Thursday, August 21, 2014

Writers' Group Field Trip

I have belonged to a writers' group at the Jericho Town Library for a number of years now.  In fact, I just realized I have participated since its inception.  The group has changed members over the years, numbers growing and falling off.

Right now there are three of us who meet on a fairly regular basis--the goal is every other week, but of course life sometimes intrudes on that plan.  We work on our separate projects and meet to share and offer feedback and support.  This has become such an important part of my life as have the the two women who have become writerly colleagues and friends.

Sometimes we go on a field trip together.  Yesterday we went to a public event that was part of this summer's Middlebury College writer's conference at their Bread Loaf Campus.  You can see a video and a slide show of the campus HERE.  You can get more information Here.

We attended a reading from a novel in progress by Margot Livesey.  I could only sigh at the craft in the hands of a master.  And Alan Shapiro read poetry that striped down to the bone.  And to shamelessly name drop, Julia Alvarez sat just across the aisle from us.  We were cool--Jen and Margaret and I--but on the inside we were like teenage girls at a Beatles concert in the late '60s.  Wow.

I consider the Bread Loaf Campus sacred ground.  Mike and I were married in the nearby Robert Frost forest.  This was a trip that fed my soul and affirmed my spirit.  And I needed that.

Friday, August 15, 2014


I have kind of a quirky imagination, but there is some stuff that just cannot be made up.  I heard this on the local news the other night.  A toddler found a gun in her own diaper bag after being dropped off at a daycare center.  A LOADED GUN.

The child's grandmother had "forgotten" the loaded gun was in the diaper bag.  WHAT??

Even more curious--the daycare's solution to this little problem--children will no longer be permitted to bring diaper bags or backpacks to the facility.

Do we live in a crazy world?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Meatless Monday

It is zucchini and summer squash season.

This is my favorite way to use it.

Cheesy Squash Casserole  

1 pound of zucchini, sliced*
1pound of yellow summer squash, sliced*
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1/2 cup butter**
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese***
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 T. sugar
1 t. salt
1 t. fresh thyme
1 cup crushed Ritz crackers
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165C)
  2. Bring a large post of water to a boil.  Add squashes and onion and cook until tender (about 15 minutes). * Drain well and transfer vegetables to a large bowl.  
  3. Add butter so it starts to melt.
  4. Add eggs, sugar, salt, and thyme.  Stir gently to combine and until butter is melted.
  5. Add cracker crumbs until moisture is absorbed.
  6. Turn into a 1 1/2 qt. baking dish and top with bread crumbs.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.

*Here is a trick I learned from Lydia Bastianich:  cook the squash whole with ends in tact.  The squash does not need to absorb extra water.  Slice after cooking.  I don't bother to precook the onion at all.  I melt the butter before adding it to the squash.

**Butter=sweet, unsalted butter.  Margarine will surely ruin the whole dish.  Don't!

***Need I say Vermont Cheddar?  Oh, well, if you are from Wisconsin or New York or Cheddar(!),  use what you have.

This makes 8 servings.  I make the full recipe for myself and eat twice a day for four days and lick my plate clean every time.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

New Shoes

My running shoes are past their prime.  Not that I run, but I do an exercise walk and running shoes are what I find most comfortable for that.

In the spirit of full disclosure--or perhaps of TMI--I have been known to walk five miles in flip-flop sandals.  I know that is wrong.  Time to treat myself better.

Anyway, I need new running/walking shoes so I went online to do some research.  Isn't technology so so grand?

I learned something to pass along.  It is from Fleet Feet and is really about socks:

  • At rest, the average foot releases 1 cup of sweat each day.
  • On a 5 mile run, your feet produce enough sweat to fill an 8 ounce glass.
  • 55% of foot perspiration evaporates through the shoes upper. The other 45% is absorbed in the sock and footbed of your shoe!
  • Two trillion bacteria live on your feet (that’s 12% of all bacteria on the human body).

Yeah, talk about Too Much Information!

I did get new running shoes.  They are Asics gel nimbus and they were more expensive than I would normally buy, but WOW! are they ever comfortable.

I braved the threatening sky and went for my walk.

Having read this on Barb's Live and Learn--temperatures dipping near freezing--I adjusted my angst over signs of the approaching fall.

roadside flowers

Amazing what new shoes and a little perspective can do for a body and soul.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Oh, NOOooooo.....

Changes.  They occur all the time.

We can fight them or embrace them.  We can accept that they will happen in either event and simply float along with them.

I can't say I disagree, but it is obvious to me that JFK did not practice yoga. Those who look only to the past or only to the future miss the present.  Being present is what I strive for each day.

I much prefer this quote:

So here is what I have to embrace in this moment:

I stepped out my front door and noticed the maple tree across the road has started to change.  And I definitely have to change my attitude about it!

Oh, I love the autumn in Vermont.  It is beautiful.  But that first hint that it is coming--a sign that beloved summer has already started its wind-down--that can throw me into a funk for days.

For today, I will be concentrating on the gifts of this day, the blessing in each moment.  But I will also be exiting my house through the garage rather than the front door.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sudden Storm

Busy around the house today--tidying up, doing some laundry, filing or tossing the accumulation of papers on my desk, taking care of some bills, making those insurance calls--I took a break and sat outside to read for about a half hour after my lunch, then came back in to continue with the chores I'd set myself for the day.

The sun was bright and warm.  I kept my head in the shade but I stretched my legs out in the sun and relaxed.  I thought I would go back out a bit later and I left my book on the lounge chair near the garden.

How quickly things can turn!  The sky turned black.  The trees were swaying, trying to reach their leafy tippy tops to their roots.  I ran out to grab my book just as the first drops fell.  In a few seconds there was a deluge, lightening flashing and thunder rumbling.

My chores are done.  It has turned out to be a good day for curling up by the lamp and reading.

Do you think I can count saving that library book from a soaking as part of my library hours for this week?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer Bounty

My neighbors brought over a bag of green beans and assorted summer squashes from their large vegetable garden this morning.  That simplifies meal planning for the week.  And lucky for me that they stopped by before I headed out to the grocery store.

I have a couple of casserole recipes for summer squash that I like.

My brother gave me blueberries.  A loaf of zucchini/blueberry bread will go in the freezer.

I will have to freeze some of the green beans, but I do love fresh picked green beans--just don't know that I would eat them three meals a day for the rest of the week.

My mother made a creamy soup with green and yellow beans that I really liked.  I will have to spend some time tracking down that recipe.

I love summer meals!