Re-emerging

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“Bless me Father for I have sinned…”   It’s been six months since my last post.

I have struggled on many fronts, though the lessons learned have ultimately brought unexpected joys and self-knowledge. I stopped publishing because I began to feel raw and vulnerable. There was too much of me out there, as well as others whose lives touched mine.

“Try another voice? Dial it back from reality?” the suggestions only brought a sense of defeat – a stilted story of someone else. Don’t get me wrong; I adore fiction and devour at least one novel a week. I, however, can never produce fiction. So I have not stopped writing. My journals overflow with more than 4000 words a month. The editing is woefully lacking and I question whether anyone else would find solace in the words.

How does one reinvent, reemerge, recover lost ground? One thought is to compose a letter, a pen-pal style missive once a month to those who kindly support me and have an interest in my writing. If recipients were those I knew is some capacity,  and I could feel more comfortable sharing my intimate view of life, perhaps many needs could be met and the dilemma would be solved.

Thoughts and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Alice

Useless Spring Chores

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It’s 25°s cooler today than the day before, still a balmy 68° but overcast and humid. In the distance, through the woods comes the muffled sound of a lawn mower as a neighbor begins the weekly ritual of trying to create a green space out of granite. The Ravens murmur to each other as they silently swoop overhead and the crickets thrum as they will for their short lives.

New and repaired screens are installed, final three pots are planted with saucy yellow flowers and the garage is swept. My list grows shorter and I take a break to step out onto the freshly stained, front deck and admire my little homestead. Splashes of color are appearing amid the overgrown patches I consider my gardens.

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I’m not sure what tree is shedding these blooms, I suspect the giant oaks, but like the leaves in Fall, suddenly they are carpeting all the clean spaces.

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They cling to spider webs and dance in the slightest breeze.

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They curl around the corners of every chair and table, leaving a dusty mustard-colored silt. I grabbed a broom and made a stab at ridding the deck of them. It was like pushing snow. The broom clogged and I immediately lost interest. A useless spring task indeed. I think I will just wait for the rain to wash them away…

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Hiatus

March 21st ’18

Every so often I pull back. I slowly drift away from all writing, the last to go is the Memory Jar I fill throughout the year with quick thoughts and reminders of who, where and how I am.

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It should be at least 1/4 full by now

 

It has been a month of Nor’Easters, too much snow and cold, hunkering down. Every week so far has featured a day when leaving the house involved trekking to the shed to start the snow blower and counting the daylight hours.

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Spring arrived yesterday but the warmth and smell of the earth is absent. So if I haven’t been inclined to document daily movements, I’m to be forgiven. It’s been a month of feeling as if I’m on hold. Alice’s health is failing, my thoughts of a new career have slipped back behind the reality of loving the one I’ve got, and my creativity has flowed into other areas.

The annual Chamber Gala is upon me. This is my third year working on this event. I’ve learned a lot about raising money, filling seats and organizing an affaire. Last year while planning the Gala, I was in a dark place. It was the only thing on my calendar prior to my plan to depart this life. My sister showed up on the snowy deck outside my kitchen one night. She was the only one privy to my decrepid state of mind. I startled at the sight of someone lurking in the pale moonlight. She vowed not to try to dissuade me but merely to see me before I took my life.

Obviously, I got past the well of despair; I do not care to dwell on it here. Much of my anxiety was as a result of not knowing how I would survive the coming months; House on the market for a year, no steady income, dwindling resources and no immediate end in sight. I have the luxury of looking back, remembering and feeling strong about my survival.

So the annual Gala now signals renewal to me. It is a fun exercise in planning when I get past the stress of expecting too much of others and just putting my shoulder into it,  attacking the details. Tickets sold out three weeks prior, sponsorships and raffle donations are woefully lacking. Go out and get it done, don’t rely on email, phone messages – look people in the eye, tell them what you are doing and ask them to help. Amazingly simple concept, but alas, I hate the thought of sales.

Here’s to missing the fourth Nor’Easter and watching the ground emerge through the ice and snow.

March 22nd
She was sitting with the Sing Along Group when I arrived. I tried to catch her eye and when that failed, I slipped into her room to wait. The singing stopped so I wandered back out to the living room. This time she looked up, confused and obviously struggling to reconcile my presence.

“Hey Mary! Let’s go out for a walk. It’s a balmy 40 degrees and the sun is trying to come out.”

“Well, I don’t know. I’m not sure what I’m doing now. It’s raining isn’t it?”

Another resident smiled up at me then leaned in to Mary. “It’s a lovely day for a walk. I’d go out if I were you.”

After several minutes of coaxing, she pulled on her coat while I hunted down her hat, gloves, and walking stick. In the truck as we drove away she was still muddled. “I just don’t know from one minute to the next what I’m supposed to be doing. It’s all so confusing.”

“You are doing what you want. After taking care of your whole world it’s your turn to be pampered and just enjoy the day.”

“I don’t want to be pampered.”

“I get that. It’s hard to let go and let others take care of you but you raised five beautiful children and now you can take a break from being the caregiver.”

“Five?! I have five children!? Well, that explains some of this.” And from that point on I was privileged to watch the cobwebs clear from her mind. Our walk along the river proved easy and ice-free. A clump of young oak trees provoked her – “That one is saying ‘I was here first!’ Don’t they look like kids fighting over a favorite stool?” The faint blue tinge to the hollows of melting snowbanks delighted her. Memories and thoughts flowed along the path as we walked.

On the drive home we passed several wicket signs announcing a local church’s Easter  Egg festival. “2018 Helicopter Egg Drop!  Well that certainly sounds messy!” she remarked. I couldn’t hold back a giggle. We arrived back just in time for her to join the group for lunch. “Mary! You’re glowing. How was your walk?” the nurse declared as she held out a chair for her in the dining room.

March 30th

In Praise of Mud Season

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Suddenly, bare brown patches of earth and rocks are appearing. The soft deep blanket of snow that has covered my world for so many months is receding and pale shoots are thrusting upward. In much the same way, all of my existence has been under layers – layers of blankets, layers of clothes; my skin is pale and fragile, my spirit has been hushed.

A full moon is building and new month cresting. The influences are palatable around every turn when I quiet my mind and suck in the fresh air. A walk with Mary today made me acutely aware of the gurgle of the streams, racing down the hills between boulders and rocks, gravel and sand, emptying into the lake. Our view across the water was softened like an impressionistic water-color by the billowing clouds of fog as the warm temperatures assaulted the weak frozen defenses of the pond’s surface. A blue jay screeched overhead. “Oh Hello!” Mary remarked. We searched for green shoots among the leaf litter and detritus of the snow plow’s tracks along the side of the road.

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Though we parked in front of the house, I didn’t invite Alice to join us. Mary has become more doddering and I now feel most comfortable with an arm looped through hers. Alice too is now more erratic on our walks and I fear both would be too much of a distraction. There is joy in how each of them sees the world as we stroll.

 

Snow Day

When I was a kid, a snow day from school was better than a scheduled holiday. The surprise of having a whole day with nothing planned, no schedule, no demands other than to stay out of my mom’s hair was cherished. No matter that the weather was too dangerous to send us out on the roads; we were bundled up and sent out to play. Forts were carved from the snowbanks. We trudged up and down the sledding hills until our boots and clothes were soggy and heavy. The wooden drying rack was set up and subsequently festooned with frozen mittens, socks and snow-suits. Newspapers caught the melting ice and became sodden as the smell of warming, wet wool filled the kitchen.

For many years at my home on the back of the mountain, I sat in my studio and watched as the world became a white wonder of peaceful quiet. Other than the birds gorging themselves at the feeder, there was no life outside my window.

My first official snow day here on Lake Skatutakee is a gift. I realize this is the first time in a year that I can just sit. There are no house showings on my calendar, no chores to complete in the effort to sell a house. Alice and I are snug and warm; our thoughts allowed to drift, (although I’m not sure Alice’s thoughts are anything like mine). There is certainty that we are simply here now and have no agenda to complete.

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My fall view of the Lake

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Today’s view of the lake

The daylight hours revolve around binge watching “The Crown”, foraging in the fridge for tasty leftovers, short trips out to clear the paths and move the truck for the plowman, and bouts of productivity working on bits of writing. The anatomy of the storm is such that the first, dusty motes have become fat sticky flakes. The wind is picking up, lifting the branches of the pines and sending squalls of snow into the already laden air. Cars silently drift by the window, the road is passable only with 4-wheel drive, hushing even the rumblings of the plow trucks. My world is monochrome and soundless.

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Well, not quite monochrome if one looks closely…

snow on berries,Lake Skatutakee,Harrisville NH,Winter of 2018,Blogging

Berries in Snow

 

 

Seven Days In Humboldt

It has been years since I took a true vacation. Three flights and many hours of strange places found me in the Northwest corner of CA. Humboldt County, The Lost Coast, Avenue of the Giants.  Hanni and B.- are settled once again in McKinleyville so I took a week to visit and explore.

Day One
Crepes for breakfast in Arcata. Who knew crepes could be sooo very delicious and filling?!?
We drove north to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, then hiked to Fern Canyon. Hanni got up close and personal with Roosevelt elk along the way.

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Poor Hanni was most gracious about dealing with two Gemini for a week.

Notes on Fern Canyon: 80 foot walls, one mile long, five different types of ferns.

Roasted Chicken with MOV oil and vinegar – Yum!

Day 2
Took Hanni to work at the mushroom farm. Quick tour (sans camera) of her work space then Charlie and I headed out.

Our first stop was Samoa Beach. I was cold and not too impressed. Charlie was confused that we merely ventured to the water through the dunes before packing ourselves back into the truck.

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Charlie and I headed to Loleta and the South Jetty. Long, long, bumpy road to the end of the jetty. Sea Lions lounging on the buoy.

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Back to pick up Hanni and visit the ceramics studio where Tarron gave her a quick lesson in making Salmon plates.


Sushi – glorious, fresh, abundant sushi for dinner…

Day 3
I dropped Hanni at the mushroom farm and headed North to Trinidad. Parked at the beach and hiked the Trinidad Head. Hike? Me? Solo?  The path was well maintained and easy…the views were spectacular.

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Obligatory shot of the truck in the parking lot.

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I returned to pick up Hanni at work.   We visited with Melissa and baby Jaxon before our dinner of fresh salmon, asparagus and a game or two of UNO.

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Hanni and her Godchild Jaxon. He is 8 months of cuteness and wonder

Day 4
Hanni went to the studio to finish up some mugs then came home to pick me up. We met Levon (the mushroom-man) and caravanned  north to Stone Lagoon. The plan was to meet a woman who had offered Levon all the Alder logs he could haul away.  Levon doesn’t carry a cell phone so communication was sketchy and we spent an hour driving from place to place trying to find the woman.

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Hanni and Levon deep in conversation while I wandered around with my camera

Eventually we gave up and headed to a picnic area for lunch. Hanni was happily thinking of all the adventures we might pursue with a sudden free afternoon together. The woman, Liz, was waiting for us at the picnic area so the plan to harvest logs was back on.

Three trucks climbed the narrow, muddy track in four-wheeled drive. The leveled “parking area” was just wide enough to squeeze in and open our doors. Liz headed out to survey her land, Levon suited up in protective gear to cut the Alder, Hanni and I donned gloves. We cleared brush as Levon worked his way to the select trees. Hanni hauled the logs out once the trees were down. It quickly warmed up and we made enough of a clearing to turn the trucks.

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Liz and Hanni with the third truck loaded with  Alder logs

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150 Alder logs unloaded. They were already turning bright orange on the cut-sides.

 

Now they wait for the “plugging party” where they will be inoculated and begin a life of producing delicious mushrooms.

Day 5
I took Charlie to Arcata for breakfast and shopping then headed to the Marsh and Interpretive Center. We got lost walking on the trails but it was warm and sunny. Lots of birds and other people walking their dogs. Humboldt is very dog-friendly. Everywhere Charlie and I went we found poop bag stations.

Dungeness Crab for dinner!

Day 6
Fish Hatchery. First cold dreary day.

Back to the Plaza in Arcata to finish up some shopping for trinkets.

Homemade fajitas for dinner and many games of UNO.

Day 7

B.-, Hanni and I had a plan for our last day together.
Quick dump run – my usual Saturday morning routine, but with a twist.

We stopped by the mushroom farm to  picked up spice mix and give Brendan a tour of Hanni’s work-space. Glorious fungi growing to epic proportions!

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Then a tour  of the neighbor’s sculpture garden and studio that just happened to be open that morning. An amazing redwood home and property. Even though it was a sunny day, the massive trees filter and shade the sun light giving everything an ethereal feel.

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We drove south to the Northern entrance of the Avenue of the Giants; made a quick stop by the Eel River to skip stones.

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It was a short walk in from the gate at the California Federation of Women’s Clubs Grove. In the early 20th century, several women’s groups got together creating a state-wide campaign to save Humboldt’s old growth redwood forests. They managed to raise enough to preserve several hundred acres of park along the Eel river. One member was a renown architect, Julia Morgan, who designed and commissioned this four-sided Hearthstone Monument.

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When Redwoods die, others spring up from the stump. They tend to form a ring around the heart of the ancient tree – this is known as a cathedral.

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But we were  in search of an elusive albino Redwood. With crude directions in hand and hours to spend searching, we set off from the marked trails. There are only 50 known albino Redwoods and their exact location is not well publicized to protect them. Our wanderings introduced us to many ancient giants.

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Finally, we came around a massive trunk and were greeted by a ghostly presence. It was 30 feet tall and the host tree housed a secret, hollow cave.

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Our final night together included dinner in Ferndale on our way home. We stumbled upon a fantastic  mexican restaurant.

Seven days of great food, wonderful family time, enough solitude and creativity to recharge my soul and a new appreciation for hiking.

 

What a difference a year makes…

How trite it sounds but how profound the reality. In this, my first season living by the lake, I notice every change. Today was a day of quiet observation. It started with an awe-inspiring sunrise. Then came a realization;  though I went through the generationally-challenging stage of menopause years ago, my body and mind still react to the natural rhythms of the world around me. I was cranky, impatient and weepy all day. The emotions washed over me as I watched from afar and thought, “Really bitch?!? You just went through the most stressful 12 months of your life and now this pops up with no particular provocation?”

The end of the day brought a sunset that was deep and slow. Alice and I watched it play out from the couch after our leisurely walk to the boat launch. There was a dead Red Squirrel at the first turn in the road, ducks who loudly complained at our intrusion at the second turn , and a few cars who passed slowly and waved. The rhythm and routine of our daylight hours are settled and calm. What a difference a year makes…

Holiday lights. We’ve reached the iconic point of the year where the days are shorter than the nights. And it is still a shock. As the daylight becomes muted and scarce, lighting becomes crucial to maintaining my mood. Perhaps that is why we jam a bunch of celebrations into the months ending and beginning the calendar. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve are literally beacons of light in the dead of winter. In small-town-America, we joyfully greet perfect strangers with wishes of a Happy Holidays!!  Smiles light up otherwise time-worn faces.

Alice and I make our walks around the lake at the end of the day. Sometimes we are early enough to catch the sun setting over the mountains to the west. Other days, I don my headlamp to illuminate our steps and make us more visible to the cars we meet. The few homes we pass that are year-round residences glow from within.  The summer cottages sit silent and dark, windows reflecting the fading sunlight on the water.

I’ve begun my annual ritual of writing and posting Christmas Cards. That may not be politically correct, better to call them Holiday Cards. But for over 60 years this has been the season of Christmas to me. In 1988 we bought our first house and the Welcome Wagon basket kindly included an address book containing the names of local businesses with lots of room to add personal addresses and information. I have dragged this cheap, plastic relic around with me because it contains contact information for those I connect with once a year through a handwritten card. Every year, I page through it and marvel at the memories it provokes. Many entries are folks who are no longer with us, almost as many are people I have lost touch with. Some friends and family have whole pages dedicated to them as they moved repeatedly. There are a few mysterious names I can no longer associate with the person. Perhaps we were close enough to send cards for a year or so, then life moved on and I have no recollection of them.

I wonder, do they open their Christmas Card list, see my name and wonder the same?

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I’ve been writing…

It’s been a while since I have published though I write frequently. To my loyal readers, I owe a huge apology. The following is a trip down the winding road that is now my life…

Following an aging Subaru through the traffic lights I scanned the fading bumper stickers adorning the back. By the time the light changed I knew the occupant’s favorite radio station, the band they follow, their views on abortion and the environment; political statements, family proclamations, and personal preferences revealed the occupants views on everything from global warming to children’s achievements. As the car turned right, I had a picture of that woman in my mind.

Though I have never been one for voicing my opinions on my bumper, it did make me ponder the latest movement sweeping the Internet – The “ME TOO” campaign to raise awareness of  women who have been sexually harassed, in all forms from catcalls to rape and incest.

In over 60 years of living, I can attest we have made enormous strides in leveling the playing field between the sexes. There is still work to be done but I question this latest tactic. Judging by the flood of responses from victims,  would it be more telling to hear from those who don’t feel they have suffered  indignities?

Perhaps it is the fact that it has taken  60+ years to get here; and the changes we have wrought have also given birth to social media as a voice. To quote a very wise young woman, “Hopefully the campaign doesn’t die a hashtag death when the next cause comes along.”

If this generation cannot afford to quit their jobs and march on Washington, perhaps there is another way. I highly doubt a march would be more than a press event in this political climate anyway.  We agreed the ‘movement,” to steal a phrase from the pre-Internet ’60s, must begin on a local level, a personal commitment to reach out tangibly to those who share our immediate space. We’ve been given social media to anonymously share our  voice with the world, how do we go beyond the dialog stage?

The change we strive for in small, positive ways is not going to happen tomorrow or maybe even for this generation of 20-somethings. It is being fought so the children watching the struggle can have a more open and consensual life style.  That consent should extend beyond sex to the very fiber of how we live.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I am one of the many. Humans are flawed, both men and women suffer indignities on others.

When a young female school teacher seduces a teenaged boy we take little notice of the consequences to the child; chastising the adult with less force than were she a man. The hew or cry is louder for abused females and their predators. Humans are flawed.

In 1976 as a college student I attended a diversity seminar. A woman I held in high regard sexually assaulted me.  I was hurt and confused.

Every stage of my working life was marred by sexual exploitation to some degree. I was indignant, hurt and confused.

After being raped in Trinidad in 1980, I went to work as a groom at the racetrack. The paralyzing fear I had experienced could only be overcome by facing it down, head-on. I was not only the token Caucasian, I was the only woman among a hundred black men.

Please don’t think I am painting myself as a hero here. I’ve just lived long enough to have lots of stories.  It is merely my belief that if you act, you can create change. You can make more of a difference than a bumper sticker.

 

More stories to tell…

When you’re cantering down a dirt road in October. The air is crisp, the sun warms your face and the faint scent of equine sweat wafts up at you. The leaves swirl in your wake and your partner is just behind you. Suddenly the phone chimes and you both reach for your device. You simultaneous shout “HELLO” then realize you ‘butt-dialed’ each other’s phones. Two silly old ladies out for a ride.

The wet box…a guest post from Alice

Things are settling from frenzied and uncomfortable to a routine I can live with.

SHE disappears into the tiny room, then into the wet box. I settle on the rug just outside the box and wait. The purpose of this daily exercise is lost on me. SHE emerges wet and drippy. The rug becomes dotted with wet spots that quickly becomes cold and uninviting. We had a room with the wet box but it was so much larger that she closed the door and I could only bed down outside and wonder.

There are things I miss; the large outside wooden space with a cozy chair under the balsam-smelling tree, with the birds flocking to the feeders. I have an outside space here. It is high above the road and affords me a view of the busy world. I miss my trunk in front of the wide glass space that afforded a view of the front yard and long road down to the big road. If anyone ventured up our road, I was on it! Visitations were rare. The men with the loud machines who made the grass short, the occasional brown-truck man who left boxes, HER vehicle was always the best arrival.

We walk a lot. In the old place we walked once a day. Here we walk at least twice a day, plus have outside time at the very start and very end of every day. There are so many houses and dogs and things to explore here. Birds float on the big water and cars slow to raise their hands to HER. SHE smiles a lot and walks me as far as I want.

I miss the little one. She pissed HER off when she allowed/brought/encouraged the live things to come into the house. “Outside Toys DO NOT COME INSIDE!” she would yell. I didn’t mind having something to chase but it wasn’t worth the upset to HER. But for the most part, the little one was comforting. She wasn’t one to bother me or demand interaction, but she was a warm, purring body on the bed in the winter. Tonight SHE came home singing the song SHE always sang for the little one – the song that called the cat in from the woods… I hope SHE saw the little one and all is well.

Speaking of the bed, can I just say, it was much easier to access before. Ever since we moved to this house with the stairs and the many cars going by and the things I have to keep track of, my front legs are a constant reminder that I am no longer a puppy. Getting in and out of the truck, launching oneself on to the bed and those pesky acorns that line the road, have reduced my ability to get where I want to be on my own. SHE tries to help but honestly, the indignity of requiring help makes every leg go rigid and I think my weight doubles.

FALL

Thwack!  Rattle, tattle, rattle, tattle, rattle, plink! Acorns dance off the metal roof. When we walk down the road, Alice and I hear them assaulting other cabins on the lake and showering the woods. The docks are being pulled, the lake is racing out of the open dam and receding daily. Water weeds shrivel in the sun and heat. And yet, the loons remain. She is the bossy one. Whereareyou! whereareyou! Answerme!!!

November

He sang his heart out tonight as the moon rose over the lake. “Whoo Hoodly Dood? Whoo Hoodly good!” The lone Loon who didn’t leave with the others, the one I see floating, drifting and fishing.

A fly-fisherman was at the boat landing when Alice and I passed tonight. We commented on the weather, the fishing, the season and surrounding areas that have seen flooding. On our way back Alice stopped to check out his extra tackle, piled neatly on the edge of the launch. “So I’m concerned about the lone loon that is hanging around.”

I run every day and I haven’t heard a Loon in 10 days.”

This is my first season on this lake and there is one loon that is still here.”

“It’s late for Loons. They molt then can’t fly when the lake freezes.”

“It concerns me.”

There is a group that rescues Loons every year who don’t make the date to leave. Look on the State web site if you want to know more.”

Thank you. And good luck with the fishing!”

We walked on and several hours later – after dinner, sunset and as the moon was rising, I heard my lone Loon. “Whoo hoody good? Whooo Hooody Doooo?

The Check’s in the mail…

In the long litany of things that didn’t go according to plan, a small victory has emerged. Though I doubted the insurance adjuster’s intelligence and cursed him in my mind, the one thing I hadn’t counted on was the system actually working to my favor.

There was an offer on the house after 15 months. The home inspection found mold. Buyer walked and estimate for remediation was about 4 months living expenses. Homeowner’s insurance claimed to include mold coverage, but it looked shaky.

Twelve years of paying the premiums and doing my best to maintain the dwelling finally repaid me with coverage of said mold and then some; for the niggling repairs that it will take to say good-bye to home ownership. The Check is in the mail.

I have lived in 13 homes over the past 40+ years. I have owned 5. As a couple, (i.e. two-responsible-adults-in-case-one-fails,)  four pieces of real estate bore my name. This one has always been just mine;  the joy, the headaches and the scary moments of ice storms and generators. I shared it with daughters, dogs, cats and friends, but it was always my responsibility.

“Maybe it will miraculously be fixed the next time I try it. I’ll just give it a minute…”

This has been my mantra when things got wrong around the house. I have only enough knowledge to be dangerous when it comes to electricity or plumbing. Paint covers a lot of mistakes. If things get desperate enough I will call one of the long-suffering tradesmen who have bailed me out of nasty situations over the years. We catch up on mutual friends and talk about how fast kids grow as these kind souls do their best to patch up whatever has gone wrong. They give me a cash discount because that’s just what folks around here do for each other.

I think they are tolerant of my emergencies because they see me as an eccentric who pops up every few years and they just can’t believe I hang on alone. I almost want to throw a last house party and invite them all to say good-bye to the house with me.

Over time I have become amazingly frugal and self-sufficient. I’m not blowing my horn here. It has been a long lesson in financial responsibility and what it takes to make myself happy.

Where you get your mail is home. Today’s bundle of flyers, post cards and catalogs also included a missive to the buyers who backed out of owning this little piece of paradise. They went so far as to send in a change of address to AAA!  I will put it back in the mailbox and marked it: RETURN TO SENDER – ADDRESS UNKNOWN!.

The Check was in the mail…

N.B. Comments are closed but thank you for including me in your day!

Refugee

We are accepting the house as a home, or perhaps more precisely, it is accepting us. Ravens wheel and caw, owls call, loons, ducks and geese are leaving in loud gaggles. If one dials back the human noise and pays attention, the sounds of the wild are comforting.

Alice has become more imbued in the place than I. But then, she spends many hours alone here. Instead of a large, wooded yard and a shady deck complete with cushioned chairs, she now has a small platform high above the yard. A somewhat busy road populated by joggers, dog walkers, bikers and sundry vehicular traffic entertain her. Rather than voicing alarm at the proximity of the world, she sits in silent disapproval.

There are still piles of art and tchotchkes seeking permanent homes, but order is coming to the chaos and this mini-version of the Temple house is absorbing our belongings. Winter will offer its own challenge with the addition of outerwear, but by then I think we will have this relocation under control.

Rain on the tin roof, pure comfort.

Welcome to my new town!