31 December 2013

year's end

it's the last day of the year, and what a year it's been. so full of old and new - friends, jobs, routines, habits, ways of thinking. a year of big changes for a creature of habit like me. i can't wait to see what wonders the next year will hold.

best wishes to you and yours for a happy, healthy, and amazing new year.

24 December 2013

all is bright

a christmas eve gift from the little girl, fashioned by her own hands. it's a centerpiece, she tells me. no, it's a treasure, i think.
merry christmas to all and to all a good night. 

22 December 2013

all is calm

a stormy day spent inside, quietly baking and wrapping, puttering, drinking chai and listening to choral christmas music. as much as i truly love being with family and friends at christmas time, peace-filled days like today stay etched in my soul.

19 December 2013


how is it possible that i am still christmas shopping six days before the holiday? this year i have more time and less money, more creative ideas and less people to buy for. i began this task in september. in my mind, all that equates to less shopping. then why didn't i just finish this weeks ago?!?

17 December 2013

holiday musings

cozy and warm this stormy winter night, a week before christmas. even though i'm behind with my plans and i'm rushed with self-imposed deadlines, tonight i'm feeling so thankful for life the way it is right now. 

08 December 2013

comes the snow

every year on this day i am driven to get out one final time with the camera. for tomorrow promises snow. tomorrow the barren late-autumn landscape will be transformed to winter white and will likely stay that way for too many months to come.
winter brings its own kind of muffled, pristine beauty with mounds of white upon white and dark branches on brilliant or muted or star-studded skies. but, for me, color and interest are hard to come by in winter. inside always looks better to me than outdoors. more color. more contrast. more going on.
but for now, for today, it's frosty and still, with perfect glassy ice on lakes and ponds, with crackling air as branches creak in the chill, with gray banks of threatening clouds looming overhead. my eye, and my camera lens, can see things today that will soon be gone too long with tomorrow's snow.

28 November 2013

happy thanksgiving

thankful beyond measure this year - for family, for friends, for health & happiness. sitting here in the quiet, the aroma of turkey stock filling the air, and feeling so blessed. 

27 November 2013

baking day

a rainy, windy wednesday before thanksgiving, a good day to be warm and dry inside, baking and prepping for the holiday. we make turkey cookies, leaf cookies, and the isolated squirrel, all sporting m&ms for color. we roll with my mother's rolling pin and i tell the little girl about the thanksgivings of my childhood. we reminisce a little about her thanksgivings past, few though they may be. and we talk and laugh and sing, two happy bakers making a thanksgiving memory to recall in years to come.

21 November 2013

skim ice

first of the season that i've seen. 
it was even forming on the river beyond. 

prepping the turkey

...for preschool story hour! 
this is the craft that goes along with this week's book!

20 November 2013


i couldn't help myself. the day was clear and cold. i finished up early. i had coffee and music. so i turned right instead of left and went off to places unknown. just for a little bit.

17 November 2013

dark, drizzly

it sure has been a long time since i've had to work on a sunday afternoon. i am selfishly thankful it's at least a rainy one. what i'd rather be doing on such a dreary november day: taking a nap, watching a movie, reading by the woodstove, making soup...
but i rationalize it's as good day as any to be sitting at the computer trying to organize my thoughts and write cohesively. so i turn on my mantle lights, put on my quiet playlist, make a cup of tea, and get back to work.

10 November 2013

first snow

normally, i'm pretty excited when i wake up to the first measurable snow of a new season. not so this year, though. outside work remains unfinished. here's the sedum i have yet to cut back in the garden that i have yet to put to bed! so i'm only a tad excited to see this snow!

08 November 2013

november woods

one of the things i love about november: the woods are clear - no growth on the forest floor, no leaves on the branches of the trees...there's nothing to block the sunlight and the image of the scope of the woods. suddenly, you can see deep into the woods and to the horizon beyond.

06 November 2013

second time around

walking in the yard today, i found this. look familiar?

i was surprised - and then laughed and laughed. 

i don't know how it got here. last i saw it, the little girl was tucking it into her pocket. i wonder if she placed it so that i'd find it and be surprised. by the way, notice some hungry someone has been nibbling on the acorn man's hat!

04 November 2013

simple pleasures

so many times today, i smiled and thought to myself, this really is an amazing day. i was up and out early, my walk finished in the clear early light of morning. it was scarf and glove weather, the first such day this fall, but skies were cloudless and blue with brilliant sunshine. by midmorning, a problem weighing heavily on my mind had been lifted. later i made a bit of a dent in christmas shopping. a frame i bought at 40% off was eligible for my 20% off coupon. during lunch, i read four chapters because the waitress brought me a whole pot of decaf. i received a wonderful email from an old friend. a wrong turn took me to the cutest little consignment shop and a sweet little basket. i visited a new bookstore. i listened to my thanksgiving playlist several times, whistled a lot, and felt grateful for all the good things in my life. and, on the ride home, i watched the first star appear bright in the sky.

03 November 2013

christmas cactus

for too many years to count, i've wanted a christmas cactus that blooms. most of the plants i've had have been green and beautiful, but sadly flowerless. once i bought a christmas cactus at an estate sale, sure that if it bloomed for some old deceased lady, it would bloom for me as well. not so. then, i had a huge christmas cactus at school that i left there with a colleague. it never bloomed for me - maybe my friend can coax it along. but this one, this tiny little slip of a thing, is a cutting i bought from a fifth grade fund-raiser last year for two dollars. it had a few blossoms then. but look - it's really going to bloom this year. i'm pretty excited - and i don't even care that it's going to bloom for thanksgiving and not for christmas!

31 October 2013

all hallow's eve

i have little patience with halloween, mainly because adults have taken over what used to be a pretty good children's holiday. in the drug store today buying last minute treats, i saw a witch, a pirate, and a devil, all over thirty. that said, i am dressed for the day in the traditional orange and black and am sporting my halloween socks, the ones that say 'this IS my costume!', mostly because i'll be around children. and i have to say, some halloween decorations, like the one pictured on the mantle, are kind of fun in a bizarre sort of way.

30 October 2013

first flakes

as i was out walking early this morning, it began to snow - the first flakes of the new season. it was a special moment to actually be outside in the quiet as it slowly began to fall.

27 October 2013

last bloom

here it is: the last plant to flower in the garden. i watch these tiny buds from late summer on, hoping that cold and frost will hold off long enough for them mature and bloom. i'm always so amazed when they do - here it is, the last week in october and i now have flowers. they're tiny, they're leggy, they're spindly, but they're all mine.

25 October 2013

winding roads

life has slowed down this autumn and i've been happy to have time to meander and explore. i love to find new routes and byways, places and roads that i've only heard of or seen squiggled on a map. four times this week, i passed this barn, and the last time pulled over to photograph it. i love the symmetry of the windows, the angles of the roof lines, and the colors, still rich despite their age. the on-point window on the back section makes the whole scene a little quirky. and my eyes kept being drawn down to the vivid marigolds by the sliding door, still in bloom in late fall. to my blogging friend who loves barns - and you know who you are - thanks for the inspiration!

21 October 2013

pond at dusk

it's fast coming up on my favorite time of year. there have been some windy days of late, so a good many of the leaves are now down. those that remain are faded, muted colors...those caramel browns, tarnished golds, and rusty reds. leaf peeping tourists have come and gone, back to the south where there's still vibrant color to chase. back roads are empty now, long and winding and good for meandering home. at dusk tonight, i stand by the pond, still feeling the warmth of the day. and i listen to the quiet that is late fall.  

14 October 2013


"i'm so glad i live in a world where there are Octobers."  
-LM Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

08 October 2013


a glorious day, in many ways. a young man heals. an old friend writes. a surprise reminder of my dad. a brisk walk. productive work. brilliant skies. and a cup of tea in the adirondack chair.

05 October 2013


since october has arrived, it's probably time to put away some of the outside furniture. but this table under the big maple is still one of my favorite places to work on a brilliant sunny afternoon or a crisp still evening. perhaps in a few more weeks...

29 September 2013


i anticipated we'd be out walking in the woods this glorious fall weekend, so i took an acorn from the fidget bowl, drew a tiny face on it, and placed it along the path on an isolated bed of moss where i was sure the little girl would find it. and find it she did. she let out a gasp of disbelief, a whoop of joy, and gave me a big hug after i finally admitted that, yes, i had put it there. then she ran back to the house laughing and whooping some more and yelling, "this is hysterical!"

what a great reaction. i must do this for her more often!

24 September 2013

where have all the monarchs gone?

milkweed plants are pretty prolific here in this neck of the woods. every spring, i leave several plants to grow in the yard and in the garden. around here, milkweed is the food of choice for monarch caterpillars as they grow. they feast on the leaves midsummer and then, when it's time, they go into their chrysalis formation right there on the plant, firmly attached to a stem or a leaf, their casings brilliant green with a glittering band of gold. most years there are many, many monarchs here, in various stages of growth. this year, despite my best investigative efforts, i can find not a one. zero. zip. nada.

abrupt changes like this worry me, especially where nature is concerned. i have not researched this to see if there's a reason, but i hope this is just a local phenomenon and pray that it's simply a one-year anomaly. spring was too cold. it snowed at the end of may. the summer was too wet. something like that.  
on a related note, last year i took a monarch caterpillar and the milkweed plant it lived on to the little girl's school so her class could observe the transformation firsthand. the creature died. i felt badly then. i feel worse now.

20 September 2013

here and now

i am still here. the rhythm i thought i had seems erratic these last few days. i am busy, certainly, but am not feeling terribly productive and i can't quite figure out why. a wise friend says i am just not used to leisure and perhaps she is right. i am looking forward to a few day trips this week. maybe that will help.

i sure don't want this space to turn into a whine-fest, a pity party, but this change in lifestyle dominates my existence right now, so i am struggling with upbeat, interesting ideas for posts. it's pretty silly, i know - all the time i've been writing to this blog, how many times did i actually blog about work? not many!

so bear with me. please.

10 September 2013


found on the walk this morning, lots of reds all around...
with more to come as fall commences. 

05 September 2013

rhythm of days

it seems i'm beginning to find my retirement "groove", to establish some structure to my days, a bit of a routine in my life. i am working a lot, lazing a bit, and certainly taking time for myself that can't remember ever taking before. today as i was walking, as i watched a bank of clouds give way to bright blue sky, i was momentarily flooded with a sense of sweet contentment, and felt like i belonged right where i was at this point in my life. i sure hope the feeling lasts.

28 August 2013

early morning

by 8:30 a.m., i have been out and back again: had take-out coffee, shopped a bit, spied on the little girl's bus routine, stopped to pick some tansy. it feels strange to be doing so little when i am used to doing so much.

better get busy.

24 August 2013


Odd, but therapeutic, to be away when there is so much focus on school's beginning. a beautiful saturday morning here on the rocky shore, visiting with wonderful friends, mesmerized by the beauty, and with seagulls providing comic relief!

20 August 2013


this is the first opening day in over fifty years that i have not gone back-to-school.
just marking the day. 

11 August 2013


yesterday i watched as this butterfly flitted around my garden, landing on the echinacea, resting for a while, then floating off to somewhere else. she returned many times - at least i think it was the same creature. finally she landed and stayed, and was still there as dusk fell. now this morning, she is there still, unmoving. i did not disturb her to take this photo but now i wonder: do butterflies sleep? or did she die yesterday as i looked on in fascination?

05 August 2013

not so little

over the weekend, the little girl visited. she was here on two occasions, yet i was still amazed when she walked up to the door this morning. who is this tall person, all legs and arms and laughter? how did she get so big overnight? milk teeth are loose and jiggle on command, her tongue poking into the hole left vacant by her latest loss. she carries on logical conversations and often prefaces her thoughts with "actually...". she reads, she calculates, she plans. and, in a few weeks, she is headed to school.

i remember her mother growing up quickly - but not this fast. i may need to find a new way to refer to the "little girl" since, incredibly, sadly, she's just not so little any more.

29 July 2013


there's my perennial garden, taken out the window during a rain storm as i experimented with settings on my new camera. note the milkweed standing tall and proud and the dead lupine pods on brittle brown stems! still, this is about as good as this garden gets. in a few weeks, most of the flowers will be dead on their stems (or composted centerpieces) with only the autumn joy sedum for color and perhaps the rosy morning glories climbing that trellis, should they have enough time to bloom. every year i buy cosmos seed for annual color. and every year i never get around to planting them. and i am always so sorry come august.

24 July 2013

morning stroll

up and out early to walk, an activity i have promised myself i will resume now that i presumably have more time. but i bring my small camera, of course, and get waylaid by nature and the fascination of the roadside. it takes me twice as long to "walk" as i had planned - but i start my day by seeing some wondrous things...

22 July 2013

missing maine

every summer, my brothers and sisters and i travel to a rented house and visit together for a whole week. some of us bring their children and some their children's children. this vacation has become one of my favorite times of the year. during the days, we all go our own separate ways and do our own things, singly or in pairs, but in the evenings, we gather together for dinner and conversation and red sox games on tv. we laugh, we reminisce, we play cutthroat board games. it's so wonderful to be with my family for this extended period of time, to have endless hours to get caught up on the events of the past year, and to store up new memories for the cooler, busier seasons to come. i miss my family this morning - it's always bittersweet when our time together is over for another year.

16 July 2013

riches from the beach

found on the beach today: a dollar and a half dollar. the little girl insisted i add the quarter dollar, too!

08 July 2013


for the most part, tonight was my final time at school. i filed documents, deleted folders, finalized lists, covered shelves. i took down the stuffed seagull that's flown over every desk i've had. recycled the remains of my personalized notepad. left treasures for colleagues. turned in my keys. reminisced, and cried.

here's a motley collection of things i had set aside during the days i spent clearing out and packing. together, it forms a collage that represents everything i believed in as a teacher, all the things that were important to me: kids, knowledge, wisdom, books, curiosity, colleagues, developmental stages, wonder, laughter. and fun. always fun.

07 July 2013

the elephants

the circus came back to our town today. the little girl and i were there early this morning to watch the set up, as we did last year. of all the animals there, the elephants were the most captivating to me this year, and i'm not sure why. massive creatures, docile, and seemingly content. fascinating to photograph.