Friday, April 20, 2018

Full of Grace

It’s been a while since I posted here.  One of the main reasons is that the eyelid stye I had developed in February became a cyst, which began to press on my cornea, which then gave me double vision in that eye, which had been making it difficult to focus, which gave me a headache looking at a computer screen for too long.  

I have now had surgery to remove the cyst.  Six shots in the eyelid to numb it (yowza) , then some sort of clamp under the eyelid, poking and prodding, cutting and then cauterizing.  I passed out. But a little over a week of recovery and my vision seems to be slowly returning to normal and I am immensely grateful.

Martha’s routine colonoscopy was all clear. She has a lot of cancer in her family so it was particularly good news.

The house siding installation is done along with the 8 days of banging and clanging and windows rattling.  My furballs are just starting to come out from hiding.

The shutters are up and I’m more or less happy with them.  I am still looking for some black hardware to dress them up but so far everything is 3 times more expensive than what the shutters cost me to build.  Even faux hardware is ridiculously expensive.

My garden is all laid out.  I put landscape barrier down and then make cut outs for the plants which eliminates a lot of weeding.  

Usually at this time my seedlings are outside during the day getting fresh air and sunshine but we have had the coldest, snowiest April on record. Every day has been cold, cloudy and gloomy.  Next week’s weather is looking a little more promising.

Hope springs eternal. Or there is eternal hope that Spring will eventually arrive.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Gimme Shelter

I have not been getting out into the woods this year the way I used to. No scrambling climbs up rocky mountains sides, no backpacking to breathtaking views on bald mountain tops. Age has taken its toll on my body. I have all but packed away the backpack and traded skis for snowshoes. I am adjusting to just pulling on boots for a leisurely hike carrying not much more than water and a snack in a day pack.

And so I was looking forward to an LL Bean sponsored group meetup, proposed as a 3 to 5 mile hike, or snowshoe, depending on the weather. What interested me was that the hike was to be in a State park very near to where my oldest daughter now lives, until she moves in a couple of weeks. We had never been there so we both signed up. But just as the pinky toe I injured four months ago was finally getting better, I re-injured it stepping on a dog toy in the middle of the night. Damn. And then we had a ton of snow and my body just cannot do 5 miles of snowshoeing. Nope. Nada. Not anymore.

But I was going up to daughter’s apartment anyway to help pack for her impending move so we decided to go to the park for at least a short walk.

We thought we might walk on the frozen lake but warmer temps earlier in the week rendered that not safe.

And we were definitely not going swimming.

There were many groomed ski trails but the park roadway had been plowed so we decided to walk along it and take in the views of the lake from there.

It was a very cold and blustery day and 30 minutes in my face was frozen, my toe screaming, and I was beginning to regret my decision to go hiking in such brutal weather when we came across this warming hut at the far end of the lake.

A small fire was burning and the warmth gave us much needed relief from the cold and wind.

There was a cozy corner stocked with nature books including many for children, and there were quite a few educational exhibits such as tree specimens and animal tracks. Although I was not pleased with the stuffed animal head.

I planted my butt on this couch for quite a while.

It was a huge improvement to the primitive Adirondack shelters I am used to when backpacking.

I could have stayed for quite awhile in its cozy comfortable shelter but we had to get packing so we hiked back out.. If the State could just provide more of these kinds of warming huts, perhaps with a stocked fridge, in the Adirondack wilderness I would definitely dust off the ol’ backpack and head back out there.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Morning View

Usually by March I am tired of the snow but this has been
a particularly beautiful snowfall
coating all the trees and making the world
look like a wonderland

Thursday, March 1, 2018


Yesterday Dick’s Sporting Goods announced they would no longer sell assault style rifles. They would also not sell high capacity magazines and that it would not sell any gun to anyone under 21, no matter what the local state regulations were.

I met the owner of Dick’s (Mr. Stack to me) very early in my career. He owned one stand-alone sporting goods store adjacent to the city I worked for and we were trying to entice him to open a new store in our downtown. It was a time when downtowns were dying and no one was investing in city retail.

But Mr. Stack had once worked in our downtown and had a soft spot for the city. He truly wanted to help in its economic development, even if it presented a financial risk to him. For about a year we sat and planned. I was pretty much an underling at the time but he and his family always treated me with respect and gave me a lot of confidence in my abilities.

When the new store finally opened the Stack’s always gave back to the community and were interested in the surrounding businesses’ success as much as their own. Mr. Stack’s son eventually took over the company and I was delighted when I learned that they had since expanded all over the country.

I was not surprised by their announcement yesterday as they always were always a family based, community oriented company. I am happy that they have not strayed from their roots and values.

Today I am going to my local Dick’s and buying something. Anything. I want to support them as they join the fight to turn the tide on gun regulations just as they supported me and my former community. I hope you will give them some encouraging words on their social media or, if you are able, go buy something. They have great camping gear : )

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Full of Grace

I am making new cedar shutters for our house and smell of the wood has filled my garage. It is the most pleasant fragrant aroma with which to fill my lungs.

Going to visit Peachie in Boston and seeing her happy in her new home, all decorated and homey.

And she took me to my very first trip to an IKEA store which was amazing. Lunching on Swedish meatballs was pretty awesome too.

70 degrees in February. I know it was just a tease but getting even a tiny glimpse of Spring fills me with joy and anticipation.

A developed a stye in my eye. I am not particularly grateful about that as it has been ugly and itchy and painful and caused very blurry vision. But I am very grateful that I have gone my whole life without ever having to deal with one of these before. And hopefully never again.

And of course, this:

which has been on a continual loop on my computer.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Friday, February 16, 2018

Planet B?

I was fortunate to be able to take a small break from this year’s bitter cold upstate New York weather and go to sunny Florida to visit some old friends.  I  took leisurely morning beach walks with the sea gulls, took bike rides along a jetty with pelicans, went to see manatees (my friend’s granddaughter calls them chubby mermaids), and marvelled at all the different flora and fauna one thousand miles in distance can make.

I also had the opportunity to sit on the beach to witness the Elon Musk space launch. It was incredible to watch the rocket go up and even more amazing to watch the rockets come back slowly and return to their launch pads. And then the sonic booms. The whole experience was goose bump producing.

Before going on this trip I had no idea what this launch was all about or that it was such a big deal. Literally over a hundred thousand people came to watch, we saw license plates from all over the country and many folks from other countries. And because of all the media attention I learned that it is Elon Musk’s dream to establish a human colony of Mars of one million people by 2040. This launch was just a precursor to the soon-to-come BFR (big fucking rocket) that he hopes will carry as many as 200 people at a time to their new home on Mars.

Then I read blogger Tim Urban’s Wait But Why blog comment that “all our eggs are currently on one planet. If we can build a self-sustaining civilization on Mars, it’s much harder for humanity to go extinct.” WTF? Personally I feel that we deserve to go extinct and I imagine all the remaining plants and animals standing up and cheering when we do.

I recently read that over 20,000 species have gone extinct directly attributable to human impacts on the planet. Why shouldn’t we be next? In fact, we deserve to be next. Americans generate about 4 and a half pounds of trash per person, per day, or 254.1 million tons total per year. Where does it all go?

Even dogs know not to shit their own beds.

This is our home. Why aren’t we talking about the necessary changes we have to make in order to continue the human project here? Personally I think we are just too greedy, too lazy, too selfish to make any of the sacrifices needed because they might inconvenience us or impact our pocketbook.

So rather than clean up our act here we will look to migrate to another planet?!

Based on our performance on this big blue marble, we will only infect and pollute other parts of the solar system. And then where do we go? Until we learn to clean up our act, there really is no Planet B. Just more places to ruin.