100 ft + sandy cliff, LM recalls all his years of fishing along these majestic outer beaches. He has hauled many a huge striped bass up these sand hills. The water was very calm that day. There are usually, huge breakers rolling in and many surfers to be seen.

It was an unusually quiet and serene day with the fog rolling in and out.
Jared decided to try walking down to the beach.....he was within a few steps of a massive drop-off and was soon on his way back up the hill! Very tempting for young legs.
In Provincetown, usually filled with colorful and quirky characters, we had a fairly quiet walk around for an hour or so, stopping in a few shops, but most are closed for the winter. This great lobster pot Christmas tree was such fun.
I was thrilled to see the just-completed renovation to the iconic Town Hall. They really did a great job on the multi-year project.
We loved this funny sign in a shop window. It is actually a door mat available for purchase.
After a nice late lunch, we said good-bye to J & J at my house and were back to LM's to see Ms G...she awaited us in a little nest she'd made on the couch. Sweet girl.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


John has been spared returning to jail. This is literally his last chance, but it now becomes a jail sentence for LM, and means drastic changes for all our lives. The court has mandated John to attend a daily, non-residential program for repeat youthful offenders. He will be required to wear a monitoring bracelet, and live under some very strict rules. The only place acceptable to the court for John to live is with LM and Ms G!
We are very relieved that John has been spared another nearly 2 year stint in jail, where no rehabilitation at all is offered, and that he has the possibility of a lot of help from this program. Both LM and I tend to be very positive thinkers but in this case we must be hyper-vigilant. My challenge will be to support LM and John with love, caring, encouragement and nurturing, while maintaining a non-judgemental and respectable distance, so they can work this out in their own way according to the court's mandate.
It was so strange yesterday when we got the word on what would happen, LM's first comment was that John would now be sleeping on the bed that is now home to Ms G's cave (a place she created for herself upstairs out of an old quilt). She will adjust, we are sure, but we hate having her world rocked, just as much as we do having ours turned upside down...for awhile, there will be no more of our cozy weekends. Together time will have a different form.

It is better than having John back behind bars, his life wasting away, and watch LM's heart and spirit fading. We are grateful.

With my resolve to stay on my own track during this time, I'm beginning a new meditation class tomorrow night. I love the group dynamic so this should be great and it is literally 1/2 mile from home. A gift just when needed.

From a cold and wintry day here, I wish everyone well and happy.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Weekend, etc

Thanks everyone for your sweet comments about Ms G yesterday. She is an amazing cat, and gives us so many delightful and funny moments in our lives. I have to relate a funny Ms G incident over the weekend.....first of all, she was pretty miffed that we were gone for 14 hours on Saturday. We were exhausted from the long and tediously stressful drive to New Jersey and back.....I am amazed at the number of thoughtless and careless, not to mention dangerous, drivers on the road. Thus, we were relieved and so happy to be home Saturday night. I collapsed in sleep at 8 pm and slept well until 8 am Sunday, with the exception of what happened with Ms G when LM came to bed several hours after I did. He got into bed and we were facing each other, suddenly, Ms G jumped onto the bed and darted from one side to the other across our legs....she was just frantic and then stood on us and began was LOUD. She cannot stand it when she is unable to cuddle with LM on his face side. We started laughing so much that we knocked her off the bed. Next thing I knew, I had LM's back and guess who had the front? Just another "Life with Ms G" story. That girl knows what she wants and likes, and compliance is mandatory, if you wish to sleep, that is.

We really had a fun weekend. The trip was interesting even if unexpected. We were in the middle of a city to pick up the car and the neighborhood was pretty sketchy but we survived and I got to drive the new car back. No time for any stops except brief rest breaks but it was a nice day and we saw a glorious morning sunrise in the rear view mirror.
Sunday was a day to do things around the house, cook a nice meal together and enjoy some football....well, it would have been happier if the Pats won, but that's sports. I caught up on weeks of wash and had some great cuddling time with Ms G while the games were on.

With Monday a holiday from work, we had time to share the day with my dearest friend, Sue. She's making a quilt for her daughter and I helped her with some cutting challenges. We shared a nice lunch with LM and had some time to chat and catch up on our lives. A perfect day, felt at peace and so happy working with creativity and beautiful color to make a gift to bring warmth and love to a new marriage. LM was so helpful as I set the house up for us to work on the project. Sue brought home made oatmeal bread as a delicious addition to our lunch.

On a more somber note.....John has his court appearance this morning to determine if he will return to jail or not. We are tense about it but resigned to accept what is. John stopped by for a short visit yesterday. I can only imagine how he is feeling. We are hoping for a continuance or assignment to a community youthful offender program.
We are trying to move a mountain here and our might may or may not be enough. When I hugged John good-bye yesterday afternoon the fear that it might be the last hug in years was palpable.
I'm meditating on a positive outcome. It is the only tool I have.

Monday, January 17, 2011

From the World of Ms G

Basking is Ms G's hobby....she follows the sun and her faithful servant has comfy spots waiting for her in all the opportune places.
The paparazzi gets the evil eye......
The long paw of the law of sun worshipping.
Me thinks she knows a lot more than we know.
Reflecting on peace, friendship, and being happy within what is today.
Wishing Sara and Samantha, and anyone else not feeling well, healing thoughts today.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Away we Go!

Just as we were about to eat dinner last night, LM and I got a call to go to New Jersey today for the local Ford dealer......dinner was shelved, and we were in the car to get the paperwork and prep for the trip. It is now just after 3 am and we are out the door for an all day trek. It will be fun. As ony one who's been around these parts for awhile knows, we love road trips.....we'll drive together in a new Honda Fit on the way down and drive separately back in a 2011 Ford Escape. Nice days pay for having fun.
So much for a restful Saturday but it's always an adventure here at chez LM and MM. Ms G is NOT happy that we are out of bed so early. Not to worry, she has a hearty supply of treats and water.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dormancy and Stoking the Fire!

Does anyone else feel like they are in a dormant state?? I woke early this morning, and lay there for a bit thinking about how sluggish, tired and dull I feel. My body is craving movement, stretching, heating up. I saw my acupuncturist, Jenni, on Monday and felt wonderful the next day, yet, even she commented that my "fire" is very low. Fortunately, my spirits are not too low, as that has been a tendency for me in winter. Jenni encouraged me to eat foods to kindle my fire. Her suggestions include kale, brussels sprouts, oatmeal, chard and turnip greens. All things I love and do eat. Not often enough. She also said more touching and intimacy is necessary in winter. In that regard, I am looking forward this morning, to going to LM's after work and staying for the 3 day weekend.
Although I crave moving about for exercise, it is a lot more of a challenge with snow and ice everywhere. I'm going to find a cleared neighborhood tomorrow and take a walk, even if it is in a parking lot, and just may drag LM along. He, too, is really dormant! We both need to begin waking up a bit.
The weekend has a few is to acquire some amaryllis bulbs and plant them in a pretty container. Watching them emerge can only bring spring to our souls.
There will also be sewing. I've packed up my machine and cutting equipment and will work on a surprise project. On Monday, friend Sue will come over for help with a surprise quilt she is creating, and we will have a visit that I am sure will rejuvenate my soul. We'll also share a little lunch with LM....the chard, shallot and tomato quiche I made this week.....and yes, there is a tad of bacon sprinkled on the top. Bacon (a rare treat) makes my world better! Ms G agrees.

Time to get out up and move. It will be a very exciting day at work today. Cannot write about it yet, but soon enough.
Sending positive energy to our friends in Australia for flood relief, and, deep compassion and healing wishes to Tuscon, AZ.

Happy weekend everyone....I'm off to stoke my fire.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Christmas Day 2010

We are having another snowstorm here and I was sent home from work at noon as the roads are icy and the storm is intensifying. I love days like this and am happily enjoying the quiet with only some howling wind keeping me company. I'd love to just put on really snuggly clothes and hunker down but I have a dentist appointment, not to be missed, late this afternoon. Meanwhile, I have a quiche (I added sauteed rainbow chard, shallots, and bacon, and placed sliced grape tomatoes on the top) in the oven so thought I would take advantage of this gift of time to finally post a few more pictures of Christmas.

As I noted in earlier posts, I took a side job house sitting for my boss's dogs for 10 days over Christmas. The commitment was made about 3 months early and I warned all family that I would be pretty much unable to do more than show up for brief visits during the time from 12/17-12/27. When talk of what to do Christmas Day came up, LM offered to make a dinner for us and for his adult children and I didn't need to do anything. He did a fantastic job of not only cleaning out the very cluttered dining room at his house (it only took 2+ years), but also setting the table and making us a delicious baked fish dinner, AND, he did all the dishes. We had a great time and in due time I was back with my canine charges.
LM lined everything up in the kitchen so that we could help ourselves to a plethora of lovely fresh vegetables, the fish and sauteed potatoes.
LM in the charming outfit he chose for the day!! LOL....he loves that shirt with all the fish surrounding a Kliban cat, and he was warm from rushing around doing the cooking.

There is a history behind this scene. LM's daughter, Meg, being a fanatic Boston Red Sox fan, detests anything to do with the NY Yankees, so, when her dear Dad saw a Yankees cooler he thought he'd hide her Christmas gifts in the cooler and she would have to touch it in order to retrieve said gifts. It was all pretty hilarious as she kept refusing to touch the cooler.
He cooler, no gifts.....poor Meg.
John enjoying the little repartee.....(on Jan 18, John returns to court....since his forays into bad behavior in Nov, he has been doing well and we are hopeful he will not be jailed again).
Gingerly the package was opened......she loved her little assortment of gifts including a nice gift certificate for a Japanese dinner. She loves sushi!
So that was our pretty quiet Christmas Day. The kids were off to other visits and we were off for a quick visit to drop gifts for Kristi.
For those concerned that Ms G was not included in the festivities, she did make an appearance and go round the table to greet everyone. She is completely spoiled everyday of her life, as LM showers her with love, attention, playtime and more than her fair share of treats. Do take note of the fact that Ms G's treat dish and her extra supplies have a place of honor in the living room on the coffee table....she's addicted to Whiska Lickens. It's a BAD thing.

We shared a lot of love and laughter over the holidays and I hope that was the same for all of you!