In the Blink of an Eye

[Note to the reader: This is a post that I update from time to time. The original post was started in 2013]

In the blink of an eye, half a year has passed, and my world and the world at large have undergone significant changes. Over the past five months, my family and I have been bidding farewell to my father, packing up and clearing out two homes, and preparing them for sale. My sister and her husband deserve a round of applause for seeing everything through till the end – my father couldn’t have asked for a better farewell. But with goodbyes comes grief, and it seems like death has been a recurring theme lately, whether it’s losing loved ones or our furry and feathered friends.

But as they say, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel, and for me, that light comes in the form of spring finally arriving on the mountain, albeit with a bit too much rain. In the first week of May alone, we’ve had more than five inches of rainfall, which follows the six inches we received in April. The ground is soggier than a wet sponge in some places! Particularly down by where we had a couple of beavers dam up our culvert right before all the rain! However, it’s time to embrace the season and start planting our garden now that the fear of frost has passed (we hope).

On a brighter note, I recently received my first royalty check from the sales of my memoir, Xine’s Pack of Stray & Others. The fact that thirty people purchased and read my book in the first three months is a thrilling feeling. I’m working on promoting the book and brainstorming ideas for my next project, whatever that may be. Despite the challenges, I’m grateful for the changes and the new beginnings that come with them.

The stream flooding over our driveway thanks to the beavers damming up the culvert before all the rain

In the blink of an eye…it’s November 2022…We just celebrated 7 years living here on the mountain. So much has gone on in these last four years. I sold the house in Connecticut when Covid turned the housing market around two year ago. The last few years have been unsettling for more reasons than just having to quarantine. We all have caught Covid despite being immunized and careful. Everyone’s lives have changed one way or another. Our lives have been turned upside down these last couple of years, beginning with my mom’s death twenty-one months ago. Then there was my DBXH’s fatal heart attack four months ago. I wouldn’t care so much but he was the father of my children. Both children have relocated to new cities and states working at jobs they enjoy. It’s been a rough year for them, so it fills my heart with joy that they are happy in their new environments and beginning to make their ways in the world. In this brave new world, Mark and I have been caring for chickens, we have three beautiful Rhode Island Red Hens. Plenty of fresh eggs daily. Until there weren’t. But production has resumed it seems for the time being. In May, we celebrated 11 years together. These last few years , we have given up some old habits and started a few new ones. We have been been living more mindfully and mediate every morning together for 20 -30 minutes. And with all this stuff going on, I managed to write and publish a book, Xine’s Pack of Strays & Others – A Memoir. It’s been a busy bunch of years.

Cover Artwork that I did for my memoir.
All the shadows used are silhouettes of my dogs in the book.

In the blink of a eye…it’s 2019…We have been living in New Hampshire on the side of a mountain 1500 feet up with a spectacular view for a little over three years.  A simpler life, yet we work all the time, trying to build our two businesses. Our puppy Marley is now 5 years old and all our beautiful Brittanys have passed away – God bless their souls. They all lived long and wonderful lives, Winston and Artemis being able to come and enjoy our new home in the mountains. Now our two mini-goldendoodle brothers, Boomer and Gunner are going to be turning 2 in May! Where did the time go?!  

Left to right:
Gunner, Boomer, Kona and Marley

Yesterday I hugged my 25 year old son and his 3 year old goldendoodle before they left to head down to the Connecticut house. He has been living there for the last 15 months after leaving college in Vermont. It wasn’t working out for him – he is still struggling to get on the right track.

Baby Blue on his way to his new home

In the blink of an eye…it’s 2018…yesterday I watched my daughter receive her college diploma and make the Dean’s list. It seems like yesterday I dropped her off for her first day of school and drove her to endless hours of tutoring.  Now she’s living with her one-year old puppy in Portland, Maine and trying to find that first foothold in her graphic design career.

There is no waving the Mommy magic wand and making things all better for them – they are in the big, bad, world now and I can’t protect the from everything like I once was able to. I tried my hardest to give them the skills to fly on their own – I pray I did enough. I probably did too much – coddling to make up for the divorce. I hope I didn’t do too much. That would be a disservice to them ultimately. It’s a fine line we have to walk as parents.

Baby Kona

In the blink of an eye…it’s 2016…yesterday I hugged my son and his new puppy goodbye after setting the up their new apartment in Burlington. I pray he is able to move forward from the tragedy and get his life back on track in this new environment. 

In the blink of an eye …it ‘s 2015…I hugged my son’s 21 year old girlfriend good-bye after seeing Dead & Company with them on Halloween night. She wasn’t feeling well and was coming down with an ear infection. A perfect storm of a bacterial and viral infection in her inner ear would cause sepsis.  In a blink of an eye – 11 days later – she was dead. 

In the blink of an eye…it was 2013….Yesterday was my son’s 20th birthday. It amazes me how certain things seem like they were yesterday but at the same time it was a lifetime ago.  Twenty years ago I lived in Rochester Hills, Michigan; I was married and a brand new parent to baby boy. I had a Shetland sheepdog and I was approaching 30.  Today, I live in Connecticut, I am divorced almost for 10 years, have two grown adults for children. I have four dogs, all Brittanys and I am approaching 50. I also live my boyfriend of three years. Yet it seems like yesterday I was in Michigan having my first born. 

“A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.” Winnie the Pooh Peace – Xine S.

April Fool’s Day 2023

No joke – we woke to four inches of heavy wet snow up here on the mountain. Just as there were patches of grass and parts of the rock wall had started to appear the other day, nature decided — not yet! I prefer spring snow to dreary spring rain, but I am sure that will come in time too. At least I hope so. A few years ago we were in a terrible drought while ironically reading Dune during that time, Since then, I never take the rainy season for granted — I welcome it. We have plans to add a barn to our property hopefully soon and are planning on trying to collect out water runoff for our gardens and since we are on well water, we welcome the chance for the underground aquifers to replenish and fill.

April 1 2023 – Bridgewater, New Hampshire