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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Christmas Memories

I love Christmas. Making the presents, wrapping them, putting them under the tree that is loaded with ornaments that track our family’s history—it makes me obnoxiously happy. We’re together to relax, celebrate, retell stories, and laugh.

Each year we try not to overdo the excessive buying aspect of the celebration. We don’t always succeed, but this year we’re behaving well. Each present is something we thought about before slapping down the credit card or clicking the “submit” button online. There’s hand knitted socks, hats, blanket, shawls and mittens; the folks who wanted hats, got hats—I didn’t mess around. Each knitted project also served a purpose for me; I made it a point to learn something from each present. Perhaps it was a new technique, a new yarn, a new design… each one kept me engaged and taught me something in addition to the joy of giving.

If the presents under the tree aren’t made of fiber, they’re probably books. Throughout the year, I keep my eyes open for titles that I think my loved ones might enjoy. Could be a book of walking tours through their new neighborhood or cookbooks that are unusual or something they might have mentioned, but haven’t bought for themselves. I like how this practice keeps Christmas alive throughout the year.

One of the most fun parts of the celebration is stuffing everybody’s stocking with little goodies: a favorite candy (not a whole bag!), some cool spices from Trader Joe’s, a handmade bar of soap or moisturizer and something funny that they’re not expecting (no clues given here now!) We’ve got the same stockings that the kids had growing up—and David’s stocking from when he was a young boy—ironically it’s knitted and has his name knitted around the cuff.

The tree is up, fully lighted, but won’t be fully decorated until our daughters arrive. That’s just something we do together. We all gloat over our favorite ornaments, and you can hear “I remember this one”… over and over again. There’s Christmas music in the background, but not the regular stuff. David has collected CD’s that really mark our season: Charlie Brown, the Canadian Brass albums, Dave Bruebeck’s Christmas album and many more.

This year all three women will be cooking together in the kitchen; it will be a menu that satisfies all of us, regardless of allergies, gluten intolerances, vegan regs, paleo regs, and Mom trying to lose weight. Per Tim Gunn, “We make it work” and it’s joyful. Every once in a while we find a recipe that all of us can eat, like zucchini noodles, and then we get really happy.

Lots of good, old memories get stirred up this time of year. I appreciate remembering them and having them come alive once more. When I was a kid, my dad was Santa at the church fair. He rode around town on the fire truck and then sat for hours in a throne like chair in the school auditorium while long lines of nervous children waited to sit on his lap and tell him their wishes. He was the absolute best Santa in the world: he listened, smiled, laughed, and looked soooo real. I have a photo of me sitting on his lap completely unaware that it was my dad. It’s one of my favorites. He made my childhood Christmas full of wonder and love.

Another standout memory is how every Christmas Eve, I’d hear sleigh bells and thumping on the roof. My heart would beat a million miles an hour, and I’d pretend to be sound asleep, just like Santa expected. Years later, I learned that it was Papa Louie Andiorio who did the honors every year. That was one of the many memories I have of that special man.

This Christmas, there mostly likely won’t be snow here at the Cape, and I probably won’t see Santa at the mall, but I will look for him in the sky and listen for reindeer hooves on the roof knowing that David’s probably throwing the pebbles. Merry Christmas to all.

12/12/12 Stroll Downtown Falmouth

Yesterday’s forty five minute brisk walk was an evening tour of downtown Falmouth.  Living here is like living in a Norman Rockwell painting.  Hope you enjoy the stroll.

Liam's FrankenClaus

Liam’s FrankenClaus

Best mac & cheese next to the new French bread bakery

Best mac & cheese next to the new French bread bakery

Most Beloved Yarn Store

Most Beloved Yarn Store



Tiny Twinkles



Eight Cousins Bookstore

Eight Cousins Bookstore


Kaleidoscope Toy's Upside Down Window

Kaleidoscope Toy’s Upside Down Window


Blue on Green


Town Green


The only reason this is blurry is because I’m walking at the speed of light…

Less is More is True

  1. Our low-key, sensible, non-traditional Thanksgiving was a big win. The food was healthy and moderate. There was more quiet, downtime and less craziness for everyone. I put together several polar fleece scarves, teddy bears and blankets for our local food/clothing pantry. Most of all, I appreciated the tenor of this holiday and will use it as a bridge to the rest of the holiday season. Less is more is true.


    Kettle Pond at Beebe Woods-Click on pix to enlarge

  2. Christmas is a few weeks away and most of my gifts will be made by hand this year. I’m psyched. There are socks, hats, mittens, shawls, cloth dinner napkins, lavender sachets and a blanket waiting to be wrapped in paper I already have stashed from years past.
  3. “Buying Only The Essentials” has been in effect for five weeks (who’s counting?!) I’ve been trying to buy only the items that I really need: no excess, no fluff, no crazy consumption. Yes, I have fallen off the wagon once or twice, but nothing major. Black Friday and Cyber Monday found me enjoying what I already have and completely avoiding the chaos of those days. Each day that I successfully stick with the basics makes it easier to make this a way of life. I could have bought more books, yarn, fiber, food, Christmas gifts, but it was freeing to know that I really didn’t need all of the above. This voluntary simplicity is adding much more than it is subtracting.


    Stone Wall Originally Meant to Stop Sheep From Wandering

  4. Speaking of way of life…David and I have been taking our brisk 45 minute daily walks for a little over a month. We vary the route so that we’re always checking out a new part of town. Re-discovering Beebe Woods with its kettle ponds, huge rocks and meandering paths has been a delight. I do forget that I’m exercising. The walk is brisk enough to qualify as a workout, but paced to be able to soak up all the joy along the way. As it gets colder, the mittens, boots and hats will join the action, and I’m expecting that we can do this all winter. I no longer try to avoid it or bitch about it afterwards. I think that’s progress!


    Almost Bigger Than Life

  5. Books, books, books! My “to read” list continues to grow. I just started The Show Child by Eowyn Ivey and am instantly pulled into the text. The language is mesmerizing and after only twenty-five pages, I care about the characters and want to see how their lives unfold. For some reason it is reminding me of Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin—one of my favorite books. Speaking of Helprin, I’m reading his new book In Sunlight and in Shadow a bit at a time in order to make it last longer. I don’t want it to end. And next on my list are two Isaac Bashevis Singer books from my beloved student, Miki. I can’t wait to read them and talk to him about them.
  6. Every day something happens that makes me appreciate living here in Falmouth full time. There truly is a sense of community that is in sync with who I am and what I value. I’ve made new friends that will last a lifetime, maybe longer.

    Beebe Woods

    Beebe Woods