Thursday, October 30, 2008

It's Halloween and hope you don't mind if we remember the day over the years in a little Halloween slideshow.  From little Laura, to school age Laura, to Laura on her journey with the beast of neuroblastoma, both 2005 (no hair at all,wearing red and black wig) and 2006 (lovely light brown wavy hair growing back in.) Laura with her beloved sister Susan and Laura with her dear friends.

It's been a long week already.  Laura's birthday on Monday, and tenth anniversary of my mother's death on Tuesday.  Wednesday realizing that one year had also passed since a young man from our town, Donnie Farrell, died after being brutally attacked near his college campus.

On Tuesday our hot water heater went.  Minor inconvenience doing without hot water until Saturday.  Can take a shower at the Y in the meantime.

A favorite Halloween poem, loved from childhood, and read (or recited) to Laura and Suse years ago.  

Tonight is the night
When leaves fly
Like witches on switches 
Across the sky,
When elf and sprite
Flit through the night
On a moony sheen

Tonight is the night
When leaves make a sound
Like a gnome in his home
Under the ground,
When spooks and trolls
Creep out of holes
Mossy and green.

Tonight is the night 
When pumpkins stare
Through sheaves and leaves
When ghoul and ghost
And goblin host
Dance round their queen
It's Hallowe'en!
-Henry Behn

Photos:  Little Laura as Tinkerbell;  School-age Laura as Snow White-at the Tailgate;  Laura 2006 as the "Pink Leopard"(see how nicely her hair was growing back in);  Laura, the Pink Leopard enjoys being with friends at TJ's Halloween party.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I once estimated how many times Laura would have travelled up and down Kingsland Road in her life and how many times she would have looked out on Griffiths Pond.  It was something like 1500 times or maybe more, don't remember how I figured it.  Those fall mornings heading over to RVS, Laura would have looked out and seen the spirals of mist circling on the surface on the pond.  She would have seen Griffiths Pond in all its many shades through the seasons, from placid green to a wintry leaden gray. I still always look out on Griffiths Pond as I drive by, always something to see, maybe a heron on the far shore, or fall colors reflected on the surface. These days I keep checking  for the arrival of wintering ducks.
Made a Jack O'Lantern this weekend.  I think Laura really wants us to keep up the tradition.  The squirrels already have been feasting on it and will have to make another. 
Laura's birthday is Monday, October 27.  She would have been 14.  I put all my thoughts into an entry on Laura's caringbridge site today.  Also have put together a few photos of some of her birthdays in a slide show
After the rain and wind of yesterday, the flowers at her grave needed tidying up. We added fresh pots of mums and balloons today in remembrance of her birthday.
It's a busy week coming up.  Must close now but will be back later in the week to remember Halloween.

Photos:  Griffiths Pond on a fall morning; Laura on her birthday at age 5:  Laura, age 11, Hello Kitty themed birthday in the hospital while finishing 7th cycle of strong chemo, Oct 2005; this year's Jack o' Lantern;  woodland scene near the Hogpen, Boonton Twp. (also see Jean Ricker's fascinating article about the Hogpen on about page 7 in the Boonton Twp newsletter.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fall rushes in

In the just the last few days, fall began to move to its full glory.  The maples with their brilliant reds and oranges  were leading the way, followed by the ashes filling out the landscape with shades of peach and plum. On Pepperidge Road today, golden leaves whirled through the air. The namesake trees, the pepperidge trees, seemed to turn out their colorful display overnight.  It's a only two weeks to Laura's birthday, and everything makes me think of her. But somehow fatigue and press of obligations keep the sadness from welling over. Suse is a senior in high school and very busy with the college application process and her studies.  She's helping out on the yearbook and doing her other clubs. Tonight was Back to School night at the high school, the last one for us I sadly reflected. 

Photos:  Laura and Suse on Southfield Road many years ago; Pepperidge (Black Gum) trees on our road in fall color; the often admired maples in fall color overhanging the Rockaway River; Suse and Sam walk by the "Leaning Birch" on Pepperidge Road.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Of pumpkins

This is looking like just the sort of fall weekend that Laura would have loved to pick out her pumpkin and get busy working out the design (I usually did the cutting and scraping out.) Here in Boonton Township, you can really get into the whole autumn scene with a visit to Hamilton Farms or to the Four Corners Pumpkin Patch.  It's nice to make it a pumpkin tour of the township and visit both.  Last week I did and, first making my way to Hamilton Farms to check out all the variety of autumn offerings. (Readers will recall that last June during National Lemonade Days, Doreen and Tom Deckenbach of Hamilton Farms, with the help of the students, held an Alex's Lemonade Stand there with fresh squeezed lemonade and homemade donuts.) Then on to the Four Corners Pumpkin Patch at Brookhollow Farm where it was nice to see  Nancy Johanson, owner of Brook hollow farm and its prized alpacas.  Laura had a lovely visit there in November 2006 and got to meet and mingle up close with the alpacas. Not to forget getting to name a baby alpaca!  Last year the farm generously gave to the Children's Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation (CNCF) from proceeds from their Christmas tree sale.

Photos:  Laura in October 2006;  her 2006 jack o lantern (after many nights of lighting); Hamilton Farms Alex's Lemonade Stand in memory of Laura and Tyler, June 2008 (photo by Renee Wentworth;) Hamilton Farms and pumpkins on display;  Brookhollow Farms Pumpkin Patch with alpacas grazing in the distance;  Laura visiting Brookhollow Farm, November 2006.

Click on any photo for larger view

For Laura's story, please click on the link on right to Laura's caringbridge site.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Another day on Pepperidge Road

  A fall Saturday like this might find us taking one of the menagerie to the vet for shots or checkups.  Shown below, a photo of Laura, two years ago, holding her beloved cat, Pepper, in the vet's office. I love this photo: Laura is looking well, and her hair growing back nicely, gently waved in a nice sandy color.  Laura knew Pepperidge Road to be a place where animal life abounds, where most households have dogs, usually several, or cats instead  (or in addition!) and where a wide variety of wildlife roams the woods, wetlands and grassy areas all around.  

And so on Pepperidge Road, you might come home from work, as I did on Friday evening, to find a bear on your cul-de-sac.  The bear heads into the woods where he is promptly treed by neighbor 
Ed's three huskies.  The bear soon tires of clinging to a Tulip Tree 20-30 feet above the ground. He decides to descend despite the dogs and bolt off further into the woods as fast as he can.  It's all like a another chapter in the stories of Buster Bear by Thornton Burgess.

On the domestic (or should I say bucolic side), a belated welcome to the neighborhood to the trio of Shetland Sheep: mother "Lilac" and two similarly flower- named progeny.  I read up about Shetland sheep and have to say I am fascinated. (Laura and Suse would not be surprised as I was picking out for them stuffed sheep and other sheep-themed trinkets frequently over the years.)  Shetland Sheep are of sturdy ancient stock (a "landrace") are easy keepers and very well adapted to harsh conditions.  They come in a multitude of colors with captivating names like "emsket", "musket" or "moorit," terms from the Shetlands dialect with origin in the extinct Scandinavian language of the islands called Norn.  They also come in a variety of markings, all with additional specialized names, with an end result of a profusion of color and markings possibilities. 

Photos (still having trouble getting them to go in the correct order):  Lilac and progeny; Buster Bear in the Tulip Tree (photo by neighbor Ed Marshall); Laura and Pepper at the vet's office, October 2006.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A storm called Laura

All this hurricane season, I was waiting for the "L" storm because this year that storm would be named Laura.  I thought there was a possibility that "Laura" might visit, and perhaps put the lights out a while.  Well, "Laura" formed in the Atlantic this past week, and just like our Laura, she is taking great care not to trouble anyone.   But, what! I'm reading there is a possibility "Laura" might track over to Scotland!  It seems like Laura may be trying to visit the Temple-Simpsons!