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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

...and After

A place of normal one-foot waves, seaweed fifty yards across the street.


Tree roots taller than the scholar.  The boat is shrouded in green.          

We are blessed.   

Sandy bestowed nothing on us other than a light headache.  Power came back after 23 hours.  Our daughter’s campus closed for Monday and Tuesday so we had an unexpected and delightful long weekend with her. Amtrak emailed her at 2:30 this morning to let her know her 9:00 train back would not be running, precipitating a quick pre-dawn trip up north by my husband to get her back in time for classes.  That was an inconvenience sure, but in no way surmountable. The yard we spend all day Saturday and Sunday raking looks like we never touched it.  Why do we rake before a storm, you ask?  Sheer volume makes it a requirement! The pine tree uprooted in my in-laws yard did not hit my husband’s sailboat, stored less than five feet away.

I think of the folks in NY and NJ and other hard hit areas, and I say a prayer.  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Calm

Something ugly is coming our way.

Current updates say Sandy will be a tropical storm by the time she reaches us.  She's so big though, they warn us not to take her lightly.  Former Girl Scout that I am, I got up Saturday morning to buy my batteries, extra water, canned foods and gas for my car.

But before I did all that, it seemed important to take pictures of this.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Long Weekend

I cannot tell a lie.  It’s a lot easier to get up for the sunrise when it occurs at 7:06 a.m., than when light breaks at 4:30, like it does in the summer.  During a family trip to western Maine this past weekend, once my daughter informed me the sun wouldn’t make its appearance until after my usual get up time, I decided to give dawn a try.

At 6:50 Sunday morning, I threw my coat on, stepped out to 37-degree temps and tramped to the lake edge. We were up there; about 20 miles from the Canadian border and most of the birds have departed for warmer territories. No one around was awake except me.  

 I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced such quiet.



Tuesday, October 16, 2012


I took this picture during my last foggy outing.  Disappointed when I downloaded it, I gave it a pass, wishing I’d captured the still boats without the restaurant in the background.

On second glance, I liked the deep red hull, (the boat is called “Prime Ribs,” by the way), juxtaposed against the gray of the building and the toothpaste green of the boat beside it.  I gazed at it a while before understanding my photo displays more than one kind of contrast. 
About fifty yards down the street from the building you see above, there's a two story shed of a place where lobstermen offload their catch. I have no idea what the men who climbed into those boats at dawn and hauled traps out on the churning sea receive as their per-pound price.  But the last time I drove by, a sign out front announced the retail price of Lobsters as $4.99 a pound. So if I had a hankering to buy a couple to take home and steam, that’s what I’d pay if I walked in off the street.

The restaurant, a lovely, white table cloth, fine dining establishment lists a 1 ½ pounder on its menu for $26.   No villains here.  I get the cost of running a business.  A successful eating establishment needs to charge something like three times the cost of food to make money.  I just happened to capture two different ends of that spectrum, overlooking each other in our harbor.  

Sometimes a picture is something pretty to look at.  Other times, it tells a story.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Another Step

My husband and I went up to see our college sophomore recently.  Her school is less than two hours away, and with a year’s experience under our belts, as well as a train station on campus with regular service to Boston, we've relaxed a bit, knowing we can get to her, or she to us, should it become necessary.  In her second year, she's familiar with the routine, has a bunch of friends in her major, and is beginning to look forward to internships for next year. In short, she’s growing and maturing.

As am I.

Her sophomore year in college is our sophomore year as empty-nesters.  I confess, a year ago August, after we dropped her off and drove home, I locked myself in the bathroom and cried. Since the great layoff of 2009, I’d embraced two things: writing, and the time I could spend with our growing girl.  I was so grateful for our school afternoons together, coffee dates, breakfast dates, shopping excursions and trips to the movies, because I’d never had them, and I knew they would be short lived.   In the late summer of 2011, the last of the sand trickled through the hour glass on that marvelous opportunity, and she was gone.  For a few hours, I walked around like a shell of myself, bereft.  Then my husband took me out to dinner, and we talked . . . all night.  And I remembered, before there were three, there were two.  We’d had nine years of married life and friendship before our daughter arrived.  Nineteen years later, we still make a good team.

So this summer, while I admit to getting a little antsy when it was time for our girl to pack up again, I knew I’d survive when she left, because I’d done it before.  Still, for the first week she was gone, I stomped around, pausing for long moments at the open door of her room, to stare at the pink shag rug, the photo collage she left behind, posters she hung in high school.  A year ago, when she left, it felt like she’d gone to an extended summer camp, that she’d return and we’d get back to our routine.  Now it’s her second year and I get it. Even though she’ll be back for vacations, perhaps a summer or two, maybe even for a period after she graduates, she’ll never really live here again.  She’s developing her own personality, learning independence and sculpting her own future.  When she comes home, she’ll have her own schedule, her own agenda and her own priorities.

As it pertains to motherhood, I've had a pretty good grasp always, of the fleeting nature of things.  Back in 2006, I wrote: “Every stage…seems like it will last forever.  Then one day you turn around and forever has ended.”

Six years later, I'll edit that sentence.  Forever doesn't end, it just morphs into something different we adjust to while our girl moves on, doing what she's supposed to, developing her new life. 

As she does that, hard as it is sometimes, I remind myself it's time to focus inward, so I can continue developing my own.

(For MES.)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Foggy Friday

I drafted a post yesterday, but words failed to flow and I didn't want to force it.  I figured I'd finish the piece early this morning, but dawn arrived coated in fogand I have a camera.

Do you understand my dilemma?

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Roller Coaster's Descent - IWSG October 2012

For the last five weeks, I’ve been camped out on a writer’s “high.”  At the end of August, I put my head down and refused to let it up until I completed chapter-by-chapter revisions of Honeydew Ever After.  Once I finished those, I read the entire 93,000 word manuscript out loud, twice, mending a boatload of typos as well as logic and timing issues. After that, I tore apart my first two chapters, yanking out anything smacking of yawn-worthy.  Yesterday, I sent the manuscript off to one of my amazing readers, and while I have no doubt it will be returned with pounds of red ink, for the first time, I’ve contemplated the future of this thing—such that, in an attempt to rest my throat between out loud reads, I drafted a query letter—my first.  

Exciting stuff, right? Right!

But also, wrong.

Shall I describe the “what if’s” dancing around in my head?

What if I’ve spent eighteen months (so far) on a story that’s not good?

What if my writing is poor?

What if my readers are only being nice?

What if I send this thing out there and nothing happens?

Since the great bloodletting of 2009 wherein my head did not survive the corporate chopping block, I have radically reduced the challenge of my outside-of-the-home work, as well as my pay check, in order to focus on my writing.  In spite of my supportive husband and daughter, this makes me feel guilty every single day.  They have given me the gift of time to prove myself at this thing I love.   What if I don’t repay them with success? 

I know the solution to these negative thoughts is to keep writing.  I know it.  But, write what?

I've started another story, but I don’t love it the way I love Honeydew.   I contemplate researching information for it, acknowledging in this case, the time spent will act as a delay tactic because I’m not attached to the story. Will that come? How much time do I invest before I know?

Oh, how I’d love to vault back to those last waning days of summer when I threw off the covers at dawn, spooned down a bowl of oatmeal before grinding the coffee and digging into my manuscript again.  For those weeks, I weighed less, I danced more, I sang all the time. I breathed in the aura of accomplishment circling my head and let it permeate my insides.  All around me, a warm breeze of triumph brushed my skin, even when I sat far from the computer. 

Now though, exhilaration has drifted away—like a kite I let go in the wind, the small dot of a helium balloon floating far above the ocean.  I’m in a holding pattern, a little bereft, a little lost.

What if that feeling from this summer never comes back to me again?