Sunday, December 16, 2012


I'm having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit this year. It's not just being in a different place. I think it's part of my grieving process.

My husband, Steve, and I used to do a huge thing for Christmas - outlined the house in multi-colored lights, put up a huge tree and 4 little ones, midnight services at church, prime rib for dinner Christmas day, family gatherings all over, the whole thing. Then he was diagnosed with cancer in October 2005. Christmas that year was wonderful - all the family came over, my step-daughter was flown home from Afghanistan early, it was heartwarming and homey and made wonderful memories.

Then my dad passed away January 13, 2006. On Christmas Eve day 2006, we called Hospice for my husband. They did the intake on Christmas Day. He lasted until January 3, 2007. I haven't really done Christmas at my house since then. I did put up a couple of the small trees, but it's not to the extent we decorated in the past. Strangely enough, doing only a little is almost worse than doing nothing at all. This year, I'm doing nothing - because my Christmas stuff is still at my old house. Another snafu. My mover didn't finish the job, and now is not responding to my emails and calls. Great. At least I know where my stuff is - I just can't afford to pay extra to get it up here right now, because...

On Thursday of this week, I was laid off/ terminated/ fired. Whatever you want to call it. My boss called it "terminating our association." Totally blindsided me. Threw me for a loop. I really did not see this coming. I usually have some sort of idea about this kind of thing, but this time, nothing. Totally out of the blue. That's, I think, the hardest part of this. If I hadn't been hearing "good job" about my work, if he hadn't given me a letter three days before, listing assignments for the next few weeks and outlining the next few months, I would have had some sort of idea.

However, as I have had to say so many times before, what is simply is what is. I'm treating myself to extra time with my darling children - my son and daughter-in-law in NJ - and while I'm there, I'll send out resumes all over, looking for temporary work. The hardest part is going to be the economic reality - I won't be able to afford the money or time to pay for a bar review course, now, so I have to put off the bar exam again, until next July. On the other hand, I will have time to get more integrated into the legal community here, to make contacts, and to work off some of my law school debt, so that's a positive thing. Now I just have to find a job to enable me to do those things!

I will have a good Christmas anyway. It's impossible not to, with my daughter-in-law's mother taking charge of the holiday! She's a Christmas nut, the way I used to be, and they are a loving, giving, welcoming family. I'm very, very blessed to have all of them in my life. I'll be there Thursday, and I can't wait. I hope everyone has a good Christmas, too. My prayers this season are for peace on earth. True peace, that comes from within.

Steve at his last Christmas, 2006

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Quiet Saturday...

I love quiet Saturdays. Especially rainy quiet Saturdays.

One of the features of my new house that I love the most is the huge window overlooking my covered porch. I've never had a porch before (as an adult anyway!), and the window stretches almost the whole width of the porch. It's just so peaceful to look out and watch the rain fall. I hear it might be snow by next week again!

The dog and I have spent the day snoozing, getting up for a snack, going outside briefly, then settling in to snooze again. Well, she snoozed again. I studied bar stuff. Today was Contracts. It's the area I have the most trouble with, so I'm immersing myself in it this weekend. Sort of penance for not studying the topic hard enough during law school.

Meanwhile, the dog continues to snore, and Army and Navy are playing in the background, while the rain drips off the roof of the porch. Very peaceful.

May we all find peace this holiday season.

Happy Chanukah.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I have fallen in love with granola and yogurt. It's a new relationship, but a strong one. I think this will last the rest of my life.

Step 1: Make a batch of THIS granola on Sunday, while football is playing. I used slivered almonds (which I toasted while I was mixing up the oatmeal), and dried cranberries and dried cherries from Trader Joe's. I also used 4 cups of oatmeal, and still added the 1/2 cup of oil and 1/2 cup of honey. I've never added salt before, but I did the last two batches I made. It really does make all the difference.

Step 2: Put a good amount of granola in a pretty large soup bowl. (I love my Mikasa Italian Countryside china!)

Step 3: Add yogurt. I used Swiss Style Vanilla, from a large container, because it was on sale this week for $2. I had used so much already, though, that I didn't really have enough for the consistency I like. I do like Swiss Style because it's thicker. Greek would work, too. I think thinner yogurt makes it come out more like cereal with milk, which is not bad, but not my favorite.

Step 4: add more yogurt, from a container. I didn't have vanilla, so I added black raspberry flavor. Mix it all around, so it's a big mess. See why I did step-by-step pictures? It doesn't look very nice at this point. Tastes FABULOUS though!

Step 5: Eat, with gusto! Of course, I had to have black coffee with it. Because that's an unchanging part of my morning ritual.

I could eat this stuff 3 times a day. It's amazing. A nice blend of grains, nuts, fruit, dairy... it fills me up, and is healthy as all get out. YUM!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Nice lazy Saturday

Surprise! It's snowing again! Light flurries - it's too cold to do much more than that. 20 degrees this morning, which is a HUGE improvement from yesterday's temperatures in the teens! Lizzie has been sleeping all day so far. She woke up at 7 and had to go out - of course, since Saturday is my sleep-in day - but then she went right back to bed, even without her breakfast! She did get up and wander around a bit when I brought her downstairs, but now she's sleeping again. She has the right idea!

I'm spending my day doing the usual weekend stuff - laundry, cleaning, baking, knitting, reading... it's a good day to be inside.

Tomorrow, the Henry Knox Museum is having their holiday open house, at Montpelier, in Thomaston. Knox is one of my favorite characters from the Revolutionary period, and I haven't been there yet, so the holiday open house will be a nice introduction to the mansion. I may volunteer over there next summer. Or even work there part-time. Could be fun.

I'm off to transfer wash into the dryer, and to put another load in. I love weekends.

Front Yard in Snow

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I love working from home

Especially on days like today. It snowed, so I haven't left the house all day. I like this. It was a light snow, barely 2 inches, but it was nice to sit in front of my very big front window and watch the snow fall, and know I didn't have to drive in it and worry about black ice or the other stupid drivers on the road.

I got a foster dog, Lizzie, from a Cocker Spaniel rescue in New York, about two weeks ago. She's 10 years old, black with a gray muzzle, and very sweet. We're having some potty training issues, but she's improving. She was in the kennel for about a month, and I think she lost track of how to let someone know when she has to go. She also sleeps very deeply and doesn't feel when she has to go, so sometimes she poops in her sleep. I have her sleeping on towels, and I do laundry a lot. It's a lot like having a toddler! She's very snuggly, and loves to run in the yard. I'm glad my front yard is fenced in - she LOVES to run out there.

In other news, work has picked up a lot. I love being able to get up a bit later - around 8 - and not having to commute! I just shower, make coffee, go out with Lizzie, then turn on my computer and get right to work. It's awesome. I can take a break when I need to, go to the post office or the store, or the dump when I need to. I do have to go meet clients and go to court occasionally, but for the most part, I'm at home. I love it. The only down side I have found is making sure I watch the clock, so I don't sit for too long, and so I remember to eat lunch. I'll look up at 3 pm and wonder why I'm so hungry, and why my behind and back hurt. It's because I've been sitting in the same spot since 8:30, with only a few short breaks to go out with Lizzie! Really, though, that is such a minor issue. I can eat a good, hot dinner every night because I have time to cook. I made cornbread this afternoon, to have with dinner. I really enjoy that part. I also really like being home with Lizzie, and having her company. It makes a big difference to me.

More later this week, when I have more time and a little less work to get done! Meantime, here's a couple of Lizzie shots:

Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Maine experience so far

I've been here about a month, and it's been, well, very interesting.

I've had a few hiccups with the house. It was a bit dismaying at first because it was so different from my house on Cape Cod. Then again, as my son reminded me, it took me nearly 20 years to get the old house in shape, so I need to remember that and be patient. I love the size of the house, I love that my office is right in the house, and I love that the house has so much light coming in. It feels very comfortable.

I don't like that the heat is still dodgy - the landlord's handyman is working on it, but slowly. There are two furnaces here, one in the house and one in the office. The house one is connected to a very old oil tank, that needs to be scrapped. The office one is connected to the better oil tank, and the handyman is in the process of moving that one to the front of the house so the oil guy can deliver when there's snow on the ground. It's taking a looonnnnggg time. At least the house furnace is working right now, but I have no heat in the office. That's fine until the weather gets colder, which may happen any day now.

I am getting my boxes unpacked, and every time I get another area set up, I feel more at home. My office is set up, complete with a comfy chair with a lamp next to it, so I can read client papers in comfortably. I love the view from my office - I overlook my big side yard, and I can see the traffic coming and going on the street. My pictures are at the wall, my knick knacks are getting in place, and I have found some of my scented candles. More and more at home all the time.

The people here are very friendly and welcoming. I haven't been in a single store, diner, or even the dump when someone doesn't strike up a conversation with me. I have been to my local knitting group a couple of times, and the folks there have been welcoming.

I'm finding my way around, to the grocery store, the least expensive gas stations, the local hardware store. I'm spending quite a bit of time at the hardware store! I also have internet, HD TV and phone, so I'm a happy girl! I really feel like I'm settling in nicely. It is different, but in a good way. It's quieter, it's more peaceful, and I feel safer. I'm even training myself to leave doors unlocked when I'm inside the house! That's a huge step for me!

The next post will have more pictures. Promise.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The hardest part of moving

It's not purging the gunk out of the house, although that's hard enough. It's not even saying good bye to friends - with Facebook and email, it doesn't really feel like good bye. It's not even planning what I can live without while the packing is going on. That's kind of like packing for a vacation. Or so I'm telling myself!

No, the hardest part is arranging for daily life changes. Things like transferring prescriptions (the nearest branch of the chain pharmacy I use is 30 minutes away), finding doctors, figuring out where I can get the oil changed on my car (again, the nearest dealer for my car is 30 minutes away), and the library! That will be my biggest change, I think.

I am a library devotee. I order so many books at my library down here that the librarians know me by name. I order so many books, I get a bin with my name on it when they start to build up. The librarians even call me when they haven't seen me in a while. I used the library for studying for exams and writing papers for law school. I used the library computers when my computer was on the fritz, while I was waiting for it to be fixed. I used the library printers when mine fritzed, while I was waiting for the new one to arrive. That's a lot of library usage.

The local library in the town I will be living in doesn't carry most of the books I had on reserve at the library I'm leaving, so I will have to order them through their system. Ok, no problem. But, to renew them, I will have to either call or email the library. I have been so spoiled. My library down here has a system where I can search their library online, order a book I want, and have it waiting for me whenever I'm ready to pick it up. I can also order books from around the state, not just from my local library system. The new library's changes are not bad, it will just be different, and I will have to remember the differences. I am moving to a smaller town, after all. The comfort of a smaller town comes with some adjustments. I will not be one of those people who moves to a small town and then complains about the inconveniences! I'll still have my Internet access, which opens up the world. I'll have my Overdrive subscriptions, so I can read books on my Kindle. I can order books from around Maine and pick them up at the library in town. I will still have access to the books I want to read, it might just take a few days to get them. Again, just different.

The Boy and His Wife come up next weekend to help pack, and to say good bye to the house. We're like that. Houses have personalities to us, I guess, and this one holds a lot of memories for us. Then the official packing by movers begins October 2! It's coming up fast! They will pack me over two days, then load, drive and unload on the 4th. I have my Internet installation scheduled for the 5th. It's rather tightly scheduled, so I really hope all goes smoothly.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A little rant, and a little news

First, the Rant: I am so sick of stupid ads on TV. The ones that treat viewers as if we're all stupid and automatically fall for the lowest, basest stereotypes. The ones that repeat every 5 minutes, because viewers are too dull to have gotten it the first time around. The ones that are so artsy and esoteric that I can't even figure out what they're selling. The ones that tell consumers that they're not worth crap unless they have the latest, greatest "new and improved" version of whatever they bought last year. {Don't get me on my soapbox about "new and improved."} I'm not going to mention crummy grammar or the Stupid Dad stereotype - although I could. Easily. I guess I will just have to stick with my Tivo or my DVDs, so I don't have to be subjected to the idiocy that is most marketing.

On the News side - I'm moving away from Cape Cod! After 25 years! I have a job offer in a small town in Maine called Waldoboro, and I'll be moving right around Columbus Day weekend. I have signed a lease with a nice couple who will rent my house on the Cape, and who I believe will take good care of it, which puts my mind at ease. I'm excited about moving forward with my life and my career, although leaving here will be hard. I always said I'd have to be taken out of here with a shovel, because I would be dead before I left. Guess I tempted the gods with that one. Of course, that was said when my life was wonderfully sewn up - my husband was still alive, I still liked teaching, my family was still close by. Now the family has moved on themselves, as they should. Teaching lost its appeal, and law gained appeal, and my husband has been gone more than 5 years now. Time to move on. I'm excited for the new career, the new house, and the small, quiet town I'll be moving to, although I'm sure I will have a good cry when I actually leave.

Meantime, I'm purging the garbage out of my house - even though I did that already after my husband passed, or so I thought. Amazing how much junk we accumulate, isn't it? I'm getting quotes from moving companies, looking for a church and a knitting group in Maine, and thinking ahead to winter. Finally, I'll get to wear all my knitted stuff! Possibly all at once! Glad I knit socks... and mittens, and hats, and sweaters...

Maine, here I come!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

I wrote a pattern!

Well, I've written a bunch of patterns, but usually only for my own use. This one, I published on Ravelry! I did a quick square using my favorite pattern - the Eyelet Mock-Cable Rib from 365 Knitting Stitches a Year perpetual calendar. The moderators of the group are trying to come up with squares for the rest of the year - I'm one of them - and I had the idea of throwing this one into the mix.

It's my favorite pattern for a reason - it looks pretty complicated, but it's really very simple. It's a four-row repeat, three of which are simple 3x2 ribbing. I added garter edging, but you could easily do a seed stitch edge, if that's your favorite. The PDF can be found here, in my Google Docs.

The pattern is here:

Eyelet Mock-Cable Rib Square

Adapted by Pegi Frostholm from “365 Knitting Stitches a Year” perpetual calendar
© 2002 Martingale & Company
Square Pattern © 2012 Margaret Flanagan Frostholm

CO 43. Knit 3 rows in garter stitch (knit every row).

Row 1 (right side): K3; P2, *sl 1, K2, psso, P2; rep from * to 3 stitches from end; K3.
Row 2: K3; K2, *P1, YO, P1, K2; rep from * to 3 stitches from end; K3.
Row 3: K3; P2, *K3, P2; rep from * to 3 stitches from end; K3.
Row 4: K3; K2, *P3, K2; rep from * to 3 stitches from end; K3.

These four rows make up the pattern. Repeat these pattern rows until square is about ½” shorter than you want it to be. Knit 3 rows in garter stitch. Bind off. 

Monday, January 16, 2012


I was Costco shopping with a friend today, and we got to discussing food, of course. What else do you discuss at a LARGE food store? Well, we talked about all sorts of stuff, but basically food. We're both law students, in our last semester (finally!), and we both miss cooking. She was saying she wants to cook more, but doesn't have a lot of good recipes. She also got a crock pot for Christmas, and wanted something to do with that, too. So, of course, being a former full-time mom/ cook/ bottle washer, I started rattling off some favorite recipes. It kind of freaks people out when I do that - I have so many of them memorized - but then I explain that I've been cooking since I was 13, which explains the memorization. I'm almost 50. That's a lot of cooking. Anyway, I thought it would be nice to share some of the favorites I gave my friend. I've already posted the family's mac & cheese recipe - here - and my summer veggies recipe - here - and my favorite Greek Chicken - here - so I'm going to add some different ones: Spaghetti Sauce and Crockpot Beef Stew.

Crockpot Beef Stew:

2 lb. (ish) beef chuck roast, cut into approx. 1" cubes
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 can (Campbell's soup size) beef consomme' or beef stock
1 onion, sliced long ways
1 to 2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 to 3 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 2" pieces (can be cooked separately and added toward the end)

Put onions on bottom of crock pot, then add beef. Mix soup mix with consomme' and pour over the top. Add garlic. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours; low for 8 hours. If adding potatoes, put them on top of the beef.

Optional: add 1/2 cup barley and add a soup can of water. If you want veggies, hard ones work best - like carrots - add them in the last 1/2 hour of cooking.

Spaghetti Sauce:

1 - 28 oz. can Italian whole peeled tomatoes, or diced tomatoes. Try to get the ones without basil
1 - 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste (small one)
2-ish Tbsp. oregano
1 onion, diced
1 to 2 cloves garlic, chopped
Olive oil

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, cook until soft; add garlic and cook about a minute more. Add tomatoes, sauce, paste, and oregano - I cover the top of a 12" frying pan with oregano. Cover and cook on low (just bubbling) about 20 minutes. Serve over pasta, use with baked fusilli, whatever.

Baked ziti: Use 1 to 1 1/2 cup sauce (eyeball it - if it's too dry, add more), 1 lb. pasta, cooked half the time on the box, add 1/2 to 1 cup shredded parmesan to the sauce, bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

Sausage and Peppers: cook whole sausages in fry pan; remove and cool; cook onion and 1 diced green pepper; add garlic, add tomato sauce makings and sausage, cut into 1" slices. Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes. Serve over chunky pasta - rotini, fusilli, something like that.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Daybook entry for January


Outside my window... it's sunny but COLD. And quiet - it's too cold for the children at the school down the street to play outside, so no shouts and laughter today.

I am thinking... deeply about my life and my happiness. Specifically, about how to eliminate the stress that I can eliminate from my life.

I am thankful... for warm clothes, somewhere to live, plenty of food to eat, something interesting to do.

In the kitchen... my coffee maker is cooling down - I just turned it off. Salmon is thawing for dinner. Butter for making cookies is softening on the counter.

I am wearing... yoga pants, tshirt, wool socks, wool sweater - comfy clothes for a day off.

I am creating... knitted blocks for an afghan to give as a gift next Christmas, a scarf for the same reason, a shawl for myself... I always have quite a few things on the needles.

I am going... for a walk in a little while.

I am wondering... how the homeless people around Boston Common will keep warm tonight in the nasty cold weather.

I am reading... another romance novel from the library, on my Kindle. My break from law reading, although that's coming up soon, too.

I am hoping... I can stick to my resolution to get my weight under control this year. I'm so bad with resolutions...

I am looking forward to... starting my internship next Monday

I am learning... in a larger sense, how to practice law. In a smaller sense, to exercise more patience.

Around the house... Christmas decorations are still up - until the 6th, as always. The cat is sleeping on my bed, the sun is shining through the windows, and all is quiet.

I am pondering... my future. As usual.

A favorite quote for today... "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13.

One of my favorite things... is my knitting! (*Are* my knitting? I have so many projects...)

A few plans for the rest of the week: checkup with my doctor on Thursday, knit night with dear friends Thursday night, possibly a gathering with friends on Saturday.

A peek into my day... knitting, walking, napping, watching TV.

I love clouds. They just fascinate me.

From the simple woman's daybook