Saturday, August 30, 2008


The farmer on the hill has been mowing and baling all week. When the engines are quiet and he is eating his supper, I mosey over to see his spoils. The long fingers of evening shadows the spill into the damp fields make me nostalgic and yearny.
When the kids were little, they called these bales "mini-wheats". I know what they mean, although there is nothing "mini" about these shaggy things.

In the early morning and late evening, I adore the color of our shutters. In the ruthless mid-day sun, not so much. At any rate, this shot shows the front porch decor. All we need is some cornstalks to make the picture complete.

#1 Daughter and I picked out the mums yesterday. I love mums! They are such an honest flower, if you know what I mean.

The pumpkins and squash are from the garden. We'll eat them, eventually. But this way, I get to play with my food first.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

late summer thoughts

-scattered leaves all over the yard
-the chill coming through the window sashes at night
-docks pulled up on to the shore of an empty lake
-pumpkins on my porch
-mums in the market
-school books piled by my bedside
-home-made applesauce
-purple sunsets that take my breath away and put on their show earlier than I like.
-a calender that is filling up way too quickly.

Last year, I wrote a poem about this phenomena.
Would anyone care to add a line of their own?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Add this past-time to #1 Son's list: traveling with The Julia Marie Band as their sound man. Tonight, they are here.

Fun, huh?

spare time

Given their druthers and an hour of free time, the people of 3108 would most likely submerge themselves in the following activities:

Hubby: running
watching a movie
paying bills online
balancing our complicated budget

#1 Son:
fooling around on the computer
organizing his stuff
rummaging through the kitchen for a snack
sitting on someone

#1 Daughter: baking
looking up recipes on the internet

Friend #12: baking
picking apples/berries on the side of the road
working around the yard/kitchen
going to WalMart

Friend #7: reading "articles" online
taking walks
playing Scrabble with me
decorating pizzas

Yours Truly: wiping down the kitchen counters (obsessed, I am)
making pickles/jelly
thinking I should play the piano
doing lesson plans

On a completely different track --and just to get this off of my chest--the other evening at the first choir rehearsal of the season, I was introduced to the crowd as "our excruciating pianist, Nancy Hull."
I almost fell off of the piano bench in muffled laughter.

I'm reasonably sure it was meant well.
One would hope so!

Monday, August 25, 2008

from a shoebox

One of my self-proclaimed projects for the summer was to organize old family photos. When I say old, I mean spanning the last hundred years or so.

Over the last weeks, I have sifted through them, selected the cream of the crop, matted them by hand, and framed them in simple gold-metal frames gathered from yard sales/thrift shops. All that is left is to arrange them on the walls.

The one snag in this project was locating the jackpot of photos from Hubby's side of the family. (Let me tell you: they are beauties!) While Hubby and kids were away on a 10-day trip --and the time was ripe for spreading out photos on the living room floor for days on end--, I turned the house upside down trying to find them. Last night, after I mentioned this, Hubby rummaged briefly through his filing cabinet and handed them over. Uhhh....thanks!

I wish he hadn't made it look so effortless. Maybe he could have grunted and sighed a lot more. Or used Christian swear-words like doggone it and oh for the love of Pete. But he didn't. He just reached into his files, grabbed them, and slid them onto the coffee table.

Now my project is re-begun. Amazing family photos that have never seen the light of day in many a year will soon grace our walls.

Today, totally unconnected to all the family-photo hooplah on my end, I received a CD in the mail from my brother Jim. For the sheer pleasure of it, he had family slides from the 60's digitalized. I do not remember ever seeing these. Does he know how much work he has just made for me?

Just kidding.

Soon, they will be on display. But I must show the world what has been sitting in a shoe box for over 40 years.
Here is a sampling:

My cute mom. She is saying, "I know I'm cute. What's the big deal?"

My adorable parents. My mom is wearing thick woolen socks and my dad's pants are too short, but they are still completely adorable.

Me. I don't remember having such weird toes.

Grandpa Rapant, Dad, and Uncle Bob. I don't know the names of the deer in the foreground.

Uncle Charlie, my grandfather's brother. He died a confirmed bachelor. Both my brother and I have marveled at the happiness on his face. Boat, lake, fishing pole and two beers. Life has been good to you, Uncle Charlie.

Dad with his catch

The epitome of an Adirondack hunter: my grandfather.

Dad with a pike.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

stuff from the garden

The late afternoon sun warms our first haul of pumpkins. I am not inspired to integrate them into my decorating scheme yet, as I am stubbornly holding on to summer.

Give me a few more weeks though, and I'll be all about cornstalks, gourds, and mums.

Sunflowers are more than welcome this time of year, as they scream "summer". If any flower can cheer me up, this is the one.
"Cheer up," they say. "Be cheerful and gleeful and altogether smiley."

For more pics, click on to my pictures link.

Friday, August 22, 2008

a blessed relief

"The earth is the LORD'S and all it contains, the world, and all those who dwell in it."

My stuff, your stuff. His stuff, her stuff. New stuff, old stuff. Everybody's stuff.
Oh yeah, and all the bodies, too.
(Before this resembles the text of a Dr. Suess book any more than it already does, I'll stop.)

God owns all of it. That's a pretty tall order as far as I can figure, and the enormity of it has brought me comfort today. Excuse me while I totter around looking lost while rubbing my eyes and wearing wrinkled pajamas, but in the space of one short week, my emotional boundaries have run the gamut. (That's an entirely different meaning from running the gauntlet, but in this case, most comparable.)

From a funeral service for a 6-year old little boy who was the victim of an accidental shooting---to the highest joys of re-connecting and fellowshipping with lifelong friends at a party held in our home, this week has yanked me from pillar to post. Well, not exactly to post--(sorry to throw too many word-puns in one entry). I have found it difficult to put the happenings of this week into words.
When English words didn't come easily, I tried other languages. And I was still stuck.

For the record, there were beautiful vases of flowers both at the funeral and at the party. I am quite certain that God attended both events. After those observations, I am at a loss to connect the dots.

Even now, I am tempted to download a few pics and declare my blog-housework done. But, my dear reader, that would be a disservice to you. You, who click on to these glowing pages with high hopes to find inspiration, humor, a bit of food-snobbery, and a running, goofy, yet sometimes insightful account of what makes me tick.

And so.

And so I plunge ahead, tapping and backspacing, creating and erasing, speaking and tweaking, with the sheer and tremulous faith that to write is to make something more concrete. To spill out the words, to formulate thoughts and spew them onto the screen, and to generate cohesive sentences means that I am here, you are there, there's a whole lotta broken stuff on this planet, and-- for a surety: He's got the whole world in His hands.

What a blessed relief.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

my beautiful kids

This is my Bubs. He is fooling with one of the kids at the orphanage in the DR.
This is Poodie. Isn't she a beauty?

I really love my beautiful kids.

Monday, August 18, 2008

the surge

No time to write. Too many interesting people in my house this week.
Will report in when the surge is behind me.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

quote of the week

"I don't even know what to feel right now," Phelps said. "There's so much emotion going through my head and so much excitement. I kind of just want to see my mom."

Debbie Phelps was sitting in the stands at the Water Cube, tears streaming down her cheeks, her two daughters by her side. After getting his gold, Phelps quickly found his family, climbing through a horde of photographers to give all three a kiss.

Mom put her arm around his neck and gave him a little extra hug.

#1 Son departed yesterday for an 8-day trip. This came on the heels of a 10-day trip.
#1 Daughter comes home today. She has been away for 2 whole weeks.

Nevertheless, three people that consider me their "mom" were routing the Olympic teams last night from their perch on our couches.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Now that I have had some tech-assistance, allow me to share some photos with y'all.

On a day-trip to Lake Placid today, I spied a sign. It said, "The Robert Louis Stevenson Cottage".
Wait. Stop. Turn around. Follow that sign! Hubby was so nice (read: tolerant) to do so.

Before this fireplace, R.L.S. dined with his family and then, by lamplight, serenaded them with his freshly-penned manuscripts. If these walls could talk!

Here is a sobering assignment: compose your own epitaph. R.L.S. wrote his quite a few years before he died of tuberculosis in the Samoan Islands, where he is buried. This exact copy is displayed in this cottage in Saranac Lake.

I love this poem!

This is the desk where he penned some of his most beloved tales.

I love front porches!

The High Peaks are awfully pretty, but I plan to admire them from afar. Hubby and kids have likely climbed them while I was home practicing the piano.

I miss this young man.

Too much cuteness. Way too much.

At a certain time in the early evening, the sun hits the screen porch and warms my heart.

I can't get over my love for this stone house.

Friday, August 15, 2008

around here

-My family is home. --well, all except for #1 Daughter, who jumped into another vehicle upon arriving in Syracuse. She is is Pittsburgh PA for a youth conference until Sunday. I miss her.

-I was hoping to get some eco/green points for hanging out laundry on our new clothesline. Cancel those points, you people who keep track of such things. A soaking rain has added 18 lbs of water to those clothes. Good thing my dryer has a heavy-duty cycle.

-Potsdam's new Super Wal-Mart took TEN YEARS to open.
Went there. Bought stuff. That's about it.

-The maples around the Raquette River are bright red, throwing strikingly beautiful reflections on the water. You can't imagine the view from my kayak! I would show you lots of pictures of this phenomena, but I dropped my camera into the river. Only for a second. But that's apparently all it took to render it.... ummm....useless.

We all love these. They look pretty on the table, too!

-The TV has been tuned in to the Olympics every night. We are officially hooked. Here are a few choice excerpts of recent conversation overheard in our family room:

Person A: "How many inches in a foot? I always forget."
Person B: "12, silly. I can't believe you asked that!"
Person A: "I always get mixed up. 12 inches per foot and ....14 ounces per pound, right?"
Person B: "16 ounces in a pound!
Person A: "Well then, what's 14?
Persons B, C, and D: (in unison) "THE AGE OF A CHINESE GYMNAST."

Friend #37: (who thinks he lives here again, apparently--as he has hardly missed a night of Olympic coverage) "I could do all that. All I am lacking is the proper equipment."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

a mom & her boy

Standing on the winner's podium, bedecked with his eleventh career gold medal, laughing with un-containable joy, Michael Phelps scans the thronged crowd. He is looking for his mom.

Now, if that doesn't warm the hearts of moms everywhere.....

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


crab-apples bubble on the stove.

pink dappled wafer skins peel back like pages of a book
juices brim over apple-eyes.
-a pitch-black blossom spins atop the foam.

white pithy flesh gives out whimpering to the heat
and opens its tight fists to sour nectars
sprung from sodden root.

rosy-cheeked, I pour this stuff-
sugared, stirred, breathed over-
into the dimpled jars

kettled steam covers all.
I think I shall write a poem now.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

it's a zoo out there

You all remember MOUSE. IN. HAIR.

SNAKE. IN. PANTS. may be worse. I dunno.

Friday, August 08, 2008

heard it on NPR

Good combinations, in my opinion:

-chocolate & peanut butter
-Bible & comfortable couch
-picnic basket & outdoor concert
-Bach score & freshly-tuned piano
-clearance sale & credit card
-driving & radio-listening

The other day on my drive home from Massena, this episode of Dick Gordon's "The Story" came to me over the airwaves. It grabbed my attention big-time. I just couldn't stop thinking about it.

Take the time to listen to the broadcast! You won't regret it.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

BINGO and other non-riveting words

I opened my eyes and first thing this morning and BINGO, I was singing a childhood song about a farmer and his dog.

No, silly. Wrong kind of BINGO.

It was more of a realization kind of BINGO. It went this way:

"Your husband and two kids are far away --in another weather zone (tropical) in fact--and you don't HAVE to do anything today. Except maybe eat cookies for breakfast, meet a friend for lunch, and go to some other friend's house for dinner."

Dear readers, to the logical mind, this may sound like a wonderful predicament for a (usually) busy mom.
But the sad truth is, I miss my favorite family so very much that the luster has worn off the lily. I don't mean to mix metaphors, but being without my usual responsibilities is not the shiny new penny it was three days ago. It's old hat --or old bonnet --or a bonnet without the bee--or a bee who isn't happy that he's not busy anymore. Or a combination of all of these.

To pass these lazy, hazy days, I have a list of household projects to accomplish, books to peruse for school,vegetables to pickle, social engagements to schedule, and new rivers I wish to kayak. (Just foolin' about the river-thing. I will most likely stick to the same old three or four slow-moving bodies of water to which I am accustomed.)

I am also not alone. Friend #7 lives here, and she walks with me every morning and beats me in Scrabble every evening. It is an established pattern that keeps me grounded.

I have also snapped some documentary-type photos, but with my tech-crew in the mountains of the Dominican Republic and my usual method of downloading not responding, they may have to wait.

Until then, entries of non-riveting words may have to suffice.

Monday, August 04, 2008

thirty years

It is not often I am speechless.

Last evening, I was included in a special gathering to honor thirty years of marriage. Two friends-- who I love dearly, dearly, dearly--were surrounded by family and a sprinkling of friends in order to be showered with gratitude. As always, time was set aside to express appreciation for the guests of honor before we dove into dessert and coffee.

One family member put it so succinctly: "Together, you have made a much greater impact on the world than if you had been separate."

Too often, we live for the moment. We say whatever we feel, do what comes to mind, and act on impulse. But the purposes of God are viewed through the long lens. A long lens and a wide lens. The words we say, the decisions we make, our seemingly insignificant actions all add up--and they can change the people around us for eternity.

Two people set their hearts on things above thirty years ago, and renewed their vows again and again as the bumps of real life shook them. And although they didn't set out with this purpose in mind (I am sure!), they have changed my life.

And since unexpressed gratitude isn't really gratitude at all, let me upgrade from speechless to
attempting to express the inexpressible:

Thank you, Rick and Darlene. I love you both!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

sad and not so sad

Did you know that "good-bye" is actually an etymological descendant of "God be with ye"? Somewhere along the road of our fair language, the English took a shortcut in their farewells and shaved a four-word phrase into one two-word contraction.

And who can blame them? No one likes good-byes--the faster we can say them, the better.

This afternoon, I said "God be with you" to a dear friend who hopped into her Prius for a cross-country drive to Texas, where everything is bigger.

I then transversed the church parking-lot to say "God be with you" to Hubby, #1 Son, #1 Daughter, Friend #12, and ten other dear people. They pointed the church van's front fender toward Syracuse where they will hop onto a plane to the Dominican Republic-- where everything is more far away from me. They will be away for ten days.

Now I am about to say "God be with ye" to Friend #7 because I am going kayaking.
But I will see her later tonight.

And that's not so sad, now, is it?