Vermont summertime

My little corner of Vermont is a popular, busy place in the fall and winter. Camera-clad leaf peepers swarm our area from late September through mid-October, hoping to capture the riot of colors. Winter brings a rowdier crew, as our world is blanketed in snow and winter sports lure crowds away from their city lives. And while I, too, love Vermont during these seasons, it is the summertime that I enjoy most. A time when my flower garden is a profusion of blooms and I putter leisurely outdoors. A time when exploring takes us to a beautiful vineyard and winery, where wine tasting makes for the perfect lazy summer afternoon. A time for kayaking on a nearby pond, listening to the quiet stillness that surrounds us. On this particular morning, a bald eagle soared above the pond, settling high in a tree along the shore. A time for meandering through our local farmer's market - preparing farm-to-table dinners and finding that perfect pasta bowl from one of our favorite potters. We received a pasta bowl as a wedding gift - and after 37 years of frequent use, it finally gave up on us and split down the middle. This one will make for a happy replacement - it makes me smile every time I see it. Summer in Vermont A time for flinging the windows wide open, enjoying the cool fresh air flowing through our home, waking to the sound of birdsong, gazing at the mountains while relaxing on the deck, hiking along the river as Chessie runs ahead, doing her little happy prance while sniffing everything there is to sniff along the forest trails Even on a rainy day like today, I am happy to be here. I listen as the rain falls in the forest, watch the tree tops swaying and the slow movement of the misty clouds which shroud the mountain top. I've been busy with a little of this and a little of that Work is still...work - although it, too, has slowed a bit during these summer months. I am back to reading fiction during my daily commutes, which is not to say that I have given up on my "minimalist kick". I have moved from reading to doing - as I tear through closets and cabinets, as well as grabbing just about anything in open sight that I deem to be neither useful nor "beautiful". I recently finished reading The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own - another minimizing motivator. Also on my reading list Real Life Organizing: Clean and Clutter-Free in 15 Minutes a Day  Destination Simple: Everyday Rituals for a Slower Life Driving Miss Norma: One Family's Journey Saying "Yes" to Living And a little fictional fun: The Last Time I Lied The Leavers I've been neglecting my blog, instagram, facebook... but hope…

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Spring Ramble at Lowell Lake

This winter was pretty much a bust for me - and the spring seemed to be a long time coming. It's finally here, though, and Greg and I managed to spend an afternoon at one of our favorite Vermont parks - Lowell Lake. It was one of those gray, misty kind of days - cool air, soft lighting and the forest scented with pine and lilacs. And while I am more of a sunshine kind of gal - I was just thankful to be outdoors, again. It really was a perfect day to roam the trails. Lowell Lake used to be a summer camp - of some sort - and there are still several ramshackle buildings and cabins in the park. As I wander through here, I can imagine what this camp was like back in its heyday. But then, yeah - deal breaker... Chessie was anxious to hit the trails, but waited patiently as I stopped to take a few photos. We were greeted with the news that Baby Bear had been spotted on the trails that morning and Chessie needed to be kept on her leash. We come here year-round. In the winter when the lake freezes, we can walk across to a little island in the middle. The trail wraps around the lake, and is really more of a ramble than a hike. We were beginning to think we had the only labrador who didn't enjoy swimming - but maybe Chessie is changing her mind. If not swimming, she certainly enjoys a good splash. And then a sure sign that winter is finally over - Fred is once again stationed among our hydrangeas. I've never been nuts over garden ornaments, but the previous owners left this guy behind, and we have grown oddly fond of him. I know it's summer when I hear Greg say "carry on, Fred" as we drive away at the end of the weekend. So - I managed to make it through another crazy, busy I'd-really-just-like-to-come-up-for-air kind of week at work - and this weekend I am continuing with my cleaning, tossing, purging, get-rid-of-stuff minimalist thing. It's going to be a long haul - but I'm getting there. And with that - carry on, my friends. Are you enjoying some spring-like weather and outdoor adventures? I'd love to hear about it!

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Finding my zen

"Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?" Mary Oliver One thing leads to another, and another, and another - and my quest for balance continues. It all began with my Monday morning dread. Although, perhaps "dread" is too strong a word - "apprehension", "trepidation" - maybe. It all began with my Monday morning trepidation which led to thinking about balance, which led to TED talks, which led to the ten-item wardrobe, and on to reading about minimalism, and tidying and new blogs and new books - my mind is a jumble of a million thoughts. But I will save most of this for another day. Last weekend, Greg and I began a minor home improvement project at Away. This project became a necessity when we noticed one of our kitchen cabinets separating from the wall. The need to do something short of a kitchen remodel, which is not in the cards - yet - adds to my already scattered thoughts. Cautiously prying the cabinet from the wall - hoping the wall doesn't follow: Greg: When you and Chessie were out walking, did you notice that our neighbors extended the road to the top of the mountain? Me: Hmmmm, What? Why? - but that is crazy! Won't it be hard to get up there in the winter? Let's check it out tomorrow morning. And so, with the almost spring-like Vermont sun shining, we traipsed upward. We've climbed this way many times before - always forging our own path. This time, though, we followed the new road, carving through the forest, to a clearing. And there - I felt I was on top of the world. As I stood, gazing around me - breathe in, breathe out... The pine scented air like my own personal Christmas - its gift, tranquility - zen. And then I understood - sometimes what seem like the "crazy" thing to do, makes all the sense in the world. Books in my bag: Currently reading - Chasing Slow, by Erin Loechner and Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert - food for the soul

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March dreaming…

We're well into March - already... And while March is usually my LEAST favorite month of the year - this year, I was quite happy to kick February to the curb. Perusing my Lightroom catalogs, I found this scene from the end of December. Something about it was calling to me - I now understand why. A self-portrait: Cue the tiny violins. In all fairness, though, February wasn't really a bad month. We held our annual family "ski fest" which is completely chaotic and fun at the same time. Skiing wasn't in the cards for me, this year - giving me plenty of time to share with these two little cuties - both sitting up, now. They will be headed to the slopes with us before we know it! And, as March comes marching in - I have been struggling with photography, writing, posting - pretty much anything requiring creative energy. This will be a month of transition for me; significant changes at work, occupational therapy for my wrist (yay!), and hopefully more outdoor time. So far, March has been full of snow and ice - outdoor time on hold, for now... Greg and I started Whole30 on March 1 - wondering if we can take control over any of those wonderful age-related maladies that seem to be creeping into our lives. We are on day 11, which means we've made it through "the hangover", "kill all the things", "I just want a nap" (I didn't even notice that one. I always want a nap...), "Nooooo! my pants are TIGHTER", and now we are on "The hardest days"  - yep, that seems about right. Fortunately, my pants are NOT tighter, and Greg jumped on the scale (a no-no) and is feeling a bit pleased with himself. So - what has been the hardest for me? - No cream in my coffee - and, no, coconut cream is not in any way a suitable replacement. I am hoping I learn to like black coffee - yeah, I'm not there. yet. Apparently, our next phase is "I dream of... junk food?" I am guessing I won't notice this stage, either - "m&m's please" is pretty much my regular mantra. And so - here is hoping that I dig my way out of my rut - very soon! Are you dreaming of warmer days as I am?

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Snowy Winter Walks

I love winter - strange, I know. So I am especially thankful for those beautiful winter days where I'm able to go outdoors and take a deep breath - stress melting away. Greg and I often take this walk along the West River in Vermont. The landscape, changing with every season; winter adds its own artistryBack at home, curled up with a warm cup of hibiscus tea and a worn out pooch, it feels like the perfect Saturday. I am joining Michelle for Thankful Thursday (on Saturday-running a bit late) Have a wonderful weekend!      

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