The sea is in her blood…

Red squirrel at Cape Cod National Seashore

Dear Readers–Time for another “Meet the Reader” blog!  Or we could call it “Meet one of the commenters” blog.  Today I would love for you to meet a sweet friend and fellow-blogger named Barbara. The sea is in her blood and her soul, as you will discover.  Please welcome her sharing here at Lake Superior Spirit.  Then perhaps you might want to visit her blog By the Sea.

 

Greetings Kathy’s Readers!

My name is Barbara and I met Kathy online perhaps two years ago when we were both members of the now defunct Gaia Community social network.  It was Kathy who encouraged me to start blogging here at WordPress about a year ago, and after starting off filled with uncertainty, I’m finally getting my sea legs.

Late afternoon sun at Avery Point

My blog is called By the Sea because when I was little my grandparents were always reminding me that the sea is in my blood.  (Many of my maternal ancestors were Cape Cod sailors and sea captains.)  And it is true because I find that, as Rolf Edberg says: “In still moments by the sea life seems large-drawn and simple.  It is there we can see into ourselves.”  All I need is a walk on the beach to reconnect with myself and with the universe, and to find peace of mind and sometimes a moment of transcendence.

I was born in Connecticut 54 years ago, and have lived here all my life, except for when I was 15-17 years old and we (my parents, sister, and I) moved to a suburb of Athens, Greece.  Although I wasn’t too thrilled with the plan at the time, it was an important life experience.  My horizons were broadened considerably by attending a small international high school, meeting other teens from several other countries and learning that there are many different ways of looking at the world.

Long Island Sound from Eastern Point

When I was little I played in the woods surrounding our little house all the time.  The trees were my friends, especially the hemlocks, which I loved to climb.  I had a mystical experience with a stag when I was six years old, and a couple of years ago, I had another remarkable encounter with a doe.  We gazed into each other’s eyes for a little over an hour after she caught sight of me studying her from the window of my dad’s house.  As Ralph Waldo Emerson noted, “Nature is made to conspire with spirit to emancipate us.”

Lily in Dad's garden

From a very young age I began tracing my family history, interviewing any and every relative I could get to cooperate with me.  My passion for doing genealogical research has never waned and we’ve had some great experiences over the years visiting town halls, historical societies, court houses and cemeteries all over Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York.  Had a very moving experience at Ellis Island, where my paternal grandparents entered this country from Ukraine.  Some day we hope to go to Nova Scotia, Ontario, Michigan, Vermont, Norway and Scotland to investigate other leads.  So many ancestors, so little time!

In 2004 Tim got me started creating a webpage for sharing the results of my research.  (I call him Tech Support.)  Last year I started moving it all to WordPress at Rodgers Family History.  Every few months or so a new distant cousin finds my site and contacts me and we exchange copies of whatever research, vital records and old pictures we have gathered.  The site has been a fantastic way to connect with our “internet cousins.”

Cape Cod National Seashore

Words are another passion.  Reading – mostly historical fiction, biographies and poetry.  Writing – in the past I had many pen pals, nowadays I enjoy my blog pals!  Collecting many, many, many quotes, which pop into my head all day long and creep relentlessly into my blog posts.  Some of my favorite authors and poets are Barbara Kingsolver, Jhumpa Lahiri, Sigrid Undset and Emily Dickinson.  And now Mary Oliver, thanks to Kathy!  One of the first things I do every morning is take my turns in the Scrabble games I play on Facebook with four of our relatives.  I’m always open for another game if anyone wants to play sometime!

Tim & I married very young and started a family right away.  After we met we soon found out that we both loved the seashore.  He grew up visiting his grandparents on Cape Cod, just like I did.  We have three adult children who, we often say, managed to grow up into compassionate human beings, in spite of our immaturity and lack of experience.  Most of our family vacations and romantic getaways have been on the Cape and we never felt a need to venture any farther away for rest and refreshing our souls.

I’m something of a dreamer, and a very domestic homebody who has thoroughly enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom.  It had always been my dream and it has been a precious gift from Tim that he has somehow made it possible all these years.  When our youngest was just three years old, I began what turned into a very long “career” of assistance-giving and care-giving, beginning with Tim’s mother, then my mother, my grandparents, my aunt and my father.  Some of them overlapping.

Yours truly.

In September 2007 Tim survived a major heart attack and was flown by medical helicopter to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where he had triple by-pass surgery the next day.  Before Tim was well enough to go back to work, my father was hospitalized after taking another bad fall, and then put in a rehabilitation center for two months.  When he came home he required more care than ever.  While Dad was in the hospital our son was also hospitalized for an antibiotic-resistant infection, and in the course of treating it the doctors discovered he has diabetes.  No family history of diabetes.  It’s been a lot to take in.

My aunt, now 97, had some surgery in September and started needing more daily attention, too.  We’re finally getting some professional help with the elder care, and I’m no longer making the hour commute inland to help out.  I’ve been spread too thin the past few years and am now trying to focus on improving Tim’s and my health and well-being.  Some choices are so difficult…

I love being in the blogosphere – connecting with so many interesting people I would otherwise have never met.  These connections lift my spirits and bring me so much joy!

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46 responses to “The sea is in her blood…

  1. Hello, nice to meet you!

  2. Barbara – It’s so nice to see you featured here in Kathy’s sacred space. Just the other day I visited “By the Sea” and received what I shared with you then felt like a benediction — a blessing. It was interesting to learn more about your history in this guest post. I’m sorry that your present situation — ill family members — is so intense. “It’s been a lot to take in” is an understatement. Those in your sphere of influence are fortunate to have the benefit of your personal energy signature — one that’s positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing.

    • Thank you, Laurie, for your very kind and supportive words! From talking to other care-givers I meet in the waiting rooms of hospitals and doctor’s offices, it is apparent that there are many many families grappling with these very same problems, muddling through from crisis to crisis as best they can. Thank you for lifting my spirits today with your comment!

  3. Hi Barbara! It’s very nice to meet you. Cape Cod is beautiful! I visited many years ago. One of the places we stayed was Hyannis Harbor. I saw the moon rising and the sun setting at exactly the same spot only at opposite ends of the seashore (if that makes sense). It was an amazing sight. We walked for hours along the white sand beach.

    Sounds like the last few years have been rough. Life never has a dull moment. It also sounds like you know what to do for yourselves. All the very best to you. I’ll pop over to have a peek at your blog.

    • I can picture the moonrise-sunset clearly, Marianne, it makes perfect sense. On the lower arm of the Cape on the bay side is one of the few places on the east coast where you can see the sun set over the sea. Walking for hours along the beach – you never know what you’ll see or find or wind up thinking about. I’m glad you had that experience and remember it so well. It was nice meeting you, too!

  4. Nice to hear your story!

  5. A woman with the sea in her blood and soul is capable of flowing with all those “rough seas” in your life, and then some. Wishing for you and Tim glowing health and well-being. Such a pleasure to meet you here, Barbara, and to read about your life. I spent a year in Guilford, CT, and was fortunate enough to visit the sites around the area … so beautiful, haunting and beckoning, that sea! I must visit your blog! Thank you for sharing with us today…

    • That’s true, Susan, we will sail through these rough seas together, one way or another, or we’ll go down with the ship! Steady and yar! I keep Louisa May Alcott’s words close to my heart: “I don’t know how long it will last, but I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.” We’ve been learning as we go… Wonder if you got to Mystic Seaport when you lived in Connecticut? It was nice meeting you, too, and thank you for wishing us well!

      • Steady and yar! Love the LMA quote. Thank you for sharing that, too, And, yes! Did get to Mystic Seaport. My friends had to practically drag me away when it was time to leave. Much appreciation for your blog today!

        • I’m glad you loved Mystic Seaport! I was excited when it was listed in the book “1,000 Places to See Before You Die.” Mystic Seaport and the quintessential New England town of Essex were the two places in Connecticut to make that list!

  6. Hello Barbara–I had to go over and explore By the Sea and then I had to go explore your Rodgers family genealogy site, and then . . . well, what with one rabbit trail and another, it’s a good thing I had a good breakfast to sustain me on the journey. What a lot of fun I’ve had! I especially admire that wonderful, user-friendly, content-rich genealogy site. You do good work. And a lot of it. Best wishes for health and peace as you continue to make difficult choices.

    • Oh thank you, Gerry, for all the compliments!! Didn’t intend to take you on such a long voyage, but I’m happy you had fun doing it! I haven’t got all my research up there yet, but I’m sure the time will come for that sooner or later. I’m glad mentioned that you think the site is user-friendly as I don’t get much feedback about that. Thank you, too, for wishing us well, and for spending so much time exploring (a part of) my life’s work!

  7. Hello Barbara, I like meeting Kathy’s friends. You live in a beautiful place. Since I’m landlocked in CO, I have to travel East or West to enjoy the sea. I tore an artery and had a subsequent heart attack a little over a year ago. It was a wakeup call, that’s for sure. Good Luck to you and your Husband as you make time to get healthy and heal together. Take Care of yourself, too.

  8. You live in a beautiful place, too, Barb! (I visited your blogs a little while ago.) Someday I hope to make a trip out west, Colorado included. We live in such a vast country and the farthest west I’ve been is Lackawanna, New York. I saw Lake Ontario when we were doing some research near Rochester, my first Great Lake.

    I know what you mean about a heart attack being a wake-up call. Do you feel like you’re back to “normal” yet? It took Tim about a year to feel close to normal, although his heart was damaged so he does live with some restrictions. Take care of yourself, too! Thank you for your healing thoughts and for visiting my blog!

  9. Barbara, I visited your blog and was fascinated by the quotations you chose to feature, as well as the bits of verse. Did you know that Christopher Robin, the real son of A. A. Milne, grew up to be a bookseller? He had some serious challenges in his life, too. On difficult days, it’s good to visit or hear from a friend, whether face to face, through a letter or through a blog. Best wishes from the shore of my freshwater inland sea to you on the salty Atlantic seaside.

    • P.J., I didn’t know that Christopher Robin grew up to be a bookseller! It sounds like a wonderful occupation, I know I’d love to work in a library or a bookstore. I just started featuring quotes, lyrics and poetry paired with paintings on my blog on the weekends – and my own writing during the week when inspiration arrives, or photos when I get out for a walk and have some to share. Thank you for your good wishes and perhaps someday I will visit your freshwater shore!

  10. Hi Barbara! Nice to see you over here! It was great finding out even more about you and seeing a picture – I don’t think there are pictures of your face at your site if I remember correctly. Although I have no seafaring folk in my ancestry (that I know of anyway) I also feel like the sea is in my blood. I can feel my entire body and soul relax when I get that first breath of sea air. I have friends who call it the “over the bridge” feeling – having to cross one of the bridges to get to Cape Cod.

    • Hi Karen! There is a picture of me on my “About” page, which I’m now thinking I should have used here. I’m kind of camera shy.
      I remember talking about that “over the bridge” feeling with you before. Isn’t it wonderful? The salty sea air, the way the vegetation changes to scrub pines and wild roses, and the soil on the side of the road gets more sandy. When we were little we always stopped for fresh caught fish and chips in Falmouth – we couldn’t wait to get to Dennis Port! And going over the bridge to leave always makes me shed a tear or two….

  11. Hi Barbara, I love the whiff of sea air you brought in your blog. That tang and the bite of salt water. I admire the way you balance your research, family and writing, and the lovely way you’ve blended in quotes and images in your writing.
    Thanks to you both – Barbara and Kathy.

    • Thank you, Meenakshi… Sometimes I don’t feel so balanced, but I guess balance is a constant readjustment to new or developing situations. Frequently I feel cranky and tired, but I think this has been and continues to be a learning experience – patience and flexibility don’t come easily to me, but I’m digging deep to find more ways to become patient and flexible. I’m glad you like the quotes and images – I enjoy matching them up!

  12. Barbara, I really enjoyed your guest post on Kathy’s site. What a neat idea to have a guest Blogger. There are so many wonderful people in the Blog-o-sphere and this is a great way to meet one more !

    I enjoyed learning a bit about your life and sympathise with the many burdens that have fallen on your shoulders. I think Blogging may be good therapy …

    I retired about a year and a half ago and suddenly decided to move from Ontario to Nova Scotia. I quickly discovered I loved being near the sea and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

    I play on-line Solitaire with a friend every Wednesday night. We natter away while we play … So I know what you mean about on-line fun. Hey — if you’re ever up for a game of solitaire give me a shout.

    It’s serendipity that you have a genealogy site as I just Blogged about my new interest in my family roots. I admire you for having been interested for such a long time. As my parents are now dead, I deeply regret not having asked them more about my family history while I had the chance.

    I’m going to visit your sites and hope to learn a thing or two from your search.

    Thanks for sharing and thanks too to Kathy for providing such a nice forum.

    Best wishes, Sybil

    • Hi Sybil, I wasn’t sure what it would be like to guest blog, but it’s been a lot of fun! Thank you for your sympathy and I agree 100%, blogging (writing) is great therapy! My mother went to Nova Scotia when she was in college and I remember being fascinated when she described the amazing tides in the Bay of Fundy. Tim’s ancestors lived in Nova Scotia – they were Loyalists in the American Revolution and were given land there after the war. I hope we get there someday and track them down! It sounds so beautiful where you are!

      How do you play solitaire with someone else? Isn’t solitaire by definition a game you play with yourself?

      There is always more we wish we would have asked our parents about, isn’t there? But still a lot can be learned from letters and wills and other records they left, and if we look at what was going on in local history at the time they were living, we can get a picture of what their lives might have been like.

      Do you get a chance to watch “Who Do You Think You Are?” on Friday nights? Not sure if you get any American TV programs up there but it’s a fantastic show about searching for the family roots of a different celebrity each week. It’s deeply moving seeing how what gets discovered affects the person who is searching. I get choked up over every story, and they’re all unique!

      I’m looking forward to hearing about whatever you discover! Happy hunting!

      • Ahhh Barbara — it’s double-solitaire. You each have the 7 columns of cards but you play on each others aces. The game is at solitaire.com and is a free down load.

        Do we get American TV here ??? Are you kidding !!! The problem is we get so much U.S. TV it’s a struggle to find Canadian programming. We share your “200 channel universe” …

        Hell — we even get FOX News (but the less said about that the better )

        There seem to be a few new shows about genealogy and I do enjoy them. I get choked up too … some very nice stories …

        The Fundy Tides should be one of the 7 new wonders of the natural world. 45 foot tides ! Awsome.

        Best wishes, Sybil

        • A 45 foot tide does sound like an awe-inspiring natural wonder! I imagine photographs don’t do it justice! Putting it on my bucket list…

  13. It is so very nice to meet you, Barbara, and wonderful to get to know you a little better (or at least know a little more about you). I really enjoy your blog. It’s great to see the face behind it. Thank you for sharing. :)

    And thank you to Kathy for the introduction. :D

  14. Hi Barbara, it’s so nice see you here. I always look forward to your thoughtful and caring comments. And your inspiring quotes and gentle wisdom. And your wonderful, wonderful blog :)

  15. Hi Barbara!

    So nice to meet you here at Kathy’s place…I enjoyed reading about your growing up experiences. How cool to be in Greece for a couple of years, you just don’t get that opportunity every day, though I get why as a teenager it wasn’t such a cool idea initially.

    We went to Cape Cod once when I was a teenager…lovely as I remember. Hopefully I can get back out there someday.

    You have a lot on your plate, but you’re managing admirably. Make sure you take care of yourself first…you know that if you’re not in shape you can’t help anyone else. But it’s still a difficult choice I know. Hang in there!

    Dawn King

    • Thanks so much for your encouraging words, Dawn. In retrospect I’m glad my mother “dragged” us to Greece. (Dad was a bit reluctant being a homebody, too, but my mother had the time of her life and often said she left her heart there when it was time to home home.) My grandparents came to visit us for a month and we all took the ferries to Santorini and Crete and marveled at all we saw and enjoyed eating scrumptious food at the outdoor tavernas.

      We happened to be there on November 25, 1973, when we woke up to the sound of military music being broadcast over loudspeakers and the rumble of tanks going up the street. Our widowed, elderly Greek landlady, in her usual black clothing, ran upstairs to tell us that the military had overthrown the Papadopoulos regime and that all foreigners had to go into Athens and register with the new government. She was gesturing wildly and for the life of me I could not figure out if she happy or unhappy about this development! I gather it was a peaceful transition and life quickly returned to normal.

  16. I enjoyed your blog, guest blog spot, it takes a great deal of patience to be a carer – my parents do this for my brother how was brain damaged in an accident many years ago now. I love the photographs of the sea and the story of how you got your name for your blog.

    • Your parents sound like amazing people, bless them! It must be the power of love that gets us through these things. So much courage to take care of someone who will never get better. Happy that you enjoyed my story and pictures! I’ll have to go check out your blog!

  17. Hi Barbara! Thanks for sharing–love the pictures of the sea.

  18. Barbara, thank you again for agreeing to be a guest blogger. It was a pleasure to have you here! (By the way, did you know that the last comment was from my daughter, Kiah? She has the sea in her blood, too, I think.) I feel like I know you a little better now, and that makes this cyberworld a little more intimate and delightful. Thank goodness we met over there at Gaia! (By the way, if you ever blog about your mystical encounter with that stag, please let me know. That sounds very intriguing and magical and life-enriching.) Thank you again.

    • Thank you for asking me, Kathy, it was a lot of fun, and quite an honor too!

      So Kiah might be another old salt, eh? Or young salt… :) If you’re reading this Kiah, please let me know if you find yourself in southeastern Connecticut sometime, I could take you to Mystic Seaport or out sailing on a little tall ship. (You could even bring your mom!)

      I will definitely let you know, Kathy, when my deer story takes shape again and I share it on my blog. The time isn’t “right” just yet – it’s hard to find the words for some of the wonderful things that happen, especially to a six-year-old.

      I’m so grateful we met, too, my friend!

  19. Nice to see you here Barbara, and learn so much more about you.

  20. Pingback: Winter Winds « By the Sea

  21. Barbara,

    Better late then never! Walking with you in this blog is like walking by the sea, refreshing, lingering, and rewarding. Much of this I know from reading your blog on a regular basis. I am glad Kathy has offered you the opportunity to expand your writing, and blog presence. Thank you Kathy.
    Kathy’s and your blog By the Sea are like sister blogs, walks on beach and in the woods, stories about families, photographs of what is going around, what is different about your blog is your command of quotes, quotes that always fit the situation, or the situation to fit the quote.
    I am grateful for having met you and to share your journey.

    I am Love, Jeff

    • Thank you, Jeff, for all your very kind words! To have my blog compared so favorably with Kathy’s is quite a compliment! To me, she is the queen of blogs! I am equally grateful to have met you and to have had your moral support and friendship along on this voyage, and look forward to more shared explorations. And, I hope Tim & I will be meeting you in person in July!

  22. As I read your blog regularly I know quite a bit about you, and it’s nice to have this bit extra to add to that. Also nice to see a pic of you (though I must’ve seen the one in your blog, I’m sure. My memory is just horrible!)

    Hugs.

  23. It’s all good, Val! From one horrible memory to another – thanks for your friendship and for your frequent visits to, and wonderful comments left on, my blog! (hugs)

  24. Pingback: Winter Winds | By the Sea

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