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Feed Your Soul

Did you ever end up exactly where you needed to be, with the people you needed to be with, and not know it until you arrived?  That's what happened to me Saturday night.  I got a notice from a friend that she was teaching a restorative yoga class not only in Boston, but in the North End, on Hanover St.  I immediately popped off an e-mail to my son telling him of this event and he wrote back saying, "let's do it." Of course my husband came partly because he likes restorative yoga and being with my son, but I suspect he really came because he loves the authentic Italian food that is so abundant in the North End.  

We got there a few minutes early and upon entering the building I was immediately lost in the sensual smells of any good yoga or meditation studio.  Oils and incense permeate the air, and a calmness envelopes you, like a warm, soft blanket.  It has been awhile since I've taken restorative yoga.  When my son sold his studio, probably a year ago now, we fell away from it.  So just in entering the space, seeing all the naked shoes, like little ghost, smelling the air, and giving into the low light, I felt like I was coming home and it was just where I needed to be at that particular moment.  We set up our mats, my husband in front of me, my son by my side and my friend at the front of the room.  I was perfectly, instantly taken away by the sweet, soft sound of her voice...and I didn't come back for 90 minutes..

The space itself is beautiful..a restored walk-up, trust me, it was a walk up.  About 20 people in the room practicing and yet, you are alone with your own heart, soul and mind.  Restorative Yoga is a form of yoga that seeks to achieve physical, mental and emotional relaxation with the aid of props. The use of props makes it easier for you to maintain balance while you are stimulating and relaxing your body. In this class we not only used traditional restorative poses while being guided, in breath, by my lovely friend Rachael Duda, but for the first time the 3 of us where introduces to the singing bowls and flowing water, under the gentle supervision of Elaine O'Rourke.  It was a unique and lovely experience.  I felt myself drifting and then finally letting go, and just being aware of my breath letting the outside world slip away.  So much stress was being held onto that I wasn't even aware of until it was gone. My weary body stretched and moved easily and my new knee felt more like a part of me than a replacement. I came to peace with it's limitations but also came to know that it would serve me well all the rest of my days.  I was where I needed to be and it was a gift that was so easy to give myself and my boys.  Rachael was so gentle in her transfer of poses and also in her hands on healing.  It's like she just knew what we needed right at that moment.  I could have stayed there for much longer but then I did tell you that my husband loves Italian food, right. So slowly and with intention, I came back to the real world. 

Sometimes we let life and circumstances come into our lives and we hold on tight for fear of letting go.  We all have good times and bad.  I was once again rewarded when I put myself first and let go of the feelings that were dragging me down.  I left feeling like every part of my mind, body and soul was working exactly as it should be, and when my feet slipped back into my was with confidence that the trip down would be much lighter than the trip up those three flights of stairs.  The universe sometimes takes over for us and plants us right where we need to be. We just have to be open to receiving the gift. I'm very grateful that the universe knows me better than I know myself sometimes..A huge thank you to Rachael and North End Yoga for feeding my soul and then we were off to feed our senses...

Yoga is a light which, once lit

will never dim.

The better your practice,

the brighter your flame.

B.K.S. Iyengar

I just want to share a few photo's of lovely Hanover street on a Saturday night.  It is still very much a neighborhood and life happens in the streets and restaurants, cafe's and coffee's electric, especially at night.

North End Yoga

Walking while eating gelato...Yum.

Assaggio's on Prince Street for dinner.  The best. Jim approves.

Where neighbors and friends the bar. 

After dinner, Mike's Pastry. This my friends, is the line to get in and there are four lines inside waiting to order.  Authentic Italian pastry.  The best in town, well except for Modern across the street.

Is it time for you to think about your mind, body and soul.  You might not choose to do restorative yoga but if there is something that you love, that you haven't indulged in lately, give it a go.  It can't hurt and maybe it will be just the thing you need to re-kindle your flame...wishing you the best week ahead...


A Morning At The Apple Orchard

Summer has past...the weather has changed.  Cool nights, warm afternoons and time to gather sweaters and vests. It's also the perfect time to visit the Apple orchard.  I love walking between the rows of so many different varieties of apples...and filling my bag.  The colors in the orchard keep my eyes full of delight...the reds, greens, yellows and sometimes a few shades of purple.  Then there are the apple orchard smells, burning wood from the camp stove to keep the apple shack warm, animals in the barn and most importantly the smell of warm cider donuts as they sizzle while deep frying and being bagged...all of my senses are in high gear and my mood lifts and I am thankful for living in New England.  So on a Saturday morning, a few weeks ago, I grabbed my gear and off I went to my favorite orchard here in Maine...a gift to myself.  

It's also not over when you leave the orchard...I head home with my apple bag and before the day is over, there is the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg, filling my kitchen, as the apple crisp bubbles up in the oven, just waiting for a scoop of vanilla ice cream to join in the fun.  A perfect Fall Day in Maine.

"God lives in the details."  Flaubert

"That something exists outside ourselves and our preoccupations, so near, so readily available, is our greatest blessing."

"Early one morning, any morning, we can set out, with the least possible baggage, and discover the world." Thomas Clark

Whenever you can, go for a walk, no matter how brief.  Something will always catch your's a beautiful time of year to be outdoors.   


He Is Watching


Oh Sweet Liam, do you know that I heard about children watching the Presidential candidates...but I never thought that it would be you or your brother.  I didn't think you would even know or understand about it, as you are only 6 years old.  It happened though, here in our little Maine house,  where peace and kindness prevail. You had just finished watching a Sunday morning cartoon on the little TV in the kitchen. You could sit at the dining room table, color and then glance up to watch your show. Your show ended, I was busy, and I didn't get to the TV quick enough to shut it off. One of the Sunday morning news shows came on.  When I turned the corner, there you were standing by the counter, listening to Mr. Trump. I took this quick I-phone snap and then promptly turned the TV off.  Honestly, I was surprised..first of all by the fact that you knew who he was and secondly that you and your friends talked about him and the others candidate at school. You also asked me if I liked Mr. Obama and I told you that I did. So we sat that morning, just for bit, and we had a little trying to keep it very low key and you just being curious about the people that you and your friends were exchanging conversation over.  It is a very big election year and already you are taking an interest.

I've been thinking a lot about this Liam and how I would have liked to have told you about each person that we were talking about..but I know the facts and the problems they are trying to solve are not something that you can really understand at your young age.  What I am happy about is that you find it important enough to ask questions and I know your Mommy and Daddy and Papa and I would always answer any questions you have, about most anything in your little life, that you think needs answers or that you want more information about...Your a very smart boy and when Jaxon gets a bit bigger, he's going to be really, really smart also. I'm so happy he's going to have you to talk to about all the things that will make him curious, no matter what they might be..

So, if I could sit you both down and tell you what I think, I wouldn't talk about the election or the people in it.  Someday that will be your job to figure out as you grow and want to make the world, your world.  You will know when you get big enough what is important for both of you.  I already know though, that you and Jaxson will most especially want to save the earth and Mother do love to be out in the woods and you love all the creatures that roam there.  The flowers are especially special for both of you...and walking and running, free of traffic is so much fun.  So, I think we are all on the same page there. More importantly, I hope as you travel through your world each day, you take with you all the lessons that all of us who love you, have taught you.

You know about how "nice matters" the Maine house, not very far from that little TV, is a sign that says that.  A long time ago, when you were really little, we talked about that, you and I.  How it's so important to not hurt anyone's feelings and not to make fun of people that are different than we are.  Sometimes when you and Jaxson get upset, Papa and I tell you to try to think of how the other person would feel if you weren't nice to them.  You guys are so good to each other and that is really important as you grow and become best friends.  One big thing that is really important is to never, ever be a bully.  I asked you if you knew what that meant and you said you did.  Good for you..Don't be a bully but don't let a bully, bully you either. Also try not to say mean things because words really do matter.  Remember how it makes you feel when someone says they love you and that you are good and kind.  Share those kinds of words and leave the mean words in your pocket...I know when you and Jaxson tell me that you love makes my heart sing.  Isn't it the nicest gift to know that you can make someone's heart sing..and if someone needs help, you be there to help them, not because you need to, but because you want to. By helping someone else, your really helping yourself.  I love it when you, and Jaxson now, help me carry bags in from the car...because I hurt my hand when I fell off my bike..and it makes me smile when you both help Papa in the yard and down in the workshop...I know he sneaks you a few dollars but that's o.k.  You deserve it because you boys are such a big help. Being kind and helpful, speaking words of love and singing happy songs is what I want for you and my buddy Jaxson.  Mostly though I want you to remember what I think is really important.

We don't know who will win this election yet..but soon we will.  What I can tell you though, is that I will pick the person that I think is the best example of what I would want for you and Jaxson.  I want you both to know that words matter, kindness is a way of life, loving everyone is important and high moral standards are a good thing.  You should also know that sometimes that is a hard thing to do but always, no matter what, you stand on your  principal and pride.  Don't ever win by being mean and don't follow a bad lead.  When I think of this election, I think of who I would want to be a role model for you.  I want someone that believes like Papa and I do..I want a person that really is good to people and tries very hard to help them. Mostly I want you to always stand for your own principle, because if you excuse bad behavior it really means that your the same as the person who is doing the bad behavior. Bad behavior and making fun of people can never be justified. Bad behavior is bad behavior and it tells you what kind of a person you are really dealing with.  I know this is a lot for a little 6 year old to think about right now, so I'm going to put this letter away for you and Jaxson.  Someday, no matter what happens, I want you both to know how proud we are of you and Jaxson and all the goodness you bring into our lives and the lives of all the people you connect with everyday..and someday you will know that even if the person we want to win doesn't, it's o.k. because we win anyways...we win because we will vote with our conscience and a moral compass that will never let us can't say the words if you don't demonstrate the action.  I know as you were watching TV that are also watching me and Papa and your Mom and Your Dad everyday...and we would never let you down. Always go for the person who has  kindness in their heart and goodness in their will know who they are by the way they act and treat other people and by the words they choose.

I love you Liam and Jaxson....I know you will always take the kindness train.  I hope the tracks have already been laid in your heart...honestly, you guys are the best and each day you go out in the world delivering sunshine to everyone who crosses your are the future...I'm feeling very good about that.

"No man is an fight the good fight, we need help."  Paulo Coelho


Boston's Beacon Hill

The Hill, as referred to by those of us who live close by and visit often..A unique part of Boston, Massachusetts...Beacon Hill is an historic neighborhood in Boston, known for it's Federal style row-houses. It is also know for it's narrow, gaslite streets and brick sidewalks. Today, Beacon Hill is regarded as one of the most desirable and expensive neighborhoods in Boston...Come, take a little walk with me through this lovely and charming neighborhood.  We will start our tour at the corner of Louisburg Sq. and Mount Vernon St, above.

Looking down towards Beacon St..from the top of the Hill.

A typical doorway, with the black door and always, flowers.  Do you notice the black iron metal on the right side of the step.  That was used, back in the day, to scrap the horse poop off your shoes before entering the house.

This is Callie Rose.  Sadly she passed away last year.  She sits in front of her doorway on Acorn St with her tennis ball close by.  She loved to be visited and was always very happy to do a photo shot.  There is a new puppy in the family now but she's to young to be left out on her own...Acorn St. is one of the most photographer streets on the Hill.

A full view of Acorn St. with it's cobbled stone street.

Entering Louisburg Square...the park.

Number 9 Louisburg Square..home to Secretary of State John Kerry and his wife Theresa Heinz.



Beautiful flowers in window boxes and on the steps..all year round.

Lunch on the lovely.

I hope you enjoyed your little tour of the hill.  Of course there are many more streets to roam through but I hope this is enough of a tease to make you add it to your stops as you travel around our great country and cities...I love the Hill and I can't wait to see how it will be dressed for Christmas this year..perhaps I'll be back to share a few of those snaps with you...


"When I was a boy in Salem, Mass., in the 1950s, if you wanted to buy a book, you had to take a train to Boston. And when you got there, to a bookstore, there was no such thing as a science-fiction section." Gardner Dozois

I was a girl brought up in Salem, Mass., in the 1950's and although I never remember a book store there, I also know that my Mom could not afford to take me on the train to Boston to get a though, I do go to Boston for books...I love the many and diversified book stores in town...especially The Coop, at Harvard Square.






She's My Girl

She was always the happiest, energetic little girl.  Today as she celebrates her birthday, even though she's much older now, she is still happy and energetic.  Look at that sweet face...I see both of her sons in that smile.  

I don't write much about Jenna and Chris because this is my thing, not theirs...but there are times, like special birthdays when I start to reflect and then I want to share with each of them my thoughts as they have grown into such wonderful adults. So today is Jenna's turn....maybe just like the boys, her boys, she needs a birthday letter also...I remember when she got married she wrote me a MOTB thank you note...during that time before the wedding I always referred to myself as the MOTB...her note to me, ended up being my gift.  She wrote it and framed it and shared with the early morning light on that day.  To this day that is still one of the most heartfelt gifts I have ever received...along with a similar type poem from her brother one Mother's Day...

So Jenna, it's been a long sprint from the photo above to the woman you are today...Oh my, the roads we traveled, both figuratively and personally.  When you were real little, like above, you were like a little doll that I could dress up and play with, the girl I thought I would never have.  Such a gift and quite unexpected but so grateful from day one for the gift of you. Your cuteness attracked a lot of attention as did your outgoiing personality..and very early on you learned how to manipulate all the men in your life...starting with your Dad and brother and working your way through your were always up for a fun time even if that only meant going to the hardware store with Dad...and I know you have long forgiven him for leaving you at the park one day when you were two and he was in charge...I'm still working on that. As you grew and started having your neighborhood friends, you would all zip in and out of the screen door like fireflies...I miss those early days of living in a neighborhood where we didn't worry if you circled the block on your own..or road your bike downtown when you were big enough and as I sit here trying to type with one good hand and the other in a cast because I fell of my bike, I am reminded of your trip around the block, going like the wind and rounding the corner, hitting a patch of sand.  You didn't break a limb but everyone in the neighborhood surely thought you were dying by the way you were screaming...but survive and move on you did...

You grew up in a flash,  right before my eyes...I wasn't ready for the swiftness of your leaving the nest, but leave you must. So the day came when we packed you off to college and I tried really hard not to cry but of course was no successful.  You worked hard, got your degree and then got married. You then decided to get your Master's Degree, while you were pregnant with Liam and working full time.  You amazed me with your stamina and courage and drive.  You are so smart it scares me...LOL...On the day you walked across that stage at Suffolk University, your Dad's alma mata, I couldn't have been more proud of you...the rim light that shines around you in this Maine photo, was from that time and your shinning still.  I love this sort of quiet, pensive photo of you...and the glow just exemplifies your quiet beauty.  Shortly after graduating you gifted us with the preciousness of Liam...we have enjoyed both boys for these last 6 years...another gift I have to thank your for.


Then along came Jaxson..special beyond words..I watched you stand by him all those months as you encouraged him to grow and be strong.  So many nights after leaving you there, I thought again of your strength and reserve that always brought you though for those boys.  Jaxson was a big test thought with so many ups and downs but you never wavered while he was in the hospital.  I don't know if I could have been so strong and brave and I wanted to lift some of your burden away but I couldn't. So we just stood with you day after day...finally Jaxson had enough of that hospital and he wanted going until he just drops and still you are always there to lift him up and hold him.  This photo taken in St. Maarten just thrills me each time I see you..the strength of both of you somehow shines through for me.  It reflects back your incredible mothering skills..I'll take a bow here also...I did teach you well..

Fast forward...Liam is now almost seven, Jaxson just turned four and life is good.  Oh my the fun you all have and the great places we go and the boys are so fortunate that you love Mother Nature as much as Dad and I.  You have learned that working hard is a necessary part of life but you have also learned the lesson of playing.  Dad and I watch how you interact with the boys and it very much reminds me of how we were when you and Chris were young..they follow you around like little ducks..eager to see where you will take them next...perhaps to the moon Mommy..or maybe to the bottom of the ocean where they know your love for them is endless, as it should be.  

The seasons come and go.  Here in New England we gather beauty all year long.  I see the beauty as I walk behind you as your Mom and your friend.  No matter where we all go, eventually, before long the road leads us back to each other very often.  I see the boys, comfortable and eager to learn and I honestly can say that one of my biggest thrills is catching you when your just doing your thing.  My camera records what I might forget as we move forward. Your birthday always ushers in the Fall colorful, crisp and full of promise for another year given and shared with us...

How special was this year...the boys are growing quickly and they are so aware of the outside world now. You allow them to seek their own likes and dislikes. They choose clothes and sports and foods, although the food part is a bit touchy now. Even with the new challenges, you set bounderies and hope for the best..with all of this, you continue to laugh and play. Such a unique gift you are giving them.  You also give that to me, as my best friend in all that we do together when time allows. Disney was the best this year and the most perfect age to give it a go. Life is lame and boring sometimes, a Jaxson quote. We struggle through our weeks with a to-do list to make life run as best we can. Sometimes, though you just have to put down your pencil and go. You do that for all of us...another Thank you...

So here we are, another fall is upon us.  The boys are now back in school.  Schedules are set and the days grow shorter.  I know though that you will carry on as you always do, mostly with a smile on your face and laughter in your heart as you move forward through this next season that you are entering...before you know it, you will be the one writing these letters to the that they know how valuable they are in your life as both you and Chris are in ours...gosh life would have been so boring without you both...

This photo of us Jenna, will always remind me of all the good girly times that we have had.  A tea party in Boston, just the two of us.  We have done a lot of tea houses together.. Little weekend getaways...a surprise trip to Chicago for your 25th birthday...that was thought we were going to the Cape until you figured out that Dad was driving us and that was pretty weird. Our trips to Nantucket, bike riding and almost running into Laura Bush.  I thought it was so nice that she stopped and talked to you, while the secret service asked me to step back with my big ass lens.  Our girly pre-wedding trip to Kennebunkport at that lovely little English Cottage...I think that is when we both fell in love with Kennebunkport. All of our crazy shopping trips where we would encourage each other to buy things that we didn't need or that sometimes were out of our budget but after a glass or two of wine...we'd say, "ah, the hell with it" and we would buy it anyways..I loved most though the times that we laughed histerically over something so stupid...and then we would think of it again and laugh some more...I couldn't find the crazy photo we took this day after tea where we laughted for days because I look like I was just let out of the loony bin...So many fun times..and this year with Newport on our calendar and West Side Story..

Yes, right from the beginning I knew that we would be best friends...and like best friends, it's not always roses and lollipops.  We have had a few meetings of the minds over the years but nothing breaks the bond of our togetherness...So let's just keep making plans...taking the boys here and there...let's keep going to tea and when we really want to break loose we'll drink some wine and we will laugh some more..but really lets take a year off from clothes closet is busting at the seams...on the other hand there is no limit on the shoes...

So Happy Birthday Jenna...this is going to be such a good year for us all, especially you.  Make things happen just like you always have...I'll walk beside you wherever you want to go...and we will continue to make here's the lesson I've learned from you...and you can take it on when it's your turn.. You taught me that letting go is hard in the beginning but you also taught me that you were always right around the corner...never really far away at all.  You left so you could make your life...and then you came back to me as a equal...but still calling me Mom..not such a bad deal...and now we have Liam and Jaxson...bonus..Thanks Sweet Baby you to the Moon and Back...Mom..

“ are my rainbow to keep. My eyes will always be watching you; never will I lose sight of you.” 
― Vesna Bailey


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