Sunday, October 06, 2013

Next on the list
Pearl Jam - Unthought Known

Day 4 - a song that calms you down...

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Great summer evening at the cabin!

Ok, let's skip ahead to day 7 - a song that reminds you of summer. :)

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Day 3 - a song that reminds you of one or both of your parents

My parents had a lot to do with my musical tastes, and my country tastes too :)

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Day 2 - A song that reminds you of your most recent ex-boyfriend

Man, that was a LONG TIME AGO! More than 30 years!
The guy was named Tommy, and I think this was "our song", although I'm not really certain.  This may have been the song on the radio when we were breaking up.  I broke up with him, just to be clear.  And I told my friends that everytime I heard this song, I was going to do sit-ups, just so I wouldn't think of him.  It's so funny now when I think about it :)

Friday, September 06, 2013

Song Challenge, Day 1 - a song from your childhood

I saw this on Pinterest and decided to play along. Here is the pin... (Taylor Swift is not my selection):

Day 13 Forever & Always Taylor Swift

And this is the first song that came to mind:

Friday, August 02, 2013

More Cabin, of course.

Home sweet home, from a different angle.  Showing one more of the many things the Husband got completed over the last few weeks.

Stairs leading up to the deck.  The whole deck is completed.  New front roof and skylights.  Siding on the shed - you can see that below. Frank and Steven even sided one wall of the kitchen because the girl in the insurance company thought it COULD be an issue.  Everything is now completed - and then some - so that we have insurance!!!!! Yay!

Well, I thought we had insurance last time, too, and they managed to find things wrong with the place, and gave us a list of things to fix.  But now, I think, it's time to take it easy, relax and enjoy it.

Siding on the shed and the Hops garden
Although I don't know how relaxing will ever be possible for Frank, because every time we look around we find a hundred other things that would be nice to be done, and because there is ALWAYS the looming need for firewood.  Oh yeah - and the shower.  We still need a shower. But at least, he's willing to ask for some help with the shower.

Knocked over "steps" - they were piled up stones - and resided this wall
What do I do around the cabin?  Nothing, really.  I entertain the women that come to visit, so we go shopping and lunch and even the spa.  I try to cook whenever a meal comes up, although I love to go out to eat whenever possible.  I try to remember to pack food for all the meals that we need.  I try to keep track of the water situation - and make sure that we have enough bottled water, since we don't have the water tested yet.  I try to be sure we have enough clean bedding and whatever other supplies we need for ourselves and anyone else sleeping over.  Then, when the weekend is over, I try to clean the house really well for the next time around.  Sometimes I clean well, sometimes I don't.  At the very least I try to sweep the whole cabin and dust up spider webs and things.  This weekend I managed to paint a lot of dirty walls - I used up a whole gallon of paint.  Plenty of more areas that need painting, though.  Oh yeah, and did I mention I shop?

Do I sound like I'm trying to justify myself?  Yeah, feels that way.  I can't do any of the heavy lifting and serious construction that Frank can do.  It is a very uncomfortable balance of work and responsibility.  I have lots of ideas - for things I can't do.  It's exhausting Frank, and it's making me cranky.
Meet Charley (not her real name)

I am trying to work some aggravation out in my head, and I'm having trouble figuring it all out.  But I don't want to just gripe on here.  Ok, so what else can I say, aside from complaining? 

Well, we're getting friendlier with the neighbors - we had a chance to meet the owner of the next hundred acres over, our neighbor to the North.  She is a sweet girl and I hope we'll be friends, even though she is way younger than we are.  We've made friends with the chickens.  Charley actually loves snacks.  And the ducks don't usually run when we head down to the lake... they quack at us like they have something to say. I'm starting to feel like we are living at a petting zoo.  We really need a few fainting baby goats. :)

Rest and recreation!

Friday, July 05, 2013

Sharing some of my family story... Caughnawaga stuff...

I've never really tried this before.  How many pages can one blog post be?  Hmmm.  Time to find out...  Here is some of the research I've done that I'm using for my Nanowrimo project.  I'm really excited about this.

“I remember…” – Alliene Rice DeSanto, in her own words… As told to Susan DeSanto Kemper.

I was born on November 24, 1921, in a house on the Kahnawake Indian Reservation just outside of Quebec, Canada.  My mother, Anna Bell Rice, and my father, Israel Rice, were Mohawk Iroquois.  I had two older brothers.  Henry was my oldest brother, Tom was next.  Another baby was lost before I was born. 

The house I was born in is the house that Aunt Alice lives in now.  It was my Godmother’s house, Josephine Jacobs Taylor.  She was my mother’s aunt, sister to my Grandmother, Louise Jacobs Bell.  My mother went to her aunt’s house to give birth because her own mother’s house was on the outskirts of town.  You don’t want to be too far away when you are giving birth in Canada in the winter.

My parents had been married when they were about 18 years old.  They separated several times, and they had separated again when I was born.  It wasn’t talked about, so I don’t know the reasons.  It may have been because of my father’s job.  He was an ironworker and he had to travel.  All I know is that they never got back together.  They were separated for good by the time I was six months old, although they never divorced.

I remember one day when I was still a child, seeing my father walking down the road past my Grandmother’s house, towards the village.  He had a fur coat.  He seemed so frightening to me.  I ran screaming and crying to my grandmother, who was sitting in her rocking chair.  He never spoke to me, never did anything wrong, but he seemed so scary.  I never really did get to know him.  I was never alone with him – even after I was grown up and married and came back and visited him. 

I was named Alliene by Chief War Eagle (my uncle, John Bell.)  Other people always changed it.  The French heard it as Ann Helene, a name that they were more used to, and that is what I was baptized.  In school they called me Eileen.  I’m used to it.

On the reservation the mothers had practically nothing to do with naming their baby.  The grandparents or godparents took the child away practically right from birth and brought them to the church and baptized them right away.  They got to pick the name.  It didn’t seem odd, it was just the way things were done.  Doda (doDAH – Aunt in Indian) was my Godmother, Josephine Taylor.  Chief War Eagle was my Godfather.  He was my mother’s brother, but he was just a kid.  He named me Alliene after an ex-girlfriend.  Doda picked out my Indian name.

My Indian name is Kanietahawi, which means “brought the snow.”  I was born on a snowy day.  I think that my mother gave all the kids Indian names, but nobody paid much attention to it.  Nobody called them by the names, and at that time, being Indian meant nothing – it as the same as being Italian or anything else.  It wasn’t popular.

When my own first child was born, my mother was upset because she felt that she should be the Godmother.  Indian tradition has the Grandmother as the Godmother of the first child.  She wanted to be Frank’s Godmother, and name him.  I think she was going to name him Everett, after a man she was working for that she respected.

I never exactly “bonded” with my mother.  As a child I lived with my grandmother most of the time.   My brothers and Madeline, my cousin, lived with her too.  Madeline had been orphaned at a young age.  Sometimes I lived with Doda.  I only lived with my mother on again and off again, when she had a boyfriend that supported her well enough.

Even though my parents never actually divorced, they had other relationships after they were separated.  I know that my father had a girlfriend, and Aunt Blanche told me that they had a child together.  Boy or girl, I don’t know.  After my father was murdered, though, we never saw the girlfriend or the child again.  It seemed fishy when she disappeared like that.

One thing that I learned as a child is not to find fault with different kinds of people, not to judge people.  No one is any different from anyone else.  My grandmother owned a camp on the beach of the St. Lawrence River – they called it “the Bush,” but it’s name was “Bell’s Camp.”  She rented cabings to many families, all different nationalities.  There were families from Holland, England, France, and other places.  I remember a Chinese family that married into the Indian.  I remember a couple from England, a racially mixed couple – white and black.  I was brought up not to discriminate.

My grandmother was a shrewd business woman.  She controlled the money and the land and the business ventures; my grandfather did not.  Grandmother acquired a great deal of property.  She would loan out $20 or $25, and then get back property or whatever in prepayment of the loan.  She owned all of the Bush, right on the water, as well as three or four pieces of property in the village.  We were the first family with a radio – an Atwater Kent, which only worked on Sunday night.  We were also one of the first families to get electric lights in our house.

We even had electric lights in our cellar.  The light in the cellar was kept on all of the time, for the CHICKENS!  It gets cold in Canada in the winter.  We kept our chickens in one room in the cellar.  They needed a light.  The cellar had four rooms: one for coal, one for wood, a root cellar for storing apples and things, and the chicken room.

During the Depression, our family wasn’t on relief.  We were too well off to get anything from the government.  We didn’t own the lot, but we were never deprived.  Everyone was the same.  We all had hand-me-down clothes.  My mother brought hand-me-downs from the families that she worked for.  For Christmas, I got a new dress.  I didn’t really know there was a depression.  We were never hungry.

There wasn’t a big variety of food then like there is now.  We ate Indian Corn Soup, Boiled Dinner, Chicken and Dumplings, and Indian Goulash.  We grinded corn for Indian Corn Bread, and sometimes we had a steak.  My Grandmother had a cow and chickens and a pig.  In the winter we slaughtered the pig and the cow.  Grandmother owned a lot of land, maybe the length of Harvard Avenue, and wide, too.  We had a big garden with hay for the cow, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, turnips, string beans, and cantaloupes.  My grandfather kept bees for honey.  We had an orchard of Mackintosh apples and we had cultivated raspberry and black raspberry bushes.  It wasn’t really a farm, though, in the way that I would think of a farm.  Grandmother crossed the river every two weeks or so to buy what she couldn’t get in the village.

We had dogs, but they weren’t like house dogs, they were more like watch dogs.  I never treated any of them like a pet.  If my Grandmother heard her dog hollering in the night she would grab her stick and her lantern.  Grandmother had a glass eye so I guess she couldn’t see that well, but she would take off through her hayfield in the dark, looking for whoever was trespassing on her land.

I never felt like the dogs were like pets, but I did have a calf as a pet once when I was small.  The calf had a heart-shaped white face.  One day, it walked up the stairs into the kitchen.  My Grandmother had a fit!  We also had a really mean old rooster who guarded the house.  If that rooster was in front of the house, no one could pass.  The rooster would peck them and chase them away. 

My grandfather adored my grandmother.  He was like a little pet puppy dog where she was concerned.  He was a MicMac Indian from Old Orchard, Maine.  They met while traveling across the United States, met and married in San Francisco.  I think they were traveling in an Indian Show. 

Grandfather was with the show because he was a medicine man.  Grandmother traveled with her sister, Doda Aukot, my Aunt Ida.  They did Indian beadwork.  They would go into towns – towns where there were no sidewalks, and they had to walk in the mud.  Sometimes, they would find a nice town and could sleep in a bed.  Sometimes they would camp and sleep on the ground.

I have Grandmother and Grandfather’s marriage license.  Grandfather was 38 and Grandmother was 23 when they married in San Francisco on March 15, 1894.  Grandmother was short, and Grandfather was big; over six foot tall.  They bought property in Oklahoma and in Texas.  The land was later sold.  In fact, after I was married, I had to sign a paper saying I wouldn’t try to get the land back.

Grandmother only spoke her own Indian tongue, and she couldn’t speak English.  Grandfather spoke a different Indian language and English, but no Mohawk.  Doda Aukot had to translate.  Somehow, everyone managed to communicate.  They never did learn each other’s language.  I can’t say I ever heard my grandmother and grandfather talk to each other even though they lived in the same house.  They certainly never argued.  I guess love has no language barrier!

Doda Aukot spoke really good English.  She never married.  She translated for my grandparents and lived with them on and off.  I guess most of what I can tell you about my grandparents I learned from what she told me.  My grandmother couldn’t tell me much about herself.  I spoke very little Mohawk.  As I was growing up, Grandmother learned to speak a little more English from the people in the camp on the bush.  I talked to her in English, and she answered me in Mohawk.

I remember my Grandfather very well.  He always had Smith Brothers cough drops in his vest pocket.  The house we lived in was made of stone, with a long kitchen.  There were two doors:  one into the living room, one into the dining room.  I think of him sitting in his rocking chair, right in between those two doors.

This has been a very “enlightening” century.  There have been so many innovations.  Now, everybody has so much, and they want so much more.  Like at Christmas.  Kids get too much.  When I was young, we got one gift, and our stockings.  One year I got a little red table and chairs.  One year I got a doll that opened and shut her eyes.  I was amazed.  I poked my finger into her eyes until I poked her eyes out, to see how it worked.  We always had a Christmas tree.  We had candlesticks that clipped to the tree.  We would light the tree maybe once a night, for maybe two minutes.  One year, I fell asleep waiting for Santa.  My brother Tom, who was about six years older than me, didn’t have anything better to do, so he painted my face with charcoal!

We had open house on Christmas Day.  The table was set all day.  Grandma lived up on the hill, and it was a long, hard walk for visitors.  Everyone walked.  They were cold when they finally arrived, and they had to eat!  There was Chicken Stew, and Indian Corn Soup, Bread Pudding, Rice Pudding, Pumpkin Pie, and Baked Apples.  There were apples and orange, and red “blood” oranges.

I was the youngest girl.  I was kind of the favorite or the pet.  I was about six years old when my grandfather died.  He had gone blind from diabetes.  He fell.  The trap door to the cellar was open, and he couldn’t see it.  They took him to the hospital and he lingered a while.  On his deathbed, someone picked me up and had me kiss him … and then he died.  My Grandmother never remarried.

I decided at an early age that I wasn’t going to be like my mother.  I was going to be more like my grandmother.  I was only getting married once, and I was going to stick with it, so my children would have a father, one father.  My mother had many boyfriends.  Not too many of them were Indians – maybe not any.  I guess that I took after my mother in that.  Indians weren’t good enough for us.

I never lived with Mother much.  She was working, jobs like housekeeper and cook, and she thought more of going out with her friends than taking care of her kids.  I lived with her when she had a steady boyfriend that could support her.  Mostly, I lived with my Grandmother, and sometimes I lived with Doda.  I lived with the VanDamlen family a lot.  They were wonderful people.  I called them Uncle Frank and Aunt Emma, even though they weren’t related by blood.  My brothers and I were close to their children.  Aunt Emma was English, from Liverpool.  Uncle Frank was actually a prince.  His mother had married a prince from Holland.

When I was about fourteen, I moved to New York with my mother.  I think that because my Grandmother was getting old, she couldn’t really take care of me anymore.  I went to school in Greenwich Village.  We lived on Barrow Street, right off of Bleeker.  Almost as soon as I got to New York, though, my mother pushed me off on somebody else.  I stayed with a couple named Dorothy and Eddie Maynard.  They had a piano and they let me play it.  I moved about fifteen times before I got married.  I lived in Brooklyn, Inwood Park, Greenwich Village, all over.

I remember that my own mother didn’t even tell me the facts of life.  I had to find out about my period from some woman I was staying with.  I was a tomboy, what did I know about things like that?  I thought I had injured myself some how. 

In the summer, I went home.  That was the best part of my life, with my grandmother, living in the Bush, at Bell’s Camp on the beach.  We wernt swimming, fishing, and we drank.  We had bonfires and we would sing, and my friends Edith, Dorothy and me would steal the boy’s bikes and bicycle up and down the path.  We were girls, we weren’t allowed to have bikes of our own.

I remember Marian Weber, who had a summer house in the Bush.  They were from New York City.  I had my first watermelon at her house.  She took us all to Montreal, to our first circus and to a fancy restaurant.  We drank the fingerbowls.  I learned so much from the people who summered at Bell’s Camp.

Liquor wasn’t legally allowed in the bush, and every once in a while someone reported my Grandmother for having liquor.  The Mounties would raid the place in the middle of the night.  We would run barefoot up the path screaming,  “The Royal Mounted Police are coming!”  Everyone would hide their bottles in the river.  One time, Aunt Emma VanDamlen hid a bottle of liquor in her bust, and we all laughed and laughed.

In 1936 – maybe it was October or November – my grandmother was dying so we moved back.  After she died, we went back to New York City, to school there.  The next year we went back to Kahnawake fro vacation and I met Frank DeSanto there.

The Dark of the Night

Well.  New chapter.
I'm sitting here in the dark in the hospital.
Frank had a bad flare of his Crohns, and it landed us in the hospital again - bringing me back full to the time 6 years ago, about, give or take, when I started blogging in the first place.  Blogging got me busy with something to do as I sat in the hospital and watched him.

Watching him entails a lot of boredom while he sleeps.  Watching him means being on call for ice chips as needed, but not having much else to do.  Watching him, at night, like now, means staying quiet but staying close.  Perfect time for using the computer.

Back to the beginning, but some things have changed.

-There was no facebook back then.  Facebook is a serious time suck.  I love it but I hate it. It's so hard to break away from, and there is so little good creativity there anymore.  And yet, I can't look away for long.

Blogging started to keep people in touch with how Frankie was doing.  It was easier than making a million phone calls - and it was a creative outlet.  I wrote a lot, I enjoyed doing it.

Facebook does that really well, now.  But I can't stay on facebook all the time, it is mind-numbing, not helping.

Yeah, another big change is that Frankie is no longer a child.  He's an adult, pretty much.  At 22 he doesn't want to be the topic of my blogging anymore.  I understand, and it's his story to tell, not mine. 

So HERE I am, trying to stop looking at the same boring facebook posts over and over, trying not to overshare Frankie's life.  I decided I would go back to writing my family story.

Nanowrimo.  Usually a November project.  My first Nanowrimo, successfully completed, was the November AFTER Frankie's guts exploded last time.  Then, I tried a few other times, less successfully.

This time, I'm going to continue to work on the project I have in mind, which is a family history.  I like the idea of doing a family history, as a fictional story, with some basis in fact.  I've started it already.  And I've sat here all day and worked on research.  I've got a few good ideas.

Nanowrimo Summer Camp.  That's what I'm doing.  And since I'm stuck in the hospital, in the dark of the night, sitting up all night with no bed... but with a computer and access to the internet, and a story whispering itself in my ear... it seems like a really good time to write!

Monday, June 03, 2013


 It's no wonder I'm so tired all week.  We do SO MUCH work every weekend, and have a great time doing it!

Last weekend, we were freezing and wearing coats.  This weekend, we were sweating in tank tops.  It went up to the 90's!  So, a screen door was definitely in order!  Here's a picture of our new screen door... we bought it during the week, and I painted it red and we hung it this weekend.  It's got a very satisfying "Thwack rattle" sound when it slams shut.  I think it needs more spring, to slam shut harder.  I love it.  Two views... from the outside... and from the inside...

Last week's project was HUGE.  It was the three new skylights and the new section of roof.  We might have waited for this project until later, but the insurance was requiring that we fixed the section of roof that was sagging - so in for a penny, in for a pound, right?  The two old sky lights were a mess,  They weren't even really sky lights, they were huge pieces of glass he just made into skylights.  I think he (the previous owner, John, who I never met) had gotten glass windows from a department store that was being dismantled.

We liked the way the huge skylights looked (except for the fact that they were cloudy and broken.)  So when we couldn't find real skylights that big, we decided to go for three instead of two.  And I love the look! It feels like a tree house inside now, with the leaves through the window, and the sun pouring in - it's the southern exposure -- and the ladder to the loft.  It feels like being outside.   Here are two of them, with one blocked by the upstairs bedroom.

Another job that the insurance required?

 Hand rails on the deck stairs - Frank fixed these up pretty quick Sunday morning.  They are a little sketchy, but they should hold up and serve the purpose.  Hope they don't look too close at how old the wood on the deck is... I keep waiting to go through it.

And we were so tired Saturday Night, we spent the evening sitting on the deck with a candle instead of having a fire... :)

A big project worked on this weekend was also the shower situation.

It was very exciting the week that we got water hooked up to the toilet so we could flush.

Then, we got water hooked up to the sink, so we could wash with cold water from the sink instead of using a wash basin and pitcher arrangement...

This weekend, we got HOT water!  However, the shower isn't working yet.  Hopefully next weekend.

And, in preparation, I've scrubbed the tub and refinished the wooden step.  (You need the step because it's such a deep tub.)

I've been thinking about doing this for a while, too:  open up the window.
Previously, this window was covered with plastic.  Because it's REALLY old and it has single pane and a hole in one pane.  But, summer is here!  Let the heat in, right?  It cools off nice in the evening!
So now we can look out into the backyard easier!
 This is the inside of the window, and the outside of the same window.  I know that we need better quality windows so we don't freeze in the winter, but I hate to lose the charm that this window has.  I'm thinking storm windows or something.  I've gotta figure out a way to keep this.

 Our cabin is a bit confused.  It doesn't know if it is a log cabin or a cedar shake salt box.  It's got log siding, shake siding, and plywood siding; it's got brown windows and white windows and sky lights; it has a brown roof on top, and a new black roof down the front. 

It's quirky.  But I love it.

And... last but not least... the new bar.  We're going to leave the Christmas Tree up all year, LOL.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Cabin Update

I took more photos this weekend - are you surprised?  Well, here they are...

 Here's some of the living room, one of all the lines - beams and stairs and rails - lines all over. 

Then, the bumped out living room, below, with the chair my sister gave me yesterday.  She did a great job on the reupholstery!  My painting is hanging on the 'spring' side, and it will be turned to the 'summer' side in a few months.  The neighbor's son looked at the painting and said, "I don't know how to tell you this, but you've hung your painting upside down."  LOL, I loved that!  I showed him it was only fall that was upside down; spring is right side up.

 Above is the whole yard, with our land in the background.

And I took lots of pictures of Frank working because he did lots of work.  He got three main things done:  putting a railing up on the side of the deck that collapsed when we took out the tree, all of the insulation out of the crawl space so he can run pipes so we can get water, and the stump from another old tree out of the way.  (The stump in this picture, however, will remain a while.)

Yeah, finally, me on the ATV.  But I won't get on it and have it moving.  This was only a photo op.

So all in all, it was a productive weekend - especially for a day trip!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Zombie Run... The Movie

We did the Zombie Run last weekend... it was all for fun, and no real zombies (or brains) were injured in the making of this movie!

 Oh yeah - and Twinkie Hunters, our team name, refers to the Zombieland movie.  If you haven't seen it, you should, 'cause it's a lot of fun.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pinterest Crazy

I really am crazy about the Pinterest web site because I come up with so many great ideas for things I want to do - things I've never even thought of before - and not just ideas, but also directions!

Like - directions for crocheting things - I made this heart, I used it to decorate the cabin's Christmas tree which I'm leaving up all year, since it's just easier.   I like crocheting in front of the fire...


The guys spent a while one warm Saturday recently, making a good spot by the spring for a picnic area.  No specific pinterest plans for the area yet, but you know it's gonna be a great space!

Here's another picnic area, right in front.  Can't wait for the summer and this to be all green.  I wonder how much my husband is going to like cutting the lawn around the picnic table...  a rock patio would be nice, wouldn't it?

A MOST EXCITING Pinterest plan below -- that's the mason jar chandelier my darling husband made for me.  I haven't even seen it yet, in person.  But I found the idea on Pinterest, and now I've pinned this one on my board.


 Finally, my Pinterest Pancakes. They look like cinnamon rolls, right? But no, they are pancakes, and they are AMAZING. We all enjoyed them, right Nick?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I wanna be in the woods right now.

It's a beautiful day here in town, but I'd rather be back in the woods in the rain or the snow or the blowing wind. My life feels divided into real life and another block of time that's false - and the real life is back in the woods. I'm tired of being here, tired of people, tired of not being able to be who I really am. In the woods, I'm me - I'm NOT my age or my face or my figure or my reputation. In the woods, I don't have to listen to people talking about other people, and what they did or didn't do. I don't hear the politics, and the arguments on each side. I don't have to make polite conversation with someone when I don't care what they have to say and they don't care what I have to say. I'm ready to go back to reality. But it's only Wednesday.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Before and After, so far...

When we bought the cabin in the woods, we started out with a pretty long list of things that had to get done to get the place in shape.
 Lots of the things have been marked off the list. We are about to start on a new list... if it ever warms up around here... well, here is our progress so far!

 I hope that posting this video doesn't seem like I'm showing off.

 It might actually BE showing off, but that is not my intention. I honestly just love this place. I sit on the new (used) couch and just stare at the place all evening long... I love to go through my photos over and over... I'm crazy, but I'm still so excited. I wish I could be there all the time.  Since I can't, I made this slide show so I can watch it when I'm home and imagine I'm there.

 I expect that the only one who will be watching this video will be me :)

and that's perfectly ok!