Author Archives: Peggi Chase

About Peggi Chase

Biking, Tai Chi, Literature, Culinary Adventures and Sewing are some of my favorite hobbies. Since I started this blog to explore my talent for creative writing, I expect I will refer to those topics. I have recently begun searching for online resources in an effort to improve my writing skills and it reminded me how exciting my very first writing class was, 'lo those many moons ago. Prior to that first assignment, I don't recall any teacher suggesting that I write creatively. I remember it as difficult, but fun and challenging at the same time. I hope to re-create that same combination again as I blog here.

Spanish manchego and courgette muffins

Standard

Source: Spanish manchego and courgette muffins

Advertisements

Creative

Standard

What does it mean to be creative?
Of hands, yarn, words, cloth, flowers,
photographs, thread, yeast, paint or running shoes,
what is most likely to magnify the imagination to produce something worthy of the term creative?
I was purusing the blog listings on word press and wondered how there were so many different interpretations of what constitutes creative.
Noticing that there were lots that just didn’t strike me as all that interesting at first blush

Maybe it’s a lesson for me that one can’t judge a blog by its first impression …
I will have to do some more exploring …

SAD

Standard

Yep, it’s back, with a vengeance! It’s the continual cold, snow, lack of sun and all that goes with that which triggers my utter sadness despite all the good that is in my life.

Oh, I can name all the reasons why I shouldn’t be deep down crying sad, why I should be grateful and at the very least, mildly upbeat. I am pretty darn healthy, have reliable transportation, a home with heat and water and food, things so many are forced to live without in this bitter cold and harsh winter. I have generous and caring family and friends who bring so much goodness to my life. I have a challenging and rewarding job with many co-workers I admire and respect. I have a wonderful partner and two adorable cats who show me they love me often. All this and yet, I find myself irritable, distracted, unable to concentrate and downright melancholy. I know the symptoms well, they have plagued my winters for a few years now and I thought that this winter I had it licked … no real episodes of this unbearable woebegone-ness (ok, I don’t know if that’s a real word but I’m depressed, I am allowed to make up dispirited words) up until this last week. I guess I should be glad for that … at least I didn’t have to deal all winter long with the symptoms.

But, this is very hard for me … I’m the upbeat one among my friends, my family, in my workplace. I’m not supposed to be spouting the f~bombs and taking offense at every seemingly cross word uttered by others … those usually make me giggle. UGH! This snow globe is closing in on me and squeezing the air out making it difficult to breathe deeply, sleep soundly and keep an even keel.

I know “this too shall pass” and honestly, that’s what gets me through these periods of time when I am out of sorts. I keep telling myself that it WILL get better, that I WILL survive and THRIVE again. I tell myself it’s just the huge amounts of snow and the bitter cold that keep me feeling so forlorn and those will be gone in a few weeks. Honestly, if it wasn’t for Spring Training right around the corner (I’m counting down the days … 16 until the first games) I don’t think I could even sit here and write, I’d be so aggravated. But, time will move on and the days will lengthen and we will have a garden again, I just know it! Oh gosh, please don’t let this summer be like the one in 1816, then for sure I’d be a goner!

Grateful for so many things

Standard

Although I am writing this on Sunday, my thoughts about how very much I have to be grateful for began last week on Tuesday as we counted down to Thanksgiving. The day on which we are all supposed to contemplate, comment and be prayful about our blessings was a delightfully quiet day at home w/my boyfriend and his son eating good food and watching mediocre football.

Tuesday when I arrived home from a full day at work and just one more trip to the “oh my gosh, there’s a storm a brewing”-packed grocery store, I noticed a large box on the front deck which by the picture of a microwave oven on the side, held a very large appliance that I didn’t order. Opening the front door I said “there’s a microwave on the front porch” and he of few words replied “yes there is” and grinned. My life companion had decided he “heard enough bitchin’ about” the twenty plus year old machine we had and decided it was time to replace it. Now, I am the kitchen dweller in this family and for that reason alone should have been consulted but, you know what? I chose to be grateful, that he researched to find the best, ordered it online to be delivered and surprised me with an unexpected gift to make my life better.

Wednesday dawned and I was able to get out and do the needed errands before the snow started to fly and we even went out to lunch during the Noreaster which was both a treat and necessity since lots of cooking was going to be necessary for the rest of the day in preparation for Thursday. I was most grateful that we never lost power during the T’Giving prep and we were warm and snuggly inside all night.

Thursday we got up and at it early, the man out to shovel the walk, me to cook the dessert and accompaniments and clean all the dishes required to make those. We had a decent breakfast and the rest of the morning flew by as I prepared the turkey, stuffing, did more dishes and got the appetizer plate contents arranged. Our one guest arrived and we watched a bit of football, nibbled a little and then ate dinner at the appointed hour. It was delish and even though my mamma couldn’t make it here due to the snow, I was grateful that she was able to get to my brother’s house to share the day with his family.

Friday was my second day to enjoy the turkey and all its trimmings at my mom’s. I brought my new favorite homemade carrot pumpkin muffins, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, squash, chocolate cream pie and coconut whipped cream. We had a feast and then it was time to take her to a new store she just had to check out on Black Friday. I found myself grateful that we weren’t making our annual trek into Boston on the craziest shopping day of the holiday season although we were both nostalgic about the fun times we had doing just that.

Saturday mother and I went to the cinema for a family comedy which she had been wanting to see since it was first advertised and we both thoroughly enjoyed the silly, sappy film. Ate too much popcorn but when we went to Trader Joe’s after it didn’t stop us from trying all their samples. Funny thing is, I dropped mum off at the door since she has trouble walking with her hip pain and usually I find her close to the entrance after I park the car but this time she had vanished. And I wondered, but only briefly because I realized TJs free samples would be her first stop and sure enough, as soon as I located that part of the store, there she was, enjoying some kind of cheese danish. We slowly made our way around the store and discussed at length the pros and cons of each of her half dozen purchases. The amount of time this stroll around the small store took, sometimes returning twice to the same area, might have been irritating to me in the past. But Saturday, I found myself welcoming the slow pace, the scrutiny of ingredients and discussions about what products were best with my mother who is slowing down with the advancing years. I see things moving so fast by us when I am with her and wonder, where are we all going in such a hurry all the time?

So, here I am at Sunday, the weekend after Thanksgiving and feeling grateful that the snow is melting with the warmer temperatures, the chores we have accomplished around the house this morning are many and the best team in football is playing at 4:30 PM. Turkey soup is simmering on the stove and the biscuits are in the oven so we be eating turkey again for the fourth day and I’m not sick of it yet. In fact, I have plans to make turkey pot pie tomorrow. That’s what happens when you get an eighteen pound turkey for three. I am thankful today for a warm home with a loving partner by my side.

Companionable silence

Standard

The very low hum of not very distant traffic, the seconds ticking on the living room clock, a soft snore from my cat sleeping on the back of the couch and the occasional other tiny sounds that make up this household like the oil burner kicking on, are the only sounds audible at this moment. My domestic partner has decided to nap before teaching our evening class and I am enjoying this break from the intrusion of any extra sound.
Don’t get me wrong, I do love music and talking and laughter and even screeching little girls (we have a few of those residing on our street and the sound always makes me laugh) but I am not one of those members of the population who has to always have something “on” in the background. In fact, I often marvel at the fact that so many people say they couldn’t work out or run or perform their work duties without musical accompaniment. I don’t find it all that important to have a sound track when working or resting because I like to experience what is happening at the time in the space I find myself.

I do really love listening to music when sewing, driving or flying … so I get it that others want it all the time but I am quite happy in companionable silence for great periods of time during my day.

WooHoo … two days in a row

Standard

Here’s the link to my friend Ed’s blog: http://edwardtkoh.wordpress.com/ … go read there, it’s interesting and fun!

I don’t know why, but I seem to want to start sentences with “So, blah … blah … blah” at some point in my first paragraph. I have been able to stop that knee jerk tendency successfully thus far in the written words but I realized that frequently I start spoken conversations with that word. I may find that harder to curb since there is no ability to edit after the words are out. Starting sentences with “And” is another quirk that bugs me about my past writing attempts. I am serious about this exercise of writing frequently in an effort to learn from my mistakes and practice my ability to establish a voice or a character or a theme.

When I woke up yesterday morning after ruminating about what to do with the two pumpkins and a butternut squash I roasted the day before, I decided spicy pumpkin nut muffins would be the best choice before tai chi class. When the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger combination began wafting through the house, my decision was validated, the day was shaping up to be a beauty. Tai chi was another great session with Laoshi Karim which reinforced some known principles and reminded me of some basic techniques that improve performance of forms. Just like blog writing, the most important element is pracitce.

In an effort to improve my writing, I intend to re-read some long ago texts that might clarify the process. The first principle I must concentrate on is to omit needless words (one of 11 Elementary Principles of Composition* ). That is one of my writing and speaking foibles.

* From The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White  .