Jan. 23rd, 2017 08:15 am
summersgate: (eggshells)
I was cleaning off my art table this morning and came across an old notebook I used to carry in my purse probably 15 or 16 years ago. It had notes about craft shows I was going to, sketches of jewelry I wanted to make - scribbles that were probably made by little Gabe and some drawings that Chloe did to pass the time while she went to the craft shows with me. I just thought this was neat - her version of me and Dave:

This must have been from the time I was growing my hair back out from when I cut it in 2001 and wearing dresses most all the time. Dave looks pretty much the same - still has holes in his clothes and wearing his ball cap. We didn't have cable or satellite TV when the kids were growing up and John and Dad had taped all the Simpson's they could for us so we would have something to watch. The Simpsons were like part of the family to Chloe and Johnny. They played in the background of the living room all day long. I know some people would frown on letting little kids watch the Simpsons but I thought it was pretty perfect for all of us to watch together and comment on.

Plans for the day:
The weather man says rain again today but I'm hoping I can get a walk in with Candy before that happens...
Work on the art project.
Continue on business book work for the taxes.
summersgate: (eggshells)
The card I got today was entitled "Crossroads" but the picture on it reminded me of how it looks down in our backyard - the little hills and gullies, trails leading randomly through the woods, open places and thick woods intermingled. So I decided to try and recreate a map of what it is like over the hill (the walk to the creek and to the lake). After I was done drawing I knew it wasn't quite right but I would need an overlay of an actual map to do it right I suppose. My memory and experiences make some things more prominent. I put a star where I stand to take the photo looking up the creek and I drew in Grandmother Sycamore as a special larger tree. Interesting that the collage image of the old man and the little kid was there on the page already. My dad (though he didn't look like that old man) took me for a walk to the creek nearly every single day when I was a kid. It was just something we did. We took Trixy along too. I can still smell the smell of the rusty chain on my hands from his leash. It was the most wonderful time. Walking, talking, me asking questions - though my dad had a way of asking me questions that made me think deeply, made me feel like maybe I could figure things out too if I just looked closely enough at things and studied them. Usually we followed the same basic path but that was not set and there were many deviations into the woods on each side. But the main thing was we would go down and see the creek. That was how we talked about it - do you want to go down and see the creek now? It was the highlight of my day.


Nov. 4th, 2016 09:03 pm
summersgate: (eggshells)
This morning Dave and I drove to Butler to see our lawyer and talk about drawing up a will. Sounds weird, but just because we are planning something, one part of me can't wait till it happens and we can get all this wrapped up (which means we have to die). Not really. Just something going through my mind as we were there - let's get on with it - do it! Make it happen. Looking forward to the idea of the kids going around the house and finding things they would like to keep and having some extra money. I think I am a person who tends to live in the future - in plans - more than in the present moment.

We put flea medicine on all the animals tonight. Which makes my eyes itch now. I have been getting bit by fleas and I think we have to double up on the times we put the medicine on - do it every 2 weeks rather than wait the month.

Today was dad's birthday - he would have been 107 this year. Our lawyer remembered meeting him years ago and how amazed he was by him. Still driving and golfing in his 90's. Very active taking care of his family and house and yard. He planned to live to be 100 - though he only made it to 97. I'm planning to make it to 85 - lower expectations - but I want to get out while I am still relatively healthy - hopefully before any bad stuff. Dad's last couple of years weren't very good.

Another beautiful fall day today. Frost on the car windows when we started and foggy but then it cleared to crisp autumn colors in the sun. Both Dave and I agreed we have had one of the nicest years this year weather-wise.


Sep. 4th, 2016 08:01 am
summersgate: (eggshells)
After I wrote my entry here at 7 last night I went to bed - just felt exhausted. Slept all night. Made me wonder if I had been exposed to something - some germ - yesterday that I was fighting off. Dave felt very tired for the first couple days that he had the shingles - before we found out that he had shingles. I don't think I have shingles but I do believe there are all kinds of viruses and germs we are fighting off all the time and we don't even know what they are because we have no other symptoms than the tiredness we have from fighting them off or maybe a headache or something we can't figure out.

Dreamed this morning that I was living in my parent's old house next door with my little sister - our parents had passed on. I suddenly got the idea that I wanted to bring my brother John home from the rehab center/nursing home that he was living in. It was really far away and would take many hours to drive and get him. My sister was glad to go along and we were getting dressed and ready to go but then I remembered that we didn't have a wheelchair van anymore so there was no way to get him. Woke up sad.

Not sure who my "little sister" was in the dream. She was similar to Chloe, my daughter. Chloe is entering an art show called Heal: An Exhibition on the Journey of Healing in Oil City this weekend. She and her friend Kiyomi who is the curator were trying to get me to enter something. I thought at first I might be able to make a new artwork for it but I just didn't feel inspired. Yesterday Chloe texted me encouraging me again. So I am going to see if any of my jewelry pendants would be appropriate. Some are on the theme of healing I think. Kiyomi will be coming to a birthday party we will be having here tomorrow for Dave and Jules. I will see if she thinks that would work. Or I could clean off my art table today and see if there is anything inside me on the spur of the moment. Hmm - I just now thought of the collage book I made after John died. That might be very appropriate! Thank you John for (possibly) sending the dream.

0 book-and-milo
The book "Returning to Our Mother's Arms" and Milo. Random pictures from inside the book HERE )
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Pier and pond. One of my favorite pictures from tonight - taken at the Erie National Wildlife Refuge.

Dave and I decided to go out to the Sugar Lake Hotel for dinner tonight. Even though Sugar Lake is only about 12 miles away, amazingly I have never been there. It's just a small village - the only thing there is the hotel bar and lots of cottages around the lake. After dinner we walked around the lake a ways, then we drove north to see if there was a road that went around the lake. Eventually we saw a sign that said Erie Wildlife Refuge. Just the place I have been lately trying to find more information about - and we came upon it by accident! Very serendipitous. Lots of photos... )


Jun. 23rd, 2016 09:19 am
summersgate: (eggshells)
Last night I dreamed that our valley was flooded - the roads where blocked by the flood and traffic had come to a standstill. I was coming from town and had to get out of my car and walk the rest of the way home. When I got in sight of our little group of houses I could see that thankfully they were still above water. Dad was there and we were inspecting the extent of the flood together. It was nice to have him there.

I figure the dream is about the fact that yesterday when Dave and I were shopping in Bon-Ton I was talking to my cousin Helen's daughter-in-law Maryanne and she told me that Helen is not doing well - probably is very near the end and is in the nursing home in Oil City. Water and flooded ground usually means excess emotion to me - sadness and maybe guilt (cause I have not kept in touch with Helen as much as I could have). She is 95. I'm going to go visit today though. Maryanne says that she doesn't always remember people anymore - but maybe she will remember me. I look like my mom in some ways and she was very close to mom. Dad was her favorite uncle.

Dave and I were in the Bon-Ton trying to find some spiffy clothes to wear to upcoming events. This Saturday we go to a wedding for his nephew and next month it is my class reunion. I found a pair of sandals that will be comfortable (and flat) and look dressy and he found a short sleeved shirt that looks high class and a new pair of pants. I'm still undecided what I will wear. Modeling my choices for Dave and Hazel doesn't help much - they both have conflicting views of what would be appropriate. But I found a pair of black sandals yesterday that I liked and when I went to pay for them the girl said that these shoes are "buy one get one free" so I got another pair in a golden bronze/brown color too - I'm ready for any outfit I might choose. Now I need to wear them a little bit before the events to break them in - I hate having hurting feet.

Andy is outside at the moment or else I would have tried to get him in the photo - would have made a better picture...

dad's day+

Jun. 19th, 2016 09:15 am
summersgate: (summer)

I'm not much of a one for holidays but I did have a thought of Dad when I woke up this morning. I was remembering when my dog Queenie had been hit on the road and killed one summer - I was 15 years old - it was around July 4th. She had gone out in the night to go to the bathroom and not come back. Which was odd for her - she never wandered far from the house. I thought I had trained her well to not go past a certain line in the front yard. But there were fireworks going on and she was deathly afraid of thunder so maybe she got scared and confused that night. I looked and looked for her all around the yard and called and called but then finally there was nothing to do but go to bed. The next morning I got up and Dad told me that he had found Queenie and buried her. I was heartbroken. But this was also something that put a little wall between my dad and me. The fact that we didn't do this thing together. He left me out of the burying of my own dog. I logically know that Queenie must have looked very bad and he just didn't want me to see such a horrible thing. But this morning I had an insight into Dad - he also didn't want to see my grieving - didn't want to add another grief on top of his grief filled life. It was a protection for him too. When you are grieving alone you can encapsulate your grief better and isolate it - attempt to ignore it. He was still grieving the loss of the health of his son. He was hiding from me and from his own feelings. He was a very tender and sentimental man. Writing that makes me cry now - sad for you Dad. Miss you.


This is a big time for me in that some years on these dates there are 4 holidays in a row. Many years Father's Day falls on the 19th, then there is my birthday on the 20th, on the 21st is Dave's and my anniversary and then on the 22nd we celebrate Roswell's birthday. This year Dave and I will be married 30 years. We were late in finding each other - we didn't meet till I was 30. I want to do something special on Tuesday night. What I'm hoping to do is go on a canoe ride with him. It was something we did a lot when we were first dating.

So today - another beautiful day. Yesterday Dave took Andy and spent time with his brothers and their dogs at the Clarion River while I had time alone here at home. I puttered around - played with the clay in the basement and with my jewelry stuff in my room and spent time in the tent listening to birds and squirrels and chipmunks. After it got dark I went back out again with a flashlight and read till Dave and Andy got home around 11. Andy was so tired he came in and jumped on a cot and went right to sleep - no tearing around the tent like he usually does. Dave and I lay on the cots and watched fireflies. There were 2 above us - one under the rain-fly that was bright to us and one on top of the rain-fly which was a dull light. They were trying to get to each other but couldn't find their way. Bright flash, dull flash. bright flash, dull flash in new places each time, circling each other.
summersgate: (eggshells)
I did find one little gem of a memory maker yesterday. This was found in the bottom of my dad's financial file box. It looked like he had hidden it there, wrapped up and secured in another sheet of plain paper.


There is a story about the date that they got married. 1932 was during the depression and since they both worked for the highway department and the rules then were that only one spouse could work for the state (cause jobs were so scarce) they kept their marriage secret for the next 8 years. My mother needed her job so she could take care of her elderly mother and she kept living with her while my dad lived in a rented room and saved money. The only person they ever told was her mother. To the rest of the world they just looked like a couple having a very long engagement. 1940 was the year that they "took up housekeeping" and announced that they were married. They ran away to Buffalo to get married so it could be a secret and I think that must have been why they gave their places of residence as Pittsburgh to help keep that secret.

Anyway - today...
Andy is at the vet's now and I will be waiting till 2 to call and see how he did. Till then more BASEMENT. But it doesn't seem so hard anymore. Later I hope I will be able to show a nice photo of it ready to be a work space.
summersgate: (eggshells)
Sometimes when I wake up at 3 am to go the bathroom, this is what I find:


We watched a little gem of a movie last night - Prince Avalanche. So simple - just 2 guys out painting lines on the back roads. They only have each other's company all week long in their remote camp but they aren't very compatible. It's about acceptance and being real. Funny too. It also remainded me of stories my dad used to tell about his old days in the highway department. They used to paint lines on the roads this way back in the 1930's - with a wheeled bucket you pushed down the middle of the road.
summersgate: (self portrait a day)
The writing prompt today is "a gray coat" so I thought I would put on my gray jacket and get a spad photo in it. My down coat that I have been wearing the last couple days might work for "gray coat" too - but is more of a greenish gray color.


This photo was taken in a mirror that came with a little old trailer I got in 1983, the year my first husband Pat and I divorced. I got the trailer and had it moved into my parent's backyard so I could have a place of my own while I was living with them and getting my life back together. Jules (age 9) slept in the bed in the bedroom up in my parent's house and I slept in the bed in the trailer. It had no running water (I carried buckets of water) but it had a gray water system that emptied the kitchen sink so I could do very minor cooking there. Mainly I heated water for hot drinks and went up to my parent's house to eat my meals. I worked night shift and slept there in the day time. There was a bat that slept there too, hanging from one of the screen doors. The trailer came with a folding wooden table, a couch, a wooden chair with cushions, an old steel office chair that was made by the Harter company and this mirror - I really treasured those few pieces of furniture. They were the beginning of starting my new life. I loved that old trailer even if it did smell like mice. It was the first time in my life that I was living on my own. I made ecru colored curtains from doilies that I crocheted and then set the doilies into muslin fabric. It just felt so good to me to sit in my little living room down in the pines and BE there. I had chickens too at that time and the chicken house was down near the trailer so I could hear them during the day. My goats lived in the goatshed and my dad helped me put up a fence for them that was between my trailer and the house. I had a new puppy then too - Teddy - a cockapoo, who lived with me there. It was during that time that I met Dave. Walking back to my little trailer holding hands with him and passing under the chestnut trees in bloom during September - that smell will always take me back to those days.

This morning Dave and I took Andy for a walk down to the creek and on the way back I took this photo of a chair I have sitting at the top of the hill. I call it dad's chair - a place for his spirit to rest and look over the lower yard. The goat shed is in the background. The old trailer would be to the right of this chair if it was still there.


wood (s)

Jan. 29th, 2016 09:59 am
summersgate: (self portrait a day)
The prompt word today is "wood" but I am going to change it to woods. Cause we just got back from a walk in the woods down back. This was what I was looking forward to with having a dog - a partner to enjoy the outdoors with - to get me out more often. Someone to have a dedicated walk with every day. When I was a kid my dad and I walked our dog Trixy to the creek and back through the woods every single day. It was something I could always count on. I could do it alone now - and I have - but it just doesn't feel as good to do it alone. Dave and I took Andy this morning and I can see there will be lots of paths in the 4.5 acres of our woods that borders on the edge of the neighbor's lake that we will have available to do our daily walks on.

Photo by Dave - on the path coming up the hill home again. 3 more with Dave and Andy in them )
summersgate: (self portrait a day)
Wearing my dad's old coat - nearly done with clearing out the garage.
summersgate: (eggshells)
24. What’s a strange occurrence you’ve experienced but have never (or rarely) shared with anyone?

Well, 2 things pop into my mind. One was when I was a teenager and walking Lady, my dog down to the creek. A tattered monarch butterfly took a liking to me for some reason and followed me, sitting on my shoulder. I could get her to come to my finger and hold her there for a while, then she would fly up and go back to my shoulder. I had a feeling that she wouldn't come home with me even before I came up over the hill. I knew I could capture her and take her to show the family but it wouldn't be the same as what was happening when she did it willingly. So we parted ways at the top of the hill and the magic moments were over.

The other thing that comes to mind was the night my older brother John died. When I was with him in the hospital that evening I felt my grandmother's presence and saw images in my mind of my brother as a very little boy running and my grandmother saying the name, Little Johnny. I didn't know then that my brother was going to die later that night but maybe part of me did know it - felt it's close possibility because of this presence. I am not one to usually pray aloud, or do formal praying, but I did say a prayer out loud with John cause I knew that was what he needed to hear as a Christian. I was saying things like life and death don't matter - it will all be okay no matter what. Not something I would normally be saying to someone - I would usually want to give them hope and want them to fight for life but I felt that that was what I should say. As the night went on John wanted to take a sleeping pill cause he was exhausted from trying to cough and feeling like he had to cough but there was nothing there to cough up. After he took the sleeping pill he calmed down and was talking to someone (not me) and reaching his hand out to them. I couldn't understand what he said because of the oxygen mask over his mouth. I talked to him and asked him what he was saying but he ignored me. After a while he seemed to be sleeping but his eyes were open. I thought that was strange but he was peaceful and breathing normally. I was very tired myself from the long night and said goodnight to him and put the nurse call button where he could reach it. About a half hour after I got home the hospital called to say they had gone in to check and found John had died.

Thinking now of why these kinds of thoughts are in my head. If I remember correctly tomorrow is the date of my dad's passing in 2006. Maybe when that is over a weight will be lifted. I always feel darker before the anniversary of a death.
summersgate: (eggshells)
"Sunny Visitor" earrings - sterling, blue CZ and tiger-eye Listing HERE

I remember when I made these in November of 2006 - I had my workshop in the basement of this house and dad was in the process of dying - he died in early December. They were part of a necklace-earring set. The necklace was a big dragonfly, also called "Sunny Visitor". My aunt in California bought the necklace for one of her granddaughters when Kathy and I went out there for a visit the next spring. I hope it still gets worn now and then.


Nov. 20th, 2015 10:05 am
summersgate: (eggshells)
9. What is your strongest sense? If you had to give one up, which would it be?

I have a good sense of touch - I think that is why I am good at artsy stuff and manipulating small objects. My weakest sense is my hearing - it's going already - I have tinnitus that is quite annoying and I need the captioning words put on the TV in order to understand what they are saying. But if I could choose a sense to lose (and keep my hearing) I would choose smell. Though I'm sure there is a downside to that. It's what happens to old people who live in smelly houses and they are unaware of it. And you would miss a lot of good smells too. Thinking of this reminds me of my dad and the fact that he lost his sense of smell and taste at the end. The only thing he could taste was raw garlic steeped in vinegar and he ate it all the time, with everything. I called their house The House of Garlic and Vinegar cause that's what you smelled when you walked in the door. It wasn't that bad a smell - but strong in a weird way.


Nov. 4th, 2015 09:44 am
summersgate: (eggshells)
"Dusty Moon Rising" pendant - sterling, painting jasper, tiger-eye, nu-gold brass Listing HERE

I waver between living in a state of deep gratitude for the life I have, and falling into worry that it will be gone too soon.

Another beautiful day today. I might have to get out there by myself and experience it. I'm glad I got the daily etsyification done at least - now I won't feel guilty to enjoy myself. I mentioned how I felt like the grasshopper compared to the ant this morning to Rossy and he wanted to know what I meant. So I told him the story about how during the good weather the grasshopper spent his time fiddling and enjoying himself while the ant labored away gathering food for the winter. Then when winter came the grasshopper stood outside the ant's doorway and asked for food but the ant told him no. Rossy wanted to know if the grasshopper died - I said yes. Rossy said, how mean! Then Dave said that sounds like the perfect republican fable.

Thinking of my dad this morning - his birthday today. He has been gone 9 years now. Happy birthday dad - love you.
summersgate: (eggshells)
Going through old things of my parents really makes me think - what is it all for? I found a whole box of index cards this morning that my mother had made (in her quavery post-stroke handwriting) that listed movies in the VHS collection that my dad had made. He taped hundreds and hundreds of movies for them all (Dad, Mom and John) to re-watch. Mom listed them on the index cards with a little synopsis, star rating and the # of the tape the movie was on. How many hours did she put into doing this, and how many hours did Dad spend driving into town and renting the movies and then taping them? All for something I just threw away - boxes and boxes of them. Not that I don't see the value of hobbies and interests - I think there would be less war and less trouble in the world if more people had more hobbies. I don't know what I'm getting at really... But I see how valueless all this stuff that we do - that I do - will be someday. Probably the most important thing I did this week was play cards with Rossy and spend time with him. Making him feel good about himself will pay off in the long run - something that will live on - helping a child grow up happy. There is nothing else that will last after I am gone. Perhaps the jewelry I make might last beyond my lifetime but that will not effect the future much - not in the same way that putting energy into children or other people will. I think that as I'm aging this is the the epiphany I am having: that very little of what I "do" (make - produce) is important (and I used to think it was the most important thing!)

PS - Back to thinking about the tapes of movies Dad made and the work Mom did in organizing them. That was their love for John coming through. Giving him something to do while stuck in bed all day. He died before them so where did that love go? It leaked out to the side to me, so I could witness it and carry it forward.
summersgate: (eggshells)
"I Live Protected" pendant - sterling, brass, fossil coral and tiger-eye Listing HERE

After the kids went off to school I went back to bed - a wonderful thing to do on my Wonderful Wednesday. I had a really nice dream that my Dad was in. In the dream I had brought my bike into the house for the winter cause I was going to set it up on a stand so I could use it for an exercise bike but I found the kick stand was coming off and I wanted to tighten it. We were in the kitchen of the house next door - my parent's old house - and dad was boiling water on the stove for something. He said he would help me and he started to show me how you could remove the inner back wheel. He was laying on the floor and loosened something, gripped it with a pliers and lifted the inside of the wheel out (in real life this isn't something that even exists). I was impressed by how easy it was and gave him a big hug and said I love you Dad and that was really neat but that doesn't help me with the kick stand. We laughed and then he started to help me tighten the kickstand bolt. It was one of those dreams that seems really real, like that person is really there. I haven't had one with Dad like that for a long time.
summersgate: (eggshells)
I didn't see it but I heard it - a robin in the thick of the hedge. It doesn't feel like spring though, except for the quality of the light - the light seems to be more golden, warmer than it was in the winter. It was 20 F this morning and the ground was quite crisp when I went out to fill the bird feeders. Still lots of deep snow out there in the yard. Today will probably be another day where I stay in all day and try to get caught up. It's nice I suppose that I am getting orders but I will be glad when I have them all filled. It's not the jewelry that makes me feel overwhelmed though. It is the taxes that need sorted though and I have to call a doctor's office to argue a bill. That is what seems "too hard" for me to do. Blaa.

Early this morning I watched the documentary Choosing to Die made by Terry Pratchett about assisted suicide. Brought tears to my eyes of course to see it (doesn't the thought of death do that anyway?) but made me think. We give the gift of death to our beloved pets who are suffering but not to ourselves? If we all could have avoided seeing the end years of mom - so sad much of the time, truly suffering from dementia would we have wanted her to get out early, been okay with it if she had decided to do this? We had to watch dad try to get out early by giving up on eating. That doesn't happen very fast though - not in a few moments like assisted suicide does. It was what it was and I guess I'm okay with what it was. But if my end took a path into suffering what would I do? Is it "wrong"? Can it be "right"? Thank god we have hospice anyway.

And on a totally different subject - here's something cheerful hanging in my window - a little tree made for me by my sister, [livejournal.com profile] earthmother45:

The perfect thing to look up and see on this cold morning. Looks like the snow is melting all around the tree - the sky lit by a beautiful warm sunrise.
summersgate: (eggshells)
I was looking through files this morning and came across a collection of things I wrote in LJ around the time of Dad's death. HERE )


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