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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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!