Sunday, March 15, 2015


I don't know how this proud, and perhaps slightly anxious boy is. This tiny photo, part of a contact sheet of three pictures taken at some kind of carnival/amusement park, was one of the things in a folder full of vintage photos from my grandmother's things. The sign in German (Eilt-sehr! -- Very urgent! so, caution for sure) makes me even more perplexed; this was the grandmother who did not come from a long line of Germans and Austrians (that was the other grandmother).  Her ex-husband, my beloved Papa Paul, was born to a German father and Irish mother -- but everything about the age of the photo wouldn't make sense and I have no reason to think that Paul would have ever gone to Germany as a child (and lots of reasons to think that never could have happened). My grandmother's things are mostly about my dad, her only child -- and he's the most reasonable boy to suspect except for the part about the signs being in German (he definitely didn't travel abroad as a child).

Most of the photos in this particular stack are without any kind of labels on them and I'm limited in the people I can identify.  I can distinguish family members I knew or knew of, and don't know which are photos of friends.  Makes me think about how it is that junk shops/antique stores end up with boxes and boxes of old photos; if the people who end up with them don't know who's in them, then the photos seem worthless.  Given that I'm the sort of person who buys old photos from junk shops and sometimes online, I'm going to hold on to these.  But, it's a good reminder to start labeling so that Dean doesn't end up with cartons of photos that seem worthless.

Meanwhile, I'm delighted and relieved to have him home after his month in Panama.  I am listening to his stories and looking for signs of change; it is the kind of experience, on the bring of turning 17, that dictates all kind of change.  I'm mindful of how hard it can be when you are growing up to know that you are changing -- to reach for and embrace change on the journey to becoming -- and yet to feel constrained in time and in being by your family.  We play a role in our families that depends in part on our being who they think we are, and that can be difficult to deal with when they don't see or acknowledge when we've grown past their vision of us.  I want to honor and see the person he is becoming, even as I acknowledge all the difficulties in that for me (I age less, for one simple matter, when he doesn't grow up).

"Riesenrad" -- that's Ferris Wheel.  Held in place, going around but coming right back. Moments held in time as people move on. I hope it was sunny that day.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The winter of... what?

This was from a couple of storms ago; I believe (hyperbole-free) that we've had another 18"+ since this was taken.  Actually, probably more like 20" since this was taken.  Snow is falling as I type, and our fingers are tightly crossed that it stays snow and doesn't turn over to rain of any kind. At this point, the snow that cannot be raked off the roof will become dangerously heavy if soaked by rain, and we've got a few problem areas around the foundation that -- thanks to the amount of snow piled up and around, could leak.

I keep trying to have an "it is what it is" attitude and despite evidence to the contrary I'm actually worn out and tired of talking about the weather.  If I had a button maker, I'd sport one that says, "Can we talk about something else?"  Hmmm.  Might need to figure out if I can whip something up!

Meanwhile, I am so thankful yet again to have Natalie for a friend.  I feel so cared for, having her prompt me to getting going already! here; she's the most delightful and consistent blogger I know and my fez is always off to her.

I have to do some finishing and photography for proof, but am I telling you that I learned to read my very first knitting pattern in order to make polar bears and it was easy.  The couple of things I wasn't sure about, I found detailed and helpful YouTube videos for.  I am making mine tiny (fits in the palm of your hand) because that's how I roll.  I see that this is the point in the winter where I usually lose my crafting mojo (super busiest time at work, hands wreaked from shoveling, delights of the season wearing off) but I'm determined to keep going.

I want to make this the winter of something else.  Not the winter of the record-breaking, back- and spirit-breaking snow, but the winter that I, that we... what?  Knit 100 polar bears?  Got my new stove and learned to make the best ever... focaccia? caramel corn?  The winter that Dean spent a month in Panama and came home fairly fluent in Spanish and focused on becoming (a marine biologist? a rain forest ecologist? a traveling journalist?) -- although I have to remember, while I imagine and celebrate his possibilities to also pay heed to my own.  The winter that I learned to let him go?  The winter I decided what my next goal is, I hope.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Power makes all the difference

Stayed cleared of snow for a day or so, and now....  

 Ken is out there now, battling the coupla three feet or so (with drifting) that has fallen so far.  We are fortunate that it's so cold (in the low 20s) that the snow is pretty dry here, which greatly lessens the likelihood of power lines coming down, or roofs collapsing. Towns on the ocean are in rougher shape, with all the moisture from the sea, and the swells from high tide, causing serious damage. It's still extremely hazardous to have this much snow, in that as soon as it does go above freezing and starts to melt, the weight increases and it has to be off roofs and decks and porches by then; also all the roads are closed and so my heart goes out to anyone with need of emergency care.  We do seem to recover fairly quickly in this region, so I am optimistic that things will be all right (and figuring we have not tempted fate by failing to run out to a grocery store yesterday for emergency provisions). I continue to be thankful that we moved to where we did (this is our third winter in this house) because here we are on town water (which means that even if power is out the water still runs -- at the old house we had our own well and a pump that required electricity, so no water could be run, no toilets could be flushed without power).  We also have a gas stove here and so can still cook (it was electric at the old house).  We live in a more populated area with more businesses around, so that also means that power here does get restored a lot more quickly when it does go out (we went almost a week, one winter, at the old house, without power -- our tiny little street was the last. one. in. town. to be brought back online).

A new-house tradition, then, is the fresh-from-the-oven batch of chocolate chip cookies when major snow removal is underway.  Never thought I'd replace my old, best-ever recipe but again -- when King Arthur Flour tells me they have the recipe of the year, I have to try it.  AND right they are.

I've been trying to spend more time tooling around the blogsphere, and I am lately struck by the number of amazing, but abandoned, blogs.  Not one to talk (at least in terms of the abandonment thing) but it makes me so sad -- I discover people doing amazing things but who've lost the blogging mojo.  I get it; at least for me, I feel as though I still haven't really figured out what I'm doing here, or why. But not doing it hasn't made me realize anything, either -- but perhaps plugging away will.  In any case, I'm so grateful for the friends I've made as a result and that is more than enough reason to be here.  Powerful stuff.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Blatant disregard

 Weather gods were feeling mocked, or somehow disrespected, apparently; this is just a little preview of the 24 inches (somehow sounds less daunting than *2 feet*) we're supposed to get tomorrow night.

But that will just mean a snow day, for which we are entirely overdue, and ready.  This magical loaf can be made by following these instructions.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Don't talk about the weather

It is New England, here, where I live. Every year, winter comes. It varies in severity, but we can rely on at least some snow, and on at least some really, really cold weather. We're in a cold snap at the moment -- right at a time when one could reliably predict such a thing -- days that barely make it out of single Fahrenheit digits, nights in negative numbers, a weak sun that doesn't provide anything other than psychological warmth.

And yet, just as reliably, so many people seem so utterly shocked, appalled, and all-consumed by the fact that it is winter and it is cold outside. Yup. Every year. Get just like this. And we survive.

I guess some number of people each year decide to leave New England because of the weather. I guess they move to Florida, or California (southern, if they understand the varieties of weather there), or Arizona. Maybe they are retirement age and they have had enough, or maybe they are college age and are striking out for anything and everything different. Maybe they are college grads and they want to start their new, adult lives in a warmer place.

But most people stay. And most people seem annually confounded.

I was thinking, when we took down the Christmas tree yesterday (so absolutely dried out that ornaments were starting to fall off of branches bent low by lack of moisture), that I might just have it in me to be the crazy lady who leaves her Christmas tree and decorations up all year long. It would require, really, an artificial tree, but that's about it. However, even though now there are bins of ornaments waiting for me to wrap them all up and put them all the way away, I realized that it's the absence of Christmas during the rest of the year that makes Christmas so wonderful. It would lose its magic if it were always here.

So I am thinking of winter that way. It comes, every year, and it brings some challenges along with it, but it is in fact a wonderful thing and as much a part of the measure and glory of the year as every other mile marker we watch for during the annual parade of weeks, months, and seasons.

Happy winter to you.

Saturday, January 3, 2015


Our offices at work re-opened yesterday, on Friday, for no particularly good reason in my opinion (although I'm not sorry to have had a quiet day to get caught up and ready for the back-to-action that Monday will bring); a cold, grey, bitter morning was made better by a warm, crunchy dinner out with my boys. Thinking about playing with this two-photo format for a while.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New year, new start

Just jumping on the built-in change to get a kick-start; no regrets, no promises, just starting again with a fresh energy for all kinds of things.

As always, I got the big-time craft bug bite right at Christmas and, as always, too late really to do much in time for gift giving this year. However, I am forging on and hope to have a whole box full of gifts made over the course of the coming months and have made a start here with Mr. Fox. I've eyed the pattern for a couple of years but resisted on the sound basis of having so. many. other. patterns.  (Not necessarily fox patterns, but for more things than I can make in this lifetime.) He just kept calling me, though, and finally -- delighted I gave in. Directions were pretty good although I'll do several things differently next time. Planning a skulk of foxes.

Ready for this new chapter with all the warm feelings that I'd have curling up with a new book in a sunny window and the time to read. That's my secret, I realize; deciding to be mindful with my time.