hi johnny!

Jun. 30th, 2016 12:28 pm
summersgate: (self portrait a day)
I was just reminded again that my son Johnny reads my LJ. That is rare in the family - I have many more people that I have never met reading then I do family members. As far as I know the only other family who read it are my sister [livejournal.com profile] earthmother45 and her daughter Tracy. I always imagine that someday, when I am dead and gone that family might look at egg-shell just to see who I was. Was there more to me than I presented in daily life? Then they will be surprised at what I wrote here - my worries, interests, concerns and thoughts. "Hey, here's those photos she took all the time but no one ever saw."

Here's a "spad" (Self Portrait A Day) for you Johnny - a photo project I started last year on Nov 1st but I have neglected to do for 2 whole months:
Andy and your dad too.
summersgate: (self portrait a day)
This afternoon I had to pick up some pants for Gabe in Titusville and thought that since I was there anyway I would hike up and replace the trail sign-in book at that first box on the Gerard hiking trail. I found a spiral notebook here at home and wrote in big letters HAPPY HIKING as the first heading. It is rare for me to be hiking alone. I want to get out there alone hiking or biking more often but sometimes I am "afraid" - not sure of what, but I feel very wary and unsure of myself. A feeling I would like to conquer. So this was a good chance to do that. It is only 1 mile to the sign-in box. As I said before it is pretty steep though. You climb 256' in that first mile. I was glad to see the box finally. I added the words, "boy what a climb - 4-27-16 - egg shell" and put the book into the box. Then I set the camera up on the box with a 10 second timer and took this photo of me walking back towards the box:


Earlier today Jan and I and some others from our women's group (Char, Deb, Cindy and Sue) went to the class at Lake Wilhelm on nature journaling. I have written and sketched in the outdoors before - but not lately, so it was good to get a reintroduction to how great it is. I was thinking about how maybe instead of having a camera hanging around my neck (or in addition to a camera) it would be nice to start carrying a small sketchbook to make notes in. Today if I had had one on the lone walk up to the sign-in box I would have written about seeing so many bumble bees (the most prevalent wildlife I saw). There was also a blue-jay that swooped in front of me to light on a tree nearby so he could watch me pass by. It was a chilly day really but the sun was hot so it was perfect. A couple times woodpeckers called from far away and there was a nuthatch busy circling a tree as I passed by it. I might not have noticed these things if I was with someone else. They would be on the periphery of my consciousness but not coming totally to my attention - or else if seen quickly forgotten. I started to feel like I was taking in more than usual and being in the moment. And that is good.


Mar. 17th, 2016 09:17 am
summersgate: (eggshells)
I put it on the calendar that I wanted to have my blood work done this morning but then last night I forgot to stop eating by 6 pm so now I don't want to do it - don't want to wait till noon to eat. That leaves this morning open. Maybe I will get the blood work done tomorrow morning and then Dave and I will have breakfast out and do some shopping.

Food. What have I been eating? Back a couple weeks ago when I mentioned egg and olive sandwiches I boiled 2 dozen eggs and we all went on a spree of eating them frequently. When that 2 dozen eggs were gone I boiled another 2 dozen and now hard boiled eggs have become a staple in the fridge. I just now ate one for breakfast, with butter and jelly toast. Another staple in the fridge at the moment is rice and beans. I figured out the simplest recipe. I cook the rice in a big pot - while that is cooking I am sauteing onions and peppers in butter in a pan while I preheat a large drained can of red kidney beans in the microwave. When the rice is done I put it all together and it is Rice and Beans and it is delicious with just a little salt and pepper. I think sometimes I am happiest with the simplest tastes. Though I do eat out a lot. I look at my weight gain and wonder why. Maybe eating out is one of the things - there are a lot of fried foods eaten - I'm not very discriminating. And I have taken to browsing while home - making a big bowl of homemade trail mix and grabbing a handful as I pass through the kitchen. That is definitely not a good thing for me to do.

My life lately. Doing a LOT of walking this week. With all the walking I wonder why I don't lose weight, but I don't. I worry about my knees frequently. They hurt. My left knee can't bend all the way - too painful. They got drastically worse after I fell with the dog on the hill last month. I think I might have twisted my knee then - maybe I'm just still healing up from that and it's not arthritis in my knees - I sure do not want that.

Andy and the cats update. Milo has come to cuddle in my crooked elbow a few times now in the evening like he used to. He is brave enough that if Andy is in the living room with Dave he feels like he can come to keep company with me in the bedroom. Many times Milo walks though the living room with Andy there. He keeps his head down and walks calmly through at a very steady pace. Andy just looks at him and doesn't move. Skye doesn't trust him enough yet to do that - she peeks around the corner over and over again to see if Andy is sleeping and then she runs through if he looks asleep. If he isn't asleep (really) he runs after her, with Dave and me yelling and adding to the commotion. He is much more interested in her than Milo and they whine and hiss at each other through the baby gates.

Yoshi is the family member who is getting the most neglected. It is easy to neglect someone that sits quietly in a glass box and who doesn't really ask to get out of it, ever. I do feed her of course - that isn't forgotten - but she hasn't gotten out to explore the floor since we got Andy. I need to make a point of getting her out soon.

Dave has taken Andy with him fishing in the boat twice. When he catches a fish then Andy likes to lick it. He has tried to pick them up in his mouth but that doesn't work. We are going tomorrow to get a halter for Andy so that when he is in the boat if he should fall out Dave can lift him out of the water easier.

Yesterday morning Andy needed his mommy and daddy time and we took these photos:


He's getting big - has gone from 26 lbs when we first got him to 41.
summersgate: (eggshells)
Green Rocks at Clear Creek State Forest.

A dark day today. It's been raining a lot lately and the ground was sopping wet on most of the trails. Candy and I hiked from parking lot #1 up on Dennison Run Road down to the Allegheny River by way of the Ridge Trail. More HERE )
summersgate: (eggshells)
Run, Andy, run.

This morning it was raining too hard for Candy and me to do our usual Monday hike but later it quit raining so Dave and I took Andy for a walk. The North Country Trail runs through a property that we are part owners of near Kossuth. It has an old railroad bed that goes thorough the middle of it that the NCT owns. More HERE )
summersgate: (eggshells)
I found out that the rocks out on the game lands by Whipperwill Road that Dave and I visited on the 6th are actually called the Rainbow Rocks. The petroglyphs that were carved long ago into it are covered by modern graffiti and hard to find. Here is what they look like if you can find them:

Rainbow Rocks
We did find them but I thought at the time they would be hard to see in a photograph so I didn't bother - now I wish I had. It is written about in this article.

The grandkids and Gabe's good friend Amber and I went out there tonight.

Amber and Sebby walking around. More photos HERE )
summersgate: (eggshells)

Big hike today. Candy and I started out on the Allegheny River at Kennerdell. Walked up stream to Dennison Run and then from there climbed a steep hill up to the Clear Creek State Forest Kennerdell Overlook. More here )
summersgate: (eggshells)
Andy on the edge of a property line.

Game lands are the newly discovered wonderful walking places for me now. Dave remembered a place on the game lands off Whipperwill Road near Van where there are some giant rocks so we took Andy for a walk there today. 5 more )


Mar. 5th, 2016 06:58 pm
summersgate: (self portrait a day)
Photo by Dave. I want to keep the rule of Andy not being allowed to chew things while on the couch. Since he wants so badly to be near someone while he chews, that means I need to be somewhere that is not the couch.

Dave's turn. )

i wish

Mar. 4th, 2016 05:34 pm
summersgate: (self portrait a day)
I wish I had white hair, among other things...

I wish...
I wish I knew how to train a dog without yelling,
without losing my temper.
I wish I knew how to be patient, like a buddha,
like a rock.
I wish I could stop causing problems.
I wish I could find the place where joy lived.
I wish I could find happiness.
I wish I could be the opposite of what I feel inside.

When you wish for something you are reaching for it. It hurts when you don't have it. Wishing is figuring out and declaring what you do want.

I have been losing patience with Andy. After a while it just started to seem that he was doing all this stuff (getting on the couch over and over again with forbidden sloppy chew toys, biting his leash when we try to take him for a walk, not coming when called, dragging our shoes around) cause he is a BAD DOG. And we needed to TRAIN it out of him. Zero tolerance. Which came to mean we were trying harder and harder to turn him into a perfect robot dog. Not going to happen. The more angry we got that he wasn't doing what we wanted the worse he was getting. Till we read something this morning and the light bulb came on - Labs are very social and playful and love to chew things. They love attention - even negative attention. And he was getting a lot of that. He was getting what he wanted from us, even if it was negative. But we were not getting what we wanted from him - which was a calm, lovable dog. This experience of having a very active puppy has been bringing out the worst side of my personality. I can be very controlling, angry, vindictive, impatient, depressed with anger that turns inward, hopeless, withdrawn. But for this situation I need to be the opposite. I need to find the joy, find the love for another inside me, need to be playful and forgiving. Andy truly has a good heart. He has never done anything cause he is a mean dog. He just wants to play practically all the time he is awake. As one relief I have decided that I will not hesitate to calmly and lovingly put him in his crate whenever I get tired of him. That will be better than getting angry at him. I deserve calm and he deserves kindness.

I knew having a puppy was going to be hard, just didn't know it would be this much of a test for me.

On another topic. We watched the movie "Room" last night - about a young woman who was held captive by a man in one room for 7 years - she had her 5 year old boy with her. It sounds like a horror story but it was very uplifting. You might cry but I don't mind that in a movie.
summersgate: (self portrait a day)
John and Mom.

Well, one of the first things I thought of on this topic was to continue writing about my brother and how he showed an exceptional amount of human spirit to continue his life in spite of the difficulties he faced. Then looking through my files to see if I could find a good photo I came across this one of him and mom. This was after mom's stroke and you can see her bravery too. She was very much cut down after her stroke. It took her ability to speak, her ability to read, her ability to work with numbers and do the taxes - something she took great pride in, her ability to sew and cook, her ability to walk without a cane. She was 74 when she had the stoke and she lived for 26 more years. The last 15 were spent sliding deep into dementia - another thing that cut her down even farther. How does one live without self pity? I spent so much of my life watching those two not falling into self pity - so why can't I do that one simple thing? I feel like I was the one in the family to gather up all the sadness and hold it inside me. It fills me to the brim and sloshes over frequently. I'm the melancholy one. Though I know that isn't exactly true - [livejournal.com profile] earthmother45 feels it too.

Later... Next day now - Sunday. Maybe the answer is in that question I keep coming back to: Am I living in the problem or am I living in the solution? It's a switch in the mind that can be flipped and it makes all the difference. I think they became experts at flipping that switch. I am still working on it.

We had a busy day around here yesterday. Chloe and her fiance Mike, and Johnny and his fiance Alison, plus Jules and his boys all came over for a birthday party for Sebby last night. I spent the afternoon house cleaning. I did take a nap too. We had a nice party with pizza and cheesecake. Sebby got a new bass guitar and amp. I gave him a stand to hold his 3 guitars and a bunch of sketchbooks - he's an artist too.

During the birthday song.

I have lots to do today. Start painting and preparing the pages of a new Everything Book, figure out how to get the prescription benefit with our new medical insurance, contact an etsy customer to converse about a commission she wants, basement sorting and cleaning work as always. The writing prompt today is Renaissance Woman. I have nothing to say about that.

And while I'm at it - here's my spad for today - once again my right foot and Andy, in the darkness of the bedroom early this morning:

We find Andy is just too big to sleep on the bed with us so I brought up an old sheepskin for him to sleep on beside the bed. He was happy to sleep on it last night but this morning after he woke up he started to eat it.
summersgate: (self portrait a day)
Does having a chocolate lab make you want to eat chocolate more often?

I don't feel like this is cheating on my self-portrait-a-day. As long as the photo has any part of my body in it - or if it is my shadow, it will count. I can even do a drawing of myself and that will count as a spad too. But I have fallen down in doing much drawing lately.

Thin, tiny snowflakes falling today - very slowly. Dark and overcast sky. Gray February is winding down. There are lots of birds busy in the feeders though. We usually have a woodpecker at the suet feeder, which is only about 2 feet from my window. There is a downy woodpecker there right now.
summersgate: (self portrait a day)
Me, Dave and Sebby. We are watching Pieces of April - actually a pretty good movie.
summersgate: (self portrait a day)
Photo by Dave.
summersgate: (self portrait a day)
That might be a pet peeve with me and Dave - I feel like he isn't listening to me when I talk - he starts talking to the dog or a cat while I am already talking. Though when I call him out on it he always can repeat back to me what I was saying so I guess he somehow is listening. I can't keep talking if someone else is talking. It's not in me to try to over-talk someone else so I just shut up and drift away (annoyed). I won't say it again. I think that is what I like about the LJ form - I say what I say and it's said. I don't know if anyone was listening (reading) but that doesn't matter. I say it and let go of it to the world. If it's ignored I don't know about it (for sure) and that's okay. On facebook I hate it when people post this thing that asks if you are reading this person's things they want you to leave a comment on it. I never do - even if I am reading their stuff. I think - stop being so needy. But that is just another form of what happens with me and Dave. Everyone wants to feel like they are being heard. There is something in the Course in Miracles that says that we all have the same needs and desires and flaws - but it takes different forms in each of us. Try to find what annoys you in others and you will see it is something you have in yourself in a different form. Mine is getting annoyed at Dave and theirs is posting this thing on facebook asking for confirmation. Thinking about this helps to forgive others (and ourselves). We all have it.

Trying to do a system restore on my ipad mini today. It is doing crazy stuff like turning itself off and then rebooting every few minutes and then sometimes the screen gets 100% bright and then everything becomes unresponsive. I don't want to spend the money on a new one if I can help but I use it dozens (hundreds?) of times a day and don't like to be without one. I figure it is worth a try to restore it - if this doesn't work I give up.

Yesterday I took this photo of Kenyon at the cemetery:

Kenyon posing. I originally put it with my LJ spad posting yesterday but then took it off. I like the photo and I know Kenyon would - he has a unique sense of humor and it was his idea to pose this way. But it seemed "too dark" yesterday to my mind. Maybe today is the day for it. I certainly don't want to see anything like this for real for a very long, long time.

And another thing. Soon this will be me - I get this tooth pulled next Tuesday. Not sure how long it will be before I get the permanent bridge that will cover it - I hope it will be soon:

My future.
summersgate: (self portrait a day)
We stopped at Sunset Memorial on the way to Franklin and Kenyon took my self-portrait-a-day photo. I'm holding his coffee cup so his hands could be free.

Feeling better about the happenings of yesterday. Not sure what even happened or what I was seeing - and I don't feel like writing about it here, but it was good to get Kenyon's wise views on it.

On a different subject:

Milo and Skye napping. One good thing about the cats hiding away from Andy in my room is that they are becoming much better friends with each other now. They never would have been seen napping next to each other before.

Andy Funny Face - while on a walk on the bike trail on Sunday. He was staring at people in the distance and wondering how he could get to them.
summersgate: (self portrait a day)
Yesterday was the opposite of intense clarity. Flowing through the day - doing what seemed right at the time, not knowing for sure what is right - being pulled one way, then the other - not knowing. In one way I suppose it was the essence of being in the moment, but looking back on it maybe I could have made better decisions. Here is the one self portrait I took yesterday - while laying in bed in the evening brooding:

summersgate: (self portrait a day)
This is my self portrait photo for today. I took it early this morning in the bathroom. When I wake up I'm always surprised by the bags under my eyes - how old my eyes can look. Wearing glasses hides a lot during the day.

Good medicine. I suppose getting out and moving around is good medicine. I still enjoy wearing my GPS watch and seeing how many steps I take in a day. Sometimes I put it into "running activity" mode and it will make a map of where I went and tell me things like how many calories I burned, average speed, distance. I took David Z shopping this afternoon and turned it on after I got into Walmart and tracked my travels around the store. I went 1.44 miles and was there for 1 hour and 8 minutes, burned 198 calories. I share a cart with him and let him push it while I walk here and there to get my groceries. Add in trying to find him again to put my stuff in the cart and I can rack up a lot of steps.


Dave and I took Andy for a walk down to the creek tonight and I put the watch in running activity mode again. I went .8 of a mile for that walk. Here is a photo of the rocks that were under those snow covered bumps I took the photo of yesterday:

Things are melting fast right now - temps over 60 F today.

The moon tonight.
summersgate: (self portrait a day)
Watching Rossy wait for the bus.

I felt moody yesterday - did nothing constructive. I should have been in the basement but I didn't go there. I did take a walk to the creek and to the lake with Dave and Andy. This was our 3rd walk down there since the big snow and the trail gets easier each time. I was supposed to take Gabe to Meadville for a school tour but it was cancelled. But Dave and I did go to Gabe's Swim Team Banquet last night.

Since I am already here writing maybe I could write on yesterday's prompt: play a game.

I'm not much for game playing. I'm not very competitive - or maybe I am too competitive so I manage it by being consciously non-competitive. I prefer to play games with others for fun and for the chance to be silly and say silly things. I prefer to play games of chance rather than games of skill so that when someone loses they can't feel bad. My favorite game of solitaire that I play in the evening is called Tapestry. I found it in a book of little known solitaire games and it is so easy. I probably win 1/4 of the time. But to me it is more about just playing the game, finding a place to put the latest card and checking over the tableau. I enjoy losing as much as winning - losing tells me that I can and will lose sometimes so all the winning I do is deserved. I never got the hang of video games so I know nothing about how to play them. Rossy has tried to teach me but the controller just feels too foreign. I'd rather read a book. Or play the game of writing an LJ entry. This is a game too - trying to organize words to make sense and have the right grammar and spelling (I don't always succeed).

Today's prompt is: apple tree.

Instantly I think of an apple tree that is on the back hill of the property. My mother pointed it out to me as a little child - my first apple tree. A yellow transparent - it was the first of their apple trees to give fruit in the summer. The apples were so delicious. And the tree was easy to climb. The tree is still there but no longer produces fruit - it's slowly dying. Here are 2 infrared photos I took of it back in 2010.

Our pet cemetery is just to the right of the tree.

The spruce trees have overgrown it and it is fading away. It just looks like a scraggly nondescript tree now, but I taste delicious apples when I see it.


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