Into the dark – A New Family

photo by Kyle Weaver

photo by Kyle Weaver

As we laid in bed half falling asleep catching up on the new series Black List, the power flickered on and off.  We had made it through the eve of Thanksgiving with power unlike other areas in Maine.  Heaviness sank into our lids and we fell asleep knowing that the next day would be a challenge serving twelve people at the farm but we would somehow manage. Snow had captured our house and barn and created more of a winter wonderland than an bountiful harvest effect.  I rolled out of bed and threw on a sweatshirt and zipped it up.  Kyle had gotten up somewhere after three in the morning to let Jack out cat outside. My first thought was to call my Mom in Kittery to see if she had power.  It was hard to believe that we had lost power last year and had to drive the turkey midstream to her oven and then drive it back.  As I talked over our game plan with her on the phone I packed our dinner ingredients into two shopping bags and asked Kyle to give me a ride over knowing my Volvo wouldn’t make it up the snow covered driveway.

My mom met us in her driveway as she cleaned off her own car.  She had plans in Peterborough with my oldest sister and her family.  We laughed at how the turkey run to Kittery was becoming a tradition.  Kyle kissed us goodbye and went back to the farm to get things in order for the day and to bring his children to their mom’s for the holiday. My mom’s home looks out onto the Piscataqua river and as we prepped the turkey and made the sausage stuffing with apples and walnuts, we looked onto the churning waters as the snow continued to fall and the tide rose higher and higher.  Mom stayed by my side, cleaning up as we went and showing me the techniques of cooking he mom had showed her when she was younger.  We chopped the onions, celery, apples, and walnuts while we sauteed the sausage and boiled the water for the stuffing.  The turkey had thawed and only spit out minimal juices onto me as we removed the gizzards and plastic connectors.  Hours passed quickly and after what seemed like minutes she kissed me goodbye and wished me good luck with our own dinner on the farm and closed the door behind her.

I settled back into the quiet space alone and in wonder of the way in which the morning had unfolded.  Anna texted me that they were on their way and would be dropped off at Grams, Kyle knocked and then came in and kissed me as he looked out onto the water, and the Harvells sent us a message that they would arrive sometime after one.  The scene had played out like a sitcom or one of our favorite holiday movies and I loved every minute of it.  Our family friends, The Darlings, texted and asked if they could do anything to help.  I replied asking if it would be okay if we needed to push dinner back a half hour or so.  They were without power as well and were nestled into the charming mountain home playing in the snow with their boys and cooking their contributions for our dinner on their gas stove.

photo by Kyle Weaver

photo by Kyle Weaver

By the time dinner was cooked and ready to transport back to South Berwick, Aaron had joined us to escape the power outage and seven of us were celebrating the day of thanks in my moms riverside home with the geese that swam by in the strong currents.  We created an assembly line of sorts as we pulled the casserole dishes out of the oven filled with the traditional fixings of mashed potatoes, stuffing, squash and green beans followed by the twenty pound turkey that had popped sometime ago.  We managed to squeeze into two cars and get all the food back to the farm safely and even still warm.  The Darlings arrived close behind and as the sun had already set we unloaded the food and set it up as best that we could in the candlelight of numerous votives spread throughout the kitchen and living room.  We sat and gave thanks with our friends and family and forced ourselves to share in all the amazing desserts that presented themselves after dinner was cleared.  The kids ran through the downstairs playing a pirate game and we listened to Aaron as he strummed his guitar in the background.  Just as we were saying goodbyes and cleaning up the leftovers to place in containers and then outside in the snow the power came back on and the warm holiday glow of the tapers was replaced with the constant stream of illumination from the electricity that had so timely returned.  We’re sure this will become one of our most memorable Thanksgiving dinner for years to come.



  • Snow Laden Limbs – A New Family

    by Kyle Weaver

    by Kyle Weaver

    With snow abound we celebrated the eve of Thanksgiving with Kyle’s parents and Aunt and Uncle from Georgia.  The girls counted three cars off the road from our trek which started on Witchtrot Road and ended on Old South Road in York, Maine. It’s always the first real snowfall that wreaks the most havoc on New England drivers.  We pulled into the circular drive behind Kyle’s Subaru and lifted our hoods to cover our heads before we opened our car doors beneath the dark snowy night.

    The house on the river was warm and cheery as we were greeted at the door by Pops and the dogs.  We joined everyone in the kitchen at the round gathering table and shared stories while catching up and getting to know one another. As the snow continued to fall, the sky fell darker and the laughter grew into warm cries of love. The kids finished dinner and became scarce but were given up by their cacophony of giggles and cackles as they roared through the second floor.  It was somewhere after dessert that Anna appeared showing me the time on her phone.  I had promised to have them at their Dad’s house somewhat early so they could spend part of the holiday with him.  I excused ourselves and Kyle stood next to me and said that they would head out as well.

    As I drove the girls back to their Dad’s house down 91, one of us began to sing a Christmas Carol as we passed underneath the snow laden limbs of an early winter.  We listened as each of us inserted our own set of words to carols barely remembered and some more than forgotten.  I was thankful for the plow truck that paved our way around the tight corners and round bends.  Halfway there I realized that I would be dropping them both off and then driving the rest of the way home alone. My heart grew heavy for a bit and I wished that it needn’t be that way and that they were with me all of the time.  I felt the heavy pull of regret and resentment fall upon me for just a moment.  I stopped the car just outside of their house. They both wrapped their arms around me and told me how they loved me and  would see me tomorrow. I told them I loved them too but it didn’t seem nearly enough as I wanted to pull them both back into the car. I waved a quick wave, and blew a quick kiss or two for Libby and then watched as Anna led her baby sister into the house I used to call home.

     



  • Lindy’s Cheesecake – A New Family

    Pete's cheesecakeI remembered when Pete used to make authentic NYC style cheesecake for the holidays. I remembered how extravagant and rich it seemed and I couldn’t wait to sink my fork into the mile high slice on my plate.  Somehow it became engraved in my mind that it should always be a part of the holidays and something I would want to attempt when I was older, settled and in a grown up place. Last night after a failed attempt to play the game of Life with Libby, Kyle suggested that we start the cheesecake.  I smiled and nodded my head and Libby jumped up saying she wanted to help.

    Two and a half pounds of cream cheese laced with the zest of lemons and clementines became the base for Pete’s infamous holiday dessert.  Kyle and Libby cracked five eggs and separated two more for their yolks.  We added vanilla, sugar, and a touch of salt.  I slowly spread out the homemade crust made of flour, sugar, and salt into the spring form pan and fired up the oven to a scorching 500 degrees.  The two and a half pounds of cream cheese overflowed into the pan and weighted down the counter beneath.  Kyle asked me to put the pan in the oven and as I pushed the rack in and closed the door I said a quiet prayer that it would come out nearly as good as Pete’s version, but I had my doubts.

    This morning the top of our cake is a dark muddled brown, note to self to place the cake in the middle of the oven while it’s baking at 500 degrees.  The house smells incredible and excitement has begun to stir as the holidays are upon us and the kids have caught wind of what’s just around the corner.  It’s not Pete’s cheesecake for sure, it’s a far stretch at best but I still can’t wait to dive into it tomorrow after dinner has been cleared and our stomachs are stuffed to maximum capacity.



  • Kiss me – A New Family

    2014It’s early for Christmas, even for us but when Kyle found a piece of satin mistletoe adorned with faux pearls and red ribbon, we couldn’t wait to hang it in our kitchen.  Christmas has begun to creep in as we try to keep it at bay at least until after one of our favorite holidays on the farm.  As we shopped for Thanksgiving dinner last night among the crowded aisles of Demoulas, we reached for crazy overpriced walnuts for stuffing, Christmas candy to fill dishes for the kids and guests, and joked about having a frozen turkey bowl down aisle nine.  This will be our third holiday season spent together, second as a blended family, but it already seems like we’ve spent our entire lives together creating little traditions and memories to make them standout for everyone for years to come.

    Kyle yanked on my coat and steered my direction towards the juice boxes where Anna had fallen behind with her new DS game and was leaning in one of the shelves totally engrossed in her game forgetting she was a teenager and reliving a piece of her childhood.  We have two thirteen year olds living on the farm, growing up together as brother and sister, who were merely only acquaintances a few years ago.  We’ve been fortunate that for the most part they seem to get along and embrace their unique status at the middle school.  It’s created a comedy of sorts at times and we can only imagine what may be yet to come as they begin high school next year together.  Libby had asked me out of the blue last week if step siblings could get married.  I bluntly replied, “No!” and returned to a sink full of dishes.

    As we continue to iron out the bumps and smooth out the wrinkles of blending two families together, I am thankful for the times in between when we find laughter and love in the little moments.  I’m thankful for never ending reassurance in Kyle’s kisses that we are doing fine and always excited when he pulls me under the mistletoe for just one more kiss.

     



  • Fresh, Fallen Snow

    winter2014The first of the fresh, fallen snow has landed on the farm and since melted. The days have grown bitter cold and Kyle has turned off the water in the barn before December has even made its way to our calendar wall. The wood has been stacked closer to the kitchen and some brought inside into the basement for those storms when we shudder at the thought of even opening the door to the outside world.  Ruby, our brindle lab, has found her place in front of the wood stove and everything inside our home seems a bit insulated from the world that rests just outside its walls.



  • Promises I Intend to Keep – A New Family

    back to the beach

    It’s been months since I’ve been ready to sit and blog about myself, life on the farm, or anything that catches my whim.  The beach has escaped me since late August and as I made my way through our daily routines on the farm, with our family, and at work I felt less than able to keep up with life and all it normally expected of me.  My husband picked up the reigns with both hands and eagerly kept all of us on track without ever a single complaint or even a grumble.  Libby kept asking if I had cancer and was going to die, while Aaron acted twenty, and Anna would simply suggest that I go up and lay down.

    Unlike other times in my life, I chose not to blog through my daily grievances, restlessness, and uncertainty about what I was feeling and how I thought that I might not get through it.  Ruby, our brindle lab seemed to find her resting place by my side in bed where I seemed to be most since this summer when I wasn’t working. I was sleeping off not having enough energy or drive to do pretty much anything else.  I constantly asked myself if it was all in my head, “was I feeling so exhausted from depression or even an acute case of anxiety.”  My mind circled around and about it but eventually always came back to my lab results and rationalized that no, my symptoms were not in my head.

    Just a couple of weeks ago I started to feel better, my energy climbed back somewhere closer to normal and life seemed to resemble a little bit of what it used to be before I became sick in July.  Libby stopped asking if I had cancer, Anna began asking for help on homework again, and Aaron surfaced more and more.  Kyle has held tight to the reigns and only slowly relinquished all that he has picked up in my absence from chores and such.  Writing has seeped back into my world with a welcomed hello from my heart and a fine how do you do from my ego.  So here I sit while Kyle and his children are nestled in their beds on the cold floors above and Ruby and I are hunkered down in the kitchen with our backs to the wood stove as it crackles and pops and warms our winter coats we have adorned.

    My mind swarmed with questions and my body tired from tests to find out why my sudden drop in blood levels and all the symptoms it brought with it.  It’s happened before, a few times in my life but lasted only a week or two and then I was back to normal. This time while I waited months on end for an answer and needing so badly to feel more like myself I made promises that I intend to keep.  A simple list of sorts will follow and hopefully serve to remind me that time is not limitless and not all dreams really do come true: 1. If there is something on your mind, “Say it.”. 2. If there is something on your heart, “Do it.” 3. If there are people who mean the world to you, “Love them.”

    There are very few things we can control during our lifetimes and one of them being our own reaction to what we encounter each and every day.  I can talk myself out of reaching out of my comfort zone and giving up on the idea of supporting myself and my family with my writing or I can choose to simply believe what others may think is impossible is my job to prove it to be possible.  I can chose to sit back idle and wait for another time when my levels will sink to a place where I will have the energy to do nothing other than lie in bed or I can seize this time I have been given to dig my heels in and know that every effort I make towards creating my dream into a reality is one step closer to being who I’ve always wanted to be.

    Time is limited and it comes with no guarantees that there will be more of it tomorrow for the things we keep tucked deep into our hearts for only ourselves to feel and know.  Our ability to keep our deepest desires stuffed out of sight, out of mind runs a close second only to what we are able to accomplish when we truly believe in ourselves and turn off the voices inside are head that may remind us that we don’t have the right credentials, experiences, or even genetics to come close to reaching our dreams, so why should we even try. It’s our own reaction that counts most.  How are we going to react to what life has dealt each of us and what choices will we make when we are faced with adversity, strife, struggle, and success? I guess we never truly know until we are there, facing each of our fears in the face.  Will I submit to my fears and back down from my dreams or will I stand up, step to the side and continue moving toward them?

     



  • Swamped by darkness – Medillia’s Lament

    night-sky-sunderland-bay-phillip-island-2” Her fingers tapped nervously again on the steering wheel as she avoided his stare and concentrated on the road in front of her.  The sun had set hours before and the little island in Maine was swamped by darkness lit only by the stars billions of light years away shining down upon them.” Medillia’s Lament, The Novel

    Okay so if Jody is sure that there are no more rewrites needed to make the novel complete, this could be the very last line I write for Medillia’s Lament, The Novel.  The editing process is well underway and as we get closer and closer to having our first outside readers take up the rough draft of the novel, I can only hold my breath.  As I have written my way through Jody’s script, I have had moments of joy, sadness, and utter frustration.  I have been moved to giggles, sneers, and even tears at times experiencing the story as if it was the first time I had read it.

    I  have hesitated asking my husband to join me in the editing process not wanting to mar his first encounter with the novel with grammatical errors and ghastly run on sentences but something inside urges me to have him join me in my search for over word use, hidden character errors, and things that just don’t seem to be connected in the right way. It’s hard for me to remember that I began this journey of converting the script into a novel before I even knew my husband existed.  For as long as he has known me and now loved me, I have been typing away during stolen bits and pieces of time from our family and farm. It somehow seems more than fitting for the last bit of this stretch that he joins me in making the novel become a reality and ready for the shelves of bookstores around the world and available as an ebook for all electronic devices to be read by all with a heart tender enough to house a little bit of hope and willingness to dream.

    I’ve always been a big dreamer and now that I have set my sights on being a writer, among other things in my life, I spend most of day drifting off to the possibility of the novel reaching the highest heights.  Maybe, even the New York Times best seller’s list will one day feature Medillia’s Lament and count it among it’s lucky few. For what ever reason the novel will just happen to fall into the right place at the right time.

    A few years back I made a hat for my baby girl and within just a few months, similar hats shipped to three continents and a retail store was opened three months after that.  If a hat can travel the globe, than why not a few beautifully intended words? At this point all we can do is to keep moving forward and waiting on the world to see what may be.