Photos from Christmas Past: The Gifts of the Season

Wishing you a renewed sense of wonder

 

 

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and hoping you enjoy the fruits of your labor

 

Keep those you love close

May your days be spent with those you love

 

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and may those days be merry

 

the joy of the holiday season

and all that you dreamed 

 

 

especially if all that you dreamed includes your teeth

 

gifts of christmas past

and may your memories be good

 

 

Wishing you and yours joy and peace this holiday season!

Happy Monday!

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The Quickening: From Baby to High School Graduate in Sixty Seconds

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The quickening.

It’s what the pregnancy books call the moment when a soon-to-be mom is physically aware of the movements of her baby.

 

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I remember a bubbly effervescence, a tiny tapping, a feeling akin to little butterflies launching.

From that first motion on, parenthood became a quickening too. A series of moments accelerating. Too. Fast.

My daughter is moving at warp speed. One minute she’s appearing on an ultrasound screen, a bouncy, blurry greyness that I hardly could believe was real.

The next minute she’s graduating from high school. This week. Now. (Pass me the tissues.)

We tried to slow her down, if only for a minute, capturing memories on our front porch that first day of Kindergarten–and every first day of school since.

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 Taking her own photo on the porch.

 

It all seems just a little too soon.

 

What’s flying by too fast for you? And does anyone have access to a time machine?

 

Have a SWEET week,

Coleen xo

Happily Wrinkled in Time

This week my daughter and I hit the road for another college visit, but this time around we went to my (and my husband’s) alma mater.

So surreal.

We walked the campus and I pointed out the sights, each turn awakening old memories as if Zeus had bellowed, Release the Kracken!

Because I relayed my ancient stories as we roamed the student center and shopped in the bookstore.  I showed her the places her dad lived, where I lived and even the chinese restaurant that we loved.

I was surprised to see it.  So much had changed, renovations, new buildings, me.

Seeing it anchored me back in reality, and I thought:

How is it possible that 20 years have passed since I graduated from college?

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So happy to graduate.  So clueless about my smooth skin.

 

The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.

~Madeleine L’Engle

 

Okay so I have some wrinkles, but according to Madeleine L’Engle they are evidence–evidence of not only titan clashes, but of ages that I am happy to carry with me.

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Like becoming a big sister for the first time.

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And again.

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And again. 🙂

Even if I don’t remember it all, I can see I was happy.

It’s with me.

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What ages are you happy to keep with you?

 

For the Love of Food and Nostalgia

 

“Eat. Write. Travel. Cook.”

Sounds awesome to me–add in “read” and it’s practically perfect.

Those are the four words Top Chef judge Gail Simmons wrote down when asked what she wanted to do with her life once she graduated college.

 

 Talking with my Mouth Full details her quest to create a successful career out of those four words.

 

As I read her food stories from childhood up to her hosting Top Chef: Just Desserts, I couldn’t help but get caught up in my own food nostalgia.

One of the earliest and most vivid food memories I have is of a glass bakery case filled with sprinkle cookies and pastel frosted cupcakes–all of which were right at my eye level.  I was maybe three or four.

I wonder how many hand prints and nose smudges had to be cleaned from that glass front everyday?

All I remember is the excitement.

Because there can be a lot of emotion tucked away inside of our food memories.

Like the laughter at family birthday parties, especially as my sister and I dipped forkfuls of cake into our tea cups.   The comforting ritual of a bowl of cereal as I watched Saturday morning cartoons.  Or the fun and freedom of walking to the tiny convenience store on the military housing base I lived on in Michigan to buy sweet chewy rice candy (I loved how the rice wrapper just melted in my mouth).

There’s the surprise I felt when I realized how much I liked the cherry beer I drank in Brugge five years ago.  Along with the wonder of the many chocolate shops that lined the cobbled streets, all filled with pretty little candies lined up in perfect rows–inside glass cases of course (I think glass cases trigger a Pavlovian-like longing in me now–it happens now even at Starbucks).

I won’t forget how curious I felt eating crawdads on a picnic table outside our neighbor’s house when we lived in New Orleans, partly because it was so different and partly because I couldn’t quite figure out if I liked eating those little critters or not.

And of course there’s the food we remember simply because we are with those we love.

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“It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it… and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied… and it is all one.”

~ M.F.K. Fisher (The Art of Eating)

 

What is your favorite food memory?

 

WHAT’S YOUR HAPPY SONG?

This weekend I took a little road trip to take my son to camp. With nothing on the radio, I dug around and came up with a cassette. It had no artist cover, just my loopy, teenage handwriting all over the paper liner.
Yes, it was a mix tape.
From 1987.
So I popped it in the player and started to sing (while my son pushed his headphones deeper into his ears). I found myself thinking about the power of music, and I don’t just mean the power that is remembering lyrics from a 25 year old song (although that is pretty amazing especially when I can’t always remember why I walked into a room), no I’m talking about the power it has to give you a boost.

I GOT A FEELING
Music improves your mood. It can make you happy, make you want to dance or inspire you. Some of the top happy, upbeat songs (they say so in the title) are:

Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t worry be happy “
U2’s “Beautiful day”
Don McLean’s “American Pie” (okay, so it doesn’t exactly say it in the title, but the song rocks and who doesn’t love pie?)
Or this oldie, but goodie:

Even that outfit makes me smile

 

GLORY DAYS
Music not only evokes emotion, but memory. Forget the beat or the lyrics, sometimes a song can lift you up simply because it reminds you of a happy moment.

For me a big one is the day my fourth grade teacher passed out the slightly damp, freshly copied lyrics to “We will rock you” and “We are the champions.” We all sniffed the paper (ah, remember those days?) and then sang along to Queen, slapping our palms to our desk to the beat (Mrs. Fearn rocked).

 

COME TOGETHER
Music brings people together. Think about the last concert you went to, wasn’t it amazing singing along with thousands of people to one song?

But it doesn’t have to be that big.

I can also think about dancing in my room to Club Nouveau’s “Lean on Me” with my sister B (small favors that the recording technology was not as accessible as it is today).
Or, there’s the synthesized beats of a-ha that will always remind me of high school. And Jimmy Buffet will always make me think of college and singing with everyone at Sully’s (including my future husband).

Then there was this song that reminds me of going to parties. To this day it makes me want to turn it up and scream along (even if I’m still not sure what it’s about).

Yes, whether the song is cool or cheesy, it can lead to happy connections.

 

DON’T STOP BELIEVING
Everybody loves a song that can lift your mood, empower you or even make you feel like a superhero, as it apparently did for Henry David Thoreau:

“When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.”

(And he lived in a cabin in the woods for 2 years!)

Who doesn’t want to listen to a song that makes you feel like that?

Whether you prefer the original or one of the many covers, here’s a rocking, positive song (so good it apparently summed up the entire six seasons of HBO’s Sopranos).

What is your happy song?