Today

I just read the blog I wrote the day after the election last November.  It is awful and depressing and I feel worse today than I did then.  The shock has worn off, no longer dully protecting me from this deep and abiding grief that I cannot seem to overcome.  I am doing something I always wanted to do. I am a snowbird. I am in Florida for three months, where I rented an adorable little cottage that reminds me of nothing so much as our place in Maine.  It could be bigger and fancier, but it is not.  It’s small.  Cozy.  Beautifully located.  Minimal. The little porch stretches across the front, screens open on all three sides.  Walking distance from the beach and from the most quaint little downtown you will see anywhere.  And I am miserable.  I thought it might be better here but it is not.  There is not a lot to distract from what is happening to my country.  At least at home in Connecticut, I worked like a maniac. Worked and drove and slept and worked and drove and slept.  I didn’t have the time to fret and stew and wait for our fate to come crashing down upon our heads.  I look at the internet and follow the hearings on C-Span and watch my country collapse.  All my fears come true.  One after another.  I knew the day after the election I did not want to come here but I had made a good-size deposit and foolish me, I thought I might get better.  R&R.  I am a social creature and I love seeing people and laughing and socializing but I have a bit of the hermit in me as well.  I was looking forward to being by myself with my dog and my books, and seeing people when I wanted to.  I have been here since January 1 and I have not gone to the beach that is five blocks away, not one time.  I have gone there when it was cool and sat at a table and looked at the water.  A couple of times.  It was beautiful and noisy and peaceful.  But I have not thrown my book and a beach chair and my minty iced tea in the car and driven to the water.  And I feel bad about this.  I feel bad that I have become so weakened that I am giving my power to a crazy person and bunch of crazy sycophants, and a bunch of plain evil people.  And the longer this goes on, the more I blame people who voted for him.  I thought this might ebb but it has increased.  Anyone who cast a vote for this horrible little troll is a horrible little troll.  I don’t believe I will ever forgive any of them.  Unfortunately, they are taking me down with them.  Day by day, I see the evidence mount, and I realize how naïve I was before November 8.  I truly believed in my heart that people would do the right thing.  And they did not.

 

Sometimes, I feel little blips of hope.  I feel like I can do something and make a difference and stop this madness.  But I cannot.  Because unlike other elected officials, this insane narcissist does not give a fiddler’s fuck what one single one of us thinks, you know – except apparently Meryl Streep.  He seems to have been overly concerned with her.  I try and I try and I try and I can come out of this for short periods.  I have friends who have seen me laugh and joke.  I have beachy plans next week with a good friend and the week after with my nephew.  And I know I will feel good and be happy then.  And after that, I fear I will be exactly like I am today.

 

Someone said to me today, “I wonder sometimes if I am not seeing things as clearly as you do.”  And I am positive that is it.  I see this.  It is coming like the proverbial freight train.  I can’t stop it.  I am helpless in the path.

 

This is my life now.

A New Chapter

On February 7, 2014, I celebrated an anniversary.  On that day, I had not had a full-time job for two years.

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Those who know me already know this about me – I like not working every day.  I don’t like thinking about from where my next dollar will come, but I no longer place any value on myself in reference to my work status.  I used to.  After I was fired from Mintz & Hoke in 2003, I learned not to.  I figured if they could fire me after all I had done while working there, I needed to rethink who I was.  There is a party game.  It goes like this.  What are you?  Name three things.  The most true thing first.  For years and years, I was

1.  A production manager

2.  A wife

3.  A friend

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Two and three varied, but for 20 years, I was a production manager first and always.  A cruel lesson I had to learn, but like many tough experiences in life – I am so much better for it.  Cancer – better for it.  Battered woman – better for it.  Infertile – better for it.  All true.

Now this sound like it could be a depressing blog but I tell you, it is not and will not end up that way.

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I am selling my condo that I have owned for the last 10 years.  I can no longer afford to live here.  It is my favorite place I have ever lived.   I suppose I could find two lousy-paying full-time jobs but I don’t want to.  And lucky for me, I have another option.  I am moving in with my parents. (Plus a huge shout-out to the Affordable Care Act AKA Obamacare.)

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And this is what this blog is really about.  Me, moving back to my childhood home.

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You read about this all the time.  You are reading about this now.  We are living in a strange world.  This economy is in an uproar.  I always did the right thing.  I saved money.  I supported myself.  I owned my own home.  Three times I bought a home.  I started at the bottom and made my way up to a spot where I could do what I wanted.  Within reason.  I remember buying my first house in 1985 and when we came out of the closing, we had about $100 left.  But we made a comeback.  We were careful and frugal.  And later on we, and then I, went on nice vacations.  I drove a relatively new car.  I picked up the tab.  If I wanted something new, I bought it.  New Nikes.  A prime rib to feed my friends at dinner.  Sushi once a week.  A mani/pedi.  A book.  Flowers for the dining room table.  A pizza delivered.  A massage.  Just regular stuff.  Nothing too extravagant.  What everyone wants to make life nice.  I don’t buy any of these things now.

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When I was a kid, I moved to Florida.  It was 1977.  I answered an ad for a job with “Kelly Girls” to work at a printer as a secretary/receptionist.  Voila!  The rest is history – I went into printing – remember drinks around the table – what are you – I am a production manager.  I was made for that job.  I had never heard of a production manager when I was growing up and all at once, I was one.  And I was good at it.  But print is dying a slow and painful death.  It won’t die all the way.  It will reincarnate as a smaller type of business.  PDF and the internet took care of that.  And I’m OK with progress.  I love the internet.  I was a library freak when I was a kid and I’m an internet freak now.  I love looking stuff up.  I used to keep a dictionary by my bed.  I read in bed.  Every night.  I liked to open an encyclopedia to any page and read about what I landed on.  Encyclopedias are gone.  Now we have Wikipedia.  And I like Wikipedia too.  And Google.

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So I was laid off two years ago and I looked for a job.  But I had been working in printing since 1977.  This is 2014.  I am 58 years old.  It is hard enough to get a job at my age, but I’m a one-trick pony to employers.  I know what I am.  I know I am not a one-trick pony.  I’m smart and funny and patient and passionate and flexible and fast and a very good student.  But I have given up on convincing anyone new of that.  And I no longer worry about it.

I have done some volunteer work at the daycare at the Y.  That led to a job as a sub Pre-K teacher.  I helped a friend with an older relative.  That led to respite care.  And work through Care.com.  I’ve done some editing for a university alumni magazine.  Now I’m driving escort cars.  With the oversize load sign on top?  And the flashing lights?  And a CB radio and orange flags?  And I have to say, I love it.  And it pays quite well.  Not much going on in the winter but it’s good.  No politics.  No crap.  No fighting.  And if there is, I pay no attention.  I go where they tell me.  I do what they tell me.  Then I go home.  I am going to try to support myself for a long time doing this.  My “friends” say I am a paid escort.  I love them too.

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So back to moving.  I like my parents.  They like me.  Dare I say, it might be love?

C&V

At the end of last summer and early fall, I let a friend stay in my condo.  I spent most of that time with my parents, in both Maine and Connecticut.  I had been considering moving in with them and in the back of my mind, I was afraid we might drive each other nuts and I wanted to test the waters.  And you know what?  I dove right in and the water was fine.  I kept asking my mother, “Am I driving you nuts?”  And she kept saying, “No.  Are we driving you nuts?”  And the answer was no from my end too.  When I finally came back to my condo, my mother called me and said, “Come back.  I don’t want to do my own laundry.”

maine laundry

Another thing to know about me.  In addition to being Self-Appointed Hair Critic to the World, I am the Queen of Laundry.  Believe it.  I separate.  I do the hot, warm, cold loads.  Every single time.  I use bleach as needed.  Every single time.  Yes.  No short cuts.  I’m a good production manager.  Probably why I was able to stay in my condo for two years without a real job.  I sold my Wii, my grandmothers crocks and kitchen antiques, my china and crystal, my jewelry, my jewelry armoire, designer clothes, and many more things that I cannot recall right now.  And I will sell lots more before I am through.  Because I am moving.

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I am heading toward a new chapter in my life.  I will live with my parents.  It will be good for me.  It will be good for them.  I won’t have to work ever again in a full-time job about which I do not care. I will do for them the things that become more difficult as they age.  And they will make my life easier.  We will take turns cooking.  My father and I want a big garden.  I love yard work.  I will do dishes and laundry.  I will run up and down the stairs.  I can watch their dog if they want to go somewhere and they can watch Dante for me.  I will drive my escort vehicles.  I will be busy in the nice seasons and slow in the winter.

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I will enter a new phase of my life.  I will peel down another layer and explore the person who is there – someone different yet the same in many ways.   As I have done many times before.  I look forward to it.  I embrace it.  My life is good.  It was good and will continue to be.

I am at a party. I am playing the game.  I am

1.  A daughter

2.  A dog mother

3.  A friend

daughters dante friend

I another few years, I may be someone else.

But for now – with my family, my friends and my dog, I’m happy.

Happy

The Story of Dante

Someone asked me about the story of how I got Dante.  Those of you who are sick of my dog stories may skip right over this.  The dog people – please continue.

The last time I took Mike to the vet, I met a woman there named Daryl and we struck up a conversation about poodles.  Come to find out, she ran Connecticut Poodle Rescue.  We had a very nice conversation about our favorite breed of dog and I left there with her card in my pocket.  Little did I know I’d be looking for it in less than three months.

So then I lost my Mikey.  And I felt that I wanted to wait for a while before I got another dog.  But pretty soon after that, I came to a firm realization.  I am a woman who lives with a dog.

My old friend Cindy dropped me a note and said you should fill out the application for a rescue poodle so when you’re ready, the paperwork will be done.  So I went on line, found the app, and filled it out.  Then I sent a separate e-mail to Daryl and told her about Mike.  She sent me a nice note and I sat back to see how I would feel.

Then at the beginning of my fourth week without Mike, my mother asked me if I was going to Maine and I started to cry.  And I told her I couldn’t go to Maine without my dog in the back seat.  In addition to our multiple trips to Lake Ebeemee, Mikey and I had traveled all over the country:  Baltimore, Tennessee, Texas, New Orleans and Florida.  If he was in the back seat, I was never alone.  And if he was in my condo, I was never alone here either.  At that moment, I knew it was time.

So Wednesday night, May 22, I went to http://www.poodlerescuect.org/ and saw a couple of standard poodles that had not been there two weeks before.  And I sent Daryl another e-mail.  My phone rang 2 minutes later and I had an appointment to see her the next afternoon to meet Dante.

I called my mother and asked her to come with me as she had been my poodle good luck charm because I had gotten my first poodle from her – a toy named Dave, and she had been with me when I went to get Mikey.  And I wanted to make sure Dante got along with Barkley, my parents’ poodle, because we spend a lot of time together.  So the three of us – me, Mom and Barkley – headed out to Naugatuck to meet Dante.

The meeting between Barkley and Dante went very well.  Barkley sometimes lacks manners and peed on Daryl’s deck.  She wasn’t one bit fazed as she has seven dogs – and yes they are poodles – all size and shapes and colors.

So I brought Dante home.  And the first night, I wondered what I had done.  He seemed so unhappy.  But he had had one helluva week.

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Dante’s mother had to give him up because she was forced by financial circumstances to sell her home and she could only have one dog where she was moving.  And she had another poodle that was 12 years old and she kept her.  What an awful choice to have to make.  But I am telling you, I am very lucky she did.

From Dante’s original home to Daryl’s to his foster home to the vet  and then had a grooming and then back to his foster home and then picked up again and home with me.  It was raining Thursday night but I took Dante out at least 6 times before midnight.  He did not pee, he did not poop, he did not eat.  He did not get on furniture.  He hardly made eye contact with me.  I was supposed to go out to dinner with my girls but I canceled.  I couldn’t leave him alone right away.

I took him upstairs with me to go to bed.  I was picking up my room, there were shoes all over and I was neatening up a little and he sat and looked at me.  I folded up a nice, clean, thick quilt next to my bed.  When I sat on my bed, Dante became instantly airborne, and landed on the bed, lay down and went to sleep.  OK.  This was good.  He slept all night right next to me.  When we woke up in the morning, he seemed happy to see me.  He was making eye contact, and he wanted to go outside for a walk.

Dante was uncivilized on a leash and was busy pulling my shoulder out of its socket.  As the day went on he seemed better and more interested in his surroundings.  He was coming out of his slump but he still did not eat.  Friday night I had a bowl of chicken soup and he was very interested in that so I gave him some.  He gobbled it up – the first thing to cross his lips except water since I had brought him home the day before.

On Saturday morning before I got up, I was lying in bed thinking about what would make him eat and all at once it occurred to me what he wanted, and that was canned dog food.  I had a couple of cans and opened one up.  He inhaled it.

Things went steadily uphill from there.  I took him with me when I went to Petco and bought his name tags, one for home and one for Maine.  He was pulling me all over the store and one of the salespeople saw him and introduced us to PetSafe Easy Walk harness.  Problem over – I kid you not.  Just like that.  That made me happy because I was wondering how I would be able to teach this old dog (he’s 5 1/2) a new trick.

Today is five weeks since I lost my Mikey.  I will miss him and his happy party-boy personality.  He was my guy.  Dante is more serious, not a rowdy dog, gentler.  Today is our tenth day together.  And I can tell you, we love each other.  We are getting to know each other.  He is different.  He squishes himself into little places.  He doesn’t sprawl on the couch.  He likes to go behind my chair and make himself small.  He likes food but he is not the food whore that his predecessor was.

But it’s all good.  Different, but good.  Dante and I – we are working it out.  We spend a lot of time walking around the neighborhood.  Dante gets along well with other dogs.  He has no desire to be the alpha boy.  He has adjusted and is obviously happy to be here with me.   I am happy too.  I am not lonely.  I am a woman who lives with a dog.

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My electric frying pan. And weddings, marriage, love, vows and faith.

I put my electric frying pan away this morning and sat down and started writing.

Back in 1980, I made a bad decision and married a man who was not nice.  I knew it when I did it.  It was an immature decision that lead to humiliation, punching and divorce.  But this story is not really about that chapter in my life.

It is about weddings, marriage, love, vows, faith and my electric frying pan.

A friend of a certain age, my age, just decided to get married.  What a leap of faith.  I admire that.  My friend is a good-hearted, solid, caring, thinking person of above-average intelligence.  She and her intended have children and grandkids.  Like most of us, they are working their way through life trying to be happy and do the right things.

So they decided to get married and all at once, in about 5 minutes, things started to go awry.  It was no big deal and nothing bad happened but things got a little off.  What I liked was her reaction.  She told me she was considering buying three sweatshirts – one that says bride, one that says groom, one that says minister and go stand by a tree and get married.  I loved this.

Because I really don’t like big, ornate weddings.  For me.  I understand many people love them.  I understand many little girls, and big girls too, dream of this day when they will perform this ritual in the long white dress.

But here is how it has always looked in my mind.

She dons the long, virginal, white dress with the veil over her head – like a cow going to slaughter – and is led down a long, white aisle by one man and is handed over to another man.  I remember when I was a little girl and my friends used to put towels over their heads like veils and play bride.  I would like to add here that I never did that.  Even as a small child I knew this was not for me.  I was just trying to figure out if I could have a baby without getting married.  This was the 60’s after all.  And I wanted to be a mother.  A real mother, not a mother to a life-size, rubber, baby doll with a hole in its painted pink lips into which one forced water and then squeezed it out the hole in the hiney.

She stood in the back of the church clutching her father’s arm.  She said Dad I don’t think I can do this.  Move your ass he said.  And they walked.

The bride, the groom, their families pay an inordinate amount of money for a party that lasts for part of one day.  This money could be used to make a down payment on a house or a condo.  To buy a car.  To pay off student loans.  Or to spend months in France and Italy.  It could be given to charity – there are so many needy people in this world.

And a lot of the time, this party does not make a lot of people happy.  The in-laws want to control the “bride’s day”.  The girlfriends don’t like the dress because they feel it makes them look like Little Bo Peep.  Not a lot of Little Bo Peep these days, but lots of unattractive because many are squeezed into tight, strapless gowns with fat back and tattoos showing.  And oftentimes, boobs way too big for strapless.  The girls need a home.  And the pressure to spend enough on a gift or give enough cash to pay for your attendance at this “wedding” is just not a good thing.  When did going to a wedding become paying for yourself to go to a party?  A long time ago now I’m afraid.

(And to my friends – please do not not invite me to your kids weddings now.  I love your children and I can go with the flow.  I am a card-carrying, dues-paying member of this civilized society and I want to be there.)

And since the majority of marriages end in divorce, this huge ceremony seems to me not a realistic way to spend one’s time, emotional energy, money.

And this ritual is so impersonal.  For what is more personal than standing up with someone you love and looking them in the eye and promising to try.  I do not like the word vows.  Merriam-Webster defines vows as “a solemn promise or assertion; specifically : one by which a person is bound to an act, service, or condition”.  This circus that a marriage ceremony has become is everything but personal.

Marriage today is not the same as marriage 50 or 100 or 200 or 500 years ago.  Not all of us need a man, or a mate for that matter, to have a life.  Marriage was invented back in the day when two people were needed to keep a family/household going.  People had to grow their food.  They had to plant and weed and harvest.  They had milk to the cows and feed the chickens and slop the hogs.  Food prep took all day.  Someone had to watch the kids while someone worked the crops.  There was canning to be done.  Meat had to be slaughtered and dried.  And plucked and skinned.  Now we have Stop & Shop.

For should not marriage or whatever word we use to describe it be a grown and mature union?  Where you stand up and look your partner/beloved in the eye and say something like this.

I love you.  Against all odds, I will try to do that forever.  Even on the days when I want to bop you.  During our bad days, I will try to remember our good times.  I hope you will help me with this.  I will try to have a sense of humor every single day because what other thing helps us get by more than that.  I hope you will help me remember that.  I promise that I will try to count to 10 before I open my mouth when you annoy me.  I promise I will try to look straight into your eyes every morning and remember why I stood here and said these words.  I hope when I draw my last breath or you draw yours, the thing we both know is that every day we tried to love each other best.

This exchange of verbal hope is personal.  Private.  Real.  This does not require an audience.  It does not need big expensive gifts.  It does not need a piece of paper.  It does not need a minister.  It does not need a $5000 dress.  It does not need arguments with your mother and your new in-laws.  It does not need sunny weather.  It does not need an expensive vacation.  It does not need a new house.  It does not need a long white dress.  It does not need a $45,000 budget.  It does not need a $20,000 budget.  It does not need a $1000 budget.

So back when I got married in 1980, there were I think five people in attendance besides the bride, groom and the minister – none of whom were dressed in sweatshirts.  The bride wore a knee-length yellow dress with white trim and some nice shoes.  The groom wore a pair of dress pants and a nice shirt.

The marriage didn’t last.  It was over in the blink of an eye.

At this time, I know 4 people, two couples – all people between the ages of 50 and 70 who are planning on getting married.  And the mathematical joy of it all – one for the first time, one for the second, one for the third, and one for the fourth.  Do I think they’re all nuts?  Yup.  Do I envy them their faith?  Yup.  Their hope?  Yup.  Their optimism in the face of all evidence to the contrary?  Yup.  Do I hope they are truly happy together and that when they draw their last breath, the thing they both know is that every day they tried to love each other best?  Yup.

One of those five in attendance at that small wedding in Florida 32 years ago was a woman whom I loved very much.  We are still in touch through the magic of Facebook.  I think it would be safe to say we probably do not agree on much political or religious.  I’ll double-check with her but I know the answer.  And I didn’t want a big wedding.  But I wanted to try.  And she wanted to be there when I said I would.  I was naïve.  I thought it might be forever.  My friend gave me an electric frying pan for a wedding present.  Back when we gave we each other things to help “set up house”.  Or usually apartment.  She gave me a gift I wanted and a gift she could afford.

I have that same electric frying pan still.  I use it all the time.  It’s banged and bent and beat up.  And still working.  Like me.  It’s outlasted all the men.

P.S.  If you’re looking for an electric frying pan that will last forever, go with West Bend.

Maine

I was born in December 1955.  In June 1956 when I was six months old, my very young parents took me on a family vacation to Lake Ebeemee, Maine.  And so began my lifelong love affair with this place.

I was my grandmother’s first grandchild and her pet.  I loved both my grandparents and they loved me.  I spent many weekends in Connecticut having sleepovers at their house.  I would pack my “bookcase” and away I’d go.  Like many people from Maine, my grandparents moved to Connecticut for work and left as soon as my grandfather retired from General Motors in Bristol.

I spent a lot of time here on Ebeemee Lake as a child.  My grandmother’s brother had a “camp” and when I was a small child, my grandfather and his friend George jointly purchased a log cabin for $500, next to which they began building the camp I am in right now.  Throughout the years, I came alone with my grandparents and also with my immediate family. My grandmother may hold the record as the most difficult woman who ever lived.  And I remember how my mother used to dread having to be stuck here for a week with her and three little kids.  I was too young to really understand then but I did later and I do now.  Stories of my grandmother’s vituperative outbursts and temper tantrums could fill a book.  Truly.  But if she controlled herself at all, and she didn’t all the time, it was around me.  Having said all that, I preferred being here alone with my grandparents to being here with my family.  It was better.  Easier.

My grandfather worked at the New Departure division of General Motors.  He got out of work at 3 PM and was home by 3:20.  Five minutes later, the three of us were in the car heading north.  Back in the day, there was no electricity on this lake; no indoor plumbing; i.e. no toilets or running hot water – actually no running cold water either; no telephones.  We would get here some time around midnight and I used to think my grandfather was amazing because he could guide the boat across the lake in the pitch black – there was no road then either – and land safely at our dock.  We would unload the boat in the dark with the aid of flashlights.  A propane tank with copper lines ran to gas lights fastened to the inside walls.  We pumped water from a pump and heated it to do dishes.  We had both a gas stove and a gas refrigerator.  We peed in the outhouse.  After a very short while, my grandfather brought running cold water and the toilet indoors.  We were fancy then.  As for baths, my grandmother washed up in the sink with some of that water she‘d heated up.  The rest of us took a bath in the lake where we would, as the old folks used to say “wash up as far as possible, down as far as possible, then wash possible.”  Ivory soap does indeed float.

I fished.  An older neighbor woman and I fished every night.  Right after dinner, she would putt over here in her little boat and I would run to the dock and jump in.  We would go back and forth all evening.  My grandparents liked the fish too but I began to catch so many that Nana said I had to learn how to clean them.  So I did that too.

Also up here, there was the most exotic of animals – boy cousins.  I spent my childhood surrounded by girls.  I had all sisters, my two best friends had all sisters except for a straggler boy bringing up the rear in one of those families.  It took me forever to figure out what to do with boys.  There were so foreign and exotic to me.  And funny and bold.

Lake Ebeemee in Maine is not like lakes in Connecticut.  It is smack in the middle of nowhere.  It is not crowded.  The nearest town is 25 or 30 miles away.  Going to the grocery store or “to town” is a journey.  You try to not run out of things.  If you go to town, you ask your friends on the lake if there is anything they need.  If you want to go to the movies, you go to Bangor, a trip which exceeds an hour one way.  Easily.  We are off of Route 11 halfway between Milo and Millinocket.  Some people have heard of Millinocket.  Baxter State Park and Mt. Katahdin – the highest point in Maine – are there, as is the end of the Appalachian Trail.  Route 11 is a two-lane winding road along which you’d better drive carefully, watching for a logging truck to come barreling around a corner right at you, while scanning side to side looking for a moose to jump out in front of you.  Moose have huge bodies and very longs legs.  You don’t want to hit one.  Their legs break and their moose torsos come through the windshield and kill you cemetery dead.  Logging trucks defy gravity and are taller than they are wide.  They sway all over the road and I can never figure out why they don’t tip over and kill people.  After you find the turnoff, from what we refer to as the “hard road”,  you then drive four-and-a-half miles on a dirt road through the woods to our driveway.  When you reach the end of our driveway, you will see a lake.  To me, my arrival is like the sun rising.  Especially the first time I come in the spring.  Up over the little rise and there it is.  Just sitting there.  We can see lake out of every room in our camp.  A big beautiful, clean, cool lake.  In the spring you will see moose.  You may see bear.  Or deer.  You will definitely see turtles, eagles, osprey, ducks, loons – anyone who has not heard a loon’s night song doesn’t know what they are missing.  There are squirrels, chipmunks, skunks, bats and beaver.  We have a pet lake Raven.  He goes from house to house and is so tame that he will sometimes take a cracker out of your hand.  Hummingbirds.  We have a feeder in the front yard and outside the back door.  Hummingbirds are everywhere.  All the time.  You will catch fish.  Perch is our main eating fish.  There are bass in this lake.  And pickerel which are fun to catch but not so much to eat.  There are lots of fish in this lake.  You may catch an eel.  They are disgusting.  Your mother may drop your pretty red fishing pole overboard.  An hour later your father may hook this same fishing pole and bring it up, reel it in and find a fish on the end of your red line.

You may be bored when you are here.  I have some friends who love this place, some who cannot understand at all why I want to be here.  There is not a lot to do.  You have to be able to amuse yourself.  If we get a rainy patch, out come the cookbooks and a list is made followed by a trip to town.  Cooking projects often fill the time during inclement weather.  We play cards.  For those of you who know me, you will remember I have “my spot”.  I sit in my spot and read.  It is no more than fifteen feet from edge of the lake.  I have a comfy chair.  I get my coffee or my diet coke and my peanut butter filled pretzels and sit in the sun with my dog and read.  And think.  And enjoy the solitude.  And the peace.  My friends go by in their boats.  I look up and wave.  Sometimes they pull in and we talk for a minute or two minutes or an hour.  They go on and I go back to my book.  On hot days, you gather a pile of magazines, grab a bag of chips and make a couple of sandwiches, and pack a cooler full of beer and soda and water and drive the pontoon boat into the middle of the lake and drop anchor.  Hook up the ladder and voila – instant diving platform.  Remember that floating Ivory soap?  Take that in with you too.  And noodles and rafts.  There is a river that comes into this lake.  You can paddle up the river with your friends and neighbors in your canoes and/or paddle boats and/or kayaks.  At some point, you will need to get out and portage.  You can get on the ATVs and head back toward the “hard road” and take any of the side paths and roads and drive all over the woods and mountains.  You can write a blog.  You need to go somewhere to get an internet connection to post it but you can certainly write in peace.  Looking out a window.  At a beautiful gray blue lake.  The water sparkling like diamonds.  Wearing your bathrobe and your pink rhinestone flip-flops.

We have all the modern conveniences now.  Kind of.  I describe this place as “rustic“.  We have telephones, electricity, indoor plumbing including a toilet, shower, hot running water, and even a washer and dryer.  We got DirecTV a few years back since my parents retired and started spending gads of time here.  My mother has a dial-up modem that she uses to get on line but I don’t have the patience for that.  Besides, two years ago, Verizon put a tower close enough for smart phones to work.  And a small company has made high speed internet available.  They charge you a jillion and half dollars to have it installed but the monthly fee is the same as everywhere.  We don’t have that but maybe next year…

Progress has come to Lake Ebeemee.  We have friends that have very fancy places on this lake, some who live here year round.  Not us.  We are “rustic” and not winterized – no insulation.  None.  Which basically means every fall my father drains all the pipes and the toilet and washing machine – anything with water involved and fills them all with anti-freeze.  He pulls the dock and the boats and puts away everything that needs to be protected from the elements. We turn off the phone and the satellite dish and go home until Mother’s Day weekend.  Winters here are harsh and cold and snowy and long.  Which brings me closer to where I’ve been heading.

There have always been people who lived here year round.  Even back in the day when there was no electricity or phones or running water.  The hermits.  The ones I considered strange, a little off.  I used to wonder if these people were society’s rejects but now I think maybe it is the other way around.  Maybe they are choosing a different life.  A life of peace and solitude.  There are year-round people who live here now too in big beautiful homes with all the amenities.  And the others who live here with their woodstoves and outhouses and holes cut in the ice for water.  And now, I could live here year round in a minute.  I don’t need much.  Plumbing is the problem.  We have a daybed tucked in corner of the main room.  The woodstove could make that room so hot, you’d need to open the back door to cool things down.  I’d have my dog.  I could read all day every day.  But then I would be one of the strange, eccentric, hermit-like, a little-off people.  Which is OK with me.  Don’t think I don’t consider it every day.  I was here for nine weeks in the summer of 2005.  I wasn’t working and I was here, mostly by myself.  And I liked it a lot.  My friends would say aren’t you afraid?  Don’t you want to come and sleep at our house?  But I did not.  I liked the solitude.  And this is my fantasy now.  A high speed internet connection and me.  I would read and write all winter long.  I would sit here and look out the window at the snow.  I could go to town and visit my cousins if I got bored or lonely.  Or wanted a long hot shower.  Or needed to do laundry.  I think I would like it, to do it and write about it.

I love it here.  For some reason it makes my insides peaceful.  I generally consider myself a pretty social person and I love to be active and with people, however there is a big part of me that is very black and white.  I enjoy extremes.  And I appreciate solitude.  The older I get, this seems like something I want to try.  But it is not an easy thing to accomplish.  First off, one needs money and secondly – firewood.  Probably an unimaginable amount.  And four-wheel drive and a plow or a very big snowblower, a snowmobile would be wise.  And a good back which is actually the very big problem.  Not to mention the little plumbing issue.  But hey, it’s a romantic notion that I entertain.  To be left alone here, with my dog, and mountains of books, and my computer with that high-speed internet connection.