shadow season

Halloween starts the dark months in the northern hemisphere, when clocks race toward night while we still yearn for day, trees that just last week were ablaze are now bare, the mosaic of the forest floor morphs into a brown sepia tone, and the monochromatic blue-grey skyline fades quickly to black. Where can we look to find a spark? How can we edge up a smile that lasts past the early dusk? What lurks just ahead that can transform our outlook? Well, I have three suggestions.

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this journey

daily we are cautioned to embrace the journey. love the highs. learn from the lows. forget the destination. this is not easy. at least for me. I’m impatient.  thrilled with the takeoff. headed somewhere. with the notion of arrival. it takes something big and awesome or small and stinging or something tenacious and afflicting to get me to stop this pursuit. the chase of the high. the push to get there already.

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Horizons and Mountains Beckon

IMG_1986Where there was green we now witness brilliance. Color floods our view yet we know this visual joy is a last burst; as Robert Frost foretells, “Nothing gold can stay.” All of a sudden, everything is changing, and the geese flying overhead let you know this with much certainty, for their particular honk grabs all our attention. Look up, look up, they call, we are on the move. Perhaps, they imply, you should be too?

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Skillet Italian Tofu

Nine Cent Girl:

Full disclosure: I don’t like to cook. Not saying I can’t, but I don’t do so with the joy necessary to be a good cook, a real cook. But I do like to eat. A lot. And, lucky for me, I have a spouse who is happy in the kitchen. Who pours over cooking periodicals, chats up recipes, scans blogs for ideas, and with great innovation prepares meals that make everyone at our table happy.

Inevitably, after our workday, our conversation goes something like this: Are you hungry? Or the other, how hungry are you? Either would elicit a yes or a very, and therefore my response would be followed up by, what are you in the mood for? Yes, seriously, the sky is the limit from my own personal spouse-chef. Vegetarian? Simple. Vegan? Varied and delicious. Italian, Asian or any combination of healthy and delicious cuisine? Of course. She opens a few well-worn cookbooks, looks over her notes, checks the fridge and cupboard, and begins with what we have on hand. And this is another point because what a cook has on hand must be plenty in order to produce such meals. Cans of coconut milk and coconut oil. Fresh fennel and basil. Sushi vinegar. Curry. And of course the right knife. Pan. Cutting board. Nothing flashy but precious objects kept in their place.

I offer to help, and there are times when I am allowed a grater and cheese, or asked to scrub up a few potatoes, maybe to gather cherry tomatoes still on the vine. Sous-chef maybe not, but dishwasher extraordinaire, yes!

The following post is from her blog: The Savvy Skillet. Here is one of our favorite dishes, a wonderful tofu. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

Originally posted on The Savvy Skillet:

I love tofu. I never thought I would, but I do. I cook it many different ways and add it to many dishes. It’s easy if you like to eat tofu, but if you are one of those people who just think tofu is a mushy, yucky, flavorless thing then this recipe is definitely for you!

I think I can pretty much guarantee the most rigid tofu hater will at least like, if not love, this recipe. The bonus is it’s the easiest and quickest meal to make. It’s gluten free and you can eat it in a number of ways as left-overs.


1 package of extra firm tofu

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Dried Italian seasoning

Nutritional yeast

Salt & pepper


Slice tofu brick into slices approximately 1/4″ to 1/2″ depending on your preference. Place the slices between sheets of paper towels with a weighted cutting board on…

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1 cardWhen my children were younger I watched with fascination as they developed collections. Matchbox cars. Star Wars figurines. Stuffed animals and baseball cards. A shelf of Tin Tin books for the oldest, ceramic cats the fascination of my daughter. Later baseball hats filled shelves as did a rainbow of nail polish. But even as I encouraged and often funded their collections I wasn’t interested in acquiring one of my own. In one botched attempt I dutifully declared I would begin with lighthouses and to prove my devotion I held out a 3 inch reproduction, the very one they had given me after a trip they had taken (without me) to Maine. I assured them I adored lighthouses and someday soon this one would be surrounded by many. They looked pleased with my resolve.

My small lighthouse reproduction sat on a window sill in the kitchen, alone, for years, and I never did add to it. Yes, I love the regal isolationism, the dedication to assisting wayward mariners, regardless, I didn’t traipse around to acquire more to adore my sill.

What did happen, somewhat organically, was a collection of postcards. For years, every time I went anywhere for a night or two, I purchased a few cards and sent them to people I imagined might appreciate a glimpse of my sights, like my grandmother or elderly neighbor. If I was gone longer I would send one to my parents or children left at home. I found I not only loved finding the right vista but I enjoyed writing in the small square. I loved the one or two lines captured by the card itself: the crafting, the exactness, the story. For many years, postcards were the only place I let myself write with a flare. With my own voice.

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Locked Down

Nine Cent Girl:

As true today as it was when I first posted this blog, on July 25, 2013. Gun related violence isn’t going away. In fact, we have even more of a pressing need to ask the tough questions to solve this epidemic. Let’s work together to keep our children safe.

Originally posted on Nine Cent Girl:

tumblr_mqhzi8AQyp1rbhtdeo1_500This morning the radio clicked on at 6:00 am, and as my spouse and I usually do after hearing the morning headlines, we both reached for our iPhones to check emails, texts, Facebook statuses and Twitter feeds. Yes, we like a broad picture of the wide world beyond our valley vista before feet hit the solid ground. What stayed with me was an emotional Facebook status posted by a strong and smart young mother: “Sometimes I lay awake at night and I think about that guy shooting all of those innocent babies in an elementary school…….and there is not a damn thing anyone can do about it, then, now, or ever.” As I laced up to head out for a morning run I wondered how many other mothers feel the same today, in mid-July…feel that crippling powerlessness parents all over our country feel every time they wave goodbye…

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Some weeks I go super broad in this blog– with topics that affect us all–you know BIG PICTURE stuff. Other times I write small–internal pulls–just me stuff. I can’t say for sure which readers appreciate more, but each week I follow my heart and hope for the best. This is one of those small posts, for all I could do was ruminate and observe nature’s reflection around me.

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