30 December 2012

the fidget bowl

this tiny bowl has been in the center of my dining table for months now and seems to be earning a permanent place there. for lack of a better term, it's being called the fidget bowl.

in early summer, i put the bowl out and filled it with an assortment of shells, smooth stones, and sea glass collected on beaches over the years. in the weeks before our ocean get-away, the little girl and i sifted through the contents, remembering vacations past and planning for the upcoming one.  when we came back, we added this year's bounty to the collection. then fall came and the summer trinkets were packed away. the bowl was quickly refilled with acorns, pinecones, seed pods, indian corn kernels, and tiny stiff apsen leaves. through autumn, folks sat at the table fidgeting, sorting and stirring with fingers while talking of apple recipes and halloween costumes and preparations for winter. and now in december, the bowl holds the sights and sounds and smells of christmas. we rolled the sweet gum pods as we planned christmas lists and rubbed the cinnamon stick as we composed holiday messages to friends. we jingled bells absentmindedly, waiting for the kitchen timer to signal cookies were finished baking.

as it gets closer to the time of putting christmas away, i wonder what to place in the bowl for the winter months. i think people might miss it if it were empty and i'm pretty sure i've come to rely on it if only a little. even now, i crush the pine needles with my thumbnail to release a hint of their woodsy fragrance as i search for the right word or the correct phrase. as i write, i just fidget.

29 December 2012


snow today is just breathtaking. this is the sort of snow that mesmerizes, hypnotizes, and keeps me from chores and work. tea in hand, i stand at the window, watching, hoping that everyone i know is safe inside, perhaps looking outside as well.

26 December 2012

post christmas

the day after christmas and i am sick. thankfully, it's only a cold, but it's a good one and i feel dreadful. this is putting a damper on christmas week. but i'm so grateful that, up until christmas eve, i was having a simply wonderful holiday season!

22 December 2012

gathering greens

a saturday walk in the woods to gather some last minute greens for inside the house. so still there, quiet, with only the sound of the stream coursing down the hill and my boots crunching in the leaves and the snow.

21 December 2012

solstice 2012

it's the longest night of the year. we welcome the return of light. darkness has been with us long enough.

20 December 2012

simple gilfts

one of the many joys of teaching - handmade gifts of love from small, important people. i don't know a single teacher who doesn't cherish these mementos. and this christmas season, they seem all the more beautiful and meaningful.

16 December 2012

comfort food

tomato soup and a grilled cheese cheese sandwich. 
it just seemed like a good idea on a cold, snowy, sad weekend. 

14 December 2012

the children.

the cnn breaking news feeds started midmorning and kept coming into my iphone and onto my feed reader. shooting in connecticut. elementary school. teachers shot. students killed. i knew knowing the details would only upset me, and i had students yet to teach. on the drive home, i got caught up with the horrific news. and when i walked into my bedroom and spotted this, the neatly folded scarf i had changed my mind about and decided not to wear today, i broke down. all those children.

08 December 2012

home-grown holidays

from the outside, i have watched this annual christmas event since the time the girl was finally old enough to not believe. but this year, i jumped in and volunteered to help. santa's village, a mainstay of the holidays in our community, where adults and organizations band together to make a christmas memory for children. wide-eyed they come to watch elves making toys, to marvel at the holiday express zipping around the tracks, to sample mrs. claus's cookies, and to visit with the old gentleman himself, who calls each child by name. this year i played a small part in the magic, for only a few hours - but just being there helped to bring on the christmas spirit for which i've so been hoping.

07 December 2012

snow at night

the first real snow of the season tonight, falling silent and peaceful. but with it comes the usual flurry of accidents and fender-benders. the girl and the little girl traveled the roads earlier and are now safe in their home. very thankful for that as i slip outside to try for some shots in the night.