Meandering Thoughts

Meandering Thoughts

Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year Resolutions

It's time again!  A New Year is upon us!  Time to learn to write a new year on my checks, it's time to set some goals with my art, it is time to think about cleaning the closets and time to make my New Years Resolution.   I can never seem to keep them, in a few weeks they are forgotten.  I wonder how many people actually keep their resolutions.  I prefer not to make them, then I don't worry about not keeping them.

This year I have one that I think I can work with.  Oh, it might seem a little morbid to some of you and I am sorry to mention it when most people are thinking about parties and celebrating.  If I have learned one thing this last year, actually in the last couple of months, it is, you never know when your Spirit is going to leave this earth and journey into the next world.  It is shocking to me how many people have made this journey recently.  Oh, I know it is the way of things, we will all travel this road.  Is it because I'm getting older and so are my friends and family, that it seems so frequent?  Did I really think I was going to avoid this phase of reality forever?

We recently lost Richard's sister, Elaine.  It was very sudden and unexpected.  I know we are never ready for the sudden death of a loved one, are we anymore ready if they linger with illness and pain?  I don't think so.  It was a reality that we where not prepared for.  It also brought forth questions between my wonderful husband and I about our wishes for how our death might be handled.  Talking to the children about these things is hard, they are in denial, as I was when my Mother touched on it after my Father passed.

Richard and I have casually talked before, now it seems we should really express our desires.  Not only with each other, we really need to have it in writing, so our children will know.  It makes me squeamish just thinking about dealing with this, no one wants to believe that the end could be as near as the next breath.  If I have learned anything in this lifetime, I have learned that things change at the blink of an eye and we have very little control over those changes.

My New Years Resolution is to get things in writing for anyone to follow, when, the occasion comes.  Because I don't know who exactly might have to manage this event, I must think of everything.  It is not because I want to be in control, it is to make it easier for those left behind that must come up with this information during a time of grief.   Listing everything from my name, birth date, place of birth, social security number, occupation, education, parents names, place of worship (this could be a problem), am I an organ donor, children's and spouses names, grand children's names.  Siblings and friends should also be included.

I should also list a funeral home and disposition, a cemetery and if I own a plot, what about
pallbearers.  Cremation is a choice, do I want ashes scattered and where.  What kind of gathering would I like?  Visitation, viewing and clothing I would want to wear?  Traditions and music, passages or quotes, person I like to have do the service.  Requests to a charity in lieu of flowers.

Other things to be decided, a living will, the last will and testament, executor of my estate, were I keep important documents.  There are many things to consider, it can be as simple or as detailed as you like and of course you could even change it later if you decide to.

I think having these things decided will allow me to start the new year prepared and maybe even having a little in control over something that can be so unexpected.  Happy New Year!  May 2011 be filled with the joy of life, good health and surround you with a loving family and many friends! 

Picture of tipi 2009

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas 2010

Well Christmas 2010 is just a memory now.  It was filled with so much activity, shopping, cleaning, cooking, bagging and tagging.  I made lists and checked and rechecked, afraid that I might forget someone or something.  Somehow it all came together and became filled with the magic of family memories and good fun.  Our grand children were so delightful, filled with smiles and wonder.  My girls were so helpful throughout the day.  The men helped moving chairs and tables before and after the meal.  It always amazes me how easily it all happens when everyone helps.  I can't believe it is over so soon..........
The month of December was filled with so much activity, that the quiet I find this morning, is a blessing.  I can put the lists aside, we can eat the leftovers and I can watch the birds at the feeders again.  It is nice to just sit and enjoy my morning coffee and knowing I don't have to rush around. 

At the same time, I'm feeling antsy.  I want to go to the studio.  As a gift, I received a new gourd book for Christmas, Weaving on Gourds, by Marianne Barnes.  I also got some tools to try a new technique on gourds.  The tools come from Miriam Joy Gourd Creations, she does very inspiring gourd designs I can't wait to try.  I had dreams in the night of new gourd projects just waiting for me to design. 

It feels so good going to the studio, it makes my heart happy.  I turn on some music, flute music, of course.  I light some sage and say some quite prayers, again I will say my heart is happy.  This space is filled with all the things that allow my creative energy to become inspired and mystical things can happen.  I spent hours working on little ornamental gourds, it was restful and quiet.  What more could I want after all the excitement of Christmas activity? 

Photos:  top left, Tatum Reichert
               middle, Aidan and Kellen Reichert and Cait and Lizzy McDonald
               bottom left, McKinley Reichert      Our Grand Children.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Quiet Mornings

It is quiet in our little house this morning.  I was up early, doing the morning things, shower, letting the dogs out and making coffee.  I enjoy the quiet, when all you hear are the birds outside the windows, before the TV or radio come on, before the phone rings or before activity truly begins. 

It has been especially quiet here, my wonderful husband went on a road trip, helping a friend drive to Florida.  Oh yes, I may have enjoyed the idea of having the house to myself for a couple days, no set meal times and no need to explain why I'm on the computer.  I may have enjoyed having the entire bed to myself, if you don't count one little dog.  I may have enjoyed being a bit messier, using the same coffee cup for a couple days, or leaving the knife and plate on the counter to use again.  Yes, fun for a couple of days and then reality sets in.........

The first night my wonderful husband was gone, I was snuggled in the living room with the dogs, fire going in the gas stove, and a good movie on TV.  I decided to go to bed about midnight, when I walked through the curtains into the old part of the house it was much like walking outside!  The temperature was 54 degrees!  I know this cannot wait until morning, it is way too cold for that!  So all I can think to do is call my wonderful husband as I know they are still driving so it won't be waking him up.  He is puzzled, our furnace is not very old, so he says to me, "You'll have to go outside and check the propane tank to make sure you have fuel."  You have got to understand, the tank sits away from the house, there is 5 inches of snow on the ground and it is midnight and I'm in my nightgown!  So I go and dress, put on winter coats and boots and make my way to the propane tank.  Got out there and raised the lid and I find I'm too short to see the gauge, so I must climb the rickety fence to be tall enough to see the gauge!  Propane level fine..........  Back in the house and another call to Richard.  This time he thinks I should go into the furnace room and flip the switch to restart the furnace. I conclude that all the off and on power outages confused my furnace and it decided to just shut down.  So an hour later, furnace running fine, I head to bed.  Then at six fifteen Tere calls and grand daughters have a school delay because of more snow, could she bring them down in thirty minutes and could I get them on the bus in two hours.  No problem, man, that was a short night!

Of course with Richard gone, I am doing the outside chores.  I admit that isn't all that hard and they are my horses, dogs and cats.  For some reason in the winter time it is always much harder to get the chores done quickly.  The water hose has to be drained after filling the water tank, the hay must be carried and they eat more in the cold winter weather, which means more than one trip carrying hay!  The cats in the studio don't want to go outside and there is the kitty litter in need cleaning and I have a lame horse that needs extra attention!  When my wonderful husband is home, he does the feeding and I do the horse treatments and the kitty litter cleaning. (He does draw the line.)  I just have to say it is so nice sitting in the house, having a little more coffee and watching him feed the horses in the wintertime. 

Yes, I know what you are thinking, "Spoiled!".  I agree, but now he is in Florida, soaking up the sunshine, riding wave runners and enjoying the life of leisure and I am carrying hay to the horses the snow.  I hate carrying hay across the barn yard, the shaft sticks to my fleece jacket and scarf, then when I go to town wearing said fleece jacket and scarf I look a bit like a scarcrow!  So being a creative thinker, I made a tarp sled!  I took a rope and tied to the grommets of a tarp and put the hay on the tarp and let it slide smoothly across the snow to the horses.  Genius!  No more hay in my hair or on my clothes!

Of course Richard is not going to like that I didn't shovel the sidewalks, he won't like that the little dogs hate to go into the deep snow and have left traces of yellow snow on the unshoveled sidewalk.  He probably won't be happy that I had steal a bungee cord off of something he was using it for to fix the mailbox that the snowplows blasted off the post this week.  But when I think of these things........  I remember the text picture of last nights sunset on the beach of the Atlantic ocean or the picture off the balcony of their condo looking over the ocean! 

Oh, I think I'm meandering again, this started off being about how quiet it is around our little house.  It is too quiet this morning and I am ready to have my wonderful husband home, fixing my coffee and morning breakfast, having him sit and share morning conversation before he bundles up for winter and feeds my horses and shovels the sidewalks for me and the little dogs.  It's just too quiet this morning............ 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Snow Delights

This morning I lingered over coffee and birdwatching.  The snow crept in sometime in the early morning hours, before daylight.  Falling gently, unknown to us who sleep snuggled under warm blankets.  When I awoke, just before light, I knew something was amiss, it was too quiet and muffled.  No wind howling and blowing, just beautiful snowflakes landing on every branch.  I love when the pines have snow resting on them, it is a magic time.

I am the one feeding the horses these days, my wonderful husband helped drive a friend to Florida and is soaking up the sunshine there.  Oh, the Florida folks think it's cold just now, for Ohio folks, it is delightful!  The horses knicker as I make my way through the snow to the barn, everything is so white it is blinding, can't begin to see the snow tracked path to the barn from yesterday.  All is filled in, it is clean, quiet and white.

The dogs are eager for their breakfast, dancing and prancing around me like they were starved.  It is hard being house dogs and making your way to the barn in the snow for breakfast!   The cats are fluffed up to keep warm, they rub against the dogs faces and my legs, also awaiting breakfast.  The dogs hate when the cats do that, they are terribly insulted I think.

I must carry hay from the big barn to the horse barn twice a day.  I hate carrying the hay, the hay drops all over my fleece jacket and my fuzzy scarf, making me look a bit like a scarecrow when I wear them to the grocery or post office.  Anyway, when it is cold, horses need more hay to keep warm.  So that means more than one trip back and forth.  A couple days ago, I devised a plan to keep me free of hay shaft and still move all the hay in one trip!  I like being a creative thinker and decided to make a tarp sled to pull the hay on!   I just tied some rope to the grommets of the tarp and magic, a tarp sled!   My horses don't care how the hay gets to them, they just couldn't wait for me to come and feed them.  They also get some grain morning and night. 

This morning, as my dogs accompanied me to the horses, hoping for some horse food as a  treat.   As I came to the gate and scanned the field where the tipi used to sit.  (I always look to see the tipi, even after it is down.)  Out in the field was a coyote with his nose in the snow, hunting mice.  Oh, a beauty it was against the white snow.  The coyote didn't stay long, because my wonderful Lab saw him too and took chase!  I have never seen a coyote so close to our barns.  He looked healthy and I loved his bushy tail!

My horses didn't seem alarmed that the coyote was in their pasture, he does look much like a dog.  Or perhaps they have seen them other times.  From the house I can watch the horses, I am quick to see when they are watching something "different" in their immediate surroundings.   I will hurry to look out other windows to discover what they are watching.  Sometimes it is a flock of geese that have landed in the field.  Sometimes it is deer making their way through, although I have seen deer bedded down in their pasture and they were totally unconcerned with their presence.  People have said that horses don't have good vision, so many times they see things moving across a neighboring field that I would have missed.

I can't wait to get back in the house and have another cup of coffee and watch the birds at the feeder outside while it continues to snow.

Monday, December 13, 2010


I have been having a difficult time getting in the mood for Christmas.  At last it has finally happened!  I am in the mood, the tree is up and decorated and I do love the soft light it brings into our living room.  It will be difficult to take down, now that it's finally up. 

I just don't understand why I drag my feet during this time.  I do like seeing everything decorated, the colors are pretty and festive.  Do I just have a hard time making transitions?  I think how hard it was for me to face fall coming and now winter.  Is this normal as we age, not to need all the glitz and glam to appreciate Christmas and what it's all about? 

On Saturday we, Emily, Richard and I, went to see Trisha and Bill for Aidan's 8th Birthday.  It was lovely spending time with my daughter and her family.  Trisha and Bill have four children and are constantly busy with activities that come with these very active children.  I honestly don't know how they do it!  Just watching was exhausting, each needing some attention with this or that.  I see so much joy and happiness in this wonderful family.

As I sat watching and participating in the conversations going on around me, I looked at their home, their tree was up and decorations sparkled among the lights.  I also saw sitting in special places the Santa's and Snowmen that have come from my own collections.  I decided a couple years ago to start letting the grand children pick something from my decorations to take home and call their own.  Seeing these treasures that were a part of our tradition and are now becoming a part of their traditions.

Something clicked in my brain!  My children come home with their families every Christmas because they too want to be immersed in our family tradition.  They want to come and see what they remember our house was like when they were growing up!  The fact that they still come home is my gift from them, could I ever want more?  I am going to finish my decorating, putting out Mr. and Mrs. Santa in the sleigh with all the gold glittered reindeer.  I will again set out the many snowmen in the bay window of the dining room on batting covered lights to look like a winter wonderland.  Out comes the nativity and I'll plug in the star to shine over the manger scene.  I purchased this 42 years ago, the first Christmas of our marriage.  I will set out the special angels that have come from my Mother and even the one I got in fourth grade that is a candle that got too warm and has fallen sideways.  I will set hand crafted Santa's on the hearth by the fire place and wherever else there is an empty place.  I will hang some of the wreaths to the inside and outside doors and maybe even bake some cookies.  Yes, I am getting in the mood for Christmas at last!

Now, if I could just muster up some excitement about shopping!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snowed In, December 12, 2010

We are having our second snow of December.  The first was a bit of a shock, we just weren't ready for cold and snow.  Well, we got ready quickly, it warmed up one day and we had to kick it in gear, the weather forecasters were preparing us for a second storm with rain coming and then colder temps with snow and wind to follow.  Tonight they are calling for more snow and wind, tomorrow could be real mess.

We took down the tipi during the pause between snows.  The foot of the liner was holding frozen water, the liner has been opened and will dry out inside the barn.  The tipi was fairly dry, although the east side seemed damp, it is now in the studio, partly open also being allowed to dry out.  I should have listened to Richard in November about taking it down.  Just having such a hard time giving up summer and fall.  I do love the tipi lodge.

Today, the second storm of the season has come.  The over night rain has frozen now and the snow came.  We cancelled our trip to have breakfast with friends in Columbus.  Richard put the snow blower on the mower, checked the antifreeze and filled the windshield washer fluids.  He moved the four wheeler forward in the barn so when the sleds are brought out, it will be ready to pull the sledders back up the big hill!  (When I was a kid we had to walk back up the hill!) 

I made a wonderful soup today and did little but lounge around.  It is hard to just relax, I've always been taught not to waste my time.  It feels so good to just relax, isn't that what we should do when winter comes, hibernate and rest?  I will get back to my lists tomorrow, after being snowed in for a day or two.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Stop Whining!

Our little house from the barn direction.
I'm going to stop whining, it hasn't done any good so far.  It is December and there is a good snow on the ground, it is cold and I can't seem to change these facts!  So, I pulled out the afghans, my down slippers and the winter scarves.  I also have the Christmas tree in place and I'm going to have my grand daughters help me with decorating when they get off the bus after school. 

I'm going to make soup and start the crockpot.  I might even write a few Christmas cards while I sip another cup of coffee with my favorite Baileys cream in it.  I also am going to dig through my stack of unread books and start reading and maybe take a nap.

Oh dear, I must wake up from my dream...........   My grand daughters came before school this morning and I had to get out of my warm bed because of a two hour delay for their school!  The farrier is suppose to come this morning, I needed him here a week ago, my horse has a hoof abscess.  Dang, that means boots, winter coat, hat, scarf and gloves!  It is so cold outside this morning!  I should add some seed to the bird feeders too and find the water heater for the frog pond, I have yet to move the fish to the horse tank! 

So much for lounging around, dang it, I might start whining again.  You know I haven't even thought about Christmas presents for six grand kids either!  Now what is the date today?

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Tree

Massie Creek Cemetery, Cedarville, Ohio
Well it would make sense I'd be talking about "The Tree".  It is December, we even had snow and many are thinking about Christmas.  Folks have their houses decorated with lights inside and out.  Many people are thinking about gifts and parties and all the excitement the Christmas season brings.

I am not thinking of any of these things.  I am still thinking I missed September, October and November!  Where did fall go?  I was slowly trying to make the needed transition in my personal clock when a sudden unexpected death came to the family.  My husband's amazing sister, Elaine, made her journey to the spirit world last week.  All things come to a stop when a healthy person is suddenly taken from the family that loved her.  The holiday season will shine less brightly this year, for she was a brilliant light in our small family.

If you can imagine Elaine as a circle, with another circle being family touching her circle, another circle of students touching Elaine's circle, and another circle of educational professionals, and another circle of friends, and another circle of neighbors.  All of these circles touched Elaine's circle, those circles touched other circles that were influenced and guided by Elaine's circle, all touching the circle next to their circle and continuing to reach other circles, and so it ripples on and on.  The effects one person has on the world in which they live can be astounding!  Those ripples will be forever on-going and shared with the next circle.  Doesn't that make you think about your circle and how your ripples will be felt as you walk on this earth?

Of course, I'm meandering again, none of that has anything to do with "The Tree", which is the title of my thoughts today.  I'm not writing about the Christmas tree either.  I am thinking about the "Family Tree".  The one that connects the past to the present.  The names on the Family Tree are what has sparked this blog.  I wish I'd thought more about the names on the Family Tree when choosing names for our children.  I love that our children did give family names consideration when naming their children.  I hope when their children are grown up they too will think about family names.

This is one of my favorite quotes and I totally believe that "The earth will always remember people as long as we continue to say their name."  Once we stop using a name, as generations continue is that person forgotten?  By continuing to use the names from the Family Tree, the person is remembered into another generation, people will ask, how did you get your name and you would be able to say it came from an aunt or uncle, a grandfather or grandmother, sparking a memory or a story of that person, and they are remembered!  Just look at people in history, the ones that made a difference, their names continue on and on.  Is it wrong to want some immortality?  Maybe that is why I write about our family stories, why I share the little things that I see day to day, as well as my life as an artist, about friends that have helped me on my travels on this earth.  Will my art be treasured by the next generation and will they know how much I loved creating something special from something as simple as a gourd.  Will they remember the music I played on my little wooden flute, will they hold in their hearts my love for them?

My own name has no family history that I am aware of.  My wonderful husband, James Richard, is the third generation to have the first name James, we also gave our son, Ryan, the first name of James.  That has been lost now, unless his girls choose to name a son with that first name.  Ryan's girls have middle names that reflect names from the family tree.  Our daughter Trisha, has a part of my middle name and she gave her youngest another version of our middle name.  Their sons also have family names with their own first names.  And so "The Tree" holds a treasure of names, to ensure the earth will always remember people as long as we continue to say their name. 

I know that the Decembers that follow will bring back memories of Christmas's spent with Elaine and her family.  We will rejoice in her gifts of knowledge and love when we gather as a family and say her name.....  Maybe now I can start thinking about the Christmas tree and rejoice in memories of my sister and friend, Elaine.