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