Friday, May 30, 2008

my secret place....

late last night I got home from my latest wander. I packed in so much, I don't know where to begin. the first part of the trip was spent with some of my extended family. the purpose for this trip was to attend a gathering on tuesday in honor of my much loved godmother who passed away earlier this year.

preceding me at cousin suz's home was the arrival of suz's sister and her partner who came in from california. sunday was the first time I've visited suz while she's been living at this house. she lives in a small farm town (we're talking a town of twelve houses, a bar/hotel, and that's it) about an hour south of my family's "home" of lofty. suz's house is a big old pennsylvanian farm house (circa 1800) which has been subdivided into three separate 'apartments.' suz has a wonderful flair for creating a warm and inviting space and because we share a few passions (animals, books, food, and family lore) I instantly felt at home in her space.

monday was an absolutely glorious day - for most of the day suz, teresa and I tootled about sharing stories, exploring the countryside and gathering food for an evening feast. our initial plan of a simple memorial day bbq morphed into a wonderfully delicious gourmet creation as our foodie imaginations were unleashed. monday's dinner included an array of grilled vegetables and seafood (scallops, shrimp and salmon), a spicy asian peanut noodle side dish and for dessert teresa's interpretation of one of aunt mary (or mere) signature desserts - peach kuchen. there were many moments sunday, monday and tuesday where we could feel mere's spirit and knew she was beside us having a good time and feeling our love as we felt hers.

after dinner suz, teresa and I worked on putting together the prayer bundles for the graveside ceremony that was going to take place after the mass which was said for mere the next morning.

tuesday turned out to be another glorious day; the various gatherings were very moving. after the church and cemetery rituals most of the family went to the family home in lofty for a some nibbles and visiting. one of my uncles lives in the family homestead where my grandmother and grandfather raised their seven children. the house where my father was born and raised is a very special place for all of us.

it's been a long time since I visited lofty in late may - under the evergreens at the side of the house is an huge mass of lily of the valley flowers in bloom. I am most grateful to my uncle for giving me permission to dig up some of the plants to bring home. I love having this little bit of lofty - and maybe they will bring a little lofty magic to the north coast.

tuesday afternoon I said adieu to my family and headed home by way of a couple stops in new york. first stop the catskills to meet ched and explore the campus of chedwick university.

tuesday evening and all day wednesday ched and I had a grand time together exploring the area. ched already posted about some of our adventures. I'd just like to add a bit to her wonderful account of our meeting. but first let me set the record straight, contrary to what you might assume, neither ched nor I smoke, our visits to the cigarette and beer outlets were done purely for sociological and documentary purposes (well, okay I did pick up some yuengling to bring home for f and a six pack of mcsorley ale - on the label of the mcsorley's is the statement: "The older the fiddle the sweeter the tune!" good thing to remember, eh?)

here are a few of the colorful things we encountered on our wanders:

the catskills versions of a garden gnome

a red eft salamander

a scarlet tanager

weird blue wood

a type of green death

just one of the many whimsical trail markers on the campus of ched u

thursday morning it was difficult saying goodbye to ched we had such a wonderful time together and it was also hard to leave the beauty of the catskills (sometimes I think this little town mouse could easily become a country mouse). but alas it was time to return home.

ched thank you for such generosity and showing me the beauty of the catskills. I don't think I can ever return your incredible generosity.....but come to cleveland and let me try!!

I took a circuitous route home which afforded an opportunity to meet another friend from the cyberhood. north and west of the ched u campus is ogreville, home of the delightful and deliciously spicy salty miss jill - jill's another generous spirit - man, I do know how to pick my friends - like with ched, jill made sure I had some delicious treats for the drive home!

jill and I had a late lunch at the legendary moosewood restaurant!

I found it fitting that on my way home I drove by friendship new york. last summer's research indicated that there are eleven states which boast towns named friendship - two down, only nine more to go!

joni's my secret place (1988) - ched, this song is for you! thank you for taking me to some of your secret and special places!

photos: top: goslings on a pond near suz's house; first insert: aunt mary's baptism certificate; second insert: monday evening's feast; third insert: prayer bundles tied on tree next to aunt mary's family plot; fourth picture: portrait of ched and I on the campus of ched u; fifth picture: new friend @ the beer warehouse; all other photos are self explanatory.


tut-tut said...

Sounds as if you had a wonderful, thoughtful week reconnecting and connecting. I'm glad you had great weather.

I've always wanted to go to Moosewood . . .

LadrĂ³n de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

I just heard about the Jill-Kim meet up, and you both look lovely. I'm jealous! Now you need to get out west. Great shots all along the trip, and what a touching tribute to your grandmother. I like the Joni selection mentioned. I love to play it back to back with Bjork's "Hidden Place". Try it sometime.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

tut - I love the way you put it - reconnecting and connecting - that it was it was most wonderful.

moosewood lived up to - if not exceeded - all my expectations, it wasn't nearly as counter-cultural feeling as I had expected (although that's not to say it wasn't really, really hip!) - I expect it's come a long way since it's early days. fame does have a way of helping people afford better furnishings and artwork! I should put up a flickr thingy for moosewood (although I was terribly restrained in terms of my photodocumentarian habits....

junk - were your ears burning? of course salty and I were talking (lovingly) of you (despite neither of us, as of yet, laying eyes on you)...I'm quite psyched about her fundraiser for your folks. and the thought of you coming out for a nyc convergence is exciting, but september may suck for the mouse as I will be traveling to the pnw in september -insha'allah....

the bjork youtube version of 'hidden place' in a fantastic pairing to joni's 'my secret place'.... ironically (or would it be coincidentally?) ched bears a remarkable resemblance to bjork in terms of her looks! I'm really beginning to believe in string theory!

by the way, I like the new avatar....and just who is that a picture of that you are holding? it does not look like bunter....and just when are you coming to cleveland to check on your minions here????

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Kimy, I have nominated you for a little award that is circulating the blogosphere ;) I enjoy your blog a lot.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

te - thank you!!!!! I am most honored....the crumb most certainly makes my day! hope you have a glorious weekend! xx

Bobby D. said...

Kim , you are the best!


Squirrel said...

Nice pics!

.....Good capture on the salamander!.....

You and Salty Jill are pretty.

lettuce said...

what a lovely post

i loved thinking of you and Ched having such a great time together

dennis said...

Dennis would like to eat at the famous Moosewood restaurant!!!

dennis said...


you and Ched look like grasshoppers sitting on a fence.

Chuck Pefley said...

I like the description of two grasshoppers sitting on a fence. Very apt for that lovely image.

PNW in September perhaps? There will be a CDPB get together in Seattle sometime in September, time yet up in the air. Perhaps a chance to meet Kim the popcorn theif :)

Steve Reed said...

Moosewood! I LOVE Moosewood! I'm so glad you had a great adventure with Chedwick and all the other staff of Chedwick University. That scarlet tanager and the salamander are amazing!