Sunday, February 27, 2011

Saturday Morning

Saturday breakfast (brunch by the time we make it out of the house)  is what we've been doing for our 'just the two of us' dates lately. Weekend evenings are dinner at the Ale House with friends, but Saturday morning I think is just for us. I love that it's a good day and time to catch up on the events of the past week and for some reason I find the weekend morning atmosphere of a restaurant kind of festive. Neighbors running into neighbors. Tall people and long arms reaching for little hands up-stretched. Chatting with whomever happens to be closest in line. Scanning a lively room to see if  a wood topped table will open up. The room rustling with those making plans for the next couple of days balanced by those intent on making no plans at all. An unglamourous meal that is simple to show up for simply because it is just that.  Maybe it's the fact that daylight through the windows works well for photos or that we're both morning people, but it has worked its way back into our weekends.

During our early days together, because we worked different shifts or when Marc was in school, breakfast out seemed to be what we did. While we wondered what the future held it was an affordable outing and the timing worked. We had so many long conversations at Julia's 14 Carrot Cafe over mugs of coffee and Tahitian Toast with fruit and yogurt. Dressed up dinner dates were fine and special and fun....but  not more so than the mornings when we were the real 'us'.  A pricey evening at a good restaurant was a rare journey. It was practical and comfortable to decide to hang out where we could afford to.

When the boys were little they were allowed to be their spirited selves a bit more at breakfast than if we ventured forth at the dinner hour......and we felt like we got out of the house. Stacks of pancakes, bowls of fruit, a few books or small toys and we had a little break. A meal served. No dishes. A psuedo-date. During years filled with homework, sleepovers, sports and busy kid activities, pancakes and eggs served by others were edged off the calendar.  I'm thinking we miss the noise of a full house because for the past few weekends our routine has been morning coffee at home and a quick discussion about where to go. This week we ended up at the Portage Bay Cafe. Organic food, really good coffee and they bake their own bread. The good kind that's a little crunchy on the outside, softer on the inside and sort of begs to be topped with jam from the jar on the table. Employee's t-shirts ask us to 'Eat Like You Give A Damn."  OK.  I ordered hash with lots of veggies (which included both sweet and white potatoes) and a little bacon. I have no idea what Marc ordered......I was paying too much attention to my own meal.  And to the family with the rambunctious boys at the next table. And to the holding-hands couple at the counter.  The ones who at first glance I thought were our age until I realized they were twenty-something years younger.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Food and Snow Days

It was a short work week so Marc and I revisited Mae's Phinney Ridge Cafe, one of his old post-soccer breakfast places. Check out the homemade cinnamon rolls. And Huevos Rancheros, my personal favorite almost anywhere. Finally got my computer back yesterday and while waiting...... enjoyed every single thing about the recent cold and snowy days. Logan, too! Have a great weekend.

Warmly, Margaret

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Computer Issues...

Oh....I'm bummed. My computer is in the shop. The dreaded 'blue screen' showed up a couple of times Friday morning which made me very nervous. I've never been sure exactly what this means and so took it right in. It appears that the hard drive is failing. I wish I understood more about the workings of this tool......but impatient me, all I really want is to have it back in front of me on my desk/table each morning as I drink coffee, watch the sun come up and think about the coming day. I have my routine: blue mug, on-line newspapers, a couple photography websites, facebook. It's how I wake up and organize. I've become used to the way it prompts me to decide to write a few things or to work on pictures......or add to the list of things I want to write about or take pictures of. Over the last couple of months it's when and where I work on blog posts.

I'm hoping to get my computer back today with a larger, faster hard drive and am so looking forward to checking out some photos I took over the weekend.  AND......I'm finally feeling organized enough to begin going through ones from the Europe trip we took last fall. That trip was such a big deal to me. It was a couple of weeks that opened up our world and celebrated the collection of experiences Marc and I have had together. It was a cornerstone and a turning point. A time to reconnect, look forward and think about what it means to have just the two of us at home now. We returned at the end of September and dove right into a few visits with the boys which were followed quickly by the holidays. I'm pretty sure I took hundreds of pics so wanted our lives to settle down a bit and to learn a few more things about organizing, saving and backing up before spending time on them. I also wanted to allow time for the experiences of that trip to sink in. I've decided not to follow the photo processing chronologically but instead to approach it day by day depending on what I happen to be excited about. I'm pretty sure it will begin with Venice which is such a colorful and unique city. I hope I can do it justice!

By the way......thanks for taking a look at my blog. It's something I've thought about doing for a long time and really appreciate the kind words and helpful comments you've left after posts, via email or in person. I'm still in the early stages of working out kinks and solidifying exactly what it means to have a blog, but am enjoying the process and the journey and the way it makes me accountable. I've learned a lot so far.

If you're interested, I received an email from Mamalode magazine telling me that a short piece I wrote (It Takes Time) will be published in their upcoming issue. It should be out in print in about a week, but you can also read it online by clicking on the magazine tab on their website ( 

So......hoping to get my computer back this afternoon and will post again with pics on Friday. Here's wishing you a great week.

Warmly, Margaret

Friday, February 18, 2011

Everyday Finds

This week I had a self-imposed photography assignment to find beauty in everyday objects. Ordinary things I work with, pass by and use often while moving about my space. The ones that are practical, commonplace, necessary and an organic part of my day. I thought it would be good to see them as more. To give them a second look.

What I found were colors and patterns that at some point I've made a conscious choice to bring into my home. Tones of blue and green and gold and red. Patterns that echo nature and organized stripes. Ones that spoke to me, or better yet......ones that someone else chose because they thought I would like them. It became easier to find items to photograph and more difficult to decide which ones. The lesson was in narrowing down the field.  So I focused on an area where I spend a lot of (most of?) my time: 

mmmm......morning coffee, cream, syrup......

 The hardest workers.

Each of these aprons was a gift. I love that someone thought of me in this way. Knowing how I like to spend my time......and that a pretty apron makes a difference......

The bowls that sit on the counter next to the food processor. The ones used for almost everything. I realized how often I look at their colors, stripes and specks. There is a little flower shop in Missoula that sells the work of Montana potters. I hope they're still there.....we haven't stopped in for awhile.

Hope you enjoy your day! It's so sunny here that most everything outside my window is showing up vibrant blues and greens. No overcast grays skies to mute the colors. If it weren't for the bare branches on the maples I would probably be fooled into thinking it's spring already. Love that sun streaming in and the few crocus blossoms popping through!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Love and Banana Cake

A simple post today. No huge insights on my part. Just simple appreciation for something that has worked out well. Yesterday was both Valentine's Day and my Valentine's birthday. So we celebrated the same way we've celebrated special occasions during 3 years of dating and 25 years of marriage: Flowers, dinner at Rays and a Banana Cake with Cream Cheese frosting. Some traditions are too good to change.

Next time I'll write more. I've been working on some things but they just weren't coming together. So I decided to give myself a break, lose the frustration and enjoy the day. A good choice......

Friday, February 11, 2011

Love and Chocolate

On this Friday before Valentine's Day what's on my mind is, of course, love and chocolate. How Marc and I were engaged over a cup of coffee. There was no fanfare or anticipation or even a split second's thought about it in advance. Just a couple of mugs filled with fragrant dark roast and a good conversation that led somewhere. The great thing was that by the end of it we were both surprised. It certainly wasn't the plan on that morning or even anything that had been discussed up to that point. And isn't that the best kind of that someone else becomes aware of with you? The dual realization that good and real and true make complete sense to integrate into the very next moment.

I'm feeling pretty happy that the sun warmed my kitchen, laundry area and office this week. It made the sorting and the washing and the folding so much easier. And anyone who knows me knows that laundry is my least favorite way to spend even a minute. And bill paying.....

  But put me in a sunny kitchen scooping, measuring, leveling, mixing......and I'm good.


   There is no better way to spend a morning. Listening to music, the mixer, the timer, the dishwasher. Lost in thought. Adding chocolate. 

  Rolling. Flattening.


  Happy Valentine's Day boys. This is how I spent my time thinking of you.
Check your mailboxes.

Wishing you all a wonderful Valentine's Day!
Warmly, Margaret

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Born Traveler

My red suitcase has for the past few months been in various states of being packed or unpacked, a marker of  my comings and goings.  Symbolic of what I've been up to this year. It seems that I would just get home, catch up on the house, bills, pets and laundry, and then begin preparing for the next excursion. I've had trips that were fun and relaxing and included getting back in touch. I've had moments that were life changing and those laced with the heart-achingly sweet pride and love I feel as a parent. A year in transition.......with a couple of major incidents stumbling over suitcases stranded in the hallway to prove it.

I chatted with my dad recently about the places each of us either has been or want to go, and something he said stuck in my brain. "I guess I'm a born traveler." I guess he is. Literally. His mother gave birth to him in Boston Harbor on a ship that had just crossed the Atlantic. Growing up I listened to tales of where he had been before, during and after WWII. How he had moved around, changing locations for school or a job or an adventure. He often traveled for work and when he arrived home I hoped both for the small pouch of peanuts he had saved from the airplane and the stories he invariably brought back with him. I remember the excitement of going to the airport with my mom to pick him up or if it was too late, waiting at home, listening for them to rustle through the back door.

My mom has had her share of travels and interesting stories as well.  She moved away from home to attend college and then from Canada to the United States to marry her love. I vividly remember the day she became a US citizen. Several times she was responsible for packing and unpacking our family when my dad needed to move for his job and her creativity made it fun and interesting. Growing up we lived in a variety of western towns, cities and states. Vacations were car trips that took us to campgrounds, ghost towns, national parks, relatives homes and the occasional resort. A few times my mom loaded us into the station wagon so we could spend some time where my dad needed to be working. They both taught their children to be good travelers and I grew up knowing the value of scenery passing by a car window and exploring it when we got out. I noticed plants, animals, birds, bugs and terrain from the desert to the mountains, anticipating what was beyond the curve in the road. It fueled my daydreams and my future plans.

Later on the two of them scheduled 'dream trips' that took them to Europe, to Egypt, to tropical places and places in the US they hadn't yet seen. Trips that satisfied their love of history and photography and curiosity. But the greatest percentage of their travel was via car. By themselves or with each other they covered the miles between each rest stop, restaurant, town or pay phone and until very recently without the option of a cell phone......and never with GPS to help them out. There were two day drives to Saskatchewan, trips to visit their kids and trips to the beach.

My parents were both travelers and there isn't a day that I don't feel fortunate that they were. I'm guessing they still have no idea what an impact this made on me. How it shaped my own personal life. But it an amazing way and I'm thankful. They passed on a desire to learn and feel capable no matter where I was. They bestowed the gift of taking notice. Of embracing and appreciating a journey. I grew up knowing that if current plans were taking longer than expected or if I ended up on a course I hadn't anticipated, that I would eventually find what I was supposed to find. Arrive where I was supposed to arrive. Before cell phones and GPS I carried their experiences with me as navigation devices.

This photo was taken my my sister, Michele.
When I moved away to college I did so with confidence. When my husband and I crossed the country with two babies in my belly and then back again with two bouncing boys, I did so knowing that my mother had done something similar many times over. I've traveled between apartments, houses and cities. Moved around inside of friendships and occasionally back out again if they weren't the best ones for me. Traveled the intricate, unpredictable and rewarding highways of marriage and parenthood with commitment. I admit that I tend to approach life by jumping in with both feet, but if doubt sets in I can remember why I chose that road in the first place. I've seen them do it many times before.

Today one of my sons will travel to the opposite coast. He'll drive for a couple of hours to an airport, board an evening plane and try to catch some sleep between connecting flights. He'll taxi to a friend's apartment, change into fresh clothes, find his way to a cup of coffee and hope that winter storms don't throw a wrench into all of it. By mid morning he'll be meeting with people he doesn't know and talking to them about his future plans.
Like his grandpa of the same name, he's a born traveler. He has the curiosity and desire to move around in new places. The creativity he brings with him echos that of my mom. He's jumped into life with both feet, put himself out there and taken notice. I hope that the experiences of his parents, his grandparents and great grandparents continue to serve him well. He appears to have inherited the internal instruments that will give him the ability and confidence to get where he needs to go. Literally.
I would love to hear what people or travels have made a difference in your life too. So please share and tell and leave a comment below......So many interesting stories!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Rain, Rain......Go Away

Logan and I's so dreary today! A rainy Friday and this is pretty much the energy level around here......

Thinking ahead to blue skies and warmer weather...... 

Happy Friday.....think I'll go bake something...
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