Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Over the weekend my family climbed Mount Beacon to celebrate Maria's birthday. It was a beautiful day despite the weather. On the top, the kids had a great time as we searched for a letterbox.

Mom and I picked flowers yesterday and made this floral cake that I'll bring to the cemetery later today. As we drove down the road with sharp eyes for daisies, Mom kept wanting me to stop so she could pick flowers from front lawns. "We can't," I said. "That's someone's yard." It must have upset me because last night I dreamt Mom picked beautiful daffodils from in front of a beat-up old airstream trailer. "Look," she said. "I'm sure these just are here." As she collected a nice bouquet an old man ran out the rusted front door, screaming. He was holding a bag of manure in his arms that he kept taking handfuls out in a fist and throwing it at us. "Pick my flowers?" he yelled. "Pick my flowers!" I woke up laughing.

Birthdays are hard to get your hands around. There aren't scripted customs. I think we're on to a good start. Home made flower cakes and family hikes up mountains.
Happy Birthday Ria. We love you.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Kites in the Sky

Wednesday is the anniversary of Maria's death. Two years. How does one honor such a day? It's a question I've struggled with.

This year, kites kept flying through my mind. Kites? Yes, kites. And then I remembered Truman Capote's beautiful story, A Christmas Memory.

(This is the end of the story where he receives a letter with news his childhood friend has died.)

... A message saying so merely confirms a piece of news some secret vein had already received, severing from me an irreplaceable part of myself, letting it loose like a kite on a broken string. That is why, walking across a school campus on this particular December morning, I keep searching the sky. As if I expected to see, rather like hearts, a lost pair of kites hurrying toward heaven.

This year we're gathering at the cemetery to fill the sky with kites.

Praying for Wind...


Saturday, February 27, 2010


It wasn't easy getting up to the cemetery. They don't plow the road so we were exhausted hiking up. Henry was up to his knees. There was only one path of steps there, all to the same grave that is right up and over to the left of Ria's.

The whole time I was there, I kept hearing that Rolling Stones song with the line and I won't forget to put roses on your grave. I don't know, I think a snowman is even better.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best of 2010 from Linny

Hard to believe this year is ending in a few hours. It wasn't a bad year - all things considered, the economy (I guess that says it all) the economy with all its concerns and uncertainty. But here are what I myself consider the best things of 2009. Read More here.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sweet Dreams

Last night just as I was going to bed I grabbed this deck of cards. They were a stocking stuffer from Ria a number of years ago and I'd forgotten all about them until I came across them in my desk drawer. Leafing through the deck, I followed the instructions suggesting you shuffle the pack and select a card to use as your "dream" for the night.

I closed my eyes, shuffled, and picked this card: Be patient towards all that is unsolved in your heart... Rainer Maria Rike. Just like in the post below, Making Sense. And though I've skimmed through the cards a few times, I never really noticed this quote. Until now. Pretty neat, huh?-Sabra

Monday, October 12, 2009

Connected In Stone

Mom sits in front of George Brown's grave in Wellfleet like she’s a model on The Price Is Right and its an item in the showcase. If you look close you can read the inscription, George Brown died on July 28, 1767 in ye 52 year of his age.

Perched on the top of the curved headstone is an angel face with an hourglass above his head, a few sprouts of wheat.

Mom’s face is strong and bare like a tall tree in winter. If you didn't know her, if you didn’t look close enough at the dates, you'd be sure that she and George knew one another, were family, that a piece of her heart is buried right there beneath her. And in some ways that's true. We are forever tied.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Not Ria. Ria.

Early this year, a few of our cedar trees become covered with these orange goo sea urchin creatures. Going inside I did what I do with most every question I want to know the answer to. I googled, "orange goo cedar tree". In seconds I came up with the answer: Cedar Apple Rust.

I sometimes worry there's an account with my name on it at google headquarters. In it is a record of every search query I've ever typed in: "orange goo cedar trees" "good rat diet" "cat kidney failure sudden death" "sudden death adult', "how to make a rat hammock".

Monday, October 5, 2009

It Only Lasted a Day...

The rain held off until that night...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Best Cat in the World

Our cat who posed with the Team Ria shirts below, had a sudden illness and died on Saturday, September 5th. He was nine years old.

Grief I'm learning binds with grief and this unexpected loss seems to have kicked up the dust of my sister's death.

It has awakened that terrible feeling of not being able to catch my breath, of sighing and sighing, of swallowing a bucket of stones.

We had a small funeral today. Our surviving cats have glued themselves to my legs. And tomorrow is the first day of school. Life goes on.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Wacky Raft Race

It almost killed us. There was a mix-up with the start time and we had to row against the tide for hours. The river was beautiful. I will never forget wondering how on earth I found myself in the middle of the Hudson River on a raft with my family, fighting the tide.

It was very much like grief. Fighting, rowing. getting through. Alone. Together. Going on when you think you can't. Getting lost in the motion.

There was nothing but the current, the river. And the sound, the fight to keep going. Keep going.

Two barges passed. The second made us go almost along the shore. Did I tell you how beautiful it is on the river? The water, the shore.

There was just our family at the end. Waving, cheering. The rest of the race had moved on.

We came in 10th place. Only 12 rafts finished.

We did it alone, together. -Sabra

Note: the music accompanying the video is by Jeremy Kelly.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

T'was a Few Days Before the Wacky Raft Race

...And the shirts were all ready,
All folded with care,
In hopes that Capt. Kidd soon would be there...
And nothing was stirring, not even a Horcow.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Testing the Water

Getting Ready for the Race....

Note: Music by Jeremy Kelly.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


From Linny's Blog:

Four years ago on the Fourth of July we were in Wellfleet and all went to see the parade. There we met Yellowbeard, Caleb, a young pirate marching with mermaids and other pirates. We did not know then that he would have an effect on all of us.

The last summer of Maria's life, on the fourth of July 2007, a few days before we ventured to Wellfleet for our summer vacation, Caleb was hurt, badly hurt after appearing in the Wellfleet Fourth of July parade. When we entered Wellfleet, a large banner on the overpass, advised "Pray for Caleb" and twice daily the town gathered in the center to have a circle of hope and prayer for him. Maria, I and the whole family were touched. I remember Laura saying she eagerly emptied her whole purse in a jar for Caleb at the local grocery. Pirate flags flew everywhere, he was a shell fisherman and his company flew the pirate flag.

The next month for my birthday Maria organized a pirate party - and instead of gifts, donations could be made to Caleb's fund..the party was the best. I have the picture of all us all on my living room wall, Maria and I making the arrrgggg pirate faces.

Then in October for the Oysterfest, Maria made 100 pirate cookies for Caleb's friends to sell - wonderful cookies of a pirate with a patch on his eye and a big smile. "Cookies for Caleb" his friend yelled when she delivered them to their booth. When Maria died his mother wrote a wonder piece on Maria in her blog. To this day, I am grateful for the kind words from a stranger, who is not really a stranger, we are connected in our grief and hope and joy. This Fourth of July Caleb's Mom, who keeps a blog, wrote that he again would be in the parade. I smiled at the thought of him once again parading down the streets of Wellfleet and I pictured Maria watching him again, waving and yelling "Go Caleb, Go Yellowbeard". Watch a Video of Caleb Potter: Caleb and Crew at the July 4th parade

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Ria

Monday was Ria's birthday. Another year, another flower cake. This one homemade.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Bolger Boxes

Tony came across this obit today in the NY Times. He underlined "so-called instant boats plywood craft that an amateur could build in a matter of hours" So I googled it and it was a great lead! I ordered the book from the library and lets see where it leads.

"I think Ria sent it to us," he said. And then added, "It's a little scary, though, look whats above it."

I turned the folded paper and read:

Millvina Dean, Last Survivor of the Titanic Dies at 97.

Let's hope we stay afloat.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Wacky Raft

We're getting ready for TeamRia's next event, The Wacky Raft Race. (You can read about it here.) In the race, we have to construct a raft and then race it down the Hudson River from Athens to Catskill.

Right now we're researching the best way to build a raft. I've been googling all morning trying to find the best instructions. Then there are all the logistical questions. Things like who will ride, how will we propel it, (who will watch my little boys?), and how the heck will we ever stay afloat let alone possibly win?

In the weeks to come we'll be adding lots of pics, a movie or two as we get ready.


Friday, April 24, 2009

A Crown....Priceless....

Well, seems it isn't so easy to put a value on a crown. Here's a pic of the local jeweler looking at it. He's still pulling together the numbers. What we're finding out is that the value is a little hard to determine. Is the crown a work of art? Is there a market for a crown? Is the value limited to its weight in gold, in jewels? No matter, we think it's priceless!

Monday, April 6, 2009

For What It's Worth

Last week Laura and I brought the crown over to a jeweler to finally get a proper estimate prepared. At first, the jeweler held it in his hands, looked at Laura and said, "How much is this supposed to be worth?"

"Between $10,000-25,000," Laura said.

The jeweler wrinkled his brow and shook his head in disbelief. "These are simulated stones," he said, "semi-precious, cubic zirconia."

"Those are real diamonds," I said. "At least they're supposed to be..."

"Well, let's test him," he said, "but I sure doubt it." He held a device up to the gem. His eyes widened. "This one is real!" He tested another. "This one is real, too. Now what is the story on this crown?"

The jeweler was about to leave on vacation, so this entry will have to have a to be continued. Until then, our heads are beneath the crown and in the clouds...

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Night Before

Well, it is one year tomorrow. That day is forever etched in memory, clearer than yesterday. Sometimes too bright to replay.

Not lost, gone before.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Specific Acts of Kindness

The day Maria died, outside of her house a pileated woodpecker watched. They're rare around here and having it around, staying as people entered and left her house made its presence even more interesting. Of course, it was a horrible, unforgettable day with so much to take in, so much to absorb and that bird was a simple thread of hope.

Since then, the woodpecker has appeared to us. On the very special day of Maria's daughter's college graduation, as my mom, sister and I drove to the event, a pileated woodpecker swooped down, right along side of the highway. He stopped right in front of us, flapped his wings and we gasped at the sight of him.

Since then, the woodpecker has appeared at my dead tree on the side of our driveway. He comes some mornings, pecks away and then leaves. But he's noticed. He visits Mom's house, too.

There's a wonderful local artist and family friend who recently had an art opening. She does amazing paintings and sent out postcards to promote her show.

"Did you see Maribeth's postcard?" Mom asked.

On the postcard was a photograph of an amazing painting of, you guessed it, a pileated woodpecker. (That's the painting, at the top of this post!)

What a coincidence
, we thought. Maribeth doesn't usually paint birds and to pick this one, we shook our heads and planned on going to the opening.

At the opening we stared in front of the painting. It was stunning in real life. Mom's smile widened. "Can you believe it?" she asked. Maribeth hugged us.

"How did you think of this one?" I pointed to the woodpecker.

"That one! You know," she said, "I just had to paint it."

Mom told her about the woodpecker and its special meaning to us. Our eyes filled with tears and we all looked off, the way you do when you can't change something and there's nothing more to say. We looked at the rest of her paintings, landscapes, flowers and roomscapes. All beautiful work, and then went home.

That was a week ago. Yesterday, my mom called me. "You'll never guess what I got," she said. "Maribeth. She gave me the painting."

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Crown is Worth....

This week the crown is being appraised! As it sits in the safe deposit box, we've wondered what it's true value is. Some early reports have varied from $10,000 to upwards of $25,000!

We've got lots of ideas on how we can use the booty to honor Maria's memory.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Basking in the Glow

We're so excited about the crown and are beginning to discuss what we'll do to continue the fun in honor of Maria - maybe form another treasure hunt! More to come on this as I'm sure we'll discuss it over the holidays. So many fellow treasure hunters and well-wishers have extended their congratulations. Your words and thoughts mean so much to us.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 19, 2008

And the Crown Goes to....

It's been an exciting week!

Pirate Michael hunted for treasure instead of putting on the storm windows and the doubloon was found!

Pirates Tony, Atticus, Regina and Michael had searched the area before, but something guided Michael there again, and this time, with low tide at his feet, he stumbled upon an unusual rock that piqued his interest. Picking it up, and turning it over, Michael saw something that looked a bit like a mason jar lid. Badly deteriorated from being under water for nearly two decades, it had little resemblance to the doubloon we've been searching for, and impulsively he almost threw it in the water, but instead put it in his pocket and continued to dig.

That night he thought, Maybe this thing I found is it! The next morning, he contacted the authorities and showed them where he had found the suspect mason jar lid, and instead of saying "Why that's just an old piece of trash," as Michael's wife had feared, the treasure authorities said, "Congratulations!"

We always knew the treasure was on land only accessible at low tide, but we were unsure where to search. For a long time our sights were set on a piece of land opposite hop-o-nose that resembled the island on the treasure map, and Madagascar (mentioned in the treasure story.)

Michael was given the crown this morning at a news conference!!! Hip Hip Hooray!

Read All About It

The World of Gold News
Kingston Freeman - Crowning Achievement

Times Union Article
Daily Mail Article
WNYT.com - Buried Treasure Unearthed in Catskill

Michael Shows the Location

Through the park in Catskill, on the trail down to the water's edge, Michael replays his steps to the doubloon.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Team Ria Crew

Captain Ria

Pirate Regina & her dog Bailey

Pirate Linny

Pirate Tim

Pirates Laura & Micheal

Pirate Atticus

Pirates Henry & Sabra

Pirate Tony

Pirate Solomon

Pirate Shane behind
Pirates Atticus & Regina

Pirates Helene, Paul
Zachary & Ian Skye

Pirates Rob, Maeve & Zoe

Saturday, December 13, 2008

View Movie Clips of the Hunt

Help from Afar

Pirate Rob and his crew lend a hand and an eye with new insight and ideas. Their enthusiasm gives a boost to our spirits!

Something's Lost

A number of clues in the story, especially the name of the ship, St. Antonio, led us to St. Anthony Friary on 24 Harrison Street in Catskill. There, Atticus spotted a crown on one of the statues, perched up high on a window ledge. "Look at that up on her head," she said. "Is that it?"

We all gathered below.

Wouldn't it be something, we thought, if the doubloon was right in front of our eyes. Not buried in the ground but out in plain sight?

We went back to Team Ria Headquarters (Laura's House), looked on the Internet for an actual doubloon (picture below) and thought, Maybe we have it!

Further inspection, another trip back revealed the crown was just a crown.

Something's lost and can't be found
Please, St. Anthony, look around.

Hannah and Her Sister

The last paragraph of the treasure story has Hannah finding the doubloon in the shallows. Googling Hannah and Catskill uncovered Hannah Hoes Van Buren, the wife of the eighth President Martin Van Buren, Hannah had a sister Maria (what a good coincidence!) and was married in Catskill at the Cantine House (and the map included with the treasure story has the words 'Lands of the Cantine Patent'!) and....if that didn't get us going. The building is now a restaurant/bar called of all things, Captain Kidd, AND there is a large statue of Captain Kidd and a wishing well on the front lawn. Surely, we must be on the right track!

It Ain't Me Babe

Captain Kidd and the Missing Crown, the story commissioned and written by the late Jack Hashian and our guiding force to finding the treasure, is filled with references to St. Antonio (who we learned from research is often accompanied by a fat pig). The story also has a reference or two of pigs, so Laura was sure that the large pig near Agway in Catskill must be the key to finding the doubloon. Excitedly she went to the location and searched high and low and snapped this picture. Unfortunately, she discovered the pig big was made to promote Babe: Pig in the City released in 1998, long after the start of the Hunt it couldn't possibly have anything to do with our missing treasure.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ahoy Matey

Maria hosted this pirate party to celebrate Mom's birthday last year. Complete with seafood from Wellfleet, eyepatches, print-outs of pirate speak and a treasure hunt, fun was had by everyone.

Eye on the Prize

This is the Crown

There was never a question of what we would do with crown - something fun to honor Maria's memory - perhaps another treasure hunt, maybe a festival, something to keep her generous spirit alive, something to keep all the good she brought to the world continuing on...

In Our Blood

Pirates have been part of our celebrations for years.

Pirate Maria with Sabra's son, Pirate Henry. Summer 07.

Pirate Solomon, Cape Cod 2007.