Monday, February 27, 2012


I went back to my family home in Bedminster, PA this weekend. In a wave of nostalgia I started going through the closet in my childhood bedroom. I tried on my prom dresses (pathetic? weird? you decide!) and flipped through pictures from junior high school. In my school we used to give wallet-sized copies of our school pictures to our friends with messages written on the back. We shared a lot of inside jokes. Jokes so remote that I've completely forgotten why I once found them funny. "Always remember Reese's clipboard" reads the back of one photo. Well, I'm sorry, but I have no memory of what that's about. "And always remember all the indoor golf." Again, nope, indoor golf not ringing any bells. 

I found some tokens from my more recent past:  $65 worth of renminbi, from when I was in Beijing after college. I don't know why, but seeing them reminds me of Chinese Starbucks Lattes made with UHT milk. Does Beijing have fresh milk these days? I wonder... 

Don Draper once told me in Greek nostalgia means "the pain from an old wound."

When I was little I used to play outside as soon as I got home from school. We lived on ten acres, and I didn't have any neighborhood kids to play with, so I would explore the backyard wilderness alone. I didn't have a camera. I never took any pictures of what the land looked like then. This past weekend I took my phone with me and snapped some shots as I revisited this unconventional piece of land. The landscape has changed a lot over the last 25 years. It's filled with trees that are just a little bit younger than I am. My dad planted hundreds of them, so I guess that's why I feel so nostalgic about them. They are where they are because of my family. I can just about remember when they were all saplings, and today a young forest is there.

Here is some moss, and in the background out of focus is some shale. 

 The moss is growing on a cylinder of concrete. 

Below, a young deer has been killed and scavenged. (Possibly by my dog).


And here is the young forest, with grasses that are dead from winter.

The crocuses are coming up. These are at the very back of the property. I was too early to catch any blooms. 

And here is more moss, growing in electric green. 

Cattails growing in a pond.

Deer fur.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Free Cabin Porn

There's been hardly any snow this winter, and I've finally come to accept that I won't be going skiing this year. It feels like spring is here, and whenever the seasons change I start to get pangs of wanderlustSince I can't get away from my work long enough to travel anytime in the near future, I am grateful for all this free cabin porn out there on the interwebs. Trolling through page after page of cabins is highly addictive. I recommend you play the following game:

1) Look at the photograph of the cabin without reading the caption below.
2) Try to guess where it is. (I was caught off guard when I thought Slovenia was Montana! How humbling.)
3) If possible, do this with a friend. Backpacking alone is dangerous.

Reader Submission from Stanley Tislavold:
Cabin in Tykostølen, Suldal, Norway
From Stanley Tislavold via Cabin Porn.   


Friday, February 24, 2012

Nature is Amazing

Good morning! I was going to open this post with some angry words about Rick Santorum calling global warming a hoax,followed by more angry words about the gas-drilling industry's invasion of my hometown, but it's the weekend and anger is not my Saturday morning emotion of choice. 

Last week I learned in school that nature is amazing. The earth's atmosphere is full of oxygen because of bacteria that lived two billion years ago. Oxygen in the atmosphere made it possible for lots of exciting new creatures to evolve. Two billion years. Two billion years ago the most general type of cell that we are made of did not even exist yet. Life on earth was completely different. How can we even grasp how long two billion years is? We humans get maybe 80 years, 100 years if we are lucky. That is nothing compared to the age of the earth. 2 followed by 9 zeros. Just think about what it means in time for 2 to be followed by 9 zeros. It's rare for people to get even two zeros in their age. We hardly get any time to live on this amazing planet. 

Look how amazing this network of rivers is. The green parts are mangroves. 
From the BBC series Planet Earth, episode "Freshwater."

And these are snow geese migrating up the east coast of the United States. I love the way the geese look like a low wispy cloud, and the way the marshes contrast with the blue of the water. It's like an analog of what earth looks like from space. 
Also from the BBC series Planet Earth, episode "Freshwater."


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Easy DIY Paper Flower Valentine's Necklace? Yes, Please!

I'm I big fan of paper flower making {here's a number of books that are great resources!}. I've been dabbling in it for the last fifteen years or so (I know you're impressed, but remember the Chinese have apparently been doing it for two thousand years, and the Mexicans have been making them with gusto for centuries....) For Valentine's this year I thought I'd get crafty and make myself a snazzy paper flower pendent. If you're interested in creating something similar, here's my how to:
The finished product!
What you'll need: 
sturdy and beautiful magazine pages 
or pages of old books
a metal necklace chain or embroidery floss/string

1. Decide the size of your flower, and cut four large petals {as with all things in nature, variation in flowers is the norm, so there's no need to be obsessively precise}. 
2. Cut three smaller petals 
3. Over lay large petals so they touch in center, sew securely together {don't worry about stitches being perfect. But since you are sewing on paper, try not to put the stitches too close so as not to rip the paper}. 

4. Roll the smaller petals into loose cones, and sew each, one at a time, into center of flower. 

5. Lay out necklace chain, or string/ embroidery floss you have cut to size, and place flower where you would like it to lay. 

6. Sew flower to necklace. 
7. Sew bead to center for finishing touch. 
8. Go have dinner with your sweet heart! 

* Marcie

Friday, February 3, 2012

Can we take a moment… and welcome my new CareWearShare partner, Melissa?

Melissa and Marcie in Fay's car, c. 2001
   Picture it… Perkasie… 2000. Two young ladies, who had been in classes together for years, finally saw one another- finally recognized the insane amount of latent friendship potential within. Melissa and I began our acquaintance in Junior High, at the famed Pennridge Central Middle School. Sitting in the lovely Mrs. Kosa’s English class I remember thinking, “aw, this bobbed hair smiley girl is so cool…” Me?  Not so much. Or rather, I was “o cool” inwardly, but was fighting a formidable shyness and lack of a centered self back in those days. But, I digress…
    Aside from a few interactions in Mr. Daniels’ Barbershop select Chorus and the time on a field trip to six flags when riding a roller coaster (which I hate doing by the way) I happened to look over and see her holding the hand of the boy I liked * insert heinous pop song depicting woeful teen heartache* we didn’t have much contact. We moved in our own little spheres until in twelfth grade, life and Mr. Denton Ponzle’s AP Euro History flung us together. With our friend Fay we created a little triad of fun and mayhem.
     Together, we may have shed the shackles of our upright rural exultance; we may have run just a wee bit amuck. We may have left school to go swimming in-between classes, or called out sick and gone to Philly. We may have seized the day and engaged in little glorious acts of rebellion that can only be savored by those whose lives were as Green Gables-sque as you’re likely to find this day and age. Way may have been just about as bad ass as one can be and still make the honor roll ;) And if we were, I have to say it was good for me.  My relationship with these gals and my other high school friends helped me to open up, be freer, and be more me.
     Fast forward ten years and you’d get to the point in the story where our once joy-filled friendship had dwindled to nothing. With the college and subsequent life we had lost contact, until out of the blue I happen to see a message from my Mel-iller saying she was moving to Philly and asking to get together. I made my reply in the affirmative, but it was not without a little trepidation, “What if things were awkward. I mean it had been like ten years….” I had my fears, but on that fateful spring day in 2011 when I opened my door and saw that same bobbed hair and smiley face, I knew it was the same! In these many months since our reunion I've come to see Melissa being back in my life is such a huge blessing! I’ve gone through my share of rough times, and the rekindling of my friendship with Melissa has been an incredible reminder to be open to the unexpected blessings the good Lord may send my way, even in the midst of chaos. Thank you Melissa! And thank you to all of my friends who bring me so much joy!