Wednesday, December 30, 2009

In the Throes and Thaws

Of course the snow's been falling.
What surprises me though, is the tiny little puny amounts.
I've been able to shovel the driveway in less than half and hour.
I can still go from Here to There with relative ease.
Native Syracusians are still wearing shorts.
I can open my front door without piles of snow falling in on me.
I can still feel my fingers and toes.

It's just been very pretty and not very devastating.

I don't want to tempt the wrath of the Snow Gods, but Syracuse does have it's reputation to worry about. We won the Golden Snowball last year (and the year before, and the year before that...and so on)  with our glorious 100+ inches of pure WINTERTIME. See if you think I'm making this up! But this year we are getting stomped by everyone but Albany.

Just lovely little cotton balls.
Without the teeth and peril, and fear of becoming the Donner party.
It's almost liveable.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Home-made Hokey-ness

Dear Blog,
I've missed you so.
The week/days leading up to Christmas have been abundantly full of festivities: Cookie Exchange. Field trip to the Gingerbread exhibit. Thrift store treasure-hunting.
I tried to make as many of my own gifts as possible...or to give gifts that are experiential or consumable.
I couldn't write about what I've been up to, because I didn't want to reveal any gifts before Christmas. You see, I fool myself into thinking that people actually read this blog! I know I'm mostly just talking to myself. But that's ok. Really.
Anyways, now that all of the presnts have been unwrapped, I can reveal without spoiling anything.
This year, I totally had time to do all of this:
1) Bake Coconut Macaroons, Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies, pack them off and ship them to Florida in time for pre-Christmas munching. Then I discovered that the Coconut Macaroons are really fantastic dipped in chocolate...and so more macaroons were toasted and dipped for other gifts.  
2) I made jam for the first time ever. Strawberry Champagne Jam. Also, Pumpkin Butter. Those were given as gifts too. The jam has a beautiful, vivid color. But, my, oh my, is it ever sweet. I have warned everyone that they may just want to use it as syrup. Next time, I will use less sugar than the recipe calls for. I don't want someone's onset of diabetes to be on my conscience.

3) I made Kaluha Body Scrubs and Lavendar Lemon Cookie Body Scrubs as presents. Michael and I had a silky smooth slippery evening trying those out. We determined that they are Pure Awesomeness and that every couple should do the same. Really, they exfoiliate your skin, smooth rough spots, all while indulging in a delicious aroma-therapy experience. And they are edible and romantic. I think these scrubs are my favorite experiment so far!
4) I created some Man-lets for some manly/metro men in my life. Also made bracelets and earrings and necklaces for several lovely ladies. Many of my beads were from my jewelry and refashioned into new beads from bracelets turned into adorable earrings. The earrings and bracelet I made for my mom were from beads I bought off a monk...which you can read about in one of my previous posts (Namaste Beads).
5) I put together a felt board for Noah and created some felt creatures and shapes- Christmas themed- Frosty, a Christmas tree with ornaments and a star. And an underwater scene with a whale, octopus, and starfish.
6) I put together a dress up box for Noah from scarves, ties, and old hats from the thrift store.
7) I made some of my own wrapping paper out of Noah's fingerpaintings and other art.
8) I put together a book of my poetry and photos I have taken...mostly of Noah or nature pics.

Overall, it was very satisfying for me as the Giver to be able to make these things instead of shop. However, I don't know how the Receivers feel! Sure, sure, they all said thanks and smiled...but would they have rather received a tie or a candle or a gift card? I don't know?!
Another thing... it can be very time consuming to make gifts. I have the time right now, so no biggie, but when I go back to work or have another kid, time will be a little tougher to come by.

I must say that I was given some terrific gifts made by my Aunt Beth. She's been sending her own creations for a few years now, and they are TREASURES!  This year she made an amazing book for me...she took a philosophy book and "reclaimed" it with collage art, lovely pieces of lace, doors and flaps that open... The book has a gardening theme, so she included bits of wisdom and herbology throughout...and even packets of seeds. It is so detailed and personalized. Inspiring! I will have to photograph the book and post pics on this here blog. You just may swoon.
My gift creations weren't nearly as inspiring. But, to be fair to myself, I am still in the learning phase of craftiness. Aunt B is a craft-pro. I'll get better. My creations will become less hokey as I go! Let's hope!

I would love to hear about your experiences giving, receiving, and/or creating presents.
Hope your holiday was joyous!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tree Hugs and Kisses

Wish I could spend more time just walking around in the woods looking at trees. I love, love, love them so.
I am a genuine treehugger. There's no denying it.

Last week, before it started snowing here in NY, I went to the Beaver Lake Nature Center to select a holiday gift for someone special (I can't go into more detail...since the receiver may peek in at this here blog). It was in the 30's, breezy, and gloomy. But that was perfect for my mood. You see, I had been listening to Tori Amos all morning and looking at the gray sky and dreading the long winter. I was in a slightly bitter, melancholy state when I arrived at the BLNC.

But lo and behold...there were the trees singing to me...the lyrics of a Tori Amos song...
"Look, I'm standing naked before you..."
And naked they were. And glorious.

Not many brave souls were at the BLNC for a hike or jog.
Lucky me.
I was able to spend some quaility time alone admiring these beauties.

The gnarls, the pretzel, heart-shaped wooden wonder, the bark.

A feast of BROWN
Brown is lovely.

A spot.
A view.
For my eyes only. It was very intimate.

Now the snow has started falling in this part of the world.
The BLNC will soon be visited by snowshoers
and cross-country skiers.
I'll try not to be greedy.
I'll try to share these- loveliest of trees
as they dress up all in white.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

You're still using PAPER? Sheesh!

Do you like to drink coffee?
Are you still drinking it out of a silly paper cup...that will not be recycled...which will continue to contribute to landfill overflow? Disgusting. Tssk Tssk.

Well, why don't you just go right out and get yourself a snazzy non-disposable cup!
I only recently got with the program. Before that, I was ruining the world like the rest of you. Actually, I am more guilty than most 'normal' people because I very much enjoy drinking coffee out and about in cafes so that I can people-watch, read books, write poetry, and pretend to read books and write poetry while I'm really people-watching.
Now I carry with me at all times...a beautiful and cute pink travel mug...kind of like this...

By the way, a travel mug would make an excellent holiday gift for any coffee or tea drinkers in your life.
You can always carry around a cool mug too. Or if you're really desperate for coffee, and you didn't bring your own non-disposable cup...just have the barista pour that Mocha Choco Latte straight down your throat. I guarantee that after that experience, you will not forget your non-disposable again.  

I am just proposing small little ecological baby steps here. Go get your coffee buzz on. Cheers!   


A poem of mine from way back in the day....

Take the 7:20
To wherever you lead yourself
Touch off
Take off into towns
Named after presidents
Gleaming in rain-soaked streets
We become perfectly meaningless streaks
Just passing through
Take my address
Take my big love
Take down these numbers
Scrape them into skin
We can step around
Photograph or sue
Everyone we’ve been
Passed through

Take my place
Don’t have to talk about ghosts
I’ll take my death when I get there
Haven’t you heard?
We are all so small
We count everything we’ve lost
From the very first day of our pasts

With adoration
With devotion
I hope for a handful of salt
To take from the ocean

Passing through

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Easy does it there, buddy!

I am trying to use "Easy does it there, buddy!" (with a Frances McDormand from Fargo Minnesotan accent) as my new mantra through the holiday season and beyond.

"Easy does it there, buddy!" is what I will be telling myself when I have radical urges to buy enormous amounts of stuff. I have overdone it in the past, and it dosen't make people happy to get lots of junk from makes them feel GUILTY for not reciprocating. And it has, in the past, created much credit card debt. And all of that stuff and junk breaks or wears out after 6 months or so...planned obsolescence...or it is no longer fashionable. It's a lose-lose situation. Oh, yeah, and it is harmful to the planet. Our junk and stuff is mostly non-recyclable, ends up in the landfills where it is burned- which releases toxic waste into the air, water...which we breathe and drink. Basically, we are poisoning ourselves with the crap we buy.
Merry happy friggin toxic Christmas.
And are you aware of what we do to the world to make all of this disposable stuff? Well, if you watch
The Story of Stuff, you will suddenly become enlightened, and probably sad, and a bit angry, and perhaps hopeful. It's a 20 minute video. Annie Leonard explains it all better than me at

So, "Easy does it there, buddy!" means that I will try to shop with Annie Leonard perched on one shoulder, encouraging me to shop with a conscious, to be mindful of how what I buy affects other people and the world. I will still have presents under the tree, but I will try to give gifts that are experiential, consumable, local, handmade... I get tons of inspiration from Angela and her blog My Year Without Spending. Her November 17th post on Experiential Gifts for the Holidays was especially helpful for me to brainstorm ideas for my loved ones. Visit her here:

Of course "Easy does it there, buddy!"- my new mantra- applies to other areas in my life. I'm hoping it will remind me to be less reactive, less stressed. Shhh...I'm channeling my inner pregnant police lady.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Over Thanksgiving break,
I was grateful for this little munchkin...

...and this delicious Mediterranean Frittata prepared by my loving husband...

...this sculpture outside of the Science Museum that occupied Noah
long enough for me to admire...

...this tree, its layers,
the process of shedding and renewal...

...and I was also grateful for this good-natured old cat...

...who allows Noah to dress her up in fancy hats...

She Blooms

Cyclamen Update!

She opens up a few of her buds.

Brilliance! Fairies, butterflies,
something with a hint of magic hovers on those slender stalks.

And she cleans the air for us.

Gray Sea

Gray Sea