Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Home, Fortune, December 31st

1. The new apartment is adorable with its 1920's character. I can feel daughter #3's excitement as we help them move in. We chat with the owners who give us a tour of this renovated building. There are little wooden doors on the walls in the hallways. They are parcel boxes. The deliveryman puts your parcels in and you receive them through the door on your side of the wall. Charming!
2. Lunch break with Chinese food. Son-in-law's fortune says, "Before the year is over, you will move." We are stunned!
3. My preference is to ignore New Years, so I do. I dream of spring, since that is when I prefer to celebrate new beginnings.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A visitor, Kitchen noise, Winter draft

1. Daughter #3 sits on the floor and talks with me while I paint.
2. After a while, she goes downstairs where I hear pots clanging and cabinet doors banging. So this must be what it sounds like to be the kid in the bedroom with the mom down in the kitchen, cooking.
3. A cold draft is seeping in through the window. It smells brisk and wintry.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Funny movie, Painting... but not cooking!

1. I have this entire week free! I decide that today will be my "going out" day. I get my hair cut, buy paint for 3BT #3, stop in to visit daughter #2, browse the bookstore and see a movie. It's Complicated reveals another angle of why we "older" women have something to be desired. I like the movie and couldn't help but laugh out loud.
2. Popcorn and Italian soda for lunch.
3. Scheduling projects after Christmas helps keep me from getting the winter doldrums. Daughter #3 would like her room painted and since it's been six years, I agree. She has chosen a pale purple called Crocus Petal and a creamy white trim. I'm excited about the transformation and I start priming the trim right away.
4. No cooking again!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Come back, No cooking, Risk

1. As some of the family departs, we plan for the next time they will come- three weeks!
2. I am eager to set the house in order. I begin by washing linens and straightening one of the bedrooms.
3. I am off the hook for dinner and I enjoy the break.
4. We play the game, "Risk". I have never played before and I end up conquering three continents and ruling the world. This can really go to one's head! We enjoy playful banter during our "wars" and the three hours it took to play was worth it.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Merry and Blessed Christmas!

1. I wake at 6:00 am and follow the sound of voices. All six "kids" are in daughter #4's room with their Christmas stockings. They are chatting away, eating chocolates and sitting on the floor amidst torn wrapping papers. When I walk in, they all look up at me with big grins on their faces.
2. We gather around the tree, coffee in hand to share gifts with one another. Old Gunner-the-Lab plops down right in the middle of the room where he allows wrapping paper to engulf him.
3. Phone calls and emails from friends and family all over the world. When my turn comes, I resist the urge to shout into the phone to make up for all the miles between us.
4. The afternoon becomes subdued with a steady rain. Naps are taken, as needed.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Arriving home, Joy, Comforts

1. The older children got in late last night after I went to bed. They came in so quietly that I didn't even know they arrived until this morning when sleepyheads began to appear in the kitchen for coffee.
2. We are all together to celebrate, rejoicing in the birth of God the Son, our Savior and King. Despite the hardships, broken hearts and sadness this year has brought, we have every good reason to celebrate. This thought remains with me throughout the day and I am truly glad.
3. The house is cozy, the table is pretty and the food is good.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Getting ready to celebrate!

1. Another one of my favorite ornaments. This sweet oldie came from my aunt and uncle's collection.
2. Despite a head cold, I get the weekend menu planned. With some trepidation, I head out for groceries. It goes rather well and I have gotten over the biggest hurdle of the day.
3. The sun is blinding on the white landscape. Everything begins to appear misty as the cold snow evaporates. I am hopeful that it will last until tomorrow when the rest of the family is here to go sledding. I check and find I don't need to worry; it's only half melted and half of 15-20 inches still leaves a lot.
4. There are stashes of cookies and fudge in the pantry, freezer and refrigerator. A little here, a little there. I am happy to have all these goodies ready to draw from over these coming four days.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Feathered friends, Greetings, Shy pup

1. The birds have found the seed I put out and we have all enjoyed watching our guests come to table. Daughter #3 threw some old, dried corn out back and the big, black crows have come for it. One of these crows has only one foot, yet he seems to get along just fine. We will experiment with various seed and see what birds continue to visit.
2. On errands today, I wish people a Merry Christmas!
3. Henri gets all shy and cute at the vet. When she examines him, he snuggles his face under my arm so he won't have to see her.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Outdoor fun, What to wear, Chocolate Paper

1. Sledding! And walking up the hill again. Sledding down! And walking up the hill again. Whizzing down! And walking up the hill again. Good workout.
2. Dressed in proper snow gear, one can lie, roll, crawl and sit in the snow without any chill to the skin. ("proper" snow gear might mean a grown man wearing a large-sized child's pair of purple snow pants- whatever works.) We are a ragamuffin troupe of sledders, but we are warm and dry.
3. As I trudge home, I hear the others' voices echo off the hills.
4. A trip to Chocolate Paper. Daughter #3 has never been here and it's fun introducing her to this store.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Shiny Brites, Comforts, Perilous snow banks

1. The old ornaments on our tree remind me of those we had when I was a child. I suppose that's why I like them.
2. Another snow day at home means a pot of soup on the stove, a good book to read and a nap.
3. Nearing midnight, we are driving home from our friend's who live just up our icy road. We barely see the camouflaged man struggling with his 4-wheeler, stuck in the snowbank. Steve ties a rope to the truck and pulls him out. It turns out to be a neighbor who has M.S. and walks with a cane. He would have been stranded there indefinitely had someone not come by. I tell Steve that it's a good thing we stayed out late.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky, arrives the snow. by Ralph Waldo Emerson

1. Today's snowfall is a beautiful spectacle that only nature could create. I consider it a wonderful gift. Memories of childhood snowstorms, excitement throughout the day, so many possibilities of things to do outside, the coziness inside the house, the beauty of the slate gray sky, laughter at the animals' antics, wonder at the beauty of it all.
2. I bake most of the day. The gingerbread is cut into house parts which the two younger daughters construct and decorate with candies I've been hoarding.
3. The snow is thigh deep, but I want to get to the bird feeder. I contemplate whether or not to leave the path and wade to it wearing only ankle boots. I go for it, plunging in like a brave explorer, leaving my comfort zone for the birds.

A Favorite Childhood Poem, First Snow by Mary Louise Allen

Snow makes whiteness where it falls,
The bushes look like popcorn balls.
And places where I always play,
Look like somewhere else today.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Snow!!, Ping pong, Snow!!, Buche de Noel

1. Snowflakes twirl and dance in the lighted window.
2. I enjoy the sound of hoots, laughs and yells that emanate from the basement during a ping pong game.
3. Late, dark and still. The only sound outside is the "sssss" of snow falling. We are repeatedly drawn to the windows and doors in order to witness this spectacle of a snowstorm. We grew up with these in NY, but we've never seen this much in Virginia. The excitement builds!
4. The Buche de Noel plate returns home empty, with the story of the boy who got the last big piece and happily carried it around school, nibbling on it all morning.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Time, Dog Prints, Steinway

1. We have 5 hours between appointments and it's too far to drive back home in between. So, we take our time browsing the antique mall and our favorite used book shop, then out to lunch.
2. I find a copy of Real Tales of Real Dogs with etchings by Diana Thorne. I have been searching for her dog etchings, individually, for over a year and here is the entire bound copy at a bargain price! I have found a treasure today.
3. The Steinway baby grand sounds rich, beautiful and notably different than anything I'm used to hearing. It looks beautiful, too.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gunner, Sage & Balsamic roast chicken, Wrapping gifts

1. Gunner-the-Lab has sleepy eyes when he wakes up in the morning.
2. Sage and Balsamic roasted chicken for dinner. THE BEST. Whisk 2Tbl. olive oil and 2 Tbl. Balsamic vinegar with S., P. and 1/2 tea. sugar. Gently put several sage leaves and 2 cloves finely chopped garlic under the chicken's skin. Brush all over with the oil mixture; pour remaining into cavity. Roast at 350 F. for 1 1/2 hours. Strain juices from pan, skim off fat and serve warm over chicken.
3. Coffee at my side, I spend the evening wrapping presents.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Red bottle, Choir, Happy

1. B. gave me the prettiest embossed glass bottle filled with red raspberry liqueur. It has a scene of pine trees, a deer and a log cabin on it.
2. Over one hundred children's voices blended together, singing Christmas songs. Beautiful music at the Singing School concert set me into the Christmas spirit.
3. Daughter #4's smile throughout the concert. Months of practicing, butterflies in the stomach, songs irritatingly stuck in her head, culminate into smiles.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Giving, Sunshine, Pooped

1. A car stops in the walkway to the store entrance. The driver beckons the Salvation Army lady to her car window and hands her a ziploc bag full of change.
2. This spring-like day is a nice reprieve from winter's blast.
3. After Henri's 3 mile walk, he lies around useless for the rest of the evening. I suppose 3 miles is a long walk for little 12 inch legs.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Icy, Good food, Garland and Lights, Friends

1. We awake to an ice-encrusted world. Rain and fog continue throughout the morning. It forces us to stay in, lingering over two cups of coffee.
2. Baked one of my favorite dinners, Alsatian Potato Pie. It uses puff pastry, potatoes, leeks, garlic, Gruyere and heavy cream. Served with funghi in salsa di pomodori (mushrooms in tomato sauce) and tossed greens with Dijon vinaigrette. Oh boy...!
3. Daughter 3 fashions a pretty pine and holly garland for the stair rail. Nature's contributions add to the coziness of Christmas time. Twinkle lights make it even cozier.
4. Friends arrive for dinner, bustling in cold air, greetings and gifts!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Not made in China, Practical, Seriously baking

1. In the check-out line at the department store, I look at the tag on the scarf I am purchasing and see it is made in Germany. "Wow, it's not made in China!". The woman in front of me turns and I see she is holding the same scarf, different color. "I know, it's made in Germany", she says. "Very nice", say I. "And I drive a German car", says the woman. "So do I!", I exclaim. "What kind is yours?", she asks. "I have a Passat." "Well, what do you know, I have a Passat too! And before that, I drove a Jetta." She then goes on to tell me about the engine, but we must finish checking out so she bids me goodbye with a squeeze to my arm because now we are friends.
2. A. takes us to a store called, "Tractor Supply". I'm not expecting much within, just a heater for the water trough. But it turns out to be a catch-all store and we all find something useful to buy.
3. Everyone is out of the house and I am left alone to my baking. It is grand!

Friday, December 11, 2009

A note, Gathering the goods, Evergreens

1. I wake up and Steve is not home. I figure he was called to work when the phone rang during the night. He knows my routine, that I will be at the computer with my coffee. So he sends me an email to tell me where he is.
2. I go out early and I have all morning to do the grocery shopping. My list is long and I want to concentrate. I enjoy grocery shopping on these terms.
3. The sprigs of evergreens, when they are mixed together, make pretty bouquets. Spruce, boxwood and holly are wonderful companions.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wee folk, Flying, Taking stock, Think tank

1. My wee folk have come onto the shelf for the holidays. I enjoy making these little dolls for all the seasons, but the red-cloaked winter ones are my favorites. These sweet little things stand only 1- 2 inches high and always make me smile.
2. As I drive over the rise, the valley stretches out before me with the wind-swept mountains on the other side. For a moment, I am flying.
3. I plan my holiday baking today and write down all the ingredients for shopping tomorrow. Heavy cream, unsweetened chocolate, mascarpone, nuts, confectioner's sugar, figs...wonderful ingredients. No ordinary "hamburger" shopping list here.
4. Even the shortest errands around here require a 30 minute drive, allowing me plenty of time to be alone and contemplate. I enjoy these mental wanderings while I drive. I have solved many problems, lifted up many prayers and had many revelations driving around our valley.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rolling dough, Which one?, Bomber, Happy to see me

1. Rolling sugared triangles of dough into Butterhorn cookies. They don't have to be perfectly shaped to come out looking pretty. A very forgiving cookie.
2. She phones from the store with a question about choosing a gift for someone and I have the answer perfectly ready.
3. B. drops off fresh eggs. One carton doesn't close all the way and she says one of those eggs is a big bomber. My first thought is for the chicken who laid it.
4. Baby greets me with a smile when she wakes from her nap.

Monday, December 7, 2009

School's out, Great finds, Think quickly

1. I decided to cancel school until January. So today was liberating and we went shopping.
2. The antique shop had just what I needed for daughter #1 AND two Shiny Brite ornaments for my collection. All three items were very reasonably priced and I was very, very happy.
3. The clock was ticking and the pressure was on to start dinner. I had to think quickly and so I changed the menu from calzones to pizza. Much quicker to prepare, yet pretty much all the same ingredients.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Virgin Sings Her Lullaby, Cutting the Tree, Traditions

1. The second advent candle is lit and voices sing, "What Child Is This". Beautiful lyrics capture my attention. "Raise, raise the song on high, the virgin sings her lullaby. Joy, joy for Christ is born, the babe, the son of Mary."
2. We bundle up and head outdoors to cut the Christmas tree. Even though they're grown, the girls are excited and it's contagious. It's a fun winter's day to be outside.
3. It's usually Steve's job to get the tree upright into the stand. We discuss the tradition of the need for a few cuss words being necessary to get the job done. Particularly when dealing with a crooked trunk.
4. Ornaments come out of boxes with exclamations of, "Oh, I remember this!"

The Cutting of the Tree

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Saturday's view. I love the color palette of a snowy day.

It's snowing!!, Mr. Lovely, Boughs and lights

1. The snow began falling at first light and fell all day! Big, white, fluffy flakes that turned our whole world magical.
2. A new horse guest arrives in the snow. He is a beautiful Percheron/Arabian cross. The two mares are smitten and follow him around all day. A girl in the house is also smitten and can't keep her eyes off him.
3. A little greenery here and twinkle lights there make the house cozy and festive. #3 arranges the snow village much nicer than I could ever do.
4. As the storm clears, the clouds turn a deep, dark, purple gray. They appear an ominous contrast to the white landscape and the effect is stunning.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Smells like snow, The list, We're holding a book for you

1. We step outside and agree that the air "feels" like snow.
2. Shopping lists are my life saver. They are my guide and my friend. I keep it in hand, reminding myself not to waver from the list and I am victorious! I even cross things off the list just so I don't confuse myself and buy something twice. (Huh!?)
3. The librarian phones to tell me my book is in. I have forgotten what I ordered, so she reads the title to me. "Oooo, can't wait!", I say.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My Favorite Meal, The Cookie Jar, Wow, Well Done

1. I prepared the beef stew early today. Now dinner is out of the way and the kitchen smells good all morning.
2. A full cookie jar with extras to give away. "I hear you guys in the cookie jar!".
3. Daughter #4 comes down, dressed for her choir performance. She looks so pretty and I suggest she add some jewelry. She returns wearing earrings and has suddenly gone from girl to young woman.
4. Daughter #3 phones with all sorts of good news and positive things happening. I'm glad to hear that hard work and perseverance, tempered with prayer has led to good things.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thinking Back, The Helper, Soft Pretzels

1. Once Monday hit, the week became a blur. I could only pause briefly to think about what a great weekend we just had. My life is full of blessings which I do not deserve. I think about that every day...
2. Tess and I bravely hit the shopping mall. Walking around in circles in the bookstore, hopelessly trying to find one particular title. Tess spots it right there and I am so glad to have her eyes helping me today.
3. We eat fattening, dripping with butter, soft pretzels for lunch and they are very, very good.
4. Boxes of Christmas garlands, lights and bows sit in a jumble. A group of us put our ideas together and, Voila! we create a very pretty display. When we've finished, a pot of delicious bean chili and sandwiches are ready for us.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New Toy, Nice having You Around, Ice Skating

1. Baby lies on her back and brings her feet up in front of her face. She eagerly grabs them like a new toy.
2. Daughter #3 happens to be around the house more these days. It's so nice to have her nearby. She is content and I enjoy her presence.
3. A bright, full moon lights up the chilly evening. It triggers a memory of ice skating on a frozen pond under such a full moon a long, long time ago. The cold of a New York winter, the sound of skates slicing the ice with their "chink, chink" and children's voices echoing in the darkness.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Crisp and Plump, Tidy, Big Clouds

1. Made up the guest beds with fresh linens. Smoothing sheets and plumping comforters in readiness for Christmas visits.
2. Systematically put the house back in order after a long weekend of celebration. Silverware is stored, fall decorations are boxed, tablecloths washed and ironed.
3. The wind kicked up and began to blow the rain clouds away. The breaks of sun revealed a huge sky that had hung low and close just a few hours before.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend

1. I inhale deeply while I slowly stir the pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
2. Six pies decorate the side table.
3. The excitement of hugs, kisses and exclamations of how we've missed each other as family arrives from New York.
4. I come from a laughing family.
5. The house is full. Full of laughter, sunshine, good food smells, conversation and activity.
6. At times, we break off in groups. Some take walks, some play games, others target shoot or sit on the porch. I stick pretty close to the kitchen and sit with my mom.
7. We all head to the movies. Chelsea gets behind the counter, in her apron, and serves up the popcorn.
8. Mom, who is 87, wears headphones to hear the movie better. There is a scene where the foxes are chowing down on sweets. Not realizing how loudly she is talking, she exclaims, "That's us at your house!". We all start laughing and shushing each other.
9. A heavy frost covers fence and field. The cedars are sugar-coated and tell of the coming winter.
10. Parting is bittersweet. Our hearts are heavy, not knowing when we will see each other again. I suppress a tumult of feelings and take comfort in what we have rather than what we have not. It has been a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Swim to the Paper, Peace, What's That Smell

1. Words and lists of things to remember for the weekend swim around in my head . I sit and organize them onto paper. When I see it, it all becomes so simple.
2. It is an uneventful day and for this I am thankful.
3. A friend walks into the house and says, "Mmm, it smells so good in here, like banana bread!" And I tell her it's chili.
Just wondering...I know people can be color blind, but is there a condition of smelling-blind?

Monday, November 23, 2009

To the Principal's Office, Fear, Mom's Laugh

1. I walked into the principal's office and felt like a mother rather than a scared student.
2. Today was a roller coaster ride of emotions, but I stayed on and didn't chicken out. The relief brought by the end of the day is most welcome and I feel that I can step off the ride for the night.
3. I relate a funny incident to my mom over the phone. She laughs and laughs for several minutes and keeps going back to laughing even when we change the subject.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Guess Who I Met!, Guess What I Bought, Guess Who Loves You

1. Chelsea excitedly relates the story of her encounter today with a celebrity/politician.
2. Claire and I play, "Guess What I Bought This Weekend". We don't usually have such big purchase weekends, so it's fun to hear what went on.
3. A family is all about pulling together in love and support when one member is down. Our family gathers around to talk, encourage and love one another when the going gets rough. My heart is full, God is so good.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Deals, New Wheels, It's Warm Going Down

1. Word had it that there was a warehouse sale on bedding and linens. I dressed appropriately and headed on over. The lines, the jostling, and the crowds were worth it. I triumphantly purchase a high quality feather bed mattress topper, a down comforter and a beautiful duvet cover for a total of $74!
2. Steve takes daughter #3 out to the used car lots to buy her first car. Success! She comes home eager to clean it. She doesn't want to drive it, just clean it.
3. B. has invited us for dinner. We stay well past midnight chatting by the fire. I am thankful to have friends who we can honestly talk to, who provide fresh insight on our current issues and who care about our family. Not to mention that B.'s mom makes a wonderful walnut liqueur.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Kool Aid and Beer

1. The only way I am able to keep up the pace and run all the errands is because it is a pretty, mild day. If it were rainy and miserable, I would have quit long before.
2. I have girls in the house attempting to dye their hair with Kool Aid. Everywhere I turn, I smell the fruity sweetness. Not that I like Kool Aid, but it does remind me of the 60's when we lived on it in the summer.
3. Steve comes home from work with a bag containing a can of beer and a lottery ticket. It gives me a euphoric feeling of being so gosh, darn average.

Fall's Final Vestige

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dog Tail= Laughter, Coconut, All Together

1. Dog's happy tail taps baby on the head. She responds with a string of hearty laughter.
2. Edy's All Natural Fruit Bars in creamy coconut. For coconut lovers, these are yummy! Unfortunately, Kroger does not have them. I found them at ...Walmart. (thunder crashes)
3. Watched Little Miss Sunshine. My favorite movie where a crazy family draws together when one member is in need. "Oh my God, I'm getting pulled over. Everyone, just... pretend to be normal."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Barn, Light at the End of the Drive, It's Me!

1. I walk up the wide center aisle that is flanked by horse stalls. The barn is hushed, but I hear a horse shifting position in one stall and another munching on hay. I love the smell of barns and this morning it is very peaceful here.
2. We head out into the evening, despite the chill and rain. At our destination we are greeted by friends with smiles and hugs, making the trip worth it.
3. Small town, rural living where a person is actually known by the librarians. This is about as famous as I'll ever get.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Glace Cherries, Eggnog, Hold On

1. Slicing glace cherries in half and pressing them onto the cookies. Their red translucence reminds me of jewels.
2. The first eggnog of the season from Homestead Creamery not only tastes comforting, but is lovely to handle in its thick milk-glass bottle.
3. Today was a "Mr.Toad's Wild Ride" kind of day. Just grip tight and try to stay on and you might even laugh before the day is done.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Daisy, Gypsies, Hot Air

1. Sweet, little daisy growing by the roadside. Didn't anyone tell you it's November?
2. Tess invites me upstairs to see her dolls. Tonight they are gypsies, clothed in scarves and skirts and beads. Their bunk bed is transformed into a gypsy caravan. We are never too old to play with dolls.
3. I stand over the heater vent where the warm air blows on my feet and legs.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Disappointment Turned Around, Snow White in the Seven Dwarfs' House, Bittersweet

1. Our weekend away was thwarted by sickness. But we purposed to make a wonderful weekend out of nothing, and we did.
2. A fresh coat of paint in the kitchen. This leads to the "domino effect" of scrubbing cabinets, countertops, behind fridge and stove, washing windows and waxing butcher block. All done with windows open and mild, sunny air freshening up the house.
3. Bittersweet climbs its way to the top of the tree and then tumbles itself back down. I gather twisting tendrils full of orange berries. I love the honey smell.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Making Things, Heavenly Coffee, Just What I Need

1. The kitchen table is strewn with cards, glitter, glue and all sorts of paraphernalia. I like a creative environment!
2. Chelsea brews some freshly roasted coffee. I come in from outdoors to this heavenly aroma and I exclaim that my house smells like Barnes & Noble.
3. She brings me the last five colors of floss that I need. This saves me from having to drive half an hour in order to spend $1.
A creative and fun new blog is having a giveaway! If you like treasured, old items, flea market finds and surprises, then check out The Country Lasses.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

She's Back, Nor'easter, Sewing

1. One of my favorite things, coffee at B.'s. She always bakes something yummy, we chat the hours away and I leave with fresh eggs and today, candy from Switzerland.
2. Remnants of hurricane Ida have now turned into a nor'easter, dumping inches of rain and wind upon us. I am ever-so-grateful to stay in tonight, cozy up in a blanket and watch a movie.
3. Gathered together threads, scissors, and pattern to begin a hand craft to give as a Christmas gift.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Candy Grass, Dinner, Welcome Home

1. The winter rye grass in the vegetable garden is the brightest green. It looks like the edible candy grass in Willy Wonka.
2. Chicken Cacciatore simmers all day in the crock pot.
3. Out driving on this dark, rainy, foggy, deer-threatening night. It is a relief to drive up to our house, come inside and lock the door, leaving it all behind.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ants, Ginger Cookies, Catalog, Catazine

1. I had time to sit and watch ants crawl on someone's path today. I remember that as a child, I had time to watch bugs, grass, and clouds. Just waiting for a friend to finish supper and come out to play afforded time to sit on their stoop and watch their ants. Life had a nice pace to it back then...
2. Baked these soft ginger cookies today. They were a breeze to bake and very tasty!
3. Thumbing through an attractive catalog of ______. The items look so appealing, I want to order everything to give as gifts and keep for myself. (I must leave this blank so my gifts will stay a surprise in case someone special reads this.) Who is their genius photographer?!
4. Phone a (different) catalog company to have my name removed from their mailing list. The recorded voice called it a "catazine". Is this for real? They actually combined a word out of catalog and magazine? Now I definitely must unsubscribe.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Covenant, Pie and Coffee, Well Spent

1. A baby's christening, a family's covenant with the Lord, a life full of promise.
2. For supper tonight we have apple crumb pie and coffee.
3. This was an entire day of leisure to spend as we pleased. I am aware to try and spend it well and not waste any of it.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ring Around the Moon, A Day Outdoors, Keep Going

1. Dog-walking, 6 a.m. The moon is at the zenith and an enchanting silver ring encircles it
2. I play two selections from the Handel's Messiah albums. No matter how many times I hear the familiar Hallelujah Chorus it still makes my heart skip and my spirit soar. It's not just the music, it's the verses...
3. The entire day outside! It feels so good to do outdoor, physical work. We have the annual "mowing-of-the-hill". The purpose of this is to be prepared for snow and sledding since the snow accumulates quicker on the shorter grass. Doesn't anyone else mow their sledding hills?
4. Steve gets the old lawnmower running again. It's a temperamental thing, but whatever he does, it runs great today. He kept our old dryer going for almost 30 years. I'm pleased that we can keep making do.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Jousting, Hands, Warm Toes

1. Bright morning sun illuminates two bucks that jostle and joust at the top of the hill. The does graze nearby, ignoring the boys' antics.
2. Children, inexperienced with scissors, are given the task to trace and cut out their hands on wildly colored paper. The end product is endearing.
3. Hot water bottle at my feet for bedtime.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Paycheck, Shine, Organized

1. How satisfying to be paid for working. A super-simple concept, but so rewarding! I thank my parents for instilling a work ethic in their children.
2. I take down and wash dusty items from the shelf. I wouldn't have known they were dusty just to glance at them. But once down, oh my! Now they really sparkle and shine.
3. Making preparations for tomorrow this evening. A head start will relieve some of the burden of rushing around come morning. Then I switch off the light and put the kitchen to bed.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Owl Call, Outdoors, Teacher

1. I woke to the gentle call of a hoot owl. It was a peaceful, mellow sound that made me in no hurry to get up.
2. Today was a day set aside for more garden clean-up. Most days are committed to other responsibilities and the list of outdoor chores builds each time I pause at the window. But today was the day I eagerly awaited and brrr, it was cold!
3. I am extremely thankful for gifted teachers. Whether they be through schools, or books, or churches or whatever. It makes such a difference to sit under someone who is passionate about what they teach, articulates it well and speaks with educated authority.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Vote!, Horse and Rider, Chicken Soup

1. Election day. To cast my vote is an honor and a privilege that I respect. A way for all of us little guys to voice our opinions with the push of a button.
2. I see Audrey coming down the road on Vandella. They are walking at a very slow pace, soaking up the beautiful day.
3. We have a delicious chicken soup from leftovers that is quick to make and very tasty. I prefer this recipe to my usual long-cooking one. I got it last spring from The English Kitchen. Marie's recipes are wonderful.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Coffe Shop Aroma, Tag, Moon

1. We have time to spare, so we head for the coffee shop in the bookstore. The wonderful aroma greets us at the door and we relax at a table with our comfort snack.
2. I don't play the tagging game very well and we laugh at my ineptness.
3. The moon rises over the horizon and it is enormous! We keep looking at it, trying to believe it is real. I feel like I'm on another planet, whose moon would loom so large. After a while, it rises up to a normal size and brightness and I am more comfortable with it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Laurels, Old Boy, Messing with the Clock

1. We find a perfect spot to plant the laurel shrubs. I like this challenge of being given a plant, researching its likes and needs, and then finding it a home.
2. An old, blind, dog turns up in our yard. I call the animal control officer and he knows where the dog belongs. I am so relieved to have the old boy get back home. (We have so many strays turn up at our house over the years that we have gotten to know Officer C. and he is the nicest man.)
3. I think we are handling the time change admirably.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Golden, Taste the Tradition, Halloween

1. The hairdresser enjoys working with Audrey's hair, satin gold that it is. I watch as she trims, sculpts, and plays with it for over an hour. Audrey certainly doesn't get her straight, golden hair from my side of the family. Perhaps this is why her hair intrigues me.
2. I spend the morning cooking meatballs and sauce as my mother and grandmother did. My treat is to fry the last few meatballs in the olive oil until they are crispy on the outside and eat them like this, sans sauce. As a kid, I hovered around the kitchen as my mother made the meatballs, waiting for the last ones to be fried and then shared with my dad.
3. After dark, we meet up with friends to "trick-or-treat". Groups of children materialize out of nowhere, building in numbers and creating a festive air. Parents stand and visit in the streets while the children march this way and that to houses promising them candy. We comment on the warm evening, cute costumes and heavy bags laden with candy.

Friday, October 30, 2009

When October Goes

A beautiful, sad song, but ever so worth sharing. The stills in this video capture the essence of winters in New York. When October Goes...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lemon Pound cake, Daylight, Shopping Day

1. Lemon pound cake brushed with lemony glaze. I like brushing the glaze over the cracked top of the cake, watching it seep down into the moist nooks and crannies. This will be the tastiest part of each slice.
2. We hold dinner late so Tess can play outside, using up every last part of daylight.
3. I write my shopping list for Friday. I thumb through recipes, planning our meals for the week with all sorts of ambition. I can't wait to try new recipes people have recommended and the excitement builds for shopping day!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Raindrops, Clearing, Roaming the Fields

1. I fell asleep to the sound of raindrops on the window last night. It was so peaceful that I've remembered it all day.
2. When these rainy weather fronts move out of the mountains, they create beautiful landscapes and skies. Pockets of mist settle in the valleys while bright mountain peaks shine above. I'm glad I was out early so I could see this.
3. The kids go marching off through the fields, bright orange vests announcing their presence.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bluebirds, Well-Stocked, Giggles

1. My bluebird friends were visiting the garden today, en masse! I routinely see one or two, but today there were six or seven!
2. I need to bring a refreshment with us tonight. I go to the pantry and pluck the ingredients from the shelf with great satisfaction. Nothing beats a well-stocked pantry when you're in a pinch.
3. Little baby, only 15 weeks old, laughs and giggles at Tess' antics. We are amazed that such a young life can produce such a belly laugh. Of course, we keep the silliness going for as long as she is willing to laugh.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pumpkins, Saxophone, Wild Things

1. Chelsea and Tess carve pumpkins. Each time I pass by the table, I smell the nutty, fresh pumpkins.
2. It's a porch-sitting day with wonderful sunshine. Steve likes to play his saxophone out there. The closed door muffles the loudness just enough for those of us inside. I'm not sure what the neighbors think, or the cows, but I like it today.
3. We all head to Roanoke to finish celebrating Tess' birthday with Where the Wild things Are. We are first in the movie theater and have our choice of seats.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

South Wind, Energized, Henri

1. The air was soft and balmy, unusually warm for late October. The warmth and rain released earthy scents from the woods and fields.
2. At first I thought my aggressive laundry plans were shot when the washer broke. I turned my energy to cooking and redeemed the day by cooking- a lot!
3. Henri gets ready to pounce. His chin is on the ground while his fanny is raised high. My view is from the rear and I have to burst out laughing at his comical stance.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fallen Leaves, Red Balloons, Cozy

1. The road is covered in fallen leaves. We watch them flutter and twirl in the wake of the car.
2. A simple cluster of balloons amuses the children. Laughing and shouting, they dash to keep them airborne.
3. I go through the house, lighting lamps and candles early to chase away the damp day.
I am not what I ought to be. I am not what I want to be. I am not what I hope to be. But still, I am not what I used to be. And by the grace of God, I am what I am.
John Newton

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sunrise, Ladybug, Ladybug, Holly

1. Our sunrise was the deepest pink. Followed by lighter pinks, purple, orange and yellows. Such a sunrise just has to usher in a glorious day.
2. Cleaning and tying up loose ends in the garden feels good.
3. The ladybug invasion is significantly light this year. I can't describe how harassing these little beetles can be and anyone who has had them will know what I mean. So, when I have to vacuum them only once today, it is something to celebrate!
4. A gift of a holly bush was left in our driveway. (Ibex "Liberty" to be exact). I treasure each and every planting I can make on our property. Now, where to plant it...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tess, Illuminated, Looking Good

1. A day of celebration for sweet Tess. Today she turns 13!
2. We turn off every light so that the candles on the cake glow brightly. Only Tess is illuminated in the room.
3. My skills at making a cake look pretty are quite a gamble. I love to bake, my baking always tastes good, but a pretty birthday cake is not my forté. So when today's cake turns out looking good, I feel like I've beat the odds.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Praying Mantis, Cauliflower, Billions and Billions

1. Our resident monster praying mantis made an appearance today. Sometimes on the window screen, sometimes on the steps or among the bushes. This creepy, alien looking insect fascinates us by the way it turns its head with human-like movements.
2. Cauliflower sprinkled with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted to perfection.
3. The landscape was crisp and frosted this morning. Henri-the-Schnoodle took me outside at 6:00am while it was still pitch dark. The stars were thick in the black sky and I was dizzy trying to focus my eyes on the depth of it all.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Afternnon Movie, Light Heart, Trivial News

1. The plans are to see the movie, Seraphine. But a projector malfunction changes the plan and I see Bright Star. It is a beautiful and moving story about the poet, Keats.
2. She recalls stories that make herself laugh and chuckle. I like to hear my mom laugh.
3. The girls phone and we all ask each other, "How was your weekend?"

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Rock Gathering

1. We took all back roads to Blacksburg and even though the day was gray, the landscape was still beautiful. Miles away from our destination, we saw a smoke plume and Steve guessed it must be John burning the cedars. We followed the smoke and sure enough, there was John.
2. Our expedition was for rock gathering. Our source- an ancient pile dumped over decades of farming where the land "grew" the rocks up and out. I sit on the pile, scavenging the right shapes and sizes for our project while Steve hauls and loads. This cool, fall day is perfect for the work.
3. I smell the hint of smoke from down the mountain. Mixed with the autumn air and fallen leaves, perfect!
4. An old abandoned farmhouse stands guard facing the mountain. The windows are broken and the paint peeled, yet a tattered, red vinyl kitchen chair sits on the front porch as though someone is coming right back.

Friday, October 16, 2009

For the Drive, Call From a Friend, Free Day

1. Music for the car ride today is Jon and Vangelis.
2. Lea phones and we catch up on things. (We have been friends since our home schooling days in NY when our girls were little.) I am always excited to hear what her girls are up to. Here is Cicely.
3. Co-op classes were canceled, so we are presented with a free day!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Apple Tart Mold, Rain Stream, Ahhh

1. I baked apple tarts with the apple-shaped mold that Claire gave me from Williams Sonoma. These little pastries are so cute with their crimped edges.
2. I hear the rain falling on the leaves and it sounds like a stream rushing in the woods.
3. A special cup of coffee this evening with my apple tart. I used a butter pastry and they are delicious.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Heat, America, Soft pillow

1. Today I am feeling plain and simply thankful. Mostly for the heat in our home and the heater in my car. What a damp and bitter day it would be without heat.
2. I am thankful I live in America. This is where God plopped me and I cannot complain. My grandparents worked hard to immigrate here, my dad worked and fought hard to raise his family here and am thankful for their sacrifices.
3. Many nights I give a heartfelt thanks for a soft pillow and warm bed to lie down in at the end of the day. There are people who don't even have this most basic of creature comforts and I will always be thankful that God gave me this today.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pink, Red, Sweet

1. The hanging geranium on the wall out the back door is still blooming in full splendor. The pink flowers are out of place in an autumn-colored palette, but I enjoy this flash of bright, summery pink.
2. The most beautiful maple tree is the one our friend John planted here the year we built our house. It is just now beginning to tinge with color and it usually turns to the most brilliant red.
3. I wasn't in the mood to bake, but everyone wanted a little something sweet. So, we made Muddy Buddies. Gosh, these silly things are addictive.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Snow White, Good Finds, Cows

1. I have an hour to sit and wait, parked in a wooded driveway. I sit there unnoticed with wildlife teeming all around me. Blue jays, cardinals, two kinds of woodpeckers, two frisky squirrels and a chipmunk! Their antics are entertaining.
2. Tess and I poke around some thrift shops. I go slowly so I don't miss anything good.
3. The cows are returned to the pasture across the road. The horses stare at them all day and at times it looks like they're all having a staring contest..

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Devil's Marble Yard

1. Our family spent this perfect autumn day on a hike to the Devil's Marble Yard. An impressive mountainside full of huge boulders. The hike/climb was rewarded at the top with a pretty view.
2. The sandwiches we carried tasted like a feast. We even backpacked a jar of Claire's pickles all the way up.
3. Back home in the evening, we had our usual rounds of Badminton. We ate Marie's delicious recipe of Apple Hazelnut Brown Betty and felt satisfied about our day well spent.

Devil's Marble Yard, If you click on the top photo, you will see Chelsea and Chad at the top, on a boulder

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Autumn Scent, Brussels Sprouts, Home

1. It smelled so good on my walk this morning. The damp leaves and fall air made that spicy, pungent odor that I wish I could bottle.
2. I like preparing brussels sprouts. Trimming off the tiny outer leaves, slicing them in half, then sautéing them to nutty goodness in olive oil and a bit of garlic, salt and pepper.
3. It's all about the food today... the aroma of pork roast, topped with a rub of rosemary, Dijon, garlic and olive oil, surrounded by carrots, potatoes and onions. The house smelled heavenly.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Slight Hand, Coupons, Flocking

1. One of the young students asks to be taken to the ladies' room. I feel her slip her little hand into mine as we enter the hallway.
2. I despise clipping coupons, but I go ahead and play the game. I reason that it would be like throwing money away not to use them. I'm pleased at the grocery checkout to see how much it took off my bill.
3. A flock of birds rises up over the tree line. They keep coming and coming and we can see no end to the thousands of black specks moving like a school of fish. Very impressive!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pink Morning, Golden Day, White Night

1. Sunrise lights up the clouds from beneath and creates a pink, bumpy sky canopy.
2. Another beautiful, golden day. I grab an hour outside before dark and catch up on some gardening chores.
3. Steve and I rummage in the basement for canning jars. Just when I think I have none left, I find a box the movers packed in 2000. I unwrap the paper with reverence, remembering our home and garden in New York.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Jeckyl & Hyde Weather, Shopping, Dim

1. Six a.m. the wind is howling at the windows and rain pelting the glass. I was sure we were in for a nasty day. By sunrise, the world was bright and beautiful. We had a gorgeous day.
2. We made a marathon day of shopping and errands. We came home feeling the victorious conquerors, hunting and gathering everything on the list and not giving up until it was found.
3. As we began our drive home in the dark, I couldn't figure out why our headlights and dashboard were so dim. I became concerned that the car was malfunctioning and it would be a difficult drive home. Then I realized I had my sunglasses on! We had a good belly laugh. Seems like I'm the only thing getting dim.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Precious, Cornmeal Coated, Subdued Light

1. Baby's head on my shoulder. Warm, soft, downy hair to my cheek.
2. Cornmeal breaded fish fillets laid out on the platter, ready to fry.
3. It turned into a quiet, drizzly-rain sort of day. But I liked it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Acorn, The Vineyard, Please Be Well

1. Audrey brings me a big, chubby acorn for my collection.
2. I pause at the back hill to look across at the Gibb's vineyard. The rows of grape vines are neat and tidy and the lines they form are pleasing to my eye.
3. My heart leaps with joy to receive an email from my far away friend who is battling cancer. I am relieved to know she is OK.
But, she is still fighting. How I wish her well...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bright Moon, Carrot Cake, Stay Awake

1. Outside before dawn, I turn and see the large, full moon hovering just inches above the trees in the woods. It is blinding white like a headlamp.
2. Carrot cake for dessert.
3. Steve and I continue watching the John Adams series. Audrey observes that I fall asleep during the "good" movies, but I stay wide awake during these boring ones.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Done, Moved Indoors, Do Ahead

1. Hallelujah, I got the skirt sewn onto the slipcover today! I had a major mental block to finish this slipcover for a year. All but the skirt was complete for a whole, entire year (!) and for some reason I could not face it. But today marks the end and I am ecstatic. Now I can move forward.
By the way, this rugged, yet attractive- enough slipcover, is made from painter's drop cloths for around $50.
2. Potted plants from the porch are carried indoors to their winter homes.
3. Dinner and dessert for tomorrow are prepared today. It gives me a boost to know that tomorrow will be entirely free to do as I please. (And with no slipcover to sew, yahoo!)

Music, Dance and Fun

1. Our Willow Tree Gala Contra Dance that we co-hosted with friends is a huge success. Spirits are high as dancers laugh and clap throughout the evening. There is a camaraderie with strangers of all nationalities and ages as our individual movements interweave to create pretty dance formations.
2. Violin and fiddle are my favorite instruments. The music is happy and light as the band and dance caller work expertly together for the first time! Our caller is dressed in French Colonial garb and adds the background history to each dance as he instructs. Allemande, promenade, shasay, and do sa do are given their French pronunciations.
3. Some of the guests do not speak English, but it makes no matter in the dance.
4. Tess wears a pretty lavender gown with ribbon in her hair. She is on her own with friends and I spot her on the dance floor having a great time.

* The link is an example of a contra dance in Vermont. Each region has it's own flavor of music and dance. But I thought this was a good example.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Smell That Air, Finished, Bunny Housekeeping

1. 6:30 am. It's cold and it smells like leaves and smoke outside. Could it be October?!
2. I get all my hand sewing finished and it feels good to have that done.
3. All of the bedding and straw has been pushed through the hole into the "wrong" side of the rabbit hutch. Leelee looks guilty, but her expression says, "So what?" With a sigh, I sweep it all back through the hole to the "right" side. She scrambles over and shoves it all back out again, grumbling at me. Then she stretches herself out and lies on top of it. I think the rabbit just won.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Portrait, Red Rubies, Coffee Break, Date ?

1. I love this photo that Tess made of our daughter, Claire with her niece. The lighting reminds me of a Rembrandt portrait.
2. The last handful of raspberries are a treasure found amidst the dying canes.
3. I enjoyed coffee with our pastor and some of the older women. Much wisdom and insight there. * I use the term, "older" loosely to include myself.
4. Time to kill, so Steve and I wander around the big box store. No cart, just wandering. We end up with a random assortment of oddities in hand at the express lane. The cashier studies our faces to see if we are old enough to buy the knife.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tess, Chicken Soup, To the Trunk

1. Tess comes out with the funniest remarks, which crack me up because she is the youngest in the family and rather on the quiet side. Today she quotes "Monk", entirely out of the blue, and has us all laughing.
2. Another blustery day. A good day for the first of this season's chicken soup.
3. We head to the trunk where our winter clothes have been stored. I forgot that I had two pair of corduroys and now I feel like I have something new.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Forsythia, Falling Leaves, Whatever (well, sort of)

1. Poor little Forsythia is confused. It has set out its yellow flowers in September. Pretty, sweet thing.
2. Although it's blustery and very windy, the leaves still appear to float down in slow motion.
3. I'm glad to know I am mellowing with age. The kids want to tie-dye in the kitchen, sure! You want to keep a puppy in your bed at night, no problem! The kitchen floor is overdue for a wash, it will get done sometime! I used to be more uptight about these kinds of things. Either I'm getting tired or wiser, or a little of both.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Enjoy, Droplets, Garden, Fight!

1. Trying to decide if "enjoy" is the right word to use in describing how I enjoy our Sunday sermons. But enjoy it I do, so enjoy I will use!
2. Morning sun breaks through the mist and the world is a watery jeweled spectacle. Sun-filled droplets dazzle my eyes as we drive down the road.
3. The rain-softened earth yields easily to our shovels. Chelsea, Tess and I clean up the vegetable garden and we plant a crop of winter rye. This once ugly bed is now pleasing to the eye.
4. I head the mower straight through their tomato fight and feel lucky not to get hit.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday, Duo Parnas, Potato Soup

1. The rain continues on this excellent, rainy Saturday. So we head downtown to the used bookstore and browse to our hearts content.
2. Our friends have sent us a copy of their newest CD, Gare Du Nord. I have a second listen while baking today and it is so exciting to hear what they have done. Beautiful, gifted musicians.
3. First we are 3, then 4, then 6, then 7 for dinner. Our quiet, cozy, potato soup meal takes on a gathering which is unexpectedly perfect.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Rain, Rain, Both right and wrong

1. The rain comes in the night and sounds so beautiful.
2. The day is gray and rainy, casting a subdued atmosphere over all. Sometimes I just really like these kinds of days.
3. Little ones recite their multiplication tables for 2's with pride. When asked to write the numbers, most of them reverse all the double digit numbers so that 12 becomes 21. It looks like this: 2, 4, 6, 8, 01 ,21, 41, 61, 81.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hushed, Energized, Play With Me

1. Walking in the dusk of first light, the air is still, the leaves are quiet and mist has settled in all of the valleys and hollows.
2. 98% humidity (ugh) and by late afternoon I am limp. A refreshing shower changes everything and I am energized.
3. Puppy behaves like a plaything and everyone is willing to stop whatever they're doing and play. Such power a cute puppy has over people.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Puppy, Intriguing, Summer/Autumn

1. A dear, sweet, innocent little puppy is spending the night. Sweet brown eyes; floppy, silky ears; fat round belly.
2. Studying Acts 1:6-11. The ascension. Thoughts fill my head, leading to questions, leading to truths, leading to more questions...this is one thing that I love about studying the Bible.
3. Summer-like evening, to bed with the windows open once again, crickets lull us to sleep.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

September Bloom, Alive!, Baby Wins

1. The sweet, little miniature geranium I bought last spring has finally decided to bloom.
2. The trumpet vine lives!! After receiving the "trim of good intentions" by an unnamed family member, and me mourning over the loss of my beautiful vine, it sprouts anew. I am overjoyed.
3. Steve comes in from work, glances at me and says, "So'd that little baby whoop your butt today?".
Funny concept, that.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Gingerbread, Calico, Pink Sky

1. Allspice, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, molasses and brown sugar...spicy sweet gingerbread weather. I inhale deeply as I mix ingredients.
2. Bolts and bolts of cotton calicoes line the walls from floor to head. The fabrics are inspirational, and I feel the overwhelming need to create something!
3. Pretty pink sky in the morning and evening is the consolation prize for shorter daylight.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Picnic, Family, Hit it Really Hard

1. Sunday picnic in the park. Young mothers group to one table and share their experience while their little ones do the same.
2. Our children are all here.
3. The guys bring a male element to badminton which destroys shuttlecocks.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Eleanor's Mirror, Yard Sales, McCoy, Frankoma, Dinner

1. When I wake up and walk into the kitchen this morning, I see Eleanor's beautiful mirror leaning against the coffee table. Claire and Daniel have brought me my husband's grandmother's mirror (that I love) from New York via North Carolina.
2. 7:30 am, Claire says to get dressed quickly, we going to yard sales. Fun! Daniel is a great driver, we don't get rear-ended at all.
3.I find three goodies. One is this McCoy teapot in perfect condition. The girls don't care for it, but I like its natural element and earthy colors. I like the Frankoma pitcher even more because of its pretty form and even earthier color.
4. I spend the afternoon cooking and baking for a last minute dinner party, happy to have the kitchen alone to do my "thing".

Friday, September 18, 2009

Guide, Hungry, John Adams

1. I happen to bring along "The Master List" which, by default, puts me in the know and I am able to help people find their way.
2. Watching a room full of little kids eat lunch, quite amusing. In my college days of student teaching, this used to gross me out. Thirty-two years later, it's plain funny.
3. I wondered how a movie series on John Adams could be described as riveting, but it is! After reading American Creation by Joseph Ellis, this movie is a great follow.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Misty, Girls' Play, Mensa Invitational, Tired

1. The rain finally comes, in teasingly small amounts. I walk to the mailbox in the rain just to feel it on my skin.
2. Chelsea spends the day and Baby L. entertains us with her adorable expressions.
3. B. sends me a list of clever word plays where people have changed only one letter in a word, thereby creating a new word with a new definition. These give me a good laugh.
4. The kind of tired when I fall into bed and instantly am asleep. A well-earned, good kind of tired.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bluebird, Old Friends, Autumn Cheesecake, Heavenly Scent

1. Flashes of blue out the window mean the bluebirds are in the garden. My favorite bird, I always stop to admire them.
2. A visit with longtime friends, stories told, laughter around the table.
3. She is baking bread for lunch and it smells wonderful as we walk in the door.
4. Delicious pumpkin cheesecake with a perfect, spicy crust.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Unconditional Love, Sealed, In Demand

1. I smile at baby, baby smiles back. It would be wonderful if all relationships were this simple.
2. Click, Click, Click...the jars of applesauce reward me with this sound when I'm done canning.
3. The phone rings a lot today and our already full schedule becomes fuller. This is a good thing, right?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Caramels, Little Bug, Chilly Start

1. Kraft caramels, wrapped in cellophane. Nobody can eat just one...
2. I cannot help myself but to save the delicate little bug that sits all day on my kitchen faucet. I wonder, can compassion be learned?
3. Energizing, chilly mornings followed by headache inducing, hot days. I'll forget the day and remember the morning.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tractor, Leisure, Moon

1. The little tractor off in the distance crisscrosses the field. It is shaped like a child's drawing, boxy, smoke stack in front, high roof covering, putt-putting rather fast, as a child would move it.
2. I migrate towards the sun warmed porch, sit and rock and do nothing.
3. Suspended reality for 97 minutes watching the movie, Moon. Excellent sci-fi, haunting music score and superb acting by Sam Rockwell.

Ah! Sunflower by William Blake

Ah Sunflower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun;
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller's journey is done;

Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,
Arise from their graves, and aspire
Where my Sunflower wishes to go!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Weeding, Apple-scent, Monet

1. Kneeling in the wet morning grass, I finally weed the raspberry patch and bring it back to beauty. I continue with the asparagus and rhubarb patches. Now when I look out the kitchen window, I won't cringe.
2. The house is filled with the aroma of simmering applesauce and an apple pie in the oven.
3. Without my glasses on, the garden appears more like an impressionist painting, full, lush and colorful. Glasses on, I see the weedy, sordid details. Today I'll enjoy it with my glasses off...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Grasshoppers, Caramel Apples, Fresh and New, Zippers

1. Mowing the very tall grass, I notice grasshoppers fleeing like crazy ahead of me. Eventually they begin hopping onto the front of my mower where they ride along with a look of relief.
2. Apples on a stick, dipped in warm caramel and set on butter-coated wax paper to cool.
3. Cleaning out the fridge, tossing out tired jars of "stuff" then restocking it with new food from the market.
4. I am not very trendy when it comes to handbags and today I saw something that I've never seen before at the department store. The Dooney and Burke zip clutches have rainbow colored zippers! I've never seen anything like this and thought it was the most clever thing. The colors of the zippers are so vibrant and every little zipper tooth is a different color, they tickle the eyes.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Angora, Fists, September

1. Leelee-the-bunny's coat has grown and thickened into the beautiful, long, white softness of angora. I bury my fingers in the softness and feel her warm little body underneath.
2. The baby clenches her tiny fists up under her chin when she drinks her bottle.
3. The first leaves are beginning to fall, giving me mixed emotions.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

World's Edge, Patchwork, Red Peppers

1. Morning fog hangs heavy behind the tree line, giving all appearances that nothing exists beyond the trees and the world ends right there.
2. The fields have been hayed once again. From the hill, I see a pretty patchwork impression of cut fields separated by hedgerows.
3. Stuffed peppers with dinner tonight. Mom made these for me while I was in NY and I love, love, love them so I made more. White bread cubes, Parmesan, basil, garlic, eggs, olive oil, raisins and anchovies (optional), stuffed into red bell peppers, drizzled over with olive oil, baked for an hour. These are as my mother and grandmother made them.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Dinner is served, Slower pace, Energy

1. After being away, the pantry is getting low. Dinner materializes with fresh corn, garden tomatoes and leftovers from the fridge. These type of meals taste so good.
2. There is a lot of catching up to do around the house, but baby L. is here, so we spend the day rocking and cuddling. Lovely pace!
3. A room full of happy, high energy, little girls reminds us that giggling is contagious.

New York State of Mind

1. Grandmas, Nanas, Grandpas, uncles, aunts and cousins welcome us and make the weekend festive.
2. Apples, cider, cider doughnuts and smokey cheese. One of the best smells in the world lingers at the apple farm stands. Mom laughs at me while I pull the farm wagon loaded with bushels of apples. "Where will you put them all?", she asks.
3. I stand under the New York sky and think how it has a "feel" of its own. The sky of my childhood has not changed. How does it feel different from other skies? Vaguely, it just does.
4. Gene's fish fries!! Opened in 1960, this little open air stand is the destination for me. Picnic tables are lined up under an overhang with little birds hopping about for crumbs. As kids, we rode our bikes the half mile here for a milkshake. Now I will drive 10 hours for one of these fish fries. Gene's descendants now run the place which is only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
5. Made a quick detour to Samascott's Farm in Kinderhook to get their corn. The ears are average in size, but the kernels are large, extra tender and bursting with sweetness. We make a meal of corn, slathered with butter, salt and pepper. This is another place that the girls and I would bike to from our house in order to pick strawberries. In season, they have pick-your-own blueberries, cherries and apples and tomatoes.
6. Claire and Daniel drive up from North Carolina. As adults, it's harder for everyone to get away from jobs, school and obligations to make these trips. So, it's a special opportunity that we don't take for granted.
7. I cook for my mom. At 87, she doesn't fuss in the kitchen any more so I like to entice her with tasty things. She especially enjoys the tomatoes from our Virginia garden and the corn from Samascott's.
8. Mom and I bake an apple pie together.
9. She gives me my grandmother's old, white platter. Faded flowers are barely visible and the 22K gold trim has been worn away long ago, but I treasure it.
10. Steve's brother loves to do clams. Saturday is set aside for the food fest. Steve phones me, anxiously telling me they're setting up the raw bar, hurry! Pot after pot, raw clams on ice, steamed clams with melted butter, clam broth for chowder. The kids are teased into trying a raw clam and none take the dare. A wood fire is started and all the cooking is done outdoors. Grandpa hands me a gin and tonic in one hand and cigar in the other. I enjoy both!
11. We return home a bit travel weary, but glad to arrive. Chelsea, Chad and Audrey have kept the house for us and welcome us home. It is so clean and dinner is cooked if we're hungry!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Vines, Moonlight, Cozy Nights

1. Steve is up on a ladder engulfed in trumpet vine. It is amusing to see him in the foliage, wrestling the vines into submission.
2. The moon casts a silver light onto the landscape. I like the shadows of trees at night.
3. Wonderful, cool sleeping weather!

Monday, August 31, 2009

It's a Girl, Cooler, Adorable

1. A friend and her little grandson spend the day at my house, waiting. Her second grandchild is being born today! The day closes at 5:50 PM with joyous phone calls announcing the birth.
2. I slip on a jacket to drive to the store this evening. When was the last time I wore a jacket outside?
3. Not quite two, he takes the young lady by the hand and leads her around. He's confident, inquisitive and charming.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Friends, Sundays, Falling Leaves

1. Long time friends visiting from far, far away. Our paths have taken us from New York, to Alaska, to Alabama and then all to Virginia. I always love to see their faces and remember the years back in NY.
2. I like the rhythm of Sunday afternoons. After church Chelsea and Chad come by. We lunch, talk and rock on the porch, nap, and regroup for fun. Tonight we play on the lawn, take the dogs out to romp, ride Vandella, and perhaps pull a few weeds for fun.
3. I'm tending a fire out in the field with my back to the woods. The sky is pink with sunset and a few yellow leaves flutter down from high behind me. Fall is coming.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Thistle, Rain, Christmas Trees

1. A monstrous thistle was growing right in the middle of the horse pasture. The foliage is scary and prehistoric, but the thistle flowers are so beautiful. If we were to have a family crest, I would have a thistle on mine.
2. After a blistering, sweltering week, the rain has come and I count on the promise of cooler weather to follow.
3. Walking past the Christmas tree farm, I think about how soon it will be that we are choosing a tree! I like to imagine the cold day that will be while I endure this heat and humidity.

*In the language of flowers, the thistle (like the burr) is an ancient Celtic symbol of nobility of character as well as of birth, for the wounding or provocation of a thistle yields punishment. For this reason the thistle is the symbol of the Order of the Thistle, a high chivalric order of Scotland.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Spiderworks, The Audrey Foundation For..., Fairy House

1. In a hurry to make an early morning appointment, I caught a glimpse of a magnificent spider web on the roadside. It was a large work of art, appearing to be a wheel within a wheel, glittering with dew. I am kicking myself that I didn't back up and take the time to get a better look. But even just that glimpse glitters in my head all day.
2. No, we didn't win the Megamillion lottery jackpot. But we had fun around the dinner table taking turns on how we would spend that money. Very insightful...
3. A little fairy home is built at the base of the pergola I am staining today. Shaped rocks, pieces of wood and sticks construct an intriguing abode where any little person would be happy to live. (I have enjoyed Tess's companionship and help with the staining.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bunny Nest, Noisy Birds, August

1. A telltale clump of gray fur in the grass catches my attention where I'm mowing. Sure enough, it's a wild baby bunny nest with baby sounding like a crazy squeak-toy. I carefully cover back over it leaving this mowing for another day.
2. The growing flock of starlings is holding convention in the trees. The moment they stop chattering, I lean forward to watch the flock take flight. But they have tricked me and are only quiet for a moment before they start their noise back up.
3. I sit and ponder the subtleties within the seasons. The slant of sun, shades of foliage, sounds of insects and birds, and touch of the breeze mark the date as late August. I remember as a young child being aware of these subtleties within the seasons and now I wonder; did we always know them or do we learn the patterns early on?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Baby, Flocks, Warm Cookies

1. A sweet little baby in my care today, brings memories of my early mothering days.
2. Starlings are flocking in the fields, sweeping down in waves.
3. Warm cookies from the oven warrants a pot of coffee this evening. I take some to Audrey where she is doing homework. I like her smile when she sees warm cookies served with a fork.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Time Capsule, Lunch, Logs

1. The little tin time capsule contains: coins, a stamp, the front page of our local newspaper, a straight pin, a marble, a note from us, and a cigar wrapper.
2. Chelsea and Chad lunch with us on the porch. We lazily enjoy our meal, talking and catching up.
3. The beautiful wood scent of our friend's log home. All different kinds of wood from floor to ceiling envelope us in warm tones.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Grosgrain Ribbon, Fried Pepper Sandwich, Holes, Al Fresco, Peonies

1. I spend the day sewing colorful bands of grosgrain ribbon onto Tess's curtains. I love grosgrain ribbon. It reminds me of Easter hats and gift packages.
2. Super-tasty fried pepper and egg sandwich for lunch. My mom used to pack these for me when I was in grade school. I would be a little embarrassed when the olive oil would soak through the brown bag, but it sure beat the other kids' peanut butter sandwiches.
3. We peer down the deep post hole, thinking we should toss something into it as a time capsule before it gets filled in.
4. Rather than clear the table of my sewing, we dine on the porch. This impromptu decision is fun and much more pleasurable since the weather has begun to improve.
5. A neighbor brings us a box full of pink peony roots and a bag of white! I have always wanted peonies. These were originally planted by his mother many years ago, on other farm properties and now we will help spread them.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Clouds, For Me?, Screech Owl

1. Mountainous, billowing cloud formations; majestic, roiling thunderheads. The sky has been most interesting all week.
2. Chelsea calls, Claire calls, Mom calls, Steve calls, Audrey calls, Kathy calls, Peter calls. Some days I am undeservingly popular.
3. There is an Eastern Screech Owl that calls in the dark, early morning hours. It's a singular, haunting call that always draws my attention.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Books, Rainbow, Badminton

1. Audrey needs books for school and I love an excuse to go to the bookstore!
2. Badminton in the rain with a rainbow over our shoulders.
3. Tess laughs and laughs at our badminton moves. I guess mothers and fathers might appear funny when they play badminton.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fit, Fractals, Raspberries

1. Shopping supplies me with a pair of jeans that fit (!) and a pair of comfortable walking sneakers. The plan is that the fit of item #2 will help with the fit of item #1.
2. Re-watched a Nova edition about the fractal geometry of nature. Benoit Mandelbrot's discovery of fractals amazes me. The closer I look at creation, the more I see our Creator.
3. I leave the precious few raspberries found in the garden as secret gifts here and there for the girls.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mad Bunny, Corbin, Bright Color

1. Leelee-the-bunny bats at me like a boxer. She doesn't like me to mess with her "housework" as I clean the hutch. I know she is annoyed, but she comes off as very cute and gives me a good laugh.
2. In line at the market, a sweet, gray haired man wears a belt tooled with the name "Corbin" on the back.
3. Just when the perennials are fading, the few annuals I've planted grow big and bright and really shine in the garden.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Not Long, Sewing, Mowing

1. The air blows cool on my face. It comes from the north and even though the temperatures will soar to 90, it foretells of autumn.
2. Tess uses the sewing machine to make curtains for her room. I hear the stop-and-go hum of the motor from the other room.
3. I mow swathes of tall grass like Pac man, chomping away.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Finch Song, Bunny Nose, Plum Gallette

1. I enjoy hearing the trill song of the little golden finches in the garden. They cling upside down on the zinnia stems, pecking the seeds.
2. As I bend close to the screen to change the water on the rabbit hutch, one of the bunnies comes up and puts her nose to mine. For a moment, boundaries of animal vs. human seem to gray.
3. Plum gallette for dessert. Wonderful!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Corn Fritters, Barefoot, Peaches

1. Delicious corn fritters for dinner. This is an updated version from the ones I usually make and we all agreed that these are better.
2. Badminton, barefoot in the soft, cool grass.
3. A nice man left peaches in our mailbox! These locally grown peaches are sweet, juicy and perfectly ripe.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New Year, Crisp Apron, Organized

1. Sorted and organized another year of school books. I always thought of September rather than January as the beginning of a new year. New paper, new pencils, new studies...endless possibilities.
2. As I sift through papers, I find stories and drawings the girls made in elementary grades. I slow down to read these and lovingly place them in a folder to save.
3. A fresh, crisply ironed apron out of the pantry.
4. I'm in an organizing groove and I sort and arrange my cookbooks. This feels so good!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tortilla, Fresh Tomatoes, Tunnel

1. Tonight I am in love with the potato tortilla, flecked with roasted red pepper.
2. No matter if the tomatoes disappear from the platter. Just step outside and bring more in!
3. Traveling along our country road at dusk, the trees form a tunnel. My headlights search the way through the tube.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Beauty in Anger, Bucks, Daydreams

1. The horses gallop with breathtaking beauty across the field, set off by a horsefly on Vandella's back. I only wish I could look this majestic and thrilling when I am angry.
2. Bucks slowly raise their heads from grazing to look me in the eye and size me up.
3. An hour's wait. Rather than run hectic errands, I decide to sit in the shade and simply wait. It is an hour well-spent.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Favorite Pastime, Movie World, Playing

1. Reading on the porch in the cool of the morning.
2. Emerged from the matinee, squinting in the bright sun. Got our bearings and walked back into reality from the make-believe world.
3. After the sun is low, we knock the volleyball around in the yard, joking and laughing with the kids.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Creek, Freedom, Playful

1. The creek is wide and swift, but only knee deep. Steve firmly parks two chairs on its rocky bottom and we sit with the water coursing around our legs. Tree lined and peaceful, we quietly daydream.
2. Young children, hot dogs in fists and orange soda mustaches, burst with excitement at the liberties of the great outdoors.
3. There is an endearing quality about a man who boyishly plays with bunnies and puppies.

The Deserted Garden by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

When graver, meeker thoughts are given,
And I have learnt to lift my face,
Reminded how earth's greenest place
The color draws from heaven, —

It something saith for earthly pain,
But more for Heavenly promise free,
That I who was, would shrink to be
That happy child again.

click on the title to view the entire poem

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Healing, Relaxing, Happy Men

1. I wake during the night and realize the pain is gone and the new medicine is working. Without pain, I snuggle into my pillow murmuring my thanks to God and fall into a restful asleep.
2. Spent the afternoon with daughters #2 and 4 at #2's apartment while the men went off to an event. Swam a little, flipped through some good decorating magazines and napped on her comfy sofa.
3. We drive to pick up the guys at the end of the day and they are all smiles.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Rose of Sharon, Cool Breeze, Salty-Sweet

1. The Rose of Sharon are blooming everywhere around town and country. Tess takes notice of them and says she would like to have a purple one. A few hours later, Audrey arrives home with a bucket containing... a purple Rose of Sharon! Seems her employer dug it up and sent it home for us. Tess and I look at each other in wide-eyed!
2. The cool breeze is a pleasant surprise when I step out for an evening walk. I go farther than planned so I can make it last longer.
3. Lots of butter and maple syrup on my pancakes.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Confetti, Cascades, Scrabble

1. Butterfly season has arrived. Like fluttering pieces of confetti I see them from the window; yellow, blue, orange. I must duck out of their way when I walk outside.
2. Thick, wavy hair falls into the most beautiful cascades under the stylists talented hands.
3. We three have a good, challenging game of scrabble on this rainy evening.