Sixty….the number of seconds in a minute.

Sixty….the number of minutes in an hour.

Sixty….the number of years ago I was born.

Sixty is a monument birthday, one to either be celebrated or feared, or maybe both! I choose to celebrate these monument birthdays. Every year I live gives me experiences beyond my imagination. Some of them are simple and others are far more complex.

Turning 10 was kinda cool. A double-digit first. Life was far more simple and carefree. Turning 20 was fraught with some angst. Too young to legally drink, too old for the shenanigans of my teen years. Turning 30 defined for me the life path I would take. I had chosen a career of public service by the time I turned 30. The 30’s were the years I thought I’d meet the man of my dreams and get married, have a kid or two, have a nice home…all the things “normal” people do. I’m not normal. Turning 40 happened and the idea of the family life was slipping away. Some things are just not meant to be. And then came 50. That’s a big one! Half way to 100….if you really want to live that long. But 50 was more a time of reflection. Had I done okay with my life? Was I a productive member of society? Where did I go from here? But 50 was also a number that haunted me….

My father died when he was 50. I could not fathom my life being over at 50. I thought (and still do think) of ALL the things he missed by dying at 50. He missed his first grandchild….and the ones that came after. He missed the Red Sox actually winning the World Series. He missed the election of the first African-American President of the United States. He missed the birth of his first great-grandchild. Dying at 50 meant he missed so much. I did not want to die at 50.

So I went on and here I am at 60. Some days I feel every one of those 60 years. Other days I still feel the carefree spirit of the 10-year-old. I’ve seen the Red Sox win the World Series not just once but 4 times! And The Patriots….now 6 time Super Bowl Champions! I still have no kids but I have a niece that is like a daughter and her son, my great-nephew, is as close to a grandchild as I will ever have. I continue down the path of public service and still find thrills in the job even after all these years. I have found a profound love of nature and creatures. And the sea calls to me in ways I never thought possible. I find great pleasure in simple things, a good book, a beautiful spring day, watching my garden grow, and any time I can be in or on the water. I don’t know what this decade will bring for me, but I am happy to be here to find out.

Sixty. It’s just a number.


Hot Chocolate

It’s a lovely but cold January day and I just got back from taking a 2 mile walk along the Codman fields in Lincoln. There is something special about these fields. In the summer, hay grows and the farm cuts it and stores it for the winter. Freshly mowed hay has the most amazing fragrance….sweet and sunny. Yes, sunny does have a fragrance, at least to me. In the spring, one section of the fields is home to the egg laying chickens. Gladys and the girls are very busy all day, running from under one coop to the next and back again. There is a flow to what the girls do….I just have yet to figure out why they do it! Among the egg layers are the chickens that are destined to a terrible fate….if you are a chicken you’d agree with me on this one. I try not to think of that and just know that the life they have had in the fields has been good. Gladys and her friends spend the summer and into the fall in the field, moving from one section to the next, eating the clover and making delicious eggs. They are good girls and field dog Andy keep them safe by keeping the foxes and coyotes out of the pastures.

Across the road, in a far corner of the field are the turkeys. Not the wild ones, the farm raised for only one purpose turkeys. They are tucked away in an area where they are less likely to be observed. This is probably good because we know what fate awaits them in the fall. I would not want to get to chummy with them because any friendship we might make will be short lived. Toby the field dog keeps an eye on them.

Andy and Toby are Anatolian Shepherds that are meant for this kind of work. They are big but seem to be quite docile, laying in the grass, chewing on big old frozen dog bones and enjoying the goings on in the coops. But I imagine that if you are a fox, Toby and Andy are all business. Good boys.

In one field, there is a small but fun herd of Red Devon cattle. This is where I first met my little friend Curly. This small herd whiles away the day, eating grass, fertilizing grass, and spending every second of every minute trying to swat flies away from their bodies. It creeps me out since I dislike flying bugs immensely. But the cattle appear used to it. On more than once occasion, Curly managed to get out of the enclosure and wandered freely along the edge of the field. But he always went back because he was smart enough to know where Mom was. In the fall, the cattle are moved back to the main farm where they spend the winter with the rest of the herd in the high pasture.

And then there are the Llamas. They have their very own big fenced in field with a Llama barn and all the things Llamas need, whatever that is. I don’t spend much time with them, they are not so friendly. Maybe if I did spend more time, they’d warm up to me. Maybe this year….

So today I walked along these fields and aside from the Llamas, the fields are empty. Gladys and Curly are back on the main farm and the turkeys…..well, we all know what happened to them. But as I walked along, the sun was shining brightly and the smell of the freshly cut hay still lingers in the air. It is why I walk along these fields so I can bring back the feeling of warmer days where life on the farm seems so carefree.

So what about hot chocolate? It really has nothing to do with anything other than I made myself a cup when I got home to help warm me from my travels.


And the winner is……


“Yo galley….seals on a rock!”

This photo was taken somewhere in Penobscot Bay while I was aboard the Schooner Heritage this past sailing season. Whenever we are sailing by something of interest, the Captain yells out “Yo galley….” to get the attention of the crew so they can see whatever it is the Captain finds interesting. I often joke with the Captain because EVERYTHING is interesting to me….so I say “Yo galley….water in the Bay!”

Anyway, back to the seals…..every year the Maine Windjammer Association has a photo contest. Of course they are interested in photos of the windjammers but they also look for good scenic shots as well. This year, “Yo galley, seals on a rock” was chosen as the winner in the best wildlife category! So very exciting for me to have a photo of mine chosen. I don’t win much, just a 2019 MWA calendar but it’s not the prize I was interested in, I was thrilled just to have one of my shots chosen.

It feels like I’ve been winning a lot lately. Nothing major, just small personal victories. I’ve been out trail walking as much as I can. It may not sound like much but I’ve logged almost 26 miles in December. Some have been short walks while others have been much longer and more difficult. Every step is a challenge as breathing continues to be an issue (it’s that pesky asthma) and my feet and legs hurt all the time. But I keep pushing along hoping that it will get better each time. It may not be making much of a dent physically but it is amazingly good for my brain.

Christmas came and went with little drama. I actually enjoyed the small amount of gift buying I did this year. Online shopping makes it so easy! I spent the day with my bff’s M and K and Aunt Annie. They make it so simple and relaxing. It was a lovely day.

The start of a new year is upon us in the next few days. I never make resolutions. I find them to be impossible to keep and then you feel like a failure. So my plan is to keep doing what I’m doing every day. Walk the trails as much as I can. Take my camera along now and then to see what I see. Oh, and it’s a milestone year for me….


Where the hell have you been…?

Wow…almost a year and a half since I last sat down and wrote an entry.

So where the hell have I been and what have I been doing? A lot.

Sailing on the Great Windship Schooner Heritage continues to be a thing for me every summer. I have now managed to sail at least 3 times in a season. June sailing is the best because the Bay is not busy and the days are so long. Dawn starts to break around 4am and the skies are still light at almost 10pm! Makes for incredible sailing days. Late August is the best because the winds are warm, the water is warm (ok, tolerable) and schooners are aplenty on the Bay. Late September is the best because Fall is upon us, the colors are beautiful, the air is crisp and cool (ok, cold) and the wind is absolutely the best. Year after year, many of the same sailors return and it’s always fun to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. Captain’s Doug and Linda continue to welcome me almost like family as they do with all their guests. Shary humors me and knows what I want before I do. And the crew….Ben, strong and silent and extremely capable of caring for all the needs of Heritage. Sean, still cooking up great meals every day and entertaining us at night with music and song. Jamie, growing up before our eyes and maturing into a future leader of America! He belongs on Broadway…and allows me to play “Hamilton” with him. Theo, one of the nicest young men I have ever met. Totally growing up. Watched him go from doughy boy to lean and adorable young man…Theodorable. And then there is Elli. What an amazing young woman she is. So strong and determined to chart her own course, not that of others before her. I thoroughly enjoy being with all of them.

The Grind to Glory struggle continues. But I keep fighting the good fight and have yet to throw in the towel It’s been hard and I’ve wanted to many times but I’m not a quitter so there you go! Recently, I had wanted to join a program that appeared to be quite successful. I was “all in” and ready to go. And then they pulled the rug out on me. Apparently, there is absolutely NO room for compromise or adjusting to the lives and jobs of clients. The particular demands of my job are such that there may have been a time that I could not arrive for my weekly appointment. They would not allow me to come a different day or reschedule an appointment. So they denied me the opportunity to enter the program at this time and suggested I return in the Spring when weather issues were less likely to impact my weekly appointment. I was angry at this and very disappointed. But in the end, it was probably for the best. Some things are not meant to be. But….the anger I felt has turned into a sort of “fuck you” attitude. I’m back on the grind like I was years ago and it feels great. I will show them I do not need them!

After 5 years of almost weekly therapy, I have found a place of peace with myself and the choices I make. Almost all of this has to do with the relationship I have with my sister. I have found my voice and have learned how to say “no”. It is very empowering. But mostly, it has allowed me to do what I want, not always what others want me to do. It was hard at first as I got some serious pushback. But I stuck to my convictions and now the word “no” is easy to say and easier to stand behind. I still check in once a month with my therapist, mostly just to keep myself on course. The five years we devoted to each other were hard work and some incredible moments of clarity. I was never told what to do or how to feel…I was always given the tools to find my own way to the answers. Making the incredibly hard decision to seek out help was the BEST thing I ever did and I highly recommend it. You may think you are okay but having the place and space to lay it out on the table really does make a difference. She has set me back on an even keel.

Mr.Mouse is well. He has some new friends. Malach and Norval are the gnomes that live in his neighborhood. And then there is Abigail…..



Where the heck is Mr.Mouse?

It was sometime late last Fall….I got into my car to drive to work and about half way there, I noticed Mr.Mouse was missing. He lives on the dash of my car, keeping watch over me and all who dare to enter. And he wasn’t there.

It must have been something simple like he slid off the dash and was on the floor. I pulled over and got out and started looking for him. He wasn’t on the floor. He wasn’t under the front seat. He wasn’t under the drivers seat. He wasn’t anywhere in the back seat area. Where was he? I was panicking. And it seemed totally ridiculous.

I got to work and could not even concentrate on anything. I suddenly realized that I had cleaned the car over the weekend and there were paper towels, cleaning wipes and glass wipes that had been gathered up and thrown away. Mr.Mouse must have been caught up in that pile of “trash”. So I grabbed a set of rubber gloves and drove home intending to tear every trash bag in my giant barrel apart. I would stop at nothing to find him. It was totally irrational..I was crying my eyes out as I drove home. I was heartbroken.

Mr.Mouse is my only link to Faron. Mr.Mouse was the one thing that kept me connected to Faron. I HAD to find him. I made up my mind that if I could not find him, I would reach out to Faron’s people and ask for a replacement. Crazy. I know.

I got home and emptied the big barrel and started to tear open the trash bags looking for my little gray friend. He wasn’t there. And he wasn’t in the big recycle bin either. What happened to him? Was he stolen? I was convinced this was what happened. But who would want to steal a little gray catnip mouse? I could barely see through my tears.

I went back to the car to look one last time under the seats. And as I opened the passenger side door, I glanced down into the map pocket on the door and there he was! How had I not seen him the dozen times I had looked on that side of the car? Was he hiding? Playing games with me? I was thrilled and now I was crying tears of joy and relief. Totally crazy, I know. But it is what it is.

I have since purchased a new ride for Mr.Mouse. His accommodations are much more spacious and a lot safer! He can sit on the dash just as he had done before, keeping an eye on everything. Or he can move down to his lower level suite and tuck comfortably and safely in his “room” and not slide around.


We call this the “Disco Dance Floor” suite!

Mr.Mouse loves his new home and I am happy that he is once again safely with me.


It’s a New Year

When last we left our heroine….

I had assured Faron was in a good home. I tried to move on…still trying.

I had that pesky knee operated on…took me off the trails for a long time. At the same time, other issues seemed to pop up. To me. it seems like it never ends. One thing after another…but I’m still fighting.

I’ve sailed numerous times. The boat and the ocean are my escape from all the drama that seems to envelope my life. If I could, I’d sail all summer long. It does not matter that I’ve been to the same harbors or coves many times. Every time is different and special. I’ve gotten into sailing in June when the days are long and the nights are cool. Late August brings warm winds and warm waters…and the end of September sailing brings cool crisp days and nights and winds that were meant to sail in.


Stormy times continued with my sister. But we did our best to try to repair damages. She got engaged…and married. It’s not a bad thing, just different. And I wore a dress! Life with her is still a work in progress. I have come to many conclusions about this rift and I am at peace with many (not all) of the changes.

Work is work….never a dull moment. We have a new Chief and a new attitude. I continue to advocate for our Dispatchers and push them to do and want better for themselves. I became a nationally certified Communications Center Manager. No clue what I will do with that but it looks great on a resume!

I’m working toward a new walking goal. I want to walk the 5 miles of the Battle Road Trail again…and thinking of doing the entire 10 mile round trip! My goal is to do this by April 1. It’s a lofty goal, attainable if the snow holds off and the winter is not brutally cold. Although I could train inside, my brain needs to be outside. I know some people will get this.


My sMyles is 2! And he moved away…to the North Woods of New Hampshire. I’m sad that he is that far away now but at least it’s just a drive away and not a flight away. His Mom and Dad got married…YAY. I was unable to attend the wedding. It was very short notice and I was on the boat in the bay. I get lots of text pictures and we Face Time once in a while. He was back here for his big 2nd birthday in October. Auntie loves him. 🙂

So we are on to a new year and new adventures…

Like the story on how Mr.Mouse went missing…



I can’t let go.

Faron moved on to his new home and people. I had done the very best for him and I had done my best to make sure he would be well loved and cared for. His new people were very happy to have him. They were very kind to me, understanding just how crushing a decision this was for me. There was only one real problem.

Faron’s new people just happen to live less than a 5 minute walk from my home. Up the street and around the corner…and there he is. His new people made the most generous offer to me stating that I was welcomed to come visit him at any time. As often as I wanted. They would welcome me. I was beyond grateful for that offer. It still stands today, even a year and a half later.

I am unable and unwilling to make that walk and enter that home. I avoid it at all cost. I simply could not bear to visit with him and then walk away again. It would tear me apart. And it would be so unfair to Faron and to his new people. So in place of visiting, I send an occasional email asking how he is doing and also asking they give him my love. They continue their kindness to me and respond to every email I send and include a few pictures of Faron along with them. I am mindful of not wanting to overextend their kindness. In the first few months, I emailed maybe 2 times. I then settled into sending an email on his birthday in April and at Christmas. This past April I got back the most beautiful email telling me Faron is feisty and fun and they absolutely adore him. At the end of the email, she wrote that she would “whisper your wishes in his ear.” So kind.

Every day I miss him. I miss coming home to find him waiting for me, waiting for treats. I miss him curling up on the pillow on the couch, tucked in under my arm. I miss the feline 500 race through the house. I miss him crawling under the covers in my bed and settling down for night next to my legs.

To be honest, I don’t miss litter boxes. I don’t miss paying to run the air conditioning in the Summer when I go sailing away just to make sure he does not get too hot. I don’t miss having to plan cat sitters for when I go away. I don’t miss cat hair…on everything.

But, I would take all of that back and more just for the joy of having him back.

I miss being needed.


Farewell and Fare Well

Faron was born on April 26,2012.


He had the cutest little pink nose and a white face and tummy. I had the pick of the litter and I chose him. I brought him home when he was 8 weeks old,


He had the biggest ears and an attitude to go with them. I adored him. I gave him everything and loved him completely. IMG_1782.JPG

He would grow up to be a feisty and fun cat that loved to play with his toys, especially Mr.Mouse. He was very busy all the time, no time to waste as he raced around the house, up and down the stairs. He loved to play inside paper grocery bags. Whenever I took out my luggage to go away, he would hop in and look at me as if to say “take me with you Mom”. He chatted out the window to his friend Squeaky who lived in the yard next door. Squeaks is a feral cat who had defied the odds and is at least 15 years old. My friends L&C are his people and they care for him as much as he will allow.10519460_10202779626686522_6577183955833993777_o.jpg

Faron and Squeaky  were buddies, if only from afar.

As Faron grew older, his feistiness could pose a problem for prospective adopters. He would bite and lash out at times, seemingly for no good reason. I had dealt with it just fine but worried that it would be an issue. This was part of my reasoning for not putting him in shelter. He would simply not do well and his aggression would put people off. But he could also be the most loving ball of fur ever.


But in early November, the folks at the Cat Connection called. There was a family that was interested in adopting Faron. I was happy but not. I’m sure you understand. The Mom of the family came to the house to meet Faron. He was very skittish and was clearly not happy. But she was not put off by this behavior. She thought he was beautiful. And she wanted him. A week or so later, she came back again and brought her husband with her. Faron was still the same…scared, and hissing at anyone who tried to get near him. But they wanted him. They felt that once he was settled in their home, he would be fine. I was so surprised. And grateful. Grateful to the Cat Connection for their help and grateful to the new people who saw beyond the fear and knew there was a great cat behind all that bluster. 10538410_10201915446162549_383727587_n.jpgIMG_1904.jpg

So on Saturday November 15, I went one last time to L&C’s house to visit with my boy. I had asked L to deliver Faron to his new people for me. There was simply no way I would ever be able to hand him over. I sat with him and fed him his favorite treats. I told him over and over again how special he was and how no matter where he might be, I would always love him.

His favorite toy was Mr.Mouse.



IMG_1996.JPGI made sure he had an extra Mr.Mouse to take with him.

I kept the original Mr.Mouse because it will always be my link to Faron.

No one would ever be good enough for him. No one would ever love him more than I did. Ever.

So farewell Faron, my best little Bubba, and fare well.

Moving Day

Moving day came and I was ready thanks to all the help my family and friends provided. The smartest thing I ever did was hire a moving company to do this for me. It was the single best thing I did. They did all the work and I just sat and watched. It took about 5 hours to move me out and move me in. My bff K spent the day with me so I would not be alone. My new neighbors were very curious about the new girl moving into the neighborhood. They were very friendly. It’s a great neighborhood…quiet, tree lined street, no real traffic to speak of, close to everything. It was now home…sort of.

Once everything was moved in, I still had a few more things to do at the old apartment. I had two more weeks there so I had time to get it done. I finished up there and left the keys on the counter and walked away. Strangely, I did not feel sad. Actually, I did not feel anything. I knew then I had made the right decision.

Two weeks after moving into my new home, I had to attend a 3 day conference in the White Mountains. I was staying at the incredible Mt.Washington Hotel and several work friends were there. We had a great time doing some sightseeing in the area. And we spent some time at the conference getting educated! The knee was still in the brace…still no time to have that surgery that I needed! And I had more things to do. I had lots of unpacking to do and organizing to make my new place exactly how I wanted it. But I did set a date for the surgery. It would be mid-November.

So with all this happening, I still needed to find a home for Faron. Some very nice people at a place called the Cat Connection agreed to help me out. I had made some decisions about what I would and would not do regarding a new home for him. I simply would not allow Faron to go into a shelter and live in a cage. He would have been so scared and I could not do that. Ever. I had made the ultimate decision that if I could not find a good home for him, I would put him down. To me, death was preferable to a life in a shelter. The folks at the CC don’t usually deal with situations like mine. They don’t take in cats from people, they only deal with strays. They use foster homes and do not shelter. When they heard my problem and my feelings on shelters, they agreed to feature him on their website in hopes that someone would want him. They did not want me to euthanize him since he was so young. My friends L&C were still letting Faron live with them so for now, he was safe and well cared for.

People may question my decision on this but I don’t care. I knew what I was doing and how it would affect Faron and me. It was an incredibly hard decision and one I hoped I would not have to make.

When you’re smiling, the whole world sMyles with you.

My family and friends rallied to help me pack and get ready for the big move. Faron was moved to my friends’ L&C’s house where he would stay until he could be permanently placed. I could and did see him every day as he was just next door. It was particularly hard standing in my kitchen and looking out the window and seeing him sitting in the windows of the house next door. So close but so far away…

Five days before the big move, our family stopped to welcome a new life into the world. My beautiful niece gave birth to an exceptionally spectacular baby boy. This child can not possibly know how he changed my life. To know me is to know that I dislike babies and children. I have always disliked babies and small kids. They are loud, messy and annoying and are far too often heard when they should only be seen! I never wanted any kids and have done a good job of keeping away from them. Until now…

Although I am not his Mom, it is true that the birth of a child changes you. It changed me. One week after he was born, I was able to drive to the Cape to meet him for the first time. My niece came into the room carrying him and handed him to me. I burst into tears. I had never seen anything more beautiful or felt more love in my entire life.



Now don’t get crazy and think I’m going to babysit any time soon! But there is NOTHING I will not do for this little boy. If he needs something and I can provide it, consider it done. I am not a shopper but buying clothes for this little guy is so much fun. Everything is cute! You need long sleeved pajamas? Onesies? Toys? Bank Account? Done!

He is growing up so fast and changing every day. His Mom and Dad are doing everything right. They are following their own path and raising him in a way that feels right for all of them. He has an incredible safety net of extended family (and dogs) and friends and is loved by more people than he will ever know.

He is happy and sMyles all the time….



Well okay, most of the time!