Category Archives: Life

Whistle while you work

Back to SchoolForgive the post title — it’s way past my bedtime and I’m punchy. But I just had to tell you what I’m up to. For the next two weeks I’ll be in that delicious bubble otherwise known as the residency for the graduate writing program at SNHU, only this year I’ve got a new gig. I’m working behind the scenes, helping things to run smoothly and in a timely fashion. I’ve still got the 3-ring binder but now it’s filled with organizational details and a bazillion phone numbers.  But pinch me —  I just spent the last hour hanging out in the dormitory kitchen exchanging one liners and hilarious anecdotes with a bestselling author and a humor novelist. Need I say more?!

 

The Glad Game

happy dog

Saturday! My favorite day of the week.

A very cool movie theater posted on facebook that a favorite movie from my childhood would be playing for one day only. Not going was out of the question! There were girls in period costume, special occasion buttons for movie goers, and assorted memorabilia on display. Who knew that Pollyanna author Eleanor Porter was a local literary treasure? And that there is an organization that works to keep her legacy alive? I had no idea.

strawberries in budSo, in keeping with her sentiments, I thought I’d follow Pollyanna’s “glad game” lead and give you a tour of this week’s garden highlights …

strawberry ripening in potThe excitement of real fruit in my own garden!

peony bud pinkThe peonies have returned in profusion, thanks to the worm castings donated last year by my neighbor, a bait wholesaler. (I highly recommend worm castings as a fertilizer — powdered gold! No clumping or fermented odor.) I wish I could share the flowers’ scent here — it’s spicy and sweet.

pink peony 2011Delicious.

peony garden 2011Wishing you a beautiful week.

A Recipe for Passion

Passion Mosaic
Photo credits: 1. Spring, 2. finished pile of new collages!, 3. Spring Commuting > Winter Commuting, 4. China Blue top – the back, 5. studio sneak peek, 6. Weaving Days, 7. A Little Bouquet, 8. Quilt Blocks, 9. shy, 10. rainbow geese quilt, 11. private garden, 12. Porto Seguro-BA, 13. Saturday love, 14 – 16. Not available

I asked my friend Trudie if I could share her recipe for “Passion.” Each week, she and her sister take turns offering up a word to use as a writing prompt. Although they live hundreds of miles and several states apart, this weekly exchange of thoughts and ideas has brought new closeness. Their agreement is that one cannot open the email from the other until her own piece is written and sent off. When I heard Trudie read this at writing group last night, visions of one of these fun flickr mosaics immediately popped into my head and I begged permission to share her ‘recipe’ here. Enjoy!

Passion

It feels as though the word would automatically print in big, flamboyant letters, so I decided to help it along with that.

Strong emotions, feelings, drive. Seems to me if I’m mixing up a potion of passion, those are ingredients I’ll put in it.

2 cups enthusiasm
1-1/2 cup continual learning
¼ cup vibrancy
½ tsp vanilla
dash cayenne pepper
Chocolate to suit tastes

Gently stir the continual learning and inquisitive nature, add enthusiasm and let rise until the level feels appropriate.

Dig your hands into it, kneading it gently and vibrantly as the spirits rise.

Combine the vanilla and cayenne pepper together and add to product, giving it the zest and sweet smell of joy.

Naturally if this recipe is for myself, chocolate is required. Add whatever feels like the quantity of the day.

Bake at 350

Note: Caution is advised. In creating passion in life, check to ensure the ingredients are mixed properly to give you passion that serves you well rather than eats you up alive!

Bon Appetit!

Life is Good …

Earth Day on Campus… now that the last of the essays have been read, the reading journals tallied, the anthologies evaluated, and final grades have been submitted. Phew! In case anyone is interested, it took me 30 hours, or about one hour per student.

Next? sort through the clutter of personal history that is currently residing in my dining room, now that we’ve emptied the storage unit (and reclaimed that monthly fee for our own use again!). One fun treasure that surfaced is the photo album I made after my second European hitch hiking tour in 1972. Particular snapshot favorites? Me, sun bathing on the beach in Paros (Greece) in November, fully clothed, including tights and heavy sweater. (I’ve never been one for bathing suits.) And then there was the interminable card game on the island, as my boyfriend and I waited for the return of my passport to the consulate in Athens. I was on a bit of a “Roots”-themed mission, determined to get in touch with my Greek heritage. Things began to go haywire during a late-night border crossing into Yugoslavia when I discovered I was in possession of someone else’s passport and mine was probably long-gone with another girl who had stayed at the youth hostel in Salzburg. Only the ignorance of youth can account for my thinking that it was a good idea to continue on into Greece with someone else’s identity.

Textile History

Handwoven rug inspired by Amish quilt designs, family heirloom crocheted bedcover, and South American donkey blanket, all piled onto restored antique rocking chair..

Amazing where a few relics can take one. But for this week, there’s nothing like the impending arrival of house guests to inspire a flurry of cleaning and tidying. And I’ve just washed a stack of cottons in beautiful blues — ultramarine to periwinkle, with a sprinkle of teal dots for pleasant measure — in preparation for the new bedroom quilt. Pure happiness. … back soon,

Kewpie Comfort

Kewpie's First Garden TourWhile I wasn’t looking, Kewpie leapt off the window sill and made a giggling dash out the open door. Somehow I think she knew that a mini photo shoot would cheer me up after having lost the Zig Zag Table Runner Sew-along Contest. (sigh…)
Bathing in Pink PeepsThe peeps didn’t have a chance of surviving beyond Monday. Between Kewpie and me, the week’s bonus Weight Watcher points have come and gone.

Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you
for all of your encouragement and voting support during the sew-along contest. It was a fun and exhilarating run, while it lasted!

A night of tea, tales, and touchstones

This month is our fifth anniversary. We are a small but energetic group of four writers with loads of other creative interests on the side. Sometimes drawing or painting or photography or gardening or sewing or knitting or cartooning takes center stage, and we come to the table with few words on paper to share. But we’re good about show ‘n tell. Without fail, sparks of inspiration fly between us and I coast on renewed energy for days afterward. This month, K’s daughter, home on semester break, planned a special surprise for us. When I entered the dining room, it was as though we were in our own private function room at an elegant country inn. A tea pot that stayed replenished. Vintage cups and saucers. Silver flatware and holiday china. Talk about pampering!

Our glorious chefs, in their adorable monogrammed aprons.

The girls spent their day shopping for fresh ingredients and cooking. Our menu:

Moroccan Chicken Stew served over Quinoa
Onion & Rosemary Bread and Herby Olive Oil for dipping
Almond & Cherry Chocolate Clusters
bottomless cups of tea

While we oohed and aahed over our food, the girls were kind enough to write up the recipes. The evening was nothing short of warmth and encouragement. And at the end of it, we trundled to our cars with a few more dessert clusters for later.

If you’d like a copy of the recipes, leave me a comment below. I’ll email them out to you as an attachment.

Celebrations

Miss Marple

Remember my grand-pup, Penny Lane? I call her the neighborhood Miss Marple. This is her favorite perch, where she stays on top of all of the comings and goings streetside. There is just something about the tilt of her head that feels regal, and that chubby paw pad — irresistible. I hadn’t been in the apartment five minutes before I pulled out my fancy new phone, aka point-n-shoot camera. Penny has that woeful, droopy-eyed  look just like all basset hounds, but I promise you, she is an exuberant and joyful girl.

We were in the city to celebrate my son’s job promotion. Much to my maternal dismay five years ago, his life path did not stay on the course I’d always had in mind for him. He informed me that the only motivation he had to be in college was me. Not enough! Cajoling and reasoning were useless. So I wrung my hands, smiled, and encouraged him to follow his passion. He’s chosen to follow in the foodie footsteps of his father, a grandfather, and an uncle. He works hard but loves the business. Much to my amazement, after a thirteen-hour day on his feet, he prepares dinner at home! I feel my proud mama chest puffing right up as I type this.

By the way, he just finished reading the memoir manuscript.  First family member to do so. My favorite text message from him said: “Enjoying your teenage exploits and adventures with a cocktail.” His close read gave me valuable feedback on voice and timeline. Talking books is something we’ve always enjoyed together. How fabulous to be discussing this one, not only as writer and reader, but mother and son. Wow! Celebration, indeed.