Friday, August 28, 2009

Hats and Cats, and....

While i was spending most of my days at the hospital with Bill, i carried a canvas bag filled with patterns and yarn, needles and hooks with me every day. And i made lots of little hats. These are my little dumpling hats! Some are made of cotton and others are washable acrylic...

And this little one is an Apple Dumpling hat, made for a newborn.

i love the little rolled brims, and the stretchiness of the pattern allows for the hat to grow with the baby and toddlers for quite some time. A few of these little hats will be for sale at
And some will someday make it to my Etsy shop, which still has not officially opened...yet. Here are a few of the crochet hats and beanies i have yet to finish. I think i will add some crocheted posies to the brims and edges...

I also knitted the bodies of these little critters and sewed them together yesterday. The little pink kitten "Tinka" is made of super soft and silky bamboo yarn, and the little teddy bear "Boo" is made of a wool blend. Both are safe for babies and children of all ages(even Grandmas) These two friends will be perched on a shelf at The Paper Sparrow for Troy Night Out Friday, August 28th. Why not stop by and meet them, and say HI!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad!

Just one week after we celebrated Mom's 80th Birthday, we all got together and celebrated Dad's 79th Birthday

Except this time he insisted that he take us all out to dinner! So he got us this little room at the Redfront Restaurant, and we had a great time.
The group was much smaller and more intimate, just his closest friends, kids, grandkids and great grandkids...
Here the boys are helping "Bepa" open his cards and check his scratch off tickets

He couldn't open those cards fast enough!

My Sister Nancy and her husband Ned stayed here for both of our Parent's parties and Aunt Nancy always remembers to bring Disney stickers with her for the little ones...


after she got thru with Lola

i'm not sure there were many stickers left for anyone else!

(Awww Mellon...another picture?!)

Anyway, the food was great, the company was fantastic

And a good time was had by all...especially by my Parents.
We Love You Mom and Dad !

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dogs DO go to Heaven...(i'm sure of it!)

(My Zebedee- in Heaven)
My sister just sent this to me and i thought it was so sweet, i wanted to share it with you.
***WARNING*** You may need to go and grab a box of tissues***
(my Mozie- in Heaven)
~Our 14 year old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4 year old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey.. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so she dictated these words:
Dear God,
Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick. I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her You will know that she is my dog. I really miss her. Love, Meredith
We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had. Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, 'To Meredith' in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr Rogers called, 'When a Pet Dies..' Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:
Dear Meredith,
Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away. Abbey isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by..Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I'm easy to find, I am wherever there is love. Love,God
It is not known who replied, but there is a beautiful soul working in the dead letter office of the US postal service.~

I DO Believe, I DO believe, i do i do i do....

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Out of the Ashes.... Contompasis Gallery

Update on the fire at the gallery... I got a thank you note from Sam last night. He is so grateful for what didn't happen and feels terrible about loosing their beautiful dog in the fire. But he said, "I will paint and i will have shows in my gallery again. Tomorrow we go in and start to rebuild." That my friends, is the strength and power of the human spirit. Here is the story from our local newspaper...

Local artists' work damaged by blaze
Damage at Albany building just "small bump in the road'

By HUMBERTO MARTÍNEZ, Staff writer Click byline for more stories by writer. First published: Thursday, August 20, 2009
ALBANY -- An artist's apartment caught fire on Tuesday evening, burning several paintings and leaving others in the attached gallery with smoke and water damage. No people were injured, but one dog died.
Samson Contampsis' apartment was empty at around 6:20 p.m. when what police believe was an electrical fire set off two alarms. The blaze was contained within the apartment by sprinkler systems and the Albany Fire Department, saving most of the approximately 30 pieces of work by 25 artists held in the gallery space.
"I lost everything inside aside from a couple of photos," Contompasis said of the apartment.
His venue -- previously known as Contompasis Gallery but renamed to MarketPlace Gallery this month -- was one of the 40 stops on Albany's 1st Friday art tour, where he had a lot of support from other artists, said Michael Weidrich, organizer of the event. A fundraiser for the gallery, Contompasis and his brothers who also lived in the damaged apartment will be held at Lark Tavern at the next 1st Friday, Sept. 4.
"He was a great addition because it's not a regular gallery," Weidrich said.
"It's in a rustic, old building in a different part of town, it diversifies the venues."
Among items lost to the fire were at least six paintings, including several in a series called the "100 Guns Project" by Contompasis himself.
Also gone is photography done by his brother, Max Contompasis, of deteriorating buildings in the Capital Region. Most of the other works just had smoke or water damage, while some were completely unharmed, Contompasis said.
While no one was harmed by the fire, Contompasis said his family lost a highly valued member.
"She was the coolest dog in the world," he said of his 4-year-old American Bulldog, Xena. "She was probably the most travelled dog in Albany, we took her across the whole country ... She was the closest a dog could ever get to being a person."
Located at 40 Broadway, the gallery was in the Greenbush Tape and Label building, near the Port of Albany. The building has long been popular with area artists because of its generous studio space. It was also the site, in May 2003, of a $2.1 million heist of bearer bonds and cash from the tape and label company.
The building did not sustain any serious damage in the fire, police said.
Contompasis said he was set to put on an art show later this month, but now he will have to find another venue for "Epic."
He plans to have his gallery open again soon.
"Yesterday was the past and tomorrow we're going to go back in there and start rebuilding as soon as we can," Contompasis said. "We're going to have a show as soon as possible, this is just a small bump in the road."
Fund-raiser for the MarketPlace Gallery
When: 8 p.m.-close Sept. 4, to coincide with 1st Friday Albany.
Where: Lark Tavern, 453 Madison Ave., Albany
Note: Salvaged art will be sold to the tune of live music. All proceeds will go to the gallery and family.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

More Bad News - The Contompasis Gallery Fire

Do you remember these posts on my blog around this time last year ? I have a friend named Samson Contompasis, who is a very talented multi media artist. Since these posts last Summer, he has returned from Europe to make his home here in the Capital District. As a matter of fact, he actually moved into an old warehouse/building in downtown Albany, and created living space for himself, his brothers and his Dad, AND a super beautiful art gallery, featuring not only his and his family's work, but many local artists.

Well, last night there was a terrible fire in the building and it looks like they lost...well...just about everything....including the family dog. I just felt terrible about this all day long.

I got a note from Sam tonight and he is going back into the building tomorrow and start to rebuild. He is quite an amazing young man... Please say a prayer that they are able to turn this around. If anyone can, Sam can.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Best Birthday Ever! Mom's 80th Birthday Party!

I haven't been posting much lately. We went right from leaving the hospital to getting ready for my Mom's big 80th Birthday Party! I have spent every last minute this past week cleaning and getting our house ready to host the Big Event! Thank Goodness for my nice big cool garage. The sun and heat was oppressive yesterday.
Mom's birthday fell on a Saturday this year so we were able to celebrate right on her special day too. This was her delicious cake. Butter cream frosting on yellow cake layered with custard and fresh blueberries. YUM!

Everyone made dips and snacks to start with, and then we had a huge delivery of pizza and wings. I am SO glad we didn't have to cook or fire up the grill in that heat yesterday!

Everybody just sat and talked and visited with each other...The kids played in the gardens, catching bugs and running up and down Bill's ramps.

We all sang Happy Birthday and then Mom cut her cake.

Here's Seth modeling a snake like moustache he fashioned out of some found wire .

Lola, sweaty but not letting the heat get to her!

Here she is dancing in the garage.

getting hugs and kisses from "GG" which stands for Great Grandmother.

and singing Happy Birthday with Aunt Kate to GG. Later, after all our guests left and we did some major cleanup, we all went out and sat on the cool deck and played a trivia game my daughter Katie put together (i flunked) and listened to music and enjoyed the cool night air and each other's company. My Mother told us just before she left for home, that this was her best birthday ever. And looking at her beautiful face and hearing the emotion in her voice, i knew she really meant it. And that meant the world to us all...
Happy Birthday Mom!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pollyanna in the Morning Dew

It's been such a rainy Summer so far....

and when it is sunny, the nights have been cool, so lots of moisture forms on the leaves in the dog's yard. Actually, the dogs and i have been enjoying the weather this Summer.

Polly loves to run under the morning glories and thru the lilies and always comes in the house a little muddy and a little damp, but very happy...

Monday, August 10, 2009

What's Bloomin: Roses

One of the first rose bushes i planted here when we moved in

It survived disease, pests and construction

I'm so glad it decided to stay....

Saturday, August 8, 2009


THESE ARE PICTURES I JUST TOOK OF MY BELOVED TOMATO PLANTS...'s late blight.... In a matter of a few days i went from picking fresh ripe, beautiful red tomatoes
to this...... This year had already been racing to the Finish Line for one of the most frustrating, disappointing and stressful of years in my recent history. This just adds another notch to the list.
I still have a few plants left. I am hoping the blight misses them as they are on different parts of my property, separated by my house.

On the bright side, i had already picked over 30 lovely tomatoes from these plants, and i know of some who never got a ripe piece of fruit before they were hit with the blight, so really i have no right to complain.

Hey! I still have some really nice basil! And there is always the Farmer's Market for fresh ripe tomatoes....

And there is always next year!

Friday, August 7, 2009


(Mirror Lake, Upstate New York. One of our favorite places to be.)

Well, a little over three weeks after emergency surgery at Albany Medical Center, Bill is coming home today. He is still pretty weak, and we have a lot of things to figure out health wise, but the doctors there feel that he is medically stable and will recuperate better at home. I think so too. I want to thank all of my friends out there who sent us messages, thoughts and prayers. It meant the "moon and stars" to me. It's funny how i have never really met any of you, and yet you have become so much a part of my every day life. I'm looking forward to staying home and catching up on all the news in my little blog world. Thanks again everybody! Love, mare

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Mother Love...

I missed not seeing her so much...And yet Amma says, do not become too attached to the physical, because it is impermanent...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Window to look out of....

I promised an update on Bill's progress, so here it is. He is still in the hospital. They are not very successful in waking up the beast (his bowels post surgery) as of yet...But the good news is, he has been technically discharged from the Medical/Surgical floor of the hospital and reassigned to the Rehab floor up on E8. This is a good sign for me, no matter what comes. When Bill was first injured (hit by a car while running almost 20 years ago) he was at Albany Medical Center for 7 months and 7 days. And we spent some pretty scary, dark days there in the beginning. But things turned around after he was medically stable and was sent to the E8 Rehab floor. There the nurses worked their magic with him and taught me how to assistant him with his daily care. The Occupational and Physical Therapy folks challenged his body to get working and get strong enough to come home. I have some really good, strong memories from that place. Last night as we rode up to the 8th floor on the elevator and stepped off and into the old stomping grounds, i got a good feeling that everything will be alright. Bill is still not out of the woods yet. IF the doctors and nurses cannot get his system to work, he will need more surgery. But in the meantime, he will be working to strengthen his body and his lungs and will be in better condition to face whatever comes our way. Thanks everybody for your good wishes, thoughts and prayers. I can feel them all around us. Please keep the good vibes coming...