Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sunrise through the trees

We had a beautiful sunrise the other morning, and I grabbed my camera and stepped out on the porch to shoot this picture.


I have seen far more sunrises in my life than sunsets.

Sunsets always seem to catch me fixing supper – or just ‘settling in’ after a long day. Sunrises, are a different matter…………

I have always gotten up early. Growing up as the middle child and the 3rd girl, I was given the early “shift” in the bathroom on school mornings. I woke up at 5:45 am for most of my school years – getting up early enough to enjoy a cup of coffee (or coffee-milk) before taking my turn in the bathroom, showering and dressing for school.

This habit continued after I married Fred, who, for most years, would leave for work around 7am. And when the kids were little…..I would get out for a run around 5:30 or 6am (when the kids were a bit bigger, Fred would join me on these early morning runs). One of my favorite memories……rounding the corner, towards the end of our run…..and seeing the sun rise. Joy….exhilaration….and the feeling of the possibilities of the new day.

Old habits die hard, and, in retirement, we still find ourselves awake around 5:45 or 6 am. So……we get up, pre-dawn, and enjoy our coffee……on the porch in the warm weather, and, in cool weather, in front of the fire…. looking out the window at the start of a new day. This is one of our very favorite times, and a ritual that we look forward to each morning.

And as the sun rises, and the new day begins to take shape………there is that same feeling of joy…....and of possibility.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Thanks-giving 2010

This Thanksgiving, as our family was celebrating on the east coast, the west coast and places in-between…….I was struck by all that we have to be thankful for……..and in particular, all the people who have come into our lives and who have graciously shared their holidays and traditions with us, and with our kids.


This Thanksgiving, we celebrated with our son, Brian and fiancĂ©, Rebekah, and Rebekah’s family (Parents, Jim and Annette, and sisters, Rachel, Elizabeth and Mary Grace)


In Rebekah’s family, all of the kids help put together an antipasto platter to be served as a light lunch, with the traditional turkey, dressing and mashed potatoes (and, of course, green bean casserole – some things are universal : ) to be served for dinner. In the kitchen, from the left, are: Rebekah, Mary Grace, Elizabeth, Annette, and Jim.


Mary Grace eagerly awaits the antipasto (Italian for “before the meal”) which is the traditional first course of a formal Italian meal. This tradition comes from Annette’s family. Along with the antipasto, we had a baked brie and crackers. We brought some pimento-cheese spread to share (recipe from Southern Living) as well as cornbread dressing.

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In this photo: Rachael and Elizabeth await dinner.

I am also very thankful for this new age of communication, with emailing, digital photos, etc. which helps us stay connected even when we can not all be together.

Phoenix Thanksgiving 2010

Our daughter, Sarah and boyfriend, Jason stayed in Phoenix, AZ, (feeling extremely thankful for Sarah’s new accounting job) and celebrated Thanksgiving with Jason’s parents, Jim and Becky (and Sarah’s dog Lucky). Sarah and Jason helped out with the cooking, bringing the green bean cassarole.

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From left: Jason, Sarah, and Becky – I noticed that they are having Becky’s traditional pumpkin roll for dessert. Several years ago, when we visited Phoenix for Thanksgiving, we enjoyed Becky’s wonderful cooking, including her pumpkin roll. Becky shared with me her recipe, but mine never has turned out as good as hers.

Our oldest daughter, Laura and our son-in-law, Dave, flew from Emeryville, CA to spend Thanksgiving with Laura’s Aunt Pam and Uncle Mike (Fred’s brother) in Encinitas, CA. As this whole group are vegetarians, the traditional Thanksgiving turkey was deliciously replaced with salmon. Other wonderful dishes included a potato dish ( recipe from Ruth Chris’ Steak House), Brussels sprouts, and green beans among other things.

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Laura helps Pam in the kitchen. Later, Laura and Dave play cards.

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During the Thanksgiving weekend, Mike and Pam's dog, Romer, celebrated his birthday with a group of his doggie "friends" at his traditional "doggie birthday party".

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This year, we are truly blessed with family and friends, who, though we all may be spread out, remain close in spirit.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Leaving Delaware-

Yesterday morning, after saying our goodbyes the night before, we left Delaware, heading towards home. The weather was cool and rainy, but the driving was OK. Checking the weather this morning, it looks like we (rather accidentally) timed our departure just right. The South was getting blasted yesterday, while the Northeast is getting it today. I think the front passed over us during the night while we were snug in the Airstream at “Hungry Mother” State Park in southwest Virginia.

We thought “Hungry Mother” was an interesting name for a State Park. According to the legend,  during an Indian raid on a settlement south of the park area, Molly Marley and her small child were among those who were taken captive. She and the child later escaped, making their way through the wilderness. Exhausted and starving, Molly collapsed, and the child wandered down a creek bed. When the child was found by a local pioneer woman, the only words that the child could utter were “hungry” and “mother”. When a search party later found Molly at the foot of the mountains where she had collapsed, she was dead. Today, that mountain is named Molly’s Knob and the stream is named Hungry Mother Creek. When the State Park was developed in the 1930’s, the creek was dammed to form Hungry Mother Lake, giving the State Park its name.

This is a lovely State Park with a beautiful lake with boating and canoeing, hiking trails, and several nice pavilions and picnic areas as well as cabins and campgrounds. We had our pick of campsites, as we were the only campers in the park that night.


Unfortunately, the weather was just too cold and rainy for hiking or sightseeing, but we stayed warm and dry in the Airstream. And how nice it was to just pull in to a campsite and be all set up (we didn’t even bother to unhitch). And even better this morning, to be ready to go without the hassle of folding up a wet pop-up camper.    : )

Our stay at Hungry Mother was too short, since we were just ‘passing through’ and the weather - not really drawing us to linger . This park will have to join the others on my list of “places we will have to come back to”.