Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Home Again

Companion snowmen - one to say goodbye to 2008, the other to greet 2009. They stood for a full day behind my daughter's little house before warm temperatures and rain rendered them mere memories. I'll get to make more tomorrow - we're expecting between 6 and 8 inches of new snow. It's good to be home!

Wishing you all a happy new year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

until next year...

The 25th is fast approaching. I leave today for a week of celebration with family. The light is on the rise - take heart.

Friday, December 19, 2008


I wanted snow and snow I got - there's about five inches on the ground and more falling by the hour. More is on the way Sunday. Looks like it will be a white Christmas after all.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tis the season?

Last year the season looked like this -
Snowfall on December 31, 2007

This year the lawn is greeny-brown and dry. Last year's flower beds are a mass of broken stalks and weathered leaves. We had a brief snow squall on the 7th and an ice storm in the middle of the week that had New England towns declaring themselves states of disaster. Ice coated tree limbs downed power lines, and at one point, more than a million homes were without electricity. The temperature dropped down and the wind picked up. The weather map showed fingers of pure rain, as much as three inches falling in an hour, reaching down between the sheets of ice elsewhere. My town was in one of those fingers. We had a few flooded roads but never lost power nor saw a bit of ice, while the mountain behind the house was coated in frozen white.

Last weekend snowflakes swirled around my head like flurries of small white birds as I hunted for just the right tree to put on my coffee table. My cottage is so small that I must find a tree with a crooked bottom but a perfect top, undesirable to the hordes looking for tall, straight trees. I found one and brought it home. I hauled the box of Christmas ornaments from the back of the closet, strung colored lights among the branches, draping tinsel over all. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough of a snowfall to so much as whiten the lawn.

Here my mother and her father get ready for Christmas. In the 1930s, lead tinsel cost 29¢. Cut straight at the edges and falling a good 14 inches or so, the tinsel was a far cry from the flimsy, crinkly stuff of today. When I was a child, we used lead tinsel. It's still available on ebay.

This year, as in the years since my grandchildren were born, I will travel to their house on Christmas Day. The three of us are hoping that before I leave, the season will once again look like this.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Best Friends on Paper

Lee, at the suggestion of a reader, posted photos of his bookcases. I was much encouraged - mine look much the same - overflowing, crowded, words everywhere.
The main collection is housed on shelves in the library area of my cottage. There are upwards of 1200 books on 14 shelves. I've read them all at least once and some several times.

This smaller case in the office area holds reference and writing books as well as my cd collection and my printer.

An old but sturdy wooden crate holds children's books - some of my childhood favorites, others from my own children's collections, and still others I've added over the years.

Note: Under my tiny Christmas tree lie several wrapped packages that look and feel like books - I do hope that's what they are!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A Borrowed List

I “borrowed” this from Meggie who in turn borrowed it from someone else. The things I’ve done are bolded, the ones I hope to do are italicized, and the ones I might never do are left alone.

1. Started your own blog Yep, in 2005
and a second one this year-see Laughing On the Way Out in the right sidebar).
2. Slept under the stars Often and happily (except for the occasional mosquito and a thunderstorm or two).

3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii
 A week is far too short for such a paradise.
5. Watched a meteor shower Yes, from the open back of a pickup truck in a meadow in Northern Vermont
6. Given more than you can afford to charity Anything I give is more than I can afford but that doesn’t mean I won’t give.
7. Been to Disneyland/World 
Been to Disney World and loved almost every minute.
8. Climbed a mountain 
Mt. Everett, the one behind my childhood home, several times. It’s 2,624 feet up to the summit.
9. Held a praying mantis Yes, as a child.

10. Sang a solo (in the shower) Why not?

11. Bungee jumped

12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea From the shore.

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch Yep – I taught myself how to sketch, to work in pen and ink, and to watercolor, taught myself to knit and crochet (with varying degrees of success), and am a self-taught writer who went on to get a master’s degree in same. 

15. Adopted a child 

16. Had food poisoning Twice, to my dismay.

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18. Grown your own vegetables Every summer for the past sixty years or so, give or take a year now and then.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa

20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight I was one of four siblings – pillow fights are a given. Once we had a water pistol fight with our bed pillows as fort walls. (Notice I say ONCE.)
22. Hitch hiked only twice and I sure wouldn’t do it again.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill It’s either that or call in dead.

24. Built a snow fort 
every winter as a child.
25. Held a lamb Yep, and the bottle for its feeding, too.
26. Gone skinny dipping Uh huh. Not telling where or when.

27. Run a Marathon

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse Through one of those paper eye protector thingies. It was way cool.

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset Every day (unless it’s raining).
31. Hit a home run

 Yep, in a cow field when I was 12. We used dried patties for bases. First and only ever homerun.
32. Been on a cruise

 An overnight harbor cruise out of NYC.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person 
I can still hear that thunderous roar.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

 in French-speaking parts of Canada.
35. Seen an Amish community 

Seen one, spent a day in one, had fabulous meals.
36. Taught yourself a new language

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied Not yet.

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant
44. Visited Africa

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight any chance I get.

46. Been transported in an ambulance Once in the middle of the night for a kidney stone attack and once for ribs that broke when I fell hard on a wet grassy bank.
47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain Mm hmmmm

53. Played in the mud I grew up rural. There was LOTS of mud ☺
54. Gone to a drive-in theater often as a teen. We’d pile a dozen kids in the back (and trunk) of one car (admission was $1 a car) and descend on the place!
55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business Twice. Once I sold handmade greeting cards and later I became a publishing company for a year so I could self-publish my own book.

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies 

OH! Those chocolate mint cookies!
62. Gone whale watching Twice and was luck enough to see those behemoths breach both times.
63. Gotten flowers for no reason Uh huh. And for reasons, too.

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma 

Once but it was determined I was anemic and so haven’t since.
65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp

67. Bounced a check 
and got charged $35.
68. Flown in a helicopter

 No, but I flew (and have flown in as a passenger) two light planes.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy I saved several that the grandchildren now enjoy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
 years ago when my children were young.
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt - well, I backed and filled two quilt tops that my grandmother made from her own children’s discarded clothing but I’ve never made one from scratch.
73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job Only once and for good cause…

76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London

77. Broken a bone Let’s see – three toes, two ribs, my right thigh-bone
and my collarbone.

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle Well… it felt awfully fast to me clinging to the seat in the back.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book 

I self-published Writing Down the Words, a collection of some of my newspaper columns written over 15 years, and I wrote half the entries in a book on libraries published by Berkshire Publishing Group.
81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car Oh and a lovely little thing it was, a cinnamon colored Subaru, and the first new car I ever owned.

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper The paper I wrote for ran a feature of me when I published my book and that article was accompanied by a photo. I appeared again in the same paper when I wrote an account of my first flight lesson.

85. Read the entire Bible I have.
86. Visited the White House

 Well – visited DC and walked around the White House but didn’t go in for the tour.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating

 We homesteaded in the 70s and 80s and raised chickens for meat. We butchered them ourselves. The pigs we raised were butchered elsewhere and by a professional. When I was a child, I hunted with my dad and once (only) I helped him skin a deer he'd shot.
88. Had chickenpox 

Yes, and measles and whooping cough and rheumatic fever, too.
89. Saved someone’s life I hoisted my two year old onto the roof of the car with one hand when a Cujo look-a-like came rushing at us, barking furiously. My little fellow would have been no more than 3 bites for that dog!

90. Sat on a jury 

Twice. Once for an assault and battery trial and once for a traffic violation.
91. Met someone famous I was racing along a path through the woods at Lime Rock Racetrack in Connecticut, hoping to reach the ladies room and get back in time for the beginning of the first race. I ran smack into some fellow coming in the opposite direction and fell inelegantly onto my derriere. I looked up to see an extended hand. Taking it, I looked at the fellow I’d crashed into and found myself staring into two of the bluest eyes I’d ever seen. “Thanks, Paul,” I managed, and sped into the ladies whispering, “OhmygodthatwasPaulNewmanthatwasPaulNewman!” And oh my god, it was. Years later, I helped edit a book written by William J. Lederer, author of The Ugly American (and my next door neighbor in Vermont), and sold some hand drawn notecards to Anne Lindbergh, widow of Charles Lindbergh and mother of my friend, Reeve.
92. Joined a book club 
For about two months. The talk devolved into gossip and I tired of it and quit.
93. Lost a loved one Mamma and Dad to early deaths, a husband to divorce, a lover to another woman, and a good friend to cancer.
94. Had a baby Gave birth to four of the most wonderful people I know.

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone 

and still do though I use it only for emergencies.
99. Been stung by a bee Oh, ouch! Cutting logs for our cabin in Northern Vermont, I was stung on the hand by a wasp. The resultant swelling encompassed my entire hand and most of my forearm.