Sunday, October 28, 2012

An Adirondack Journey

My favorite movie is The Sound of Music. The songs, scenery, and story always seem fresh somehow, and I watch it at least once a year. There's so much I could rave about—a story of love, family, devotion—but today I'm going to focus on a trait that the two main characters possessed: the courage to step into their destiny despite great risk and loss. (Spoiler warning ahead, but I'm sure most of you have seen The Sound of Music). Maria walked away from her life in the convent to marry the Captain, become a mother to seven children and enter a world so different than the one she left behind. The Captain broke his engagement to the Baroness because he fell in love with his children's nanny. Then he left Austria with his family to start over in Vermont after refusing to serve in the Nazi army. Although most of us don't need to make major choices like these, smaller changes can seem monumental when we are faced with them.

It's easier to stay the course, than to walk into the unknown. Your heart and soul may be telling you to "Go" and at the same time your security is quivering with fear. Saying farewell to people and places  you love to embark on a new beginning is simply hard, but change is also an ingredient for rich living.

My dear friend Janice is about to make a career change that involves a major move. As excited as she is, it means leaving the home where she raised her son, her friends and her beloved Adirondack Mountains. These mountains were more than just trees and lakes to Janice. They were her spiritual sanctuary. She climbed all of the park's 46 peaks above 4000 feet, meandered on the tranquil paths, and kayaked on its waterways. Although the Adirondack Park won't be a short drive away any longer, Janice is taking many memories with her, and this natural playground will always be there with a warm welcome when she comes home. Here are a few of Janice's photos that she captured over the years while exploring the Adirondacks of New York State set to the music of  Michael Hedges. I'd like to share this gift to Janice with you. Sit back and enjoy the beauty.


The song playing on the video above is The Unexpected Visitor by Michael Hedges.


An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser, which takes place in the Adirondack Mountains.

From Amazon Reviewer, Tom Weikert: "Its unparalleled depth defines An American Tragedy, listed by Time magazine in its 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005 list. A multi-leveled latticework of themes that includes everything from Freudian psychoanalytic theory to the ills of capitalism and its attendant social climbing in early Industrial America, this epic novel reminds me why I love great literature."


Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Day Summer Turns to Fall

It's a common question. A question you might ask when you're first getting to know someone. A question you might ask when a conversation lulls. A question a third grade teacher might ask her students to answer in an essay.

Have you guessed what it is?

There are hundreds of possibilities, but the one I'm thinking of: What is your favorite season?

A tough one for me because I love them all, which is probably why I have stayed huddled in the northeast all my life.

Winter brings Irish knit sweaters, snow days, skiing on quiet winter white paths, and crocks of chili.

Spring—the smell of rain, windbreakers, sightings of newborn animals with their moms, and tulips.

Summer—the last day of school, ice cream, beach walks, and bare feet.

And autumn—it officially arrived on September 22, but autumn weather didn't turn up in Saratoga until  mid-October. You know, those days where you put on a over-sized sweatshirt and open the windows to let the snappish air whiz through the house misting it with freshness. This has to be my favorite day of the year. The day summer turns into fall.

How do I celebrate?

First a few windows must be cracked open and no turning on the heat.

I wash my new flannel pajamas with drops of lavender scented oil and slip into them immediately after I take them out of the dryer.

                                                          Loved the starry night pattern!

Nestled in warmth, softness, and flowers, I put on snuggly socks.

                                            This year I chose peace socks, with much hope.

Then I head to the couch where a blanket, a book, and a cup of hot spiced apple cider are waiting for me. I make sure I settle in before the sun sets so I can enjoy this view when I peek up from the pages of my book:

                                                                     My Backyard

Happy Fall!    
I'll go with my current read (the one I chose for my welcome fall celebration), Doc by  Mary Dorla Russell:

From the inside flap of Doc: "The unlikely friendship of Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp begins—before Wyatt Earp is the prototype of the square-jawed, fearless lawman; before Doc Holliday is the quintessential frontier gambler; before the gunfight at the O.K. Corral links their names forever in American frontier mythology—when neither man wanted or deserved notoriety."


Piano Instrumental—Moving Autumn; However you're feeling this video is worth the view. Nature at its absolute best:



Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Senior Moment

On a clear, crisp autumn Wednesday morning I joined millions of people from around the world and dashed off to work. Tired of my routine, I stopped at Dunkin Donuts instead of Bruegger's Bagels for my "must have" commuter coffee. After ordering a large cup with just one cream, the young man behind the counter said, "That'll be two dollars and two cents."

I stepped back in surprise. The price of coffee had actually gone down since I last visited, and nothing in this economy ever goes down, except the stock market and interest rates. "That's a deal," I remarked.

The manager walked over and said, "You just got the young lady discount."

Confused, I asked "What?"

The manager smiled, "Ya know, the young discount."

The true meaning of that statement sunk in. It felt like she had hurled a boulder into my gut. All I could manage was, "Oh." For the first time ever, I had been given the senior citizen's discount. Quickly gathering some pride, I faked a giggle, said, "Of course," paid, and left.

I sat in my car horrified. I had entered Dunkin Donuts young and left old. I pulled down the sun visor and checked for wrinkles that might have emerged since I put on my make-up that morning. Didn't find any, but my hair looked more white than blond, so I made a commitment to stop and pick up hair color that was a shade darker than usual. I texted my friend who sells youth preserving skin cream and told her I needed an emergency supply.

Before turning the key to start my car, I considered what had happened a little longer. Why was I so upset? I just celebrated my 54th birthday. Did I really think I looked 35? I was uncomfortable with my vanity. After all, it wasn't too long ago that I wrote a post right here about the beauty of aging. I featured a stunning 76-year-old woman with a face full of wrinkles and an effervescent smile who skied like a champion. She became my hero and here I was sulking because someone had just pointed out that my youthful appearance was part of my past.

Later that day, I asked the Internet why humans are so afraid of aging. After all, it is a natural part of life and the only way to avoid it is through death. I wanted to be the kind of person who accepted this, not fretted over it.

In a nutshell, we fear getting older because it means our life is closer to ending. The potential for illness is greater, our parts don't work quite as well and our appearance does change.

But oh the advantages that come with each birthday. We know ourselves better with each passing year and can alter our life accordingly. We become less concerned with what others think and more concerned about what pleases us. We focus more on showing the world our internal beauty that shines through with a gleam in our smile and a sparkle in our eyes; and a gleam and a sparkle can't be bought in a bottle.

During my search, I came across a blog post on Time Goes By called Fear of Aging, which discusses the compensations that come with getting older. My favorites are: "I've stopped comparing myself to others." and "I eat ice cream, only ice cream, for dinner when I feel like it without a twinge of guilt."
Check it out:

Have I recovered from my welcome at Dunkin Donuts into the senior years?

I'm in the acceptance phase. I'm 54 and have more energy than ever, am pursuing my dreams, have wonderful friends and family, and am blessed with health. I couldn't be more grateful. That being said, I did opt for a darker shade of blond this weekend.


Age didn't stop the female characters in I.O.U. Sex by Sandra Nachlinger & Sandra Allen. Three middle aged women get together for an evening of fun and end up reminiscing about their high school sweethearts. The conversation leads to the fact that they didn't have sex with their former boyfriends. KiKi, Peggy, and June set out on a mission to find their young loves, and give them the sex they owe them. I.O.U. Sex is an entertaining novel that will make you laugh, ponder, worry, and remember.
Goodbye Alice in Wonderland by Jewel. No. Alice can't stay young forever, even in Wonderland.

Kristen is the winner of "A Stop in the Park." Congratulations and I'll be contacting you to find out where I should mail it.

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest. "A Stop in the Park" is on sale until October 20th at $.99 Kindle downloads; $13.28 paperbacks.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

First Book Signing! Win A Prize!

You have shared my novel journey with me and now I'd like you to be there for my first book signing. Most of you live too far to have stopped by for a signature, but believe me, I did think about you, the people who visit Kick Back Moments, while at The Irish Times, a wonderful pub and restaurant in the center of Saratoga Springs, NY.

Leave a comment when you finish browsing through my photos and you'll automatically be entered in a contest to win a free copy of "A Stop in the Park" signed by me. Please leave your e-mail with your comment so I can contact you if your name is selected. I'll copy and erase it before posting for your privacy. Thanks for all of your support. Hope you enjoy the photos!

The happy author--me!

Signing a book for Mrs. Barrett, my son Max's kindergarten
teacher . Max is now 23-years-old.

My niece Laura with my younger son, Greg.

My writing partner and dear friend, Susanne.

Me & Mom
Fantastic Colleagues!
College Buddies

Good friends, Ellen and Kerry

A whole lot of fun and a wonderful visit from high school
friend, Kate!

Thanks to husband, Keith, for taking the photos.