Monday, December 29, 2008


You think taking care of kids is a challenge until you have an injured dog. OK..I've been VERY lucky, my kids have never had anything seriously wrong (knocking on wood). What's up with the dog isn't particularly serious either, but it's driving us both (the dog and me) crazy.

Over the weekend, Berkeley developed a hot spot on his neck near his ear. He scratched and scratched and scratched until he had a seeping raw wound. Today we went to the vet and she clipped the fur around it to get it cleaned up. She had to give him a tranquilizer shot to be able to do the clipping, and she also gave him a steroid shot to try and relieve some of the irritation. She put him on two medications, plus I have a topical medication to fight infection. AND, he got a collar which is making him nuts. It's not one of those lampshade collars, it's more like a huge flat flexible donut.

This poor animal is miserable. The vet told me that he would probably come home and be lethargic after the shot, but the exact opposite is happening. He doesn't want to lie down with the collar. When he does, he rests a little while then springs up in complete agitation, runs around the room, then drops to the floor and starts scratching madly. I have to keep him from scratching but of course, I can't sit down and explain to him why he has to stop. I'll hold his leg down and talk to him and he whimpers. He's wrestled the collar off twice but I think I finally have it secured to his normal collar so he can't get out of it. I'm a little afraid to go to sleep because I don't want him tearing at that wound all night.

I feel terrible for him, he's so uncomfortable. Poor baby, he just got up and ran across the room and is standing facing the corner. I think he is tired, but he can't settle down. I hope eventually he'll be so exhausted he'll just crash for the night. If he doesn't, I don't know that either of us will sleep.

Monday, December 15, 2008



Today is the 5th anniversary of the beginning of Walk With Me. Like so many others, I started blogging feeling certain it would be short lived. Yet, here I am...five years later.

My original journal is safely archived away. It would have been such a shame to lose it. The last five years was the most challenging time in my life. This journal saw me through a very difficult time in my marriage, the death of Meg and Schuyler and the subsequent aftermath, and a very painful relocation with all the difficulties involved.

Of course when I say "this journal" what I mean is friends. I never expected this form of communication to become the lifeline that it has. I never expected that it would lead me to meet people face to face who have become some of my very closest friends. I've never had a huge following and many people have come and gone. But to all those who have been with me through the years...I thank you with the deepest sincerity for being here when I needed you most. I can't express how much it has meant to me to know that you're out there and you care. I appreciate the you've been here to laugh and cry with me. The value of your encouragement cannot be measured. If it weren't for you, I'm sure this is a milestone that I never would have passed. To those of you who have recently found me....welcome! I hope to get to know you in the weeks and months to come.

I know that my entries have been rather intermittent. I really want to try and do better about that. I also want to do better at getting around to check on everyone else. We all have the same problem...there are just many good blogs, too many interesting people out there. When I write here, I think of it as an open friendly letter. I write what I believe my friends would care to know. I write what I need friends to hear or if I need their support. Someone is always there and that's a comfort. At the start, I was sure that no one would care what I had to say. But you've proved me wrong. In this crazy world, everyone's time is precious. I am touched when you choose to spend a few minutes of that time with me.

To many more years together....


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Photo Ops

I've got to find some time so I can sift through the html code and see what's creating that damn line down the middle of this blog. It appeared out of nowhere, I didn't touch the code. But, there's no doubt that the code is the problem. I SO don't want to get into that right now.

Since I last checked in I've had two opportunities to do some concert photography. One (big surprise here) was Bruce. But the other was a little different.

I have a friend who has done some volunteer work with The Rex Foundation. Rather than put it in my own words, their mission statement reads:

The Grateful Dead was always known for generosity and the performance of numerous benefits. In the fall of 1983, the Rex Foundation was established as a non-profit charitable organization by members of the Grateful Dead and friends to further this tradition. The Rex Foundation enabled the Grateful Dead to go beyond responding to multiple requests for contributions, and proactively provide extensive community support to creative endeavors in the arts, sciences, and education.

The Rex Foundation aims to help secure a healthy environment, promote individuality in the arts, provide support to critical and necessary social services, assist others less fortunate than ourselves, protect the rights of indigenous people and ensure their cultural survival, build a stronger community, and educate children and adults everywhere.

Through my friend, I got hooked up as the official photographer for this Rex fund raising event, The Black Tie-Dye Ball, at the Nokia Theatre in Manhattan. The event involved a reception for supporters followed by at concert by Dark Star Orchestra. As a Grateful Dead tribute band, they tour recreating full set lists from the Dead's years of performing. If you like The'll like Dark Star. They are extremely meticulous about capturing the style. The crowd was interesting. There were plenty of folks from "my generation" but there were also as many 20 - 30 year olds who wouldn't have had the chance to see the Dead except maybe as a tie-dye toddler.

I was a little self conscious about shooting the reception. I kind of felt like I was in people's faces. I tried to be as inconspicuous as possible, but everyone is aware of the photographer. Then I got to photograph the show...which was a kick!

The front area of the Nokia theatre was open for those who wanted to stand and dance. Theatre seats were further back in the mezzanine area. So, I started milling around in the crowd to take some shots from a distance in order to capture the entire stage. But after a while, I moved up into the photo pit. There were barricades set up about five feet from the stage to retain the crowd. I was able to watch and photograph the show from that space right at the base of the stage in front of the barricades.


It's so much fun photographing musicians. Between the lights and the intensity of the musicians, I could shoot almost continuously. Well, the lights are both a gift and a curse. When they work in the image....they really work. But they're constantly changing which is a challenge, especially since areas that lose the light can suddenly go almost completely dark.


About three quarters of the way through the show I remember thinking "why didn't I discover how much I love this when I was 20?" It's actually a kind of funny idea...I can just imagine my parents if I told them I was going to be a concert photographer. My dad referred to The Beetles as "those god damned hippies." Hind sight is 20/20...but I can't help but imagine what that life might have been like. are a few more pics. It took me quite a while to get everything sorted and edited and ready to send out to the Rex people and the band. I'll post the Bruce pics on the other blog in a day or so.




Sunday, November 23, 2008


It's very quiet around here.

Arielle had five friends come out from Allentown for a visit. It was a bit chaotic having all those extra kids around, but I really loved it. This group has been friends for years, and it was wonderful seeing Arielle reconnect with them all. Next year, they will all be away at college. It will be harder than ever for them all to be together. I'm happy she could have this time with them now.

Aaron gets really stressed out when we have a house full. The noise and the chaos gets to him. But I remember how my parents always let us have kids to the house...and especially out to our cabin. We had such a good time together in a safe and supervised environment. My friends were always welcome however, I just took that for granted at the time. Now I can appreciate how important it is for parents to open their homes to their childrens friends. I feel even more strongly about it now that we've moved and the opportunities for my kids to see old buddies are few and far between. I want them to feel comfortable bringing others here. It's important to building new relationships as well as keeping the old ones solid.

No matter how loud it got around here, all I could think about was how soon Aaron and I would be alone in the house. Next year, both the girls will be off at school and we'll only have Joel here with us. Four years later and he'll be on his way. Four short years. I'm thrown off guard by the thought that the bulk of the child rearing will soon be behind us. I know they say you never stop worrying about your kids...but it won't be long before we have the day to day interaction with them. It happened way to quickly. I don't feel any older than I was when they were babies. How did they get to be 14, 18, and 21 years old?

I've never been one to wish time away. I've never been particularly anxious for the "next phase." I want to do more than stop time, I want to turn it back. I see young moms cooing at little ones in shopping carts or holding a child's hand as they hurry through a parking lot and I miss those times. They were demanding times, but precious none the less.

I enjoy peace and quiet as much as anyone else. But today, it leaves me feeling quite unsettled. All I hear is the ticking of a clock, reminding me that soon this "peace" will be the norm. I'm pretty sure that's not all it's cracked up to be. In fact, I'm sure of it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Disturbing Dreams

I had a disturbing dream last night. I don't usually remember dreams but I remember enough of this one that it's bothering me. I actually woke up once during the dream, realized I was having a terrible dream, but returned to it when I dropped back off to sleep.

It's a slasher dream.

I was in a house that I didn't recognize with people I didn't know...except I knew Aaron was there somewhere. A big angry man stormed in with a wielding a big knife and threatened to kill us, then started to slash people around me dead. I was sitting on a bench, sort of like a the far left end, and the person next to me was killed and slumped against me. The killer moved on around the room, and at one point, I saw an opportunity to make a run for it...which I did, and I got out of the house.

That's when I woke up.

But when I fell back asleep, I was back in the house and trying to avoid the killer. I could hear him terrorizing others. At one point, I saw Aaron and he told me to hide in a closet, which I did. But I became afraid that I'd get cornered in there so I snuck out and ran looking for somewhere safe.

Then I was in another room and Amelia was there. We climbed up into a loft area over a fireplace with some other people and were huddled way in the back. The killer and an accomplice found us. First we saw the accomplice, and (this is really weird) he was wearing what looked like a black crinoline dress with a white veil. The killer was right behind him and he was wearing an identical dress with a black veil. We couldn't see either face. He lunged toward me and I grabbed a chair and raised it over my head. My intention was to smash it over his head if he came any closer. I was hoping that one of the other people would grab another chair and smash him from behind. In that moment of hesitation, the alarm rang and I woke up.

I wish I didn't remember. I hate being scared or feeling panic. I won't watch a movie that I expect to be disturbing. They upset me too much. I feel like this imagery is going to be with me for awhile and I'd like to shake it. But I can't help wondering what it all means.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


My primary reason for going to Allentown last weekend was to attend a workshop put on by the Aquatic Exercise Association. I recently did the retest for my certification and this came along at a perfect time for a practical refresher.

I had two full days of class and pool time. Saturday, I did an all day seminar on personal pool programming. This workshop was geared to meeting the fitness goals of clients who would prefer one on one or small group (2 to 3 people) training as opposed to a standard aquatic fitness class. It did not go into the exercise science portion of personal training, but focused primarily on helping the client identify their goals, screening and program design. It was a "lite" day as we only spent two hours in the water...but it was 2 hours of workout. A great workout!

I had considered studying for personal training certification, and then all the complications of the last few years came tumbling down on me. I'm starting to revisit the idea. However, at this point I do feel like I have the resources and experience to put together a personal workout program for someone without major health issues or who is not recovering from a serious injury. We shall see where this goes. At the moment, I don't have a facility to teach at. But I think I'm ready to start looking.

The second day involved 4 short workshops, each with an hour of pool time. They thoughtfully grouped the pool sessions so that there were two back to back and we didn't have to CHANGE four times (actually 8 times). Two sessions focused on deep water workouts, and the other two were geared to the shallow end of the pool. All four introduced some great equipment I hadn't used before. I got exactly what I was looking for in the weekend...ideas...lots of them! I'm ready to go...I just need a class!

I was kind of expecting to see a couple of the other instructors from the pool where I worked in Allentown. I was really surprised on Saturday when I recognized no one. But on Sunday, there were three women there who I'd taught with in the past. Two were on the staff at the pool when I left, but the other I hadn't seen in many years. The ironic thing is...of all the people I've worked with there, she was the one I was closest to. I was tickled to death to see her and catch up

The only down side to all this exercise was that it seemed to exacerbate the issue I'm having with my back/neck/shoulder. It felt great in the water and I had no problem with range of motion. But once I was out, my shoulder and arm were throbbing and my fingers were tingling. By the end of the second day, I was hurting pretty bad during the last hour of lecture. I have to watch my posture, sitting certain ways really hurts. I couldn't wait to get back to Janet's and get some heat on my shoulder. Thankfully, heat does give me some relief.

I'm at my wits end about this back/neck/shoulder thing, so yesterday I started with a chiropractor. He thinks that it's all starting in my neck and causing muscles in my back to contract and then press on a nerve. He wants to see me three days a week for four weeks! I've only had one session with a chiropractor....a jillion years ago. It's kind of distressing when they adjust you suddenly and you hear all that popping noise. I did feel a little better yesterday when I was finished there, but this morning when I got up, I hurt like the devil. During my appointment yesterday, I asked him specifically about the pool exercise and he said he was all for it. So, I don't think I need to worry that I worsened it over the weekend. I think, if anything aggravated it, it was the uncomfortable chairs in the conference room.

So the next step is to try and identify facilities that have a pool and offer classes. I wouldn't mind linking up with more than one facility but it's going to take a little research. When we were shopping for a gym, I made a pool a priority and I didn't find much. If I was to do some individual training, it could be worth my while to drive a little further. I don't want to spend more on gas getting to the clients than I make teaching. If I'm not careful, that's exactly what will happen. Hopefully I'll get lucky and find the perfect (or near perfect) place close by.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I returned from my Allentown weekend midafternoon yesterday. It was a weekend of many emotions and I'm glad that I went even though some moments were difficult.

I saw four people I intended to see, three of my closest friends in the area and my old therapist. I am bouyed to be able to spend time with these people and find our relationships are holding strong. Tears were shed, but they were tears of love. Those are tears that should not be denied.

Maureen and I have known each other for 16 years. Arielle and her daughter Cat have been friends since they were toddlers. We had a wonderful time catching up on each other's lives. Maureen is the type who will not sidestep difficult topics. She really DOES want to know what I'm thinking and feeling. I appreciate that. I have had so many experiences with friends who are afraid to touch what is most painful...the things I need to express most. But Maureen is not afraid of a friend's tears and will share them. We cried in each other's arms as we said goodbye.

Janet was my weekend hostess. She made me feel so welcome in her home. It's very surreal to spend a weekend there. As my across the street neighbor, it's completely normal to spend time with her at her house. But, it's very bizarre to gaze across the street at the house that was my home and then retreat to her guest room. We agreed that our relationship is changing in the wake of my move. Now we talk late into the night over a glass (or two or three) of wine and share coffee in the morning. You feel a new level in a friendship when you can be a guest for days and never feel like an imposition. We have to cram a lot into a small amount of time. It's nice to linger with her in a way that I didn't before.

Sweet home is now hers. I so appreciate her patience and understanding and love. She's so happy in the house and is enjoying making it into her home. I know she wants to share her excitement in how she's settling in. But selfishly, I'm unable to let her take me on a tour and show off all she's done. I haven't let go to the extent that I can go in the house yet. My desire to go home is still much to strong and the loss still stings. She loves me enough to accept that and understand my inability to visit the house. I would feel this same terrible homesickness regardless of who was living there. My reluctance is not about her. I am SO happy that she is happy, and I love her for her respect of my feelings. She visited me at Janet's and never allowed me to feel guilty about my reluctance to venture across the street. I treasure her like a sister.

After much deliberation, I decided to contact my old therapist, John. I saw him for about 4 years and have missed him a great deal since I moved. He was someone that I had poured my heart out to when things were at their worst between Aaron and me and as a was forced to deal with losing Meg and Schuyler. He was who heard all the fear and pain and anxiety as Aaron lost his job and we faced the uncertainty of where we were going to land. There were no "cures" for these situations, but I have no doubt that I got through them as well as I did because I could go and freely dump my feelings on a regular basis and have his support. And laugh...OMG did the two of us laugh! That was the therapy he provided. I teased that I paid him to be my friend.

But, the truth is....we couldn't be friends. We were therapist/client. I have missed him so much and talked about him often with the therapist I see now. She encouraged me to contact him about this visit and see if he would see me. I called his office on a Sunday a couple of weeks ago to let him know I would be in town. I wanted him to have time to decide how he wanted to respond and not have to answer me in an unexpected spur of the moment phone call. He called me back the next day and said, of course he'd see me. Then, as much as I was looking forward to it...I was very concerned about a set back.

I arrived at his office and was received with a hug. We talked and laughed for about an hour and a half. And I sensed a shift in our relationship because he was more candid about details of his life than he'd been in the past. He talked of his partner by name. He shared some information about a long term medical issue. We talked about his music. I gave him the short version of everything that had happened with me since I saw him last. We just talked like friends.

As I was about to leave, I thanked him and told him how good it was to see him. He told me that I should never hesitate to call if I'm going to be in town...that he'd be happy to see me any time. His opinion was that I had a new therapist now and that was no longer his role. He also told me for the first time that his partner's extended family is on Long Island. They haven't been out here for a couple of years but when they next come out here, he will let me know. So in a way...I have a new friend.

So. it's all good....bittersweet...but good. I'm typing with tears right now. But, I'm also smiling.

The workshop was great! But, I'll save that for the next entry.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


I appreciate everyone who stopped by and left a note. It doesn't feel quite so lonely here now. I've been feeling a bit guilty over the last few days that I haven't posted after rattling at the gate like that.

I continue to be busy doing....who knows. I can't believe it's November. I'm delighted it's finally election day!!! I took Arielle with me for her first time voting. It's Adrienne's first time too and she's registered and set to vote in Pittsburgh. The lines here were not long at all. I guess that's an advantage to living in a "village". Population density is not an issue.

So now.....we wait. I hope all the polls are not misleading us.

I've been spending a lot of time with my sewing machine recently. I signed up for a short online class on mixed media collage. The primary media is fabric...something I'm comfortable working with. I've posted a couple of my pieces on my photo/art blog. I've got something in the works now and I'm tickled with how it's working out. It's going to be a gift for my sister. I'm never sure how handmade gifts are going to be met, so I don't do a lot of them. But I'm pretty confident about this one. I will post it when it's all done.

I'm going back to Allentown this weekend. The Aquatic Exercise Association is holding a weekend workshop there and I'm all signed up. It is the last step I wanted to take before I started to go out and look for a teaching gig. I've got my certification re-upped, but I wanted to get to a workshop and get some fresh ideas. I worked a lot with specific equipment when I was teaching in Allentown and I can't depend on any equipment being available anywhere I can get a class. I think I'll get up to speed a little quicker with some new ideas.

It will make for a long weekend. The sessions go from 8 - 5:30 both Saturday and Sunday. I'm not returning to NY until Monday....I was concerned I'd be too exhausted to make the drive after a day at the pool.

I'm approaching this trip with a bit of angst. I'm going to be staying with my across the street neighbor while I'm there. It's going to be hard to be that close to home, but not home. I am still wrestling with homesickness that overwhelms me at times. I want to be a big girl and get over this, but I'm very scared of how the trip will affect me. I intend to see a few people, including Kate who owns my house now. I want to see them...I want them in my life. But I am concerned I'll have an emotional backslide and the associated stress when it's time to come back here.

Speaking of stress, I've been having pain in my upper back for about 3 weeks now. It's right across my right shoulder blade and it feels tight. I'm constantly moving my shoulders around trying to get it to relax. But instead, it's spreading. Now I feel it around in front of my shoulder, and down my side, and sometimes even my arm is aching. I was scheduled for a doctor visit yesterday and had her assess it. She said she could feel a knot near my shoulder blade and that it was so tight, it was probably compressing a nerve. Then she asked me...."are you under any stress?" Gee...there's shocker.

We're on the tail end of autumn here. The leaves are all turned and most of the brilliant color is gone. It's going to take one good storm and they'll all be down. I hope that I have something going with the teaching soon. It will help me get through the dark gray months. I've got to be proactive and fight the doldrums that come with winter. I'm doing all that I know to do.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I don't know if no one has found me, or if everyone is reading from their reading list or feedblitz,or are busy, or just not commenting, but I feel like I lost everyone. Can you humor me and leave a comment so I know you're out there???

Friday, October 24, 2008

Time Management

This week flew by in the blink of an eye. I can't understand how I can get so little done in an entire week. But then I realize that even though I have a lot of available time, it ends up getting broken up into chunks that don't really allow for the completion of anything. I'll get busy, then have to stop for an appointment. Or, I'll start something, and it's time to go get the kids. I'll have to stop in the middle of a task or project to make sure we have what we need for dinner. And so it goes.

I did get one thing accomplished. I completed the reinstatement exam for my aquatic fitness certification. And,I've started back to working out at the pool. The gym we joined here is brand new and beautiful. It doesn't have the size and depth pool I was used to in Allentown, but I've adapted my workout for myself in this facility. It's an adjustment I needed to make if I want to try and teach out here. There's another two hours eaten up in a day. By the time I drive there, change, exercise, shower, and drive home it seems half the day is gone. But, it feels so good to get in the water and sweat. It's worth sacrificing a couple of hours 3 or 4 days a week.

I shouldn't be on this computer now. We have friends from Allentown coming to visit over the weekend and I'm getting a little frazzled about the house. In reality, it looks fine but I always drive myself crazy this way. Too bad I don't love housework. We're putting our guests in Joel's room (since we don't have a guest room) and I just spent the last two hours cleaning and tidying in there. And that was AFTER he'd "cleaned" it. I still want to do a lot of tidying and organizing in our office. My side of the office is the family dumping ground. If we don't know where to put goes on Mom's desk (and becomes Mom's problem). Then there's my "work area" in the basement. When our friends were here for the Bar Mitzvah they didn't see the entire I'm sure they'll want to go see the basement this time. The place where I work down there is definately an out of sight, our of mind space. So, it needs work.

I've spent more time than normal at the computer since we migrated over here. Now that we have the ability to monitor new posts in our favorite journals on the sidebar...I'm trying to stay up a little better than I had in the last year or so. I guess I don't want to fade into the shadows over here so I'm trying to get around and leave some comments. All it takes is time.

It's really been a pretty uneventful week. That's why I get so frustrated about how quickly it's gone by. Why am I not finding time to really work on (or FINISH) a project, or go through the tons of photos I need to sort and edit? I probably need a "to do" list...but, I'm sure I'd lose it. I can't imagine having to fit a job into the rest of this...and I know that many, many women do. Wow do you do it?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Big Pictures

If anyone is interested in the instructions as to how I post large photos in Blogger, I've typed them up and posted them to the Blogger Community Photo Journal here.


I think I have found a friend.

Last year, in late fall, I was hiking at Connetquot State Park taking pictures. I came to a little bridge, and there was a woman standing on the bridge with a camera with the same lens that I was using. She said hello and we started talking. She was a frequent visitor to the park, and as it was the first time I'd been there, she offered to show me around a bit. We had a nice walk and agreed we should meet there again for a photo shoot.

Prior to yesterday, we've met at the park twice and spent a couple of hours taking photos. But this week, we talked about visiting another park that is further from where we both live. We agreed she'd come by my house and we'd drive out together.

So, we met up here yesterday about 8:30 and started out for the day. I expected that we'd get to the part, walk for a couple of hours or so then maybe have some lunch. Well, we were at the park ALL DAY. We didn't cover that much ground....maybe 3 miles...but we really took our time taking photos. We both enjoy macro nature shots, so we'd get to a spot....crawl around on the ground shooting things, each totally engrossed in what we were doing...then walk on. Her husband is also an avid photographer but he likes to do birds and teases her when she wants to take the time to photograph forest floor litter, small flowers or weeds. As any of my old readers know...I love these type of images.

We spent at least an hour at the north end of the park walking along the shore of the Long Island sound... and all of a sudden, it was noon! We decided we were both hungry and should head back to get lunch. But as we walked through the woods and fields back towards the parking lot, we got distracted more than once by the woodland minutia and the beautiful fall color. We finally decided it was really time to high tail it back when we realized it was 3:30 and now we were going to have to contend with commuter traffic. It's been a long, LONG time since I've had a day fly by like that.

I've got lots of images to go through, but I will be posting some of my favorites over at my photoblog. Meanwhile, I feel a little sense of peace. I think I've finally got a friend here in NY.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Few Bumps Along The Road

I hope that everyone is having success getting moved and settled in over a Blogger. I haven't posted anything here up until now becauseI wanted to get the space organized and functioning the way I want it. It takes some research and trial and error to get outside the templates offered. It's time consuming but it's also an entertaining challenge. I have never delved into HTML but I'm actually starting to understand how it's least a little bit. I can see a glimmer of what some of the possibilities are here.

My biggest frustration is photo posting. I'm hoping someone can give me some guidance on that front. It's obvious from my postings at AOL that I like BIG PICTURES. The blogger standard of "large" is small by my standards. I was able to modify the templates my archived journals with the migrated big pictures and they are showing full size. But, I have not been able to create a new post with a big picture. I've been googling around, trying different things and I either get a small picture or no picture at all. I've tried uploading directly from my computer as well as linking to a photo at Flickr. Has anyone had any luck with this? I'd love some guidance.

I'll cross post this to my journal at blogger and if I find a solution that works, I'll be glad to share. I know we're all going to be doing a little stumbling around. Can anyone help me avoid reinventing the wheel?