Tag Archives: Connecticut

Hitting the Wall

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Isn’t this the most beautiful baby?? My newest little great-grandchild, Lincoln…I’m so glad I had the chance to meet him!

I had never been to the east coast before, either. I have always wanted to see New England, so this was a great opportunity. My daughter and her family were fantastic travel companions. The trip there and back was tiring but fun; the time spent with Michael, Samantha and this new baby was a treat. All of our side adventures were memorable. I don’t regret a thing.

Still.

Back from Connecticut, one night in Lapeer, then a four hour drive to Charlevoix, a twenty minute plane ride to Beaver Island, a rush to go pick up my little dog, then home.

The next day, it was back to work. Plus attend a meeting, mid-morning, at the Community Center, pick up a week’s worth of mail at the post office and collect my luggage – which arrived a day later than I did to Beaver Island – from the airport. In the evening, three hours of computer work regarding the news-magazine, then bed.

Yesterday, up early to write my blog, nine hours at the hardware andĀ  a visit with Aunt Katie before going home. There, I had a stack of subscription renewals and address changes to enter into the database, several phone calls to return, one story to rewrite for length, my personal bills to pay, two bank deposits to prepare, laundry, play with Rosa Parks, then bed.

I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling that vacations – no matter how joyous – are exhausting!

I’m so tired!

I have this day and two more to work at the hardware before I have a day off. I am also in the thick of trying to get one issue of my magazine to the printer, and the next issue plotted out and written.

Today, for my daily writing, this is it. I have hit the wall. A complaints list…a bit of whining…that’s all I’ve got this morning.

Time Out for Art: Inspiration

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Michael and Kate in front of the Art Museum

On our first full day in Connecticut, we took a short road trip to the historic town of Old Lyme, once home to a thriving artist colony.

Florence Griswold was the daughter of a sea captain, and maintained the family home by letting out rooms to boarders. She was approached at one point by a New York artist, looking for a place for artist’s to gather. The home-turned-boarding-house became a retreat for a large group of Impressionist painters.

The artist’s were influenced by the Impressionists in France, and loved the rural countryside for their subject matter. They enlivened the old house with banter, games and laughter. Their easels became a regular part of the view. They held classes on the grounds, drawing in other aspiring artists; they sold their works in shows and sales that brought collectors from all over the country.

The house itself is now a beautifully restored and appointed museum. The door panels still feature paintings done by the residents, in thanks to Miss Griswold. The furnishings, though not all original, have been carefully chosen for the style of the era. Period paintings grace the walls.

The grounds are park-like, with a Monet-inspired garden, and paths leading from one area of interest to another. Old trees provide beauty and shade, and a winding river runs through the grounds. Parking for visitors was set back away from the old home, to preserve the historic look.

Behind the museum is a long, low, white building that is an art gallery. Though there are changing exhibits of various art styles, many rooms are dedicated to Impressionist works done in the period that the artist’s colony was active. Often the paintings were done while on retreat at the Griswold house. Every work of art was accompanied by a card giving detailed information about it.

I don’t know what was most inspiring. It was wonderful to see so much good work in a gallery setting. I loved getting a sense of the artist’s lives and interactions. Being with my family, who were all observant, interested and enthusiastic, was, I think, the best of all!

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The Florence Griswold House

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggedy Jig

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It was wonderful to get away!

I had good visits with two of my sisters, both of my daughters and three of my grandchildren…plus quality time with Lincoln Phillip, my tiny new great-grandson.

I waited at the airport on Beaver Island for more than four hours with a driving snowstorm going on outside, before finally making my way to Charlevoix. The flight was good, Charlevoix was clear, and the four hour drive was uneventful. That was Tuesday.

On Thursday I met up with the Clark family: my daughter, Kate; her husband, Jeremy; their two youngest children, Madeline and Tommy. They would be my traveling companions for the next several days. We were headed for Connecticut to visit with Kate’s oldest son, Michael, and his little family.

I hadn’t seen Michael in a couple years. I had not yet met his girlfriend, Samantha. They had recently added a new family member, that we were all excited to meet.

The drive was long, but good. There was plenty to see (except in Ohio, of course) and lots to talk about. Kate and I had each brought stories to read aloud. She brought a short story collection by Steven King; I brought essays by Evan S. Connell. We played travel games; we napped.

Jeremy is a good driver. He doesn’t get nervous, or angry, or impatient. He can change lanes quickly and safely when needed, and he doesn’t mind if we miss an exit and have to backtrack. He doesn’t get agitated when a passenger (me) audibly sucks in her breath or says, “Oh, shit!!” or “Yikes!” or “Look out!” He doesn’t mind stopping for rest rooms or hunger. He doesn’t seem to mind driving for hours on end through pouring rain.

Kate is a fantastic navigator. She was in charge of the map, directing the driver. She had the trip plotted out ahead of time. Kate helped us avoid areas that were costly or that would slow us down, but she also was on the lookout for areas of interest that we might want to see. She could tell us how far we’d gone, how far yet to go and what our elevation was at any given time. When we crossed a bridge, she’d tell us the body of water. When we came to a new state sign, we cheered.

We had a lovely visit with my grandson and his family (I’ll devote a separate post to that).

We took a slightly different route back to Michigan, to change the view. We made a couple detours and stops to enrich the experience.

I spent Monday night back at my sister Brenda’s house, and drove back to Charlevoix Tuesday. I caught the last flight of the day, went to pick up my little dog and came home.

Happy to get away…so glad to be home!

 

No Words for Newtown

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Well, it’s awful.

Horrible.

Unthinkable.

And…oh, my God.

We all feel it…

But words don’t meet the challenge.

It’s too much…

The knowledge that this can happen. That it did happen.

It weighs on my mind and fills my heart with heaviness.

In that, it has given me a common bond with every other person living in the shadow of this horror.

I’ve listened for what others have to say… watched to learn from how others handle it.

Words of comfort…

Words of sorrow…

Words of tribute…

Talk of change.

Our president is very good at this. Sadly, very well-practiced, too.

My sweet daughter brought it home by speaking of her own grief, her difficulty in talking to her own children, and by honoring their teachers.

Robert Genn, an artist whose newsletter almost never touches on the political, wrote of the tools that we choose, and eloquently suggested that we choose the paintbrush, the cello…not guns.

Here on Beaver Island, we met on the beach.

We lit candles.

There was some talk about the tragedy and the grief, the lack of understanding and how to move forward.

It was a good effort, but words seem to fall flat in the wake of this travesty.

There was a song. A prayer. Then the suggestion that, before parting, we give each other the sign of peace.

As we moved around to shake hands, pat shoulders, give hugs…I realizedĀ that was exactly what we needed.

A bit of comfort.

Understanding.

The knowledge that we’re all in this together.

And that is all that I have to offer.

Words are not sufficient.