Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Farewell October

Another October has come to a close, just few more hours and it will be gone. It has been a month of many colors, most of which are now scattered across the yard. High in the branches of the oak tree a leaf or two bravely hold, but resistance is futile. Squirrels scamper through the branches jumping from one tree to another, and the winds grow increasingly cold. Tomorrow we will awake to November.

A fire in the wood stove drove out the dampness this morning. I kept it going on into the afternoon until I forgot about it in my quest to get dinner on the table. Mom remarked on how dark it was outside at 6:30 pm. Little does she know that next week when we turn the clocks back it will be so dark by 5:30 pm.

My days of taking off in search of autumn are over for another year. I have been blessed beyond measure with opportunities to capture the paintbrush of the Master Artist at work this season. Soon His brush will wield another color and my photos will turn white.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

P is for Previous

I have perused my previous "P" posts; purple, painter, pepper, and pies. I could easily repeat one of these subjects as at least two of them are in the forefront of my thoughts today...

It is autumn and autumn is the very best time of year for baking pies. Pie is on my mind, in fact there is a grape pie cooling on the stove right now. It will be good with ice cream later this evening.

The painter (click here) is also in my thoughts this day. I am hoping his basement studio in the Bronx stayed dry throughout the hurricane. I pray his paintings are safe. I know those pictured here have already been installed at the Bronx Community College, but every successful studio stores other paintings, sometimes a lifetime of work. I'm hoping to hear from my friend that her husband's work is safe.

And finally, P is for pictures (or photos) which are not wanting to upload for some unknown reason. Oh, wait! There they are!

For more ABC Wednesday fun, click here.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Well, this is it. Here she comes, Hurricane Sandy. I have lit a fire in the wood stove and cooked up a nice pot of potato soup. The generator is ready in case the power goes out. If not for Grandma and her oxygen requirements we wouldn't even have the option.

It's wet and blustery out there. The lake is churning, stirring up some nice waves. So, I took a ride and snapped a few pictures. Just a few, and then I went back home

Major storms always arrive with a bit of excited anticipation, but they leave behind wreckage and heartbreak. My prayers are with the two missing crew members of the HMS Bounty which sank off the coast of North Carolina today and their families. I've fallen in love with tall ships the in the past few years so I find this very sad.

Now we're waiting for James to get home and then we'll hunker down for the evening and listen to the wind howl. Maybe we'll watch a movie, ...if the power holds out.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Staying In

It was a good day to bake, even it it is Sunday. I whipped up a friendly batch of gluten free Apple Pie Muffins. (See here) While they were baking, I built an apple pie. Oh, so yummy! My house smells good and it's warm and cozy to boot. I hid the muffins under a clean kitchen towel. I hope Mom doesn't find them... ;)

Yesterday I had a date to meet my friend Angel. I'd promised to bring her a pie, so I got up early to make sure it got into and out of the oven in time for our meeting. When I arrived at her house, the pie was the perfect "warm apple pie" temperature. Seated at her kitchen table with a hot cup of coffee and a slice of apple pie, we chatted and enjoyed each other's company. We have been friends for many years but don't often find the time to catch up, so it was really very nice. Now I have a good excuse to go back. She has my pie plate and Tupperware pie taker. Besides all that our Aunt Cindy is coming to visit my friend (who is also my husband's cousin) for Thanksgiving and I'll need to make another pie to take there when she comes. (Aren't I sneaky?)

And... yesterday I also made a pumpkin pie because we were invited to a very special double birthday party for Bethany and Josh. Josh will be five when "Frankenstorm" arrives tomorrow, and Bethany turned 18 again. (That's all the candles she had left after putting five on Josh's cake.) I have now had my fill of pie and should be on the treadmill of mine instead of sitting here in this computer chair.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sunday Scripture

Have you made daylight spread to the ends of the earth, to bring an end to the night's wickedness? As the light approaches, the earth takes shape like clay pressed beneath a seal; it is robed in brilliant colors.
Job 38:13-14

 My camera is rarely far away on sunny autumn days. Early in the week the trees were robed in orange and yellow. By Friday we had a fresh golden carpet blanketing the grass. With the impending storm, and the surety of rain, we did a bit of raking and jumping while the opportunity afforded. When the day was done and the kids went home, the pile was loaded on a tarp and dragged down back for the winter. It's been a beautiful fall, and though I can't find too many scripture verses pertaining to autumn, I'm pretty sure God finds it magnificent too.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Indian Summer

What a beautiful day! It was perfect weather for raking up some of those leaves that washed out of the trees the past few days.

Rocky reminded me of an old "blonde joke" as she tried to rake leaves... Did you hear about the blond who broke her arm raking leaves? ... She fell out of the tree...

Luckily, this little blond couldn't get up in the tree. She had to do her raking from ground level and she was determined to get those leaves just over her head.

When she wasn't able to rake those leaves out of the tree herself, she looked to me for help. "Martha, will you get the leaves?" As if there aren't enough on the ground already...

It looks like she was out doing the job alone, but she had plenty of help from the school bus kids, and everyone had a turn to jump into the leaf pile. Even Rocky.

Tomorrow Andrew is coming to play. I think I know what we're going to do.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I have amassed quite the collection of autumn photos this year. Since I am fighting a headache, one of those dull throbbing ones that make me want to crawl back into bed at 8am, I give you a "Collection of Orange" this evening.

O is for Orange and Ochre

Oh, what a golden world! Is there any time of year more beautiful than autumn? Orange and ochre everywhere. Splashes of red and spots of green.

A friend and I went down to the Finger Lakes to take photos. At a little chapel nestled on the hillside overlooking Keuka Lake, I found this O in the iron gate. It makes a perfect picture frame. 

For more ABC Wednesday fun, click here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Birthday Girl

Today is my daughter's birthday. Those of you who know Bethany, know just how special she is. Her smile lights up the room. I thought I wasn't going to get a chance to see her today, but God saw fit to put her in my path this morning. I was able to give her a birthday hug and kiss, and snuggle that baby of hers for just a few minutes, and that's pretty awesome.

On Saturday evening we will celebrate two birthdays with special desserts, presents, songs, and fellowship. Bethany has requested a pumpkin pie (which I will provide) and Josh, who is turning 5 on the 29th, has put in his order for birthday cake. I'm pretty sure there will be ice cream around too.

Bethany, what a blessed year it has been! There have been some rough patches along the way for both of us, but those times have a way of making the everyday blessings all the more special. In your arms each day is the best birthday gift a mom could ever hope for, the gift of new life. It is a happy day indeed!

I love you!

Monday, October 22, 2012


Today I was informed that "Charlotte's Web" (the book) is 60 years old. Although I was unaware and didn't know to join in the celebration, I do have a very special visitor just outside my back door this year, and being familiar with both Charlotte and Wilbur, I have been very gracious and accommodating in spite of my ignorance concerning this anniversary of theirs.

Just outside my back door is a motion sensitive light that lights up our porch each evening. The light, of course, attracts every manner of insect and this year it also attracted the attention of one very "bright" spider. By day this creepy arachnid finds safety by hiding in a hanging grapevine wreath. By night it finds its fill of insects attracted to the light just above the wreath. Being the soft-hearted type, I have allowed this "small" (and I say that loosely) creature to dwell with us for the season.

I have learned that well fed spiders actually grow, that they can play dead (I thought it was once), and that they are pretty good at the camouflage game.  Back in early September I thought this was a fairly large spider, now it is just plain fat and sassy, and still pretty cool. I think I'll keep it around a little bit longer, maybe it'll scare the goblins away come Halloween.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday Scripture

Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will.
Matthew 10:29

Last week God blessed me with a special gift; a beautiful little bird. (A golden-crowned Kinglet) He had fallen to the ground, probably as a result of flying into my kitchen window. Thankfully, he was just stunned and left momentarily unable to fly. He hopped about ahead of my feet, looking for a safe spot to rest and found the threshold of the basement door. I quickly shooed Oreo in the other direction before he had a chance to notice the little creature, glanced back at the little bird and followed the girls down the driveway to await the school bus.

The bus came and went, carrying the girls off for the day, and I returned to my little friend. He looked sadly up at me while I talked to him. He had a sad little pair of eyes. I was just trying to decide what to do for him when he jumped into the air and flew off toward the backyard pine tree. I have to say I was relieved, and also blessed that I had taken my camera outside that morning.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Addictions and Pushing the Wrong Button

I am addicted to autumn and antique shops. I love them both and think they go together splendidly. I found a delightful antique shop on my way through Macedon this morning. Hannah and I have passed it twice every Saturday on our way to and from soccer since August. It catches my eye every time, and today I decided to take a look inside the store. Sadly I left my camera in the van.

This afternoon I took Lake Rd to Webster and happened upon an estate sale along the way. I wandered in and out of barns and sheds full of dirty stuff until I discovered an old children's book. "The Tall Book Of Mother Goose" was hidden under a table just waiting for me to come along. One look at the illustrations and I tucked it under my arm. I didn't need to read the poems, I already know them by heart. Nothing else caught my fancy and soon my two dollar treasure and I were on the road again.

After doing some shopping and a little bit of lolly- gagging, I headed home. Some- where along the way I decided to call James. His number is programmed into my phone as "Husband". I pushed the button and listened to it ring on the other end. A woman's voice answered a cherry "hello". I thought quick! It sounded like Bethany, but why would she have James' phone? My brain was working today!!! "I dailed your number by accident," I told my friend on the other end, but it wasn't an apologetic explanation, instead I was excited. It was my good friend Heather on the other end. What a great surprise!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

N is for Neigh!

I know, I already posted something... But today I found a word I like better.

This morning we left the house somewhat early and headed south toward Honeoye, NY where my daughter Hannah and her friend take riding lessons. It was a beautiful day for a ride and a beautiful day to have my camera in tow.

The horses on this particular farm are rescue horses and some can be adopted by the students who come to ride. This is Mack. He used to be a racehorse. Hannah loves him and I can see why. He is a sweet horse, even if he doesn't really want to be ridden.

Hannah (in the blue) and her friend Kelly brought Mack down to the barn to clean him up and comb his hair. He soaked up the attention and was very well behaved while they brushed and braided. Afterward he was rewarded with a peppermint and a few special hugs.

I think I like Mack too.

For more ABC Wednesday fun, click here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

N is for Nothing

N is for nothing. I have tried and tried to come up with something,but ended up empty-handed. Nothing, nada, nil. N is not an easy letter.

If only barn or autumn started with N. 

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Clearer Glimpse

I am getting a clearer (if that is possible...) picture of my mother's thought processes, and much of the road to understanding is dependent on how I answer her statements and/or questions. I hope I am ready and willing to learn.

The other day when Mom asked how I knew a longtime family friend, my sister made a suggestion. "Maybe she asked how you knew her because she herself was drawing a blank about who this person is. Maybe she asked you to possibly jog her memory so she could remember." I have been rolling this possibility around in my mind, and when a similar question was posed last night, I found myself responding differently.

I had spent some time last evening chatting online with a friend who found himself on business flight to Dallas. Although we don't see each other often, we have been friends for many years. I was working a jigsaw puzzle with Mom when I said to James, "Jon P---- is on his way to Dallas for a week."

"Jon P----?" said Mom, "How do you know him?"

A little better prepared this time than last, I looked directly at her and said, "Oh, I've known him for a long time." I then added, "Do you know who he is?"

She didn't flinch. "Yes, I know who he is," she stated, "He's the one who used to like Mart." (Um... that would be me...)

This time I was speechless, not because she knew who he was, but because I found myself suddenly wondering who she thought I was. Yes, Jon and I had dated in high school, she was right about that, but this was the first time I had to come face to face with the fact that maybe my mother wasn't always recognizing me.

James called to me from the other room. "What did she just say?" he asked.

And I just said, "I'll talk to you later, James."

So, today I am rolling a new thought about. Apparently Mom does not always know who we are. As tough to accept as it may be on one hand, it is helpful on another. Perhaps I am almost relieved at the answer. At least I know why she is introducing family members to each other and asking how we know longtime friends. Maybe there is even a sense of relief.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Great Escape

I escaped town with my friend Shelly today. This doesn't happen often anymore as I usually escape with Hannah. We took off to see if we could find some fall foliage and cool photo opportunities. (If only potty breaks didn't disrupt life. Ah, it is a good thing for occasional cornfields and a McDonald's or two.)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday Scripture 2

The steps of a [good] man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way. 
Psalm 37:23

Friday, October 12, 2012

"She's Doing Okay"

I've not written much about my mom lately. There isn't typically much to say. People sometimes ask me how she is doing, and I usually answer, "She's doing okay." Mostly day after day goes on and things stay pretty much the same, and then once in a while something she says or does will remind me that things are really not as they should be.

My aunt came to visit yesterday. She does this every so often, which is really nice for Mom, but even with her sister, conversation is minimal and sometimes confused. Since Mom is never without her daily newspaper, yesterday's conversation went there. Aunt Margie asked about an article in the paper, but if Mom had read the story about four high school students in a car that hit the back of a school bus, she didn't remember. She thumbed through the paper to find some information.

The conversation turned to some friends. Mom looked at me and said the name in question form. "Yes," I replied. "How do you know her?" she asked me. Once again I was caught off guard. I think I answered back with, "How do you think I know her?" or "What do you mean, 'How do I know her?'" (I realize this is not the way to respond to folks with memory issues, but sometimes I am left flabbergasted.) The person in question is not someone we just met, or someone we no longer have contact with. She is a childhood friend of mine, former neighbor, and my cousin by marriage to my husband. We have known the family since I was five years old.

Conversations typically are cut short by the fact that Mom is no longer able to follow them. Not only do I fear leaving her embarrassed, but it hurts to hear her answer in ways that appear clueless. I guess I still haven't learned how to "live in the moment" with her. I'm not even really sure how.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

M is for Motivation

M is for motivation...

My motivation appears to have gone the way of my marbles. I keep trying to muster up the momentum to regain my motivation, but momentum is hard to come by sometimes. I've read that lack of direction can affect both momentum and motivation. Perhaps this is the reason for many a mid-life crisis.

I did a search on "moti- vation and momen- tum" and came up with all kinds of business sites and strategies. While I am not really trying to grapple with a full-fledged business, I do suppose managing a household is akin to running a company, so some of the advice actually does apply.

Our home "business" is a partner- ship between my husband and I. We are, in a way, co-leaders, and we can be a source of motivation to each other, or we can be can undermine what little momentum the other may or may not possess. The fact that we often speak different languages while both speaking English, makes matters even more problematic.

The article 8 Killers of Motivation and Momentum may be good for me to consider, especially if I want to be an encouragement to my husband, who I am afraid is also feeling rather unappreciated at the moment. I suppose there is nothing better for increasing momentum than having a goal and working toward it together.

For more ABC Wednesday fun, click here.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Autumn Falls

We have suddenly gone from summer to autumn. Hannah and I went out for a ride today with no particular destination. We took the camera, a few granola bars and some apples, stopped for a drink along the way, and took in the fall foliage as we went.

Most people think "city" when they hear NY, but there is far more country side to the state than city. We passed farm after dilapidated farm up in the hills between Canandaigua and Keuka lake, and lots of fields and forests.

On the way home we passed Monica's Pies and stopped to run inside the store. The air was permeated with the smell of grape pies baking. Mmm, mmm! I bought a jar of grape pie filling (for probably more than a pie would have cost...) and a Concord grape tart for Hannah and I to share. They packed our purchase in a pretty purple bag and gave us two purple napkins and a couple of forks to eat our tart with.  I now remember why I liked grape pie so much. It was wonderful!

Tomorrow we will be back to "real life" again. My van is in the shop having the tires changed so we'll be staying home. Maybe I'll bake another apple pie.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Sunday Scripture

As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so [is] my beloved among the sons. 
Song of Songs 2:3 

There was a time when I would post a Sunday Scripture too. Thought I might try it again.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Silly Me

I am I the only one who every so often does a search on her own blog? Once in a while I get curious about a past post and set off looking for it. Of course that gets me distracted and I often find myself reading old posts and smiling... Tonight I my search came up with these posts. The one I was really looking for was right there at the top of the list.

Somehow, I think posts of the past often had more substance than those I write today. I find I still have a lot to learn and still haven't learned many of the lessons I was facing years back. Perhaps there is hope. Maybe I can still learn something, even if it is from myself.

How do you like that? Same little shack, just a few years older.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Time for Pie

It is pie baking time. Autumn is the very best time for hanging out in the kitchen and letting the oven warm up the house as I roll out fresh pie pastry on the table. Most people think of fall as the time for all things apple and pumpkin, but around these parts there is another small fruit that vies for attention. The Concord grape makes some pretty wonderful pies too, just ask Monica or Cindy.

Many years ago, on a drive through the Finger Lakes, James and I stopped at a little roadside stand selling grape pies. My mom was a great pie maker and made all kinds of pies, but never had she baked one from grapes. After looking at Monica's website, I am led to believe it was Monica's grape pie we stopped to taste and buy all those years ago. The "Try before you buy" motto seems vaguely familiar. I recall finding that first grape pie amazingly delicious.

So, James and I went for another drive to the Finger Lakes on Sunday afternoon. It was dark, overcast, and rainy. On our way home we drove up through Naples, NY where the vendors and festival goers were just finishing up the annual grape festival. We decided to buy a grape pie (or two) and stopped to find Cindy all but out of the coveted confections. What she had left was unbaked, ready to pop in the oven at home or keep in the freezer for later. (Ours are in the freezer waiting... )

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

L is for Leaves

L is for Leaves.

I suppose I may never tire of watching autumn leaves. Happy, colorful, and carefree, they dance through their final days...

 I watched them dance through the yard, swirling and twirling, happy and carefree. Without warning they ran straight into the road in front of my van, doing cartwheels as they went. If they ever looked both ways I didn't notice. The smiles, I'm sure, never vanished from their faces, and as I swished by they leaped out from under my tires and into the air behind me, shouts of laughter and excitement escaping their lips...

I wonder, do leaves yearn to be free from the branches that hold them all summer long? Do they close their eyes during thunder storms, or shiver on dark scary nights? Imagine the excitement of fluttering down from the highest branches, catching the breeze, floating upward again then spinning round and round on the dizzying descent!

Old age brings a new dimension to the life of a leaf. No longer tethered to the tree, they are free to twirl and dance. They fly through the air and sail on the breeze, spinning as they go. Early life found them supple and green, working hard to provide for their own. Now time has colored them red, orange, yellow and bronze, and left them brittle and stiff. They are dying, yet are, in some ways, more alive than ever before. It's almost as if they know the time is short and they are determined to make the most of it.

For more ABC Wednesday fun, click here.