Sunday, November 30, 2014

Giving thanks it is over...

Thanksgiving Day is such a fine holiday--at least in theory.

It is a day dedicated to family, to giving thanks for that family, to food, to giving thanks for that food. to contemplating our blessings.  What is not to love?  I cannot understand why it isn't everyone's favorite holiday.

Okay, if you are a kid, I'll give you Christmas and Halloween.  If you are religious, I will grant you special and spiritually meaningful holy days.  If you are patriotic, well, you get the idea.

So why is it that such a fine concept as a day dedicated to Thanks Giving can sometimes go haywire?  I mean, I have never really experienced anything close to, say, the kind of family reunion portrayed in the movie August Osage County, but I don't doubt for a minute such reunions take place all too often.

I had a very nice Thanksgiving Day.  I started the preparations early.  (Translate as I cooked for three days.)  At some point I realized I was cooking as maniacally as my mother used to only there were not going to be twenty to twenty-five people gathered around my table.  Whoops.

I asked Kevin to drive into Burlington and pick a few homeless people that might be gathering for a meal, but he didn't think that was a good idea and besides he wasn't feeling all that great.

Then of course there was the storm that dumped a foot of snow over Wednesday night.  I know that is nothing compared to 6 or 7 feet like they got in Buffalo, but it was enough to make me worry that my daughter would not make the 70 mile trip.  When I called her, she said, "Oh, I told Father I would go to his house for Thanksgiving."  WHAT???

Well Amy and the kids did arrive just as my meal was ready to go on the table.
Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, squash, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, homemade rolls, cornbread stuffing, pumpkin pie.  Kevin managed to eat a little.  Kristen had some of the shrimp I had set out for an appetizer (actually a lot of the shrimp), a small piece of turkey and some mashed potato, and and two brussel sprouts.  Dane tasted the turkey and some squash, then he ate two raw carrots from the refrigerator.  Amy and I did our best, but there is a lot of food leftover.

Then the kids started getting rambunctious.  They had had a long car ride.  Ha!  Time to go visit grandpa.

The clean up took as long as preparing the meal.  In truth, probably a bit longer.

Now Christmas.  What a joyful holiday full of tradition...

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Give Thanks!

I am thankful for:

  • family and friends who support and sustain me in times of joy and in times of loss
  • the children who turned me into a grandma
  • knowing I am loved
  • the memories I will always treasure
  • the possibilities that will present themselves in time
May you all have blessings to count, 
and every day.

Happy Thanksgiving

Monday, November 24, 2014


It is a rainy Monday morning and I sit at my dining room table sipping my morning coffee, staring out at the gloom through the doorway.  The brown field, no longer mowed, marching slowly but surely toward foresting itself, is framed by my still green lawn and the white pine marching atop the ridge.

Over the rim of my coffee cup, through the haze of steam, I see a dark form sweep by.  It is a crow circling the back yard.  It lands and marches sentry-like in line with the deck railing.

I get up and quietly open the door so that I can toss out the toast crusts, breakfast for my faithful morning visitor.

Crows have a usually black with tints of blue depending on the light shining on them. Their color is symbolic of the onset of creation, of the void or what has not taken form yet. Fascinating spirit animals, they carry the energy of life mysteries and the power for deep inner transformation.
As a spirit guide, the crow will guide you in getting in touch with life mysteries and develop your ability to perceive subtle shifts in energy within yourself and in your environment. It has the ability to go beyond the illusions, especially duality of right and wrong, inner and outer. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014


According to a piece I read on Yahoo's news feed, Vermont in the fifth "booziest" state in the nation.  It comes in behind Montana, Alaska, Colorado, and #1 Oregon.

It appears that Vermont is noted for the number of craft breweries per unit of population.  I am not a beer drinker, but I do know about Magic Hat,  Otter Creek, Harpoon, and Long Trail. There are others that I have not heard about as well.  One--Alchemist Heady Topper--is so rare and, therefore, coveted that there is apparently a black market dealing in it.

I guess I am missing out on one of the finer points of being a Vermonter.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


I have been cold for the past month and turning up the furnace did not offer relief so I was not surprised when the conclusion was, "You need a new furnace."

New air conditioner in Florida this past summer, which I was not expecting, and now a new furnace, which I kind of was expecting.  Some repairs were done to the old one in the hopes that it will last through the winter.  Always something, something with home ownership.  Of course the furnace is 50+ years old so I suppose I should not complain too much and a new one will be much, much more efficient.

I would have it done right away except that my fuel and furnace company is down to a one man operation at the moment and he really does not have the time to do it during the height of fuel season.  He did say he would though, should it fail completely and become an emergency.  I am glad my son will be here through the winter while I head to Florida.

That is the nice thing about small town Vermont--such good neighbors.  The fuel man checks the house twice a week when he goes by.  All my immediate neighbors keep a sharp eye on things.  I know who to call when I need help and that is a comfort.

Monday, November 17, 2014


I am good to go for another year.  I had my annual mammogram and received my all clear letter in the mail today.

As with everything else, there is a certain amount of controversy around the need for an annual mammogram.  It's quick and only somewhat uncomfortable in spite of all the jokes to the contrary.  So I will continue to make it a part of my proactive health maintenance since there is the family history.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Why are we neglecting dipping into pockets at Thanksgiving time?

It is just a bit sad that Thanksgiving is becoming the forgotten holiday.

I went to the Gardeners' Supply today and it was a Christmas wonderland.  At the drugstore,  Christmas items shared the better part of an aisle that also included a few shelves worth of Halloween markdowns.

Grocery stores are mentioning Thanksgiving--sales on turkeys and cranberries and pumpkin pie spice.  Otherwise, what is wrong with the entrepreneurial spirit of our country that we have not yet thought of a way to exploit this day of family gathering and gratitude for commercial gain?  Black Friday is as close as we can come?

Come on corporate America!  I have faith in you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Grand Weekend

The grandchildren have spent the weekend, plus Monday and Tuesday, at grandma's house.

It is not always easy to entertain both a 13 year old girl and a seven year old boy at the same time.  Granddaughter would spend all kinds of time with me if it involved my trailing her through the mall with a credit card always at the ready. Grandson wants nothing to do with going into stores for any reason.

I think it was being traumatized at a young age.  He happily agreed to go to Plateau's Closet with his sister one time only to suffer severe disappointment at not finding the stash of PlayDough he was certain was the purpose of such a place.

Grandson is happy to play games, do crafty projects, read stories, take walks, watch movies, and (best of all) listen to grandma's stories in the "Dane Adventure Series."  As long as he is the center of my attention, he is pretty content.

Uncle Kevin brought Dane a box of cardboard tubes from his job at the coffee roaster a couple of years ago.  Timeless toys.  This trip they they became a military installation with tanks and mortars.

I especially liked the expressions on the soldiers' faces.  This is serious business.

Taking a break (grandma's break time)

Selfies expert.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Aging, Schmaging

In a recent post, gigi-hawaii, wrote about aging in place.  On my walk later that very same day, I passed a nearby house with this sign in front of it:

The number of cars in the drive indicated that there was a small party going on.  I remember when this woman. who still lives this house that she and her husband built right next to the farm they once worked, celebrated birthday #100 last year.  She was written up in the paper and there was a huge community party at the Catholic church.  She is still going strong--aging in place.

It occurred to me that my own mother would have been 101 this past September had she lived.  My mother developed dementia and spent the last few years of her life in a nursing home.  I suppose by definition she was aging out of place.  Dementia is such a strange condition--aging and regressing to infancy all at the same time.

To add to the convergence here, the drain pipe for the kitchen sink sprang a leak. Another little nudge to my thinking about aging in place--definitely not this place.  Unless a good looking plumber comes knocking on the door and wants to marry me, I think I am going to let this house age in its place while I go find another place for myself.  That is a project I will think about next summer.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Around the Corner

As in winter:

I heard a pounding noise outside the window yesterday.  When I went to investigate, the snow plowing company truck was in the driveway and some guys were putting in driveway markers.

I told them to plow the driveway this winter but refrain from putting down sand and gravel.  What a mess that was to clean up this past spring.  It it is icy, my son can use my Prius with the studded tires.  One of his jobs is to run it every so often to keep the battery charged anyway.

There is no snow yet.  Maybe the plowing company is just being prepared, or maybe they know something that I do not, but it has been cold.  I have had to bundle up for my walks.

Even the horses are dressed for the cold.

The trees are bare and the sky is gray.

Winter is around the corner.  Probably no one wants to hear about the progress on my Christmas shopping ( and wrapping) though.  So I won't mention it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

No Title

The elections are over.  I was kind of looking forward to a quiet simple supper after yoga class last night.  Surely it was too late by then for any more reminders to vote, surveys of opinions, requests for money.  I was wrong about that, but I have to say I think caller ID is about the greatest innovation of the past century. Somebody should get a prize for that.  Maybe not the Nobel, but a prize.

I worked at the polls, checking voters in.  I had to be there before the polls opened and there was already a line.  That was encouraging.   I cannot say I am in any way enchanted with the current political scene in this country otherwise. The obvious solution is to just let me rule the world but that does not look likely anytime soon.

I had forgotten what it was like to wake up and have to get busy right away preparing to go out of the house.  It was a bit of a shock to the system.  Much nicer, this morning, to sit here by the window, wrapped in a cozy robe, sipping coffee, and watching the school bus stop to pick up kids and then the parents heading off to work.  Ahh.  And doesn't a second cup of coffee sound like a good idea on this grey and windy day?

I always have plenty to do, but I LOVE being able to just ease into my days.  Nice to be reminded sometimes of what a treasure that is.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


I was driving along on the way to my daughter's house when I spied this display.

 From a distance, I thought I was seeing those round hay bales that someone had painted orange.  But, no, could not be because they were glowing.  As I got closer,  I could not believe I was seeing actual pumpkins.  I stopped, turned around and went back to take these pictures.

Now was it

Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater,
had a wife and couldn't feed her.
Put her in a pumpkin shell
and there he kept her very well.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

End of an Era

Our small town library volunteers had a farewell luncheon with out wonderful librarian of the past eight and a half years.

A small town library is a big time job and it was time for Donna to move onto other things, but she will be greatly missed at the library.  Of course, we have become friends and so we were not saying good-bye, just good wishes on the new job.

A new librarian has been hired.  She will start next Monday.  She has big shoes to fill.

I am afraid she was promised way more volunteer help than will actually be available.  Three of the volunteers are dealing with health issues--one recovery from a hip replacement, one facing both her own shoulder surgery and a daughter's critical surgery, and another with progressing COPD.  One volunteer, the one who gave the most time, notified the board that he was leaving to pursue other interests, one will be moving out of town, and I will be leaving for Florida.

But she strikes me as a capable and resourceful person, so I am not worried.

I [lan to get back to actually reading books more now!