Writing Up a Storm!

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(part of my backyard-a blanket of deep white)

The blizzard has passed although the day is far from ordinary. School cancellations forced me to stay home. Others are digging out, taking another day to reorder their life. We feel lucky not to have lost power even if we got 2 feet or so of snow. It is under 20 degrees and all I can think about is those others in the very eastern part of the state and the islands who are off the grid and cold. We live just far enough from the coast where it could have gone either way.

I’ve got a roast in the oven and potatoes ready to be cooked for my famous mashers. It feels like a Sunday. We went out today, heading to the gym for exercise and the local organic grocery store for dinner ingredients. Laundry is getting done and we are in denial about the workday for tomorrow even as I prepared the smoothies for the next couple of days.

Winter storms shift the beat of daily life. Some panic- rushing to the stores for an overwhelming amount of food, as if Armageddon is approaching. Such a weird response in my mind. We don’t live miles or hours away from the nearest anything. I often wonder how much of the supplies end up in the trash after all is said and done.

So we chill in the chill. We had a great meal together last night-created by what we had in stock. So yummy! And my youngest and two friends took a 2 hour hike into the woods late yesterday afternoon. Refreshed and rejuvenated and ready, they experienced a rare excursion into the quiet. Late last night, the neighbors took their sleds to the street, whipping down the hill in the middle of the road. The travel ban had its benefits!

 

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(another part of the back with the footprints that lead to the woods)

I’ll be up before dawn tomorrow. Hopefully catch a run before the rush. Thanks to all of you for sharing in the tidbits of these last 48 hours. And remember to capture ALL the moments everyday if you can!

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Blizzard Bound

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Funny thing about snow bound days. They go by quickly. I always  plan on “catching up”  but somehow all I’ve managed thus far is a bit of dusting, cleaning the tub and putting my laundry away! Oh, and yoga too…

I was awakened early early this morning by the snow plows on the street and my own plow guy. My driveway is very long and sloped in places- it would take hours and hours to shovel just once. In fact, shoveling has been only attempted twice in the twenty-six years that I’ve lived here. Once, in late1992 when I was vastly pregnant with my youngest and the beast of a snow blower (bigger than I could handle) was broken, leaving my then husband to take on the task alone. He spent the next month accompanied by crippling back pain, relief only found by visits to the chiropractor. Five years later, he was nowhere to be found (off on an adventure).  With the boys too young to help and me overwhelmed, I called the teenage boys next door to clear us out. So,when my ex left nearly 8 years ago, a friend suggested I get someone to plow me out. (The snow blower was older than me and once again quite dead.) The service is a life saver and worth the money. I’m lucky that it is not expensive as my guy has known my situation.

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We still need to shovel though. There are places the plow can’t get around. For some, it would be the equivalent to clearing their own driveway. I try not get negative about the task, especially those times in the recent past when I’ve been by myself (boys away at school). I am still  young enough and in good shape. Plus I love being outside!  And the boys-both grown-know what to do. In years past, we made them get out there and take care of those areas that needed to be cleared. They naturally gravitate to the work-such a good thing for me and for them.

Round one is now done. We are expecting more snow until at least 1 am tomorrow. Wilson, my youngest son’s best friend, had fun clearing out his spot. He got word that #2 son was able to use his long arms as a human wiper (my boy is HUGE!) so he figured his whole body was the equivalent! My oldest caught the photos with my phone. (The first 2 through a window screen.)

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The boys are upstairs bonding over a Top Gear  special.  I am writing and pondering a hot shower and perhaps a bit of work on the scrapbook project that I want to complete before I get married and move.  I remember this is my last winter here and take it all in.

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I count my blessings even as these hours zoom by and the weather forces us to stay put. We have heat, food and each other.

 

Storm Warning

Credit: imgkid.com

The last flight out left at 7:30 pm.  The driving ban takes effect at midnight, leaving only essential personnel permission to use the roads. It’s quiet now; the forecasted wind gusts yet to arrive. The news reported that we have contractors in from as far as Tennessee to help fix the power lines that are bound to come down from the heavy wet snow on the southeast coast or the gusty winds from the Atlantic and Alberta.  Not everyone is home yet. I’ll be happy when we are all under one roof, readying ourselves to ride out the blizzard. The youngest brought home a generator, given to him from his boss in case the power goes out here.

This morning’s run in 11 degree darkness is but a distant memory. The cold was biting and inviting as I knew the roads would be impossible to endure for at least a day. I thought I might see the sunrise, but alas the steel sky won out once again!

I knew a storm was coming; I could smell it. Not the buttery scent of rain yet to arrive but the pings of  a sharp crunch or something like a dull brightness. I could feel it too. The dry air was on the verge of giving in for a change; it’s been a ‘mild’ winter here. Cold, cold but no white blanket gracing the backyard. Just the land of nosebleeds, scratchy throats and thirst. Some days are so parched that it’s like living in an Artic desert.

But not tonight. Picture perfect precipitation. I hope I sleep without the worry of that dead silence, the one where you don’t hear the humming of the refrigerator or tinging of the radiator.

Sleep tight wherever you are!

A New Take on Being a Bold Woman

Credit: www.pinterest.com

(with Thanks to Emily who sent it to me!)

I love new perspectives and interpretations on ancient stories. Specifically the ones you may hear in a house of worship. Two Sundays ago we heard the story of the three kings and their visit to Bethlehem. These astrologers believed in the messages from the heavens and the story goes that they followed one particular star all the way to the birthplace of Jesus. Their journey was loosely reenacted during a portion of the service with the ‘kings’ passing paper stars out to us. Each of these had a word on the back  and were selected at random; we didn’t know what we got until after we picked a star. Our task was to keep this word with us for the rest of the year and look for moments when we may need it or even use it.

My word was ‘boldness’.  For those who know and love me it’s a word that suits me and one that may not stretch or make me uncomfortable in any way (like a pastor receiving  the word “faith”).  I am a woman who is never afraid to stand up for herself-the strong feminine and feminist figure forthright in the face of unfairness and injustice. Yep. That’s me!

So this word, this word. What am I to do with it?  How will I use it in a new way? Am I already doing it?

Since the publication and reblog of my post On Being a Bold Woman, I decided to contemplate and maybe redefine (at least for me) what it means to be bold. Now, I know the year is young but it doesn’t hurt to at least begin to examine alternate avenues of how it can help me as I move forward into a new life in June.

Shortly after receiving this word, Steve (a fellow parishioner) stated that he felt that it took great courage to up and move myself to a whole new place especially after spending my entire life in this region (now that would be nearly 54 years!). Yeah, yeah. True. True. I am heart and soul a New England girl.  Give me hills, mountains nearby, the brisk Atlantic waters and the big white church in the center of town. A place where practically everyone knows your name. There is a lot to be said for that feeling. I will miss all of it.

 But there comes a time in your life where you have to shake things up. Make a change just for yourself. Small town life can be stifling at times. And things happen where you could feel like a stranger in your own neighborhood. Signals for a change for sure.

Moreover, I spent years needing to be outwardly bold -what with standing up to my ex-husband who attempted to leave me destitute and without shelter. Who, at every turn neglected his financial and emotional responsibilities as a father. Yeah, yeah he is a broken man but he needs to help himself now. No longer my problem. I purposefully carved out a new life for myself and my sons throughout it all. It was not easy and at times truly sucked. But here we are!! The life that was created simply planted the seeds for new growth for each of us.

Maybe this new boldness is a sleeping giant. The big steps may not need to be taken quite yet. In the meantime, perhaps I can rest. Conserve my energy as I prepare to venture into the next wild phase of my life ( oh yes, I do expect it to be!).  In so doing, perhaps I can reshape my definition of a bold woman. In fact, I have already begun.

Ready?

A bold woman does the best she can.

A bold woman asks for help.  She knows not EVERYTHING can be done alone.

A bold woman keeps it simple. She does not create or allow for drama in her life.

A bold woman lets things unfold. She is wise enough not to maintain control all the time.

A bold woman rids herself of unnecessary things. She creates wide open spaces and room to breath.

A bold woman does not engage in negative thinking.  She knows it weighs her down.

A bold woman keeps moving forward even when obstacles are placed in her path. She stays strong.

A bold woman stays present. She knows each moment is precious and rich with positive potential.

A bold woman always offers up to the Universe her highest wishes for the best possible outcome. In doing so, she dreams BIG!

 

So dear readers, what do you think?

On Being a Bold Woman

A note to my readers: this is a slightly updated version (added an image) of a post from nearly 2 years ago. Consider this encore part 1 of a 2 part series on the theme of ‘boldness’. There may be more to follow as the year unfolds!

Building A Life Of Hope

Credit: interviewsaloud.comOne of the most courageous things you can do is identify yourself, know who you are, what you believe in and where you want to go. – Sheila Murray Bethel.

On a recent morning, I was enjoying my usual morning visit at my local Starbucks, chatting with the staff and the other regulars whom I see daily. The store has always been a positive community connection for me. I can honestly say that I have never met someone that I have not liked having a conversation with-even if it is just for five minutes.

Beginning last spring, however, a person with a link to my past began to frequent the establishment at the same time as me. I tried not to make too much of these “coincidences”, but I did feel forced to be on my guard. Lately, the frequency of this person’s appearances has increased and my sons…

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A Writer’s Hibernation

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The sun just rose for the day. So much of winter here is void of color and light. It is easy to simply hunker down after a day’s work. Make dinner, slip into jammies, grab a book ( I am reading a ton these days!).  Or head to the gym for strength training. Or hit my mat for a few minutes of yoga.  Or watch the first two seasons of “Nashville” with my oldest ( a Christmas present). He loves to share favorite shows with me; it’s one of the ways we bond.  As usual, I continue to run most mornings despite the sub-zero temperatures and black ice. My only chance of quiet and fresh air happens just before daylight on weekdays.

But what about the writing? I cannot claim to have writer’s block. Certainly I have ideas running through my mind. And this blog is part of my DNA.  Maybe my words are dormant. Fattened up for the cold season. Resting and growing.  Conserving creative energy.

I also know that this is my last full winter season here.  I am preparing to leave in early summer. As a result, I am grabbing onto and gravitating towards moments with those closest to me. We need to be in this time together. And I have to say I am enjoying it all even if some days are filled with the drudgery of work and keeping the household running together! I hope my kids are learning the value of sharing even the most ordinary moments of their day with their housemates.

Well, the sun is done for the day. Replaced by the usual gray. It was pretty while it lasted. Think I’ll head out for a run …

Days Like This

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The house is quiet. The kind of hush that comes from the end of the holiday season and the bitter cold of winter’s kiss. The tree came down today and along with it all the decorations which filled this small space called home. I am at once sad and relieved. My last Christmas under one roof with my sons. No matter that a new life, a new start awaits us all-change is difficult. I don’t need to say good-bye to the warm memories of all the shared holidays; they are in our hearts and minds forever. Even though my boys are in the twenties (oldest turned 24 yesterday!), the little child in them still exists during this time of year. This despite their responsibilities as young adults at work in the wide and wacky world!

Last night as we sipped champagne, my youngest son’s best friend remarked as to how rich we are. We are indeed awash in abundance.  This wealth does not come from living an overly large home that is pristine in its vapid sterility. At best it is cozy with photos of family gracing shelves and tables. Moments of warmth and love captured and held still in time. Places experienced. The refrigerator door is covered and cluttered with quotes of the famous and not so famous ( that would be us!) and more photos-especially of the boys through the years. Our bedrooms reflect who we are and serve as a haven after long days when the outside world causes chaos.

Our wealth comes from a multitude of sources. We’ve grown into our present life through the fits and starts.  The rocky adolescence made worse by their father’s shenanigans and ultimate abandonment was tempered by the saving graces of therapy, our awesome faith community and the determination to always make joy and positive memories amidst the pain.  We mined loving nuggets of gold from these times.  We grew a new and better life.

So here I sit on this chilly January night, holding fast to all that is good. Preparing once again for a new phase. Glad to keep one another close as we walk the path together for a short while longer until the road diverges.