Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Today arrived the first books of poetry I have ever purchased. (And,this the first post I have written from my iPad. Relation?). I bought two disparate poets: Dylan Thomas and Charles Bukowski. I'll let you know how it goes. I can tell you now, though,that typing on an iPad is quite anti-creative. Blah!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Promise of Spring In November

The secret is - bulbs.  This small patch of bare earth and dead leaves now looks desolate and uninviting.  Yet it is one of the places in my yard that holds the secret promise of Spring inside its heart.  I planted about 100 bulbs about the yard.  As I planted on a sunny but raw and windy day, I thought about the hopefulness of planting bulbs, the belief in the future, in the cycle of life and return of warmth and color. 

Those bulbs, those small brown packages of hope.  They look dead.  All boxed up in dusty packages on clearance racks of large monocultured chain stores, underneath florescent lights, with bits of themselves flaking off like a bag of onions in the grocery store.  The bulbs are on clearance racks this time of year because the chain stores are eliminating the outdoor gardening sections to make way for Christmas.  The population's attention has shifted, again.  But, it's not really past the season to plant bulbs quite yet. 

And, there they sat, the silent promises of beauty and scent, of rebirth and rejuvenation, nearly religious chalices, all but ready to be tossed aside.  I reclaimed a few packages, knelt in the wind, dug through dead debris and cold earth for hours.  I measured the correct depth for each type of bulb, and laid each in its rightful place.  And smiled.  What better ritual for accepting oncoming Winter and the loss of daylight savings time?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The arrival.  That stroller is loaded with 2 cats in 2 separate cat carriers and a full diaper bag with enough toys and food to address a 7 hour trip.  And still she smiles.

The first weekend home, we feel the need for open spaces, sunshine and views.  We climbed the hill of the orchard.   Aaaahhh.  Let New Hampshire sink in.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Big Day

Today is an exciting day.  One of my daughters is arriving by plane today - and she is not going back!  She is moving back to New England.  No, sadly, she is not moving in with me.  My daughter and her family are going to live in Massachusetts with my Mother, a shorter commute to Boston where her fiance has a new job.  But she is now only an hour away, instead of 1600 miles and a half day airplane ride away in Florida!  Plus, she (with granddaughter Sophie and fiance Joe) might come up to my house on the weekends!

Photos on next post....  

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wish I Had My Camera

I supposed that is nearly every bloggers' lament.  How many times do I have to think it before I put my camera bag in the car?  The past two mornings have been visually stunning.  We have had many cold nights and even frost, so the lakes and ponds have cooled down.  Then, the weather turned amazingly warm and humid with rain and thunderstorms.  Then, the last 2 mornings were clear skies with thick fog blanketing the woods and ponds.  The morning light through the mist setting the autumn colors aglow has been absolutely amazing.  Yet no memorable photos here!  The best I did was a few terrible shots from my cell phone as I am driving down the highway on the way to work chiding myself. 

This is why you should always have your camera with you!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I Feel So Rich

It's about the ripeness of fall.  The garden's bounty.  The color abundance.  The clear, fresh air.  

Combine that with almost liquid pleasure of a good book, its cornucopia of language tumbling into my brain and filling me like rich dessert.

Combine that with the luxuriousness of Sunday, all that time to indulge yourself in doing whatever you want.  I get to peruse the garden and gather the vegetables I want.  This Sunday I've made carrot cake from the carrots I pulled, potato and beet soup with sage and mint.  Orange, cream, purple and green.  All creations from things I've pulled out of the ground. 

Nourishment for my body, delight for my eyes, richness for my soul.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Wasn't it Just August?

When I think of posting, I find myself going back to the same theme: time passing quickly.  I picked up a carton of something from the fridge the other day that had a "sell by" date of August 28th.  I actually started to use it, thinking, "that's not so bad, it was just August a week or so ago!"  I practically plopped right down on the floor right there in astonishment when I quickly then realized August was 2 MONTHS ago.  I mean, really, what happened to September?

I know I am repeating myself.  How many times can I say "where did the time go?"  This time, though, I nearly felt as though I must have been in a coma or something.  I literally stopped a moment to go over the events of the last few months in my mind to make sure I really did not step through a time portal.  And, no, I did not.  We went to our local annual fair - which I blogged about last year - and the annual boat show - we stayed at a fancy hotel in Newport.  I remembered being sad I missed my granddaughter's first birthday since she is in Florida, but she's moving back to New England next month so I'll get to see her all the time!  Weekends were full of harvesting and processing food from the garden and soaking up the beautiful weather and scanning trays and trays full of slides which cataloged my entire childhood.  Yes I remember, it was a good September.

This is my Austen Powers impersonation.

I was not responsible for my hair!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

All of a Sudden, It's August

It happens when you awaken one morning and it feels as if it is too early to get up.  It's dark.  Not night-dark, but dark in some sort of fuzzy, non-specific, sleepy headed way.  The pre-conscious impression is that it is still early yet. The light is dim, unformed.  The sun has not yet risen.  Or, maybe it's very foggy, or overcast.  At any rate, one's slightly more conscious mind thinks, I'm going back to sleep. 

Then you catch sight of the clock on your way back down to the pillow. 

And you know in your bones that it is August.  Still warm, even blastingly hot of high summer sometimes, but the sun is rising much later, and with that day shift you almost feel the Earth's weighty glide towards autumn.  Propelling you through seasons and time.

The morning's walk in the woods is silent of bird songs.  They are replaced by the rattle and plunk of falling acorns.  Crickets and cicadas buzz.  The light is flat and it, and lawns, are shifting to gold.  Nature's energy feels mature, ripe, unhurried. 

I think I know why summer seems so short.  Constant change.  From the first crocus pushing their miraculous petals through melting snow, to milkweed fluffs drifting over browning fields, the passing from spring to summer to fall is ever changing.  Series of flowers bloom, each according to its own clock.  Pop, fade.  Pop, fade.  Spot to spot in the garden, like the longest fireworks display imagineable.  Fruiting plants emerge colorful buds, to flowers, to fruit growing fuller and more colorful each day, and then drop to the ground.  Birds nest, hatch eggs, fledglings grow until they fly away.  The summer scene changes every week like the episodes of a television show.

In contrast, winter is still, unchanging sleep.  Once the all green turns brown and black, and the snow falls, and the migrating birds have left and the hibernating animals burrow and sleep, the scene does not change.  Though birds flock to the feeder, they are the same every day, all winter.  No young ones getting bigger all the time.  No gradual shift of species from one month to the other, as flowers would: red ones flocking in December; blues ones arriving in January. 

Maybe the change is more subtle.  The deer get thinner.  The snow changes consistancy.  I guess there is always the lengthening of days - but we can miss that all together when we rise in the dark, and return home in the dark for several months no matter the change. 

How does one feel the passing of time in tropical places where Nature does not sleep?  Are there different rhythms of the cycles of life that simply go round and round, skipping that long pause of winter's quiet?  Does the light tell you what time of the year it is?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Summer Vacation

We climbed mountains.

We played games.

We created art.

  I had the wonderful experience of having my older granddaughter spend almost two weeks with me at my home while my daughter headed West to visit my son.  My granddaughter is an amazing little person, with acute observations and adventurous spirit.  I got to play non-stop the entire time. 

After the visit in New Hampshire, I returned her back home to Florida.  While there, I got to see my other daughter and my younger granddaughter, not yet old enough to spend a week with me.  I had more days of amazement at the intelligence, grace and beauty of my daughters and granddaughters all. 

I can't say it any better than Delwyn does.  Happy Days.



Wednesday, August 11, 2010

There's a Hole in My Wall!

This is the very view from the seat in which I began this post, until the mosquitoes attacked.

(Hey, I just wanted a little LIGHT in my house.)

This is part of a kitchen renovation.  The kitchen sink used to be behind this hole, and now it's
on the other side of the house.

This will be French doors, and the room behind them will be filled with light...and repainted.  The red trim was "country," circa 1981.

The dogs think it's great!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

From the Water

The view from the water in a busy port city is fascinating.  First, it is not the perspective that a typical viewer usually has.  Most things are oriented to the street: the door of a shop; its window displays; signs; flowers and landscaping; lighting. 

The water side is the working side.  The delivery access.  The place where the seafood catch is delivered to land.  The docks where the gasloline tanker unloads its cargo. 

Back doors.

It's the place where ships are built.  This is the oldest continuously operating shipyard in the United States.

You get to see the undersides of bridges.

And all the while, you're on the sea, smelling the sea and its air, feeling its power and majesty.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Gift of 50

I thought that turning 50 meant the gift of a wakeup call.  Here was a shockingly clear marker defining the last half of my life.  There were 50 years of life spent, spent, spent.  "Wake up," 50 said.  "It's slipping away."  "Pay attention."  Although happy and feeling saturated in the moment, I also sometimes felt as if my hands were outstretched, fingers grasping at the ephemeral substance of time, trying to hold it still.  It was the primary reason I started this blog.  I needed to pay attention by recording my days and experiences through words and photographs.  I marked time by trying to remember details and focus on the moments of my day.

It came to me the other day, that the very act of that grasping makes time even more evanescent.  The energy it takes to notice the fact if its passing chases it farther instead of keeping the moment close. The bittersweet irony of time.  Like a dream.  Instead, immersing oneself in the moment by living it, and forgetting about how quickly the moment is passing, makes the moment the most realized.  Just gulp the moment and swallow and love it and move on to the next.

Monday, July 12, 2010

More Adventure

I am so excited about this little beauty.

No, not my dog (though she IS cute).  I have been wanting to kayak for years and years.  Now the adventure begins.
I live in a place that offers so many opportunities to get outside and explore by water.  There are so many lakes, ponds and waterways, as well as a gorgeous rocky rugged ocean shorelline (this kayak is too small for that, though).  I can't believe it!  Now I can throw this on or in the wagon and head out for adventure whenever I want.  The potential is tingling in my fingertips.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

You Can Tell It's Hot When the Pool is 85 Degrees

...and the vegetables and flowers have to be watered every day.

...but, the dog still just wants to play.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Red Eft

I started this post nearly one month ago!  What has happened to the time?  This was June - perfect weather days with occaisional rain.  These adorable little creatures are called Red Efts.  They appear on the forest floor after rain, turning my morning walks with the dogs into a tiptoed dance as I try to avoid stepping on them.

I've seen them summer after summer, but did not know until now that what you see in this photo is but a stage in the life of a Eastern Spotted Salamander.  At other times in its life, it lives in the water.  It is born in the water and lives there in a larvae stage, with gills, for several years.  Then it leaves the water and lives on the land for several more years as this bright red teenager.  Finally, this flamboyant creature returns to a pond and turns a more camouflaged olive green.  This little thing can live for 15 years!

For some reason I am delighted to have discovered this fascinating and unexpected life journey of this unassuming little creature who so bravely stands its ground on the damp leaves as the dogs and I clamber past.  There truly is wonder all around us. 

And now, nearly a month later, this photo can make me smile, feel the cool morning dampness and hear the quiet of that morning, even as I sit now in the nasty clamour of air conditioners in the middle of a heat wave.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

review - Last Night In Twisted River

Several of you have asked me what I thought about John Irving's latest, Last Night in Twisted River.  Unfortunately, from the very first pages I was disappointed to realize that his writing simply isn't very good.  John Irving's talent instead lies in his imaginative plots, where characters do unexpected things and are very colorful.  Mr. Irving describes the North Country, as people from New Hampshire call the Northern parts of the state that border on Canada, very robustly, if not stereotypicallly.  The rougue North Country spirit is embodied by one of the characters, and he is facinating.   The other two main characters are not as interesting.  The son turns out to be a writer, educated at Exeter in New Hampshire, just like all of Mr. Irving's other books. 

Because I was not inspired by the writing, though, I neglected it.  I let it sit for long periods unread and unloved.  So much time passed between resting and reading (it's a long book), that by the end I finally became fond of the main characters and wished I had paid more attention to them.  Still, I have to say, bad writing, bad plot, but loveable characters who grow on you.

These are the days...

These are the days.  These long, lustrous, and luscious days.  I think nearly this whole month of May shone with glittery sunshine.  Fitting then that this long weekend, marking the end of May and the beginning of summer, was spent luxuriating in the perfection of the landscape and weather. 

Even the dog had a roll in the ferns and wore them for the rest of the day like a fairy crown.

When it rains, the skies present a gift, as if in apology for the momentary loss of sunshine.

I've been so bedazzled by this time of year that I can hardly bear to come inside to post.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I seem to be having difficulty getting on blogger during the day. I either can't log at all or it's slower than molasses in January. Is any one else having problems, or is it just my network?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Garden Time Around the Corner

This is a stirring sight in our household.

It means that it is almost garden time.  The growing season is short up here in the Northern side of the US.  So, to help ensure that the vegetables have enough time to produce their goodies, we give them a warm head start inside.  When the weather turns to snow in April, these infants stay safe.  When freezey breezes toss the apple blossoms into the air, these pampered babies stretch their roots in their pre-garden sanctuary.  By the end of May when there is no more chance of frost, we give them their chance to feel direct sunshine and rain at last - that is until we eat them!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Stepping Stones

I found
that someone had placed
two stones,
centered in a muddy puddle
along the path.

The unexpected discovery
made a touching impression,
that along the path of my
morning walk
in a place that creates
some struggle,
some inconvenience of stride
from having to jump or
feel a cold dampness soak my socks,
someone went out of their way
to place two rocks,
flat and level,
just so.

I can continue easily.
Step. Step.
I'm over the mud
and on my way
to the song of the wood thrush.

The stranger's anonymous kindness
feels like a friendly hand
stretched out
just when I needed it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Save the Oceans - Buy Seafood Wisely Using Your iPhone

Formerly titled, Worthwhile "App" - Seafood Watch.

I've known for some time that what seafood I chose to buy could have an affect on our oceans.  Yet, I was often confused about what I was supposed to buy, or not buy.  Farm raised?  Wild caught?  I thought I heard somewhere that it is better to buy smaller fish; they're lower on the food chain, I guess.   I thought I heard somewhere that talapia was a good choice.  Then I heard that it was not.  How was I going to find real answers in the midst of so much misinformation?

Then I discovered a resource to answer my questions - an app I could get for my iPhone!  I guess I should have known.  Yes, there is an app for that!

I only got my iPhone because my husband was crazy to get one, and if he got a cool new phone, I was going to get one, too.  As anyone who has one knows, there are hundres of thousands of useful, no-so useful, and downright stupid "apps" to buy and add to your iPhone.  Well, here is one that Everyone should dowload and Use!  And, it's FREE!

"Fishing practices worldwide are damaging our oceans—depleting fish populations, destroying habitats and polluting the water. Informed consumers can help turn the tide."

This tool, from the Monteray Bay Aquarium, is a must have for all your seafood purchases, whether at your grocery store or restaurant.  We consumers have the power to save our oceans.  It seems hard to imagine that our vast oceans, which have been a boundless source of food for all of human history, could be on the verge of destruction, but they are.  Our growing human population and technological advances in the fishing industry are taking their toll.  We must pay attention to what we consume to ensure the continuing bounty of the seas.

 I am now using this guide whenever I choose seafood.  Before I used this guide, I found it difficult to remember which seafood was appropriate to purchase, and which purchases were contributing to ocean destruction.  For example, some farmed seafood are good choices, and some are not.  So, simply following a farmed or no farmed, plan does not work.  Similarly, the same kind of fish or seafood can be sustainable or damaging, depending on the type or location of its harvest.  But, the mere fact that your choices are complicated is now no excuse for not using your purchasing power to restore our oceans.  You do not even need to have an iPhone to get the guide.  The aquarium's website had a downloadable pocket guide containing the same information.

Friday, April 16, 2010

It always amazes me how miraculous Nature is, and how tenaciously living things persist in their existence.

It snowed a bit here this morning.  Yet, the early grass, leaves and blossoms appear to be taking it in stride.  It is not unusual for it to snow in April, and Nature in this area is not quelled by it.  Delicate flowers and infant sprouts bend under the weight of damp snow, but do not die.

They seem to me to be saying, "I am here, and I will remain and grow no matter what you throw at me."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Morning Mist

I took this photo a few weeks back, just before I left for Florida. The mornings were misty then.  I believe it was because the air was so warm yet the ground and water, still barely recovered from ice and snow, held on to their nearly frozen temperatures.

There was little green showing a few weeks ago.  It is the time of the year where one most appriciates moss, for its oasis of color amidst the drab.  Fairy dust, or garden of forest elves, giving the promise of spring to come.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I left New Hampshire early on an irrationally warm day for the beginning of April - it would be 80 degrees that day.  I was on my way to Florida, the Promise Land for survivors of Northern winters and raw muddy springs.  When I got to Florida it was - tah dah - 80 degrees!  Now THAT wierd coincidence does not happen often.

But I was not going to Florida for the weather.  I was going for my heart.

You see now.
This is the unbearably irresistible call.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The music of life. That is the theme if the book I just closed.
There it is, on my "tray." This is a signed copy, a gift from the author whom I know. I love his phrase - music of life. Think about that. I've considered life many ways, but not as music. But it is. Yes. A simple tune, or a symphony, melodic, jazzy, plaintive and timid, or bold and full.
There is music to our actions in the way we treat others and carry out our beliefs. What about the music of holding a baby, play, and of course making love. There is music in the work we do, especially if it is meaningful. There is even music in sorrow.

What music are you creating?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Travelling today. This post is being sent via texting from my iPhone. I'm on my way to visit my grandchildren in Florida.

I have four unfinished posts saved, lingering unposted. Where did the month of March go? We've gone from piles of snow to 80 degree weather, stoking the woodstove to casting open all the windows to relish the warm breeze. Our appetites have gone from hearty stews and other comfort sustenance to salads and outdoor grilling. Winter to summer.

A bear has visited the bin in which I keep the birdseed. Twice. I find it turned over and broken apart in the early morning when the dogs and I burst out of the house to greet the day. A telltale bag of seed, ripped apart and dirty, is found yards away from the bin, into the woods.

I wish I had stopped to photogaph the sunrise through the mist which graced my early drive to the airport this morning. It delighted me, made me pause in my "gotta hurry," preflight frame of mind. Still, I chose the airport rush and ended up, as usual, with plenty of time to spare. The beauty I beheld this morning only captured in my braincells.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Spring is in the air

I decided to celebrate the feeling of Spring
by bringing flowers to the office.
Flowers are such a happy luxury - necessity.
I can't help but smile in the florists' shop,
the damp, fragrant air,
the sound hush, somehow,
maybe from all the leaves, petals and dirt,
singing their own soft song. 

I celebrate the feeling of Spring on
Morning walks so balmy,
that vernal pools from the day's melting snow,
remain unfrozen overnight,
to welcome sleepy eyes with glittering reflections,
and whispered trickles.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

New Lens

My daughter has helped understand the source of those luminous still life photos one sees in magazines and some blogs: a portrait lens.  I couldn't resist - I bought one.  The play of light on texture and color is irresistible to me.  It draws me in an unspeakable way, as if I were a helpless moth. 

One of my favorite coffee mugs.  I've not quite gotten the hang of this lense yet; please bear with me.  I will be posting lots of photos as I go along.

My son made this dish in pottery class in high school.

What is your favorite lens?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Can't We Think of Something Better Than Plastic?

Somewhere In the  beautiful Pacific Ocean, a gigantic ugly mass of garbage floats.  It's bigger than a landfill.  Bigger than a couple of landfills.  Think about this - this mass of garbage is twice the size of Texas.
Picture it.

(National Geographic)

David de Rothschild is using his name, influence and engergy to bring the world's attention to this astounding unseen tragedy.   Mr. deRothschild has built a catamaran from 12,500 plastic bottles.  He will sail from San Fransisco, California to Sydney, Austrailia, investigating the plastic pollution inthe Pacific Ocean along the way.  The Plastiki Expedition not only seeks to bring attention to the incredible pollution caused by the use and irresponsible disposal of plastic, it also highlights the many alternative uses for recycled plastic.  The entire boat is created from recycled plastic. 

I'm taking stock of all the garbage, especialy plastic, that I use.  I think it is amazing how much trash one person can generate!   While, yes, one solution is to recycle, and we do.  But, think about how many products we buy in plastic packaging!  Cleaning products, personal hygiene products, hardware, automotive, all those little things that are wrapped in so many layers of plastic you need heavy duty scissors to open them.  Why can't we minimize our waste right from the very start? It is hard, if not impossible, to find these products contained in anything other than plastic.  There should be other alternatives to plastic packaging?  Isn't there a way to make biodegradeable plastics?  Yes to both of these, I am sure.  So, why isn't this happening?

Something About Sunsets

There is something about sunsets that always makes me melancholy.  Dylan Thomas whispers in my ears.  "Do not go gentle into that goo...