Organizing Holiday Gifts

10-18-2017 Magic Moment:

I pull a giant canvass bag out of the coat closet where I collect gifts all year. I have been making matching hats and scarves for everybody this year too. Everything spreads out over the exercise equipment in the corner as if it exploded. I set out a dozen gift bags all colorful metallic glitter. Each one gets its own sticky note with a name on it. Then one by one gifts go into each bag according to who gets what. It is all little stuff, but I like to think that everyone has fun dipping into the bags to see what crazy silly things are in there this year. For all the kids, there are special fun pencils, erasers, bookmarks, and such left over from my teaching days. I think the nieces and nephews may grow up before I run out of that stuff! I feel jubilant as I dole out the booty then make a list of who still needs a hot and scarf. There is still a good bit of knitting to do, but there are two good months before crunch time.  Of course this means that this corner of the house is not usable for anything else until the gifts are boxed up and shipped out, but so what! Life is good!


Bike Riding With Mom At Glimmerglass Lake


Feeling a little better, still coughing some. This whole episode kind of shook my confidence. I do not ever want to feel the way I did the night I couldn’t breathe. I don’t want to push myself too hard and have that happen again, but I don’t want to physically limit myself self either. Catch 22 anyone.

So, as part of their New York State vacation my parents are staying at Glimmerglass Lake State Campground something over an hour away from our house. We went to see them there, took the kayaks and all, but didn’t get around to launching them. I’ll have to come back for that as a future adventure.

It was a pleasant visit. We cooked dinner over the grill, ate at the picnic table, hung out in the shade and talked all afternoon. They are really enjoying the trip even though I didn’t get to do as much with them as we had planned. They have taken a couple of drives up to see the Adirondack Mountain too, which is awesome! Glimmerglass is about half way between the Catskills and the Adirondacks, which is one reason they picked there to stay for a week.

In the warm evening, Mom and I decided to bike over to the lake. She has an adult tricycle that she loves and I used Dad’s beach comber (very different from riding my mountain bike). The campground, park area, and lake front and are all accessible to biking and we had a peaceful ride. Being in the middle of the week and after Labor Day, there weren’t many people around to begin with and most of them left once the sun started setting and the air started cooling down into evening. We went over the covered bridge, and biked all along the water front picnic are, watching the sun set over the lake in a profusion of pastel. Mostly we talked. It is absolutely wonderful to talk to your mother as two grown women, covering a fast variety of topics, many not even important. Just to have that contact, reinforcing the gossamer threat that keeps us all connected in this crazy world.

Clouds Over The Marion River


We have been canoeing all day, canoes of teenagers strung out a mile across the lakes we are crossing. I am in the lead canoe with another guide. This is her first canoe camping trip and she is loving it! We paddle and talk then stop and wait for the last canoe (with the counselors in it) to catch up. We had lunch at the Marion River carry/portage and are now paddling down the twisting channel through the wetland that will eventually lead to Raquette Lake. All day the sun has been shining, big fluffy white clouds have been drifting by, and a gentle breeze has blowing. It is late afternoon, we are heading in a generally western direction as the sun hangs low in the western sky but still several hours away from setting. Yellow sunbeams spill out from behind the billowing white, blue, and grey shadowed clouds. The bright slanted sunlight scatters off the water and glints in my eyes. I am momentarily blinded as my eyes water. A cool breezes skitters across the water rippling it and sending a passing chill across my arms. I am at peace here, suspended between water and sky, floating among the waves and clouds, buoyant soul song, soaring dreams, thoughts drifting lazily in gentle currents. Life is good!

Perfect Lake Day


Bright warm sun light pouring from a cloudless immense clear blue sky, gleaming blindingly off the inviting cool calm water of the lake. We are all in the water (kids and adults), swimming, paddling kayaks, playing on the blow up pool toys and inner-tubes, diving, splashing, floating, laughing, enjoying being together. We paddle out to some rocks and bask in the sunshine (while the kids continue their swimming adventure), laying on the sun warmed surface, soaking in the heat, letting our skin dry in the warm air, the smell of water and earth, the feel of sunlight and gentle breezes, talking, laughing, and enjoying time to relax and reunite. This is exactly what I had wanted when I suggested this reunion plan last year. The perfect lake day materialized and life is good!

Dress Up Day


Every summer there is one day when all the white water raft guides on the Hudson dress up in a costume to run the river. This is dress up day, highly anticipated, actively enjoyed! This year, Fate was on my side and I ended up guiding a raft full of some amazing women including our photographer. Our costumes were varied, colorful, and fun. Mine was a combination of several costumes from previous years. I looked absolutely ridiculous, which was the point. It was a blast! We stopped at the Narrows so Mel could take pictures of all the rafts. We all sat on the rocks beside the rapid and cheered at everybody who came through. It was like a white water parade! Its the kind of fun where happiness just emanates from every pore, the essence of your being is full and content, where you know that right now, right here, all is good and right with your world. It is the kind of feeling that I tuck away into my psyche to use later in the coldest darkest days of winter to remind myself that the sun will shine again!

Hula Hoop Tricks


Hanging out in Thurman with other guides, waiting for people to come rent canoes, kayaks, and inner-tubes. The wet, rainy, cool summer has kept people off them water, but we are still having fun. One guide brought her hula hoops and she is (trying to) teach me some tricks. She is amazing when she gets going, she dances with the hoops like they are part of her. It is mesmerizing to watch! She has shown me two moves, that can be expanded into more, but I need to get the basic move down first. Hoops go flying and whizzing through the air, twirling and skittering across the ground, and thunking down on my body parts. I’ll have some bruises tonight… But I’m learning. It will take many long practice sessions to get this down pat. It feels good to work at something and see yourself getting better at it the more you try.

Big Red And Little Blue


The run down the Shenandoah is 6 miles from the Millville put in to the Potomac Wayside parking area just upstream of the 340 bridge over the Potomac. It took the three of us 7 hours to “paddle” this section. This was the maiden voyage (with me as the owner) of the two duckies (inflatable kayaks) I brought with me. My best friend from childhood (we met in the 3rd grade), her wife, and their cute little dog floated down the river in the double ducky we called Big Red, and I was in Little Blue, the single ducky. There was plenty of room for snacks and beverages as well. We enjoyed the heat and intensity of the summer sun, the refreshing dips in the river, and the amazing beauty of the Appalachian mountains. We explored behind the islands, even through there was not enough water to actually float back. We spend a couple of happy hours at Bull Falls, playing in the rapid, running it numerous times, and body surfing in the ledge drop hydraulic. I even jumped into the middle of the rapid just from old times sake like we used to do when we were young, invincible, and immortal! There was even that predictable evening thunder storm that seems to happen every July 4th, the humidity builds to an unsustainable level in the atmosphere and it all falls back to earth as a gentle warm rain. What an amazing way the spend a sweet nostalgic summer day!