Monthly Archives: February 2014

Perspective….

Image  Well after my mini tirade the other day about frustration, I wanted to take a moment and get my head back on straight, get my brain realigned with this year’s mission: Moving forward, moving on, moving up! Up, that’s a word I’ve used so many times here on my blog and can be interpreted so many ways. For me, it is simply keeping my head up, trying to remain positive, not getting bogged down in the weeds and quicksand, and being able to sense when I am feeling in such a way that can be detrimental.

ImageMy sister teased me the day I took these photos…”What do you see in the clouds? (snicker) You’re always looking up!” Imagine, my sister, snickering at me…we are peas in a pod, and she is funny and sarcastic times two in comparison to me, hence she is my soul mate and best friend! This was taken during a random ride out to Nubble Lighthouse in York ME. It’s a beautiful drive in a wonderful area of Maine. Sunsets are spectactular, and these clouds were just some of many. But looking up gave me a moment to capture pink clouds…if I had looked straight ahead  or elsewhere, I would have missed this opportunity. 

And while, in the thick of my story, my sister was teasing about the clouds and always looking up, I find that I do more and more of it. This year has brought back my love of moving my focus from eye level to above, taking in a city or town in an entirely different way with rooftops, silos, more clouds, clocks, steeples, widow’s walks. Granted, I watch where I go and how I proceed but thoroughly take my time to take in the new view. (yes, that’s a little symbolism for myself!)

For years I walked with my eyes cast down, having grown up in a small town; a member of a large family of mostly boys, and just my last name brought about an “Oh…another one” from teachers! As I got older, I transferred my gaze to eye level, and smiled at people more regularly while I’m walking. Now, I look down ONLY when it’s brutally cold… otherwise, my eyes are level or gazing up to capture images. Moving/ looking up.  Image

This picture is by far a favorite of mine, the puffy clouds just leave you longing for the feel of the sunshine, the tickle of the sand beneath my feet that day at Carolina Beach. Looking up, not down in a state full of strangers. You cannot imagine the strength that takes for me. But I did it and reveled in it!

So back to my original statement about perspective and getting my mind right. It is images like these clouds that remind me even my most frustrating and disappointing days are just that, a day long. I can go to bed and start over every day, to lovely afternoons, striking sunsets, poignant moments with my children. I can walk along the beach or a path or just around the yard, and take in something new every day.

My tirade the other day, my frustration…no perspective, I didn’t look up. It was night time, very cold, no clouds, no surf or sand…just me, and thus, my post. But I’m back, back to my “normal” self, whatever that means. I’m refreshed again by the sun beaming outside, awaiting my lunch to go hide in a favorite book and drink my Dr. Pepper, and enjoy feeling the sun coming in through the car windows. The dark has been pushed aside and the light is so much better… moving on, moving up, overcoming the frustration and not giving it power to dictate any longer. My mind is straight, my perspective back, and the images I have looked at and shared today. I am so moved by these memories, by the people I spent those days with, and the smile moves so easily across my face demands the stress and frustration cannot exist. And I’m moving forward, creeping some days but moving just the same, moving on and moving up.

Frustrations…

Being that it is winter in Maine, and despite the natural beauty, what they don’t warn you about is pot holes. Mind you, I do not drive an SUV, I do not have four wheel drive, and I do not drive a car with auto inflate if I hit an enormous pot hole. My car is older, and was given to me…I cannot complain. My income doesn’t provide extra money for a new car and car payment, at least not right now. My income doesn’t allow me to just go out and choose some car/SUV/truck that will provide me the ability to cruise over pot holes with no repercussions. We hit said pot holes, 5 in a row mind you, last night and I have no doubt something big let go. And the bonus of the story, I had just paid my rent and had to eat humble pie, saying to my landlord just what I have typed in a much shorter fashion. I begged forgiveness, expressed understanding at how difficult this will make it for him, hung my head in shame and thanked him for holding the check which will be replaced with another of lesser value.

Frustrated because I work full time and cannot put aside money for emergency situations such as this car repair.

Frustrated because I am the only one who works full time in my house.

Frustrated because I cannot afford the meager life I live.

frustrated, just friggin frustrated. I look to the sky and wonder where I went wrong…how I can fix this…why am I not a trust fund baby…how can i improve my credit situation when i can barely afford to get by. I’m not someone who thinks I’m due benefits or some form of help I don’t earn myself…but ya know, just once, I could use it. “Just over Broke” is not enough…just really frustrated and needed to vent.

Winter Wonderland Pt. 2

FrostedWell after a near miss with my computer having to visit the shop, a friend of ours was able to reset a date and reactivate my laptop. (Insert long deep breath of relief) Here are some photos I was hoping to include in my initial post! I hope that you enjoy a fresh snowy Maine morning…I know that my friend and I certainly did! The Field

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Winter Wonderland!

While the title of this one is Winter Wonderland, the truth of the matter is that I’m Wondering just when it’s going to be over! Maine has been hit with storm after storm, one on top of the other. We’ve gotten about fifteen inches in just a few days time, and believe me, if I was watching the storm through my living room picture window I would find it’s silence and strength beautiful and wintery. However my office doesn’t close, EVER, and the storms are starting mid-day. We drive home in a sheet of whiteness and as of late, whiteout conditions. We’ve been fighting the Polar Vortex, I believe that is what it was called, and when that lifted, storms collided to create the perfect blizzard conditions. It’s on the news…on the radio…plaguing several parts of the nation with ice and snow. Sounds dramatic doesn’t it? It isn’t really, and despite the frustrations of digging out and waiting for the plow man to arrive each evening, mornings like today absolutely take my breath away. The sky is a crisp blue, the air is fresh and a little warmer in its blanket of snow, and even the non snow fans like myself cannot help but respect Mother Nature and her choice of crisp white decoration of our landscape.

Last night I could not fall asleep so I grabbed my camera in preparation for my drive across Rte. 91 which runs from South Berwick to York, and if you know the side roads, will also take one to Kittery. This is the road I take every day with my Best girl Jeanne, who also works in my office. Each day we admire the natural beauty of the drive, and I repeatedly say “Boy, I really wish I had my camera.” It’s a standing joke at this point, but today, I had my camera. With my arm hanging out the window for our 9 mile run across 91, I caught a handful of beautiful pictures. Likewise, we were finally able to stop on the little bridge for down river shots. It’s just a lovely ride to work. (I’m the passenger by the way as no one in their right mind, after these last few storms, would be driving one handed, even WITH four wheel drive.)

Because the snow has been sticky snow, it clings tenderly to the limbs of our trees, light and dark wood. The contrast this year has been wonderful. Even at work, we go out with our phones and try to capture the best images. My phone is a tad older than the other phones so I don’t often win our little inhouse challenge, but it’s fun just the same. When I came in today with my camera, the ladies were excited, and picking out images they want photos of, possibly including inhouse candids for an office collage. (I am NOT in charge of that project!) So I am anxious to give the camera a turn with each lady and see where her creativity takes her, what images she captures that my eye has missed. It should be interesting.

It really is beautiful though, the snow against the various colored wood and crisp blue sky. It’s the kind of morning that reminds you how a slate can be wiped clean, how a dark cold night can generate a stunning and colorful morning, how the weight of whatever can be lifted. My friend used to tell me “Everything is better after it snows.” He was a skier, so of course it was better for him. But it’s true. This morning, stunning in all its glory, found my mood lightened. I cannot wait to get home and post photos, add them to my growing collection of pictures, and maybe email a few to my mother in Florida. My mood improved dramatically during my ride, taking pictures on a sunny morning, blue skies, stunning visuals, and cruising along the route with my best friend. We laughed and joked, she couldn’t believe how many pictures I was taking. She asked me about the camera, how hard it is to operate, did I think she can still buy this model, and then on to “OH That was a good one Kath…i can’t believe we are driving 40 mph and your camera is just capturing image after image!”

All this excitement and enthusiasm generated simply by the Winter Wonderland and my camera. So, I’m thinking, after writing this piece, I don’t wonder when it will be over so much as I just wonder when it will be warmer. I wonder when the daffodils will poke their lazy heads through the snow and demand to be heard. I wonder when the robins will return. I wonder how long before 27 degrees becomes 72, which brings up a whole new series of photographs and breathtaking sunsets and beach photos. And I wonder, will I ever get over having my camera bag as my companion to capture image after image, story after story, storm after storm, sunset after sunset. I wonder if I will ever have enough shots of the Maine coast, rolling hills, marshy landscapes, crashing surf, snow blanketed fields, crisp fall leaves, and freshly sprung Spring flowers. I wonder will I ever feel as lost in anything as I feel when I’m writing and taking pictures…I wonder!

Moving up…

The more time I spend out here on WordPress, the more I find writers that I admire. Whether it’s a set of photographs, a well worded blog piece, choice of quotes, the latest review of a book being read, or just a voice that is so familiar it’s like hearing myself, I cannot tell you all how wonderful it is to have found you all. I know, we travel around the internet and blogsphere, randomly bumping into someone with whom we connect, and if we are lucky, get that connection back. I’m blessed to have found a few of those connections already, and am so glad that it was my writing and my voice that provided that pathway.

I read what everyone is writing, bounce around saying yes to some and not so much to others, but there is a standing respect I have for everyone out here, putting their ideas and hearts and passion and interest out on the line. Coming up we’ve endured rejections, red pens bleeding on our essays, a B for what felt like A work; then we enter the workplace, and our efforts that make the team flow are given a nod but not always the gold star we might hope for; and for me, my circle of “local” friends isn’t into writing and the arts as much as I have always been though they are amazing women and men who make my “local” world a joy to exist in. But here, in the WordPress world, you all are just amazing, so I’m taking a moment to recognize the dedication, willingness, bravery, courage, and love of writing you all possess and put out there on your blogs.

Awww, I’m not much of a sap (I’m lying as I cry during sad movies) but I know that finding one’s voice and a comfort level with it is a struggle for even the most seasoned writers. The small network of co-writers and co-dreamers I have found out here has encouraged a voice I felt would take much longer to rediscover. I post long and short passages, emotions, ideas, and random Mom thoughts…and no one says “Um, here’s what you could’ve done better” although constructive criticism is welcome (so long as you don’t tear me to shreds.) It’s daunting, writing…rewriting…editing…hoping the words connect with your audience, hoping a new audience member says hello…

But this is my Thank You, to each and every one of you…for who you are, for how you write, and for the sunshine & encouragement your words bring to my days!

Moving on…another chapter

Last night we drove home in about 6 inches of snow, in the winter of 2014 that will never end. I’m not prepared to become a caveman nor do I have the tools to survive, I openly admit that I am a warm weather girl and my only survival option will be to move south. I’m not ashamed of that fact, just honest! However, it has always been me who is out moving vehicles when the plow guy comes and me shoveling off the porch and stairs – mind you I reside with two sons 19 & 17 and my husband. The highlight of arriving home was receiving a text from my landlord “Please tell the boys and Doug to help shovel.” I replied, “The boys were out earlier shoveling but they/I will shovel more.” He replied “Thank you.”  Did I also mention that my neighbors are three mid-20’s boys and the landlord’s step son who is in his 30’s? And it’s ME who gets the text to get more shoveling done?

What I have decided to do is just pay someone…I don’t want to shovel, as I mentioned, as I am not a fan of the cold. All the men in my building apparently will melt if they are outside too long and get wet from the snow. And my other neighbor is a woman with a bad back…and she, like me, has done most of the shoveling. She and I joke about it but I’m thinking that she is reporting to the landlord…so, I will just hire out the work. AND when I threw out the idea of paying someone to shovel, both of my boys jumped right up…YOU CAN PAY ME! I’ll take it.

So crisis resolved…my boys can trade off shoveling during snowstorms, no one else will have to do the work, the walkway will look nice, and I WON’T be the one outside in the storm. TAH DAH!

YOU have a blog?

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I was telling my son tonight that i needed to use the computer, to update my blog site, to figure out how to add my “award” i had gotten in response to my Blog. “YOU have a blog?” he asked me. 

“I do” was my response, smiling…knowing he was trying to imagine how his uncool mother could possibly have a blog. 

He smiled and nodded with a quiet “HMMMM” under his breath…and then I got to thinking. Writing is deeply personal, and for years, both of my children have known that I love to write. They know that I have published pieces of literature, more informative than personal, but published just the same. They have seen the articles I have written in college, I’ve worked with them to write their own bits of literature and of course, helping them to create their early stage resume. I’ve celebrated their writing, letting them know how much I enjoy seeing their writing seem strong, seeing them succeed in literature and history…finally, a mother’s trait! Thank goodness…somewhere, i did something right! 

But I have never really shared My writing, from the heart anyway, with my boys. What does that mean? What am I afraid of? And so I have decided to let them each have a look. I wonder, is my information ok to share with them, will they take offense, will i have to edit or will they even bother to read what I’m thinking, feeling and writing. My goal here was to find my voice, to rediscover the woman who has been in hiding to suit the needs of my household. It’s a really bizarre feeling I’m having. But I must admit…I love that I’m still cool enough to catch my 17 yr old off guard!

Awards Part Two: Fun and Flowers To Brighten the Day

Awesome blossomReblogging as I received this lovely award from a writer whose prose and opinions and view of the world I thoroughly enjoy and respect. Your voice is so much fun…so thank you, for appreciating my voice and determination to grow, move forward, and strengthening those in bloom in my own home!

A View From My Summerhouse

Following directly on from my first Award’s post here is Part Two in which I’m so happy to share some light-hearted fun and present some beautiful flowers.

Firstly, I must make mention once more of lovely Maria over at Lost in the Labyrinth, bless her, who has nominated me for four, yes I said four, awards over the last couple of months! Thank you so much Maria, you are so generous in thinking of me for these wonderful awards and also for the very kind sentiments with which they are sent.

The first two are: The Imagine Award and the Blog of the Year 2013 Award.

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Having already accepted nominations for these awards just before Christmas, I won’t be participating again, although the Blog of the Year Award 2013 is a bit different because each time somebody is nominated, a star can be collected for a grand total of six…

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A Broken Step…

stairWhile my focus in 2014 has been continuing to move forward, onward and upward, I’ve found that this week I encountered a broken step. I can move around the step, skip over the step, or even step gingerly on the edge of the step but know that my progress has been slowed temporarily. The irony is, the step is human and unable to fix itself. I have the tools in my house to fix this step, but I wonder just how much of it is actually my job.

For years, the step has been breaking down…a sliver here, a corner there, a little bit of missing paint, the occasional loud and painful creak. Nothing that stairs don’t encounter as they age. However, this stair has been breaking in the middle, and while I’ve encouraged repair, options for repair, methods of repair, and preemptive strategies to avoid the inevitable break beyond repair, the step isn’t listening, and I’m becoming beyond frustrated.

I maintain several steps in my home and outside of my home, and my job involves working daily with broken and mending steps, so as a carpenter and maintenance step fixer, I do a pretty solid job. However, my broken step maintains only himself and has put all elements of repair on me. I know for sure that it is a repair that can probably be completed with the right and appropriate treatment, but I’m finding that I just don’t have the energy or desire to fix it myself. It makes me very sad and frustrated, but anger and resentment are beginning to build. I can feel my step breaking, or rather being broken, by the already breaking other step/stair. Because of his weakness, my strength is draining away…and I have two children at home to boot.

For about 5 years, the gradual breaking of the step has been addressed. I did my best to dance and live around it, hoping my strength would help the broken step reassert himself and implement his own repair. It has done the exact opposite, and he has become more lethargic and depressed and clingy and manic and very demanding. I finally had scheduled an appointment for the repair process to begin…and agreed to go myself so I could “model” the behavior I wanted to see…and he did not show up. I will not reschedule for him as he chose not to show up, “client did not present for appointment.” That no show was a clear message to me that our mental health was not important to him. He pleads now for me to make another appointment, that he cannot get better if I don’t make his appointment for him…I made the appointment, I stayed at the appointment for an hour, and he did not attend. I met the counselor and discussed some of our issues and my own for that matter… he did not attend. I left refreshed from that session yet heartbroken and disappointed that he did not attend…I will not reschedule. It is now his choice.

So that is where this process is…a stalemate of sorts. My goal is Still to continue moving forward, keep taking forward and upward steps in my life, but no longer feel that I can fix the broken step. Maybe I am heartless, selfish, the cause of the misery and chronic pain…but I have two children to continue raising, they too step around the break and have for years, and we have to keep moving, we have to keep moving.

Another Step….

Remaining within the theme for 2014, I am happy to report another step, or maybe a half step. My oldest son, who took the scenic route through high has decided that furthering his education is a real possibility for himself. His interest lies heavily in the automotive field, loves the idea of custom cars, nitrous, flashy paint jobs and drifting around corners…at the same time loving a big truck splashing through the mud. We reached out to Universal Technical Institute and Mike met with the recruiter, had a fantastic conversation, and at the end of the processed, completed paperwork to attend in August 2014. This gives us time to complete paperwork for financial aid, time for him to earn his license so that he has a vehicle, time to get a job and put away some money. One of his friends from town is considering the same option, at the same location, which would be great in getting him to agree to go so far away from home. Florida…though grammy is conveniently just 45 minutes from the school…so a comfortable trip away from home.

If you knew my son, and how difficult school had been for him, you would understand how seeing this self choice manifest itself still fills me with utter joy and excitement. Granted, it’s still a new idea for all of us and the novelty of it has not worn off. But as he struggled through school, finally obtaining his diploma was a big deal…furthering his education is an even bigger deal as is seeing him step up to the plate and take this next big step towards his future goals and dreams, seeing him take an opportunity by the horns despite the fact that this is technically “more school.”