Monthly Archives: November 2013


Thanksgiving is traditionally my favorite holiday. Food, more food, and a day devoted to family and gratitude:  it doesn’t get much richer than that. And the fact that I was born on Thanksgiving means that every few years the holiday coincides with my birthday.

This year represents a bit of a departure. Peter is in Mattapoisett with his dad, Meema, Grampy Don and lots of aunts, uncles and cousins. Jemesii spent the holiday in Boston with her boyfriend Justin; August in Ft. Collins with my sister Bink and her family. I am in Longmeadow with my friends Melinda, Kihan and their son Christopher.

Melinda has spent much of the day in the kitchen; I’ve been helping out with some side dishes and a rather feeble attempt at gravy. A malfunctioning oven threw us for a bit of a loop, but dinner was still delicious. Earlier in the day we’d watched a favorite little jewel of a Thanksgiving Movie, Pieces of April. Ironically, a malfunctioning oven is part of the plot line:

It’s been a lovely time and I am grateful for the care and company of dear friends. But I do miss my family on this day.

Getting on

Down to the dregs

Down to the dregs

I’m back at the house after a few fun sleepovers—as soon as I have time to ‘talk’ I will provide more details and (!) a some visual aids as well. In the meantime, I’ve gotten to that nasty part of packing:  the bitter end. To wit, I had a fierce craving for a cocktail last night. There was vodka, but no ice or olives. So I worked with what I had. Lemon gatorade, mulled frozen blueberries, and some of that vodka. Don’t think it will become a standard, but it worked in a pinch.

I’ve had excellent company while I box up the last of my crap-I-mean-treasures, and I’m not talking about Buddy. Peter is home from PEA for Thanksgiving and he’s been hanging with me for the first half of break. Loads of laundry, a haircut, and new winter boots have all been crossed off our list.

This afternoon Peter will join David in Mattapoisett for the holiday and I will head on down to Melinda and Kihan’s for a few days. But not before Peter and I go out for a birthday breakfast and then on to see this flick:

Did I say birthday? I did. Fifty four years old. Me. Never thought it would happen. But it has, and I’m here to tell you that getting old is not something to bemoan. It’s not a problem, it’s the solution to a problem. Rather than objecting to the notion of aging, I can tell you it is my objective. I want to be an old lady. And I’m well on my way!

To life!

Some self reflection and personal transparency

Self portrait in the ladie's room at Western Avenue Studios

Self portrait in the ladie’s room at Western Avenue Studios

I am in the midst of another break from packing; making the rounds of my gracious friend’s homes (thank you, thank you, thank you all). This has been a time to visit but also to decompress—and I’ve done just that, taking two naps in one day.

Despite my upbeat and can do attitude (at least I think that’s the tone I’m setting), I will acknowledge that this may well be the most difficult task I’ve undertaken yet. Disassembling a marriage is complicated no matter the circumstances; getting divorced while also battling cancer is crazy hard.

I am, on so many levels, stepping out into the complete unknown now. It has been years since I have been gainfully employed and financially, I am a persona non grata. Had a good friend not offered to cosign, I would not have qualified for my lease. Losing my independence was never meant to be part of marriage and yet somehow I let that happen.

I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge how anxious this all makes me, but I keep moving forward in the faith that better times are ahead. I am thankful for not only the support of friends and family but also the timing: were Peter not boarding, the separation of households would be so much more difficult. And as it turns out, I am glad I didn’t qualify for the PD-1 clinical trial and that by default, extended my break from treatment. Otherwise, I don’t believe I’d be able to manage, either physically or emotionally.

As it is, I am rather proud of what I have accomplished. It took some frenzied research (and a bit of luck) but my future home (and of course, Peter’s) really is promising. I just about nailed the amount of rent I felt I could afford and by relocating south will remain a reasonable distance from Peter’s school and yet move significantly closer to Boston and Mass General Hospital. The lofts have onsite laundry facilities, are close to a commuter rail, parking is free, heat and air conditioning included and I won’t have to worry about shoveling snow.

As a plus, Lowell has a thriving cultural scene (did you know Jack Kerouac was born in Lowell?) and I am moving into not just an apartment, but a community. The day I signed the lease, my neighbor across the hall invited Sadie and I (along for the ride) into her loft. I think making new friends is going to be a cinch.

And there is some entrepreneurial potential as well, as open studios happen once a month. The wall outside the apartment is mine to use as gallery space and–I’ve been hatching this plan for a year now–I will also have the opportunity to sell vintage clothing (which I’ve been busy amassing) alongside my art at open studios. Woohoo!

securedownload-1So that’s a bit more of the fun stuff. Of course, in prelude to moving in, I’ve been packing up. I have singlehandedly transported carload after carload of boxes to a storage unit. And I’ve lined up a small band of merry movers (again, a preemptive thank you!) and will rent a truck to haul the furniture and boxes come December 1. And then I’ll move the vintage stuff into the storage unit.

I’ve also been working on the health insurance piece; worst and best case scenario. It is of utmost importance to me that I keep the same providers.

So, that’s a bit of an update. Tomorrow I move from one household to another…stages in a journey.

A space similar to the one I'll be moving into....

A space similar to the one I’ll be moving into….

The yellow brick road starts here…

ups and downs

ups and downs

I don’t know what’s up with me and WordPress but I can’t seem to set up a gallery of photos and I’m too tired to fight about it. So, I’ll just figure out another way around this problem. Multiple posts! With, of course, the added benefit of making me look really productive in a publishing sense.

Truth is, there is much I’d like to share but little time in which to do it. My father Ollie used to say ‘three moves equals one fire’. There are all sorts of ways to interpret that apt observation (not originally his own). I think he may have been referring simply to the damage moving inflicts upon one’s belongings—that which is lost, broken, nicked and dinged.

I prefer to think of it in a more spiritual sense, and this time I’m definitely burning  down the house.

Of course, once the smoke has cleared and the ashes cooled, I’ll be sifting through the wreckage for what is salvageable. And then I will begin to build anew.

I’ve signed a one year lease on a work/live loft in an artist’s community in Lowell, Massachusetts. I will move in on December 1 and having a known destination has provided me with a solid sense of direction. I can now see a light at the end of the tunnel and (thanks Melinda) I’m fairly certain it isn’t a train.

The photo at the top is of some very colorful stairs leading to an amazing warren of artist’s studios located in the old mill adjacent to my future residence. Studios such as this one:

creativity abounds

creativity abounds

“Dorothy, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore’.

Brief respite

One hundred feet east

One hundred feet east

I’ve had a two day break from packing. Truth is, I’d hoped to be done by now but the task is rather herculean in scope. When it comes to acquisitiveness, my sins are both copious and varied; books being one of the greatest. The good news is that all three kids love to read (how could they not?). However, I can’t tell you how many trips I’ve made to the liquor store to fetch appropriately sized boxes–big enough for larger volumes but not so big that I can’t lift them once filled. And of course, I’ve also purchased the occasional bottle of wine; liquid courage as well as a courtesy in exchange for all the free cardboard.

David wanted a few days at the house before I resume my bundling, and so I’ve been taking a break with my friends Sadie and Pete. They are living in a seasonal rental (read winter, and so quite reasonable!) on Plum Island; a spit of land backed by tidal marsh and fronted by ocean. It’s a quirky but spectacular location, seemingly remote and yet minutes from Newburyport. Yesterday I grabbed lunch at a wonderful little shop called Joppa Fine Foods (named for the nearby Joppa Flats); this morning I walked down the road for black coffee to go from Mad Martha’s. I’m currently sitting by the fire–this place is pretty luxe–but in a few minutes, I’ll be hitting the road back to reality.

Smooth moves

Careyanne Davis, Diane Daniels Legg, Laurie Benson Irwin, Linnea Duff, Heather A King

Careyanne Davis, Diane Daniels Legg, Laurie Benson Irwin, Linnea Duff, Heather A King

Most days you will find me up to my thighs in boxes, but every once in a while I take a much needed break. Per wit:  I had a fantastically fine time at Dave and Diane Legg’s Halloween Party. One cheap blonde wig askew, a black leather jacket and skinny jeans tucked into vintage army boots and I truly was one tough mother (lipstick! eye liner! nail polish!). Further emboldened by black lights, fine company and the elixir of youth (primary ingredient—vodka), I danced all night. Ten days later, my fifty three year old knees are still pissed off.