Thursday, December 31, 2009
Standing on the bring of a new year, most of us spend some time thinking of the days past, and wondering about the time to come.
Today it snowed; slow, lazy flakes that fell from a leaden sky. I went for a walk. The icy flakes frosted my hair and muffled the sounds of the world around me. I was taken by the look of this leaf... last seasons life, now dead and frosted with winter ice. Still beautiful. In mere weeks new growth will spring to life here, a different beauty, and wonderous just the same.
I am looking towards the new growth potential that 2010 holds. Of all the things I hope for, I especially hope for growth. I dread remaining stagnant... there is so much left to learn, experience, taste and delight in.
Happy New Year! I wish for you... growth.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
My friend raises cows. This year she harvested two steers. We are buying one half... in fact, we currently have two freezers packed tight with what we call, "grass fed, free range, dolphin safe, beef." We cooked the first of it recently, N.Y. sirloin strip steaks. Delishious! And tonight I cut the heart up and let the dogs dine upon it. The advertisements are right, beef, it's whats for dinner. For a long, LONG time.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
I went for a walk in the morning light, up the hill, over the rushing creek. The creek cuts a dark swath through the newly whitened woods as it sings. I try to capture the beauty on film, but pictures don't do it justice. Chickadees punctuate the air between the branches, the only life in sight. Back home they stay close to the deck, feasting on seeds and nuts, calling to each other through the frosty air. These are some of the sounds of winter.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
My husband, when he was new, was even worse at wrapping than I am. He would take a sheet of wrapping paper and swaddle gifts in multiple layers of it. Wad up the ends, smear with tape and add a tacky stick-on bow. I used to tease him about his wrapping. Then, one year he worked at a place that sold high end retail, and offered gift wrap. He was taught how to professionally wrap gifts. That Christmas every gift he gave me was wrapped to perfection. I hated it. I wanted the lumpy, wadded, over taped gifts of the past. I suddenly missed the very things I used to taunt. (Thankfully, he regressed. I am delighted!)
This year, as I wrap and tape and be-ribbon the gifts I have chosen for those I care about, I recognize that I am not so skilled at making lovely packages. But I forgive myself... I have learned that I love imperfectly packaged gifts. I trust that those I care about can love my messy attempts as well.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Some days I just am struck by how lucky I am. This past week I had a veritable shower of those feelings. The most tangible was when a car plowed into a parked car I was sitting in. That might not seem so lucky at first glance, but it was. Because if that same car had hit where it did 30 seconds earlier I would have been outside the car and most likely squished. And I am not a fan of being squished! Add to this a favorable report on a medical woe that had me worried, and the fact that I was able to save my dog when she choked on a bone and all in all it was a very lucky week. I can't wait to see what next week has in store!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
- ran me a bath with my favorite bath oil
- made me get in it!
- brought me a cold glass of water
- brought me clean, cozy pajamas
- tidied up the kitchen and arranged for dinner while I soaked
- tucked me in on the sofa with a hot pack, a pillow and a blanket
- waited on me hand and foot
I gratefully wondered to myself, "How did she learn to be so caring and thoughtful?" And then I grinned really big when I answered my own question. We done good!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Here are a few of this years creations. I love to hear the laughter and conversation around the table as the building, frosting and decorating happen. New traditions are sweet!
Friday, November 27, 2009
- Cleaning the house and all the planning and preparation for visitors.
- Spending the day before cooking at my leisure.
- Welcoming 19 friends and family to our home.
- The smell of all our favorite, traditional dishes perfuming the air.
- The sound of happily chatting voices through every corner of the house.
- Candles and flowers.
- Cooperative guests helping by bringing food, cleaning up, washing dishes...
- Time with my dear family.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
My guest room used to house my home office desk, a bookshelf, a file cabinet, two beds, a chair and a small chest all within its small space. It was a bit claustrophobic! My sister Deb is one of my most frequent overnight visitors, and I felt bad tucking her into this crowded room, though she claimed it was fine. Yesterday was her birthday, and today she is coming to help celebrate Thanksgiving. Part of her birthday surprise is this newly redone room... spacious, airy, bright and restful. Every single piece of furniture in the room is from yard sales.(The wonderful chintz chair and pillows belonged to my friend Liz' mom. She gifted me with them as they didn't have a spot in her home. They slipped happily into my house and make me smile.) In creating this space I had the joy of the hunt, the fun of repainting/refurbishing and then the joy of putting it all together. Next I get to gift my sister with "her" new space. I hope she loves it!
Monday, November 23, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
A year or so ago we were helping a friend move. In her garage was that same oval table, covered with the prerequisite layers of paint. I said, "Oh! I love that table! I've been looking for it for years." She promptly gave it to me. I put it in my garage, and kept thinking how nice it would be when I had time to strip off the old paint, sand it smooth and give it a fresh coat of white. Two weeks ago I bought stripper and the necessary tools, and went to town. Donning very attractive yellow rubber gloves, I painted the stripper on. To my surprise I was immediately transported to the garage in the back driveway where I grew up, in the summer of 1984. My mother and I were busy that summer. I was newly married, waiting for my husband to finish up his career in the navy. Mom and I searched yard sales and junk stores, and came home with tables, chairs, even a sweet little hand made jewelry box. All of them in poor shape. All of them bought on the ultra cheap.
Mom taught me how to apply stripper, how to be patient while it worked, bubbling up rainbows of old paint. Then we'd scrape the gooey stripper and paint mix into an old coffee can. After that we scrubbed the entire piece with steel wool, then we sanded and sanded some more. After that I'd paint or stain the piece. They all turned out beautifully. I furnished our first little apartment on a shoestring, with some totally wonderful pieces of furniture. And I learned important skills while I was at it. Both of these were wonderful accomplishments, but best of all were the uninterrupted hours I spent with my mom. We laughed and talked like we never had before. It was a magical time.
After stripping the table seen above, I sanded it and dressed it up in white. When the paint was good and dry I waxed it to give it a nice finish. Then, with great happiness, I carried it to my room, and tucked it next to my bed. Just where I have been imagining it for the past 12 or so years. It was worth the stripping, sanding, painting and waxing. And it was so worth the wait. The memories it brought were an added bonus.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
This Veterans Cemetery in Memphis, TN. was the first of its kind that I remember seeing.
What struck me was the breathtaking uniformity of the stones. Unlike the cemetery's of my youth, where the rich lay beneath hand carved splendor, and the poor were marked in death with the most simple of slabs, here there are acres of equality. From decorated generals to cannon fodder privates, they all spend eternity shoulder to shoulder in sameness. Men and women who were made of sterner stuff than me, who thought more of their country than of themselves.
My husbands father was buried here. I know some of his life story. I would love to know the stories of all the souls marked here under sun-bleached granite, but I have to content myself with remembering in gratitude. Today and tomorrow and forever. Thank you Veterans.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
An inch of heavy, wet white frosted the ridge, the lawn, the meadow. Even the glowing yellow chrysanthemums wore a shawl of snow. And so it begins...
Thursday, November 5, 2009
So I did what I must do, and came right home and made a pot of soup. I love to make soup, because it is such a delicious way to clean out the refrigerator. This batch has beef, onions, garlic, celery, corn, peas, carrots tomatoes and orzo, all swimming around in a flavorful broth. The fridge is much tidier, just in time for grocery day. I baked some corn bread, too, and I can hardly wait for supper time. Soup is the perfect chaser to dreary days.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
I have a warm memory of going with my parents to see the Lipizzaner stallions perform when I was about 8 years old. It is one of the few outings I ever remember having with them, and I think they took me just because it would be right up my ally. The experience made my heart soar.
This week I was invited to go see the famous horses while they were here in Maine. I was gifted a ticket to a front row seat... and could see every nuance of the fabulous equines as they danced and leapt and flowed around the arena.
Two 20-something year old guys ushered a handful of adult mentally and physically handicapped men into the row of seats behind me. While it was obvious that the young guys were employed to squire their charges about, the level of sweetness and caring they exhibited made my heart soar in a way even more meaningful than watching the horses did.
There was so much beauty that night.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Today I welcome November by polishing. I have polished the antique copper candlestick's that belonged to my mom, and her beautiful copper bowl. I filled the bowl with dried hydrangea blossoms from the breathtaking bush at work.
Today is sunny and clear, and the light streaming in through the windows twinkles off the mellow metal. Still left to polish are the tall brass beehive candlesticks and a squatty little lamp. All of this is early preparation for the upcoming Thanksgiving feast. As I polish the lovely things that decorated my childhood home and now decorate mine, I am helped to remember how very much I have to be thankful for.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
I said, "I have a little problem. I have a LOT of candy left. May I give you a LOT of candy?" He just stared at me. I put a huge double handful of treats in his bag, he began to turn away. I said, "Wait, let me give you more." Dubious, he held his bag up again, and I added another double fistful, then a third. I was reaching for number four when he uttered his first words of the evening. "That. Is too MUCH."
I was amused to see that this little guy had a pretty good concept of "too much." I wish more adults had that kind of sense.
Friday, October 30, 2009
The reason is this: when we come home after a day at work or running errands, there is a wild, exuberant greeting at the door. No human is EVER that glad to see us. And when I am home and puttering, a dog will follow me from room to room, as if I am the reason for it all. Then, on the sofa in front of the fire, there are dogs tucked in behind my knees, and over my legs, all warm and snoring softly. And when someone comes up our driveway, there is a cacophony of sound, warning, warning us of something afoot. Then there are the special, just for pet owners, glimpses of unbridled joy that we are privy to. Every. Single. Day. Joy in the waking, the running, the eating, the loving. Pure, simple, amazing joy. The kind of joy we as humans knew once, long ago, when we were small.
Owning pets is like a memory. A reminder of simpler times, when we noticed the joy in the sunrise and the sleeping and the happiness and the greeting of those we love.
That. THAT is why I own dogs. It's the constant reminding.
The snuggles are a bonus.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Then the phone rang:
"Hi! It's Jane. Want to go riding?"
I looked up from my tidy list, and out the window where the trees and ground alike were painted in tones of burnished copper, sun drenched. I replied:
"Oh, I really can't. What time?"
We had a wonderful ride. There is something magical about how the world looks when viewed between a horses ears.
I still manged to cross a several things off my list, and stored away a memory of a few magical hours. All told it was a day well spent.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
I saw these two signs in the past few weeks. The first at a "pick your own" apple orchard. The second at a paddock that once housed Scottish Highland cows with impressive horns.