Stormy Weather Again, *%&^%$!

Poor Lena Horne can’t stop singing, but of course, this isn’t about stormy weather in your life, this is actual stormy weather.

I admit the first tender flakes made me smile and think of making snow sculptures, sledding, of hot cocoa by the fireside, and I was taken in by the romance, like the blush of new love.

My giddiness lasted through the day, especially as the snow was light, sparkling, and easy to move.

It’s right that there’s snow in February in the Northeastern U.S., but I’d like it to end with February too!  Alas, nature thinks winter should continue through March, and sometimes well into April – even though the calendar plainly notes the vernal equinox – Spring – dammit!

Unable to leave for warmer, snow-free, climes, enduring whatever comes is our lot, so I’ll drink a cup of cocoa, pretending it isn’t going right to my hips, and try to enjoy the fire that rockets glowing embers, while belching smoke at me, filling my nose and burning my eyes with its acrid stench – no matter how often I change spots around the bonfire – and appreciate my efforts toward the graceful, artfully rendered sculpture in my mind’s eye looking more like quasi-moto than the angel it was supposed to represent, while begrudgingly appreciating nature’s ice I’m pressing my bruised tail bone against from the ill-advised sledding, and subsequent and spectacular ejection from said sled, earlier in the day.

At least I snapped a few photos before the worst:

Image by Jerri Higgins

Image by Jerri Higgins

Photo by Jerri Higgins

Photo by Jerri Higgins

Image by Jerri Higgins

Image by Jerri Higgins

By the way, while Lena Horne is famous for her rendition of Stormy Weather, among others, I think Ella Fitzgerald sings it better.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

Addendum To Last Night’s Post

Thinking about how tiny we are in the universe, how much we don’t matter is depressing, or revelatory, or both, or neither, but sitting here with a fire going, watching a TV show, looking around at the house I’m in, the land we live on, the trees, the flowers, the garden, and human creativity, it’s also true that we’re a hidden gem in the universe.

We’re sadly gluttons for our own doom so much of the time, but there are other souls doing what they can to remedy the mistakes we make, to help rather than hurt, being compassionate rather than callous, and giving life meaning through creativity, service, and love.

We are like the Whos of Whoville, and maybe there is a Horton to hear us – a larger concerned entity fighting for us, regardless of how insignificant we appear.

As Horton says: “a person’s a person no matter how small”

We matter as a collective.

We know how real we are, even if our time here is really quite small.  Dr. Suess, I am not, though I like him a lot. I’ve been through the bracken, I’ve heard the great Kraken.  I’ve been to the place called Hither and Yon, and I’ve seen many things that made me not want to go on.  And on, I did go, though the weather was foul, on I did go through winds that would howl.  I was afraid, yes it’s true, more afraid than most – I hope it doesn’t happen to you.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

Pissed Off, Yet Accepting…

David Bowie died and left more space than any other celebrity I didn’t know except Robin Williams.

I’m both pissed off and accepting.  I have to be, it happened. One, a death from cancer, which more and more people die from in our toxic world, and the other, suicide – when from the outside looking in – seemed incomprehensible.  I understand depression.  I understand substance abuse, and the ridiculousness life plays on all of us, but didn’t Robin Williams have resources I lacked?  Was David Bowie doing all he could to cure his cancer?  The answer, of course, is, probably, and, none of my business, but they both influenced my life radically.

David Bowie was the unpredictable, brilliant musician, who I only recently learned was never comfortable on stage.  Robin Williams may have never felt comfortable in his own skin, or maybe he was having a crisis, or who knows what his mental state was in order to off himself, but it’s doable was what I learned.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2014/aug/12/robin-williams-suicide-and-depression-are-not-selfish

If things get too real, you can just go.  Just go.  We can off ourselves so easily, yet our survival mechanisms scream that we shouldn’t do it.  So many people overcome that biological directive.  I wonder if there is a god, if it hears the pain.  If it cares, if it really does punish those who take their own lives, because who would kill themselves as a lark? What is there to punish?

It takes a lot to overcome the desire to live.  I know.  I’ve never mustered that kind of resolve, and I wonder if it matters?

I once followed a faith that basically said ‘woe to you’ if you stop following it, or believing it, and that all your good works ‘are for naught’, unless you are a true believer, and do those good works in ‘god’s’ name.

I wonder though.  There are billions of people on earth, and our earth is so incredibly infinitesimal in the universe that it seems ridiculous that some ‘god-man’ has marked us out specially for Its revelation, when you can’t even pick us out from the Milky Way, never mind the entire universe!

Surely there is another race on another planet in another galaxy that has it more together than we do.  And what, exactly, are we marked out for?  What spiritual or godly ambition are we destined for?

We are smaller than atoms, in a universal perspective.  All hail the galaxy rather than our puny little planet lost amongst the puny stars in our puny galactic neighborhood.

All I believe is that, sanctioned by a ‘god’ or not, I like being kind.  I want to be a safe person, a helper, in an often frightening world.  Your children are safe with me.  You are safe with me.

It’s astounding that I’m better than some ‘god’, but there you go. All hail to me?

Being a light is better, to me, than adding to the darkness.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

Selling Elvis

My S.O. has a velvet Elvis he’d like to sell.  His mother brought it home from donations to their church tag sale.  She thought being musicians we’d like it, and it is the King of Rock -n- Roll, but we’d rather see the painting go to an appreciative home.

Photo by Jerri Higgins

Photo by Jerri Higgins

Photo by Jerri Higgins

Photo by Jerri Higgins

The velvet Elvis craze began in the late 1960’s and 1970’s, and Mexican kitsch artist David Ortiz was prolific not only with Elvis paintings, but also known for clowns, and animals, on velvet, usually in a decorative wood frame.

Many other kitsch artists in Tijuana copied Ortiz, and there was a glut of ‘VElvis’ paintings, which have become collectibles today.

Every time I pass by the painting, I remember how adored Elvis was when I was a kid, and I never understood his appeal until I was older.  I enjoyed films like, Jail House Rock, and I was in a staged version of, King Creole, several years ago with, Travis LeDoyt, an uncanny Elvis tribute artist, who tours around the world bringing mostly Elvis’ early career to audiences young and young-at-heart alike.

Regardless of how much VElvis’ are disparaged by ‘serious’ art critics, they have endured, and increased in value, even if only for sentimental, kitsch, and niche collectors.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Picture Perfect Day

January afternoon, looking northerly:

Photo by Jerri Higgins

Photo by Jerri Higgins

Afternoon Sky Late January 2016

Photo by Jerri Higgins

Photo by Jerri Higgins

Photo by Jerri Higgins

The colors of the camera don’t do life justice.  Subtle grays blending into blue,  with a smoky water-color appearance.

Nature wins again.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Worthy Goal?

Hey WordPressers,

I’d love to have 1,000 fellow bloggers following me this year, and if there’s something that you’d like me to write about that would interest you enough for a follow, please comment in this post.

Why 1,000?  Because 1,000 feels like success.  If I don’t reach that, I’ve not found something interesting enough to blog about, or I’m not interesting enough, and I get that.

I’ll cry for a while, but I’ll be over it eventually.

Maybe.

If you have suggestions on how to have a more successful blog, please let me know that too.

Comments are only open for a week or whatever WordPress’ cut off is because when I’ve left comments open indefinitely, I got a LOT of spam.

Thank you so much, and if I can help you meet a blogging goal, let me know!

Cheers.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

Songbird Sings

This winter is easier than last, but the chill and fierce wind still keeps me indoors.  I was part of a songwriting group last winter given by Robin Lane, called A Woman’s Voice, through her non-profit: Songbird Sings.  We met for several weeks of songwriting and recording at The Salasin (Women’s Resource) Center, in Greenfield, MA.

We started meeting around this time last year, and what helped as much as songwriting was the wonderful and resilient women who participated.

Sharon Brody from WBUR.org came to Robin’s recording space last summer to interview those of us who wished to, and to talk about Songbird Sings, and how we were helping heal some of our trauma through song writing, and through connecting with other survivors/”thrivers”.

In an interview with Robin, several participants, and myself, some of my song, February Day, plays after I speak, and in the background.

I seem to write best, and most often, in a group, and hope to continue song writing, as well as blogging, fiction, and non-fiction writing.  Snippets of two of my older songs, Listen To Me, Rock of Gibraltar, and our collaborative song, Free Your Power, can be heard on the CD Baby site: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/robinlane.

So much work lies ahead to realize my dreams, and being a singer-songwriter leads more to lots of gigs in lots of coffee-shops, bars, and out of the way places, than to vaunted halls of music, but at least I’m trying, and that trying keeps my hope – and so far me – alive.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

Body Positive

I never really thought much about my body except for the flaws I saw and felt – or the flaws others ascribed to me, or worse, that I assumed they ascribed to me by ways others (mostly men) have responded to me, but that may have had little to do with me.

I had decided I wanted to live several years ago, coming from the brink of suicide – and I wish I could say from that resolution on it’s been clear skies and calm seas – but what has stayed with me are many overt and subtle ways I treat myself, and my desire toward self-care and love.

I’m of two minds here, as I sip my delicious mocha (made by me with left-over brewed coffee from this morning, high quality hot chocolate mix, dry powered-milk, and close to a tablespoon of half and half.)  I understand that the sugar is not good for me, but the drink warms my insides, warms my hands as I hold the mug, enlivens my senses through touch, feel, taste, and enticing scent, along with the four Trader Joe’s, Triple Ginger Snaps, and a quarter cup of unsalted cashews…

What is the measure between how much shit am I putting in my body, vs. how much the satisfaction increase my happiness?  I feel I’m snacking fairly healthy – understanding I’m likely eating GMO wheat, and refined sugar, along with the maligned dairy products of the half and half, powdered non-fat-milk, and the butter in the cookies.

I’m more conscientious about what I eat – and I’ve always been careful – and I try to find non-GMO products, but even organics can have GMOs in them if the seeds were GMO but grown organically.

Balancing mental/emotional well-being with best-practices for physical well-being, especially being impoverished, is a tough job.  This time of year (cold winter) I love comfort food, and my body would like a thicker layer of fat as nature intended, thank you very much, so my habits are a constant challenge between healthy eating and feeling consoled through food.

Paying mindful attention to my body is a great help in feeling better.  I usually just towel off after a shower, put on lotion, brush my teeth, get dressed, and go, but being mindful about this ‘chunked’ process has had some positive effects.

It’s silly to anthropomorphize my limbs, relating to them as though they have a separate life without me, or maybe just feeling like I need to appreciate all that still works well in my body, but as our largest organ, I notice how often I’ve taken my relatively sound, healthy, skin and my limbs for granted, and this new mindfulness toward my body’s individual parts leaves me feeling more connected to myself, and with less pain.

That could be the drugs, though.  Hmmm.

Kidding!

I do PT exercises for chronic pain, and that does alleviate about 80 – 90% of my daily pain, but when depression kicks in it’s tough to engage in what’s good for me.  I always feel better when I’ve exercised, so it’s worth pushing through my Eeyore persona to channel Tigger.

If you start trying body mindfulness, I’d love to hear your thoughts about it.  Cheers!

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

To Write Or Not To Write

I’m supposed to be writing.  I know, I am writing, but I’m supposed to be working on one of the project’s that I’ve tried to complete for the last decade or so.  Maybe I don’t really want to write.  Maybe I just want to want to write?  I mean, thinking is easier than doing, right?  Except, it’s not, really.  It’s just as painful to avoid as it is to confront – at least in this instance.

Am I afraid I’ll be found a fraud?  Out of ideas?  Stupid, incompetent, poser?

I’m all that.  I’m just me, trying to figure out a way to make my time on this spinning living planet work for me.

I thought I wanted fame, and I am sooooo glad I never got it.  Fame is crap – unless you get rich by having fame, and then it’s not the fame, it’s the wealth.  For some, it’s the fame.  Egomania.

Of course I’m ego-driven.  I wouldn’t be writing if I didn’t think I had something worthwhile to say – even if it’s just worthy to me.  I also get inspiration, edification, joy, and connection from other people’s writing, art, and other creativity, and it’s satisfying to get positive feedback – or even neutral feedback.  Negative feedback sucks, but then I have to step back and ask why I got that kind of comment.  Was I offensive?  Are they reacting from their fear?  What’s my responsibility to them – or them to me?

We owe each other nothing, which makes connection all the more beautiful.

Often, I write to survive.  Just getting something out is therapeutic, especially when I feel the nothingness crowding in.

Some things are far too personal to share except to skirt around the edges, and other instances have found me kicking up all the muck and slinging it around on the page, hoping that someone will relate – that someone will tell me their story too – that someone else’s noise will quiet mine.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Dark Times

Two friends have died in the last month.  Two people who were making the most of their lives, really enjoying all the moments they could, living with gusto and positivity.

They both left behind teen-aged children, significant others, and a wealth of friends.

I sat at one friend’s memorial while dozens recounted how kind, generous, fun, and mischievous he was, and what a loss it was to not have his presence here anymore.

It’s not about what comes after this.  There is nothing we can do about what’s beyond here, if anything, except to live to the best of our capacity, and believe that if there is a creator, we are accepted.

I will soon attend the services for my other friend, more like family, really, and that is a shock not yet sunk in for he passed away last night.

Being in top health doesn’t guarantee a longer life – but it sure makes being here easier. Health adds to our ability to tend to each other and to tend to the world.  Being our best helps, but being a light regardless of anything else going on matters the most.

The stories of how much people’s lives were touched by just one being is astounding to witness.

Who will eulogize me, and what will they say?  Who will be around to witness my passing, to send me off – if anything exists beyond here – with a brighter soul than I had before I left?

I hope stories shared will create laughter and joy.  I hope I have been kind enough to warrant a group of disparate individuals coming together to celebrate that I was here, and that I mattered.

Steve – you were fun, hilarious, kind, increased my joy immensely, and I’m sad to no longer have an ’80’s karaoke pal, and you are greatly missed by your family, and the wealth of friends and acquaintances left behind who honor your memory.

Dave – you also were fun, funny, kind, a wonderful athlete with a zest for life, and your presence will be dearly missed, especially by your wife and children, your extended family, and the hundreds of friends who’ve already been attesting to your influence, and meaning to them, and to all of us.

If we continue in any sentient form, I hope you are both at peace, surrounded by love, and by those gone before you, but you will long be remembered and celebrated here, and I’m glad I knew you.

Death is tough whenever it comes, for those remaining, but it’s especially tough around the holidays, when it seems that anything but good cheer is out-of-place.  It’s also hard to lose friends and family in winter when the bleak land and low light deepens our darkness.

We will love and comfort each other, and remember their best with as joyful a heart as we can muster.

Peace be with you.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

Gratitude & Happy New Year

Happy 2016 WordPress!!!!

(and all you fabulous WordPressers)

 

Happy 2016!

I am very thankful for all who have read my blog, have become friends – regardless of how often we make contact – I know I have your support, and I hope you know you have mine!

Many new readers have stopped by this year, and some of you have subscribed, and I appreciate that so much.

Depression sometimes absorbs so much time, so I don’t respond as often as I read your, and others’, blogs, but I appreciate the wealth of viewpoints and creativity here on WordPress, and other sites as well.

I have learned so much from so many bloggers, and I appreciate the different perspectives and topics you bring.

You never know how much a random thought, a poem, a fictional work, personal challenge posts, songs, other art, and especially humor, have helped me throughout the year, and will continue to.

Thank you all so much!  Your interest means a great deal to me.  Your comments are precious, and I hope you all find what you need and hope for in 2016!

Rock on, WordPressers!!

Cheers!

Jerri  aka Abstractly Distracted & seekingsearchingmeaning blog.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

The Winter Of Our Discontent (But Not Made Glorious…)

It’s snow-sleeting as I write this.  Winter has come to Western MA at last, but I take comfort in how long it took for the low temperatures and bad weather to get here.

My family had our Christmas gathering this past Sunday and it was an ‘off’ year.  I have laryngitis so that curtailed the Christmas carols I had hoped to sing, but more than that, there wasn’t a sense of togetherness or connection.  It basically sucked.

I’ve tried so long to recapture the friendship I had with my next oldest sister, but she’s as determined to keep her distance.

I’m exuberant by nature, and by design – it’s my personal lit candle in my darkness – and it has served me well socially.  It’s not fake, I actually feel excited to be with family and friends in conviviality and joy.

I understand that sometimes life sucks, and sucks hard.  I get that.  I live that more often than I’d like – which is why I cherish the time spent with others in good cheer – especially those who know me best, who understand where I came from, and can benefit from kindness and love.

Maybe I can let others take me out of myself, and my sister isn’t good at that, or she feels like it’s pretending, or she just likes being a bitch, but I’ve grown tired of trying to be friends.

As a friend’s bumper sticker reads: “Life’s too short to drink bad wine.”

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

‘Tis The Season

Nat King Cole croons The Christmas Song, and I remember that it’s my sister-in-law’s favorite holiday song.  Many years ago we went caroling: she, my brother (her husband), my next oldest sister, and our younger brother, as well as some family friends, and I remember our fun, our exuberance, and just us as young adults.

Eventually, our lives expanded out like the big bang – each of us in our various orbits, claiming our bit of space, our independence from one another.

What role our family trauma played, I’m unsure, but untreated trauma does not resolve of its own. It can be medicated, white-knuckled, tossed outward, or left festering inside, but it has to be handled.

There are healthy ways of dealing with trauma and not so healthy ways.  So much creativity has been born from pain, and those who’ve had that outlet are sometimes healed, but not always.

I doubt my brother would want me to feel sad for him.  It’s not pity he needs, and it’s not pity I’m giving.  I lived with my parents too.  I was there too.  I was affected too.

He doesn’t want advice from his littlest sister, even though I had to deal with my trauma or die – even though I sought professional help, and practiced the tools I was given – even though I trained to help other trauma survivors – even though sometimes it’s still next to unbearable remaining alive.

The best way out is through, for me.  Just let the feelings be, but visit the skills I’ve learned before I’m in crisis.  I forget that.  I think I’m healed – that I’m all done feeling pain – or that I’ll always cope well from now on.

Pride kicks in too – the belief that I’m knowledgeable, and therefore untouchable.  The other side is despair.  Why remain alive if I keep going through this, or if I can’t make life better?

I can hold my brother in my heart – as well as my whole family – and I re-affirm that he is whole and complete.  He is competent, capable, and has enough humility to seek what he needs.  He knows I care, he knows I’m available, and he knows I understand as perhaps few others can.

He’s made it through, all these years later, and I remember that what’s not dealt with keeps manifesting itself until it’s faced – whenever, or however, that trauma shows up.

I’ve re-connected with most of my siblings after raising my son and having my space again.  My S.O. has been an understanding, caring, and deeply loving partner, and I know how rare that is, and I still want to run away now and then.  My old nemeses, fear, self-hate, and depression, muscle their way in, but if I’m fortified enough, they’re easier to battle.

This time of year is filled with the ghosts of trauma past, their presence appearing unconsciously, making it seem as though now is the problem, or that I have made no emotional progress.

I cannot save my brother, or anyone who doesn’t want to be saved, but I continue to love and care anyway. The violence witnessed, and perpetrated on us, got into our psyches, but it was also programmed into our DNA before we were born, from the violence done to our parents, and on down our line, but we can use our will, we can learn self-love, and we can practice self-care, changing not only ourselves, but the DNA we pass on to our children, and that they will pass on to theirs.

Christmas is about hope in terrible circumstances.  Whether it’s just a story, or has some historical truth, the message, to me, is perseverance, self-love, and love, and hope, for humanity.

Love, kindness, and care are what matters, and the carols my family and friends used to sing were, and still are, a gift of light in a dark season – for ourselves as well as others.

I wish all whatever you need, and for more joy, comfort, peace, and love – whatever you celebrate, or not!

Happy all-the-days. :-)

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

I Wish I Had Learned This Sooner!

pomodoro timer

Do you find yourself procrastinating when there is a deadline approaching, or something unpleasant needs doing?  Welcome to the club!

However, in Learning How To Learn, a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) through Coursera.org, taught by Dr. Barbara Oakley, and Dr. Terrence Sejnowski, through, UC San Diego, I learned that procrastination can be overcome!  Understanding why procrastination happens, and what to do about it, has helped me enormously.

The pain center in our brain lights up when we’re faced with something we’d rather not do, so your brain experiences procrastination as a form of pain.  Staying in the process of what you’re working on, rather than focusing on the finish, or result, helps eliminate the ‘pain’ associated with what needs doing.

A great technique described in the course is setting a timer for 25 minutes, or perhaps a reasonable amount of time to complete, or make good progress, on the task, and rewarding yourself.  Maybe it’s a nap, a walk, or some other, healthy, bonus for working through your allotted time.  Known as, the Pomodoro Technique, this helps to focus on working, as well as setting a limit, while knowing you’ll give yourself a treat for work well done.

Another important aspect of the Learning How To Learn course, was understanding our two modes of thinking and learning.  We all know about the focused mode, but I didn’t know about the diffuse mode of learning and thinking.  This relaxed mode occurs when your attention is on other things like when you’re walking, or other exercise, or when you’re taking a shower, or just ‘spacing out’, as well as during sleep – as long as you were focusing on the problem(s) before going to sleep. Your brain works on problems when you’re not consciously focusing on them.

We sometimes gain insight into a difficult problem, or come up with seemingly random solutions, by letting go of our focused mode of attack, and giving our free-form, unconscious mind a chance to work on it.

Spaced-practice, or spaced-repetition, is another concept I learned that helped me a lot.  In learning how to play my guitar, I began by practicing for hours, going over notes, chords, theory, and playing, which got me bleeding fingers and not really much gelling in my head. When my fingers healed, I applied spaced learning by taking a break for a day, then returning to practicing no more than a half-hour a day (understand that it was super tough for me to let go of trying to master the guitar in a month…), and to my delight, I’ve begun understanding more, and next week I’ll be at Carnegie Hall!

OK, I’ll be cleaning Carnegie Hall, but one day I could be playing there!

There is so much more I gained through this course that this could be the longest blog post I’ve ever written, but I suggest Dr. Oakley’s wonderful book:

A Mind For Numbers, as well as taking Learning How To Learn, Dr. Oakley, and Dr. Sejnowski’s, 4-week MOOC, where they include lots of excellent guest-speaker videos that further illuminate their subject.

Happy learning all!

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

 

Trouble, Trouble, Trouble

UNDATED FILE PHOTO: Fred Rogers, the host of the children's television series, "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood," sits for a promotional portrait in this picture from the 1980's. (Photo by Family Communications Inc./Getty Images)

UNDATED FILE PHOTO: Fred Rogers, the host of the children’s television series, “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” sits for a promotional portrait in this picture from the 1980’s. (Photo by Family Communications Inc./Getty Images)

I keep remembering what Fred Rogers, (Mr. Rogers), said about times of trouble – to look for the helpers.  There are so many helpers everywhere.  We should take in all the refugees we can – they are desperate to leave their homeland.

Their HOMELAND.

There is nothing there for them but desperation, sickness, torture, and death.  They want to live.

Will they bite the hand that feeds them?  Would you?  Maybe someone will, but that’s a sick soul, and maybe those sick souls will find healing instead of more ways to hurt.  We have many sick souls born here – children killing children, men and women shooting up schools, theaters, restaurants – all seemingly random – or told to them by terrible voices in their head.

We’re not going to rid the world of evil, but we can minimize it with goodness.  It’s the only advantage in the face of evil – our way to ‘light a candle instead of cursing the darkness’.

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It takes logistics, money, volunteers – or paid workers – to help house, feed, clothe, and educate refugees – so much that is beyond my abilities – but that will be good use of government.  Accepting refugees will put more people to work, give more people purpose, and certainly give those tired, hungry, and poor, some hope.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

November, Present

The balmy morning, so unusual in the Northeast for November, beckoned me outside, even though the heavy grey clouds threatened rain.  Chancing a walk, break-through sunshine rewarded me with its warmth as I stood with upturned face, grateful for the bounty.

Do the trees, and hills, and sky feel my appreciation?  Is there a quantum transfer leaving us both changed?

I sit, watching the mill brook water rush over the ledge and rocky stream bed on its way to a river, which will eventually deposit in the sea.  A rush of ochre-hued oak leaves tumble into the flow – most being swept downstream – while many other leaves jam up on an exposed ledge, several breaking away when the rock can hold no more.

How many years has this pattern continued, and how has the ledge been worn by the water and weather’s destruction?  I’m not looking at the same stream bed I saw last autumn, I know, but it feels unchanged except for the knowledge that new leaves are falling into new water.

A tree trunk lies along the stream bank – had that been there last year?  Was the slim, young birch pulled over like that, appearing as if to sip from the clear pool below it?

Another, older birch, its white bark illuminated, shines like a sentinel among the dark wooded oaks and pines, three thick, crooked branches jut into the air, appearing like a trident, perhaps, forgotten by Poseidon.

The dank, musty air, particular for autumn, stimulates undefined memory, and I thank the land for making me richer this rare day.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

For What It’s Worth

I understand this makes me an insensitive cretin, but I wish collections would be taken up for those of us in dire need, but not having some dread disease.  It seems that’s the only time people are willing to help – even a dollar or two – if that’s all they can do.

Terrible diseases and disaster compel people to give, perhaps as a bulwark against ever facing that illness or circumstance themselves, paying it forward, in a sense, or maybe just as a caring human being, but only willing to help when the need is life or death, and not just poverty’s scourge.

Poverty is viewed as self-inflicted, so less worthy of help – especially from a stranger.

Disaster impels us in a way that ‘ordinary’ trouble doesn’t.

Except, I have a friend who has always been there in my darkest hours, offering hope, if not some tangible sustenance, and I’ve been that for her as well, but as both of us have been in deep poverty, we can never offer more than a bandage, even if those stop-gap measures have helped us through many extra-rough patches.

I don’t want a terrible illness, and I wish for those people to get well – and I’m grateful that people give to defray medical costs, or other ease for those sufferers.

A champion is required for me, as it’s seen as gauche to plead on your own behalf.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Back In Time With You

I missed you more intensely this year.  Remembering our trips to the library every year, you picking out books you wanted to read, or have me read to you, and me picking out scary and fun Halloween stories to read together.  I miss how you’d cuddle up on my lap and play with my ear as I read to you.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m so glad you’re grown up and handling your adult life beautifully, but sometimes I feel like we’re near strangers, and I struggle knowing what to talk about now.  Wanting a separate life with little contact is understandable – I remember being your age – although I can’t know your perspective as a man.

Life changed when I had you.  My life was no longer solely my own, and becoming a parent changed me in ways you can’t know unless you become a parent.

The struggles we endured as you grew have not faded, but I think I handled them well.  An image flashes of you at fourteen standing stock still while I hugged you, telling you I love you, and even though you were changing, I was not.  You did, at least, allow me to hug you.

We got through those dark times, even if sometimes the memories still tear me up, and I wish my best memories with you were more current, but I’m reminded of our sweet and happy times together every year.

Holidays heighten my old loss with you, that necessary loss we all experience, and even though I’ve spent time reading to other people’s children at a play-group, or with the children I cared for, it isn’t the same.

The sadness only lasts a few days, and sweet memories are there too, but missing you pushes out better feelings I try to invoke, and it’s OK to feel this – especially as I have little control over its insistence.

Shame that I’m not wiser, happier, better, more emotionally balanced, presses in, and my best weapon is non-resistance.

This is depression’s scourge, my trauma brain – whatever – and minimizing my reality by suggesting I ‘choose happiness’, or other platitudes, only increases isolation.

It took all this to say I miss our connection; I miss the boy you were, even if I celebrate the man you are.

Halloween, S. Portland, ME Photo credit: Jerri Higgins

I hope you had a fun Halloween.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Have A Fabulous Halloween

What type are you?  Like to throw lavish parties, or perhaps a more intimate gathering?  Whatever your festivity profile is, here are some simple steps to make this Halloween fabulously fun!

If you like lavish costume parties, or unhooked dance-a-thons, you’re a planner, so you have nearly everything ready; but, if you’re like me, it seems party day comes up all too soon.

Don’t have that scarecrow you were going to have made yet?  Neither do I!  Dig out some balloons, if you can find them, or if you have them – or go buy a package at a dollar store.  Long skinny balloons fill the arms and legs nicely, and round balloons will fill the body.   * Tip: Bigger balloons are better to fill the main body, but you might like a variety of sizes – experiment!

If you don’t fill the balloons too much, they’ll be less likely to pop when you’re stuffing, or moving your scarecrow into position.  You can use a pumpkin-shaped bucket with a straw hat for the head, decorate a large balloon, and tie a hat on it, or sew a head-shaped pattern, draw your scarecrow’s face, put a balloon in the opening you left for stuffing, and then blow the balloon up, or stuff  your scarecrow’s head with fiber-fill or some other suitable material, and add some straw coming out of the hat, as well as straw sticking out from the cuffs of the sleeves and the pant legs.

Scarecrow

This year, I shoved a bunch of cornstalks up against the garage, meaning to make an artistic arrangement later, but I never got to that either, so putting a pumpkin next to it makes it look rustic – and I saved myself a bunch of time!

Photo credit: Jerri Higgins

Photo credit: Jerri Higgins

Making your home festive is a snap too!  Press a few vinyl clings on your window, or glass door, get a Halloween or fall-themed dish towel, some pumpkins, gourds, and a few pots of mums, and you’re done!

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Photo credit: Jerri Higgins

Photo credit: Jerri Higgins

Now for the invites.  If you’re a planner, you’ve already sent them, and because your parties are always fab, you’ve gotten RSVP’s too.  However, if you’re like me, you’ll have to contact everyone by phone, email, and social media to alert them of your event.

Of course, they all already have plans, so they won’t make it, but I can freeze my Harvest Pumpkin Soup, my Cinnamon-Nutmeg Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, and my roasted Brussels’ sprouts, carrots, and sweet potatoes, for another day.

The pumpkin pie, and meticulously made (ordered) graveyard cake will last forever in pictures, even though the scent of the hot-buttered rum cider can’t be captured, and it will be drunk – and I’ll be drunk – by myself, as my S. O. rarely drinks, and doesn’t like rum.  Yo, ho, ho…

It’s too bad I ran out of time to carve the pumpkin, it really was the perfect shape.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Changing Leaves, Changing Attitudes

I practically needed a crowbar to get myself out of bed this morning.

Way over-doing brush cutting and hauling scraps out to a pile at my mother’s place left me with contracting pain down my right arm, making it impossible to sleep, so I took a muscle relaxer, which; while it helped, also relaxed everything – and I still feel like my head weighs a ton.

We’re at another end of October, the summer’s retreat depressing, but autumn’s offerings somewhat eases the transition.  The turning leaves have been spectacular, and it’s been lovely to witness.

Montague, MA

Montague, MA

Our local Pumpkinfest took place this past Saturday, October 24th.  One of my girlfriends invited two of us to sing back-ups with her for, Curly Fingers DuPree, a great local band, so we debuted as the ‘Curly Q’s’.  It was so much fun, and as with most shows or events I’ve been involved in, there’s the anti-climax feeling when it’s over – like, ‘that’s it?’  Heavy sigh.

Photo Credit : Vinny Natale

Photo Credit : Vinny Natale

Photo Credit : Vinny Natale

Photo Credit : Vinny Natale

I broke up with the best guy I’ve ever dated, and I started listening to suicide’s siren call again.  If I go that route, I know I’ll cause irreparable harm to my son, my S.O., and many friends and family.

I actually opened my virtual ‘coping toolbox’, and found a reason to hang on another day.  I’m doing what I can to stay positive as the darkness and cold increases.  I’m using all the attitude adjusters I know to not slip down.

Sometimes keeping that guttering candle of hope burning is as easy as lighting a new candle with the old flame, but other times a bonfire is needed, and as many others before me have said, it’s better to have a full ‘coping toolbox’ when times are easier than trying to fill it when I’m desperate, and not in my right, or wise, mind.

I am where I am, and much like the late, great, Yogi Berra, said: “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

Oh, and my S. O. told me he’ll only break-up when I’m not depressed, then he’ll know it’s real and not from ‘the dark side’.  Amazing man, that one.  He is either an idiot, or he sees what I can’t.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

California Morning

You know those moments you have: you step outside and the scent, and feel of the air, the time of day, the light’s slant,  and shadows interplay, perhaps – or the trees, and several things in your surroundings at once – brings you through time?

I could have been back in 1995, San Diego, California, yesterday.

My ride dropped me off, and as I stepped out, swirls of mist rose in the morning sun steaming off the pavement and walkway ahead of me.  The warm day, odd for this time of year,  added to the sense of somewhere else, and the aroma of damp leaves and earth, the look of the concrete steps and iron railing – the experience’s totality – was remarkable. (Thus, I am remarking?…)

The moment was imbued with the best of my experience of that time.  Heading to the Small Computer Repair course I was taking then, I passed the handsome coffee-cart guy every day, and more often than not, two or three leggy, beautiful, younger, blonde girls were flirting with him while he made their lattes or macchiatos – whatever was hippest to drink back then.

So it was surprising that he paid any attention to me at all.  The times I could afford a coffee, he chatted me up rather than vice-versa; asking me questions about my classes, how it was going, or wishing me a great weekend on Fridays.  I passed by him every day and he never failed to say hi, or wave if I was rushing to class that day.

I sometimes wonder if I had had more money to spend on coffee if it would have ended in a date with the cute barista, or if I was refreshing because I wasn’t the typical beauty vying for his attention, or because I didn’t fawn over him.  If only he knew that it was that I didn’t consider myself in the same league, having been told directly by more than one guy I wasn’t anything special. Their jerk-factor notwithstanding, I felt I was attractive, I just wasn’t spectacular.

So much of my time in California is a blur now.  I remember being there, but don’t remember day-to-day feelings, especially when depression threads its constricting tentacles around and through me, dulling my memory as well as my present.

Being granted that visceral time snippet helped me remember I am fully alive, that I have been present to myself and others, and I put that sweetness in my mental ‘cope box’, hoping I’ll know, or be able, to open it when depression barges in again.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Paradoxical Life

I re-read that many suicidal people, if not most, want to end the pain, not their life.  Lately I wake, usually in serious pain, and my first thought is how I can die with the least suffering for those around me.  How and where to end my life, what arrangements I should make.

After moving around, or doing my PT stretches and core exercises, as well as just getting on with the day, the desire to die lessens, and I think about how to make my life more manageable and more pain-free.

Drugs definitely help the pain, but have other effects, like addiction, or severe itching, as well as other unpleasant side effects.

I don’t enjoy events, or my friends, as much as I used to.  It’s not a big leap to go from here to not here anymore.

Gray days like today increase my dark mood, and I have to remember that I have a full-spectrum light-box to start using this time of year.  I also turned on all the lights in the common area, so I’m not sitting in gloom.

Time-management is super tough for me.  The to-do list is large, and taunts me with nothing being checked off, except, I am writing.  I will make food.  Laundry is being done.  It wasn’t on the list, so I put it on, and cross it off.  Maybe more gets accomplished than I know, and I’ve created a poor list.

The new list reads:

Get out of bed

Exercise

Drink water

Eat something

Brush my teeth

Dress

Start household tasks

Tell myself I’m doing well.

Look at the big TO-DO list and see if there is one thing I can accomplish.  Can I do it now? Remember there is nothing I can do about the past.  Ask for forgiveness of self and others, and move on.  Focus on what is getting done – stay there.

I understand my day’s list is some else’s ten minutes, but that someone else probably isn’t anxious and depressed.  That someone manages well – has good skills.  I manage damn well for where I am.

Smile – even a half-smile – like an exercise move.  Stop the self-hate, and the judgement.

Breathe.

Keep breathing.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

The Blue Guitar

Once there was a girl who sang.  She sang her heart out to all her favorite songs on the radio, to songs others made up and sang around her, and to her own songs that she kept in her heart and mind, but didn’t know how to strike the chords to bring out what she played inside her.

She bought a guitar and tried to play it – so many times – but it wasn’t like singing.  She had trouble with her fingers on the strings to make chords, and didn’t understand things like thirds and fifths and sevenths – it all sounded like calculus to her, and she was terrible at math.  So, she gave up.  She didn’t get rid of the guitar, and did learn to play one song on it.  It was a folk song her best friend had sung when they were twelve, and she never wanted to forget it, and if she could only ever play one song, that was the one she wanted to play.

Time passed.

She had a son, and he sang all the time once he figured out language, and she sang too, but the guitar sat in its case.  At least it wasn’t gathering dust.

She brought out the guitar and played her one song now and then, but even that song was hard to switch chords, and she never got the hang of it and thought she must be that stupid.  She could sing but she wasn’t smart enough to know music.  Her guitar became art.  It reminded her of all the beautiful songs she had ever heard, and all the vibrant, robust, sad, powerful , joyful, ecstatic sounds that came out of that one instrument.

It was a savior and a nemesis.  How could that be?

She finally closed the guitar in its case and thought about selling it.  She brought it to the music store and the man behind the counter came around and took her guitar and started strumming.  He told her that it was a beautiful guitar and he could not give her the amount it was worth, and if she thought she wanted to play, she needed to keep it.

The guitar sat while she looked longingly at it for another year.  One day, she saw an advertisement for another guitar – shhhhh – is it even okay to get another guitar when you aren’t playing the one you have? – please don’t tell!

This one is blue, and smaller, and it’s blue!

photo by Jerri Higgins

photo by Jerri Higgins

She loved it so much she got out her old ‘Standard Guitar Method’ book one, and began.  It’s been two weeks and she hasn’t stopped practicing.  Her fingers hurt, and she’s frustrated, and feels stupid, but every time she picks up her Blue, she feels like she’s home.  It’s OK to be stuck at level 1 forever, if that’s all she can do, because she has never felt so happy to be so terrible at something.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

As it Is

Long ago,  I was told that I asked for or created everything that has happened and will happen in my life, and although my wise mind knows that’s not quite the truth, the rest of me battles to remain alive.

I’m not sure why I’m here, or why I should stay, except for my son.  A therapist told me that if I leave, I give my son permission to leave too, and I wonder if that’s a bad thing.

This is not a kind world.  It’s a world you have to be tough in.  You have to be strong and pliable, and that’s a survival of the fittest thing.

Am I here on purpose? If so, to what purpose? Did I fulfill it already by having my child?

If I could design my life, it would look so different from what it is.

I’d live by the sea in a moderate home, leaving as small a footprint as I could while still enjoying my life.

My bucket list would be empty, or very low.

Bills would be paid without anxiety of what else would suffer, and all my medical/dental needs would be taken care of.

Life might not be a lark, but it sure would be easier.

I think of the few 1%er’s in American society, and perhaps the world, and what it must be like to not worry so much about your life – to have your needs met, even if you don’t get all your ‘wants’.

My son told me he’d be sad if I were gone, and I understand, but he’s not seen the true suckage of life yet.

A psychic that I lived with when my son was a pre-schooler told me that she was fighting entities off every night for me when I lived with her, and it was exhausting so I needed to deal with them myself.  I remember that the ceiling popped every night but I thought it was just the roof cooling off or something.  After my housemate told me I had to deal with whatever the spirits wanted from me – that I ‘owed’ them – I talked to what seemed the air one night, saying that I was sorry for whatever was happening because of me, that I wanted them – whatever – to go to the light, that I didn’t know what I owed them, and please forgive me, and whatever else I could think of, and the next night, and every night after, the ceiling never popped again.  My housemate told me that whatever I did or said, worked – that she was no longer being bothered by entities that weren’t getting through to me.

I messed up my life so much, and know I can’t recover without a bona fide miracle, but I’m still here.  I’m too afraid, yet, to take my life, but I’m hoping I’ll overcome the fear.  If something else happened that was better than that, I’d be so happy.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

Festive Autumn

Massachusetts Postcard

Autumn always filled me with excitement as a child – mostly the thought of Halloween and what I would be that year – and how much candy I could get…  I also loved making leaf piles and jumping in them with my best friend, and the pungent odor of fallen oak and maple leaves still brings those happy memories up front, as well as crunching through fallen leaves on a crisp October evening’s walk, watching curls of acrid wood smoke from various chimneys, the scent lingering on the air, reminding me of warming up by a bon or campfire on colder late autumn and winter nights, made especially nice by a steaming mug of coffee, or sweet, hot cocoa, and lively company.

Bonfire Night

Autumn tree

In honor of so many festivals and fairs celebrating the harvest and helping the (for me) tough transition from summer, I offer a listing of many Massachusetts fall events.  Unfortunately, a lot of them fall on Columbus Day Weekend, so choosing what to attend could need a print out of events and a dart board to tape it to. :-)

If you’re not close enough to enjoy any of these events, I’m sure there are festivals and celebrations wherever you are too.

***fryeburgfairnight

Western MA Autumn Happenings:

 http://www.historic-deerfield.org/event/hands/focus-fridays-chinese-export-porcelain-tea-set-2/?eID=18260   Historic Deerfield, Deerfield, MA, Focus Fridays: Old Burying Ground, Oct. 2 & Oct. 30, 2015, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

 http://warebca.com/fall-fest-2014/   Ware Annual Fall Festival, Oct. 3rd, 2015, various events & venues, 9 a.m. – 11 p.m.

 http://www.fallfoliageparade.com/   Northern Berkshire Fall Foliage Parade, North Adams, MA, 60th Anniversary: Sunday, Oct. 4th, 2015 – 1 p.m.

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~ Columbus Day Weekend ~

http://salmonfallsgallery.com/   Shelburne Falls Art walk & artist’s reception, Shelburne Falls, MA, Sun, Oct 11, 2015, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

http://www.paradisecityarts.com/   Northampton Paradise City Arts Festival, Northampton, MA, October 10, 11 & 12, 2015, Sat & Sun, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Mon. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

http://www.thebige.com/   The Big E Fair, West Springfield, MA, September 18th – October 4th, 2015. Gates open 8 a.m.

http://www.topsfieldfair.org/  Topsfield Fair, Topsfield, MA, Fri, Oct 2 – Mon, Oct 12, 2015, Oct. 2, opens 1 p.m., Oct. 3 – 12, 10 a.m.

http://www.ashfieldfallfestival.org/  Ashfield Fall Festival, Ashfield, MA, October 10 &11, 2015, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. – both days – rain or shine.

http://www.berkshirebotanical.org/see-and-do/harvest-festival/harvest-festival-home-page/  Berkshire Botanical Garden Harvest Festival Stockbridge, MA, Saturday and Sunday October 10th and 11th, 2015, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. – rain or shine.

http://exploreadams.com/play/ramblefest   Ramblefest, Adams Visitors Center, Adams, MA, Oct. 11, Noon – 5 p.m., – Oct 12, 2015, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

http://bazaar.culturalsurvival.org/amherst-common   Indigenous Cultural Survival Festival, Amherst Common, Amherst, MA, Sat. Oct 10 – Mon, Oct 12, 2015, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

http://www.riversidebluesandbbq.com/   5th Annual Riverside Blues, Brews, and BBQ, Greenfield, MA, October 10th & 11th, 2015, Noon – 6 p.m. both days

http://www.townofgranville.net/   34th Annual Granville Harvest Fair, Granville, MA, October 10th – 12th, 2015, Oct.10, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Oct.11, Noon – 5:00 p.m., & Oct.12, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

http://trinityspringfield.org/wp/?ai1ec_event=12th-annual-fall-craft-fair&instance_id=9168  Trinity United Methodist Church, Springfield, MA, Fall Craft Fair, Sat., October 17, 2015, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

 http://www.parkhillorchard.com/art   Park Hill Orchard, Easthampton, MA, Art In the Orchard, August 13 – October 31, 2015, a walking sculpture trail winding through fruit gardens

http://mikesmaze.com/   Mike’s Maze at Warner Farm, Sunderland, MA, is open Saturdays, Sundays & Holidays, September 12 – November 8, 2015

https://www.facebook.com/pumpkinfest   6th Annual Pumpkinfest, Turners Falls, MA, October 24th, 2015, 2 p.m. – 9 p.m.

http://www.nrm.org/event/pre-halloween-tour-luminaries-exploring-stockbridge-cemetery-2/?instance_id=42778   PRE-HALLOWEEN TOUR Luminaries: Exploring Stockbridge Cemetery, October 29, 2015, 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

http://www.craftsofcolrain.com/index.html  Annual Studio Tour, Saturday and Sunday, November 14-15, 2015, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

http://www.hitchcockcenter.org/programs/adult-programs/natural-history-programs-series/#familyprograms   Pumpkin Carving, Thursday, October 22, 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.  & The Enchanted Forest: A Non-scary Halloween Event, Friday & Saturday, October 23 & 24, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

http://ontrendcrafts.com/upcoming-events-72615/  OnTrend Fall Craft Fair, Hadley Town Commons, Hadley, MA, Sat, Oct 17, 2015, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

MACropped

~ A few notable annual festivals and events in Central, Northeastern and Southeastern, MA:

http://www.wachusett.com/EventsActivities/AppleFest/tabid/362/Default.aspx  Mt Wachusett 32nd Annual Applefest, October 17-18, 2015, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

http://www.westendfallfestival.com/  West End Creamery, Whitinsville, MA, Corn Maze, and Fall Festival, Weekends Sept. 12th, through October 25, 2015

http://cmschamber.ning.com/page/harvest-festival  26th Annual Harvest Festival, Sturbridge, MA Town Common and grounds of the Publick House Historic Inn, October 17 & 18, 2015, Sat.,10 a.m. – 5 p.m. & Sun., 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Rain or Shine.

https://www.nantucketconservation.org/activities/cranberry-festival/  13th Annual Nantucket Cranberry Festival, Milestone Cranberry Bog, Nantucket, MA, Saturday October 10, 2015, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. – rain or shine

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Jack-o'lantern 2012

~ Halloween Related ~

http://www.hauntedhappenings.org/  Salem, MA, Haunted Happenings 2015 Thursday, October 1 – October 31, 2015

http://tslpresscom.ticketleap.com/poeinsalem/  Edgar Allen Poe in Salem, Wynott’s Wands, Salem, MA, Sat, Oct 17, 2015, 5:45 p.m. – 7 p.m.

http://tslpresscom.ticketleap.com/thegravedetails/  The Grave Details, Wynott’s Wands, Salem, MA, Fri, Oct 23, 2015, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

http://www.beverlyhistory.org/  Witch Stories by Candlelight, Hale Farm, Beverly, MA, Sat, Oct 24, 2015, 5:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m.

http://www.edaville.com/explore-edaville/shows-events/   Pumpkins Aglow, Edaville USA, Carver, MA, Friday – Sunday in October, 2015, 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

http://www.mirbeau.com/calendar/halloween-masquerade-ball-2/?instance_id=12477  Mirbeau Inn & Spa at the Pine Hills, Plymouth, MA, Halloween Masquerade Ball, October 31st, 2015, 6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

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Some sites for MA events all year, as well as outdoor recreation:

https://hilltownfamilies.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/hf-510/

http://www.masslive.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2015/09/western_mass_bucket_list_30_th.html

http://festivalnet.com/state/massachusetts/ma.html

http://www.mass.gov/portal/articles/western-massachusetts-hiking.html

http://www.mass.gov/portal/articles/advanced-hiking-trails-in-massachusetts.html

http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/massparks/

http://berkshires.org/business_category/festivals-special-events/

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current