It’s Raining, Inside and Out

These past two weeks since I returned from visiting the Author have been difficult for me. I’m attributing a good deal of that difficulty to my choice to stop taking my Serotonin booster medications – an effort to take as few pills as possible. Mistake, I have learned. Bad choice. So now, if you read on, you will share those difficulties with me, a little bit (hopefully only a little bit) of wallowing happening here. A little bit of fungi too – like that which has been on my attitude.

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I have been attempting to help The Artistic One prepare for her move to Santa Fe, New Mexico, since I returned – all the while fighting my selfish desire to keep her here, along with some selfish resentment for her choice to leave. Yet I know it is best for her – she will be happier there and the internet offers many opportunities for frequent communication. I also know I have other dear friends here. But I want it all. She drove off with her little dog this morning, the first leg of her multiple day trip, which will be broken up by stops to visit with friends along the way. It is the beginning of a new adventure for her, and will provide another place to visit for me. Our neighborhood has threatened to descend upon her there – all of us at one time. That’ll teach her!

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The fact that the black and white season is looming is also distressing in some ways. I want forever fall, I guess – or spring – or both. I want to be able to walkabout when I feel like it without slogging through snow or cold. I don’t want icy roads to inhibit my movement, my ability to just go somewhere if I choose to. Yet, there is a part of me that welcomes the enforced staying in where it’s warm and cozy, to do those things that I like to do that outside work interferes with. Life is full of conflicting emotions, isn’t it?

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There is that nagging inability to respond to the “how are you doing?” question with the enthusiastic “great!” that was so common to me a month ago. That, undoubtedly, is the lack of serotonin influence.

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All of this will pass, as things always do. I will see my doctor next week, I will get back on track, I will learn (someday) to recognize that as we get older things change. I will learn to recognize that what really matters is the quality of life, that life is short and some ideals are simply not practical anymore.

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I will rid myself of the fungi eating at my attitude, and I will once again know that truly I have enough.

Just maybe not today. But there is always tomorrow.

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Then and Now

I told you, a few posts ago, that I was waiting to share part of my trip because I wanted photos to compare, you remember that, right? Well, after finally sitting down and looking for those old photos, I found only one. Sadness. I was obviously not as diligent about taking pictures then as I now wish I had been. So one will have to do, I think.

That one is the house we lived in when my children were born, that big old house in Bloomington, NY.
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To the left of the picture is our Great Dane, Otto, standing tall and proud. The house sits on three acres of land, mostly clear when we lived there, with only a few trees and no outbuildings of any kind. The house was old, having been built back in the day when water was collected in a cistern, which was built in the basement of the house. Having a big, open stone cistern in the basement turned out to be a bad idea in the long run – all that humidity contributing to dry rot. I remember many hard hours for the father of my children as he replaced, one by one, the sills and joists that held the house up.

The house now looks a lot the same, color changed from white with black shutters to a dark red with white shutters, the front porch enclosed
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but the land around it has changed much. It is more heavily wooded and there are a few outbuildings. Stone retaining walls have been built to contain the slope and the small stream that ran through one side of the front yard (not pictured) has been channeled into a pond. The house is now owned by an architect who spends his weekends there, we were told by a gentleman who does some work on the property and who came out to see what the two old ladies who were standing out front, pointing and taking pictures, wanted. I was happy to see that the house is obviously loved.

From there we drove up the hill into Bloomington proper, to visit the old Reformed Church where The Author and I met – her husband was the pastor of that church in those days.
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The church has not changed much, but the parsonage across the street has had an addition put on and has part of the yard fenced in.

We also visited Kingston that day – the town down the road where we often shopped. I seem to often live in a small town where shopping is in a bigger town down the road. We toured the streets, looking for something familiar.
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We found little that we recognized. We didn’t remember the town having as many hills as it has. I didn’t remember the little park at the end of the street
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or that the Hudson River passed through it.
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The Author said that part of town used to be very seedy – perhaps that’s why I don’t recall ever visiting there. We drive around some residential areas that looked familiar to me
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but I could not remember the name of the street where the father of my children and I first stayed with his family when we moved from North Dakota.

Trips down memory lane – very little stays the same, but what memories those trips awaken!

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A Walk Beside the River

Early in this month of October, Robin of Breezes at Dawn proposed that we take a walk and share with the Blogosphere via her blog. My recent trip back to the Mid-Hudson Valley of New York involved a number of walks, but I decided to share this walk along the Hudson river for Robin’s Walktober.

It was a cloudy, cool day, but our bodies and our minds wanted some outside air and a little exercise, so we took off to a couple of parks on the Hudson River. There were sailboats moored offshore, waiting for a sunny day to take their owners out for a sail.
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There were shorebirds swimming, one of which appears to have gotten a leg-up – either he is very tall or he’s found a rock on which to perch.
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A barge plied the river waters, heading out to sea perhaps.
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We passed trees, one with interesting bark
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some with brilliant fall colors – wearing their technicolor coats, I believe
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Then a boardwalk to follow to a path that led us a different direction,
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past a tiny cove filled with green -duckweed, perhaps?
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And another tree that seems to have had a little bit of a problem with stability.
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We walked along further, but soon the chill in the air convinced us it was time to return to the car and the warmth of home. This walk on this day was enough.

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Bits and Pieces

Tomorrow the trek home begins – one day spent on 4 planes on a roundabout trip home, from Newburgh, NY to Charlotte, NC to Phoenix, AZ to Portland, OR – don’t ask me, the airlines decided this! Then the next day on Amtrak for an arrival home at dark time. Rain is in the forecast, and I’m hoping it will be gentle and not rain on me during those periods of time when I must be outside. But now, a few highlights from the past several days.

The first, a day spent with family that I have not seen for many, many years. They are family from a previous marriage and I fear I allowed the ending of that marriage to end contact with this part of the family. So here they are – my niece’s daughter (my great niece,would that be?), her mother (my niece), me and my former sister-in-law who, by the way, has changed not at all except her hair is not quite as dark as it was.

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It was a really nice day and I am so happy I had the opportunity to spend some time with them. It is now up to them to come visit me.

From a day The Author and I went to visit her son and his family, a quick stop we made at Boscobel, a historic mansion, for a couple of quick photos in the rain – the fountain in the pond on the grounds and the mansion, framed by a walkway of big old trees.

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A horse standing in the meadow of the Stonecrop Gardens where we visited one morning
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and a flower from that garden with one of the many bees that were very busy gathering the last of the nectar available before winter sets in.

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After the gardens and a stop for lunch we ventured towards a winery, passing this red barn just beyond the stone fence – one of many in this neck of the woods.

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While at the winery, we made the supreme sacrifice of participating in the tasting, followed by the supreme sacrifice of buying some wine to take home with us.

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There was artwork on the side of the library in Beacon

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the colors of fall

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and a wonderful sunset.

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There will be more of this adventure to follow, gradually, as the urge strikes me once I am home.

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Visiting Some Old Stomping Grounds

Last Friday I believe it was, we visited the little towns and the area that had once been our stomping grounds, those many years ago. There are parts of that trip that I am saving because those parts have more tales to tell and I want to see what old pictures I can find at home to use for contrast – the old and the new. Or more recent. But this part of the tale I can share.

We drove across the river on the Mid-Hudson Bridge, aka Franklin Delano Roosevelt Bridge (I believe)

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Then pulled into a small area to enter a small park with a view of the bridge we had just crossed

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the town across the river

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and a sign that told about the walkway, formerly a railroad bridge that had been converted to a bridge on which one could walk across the Hudson River if one so desired. I desired, sort of, but we had places to be and things to see.

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Zooming in, we see the walkway

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which has an elevator to carry you up to the top.

Heading on up the road

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we come to a covered bridge – the second oldest in the state of New York I am told

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and since I am a sucker for covered bridges and lighthouses, we stop so that I can take a picture. Or two.

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On the road once again, we are growing closer to our destination

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and suddenly, we are entering the town of Rosendale, where once upon a time long long ago I lived for a short period of time. The parts of the story that I am not yet sharing took place after we moved from Rosendale to Bloomington; today we see Rosendale

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which has changed a good deal but yet is much the same.

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The change has come, The Author says, because of the nearby Metro train line that rapidly and efficiently transports those who wish, or must, go to New York City. We suspect the area has become a respite for city-dwellers, a place to go on weekends to enjoy blue skies, fresh air, and more open spaces.

We are hungry now, so we stop for lunch at a small cafe that was not there in those days that we were there, which has a patio facing the street – but across the street is a forested area, and the street is not so busy as to be a deterrent

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We sit at one of these little red tables, but the wooden picnic table that shares space on the patio has decorative additions that catch my camera’s eye.

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We meet Leo who is out with his man, who is out for lunch. Leo’s man says Leo is a Silver Lab; I have never before met a Silver Lab and had taken Leo to be a Weimaraner. It is my suspicion that Leo’s history includes a Weimaraner.

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Lunch is done (it was very good – I did not take a picture) and we wander off to meander along some of the little roads to see what we can see that we might recognize

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until, late in the day, we arrive back home, satisfied with our day but tired.

In this day, as in many, there was enough.

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Shall we Walk a Bit?

My first day here, we explored the nearby area a bit, but I did not take a lot of pictures as we drove about. Later in the day, however, we walked down to get the mail and my camera went with me, because that’s what cameras are for. My dear friend (who shall be hereinafter known as The Author) has a cat, Van Gogh (named so for obvious reasons), who said hello as we left the house, but opted not to join us on our walk.

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Outside her front porch, just at the base of the steps, are pots of color – Coleus, Mums, Caladium, Sweet Potato Vine – bright spots.

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It’s a pleasant afternoon, mostly cloudy but not raining. It is New York State, it feels like New York State. A little bit of humidity, but with the moderate temperatures not suffocatingly humid. I love the greenery, the masses of foliage, but I do not love the humidity that encourages that greenery.

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I am happy to be here, to have time with The Author, to revisit old times and make new memories. Last time we spent time together, our husbands were with us and I think they rather dominated. The two of them together meant trouble for anyone around – the devil seemed to sit on their shoulders. It is comfortable, this friendship, with no expectations or demands. We communicate frequently via email when not together and so it was not difficult to pick up the pieces.

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She has, I think, boundless energy. Boundless interests. She motivates me to get moving – usually. Not this morning. This morning is rainy and I am being lazy, sitting still in my nightgown and robe although it is nearly lunch time.

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Mother Nature’s paintbrush has only lightly touched the trees, shrubs and vines here. It is early in the season yet, but what color there is is stunning, eye-catching, put there specifically for me to capture with my camera, I am sure.

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Let me show you more of what we saw as we walked.
The seed husks of the Hibiscus

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Maple leaves showing their fall finery

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a vine flaunting its fiery fall garb

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The sumac just barely kissed with color.

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Back at the house, I love the grasses she has growing in front of the porch, types of grasses that refuse to grow for me in our less cooperative climate.

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And so went our first day. Yesterday we took a drive down memory lane, but I am as yet undecided as to whether I will share much of that or wait until I get home where I might find old pictures from when those lanes were only growing memories to compare.
These days are filled with enough; perhaps even more than enough. I wish for you those kinds of days.

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Trains and Clouds and Planes That Leave Late

Tuesday was a day that started earlier than I like, in part because Monday ended a little later than it should have. All my fault, it’s that darn second wind that hits me just before the time I should go to bed. But Tuesday the alarm rang at 5:30 a.m., as I had asked it to. Then Amtrak texted me – train is late. Alarm rang again at 6:00 a.m., as I had asked it to. Train is late, but may be gaining time. My kind neighbor drove me to town so I was at the station before the train – because it’s best if it’s done that way when you want to actually get on the train and go somewhere. It came in and we left – about an hour late. Work on the tracks, they said.

We headed north, past the lake, making our first stop, heading north, north, north, up into the mountains.

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A view from the train. I read, I snoozed, I people-watched, I made cooing noises over a baby only a few weeks old, I snoozed. I ate a not-very-good-but-way-too-expensive sandwich for lunch. I snoozed. And, at last, we arrived in Portland to sunshine and blue skies although it had obviously rained earlier.

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I made my way to my motel, my home for the night, finding the appropriate MAX train connections in the appropriate places going only in semi-circles to get there as opposed to full circles, which I often do. I settled in, I put my feet up and sat with a glass of ice water for a bit – because I had only been sitting all day, you know. Then I wandered a couple of blocks to a restaurant where I had halibut with rice and summer squash and a green salad, which I ate as I read my ebook. It seemed a good evening to just go for it, so I completed my meal with blackberry cobbler and ice cream. Then back to the room to watch a bit of TV and get to sleep fairly early since the next morning was going to start early again.

The plane departed a bit later than scheduled and was routed south over Nashville instead of straight across over Chicago because of the recent problem in Chicago. which required a last-minute topping off of the gas tank (I wonder about that – it seems they should have figured that out sooner) and added an additional half hour to the flight time. Uh oh. I only had about 50 minutes time between our scheduled arrival in Philadelphia and departure time for the last leg of the trip. Clouds on my horizon.

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And the clouds built. Yes, we landed late. Ten minutes before my connection was to leave, but luck was on my shoulder. There were two of us on the plane that had the same connection, and the connection plane was a very small plane which only had to fly to my destination and back to Philadelphia, so they held it. They waited for us! We sprinted to the shuttle bus that would carry us to our departing terminal, we sprinted to our gate, they changed our gate so we sprinted back to the new gate. We boarded our plane, which lifted off about 35 minutes late, just in time for the sunset.

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I arrived at my destination and my friend and her daughter were waiting for me. We gathered my luggage and headed home where we visited for awhile, had a glass of wine and ultimately headed to bed where I slept soundly.

Today was largely a day of rest, but we did a little touring. More about that and tomorrow another time as already this has gone on long enough.

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