n is for nutcracker …


My childhood memories are filled with Christmas at Chicago’s Marshall Field department store. My recollection is the center court of the store housed the tallest  (I thought) Christmas tree in the world, reaching from the first to the 5th or 6th floors:

  • One could spend her entire lifetime just looking at that tree and hoping, wishing, barely-able-to-wait for Christmas.
  • One could go to each floor and look out from the balcony, getting a closer view of the tree’s decorations.

The 14th letter of the alphabet is N and Daniel Saboda’s Christmas Alphabet Book‘s popup is the nutcracker. Both of the only two I own have interesting stories:

The first – on the left –  I bought around my 50th birthday from a major Washington DC department store – Woodward & Lothrop.  Woodie’s (as it was fondly known ) was a real department store with 4+ levels and everything one needed, from clothes to furniture to toys, What I liked best about the store is that it was a smaller version of Chicago’s famed Marshall Field’s.  I don’t know why but nutcrackers were a big part of my Marshall Field’s memory and when I saw this one, I bought it. All for a mere $19.99, then… I still have the box.  Sadly, shortly after the holiday season, Woodies closed its doors forever.

The other nutcracker is a more recent purchase; I think maybe in the past 10 years. It – a “quilter” – usually resided in my sewing studio. Several years ago it disappeared;  I couldn’t find it anywhere. This year when I looked in a storage bin, there it was! No doubt, time thieves at work again: building time, picking up something by mistake, realizing their mistake, and putting the missing object back where it belonged so it could, would be “found!” Eureka!

A lot of Christmas holiday magic is remembering and reliving childhood memories, don’t you agree?




sometimes mondays | 12.10.2018 …


7:40 am  30° F

  • microwave running ~ boiling water for a second cuppa tea …
  • thinking maybe I will ask Santa to bring me an electric tea kettle – hmmm …
  • sweater blanket around my shoulders to keep me warm – it’s kinda cold this morning …
  • blue sky dotted with white clouds, some tinged with pink, here n there …
  • I stop to breathe for 5 minutes and …
  • hear the distant sound of a train’s whistle.

My tea’s steeped and soon I will end MSQT to fix a salad.  Today is my quilt group’s annual holiday luncheon. The salad is simple, tasty and colorfully Christmasy . Here’s the recipe:


I diced some of the red pepper and used the slices as garnishment.

Hope you’ve had a quiet start to your Monday too. Have a grand day!


a few of my favorite things …


The Christmas season is the time of the year for lots of nostalgia and memories – the old and the making of the new. Though new items  are and may be added to the collection of memories and things, some things stand the test of time. These are just a few of my favorites:

  1. calendar has been around longer than I remember. It sits on the window sill over the kitchen sink and gets updated everyday…a ritual of sorts as I make tea and prep for MSQT – Morning Solitude and Quiet Time …
  2. bokeh lights …
  3. scotty dog + tree mug , a gift from my friend AJ, easily 25 years ago; there are 4 in the set and I’m so pleased they are all still intact…
  4. ornaments, all handmade, go back decades: the cloth angel Dolly and my mom made three decades ago; the penny rug, my mother made during the first, 1979, International Year of the Child. The bottom two were made by work associates in the mid -70s. All are lying on a woven Scotty dog towel, also made by my mother in the mid ‘8os.

This weekend, when we were pulling out holiday decor, I couldn’t find the ornaments…I rejoiced when they appeared. Whew! I’d not packed them with the others. I’m wondering: do you suppose the time thieves had taken them by mistake?


collecting november 2018 …


So, here we are, at the end of the 11th month of 2018…t’is hard to believe there are just 31 days and a matter of hours left in this year! Many of the photos from the month I’ve already featured on the blog – but not quite all:

  • Per usual. I share many tree and sky photos and  this month, there is a preponderance of me…
  • Norman and I and Elias celebrated birthdays: Norman the 1st; mine- 15th and Elias on the 27th! His very first!
  • We actually had a dusting of snow …
  • I loved every moment spent with family and friends ~ never enough of those moments…
  • I included the blog logo to celebrate the launch of my new home and 30 days of NaBloPoMo!

I like my new home and I will admit there is a steeper learning curve than I anticipated…but thanks to friends Kat and Mary, I’m getting there… as I am fond of saying, ancora imparo ~ I am still learning ~ Michelangelo. Thank you all for cheering me on!

I’ll be back on Monday! Have a great weekend!


currently …


IMG_6071 (1)

4:00 pm  | saturday | 11. 24.2018

seeing: few leaves hanging on the trees; most are bare …

hearing:  rain, beating on the windows, hard …

wondering: how the rain has impacted early holiday shopping …

eating: an oatmeal cookie and three grapes …

drinking: hot peach tea – warms my soul …

feeling: warm and cozy …

counting: 32 days til Christmas!

listening to :  Michelle Obama’s Becoming

loving :  every word …

thinking: how grateful I am for this  cozy warm house on a cold, rainy, saturday afternoon!


by the light…


November’s Full  Moon – Beaver or Full Frost Moon, as it’s sometimes called – was the perfect ending to a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and my friend Margaret:

  • Food was delicious – and there was so much of it …
  • Conversations delightful  and  …
  • Birthday greetings for Elias who will celebrate his first birthday Tuesday, 27 November!


Chris; Dolly lighting the candles; Auntie Kayla; Mimi (Elias’ grandmother), Elias and Norman…


Big Brother Chris … Elias’ hero!



We are all eternally grateful that our Thanksgiving 2018 includes Dolly and Elias. Here’s to many more celebrations!


PS.  Today has been a quiet, PJ day for me!

what to write?


I have great admiration for writers! Their craft is hard work! I appreciate the stories they tell, the wisdom they impart, the advice given to aspiring  writers and the invitation to readers to learn, create and enjoy.  I always visit the  “writing” section in bookstores and libraries, looking for a new title to whet my appetite. I often revisit my own library, too, selecting a book to re-read, for there is always something new within to capture my attention and stir my soul.

Last month, I found the above book during a visit to Barnes & Noble. This little 154 page book is a gem – and a perfect match for me: mindful is my 2018 word – and because it is on my radar, most times when I see it on a magazine or as part of a book title or even a knitting pattern, my curiosity is piqued. Via 59 little essays, the author, a professor and director of creative writing at Ohio University, shares “quotations and brief responses to those quotations, illuminating how, in my view, writing and mindfulness can intersect in positive and productive ways.” (p.16)

Many  Most days, I resolve to post earlier in the day than I do. What to write? looms over my head. Today was one of those days and reading essay 23, page 70,  these words: “the longest journey begins with a single step.” ~ Lao Tzu,”  captured my attention.  Dinty Moore reminds us that each writing project begins with the writing of one word. 

I thought…Voila!  Today I’ll share this delightful, very helpful little book.  I wrote the first word and sentence!  And then more words began to flow. Time now to hit publish and move on with the day: Off to the grocery store for Thanksgiving prep.

How do you jumpstart your writing?


fun? and done!


My “to do” list had 10 bullets on it… only one was time-sensitive. I had one thing I needed to do for tomorrow’s monthly Friendstitch gathering…and that was moved forward into the near future. My friend Pat called to say she’d “not gotten her part done therefore, could we reschedule?” Worked for me ’cause I was planning to finish my part this afternoon, too.

The first thing I chose to tackle: clean the frig! Clearly no big deal. I proceeded. As I was putting the shelves back, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what to do with one! We’ve had the refrigerator for 13 years!  I called Norman for assistance – ha! He hadn’t a clue. I wonder why? Could it be that he has never “cleaned the frig?” (Not a complaint; just a fact!)  I finally figured it out and then proceeded with my list. No pressure. As for the other items, no one was waiting for me to do x*y*z in order to get abc done. I did start in my craft studio…and it’ll wait, patiently, I’m sure.

It’s now 5:18 pm. The sun is setting. I’m going to set a spell too, then gather my stitching project/s for tomorrow and call it a day! I am grateful that my day was productive and that I am able to laugh about the the minor annoyance re: clean frig.


on this tuesday …


4:30 am. Morning. Wide awake. Way too early to be up and about! What does a person do?  Why read, of course. And that I did! On my nightstand, Circe by Madeline Miller. Read for about an hour… Back to sleep.

7:30 am. Awoke; certainly a more reasonable hour. Later than usual morning solitude and quiet time. Forecast: Cold, windy, today. Possible snow on Thursday. Noooo!

12 noon. Met friend Margaret for lunch – delicious pizza.

2 pm. Artists’ consignment shop we wanted to browse ~ closed on Tues! A new coffee shop/roastery open – we didn’t like the music. Decided to call it a day; we each left for our individual drive home.

2:45 pm. Arrive home. Cold and windy still. Quick, brisk walk!

3:30 pm. Afternoon. Sleepy. Can’t keep my eyes open. What does a person do? Why take a nap, of course!

4:30 pm. Awake. Refreshed. Write blog post. Grateful for a day spent with a longtime good friend, good food, a warm house and a revitalizing nap!