snowballs & biscochitos

taos mountain with a snowy top

 a little walk at sunset park. with our snow boots on.

he'd hinted at the possibility of needing good waterproof gloves. in case of snowballs.

and so we laughed a lot. which was the best part. but we also threw a lot of snowballs at each other. and then we stopped for some coffee, with a short sit at the coffee shop enjoying the hot coffee in our hands and cold air on our faces.

also, a side note. we've been enjoying the *biscochitos* our landlady, senora santistevan, gifted to us. i'd read about them, and hoped to try them. and now when I attempt to make them, I know what they are supposed to taste like.


christmas journey

our drive to kansas started before the sunrise. so as we drove north, we watched as the sky over the mountains glowed in pinks.


and on our drive back to new mexico, the oklahoma panhandle was blanketed in white above, white below. 

we were cheered to find the skies turning blue as we continued west & south. 

our visit to kansas was brief. but we started with my father's side of the family, in a house full of relatives. with plenty of food and warm people. they all happily welcomed my d. I was glad to see them together, it means much to have all the parts of my family come together.

went to christmas eve service so that I could see my cuties on stage. and then with candles lit, we sang carols from the pews, reminding me of holidays past. then opened presents. only to wake up the next morning to see that santa had brought even more. even the cookies were gone, which amazed my nephew. then a little time at the kitchen table, playing with new animals & learning new toys. 

and now we are at home. with new snow. and a happy cat. and a day off to just do whatever.
and a fresh new year is coming. 



such holiday twinkling.


snowy december

my photos aren't doing the sight justice, so here are the snowy mountains of taos, by ernest blumenschein.

wise & mysterious. snowy & grey soft, rounded peaks.

 perilous outside our back door.

one of the best colors with snow.

raven tracks.

opened our gifts to each other with our candles lit.

then ate too many cookies while watching A Christmas Story.

preparing now for the trip to kansas. wrapping up presents. replacing windshield wipers. loading up the ipod with this american life podcasts. keeping an eye on the weather.


winter walk

yesterday it was snowing when we woke up. big heavy flakes. and then it just kept going all day.

bundled up & with my snow boots (thank goodness for warm boots) I
took a walk. to hear the crunch underfoot. and feel the crisp, cold silence.

the mountains above had disappeared, shrouded in the falling white.

I found some color I'd never noticed before.

wishing this peace in the afternoon had been everywhere, for all.

and then later, I looked out the window and saw what the sunset was doing.
the light was breaking through, hitting the trees, and against the cold, blue-grey clouds it looked like the treetops had turned golden.


seemed like the kind of day that needed to end with a few candles lit, and some silence. the snow that has fallen all day has been beautiful & serene. the tragic news from a school in Connecticut has been painful & terrifying.

"Clear and sweet is my soul, and clear and sweet is all that is not my soul."
-Walt Whitman, Song of Myself


*by Frederick Seidel*

Snow is what it does.
It falls and it stays and it goes.
It melts and it is here somewhere.
We all get there.


into the snow

snowy morning. and a decision to warm up the house by baking lemon bread for ourselves & the neighbors.

snowy cat feet. (she was shocked but curious)

snowy night.

reminded me of the wonderful book,  A Snowy Day, Ezra Jack Keats,

crunch crunch crunch his feet sank into the snow
he walked with his toes pointing out, like this.
he walked with his toes pointing in, like that.
then he dragged his feet s-l-o-w-l-y to make tracks.


eula's dress

eula myrtle derrick. she was born in 1893, married in 1914, had two daughters, and then died young in 1925.

we're only indirectly related, as she was the older sister to my great grandmother allie.

i find myself completely intrigued by her beautiful hair, those dark, intense eyes and the amazing dress.

she looks like she had a lot on her mind, and many things to say. I hope that she was able to.


all the many words

grandma & I think, her father.

I made a quick visit to Kansas to see my grandma. because as she told me, she's "feelin poorly".
am very happy I saw her. her blue eyes & her smile will always be a part of me.
while there, I looked through photo albums. and found some pictures to take pictures of.

on the front porch at the farm

for me, every picture is a moment of a story. a clue to a day in the life. and I find I gravitate towards the pictures that were unposed, a little blurred, or maybe just seemingly abstract, simply a glimpse into meaning....the photographer had a reason behind the moment, but it might be up to us now to figure it out.

mother derrick and her chickens


waking sun

though days are usually powerfully sunny here, the sun has a hard time getting into the windows of our thick, old adobe walls.

except each morning, here in the kitchen.  and it often makes me smile.


birthday explore

the birthday plan had been that if the weather was bad, we'd watch movies all day.
but the weather was instead lovely. so we packed a faspa-style picnic, put on some layers, and headed out to explore.

from the cebolla mesa, where we ate sitting in what we decided was an old buffalo wallow. in the middle of the mesa desert, with no sound but the wind in the trees.
& then a drive up the mountains to near cabresto lake.

 where we found snow. and foraged the forest for pine boughs, wild rose hips & pine cones.

later we ate burgers, and a peaches & cream crumble pie. and he fell asleep from all the pie.
he thanks me for spending this time with him, doing his favorite things for a birthday. but now I can't imagine my life any other way.



a tractor ride. a kansas blue sky. his seventh birthday.

his cheeks aren't as chubby anymore. but his stories & ideas keep getting better.

and then the brother's birthday too. and though now 38 & 40, we are still her sweet ones.


1,000 miles

the train takes me the 1,000 miles back & forth, from kansas & new mexico,
and i'm learning the many definitions of "home"


light for the dark

November Night
by Adelaide Crapsey

Listen ..
With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp'd, break from the trees,
and fall.


all hallow's day

he asked to carve the pumpkin.

a day for remembrance of the people whose spirits are with us.
our hallowed ones. 
we celebrate those at peace.
a day for all saints.

and tomorrow, the souls. dia de los muertos.
a day in which we provide light for those that still search the darkness. 


And I am called pumpkins.

Theme in Yellow
by Carl Sandburg

I SPOT the hills
With yellow balls in autumn.
I light the prairie cornfields
Orange and tawny gold clusters
And I am called pumpkins.
On the last of October
When dusk is fallen
Children join hands
And circle round me
Singing ghost songs
And love to the harvest moon;
I am a jack-o'-lantern
With terrible teeth
And the children know
I am fooling.


ceremony under the aspens

this past weekend was a wedding of friends.
being a couple that love the mountains, they of course wanted to marry with the mountains all around them. so we all traveled up to an old forest service cabin.

it was cold enough that we needed to wear our long underwear.
and we, including the bride, were wearing boots instead of fancy shoes.

a few of us arrived early. to start a warm fire near the old cabin, and set up the chairs in a field surrounded by yellowing aspens and perennially green trees.

one of my new favorite photos. d in his tweed, doing the duty of groomsmen. cutting down aspen boughs in which to decorate the chuppah. the groom had built it with fallen aspen trees. and his friends covered it in a canopy of white branches & yellow leaves. 

the chuppah became almost invisible in the landscape.

little snowflakes began to fall just before the ceremony. a beautiful representation of the season.

and the guests sat with blankets. or warmed by the fire.
and it seemed every one knew it was the perfect kind of place for a wedding.

mazel tov.