Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pies in a jar, Shining, Fun ride

1. Steve shows me these little pies in a jar. The "cute" factor gets me every time and I can't wait to try them.
2. The storm has cleared overnight. I wake to a brilliant moon illuminating the snow covered landscape.
3. Steve lies on his stomach in the sled. He convinces me to get on top and we ride down the hill. His face takes all the snow spray and I am unharmed and laughing.

Female Cardinal

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Entertaining, in the snow, with an asparagus tart

1. The bird feeder is the place to be today. It is a hubbub of activity with huge, fat cardinals appearing in red splendor against a snow white background.
2. Whether we like it or not, a snowstorm is magical. In one sweep, the landscape is transformed, routines are disrupted and dogs go bonkers.
3. I'm craving springtime food rather than wintry soups and stews, so I make a delicious asparagus tart. Puff pastry, Gruyere and fresh asparagus.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Tough 'lion, Snow!, Movies

1. I spy a little yellow dandelion in the field where I'm walking. The poor thing is all hunkered down, afraid to stand up tall and open completely. It is a serious, darker yellow and not cheery, sunshiny yellow. I have a lot of respect for this bothersome little weed.
2. The snow is coming and everyone has an attitude of anticipation. Almost festive.
3. Netflix movies in the mailbox just in time for the weekend.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fluttering, Coming in, Long list

1. I see dead leaves fluttering all over the crab apple tree until I realize, the crab apple tree doesn't have any leaves. Those are birds covering the tree! And the minute I look again, the leaves take flight.
2. Coming back inside and smelling the good things that are cooking when you didn't notice it at all before you went outside.
3. Searching for books on the library's web site, I am off on a rabbit trail of promising titles and authors. My request list builds and I get excited about the possibilities.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Presto!, Miracles, To market

1. Our new Presto percolator brews wonderful coffee for us each morning. It replaces our 6 year old Krups drip maker that died last week. I am loving this rich, full bodied coffee that brews piping hot.
2. We talk about miracles and how they are meant to give us a glimpse into heaven.
3. A snow storm is predicted for Friday, my usual shopping day. I hate crowds and panicky people, so I go to the market today and shop in relative calm.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pasta Fagioli, Keep away, Staying fit

1. The day turns blustery with snowflakes flying like whirling dervishes. I make a pot of Pasta Fagioli (Pasta Fazool) to warm us. Once the pancetta has turned golden in the olive oil, carrots, celery, onions and garlic are added. The heavenly aroma promises delicious soup to come.
2. Audrey must keep two of the horses from stealing the other one's grain. So she stands guard and chases them away each time they advance. It becomes a game of chicken that she wins every time. I'm amazed that these animals, ten times her size, flinch and run when all she does is wave at them.
3. Driving through Troutville in the dark, we look for the old ladies exercising in one of the well-lit store fronts. We spotted them last time and they were so cute that we hope to spot them again.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tess learns how to use her camera- some shots of today

A breath of warm air, Cascades, Not me!

1. The wind has blown away the rain, bringing a spell of warmer air and the scent of spring.
2. I sit in on Tess' piano lesson where I am entertained with a Scott Joplin rag for four hands. Fun, fun, fun!
3. A telemarketing call asks for the "male of the household" and I can easily say, "Nope, sorry!"

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Cardinals, Room for all, DDR

1. Two bright red cardinals visit the garden on this dreary, rainy day. Their color catches everyone's eye and I'm happy they get the attention they deserve.
2. Chelsea visits Audrey in her bedroom, where she is doing schoolwork. They invite me in along with Henri. Tess wanders in and joins me on the floor. Chad finds us and grabs a spot on the bed. The talk ranges from dogs to boys to careers. Steve realizes, after an hour, that we are all missing and finds us. He steps into the room with Gunner. Here we are, all eight (including dogs) in Audrey's room, having the nicest visit of the day.
3. After dinner, we become sluggish and blah from the rain. Someone hooks up "Dance, Dance Revolution" and we take turns playing and laughing. Good medicine for the blahs!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The camera, New room, Pizza and more

1. Today with THE day. The culmination of six months of savings. The day to buy the camera! I am proud to see our youngest have such determination and will power. To see her happiness, not only in achieving the prize, but in the pleasure of having worked and saved for it, is priceless.
* She chose the Cannon SLR EOS Rebel XS.
2. I removed a side table from the room and the whole place looks different. It gives me a new perspective and brightens up the doldrums of January.
3. I like building pizzas. Especially having a plate of toppings, pre-sliced and ready to place. I like "everything" foods. Everything pizza, everything salads, everything ice cream sundaes, everything soups. Hmm,what does this mean...?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hot water bottle, Ice storm, Quiet prayers

A head cold causes unpredictable posting...
1. The hot water bottle at my feet in bed. This makes my whole body feel better.
2. An ice storm during the night causes the power to go out. Steve starts up the generator and we have heat and lights.
3. Before anyone else is up, I sit in the power-outed dark. Candles scattered throughout the room, Henri snuggled close to my side, an hour spent in prayer.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Geese, Dizzy, Warm and cozy

1. Twenty-eight geese wing their way across the sky, single file. Not a sound.
2. Daughter #4 wakes me during the night because she is dizzy. In my half-sleep I worry and fuss as to what could be wrong. Come morning, when I am fully awake, I remember...didn't I see her and the neighbors doing that thing where they turn in circles with their foreheads on a baseball bat, making themselves dizzy? What a knucklehead! Now I can laugh. There's a lesson to be learned here, DUH!
3. Driving home at night through the rain and fog, such relief to walk through our door.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Softening, Oak boards, New England

1. Most of the snow has melted away and the earth is soft under foot.
2. Our stockpile of freshly cut oak boards smells wonderful. It has a sharp, woody smell that makes me want to inhale deeply when I walk past.
3. Looking at Google Earth photos of the New England coastline and dreaming of lobster rolls.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rain, Stout and beef stew, Eiswein

1. During the night I hear the rain falling. It's been a very long time since it's been warm enough for rain and it sounds peaceful.
2. A satisfying meal of stout and beef stew served over egg noodles with roasted carrots on the side.
3. I kept the last glass of Eiswein for myself. I felt no guilt over this since it was my Christmas gift and I shared a glass with everyone last night.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Departures, The love is in the food, Braeburn Apple

1. "Departures" is a beautiful movie. I couldn't help but cry and the cello score made the tears flow that much easier.
2. The kids are all here for the weekend. I cook meals for today and Sunday along with the requested Black Forest Cake for daughter 2's birthday celebration. I love a day in the kitchen!
3. Five month old puppy at that lanky puppy stage. He wears curiosity in his expression and treats life like it's only about the fun.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tuning up, Gave up, New digs

1. The bird orchestra was heard tuning up this morning for their forthcoming, grand spring concert
2. B. and I drove and drove on a wild goose chase for Bird's Eye frozen pearl onions. None are to be found in the Roanoke Valley. But the coffee and sweets were a fine consolation as we caught up on an overdue visit.
3. Stopped by daughter #2's new apartment. She was home from work and gave B. a tour of the pretty building. We exclaimed, oohed and aahed over the historic details and quaintness of the architecture.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy day, Fix-it guy, Giving

1. Today marks daughter #2's birthday. Born 23 years ago in Maine, those days seem a lifetime ago and I suppose they are! Daughter #1 was still a baby when #2 came along, so life was one, long, sleepless, zombie state. Funny that now I remember those days with fondness. We talked on the phone today and pondered the fact that we never would have guessed this is where we would be and what we would be doing all these years later. Our future is one big, wonderful mystery.
2. I put, "phone Kitchen Aid repair man" on the board. My self-cleaning function has gone awry and the oven door is locking. I dread the expense. But first, I tell Steve and within half an hour he has it fixed. (This was after I panicked seeing the stove apart in pieces and questioning his abilities.) Boy, did I marry the right guy!
3. Parents are willing to give much of their time and creativity, therefore the burden is lightly shared for everyone. The girls will love what's in store for their scouting troop this year.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Warm rays, Inspiration, Young At Heart

1. The sun and milder temperatures coax me out for a walk. I go up the hill to the back of the property where D#4 has been swinging. Returning past some flower beds, I fight the urge to kneel down and start pulling out dead plants.
2. I do my annual "borrowing of the gardening books" from the library. I love to cozy up in a chair and study the photographs. One book on stonescaping is particularly inspirational.
3. Independent Lens is airing "Young at Heart" tonight. I've watched this movie a couple of times before, but I can easily watch it again.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Algebra the 4th time around, Briefcase, New beginnings

1. We chant, "I love math" while we work the problems. It helps to giggle a little.
2. Steve carries a blinking LED Christmas gift bag to work each day. Originally he wanted it to simply be his lunch bag, but it has become his briefcase. I wonder if it will still be blinking in July...
3. With Christmas put away, the rooms become a bare palette to re-decorate. I shift a few things here and there in anticipation of a new season.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I love clean, I love food, Southern politeness

1. We decide to hurry and get our work done so we can re-arrange her bedroom. This leads to an overall cleaning and putting-away of odds and ends from Christmas.
2. Thick slices of Italian bread, stuffed with cream cheese and apricot preserves, dipped in egg/milk/cinnamon, fried in butter and served with maple syrup. A fruit salad on the side rounds out our dinner. This is redundant, but... I love food.
3. Our farrier is the politest, "Yes Ma'am" person I know. The inflection of his voice when he says, "Yes, Ma'am" is unique from anyone else I've ever heard use the term.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Soup's on, Movie repeat, Warm and welcome

1. A pot of minestrone has been warming on the stove, ready to eat when we get home.
2. Steve and I go to a movie for the afternoon. I want to see "It's Complicated" again and he's agreeable to come, even though it may not be his kind of movie. I'm glad he enjoys it, too.
3. A Christmas party at the log home in the woods is right out of a story book. It feels wintry as we walk up the path where pine boughs and twinkle lights greet us. Inside there is a terrific fire going in the stone fireplace, lots of friends catching up on the news and good food to eat. At the end of the evening, it's nice to hear wishes of "Merry Christmas!".

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Good book, Good music, Good sweets

1. B. has recommended My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok. I finally have time to read again and it's a very interesting story.
2. Daughter #4 and I brave the frigid evening and attend a benefit performance of Robin & Linda Williams and Their Fine Group. Country bluegrass in not typically my "thing" but this was a fun, foot-tappin' performance and easy to enjoy. The couple are regular performers on A Prairie Home Companion, and appeared in the movie of that same name.
3. A non-thinking moment caused me to use twice as much butter for the pecan pies. I had intended to bake two for a donation, but was forced to quadruple to make four. A dozen eggs, 3 cups of corn syrup, a pound of butter, 4 cups of sugar, and 4 cups of pecans!! (Oh my gosh, these ingredients are the recipe for a heart attack.) So now we get to eat one ourselves and one goes in the freezer for next weekend. Something good out of a goof up.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cold, Sharing my pain, Tortilla pie

1. Today is bitter cold. At the mailbox, I can smell the cold air and it smells like the winter air I remember from NY. I doubt that it blew from exactly that direction, but imagine it would be a wonder if I was really smelling NY air. During the awful "Dust Bowl" years of the 1930's, huge dust clouds would blow across the country all the way from Oklahoma to New York. So I suppose...?
BTW, if that subject interests anyone, I would recommend reading The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan.
2. They are rearranging the layout of the supermarket where I shop every week. Although this gave me huge displeasure, I found comfort in sharing my pain with other shoppers as they walked around equally confused and muttering bad things about the person in charge of this market massacre. I feel sure a marketing exec. is responsible.
3. A pretty tortilla pie for dinner. As delicious as it is attractive, layered with ground beef that is seasoned with cumin, red pepper flakes and tomato paste, baby spinach, corn and Monterey Jack.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Bliss, By the sea, The sled

1. I've rocked the baby to sleep. It's too peaceful to move, so we linger.
2. We search the summer rental listings, imagining ourselves in the photographs at the sea side.
3. It's well after dark and Steve has gone outside with daughter #4. They are testing a sled that he built using old skis. I hear their voices out in the dark and it sounds like a "thumbs-up".

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Glowing, Loud and clear, Pretty book

1. The sunrise glowed a burning pink behind the clouds, but there was no warmth there.
2. As I crossed the parking lot in town, the wind bit at my ears and the landscape was stark. And still, I heard a bird singing a spring song from one of the rooftops!
3. Daughter #1 gave me "The Poetical Works of Mrs. Browning". It's a lovely, old copy that feels good to hold as only an old book can. I especially like the gold medallion on the plain green cover.

A Child's Thought of God by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

They say that God lives very high!
But if you look above the pines
You cannot see our God. And why?

And if you dig down in the mines
You never see Him in the gold,
Though from Him all that's glory shines.

God is so good, He wears a fold
Of heaven and earth across his face-
Like secrets kept, for love, untold.

But still I feel that His embrace
Slides down by thrills, through all things made,
Through sight and sound of every place:

As if my tender mother laid
On my shut lids, her kisses pressure,
Half-waking me at night; and said
'Who kissed you through the dark, dear guesser?'

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Glitter, Useful gift, Pesto

1. Sparkly snowflakes dance in the air. They are sparse and glittery and flutter every which way.
2. I receive a late Christmas gift of a cutting board/colander that sits over the sink. It is a clever and handy design and even D.#4 can't wait to try it. We imagine using it for fresh, cherry tomatoes from the garden.
3. Homemade pesto poured into Ziploc bags. The specks of green and white are pretty in their plastic showcase.

Tackled, Happy creatures, Wood smoke

1. Met this dreaded day head on. Taught, cooked, cleaned, painted, washed, drove, scheduled, visited and basically knocked the *&#@ out of Monday.
2. There is a particular corner of the field where the squirrels frolic. We see them daily, their red coats and healthy bulk contrasting on the white snow. They provide quite a display of energy and fun. D.#4 exclaims that there are five playing today!
3. The sweet, smoky scent from the wood stove when I step outside.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Silvery moon, Church, Choosing a favorite

1. The nights are bright and silvery following the latest full moon. The brightness seeps in around the edges of the window shades.
2. I like being at church. The sermon, the music; it is a place where it all makes sense. To have this respite from confusion, this element of peace in life is a comfort and a blessing.
3. At the bookstore, choosing a calendar. The choices are mind boggling, but we each manage to find our favorite.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Painted, Welcome home, The wood stove

I have somehow lost days...
1. The bedroom is painted! One coat of primer plus two coats of creamy, white paint on all baseboards, windows, doors and trim. Two coats of pretty "Crocus Petal" on the walls. The room is bright and as fresh as spring. Curtains are laundered, bedding is new and daughter #3 happily moves back in.
2. Steve and daughter #4 arrive home from their holiday in New York. It's commotion as they pull in, dogs bark and we scurry to welcome them home. I had forgotten how tall she was.
3. Steve builds a fire in the wood stove. We huddle near it and catch up on our week apart. The wind has been howling fiercely for days and the fire is comforting.