Monday, October 31, 2011

Snowy Weekend

A great storm blew in Saturday, not even Halloween yet, here we sit in October and I awoke to sleet on the windows.  It changed to snow and then a mix as the day went on.  I had heard earlier in the week that they were calling for a snow storm.  I just shrugged off the idea.  It was almost delightful because it was so pretty yet I knew it wouldn't last and make a mess of the roads.

It was a good excuse to curl up on the couch all day and do nothing.

Making me happy today

A pile of library books, some gorgeous new moisturiser that is making my skin feel wonderful, and a cheery postcard which arrived this morning and made me laugh out loud. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Just Now Friday A.M. October 28, 2011

Just Now...

Current time: 7:38 a.m.

In my glass: Earl Grey Creme/English Breakfast mix, with milk and honey

In my belly: nothing yet, get girls ready first.

In my ears: whenever i get in a muck, i always turn to Jack Johnson.

Out the window: the cold blew in last night, but i think the sun may make an appearance today.

On the editor: quick pics i took last night of myself for today.

Last watched:  Hawaii Five-O, recently became addicted to this remake, hook, line and sinker.

Feeling good about:  my little one is sick, taking her to the doctor this a.m., but happy to be able to snuggle her up when she needs "mommy".

Feeling bad about: having to use another 10 hours sick time from work to do the above.

By my bedside:  Cyndi Lee's Om Yoga, working out a weekly practice.  i like this book because it's spiral bound and lies flat on the floor.

Making me think: don't know if you've ever seen this, but these three words keep running through my head and that's a good thing.  "i am enough".  link not showing, but the words in bold will take you over.

Just Now: Thursday, 27th October 2011

Just Now...

Current time: 9.45pm, Thursday evening

In my glass: coke. 

In my belly: beef stroganoff. 

In my ears: I haven't listened to anything for a few days. The last was Savage Garden, in the car.

Out the window: dark, cold, autumn evening. 

On the editor: I've been editing and arranging some wedding photos ready to print out for albums, or to frame. We have over a thousand photos, so it's a mammoth task, but I have at least made a start.

Last watched:  Greek Odyssey - Joanna Lumley travelling around Greece.

Feeling good about: what a wonderful wedding we had and how lucky we are to have such lovely friends and family. 

Feeling bad about: not feeling well again. Being behind with everything as usual. The Prof being very stressed at work, he is exhausted lately.

By my bedside:  whichever book I take up to bed tonight, I am often reading several at once. Probably I Feel Bad About my Neck, by Nora Ephron. In the drawer of my bedside table is Simple Abundance, lately I have been thinking I would like to read a page each evening or morning as I used to. 

Making me think: I really need to take care of myself for a while. Less of the bad things, more of the good things.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

slump week.

i don't have any photos today myself.  i took a limited amount at the party Saturday, but was too busy playing host, as it should be.  some weeks i pick up the camera and take lots of photos around the house but this week i've just not felt like it.  i'm in this weird sort of slump.  no energy, no enthusiasm, general lack of caring really about doing anything around here.

i can't pinpoint it.  partly recovery after the busy weekend with the party. partly because i've not been sleeping well. partly because i'm pre-menstrual.  partly, because i'm still trying to process the end of this relationship that has had no closure, partly because he cut off contact with me and now I with him. partly because i'm thinking of taking on writing this novel that both thrills and scares the hell out of me, fear of failure, yes.

it's in these times that i, like you, think about de-cluttering, making simple.  but the thought of that is always easier than the actual action, which can seem overwhelming.  if you are anything like me the actual weight of too many things on my mind, can feel more burdensome than any physical strain.  unfortunately, i know my friend you sometimes have the burden of both.

in truth, i've been neglecting the very things that would make me more whole.  i've not been on the yoga mat the past week which has left me with this nervous energy at night, my eating has fallen by the wayside into comfort food overload which leaves me sluggish, and when i should be embracing the wisdom i usually find in Buddhist truths on change and fear, this morning was the first morning i dared sit with a loving kindness meditation and that was driving down the road to work.

it's one of those, oh no, things are a bit burdensome right now kind of weeks.  i'm hoping a quiet weekend and returning to the yoga mat will help.  i may have to pick up the book of my old friend when i'm down, pema chodron.

hope you are feeling better.  cheers to a finer week next week.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

from the week: mini me

Debbie: I've been looking at some old photographs this week. This is me, aged about 5 or 6 I think, in the school playground. 

right now: 10/26/11

Jennifer - not from this week, putzing around on the editor.  
i know you are fond of doors.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

blue skies

It rained overnight and I expected it to be grey and overcast this morning. So what a pleasant surprise to see the sun! I love the sunshine, just dislike the heat - so a sunny day at this time of year is ideal for me. There is washing on the line and more in the washing machine. I love to see the washing blowing in the breeze, and it smells so beautifully of the fresh air when I bring it in.

I don't have much to say today. I am not feeling very well. It started about ten days ago and is doing its horrible creepingly worse-every-day thing. So today I am just feeling grateful for the sunshine, and my morning coffee, and trying to keep it a blue sky day despite the grey skies threatening.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

My weekend

This weekend was mostly made up of:

Evidently, ignoring my camera
A Friday night date with the Prof, dinner at a local restaurant
Long lie-ins
Sausage sandwich and builder's tea
Falling asleep on the sofa
A cuppa with my Mum and Dad
The last (sob) episode of Spooks
Three books to read, borrowed from a friend. I read them years ago, but want to reread. My TBR bookcase is groaning already
A pretty new folder for our household notebook
Sunday afternoon tea with friends
Butter chicken (from a jar, I was intrigued but it was chicken curry by another name) with 'courgette pasta' *
Reading. Home magazines (making plans!), Country Living as always and Netherwood

* Courgette (Zucchini to you!) 'Pasta'

This is of course, not pasta. It's what you cook when you are trying not to eat pasta :)

Cut courgettes into long ribbons using one of those Y-shaped peelers.
Stir fry with crushed garlic
Mix with whatever pasta sauce or other items you fancy.

That's it! It is surprisingly tasty and you can use it anywhere you would have used pasta.


homemade macaroni cheese, mummy dogs on sticks, warm apple cider with cinnamon, backyard scavenger hunt, bobbing for apples, freeze dancing, circle round storytelling with the dog in the middle, nine girls, one boy, two moms, new friends, old friends, family


just me, a mug of tea and the Sunday New York Times today.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Here and There: Favorite Things

homemade chocolate chip cookies
i cannot eat prepackaged ones.  i've perfected the perfect thick chewy kind.

christmas at my mother's
when i was married we always spent Christmas with his family.  Now I am happy to spend my favorite holiday with my family. My mother makes an amazing dinner, we pop open our crackers, put on our crowns and then retire to the living room to open the simple gifts we've found for one another.  The woodstove is burning, the tree is lit and we never really want to leave to go home.  I think my mother these past few years is happy to have all her children back at home for Christmas.

pumpkin pie
it is truly my favorite pie and how could i not put it on here after yesterday's conversation?

especially this little one given to me by my grandmother that sits on my desk.  my good luck charm.

my bedroom windowsill
it holds all my favorite treasures from the sea i've collected

my neighbors, my grandparents on their porch swing
they are two of my favorite people and their porch with them is a special place to sit.

my dear cat Annabelle
i got her two months after i got married.  she was my first baby.  she was hospitalized for three days after we got her from the shelter; she would have died without us.  she's fourteen years old and has been with me through anything. i love the way she stares at me.

Here and there: a few favourite things

This is a rather blurred photo of a lovely little ornament that was the very first thing the Young Philosopher bought me by himself, when he was away camping with the Beavers, which was the first time he had been away without me. 

This is the dishcloth I am currently knitting. I don't knit anything very complicated. I am coming to the conclusion that you need the kind of mathematical, logical mind that I haven't got, in order to knit and crochet well. I am happy to knit scarves and dishcloths and the odd tea cosy. I like easy, repetitive patterns, I find it one of the few things that calms down my grasshopper mind, painting is another. 

These are mementos that the brother of a dear friend gave me after she passed away. We worked together many years ago and used her dictionary when we did the crossword together, at work and then in later years when I stayed with her. I bought her the fridge magnet and I now have it on my fridge.

This picture is of my two lovely Aunties. I am very lucky to still have my Auntie May on the right, but sadly we lost my Auntie Doris several years ago. I love this picture, when I look at it I can hear their laughter. It brings back memories of past family Christmases. 

The bench which used to be in Auntie Doris' garden and now is my favourite place to sit in my own.

The ribbons that were used in our handfasting. They were wrapped around our joined hands and tied in the knot you see in the photograph. I plan to frame them and display on the wall with our wedding photograph.

During our wedding day, unbeknown to us, the Best Woman was interviewing friends and relations, asking them to comment on what they thought of the Prof and I. She used some of their words in her speech, and just recently gave us the sheets people wrote on. It was a lovely idea, and a wonderful keepsake.

My grandmother's engagement ring, which she gave to me when I was 19. I have worn it ever since. It was secondhand when my grandad bought it, an unredeemed pledge in a pawn shop, and is about a hundred years old. I always wonder about the first woman who wore it and what her story was. 

Also in this photograph, the engagement laptop. It was a standing joke between the Prof and I that when we got engaged, he would buy me a ring, a laptop and a cow. I don't even remember the origin of the joke now, or why a cow, but there you are. The little stuffed cow he bought sits on my bedside table, and I use the laptop every day and love it. I use it to store information and photos,  to blog,  to shop, even to search my library and reserve books, and it has enabled me to make friends all over the world, including you. I am very grateful for that. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

quick little notes...

So I have no photos today, or tonight as I should say because I always post these in the late of night.  I know the date on here will say Thursday, but I always write these on Wednesday nights almost always about 10:00 after everyone is settled.  With the time difference I can post this and it will already be Thursday where you are.  It's kind of a neat little trick.

So it's 10:10 p.m., see......I'm in bed and Emily has also wandered over into my bed so I am scrunched down across the bottom and let me tell you, Karelyn's got her feet stuck out of the covers and they STINK.  How can a little girl who has had a bath have such stinky feet.  The cat has now crowded in and is trying to lay on my pillow, which I hate, hairy beast, so I may excuse myself and go sleep in Emily's room tonight.

This week has been blowing by.  I know that it will continue to from now until the end of the year.  We've got Halloween coming, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas and then K's birthday is January 3rd.  I always push her celebration back a week or two to give it a bit of space from Christmas.  That feels like a dreadful thing to do, but it works out better.  I blew off all my work last weekend so we could go to the apple butter festival and a day at the park so I'm paying for it and with the party coming up this weekend I'm really paying for it.  Who was saying one thing at a time?  I must mind my own advice I should think.

The good news is that vacation is coming.  29 days now to go.  Since my plans that I had have fallen through I now have an open book.  Ten days over two weekends with Thanksgiving in the middle.  It's strange that you don't have Thanksgiving, but then you wouldn't would you?  No celebrating with the Native Americans for you, though I think that whole bit is a bunch of hooey.  Everyone acting like we weren't horrendous to the native people that already lived here.  I much prefer celebrating stuffing myself to the gills with turkey and mashed potatoes and stuffing and pumpkin pie,  and taking some time to be grateful.  That to me is what it's about.  Hey, maybe you should convince The Prof that you need to come visit me late November and you can free yourself from the carb limitations and put yourself into a coma with us???  Yeah, I know not too practical.  And speaking of food, pumpkin pie.   I love it.  It's one of my top ten foods.  Do you have it?   I had a friend from New Zealand who was living in Australia and she said they never had pumpkin pie????  That pumpkin was never used for dessert.  I would hate to think you've never had pumpkin pie.  If I ever get a chance to come see you, I will sneak my can of pumpkin into the country and make you a pie.

So anyway.....that's all for now.  Have to leave the land of stinky feet and go find a place to rest my head.  I hope your week has gotten easier and that you've found some peace.  Here's to one day, one moment, one task at a time!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

from the week

Debbie: The Young Philosopher and the lovely Miss S home from university last weekend. I want to be 18 again so I can have my hair done like that. Are plaits and felted spiky bits too much when you are in your forties? Thought so......

right now: 10/19/11

jennifer - i tried the spooky sounds CD out on the girls Sunday during breakfast.  I think this might mean it's a NO for Saturday night. Maybe next year.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tuesday: inside my head

This coffee is nice, I do enjoy a cup of proper coffee, not instant, with cream, although on this diet I am not supposed to have caffeine. Oh well too bad I forgot to buy decaff.  The sky looks a lovely shade of blue out there through the window, I am not letting it deceive me, I bet it's cold out. Oh look, the sun is just starting to creep over the windowsill, and soon it will light up the orange glass of my art deco vases the way I love. Look at that laundry folded up on the chair, waiting since yesterday to go upstairs, oh and that box of photographs on the floor that I was going to sort out in July. Sigh. Why is the clothes airer there against the wall, that should be in the bathroom, and the vanity case containing my make up is on the floor next to the coffee table, I don't remember leaving that there. I need to find a place for that. I should try to remember to water the poor parched plants today. Oh, the rosebush we got as a wedding present in April still needs to be planted in the garden. It's 12.45 and I have only had one glass of water, how am I going to fit in eight. I wonder if the Prof wants to go to Staples when he gets home for those storage boxes while they are on special offer. I need a glue stick and some posterboard too. It won't be long until Christmas, we had better get a move on and get the house organised, there is no room in this living room for the tree now we have our new table, don't know what to do about that. I could have got some laundry done today if I had realised the weather was going to be dry. I'll do it tomorrow, bet it rains. I really didn't feel like cooking that breakfast, but I enjoyed it. Wish I could have some fruit, strawberries would be nice. Maybe I will get some to take to Jennie's on Sunday. The dog needs a bath, oh I hate that job she is so hard to lift and she is terrified of water, defective labrador.  I haven't taken any photos for a while, I must take some, I'll have none to post. I haven't done last week's photographic assignment for the Unravelling course either, or the collage but once I have the glue stick and card I can get going on that. I am really enjoying Jamrach's Menagerie, didn't fancy it much at first but Richard Madeley said it's the best book he has read in fifteen years, which was intriguing enough to make me try it. I might just curl up on the sofa this afternoon and read it, though I do have numerous episodes of House of Eliot to watch, maybe I should just delete those, I will never get round to it. I wonder if Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is still showing locally with subtitles. I think I'll have another coffee.

Monday, October 17, 2011

my weekend: elvis impersonator makes amazing stuffing

This weekend, I have been:

  • Having an upset stomach
  • Buying a mini greenhouse so I can start sweet peas off now
  • Waiting at the bank for half an hour past my appointment time, getting cross and leaving
  • Spending a fortune on meat, low carb  diet eating plan starting today
  • Eating crisps, Kentucky and too much Coke
  • Sleeping a lot
  • Having dinner at our friends' house, including the most amazing stuffing I have ever tasted, made by Wayne, wearing Elvis pyjamas. I have strange friends
  • Reading Jamrach's Menagerie
I'm editing this Tuesday to add the recipe for the stuffing. Don't know why I didn't do that yesterday. 
It was amazingly simple, a pack of Paxo, chopped onion and skinned sausages. Add hot water, stir, bake until done. It was amazing. I know, I already said that. 

weekend update: sunday breakfast, october style

it's officially fall now, the date having changed almost a month ago, but really feeling it now.  this morning i tried a new recipe for baked oatmeal.  i used thawed frozen blueberries and fresh apples, but you could actually make it with any combination of amazing fruits.  it got a triple thumbs up, the girls having devoured two great big platefuls this morning fresh from the oven.  even emily's friend "witchy cat" newly found from the basement with the halloween decorations seemed to agree.  next sunday will be the morning after the girl's halloween party.  do you do all the halloween shenanigans and trick-or-treating there in England?  I imagine after entertaining a dozen young girls for the evening Saturday, we will be having a very easy breakfast next weekend.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Here and There: groceries

The Top Ten Grocery List

Bananas-Emily would die without them

Blueberries-I have been known to spend insane amounts of money on them out of season because I love them soooo much.

Loose Carrots-My dad says they are no different, but I swear they are and the rabbit loves the greens on top.

Potatoes-any which way you make them they are like a little bit of heaven, I think we share the same feeling on them.

Lactose Free Milk- Emily is lactose intolerant so she needs it to drink and I use it in all my cooking.

Cabot Creamery Aged Cheddar-oh my gosh, as much as Emily can't have dairy, I love it, add to this usually a variety of other cheeses

Eggs-we would have to have a lot of chickens if we ever wanted our own fresh, we usually go through two dozen a week.  We don't eat a lot of meat but we eat a lot of eggs.

Frozen Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches-  I know right but they're the only pb&j's I'll eat and they are so easy to just throw in the girls lunch boxes on a hurried morning.

Honey- you've got sugar, I've got honey, in the teacup and over my oatmeal, thank you busy bees!!

Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips-  I started getting them to put in my chocolate chip cookies, they are more bitter chocolate and bigger chips, but now the girls put them in their cereal in the morning and I eat them as a snack at night with a cup of tea, so really now we can't live without them.

And usually a magazine, there's a reason they put all those glossy things at the check out counter, if I don't succumb to that then it's usually iced mocha coffee on the way out, but last week I put it in my seat while I unloaded the cart and ended up forgetting and sitting on it.  It was not pretty and I ended up driving home with a sticky bum!!

Here and There: 10 things I always buy...

1 Rooibos (redbush) tea

2. Bananas - I think the Prof was a monkey in a former life, he eats a lot of them

3. Sugar - I take one sugar in my tea. When I was growing up, almost everyone took sugar, what happened to that? Now you have to feel guilty about it. Well, I don't!. Although, when I start my diet new eating plan next week, I can't have sugar or milk, at least rooibos is fine without it. Fortunately I will be able to have cream in my coffee

4. The Radio Times - I like a thorough listings magazine, even though I don't watch much tv and haven't listened to a radio programme in a couple of years, I always think I might need all the details

5. Potatoes, I have an ongoing love affair with potatoes. You may remember my recipe for egg and mash. I like them mashed, boiled, baked, fried....yum. They are off the menu next week, too, but as it is a high protein diet eating plan I will still be able to eat ....

6. Extra strong cheese, yay!

7. Toilet roll, usually a huge jumbo pack. I think someone in the house is eating it

8. Dog food - can't forget our lovely black labrador, Star. She has dry food in the morning and a tin of meat in the evening, supplemented with the odd dog biscuit here and there and a rawhide chew sometimes

9. Chunky bucket. For some reason this is what the Prof calls the butter-in-a-tub stuff, which we buy because it is convenient. I prefer real butter, but if it's out of the fridge it goes warm and runny and if it's in the fridge it's always too hard. Sadly, I remain too disorganised to anticipate my need for butter and get it out in advance to soften, so chunky bucket it is, most of the time, unfortunately.

10.  A treat of some kind. I never manage to leave the supermarket with only what I went in for. Favourite treats to succumb to are coke, chocolate, crisps and of course books.

I have just realised there is nary a vegetable on this list. I do buy those every week, too. Honest.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

sharing burdens

because you know me so well you know it's been a trying week
this month is a very busy month for us
much to do every weekend
our own making
we will go to renaissance faire next week
and then the girls will have a halloween party the next
in it all i've been worried about my baby
and i've ended a relationship i think i had no business starting
but i've had long conversations with you and several other friends
and i've realized we've all got our burdens and our problems
and perhaps what we do is just pass it around
and we feel a little better because we speak it aloud
and we know we are not alone with our burdens
because when you stay alone with your fears
suddenly the world is a very scary place
i am glad for you friend
maybe i don't find the time to say it in the day to day
you have become a blessing for me
knowing you are just an email away
never judging, always supportive
all these miles away 
never having met
but understanding
thank you

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

from the week: making peace with imperfection

Debbie: The other day I received the advice to smile at myself every time I catch sight of myself in a mirror. You know that moment when you see yourself and think 'ugh' - well give yourself a little smirk, instead! Much nicer. This was me this morning - no make up, unbrushed hair and a mirror that needs a clean. Real life. 

right now: 10.11.11

jennifer- emily took these of me on my grandmother's porch during our visit this weekend, i do need more photos of myself for them.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Royal Love Story

'I loved her dearly, and I shall never cease to love her in death' 
The Eleanor Cross at Waltham Cross in Hertfordshire

When they married, Eleanor was a Spanish princess and Edward the future King of England. Theirs was an arranged marriage, undertaken when she was in her thirteenth year and he only a few years older. Despite the businesslike background to their marriage, they became well known for their devotion to each other and were soon inseparable,  Eleanor accompanying Edward whenever he travelled, including on military duties. There is a legend that during the crusades she saved his life  by sucking poison from his wounds, unproven, but a nice story. They had 16 children together and their union was known to be a happy one, which wasn't necessarily the case in those days of arranged marriages, or in fact these days. Unlike other kings, Edward had no known mistresses or illegitimate children.

When Eleanor died in 1290 aged 49 at Harby near Lincoln,  the King wrote 'I loved her dearly and I shall never cease to love her in death'. Edward had her body brought to Westminster Abbey in London for burial, by grand procession, which he accompanied. The procession rested  12 times on the long journey, at Lincoln, Grantham, Stamford, Geddington, Northampton, Stony Stratford, Woburn, Dunstable, St. Albans, Waltham, Westcheap, and Charing (as in Charing Cross, London).  At each place Edward had a large, elaborate memorial built to his Queen. Today, three originals still stand - Geddington, Hardingstone and Waltham Cross.

Isn't this a lovely story?  I first heard of it when I came across the Geddington Eleanor Cross last year and I loved the idea of a King and Queen of England so devoted to each other. Last weekend we were in Waltham Abbey for King Harold Day, and visited nearby Waltham Cross in order to see the Eleanor Cross, which is  covered in netting to protect it from pigeons and situated in amongst the shops. People were bustling past, no one was taking any notice of it except me, I wonder if people even wonder what it is, or bother to read the plaque attached to the railings. 

I am fascinated by history - not the dates, and the battles, the military tactics and the politics, but the human stories, the stories that reach down to me through time and touch my mind, or my heart.