31 December 2010

a new year's wish on a planet

since i was a little kid, i've wished on first stars, birthday candles, hay trucks, turkey wishbones and all manner of traditional and not-so-traditional objects. and although i know this is jupiter, not the-first-star-i-see-tonight, i instinctively began a wish on it when i spotted it bright and shiny in the sky this new year's evening.

my wish for you this new year is days of wonder and awe, of laughter and joy, and of just enough of what you need to keep life as good as it is. happy new year!

love, chris

29 December 2010

not-so-boring board games

there's nothing like a rousing game of candyland in the evening to calm a little girl and make her sleepy! she played with a vengeance and came in a close second, then took almost ninety minutes to settle down and go to sleep! next time, i'll go back to reading her books before bed!

26 December 2010

a brown december

outside, it begins - our first real snowstorm of the winter. it promises to be a big one, with blizzard conditions overnight and more snow tomorrow. so this morning i took to the woods, one final walk before winter sets in. the sky was overcast with the thick grey clouds that always precede a good snow. the air was invigoratingly chilly but so still. maple and beech leaves crunched under my boots on the frozen forest floor - not the dry crackle of fall but the solid sound of a winter's freeze. mosses and fungi were frozen in time, hanging on to stumps and rocks in muted autumn shades of brown and tan and green. the small pools of the brook were skimmed over with ice as water beneath continued to bubble over rocks on its way down the hill. i looked for animals, but saw none. i listened for birds and squirrels, but heard nothing. all was calm and still, waiting for the snow that, sooner or later, always comes in december.

25 December 2010

merry christmas!

oh tidings of comfort and joy...
and a merry christmas to you and yours.

23 December 2010

moon rise with contrails

tonight with moonrise, there were numerous contrails from one airplane after another flying from the eastern horizon high in the air to almost directly over my head. the moonlight illuminated these condensation trails and made them look so magical and futuristic. it was difficult to capture them in the dark with no tripod, the camera resting on the hood of the car. so this is one time i'm going to suggest that you be content with this smaller picture than click for the larger, less focused one.

21 December 2010

christmas lights

when we were litte, my father used to pile all us kids in the station wagon and take us for nighttime rides to look at christmas lights. every year when i drive past this place, i am reminded of that. he would have loved this spot. do families still do that today - take a december ride for the express purpose of looking at christmas light displays? or do they just notice them as they go about their regular routine?

19 December 2010

a blessing and a curse

at first i drove right past this scene. it was quite lovely and i did slow down for it. but really, you can't photograph everything! however, this beauty is the price you pay for having a snowless december. you don't often see the lake this frozen and this glossy. so i turn the car around and go back, inch it along by the side of the road until i can see it all again - the ice on the lake, the snow on the mountain, the blue of the sky. i set my camera and start to shoot.

in the distance, i see a jogger headed my way, frosty breath forming a cloud around his head. as he approaches, i say good morning. he returns the greeting as he passes by. then he turns, jogs backward a few paces and, looking at the camera, says, what do you see? everything comes my response. i see everything.

17 December 2010


she looks at the cd cover and says, "hey! that's just like my small cup!" i look. i don't see. she goes to the cabinet and finds the cup, brings it to me. "that's just like my cup - see?" and i do. minutes later, she writes her name. shaky letters out of sequence, but there they all are. i am continually amazed to see the changes in her development, and always so excited to see what will come next.

15 December 2010

out of place

what's wrong with this picture? can you see? do you notice what just does not belong in sight - or production - at christmastime? maybe i shouldn't let things like this annoy me. but i'm such a traditionalist, especially around holidays, that it does. by my calculation, this oddball item is more than four months premature. that said, i bought it. for christmas. it will make the girl laugh to see something so badly out of place this special time of year.

11 December 2010

ice on the river

so cold has it been this week that small ponds and streams have begun to ice up. i was surprised to find the edges of this quick moving river showing ice. yet isolated spots in wetlands are covered in a glassy grey sheet of ice from edge to edge and larger lakes are ringed in white shoreline. it seems this all happened rather quickly, but it's mid december, and it's time.

10 December 2010

christmas play

at thanksgiving time, the little girl told me "you sure do have a lot of decorations around here!" i wonder what she must be thinking now that christmas and winter are here! tonight, she joined in the frivolity of decking the halls.

there's a small tree under here somewhere.

and this is the house that mr. and mrs. santa salt&peppershaker share, constructed with every wooden block in the box. notice all the christmas trees they have!

06 December 2010

the elusive gingerbread

with apologies to friends who were reading serendipitous last year at this time, i am once again bringing up the perennial holiday subject of gingerbread. never a fan of it as a child, in december i become obsessed with duplicating a particular gingerbread served as a simple dessert at a local ladies auxiliary christmas luncheon. but this stuff is anything but simple. it's dark. it's moist. it's flavorful without being overly spicy. and it's amazingly delicious. i tasted it again on saturday and now the old gingerbread fervor has returned for yet another season.

it's made with an old secret recipe, the ladies tell me with twinkles in their eyes. every town baker uses the same recipe so the gingerbread will be consistent for each seating. one woman slipped and told me the secret was in the molasses. of course, i have experimented with amount and types of molasses. sulphured. unsulphured. blackstrap. this year, i have some locally made, in the cupboard, waiting for baking time. 

last winter i think i made five attempts, trying duplicate this elusive gingerbread, but to no avail. so i ask you, dear readers...what do you know about gingerbread? is it all created equal? are there tricks to the making or baking of it? what makes a dark, moist, not too dense or spicy gingerbread? your thoughts and recipes shamelessly accepted.

04 December 2010

old nest

i spotted this from a distance, a dark mass at the uppermost branches of the bare tree. tucked high in a perfect crook, this abandoned nest. what kind of exceptional building skills must be holding it up there in this december wind and weather!

02 December 2010

quick! deck the halls!

it was beginning to look a lot like christmas today, at least at the hotel. i arrived home tonight to well-intended decorations, gracing the couch and the living room floor and laying on top of half-opened boxes. over the weekend, let the decorating begin!