Sunday, December 31, 2006

Now I Really Miss My Gardens

Remember my first blog posting - the 'I Miss My Gardens' - well here is that exact same shot of one of my gardens only it is months later. Yes, indeed, as the signs say when entering this wonderful state of mine - 'Maine, The Way Life Should Be' - brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Bah Humbug

I know, I know, - I live in Maine, what else would one expect right... Bah humbug! I consider myself the type of person who always believes the glass is half full. It's another matter when it comes to shovels. I prefer them empty. At all times! I actually don't mind the first snowfall. But that's it. No more, please...

As I write this, my friend Leslie is boarding a plane for Florida where she will stay for the next month, walking along warm sandy beaches, watching dolphins play along the shore, sipping god knows what as the balmy breezes caress her tanned skin - bitch!

Saturday, December 23, 2006


That's right, this tree beats anything Charlie Brown can come up with... and then some! This little ole tree has quite a history to say the least.

Everyone seemed to think that I would have a hard time celebrating Christmas this year but I had other ideas. I looked forward to finding the perfect little 'real' tree to put in my new digs. Thanksgiving weekend I began my search - but there were no places to be found that sold real trees. The following weekend I set out once again on my search - still no place to be found that was selling trees yet. The next, and third weekend in a row, I set out once again. This was becoming the greatest 'Charlie Brown' Christmas tree search ever! After driving hither and yon (who the hell makes up those sayings anyway) I finally spied a place that was selling real trees, up ahead on the left. I put my blinker on, waiting for the traffic flow to break so that I could pull into the nursery. Traffic became lighter and I had plenty of opportunity to make my left hand turn, time and again I had plenty of time to make my turn. But I just couldn't make that left hand turn. As a matter of fact I never did make that left hand turn. I returned home in sort of a funk.

The next day I awoke with a mission on my mind. Find the little fake tree that I had stored in no less than a dozen places during the past two years. Originally it had been a cute little 'fake' tree given to me by a former client. It collapsed into two pieces and had wire limbs. Now picture those cute little wire limbs being crushed under a kayak; next being placed on an overhead shelf in the garage where dog crates were thrown on top for another year; then being placed in a storage space under the garage where it rested safely for about two days before a huge load of kindling was unceremoniously thrown on top of it. After visiting all the above mentioned spots where I believed the little tree to be - I soon realized the challenge of my undertaking but it was now more than a mission, it was becoming an obsession!

I did find the tree eventually. But what a pathetic little tree it was. Every limb had been crushed, and twisted every which way but I didn't care. From the very beginning I knew this tree would be the best in many ways. I spent a lot of time choreographing each limb and then began my search for ornaments. I had no problem finding Christmas decorating boxes in my newly organized attic. I brought down one of my boxes and some things that had belonged to Barbara. The first one I pulled from Barbara's stuff was a beautiful gold metal star ornament with the letter 'HOPE' on the front. So I'm thinking you can all guess what I did for the next half hour.

I've never had a 'fake' Christmas tree but this one is perfect, for this time, this place, this Christmas. No other place but this place, no other time but this time... enjoy!

Friday, December 22, 2006


Stayed home sick today and of course like any good Chandler I used some of my morning time to make potato candy. Then afterwards I took a three hour nap. Those dang germ infested rug rats keep giving me these flus. Now, back to the potato candy. I love watching the face of someone who has never tasted this delight before. Afterwards there is always the question, what's in this? Potato you meathead! As I was making this batch I couldn't help but think where it originally came from - the people that came to our great-grandmother's bakery in Bradford must have really looked forward to Christmas and the opportunity to have 'Potato Candy'.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

I Miss My Boys

Thanks Bergen and Finley, for checking out Grammy Dot's blog site and sending me notes about the garden picture. We sure had fun this summer creating your gardens for the elk to eat. I'm so happy to hear that you want to visit in the warm weather. I'll love having your help in my gardens and in finding the sand dollars at the beach, and the lobster, and feeding the birds, and, and, and, - gosh maybe we should start counting sleeps. I miss and love you both.

Grammy Dots

Saturday, December 16, 2006


I just read brother Jim's last blog postings and it so reminded me of a book I just started reading, Kitchen Table Wisdom, by Rachel Remen. This book serves as a powerful reminder that we are the stories that we tell. The best stories used to be told around the kitchen table. How many of us, as children, sat and listened to Aunts, Uncles, neighbors, and parents tell stories of their recent day, or embellishing a story of the past. I am learning that each story defines who we are, not what we have acquired or achieved.

During the past week I have needed the wisdom of this book to help with my grief, my sadness, and my sense of missing Barbara. It has helped me to see that the night Barbara died, her bedside became the 'Kitchen Table' - while she was still with us we all sat around her and told story after story. Sometimes she would join in and other times she would just smile or laugh out loud. After she was gone, we couldn't leave that 'kitchen table' - we all remained for hours around the bed and told story, after story, sometimes crying and sometimes laughing. I look back now and realize what a precious time that will always be for me. It's amazing how the ordinary events of our lives, told over and over again at the kitchen table, become the wisdom for defining us to the next generation.

How I wish we were all living in houses in a row - like at Angel Cove Cottages for our reunion years ago. I could stoll down the lane and visit each house - sit for awhile at each kitchen table and talk story as they say in Hawaii. I feel an emmense need to share stories of Barbara, that this will somehow ease the sadness of missing her - a sadness that Elizabeth so aptly described this morning as "a big hole".

Barbara's last words to me were "I love you too Sis" - I guess that just about says it all for right now.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

It's All About The Tools Isn't It...

In the spirit of, feeling a little full of myself about the first renovated room, I thought I would post the second room I finished. The bedroom. This room was, by far, the worst looking. Very depressing dark woodwork, stained walls, cigarette burns on the floor (which are still there) - it never ceases to amaze me how a coat or two of paint can cure most everything. I so love this room which I've tried to keep in a very simple motif and as is my philosophy; the bedroom should always be a place of intimacy and harmony - no tv! Not... no way, never. Anyway - this is it so far. I have two rooms and a foyer left to do, maybe after Christmas. Now if I had Jim's talents the rooms would have crown molding, new wood flooring from some European rare tree source, new airtight windows, and handmade cabinetry. Hey Jim, maybe the twins need a Maine roadtrip for their geography lesson... :)

Tomorrow - I'll share my school with you - as soon as I find a picture of three teachers holding down four different students.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Renovations 101

While I don't claim to be any way, shape, or form, in a league with my brother (s) - I can shape up a pretty fine looking room when I have to. When I started on the livingroom I found that it had five layers of wallpaper - had never been sized or primed - in other words an impossible task to strip all the layers without gouging out the horsehair plaster wall. Oh, did I forget to mention that this house is over a hundred years old.

I actually got three layers of paper off and found a textured layer of wallpaper that was pretty intact - so I left that layer, sanded, repaired, primed and painted the walls, repaired all the woodwork (after 5 years of tenants who didn't care what they banged into it) and actually was able to repair tons of cracks in the original, swirl, ceiling - repainting it and having it come out like new. Some furniture, pictures, and voila - Sparkey has a new livingroom.

I'm not crazy about the color - that may be changed somewhere down the line. Thanks to all the wonderful things from Barbara - I think it looks kinda nice.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Missing My Garden

Living in Maine teaches valuable life lessons; the first of which is that there are three seasons that are loved, the fourth is too cold to even mention. We are definitely in the midst of the fourth as I type this. Which brings me back to the title - I really, really miss my gardens. As a new blogg site setterupper I hope that my attempt to add a picture of my garden to this site has worked. As I said - being new to this - well, let's hope.

After reading my brother's blogg site posting I've found that I look forward to seeing what his day was like. There are always funny mussings, pictures, thought provoking writing. This morning was no exception, I got on his site and was having a wonderful time reading it when bingo - there it was in front of me, a pop up note that said I, too, could create my own little blog. Praise the Lord and pass the peanuts. Who would have thunk. So here I am - freezing my whatsis off on 21 Charles Street writing my first blog. And by the way, this blog stuff seems a lot like that old fashioned daily journal stuff writing I used to do. Yep, a modern version of a diary.