Friday, July 24, 2009

Blue Hill, Blue Skies

posted by Mary Lello, Friday, July 24, 2009, 5:40 AM

We took Donna and Mark to the airport yesterday after 9 glorious days playing with them. Seems they took the sunshine with them, it's pouring here this morning. But our time in Blue Hill was absolutely, picture perfect Maine summer weather. Clear, blue and just warm enough without being sticky. We saw a lot of all the Jaffray's (they are family, just not by blood) who gave us the fabulous place we stayed in. Every evening we would all gather in the kitchen and watch the grand kids run and giggle all around us.

I got a bike ride in while up there. It has to be one of THE most gorgeous places to ride. Between the coves, views of the mountains on Mt. Desert across Blue Hill Bay and riding through the blueberry barrens it can be just breath taking .... well, the hills around there do that to me too!

We took the Gray's to Acadia and drove the Loop Rd. and then drove up Cadillac Mt. For those of you who saw the picture and thought we had climbed that mountain - we didn't. Jim and I rode our bikes up that auto road last Fall with some friends. He and I decided we would do that ride again .... and we really plan to! .... in the future.

Back in Portland we took a lobster cruise aboard the Lucky Catch. Our good friend, Tom, is a lobster man and started this business a few years ago to supplement the lobstering. It's so much fun and Tom is truly great at showing tourists what lobstering is all about. Donna was in her element on this trip. I think Tom must have the cleanest, least smelly lobster bait of any fisherman on the Eastern seaboard!

Mark took some great pictures of Jim while on this cruise. Jim agreed that he 'looks like himself' in these pictures. Might be the angle coming from the left side of Jim's face but still - he LOOKS like Jim again. And since I've always liked the way this man looks it a pleasure to see that face again.

So a good time had by all. Jim is doing really well these days but seems to actually be more depressed and frustrated. We watched a movie yesterday about a man who had a massive brain hemorrhage and the road back to recovery from this. The doctors in this film said that as "Jason" healed he might become depressed and this is a good sign of healing since he now has an understanding of just how limited he is. POW!!! This was exactly what I have been telling Jim so it was nice to hear that validated.

I get depressed too, though I'm not sure this is a sign of my healing. Vacations for me right now means I don't go into the office - but I can not take a vacation from my life. But I truly believe, in my very bones and being, that Jim is going to continue to improve and that our lives will continue to be filled with wonderful people, experiences, adventures and the love that we share with each other .... and all of you.

We are not out of the woods yet but we seem to have found some clearings. We so appreciate all your support and prayers.

Loving you all back,


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Snow Island

posted by Mary Lello, Wednesday, July 15, 2009, 5:36 AM

The new pictures posted are from our weekend on Snow Island, a privately owned island off Harpswell where the Lello clam gathers annually for play time (just realized my typo of clam vs. clan ... but I Iike it!). I have a BIG family - this year we were 20+ strong - it's always so wonderful that the owner/friend of this island, Dodge, opens his small piece of paradise for all of us to gather and basically take over his place! Usually we go there over Labor Day but this year my niece, Hanna, may be in actual labor with her 2nd child on that date so we went earlier.

Miracles of miracles the weather cleared out and we had 3 gorgeous days of sunshine. Except for sleeping the entire time on this island is spent outside eating, drinking, swimming, kayaking, visiting and this year dancing. Yes, that is Jim dancing with me in the photo to an impromptu band with guitar, banjo, fiddle, spoons and even bottles. You just couldn't keep your feet from tapping and Jim was up for a dance! I thought we might just stand there and swing our hips a little bit but Jim took my hand and started to swing me out and twirl me around! OK, we're really dancing here!!

On Sunday the wind died down and it was good kayaking weather so I mentioned it was too bad there wasn't a double kayak so I could take jim out. "There IS a double Mary, it's new!" says my sistah. Well whoohoo! So with all hands on deck to get Jim into the kayak we set off with my niece, Jennywren, and nephew, Will, in single boats to kayak around the island. This is such a beautiful area with Ospreys overhead, an occasional Eagle sighting and very peaceful inlets. Jim looked over his shoulder several times and just said "this is so great Mary".

And it was, really great!

In the evening we all head up to the "barn" where there's a pool table. I have some real pool sharks in my family but I am not one of them nor are my other 2 sisters Jayne and Sara (Karmo is however!). But somehow the 4 Blah Blah sisters got roped into playing a game. I was pretty sure this game could take all night since Jayne, Sara and I can't seem to knock any of those stupid balls into any of those pockets! At one point Sara was trying to figure out a shot and she turned to Jim, who was sitting behind her and had a view of the line too, and Sara asked him if she took this shot would this ball go into that corner pocket. Jim coached her a little bit and kept saying "yes, it will go into the pocket". Well, sure 'nuff, she took that shot with Jim's blessing and that ball dropped into the corner pocket pretty as could be!

It was wonderful to see Jim smiling so much, to have so many others around to step in to help JIm do whatever. Over the years these island weekends have always been wonderful, but this one felt extra special this year.

Donna and Mark arrived last night and today we will head up to Blue Hill to continue our vacation. Jim continues to get stronger, continues to get frustrated with all he still can't do but even this, I feel, is a sign of his healing.

Loving you all back,


Saturday, July 4, 2009

July - Independence Day

posted by Mary Lello, Saturday, July 4, 2009, 5:22 AM

July is a busy month for us with friends from the left coast visiting and Donna and Mark returning to vacation with us for 10 days. It's a good busy.

Jim continues to make slow progress, but it's progress just the same. PT seems to be helping him get a little stronger and he seems steadier when walking, though that right leg still doesn't want to bend at the knee and lift from the hip flexors in a normal gate. And the right hand doesn't seem to get any information from the brain regarding how to properly function. Many of you have sent me information about how the brain is resilient and has the ability to heal as well as make new connections. This is encouraging because sometimes we get discouraged. I think the hardest thing for JIm - besides not being able to do things for himself, by himself - is not being able to retrieve a word or thought. At times when he knows what the word is he is unable to say it. He just can't form the sounds. Yesterday he told me this really scares him and I reminded him that he will heal, that he is strong and has the ability to make all these new connections again. I've lined up a speech therapist to begin working with us after our vacation.

Me? I hit the wall pretty hard last week. I went for a bike ride and found that I truly had no gas. I've dipped pretty deep into my reserves and there isn't much left. Although that ride was not a hard ride nor very long I came home and felt like I had ridden 100 miles. I couldn't imagine trying to sweep off the deck, which was covered by oak leaves that my wicked retarded squirrels keep dropping as they try to build a nest up there. Nor could I even walk out and feed my crows even though they were talking to me. I was just done. Very difficult place to be when my man needs so much and my life is a wee bit demanding right now. But our dear friends Pete and Nikki arrived from California and stepped right into stride with what needs to be done here ... and so I was allowed to drop the ball just long enough to find my second wind, to recover a little bit of energy and get back into my own stride.

Fourth of July, Independence Day ... and Jim and I both long for a bit of independence in our lives ... we are working towards that even though it seems a long way off right now .... even though we can only trust that it will come again. Today I think we both need to hear encouragement, and so we really appreciate how so many of you send a note telling us that it's possible.

Have a safe and happy 4th everyone.



PS - I must add that our friend Art showed up to visit the day I was so empty and couldn't sweep the deck. He grabbed a broom and just started sweeping without any question or my even saying anything that day! Again I'm reminded of the "blessings dropping like blossoms" .... or Oak leaves .... all around us.