More Summer

July 27th, 2014

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The Eldest was in town for the weekend. He always makes the most of his time, wherever he is.

Time to maximize summer.

A trip to the North Shore, he suggests? Sure.

The Girl and I were ready for an outing.

Crane’s Beach it is.

The last time The Eldest went on his bicycle. This time I drove.

We used our The Trustees of the Reservations cards, to access the parking lot, and save a few dollars. That always makes me happy, first to support The Trustees of the Reservations properties, second to visit them, and thirdly, to actually get some ‘value’ from the card.

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What did we do?

Caught a little sun on a brightly striped towel.

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Read a novel, to the sound of children playing in the sand, and in the surf.

Walked up the long beach on the tide wrinkled sand.

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Had a sighting: Piping Plovers. Yes, they are real.

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The Eldest had a quick dip in the ocean. Me? No, it’s too far from the Gulf Stream for me, especially on a grey day.

Then back into Essex for a late lunch at the iconic Woodman’s.

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The line was only out the door, not around the block and back into the parking lot as it can be.

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We ordered one of everything, just about. Clam chowder – stuffed with pieces of clam. For starters.

Fried clams, served with onion rings AND French Fries, as you do.

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All so piping hot and fresh from the fryer that you realize why anyone would or should want to eat fried food in the first place. No wonder people have been standing in line outside Woodman’s for one hundred years.

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And maybe we shared a lobster roll, on that special, almost-sweet, top sliced, buttered and toasted hot-dog bun.

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I want to make that noise that Homer Simpson makes, when he’s both satisfied and still craving… the sound that’s a combination of ‘Ahhh’ and ‘yuum’, garnished with drool.

No, we did not enjoy the ice cream that they feature out back.

We have some pride.

I’ll have to go back for that another time.

Summer yum.

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Red, White & Blue. And You?

July 25th, 2014

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Fourth of July. Family Reunion time.

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It felt surprisingly familiar to be back at The Tides in Irvington, Virginia. It’s been four years since we were there last, the 14 of us. But time seems to stand still at The Tides, in the most graceful way. The rooms are still gracious and welcoming, with touches of luxury. The grounds are lovely: the winding drive through the Par 3 golf course is still bordered by American flags, Fanta-orange lilies blaze in the sun along the croquet court,

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and the sparkling turquoise pool can still be glimpsed through fuchsia crepe myrtle trees.

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And the water, the ageless river – Carter’s Creek stretching out to the Rappahannock – encircles everything.

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There’s always a warm welcome at the front door, the meals are local and generous – with cheese grits and biscuits among the offerings at the breakfast buffet, and Southern Fried Chicken at dinner. Yes, they still offer lemonade and cookies under the front portico on summer afternoons.

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What’s new? More bikes for a lazy ride through town,

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and along back roads through wildflower filled fields.

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More kayaks,

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and pedal boats, for a self-propelled tour of the creek. And an enormous chessboard on the lawn, which totally transfixed several generations of the family, and resulted in prolonged, hotly contested, and laughter-filled matches into the evening.

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And we were new. Sort of. Because we all came back at different ages. Especially the grandchildren.

The youngest was 8 in 2010; she’s 12 now. Still full of dance and laughter, and a little snark. The eldest grandchild is 31. The majority of them are out on their own. They have always been wonderful, but four years have allowed them to flourish. They are fascinating. Grown, fully themselves, yet elusive as adolescents and young adults can be, to adults, to us ‘grownups’. I determined to get to know them all better. (Even my own children, if given the chance.)

So I sought out conversations over the breakfast table, or around the fire pit in the evening after dinner, about their burgeoning careers in law, finance, and real estate. Their ambitions for college, or for graduate school, a mention of a girlfriend. At first they might have been surprised I asked. That may be my new role, listening.

So bike rides, kayak trips, Par 3 golf

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(we rechristened it Par 7, which gives you some idea of the mixed skill levels…),

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the Fourth of July Parade,


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fireworks, the beach,

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chess matches, music by the pool,  visit to the local vineyard for a wine tasting,

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drinks and meals at The Tides, and out along the Rappahannock.

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(Okay, and maybe a few hours in front of the TV, or following Twitter, to find out what was happening at Henley, and at the World Cup in Brazil, and at Wimbledon

Family Reunions. So great, so sad. Just when you get really comfortable with each other, it’s time to go home.

Red, white & blue.

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Pedaling Along

June 29th, 2014


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Summer weekend. Time to go exploring. By bike.

I take a Hubway bicycle from the stand in front of the Boston Public Library, don my bike helmet, and head off for the Esplanade. A ride along the familiar river brings me to a new point of view.

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The Zakim Bridge, not seen from a car…

As I sit in the shade of the trees for a few minutes, I overhear the narration of a Duck Boat driver passing by with his busload of visitors. Did you know they illuminate the supports of the Zakim Bridge with blue lights at night? Unless the Bruins are playing, when the lights shine yellow. Or unless the Celtics are playing, when the lights glow green. I think I heard that right. Because side by side with the Zakim Bridge is the TD Garden, home to:

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that’s right, the Boston Bruins and the Boston Celtics.

Back onto the Hubway bike, for a pedal into the North End, Boston’s oldest residential neighborhood, and now its Little Italy.

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From the banks of the river, I can see across to Charlestown,  even older that the North End. The USS Constitution is docked in the old Navy Yards.

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They sail the USS Constitution out of the harbor on the Fourth of July, in a water-borne parade to Castle Hill, then sail her back to Charlestown, where they moor her facing the opposite direction for the following year.

Further along the harbor, into the residential neighborhoods of the redeveloped wharves.

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They’ve developed a wonderful walkway along the harbor, connecting so many sites.

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You can follow it along to Christopher Columbus Park:

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There’s a party going on here today apparently. And great views out over the flourishing harbor.

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Keeping along, to the Aquarium. There are masses of people lining up to board whale watching boats. Apparently it’s a banner summer for whale watching off Massachusetts.

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Down to the wharf-end, wind whipping.

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I spy an ironic pairing, moored along the docks:

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Majesty, and Liberty Clipper. Your basic early history of Boston?

And out across the harbor haze, cranes marking the now-constant construction in South Boston and the Innovation District.

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If I look closely, I can also see the international flags of the World Trade Center in the Seaport. The office.

But today I am bike riding through summer Boston.

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Summer First

June 24th, 2014

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Saturday was the first day of summer.

Time for the firsts of summer:

First trip to Hyannis.

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First ferry ride out.

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First sight of Town.

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(The cloud even looks like a whale…)

First roses,

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First walk along the harbor.

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First visit to the Patio.

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First Farmers’ Market:

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First cobblestones.

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First walk through Town:

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All’s well with the world.

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First goodbye.

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Oh, the joy of knowing I will be back….

Hello, summer.

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June 20th, 2014


Leaving the office on an absolutely perfect June day….

As I walk to the “T” I come across an unexpected scene.


There’s a high-lift truck, and a film crew, and men in hard hats with buzz-saws… and an enormous ice sculpture.

They appear to be setting up for a very large party. No, I wasn’t invited either.


And here’s the guest of honor:


Have a good one, Johnny Appleseed.


Father’s Day

June 20th, 2014
Goose family on the Lagoon, Charles River Esplanade, Boston

Goose family on the Lagoon, Charles River Esplanade, Boston


Father’s Day in Boston. The Dog and I were out enjoying the sunshine along the Esplanade, viewing the Back Bay skyline beyond the Lagoon.

Along came a family that we have seen before.

This is absolutely the largest brood of goslings I have ever seen. There are four parents guiding this herd of offspring. If you look closely, you will see that there are over two dozen goslings, of quite varied size. This is definitely not one clutch of eggs, or two, or even three. I wonder how the four parents came to form their extended combined family. They really must have made a decision to adopt the offspring of others, and combine them with their own already large families. They are extremely patient as they move their outsize band of young across the water. It’s like a pre-school class on an outing to the playground. An exemplar of parenting.

This calm flotilla is so successful that another family of geese, with four much younger goslings, has decided to swim alongside the goose armada.

So here’s a salute to proud fathers (and mothers) guiding their enormous feathered flock safely across the Back Bay waters.

Quite a sight, on Fathers’ Day.



Beautiful at 200

May 24th, 2014

Emma Willard School Bicentennial

In 1814 Emma Hart Willard opened a boarding school for young women in her home in Middlebury, Vermont. Willard had already been teaching young women for a number of years in schools run by other educators, and she believed her students were capable of mastering a more challenging curriculum than they were generally offered.

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Her first successful boarding school was not enough to satisfy Willard’s desire to educate young women to a higher standard.

By 1819 Emma Willard was campaigning to establish a women’s seminary in New York State that would be publicly funded, as comparable men’s schools were. Willard wrote A Plan for Improving Female Education, and spoke to the New York State legislature, saying the problem with existing women’s education was that the objective “has been too exclusively directed to fit them for displaying to advantage the charms of youth and beauty” and that “the taste of men, whatever it might happen to be, has been made into a standard for the formation of the female character.”

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In 1821 The Troy Female Seminary, for day and boarding students, opened for the business of serious education. It was the first school in the United States to offer higher education to women. The curriculum included the subjects that Willard had been committed to, and had argued for: mathematics, philosophy, geography, history, and science. The Troy Female Seminary under Emma Willard’s guidance was a success, and by 1831 had enrolled over 300 students. In 1895 The Troy Female Seminary was renamed in Emma Willard’s honor.

In 1910 the school moved to a stunning new campus being built on Mount Ida.

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I think it remains one of the most beautiful high school campuses in existence.

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Emma’s vision, supported and enlarged by the work of all who have come since, has certainly stood the test of time. In fact, 2014 sees the Bicentennial of the school’s founding.

Definitely time for a party. In a magical revival tent perhaps.

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By day, the tent was a place for tradition, speeches, poetry and inspiration.

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By night, a super slick urban nightclub, for conversation, dining, drinks, and dancing…

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Emma, you threw yourself one heck of a party. Yes, fun was had. Lots and lots of fun.

Gals, it was great to see you all, and to celebrate our education and ongoing friendships.

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Emma, you look beautiful at 200.

Tricentennial anyone?






May 3rd, 2014

Boston in April.

Commonwealth Avenue.

Magnolia trees in bloom, everywhere.

Late this year, but it smells of spring.



Marathon On

April 21st, 2014

Last week they began to construct the viewing stands for the Boston Marathon Finish Line, 2014.

It brings back so many memories, good, bad, awful.

I make myself walk the block.

I feel claustrophobia at the pinch points, behind the bleachers, where I feel compressed by the wooden walls. I remember this from last year, how I knew where the bombs had gone off, at points that felt like this.

This is part of Boston, for now and forever. The memories, these feelings, are everywhere. And I wasn’t injured, or running.

You see it wherever you go, reminders, exhortations. We are getting ready, to ‘Take Back the Finish Line.”

Even the pansies outside the public library are Boston Athletic Association colors, Marathon colors.

As the week progresses, store windows fill with equipment and mementos.

There are celebratory pots of daffodils appearing in the windows, and at the doorways, of every business and home in the Back Bay. A gift from Boston Strong…

On Saturday Copley Square if filled with people. And runners.

The annual 5K. There are many teams running to honor the memories of those killed and injured.

They stage an invitational high school milers competition. It is so great to see these strong young runners flying over the Finish Line.

The city is ready, and has been.

We are ready.

Marathon Day. We all run Boston.


Resolutions? Resolute.

April 17th, 2014

We are well into the New Year now.

I guess it’s just the regular year after January, isn’t it?

Did you make some New Year’s Resolutions? What were they, do you remember? To eat better? Exercise more? Lose weight? How are you doing with that?

And me? Yes, I made some resolutions. Sort of life changing. To get back to work. Full time. For pay. Outside the home.

How and why?

I applied to an innovative new program called reacHIRE, which is “creating a new path for exceptional women who have taken a career break to transition back to work.” Yes, of course I’d like to think I am exceptional….

I applied to reacHIRE in December, was interviewed, and accepted into just the second ‘cohort’. I joined twelve wonderful, able, ambitious and committed women, my classmates, all determined to get back to work, and back to something approximating the professional careers they had enjoyed. We started our classes in the freezing cold of January, on our three phase journey back to professional presence.

“reacHIRE offers a systematic approach for professional women to re-enter the workforce. Its unique 3-tiered system of technical, management and executive skills re-training, career coaching, and paid project assignments assures that women have the latest tools at their fingertips, have focused career objectives, and are confidently able to re-enter the workforce armed and motivated to create tremendous value.”

We worked on our elevator pitches, our resumes and our LinkedIn profiles. We visited Microsoft for a refresher course on Office, with special attention to new features of spreadsheets, and pivot tables. (Me neither.) Behavioral interviewing preparation and techniques. Emotional intelligence. To Google for search engine optimization, Google Analytics, Google Drive, and the future as Google sees it, through Google glasses and driverless cars. Internet marketing, CRM, and project management – Agile, anyone? Presentation skills, and our own PowerPoint presentations.

We stressed. We grew. We rediscovered ourselves.

Following ‘graduation’ I was contacted about an interview for a six-month paid placement at a major corporation… and off I went, with my professional toolkit newly refreshed and resharpened. Two days of interviews, follow ups on the phone, and there I was, going back to work.


It’s been two weeks now, me back at work, with a new boss, a new team, and new projects.

A new old me.