Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Raindrops kept falling and falling...

The Fair had arrived. Our town prepares for months for this event. The buildings were cleaned out, exhibits hung perfectly, animals were washed and brushed, the rides were set up, and all types of food would be sold. The anticipation had been building...and finally the Fair arrived. And so did the rain. It sprinkled. It poured. A light mist fell. The clouds opened up and water came rushing down upon us. Puddles formed, then small ponds. Roofs leaked. The barns flooded. The Fair had to close early one evening. Exhibits got soggy. The goats had to be moved. We needed an ark. The beauty pageant was moved. Umbrella sales skyrocketed. Ticket sales plummeted. So how did I handle this soaking weather? I'd like to say that I smiled and made positive comments about the fact that I looked like a drowned rat. But I grumbled a bit. I complained for awhile. But then I realized that it wouldn't change anything. You can't control many things in life and weather conditions are one of those things so I snapped out of my ugly mood and went into Fair mode. I had fun visiting with all of the dripping wet people who came to the Fair determined to have fun. I saw old students of mine and caught up on their lives. They are all grown up. I taught some of my students in first grade and then again in seventh grade when I taught literacy. It did my heart good to find out about the paths in life that most of them have chosen. They are blue ribbon people!
And then I ate my way through the Fair. Maple cotton candy was my favorite. It was made on site with maple syrup from NH so it was fresh and yummy! If you ever get a chance, try it ! My least favorite was the deep fried Twinkie! Sicky sweet - what was I thinking? I could only eat half of it and no one else wanted it so in the trash can it went. I thoroughly enjoyed corn chowder in a bread bowl, fudge, french fries, fried dough, buffalo burger, pizza, lobster roll... and I will be eating salads and yogurt for the next few weeks since I need to fit into my gown for my daughter's wedding in 24 days!
Despite the rain, even the scarecrows were smiling!

My 'burn your face off' peppers earned a blue ribbon! The cherry tomatoes and the red hot peppers received red ribbons. Okay. The butternut squash got a white ribbon - and I am still grouchy about that.

Moo... You know I hate having my picture taken!

'A pumpkin in a pumpkin' ~ the mom of this 5 week old baby girl sat her in the giant champion 700 pound pumpkin ~ too cute!

Finally, on Sunday afternoon, the clouds parted and blue skies made an appearance. Better late than never, I guess.

It takes more than a few raindrops to dampen our spirits but next year I hope someone remembers to invite the sun!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I'm Going to the Fair!

In our small community the Fair is the event of the year. I am ready. I am rested. I am ready to eat Fair food and lots of it. My warm sweaters are packed. Long days, late nights...crowds of people, traffic jams...I can't wait. Bring it on!

I will be working in the building which houses the artwork and projects of our area schools.

It is always refreshing to see the talent, the creativity, and positive energy of our youth. I will visit with old friends, congratulate children on a job well done and watch families as they celebrate with their children. When not working I will check out the other exhibits including the quilts, photography, needlecrafts, animals, vegetables, flowers...and I will eat my way through the fair starting with cotton candy, soup in a bread bowl, fried dough, apple crisp with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream and homemade fudge. Then there are the rides - the ferris wheel, the merry-go-round, the bumper cars. I look forward to the fair all year long - I feel like a kid again as I run around the fairgrounds, excited to be there.

Here are just a few examples of the incredible artwork done by the students...

And for the next four days I will be surrounded by the ...

I also entered my butternut squash, cherry tomatoes, and hot 'burn your face off' peppers in the vegetable department. Hope they win a blue ribbon! I will let you know.

What are your plans for this weekend? See you after the Fair!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Baby Steps

When I took the book, 'Life is a Verb...37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally', out of the box I knew it was going to be a sensory experience. The cover itself is enchanting and draws the reader in. The quality and texture of the paper begs you to touch it - it is ultra smooth and cool and the perfect weight. Your fingertips glide across each page, easily turning them when it is time. It was created this way intentionally. You know when you are holding 'Life is a Verb...' in your hands that you are about to embark on a life changing experience. You will not skip pages. You will not speed read. This book is meant to be absorbed into your whole being. You will read, reflect, investigate. The color artwork throughout the book was created by artists who are followers of Patti's blog. The art complements Patti's words perfectly. And throughout the pages perfect quotes from a variety of sources are displayed ~ with intention.

This book comes with instructions on how to read the book. Seriously. Each page has wide margins -intentionally. Patti wants you to have a pencil/pen in hand as you read so that you can write in the margin. Express yourself in the margin. Do whatever you desire in the margin- they are your margins. Be mindful of your margins.

Self-help books come and then they go. I have read many and the reality is I read, I thought, and maybe I even changed certain behaviors temporarily. Then the book sits on a shelf, never to be read again. Forgotten. What makes this book so different? Why do I honestly feel that if all people would seriously read this book - the world would be the world I want my grandchildren to be a part of - a world that respects all people, a world that is not judgmental, a world that slows down and is mindful of moments. Because this book makes sense - plain and simple. Patti never talks down to us but she never talks over us. She tells her stories to us - in plain English. In honest English. It is refreshing. She speaks from her heart and you know that you can trust her. She is a master writer. She is Mrs. Brillant. As I read this book I often found myself chuckling aloud. I often sat with tears running down my cheeks.

The book centers around six practices. For each practice there are stories, Patti Digh stories, written with her wit and her clarity. Each story is followed by an action challenge and a movement challenge. This is where the reader becomes an active participant in the book. You don't just read the book, sit back , put up your feet and wait for the change to take over. Oh, no! You get your feet wet. You get your hands dirty. You might feel uncomfortable. You might wiggle. You will reflect. You get to draw. You get to create. You will write. You will buy candles. You will look at life with a new lens. You will learn how to live with intention. You will be mindful. If you want change in your life...live the book.

I believe that this is a book that I will never finish reading. I will 'use' this book over and over and over. And that is the key to this book. You don't just read it - you interact with it. You perform the actions and movements - maybe at first quietly, and you check to make sure that no one is watching but then after using the book repeatedly, you become empowered. You put the windows down as you are driving, feel the wind messing up your hair and you sing LOUDLY to the music on the radio. You have become one with the book. You live the book. You understand.

I feel strongly that our world needs change. I feel strongly that it is time for change. I feel strongly that this book will be instrumental in bringing the change that we want, that we need. Baby steps...I will start with me.

Friday, September 19, 2008


I have been waiting for weeks for tomorrow, September 20th, 2008. The day when I will get to do the big reveal. The day when I will take my laptop, run to the top of the mountain, and shout, type and squirm with excitement as I finally tell all my friends and family about THE book. But I don't know if I can.

I can't run. I can't scream. I can't squirm. I can't focus. I can't sleep. I can't type. I have type fright. I have taken on the responsibility of spreading the word about a book which WILL change your life, if you are looking for change. I strongly believe that this book will be at the core of a revolution which will change the world. We just have to spread the word. That is what I am supposed to be doing here, tomorrow, and I don't know where to begin. My heart is racing.

And then I thought about THE book and an 'action' which the author had given. THE book is full of actions and movements - I promise to tell you more tomorrow. Please bear with me. The 'action' on page 174 tells me to think of a yearning I have (right now my yearning is to write this post in a coherent, passionate manner) and then write a short story about that yearning using the story prompts which Patti, the author, lists. So that is what I am going to do although I am going to change the prompts to fit this post. I know Patti won't mind. By taking the suggested actions to heart and making modifications so that they fit our current life situation we will be able to make change within. We will progress forward - which is where I pray this post moves- forward.

Before we go forward we must speed backwards to this past February when my husband and I went to India so we could attend our oldest daughter's wedding. This was a humongous adventure for the two of us. We had never traveled much except for an occasional trip to Canada and a cruise or two. So there was much to do as we packed, applied for Visas, weighed luggage repeatedly, unpacked, repacked, made arrangements for our dog, met with the travel doctor, and cleaned the house from top to bottom although I am not sure why I felt that was necessary since housecleaning has never been a priority for me. We called friends to let them know our travel plans and paid bills before leaving so there would be electricity when we returned. After hours of fiddling with my computer I figured out how to set my email account to leave an automatic 'Deb has left the country' type of message. In the middle of the disorganized chaos we tried to go out to dinner with as many friends and family as possible before leaving. We tried to connect with my husband's sister, Margo, and her husband, Rick before we left since we were long overdue for a night out together. We checked calendars, we emailed but there was no way we could get together even for a drink. Life was too hectic with the packing, the paying of bills, the last minute trip to the dentist. Good heavens, I couldn't travel to India with 'dirty' teeth, now could I?

Speed forward. I am sitting in the hotel lobby which is located right outside of JFK Airport. We have returned from India. I excitedly log in to check my emails. I have missed my family and friends SO much. I can't wait to reconnect, to catch up on their lives. I open up the email from Margo. My knees go weak. My heart races. I look across the lobby for my husband. I can't see him through my tears. Rick was diagnosed while we were in India with pancreatic cancer. 58 years old. A smile that warmed up every room. Twinkly eyes. Incredible heart. Married to the love of his life, his soulmate. Dad to three, grandfather to one. A born listener. Best friend to hundreds. He was diagnosed on Feb. 14th - Valentine's Day. We attended his funeral on March 14th. We will never have that night out together.

Speed forward. I am in Florida visiting mom and dad. My husband and I are still trying to understand Rick's death. We are trying to make sense of this loss. We are sad. I am angry. Why in the world did I put getting my teeth cleaned and my coffee table dusted over visiting with Margo and Rick? No one in India commented on my clean teeth and the dust moved in again while I was gone. I wander aimlessly around on my laptop checking out blogs. There was no rhyme or reason to my wanderings or was there? I will leave that for you to decide.

One of the blog titles caught my eye and my curiosity ~ 37 days. The blog author, Patti Digh, asks this question of her readers, " What would you do if you only had 37 days left to live? " I was hooked. I stayed at Patti's for a long visit. I sat out on my parent's porch basking in the warmth of the Florida sun while reading deep into the archives of Patti's posts and slowly I felt Patti's words start to work their magic on the hurt and sadness I had been feeling since Rick's death. Patti nourished my soul. Thank you, Patti.

Speed forward - Excellent news for all ~ Patti Digh has written a book. She has written THE book. And Patti invited me to be part of the blogging book tour. By taking the action suggested by Patti in her book on page 174, I am now ready. I am honored. I am thrilled. Tomorrow I will share with you the book review I have written for Patti's newest book ~ 'Life is a Verb - 37 Days to Wake Up. Be Mindful. And Live Intentionally.' There's going to be a revolution ...we all wanna change the world... and Patti Digh has the solution! Read all about it ~ tomorrow! You won't want to miss it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Life is...

The book arrived late yesterday afternoon when I wasn't home. I was more than a little bit excited to find it when I arrived home yesterday. Don't bother to get a magnifying glass to help you read the return label - the name of the book isn't listed there. So, as promised, here are a few clues about the book. Put on your thinking caps.









The fact that this busy author took time to autograph my copy of the book speaks volumes about who she is as a person - and the words she chose to write will guide me as I live each glorious day with intention.

And that's all the clues you are getting for today! And there is a logical reason as to why I am waiting until Saturday to announce the title of THE book. Really.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Where, oh where, is THE book?

This is my wonderful five year old dog, Lilly standing on her favorite rock, waiting and watching. She is waiting for her favorite truck to come down the driveway. She is not picky. She would settle for a UPS, FedEx or DHL vehicle. And today I am not picky. I want any of the above trucks to speed down my driveway with a large dust cloud following behind. I want the speedy delivery man to jump out in one fluid motion, race up my walkway and lean on my doorbell, announcing the delivery of THE book. I want to do my happy, happy, joy, joy dance around my house as I celebrate the fact that I now possess my very own copy of THE book.

Curious yet as to what book I am impatiently waiting for? It is not 'The Joy of Cooking'. I already own that. It is not "The Joy of Sex'. Been there, done that. But it does have something to do with the joy of living and I NEED the book, on many levels.

I thought the book had arrived on Friday. I heard the delivery truck roaring down the driveway. I ran, slid, fell down the stairs so I could grab THE book out of the delivery man's hand, politely, of course. I ran my hand through my tangles and patted the wrinkles out of my shirt. I wanted to look well put together when he presented me with THE book. I tried to not tremble too much as he handed me the package. The day had finally arrived. I had received...wait a minute. The box he handed me was a six inch cube. This was not your typical book shaped package. Well, the author is not your typical author so,maybe, just maybe, she had written a cube shaped book. I was feeling a bit skeptical as I tore the cardboard apart. Oh darn it. I forgot that I had ordered THAT! Another day without THE book.

BEEEEEP. BEEEEEP. So why is the FedEx, UPS, DHL man blasting on his horn while sitting in my driveway? Maybe he found THE book, hidden in a pile? I ran, tripped, skipped out to the truck. Oh, happy days!

"Hey, lady. Would you come get your dog?"

What is he talking about? I looked under the truck. No Lilly there, thank goodness. I looked in the front of the truck. No Lilly there.

"Where is my dog?"

"She is in my truck and she won't get out. Would you come get her?"

I looked in the truck and there sat my Lilly dog. Sitting politely, waiting.

" Oh, she is just waiting for a cookie. The speedy delivery man who usually comes here always gives her a treat. She is just waiting for her treat."

"I don't carry treats. Now what do I do? How do I get her out of the truck?"

"Just give her THE book. She will settle for THE book."

"Lady, I don't have your book."

"Did you check in every pile?"

"Yes, I did."

"Did you check way in the back?"

"Yes! Now please get your dog out of my truck. "

Fine. I called Lilly and she came out of the truck. Disappointed, we both walked into the house. No treats, no book. But tomorrow is another day.

It is my hope that you are now a bit curious as to what book it is that I am waiting for, and why, what, who, when...all these questions will be answered by Saturday, September 20th. Check in off and on this week as I will be giving more tips and clues. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Growing Circle

I answered my phone yesterday and got an earful of giggles. No hi, hello or heavy breathing. Just giggles. That would be my dear friend, Pam. Pam is the best giggler I have ever met. Her laugh is unique and I can't help but smile when I hear it. Fortunately Pam is an upbeat person so she shares her laughter frequently and it is contagious. I can't even write what it sounds like but when she really gets going she almost hyperventilates and chants 'oh my god, oh my god.' There is also a dance involved which involves crossing the legs and squatting but I won't go there. I could create a whole blog just about Pam - and I might.

I am one lucky lady. I have a circle of friends whom I cherish. We laugh together, we cry together, we talk, talk, talk, we shop, we dance , we eat, we drink, we fight, we share fears and we celebrate accomplishments . We love each other.

Karen travels in a parallel universe with me. I think of her as my kindred spirit and she helps me stay centered. She is my shopping buddy, a listener and an incredible artist. Ellen is my wise friend, my high energy, talented, very motivated friend who tells it like it is - but always with kindness. She loves a good adventure and could easily win American Idol. Diane is my analytical friend. Quiet, always observing and very loyal, she always has my back - and I appreciate her thoughtfulness. Soul sisters.

Cori is my unpredictable, hyperactive, wild friend. Martha Stewart doesn't have half the flair for style as Cori does. Her hair always looks perfect, she has fun with fashion and color and she is not afraid to flaunt it. She is bold. She is in your face. She cares.

Audrey would give you the shirt off her back. She puts the needs of others before her own - always. She gives so much to so many. She is a thinker. She is a doer. She is dependable. She is reliable.

Lori. Cyndy. Katey. Gigi. Julie. Sue. Cindy. Caroline. Beth. Lynda. Susie. And to all my other friends. I cherish my friendships with each of you - and don't worry - I will write more later about the adventures we have shared (maybe) and the wonderful qualities that you all possess. I am a lucky lady to have you as friends. Thank you. I am leaving my guy friends off this list - not because I don't cherish you but because the friendship is different. Another post for another day. And Ellen DeGeneres, if you are reading this - I would love to hang out with you! I have my Depends ready and I can dance! You would be a welcome addition to the circle.

And to my dear sister, Audrey ( different Audrey than above). I have not mentioned you because you deserve a post all by yourself. We shared the good, the bad and the ugly of childhood. Our friendship has developed slowly and steadily over the years and for that reason I value it so much more. We didn't choose to be sisters but we have chosen to be friends - and it feels so good. I love you.

And my friendship world is always expanding. I am 'meeting' people everyday through my blog. There is something quite addictive about blogging. I have no doubt that there are psychological and sociological studies being done about blogs and bloggers. I don't care about that. I like people and through blogging I have been given a virtual tour of the world - through photos and words. I am often left reflecting for hours about what someone has written. My world has changed because of blogging.

So imagine my surprise and delight when Akelamalu, a blogging friend from the United Kingdom, presented me with this award. My first blogging award. Here it is:

I am such a newbie to blogging - it has taken me all week and much research to figure out how to move the award over to my blog. I am exhausted. But I did it. Now there are rules involved with this award. I can't just accept it and walk off the stage. Oh, no. I sometimes have a difficult time with rules but here they are:

1. Only five people allowed.

2. Four have to be dedicated followers of your blog. YIKES!

3. One has to be someone new or recently new to your blog and lives in another part of the world.

4. You must link back to whoever gave you the award. ( I think I did this correctly?)

So... four dedicated followers to my blog? I don't really know and I hate to assume anything but here goes:

Bev at
How Sweet the Sound

Pink Dogwood

Rapunzel at
Rapunzel's Castle

Marg at
Home Again

And a new blogging 'friend' is Jennie at
Views from my Camera

I hope I have done this correctly. Let me know - I don't want to be guilty of committing any blogging faux pas!

Thank you Akelamalu for this award. And welcome to my circle of friends.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Summer ~ Please don't go !

To celebrate Labor Day Weekend we went hiking on two different trails - in one day! My husband and I went on this adventure with our son and his new bride - who I have lovingly nicknamed "Mountain Goat" after this experience. She can climb any mountain - fast. I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to even move the next morning albeit a bit more slowly than usual.

The beginning of the first hike.

Resting in one of Nature's 'Rocking' Chairs as she waits for me to catch up!

Quintuplet Birch Trees

All those hours at the gym have paid off!

Shadows of Summer

More mountains just waiting to be climbed!

Who needs A GPS ?

Our second adventure of the day! The hike to the 80' waterfalls was 2.5 miles.

Almost at the top of the Falls.

I am already planning to climb to Bridal Veil Falls again next summer when it is hot and humid. This is the perfect location for a picnic and the pool at the bottom of the falls is clean, cold and tempting!

And if you look closely, in the middle of all the green, you will witness the first sign that summer is coming to a close.
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