03 July 2017

2017 Part One

This year started off up in Goshen, NH.  We rented a ski house for a few months.  Art was teaching at the local ski resort and I, looking for something to fill the gap of not being Treasurer any longer, decided to get a part time job at the hill.  It did not go well for me.  I took the job to make some new social connections as we thought we might move up to the area some day.  I ended up in a closet sized room that I could not leave, and no one else could enter.  I was only there for a couple of months.  I honestly stayed longer than I should have.  Probably because we had rented the house and when I did that I counted my new earnings in the "rent" cost.  It was irrelevant and I should have let it go earlier.  Cest la vie!  We did take a Lexi, Tori, Sam, and Susan skiing on Christmas since we had free passes.
We fired the inept manager early in the year and brought back a long timer who has been working out well.  The business seems to be on an upswing again.  Not a lot and not fast, but slow and steady is easier to adapt to.  The mood at the shop is also greatly improved.  Looking forward to a better fall!

In January we headed down to Arizona to see Art's Dad.  We had a nice visit going up to Mount Lemmon, and visiting a local observatory.  Not a long visit but certainly a good memory.
February heralded Art's 50th birthday.

He wanted to ski WildCat for his birthday so we headed up to North Conway with the Wildes.  They had a great couple of days skiing, while I took the pups snowshoeing at Dolly Copp.  Dolly Copp is all torn up.  Roads, campsites, et al to make way for updated electrical runs, and bathrooms.  Camping is officially turning into Glamping at Dolly Copp.

In March we were off to Puerto Vallarta with the family.  My parents, Art's Dad, Pam, Karyn, and Ralph, Abby and her bf, my brother and his family, Jeanne, and Marilyn.  We had a great and relaxing week by the pool and exploring the town.  Dad even went zip lining!  Wonderful adventure.

April brought us slightly South to Connecticut.  Pam had recently moved into her new loft and she was having her 60th birthday.  We had a few days so we headed down to celebrate with her.s  Beautiful place and a great visit.  A couple of weeks later the sisters all went down for a visit.

In May we headed off to Iceland.  A cold and barren hunk of lava and ice in the middle of the ocean.  It is very impressive that they have survived as long as they have.  It sounded like there were many hard times and few to no resources.  They have discovered and begun to harvest their geothermal waters (although with no regard to efficiency or sustainability), which has helped them a bit.  They have the largest aluminum plant in the world that consumes most of their power, and tourism is almost overwhelming with 3 million visiting their 360,000 person island that is the size of Kentucky.  The prices were starting to reflect the demand with a simple burger and fries meal totaling $25, and a glass of wine $15.  Hindsight I wish we had gone in winter to see the Northern lights.  Pretty and weird place, with birds but no mammals other than their controlled sheep, dog, and horse populations.  Did I mention windy?  Like really, really windy.  All. the. time.

Later in May we headed to Colorado.  We hadn't gone back for Christmas over the winter and we had a few key events to celebrate with family.  My nephew Mitchell graduated from high school.  He received a football scholarship to a South Dakota University so was actively planning his move with his girlfriend.  The family came together to have a nice get together at the sculpture park in Loveland.  My nephew Peter had also recently gotten engaged.  We were very glad that they could come up to Breckenridge where we stayed part of our stay.  Art and Peter got to go skiing at A Basin as conditions were still very good despite the late date.  We also caught up with Art's oldest sister and her husband who were driving around the country on a retirement trip.  My niece Lindsay had also recently had her second baby but she had a lot going on with her husband's family so we did not catch up.  My parents were also able to come up to Breck for a few days.  We walked around the town and did some hiking.  We had a great visit with everyone!

Since we were gone most of May we decided to reward the pups with a camping trip.  We headed up to Pillsbury State Park in early June.  The first day of our reservation it was a downpour so we delayed one day.  We easily found out way to our remote camp site and set up shop.  We were absolutely devoured by the black flies, and mosquitos but otherwise had a great time.  We paddled around the lake, took a hike, and relaxed by the fire.  Dogs had a great time.

Late June took Art to Nashville for a few days.  I opted to stay home as we had some larger projects coming together that needed my attention.  By happenstance two more people from the town put their resignations in during this time so I am glad I was here to support them at the select board meeting and during their last days of work.  It was good to catch up with old friends.

We didn't go for an overnight but Dad was thrilled when we got to go to Boston for the day to see the Tall Ships.  We stopped at a favorite old haunt of his, Durgin Park, then took a harbor cruise around to see all of the tall ships before they headed out of town.  Great day!

One night while reminiscing about old trips with Dad he brought up what a great time we (Art, myself, Abbie, and Dad) when we took our 'bridge' trip in Europe a couple of summers ago going to Belgium and the Netherlands.  He said he wanted to do a trip with just us again, a small group.  He initially wanted Italy but after a little searching I found that it was an extremely long travel, rather pricey, and extremely hot at the end of summer which is when he wanted to go.  So we settled on Ireland.  The west side of the island.  Art and I visited the East side in 2009.  So we will be off to Shannon, Galway, Killarney, and Limerick on a small group adventure soon!

02 July 2017


2016 is a year that started with promise.  Our new managers had been in place for a half a year and we thought we were good to go.  Alas, in hindsight it all fell apart.  We had what could arguably be considered our worst year of business ever.  Much was due to a natural downturn that our industry experiences way too regularly.  But, it was extremely exacerbated by an inept, prig of a manager who had no problem lying to us day in and day out while neglecting his job pretty much completely.

We started the year on a positive note having come back from a good Christmas 2015 trip where I met my parents in Las Vegas for a few days before heading to Colorado, while Art flew to Seattle to drive to Colorado with Abby and Teddy.  We had a great Christmas in CO Springs and Loveland with my family and nieces and nephews Linday, Jimmy, and Peter and Jade.  After the holiday we drove back to Seattle with Abby and spent a few days checking out her new home.
We were enjoying our Bruins mini-season package by going to Boston for an overnight visit to see a Bruins game.  We love staying in the North End.
In February we had our 20th Wedding Anniversary.  We splurged a little and took a trip up to the Mt. Washington hotel.  It was very icy and rainy/sleeting while we were up there but we had fun hiking around Dolly Copp and a few other areas.  Beautiful hotel and grounds set the mood for a romantic getaway.  We had massages and hung out in the spa, and enjoyed the bars and eateries on site.  Too warm to go ice skating, though...

The Hearth Show was in  New Orleans this year.  We took our managers with us.  It was like pulling teeth to get Mark to come.  In hindsight we should not have brought them.  They only piece of information we could verify them walking away with was another dealer (messing with them) telling them his sales people made six figures.  HA! Owners don't make that, much less sales people.  So that soured them and was passed around to other employees making a bad year worse!  We did enjoy New Orleans though.  Fun town and very walkable.

Later in March we headed South of the border with Dad, his sister Jeanne, her daughter, and Pam to Mazatlan.  My brother and his family met us down there and we had a great visit with my folks.  We rented a house in a nearby neighborhood on the beach and within walking distance to my parents.  We had a fabulous time as always.

We were on a budget this year as business was not going well, and our pups are getting older so we decided to stay closer to home this year and camp for our personal trips.  Art did get to take a last minute trip to CO to meet up with friends to go skiing.  That was a good splurge for him!
One of our favorite places to visit is Pillsbury State Park.  We can canoe in to a remote site and the pups can play in the water.  We went here twice this year.  Once our friend Teddy came with us.  Very relaxing.  We also took a pilgrimage up to Lake Umbagog and stopped at Dolly Copp on the way home.  Jackson does NOT like the water but he does love the canoe and loves camping.  Zdeno is just in heaven when we go camping.  I think he stayed in the lake for 90% of all the time we are camping and is passed out from exhaustion the rest of the time.

They love campfires and having us there 24/7.  We also got a great Halo tent from Marmot that can fit us all comfortably and an air mattress.  Jax always ends up sleeping on the mattress with us so we are glad he does not like the water!  We set out on a mission to visit waterfalls this year.  I think we made it to seven, including waterfalls on the Kancamagus, Diana's bath, Methusela Falls to name a few.

 We decided to do a family trip closer to home this year.  Art's Dad set it up so we could all do a morning hot air balloon ride over Amherst and down into Hollis.  It was spectacular and the weather was perfect.  We then headed up to Bethlehem, NH to a rental house.  The Kelley family less Lindsay, Jimmy, Natalie, Kevin, Jamie, and Jade were able to come.  We also had Aunt Jeanne and her son David.  We had fun hiking around Dolly Copp and just hanging out at the house.  Very relaxing.

There was also a great deal going on with the town offices and my job as Treasurer.  We have a Select(wo)man who was and is wreaking havoc on the office and causing major upheaval at every turn.  In March four people submitted their resignations.  We agreed to try to work through the problem with a mediator but it quickly disintegrated.  The Town Clerk resigned first in May and I followed in September after selecting and training my replacement.  I had the job for 9 1/2 years.  My Deputy also resigned so they wouldn't put her in my post.  Fast forward to spring of 2017 and two more people have resigned.  The woman is a nightmare and we are all pretty certain has mental issues.  God help the town.
Our "big" trip for the year was to head to Nova Scotia on the CAT with my parents.  We stayed the night in Portland, ME the night before and then took the Volvo on the cat.  We went to Digby and Halifax, bumping along up the coast.  We had a great visit, took some great hikes, and had overall good weather for our visit.  Dad was a little disappointed that it wasn't more "Scottish" but we had a great time and a good visit.
Each September we get the privilege of visiting Newport, RI with Dad.  They have been going down there for over 30 years!  So much fun and relaxation!
That was about it for travel.  Life got hectic with Art teaching at Sunapee and we did not make it out for Christmas this year.  

21 February 2016


2015 was a crazy year for us.  It was a year of traveling.  In 2014 we staffed up, and made a fundamental shift in our business.  We hired a store manager, and promoted Mark to service manager.  This was a test to see if we could get Art of the store successfully so he could explore some potential opportunities in the future...
As a result we had spare time.  On top of this we had the desire to spend quality time with Bud and my folks as well.  As a result we had quite a year.  Early in the year we enjoyed going to Boston for our Bruins games, and even got to spend the night for our anniversary.  Art wasn't feeling well, but we had a good time either way.
One of our first trips was down to Mazatlan to see my parents.  We took Bud and Jeanne with us.  The weather was fabulous and we had a great time.  The Patriots made it to the superbowl and we got a kick out of some mis-spelled sports shirts we found in Maz.  Football is tourist important but clearly not that vital to Mexico or Mexican citizens. ;)  But most importantly, we did win the SuperBowl.

In March of this year I finally graduated from college.  I finished mostly for a sense of accomplishment.  It didn't change my job or outlook.  I still love what I do.  But I am glad I finished.  It makes more sense to me that I figured out what I wanted to do, and was going to do, before investing in a bachelor's degree.  Thanks SNHU!  

My amazing husband put together a surprise party for me.  It was a pleasant surprise and the whole family was there.  It was really special.  We had burgers and cake and a great day hanging out together.

Blizzie.  Miss Blizz had a great summer out in the Casita with Bud.  She enjoyed coming up to say hi to us when we were outside.  When Bud went south for the winter and Blizzie had to move back in to the main house her attitude went south as well.  She was so unhappy.  Hiding in the closet all day, growl eating, and not letting anyone get near her.  My friend Jeanne had lost her cat of almost 20 years this same year.  A mutual friend suggested that Blizzie may be happier living with Jeanne.  We gave it a try and I am glad to say it has worked out well.  Both are very happy with each other.  She will gladly let Blizz come back to summer with Bud but Blizzie has a new home that she adores.

We also got chickens and ducks this year.  Bud and Art really wanted them.  Art built a really nice chicken coop that we have closer to the house.  He also built a duck house but we didn't separate them soon enough so they all live in the chicken coop together.  It is nice to have eggs again and they are great to see in the yard.
We did our annual spring ski trip with the Wildes.  We went to Vermont this year as the kids had a robotics competition first.  With all the snow they had a great time skiing and the snowshoeing was pretty nice as well.  I spent a lot of time knitting a blanket for Rachel's baby, Violet, who arrived in the spring.  Rachel and Violet moved with Brent to his home state of Florida.

Many trips were taken this year.  We went to the Hearth Show in Nashville.  They had a couple of inches of snow so the city was difficult to get around in (no equipment?? no experience...) but we had a good time.  We also received another award from Harman and attended the dealer conference in Memphis to receive our sales volume award.
 I went to Colorado in May for a visit.  We went to ComicCon where Peter and Jade were able to catch up with us.  
We were able to take the puppies camping up at Dolly Copp.  BEST. Time. Ever!  They loved it.  We hiked and swam, and had snacks around the campfire.  They definitely want to do that again!
Family trips were also done.  A repeat river cruise vacation started us off.  We flew into Southern France to start our adventure.  We wound our way up through wine country landing in Paris at the end of that trip.  We spent several wonderful days there seeing the catacombs, Eiffel Tower, museums, wandering the streets, and eating delicious food and enjoying delicious wine.  One of the most memorable nights was when the whole family took over the basement lounge in our hotel and had baguette, cheese, tomatoes, and lots of wine!  Great time.
We had a sail cruise planned with my parents in just a short time so we decided to stay in Europe.  Abbie wasn't working so she, Opa, Art and I took a train to Brussels and rented a house.  We went to Bruge and spent a few days in Brussels.  We rented a car and then took a roadtrip to Amsterdam where we also stayed a couple of days.  
We drove back, dropped Abbie off at the airport, and spent a great day playing in a castle in Ghent.  Then we caught a flight to Stockholm where we met my parents.  We spent a couple days in Stockholm before our trip.  Toured the palace, and an old Viking Ship.  Then we hopped our our Windstar sailboat for our next adventure.  We got a suite with Art's Dad which was very nice and worked out well.  We visited Gotland in Sweden, spent a day in Germany, a few days in Denmark, including a couple of days in Copenhagen, then the Netherlands, and ending in Norway.  All told we were gone a month.  It was amazing and exhausting at the same time.  But we had great times, and made great memories.  We took some down time in the fall.
At Christmas we did another travel spurt.  Shannon and her folks spent a week in Las Vegas.  Art flew to Seattle to drive down with Abbie.  We all gathered in Colorado for Christmas, which my Mom and Dad hosted at their house- puppies and all.  Then we drove up to Seattle with Abbie to check our her neighborhood and new surroundings. 

 We enjoyed lots of visits from Teddy and Abbie this year as well.  She made the decision to move to Seattle and her departure was August.  She spent a couple of weeks and drove out with her Dad.  We miss her terribly but she is happy.


2014 was a year that saw many changes in our lives.  The biggest change was that Art's father moved in with us in Temple.  We re-furbished the little cottage by the pond into a special place for him.  Blizzie moved out there with him for the summer and was on cloud nine.

It was a big change for him to sell the house in Stratham and pack up the home he shared with my Mother in law for so many years.  We are thrilled to have him near us and we settled in to a nice routine.

To break up the year we took a big family trip on a river cruise in Europe.  All could come except Pam and Ralph, including Bud's sister Jeanne.  We all had a great time visiting Budapest where we departed from, and traveling up the Rhine and Mein to Amsterdam ultimately.  Castle ping pong was a highlight of the tour, and the locks and bridges were impressive to say the least.


We got a wonderful clock in the Black Forest.  Not a cuckoo clock, however.  I thought the noise would drive me cuckoo, but we got a nice open gear clock that has a gentle ting each hour.

2014 was also a big year at home.  We got a new puppy.  Jackson has an Echo Dog white shepherd mama and an unknown Daddy, but we suspect he is mostly lab since Jax has that look.  He came home just after Thanksgiving.  He has been a joy and a pleasure since day one.  Zdeno gets irritated occasionally but overall loves him thoroughly.  Blizzie was not very happy.  

 He was named after Jackson Teller on a TV Show called Sons of Anarchy.  I had never seen the show but loved the name.  It stuck and fits well.  We later watched SoA and loved that (strangely enough) as well.

 Jackson is a calming force for Zdeno.  There is not much that gets to Jax.  He just wants to be happy and have everyone else happy.  He is a lover.  He and Tuukka get along almost as well.  It was a very snowy year up here in NH.  The puppies got very proficient in snow Swimming!  Zdeno loved taking the lead.  

We got a mini-season package of tickets to teh Bruins again this year.  We got great seats in the Loge behind the tunnel where the Zamboni and Renne Rancourt come out.  It is also the area where Blades hangs out.  Love my Bruins!

We also got to spend a lot of time with Abbie and Teddy.  

In the spring we got to do a repeat of one of our all time favorite vacations- houseboat on Lake Powell.  Karyn, Ralph, Pam, Abbie, Lindsay, Bud, Jeanne, Rick, Kathy, Art and I all got to go.  

I think we got their biggest houseboat and got a little power boat as well.  It was a little chilly but we all had a great time and it was beautiful!

 For the first time in many years we won an award from Harman.  It was a best sales growth award.  This was quite an honor and it was very nice to receive this in our new location.  It really has turned out to be a good move.  Brookline is a very business friendly town and we have great customers and employees.  Ted and Mark have gone above and beyond as managers as well.  Blessed!