30 December 2015

a little christmas

christmas has always been one of my favorite times of year, and this year's holiday was wonderful in so many respects. the time between thanksgiving and christmas did not pass as quickly as it had other years, and i had plenty of time to do what i wanted to do to celebrate and needed to do to be ready for the day. i volunteered at our local community center and school so i was around excited little kids - not to mention the excitement in my own family. the girl, the not-so-little-girl, and i got all dressed up one sunday night and went to a fancy restaurant for dinner, to one of those places with beautiful christmas displays. it's something i have wanted to do for many christmases and i am so glad we made that memory. i celebrated advent at church and loved the preparation for jesus' birth. christmas eve here was fun; christmas day at the girl's was wonderful.

but something just wasn't quite right this christmas and try as i might, i just cannot pinpoint it. i am chalking it up to the mild weather, the lack of snow, and the fact that it was a brown, almost green, christmas. it's the only thing i can think of.

29 December 2015

origami delight

one saturday this fall, i chanced to meet and be part of a conversation with a lovely and quiet man, probably a little older than me. what we talked about must have been pretty general and of little significance, because i can't remember the topics. what i do remember is the fact that he was actively interested in whatever it was we had to say. he asked questions, and was a very good listener.

before he left, he presented us each with an intricate origami dollar, crisply folded into a beautiful symmetrical object. mine was a heart, backed on a felt square and carefully packaged into a tiny sleeve. at the back of the package, a card with a greek proverb, a shiny sticker, and a tiny jeweled bauble. clearly, this man was intentional in his presentation.

we were so taken aback to receive such a lovely gift from a stranger. we tried to pay him, but he declined. we offered dollar bills so he could make more, and he told us it wasn't necessary. he wouldn't give us his name, only asked that we enjoy his small gift.

i stood the dollar heart on my desk here, and thought about the chance encounter for days. months later, i am still in awe of all that transpired. why would a stranger do such a thing? not only is he spending a great deal of time making these for people he doesn't know and likely will never see again, he's giving away his money a dollar at a time. obviously, his simple reward is in the delight and enjoyment of his recipients.

a few weeks ago, as i inserted my card into a gas pump a few towns away, i found something blocking the slot. i removed it, and was elated to find another origami dollar, packaged in the same manner, this one folded into a tiny shirt. my glee was apparent as i pocketed the treasure and pumped the gas, grinning like a fool. how lucky was i to encounter this man, not once, but twice? by the time i was finished, i knew how to repay this man. i returned the shirt dollar back to the gas pump slot in hopes that the next person would find in it as much delight and enjoyment as i had.

28 December 2015

autumn, odds & ends

it borders on embarrassing to be doing this - posting photos and writings from up to four months ago. but i've been feeling guilty about not writing, have been missing blogging, and thinking lots about how to get back into the swing of things. i've decided there is no gracious way to do it other than beg your forgiveness, thank you for your concern, and just jump right back in. so i'm playing "ketchup" again, and fashioning several posts of remembrances that i should have been here long ago... 

thanksgiving. it was lovely, meaningful, quiet. the not-so-little-girl was in charge of decor, so she painted dried oak leaves and personalized them with guests' names. an unseasonably warm day, and we opened windows to let out the heat from the turkey roasting. 
pumpkin pie, made from a pumpkin i roasted myself. it was burned, but delicious. and i'll never use canned pumpkin again. 

fruits and vegetables, ready to roast in the oven for squash soup

the festive kitchen chalkboard, with a turkey suggesting that we eat more chicken. 
snowdrops, coming up in the garden in december. worse than this, the girl's snowdrops actually flowered. it makes me wonder what they'll do in april, when they're supposed to appear. 
and look. here's the carrots from the garden. they were short and stumpy, but quite tasty. next year, i'm planting twice as many. 

finally, bernie sanders. i have seen him twice this fall. generally, i am pretty quiet with regard to politics, trying to be respectful of others' opinions. but this year, i just can't do it. 


in my defense, fall this year stretched for month after glorious month, with warm days and brilliant nights, and i was away from my desk and outside as much as was possible. in september and october, the foliage was blindingly beautiful. i spent so much time stopping and marvelling at the incredible show of color new england had this year, that i didn't take any photos, save the few you see here. i knew my skills could never do justice to the beauty i was seeing with my eyes, so i didn't even try. and, now that it's gone, i don't even think i'm sorry i did that.

the other thing: as much as i adore fall, i was dreading the thoughts that winter was coming next. last winter must have taken a toll on me, one who always loved the beauty of the season. it was just too cold, too snowy, and much too long. so when autumn continued into a bright and clear november, and then morphed into a balmy, dry december, i wanted to take advantage of every outdoor moment i could. i put on my blaze orange scarf and strolled into the woods during hunting season. i drove with the window down. i painted and stained and polyurethaned. i sat outside til dusk and read. i stood in the yard and gawked at the night sky. and i reveled in the fact that i could wear a denim jacket and sneakers instead of wool coats and boots.
as i write this, we are anticipating our first significant snowfall. our brown christmas is just over, january approaches, and it's okay for snow now, i think. i just hope it's not as much as last year. 

27 December 2015


this one deserves its own post, late or not. when friends go on trips, i ask them to bring me back a rock. here's one that a friend found for me. do you see the face?

mid to late summer

time at the beach was again a high point of my summer. weather was perfect, rental was fabulous, but being with family was the best. assorted brothers and sisters came and it was wonderful to spend time with them. after years of being together on a regular basis, i miss them now that our parents are gone, and i so look forward to this extended time with them every summer. also, the girl and the not-so-little-anymore-girl both were there for a few days. so much fun...such precious memories. 

here's july's blue moon rising over the atlantic. the not-so-little-girl thought it was pretty funny that it was a pink blue moon. 

i took lots of low light photos as i grappled with manual settings on my camera to try to graduate from shooting in automatic. sometimes it worked, sometimes not. 
the other summer highlight was a prolific vegetable garden, the first in many years. did I take any photos? no. just beach-y things this summer. although i think i might have a shot of harvested carrots around here somewhere...