Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween from Sleepy Hollow country.

I've taken up my post for the afternoon down at the gallery, leaving Tim at home to carve pumpkins, make corn chowder, delegate some clean-up, and accommodate unreasonable last-minute costume manufacturing requests. I'll show up right around the time the fun begins.

Pizza for the kids, a parade around the park with an assortment of instruments, some neighborhood trick-or-treating with the little ones. Then the "big kids" will get to go off on their own, while the grown-ups retire to our places around the fire pit to wait for their return with the loot.

I'm more than a little conflicted this year about how much freedom to give them (the kids, not the grown-ups), and exactly who qualifies as a "big kid" in this instance. I feel that I'm always struggling with the balance between "it's all in fun" and "oh, please, don't let them get hurt."

I feel really lucky that all of us-kids + grown-ups alike-have our friends to go through it all, together.

Here's wishing you all a safe, fun, happy evening. Thanks for reading.

Friday, October 30, 2009

just one more

Friday Happiness::
I usually do this in the morning, but today has been full, and hectic, and happy.

I don't really have a lot for you. I do have these photos, which, while not connected at all, were at least all taken within a couple of hours yesterday. There's a whole lot of beauty out there right now. Even if I don't go farther than my own back yard. (That sounds vaguely like a quote from The Wizard of Oz...hmn...)

Speaking of which, I don't know if I'll be back here tomorrow, but I wish you all a safe, fun Halloween. We currently have five eclectically clad middle-schoolers, and one black cat. In ruby slippers.

Enjoy the weekend! Thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

These photos are from this weeks rainy past, but the sun is out now, and we're being promised no rain on Halloween. This will make the girls happy, and thus, I am happy. Also, I know that I will be outside on Halloween rain or shine, and so shine is good news. Fingers crossed.

Driving around right now, sometimes I laugh out loud at how outrageous the colors are. It's really over the top. One last push into, almost, garishness, before a good strong breeze will take them all down.

I noticed that our food looks a lot like the trees, currently. Do you notice that, too?

Butternut squash, and purple and green colored chard; pumpkin, of course. Dark, dark green broccoli rabe, and kale; and lighter, fading, escarole and arugula. Peppers and red onions and beets.

Fall food is hands down my favorite.

Some of the things we are eating now::

.homemade pizza with broccoli rabe
.leftover broccoli rabe in grilled-cheese sandwiches (if it sounds strange, try it)
.sauteed butternut squash in baked pasta
.butternut squash soup
.kale in minestrone
.sauteed kale in burritos (thank you, Chase's Daily)
.roasted brussels sprouts with chickpeas (thank you, Stephanie)
.fritatta with red peppers and onions
.quesadillas with red peppers and onions
.corn chowder with red peppers (thank you, Minnie)

.and last but not least, the season's first batch of Leslie's pumpkin cookies. I could eat these for dinner, if I had a nice salad to go with them. And if there were any left by dinnertime.

Are you cooking up some fall colors, too?

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Some days I really would prefer not to leave the house, at all. Yesterday was one of those days, and as Anna is still reliant upon me for transportation, it means neither did she. Now, before you call the truant officer, let's remember that she's just four, and she was coughing a little in her sleep the night before, and it was cold and rainy out.

Finally, at four o'clock, a friend called and asked if Anna could come across the park to play, so we were both pulled from our cocoon and out into the big bad blustery world.

I need to be reminded how essential it is to get up and get out. I always feel better. Always. My face loves the chilly wet air, and I went out and walked our neighborhood (alone!) with my camera, looking around at things I'm sure I miss on my several-times-a-day drive back and forth between the schools.

I was trying to shoot these branches, to capture the water droplets on each dark red berry. But instead they were silhouetted against the grey sky, and I think I like their shadowy shapes even more.


Today in the mail, I received what I believe will become a security blanket, of sorts, in the coming months. My scarf from Martha. I love it so. The color. The weight. The size. It's perfect in every way, and I know I will wear it every day. My only problem with it is that I'm going to have to hide it from Callie.


Back tomorrow, with some more photos from that walk yesterday, with totally different light than these. It's remarkable how the park changes in just a few minutes on a late October afternoon.

Enjoy your evening, friends. Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I have to tell you, I love these photos, so much. I know they're not earth shattering or perfect, but they just seem somehow different than my usual stuff, and I'm very happy with them.


A friend of ours lent me an old Iron and Wine cd, and in the last two days, I've listened to it, at home and in the car, about eleven times over. It is definitely the soundtrack to my fall.

Do you do this, too? One artist or album will stick, and as you listen to it over and over, it becomes all mixed up with whatever memories you are making during a particular period of your life? For some reason, my most vivid music/time associations are in the fall: I can almost instantly summon up either a vision of myself tucked inside whatever house I was living in at the time, or walking out in fallen leaves and cool air.

One year it was Suzanne Vega, in Minneapolis (no, I never lived there, but it's a memory of a trip out to visit my brother and his family). One year was distinctly Counting Crows, and living in Connecticut, and nursing my first baby (that would be Callie! Hard to believe, now.) One year was David Gray and taking long walks with Tim, and cheering on my brother and his friends running a marathon (to clarify: they were running, not me. oh, so not me.) One year was Ray LaMontagne and making a big grown-up party here at home. Last year was definitely Bon Iver.

So this fall, it seems, will be forever the season of Iron and Wine.

What's the soundtrack to your life, right now?

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday looked a little like this. There was so much more, but the morning started out slow and easy.

Goodnight, and good wishes for the week ahead. Thanks for reading.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Happiness::

.I have in the house right now, to cook with this weekend: butternut squash, fresh mozzarella, two pounds of carrots, swiss chard, two bunches of broccoli rabe, about twenty apples, a pie-crust (ready to go), four pounds of potatoes, some fig jelly, two-and-a-half dozen eggs, some nice goat cheese, and lots and lots of greens and arugula. Not sure what exactly I'm going to do with any of it, but am looking forward to figuring that out.

.I am going to take a walk every day, from now on, even in the rain, even if it's just once around the park. It makes me sad that I've gotten away from walking everyday, so I'm going to change that.

.Anna is writing in a journal (asking me for each letter of every word) the following sentence: Sisters are superheroes, they can teach you anything.

.I have a new, charcoal grey sweater that my mom bought me that I haven't worn yet. I'm pretty sure it's going to be cool enough this weekend to wear it.

.I like the way echinacea and black eyed susans look when they are done blooming, with their dark spikey heads and black stems all looking right up at you.

.I like that Tim called me on his walk to work this morning, to report that the little pocket park in town is putting in a cool-looking play area.

.We started using our napkin rings again last night. We each have one that came from my grandmother. Some have her family's initials; one says "Providence, RI"; two plain ones I had engraved with the twins' initials a few years ago, for their birthday.

I know that when my mother sees this picture of the napkin rings, she will think that they really need to be polished.

.The combination of dark chocolate and sea salt is haunting me. The shop in town that used to make these perfect little squares closed up, though.

The tearoom in town, of all places (!), is doing so well that it expanded into the next store. Which is good news, because I really need to restock our supply of loose tea.

.Our neighborhood movie night in the park is planned for tomorrow night. I really hope it doesn't get rained out.

I'm glad the weekend is here. I hope you all have a happy one! Thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

So, today was a trial. A few doctors appointments. Some of them mine.

A few tears. Ditto.

A friend said "stop torturing yourself." Because I do. Don't you? Don't you wake up at three a.m. and start fretting, sure that you can't possibly wait until the morning to start setting things right?

A friend said "maybe you don't have to do all of it, right now." Because I'm sure I need to. Right now. Not later. Now.


And then,



I know it was just because the crowd had shifted out in the park, and she was bored.

But she rescued me.

She came in and said "can I help?"

She chopped and she sauteed and she cried (onions). And she learned (how to cut an onion.)

Mostly, she just stood in the kitchen with me.

And then,


She came in and said "oh! can I set the table?"


Look, this is not the way it goes, all the time.

But, tonight,

they rescued me.

Isn't it supposed to be the other way around?


In the doctor's office, I read an article while I waited that said that happiness is not found in having all the material things one wants, but in having "successful interpersonal relationships."



I'll buy that.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.


p.s. tears unrelated to the doctors' appointments. just to save you any unnecessary fretting.

p.p.s. are you tired of leaf pictures yet?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

what would you have done?
Right outside our front door stands a Japanese maple tree. I can see its branches from where I sit now, without craning my neck. When I sit out front, it makes a canopy that ends a few feet from where the steps to the house begin.

From both of these spots-my desk and the front steps, and also from certain vantage points in the kitchen-I can see and hear what is going on in the park. What this means is that I can be out there just a few seconds after I hear Anna crying, or the kids quarrelling, or if there's trouble between the neighborhood dogs, or the UPS truck comes barrelling down the road.

They are out there, all ages mixed up together. Playing (now) in the leaves, and giving the little ones red wagon rides, and hopping back and forth across the creek, and the big kids texting each other (from a distance of twenty feet. please, someone explain this to me, someday), and all of them running back and forth from park to house to house.

The thing is, I just can't go sit out in the park every day, even on a stellar fall day like today. I wish I could. I wish I were the person who could walk away from the kitchen, the laundry, the computer. But I get very antsy, if things aren't all in place by a certain hour.

You know that hour. When it all falls apart. And, if on top of everyone being hungry and dirty and just a little bit sketchy about how much homework needs doing, I still don't have dinner going and things in place, we're poised for disaster.

Because when all is said and done, and the kids are fed, clean, and finished with the day, I do not want my work to begin.

I want our night to start.

So, it's a hard choice, on these days when light is fleeting, but nights are chill and dark, to sacrifice time outside early, for calm and peace later.

But, I'll tell you, when we're sitting on that couch, feet to feet and finally at rest, I'll be ok with how things went, this afternoon.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.


Monday, October 19, 2009


I have to get some "real" work done today...which means I should walk away from the computer now, and make a list of what needs doing.

But, I find these colorful leaves so spectacular, and I want to share them. They make such a contrast to the rest of last night's photographs, and yet they were taken minutes apart.

It depended on which tree I was standing under, and whether I was looking up or down. A small matter of location and perspective.

It's blue-sky sunny today, and there are bright strokes of sunlight across the park. I look forward to getting out there with my Miss A. in a little while.

But first, seriously, that list.

Wishing you all a good Monday. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

After the excitement of last night, we had a very slow, simple, gentle day. I slept a lot during daylight, having slept little at night.

Tim gardened, a little. Moving around compost to make room for the leaves, soon to come.

I read, in bed. For myself, Edible Brooklyn, and a stack of The New Yorker, delivered by Tim's mom.
And to Anna. Do you know Shirley Hughes? The Alfie stories? Dogger? So good. I feel that even Anna is moving on from them a bit, but I'm not over them yet.

I baked some more bread, to bring across the street at dinnertime.
I moved some laundry around, not really accomplishing all that much.

Finally, I walked outside with my camera, on the way to pay last nights' sitter. Even with boots and socks on, I was still chilled right through by the time I made it over the creek and across the park.

I looked up and took these pictures. I looked down and took some more. Then, I dropped my lens cap through the sewer grate.

I needed to get outside, look around, get chilled. Make a mistake. Take some pictures.

I'm ready to move into the new week. I hope you are ready, too. For whatever awaits us all, around the next bend.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

Friday, October 16, 2009

It's a book a 'zine an art journal. It's here.
It's eight by eight inches. Ninety-eight pages. Black and white inside.
Perfect bound. Soft-cover.
It's fifteen dollars.

It's the work of twenty-eight artists.
Including, (pictured, from top)::
Jennifer Judd-McGee
Elizabeth Kaplan
Robert Larson
Maureen Fleming
Elizabeth Solomon
Scott Mason
Bret Wills
Julie Broberg
and all of these talented people.

More info, here.

Yay! Thanks for reading.
on thurday nights, we usually need a few extra place settings.

Friday Happiness::
.Apple cake and bread to bake today. And knowing that at this moment, a friend is making roasted acorn squash soup for our dinner tonight.

.The Avett Brothers on the radio this morning. "Ah, Brooklyn, Brooklyn, take me in."
I especially like the words "tell the ones that need to know"; doesn't that conjure up the people in your life that you love?

.Measuring everyone's height, grown-ups, too, in pencil, on our kitchen wall.

.The beautiful photos, at this joy+ride, from our neck of the woods.
When we were young, my brothers and I used to take picnics to the cemetery, and swim in the river that winds along its edges. I realize that sounds strange and morbid, now. But it didn't seem strange at all, then. It's actually one of my clearest and fondest memories.

.Way too much on our plate this weekend, but all of it promises to be fun. If you're local, come join us for the opening reception for Public Bookstore on Saturday.

Enjoy the weekend. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I'm not a summer person. I will say, that over the last few years, Tim has shown me how to enjoy summer a bit more than I ever did.

But really, this is my time.

I get a profound but simple pleasure from donning sweater and scarf. I am awed when surrounded by crisp air and nature's breathtaking last gasp before winter. I love being outside in the fall more than at any other time of year.

And yet, left to my own devices, I suspect that I might always choose to stay inside. I love the coziness, the hunkering down, the comforting routine, of being voluntarily housebound. And the colder weather gives me an excuse to stay in. Hygge.

To stay in and bake something. Cook something. Something involved and time-consuming.

To light candles, earlier and earlier.

To consider couch sitting a night's activity.

To drink hot cider, and red wine, and hot chocolate, and pots of tea. Not all at the same time, necessarily.

To pick a project. Those empty photo albums. Those three scarves, unfinished on the needles.

To put on some of the old records, now that we can sit and listen for a while.

To get under the covers to read.

To shut the door, and be together. I like when we drive by houses at night, and see a light glowing through the windows. Maybe getting a peek at someone moving around inside.

I love that we are inside our own little house, lights glowing, and us all living within these comforting walls.

Life dictates that I will have to leave the house. I know this all too well. I will take that walk. I will go cheer on the kids. I will meet friends and get provisions, and drive everyone where ever they need to go.

But after that, you know where to find me.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Another grey day, and I'm finding that suits me well. It's not that I'm gloomy-grey, but rather, a soft, muted, soothing grey. Grey doesn't insist. Grey doesn't shout for you to come and play. Grey beckons you outside, to notice her.

I walked out back this morning, and found some beauty out there, in the grey. Blue skies and red leaves call you to look up and notice them. Looking down, I was surprised at how much is going on in our retreating garden.

Yesterday was grey, too. It was a nice gentle day that just went along. No surprises but some very nice moments. Talking to friends. Kids collecting leaves in the park. Some progress made inside, getting ready to retreat into the house more and more in the weeks to come.

For dinner, we made beef barley soup out of Callie's leftover brisket + gravy. With a simple salad, goat cheese, and some really good bread, I think it was pretty much the perfect fall meal.

Now, I'm just waiting for lunch to roll around, so I can heat up some soup, and maybe take a bowl out back. Our days for eating outside are numbered.

This feels like a Monday, but I know it's not.

Enjoy your day. Thanks for reading.