Thursday, December 25, 2008
No eagerness to open gifts...like when we were young, and up at 6am in our pajamas, waiting for Mom and Dad to come down...but eagerness to enjoy the day away from school (work) and obligations. Eagerness to eat a few holiday treats that we never have any other time of year (Pillsbury sweet rolls) and a day to hang out with family, watch movies, go for walks, cuddle on the couch, read...and generally do nothing.
Today I celebrate my love for my husband and our love for each other. He wants to do for me and I want to do for him. Today I celebrate the beauty of the world we live in, and the home we have made together. Today I approve of who we are today, and where we are on our journey...Warts and all.
I started my morning with prayer and meditation. Quiet quiet quiet. Blissful quiet of mind body and spirit; quieting the Monkey Mind, the Hungry Ghost and The Judge...just for today...
Hubby and I do differ in our need for quiet - he likes the TV on in the background, at all times, even when we are talking, or falling asleep...I like silence, or only the sounds that come in through a window from the woods outside. The blue jay call as he steals the peanuts I put out for the squirrels, the drip of melting icicles, even the beating of the wind - and last night it was seriously beating the house and the trees...I wondered if we would lose power, or at least a few limbs...but this morning it seems all the trees came through.
The wind is quiet, the sun is winter low, shining bright and sideways through the naked trees in the woods across the street and into our windows. Murphy and I took a short walk down the end of the driveway, around the front yard and back; Hubby was up early early this morning and has gone back for a nap. I suspect he was wrapping one or two little things for me.
The snow is melting. We have been above freezing for two days now. We had three back to back days of snow and I have drifts of snow in my yard that were up to my thigh, now I can see the grass in some places.
There are projects to do...damage to the screen porch coverings that need to be repaired, but I am giving myself the day off, I am giving myself the gift of Nothing.
Monday, December 22, 2008
I got a great early Christmas gift! My college roommat and I have reconnected after nearly a decade of radio silence...well, we always sent holiday cards, but now we are writing every day and catching up and finding out we are still deeply connected. What a happy day!
I am also buried in snow and contemplating if I will try to go into the Village for a puppet show...A Christmas Carol with life size puppets....I think I will if I can get out of the driveway.
I was laughing this morning as I shoveled the paths. I have 18" boots and 24" of snow on the ground. I thought I had wasted my money on these boots...HA!
I think we got 12 new inches in the last three days...It is spectacularly beautiful.
If you don't think it is beautiful, then you should NOT live north of Syracuse, that is fo-show.
I will post some pictures later. Right now I am going to go investigate my escape options.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a flying piece of american cheese, it's my friends the flying squirrels!!!!
They came back! I brought peanuts out to the maple tree (also known as Flying Squirrel World) on a night when there was not alot of wind or snow. I was putting them out for the FSqs because I had seen one on the tree earlier this winter, for just a moment - If I had not known of them I would not have known what I saw.
I wanted to encourage them to hang around so I had peanuts prepared. Well, I stood there for ten minutes, playing with peanuts, holding the shells in my hands and cracking them, like I used to my first winter when I met them. And before I knew it, I heard the scritch scritch scritch of microscopic nails on the bark, and saw the tiny dark eyes looking down on me, wondering if it was safe. One had come when I called!!! I couldn't believe it! The first year, he eventually came quickly and happily when I "called" by scrunching peanuts.
I stood still...my heart beating...holding my breath....my eyes wide open so I wouldn't miss anything.
I held a peanut out, leaning my hand against the tree and pointing it around the back so he would not have to come too close to get it, but it was too soon to be hand feeding. (Was able to do it the first year - even touched a tail once)
So I changed tactics, and put out a small pile of peanuts in the crooks of two lower limbs and stood still and waited....and waited....and waited....AND before I knew it there were TWO flying squirrels, not just one!
They scurried in and out, back and forth. They are so fast, it is like they pop in and out. They would stop just close enough to see and smell the peanuts but not close enough for me to grab them (not that I would...just thinking what they might be considering)
There was one that seemed brave - or perhaps was younger and more susceptible to peanuts - who did eventually grab one. He sat still for a moment, contemplating the best way to carry this enormous thing...scratched the shell with his teeth, then opened wide and carried it off like a dog carries off a bone. He ran up, up, up the tree and took a flying leap into the open air...gliding toward the ancient pine tree in the front yard. They are white bellied and the porch light shows off their white tummies as they fly. They are also square when they spread their "wings". I think they look like flying pieces of American cheese.
These wild creatures make me so happy.
When I read about them, it always says how hard it is to see them in the wild. Our local zoo has a Flying Squirrel display - don't think I was ever able to actually see a squirrel in there...but somehow I got my very own FS neighbors to come over and visit.
I wonder if they see me as some kind of benign, peanut hoarding Godzilla.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Just about 48 hours old.
Life - so new - so fresh - so ripe with possibility.
We sit here on the couch together, body parts touching, his warm rump, leaning against my thigh, my hand draped across his belly, breath deep and even, warm and sweet.
He makes going outside in the snow an event.
He puts joy in every walk, every meal, every nap, every road trip, every frozen pine cone and lap around the backyard.
Yes I am in love. Does it show?
This was our first night together - I was wrecked from Teddy dying (our first baby - German Shephard) and he was only 8-9 weeks old and didn't know who we were, or if we were going to eat him...
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Live Nude Puppies!!!
I am trying and trying to stay up and watch all the babies be born. I picked up the webcast from A Striver for Sanity and here it is almost 1am and I can not go to bed till I know how many puppies Shayla has!!! I am going to have to make a clean break and just go to bed.
I will check on Shayla in the morning. Four beauties so far!
Sunday, December 7, 2008
I feel satisfied when I perform some sort of manual labor that is often considered the realm of men. I am not interested in a life of manual labor. I don't lift things that require massive biceps, but I do like to know that I am capable of getting things done if I need to.
Today I awoke late! Much later than normal...not sure why, but I guess I needed the sleep. I followed that up with a cup of coffee in my favorite chair, looking out on the snow world of winter and squirrel olympics and birds gossiping about where to get the best seeds.
I enjoyed my relaxation, watching the doves and juncos pecking at the seeds, patting down the snow under the feeders, doing their little dance to dig up a morsel. The doves would fly up to a branch, they are much too big for the feeders, and they would look down on the feeding frenzy below. It has turned very cold so they were very fluffy and plump and their heads looked even smaller than usual. What really caught my attention was their color. It was like a sunset apricot...warm, pinkish, brownish, orangish...so soft and lovely.
My big activity of the day was sweeping the snow off the screened in porch, and re-stapling the plastic sheeting to the outside of the building, plus taping down edges.
I got the ladder out, and I bundled up and I made a bag of supplies that I could carry on my arm, and I got out there and fixed it on my own! I did it! I made it better, in the snow, in the cold, on a ladder!!!
I must have dropped the tape three times, and the staple gun four times. I had to go in and get dry gloves, but I did it! Without loss of limb, without a drop of blood or a turned ankle, or slipping and landing head first in the snow - I DID IT!
I just wanted to crow a bit about being a capable woman.
Life is not always easy in winter, in Northern New York, and with Hubby ill, it is up to me to make it work for both of us.
I am not ready to make a career out of climbing ladders in the snow, but I am patting myself on the back for doing it without bloodshed or resentment.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Last night it was cold enough to need my parka, but not so cold that my ears and nose were flash frozen...A warm night for December, in other words.
It was quiet and dark. One of the glorious things about living outside a city, or even a village...quiet and dark. Not a creature was stirring...except me and Murphy who was rolling in what is left of the snow. He just needs a little snow or ice on the ground and he is in rapture...I need to be coaxed into it when it comes to the cold stuff.
Mainly because change makes me cranky....snow and ice change your life and the way you plan and operate. After a summer of light clothes, flip flops, long days of sunshine and gentle breezes, it is hard to go back to wondering if you will have to use the snowblower in the morning....it has been hard for me to get into the winter groove again.
Some moments it is clear as crystal, why I came here. Why I can breath better here, why I can like myself more here, why I can worry less and sing more...
Isn't that all we have? This present moment?
I have become afraid of falling. I have not fallen this year, but I turned my foot when walking across some snow and after taking a step and raising the oppposite foot, the snow gave way a bit and I turned the foot with my weight on it. Not a bad injury - the pain comes and goes - probably more related to arthritis or tendonitis than the snow...but I am afraid of falling.
This present moment I am snug in my bed with my husband finally sleeping soundly beside me. My beloved Golden Retriever is sleeping heavily next to my right calf - I love that he always wants to have contact with me.
This present moment I am warm, full, healthy, loved by friends and family and free to love them back.
This present moment there is very little pain in my body.
This present moment I am right where I am supposed to be.
The culture of fear is going strong in the world, but I do not have to participate. The culture of fear sells advertising...not hope.
I prefer to learn from the seasons...everything changes and it is better to accept the things you can not change than to try and swim upstream when the river is overflowing its banks.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I shoveled my way out of the driveway after the mamoth plows came by and left a three foot baracade at the end of the driveway.
I walked through slush on a hurt foot to let my beloved dog get some exercise and take care of his business.
I got myself worked up into a real crank.
I was in the parking lot at Price Chopper (local enormous grocery store); I had finished buying the groceries for tomorrow's Feast for Three (Me, Murphy and Murphy's Daddy); I had pushed the cart through the slushy parking lot, shopped and avoided bad moods when the aisles were packed with clueless children, standing in the middle of everything and making it impossible to move.
I loaded the groceries into the trunk when a plow, the size of a brontasaurus, came by and put a baracade behind my car...smaller, but still a good sized bump when I am in the Kia.
As I finished loading the trunk, the rain converted to snow and dropped enormous, feathery flakes. It was gorgeous. It was perfect.
It was winter in Northern New York and no power on earth can make it change.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Followers...does that make me a leader?
Funny how I liked the idea at first and later became stifled because of it.
KNOWing there were people out there that I don't know that were reading my thoughts, froze my brain and fingers. I keep four blogs and someone wants to keep up to date on three of them. Bizarre! Three people I don't know are registered as followers...they what to know what will happen next....Freaky!
Well I hate to disappoint, but not much is happening.
Just another day in the life of a Queen. All I surveyed today was satisfactory and yet I am discontent.
What matters? What moves me to the next project? I crochet to keep my hands busy; I surf the internet to learn, research, shop, investigate, share photos, look for jobs; I need to get back to painting more - I feel stuck - unable to start anything; I need to write more - I feel stuck - unable to agree with myself.
I used to write alot of poetry...where did it go? Does it just dry up as life and priorities change the way I have to survive every day.
I take pictures; That has become a very satisfactory form of expression for me. I am working on combining my photos with my painting; if I can ever get my color printer to work! FAH!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
What is this joy? I hear you, no sound, no voice, no promises to keep, but I hear you resonate in the chambers of my head and the chambers of my heart. It is peaceful and calm and crazy. It is platonic and passionate and eternal and sacred. It is profane and profound and trully without boundaries or rules to mess it up.
It is the kiss of the first warm rain of summer that reminds your body of all the past rains. It soaks in through your pours until you carry it within, light as a spider's web and just as strong and sticky.
How could I not know you? You make my heart yellow and mouth golden with smile memories and the pain of loss so long, so long, so long it only twinges - a faint pleasant echo - light in my past darkness. Light in a dimly lit beer bar with a band in the back playing too loud to make up for the distance and the disappointment. Light in my center connects me to the center of all.
This is just love; the way it was meant to be, simple and unattached, free to float and free to sink.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Where is the human touch in your life? Sometimes I get mine from my dog. Sometimes from my friends and family. It is an invisible omnipotent force. It influences every thought, action, belief since I was an infant.
Sometimes I am still that child, needy and afraid.
Sometimes I am the goddess that channels all the love and hope and kindness in the universe, to the world. That is exhausting. Sometimes I just need to rest.
Sometimes I just need to be held by the words of a friend who is also channeling the love, hope and kindness of the Universe.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Thank goodness for my motion sickness patch. I was able to Ooooh and Aaaaah the whole trip.
This is a view of the Adirondacks looking North.
I liked the stark stripes of the shadows made by the mountains and the bright reflective spots made by the water.
And in the background (best viewed in a large format) are the multi blue hued peaks. I was disoriented on my first flight when I saw them, I thought the clouds were islands and the blue mountains in the distance was the Atlantic Ocean...
The flight back was mostly clear - you can see the atmosphere was not crystal clear but beautiful and sunny.
You can see the trees were just begining to turn even though it was not yet October!
If I think other pictures are good, I will post more.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Monday, September 1, 2008
It was a festive atmosphere, complete with campfires and Christmas lights. A few people lived there all year round, many had trailer and RVs that occupied a camp site permanently and were quite cute, and snug little homes.
My friend and I walked through the camp talking and enjoyed the noise and the laughter and smells of dinner cooking over campfires. I had no idea places like this existed. Children were running around with other children, playing tag under the vapor light at the bathhouse, they were barefoot and care free. No one was seriously concerned that a child would disappear or be hurt by a stranger. My friend's ten year old son decided to cut through the camp grounds on his way back to the family. He was barefoot and didn't want to walk on the gravel road. He went on his own, into the dark, barefoot and happy. Mom didn't blink an eye. She asked him to go straight home and when we arrived he was waiting for us.
It was a cool North Country summer evening. Shorts and a sweatshirt, the perfect combination as long as you wore OFF on your exposed parts. The mosquitos were having a year end feast it seemed.
My friend has 9 children right now. Yes, you read correctly, NINE...Seven are a combination of "his, mine and ours" with her husband and two are being fostered while adoption papers go through. She is amazing. I told her she should write a book about her life. She doesn't think she is amazing. I have never met anyone so fit to be a mother in my life. I don't understand it. I have chosen not to have any (human) children (see Murphy's Blog). But when I walk into the circle of the fire light and three young girls fling themselves at me yelling AUNT GERTI! and hug hug hug and kiss kiss kiss....it is a joy.
When we went back to the campsite, it was time for a bite to eat and her lovely husband cooked cheeseburgers and kielbasa on the grill. Why is food cooked outdoors always more delicious?
I will get an air mattress and a sleeping bag and a folding chair...do I need a tent? We shall see. It would be nice to have an air mattress and be able to sleep out on the porch too. YUM!
Saturday, August 30, 2008
What makes you happy to think you will be doing it?
What makes you smile to remember how it was before?
Why don't we have more of these days?
Today was a very good, almost perfect day, when it should not have been.
My family is two hours away and mourning the death of a friend. I should be with them, however, I have the remnants of an infection and my mother asked me not to come. I got it from my husband who has a full blown staph infection and is so sick he can barely argue with me about the construction plans for the garage that is being built (more on that later). It would be dangerous for me to be around some of my family members who have delicate health. I understood and maybe I am even relieved.
Grief is so painful. Seeing my Mother's grief is agony. I grieve our friend's death, and grieve for his family who lost a loving father and husband; I also feel the responsibility of the eldest child to be there for my family, to help, to pick up, and clean up, and just be there.
I am also glad that I am not. Kind of mixed up in the feeling department.
I slept late this morning; not because I was sick or depressed, but because my body wanted to. I made coffee I sat out on the screened porch and read. I turned on the fan when it started getting too warm and I enjoyed the breeze. Sometimes it stuns me that I live in such a beautiful place.
I told Hubby my plans were to do nothing in particular this weekend. I wanted to putter around the house, read, putter, nap, and putter some more. I did not want to go anywhere except across the street to the camp site where some friends are spending the weekend on the shore of Lake Ontario. They invited me for S'mores.
At some point I decided it was a perfect day to shave my legs - don't know why I decided to do this, but it was PERFECT. I sat outside in the sun, on a plastic chair, behind a pile of construction materials so I couldn't be seen from the road, and I brought my razor and my soap and the hose over and I shaved my legs in the sunshine. It was delightful! The water was so crisp and cold and the sun was so warm and bright. It was also a treat to have such good light while I shaved, and to be sitting down! Girls - you KNOW what I am talking about!
I went inside and changed into my shorts, now that my legs were shaved! And I sat on the porch and read again (Twilight by Stephanie Meyer - Young Adult Fiction - Vampire Love Story - I read book #2 first and now I have to read book One - Great popcorn book - light delicious and easy)
At some point I decided to get up and go outside and get some of my plants in the ground...an on going chore that seems like such a small thing, but has taken the entire summer....I bought some of these plants at a school fund raiser at Memorial Day! The are still in good shape because I was vigilant about watering them every day I came home from work. I have gotten a few in already and one by one I will get them all in before the frost.
Part of the problem is that I have to clean out the old garden as I go....whacking away at the evil Lily of the Valley that have overgrown the entire front strip of raised garden. They have created a web of steel with their roots. I have to take a maddock - which is like a giant hatchet and sledge hammer combined - and whack at the soil to break up the roots so I can dig out the lily and dig up a hole.
Today I used the pile of dirt my Mother gave me! To some of you a pile of dirt might seem like an ODD gift to give your daughter - but not when your daughter lives in a giant pile of sand and wants to grow a wild North Country flower garden and Mom has a friend with a dump truck who can bring a pile of rich dark soil from a friendly farmer's land. And not when Mom has a pile of this rich dark soil that the daughter looks at enviously from time to time. This was a wonderful gift and I finally got to use some of it.
I shoveled it into the wheelbarrow and I hacked at the roots and dug up a couple holes, making them so deep that I could fill them in part way with good dirt and plant the Russian Sage and Hollyhock on top of the good dirt. The Hollyhock had some seed pods so I sprinkled those into the good dirt and said some encouraging words so they will grow next year into some tall gorgeous Hollyhocks. They are one of my all time favorite plants.
Of course I had to weed and get rid of root clumps and chop back some of the fern and yank out some of the old and no longer blooming iris. All in the bright, brilliant sun of August with sweat dripping into my eyes.
One of the things I love up here is the lack of pretense about "how you look".
It seems people are very relaxed about how they look...not that they don't care, but they don't seem to let physical perfection, or imperfection, define them.
I was out in my front yard in stretch capri jeans that only really reached my knees and a tank top, and I was sweating and covered in smears of dirt and I was not concerned about anyone seeing me. I was working. I was sweating. I was making things grow and EVERYONE knows that takes work and sweat and sometimes you have to expose your upper arms when you work and sweat and no one here would think that you were too fat or too ugly to wear a tank top while you working and sweating and making things grow! Isn't that sort of sane and logical?
Meanwhile, back in NYC, people don't sweat.
It could be 110 degrees outside with 99% humidity and I could be stuck on a subway platform where it is 40 degrees hotter with no air circulating, but I would be the only one sweating. I would have a head full of wet hair and my clothes would be sticking to every part of my body and the girl next to me in the cashmere sweater (it IS AUGUST) would not have a curl out of place, and certainly would not have a drop of sweat on her delicate, perfectly glossed, lip.
I hated Carrie in Sex in the City. She and I have nothing in common.
So today I spent my day the way I wanted to. I let my whims carry me and it was divine.
I have been in grief for a long time now. So many losses this year and I thought I was "good" at dealing with it.
I am trying to allow myself to walk my path and to allow others to walk their path without my interference. To a co-dependent person that feels like I am abandoning them, and to my savior complex, it feels like I am abandoning them, but really I am saving myself.
If I take care of myself I will have the love and the energy to take care of others.
If I operate on an empty tank I do damage to myself and I am useless to others.
My family is celebrating Chuck's life right now. They are having the memorial service down at the barn and yesterday they spent the day getting things ready, filling up bucket after bucket with beautiful wild flowers and images of life on the lake that he loved.
He was such a kind man. He and his wife were part of the Christmas dinner I had in Lowville this year and I am so glad I got to have that time with them, like a grown up, but still the little girl that grew up loving them. It is hard to be sad on a day like today...full sun, blue sky and leaves dancing in the breeze. I will concentrate on being grateful.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Last week Gabe (my 16 year old assistant) and I dug up the old iris, and started on the lily of the valley. We planted the red bleeding heart and the white bleeding heart over in Flying Squirrel World, and put in four lupins in the front where we dug up the lily. It was hot exhausting work. I was glad to have him there to help and to motivate me to do it!
Digging the holes for the bleeding heart was really really difficult. Lots of roots. We were between the maple and the pine and all the old plants that had been there over the years. I told Mom about how hard it was and that I wanted to steal Lady's Mantle from her garden since they didn't need much depth of soil.
I love the way the leaves crinkle and unfold. I love the way the rain drops sit on the crinkles. I love the light yellow green flowers and they grow so well in this area. They volunteer all over her garden! They creep down the stone stairs and out into the middle of the sandy, hot, driveway.
I love the way they remind me of my Mom.
I have never loved this time of year so much as I do now.
I have never been able to spend this much time outdoors. I used to get home much later and so exhausted I couldn't even think of going out into the garden even though I did invest alot of time and money and energy into planting a perrenial garden when Hubby built me three wonderful raised boxes.
I used to hate being outdoors in the city summer heat and humidity. I sure didn't have any energy after working 12-14 hour days.
I can't believe that was my life.
I went looking for a quotation about lady's mantle and found this one instead. I like it and I hate it. I like that it is true and I hate that it is true. So much responsibility. So much power.
Woman is the salvation or the destruction of the family. She carries its destiny in the folds of her mantle. -Henri Frederic Amiel
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
but sometimes your smile
can be the source of your joy."
~Thich Nhat Hanh
So much has happened in the past couple of months. I have been up and down in recovery from surgery. My Mom has come back to the area for the summer, my husband has been sick with kidney stones.
On the plus side, we have had a glorious spring and early summer. I have seen an enormous orange full moon rise over a bay on Lake Ontario. I have planted gigantic, mamoth sunflowers. I have planted and enjoyed a small sea of blooming cosmos. I purchased a lawn tractor (riding lawn mower) and now I am known as the lawn mower Goddess and I can weed whack like no-body's business!!!
More GOOD stuff!!!
My Uncle John is here for a visit. He is very creative and fun to be with.
Our screened porch is getting finished.
I am visualizing the soothing atmosphere that we will enjoy. The sweet breezes, the songs of the crickets and the scents of the woods. (Or cows, depending on how the wind blows.)
I have a sixteen year old boy who is helping me in the garden. He is the son of a friend. It is good to have a partner in these things. It is so easy to come home from work and just sit, cool off, watch tv, take a nap....
But when Gabe is there to get me going, I get alot done! We got four lupins planted in the front and two bleeding hearts are finally in the ground. It took two hours to dig those holes! There were so many roots. I am going to get Lady's Mantel from my mother...it doesn't need deep holes...just scoop them up with a spoon and drop them down on the ground and they will grow.
We are out in the woods at Mom's house, enjoying the cool evening, watching the finches have their dinner, contemplating what we shall have.
Life is good. Even when life is hard.
This too shall pass. It always does.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Put on my wide brimmed hat, hooked up Murphy to the leash and headed out into the rain.
It was a gentle rain. Not too cold; not too warm; just right.
I had on a short sleeved shirt and I walked down the road with my arms out like a bird.
I turned my arms over so the rain landed on my innner arms like a kiss.
It was delightful.
Just enough to get me wet but not soaking.
Just enough to let me melt into the greening, growing, rich earth.
Just enough to scent me like the grasses before their first cut.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
I love the curve of the roof and the worn planks of wood. I love the patina of an old metal roof and the shine of a new metal roof.
I like the spires or the round and square air vents topped with weather vanes.
I like them old and falling down, I like them new and shining. I like them painted, red or white or blue or green.
I like barns for horses and barns for hay.
And I am luck that I see them every day!
I love the shape of the doors and the windows.
I love the depth and height of the building.
I love the beautiful utility.
When I came upon the lilacs with the sun upon the barn behind them I fell in love.
Friday, May 16, 2008
There is a new family of sheep down the road from me. Black or dark dark brown Icelandic sheep. Mom and three babies. I would swear the babies are twice the size they were last week.
This photo is my homage to the crazy mating, blooming, birthing, planting, dance of Spring.
The bird is either a house finch or a purple finch. They are so alike it is hard to tell and now that I have tweeked it, we will never know. But the colors are what the picture is really about. The wild colors and smells and sunshine of the growing season. The desire to be outdoors again. The drive to dig in the dirt and make things grow. And of course the added joy of new birds for my bird list...well for some of us, that is a thrill.
Hope your Spring is swinging!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
The first columbines of the season. This must be a nice sunny spot most of the day. These are quite early.
Today was a picture postcard afternoon. High blue skies with enormous puffy clouds. Bright sunshine, crisp shadows, and the leaves and grass are greener.
It is hard to believe this is the same place that was buried in snow only 8 weeks ago.
Today was an advertisement for life in Northern New York. Heaven!
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Sunday, May 4, 2008
I don't mean to say I am having trouble getting around, because I am not, but my stamina needs work plus I am pretty tired after a full day at the office. Murphy is patient to a point. There are times I wish I had a leash that was twice as long as the extra long retractable one I have now, just so he could run without coming to the end so soon. He is frequently running full out until the leash runs out, and jerking himself by the neck, and me by the shoulder joint.
When I ask him to, he is very good about walking next to me, "heeling" without pulling. We have been working on that since he was a tiny little boy and first walked at the end of a leash. The best thing I learned from the Dog Whisperer was how to position the leash (when he was big enough to have it around his neck) and train him to walk next to me. Not only is it good physical exercise, but it is good mental exercise. He has to read my pace and direction and restrain himself from pulling lest Mommy be displeased. He is such a Goldie...all he wants is to please me. All he wants is to be with me. I feel the same way about him.
We are lying in bed right now, in the middle of the afternoon. We have both had a very busy day out in the yard.
Murphy stayed on his tether and I raked up piles of dead grass burrs. Last year I took the weed killer "Round Up" and sprayed and sprayed and sprayed all the evil, sharp, stickery, pokey, paw hurting, finger infecting, ankle scratching little sh-ts......they apparently were the prefered food of the Carolina Parakeet who is now extinct. So Humanity's punishment for not taking care of that bird is to suffer the grass burr.
My back yard is partially saharan desert. Other areas, under trees or in shadow, are able to sustain life. The middle section is pure sand and grass burrs are also known as sand burrs and are the only thing that volunteers to grow in that nutrient poor soil.
So I, the intrepid home owner, did some research and found that an agressive grower could choke out the grass burr. Something that puts nitrogen into the soil would make the grass burr evacuate the premises. I settled on clover seed. I had visions of puffy mounds of soft green clover, growing where once there was nothing but sand and burrs. White clover flowers blooming and making the bees and the deer happy. And no more sharp points in my baby's paws.
Last year we had a drought and I was working longer hours and I guess had other priorities...so I ordered the seed but did not plant it. Today...I planted some of it! I took my big rake and I scratched in the dirt. I walked back and forth over 1/2 an acre. I raked up the old dead burr bodies and made tiny furrows for my clover. I watered the earth so the tiny clover seeds would stick and not float away on the breeze. I spread the clover seed with a spreader that spun the seed out three fee on either side as I walked up and down and back and forth. I watered again, and I used my shoe to sweep a bit of dirt over the fallen seed.
It was HOT! Of course I chose a day in May when it decided to be almost 80 degrees! We probably broke records since the normal is in the mid 60s...my personal favorite temperature.
It was also buggy. The black flies....my arch nemisis...were relentless. Despite my deep woods off, including reapplications throughout the day, they were intent on getting into my ears, eyes, nose and yes...down my throat. My practice of compassion for all living things draws the line with things that feed on me. IF I thought too long and too hard on that I would see the how that does not fit in my big picture...but for this weekend I pray for a black fly holocaust...
Friday, May 2, 2008
Thursday, May 1, 2008
I cruise around looking at art and I make some of my own! The black edges framing the picture are from a quickie fix on Dumpr.net called LOMO. The Lomo, as I understand, is a Russian instamatic type camera that was known for its quirky photo resolution.
Photo manipulation is sort of soothing and meditative. I have not taken on anything as multi-layered as photoshop. I guess I am intimidated by it too. These little programs are so basic and I can reverse what I have done so easily, it is like play.
When I get home from a long day at work I look forward to playing with my photos.
This photo is from Labor Day 2007, around sundown. There was a full moon rising and we had gone out on the lake to watch it. The stillness of the lake and the reflections were as breath taking as this photo makes it look. The only thing I did to this photo was LOMO the edges.
I usually carry my camera around with me for those "just in case" moments. Change of seasons is an especially rich time for me to get shots, but Hubby has needed it these last couple of days.
The forsythia and the tulip trees are in full bloom. Daffodills are fading and Spring is in its full glory.
Days have been on the cold side, but the sun is brilliant. I am happy to wait for the warmer days. Happy to enjoy the slow unfolding of Spring before Summer is upon us.
I love Summer up here. For many years I detested the heat and humidity of Summer in NYC and before that Texas or Louisiana. But Summer in Northern NY was always a pleasure when I was a child. Those few weeks every year that we would come up to the camp were always the best. And now I live here - One hour and 20 minutes from my childhood summer heart. And each year I can look forward to my family coming up here - some for weeks, some for months.
Monday, April 28, 2008
All kidding aside. He is a wonderful example of love and compassion. He knows how much I have wanted a sunny garden. As long as we have been together I have tried to have a perennial garden and there have been plenty of exhausting efforts and failures.
When we lived in Staten Island he had a raised garden built down the side of our deck. Three huge raised plots, 4feet by 3feet (huge for Staten Island) filled to the brim with delicious dirt. Dirt that he hauled down the driveway, down the stairs to the back and dumped into the plots for me. He must have carried 100, fifty pound bags for me. No one would deliver topsoil to the backyard, they would only dump it in the road. It was more expensive but it was also better dirt. The topsoil that was delivered to the front garden 8 years before was full of stones and just a hair better than the clay I had.
Once the garden beds were ready, hubby then let me take the credit card to the garden center and buy the perennials I desired. I bought them, I brought them, I planted them and I sat serenely covered in dirt, happy with my achievement.
As time passed I noticed things looked like they were being trampled. Upon closer investigation, I discovered three large piles of poop in the garden boxes. My German Shepherd looked guiltily from his perch on the deck. I was horrified!
Despite my best efforts - stakes with rope tied between them - an effort at a low visibility fence - constant reprimands to my poor baby - it was a lost cause. Teddy's urine was like toxic waste; burning all things green.
In the end, my husband got something he had always wanted. Pine trees.
Three dwarf cedars which he lovingly tended until the day we moved away....with a tear in his eye. I don't believe he had ever grown anything before, and they were lovely in a very anti-cottage garden kind of way.
Here in the woods surrounding northeast Lake Ontario there are many many pine trees. In our yard we have what I call dinosaur pine trees. Huge, old, gorgeous, enormous...they would make the tree in Rockafeller Center look petite. The biggest pointest one in the back yard is Hubby's pet...his favorite.
Can you spot him bending over to kiss Murphy's head? Do you get a sense of how big this tree is? You can walk under the lowest limbs and it is like you are in a pine bough tent, or a pine scented "cone of silence" tee hee!
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Normally I say my mantra when I meditate...the old stand by Om Mani Padme Hum, but I have been thinking alot about my sour thoughts regarding some humans and I decided to make a conscious effort to think loving compassionate thoughts.
So my meditation today was to visualize the offending party and wish them happiness, health, wealth and peace. I am not good at long, focused meditation yet...not enough practice. But short bursts have been good for me and effective too. I have stopped saying "I don't meditate enough" that is just antithetical to what I am trying to do with my mind and my heart.
The rest of the day I tried to exchange every sour thoughts with "I wish you happiness, health, wealth and peace."
I have a sailor's mouth, have been known to hold an occaisional grudge, want everyone to like me and struggle with depression and anxiety. Hence, I am no saint.
I do, however believe in the power of the mind to create, change, conjour.
Read a great article about the fact that our feelings about someone or something have very little to do with the object of our attention, and everything to do with our mental, physical, spiritual condition.
What We Think We Become.
I believe it and I try to live it.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
It is also ladybug season. They are gathering in the warm windows and I am carrying them outdoors. They especially like the vestibule and wait patiently for me to come along, prop open the door and flick them outside. Who knows where they come from.
Hubby is NOT a bug person. He comes from the school of "All Bugs are Bad and should Die" I am trying to teach him alittle bug tolerance. Growing up on Louisiana I was a great slayer of roaches....fearless, except when barefoot. I admit, I don't know that I would tolerate them today either. And mosquitos are also fair game.
When I eat meat I give thanks to the life that lived and died to give me food.
What to do about killing the mosquitos? AND the black flies...evil biting, blood sucking menaces of the north woods.
Have you read Eat Pray Love? Wonderful wonderful book. She tells a story of meditating at sundown in India and practicing detachment as she became dinner for the mosquitos. She got through it relatively unscathed and said it was good for her.
Friday, April 18, 2008
I love to explore the back roads. We have lots of roads that wind through farms and hamlets, and if I have a map on hand, I love to "get lost" on them. Even if I just have a compass and a full tank, I am pretty confident in my navigation skills that I can wander until I find a familiar landmark. I like to say, "all roads lead to home, some are just longer than others"
Last year was my first Spring season her in our new home; I took my Burgman out for a ride and didn't take a map and didn't take a compass. I thought, "I will travel south, the sun will set in the west, I live on the shore of a GREAT lake which is to the west of my house...how hard can it be to find a great lake and head north?" HA!!!!
So I was riding down long, lovely, winding country roads, enjoying myself very much. I love to toodle around on my scooter that is big and fast enough to hit the highway, but small and quiet enough to go through a neighborhood without waking the babies. When I started to look around and orient myself for the trip home I saw a large body of water so I headed toward it.
"It must be Lake Ontario, surely". Well, no. The closer I got, the smaller a body of water it became. I was heading southwest, but somehow I was not heading toward any of the roads that wind around the shore of Lake Ontario.
Can't wait till I am well enough to ride my Burgman and my new tri-cycle....yes, you read that right, tri-cycle!!! I am not regressing to being a 5 year old, but when it came to buying me a new bike I know myself well enough that I do not want it all to be about balance and not falling over. I want exercise and I want to be outdoors and I want plenty of opportunities to take pictures without worrying about staying upright. I am also hoping Murphy might want to run along with me and I don't want to be afraid of him pulling me over. I have two long winding, mostly flat roads where Murphy and I can ride/run without fear of traffic. Can't wait to try it.
My new tri-cycle is yellow! My favorite color! with a basket on the back for picnics and exploration equipment and beach towels! So I can be well prepared when I get lost on my bike rides. I better get a compass!
Saturday, April 5, 2008
I have a confession to make..I am addicted to Murphy.
I have been inducted into his cult. I have taken my vows.
I am smitten. I am wrapped around his little paw.
I worship at the golden tummy.
I am the high priestess of Canis de Aurum.
And I am not ashamed.
Murphy is good for me. He teaches me about happiness every day. He teaches me about contentment and joyful abandon. He teaches me about simplicity and affection and loving deeply. He loves me more than I deserve and is helping me learn to receive and accept that gift.
OK, I am alittle sappy, a tad emotional and perhaps even hormonal, but when I have my hand on any part of Murphy's body, my breathing slows and I am calmed.
Daddy and I honestly believe he was brought into our life to heal us. When Teddy died we were devastated. Murphy's sweet presence made us laugh inbetween our tears of grief.
In that one year, we lost Teddy, got Murphy, Hubby quit his job, we put our house on the market (in the year of the worst real estate market in history), bought a new house upstate, paid two mortgages for a few long months, Hubby lived upstate for three months renovating the new house while I worked on selling the old house on my own, eventually we got it sold (or did we give it away?), I quit my grueling 55 hour a week hospital job (which technically only paid me for 37.5hrs) and we all moved mid-December, began working on the house again, looking for jobs, and dealing with our first upstate winter. (bought a sno-blower while hubby was out of town....it was broken....we had a blizzard....Home Depot customer service sucked!!!)
Lots of highs and lows and I know we were continuously bouyed by our love for each other and Murphy. He joined me in my exploration of the outside world. He helped me get some of my walking stamina back. He helped me meet some of our neighbors!
And when we were sad, bleak, anxious, frustrated, he was always there to point out the simple fact that life is good.
So really I just wanted to share these spectacular pictures I took of Dr. M and explain that my heart skips a beat when I see them.
Thanks for reading.
Friday, April 4, 2008
Murphy and I, looking out on Flying Squirrel World.
Stayed home from work because the pain on my left side is bad again.
Murphy is sitting in Daddy's chair and keeping me company as I try to wake up, nice and slow.
Saw a small flock of redpolls today, one male with his harem of three females. I didn't get any pictures, but I did get a really good look at them through the binoculars.
I love my cozy cottage. I have places to sit and places to work, and places to daydream.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Am I dreaming?
Until now I have had only one place to sit in the house (not counting the bed) and I feel overwhelmed with the abundance of places to sit now that the kitchen, Flying Squirrel World and MY STUDIO are finished.
Yes, I now have an official studio!!! The room we didn't know what to do with. The room where we walk in from the outdoors (for now). The room with the strange windows and the newly sanded and stained ancient wood floor.
Mine Mine Mine!!!
Now the pressure is on to get my stuff in there, organized and start creating! I am feeling a bit of performance anxiety! But I am thrilled to be able to have a place to put all my art supplies. They have been in bins in the basement, and I occaisionally go down and look around and see what I have and bring one or two things upstairs so I can collage, or paint in the den.
I have always wanted a room with lots of space and light and shelves to hold my stuff. A collage artist has lots of stuff....never know when you will need that bit of stuff over there....oooh, isn't that an interesting scrap, might use that someday. Oh, and did I mention the magazines? I am always cutting up magazines so I need a place to put them.
I got the curtains up today, unpacked a couple of plastic bins, hung one picture.
A Studio AND the Flying Squirrel World Observation Deck, all in my sweet little cottage in the woods. Some one pinch me, I must be dreaming.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Today was my second whole day at work and I did well. I am sore, and I am tired, but I am happy and getting healthier. I follow up with the docs next week, hoping all is well with my intestines; I am following their instructions and I am feeling much better.
Not alot of news and time for me to go to bed.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Changes in the Flying Squirrel World Observation Deck! Hubby moved the chairs in yesterday so I can enjoy the view while I am home sick.
Having some complications with my recovery. Saw my docs and talked to them again today. Patience...not always my best virtue, but I am working on it. Changed my medicine and made some dietary changes. I know I will be fine, but I am sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.
Flying Squirrel World is an oasis for me.
Hubby also informed me that he wants me to have the front room as my studio. A room of my own!!! A beautiful, sunny room to create! It is my dream!
The contractors are still painting ceilings and finishing molding but we are almost done!
Monday, March 17, 2008
Sunset over Frozen Lake Ontario - I swear these are the real colors.
I have been a photographer for most of my life. The first gift I can remember from my grandmother was a kodak fixed lens, drop in film, camera. I loved it and used it for years and years. The first thing I ever saved up a significant amount of money to buy, on my own, was a Canon A-1 that I had for almost 20 years when it gave up the ghost.
I was 11 and kept all my babysitting money in a box. Mom bought me magazines so I could read up on cameras and research which one would be the best for what I wanted. (thus began a life long love of research). When I knew what I wanted and why, she pitched in half the money. I still remember that day when we went to the store. I had never owned anything so expensive and I paid for half!!! Of course I forgot to count in the cost of film, developing, prints, etc. I was not in a metropolis, so places that did contact sheets were few and far between. I learned alot, I earned my money babysitting and I got some good shots with that old camera.
I do like the ability to take more pictures for less money with digital cameras. Not having to print everything to see what you go, not having to WAIT for printing! That is the best.
My most recent camera is a Fuji, digital, FAST and FABULOUS! I never thought I would convert to all digital until this camera came into my life. I could not stand lag time, even when just shooting snapshots of family....even when shooting portraits! I went insane waiting for the camera to cycle to the next shot. The fuji is fast, takes great natural light shots, has a very good zoom and is pretty consistently in focus using autofocus, pretty quickly and shooting on the fly.
Usually, I take ALOT of pictures. I carry my camera in my big shoulder bag and have it with me on whatever adventure I end up on during the day. I try to capture pictures of birds and squirrels in Flying Squirrel World too.
My next project is to scan (some), organize and store, the boxes and boxes of old photos from my childhood and from my family archives. (In addition to scanning some of my collage pieces) I have one more week home....we shall see how productive I choose to be.
I am currently also collaging ideas for the kitchen desk/project/studio area that I am putting together. It is like making a visual desire list; lots of desk surface area, lots of light, lots of storage, lots of comfy places to sit.
"all I want is a room somewhere, far away from the cold night air, and one enormous chair, oh wouldn't it be loverly"
this folding table and chair was my first foray into putting a stake into the ground and creating a place for me to write, collage, think, etc.
Hubby got me a great desk for Christmas. We are now in the final stages of renovation in this part of the house and I am hoping to be working on and in my space again SOON!!!
Sunday, March 16, 2008
I am grateful today for my beloved friends, old and new, who have checked in with me, held me in their healing hearts, prayed for me, sent cards, called, reminded me to go slow and take care of myself, sent me books, made me laugh, and filled me with love and gratitude.
My first outing was Thursday. I wanted to go into the village for a parade. Our highschool girls and boys basketball teams are in the state finals and my mayor put together a quick rah-rah-sis-boom-bah parade for them. It was GREAT! My former mayor walked me around, let me hold his arm so I wouldn't slip on the ice, made sure I didn't get too tired and didn't make fun of me because I was so thrilled to be out in the world again and so grateful for his generous spirit. He walked me around, showed me his house, drove me to get my pay check and drove me home. I told his dear wife I was going to adopt him. She was fine with that. tee hee...
The parade and the day were classic village life. I knew people on the street and they knew me and were glad to see me up and about. The snow started swooping in off the harbor and hoodies and hats and scarves went on and we kept cheering as the school paraded down to the front lawn of the visitor's center. Then when the teams finally got there, the mayor called each player, individually, and the whole village cheered them on. It was great.
I am grateful for Murphy the Healer.
When our first baby, Teddy, died I didn't know how we would survive the grief. We both believe that Teddy's spirit lead us to find Murphy that same day. And with the love and laughter of a new baby, we were able to survive the pain and sorrow of losing our first love.
Murphy has been glued to my side throughout my recovery. When Mommy naps, he naps. When Mommy sits on the couch, Murphy sits on the couch. When Mommy eats some toast, Murphy east some toast (somethings don't really change).
I have a special medication that has helped me get up and move after surgery. It is an anti-inflamatory suppository (TMI?) that I have to take twice a day. Daddy helps on the business end of things and Murphy sits and lets me scratch his back, or rub his ears, and watches over the procedure.
Today, Dr. M stayed sitting by me after the medicine was administered, and he turned and leaned his back against my pelvis. He stayed in that position for more than five minutes. There were times he didn't even look too comfortable, but still he stayed there, leaning against the place that hurt the most. The warmth of his body and the gentle pressure felt like the embodiment of the golden healing light I have been visualizing in the place where my ovary was. This is the spot that hurts the most and it as like Murphy wanted to be my warm golden light.
I am grateful for my recovery. It has been speedy, uncomplicated and the pain has been managed quite well. Ladies if a hysterectomy is in your plans, ask your doctors about a suppository form of diclofenac (voltaren) - it has been a lifesaver.
I am grateful for Spring coming around the corner and my health and looking forward to many new adventures this year.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
I did alot of collage work at that time, though we had to take down my work table to make room for the 5 foot tall by 5 foot wide crate that we set up for his recovery from surgery.
Hubby and I slept on the couch alot so Teddy wouldn't have to climb stairs to our bedroom.
Today - March 2008 - While I am recovering from my surgery I have been wishing I felt better and could better use my time to be creative. So while looking for small ways to be creative I decided to scan a few of the collages I made in the past. I got the scanner, copier for my birthday and have not really used it much. I am hopeful I will have more energy for my creative pursuits soon, and in the future, I expect to have more energy now that Pomelos are not sucking the life out of me!
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Pain is managable. Taking care of myself, lots of rest, fresh fruit, regular meals, more rest. I am tired and I guess I am cranky according to my husband, but I also don't care. He has had more separation anxiety than my dog, who has been at my side non-stop since I returned.
I had my uterus removed.
I lost alot of blood and was given two units.
I had alot of scar tissue and the doctors said I had two tumors the size of pomelos.
Is that the medically correct terminology?
This is a pic I got off the net and I send my thanks to my anonymous friend for letting me use his picture to illustrate the size of my fibroids.