Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving Day, 2020

 I'm sitting at my computer watching a dense fog roll down the hillside over the snow-covered lawn towards the house. We had a few inches of snow come down yesterday, and now the air temperature is rising and there is fog that hampers visibility. I've been in the woods in weather like this and found myself traveling in circles, even in an area I knew very well. I realized what was happening when I kept coming back to my own tracks. I was finally able to simply keep walking downhill, knowing I would come to the road eventually. It is a scary feeling, and for deer hunters in an unfamiliar area, can be dangerous. It pays to have a compass or GPS and know how to use it.

This is probably the strangest Thanksgiving Day any of us have ever experienced.  I hope most of you still have something you are thankful for, despite all the world problems, national strife and conflict. I believe within weeks there will be reliable, safe vaccines available that will begin to ease the pandemic, and we can all be thankful for that. I am thankful to live in Vermont where the rate of infection is lower than other places - but I am distressed by the number of people fighting the virus infection, hungry for food, and without shelter. These are very difficult times. I am also thankful for my family, and being close to them, even though we will be eating our Thanksgiving meals separately, in our respective homes rather than gathering together.

While this is a sad Thanksgiving for our family - we have had two losses this past year: two of my daughters-in-law, Marie and Theresa, lost their step-father in March, just before the pandemic struck; and last week, we lost Fred, step-father to my three boys. Monika, my third daughter-in-law, worries about her family in Namibia where the virus is flourishing right now and knows she won't be able to travel to see them in the foreseeable future. Jo-Ann, Bill and Monika's eldest daughter, is isolated in Austin, Texas where she attends the University of Texas, and we pray every day that she stays healthy. It's a strange, sad year, but I'm confident 2021 will be better in so many ways, and that's only a few weeks away!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone - here's a smile for you.

Thanksgiving Cartoon Funny

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Change in Weather and Lifestyle

 We have a new coating of snow this morning - a boon for the deer hunters, skiers and boarders, but headaches for some of the rest of us driving in it and shoveling it. However, nearing the end of November, we expect it, and it would be an unusual year without it.

It seems that lifestyles need to change a bit as we edge into winter. The virus is picking up, even in the very rural areas of Vermont and with the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, there will be people coming here or going elsewhere and returning - possibly carrying the virus to make things worse. It's difficult to stay home, but far more difficult to be facing the holidays without a loved one. That I know personally - Fred's passing was not because of the virus, but when you lose someone you love, blame doesn't matter much. 

I'm missing Fred every day. His obituary was in the paper yesterday, and I still can't make it seem real that he's gone. The many messages I've received from friends and family are so kind and caring, I can't tell you how much I appreciate that so many have taken the time to reach out to me and our family. Thank you all, it helps to know you are thinking of us.

Thursday, November 19, 2020


This is probably the hardest blog entry I'll ever write. All too often I've started off an entry with, "I have sad news to report," and now I'm writing from a deeply personal perspective.

Yesterday morning, my best friend and husband of 37 years, died in his favorite chair in our living room. I rushed to his side, but was unable to do anything for him except hold his hand and watch as he took his last breath. The horrible cancer he had fought for the past nearly four years had finally won. 

Many of you knew Fred from his dedication to Joe's Pond Association - mainly in designing and maintaining the web site. After he retired from Social Security Administration, he began learning web design and that became his focus, his avocation. He loved being involved with the Association and doing the website and we often took on those challenges together. We  respected and supported each other, no matter what project was at hand.

It is important to me that his friends at Joe's Pond know how much the friendships he made here meant to him. We both missed the meetings this past summer, but we had high hopes that next year would be better, even as his energy waned and normal activities became so much harder for him. We hoped for some miracle, but we both knew that our time together was limited. It was just unexpected that the end came so soon.

Now, I'm struggling to figure out what my life going forward will be like. I know it will be lonely in a way my friends and family, try as they may, cannot fix. But right now I need time to confront my fears and sadness in order to heal. 

My message tonight is, please give your partner in life an extra hug and tell him/her how fortunate you are to be sharing life together; and love each other like crazy!

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

2020: The Year A Christmas Tree was Bullied

 Well, I was critical of this year's Rockefeller Center Christmas tree - it didn't present very well as they were erecting it a few days ago. Surely the limbs will relax and it will look much better after a few days, but in the meantime, apparently a lot of people got the same impression as I did and social media has been having a great time making jokes  - to the point where the remarks are being referred to as "bullying." Here's a short article with photos: LINK

After reading that article and some of the snarky remarks people were passing around on social media, I felt really bad for the tree and sorry I had ridiculed it - or the people who chose it. I can appreciate that its former owner loved it. She had cared for it for many years, decorated it on her front lawn and knew it was beautiful. So I'll be looking for a photo to post after it is dressed in all its glory. It deserves that along with my apology!

Some of you probably remember that a West Danville tree sent to that honored spot in NYC back in 1981. It was the 49th tree to grace the spot at Rockefeller Center, and it came from Dorothy Larrabee's property. It was a beautiful tree - but who knows, perhaps it had to have a few days to shake out its limbs and recover from the trip, just like this one.

I'm sure when the tree has recovered from being tightly bound for the trip from upstate New York to Manhattan, has all it's decorations and lights, it will be spectacular and uplifting. Just what people need to boost their spirits and give hope to millions as this horrendous year, 2020, comes to an end.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Property Change

 A few days ago I mentioned that the Pitman cottage on Clubhouse Circle had been sold. At the time, I didn't know who purchased it, but now I can tell you that it is Chris and Lisa Hebert, Pam and Joe Hebert's son and daughter-in-law. We are very excited that they will have a place on Joe's Pond. Chris and his brother, Tim, grew up coming to the pond every summer. The pond does have that effect on people. Most who grew up coming here in the summers have a very strong bond with the place. 

Chris is an avid runner and will enjoy being close to the rail/trail. He sent a map of the finished portions of the trail to his mom recently, and Pam shared it with me. It reminded me of how the old rail bed has changed over the years and I smiled at how many times we have "updated" information in our West Danville history book as, ever so slowly, progress was made on the trail. The link is from an on-line magazine for runners, "Fastest Known Time." I explored the site a bit and found that Chris ran the trail from West Danville to St. Johnsbury in 1h 44m 49s this weekend! That's 15.4 miles! Well done, Chris.

Now, just a brief note about our weather. Last night we had rain (.65 in.) and wind. We were prepared with extra water available in case the power went out, but that didn't happen and this morning things had quieted down. We are now getting snow showers, but nothing is sticking. The temperature is up to 41F, raw and cold even though the wind seems to be out of the south. I think the forecast is for a warming trend later this week, so I guess we'll need to wait a bit for real winter to set in. In the mountains at least some of the ski resorts are making snow, hoping for a Thanksgiving Day Weekend opening, I imagine. We could have plenty of natural snow by then . . . !

Sunday, November 15, 2020

First Day of Deer Hunting

 There was very little action in our vicinity today in spite of it being the first day of Deer Hunting Season. Usually we hear a few gunshots, but I haven't heard a thing today. That could be because I wasn't outside much - or it could be that there weren't many hunters in this area. It's all good - I like the idea that our wildlife isn't getting killed!

We saw on the news tonight that New York City put up their Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. It is a Norway Spruce from upstate New York. If you happened to see that brief clip, I bet you thought the same as I did - it's going to take a lot of trimmings to make that tree look good. It looked not only irregular, but typically lots of dead limbs near the base. I guess they know what they are looking for and what works best by now, but it is going to need some serious decorations.

Isn't it amazing that we are already thinking and planning for Christmas? It seems to happen earlier every year. I think everyone needs the diversion of thinking about something pleasant right now. In addition to dealing with an upswing of the Coronavirus, we're having to watch the nonsense in Washington, D. C. play out. It's embarrassing. I don't like to be political - everyone is entitled to their own opinions and ways of doing things; however, I do not like when people close their minds and hearts and refuse to accept the truth or listen to reason. There are too many people hurting these days for our leaders to be stubborn as mules and unwilling to cooperate with their peers just because they are on opposite sides of an issue. It they would really listen to one another, they might learn that they have more in common (assuming they are truly there to benefit their constituents and not just themselves) than they thought and could actually accomplish something meaningful - together. Wouldn't that be unique in Washington, D. C.!

So, I have a new computer - my old desktop gave out a couple of weeks ago. Now I'm struggling with various small but irritating idiosyncrasies in this new machine such as finding some photo files that were brought from the old computer completely empty. And today I discovered the scanner does not work. The printer and scanner are the same machine, and the printer works, but it won't scan. I know there must be a way, but we haven't figured it out yet. I did get the wonky delete key that left a period each time I hit it, fixed. I popped off the cap and used a Q-tip to clean the inside of the key - and by some miracle, it works now! 

Stay safe, everyone. Please continue to wear masks, wash your hands often, and stay away from crowds. Stay at home if you can! No trip is worth possibly bringing the virus home to our family or friends. If we are sensible about this and follow the rules our governor has set out for us, we will stop the rise in infections. We are losing far too many people every day - not only in other countries and states, but right here in Vermont. We need to be considerate of friends, family and strangers and do whatever we can to turn this around. Vermont was doing so well, and now we are struggling and heading for more misery and losses on so many levels - primarily because we got complacent and let our guard down. Until there is an effective vaccine available to everyone, we need to sacrifice a little bit to save lives - literally. Stay save and be considerate of others. It's the right thing to do.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Lovely Moment

 We have had some wonderful weather for several days - even today, with some light showers, was not terrible. It was still warm and mellow - almost soothing.  It was sunny this morning with some fog clinging to the hillsides over valleys as we drove west to Berlin for my regular eye shots. Later, in the afternoon, Fred had an appointment in St. Johnsbury and we left home with a fine mist in the air, but it never did actually rain. But it was warm and very comfortable - for mid-November. 

Yesterday I had an email with this lovely photo of a Joe's Pond sunset - it was taken

either Sunday or Monday evening, by Joanne Stewart. The pond is quiet - almost like glass on some of these beautiful days. Amid the turmoil of the election and the escalation of Covid-19 infections, it is nice to have a moment like this, watching the sun go down over such a peaceful lake. 

Looking at this photo, it's hard to believe that we have neighbors quarantining because they have tested positive for the Coronavirus, but I know of four in our neighborhood, and a doctor told me recently that there are many cases in St. Johnsbury and Lyndonville - and we know that there have been breakouts in the Barre-Montpelier area, as well. We were all being a bit complacent, thinking it wouldn't happen here, but it has. Vermont has been very lucky but with the change in weather and schools in session, the dynamics have changed - and as predicted, we're facing another round of infections. We need to be extra careful to wear face masks and stay well away from other humans, even those we know or who are in our family circle if they are out and about; and now is not the time to host get togethers with friends or family, especially if they are from out-of-state. Stay at home if you possibly can, and when you have to go out, wear your face mask and give others plenty of room. Use hand sanitizer or wash your hands, and don't touch your face. If someone has to come to work in your house, open windows and doors to air it out or use a fan to boost circulation of fresh air. In this nice weather, it's more sensible to do your socializing outside rather than inside. We all hope that the vaccine will be ready later this year and we can begin to conquer this pandemic, but in the meantime, please be careful. We all want to be able to enjoy more beautiful Joe's Pond moments.

That said, this Saturday is the start of the annual deer hunting season, so we will begin to see hunters cruising the back roads or walking in fields - and we'll hear the gunshots. I haven't seen many deer in our vicinity this year, but that doesn't mean there won't be hunters in the area. Be careful if you are walking on the rail-trail or along our roads. Wear bright colors - preferably hunter orange - and if you have pets, be sure they are wearing something red or orange so they won't be mistaken for game. Sometimes hunters don't wait to actually see exactly what they are shooting at - so be sure to talk, sing, or make some noise to let them know you are not a target.

Thanksgiving Day, 2020

 I'm sitting at my computer watching a dense fog roll down the hillside over the snow-covered lawn towards the house. We had a few inche...