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More of Us


The last couple of weeks in my office have been spent walking over and around piles. Occasionally I would even stop to sort one of them. I’m finally seeing the finish line and have a large toss/shred/recycle pile and an even bigger donate pile to show for my efforts. It was one of those go through every piece of paper clean outs. Man, I needed that. Now, to get into every other closet and room in the house. Actually, the rooms and closets aren’t too bad, it’s the basement and attic that I’m having some pre-game panic over. For example, I have been carefully storing a beautiful butter dish from the 1700’s for  years, it smells weird so it will never be used for its intended purpose, but I’m not really an “on display” kind of person so what do I do with it? Multiply that times who knows how many (unique! vintage! antique-y!) things and we’ve got a lot of sorting to do. The problem is, I’ve become mostly a donate and move on kind of person. Adam has a better appreciation for any money we may have invested in said objects. But seeing as goods hold so little value these days, tag sales are hardly worth the effort of producing them. So we differ a little on the best process for downsizing, for removing excess from our life. Nonetheless, downsizing is indeed something I am currently tending to every single day. And with each item out of my life, the happier I am.

Why all the downsizing? I don’t know exactly. 2016 feels like a year of transition in many ways, though I do not know what most of those transitions are going to look like, nor do I feel the need to overly plan and control their happening (highly unusual for me). I just feel like some preparation is called for here so when the time comes, I’ll be ready and can embrace what life hands us with greater ease. There is also the added consideration that we are firmly planted in middle age at this point, and as we age it is nice to exist among fewer things. This is a tricky balance considering we use our home readily; it is a work station, a place of production, a retreat, a  library, and so on. I am not, nor do I have a desire to be, a minimalist. I just need to feel like I have what we use, need, and love, and nothing more. Additionally, a middle aged person can’t help but think of the days in which we will no longer inhabitant this earthly world. What then? Who gets to deal with our stuff? We’d like to make things less of a burden for Emily. Hopefully we’re acting incredibly prematurely on all of this, but it’s nice to take care of these things while we still have a bit of youthful energy on our side.  

This week I finally got through all the piles, and while putting some finishing touches on my office, I pulled together a new altar of sorts for my yoga space (which is really just the center of the room). Speaking of, this room functions as my office, my craft room, my yoga space, and my parents room when they are here (which is on average about once a month or so). It needs to do a lot of things! I try to keep it as clear as possible while still feeling cozy. I don’t want to practice yoga, or have my parents resting, in an otherwise cluttered office and craft space. So I’m constantly paring down and cleaning out. Creating a new altar was the final piece. Nothing too ceremonious, a small gathering of objects to remind me  of why I show up for this practice. Without a conscious plan to do so, I placed a photo of Adam and I, one of my favorites from a midwinter hike, taken years ago. I’ve had photos on the altar before - in fact, I think I’ve always had a photo of a person in my life placed here - but never the two of us. Now, with each visit to the mat I am reminded why I value my health so much. Why I’d like to improve it even more. It's not for me, it's for us. It is not about a dress size or challenging pose achieved, I just want more of us. We would all like more time, and it seems our greatest shot at acquiring more time (let's just pretend fate, destiny and divine plans are not a thing) is by continuously  investing in our heath.

More of us is why I am willing to go without (do we really need electricity?) and alter our lifestyle in a variety of ways so that we may best enjoy this precious time together. We are happiest when our lives are pointed toward one another, not apart. We get one shot at this. I am motivated daily by the idea of a well-crafted life, which of course means different things to different people, but to me it mostly means a quiet existence on our terms, less beholden to those outside of our family and beyond our community. Not exactly the American dream. Then again, maybe it is.

Freezer Tour

Freezer tour blog 2
Today I have something a little different to share. A fun mix-up for the middle of winter. During a recent workshop I included a tour of our freezer storage as part of a bigger video that was all about kitchen organization, particularly as it related to freezer cooking. I'm often asked about keeping things organized in the kitchen, so I thought it would be fun to rework a small section from the video, and share it here with you. 

There really isn't much narrative to add, the video is pretty self-explanatory. So, without further adieu, please enjoy this walk-through of our freezer storage.


A Few Notes:

  • Smart Source Seafood is where our salmon share came from. I really like their business model, and the salmon is top notch. If you do pay them a visit, tell Maddie I sent you!
  • Baldwin Brook Farm is where our chicken, pork, and beef are from. Mavis is the nicest farmer you will ever meet and I wouldn't mind if my own living quarters were as lovely as that of the animals at Baldwin Brook.


As you can see, our set up is simple and I do not have fancy organizers (though there are plenty of choices to be found at department stores if that work's better for you). Cardboard boxes and wire baskets have served us well. There's no denying chest freezers are more difficult to keep organized, but if I just get in there for about 30 minutes, 3-4 times a year, that's enough to take stock and whip things back into shape.

I hope this was helpful to those of you who've asked about this topic, and I hope I didn't just encourage yet another chore for those of you who didn't know you're freezer needed organizing. It doesn't! If your system is working for you, keep things as they are. And ignore all Virgo bloggers and their crazy ways. xo

This Is My Best


Well, wouldn’t you know it. We are having ourselves a proper snow day. A book reading, snowshoeing, stuffed cabbage rolling, chai brewing, granola bar making kind of snow day. Hallelujah.

It’s been nearly springlike weather around here and aside from one modest snowfall, we haven’t seen much of winter this year. I haven’t really been paying attention to the forecast either. The fact that I can spend time outside on most days wearing a simple wool sweater, no jacket required, has kept my attention away from checking on any impending storms. As for today's storm, it was a mere six inches that was predicted, but we've got a foot and counting so there you go. A taste of winter.

A few months ago I found a copy of This Is My Best at a local antique shop and immediately thought it would make the perfect Solstice gift for Adam. Indeed, he loved it. It seems not too many people know about this book, but those that do agree it is quite an addition to any library. If you ever come across it, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy.


"Over 150 self-chosen and complete masterpieces, together with their reasons for their selections by America's 93 Greatest Living Authors."


Isn't that an incredible concept? Published in 1942, the authors included represent that time period in American writing.

Adam has been reading a selection each morning which seems like a much better way to start the day than checking email (although he's never one for computers in the morning), and it's quickly become a real highlight of his day. The old style of writing is something to treasure, for sure.  And even more so, to read what the authors themselves believe to be their very best, and why, is a deeply intimate reading experience.


With Emily under the weather for the past week, she’s had a lot of time on her hands. Too much time really, and not enough energy to make much use of it. She was getting bored and cabin fever set in, yet she was so exhausted there was nothing to really be done about it. So Adam resurrected a tried and true family tradition of read aloud (not something we do too much these days, having an 18 year old and all). He pulled out This Is My Best, and started reading. She was half listening, half drifting off to sleep. He finished, then left her room. I went in to see how she was doing and asked, “What did Dad read to you?” She replied in that slightly feverish, soft and drifty tone, “Hemingway. It was a really nice story. The wife killed her husband on a hunting trip.”

How's that for a bedtime story?

Oh, man. I kept my composure and did not bust out laughing as I felt so compelled to do. But let it be known, in case you ever wondered... the warm-fuzzy-sweet-gentle quota in this household is entirely fulfilled by me. Those two, they are two peas in a pod.

Anyway, it's a great book. Best enjoyed with a big mug of chai... on a snow day.