Every mile is two in winter. -George Herbert

This past weekend brought, in a two shifts, seven visitors from five states. It brought the closest hitting (so far) very-bad-news-as-a-result-of-the-economy as a good friend lost her job when the magazine she worked for folded. It brought cheering-up, Valentine-making, secret missions, Tetris-playing, jolly-making, and reminiscing. We drank wine and tea, made Valentines, crocheted hats and scarfs, played Tetris, strolled in Northampton, ate pizza and blondies and noodles and bagels, and of course talked and talked, laughed and laughed.
We always question why we have these gatherings in cold places in the dead of winter-- vowing that next time we'll go to Jennie in Houston. It seems backwards, but I think there's a reason we tend to gather in the darkest, coldest months. By late January, togetherness is what we need. Filling our home with the energy and laughter of our friends sustains us at the time when we all long for sunlight and green grass. As last weekend came to a close and we all had to say our goodbyes, those friends left me feeling happy and warm and full of light.


Our very own cake wreplica!

Cake wreck ornament, Originally uploaded by pcorreia

Remember when I suggested that it would be amazing to have a replica made of our wedding cake wreck?

Well, our cousin Meg actually made us our very own wreplica ornament! Its accuracy is rather unbelievable-- the cracks, the lopsidedness, the unfinished decoration-- it's a perfect image of the disaster. (Clicking on the photos will bring you to their Flickr pages where you can view them larger-- the only way to fully appreciate the level of detail).

She created the cake as a Christmas ornament, but you better believe this baby is staying out and on display all year long.

Meg is amazingly crafty (she's the one that designed and helped assemble our wedding invitations), and she has a brand new craft blog. Check out her handiwork and tales of their creation over at Mega*Crafty. You'll want to add this blog to your Google reader, it's good stuff.
Photos by Patrick.


At last

What an amazing set of events we all witnessed yesterday. I watched the live broadcast of President Obama's inauguration alongside high school students and other employees of the school where I work, all of us gathered around a large screen set up in the dining hall, the room constantly erupting into applause. I walked back to the office with my co-workers later, all of us elated and breathless.

I've been thinking about how I will describe this moment in history to my future children and grandchildren, who will only know a world in which a black man can be President. I will tell them about election night, when across the country we danced in the streets. I will tell them about the doubts that existed during the campaign, how many times I heard people say that America will never elect a black man, or a man with the middle name Hussein, certainly not a black man named Barack Hussein Obama. But America did elect that man. I will tell them about the feeling among my generation, so jaded and so accustomed to not feeling represented-- today we know what it feels like to have hope and faith. Some of us have already fallen back on the old jadedness ("His words are the same as Bush's", "He's already letting us down", "He's just another politician"), but the rest of us are choosing to believe that this president is who he says he is, and we're willing to give him the time to show us. I think when they ask about this moment, the images will speak best: the images from the campaign, from election night, and most of all the images from the inauguration ceremony. My favorite set of photos from yesterday is over at The Big Picture.

Amid all the large historic moments and pageantry, another thing stood out to me, and I'm sure you noticed it too: the love between the President and the First Lady. We don't often see that kind of genuine love between people in the public eye. These two don't just love each other-- they really like each other. When they got out of the limo during the parade and walked down Pennsylvania Ave, they never let go of each other. Michelle alternated which hand she waved with, and whichever one wasn't waving was holding her husband's hand. And then of course, did you see the way they danced together at the balls last night?

Yesterday was refreshing and hopeful. I know we won't all be getting ponies and 3-day work weeks, but I do think we've entered a new era of respect, accountability, and vision. Here's hoping!

photo: Reuters



Can you believe it's finally here? What a day this will be.


Frozen solid

According to weather.com, it is currently 9 degrees outside but feels like -3. I know I've talked about the weather enough, but it hasn't been this cold around here in a long time. This sort of painful cold reminds me of my college days in central New York. My alma mater is in the Finger Lakes region, right on the shores of Seneca Lake. Seneca is narrow but so deep it rarely freezes over. Here in the Pioneer Valley we are a bit sheltered thanks to the protection of a few mountain ranges. As a result it's always a few degrees warmer here than it is in the surrounding areas. But central New York is flat. Winds whip through, lake effect snow travels far, and the winters are really really cold. I miss the beauty of the lake and vineyards, but not much else about the geography out there. That's one thing I can say about these temperatures: at least (knock on wood) there's no biting wind.

The highly-regarded and very dedicated HWS sailing team practiced on the lake in the snow. It was a surreal thing to see. My sailor roommates came home from February practices with blue lips and stood in the hot shower for hours trying to thaw.

I wore long underwear under my jeans for the walk across campus to class, the hood of my ski jacket pulled tight around my face, only my eyes showing above my scarf. There was rarely a day between November and March that it didn't snow, and snow in April was common. It was during those arctic winters that I learned how to make various mixed drinks using hot beverages. I guess this cold snap is making me a bit nostalgic.

I'll need to post about something other than the weather, but I live in New England, talk about the weather is what we do.

photos: The Hobart and William Smith campus, taken during my most recent visit in December 2007.



As I mentioned, on Saturday we had a potluck dinner. Our new(ish) apartment is good for hosting things like this (although really, everyone clumps together, regardless of how much space there is. At one point in the night everyone was in the dining room and kitchen-- the living room was totally deserted). While snow fell outside, our home was full of sweet and fun friends who brought delicious and cozy wintery things like:
  • butternut squash and goat cheese casserole
  • rice pilaf with pomegranate seeds and other special things
  • sweet potato biscuits
  • spinach-artichoke dip
  • homemade bread
  • greens with craisins and walnuts
  • salad with hard ricotta (how did I not know this exists??), roasted beets, and pomegranate vinaigrette
  • angel food cake with fruit and whipped cream
  • chocolatey chocolate chip cookies
  • mulled white wine sangria with all sorts of fancy fruits
  • Panettone (which we forgot about until 1 AM and proceeded to rip into. We used the leftovers for french toast the next day. Delish.)
Patrick and I made the Tuscan lasagna recipe that his mom brought back from their recent trip to Italy. It was our first try at it, and I'm happy to report that it was very tasty.

Calvin joined the party, playing with whomever wanted to play, and plopping himself in various doorways so that he could keep an eye on all the action. We had a few offers of people wanting to trade us our playful/aggressive/crazy cat for their mellow cat... it was tempting, but we kept him. (This photo of Calvin is by Patrick, and it's not from the other night, but you get the idea).


Smitten Kitchen

I recently happened upon Smitten Kitchen and fell in love-- delicious recipes and beautiful food photos that make me hungry every time.

Today's almond-vanilla rice pudding recipe has left me with a craving.... I just might have to try my hand at this one over the weekend.

photo via SmittenKitchen.com

Ways to beat the bitter cold

  • Hot beverages. Hot chocolate and loose tea are my preferences, and I'm trying my best to stick to just one cup of coffee a day...
  • Filling the house with warm friends and food (our plan for tomorrow evening)
  • Listening to the right winter music. My current winter playlist includes stuff from Hem, Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, Allison Krause, Little Joy, Vienna Teng, Iron & Wine, The Weepies, The Winterpills, Nina Simone, The Kamikaze Hearts, and Carole King
  • Glowing light
  • Cooking and baking. Recent "sticks to the bones" meals we've made: baked ziti, chicken-pesto pizza, tacos, and we're still chowing down on leftover New Years Eve veggie chili
  • Cozy slippers that make you smile
  • Remembering warmer days
  • Finding some beauty in the rawness
  • Cozy sweaters
  • Walks in the snow. We need to do more of this.
  • Projects

It's currently 7 degrees out there with the windchill, and the gusts are harsh. How do you stay warm, cozy, and happy in the midst of this deep freeze? And if you're in warmer climate... well, I'm sure you wish you had some bitter cold to battle, eh? No?



Last night I got out all my yoga gear. I was READY!

Today: snow/ice/sleet/GROSS have shut down most of the Valley (although I put in a full day at the office-- living a mile from work is nice but it takes away any weather-related excuses). The yoga studio is closed, so my yoga plans aren't going to happen. It looks like I'll be firing up the ole Wii Fit tonight. Oh well, I tried. Here's hoping for better weather next time.

*photo: the view out my office window.



Tomorrow, I'm returning to yoga after oh, you know, four months away. I've found a nearby studio that offers vinyasa/flow, my preferred practice, at the perfect after-work time. The nearby part is key-- there are plenty of studios in the Pioneer Valley, and I was loving the power yoga classes at the Northampton Y, but it's just not going to work if I have to drive 20 minutes out of my way. Silly, but I know me. The cost of the closest place has been keeping me away, but I realized that my health insurance will reimburse me for a chunk, so it's time.

The real motivating factor: when I put on my go-to black work pants this morning they were snug all over. No surprise there, my diet has consisted of cookies and pie and eggnog for the past six weeks. But really, enough already.

*photo from Flickr user Rodrigo Quiñones'


Winter break

It was, in fact, loverly. Back to work today, refreshed, renewed, and ready.

Some photos from the past two weeks. Descriptions and more photos on my Flickr feed.


2008 Year End Survey

Alright, here it is, my 2008 in review. It's hard to think back on an entire year, so I'm sure I'll have an addendum, but for now, I submit this. Tomorrow begins the first work week of 2009, and I'm feeling ready.
1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before?
Got married! Went on a honeymoon! Traveled to California, swam in the Pacific Ocean, did a reading at both a wedding and a funeral, visited St. Louis, sold a car, went to Disneyland, planned a wedding (get ready for a marriage/wedding-themed survey). I'm sure there's more firsts.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? If anything, I usually try to set goals rather than make resolutions. I have a few for this year, posted previously. I'm really not sure what mine were last year, so.... moving on.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Michele (yay, Maddy!), Pat's aunt (yay, Kylie!)-- I think that's it for '08?

4. Did anyone close to you die? That's the "ooph" question of the year. Yes. Ooma. Gram.

5. What countries did you visit? None, not even Canada this year (although we were very close to Mexico). Here's hoping this answer will change once we have a year of two consistent full-time incomes. Who's in for Sicily in 2010? Maybe a bike trip in 2009?

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? More job satisfaction. More creative fulfillment. More time for travel (day trips and road trips included).

7. What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
the now traditional, loosely chronological list of memories... (thinking back on an entire year is a lot, and I know I'm going to miss some, so I reserve the right to come back and add to this list!)
Here goes: visiting Katie, Ryan and Janet in MD/DC; birthday weekend in boston-- girls weekend in a hotel room full of giggles, so much rain, random keg party and chance encounters with old friends, brooke's train hitting a skidoo, dress shopping, cupcakes; bike rides; the april weekend rich and jen visited; the boston museum of science with troop 500; trivia nights at the WWII club; the night we had dinner at eastside and talked more future talk and then saw young@heart; picking out wedding rings; The Submarines show; a few awful days in June and a few more awful days in July, including a particularly terrible car ride; the night before our wedding shower-- unbachelorette dinner, margaritas, Susie's patio, old friends, best friends; our wedding shower-- having our families (the women anyway) together for the first time, the very sweet party planned by very sweet hostesses, the assistance of our fantastic friends, how fun it was and not at all scary as expected; the drive-in during a thunderstorm, which made The Dark Knight even better; setting up our own photobooth and taking the pictures for our save the dates; Wilco at Tanglewood and sitting on top of some road gear with Julia soclose to the stage; the She & Him show at the Academy of Music; election night-- nerves, elation, running through the streets, hugging and screaming and all the horns honking; BBs Soup and Blues in STL and the great bands I saw there, Rich and Jen's wedding-- how happy they were, how beautiful everything was, the afterparty; watching the sunset in Carlsbad; picnicking on Mt. Tom; and of course the most memorable ever: our wedding day. (Apologies for the totally inconsistent use of capital letters- I did this in a few sittings.)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Successful wedding planning, more local friends, increased domestic competence (although that's still a work in progress), de-cluttering progress.

9. What was your biggest failure? Falling off the exercise wagon after the fall, spending too much time on the computer

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Another healthy and injury-free year (knocking on wood)

11. What was the best thing you bought? Patrick's wedding ring.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My family, Patrick's family (which, of course, is my family now), Barack Obama

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Sarah Palin, John McCain

14. Where did most of your money go? The wedding, student loans (that second one will be a part of my answer for the next 25 years)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Marrying Patrick, Barack Obama, Rich and Jen getting married, our stand mixer, seeing the Pacific Ocean, that baby giraffe at the San Diego Zoo

16. What music will always remind you of 2008? Ingrid Michaelson, the Juno soundtrack, Vienna Teng, various songs played at our wedding, Nick Drake, the Once soundtrack, the wedding gift mixes Julie made for us, 500 Miles, The Weakerthans, Matthew Loiacono, She & Him, the Submarines, the Judy Garland version of "Have yourself a merry little Christmas"

17. Compared to this time last year, you are: More settled, more aware of where I'm going, less busy.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Organizing, being on top of finances, exercising (some answers never change)

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Driving to Albany, fretting about silly things, farting around online

20. How did you spend Christmas? We spent Christmas eve at dinner with my family (at Elaine and Doug's with Elaine, Doug, Brian, Jon, Annie, Bob whose singing tie went in the soup, another Brian, Mom, Dad, and Katie) and went to Christmas eve mass with Patrick's parents and Voa. We spent the night at my parents' house, did Christmas morning there, and then went to Patrick's parents' house for gifts and dinner. Dinner included Bob, Lura, Michael, Peter, Kirsten, Nathan (current cute things: "uh oh!", "bike", "guy", and a great belly laugh), and Norma. After dinner we went back to my parents' for chatting around the fire. We took lots of photos with the new lens for our camera. We anticipated a hard year-- in the past six months we've lost three people who were always a part of our Christmas celebrations. It was hard, especially at church, but being together made for a mostly warm and happy Christmas.

22. Did you fall in love in 2008? I fell deeper.

23. What was your favorite TV program? Lost, 30 Rock, The Office, Mad Men

24. What was the best book you read? Umm, Love in the Time of Cholera, The Poisonwood Bible, Everything Weddings on a Budget

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? She & Him, Fleet Foxes, Vienna Teng (none of this cutting-edge new, I know)

26. What did you want and get? Married to Pat! (Obvious theme of 2008).

27. What did you want and not get? I really can't think of a thing.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? I really didn't go to the movies much. Juno was up there (came out in Dec 07 but I saw it in 08). And I don't care what anyone else says, I really enjoyed Mama Mia, for its beauty and its musical numbers.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 27. I had to work so boo there. But I got a Wii! We went to dinner at the Northampton Brewery and then rushed home to play with my new toy. For my special Birthday dinner the following weekend we got dressed up and went to the Blue Heron, which was one of the most amazing meals I've ever had. Fantastic steak and wine, the courses stretched out over a few hours, romantic candlelight, it was wonderful.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? More time at the lake/sailing, a better handle on personal finances.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008? A better sense of my professional style (hello, sweater dresses!), a new love for tights, a continued interest in accessories, and ohgosh Etsy.

32. What kept you sane? Patrick, exercise when I did it, good music, good friends, a wonderful family.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most this year? Obama, of course.

34. What political issue stirred you the most? Answers that remain from past years: gay marriage (i hate that it's even political at all), voting rights/access/election integrity. New answers this year: The election! All of it. The panhandling ordinance in Northampton, stupid vs. brilliant solutions to environmental problems, access to affordable health care.

35. Who did you miss? The faraway friends I don't see often enough, the grandmothers we lost, the friends that drifted away.

36. Who was the best new person you met? It's hard to remember who I met this year. I'm pretty sure I met Becca and Nestor this year, and they're good people. Oh! And I just verified that I met Paul Carney January 2nd, 2008 so he counts. Becca, Nestor, and Paul. Final answer.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008:
Oh gosh. Well, in the biggest life events, it's the people surrounding you that matter most. Whether it's a loss or a celebration, the people around you make all the difference. That goes for the every day, too.
I learned that preparing for marriage is as important as planning the wedding.
I learned a few times over that sometimes you just have to let things go.


New Years Goals

I'm not really one for New Years resolutions, but I find it's a good time for renewed commitments to goals already in progress.

Here they are, my 5 publishable, mostly in-progress, Goals as 2009 gets under way:

-Eat at the table more often than on the couch. We were doing really good at this for awhile and then fell off the wagon as various projects took over the table. Time to try again for meals at the table, with dinner music in the background and conversation in the foreground rather than TV front and center.

-Cook or bake a new recipe once a week. We've been working on cooking more, and since that's been going well I'm adding this goal in to the mix. Julia and Seth's Christmas gift to us was a subscription to Everyday Food, which will be a huge help in this goal. If you haven't seen this little magazine, check it out.

-Make exercise a regular part of my routine again. I was doing good up until the wedding, but since then I've been terribly inactive (and the scale proves it). The winter isn't so good for my regular favorites like biking and playing outside, but at the very least it's time to get back to yoga and weight training.

-Be more present at work. This is a constant struggle for me. My job is interesting and I enjoy it, but interpersonal issues often drag me down and leave me giving less than I should. I need to continue finding ways to feel more focused and invested, and to be involved with the community in which I work.

-Explore more. Lately I've been feeling a bit mired in the mundane. I love the cozy cocoon of our home, and it's often hard to leave, but I think just getting out and exploring our area more will help with the antsiness I've been feeling. I want to do more things like hiking the beautiful mountain range that's practically in our front yard, visiting nearby towns I haven't been to yet, going on photo expeditions, taking in more community events, checking out area parks, and just breaking out of the routine that is so easy to get settled into.

There's a traditional end of year survey I was doing for a number of years. I'm working on it and debating putting it up here. We'll see, it might be too boring or too personal or just too damn long.



(New post on the wedding blog. Not much more to say over there, but a few little updates and responses to comments.)

RIP Fred Knittle

Have you seen the movie Young@Heart? If not, please do. It's a touching documentary about the Young At Heart chorus, a senior citizen chorus from Northampton that happens to sing rock and roll songs. The story of the group and its members is inspiring (and pretty funny, too).

I just read that Fred Knittle, a member of the chorus, died yesterday. Fred had one of the most memorable moments of the film, when he sang Coldplay's Fix You on stage at the Academy of Music. The song was supposed to be a duet with his friend Bob, but Bob passed away shortly before the show. Fred does the song solo, and it is one of the most heartfelt performances I've ever heard. I'm posting the clip of him singing Fix You below. Thanks for giving us this moment, Fred.