Saturday, September 29, 2007

And on and on...

White Baneberry

Well, I've visited my daughter at the psychiatric hospital every evening, and it's hard to tell how she's doing. I know she's suffering, but she's not the only one who is bewildered at what is going on right now.

She's on Cymbalta, which is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor similar to Effexor. She finds it activating, which makes sense. The patients are awakened at 6:00 a.m., so I guess her nocturnal schedule got turned around real fast. She has been talking about signing herself out of the hospital. I hope she doesn't.

Meanwhile, I take pictures, and notice the pain in my midsection. I need to let go.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I think I can talk about this tonight...

. . .
Several days ago (I've really lost track of time), my daughter, who had recently sent me a very negative, shall we say, email about our relationship, suddenly gave me a call. She was very upset, and was asking all kinds of questions about my health, and had I been feeling ill or in pain, and made me promise not to drive that night. (It was late, so that was easy.)

This continued for a day or two, and I also spoke with her father, who had had similar calls from her. She was disoriented and her speech wasn't making much sense.

Then she disappeared. She didn't call me when she said she would, and the next day her father went to meet her, as they had planned, and she wasn't there. Just before the 24 hours were up that are required to file a missing persons report, her father found her at the local hospital's emergency room. She had been treated roughly by the police (jerks, I hate them), then taken by ambulance to the hospital. Monday evening, she was finally admitted to a psychiatric hospital.

I couldn't visit that night, but I went last night and tonight. The psychiatrist has suggested an antipsychotic, but she doesn't want one. She may be willing to take an antidepressant, which she definitely needs.

And so it goes, as someone once said. Despite pain and fear and loss, the asters continue to bloom. I, for one, accept it and am grateful.


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I had to put it up sometime or other. it dada or nada?

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

More memories...

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Once, when my mother was watching a Jacques Cousteau special on TV, she turned to me and said, "It's kind of a shame that people like that have to die, isn't it? I mean, he has such an interesting life". I remember being rather speechless.

The truth is, I think, that my mother didn't think that people like her were entitled to expect much of anything from life. She didn't resent it; she simply accepted it, and if something she considered fortunate came her way, she looked at it as a gift. I think that's how she felt about her last job, at the concession aboard the Orient Point ferry. I think the ocean represented freedom to her, or maybe I'm just projecting my own feelings on her.

A few more ramdom memories:

When my son Adam was about seven, he walked in on a conversation between his sister and her father and me. Bizzy had read the phrase [to give someone] 'the third degree'. She wanted to know what 'the third degree' was. Adam stopped, looked at her in surprise, and said, "The Ph.D." How could you not know that?

I remember once when Bizzy was about three, she was riding next to me in her carseat (legal in those days), very quiet, which was somewhat unusual for her. She suddenly asked me in an agitated manner, "Mommy, how can there be a biggest number, 'cuz, there's always one more?" Her concept of numbers had obviously grown, since not too long before saying that, she had been riding in the back seat, and had told her father and me, "You and Daddy must be really old". "You think so?" " must be--NINE!!"

I remember old post office boxes, skating behind the mill, wearing snow pants under my dress to school, walking down to Harriet's Open Kitchen to buy paregoric (opium!) for my mother, scratching the trees to find the black birch so I could cut off a tiny branch to chew on, and dutifully taking my 25 cents to school each week to learn to save, only to have the account emptied periodically by my parents to pay some overdue bill. To give my mother credit, she did ask, but... I'm still no good at saving money.

Finally here's the piece I entered in the Hygienic Art Gallery's breast cancer show. I put a fairly high price on it, so I can convince myself that that's why it didn't sell.

It's called--can you guess? "Stage IV". It actually looked pretty respectable there among the other pieces.

Back soon,
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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Memories...light the corners of my mind...

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Unfortunately, there's a big black hole in the middle.

If I had a memory, I'd write my memoirs, but I think this blog will have to do.

I remember getting a perm every Christmas and Easter, unless I made a big stink. My hair was always as straight as a stick, dark brown with red highlights and fairly attractive. Back then, though, in the 50s when I was a little girl, curly was de rigueur. Never mind that I always had a mass of frizz on my head for a couple months until it wore off.

I remember the smell of my mother's oily red lipstick. I remember real oilcloth, which she used to buy at Kresge's to use as our kitchen table cover. It had a slight petroleum smell at first, but a drape you can't match anywhere else. And, like plastic, it could be wiped off with a cloth.

I remember my swing in the sugar maple off a front corner of the house. The tree broke in half in Hurricane Donna in 1960, so it had to be cut down. I missed the tree at least as much as the swing.

I remember being called fatty at school. One day, when another girl with buck teeth became the butt of jokes, I thought I'd join in the fun of teasing her, to see how it felt to be on that end. It didn't feel good, and I didn't do it again.

I remember riding into New London as my father drove my mother in to work for her 7:00 a.m. shift. Often, in the warm months, that would be when the fog would drift in off Long Island Sound to cover the city. I developed a love of fog that stays with me to this day.

I remember, when I was older, visiting my mother at the Hygienic Restaurant, where she worked as a waitress. It's now the Hygienic Art Gallery, thanks to a group that wanted to save some of the old buildings in New London. This week I'll be taking a new piece down to enter in their "In the Pink" (ugh) breast cancer show. You can see in the picture below how they painted over all the letters but "art" in the word restaurant in the neon sign. I'll post a pic of my entry soon.

I'm enjoying a beautiful rainy day. Hope yours is as wonderful as mine.


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Friday, September 07, 2007

. . .
. . . .
Ode to a Slate Headstone

What was your life like,
you, bones, in the ground below
the broken gray headstone before me?

Were you kind or cruel?
Did you know yourself?
Did you run from demons
or surrender to the fear, the fight, the flame?

How much beauty
did your heart take in?
Was your life so hard
that the shapes of stars
and the turning hues of leaves
escaped you, running for their lives?

Did you love, and were you loved,
or were you eaten alive
by hate, regret, resentment
of your world?
Did you give or take,
just take, receiving nothing?

Had you power, or
were you powerless,
and which was worse?

And are you part, now, of a
universal breath,
or did you merely disappear
into the terrible, ice-borne wind
of soulless, never-ending death?
. . . . . . . . . . . .--May Terry, 2007
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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Haven't hit you with a meme for a long time, but...

...this one was interesting. I scored the same on the top two, so they made me choose which was the "most true" for me: "I am a very creative person" or "I love animals". I chose the first, which I think is the reason I came out an artist rather than a shaman (ooooo!).

"You are an Artist Empath, one who creates their own reality and infuses the realities of others with your energy & emotions. You are poetic and sensitive. You turn your feelings into creations and share them with the world. Everything you touch turns to song and is freed by the color of your eyes. Your spirit dances with the winds and paints delight in the evening sky. (from the "Book of Storms" by Jad Alexander at"













Fallen Angel




What Kind of Empath Are You?
created with

P.S. Looking at this the day after posting it, I realize how silly the written part seems, but the characterization percentages still hit me as right on.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Black and white blackback

I was fooling around with my photo of the Greater Blackback Gull, tonight, and tried it in black and white:

You can see it in color by clicking here. I think I like the black and white better.

John is buying me an early birthday present of an umpteen bazillion dollar camera, a really good lens, and a book on how to use the camera. We talk openly about how he will 'inherit' it when I die, so it's really for both of us, but really what it's all about is that he's just the sweetest man in the world. I can't wait to try it. It's the Canon Rebel XTI, which is what my brother Jim, who is a professional photographer, uses. The lens will give me image stabilization, because I shake so without it my pictures would all be blurry. I can still hardly believe it's happening.

Next time you read my blog--thanks, honey...


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Okay. I lied.

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I'm not really going to show you more of the images I took at the shore the other day. I'm going to show you some flowers. Well, one is a flower--some would say merely a weed--and one is a bunch of berries.

Queen Anne's Lace

Staghorn Sumac

I think it just goes to show you that you can find beauty anywhere, if you're willing to look--and give up your preconceptions. Both of these plants, in addition to being beautiful, have medicinal properties; some herbalists and naturopaths recommend the seed of Queen Anne's lace, also known as wild carrot, for women who do not wish to get pregnant. It's also used as a diuretic, for digestive difficulties, and for urinary tract stones or "gravel".

QAL is a relative of the cultivated carrot, and if you pull up the root and scratch it with your fingernail, you'll smell the strong carrot smell. Some say it's poisonous, but I used to nibble on the root when I was a kid, and I'm still here. A word of caution: if you find a plant that looks like QAL, but doesn't have the carrot smell, GET RID OF IT FAST. You may have either hemlock (the kind that killed Socrates), or water hemlock, which is equally poisonous.

Staghorn sumac reportedly makes a delicious lemonade-like drink, but I think I'll stick to regular sumac, though it's much harder to find here in Connecticut. The reason is that staghorn sumac's berries tend to stick to each other, and that makes an excellent place for insects to nest. If you don't mind a little bug juice in your lemonade, go for it. The plant was also used for its astringent properties, i.e., to lessen excessive bleeding or help diarrhea.

So just remember to stop and take a look at the wild plants around you as autumn approaches. And stop blaming goldenrod for your hay fever--goldenrod is insect pollinated! If you're having hay fever symptoms this September, it's most likely due to ragweed. Get one of those modern versions of neti pots at Brooks/Rite Aid; they help a lot.

And enjoy the beauty all around you!!

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Sunday, September 02, 2007

A minor adventure is better than none

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I thought I'd tell you more about John's and my little trip to New London last week to take some pictures of the lighthouse on Pequot Avenue. We pulled up and parked across the street, and we could see that there was a house right next to the lighthouse, with a 'No Trespassing' sign in the driveway. So we walked up the street a few yards, and found a couple of little stone stairs leading to an overgrown path. There was no sign there, so we figured we were all right. John stopped to take a leak, then we proceeded blithely to approach the lighthouse from more or less the western side.

The house appeared to be closed up, so we took a few pictures. There were large rocks over a small but exquisite stretch of beachfront on the harbor. I only wish I could have gotten some decent shots of that area, but we weren't in a good position to do that.

I decided to approach the lighthouse door, which appeared to be made of a dark metal, perhaps iron. When I was very close to it, musing about how I could get some decent pictures from so close, I noticed that the door opposite, to the house's porch, was open, and inside a dark, attractive woman with curly hair was sitting at a table reading a book. "Excuse me", I said, and the woman turned around. "Yes?" "Is this private property?" "Oh, yes, it is", she said, with a Jamaican accent. "Well, can we take some pictures of the lighthouse?" "Well, no, I don't think so", she replied. Simultaneously she turned back to her book and I turned back to the lighthouse, taking a few more shots while babbling about how I grew up the next town over, and didn't realize the lighthouse was now on private property. "Well, I don't really know anything about it", she murmured. I thanked her and waved John over. "Well, at least we got a few shots", I said as we walked out the way we came, "and you got to pee". The woman probably couldn't have cared less if we'd stayed there all afternoon, but if I'd been arrested I might have missed my chemo, so we decided to drive down to city pier and see what we could see there. I've already posted the Coast Guard Eagle and the blackback gull, and I'll pass some more of the pictures I got on when I post next. (The two lighthouse photos are on eBay right now; click here to see all my auctions.)

For now, goodnight!

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