to the moutains

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rising up before the sun
with fuzzy stardust eyes
through sherbet-tinctured pink webs we blink
to wake the sleepy sky

a cozy Coffee Pot sign
says “celebrate everything!”
so strawberry waffle, pockets all full
my REAL maple on the side

out and up the mountains now
towards the clouds we climb
we sneak and peek and dare to swim
in the veil of a marvelous bride

on the road we snack and sing
over lakes we row in time
these hearts a part of the same blue chart
under stars our two combine.

 

 

photos of me by Michael (cutest) Collins.

calling all mainiacs

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If you ever find yourself forced to cancel a weekend in Vegas per the recommendation of your doctors for the healing of 3 different itises, I highly recommend getting your generous* boyfriend to drive you to your happy place, pour a glass of wine**, and exhale.

In my case, that happy place is my family’s beach house in York, Maine.  The spanning windows, sprawling couches and calming waves never cease to reset my conflicted soul.  With a little help from the (gooftastic) powers of modern medicine, we explored a bit of downtown Portland (apparently putting mashed potatoes in donuts is a very good idea), had whisky drinks in a church-turned-bar (mine was called the Enlightenment, har har), and admired the city’s impeccable signage.  Curious about potato donuts?  Get the maple.  Also the sweet potato ginger and/or the chai.  It’s a Maine thing, go with it.  Skeptical of pushing past the big red doors of what appears to be a fully functioning church when you’re simply seeking snacks?  Go on in, the circular bar and original stained glass windows will astound you.

If donuts and drinks don’t cure your swollen toes, try a therapeutic walk in the sand.  Collect some sea glass, find a heart-shaped rock, get some vitamin d.  Still sore?  Slip some chicory into your tea.***

Before heading home the next night, M and I watched the sun set over Portsmouth, New Hampshire, another little maze of businesses with notably attractive signs.  It was cold, I was tired, we could not find a restaurant to sit down in…but we held hands the whole time so none of this mattered.  Okay, this was my best attempt at writing a non-gushy post about what was, in reality, a mushy, gushy, swoon-worthy weekend during which my best friend became my best best friend.  Is that a thing?  Was this too much?  Disclaimer: If you answered No then Yes, do not read on.

 

*bonus points if he’s also tall, handsome, and willing to piggyback you when need be ;)

**don’t forget to sniffy sniff, swish, and spit.  Thanks Gary! (or is it Frank?)

***mix 1-2 shots with Trader Joe’s chai in a K cup mug.  Sip, sip, kiss, repeat.

 

photos of me by Michael Collins

muddy paws and pink mountains

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Even through my fleece tights, leggings, and thick puffy snow pants, I could still feel the pull of 10 spirited dogs harnessed in and ready to run.  Tension pulsed from the strong shoulders of the mutts through the taunt lines, into the slats of our wooden sled  and up through my hamstrings.  These dogs love a good gallivant through the White Mountains, that much is clear.  And shouldn’t they?  With their plush coats deflecting any hint of an intruding snowflake and the blood of Iditarod racers in their veins, these dogs were- quite literally- made for this.

That first 200-foot tug on the musher’s command is still the most imprinted one in my memory.  Even with an impressively steep incline, the lofty and peaceful height of the trail and a fast downhill slope at the finish all competing for attention, that initiation pull was still my favorite.  A quick taste of release for the motley team of eager sled dogs, each with their own story and personality…it was impossible not to feed off of their energy and excitement.

Although I will admit, as we rounded out our trip and the sun began to set, the White Mountains glowed a soft pink and that view almost took over top spot as best moment of the day.  New Hampshire’s landscapes are truly some of the most beautiful in the country, and enlisting in a sled ride is one of the best ways to view them.  If you ever find yourself in need of a relaxing retreat, check out Muddy Paws dog kennel.  Their staff is cool, knowledgeable, and care for each of the 140 dogs like they are the only pup in the place.  It’s a great experience, an incredible gift (just ask my boyfriend), and *bonus* the kennel is entirely non-profit, meaning all proceeds to go caring for the dogs.  If that doesn’t make you feel all warm and cozy, try some hot cocoa by the fireplace in your cozy NH cabin ;)  This President’y Weekend getaway was one for the books.

russell pond

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On Tuesday afternoon, my boyfriend and I decided to head up to New Hampshire for a semi-spontaneous camping adventure.  The site we chose by Russell Pond in North Woodstock could not have been more perfect.  Crystal clear water, 80-degree weather, mountainous terrain, a rope swing (which I braved- very uncharacteristically!), picturesque sunsets and glowing sunrises…what more do you need?  Sometimes submerging yourself in nature and living simply (no cell phones and all meals cooked over an open fire) is all it takes to clear your head and rediscover your inner child.  Being just a short drive away from the Appalachian Mountain trails, we even managed to fit a completely exhausting nice relaxing hike in!  At the peak of the trail, we looped around Lonesome Lake, breathing in the fresh northern air and the surreal mountaintop views.  Bravo, New Hampshire.  Bravo.