Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Terms and Conditions

It has been a year for the record books. It was a good year, a hard year, a year of massive changes, huge highs and debilitating lows.

Winter arrived in October and Spring appeared in December. Relationships, friendships and careers we thought would last a lifetime evaporated and disappeared into the past. 

Bruised, battered, cut and sutured, we somehow picked ourselves up, took charge and removed ourselves from a particularly toxic situation. 

Moving on, up and well out of our comfort zones we discovered that taking risks, trusting our instincts and tending to our own well-being was easier than we thought and far more satisfying than we could've ever imagined.

Facing deep vulnerabilities and insecurities, I discovered I had the courage to muster on. I stopped apologizing for being softhearted, learned the fine art of occasionally not giving a fuck and every now and then, experienced what it was like to give up control. 

Goodbye 2015. We learned a lot and thank you for those lessons.  

Welcome 2016. We're ready to embrace whatever you have in store for us...on our own terms.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Spare Spirit

It's December 23rd. It's 60 degrees. It's a day for merriment, last minute shopping and finding our Christmas spirit.

After dumping the contents of Ken's spare change box into the coin sorting machine at the bank, we gleefully split the $164 and headed on over to the Ithaca Commons for a little shopping. For us Christmas is all about inexpensive, thoughtful gifts and surprises on Christmas morning. Wonder what Santa is bringing us this year...

Friday, December 18, 2015


December 18th 
It is the last day those of us with online businesses guarantee your package will arrive by Christmas, so shop on! It is also seven months to the day since my Achilles surgery. A month after surgery the future was looking mighty grim.

This week I walked my first mile. 
 Merry Christmas to me.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


We lost Lillie yesterday to old age and cancer.  She was the sweetest, most patient and kind kitty we ever knew. Always willing to share her box, especially with Jesse.
I wish I could explain to him where she is now.

Rest in peace our dear sweet little love, Lillie girl.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

On the Line

It is 60 degrees on the 12th of December and I just returned from another glorious walk on our sweet little country road.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas Sprit

Not feeling it this year...

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Not Spring

Sleeping late, lunch at Creekside CafĂ©, a little shopping at the Spirit and Kitsch holiday pop up shop and homemade ginger snap ice cream (yes, it was warm enough for ice cream today!). All followed by a leisurely drive around the lake and an hour's nap at home. I have a whole new relationship to Saturdays these days. 

It turned out to be a lovely sunny and warm day and I am loving the weather, but in SOON, it will be time for snow. It won't feel like Christmas until it snows. And until then, I should probably let my poor little garden know that it isn't Spring yet.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Wrap Up

Scenes from our life in November

 Lillie is still with us, is responding to treatment, eats like a ferocious lion and purrs like a freight train.
James received his graduate degree in snuggling, and is making Lillie's days warmer and sweeter.
The business is growing.

and soon I'll need assistants with opposable thumbs.

 It was unseasonably warm all month.

 Warm enough to wear sandals, go without coats and to shoot product photos outdoors.

Thanksgiving was delicious, cozy and wonderful.

The cars are still in the garage.

We are happy and healthy.

Welcome, December.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Crazy Wild

Ken comes home tonight after a week away for work. While I've enjoyed the solitude and the crazy wild schedule I've kept (i.e. naps at 4pm and dinner at 9), I'm really off my game when he's gone.

Lillie is hanging on. She's not worse for sure, but also not noticeably better either. Her appetite is still ferocious and her purr is loud, but her little frail body is still all skin and bones. I am relieved it looks like she'll be here for Ken's return. 

And what to do on a cold sunny November day? Why, hang kitchen towels on the line to photograph for Marmalade, make a big pot of soup for dinner, tidy up a bit and wonder how in the world it got to be 10 am already and I'm not even dressed. TGIF.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Yesterday I took my first pain-free walk on hilly terrain, outside in the sunshine. Being outside never felt so good. 

It's been six months since surgery and I am feeling good. Feeling strong, feeling capable, feeling confident. 

The list of lessons learned from this experience continues to grow. 

Here are the latest in no particular order.

Do your homework. Work hard in PT and do those damn exercises at home every single day.

Don't overdo. If given the opportunity, I will overdo every time. Never intentionally of course, but almost always out of an abundance of joy at being able to do something physical and anything I haven't been able to do for a long time.
Don't wait. Don't wait to extricate yourself from situations and relationships you know are toxic. Trust your instincts. Go with your gut. Free yourself. Just do it. Don't wait. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Ultra Sweet

Lillie had her ultra sound on Thursday and it definitely  showed us there's something going on in her intestines. Since we don't want to put her through a biopsy, we've decided to treat the symptoms in the hope that it is inflammation and not cancer. She continues to eat like a trooper and snuggle with the boys. We're hoping we can make whatever time she has left with us pleasant and pain free. She is pure sweetness.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


Now that the garage is cleaned out and the cars are safely stowed, we're focusing our efforts on the last bit of winter prep in the garden. Fortunately today was insanely beautiful and warm, and we were able to get the job done!
The wood's all stacked, winter coat and boots have been procured. The heater's been serviced and the chimney is clean. I'd say we're almost ready for winter. Bring it on!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

We did it!

Feeling mighty proud I must say...

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Losing Lillie

Our precious little Lillie girl is nearing the end of her life. 

She's lost a little bit of common sense and a lot of her good manners. Her vision is going and she can't jump like she used to. She eats like a lion all day long but weighs under six pounds. She's got a lot on her mind and and if you sit still long enough, she'll sit in your lap and tell you all about it.

Hanging out in the kitchen sink is one of her favorite pastimes these days, along with sleeping in a box and snuggling with her brothers who have taken over her grooming. 

She's only 15, which isn't that old by indoor kitty standards. We wish we could have her with us forever.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Hello, November

It's November! 
The sun is out, the weather is warm and our house is falling apart. Water is leaking from the boiler and the shower drain upstairs. All of a sudden we're a little too familiar with the insides of the walls. There are great handhewn beams in places we never expected. Old square nails and plaster lath, too. There is also mold and a lot of it. Oh well. Chalk it up to age. 150 years old this year. In some ways it's a miracle more doesn't go wrong...but let's not dwell on that right now.

The sugar maple that was on the property when I moved here was here was alive when the house was built. It didn't fare so well, succumbing to rot and critters more than a five years ago. 

A couple of years ago an oak seeding, long buried by a virtuous squirrel, sprouted up in its place. It's a tad too close to the house, but it's too big to move now. Guess we'll keep it.

More than ever I am grateful to be right here, right now. Working from this sweet home, growing the business we love. Tired. Yes, I'm tired. But happy. 
Content and ever thankful.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Bluebirds in October

It's a day to savor the last peaceful moments of autumn before she vanishes. 

Having learned to make friends with winter I'd say we've reached a peaceful truce. I agree not to complain and she, well she agrees to turn cold and windy and give us at least one good proper snowstorm. 

I can live with that. After all, what choice do I have except to embrace the beauty in slowing down and the joy in bundling up. 

The wood is stacked. We're ready.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Oh October, you slay me every time.

Friday, October 2, 2015

It's October. The heat is on, the quilts are out of storage and the dutch oven has been in use three nights in a row now. Soups, stews, roast chicken, root vegetables. As a goodbye to summer we'll make pesto from the last of the basil and dig a few volunteer potatoes for dinner. The leaves are late turning this year. That's fine by me. I hope their progress is slow and leisurely.
October is my favorite color.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


This has been the most peaceful autumn I've experienced in years.
I don't know if it's the change in season, if it's the sunshine or the bright blue skies. 
Whatever it is, I'll take it! 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


It has been an epic week. No strike that. It's been an epic seven weeks.

K is back at work after a wonderful sabbatical. 

So much happened during those seven weeks and despite our girl scouty list-making and goal-setting, most of the big important stuff was completely and utterly unplanned. 

We never imagined we would leave FOUND. Never thought we'd just hang it up and move on.  I never imagined I'd wake up one day and decide to sell my violas but yesterday, my main instrument (and the one I'd been hanging on to) found a new home with one of my beloved former students. 

She'd been borrowing it for months and when I asked on a whim if she'd like to buy it some day she replied "Do you want cash or is a check ok?".  So just like that, I said a tearful goodbye and sent them on their way to new adventures. 

This has been a season of letting go. Letting go of old inventory, massive amounts of clutter and stuff we don't need, want or use. We've let go of situations and people that don't support us, don't value what we do and don't bring joy to our lives. We've rekindled and deepened relationships with treasured friends, made new ones and even had a few adventures already along the way. 

Tomorrow is the anniversary of our very first date. It is also date we started Marmalade Mercantile. EPIC doesn't begin to describe our hopes for the future.

Monday, September 14, 2015


Oh Happy Day!  

This morning I had the sudden realization that I was in fact only 58 years old, not 59. 

Normally I don't get so far ahead of myself, but somehow I'd decided I was turning 59 this year. 

So YAY, I'm only 58 and that means one thing...

Now I have two years now to achieve my "before I turn 60" list.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Tomorrow is is my birthday. And because I'm a prone to pondering I've been thinking about how this year went. 

These are my truths.

I'm not always strong but I've learned to be brave and most of the time this has gotten me through.

Sometimes walking away rather than trying harder is the right thing to do.

No one is irreplaceable, including me. 

It's ok to not know what's coming next. 

Gratitude changes everything.

Hope is the way forward. 

K is my everything.


Friday, August 28, 2015


Ahhh, the first smell of wood smoke. Fall is in the air after an overnight low of 47.  

Up on the big hill, classes began in the Ivory Tower. Even if I didn't know this by looking at the calendar, the general lack of parking at Wegmans and the long lines at the only full serve gas station in town told me it was time.

It's been more than two weeks since we made the decision to leave FOUND. Most of our antique inventory has been sold. Our garage is full of Marmalade Mercantile merchandise and our house is finally starting to look like normal people live here again. 

Earlier this week we took a tape measure and some spray paint out to the property next to the garage and began to imagine a possible footprint for our barn. 

Our next big adventure is suddenly starting to feel real.

Saturday, August 22, 2015


It is an unbelievably beautiful summer morning. 

Clear, dry and cool, with just the tiniest hint of Fall in the air. 

The grand purge continues and today we're getting ready for the big pickup on Monday. 

The phrase "it might be useful one day" has officially been banned from our vocabulary for the time being.

It is a day for making wishes and spinning dreams.

Monday, August 17, 2015


We are purging...everything that's not tied down, that we don't adore or that doesn't bring us joy is being donated, sold or given away. 

There is nothing quite like the feeling of a big old clean slate. 

And as we embrace the big changes we've set in motion, everything seems to be pointing us in the direction of a simpler life. 

I've been hungry for it for a long time. 

That time is now.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Not a chance!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


There is nothing more satisfying than taking action in support of one's sanity, health and well being.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Thing

Well, I did it. 

I bundled up my beautiful beloved viola, a very fancy bow and a scrappy old cracked 17th century instrument and took 'em to a big old fancy violin shop out of town and signed consignment papers to sell them.  

I never imagined this day, but the truth it's time for that giant golden beauty of an instrument to make music again, for someone to fall in love with her for her voluptuous voice, despite the fact shes too damn big and unmanageable for most anyone to play long term. It was an irrational love affair from the start and everyone told me not to do it. Guess that's the thing about love. And if I had it to all over again, I would choose her in a heartbeat.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Geezer Sneaks

It's been a banner weekend so far and it's not over yer! 

The bed is now returned to our bedroom. No one was hurt in the process and we are still married! 

It is unbelievably good to be back upstairs again. We can close out the kitties and block out the light. And since our bedroom is on the back side of the house all we hear at night are heavenly summer noises and an occasional hoot owl. 

Out with the old, in with the new I say! We've started a purge of the house and garage. What's not nailed down is headed to auction. What's not sellable is either headed to the Salvo's or the curb. 

And though I'm not yet able to be on my feet pain-free for more than a couple of hours, I'm happy to report I am totally rocking the geezer sneaks.

Saturday, August 1, 2015


I'm reveling in the joy of walking in shoes, no matter how sensible or clunky. 

Wallowing in the exquisite happiness of being in the garden in the early morning and being able to get just about any place I want to be all by myself. 

Savoring the peacefulness of the new day and and embracing the many exciting plans we have for this month. 

Hello August, I thought you'd never get here. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Away from my desk...

Moments from now a grand new adventure begins. At 3:30 EST K is officially on sabbatical from his corporate job for SEVEN WEEKS! 

What an amazing gift. And the best thing? He doesn't have to complete a research project or pretend to look busy while he's away from his desk. This leave is all about resting, recharging and refocusing. He deserves it many times over.   
Here's to new found freedom and space to breathe!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

So Sensible

I am walking and that is all that matters right now. PT is rigorous but doable, though I'm always surprised how exhausted and sore I am by the time I get home. I need to be more religious with my exercises. I know that. I need to reign in the chocolate consumption and get on with the business of getting back in shape. I know that too. 

The doc says it's time to by a new pair of shoes and they must be sneakers. Ugh. I am not a sneaker girl. Never have been. Was thinking of something a little cuter. Something light and airy, easy to slip in and out of, without laces or velcro. Maybe something in red. So hoping I can find something that doesn't look like Aunt Edna's carefully chosen and oh so sensible orthopedic lovelies. 

Here's the PW Minor "Leisure DX2" Strap. The ad says it's a women's stylish orthopedic shoe.

Heaven help me...