Provincetown Signs

10.18.13 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

On October 18th, the Rodgers branch of the family headed out to Provincetown, at the very end of the Cape Cod peninsula, where we spent many a vacation when our kids were growing up. We thought it would be deserted, since the summer season is well over, but it was Women’s Week, and the streets were crowded with visitors. Exhausted from the emotions and activities of the previous day, we had lunch and did some shopping, but didn’t stay too long. But before we left I kept taking pictures of signs – there were so many creative ones…

10.18.13 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

10.18.13 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

10.18.13 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

10.18.13 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

10.18.13 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

10.18.13 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

 …a couple enjoying Women’s Week festivities together…

10.18.13 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

10.18.13 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

10.18.13 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

An historic fishing port, Provincetown is situated at the tip of Cape Cod in an area of spectacular natural beauty, surrounded by miles of dunes and beaches. Provincetown has a diverse and singular history. The Pilgrims first landed in Provincetown in 1620 and signed the Mayflower Compact, a declaration of self-determination and radical thought that characterizes the history and people of Provincetown, even today. Provincetown has been home to sailors, pirates, fishermen, painters, and authors for centuries. In the nineteenth century, Provincetown, with the largest and safest natural harbor on the New England coast, was one of the greatest and busiest seaports in the country. The rich texture of cultural and social influences has produced a sense of place that is uniquely Provincetown. For over a century, these special qualities have attracted artists, tourists, and bohemians who have then blended with the local population and produced a unique community character. Provincetown is truly like nowhere else.
~ Town of Provincetown website

10.18.13 ~ Provincetown, Massachusetts

…looking towards Pilgrim Monument from out on MacMillan Pier,
where fishing and whale-watching boats are moored in Provincetown Harbor…

10.19.13 ~ Harwich, Massachusetts

…granddaughter Eliza found her own “sign” to bring home…

Effulgent

8.27.13 ~ Durham, North Carolina

dragonfly by Barbara Rodgers

Is it a mistake to look to the world to tell us the meaning of our plummeting lives? Maybe we all have the power to shape our own structure, the structure of our metaphoric wings, what lifts us – our character maybe, call it our spirit. We all in our own ways catch the light of the world and reflect it back, and this is what is bright and surprising about a person, this rainbow shimmer created from colorless structure. Maybe there is no meaning in the world itself – no sorrow. In fact, no good or bad, beginning or end. Maybe what there is, is the individual way each of us has of transforming the world, ways to refract it, to create of it something that shimmers from our spread wings. This is our work, creating these wings and giving them color.
~ Kathleen Dean Moore
(Wild Comfort: The Solace of Nature)

Time seems to fly by so quickly, and yet, each day seems so long in the living. Especially in August. Please! One crisis at a time!!!

8.27.13 ~ Durham, North Carolina

Near the end of August my sister and I finally and reluctantly decided that our aunt, who is 98, required more care than we could reasonably provide for her. The family doctor pulled some strings and found her a place in a “good” nursing home, much to our relief. She is now “settled in” there.

Our father, who is 91, is doing a little better, but is still on oxygen and remains very weak. So far my sister and brother-in-law feel they can manage him at home. He will probably never walk again, even with his walker… But I have to keep a watchful eye on my sister’s well-being – she has done more for the ancient ones than most people, including myself, would have or could have done.

8.31.13 ~ Durham, North Carolina

At the end of the month I spread my wings and accepted my daughter’s invitation to fly to North Carolina to visit her and my son-in-law in their new digs. It was the first time I flew by myself, although I had a flash of insight on the plane – I wasn’t flying by myself at all – there were many other people on board, fellow humans all with their own ways of transforming the world. All of us one. The flights there and back were spiritual highs for me!

8.27.13 ~ Durham, North Carolina

…Larisa at Sarah P. Duke Gardens

Visiting Dima & Larisa for five days was wonderful! Very humid weather put something of a damper on outdoor adventures, but we had fun gardening in the early morning hours and decorating the living room and kitchen together one fun afternoon. We explored Durham in the air-conditioned car and talked and talked and talked. And had some great meals out and even better meals from their kitchen and grill. Had loads of fun taking pictures! I also came home with a lot of spider and mosquito bites for souvenirs. :)

8.31.13 ~ Durham, North Carolina

…I think this is a tropical quail (?) who lives in the
Magic Wings Butterfly House at the Museum of Life & Science

The trip did me a world of good – thank you so much for your gracious hospitality and welcoming arms, my wonderful kids!

8.31.13 ~ Durham, North Carolina

Garden Angels

5.6.13 ~ Groton, Connecticut

…an angel in my garden…

Our lives have taken on a surreal quality, a numbness, in recent weeks. Tim’s brother Toby is now living with us, and sadly, has been diagnosed with incurable bladder cancer. A few days after receiving this devastating news, we were stunned to hear that Tim’s cousin has also been diagnosed with an incurable cancer. Radical treatments will buy them both a little time, but how much is uncertain. This is all so uncomfortably familiar, having lost three of our middle-aged parents to cancer when we were young adults. And yet, this is now all so terribly new to us, cancer striking our generation for the first time.  Insidious, unrelenting, cruel…

5.5.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

…new leaves emerging from small buds and twigs on the trunk of my tree…

Zoë has been wonderful company for me – I’m thinking of getting a cat harness and leash for her so she can come out into the garden with me. She seems rambunctious enough to enjoy an outdoor adventure.  :)  Toby is doing angelic things in my garden – he loves gardening and it gives him something satisfying and distracting to do between medical appointments. And Scarby has been wonderful company for Tim – she is coming out of hiding more often and enjoys sitting on the cat tree to look out the window and soak up the sun. She often sits on his desk and watches him work.

The other day I sent Tim a link to an article, how to calculate tree height using a smartphone. And then, Voilà!!! Mr. Logic found the app and used it on our next visit to my tree! He determined that my tree is 60 feet tall! (That’s about 18 meters tall for those of you on the metric system.) An interesting bit of information to ponder, since I still cannot see the shape of its leaves just yet.

5.5.13 ~ Stonington, Connecticut

…My tree on May 5th…

Janet and I took a train to New York City. We met Larisa at Penn Station and went shopping in the fabric district for material for her wedding dress! She is sewing it herself with a little help from her friends. Seeing her drape the different shades of purple fabric over her body to see which one she liked best, well, they were some of the happiest moments in my life. My lovely daughter is going to be a stunning bride in just a little over a month!

A Sap Run

3.10.13 ~ Orange, Massachusetts

Before the bud swells, before the grass springs, before the plow is started, comes the sugar harvest.  It is the sequel of the bitter frost; a sap run is the sweet goodbye of winter.
~ John Burroughs
(Signs & Seasons)

3.10.13 ~ Orange, Massachusetts

We had no idea what a treat we were in for when we checked into a motel in Orange, Massachusetts Saturday night. Our plan was to spend the night, grab a breakfast somewhere, and head over to a family reunion in the neighboring town of Athol on Sunday afternoon. In the morning we discovered a great place to have breakfast, on Johnson’s Farm, a restaurant, sugar house, and gift shop! Maple syrup production was well under way, the old-fashioned way.

3.10.13 ~ Orange, Massachusetts

Sugar weather is crisp weather.  How the tin buckets glisten in the gray woods; how the robins laugh; how the nuthatches call; how lightly the thin blue smoke rises among the trees!  The squirrels are out of their dens; the migrating waterfowls are streaming northward; the sheep and cattle look wistfully toward the bare fields; the tide of the season, in fact, is just beginning to rise.
~ John Burroughs
(Signs & Seasons)

If only some way could be found to share the smell of New England in maple sugar season on a blog post! Our olfactory receptors were tickled with delight to whiff in the aromas of wood-burning stoves and sap boiling down into syrup. We bought a couple of jugs of pure maple syrup! Mostly we’ll be using it in marinades, since pancakes are no longer on our grain-free diet…

3.10.13 ~ Orange, Massachusetts

It was if we had been transported back in time to a place in the heart of New England. It made me appreciate anew that there are more “seasons” than the four four we normally notice as the year goes around. The gnarly old tree in the above picture caught our attention – what an amazing life it has had. And I loved the knotty pine interior of the sugar house in the picture below – so typical of New England.

3.10.13 ~ Orange, Massachusetts

When we got home Sunday night Zoë and Scarby seemed a little angry with us (ears pinned back, ignoring us) for leaving them overnight, but they’re back to purring and following us around, rubbing our legs and talking to us again.

Vegan ♥ Paleo

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To look for a “healthy” diet can be as discouraging as a search for the “true” religion.  I spent many years extricating myself from a belief system which had at one time seemed to have all the definitive answers my teenage self was yearning for.  One would think I might have learned a lesson or two about words and ideas that sound too good to be true.

Some of my readers may remember a few passionate posts I wrote back in October of 2011, when after reading several convincing books by cardiologists I decided that Tim & I should become vegans to try to reverse his heart disease.  In my mind it was a done deal, the final answer.  But in the months following our change to a vegan diet, Tim wound up in the hospital twice, which left me feeling demoralized.  It was as if eating plants was making things worse, not better.

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One day last fall, I happened to catch another cardiologist being interviewed on TV, and he was talking about the evils of gluten and wheat, and how consumption of grains leads to obesity, heart disease and diabetes.  And so began another round of research for me, more books, more websites, more theories to contemplate.  To make a long story a bit shorter, we have switched to a paleo diet, or caveman diet.  Wild game, grass-fed beef, pasture-raised poultry.  Lots of vegetables.  Nuts and berries.  Hunting and gathering.  No wheat or grains. Keeping our fingers crossed.

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This time around I’m not looking at this change as The Answer carved in stone.  It’s an Experiment to see if anything different will happen.  I’m the daughter of a scientist after all. Maybe the food we choose to eat has nothing at all to do with heart disease, though somehow I still think it might.  But cardiologists don’t seem to agree on the best diet for heart disease, so I won’t list all the authors of the books I consulted.  Staying off of the bandwagon for the time being.

Last week we did have some encouraging news after Tim went in for a checkup.  He lost some weight and his progress pleased his doctor for the first time since his original heart attack five years ago.  Let’s hope we’re finally on the right track, although I am keeping myself carefully skeptical, just in case…

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photos by Barbara Rodgers

Grackles by the Sea

4.5.12.0913

Last April we took a trip to visit our son and daughter-in-law in Georgia. When we got home I started posting pictures on my blog of the places we visited, but never finished. Since I have a little time now I decided to post some more of our photos. (For anyone interested, the first batch of pictures started here.) The following pictures of grackles were captured at the Howard Gilman Memorial Park on the waterfront of St. Marys, Georgia. The park has a lovely large water fountain and on the day we visited it was doubling as a bird bath!

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To claim, at a dead party, to have spotted a grackle, 
When in fact you haven’t of late, can do no harm. 
~ Richard Wilbur
(New & Collected Poems)

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Few people know so clearly what they want.  Most people can’t even think what to hope for when they throw a penny in a fountain.
~ Barbara Kingsolver
(Animal Dreams)

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Birds know themselves not to be at the center of anything, but at the margins of everything.  The end of the map.  We only live where someone’s horizon sweeps someone else’s.  We are only noticed on the edge of things; but on the edge of things, we notice much.”
~ Gregory Maguire
(Out of Oz: The Final Volume in the Wicked Years)

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photos by Timothy Rodgers

Words Everywhere

1.19.13.ellisisland

…new arrivals only allowed in fair weather…

Recently we spent a couple of hours at one of our favorite places, a used bookstore named the Book Barn, in the coastal village of Niantic, Connecticut. The Book Barn has three locations within a mile of each other, two are “downtown” and at the main site there is a huge barn full of books on three levels, surrounded by smaller structures which are also full of books. The complex houses about half a million books at any given moment.

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…Lucky is a tiny black cat who hangs out in the outbuilding called the “Last Page”…

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If one wants to sell books to the store she must take a number at “Ellis Island,” the receiving spot for new additions. We love to browse the endless stacks of books, pet the friendly resident cats, and read all the creative signs found in the gardens and on and around the buildings. As one might expect from book lovers, words are found everywhere: reminders, warnings, directions, suggestions, quips and puns.

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…sign in the Haunted Book Shop…

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I feel the need of reading. It is a loss to a man not to have grown up among books… Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new after all.
~ Abraham Lincoln
(Abraham Lincoln, a Man of Faith & Courage:
Stories of Our Most Admired President
)

1.19.13.gargoyle… garden gargoyle perched on top of a large stone…

1.19.13.smallstatue…a thinker sitting at the bottom of the stone…

1.19.13.kindledeath…death due to Kindle…

Of course we came home with an armful of interesting books to read! I may love my Kindle but will always have a special place in my heart for paperback and hardcover books!!

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photos by Barbara Rodgers

The following video is a bit long, but the beginning of it offers a good idea about the look and feel of the place…