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Lunch Break

22 May

I firmly believe in stopping work and eating lunch. I need that time, sandwiched in the middle of the day (pun intended), for restoration.

I don’t take it for granted. I’ve had a year of lunches plucked from between classes, spent in the convenience store next door. I’ve had hundreds of lunches, stranded an hour’s commute from home, imagining what it would be like to sit on my porch like a cat, watching the birds flit by. I’ve spent lunches at my desk, letting my mind wander, wishing for a moment of company.

But lately, I’ve had some lovely, lazy summertime lunches, full of sunlight, fresh sandwiches, and iced tea. Something I try to do whenever I go home for lunch is improve something. Whether I work on a quilt or unload the dishwasher or simply sit at the window and clear the clutter in my mind, I need to carry a small accomplishment in my pocket as I face the remainder of the day.

Today, my small accomplishment was to take a photo. I’m always trying to figure out what my photographic style might be. I may never know, but I definitely won’t if I don’t go out take some photos.

My subject was humble. Plain, even. But I wanted to capture a simple moment and see if it could tell a little story. As I was preparing a batch of honey mint iced tea, using my grandma’s old cherry jar, I found something to cherish. Because even though I have prettier tea vessels, none of those make me think of Grandma. Plus, in the background, you can just see the lovely turquoise colander my in-laws gave me and the cheerful “eat food” sign from a trip to East Hampton, MA on my pantry door.


There is very little difference between this before and the after. I tried to capture the light just as it was in the kitchen, so I only turned up the brightness and saturation a bit when I took it to Photoshop. I see so many photographers who do great, compelling work with low saturation. But I also love to see colors pop, while keeping a natural tone. Which do you prefer?

As a follow-up to this post, I’d like to add that I also fixed my vacuum cleaner during my lunch break, using pliers and a coat hanger. That, however, doesn’t quite make for an interesting blog entry.


The Ties That Bind

16 Apr


Five years ago, almost to the day, we were standing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Crews were working to complete the set-up, tourists and townies were milling around, many like us were happily taking photos. A few marathoners were looking in awe at the patch of ground that symbolized completion of a hard-fought journey.

We had recently arrived in the city on a visit to test the waters, trying to decide if we could make the cross-country move and call it home. I spent our first day there feeling overwhelmed. Boston was big and busy and people lacked the southern graces that tempered conversations at home. The T felt new and exciting, but also unfamiliar and claustrophobic. The city streets were teeming with people and buildings and smells that disoriented me. What can I say, I’m simple folk.

On this day, we were making an epic walking journey, starting from where the 57 bus dropped us off at Kenmore Station all the way to the North End. And in the middle of our trip, we came to stand at the Marathon’s finish line. At that moment, the fog lifted. The city I appreciated from a distance came into focus, it became real. I knew–like millions of people in the country and around the world–that this finish line was a special place. For over a hundred years, people from all walks of life crossed this line and felt a sense of completion. They had proven to anyone watching that they could succeed at an immense feat of training and willpower. If you met a person who had completed the Boston Marathon, you were in the company of a powerful human being. And nearly an entire city took the day off to cheer them on, for every inch of 26.2 miles.

As we stood there, I could feel the history of Boston. I could feel the vast  pride of its citizens. I could feel the heartbeat of a city populated by people who were born in its borders and in counties far away. I felt how lucky I was to be there.

We did move to that city. We tested cannoli, we tested the water on Revere Beach, we tested ourselves against the frigid, unending winter. Boston is where our marriage took root and it’s where we faced some of our greatest hardships thus far. I was in the midst of the city when my husband called and burst into tears as he told me my father had died. Shaken and still uncomprehending, I couldn’t force myself onto a stifling train, so I just walked across the city. It was my only companion as I passed through crowds of strangers. It was steadfast and ageless when it felt like my life was crumbling. At Copley Square, I sighed heavily as comprehension slowly came over me. And I went into the ground to catch a train home.

I’m writing this because I treasure my time in Boston, though it was brief.  It is a strong, beautiful place. It’s citizens are tough and they are resilient. Boston is hurting, and Bostonians around the world are hurting to be there, to heal the brokenness and embrace the broken. And while I have less of a claim to the city than many, I want to be steadfast for Boston like it was for me.

1960s Home Office

14 Jan

Look what came in the mail this weekend! As Garrett said, “Maegan, if y0u were a fabric, this might be it.”

Now, the hard part. What do I do with it?



Purchased from Amanda at Westwood Acres.

The Marriage of Two Bookworms

16 Oct

This weekend, two of our best friends got married on a hillside. At the rehearsal, the weather was chilly, windy, and a dense fog hung over the mountains. But on the day of the wedding, the sun shone and a breeze wafted gently through the trees. They couldn’t have planned it better.

Our friends are a couple of bookworms. They own hundreds and hundreds of books between them (thus the Great Summer Bookshelf Project of ’12). So, a few months ago,  when theys starting posting photos of handmade flowers and paper chains made of literature, I wasn’t surprised. But I was amazed. Here’s a taste:

You’re just my type

11 Oct

Mod Podge Typewriter


Typically, typewriters and glue need to stay as far apart as possible. Unless your typewriter came out of Life magazine and your glue is Mod Podge, then you’re probably okay.

I was feeling the urge to create a couple of weeks ago and started rummaging through my house to find the right combination of what-nots to match the kind of craft I felt like making. I wanted to paint a little bit, I wanted to decoupage a bit, and I wanted something vintage-y. I can’t say I had a plan in mind.  Even now I’m not sure how it came together, but it came together fast. I just painted some sun-streaks on the canvas, then picked up my Exacto-knife (okay, it’s really just a box cutter) and went to town on the first intriguing picture I found in an old issue of Life magazine.

I remember that I really debated on whether to spend the dollar on the magazine, but in the end I’m glad I did. The only problem I’m having now is, is the picture finished? Do I need to add lettering, more pictures, or leave it simple?



The one where I get started

11 Oct

This bingo card is one of the first things I see every day. That is, once I’ve woken up a bit… which is usually after I’ve made it to work. This card is also the first piece of decor I hung in my office. I get fairly frequent questions about its significance, but there isn’t a good answer. Is “I liked it” good enough?


Dr Rachel Reed

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