May 2016 – May 2017, wow, a year flew by!

I can’t believe it’s been a year since I last posted. A year ago I had just returned from my 3 month solo adventure and after a very nice spring and summer, I reentered the work force working full time for the first time in 22 years. That was quite an adjustment and resulted in a lot less photo outings but I still got out and about :)

I took this photo through a window screen, I got to watch this mama and baby for 20 minutes as the baby screeched for food and the mama delivered 4 times!
Mama and Baby

We have the best mailman ever! Every day he greets Cooper with lots of attention and treats.
Best Mailman!

A very good friend has a home in Ogunquit Maine. It’s close enough for a day trip but we often spend a night or two. The home is on the Marginal Way and is known as the ‘home with the crooked tree’. This photo was taken from the beach in front of her home.
The 'crooked tree' house

The home has a huge porch, perfect for viewing the main beach.
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Another generous girlfriend has a home with an equally beautiful setting on Lake Winnipesaukee in NH. A group of us have been going away for a weekend for the past 12 years, always a great time.
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Our dinner table at the club…what a view.
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In December I was driving to do an errand and saw this scene, perfect excuse to pause and take in the beauty all around us.
Lexington bandstand

In April I took another wonderful trip to Anna Maria Island FL with my Mom; sun, pool, beach, biking, walking and lots of reading. I have posted lots of photos from AMI over the years, many of the amazing sunsets but this photo was taken looking east while the sun was setting in the west.
Opposite the sunset AMI

Last month I was walking at Spy Pond in Arlington and captured this father-daughter scene, I loved how he held her and encouraged her to explore….
Father Daughter Spy Pond

And I’ll end with Cooper playing hopscotch!
Coop hopstotch

I posted 19 photos from the past year. Scroll to the top and click on the first photo under ‘Most Recent Photos.’ I hope you enjoy.

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What a great trip it was…my three month solo adventure!

The last two weeks of my solo adventure involved a lot of driving, from Florida to Massachusetts. I enjoyed the drive, beautiful scenery with some terrific stops along the way. My first stop was in Savannah, Georgia. I stayed at a wonderful Airbnb property 10 minutes from Savannah and 10 minutes from Tybee Island.

This is a photo of the Airbnb property from the long boardwalk on the property, I stayed on the second floor of the building behind the main house.
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The setting was gorgeous, especially at sunrise.
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I then drove to Asheville, North Carolina where I was lucky enough to stay at a friend’s mountain cabin. I’ve always lived near the ocean in Massachusetts but after spending a week near Asheville, I could imagine living in the mountains!

The view from the home’s back deck.
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Asheville is a great city with lots to offer including a great arts community and very good restaurants. I spent a wonderful day at The Biltmore Estate and Gardens, 8000 acres, great biking paths and lots of walking paths.

The Estate –
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And beautiful gardens –
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Unbelievable flowers in the greenhouse –
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I took a wonderful hike at Chimney Rock, stunning views all along the way.
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I also visited the North Carolina Arboretum, a 343-acre public garden. This is the quilt garden, so cool.
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Driving from Asheville toward home, I drove 200 miles on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s hard to keep your eye on the road when the scenery is so spectacular.
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I ended my trip with a four night stay at an Airbnb in Great Barrington in the western part of Massachusetts. My experiences at Airbnb properties have been so positive, unique spaces with gracious hosts. While in Great Barrington I spent a day at Kripalu on a day pass and attended some great sessions, a great way to end my trip.
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This trip was the trip of a lifetime. Although I do love to travel with my family and friends, I really enjoyed traveling alone. I was away from all of life’s responsibilities, I never had a to-do list, I went out every day either walking, biking or driving, I explored some parts of the country I have never seen before, had some cool experiences and made some great memories…what a gift.

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Solo Adventure continues…

My solo adventure continues…I last posted the end of February. My travels had taken me to Vermont, Beacon Hill in Boston and Cape Cod. I left Cape Cod on February 24th to start my drive south, stopping in Avon-by-the-Sea on the Jersey shore to visit my college friend Doug and his parents, a great visit.
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I then drove to St Simons Island Georgia, an hour north of the Florida border. I was lucky enough to spend the month of March at my friend Sara’s vacation home.
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Jekyll Island is a short drive from St. Simons, I spent a couple of days exploring this cool island. This photo was taken at Driftwood beach.
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On April 1st I drove 5 hours to the airport in Sarasota Florida where I picked my mom up for our 8th annual trip to Anna Maria Island, 30 minutes from the Sarasota.
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Over the past 12 weeks I biked all around St Simons Island and Anna Maria Island, kayaked, walked beaches, explored my new surroundings, attended six different church services, visited six libraries, read eight fiction books and two books on finding your second career. I watched the first season of Grace and Frankie on Netflix and two seasons of Transparent on Amazon Prime (both great shows) and ate numerous tasty meals at many different restaurants. I’ve continued to do physical therapy for my two new knees (full knee replacements on 2/13/15 and 5/26/15), I’ve continued to journal and meditate, and have done a lot of thinking…thinking about the first 52 years of my life and thinking about what’s next, what do I want to experience and accomplish in the 2nd half of my life.

It’s been amazing to have this time alone without any responsibilities or expectations from others. I’ve been able to get away from any anxiety/pressure of day-to-day life and see who I am without all of that. I’ve dug deep, shed tears, smiled, laughed and learned.

Here are my takeaways and mantras so far, gained from a weekend retreat I attended on Cape Cod, books, guided meditations, podcasts and conversations with folks along the way:

Let go of what is outlived in your life to make room for what is unlived – let go of negative beliefs, relationships and habits to make time for all I want to do.

Recognize that fear of change is very strong in our culture – an example – my decision to go on this solo trip was difficult for some people in my life, change and transitions are hard but it’s so worth it.

Complacency, deferring to others, and comparing myself to others will set me back and keep me from moving forward.

My faith and spirituality is important to me and I want to nurture it. I plan to find a congregation to join when I return home.

Some mantras for going forward:
1. I am endlessly renewed in the present moment. If I am present, the burdens and
trauma of the past and of the future are released.
2. Be as kind and compassionate to myself as I am to others.
3. You cannot change without challenge.

I’ve had a wonderful time in Florida and am now heading to Savannah, Georgia for two nights. From there I will drive to Asheville, NC and then will head north towards home. I’m excited for the last leg of my journey.

I posted 35 photos from Avon-by-the-Sea, St Simons Island and Anna Maria Island. To view, scroll to the top of this post and click on Spring under the header photo.

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Solo Adventure continues…

One month into my three month solo adventure…

It’s is truly a gift to have time with no schedule, no responsibilities, no to-do list. I wake up each morning, breathe deeply reminding myself to let the day unfold as it goes along. With no set schedule I plan to walk down paths, drive down roads and walk into places I might otherwise pass by. It’s exciting to round a corner with no idea of what might be there!

I left Massachusetts on Sunday February 24th and drove 2 ½ hours to Belmont Vermont. Belmont is 10 miles from Okemo Mountain, Ludlow Vermont. I stayed at a wonderful home which long long ago was The Green Mountain Cottage. Seven bedrooms, multiple living spaces with photos hung on the walls from the early 1900’s when lodging/food was $3/day.
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I stayed for 2 weeks and loved every moment. So peaceful, quiet and very dark at night, the night sky was amazing. Star Lake was in my backyard, beautiful.
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I packed a bunch of books, journals, articles, exercise and mediation articles for my trip, hoping to finally read/do some of them.
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Over the past few years, I have attended retreats and a monthly meditation group. I’ve been taught having a daily meditation routine, journaling and repeating positive words can have such a great impact on our daily life. I’m proud to say I started a new morning/evening routine my first full day in Vermont and 30 days later I have done it each day. The whole routine takes about 20 minutes, and I’m finding it’s a great way to start a day!

1. I read out loud the following:
May today there be peace within. May you trust you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and very one of us.

2. I read a passage from a book my sister gave me in 2010, Daily OM Learning to Live by Madisyn Taylor

3. The Five-Minute Journal – a book I bought a few years ago.
In the morning I answer:
I’m grateful for…
What would make today great?
Daily affirmations. I am…
In the evening I answer:
3 Amazing things that happened today…
How could I have made today better?

4. I do The Tibetan Rites
These are a set of exercises my sister introduced me to years ago. It is a set of 5 exercises, you can start with one of each and build to 21 of each. Tibetan monks believe doing so helps them to live long, vibrant and healthy lives.

That’s it for now, more to come.

If you are interested in how this trip came about, click on Solo Adventure under the header photo for the details and to see all the photos I took in Vermont, Boston and Cape Cod, click on Winter under the header photo.

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Off on my Solo Adventure…

On January 24, 2016 I left home for 3 months. Yep, I’m a wild and crazy woman who has left my family and friends to be a scholar of my soul and self :)

I will be staying at various places on the East Coast of the US from Vermont down to Florida. I plan to post throughout my trip about my adventures and what I’m learning/discovering. If you are interested in how this trip came about, click on Solo Adventure under the header photo for the details.

Cupcakes from my girlfriends celebrating my trip, thank you all!

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Two new knees…so happy to be taking photos again!

It’s been six months since my last post. After having both knees replaced (Feb and May) I’m back to walking in the woods and the city, exploring and traveling.

Four weeks after my second knee replacement we went on our annual vacation to Brewster Cape Cod. We’ve been vacationing with friends in these cottages for the past 24 years and my husband has been going since his teenage years. This is such a special spot for us. This photo shows the cottage we rent, a wonderful setting on the bay.
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Boston is 25 minutes from my home, easy to get to and a very walkable city. The Public Garden is a beautiful spot year round.
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My husband and I traveled to Colorado and California in October. In Colorado we stayed at the Romantic Riversong Inn in Estes Park Colorado, at the base of the Rocky Mountain National Park. Elk were all around as it was mating season. We were told to keep our distance and to never go between the one bull (male) and the many cows (females) that most herds are made up of. One morning we came out of our cottage heading to the main house for breakfast and this is what we encountered!
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They just stared at us, we took photos and watched as they moved through the property. We made it to breakfast safely, a delicious meal in a beautiful setting.

Rocky Mountain National Park is beautiful, so many spectacular views with the blue sky and perfect 70 degree temperatures.
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After 5 days in Estes Park and Boulder, we flew to San Francisco to visit our older son. We took a great bike ride from Pier 41 to the Golden Gate Bridge. Next time we’ll bike over the bridge to Sausalito, that would be a fun ride to a cool destination.
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I also was lucky enough to be invited back up to Ogunquit Maine to a very special home on the Marginal Way. The sunrises were amazing, getting up at 6am was well worth it!
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In November my husband and I drove to NYC to see a friend dance at The New York City Center, an amazing performance. We did a lot in 24 hours, Central Park, the dance performance, Times Square at 11pm, 9/11 Memorial and we walked over the Brooklyn Bridge to eat delicious pizza at Grimaldi’s.

I found the 9/11 Memorial so powerful. As I walked around and read the names of the lives lost, I thought of all the families and friends whose lives changed forever in an instant. And later that afternoon the Paris attacks took place..I pray for peace every day.
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Even with two knee replacements, I’ve had a great year. Wonderful times with family and friends, lots of fun local outings and exciting trips too.

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Five weeks…five states…many beaches

After a record breaking 9+ feet of snow in Boston this past winter, a knee replacement in February and another knee replacement scheduled for tomorrow (5/26/15), I decided to get out in the sun while I could. I didn’t plan it but I ended up traveling to five states over the past 5 weeks, visiting the oceanside in each state, loving every minute of it!

In April I spent 12 days on Anna Maria Island in Florida with my Mom and my brother Paul. My 7th year and as always, I loved it. I was 8 weeks out from my first surgery and was able to bike around the island and swim in the warm ocean, perfect!
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I had another great day trip up to Ogunquit Maine with two girlfriends. I wasn’t able to walk the whole Marginal Way but I was able to make it to my favorite bench along this spectacular ocean-side paved walkway.
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In May my husband and I traveled to Savannah and St Simons Island in Georgia and to Hilton Head in South Carolina. I love Savannah’s ‘to-go’ policy in their restaurants and bars. Along with taking food to go, you can buy an alcoholic beverage (in a plastic cup) to drink while you walk around the city, fun! Savannah has wonderful parks along with a river front park with huge barges and Riverboat cruises traveling by. After a couple days in Savannah and a visit to Hilton Head, we drove to St Simons Island to celebrate a friend’s 50th Birthday with 20 other couples, quite the two day/night celebration!
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And finally Massachusetts beaches…
We moved to Lexington last summer. An upside to moving is meeting new neighbors and we hit the jackpot. Nice neighbors all around and a great family across the street. Having lived in Southern California their whole lives, hearing about their New England adventures is loads of fun, they even loved all the snow! Jenn and I went to Front Beach in Rockport MA for a few hours one warm sunny day in early May, a perfect day trip. And then over Memorial Day weekend, friends invited us down to Brewster Cape Cod. We vacation in Brewster every year with a group of close friends-like family. We’ll head down for a week at the end of June, four weeks after my 2nd surgery…luckily the view from the porch is spectacular!
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Also – a shout out to a great Physical Therapy team in Lexington; Paula, Christine and Julie along with the rest of the support team. They know their stuff and are skilled at knowing when to push and when a lighter touch is needed. Because of their encouragement, support and skill, eight weeks after having a major joint replaced I was able to fly to Florida and embark on six weeks of fun. You can find them at http://www.sportsandpt.com/

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Lots of change…

It’s been six months since my last post, a very busy but exciting six months.

In June we sold our home of ten years. With both sons now in California, downsizing seemed to make sense. We only moved 8 miles away but we do miss the quiet peaceful setting including the ‘front forest’ as we called it.
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The minute the moving trucks pulled away, we drove to Cape Cod for our annual 2 week vacation in Brewster. Most nights we see beautiful sunsets from the front porch, we are often amazed at what we see.
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Even with all the craziness of downsizing/moving we still managed to fit in some great get aways to Martha’s Vineyard, California, Ogunquit Maine, Nashville TN and Stowe VT. I also enjoyed some kayak adventures including surf kayaking, lots of fun.

A few photos from our get aways…

Martha’s Vineyard
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Oqunquit Maine
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Moretown VT
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I had the pleasure of doing a high school senior photo shoot and a family photo session. I also had an increase in card orders and spent a day in Amherst MA taking photos of Emily Dickinson’s homestead as part of a project. I really enjoyed the experiences and wonder if I will attempt to do more with my photography.

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Warm weather…

I have lived in Massachusetts my whole life, I’ve always enjoyed the different seasons. Even though I enjoy winter, it is also really fun to escape it. I love flying just a few hours away and then wearing flip flops when leaving the airport! In February I went to Palo Alto California for a few days and I just returned from ten days in Florida, two great get-aways.

Hoover Tower at Stanford University
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And the view from atop the Hoover Tower, beautiful views of the Stanford campus and the mountains.
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This was our sixth year vacationing on Anna Maria Island, we love it. We bike to the beach to watch the sunset every night, each is unique and beautiful. It’s fun to see all the people bike and walk to the beach around 7:30pm, sometimes taps are being played and there is always a lot of applause when the sun sets. On April 10th, we saw an amazing sunset. The colors before and after were so cool. Here are four photos, taken at 7:42, 7:48, 7:49 and 8:00pm.

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I was on crutches this year due to stress fractures. Luckily I was allowed to bike since it’s flat and easy riding. I found a way to bike and have my crutches with me.

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And of course I want to include a photo of my Mom, we celebrated her 75th Birthday, a great day, a great trip.
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Four feet of snow and counting…

The last time I posted we were coming off of a warm sunny summer and a beautiful fall. It started snowing in December and hasn’t stopped, we’ve had over 4 feet of snow and we still have 6 weeks left of winter weather. We had a white Christmas and have had lots of beautiful snowy days since then. Our yard and the surrounding areas are so peaceful and pretty during and after a snowstorm. I hope you enjoy these wintery photos.

The trees out our back door after the most recent storm.
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The Old North Bridge, Concord MA
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Entrance to Mattison Field, 40 acres of conservation land next to our neighborhood.
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