Weekend Reading and Photographer Friday

great cluck egg farm

all the snow


buying the fabric


Just when I was beginning to think I had fallen victim to the magic troll-mirror, trapped in a snowy kingdom where everything seems ugly and depressing, the sun came out, it stopped snowing, and we had a couple days with temps above freezing. Even the gals of Great Cluck Egg Farm have seemed happier recently – they have been clucking away in the barn unable to romp around outside and somehow on the warmer days they seem more content – as if they know what I do – the snow is slowly very slowly melting. My Tuesday trip earlier this week to The Holy Donut for a Fresh Lemon Donut might have helped my mood a bit. So did the productive evening I had last week when I made a couple pillow covers from the brightly colored fabric I purchased in the Democratic Republic of Congo last spring. And then, there is the pot of basil on the dining room table by the one bouquet of pretty cut flowers I allow myself each week. Anything to brighten up the place!

Sunday I will visit the beehives out back and give them enough candyboard to keep them fed and presumably happy till they can begin foraging. The bees always cheer me up. They remind me of the promise of warmer weather and with it gardening and long days full of light spent hands and sometimes feet in the dirt. On the bright side, on one of the warmish days I cleared a path out to the hives (wish I had taken a photo of the feathered gals lined up in the doorway looking at me and all the snow anxiously wanting so badly to go out). No wading through thigh high snow to get to them. Yay!


sift article

Better Late Than Never
King Arthur Flour introduced Sift Magazine this week. It has recipes (hot cross buns!), beautiful images, and an article by my friend Monica Michael Willis “At the Middle Eastern Table” – hello Pita Bread with Baba Ghanoush accompanied by a glass of Pomegranate Punch. I also love the article on Jeffrey Hamelman – Master Baker and a beekeeper!


As someone who loves East Africa I encourage you to read this article in The New York Times on how international terror/travel warnings are ruining Kenya’s coastal tourism industry.  If you adhere to every warning the U.S. State Department puts out well you might just never go anywhere outside and maybe not even to Western Europe. American officials are fear mongers.  Nairobi has a reputation for security issues – robbery, petty theft, and armed carjacking – and the police for being corrupt. That said, if you use common sense (don’t flash money, dress like a tourist, walk around at night by yourself, or protect your money…in crowded markets) and/or travel with an established tour agency chances are you will be fine. I sure hope to go in the next year!  After that it would seem between Islamic militants and our own government it may not be that safe a place to travel to. Heck, while I was in Uganda folks were telling me how friends of theirs cancelled their safari tours to Kenya and Tanzania because of Ebola. Ebola! Seriously, that’s like a case being reported in Maine and someone from Africa not traveling to California because of it. Seriously.

path appears


Living Mindfully
Looking for ways to give back? The book A Path Appears by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn shines a light on ways individuals and organizations can help transform lives. Biggest takeaway from the book – the idea of creating a giving circle that meets once every month to explore ways to make a difference – donating money, organizing an event, helping out at a local food bank… I met with a friend yesterday regarding starting one up – maybe combining it with a book club.

I have also approached a couple organizations – one in Rwanda, one in Uganda – about my holding a marketplace this summer or next holiday season – selling their beautiful handmade goods (think wooden bookends of giraffes or lions) and returning 100% of the profit to them to support their educational/craft… programs for women.

photo friday

Photographer Friday
Doris Ulmann beautifully and gracefully photographed the southeastern United States around the turn of the 19th century. Her images of the farmers’ wife, a fruit-stand owner, a blacksmith, grandmothers, grandfathers, and great-grandsons transport the viewer back in time into the rural valleys of Tennessee and North Carolina.

Get Lost: Learning a foreign language

fumbua cutting at market

getting braided

For some, like me, learning a foreign language is no easy task. I have found the idea of it exciting over and over – the times I tried learning Arabic (twice – a few years ago I signed up for back-to-back introductory courses – the second time I was so discouraged I stalled out midway) and French (university and more recently) and Spanish (high school) and Swahili (one of those Rosetta Stone kits for the car). I think I might have attempted Italian and maybe even some Russian in there, but not formally. I love the idea of speaking multiple languages, but have only been able to grasp phrases when on the ground – my success rate is 75% based on immersion. This post is about the why you should learn a foreign language – the benefits – and the how (what has worked for me – laying the foundation – the “other 25%”).

Sure English is pretty widely spoken, but while exploring a foreign city do you want to be that stereotype of an ugly American speaking loudly and slowly in E-N-G-L-I-S-H? Not me and I sure as heck don’t want to be anywhere near you.

1. Elevate your travel experience – Your ability to participate in what is happening around you – discovering a new culture and developing friendships – is reliant upon you at least knowing a few phrases of the local dialect.
2. Confidence booster – This is more while traveling – nothing makes me feel less comfortable than not knowing what the heck is being said to or around me in a language I do not understand. Imagine how much easier food shopping or even trinket shopping would be if you could use a few phrases.
3. Cool way to spend your time – Way better for you than that rerun of the reality show we could do all without (unless it is the British one about sewing or baking). Try it in the car, on the treadmill, sitting around the house.
4. Improve your employability – So many companies big and small are looking for folks who can speak Japanese, Spanish, Arabic. Speaking at least two languages shows your commitment to learning, to bettering yourself – what employer wouldn’t want that?
5. Improve your social life – Be that person who can communicate with the security guard at the museum, the taxi driver, the ivy league speaker, the award-winning photographer, the mountain climber, the restaurant owner, the friends visiting your sibling from Paris – the anyone who is bi-lingual.

Laying the foundation:
1. Purchase a dictionary of the language you want to learn. Do this no matter what. Preferably paperback, something you can carry with you. I ordered my French one through Longfellow.
2. If the CD thing works for you great, or maybe try a tutor – average price per hour might be around $30, or sign up for a class (sadly there are no foreign language learning opportunities for anyone not in school full-time in Maine).
3. Watch films or TV programs in the language you want to learn. Netflix has a lot of options.
Examples: French (Amelie, The Intouchables), Spanish (Strawberry and Chocolate, Y Tu Mama Tambien), Italian (Il Postino: The Postman), Russian (Burnt by the Sun – one of my all-time favorite films!!), Arabic (Paradise Now). If you are fortunate enough to live near an independent video shop where the staff are hip on foreign language films try there. Miramax Films released some very good French and Spanish films in the 1990s. I would recommend all or most of those.
4. If available listen to the radio station in the language you want to learn – easier if German, French, Spanish…
5. Ask around for someone who speaks the language you want to learn and see if he/she will be willing to meet you for an hour a week for a cup of coffee. This one is probably for those who already have a working knowledge of the language and want to brush up/preserve.

Pics by me from DR Congo (top), and Rwanda (bottom).

What do you think?

This isn’t a new series, just a question I might post on occasion – asking what do you think about something. A few weeks ago I got into a bit of a lengthy discussion with friends regarding some of the pros and mostly cons of Anthropologie. I know, right what’s the big deal about this chain? Well, lot’s – some details of which I cannot get into right here and now about how the board of directors of the company is advising and negatively effecting certain companies I respect(ed) taking them from small handmade influences to machine made factories of tchotchkes. It’s just how the world is today. Every day we lose battleground in the handmade world. People walk around talking about the environment and the importance of gluten-free baked goods (latter is lost on me!) while wearing garments made in China or worse. Some magazines talk about stitching parties, profile the beautiful buckle maker in Wyoming, the crafty guy in Tulsa…but a lot more tote the company line with ten perfect outfits for Sunday brunch brought to you by the Gap.

So, Anthropologie. We have one coming to Portland. Since their sister store Urban Outfitters arrived here over a year ago I have purchased one pair of sneakers there. That’s it. When I was in my 20s I was obsessed with their stuff, same with Anthropologie. While in Boston last week I ventured into the Anthropologie’s Newbury location and recounting what my friends had said about it – that they have a reputation for stealing ideas from independent craftspeople on Etsy for instance – I looked around and touched things. The glassware, the pottery it’s mostly cheap and has no –  as my friend Charlie would say – humanness. I would rather wait till I travel somewhere and invest in pieces made by local artists. The clothes are pretty expensive for what they are and look a lot better online than in person. I don’t think the interior decorators who tried to recreate an African setting in the shop – or the designers who put safari animals all over some clothes – have ever been to Africa. It was an idea of Africa, but about as accurate as a Tarzan film. The prints were nowhere near as bold or beautiful as those I saw in the DRC, Uganda, or Rwanda. …

But, here’s the thing –  I did find a pair of PJ pants on the sale rack I love – best fitting ever – and then gulp I paid full price for a dress. I really liked it, did not think the price was bad and at the time and now the purchases feel like a craving I fed. After exiting the shop, I walked out and called my friend S, one of the folks who had shared with me her strong anti-Anthropologie feelings, and said that is it for me. I will check out the Portland shop, but I would much rather support the independent stores with their incredible customer service like Bliss Boutique on Exchange Street.

The dress, my one and only Anthropologie purchase (I will pair with my tan Birkenstocks and ankle Frye boots). What do you think – about the shop, about losing handmade to industry?



Weekend Reading

Not much to say from Maine this week – snow, more snow, negative temps. I’ve been stuck at home or not far from it for the past few days. Aside from short trips into Portland where my itinerary is also pretty limited I am stuck in Maine. And, I am in a bit of a rut about it all. The multicolored map of the Democratic Republic of Congo and surrounding countries posted on my office wall taunts me. I want to be somewhere hot with large open markets where there are stalls stacked with fish and avocados and palm oil burning here and there, a city of rusty rooftops with rural villages not far away – square mud-block houses along the side of the idea of a road. Folks, my wanderlust may just get the better of me before June. I don’t think I can make it that long. Heck, I’d take a Russian icebreaker en route to Antartica. Just something of an adventure!

By April I will be starting seeds indoors. That should cheer me up.

OH, and I have finally caught on to the craze that is Netflix streaming. Hello. There is a lot on there I can catch up on during this “I want to pretend it is green and blue and sunny outside” faze. This “if I have to rake the snow off my roof one more time and then shovel it atop the mounds that line my walkway I might have a fit” faze. Actually, the raking thing is a pretty good workout and I am sure anyone who saw me in my previous life of Hollywood glamour (kidding, but not) would laugh his/her tuckus off.

image002 10.39.28 AM 10.39.28 AM

image003 10.39.28 AM 10.39.28 AM 10.39.28 AM

Above – Old, pretty pictures from Maine. I took these during a trip north almost to the border from a scalloping boat. That was a fun day. Looking back I think the town appears a lot like the setting for the Syfy TV series “Haven” – the first few seasons were really good. Below – Now, well recently.


Living Mindfully
Take a stand and join millions on Earth Hour – Saturday, March 28 at 8:30 p.m. – by turning off your lights. Light some candles, put on the mood music, and relax knowing you are making a serious statement about tackling climate change.

On the environmental note – here’s a fun quirky fact – the average amount of toilet paper used by Americans per capita in a year? 30 LBS! The US is the world’s biggest buyer of toilet paper. Believe it or not this usage affects hundreds of bird and mammal species. Deforestation is a very serious issue. Get educated with WWF.

Boston Day Trip


In lieu of the weekly Thursday Weekend Reading and Friday Photographer posts, I’m posting on my day trip to Boston.

I am writing this from aboard an Amtrak train, which is sitting in the station, where we just found out the train has been delayed 40 minutes due to mechanical (aka weather) problems has finally left the station and is slowly (no exaggeration) edging it’s way north home.

Bonus, the wireless service kept going in and out (mostly out – as in for an hour, flickered back on for a couple minutes and then off for the duration of the trip).

Have you traveled by train? It is not the most reliable mode of transportation, but then what is when traveling “great” distances?

I have been wanting to go down to Boston – and specifically the Museum of Fine Arts – for a few weeks, since the exhibition “Gordon Parks, Back to Fort Scott”  was announced. If you read this blog on any sort of a regular occurrence you will know I greatly appreciate fine photography. In 1948, Gordon Parks (1912–2006) became the first African American photographer to be hired full time by LIFE magazine. Two years later he returned to his home state of Kansas to document racial discrimination/school segregation (note, this was four years before the landmark case Brown vs. Board of Education). His pictures are of family, neighbors, and childhood classmates. The stories are entertaining and the images soulful and telling.
Open thru September 13, 2015.


Afterwards, while wandering around the museum I came across the exhibition “Nature, Sculpture, Abstraction, and Clay: 100 Years of American Ceramics” featuring ceramic art from the late 1800s to today.
Open thru January 3, 2016.


ancient near east

bottle with chickens

Later, I explored the Ancient World collection. In addition to coins, mummies, coffins (two in one), and jewelry – I saw beautiful sandstone walls from an ancient Egyptian burial chamber (1550 – 1293 B.C.) and alabaster reliefs from an Assyrian palace (883 – 859 B.C.). The silver vessel in the photo above with “cocks and flowering plants “ (cocks = chickens) from Persia (224 – 651 A.D.) is a favorite.

All images are mine from MFA (where they graciously allow photography w/ no flash).

Get Lost: Haven in Paris

evening view


view from living room

dining room

living room


My images of the apartment I rented in the Pigalle neighborhood. For more and to see the agency’s pics go here.

During my most recent trip to Paris, I rented an apartment through Haven in Paris, a boutique, luxury, vacation rental agency. I have been to Paris a number of times, the first time being while in university and spending a semester studying in Strasbourg, France. Aside from an early stay at a hotel – more hostel – I have stayed with my best friend who moved to Paris not long after we graduated university. She has great taste, is a fantastic cook, and well of course we stay up to all hours talking and she is the best tour guide – I am always learning things from her about the art and architecture in the city, where to get the best coffee or Vietnamese food… However, now that she has a serious boyfriend and they live together (he is amazing, yay!), and because I knew I would be exhausted coming off of nearly four weeks in East Africa, I wanted to rent an apartment in the city where I could spread out. Several years ago I read about Haven in Paris and dreamed of staying in one of their gorgeous apartments and living like a Parisian – if only for a week and only sort of.  This trip I wanted the authentic Paris experience and I got it!!

Having my own kitchen where I could make soup at night and put out a spread of French cheeses and where I could toast a baguette in the morning and slather with French jam. Divine. I shopped at markets, learned about boar pate – delicious – bought little tarts and still every day made my way to a cafe somewhere in the city for a cup of coffee – or a bowl of hot chocolate. Haven in Paris provides a greeter to give you the lay of the land of the apartment and neighborhood. Mine turned me onto a fantastic boulangerie a couple blocks away.

I never had to think about someone coming to clean the apartment. If I wanted to return mid-day there was no housekeeping staff whose way I would be in.

The balcony and view – the light in the morning and at night – a sort of burnt yellow or pink was incredible and even though it was too cold for me to sit outside I was able to open up the doors during the mornings for a couple hours to let in some fresh air and the sounds of the city. No way could I have afforded as nice a hotel room as this space!

Plus, bonus, I had wireless service and calls to the U.S. for no extra charge. After not hearing friends voices for a month that was a very welcome service.

Next time I travel anywhere for a month – where I am actually based in one town – I am definitely renting an apartment. The hotel experience is so impersonal.

Erica Berman, the creator of  Haven in Paris, took time to answer a few questions I had about Paris – tips I hope those of you considering traveling there will find useful.

When did you first feel the pull of Paris?

After college when I went to France, and when I got to Paris I stayed there rather than traveling around Europe.

Describe the moment you knew you would be forever drawn to Paris.

Sitting in a café near the Luxembourg Gardens.

When did you decide you wanted to maintain rental apartments there?

(Erica described this as a twist of circumstances.) My parents came to Paris and stayed in a friend’s apartment and loved it so much. No one was doing it. That was 1994.

What keeps you going back (to Paris) now?

I love it, have friends there, and visit our properties.

Which season makes Paris feel most alive?

All of them. They are all wonderful in different ways.

What do you miss most about Paris when you are away?

The light and the food probably. There is a very particular light in Paris that is beautiful.

Where are your favorite places to go (in Paris) with friends?

Favorite restaurant - Verjus
Le Bon Georges (in the 9th)

Jardins du Palais Royal

Neighborhoods off the beaten path

Belleville/Menilmontant and the markets and shops there

Canal St Martin

Goutte D’Or (and its morning African market bi-weekly)

Le Bal Cafe (love the food too)
Kooka Boora

Hidden Garden in Montmartre:

Jardin Burq 18th

Garden in Marais on rue Payenne

Love – HolyBelly (amazing breakfast along with coffee)

Spots in Montmartre

For more on Paris check out the agency’s helpful blog here.

Photographer Friday: Eugene Richards

Eugene Richards has been a photojournalist since the 1970s. His images both personal and on assignment for magazines including National Geographic and The New Yorker are some of the most disturbing and gentle. This incredibly talented man is a poet with a camera. His eyes see things no one else does and to view one of his images is to be in the room – whether a psychiatric hospital in Mexico or in a gym in St. Louis, Illinois. His subjects range from drug addiction to child abuse to child birth and everyday life in Brooklyn, NY – where he lives now – and Dorchester, MA – where he was born and grew up. A student of the legendary Minor White at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he carries on the gift of instilling this extraordinary sense of intimacy in the darkest and brightest of days.

Following are images from the Phaedon 55 book on Eugene Richards and his work.

eugene richards cover

er seventy five

(Above) Grandmother, Brooklyn, New York, 1993.  (Below) The Son He Abandoned, East New York, 1992.

er seventy one

er thirty nine

Return from Prison, New York City, 1986. and (Richards writes) the crack is in the air, he’s just gotten out of the joint, you snap the picture and that night she disappears for ever


Weekend Reading

azizi life

Photo Me w/ Alice – my host for a day when I participated in the Azizi Life Experience in Rwanda, a program I am supporting by purchasing Rwandan made crafts they sell and donating images. Simple, small things I hope will lead to bigger giving opportunities.


In keeping with the theme of yesterday’s post and the fact that it is snowing here again, today’s Weekend Reading post has the international theme.

Living Mindfully – Take Action
You cannot save the world, but that does not mean you shouldn’t try or support those who are trying. Help those who cannot help themselves and your life will be better. Remain practical, but patient and determined. Individuals and institutions motivated to help make the world a better place come up against the cold facts of corrupt governments, politics – not just the country’s but sometime the organization’s inner workings, militias, cultural divides – all of which prevent very real challenges that in many cases cannot be overcome. I am in awe of the people who continue on – working for Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF or Doctors Without Borders) and the brave/intelligent photographer/storytellers like Marcus Bleasdale who try to influence political policy with photography.

While seeking out ways to help in a more hands-on way abroad, I give as a Field Partner with MSF. Each month my contribution is transferred from my bank account to MSF. Simple! $30/month (about $1/day) provides a surgical kit containing essential instruments to carry out emergency examinations and basic surgery in the field.

This post from the MSF blog “Pre-departure” by a British doctor heading to Uzbekistan for nine months. Really helps you get in the mindset of one of the exceptional human beings who make up MSF’s field teams.

I thought this might make an interesting comparison to my post yesterday on essentials for a month in Africa: from the MSF blog “What do you take with you on an MSF Mission?”

Better Late Than Never – links to travel sites…
A quasi travel/take action/live mindfully item – Tough Mudder is a program designed by British Special Forces that advertises itself as the toughest event on the planet. I would love to try and do this and help raise money for Wounded Warrior Project, a frequent benefactor of TM. Find an event.

Week in New York – Because in my opinion nothing goes as well with cocktails as deep-fried Jersey-style franks (except maybe the tasty flavored popcorn at my local fave Portland Hunt & Alpine Club in Portland, Maine) I give you the oh so trendy PDT. And where I’ll go to recover after a night of hot dogs and cocktails – Ancient Baths of course #New York  for a thermal bath with aromatherapy.

I want to go to one or more of these – Marrakesh’s best hotels with spas

This one is for my best friend who because of weather didn’t get to take her boyfriend on a hot-air balloon ride while in Burma this past fall. Bummer.

Because although I don’t feel the draw to go to Iceland (come on, I live in Maine….so give me Africa!), I am obsessed with the new television show Fortitude …

New series: Get Lost

blue nails

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Ok, there I feel better. Do you? It’s sunny, thus not snowing, and yesterday is over.  Yesterday this time I was slipping and sliding into Portland (yup, actually swerved all the way into the other lane and then all the way back into mine before regaining control – no oncoming cars and the folks behind me were well behind me so no accident – phew!). About 90 minutes after I left home I was in what one could describe as a bad mood – a sort of five-year-old child temper tantrum was brewing and then I got coffee and had my nails done (shiny bluish-purple – not me, but I just felt like it) and met friends and all became okay gain. Today I am still in Maine and after all this snow that’s something.

Yesterday, during January, since I returned from Africa, I have been daydreaming about my next trip. Morocco, Tanzania, back to Rwanda, Africa for certain. With one friend in Uganda and others on their way to Australia and Ethiopia I figured maybe a series of travel posts for those of us back home might not be the worst idea. What do you say folks, want to Get Lost?

pack one

pack two

pack three

First up, my travel go-to’s for a month in Africa

Tackling packing for my last trip – 3 1/2 weeks in Africa and 1 1/2 weeks in Paris was no easy feat. In the end though I only brought a few things I did not use, and those were insect repellant/medical type items I could not have known I would not need till the end of my trip and which I was able to donate = all worked out. I will do a post on clothing in a few weeks, but for now I just want to focus on my essentials – a few brands and things I would strongly recommend taking to Africa with you if you go.

Rule #1 if it does not fit in your day backpack/carry-on then it is not essential. Rule #2 if you have room after packing essentials then include what I consider “luxury” items e.g. neck pillow for plane ride.

1. Itinerary/travel info, tickets, if applicable media pass(es), passport, drivers license
2. Cash – local currency and American dollars (cash is king!) in recently printed bills of two or three denominations, credit card
3. Concealable Security Pouch for money, passport… Like this one by Victorinox.
4. iPhone, laptop (love my MacBook Air ) and chargers and headphones
5. Voltage adapter
6. A mini cleaning kit for my electronics (there tends to be a lot of dust in Africa)
7. Camera (I like the Powershot G15 point and shoot, takes great pictures and easy to conceal) and a waterproof bag! Keeps safe from torrential downpours and moisture.
8. Camera battery charger, extra battery, memory cards (take two)
9. My own apothecary. Prescription meds with prescription note. Also Pepto Bismal, Advil, and Tylenol (found in small tubes in most drug stores), Bandaids, Anti-Itch Cream, Aloe Gel. I am a huge fan of Adventure Medical Kits – I took two with me. Trust me, better to have than not!
10. A couple lip balms (I love Alba w/ SPF 25)
11. Insect repellant and I am likely being overly cautious, but mosquito netting (mine is in what looks like a small sleeping bag)
12. Travel size toiletries (deodorant, toothpaste, contact solution). Prescription glasses for the plane ride if you need them (I’m blind as a bat w/out). Hand sanitizer!
13. Footlogix Anti-Fungal Tincture (I wear open toed shoes and this is stuff is magical for keeping my toes from getting all dry – I apply after showering in the morning)
14. Sunglasses and baseball cap (I love Montebell’s hats) and sunscreen
15. Two scarves – good to help protect from sun, wear as a shawl during cool nights or to provide covering when circumstances require – better to look modest. I have an olive colored one I picked up at a market in Istanbul and an inexpensive bright purple one from an Indian shop in Vermont with a dear friend. Both carry happy memories and bring me comfort.
16. Reading material – I bring paperbacks and leave them for other guests in hotels.
17. Snacks for the plane ride and those times when I cannot get food.  I eat enough french fries (seriously, everywhere I have been – DR Congo, Uganda, Rwanda – there have been french fries up front and center on every menu and they are always good and well I love them) so I pack healthy treats e.g. almonds and seaweed – hey don’t knock it till you try it. Cliff or Lara Bars also go a long way. Altoids. Everyone will thank you. **Leave the chocolate at home, it might melt!
18. Notebooks and pens
19. Flashlight – best are those with adjustable headstraps
20. Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap – for bathing and hand-washing
21. Hair powder – dry shampoo has changed my traveling life! **Try it out before you travel to make sure you are not allergic…
22. I lied, am including one clothing item (plus scarves) Uniqlo’s Ultra Light Down Vest – because they roll up into this tiny bag and are perfect for the plane, layering…
23. Complete luxury, but Clarins HydraQuench Cream-Mask – comes in a handy 2.5fl oz and makes my skin feel so soft and healthy after 24 hours of airports and planes.

And what do I pack all this into – Filson. American made, durable, beautiful. I have two of their bags and love them!!

filson bags

I drink a ton of water when I travel. See me, see my bottle of water. In the back pocket of the driver’s seat, water bottles – big ones. Hydration is my number one rule. That said, I bring one bottle of water on the plane with me, bought in the airport, and then stock up soon as possible upon landing.

Happy travels! **Up next week or the week after renting an apartment in Paris, France.

Continuing with the snow theme

snow piled up

I am basing the accuracy of the prediction of six more weeks of winter on what is happening outside my office windows, not on the furry (and oh so adorable) Punxsutawney Phil who it is said saw his shadow earlier today. More on the superstition behind Groundhog Day here.

No, we will have six more weeks of winter because frankly that’s just normal (even in these days of global warming) and we need it – the kids skating on frozen ponds, the snowmobilers crisscrossing snowy fields, the plow guys (I’ll expect mine later today again), the maple sugar producers (snow insulates and protects trees), the ice fishermen, ski gear industry…

I feel a snow themed post is in order as snow storms continue to transform the Northeast from a land I recognize to one the late (great polar explorer) Sir Ernest Shackleton might have felt at home in.

Winter, snow, the cold – how to deal with.

First, appreciate it.

The quiet – Have you ever noticed how it is quieter when it snows?

The inspiration it provides – “Snow Flakes”, a poem by Emily Dickinson:
I counted till they danced so
Their slippers leaped the town,
And then I took a pencil
To note the rebels down.
And then they grew so jolly
I did resign the prig,
And ten of my once stately toes
Are marshalled for a jig!

muck boots

Prepare – I live in my Muck Boots during January and February.  Insulate in a warm, but stylish coat.

Improvise – Do what my friends Kate and Andrew did and get an inflatable palm tree for the home. Feel free to carry it down snowy streets to parties. We did.

Embrace it – Light a fire in the wood stove. Cook warm, comforting, spicy meals. My favorites are chili and pasta dishes. Watch the bloody good new British television series Fortitude set in one of the coldest spots in the world (it is actually filmed in gorgeous Iceland). Beware the polar bears, and things that go growl in the dark.

snow globe

about this blog

About Me Sharon Kitchens and Delicious Musings. Welcome and thank you for visiting my blog. I write about all the things I enjoy - Culture, Food, Photography &Travel. Read more on my about page.


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