Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Bright Spot

I have done a disproportionate amount of complaining about Long Island here on this blog.  But today, I need to honor the one thing I honestly love about living here....and that is being near a shore bird habitat.

The first summer we were here, we bought two kayaks.  I have not had near the opportunity to use mine that I would have hoped.  It's too heavy for me to manage on and off the top of my van alone.  And, while Aaron goes out often....he prefers to go out mid day when the intensity of the sun is at its worst.  Being a blue eyed blonde, I have no business out in the burning rays.  Even covered in liquid shirt  (never sunscreen rated below SPF55), I still break out in hives.  So, my kayak excursions have been limited.

But this week, I was able to arrange to store my kayak at a boatyard at the harbor just a mile from my house.  It's easy to drag the boat from the rack to the shore so now, I am finally free to enjoy the water and the birds at the time of day that is best for me.


Our harbor is beautiful and filled with a huge variety of birds.  This little map shows my launch point (x marks the spot), and the island in the harbor that is habitat for herons, egrets, terns, skimmers, oystercatchers, all kind of sandpipers, plovers and more!  A little planning with the tides and it's an easy paddle around the island where I can get close to shore to photograph all my feathered friends.  And there is something so peaceful in paddling through the wetlands, surrounded by thickets of grass.  It feels like a big adventure right in my backyard.



I'm posting photos of the birds from our harbor on my photoblog.  For an ongoing birders tour of my little corner of the world, please visit me there!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Many Thanks...

I really deeply appreciate the comments I received on the last post. Not only am I touched by your kind words and encouragement...I also appreciate knowing you are each still with me. I wrote with a little trepidation...what if NO ONE read? I should have known better as our friendships ARE real. All your comments are so encouraging and inspire me not only to try and stay strong, but also to continue to share these challenging experiences with you...friends who care.

I know some of you have been through your own very rough times over the years. I feel privileged that I have gotten to know you through times good and bad. What I am experiencing now is the true joy of blogging. Thank you!

Rose - I've been mentally shouting "ENOUGH!" for about a year now. One thing I've learned is that we don't get to choose when we've had enough. But we can hope for is a reprieve. I'm not a pessimist, but I have sure learned to be a realist. Thanks so much for your thoughts, encouragement and prayers.

Lisa - You are absolutely right, our blog friends are a very special breed of friend. You are one of the wonderful people I've known through this medium for EIGHT(?) years now.  It gives me so much peace to know that you and the others WILL be there when I break down and decide to dump the mess of my life here. I think you know I'll be there for you too. Thank you my friend.

Paul - When I saw that you had visited, tears came to my eyes. I thought I had lost touch with you. I find joy in knowing that our connection is still intact after all this time. I've missed you and hope to hear from you again.

Phinney - I wish we lived closer too sweetie but at least we live close enough that we've really spent time together. I know you're always there when I need you. And, don't sell yourself short in the strength have been through as much as anyone I know. You have had some incredible struggles all the while showing nothing but strength to your friends, family and your son.

Don't stop talking about what's going on. If you're not up to blogging. Call me....

Cynthia - I know you understand exactly where I was coming from when I wrote this entry. If even an occasional entry can help us through our most troubled times, then we need to stick with it. You have had a very, very tough few years and when you write, your introspection always makes me think and it inspires me to be stronger. Thanks for having the courage to share the way that you do. And thanks for being here for me.

Monica - I feel that hug! :) Sending one right back at you! I know you are like me in that when times are tough, you get quiet and stay in touch with your beautiful photos. It's safer to speak through photos than through words sometimes. But I also know, you have followers that really do care about what's going on in your life and they'll be there when you're ready to share. If you're not ready to blog, please send me an email and let me know what's up with you.

I BELIEVE one day we will have the chance to do that photo outing together. I know we'll have an amazing time. I'm counting on it!

Susan - Thanks so much for reading and commenting here AND for all the hugs! We're just starting to get to know each other via blogging and it makes me smile to feel the connection strengthening. I feel like your spirit is as big as Oz Land. Thanks for sharing some of that beautiful spirit and your hugs and encouragement here.

You all are amazing and today my heart feels so full. I'm sending lots of love out to you all.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011


Yesterday was the anniversary of the last day of my "normal" life.  The last day I felt fully like myself.  Six years ago today, the first (and worst) of a series of events began that have pulled me further and further from feeling my place in the world.  Six years is a long time to drift and I still have no real vision of what will bring me back to a sense of stability.  Who knew that at the age of 54, so much of my life would feel so far out of my control.

Today is the sixth anniversary of the terrible accident that killed my sister and my nephew.  It's a loss I've learned to live with but some days my psyche and my heart finds it  almost impossible to accept.  

Since that day, I have been repeatedly thrust into life changing situations that have challenged my belief that a life I envision for myself is within my grasp.

Six years and one day ago, I was living in a bubble of contentment.  I loved my home and my community, I had wonderful friends around me, my family was intact and we were emotionally and financially secure.  That day now seems like ancient history.  It all started with a devastating phone call.  I relive that moment frequently in my head and still can hardly believe the news it brought.  It broke my heart and robbed me the ability to believe that my loved ones are protected and safe.  And now,  so much more has happened I feel  little confidence  going forward.

My husband lost his job...not once, but twice.  The first we knew was coming and we would have weathered it better if it was not in the immediate shadow of Meg's death.   I was grieving while things were uncertain and I was not up to the task of providing Aaron with the support he needed.  He looked for work for a year and when he found a job, it required a relocation.  I was about to be faced with my next big loss....either my husband, or my home.

I chose to keep my marriage intact but the price for that choice has been monumental.  I loved my home, I loved where it sat, I loved (and still love) my neighbor there.  I loved my friends.  I loved my place in the community.  I loved the surrounding area.  I loved that everything around me was filled with memories of my precious children growing up and happy times with my dear friends.  In my heart...I was home.

But I left it.  I can't let myself believe that it was the wrong thing to do even though my gut told me otherwise.  It would have been worse to divide my family.    I've regretted that I wasn't more forceful about my instincts.  It's like another death to me.  Just like I can't get my sister back, I can't get that life back.  My homesickness is like a rotten spot on my soul.  It's a festering wound that just won't heal.

The first two years in our new place were rough.  I was heartsick to be here and felt tremendously displaced.  Were it not for the few friends who supported me over the miles, I don't know how I would have made it.  It was very difficult to meet and connect with anyone here.  I felt "out of sight, out of mind" with many people I'd left behind and that was painful.  Some days I'd look around and think "where am I? WHO am I?"  Of course, it put tremendous strain on my marriage.

By the third year, I'd made one friend and was finally getting my head around "this is where I live."  While I was still very fragile with homesickness, I was getting a bit stronger and a more peaceful in my day to day existence.  Then, Aaron came home to tell me that he'd lost his job.

Aaron was working as an executive at a semiconductor company.  It was a high paying position with a lot of responsibility.  He was laid off because the company had hired a new CEO and (as is not uncommon) she cleared the executive decks to bring in her own team.  From the moment she was hired he had an inkling this could happen, yet when it did we felt blindsided.

That was almost 18 months ago.  He has been looking diligently for work all along but things far out of our control an obstacle.  We are a statistic heard on the news every night.  We are the "over age 50 long term unemployed".  Aaron has exceptional skills and experience.  One prominent CEO in silicon valley invited him out to meet on a consult and told him that his resume "glowed in the dark".  But there are no jobs....there are no empty chairs.  And he can't get considered for a lower level position because his experience is a "threat".  No one wants to hire someone who could do THEIR  job.

Our expenses here are staggering.  Everything was within our budget when Aaron was working.  This was not a case of borrowing more than we could afford.  Thankfully we have money in the bank....we were conscientious about saving all our married life.  But now we are watching that nest egg hemorrhage.   We have put the house on the market but real estate is in such bad shape here that it is listed for what we owe.  All our equity is gone.  We can't get anyone to even look at the place.  With the economic uncertainty there's no surprise there.  Once again, we are a news statistic....upside down on our house and no buyers in sight.

I watch what's happening in our economy and with our pathetic collection of "lawmakers" and consider our status as a statistic and wonder if there is anything we will be able to do to get through this mess and land on our feet.  It's frustrating because for almost 30 years we really tried to be forward thinking plan for our future and the future of our kids.  We left the home I loved to come here because this was the clearest path to ensuring financial security.  Look where it got us.   Without a job or a buyer the outlook is pretty dismal and some days we are more discouraged than others.  The last six years has been a long haul of heartbreak and disappointment.  I'm tired....I'm tired of feeling this way.  Hopelessness is draining.  I keep looking for that one thing to grab a solid stick in a flooded river.  I need to grab onto something to keep from swept away, pulled under, and drowned.  But, nothing feels like the solid anchor I hope to find.

I'm hesitating to push the publish button on this as the latest in a long series of woeful posts.   But today's anniversary is significant.  It was the first and most overwhelming loss in a series of losses that I'm struggling to recover from.  It's hard for me to wrestle with any one without all of them falling on top of me.

I've been wanting to return to blogging for awhile and all this emotional clutter gets in the way.  I'm hoping that if I dump it here one more time that maybe I can resume a pattern of blogging about TODAY without dragging in all the baggage of the last six years.  I'm going to try.  I hope a few of you out there are still with me....