Thursday, March 28, 2019


I read this at Datura's memorial last Sunday, thought I would share it here in case anyone who wasn't there wanted to read it.

Sometime in early February of this year, I was wracking my brain trying to think of this great quote that I read somewhere. I couldn’t for the life of me remember where I had read it. It was driving me crazy. 

The quote got me thinking about the meaning of home, especially when you get older. I feel like it becomes less of a place in the world and more about the things you carry within you and within the people you love.

Seeing Datura after a long time was like coming home. We would pick right up exactly where we left off, there was no guilty, “why haven’t you made time sooner.” We would enjoy that moment. 

Life happens, it’s the way things are.

Datura had an amazing knack for reminiscing, especially the really funny and sometimes really inappropriate incidents that you shared. I could always count on the two (or more) of us laughing so hard that we were doubled over in pain, tears streaming down our faces, annoying anyone who happened to be near us in our hysteria. 

We have known each other since we were 16 or 17. It’s a wonderful thing to have a friendship that has lasted for such a long time and at the same time, it’s a tragedy because at some point, one of us will have to say goodbye. 

I already miss her laugh and especially laughing with her. Her tiny giggle that would turn into her "deep cigarette cackle" as our mutual friend, Marc, so aptly describes it. It would be a stupid cliché’ to say something like, “I’ll never laugh again like I did with her. “ Instead, I think I’m going to try and keep laughing like that and remember her when I do.

Datura would love that. 

The day I got the news Datura died, I went to her Facebook page and found that quote I was looking for. It’s a quote from Stephen King’s book Revival

“That’s how you know you’re home, I think, no matter how far you’ve gone from it or how long you’ve been in some other place. Home is where they want you to stay longer.”

I want her to stay longer.

Side note to anyone who also lost D (or anyone for that matter) Grief is like getting intermittently punched in the gut, it comes and goes. I love you all and if anyone is feeling particularly raw or down, I'm always here. I don't like talking on the phone, but I'm always a text or message away. 

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Hello Again

It has been a little less than a year since I last posted on here. I admit that my writing muscle is a bit out of shape but I couldn't let New Years morning pass without at least a little something.

What to say about 2018...

If you read my post on New Years from last year, I mention that the end of 2017 was very tough with Horst's diagnosis, compounded with life happening. I took some time off to get back on track mentally.

Horst's illness, like any serious illness or injury, happened at a really bad time. There's never a good time but still. I was getting ready to make some drastic life changes. I almost threw in the towel and postponed my plans.

A dear friend of mine, when I gave her the news about Horst, very matter of factly, replied "You can do this. You can care for your father and still do everything you were planning to do."

It seems like an entire century passed from that moment, standing in a sunny autumn field over a year ago, getting both horrible news and what turned out to be some of the best advice I have ever received. (Thank you Anne)

So I did just that. I cared for my father, as well as I could, and still did everything I planned to do.

2018 was a rollercoaster ride for sure  and it was one of the hardest years so far, but I said fuck you and did it anyway.

It seems that I work very well in a state of spite.

One of this past year's accomplishments was to name my inner demons, then lock them away in a box on my dresser. This is where they remain, unable to whisper things in my ear about what I lack and why I shouldn't bother. (I highly recommend it)

Seeing as how for once,  I do not have anyone or anything whispering in my ear to keep things I should be proud of to myself. I'm gonna tell you what I was able to do this past year.

My business, Little Rhody Beekeeping was born.  I became a full time beekeeper and pollinator stalker.  I did not have to borrow a cent to start or maintain my business this past year and I was completely self-sufficient.  It's a very good feeling to begin a new year in the black.

I stepped down from my manager's position after many years in both assistant and managerial roles to become a part time direct care worker for adults with autism. I was able to keep the parts of the job I liked and the relationships I had with my clients and leave all the rest.

I supported Horst as he went through treatments followed by a death notice, followed by hope, followed by 2 major surgeries in 2 weeks, followed by an arduous recovery while being shuffled around to three different facilities followed by a brief return home and then back to the hospital and the nursing home. Then another death notice. Horst was a model of quiet good humored acceptance throughout the entire ordeal and passed in peace, at the worst possible time but with excellent timing just the same, which was his way. I received the news that he died during a stopover as I was flying to Virginia to take the last part of the exam to become certified as a master beekeeper.

I took the last portion of the EAS master beekeeper exam, I left the conference early in order to take care of things.  I got the news that I passed the exam on my way to the airport to go home. It took me a long time before I could even acknowledge or feel remotely celebratory about passing, being so overshadowed by Horst's death. It was both a terrible and wonderful week.

As I end this year, I have 25 hives belonging to clients, my bee club and myself going strong into Winter. Keeping bees alive is not easy, so the fact that everyone has made it this far is reason to celebrate (while discreetly knocking on wood and crossing fingers-we still have the whole winter ahead of us).

I am a firm believer that you can only get as good as you give. This past year, the amazing amount of love and support, from some of the most amazing people I have ever had the privilege to know, tells me that I must be doing something right. In the family and friends department, I am an extremely extremely fortunate person, which is an understatement.

Oh yes, and I read some books. Some repeats where where I listened to audio as well as read the book. I still count it. I don't waste time reading shitty books anymore so all of these were at least entertaining and I would recommend. Reread are for books I have read in past years, the ones with the asterisks I absolutely love and highly recommend.

1. Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King
2. The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas by Ursula K LeGuin ****
3. The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck by Mark Manson
4. A Confederacy Of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole****
5. A Confederacy Of Dunces (again)
6. The Gentle Art Of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margaretta Magnusson
7. Dune by Frank Herbert (reread) ****
8. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
9. Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver
10. The Beekeeper's Problem Solver by James E Tew
11. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (reread) ****
12. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
13. Beekeeping At Buckfast Abbey by Brother Adam
14. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
15. The Library At Mount Char by Scott Hawkins ****
16. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
17. The Hazel Wood (again)
18. Circe by Madeline Miller ****
19. The Outsider by Stephen King
20. Monstress vol. 1
21. The Bride Finder by Susan Caroll
22. Monstress vol. 2
23. The City & The City by China Miéville
24. Saga vol. 9****
25. Perdido Street Station by China Miéville (reread)****
26. Perdido Street Station (again)
27. The Year Of Less by Cait Flanders
28. Monstress vol. 3
29. The Scar by China Miéville****
30. The Scar (again)
31. The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A McKillip ****
32. The Iron Council by China Miéville****
33. The Iron Council (again)
34. All The Birds In The Sky by Charlie Jane Anders****
35. Bird Box by Josh Malerman
36. Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (reread)

I love you and Happy New Year!

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Horst Update

I struggled for a bit wondering if it's appropriate to post this on social media, but a lot of you knew Horst from years ago or know him through my posts so I do feel like you guys should get an update. 
Yesterday we were told the tumor is inoperable and we move on to palliative care for the time he has left. We are also making plans to have him come home for as long as he can. 
Thanks to everyone who has sent him good wishes through phone calls, cards and visits. Thank you to everyone who has done that here as well.
I told V today, as I dropped him off at school, that one of the most horrible things about life is that even when something terrible happens, life keeps going on.
The fact that even in the midst of terrible things, life keeps going on in the very face of it, can considered one of the most wonderful things as well.
I'm taking a few days off from here and there as I have so much to do.
Life goes on and my energy is in short supply so I need to conserve it as much as possible to get things done.
Ursula Le Guin put it the best:
"Go on and do your work. Do it well. It is all you can do."
I am off to work. 
Be back soon.
I love you.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


I just wanted to put this out there for you all as a friendly reminder and maybe a pep-talk because you might need to hear this today.

If I accepted the unsolicited opinions of every a-hole who felt the need to impose them upon me.

I definitely wouldn't be here today.

People are mean sometimes (that's an understatement).

They will tell you what they think of you or what you are doing.

They will share their opinions even if you didn't ask for them.

In the grand scheme of things, most people's opinions do not matter, but those words may hurt or bring you down in some way, even though you really don't want them to.

If this is the case,

Don't listen.

If you can't help but listen.

Don't accept it.

Nothing great would ever have been made or accomplished if the people with the ideas accepted the crappy opinions of every shitty naysayer.

I'm not going to accept it and I'm not going to start anytime soon.

Neither should you.

Dig in your heels and say (repeat after me)

Fuck you
I'm doing it anyways.


Saturday, January 06, 2018

Steve McQueen 2015(?)-2018

Lovely little Steve from his younger days.

If you are curious, I don't think hedgehogs make the greatest pets, although they are VERY VERY cute. Sometimes they are the type that are charming and let you dress them up and rub their little ears and belly.

Steve McQueen was grumpy. He didn't like to be handled, but it was fun to hear his little grunts of protest when we picked him up.

Hedgehogs also need an exercise wheel. They will run on it all night, with no consideration for the rest of the house trying to sleep. Steve went through 2 exercise wheels before I found a good one that lasted.

They also poop and pee while running.

I'll leave the rest to your imagination.

I will admit that I did enjoy his occasional, middle of the night,  yodeling. It scared the heck out of me at first but when I learned it is actually a sign of contentment, I found it charming.

For the first 2 seconds.

Then I was more of "we know you're happy now shut the hell up!"

If I had known how common cancer was in hedgehogs, I may have thought twice before bringing him home.

But done bun can't be undone and I did.

Steve lived and Steve died last night in V's arms.

It was a good way to go.

His last few days were not pretty, he had developed a tumor that quickly got worse. I won't go into detail about that.

We did what we would do for anyone at the end.

We kept him warm, we held him. Made sure he was clean and dry. We fed him water and food through an eyedropper for as long as he would take it.

All yesterday he was barely conscious. It was cold so we cradled him with a hot water bottle.

We played with his ears and stroked the soft fur on his belly. But only a little bit.

It seemed disrespectful to take too much advantage.

We told him he was a good hog and we loved him.

Forgive me for anthropomorphizing, It was more to make us feel better than him.

Sometimes I think that it's not so much Death that is cruel, but Life, by refusing to give up just yet.

It was so in Steve McQueen's case anyways.

Von brought him to me when he woke up. He was back, he looked at us and raised his head. I told Von to give him a little water.

Von called me in alarm when he started tensing up.

We held him until he was still.

I had to tell Von earlier that he needed to stop hoping that he will pull through and to start waiting for the end.

There has to come that time when you give up. It's not necessarily a bad thing. It's just knowing that it is time and accepting it.

I was glad I did. When it happened, he was ready for it.

Last night I sewed Steve McQueen up into a funerary shroud of white muslin.

Later on, when the weather is a bit better we will send him off on a pyre, Conan the barbarian style.

The ground is too frozen for burial and anyways,  it seems rather fitting to send him off in such a way.

Meanwhile, Steve McQueen lies in his shroud, nestled safely in Horst's freezer.

I'm sure that Von will not let us forget to send him off properly before Horst's return.

It's wouldn't be good if we did, because wrapped up like that he looks just like a burrito...

Steve McQueen 2015-2018
Safe travels boy.

Thursday, January 04, 2018


Hard boiled eggs and bacon. Throw in some muffins and make sure that the coffee pot is full.

That is the foundation of my storm preparedness.

Sand and shovels obviously. Due to ice melt's tendency to disintegrate my front steps, we avoid that.

One of the things I worry about the most for storm preparedness is a source for cooking and heating water. I firmly believe that if you are able to boil water during the apocalypse, then the dying desiccated world full of raving hordes is your oyster.

 I also hate storing propane tanks and whatnot.

I found this really cool thing on a beekeeping page called a Kelly Kettle. You can boil water, cook simple meals, etc. on a small fire base with paper, dried leaves, twigs or whatever you may have handy. The ultimate set comes with with all of the attachments that neatly stack together to be placed in a carry bag.


I asked for it for Christmas, but since B doesn't buy anything on the internet I had to get it for myself. For unknown reasons, he wanted nothing to do with my present, so I also had to receive the package and because I didn't want to look at it until Christmas day, tie the box it was delivered in, with a seasonally appropriate bow.

My friend Emily and I took it for a test spin the other afternoon. It worked great, although it is important to have a good supply of twigs, pinecones etc. to keep it going. I hoard bags of such things for my smoker (for the bees) so it's definitely not a problem.

If the power goes out, which Kelly Kettle or no, I definitely hope it does NOT, I will have no shame in delivering B's steaming hot mug of coffee with a big, shit eating, "I told you so!" grin on my face.

We finished wrapping beehives yesterday, in the hopes that the extra bit of insulation will help them get through the cold thats coming after this storm. Sadly, due to time constraints we were unable to take the Kettle out for a second run...

I love Winter and have no problem with a snow storm. I'm ok with the cold personally. But I'm worried for the bees. It's already been a hard winter and we have just started. I've done all I can without disturbing them. I'll make some corrections when warmer weather arrives next week and hope for the best.

My favorite thing in The Last Jedi was when Yoda told Luke "The greatest teacher failure is." This whole previous season for me was filled with lesson after lesson. Totally sucked, but I learned. Learning.

This is the worst season for beekeeping. You basically wallow in dread and second guess everything you did to prepare the colonies for winter until spring arrives. Then you assess the damage and start all over again. Sometimes from scratch.

I guess we will have to see what lessons this storm, as well as the rest of the winter, has in store.

Stay well and warm if you are in New England. I'm off to pick up dog doo before it gets covered in snow, study, shovel and look up how to heat a room with a clay pot and a votive candle.

Thanks for coming by!

If you want to check out the Kelly Kettle, the link is here:

Monday, January 01, 2018

Happy New Year!

It certainly has been awhile...

Both the number of postings and my reading list for this year are very skimpy.  2017 has both kept me away from the things I love the most and also brought me to things that I love the most. I am thankful for it all.

The ending months were a whirlwind. Horst's cancer and the need to prepare for his return with a remodel of his apartment, on top of my excessive demands at work (On call 24/7) not to mention the needs of my family, left me a complete mess. I've had years of excellent therapy, so I presented myself well (at least I think so), but I started to forget things, couldn't focus and had anxiety attacks that either went on for days or would start and stop at the drop of a hat.

I felt like I was drowning. Something had to give.

I read this story once about this man walking by a farm house. He hears this awful howling. He asks the farmer, who is sitting on the porch, what was causing the terrible howling. The farmer replies that it was his dog, sitting on a nail. The man asks why the dog doesn't just sit up and get off it.
The farmer replies, "Doesn't hurt enough yet."

I finally got up off my nail and asked for help. My doctor took me out of work.

It was one less thing. One less very big thing that allowed me to deal with a lot of shit. Do a lot of thinking. Peel away layers of shit. Silencing many demons that whispered awful things into my ears.

No hard feelings to my demons, they just wanted to keep me safe, but they were holding me back.
As demons do.

I am thankful for the time I've been gifted and I hope that I am using it well. I've been resting and thinking, but also preparing for the many big changes lie ahead for me.

The coming changes are terrifying but,  now that I am up off the nail, why stop there?

I am hoping that this year brings me to my keyboard and into beehives more often and to more good books. Most importantly, I'm hoping 2018 continues to bring me into the company of those I love the most, my family and my friends (who are all really one in the same).  I love you and thank you.

I hope this coming year brings you all whatever you are hoping for. Thanks for coming by and reading my little blog.

It's time for the annual list. Same rules apply, asterisk for the really good ones and yes I include graphic novels. I've gotten to the point where if I don't like a book I don't finish it so you can safely assume I would recommend any one of these. I did not add anything I did not finish by the 31st.  I put everything on GoodReads this year and was really bad about recording them. 2018 I think I will go back to writing them down in my journal as well.

And now, my reading list for 2017:

 1. The Little Book of Hygge (Wiking)
 2. The Golem and The Jinni (Wecker) re-read*
 3. The Fate of The Tearling (Johansen)
 4. Norse Mythology (Gaiman)
 5. Shadow and Claw (Wolfe)
 6. A Conjuring of Light (Schwab)
 7. Saga vol. 7 (Vaughn & Staples)******
 8. Strange The Dreamer (Taylor)
 9.  The Library At Mount Char (Hawkins)  re-read*
10. Queen Rearing Essentials (Connor)
11. The Vegetarian (Han)
12. Presence (Cuddy)
13. 100 Plants to Feed The Bees (Xerces Society)
14. Six Of Crows (Bardugo)**
15. Garden Plants For Honey Bees (Lindtner)
16. The Sound Of Language (Malladi)
17. Gifts (Le Guin)**
18. Increase Essentials (Connor)
19. Crooked Kingdom (Bardugo)**
20. Ubik (Dick)
21. How To Get Dressed (Freer)**
22. Voices (Le Guin)
23. The Eyes Of The Dragon (King) re-read
24. The Language Of Thorns (Bardugo)**
25 and 26.  Station Eleven (St. John-Mandel) **********
27. Slade House (Mitchell)
28. You Can Buy Happiness (Strobel)
29. Annihilation (VanderMeer)
30. Simple, Smart Beekeeping (Shoshanna-Traynor)
31. Saga vol. 8 (Vaughn & Staples)**
32. Good Omens (Pratchett and Gaiman) re-read**
33. The Honey Month (El-Mohtar)***********

Thanks for reading and I wish you and yours the Happiest of  New Year's!