Sunday, November 24, 2013

The year is old. The birds are flown.

I love weekends. Yesterday I made a lasagna for dinner and while it cooked, I took George for a walk around the property. It has turned cold and the ground is hard but I think November is beautiful.


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The sun was sinking low in the sky, giving a warm glow to the land, as we made our way around the southwest corner of the property.


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I miss seeing the widow’s walk at the top of the house. Long-time readers may recall that it was destroyed by gale force winds in March of this year. I wrote about it here.

View from my kitchen window


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I am so blessed to be able to live here.



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November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.

With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.

The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.

~ Elizabeth Coatsworth


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And I am so glad this dog is in my life.



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The striped and shapely
Maple grieves
The loss of her
Departed leaves

The ground is hard
As hard as stone.
The year is old.
The birds are flown.

And yet the world,
Displays a certain loveliness--

The beauty of
The bone. Tall God
Must see our souls
This way, and nod.

Give thanks: we do,
Each in his place
Around the table
During grace.

~ John Updike


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I love that poem. It is featured in the children’s book, A Child’s Calendar. This beautiful book is a collection of twelve poems as the seasons change in a child’s life. The poetry is by noted author John Updike and the illustrations are by Trina Schart Hyman.


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I decided to venture into the field in the front of the house on my walk yesterday. A hawk was perched high up in one of the trees at the edge of the woods and as we got closer, it let us know that we were invading its territory. Whenever I hear or see a hawk or an owl, I think of my husband.

He always walked the edge of this field. So that’s what George and I did.


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And then we watched as the sun finally set.



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One of my son’s friends came for dinner last night. I made Caesar salad, garlic bread, lasagna, and tortellini with sauce. My son isn’t a huge fan of lasagna but his friend is. It was delicious. I paired the meal with a nice cabernet sauvignon from California called Dreaming Tree. I didn’t know it at the time I purchased it, but the winery is owned by Dave Matthews (and veteran winemaker Steve Reeder). Cool.

It’s gotten quite cold today and very windy. Wind chill is 14 degrees or so I hear. Better bundle up for that walk.

Hope your week is a fine one, my friends ~

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Windows are rolled down

This posting once a week thing is getting a little ridiculous, isn’t it? But hey – I do what I can and this is what works for me right now. Last week was a good one and the weekend was even better with temps rising pleasantly. I hosted movie night at my house with a few co-workers on Friday night which was a first for me. My husband didn’t like a lot of company. I baked an apple pie and took it out of the oven right as my guests were arriving. It made the house smell incredible.

Saturday was spent working on window cleaning, a huge job that I do twice a year. Half the windows (the ones in the rooms we use) get cleaned in autumn and the other half gets cleaned in the spring. I have a thing about clean windows. It’s depressing having dirty ones, I tell you.


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On Sunday, I took a drive with George after finishing more windows. I took the camera with me and stopped along the road to get the photos in this post. I browsed in a little shop that I like up by the Pennsylvania border and marveled at the beauty of the day as I drove while I listened to a CD that I’d just burnt from music files on my computer.


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Here’s a list of the tracks I chose:

1. Norah Jones – Chasing Pirates

2. Patty Griffin – Heavenly Day

3. Keri Noble – About Me

4. Madeleine Peyroux – I’m All Right

5. Sarah Harmer – Almost

6. Brett Dennen – Ain’t No Reason

7. Essie Jain – My Darling

8. Joni Mitchell – A Case of You

9. Nick Drake – Place To Be

10. Bruce Springsteen – The Fever

11. Amos Lee – Windows Are Rolled Down

12. The Neighborhood – Sweater Weather


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Listening to Patty Griffin singing Heavenly Day while driving just felt so good. She says it’s the first love song she wrote (and that she wrote it for her dog). Sounds like my kinda girl.


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Remember the sunset I was talking about on my last post and that I was out tossing frisbee for George with that as the backdrop? Just so beautiful . . .

Anyway ~ George pulled up lame the following day and I had to leash walk him all week with no tossing of his toys in the house in the evenings. This made him sad but he seems all better now.


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I was driving along when I spotted this barn and pulled over real quick, shooting this right through the windshield. It was just so pretty against the blue of the sky.

Driving around with my dog, I remembered something I used to do when I was really young. I think I was about 20 years old or so and my boyfriend and I (my husband, Andrew) had just gotten this little border collie mix puppy and named him Alex. Alex would sing (howl) if you sung just the right songs. The two that worked best were Row, Row, Row Your Boat and Chantilly Lace. I had a little Fiat Sport Coupe, a 5-speed with a double overhead cam engine and I loved driving that little sucker. I would pretend that I was a DJ on WDOG radio and then announce our guest performer, Alex the border collie, with his doggie rendition of Chantilly Lace. And then I would start singing and the dog would start howling.

It was silly. And fun.

And it’s a nice memory.


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Coming home up the long driveway is always nice. I remember the first time I drove up this driveway. It was to bring our youngest son to an end-of-year party hosted by the granddaughter of the owners of the house I live in now. She was in the same class as my son at school and wanted to have a party at her grandparents house. This would have been in 2001 and I remember feeling this profound sense of Déjà vu.

I had no idea that seven years from then we would be living here.

Life is funny sometimes, isn’t it?

Hoping it doesn’t take me an entire week to write another post. Thanks for stopping by today, my friends ~

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Heavenly day

Despite the fact that I overslept this morning, I still had a heavenly day. I hope this doesn’t sound selfish, but sometimes at the end of my day when I know I’ll be home soon, I look forward to the fact that the only responsibility I have is for my pets. I miss my husband every day, and I see him everywhere on this property – the way he used to walk with his hiking poles, fixing fence when he was well, all the memories I have of our life here. But lately, I am feeling the lightness of just being. And of getting into my own kind of normal. And I am finding that I actually like it.

I can do this.


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It is growing dark as I near home, and I hardly have time to rush upstairs and change out of my work clothes and into my walking clothes before it gets too dark to walk the perimeter of the property. In the dark, those thick tree roots threaten to trip me up and it’s less dangerous walking in the center.

Today when I let him out, George took off for the southeast corner of the property. He seemed excited as he sniffed around and trotted about down there. I left him there for a little bit to go back inside for my camera and then called him to come.


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Here he comes.

He is a good boy.



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The cat is outside with us too and she’s heading for the yard where George is now waiting for me with his frisbee.


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The sky had such a beautiful glow.



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And we played frisbee against this dramatic backdrop.



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And it was heavenly.



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He looks weird here but I’m adding it to the post regardless.

I like the leaves.



And I like this tune.



Until tomorrow, then ~

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ps – all of the images in this post, with the exception of George, are SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera) with slight sharpening as the only edit.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Of cloudless climes and starry skies

I try to answer all of the comments in my inbox and have finally come to the conclusion that I cannot. I don’t know how the other bloggers do it, I really don’t. After my husband passed away, I received an enormous outpouring of condolences. My in-box was flooded and my outbox wasn’t keeping up with it.

If you haven’t heard from me, it’s not because I don’t love ya. Ok?

It’s because I just can’t keep up sometimes. But please know that I know you’re out there and I’m glad that you come to visit. What would I ever do without you?!


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I took this with my camera phone this weekend. I was coming up the driveway from shopping on Saturday.

It is so beautiful here on this property, and it begins by coming up the driveway through the woods.


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An autumn sunset through the trees can be seen from the house.


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I took this photo of a tufted titmouse last November, almost a year ago today. I haven’t had time to sit outside and take pictures of the birds. This was always something I always enjoyed doing. I’m sure the time will come. I’ve just been a little busy lately.

And that’s a good thing.

I guess I never realized all of the things my husband did around here to keep this place going. He never really told me. He just quietly did things. Sometimes I feel like I can’t keep up with it all.

:   :   :

I’m looking forward to seeing family at Thanksgiving.


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Bob & Helen will be hosting again this year. Helen is my husband’s sister. She and Bob have been together forever.


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They are grandparents this year. Baby M is their granddaughter ~


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El and Seamus are retired now and have moved to Spain. World-travelers, they are and Spain was one of their favorite places. I enjoy looking at the beautiful photos from their new home and from their travels abroad.


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My sister-in-law, Elaine. She and my husband’s brother were together since high school.


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The lovely Kim and her husband, Pete. They are Baby M’s parents.


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This is Colleen, Elaine & Rich’s daughter.

(Andrew’s dear brother, Rich, passed away on January 4 of this year.)


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My husband’s parents, Anna and Godfrey.


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And finally ~ Baby M!


20131111_180055 copy 2There are more family members I’m hoping to see over Thanksgiving, but I can’t find all of their pictures right now.

So if you’re a family member and didn’t see your picture here, it’s not because I don’t love you. Ok?

Hope your week is off to a good start. Today was a busy one at school. Before I knew it, it was the end of the day and there was one happy dog that sure was glad to see me when I arrived home.

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Has it been that long? And other thoughts.

It’s been over a week since I’ve posted and I’ve been waiting for the folks at BlogHer to contact me regarding my sporadic attempts at publishing. You see, I’m signed on with BlogHer for advertising on this site and if you don’t post on a regular basis, it sort of goes against your contract with them. I’ve been busy is all I can say.

Work and my weekends are keeping me busy and keeping my mind off of anything too sad.


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This is what it looks like in the mornings now when I let George out the front door at just after 6 am.

And this is all I have to say about that:

I thank my stars that I have this job.



Something happened at school this week that had me overwhelmed with gratitude. One of the senior boys came to my desk early one morning with a bag that was tied with a silk green bow. Now this particular member of the Class of 2014 has been giving me a present at Christmastime ever since he was in kindergarten, and I don’t know why but I thought it might be an early Christmas present.

But it wasn’t, he said, and told me that I should open it right away. I want to really photograph this beautiful gift, but for now you’ll have to live with the camera phone version below. Inside the bag was a pretty box and inside the box was the most beautiful handmade quilt.

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A handmade quilt.

I could barely read the card and thanked him profusely after reading only the first two sentences because I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold it together.

About an hour later, I sat down to read the card and had to leave my desk because I was in tears. This young man, along with his mother, his brother, and a small group of mothers at our school, came up with the idea of making a quilt for me “to wrap her in love”.

I left the card at school so I don’t remember the exact wording, but the person who actually made the quilt (Cindy M) wanted me to know how much they all cared for me and my situation while I was gone from school caring for my husband. It filled my heart is all I can say.

I should write more about it later because it’s s story in and of itself. But I really feel like it’s a quilt with magic powers because I feel better having it wrapped around me.

I just do.


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In other news, my niece’s girls getaway weekend was sweet. I loved seeing her, her husband, my sisters-in-law, my niece, and that sweet baby girl, M.

The photo above was shot at the waterfront restaurant on the Inner Harbor in Baltimore where we had dinner on Saturday night.


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And this is Baby M.

She is such a happy little girl.


These next two photos are random shots from my camera phone taken at restaurants in the past month.

Why? I don’t know. I’m just feeling like being random is all.


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The cheese plate at {The Vineyard Wine Bar} in Havre de Grace, Maryland.


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The pork tenderloin at The Waterfront Kitchen in Baltimore. Their website is down at the moment or I’d link to them here.


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Another image taken with the camera phone coming up my driveway from work today. No wait, I was leaving my driveway. I had already come home, taken the dog for a quick walk, and then was heading out again to go to {the licorice store}.


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I bought a pinot gris from Oregon that had a colorful label.

And lastly ~

Zales (otherwise known as America’s diamond store) continues to have the coolest new tunes on its commercials. Tonight I heard their holiday proposal ad featuring music by Lord Huron (who I’ve never heard of before).

The Black Keys, Daniel Lee Kendall, Landon Pigg, Various Cruelties, and now Lord Huron are some of the artists featured on the Zales commercials. I wouldn’t have heard of them if hadn’t been for tv ads, so thanks for that, Zales.

Here’s the {Zales 2013 commercial} featuring the holiday proposal ad.

And here’s the song I heard tonight. Just thought it was kind of cool is all.

And on that note, I’ll say goodnight. It’s a 3-day weekend here because of parent-conference day today and the fact that the faculty stays ‘til 8 pm. Then we get 3 days off. I am so glad I’m one of the faculty, and so glad I don’t have to deal with parent conferences.

Have a great weekend ~

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