Sunday, October 10, 2010

"We Are So Lucky."

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about gratitude. I have a lot to be thankful for these days, and I want to make the conscious decision to keep gratitude for these things at the forefront.

I'm not sure she knows this, but I have a friend who is my inspiration in this area. Lou lives in California, as does her daughter Elsie, who is also my friend. I've never met either of them in real life; we became acquainted via an online scrapbooking website. Lou also writes a fantastic blog, and it's here where I often read things that make me teary-eyed when I consider their importance.

Lou hasn't had any kind of an easy life. She has faced trials and tribulations that would overwhelm a lesser person with aplomb and grace. She struggles even now with events that are not completely in her control, but again...her head is high, she shows resolve and calm, and she gets done what needs to be done.

I don't think she has any idea that I draw so much inspiration from her, or that I want to be just like her when I grow up.

One of the stories Lou has told is that she and her mother often shared a refrain in which the call would be "We are so lucky," and the response would be that yes, they were. I want to model this in my life, every day: to focus on the positive aspects, of which there are many.

  • Andy and I are so lucky to share a deep friendship that predates our and almost even supercedes our romantic relationship. I've never been in a relationship where I'd been friends with the person first. It makes a huge difference. I used to think snide thoughts about people who would say that their spouse was their "best friend." Now, I understand.

  • We are so lucky to have 3 healthy and relatively happy kiddos. (I say "relatively" because we must keep in mind that one is a teenage girl, and therefore incapable of consistent happiness.)

  • We are so lucky that, although money is tight and we can't always run right out and get whatever we want when we want it, we have enough to cover all the "needs" and some of the "wants."

  • Emily and I are so lucky to have weathered the storm that almost overtook us in October of last year.

  • And last, but certainly not least, we are so lucky to live in a place where we are surrounded by natural beauty, and so lucky to have eyes with which to see it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

One of *Those* Days

Today was not a particularly fun day. The internet was out so it was a long morning of trying this, trying that, calling Comcast, trying everything again, and then waiting for the repairman to show up. The good part was that he called when he was scheduled to and showed up on time, and the issue seems to be fixed. Huzzah.

So in the interest of trying to make myself destress, I'll post these pics from July, when I was able to get the kayak out on the man-made "lake" we live on.

If you look on a map, it's actually called "K-Section Pond." To me, it's bigger than a pond generally is, but smaller than a lake. We tend to refer to it as "Lake Turner."
Spikey makes an excellent First Mate.

And here's a shot of our house and the dock and deck (scene of many an enjoyable Friday evening for Andy and I this summer) from the middle of the lake.
We're very lucky to live here. :-)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Fair is a Veritable Smorgasboard, -orgasboard, -orgasboard...

This past weekend, we took the kids to the Bloomsburg Fair. Bloomsburg has one of the largest fairs in PA, and Andy and his family have been going there all his life. This means that even though we live 3 hours from Bloomsburg, we made the trip.
The trip up was a comedy of errors right from the moment we left the house. Knowing we'd be gone for 12 hours or more, we had to figure out what to do with the dogs. Spike, the Jack Russell, is very good when left alone, but that was just too long to leave him. Mika, the 6-month-old German shepherd puppy, can't be left alone for one hour, let alone 12. So we had to bring the dogs along for the ride and leave them with Andy's aunt who lives near the fair.

After 2 episodes of vomit and one episode of poop in her crate, we arrived. Somehow, the dog lived to tell the tale.
But all that was unimportant compared to the good time the kiddos got to have.

And I didn't try these, but I think it's proof that they'll deep-fry anything.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Accidental Brothers

Those of you who've read my blog probably know that I have two kiddos: Emily is 16 and Liam is 10. Andy also has a son, Iain, who is 2 months older than Liam.

Emily and I moved in May, while Liam stayed in Erie to finish out the school year with his dad. When we all moved in together in July, I'll admit I was anxious. The boys had spent time together, and seemed to get along, but living together (and sharing a bedroom) is a whole different can of worms.

As it turns out, apparently, I had nothing to worry about.

The boys have taken to each other as if they've always been together. They refer to each other as "brother," and they're almost always up to something.

It makes me very happy. Iain (the blonde in the photos) has always been an only child, so I worried about how he would take to having two new kids in his life. Given Liam and Em's age difference, life has almost been an "only child" type of experience for him as well.

So it's very nice for me to see them enjoying the fun that having a close sibling can bring. And I'm thinking it's pretty cool for them, too.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Silence and Respect

Yesterday, I mentioned that two of my favorite subjects (bugs and cemeteries) are abundant here. The bug photos from yesterday's post were all taken in my yard. For cemeteries, I do have to leave the property, but I don't have to go far.

I'll admit that my knowledge of Civil War history is basic at best, but I'm interested in learning more. There are some incredible monuments around the battlefields themselves. I'll share some shots of those in a future post. Many of them are actually quite heart-rending. There is also Soldier's National Cemetery (sometimes referred to as Gettysburg National Cemetery), where Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address, only about 10 miles away. More on this one later...I don't really feel that the photos I took there do it justice, so I want to make a return trip one of these days. For today, I'll share shots of Evergreen Cemetery, which borders the National Cemetery and also has much historic importance.

One of the largest graves is of the founder, or as his stone says, "proprietor" of Gettysburg, James Gettys.

The Gettysburg Women's Monument is also found in Evergreen Cemetery. Women of Gettysburg worked ceaselessly taking care of the soldiers who innundated their town. Their homes were turned into field hospitals and they had very little respite from the misery that surrounded them.

Here you can also find the grave of Jennie Wade, who was the only civillian killed in the Battle of Gettysburg. She was shot by a stray bullet while in her kitchen. Her gravestone says she was "making bread for Union soldiers."

And of course, in almost any cemetery with older graves, one can find monuments that make you pause...especially, for me, the children's graves. These are a lost art it seems.

And I'm not sure if this is intentional, but check out the middle spire on this one....not sure if it was intentional, but it looks like a skull to me.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Some Things Don't Change

I still like to take pictures of bugs. And cemeteries. Luckily, there's an abundance of both here.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Long, Strange Trip

9 months. I haven't updated here in 9 months. That's a record, even for me, but my energies have been focused elsewhere. And when I consider the symbolism and meaning for humans of the term "9 months", I can tell myself that I'm giving birth to a new creation, and in fact have been reborn myself.

Nine months ago, I was coming out of a very dark place, and deciding that no, I wouldn't have a nervous breakdown after all. Given the events of last Fall, having mental health issues that would have required professional intervention beyond counseling or some happy pills was a real possibility. I skated right up to the edge of that, but was able to pull back in time with some help.

And how life has changed in the past year. If I'd had a crystal ball and had forseen my future, I still wouldn't have been able to believe all that has happened.

After living in Erie since 1998, I've moved. We're now down near Gettysburg in a tiny town called Fairfield. It's a beautiful area...lots of mountains and we live on a glorified pond that we call Lake Turner. I spend a lot of time pondering the incredible fact that I can drive through the heart of a Civil War battlefield to get to the grocery store.

I'm still not gainfully employed, which needs to change very soon, but it's been nice to have the time to be able to be home with the kids as Andy and I blend our families. He's a wonderful friend, and so obviously the person I should have been with all along.

He also cooks a mean lasagna.

I've been taking pictures again, which has been fun, and I'm interested in interacting with other people again, which is another change. Who knows what the future will bring, but it's nice to find myself enjoying the ride.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Poor Mr. Worthington

Poor, poor Mr. Worthington.

Ever the vigilant sentry, Mr. Worthington generally resides on the second step leading to my front door.

Right now, though, he's a little overwhelmed by the amount of snow we've had.

And you can tell he's not happy about it, but he never, ever complains.