Thursday, August 23, 2007

In The Shadow Of Your Smile

Brother and sister rest in sunlight and shadows. (Rhett & Scarlett)
(Click pictures for larger view)
"The present is the ever moving shadow that divides yesterday from tomorrow. In that lies hope." ~ Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959)
This post was supposed to be for the Saturday Photo Hunt back near the first of July, but things got really busy and haven't let up much. So, being tired of my boxes and my parent's boxes and Nyssa's boxes and moving things to the old house for garage sale and to the new house for unpacking and from and then back to William and Mary and to the garage for... well, everything, I decided to go ahead and post it. Never let a good picture go to waste, nor good quotes either.

I think the cats are going to like it here. There is always a sunbeam somewhere in the house, unless it is lightning. They will not like the thunderstorms here; unlike the cocoon of the small rooms and the den with no windows, they will not be able to hide from the flashing streaks and the thunder. Did someone ever say that golf courses seem to attract the lightning? There has probably been a study somewhere on the subject.

Norfolk Botanical Garden
"I look out the window sometimes to seek the color of the shadows and the different greens in the trees, but when I get ready to paint I just close my eyes and imagine a scene." ~ Grandma Moses
I had never thought about the color of a shadow before, but it's true. The shadows cast by the midday sun are inviting shades of blue and green and brown, all the earth tones. By contrast, the shadows born of the street lamp at night or a dim light in an old dark house are gray and black and quite creepy.

"Mine! Mine!" says the seagull.
"I have a little shadow
That goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him
is more than I can see."
~ Robert Louis Stevenson
In the bright sun, this (obnoxious) seagull has a distinct shadow. Sometimes I wonder if they ever think it is another bird following too close. Max barks at his shadow and chases it back and forth at times. Perhaps the gull can perceive its shadow, or not..... just a thought to keep "boxes" out of the head.

Shadows on the water....Williamsburg, College Park.
"Most people think that shadows follow, precede or surround beings or objects. The truth is that they also surround words, ideas, desires, deeds, impulses and memories." ~ Elie Wiesel, (Nobel Prize for Peace in 1986. b.1928)
What memories were being made by these shadows? A quiet day, warm but not hot... time spent gazing into the water, watching the leaves float by on the marshland, the sound of geese overhead... a rest before the whirlwind of excitement that always surrounds a college girl.

By the way, I could update on Nyssa. She spent her summer as a resident assistant at William and Mary, while she traveled almost every day to the eastern shore to work on her senior research at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. The professor and grad students were impressed enough to let an undergraduate in their lab... labs are hallowed ground for researchers. Her work is in using sediment analysis to predict hurricane history in an effort to study the strength and cycles of storms. Of course the samples are from Antigua and the group had to make a trip down to procure more material. They found grant money for her to go with them, so she spent a glorious week hauling a boat over marshland, getting stung by bits of sea nettles (from jellyfish) and having the time of her life. They cataloged, processed and packaged the samples for shipment back to the states and she will continue her work this fall.

She also helped immensely with the clearing of the storage unit.... I could not have gotten that job done without her! Yeah! Nyssa!

"When walking through a warm and lush forest setting one's thoughts can easily take flights of fancy. It is not difficult to shed the layers of modern life and find one's more subtle or primitive beginnings. Somewhere from deep within the spirit and majesty of each single tree steps forth and at once one can find themselves transported to a world of shadow and shade." ~ Morgan La Fey
Oh! And here she is, resting in the shadows of a huge tree in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden last summer. She looks a lot cooler than she actually was.

So there are my "shadows", better really, really late than never I guess. And now...... back to the boxes. (Groan!)

(end of post)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sometimes Life Imitates Art.... Or At Least A Cartoon

It has been a while since I updated on Mom's knee. For a while it was very uncertain; she had that additional trip back to the hospital for over a week with cellulitis and a hematoma around the incision site. Then back to the extended nursing facility for only a few days. Since then she has had home therapy with the physical therapist two to three times a week and things have made progress. Her surgeon did a special scan to look for infection inside the bone as she was having a lot of pain just below the knee, but that is clear and so her exercises continue. Soon, she will start the outpatient part of her therapy and those two guys really work her hard.

She has ventured out and now with her cane she has come to the house twice and has even gone to Linens 'n Things to shop for her bedspread and to a blind shop to look for her window treatments. But this picture is from an outing to the Norfolk Botanical Garden. It was cooler and a breeze was blowing so I took them to the rose garden. She was still on her walker then but put on her shades and one of Nyssa's childhood Sunday hats and this is the result........

Pretty spunky, hey!?
(end of post)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

No, I Am Not Dead.........Yet!

Remember this photo?
"Nothing got without pains but an ill name and long nails." ~ Scottish Proverb
No chance of having long nails here!! You remember this picture of the 10 x 23 foot storage unit that contained a majority of my life for three years? It had boxes stacked to the ceiling in the back half... chairs, books, dishes, books, clothes, books, Christmas decorations, books, twin bed, books, stuffed animals, Beanie Babies (bet you thought I was going to say "books"), rocking horse, books, computers, books, grill, books, trunks, books, keyboard and more books; this really was my life in a box, or boxes.

I did well cleaning it out for a while, until I got to the "wall" of boxes. Then Nyssa showed up at the depth of my despair and suddenly the infusion of young energy started the ball rolling. We moved it, box by box... van load by van load... and finally only huge things that we could not lift were left... bed springs, treadmill, filing cabinet and a couple of boxes for garage sale. So Wednesday, the hottest day of the year here at 103 with a heat index of 111... we had two men my dad knows to help with the last of it.

Oh, yes... during the process we only had one... "Joshua" experience... you know.. "Joshua fit the battle of Jericho and the walls came a tumbling down". Who knew that small box was holding up the whole layer? Fortunately, they were light and didn't hurt a bit....

Now, the storage unit looks like this......
And this.....


PS: This post was to prove that I am still alive and that I haven't been slouching! The knees are still with us... as long as I keep moving I do better... that sitting still and sleeping makes the muscles tighten up and then.... it is HARD to move.

PPSS: Books are the Achilles heel of this family... all of us! We don't really need a house... we really need to live in a library!

(end of post)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Life Is Like A Box.... But Who Took The Chocolate And Left All This Junk?

Dining Room....a staging area for knick knacks.
My poor hutch and table are swallowed up in here and the table has the leaf in it!
"Violent exercise is like a cold shower; you think it does you good because you feel better when you stop." ~ Robert Quillen
I may have given the wrong impression with my post showing the formal living room in the new house with furniture and tables and even a flower arrangement in place. The rest of the house is basically in shambles. Well, not exactly "shambles".... (don't panic Stephen), but rather more of an out of control chaos..... and it is my fault, partly. When we closed on June 29th I had this wonderful, blissful plan. It started out ok with the dusting of the floors and the laying of the rugs. Then it went a bit awry!

First, the moving company held my furniture hostage longer than I expected. No problem, we will just start on vacating the 10 X 23 foot storage unit (see bottom picture). So I started with the Christmas items and boxes near the front and those wardrobe boxes; I could hang clothes in the closet without having furniture. This went well for a while, but then I started hitting the boxes with books.... lots and lots of books.... and these boxes started piling up in the new garage and suddenly it was full. So I stopped and started going through the boxes... these same boxes that only three years ago I had so carefully packed and labeled and weeded through before packing. I had had two garage sales and donated six boxes of perfectly good kids clothes to the local children's home and woman's shelter and six van loads to the charity thrift shop before moving, so you would think things would be in order... right? Oh! No! So garage sale boxes started and Ebay boxes started and boxes for Nyssa to sort through and trash....

Speaking of trash.... did you know that I just got the trash can from the city this week... the one I called for two weeks ago? So yes, I had to haul trash back to the old house, back to the storage unit trash bins and even one up to William and Mary, but not on purpose.

Anyway, I made a little progress and then hit the wall. No, really, I hit the wall in the storage unit... the wall of boxes, half way back that was stacked almost ten feet high; packed solid to the ceiling with these lovely boxes marked "Nyssa's books" on top that were heavy and the boxes clearly marked "CHINA - FRAGILE", stacked beneath them.. six rows beneath them. Even with a six foot ladder I am not going to get up there and... well, the knee I fell on is not so great and the other one is a bit crunchy. As I contemplated "two men and a truck" while my almost 80 year old father still insisted he could help.... Nyssa arrived to the rescue! She came and with her youthful enthusiasm, she dove right in on that wall and we started to see cracks. Of course we still had to go through the boxes and there still was no furniture and the garage was full to the brim.

The den... how most of the house really looks,
only worse... it is a staging area...well, for everything!

The three days before the furniture arrived, I worked hard to at least have space in the garage for the overflow of additional boxes as they came in. So, boxes had to go to the loft or the bedrooms where furniture was not going or... or.... just somewhere out of the garage. The den became a staging area and as I found kitchen boxes I unpacked them and .... you guessed it, began boxes for Nyssa to take to grad school. Merging two households and two that have such a propensity to collect kitchen gadgets is unbelievable. The grad school kitchen boxes mounted and it became obvious that the dream of not having a separate storage unit was for naught. The attic is not yet floored to our satisfaction and the walk in attic is too small for everything, not to mention the sixteen steps to the second floor and the pull down ladder up to the attic.... with my knees? Right! So a much smaller unit was procured, just a few blocks from the new house and.... just in time... there was space in the garage.
The old storage unit.....remember this picture!!!!!!

(To be continued.....the end for now)

Friday, August 03, 2007

Old Ladies

"What's that noise?"
"Passion for place - there is no greater urge in feline nature." ~ Paul Annixter
Two old ladies, cranky and set in their ways. Sometimes they seem interested in something new, turn their heads at a voice or sniff the air when a smell of roasting chicken reaches their noses. But most of the time, they prefer to sleep in "the lap of luxury".... translated as the softest bed with the softest cover and the quietest room. Most of the time this place also offers the advantage of a thermal foam mattress or, as here... an unlimited number of sunbeams.

"Obviously, nothing worth leaving our sunbeams over." Posted by Picasa
Don't they look angelic? Well, maybe not. While Chloe and Clover may be boarding Friday's Ark at the Modulator, they don't look as if they care one way or the other..... it must be that passion for place... or else old age. (Clover heard that... if looks could kill, I would be six feet under.)

PS: The old girls just celebrated their 14th birthday... they were born in July, 1993 when Nyssa was seven. (end of post)