Tuesday, November 29, 2011

'Tis The Season

We recieved our first couple of Christmas cards in the mail this afternoon. I so enjoy receiving these cheerful notes with their photographs and bits of news from those we care about. Welcome reminders that, yes indeed.......it definately 'tis the season'.

This truly is my favorite time of year. I love the celebrations and thoughtfullness that weave in and out of the last weeks of November, throughout December and on into January. 

I love bows on beautifully wrapped packages. I love the Christmas cookie tradition of baking, giving and exchanging. Of tucking some away in the freezer and trying to be sure I have enough of everyone's favorite kind. I enjoy Christmas music playing in the background and the chance to hum and sing along. I love the color red.

I've been hard at work here, inspired by a couple of holiday projects that came to mind a few weeks ago and am intent on completing them before the calendar strikes December 25th. At the same time I'm trying hard not to allow the work I have set out before me to exceed the number of waking hours available in a day......or in the next few weeks.

We were married four days before Christmas and gave birth to two of our children in December. We need to find the time to decorate our home and put up the tree. The boys have all left, but will return again within the next few weeks. We've got some things to do. To be thankful for. To think about. To celebrate.

Here's wishing you the beginning of a Merry Season!



Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Day After

This year Thanksgiving dinner was just the five of us. All of the extended family was out of town and no relatives came into town. I told the boys to be sure to invite anyone that they knew who didn't have a place to go......but, it seems, that everyone did. I shouldn't say 'just us'. Although I missed the family and the liveliness of a crowd, the day was nice and low key. We all had a chance to come together and catch up.

I have to say, I enjoy the day after a holiday. Maybe it's because I function as the head planner and cook. When all of the preparations are finished and the the meal has been served and cleaned up, I can put my feet up and appreciate the holiday in a different sort of way.

No one except Marc had to work the day after this year, and he was home by about 10 AM.  The rest of us slept in and stayed in our pajamas for as long as we felt like it. Ate a left-over lunch and then went to a late afternoon movie. In a couple of days everyone will be back at work or at school. I'm so thankful they all made it home.

 And now...... Christmas preparations begin........ 

Wishing you a wonderful weekend and safe travels for your loved ones.



Monday, November 21, 2011


I've been looking forward to writing a post about gratitude for a couple of weeks now.  It makes sense to me at this time of year to take stock of the goodness in my life.

A few years ago I decided to keep a journal listing three things I was thankful for each day. What I found was that even on the most difficult, frustrating or unproductive ones, I could come up with many more than that. And that in doing so, I focused more on what was good, right, wonderful and humorous than on any other part of the day. I did indeed feel fortunate......thankful. 

I should dig out that journal and take another look.  The boys were much younger and I wonder if what I chose to write about then is so very different than what I feel now. I read a interesting article in the NYT this morning about gratitude and have provided the link Here.

Each day I am grateful for Marc and each of our boys. For our extended family and friends. For those we spend time with, want to spend more time with and who mean so much in the big picture of our lives. For the ones that share their lives with us and want to be a part of ours. They are what really matter. For our health and the fact that we have a roof over our heads and enough food to eat. These are the 'big' things, the most important things, and I try hard never......ever...... to take them for granted.

Along with those mentioned above, today I will also pay attention to some of the things that enrich and add to the layers of my days. I've made a quick list. If you've taken a look at my blog posts over the past several months, what I came up with probably won't surprise you. I tend to write about what makes me happy, grateful or has made a positive difference in my life. For now, I'll limit it to 25......although I know there are so many more.

25 Things I'm Thankful For:

 1. Coffee. The smell. The taste. Filling my cup is the first thing I do each the morning.

2. Chocolate: Cookies. Brownies. Hot. Milk. Dark. Need I say more? It contains healthy properties and makes me happy.

 3. My Camera. It encourages me to see what I otherwise might not. Allows me to snap up and preserve moments. To capture light. It is an extension of myself and has proved to be an inexhaustible outlet for creativity and tool for learning.

 4. A few minutes in a peaceful place. Anyplace.

 5. Knitting. A pleasingly tactile communion with color, fiber and creativity. I love days when I can't wait to sit down and get to work on a project. I am grateful for the knitters in my life: Those who taught me how to knit. The ones who have demonstrated its value. Those I can talk about it with. Those who 'get it'.

 6. A good walk.  When I mentioned this to my dad, his response was, "Glad to hear it. It's good for you and helps your disposition." Spoken by one who walks every day and has for as long as I can remember.

 7. A good book to get lost in for a few minutes or a few hours or a few days.

 8. That no members of my family are really too far away.

 9. Friendships that continue despite distance or time passed.

 10. New people I've met.

 11. Anything handmade, homemade, homegrown or crafted in small batches.

12. A good pie crust. I've talked about this before. But really......a forkful of flaky, buttery crust surrounding what ever filling I'm in the mood for makes the pie.

 13. My faithful Golden Retriever. He follows me, loves me, wants to be with me. I can deal with the shedding.

14. For times I don't have to hurry. I know that this means not filling my days too full. Sometimes I have control over this....sometimes I don't. I am truly thankful for the days I can move around unstressed by time.

 15. The things my parents taught me. A vast, useful, solid set of values, lessons and guidelines for a life well lived. I could write volumes.......

16. My back yard. It is a picture that changes daily. Beautiful. Peaceful. Dynamic. Nature.

 17. That I often remember what someone said to me years ago, "Like the Nike ad says, Margaret....'Just Do It'."

 18. For times I remember to be patient: With myself, with others and in different situations.

19. My piano. Although it doesn't get played often......in fact in recent years, hardly at all..... it sits in our living room, available. There isn't a day I walk past it that I don't look forward to sitting down and playing again.

 20. Homemade food; Healthy ingredients. It isn't always easy to find the time...and is oh-so-tempting not to......but I feel better when I allow for the process of planning and shopping and chopping and cooking. When I know what ends up on my plate. 

21. My computer: Email. Communication in real time. Storage. Photoshop. Spellcheck.

22. A car I feel safe driving. One that gets me out and about in all kind of weather and terrain.

23. Getting out of town (it doesn't have to be far) and the new perspective I have when I come back.

24. When I step outside my 'comfort zone'. Uncomfortable at times......yes......but I'm always glad when I do.

25. For the seasons as they change: Appreciating the previous one. Preparing for the next.


What is it that you are thankful for? Wishing you a Wonderful Thanksgiving!



Saturday, November 19, 2011


I am a day late in posting.  For as disciplined as I've tried to be it happened anyway as life took over in a variety of ways and trumped my own personal goal to post each Tuesday and Friday.

Knowing that the week before Thanksgiving is BUSY, I had plans to get things mostly put together for this post by Thursday. It didn't happen. On Friday morning I got out of bed extra early in order to give myself a couple of extra hours in the day. Nope. This was in itself a learning opportunity......just like the rest of this blog has been.

I have to chuckle at what I seem to have forgotten so quickly about having three boys....now men....at home. Things that don't apply when it's just Marc and I. Like trips to Costco to replenish what I know the five of us will easily go through in a week. (Could it be that we have been going out to eat just a bit too often...or that what I've been cooking up for two has been......lacking?) That's how I spent the better part of Wednesday and most of Thursday of this week: Filling my cart with what I knew we were out of,  what we would soon run out of, things we would go through quickly and food for our Thanksgiving meal. And then there were the new pillows we've needed for awhile. And sheets and a mattress pad to replace the ones that Patrick took with him when he moved. 

For as much time as it took to consider and choose and decide what would make the cut and end up in my cart,  even more was spent loading it into and out of my car and finding or creating space for it in the refrigerator, freezer and pantry. I had forgotten how the Costco run can turn into the one chore I do all day. And when I haven't been in awhile and all five of us will be in the house together.... all day for two days.

Currently, there is one tired body sleeping in a freshly made bed in a recently cleaned room upstairs. I'm expecting another on on Monday and one more, Wednesday. I think (but am not 100% certain) that I'm finished with Costco until then. But in the meantime, I forsee  quite a bit of chopping and mixing in my recently stocked kitchen. Stirring a pot on top of the stove. Something baking in the oven or tossed in a salad bowl. Last night it was steaming bowls of Cincinnati Chili with all of the toppings and an Apple Cake. This morning I'm thinking homemade waffles, bacon and orange juice. These are the things I miss and now look forward to. Watching those boys eat. Knowing they are sleeping in a clean and comfortable room.

Wishing you a very happy week ahead with much to be thankful for. I am thankful that you read and check in, and for your friendship. Be back Tuesday!



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Who We Knit For

New commercials are playing on the television and radio. Red and green ads splash across billboards. I have a stack of catalogs on top of my desk. All of this serves as a reminder that the holidays are just around the corner. 

Last evening this is what I stumbled upon in the Vogue Knitting Holiday issue I just received:

"Holiday time in Canada brings up the age-old question: "Who do we knit for and how many knitted items can we churn out before present opening time?"

Having been raised by said Canadian, I remember watching my Mom turn out hats, scarves, blankets and sweaters during pre-holiday knitting sessions. Except, of course, when I was the recipient. Then I wondered after ripping through the paper and opening the box, how she had manged to hide the project from me as she worked. The first year I followed her lead I was nine or ten years old. I gave a pair of pink slippers I had knit in garter stitch to my grandmother. It was my first completed knitting project.

Three years ago I began a tradition of knitting winter hats for each of my boys. It is something useful and makes me feel good when they live far away and in places with real potential for cold, windy weather and lots of snow. I am an intermediate knitter at best....but this is something I can do. It goes quickly and after knitting several hats, I've learned a lot.  I will readily admit that making them has benefited us both.

The holiday season is appraoching and I welcome it. I will shop......but I will also 'make'. There is a wooden tray filled with yarn sitting on my coffee table; separate balls that are so beautiful before the stitches are even woven together. A small stash of finished projects rests next to the couch. No......I won't say who is getting what from whom, but I do have a list, and as many as I have time for will receive.

Wishing you some wonderful weeks ahead!



Friday, November 11, 2011

Beer and Chocolate

Last night we met my brother in the city and attended Bittersweet, a beer and chocolate tasting event held at the Fremont Brewing Company. We sipped, tasted and compared. Listened to music. Ate cheese and crackers. Went out for pizza afterward.

Last weekend a short write-up in the paper caught our attention. After minimal discussion, we got on line and bought tickets. I'll be completely honest here and admit we had no idea that it was a fundraiser for FamilyWorks when we bought them (but I'm sure glad it was)......we simply thought it would be interesting to see how 8 breweries and a local chocolate maker would pair up two of our favorite things. And they did it splendidly.

Each station served up small tastes of a couple of different brews: one created specifically for this evening and one chosen to be sipped along with small bites of a complementary Theo chocolate flavor. I can't say that I had a favorite; I enjoyed them all. I will tell you that the one I found most interesting had an aftertaste with a strong cayenne pepper kick.

The event was sold out......which I'm hoping serves as encouragement for its sponsors to hold it again next year. We will no doubt end up there if they do.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!



Tuesday, November 8, 2011

This Time of Year

I have ended up at this most picturesque shopping village a couple of different times this week. Once to pick up an extra ball of yarn, and once for lunch at the Boarding House during an errand filled Saturday with Marc. The Boarding House is a place I've been stopping for a bite to eat ever since I first moved to Seattle. Back then, it seemed like quite a drive out of the city and was where I used to meet my mom for lunch on her way out of town after a visit. My favorite combo......and the one I've been ordering for years......is the avocado-veggie sandwich on whole grain bread paired with a bowl of potato-dill soup. I think I've had it every single time I've eaten there. They are well known for that soup, as well as for their apple crisp, which you can purchase by the 9 x 13 pan, should you want/need that amount.

The sorry fact about today is that I have come down with one of the many bugs that are being passed around at this time of year. I missed meeting up with my walking group this morning......just couldn't do it as we tend to walk fast and choose steep hills and long distances......but I'm hoping to be much better by the next time we meet. Don't want to lag too far behind! The rest of the day will most likely spent on the couch with hot chocolate, knitting and a favorite heavy blanket. The dinner I had planned may be put off until another night in favor of a pot of soup.

Enjoy your week!



Friday, November 4, 2011


Peter brought this gift to me when he returned home from London a few weeks ago, a No. 1 Pocket Kodak Junior, circa 1910(ish).  After a long drive, he walked in the front door with it, as well as a beautifully illustrated print of human internal organs for Marc. Although we had taken care of his dog while he was out of town, he did not mention that the gifts were in any way related to this. He simply gave them to us and shared the stories of how he had come across each one. He had found items he knew we would each enjoy.

He was right. The young man pays attention and his thoughtfulness does not go unnoticed. This trait is something I truly appreciate about him. It's a pretty good deal......being his mom. 

Last time we were in Missoula, the three of us, Peter, Marc and I, spent some time looking at a collection of 130 Ansel Adams prints at the Missoula Art Museum. The exhibit was inspiring, beautiful, educational and thought provoking......and it's what I wrote about this week for Make It Missoula. To take a look, Click Here.

Hope you have a lovely fall weekend!



Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Seattle was where I moved after college in order to complete an internship and was where I decided to take my first job. It is where Marc and I met, dated, fell in love, were married and began life with our boys.

Although we've lived in a small town east of the city for a number of years, there are days when I miss it. Days in which I feel the need to touch base with this part of my/our history. Every once in awhile we make the drive in......for a concert, a sporting event, for dinner. Every so often we feel the need to revisit places that we know and love, or to try out something new.

A couple of days ago it was time.......for a walk around Greenlake and a bowl of clam chowder at Duke's across the street.
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