The loud voices

Posted by & filed under poetry.

I lost myself in the loud voices;

couldn’t hear myself.

They called, cajoled,

Insisted.

“Be like us.”

“Believe like us.”

They made me afraid of being wrong.

But I see now that they were the ones afraid,

not me.

Because I’ve always known what I believe,

I just let them talk me out of it for a little while.

 


Shhhhhhhhhh. Be still, and know.

photo credit: torbakhopper how to get away with murder in the snow : tv shot, san francisco (2015) via photopin (license)

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Merry Christmas 2017

Posted by & filed under my life.

I’ve sat down to write a Christmas greeting a couple of times but I stare at the blank page and ask myself, “what should I even write?” I’m not really in the mood to be chatty – say, what? But, there it is. Really. So quick updates on our lives, then I’m outa here.

Me: Herbal business progresses. Did 3 craft fairs this holiday season. Loved meeting people and talking herbs. Products are now listed on my Dandelion Forest site, but I’m refining as I go. I really like making medicinal tea blends the best. Hoping to start an herbal newsletter after the holidays.

Andy: Tennis. Crossfit. Basketball. Crossfit. Tennis. Senior Games in June, did great. We went to Alabama for that and rented an RV. It was fun. This summer will be qualifying events for the following year’s games. I am confident he will qualify in more than one event and we’ll have a nice trip to New Mexico, which we’ve never been to. Proud of my athletic hubby.

Tracey & Roberto: Big year for them! Another baby, Leiana, was born on March 3rd. She set about winning our hearts right away. Landon continues to bring us great joy. Such a neat kid (3 1/2 now). And they bought their first home, in Fairfield, CT. Still at their same jobs, tennis pro-ing and saving animals’ lives.

Alex & Caroline: Alex and his girlfriend, Caroline, got an apartment together in Brighton. They are getting their exercise, daily, living on the 4th floor. We love having them close by (relatively speaking). Both are working towards advanced degrees – Caroline doing her masters, Alex heads down in the world of GMAT studying. And they are both voracious – VORACIOUS – readers. UPDATE 1/2/18 – Alex and Caroline are engaged to be married! We are all so happy!

Kelly & Greg: Kelly got a new job working for New York Road Runners, which puts on a bunch of road races, including the NYC marathon. Greg ran the marathon (in really good time!) this year and Kelly got to give him his medal at the finish line. Special. They, also, bought a house (in Berkeley Heights), soon after moving out of NYC and into an apartment in NJ. Move in date is early February. They both still commute into the city for work.

Animals: Koda is 11 and stiffening up a bit (this dang aging thing), Columbus is 6 and as puppyish as ever, Max and Gracie are somewhat older than Koda, but I’m too lazy to look up their birth years. I think 12 & 13/14. Still doing well although Gracie is missing most of her teeth, which also makes it easier to cut her nails now that I don’t have to worry about her biting me. Our poultry count is 10 chickens, 3 ducks, and a goose. We added the goose this year (a gift from my pet sitter) and I love her to pieces. Her name is Silly. And she is.

Okay, that’s the update. Still a bit chatty. Once I started typing, my chatty genes kicked in.

But, what I really want to say, to end this, is that this year, especially, I pray for our country and world – that kindness will permeate every one and every thing, and in the spirit of Jesus and all the great spiritual teachers that pointed the way to God, we all will live from that place of pure love.

Much love to you and yours.

And herbal blessings.

Chris

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Do Over

Posted by & filed under poetry.

Do over.
Starting now.
No more carrying other people’s pain.
No more carrying their mistakes either.
We are each carrying enough of our own.
Time to drop those, too, into the past where they belong.
Unencumbered, let us move forward
With a heart full of love,
A mind full of peace,
And lips full of blessings.
A better world awaits….

 


photo credit: Coram Deo “Living Before The Face of God” O Lord, Let Me Not Build My Life On Sands But On The Foundation Of Your Word via photopin (license)

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A place of grace

Posted by & filed under poetry.


Let me live from a place of grace,

where my light shines bright

and judgement melts

like dripping wax

until,

in the end,

nothing remains

but a burning light

over the remains

of what once was.



photo credit: Alexander Babl Melted Candle via photopin (license)

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The Story of Me

Posted by & filed under my life, poetry.

As I looked into the mirror tonight and saw my wrinkles

I wondered, when do I have enough wrinkles that I cross the line into elderly?

Then I realized that there is no line to cross but that I am walking the line –

a linear journey from birth to death

and that the wrinkles are my story.

The story of me.

From little girl to fifty-something,

fighting gravity and expectations,

my biggest wrinkle a furrow in my forehead,

a message from my soul.

 

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Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017!

Posted by & filed under my life.

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Well, hey everybody. It’s been a whirlwind year! I hope yours was ultimately full of love and life and goodness. There have been some difficult things on a global level, but the longer I live the more I realize I need to take my eyes off of the world stage (besides doing my civic duty) and focus on the local stage. We have the biggest impact in the world right around us, and ripples spread into ever-widening circles. I refuse to be frozen by fear. There is too much work to be done!

Speaking of work, I retired from IBM. I had a great gig there for 15 years. But it was getting more and more technical, and after trying to work successfully in 3 different technical environments, I called it quits. I need to produce and create. It felt like someone had tied my hands behind my back and attached a ball and chain to my leg. Excruciating. I do miss the web UI work, though. I was getting into web animation and responsive design (making a web page look good on all devices) and we finally got to drop accommodating older browsers.

My heart was torn, anyway. I keep being more and more pulled by the plants and the natural world – herbalism (my focus for this year is to finish up my studies that keep being put on the back burner) and gardening (I hope to have a farm “stand” at the end of my driveway this year). I also need to figure out how to maneuver all the laws of food production/having a business. But that will come. I’m moving forward in this direction. We’ll see what the future brings. It may only ever be a hobby/ministry. Only time will tell. Because I still like photography and writing and crafting…oh my! I will NEVER run out of things to do.

In the meantime, I am helping out at a local wellness bar. And doing some babysitting on the side.

Okay, enough about me! As I said, we had a great year. It was the year of weddings, for us. We had 4 – our daughter’s, our “other” daughter’s (my daughter’s best friend, Erin), and our friends’ daughter in January and then their son in September. What happy occasions to spend with friends and family!

And two more of Kelly’s friends besides Erin got married. So fun seeing all these kids grown up and settling into their lives.

Here is a picture of our new blended family! (The wedding party is in this picture, too.)

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Second gal from the left is my niece Carlene (some tall genes on Andy’s side of the family). Fourth gal is Erin, who got married a month later, then Tracey and her ever-expanding family (she is having another baby in March), our parents, us, Kelly and Greg, Greg’s parents, and on the far right is Greg’s sister Kristina and Alex.

Speaking of Alex, earlier this year Alex started dating Caroline. We love her. And she is into words (an avid reader and an English teacher). She won my heart over the day we first met her when she ordered Red Raspberry Rage ice cream “because of the alliteration.”

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And speaking of love, Roby came from Italy to attend Kelly’s wedding! Such a wonderful gal.

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And, also, speaking of love. This guy.

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Landon continues to delight all of us. He is such a joy. And quite expressive.

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As for the rest of Landon’s family, mom Tracey is still working as a surgical vet tech, dad Roberto is teaching tennis, and they still live in Norwalk, CT with their 3 kitties. And soon, baby girl Mahoney!

Back to Alex, he is still working at 9-Point Medical, in the finance department.

And Kelly is still working for the NYC Wine and Food Festival, while Greg works for Credit Suisse. They took some time off to go to Alaska for their honeymoon. The pictures Kelly kept sending us could make a person jealous!

Andy is still working hard at Reliance Engineering. He also has a little side vending machine business going. If you are local and your office wants a vending machine, give him a call!

So this year Andy competed again in the Senior Games. He started training at CrossFit in preparation for the high jump. And he wound up qualifying for the nationals in the high jump, long jump, and 200 meter race. He’s going to compete in Alabama this summer in the jumping. We are going to rent an RV to go down there and see if we like traveling that way, in preparation for maybe getting one ourselves in the future.

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Andy continues to do CrossFit (he got hooked). So add that to tennis and basketball.

Me, I’m trying to get a regular yoga practice going. And my project this fall was to hike the Midstate Trail, some which goes through our town. It’s 92 miles long, from the Northern border of Massachusetts to the Southern border, through the middle of the state. I’m hiking with a friend named Annie who has finished (she hiked a few sections closer to home before we started hiking together)! I did reach the end (with her), I just have a 12 mile Barre-to-Spencer section to finish up. And I got some micro-spikes to hopefully finish up this winter.

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Hands raised in happiness, accomplishment, and celebration. That is my wish for you this coming year!

And let us all be the change we wish to see.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

PS I used Tracey’s Christmas photo (I took it) at the top of this post. This would be our Christmas photo, taken by Kelly. This tells the story of our dogs, in a nutshell. Happy Holidays from Koda and Columbus.

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Princeton to Barre

Posted by & filed under the hiking diaries.

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On Monday, Annie and I walked one of the sections of the Midstate Trail I had not done yet. We started at Wachusett Meadows in Princeton (the panorama, above) and walked to Barre Falls Dam.

See the road in the right-hand side of the above photo? We were parked beyond the barn and headed further down the road, where it really becomes an untravelled road, except by person or wagon or the many creatures of this world. I did remark once along our hike that there sure was a lot of forest for the animals. Made me happy thinking of them living unbothered by us humans.

One of the first things we saw was that we weren’t the only ones who had walked the trail. Our feet are beside their tracks. Turkey? Or Pterodactyl!

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This is Four Corners in Princeton. This land has been designated conservation area and connects two wildlife corridors. We entered on the far right side of this picture and continued on to the left, beyond Annie.

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The trail goes in the woods and comes out by Old Colony Road. I sometimes walk this part with my friend Vivian and our two dogs (I leave Columbus at home, he can’t be trusted to come back if I let him run free).

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The winter woods have a beauty all their own.

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Here is the bridge on Old Colony Road.

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Loved our silhouettes! (Also loved that I just spelled silhouettes right on the first try!)

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Here’s a video of the waterfall on the bottom of the photo.

Beyond the bridge, we crossed railroad tracks.

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We walked on Old Colony Road Extension….

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And into a beautiful area called Savage Hill. In all the years I’ve lived in Princeton, I’d never known of this area.

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At some point we entered Rutland, and passed by a friend’s house.

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But we were never on the road for too long. Lots of woods!

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This is my silly hunters-are-in-the-woods attire. I’m going to get an orange vest. This is all I had to work with at my house. But it was functional.

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We wound up walking 12 miles this day. Both of us were very tired. At just about this point, we weren’t sure which way to go, because the parking area is beyond the trail. But we wound up following the midstate markers and came back to a spot where we could see the parking lot. We will start from there on our next leg! (And at that point I’ll take a picture of the dam.)

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PS if you are a local, Barre Falls is a wonderful place to cross country ski or snowshoe!

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The end! (For one of us)

Posted by & filed under the hiking diaries.

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Let me just start off by saying I didn’t do blogging about this section of the midstate trail justice. Because I didn’t remember to write it up until now. But I will try to remember some of it!

First off, Annie’s daughter Cece came with us. Isn’t she cute? Heck, aren’t they both cute?

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Whenever a member of the younger generation is among us, I give them the honor of doing the selfie.

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If you noticed, we are all in bright clothing. That’s because hunting season had begun. Our last leg was through Douglas State Forest. There were a lot – A LOT – of pickup trucks along the side of the road as we found our drop-off spot for the car. I’m not a fan of being in the woods when hunters are, but Annie is even less of a fan.

We saw a couple of them in the woods. And we did a lot of singing. Annie and Cece had never heard “The other day I met a bear,” which is a song I learned in girl scouts, for the couple of years I was a girl scout. So I led them in that song. I forgot the last verse until after the hike, however.

Here’s the song, if you are interested. And I didn’t realize that “the end the end, the end the end, etc.” lyrics were actually part of the song until I listened to this! I thought we had just added that as kids.

A couple more pictures from along the way….

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And here we are at the southern trail marker! I think Annie is the one that saw it and gasped. Thank goodness we didn’t miss it!

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It looks very much like the start marker! I put the picture of both of us with it at the top of this post. We were very happy.

And Annie was ESPECIALLY happy. She has finished the trail! I still have a couple of sections to go, nearer home. When we complete those, we are going out to a celebratory dinner with our hubbies.

Meanwhile, here’s Annie at our celebratory lunch, post hike. Congratulations, Annie!

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PS Douglas State Forest is beautiful. Really, the whole trail hike is beautiful. You should do it.

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Hiking the streets of Sutton

Posted by & filed under the hiking diaries.

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We are almost to the end of the Midstate Trail! Although we would have liked to finish up today, we did 13 miles and that was enough for this 56-year old who is quite stiff this evening. (Time to do more yoga. I’m not sure why I don’t do more yoga. You can always talk me into a hike, though!)

And what a day we had! It was a beautiful fall day, and the picture I chose for the top of this post shows that. Blue skies, fallen leaves, autumn colors. Hard to believe we are going to be heading into winter hiking soon. A set of micro-spikes is on my Christmas list this year. Already have the snow shoes!

Today’s hike was mostly on roads, some busy, but most bringing us by farms and country homes. At one point two deer bounded from one side of the road to the other in front of us, disappearing into the woods. So, even not in the woods, we experienced the woods. However, the roads were tough on the legs….

Annie’s son Jackson joined us for the first 5 miles, then walked back to his car as we continued south. He is visiting from Colorado. I made him take our selfie because I always struggle with holding the phone and pressing the button. These young kids have the coordination to do both those things at the same time (in a split second) and get everybody in the picture while looking relaxed. Impressive.

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But this is actually the first picture I took on my phone. We walked under route 395. The walk started out on the busier roads.

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But before you knew it, we started passing by farms.

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(A lot of my pictures had sun interference, making them light/washed out. But who can complain about the sun?!)

We also passed by a few old homes. You can’t read the marker on this one, but this is the Learned Davis house, circa 1793.

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Walked by this pond, too.

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And into the woods. Yay!

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Then we came back out again, but at least there were some very rural roads and cart paths.

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The trail guide said this high point had a view of Wachusett. It actually did, behind a tree along the horizon. Not sure we would have seen it if the tree had been leafed out. And you for sure can’t see it in this picture, but it is on the left side of the road, in between the two trees, along the horizon. Trust me.

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Cows!

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A really terrific view from a farm house. But still, the picture doesn’t capture it. This, my friends, is why you need to do the hike yourself, up close and personal. Really, I highly recommend it. It is an amazing experience. We ran into two guys our age-ish who have been friends since they were little who were hiking the trail together. They were from Rhode Island. Nice guys. The thing about hikers? They are all nice. I love the conversations you have on the trail, from a shared love of the outdoors.

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This seemed like a family cemetery. Only a few headstones.

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I’ve lost where this picture comes in the hike, but at some point we hit West Sutton.

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And I took this picture because it was a dried up body of water. Because of the drought this year? I’m not sure, there was running water at the far end. But it was dried up and rather smelly.

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A few more shots along the way, through Douglas State Forest.

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This last one is where we parked the car along route 116 in Douglas. We will finish up the southernmost part of the trail – about 5 or 6 more miles meandering through Douglas State Forest, which is beautiful. By the time we get to do that, will we have snow? Busy holiday / work times for us. So we shall see. But we are planning on a post-hike out-to-dinner celebration whatever day it happens to be. It will mark Annie’s completion of the trail. (I have a couple more legs to fill in closer to home, from Princeton to Spencer, stay tuned!)

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