Tuesday, October 15, 2013

View Out My Window, politically speaking

Have you ever been so angry you could spit...or cry...or pull your hair out? That is how I am feeling now about a couple of things but the government shut down tops the list. No political tirade here but just have to vent my frustration with the elected in Washington, DC whom WE put there.

                                                             Acadia National Park
I know the arguments but they are not being hurt by this except in the polls and you know how quickly people forget monumental events. Remember two weeks ago in Washington when so many lives were taken and shattered? Remember how drawn together we felt by this senseless tragedy at the Navy Yard? Can't we feel the same need to unite for solace and concern when so many, many people are suffering today, a day of questionable government in our United States? Some workers will be paid retroactively but will babies without milk and diapers be okay in a week or two? Will preschoolers in Head Start be home watching television or playing in parks that seem to be no longer safe refuge? Tourists may not get into National Parks which is not a calamity but a disappointment. First time home buyers will be stuck with earnest money gone and no assurance of getting a home loan in the near future. The list goes on and on and yet we feel that some in Congress have no sense of urgency, no view of the common good and only want to bask in the acclaim of their constituents back home.

I needed to vent and hope that my readers will not feel too put upon by my complaints. Sometimes we all just have to release the negative thinking in our brains somehow. And I chose you!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

View out My Window

"Art VS craft - eye candy VS hand and eye candy with purpose.
Wayne McKensie

I have been thinking of my mother-in-law often lately which is a positive experience for me, luckily. She was a unique individual and one I miss having in my life. She could do anything she set her mind to and those actions were not always well received by her husband, family and friends! One famous story she told was when her newly-wed husband complained about the way she prepared his eggs in the morning.  She calmly walked over and cracked an egg on his head. As the raw egg oozed down through his hair, she told him that he could prepare his own eggs if he didn't like hers. (circa 1942)  Intrigued?

Last week my 40-something daughter and her family spent the night here and, after we had all gone to bed, she showed up at our bedroom door. "Mom, can I have Nana's pink quilt to sleep with tonight?" My family feels that Nana sewed all her love into this particular quilt and we request it when we are cold, sad or ill. Guess my 40-something was cold that night but I got the quilt off the rack and handed it over to a smiling child.

Quilting has been revived in the past few decades which is a positive statement about our ancestors. Life was so different years ago and quilts not only used up fabric worn thin from wear but gave the mother and daughters in the house something productive to do at night when the time after sunset did not allow for outdoor activities. Thousands of tiny stitches were worked in intricate designs and then added to the bed in a time before shams, comforters and silk pillows were the trend.

The above quilt was made by my mother-in-law for my husband and me and I think it is a work of art. The colors, the configuration of a double wedding ring pattern must have been such arduous work and yet I know she created it out of love-love for us, love for family and love of creativity. Will many of us leave behind such a testament to our existence?
Although they are smaller versions, I also have my grandmother's quilt; she was a woman whom I never had the privilege of knowing and yet her handiwork has kept my granddaughters warm many nights. Although worn and somewhat ragged, it will not be tossed aside by me but will be the little piece of my family history that I have of her, a woman born almost a century ago.
My Aunt Jenn was also a maker of quilts, my paternal grandmother's sister. She also collected cats, hundreds in her lifetime. Needless to say, her quilts were delivered with a sheen of cat hairs attached. I recall my mother wrinkling up her nose when she contemplated cleaning this bright, hand-made blanket over and over to remove that feline shine! It has held up remarkably well and makes me smile every time I smooth out the wrinkles when making the bed. Eccentric old maids are part of my history, too!
Hope you have enjoyed seeing my familial "eye candy with a purpose." It was created with love!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

View Out My Window


What is it about seeing beautiful flowers growing that makes one feel as though, despite poverty, terrorism, foreclosures, illness and violence, there is hope and beauty in the world? I am not sure but I do know that when I visited Gibbs Gardens last week, it sure lifted my spirits. The tree canopy kept the temperatures down as my friend and I walked, talked, oohed and ahhed  our way through acres of flowers, trees and shrubs. It took me out of my doldrums almost immediately.

What event had brought me down from my usual "happy with life" attitude? Someone very close to me is moving far away. I simply cannot imagine my life without this person and her family nearby. I do not spend hours each month with her but knowing I could if I wanted to keeps my spirits up. Her children are part of my daily thoughts and, of course, they are leaving my community, too. Sure, there are airplanes, cars and telephones, texts, emails, and Skype to keep us connected but these conveniences do not really connect people. Sitting across the table, sharing life's events face-to-face, and seeing physical responses to one another's comments is what connects people. And so, I will miss this family as I am sure others will and it does have me down in the dumps these days.

But who can look at these photographs and not feel the urge to wander a garden? It will be my therapy this summer. I will search for consolation in Nature as so many have for centuries and the pain will diminish, the tears will fall less frequently and I will call my dear friend in her new state and tell her all about my explorations.

Now that I have a plan, I feel better.

“I will be the gladdest thing under the sun! I will touch a hundred flowers and not pick one.”
Edna St. Vincent Millay

Sunday, May 26, 2013

View Out My Window


"When you finally go back to your old home, you find it wasn't the old home you missed but your childhood." Sam Ewing

                                                           Liverpool, Nova Scotia

When I tell people that I was born in Nova Scotia, Cananda, they always act amazed as if to say, "How did you get here?" It was quite easy, really. I got on a boat in Halifax and our little ferry arrived in Boston early on a rainy September day. Of course, since I was just 4 years old, I though it best to bring my older sister, baby brother and mother along, too. We left our white clapboard house nestled between a bay and the Atlantic Ocean to move to "the states" as everyone there calls the US.
My father had already begun his new job in northern New York but he was there waiting for us when the ferry docked. A long, long drive before interstates were developed!


People do ask me questions about life there in southeastern Canada so I thought I would give you a few travel tips in case you ever venture across the northern border of this country.

1. If you order a soft drink or soda in a restaurant, there will be no ice in your glass. You would think there would be a surplus of ice in Canada, wouldn't you? Well, if there is, they are keeping it to themselves.
2. Take the Lighthouse route to see the natural beauty of the south eastern shore. And when you see the signs for Peggy's Cove, turn there. It is not to be missed for quaint beauty.

                                                                       Peggy's Cove

3. Don't laugh when they ask you if you would take a Loonie when giving you change. They may even offer a Twoney. In our world, that would be a one and two dollar coin with, of course, a loon on the Loonie!
4. Have an ice cream wherever you stop. Their ice cream is delicious, especially at Summerville Beach which I used to frequent on my trips back home.
5. When filling up your tank, you will measure your purchase in imperial gallons, if you please, which are smaller but pricier than the US gallon.
6. When the residents talk about their RCMP you should know they are discussing their Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The uniforms are quite impressive! Much fancier than a trooper!
7. Do not think that all Bed and Breakfast inns have air conditioning. Even some motels don't and Nova Scotia can be humid as Hades in August! Research your accommodations!
8. Their fish, lobster and clams are just as good, if not better than, the nearby state of Maine's offerings. Well, on second thought,  the lobster is equal to Maine's. Eat hearty! And they don't have Sweet Tea to wash these feasts down. Better bring your own sugar!
9. Take notice of the Smurf statues and the wondrous homemade cast of characters who decorate the lawns in some areas. I remember seeing a nun on a swing, a husband and wife seated in lawn chairs, and children playing games on the front lawn. None of these characters was alive, just dressed and stuffed to entertain those out for a Sunday drive or to make the tourist wonder about the natives!
10. Whether your destination is the Land of Evangeline, Cape Breton Island or the Titanic museum and graveyard in Halifax, enjoy your conversations with the people that make up this beautiful province.

So go, enjoy and tell them all hello for me, eh?



Saturday, May 18, 2013

View Out My Window

My name and the appearance of my blog have changed a little. I am working slowly but surely to enhance things visually but one day at a time. I also have added the opportunity for you to receive my blogs (when I post them) via email. I bought a domain that was available: "View out my window" since "view from my window" was taken. I am still not sure of all the advantages of having my own domain but, as I said, I have much to learn! It seems the older I get, the more I have to learn! You, too?

I am writing today to request your patience as I get more gizmos, gadgets and pictures added to View Out My Window. Several blogs I am currently subscribed to are so visually interesting that I feel embarrassed "publishing" this plain old blog but, just wait...it will go from blah to RAH!  (I hope)

I have plans for interesting topics to cover such as my Nova Scotia roots, my Maine connections, and my wonderful family. So, the picture below is a hint as to what's next!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

View over My Coffee Cup

Yesterday, I had coffee with an old friend- one I had planned to meet several times and, due to life as we know it, we had to cancel our plans. So, today, at last, we shared a couple of hours over a coffee and a frappuccino. We had the best time! We chatted about our time working together, about our mutual retirement situation, about our families, and about our blogs. She knows so much more about blogging than I do and I tried to take mental notes about her suggestions. We both agreed that we have to struggle to keep up with technology or we will certainly be "left behind." And we both agreed that we are not yet old! Are you laughing at us now?

Three years ago when I retired, I envisioned my life changing as far as employment was concerned but I did not contemplate missing all my friends from work. I just assumed that aspect of my life would continue per usual. Wrong! The more time passes, the fewer the social occasions arise giving me those opportunities. Yes, I spend more time with family and am so grateful for that!! I follow Facebook friends with an occasional Like and even a few Comments. Texting is another easy option and I do text several friends on an infrequent basis. Long conversations on the telephone  are a thing of the past in my life and pretty much by choice. Face-to-face conversations are so rare that when that occasion comes along, I get pretty psyched. There is so much to say!

After a great social experience such as I had yesterday, I ask myself why I wait so long between these treasured visits. Why don't I take the time? I resolve to stay more in touch with people I have known for years. My resolve will probably not be sustained but my friends are as busy being retired as I am and it may be a while before we stop and smell the coffee again. Can't wait!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

View from My Window

Sometimes, when the light is just right, the view from my window is a reflective one and I behold the inside of my home in this new light! This view is not seasonal with dogwoods blooming or leaves covering the yard but more introspective on my part.

I cannot help but reflect on what is not happening in my home.
There are no children who take daily residence in either their rooms or in front of the television. There used to be...
There are no frenzied mornings with people grabbing coffee and unhealthy food choices to tie them over until lunchtime. There used to be...
There are no piles of laundry sitting on the stairs ignored by children running here and there in order not to be late. There used to be...
There are no last minute, speedway races to the mall for "Must Haves." There used to be...
There is no longer a plethora of phone calls all night long with anxious messages from peers who must share what just happened. There used to be...
And, when the dishes need to be picked up and washed or placed in the dishwasher, there are no children hiding out in the bathrooms. There used to be...

Ah, do not pity me, my friend, for all the things I once had that no longer are part of my daily life.

Now, I have special occasions when one or more grandchildren are in my home delighting me.
Now, wine with dinner is one of life's appreciated moments to be savored.
Now, I can bake cookies in the morning and still have some in the cookie jar at sundown.
Now, I have a DVR with any show I want to watch at the tip of my fingers.
Now, I have an iPad that provides me with the quiet victories (and defeats) of Words with Friends.
Now, I can enjoy my music at my preferred volume any time of day or night.

I welcome the reality of the old adage, "When God closes a door, He opens a window."