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.