summersgate: (eggshells)
Candy and I saw this interesting thing while on our walk today where a tree is trying to envelope an iron wheel.


We navigated another way to to get to the overlook, going part of the way using old woods roads instead of the marked trails. That was a triumph. Here's a couple pictures taken at the overlook - of things you have seen before but now it is a new season... )

It was good to get out today.

In the alternate reality - the one that I had been planning since December of last year (but it got accidentally erased) - I would be arriving in Florida right about this moment, walking up to my sister, brother-in-law and niece and giving them a big hug. The best-laid plans of mice and men.
summersgate: (eggshells)
It's not okay, but it's going to be okay.

The news is that I will need surgery to have it removed. I want that to happen as soon as possible. From what the doctor who did the biopsy said it is less than a centimeter in diameter - maybe it will be easy to remove. No vacation to Florida next month - I'm going to be seeing the surgeon and oncologist instead. I feel like I am in shock. But I do find comfort in my mantra. Facing something, doing something about it - feels better than wondering and waiting. I like having a game plan.
summersgate: (eggshells)
Baby chicks at the feed store today.

Dave and I visited the feed store just now - him to check on a trailer tire - me to ask about baby chicks. I found out that baby chicks will not be available (individually) after Easter. Though you can special order 25 at a time. I don't want 25. Just before Easter is when I get back from Florida. I wouldn't want to get them now and stick Dave with the job of caring for them when I'm gone. I guess we will have to wait and see what is still available when I get back. Maybe it will all work out if it's meant to be...

Edit: I see now where I can get as few at 10 by mail. That could be an option that might work okay too.
summersgate: (self portrait a day)
rocks and mountains
waves cold and crisp
pines and sea grass
bedrock that goes deep and
that has been scrubbed well
fresh air and blue skies
gray Atlantic waters
a place that is alive

The dream vacation. I can see me on those rocks skipping over that water. Actually not. I don't think I would feel safe doing that - but I would be walking on the shore enjoying the views immensely. The kids would be on those rocks.

In 1986 when Dave and I were getting married we had a plan to travel to Maine for our honeymoon. The wedding was scheduled for June 21. But on June 2nd my mom had a serious stroke and it seemed like a bad idea to be away for very long and we canceled the honeymoon. So Maine now has come to be a big deal in my mind. I didn't go there then so I want more than anything to go there now. Hopefully this year will be the summer for the trip and we will take the grandkids with us. I've been researching places to hike and visit.

home again

Oct. 5th, 2015 09:29 am
summersgate: (eggshells)

We got home late last night. On the way, just before the sun went down we saw the best rainbow I have ever seen. The brightest, strongest and most long lasting - seemed like it lasted more than a half hour, at least in some form. We stopped so I could take these pictures - many people were stopped (we were on an interstate highway) - that's how good it was. I think god was making up for all the rain we have been having. This morning here in PA it started out foggy but the sun is shining beautifully right now.

when rainbows touch the ground

I was a little leery about what we might find with the cats being pretty much on their own here for a week - though I knew they were being fed and checked on by Gabe. Last time we went away we found dead mice in hidden spots when we got back. No mice found this time, so far anyway. But I did find a big hairball on my bed in my studio just now.

What did I bring back from this experience to think about for the future? A renewed desire to hike bigger and better places. The one and only souvenir I bought for myself was a handmade cedar hiking stick from the Cherokee Arts and Crafts Market and it symbolizes where my mind is right now. I still don't think I am ready for anything longer than a one day hike (I don't have the strength to carry sleeping bags and a tent) - so I am going to start looking for more day hikes we can do. This is "my future perfect world" dreaming but I can imagine driving up to Maine with a little camper and hiking select sections of the Appalachian Trail and working our way down it. This winter I plan to carry a weighted pack when Candy and I do our weekly hikes and maybe I can build up my strength to carry a tent and sleeping bag someday - then bigger, longer hikes!

Just before I left I ordered a cd set of Alan Watts speaking on "Do you do it, or does it do you?" and it was here waiting for me when I got home. Can't wait to get back to work on some new jewelry with that playing in the background. I saw some neat designs carved on shells in the Cherokee museum that I'd like to recreate in my own style.
summersgate: (eggshells)
A roof in a barn building.

With a day spent indoors today I am finding myself playing around with the photos I took yesterday. Here are some photos from a trip to Cades Cove. It rained all day yesterday so we didn't get out of the car much. Kathy got some good photos of wildlife from inside the car - we saw a coyote, a doe and her fawn, many elk, a bear and turkeys and the usual squirrels and crows. We visited some old-timey buildings too and I got photos of that. 12 more HERE )
summersgate: (eggshells)
We are staying in a really nice cabin up on the side of a mountain, surrounded by woods. There are neighbors but because of the steepness of the terrain and the thick woods you can't see them. Kathy and I were just mentioning to each other how much the owner of the cabin must have enjoyed decorating it. Lots of birds. Anyway, I thought it might be nice to remember some of my favorite things I see here. Okay, I hope this is the last LJ I post today... 7 photos HERE )
summersgate: (eggshells)
Another very rainy day here in Maggie Valley. We have decided to hang around the cabin for a while. Maybe later we will figure out an activity that will be under cover. There is still the Cherokee Museum and the Wheels of Time Museum that we can visit. For now though Kathy is in her favorite spot on the porch watching the birds come to the feeders with her telephoto lens at the ready. Lots of tufted titmice, chickadees and nuthatches. And the rare hummingbird. She has discovered the slow motion camera app on her iPad and we have watched some neat videos of birds flying in slow motion.

summersgate: (eggshells)
My favorite photo of the day - just after we got onto the AT.

On Wednesday we had a wonderful day - the best I can imagine. I actually got to walk a short distance on the Appalachian Trail. If you have been reading my LJ for a few years you will know that during the last years of taking care of my mom I became obsessed with the AT and wanting to walk it - or walk any national park trail - but the AT seemed like the epitome of hiking trails to me at the time. I think that was the main thought keeping me going - the idea that even though I was shut in a lot of the time then, someday I might be able to hike and be outdoors and the AT seemed like the perfect place to lose the malaise and depression that was gathering around me. Anyway, dream come true. On Wednesday we headed to Clingman's Dome - the highest peak in Tennessee and the second highest in North Carolina - and it is also a place where the AT passes through. They have set up a wonderful parking area with restrooms and spectacular views and there is a .5 mile steep paved path that you can walk up to the very top of the dome. At the very top they have constructed a spiral ramp that you can walk up and see even more. The day we visited the fog was getting thicker the higher we got and as we got to the spiral ramp the visibility became only about 300 feet. But I didn't care - the fog seemed as good as a view to me. Many photos of the paved path up, the spiral tower, the .25 mile walk on the AT and another .5 mile hike we took from the AT back to the parking lot. Lots of photos - HERE )


Sep. 29th, 2015 11:37 pm
summersgate: (eggshells)
Breakfast at Joey's Pancake House.
Shopping in Waynesville for groceries.
Sitting on the porch, watching birds come to the feeders. It's like being in a treehouse, the hill is so steep in front of the cabin. Drizzling rain.
We drink an alcoholic drink called Not Your Father's Root Beer. I think I would like to take a nap but I don't.

Driving around, looking at where their neighbor John grew up - and his family's cemetery. Raining. The mist rising from the tops of the mountains is so beautiful.
Dinner in a nice restaurant. Feels like a Cracker Barrel. I get a blackened white fish wrap with carrot and celery sticks on the side. My attempts to not overeat are working.
We all watch Sordid Lives on the TV upstairs. I'm glad Pete liked it too. Thought it was funny.
summersgate: (eggshells)

Wet balcony just now.

We are at the cabin in North Carolina. So rainy. You can hear it on the skylight and the roof. Dave's and my bedroom and sitting room are upstairs. Kathy and Pete's are downstairs. Woke up very early this morning (5:30) because there was a voice mail alert on my cell phone. Because we are out in the woods here there is no cell phone service (so I don't understand why I could get that voice mail alert - puzzling). I couldn't call voice mail back to find out what the message was. I imagined it might be Gabe back home having a problem so I called there with the landline phone. There is no water in the house, the pump is not working. We will have to talk to Jules later and walk him through possible solutions. It's hard for me to let go of thinking the grandboys might be having problems and I can't help. Though that is what I need to do. Gabe was very capable and went next door and got water so he could feed the cats and take care of Yoshi. He's doing good with being the responsible one there.

Even though it is raining here today there are still things we all can get out and do. Indoor places to visit. The Biltmore Estate perhaps, and there is a car museum nearby too. And it will just be good to be able to visit with Kathy and Pete. Dave and I didn't get here till nearly 9pm last night and Kathy and I sat up late talking. I'm going to be tired later today but there can always be nap time - after all we are on vacation...


home again

Apr. 2nd, 2015 08:50 pm
summersgate: (eggshells)
Home again.

I was so sad to leave Kathy this time. I can feel us getting older and time starting to run out. The flight went well. I didn't have to cough but a few times on the plane. I think my worst day with the cold was Tuesday and now here on Thursday I am feeling pretty good, though I did take a long nap this afternoon. Back to the usual stuff I do around here - being in my workroom, communicating on etsy with people and filling orders, driving Gabe around, and getting the clothes washed. I updated my journal books - taped art and writing into them that I did while at Kathy's. Oo-tapo is still hanging in there - looks worse - that is a sad thing to see. Skye is fatter than ever. Dave and Gabe fed Oo-tapo more than I ever did, trying to get him to eat and Skye got all the leftovers. We woke up to frost on the ground this morning but it warmed up quickly to about 60. Then it started to rain and rained most all day. We drove to town today and I was struck by how GRAY it is here. The grass is gray, the dead weeds that started out brown at the beginning of winter are gray now too. I guess nature likes to pile on the gray here so we will be even more excited by the colors of spring when they arrive. We will be ecstatic.


Apr. 1st, 2015 09:12 am
summersgate: (eggshells)
I've been so busy journaling about all the good things during this visit I haven't mentioned the fact that I have come down with a terrible cold. Last night it got even worse and felt like everything in my head ached, even my teeth. This morning it seems to have moved down into my chest. So tired. We will be leaving for the airport around 3 today and I really can't think of anything I want to do till then except rest. I feel bad that I will be on the plane spreading germs but my plan is to use hand cleaner and keep a napkin for coughing so hopefully my germs will be contained.


This is Ernie The Egret. A very tame bird that hangs around Kathy and Pete's house. He was here this morning as Kathy and I sat outside. He was only about 5' away from me.
summersgate: (eggshells)
4 of wands (my version of it) - art a day this morning

I drew the 4 of wands this morning. Some of the readings about it say it is about memory, sharing, being with loved ones. And that seems perfect for today - my last full day here. Kathy and I spent the morning in her garden writing, talking, painting. Then we went to the Hobby Lobby to get some art supplies and lunch at the Thai restaurant - back home for a nap and now here I am.

double exposure - Kathy at the Thai restaurant
summersgate: (eggshells)
orchids hanging in Kathy's garden

We started out the day in Kathy's garden looking around at her plants for a while - sitting on her bench before we took off to Anna Marie Island. We went to the beach that we were at yesterday but took lawn chairs this time and just relaxed by the water for a while. Then we took the free trolley to the far side of the island to the Anna Marie City Pier. More pictures HERE )
summersgate: (eggshells)
IMG_4926.jpgisland gallery
Island Gallery West mural sign

This morning Kathy and I went out to her gallery on Anna Marie Island and then onto Coquina Beach where there was a craft sale going on. It was nice to see a display of Kathy's new art form - her wire trees - and her photos, plus see the changes in the gallery - new carpet and display stands etc. The beach was really nice - it is amazing to be beside big water like that and I love it. We are planning to go back tomorrow and take lawn chairs so we can just relax for a long while. More photos HERE )
summersgate: (sky clouds)
blue shelves pots
blue shelves

I have been working (trying to figure out where things are and how to file things so I can find them on this iMac computer) ever since I got here. I told Kathy I was not going to give up tonight till I was able to post these double exposure photos to LJ. So here they are. They are photos taken inside a little walled room that is attached to her house that she calls The Secret Garden. The walls are painted a beautiful purple and there are accents of electric blue and bright pea green. It is full of succulents planted in unique pots and quirky sculptures scattered all around. There are many mosaics with mirrors and mosaics of birds attached to the walls. All in all it is a Garden of Enchantment. More HERE )

So - I'm satisfied now and going to quit (iMac-ing) for the night. It rained here most of the afternoon so we stayed indoors - plus I took my usual nap. Going to go sit with Kathy now and do my art-a-day and writing. Also Kathy's friend Priscilla gave us a copy of a book she has compiled of old postcards with an amusing story she wrote that goes along with it - I want to read that.
summersgate: (eggshells)
My art-a-day for today. I decided to use the Tapestry Tarot Deck as a jumping off point for self portrait pictures. This was inspired from the card called Earth.

Another warm and summery day. Spent the morning trying to figure things out with Kathy on the iMac computer. It is very different from a PC and even though I have an iPad I wasn't much help. We did make some progress though. Went out to lunch and then made the rounds to some of the eagle nests, osprey nests and birding places Kathy watches. I sat on a bench near the water of a boat basin while Kathy took photos of an osprey and some other birds - a pelican and egrets. There were many water birds to watch, and Kathy saw a manatee surface for a moment. I missed it. I guess they can stay under water for up to 20 minutes. It never came up again that I could see. But it was nice to know it was there somewhere. Home again for a nap and reading in bed. Then we went to dinner again, this time with the whole family. Back home and here I am, doing my paper journal art and writing for the day.
summersgate: (sky clouds)
in a rainbow halo

I am here safely, in what seems like my second home. The flight was good. Very crowded. I had a window seat and was glad of that cause I enjoy seeing the world in that way. But it was very overcast so once we got above the clouds that was all we could see. I read my book, The Naked Civil Servant by Quentin Crisp and ate coffee flavored hard candies. As we started our descent and got closer to the clouds I could see the shadow of our plane on the clouds and there was a rainbow halo around it. I wanted to speak up and tell someone, it was so beautiful, but didn't. I took a photo with my iPod but it wasn't very good. My seat mates were a young couple and very involved with their phones and each other. I felt very tired and isolated on the plane.

It was so good to see Kathy and Pete and get hugs. We ate outdoors at a nice waterside restaurant on the way home. Hundreds of colorful boats tied up in rows beside us - the smell of the sea. It seems very disorienting to be suddenly set down in the midst of summer. Kathy and I took a bike ride around her neighborhood last night and there were smells of flowers blooming everywhere and birds singing. The air just feels different here. Softer. Walking around her garden yesterday afternoon there were little skinks running everywhere and flowers in full bloom. Up north in our yard there are only a few crocus and the first tips of dark red tulip leaves poking out of the ground at this point. That is it for signs of new spring life. The grass is gray and matted to the ground still. Dirty snow mounds here and there. That is okay, and as it should be. I can wait, but it just seems strange to be in another world where plant life is so alive.

Well, I think I will leave my LJ iPod writing for now and get up. I hear Pete in the kitchen. I want to get a shower before we start our day.


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