Astronomy Picture of the Day

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Morning Light

Morning light

An early visitor these days,
These lazy summer days.

Coffee on, Cats howl for food,
Same routine,
I never thought I would need routine,
Wanting to be free from ruts and
establishment thinking.

Was it ever establishment I was fighting?
Or my own inertia, my feeling of being
outside a world where how could I say I am not a part of,
When I gaze sleepily at the
morning light.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Potentially painless injections?

Diavibe...a new concept to help make injections painless?
(Herrad referred me to this website)

If you have to inject, take the survey

The founder of the company wrote me asking me to spread the word about the survey.
He wrote me:
Thank you for telling us about your experience with injection pain. We're hoping to provide a quick and easy solution to this problem. Your input has been very helpful for us as we develop our product. If it's not too much trouble, could you help us direct more people to our site to share their story or fill out our survey? It would mean a great deal.

Thank You,
Cole Bonner, Founder, DiaVibe

Me again,
So be a part of real health care reform and take the survey.

Here is the link to my story about injections called "Wheelchair repellant".

Look in the left margin for Mary, 50, Vermont.
I thank Caren for this thoughtful website.

***09.19.2011. OurMS Stories website does not seem to work. I posted the story
"Wheelchair Repellant" on my blog...mary


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Quilt is done-Mom, don't peek

Fanny did the squares.
I basted onto Natural cotton batting
blue-flower print on the back.

I stitched the whole thing together by hand with gold metallic thread.
see the bottom photo.
Grandma's stitches above and mine on the border


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pretty maids

Pretty maids all in a row...

My grandmother Fanny was born in the 1800's which makes me feel sometimes like I am Rip Van Winkle in 2010. I have often felt like I was born too late and my mother born to early. Fanny made these squares like so many others in the last depression of the 1930's. Suzy Sunbonnet is the pattern which in 2010 is easy to look up on the internet. I believe the fabric is from old flour and sugar sacks that people fashioned into clothing and blankets during the depression. Mom gave me the squares years ago and I was terrified of washing them. Then Fred started making homemade laundry soap for about 2 dollars a gallon (recipes on the internet) which I love now-much more "natural" than the chemical detergents. Fels naphtha a major ingredient. I washed the squares by hand and made a quilt for Mom's birthday. Shhhh she knows but it still is a surprise. She has lost the internet since moving to assisted living. I need to change that culture asap. The tiny stitches remind me of a time without TV, without internet and when women might have sat around sewing scraps of fabric together to be passed to future generations looking for answers. Enjoy.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Just a Normal Day

Just a normal day
It was.

Just a normal day

The sun it shone
But not too much,

The wind was calm
and mild and such,

The moon came up
but not too soon,

The air smelled sweet
with a soft perfume,

The birds they sang a plain fine song,
The squirrels gathered nuts all day long.

Just a normal day
That's fine.

I'll take a normal day anytime.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Levon Helm Band Plays at the Jazz festival in Vermont

The Levon Helm Band
played at the Flynn last night in Burlington, Vermont

We felt so lucky to get tickets as it was sold out a while ago.
Once again an amazing musical experience to see, hear and share
a unique live performance. Levon is always a joy to see and each band member
a dedicated professional musician. Each song was a joy to hear and watch.
"I shall be released" was very moving. How often do you have together
such voices, drumming, keyboards, strings, winds,
brass woven together in such a tight group?
To Levon and Company, Thanks for the show.
To my readers, click the box in the right margin for a show near you.
You will not be disappointed!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I wrote this story for a contest and I got the rejection letter today. There were 101 entries so I am OK with that. But still, here is my story about Uncle Ed, published in cyberspace.

by Mary E. Gerdt
2010 all rights reserved

Ed sat at the kitchen table facing East. This is one of my sharpest memories of him. I moved into his house the first summer I was in Vermont. Looking back, it was a set of circumstances, a coalescence of events that brought me to first camp on Ed’s lawn and then sleep on the front porch days. I worked nights as a hospital RN.

The tractors, farm noises and fresh air lulled me into deep sleep which was rare in those days.

Ed sitting, staring, chewing. He didn’t say much. I wasn’t sure if he was happy I was there or not.

He looked old to me, frail.

I delighted when he smiled at something funny I said or I made him a meal.

It was a mystery to me how his body could keep going when he only ate donuts, coffee and fresh warm or cold cow’s milk.

He recalled to me baking potatoes once and by the time they came out of the oven they were petrified black rocks. He never cooked again.

I knew I was imposing and yet he would not say that or even give me a hint.

My observations of him and his frailty were both inaccurate.

He finished dunking his donuts and wiped his mouth. No small talk since his Mom died.

I thought about how she would have served him something nutritious and lovely, talked with him about what animals he had seen, gossip about neighbors, or what she needed at the store.

But now she was gone.

Then he had to endure a long court battle that stole his siblings and his legacy.

This day he doesn’t tell me any of that even though it was heavy on his mind.

Life without Mom, the farm as he knew it, and his brothers in particular, alive but hating him or what he has or what they think he has.

In reality, he had only a doughnut and some coffee before heading up the hill to his saw mill to cut shingles or planks.

Today the shingles and planks are on the houses around here. Some on the house we ended up buying.

Today we now live in Ed’s house. Ed has been gone many years. He ended up in ICU where I worked and he liked the attention all the young women gave him. I helped hold him while his nurse turned him. He latched onto me with all his strength. Unbelievable strength. He wouldn’t let go. He was hugging me tightly. I choked back tears and all I could do was smile large and laugh. I hugged him back and looked at the nurse. “Go ahead” she said with her eyes.

I wonder if he thought I was his mother? Or did he know who I was and hugged me anyway? I hoped for the latter.

He showed me how his life lacked intimacy, hugging even, and when he was offered a moment so close, I am grateful he chose me to latch onto.

I had to peel his fingers off slowly. I looked into Ed’s eyes, reassuring him, “it’s OK, Ed.“ I said softly over and over again as I had learned to do with people in ICU panic. I knew his nurse, my co worker was busy. Ed needed to rest from the illness. We propped up pillows and arranged his hands neatly. I held hands with him and gazed into those clear blue eyes and smiled.

He smiled back, even though he had only hours, days left to live. We thought he would pull through, knowing the veracity of Vermont farmers.

Now I sit where he sat to eat my breakfast, facing east, in the kitchen where Ed, his Mom and Dad, brothers and sisters, grandparents and great grandparents sat to eat.

The table gone, we replaced it with someone else’s table and made it our own.

Sometimes, when I am chewing, silently, staring at the East garden, I think about Ed.

How he would walk slowly, lumbering, almost shuffling, and fool me into thinking he was fragile.

I would look at what he had done that day and wonder how he did it all.

Like a magic trick, he would start with a pile of huge logs and at the end of the day, stacks of green boards and shingles. All alone except for transient visitors.

Little scribbles in his tiny notebook. Simple notations of whose logs, how cut, and prices.

One day we went away on vacation.

When we got back Ed scolded me.

Those were the days that I knew he knew I existed.

Even when I was in trouble it was a joy to get his attention because it confirmed that he knew who I was, an acknowledgement, an affirmation.

“Where were you last week?” He asked as mad as he could be.

I thought he was joking. That dry Vermont trick speech fooled me sometimes.

“We were on vacation.”

I should have known that was foreign to him. He never took vacation except one harrowing trip to Germany.

“I cut my finger off!”

Now I know this is no joke. And somehow, miles away, he thinks I was responsible.

I look at his hands dreading seeing a missing digit, so common to men who work around mills.

He has one finger in front of me with a little skin missing off the end.

I take a deep breath, relieved it was not the whole finger.

“Well what could I do about it?” I blurt out, trying to save face but knowing the stubborn Vermonter has already accused me. Tried me and ready to hang me.

I still feel guilty about camping on his porch. That was 10 years before.

Ed explained the entire scenario from cutting his finger off to coming up to our house looking for me, the nurse, and finding I had abandoned him when he needed me the most.

“I am so sorry” was all I could say as a refrain with each sentence he got out.

Some words I had trouble with, the Vermont vernacular. The feelings were clear.

And yet I wondered, years later, while holding him in the ICU bed, did he ever forgive me for not being there that day?

How many did he tell his story to, of his flatlander niece who said she was a nurse but where was she?

I had to develop a sense of humor over it all but that took years to develop.

Now I sit in his house, now our house, sit where he sat, look out the window he looked out,

Chewing my breakfast silently.

And I smile as I think of Ed.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

NASA Face in Space

NASA Face in Space

You really have to do this. This is a space oriented travelogue and now your image can travel with the astronauts.
Sign up and share with everyone to make a web of faces.

See you up there!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Puzzle and Tommy

Tommy tried to take all the credit for putting together this old Tuco puzzle.
He really likes to bat around those little pieces and
leads to our constant vigilence to ensure all the pieces stay together.
I really believe he has a personality type that comes from
Genetics just like his characteristic black and white
traditional barn cat colorings.
Barn cat markings

Friday, June 4, 2010

We are one

We are one

Can there be a doubt?
Can you figure out,
How there could be
A way besides

We are one?

And if there is
No start or end
When you get through it
Where did it go?

We are one

Time has no end
or beginning
An endless sphere of time
Spinning so fast

You never saw it go.
But did it?

We are one

Remember when
You hurt your friend
How it hurt?

We are one
At the end of the day,
The begining really and
End all in one.

We are one.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day

Memorial Day was Monday.
I did think about the veterans in my life and really all the veterans of wars.
My Dad, Rudy, and many more....
How war can leave a hollow spot, a persistent ache, a tear, and even ironically some good memories, buddies, pranks, drinking the wine that belonged to the loser of the battle.
How I never tire of hearing the war stories, feeling the battle through someone else's eyes.
We built 6- 40 foot raised beds for the potatoes and tomatoes. The callouses minor.
I cut the sod away from the bases of a few of our locust trees and fruit trees.
One tree, a tall straight locust was one I cut the barb wire off of when we first moved here.
The fence had grown into the bark.
Now, 18 years later, the scars on the trunk are gone, melted, the tree a tall beautiful tree, loaded with blooms with bees buzzing around them..
Rudy always said it was the best locust tree, a perfect tree.
I thought about him as I cleaned the grass from it's base and left the lillies and phlox I had put there.
Rudy too had a scar deep within, behind the lines of WW 2 Germany, the best days of his life and the worst,
and looking at the tree, he reminded me both of what beauty can be and that there is no place like home.