Monday, December 31, 2012

thoughts on new year's eve

My coworker and I walked to our cars together this afternoon.  She turned and remarked that her father had a saying about the new year's day.  It was something to the effect that one should start with the best intentions, the best foot forward on new year's day, as that first fresh day would then determine the tenor of the year.  I wish I could have quoted her - I was intrigued by her words.  What if her father was right?  What other stories and myths and bits of wisdom had I missed out on!

We are all searching for something.  The horrifying events that took place this past year in classrooms, in subways, in shopping malls, tells us that we are living in a land where love and legend and heroes are disappearing and being replaced by a darkness that is destroying our humanity.  I don't have any answers.  Standing outside in the dark, long before sunrise, I wait for for my good dog to complete his business.  The stars are unspeakably bright and an owl is calling from across the marsh.  I feel safer in the natural world than in any city, on any sidewalk, or any island shared by my own kind.  What to do?

It's a start.  

No telling how much we could grow if some of these sayings were embroidered into our beings. 

 Have a happy and safe New Year's Eve and tomorrow - well, tomorrow, let us be the best that we know how to be.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

merry and bright

Christmas in New Canaan.  This tribute to our father, the Fire Chief.  And to my son, working a 48 hour shift, keeping people safe.

Gifts to open - no one wraps like my sister.  She graduated from Vassar College with honors in English, but I secretly believe that she majored in Good Taste!

The table - something special to behold -

The white lilies literally opened while we dined -

And everywhere one gazed, a treasure or two!

Doesn't everything taste better served from Waterford crystal?  Oh, and speaking of crystal - we had a 'moment' when dessert was served.  I'll get to that, but first -  Pop overs.  Has anyone waxed poetically over popovers recently?  My sister makes the most amazing popovers - worthy of a sonnet!

Hadley and I stood guard from oven to table  - they are THAT mouth-watering...

Dinner was delicious - but dessert, well .... dessert was a different story.  I didn't take photos, but you'll believe me when I tell you that we had a marvelous cheese cake, a gorgeous pecan pie and a deluxe carrot cake.  Yummy City.  Long story short, a crystal cake stand collapsed and slide sideways shattering into thousands of shards which flew in ALL directions, including the tops of the desserts.  So long, desserts.  Each and every one, shoveled into the trash.

What to do?  My mom and my brother-in-law and I piled into the car to go and have a walkabout at New Canaan's "Crown Jewel'  - the Waveny Restoration Park.

My BIL is a modest man and does not boast of his contributions to this incredible place.  But he has been instrumental in many phases of the Park - especially in the addition of the olympic pool ... but I don't want to embarrass him.  What I do want to say is that this place is so special - it is worth a stop and look.  My sister and her garden club have spent endless hours working in the Walled Garden -

And winter's dreary coat cannot veil all of those efforts.  It is a serene and splendid garden.

Imagine the summer concerts conducted on this lawn?

I fell HARD for this magical place ..

They had to scoop me up and head me toward home!

Monday, December 24, 2012

It seems, on this Christmas Eve, that our traditions are disappearing.  Or maybe this is life, on life's terms.  I am resistant though, to our family shrinking and scattering to all corners of the continent.  Our children, now young adults, have work schedules that do not include holiday sit-downs.  It is hard to feel connected.

I think that we need a few weddings and many babies to follow!  I want to see my family hunkered down around the harvest table, elbows rubbing, laughing, debating, sneaking scraps to the dog.  I want that fullness, that sense of everything-is-right-with-the-world that only comes with such a gathering.

Tomorrow we will journey to Connecticut to join my sister in New Canaan.  Andrew and Carson have to work, Hilary has the flu.  Matthew couldn't make it in from Santa Fe, BUT we will have Hadley and ourselves and mom.  It is enough.  It has to be.  No sense crying after some other arrangement - we have to move forward and create new traditions and share in the gratitude that we have what we have.  There, that's better.  On, on.  ( a little pep talk is good for the soul!)

There was no time to paint and washi the little clothespins - but they serve their purpose unaltered.  Perhaps I will paint them and give them festive jackets before I take them down.

And I am still working on gift tags!  Such addictive little pleasures.

The Christmas Banner is hung and a tree needs to be decorated.  The calamari is stuffed, the Spinach Rockefeller steaming and I am getting the carrot cakes out of the oven momentarily.

I took leftover carrots to the draft horses down the road and delighted Harley on my return with equine smells on my coat.  He's been following me around sniffing and trying to lick my sleeves! 

So, I am reporting from Empty Nest Central where we plod forward into this new territory, somewhat confused and bewildered by change.  Tonight we will honor the victims of Sandy Hook by placing a lantern at the end of the driveway.  " Imagine all the people, living life in peace ..."

Saturday, December 15, 2012


My prayer is sent up for the Sandy Hook community - to all who are affected by this senseless tragedy.   My prayer is about unconditional love.  For ourselves, for each other.  

Sunday, December 9, 2012

rainy weekend

The silent treatment always fills me with guilt, especially if it is given to me by the Dog.  (We spent far too much time in the sewing room on a rainy Saturday).  The Dog would prefer to be outside, mucking around in the tall daylily bed, sniffing out whatever the visitors from the night before have left.

This is resignation in its purest form.  Still, he is hopeful - so much so that I have to limit my trips downstairs to spare him the disappointment of NOT going out in the rain!  It means limited amounts of tea and restricted bathroom breaks!  I do love him so.  I've noticed that his gimpy hip is advancing and I know that surgery is in the cards and it breaks my heart to think that I will have to go on without him one day.  In a perfect world he would go with me everywhere - including work.  His cheerfulness would be a balm in that place, I can tell you!

I made a lined hat for my nephew who does ski rescue patrol out west.  I thought that it would be especially warm when worn under his helmut up in the mountains.  Unfortunately for Matt, Scott saw it first, tried it on and declared it perfect for working outdoor construction.  I've started another.

My niece has a business called Small Papers.  She sells the most wonderful cards and stationary, wrappings, stamps and who-hah's galore!  Her business has won awards in Connecticut and she is traveling now, doing trunk shows.  She has exquisite taste in all things.  I thought that a pillow would be just right for Christmas, done in one of her favorite color combinations.

And then, because it wasn't time for a bathroom break or a cup of tea, I made some coasters with my scraps.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

i met a shepherd

The college hosts a crafty Tuesday where local artists can come and display their wares.  Some weeks there are enticing vendors such as the couple that makes 25 varieties of pickles!   Or the apple farmers who bring baked goodies that can move anyone's taste buds to indulgence!  This past week brought a lady shepherd and her really beautiful woven blankets, for starters.

I couldn't pass up these two skeins of chocolate - they were whispering "leg warmers" to me!  The yarn is sold by the ounce and boasts of having absolutely NO knots!  The lady shepherd explained that knots are not welcomed for the weaving of a blanket.  She was preaching to the choir!  

I auditioned buttons for Hilary's tree skirt ...

So much going on here - I was hoping to find some old glass buttons in my stash.  I finally found three quiet green ones.  I think that she will like this very much, especially when she sees the underside!

Hello Kitty never fails to bring a smile.

Morehouse merino mitts that need my attention (these were started in 2011, opps!).  I rarely buy kits, but Morehouse has delightful offerings, you should check them out if you haven't already.  Theirs is some of the most delicious merino around - it was a sad day in NYS when they closed their shop doors.  Some things aren't meant to change!

A holiday banner would be pretty -

When I was in my twenties I was wild for cross stitch.  These holiday place mats popped up when we were moving my mother, and I brought them home.  As with everything else, she kept them in impeccable condition.  I wonder if she actually used them for herself and dad.

They will grace the holiday table this year and bring a smile or two, and certainly memories of a time gone by.