Thursday, October 31, 2013

The One and Only Sedona

In the United States, we are fortunate to have a handful of places unlike any other on earth. Their uniqueness may come from landscape, climate, and/or history and culture. Sedona is one of those places and, if you haven't been there, a visit should be on your bucket list.

We are fortunate to live only about an hour and a half drive from Sedona, and come here a few times a year. Hiking, biking, sight-seeing, shopping, and golf are the attractions. Sedona is a small town, with a full-time population of only about 11,000. However, 3.5 million visitors annually come from all over the world to see the luminous towering red rock sandstone formations in and around Sedona. Some seek the fabled healing powers of the energy fields among the rocks.

Yesterday we came to Sedona with a few other couples, to play golf, dine, and play more golf. The Sedona Golf Resort at the Hilton Sedona has a beautiful course with challenging greens. The course whipped me, but I was repeatedly pacified by the stunning views from every tee box and fairway. It's difficult to stay self-focused or frustrated for long when so clearly dwarfed by the majestic display around you. "Darn, I missed my putt, but LOOK AT THAT!"

Last night we dined at Dal and Di Luca, a standout Italian restaurant. This morning we'll complete our visit by playing golf at Oak Creek Country Club. Back to the more sedate beauty of Prescott tonight. It's nice to have such an appealing getaway available so close to home.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Autumn Impressions

Decided today to do just a little composite of some photos from New England during our travels. They've been tinkered with some, using Photoshop. Hope wherever you are, you enjoy your autumn as much as we are!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

We're Leaf Peepers

Being in New England in the fall is about more that merely being a "leaf peeper". To be sure, the showy display of reds, golds, oranges, plums, browns, and remaining greens is breathtaking in its artful riot. Traveling along the highway is almost like driving through a museum. But the best of it can only be appreciated in slower motion - on foot.

We're staying on the southern coast of Maine, in Ogunquit. Our small inn is a historic home that has been updated and expanded. Part of the charm of this area of the country is found in eschewing chains for local, owner-operated businesses.

Fall is beautful everywhere but, like the foliage, seems intensified here. Ogunquit has a distinct crispness in the air, accompanied by the scent of wood-burning fireplaces in use. Leaves already carpet the grass after floating from trees. They crunch satisfyingly under our feet by the granite-lined curbs.

Homes and businesses are decorated for Halloween and fall, with pumpkins, scarecrows, hay bales, spider webs, ghosts, and goblins. Visitors and residents stroll down the sidewalks in bright sweaters. They've given up sandals for boots.

Yesterday we savored clam chowder on a cool and cloudy day. Dinner last night was lobster pizza, served on an enclosed patio with heat lamps. In our not-too-distant future, I foresee tasting a seasonal brew of some sort. Everything is enhanced by the sea air, spiced with the pungent smell of fallen leaves.

Locals can call us leaf peepers if they will, but we know that being here now is about so much more.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Happy 40th Reunion, Magruder Friends!

The Magruder High School Class of 1973 is having a reunion this weekend in my home state of Maryland. Although unable to attend, the upcoming event has me thinking about high school days and my good friends from that time.

Our class was the first graduating class in a brand new school. The Class of '73 never had to be underclassmen, as we started there in the fall of 1973 as 10th graders, with 8th and 9th graders in the school. For the next 3 years, we grew up together...8th, 9th, and 10th graders, then 9th, 10th, 11th graders, etc. We had a graduation class of approximately 300 students.

I was active in some sports - managing the boys soccer team one year (and practicing with them), playing basketball, and running track. But my first love was music. I was in Chorus and Madrigal classes, and also took Music Theory. During High School, I decided to pursue a music degree in college.

We had a close-knit group of good friends that hung out before classes started around the card catalog in the library. I didn't have a high school boyfriend, and wasn't a cheerleader... In other words, I was never one of the "cool girls". But I had fun with my friends, was a good student, excelled in choral endeavors, and cheered on my friends on the football and track teams.

Steve Waterman, Gail Hughes, Scott Clifford,
Me, and Mo Hughes
We rocked mini-skirts and long, straight hair, and made pierced ears mainstream. This was a time before tatoos, multiple ear-piercings or body piercings, flaunted cleavage, and bare midriffs were acceptable for nice girls. When I went to a party where there was drinking and smoking, I called my parents for a ride home so I wouldn't get in trouble. There were no cell phones and no personal computers. We had books at home and went to the library, and did our homework longhand. Surely I sound like a dinosaur now, but it was a good time to be a teenager.

Upon graduation, most of us were ready to move on and see what else life had to offer. But I remember several tearful group goodbyes as, one-by-one our friends went on to college or other adventures. Some are still friends today, via occasional personal encounters, emails, Christmas cards, or Facebook. I treasure these shared memories I have with you.

Happy Reunion! Raise a glass to me - I'll be thinking about you.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Seasonal Nesting Alert

There's something about the change of seasons from Summer into Fall that propels me into full nesting mode. Maybe it's the awareness that the holidays are not far behind, combined with the fact that we are spending a little more time indoors that makes me want to focus on the comforts of home.

I've already changed the bedding from summer weight to heavier linens. Next, I'll deal with putting summer clothes and shoes away until Spring. The boxes of Fall/Winter clothes have been breeched to retrieve a sweater or two. And I freely confess to having made a few internet purchases - boots and LL Bean tops in warm colors. The snuggly throws have made their way to the sofa.

Next, I have two projects in mind. The entry table is going to get a rustic coating of paint on the top, and a small chest of drawers purchased is going to be spray-painted a decorative color for the bedroom. Nesting...nesting.

Last night, Ron made a lovely lobster pie - a sure sign of Fall. A pot of chili for a day of football can't be far behind. And I have an irrefutable urge to bake cookies, which I hardly ever do!

A few trees in Prescott are starting to change color, but our days are still warm and inviting. We have a tee time for 10:20 this morning. We can't ignore it though - Fall is in the air!