And away we go…

August 1, 2013

It is family reunion time again! This year, we are on the West Coast, the coast of my birth. And I am having panic attacks!!!

I love my family more than anything else in the world. My mom started these every-three-year reunions back when my daughter was 3 and my son 9 months…our West Coast based family had slowly but surely dispersed throughout the country, going off to college and then jobs and then marriage. Now the babies of our first reunions are grown up and mostly gone and the reunions continue.

So, if I love my family so much, why am I having panic attacks? Well, a little bit of it is that I will miss my dog. Boo and I are pretty much constant companions…well, except when hub and Boo go out on the boat, fishing or just cruising. If he was small enough to fit under my seat, he would be coming with me. But he’s not and I’m just not willing to put him in the belly of the plane for a one week trip. So, I guess I am officially one of those people who love their pets almost as much as their kids.

Another bit of it is that family reunions are a lot of work. Not the cooking, cleaning, who’s sleeping where part of it…more the “how long can we all be together before old feelings poke their little heads in and things get tense so let’s all play nice” kind of work…since we only have this one little window of time to store up hugs and laughs and memories and love, who wants to spend any of it “feeling”…but there is no getting past the feeling…it is what it is.

And then there is that hideously, hatefully, silly vain me that doesn’t want anyone to see that I am older now, plumper, with wrinkled, age-spotted, droopy body parts that barely fit into a bathing suit any more…we will be surrounded by the active, athletic, enthusiastic, gorgeous YOUNGSTERS who used to be US!!!! At least those in my generation and above are pretty much in the same boat…

All that said, I wouldn’t trade a moment of time spent with my mom and other dad, sisters and cousins and nieces and nephews…so, off we go! See you on the flip side!

I haven’t blogged in a long time…no good reason, just kind of overwhelmed with life.

May I just say that depression sucks? I am a lifelong sufferer. Since medication entered my life, in my thirties, I have felt better…most of the time. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a “magic” pill that works all the time. I did well on one medication for years, and then it stopped working. That pattern has continued for each med I have tried. After a few years on my latest med, I am finding myself sliding slowly but surely into the murkiness. So, as soon as I can gather myself, I will go back to the doctor and try once again to find something that will allow me to return to my preferred cheery and optimistic state.

In the meantime, I try to focus on things that I love and that brighten my world. One new thing that has enriched my life is a mobile app called Happier. It encourages me to post quick, but meaningful things that make me happy, through words and/or photos. Even as I was weeping over the devastation and lives lost (especially those of the children) in Moore, Oklahoma yesterday, I was able to reach deep and share. Thank you to the folks who created this application…it makes me very happy!

Speaking of things that make me happy…

And then there are…

Lots of reasons to be happy!

Oh, happy days…

May 7, 2013

It’s May…it’s May…the lusty month of May…

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I don’t know if I am feeling it more because this May has brought beautiful weather, daffodils and the smell of new mown lawns earlier than usual or if it is just the aftereffects of a long, snowy winter, but I’m feeling quite giddy…

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My wonderful husband has been working on opening up a woodsy area into a fairy garden for me, a horseshoe pit for him and raised garden beds for us…buzzing down trees and shrubs, clearing brush and letting the sunshine in! My fairy garden gets little sun, so I get to look for shade plants.

After some minor tweaking and fiddling, our cool new/old Raleigh RetroGlides are on the road…and we are in love! Boo LOVES to run with us up and down the 1/2 miles driveway and we are really psyched to feel the warming breezes on our faces.

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I have started moving some of my many geranium plants outside during daylight hours so that they might harden up a bit and be planted in barrels around the deck. I planted tomato seeds in a hanging pot arrangement; they haven’t sprouted, so I think I may need to replant, and it is still quite early for tomatoes, but at least my hands are in dirt!

We have a few buds bursting into flower on our new apricot tree…first blooms of the season in our new little orchard (apples, pears, an apricot and a nectarine)…oh, and the newest additions to the orchard are the blueberries, blackberries and grapes.

Birds are back to our feeder…nuthatches, finches and chickadees, with the occasional sparrow cleaning up spills…also back to our feeder is the occasional squirrel, helping provide amusement for Boo and the cats. We have been slow adding back feeders this year, as we don’t want to attract rats (as happened at the end of the season last year…UGH…not much difference in looks between rats and squirrels, but I’ll take squirrels any day!).

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And, finally, the lobster pots are back out in full force, with many-colored buoys bobbing merrily…we have managed to identify a few of the boats which fish in our neighborhood…they don’t see me, but I see them!

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An antidote to stress…

April 28, 2013

I have been struggling mightily the last couple of weeks, wanting to blog, but feeling as if I didn’t have anything important to say…a lot of people have blogged a lot of profound things. I was one of those who watched TV just about every minute…I didn’t go anywhere and I watched…and even though some time has now passed and things have quieted down, I still watch.

I’m lucky, though…I have this to help take my mind off things, even if only for a few minutes at a time…please feel free to breathe in some peace, soak up some serenity and pass it along…

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Spring is springing…

April 8, 2013

We went for a driveway walk this morning and here are some things we spotted:

Rhododendron buds

Rhododendron buds

Last patch of snow

Last patch of snow

First squirrel of the season

First squirrel of the season

Turkey track?

Turkey track?

"Bunny" in the woods

“Bunny” in the woods

And, at the end of the walk...

And, at the end of the walk…

Because I really don’t want to get up and start my day, and because I have been going through scanned photos and have been thinking about my mother-in-law a lot (she died in 2010 and we now live in her house), and because I have been watching our old home videos (remember, my husband is a TV guy and my children were constantly being recruited by him for little movies, written, shot and produced by hus), I thought I would share a particularly poignant and funny memory of Molly and my mum-in-law’s prosthesis…

A long, long time ago, we rescued a black and white springer spaniel named Molly. She was 4 months old when she came to us, and we figured that she would eventually outgrow her puppy, mouthy ways…um, no, she was a springer spaniel…springers tend to remain puppyish until they are 10, then they are old…no inbetween. In those days, my in-laws lived half a year in Maine and half in Arizona. So, twice a year, they would come stay with us overnight as they passed through our area.

Now I need to go back a little…my mum-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a radical mastectomy when she was, if I remember correctly, in her late 60s. As a result, she had a breast prosthesis that she wore in her bra when she was out in public…and visits to us were deemed to be public.

OK, back to one of their twice-yearly visits…we had a wonderful weekend together and waved the in-laws off on their journey back home to Maine. After they left, we were returning the house to its normal state when we caught Molly happily pulling the filling out of what looked like a fluff-stuffed bean bag. We were absolutely baffled as to what the thing was, gathered up all the pieces and put them aside for later consideration. That evening, when my mum-in-law called to tell us they had gotten home safely, she asked me if I had found the breast prosthesis that she had inadvertently left it behind. I told her I would look for it, hung up, and BAM! The lightbulb went off…Molly had found the missing prosthesis and that was what she had de-fluffed. ┬áThe hus and I frantically stuffed all the fluff back in, I painstakingly stitched it back together and we sent it off to my mum-in-law with fulsome apologies and offers of replacement…included in the package was a hus-drawn cartoon of a penitent Molly holding an eviscerated prosthesis in her mouth. This became a family joke, and just the mention of Molly’s name in mum-in-law’s presence elicited fits of giggling.

I loved my mum-in-law’s ability to laugh…I think of her so often and cherish all the memories that make us all smile.

This is for all of you who have been laden down in snow and ice and cold weather forever and ever and ever (or so it seems this year)…yes, spring is alive and well…look at all the different shades of blue!

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Emptynesting…

February 28, 2013

I read an article on Boston.com this morning about women who find new paths in life after their children are grown and gone. Count me in…

I waited a long time (well, back then it was a long time) to have babies. I finished college, met the man of my destiny, moved with him across country (in the old Volkswagen bus with the dog and the cat and everything else we owned in boxes in the back) with nothing in our minds except someone’s statement that there was good community theater to be performed in New England. We moved and married and moved and moved…one day, we woke up and knew it was time for babies. We were 29 when the first was born and 32 when the second arrived. And then we moved and moved and moved and moved. We followed, as hus’ career dictated fairly frequent market shifts.

In amongst all that moving, I bore babies, nursed babies, raised babies and worked different jobs (weekend morning anchor on news station, secretary at construction company, commercials and voice work)…once the babes were old enough for daycare, my jobs became more “normal”. Somewhere along the line, I discovered that legal secretaries not only made more money than some other office workers, but “legal secretary” also carries with it a bit of cachet, an aura of intelligence and competence…a job that could also stimulate my mind. So, for the next million years, I worked outside home fulltime and parented fulltime. My life was their lives…I chose jobs that were more flexible, told employers up front that I was an active parent and accepted lower pay for quality attitudes towards me…I drove to away soccer and softball/baseball games and swim meets, injured my tailbone (seriously!) sitting on concrete bleacher seats and attended every concert and performance with bells on.

I loved almost every moment of that part of my life. It was really hard, often frustrating and I was not the perfect mother I wish I could have been. But we certainly did something right, launching two amazing, caring, loving, hardworking human beings who have each found and married another amazing human being. And so it goes…

But then my dad-in-law needed us…he was a great guy, I had known him for what seemed like forever (we met when I was about 21), he and my mom-in-law had been so gracious and loving towards me all my married life…and he needed us…which meant another move. The fates conspired to have us sell our house before it even went on the market, and my husband’s job mainly requires him to be near a major airport (oh, how we thank our lucky stars for his employers). All that was left was for me to quit my jobs…and therein lay the rub…

I had to quit a job that I loved for so many years, working with a solo practicing attorney who played the piano and sang and loved the arts and who appreciated me for what I had to offer…that was excruciating in so many ways. Plus, I had to quit another job I had held for years…I joined Washington Street Players when it was in its infancy, in March of its first season…as my children grew older and needed my constant presence less, my endeavors with WSP stepped up…acting, directing, producing, Board Secretary, moving sets and running lights and sound, Board President…after the kids were gone, WSP was there. And then, poof! In March 2011, it all came to a sudden end. And we moved again…

I haven’t found my latest empty nest path yet…photography has helped, bringing Boo the miniaussiedoodle into our lives was a life-changing experience, my work at the local library helps…but I am waiting for my next role to conk me in the head…waiting…

Bouncing Boo snow (21) Bouncing boo snow (6) Bouncing boo snow (2) Bouncing boo snow (5)

We have had a dusting here and there, but last night, Boo and I were wowed by the way a real amount of snow arrived in our neighborhood. We had lots of wind and rain and slush most of the day…nothing auspicious. However, as night fell and the temperatures dropped, it turned over to snow. Boo woke me up in the wee hours of the morning. I staggered out of bed to let him out and VOILA! There was snow! Boo had forgotten what snow felt, tasted and smelled like and he was instantly captivated. He scampered with abandon, using his snout to throw snow into the air and chasing what he had thrown. He and I came back in and huddled under the comforter, waiting for enough light to go back out and take photos. As you can see, we didn’t wait long.

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I don’t know if we were just too new to country life or too overwhelmed by the move from Massachusetts to Maine, but I swear that last winter, our little house was occupied only by two humans, two cats and a puppy (as long as you don’t count the dust/fur elephants and hippos that lurk in every nook and cranny). This winter seems to be another matter.

Now, let me preface this with an admission…I am not particularly grossed out by rats and mice. Remember, I raised a son…we had a series of hamsters, anoles and rats that shared our homes. But they lived in cages and ate food that we provided. They were clean and trapped. I have willingly shared my home…in the past.

However, this winter has already brought its share of surprises. First, while I was in FL, awaiting the birth of Audrey Saison, my husband emailed me a photo of a mystery mammal on our deck…looked like a little opossum or a big rat. That big rat (as it turned out to be) “entertained us” for weeks, as it lived out in the woods and visited our deck for snacks. The cats were mightily entertained and Boo chased it to his heart’s content. Then, one day last week, we saw TWO rats, and that was that. We took to Google and discovered that we were at fault. Our constantly overflowing bird feeders were an open invitation to small animaldom…we were used to the squirrels, but this was too much. So, with great sadness and regret, we pulled in all our bird feeders and locked the seed and cobs up. Within days, the rats were gone…but so were the birds, the squirrels and the chipmunks…damn, those silly rats.

Spring forward a few days and suddenly, we notice that our cats are lying in front of the slop sink pipe down through the floor to the basement…they have this poised, intent look that can only mean that they have a living thing on their radar. They chased a mouse around the kitchen, into the office and under the furniture. I was able to safely herd it out the door, much to the disgust of the cat posse. Fine. However, the next day, I found the cat posse camped in my closet and it was game on! The posse moved inexorably from my closet to hus’ closet to under the bed to behind the dresser to under the dresser, where the whole thing paused…I quickly grabbed a golf club, set up a little cattle run from behind the dresser to the door and persuaded a tiny little mouse to scurry out the door…I then slammed the screen before the cats could give chase and that was that. Boo and I headed out to Lowe’s, where we purchased steel wool (to stuff in any holes or crevices linking the basement to MY space) and sonic mouse repellers (no one at Lowe’s had heard any feedback about whether or not they work, but what the heck), as well as advice from one worker that mice hate the smell of dryer sheets (who knew?). So far, some 12 hours later, no heightened interest from the cat posse. We’ll see.