Saturday, January 31, 2009


After a wonderful, very busy (and thankfully so!) day at work yesterday, I decided it would be better to just go to a movie by myself, than to sit home worrying about the state of things with Bob and LM. The theater is a mile from LM & Bob's house so I just had to stop there first and say hello. They had a tough day yesterday as Bob was scheduled for a PET Scan around noon and it was a long ordeal for him. It had been a week since I last saw them and I was shocked out of any words to see how near death Bob appears to be. Without the test results even back, it seems evident that Bob is not going to live much longer. LM and I had little chance for much more than a few hushed words, I hugged Bob and heard the few raspy words he could utter, and knew I needed to say good-bye and seek distraction before I cried all over the place. To this point, LM had not really faced the fact that Bob is near the end. Late last night he did - tearfully on the phone. LM is doing everything possible to keep him comfortable and see to all his needs. This all made me burst into tears and we talked about being pillars of strength for each other, etc. This pillar is cracking. I can only pray for ease to come to all of us. LM is shouldering an amazing amount of responsibility right now. No end of life arrangements have been made and the rush is on to get the attorney in to the house this morning to hear Bob's last wishes and to re-write a very out-date will, power of attorney. etc. All funeral and other arrangements will have to be made by us, too. I am hoping the VNA will suggest hospice to LM today. He is very overburdened right now. Painful for me to see. I want to be of more physical help but it is too confusing for too many people to be there. LM escapes to my voice on the phone when he needs respite, but he needs more than that. I've never seen anything like the calm, loving way he goes about each chore with Bob. LOVE!

Meanwhile, life goes on for me and I am headed off-Cape this morning with several stops along the way. First will be a brief stop to see baby Teddy and his parents, then to visit Dad. I have not seen him since Christmas Eve! He sounded great when we talked yesterday and we will have lunch in his dining room today. I need to fix his telephone answering machine among other things. After that will be shopping for some food staples, and then a stop to drop some things off to my friend, Sue in Sandwich.

Bob's whispered words to me last night involved me making him one more apple pie. He loves my pies. I will do that this evening, having made the pie crust dough at 4:30 am, I just need to prepare the apples and do the baking.

There is peace in the rhythm of baking. No wonder my mother was always in the kitchen!

PS.....Sat 6:30 am......just looked out the window to see that everything is covered in a beautiful fluffy snow!! What a nice gift. I do love new snow and the way it can put a beautiful dress on the dreariest of days. There was a silver sliver of a moon, brilliant in the winter sky just above Venus last night as I left Bob's house for the movie theater. After the movie the sliver was a deep golden/orange color, low in the western sky. Such beauty everywhere. Therein lies the balance nature provides.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ms Graysea has a Visitor

Most nights when I arrive home from work, Ms G is curled up in the little nest I have for her on my bed. She stays in the nest until I come in and put my face down and give her a hug and a kiss. She loves this little moment as much as I wait for it all day.....I know, I know...I'm crazy, but I love my little girl. LM has adopted this same routine with her, too, and for the last two months he's been missing in action while caring for Bob. Every night when we talk about the day on the phone, we have to do a rundown on her activities. Very sweet. He misses our little moments with Ms G, as well as everything else we shared. I cannot say that I am sailing through this time without is painful and lonely and there seems to be no end in sight right now. We both allow ourselves the sadness but then lift out of it and find peace in doing the right thing.

Anyway, when I arrived home from work, Ms G got her usual hug and I headed to the guest room to check out the window birdfeeder and there was a delightful surprise....a love note taped to the TV screen, next, as I went to turn on the table lamp, there was another note tucked up near the switch.......then I knew...LM had come to visit Ms G and left me notes......10 of them all over the house, including inside the refrigerator and under my pillows. It seems he had a break from caring for Bob (the VNA was visiting) and he took that opportunity to come to the local fish market to buy fish for their dinner. Even though I was at work, he knew he had to stop by and see Ms G, get his fix of kitty love and leave me some love, too.
Despite all LM has distracting him these days, and there is much more than caring for Bob, he finds time each day to remind me why I love him with all my heart.

To bed early for me tonight as the cold/cough/sinus sickness I had a few weeks back seems to be making a reappearance. Rest is called for!

Explanation for the All-Night Barking Spree

My wonderful, and very funny boss, Peter, has returned from a delightful trip to Paris with his wife, and he tells me that the dogs gave him the scoop on why they barked all night on seems their dog sitter (aka moi) and a visitor were teasing them all day on Saturday with a "big dog barking" sound on an I-Phone. Pay back is , well you know!
Sammy and Liza got the "last bark."

Very icy this morning and I have a bad headache. Stumbling around trying to gather myself together and get to work. Big project presentation and high energy in the office will spur me on.

P.S. Just got to work and dear boss laughingly says the dogs have not barked once since their "parents" have returned.....there surely must be something about me which encourages dogs to bark!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Fun Stuff for a Change, and Filling in the Gaps

There was lots of joy sprinkled in with the "fun" of dog sitting last weekend. One of my dearest friends came to visit and stay over on Saturday. Sue and I share a long history and have seen each other through some milestone events in our lives. I was just thrilled she could come and stay so I arranged a little surprise. She had not met baby Teddy yet, so shortly after Sue arrived, Jason, Alison and Teddy came to the door for a visit. Sue was thrilled....our boys did some growing up together so Sue is about as thrilled as I am that they now have this beautiful son. Alison looking very lovely for someone with a newborn! Teddy slept a lot, although, I did get to fed him a bottle and cuddle him.

Proud Daddy!

Sue delighted to hold Teddy for a time.

This beautiful amaryllis is blooming in my boss's kitchen and was a very cheery aspect of my 5 days with the dogs.
Last but not least. My new chapeau...last week, TJ Maxx held a customer appreciation sale to atone for the huge credit card breach last year. Everything was 15% off. I had stopped in for a birthday gift and saw this hat marked down to $5. With the discount, it was a little treat I could afford. I added the beautiful pin which my daughter bought me several years ago and it is perfect. It fits well and does not do too much damage to my coiffure.....I've had to hide the hat at work as some "jealous" co-workers have been trying to steal it!! Just makes me feel good, and right now, I'll take what ever "feel good" I can find.

In other news...My sister-in-law, Trish (mother of Bob the cat and others!!) lost her mother last weekend. She was ailing but died sooner than expected. Trish has lots of loving suport from family and friends and that will carry her through this time.
My Florida family is dealing with end of life issues, too. Son-in-law David's father is gravely ill with double lung cancer. We all await the prognosis which should come Friday. It is a sad time for them all. Anne and David have opened their home to "Big David" until they know what will happen. It is life, but it is painful when those you love are sad, and far away! They are meeting this difficult chapter of their lives with aplomb and love. I am sure Theo is a comfort and offering some comic relief!

LM's daughter, Meaghan is leaving on Thursday 1/29/09 to join the US Army!! We are very proud of her, but there is trepidation for obvious reasons. She is one brave and gutsy girl and I have a feeling she will excel and make us all very proud. It will be a wrench for LM to see her go as he is very close to all his children. Thursday she goes to Fort Jackson in SC for weeks of Basic training. After that she will go to Ft Hood in TX for 16 weeks. We will miss her but the Cape is offering nothing for work right now and this will afford her the opportunity to finish nursing school. Her work here fizzled out and she had to drop out of nursing school.

LM continues caring for Bob, having no time to himself at all, and we are craving time together. I can barely talk about it with him without crying, and it just plain hurts. His days are filled with personal care for Bob, laundry, coordinating VNA and Dr appointments, paper work, making meals and trying to keep things in order. We are still waiting to hear when the PET scan will take place. There is a plan to begin chemotherapy but right now Bob is too frail to endure its rigors. LM is completely devoted to seeing Bob through this with the best possible care. Now even our phone calls are very short as Bob needs so much help. By the time LM gets Bob to sleep at night, I am also asleep, so in the morning, I find a little e-mail maybe sent at 2 am. We miss each other so much yet I find myself avoiding opportunities to see him because I just do not want to start crying and make him feel bad. So hard. It will resolve itself......someday! Our love is strong!

Ms Graysea is happy to report that her own personal cat couch has returned home, covered with essence of dog, but she's just happy to have her favorite "place" to sit back in her realm. That "couch" is pretty happy, too. Somehow all the issues I've been dealing with seem lighter and more manageable, now that I am home with the civility of my dear little feline friend. No barking all night!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dog Weary

Sammy & LizaI really, really LOVE cats!! Having just completed my last night attempting to sleep at my boss's house, I am very much looking forward to being at home tonight, cuddled with Ms G, knowing I will have a bark-free night. No more having to stagger out of my warm spot, walk across cold bare floors in a huge house to let those critters out at 1:30 am, 3:30 am etc. I have no idea why there was so much turmoil with them the past two nights, but maybe they picked up on the storm raging in my body, mind and spirit. There is just way too much happening, and the battle to catch the life ring is daunting.

I'll be back when I am "on shore" again. I have many to help, a full-day of work to do, and one more visit to the dogs.

On a positive note, when the dogs woke me, and I struggled to get back to sleep, I used that waking time to reach a meditative spot which helped release my mind a bit from the fray and that infernal "committee" which can take up session in my thoughts. They do argue a lot and have a knack for bringing up worries from all sorts of angles. By using meditational breathing and focusing on my breath, I was at least able to adjourn the meeting in my mind.
Peace and positive thoughts to all.

On the humorous side....when the picture above of my doggie charges was taken, my friend, Sue was visiting and they were at full attention as she made her new I-Phone bark! It was very funny. Shortly after the photo was taken they went charging to all the windows to find "the dog."

Friday, January 23, 2009

Lovely Day in the Neighborhood!

Sorry for being away from the wheel here for awhile, and this will be brief.

Busy, busy, busy!

House sitting while my wonderful boss is in Paris with his wife (unhappy Ms G).
Lots of people needing comfort and positive thoughts in my world -
Many celebrations happening
Friends to cook for and walk with and just enjoy
Cats and grandsons to cuddle
Try to rest, ha, ha....

I'll fill in the detes when I can

It really is a beautiful sunny day here despite the cold!

Happy weekend.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009


Sounds and scents can really pull the trigger on intense emotions. In another life, I lived in a place of abject fear, and the sound of the automatic garage door opener could make every muscle in my body tighten, and the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. I heard the repeated sound of a door opener today.....except I was not near a garage. Where that came from, I do not know, but I was right back to 4.5 years ago. Post traumatic stress seems, most days, to have disappeared, except in my dreams. It makes me physically sick and causes me to shut down my feelings. Painful. It will pass, I have faith in that fact. In another instance today, I looked at a picture which came my way unwittingly, and there was a direct link to the abuser. Maybe I need these reminders of how far I have come, and how I will never have to tolerate bad behavior again

I am channeling the angst by cleaning out drawers and watching endless episodes of Mad Men...a good place to hide out.

As I was cleaning, the scent trigger came in to play and it was pleasant.....a little sample packet of Chanel my mother's favorite scents. Took me away from the sound of the garage door and tapped in to a different sense. Pleasant.....and now I smile as Ms G, my ever present sweet distraction is engagng me in play. She brings me her little Nerf ball and drops iton the keyboard for me to throw.
Just a little bit of my quiet MLK day at home.....reflective, as it should be, and how nice that so many are full of hope right now. Me, too!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

From Freeze Frame to Slow Motion

Warming up here but I am sort of in hibernation mode. The illness I had last week still has a bit of a grip on me and the cough persists. I'd planned to visit Dad today but he called and said not to come as he is so worried about getting sick from a visitor. We had a nice conversation and I was heartened knowing he has a nice schedule of activities today.

Mixed in with the recovery is a deep sadness after visiting LM and Bob last night. On one hand, it is so beautiful to see the loving care he is receiving from LM, but on the other, he is so frail and can hardly move without assistance. This once vibrant pilot, who I am sure could have executed the same safe landing in the Hudson we all witnessed this week, is a mere shadow of himself. (in fact, he did make landings like that when flying in Vietnam) It is life, I know. I find myself beating down my desire to tell LM how much I miss "our" time together, time to walk, be close and loving in our own special way. As always, with him, I didn't have to say it, he said it for me.....he knows, but he also knows, he cannot be anywhere else.
We did all share a delicious dinner which gave me great joy to prepare....baked swordfish, baked stuffed potatoes, and a pretty assortment of fresh veggies. Thus, I must focus on me and what I can do to keep myself strong during this interlude, and stay in the day by reining in my thinking.
So today, I am staying in, and maybe or maybe not, cleaning, exercising, reading, or cooking. I am going to just be! I have another day off tomorrow to do whatever I want.........limbo.....maybe bring a movie to Bob and LM. After all it is winter and I could even take a nap!!

It is so exciting to be waiting to see the inauguration this week. Yesterday, I was at my local knitting shop and I saw the most beautiful moment between two women, who had obviously worked on Obama's campaign....they spotted each other, flew into each others arms and began to cry tears of happiness. They had both torn themselves away from coverage of the train journey from PA to DC to come to the great sale at the yarn shop. After a long tearful embrace, they held each other at arm's length, and exclaimed, isn't it the most wonderful moment in our lives?" I think there were very few dry eyes in that tiny shop. I paid for my Noro and Addi's and was on my way, feeling very, very grateful for having been there at that moment, and for living at this time in our history. The beauty in everyday!!
For my dear, SIL...I add this picture of the LYS purchase! (2 skeins).
From that beautiful moment I moved on to take a few photos of the sparkly frigid day.
Stage Harbor Pier looking East

From Stage Harbor Pier...a wintry view of Sand Dollars, a beautiful house built by my company.
Heading toward the lighthouse and crossing the Mitchell River Bridge....Boats frozen in, no shellfishing today.
From the other side at Mitchell River. When you click to enlarge this photo, the trees visibly bend toward the northeast....evidence of how often the southwest winds blow here! There is a beautiful old sea captains house in the trees.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Freeze Frames

There have been freezes in every direction these days: spending, salaries, some relationships, it seems in every direction, right now even the air is frozen here in NE...just a bit colder than the usual. Last night when I got the call from FL that daughter, Anne, was canceling her trip to visit with us this weekend It was yet another, freeze, at least in my plans. She is staying home to care for her family which is in several crises right now. The health of her father-in-law is in deep peril, and her son, Jared is in a crisis with his college life. As I prepared to sleep after talking with Anne for a long time last night, I realized that this "freeze" in plans, is an event of the kind I have often wished for (be careful what you wish for, girl!!) in my life....."stop the ride, I want to get off" seemed like the perfect time to think very clearly and just be. A gift of sorts to reflect, plan and rest, even though not being with my dear, dear daughter is so hard.

This feeling is one I have been hearing often from people who are laid-off right now. They are re-thinking and simplifying their lives, examining ways to make their lives sleeker and more functional. Using the time not working to make connections with people they may have been dropped by the wayside in the rush to make money and stay in a job. They are focusing on their emotional and physical health, keeping their families secure and even having time to help others cope in this temporarily uncertain time.

Anne is doing an admirable job of helping her loved ones to rise above the dire matters facing them right now. She is a very strong and courageous woman, wise enough to listen to, absorb and admire the wisdom of her own children, and make the correct decisions for herself and family. If this freeze in plans had not happened, I may not have had time to really listen to what was so important for her and her family. We will see each other soon, we have daily internet contact, and nothing can break our bond as mother, daughter and best of friends!

Certainly, my life with LM is in the deep freeze (only in the fact that we cannot be together as we would like....our love is burning brightly!)right now as he pours all his energy into the day to day care of Bob. I visited them last night and felt so confident that everything possible is being done to keep Bob comfortable and happy. He was thrilled with all the goodies I brought. I love to cook and bake so much, so invariably there are treasures to be pulled from my freezer when needed. Bob is a frail 129 lbs right now, and before surgery in early February to remove a large bladder tumor, he has been ordered to gain weight. Last night, I brought apple pie, meatloaf, brownies and some decadent cinnamon rolls (Bob's true fave). LM has his orders to use butter on everything, and to give Bob lots of ice cream. May sound "unhealthy", but those things will give Bob a cushion of weight he desperately needs. At least I know they were made with whole and mostly organic ingredients and not from "junk". Those treats were in my freezer to prevent me from eating them!!
My son and wife, as they enjoy their new baby, Teddy, are also in a "freeze pattern." It is really serendipitous that Jason was laid-off two weeks before Teddy was born. They are all home together, soaking up the joy, and giving love to their beautiful child. Jason has remained positive and I have never seen him so happy. He will be returning to work in March, after giving his son the gift of his unwavering presence. A beautiful thing to see.

This morning, we are facing a dangerously cold day in the deep freeze and snowy, but my heart will feel warm and happy, knowing the people I love, although not with me, are doing so much to help and comfort others.
It is not an easy time......but we all have a choice each day as to how we will think, act, and react.
There is a lot of hope in my scope right now!!

....and snow, too!

Hope everyone is warm and safe.

The view from my window this afternoon at work.......

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Some days are such a study in contrasts that they astound me. I started off the day determined that I was feeling better and would not cave in to the fact that I barely have a voice. First matter at hand was gathering the energy to get out of bed and take a shower!! As you can see below, Ms G jumped in to my spot as soon as my feet hit the floor, convincing me further that she knows what is best for me, as there is no way I would have disturbed her royal highness by climbing back in to bed.Empowered by a cup of Earl Gray and a shower, I decided to tackle an ongoing issue, that of trying to reach the Social Security Administration by phone, for help with my claim. I have spent 20 hours, YES 20 hours over the past month, on hold. I was told to file my claim on line in Oct.....I did, and the process was quite painless. At the time of filing, they issued me a confirmation number which I was to use in any subsequent communication with SSA. It has served to get me nowhere. They also told me that I would receive contact by mail confirming that I would start receiving checks January '09. Having heard nothing has been very annoying, and this morning's call was just as bad. After waiting 35 minutes on hold, a very disorganized woman who did not communicate well, took a bit of info from me, put me back on hold and finally came back and said my claim has not been processed yet and to call back another time. GRRRRRR.
Raspy weak voice and all, I was off to work after dealing with my ice covered car. The morning was tough and I really just wanted to come home and sleep all afternoon and not be stressing my voice. At lunch, I perked up and talked myself into going back to the office (it helped nicely to have a few minutes on the phone with LM). I was not back at the office 10 minutes, when I got a call from a very kind gentleman at the local SS office!! (His call was unconnected to any of the calls I had made for help in the last two months.) I was informed that he is handling my claim and just needed one more bit of information from me. Just think, if I had not gone back to the office, I would have missed his call! I was able to fax him the info within 10 minutes and it looks like I will be hearing from him very soon about my benefits. You see, Ms G made me keep going this morning....she's a little angel.

There were so many things happening in the lives of my loved ones today....some good, some sort of troubling, and some tragic.......LM called me 1/2 hour ago to give me the news that Bob has an aggressive form of bladder cancer. It is heartbreaking. Many decisions to be made, many arrangements to be made. They are taking it one day at a time, but right now it is paramount to build up some strength for Bob and this news certainly doesn't cause him to want to take in more nourishment. VNA is helping and within a week there will be surgery to remove the tumor. Radiation has been ruled out and it looks like Bob could not survive chemotherapy. It is a miasma of "what to do's" right now. Bob is kindness personified and it is so painful to see him suffer.
So it has been a day of our all too brief conversation this evening, LM and I (really all Bob has for emotional support) decided we will handle this as simply as possible with a focus on compassion for Bob and making him happy and comfortable physically & emotionally. Tomorrow he wants to show LM where some of his very valuable collections are kept, and my sweet man agreed to make that possible and just let Bob enjoy the process, as it means so much.
He is also very determined to get all his papers in order, finish his will, etc. It is only 2 years since LM lost his dear Lillian (partner of 12 years) to cancer. This is bringing that all back for him but he seems resolute and focused on what he must do to help his dearest friend ride out this storm, wherever the winds will take them.

Another work day looms, and I must continue my own recovery so I can be of more help with Bob, and enjoy Anne's visit later in the week.
Contrasts and tests are certainly motivating.....we have our share. I am going to review my gratitude list as I tuck myself in next to Ms. G.

Lessons from the Infirmary

Ahhh, a tiny bit of health is returning to this aged wreck......along with it appreciation for some very minor victories:

the ability to speak a sentence, albeit in a croaking voice, without coughing to near choking.
swallowing without cringing
sleeping for hours at a time, not being awakened by headache, etc
return of a modicum of hope (my life can SEEM very bleak when I get sick and am alone)
tasting some lovely raspberries on my oatmeal
returning to my friends at work
maybe seeing LM, at long last, as we are missing each other terribly.....there was no way we could risk transporting this plague to the VERY frail Bob.

In many ways this has been a very "strange" interlude as I did not have TV in the background, only community radio with music once in awhile. I worked on knitting, did some reading when the headache allowed, and watched several movies which happened to be hanging around for just such a time. Mostly I slept and ENJOYED the silence, Ms G ever vigilant on my lap or by my side. Out of these things, come time for thought, a rarity it seems during the holidays. I'd been going at such a hectic pace, perhaps my body knew better what I needed, but, please, next time, choose a kinder way to make me rest!!
There is still a way to go, as an exhaustion is hovering over me and the cough persists. A few more days, I think. By midday yesterday at work, I was struggling to make it to 5, but I did!!
Trying to focus on the recovery.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Because it is just after 5 am on Sunday morning, I cannot sleep, and my brain is so addled that I cannot think beyond surviving the next spasm of coughing, I present the Mousecapade photos, perfectly caught by my sister-in-law, Trish, on Christmas Eve Day. The main characters are Bob (AKA my Mom in a cat suit) the 25 lb. tabby & white Manx, and Harley, the ragdoll. These two characters spent about 8 hours playing with the mouse and never killed him. I saw part of it in action, as I wrote on Christmas Day or thereabouts, but Trish was able to take these photos throughout the day. When I showed these pictures to my cat friends a work, they thought it was a toy mouse...oh, no, my friends, this is a really cute real mouse. I actually saw the mouse sit up calmly on his back legs and go nose to nose with not available at that moment.

Point of entry??Moving into the dining room, and help arrives....

We are an easily entertained family....
Bob is allowed outside during the day and he kills many, many critters he finds - chipmunks are his favorite, but indoors he will not kill!! He has even faced off with a huge tom turkey who had the audacity to walk in his driveway.

Now returning to coughing and resting. At least I am knitting. I have 6 rows done on the "Just Enough Ruffles Scarf" which I am making with the beautiful, shades of red Manos merino wool sent to me by SIL, Jenni.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Plague Lingers

Can't quite get rid of the plague that has laid me low this week. Thought I would be better enough
to see Dad today but not to be. This has been a weird cold which started in my throat and ears, traveled to my chest, causing a bad cough, and yesterday moved to my head causing painful sinus and non-stop runny nose, while still coughing. My head is in a vise. Oh, well, this too shall pass, but my ability to focus on much more than where are the tissues, water and throat lozenges, is nil. One wish would be to turn off the guilt machine which keeps wending its haunting ways into what consciousness I have and nagging me about not seeing Dad, needing to go to the store, finish projects, cook something for Bob & LM, etc. I just need to rest, but the haunting will not stop. Ah, the life of the caretaking woman.

Wishing everyone a nice weekend and may you escape this plague!!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Squirrel Hunting

I am certain that anyone who leaves a pet at home during the day wonders just what they do in our absence. It is all too easy to imagine them having a secret life and heaving a sigh of relief as their owner leaves for the day, so the party can begin. Most days when I leave in the morning, Ms Graysea is cuddled tightly in the covers in my bed, and when I come home at lunch she is in the same spot. This week I have been home a few days dealing with a not so nice respiratory condition and yesterday I got to see, firsthand, some of the fun which goes on when I am at work! She launched a full-fledged squirrel hunting expedition and there was quite the racket. After a lot of effort put in to chew through the wire cage, Mr. Squirrel had moved to the top and managed to get the cover off my birdfeeder.
Below is his approach to the spot where the birdfeeder hangs, just outside my south bedroom window.
Here he jumps on and begins to chew on the wire surrounding the feed tube!Next he proceeded to the top and removed the cover, quite deftly, by the way, but I missed that action with the camera. I scared him away and brought the feeder inside. One angry squirrel began to bang on the window and Ms G was quite intrigued.
Here they are, eye to eye.
As he began to travel along the outside window sill, she was batting at the window.
It was a noisy and funny scene as the squirrel really began to get agitated....he could see the feeder but not reach it through the glass. Finally he took off. Now I must change the feeder location because he has quite the scheme going to get to it. I will move it to the east window where there is no way to get up to it.
Fun and games, Ms G style, and a momentary break for me from the pain, coughing and sore throat.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Healing Balm

Nothing like a surprise visit,, a hug and a smile from my dear LM to make me feel better despite still being quite sick. Bob was resting and LM felt confident enough to leave him for a bit to drive over to Chatham, ostensibly to buy fish for their dinner (I live practically next door to one of the Cape's best fish markets), and to stop by for a few minutes to check on me. He also said he's been worrying about Ms G forgetting him so he had to see her, too. It was a sweet interlude in sort of a lost day. I slept most of it away, waking only to drink and respond to demands for treats (patting of the paw on my cheek). Finally forced myself to stay up after LM left at 4:45, made myself a delicious little meal, and spent time in my chair wrapped in a quilt reading. Back to bed at 7.
I'll share my delicious meal with you. I love spaghetti squash and when I remember to make it, I am always so happy and try to make myself a mental note to do so more often.
A day in advance, I split the squash in half the long way, scrape out the seeds, and bake it at 350 (this can also be done in a microwave with a tiny bit of water 8-10 min or until soft), cut side down, in a bit of water for about an hour, until a knife pierces it easily. After cooking and cooling, I wrap and refrigerate both pieces. When ready to serve, I take an inverted dinner fork and rake out strands (raking from stem to stern) onto a serving dish, drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and put several large scoops of meatless spaghetti sauce on top and heat in the microwave until hot. It is so easy, delicious and healthy.
The sauce is one I usually keep available. It is just cooked down diced tomatoes, roasted garlic and some basil. The squash strands are a perfect substitute for pasta in my book! I also sprinkle about 2 tsps of parmesan on top. Try it, you'll like it.....No photos....just not up to even thinking about that right now. Spaghetti squash is also delicious with a bit of blue cheese or gorgonzola melted atop. Actually, the possibilities are endless.
My head still does not wish to be upright, back to bed for me. Coughed deeply all night and slept in 10 minute intervals. I'm considering this sick time as "it" for the winter. I will not be sick again!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Caught by a cold, or some weird affliction which began with a seriously painful persisting sore throat. This morning, the struggle to decide whether to go to work or stay home is over. I need to lay my head down. Swollen glands, headache, overall achy, etc.

I have my little gray nurse to care for me and LM is checking by phone as we certainly do not want this spread to Bob, although I was with him on Sunday....scary thought. He is so frail. Ice and sleet falling from the sky this morning and it is a dark and dreary day...time to rest for me.

I'll be back soon! Wishing wellness to you all!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Back to "Normal" and a Special Visit with Di-Di

Oh, it felt so good to be back to my usual schedule today. Everyone around me seemed so happy, too. The day started off with everything encased in ice. I attempted to step out the door to get my paper at 5:30 and pulled my foot back in quickly, as I began to slip. After waiting an hour, the temps were up enough to allow a very careful journey to the car to run it for a bit. The doors were iced shut but I was able to free it without too much fuss. The paper was still beyond my reach on the ice and not worth the risk. By 7:50 most was melted and I was on my way to work.

Today was the day that LM appeared in court with John. The case has been continued until January 23, but that is a good thing as John is doing a great job right now. He is working every day, attending counseling, reporting to his parole officer on time, etc, so we are very hopeful that the continuance means they are giving him a little more rope to see if he stays the straight and narrow course. Great relief for LM and John, and me, as well.

This morning Teddy went to see the pediatrician and he is now back to his birthweight and pronounced thriving! After that visit Jason & Alison continued north to Hingham to visit Dad for the first time.
Below is a moment we thought we might never see. Baby Teddy was finally in the arms of his wonderful great grandfather, affectionately known in our family as Di-Di.Cousin, Nate has a turn holding Teddy
A beautiful family photo taken by my dear sister-in-law, Trish. Makes my heart sing & cry tears of joy!

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Yesterday was full of sweetness.....after the luxury of sleeping in until 7:30 am, I was up and out to pick up Kristi in Centerville to take her to see baby Teddy for the first time. She was so excited and came bounding out to my car, through the snow, her arms loaded with presents for the baby. Since before we learned that Alison was pregnant, Kristi had been telling LM and I that they would have a baby boy!! Bit of a savant, that girl.
This was the beautiful sight we saw as we entered their family room through the garage when we arrived. Jason, in the sunlit corner, cuddling his beautiful sleeping boy. I had all I could do not to burst in to tears of joy.Soon we were joined by Alison who had taken a break to enjoy a shower and some time to herself. She is looking great and has finally found some relief from the back pain which had been haunting her since the prolonged birth process.
It was such fun to hear these very new parents talk about how the days fly by as they spend hour after hour caring for and just gazing at their creation. Jason was laid-off in December just before the birth and he is treasuring the time he has now to be with his family every minute possible. Fortunately, he will be back to work soon and Alison is on a generous paid leave.

Kristi finally gets to hold the baby!
And then it was Nana's turn and I just could have stayed there all day! Why, we were even a bit color coordinated. That green scarf is the one I made from the beautiful handspun gifted to me by my talented SIL from Baltimore....It is so soft and warm. Just look at those sweet feet...they are so long and tender to touch. He has his great, great grandmother's long fingers, as I do....not as gnarly, though!
After tearing ourselves away from all this sweetness, Kristi and I were off to do some grocery shopping then I returned her home.
Next up was a visit to LM and Bob. They are doing better. There was my sweet LM, tenderly washing Bob's hair, and helping him to shave. All of that made Bob very tired but he looked and felt much better. At the same time, LM was simmering a big batch of chili. Bob needs to boost his protein intake and gain some weight. He is so frail it is frightening. I could see that there is progress though, and as I made my way home to prepare to attend a dinner party last night, once again, my heart was filled with love and admiration for my dear LM. We may not be able to be together right now but seeing his acts of selflessness with Bob is making our love stronger. Even sweeter are our late night phone calls after Bob is settled in bed and LM has a few minutes to himself...the first thing he wants to do is talk with me about us.

I did attend a lovely dinner party last night and met some very nice new friends, as well as found out some interesting facts about the hosts....they are clients of our company for whom I did a big favor at Thanksgiving time, and they felt they needed to re-pay me by having me over for dinner. No such need, but I was thrilled to be with them in their lovely new home and to meet some of their friends. As we toured the house, Andrea, the owner, was showing us the master bath, and on the wall was a spectacular small quilt primarily in shades of turquoise. It was pieced to represent an impressionist painting. When I asked about the quilt, Andrea told me it was made on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera (they go there often) and my jaw dropped. That is where daughter Anne and her husband David have their second home. It is a remote and mostly undeveloped island so it is likely my daughter has friends in common with my hosts of last evening. As an aside, I will be going to Eleuthera in late March with my daughter & SIL!!

We shared a delicious and healthy meal of chili on a cold winter's night. We ended the meal with a decadent chocolate torte....more sweetness to end a perfect day!

I have just finished decorating 5 dozen mini-cupcakes (some with peanut butter frosting and some with strawberry) for yet another party which I will attend this afternoon. This is with work friends and will be lots of fun. My friend Nick, recently laid-off, and his wife Mary are hosting. My very closest and funniest office friends will be there so I am sure we will have fun and I don't have my usual party apprehension.
After the party I will be visiting Bob and LM to bring them some cupcakes. Photos later!
Tomorrow, back to normal schedule and I am really ready.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Stark Beauty

The new photo at the top of my page was taken during the snowstorm on Wednesday. It was the view out my guestroom window into the side yard. At the time the colors seemed vivid to me, and a fine example of how nature can cloak the darkest time of year in such beauty. When I transferred the photo it looks like it was done in black and white and I really love the effect because it captured my mood at the moment.

Winter here on the Cape is very stark but magnified by the ocean light it becomes more beautiful than any words I can capture. With the trees bare, we are able to see so much more. There are many more glimpses of the ocean, houses, normally hidden, are exposed, and the silhouettes of the trees are eerie as seen against the sky, especially in low light; some with very wavy or gnarled branches, others perfectly straight. Although this photo was taken in the Fall, the gnarly branches are evident. This is a project designed and built 5 years ago by the company I work for. It sits on a remote island in a marsh and is an interesting place to watch the stark beauty which is Cape Cod. The marshes change dramatically with the seasons. It is so quiet here with just the wind in the trees.

In many areas we have sand hills or dunes which are covered with the very low creeping vine bearberry that turns a beautiful burgundy color in winter, and is particularly beautiful in Truro. Probably to make up for the lack of trees! Also, creating great beauty and sound in winter is the tall (sometime 8-10 feet) phragmites grass which grow near marsh areas...they reflect the low sun with a golden cast and they make a lovely rustle in the wind, their tall plumes bending as they wave. Unfortunately, they do choke out the natural marshes.

In the early morning today, on my drive to the beach, I passed many little creeks and marshes that were lined with ice, where workboats lay idle, looking very cold, their shadows even gray on the icy water.

I am off to capture some beauty of another kind this morning....a visit to baby Teddy and his parents with Kristi. Pix later!!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Years Day 2009

Weather kept LM and I in separate places for New Years Eve but it worked out well. I made a chicken quesadilla and had some perfectly ripe avocado slices along with it. Perfect dinner for me. The fairy princess curtains are completed, and I was in bed early in preparation for today....a day of helping Bob to settle in at home and making about 3 trips to various stores to help he and LM have what they need to focus on Bob's recovery. With all the snow and very severe cold it was a challenge.

Fortunately, I work with angels who made sure I was shoveled out, my car clean and the steps treated so I could safely leave my house this morning at 7 am.

It was pretty chaotic at Bob & LM's but once the VNA nurse had paid a visit, things began to calm down. We moved Bob's bed down to the dining room which will make it easier for LM to care for him. By the time I left at 3:30 to head home, they had been served a nice meal of pot roast and Bob was still swooning over the apple pie. There are a lot of challenges coming up but I think things will work out. Hardest will be the fact that LM is now not able to leave Bob alone so his work will cease and he will have to line up people to come in, in the event he has an appointment, etc. I was thinking about how this impacts my life with LM but I came away from them today with tears of joy in my heart. Just watching the loving care LM takes with Bob is a very beautiful thing, and makes my heart sing with gratitude. As busy as he was today, every chance he got, LM was giving me a kiss, a touch and an "I love you". Very sweet man.

The driving is awful here right now, roads still impassable in places. I am happy to be home.
Ms G was curled tightly in my unmade bed when I left this morning and I came home to find her in the same spot. I will be joining her early this evening.

I have a very hopeful feeling about 2009. I've made no resolutions except to greet each day with a positive attitude, show as much love as possible to all I meet and know, and to encourage others to do the same. Somewhere in my mind is a tiny bit of a notion that I need to focus on walking more......