Tag Archives: new england living

Let me catch ya up!


This morning I posted on my facebook that I was ironing my sofa….   I really was!     Why?  Oh, it all begins so very long ago when I was conceived…. but I digress.     Bear with me as I bring you up to speed with the coming and goings of my life!

A couple of weeks ago my best girlfriend came from Omaha, NE to visit and help me with several projects, first and foremost winterizing an 70+ year old house in need of new windows, siding…. I’ll stop there as i don’t need to depress myself.

With 3 down days where I’m not confidant if we ever got out of our pj’s, the rest of the 7 days was spent working.    The list included but in no way completed:  plastic on the windows, winterizing air conditioners, putting away summer outdoor furniture and garden props, painting my kitchen cabinets, installing a cabinet in my living room to cover a hole in the wall that was necessary to get a stackable washer and dryer in, shifting of furniture, toting a very heavy old mantle upstairs and installing it in my bedroom with a small but very quaint space heater insert that makes me smile….  just a few of the many things that we accomplished.

Of course not much time can pass or projects started without my somehow hurting myself.    I’m smiling as I’m sitting here thinking about my girlfriend shaking her head on numerous occasions and saying “You make your life so difficult!”

The week before she came I ripped up carpet in my bedroom and the stairway.    I will never put in wall to wall carpet again.  Thought for 15 years it did serve both me and a barrage of animals well but it was time to go.     It took me all day to remove the tack strips on the stairs, so I ripped up the bedroom another day.    I hadn’t gotten to getting up the tack strips that are around the baseboard, nor the occasional staple here and there (well, more than occasional) which are safely covered in pieces of carpet padding.   There was one stair left untacked… the top stair and it was only the back of the step.

Who knows what we were working on one night when I went upstairs, barefoot of course, to grab something and in doing so “forgot” that I needed to step sideways on the top stair so as to avoid the tack stripe.  Well, it wasn’t pretty.    As soon as I felt it I felt the warmth of blood dripping down my foot.       I made it to the kitchen and grabbed a towel, “How bad did I do?”   Well, one would say I did very well.  An overachiever, I have an inch long gash from the down motion, and a fairly large puncture wound alongside this.    It hurt to put any pressure on it, but we had no time for injuries.      My girlfriend, who seems to roll her eyes at me often said “When was your last tetenus shot?”  Oh, a few decades ago.  “Aren’t you going to clean it out?”   “Yah, when I get to it”.    We found bandages at Walmart that had antibiotic creme built in, and added some padding.    For days I would find other dried spots of blood.

Now let’s move ahead to installing a cabinet that my talented neighbor built from various scrap pieces.  There has been a hole in my wall for two years.  “The door hasn’t come in” was my response to visitors comments.   So now I have my beloved jig saw out, I’m cutting pieces of trim and molding, shims.     Somehow I managed to lose 3 pencils in 10 minutes and ALSO wasn’t thinking and got the tip of my left index finger with the blade.  Oh it wasn’t bad, it didn’t need stitches but it did need to be cleaned out, pressure applied and a bandage for a few days.    Thankful I did not hurt myself on what potentially could have been MUCH more serious, I now sported bandages on my left foot, finger.    At least I kept to one side!

We installed indoor shutters on a few windows and somehow, when we did the kitchen window, I stood up and banged my head on a cabinet.   My girlfriend is at this point chatty cathy, (and bossy like my sister, Karla).  She didn’t “see” my latest blunder.    Well, I sported an egg on my head that could only come from seeing the galaxy of stars that I did.

Let’s move ahead two days after she leaves.    The majority of the time she was here I was very tired.  Well, yeah… when you get bossed around a lot and have a to do list as long as an 8 year old’s list for Santa.    I didn’t feel well, but hey…  the start of winter chill had settled in, and that typically plays havoc with my pain levels (fibromyalgia).  So I just figured that is what was going on.    I had a rash on my leg in a small area that I didn’t pay much attention to, but come time to tackle my list solo, I was hurting.    I don’t know how to explain the pain, the burning that settled in on my upper leg.   I don’t even want to think about it, as today is the first day that I’m starting to feel better in about a week.    SHINGLES!     As above, I’m not going to talk too much about this, but if you have had shingles you know, it just ain’t fun!

Yesterday we had our first major snow storm of the season here in New England.   A foot or so of heavy, wet snow blanketed earth, and took out power for hours.    I wasn’t concerned with heat as I have a gas fireplace which works nicely as backup to oil.     Well, I gathered candles and had them lit on the table beside my favorite seat in the living room.   It was relaxing, but I had to crochet.  Rarely can I sit with my hands idle.  Trust me, if I don’t take my ADD medication it ain’t pretty.      It was evident that the power wasn’t coming on any time soon so using my iphone flashlight, like Mrs. MacGyver, I got out and took my night time meds, went to put out the candles and there was one pillar that I had licked my two fingers to “snuff out” and realized…  Um, Donna?   Is that smart?  Is that making my life harder?  Take the added step and blow out the candle.  So I picked up the candle, not thinking about the pool of hot wax residing in it’s “belly”.  When I blew out the wick, an inch of wet hot wax spattered on my face, my hands, and I think on my couch, but it was too dark to see.       Sleep did not come so I decided to pick the now dried wax off my face and arm.   It was a very long sleepless night.   The quiet of the snow covered grounds was accentuated with snapping and sounds of branches in distress.   Several times I just sat up and looked out at the winter wonderland that appeared overnight.

Upon rising this morning I saw that the screen to both my cell phone and ipad TOO had a varietal of shapes, sizes of wax spatter.   Oh yeah, I forgot.    Well, I made my way over to the couch, to the spot of incident and saw that there was wax all over the place.    Oh a cowl that I had been crocheting, largely on the arm rest of the sofa, and other things not worthy of mentioning.  In short, it was a mess.    So after googling for help, I learned to take paper towel, put it down and put a hot iron on it.  The wax made its way into the paper towel.   So yes, I was essentially ironing my sofa.  It took a good hour to clean up the mess.  Just when I thought I was done I looked down at the hardwood floor.  Oh man!   We’re talking some major wax on that.   In my efforts to make my life easier I, as usual, made my life harder.

So, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.    Tonight I’m grateful I have no candles to blow out, but I do still have to make it to my bed around the staples and tack strips that still reside two weeks later… wish me luck!     Hey…. why haven’t I taken care of it yet?   Have you had shingles?    Oh, and as I took out my morning meds I saw this bright oval shaped pill tucked underneath a bowl on my island.  Well, um, it was last nights AMBIEN!

For the most part, I have felt like I would always live in Vermont.  I love New England, I really do.  But the older I get, the older winters get.  Predictions are we are in for one hell of a winter and based on last nights storm setting precedence of losing power… Southern living is looking better and better.    I’m too old and klutzy for this shit!

Hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving!  🙂


Pace of life


As true to form, things can go from a slow almost still pace to full speed ahead.  Just a couple of changes in my and my loved ones life and I find myself somersaulting with things to do.  It reminds me of shopping, there are several others too.   You look, the checkout isn’t busy, you look a bit more and then head to the checkout where now droves of people now stand.  How did that happen?  How did everyone in that store decide to check out at the same time.

Lately my mind has been a sieve.   Short term memory is almost non existent.  How is it I can sing songs from the 70’s, 80’s verbatim but cannot remember what I was doing or said I would do 5 minutes ago?  I am frustrated.

The season is opening with ants, fleas and ticks.  Joy, oh joy.   I’m chasing away these tiny disgusting ants that have appeared on my counter, pulling ticks off the dogs and saw the first trace of fleas yesterday.  Not good.  So not good.  Ticks are rampant here and there is also a local (within a mile of me) case of rabies.  Not good either.     It’s so much easier to stay huddled in my home, blind and immune to what is going on outside but that just isn’t life, is it?

I’ve yet to see the residential blue birds whom rent space in 3 of my birdhouses every year.  I have, however, seen lots of yellow finch.    My quince bush is budding.  Soon the hummingbirds will be flocking to it.  I love to watch them.    I hope there will be another family of bunnies underneath my shed for my eldest cat, Jennifur to play with.  She is a friend to all species.   One summer becoming part of a
“skunk” clan, babies and all.   Every night I would hold my breath as I let her in…praying that she had not been sprayed.   When we had chickens she hung out with the chickens.  She’s a funny cat, an old lady.  17 or 18 year old Maine Coon who is much smaller than norm but fast?  This cat scoots around so fast it’s hard to keep up with her.  However, when she does nowadays (and she’s only been out a few time since the glorious end of winter), she limps for hours after.  We’re all feeling our oats.

As I told my sister the other night, this German Shepherd puppy is mighty smart, by far the fastest running dog I have ever seen, full of piss and vinegar, and I sometimes wonder “What have I done to my life?”    I’m assured by others that she will make a wonderful loyal companion, she’s still a puppy and needs to be trained.  I am rolling my eyes asking myself again “What have I done to my life?”  An absolute love, sweet, not a mean bone in her body I know myself, there is no way I can abandon her.

It’s a dreary damp rainy day here in New England.   The sound of rain is currently only available from the outside traffic disrupting it’s embedding the road.   Today will be a nice day to turn on the fireplace, “To light a fire” with my fingers on the gas switch! 🙂

The weekend is soon among us.   I love the energy in a bank, grocery store, and good ole Walmart when a weekend commences – excitement, motivation, laughter.  It’s quite different from the Monday morning mule.   

Have a nice weekend, be sure to find something to laugh at.  If you are amidst challenges difficulties, hold strong, it really is always darkest before the dawn, and if you have travel plans, be safe.



February Musings….


Today’s lesson:  Exercise is not only healing but free! (I dislike gyms…)

Today’s gratitude:  I am grateful for this beautiful day, for my family, my friends…and my students.

Just back from a hike in in the woods with the dogs.   I got quite a workout today, breaking a foot or more of snow as we chugged along.  I was panting like a convict at an all female rodeo…

Thankfully the dogs are calm now.   They won’t be when I pull out the vacuum cleaner.  That is why I don’t pull it out often….. ;););)

I remember being described as “earthy” in the past.   Earthy, huh.   What exactly does that mean?   I love nature, I love animals, I love the outdoors, I love the woods…  but since I found Dansko I no longer buy birki’s!   Earthy…. I’ll take that.

This aging stuff is for the birds.  I have such good ideas when I’m out and about, now if I could only remember them!

I logged into facebook today and oddly on the right hand side there was a notification that “you have a message”.  So I clicked on it, thinking facebook changed their format again and it was “you have a message from a guy from Brattleboro”, next town over where I do all my shopping, banking…  In the town I live in I think there is more cows than residents, not that a cow isn’t a resident!    Anyway, if I wanted to find a date I’d go on match . com .  Thank you, but no thank you, facebook.

Does anyone else have issues buying triscuits, fig newtons, crackers, cookies?  My God there are 15 new flavors of each.  It’s hard to find the original!   I spent $40, and that was soup, milk, juice, oatmeal and a box of ginger snaps.   Unbelievable.   Good God I’m sounding like my mother!….Phew, just ran to the bathroom to look in the mirror…. not quite my mother yet!

Speaking of mirrors, yesterday I looked into an 8x magnifying mirror.   After coming too, I looked again and about crapped my pants.  My God… I have age spots!   I have wrinkles!     I have saggy skin!   When did all this happen?   As with all my efforts lately, I am trying to turn negative thoughts into positive so this is what I came up with.   It’s 8x…. so if you multiply that by my age, that is what I’ll look like when I’m 400 years old…..okay, now I can calm down.

I am slowly losing this weight again.  I feel so much better.  The hike in the woods today was easier, even trudging through the snow.  There is nothing like fresh cold air in my lungs, kissing my face.   Then I come home, get the dogs water, and say hello to John Boy, Maryellen…

There’s another storm a comin!    Old New England folk talk.   For years one of our local radio stations had this guy “Arlo Mudget” do a daily “80 years ago today…trivia.”   He spoke like a hillbilly.  It would annoy me, I would change the channel.  Well apparently the radio station has figured out that it is not flattering to Vermont or Vermonters, because now he speaks in his normal voice which is quite pleasant.    Did you ever see those commercials JCPenney’s put out a couple of years ago… SCREAMING on television?    They irritated me so much I boycotted them.  What the hell?

On my way home I took the back roads, running alongside a stream, brook.   It is here where I feel most comfortable.  It is here that I remember why I love Vermont, New England.   Winter’s are rough, but they surely are beautiful.   The partially iced over brook had a foot of snow on it, and in between those areas you could see the brown brown (purposely duplicated) water.   The pines, canopied over, had remnants of snow from the last storm.   The green foliage, pines is stunning against the pure white snow.   Of course it doesn’t look that way everywhere.  Particularly after I take my dogs for a hike in the woods… 🙂 🙂 🙂  No longer white snow!

Now I shall go about my day.  I’ve no idea what I will do, but I do know that if I don’t vacuum today the rugs will have Sophie’s hair forever embedded in them.    She is quite the love bug.   She likes you to “spoon” her when she sleeps.  It’s the cutest thing.   It actually is comforting.   This shepherd is the most vocal dog I have ever heard.   She is not yet comfortable riding in the car, she whines constantly.   I took my mom through McD’s and she barked so loud at the speaker they couldn’t hear my order.  Also when I turned on the radio she started to bark!   This needs to stop but quick.   Also any dog of mine will need to like or learn to like riding around.  I guess my jeep is my Harley.   It suits me.  I love my jeep.

Hope you are having a great day.  The sun is shining here, it’s quite beautiful out.  Definitely sunglasses required day.  The reflection off the snow is blinding.    Hey, maybe I need to surround the mirror in my bathroom with snow????

In lieu of today’s artwork I thought I’d post a picture that makes me smile……  Beautiful artwork, eh?imagesCAEY7ODR

Cold inside [head] and outside


Today’s lesson:   It pays to keep my house organized, go grocery shopping regularly because I am not caught short if I come down sick, but quick

Today’s gratitude:   Vick’s Vapo Steam, Vick’s Vapo Steam, Vick’s Vapo Steam

So, I dialed the number….  “Hello”….. “hello”……’hello?……”Hello”……”hello”….. “DONNA?”   “yes”…. “Oh my god you sound like a man!”  I gently reach down between my legs …. “Nope, still a woman!”

I’ve slept again all day, this time with the vaporizer blasting smelly stuff into the air.  What a difference that has made!   I’ll spare you the details from the salt water rinses and share with you the success I have had with Vick’s Steam stuff.    Seriously, good stuff.   I used to get the generic brand but no longer.  It is worth the extra dollar for this.

Even with the barrage of animals being chased up and over my bed from the mischievous Sophie, I was able to get some quality rest.   This dog has come into this house like a “hurricane a comin!”      In the past two days she has managed to open and eat the entire “Mega Mega pack” of cat treats, chewed the cord off my new computer (which was unplugged so I could clean the rug) and chomped on a cushion of my couch which I caught her instantly so there was little damage.  Still, I have waited 10 years for a new living room set.   Though used, you would never know it, and I love how comfortable it is and how it looks in the room.    Now she is treading on VERY thin ice!  The printer a friend bought me, which I have had absolutely no problems with it, and it has made my life/job so much easier.   I have yet to accept this one.    She also has managed to jump up and eat the cat food which is currently on the island because I just don’t know where else to feed them.  She knows how to open the cellar door and does so every few hours and runs around down there.  Not sure exactly what she’s doing but I’m about to find out as I make my way with this big head down to change the kitty litter.  May the force be with me!   She is certainly more work than I wanted, with that said I am not saying this isn’t good for me.  At the moment she is barking ferociously at who knows what.    I think she might have seen the squirrel that’s hanging around in the cellar/walls because the last trip down she went ballistic barking.  Maybe she’ll scare it right out of the place!

With the area rug in my art room still cropped up (it seems I’m cleaning it every day), I know if I can’t get over to get the crate soon, I will end up killing this dog.   I am, of course, a blow hard because I barely have enough energy to come down a flight of stairs to feed the little shits!

Not much to talk about today.  I have a lot of gratitude that I am safe from the cold, have a comfortable bed to rest in, and a vaporizer that I think I just may ask to marry!    Plenty of soup, animal food in the house, juice…for an unplanned cold it surely feels like I expected it given all the supplies on hand.   Gift!  Such a gift!

Well, I’m off to the cellar, wish me luck.   I’m almost afraid of what I will find down there but if I don’t get down there today my cats will disown me, or worse…

PS  Back from the cellar.    All I will say is her food intake is being cut IN HALF!

Stay healthy !   This cold’s a bitch!

Today’s Artwork:    “King of the barn!” Chicken

Country living…critters!


Another picture perfect day here in New England.  Before I get started on work, I take a leisurely ride on back roads.  Today I saw a wild turkey, a dog and cat laying in the road (dirt road) and one would think I was driving in Boston.  Getting in and out of Brattleboro today was, to say the least, frustrating.  Lilly likes the back roads too.   I’m so proud of her, the way she has moved forward since Brody passed.   She was one broken little girl for several months.

My morning started looking for my readers.  Well, for a change they weren’t on my head, but on my nose!   Ain’t aging fun?  I have learned to laugh at the strange and sometimes downright stupid things I do.

The flea situation is under control but now I have a family of squirrels in my cellar.  Let me tell you, they make some major noises.  When my girlfriend was here she was freaking out that there was something down there.  When I decided to go down and check she was impressed with my “courage”.  I had to laugh.  When I got down there I saw some fairly large, what appeared to be, forgive me, “turds”.  I decided then to go back upstairs!    As it turns out, they are chestnuts from the tree outside.  Yep, these squirrels are thrilled with their new digs…. HELP!

I am having a creative streak so my house, if seen by the Board of Health, would be condemned by the Board of Health!  Mostly the dishes that are piling up.   Perhaps my mom will visit, she just can’t stand to look at dishes in a sink, so that will take care of that mess!   Ahhh creativity.

I’m off to go finish up a couple paintings…Last night the piece I was working on I thought was awful.   I took my own advice that I tell students, put it aside and went to bed.  This morning I not only thought it wasn’t bad, but I liked it!  Sort of like life, and how sometimes I start my day over.  Sometimes I nap and then start it over.    Things never seem to look as bad once I’ve gotten some rest.  “Fatigue makes cowards out of all of us”. – Um, forgot… Winston Churchill?


Old Man Winter


As I lay comfortable, cozied into my warm bed, Old Man Winter is whirling and whistling outside.   Blistering snow is slapping against my window.  My mind wanders to The Wizard of Oz… Will I wake up and say “I don’t think we’re in Vermont anymore, Brody!”

This is our first major snowstorm of the year here in New England.   There will be no bare ground showing tomorrow, it will be covered with glistening white crystals.  Oh how beautiful it will be to look at.  The first snowfall always is.   There is something very enticing, welcoming for me about being snuggled up inside while there is a blizzard going on outside.   Perhaps this is when I appreciate most the home I work so hard for.  How its walls and windows shield me from the wintry mix that Mother Nature is delivering to us tonight.  I appreciate its warmth, the comforts of its furnishings, the appliances, food that is inside of the refrigerator and stacked in the pantry.  Within the confines of my humble little abode, I am able to enjoy and appreciate the power of the storm, and feel safe while cozied up in my home.   I am blessed.  I know that not everyone is as fortunate as I am at this very moment.  

While the weatherman is predicting a foot of snow here, we never know how deep our walkways will be blanketed until it stops.  But one thing is for sure tonight…Tomorrow morning we will be waking up to a crapload of snow here in Southern Vermont.   The heavy strong winds will deceive us from how many inches really did fall.  No matter how many inches are on the ground, trapped in the trees, window sills and more, my dog will surely be excited to get back out in it!    We were out late tonight playing until I couldn’t take the cold anymore.   As I watched him run and jump around in it, roll on his back making doggy snow angels, it reminded me of growing up, being on school vacation and getting a crapload of snow.  It was SO cool!  Now I enjoy it until I have to shovel it!