Thursday, July 30, 2009

Today we buried our amazing friend, Tommy. The church was filled, and to quote my husband, "you could float a boat with all these tears". Although my heart is broken, I am going to pick myself up and start moving forward; if not, then I would not be honoring the memory of this young man who lived life "to the fullest", as they say. He lived life, embraced it, found exhilerating joy in life. Who are we not to do the same?

About a year ago, I decided to write a book but because of life's responsibilities (you know those wretched things), I put it aside, always saying "I'll get to it as soon as..." I decided earlier this week that "as soon as" has finally arrived. If I don't do it now, it may never get done. So, here I go and Tommy, this one's for you. :)

I would love to include anyone that I've met through blogging in this book. It's going to be a compilation of sorts, including personal stories and photos. I'm not sure how I'm going to put it together, how I'm going to collect the stories. As soon as I figure out the best way, I'll let you all know. Whether it's through another blog, emails, regular mail...I'll let you know. Til then, I think I'll head to the porch for an emotional rest. See you soon.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I've thought long about sharing this news on a "public forum", but realized that you are all a special group filled with understanding and compassion. Everyone here has had their own sorrows and when I read your stories, I feel connected with people I've never even met. So, here I go.

Our family suffered a terrible loss yesterday, and we are all numb with grief. My son lost his best friend in a freak drowning accident in Connecticut. This young man was like a second son to my husband and me, and another brother to my three daughters. We are devastated. Hearing the news was like a physical blow and our hearts are broken. He has left a hole in our lives.

The simple story is that he, Tommy, was jumping off of a pier with friends and one of the others with him jumped too soon, landing on top of Tommy. You can imagine what happened at that point; saying the actual words is too much. The Coast Guard and numerous other rescue organizations were there, including helicopters...they found him about 3 1/2 hours after he jumped in. My husband and our daughters drove down (about an hour away) to be with our son who was standing vigil. It was one of those rare moments when my big, grown up, 31 year old son let me put my arms around him and offer what I hope were comforting words.

Tommy was at our home almost daily. Everywhere I look, he would be the barn, on the patio, in the garage, in the workshop, in the kitchen, dining room, bathroom, everywhere. His smile was infectious, his humor was wonderful, and he was a bright spirit that we all love. He's even come here to hang out with my husband and me, just because. He was one of a kind.

This morning my daughters and I were sitting on the back porch. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a bright yellow butterfly appeared. Now, I've heard of this happening to others, but here it was, right in front of us. This male Tiger Swallowtail butterfly flittered around every single area that Tommy would have been, including the patio chairs that he would sit in while he ate. It flew within two feet of us, disappeared, then reappeared. It stayed a good long while, then flew off. Could it be? Yes, it could.

In honor of Tommy, the girls went out and bought four butterfly charms for all of us to put on our bracelets. From here on in, it will be our symbol of the love we all have for him.

I know that Tommy is ok and that he's with God, but the pain is ours to bear now. No one's pain is greater than that of his parents, however. My heart breaks for them and for every parent that has lost a child.

Losing him, so young and so suddenly, has reminded me that tomorrow is never promised; that if we waste this moment, we may never get another. It has also reminded me that our words must always be kind, because they could be the last words we say to someone.

I'm grateful to have had Tommy in my life, I'm honored to have had him call me Mama J., and I'm blessed to have loved him.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Happy 20th Cate

Raise your hand if... Wednesday was your middle daughter's 20th birthday and you were making stuffed shells for 20 people and decided to get a jumpstart on it and had the water boiling and had the cheese filling made and was feeling all proud of yourself and then found out that YOU HAD NO SHELLS TO STUFF!!!!! I am always finding myself one cent short of a dollar! Ugh!

Thank heavens for the other daughters, however, who stopped on their way home to get me a box of shells. But what the heck? Why can't I remember everything that I need to remember? I hate the forgetfulness that plagues me.

After all that, the day was great. It was wonderful having the house filled with family, from the age of 5 years old to 88 years old and everything in between, plus music, food, gifts and CANNOLI CAKE for dessert! Talk about decadent and rich!

There is nothing like family to wrap around yourself, like a favorite, comforting blanket, to keep the world and all of its trouble at bay.

And at the end of the busy day, what's the bee's knees, the icing on the cake, the cherry on the sundae? A warm, soft, tired pooch. All is well.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Art Cottage Tour

Oh boy do I love a rainy day, and today's rain is wonderful! I just stood out back and gazed at the clean green of the back yard. So soothing.

I also spent some much needed time in my art cottage doing my best to cleanse the energy there, as well as gathering all of the supplies I need for tomorrow's decorative painting class. I did a bit of Reiki cleansing and used a room spray that I made out of essential oils. If nothing else, it'll smell good in there. :)

There was a carpenter ant invasion a few weeks ago and we've been working like crazy to get rid of them. Consequently, the energy in there was altered in a negative just didn't feel right.

While I was hanging out in my cottage, I took some photos to share with you. Nancy from Acorn Cottage asked what was inside, so I'll take you on a little tour. "Little" is the key word as my cottage is only eight feet by twelve feet. :)

This is my little art cottage which sits in our "side yard", facing the back acre.

Here's my worktable and my view. Normally, there is NOT a trailer filled with firewood blocking my way, but until my men move it, it's there. :P

If you look to the right as soon as you walk in the door, this is what you'll see. On the window ledge are numerous pairs of little "mud boots" that my kids wore when they were little, including one pair of cowGIRL boots. (What can I say? I somehow raised strong, outspoken young women!)

Immediately to the left, behind the door, is where most of my supplies are. My son painted these two old school "cubbies" for me because I do love organization! Um, yes, that is a rake in the corner, by the way. Why? Well, it seems that whenever I want to do any raking, all I can find is a broken rake, so I bought my own and keep it there.

Sometimes my sign says this....

...and sometimes my sign says this, depending on my mood.

And there you have it, the five cent tour. Thanks for joining me and I hope you enjoyed it!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Summer Monday

Happy summer Monday evening. :)

Well, we worked for hours yesterday on the front bed, and six loads of mulch later, it is done and may I say, it looks darn nice! (you'd think I'd have taken at least one photo of the finished product---sheesh). One thing I re-learned yesterday, though, is how much I dislike working in the heat. Hate. It. My shower felt absolutely wonderful at the end of the day!

As usual, today didn't go as planned, which is why I tend to write my plans in pencil. My middle daughter and I headed out to Barnes and Noble midday and got home around 4:30! I had no idea we'd be gone that long, but I so enjoy spending time with my children...they are such fun. :)

Once home, I sat out back with my husband and read a few chapters to him from the new book I just bought. It's called There's a Porcupine in My Outhouse by Michael Tougias and it is funny. Bob (my husband) went to school with Mike and I've loved his writing for years. This book is considered a New England essay which mainly takes place in Vermont, my favorite place. We both laughed out loud more than once.

Later, while stalking checking out the author on Facebook, I found out that Mike and another author are offering a one-day writing/publishing workshop this fall. Why does that matter you ask? Well, I'm going to write a book. There. I said it. And not knowing how, I asked both God and The Universe to send me someone to guide; voila--I find this workshop today! How cool is that?? I'm so excited and plan to sign up tomorrow. Don't you just love how God and The Universe work?

Ok, I'm off. Only one hour til Cake Boss comes on and we do love that show! See ya.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Plans

'Morning. So, after spending all of yesterday just hanging out, my plan today is to actually accomplish things. The weather is absolutely beautiful...warm, sunny, breezy and no humidity (yet). My plan is to devote time to our front garden bed which has been looking so neglected lately. I hope to do some intense trimming, to weed, then finish up with new mulch.

After that, my plan is to focus on my art cottage, which has also been neglected. I need to open the windows, let the clean air in, clear the stagnant energy from it, and get moving on creating. I have a few ideas for signs that I want to paint for friends to start with. Let's hope I can stay focused today and not wander off, either mentally or physically!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Summer Day

Aaah, such a fine summer day today. I spent all but thirty-five minutes of today lollygagging, and totally enjoying it!

First of all, I stayed in my jammies til 2:00 p.m.!! TWO P.M.!! Such a slacker. Then, I made an unplanned trip to the drugstore and on the way home, I accidentally took a left when I shoulda' made a right and voila....I was at my good friend Cheryl's house! Don't you hate when that happens? (Me either!)

What started out as a quick visit turned into a three-hour chat session! We caught up on so much just sitting there on her deck, enjoying the breeze, her flowers, and each other. Isn't that what summer is all about, slow days, stopping along the way to enjoy the flowers...and the friends? Indeed it is.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Raise your hand're feeling too tired to think about much of anything. Ditto.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Just for today...I thought I could eat healthy (haha).
Outside my window...quiet darkness.
I am thinking...of my soft bed, reading a bit, then sleep.
I am thankful family, above all else.
From the kitchen...the memory of a cold watermelon snack.
I am wearing...dark blue sweat bermudas, pink sleeveless top, LL Bean flipflops.
I am creating...a semi-plan for productivity tomorrow.
I am sneak in a game of Snood before bed!
I am reading...Dr. Death by Jonathan Kellerman.
I am enjoy my painting class.
I am hearing...that ever present, wretched TV.
Around the house...husband, daughter #1, and the dog.
One of my favorite things...having friends of the kids stop by whenever.
A few plans for the rest of the week...clearing/cleaning the energy in my cottage.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

Lupines by the side of a dirt road in Vermont last week.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

PS…Check out this Giveaway

Melissa at Keepsakes by Melissa is having a very cool giveaway.  Check it about fun and whimsical stuff!!  I just "found" her today and will be stopping in regularly.  Enjoy and good luck!

Back to Reality

Hi there. Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home! :)

Got back last night from our week up north and it was, as always, wonderful to be there. The weather was coooooold most of the time. I slept with 2 pairs of socks on, long pj pants, and 2 long sleeved shirts! There was cold rain, warm sun, gentle breezes, and the loons...always the loons. There is nothing quite as special as falling asleep to the loons calling.

Most of my time was spent, well, sitting. I know, that's a stretch for me because usually I'm...sitting. But at least while I was sitting there, I was pondering!

I realized that if you go back through photos of the last 4 years, there is one of me every single year sitting in the same chair, in the same place---only the clothes and the book titles are different! I don't know if that's a good thing or not. Perhaps I'll ponder on that whilst sitting on my porch.

The views were awesome, in the true sense of the word. Here are a few of them for you. Can you blame me for just sitting and pondering?

My youngest and her sweetie, kayaking at dusk.

Mom and me (she's 88 with way more ambition than me), both of us pondering, except that she was pondering what to do next and I was pondering the clouds...or the size of my HIPS!

I always look forward to going, but I'm also glad to be home. Now I need to get motivatin' and moving forward, or something like that. I should probably unpack, too, ya think?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Queen of the Prairie

Hi there. This is me, packing for my week's vacation which starts tomorrow morning. How am I doing so far? Can you say procrastinator? I did get some things packed, like, um, Cheezits. But everything else? Not so much.

Instead, I ventured out into the back yard where, just last week, we had those pesky marauding deer...remember those two hoodlums? Yeah, well, take a look at the pumpkin plants now! We are well on the way to a ribbon at the Big E this fall!!

On the way back to the house, I saw this lovely pink, fluffy plant and I realized that it was the bright pink "thing" that had caught my eye earlier this week, except I was too lazy then to walk out and see it. I think it's called a "Queen of the Prairie". Isn't that a great name? (It's probably an invasive, poisonous weed, but I like it anyway.)

You know, being Queen of the Prairie sounds like a job I could have done, way back when, out there in the Prairie. Picture it...all my little children and my husband at my beck and call, no matter what, no matter when. Yeah, I coulda' done that, no problem.

Sigh. I guess I should get moving on this packing nonsense. You know, had I been Queen of the Prairie, someone else would be doing my packing for me! I guess I was born too late.

Well, if we are lucky enough to grab some of those internet waves floating through cyberspace on the laptop, I may stop by to post later this week. If not, then have a safe, healthy week everyone and hopefully see you next week. For now...let the sitting-on-the-dock-reading-endlessly begin! :) See ya.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Raise your hand if…you hate too much change.  I do.  I’m not fond of change.  I know it’s supposed to happen, I know it means growth and moving forward, but, honestly, I like being in my rut.

On the wall at the bottom of our stairs hang four photos, one of each child.  I change them yearly throughout their school years to keep up with the “formal” photos.  Well, I just finished changing child #4, the baby, the youngest, my little sweetie, the one who’s face was so small at birth that we gave her a “big” middle name (Victoria), the one who I keep seeing as 8 years old in my mind. 

I know I should be happy that she’s growing into a young woman, that she’s a high school senior now, that she’s beginning to plan for after high school….but….come on!  I can’t do it yet, I just can’t.

DSCN2306The photo on the left is her at the age of nine; the one on the right is from two days ago at the age of 16 1/2. 

What’s a mother to do? 

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Estrogen Fest

Hi there. Whew! I've been doing my best to get ready, mentally and physically and creatively, to go on a week's vacation this Sunday. It's the 4th or
5th annual trek that my daughters and I take to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. It's sort of our annual Estrogen Fest, if you will.

This is the lake that my husband spent his summers growing up on, and when he brought me there for the very first time back in 1979, I fell in love with the whole darn place...the people, the village, the general store, the library, the mountains, the woods and of course, the lake itself. It absolutely fills me with peace.

We've even spent time there in the deep freeze of February when it's virtually deserted and almost's just as beautiful to us.

We almost lost this peace, though. Ten years ago, we made an emotional break from my mother-in-law, a break that was necessary in order to save our souls. Unfortunately, she is the matriarch of this family and she holds the "keys", both literally and figuratively, to the camp where the family stays. It took five years of missing the lake before my girls and I ventured back. I began putting money aside weekly and suddenly, there we were, renting a huge "camp" right there on the water's edge. It was one of the best weeks of our was as if we were all baptized in the lake again.

Sadly, my husband has yet to return here. Although this place runs through his blood, having to deal with the family nonsense has kept him away. I hope that he (and my son, who feels the same) will be able to return someday to recapture their own peace; til then, we'll keep bringing back stories and photos.

So now, one week each summer, the three girls and I are back to our Heaven on Earth, rain or shine (we don't care), reading, drawing, writing, kayaking, swimming, walking, talking, laughing, eating, playing games, sleeping late, thinking, remembering, planning, creating, bonding and just loving each other. The memories we are making are priceless and as long as my girls want to come with their old mama, we shall carry on. Tally ho!