Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Magical Mystery Tour

I love to extend birthdays ... anniversaries ... and especially holidays!  Any holiday will do ... and as we are now in the "season of lights" there is one event that is a must-see for anyone in the Washington, D.C. area; Brookside Gardens - Winter Garden Walk continues through January 9th, 2011.  Located in Wheaton, Maryland, you can take an evening stroll along their winter garden paths and enjoy the four seasons illuminated by hundreds of thousands of twinkling colored lights closely wrapped through the trees and shrubs, the beautifully lit gazebos and cascading fountains ... 

Intricately woven displays of flowers and animals, including one giant dragon and an 11 foot giraffe covered with 9,000 lights ...

Rain showers and rainbows, snowflakes ... and more!

Now, I'm not one for "hokey" light displays and this one certainly is not, nor is there an inflatable in sight!  So pack your car/van with friends, family and children (admission is per vehicle) and head on over to this Magical, Mystery Tour for a spectacular evening of delight!

Happy Holidays ...

For more information on specific dates and times for the Winter Garden Walk,
visit Brookside Garden-Garden of Lights

Monday, December 20, 2010

Moonlight in Vermont ...

Well ... actually I am in New Hampshire but it doesn't matter tonight or early Tuesday morning for that matter. Beginning at approximately 12:30 a.m. ET, we will experience a total eclipse of the moon, also called the Christmas lunar eclipse.  This will be the first lunar eclipse to occur on the first day of the Winter Solstice in 372 years.  Who knew!
The best viewing time period is around 3 a.m. so set your alarm, get out of bed and look toward the sky ... amazing!

Enjoy ...

Friday, December 10, 2010

City Sidewalks ...

'Tis the season for magic ... if you believe!  No, not the kind of magic created with rabbits in a hat or scarves pulled from a sleeve.  Instead, this seasonal magic engages the mind and touches the soul, and comes to us in ways that are truly our own.

I miss the city at this time of year, specifically the glorious holiday windows found at many of the stores, large and small.  Designing and creating these worlds of wonder is definitely an art and bestow a spot of magic during the Christmas season.  I discovered this magic when I was six, at the corner of 10th and G Street in Washington, D.C.  Here stood one of this city's landmarks known as Woodward & Lothrop, a department store affectionately known as Woodies.

Yes, a department store ... that encompassed an entire city block, rose nine stories high and literally provided windows of fantasy and delight during the Christmas season for young and old alike.  I was mesmerized, enchanted and never tired of our tradtional "Woodies-holiday-windows-walk-around-the-block" each and every year.  The inside wasn't "too shabby" either, where we'd retreat for a warm something to drink and sweet treat in their amazing Tea Room.

Sadly, Woodies closed in 1995 but if you are lucky enough to be in the city, grab your coat, the hand of a child (any age will do) and take a stroll through your shopping district to enjoy this holiday magic ... for me!

Happy Holidays ...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Our House ...

Well, the holiday has arrived and we are staying put ... at home ... for Thanksgiving.  It's good to be home so please come in, have a seat and make yourself comfortable.

No travel, no schedule, no rush, no agenda, no nothing at all except food, relaxation and only those things we wish to do.  I am sooooo looking forward to it.
However, it takes a lot of preparation for a day of "nothingness", especially at Thanksgiving for the menu is a "kicker" ... so many dishes and different ingredients.  And though I'm not a cook (many thanks to Annie for providing recipes), I do know how to shop and after my latest excursion to the grocery store (local markets are closed for the season), I've declared that if we don't have it in the refrigerator, pantry or cellar, we don't need it! 

Once I put all this away and take care of a few other chores, too numerous to mention ... let the holiday begin!

From my home to yours ...
Wishing you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving


Not to rush the season but perhaps I should make a Christmas wish for Mr. Carpenter-man to return and finish my kitchen?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Where Does the Time Go?

In my previous ramblings about summer, how could I "forget" to mention the event that overtakes my summer each and every year, despite my best attempts not to let it do so?  I'm talking about the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen's Annual Fair (aka Sunapee Fair), a nine-day event (beginning the first Saturday in August), located in Newbury, NH at the base of Mount Sunapee, where we are "expected" to create a booth visually equal to the shops on Newbury Street (for those of you on the East Coast) and/or Rodeo Drive (for those of you on the West Coast), which is (hum) near impossible. Did I mention that we are in tents located at the base of a mountain?  And what does the land at the base of a mountain do?  It slopes in all different directions, of course.  In addition to the booth and inventory, a well-supplied stock of shims is absolutely necessary for survival. 

Well, there must be some magical pull as I have done this show for 30 plus years (30 plus years?) and keep going back for more.  It's because of the people ... all of you out there who have purchased an item (or two or three) from me over the years and return for more ... all of you who are new to the event and stop by to look (in amazement I might add) and chat and buy ... all of you who offer such praise that I am often at a loss for words.  Old friends, new friends, familar faces, new faces ... it's you, the people, that bring me back to Sunapee year after year.  And I am eternally grateful for your show of support ... thank you!

Now on a personal note ... a Happy Anniversary to us!
A couple of weeks ago I "realized" that I was about to celebrate my 32nd wedding anniversary.  How did that happen?  Was I old enough to be married for 32 years? 
Honestly, where does the time go?

Enjoy ...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's Just Another Day ...

And another order is FINISHED ...

And ready to pack and ship to a new ... "Home for the Holidays"

Need I say more?  Enjoy ...

Friday, October 8, 2010

So Long, Farewell (to summer, that is)

FALL officially arrived on
September 22nd, the same evening as the Full Harvest Moon ... and the first time that has happened in 19 years.  Who knew! 
Yet I feel blue, as blue as a Maxfield Parish blue summer sky, since I hate to say goodbye to summer ... the best season of the year in my opinion.  I know, I live in New England and should be happy about the vibrant and colorful foliage, a crispness in the air, the smell of woodsmoke, freshly-picked apples and all that jazz.  But as I told my husband a few weeks ago, no football, pumpkins, mums or apple pie until the  first official day of fall.  And here it is already ... fall ... officially ... so I must relent and make room for those pumpkins, etc.
I don't think there are many of us here in New England that truly enjoy those long hot days of summer, but I am definitely one of them.  I'll take 90 degrees and some humidity over 10 below anyday.  And why ...

 THE FEEL OF HOT SUN on my back ... and face ... and arms ...

SPENDING TIME in our greenhouse planting seeds with Heather (this is in the spring actually ... but still a favorite).

LITERALLY GETTING "DOWN AND DIRTY" in the numerous garden beds we have around here and coming into the house at dusk, totally exhausted (who needs yoga after a day of gardening around here).

MY GARDENING SHOES ... I love 'em but will they hold out for one more year?

EARLY TO RISE (at 5am) ... it's just me and the birds and the sunrise.
SPEAKING OF BIRDS ... watching the robins and phoebes build their nests, lay their eggs and raise their young.  The hummingbirds who actually do take a break every now and then.  Their favorite hangout ... the head of the Great Blue Heron garden weathervane.  Then there are the high-standing egret nests, in a swampy muck of water, that we see on our drive to our favorite restaurant in Wolfeboro ...
Hummingbird Hangout

Five baby phoebes

High-minded egrets
ADMIRING THE WILDLIFE from afar (thank goodness for a zoom lens). Bats and spiders and bees, oh my!  Yes, that is a bat in the bottom picture ... hanging from a single blade of our perennial Japanese Silver grass!

SURROUNDED BY COLOR ... much more appealing than a landscape of "white", don't you think? 

Yes, the hose was part of the landscape this summer

Who doesn't love zinnias!

My walk to work

THE EASE AND COMFORT of a short, breezy summer skirt.
FLIP FLOPS ... how I will miss you.
ICE CREAM ... need I say more?
PLAYING HOOKY and going to the ocean for the day.

A CONCERT in an outdoor pavillion (and no thoughts of even taking a sweater).
The OGUNQUIT PLAYHOUSE ... who needs Broadway?

LAKE WINNISQUAM is the perfect setting to an end-of-day-zip-about-the-lake in "the boat", with dinner and a sunset.
 LAYING IN THE HAMMOCK on those lazy, hazy summer days (unfortunately there are not many lazy days around here).

ENJOYING THE FOURTH OF JULY in Gilmanton at it's funky 4th parade, then heading to Meredith at the end of the day for fireworks on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee ... with friends, of course!

"AMUSED" by my husband's obsession with his vegetable garden.
AMAZED at the quantity of produce his vegetable garden actually produced this year (yet I don't cook ... or can or freeze).
IMAGINING the look of the drivers on our road who happen upon my husband's "free tree" with it's baskets of FREE produce (including tomatoes and corn this year).  I'm just sorry I didn't take any pictures!

GAZING UP AT THE NIGHT SKY, full of stars and perhaps a planet or two, and able to enjoy this amazing sight without "freezing to death".

AND ONCE AGAIN ... the feel of the hot sun on my back ... my face ... my arms and legs.  I wish I could "bottle" this for some time in February.

SIGH!  And hello to fall.  So please excuse me now as I must go and gather those pumpkins!  Enjoy ... M-A

Friday, September 17, 2010

Take the Plunge ...

Well, we are back ... I know, I know it's been quite awhile since the last post. Let's just say that we've been
bizzie ... bizy ... busy! And for full disclosure, it's not "we" but only me ... Mary-Alice ... who will be writing this, or trying to anyway. I suppose what seems terrifying about this silly little blog is where am I supposed to find the time to do this ... and is anyone going to really read this? Don't worry about it, I tell myself and ... take the plunge!

So perhaps ... some day ... a person or two will stumble across this little blogspot and more will follow in the days to come. So please, I beg for your help to get me started ... ask questions, add comments ... just something for motivation because I actually do think that this could be "fun", something different to tackle, something different to do after a long day of work. And for those that truly know me, I do like to talk ... just need some prodding from time to time. Especially when in new situations ... especially when I'm "testing the waters" ... especially when I haven't a clue as to what I'm doing but willing to ... TAKE THE PLUNGE! (Just watch out for those "under-toads")