Thursday, October 31, 2013

P.S.

You read it here first!  I predicted it!  BoSox...2013 Series Winners.

BOO!

My grand son loves Halloween.  He does up his room, turning it into a haunted house, each year more elaborate as he adds to his stash of ghoulish decorations.
I was visiting them yesterday and we made a trip to the party store so his sister could get a costume for her school dance.  He's had his Darth Vadir costume ready since early September.  Not everyone is so well prepared.  The place was jam packed.  His mother had warned him that this trip was for his sister; he would NOT be getting anything.  Torture!  He was good about it, but, oh, the desire that filled his little eyes.

The young girl that waited on my daughter and grand daughter was very sweet.  My grand daughter thought her hair was really cool.  It was long brown hair tossed to the right and shaved off the left side.  My daughter's comment, "Yeah, well you are not doing that."  If I were a really kind of mother I would drag out
Amy's high school picture the next time they are at my house.  As my father would have said, "That apple didn't fall very far from the tree."

I had listened to another Annie LaMotte interview on VPR.  I just love her.  Any way, one of the things she said was that her experience in seventh grade was so horrible that she thought she would never have children just because she knew at some point they would have to go through seventh grade.  It is kind of a miracle that the human race goes on when or if you stop to think about it.

Yesterday, it was exactly 100 days until my grand son's 7th birthday.  He is a bit math obsessed.  It was also, apparently, the first day he did not have a time out in first grade.  He is not naughty, but he does have an abundance of enthusiasm. I think it is delightful, but I could never in a million years work with a classroom full of first graders--anything less than fifth graders really--because I wind them right up and myself along with them.

Note that I made this trip the day before Halloween.  Tonight I will go out for dinner with my son and have a very peaceful time.

I hope everyone stays safe.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Weekend Report

  My front window is in dire need of a cleaning.  Birds smash into it leaving smudges and feathers.  It collects road dust from the truck traffic that goes by.  It looks as though a cat with muddy paws walked across it???  I have a window washing arsenal.  BUT there was no window washing this past weekend.  There was no lawn mowing either.  It was seriously cold.

I bundled up and went for a long walk on Sunday.  There are white caps on the mountains.  My son did a bike ride at the Trapp Family Lodge on Saturday.  He told me they were riding through six inches of snow.  I hope it all stays right up there on the mountains.

My sister-in-law loaned me a copy of Proof of Heaven by Eban Alexander, M.D.  I read that this past weekend.  I liked it so much that I went to the bookstore and bought myself my own copy with a new Afterword.

I wish that he had not used "Proof" in the title, but "an anecdotal record of my own near death experience" wouldn't be nearly as catchy I suppose.  However, his story is convincing--all the more so at a time when I am starting to want to believe.

I watched Oprah's Super Soul Sunday interview with Annie LaMotte.  She is so genuine about her religious beliefs and I enjoyed listening to her point of view.
However, it was the interviewee just prior that gave me my "Aha moment."  I only caught the last five minute of that one.  I think her name was Shapiro, but I know nothing about her.  Anyway, she described God as the fabric that holds the universe together.  I have struggled so much with religion and even belief in God, but that resonated.

And the BIG news for New Englanders...TADA...the Boston Red Sox won the 2013 World Series of Baseball.  I am pretty sure that Mike was forced to watch with his two brothers.  The image makes me smile.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Winner!


A big thanks to Wendy at Domestic Sweetheart!  She had a give away and I was the winner of the Invisible Glass Ultimate Glass Cleaning Kit.  It arrived yesterday.

Look at all this stuff:


It even includes wipes for my glasses.  No more excuses for the dirty, streaky windows!?! 

If this makes window washing even a smidge less of a thankless job, I will be very happy.  So far I have just tried it on my bathroom mirror, but it did leave it spotless and shiny.



Thursday, October 24, 2013

Library

I spent a long time at the library yesterday.  A new book order came in so I was putting on the spine labels, covering them with plastic, and affixing the bar codes so the librarian could get them in the catalog.  I was there from a little after 2 p.m. until 7.

I had walked to the library so I could get some exercise in, but the librarian gave me a ride home because I stayed late and it was quite dark by that time.
Also quite cold.

I put in library hours again today, even though I was home.  I made birds for the flannel board for an upcoming story time.  I made sample craft projects--sandpaper gingerbread boys and a Christmas tree ornament.  The librarian plans story hour with books on a specific topic and then has related music and crafts for the kids to complete.  She pretty much has the year planned.  What did we do before Pinterest??  It is a great source for craft ideas.


I am not sure quite how I got to be the official craft lady of the library, but it is a job I am quite content with doing.


After I made the samples, I made the cut outs so they would be ready for the story time person.


Monday, October 21, 2013

Home Again

Home again, jiggety jog.

The flight back to Vermont was without a hitch...except for the rude shock of the 40 degree temperature difference.  I amused myself at the gate this morning by sorting the crowd into those who were getting off at JFK and those who would be heading on to Burlington, VT.  It wasn't all that challenging.  I am pretty sure I scored at least 99%.

My 83 year old neighbor in Florida treated me to a Saturday night fish fry supper--fish she caught, cleaned and fried up herself.  It was really good too.  Snow birds are just starting to filter back, but things were pretty quiet.  Of course, I don't think that you are ever going to see spring-break type, snow birds gone wild reality shows on your televisions even during the peak season.

I went to the Venice Sunshine Fiesta.  It featured a long parade of local school bands, antique cars, and a few businesses that had put together floats.  I bought a couple of craft items and had my palms read.  I will enjoy a long and healthy life!  Well, that's better than, "Sit down, honey,  while I call the ambulance." I am making fun, but it was actually kind of interesting.

I went to an interview with San, a Monk on the Go.  I liked his idea of a walking meditation while picking up litter on the beach.  I pick up litter, but I mumble mean things about the people who drop it.  I can learn to be a better person.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Some Comfort

This has been a very hard week, as I knew that it would be.

Not the long drive alone.

Not the decisions about some needed maintenance and how much money to spend on it--made alone.

One of the last things that Mike said to me was, "You are an intelligent and capable person.  You will be okay."

Maybe so.  I have done some hard stuff and I did not fall apart.

Or maybe not.  Simple things.  I could not walk on the beach...would not have been able to see where I was walking through the tears.  I had to leave the Italian market where we so enjoyed shopping for special dinners.  I barely managed to pay for a loaf of bread and get out of there.  I won't even consider going to the North Jetty to admire the sunset or sit at Pop's and watch boats and dolphin go by or to go for an ice cream cone. I wonder if I ever will.

There was a great horned owl perched at the very top of a very tall Norfolk pine outside the bedroom window and a few doors done.  I knew Mike's spirit was visiting.  That is some comfort.

And I have been doing some reading on grieving.  You know, to see if I am doing it right.  Textbook--the good little student in me can be proud.

But I came across this piece by Dr. Ken Murray.  It is so like Mike's story and I supported him through it.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Why is the World so Wacky?

Okay, the debt ceiling has been lifted and the government is open again.  Time to celebrate?  It's a temporary fix.   How is it different than the last time?  How will it be different in a few months?

Ted Cruz? Seriously?  I believe he is a Disney animatron escaped from Orlando.  Michele Bachmann?  Prove to me that she is not one of the original Stepford wives.

Affordable health care??  When I was poor and struggling, I didn't have health insurance.  Why should I pay taxes for someone else to have it now?  Progress?  That's a part of progressive...so it surely must be bad.  (Sheldon: "Sarcasm?")

Facebook has opened itself to public sharing by teens...so they can have a voice in the causes important to them.  I do hope Malala Yousafzai has an account.

And speaking of teens, a Massachusetts school stripped a girl of her position as a sports team captain because she went to pick up a friend who had been drinking and needed a ride home.  Let no good deed go unpunished.

I do appreciate people offering their condolences, but I don't understand why some have to say things like, "I know you are a good Christian, so..."  Well as it happens, no, I am not a Christian.  I am a good and spiritual person, but why does anyone have to speculate on my religion?  And get it wrong?  That just strikes me as slightly rude.  Even so, I do not turn away anyone's prayers or positive vibrations.

The definition of compromise is to settle a dispute through mutual concessions.
"If you refuse to do it my way, you are not compromising," does not quite cut it.  On either side.  Just saying.

Comforting to know that a plane can still fly with only one functioning engine. There is always a news story in the week before I have to fly somewhere.

Smart guns on the news tonight.  I predicted that.

Maybe I am the wacky one and the rest of the world is all okay.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Long Drive

I have made the 1500+ mile trip from Vermont to Florida.  There was heavy traffic on the first two days, but Sunday (the longest drive) was clear sailing.  I stopped in Georgia and had a brief visit with Mike's daughter and her family.

Thank God for Garmin.

I found out that there has been a lot of rain here in Florida this past summer.  I spent some time today hacking back the shrubs gone wild.  I took care of the house insurance and FL Comcast (which was way, way easier than what I went through in Vermont).  I had the air conditioner serviced.  Tomorrow I will look into having the tree guy come out and I need to find someone to take out a bunch of concrete blocks in the back yard that were meant to be a patio, but just serves to irritate me when I see it.  Maybe that job will wait until winter.

Maybe the day after that, I will just relax.  I don't think I am ready to handle going to the beach though.  Mike LOVED the beach and I know it will be hard to go there without him.  Maybe that will wait until the winter as well.

I did go to get my hair cut today.  That was badly needed.  Actually the guy who cuts my hair here in FL said that my hair looked better than he has ever seen it after an extended time in Vermont.  Funny because I have been cutting it myself since last spring.  He really does a great haircut.

My plan is to leave the Ford here and fly back on Monday.  I made an appointment for my next haircut in December.  I am anxious about the flight, but glad that I will not be driving that distance again so soon.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Fine Day for a Walk in the Woods

I went to the Mills Riverside Park for my walk today.

I parked the car and went across the covered bridge.

It is a lovely area.

The sky was brilliant.

The trail was covered with leaves.  I love the smell of autumn.  Damp leaves and apples.

We had heavy winds and rain the day before, but there were still pops of bright color.


Mount Mansfield looked kind of bare, though.

I can't believe how green the grass is still.

No alligators here:


I have taken this walk a number of times.  A couple of times with Mike, but usually just on my own.  Did I always wish that he was with me on those walks?
Yes, I really did.  Today was no different...except that it was.




I did go out for supper with my friend Ginnie.  I am grateful for my friends.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Monday...meh

Last week I was up early each day, but today I slept until after 8.  What a slug.  Then I completely frittered the rest of the morning away and accomplished nothing of meaning or worth.   It was just as well because I was around for my phone interview with Social Security.  It was on my calendar, but I also like to go out to weed on Monday mornings and I would have forgotten about the scheduled phone call if I had not been so sluggish.

I went outside at noon to discover that it was very warm!  I hopped on the lawn mower and got that task taken care of for a couple of weeks.  I will maybe mow once more before I try to figure out how to store the lawn tractor for the winter.  I know that I am not going to try to put it up on blocks and grease the innards of the thing the way Mike did.  He kept track of the hours of use and maintained it on schedule.

I suppose I could read the manual that is on his work bench out in the garage.  Dealing with machinery other than my sewing machine has not made it to my weekly schedule.  I am not all that sure that I want it to either.  I am not even taking the snow blower out of the shed.  Some machines just scare me.

Anyway, I got the lawn done and went to the library and it clouded over and started to pour.  The temperature dropped dramatically.

I have a writers' group meeting tonight so I will have to go out again.  It is now dark and gloomy and I long for my pajamas and a cup of SleepyTime Tea.  I will feel better for meeting with my writer friends, however, so I will make the meeting and do the tea thing later.  My own writing has suffered greatly, but I will still go to be with the group.  It is important.


Friday, October 4, 2013

Night Out

On Wednesday night, I joined the two other women in our writing group for a poetry reading by Billy Collins that took place in the Ira Allen Chapel on the University of Vermont campus.  It was a packed house.  If Collins achieves his goal of world domination through poetry, I will able to say, "I was there when."

Afterwards we went downtown to The Farmhouse Tap and Grill for snacks and a beer.  It is October.  One is required to drink a beer in October if one finds oneself in a downtown bar...which I probably haven't done since my college days.  My nephew Alex was there and introduced me to his girlfriend.  ("Leave it to you to know the best looking guy in the place." was the comment from my companions.  Ha! but, yes, my nephew is very good looking.)

I can tell you that I needed a night out because the day itself was a living nightmare.  It is a long story that started when I went to pay my Florida utilities bill and discovered that I no longer had access to the online bill paying that Mike had set up.  (Who knew I had to have a separate User ID and password to access our joint account all those years?  I had always just used what Mike had set up.  It was a joint account.  We both used it without any kind of conflict.  Why did we need secret passwords?)  This sent me into a whirlpool of trying to get accounts set back up and changing them over to just my name.  Every account had a different set of hoops for me to jump through.  Comcast was the worst because I had to go there in person--a 45 minute wait--and then--I was told to bring a copy of the death certificate but not Mike's social security number--so I had to go back with that information and fill out two pages of swearing I would be responsible for paying the bill.  I have paid half of it for the past 20 years and my name was already on the account.  I really don't get what the big deal was AND they took my check for this month's bill without any hesitation.  Seriously, it felt like having to get a top level security clearance just to be a Comcast customer.

Also, let me just say that I fully do not understand why the Comcast lobby has not been the scene of rage incidents worthy of the road or the post office.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Sunday Walk

This was the view out of the bedroom window on Sunday morning:



That clear, blue sky certainly invited me to get out for a walk.





And the road ahead invited me to keep going.


The sunshine was abundant, but its warmth did not penetrate the shade.

I am sure some will puzzle over why I leave for Florida.






So beautiful...

And then I started remembering the last autumn tour of northern Vermont that Mike and I took.  I do have so many wonderful times to remember even as I miss him and hurt and rage over the loss of our future memories that will not be made.

It is a process...