golden pheasant

On a recent trip to Georgia to see Nate & Shea, Julius and Dominic we visited an adventure park where I spotted this female golden pheasant, which is native to the forests and mountains of western China.

3.19.17 ~ female golden pheasant ~ Valdosta, Georgia

As I was photographing the rather plain female, I happened to look down and saw a colorful male briskly walking straight toward me. What a face!

3.19.17 ~ male golden pheasant ~ Valdosta, Georgia

I darted out of his way and captured a side view as he quickly made his way over to his mate.

3.19.17 ~ male golden pheasant ~ Valdosta, Georgia

wonder and excitement

3.19.17 ~ Dominic ~ Valdosta, Georgia

A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood.
~ Rachel Carson
(Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature)

3.19.17 ~ Dominic ~ Valdosta, Georgia

two nephews

February 2015 ~ Dominic, Nate and Julius ~ Kingsland, Georgia
Dominic (left) and Julius (right), with their adored Uncle Nate (center) ~ photo by Shannon Rodgers

If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder … he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.
~ Rachel Carson
(The Sense of Wonder)

snarfelly

just before take-off
just before take-off (Dec. 20)

Parents of very tiny humans have a delightful way of inventing new words. Snarfelly is one, new to me at least. Katie had a cold when she embarked on her first trip by airplane to visit both sets of her grandparents in Connecticut, and other assorted friends and family. The breathing through her congested nose was dubbed snarfelling by her attentive parents.

When Larisa emailed me this picture from the jet before taking off my already high levels of anticipation of holding my granddaughter intensified tenfold. We were getting ready for our solstice gathering, which turned out to be the biggest one we’ve had in years – twelve adults, two teens and  two babies. And Larisa, Dima and Katie arrived right in the middle of the festivities.

Janet’s new granddaughter, Summer, was here, too. She is just a month older than Katie. It was so much fun having two babies in the house!

We had Katie and her parents here for three wonderful days, even though everyone except for me was sick. One night Katie’s parents went out and Tim & I got to babysit. When I was changing her diaper, Tim gently jiggled her little rib cage and Katie laughed! She looked so surprised! We’re pretty sure we were the first ones to hear her laugh – what a gift!

Katie's parents help with opening her gifts
Katie’s parents help with opening her gifts (Dec.22)

The day before they left my sister and brother-in-law came down and we had an early Christmas. Then Katie and her parents were off to visit her other grandparents and great-grandmothers for a few days. Larisa sent emails and pictures saying Katie was getting less snarfelly every day.

less snarfelly (Dec. 25)
less snarfelly (Dec. 25)

It was such a joy to hold my little Katie so often during those three days. And once when she was taking a nap I just lay down next to her as she slept. I was going to read, but never actually picked up my Kindle, I was content to watch her sleep. Lost in awareness, thinking of my last baby becoming an amazing mother to her first baby. I love that Larisa is careful to keep as many carcinogens as possible away from her little one.

A first child is your own best foot forward, and how you do cheer those little feet as they strike out. You examine every turn of flesh for precocity, and crow it to the world. But the last one: the baby who trails her scent like a flag of surrender through your life when there will be no more coming after – oh, that’ s love by a different name.
~ Barbara Kingsolver
(The Poisonwood Bible)

just before take-off on her trip home (Dec. 28)
just before take-off on her trip home (Dec. 28)

I have not been active in the blogosphere these past couple of months – I know I’ve missed many of my friend’s posts – and responding to comments on my own posts I’ve woefully neglected. I had surgery to remove a benign but bothersome cyst on my middle toe on November 12. Recovery seemed to be going well for a week and half when I woke up one morning in a lot of pain because an infection had developed. And the infection turned out to be a very stubborn one. The antibiotic I was given made me queasy much of the time. Not being able to keep a shoe on my foot for very long made decorating for the holidays and even routine household chores difficult. It was a good thing I had seeing Katie to look forward to to keep my spirits up!

When WordPress sent me my blog’s statistics for 2014 I was startled to see how long it had been since I posted anything. Laurie, Kathy, Sybil and Diane turned out to be my four most active commenters – thank you so very much for all your thoughtful comments over the year!

The post most viewed was Cat Cataracts, even though no one commented on it this year, posted back in 2011! And people from 114 countries viewed this blog. It makes me wonder about them – were they just passing through or do they return for more? When you think about it, the internet is an astonishing thing.

Katie-Dec30
asleep with new toy in hand (Dec. 30)

I am so grateful for family. Tim & I had fun spending Christmas morning on Skype with Nate, Shea and Dominic, all the way down there in Georgia. And also Christmas afternoon here with Bonnie, Kia and Khari. We saw the third installment of “The Hobbit.” We’re planning a trip to Germany, Norway and Italy. Zoë loves to sit between us , purring contentedly, when we watch TV in the evening. And we have plans to see Katie in January.

Happy New Year!

Dominic’s Dragonfly

Dragonfly by Dominic Delgado

On October 16th, Tim & I drove to Providence to pick up Nate, who was flying in from Georgia. Then it was on to Cape Cod where we had rented a big house (six bedrooms, five bathrooms!) for several days, so the family could gather and bury my father’s ashes together. When Nate unpacked, he gave me this beautiful gift he brought for me from his nephew, Dominic, age 5. I kept it standing on my dresser while I was there, a cheerful image to behold each morning when I woke up. Thank you so much, Dominic!!!

Little did I know there would be more dragonfly magic the next day…

dinosaurs in the woods

6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
Dominic and Julius at The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
Dominic ~ The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut

While Nate & Shea were in Connecticut for the wedding, we also spent a fun day at an outdoor Dinosaur Place with them and their nephews.  It was very hot so we were glad to be in the woods most of the time, and enjoyed watching the kids play on the splash pad after our long dinosaur walk.

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The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut

I don’t know the names of these dinosaurs, but Dominic knows ALL of them and he’s only 4 years old!  It was fun seeing this lost world through the eyes and imaginations of the little ones.

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The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
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Julius and Dominic ~ The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
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Julius ~ The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
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The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
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The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
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The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
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The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
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The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
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Dominic ~ The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
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The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
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Julius ~ The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
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Dominic enjoying the amazing playground ~ The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut
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Dominic ~ The Dinosaur Place ~ 6.23.13 ~ Montville, Connecticut

fourth day

12.28.12 ~ Kingsland, Georgia
12.28.12 ~ Kingsland, Georgia

…we heard it was snowing in Connecticut, but alas, we were in Georgia…

12.28.12 ~ Kingsland, Georgia
12.28.12 ~ Kingsland, Georgia

Our car ride from Virginia to Georgia was long and grueling, but we finally made it to our destination very late Thursday night. It was so wonderful to see Nate & Shea again, and the rest of their multi-generational family: Shea’s mom, Angie, who so generously gave us her room for a few days, and Shea’s sister Sarah and her two little boys, Julius and Dominic. It is a full house, but a big house, and we thoroughly enjoyed the hospitality we were shown. Angie is a fabulous cook and kindly catered to our food quirks!

12.28.12 ~ Kingsland, Georgia
Dominic and Nate ~ 12.28.12 ~ Kingsland, Georgia

We brought the little guys some Lego bricks sets as a gift. Dominic adores his Uncle – and the feeling is mutual – so we got a kick out of watching Nate help him build his little Lego helicopter.

12.28.12 ~ Kingsland, Georgia
Dominic ~ 12.28.12 ~ Kingsland, Georgia

Dominic loves bugs and animals and I enjoyed reading his dinosaur book to him. Thankfully it had a pronunciation guide. Little ones have so much energy!!!

On the fifth day of Christmas Nate, Shea, Tim and I drove into Florida and ate lunch at Bahama Breeze, a Caribbean seafood restaurant in Jacksonville – the food was great and the atmosphere was tropical. Then the four of us went to see Life of Pi in 3D – it was the 3rd time for me and the 2nd time for Tim, but not in 3D before. The 3D experience was better than I thought it would be!

After we returned to the house we were treated to a spectacular sunset, Georgia style, which kind of made up for missing our snowstorm…

12.28.12 ~ Kingsland, Georgia
12.28.12 ~ Kingsland, Georgia

On the sixth day of Christmas the guys watched football while Shea read her new Nook, a Christmas gift, and I read my old Kindle. Later Tim & I sat up late (late by my standards anyway) into the night with Nate, talking about the movie, interplanetary travel, quantum physics, gun control, and assorted other existential and scientific topics. I am always amazed by these conversations because Nate seems to have gotten his logical side from Tim and his sense of wonder from me in perfectly balanced proportion.

On the seventh day of Christmas we started the long journey home, from southern Georgia to northern Virginia. Lady Zoë was looking for me and let me pet her again, but still was not ready to sit on my lap.

On the eighth day of Christmas we drove from Virginia to Connecticut, resisting the urge to stop by Dima & Larisa’s, but thrilled to find snow still on the ground in Connecticut! Winter is finally here and I hope it plans to stick around for a little while this year. And our Christmas tree was still standing and looking as pretty as when we left – we had been afraid that a week without watering would be the end of her. All in all, it was a wonderful trip!

evening under the nut trees

10.1.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.1.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut

O chestnut tree, great-rooted blossomer,
Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?
O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?
~ William Butler Yeats
(Our Secret Discipline: Yeats & Lyric Form)

Yesterday I finished writing and scheduling the next three blog posts, and then went off happily to a cookout at Nate & Shea’s. We’re trying to squeeze in as many visits as possible before they move away… My plan was to “coast” for a few days, by responding to comments here and catching up on my reading and commenting on other friends’ blogs…

The pictures are of the branches of  a pair of nut trees in the front yard of Nate & Shea’s house. Most of the leaves, and zillions of the nuts, had come off during Tropical Storm Irene. Nate was using a snow shovel to clean the nuts off the lawn after the storm. The trees looked so sculptural in the cloudy light.

10.1.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.1.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut

The sun came out after a while and Tim & I started playing badminton with four little guys, ages ranging from 2 to 7, and we were having a blast teaching them how to serve and we were all darting around trying to hit the shuttlecocks. Well, apparently I dove too far or tripped on one of those nuts or the edge of the sidewalk, and next thing I knew I was down on the ground, my body on the cement and my face down in the grass and soil. It’s a good thing we’ve had so much rain lately and the ground is really squishy. Tim said there was an imprint of my face left in the ground. I felt disoriented, as if I had been rudely awakened from sleep.

My right hand got the worst of it! It’s a sign of our times that my first thought was not how hard it might be to write, but how hard it might be to use my mouse! My mouse-hand! Shea gingerly bandaged the wounds and gave me an ice pack and I was able to enjoy the rest of the evening under the trees, gathered around the fire and the music – I love Nate’s Pandora Radio station – we seem to have the same taste in music. Ate dinner with my left hand. My right shoulder and arm are feeling very sore this morning, and my hand is very swollen! But nothing seems to be broken or in need of stitches and it looks like typing – I type with two index fingers anyway – and mouse clicking will not be too much of a problem, since I can leave the bandaged pinkie hanging off to the side…

10.1.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.1.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut

waves still crashing

The authorities couldn’t keep the folks who love their beach away for too long. A couple of hours after Tim & I attempted to go and were stopped, Nate & Shea (son and daughter-in-law) went for a look and they were finally letting people in! All the pictures in this post were taken by Shea on Sunday, the 28th, and are being used with her permission.

Beach Pond Road, leading to Eastern Point Beach, was still flooded.

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

Another tree downed – so sad… Look at all the seaweed left on the street.

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

One of Shea’s nephews on the beach…

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

And her other nephew…

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

Part of the wall between the beach and the parking lot was damaged…

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

A park bench moved by the waves into the parking lot. The pay-loader was cleaning up the sand from the beach which had been swept up by the sea and was covering the parking lot.

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

Local lads enjoying the force of the wind…

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

Three more benches landed here…

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

The little house on the little rock island made it through –  I suspect the storm surge was probably up to the first floor.

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

Waves still crashing on the parking lot. At its peak the storm surge covered the parking lot with white caps – I saw a picture of it on Facebook but haven’t got permission to use it.

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

Damage on the Thames River end of the parking lot.

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

The pile of beach sand the pay-loader scooped up. I wonder if they will move it back down to the beach at some point.

8.28.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
8.28.11 ~ Eastern Point

Photos by Shannon Rodgers

Some people have expressed disappointment that this storm wasn’t as exciting as it was predicted to be. I just have to put my 2¢ in:

Making sensible preparations for a hurricane is like putting on your seat-belt. There’s a reason why people are always saying to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. When we drive or ride in our cars and arrive safely at our destinations do we complain that we didn’t have the possible accident we are ready for? Or that we are disappointed because the ride wasn’t exciting enough? Sure, some newscasters get carried away with their superlatives, but many try to emphasize the basic unpredictability of hurricanes and underscore the importance of being safe and not sorry. So far 38 people were killed in this storm, 2 of them in Connecticut. And 3.3 million people are still without power, and many have lost their homes. No doubt they feel they had more than enough unwanted excitement.

Thank you, Shea, for the great pictures! I think this marks the end of my Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene coverage…