Tag Archives: winter

LLLLLong Winter


This has been the longest winter in my life’s time, challenging on too many levels.   BE POSITIVE DONNA!    “Okay, I am positive this has been the longest and most challenging winter in my life’s time!”

I finally sat down to paint last night.   First time this year.  I have a custom I need to get done, and I’m looking forward to doing it, it will be a challenge, but one that reconnects me to my childhood and a childhood friend.   So I need to get my hands in shape so that they cooperate!  I have the drawing done… so I’m 1/4 way there!

I’m thinking about turning my humble abode into a wildlife preserve.  I live in Vermont, this year it will be 30 years in my home. I had a problem with squirrels only one winter season in all those years, and were “taken care of” with rat traps.  Last year I had them in my tiny shed, which is actually a kids playhouse that my mom bought me, a friend of hers had it for his daughter, it’s the cutest building, apparently cute to squirrels too.  They moved in and took over.  My mom and I cleaned them out of there twice, and it was all day projects.  They are awful! Now they are in my basement.

Last year also was the first year I had a problem with mice.   One day we caught 16!   They sure are cute little creatures, but man are they destructive and I swear they poop once a minute!    Mice crap everywhere!    If I had $1 for every poop I cleaned up, I would be vacationing right now! So if you want to invest in something, why not bleach? I’m bleaching my house to rid of all the diseases those things spread.

I have been doing all I know to do, and researching what else I can do to get rid of both, and on limited budget. I make headway, but you have to be vigilant, vacuuming daily, trapping, daily. The smart person would ask “Where are they coming in?” Well they are coming in from right under my front door, which has a small porch. I can’t get underneath it yet because it’s all frozen, and snow covered. I’ve been sealing where I have found cracks in my foundation both inside and out, I have an old house, but still the bastards find their way in. It’s maddening. And then, like I didn’t already have enough to do, I had a flood in my cellar, and my sump pump died.   I foolishly gave my brother my pellet stove when he was in need a couple years ago.    It would’ve helped with the humidity and moisture down there, and now, mold!   I’m taking longer to process things, I think about it before I offer it up.   Big heart, no brains becoming good heart, big brains!  Good news though, it took a good month for all the aches and pains to go away but that month is up!!!

Then I realized I had an infestation of moths which came into my home in a wool blanket that was given to me to use to felt and make pretties out of.  I lost four wool rugs upstairs   They started in a room that I barely go into, and then into my bedroom.    They aren’t the big moths, but small, maybe 1/2″ or smaller.   I am still in the process of getting rid of them. A friend helped get the rugs out, but there are stragglers and on the first floor (with three wool rugs and an investment of wool yarn). So at the moment my freezer is full of yarn. Oh, let me back up a minute; My refrigerator works and then doesn’t, it’s done this for a couple years. It’s old, hell it’s not as old as I feel! But if I play with the plug, it comes back on. I had been away for a couple days and it had stopped running. Everything in my freezer was unthawed. So that’s okay, because it’s a safe place for some of my yarn! Then the yarn for some reason was pushing the door open (um, it’s stuffed, full and my 3 season porch has the remains of my wool and coats, it’s out in the freezing cold so it will kill the larva.

When I took my mom to the emergency room, the doctor asked if she had a DNR. He asked if she would like to be resuscitated should some unfortunate incident occur. Her answer? YES! I looked at the doctor and said “Apparently I’m the only one in this room who wants a DNR”. He asked “are you sick?” I said “No!” The rest of the night he was looking at me strangely. That’s okay, I get that a lot! Oh well.

So tomorrow I’m thinking about offering the squirrels a thanksgiving feast of peanut butter and some more decon!

There’s been a slew of other things going on, that i will spare you from hearing. Your welcome! And then my mother dying. It’s been a horrible winter. I can’t even say I’m looking forward to Spring and summer because I’ve been overeating and gained weight. So I need to put on my big girl pants and start walking.  WHEN the ice leaves!

In the overall scheme of things, I’m sure I have it good. But I’m tired to my bones, and my bones hurt from the cold. Enough whining.  Glad wildlife is having sex in my house and multiplying.   At least SOMETHING is getting a little!!!    %#$@#3

Tomorrow I have a day trip planned with a friend. It will be healing, unless the car blows up! ha!

Hope your winter has been better than mine! Looking for a house in VT really cheap?   And now I have a HOT Saturday night date with my pillow!



Enough snow!


Well, a couple feet of snow fell on my lawn today.   I haven’t gone out, tomorrow.  I just opened the door, looked, and slammed it.  It is still snowing.   Yup!   Tomorrow it will be fun shoveling the car out of it.

Spent the day working on my first pet portrait.  By the time I went to bed last night I had the eyes, and that was enough to make me feel good.   I’ve never tried doing this before.  I have rarely, if ever, painted real animals.   Painting from a photograph that the details get blurred when you zoom it.

At least I can tell it’s a Corgi, and I think I’ve captured his big personality.  But fur?  That’s for another day.   I am learning from last weeks painting over tantrum to just leave it and relook at it in the morning.

I really don’t mind all the snow, as long as I don’t have to go out in it.  Thursday morning, I do.    That will depend on how they are doing tomorrow with snow removal.   There’s a shitload of snow to find a place for!

Had a very relaxing day, was one with myself, painting.  It was nice not to have to fight off the itty bitty shitty committee that resides in my head.  Well, a little.  But not totality.  That’s progress.

On this 14th day of March, I’m excited to think that winter is almost over.  It’s much easier to say that looking at the date then out the window.

Hope you had a great day!   Blessings!


Creative zoning


It’s the wee hours of morning.  Many of my friends are just rising.  This is my favorite time of day.  I guess because it’s very quiet, I’m seldom if ever interrupted by the phone, and my creativity screams from 10pm-4am.   So many have expressed their concerns, that I’m isolating, which may be true, but truly, this is a peaceful time for me.

The cat is asleep, I hear her little snore in between the lulls of music.  My studio is in the usual disarray that happens with winds of creativity.  I’ve got two stacks of messy bun hats that are holding up the rooster and turtle paintings, and my large painting table is covered, every inch.  It’s awesome.  When I go into the kitchen to fill my glass with drink, I look at the pile of dishes and smile.   It will end.  Eventually this streak will come to close, or slow anyway, and the dishes will eventually get done!

So many of my friends are struggling, or have been with health issues.   I offer prayers for them whenever I think of them, or see their posts.  I slept and rested today, watching some old television programs on Netflix.  But at 10pm, my mind was thinking of color, texture, and ways to paint certain pieces, effects.

Earlier today when I fell asleep on the couch, I had a dream that recurs.  It’s a painful dream, and I always wake up feeling breathless, and sad.  So I did what I have learned to do, and that is, not run from it, but honor it, and not dissect every bit of it, but lightly think about why now?  Sometimes the answer comes, sometimes it doesn’t.  I’m grateful this dream is not nearly as frequent as it used to be.  And I’ve come to accept I’ll probably have it for life, unless somehow I find resolution.  But there is no resolution.  The best way I knew how to shake it off was with a brush in hand.

I must admit when I rose today I wasn’t thrilled to see it snowing.  As I walk in my yard it’s hard to believe that I will ever see ground again, but I will.   And in Spring when new life grows, and I see the beginning of plants and perennials that survived the winter, I forget all about the tons of white shit that right now fill my yard and block off about 1/3 of my normal driveway.

So, this is where my thoughts are.   On painting, on new beginnings, and sadly, some endings.   It is what it is.

I’m seriously considering taking some classes, art related, maybe even a writing class to get me seriously actively pursuing a lifelong dream.

Plans to stay up all day today, and try to curve myself back into the schedule of the majority of the world.   We shall see how that goes.

Peace to you,


There’s another storm a


Dragged my butt out of bed this morning because my cat was persistent.  I was dizzy, my head felt separate from my body, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to even get down the stairs.

An unproductive day bothers me.  I feel the need to accomplish.   But carrying around severe clinical depression in a knapsack on my back, some days I have to give myself a break.  Sometimes getting out of bed is the one and only accomplishment I’ll get done.   I have friends, friends who understand the talons of this disease, and encourage me to do the basics.

So when I was able to make it to town to get milk and a few groceries (We are in between storms here in Vermont, and I should’ve shopped LAST week!), I was thrilled with myself.  Managed to get the garbage out, and then took a three hour nap.  Cold medicine helped me lift my head from my favorite couch pillow, and I felt well enough to paint.   Happy!

The market where I went to get milk, bread, basics, there was a woman my age who was working.  She was friendly, pretty.   We spoke briefly on the impending storm, and she mentioned she had to shovel her drive and walkways.   I comically shared with her that Winter, three-four years ago I had a plow bill of about $450, and I figured I’d have to sleep with my plower to get the bill paid off.   She did a huge belly roll, surprised that I said that.  “I have no one to plow, my husband died in July”.   “I’m sorry, I said”.

Normally here, I would offer a brief  pause in my day to listen, if she wanted to share.  I wasn’t feeling well enough to stand there much longer, so I wished her a good day and drove my ass home.     All the way home I was thinking about her.  Man, she’s still green with her loss, that is a hard hard trek.   But she was working, was very friendly, KIND, and I said a prayer for her.   So many friends are experiencing loss right now, or serious serious illnesses, life threatening.   It’s hard here in New England in Winter.  I can go all winter without seeing my next door neighbors.  It’s just the way Winter is.

As I was painting tonight, (working on farm animals, not my forte, but I want to get good at painting them!), I thought again about her friendliness, her kindness, and somehow, some way, I will do something kind for her without her knowing it.   She so deserves that.  Facing such pain and changes in life, for her to be MORE than civil, is, in my book, awesome.

Now I’m going to go finish this Rooster, and then head to bed.   I’m finding that I don’t want to go to bed.  I love my bed, I truly do, and my bedroom is pretty.  But I’m finding it harder and harder to get up.   Need to boost up my D3 intake, and get outside, in fresh air, no matter the weather.   But today?  Today I think I did very good, given how crappy I was feeling.

Kindness is so contagious, and in her circumstances I dare say “courageous”.


The wise woman


Ran errands and met appointments I had scheduled today.  Hallelujah.  On my way home I decided to take the back roads, the scenic view to remind me why I live in Vermont, how I love Vermont, how beautiful it is.    Winter has overstayed its welcome and I’m walking on the edge of Can I?  Do I even want to?   It’s been a hard winter and its far from over.  Yes, I know, always weather talk.  Sure beats politics. Besides, weather is a large consideration in my daily life.

New England is beautiful.  I love Vermont.   As I drove beside the brook I smiled.  THIS.   THIS is why I love Vermont.   Not the snow shoveling, the heat or plowing expenses, the flooded cellars… I love nature.   I pulled my car to the side of the road and sat there, as if meditating, while glancing at the view.    A foot thick of ice with a foot and a half of snow on top where the running water has broke away from it’s center.  All that ice on a small brook.

I needed to get back in touch with this.  I have been feeling very discouraged with all the challenges this winter and also being sick.  Finally got antibiotics today. Am hoping this will do the trick.

Walking into the hospital this afternoon for blood work I paid particular attention to this tiny, frail older woman.     She was smiling, smiled at me, and was walking around apparently waiting for more tests, or someone to pick her up, though I think more tests given where she had left her coat and purse and the vicinity in which she was perusing.    I would guess her to be in her late 80’s.    So much this woman has seen, societal changes, government, schooling, parenting… the list goes on and on.     I wonder what her dreams, her aspirations were when she was a teenager?  What was her upbringing like?   Did any of her dreams come true?   I looked down, not wanting her to see that I was studying her.   She happily greeted others as they came into the lab area.  She walked around with her hand knit wool sweater and hat on, the smile never leaving her face.    Wow.    Every day is a gift.  How quickly I can forget that when I’m caught up in the crap.

Of course I was curious and had pointed questions because this…this is what I am asking myself.    What were my dreams?  What have I accomplished in my life?   What makes up the story of my life?

Watching her was nice.   Who knows what she was having tests for, but whatever it was, it didn’t stop her from enjoying the day, the moment.   She didn’t seem anxious, not at all.  She was serene, peaceful, she was happy.   Wow.   Are you done bitching today, Donna?  Learn from your elders.

After my blood work was taken I bundled back up to go outside again.  She was still there, now speaking with a nurse, smiled at me and waved ‘good bye’ to me as I walked out of the building.  She was a ray of sunshine, answered prayers from asking for help with the tude and challenges I am encountering.   Got it!  As I walked back to my car, trekked over the snow bank to get there I looked up and said “Thank you!”

What were her dreams?  Her aspirations?  Did she expect to live this long?   What else does she want to see, accomplish in her life?    As she walked around with her hand knit wool sweater and hat on, the smile never leaving her face……What a wise woman!

The older I get the more I understand, it isn’t about WHAT happens to you, it’s about how you deal with.

First major snowstorm of the season!


I slipped my “extreme weather snow boots” from LL Bean on, tucking the cuffs of my sweat pants into the boots.   Pulled the hood of my sweatshirt up over my head and ponytail, tied that into place, threw on my barn coat (also LL Bean…. both of these are at least 12 years old and look like they are only a couple of years old), and workmen’s gloves.    Each boot weighs a minimum of five pounds, I swear, and when they are on your feet, well, multiply x two!   Off I go…

I start cleaning off my front porch, steps, walkway.   Not doing too badly, until I back into the corner where the rose bushes overgrew into the railing.  I thought they were so pretty there, I left them.  Well, they’re not so pretty when you back into them, they get tangled around my ankles and clinging to my butt which, fortunately was covered with the canvas of the barn coat.   After getting myself out of this predicament, I let Lilly out.  She hates the snow, but she loves being outside.  I figured she would hang on the porch, watch me work, and be blissful.  Instead she runs to the stairs, jumps and jumps into snow that is 4″ shy of covering her entirely.  There she was, with her raspberry colored wool sweater, stuck.  She looks back at me… HELP MOMMA!   I go and rescue her, put her back on the porch, start shoveling the walkway.   It’s heavy snow, in areas near the driveway where it had started to melt some, there was slush.   “I love New England, I love New England, I love New England”… I kept telling myself with every shovel full of snow.  My jeep is plowed in, not that that will be a problem, but getting to it will be a challenge.

I make it to the driveway, now it’s time to shovel out the mailbox.   This is slush, then heavy snow.   “I love my life, I love my life, I love my life”…I kept telling myself with every shovel full of slush.

As I walk towards the rear walkway, well, what was a walkway yesterday, I looked to my right.  I forgot to move my gas grill yesterday in preparation for the storm.  It is plowed in.   Now I’m upset.     How the hell am I ever going to salvage it?  I wanted to blame the snow plower but come on… this is MY deal.  I’m upset with myself for forgetting to move it.

I decide it’s time to take a break, which is unheard of in my family.  You just work work work until you drop.  While I was drinking a glass of water, rubbing the pain out of my knees and back I started to think about Brody and how humorous he was in the snow.  Particularly right after a storm that dumped lots of that white stuff!.   He kept me entertained while I shoveled.   Oh how I miss that boy.   He was one extraordinary dog, he was my boy, he was my Brody.   It will be a year next month since I put him to sleep.  He was ready though, he let me know a couple of days before.  My Brody.

I trudge into my house, drink a cold glass of water and rest in preparation for the next chapter of snow removal.  “I love the winter, I love the winter, I love the winter” I kept telling myself as I rubbed the pain out of my back and knees.      I start to think about what I can do for myself that would make this easier.   Part of my therapy has been focusing on being nice to myself, being kind to myself, being forgiving of myself.    This is the beginning of a long 3-4 months of snow storms, I have to get my head into a good space with this or it will be a miserable winter.

I sat down at the computer, pull up facebook and message my neighbor.  “May I hire Joe to shovel my back walkway?”   A few minutes later when I hung up the phone from talking to my mom “Donna, do what you can, but remember, the more you get done today the easier it will be as it will freeze”…. I hear a knock on my door.   It is my neighbor, Michelle.  Her and Joe (and Corbin, an all American boy boy!) had already shoveled my back walkway, do I need help with anything else?   I look up, “Thank you God, thank you for nice neighbors”.   By the time I got my boots on and went back outside Joe had crawled over a 5′ high pile of snow.  He shoveled out the grill, pulled it back to the tree, where it fairs well for the winter, back away from ground that needs snow plowing.   They wouldn’t take any money, were happy to help me.   Many times Michelle had said to me “If you ever need anything we are just up back”.   I sit smiling, I sit with my chest full of warmth at the kindness, the help shown to me.  Thank you Michelle & Joe, and thank you Corbin!

It’s time to clean off the jeep and pull it out into the driveway.   This didn’t seem like much of a task now that I knew the shoveling was all done.    I wipe off what I can, the jeep is too high to get it off the roof, so I usually will go on a back road and let it blow off before I go on a main road, but that isn’t always doable.   Main roads are plowed first, of course.     I get into my jeep, put the key in the ignition, put it in 4 wheel drive, reverse.  I go forward a couple of feet, put it in reverse again, go back a few feet, go forward and with a humungous smile on my face I drove right through the 30-40″ of snow that the plow had left.   “I love my jeep, I love my jeep, I love my jeep!” I kept telling myself followed by “I love my neighbors, I love my neighbors, I love my neighbors”.

After kicking off my boots, throwing my wet and balled with snow sweats over the shower curtain, I am now snuggled in with my furried kids.  I am going to try to forgive myself for sleeping in so late, for having a sink full of dishes that need to be done and a pile of laundry that I was going to do yesterday.   “I love myself, I love myself, I love myself” I kept telling myself, as I was kind and forgave myself for being human.

As I look out the window with a glass of juice in hand, my lips curl up at the sides.   Snow?  Snow?  Snow?   BRING IT ON!  Well, Okay, could you wait a couple weeks?????  “I love New England, I love New England, I love New England”….


Cccchilly and hey, might as well eat chile!


Munching on a taco salad with hot sauce, I am once again reminded of the advantages of living alone!

It’s chilly today, 50 degrees.   I have vowed to not turn the furnace on until November…we shall see.  I could walk around wrapped in my electric blanket, with extension cords!  Nah, I’m a klutz, I will surely trip on them and hurt myself.

I’m feeling much better than I was yesterday, very happy for that.  I also saw a guy bent over, wearing carhartts, his butt facing  me.  What a treat, and the shortest red light I have ever sat at

!  At night I can hear the cold settling into my house.  Creaks, cracks.  I have learned not to worry about the cracks in the walls at winter time, they seem to close themselves back up in spring/summer.

Todays thoughts are on slippers…this year I may invest in a good pair of slippers.  Every year I spent $15 on a pair, which are worn out come the end of Spring.  I wear them to the mailbox, in fact I wear them most of the time, and have, on occasion caught myself wearing them into town!   Oh, I miss my mind at times.   This afternoon I went to therapy.   As I was there I looked down at my sleeve, it was covered in paint, then I looked down at my chest.  My favorite “Vermont” sweatshirt that I paint in, wipe my brush on, I apparently wasn’t thinking when I got dressed.  Oh well, at least I and it was clean.  

Speaking of wearing things out in public, I snapped a picture with my iphone, have to check to see if it came out.  This teenage boy was wearing a parka with fur around its neck, and his cream colored pants were at his knees.  I mean, at his knees.  I sat at the stop sign watching, in awe, of the muscles that kid must have in his legs to hold up the pants and walk at the same time.    Amazing, indeed.

I have a picture of an old barn in winter that I found the perfect frame for at a thrift shop.  It’s piece together barn board..we’re talking rustic, beautiful!  I am excited about this.

Have also been giving thought to what makes me happy, what I think is fun.   I differ so much from my siblings and most of my friends here, not all, but most.   I love to create.  Whether I am painting, writing, drawing, designing jewelry, decorating, floral designs, I am at my happiest.  The large majority of this I do alone.   I had fun when my family came up in September to visit, so I know I’m not a recluse.   I enjoy watching a movie, or should I say, listening to one?  I have a hard time sitting still without having my hands busy, and its not proper to pick your nose….     🙂

Off to go put lavish my bed with my electric blanket, get the fireplace going, find some wool socks (they all have holes.  Every year my kid sister would buy me a couple pair of LLBean wool socks.  I sure do miss that. Oh the wonders of wool!  Just last year I had to let go of the last pair she gave me.  I did so with a frown on my face), and???   chip away at my honey do it yourself list.  Lots to do to get this old house ready for wintah.    Like getting my air conditioners out of the windows!

How come soda or water doesn’t seem like much in its container unless you accidentally dump it on yourself or your desk?  Then it feels like a full reservoir of it!     Have a good one!