Monday, September 30, 2013

FINAL DAY OF SEPTEMBER

After a wonderful day with my son and granddaughter on Saturday I had one more event to make it through on Sunday.  I wasn't sure if my health was going to hold out when I woke up on Sunday morning I was so congested and felt worse than I had through the whole illness.

Determined as I was I cleared my head, took a hot shower and did my errands, arriving back home with an hour left before the event ~ just enough time to figure out what I was going to wear and eat some chicken soup.  

My friend picked me up and we headed to the party before the guests arrived to set up as we were pouring wine at the party.  As always the staff of Barrington Stage Company had taken care of the hard work having the wine chilling and the table set up with at least 100 wine glasses.

The food was being set out in the dining room and we familiarized ourselves with the wine choices ~ I was on red and my friend was on white wine.  We began opening the red wine to give it time to breathe and waited for the cast of Clybourne Park and other guests to arrive for the opening party.

I have never attended an opening party of a play.  It was very cool to see and meet and greet the cast and other prominent people associated with the Theatre and serve them wine.  There was quite a lot of people over the course of a two hours and it was a really great party.

I can definitely say that Theatre people know how to throw a party!  With six different wines, an amazing array of appetizers, food and desserts and a beautiful setting as it was held at the home of Julianne Boyd and her husband.

Everyone was so helpful and appreciative, making sure we had everything we needed, and made sure we ate some food and even washed and dried the wine glasses as we began to run out.  Volunteering for Barrington Stage is always a delight!

I always feel guilty getting to watch a play in exchange for 15 minutes worth of work in the Lounge ~ somehow to me, I feel like I am getting the better end of the bargain!  It made me feel good to give a little bit more of myself in exchange!

Monday arrived and I awoke pretty early thinking I could begin the day no problem, but after about two hours I needed to take a nap.  I was still feeling poorly and I really had nothing to do until 1:30 when I had to leave for my weekly counseling session.

I woke up around noon feeling better and made another tea and got back on the computer before taking a blessedly hot shower and clearing my head.  It was another beautiful day in the Berkshires ~ warm and sunny.  

I noticed more leaves had turned overnight ~ with the cool temperatures in the evening and the warmer days it kind of sparks the change, and without rain we may get to enjoy the gradual change of season for a while! I love the change of seasons even though this one changes to cold and snow and I am not really a fan of either of those things, not being a skier, snowboarder or skater.

The walk to my doctors was nice, as it was warm and we spent our hour hashing over some things I am still having difficulty with and discussing some ways in which I have progressed for the better and I left feeling really good about myself.  It is unusual for me to be aware of the positive changes regarding myself and accept them.

I left smiling.  Then my phone rang.  My ex from 15 years ago was on the phone and he was a couple of blocks away so I met him outside of the library and he gave me a ride home ~ he had to ~ he had the painter easel I had asked him about a couple of days earlier.

I am one step closer to realizing one of my bucket list items ~ and this one has been on it since I was about 16 ~ to try to oil paint.  Now all I need is a blank canvas and some oil paints.  Baby steps here ~ one step at a time ~ my friend owes me some cash for watching her studio a month ago for ArtWalk and I know right where that money is going to go ~ art supplies!

The watercolors were still out from Saturday, and before I took a nap I grabbed a clean glass of water and my clean brushes and fooled around a little more with those for a little while ~ completing a small abstract.  I love to fool around with different mediums.  In the "old" days I used to love to go buy new mediums and familiarize myself with them.

I am rooting for making the "old days" a brand new experience as far as Art goes.  I have now painted two pictures and drawn one design with my colored pencils so who knows where this will take me.  I am totally digging expressing myself on all levels these days with my new outlook on life and the security within myself to not give a damn who may or may not like it!  I am so happy that I am evolving!  

October is just around the corner ~ one of my favourite months of all time ~ Halloween and Trick or Treat and kids on the street ~ not in the middle of nowhere with the possibility of children knocking on the door and seeing the costumes and giving them candy.  Who knows ~ maybe I will dress up this year!

So I say goodbye to September and welcome October ~ fall and cooler temperatures!


Sunday, September 29, 2013

MAKING MEMORIES!

I made it!  I held off this horrible cold/flu nastiness and had a great day running around the playground playing with my granddaughter, taking pictures and having a really excellent visit.  My youngest son Tom almost chose to stay in bed instead of joining us but before we walked out the door he was dressed and ready to play as well!

Our schedule got a little altered ~ which is fine, we are spontaneous and free spirited so we went with the flow of the day jumped out of the park and had some lunch together and ran into some friends in the world so I got to show off my granddaughter whom I brag about all of the time.

She made a friend in the park who coincidentally was lunching where we were so we had the four of us at our table.  We went back to the park after lunch and played some more ~ it was a busy afternoon at the playground and one of her classmates, Emma arrived at the park so I got a little reprieve from the chasing/playing and chatted with Emma's Gramma, who was also enjoying the company of her granddaughter for the first time alone as well.

Thomas bailed on the second park run and phoned me around three to remind me of the time ~ since we only had until 4:00 the Art part of the day was shorter.  Ainsley had arrived with a nice Artist kit full of everything one could need to create.

I decided that we did not have time to paint the Halloween decorations and we would use that to barter with for a future visit and opted for water coloring instead.  I have a beginner watercolor kit with tubes of watercolors which were foreign to me, being more familiar with the cakes of watercolors, so we set up a tray and laid out papers and set to work playing with the paints.

It has been a very long while since I have created anything with paints, pastels, chalk, ink, pen or anything visual besides this blog.  I used to be very creative artistically.  So I set the "kids" up with paper and brushes and went to download our park pictures before the "parents" arrived.

The playground pics came out awesome if I don't say so myself ~ we had a great time and it showed!  The best part for me, however, was when Jeff and Lisa arrived and Ainsley did not want to go home!!!  That was my cue to set up another visit and miracle of miracles the next available time I had was a time when they have an Anniversary Party to attend which means I get my granddaughter overnight in a couple of weeks!

My day was not finished, one more obligation for the day ~ volunteering at the Barrington Stage Company pouring wine in the lounge at the Main stage during intermission of Clybourne Park.  I  decided to take a rest to revive.  It is tiring when you are playing for a couple of hours ~ not just sitting on a bench watching your kid play ~ but sliding and climbing and lifting and chasing ~ in my less than 100 % health condition I was beat!!

It was a 8:00 showtime ~ so I took a shower and walked out the door around 7:30.  The place was packed! The show was great ~ two acts with an intermission in between.  The lounge was not very busy and I gave out three waters and poured 0 glasses of wine.  The 15 minutes flew by and soon Brad and I were cleaning up and I was back in my seat for Act 2.

I headed home, arriving at about 10:30 and made some dinner and hung out with my son for a short while before heading off to bed.  The best day!!!  I had one more obligation for the weekend ~ so I did not want to get run down too much.

I woke up pretty late for me on Sunday and my head was killing me!  I guess the over production of mucus is round two of this nasty cold.  I am working on staying ahead of it and not run myself down too much! Meanwhile my son is still sick.  If he is any indication of the life span of this thing I still have a way to go before it is gone.

I have roughly three hours to take a shower, do some errands, make it back home to figure out what I am going to wear tonight to pour drinks.  I am boycotting the dishes in the sink and anything that equals excess exertion of energy.

I made the mistake of looking at my calendar for next week and I again, cannot afford to be sick all week. Too much stuff going on!!!  I may have one day where I have nothing happening and I am sure that one will be busy as well!  Ah well, the price we pay!  I would not trade my life for anything despite the challenges and it's flaws!

I do know that I want to play with my watercolors some more and find my coloured ink as well....













Friday, September 27, 2013

DODGING A BULLET

Friday night already.  I feel like I have spent the past two days trying to dodge a bullet.  I think I have succeeded.  My week was busy to begin with and on Monday my son woke up sick with a full blown flu.  I set to work to make him homemade chicken soup right off the bat.  Sorry no food blog on this one, but fall and winter are approaching so I am I will manage to share chicken soup.

It figures he had been gone for a week and came home with germs.  One of the downfalls of not going out in public too much is that when you do you inevitably catch any germ running around.  Seems to be the case with my boy that is for sure!

So, I am prepping for the worse, not really too concerned for myself, as I rarely get sick.  I had too much to do during the week and this weekend to deal with illness.  I cooked my stock all day and into the night, doing my chores which had gotten pushed aside during my busy weekend as a tourist in the Berkshires not having to do anything until the next morning.

I had to attend a breakfast meeting at the Pittsfield Country Club.  It was very informative and introduced me to the new "MOLST" form, and other important aspects to prepare for end of life options, with three guest speakers and I enjoyed a nice healthy breakfast of fruit ~ a definite treat for me ~ I love fresh fruit.  I had never been in the Country Club other than the Pro Shop (Golf).  I am also a fan of architecture so I peeked into the front parlor which had two fireplaces and was very nice.

I headed back home and set back to the task of turning my stock into soup.  I spent some time chopping all my veggies ~ carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, celery and the chicken along with my seasonings and let it cook so that it would be ready when my son was hungry, and so that I could eat before I headed out to my engagement at 5:30 that evening.

I was headed to hear "Conversations on Creativity" at the IS183 Art School of the Berkshires ~ the only Art School in the Berkshires which is kind of funny since we are a community full of Artists.  http://www.is183.org/  Check it out.  It was really cool and they are now in two locations.

It was a good presentation with two local artists Tom ONeil http://charlesthomasoneil.com/  and Pedro DeMovellan   http://davidsongallery.com/pedro-s-de-movellan with Joanne Yurman asking the questions with a question and answer period following.

The artist were completely different as far as what they did ~ one painted and one designed and made kinetic sculptures.  Their one thing they both have in common is living in Stockbridge, Ma.  I liked both of their work but the Kinetic sculptures caught my attention and eye a bit more.

I arrived home fairly early and enjoyed some quality time with my son watching some t.v. feeling really bad that he was still feeling so poorly.  Around 10:00 that night he looked at me and said ~"Mom ~ I can see it in your eyes ~ you are sick.  I'm sorry."

I tried to deny that I was feeling a bit of a chill ~ I really didn't feel too bad ~ yet.  When I woke up on Wednesday I knew I was in trouble.  I tried to deny it but I definitely had to blow my nose and had a nasty chill despite the warm weather.

By bedtime that night I had the body aches to go along with the stuffy/runny nose.  I was obligated to watch my friends dog on Thursday, my granddaughter on Saturday, scheduled to volunteer on Saturday evening at the Theatre, possibly drive someone to the airport on Sunday and volunteering at a party on Sunday so there was no way that I could afford to be as sick as my son had been.

I was so thankful that I had made the chicken soup and I decided to spend the day in bed on Thursday and do nothing more strenuous than sip tea and change the channel on the television.  I kept to that ~ not normal for me but in reality I had no choice.  The body ache was winning and I really could not move too far anyway.

I had to get my friends dog ~ I was planning on picking her up around 1:00 but that got bumped and I was thankful that she had been a good dog and had no surprises waiting for me when I arrived.  I checked out my friends note and slowly set to work getting toys, food, and the hardest part was separating the frozen marrow bone from the other two in my weakened state.

My brain was on extra slow so I checked the list twice to make sure I had everything that I needed. and headed home with Sheyna.  She always hesitates when we leave the park and head down the road towards my house ~ like she is a little kid going somewhere she should not go.  I convinced her it was okay and we made it to my house.

I set up her water and fed her, as she is on a schedule and we were a little late with lunch.  She had a drink and polished off her food in no time and came leaping over the back of the couch to sit with me and check out the apartment.

I had dog proofed it before I picked her up ~ making sure there was nothing that she would be attracted to eating ~ she likes to eat c.d.s and plastic things ~ one strange habit to be sure.  I had her ball and her bone on top of that and Tom was on hand as well.

While I was out I barely had the energy to walk so when I got back home I changed back into my p.j.'s still on recuperation and sticking to it.  My son called his second Dad who graciously saved our day by grabbing up a couple litres of ginger ale for me and Sprite for him so we could keep hydrated.  Saint that he is he accommodated

Tom, Sheyna and I headed back up to my room for further recuperation now that we had everything which we needed and .for some reason watched six or seven episodes of some House Hunter show ~ each of us at random times saying "why are we watching this" yet, not changing the channel.

After a while the dog was acting like she needed a trip outside so we checked out the backyard and she sniffed around a bit and we were soon back inside.  Her Mom called from the airport before her flight to make sure we were okay and I was glad she did ~ I didn't know if I could give the dog the bone if it was frozen and found out I could.

I gave her the bone and she chewed away on it.  Thomas was hungry for the first time in a couple of days so we ordered some food ~ I somehow ended up with a gigantic order of won ton soup which is my magic healing remedy 9 times out of 10, bypassing my entree and enjoying the egg rolls while they were fresh.

Around 9:00 it was time for another walk so we headed down the street to where I used to walk my dog ~ real grass, trees, no blacktop.  Sheyna hesitated a bit, but soon was comfortable enough to not jump at every barking dog or car on the street.  We headed home and I did some minimal computer stuff before calling it quits and heading back to the land of bed rest.

It was nice having a dog in the house again.  I really miss my dog.  Thomas left us to join his friends on the computer and I went to sleep with Sheyna laying at my feet.  I woke up around 3:30 with her snuggled up sleeping next to me and she joined me on a journey downstairs to use the bathroom.

I woke up feeling no body aches and slightly warm ~ more I think from the extra blanket I had on than a fever, having had a bunch of nice dreams between 3:30 and 8 a.m. and slowly got up and decided to visit the backyard first and do a longer walk after Sheyna had her breakfast.  She didn't seem in too much of a hurry to go out anyway.

I took a shower and decided to give the dog a bath.  We used to breed terrier poodles and I had one like her who was cream colored and white instead of black and grey and with the longer curlier fur they get matted really easily and Sheyna was a matted mess.

She was really good in the bath and it felt good to be productive without doing too much work.  I knew the work would be in the brushing.  She was even good with that ~ amazingly!  I did my best and she did more than tolerate the torture.

I was sad that I had to bring her home and prolonged it for as long as I could.  It looked like rain so I gathered her ball and her bone and we set off towards her home.  When we arrived she decided she wasn't ready so she went to the store with me and for a loop down and around North Street and back to her house.

Her next caretaker had apparently just arrived home so the timing could not have been better.  No sooner had Sheyna gotten in one door was she taken out the other and on her way in the car to pick up the second of two kids to have another sleepover experience.

I headed home feeling the loss of my own dog more severely than ever.  My phone rang pretty soon after I got back home and it was my eldest son accusing me of being sick ~ which I could absolutely deny, as I seemed to have warded off the evil germ.

I spoke with my granddaughter and double checked  that she still was excited to come over ~ she had a lot to live up to this week by getting up on time, taking baths, going to bed and doing homework for a whole week in order to be able to come over and spend the day with me.

We have never spent time alone together so I am super excited!!!  She is going to come over before lunch and I seem to recall that I mentioned the park when we made plans on Sunday and some free time in the afternoon so lunch out with a stop in the park before or after since we have to go through the park each way.

After that ~ to bake or paint ~ something fun ~ I am thinking painting some wooden pumpkin decorations would be a good way to spend an afternoon with Gramma (makes me giggle that I am a gramma).  That way she can have a memory and a Halloween Decoration which she painted herself and I have two of them so we will each have the same memory marker.

I have three sons and little experience with girls (besides being one that is).  I am not worried as I am also fun and good with children.  I cannot wait!!!  On that note I am heading off to bed so I am fully ready for the day!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

CONQUERING THE GUILT

This week continues to be full of activity!  It began with that familiar guilty feeling about having "short changed" my middle son on his birthday from having spent more time on having fun in my life than putting in the 100% effort on his birthday dinner ~ no cake got me I think ~ and the mix up with the menu request and having not enough time to make a stew and a Shepherd's Pie.

On Monday I began my day rip roaring and ready to go to remedy that situation by making a nice beef stew and a simple birthday cake on top of playing with my Swiffer and doing my floors, laundry and dishes.  I did a shortened version of my morning computer routine and set to work on the Beef Stew with the thoughts of a blog ~ as it was the first day of fall ~ what is more appropriate than a nice Stew?

JEN'S HOMEMADE BEEF STEW

I began by adding some flour to a zip lock bag and seasoning the flour with some pepper, garlic, and Italian Seasonings to which I added my stew beef chunks (about 1.5 lbs of stew beef) and coated the beef until the pieces were covered sufficiently while heating the oil up in a sturdy 6 quart sauce pan and added the meat to the oil for browning.

Seasoned flour
Floured beef in oil














While that was browning I chopped some garlic, onion and three stalks of celery ~ adding the garlic and onion to the browning meat.

Garlic

Chopped garlic

Chopped onion

Garlic and onion browning with the meat

While that was cooking, I chopped the carrots, peeled the potatoes and cleaned and cut the fresh green beans.

3 stalks of celery

cut baby carrots

fresh green beans



When the meat and onions and garlic began smelling good and browned enough I added about 6 cups of water and got a slow boil going.

I added the celery as the boil was building up, as I wanted the flavour in the stock more than I cared about having celery visible ~ celery is one of those vegetables my sons would rather not see anywhere ~ let alone in their soup, but I like to push the limits where they are concerned as they sometimes do not know what is good for them!

I had limited time, as I had an appointment, so I added the potatoes, carrots and beans to the stew so that I could turn it down low enough while I was gone so that it could cook ~ but not too quickly and so the stock could thicken and the beef could tenderize.

beef, onion, garlic, celery


Carrots next
In go the beans
Potato last



The beginning of an awesome stew
I was running right on time ~ having enough time to take a quick shower and just make it to my doctors appointment at two.

My son had stayed home after his week long visit at his brothers ~ and little did I know that he had contracted the flu ~ as he had been complaining about not feeling well the evening before after our guests left and while we were watching television together after my mad long day of hiking in the Berkshires.

It became clear when he came downstairs ~ trying to be awake before the noon deadline which I gave him ~ but failing miserably due to the cough, chills and nausea!

That was when I decided to make him some homemade chicken soup and I took a chicken out of the freezer so I could begin that one for Tuesday.

I made it out the door giving the stew a stir and making sure the heat was not above a low simmer, as I would be gone for the next two hours at least.

I found a cake mix and frosting at the local Rite Aide and it was on sale ~ so I bought two ~ planning on making the yellow cake for Pat's belated birthday cake with white frosting and picking up a chocolate with chocolate frosting for a later date.

When I arrived home the Stew smelled awesome and the gravy was thickening nicely and the veggies were beginning to tenderize, along with the beef.  I set to work making the cake and calling my son to make confirm a time for dinner.

The cake finished baking and I set it aside to cool for frosting and I set the table and got ready for an early dinner.  Resisting the urge to try a bowl before anyone arrived, which was difficult!  When my guests arrived the Stew was ready and the cake was frosted and I felt less guilty about birthday dinner number 1.

Yumminess in a bowl!



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

HIKING TOURS IN THE BERKSHIRES FROM SUNDAY

If you have been reading then you are aware that this weekend has been all about tours.  On Saturday I had the pleasure of doing a few tours through the Upper Housatonic National Heritage Area ~ www.heritage-hikes.org.

Saturday was gardens, homes and history.  Sunday was all about hiking and history.  We met up with our group on Route 183 for "Faded Tracks on Monument Mountain" which was called A Walk on the Dark Side of Monument Mountain with  Bernie Drew a local historian and writer of "Faded Tracks on Monument Mountain".

A good sized group was ready to explore this less explored area of Monument Mountain to learn about charcoal and visit a quarry and travel back into the 19th Century.  We had learned about charcoal making the day before at Bidwell House, and our tour guide was also in this group along with his faithful companion Penny.



The road at the beginning was pretty steep and one could only imagine traveling up and down with wagons pulled by oxen to get the charcoal need for steel production during the 1800's during the harsh winters!
We took an ample amount of breaks as we tromped on wood roads and off road bushwhacking through the woods.

As we traveled our leader spoke about the history of the hills and how the trees were harvested for charcoal and we searched for pits  which were manned 24 hours a day while charcoal was made.

The woods and I are great friends who, not by choice but by circumstances have parted company in my recent past, so I loved being part of this group!

It was a crisp, cool day ~ perfect for a hike and I was prepared for any weather outbreak (except snow) having layers to put on or take off as needed.                                                                            
Penny had a great time and was a great addition to the group!  Testing the depth of the large puddles from the rain the evening before.

It wasn't muddy or too damp which was great and I saw some amazing things in the woods ~ having put the batteries in the camera the evening before so I would not miss out this day on some great shots as I had done the day before!

 I thought these twin mushroom trees were really cool and had to get a few shots to share.  It was really amazing to me that there were two trees ~ side by side in this condition and not a whole stand of them.






There were many great rock formations in the woods as well ~ I love rocks and we would get our fill of seeing many ~ learning that even the rocks were harvested for use as foundations as they used what they needed in the old days.

I just appreciate a good rock to sit and idly think, draw or write on ~ there were many which would do if we were not in an organized group!




Before we knew it we were back into the present time and place ~ tour was over and we were breaking through the trees and back to civilization and our cars.  It was such a nice way to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday morning.  We thanked our guide and said our goodbyes headed to the car and consulted our map as we headed off for our next tour scheduled for the day.

Our second organized hike of the day brought us to Ashley Falls, and after a quick pit stop to grab a bite to eat along the way to our destination we arrived at Bartholomew's Cobble with naturalist Rene Wendell.  As we waited for everyone to arrive I checked out the museum and tried to guess which pelts belonged to which animals ~ loving the coyote one the best as it was the softest ~ surprisingly so ~ as I thought it would be a bit more coarse.

We began our hike, stopping many times to get educated on the edibles in the woods, the plight of the hemlocks and many other things.  It was most informative along with being a beautiful place to spend a few hours!

Cobble means rock and there are more huge rocks in this place than you can count on two hands and all of your toes!  It is advised not to go off of the marked trails however as there is so much poison ivy everywhere and surprisingly growing out of rocks and higher than I thought it could be in the trees!



This hill has many different species of ferns growing on it.  I love ferns and was surprised to learn about a couple of different species of ferns which I did not know existed until Sunday!        

Rene is really a wonderful naturalist ~ very informative and fun to spend an afternoon gleaning his knowledge.  It was a great setting as well.

Not only is there woods and rocks ~ the river passes through and alongside in many spots and there are a couple of cow pastures along the way as well where we discovered some wild spearmint as well as other plant species.



 A hole in the base of this rock could be home or shelter to a few critters in the woods!












 This rock caught my attention with the small ferns growing off of the moss in the middle of the trail.

From a distance this caught my attention.  As we got nearer the orange was an outcrop
of mushrooms.
Dolls Eyes
Rock with impression on it

Pink flowers in the cow field by the river

Spider rocks


This tree was huge and hollow!  Rene and 12 ~ 7 years old hold the record ~ only one of our companions were willing to check out the inside of this tree so we did not see how many grown adults could fit in there!

The tree recently lost a huge limb off the side which has taken this tree out of the running for the largest one in the area ~ now the largest one is supposedly in Pitt Park in Pittsfield, MA ~ although I do not think it is hollow ~ I may have to take a walk over and see it for myself!







This tree was so cool!  I could not even begin to think about checking it out from the inside, however as I was in shorts and it was all spongy on the inside which did not really appeal to me.  It was hollow way up at least to where the side branch broke off when it was hit by lightening recently.

We toured some fields where they replanted three fields of trees.  We were not too far from the Connecticut border in one spot.  Our tour was not over yet, and soon we had looped back to the giant hollow tree and walked up a different path to a spot overlooking a swampy area which is home to frogs and salamanders and a much needed breeding ground for them.              

Rene was full of great information.  Teaching us how to make an acorn top whistle ~ something I have not mastered yet, although I did bring three acorn tops home so that the boys could also see if they could do it ~ Pat's Dad came the closest to making it whistle ~ I am still working on it!!

We came around a large cliff of rocks with a tree growing out through one and rounded a corner which came close to the road which we had come in on, and soon were back at the building where we began.  I was thankful for the sun shining down brightly as I laid on the grass to rest.  A great day to be sure!

Soon, we were heading back towards Great Barrington and I needed to pick up the supplies I had forgotten for the Shepherds Pie ~ it was my middle son's birthday and I still had birthday dinner to prepare.  It was a nice ride back to Pittsfield.

It had been a full day as it was, so once I arrived home I kicked off my sneakers, made a cup of tea and called my sons to confirm our dinner plans and work out an ETA, my eldest son had phoned while I was out so I returned his call and was delighted to receive an unexpected visit from he and his lovely wife and daughter.

They were not coming for our dinner, as it was so late ~ but I got huge hugs from my favourite granddaughter and we made plans if she does her schoolwork and goes to bed, gets up and behaves all week to come spend Saturday with me ~ a whole new kind of adventure and one that I look forward to.

I was in the final stages of adding the potatoes to the top of the Pie in order to bake it for the 30 minutes required and when they left I got it into the oven and made another cup of tea and caught up on some computer things before my four diners arrived.

We had an excellent dinner, albeit late.  Everything about the weekend was amazing and wonderful.  I would highly recommend any of the tours put on by the group.  They are doing a different set of tours for the first weekend in October and this morning I reserved places for a few more informative tours.

They still have spots open so be sure to visit the web site and make your reservations early as they do fill up rather quickly.  I am sure you will not be disappointed and who knows ~ maybe I will see you there!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

MY DAY AS A TOURIST

My adventure began early today first stop the amazing Naumkeag Estate and Gardens in Stockbridge, MA.
I was delighted to visit and tour such an amazing property!  The Blue Steps is a pretty famous image which I was previously unaware was located on this property.

My only previous experience with this property was about 18 years ago when I wandered down this dirt road and tripped over the back of the house which was under some construction at the time ~ not knowing what it was ~ only sensing that I should not be on that road, I turned around and went back to West Stockbridge where I lived at the time.

Another time I was driving around and found the front of the house ~ which was even more beautiful as the back of the house ~ this beautiful mansion which was also undergoing renovations in the front ~ still in the dark about the history.

It wasn't until we parked and walked up those amazing back steps (I have had a postcard in my old dining room of these beautiful stairs) with an awesome water system which feeds down each level which is an amazing design and concept.  I was blown away to realized these stairs resided here.

I enjoyed the Garden Tours and the layout of the gardens immensely!  I never did get into the house as our day was jam packed with tours all day long ~ this being the first.  It was when I took my camera out to capture my own picture of the stairs when I realized the batteries were in the charger on my bathroom counter and not in the camera!!!  Talk about bummed out!

I loved the guided tour with the history provided, listening with one ear I as was drawn away to look more closely at the details and the objects which filled this amazing place, transported back into time envisioning the 1930's and the lawn parties or casual afternoons enjoying the views which were amazing from any direction.

Mabel Choate and I have similar taste is style as far as the Oriental Art which had placed about ~ I do not have the words to describe the wonders that delighted my senses at this place alone!  I swear ~ it was easy to transport myself back to an earlier time ~ the elegance and tranquility despite the large crowd of fellow tourists.

There was even a Pet Cemetery on a side trail which my friend knew about, and it even had engraved markers for each of the pets, although the last one did not have the year put in ~ that dog outlived it's owner and got to stay on the property with one of the farmers ~ I guess it was the last remaining family member in residence in a way, if you think like I do about pets.

I really need to go back there with my camera and capture these treasures of beauty to share and to have to glance upon whenever I choose and get a look at the inside of the house.  One of our fellow attendants was at the next tour arriving late because they had stayed and checked out the house ~ she said it was amazing so I am going to kill two birds with one stone ~ bucket listing it for sure!  It was spectacular and well worth the time from anywhere to experience for oneself, I highly recommend it!

I am including a link with the information ~ please feel free to take a look.  http:/www.thetrustees.org/places-to-visit/berkshires/naumkeag.html

It was also fun to encounter a couple of people whom I know ~ including a long lost friend Penny whom I have not seen in about 10 years, but did not really get a chance to catch up with as she was working and I was touring.  The second such experience today ~ as when I woke up one of my best friends when I was a teenager had "friended" me on Facebook and we got to catch up a little.  He holds the record I think, for the person I have not seen or spoken to for the longest time of my lifetime.

So I began my day not even awake totally awesomely, and my first tour of the day was not to be topped, and on top of that Third Thursday was so packed with people that I spent the better part of two hours saying hello to people.

I also saw another neighborhood friend there whom I had not seen in about the same length of time as my old best friend that I connected to today and coincidentally we are all from the same neighborhood and time period.

Positive people interactions and experiences refuel me.  Large crowds and small groups in amazing surroundings interested, learning and enjoying the experience also refuels me.  So to be sure I am supercharged right now.  My cup runneth over, as the saying goes.

Back to my tale ~ We got in the car consulted the map for our next stop ~ The Bidwell House, Tyringham, MA.  We mapped out the route from where we were and headed down the road, stopping in McDonalds drive through to grab a burger and water, which was the quickest fast food experience I have ever had in my life ~ the service and speed and enthusiasm of the employees was surprising.

We were, as I said, quickly back on route and headed down to Tyringham to make it to our second tour of the day.  The leaves are beginning to change so it was pretty.  I was manning the map, as this was a new experience for my friend as well.

I am familiar with most of the county, loving in the past to jump into my car and drive for hours on back country roads which are ample in each of the towns around.  I however, am not familiar with Tyringham and so I was in charge of keeping track of the streets before the one we needed just in case it was not clearly marked.

We did okay and were soon at our destination.  Traveling back to the 1750's to the Ministers home and taking a hike around to the various barns, Meeting House Site, Cellar Site, Old Boston Albany Post Road ~ a path through the woods now long unused.

Stone walls marked buildings bordered the road that is no longer there.  There were a lot of stones.  One could only imagine moving and placing those stones out of the way to clear the fields for plowing and planting.  Cutting the trees and making the boards to build your houses and developing homes up in the middle of basically nowhere to begin a town is more difficult to imagine yet easier to imagine than to do!

Walking through the woods gathering the history again was amazing.  I gave up taking notes to enjoy the surroundings and be transported back so far in time.  The Meeting House didn't have heat and they held their meetings in January and February as every season has it's job and that was the slow time ~ it was also used for Church every Sunday ~ some people had to travel quite a distance over a mountain to come to meeting and sit in the cold and then go home the same way ~ can you imagine?

History is also one of my favorite things.  I am constantly blown away by all of the history which surrounds me which I am amazed they do not teach us in school.  I am happy to have the opportunity to discover more and more which leads me to want to learn more and more.

There is also a museum along with the hiking tour for future reference I am also including a link to that as well.  If you would like to be transported back in time and learn some amazing things then this one of the places to be.
http://www.bidwellhousemuseum.org/ 

The staff was amazing and at the end of the tour the Director reminded me that we had both been on that first canoe trip from Stockbridge to Glendale.  I am glad that she said something, I had been wondering where I knew her from throughout the tour.

We had yet another tour planned after Bidwell House also in Tyringham, so we headed back to the car and found our next destination on the map and pin pointing our route.  We got it locked down and I was yet again on map duty as we made our way to Ashintully Gardens, Tyringham, MA.

We arrived a few minutes late so we hurried through the Hemlock Hedges, past the barn and the small house over to yet another large group of people, already in one of the gardens before the bridge which crossed the brook.  A fountain shooting a blast of water 20 feet high seemed small compared to the vastness of the area surrounding me, yet the lines and the landscaping sectioned it off in an interesting way.

I was amazed at the size of the grounds, a small portion of the original 1000 acre estate, looking around as we walked to catch up, pausing to absorb the layout surrounding me.  Noting a set of marble steps placed in the middle of a hill ~ a huge hill ~ for effect.

We crossed the bridge walking past an apple tree to another section of garden.  I did not really catch too much of what the girl was saying as I was too busy absorbing the nature of the grounds ~ which have a feeling unlike any place I have ever been in retrospect.

There was a path up to a sundial which was not on the actual tour and another really cool statue which, by where it was placed next to this tree ~ which had gotten struck by lightening and looked like a giant monster eating the statue of the head of what appeared to be a goats head in black stone ~

The second bridge was adorned on both ends on each side with some interesting heads as well ~ I am curious to do some research and see what they are in reference to.  There were also some nice pieces in the garden (kicking myself because I did not get pictures!) and you will just have to go see for yourself!

We walked up a path near the gate which leads to the ruins of the house and walked over into the field where there is an amazing view of the mountains on two sides.  We were not even to the top of the hill where the house was and I was grateful to pause and enjoy the view which was breathtaking!

Some of the group declined the hike up to the ruins of the Marble Place, which was built between 1910 and 1912.  It was steep walking up to say the least and I was in no way prepared for what I saw when I laid eyes upon the 4 Doric Columns are all that remain today, intact in front (which was actually the back of the house) which adorned the 13 bay windows and I think 14 French doors which led out onto the terrace and the amazing view.

I walked to the edge of the building and looked down ~ the pillars were above the cellars, and there were arched openings leading inside below us.  It was really tricky to fathom how big the house must have been just because it does not seem possible to have such a huge house there ~ the library was built the same size as King Tut's Grandfather's Tomb which was 70 feet by 40 feet if I recall correctly ~ the library!!!!!

I looked up a picture of the house in its glory and it is unreal! I had to look it up, after seeing the shell of what was left, bricks and stone and walls, it was more than I could imagine!  We walked to the back of the great hill and through the gate ~ (front of the house) and down a road with a very high stone wall on either side.

It was interesting to note that the stonewalls at Bidwell House which were free standing were in excellent order. This stonework had been laid in cement between the rocks and the erosion not to the rocks but the cement due to the harsh cold and change of weather had not held up as well, with sections of rock having fallen to the ground, their impressions still held in what was left of the compound which had held them for so many long years.

The cold was a problem in the winter with the house as well.  The family only stayed there one winter ~ unable to heat the house above 50 degrees with 5 coal furnaces going around the clock!  The house got destroyed when a fire began near the bottom of the hill and burned to the ground leaving these amazing ruins.

We were almost back down to the car when it began to rain a bit more than a sprinkle to a sudden heavy downpour.  We were prepared as we had brought an umbrella so it did not dampen our spirits one bit.  We thanked our guide and were back into my friends bag of tricks once again.

For more history I am also including a link and would also highly recommend this to anyone anywhere ~ a once in a lifetime experience!  http://www.thetrustees.org/places-to-visit/berkshires/ashintully-gardens.html#t5

At this point I was happy to sit down ~ we had been on the go since 10 a.m. and I was beginning to get tired, but I am not a quitter and willingly agreed to stop in Lee to check out the celebration which was happening in their town, as it was on the way back to Pittsfield.

There was Festival Latino ~ music and dancing under the tent and the smell of Mexican morsels which were tempting despite my not being hungry.  We were in a 15 minute parking spot so we walked up Main Street to take in the lay of the land.

We popped into the Good Purpose Gallery ~ I can never resist an Art Gallery ~ where the coolest thing I saw was an upright wooden piano done over in a mosaic of Mardi Gras Beads ~ very cool to be sure!  The paintings were nice ~ bright and colorful but the piano was the diggity!

We made it back down and around to the tent again where the women in their colorful yellow dresses were just finishing their dance and headed back to the car where I was resisting the urge to yawn having had one of the fullest days in a while.

We passed Arrowhead and on a whim decided to stop ~ my friend had heard of some hiking trails there so we decided to find them.  One of the unscheduled opportunities ~ the rain was holding off and it was on the way...

There was a clearly marked Trail sign so we headed up it through the field and found a patch of wild spearmint which I recognized right off the bat and confirmed by picking a leaf and squeezing it and breathing in that yummy aroma.

We walked up to the edge of the woods beyond the field and sat on a bench that was placed there and there was another spectacular Berkshire view of the mountains.  We do have some pretty landscape.  We decided to investigate the "Trails" which were marked with a combination of arrows and orange paint.

Not the clearest to comprehend, as we did not end up back where we started by the same trail and I got a little worried for a half a second ~ but we are both good navigators and found the bench at the edge of the forest and a few cool trees with trees growing around them ~ (another photo op lost!)

My sons both phoned me while we were exploring ~ the second one asking me the same things the first son did  and trying to pretend his brother was not right there with him trying to put a panic in me ~ except I know the way he operates so I was not fooled one bit.

It is my middle son's 24th birthday tomorrow and he is trying to tell me he requested both Beef Stew and Shepherds Pie when in reality he had switched the Shepherds Pie for the Beef Stew and I bought for the Shepherds Pie so he is not getting both this birthday as I have another day of adventures tomorrow on top of a celebration!

The batteries are in the camera ~ first thing I did before I made a much needed cup of tea when I got home. All ready for morning and it is going to be an early one as the first hike is at 10 ~ providing the weather is nice and this one is going to be rough!

The boys came by and harassed me for a while and I have been writing for two hours.  This has been such an awesome day, I wanted to share it with you before I got information overload.  Do check out the links and read the history.  They are amazing and beautiful places.

If you live in the area be sure to go if you can and if you are not in the area I recommend a trip.  There are so many diverse and fun things to do in the Berkshires ~ stop by and see us sometime!









Thursday, September 19, 2013

THURSDAY IN THE BERKSHIRES

The sun is shining it is a beautiful day in the Berkshires...

I however feel like ten miles of bad road!  Over the course of my day yesterday I overdid it to the max with errands and carrying too much stuff three times before noon!  The worst part is not feeling bad as I am doing things ~ it is the next day which gets me usually.

Add to that staying up too late watching television and waking up three times before 5 a.m. which sucks along with some of the weirdest dreams...

When the sun came glaring through my bedroom window at 8:45 ~ I was kind of relieved and forced myself get out of bed ~ for some reason just before I woke up I was dreaming that my youngest son and I were on a mission to meet my middle son's Dad on a remote stretch of land which was surrounded by water ~ we arrived to see him swimming across the clear deep water ~ which brought great happiness ~ until below the depths we saw a dark mass of a large fish ~ my first thought was a shark ~ as we watched him swim across the last 100 yards of water to where we were waiting the fish ~ which was a killer shark swam directly under him and bumped him ~ circled around and picked him up in its mouth and that was when I woke up!

It was kind of freaky, and I have no idea what it means yet.  I made my way downstairs and began my morning ritual ~ tea in the microwave, computer on.  I wandered into the living room to roll a couple of cigs to wake up with and moved three shelves of knick knacks around ~ getting closer to finishing the room ~ a tweak here and there and I think I will actually be happier with the room than I was last time I was happy with it!

Now, that is saying alot ~ I have felt that everything is how it should be for quite a few years.  For a small change I am beginning to feel that way.  To me, that is an excellent sign!  I am kind of a freak about things being in order and being organized.  I can live with a bit of chaos and disarray ~ I am not overly anal about things but I do feel better when everything is as it should be ~ literally and figuratively!

With the second to the last Third Thursday I am so stoked to be going.  I got the agenda for this weekend and it will also be amazing to explore and learn about people, places and things in my community which I never knew before ~ always a treat for me to expand my knowledge and grow.

So, this final day of my "vacation" will be very low key indeed.  The only thing I am planning to do before 5:00 is take a shower, eat some food and go to the Lab with Tom when he returns home from his Grand Theft Auto 5 Marathon at his brother's house.

It is funny that while he has been away I have done very little out of the house and now that he is on his way my plans pick up and I will be the one away.  My middle son will be having a birthday on Sunday ~ 24 years old!  I think that he vaguely hinted at the need for Beef Stew ~ which I will gladly make for his birthday for him.

I am still behind on my birthday dinners since February was not a good month in our house this past year.  I was hoping to do a big combined Family Birthday Dinner for all of the boys (and Lisa and Ainsley) but that got shot down by the minor majority.  Oh well, holidays are quickly approaching and I do know I will be sharing a meal with my entire family soon enough ~ just not soon enough for me!

I am still in a fog ~ but there is a light at the end of the tunnel ~ I have four and a half hours to feel better and make my way to the event.  I got this!!!  Nothing a nice hot shower wont cure!  I am also multi tasking trying to determine yet again what these unlabeled cassettes are ~ I am coming across a great deal of music from my earlier years ~ having been blessed with friends who loved music and fed my need for guitars, bass and awesome talent!  I think I will make another tea and grab some Vitamin D out on the back deck which will also revitalize my energy ~

I am out ~

Peace!

(Spell check had an error so I apologize in advance for any typos ~ I looked but ya know my brain is still fuzzy as heck!)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

FOOD COMA

Wednesday again already!  Time sure does fly ~ it feels like I have been on vacation in my own home ~ which is not too bad of a thing ~ with all of the housework done and most of the organization well at hand, my son gone and not too many demands on my time I have been enjoying the solitude for a change.  It really is all about perspective!

My vacation is about to be over tomorrow as we resume our regular Thursday ~ bloodwork ~ every two weeks now instead of every week which means less trips to the lab and the pharmacy ~ which I do not mind at all!

My friend Cindy's son is in town and he has a story idea for a movie which he asked me if I wanted to help get down on paper which means a new outlet and some more experience with writing.  He began running the plot line by me the other day when I met him but between his Mom and Tom's Dad talking away at each other I proposed we discuss and possible begin work on it when they are not around ~ they are two huge personalities with equally loud voices and equally distracting and demanding.

We have an Italian Themed Third Thursday tomorrow evening ~ considering I missed the previous one ~ and the previous ArtWalk as well ~ I am really looking forward to this event.  My stepfather was Italian and I am everything except Italian but when you are raised by an Italian it kind of rubs off.

I made some simple Risotto this evening for the first time ~ since we are speaking of Italian.  I have never eaten it before.  I kept it simple.  First I baked a nicely seasoned Salmon Fillet in the oven ~ loaded with Dill and garlic and Lemon and Pepper and a bit of onion while my Risotto was cooking.

There are a million recipes for Risotto ~ too many to decide which would be best to try first so when the Risotto was finished cooking ~ all the endless stirring and cooking off of the water I seasoned it with some salt and flaked the Salmon.  The seasonings on the fish were awesome with the Risotto.  I was not unhappy ~ as a matter of fact ~ I ate an hour and a half ago and I am still full!

I am thankful I have an easier time with Italian Rice than I do with long grain or else I would have been upset to be sure!  I would love to get some amazing wild mushrooms or something like that to have in it ~ but I think next time I am going for the tomato basil.  It is simple and I have fresh ingredients here in the house.

A few interesting things are scheduled for this weekend, another weekend of being a tourist in my home County.  I am looking forward to it and hope the weather this weekend is as beautiful as it was today!  They changed our local Weather Channel so now I never know what the weather is going to be like until I step foot out the door ~ and around here that can change in an instant.

Global Warming is upon us which doesn't surprise me ~ I have been noting the changes since the mid 80's. It is exciting and mostly tragic ~ although, knock on wood, the worst we have gotten is horrible cold winds all winter and extremely hot days during the spring and summer.  I am hoping this winter will be a lot less windy and a lot more snow.  Not that I like snow ~ I just prefer when our weather does what it is supposed to do and snow does seem to make it warmer.

I am getting more used to this haircut of mine.  Now that I have gotten my normal conditioner back in the house it is beginning to make a difference on how my hair falls but I still do not like it most of the time.  Like every time I run a comb through it after I take a shower and the comb is through my hair way too quickly.

I am not a "girly" girl and these things don't usually bother me but I liked my long and curly hair and I miss my curls!  Like most things about me ~ my hair is also backwards ~ cutting off the dead weight did not make my curls spring back ~ it is like my hair forgot to be curly!  I could deal with the length (or shortness) otherwise!

The food coma is closing in on me ~ my brain is not in control ~ so I am going to sign off until tomorrow!  

Peace !


Monday, September 16, 2013

THE STORY OF MY LIFE!

Yesterday was Sunday.  I was waking up with my tea and computer as I am known to do when my property manager knocked on the door ~ on a Sunday ~ to alert me to the fact that Monday between 10 and 11 a.m. the owner was going to come and check over his property.

Me, being the type of person who likes to have things in order and clean for such events finished the wake up session and began sweeping out the house one room at a time ~ boxing up the organized mess and making a mental checklist of what I needed to get done.

My vacuum cleaner  (all three of them) are down and out at the moment, so the majority of the work was sweeping two separate Oriental rugs, which I had to buy and Electrolux to clean properly as they are not the easiest rugs to sweep clean. Unfortunately, the hose is in need of replacement and at over $100.00 is not in my budget at the current time.

After sweeping out the living room, moving all the furniture and chasing the cobwebs around, and tackling the dining room, which was still buried with two sets of "nice" dishes from a couple weeks ago when the maintenance guy came to look at the refrigerator and which I had not returned to the top of the fridge yet I had a bit of work to do there.

I decided to take a shower and take care of my errands and decided while I was out to buy one of those Swiffers instead of a mop ~ along with the replacement wet pads to go along with them ~ forgetting the dry pads which turned out to be okay ~ I like it better as a mop and it is so much easier than scrubbing the floor on my hands and knees which always takes so much longer!

It gave me a new toy to make cleaning fun.  When I returned home I was amazed at just how much easier it was!  Of course while I was tackling my floor and room ~ restructuring closets to put things out of sight and of course making extra work for myself ~ Tom's Dad arrived with three bags full of clothes ~ none of which were anything we could use ~ nice thought ~ bad timing!

He did bring a nice stacking drawer cabinet thing ~ but I am not sure what I am going to do with it specifically yet.  I am sure we can do something with it somewhere.  I got my 8 bins of craft supplies downstairs out of my room and into a room where I have a table and lighting ~ tis the season to keep busy painting ceramics and seasonal holiday decorations.

Tom decided to get out of dodge a day early and headed over to his brothers ~ not wanting to be in my way or around during the inspection.  After he and Patrick left I was nearing completion and I decided that I was going to set the living room up for winter and was just spinning the rug and the room around when I decided to make some food and take a break ~ now nearing 8:00 at night ~ I had worked hard all day and was a glutton for punishment apparently as the place was just about fine ~ but I had been fighting the compulsion all day to move things around ~ I lost!

Tom's Dad showed up again while I was finishing my dinner of Buckwheat noodles and playing a game on the computer.  I told him not to go into the living room ~ but did not tell him why ~ he thought someone was in there and when he opened the curtain and saw the room half spun he couldn't believe his eyes ~ knowing the room had been finished earlier when he was there.

He graciously offered to help me move the rest of the things around and grabbed an end of the couch and we managed to get the living room back in working order, comfortable and ready for winter ~ all heaters clear and ready to go.

I managed to solicit his help in bringing all of the games upstairs so I could put them in a closet and stash my cartons of craft items under the hutch so it wouldn't appear so much like 9 plastic storage containers taking up a corner of my dining room.

I finished the table as well, threw on a table cloth, placed the two lamps and found a centerpiece for the table.  He gratefully left on that note, he had been helping someone move for two days and was not really into helping but did so without complaint ~ and took the first opportunity to get the heck out!

I was fine with that ~ I still had to finish mopping the second half of my room, sweep the stairs and tackle the computer room desk and sweep another rug!  I was feeling physically done, but the job was not done.  I cleaned up the computer table and mopped the computer room floor and headed up to finish my bedroom floor.

I decided I could wait until morning to do the computer rug and the stairs.  I figured a good nights sleep would make everything better.  I thought it would be a good nights sleep but of course I was mistaken.  I was up so many times last night you would not believe it!

When 8:45 came I was glad that I had finished all that I had the night before.  I could barely move.  I made a tea and hopped in the shower ~ noticing that my landlords truck was in the driveway.  It was gone when I got out of the shower and there were no messages from him so I swept the stairs and swept out the porch ~ not even giving that a thought the day before!

11a.m. came and went with no knock at the door so I decided to ring my landlord up and I got ~ "I am so sorry ~ I should have called you ~ they are not doing it today!"  That is the story of my life!  Short notice ~ high pressure ~ finish task ~ no end result and no call!

The bright side is my house is done with only those stupid five boxes to go through which is nothing new!  I got a new mopping device which is fun to use and so much easier!  I am ready for winter!!  Everything is clean and in its place and I am content with my progress!  I can't move too well, but all in all it was worth it!








Sunday, September 15, 2013

HOW I SPENT MY ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY

I have been thinking for a couple of days on how to mark the one year anniversary since beginning my blog ~ my journey of exploration.  It has been difficult, but over the course of the days I have been reflecting on the experiences and the opportunities and the overall growth which I have had on a personal and a creative level.

I walked to the supermarket thinking along the way ~ deep in thought as I walked through the danger zone and pretended not to know a person who took a great deal of my heart, my time and my life ~ the catalyst of my journey.  The biggest step in reality was comprehending realistically how much of a non reality our reality actually was.

I continued on ~ chilled more by the memories than by the brisk wind which was blowing, the clouds thick and dark above.  I journeyed on toward the Downtown Farmers Market to check out the goods and visit with some more people from Alchemy Initiative whom have become a part of my journey.  Jess, Wylder, Chris, Jen, Jennet and Diane ~ all wonderful to know on my journey.  I am blessed to pass into their worlds as well.  

The wind grew cooler as I continued on towards the supermarket.  One of my favourite and least favorite places to go.  The parking lot was full.  Not a good sign.  I headed in and without any clear thought picked up more than necessary with a treat for future experimentation for me to advance my cooking knowledge ~ Arborio Italian Rice because everyone should know how to make Risotto and I do not.

I was in one of the shorter long express lines when I saw my mother ~ it always makes my heart break a little more when I have to pretend that it doesn't bother me to pretend we do not know each other.  Then the lady asked me if I wanted to go into a line she was opening ~ exit Stage left ~ that is me.

Two overly heavy double bagged bags later I make it across the street and three rest stops later I am back at the Farmer's Market ~ greetings and goodbyes ~ heavy bags and threatening rain clouds make me in a hurry to get inside my house.

The park is so close and yet so far so I put my bags down on the bench and light a smoke and catch my breath which is a ridiculous statement ~ yet what I did.  Danger zone is ahead and I need that nicotine rush of strength although I know the danger rode off on his motorcycle and I am pretty safe.

I could not be so blessed to have three unlucky encounters in an hour the day after Friday the 13th.  I welcome the unlucky days ~ the full moons and a nice black cat.  I will not walk under a ladder if I can help it and thanks to Laura will not split luck by letting something pass between me and who I am walking with.

I made it home and put away my groceries.  I had a few ideas brewing as I shopped and wasn't sure what I was going to cook, but I had hours to figure that out.  I made a cup of tea and took my shoes off grateful to be home.  

I opened some windows to let in the fresh air after two months with air conditioning.  It was refreshing but soon turned cold so I decided it was time to take in the air conditioner.  I had a little mishap when I opened the window the air conditioner went out the window and crashed to the ground.

At least it was the first floor!  I went out and picked up the air conditioner which required two trips as both of the side things snapped off.  I plugged it in when I got to the living room and it turns out an a/c can withstand a short fall.  I put it down in the basement and decided not to tempt fate and left the one upstairs where it was.

One of my oldest friends dropped by and I spent a couple of nice hours hanging out with he and my son and continued to develop the theme mentally in my head ~ and also deciding to wing it.  No pressure.  More positive affirmation of my self and my journey just by the timing of the visit.

I had been baking potatoes to go with dinner when my friend arrived and after he departed I set to work having decided on a nice steak with some garlic, onions and peppers to accompany the meal.  The steak came out a perfect medium rare ~ exactly how I wanted and the potato skins had a nice crunch to them. The peppers and onions however threw the meal together with a nice refreshing zip.

As I was plating the food, my middle son phoned and I persuaded him to drop by for a visit.  It was already late ~ 10 ish when he arrived but it is never to late for a visit with my family.  He came bearing gifts of soda for his brother ~ knowing his addiction to Pepsi!  He also had Spree which is one of my old time favorite candies.

We shared our version of family time for an hour and then he had to go.  Time is precious and I will take an hour with my boys anytime of the day.  His birthday is coming up but he was disagreeable to talking about it. He will always be my most difficult ~ yet most loving child.

I made a cup of tea and took out some Brie so it could acclimate according to package directions for a half hour before eating.  It was on sale so I figured I would give it a shot as I am always open to new experiences.  It turns out it is very good.  I have eaten a !/2 a sleeve of crackers and a nice portion of the cheese as I have been writing this which is why it is now past my deadline ~ I am sure you will forgive me ~ it is my deadline ~ not yours!

It seems only fitting to mark my one year and 211th post sharing the journey of my day, which may seem ordinary to you, but for me has been a remarkably good day!  The whole year ~ despite the storms which I have had to weather has been a year in which I have learned so much about myself.

I have allowed myself to appreciate more fully the things like Theatre, Art and Community, networking with Berkshire Creative.  Talking to artists on First Friday, being open and asking questions, getting involved have all been huge steps in my personal growth.

The encouragement I have gotten by friends and strangers alike regarding my writing has helped me to develop my comfort zone, skill and hopefully someday a few stories and a possible further enlightenment as to where this road is going to take me.

I look forward and towards an even more fulfilling second year with you.  My goal is not clear and neither is the path so I am sure there with be plenty of bumps and with luck a few more successes.  I am beginning to babble which means it is time for me to end.

Cheers

GClawdia







Friday, September 13, 2013

FRIDAY THE 13TH

I woke up early this morning and decided to go back to sleep.  I just pulled the covers over my head and off I went.  I wish it were that easy all of the time!  I had the pleasure of sleeping almost until eleven in the morning.

I woke up feeling pretty good, despite the fact it is "dreaded" Friday the 13th.  I am superstitious, but not about this day!  So far, so good ~ knock on wood.  As I was doing my daily computer routine and tea and cigarette wake up there was a knock and Tom's Dad was sipping tea with me.

We also did a battle on the WII Resort Frisbee Golf ~ I crushed him the first 9 hole game no problem on the Classic Course ~ he, however killed me on the Resort Course.  No tie breaker ~ we are even.  I like that train of thought.  It cuts out the competitiveness and keeps it fun as is the goal.

Since I thoroughly cleaned the bathroom ~ shower and tub included, after he left I decided to indulge in a bath, a book and a cigarette in the tub.  Something I love to do ~ yet do not do it often enough.  The day seems to be all about indulgence for me.

I did some more computer stuff and laundry ~ stripping my bed ~ blankets and all.  Finished up the laundry by making my bed so it will be all snug and cozy when I arrive home later this evening.  I also folded and put away the other basket of laundry I set aside the other day.

Done is done.  That is how I like it!  I made some lunch and watched the final episode of "The Bridge" on Demand ~ still a week behind but whoa ~ the plot thickens and I never saw it coming.  I am usually good at figuring out a story line in advance but they got me on this one ~ I can't wait to see what happens next.

I decided to write as I had an hour and a half before I have to be somewhere.  I am going to a play tonight. I did not expect to be able to see this one, although I was dying to see it.  I missed the half price tickets. Luckily for me however ~ my friend offered up his two complimentary tickets as he is going to be out of town this evening and cannot use them.

My life is good!  I get to go see Scott and Hem in the Garden of Allah by Mark St. Germain.  It is at the St. Germain Stage which I have only been to once before.  I am going to bring Tom's Dad.  He has never been to the Theatre.  He is excited about it.

It looks like rain so I am going to go casual this evening just in case I get caught in the rain.  It is chilly out there as well.  According to the Weather Channel it is going to be cooler over the next few days.  I do not mind shutting off the air conditioner that is for sure!

Tom has been over to his brothers for the past two days.  It is good to see him get out of the house now and again.  I am getting used to it.  I am getting caught up on the shows that he never wants to watch.  Well, the time is a passing and I need to drink my tea and figure out what to wear within the next 30 minutes.

Oh yeah ~ tomorrow will be my one year anniversary of the beginning of my Journey of Exploration ~ which is this blog!  I have been fondly looking back over the highlights of my year and there have been a few!

I hope your Friday the 13th has been as decadent in a good way as mine has been for me!