31 December 2009

blue new years eve moon

the second full moon of december, aka a "blue moon", albeit looking more grey than blue through the heavy, hazy cloud cover. i hope skies are clearer where you are as your decade turns from one to the next. happy new year, everyone.

30 December 2009

doing the dishes

never have i been a fan of dishwashers. there's something so soothing about washing dishes by hand. i like everything about it - the hot water, the suds, the smell of clean, the inability to do anything else because hands are submerged and wet. i love the colors and patterns of the dishtowels flung over my shoulder even though i always air-dry. i can pack a dish drainer a foot high with a sculpture of sparkling cups, plates, bowls, and glasses and never have it so much as shift. i scour a pan and shine its copper bottom til it gleams. i hum or whistle as i clean and remember childhood days when my sister and i would harmonize camp songs as we washed and dried. this time for water-play, for looking out the window, for replaying of the day's events, and daydreaming of tomorrow - that's what you miss when you run a dishwasher. that and the feel of shea butter lotion luxuriously rubbed into water-weary hands.

29 December 2009


downy woodpecker, busy at the suet block this late afternoon. these days the air has been frigid and the wind bitingly cold. in weather like this, some birds need all the high-energy suet they can get. fortunately for this one, it's so cold that the squirrels aren't coming out of their dens to argue with him about sharing.

28 December 2009

the 4th day of christmas

i've always wanted to live in one of those cultures where christmas really didn't begin until christmas day. where festivities continued on for the twelve more days after christmas, and ended several days after the new year had begun. with all the holiday preparations, it seems a shame to dismantle it all just because christmas day has come and gone. so i keep the tree up for as long as i can, and leave primitive santas strewn around for longer. and this year, i might just leave the string lights up until the vernal equinox. after all, it will still be winter!

25 December 2009

christmas magic

out early with the camera this silvery christmas morning. the mountains and hilltops were magical with frost so i went to them. see more here.
wishing you all a wonderful christmas day.
god bless us every one.

24 December 2009

prioritizing christmas

and to think that i thought that i was too busy, that i wouldn't have time, that i was too tired and stressed - and that i almost missed decorating gingerbread men for santa with the little girl. thanks to the girl for making me see the light of christmas - and for making it happen.

just think...i almost missed gingerbread men with belly buttons.

21 December 2009

darkest hour

so keep me safe and hold me tight,
let the candle burn all night,
tomorrow welcome back the light.
‘twas the longest night of the year

-mary chapin carpenter

20 December 2009


what you notice when you drive slowly enough down your own road. i was looking for greens and cones and berries to decorate with - certainly not searching for wildlife!

17 December 2009

semester's end

tonight was my final university class of the semester. i'll not be teaching my class in the spring. at the time that decision was made, there was no choice but to decline the position. funny how it felt so right then and feels so wrong now. i think i'll miss being on campus.

13 December 2009

the nose knows

this is paperwhite narcissus, bulbs which i force into bloom every year for the holidays. having flowers in winter is wonderful but it's the sweet smell filling up the house that i really like. but i'm in the minority, i'm afraid. long has the girl told me, to her the things smell just like feet. and this year as i show the delicate blossoms to the little girl, she announces that they smell like poop.

12 December 2009

the wrong gingerbread

a few years back, i had gingerbread at a holiday function. never had i been a fan of the stuff, but this gingerbread was fantastic - moist, dense, pungent, almost black. right then, i set about to find the recipe for myself. but in all my attempts, and there have been many, i just cannot replicate it. today's effort is from a cooking show on npr and is made with molasses, dark brown sugar, an egg, and lots of spices including, of all things, black pepper. still it is not the correct one - it's spicy, all right, but it's too cakey and too high. my new/old friend susan thinks stout may be the secret ingredient. and i have yet another recipe with buttermilk that i'll try this holiday season. what do you think - does anyone out there think they may have the recipe i'm seeking?

11 December 2009

what's in a name?

how much faith do you put in a doctor named tina? and another named bonnie? shouldn't doctors have strong names like elizabeth or margaret or catherine or ann? i suppose it could be worse. i could have a doctor named chip.

09 December 2009

no school snow day

what better way to spend a snowy stay-at-home day than to have a play day with your favorite little girl? books and crayons, music and dancing. a nap by the woodstove. and here's lunch - turkey soup, crackers, milk, and grapes, all consumed with as much gusto as a two-year old can muster, while her babies haven't even woken up from their naps yet.

06 December 2009

aptly named

on a visit this weekend to the restroom of a historic 1840's church, i was compelled to capture this photo. if you are not in the habit of clicking the pictures to see them in their larger form, i'm afraid you'll never understand why i'm blogging a toilet.

05 December 2009

the arrival

outside early this morning, it feels as if it could snow at last. after a moonlit overnight, the morning air is cold, the sky a flat leaden grey. there's a fresh-frigid smell that fills the nostrils just before snow arrives. and nature is hushed and quiet, as if waiting. in early afternoon, it begins, spitting slowly at first and then falling faster, in great fat fluffy flakes...

our first snow.

01 December 2009

still leftover

do you suppose the caffeine in the coffee may negate the effects of the tryptophan in the turkey sandwich? because i have consumed so much leftover cold turkey lately that i've been in a state of perpetual drowsiness for days and days.