Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giving thanks...

Among the many, many blessings that my family and I will give thanks for this year is my niece Avery, who has been home now for a month. She now has a new heart, and we have renewed hope for her future and endless gratitude to her donor family, for the most amazing gift our family could ever receive.

We are looking forward to a day of love, laughter, celebration and most of all, gratitude tomorrow, and I wish you all the same!!!

Here are the most recent photos of Avery, home one month (no more tubes, and two missing teeth!).

Happy thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A(nother) new hobby?

My latest obsession...

The Pottery Place in Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany NY...
I have had the intention of stopping in to paint something for about a decade now (way back when the place was called Color Me Mine). A friend and I finally went last week, and I painted this pasta bowl (actual size is 14" round). I had so much fun and I was so pleased with how it turned out that I want to go back and make about a dozen. I might be able to justify the indulgence if I give some of them away as holiday gifts.

The only frustration is the waiting - which I am not good at - it takes a week to get the finished/fired piece back. I only had a vague idea of what the glazes would look like when fired but I liked that part. I loved being surprised at the transformation from dull pastel colors to bright and shiny glaze.

There were hundreds of items besides bowls that I could choose to paint, but I loved the big round surface. Ideas are already spinning in my head about what I might paint on my next bowl (chili peppers? christmas lights? sunflowers?)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Albany Rural Cemetery...

In 1841, in response to a growing problem with flooding at the State Street Burial Ground (in downtown Albany), and continued deterioration of church cemeteries, a public movement was undertaken to purchase and develop a “Rural Cemetery,” beautifully landscaped and safely outside the city. This led to the incorporation of Albany Rural Cemetery on April 2, 1841.

I had heard for years that it's a beautiful place to visit, and unlike many cemeteries, dogs are allowed (on leash). So Max and I took advantage of a warm, late fall day for a long walk this past weekend. The cemetery is only a few miles from my house, and it will now be a regular walking spot for me and Max, when we need a change of scenery. It is a place of uncommon peace and amazing beauty. Not just the landscape, with 400 acres of narrow winding roads, gnarly ancient trees, and trickling streams, but the monuments as well. Majestic stones carved into angels and crosses twenty feet high, and delicate detailed borders ideal for graphite rubbings. I can hardly wait to return (above ground, that is.)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

A glimpse of Avery at home...

I went to visit Cutes (aka Avery) on her return home last weekend. My sister Jennifer was already there, and they were busy baking heart-shaped cupcakes when I arrived. It was absolutely fabulous to see Avery walking, eating, and asking for new "projects" to keep her busy. We did our best to keep up with her, sewing hand puppets drawing, beading and pushing her on her swing set. I also gave her charge of Max's food & treats. She is a tough taskmaster and by the end of the weekend, Max was obeying commands better for my five-year-old niece than he ever did for me. At one point she asked me why Max never smiles. I resisted telling her that she was the reason -- I explained that he smiles by wagging his tail, though I am not sure she was convinced.

As you can see from the photo (baking with Aunt Jes), she still has a tube for night feeds, (to bolster her vitamins & minerals) but during the day it is not connected and she is making up for all of the hospital limitations. Her appetite was extremely hearty while I was there, which was also a joy to see. Other than limiting her salt intake, she can eat pretty much anything she wants... and she does!

For the next several months, Cutes will be confined mostly to home, to protect her fragile immune system as she continues to recover, but home is a great place to be!!!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Halloween fun...

I went to a halloween party this year at my sister's boyfriend's house. My sister (and her boyfriend) both work for Progressive Insurance, and Flo, the Progressive spokesperson(?) is one of my favorite tv personnas. I totally identify with the eyelashes & hair & lipstick. At first, I was intimidated to put on false eyelashes, but they were super easy once I went back to buy the adhesive, which for some reason, is sold separately. I want to wear false eyelashes all the time now because they made me feel so groovy and super sparkly. And I have 2 pairs left because I bought several, sure that at least one pair would end up stuck to my elbow or down my sink. My sister was "twister sister." This photo does not do her justice - she had red patent leather go go boots & her "hat" was the actual spinner board. Her boyfriend was a vampire, complete with a coffin that he built himself.

Now that's what I call a party!