Saturday, November 2, 2013

Two Down

Day 2 of NaNoWriMo has been a success. I wrote 1,785 words today, bringing my two-day total to 3,934 -- 600 words ahead of schedule.

That feels good.

I also went to a write-in this afternoon hosted at Panera by one of the local NaNoWriMo leaders. It was good to get out and meet a couple of my fellow writers. But while there I only got halfway through my word count for the day and had to finish up at home. Being a pretty solitary writer, the words flow much more smoothly when I am home alone with the canine munchkin. Fewer distractions and all that.

The light to moderate snoring by my feet doesn't count as a distraction. It brings a smile to my face every time.

Just glad that the first two days are done. Twenty-eight more to go!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Having a Blast

So far, so good. For the first day of NaNoWriMo, I wrote 2,149 words.

That feels pretty fabulous. I was aiming to get to 2,000, and I had to do just 1,666 to stay on track to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

Needless to say, I'm pumped.

More to come.   

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Zee End!

Done. Complete. Finito.

Although this wasn't done by April 30, as originally intended, I am happy to have followed through and gotten through the alphabet.

The next challenge, NanoWriMo, starts tomorrow.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013


I'm excited about NanoWriMo. Launch in two days.

This does so  count as a proper post.


Monday, October 28, 2013

X: A Fascinating Letter

Dictionaries are amazing. I remember thinking I was pretty odd for including one on my Christmas wish list when I was somewhere around age 12. And the first time I sat down to edit something professionally -- at a magazine during the pre-internet days -- I reached for the dictionary sitting on the corner of my desk multiple times to be able to do that article a semblance of true editorial justice.

Today, when I edit, I'm still somewhat old school in that I often use an admittedly clunky hard-backed dictionary. I like the feel of the book in hand, and having all that information ready at the turn of a page or two, or a thousand.

In an expression of adaptability, however, I've also been known to use my fingertips to log on to an online dictionary for a quick check of something. Especially lovely is the option of clicking to hear a word pronounced correctly out loud.

Anyhoo, in seeking inspiration for this post, I sought out the tattered red Merriam-Webster in my possession and opened to the section beginning with the large "X." This letter appears to have the shortest section dedicated to it in the tome -- one page plus perhaps one-sixth of another. And a good number of the words seem to have a scientific or mechanical association, such as having to do with the body, the universe, a plant species, a machine or something of that nature.

Fascinating, I tell ya.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Wondrous Fall

If y'all have noticed -- and some of you have, because you've mentioned it via question or statement -- I'm not quite done with the alphabetical-blog-post thing.

Clearly I'm still working on it. And the once-monthly or every-other-month post isn't going to cut it, because I have just a few days left of October to wrap that up before taking on another challenge. Needless to say, I'm motivated. And, in my opinion, very little motivates or inspires a writer quite like a deadline does.

I'll get to that in a minute. Back to the "W" post.

Fall really is wondrous in Maine. In fact, I've been enjoying the seasonally low temps and sunshine so much that I didn't take too many photos of the colorful leaves while they graced the numerous trees that envelop us in this beautiful place.


I did manage to take a few last week. We were so far along in the leaf-dropping by that point, though, that I had to point the camera toward the sky to get a shot of more than one color in one spot, along with some fullness to the branches.

Green, red and a hint of yellow in the background

Straight yellow

Clifford among the ground-level leaves -- with the
now droopy Hostas trailing behind
I noticed for the first time this year that when leaves fall, they sound like interrupted raindrops. It's another of those wondrous things.

In other happenings, last night a friend and I took in the sight of nearly 10,000 carved, lit pumpkins at the Pumpkin Festival at LL Bean in Freeport to benefit Camp Sunshine.

A tower of bright pumpkins

Top o' the boot to ya

Pumpkin house

A pumpkin carver after my own heart :)

Pumpkins lined the sidewalks and the entryways to the
LL Bean grounds
So, the exciting thing coming up in November: NaNoWriMo.


That's National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is to write a 50,000-word work of fiction in 30 days. It doesn't have to be good; it just needs to get done. For those of us who love to write but also belabor, overanalyze, procrastinate, etc., it's a fabulous way to just get the thoughts out and down. The work then, of course, is to rewrite and polish, and rewrite and polish ...

You get the point.

I've signed up for NaNoWriMo in years past and gotten a few days in before falling out of the daily writing habit and keeping up with the word count.

We'll see how it goes this year. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Very Interesting Cola

It's no secret that if you were not born in Maine, you are "from away." A good friend has lived here since she was 3, but she is still considered from away. Her husband, on the other hand, is a native Mainer whose family has lived in the state since the early part of its history. In fact, his ancestors were instrumental in settling the southern part of it.

Those are the kind of solid roots had by native Mainers. They're pleasant to the rest of us who are from away, but no matter how long we may live here, we'll never not be from away.

We can, however, enjoy the glory and wonder that is Maine and take part in its many traditions, like lobster and whoopie pies, lush green forests and rocky shorelines, LL Bean and our foodie capital Portland, and so much more. I followed the path of many a native Mainer recently by drinking a Moxie, the official state drink.

If you haven't heard of this strange cola in an orange can, it definitely falls into the trippy category. It's unique -- or, as the tagline on its website says, distinctively different. I read an article, probably two or more years ago, that quoted someone as saying that the first sip of Moxie is the worst. And I remember deciding at the time that I didn't need to have a firsthand experience with it. Kind of like not feeling the need to go skydiving to know that it's not for me.

One day recently I happened to be at a friend's house -- the one considered from away -- and found myself being offered a Moxie. Apparently, her teenage sons drink the stuff. My curiosity must have gotten the better of me that day, because I was a bit intrigued. I said I'd try it. My friend popped the can open and set it in front of me.

Initially, all seemed well. I detected a hint of something that was reminiscent of black licorice, but naught was amiss. Then my palate picked up on a medicinal taste that then morphed into something utterly indescribable.

My friend burst out laughing at the face I made as that first sip lingered, and lingered some more -- and my tongue repeatedly smacked against the roof of my mouth trying to dislodge the offending taste.

Then I did something that surprised even me: I proceeded to drink the rest of the can. After all, from what I had heard, it was all downhill from there.

You, too, can take the plunge into the Maine-originated phenomenon that is Moxie. If you decide to indulge, though, be sure to shore up your moxie.  

You'll need it.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


In the big scheme of things, there is all manner of the unexpected to be experienced. Some of it feels good, and some of it just doesn't.

This isn't going to be a philosophical or spiritual discussion about nonattachment, and how if we are in such a place we don't look at things as good or bad -- we simply observe them, etc. etc. 

Personally, I have made progress in the nonattachment effort in some areas and not so much in others.

But I digress. Truly.

This is really about getting a call, seemingly out of the blue, from a friend who sensed -- across the illusions we call time and space -- that something might be up and calling to check in may be in order.

That kind of unexpected feels really, really good. Especially when it involves hearing from someone who cared enough not only to heed that inner nudging, but also to go ahead pick up the phone and do something a little apart from the ordinary by calling later than propriety may suggest.

Thank you, S. Gratitude is still reverberating around my inside parts.


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tiny Houses

So, after another respite from blogging, I'm back at it. Onward with the remaining letters of the alphabet.

For those of you who have reminded me about that, thank you for the nudge. I hadn't forgotten. I've just been busy composing posts in my head. ;)

Like this one, for instance. I'm all for simplifying, and I'm intrigued by the tiny house concept -- thus why I'm jazzed by the thought of a rolling home. But these shelters give a whole new meaning to tiny.

They are fairy houses, and they can be found on Mackworth Island in Falmouth, Maine. No wonder, because it's a truly magical place right on the coast. Tree-lined trails lead around the edge of the island, providing a gorgeous canopy of stillness. It feels a world away from the busyness of Falmouth's Rte. 1, and of Portland, Maine's largest city, which is right across the water.

The one challenge about this beautiful place is parking, particularly during the summer. But it's well worth the time and effort to be able to spend some time in the magic that is Mackworth.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Letting Go

Yesterday I said goodbye, for now, to Belle, whom I often called my big, beautiful black girl.


She looks as beautiful as ever in that photo, taken yesterday morning, but she was declining pretty rapidly. She was jaundiced, had lost more than seven pounds in a short time period (going from 17 pounds to less than 10) after doing a lot of vomiting and then not eating, and, I discovered when we went to the vet Friday, had a mass in her abdomen. The vet's prognosis was that she had cancer.

Before he came out with the "c" word, though, he was using language like "supportive care." The latter finally started to permeate the brain fog that tends to come when I'm processing not-so-good news from a health care provider. I realized that we were talking about making her comfortable in the short time she had left -- not discussing options like medication to resolve whatever temporary thing was going on.

I opted not to engage in extraordinary diagnostic or treatment measures. I'd had Belle for nearly 10 years and she was almost 4 years old when she came to me, so at close to 14 she had had a good, long, healthy life. I didn't want her last days to be filled with pain and repeated trips to the vet to be poked and prodded. And I wanted to let her go in a peaceful, loving way that honored her life.

Belle was a fireball. She was sweet, loving, intelligent and feisty -- a girl after my own heart. She had figured out how to slide open the screen door, so she would often let herself outside for a few minutes of freedom before I realized what she had done and caught up with her. And even though she'd spend most of her days quietly sleeping in another room, her presence so filled the space of our small home that it now feels quite empty without her. Clifford and I are certainly adjusting to a new normal today.

Just one example of Belle's feistiness: Before canine munchkin Clifford came into our lives, I had a pit bull named Elmo. Elmo was 75 pounds of muscle and love. He enjoyed getting in Belle's face and trying to get her to play. One day she simply had had enough. With an "I just can't take it anymore" attitude Belle chased Elmo around and around the coffee table in the living room, making him scooch his butt around the corners so he wouldn't get claws in his hindquarters.

Those are the laugh-inducing times that make me wish I had a video camera always at the ready.

Not only did she hold her own against the playful Elmo, but she also did with Ariel, my first four-legged kid and the senior one in the household at the time. The night I brought Belle home, I left her in her carrier on top of the table for a bit so she could get a sense of her surroundings while Elmo and Ariel picked up on her scent and got adjusted to her presence. At one point, Ariel jumped up on the chair right in front of Belle's carrier. When she finally caught on that a cat was in there, Ariel turned to me with an absolutely disgusted look on her face as if to say, "You b*&%$! What have you done?!"

That was also quite comical.

Although Ariel and Belle never became best buds, they did develop a healthy respect for one another that allowed for a peaceful coexistence. With time, Elmo, Ariel and Belle came to be a companionable threesome.

I believe gratitude can make a whole lot of things better, so right now I'm grateful:

  • That Belle was purring and conscious during her last days and hours here, and that her last vision of me and the world around her wasn't through a haze of pain
  • That we got a last night of togetherness, and that Belle was afforded an opportunity to exercise her huntress capabilities with the moth that presented itself to her like an offering Friday evening
  • That we arrived at our appointment a bit early, and Belle got to wander around outside and eat her fill of grass
  • That life continues after we release a physical body, and even though it's hard for our human senses to realize it, our loved ones are still with us after we let them go

Odd couples make for great buddies

Monday, May 20, 2013


With all the turmoil in the world, it feels like a post like this could go up every day sending prayers and loving thoughts to all those affected by tragedy.

Today, though, the thoughts and prayers are for everyone in the Oklahoma City area impacted by the day's tornado. May the survivors be found and pulled from the rubble quickly, may the healing begin for the injured, and may the hearts of those who lost loved ones and homes start to mend.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


It's been long awaited. And it's finally arrived.

The signs are all around. Today is the first day that I stepped outside and didn't feel at least a bit of coolness in the air. It's actually warm -- 72 degrees right now.

Gotta wonder how that can be so when right below the current temp on Yahoo's weather app it says the high today will be 66 degrees.

With the exception of a couple of days that have been a bit cloudy here and there, we've had just about two straight weeks of sunshine. All the sun and lack of rain hasn't been good for the area's water level, but I'm sure it's brightened many a Mainer's mood after such a long winter.

In just about 10 days, the hardy hostas have already progressed nicely in their growth cycle.

From daring shoots ...

... to beauteous leafy blooming

All that leafy goodness will eventually serve as a salad bar of sorts for the deer with whom we share these woods. The hostas grow and cover all the ground area of the small rotary in front of the house, making a lush munching spot for our white-tailed friends.

The woodsy trees are sporting more and more green as the leaves bud and unfurl, and the flowering trees are getting more colorful.

Part of spring's sunny palette

I've been enjoying the signs as they present themselves. And now I'm off to enjoy this glorious day. Hope you get to do the same.

Friday, May 3, 2013


I got a postcard in the mail today reminding me that my college class will have its 20th reunion this year.

How on earth has it been two decades since I graduated from college?

I know I'm not the first person to feel the unrelentingly quick passage of time, and I certainly won't be the last. But gersh dernit. It seems nearly impossible.

It's one of those double-edged sword things, really. I certainly have done a lot of living in the intervening years. Lived in various regions of the country. Moved a whole lot. Worked for a bunch of different companies. Met some great people. Made some enduring connections. Got married. Got divorced. Bought and released a couple of homes. Started to find my way back to my Self. Began living more authentically. Let go of a whole lot of baggage.

And much more.

So, while it's hard to believe that much time has gone by, almost in a blink or two, there is a tremendous feeling of lightness and freedom setting in now.

Anyway, as you may have noticed, I did not make it through the alphabet with blog posts during April. But I will make it through the alphabet, by golly.

This post marks one more down. Eight more to go.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


The peepers have gone quiet.

I guess those little male frogs have all found their mates. They were looking for them quite vociferously, judging by the racket they were making last week.

When Cliff and I were walking up the driveway one day, the boy peepers were really vocal. When we got to the marshy area a little ways away from the house, all noise stopped. They certainly knew we were there alongside them and went into stealth mode.

Now they are just quiet altogether. I don't hear them from inside the house anymore, or while we are out walking.

Best of luck to all the new frog couples and the tadpoles they are creating.

People and Places

After my last blog post, I realized I would need to make a correction.

When I moved to Maine three years ago, I went on a walking tour of Freeport hosted by the Freeport Historical Society. It wasn't a ghost tour per se, but we did end up learning about some of the more famous ghost stories involving the structures along and near Main Street.

That's the correction, which probably is more of a clarification.

Anyhoo, there's quite a story about the spot where I dined outside this past weekend with the canine munchkin in tow. As I recall it, in Maine's early days, a family of settlers was attacked by Native Americans. The father was killed, along with some of the family's children. One of the children who died was a toddler who was in his mother's arms when they were shot. The mother survived but lived the rest of her life with a bullet in her chest.

Many years later, as the story goes, one of the Native Americans was at a tavern in Freeport boasting about his role in the attack. Little did he know that the owner of the tavern was a descendant of that family of settlers. The tavern owner got the Native American to go with him up into the monitor -- an enclosed lookout area on the top of buildings and homes that enabled folks to see ships coming in from sea.

Needless to say, the Native American was never seen alive again. But apparently his ghost was frequently seen in the monitor, and the only way the ghost could be purged was to remove the monitor from the building.

That tavern sat on the corner of Main Street and Bow Street. The original building is no longer there. The spot is now occupied by Linda Bean's Maine Lobster, where Cliff and I sat by the fire from my last post.

This is how it all looks today.

Linda Bean's Maine Kitchen is the brick building
on the right

I fully understand the benefit of living in the present moment. Yet history has always intrigued me.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Out and About

I've needed a little break from blogging, but I'm back now. Clearly I have some catching up to do to get through the rest of the alphabet with post titles by the end of April -- so several days coming up will require double posts.

That should make up for any slacking on my part, perceived or real.

This past weekend, Clifford and I went to dinner in Freeport, Maine. We sat at an outdoor table at the restaurant, right on a street corner with a nice fire.

The fire, though lovely, was not exactly for warmth --
particularly when the wind blew it away from us

We both enjoyed our people-watching spot

Interesting corner

The corner we were on claims interesting history indeed. It's right across from the L.L. Bean flagship store, as you can see, where Main Street and Bow Street meet. The corner is actually curved and much larger than usual. Apparently, back in the 1700s, the British navy coveted Maine's stately white pines for its ships' masts. Horses would pull the lengthy trees down Bow Street to Mast Landing for shipping, and the ample rounding of the corner was necessary for the horses and soon-to-be masts to clear the space.

The things you learn on a ghost tour of an old New England town.

More on that next time.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Neat Things

The cool and unexpected thing at the RV show that I mentioned the other day is this.

That photo doesn't say much, unfortunately. Lots of folks were walking in and out, so I couldn't get a good shot of this beauty on its own. 

It's a Hymer B-Class SL 778 -- a nearly 28-foot-long German-made motorhome that may make its way into the American market. Apparently, the manufacturer has been testing the brand in the U.S. market to see if we Yanks have any interest in it. 

I certainly do. The interior is sleek, with clean lines and European elegance. Yet it's also quite functional. I really like how the bed area in the back is raised, and there's this roomy cargo area beneath. 

Click here for a YouTube video (not mine) that'll give you a tour of the interior. 

Who knows? Maybe some of this sleekness will be available by the time I'm ready to purchase my RV. It may make me rethink my thoughts about a 24-footer. 

Or not. That best-laid plans thing and all ...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Boston holds many fond memories for me. When I was young, my parents would make the 1.5-hour drive from Rhode Island so we could visit the science museum and go to Red Sox games. We also loved shopping and eating at Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall and the Seaport.

In college, I'd make the trek from Connecticut to Boston to visit with my best friend who transferred to Boston College. We'd get gussied up and dance for hours.

Growing up in Rhode Island, and now living in Maine, Boston has always felt like my "big city." Yet it is also small enough that I often have described it as manageable. I could never really connect with the pace or energy of New York City, but Boston's has always felt more doable for this typically non-city girl.

My heart goes out to the residents and visitors of Beantown whose lives changed in an instant yesterday, and to all those who love them. May they be comforted in their shock and grief, and may they know that they are not alone.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Lost for Words

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those who lost loved ones, were injured or were otherwise impacted by the events of the day in Boston.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


The trip to the RV show ended up being today rather than yesterday.

The show was not quite as large as I expected it to be, at least in terms of variety of RV types and sizes. There were, however, lots and lots of trailers, which offered a kaleidoscope of layouts.

Unfortunately, going into the show I had pretty much decided against towing a trailer. But I liked looking, if only to get more confirmation about my decision and to see the numerous configurations of living spaces.

A couple of the trailers were particularly intriguing, for different reasons.

This Cobblestone Ultra Lite by Idea seemed like it would be ideal in terms of amenities and layout. It was a manageable size and it had a fixed bed, small dinette and a bathroom with a corner shower.

It certainly would be very livable. But if I were to do a trailer, I'd get an Airstream. There weren't any Airstreams at this show to poke around in, though. Winnebago was absent, too.

The other trailer that caught my eye is this retro beauty. Plusses for it were the fixed (yet single-sized) bed and the cozy interior. The minuses were mostly around the state of the facilities, so to speak, or the lack thereof.

Cute, though, eh?

I spent the most time looking at a couple of Class Bs and what I think was likely a Class B+, all from Pleasure Way. The Bs felt a lot better inside than I expected them to. For the most part, the living space seemed rather spacious for a large van. But I was concerned about storage space for full-time living. I know some folks can minimize that much, but I just don't think I'm among them.

I would have liked for there to have been more Class Cs to sit in and get a feel for. Overall, although the show didn't offer what I was hoping it would, I did feel that I got a chance to confirm my idea of a getting a motorhome rather than a trailer.

And I think a 24-foot Class C is going to be my rig. We shall see.

Stay tuned for a look at one cool and unexpected cat at the show that I'll share about tomorrow.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


The plan is to go to an RV show tonight, folks. I'm very excited to look with near-readiness-for-travel eyes.

If I can post when I get back after the show later, I will. If not, the update about the fun stuff I saw will come tomorra.

Yes. That's spelled correctly (in the way I say it, at least). :)

Friday, April 12, 2013

In a Name, What's: More About Gettin' Trippy

Had to really work with that title to fit with "I" day for the blogging challenge. Figured today would would be as good a day as any to share more about how this blog came to receive its moniker.

In short, it's named as it is because life is just, well, trippy.

Specifically, I'm talking about things like contrast: having the experiences that help us know what we don't want -- with the attendant soul-searing that often accompanies those experiences -- before we truly come to know what we do want.

I've had a good bit of contrast through the years, and even though it still continues, I'm grateful to report that it's now happening with much greater ease than it once did. One thing that has made a huge difference in bringing more of that ease into all areas of my life is the prayer that I started saying within the past few years.

At some point, after yet another knocking on the proverbial noggin from something or other, I wondered if it all really had to be that hard. Yes, life is like a schoolhouse in many respects, but, I thought, does it have to be so dang hard to get the point of what we're here to learn?

So, my prayer became, "Gently yet certainly. Please." In other words, I absolutely do want to continue to learn, grow and become more of who I am here to be. But I don't need continual whack-with-a-2x4 type of experiences to come to understand. Gently yet certainly gets it accomplished for all concerned -- a win-win in corporate America speak.

A good friend of contrast is not being where I thought I'd be at this stage of my life. There's a humorous and poignant scene in the hit TNT show "The Closer" (which, unfortunately, is no longer pumping out new seasons). Kyra Sedgwick plays Brenda Leigh Johnson, the dynamic main character. On Brenda's 40th birthday, she sits in a bathroom stall at work and says, "This is not where I thought I'd be today."

That statement is obviously about more than just the literal spot she's in when she says it. Brenda's angst about turning 40 is clear, as is her pondering that her life has not necessarily gone in the direction that she thought it might.

I certainly didn't think I'd be looking into buying, living aboard and traveling the country in an RV at this age. In younger years, I thought for sure that, at this point, I'd be living a life that looked an awful lot like having a husband, a house, two kids, a dog and a cat in suburbia somewhere, happily teaching throughout the school year, traveling during breaks and writing books in the summer.

Let's just say that anytime I've wanted a really good laugh, I've made a plan for my life.

Those are just a couple of the ways life has been trippy looking out my windshield. How 'bout you?

Thursday, April 11, 2013


As I awoke this morning to a beautiful sunshine-and-blue-sky day greeting me through the bedroom window, I felt a wave of sheer, straight-up happiness.

Some other things that trip my happiness trigger like that: witnessing kindness, laughter, hugs, solid and lengthy sleep, cute canines, purring felines, fresh flowers, delectable chocolate, strong yet sweet coffee, close friends, loving family, a wonderful meal, traveling, the ocean, wind on my face, a book that pulls me in from the first page, early spring air, a forest hike, a cracking campfire ...

You get the picture.

More and more it's really what the world considers the little things that have a big impact on my happiness. The process of simplifying has had a similar effect. I live in an apartment that's just shy of 600 square feet, and in many ways it's more than I need. Of course, it's not quite big enough for the stuff I still have, even after several rounds of downsizing during the past few moves, so it feels cramped in that sense.

That's likely why I've been feeling led to get a storage unit as part of the preparation for getting an RV.  Storage will be for the things I think I want to keep long term. What's left in the apartment after separating that stuff out will either stay with me for day-to-day use on the road, be sold or be given away.

Back to happiness. A few months ago I watched a movie titled "Happy," which is a well-worth-your-time type of thing. (Note for Amazon Prime members: Log in and check it out. I think you'll be pleased with the price.) In the movie, I learned about Bhutan's Gross National Happiness philosophy. Most countries are focused on Gross Domestic Product, but not Bhutan. Here are just a couple of the remarkable passages from the 2008 coronation speech of the young king of Bhutan, whose father instated democracy when he abdicated the throne:

"Yet we must always remember that as our country, in these changing times finds immense new challenges and opportunities, whatever work we do, whatever goals we have -- and no matter how these may change in this changing world -- ultimately without peace, security and happiness we have nothing. That is the essence of the philosophy of Gross National Happiness. Our most important goal is the peace and happiness of our people and the security and sovereignty of the nation. ...

"I am confident because I know the worth and character of our people. You are the true jewel of this nation. As citizens of a spiritual land you treasure the qualities of a good human being -- honesty, kindness, charity, integrity, unity, respect for our culture and traditions, love for our country and for God. Throughout our history our parents have upheld these values and placed the common good above the self."

I don't know about you, but those passages resonate deeply with me. Seems to me they echo much of what the founders of our country were aiming for. And they so powerfully summarize what feels to be so needed not only in our leaders today, both here in the U.S. and around the world, but also in each of us.

Imagine how much happiness we could generate, together.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Not so much. Just not feeling it today.

Of course, that could be helped, in part, by the creeping crud I'm experiencing. Hopefully it has stopped its advance. I took some good advice and just rested today.

So as to not leave you completely empty-handed for the day, though, here is a shot of winter in Maine. Although this pic was taken in January 2012, we had many similar scenes this year.

Just beautiful, I tell ya.

View looking up the driveway

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Given that my "D" day was about deadlines and how much I'm wired toward them, I'm giving myself 15 minutes to get this post done. I'm just ready to crash for the evening.

The editor in me feels compelled to say that to make this work as my "F" post for today, I had to spell out the number in the title. I'm a big user of the Associated Press Stylebook, which says that numbers 10 and above should be presented as numerals rather than written out. If you're not a writer or an editor, that's probably like a foreign language to you. Moreover, you likely don't give a hoot.

Ah, the things we detail-oriented types think about.

The other "F" word I considered writing about today is "Finally" -- finally it's spring. In Maine at this stage of April, that means it's still a tad bit nippy (at least what most of the rest of the country would consider nippy) but we're grateful that things are starting to warm up. This week daytime highs will cover a 20-degree range -- from the upper 30s to upper 50s -- while nighttime temps will be in the mid to upper 30s. Not bad considering that two years ago, during my first winter here, we got a significant snowstorm on April 1.

And I know my blood has thickened when 37 degrees feels on the warm side. With temps in the single digits more days than we would have liked this winter, it got downright frigid here. When it comes to the weather -- as with many things in life -- it's all about perspective.

Well, those fifteen minutes are up. Off to bed.

At least that phrase is not likely to be misheard as "off with her head" in this day and age. What a disastrous consequence that would be.

Can you tell I'm tired?

Nite, all.

Monday, April 8, 2013


I got to thinking about exuberance after spending a day and a half with Tuck, my friends' highly active and extraordinarily sweet Yellow Lab/Husky mix this past weekend. At only 8 months or so old, Tuck is always ready to play and simply embodies exuberance.

In my state of relative resting yesterday and today -- yesterday because it was Sunday, and I'm taking the whole day of rest thing quite seriously these days, and today because I needed more taking-it-easy time with the froggy-throat-and-coughing thing that's been going on in my body since Friday -- I poked around on the web and came across three very different folks who also strike me as exuberant, each in his or her own way.

What they all have in common: They're young, they're inspired and they're inspiring.

Here's a rundown of who they are and what I like about them.

Justin Warner
Justin is the rebel with a culinary cause and the recent winner of Food Network Star, a show I did not watch. But my ear caught on what was said about him during the series and was replayed in the intro to his show Rebel Eats, which I watched and enjoyed.

Paula Deen: "I think he definitely thinks outside the box."

Alton Brown: "I'm not even sure he knows the box is there, ma'am."

And there you have the essence of Justin. He doesn't acknowledge any sort of box when he eats raw shrimp on the fishing boat right after it's caught, or brains and eggs, without batting an eye. I like Justin's witty, creative personable way of being, and I dig not only the premise of his show, but also the whole road trip aspect of it.

No wonder.

You can watch Rebel Eats online at the Food Network website.

Nadia G.
Although her bold, brash style may not be for everyone, Nadia G. seems to be authentically and unapologetically herself. I appreciate that unabashed quality and the way she brings it, along with her inventiveness, sense of humor and sheer genius in blending two seemingly unrelated concepts: cooking and comedy.

Check out many things Nadia G. -- from humorous videos to yummy-sounding recipes -- at the Cooking Channel website.

Chris Guillebeau
I found Chris's story earlier today through a link from about travel hacking. I wasn't familiar with the term, so I clicked the link. I read just the first three posts on Chris's site -- Special Broadcast From the End of the World, Too Late: Notes from LHR T5 and This Magic Journey -- and was impressed with his eloquent and insightful writing and way of being. I'm looking forward to learning more about Chris and his work.

Read for yourself at The Art of Non-Conformity.

I don't know about you, but I'm feeling a theme here that goes beyond the young, inspired and inspiring thing. These folks are all non-conformists, and as time goes by, I suppose I'm increasingly accepting that quality in myself.

I also note that two of the three sites are about food and cooking. No wonder there. I love food, and I'm coming to love cooking.

Sunday, April 7, 2013


"The ultimate inspiration is the deadline."

Apparently, Nolan Bushnell, founder of both Atari Inc. and the Chuck E. Cheese's chain of restaurants, said that. I know it to be true.

For a fact.

Case in point: Last night, I hit "Publish" on my blog post at 11:59 p.m., getting it in at the last possible minute -- literally -- so it would count for yesterday.

Mind you, I'm not officially participating in the Blogging From A to Z challenge, so if I were to be late, it's not like I'd get kicked out of the endeavor. But I am committed to challenging myself to do this without missing a day, a letter or a post during the remainder of this month.

There are plenty of other examples throughout my life of how inspiring a deadline can be. Although I could comb my childhood for some of them, the time it became strikingly apparent was in high school when I'd study for a test or write a paper the night before it was due. That was my pattern in college, too. As a result, I pulled many an all-nighter.

When I started writing for a living, I found that things just didn't start to come together until the deadline got nearer. That continues today. Even though ideas roam around in my mind and gestate, and they often make their way onto real or electronic paper in a brain dump, nothing gets solid until I actually plant my butt in a chair and have to make it happen.

I think deadline inspiration is part and parcel of having a creative mind -- though the phenomenon certainly is not limited to those we traditionally think of as creative, such as writers and artists. Maybe it's just part of the human condition.

Whatever it is, I'm grateful for the opportunity deadlines provide to simply get things done, like writing regularly for this blog. Otherwise, many posts might go by the wayside and remain in the world of things undone, keeping company with many of the very creative ideas I've been gifted with through the years but not acted on.

Tonight, I will hit "Publish" nearly three hours before the deadline. It feels good to get it done with a little breathing room.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Cats and Dawgs

Well, it's really just one cat. But beautiful Bailey is enough of a strong female to represent her fellow felines and hold her own against her male canine cohort Tuck.

I've been hanging out with Tuck and Bailey at their place while my friends went away overnight. I, of course, brought my own male canine cohort, Clifford, along. Overall, we had fun. Tuck is a sweetheart who is also fond of chewing on Bailey's various body parts and pulling her tail with his mouth, of which she is not quite so fond -- though you wouldn't know it afterward when she seems to invite more of it. Clifford and Bailey are buddies. Clifford would love to call Tuck a friend, but that may not be solidified until Tuck gets over some of his still-puppy exuberance.

Here are some shots of the fabulous fur kids. And alliteration can indeed be annoying when overused, so I'll stop now.

 Buddies Clifford (left) and Bailey

Tuck alternating toys, because they both don't fit in his mouth at once (darn it!) 

Tuck at attention, and Bailey watching from a distance 

Another shot of the buds -- in a spot where Clifford feels the safest from Tuck's attempts to play

Friday, April 5, 2013


Of all the writing I've done through the years -- magazine articles, website copy, brochures, executive communications, scripts and much more -- I find blogging to be, by far, the most enjoyable. I love how it can be lighthearted and fun, yet it is also can be a vehicle for delving into the more "trippy" and weighty matters of life.

When someone asks me what's new, often my response is, "Everything and nothing." I've been saying that for years. Life goes on, day by day, and though the outward circumstances may not look like they've changed much since I last connected with that person, everything is different.

Moment to moment. Literally.

Blogging is like that, too. It's made up of the everythingness and the nothingness of life. Many of the blogs I read on a daily basis are RV related, because just the thought of roaming the country in one lights my fire. But I also love me some Pioneer Woman, among others. One of these days I'll do a favorite blog list for y'all to peruse.

It's always a gift for me to get a view of life through a blogger's unique eyes. Thank you for having the heart to take a gander through mine.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


That's the keyword for the day. I'm taking action by writing my first post to catch up with the folks officially participating in the Blogging From A to Z Challenge (, and it feels good -- particularly given that, until today, the last time I posted here was back in February.

I feel as if I blinked and nearly two months went by.

That's not unusual lately. Time is more than just flying by. In many ways, it feels like it is ceasing to exist altogether. That's an interesting topic for another day.

For now, I've got a list of other actions to take, like finally signing up for the storage unit that I have felt led to get and start shifting items to for months now. When I was visiting with my spirit family in Asheville, NC, after the road trip late last year, the directive for what to do upon arriving home was clear: start releasing things and packing up my apartment.

Needless to say, I got back and pretty much settled into my old, tired daily routine. And I bet you can guess what that means.

Yep. Not much of anything happened.

There has been a constant niggling to get busy, though, which has now grown to a fevered pitch. I don't know what the steps will be after that, specifically, but I'm sure they have something to do with picking up and going somewhere. All I know is that it feels like I will need to be ready to go at a moment's notice. And if I'm not prepared to do so, either that blessing won't come to be in the time frame that is being set up now or it will be extremely stressful to get done in rapid order what could have been achieved less stressfully over time.

In recent years, my choices have been all about moving away from stress and toward ease, grace, peace and joy. So I'm opting for action.

And I'll be getting that storage unit on Monday.

Blogging From A to Z Challenge

I'm doing it. And I'm not.

Let me explain.

Yesterday I read a blog that introduced me to the Blogging From A to Z Challenge
( In short: Participants write a blog post each day during the month of April -- except Sundays -- and the title of the post needs to start with the relevant letter of the alphabet for that day. So, all told, 26 posts would be added to the blog for the month.

Unfortunately, I heard about the challenge after the entry period, so I am not able to participate in an official capacity. But like someone who audits a class and does all the work for it even though a grade will not be received, I am going to fulfill the spirit of the challenge and do what it takes to meet the requirements. So, I'll begin today and not rest on Sundays given that I'm getting a late start.

Better late than never. And anticipating a post a day for the rest of the month should make at least one friend who reads this blog and provides consistent encouragement very happy. You know who you are. :)

Off we go.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


We've had a good bit of snow up heya in Maine, to say the least. Like 30 inches or so. Nemo has packed the bulk of his punch at this point, and thankfully the power, phone lines and internet have all remained up and running. I know that hasn't been the case for many folks. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this storm.

The last time a blizzard invited me to participate in person was 35 years ago. I was in Rhode Island and getting ready to turn 7 years old. Did I just reveal my age? Ah well. I remember standing inside my neighbor and best friend's house, looking out the storm door at all the snow and wondering when my dad would get home. I forget now exactly how he made it home, but he did, safe and sound. And, if memory serves correctly, I think my friend's father was one of the folks whose car got stranded along I-95, and he actually walked home from there.

That was a lengthy and likely dangerous proposition.

Fast forward to today, and this is what greeted me when I opened the door this morning.

Just a rather small, manageable wall of snow

There actually are steps under there

Steps begin to emerge

 Making progress


With the deck done, I pondered next steps. This is what lies in wait.

See the particularly big lump at the 
bottom of the stairs?

My landlords shovel a path around to the back of the house so the oil company can get through and fill us up if need be. Usually I continue with the clearing and open up the rest of the walkway. Today, however, I think good enough is good enough and I'll leave just that small path through the snow. I'll focus my efforts on digging out the car. 

But first, warmth, lunch and possibly a nap are in order.

After all, moderation is wise, is it not?