Thursday, December 03, 2020

Good-bye, Sarah

 I hardly know what to say about Sarah,adog I've loved even though I never met her..  Only today did I find out about her dying ,  even though it happened  a little while while ago.  How did I miss it?  I am just recovering from a prolonged  cry, partly of regret that I wasn't able to respond to the post by my blogger friend sooner and partly because I will miss Sarah myself.   It is certainly a mixed blessing to love an animal so much, since their little lives are so short compared with ours.  Not too long ago I read an article in some magazine....I can't remember which one......written by a man who had just lost his collie dog.  He described the event, telling us readers first of the joy of puppyhood, the years of companionship and love, then old age and loss.  His final sentence was "Getting a puppy is the first step to devastation."  How well I understand.  But we do it over and over again, knowing the devastation their loss will cause us.

Well, my dear Blogger friend, I am so sorry.  I hope I will soon be reading some happy post revolving around a new, wonderful puppy.  I so recently lost Patrick, but I thank him for giving me his long happy life, them leaving me to love  Elliot.  I see him as Patrick's farewell gift to me .

Now, if I can pull myself together, I will turn my thoughts to Christmas Cactus.  They are very easy to propagate.  Just cut of a few branches and stick them in a glass of tap water.  Before you know it little white threads will appear at the cut edge(and sometime on the side of the cuttings.  Once these little hairs are half an inch  long, or more (sometimes I have left them in water for weeks--sometimes just days).  They will live in water for a long time.  I've forgotten about them sometimes until the roots fill up the glass I put them in before I  think to put them in soil.   These guys live forever, which is why I have so many of them.  I still have the original from the seventies. One of my neighbors has one that fills her whole picture window.

Well, I will go and console myself with my puppy.   My heart goes out to you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Christmas Cactus


I have several of these plants that all originally came from cuttings that I got from Roberta Belgarde.  She was my elderly neighbor when we lived in Newburgh in the early 70's.  Jesse was a baby, and Carrie was two years old.  She often invited me for lunch and babysat when I had to go to the doctor.  In front of her kitchen window was a dry sink bursting with Christmas cactus.  She gave me a cutting so I could start my own plant.  Over the many years since then (Jesse was born in 1974) I have continued to root cuttings from that plant and although the original doesn't bloom much anymore, its children thrive.  

I think fondly of Mrs. Belgarde (I always called her that) every time these plants blossom.  This year they are particularly prolific.  The mother hangs in the kitchen, and its offspring are scattered around in the dining room and living room.  This year they seem to think Christmas is coming early.  I can barely take my eyes off them.

Carrie has one of the offspring in her office in New Hampshire.  She has never been interested in plants, but I guess to humor me she consented a few years ago to take one  small cutting.  She named the plant Rhonda and has become quite fond of it. It happily blooms for her around Christmas every year.

You never know how you are going to be remembered after you die, and I'm quite sure Mrs. Belgarde never thought that she would live on in our minds and hearts because of these plants.  Another plant I have is a memorial to my aunt Faith, my father's sister who died many years ago.  Her daughter, my cousin, inherited the Begonia she had on her dining room table for years and years.  It was huge, and Beth divided it up among the cousins,  I have since divided mine so that I have Begonias  all over the house.  Faith lives in my memory because I never look at one of them without her crossing my mind.  


Monday, November 23, 2020

Time with Annie Dillard, May Sarton, and Elliot

 This is the latest attempt to regain my expertise in watercolor.  I'm getting there, I think.  This is from a photo I took down on the beach below my house....I don't remember when, but I was obviously walking under my own steam, so it was at least two years ago.  My hip surgery has been postponed yet again, so I guess I will be grounded for the foreseeable future.  I am not upset by this development, since having surgery during this pandemic is a risk I don't really want to take.  I am so used to using my walker that it hardly seems like a handicap anymore.

I watch the developments surrounding our presidential election with some trepidation, but I have some vague faith that all will work out in the end.  The only lasting consequence for me personally is my disbelief that the country could get into such a mess. I guess I could have anticipated that Trump would behave badly if he didn 't win the election, but not how badly.  The other depressing thought I have is that so many people supported him and, unbelievably, still do.

Meanwhile I go along with my reclusive life, pretty much unaffected by anything that goes on outside of this house.  I have my wonderful little dog to keep me company, my books and my paints to entertain me.  I ordered a new Kindle which came a few days ago.  I don't know what I'd do without it.  While I waited for it to come after my old one died, I amused myself by re-reading "An American Childhood" by Annie Dillard.  It is one of my favorite books of all time.  My Kindle died in the middle of May Sarton's journal at 80.  I look forward to returning to it where I left off, but I must say I find the woman a little unlikeable at times.  So what, though?

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

 So..........I'm picking up the accumulated clutter here in my dining room, office, bird sanctuary, and exhibition space and what should I find but a dog-eared copy of Loren Eisley's "Immense Journey."  It's a paperback with a torn blue cover and soft, yellowed, dog-eared pages.  Its copyright is 1946, a year after I was born.  This book was assigned reading for my freshman English class in 1963 and probably influenced me more than anything else I've ever read.  I still enjoy opening it up randomly and reading a page or two   Many of my paintings were inspired by those writings, but the biggest impact the book had on me was my view of the evolution of the earth and its inhabitants.  I always think, too, of Miss Fife, my professor, a fifty-ish prim and proper lady who obviously had a lot more going on in her head than one would think by looking at her.  I wonder what she would think if she knew how she affected my life...that shy, mousy, uncommunicative student slouching in the third row of desks, one of hundreds that no doubt passed through Miss Fife's classroom.

Well, when I saw the book this morning, I had to stop and read a few pages.  No doubt the science of that time has evolved way beyond what Eisley took as fact (though I know he realized that new information would eventually bury a lot of the "facts" of his day).  Still, basically it is his awe of nature and evolution that carries the book, along with his poetic writing.  

"I do not think, if someone finally twists the key successfully in the tiniest and most humble house of life, that many of these questions will be answered, or that the dark forces which create lights in the deep sea and living batteries in the tropical swamps, or the dead cycles of parasites, or the most noble workings of the human brain, will be much if at all revealed. ......rather, I would say that if "dead matter" has reared up this curious landscape of fiddling crickets, song sparrows, and wondering men it must be plain to even the most devoted naturalist that the matter of which he speaks contains amazing, if not dreadful powers..........."


Monday, October 19, 2020

Keeping up with Watercolor

 This is the latest watercolor I've done recently, an image I copied from photos of some draft horses in a nearby town (I'd name it but I can't remember what it was.......Pembroke I think).  I've been working in watercolor trying to get some interest in painting that I seem to have lost.  My paintings have been so uninspiring, looking like the work of talented high school students who haven't really learned yet what art is all about.  What joy I have found in returning to watercolor after so long.  One of my friends and patrons commented when I posted my first new watercolors on facebook, "The magic is back."  How wonderful to hear that.  Watercolor was always my medium until I lost my support system (other watercolorists who championed the medium).  When I went back to school to study art watercolor was barely mentioned.  Besides, it didn't allow the layers and layers of paint necessary for the kind of art I was doing then.  

There is such immediacy with watercolor that it doesn't lend itself to the layers and layers of paint that I found necessary to express myself at the time.  It is a it is. ........don't look beyond what you see.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Thinking about art

 Not much happens around here from day to day.  I go nowhere and do nothing.  Nevertheless, I am content.  I spend my days doing a little housework, painting, reading, doing puzzles, writing, etc....all with the companionship of my puppy.  Elliot is always in my sight, his life being so very small and confined, yet he amuses himself with toys and with Leah, the cat. While I read, he sleeps by my feet or in my lap. I have been reading my old journals off and on, amazingly entertained by the old me.  There I am......wife, mother, social worker, needlepoint designer, art teacher, Art Society president, photo retoucher, courtroom artist, portrait painter, probably more I won't bother to drag out of my memory bank right now.  For most of those many years I was also an art student at the University of Maine.  I had a degree in Modern Languages from when I was a traditional student, but in the early 70's I went back to the University to study art.  My husband had just moved out, I had two small children.  My life was in turmoil.......but hasn't my life always been in turmoil?........up until now of course.  The only real problem I have now is lack of money.  Money is a small thing and my poverty does not bother me in the least.

The years I have spent since my marriage ended were at first tumultuous .  As an art student I worked out all my demons with the help of a wonderful art teacher and mentor.  Yesterday I was reading some of the notebooks and journals I kept then (an activity I enjoy several times a year) and looking at pictures of the rather shocking and bizarre paintings, prints, and sculptures I produced then.  It's quite obvious that I was in great turmoil and used art to manage my emotions as best I could.   My paintings are calm now.....I strive for technique, composition, color, beauty.  Nevertheless, I think of these paintings as a craft more than an art.  I am a designer of canvas rectangles that remind viewers of something in their own psyches....a place they once visited, a pet they loved, an event in their own lives.  They evaluate them using their own values, their own ideas of beauty, their own emotions.  They steal my work.

I hear the voices of those who sneer at the phrase "art for art's sake."  But I also hear the applause of the abstract expressionists, searching for the meaning of art once the camera was invented.

Friday, August 07, 2020

another postponement

 Well, my surgery was postponed again, at the last minute.  Apparently I am still anemic.  Now there is no date set.  I took this with very little grace, I admit, but now I am wilted from accepting the news.  I am  in limbo with an appointment for an "infusion" pending.  So I keep limping along as best I can.

Friday is a bad day for me anyway since I have to put out the trash for collection.  Trying to maneuver large trashcans and many cardboard boxes while using a walker is a challenge.  Today I found strange full garbage cans in front of the house,,,,,some neighbor must have decided to take advantage of my contract with Moose Island Trash Removal....... likely some temporary tenants in the house next door.  It doesn't bother me.  I have a pretty big pile of trash myself anyway because I have to order my pet supplies, as well as my groceries.  They all come in gigantic cardboard boxes that then have to be disposed of.  I cringe at the amount of trash I generate.  I'm embarrassed by it.  I called the company and they offered to consolidate the shipments, but now the boxes are too big for me to handle without herculean strength.  (Try hauling a box four feet high full of canned dogfood, catfood, bird food, bags of dry food, puppy pads, cat litter, chicken feed (50 pounds) from the curb, down a cement walk, up over two steps, and through a doorway with a hysterically barking puppy and a cat trying to get through the door....all while using a walker.

Well it will all be over at some least I have to believe it will be.  And all things considered I am patting myself on the back for being so independent and capable in the face of my temporary handicap. I've tried to figure out some way to take a picture of myself struggling with this, but I guess I will have to wait for some stranger to walk by while I'm doing it.  Instead, I'll take another picture of my little puppy, who keeps a smile on my face no matter what else happens.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Good-bye Girls

Yesterday I published an entry about losing my chickens, but it has disappeared somehow.  I'll try again with much less emotion since I have weathered the worst of it now.  More neighbor complaints finally forced me to re-home my beloved chickens.  Yesterday they left for their new home with Mercedes, a new friend who lives in a fairly close town.  She has a farm with all kinds of animals. including chickens. They probably thought they had been transported to heaven since she took them away with a huge piece of watermelon in the cage.  They never looked back.

I can't blame my neighbors for not wanting the infestation of rats that the chickens caused, but the way they handled it irritates me.  These are summer residents, here for two months, who apparently feel that the way to solve problems is to call in the authorities. These neighbors have never said a word to me about the chickens.  I only know them from their constant warnings to me to not let the dogs "shit on my lawn.."  I have never not picked up after my dogs, so their attitude was very irritating, especially since I rarely go by their house. 

Well, since this was the second complaint, the police told me (very nicely and sympathetically) that the chickens had to go.  Actually, they contacted my landlord first.  Apparently it isn't part of their protocol to deal with the offender first.  She was very understanding and I was the picture of cooperation. 

So this is the end of my chicken era.  They have been part of my identity for so long that I feel I have lost part of myself.  Ever since I came to Eastport  over twenty years ago and the landlord I had then asked if he could leave his chickens with me, I have been smitten.  Many chickens have come and gone, and I've loved them all.

Friday, July 03, 2020

PS from yesterday

After trashing my garden in yesterday's post, I noticed this rose among the weeds along my front walk.  I planted five rose bushes in memory of my grandfather, who had a walk like mine to his front door.  Last year I thought they were all dead, but this morning  as I limped out to the sidewalk with my trash, I noticed two little roses peaking out from under the weeds..  I was delighted.  When I started to pull the weeds out around them, this blossom came with them, much to my chagrin. So I brought it in and gave it a special environment all its own.

Thursday, July 02, 2020

My Garden 2020 and a visit from the Police

Well, since I haven't been able to work outside, this is the sorry state of my front flower garden.  Everything tried to be beautiful, but it's pretty hard to compete with the weeds.  All the plants came up and did their thing, but the competition certainly ruined the overall effect.  I don't know if I will be able to do anything before Fall to rectify the situation.  I may have to just call it a failure for this year.  By next Spring, I hope I will be able to bring it all back to its former glory.

Yesterday I had a visit from the town manager (with police backup in case I needed to be subdued, I guess).  The reason was to tell me, as if I didn't know, that there are rats living in the abandoned garage behind my house.  Of course I was aware of them since they join the chickens for every meal.  It's true that they aren't particularly welcome additions to my menagerie, but I really didn't know how to handle the situation.  I would never kill any animal, not even a rat, but my live and let live attitude seems to have offended my neighbors.  I know that even those who love animals usually don't include rodents in their acceptance of nature sharing their property.

I rent this house from an extremely absentee and neglectful landlady.  This has always suited me perfectly since she requires nothing from me but a very small rent payment.  Neither does she take much interest in maintaining the property.  Until the roof had to be replaced last year I hadn't seen her for years.  The arrangement suits me perfectly.  She has no rules or regulations and I treat the place as if it were my own. Now, though, the police are holding her responsible for ridding the neighborhood of rodents.  I have no realistic objection to this, but apparently my neighbors and the long arm of the law expected  an argument from me.  Once they realized that I was fully cooperative and good-humored about the situation, a fairly good time was had by all.  I would have appreciated my neighbors confronting my landlord directly, or at least asking me to do it, but amazingly people seem to always expect trouble when they complain.  Since I was cheerful and cooperative, the situation was handled as cooperatively as could be expected.  I called the landlady (in California) and exterminators will be here shortly (so she says).  I apologized to the rats this morning, and warned them, but I'm afraid they are doomed.  It will certainly save me money on chicken feed.

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Chicken Woes

So, I have had my chickens in the shed off my kitchen all winter.  Since I have to use a walker now, the idea of fighting my way through snow to feed and water them was daunting.  Having them right on the other side of the kitchen door was very handy, but it was only a temporary measure.  I knew they would have to relocate as soon as the weather warmed up.  Now that it's June, and the snow has finally disappeared, I had to face reality.  I am already bored with the story of how I rebuilt the pen, complete with a roof of garden netting, so I will be brief.  I had help from an acquaintance who does gardening for summer people around town..........I could never have done it alone.  Right away I was short-tempered and unappreciative.  It's a wonder she didn't walk away in a huff. I am quite unpleasant when working with others.  Most of the time I left her alone, which I'm sure she appreciated.

When the pen was done we carried the girls one by one out to the back of the house.  In no time they figured out how to escape, so for several days I spent a lot of time limping after them at a snail's pace, not knowing how I would convince them to come home even if I caught up with them, which I did not.  It has been some time (I lost track of how much time) that chaos best describes my nightly routine.  One of the chickens has disappeared completely, having been some predator's dinner, I'm sure.  She was especially good at getting out, and I couldn't find a way to confine her.

Finally I seem to have the escape routes blocked, or so I think.  I have to ask myself why I have these birds, especially now that I can barely walk, even with a walker.  I have fallen flat on my face several times. I only know that I really love having them (and I don't even like eggs).  I love the purity of them, their unquestioning lives, their honesty.  They are just who they are.

I got a call from my surgeon's office that he is gong to resume some elective surgery and I will finally be able to get my hip replacement in the foreseeable future.  Although I worry a little about the covid virus, I am mostly happy that I may finally be able to walk again.  It's been almost a year since I was first scheduled to have it done.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Willy, now Winston

I can't remember how much I wrote about Willy and what happened when I got Elliot.  To get to the point, I ended up having to find a new home for him before he killed Elliot.  He went to live with a young man who was working on the roof of my house.  I went through the "tortures of the damned" for weeks after he left, worrying, imagining all kinds of horrible scenarios.  After a few months I adjusted, but never really relaxed about the situation despite many emails to and from his new owner.  Off and on my imagination went wild with terrible scenarios involving his being mistreated, neglected, unloved. 

In the year that has gone by, I have never really felt comfortable about giving him away, but I had to do it.  Lately I began to worry again.  All sorts of awful possibilities rolled through my head.  I thought about emailing his new owner, but was neurotically fearful that the news would be bad.  Then finally I did it.  At first I got no response from Kyle, the young man who took Willy.  My anxiety rose with every day to the point that I was convinced something terrible had happened.  I thought of nothing else.

Finally I got an email with this picture and two others showing Willy in his new environment.  This picture shows him with one of his adoptive big brothers.  There are no words to describe my joy and I still am thrilled every time I look at this and the other photos I got.  He has a life so much better than he ever had with me............dear Willy, whose name is now Winston, has the life every dog should have.

Monday, April 06, 2020

Spring and the Virus

The other day was so warm and sunny I decided to take my two babies outside for a little fresh air.  Spring appears to be here, and if not for the virus people would be rejoicing.  Instead we are all under quarantine and the world as we know it has pretty much stopped.  Sitting on the threshold of my front door, it seemed like any other early spring day.  The three of us enjoyed it.

My life revolves around my little world.

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Horse Tales

I began to think about my horsey years when I read another blog by a person who also loves horses.  This picture is of me and my horse BJ.  It was taken at the farm where I boarded him.........called Trapho Farm.  He was a dream come true.  The second picture is of me and Darby, my second horse.  After I sold Darby I saw his name in the paper for winning a ribbon at a dressage competition with his new owner.  I had to sell both of these horses against my will.  I still feel teary when I think of it.

 Before I had my own, I rode horses at riding stables as a child every chance I got, hung around the race track in Bangor, and generally made myself present whenever a horse opportunity presented itself.  I was a dressage fan and took lessons for many years before I had my own horse.  I learned the vocabulary and all the commands.  I guess my fondness for drama and pageantry drew me to the ritualistic performance of horse and rider together, the rules and regulations, the precision (or at least the striving for precision), the quest for harmony and subtle communication between horse and rider.

 Of course there were trail rides as well.  I can still feel the strange sensation of riding bareback on Peach, a huge gray draft horse, as he swam across a river that flowed through the pasture.  He loved the water.  Those were some of the happiest years of my life, when I was defined  by how well I could perform a "shoulder in" or how gracefully I could "sit the trot at K."

My two kids were young then, and we had a pony as well.  Neither one of them really loved the horse world the way I did, but they participated in it all with good humor.  It seems to me that it was one well-defined chapter of my life.  I was wife, mother, horsewoman.  I made cupcakes for school  holidays and costumes for school plays.  I went to PTA meetings.  I passed out cups of fluoride.  I  printed the PTA newspaper.  This was, I suppose, the second chapter of adulthood after my life as a psychiatric Social Worker.  Although there is some overlap, they seem very separate to me, very different. 

The one constant from the moment I was able to hold a pencil or a crayon, was making art.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Me in Pastel, Flowers in Acrylic

I certainly hope any readers are glad to see this self-portrait, because it has taken me over an hour to figure out how to post pictures.....(new computer, new printer).  Anyway, this was done just a couple of weeks ago in pastel.  I have been experimenting with pastels for months now............for so long that I have worn out my enthusiasm and gone all the way back to acrylic paints.  I like pastel, and my recent recent obsession with the medium has produced many, many, many pieces with various subject matter.  The irksome fact that I had only 9x12 pastel paper finally drove me to move on.  I have just completed my first acrylic painting in many years. It's about 3 1/2 feet tall, so satisfied my need to get a good big image.  I used up most of my paint doing it, so I'll have to call it quits until I get more money at the beginning of the month.  I do like the painting, though and feel good about going back to acrylics.  It seems to be my medium at least at this point. 

We continue to deal with the's something I obviously have to take seriously, even as I sit sequestered in my little house in my little town at the end of the country.  It all seems so far away and unreal.  There are few consequences here.  We are used to being alone (why else would we live here?), and daily life has not changed.  I went to the grocery store day before yesterday and found it unchanged except there was no chicken at the meat counter.  The toilet paper crisis has apparently not reached us yet, nor is there any perceptible difference in the number of shoppers (ten or fifteen at a time).  The only personal consequences for me is the difficulty getting food for my animals.  The chickens (who are living in the attached shed) ran out of food because is very behind delivering orders.  They are dining on bread and popcorn at the moment, but my friend Jim will be going to the big city today, Calais, to work and will pick up some layer pellets there for them at the feed store.  That store is as big as a small city so I can't imagine they are out of chicken feed.

Speaking of the chickens, I noticed this morning that their friends the rats are eating their eggs.  I don't like eggs myself, so I don't care.  However, I do have to be careful when I open the kitchen door to make sure they don't get in the house.  My live and let live philosophy does not include allowing rodents in the house.  Somehow I need to get the chickens outside within a week.  The people who inspect properties that receive housing assistance, as I do, will not smile on rodents so close to the living quarters.  (The chickens are there only because I can't walk out to their house in the yard.)  Luckily I put together a small chicken coop before I became so handicapped and it is sitting outside the back door.  Had I known we would get so little snow, I might not have put them in the shed anyway, but I did.  I knew I wouldn't be able to play farmer with my present handicap, so I needed to have them where I could easily take care of them.  How I will be able to accomplish the whole process, I really don't know.  I only know that I will.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Woe is me, along with the rest of the world.......

So, the big news is about the Corona virus (I think that's its name), which I have pretty much ignored until now.  My life is quite isolated even in normal times, but now the whole world is joining me.  It is not self imposed for the general public.  Day after day the newspaper is full of suggestions for handling "aloneness."  Since I am part of the "at risk" population because of my age, it's good that I don't have that angst that comes from lack of social interaction.  I don't even understand it, can't imagine why being alone is such a problem.  Especially I am amazed by the trauma it seems to be that children are forced to spend the day with their parents.  Yesterday I read an article in the paper about how to entertain your kids when they are out of school, reminding me of my amazement that children have to be "entertained."  It never occurred to me that I had to entertain my kids, and certainly as a child myself I would have been confused and irritated if my parents tried to interfere with my days.  Luckily their idea of child rearing was "go outside and don't come back until mealtime." After supper we went back outside and were told to come home when the street lights came on.  Two little cousins lived with us and my mother took care of three others during the day as well.  All of us disappeared as soon as breakfast was over, not to be seen until lunchtime.  We all went our separate ways. 

I guess the world was a safer place then, or at least we thought it was.  Our street was a short hill lined with houses on both sides, separated by driveways.  It was a poor neighborhood and a couple of the buildings were run-down apartments populated mostly by alcoholics (four of whom were relatives who lived next door).  There was a park around the corner with the kind of playground equipment that people today consider too dangerous.  We spent time there sometimes, but mostly made our way through the steeply wooded area across the street to Kenduskeag Stream.  Today they have white water canoe races there in the spring, but then it was a playground for us.  There was an old covered bridge there that was no longer even connected to a road. We used it as shelter from bad weather.  We jumped from rock to rock as the rapids thrashed around us............well, my point is that the articles in the paper seem beside the point to me.  My own children don't have kids, so I am totally out of touch.
But I digress..........

So I watch the world thrashing around trying to control this virus, but I am really not alarmed.  The consequences for me leave no room to worry about the big picture.  For me what it means is that I now have to postpone the surgery on my hip (again).  I have lived as an invalid since last June waiting for my own health to improve enough for surgery.  Now my anemia is gone, my pneumonia is gone, my lungs are at least acceptable.  What was a mild limp has blossomed into a hip joint so deteriorated that I can't walk without a walker.  I can't sleep for the pain.

Well, enough of the "woe is me" talk.  This is the first time in my life I have been physically handicapped.  I don't like it.  The effect of the virus has, in my mind, shriveled down to a personal level.  True, I won't die from a painful hip, but I can't help being seriously irked by my little personal inconvenience.

Sorry about that :-).

Monday, March 16, 2020

Post Script from Yesterday

It seems that I neglected to mention yesterday that I did not move after all.  I am still in the same place.  The apartment fell through, and I felt so relieved that I realized how attached I am to the house I live in now.  When that happened, the happiness and relief I felt was almost overwhelming. Living in this three bedroom house is a little difficult (and painful) right now, but I realized how much I love it here, with the ocean outside my windows.  Once I made the decision, I celebrated by getting seven baby chicks.  Those girls grew up and can fly like eagles. By that time I had become pretty incapacitated, so they became Neighborhood chickens.......I couldn't keep them in the yard.  Many days I didn't see them at all until suppertime.  Luckily everyone loved them and enjoyed seeing them wandering around.  As cold weather approached, though, and my own mobility became a bigger problem, I had to think of a way to confine them near the house.  I bought a chicken house on line that you put together yourself, assembled it with great difficulty, and parked it near the back door.  Once I had it ready, though, I couldn't see confining them to such a small space 24/7.

Well, necessity is the mother of invention.  I cleaned all the junk out of the shed that is attached to the house and turned it into a chicken house.  It worked out great for me as I got more incapacitated.  All I had to do was open the kitchen door to feed and water them.  A baby gate kept them confined when the door to the kitchen was open.  Still as they grew accustomed to the place, they decided it would be fun to take a look at the rest of the house.  Now when I feed them, they are constantly flying up to my shoulders or my head, hoping to then make a run for it into the kitchen.  Feeding and watering them is quite a circus.  Luckily, Leah and Elliot find them interesting, but don't see them as potential playthings or food.  They just watch them with mild interest.  I think now the story of my hiatus from blogging is pretty much up to date.

PS:  I sit a lot, and read a lot.  Guess what.............I'm in love with Barbara Kingsolver.  I'm glad she's written so many fat books.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

I'm still here......

Oh, how the world goes on.  I didn't mean to lose my enthusiasm for blogging, but it happened anyway.  I so enjoy it, though, and reading the comments.  My extended absence , or my excuse perhaps, is that I have become an invalid, at least temporarily.  I need a hip replacement, which wouldn't be a huge deal if not for the consequences.  It was as if my body realized I had not been subjected  to the usual aches and pains, accidents, and illnesses that humans can ordinarily
expect throughout their lifetime.  I have been the healthiest person I've ever known...........not so much as a cold for many, many years.  Then I began to experience pain in my hip.  That pain increased and expanded until I finally mentioned it to my doctor during my usual yearly exam. 

The chain of events that followed that diagnosis have taken over my life.  I still have not had the necessary surgery, though it is finally looming in the relatively near future.  First, I got pneumonia, then mysterious things started showing up on my x-rays of my lungs.  Blood tests then showed that I was anemic.  Then other mysterious things showed up on x-rays that doctors couldn't identify.  I've had so many scans and tests without anyone being able to identify the problem that it's a wonder I haven't  died from exposure to radiation.

Finally, just last week, a lung specialist theorized that my two parakeets are to blame.  Their grooming habits have resulted in contaminating my lungs.  He said I could go ahead with the surgery on my hip, but he would like me to get rid of the birds.  (Of course that would be impossible for me.  I can not abandon my animals.)  I did get over the pneumonia and anemia after months of half heartedly taking vitamin pills.  I tried to introduce various additions, somewhat successfully, to my diet.  I, a former cook who served and consumed a very complicated and international diet, had lost interest in preparing and eating all those delicious meals.  For years I have eaten almost nothing but dry cereal with milk , along with candy and potato chips.

So, the ordeal is almost over.  The surgery that will get me back on my feet should make me as good as new.  I can throw away my canes and my walker.  I may even clean the house, which is filthy and cluttered in the extreme.  I can not walk now without those aids, and my pain level is very high.  My personality forbids my accepting help from any of my very few friends.  I stay in the house with the door locked, not bothering to get dressed.

So, this is my life.  Am I depressed?  No, not a all.  I have Elliot, light of my life, my constant companion,  He is always in sight, playing or resting in my lap.  He is devoted, having had my full, adoring attention throughout his whole lifetime.  The chickens are in the shed (attached to the house by the kitchen door.)  Leah, the cat, plays with Elliot when she feels like it, or sits on my newspaper as I read.  She sneaks out the door from time to time, but immediately regrets it and howls at the window to be let in.  My life is full of books and animals and painting.  I am going to post pictures in my next post, once I track down my camera.  I am fine.