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Here on the hill we were the recipients of the most beautiful snowstorm that has come around these parts in a while. The snow was wet and heavy and clung to every surface and every single stalk, bough or branch, even the tiniest. It created an amazing winter wonderland, comparable only to the very tippy-top of the ski mountains where everything contains a frosty, magical white coating. 

Winter Wonderland 

I love snow. My feeling is that winter shouldn’t exist unless there is snow on the ground. No snow and we might as well be gardening and growing things. 

With every plus, however there is a minus. With all that breathtaking clingy snow, came downed trees, some bowing so heavily under the weight of the snow that they look as if they are bent in a deep curtesy, their gentle tops almost brushing the ground below. Some branches couldn’t support all that weight and broke off, tumbling to the ground below and in many instances taking electricity lines down with them. So, while we are living in a winter wonderland, we are doing it without electricity. 

How, might you ask then am I typing this and communicating electronically with all of you? The power of the generator, I tell you. I remember when we first bought this house, I thought a generator was not necessary, but I soon learned differently. You see, here on the hill, when the power goes out, it could be out for a while. And while candles and cooking over the open flame might sound romantic and very grounding, it is – but water, in the form of a hot shower, flushing toilets and that with which to cook and drink, doesn’t happen when you are on a well and lose power unless you have a generator. The winter is a little easier to deal with than the summer, especially if the gorgeous white stuff is outside, because you can fill a pot of snow and bring it in and melt it over the wood stove, but it doesn’t work as well, or at all for that fact, in the summer, when there is no fluffy white stuff outside your door. And for those without the power of the wood stove to heat your house, it can get mighty chilly mighty fast without electricity to heat the house. 

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Today, when I picked up the mail, there was a small box addressed to me. I wasn’t expecting any packages so this was an unexpected treat. A longtime friend who just visited with us a couple weeks ago and designs her own wire-wrapped jewelry sent along a gift. When I saw the return address, I was excited. It was such a delight to open up the box and see this:

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Our friend Maria brought along her collection of polished stones and gems along with some of her jewelry when she visited us from Washington state a few weeks ago. I was fortunate enough to watch her make several pieces while she was here visiting and  amazed at how she can transform a simple stone and hair thin strands of silver into an elegant article of jewelry with such ease. In addition to setting the stones she buys at various rock shows and online, Maria also polishes her own stones from rocks she finds in her adventures.

While she was here, she did some hiking and exploring gathering some rocks as she was traveling about Vermont which she then shipped home (after all, who wants to lug around rocks in their luggage?).

This particular piece that she sent to me is made from piece of marble that Maria found at the Dorset quarry. She polished the rock, turning it into this beautiful stone that she sent along to me! It is such a thoughtful and unique thank you gift, and one that I will treasure.

Here is a picture of the rock she gathered for a “before and after” so you can also appreciate the work that went into the making of this gift.

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Photo credit: @mlanger

If you think this is beautiful, (which it is) you need to see her other pieces, each more lovely than the next. I would encourage you to go check out ML Jewelry Designs if you’d like to get one of her creations for your very own or as a gift (hint-hint the holidays are coming and obviously Maria ships!) or, for more of these before and after type pictures of rocks she has transformed and turned into jewelry, check out her twitter feed @mlanger.

Thank you Maria! 🙂

Fall is definitely in the air here in Vermont. The trees are showing what’s left of their yellow, orange and red selves. It’s definitely “putting by” season. We had a definite frost/freeze last night and it’s a good thing that I spent a few days gathering what was left in the garden. However, with the harvest coming the processing, the part that sounds good but is so time consuming. As I type this, celery leaves are drying in the dehydrator, second batch. The first batch of those and a jar of sun dried cherry tomatoes are already stored away. Basil has been pureed with olive oil and frozen into tablespoon size portions to mix in soups or pasta sauces. Potatoes are dug and in the shed, drying so they are easier to dust the dirt from before moving into the basement for storage. The onions, which were picked several weeks ago, are there too, now ready to put by in the basement for fall and winter usage.

A very pleasant surprise were the volunteer tomatillos that were growing in the garden. I was convinced that they would not be ready to harvest, but pleasantly surprised to gather a large basketful, weighing in close to 8 pounds. Some of them have already been roasted with said onions and peppers for a green salsa.

The voles commandeered most of the beet crop but I was able to gather a handful to enjoy. They don’t seem fond of the carrots, but I’m sure that their appetites will change as food becomes scarcer since I’ve harvested most everything else.

Dearest Tim,

Happy 21st birthday! It is both difficult for me to believe that 21 years have gone by since I first held you in my arms that Friday morning when you were born and welcomed you to this world and amazing to me that you have only been on this earth for 21 years. To say today that I am proud of you seems superfluous, you have heard those words slip from my lips many times over the past 21 years but you know they always come from the depths of my heart. It is far more appropriate to say that I am amazed by you. Amazed by how intelligent you are, how you seek and absorb knowledge like the rest of us breathe air – effortlessly like it’s second nature for you. Amazed by how kind, thoughtful and appreciative you are of everything and everyone – and how you are never too old or too cavalier to say so to me or anyone else that does something for you. Amazed by how you meld your roots with your wings. Everyday I am thankful that you are a part of my life and a part of our family.  If I could hug you and never let you go that would be so unfair to the rest of the world. I know that you are here to do extraordinary things and to touch so many more lives than just ours.

Sharing your love of Hafiz with me, gives me this to share with you today:

If What You Say Becomes Memorable

Most that is said is really like a distant echo.

Few minds are strong enough, free enough of prejudice and arrogance for the original thought to want to pass through.

The body is like a vase, a bell that can chime.

It does so to varying degrees in response to every experience and feeling.

The value of vases can differ, as you know, quite a bit.

How does heaven assign worth to our sounds?

It comes down to this:

If what you say or do becomes memorable to another in times of need,

an ally are you then considered by the gods. 

~~Tim, as you come upon this milestone — may you always be considered an ally by the gods.

All my love,

Mom

IMG_6816Home. A simple four letter word that is absolutely emotionally charged. Don’t believe me? Ask any parent of a college kid. “Home” is home, the house and family that you grew up with, the parents that worry about you and provide you with everything…or at least  did until you left for college.

Home is defined by Merriam Webster as:

1a one’s place of residence domicile 
b house 
2the social unit formed by a family living together 
3a a familiar or usual setting congenial environment; also the focus of one’s domestic attention 
b habitat 
4a a place of origin

I remember quite clearly when the my boys first returned home from college for a long weekend or break and referred to that place where they reside when they are not with me, as “home” as in “when I get home…..”. No. No. NO! You cannot call that “place” home. This is “home”. WE are “home”. Not some place with thrown together furnishings, decorated with beer cans, sorely in need of a good mom cleaning, a place that those other than college folk would find unworthy of being called a home. And yet there in lies the rub. “Home” is not so much a place as a state of mind.

Houses, apartments, condos, dorm rooms – these are all physical spaces that accommodate us and keep us out of the elements, provide a sleeping space and a place to store all our stuff. Home is where you are gathered with those that you care about, whom you care you about, those you support and those that support you – in short, a place where you feel safe, cared for and loved. A place you are happy to spend your time.

It took a while and a lot of fervent wrangling before this college mom came to the non-emotional realization that home means a lot of things to different people at different ages and stages, but boils down to those essentials – happiness, safety, friendship and love. For me, I am more than happy that my kids have found “homes” where they are surrounded by laughter, friendship, safety and love. I know that our home is the foundation of all that and will always hold a special place in their hearts.

IMG_7379The weather outside my window this first day of Spring is very un-spring like but pretty typical for this time of the year, looking back through blog posts from past vernal equinoxes. We won’t see many signs of spring coming up through the snow today, unless they are herculean daffodils or crocus – that are about 3 feet tall!

Anyhow, I came across this draft of a blog post from this time quite a few years ago and I thought I would share – if nothing else, it might make a smile cross your face and that would be a delightful addition to this spring day!

Here are some very zen thoughts for a Tuesday…well kinda zen but pretty funny. Not sure where I originally got these so I can’t give credit where credit is due. ~sorry about that but know you made me laugh.

  1. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.
  2. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.
  3. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me the hell alone.
  4. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and leaky tire.
  5. Some days you’re the bug; some days you’re the windshield.
  6. If you ever feel you are worthless remember that you are full of expensive organs.
  7. It’s always darkest before dawn. So if you’re going to steal your neighbor’s newspaper, that’s the time to do it.
  8. Don’t be irreplaceable. If you can’t be replaced, you can’t be promoted.
  9. Always remember that you’re unique, just like everyone else…
  10. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.
  11. Good judgment comes from bad experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
  12. If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you.
  13. No matter what happens, somebody will find a way to take it too seriously.
  14. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.
  15. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
  16. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.
  17. A closed mouth gathers no foot.
  18. Duct tape is like ‘The Force’. It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.
  19. Generally speaking, you aren’t learning much when your lips are moving.
  20. Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.
  21. If you think nobody cares if you’re alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

1, 6 and 12 are my personal favorites, although the lawyer in me chuckled at 21.

Which are your favorites?

For the first time since I’ve been on the school board, I am running in a contested election. First let me explain that by “contested”. I in no way mean mud-slinging and nastiness, but rather that there is more than just one person (namely, me) running for the open seat. In fact, there are three of us running to fill the two open school board seats in our town. You have no idea how excited I was when I learned that not one, but two townsfolk submitted petitions to also run for school board. I was soooo excited that others were interested in joining the school board and working for our community’s kids. I could hardly contain my excitement that my pleas for folks to get involved seemed to be heeded. It was my husband who, after letting me enjoy my excitement for a bit, had to point out to me (gently, I might add) that this “wonderful news” I was blabbing about meant that I was now involved in a contested election for my own seat on the board. Talk about bursting one’s bubble. NOOOOO! But alas it is true. So, this will be my first contested election. Wish me luck. Here’s a throwback to that first election when I wished my dad could have been alive to see his little girl’s name on the ballot.

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 7.57.26 PM

 

Win or lose, please make sure that you get out to vote if you live in Vermont. Your fellow community members count on your support and it’s an amazing and important process, unique to the New England area and particularly Vermont.

 

 

Vermont’s school funding is in the state and local news of late and we will all be asked to vote on school budgets soon. The Vermont School Boards Association produced a video to help explain how the process works. It does a good job of explaining a fairly complex process, making it a little easier to understand.

For all of my lawyer friends, this is the brief that we all wish we could have written. Snarky, sarcastic. If you are familiar with Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, you probably caught the recent episode where he discussed coal and a certain coal mine owner who does not like publicity. He threatened to sue, and in fact he did. The West Virginia ACLU filed an amicus curiae brief which is just … too darn good. Even my non-lawyer friends will get a few good chuckles out of this. To give you an idea of what you might be in for, there are section headings such as “All of John Oliver’s Speech Was Protected by the First Amendment. You Can’t Sue People For Being Mean to You Bob” and great legal points such as “Bob Murray thinks John Oliver was mean to him, and doesn’t want him to be mean to him again. While that is sad for Bob Murray, it is unconstitutional for a Court to order such relief.” ACLU Brief, P. 8

I encourage you to follow the link here and give it a read yourself. In addition to brushing up on your First Amendment law, it’s quite the read. Excellent job, ACLU, excellent job.

timToday, our youngest son flips the birthday page and a decade, turning 20. Hard to believe that 20 years have passed in what seems like the blink of an eye. I remember the day he was born like it was merely yesterday. I couldn’t be prouder of the amazing young man he has grown to be, with his feet firmly rooted in his heritage and his family and a soul that loves to explore– always inquisitive, searching, learning, growing. The scope of who Tim is clearly reflected in what he is doing  now and where he has been this summer. He started his summer exploring his Italian heritage in Sicily, working hard to secure himself a coveted spot on the National Italian American Foundation’s Voyage of Discovery where he spent two weeks learning about his Italian roots, practicing his Italian and enjoying all the history that Sicily had to offer him. As I write this, he is exploring this country, from coast to coast, and will spend his birthday today hiking and exploring one of our country’s national parks. This picture taken on his journey this summer, it is so “Tim” I couldn’t help but “borrow” it for this post.

I admire and respect his tenacity, his thirst for knowledge and the breadth and depth of what he already has learned and his beautiful voice. He is a kind soul, always ready to lend a hand and a hard worker as anyone who is familiar with his work last summer could definitely attest to in a heartbeat.

I know that he will do great things in this new decade and those decades going forward.

One night a while back, when we had ordered some take-out Chinese, we sat around and opened our fortune cookies as we normally do, laughing at what each said. Tim’s fortune that night summed up him perfectly ~ “You are a traveler at heart. There will be many journeys.”  

Happy 20th Birthday my (not so little anymore) traveler! Love you!

dad and tjRemembering the first guy to steal my heart and wishing that he was still here to see how this grandson and the other two grandsons have thrived and grown to be men he would be proud of, especially considering how glowing he was in this picture with TJ.

IMG_5938this guy who I am so lucky to call my best friend and I can’t imagine life without him in it. He’s a great dad to our boys and I love sharing the parenting journey with him.

12308198_989180081121162_5920617141299348996_oMy brother, Bill whose smile reminds me of my dad and is a wonderful dad himself.

Damian, my brother through marriage, who has a generous heart, raised three men who are sweethearts with my sister and I am lucky to have him as part of our family._DSC0757

and my dad through marriage, Poppy, who, among other things is responsible for being the dad to my husband and raising him to be the man that I love.

IMG_6284

Happy Father’s Day to these wonderful men and to all our friends who are dads. You all hold a special place in my heart.

So, here is something that I found over at Sivana and it’s pretty good Zen Wednesday wisdom, and good for a few laughs, especially after the last few weeks. #6, #12 and #18 are favorites of mine. What are yours?

21 Sarcastic Zen Sayings You Need In Your Life

  1. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.
  2. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.
  3. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me the hell alone.
  4. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and leaky tire.
  5. Some days you’re the bug; some days you’re the windshield.
  6. If you ever feel you are worthless remember that you are full of expensive organs.
  7. It’s always darkest before dawn. So if you’re going to steal your neighbor’s newspaper, that’s the time to do it.
  8. Don’t be irreplaceable. If you can’t be replaced, you can’t be promoted.
  9. Always remember that you’re unique, just like everyone else…
  10. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.
  11. Good judgment comes from bad experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
  12. If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you.
  13. No matter what happens, somebody will find a way to take it too seriously.
  14. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.
  15. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
  16. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.
  17. A closed mouth gathers no foot.
  18. Duct tape is like ‘The Force’. It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.
  19. Generally speaking, you aren’t learning much when your lips are moving.
  20. Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.
  21. If you think nobody cares if you’re alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

Evilwife on the move

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