Thursday, November 19, 2009

the last paddle?

If I told you all all about my long paddle up the Grasse River yesterday, would you wonder if there is anything going on in my life besides a)kayaking and b) construction & remodeling?

The bridge project and the road project do occupy a large chunk of my thoughts. As I tap away on my laptop, shuddering noises invade my living room. At 6 a.m., six days a week, someone turns the key in the ignition of a very large piece of machinery, and another day begins with a sputter and a rumble.

I step out of the front door into a world of hard hats, orange vests, swinging equipment, and the acrid scent of macadam. I step out my back door, and I am engulfed in a world of ladders, table saws, extension cords, exposed rafters, the swift whack of a nail-gun, and the wonderful scent of fresh lumber and sawdust.

Yesterday I found escape when I bundled up to take a long walk in the sunshine. By the time I made my loop back to the Stone House, I was warmed enough to discard my outer layer. In a split-second, I grabbed my paddle from the porch and ran the obstacle course to reach the town dock (one industrial hose, two new curbs, fresh pavement which was very sticky, piles of green re-bar, and bulldozer tracks that were 12 inches deep). There, my little green kayak awaited me. The drag back and forth across the street has been abandoned, and I brazenly leave it perched on the bank near the dock. I mean, who is going to steal it while all my construction buddies are in the hood?

"You're not going out there today, are you?" questioned one of the men as I maneuvered past him.

"You bet I am!" I countered.

The strong autumn sunshine lured me past the railroad bridge, around the bend, through the whispering yellow rushes, and on to Cow Island. I call it Cow Island because it is a long, narrow pencil of trees and bushes that follows the shoreline where cows graze. My kayaking buddies know the place well.

The cows were nowhere to be seen this day. The trees were stripped fairly bare from last week's rains and winds. Nothing stirred but a squirrel nudging his way through the forest floor. A lone crow cawed in the distance. The sun's rays warmed my cheeks. The plash of my paddle intruded upon this idyll, compelling me to be still and drift. I loosened my the scarf around my shoulders.

If you cannot join me on the water, whether you are far away (as a few of my best kayaking buddies are!) or busy with the regular demands of life (like, say a JOB), or you can't imagine yourself climbing into a tiny piece of plastic and setting off into the watery horizon without a care in the world, I hope you can feel what I felt yesterday as I floated on the Grasse River along Cow Island in Madrid, New York.

Friday, November 13, 2009


With all the hooplah going on outside my doors (namely: road construction & bridge repair in the front yard AND building of our new addition in the back yard), I found serenity in this autumn decor.

I knew you would want me to share it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

one week

A whole week flew by while Hubby was in the DR and #1 Daughter was in Mexico. Where did it go? I think weeks like this one end up the same place as missing socks.

In order to make myself feel better about not being more productive, here is a list of random things I did while my dear ones were away:

-started a braided rag rug.
-learned lots of music for upcoming gigs.
-cleaned the bathroom.
-washed the upstairs floors.
-made hummus, scones, and whole-wheat pita bread.
-visited my mom, which included staying overnight and singing in her church choir the next morning.
-took my sis-in-law, niece, and nephew out to lunch in Watertown.
-played piano for approximately 20 hours of rehearsals.
-studied the book of 1 John.
-attended a craft fair with a friend.
-took pictures of the mess surrounding my house.
-went kayaking at least once.

There now. That gives a fair account of my week home alone!
Please don't ask me how many games of online Scrabble I played. Thanks.

I appreciate your discretion.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

morning ritual

Any mom can relate.

As soon as my mind awakens from slumber, I count my chicks. With sleep still clouding my foggy head, I lazily remind myself where my kids are & what they are doing. If Hubby is not snoring beside me (or more than likely sipping coffee downstairs already!), I count his nose, too.

It's what moms do.

Far away, across many states, over the southern border, through a few red mountains, in a little Mexican village, #1 Daughter tries to get some shut-eye. Yesterday was a very hard day for our humble Mexico team. As they were en route to their destination, they suffered a head-on collision. Their vehicle, trailer in tow, took a spin, rolled, and landed on its side in a ditch. Passers-by were at the scene immediately, breaking the windshield window to extract the driver (missionary Don Wahl) and Grandma Jean from the front seats. Ana had been sitting in the back with three children. Upon impact, her instincts kicked in and she threw her arms over the seat to protect them. She braced her shoulders and back to keep them underneath her. Because of this, she wrenched her shoulder. Her back is quite bruised.

Aside from a few minor cuts and scratches, everyone else is completely okay. Shaken, but okay.

Cell phones are marvelous things. Within an hour of the accident, Ana had spoken to her dad, her brother, Friend #7, our pastor's wife, and me. She was able to text her friends. Our pastor was able to speak with John, the team leader, numerous times. We were able to pray with them over the phone. I was grateful to hear Grandma Jean's voice assuring me, "we are fine, honey."

So back to counting my chicks this morning. I counted their noses gratefully.

-#1 Son had come home just to be with me last evening. We fielded phone calls and texts together. We sat on the couch, checking election results on the computer. We talked about mundane things. He studied late into the night here, well after I had bid him good-night, before packing up and heading back to his dorm room. I knew he was prepping for a big test this morning.

-At 6:55 am, Hubby was boarding his flight to the Dominican Republic. He had spent the night in NYC. Off he goes on another marvelous adventure with one of his best buddies.

-#1 Daughter woke up in another country surrounded by people who love each other. They will rub their aching muscles and assess their situation. I can imagine that as they prepare Thanksgiving dinner for hundreds of villagers, gratitude will take on a deeper meaning. They will accomplish the purpose for which they came and so much more.

Now that I have thoroughly counted my chicks, I will thank God for another day and go brush my teeth.