Sunday, December 11, 2011

Where is MY Holiday Spirit?

Hi All,
I just stopped in at Dawn's The Feathered Nest to get a Holiday Spirit Adjustment! Dawn is such a busy woman and has time to make the sweetest ornaments and art and gifts. Check out her adorable snowman ornaments! I just love visiting her and seeing what she is creating now! I feel a bit of the spirit coming over me already...

So I dug out my little 2' tree. It is already lighted and decorated. It looks a little dull and sparse this year for some reason. Maybe that "country style" is not thrilling me as much as it would if I added some color and sparkle.  It has a rusty birdhouse topper, which is due for a paint treatment. Then if I just add a bunch of mushroom birds and and little birds nests, some pinecones and some snowflakes and glitter, it should pop a little, don't you think? Okay, I'm off to Michaels!

OR NOT!  I almost forgot that I'm grounded! I had a pretty major surgery on my right foot about 10 days ago and I have 5 more weeks "off my foot" to look forward to.  I can't drive, and I need to use a wheelchair. This is an odd state to be in, as I'm so independent and ready to hop into the car and shop any chance I get. Didn't I just spend days at Pier 1 and Homegoods searching for the perfect comfy chair for my "confinement"? Looking forward to being able to walk pain free, though, and not begrudging my 6 weeks!

Meanwhile, I look around me and find my own nest needs fluffing in a bad way. I wheel my chair to a messy spot and actually organize and clean it as I go along. I groom my houseplants and nurture them with organic fertilizer. I keep the kitchen clean and do the laundry. There is no escaping the fact that I am home and I can do these things! I don't have to run off to another meeting at the Senior Center or work or go shopping or visiting. I can relax and improve my immediate surroundings!

Clutter in every corner!
A few days ago I started channeling Grandma as I edged the wheelchair cautiously into the craft area of my living room-not an easy task, as the space had become really messy and overcrowded. I dragged everything I could get my hands on out to the kitchen table, so I can do something creative.  I'm starting with a tiny shadowbox in a windowed soap box. I have some collaged cards in the works and maybe some sort of banners. I have been wanting to recycle those soup boxes into something, so I'll see what I can create!

Craft room (some of it!)
Once I get snipping, glueing and stamping, the creativity should begin to flow. Then I'll wrap and embellish those small gifts I bought for the family at all the craft fairs this fall. (I am determined not to give any gifts that are imported from across the world at great expense to the environment--my little statement this year!) I have hand-made baskets, luscious locally made soaps, fresh pot holders, cozy alpaca socks, hand made jewelry, my own framed photos and cards, and maybe a big batch of rum balls to divvy up between everyone. I'll reuse brown paper bags as wrapping paper, embellishing all with my stash of scrapping supplies and my own gift cards. I will, yes I will!

Winter Wonderland
Okay, It's working, the Holiday Spirit is coming on. I can feel it--I'll get my holiday letter ready to send off and get to work!

I will...

Sending out my Holiday Spirit to each one of you!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hello, My Friends!

Oops, It happened again! I woke up and it's 3 months since my last post! A lot has been going on with me and I have had to keep my computer usage low for health reasons (long story). I have missed you all and hope to get back into visiting you soon!

So, my last post announced my imminent trip to Cape Cod with my friend Trisha. I just looked at those pictures again and decided to share them with you, now that winter weather is settling into New England.

We took off for the Cape the second week of September in the morning.  It is usually a 3 hour trip, give or take a little for traffic, etc., but instead of taking the usual way, we were following the directions from the owner of the cottage we rented. Big mistake! Providence is not on the way to Cape Cod from Western Mass! We pulled into town 5 hours later to find a charming little 2-bedroom cottage. Cute, cozy and totally equipped including a bottle of wine set out for us. We were several blocks away from the main roads and only a couple of blocks from the beach, so it was quiet and breezy the whole time.

We spent our days driving around exploring the area. We visited a lavender cottage, a winery, lots of lighthouses, shopped in Hyannis and Provincetown. We went on a seal watch and were surrounded by the adorable creatures fishing off the sandy shelves. We discovered pottery shops including one that made pottery castles. The grounds were a fairy land of castles, ponds, figurines, etc. Then there was wonderful seafood meals a couple of times a day. I was in seafood heaven!

We had beautiful balmy weather every day and the only cloud we saw was the day we went to Long Point Lighthouse. There was a big black cloud front coming over, adding drama to the sky for the photoshoot!

We walked to the beach in the evenings to watch the sun set, sipped wine and watched movies till we wound down and slept like babies in the soft sea air.

Friend Trisha
Now, after the Halloween Blizzard and a couple more wet snowstorms, fall is over in Western Mass, and winter is wrapping her cold, colorless fuzz around us. I have encased the porch in plastic sheeting to protect us from the west wind. I found it a good place to shelter some of my pots of perennials, as long as I remember to water them. I already miss that lovely outdoor room, and look forward to sitting out there again in April or May!

My porch, summer rain

The Saturday before Halloween, we had a huge blizzard! Pretty unusual to have snow that early. We got about a foot and a half of wet heavy snow, but a couple of towns North of here had almost 3 feet! Most of the trees still had leaves on them, so the heavy snow broke limbs and tore trees down all over the place, knocking down electrical and telephone wires.

I stayed with my Mom and her wood stove, she was without power for 2 days. Funny, you never think of the little things-I had not gotten gas before the blizzard hit, and couldn't find any stations open. I manually dragged Mom's garage door up and we got her car out and went to my house. Strangely enough, just up the hill from Mom, where I live, we never lost power! Brother Jim gave me a couple of gallons and told me to go up country and fill up there. It was just the opposite from most storms that hit the hills and taper off down in the valley. My aunt and uncle in Northern Connecticut were without power for 8 days! Needless to say, I was glad to get home.

Today was sunny and got into the 50's-what a treat! I savor the sunny days, storing up energy for the bleak months ahead. I am determined to keep my spirits high this winter and look for the beauty around me.

Hope you all enjoy your days!



Friday, September 9, 2011

Another Vacation in the Works.

Hi all,
I can't believe how time flies! Does this happen to you? You wake up one morning and it is a month later?

Storm coming in Vermont
A week before Hurricane Irene
We have weathered tornadoes, an earthquake, Hurricane Irene, flooding and another week of rainy day after rainy day! I was so sad to see the devastation from the flooding in Vermont. I love that state!
Deerfield River, a week after the hurricane/flood
Today I was shocked to wake up to nice warm sun. I'm so happy-and so are my plants. All my cherry tomatoes were split open from the overabundance of moisture. I'm hoping for a new crop that will stay in one piece!

Shelburne Falls, a week after the flood-usually a trickle here

High water mark. That WAS a used bookstore.

Tomorrow, I go on another adventure with my friend Trisha. We have rented a cottage on Cape Cod. I love the Cape after Labor day, when the crowds have gone and the weather is still balmy. I'm taking my laptop and hope to post some pictures of my trip during the week.

Bardwell's Ferry Bridge, near Bill Cosby's house
Our little brook
So I am cutting this short to get my packing done. Have a great week, everyone!


Saturday, August 13, 2011

My MiniVacation

Hi Friends!

Last week my friend Trisha and I took a mini-vacation. We drove 8 hours west--and I do love to drive WEST!--to Scio, NY to visit Trisha's old friends the Browns. Scio is a small town in Western NY, which we affectionately call Boringsville. It's not that boring, though.

A few of the Browns

The Browns have a big family and we visited with them all and cooed over the newest baby. Then they took us to Letchworth State Park, which has the Genesee River Gorge, aka the Grand Canyon of the East.

It is SO pretty--and I do love a good waterfall!--There were three beautiful falls through a deep rock canyon. The top falls has an old railroad trestle over the top. My pictures are not great, but you get the idea.

Oops, was I supposed to wear Pink?
We picnicked on stone tables in an oak grove near the lower falls. The woods were so pretty there. Trisha remarked that the tables looked like sacrificial altars. They were pretty cool sitting atop stacked slabs.

Trisha-left, Andrew-right
The next day we followed the Browns to Bully Hill Winery overlooking Keuka Lake. The view was fantastic and it was a gorgeous day. We toured the winery with a cute young guide, who was very adept at walking backward and telling the story of Bully Hill.

They used to be Taylor Wineries, till they sold to Coca Cola. Then when a family member wanted to go back into the wine making business he found out that Coke owned the exclusive rights to his name! He had to come up with a different name. The man was quite an artist, so he designed his labels with a goat on them. He said, "they got my name, but they didn't get my goat." There's a lot more to that story, but you get the general idea.

Patio overlooking Keuka Lake
After the tour and lunch on the patio and the gift shop, I tasted a couple of sweet wines. (I used to love dry white wine, but it doesn't agree with me any more, so I had the idea that sipping a little sweet wine before bed would be beneficial.) I ended up buying a few bottles.

Rolling hills of New York
Trisha and I then wound our way north to Route 20 and headed to the Finger Lakes region. We stayed in Skaneateles. A pretty very upscale town on the north end of Skaneateles Lake. The next day we did a little shopping, (I'll tell you the earring story later!) drove around the lake, stopping at antique shops and scenic spots, then meandered our way home. New York has amazing hills, farms, lakes, countryside!

In Imagine, my fave gift shop overlooking the lake
I do love to take a drive whenever I can. Dad used to take us for rides when he wasn't working at one of his many jobs. We drove all over New England, mostly Vermont. Trisha and I are naturals at it. We try to quote the end of The Blues Brothers about road trips, though we never really remember the words.  We also burst into song whenever appropriate-something will prompt us and we burst... She remembers the words and I remember the tune. We're a good team. Our Moms did the same thing. Our songs are a little more modern, but it's the same!

Maybe I'll try some of that wine tonight, before I bundle up and go sit under the stars looking for the meteor shower, though the moon might be too bright to see any meteors!

Have a Lovely week, dear friends!

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Nice Way to Spend Sunday Afternoon...

After a rather lazy week, I was glad to have a plan for this evening. The weather was ideal--breezy, dry, sunny with occasional puffy clouds.

 In honor of their birthdays, Trisha, Tamara and I packed our chairs, snacks, drinks and cameras off to an outdoor concert at the Three Sisters Sanctuary in Goshen, Mass. (

Tamara & Trisha

Built by Rich Richardson to honor his three daughters, it is a wonderland of stone, sculpture, flowers, water, glass, sprites and mermaids.

Everywhere you turn there is something else to see, outdoor "rooms", sculpture, standing stones, flowers everywhere (repeating myself!)

A big feature is the dragon fireplace. I've never seen it burning, but smoke would come out of it's mouth. Its spines are glass, it's wings are airy metal sculpture. Its tail is wrapped around a hearth set in glass, stone and metal with all sorts of curious objects in every nook and cranny.

The band was Jim K and Co, a bluesy, rock-and-rolly, jazzy blend of really good music by three real professionals.

We ate our snacks, strolled around the grounds and took pictures. People danced, drank, laughed, wandered around. Lots of cameras were in evidence.



What a great place for a party! We hope to come back for the Full Moon Concert and stay till midnight!

Well, Trisha and I are off to western New York state this week for a visit. Hope to see the Grand Canyon of the East in Pennsylvania and something of the Finger Lakes on the way home.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and I'll catch up with you soon...Happy August!

Hugs, Y'all!