Sunday, November 25, 2007

New House Happiness

Well it's been a happy first week in the new house, doing all those nesting new house things. Here is a picture of my kitchen, which I have to say, really does make it look a lot classier than it is. But never mind, I still like it. A lot.

This is the master bedroom from the living room. The house has dark floorboards and paneling in those two rooms, but I think the effect is a little bit refined actually as long as I am vigilant with the removal of dog hair, because it shows up in the sun something terrible. Like this morning I had to vacuum before I could enjoy my breakfast. But I bought a dear little vacuum and she does a bang up job, so I don't mind, yet.

Anyway, the house has all these different moods, which is interesting. The upstairs is carpeted and cozy, the girls bedroom is quite cottage-y with yellow walls and Skaterboy's bedroom has the unusual addition of a balcony which overlooks the kitchen. The kitchen is country-ish, and the living room and master bedroom are quite eighteen-hundreds dark wood.
So as you travel through the house it's like visiting different houses entirely, which I think contributes to the house seeming larger than it is. If it's not too boring I will take and post more pictures next time.

Here's what we woke up to yesterday morning - hurray! First snow. The twins dashed out to romp and play, and I took this pic. from our front porch. That church across the street tolls the hour all day long with a variety of catchy and melancholic tunes, which is quite fun.
They say a change is as good as a holiday, but I have a feeling that living in this little town might actually feel like being on perpetual holiday. Lovely!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Day

We are all moved into the little house in the valley, and I can't believe how much I love it there. It's a quirky, beautiful town, too, which I haven't even begun to explore. But here is one fun thing I do know about it. There is a children's Christmas story called 'The Polar Express', and each year the Cuyahoga Valley Railway, which passes within 200 feet of our back door, hosts dozens of 'Polar Express' trains. I don't actually know what happens on the trains, (although I saw Santa on one of them) but I do know that the station we can see from the upstairs landing of our house is all decked out in Christmas lights, and that when the train makes its stop at the Peninsula depot, there are dozens of townsfolk waiting who are dressed like elves capering and cavorting around on the platform while hundreds of little faces are pressed against the windows of the train in awe. One night, (the same night I was outside and saw an elf hurrying past tying his apron on, come to think of it), I swear I saw Frosty the Snowman chase the departing train down the platform waving his arms wildly. It is a strange and beautiful thing, and leads me to believe that there is much to learn about my new home and its inhabitants.

Today is Thanksgiving, which means turkey at Grandmas, and which I would skivvy out of if I could. Nevertheless, giving thanks is always a good idea, and I am, overwhelmingly, thankful. For the obvious things, and for the intangibles too.
When I get the internet on at the new house, I will be thankful again.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Another Day Here

Today I shopped for the school's Children's Festival to be held on Saturday. I had to go into one of those enormous craft stores, and after half an hour I was set to be scraped up off the floor. There were all these things on my list that I couldn't find so I walked around in circles hoping to chance upon them. When I finally asked for help, the man, who reminded me of a character in my favorite story, Gormenghast, led me to an area of the store I hadn't even realized existed. I'm sorry, but that is just too much store, and shouldn't be allowed.
Afterwards I sat in my favorite cafe and wrote, as is becoming my self-determined habit. It was lovely and soothing, but my writing was a bit crap. That book signing is getting further and further away.
Anyway, not to give too much away about my day tomorrow, but it does involve firemen and mouth to mouth resuscitation. Must have an early night.

Local Food

In case anyone is paying attention - um, hello - comments? - this will be four blog entries in four days. I am aspiring towards an entry each day and I can tell you, especially with the kids in school and being kind of footloose in Akron all day, that it is a stretch. But I think it's important and so I will continue to at least make an effort.

Anyway, I was coming up a bit blank for today's subject but then I applied for a job which would require my writing about eating locally, a subject actually very close to my heart. I realized that this was my moment to finally use the food pictures that I took over the summer, and to get a little bit up on my soapbox.

I actually meant to do an eating locally entry at the peak of the harvest season because everything was just terribly rich and gorgeous, but I somehow never got to it. But I do have some pictures and so although pickings are getting slim at the market nowadays, you can see that summer's bounty was just mouthwatering.

I had to take a picture of this - Bubble and Squeak from Laurel's Kitchen with red cabbage and leeks, because the colors were so rich and striking, and truly this picture doesn't do the dish justice. We especially like to eat this with Amish 'bangers' (English sausages) and it is very delicious.

Anyway, I do trek off to my local farmer's market every Saturday morning, rain, hail, shine, and once, in a blizzard, because I believe in and love buying my food from the people who grew it.

Every Thursday for the past fifteen weeks my friend Joanie has turned up on my doorstep with a bag of produce grown on a plot of land she was given for the purpose, with dirt still under her nails and her sweet little five year old in tow. We pay her $15 a week, and she is supplying twenty families with a grocery bag of fresh food, and sometimes, when we are really lucky, sunflowers or handmade soap - every week! She is amazing.
These are her rutabagas.

These are her carrots.

We drink milk that comes in glass bottles with the cream on top, beef that was fed grass, and eggs that were laid by hens in a farmyard. Bananas and oranges don't grow around here, so they are a rare treat for us, and I can tell you that when those first strawberries ripen up in April - ohhh boy - are we in heaven.
My favorite part though, is when I lay dinner out on the table, and once we have said grace and started to eat, I get to point out where all the dishes came from. Most nights, especially in the summer, our whole dinner is food from local sources. The kids know who grew their food. The health, environmental and community benefits of this are so profound it makes me want to weep. So - eat your veggies, and buy them locally!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fall Moments

The glory days of fall are past. We have stopped waxing lyrically about the color when the sun shines on the trees. We are no longer trying to hold onto fall, like we were a few weeks ago, even at the time reminding ourselves that fall is such a lesson in living in the moment.

But we did love it. Hiking in the woods, trips to the farm, grape and apple picking and long walks in the park. Golden sun, leaves each indescribably beautiful. This was my favorite fall ever.


Yesterday was the festival of Martinmas, which we have celebrated with a lantern walk since Skaterboy was tiny. Now that the kids are in school I have slacked off being the one to do the the festivals because frankly, the school does them better, and I almost forgot about poor old St. Martin altogether.

But I did remember, sort of late-ish, that our old homeschooling friends had invited us to a lantern walk at a park, and I thought we should go. Weird as this may sound, because I am packing to move, I found everything I needed at the tips of my fingers for lantern making. We painted and created beautiful lanterns in quick time, and even squeezed in my friend Lise's (who makes my favorite earrings) holiday show too.

Alas, for the rain, because rain and lanterns don't mix, we didn't go to the park with our friends. The twins weren't disappointed at all, and they really embraced the whole thing in such a way that it became an event. They had learned a lantern song at school, which they began to sing, and we lit their lanterns as it grew dark, and they led us all around the house singing. It felt sort of like a reverse home blessing too, because we are leaving, and we visited each dark room and lit it with our lights.

After dinner the rain had stopped and we took the little girls out for a quick walk. Those lanterns were so pretty in the fall dark with the little figures bobbing along ahead of us and little piping voices singing, leaves all on the sidewalk and the air crisp. It doesn't take much sometimes, to make a day memorable, and I really have my sweet twins to thank for this one. Oh, and of course, St. Martin.

*Each of us is one small light, but together we shine bright........*

Sunday, November 11, 2007

What We Chose

Since we decided to send the kids to the Waldorf School and reorient our lives to that end we have heard lots of opinions from our friends about the sense of that decision. Someone asked us why we would spend our personal capital on such a specific school choice when we have the highest rated elementary school in this district around the corner.

Of course choices you make for your family and the lives of your children are deeply personal and no-one else needs to really understand them. There are a few areas of our lives right now which are fluctuating, and being examined and questioned - big areas - but I don't think either of us doubts our decision to move and have the kids at the Waldorf School.

And on this gray Sunday afternoon - probably the last we will spend in this house as we are scheduled to move next weekend - I sit with my twelve year old while he struggles with his homework. The needles he made himself, and the wool yarn smells warm and sheepy. He's knitting a sock, and it's hard to sit still and do that when your inclination is to goof around, make absurd jokes and laugh uproariously at yourself and be distracted by every passing thing. Stitches are being dropped all over the place. There is a lot to the successful knitting of a sock.
But in a moment of distraction he shows me this. He is in it, and so is Moo, so look for them. The bearded male teacher is Skaterboys teacher, for those of you who care.

This pretty much sums up where and why we choose to spend our personal capital, and I couldn't be happier.