Friday, December 31, 2010

All that's left of this year is the peel...

Happy New Year!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I think this mug I got in New York at the best little store near where my cute in-laws live is supposed to imply just a simple, "Hey, have your morning coffee, look out the window, relax a bit."  But I'm taking it to a whole new level--the mug speaks to me during these hectic holiday times, he says, "Take a breath.  It's okay.  Take a coffee break.  Take some photos.  Read a book (on your new Kindle!).  Plop those worries down and don't pick them up till next week."

Big snow came to the mountains today.  My brother has been monitoring the storm system on his computer quite obsessively.

Oh winter!

Darling, the snow is falling...falling like forgiveness from the sky.  --Over the Rhine

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas is my favorite day of the year.  We all agree to hope for peace and we go nuts (sometimes to a fault) trying to make one another happy.

If only we could freeze the moment.

Merry Christmas to all.   



Friday, December 3, 2010

Cold outside, warm inside, candles burning, Christmas tree bright.  Life can seem like a tragic novel, but certain nights are from a storybook...

Hope you've got the same feeling wherever you are.

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's the holiday season!

And I think you know how I feel about that...ecstatic!  ebullient!  jaunty and jolly!  I can hardly concentrate on the details of daily life, knowing that Christmas music, Christmas movies, Christmas shopping, and Christmas baking are now socially acceptable!

Thanksgiving with cute husband turned out to be a very happy day--we cooked a whole meal by ourselves and I have to say we had a real sense of triumph at the end of the day knowing we could pull it off in such a tiny kitchen and with such meager major-meal-making experience. 

But.  The very best part of Thanksgiving? Thanksgiving morning when I awoke and what to my wondering eyes should appear as I walked oh so nervously into my kitchen dreading the drudgery ahead...

That's our elf Rufus.  He brought me 2 varieties of sea salt dark chocolate and a copy of Disney's A Christmas Carol. 

And now the season is in full swing...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I took out the ironing board two days ago and now I'm never putting it back.  Sometimes you just have to let go and allow yourself a free-standing junk shelf smack dab in the middle of your living room.  And if other people have a problem with that, they can just leave.  (People who stay without raising objection to either the junk shelf itself or the junk resting upon it get unlimited mugs of peppermint hot chocolate.)

This Thanksgiving it's just going to be cute husband and me.  As I was reading the Bon Appetit article about how to cook a perfect Thanksgiving turkey I realized, hey! that's never going to happen!  And so I read books instead and drank a sixth cup of coffee.

Sometimes life can seem a total unpredictable mess--that is, I have a post-graduate degree and I work in a bookstore, cute husband is searching like a mad man for a job that has something (anything!) to do with the legal profession--and it's very easy to let it all upset you.  Sometimes when I get home at night I tell cute husband that I want to crawl in a hole and eat worms.  It's my favorite saying left over from childhood.  Thing is, cute husband's response is always: "I'm not letting you do that!  There's no way!  If you insist on doing it, I'm coming down there with you, and we're both eating worms!  Do you want me eating worms?"  

And then you realize, life ain't really so bad.  At all.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fallish favorites

Fall is just a brilliant season--seriously, a genius move on the part of whoever thought up this little universe of ours.
The leaves, the spices and flavors, the slight change in the weather, it's all a perfect lead-up to my most favorite season, that being winter.

Now a few seasonal loves...

Cute husband calls the combination of Old Chubb and Scotch the perfect concoction for autumnal liquid courage.  Sad but true.

Now, on to liquid strength...

I have been searching for a tasty creme brulee whole bean coffee since my mom told me such a thing existed, and, well, as I should have known from the very start of my search nearly 3 years ago, Harry & David delivered.  Snowflake coffee mugs from IKEA also help the flavor for a winter-wisher like me.

And, well, how do I put this...ah yes, the greatness and glory of fall has now been bottled.  Get yours today, morning will be less painful.

Happy Halloween indeed.  For me the commercials are true, the absolute scariest part is having to give away all of my Reese's.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Memories of a strange childhood

I think that one of life's great gifts is being able to joke (as an adult) with your parents about events in your childhood.  It's always interesting (and usually humorous) to learn what your parents were thinking when punishing you for doing crazy stuff--for instance, though he maintained a gruff exterior when removing my television from my bedroom after my third C in a row on an Algebra test, my father later told me that he felt terrible about it for weeks, and that the actual removal of the tv from my room as I watched sadly about broke him for good.

Or when they admit that certain things they absolutely insisted that you do, in truth, seemed pretty ridiculous to them too.  Like when my parents decided it would be a good idea to have my brother and I dress up after school one day a week and sit in the dining room with my mom where we would all sip tea and nibble scones.  As though we were British people.

You can imagine how well this went over with a six-year-old and a twelve-year-old.  I distinctly remember Alex and I staring at one another across the dining room table, a look of total confusion on our faces, "Is this real?" we wondered.  "Are we really being made to do this?"

Well it didn't last truth I only remember doing it once.  And just a few months ago Alex and I brought this up to my parents.  My father had completely wiped it from his memory, which my mom found funny because she said it had been his idea.  And she admitted that she thought it was absolutely nuts at the time and it took everything she had to not burst out laughing that afternoon.  My parents always went to great lengths to maintain a united front, which as a kid annoyed me to no end, but in retrospect I find it kind of sweet.

Nonetheless, the scone event did not traumatize me enough that I don't eat scones.  I adore scones.  And since I had a little time today, I made my first batch ever entirely from scratch.  I usually use a mix.  And there's no shame in that!

These are so absolutely marvelous.  No chalky texture, not hard as rocks.  Delicious amazing goodness in wedge form.

So I wanted to share the recipe with you, because what better way to say I love you than a sweet from my home to yours.

From Simply Scones by Leslie Weiner and Barbara Albright
Chocolate Chip Orange Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled (yes, that's a whole stick, live a little!)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips (I used regular size; chocolate is one thing that should never, under any circumstances, be consumed in miniature)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch-diameter circle in the center of a baking sheet (I used a non-stick mini-scone pan, which lessens cooking time by about 7 minutes and shapes the wedges uniformly).
In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Cut the butter into 1/2 inch cubes and distribute them over the flour mixture.  With a pastry blender or two knives used scissors fashion, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles course crumbs.  In a small bowl, stir together the eggs, orange juice, vanilla, and orange peel.  Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine.  The dough will be sticky.  With lightly floured hands, knead in the chocolate chips until they are evenly distributed.
With lightly floured hands, pat the dough into an 8-inch-diameter circle in the center of the prepared baking sheet.  With a serrated knife, cut into 8 wedges.  (Or just press the dough evenly into a scone pan.)  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (or 12 to 15 with the scone pan), or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of a scone comes out clean.  Remove the baking sheet to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes.  With a spatula, transfer the scones to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes.  Recut into wedges, if necessary.  Serve warm, or cool completely and store in an airtight container.  These scones freeze well.

Have a happy evening.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Believe it or not, I'm still here, waiting for fall, hoping for a little order to life.

As summer quiets itself, I find myself overwhelmed by the possibilities of life--at times so hopeful, and at other times so filled with worry about all the ways things can go wrong (How do I panic?  Let me count the ways...).

So I take solace in books, and in tea.  I am reading the new Jonathan Franzen. 

And we've been watching football...


'Tis a simple life that I would not change a bit.

See you very soon.  I promise to be a better blogger in coming weeks.

**Please, no comments about the hopelessness of both of our teams.  Thank you.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Down to earth

It's like we've been in space all summer and we're now in the pressure chamber getting used to gravity again. 

I wonder, do they give the astronauts beer in cute pint glasses?

Because it's all that seems to be working for us.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Time to get back on the road.  The asphalt road, and the road of life.  Tomorrow we begin our journey back to Williamsburg.

Oh what a summer.

Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway
We're the best of friends
Insisting that the world keep turning our way

--Willie Nelson, "On the Road Again"

Friday, July 30, 2010

I haven't the foggiest

Foggy mountain, foggy brain.

And my mum informs me that it's actually not fog, but clouds, because we're so darn close to them up here. 

I know there's a metaphor for life there, but I just don't quite know what it is.

Happy weekend wonderful people.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I think I've done the impossible

I try to come up with at least one really good playlist per season.  This is my summer list that I've been perfecting over the last several weeks.  I've been telling myself that once I got it perfect, I could then begin playing it while I wrote.  But I had to get it perfect first.  Don't I take the art of procrastination to a whole new level?  Yes I think so.

Anyway, in case you need a few new tunes in your life, here's what I've been listening to on repeat.

(Click to zoom in and get a better view.)

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