Friday, December 30, 2011
From our friends who had recently moved to Maine, we received a big basket of Maineness. It was full of things they had discovered and loved at their farmer's market - blueberry jam, hand-dipped candles, scone mix - all kinds of things. We loved it.
A few days later when I was putting things away, I realized that the brochure for Ivy Manor Inn, included in the Basket of Maineness, had a gift certificate tucked inside - good for two nights. We couldn't pack fast enough.
We adored Bar Harbor. We explored Acadia National Park and watched the sunrise from the top of Cadillac Mountain (where we also checked for phone messages, since it was the only place we could get a signal). We hiked the Jordan Pond trail and mourned that we were too late for popovers (which are legendary). We had breakfast twice each morning because we couldn't choose between restaurants.
We liked it so much, we gently toyed with the idea of moving there. If we lived there, we thought, we could explore all the things we were just catching glimpses of.
And then we came home and realized there was much to explore here. We have a state park near us that we knew nothing about. We have a wildlife sanctuary we had never explored.
I was in that sanctuary this morning, taking a walk and thinking about how it took a trip up Cadillac Mountain to get me off the couch and into my own backyard. It's not huge, but if I ever get tired of it, there are National and State Parks to explore nearby (although getting tired of it doesn't seem likely.) Going there never fails to clear my head. I think my Mass Audubon membership should be covered by health insurance. It's ... fabulous.
And it was right here, all along.
So, the moral of the story is: Don't open your presents so fast you miss the gift.
Sunday, December 25, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
I hit that wall at 12:22 today.
Right in the middle of making chestnut bisque for lunch (fa! la! la!), I realized I had probably missed the post office, where the package from my sister and my ornament* were waiting for me. The package from my sister had a pile of gifts for the kids in it. The ornament was sure to be awesome and I wanted it on my tree. Pronto.
And then I got all shades of grumpy because honestly, why is all this up to me? Does no one else know where the post office is? Does no one else know how to make lunch?
Fa. La. La.
I skidded into the post office parking lot, ran inside and was astonished to find the package pick-up window open. When I thanked her for staying open, she said "we usually close at 12, but I figured people need all the help they can get."
And then I came home and ripped into my ornament, finding not only a handmade, drunk, wry snowman (which is completely our holiday decorating theme) but an ornament made especially for me.
The wall of holiday bitterness and taken-for-grantedness crumbled.
And the chestnut bisque was not ruined despite being abandoned - with the immersion blender standing up in the pot - when I ran out the door.
10-12 ounces chestnuts (peeled - I buy them in bags at the grocery store, all ready to go)
1 small onion
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups almond milk
palmful dried thyme
salt to taste
Saute the onion and leek in olive oil in a saucepan. Add the broth and chestnuts and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the almond milk, cardamom, nutmeg and thyme and blend thoroughly (as mentioned, I use an immersion blender because I'm lazy and it's my favorite thing ever.) Salt to taste. Sing about chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Eat.
*I am part of the most Superior Ornament Exchange Ever, hosted by Jett Superior. As luck would have it, Jett herself drew my name. I win at Christmas.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
On Tuesday my car wouldn't start. Today (Thursday) my car won't stop. Wednesday was somewhere in between. I suppose it usually is.
When my car wouldn't start, I was waiting to meet a friend I had invited to go to the theater. The other friend (I have two) who was going to meet me at the theater canceled, so I was waiting to meet the second friend at The Appointed Spot when I discovered my car wouldn't start. I'm sure he wasn't at all suspicious when he drove up and I asked him to drive. His car is clean and comfy and I would totally fake a dead car if the opportunity came up again.
Today I was on my way to work and when I stopped to run an errand, I couldn't get the ignition to turn off. After a few seconds of hand-wringing and driving back and forth through town like a squirrel at a four-way-stop, I pulled over and called the dealership. It is a key cylinder something-or-other.
While I am not prone to stalling my manual transmission, there is something disconcerting about driving through stop-and-go traffic with a car you can't start if it stalls (key won't budge in either direction). And did I mention I was almost out of gas? You're not supposed to fill your tank without turning off your engine. Even I know that.
So now in addition to keeping my tank full when anyone I know is pregnant, I have to keep my tank full in case my car won't stop driving. My car is a cross between The Red Tent and The Red Shoes.
Here's the thing with cars. When they don't work, they can either put you in a tailspin or give you a chance to breathe. I've been needing a chance to breathe lately. How often do you get to sit and just be where you are? Or sit in a clean and comfy car and be glad for the way things sort themselves out?
The woman at the dealership said sometimes people stay in the waiting room after their cars are finished. Who can blame them?
File under: car repairs are cheaper than therapy.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Friday, February 11, 2011
That's what New York is like for me.
For years I have loved hating it. I called it "Sodom on the Hudson" and imagined everyone to be pushy and mean. This was not entirely unfounded. We had playground issues, so to speak, in the early stages of our acquaintance.
But friends had invited us to see an opera with them and then a week at a New York apartment popped up in an auction benefiting our favorite theater. So we bid. And got it.
I was as surprised as anyone.
Every time I saw a picture of New York I'd get nervous all over again. Old habits die hard. But I really like opera and was pretty sure I'd get to see one (I did much more than that - see my Opera Betty post for gloaty details). So I pretended I wasn't scared. And made Chris drive.