For those of you who are reading bits of our family tale, you'll probably know by now that we found our New Hampshire dream home
...but, after much soul searching, we made the heart wrenching decision to let this particular dream go...for now.
Think with the head.
Think with the heart.
Think with head.
Think with the heart.
We realized that the scenario we need must have the qualities of our dreams, but also has to make sense to the practicalities of our bank account.
I'm afraid that on this journey of ours to find our little resting spot in New England, we've disappointed people along the way. We rushed down a perceived path that called for quick action and quick thinking.
However, when that sparkling fairy dust of dreams finished falling softly to the earth and the end of the slippery and multi-colored rainbow gently touched us to the ground, we each took several long deep breaths and realized we were going to have to walk around that landing pad for awhile and begin thinking with our heads a bit more.
As a family, we have each looked at one another and the phrase "This too shall pass..." has been heard many times now. It has been heard lately as a whisper, as a declaration, as a wishful statement, and as a question.
We are sorry for the people that we have disappointed along the way as we pursue goals, shift gears, and make last minute turns.
One decision that has not wavered for a second is our newfound love for the state of New Hampshire. We spent the week of Thanksgiving exploring the tiny back roads of this gorgeous and evocative state.
The town of Keene, New Hampshire is like a scene lifted right out of a Norman Rockwell post card. Patrick and I spent several hours nestled into the window seat of Prime Roast Coffee Shop in downtown Keene talking over the many faceted decisions that we were about to make, afraid to make, wanted to make, but hesitated to make.
It helped that this little cozy coffee shop makes superb lattés. I had my hint of peppermint flavor added to my darkly roasted brew. We settled deep into our new pillowy down coats, and watched the activity of the little town buzz by as everyone readied for the lighting of the Christmas tree across the street.
For the first part of the Thanksgiving vacation, New Hampshire still donned a mantle of gourd colored golds, deep orange hued rusts, and dark moody chocolate browns. It was perfect scenery for us as we drove from village to village enjoying the end of fall muted colors, barren landscapes at the prime of changing seasons.
Farm stands are everywhere in New Hampshire. Their little topsy turvy wooden structures were all shuttered and buttoned up for the season. Crinkly leaves scuttled all over the fields, the forests, as well as the tiny back roads as everything is making way for the turn over of blustery fall to the quiet and crisp arrival of winter snowflakes.
After we returned from New Hampshire, hearts heavy with grief for the wrenching decision to let a very sweet little country home fade from our grasp, I wanted to cook a delicious meal that would feed the angst, disappointment, and yearning for answers that we were searching for in vain.
Since the holidays were looming on the horizon and we were making the decision to launch ourselves into more instability with our wayward decisions, I thought I would prepare a feast that would stand in for the Christmas repast that might not happen this year.
The memory of that week long journey filled with the muted colors of late fall, the soulful sound of the New Hampshire winds, and the swirling movement of the multi-colored leaves all influenced my gaze as I paused when I came across this recipe for,
Proscuitto Wrapped Pork Loin with Roasted Apples.
On the Eve of Thanksgiving, as all the small villages in the Monadnock region were preparing for the next day's turkey feast, many eyes were watching the incoming flow of thick grey clouds that were rolling in over the softly undulating hills.
Everywhere we went, the locals were glancing upwards and mentioning the first impending Nor'Easter of the season. Six to eight inches was the prediction being bantered about at the local Monadnock Co-Op. Everyone was busy predicting the amount of snowfall to arrive by Thanksgiving Day. Everywhere we went, the hustle and bustle was apparent as the locals prepared for the first winter's footprint to step up to the front door.
Eight to ten inches...was what we heard from others. The chat from our little coffee shop in downtown Keene to the buzz at the wonderful antique store, Bowerbird & Friends, in the artistic little village of Peterborough, quickly turned more and more to the looming Nor'easter.
|Passing the cozy saltboxes nestled in the Monadnock region|
And then it began. The wonderful swirl of winter flakes fluttered and pirouetted all around us. We had just returned from getting Madeleine in from the Boston airport...and the world was transforming into winter wonderland.
For us, having been in Texas for four years, snowfall, and everything wintery had become a distant memory. We practically sat with our noses pressed against the car windows while watching the lovely feather-like flakes fall in a dizzying dance all around us.
Truly, it was like being in a snow globe that was being gently shaken. We watched as the grand city of Boston retreated behind us and the rolling hills of the Monadnock region unfolded and tilted before us.
The landscape slowly changed from those browns, rusts, and golds, to that pristine down-like snowy brush stroke of white.
The snow fell and fell and fell. The earth looked scrubbed clean and sterile as everything became blanketed in starched white and stretched out to the corners.
Four inches, six inches, eight inches...the falling snow continued to pillow up on covered bridges, creaky old mailboxes, and twisty little country roads.
On Thanksgiving Day, we woke up to the most brilliant white landscape that looked nothing like the panorama we had seen the day before.
And...it was gorgeous. Pristine white snow. The mark of the changing season...the anticipated pulling out of downhill sleds, and the thoughts of afternoons filled with cross country skiing treks.
Since there would be no feasting at the Kenney home this Thanksgiving holiday, we made reservations at a little village inn called "Monadnock Inn" on Main Street in Jaffrey, NH.
After the dizzying excitement and stress of trying to secure our dream home, understand the ins and outs of septic systems, leach fields, wells, barns, generators, and all the whatnot that comes with historic old homes, the pleasure of sitting down for hours in front of a warm fire for a soup to nuts Thanksgiving meal was a huge delight.
I savored every sip of that ruby red glass of red wine. We generously spread the chive studded cream cheese over buttery crisp crackers, and thoroughly enjoyed our steaming bowls of clam chowder.
Every table was full, the chatter of happy families telling their tales to one another surrounded us, and the crackling fire in the fireplace was attended to throughout the afternoon.
What a mixture of savory and sweet for this Thanksgiving meal similar to the savory as well as sweet choices we found ourselves mulling over hour by hour. The sweetness, akin to daring to step outside our average every day lifestyle and plunge into something way off the beaten path is still a flavor that we crave. The savoriness, akin to having to wince at the unflavorful taste of reality has taught us that our best interest is our foremost concern in the long run. Taking our time to ensure that our hearts aren't overruling our minds or our minds aren't overruling our hearts we know will continue to tug and pull at one another until they both can tussle it out.
|Thanksgiving dinner at The Monadnock Inn in Jaffrey, NH|
Back at home, I worked quietly in the kitchen, my head filled with dizzying and conflicting thoughts that would not stop swirling and bumping together. In one moment, I pounded the pork with my hefty mallet and then at other times, I calmly sliced the garlic into thin petite slivers.
As always, the aromas of onions being sautéed, the scent of a pork loin being roasted, and my herb scented hands flavored with rosemary and thyme, are like a balm that soothes all that is uncomfortable and uncertain around me.
We took one of the days we were in New Hampshire and decided to go Christmas shopping in the active little sea port town of Portsmouth, NH.
Along the way, we passed this terrific hillside where brightly clad children were flying down the snow covered hills while precariously perched on their assortments of sleds.
How fun that looked! How carefree! We laughed watching them and realized their world was so full of stability and playfulness right now. And then, the phrase was uttered once more,
"This too shall pass..." We, too, will find that right balance in our search and become carefree and playful once more.
|The gorgeous Monadnock winter scenery|
|Winter scenes in the adorable village of Walpole, NH|
We had a fantastic day in Portsmouth, completely immersed in everything festive and jolly. Christmas carolers crooned on the street corners, winter snow piled up along the sidewalks, and lights twinkled on the town Christmas tree...Everything seasonal was out on full display and now sweetly capped with winter white.
|Street scenes from Portsmouth, New Hampshire|
We had a terrific meal at a local seafood favorite called Surf. The parmesan fried calamari spiked with a chili pepper vinaigrette was a hit. The clam chowder at Surf was considered by each of us to have best flavors of those tried during the week. We're still novices when it comes to lobster rolls but all I can say is nestled bites of warm fresh lobster meat in a crusty baguette with ladled butter drizzled on top? Heavenly? Oh, yeah...just heavenly. We felt more local with every messy bite.
|Surf Seafood in Portsmouth, NH|
|Surf Seafood in Portsmouth, New Hampshire|
Our worries for that day were shelved and fully ignored. Portsmouth is a fun sea port town filled with great shopping and dining. Since it was a holiday weekend and also right at the official start of the Christmas season, the streets were filled with families visiting, eating, and laughing with one another. We all agreed, we'll be back to play in this town for sure.
After drooling over all the sweets on display in the shop windows of Portsmouth, we decided to indulge in some locally made/chemical free pumpkin whoopie pies. They were a perfect blend of spiciness and sweetness.
I'm actually writing this entry as a hive of activity swirls around me on our final day in our Texas home. The moving truck is finally here, after having broken down and further complicating our already over-complicated life at present.
Boxes are being stacked everywhere, paper is flying, tape is being stretched and pulled with that lovely screeeeching sound. Yesterday, our credit AND debit cards were hacked and we sat helpless in the car watching someone have a grand shopping spree at Toys R Us, compliments of the Kenney's.
As I sit at my lone kitchen table, I'm actually enjoying all of the hubbub swirling around me. The idea of adventure is always exciting to me. The idea of the collective materialistic markers of our lives being neatly packed into boxes feels somehow wonderfully freeing.
Patrick calls me the rolling stone. We're the family of rolling stones, I guess. We've even discussed the idea of NOT settling down at all, but embarking on a journey that would keep those belongings stored away in those cardboard boxes for awhile longer.
I was telling my mother-in-law how much I feel like I have disappointed people with our recent decision not to buy, what we believed, was our dream home. I told her "I am too much a dreamer...who doesn't want the realities of life to interfere".
She responded by flat out telling me that "Dreamers are the people who are Do'ers".
I like that. Being a dreamer certainly has its drawbacks. But, hopefully I can be a dreamer that can also be a do'er, too.
And...then my daughter chimed in when she got home from college and summed things up nicely. She said, "Mom! I have the perfect quote for us right now..."
"When life hands you lemons...hand them back.
Life will be...like...