Sunday, September 16, 2007

Then There Were Two...

I was playing around on the computer this morning as I waited for the rain to stop and quite unintentionally I opened up my blog site. I couldn't believe that it had been four months since I posted a blog. Then I looked at my last post. May 18th was such a great day; such hope and joy. I can still hear Elizabeth's voice on the phone as we made plans to get together at the camp in Maine this summer. A few weeks later the word 'metastasize' would turn our worlds inside out and upside down. I was at the camp in Maine in August when I got the call that Elizabeth had passed away. As the sun rose over the lake that morning there was such a beautiful, rolling fog lifting off of the water. It felt like being wrapped in a blanket of silence and peacefulness. I remember thinking that Elizabeth did make it to camp that morning - it just wasn't the way we originally planned.

When I was a kid I hated subtraction. As an adult I still don't like it very much. This picture was taken about a year ago. Four sisters. Minus two...

Friday, May 18, 2007


I just got off the phone with my sister Elizabeth who has gone through several months of intensive chemotherapy for a very aggressive and rare type of pancreatic cancer. Today her scan results showed that she is 'cancer free'. That tumor hit the road jack - not feeling the love in her body - it's gone; kaput, out of here. To me, who has seen her determination, her strength, her focus on doing anything necessary to fight this C word, she is my hero, my Lance Armstrong. I just want to share with the blog world that HOPE is such a great word!

The picture I have attached is of Elizabeth and I at a recent Stowe, VT Weekend of Hope event that is held every year for cancer survivors. For anyone who knows someone currently dealing with cancer or having survived cancer we highly recommend that they check out as this yearly weekend event was one of the most moving, life-altering experiences that we have ever had.

And... thanks for the help Barb. We miss you!

Thursday, April 5, 2007


This is where I want to be today. I took this shot on the Isle of Shoals off of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.


As I was out taking pictures after the storm today, I spotted dozens of Common Mergansers who had stopped at our nearby pond to gather during the storm. They'll be off in a few days heading for the spring/summer migration destination. The male (the one with white on the sides) is almost as big as a loon and it's silouette is very loon like. There appears to be four males with about a dozen females. Not bad odds!


Maine has a different definition of April showers. Here are a few shots I took this morning at #1 Pond in my town. (yes, it really is called #1 pond - we like to keep it simply here in Maine) he.he.he.


Remember that old saying? When mama ain't happy, ain't nobody gonna be happy! Well, I ain't happy. I had put away the shovels and had the gardening tools all lined up for the weekend. This is what I woke up to...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


This one is for Lisa who requested pictures of New Hampshire. This is taken from the cross country ski trails at Bretton Woods. Ok - so now I'm ready for green grass and flowers!

Saturday, March 10, 2007


This is another reason I love Maine. Last year my school received news that there was a live web site recording the birth of baby eagles. My seven little rug rats and I would watch day after day as the eggs hatched, the baby eagle chicks appeared, as mom and dad brought daily meals for them to eat, as they matured and then one day left the nest - then we had months and months of the empty nest syndrome.

March 5th the eagles started their next brood. Mom and dad can be seen exchanging incubation duties. This morning I watched and listened as a rival crow and seagull were chased away by one of the parents.

This is the second year for the Eagle Cam site and it has become news across the nation. Today alone, there were 3.5 million hits. They ask that we respect the two minute limit so that all may enjoy - and believe me it is so hard to limit yourself time wise as this is just fascinating to watch. As an alternative I leave the web page up where I get a refresher shot every 15 seconds.

Welcome to Maine - The Way Life Should Be

Sunday, February 25, 2007


I'm not kidding. This is, without a doubt, an absolute cure for menopause. It will make you forget there ever was such a thing as a hot flash. On a warm summer night, driving along back roads, the stars above so large and bright, the smell of scented bushes and flowers, the warm breeze gently caressing your skin - that's what I'm talking about. Years ago my first cure for menopausal symptoms was to get a 'red' motor scooter - 45cc. I traded that in for a 650 'red' motorcycle. I traded that in for the 'red' Miata pictured above. I highly recommend it for non menopausal, perimenopausal, and menopausal women!


Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Customer's face is being revealed to protect the innocence, virtue, intelligence, and overall goodness, of Pat and Elizabeth!


Couldn't resist the opportunity to show a little peak at little known truth #2


I think I have about 2, 342 things not known about me but I'll keep it to 5 - this time :) I also don't have five other bloggers to tag so I guess this will have to stop with me. Snap, what ashame.

Five things you don't know about me...

1. I once was Editor and Co-Publisher for an alternative lifestyle travel magazine. I traveled all over the country reviewing places to stay but the highlight was interviewing Kate Clinton.

2. I (and my sister Elizabeth, and friend Leslie) sent a male stripper, dressed as a priest, to my sister Barbara's hospital room as it was a very Catholic hospital. A highlight was 'said priest' dancing on her bed and the nurses standing guard at the door to intercept the 'real priest'.

3. I love smoking cigars with my brothers, my son, and my son-in-law.

4. I have a motorcycle license

5. I taught my brother Jim the fine art of mooning. One of my best/worst mooning attempts was when I stood on coastal Rte 1 in Florida, late at night, expecting the next car to be my mother and sister Jody, I bent over, I mooned, and it wasn't the right car. I do remember hearing someone from that car yell, "there is a Santa Clause".

The end!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

I Take Umbrage...

I mean really! Who do they think they are calling us 'old' everytime we sign in - huh!


Ok boys and girls, todays lesson is: doorknobs and doorlocks. Pay close attention to the top thingamahwhatsus and if you look real close you will see the other half of what was once a whole key inside the @#%$! thingahmawhatsus. Please note the lower doorknob, believed to be over a hundred years old. Now boys and girls, we all know that when things get that old they don't @#$%$# work that well. Right boys and girls? Right. And when things don't work that well, what do we do boys and girls? First we take a crow bar to open the door anywhich way we can(hence deep grooves on the other side of the door), next we loosen everything and remove the old !#$%^ parts so we can replace them with new parts. All should be going well boys and girls up until you want to remove the 'old' doorknob, (remember when we talked about things that are old don't work that well any more?) This is one of those occasions boys and girls. The lower doorknob will not, I repeat - WILL NOT - come apart.

Boys and girls, when things in THIS OLD HOUSE do not come apart as they are supposed to - the 'fixer' gets herself another cup of coffee, takes some pictures of said @#$%# door, and then blogs, blogs, blogs.

Ya'll have a nice day now ya'hear!

Bless Me Father...

Bless me Father for I have strayed... it's been about an hour and a half since my last blog. While waiting for an epiphany on how to solve the doorknob, doorlock drama I got bored and started another project. This one involves two rather thick layers of paint on top of two layers of old wall paper. Upon close inspection Father, one can see that this wallpaper is also about one hundred years old. During my last blog Father - we learned that 'old' things just don't work or come off that well... for this and for my previous @#@$@ language - I do confess (but to tell the truth, I'm not all that @#@$@ sorry).

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Spilling A Little Bit Of My Soul

Today I was going to do a blog on the new bulletin I made with my students this week but events, like life, come at us - slapping us upside the head - when we least expect it. When I got the news last night that another sister had a life threatening illness, coming on the heels of losing our sister Barbara so recently, I felt so many things it's hard to put it in words. After the initial shock, the numbness, the anger, I found myself digging in the spare bedroom closet, obsessed with finding my 'Team Chandler' hat. As you can see I found it - I've been wearing it nonstop all day today. Team Chandler was formed to ride the PMC (Pan Massachusetts Challenge) bike trek this past August; the ultimate goal was to raise money for cancer research but we all knew it was a mission of love for our sister who was dieing of cancer.. Those that rode included my youngest sister and her fiance - it is for her that we metophorically hop back on those bikes.

Over the past months I learned that the human body, and spirit is capable of surpassing all limitations when caring for those we love. One can hurdle over the challenges of all that we thought we could never do - we become somewhat invincible.

So why the scotch tape? Good question. Today I felt the fissures of emotion, albiet the cracks in the damn, get a little bigger. For the past several months I've kept them at bay with what I pictured as glue but today it seems that all I can come up with - is tape.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Crisp Sheets

I'm wondering if anyone uses this expression: crisp sheets. When my children were little (some thirty something years ago) I would tell them that one of my favorite things was 'crisp sheets'; sheets that had been hung out on the line. My children grew up in crisp sheets. Whenever they visit I make sure there are crisp sheets on the bed. Personally, I can't get enough of the smell and feeling of crisp sheets.

Of course the colder the weather, the crispier the sheets became. As I perused my clothesline situation today I came to the conclusion that there may be such a thing as sheets that are too crispy. See what I'm saying?

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Hey, it's not easy being the state bird of Maine. See what I'm saying? Sure, it's fine for three seasons. Lots of lush green forest, 352 miles of coastline, friendly people, with funny accents, buying us birdseed, nuts, and suet. Yessiree Bob, next winter me and the Mrs. are packing up and going any place warmer.

Monday, January 15, 2007

My People

It has taken a bunch of years but I'm beginning to see a pattern here... and I think I get it now!

I just finished my family picture wall. Afterwards it felt so good, like a welcomed hug. I remember having this feeling, about a dozen years ago, after finishing my first family picture wall - right after my father died. What I get now is how comforting it is to have 'my people' around me - generation after generation - it softens grief.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

What the... ?

I found this interesting piece of equipment, nestled in a fine black, leather carrying case, amongst Barbara's things. I think it may have belonged to my father. Can anyone enlighten me on what the heck it is and what it is used for? Huh? Huh?

Friday, January 12, 2007

For Train Lovers

This shot is actually for my brother Michael as he has never seen a photo of the train set up my father had built in the cellar of one of the first houses he owned. This photo goes back about 55 years ago and shows Dad at the control center. This train set up took up one half of the cellar and was constructed on waist high platforms. There were openings one could use by crawling under the platforms and poke up in several areas of this fantastic village. The buildings were handmade replicas of places in the small town of Hampton, New Hampshire. The roof of each building came off allowing a miniature view of the interior of each business. One of the buildings was a replica of our 'step' grandfather's caboose restaurant in the middle of town. What magic to lift off the roof and there was the lunch counter, the stools, the kitchen out back, and the booths with some of the local town characters portrayed in detail. At any given moment there could be several trains running; some going through tunnels, some delivering passengers at the station, many going about their routes over bridges, through woods and around lakes.

My brother Bobby and I, being the first children practically grew up on trains. I remember riding in the locamotive engine area, allowed to pretend that I was driving the train. What excitement to see the open track ahead as we sped up and to blow the whistle as we slowed down at crossings. Our Uncle Mike was a conductor for the Boston and Maine railroad so he would arrange for lots of special 'train' rides. I also remember my brother and I being able to ride in one of the pull-carts as my father's friend Joe was a repair foreman for the railroad. But the best memories for me were going from station to station in New Hampshire and Vermont with my father who was a traveling auditor for the Boston and Maine railroad. We would go for overnight visits to stations and during the day the train station in that town would be our playground. If I close my eyes and go back to those memories I can actually smell the woodwork and hear the wall clock pendulums ticking sound as they swung back and forth.

As train service began to die out in New England, stations would be on the list of closings and my father would buy or bargain services to get the old pendulum wall clocks. I believe that today all of the brothers and sisters have either a wall clock or piece of train memorabilia, including a fabulous, multi-drawer, wooden cabinet that had special sliding inserts for coins, tickets, and paperwork.

What a special treat it is for me to see my grandsons so in love with anything to do with trains. We love playing 'Polar Express' and shouting out - ALL ABOARD!!!!!! TICKETS PLEASE!!!!!! Passenger train service has been restored in my part of New England. There are several area towns that have newly renovated train stations allowing us to travel from Maine to Boston in the best of style. First thing I do when I get on the train is close my eyes and let the memories flood in...

Monday, January 8, 2007


This weekend I had the opportunity to enjoy the company of my mother, my sister Jody, and my Sister Barbara's friend Jeff. I first met Jeff about a year ago as he and I relieved one another in the priviledge of taking care of Barbara during her chemotherapy and then afterwards in the last stages of her cancer. The more time I spent with my sister Barbara the more I began to realize the depth and the magnitude of her friendship with Jeff. Recently I have come to understand that even after death, they will continue to share a remarkable bond, this thing called friendship.

As I drove home this weekend I couldn't help reflecting on how important it is to have friends, to share friendship, to have that one special friend that you can tell anything, the person that travels through all the ups and downs with you and is always there for you. Thanks Leslie. Thanks Jeff.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

More Maine Musings

And while we're on the subject - here's my favorite thing to watch while paddling my kayak along the lakes of Maine. They are such a magnificent bird. It seems that everytime I go out in this one particular lake I am surrounded by loons.


When traveling in Maine, if you see signs along the roadways that say 'Danger, Moose Crossing' - BELIEVE IT! I was able to get this closeup shot of this one as he was meandering along the side of the road near the Rangeley Mountain area. Several years ago I saw my first moose very, very, up close and personal. He ran into our van and all I remember is that his face was so large it filled the entire windshield. The next day we picked hairs out of the sideview mirror all day. Happy ending though - he walked away unhurt - I can't say that the van was that lucky.

Friday, January 5, 2007

The Library

Hey Jim, think I should do anything more on redecorating my new library?

Monday, January 1, 2007

New Supply

This is why I'm called Gramma Dots! Bergen and Finley - Grammy has a new supply and I'll be sending some your way this week. Be looking in the mail.

Cool Chairs

I got these Jetson's type chairs from a client who no longer wanted them. The thing is my furniture is not this 'modern' in design but I couldn't resist. They're comfortable, they swivel. Be still my heart!

Now That's An Outlet

Cost to repair this outlet:

Small paint brush $1.90

Paint $1.02

Labor $4.50

Look on Jim's face: Priceless