Saturday, January 31, 2015

Another Storm

 This is what it looked like when I opened the back door to take the dogs out this morning..  Since I had left my shovel outside, I hacked at the drift with the broom, then stomped a path through the snow for them.There was no place to walk really, but we forged ahead to the back of the house before giving up.
 The view from the front door.  Thje lilac bush is on the left.
Drifts at the house next door.  They are gone for the winter, and probably glad of it.  They live in Arizona in the winter.
 My front door, which I can force open but can't go more than a couple of feet.
 Also the front door.

Found my Christmas wreath is still hanging on the front window.

The trash can outside the back door.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a fairly good day, but there is another storm coming Monday....making up for its late arrival.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Big Snow

The morning paper, which I was shocked to find nestled in my mailbox, mentions Eastport again.  This photo is complete with the crumbs from the biscuit I was eating and a drop of strawberry jam.  It says we got 20 inches of snow, the most of any coastal community.  Because of the drifts from the high winds (also mentioned in the article), the snow is much deeper in most places, with almost clear spots in others.  I wasn't able to get out my front door, but the side door is almost clear.  The ground is relatively bare from there to the back of the house and the chicken coup.  Poor girls were out of food and I can't get anymore until my check comes tomorrow........even if I could get the car out of the driveway.  I made a batch of biscuits and crumbled them up, added a can of corn I had in the cupboard, and dumped the mix into their feeder.  They seemed quite happy, pecking away, as I left them.  Some snow had blown in under the door of their house, but it wasn't particularly cold in there.  The dogs refused to go out yesterday, mostly because I tried to get them to climb the snowbank in front of the door.  I refused to go out this morning, but having discovered the relative ease of navigating the side of the house, I snapped on their leashes and put them there.  I watched from the doorway.  They didn't stay very long, but long enough.  It is still snowing a little, but the man who shovels me out was here this morning, peering out of his furry hood, with a crew of five who made quick work of the walk and the driveway.  He'll be back.

The storm has been a relative non-event for me since we didn't lose power.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

post script

Well, I had only to look on the internet to find out who wrote "Wakefield"............Nathaniel Hawthorne.  I hope it can be had on my Kindle.

........has its limitations

My new camera (Olympus) is not a miracle worker, particularly set on "do your best without my help" mode.  ..........not to mention the fact that I was holding it between my chin and my upper arm, being pulled by a galloping dog, and trying to protect it from the sleet with my scarf.  We are supposed to get a big storm, so I took a picture this morning as the snow began to fall.  It was my intention to capture the progression of the storm, but so far it has not lived up to the dire predictions.  I still have hope, though, so I'm saving the picture I took this morning just in case.

I thought both the dogs would like the snow, but I guess it was too wet.  Willy, of course, was undaunted, but Patrick was unimpressed and wanted to go home.  He's looking at Willy in the picture
as if he is crazy.  Both of them are tired from the excitement of me sitting in a different chair in the living room this afternoon.  When I am on the couch, they gleefully jump up beside me and after a few minutes of rambunctious play settle down in their respective places beside me.  Today I wanted to try out a new knitting pattern, so I sat in the chair beside the couch where I could avoid their rambunctiousness.  You would have thought the world had turned on its axis.  Patrick got up on the arm of the couch and barked at me from less than a foot away.  Willy ran around the room, attempting to jump into my lap each time he passed me.   There followed a period of pacing around the room, more attempts to get into my lap, more barking.  I stuck to my guns, which is very unlike me (curse that damn afghan stitch), for about 45 minutes.  Then it was almost supper time for them anyway.  I stood up.......if they could have applauded I would have got a standing ovation.  There was much gleeful tossing of toys and chasing each other.  I think supper tasted extra good.

This put me in mind of a short story I once read.  I don't remember the author, and I'm not even sure of the title.  I think it was "Wakefield," or something like that.  A man who was sick of his life left his home and moved, I think, around the corner.  In my thoughts, though, he moved next door.  He made a whole new life for himself without anyone noticing him or recognizing him.  In all the years since I read it I have told my version of the story many times to illustrate the idea of it defines a person. 

I'm going to use this opportunity to speak again to my traveling blog friend.  I have commented on your photography blog several times as you travel around the southwest.  I have been to many of those places......I spent the night at the Copper Queen in Bisbee.  I was excited when I read about your trip and like following your adventures. My comments don't seem to get published, even though I am told in an anonymous message that they will be after they are somehow approved.   I see other comments there, so I know it's you know what the problem is?

....and if you know who wrote "Wakefield,"please let me know.  I'd like to read the real thing again and see how far from reality I have strayed.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

My New Camera

My Canon camera died, though I must say it has given faithful service for several years despite the abuse it suffered at my hand.  I ordered a new one with my Birthday money and it came yesterday.  It has a lot of features my other one didn't have.  I love it.  The top picture is an experiment with making a panorama.  Obviously I didn't quite get the directions and overlapped the middle.  Still, I like this picture of my dining room.  The other pictures are my latest painting effort........I am way behind on my obligation to give Phil two paintings a month.  These are fairly small, to accommodate the limitations of my right shoulder.  I'm very happy with them, and of course I don't want to give them away.  The last one is a copy of a commission I did a couple of years ago.  I am in love with the scene and have painted it a number of times in various mediums.  This is the only time I have done it in watercolor and it took some detail work I normally don't like to do.......I had to paint around the lights, which are details that took a careful steady hand. I'm proud of myself for doing it.

January has been cold, but though I dreaded the winter, I now remember that the cold doesn't bother me all that much after all.  I forget each fall how I adjust to my 55 degree house quickly.  It becomes the norm.  I dress accordingly with long underwear, sweaters, hats and gloves.  I have to say that my hands get cold when I have to use them for anything that requires much dexterity.  Using this keyboard is the most uncomfortable thing I do, but when I'm done I hold them under the hot water faucet in the kitchen for a minute or so.  That makes them tingle and then warm up............a sensual experience that I enjoy.  My studio upstairs is the warmest room in the house for some reason, so when I paint I bask in the warmth of a temperature that might be as high as 60, though I haven't checked it.  Ah, winter in Maine...

Monday, January 12, 2015

Finally Some Snow

Winter has finally arrived.  We have had a little snow now and then, but until now we have been exempt from the crippling storms elsewhere in the country.  Even this one, though it at least made it look like winter, is notable more for the cold temperatures than snow accumulation.  Today, though, the icy wind has died down and temperatures may have reached the teens( a guess on my part based on the relative comfort of our morning walk).  I decided to let the chickens have some air.  Apparently chickens have limited memories, since they looked at the snow as if they had never seen it before.  They were curious, but not enough to venture out while I stood there.  It's a bold move to trust the new environment enough to take the plunge.  Probably if I put a ramp from the door to the ground they would be more comfortable, but the ramp is inside now, from the roost to the floor.  Penny has become either afraid or unwilling to jump.  Actually I believe now that this surviving Rhode Island Red is not Penny after all, but her twin Henny.  This girl's personality is very different, but I didn't want to believe that Penny died.  It's not that I  felt less sad, exactly, but that I protected myself from the idea of losing my favorite.  Bold girls in the doorway in this picture are Bonnie and Dottie.  I imagine their curiosity has gotten the better of them and they are out in the yard now eating snow.

So today I have errands to do.  I will have to tear myself away from my various new painting, my origami, and my puzzle.  I sit in the various chairs that are at the ready at each station, ignoring the clutter and dirt piling up around me.  Late in the afternoons, when I have fed and walked the dogs, I read.  All day the lives of the characters in my book come and go in my mind.  I wonder what they are doing while I am away.

Speaking of books , I am enthralled with the idea of blogger Pamela's latest.  She inspires me to seek out books I would never have thought to get and have bought some of her recommendations.  Her reviews draw me in.  Like me, she loves words and they way they are put together.  Plot, even content, comes second, the clothes line that holds up the words.  Or that is the way I think.  On her recommendation, I read Proust in small doses, savoring the words and his way of seeing.  I've never been a fast reader.....sometimes I think I may even be moving my lips like a child learning to read.  Every word, every noun, every verb, every adjective, every preposition, receives my attention equally.  When I am happily occupied in other ways, I am still aware of my present book, waiting for me like a treat I have put in the refrigerator to eat later.  So, Pamela, I would love to read the book you talked about in your last post.  I have every confidence I would love it.

I sat down at the computer to post my picture of the chickens.  I've wandered away, possibly subconsciously avoiding leaving the house to go to the bank, the post office, and the grocery store.  My breakfast coffee is still sitting beside the newspaper I have not read.  I need to move.....

Friday, January 02, 2015

Eastport New Year

Eastport's New Year celebration has been famous for several years......actually since the first time 10 years ago.  It was so quirky that the Boston Globe actually picked up the story.  It still gets a nod from the Bangor Daily News.  There are tourists who come here to be part of it, and certainly the natives love it. I have not participated in the festivities for quite a few years, but I loved it when I did.  Now it just seems like too much trouble to bundle up and brave the cold.  I was up at midnight, cozy in my bed with my two boys, watching the Times Square celebration on TV because other programing had been interrupted for it. Of the two, I would have much preferred to see Eastport's salmon drop. Luckily the coverage was brief and my late-night talk show resumed.

I don't know when I stopped being affected by the coming of the new year.  As a young person I used to cry when I heard "Auld Lang Zyne"...I don't know how to spell it, but I know that's not it.  I also cried when the Star Spangled Banner was played, along with a host of other things that stirred my overly sensitive emotions.  Many of those reactions continued well into adulthood, but now I am mostly unmoved by contrived stimuli.  My Pavlovian conditioning has faded with the passing of the years...for which I am thankful.  I remember a period when I actually felt murderous toward the movie-makers who intentionally evoked the angst I could not control. (example: Born Free.)  I was so affected by Bambi that I never dared try to read it to my kids.  Just as well........they would have been traumatized, too.  Now the only thing in the media that reliably brings me to tears is the pleas from the Humane Society if the United States.  When I see it coming on TV I have to close my eyes and cover my ears. I have failed to desensitize myself, and even a glimpse of the ad sends me spiraling down. 

Well, it is almost my 70th birthday.  I guess it is pretty hard to consider myself anything but old, though it doesn't seem to bother me.  It is like New Years....a day that marks a day.  Every day has the same history, coming every year as it does.  It's somewhat of a surprise to me that I feel no different than I did from the time of my first memory of myself at 18 months old.  That same "me" that has always been is in tact.  It's the same person who saw herself as a kindergartener in the mirror on the way to the restroom at Hannibal Hamlin School, wearing an eye patch.  Same person who went to the senior prom in a red formal dress and long gloves.  I don't even remember ever having a different thought process.  The baby who looked at the lighted waterfall at Cascade Park, grandparents on both sides in the scratchy front seat of their beige  '47 DeSoto, is still, with minor adjustments, the same.  It raises the question of mosquito may take a bite of human flesh whiles another one gives it a pass, but they are still both mosquitoes.  Differences are all in the details.