Monthly Archives: December 2011

50º at 1 p.m.

It was just what I needed to pick the last of the kale and put my garden to bed. Something I thought I would not get to before cold winter temperatures struck.  I had also procrastinated about planting my garlic, and darned if I didn’t get a chance to do that too! Temperatures tomorrow are supposed to be in the 20°’s and very windy. I think I just squeaked by on this one!


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Brief Christmas weekend story

Temperatures dropped to low teens overnight, creating “sea smoke”  a.k.a. “vapor” or “vapah” on the water on Christmas Eve morning.

Inside the cabin of the mailboat, all packages stayed dry, and Ashley Bryan took a moment to write a Christmas card to my mother. Bruce and I were on our way over there to open her presents and make a lunch of crab claws, salad with lots of avocado, and popovers fresh out of the oven. She really liked it.

We arrived at Fritz and Meg’s apartment in Portland around 4:30. Robin and Stephanie were already there. We just hung out for a while before going to our hotel to change for dinner at Cinque Terre. Good food and good times, but no photos alas.

On Christmas morning, Bruce and I were looking out our window at Standard Bakery, which is below the back end of Fore Street, the restaurant where Fritz works. We noticed a few policemen standing around as if waiting for something. Then we realized we were looking down at a crime scene.

The top arrow shows where a break in occurred, in a window close to the sidewalk. Moving clockwise, the next arrow shows where our car is parked, only because we decided to use the $15/night valet parking service. Had we taken the suggestion to park in the empty parking lot behind the bakery (next to our hotel) we might have had to go in  for questioning, or at least had the car towed. The next arrow indicates where we might have parked near the dumpsters. The last arrow indicates the police and the owner of the bakery.

Crime scene unit arrives.

Evidence is collected.

Then we didn’t hear any more about it.

Had a great brunch with Fritz and Meg, Robin and Stephanie, and Kelly and Al. Again too busy to take many photos. We took a long walk, then everyone split up for a bit before gathering back at Kelly and Al’s for Christmas dinner.

My kind of tree.

AJ hanging in the kitchen.

Fritz adding his own magical ingredients to Al’s flavorful beans.

Everything came together to make an amazing delicious Cassoulet.

Great food and great family made for a wonderful holiday. As we stopped by to eat some leftovers and say goodbye on Monday morning, I rallied the gang for a family photo. I don’t know why I can’t remember to do this before we all feel so tired from preparations and celebrating. It seems to be the last thing I do before we head out the door to drive north.

False start with the timer.

The third try was the best of the group.

Now everyone is back home, safe and sound, and back to work. Hope you had a Merry Christmas too!


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Bizarre winter ritual on mailboat ride

Just before sunset, on the shortest day of the year,

and after he had punched all the tickets and collected all the fares,

Paul Hewes grabbed hold of the sun…

….and ATE it!

Happy Solstice!


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Twelve pounds of granola,

three loaves of cranberry nut bread, and a pretty easy chocolate candy recipe that was both pretty and easy. (I also finished up my wrapping, so it was a darn good day!)

I learned about this when my friend Carla posted it on her blog. It looked so fun and easy I just had to give it a try. All it took was 3 bars of Ghiradelli white chocolate, and 3 bars of Ghiradelli dark chocolate. Line a cookie sheet with parchment, break chocolate into squares, place on parchment alternating the light and dark squares. Place in a 225° oven for just 5 minutes. Take the sheet out and swirl the chocolates into each other. The sprinkle with sea salt and chopped nuts. (Oops. I forgot the nuts, oh well. It still tasted good.) Cool in the refrigerator until the chocolates harden, then break into pieces. It’s better to store it in the refrigerator, too, since  the chocolate tends to stay a little soft.

Thanks Carla!!


Hmmm…are any of my crafty friends thinking, “When was the last time I marbelized some paper?”  Trish…remember, “Marbelize the world!?”


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Penguins and Peeps

Two extremes of culinary effort for the pot luck “Santa Supper” tonight at the Neighborhood House.

Okay, I confess. I’m responsible for the Peeps. But I also brought a tossed green salad with pears, scallions, yellow peppers, dried cranberries and homemade croutons, so at least there was effort in one of my contributions.

Before dinner, we were treated to a performance of “Frosty the Snowman.”

After dinner we sang songs and waited and waited for Santa to arrive.


Everyone was super excited to see Santa, but 3 year old Johnny went back to thank Santa and give him a big hug. Then he went back a third time to talk with Santa about how much he liked his gift.

Good times in a small island town.


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Lost and Found

Three little words to describe how I have felt since the end of September. I can’t say there has been any one specific thing to cause me to hide away from life and people for the last three months, and I haven’t been a total hermit. I’ve shown up for things like craft shows and trunk shows, my mother’s unexpected trips to the E.R. and her increasing confusion with life. I’ve kept up with e-mails and writing articles, though I haven’t been so strong on the blogging. But through it all I have felt a profound sense of ennui. I feel like I’ve been living life as a part time job and it has blocked the flow of my happier, more creative energy.

I don’t think I have ever felt like this. I am not in the depths of depression, thank god, because I know all too well what that can feel like. I don’t feel the need or desire to escape life or these feelings with drugs or alcohol, an activity I perfected to a dangerous level in my 20’s and early 30’s. I don’t feel particularly angry about anything, and I don’t feel sick. I love my husband of 32 years and our grown kids are doing well.

It’s like I have been stuck in neutral, and can’t be bothered to be too bothered about it. There isn’t any angst to this, but it sure feels unnatural, empty.  Perhaps it is my body’s way of restoring itself from some unknown psychic damage. It could be that I have actually forgotten how to rest, unless I am sick, and my body and mind have staged a coup.

Yesterday I felt the first glimmer of change; the return of the possible, as I walked on the beach at low tide. The day was clear, sunny, and finally the right kind of cold for December. At the end of our walk, Bruce headed home and I stayed at the beach noticing details like perfect salt circles left on rocks by the receding tide. I gave up taking photos when my camera battery died, and looked for rocks to inspire the next necklace design.   As I got ready to head back to my house, a friend showed up at the top of the beach. She had come to throw rocks, out of frustration and the need to move, because she was feeling many of the same feelings I was. We talked about how weird these feelings were, and were able to offer each other the recognition and validation that helped us feel at least a little more connected to something. We walked up the road together, a little in awe of the timing of our meeting and our shared sense of having been “lost.” The moment was rarer than coincidence, it was a moment of grace.

Today I feel a hopeful little pinch of my true self returning. The three month tide has finally turned.



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Gobble warming

A bunch of wild turkeys caught our eyes as my brother and I drove over to Bar Harbor to meet with Mom’s doctor at the hospital, this morning.  I’ve seen plenty of wild turkeys, at various times, but this was the first time I’ve ever seen any of them displaying. Darned if it didn’t make me think of elementary school and cutting out turkeys from construction paper; making colorful fanned-out tails.

I had forgotten my camera, but my brother had his, and we pulled over to watch the birds from across the road and get some photos.  When I got home his afternoon that I started to think about the turkeys and wonder:  Isn’t a December display a bit out of season? I Googled the gobblers (sorry) and found nothing about a breeding season at this time of year.  Our December has been so unusually mild that it’s easy to forget that Winter begins next week. “It feels more like Spring,” has been a common remark lately. Apparently these wild turkeys think so too.



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3:30 boat ride on Monday

I came home from the craft fair a day later than expected. I ended up meeting my mother in the ER on Sunday instead of having a nice little lunch with her at her apartment. She has a rather remarkable deep vein thrombosis (blood clot) that extends the length of her left leg. She is still unable to put weight on her right leg, as the broken fibula is taking its time to heal. It looks like she’ll be in the hospital for a week or more, so off I go today on the 11:30 boat to spend more time with her. It gets pretty lonely and scary and confusing for a tiny little 86 year old woman who is stuck in the hospital. I’m so fortunate to have good friends to stay with off island, and a pretty incredible view to look at on my commutes back home.



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C’mon down to Bar Harbor!

Island Arts Association Holiday Craft Fair

The IAA’s 38th Annual Holiday Craft Fair features high quality crafts by Mount Desert Island area artisans in a wide range of media including pottery, jewelry, knits, photography, quilting, handcrafted bags, handblown glass, woodworking and more. Proceeds from food sales help support the heating costs of the MDI YWCA. Free IAA shopping bag to the first customer for each vendor each day. Free coffee on Friday from 3 to 5 pm. Free cookies on Saturday from 1 to 3 pm. Free gift wrapping for IAA purchases all day on Saturday.
Atlantic Oceanside Conference Center
119 Eden Street, Route 3 Bar Harbor, Maine 04609

Friday, December 2, 2011   and  Saturday, December 3, 2011

9 AM to 5 PM  on Friday   and   9 AM To 3 PM on Saturday
You bet I’ll be there!  I’ll have plenty of necklaces made with beach rocks…
Loads of silver earrings…
And a forest of wire trees featuring earrings that are specially priced for the fair at $20!
And that’s not all….
As a thank you to shoppers who come to the fair to support local craftspeople, I’ll take 20% off the price of all of my jewelry. (Yup. That means those fun little glass bead earrings, on sterling silver earwires, will actually cost only $16 a pair.)
This is a really great local crafts fair with a whole building full of talented crafters. Admission is free. There is food for sale to support the YWCA, and plenty of lunch tables for sitting. It’s my favorite fair of the year. Even if your shopping is done, it’s worth it to stop by and see people you know. You’d be nuts to miss it!


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