Monday, November 30, 2009

a few nice things, lately::

browsing in a bookshop, by myself.
long, fast walks with a friend.
buying bread that i watched come out of the oven.
girls putting their dirty plates right into the dishwasher.
finding two polaroid cameras at an estate sale for $5. (now, if can find the film...)
anna's new favorite: peanut butter and honey sandwiches.
being enamoured of the greys and sandy, golden browns of late fall.
roasted brussel sprouts and chickpeas. again. still.
cheap wine: beaujolais nouveau.
getting some knitting done, row by row.
tiny white lights: in my kitchen, in my livingroom. more soon.
asking for help, and getting it.
falling just a little bit more in love.

what nice things have you found, lately?

thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

lately i've been feeling breakable.
there are things that i've seen and felt and known about for years, that all of a sudden make me cry.
there are things that i've suddenly learned about, and that the knowledge of has changed me, and how i look at lots of things.
there are things that i always hoped would never be, that are, and that now are among the things that need to be addressed in order to move on.
i can't even say that any of these things are necessarily bad things, or uncomplicated good things, but only that they are things that are now a part of the landscape that i walk through on a daily basis.

and it needs be said that none of these things are things.

all of these things are people.

people i love.

going off to tuck some of these people in. thanks for reading.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The girls decided today that they couldn't wait until December first, and that we should pick names for Secret Santa now. Sounded like a fine idea to me.

We've done this in-house for several years with varying degrees of success. In the past, I would stock up on craft supplies so everyone could make presents for their recipient-pipe cleaners, beads, candy canes-and sneak them into the felt bags that they keep at their bedsides. The problem with that was that everyone could pretty much recognize each other's handiwork and handwriting. And some members of the family were more motivated, shall we say, than others to make and give gifts on a steady basis for several weeks.

Also, to the degree that whoever's name I pulled was a lucky duck, whoever's name Tim pulled was, um, not so lucky. It reached it's nadir last year when Lindsey received a stream of chocolate covered sunflower seeds, and lip balm, and the like...and Emily would be surprised to even find anything in her bag. The straw that broke that camel's back was her finding a sharpened pencil in her bag after days of waiting for a treat. It wasn't a pretty scene. *

Eventually, I took matters into my own hands and started gifting to both girls, but it did sort of defeat the purpose of the whole exercise.

Which is what exactly, one might ask?

Well, it gets us all excited and in the spirit of the season. It's sort of like an interactive advent calendar, of sorts...counting down the days until Christmas. And it puts the emphasis on making someone else happy, which is key, I believe, and an important counterpoint to the ritual of writing up a wish list long before the decorations are even out of the attic.

This year is a little different. We've got Anna in the mix (she and I are a team), and the rest of the girls have the ability to walk into town and stock up on treats and surprises to give out-something they've already begun to do.

And so, with much enthusiasm, we drew names out of a hat today, and our holidays have officially begun. I even hung a few strings of little white lights around the house, and they give the rooms a nice warm glow.

I don't see us having a big, elaborate (read:expensive) holiday season this year. Our mindset (and our budget) just doesn't make that seem appealing. But I've got a good feeling about things. I think we might all end up appreciating the small, simple gestures and traditions that much more.

Enjoy your evening. Thanks for reading.

*ps::Tim still points out that he did sharpen it, at least. Emily still points out that it wasn't even a "decorated" pencil, just a regular yellow one.
*pps::In Tim's defense, one year when he had Callie he painted a Santa in wite-out on a smooth black rock. Everyone made fun of it, but she still has it on her desk, years later.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

happy thanksgiving day to you.

I am wishing you all a wonderful day today, no matter how many sit down at your table.

Enjoy! Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

If Lindsey could rescue every one of these guys, she would. The character up there in the comic strip is "Rosepetal", a growing girl with an affinity for animals, who refuses to leave the pram. Guess who Tim based that one on?

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. I think it goes without saying that we are all extremely blessed with an abundance of riches and joy. We just need to notice, remember, and appreciate it.

Best wishes. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hi. My head is full of all sorts of thoughts about food, and friends, and gratitude, and I've been meaning all day to stop in here and put some of them down on paper (such as this is). But I've had a day filled with much activity and little accomplishment. So often it seems that way.

Nonetheless, I'm feeling quiet, but also relaxed. Pretty happy. Not too stressed. Looking forward to cooking and laughing and gathering with friends on Thanksgiving Day.

But, also needing a little space to sort through what this time of year means for our family, in terms of what needs to be kept and what needs to be let go.

I remember my childhood holidays fairly well, and I know that they loomed large for me, both before and after the fact. Now, I feel the weight of our children's expectations, and being responsible for creating those memories for them, pretty heavily during the holidays. I think I need to sort through what of that weight is put upon me, and what of that weight I bring all on my own.

Ok, well. In any event. I hope you all are having a good week, and enjoy the preparations as much as the actual celebration. I read somewhere today that Thanksgiving is the High Holy Day of Foodies. Count me among them.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

there is a first everything

Greetings from the end of Sunday evening.

I feel that I stuck my neck out on Friday by mentioning that I was picking up the film, so I thought I would show you a few that I have scanned.

They're not earth shattering. They're not very interesting, and not very good, but they also are not that bad.
So, I'm happy. Against Tim's advice (he says stick with digital) I even bought another roll of film. The guys in the camera shop were very encouraging. (Go figure.)


These photos are all from my first week in Maine, in August. We just finished up that jar of honey in the second photo up there. You can find the lovely people who made it, and their lovely home which they rent out, here and here.


Other things-
I received an incredibly kind, completely unexpected gift in the mail from a friend whom some of you know, but perhaps like me, have never actually met. Increasingly, I am getting so much encouragement and inspiration from all of you here in this community we've built. Some days you all are the ones who boost my spirits, and help me to see the good in an otherwise perplexing reality. So to you, Molly, and to all of you, I say a most sincere and heart-felt thank you.

And, finally...I know that we are all about to get crazy busy. No matter who we are or what the size or shape of our families, these next few weeks are always just a little bit harder, and a little bit more wonderful than the rest of the year. I just wish for all of us a few quiet, peaceful moments in the middle of it all.

Have a beautiful week, friends. Thanks for reading.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Happiness::

Going out into the world today, for a ladies lunch with my mother and Miss A., who has changed her name to Jane, this week, by the way.

I'm also looking forward to picking up my first roll of film. I took some pictures in Maine with the Canon my brothers gave us for our wedding, and it has taken me a while to find a place around here that actually develops black and white film (thanks, Jill), and another long while to get around to bringing it in.

We'll see how I do when I don't have the luxury of shooting multiple versions of the same photo. We'll see.

I just wanted to stop in and say happy weekend, and point you in the direction of:

these drawings, and

this thoughtful post, and

these words and pictures.

There is a whole lot of beauty, talent, and kindness around to cheer me up and make me think.

So, happy weekend! Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Yes, well. Here we are again.

I am still loving
pots of tea,
and my neighbors and friends;
my girls' smiles and laughter,
but not so much
their sullen faces in the morning,
and their energy
at night,
long after mine
has vacated
the premises.
I am loving, lately,
the subtler palette
of late fall days,
which even now
have not really chilled
quite enough
to my liking.
I want to bundle up.
I want cheeks to flush
upon walking,
and scarves
to be necessary.
I want to come home
and shut the door
behind the whole family,
and light some candles,
and make some tea,
or pour some wine,
and sit down and say
"How was your day today?"

How was your day today? Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

In Woodstock, today.
Lines.  On the way home, driving down the Taconic, moving fast.
Some days, you botch things up a bit.
You have a few misteps.
Missed steps.
Some days, you do a few things right,
but one thing you did
not quite so right,
[even if you weren't exactly wrong,
it just didn't feel right]
sticks to the roof of your mouth,
and nothing else tastes
the way it might have
the rest of the day
if you had not had
that one bad spoonfull.

Some days, all you have,
at the end of the day,
to show or to tell,
are two pictures,
that you think
look nice together.

Some days, that will have to be enough.

See you tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

Monday, November 16, 2009

My thoughts are starting to turn squarely in the direction of the holidays. It's hard not to look that way, I suppose, with the piles of catalogs and advertisements and shops that seem to think it's time, already.

Believe it or not (I don't know why you'd think one way or the other, actually) we have never sent out holiday cards with a family photo. Our wedding came and went, and nope. Then a new baby joined the family, and we had plenty of photo ops, but still, no. I remember saying to a friend, the year Anna was born, that if we hadn't sent them out this season, we probably never would. She agreed.

But I'm thinking I may change that, this year. We did take some good ones of all of the kids, in Maine.
So, in looking around for those in my photo folders, I took a trip down short-term memory lane. I found the photos from the previous year in Maine, and was struck by how much younger we all looked. Most notably the thirteen-year-olds, We've all aged quite a bit in the last year and a quarter.

I was also struck by how few pictures there are of me. Obviously, I'm behind the camera most of the time, but honestly, Tim takes a fair amount of photos, as well. And I usually delete any of me that aren't to my liking. Most of them fall into that category.

I think I need to work on that. Not only because I think my girls will want to have some record of their having a mother, in the future, and because I actually liked looking back at what I was wearing, how long (or short) my hair was. But because the girls certainly pick up my reluctance to be in front of the camera, my griping about my "chins", or my expression, or...well, you know. Don't you? Don't we all pick ourselves apart?

I would be horrified if I have unintentionally set an example of self-loathing to them. I tell them they are beautiful. I show them that they are loved and valued. I keep almost every photo of them, because I want to remember all of their moods and faces, not just the perfectly posed shot where they've gussied up, and are smiling for the camera.

But I'm thinking that maybe all of that only goes so far. What they really need is to see and hear and know that their mom loves them, and herself, too.


Well, that's what I've been thinking about this afternoon.

Oh, and that green teapot up there? Thrifted yesterday on our trip upstate. Nice, huh?

Hope you are having a great day. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

On this side of the river, driving back from the Catskills, today.
On this side of the river, driving back from the Catskills, today.

A really good day. Lots of time in the car, to travel up to Woodstock to see an exhibit, on its last day, which had been juried by Tim. Anna had the right attitude going in: i love!museums. She was carried out not long afterward.

We were in such heated discussion on the ride up, over last night's viewing of Food, Inc., that we missed the exit. I'm even laughing at us now, thinking of it.

For a full hour of the ride down the Taconic to home, the sun set, giving us the most spectacular show. We would each three of us in turn, gasp, and point out when the colors had changed.

And then home. Sunday night. Lights go on, candles are lit, girls come through the door, laughing, dinner gets made. Bedtime looms.

Tim is in the kitchen now, cooking up a late night supper for us two: pizza with broccoli rabe.

All is well.

Wishing you all a good week. Thanks for reading.


Friday, November 13, 2009

When we go for a walk, we can see the Hudson River.

Friday happiness::

Well, it's Friday, so there's that.

And there's really no big event scheduled for us for this weekend, which I'm saying is a good thing. It's been a tad too busy around here for a while, and we are coming into the crazy-frenzied time of year now. No matter how much we hope and plan and swear up and down it will not be crazy, it always seems to get that way. For you, too?

Oh, and...
.I love this list of creative ideas to get inspired by.
.And I've become just a little addicted to My Parents Were Awesome, found through Jen. .And I'm so happy to see a few of my favorite Flickr friends all together over at the Pop-Up Shop. It's hard to choose between the gorgeous prints there.
.And hard to choose between Jen's calendar, and Tracy's. I might get both, and give them away.

Well, it's time to get up and turn on some lights, get cooking, and start the weekend.

Best wishes to you all for a good weekend! Thanks for reading.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

This afternoon
I started this post so long ago it was almost a different day. I'm getting this in just under the wire.

I'm a little foggy on the details, but somehow, it got to be Thursday, and then, much to my surprise, Thursday got filled up with all sorts of unexpected and almost forgotten appointments and errands and outings.

I'm just getting home now, from a night out (you heard me right...) with a friend, and I just need to take a moment and finish what I started earlier this day.

I walked around my house, which was uncharacteristically empty and quiet for much of the day, and noticed how the objects that fill our home and are filled with so much meaning and usefulness and life when we are all here, seemed to be waiting.

Waiting for kids to throw their dirty clothes in, for someone to fill them with tea. To be sat on for violin practice. To be jumped over, or off of. Fought over. To be played with, and drawn with, and flopped on. To be messed up.

I'm someone who likes my home tidy. Likes things to be orderly.

But today, walking through these empty rooms, and tonight, coming home after everyone was asleep, I looked around this tidy (thank you, sweet Tim) house...and, well. It looks so nice, all pulled together. But it feels so much better, when it's all pulled apart, and in the process of being lived in.

And now to bed. And to start it all over again, tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

This day without school has seemed very long, but in a good way.
I feel that it's already been a full one, and we're poised here now in late afternoon, with plenty of time before dinner needs to be started, homework needs to be finished, baths need to be had.

There was a visit to some friends, and a walk with Tim, for Anna and I. There was a day with grandparents for the girls.

There was the farm market with brussels sprouts on the stalk. These I'm going to fix for book club tonight, roasted and tossed with chickpeas. There were corn muffins brought over this morning, which I've managed to incorporate into my breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack. There are girls writing stories, and girls working together on a communal drawing, on a piece of the huge paper we used as a screen for movie night.

There is tea, and listmaking, and some Etsy browsing, with an eye toward the holidays.

It's getting a little dark in the house now, but no lights turned on. Not yet. There's still a little daylight filtering in through the windows.

I think I love it inside, this time of the day, as much as I love it outside, this time of the year.

Enjoy the evening. Thanks for reading.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tim and I took a walk today. Alone. Read that as: without Anna.

We now have one hour and twenty minutes a week during which we do not have any girls at home, and during which, also, Tim is not working.

Long ago it was our plan to walk every Monday (with Anna), as the gallery is "closed" on Mondays. Tim is, actually, in the gallery with the door open, and the welcome signs out, and working his day job. But he can, technically, leave the office and take a walk. Or work from home. etc...

I know that we do some of our best thinking, our best talking, and spend some of our best quiet time together, when we are out walking.

Somehow, along the way, we let that Monday walk slip through the cracks. But I know that it is something that needs to be preserved.


If you have not already, please go look at the beautiful collection of work that Maria Vettese put together for a shop in Portland. Inspiration was a topic of conversation on our walk, and Come Darkness is at the top of our list.


And, finally, I received my set of Emily's postcards from Maine today, and I can't stop looking at them. I suppose I should have gotten two, so I could give one set away, and still look at that grove of trees in the woods, and remember, as if yesterday, moments I had in August.

Enjoy your week. They are going so fast these days, don't you think? Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Things seem to slip through my hands these days.
Time. Glassware. Water. Children.
I have my hands in everything.
On every thing and everyone.
I am holding them.
I am holding on.
And then.
They slip.
Through my hands,
and left to their own devices,
do they still hear my voice?
Time, keeps going.
Glassware, keeps breaking. Shattering everywhere and
you get out the broom,
you get out the vacuum,
shattering whatever peace,
whatever moment you were in,
to clean up the shards,
so there is no future hurt and blood and screeching.
Water keeps flowing, and you ride it for a while,
and then wake up,
and look around at what part of the embankment
you've crawled up upon.
Everything is still ok.
Children. Well, they will slip through your hands.
That is just a fact.
You will reach out to hug them,
or to elicit the same smile or laugh you did,
just yesterday.
But you will need something new today,
as with every new day,
because they are new today,

Thanks for reading.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Happiness::

The first tulips in the house.
The first box of clementines. (So much for local...but the kids love them.)
This weekend: broccoli soup, homemade manicotti, french apple tart (I'm cheating, and bought some frozen fillo dough).
Some time alone with Tim. A nice walk or two. And movie-night in the park (which was rained out two weeks ago.)

I wish you all a good weekend filled with walks, good food, music, and friends. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I went into the woods, looking for bittersweet.

I went into the woods behind the house I grew up in. I ran into someone I know, who was walking her dogs, and she seemed so surprised to see me there.
It's funny, that all these years later I still think it the most natural thing, for me to be in those woods.

I went into those woods looking for bittersweet.

This time of year, I drive around with one eye on the road and one eye up in the trees, looking for the dense clusters of red and orange. Bittersweet always looks much closer to the ground-much more accessible-from a distance, than when you are standing underneath it, clippers in hand, hoping to cut some to bring home.

I did bring some home. Not much, but probably enough for a wreath, or enough for the window box.

I love this time of year. Have I mentioned that?

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sometimes, Tim sits down after dinner and starts drawing. He's got all this stuff in his head, and I'm always surprised by what comes out on the paper. In this case, he carried one of the huge leaves home from our walk on Sunday. I wonder if he knew what he was going to do with it all along.


Today is bright, and cool...and November. I've started thinking about some projects for the holidays. This is the year that I will make the girls something really special. I say this to myself every year.

I have a few things in mind, but if you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them. Keep in mind that I'm a very low-level crafter: i.e. I can't sew, and still haven't learned a purl stitch...but I do have a glue gun, and I'm not afraid to use it.

Enjoy Tuesday, friends! Thanks for reading.


Monday, November 2, 2009

This afternoon, on the drive home from the orthodontist's office, the light on the fields at Stone Barns was so breathtaking, I had to pull the car over and get out and take some pictures. I got out of the car, leaving Lindsey reading on the passenger seat, and ran (ran!) back down the road towards the cows and the orange.

Running down that road with my camera, I felt not at all ridiculous, but happy, instead.


Also, I love this article on The Four Coursemen in Food & Wine November. With photographs by Rinne Allen. And this incredible India ink runner by one of the lovely creators of Hable Construction.


Tomorrow, something equally as lovely and creative using India ink, by my love.

Goodnight all. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I would have to say, that even in the face of all that is going on with and around us; even knowing what I know about how complicated life is, and that you can not put off forever reckoning with the things that demand reckoning; even though there were moments during which I was sure that I could not possibly stand one more moment; even though it means nothing in the great scheme of things, and that we will all, certainly, have to wake up Monday morning, and everything that faced us Friday morning will still be there; even though I feel deep down in my very heart and soul that it really is everything, but am sometimes discouraged by the all too very real knowledge that everyone does not share that conviction. Even though.

This was the most perfect, surprising, life-affirming, exhausting, invigorating, confusing, meaningful, relaxing, delicious weekend I've ever had. I mean that. Every word.

People. We are in this. Right now. Let's take what we've got and make it good.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.