Monday, December 31, 2007

Wait a second................

Just as I finished writing my last entry I looked out the window and saw this.......a winter sunset. The saying is certainly true, "If you don't like the weather, wait a minute."
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There has been record snowfall for December in Maine, so I read in the paper this morning. There is no reason to doubt the statistics here in Eastport, where it just snows and snows. Undeterred, I decided to dig my car out to go to the IGA. I needed ingredients for a recipe Sherillee sent me and wanted to make it NOW. It took some time, but I managed to get on the road and to the store. I pretty much looked out the side window to find my way. The wipers just couldn't keep up with the snow on the windshield.

I took my camera so I could capture the storm, snapping randomly from the store parking lot. Then I went down to the breakwater and photographed the harbor. Between the driving snow and my unsteady hand with the zoom lens, I wasn't able to do as well as I would have liked. Still, the pictures have a certain atmosphere that captures the idea. They are grainy because I had to sharpen them to get any detail. The driving snow obliterated much of what I was looking at.

Along with my being in my old house, the winter is repeating itself weather wise as well. The year I moved here there was a big snow storm beginning just as the mover's drove away. It was followed by an ice storm that crippled the northeast for weeks. I am not expecting a repeat of that, but the snow makes me relive my first days in Eastport. I was undaunted then, as now, and remember writing about my winter surroundings in my journal. I think I will look up my entries and make some further comparisons.

It is New Year's Eve. I imagine a lot of the festivities will be canceled, which is too bad for the organizers. For myself, I am just as happy to ignore the fact that another calendar year is over. So the earth has rotated around the sun again, and come back where it was 365 days ago. It doesn't stop and look back, it just keeps on twirling and circling. It's all any of us can do.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Day

Despite all the tumult of the last several weeks with moving and illness, Thom and David managed to make Christmas as lovely as always. I had a very small part in the preparation of the wondeful meal featuring crown roast of pork (I made the green feet). With it there was stuffing, asparagus with lemon butter, tomato pudding, creamed onions, then rum cake and home-made ice cream. They had put up a perfectly shaped real Christmas tree and decorated it with silver ornaments and white lights. It was beautiful and elegant.

During the afternoon I went over to open gifts with them, and was struck speechless by their generosity toward me. My gifts to them certainly paled, but I tried to avoid comparisons and the ensuing guilt I could have felt. It would have diminished their gifts to me for all of us. As it was, I allowed myself the luxury of pure gratitude and appreciation for what I was given, and for the friends who gave it.

On Christmas Eve, we had dinner at Sydney and Richard's, along with other friends of theirs. Our traditional Mexican meal was delicious as always and Sydney's party favors amused us all. They were the kind of toy cars that go on their own once you spin their wheels a couple of times, and they flew around the table constantly after the meal was over, interrupting conversations and lending a childlike atmoshere of fun and levity.

So, in spite of my fears that changes and recent events might adversely effect our holiday, nothing of the kind took place. If anything, the preceding weeks probably made the occasion seem all the more worthwhile. It was a kind of symbol of steadfastness in the face of change. It pointed up the importance of ritual and constancy without inflexibility. We have all experienced many kinds of Christmases throughout our considerable individual lifetimes. Each in its turn is appropriate and notable, in its own way, the best.
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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Chickens' Christmas

I made crackers as hors d'ouvres for Christmas dinner so I took some out to the chickens. A lot of the snow has melted and they really enjoyed themselves (and still are as I write) in the back yard with their treat. It makes me feel glad to see tham so fat and happy, even Demeter. Their brief exposure to the world of major pecking order seems to have them thanking their lucky stars for tyheir own small flock. Demeter used to have a raw spot on her neck from apparent abuse, and now she is all healed up. I suppose it's possible that poor Hannah was the one who was doing it. If so, Demeter is certainly happier for Hannah's untimely demise.

Anyway, Merry Christmas, chickens, and many happy returns.
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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Back Door View

I started this painting at David's over a week ago. I didn't get very far with it, but felt that it had potential. On Wednesday I took it to Art Day and changed it a little. Looking at the actual view several evenings, I realized that the real subject was the light of the sun getting ready to set so early in the day. I could see the warmth coming through the trees against the coldness of the foreground snow.

It's interesting how sometimes it takes a lot of observation to extract the specialness from a view that you see every day. This is what I see every time I let the dogs out through the shed door. The side of my house is on the right. The steps to the left lead to a second floor apartment of the house next door. They are actually not quite so close, but I wanted the interest there. I liked the painting in the end.
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Friday, December 21, 2007

Winter Solstice

This is how the shortest day of the year looked from my house at about 4:30pm. The whole sky was pink, even facing north and east. Campobello, our constant horizon, appeared cold and deserted. The Eastport streets are very icy, and I fell down today as I walked the dogs, despite the grippers on my boots. In fact, just before I slipped, I was thinking how secure I felt. I bounced back up again before the dogs even noticed I was flat on the ground, unhurt and embarrassed.

Christmas looms, speeding toward us with unprecidented speed. It's a different Christmas coming, with David somewhat out of commission and Thom here handling most of the preparations. Thom's relatives loom in the background, people I have never met who are suddenly part of the scene. Thom has not been so much incorporated into our Christmas as we have been incorporated into his. It's different, but not unpleasant, and we are still going to the Lessons and the Carols on Sunday as David and I always have.

Change is inevitable, and I stand on the sidelines watching the world shift, watchful and curious.
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Sunday, December 16, 2007


Here is the portrait I painted for Thom to give his cousin. I love honoring the relationship between a person and an animal this way.
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Stockings, etc.

Listening to one of my favorite Christmas songs from "Alabama Christmas," I was flooded with memories of my own childhood. I still have the stockings that Mike and I hung every year until we were adults. They have been chewed by mice in some storage place, but the tattered remains came into my possession.....I don't remember how. I also don't remember who embroidered our names on them, but it seems to me that my mother made them and decorated them. If not, it was my grandmother. There is a picture somewhere of us as little children sitting on the floor in front of them hanging on a chair behind us by common pins. That Christmas is too early to be in my conscious memory, but it is a replacement for memory, as many snapshots are. Other Christmases are recorded the same way and exist only for the brief moment when the camera clicked. There's me at age 6 holding my new baby doll, Carol. There I am standing with my brother and two cousins in front of the Formica kitchen table, all of us dressed in safari outfits we received as gifts. There we are years later, before yet another tree, looking at a book
that is presumably a present. I wear glasses and my hair is in a pony tail. Mike looks to be about ten, and the little boys probably four or five. Not recorded are the Christmases of my teen years, though they do exist in my mind in a way the photographed ones do not.

I can't say that I remember those years fondly exactly, but they are clear in my mind as bits and pieces of many Christmases. Christmas Eve with Dr. Berg in attendance......Our pet monkey, Chico, dancing on the top of Dr. Berg's white head. Chico plucking at the man's eyes, sticking his fingers up his nose and into his mouth as the seventy-something year old expounded in his thick Russian accent on some philosophical point or other, unaware or uncaring. My mother was already in bed with a stomach ache, Mike was gone by then, and the three of us stayed up all night drinking wine and talking about large issues, thinking great thoughts.....My father and I making a recording of ourselves as Walter Cronkite and the virgin Mary at Christ's birth, talking about the event as it happened, live and on camera. He was at his hilarious best, my father, imitating people both famous and ordinary. I played straight man for the most part, though I admired my own performance as much as his.

In those days our Christmas presents were labeled with the name of world figures my father pretended had sent the gifts.......Nikita Kruchev, Adlai Stevenson, Leonard Bernstein, Elvis Presley, etc. We played the game, discussing how thoughtful these people had been and wondering how they knew just what the right gift would be.......My father infuriating me by writing "Like Cool Yule" in popsicle sticks over the archway to the dining room. The square turkey......the shrimp and cabbage cole mother squinting over the cigarette dangling from her lips as she cooked the Christmas dinner.......

After Carrie was born we became somewhat more conventional. Mike came from Florida, and we had wonderful family Christmases that smacked of carols and eggnog, big trees and Santa decorations. When my father died it mostly stopped, and after the Christmas fire it did stop completely. That last time was a memorable one ......a candle set fire to curtains upstairs in Amber's room, Mike noticing the smoke when he went into the hall and unexcitedly told us to call the fire department, joking as he threw pails of water at the flames that it was a good thing he had smoked all these years to accustom his lungs to smoke.... the fire department coming, Jesse out in front of the house in freezing weather in his underwear holding the five dogs....broken windows and a tarp covering the first floor....water finally crawling into stinking, smokey sleeping bags amidst the smoldering rubble only to be forced to get up when the kitchen caught fire again. My mother, bewildered by early Alzheimer's, refusing to get into the warm police car in order to look for the cat. What a good time we had in the following days, reliving the event over and over, laughing at the irony of it, joking about our filthy clothes, our smoke smelling hair. We laughed at ourselves, sitting down after the fireman left and finishing the dessert we were eating when the fire broke out, rescuing our plates from the sink where the firemen had thrown them in order to move the table. The moment when Jesse sauntered upstairs after Mike and I had settled ourselves and the dogs on the floor of the charred second floor to announce calmly, "Mama, the kitchen's on fire." Amber joking, "I didn't like my Christmas presents so I set the house on fire." All of this was an endless source of conversation and utter amusement.

I loved my family, myself included, for how wonderful we all were in the face of that disaster, how despite everything we were so good humored, organized, and resourceful. I still smile when I think about favorite memory.
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Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas Tree

Yesterday I dug my Christmas Tree out of the closet where I had so recently stored it and set it up. Along with it I placed the nativity figures I bought last year in the stable I got at the thrift shop. When I had finished putting it all together, I wondered why I had done it. No one will see it but me, and the passers-by on the street. I basically have no religion. Yet the rules and customs of Christianity are the basis of much of our culture in the United States. It's impossible to ignore or live outside of religion, and most of the American population is Christian. At least this is my impression. Our governmental bodies open sessions with a prayer, our money says we trust in God, we pledge allegiance to our country "under God." I have a difficult time understanding how this can be, how multitudes of people can believe as they seem to. I've read that over 80% of Americans say they believe in God.

It mystifies me that people I admire, people I consider intelligent, actually believe there is a being who influences individual lives. Because of this, I have to question my own lack of belief. I base my beliefs so firmly on logic, as if logic were not a religion if logic were something independent of human thinking. I believe so firmly in the ignorance of humans to understand what goes on around and within them, yet even that is based on ignorance. All our thoughts and ideas are products of our human brains, and therefore not to be trusted. So how can I so firmly NOT believe? It is as rash and unsupportable as absolute belief.

So, I put myself hopefully through the motions of Christmas, including the story of the birth of a savior. Why not? It is a beautiful idea, and has inspired the greatest art of all time. That depth of the feeling is something I should envy. And I do.
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Monday, December 03, 2007

First Snow and Rockport Memories

Yesterday when Jesse and Sabrina left, it was a typical late Fall day. The weather report was for snow, which is why they left a day earlier than expected. This morning I woke up to the beginning of the storm, which is still going on at five o'clock. It's a fairly poor excuse for a winter storm, considering the dire predictions and cancellations, but it does the job of announcing winter.

The visit with the kids (I still call them that) was very nice. We had no time to do anything but visit and eat. Since we had all had turkey at Thanksgiving, we decided to have roast beef for Thanksmas dinner. It tasted good in spite of my recent vegetarian leanings. Since they have just moved into their own appartment, I gave them two paintings to hang on their new walls. They gave me a very beautiful bowl that is hand made with an unusual process, resulting in thin layers of fired clay that make the design.. The artists use horses as one of their subjects, which is ideal for me of course. I am thrilled with it.
Since it was too stormy for me to want to go out, I spent a quiet day. I painted for the first time in my new studio, but it was after the sun went down and I can see that something needs to be done about the light in there. The ceiling light is too diffuse and weak, but my spot light is so strong it reflects off the paint and makes it impossible to judge the color. Since I rarely paint after dark, it really wouldn't be much of a problem, but for the rare occasions I want it, I'll have to fix it.
Speaking of painting, I was looking at a book of prints the other day and the subject of the work was mostly landscapes of places I have painted myself. There were many of Eastport in the 30's and 40's, and many more of Rockport, Massachusetts where I spent such happy times at Betty Lou's workshops. Seeing the prints excited me and I suddenly wanted to talk to Betty Lou. I decided to give her a call, which I often want to do and don't follow through. When she answered the phone, she told me that she had just talked to Thelma and was planning to call me. It turned out that the printmaker I was reading about was an old friend of hers............As we talked, my call-waiting signalled to me that Thelma was calling. I called her when I had finished with Betty Lou.
The whole experience was so uplifting to me. The incredible coincidences that brought us three together that morning thrilled me. It seemed like a gift, as if the fates had decided to remind us of our connection to each other. When I think about my past, I always remember my trips to Rockport as the happiest times in my life. I was so inspired by Betty Lou, in such awe of her talent and her incredible ability to alter my life for the short time I was there and afterwards. She was bigger than life, inspiring in me something like worshipful admiration. She made me feel like an artist, and that being an artist was the most important thing anybody could be. I felt like part of a huge, wonderful family..... and part of the group of artists who followed Betty Lou, people so special to me that I will always be grateful for their presence in my life. Rockport was a magical place where art mattered more than anything else, and I was part of it. By my side was Thelma, smoothing the way for me to enter that world. How generous she was to include me, what an incredible influence she has been. Her own dedication to painting was an inspiration for mine. Her affection for me was a treasure that sustained me through so many difficult times and enhanced so many wonderful times. My affection for her is boundless.
The three of us bonded together into a unit, unlikely friends flung all over New England and then reconverging time and again to share our lives for those few days that often sustained me for the rest of the year. It's been a few years since we've been able to see one another. The phone calls invigorated me. It brought those memories to the forefront of my mind, and reminded me of what I had, and what I still have with them despite the distance. It reminded me of how fortunate I have been to have had such a very special relationship.
Nostalgia is sometimes unpleasant, but thinking of all of this is a pleasure for me rather than feeling sad that those times are gone. No shred of regret for things done or not done, said or not said, mars my gratitude for what our connection means to me.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

First Painting

Life has returned to normal enough for me to go to art day and paint. This isn't finished yet, but it's the view out the window of the guest room. There are a lot of great compositions from my upstairs windows, and I'd like to do several paintings of what I see from all of them. I feel like painting small canvases lately, and this is just 8x10.

It was good to be back to an ordinary activity. I had missed my friends and our time together.
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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Still Working

It seems as if I have spent a lifetime arranging furniture putting things away, and hanging pictures. Today I fixed up this corner of the kitchen and am pleased with the results. It's always exciting to rearrange my belongings to make a new home. All the possessions I have keep rearranging themselves like a kaleidoscope. There are so many permutations that even though the separate parts are the same, the whole looks very different.

Yesterday I spent an hour and a half untangling the bamboo mobile I hung in the hall. Every time I change its location it becomes incredibly snarled and knotted. I have actually come to enjoy getting it back in order. It's a mesmerizing activity. Each of my fingers holds one string and I maneuver them over and around each other until they fall apart. It's a delight when the nucleus of a nasty snarl is found and several strands are released at the same time.

I have also been doing a lot of small jobs that require tools. I think of David every time I pick up a hammer or a screwdriver. He gave me every tool I have for Christmas a couple of years ago. Everything is so much easier, and the result is so much more pleasing when the right tool is at hand. I am a sloppy worker, but even I can do a passable job with my many beautiful tools.

Under the activity my brain struggles with practical problems I can so far not solve. The dogs are getting out of the yard, the fuel tank is getting low, no rent or fuel assistance has come, the chickens need a house, I can't afford my medication. I'm anxious about David, anxious about Lytton, anxious about money. My car is making too much noise and needs repair. I've had computer and printer problems and spent hours on the phone with "technical support" with very little satisfaction. These things and more are like bees buzzing around my head as I move through the process of day to day living. I slap at them from time to time, but they keep coming back.

Well, things always work out somehow. There's no alternative. And basically I don't take these problems very seriously as I sing my way through the day.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Full Moon

When I took the dogs out for their walk at about 4:15 it was already quite dark. We are approaching the shortest days of the year. It is cold, and seems colder because of the almost constant wind blowing off the water. I should have dressed more hands were cold without gloves and my hooded sweatshirt wasn't quite enough to keep me comfortable. Still, I had to stop several times to admire the view of the full moon and its reflection on the water. This picture was taken just outside my front door, looking across to Campobello.

What an amazing place to live.
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Thursday, November 22, 2007


David is in the hospital. After a rather worisome period, it seems that he will recover and be home in a few days. He had an apendectomy and then some complications. These apparently stemmed from past failure to attend to symptoms that can no longer be ignored. I have pretty much remained calm and optimistic, not having the strength to be otherwise. Life without David is inconceivable. My mind rejects the idea so completely that numbness takes over if I try to comtemplate it. I can say nothing else on the subject, which is why I haven't mentioned it before this.

Toni and I had planned to have Thanksgiving with David and Thom, even after David's surgery. Thom had bought the food for the planned traditional meal. When David had to be transferred to another hospital, we had to abandon our plans. Thom brought the turkey over here, along with stuffing bread, etc. He left to be with David, and we were left on our own.

It was the antithesis of the Thanksgivings of my recent past. The starched white table cloth and napkins, the china, the silver, the candles, the elegant food and drink in a beautiful formal setting.........these were replaced by a dinner so casual it almost defies description. I did cook the turkey, and when it was done Toni pushed the recorder music and other paraphenelia we had been using to the side of the table top. Paper towels served as napkins, the cranberry sauce was served from its can. We drank water from the bottle and shook our pepper out of the can. The meal was bare bones--turkey and stuffing. I had made a pumpkin pie for the occasion last night, and we topped things off with two pieces each, smothered in whipped cream. The dogs were thrown pieces of meat and then licked our plates when we had finished.

Earlier in the day I had made the rounds of the several cats I am caring for while their owners are away for the holiday, opening cans of food and cleaning litter boxes. My charges were as grateful as any Thanksgiving guests could be, running to meet me and accepting seasons greetings with happy purrs and much head rubbing. I visited the chickens who clucked with what I interpreted as thanks for being home again. It was a nice day.
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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Return of the Chickens (minus 1)

What can I say? They are back where I want them to be. I couldn't rest until I had them back. It was wrong to have given them up. I will just have to make a place for them outside. I can visualize how it will be, but the execution of it baffles me for the moment. I did bring their old house over by way of the dolly, pushing and pulling it along the street from Wilson St. For the time being that is all they have. The weather is mild, though, and I am fast.

I feel so happy to have the chickens again that I wish I could hug them. They wouldn't like it though, and I was satisfied with the thanks they did give me by clucking and chasing me around the yard. They followed me up to the back door and waited while I went in to get their food and water, then hurried along behind me as I took their supper down into the yard. No one can tell me they didn't recognize me, and that they were glad to be home.

If only Hannah could have come, too............................

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Dog Pen, Visiting the chickens

It rained today, but that didn't stop me from putting up the rest of the pen for the dogs. This is Patrick looking things over in his new, expanded space. All three boys seemed to appreciate the room, even though it was dark by the time I had it ready for them. I have done quite a bit of work outside in the rain, in fact. Last night I dug up an area in front of the house to plant crocus and tulips. I found some bulbs on clearance at the hardware store, so took advantage of the sale and bought several packages. I haven't put them in the ground yet, but I will do it tomorrow. I know how happy I will be to see them come up in the spring.

I have been thinking about the chickens in their new home, so I looked up the address of their new owner and searched for it over in Quoddy Village. When I found it, I drove in the driveway and was greeted immediately at the front door by the man who bought Carrie's car. He told me that Hannah was dead. Then he took me out to see all the chickens, which were in an outdoor pen about a quarter of the size of the one I had. Their inside coup is even smaller, and there are twenty-four of them. Demeter and Annie were huddled together on one of the roosts, both of them with feathers sticking out at odd angles and raw places on their necks and backs. Mary was strutting around as if she owned the place, apparently fitting in with her new friends without a problem.

It's hard to describe the feelings that welled up inside me. I find it hard to get the picture of Annie and Demeter out of my mind. I abandoned them amd shirked the responsibility I took on to provide for them. I killed Hannah and sent the others to a cold, crowded place where they are picked on by more dominant hens and roosters. It's beyond my ability to comprehend and accept it all. I have come full circle back to the early days of my chicken experience when I couldn't protect them from raccoons and so many of them were killed.

Of course they are only a few chickens in a world where chickens are raised in terrible conditions and slaughtered routinely. They are "harvested" like vegetables. Millions of people are starving and suffering and dying all over the world. How insignificant the lives of my four chickens are. How ridiculous of me to care so much.
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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Wall of Me

I spent the day starting to organize my studio. This picture shows the one place where things look relatively settled. In trying to find space for the countless pieces of artwork I have, I decided to put all my self-portraits together on the wall. There are more, actually many more, but many of them are not ready to hang or are in the nude (a favorite school-era subject for me). I'm not interested in looking at myself without clothes every time I go into the room. At the time I was trying to come to terms with the way I looked. Even though I was modest to a fault in the flesh, so to speak, I seemed to get something out of making unflattering images of myself and presenting them to the public. It was a kind of nose-thumbing at physical beauty. The classes I attended with those young students was a real gift to me, and possibly to them. Working with them as equals despite the difference in age was an education in perception. The years melted away in most cases and we saw each other as just people. Their talent and intellect was equal or superior to mine and I enjoyed them no end because of their devotion to their art.

Only two of these portraits were done while I was in school.......the big one of me with Big Bird, and the white one to the far left, called "Self-Portrait with Headache and Bell Curve." At the time I had grown my hair very long and wore it in a braid down my back. As I was in my forties and quite over-weight, I was certainly pushing the envelope as far as acceptable appearance was concerned. Still, it was my late rebellious period....well, my coming out period, my self-discovery.

Lytton is doing better, and as I write he is beside me softly whining for his supper. I'm missing my chickens.
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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Coming Along

I've been having the usual problems of moving in that my internet wasn't working, TV cable is not hooked up yet, printer won't work, etc. Nevertheless, I work hard every day to organize my surroundings, and I am pretty well settled. I even have my stained glass windows installed together in the one usable living room window. It was amazing that they fit the new windows, since Joanne made them specifically for the other house. I think they look quite spectacular.

Two things have kept me on edge and unable to totally throw myself into the more pleasant tasks at hand. Lytton has continued to be sick, and the lump I found on his side exploded with blood a few days ago. I called Dr. Cloutier, who put my mind at rest as always. He said it must have been an absess from an injury in a dog fight and prescribed antibiotics. For two days he was his old self, but today he was shivering and lethargic, obviously in pain. I called the local vet and took him there on an emergency basis. A hundred dollars later he was pronounced in good health from stem to stern. I was given pain medication for him with the diagnosis of bruising from the absess. I had been giving him pain medicine, but stopped when he seemed to feel better...a stupid idea as it turns out. The relief I felt was well worth the money.

The second event that provoked tears of sentimentality and loss. I was told by Sue that I could not keep the chickens here as I had planned. That meant I had to find a new home for them. Every day that I went over to the old house to feed them I cried. They have been such a part of my life and even my identity (hence the name of this blog) that the thought of giving them up was almost unbearable. Luckily the mother of the man who bought Carrie's car has chickens. When I asked her to take mine, she was very willing. I agreed to help her get them in a box and into her car. When the time came, though, I found myself so emotional that I knew I couldn't do it without losing control of myself and sobbing like a baby. I called her back and asked her to get them without me, and she did.

That happened yesterday, and I'm still unable to think about them without getting tearful. I am over-sentimental in the extreme, and very melancholy about pieces of my life floating away behind me. I loved the chickens, and even more, I loved myself with the chickens.
It seems like a very significant change has taken place, another phase relegated to the past.

Well, I will soon get over them and move on ahead. It won't take long.
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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

So Much Work

It has been an incredibly tiring few weeks since I decided to move. I have settled in quite well, but there are still many jobs to do at the other house. The most noteable is the chickens. Somehow I have to make a place for them here in the cellar. When I can focus on what I'm doing, I'm happy to be here, and love the way things are shaping up.

Nevertheless, I am very distracted by Lytton, who is not recovering from whatever is wrong with him. By spells I am sure he is dying. The thought is unbearable and I lose myself to hysterical crying. Ann gave ne some pills to put under my tongue when this happens, and they do bring my emotions to a point where I can bear them. For a few hours I am able to go about the business of settling into the house. Soon enough, though, it begins again. We all live through a cliche in the face of great loss. It is more or less the same for everyone, I imagine.Why must we deal with inevitability with such pain? We ought to have learned how to accept what we can't change without the great gnashing of teeth, the screams of agony, the unending streams of tears that grip us and hold us prisoner.

I don't know if this is the time that Lytton will die. I do know that I live through that death every time he is sick. If the actual death proves to be worse than these practice runs, my mind can't comprehend what it will be like.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

End of Summer and Other Things

The Cosmos has been blown over by the wind and rain. I took this picture when I came back from the new house tonight. I have been taking boxes and more boxes loaded with my belongings over there for the last several days. The more I remove from the house, the more there seems to be left to move. My goal is to get everything but the furniture in place before the movers come on Thursday. Theoretically that insures a smooth transition without a lot of unpacking to do. The cupboards are already filled with my dishes. My small appliances are on shelves in the shed pantry. My biggest bookcase is in its place with most of the books on it. Almost everything in my studio is already moved. The boxes of memorabelia that continue to be something I can't do without are in yet another closet.

For awhile I felt nothing about leaving this house on Wilson St., but as the time draws nearer I am beginning to feel nostalgia creeping over me. This is to be expected. The place is tied to Phyllis, and Lisa and Will, and the kindness they have extended to me. Phyllis' generosity is the reason I had a place to move into when I lost my last house and failed to get a loan to buy this one. Will and Lisa cheerfully accepted the loss of the income they had expected from its sale. It's their part in my being here that makes me feel teary, not the place itself. I am anxious to be back in my old house on Water Street. I feel very much at home there, as if I am going back where I belong. It is where I began my life as a resident of Eastport and fell in love with it. As I walk around now putting things in their places, I feel at home. The ten years since I lived there almost melt away, but the house is better, and so am I.
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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Water St. House

I went over to the new house today to try to place my belongings in my mind. Sue was there and so was Marshall, fixing the ceiling tiles in the hall. It was quite a relief to see them working to get the place ready for the section8 inspection.

These pictures are a little flattering of the place, in that the details that need attention aren't evident. Nevertheless, the elements are there, showing what a pleasant place it is. I love the bay window, and the French doors in the living room. The finished pine floors are great. The third picture shows the dining room, which looks out over the ocean. In fact, all the windows on the back of the house have ocean views. From the second floor you see the roofs of the houses cascade down the hill to the water.

I wish I could wave a magic wand and be in the house. The moving process is so daunting that so far I have been unable to begin packing. I have begun the transition haltingly, making a few phone calls to change utilities. I left a message for the movers. That's the extent of my preparations.

Competing for my attention is Lytton's most recent episode of alarming physical symptoms. The vet says he probably hurt his back, and I have been giving him medication for pain. He seems better, but whenever anything goes wrong with him I become obsessed with the fact of his eventual death.

Meanwhile, I've spent some time with David and Thom, eating Fall food, like meatloaf and a boiled dinner. The tastes of comfort food sustain me. Talk of Thanksgiving raises my spirits. Last night we went to a play at the Art Center, a welcome diversion. Earlier I was at the library book group meeting, discussing "The Thin Place." There is one person there who irritates me with her egocentric manor and shallow approach to literature. Otherwise, I like the group and enjoyed my time there.

I feel that I am moving through some kind of dense fog with only a vague idea of where I am headed.
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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Here we go again

Well, I have decided to leave this house to return to the first place I lived when I moved to Eastport. As I thought about the coming heating season, the appearance of the "For Rent" on my old place triggered the idea. It is much smaller than this house, and should therefore be less expensive to run. I always loved the place, and there is something very comforting about going back where I learned to love Eastport. It is as circular as the seasons I talked about in my last post, even to the month I will move. I came here in November of 1997 and will return in November 2007............a slightly eerie coincidence. The thought of packing and moving is so daunting that I almost abandoned the idea. I'll get through it, though, as I always have, and will hope one more time that this will be my last move.