Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Greens on the door.

Homemade cinnamon buns in the morning.
To Newbury to be with Sarah and Alan in the afternoon
where we feasted on a fabulous turkey dinner.
Driving home Saturday night to be on hand for the

major snowstorm that started Sunday morning!
Shoveling, shoveling, shoveling!

BUT, the very best part of Christmas by far for Toby and me was being able to watch, on skype, Max and Maddie and Gwen Wren unwrap tricycles and little play figures, and eat candy canes on Christmas morning!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Old Car

New car!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tree Trimming

On Sunday, Bill and Lenore hosted their annual tree trimming party in Hull, MA.

Linda drove in that morning from Port Henry, NY, to join the family and add her ideas to the trimming. Smyth/Speers family people have strong ideas about how a tree looks best: lights first, then big ornaments at the top, smaller as you go up. Tinsel laid on, not thrown. We all remember the wonderful elaborate Christmases growing up--celebrating on Christmas Eve, an old Austrian custom.

Lenore and Bill had a delicious lunch

and then there were family photos--some of Lenore's family and some of us (we never figured out who that guy was in the black vest).

A highlight was to see Hilary and Mike again and share stories with them about the joys of old country houses--they have one near the coast of Maine--mostly stories about what happens when the pipes threaten to freeze in the dead of winter.

Later, Lou came back to Barrington with us and we had a cozy dinner in front of the woodstove, lots of talk, no threat of frozen pipes.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Here's Toby,

back at his desk, editing his book,
managing very uncomplainingly without the use of a lot his thumb,
very pleased the pathology reports came out clean.


During the summer, I started these painting chairs.
They were a perfect canvas for me: a nice wide seat for patterns, a big enough back for a contrasting design,
and segmented legs that could be painted multiple colors.

Today, two of them (the ones on the ends) went to Caroline Rubin
(here with her husband Noah) for her office at Tufts University.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thanksgiving in Portland

Thursday morning, we drove (on a totally non-traffic-y Rte.95)
up to Tom and Clarice's house in Portland.

First thing Tom wanted to show us was his early Christmas present,
a powerful, sparkling snow blower.

He'd prepared a Thanksgiving feast, with Clarice's help, Christina's too.
We're about to dive into this wonderful food--first, the requisite photo. At the table with Christina and me are Tom's friend Andrea and her daughter Anya.

We had good evenings watching movies from Tom's wide-ranging collection of DVD's.
This is our "alert" pose, taken after the overly schlumpy, not really flattering "relaxed" pose--

the "ate too much, just watched a movie" pose.

Tom and Toby, showing off the woodsy Maine look:
identical red LLBean sweaters and worn blue jeans.
For comfort: fleecy slippers.

Friday, November 26, 2010

More Kids and Grand kids

Maddie, Max and Gwen Wren rotated among many activities each day--many each hour.

The piano was a great attraction--especially the growly low keys.

When other surfaces were exhausted, Gwen stickered her face.

And at bedtime, Max chose to use several toothbrushes--one for the top, one for the bottom?

Mealtimes were not exempt from busyness--here's Sunday brunch.

We found a bowl stuck in he refrig with appetizing description written on it.

Kudos to the wonderful parents

who patiently

and creatively steered their kiddos through each day.

Thanks so much for coming guys!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


With the arrivals of the kids and grand kids at the beginning of the week, things got interesting and busy...

entertainment with hats,

block architecture,

bed bouncing,

sculpting with play dough,

playing on the piano and on table tops with Tulip watching,

dancing with Jess,

and a grand, messy balloon fest on the kitchen floor.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Toby with

bandaged thumb and lovely flowers from Christina.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Medical Stuff!

Sam flew east this weekend to visit us, giving us a little respite from talking to dermatologists and doctors about how to treat the melanoma that's shown up under Toby's thumbnail--a rare condition that we only found out about a week and a half ago.

It was wonderful to be able to relax with Sam, taking walks, eating in front of the wood stove, watching Jon Stewart's Rally for Sanity on Saturday and the old but goodie "The Sting" at night.

Tulip just had time to don her Halloween hat before the first (of a very few) Trick or Treaters showed up at our door.

We're still talking to doctors and dermatologists, trying to figure out when and where the operation will be. More to come...

Friday, October 22, 2010


Last weekend Toby and I drove to Bangor to visit Christina in her swanky new apartment.

She's just moved in, with, of course, the help of Gwendolyn,
self-appointed to examine open boxes.

Nearby, there's a nice trail with gnarly old pines and this reservoir.

The leaves were gorgeous, the sky bright October blue.
We decided we looked pretty good in our colors: green, turquoise and orange.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Our friends the Siegels and their friends came to visit us in Chocorua last week.

Our last walk to Heron Pond for the season.

The red leaves looked like Christmas decorations on the pine trees.

Tulip and her sometimes friend Chaz (Alan Phenix's dog) during a rare compatible moment.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Earlier this summer, we wondered about the willow tree out front and thought maybe we'd let it decide it's future. The willow still stands, but another tree has done the deciding for itself.

Out back, this tree gave up one of its big rotten limbs during a wind storm. We'd been worrying about this tree, even made an alternative path to the lake to avoid it,

but, unfortunately, didn't think it would come down on the very back side of Thad's tractor.

Fall's Coming:

the air is crisper, the wind windier, the leaves starting to turn...

and my dahlias are just starting to bloom--this one in a planter on the porch! Wish I'd planted them earlier in the spring--something to remember for next year.

Tulip surveys the yard from her perch on the kitchen couch, closely watching

a turkey meandering across the lawn.
A sure sign of fall.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

California Reunions

Last weekend was a big one for reunions for me....

First, the Ivory Coast, Togo, Guinea Peace Corps Reunion held in Ventura, CA. We all trained together at Oberlin College 45 years ago and mostly haven't seen each other since leaving the Peace Corps in 1966. Very amazing though how easy it was to come together again--lots of stories to tell and memories to go over--once we recognized each other (thanks to name tags)!!

Especially nice for me was to meet up again with Lyn Frohnmeyer, my Ivory Coast town mate, and Nadine Reed who I shared a room with during training.

Here's a proud Peace Corps Ghana volunteer wearing the splendid traditional Kente cloth.

Lyn, Nadine and I got to continue conversations while kayaking the next day in the Pacific.

At the end of the weekend, I flew up to San Francisco to visit with Lea--an INSTANT reunion, non-stop talk as soon as we met at the airport. I went with Lea while she mentored an art student--I love this photo of attentive student and teaching Lea.

But the in between reunion was the best of all--staying over in Burbank and getting to see Max and Maddie, Sam and Jess (not to mention the elusive cat Oscar). Maddie's giving Max a push on the go-cart as Sam cooks over the grill and Jess has, maybe, a little relaxing moment.

Thoughtful, very sweet grandkids and parents!