An update, and thanks

You are a wonderful bunch—did you know that?

You have given me such support and I have been buoyed by it. Your comments and messages have moved me beyond my ability to express.

I’m back to give you an update, and am happy to say that the update is generally very positive!

After the stroke, Don was in the hospital and then an acute rehab unit for a total of six weeks.

He has been home for a month now, and is continuing rehab with outpatient therapies.

He is doing far better than I dared to hope when this all started. His physical strength is very good and he is mobile and takes care of his personal needs entirely. He has gotten back into the kitchen and done some cooking and we go out to eat regularly.

He has some deficits he continues to work on. He’s not driving yet and he has some issues with aphasia. He gets momentarily frustrated but is, overall, in a good place—I think he really understands how much worse off things could be, and is grateful.

I’m really, really grateful, for so many things.

My family has been terrific, as has his daughter. Even my mother, who suffers from dementia, has worked hard to be supportive and caring—once a mom, always a mom.

My sister has been an angel.

I never had any appreciation for all the therapists of the world—the physical therapists, the speech/language therapists, the occupational therapists. I have come to be fascinated with the knowledge they have and the work they do. And with their spirits and motivational skills!

We have friends, local and far-flung, who have kept in touch and offered endless, loving support.

And I count you among those friends. You have not let the fact that we’ve never actually met stop you from caring, feeling my stress and confusion, and offering calming, kind words.

It has meant so much to me!

I don’t know, yet, whether or when I’ll come back to blogging. I spend a ton of time now running the roads—driving Don to lots of appointments and spending time with my mother.

I’ve come to realize just how much time I devoted to blogging, to do it the way I wanted to. I have been using that time, lately, to weave. And the weaving has been awfully satisfying and important to me.

I’d like to be able to say that I am committing to being back here for real, that I’ll be posting and reading and commenting as I used to, but I don’t think that’s likely, at least for now.

I do want you to know, though, that my blog people—you and you and you—have meant so much to me through all this. I’m doing fine now, in part because of you.

Thank you so much.

It’s Snow Big Deal

A foot of snow in mid-November is unusual but, in this region, it’s no big deal. Not really.

And it’s always fun to see what the snow and wind leave in their wake.

We often get amazing sastrugi but this time around we got twin peaks.

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The table on our deck and the porch rails are a couple inches apart, far enough to give us two identical shark-fin-shaped piles of snow, about 18 inches tall.

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And this spider’s lovely work was further adorned by the snow.

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My sister says it says as much about my housekeeping as it does about the weather. I say the web is outside and that doesn’t count as “housekeeping.”

In fact, the snow makes the world look clean and sparkly as the sun shines today. The temperatures will warm soon and this will all melt. And, then, inevitably, the next storm will come and pile us up again.

But we have a cozy house, a fireplace, cats to cuddle, and warming beverages.

Winter is snow . . . big deal.

Shades of Autumn (photo heavy again!)

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This has been an autumn of incomparable beauty in these parts!

Do I say that every year?

I believe I do and, yet, this year seems special. It might be because I have taken more than the normal number of opportunities to get out and enjoy this fall. I’ve taken multiple leaf-peeping drives with my mom, made that trip to the Wild Center with Don, and had a bracing walk in the woods with a friend.

I’ve sought out autumn color, in panoramic views.

And up close.

In the mountains.

And by the lake.

Bright.

And subtler.

In my own yard.

The best thing about autumn here, maybe, is that it shows up everywhere. Even on the ugliest commercial highway, I’ll see one glorious tree. Or in a muddy patch, one bright leaf. At every turn of the road, is a new reason to gasp out loud and stop and admire.

This year I’ve made a point to drive rural roads where there’s so little traffic I can hit the brakes, put the car in reverse, and go back to take a good look at a view I glimpsed out of the corner of my eye.

And try to capture it in a photo, or ten, to share with you.

And still, I never, ever, feel like the photos do justice to the scenes. The colors don’t sparkle, the leaves don’t shimmer in the crisp breeze, and photos can’t convey the glory of it all.

And yet every year I try.

So here you have Autumn 2019. It was all an autumn should be.

The big rains and wind came a couple days ago and took most of the leaves down.

And we are reminded again of the evanescence of beauty, the moment that passes too quickly, that “nothing gold can stay.”  We must appreciate the gold, and the good, while we can.

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Adirondack Extravaganza: The Wild Center (photo heavy!)

Nothing lights a fire under a lapsed blogger like a blog-worthy outing!

And we took a quintessential autumn outing this week—to the Wild Center of the Adirondacks.

I’ve written elsewhere about this region of upstate New York I call home. The Adirondack Park is “the biggest natural park in the lower 48 states. It can hold Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier, and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks inside its borders.” 

About 20 years ago, the idea surfaced to build a natural history museum in the ADK Park.

Does that sound boring? It is anything but!

From that initial germ of an idea came the Wild Center, an amazing outdoor/indoor set of experiences that explains, informs, and celebrates the environment in these mountains.

Making the trip in autumn gave us the bonus of a glorious drive.

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The Center is in the town of Tupper Lake, about 1.5 hours by car from our house.

I could relay all kinds of facts and figures but the website does that better.

I’ll just show you some photos.

Planet Adirondack, a huge globe in a darkened hall, allows visitors to see storms across the earth in real time.

The animal inhabitants of the region, some living, some still informative in their preserved states.

Art of the indigenous peoples of the region and a place to make your own art

And a display to warm the heart of a weaver.

The Wild Center opened in 2006 but just a few years ago they added the Wild Walk. And what a wild and wonderful walk it is!

The attention to deal is amazing

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Lots of information

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. . . and inventive ways to bring it alive

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A small vignette along the way

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The seat of the swing says “Soar from tree to tree”

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Every inch of concrete walkway is imprinted with twigs and pine needles

The Wild Walk rises gradually from the forest floor to the level of the treetops.

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I can’t imagine a better place to teach about and honor the wonders of this region. And, even better, it’s all accessible to people of all generations and abilities!

We have many reasons to return:

  • to see the otters playing in their waterfall. They were shy the day we were there;
  • to see the place without marauding hordes of 12-year-olds. We arrived just as many buses unloaded kids on field trips;
  • to get a photo of me on the spider web! I really, really wanted that photo  . . . but not with hordes of 12-year-olds;
  • and to absorb more of the vast amount of information and experiences offered.

The lovely news is that we were given free passes to return! When we were leaving, I asked at the main desk for a phone number so, next time, we can call ahead to ask about the school trips (and avoid them!) The admissions manager overheard me and gave us passes to come back, as well as that phone number.

If you were visiting me and wanted to understand this part of our world, I would take you to The Wild Center.

And I would show you a moose:

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So soon . . . autumn

Imagine my surprise when, last week, on August 15, I saw this.

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Embers where there will be flames of color soon

The signs of autumn approaching are creeping in everywhere.

Apple boxes are appearing in orchards, with harvest beginning.

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Apples are even falling from some trees.

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The reeds in the bay start to grow brown, from the bottom up, as do corn stalks.

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What’s more fun about the photos of the bay, are the herons. We see them all summer but they’re solitary birds so it was exciting to see four at one time.

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They nest very near.

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The geraniums, bottom right, are on our seawall.

Late summer on the lake . . . it’s getting quieter already.

Are you seeing signs of autumn? Or maybe spring?!

Summer is a delicate balance

IMG_0239Remember when you were a little kid, when summer was unalloyed gold, just hours and days and weeks of playing and lazing about?

And then, eventually you had to get a summer job, but there was still plenty of time to ride bikes and do big splashy cannonballs into the water?

But then you grew up and bought a house, with a big yard. You became an adult. It seemed like such a good idea at the time . . .

At that point, summers changed irrevocably.

Now, summer is the best time, in this region where winters are long and fine days may be few, to do outside chores and upkeep.

We have been working like dogs!

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We have been sanding the deck and the steps and all the other outside wood, sanding it and filling cracks and repainting. We need to seal the cedar siding on the house and paint the trim and deal with the gardens and so many other tasks that can really only be done in the summer months.

But summer is also the best time to enjoy our lovely lakeside location, in the beautiful region where we live.

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It’s the prime time to bask in rare perfect days.

So, we work for the delicate balance that is summer.

We clean the house and plan meals and enjoy time with family and with friends but we balance that with time for just us two, alone, where we find ease and contentment.

We balance the time our cats spend outside, on the roof, in the gardens, lurking in the bushes, with our annual trips to the vet with each of them.

We turn our attention to the details of our surroundings, how the color of that purple iris is nothing like the color of this one.

And wonder whether frogs are like snowflakes, every one unique.

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And the first buds of the first flowers, ever, on the climbing hydrangea.

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We have flowers on the climbing hydrangea!  And they said it couldn’t be done . . .

But we also look to the wider view, the sky that seems bluer in the Adirondacks on Lake Champlain than anywhere else ever. And the dancing white sails of boats, finally set free from winter.

We balance trips to the local ice cream shop, for Outrageous Oatmeal Cookie and Chocolate Moosetrack ice cream, with brisk walks and weeding and more sanding and painting. It is, after all, bikini season (bwahahahaha!) and the best time to be outside, moving one’s muscles.

Summer is the only time, in my purveyor-of-vintage-linens persona, when I can take decent photos of larger vintage items, like blankets and big tablecloths, so I balance ironing and picture taking on sunny days with making new listings and other Etsyfying on days of gray.

Through it all, we kind of lose the idea of a lazy, hazy summer. We’re never bored.

Summer can be hard work. It can be physically exhausting. It can feel stressful, trying to fit everything in.

We balance all that with strict rules about quitting time. We meet at the fire pit, out by the lake, at 5. I might do some hand sewing but no other work is allowed.

We put our feet up. We chat. We plan the heavy lifting for the next day, we have a cocktail, we listen to the foolish kingfishers chatter, and watch the cats snack on the catnip plants.

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And these really quiet moments are all the sweeter because our bodies are tired and hands are sore.

There will be time to be lazy and hazy during the winter . . .

It’s summer now.

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