Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas weekend

1. Many friends and family crossed our threshold this holiday season. I enjoyed welcoming each and every one into our home.
2. Loved having all the kids here for an entire weekend! Daughter #2 and her husband added a Foosball table to our 'game' basement and there was a lot of loud, happy noise making its way upstairs as everyone took turns playing.
3. This year we had a granddaughter sitting among the wrapping paper as we opened gifts on Christmas morning. She looked lost in all that paper.
4. Is there such a thing as too much food? I think yes.
5. Is there such as thing as too many sweets and chocolates? Again, I think yes.
6. Are there tears when everyone leaves? Most certainly. And I'll treasure the memories. : )

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Joy!

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Isiah 9:6

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Brought my own bagger, Mirage, "May I?"

1. The Mr. took today off to shop for groceries with me. As we toddled across the parking lot I said to him, "This is how it will be when we're old."
2. Driving down our ridge, the valley lay before us, blanketed in fog with only the hilltops poking up. It appeared that we were looking out over a body of water and the hilltops were the islands.
3. Daughter #1 and her family arrived this evening. The baby has grown so much since Thanksgiving. She's a person! I can't just scoop her up and bury her in kisses. I feel that I should ask her permission first.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The number of occupants just grew, Touchable, Lights on all day

1. Gingerbread people take on whatever personality we give them. We make nerds, Santas and farmers. Some have surprised o's for their mouths, others have looks of mischief while most have demure smiles.
2. The cows' winter coats are a beautiful, thick, black velvet.
3. I notice the winter solstice is upon us. Today's fog and rain smell like spring, but the early darkness that descends upon the house is certainly winter.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Take two, A favorite shop, The elves don't have the technology

1. This is the photo I didn't use on our Christmas card thanks to the Mr.
He's pinching me!
2. I can't say where I shopped today because of who might read this, but I enjoyed going there. Ho,ho,ho!
3. Daughter #4 sat on my lap for a Santa talk. I tried to bounce her but she's about my size so she doesn't bounce any more. We had fun making up reasons why Santa can't give her the Mercedes.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Busy hands, I like the company, I think I said it aloud

1. I have the entire day free to get down to some serious baking. It's the best therapy for me and my day ends on a much better note than it started.
2. Lingering around the table after dinner with whoever happens to be around, cups and crumpled napkins not bothered to be cleared just yet. No one is in a hurry.
3. The day is done, the kitchen cleaned,  I'm ready to put my feet up and my whole body says, "Ahhh".

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Oh! Thank you!, Harmonies, We are a funny lot

1. I stepped out the door into the dark morning and a little snowflake surprised me with a kiss to my lip.
2. The Christmas songs were especially nice at church this morning.
3. There was not a dry eye in the room from all the laughter, ladies all fanning themselves with paper after the hysterical heat wave. It was the result of a fun, funny game using only paper and pencil... and a bit of imagination.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Jewels in a jar, Excitement is an understatement, A gift

1. "Necessity is the mother of all invention", so the saying goes. Necessity is also what causes one to preserve pears when the they are needed for a recipe and the stores have none. I didn't mind...they look so beautiful in their jars with the light streaming through. They will top this savory Roquefort Cheesecake.
2. The teacher tells all forty five students that there is a gift for each of them under the tree. Can you imagine the scramble?!
3. I think how beautiful she is as she plays the piano.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Love the color, Do you bread these?, Mood-setting precipitation

 1. I finally got around to turning this...

...into this. 

2. The customers in front of me at the butcher counter were picking up some exotic (to me) things. I leaned in to see the frog legs one lady was handed. They were huge! Then the butcher brought out boxes of rabbit. One rabbit per box, cut up. I'm pretty sure the box read, "Pet Free". The next man was inquiring about quail. The clerk said yes, they have quail too. Then it was my turn to order my ordinary, old beef roast- somewhat exotic for us.
3. Freezing rain, now that's a little more seasonal. Although I would prefer snow please, if we could fine tune it just a little?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"Just do it", Calm, It makes life a little easier

1. Necessity mandated that I go to the mall for a pair of black pants for daughter #4's piano recital. My heart filled with dread at the prospect of crowds, long lines, and empty racks with her size picked over. My fretting was all for naught! It turned out to be a breeze, the racks were stuffed with choices and they were on sale. There's nothing so satisfying as a successful hunt.
2. My shawl. It has a "Linus' blanket" effect. At the end of the day, I ceremoniously swing the shawl over my shoulders, settle in with a book, or movie or whatever, and all becomes right with the world.
3. The pleasant greeting of balmy weather every time I step out a door.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I don't wanna grow up, One of my favorites!, Christmas Cheer

1. 'The Ladies' came for coffee this morning. When Steve got home from work, he noticed the silverware was out. "Did you have fun playing house?" he asked. (My family all knows that playing house was one of my favorite childhood games.) "Yes I did!" I answer.
2. I'm re-reading The Linnet's Tale  by Dale Willard in preparation for the sequel, Tottensea Landing. I love the playful wit and humor in this story and find myself smiling all the while that I'm reading. Anyone would love the portrayal of human character played out through these endearing little mice.
"Opportune Baggs The Inventor came into the Bookish Mouse wearing more plaids at the same time than he should have. He tended to accumulate plaids through the day...And though his plaids were separately attractive, taken altogether they appeared to be rather in dispute."
3. I'm much happier walking Henri after dark with the Christmas lights on at our house and the neighbor's.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The sun on my face, In a little brown jug, You mean butter isn't a side dish?

1. I didn't realize how beautiful the day was until I poked my head out the door. My plan was to stay holed up and do laundry, ironing, wash floors, etc. But once I felt the warmth of that sun, I abandoned the work pile and went for a walk. Except for my companion, Henri, and the lone blue jay we spotted, it was solitude.
2. Rose hips picked by the roadside look pretty on the windowsill over the kitchen sink.
3. I brought a jug of maple syrup home from NY which meant pancakes for supper! The simple goodness of fluffy pancakes, slathered in butter and dripping in pure maple syrup was very satisfying.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A beacon in a dreary shopping world, That's Me!, Good soup

1. The guy working the cosmetic counter at Macy's was a lot of fun. He was jovial, extremely helpful and had a great sense of humor. I didn't need my purchase wrapped, which I think disappointed him. As a concession, I agreed to take some of his gift wrap home to use. He gave me small roll of it! Macy's needs to keep this guy.
2. Mari gets on the phone and says, "Naw" for Nonni.
3. Reheated beef barley soup from yesterday along with some fresh bread for dinner means I don't have to fuss.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas is Coming!, It used to be bigger, Love the blue, Making it straight

1. There is a Christmas tree farm behind our house. It seems silly to use the truck, but after carrying our tree one year, we decided it got heavier with every step. We found one with a lot of character today!

 2. Many Christmas memories are stored in this ragged little piece of felt. Circa 1959.

3. My newest finds! All year I scour vintage shops looking for old ornaments.

4. He helps me. While I...? Pluck something off the tree?
Throughout the decades dads have made this sacrifice.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Hunting and Gathering, Prancer, Kicked back

1. I wore my Friday routine like an old, favorite pair of blue jeans.
2. I found one of Daughter #3's favorite Christmas movies at Walmart. Netflix doesn't carry it, so I bought it.

3. Just the man and me for dinner. We ate on the sofa, eating homemade "egg'a muffins" and watching the latest episode of Modern Family.
(Egg'a muffins: toasted English muffin- buttered, topped with one or two slices of fried ham, then a fried egg, and then a slice of American cheese which melts. Yum!)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Two homes, one me

As the front cleared, upstate New York
1. The Italian bakery, Bella Napoli, was bustling at 10 AM. Good thing because I needed a moment to gather my senses and settle my emotions. I was so overwhelmed by the cases of pastries and breads and the 'home' this represents that I had to blink back tears from my eyes. Doesn't everyone cry in bakeries?
2. The kind of laughs you can only have with a sister. We laughed and giggled over underwear and funny elevator sounds and even got our adorable mother to chuckle, although it hurt her broken ribs.
3. They say she should be home by Christmas. I left on this note, with plenty of hope and faith in my heart.
4. New York bid me farewell in my favorite colors! Heavy, low clouds hung on a slate gray sky behind a landscape of pure white. Snow covered every branch, bough and field in breathtaking beauty as we drove across the state.
5. Virginia home. Oh how I wish I could be in two places at one time! This is my sanctuary where I can recharge and gather strength, surrounded by the love of family and friends for whatever may come...

Time to get these fall decorations put away for Heaven's sake!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Another World

1. I'm driving around highly populated areas this week and the Christmas lights displays are fantastic! It's beginning to feel more like Christmas.
2. Hugs are tighter and longer, kisses are sweeter and tears are briefer.
3. Two elderly ladies, neither of whom speaks, sit side by side at the lunch table. They clasp hands and smile huge smiles, showing everyone that they are Best Friends Forever.
4. I attend Catholic Mass with my FIL. Voices echo in the church just like I remember. The scriptures are for advent and proclaim the coming of our Lord; the incense, the music and the darkness outside make everything feel close and somehow mysterious. But what changes it up is Father Koffi. He is from Ghana and his voice with accent and his sense of humor bring a slight touch pf playfulness into the mystery.
5. New York accents!!! I've never noticed them before. Do I sound like this?
6. It gets dark very early up here. By 4:00, it is night. I'm not crazy about it, but it is so familiar that I embrace it like an old favorite blanket.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Special delivery, Between our comings and goings, A call from Pete

1. I made the final stitches on my mom's Christmas gift, wrapped everything in sparkly gift wrap and now I can deliver her gifts in person.
2. She apologizes for not having much on hand to serve for our visit:  a delicious pot of coffee, paper thin slices of apple, assorted cheeses, crackers and spicy cookies! Best of all is the visit.
3. I was debating where to stay in New York because my childhood home would be lonely with no one else there. So I was glad when my FIL called and asked me to stay at their house. I knew all along that I could stay there; I didn't need an invitation, but it made the decision easier for me.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Getting ready, Stashing some smiles, He's not usually like this

1. Travel plans fall into place and my obsessive/ compulsive nature kicks in to make preparations. A doctor once told my mother that she was wired like a race horse in the starting gate. Ha! I think I take after her. But this can be worked towards good.

2. Sorting through photos from the weekend and smiling at our(silly)selves.

We know who wears the pants in that family.

We didn't drink all that beer on the floor. Those are just supplies for brewing. #3 is going to kill me.

I'm like the streaker behind a news reporter.
 3. I've heard him laugh more these past few weeks than I've ever heard before. Long, hard, belly laughs. Is life funnier these days? I don't know...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

"Say Non-ni!", My personal electrician, Perfect for walking

 I am counting blessings and joys to hold in reserve for the anxious days that are sure to be ahead. Both our mothers have fallen, broken bones and are in the hospital. Same hospital, same floor, same hall...600 miles away.

1. Mari is a great mime for sounds. She says, "Nonni" and "Pop" along with a bunch of other names and nouns we ask her to repeat. Hearing her tiny voice say my name is pure joy and I ask her to say it over and over : )
2. I announce that I would like to string Christmas lights on the crab apple tree. We don't usually bother with outside lights, but I think it will be a cheerful beacon to see out the kitchen window. Steve holds the ladder for me, replaces spent bulbs and gathers extension cords.
3. We've had the most beautiful, mild weather to enjoy throughout the entire holiday weekend.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The girls, I think we've bonded, A line at the microwave

1. I'm happiest when the girls are all here. Like now.
2. The baby couldn't sleep, so I brought her downstairs to the rocker where we cuddled and rocked while everyone else slept.
3. Leftovers are usually ho-hum, but not at Thanksgiving. We make a big deal out of getting to eat everything all over again.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.

--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Checking the calendar, To satisfy a craving, Wellspring

1. The bare woods are filled with the sound of birds. With the balmy air and the soft ground, I imagine they're announcing spring. The Virginia climate is playful,sometimes briefly interchanging the seasons. But then she always draws each season out to its full calendar dates.
2. A Reuben sandwich for lunch. Words cannot explain how good...
3. Each family donated one small item which added up to a complete Thanksgiving dinner. One small drop combined with another small drop created an abundance for someone who was without.

Monday, November 21, 2011

It's all about the texture, Who ordered these?, Cranberry bread

1. These molasses cookies are my favorite store-bought cookie. "Snacking" is an understatement. "Addicting" is more accurate.
2. Packages arrive in the mailbox and are quickly hustled away. They're secreted into dark closets and corners where curiosity won't find them.
2.a. As she wraps the gifts she bought, she exclaims that she just loves Christmas.
3. Baking extra- one to keep; one to give.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A proud son, Carnitas, muffins and tarts, Companionship

1. A spiffy, red pick-up truck with highly polished chrome stands out on the crowded highway. The rear window proudly reads, "In Memory of MOM 1939-2008". She must have been a very special lady.
2. I had time to play in the kitchen today. Two recipes I recommend: Pork Carnitas and these Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins.
3. Steve and I ran morning errands together- landfill, post office, nothing spectacular. But it was nice doing it together.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Where I spend a LOT of time- Bead board project is finished!

Problem: The laminate back splash  was soaking up water. It had begun to come apart and the wall behind it was getting wet and moldy. I would like to replace the entire counter top with granite, but it is out of our budget right now. We had to do something, so...

 Solution: Steve tore off the back splash. He repaired the wall and rather than simply paint it, we opted for bead board. We added a baseboard and trim, caulked the bottom so it wouldn't seep in water any more, then primed, painted and sealed it all with Verathane. For about $100 we solved the problem and bought some time before we have to replace the counter top.
After: The hardest part (other than filling in staple gun holes) was cleaning the kitchen for the after photos.

A cookie for you Debbie : )

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I get it now, Bonsack Kroger, First use

1. I phoned a friend this morning and while her line was ringing, something funny dawned on me and I started laughing. I was still laughing when she picked up her end. I'm glad it made her laugh too.
2. The market was peaceful and calm. The butcher came out from behind his counter and chatted, the cashier talked and laughed about Thanksgiving, all the clerks said "hello" when I passed them in the aisles. Wait...maybe this is the Stepford Wives store.
3. Playing with my new, mini tube pans. They make the cutest pound cakes! For serving, I'll add a dusting of powdered sugar, some fruit and a bit of whipped cream. I'm popping them in the freezer for now, to save for next week.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's dark out there, View from the windshield, In time for Thanksgiving

1. A dark and drizzly November morning made the hairdresser's shop a cozy retreat. Muted voices, the rhythm of scissors clicking and warm hairdryers fell under the spell of the subdued atmosphere.
2. White clouds snuggle into the valleys with dark purple mountains looming up behind them. An even darker gray sky above it all adds to the drama.
3. I put the final coat of paint on the bead board project in the kitchen. Tomorrow I'll finish with the Verathane  and then I can put everything back in its place!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Waiting for me, Way back when, A guy thing

1. The tried-and-true method to determine if you really want to buy something is when you think about it for weeks afterward with regret for not snatching it up.I returned to an antiques shop where, two weeks ago, I spotted the most adorable little 3" tube pans for baking tiny cakes. I was relieved that they were still there.

2. I rediscovered a box of magazines originally found in the attic of our first home in Saratoga Springs, NY. I like the nostalgia of the art work. The articles sound hokey nowadays, but there are many on being frugal which make me realize things haven't changed all that much.
3. "Monday Night Pool Night" has become a regular for the guys.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Breathtaking!, Hypnotized by the moon, Found one

Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.

1. Can you even imagine?!
2. The full moon is clear and white on this frosty morning. It's so sharp that I can see all the shadows of its landscape.
3. I've been experimenting with frosting to get a buttercream that is light and fluffy enough to pipe onto cupcakes. I can't bring myself to use Crisco in order to get a white frosting, so mine remained butter-colored. I am pleased with the results so far. This makes more than enough for 12 cupcakes.
 Bakery Style Frosting
2 sticks butter (I use salted because I like a little salt with my sweet.)
3 1/2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
1/2 tea. vanilla or almond extract, depending on what flavor you like.

Blend butter until it's smoothed out. Then add confectioner's sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until blended. Add vanilla. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 3 minutes.
*If you want white frosting, substitute 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening for one stick of the butter and use
almond extract or a clear vanilla if you can find it.

In honor, Some can take a while, Dating for convenience

1. Thinking of my dad today and how proud he was of our country. He always had to go to work on Veteran's Day while we kids got the day off from school. I always thought that was unfair. If I were President (ha,ha) I would pass a law that all veterans get Veterans Day off from work.
2. A daughter has been cooking more than a bit and talking to me a lot. This is quite out of character, unusual and puzzling... in a good way.
3. It was too far to drive back and forth home after giving Daughter #4 her ride, so we stayed out and had a date.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Colors of today, Juggling the week, So much for not bothering

1. As I was driving along, I noticed my sweater bore the same blues and rusts of the landscape. I was wearing the day! Later, Chelsea and Chad shared this photo they took while hiking Dragon's Tooth today and it shows the hues perfectly. (Chelsea is on the rock outcrop to the right.)

Another photo Chelsea took of McAfee Knob on the right. The afternoon turned golden as a cold front moved through.

2. I combined grocery shopping with another errand and now tomorrow is a free day!
3. After being out all day, I planned for we three to have a simple meal of eggs. But three quickly turned into seven, so I whipped up a short order feast of scrambled eggs, blueberry pancakes, bacon, coffee and juice. Everyone was satisfied and happy to be together. It felt more like a Friday night than a Thursday.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A favorite breakfast food, To show she cares, Keeping warm

1. Mornings are brighter when there are biscotti to dunk in my coffee.
2. She wants to bake him a pumpkin pie. A comfort food for him to enjoy after his long day at work. This is the language of love.
2a. I watch her hands as she attempts to work the dough lightly.
3. Time spent at the sewing machine using wonderfully soft flannel. It's a gift for my mom, so I think of her while I work.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Want to come along?, Where they give you a sticker, Contagious

1. Schools were off today so Tess came on errands with me, just like old times.
2. I've lost count of how many old churches and musty school gymnasiums I've been to in order to vote over the years. This is what makes it personal and so "all-American". An honor which I hope never to take for granted.
3. I'm used to hearing him chuckle now and then, but tonight he's laughing so hard that he can't stop. At 4 am. he wakes up, thinks of it, and starts laughing again.

Monday, November 7, 2011

For someone else, Planning ahead, New pets?

1.  With all of our home school textbooks up for sale, I think I am officially done. Twenty years! Should I say I'm retired? It feels more like I am just beginning something.
2. I cooked this morning, so that all we had to do was re-heat our dinner this evening.
3. Biodynamic farmer and beekeeper, Gunther Hauk spoke at the Botetourt Beekeeper's Assoc. meeting tonight. A soft spoken and gentle man, he shared his wisdom and practical advice regarding the honeybees. I will spend the winter reading and learning about a new hobby I hope to undertake.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Habits, One man's junk..., Harvest flavors

1. On a slice of cake where the two frosted layers come together with the frosted outside edge, it forms a "T" of frosting. This is the best bite that is saved for last. Always.
2. One load was taken to Goodwill and another trunk full is forming! I confessed to the family that the hardest things to get rid of are the animals and dolls. They have faces. Tess (who isn't usually evil) said, "Just don't think of the Toy Story song." Thanks a lot Tess. I think this box will stay.
3. Our shared meal with friends had a harvest theme: pork, apples, squash and all things spicy and good.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

One project became two, Hard to keep my eyes on the road, Eight years later

1. The check-out line is long at the fabric store. But everyone is cheerful and, if they're like me, it's because they have a project in their basket.
2. We drove on roads with names like, Lee's Gap, White Church, and Switzer Mountain. All with gorgeous scenery in golds and burnt reds.
3. Steve tackled the biggest reorganization thus far in the basement. My heart was beginning to pound in fear of chaos, but we put our heads together and came up with a plan. I did my part for the day and then I walked away. Later I went back to peek at the progress. It's so much better organized and now my heart pounds with excitement!

Friday, November 4, 2011

North Star, O!, Last game

1. I listened to one of the MP3 mixes Steve made for driving, so it was a mixed bag of music today. An old favorite popped up and made my heart skip with happiness. Robert Fripp's use of few words in North Star is pure poetry.

2. Four pumpkins, each carved with a different surprised expression, line the steps.
3. Layered jackets, scarves, gloves and blankets help fight off the chill at the football game.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I know that hair, Exploring the great outdoors, Chain reaction

1. The breeze fluffed her hair.

2. The warm sun, blue sky and green grass were too inviting to ignore. This little granddaughter reminds me very much of her mom when she was a baby.

3. Since Claire and Marian were visiting, Chelsea and Chad came to visit. Since Chelsea and Chad were coming, a bigger dinner needed to be cooked. Since a bigger dinner would be cooked, Audrey and Matt joined in. Finally, when Tess and Steve got home from school/work, the fun began! Stories were told around the dinner table, Audrey had us laughing to tears, a bathed and powdered baby was passed around, and several games of pool were played- full of excitement and shouts. We ended the evening with this dessert of pumpkin cake and spiced cream cheese frosting.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nice day for a drive, Visitors, Holiday traditions

1. I didn't mind driving the forgotten lunch to school on a beautiful day such as this. The first few miles take me over the mountain and then down the other side to this view.

At the corner I turn right, past this old building. To me, it looks like it may have been a general store?

 Once through the ghost town of Springwood, it's over the James River I go.

The school sits in a valley. From this distance I can just see the lights of the football field in the center of the photo where there is a gap in the trees. It may be on the way to nowhere, but it's one of the most beautiful 'nowheres' I've ever been. I left the lunch at the front office and turned right around for the ten mile drive back home. (If you click on any of the photos, they will enlarge.)

 I've always admired this property. The old farmhouse is situated in a cozy spot and it has lots of outbuildings. I think it must have been beautiful at one time. You can see a cow standing under the big tree on the right. Cows graze all around the house. It belongs to them now.

2. Claire and Mari have come for a visit!
3. I baked sugar cookies in pumpkin and leaf shapes, then frosted and sprinkled them in shades of autumn. We had these for dessert while we watched Captain America.

The Momur, A gypsy and a dog

1. Steve's rhino comment on yesterday's post got me listening to Adrian Belew for my drive today. The Momur- I'm smiling a lot. This is my Halloween persona; no costume required...however, raging hormones may be necessary.

2. Tess and her friends decided they were not too old for trick-or-treating. She quickly transformed into a gypsy and I dropped her off in town for the local festivities.

3. Sweet little Henri turns seven today. Audrey brought him gifts and he dozed on his new bed all afternoon.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Contrasts of autumn

Normally abuzz with activity, the lavender is eerily absent of bees and butterflies. I still slide my fingers through it to capture its sharp fragrance.

 Frost on the lawnmower seat resembles the tough hide of some exotic animal. Elephant or rhino?

 Poor little lilac didn't get the memo about bloom time. It makes a brave appearance and stands alone.

Most of the color has fallen to the ground where it was frosted overnight.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Free is better, All done up, Boys on one side, girls on the other

1. In the store, her new cell phone would cost $99 after a $50 rebate and I would have to change my plan. On their website, the phone is free and I keep my plan. I'm glad we walked away at the store and decided to shop around. The lesson daughter #4 learned today: Patience is a virtue. (and it enables you to keep your birthday money)
2. Her first high school dance and she looks beautiful.
3. "So, did you dance?" "Yeah...with Hannah."

Friday, October 28, 2011

Will even cheer a curmudgeon, Great beginnings, On the right side of the window

1. The first snow of the season excites us with its magic. We dart to windows, calling others in the house to, "Come see! It's snowing!" Suddenly, Christmas lists are being composed.
2. Onions, celery and garlic gently sauté in olive oil promising the start of a good vegetable soup for dinner.
3. Sitting in my favorite chair, reading and then sewing with the lamplight over my shoulder while something frozen patters on the window.

Drama, Scottish in origin, Soaps and sprays

1. The sun had just set when foreboding clouds blew in from the west. The wind kicked up and began blowing leaves everywhere. I can tolerate this kind of drama in my life.
2. I was flipping through recipe books this evening, trying to write a weekly menu when I ran across a recipe for Hot Toddies. Hmm...I've never had a Hot Toddy... in novels they drink them at night...and it is cold outside, so I had to try it. It warms you from the inside out : )

In a mug combine 1 tablespoon brandy, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon honey; add 1/2 cup boiling water and stir. Garnish with a lemon slice if desired.

3. I poked around the housewares department at Marshall's where I sniffed an amazing room freshener called "Winter Woods".

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ran into an old friend, Right where I put them, Coffee break

1.My friends and I enjoyed hundreds of hours of play with our Barbies in the 1960's. We played on back porches and under trees, in bedrooms, living rooms and basements. Our imaginations had us living in high rise New York City apartments, attending balls or jet setting to beach vacations. Thanks for the adventures my dear friend!
2. Another good thing about might run across that which you thought was lost. Example in point: Daughter #2 thought I gave away her paintball masks. I would never! Today they are found.
3. I brewed a second cup of coffee this morning to sip while I visited with my mom on the phone.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Take a deep breath, Reporting for duty, Headig in a simpler direction, It deserves a name

1. Thank you, Mrs. Cahoon for burning such lovely scented wood today. It blended perfectly with that of fallen leaves and fresh air.
2. Empty terracotta pots line the walk waiting for clean-up and a winter rest.
3. Having the patio cleared of plants and pots enables me to envision it as a blank canvas. I think I'll make some changes for next year. The excitement of ideas for next year's garden will give me something to ponder over the dreary winter months.
4. The lawnmower is still working... in all of its rattling, temperamental glory!

Monday, October 24, 2011

In my grandmother's trunk...

1. I'm beginning a season of sorting and cleaning. Today I worked in what is perhaps my most prized possession. Prized not because it has any monetary value, but because of what it represents. This is the trunk that carried my maternal grandmother's belongings when she immigrated to America from Italy in 1906. You can still see faint vertical lines where the ropes burned into the wood when it was tied and loaded aboard ship. The trunk mostly goes unnoticed where it sits in a corner of our bedroom, but I love it dearly. All morning as I worked, the stories swam around in my head.

2. The odor of mothballs is still very strong even though I've had the trunk for over thirty years. I don't use mothballs but I do like that smell. My mom also used mothballs to store our winter clothing in New York so it reminds me of northern winters, warm clothing, ice skating and Christmas. My grandmother arrived at Ellis Island on December 20, 1906 so I think it's appropriate that the trunk smells like winter.
3. I have no idea when the wallpaper was glued to the interior, but it's very pretty. The cobalt blue part of the design is still so bright. By the end of the morning, I had the trunk emptied out and the master bathroom linen closet also cleaned and sorted!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Allergies?, Music at the Grands, On Sundays only

1. Puzzled but thankful that I feel better today!
2. We went to a great piano concert performed by two local piano teachers. (Graduates from our very own Hollins University ) It was a lively and fun program with the wonderful sound of two grand pianos and drums filling the room.
3. Pumpkin pie and coffee for dinner.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

It will have to be a beautiful weekend without me, Steve has the fun, Goodnight house

1. Reluctantly, I gave myself permission to dump any plans for the day. Instead, I sat with a box of Kleenex on my lap, nursing a head cold. There is relief in letting go.
2. The echo of the chainsaw drew me to the porch where I stood in the sun for a few minutes.
3. The ritual of tucking the house in for the night; going 'round to turn off lights, lock doors and pull down shades.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Always the baby of the family, Good choice, Still some color left

1. Tess turns fifteen today. She had a bright day full of good cheer and laughter with school friends and well wishes from family.
2. She requested that we celebrate with fruit pizzas. A treat for all of us!
3. The play of sunlight and clouds made the fall colors exceptionally brilliant today.

Time passes too quickly.