Friday, September 30, 2011

Just Back from Matinicus

I've just gotten home from a trip out to Matinicus with my sister Megan and her daughter Morgan and friend Greg. We had a beautiful, speedy trip out by boat with George Tarkelson on the Robin on Tuesday, spotting porpoise in the Bay. It was time to close everything up for the winter so we spent the three days we were there doing the final mowing, cutting back the gardens, hanging the covers over windows, bringing batteries from vehicles into the cellar, runnign the last recyclables to the island recycling shed and various other chores necessary to close up the big house and the two cottages. I had been eager to talk to some of the islanders who had been involved with our rescue after the plane crash to thank each one personally for their role. Clayton Philbrook, who plucked KC and me from the water came to the house for a visit and filled me on on details I'd not known about, including an disturbingly descriptive color for my skin in my hypothermic state. I found out on the ferry ride home this afternoon that Channel 6, WCSH Portland ran a story just last night on their 207 program about Matinicus. I've just watched it and if you want to see how the plane flies in and out of the airstrip on the island take a look. It's at, look for the 207 headline at the top.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Better and Better

I'm wearing the brace a little less every day and getting more exercise. Walking two miles almost every day (wearing the brace as the road from our house is a dirt road and uneven. After my session with my craniosacral therapist yesterday I felt great and feel great today. I have to be very careful when I'm not wearing the brace to move slowly and deliberately but it feels so good, so normal to be free of it. Off for my walk now! Afterward I plan to spend s much of the day as I can physically tolerate in my studio. There is a new show coming up at Aarhus for which I'd like to have new work.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


That is a little embarrassing reading that last post. What a low moment! But I was feeling duplicitous keeping all my low moments to myself. The action I am taking is to simplify my life so as not to get so overwhelmed while I am still moving so slowly. I accept that healing is going to take longer than I want it to. Things were coming along great, then earlier in the week I twisted, or bent or squatted too low or some damn thing and everything hurts again. I probably need to schedule an appointment every week with Sarah Bradley, my craniosacral therapist, who has healing hands and works wonders. I've only been twice so far but both times felt significantly better afterwards.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Truth is

Okay, the truth is I don't feel all that positive every day. Some days I am frustrated and discouraged and those are the days I post nothing. No one likes a negative attitude and I hate feeling sorry for myself.
The truth is, I am not getting back to making art all that much. My studio sits empty while I--to the best of my current ability-- take care of other things, long neglected, including helping with the care of my father, 87, whose memory loss is Alzheimer's and who needs a lot of help and attention.
The truth is I'm frustrated being so inactive and having it take twice as long to get anything physical accomplished, if I can even manage it at all. There is no hiking, no kayaking, no biking and worst of all, no gardening. I can't bear to look at my gardens. Let the frost come so everything will just die and go away! I can't wait for everything to get buried in snow!
The truth is, my brush with death has left its mark, though I can't quite conceptualize yet what that mark looks like. But today I sure feel it. I am impatient for a sense of normalcy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Leaps of Faith

Contrary to conventional thinking, most landscapers know that a newly planted tree should never be staked. To develop health, strength and resistance the tree needs to be free to move with the wind. It's a leap of faith, proven by science. So with this brace. It allows plenty of movement even as it keeps my vertebrae protected. I'm removing it at night now and a little during the day to start to rebuild my muscles. I still can't bend over, even without the limitations of the brace, but I think that may have as much to do with stiffness and lack of use as weakness of the muscles and fractured vertebra. Today my niece Madeline is coming to help me start cutting back the gardens, cleaning up and putting things away for the season. This usually takes me days and days, especially after the dahlias have hardened off in the ground and need to be lifted, rinsed, tagged and stored in boxes full of wood shavings in my upstairs studio. The garlic will need to be planted and I hope to get her to help me with that, too. This summer I could only watch as first Jessica then Antoinette dug it for me. By October I might even be able to bend over enough to push the cloves into the raised beds myself. Like planting spring flowering bulbs in the fall, planting garlic is one of those leaps of faith that there will be a gratifying payoff ten months later. By then I will certainly be harvesting my own garlic again.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Great News

Fantastic news! My back is healing normally, on schedule and I have been given the green light to get back behind the wheel. Being able to drive again when you live a half hour away from ANYTHING is HUGE! Many thanks to those who have chauffered me around these last five weeks and gratitude to those who offfered to help in any way. I'll have pain for awhile but it is reassuring knowing that all those aches and pains are a normal part of the healing process. The disappointing news is that I probably won't be able to curl the first half of the season as I won't even be able to start any kind of physical therapy until after the beginning of November, (when I can shed the brace for good) which is the start of the season. Bummer, but I am really, really, really glad that I am still on this earth to be able to return to the things I so love to do and hug the people I love............

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Follow Up Tomorrow

Tomorrow, finally, I will have the follow up appointment in Portland for an X ray on my back and a meeting with a neurosurgeon to discuss it. I am looking forward to this and hoping for the best. Bart will come with me so he hears it all first hand. I'm trying to stay positive and patient and I'm assuming we will see significant healing in the back. At this point I am beginning to feel more aches and pain in other areas like hips and legs as a result of wearing the brace which makes me walk, sit and stand awkwardly. As a result, I am only truly comfortable sitting in a very straight chair for short stretches or lying on my back. Maybe I'll be able to remove the brace long enough to start some physical therapy. I've got to get back into shape--the curling season is only a few weeks away!