Thursday, December 16, 2010

My New Year's resolution is to return to writing my blog with a vengeance!

I have been away solving problems: health, family, snot and vomit - you know, the usual stuff.

But baby I am back!
I promise a new look and enthusiasm for 2011. There will be stories, photos, pathos, maybe a bit of humor, but always a truthfulness.

See you faithful followers then!!!
Happy solstice, merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, Kwanza and New Year!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

this is harder than I thought!

I'm having a bit of a hard time this week with gratitude.
So today I will only say that I'm grateful for the delicious cornbread served at lunch.

That's all.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

gratitude, continued.

Today I am grateful for the poor man from DishTV that has been up and down on my roof, in and out of my livingroom, emptied every single tool and receiver out of his truck, and is still here trying to install Dish service.

He got here at 7 a.m. It is now ten minutes to three.

The poor dude.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The glass is half full.

Today I interviewed a lovely woman who is dedicating her life to positivity.
You know, that elusive state of mind where you see the good and reject the bad.
Not an easy task. Negativity seems to surround us - the clerk at the store is grumpy and foul-tempered.
A family member misinterprets a conversation.
Television shows are full of murder and mayhem, even the comedies.

I've been thinking all day about how hard it is for me to see the positive aspects of many of the situations and stories I find myself writing about.
How can anything positive come from the death of an entire family, including a four year old, in a car crash? How can three young men drowning at sea carry even a breath of positivity? or fires? or drug incidents, or any number of bad news events. Some days it seems as though I wallow in bad news and some days that is very difficult to withstand.

And then I found myself thinking of that sweet, violin playing Rutgers freshman that jumped from the George Washington Bridge.
An indisputable tragedy, for certain.

But look at the national conversation it has started.
People are actually talking about kindness and acceptance. They are talking to each other. They are posting on Facebook, having conversations on talk radio and television news. College campuses are holding vigils and seminars on acceptance.
Could all of this outcry of wrongness over this suicide and what led up to it possibly churn off a little positive energy? Could it spark a tempest of outrage?

Could one young man or woman who feels outcast - different than their peers - could one person feel a little hopeful?

Could one person feel less alone, less stigmatized, less shunned?

Could one person who has been hateful begin to understand what it feels like to be different than the rest of the crowd?
Could one person who has been hateful begin to understand the implications of their actions and thoughts? The implications of a limp-wrist joke? The power of insults, name calling, derision?

And, taking it just a small step further, could that person's viewpoint and actions shift - actually shift - away from hate to acceptance, to a place of actual caring?

The woman I interviewed this morning suggested everyone start a Gratitude Journal and every day list three things to be thankful for.
Today I am thankful for L, J, A, V and D, who have shown me that courage wears many faces.
Today I am thankful that the world is at least paying attention to the loss of one young man who had to fly from a bridge to find peace.
And today I am thankful that a conversation has begun in many dark corners about acceptance.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sincere apologies - I have been remiss.

I have been so busy here Down East over the past year that I have truly neglected my blog.
Oh yeah, I posted some pictures here and there.
But I never really had a good conversation...never shared the depth and breadth of my life or debated world issues or the joy of relationships.
Now, There are so many changes under way that I have decided to post with renewed vigor - every day!
So today is devoted to my apology.
When I first moved Down East, I was believing that it was going to be a slower, easier day at work for me. HA HA and HA.
I have never been so busy in my life! It's been a good busy however and I've had so many new adventures. I also discovered I'm a boat whore and will do almost anything to go out on the ocean.

But an old ugly habit reared its head - I tend to let work overtake my life. If I have no plans, I work. If I am lonely, I work.
I fill every hour with scanner traffic, calls for information, research.
This has to stop.
When I went on summer vacation to Cape Cod with BFF Donna, I returned with a promise to stick to a 40-hour week. Most weeks, I am doing well. Some days, I fail miserably. But I'll keep at it!
Also, I made a promise to my daughter go to the doctor about an annoying problem and I did and it has been corrected! Just this little change has brightened my spirits tremendously.
(Okay, all my Goddesses - don't start bombarding me with questions. I will give no answers. I only mention this because I am now happier and more content than I have been in a long time.)

I'm heading into my second winter in Sweet Pea Cabin and I'm really looking forward to it - definitely a shift change for me. I always saw winter as such a burden. Now I'm waiting for that snuggling in feeling and that I have plans for several fall/winter trips helps ease that feeling that winter can be endless.
I'm headed to P'town later this month, Florida in February and likely NYC in March or April.
Winter doesn't scare me - I've instead shifted to a settled feeling.

I have also begun swimming again. I know this is ridiculous but I stopped because my bathing suit kept falling off. Really. It was 12 years old for gawd's sake.
I ordered a new one on-line and it took 8 weeks for it to come!
So it is back into the pool and I'm pleased.

I am finally also coming to grips with being without my best friends from P'town. It has been an extraordinarily difficult transition. I've made a dozen trips back over the past year to visit and have been so fortunate to have several BFF's come up here and visit. But still the shift to spending weeks without my friends......not an easy road,

So, I apologize for being neglectful.
That changes today.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Finally, the reunion photos! A great time at Danny's house!

The wonderful, beautiful Karlin welcomed everyone that came - even though there were a few bumps in the road like an overflowing dishwasher, a crash between a two year old and a husky, a drowned ATV, a great time was had by all~

Here is my niece Jessica setting up her tent - I think after a pretty horrible experience at Lovely's Motel in Newport, everyone will be tenting next year!
There were horseshoes - here's Danny and Russ getting very serious...
And lots of fun conversations...girlie style...

The talent show was a big hit - Here is Tobin, my great-nephew, showing off his hula hoop skills!

And his sister Amelia was amazing! The pair won best in show and got the first annual BETTYFest award...

Even Karlin performed - here he is doing the Smarty Pants Dance!

Yup, that's me with Jenny's arms! We did a Julia Child's skit about making the perfect peanut butter sandwich while drinking wine directly from the bottle!

Jenny acted as awards' announcer!

My sister Debra performed Sandra Dee from "Grease"...

My nephew David sang (the only accomplished performer in our group!)

And the boys did a terrible finger-snapping poetry rendition....just so bad!

My sisters were Sonny and Cher and really made us laugh! That's Susan on the left and Robin on the right - they were fantastic!

We can't wait for next year!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Connecticut wedding!

Connecticut was cool and raining most of the weekend. Boy did they need it - everything was crispy brown, burnt by the very hot summer they are having. My son's garden only had sunflowers left in bloom... On Friday, it was off to Danielle and Steve's wedding in West Hartford. Danielle is my niece - here she is coming down the aisle with her dad, Pasquale.

And now she and Steven are married! I just love the way the sun decided to shine on them as they turned from the altar.

Here they are greeting people outside the church - look at the evil eye my sister in law, Jennifer (jiffy) is giving me!

The reception was held at Aqua Turf, an amazingly beautiful venue about a 1/2 hour outside of West Hartford. God bless Google directions!

My little Karlin says "Hi Grammie! Can I have your camera!"

Russ and Taryn were there too! Didn't they look great?

But the music was tooooo loud for little Karlin I think. Such a serious face!

Daddy enjoys a quiet moment with his little man, overlooking all the fountains.

Here's a sweet shot of the groom, Steven, talking with his new father in law, Pasquale.

It was a great weekend but ended on a sour note: Trudy had planned a goddess party at her house for Monday night and so I arrived expecting a gathering. Her brother, however, has taken a turn for the worse so there was no party. I ended up heading home and it was so good to sleep in my own house!
Tune in tomorrow for unbelievable pictures of BETTYfest, the Kiley reunion at Danny's house that we held two weeks are in for a treat!

Monday, August 2, 2010

weekend company - YAY!!

My dear friends Donna and Janet came this weekend for a Downeast visit. It was so wonderful to have them here! I love Downeast but it is hard without friends...I think most of the people here have large families around them and do not host friends the way we did in central Maine. I had a party a while back and there were almost 40 people that came and said what a great time they had. But....not one return invitation. In the full year that I have been here, only one person has invited me to their home. One.....sad. and lonely....and that is why visits from my beloved Pittsfield friends are so important to me. We laugh, play and just have such good times together. Thank you for coming D and J!

Part of our weekend was spent on Campobello Island, where Donna's parents are buried. We paid our respects and then hit the park. Do you believe this view????

We hiked for a while Friday afternoon (on Saturday they did TWO hikes - Bold Coast and the Western Head Preserve while I worked for a couple hours) and talked and laughed the whole time!

Donna in a pensive moment on a pier at Campobello....she spent many days here in her youth and was feeling so comfortable and at home on the island.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt's cottage - an amazing park, an amazing historical tour.

And we timed it right - the gardens were glorious in their blooming, including the dahlias below.

Saturday night was for enjoying gourmet pizza, drinking wine and playing dominoes. When they left Sunday morning, my heart was heavy. I miss everyone so much and just love sharing my beautiful Downeast with them....

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I've been painting up a storm....but first =

Just a little dinghy (haven't we all been there) sort of abandoned in a flower-filled field. Neglected. Forlorn. But at the same time just lovely and peaceful.

Fish on a plate....inspired by Cape Cod....

I've been painting red teapots all weekend. Big ones, smaller ones. Fat ones and tall ones. I am having so much fun. There is something magical in a tea pot - I actually have a small collection. Women have been gathering around tea pots forever: sharing their secrets, telling their stories, seeking comfort and solace and celebrating joyous events and accomplishments. Not to mention how damn good a cup of tea tastes.....

See anything you might like??? Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

It's very quiet here on the hill....

Sweet Pea Cabin is silent today.

My little Kiley has gone away to the beach with her parents until Sunday.
While on the one hand I will miss her little voice, her sweet smile and her emerging personality, a little time to myself is going to be interesting. I've already put a second coat of poly on the freshly sanded living room floor without worrying about little footprints ruining the finish, and I'm taking myself out to dinner tonight - a good beginning.

Here's what else I intend to do:
1. Paint all day Saturday without interruption.
2. Walk around in my underwear.
3. Eat junk food anytime I want.
4. Turn my music on REALLY loud.

I will also call her three times a day to see if she is having a good time and cook her a special sgetti dinner when she comes home! I'm already missing her giggle...and the way she climbs into my bed AFTER I have already made it....and how she arrives each morning and asks for toast....and how she smells after her bath when she comes over for a kiss and hug good night....and how she knocks on my office door and asks me to go to the beach in the afternoons...yikes. Sunday can't come fast enough!

It's interesting to see how completely I have shifted, first from having a house full of children to then living alone, to now sharing my life with my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter across the driveway. There are times when I crave a little quiet and alone time; while other times I march across the driveway every fifteen minutes to visit.
It's an interesting experiment and we have to be careful to be very kind to each other so we don't interfere, hurt each others' feelings or overstep personal boundaries.
I think we do a pretty good job and we are having such a wonderful time sharing our dreams, goals, ideas and lives. What an exciting journey!

And I still miss that little pumpkin....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Finally...The Cape Cod pix I promised!

Don't you love this painting??? There was so much art on Cape Cod and in Rockport (MA) and I swear Donna and I went into every gallery we passed..... In Sandwich on the Cape we went to a sculpture garden and salt marsh walk. The sculpture below is called "Nest." Do you see the nest of stones inside the outer structure?

The walk to the salt marsh took us over a VERY rickety rope bridge over a bog.....scary!
One of the days, we spent the whole morning and part of the afternoon at the National Seashore - from the temperature of the water, to the number of people, to the absence of rocks, we were certainly 100 percent sure we weren't in Maine! I am going to have to paint this trio of colorful umbrellas...
I found a new boyfriend in Provincetown. Everywhere you looked, there was art.

This little village of plaster architecture graced the entrance to one of the best galleries....

The bay at Provincetown is full of pleasure boats - very few working vessels.

In between the many stores and galleries at Provincetown are little garden entrances to even more special places....
And here is my lovely traveling partner - Donna - test driving a new pair of earrings.

Look at that sky - this is the National Seashore and it is incredible.

We had the best time. New adventures, new sights, laughter and good food. But most of all it was wonderful to just get away for a bit. Since I've been back I've been keeping to my new rule: no more 60 hour weeks. I head to the beach in the afternoon if I have a night meeting; I stop when my day is done; and I've been painting, painting, painting. The galleries and the atmosphere at the Cape got my artistic juices flowing.

Since I've been back I've gone on a whale watch, hiked the Western Head Preserve, and taken another trip back to Pittsfield to visit with Donna and friends (and see amazing fireworks!)
Sorry about the delay in posting - I promise to be more prompt!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New Bedford and Rockport, the last two stops on our vacation!

New Bedford, Massachusetts - The City That Lit the World - is a city full of history. The whaling industry built the city and beautiful captains' homes - such as this magical pink one - are part of a lovely walking tour. We even saw the home of Nathan and Polly Johnson, who gave shelter and food to hundreds of fleeing slaves in the Underground Railroad, including Frederick Douglass. We were both so moved. It is a city made for walking - narrative plaques tell the history all around and we stopped first at the visitors' center for directions and advice. There was a great 20-minute movie about the city and we left laden with brochures and a clear sense of what to see and do.
This is the pulpit at Salem Bethel, a Quaker built church that was founded to save the souls of fishermen lost at sea. I found two relatives of my dear Eric's on a plaque commemorating lost sailors - they were cousins of his father's. Herman Melville has a marked pew in this church.

The whaling museum has enormous whale skeletons hanging overhead in the entry. Artwork and history from the whaling time made for a great visit.

Step into the jaws of a whale.....

All of the streets in downtown New Bedford are cobblestoned and when the cars go by, everything rummmmmbbbbbbles.

Here is a little view of the port - which is a short walk from downtown and the museum over a pedestrian bridge above the highway. It is very commercial still. Lots of draggers and fishing boats, including the one - very aptly named - below.

I wanted to sneak aboard and steal its life preserver with the boat's name on it but Donna wouldn't let me....

Here is a magical knot garden in one of the sea captain's mansions. The house is now used for professional offices but the garden is completely original. Following the walking trail is a must if you go!

And then we drove through Boston onto Cape Ann and into the picture-postcard town of Rockport, Massachusetts. A little sailing regatta was under way. There are two harbors: a working waterfront and a country club sailing harbor. There's a breakwater and lighthouse and vistas to die for. There are a gazillion shops and tiny restaurants and we didn't want to leave. I could have stayed for a month!

These kayaks presented a pretty picture (I took this one for Donna) below the rooftop restaurant where we had dinner. I enjoyed a fabulous sangria and we had salads....yummmy! And a man waiter - I always love to be waited on by men.

Behind all the shops were the living quarters and several tiny, lovely beaches. This village is a rare treat and one that is not too far away from Maine. We left after dinner (dark) and stumbled into our beds back in Pittsfield about midnight...

Tomorrow I'll treat you to pictures of Cape Cod - marvelous and inspiring!!