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.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Five stars, Migrating, Armed with a Sharpie

1. The movie Buck is an excellent documentary! It's the story of Buck Brannaman who some call The Horse Whisperer. I would recommend this movie for everyone, not only horse people. One of many quotes I especially like:
"You know a horse is pretty sensitive. A horse can feel a mosquito on their butt in a wind storm."
2. I noticed a plume of gray smoke off in the distance. I didn't think much of it until Tess exclaimed, "Look at that flock of birds!" It was a lot of birds.
3. Organizing and cleaning makes me extraordinarily happy. It might actually be a curse... I'm not sure. But I felt good all day after I sorted, labeled and organized all our old paint cans in the basement.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Composer unknown, A challenge, Craving

1. Among the box of music we bought at auction last summer was this handwritten music score titled, "A Christmas Carol to My Washington Family" from 1937. Today I found the perfect frame for it and now it is sandwiched between two pieces of glass and sits atop our piano.
2. Steve gives me second chances when we play pool.
3. I made a rich chicken and rice casserole with mushrooms, pimento and crunchy sliced almonds. I use whole milk and a vegetable bouillon that B. brings me from Germany. Pure comfort food for a cold and rainy night.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I can't look, Her favorite subject, Not many of these left

1. I used to help Steve's grandmother periodically clean out her file cabinet. It would take all day because she would read every piece of paper, stop and cry. I attempted to do a bit of my own file cabinet purging today. I didn't get far before I ran across this drawing done by Chelsea when she was 4 1/2. Notice the color of the streamers? They reminded me of the photo from last Saturday-they match her jersey 20 years later. I don't dare go back to the filing cabinet because at this rate, it will take me all day. : )

2. While packing her ample school lunch she says, " I wish lunch counted as a subject because I would get an A."
3. Balmy temperatures and dwindling daylight allowed for an evening walk. We picked up a few acorns as we went along.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Vagabond Song by Bliss Carman

There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood-
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.

The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by,
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.

There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill aflame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name.

*Tess took this photo from the hill next door.

No drivel here, Our road, Winterizing

1. Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner is, by far, one of the best books I've read in ages. He is an author whose writing is pure art.
2. Only in the glory of autumn do we return home with such fanfare as a road strewn with gold coins.
3. Down comforters are hauled to the laundromat where I sit for an hour or so, breathing the clean scent of detergents and warm dryers. Back home, I hang them in the sun and breeze before returning them to beds that are made up with fresh sheets. Bed time will be a treat tonight.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Comes with a history, The thoughts of a parent, But it needs to be sterile!

1. Steve is really smitten with his new toy. He researched the company that made the table, measured bolts and boards and came up with a manufacture date in the 1920's. I like to imagine the places and things this table has seen.
2. The top is made from three pieces of slate, each weighing 250 pounds. There were no men around to help him carry them down from the truck. Daughter #3 was happy to oblige. "Aren't you glad you have a strong daughter?" she asks me with pride. A simple, "Yes!" doesn't suffice, but I don't bore her with my long answer.
3. Chelsea and Tess decide to build terrariums in some gallon bottles, but we have no potting soil. Steve finds this amusing. In typical dad-style he says, "You mean we have five acres out there and you have no dirt?"

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Saturday's #1 A beautiful day for a race, #2 Amazing endurance

Chelsea after competing in her first Cyclocross race. Thirty minutes of slugging through fields, up hills, over barriers and through mud.

Chad is cheering Chelsea on with a cowbell. We cheered from the sidelines, but Chad ran right into the course to cheer his wife on.

Chad's turn. The 'A' class entries spent 45 minutes (!) doing the same. It's a grueling task, but everyone is lighthearted and good-natured about it.

Chad and his main competitor coming up a hill.

Bodies and bikes are covered in mud at the end.

Saturday's #3 Love this place!

Tess' piano teacher gave her a coupon for a free cupcake. A good excuse to check it out, no?

This beautiful, old home is perfect for a bakery/shop.

The display case is hypnotizing. I could stare at it all day.

Everything about the place is whimsical and tastefully done. I always thought "cupcake" bakeries were overrated, but Bubblecake is the exception. The cupcakes aren't only pretty, they taste great too.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Warmth at a bargain, Brilliant, Sounds of a season

1. Great prices at the annual warehouse sale for Hanover linens. I stocked up on Company Store brand items that are exactly what we needed for our winter bedding. I put the new mattress topper and comforter on #4's bed and found her asleep on it when I called her down for dinner.
2. Clouds gave way to bright sunshine today, lighting up the colors of the trees.
3. When I close my eyes, it's still autumn. The air sounds hollow, leaves rustle in the breeze and a lone cricket has lost its choir.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I see you!, Make room, With marinara on the side

1. The backyard maple has varying shades of color from year to year. This year it is a bright, crimson red. The vivid color is startling whenever I glance out the kitchen window, especially on this dark and dreary day.
2. He's brought home an ancient monster of a billiards table. Piece by piece, he disassembled it for transport and now he's reassembling it in our basement. The chutes for the balls are fascinating, skeletal works of rubber coated wire and clamps. The woodwork has been painted over, but we can see signs of its original, stately condition.
3. We all look forward to homemade calzones for dinner.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I don't think they taste that great, Rain and fog, Yankee Candle

1. Black cows congregate under an ancient pear tree, scarfing up pears as they fall with a loud "plump" onto the ground. They stand very still, staring at me while they chew and chew and chew.
2. All sorts of rainfall today- downpours, drizzles and mists. In the misty episode, the rain was so fine that it caught on my eyelashes.
3. The salesclerk uses the word technology when describing the candle. Funny, candle and technology are two words I would never associate together.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

Keeping the tank full, Displaying red, Bottle that

1. Schools are closed for the holiday which means twelve miles less driving. There's still a piano lesson, but we leave straight from home and we run three other errands on the way to it. I am mindful of saving gas, one drop and dollar at a time.
2. The burning bush is on FIRE!
3. We're early, so we poke around a nearby antique shop. It has that good kind of old smell.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Bonfires- one reason why fall is my favorite season.

Perfect fall weather and most of the kids' schedules came together for a bonfire weekend. There was a lot of rubble to burn from the trees Steve cut last week.

We had the fire going when Steve returned from his week away.

Mugs of baked potato soup, hot dogs to roast on sticks, the fixings for s'mores and a Boston Cream Pie with candles for Matt's birthday were all carried out to the fire.

Chelsea and Audrey


Friday, October 7, 2011

Some of Fall's Favorites

1. The nursery had bins of heirloom pumpkins and gourds in every color, shape and size. This one looks like it's made of terra cotta.
2. Several years ago I stumbled upon a trick for preserving real leaves that works pretty well. (Those are real leaves under the pumpkin.) Iron them between sheets of waxed paper, just like we used to do when we were kids. Leave them for a day, then peel the paper off. The wax stays on the leaves and keeps them from browning.
3. Caramel apples sit on a plate of buttered wax paper.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Glorious weather, Preserved, What the...?

1. I took a few moments to sit outside and turn my face to the sun. A gentle breeze teased away the heat.
2. Picked some leaves and ironed them in waxed paper : )
3. This evening we heard a racket coming from outdoors in every direction! The coyotes were howling and crisscrossing the fields. Adding to the din was Daughter #3 playing a rabbit's distress call out the window from her computer. I don't even know what to think.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dog hair, People hair, It's even waterproof

1. Handsome Henri is sporting a pumpkin print bandanna from his groomer. Whatever product she uses on his coat, I would like for my own hair. His fur is downy soft and cuddly.
2. There's a walk-in client waiting patiently for an opening at the hair salon. It's a small establishment, so he moves from chair to chair as customers come and go. His face bears an amused expression as he watches the different women having their hair done and listens to their conversations. I'm pretty sure he's enjoying the wait.
3. For so many years, we made fun of and mimicked the commercials that say, "Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!" Now has come the time when we've had this installed for my mom. We all feel a peace of mind knowing help is there at the push of a button.
She's determined never to need it : )

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Reorganizing the wardrobe, Landscapes, Sorry! Sorry!

1. I feel like I have something new to wear when I take winter clothes out of storage. I haven't seen these old friends for several months and we're getting reacquainted. The lavender I had tucked into the trunk left them gently scented.
2. The clouds form dramatic scenes on every horizon. They work well with the mountains, creating breathtaking views.
3. Green cherry tomatoes "Pop!" when I accidentally step on them in the garden. It's gross but also addicting- like stepping on bubble wrap.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The eternal, unseen things, A new resident, As in Little Miss Sunshine

1.Today's sermon on 2Corinthians 4:1-18 was powerful and encouraging. I look forward to pondering over it this week.
2. B. shared a large chunk of a flowering shrub from her garden. I had an empty spot just waiting to transplant it and I have high hopes for its success.
3. We're joking with Tess about how to have fun at a dance. Big sister shows her some dance moves that have us cracking up.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Highly valued, Making Preparations, Autumn sound

1. Watching a load of compost being loaded into the back of our pick-up makes me want to jump and clap my hands. I love good dirt! I redid the raspberry and rhubarb patches, a portion of a perennial bed and prepared some of the trees for a planting of ground cover.
2. Today was a cool and blustery day. Every so often a fit of wind brought leaves raining down. The wind and the clouds rushing across the sky said, "Hurry. hurry!".
3. I heard Steve using the chainsaw, its lonely sound echoing off the woods.