Category Archives: winter, spring, summer, fall

Snow and time

It’s coming down hard. Brush the car off one hour and the next it’s covered again — with four inches of snow! Been shaking the branches of the arbor vitae and holly.

Still finding bottle brush trees to put away.

With all the sticks littering the backyard, Finn just wants someone to play with him when he’s out back. Right now, though, he’s snoring, curled up next to K.

March is birthday month: both boys, my brother and sister in law, and my mother in law. A few pictures going back to first boy’s first year.

A little peanut in a Moses basket.

A first Christmas in Florida.

The Uncle Fester phase.

Precious commodity: sleep.

PJ’s from Korea. Pond my mother made.

Bumpers, quilt, and curtains I made. A happy chappy (Oh Lord, was there a heating pad in the crib?)

First trip to the Vineyard. Two color ear flap hat knit by moi.

PO’d kitties. Suddenly not the center of our world.

Stay warm if you’re sharing this blizzard and if not, stay cool while ever more shit hits the fan in Washington!

A last shot spit up by FB this morning. Not from his first year, obviously.

Two blessings and a soup

Blessing one: Finn was in the house when the large pin cherry on the lot line crashed into the deck. (So was I. I watched it fall).

Blessing two: the tree landed two feet away from the house. One branch was closer: about six inches!

I was also worried about the arbor vitae on the south side of the house, bowed as they were over some power lines.

After filling the feeders, freeing these shrubs of the cement-like clumps of snow and tying them up as best I could, I made soup. Delicious soup.

Stock: two beef bones, vegetable trimmings, a cup of red wine, two heads of garlic and S&P.

Soup: one sliced onion, two carrots, one potato, 1/4 c white rice, and a few Tbs fresh chopped cilantro, more S&P. Yum!!

Blue follows grey

The bitter cold continues. Today, however, is brightened by a clear sky and glorious sun and all that light reflecting off blankets of white snow.Getting back to writing after a brief hiatus is like turning a cruise liner — generally taking longer than one might expect. Here it is Friday and I am finally back at it. You know you’re working when entire paragraphs come to you while out with the dog.

Meanwhile, a very good friend of mine’s husband died two nights ago. I can barely wrap my mind around how drastically her life has just changed. The loss. I’ll see her later today.

On a more prosaic note, I’m happy to report that there were no storm-related calamities here and that I finished another book (that’s 4 in 4 days — I’ll be slowing down now).

Whatever’s going on for you, it never hurts to follow this advice:

Dog brag

Two posts in a day? What can I say — we’ve got an epic storm unfolding outside and I’ve got a magnificent dog.

During the first blocks of our walk, Finn was rubbing his muzzle in the snow and it was fun and novel and exciting. But then we cut behind the VFW building and emerged out into the wind tunnel that is Langley Road. Whew! Here was a bit of “the bomb”. I could hardly see, even with glasses on my face. Finn got more subdued.

Once we headed down a wooded road toward the Upper Field, I fumbled with one glove and a zippered pocket to get out my camera. Nearly pulled out and dropped a credit card. Nearly dropped the phone. DID drop the leash.

But here’s the brag: a sharp “COME” and Finn turned and came right back to me. Please note: we were less than a block from an off leash field. What can I say? He’s not this responsive all the time, but how great was that? How great is he?

The end of the Upper Field was barely visible from the cul de sac. Compare the snowy picture with the one I took yesterday.

With a dog-reactive dog, the storm imposed both good and bad conditions. On the plus side, no one else was likely to be out. On the negative side, I sure wouldn’t see them coming!

Stay warm Northeastern friends!

A Nutty Bonanza

And no, I’m not talking about my family (could be, but I’m not). This year, our two black walnut trees have produced a bumper-bumper crop. This, after two years of worrisome sparse production. Look how many have yet to fall!


Don’t you love their spicy scent? For me, a buoyant appreciation for the trees is somewhat corrective. Without even really knowing it, I generally direct a muted ire their way. Why? Because their roots emit a toxin that kills a remarkable number of shrubs and perennials — even hardy natives. I won’t enumerate the losses, but suffice it to say, that if my efforts over the years had thrived the street corner’d be better screened (a view rendered even more naked by the recent felling of my neighbor’s four dead hemlocks).

img_8908Initially, I used the squirrel-smashing rock to roll the nuts free of their hulls. But since I squatted in view of a driveway full of already smashed hulls, I gathered those. The popping sound of nuts under moving vehicles is a distinctive fall sound around here. This year, I’m determined to serve a bowl of the nuts at Christmas. Never have. There will be washing, air drying, and stowing involved and then it appears, a fair amount of work to reveal the meat. It’s an awful lot of labor for a mouthful of nut, isn’t it? So far, using the hose on “jet spray” to rinse the nuts is the most wasteful part of the process. I might add a soak prior to cleaning to see if it abbreviates rinsing.

The improvised drying rack might better be called “Squirrel Buffet”!

We are enjoying yet another incredibly beautiful fall day here in New England. I hope you all have wonderful weekends!

Still life, figures, and Matisse

The Matisse show at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts takes a novel approach by displaying objects the artist collected along with some of the paintings they appear in. It’s fascinating.


Naturally, I especially enjoyed the textiles but even to see chairs, vases, and pewter coffee pots alongside the paintings they inspired was interesting.

I was shocked to discover, standing in front of the well-known ‘Purple Robe’ portrait below, that early on Matisse was ‘afraid he would never do figures’.

Lucky for us, at some point the artist figured out how to transfer the confidence he felt giving life to inanimate objects to the human figure.

With that and my unpopulated quilts in mind, take a look at the right margin of this slightly wonky tower I’ve been working on. Doesn’t that dark grain suggest a female form — staring up at a butterfly, perhaps? She reminds me of one of Grace’s drawings in its early phases. Mightn’t the nascent figure be saying something — Come on — stitch me into an empty structure! Let me enliven the yard or a room or even the attic!

Somehow this quiet and solitary day felt full. Almost too full.

Our morning walk was replete with scenes like these, peaceful and lush, but riddled with thoughts about aggression, primarily about the differences between aggression expressed from and for power and reactive aggression. They might appear alike from the outside but are worlds apart. Working with Finn has been a real lesson in this, inspiring me to quip from time to time, “Dog training’s taught me that I may be a mouthy bitch, but I’m no alpha.”

Sad, but true. Finn had a set-to right before this yard. Bark, bark, bark. My sister and I are having set-tos all the time, but this week they’re about re-configuring the distance between us. Bark, bark, bark. I can’t take it anymore. It’s amazing I’ve put up with it for this long. If she can’t accept my moving away some, I will vanish from her life. I’ve done it before. I was hoping not to do it again, but I am exhausted, tattered, and unwilling to continue at current decibel levels. Bark. Bark. Bark.

After what seems an impossibly long time without sun, out it came for our afternoon walk, so the day contained cheer, too!

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img_4552-2Lastly, the TV is all fucked up and you know what that means (wink, wink)! I may be forced to read for a spell here (and miss The Great British Baking Show?) or watch LIVE TV on the tiny shit box in the kitchen. Boo-hoo. Then again, the house is filled with good books waiting to be read.