Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy (Snowy) Halloween!

The snow is on the pumpkin here in Maine...just in time for Halloween! The surprise October Nor'easter knocked out our internet service so I have missed being able to visit my favorite blogs this weekend and hope to catch up with all of you during the week.

The fall leaves were still on the trees when the storm hit...knocking most of what was left to the ground in huge gusts of wind.

It's quiet now though and the sun began to return this afternoon...when my sister, Joanne, created this in her backyard just before today's Patriot's game. I just hope she got her power back in time to watch it!

The candy is bought, the pumpkin on the porch is lit...

And I'm definitely NOT dreaming of a White Halloween!

The forecast for Halloween Day is sunny and warmer so we're still looking forward to the annual visits for "Trick or Treat"...although Cinderella may have to trade in her glass slippers for LL Bean boots this year.

Happy Halloween to all!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What Does Home Mean To You?

After another crazy day at work, followed by two hours in the dentist's chair, I couldn't wait to get home. It is getting dark earlier now and that made the trip home seem even longer, and somehow, colder. As I drove, I thought about "home"...and why I was so anxious to get there.

To me, home is a safe and welcoming place...

Where I can wind down and take a few moments to regroup...

With someone who is always glad to see me.

It's my happy place.

It's home to my collections...

And home to my books, old and new...

Where Tom Swift and Stephen King live happily together in my cupboard.

Home is my cozy farmhouse kitchen...

With its autumn smells...

And warm memories.

It's the place where I can escape...

And create...

Where I can think up ideas...

And occasionally actually finish them.

And, after a long day, it's the place where I can change into my ugly cozy flannels, relax...

and dream about tomorrow.

What does Home mean to you?

This post is linked to:
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
Time Travel Thursday at The Brambleberry Cottage
Anything Goes Party at Type A Decorating
Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Creek Cottage

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Walk In The Woods

My sister, Andi, the adventurous second-born, has a rather unusual hobby. No cooking, knitting or sewing for her...Andi prefers to express her creativity outdoors...making trails. Give her a pair of big rubber boots, a few dead trees, and a wheelbarrow (or sled in the winter) and she is transformed into a modern day Sakajawea, building trails that would have made Lewis and Clark proud.

I'm not sure how this trail-making thing got started (maybe we made a few too many "forts" in the backyard as kids?) but Andi has been adding to her labyrinth for a few years now.  Every trail is thoughtfully marked with a hand-painted sign to help her stupid sisters woodland visitors find their way. The only sign that seems to be missing is one that says "This Way Out".

The trails begin in the woods behind Andi's house. Her home is beautifully decorated and you wouldn't know by looking at it that she turns into a rough 'n tumble mountain woman once she heads outdoors.  What I do know is that if Lewis and Clark ever need to get to LL Bean for new hiking boots, they'll be all set...Andi's trails will no doubt connect to the Freeport retail store soon.

This is Andi luring her unsuspecting sisters into the maze. She says that the trail map is "in her head"...she has yet to draw it out for us in case we get lost. But I did find a close approximation on line...

The first few miles yards of the trail directed us to the "Woodpecker Tree". That's our youngest sister, Joanne, and her husband at the beginning of the yesterday's wilderness adventure (I can tell it's the beginning because they're both still smiling).

We did eventually arrive at the Woodpecker Tree...full of holes (as advertised).

Soon we came to the first of Andi's many "bridges". Crossing them is not for the faint of heart. She has created bridges from scraps of wood and old pallets found at the dump. All by herself, she has dragged all this stuff through the woods and into position. They are somewhat rickety affairs but, after all, what's a missing board or two between sisters?

I'm not sure if these bridges are a testament to my sister's engineering abilities or to her sheer determination to single-handedly conquer every last acre of the 100 Acre Woods. We must have gone two miles by now and you may notice that my sister Joanne's smile is beginning to fade.

Since no one had planned on a hike yesterday, we were not exactly dressed for the wilderness. I had on summer sandals and Joanne, always the fashionista of the sisterhood, had on a hand-painted pair of these...


I think we had figured we'd be spending the afternoon sipping Pumpkin Lattes at Starbucks instead of requalifying for our Girl Scout Hiking Badges. So, by this point on our adventure, we were all relieved to see this encouraging sign ahead...

But, alas, no such luck... Andi triple dog-dared us to make it to the top of "Turkey Hill". After all, what are sister's for?

She had even carved steps into the hillside to ease the way.

Andi promised that when we got to the top, we would probably see a flock of wild turkeys. I'm pretty sure the only turkeys out there at that point were her sisters...and we were getting a little wild by then.

What goes up, must come down. Joanne is definitely not smiling anymore...

While Andi hasn't broken a sweat. Maybe it's the shoes?

Eventually, we come to another sign...

And, after another mile or so, finally make it to the "Big Tree". If we look happy here it's because we knew we had almost made it out of the woods. Andi assured us that it was only a quick trip (over 50 feet of swaying pallets with pond water beneath) to the end of the trail. 

And the snake...well... he was little and you could hardly see him beneath all the leaves anyway.

 Just another quiet Sunday with my sisters (safely back at Mom's)...

Nancy is surely having a good laugh at us right about now!

"When you see someone putting on their Big Boots, you can be pretty sure that an Adventure is going to happen.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Life Goes On

"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life. It goes on." ~Robert Frost

My sister, Nancy, always used to say that my daughter, Kristen's, birthday party was her favorite event of the year.

She loved laughing and "getting down" with Kristen and her friends.

And so it was with mixed emotions that I planned Kristen's party this year.  I wanted it to be a special day for her but my emotions were racing up and down as the big day dawned. The same cast of characters would be here at noon for the friends, staff from Kristen's group home...but not "Aunt Nancy".

How, I wondered, would I pull this off with such a giant void in all of our hearts?

And then Kristen and her friends arrived.

And reminded me, once again, that what really matters is not feeling sorry for your losses, but living like they do...with joy and laughter in the face of life's challenges.

Sean brought long-forgotten laughter to my sister, Andi's, face...

While seeing Kristen having so much fun brought hope to mine...

And Ryan's wonderful belly laugh made us all laugh with him.

Seeing our granddaughter, Anna, grow reminds me that life goes on too. "Aunt Nancy" held Anna as a baby at last year's party...

  And this year Anna was old enough to decorate her own pumpkin with her Mom.

It took Sean less than a minute to bring joy to the face of Nancy's husband, Aaron.

And no one could hold back a smile when he showed off his take on a Halloween pumpkin.

So as the cake was cut and the the traditional party games were played ...

Our special children reminded me once again that, no matter what...

Birthdays are always good...

And life goes on.