December 2015

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A slow amble with friends through the Phipps twinkle lights. Singing. Sparkling conversation. Laughter. The air heady with paperwhites and orchids redolent of Christmas itself. Magic!


It is a miracle if you can find true friends, and it is a miracle if you have enough food to eat, and it is a miracle if you get to spend your days and evenings doing whatever it is you like to do, and the holiday season – like all the other seasons – is a good time not only to tell stories of miracles, but to think about the miracles in your own life, and to be grateful for them…

Lemony Snicket

Two of my favorite people live here!


Puzzle Time

Working a puzzle of the great city of Philadelphia two nights ago. It’s that time of year! Though we are delinquents who failed to keep in touch, the happy memory of puzzling with our Portland friends, Dan and Kristin, is as bright and clear as yesterday: the four of us huddled over one or the other of our dining room tables, sipping something boozy, the hi-fi whirring and punctuated by the sound of laughter and voices chatting merrily about every little thing.

It has been a wonderful few days, my melancholy about the state of the world tamped by the beauty of those nearest to me. I enjoyed a long stretch in the kitchen, making soup and my annual batch of fudge, roasting vegetables, and baking cookies for neighbors and my first ever exchange. The swap was at my friend Kelly’s, and it was a grand time, a room full of kind and generous women of all ages, each of us merry in our own way, feasting on sweet and savory treats, and glad to be together.

I have been helping clean out my neighbor’s house over the past few months, eighty plus years of trinkets, treasures, and trash. Though everyone laughs with incredulity when I say it, I rather enjoy it, the searching, the organizing, the discovering, and find myriad ways, both intentional and unexpected, to make it fun. It mostly involves me being silly and laughing loudly at the great company of my dear friend Peggy, one of the finest and most delightful women I have ever had the pleasure to know. We stumble upon treasures that remind us of our childhoods, our mothers, grandmothers, and friends. We find the weird, the wacky, the sad. It is all good.

And the weather! Eeek. Dare I say how nice it has been here? Crisp and bracing, with many sunny sky days and starry nights (I think we saw the space station whizzing above last night!), a little rain here, a little rain there, and overall quite nice. My Portland friends have been inundated with a flood of rain, all safe and dry last I heard. My Colorado friends snow came and quickly went, as it tends to do. Hoping our other weather shoe doesn’t drop with a menace but a wee tremble instead, a slow hush of giant flakes. I wouldn’t mind that at all.



There is a wilderness we walk alone, however well-companioned.

Stephen Vincent Benet


Today is my Grandma’s birthday. I am dancing to Motown and baking Biscochitos, some of her favorite cookies, in between great belly laughs at our shared memories and hearty sobs that she is not alive. Since I cannot call her to say Happy Birthday and am glad she was born, I talk to her in my head. I tell her that I miss her and that I love these pictures, that they capture her spirit and make me glad to have known her for so long. I tell her that I am well and the hubster, too. The neighbors put up their holiday lights, and the block looks so pretty. I tell her that it is raining, and November in Pittsburgh was the warmest since the Hoover Administration. I wonder, how old were you then? A teenager, maybe? Oh, and I’m trying something a little different with the cookies. Hopefully they’ll turn out the way I am anticipating. I’ll let you know. I love you, Grandma. Have a great day…

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