Sunday, August 26, 2007

Mother [Nature] make up your mind!

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey
I think someone is confused about the seasons. There seems to be a battle going on here in New Jersey between Summer and Fall. Last week we had grey skies every day and temps in the low 60s and high 50s during the day. The temperature in our pool went from 82F to 70F. BRRR. I didn’t even open the windows in the house because it was too chilly. In August. My Mom would have been visiting through all this unseasonal weather and she would have hated it. Mom never liked a cloudy or rainy day; said they were depressing.

A few leaves have started to change and the trees are losing that lush greenness of summer’s bounty. They are looking pallid.

Now take yesterday. The temp was up to 90F and the humidity at about 100% which made a heat index of 106F. Talk about a seasonal swing—it was more like a seasonal sling. We took a ride to Pennsylvania to meet Andy and his wife at their lakeside cabin (he owns the company Rick works for and you’ll be hearing more about the cabin). I took these pics along the way.

We passed this adorable Dutch/American bakery and I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the quaint—and very Dutch—building.
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

What’s that you say? My photo is blurry? You can’t see the image? Yeah, I know. I didn’t realize that the lens had fogged up due to the high humidity! It was so ridiculous that I had to include them here for your merriment as well.

We stopped at a delightful farm stand to buy their “freshly picked every day” sweet corn and I took a few more pics. This time with the camera adjusted to the outside air. Look at the haze in the second photo!

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Our grass badly needs mowing but it’s been so wet this week the grass hasn’t dried out enough to mow. Last night after we got back from our outing Rick and I worked together to at least get the back yard done. Good thing we did because overnight we had thunderstorms and rain. Now it’s soaking wet again, so my plans for today of mowing and jumping in the pool need to be slightly adjusted. Right now it’s 8:30 a.m. and 73F outside with 98% humidity. Oh yeah. Lovely. I think a dip in the pool is definitely in order today, The grass, however, I think will have to wait ...
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Recipe for patience

1 cat (must be a cat that was raised in a one-cat-only-household by a woman that didn’t have many visitors; must be afraid of strange people, loud noises, rain, thunder, cars going by on the road and anything else you can think to be afraid of)

1 deceased Mother of the cat

2 people that the cat has seen before but doesn’t particularly like
3 large boisterous dogs that the cat has never seen before
3 cats that the cat has never seen before
1 strange house that is anything but quiet

Mix the first three ingredients together with the cat very carefully. Wait a few days before putting this mixture into a car and drive for approximately 3.5 hours. Add last two ingredients all at once. Wait to see what happens.

If you’ve followed the recipe carefully you should end up with one cat that lives under your bed. She should be eating, drinking, and using the litter box, and occasionally you might find her out, but don’t expect too much from the first week. What should happen next is unknown since every recipe is unique. A great deal of patience and understanding is required.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

The Pookie

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A welling of tears

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Since my Mom died the days seem to pass in a blurry haze. I was kept busy at first with many things to take care of which didn’t leave too much time for thinking. Upon arrival home the busyness of her immediate death dropped off to nothing, leaving me more time to think than I’d like. There were still phone calls to make to friends (mine) which left me feeling weepy and drained. Yesterday I made the last hard phone call to a friend of my Mom’s that lives in Florida. I still have thank you notes to write but can’t quite rouse myself to doing that just yet. I plod through the days with no direction.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Since I was named executor of her will, all her mail is now forwarded to me. Every day there is a reminder in the mail box waiting for me. Yesterday it was a birthday card for her.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

I try, I really do, not to let myself wallow in grief. But the losses just seem to keep coming. Just when I think it’s all going to be okay again, something else intervenes. Life, I guess. Swimming usually helps but it’s been rainy, grey, and very chilly here this week with temps in the low 60s. The pool does not tempt in this kind of weather. Walking and taking photos helps too, but again, not the weather for taking photos. I did, however, manage to go out this morning after our drenching rain of yesterday for the photos in this entry. I didn’t start out with a theme of tears in mind, it just ended up that way. Camera = therapy.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

I can’t stop my mind from playing over the last day of her life in my memory. She hadn’t been feeling well with a cold over the past few days and was kind of up and down with feeling worse, then better. I kept telling her to go to the doctor. Finally, on that last morning I knew she was really sick ( I was thinking flu) so I made her a doctor’s appointment and found the daughter of one of her friends to take her that afternoon.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Two hours later I called to check in on her. I was the one that listened to the phone ringing. And ringing. And ringing; with no answer. I had the worst feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. I was the one who called her friend and insisted someone go over and check on her. I was the one who got the phone call telling me that they had found her on the kitchen floor. I can’t get it out of my head. I don’t know if the cold/flu had anything to do with her heart attack or not. No matter, she’s gone. It’s just so hard to believe.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

She would not have wanted me to waste precious moments in life by spending them grieving for her. I know that. I used this poem that I found on fellow blogger Lettuce’s blog at my Mom’s gathering, and it fit perfectly.

You can shed tears that she is gone
or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she’ll come back
or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
or you can be full of love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember her and only that she’s gone
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what she’d want; smile, open your eyes, love and go on.
(poem by David Harkins)

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

So, with that in mind I will find a way through this, bolstered by my memories of her and what a wonderful person she was. And by remembering how much she loved me. And I her. I will try not to dwell; but I certainly won’t forget.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

I’m hanging on ...
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A dragon under my bed

Thank you all for your heartfelt condolances. It means a lot to me.

We’re back now from settling my Mom’s affairs. It was an emotional week staying in her house without her there and making all the tearful phone calls to friends and family. With every call it brought all the grief to the surface again. We had to wonder what Mom would have thought seeing her house filled to the brim with Rick and me; my sister and her husband; our three large dogs and my sister’s bulldog. Oh yes, and my Mom’s cat: Pookie. The cat that doesn’t like anything or anybody but my Mom. The cat hates me. Always has.

Poor kitty, what was she thinking with Mom gone?

We found her under the bed in the guest room where Rick and I would be sleeping. She was hissing and growling at us per her normal behavior. I didn’t want to get too close as she has attacked me in the past with paws and nails flailing. What to do? My Mom had always said if anything happened to her that the cat would have to be euthanised because she didn’t think she could adapt to anyone else. Even the woman who looked after the cat when Mom made her trips down here to visit us calls Pookie “special” and gives her plenty of space and doesn’t try and pet her. Lord knows I have never been brave enough to try to pet that cat.

At first we thought we were going to try and catch her and just take her to the vet. The woman who usually watched her for Mom was out of town on vacation and due back the next day. So, Pookie got a reprieve while we waited to find out if the woman would want to take her in. In the meantime she was living in our room and getting used to us and the dogs. The woman returned from vacation and said she felt the cat would not fit into her household.

By the second day she started to come out and wander around the room when Rick was in there, and then when I was there. No hissing; no growling; no spitting. By the third night she was sleeping on my pillow. I was afraid to move or reach up anywhere near her, not knowing quite what she would do. At this point, her fate was sealed—she would be coming home with us to see if we could make it work.

When we got home we put Pookie in one of the wire dog crates so she could see us going about the kitchen doing our normal routines and meet the other cats pretty much face-to-face. Here is Sam making her feel at home.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

We turned her loose in our bedroom and she’s been under our bed since Friday evening. She’s not eating at the moment, but she didn’t eat for a few days when we first got to Mom’s either. Last night I woke to find her on the pillow above my head. I think I was half asleep and reached up and stroked her head and back. I still have my hand. A little later she was clawing at my side of the bed and then I saw her slip out of the room and go downstairs. So, she is starting to adjust and explore. We’ll see where this leads. Maybe between the two of us we can work out our grief together.

I think Mom would approve.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Meme Again

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey
I’ve been tagged by Patsy over at The Best of Times to bore you with 8 more Random Things About Me. As if six weird things weren’t enough, you now get to know more. Oh joy. Where to start?

Between the years of 1983 and 1993 we lived in Europe for seven and a half of those years. In southern Germany near Stüttgart [1983-1985]; the Netherlands just outside of Amsterdam [1989-1991]; and France near Lyon [1991-1993]. And no, it was not military related. Rick worked for Hewlett-Packard and we signed on as FSEs (foreign service employees) to work at those locations. It was enlightening, challenging, fun, at times lonely and frustrating, but I wouldn’t trade those years for anything. Since we were married in 1981 we were still newlyweds when we moved the first time, Europe molded and forged our marriage. It pretty much changed the way we eat, drink, and think forever.

I do speak a smattering of all three languages, but not fluent in any. It’s very humbling for an adult to have the vocabulary of a two-year-old. When I heard kids jabbering away in their native language I was envious. German is probably my strongest because I went to a language school during the day for several months. But as with most things in life; you use it or you lose it. I think it would come back if you plunked me down in any of those countries. Today Rick and I speak a mix of all three with each other, picking the best word or word we used most from each language and stringing them all together in the same sentence. It’s a language all our own.

Here is the house where we lived in France:
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

I have a pen fetish. I buy pens right and left and am very particular about the way they write. If I buy them and don’t like them; I don’t use them. I have favorites and get upset when they finally run dry of ink.

I talk to inanimate objects such as trees, flowers, mushrooms. You name it. I talk to my dogs and cats like they were children and perfectly able to understand what I’m saying to them and act on it. Most of the time I think they do understand exactly what I want—other times they haven’t a clue. Hey, maybe they aren’t too far off how a child would react! I also talk to the bears, chipmunks, squirrels, birds, butterflies and whatever other creatures turn up in my yard. I guess I’m pretty much certifiable.

I was deathly afraid of bears for most of my life until I moved here and encountered them in my yard so frequently. Now I adore my bears. Go figure. I think it all started when we hiked up to my Father’s hunting camp in the Adirondacks and saw that a bear had clawed up the side of the camp. I don’t know why it had such an effect on me, but it did. Here is the photo to prove it. My Dad has me in his arms—you can just see my little leg and foot on his right hand side and my arm around his neck. That’s my sister inspecting the damage. Funny how some things stick with you for no reason.
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

I had my own small “desktop publishing” business for a while. I mostly worked with printers doing all kinds of typesetting, designing business cards, brochures, forms (hated those!) and things like that. I have no formal training in graphic design but everyone seemed to love what I did for them. I also produced several newsletters—one while we lived in Amsterdam for all the FSEs in HP with travel tips, recipes, company news, etc., and the other was our dog club’s bi-monthly newsletter. I guess I just need a creative outlet and now I have my blog!

I was born in New York state. When I was 12 we moved to Florida. Our house there was on a lake in which there dwelled an alligator. Allie the Alligator is what we called him. Original, weren’t we? Before we built the sea wall at the edge of our yard, Allie used to enjoy sunning himself in our yard. When we saw him on the other side of the lake we would clap our hands and call him (as if he knew his name—oh yeah). But the funny thing is—he did come—swimming towards us with his tail swiveling from side to side like a giant, warty snake. When he arrived we tossed him marshmallows. He was blind in one eye so you had to be considerate and toss the mallows on the sighted side. My Mother (dear woman) used to feed this beast chicken bones with a mere pair of serving tongs!!!! I kid you not; she really did this. Too bad we never captured this feat on film.

I wish I had a pic of him to share but all those old photos reside with my Mom. Maybe next time I’m up to fetch her I’ll look for one. And oh yes, my Mother still has all the appendages she was born with. [No, we won’t talk about her wits, but maybe—just maybe—I inherited her love of living dangerously with wildlife.]

Poor Allie ... his fate was sealed the day he happened to snap up a neighbor’s little poodle. Perhaps he thought it was a large marshmallow? Whatever his reason, he was promptly removed from our little community. So sad.

NO! I am not making this up. Just ask my sister. Maybe she’ll leave a comment ... [hint, hint]

Okay, I’m on a roll now. I sure hope I’m not boring you to bits.

I used to play the organ. When I started I couldn’t even reach the pedals. It was not my choice. My parents made me do it. I had to do something. My first choice would have been ballet lessons. I begged and begged, but I don’t think they took me seriously. I mean look at me, could you?

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

My Mother doesn’t remember me wanting to take ballet. But then again, she doesn’t remember my learning to swim either.

My second choice was the piano. But no, my sister was taking piano lessons, therefore I could not. [My sister can’t swim either, does that figure into this? Sorry, you needed to read the linked blog entry above for that to make any sense.] My Dad was into playing the organ, so therefore I was delegated to take organ lessons. I had the same teacher my sister had for piano. Mrs. Loftberg; I remember her well and I also remember her lumpy daughter that took—of all things—ballet. She took them for the same reason that all girls of that era took ballet lessons—to make their clumsy butts look more graceful. Trust me; with her it was so not working. But, as usual I’ve gone down a different path than the one which I was following. Here I am at the organ:

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

I think I was having a bad hair day—look at those finger curls! And, hey Mom, did you put a bowl on my head to trim those bangs [fringe]?

Are you still with me? Still reading this epic


? Hang in there ... one more short one to go ...

I learned to knit only three years ago. I taught myself from a book and then took some lessons. I wish I had learned years ago, but I didn’t. My Mother crochets but for some reason I never had the desire to learn. I know I should, but it looks too fussy to me. I love knitting and have met some absolutely wonderful people in the process. Knitters are just great people. No doubt about it. I am hooked. No, wait, that would be crochet. [hook-ed—get it?] Okay, I’m needled for life.

Thanks, Patsy, for tagging me. I learned a lot about myself through this process! And I guess that you too, dear readers, have as well although as I read back over my 8 more Random Things they sounded more like 8 more Weird Things. Oh well. C’est la vie!



Welcome, I'm Lynne. You know me better as a 'new' Jersey Girl. But now I've moved once again, this time to North Carolina. Here I write about my thoughts, good food, and of course, dogs.

© 2006-2023 Lynne Robinson All photography and text on this blog is copyright. For use or reproduction please ask me first.

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