Everyday Divine: The Eye of the Storm

A mild storm in upstate New York

Although New York’s Capital Region was spared any serious weather issues due to Hurricane Sandy, I have lots of family and friends facing really difficult times ahead. No power, trees down, houses damaged. Today I’m sending out prayers to all of them and everyone else whose lives have been turned upside down by the storm.

So often, when things like this happen, we find ourselves questioning. Why? Why here? Why me? Why not me? All of that made me think of a passage from my new book, so I thought I’d share it here today even though my book will not be released until one week from now. (more…)

The color before the storm

A lone red leaf amid the more dominant yellows and browns.

It’s been a weekend of leaves fading and falling fast — like giant snowflakes, covering the ground quicker than I can rake them away. We seem to have more leaves this year. Impossible, I know, but that’s how it feels. Perhaps it’s that they’re falling earlier than usual. Here are a few last shots of the beautiful colors.

A long shot of the mighty oaks, maples, and poplars that drop more leaves than you can imagine (especially if you don’t live in upstate New York).

Still plenty more to fall.

I loved this color combo in the late afternoon sun. Now those leaves are mostly gone.

Neighbor’s maple and our Korean dogwood.

 My favorite. I planted this Japanese maple soon after we moved here, just about 13 years ago.

Beautiful in every season.

 We don’t just have pretty leaves. We have fantastic fungi.

Hidden mushroom.
Lovely layers.

Here’s our autumn decor. It doesn’t look quite as picturesque now because the squirrels have eaten about one quarter of the pumpkin and a good chunk of the white gourd. No acorns this year. Not a one. So I guess the little critters are hungry.

Our house is a very, very, very fine house. With two cats, but not in the yard.

Home office, Part II: The circus side of sacred

I’m way back there in the corner to the left.

So when Dennis saw those photos of my home office virtual tour yesterday, he asked the Million Dollar Question: “Where’s the cat condo?”
Truth be told, I did get the cat condo in a few photos, but when I was posting, I had way too many photos. So, of course, the cat condo was among the first things to go.

Here, then, is the less flattering view of my office with all the flotsam and jetsam that is part of the deal. I still love it, even with the less-than-Zen nonsense that goes with it.

The photo above gives you the long view of the basement. My office is at the far end, just past the futon and video game section. But before you get there, you have to run the toy gauntlet.

This is where Barbie lives. She has a much better office.

How many cars does one Barbie need?

To the right of the overflowing toy bin, through that dark door is where the centipede lives.

Oh, that’s right. We have 73 Barbies. Lots of cars needed.

At least I can pick up breakfast on my way into work. This looks only slightly messier than our real kitchen.

Drive thru.

This (below) is where you leave the toy mayhem behind and enter my office. The Chinese characters spell out tranquility, home, and peace (or so I’ve been told). See that nifty board-game room divider I created? It’s supposed to be filled with office files and sacred objects. For now I have to go with Scrabble and Battleship. At the very least I guess I should put dried flowers in the empty vase.

Enter the tranquility.

Here’s what our cats are doing to the recliner near my office. Good thing they’re cute.

And still I refuse to de-claw them.

Behind my desk and right next to my sacred space is the cat condo. It’s not pretty, but it keeps them from trying to vault over the big-screen TV to get to the only other window. That sad little casement window is my only source of natural light.

When you’re in my office looking out, this is what you see…games…hermit crab tank…light saber…mini-fridge stocked only with 100 percent juice, fruit cups, seltzer, and the occasional pudding.

Can we at least get some macadamia nuts in that mini-fridge?

Someone yesterday asked if my office section always looks this neat. NO! That’s why I had to document it. Here’s what it usually looks like, and even this isn’t that bad for me.

Taken during a book-writing project, no doubt.

And finally, one last not-so-crazy look at my main office. See why I love it? If you click on it, you can see all my beautiful book posters up close. (My publishers are awesome.)

Foodie Friday returns: Cajun-style collards

Foodie Friday returns: Cajun-style collards

I have to start this post by thanking my friend Paula, who gave me her weekly CSA share from Roxbury Farm since she wasn’t going to be around to get it this week. I got a nice bag of just-picked collards in the mix and couldn’t decide what to do with them. Enter Vegan Planet, an awesome cookbook that even non-vegans will find hard not to love. (I’ll have to post the sweet potato black bean enchiladas another week.) (more…)

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