Saturday, January 28, 2012

Senior Night for Evan's Hockey Team

I wear lipstick, but I'm not much of a bulldog....nonetheless I am a Hockey Mom.
And tonight will be a bittersweet memory, mostly sweet.
My Evan, whom I am sure was born only last year, is a Senior In High School. Needless to say, I am traumatized. We went through a Senior Year Syndrome with Ian, and let's just say I Barely Survived. So, naturally, having a Senior Night recognition for Evan and his hockey team was most unwelcome. (You see, I am comforting myself with a harmless little delusion: that Evan isn't really going to graduate and then Leave Home and Go Away To College in August. And if I were to face that reality, I would comfort myself by remembering that after all, August is about 6 years away, right?) So, secure in the knowledge that Sr. Nt. wasn't really happening, I was only playing along with the other HMs (Hockey Moms) when I put together a collage poster for display at the rink tonight during the game. OK, so I wouldn't go to the pre-arranged evening a week and a half ago, and put off selecting pics 'til this morning, and so spent 5 hours choosing pics, printing and enlarging them, finding hockey clip art, cropping, trimming, and mounting the pics, and sending Jeff off to Staples to have it laminated. I loved it and hated it all at once. Now, I can't stop looking at it.
The other element of bitter among the sweet is that my big, strong athlete has been sitting out games for the last 5 and a half weeks, since he broke his wrist (the cast is pictured in the poster collage above). So he wasn't able to play....not for 11 more days (but who's counting).
That is he on the far left watching the game with the JV players in the pic below.
And the game --- what a nailbiter! No score until toward the end of the 1st period. Our amazing goalie got a glove on the puck, didn't stop it. Then at the end of the 2nd period, we finally answered, but the puck didn't go over the line before the buzzer and therefore didn't count. So we started the 3rd period down 1-0. The whole 3rd period was timeouts, power plays and penalty kills and no score until 5.8 seconds to go, we tied it up with a scrappy shot right in close to the goal. And so 8 minutes of overtime was put on the clock and those tired boys fought to a sudden death win.
It's way more fun to win, especially on Senior Night. And it's all the sweeter when both goals (all 3 if you count the one that was too late) were scored by Seniors. And that I and the other Sr. HMs watched the whole game wearing our sons' away-game jerseys. You know how close you feel to someone you love when you wrap one of his garments around you. Maybe tonight has taken some of the edge off some of the "Senior Moments" to come in the next few months.
Excuse me while I go change; I think I'll put on something of Ian's.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Mode in Dress and Home

Let's visit a Home Ec class in another era, shall we?
Get your cup of tea, and sharpen your pencil, we'll still be here when you come back.
Have you got your notebook? Let's get started. We will be using the textbook "The Mode in Dress and Home".
Written by Dulcie Godlove Donovan
Illustrated by Eulalie Banks
Published by Allyn and Bacon in 1935
Why Home Ec? What will we accomplish? Let's see what is promised in the Foreword.
" 'The Mode in Dress and Home' aims ----
  1. To help pupils to develop physically, mentally, esthetically and socially.
  2. To teach the fundamentals of selecting, constructing, and caring for clothing and home furnishings.
  3. To give particular instruction in intelligent buying.
  4. To help pupils to form good habits and to cooperate at school, at home, and in the community."

Well, it seems a bit vague, but admirable. Let's get to the specifics.

Can you read the Table of Contents? Unit I is on "The Charm of an Attractive Appearance" and consists of 3 chapters:

  1. It is Easy to be Good Looking
  2. Spending Our Time and Money
  3. Shopping Weekly

Tune in next time for the highlights I will share from this Unit.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Plight of the Clever Girl

Did you ever feel that you were born in the wrong era? In my saner moments, I recognize my feelings of historical displacement for what they are, wistful fantasies, and inaccurate. Like all fantasies, my view of what it would be like focuses only on the pleasant and peaceful, ignoring the hardships, inequalities and injustices found in former times. But, in measured doses, any fantasy will provide release from the stresses of the day....
Let's see, would you be Elinor Dashwood? Jo March? Anne Shirley? or even Nancy Drew (don't forget she had a tasteful wardrobe, a slim, athletic figure, a handsome boyfriend, and a baby-blue convertible!)? Oh what about one of the young ladies of Downton Abbey?

I don't have any one historical era that I love most. I'm susceptible to any author who can describe beauty and romance. I'm fascinated by fashion of almost any era, lifestyles and cooking, household management, and especially any kind of needlework skills, from fancy embroidery to clever skilled mending techniques.
A while back, I determined to learn how to darn socks. I bought spools of darning thread and a darning egg on ebay and at yard sales. Now, everyone in this family has worn darned socks. (Those darned socks!)
I love to read old ladies' magazine articles about home management, and all accounts of the domestic work world. I found the book below on ebay. It's a text book for high school level Home Economonics, copyrighted 1935, and I believe it was reprinted and updated for a couple of decades. Sometimes, I see ebay auctions for the accompanying workbook. For all the charm of the quaint text, I originally got interested in the book because of the sweet illustrations of Eulalie Banks.
This one is featured on the frontispiece. I want to awake in that bed, well-rested with warm summer breezes lilting in my crisp curtains. I just know the sheets were hung on the line, and carefully pressed, and they smell like a Spring evening, when the peepers are chirping. And that quilt....I wonder just how many of my calico school dresses ended up in those 9-patch blocks?

I was going to save further illustrations for future posts, but I can't help it -- this one is in the introductory chapter on sewing your own clothes. Can you read the text underneath?

"In the preceding unit we discussed selection of clothing.

We learned that the clever girl realizes that to be well-dressed

she must study clothes as she would any subject in school."

Sigh...such a burden to be a clever girl.....

Friday, January 20, 2012


The photo in the banner is taken in the morning light from my mother's kitchen window. And the photo above is taken from mine.
I walked through the house this morning taking in all the views. This is looking out onto my driveway and front lawn, and at my neighbor's house across the street.
Looking out my bedroom window.
As beautiful as the snow and trees are, I really think that the apricot glow of the morning light is what makes the view magical.
Driving to work, I have favorite scenery. 8 horses on a hillside.

Okay, I can only see seven here, but there really are 8. I've counted them many times.
And this is the house where I often see the wild turkeys. But they were shy of me when I stopped the car and most of them fled.
Except this one.
Even in the parking lot at work....look how blue the sky was today.
For those of you in warmer climates, this is an azalea. In snow.
And I couldn't resist -- the Sunshine State --Really?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Closed for the Winter...

This cottage is out on Biddeford Pool. I don't know how many year-round residents there are, but it isn't very many. Most of the houses are closed up. This is one of my favorites because of:
  • The natural shingles weathered to a blend-in-with-an-overcast-sky gray
  • The tide-rounded stones
  • The way the moss/lichen on the stones contrasts with the bright aqua trim of the screen door
  • The granite lintel.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

But something has to be left to God...

ice amid the rock

I googled: "poetry cold".
Should it surprise me that the first poem I found was by "Frost" himself?
I had not read this one before, but I like it...
By Robert Frost 1874–1963

This saying good-bye on the edge of the dark
And cold to an orchard so young in the bark
Reminds me of all that can happen to harm
An orchard away at the end of the farm
All winter, cut off by a hill from the house.
I don't want it girdled by rabbit and mouse,
I don't want it dreamily nibbled for browse
By deer, and I don't want it budded by grouse.
(If certain it wouldn't be idle to call
I'd summon grouse, rabbit, and deer to the wall
And warn them away with a stick for a gun.)
I don't want it stirred by the heat of the sun.
(We made it secure against being, I hope,
By setting it out on a northerly slope.)
No orchard's the worse for the wintriest storm;
But one thing about it, it mustn't get warm.
"How often already you've had to be told,
Keep cold, young orchard. Good-bye and keep cold.
Dread fifty above more than fifty below."
I have to be gone for a season or so.
My business awhile is with different trees,
Less carefully nourished, less fruitful than these,
And such as is done to their wood with an axe—
Maples and birches and tamaracks.
I wish I could promise to lie in the night
And think of an orchard's arboreal plight
When slowly (and nobody comes with a light)
Its heart sinks lower under the sod.
But something has to be left to God.
My mind pops and crackles with the metaphors this orchard represents for me.
How I can't protect my children
(yes, still children to me, although the 20-year-old might pause...)
from the threats to well-being they face when I am not around.
How we have taken care to choose the right exposure.
How we want to gather those who might harm them and give them fair warning.
And then being brought up short: "But something has to be left to God." !
After all...
In the end...
When it comes right down to it.....................
But my original purpose was to portray the cold as a hostile element, one to be eluded, not one entrusted to protect, preserve, and even prepare.
(The irony of thinking that way after having just posted an ice cream cake, for whom room temperature is the enemy, does not escape me.)
But for me, the cold is, well...cold.
But I know the antidote: warmth
Like Split Pea & Ham Soup
Like a Love Story
Like homemade Corn Muffins
Maybe this meal is a love story.
I know it's a prayer.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pretty as a Birthday Cake

I had a friend who once said to me "You look like a birthday cake!". I didn't understand, and she explained that it was her mother's expression. When someone looked especially pastel and pretty, she likened their appearance to that of a birthday cake.
I have never forgotten what I was wearing: a soft pink cotton sweater (with a hand-crocheted lacy collar) over a creamy linen pleated skirt with beige/nude pumps.
Today, we finally got Winter. It snowed most of the day and all of outdoors looks like a giant white birthday cake. Maybe like this one.
We have 2 January birthdays. Sean came on New Year's Day 15 years ago, and this was his birthday cake this year. It was my first attempt at making an ice cream cake. (Heck, it was the first cake I'd made in many months, possibly stretching to years!)
I'll be trying again this weekend. Evan turned 18 yesterday, and while we marked the actual day with lemon cupcakes I whipped up from a box mix, I am planning another whack at the ice cream cake this weekend.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I Resolve

...To seek truth, wisdom and beauty...
"Surely you desire truth in the inner parts;
you teach me wisdom in the inmost place." NIV Psalm 51:6
"Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." NIV John 8:32
"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair, and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." NIV 1 Peter 3:3, 4
"My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair -- every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul." NIV Proverbs 2:1-10
....To love...
"Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." NIV Matthew 22:37-40
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." NIV 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
...To pray...
"...if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." NIV 2 Chronicles 7:14
...To serve...
"...But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." NIV Joshua 24:15b
...To rejoice...
"Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." NIV 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Baked Beans

I wasn't looking for it was on a dusty shelf over a workbench in the garage at my father's house. But there it was, the beanpot I wrote about last spring.
So, I had to make beans.

I followed the recipe in Marjorie Standish's cookbook, but I remember my grandmother putting an onion in the pot. I scored an "X" in the bottom like she did. And I studded it with cloves, because it was New Year's Day and because I was topping my beans with leftover ham instead of bacon or salt pork.

I also used Yelloweye beans instead of navy pea beans like Grammie did, because those have gotten hard to find.

I read once that beans were dinner for many a working family in Olde Boston. Cooking fuel was precious, and you could get your beans ready in the morning and take them to a public oven on your way to work, then pick them up, ready-to-eat on your way home. It's also one of the many old New England recipes to take advantage of the readily-available molasses.

I like cooking them at home, as it cozies up a cold day. It also provides a great warm stovetop for bread-baking days. Maybe I'll try making brown bread next.

Monday, January 2, 2012


I've been walking at lunchtime. We've had a mild season of fall tumbling into winter. So the cranberries growing wild on the roadside weren't ruined and mushy from frost.
I filled my gloves with them and brought them home.
What a fun discovery! How could I have missed them before, so bright and cheery?
As Alice Walker wrote in "The Color Purple", something to the effect of color in nature being one way God uses to get our attention and show us his love. Well, it's working on me -- I get a little thrill deep in my heart when I drink in this lovely color, don't you?
The last time that little wooden spoon looked so pristine.
Boil in half as much water. I had only 1.5 cups of berries, so this is 3/4 c. water. You can hear them pop. 10 minutes is good.
I don't have a food mill - yet, but this sieve worked fine.
Back to the stovetop to boil and stir with 3/4 c. sugar, about 5 min. Then chill and serve. If you have more berries (4 cups, say), you can use a mold.
The pulp stained the spoon. And I'm glad.
There it is: Jellied Cranberry Sauce.
It's risky making homemade. Takes time and makes a mess, and spoils you for store-brought.
My recipe is from the cookbook on the right.
These cookbooks are used a lot in my family. I think they are a little hard to find now, (maybe out of print? What was it you told me, Diane?) And someone "from away" has had the gall to assume the legacy and "revise" and re-publish. Rubbish.