Enough (A Poem, and a Moment)

I think I’ve cried every day since August.
I think I’ve cried more tears this year than in my entire life before it.
I think I’ve cried so many tears that the universe had to make extra to give me.
I think I’ve cried enough for more than just me and I love those women who couldn’t cry.
I think I’ve cried enough tears to fill a vast and endless and deep and wide ocean that only I can cross.
I think I’ve cried enough.
I think I’ve cried enough.
I think I’ve cried enough.


I can’t remember exactly who I was before August. But right now in this moment, after months and months, after recovering only to learn I hadn’t recovered, I think I’m ready to find her again. I know she’s waiting for me. We won’t be the same as we were. We’ll become someone new and strong and brave and happy together.

I can’t say why now is the time, when the time wasn’t before, in September, or in October, or in any of those liminal days in the autumn that I love so much.

And if you gave me a million chances to explain why I feel like I should share this with all of you, I don’t think I could tell you all the ways that knowing you’re out there reading and creating and making good things and putting them into the world has helped me heal, a little bit and a little bit, every day.

Nevertheless, here we are.

Here I am.

And I just wanted to tell you thank you and I love you for sticking with me and bringing me light, and also that I finally think I’ve cried enough.

Waiting for Snow

I know, I know. Not everyone loves winter and snow. But I do!

Alas, we haven’t had any yet, and it doesn’t look likely that we’ll get any soon. It’s early in the season, but you never know – sometimes we get a before-Christmas snow. So, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.

And this is a short post. I know that, too. I’m not sure if everyone else gets swamped around this time of year, but Graham and I have been super busy lately. We’ve got two parties to attend this evening alone. I’m grateful for it, and next week looks less chaotic. So, you know, stick with me. Good things to come, I promise!

Loudoun Local: I love a parade!

What better way to celebrate the festive season than with a small-town parade that’s big on charm?!

One person I chatted with said, “This looks like something out of a Christmas movie!” And I agree. And so I wanted to share some of the joy – read, lots of pictures – with all of you.

We’ve lived in the area for many years now, and though I’ve seen Middleburg’s Christmas Parade before, Graham had never been. So on Saturday, we woke up early (my least favorite thing), made our way into town, and settled in to watch not one, but two parades.

Every year, the day starts with the Hunt Review.

Middleburg’s hunters and hounds trot down the main street, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen something like this anywhere else in the world.

There’s a break in between, so we walked around and just enjoyed what the town had put together.

It’s sort of fun being temporary tourists. But definitely different. Middleburg’s population sits at about 750, and on parade day, thousands of people come to visit. I don’t know how the town handles it, but they do. And I’m grateful for it. I know it must be hard, figuring out all those logistics.

The main parade starts at 2:00, and it was just so adorable.

I mean, really, come on – corgis on parade?

Lots of local businesses had floats, and they were all really fun.

The Grinch even came to visit.

And of course, there were marching bands.

And also lassos. And more horses.

And Santa, too. But Graham couldn’t get a good picture of him, unfortunately.

It’s a busy day, and we were all tired at the end. Including Miss Honey, who did not enjoy the loud noises.

But who really liked the cuddles.

I’m sure we’ll go back next year. It’s a wonderful event, and I’m thankful to live in a place with such a strong sense of community. I feel like that’s rare these days, and we’re so lucky. It truly feels like Christmas around here now, and I’m just loving it. 😊

Let’s call it…temporarily open concept.

Y’all. My house.

Okay, where to start. I’d posted a while ago that we’re getting some work done. And by some work, I mean a lot of work. The interesting thing about our house is that the 200-year-old section is solid as a rock. It’s not going anywhere. We understand how it was built. It makes total sense. And, hey, it’s festive season! So we’ve done a bit of decorating. 😊

The addition, which is basically the entire back portion of the house and includes all of our plumbing and our kitchen, well, that’s a different story. I’m not quite sure how it’s constructed, why it’s constructed that way, or even who did the work. Probably many hands over the course of many years. I’m making it sound very dire, and it’s not that bad, but we’ve got an opportunity now to make things a little better, and we’re taking it. Starting with a big section of windows on the lower part of the house. Their frames are in bad shape, their layout doesn’t look great. So, we’re replacing them. And changing things up. And they say that things usually get worse before they get better…

I’m calling it temporarily open concept. Real indoor/outdoor living.

Some cleanup required.

I can’t wait to see what it looks like once it’s done, and our work crew is doing a fantastic job making things as quiet and livable as possible. But, man, there’s nothing quite so jarring as seeing a BIG GAPING HOLE in the back of your house.

I’m grateful that we can do this, though. And once this project is done, I’m eager to move on to the next. (And then the one after that. We’re in this for the long haul, guys. Onward!)

Thankful

2022 hasn’t been the year I thought it would be. (What year is, right?) And the latter half, especially, has been challenging and stressful and sad and just not great at all. But as we come into this week of Thanksgiving, I’m still thankful for this life.

I’m thankful for my loving family and my supportive friends.

I’m thankful for Graham. All of him. Every day.

I’m thankful for Gatsby and Annie, and their wonderful chaos, and their sweet faces.

I’m thankful for a beautiful old house that just refuses to fall down.

I’m thankful for you, kind readers, who keep coming back and reading what I put out into the world.

I’m thankful for this day, and the one that will come after, and the new chance every morning to create something good.

I’m not perfect. I’ve struggled in these last few months with some darkness I honestly didn’t know I had in me. But I know that I’ve still got so much to be thankful for, and my heart is just full of gratitude. It really, truly is.

I hope 2023 is better, but I’m still thankful for 2022 and what it’s taught me: There is always light.

Tired

It’s what we are around here today. This fall has been a whirlwind – some good things, some not so good things, some I plan to write about, and some that I’d rather not – and as we come into the holiday season, I’m just feeling a little run down. I’m sure everyone can relate. It happens. But my gosh, I just really can’t believe it’s already November, and before we know it, we’ll be looking at 2023 on the horizon.

So, on that note, we’ve had a visit planned with Graham’s family for a while anyway, so I’ll be taking a break for the next week. I’ll be back on Friday,  November 11th. In the meantime, as we move from autumn to winter, and from spooky to festive season, I wish all of you rest, comfort, warmth, joy, and happy creating!

Winter’s on the Way

Almost gone, your leaves
Fallen and caught by the wind
You know what’s coming

It seems to have happened overnight, though I know it didn’t: We woke up this morning, and just like that, our birch tree is ready for winter. It always makes me a little melancholy, watching a season end. But I love winter, and hopefully this year, we’ll have some snow.

There are still plenty of colorful leaves on some of our other trees, so we’re not quite there yet. But winter is certainly on its way, y’all.

Another visit to the (maybe) most haunted house in Loudoun…

Around this time for the last couple of years, I’ve posted about this house. Is it the most haunted in Loudoun County? I can’t say. But I can say that it’s still standing, though for how long is anyone’s guess.

Here it is in 2020:

And in 2021:

And today:

There’s something sort of sad and beautiful about watching this house crumble. Sad, because it’s very old and doubtless full of stories, even if it isn’t full of ghosts. And as it deteriorates, a little more every day, it takes those stories with it. Beautiful, because nature has a way of reclaiming land and forging on, regardless of what humans do.

I don’t know what this house will look like next year. But I’ll be there, regardless, to find out.

P.S. As I did last year and the year before, I’ll add this disclaimer:  This house is on private property, and there are no trespassing signs posted, so please don’t go poking around where you’re not welcome. It’s easy enough to take a picture from the road.

A Very Fall Friday

It’s feeling very much like autumn around here lately. The leaves have started to change in earnest.

And some have already fallen.

It’s hard not to be in a good mood with colors like this.

Especially on a Friday. 😊

A quick note, I’ll be taking a quick break through Monday to visit family, so I’ll be back and posting again on Wednesday, October 19th. Until then, I wish you all happy creating!

I’m in a cooking rut!

Help!

Seriously, y’all, I have a problem. A cooking problem. Okay, so it’s not a big problem and everything is mostly fine and I’m probably making a big deal out of nothing. But nonetheless, I am in a cooking rut, and it is a problem.

I love to cook. I’m really good at pastas…

…and particularly at mac and cheese.

I like learning how to make new things.

And I love to bake.

Lately, though, I feel like all we’ve been cooking are pasta dishes and roasted veggies with some kind of protein and rice. Like, sure, I’m feeding us. But I’m just feeling totally, completely uninspired. It’s boring and monotonous and I don’t like it.

Which brings me back to the beginning of this post. You can help, and I’d love it if you would! How?

Send me your favorite recipes! (Bonus points for your favorite cozy, fall recipes!)

One of my favorite things about food is that it’s sort of a universal language. The ingredients and techniques might be different, but at the end of the day, we all gotta eat, right? (And I really like to eat.) And you can always tell when a dish has been made with care and love, and when the cook just really wants you to feel good and be happy.

So, share your favorites with me, and I’ll do the same! Over the course of this fall, I’ll post some of my all-time best, most complimented, or just go-to recipes. And we’ll cook. And it will be fun!

(And also, September’s short story will be up on Friday, so be sure to check back. It’s going to be a good one!)