January, 2009

Writer’s Retreat

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Sometimes this writer needs to leave the city to get some work done. All of the hustle and bustle can be a big distraction for someone who is trying to get their write on. So I headed north to Poughkeepsie for 48 hours of writing, and man-oh-man, am I glad I did. I got more writing done in two days than I’ve gotten done in the last three months. I will definitely be back soon for more solitary confinement.

Beyond the joyful experience of some satisfying writing time, there is also the joyful experience of winter in the country. Just get a load of the snow…

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I Heart NYC

Monday, January 12th, 2009

It snowed on Saturday, and by the evening the city was covered in two inches of pure bliss.

New Yorkers are not very effusive people, so it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside when I saw this written in the snow:

I couldn’t agree more. I totally heart NYC.

 

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Foodie Good Times – Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

Between Christmas and New Year’s, Rufus and I made the journey up to Tarrytown to dine at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. I have been wanting to check out their locally grown menu for two years and I was not disappointed.

I made a reservation in October for lunch in December (yeah, it’s that kind of restaurant). I had hesitated for a long time because I knew it was a pricey ticket, but I figured it would be a nice treat during the madness of the holidays. And the day after I made the reservation, our superb friend Becky gave us a gift certificate to the restaurant as a wedding present. That’s what I call synergy (or 16 years of friendship).

I knew the day would be awesome because it began with a train ride up the Hudson on the Metro-North. The Hudson River line is my absolute favorite — not only because it is (sort of) immortalized in Billy Joel’s classic tune, New York State of Mind, but because it is a gorgeous view of my favorite river.

The ten minute taxi ride to the restaurant is just lovely. The main street is quaint and the homes are spectacular. And the restaurant is beautiful both outside…

and in…

It is definitely a fancy place. There are a million people waiting on you, which I find sort of overwhelming, but the staff is very friendly and not a bit snobby.

One of the big draws of the restaurant is their commitment to locally grown food. Much of the food is grown at the restaurant or at nearby farms. Crabs from Maine were the thing on the menu that seemed to have traveled the farthest. The menu is a list of food that may be used in your meal. The waiter asks if there is anything you are allergic to or dislike, and if there is anything you really love, and that’s that – you’ve ordered.

Each course that we had was fantastic, and some highlights were the amazing gnocchi with wild mushrooms…

A crazy soft-boiled egg that had been fried and breaded and served over lentils…

A crazy meringue on an apple cake with anise ice cream…

And yogurt dumplings with pear ice cream and apple compote…

Though it costs a pretty penny, I would definitely go back. It’s a splurge, but a delicious day in the country is worth a lot to this city girl.

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Holidays Revisited

Friday, January 9th, 2009

They seem so far away already, the rushing and relaxing Days of Holi. What did you do? I made pies, ate pies, saw friends, saw family, gave presents, got presents, spent days running around, spent days doing nothing. Not that different from the rest of the year, I suppose, but it felt different. The holidays weren’t quite as keyed up as those childhood holidays. In those days, that elated sense of anticipation made every December day leading up to Christmas feel like it was sprinkled with magical fairy dust. Not quite so painfully exciting, but still eager, happy, and hopeful.

The magic of the holidays is worth returning to, so here are some highlights from mine.

My homemade pie crust…

…and the full grown Pear-Custard Pie it blossomed into thanks to Rufus and his pie skills…

A warm and cozy Skinny Mini Knit Necklace I stitched up for my momma..

Cheery Christmas boxes handcrafted by Rufus…

One week later, the holidays feel like a far away land, a blurry memory of a good dream.

But they are well worth remembering.

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First Day

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

On the first day of a new year, it’s good to take a walk.

See the living things extending their reach out into a cold world…

Notice angles anew…

And observe what remains from the season that just became the past…

… looking forward to a bright future.

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