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"Growing up is losing some illusions, in order to acquire others." Virginia Woolf

Thursday afternoon after a long work week, Corb and I headed off to Indian Head Resort in Lincoln, New Hampshire for another long week-end. 

Truth be told, it really wouldn't be our first choice for a vacation destination, as it's more of a family friendly resort, full of parents and kids, which meant that ceiling of  our room sounded like this all night long: thud thud thud, door slides open, slam!, thud thud thud. Not exactly our cup of tea.

"We like more of the Devonfield Inn kind of place," said Corb, as well we were driving to Polly's Pancake Parlor on Friday (PS: Great breakfasts there!) "You know, with fancy rooms and antique shops to visit and nice French restaurants..."

"Oh. You mean a gay vacation," I replied.

Exactly! But we were spending three days there for a special reason: Ashes had asked us there to celebrate her birthday, along with her boyfriend Dan, Josie, and Dan's mother and sister (Dan's father is a crazy Trump lover, so they left him behind.) It was time to meet some of Dan's family. Yes, it's getting that serious.

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Journey's end

The balcony outside my home office. Every morning, I start the day here with a short meditation.
The balcony outside my home office. Every morning, I start the day here with a short meditation.

"There's no place like home." Dorothy Gale

The day after our return from the Berkshires, Corb was scheduled to work at the Salvage Angel, the artisan market that he displays his refurbished chandeliers at. Here's a photo of one of his latest at the bottom of this entry.

That gave me time to start Week Three of my vacation doing something I hadn't yet had much time for: time to be alone and all by myself. I love spending my days with Corb, but I grew up spending a lot of time alone, and I don't get as much time I as used to to just focus on doing what I want all day long, even if it's a whole lot of nothing. Even its just walking around naked all day! Whatever, I firmly believe solo mental health breaks are vitally important to someone's well being.

You may have noticed I keep referring to my vacation in terms of Week One, Week Two, Week Three, even though, in all actuality, this one was only ten days total. That's a little game I play with myself to make the time feel like it lasts longer. If time is relative, after all, and the construct of one week consisting of seven days is entirely man-made, why can't I simply reduce the base and make every week consist of three? That way I get three weeks out of the deal instead of one. And you'll note that I divided these imaginary weeks into themes: Week One consisted of home improvement projects culminating in a family get together at the house, Week Two was time spent away, and Week Three focused on relaxation. 

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The way home.

"I had spent many years pursuing excellence, because that is what classical music is all about... Now it was dedicated to freedom, and that was far more important." Nina Simone

Friday was the start of the journey home, and entering into "Week Three" of this vacation. But as has been the norm with with this trip, we decided to make our return trip last as long as possible, avoiding all highways and taking the most scenic route possible.

Our journey took us through the Jacobs Ladder scenic byway, and we think we've discovered a route we will want to visit and revisit again and again. It was filled with little areas you could stop at recapture past moments in time, such as an old cemetery filled with gravestones from the 1700s, or beautiful old railroad bridges that have now become part of nature, or stop-offs where a thirty minute hike would bring you to beautiful waterfalls with 60-foot drops.

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Extra.

"I just want your extra time and your...kiss." Prince

Deciding to take an extra day did come with decisions. Did we want to stay where we were or try another inn? After some conversation, we decided the least stressful option was to simply stay put at the Devonfield Inn, rather than worry about where to travel to, whether the hotel would be nice enough, etc. 

We did have to move out of the room where were in, which actually turned out to be a better decision. While the room wasn't as large as the attic space we had been staying in the past two days, the room was prettier and the bed was more comfortable, giving us a breathtaking view of the grounds, which we used to full advantage that night when a storm breezed in. We opened up the shades and the windows and lay in bed, watching the world thunder around us.

Before that, after a delicious breakfast at the Inn, we randomly selected a random trail from my Audobon app and ended up driving through the October Mountain State Forest. The roads were narrow and in many areas unpaved, so it was kind of a thrill actually driving up and around a mountain, with that feeling that any second, you could plunge to your doom. However, the park ranger we bumped into assured us that the road was safe and there weren't any fallen trees from the storms that would make the trip treacherous. 

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Berkshire travelogue.

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that receives it.” ― Edith Wharton

So much walking in the Berkshires! 

Our second day started out at the Berkshire Botanical garden, a 15-acre botanical garden located in Stockbridge. Probably no surprise, but I was pleased to realize that eight years spent living at Green Victoria has better equipped me to recognize and identify most common types of New England vegetation. Oh, look! I see lilies, hosta, roses, lilacs, sunflowers. Corb only had to correct me once or twice. And of couurse, there were 3,000 different varieties. Still, we filled out quite a few varieties on our New England vegetation Bingo card.

After that, we spent most of the day at the Hancock Shaker Village,  a former Shaker commune  that was organized in 1790 and was active until 1960 and then sold to a local group who operate the property as an open-air museum. 

I am proud to report that we explored every single building, including a round stone barn with four interior rings that was apparently quite a sensation in its day. We even hiked through one of the nature trails and then circled back to the cemetery, which really is more of a memorial stone surrounded by a large black fence, and located next to a huge solar farm ten times larger than the cemetery.

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Berkshire rainfall

 “You don’t choose the day you enter the world and you don’t choose the day you leave. It’s what you do in between that makes all the difference.” – Anita Septimus

"Week One" of my summer vacation centered around home repairs, culminating with a lovely evening with my parents, the kids, Josie and Corb sitting around the pool and watching a long-forgotten video from more than twenty years ago.

"Week Two" is focused on travel, and at around noon, Corb and I packed our things and headed off to the Berkshire Mountains. We are staying at the Devonfield Inn, a 30-acre bed and breakfast built in the early 1800s and located in Lee, MA. Tonight we are looking forward to a bit of french cuisine. I don't know why I get excited about silly things like that.

And right now? Relaxing in our room, which is called the Penthouse Suite, but is really more of a spacious converted attic with a lot of character and far too many books. I'm feeling right at home.

We arrive just in time. A thunderstorm rolls in as we climb up the stairs to our room. Quickly, we turn the lights off, open up all the windows, and take in the downpour and thunder.  

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Exposure.

Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand. — Mark Twain

This has been an unusually rainy summer so far, and July 4 weekend was probably the worst. Which was a shame, because all of us were looking forward to resuming one of our most beloved family traditions after a two-year absence: July 4 at my parents' beach house.

To be sure, it's changed a bit through the years, as time has taken its toll. When we first started going to the beach house in Westport, I was 15 years old, and my parents co-owned the place with their best friends, Cathy and Jim. Now I'm 55 and Cathy passed away a long time ago; Jim moved away. My sister Kerrie now co-owns the place with my parents and so many people have come and gone during that time.

Some of us handle change better than others, and Ashes has always...well, been the worst. This past week-end was no exception. She was SO looking forward to getting together with everyone on Saturday, to swim in the lake, play games, light fireworks. But the weather did not cooperate, and no one looked forward to being stuck in the tiny beach house all day, so my parents moved the date to Monday.

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This Journey begins Now.

"Discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." – Marcel Proust

A few months ago, I posted an entry about the office reconstruction taking place at Green Victoria--basically, re-imagining Ashes' bedroom into an office space that I could work out of. I am happy to report my set designer/chandelier restorer/master builder husband Corb came through and then some. 

It took about six weeks to get done, but since the start of June, I've been working out of my gorgeous new office. The above photo is only one part of the new space (see below for more). Corb basically tore down one wall and rewired everything, rebuilt the entrance into a pocket door, installed two built-in bookshelves, added two desks into the office (one standard size and one that slants upwards for writing), repainted the whole room, added flooring and wainscoting, and we also added a completely new door to the Juliet balcony and then reworked the space outside (great for meditating in the morning). Two looks for Zoom calls: a more formal look for professional calls, and one for more casual moments. 

I've rearranged all my bookshelves by theme. All my favorites are surrounding me. A shelf for Shakespeare, a shelf for Gilbert and Sullivan, a shelf for Arthur Conan Doyle. A shelf devoted to musical theater, to the writing process, two devoted to presidential history, one to fantasy, one to philosophy.  

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