September 18 thru 28, 2018 Up early in tiny to hug Stefani goodbye in the rain, before she drove away to work. So much love and light packed in that beautiful woman. Stef left several sweet goodies for me, including a bright, yellow dress, awesome headband, couple nugs and “The Bodacious Book of Succulence”, but this is the best ever! I sent her a thank you video.

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On the way out, snapped a photo of this old cine-camera at drive entry. Next time I hope to see Stef and Jeff!

Before leaving Westminster, saw lots of beautiful plants and stopped at what I thought was a nursery, Allen Bro’s. Topped off gas, then popped in their store. Lots of souvenir coffee cups and locally made salsas and more. I bought hot, Green Mountain Gringo Salsa and walked through the nursery. Truly beautiful plants, many mums and cacti.

img_20180918_104457Only a few minutes east and I was in NH, ahead of schedule. From 12 to 101, drove through Marlborough to Dublin, where I stopped for coffee at the Dublin General Store. I said good morning to a woman in the parking lot and she replied with the same, along with a compliment. She said I looked “radiant and feminine.” After the past couple days with Stef, I felt stronger and radiant! Also realized I was wearing an assortment of treasures given and found; dress and headband from Stef, cardigan from thrift in TN, bag and sandals from thrift in WI, and earrings from Britt. The woman’s kindness made me smile even more and I thank her for sharing.  She offered to take this photo, so I could see what she saw.img_20180918_115957

Neat, family-owned store established in 1935, with an old fashion vibe and wood shelves. There’s a bakery, deli and pretty much anything needed from what I could tell. They must be great for lunch because it got busy fast; I headed out.img_20180918_120123

OH MY GOSH, road conditions got worse as I drove into Peterborough, with pothole-dodging constant. Felt like I was the only person driving even remotely close to posted speed limit; whoosh happened with each passing vehicle. Plus, tail was a super-magnet for assholes. Other than that … GORGEOUS!!

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Before 12:30 pm, I arrived at the home of my beautiful, first cousin, Grace, and her beau, Jim. Auntie M greeted me and it felt so good to love on her! Met and hugged Jim, then took a walk around the incredibly gorgeous property, before settling in on the back patio with salsa, chips and cold beer.

Over the next ten days, me, Mom, Grace and Auntie M spent time on that wonderful patio built by Jim; lots of talks and laughs. Auntie M and I also sang and did a bit of dancing one evening; very memorable. It was perfect, with an incredible view of fantastic old trees, chipmunks, birdseed robbing squirrels, beautiful birds and a turkey named Trump. Ha!

Set up in Chris’ room, who was away at school, and admired Caitlyn’s designs, chic abode and an incredible elephant collection. The adorable little soapstone elephant I picked up in Texas was happily accepted into the herd. Grace got home about 9 pm from work and getting her nails done, then proceeded to focus on wedding prep for daughter, Nycki, and her fiancé Jake. So exciting!

Focused on soaking up family love, which included Jim’s beautiful mother, Jean, who lives with them. The love and care provided to her was heartwarming, to say the least. Met Becky and Audrey (Jim’s sisters), Billy (Jim’s son) and Madison (Billy’s girl). All of them were easy to instantly love. On rare occasions, I saw Nycki and Jake as they fluttered through. Lots of wedding prep while all continued routine jobs.

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New England Patriots and Red Sox are HUGE in their house and it was hilarious listening to Jim banter on and on about them, and anything, in his thick NE accent. Between games, movies and all of us playing Jeopardy, the big room was constantly alive!

Jim showed me beautiful trails and bike paths around the city when we ran errands one day. He said, “Today we went to Nashua-ville and tomorrow is Manch-vegas.” He cracked me up – LOVE that he and Grace have each other.

Between Jim cooking river trout just for Auntie M (who graciously shared) and Grace and Auntie M’s fabulous dishes, we ate very well!

I got warm fuzzies every day; Billy and Madison curled up watching Star Wars, mom engrossed in her crossword, Auntie M and I hanging out on the patio, Jim painting house trim, Grace playing “Momma Mia” for Jean (again and again), Kit-Kat chasing anything, kids debating with Grace and Grace with Jim, all of us camped around living room yelling answers to Jeopardy, Grace making goodies for soon-to-be newly weds and Chris at school, Auntie M sewing my frilly bag lining, and the list went on. The house was alive and I loved every moment!

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Adore these two beautiful ladies

The wedding was absolutely grand at Best Western Plus Executive Court & Conference Inn in Manchester. Auntie M, mom and I got there early and went to the Backyard Brewery for a snack and beverage, or two.

We stayed for two nights, met wonderful people, friends of the happy couple and extended family. I was thrilled to see and hug my Uncle Tom, who made the trip despite serious illness. I hadn’t seen him in 45 years or longer. Memories of me, Tracy, Grace and Tommy, flooded back. We loved when he recorded us on his reel-to-reel; it was magical. He was a terrific father and uncle. At the wedding, his sister looked familiar, but I don’t know if that was from a real-life meeting or just photos; my mind is a curious thing.

img_20180921_200346One of the best wedding receptions I’ve ever been to, fun, beautiful, great food and music and so much love! Unfortunately, I didn’t join in on dancing, which I adore, because my feet were f*ing killing me. Should have worn tennis shoes with glitter, not heels. The reception is where I met Uncle Tom’s niece, Charlene, and her beau, Todd. Beautiful people! Me, mom and Auntie M laughed so hard as they shared their accounts of state-wide travels together in Todd’s big rig car transport. I was thrilled when invited to visit them in CT!

Mom had a hell of a return journey home to GA. From Manchester to Detroit, the lights went out due to stormy weather and there was a long delay. We were all relieved when she finally made it home, safely, after 3 am.

Ventured out several times in NH; explored beautiful foot-trails, bought a Solstice 20 degree sleeping bag (getting colder) with 15% coupon at EMS and hiking boots in Hubert’s, walked through historic downtown Peterborough and toured the lower floor of the Mariposa Museum & World Culture Center. Unfortunately, the annual Tibetan Tour had ended, but I was able to view the “And Still We Rise” exhibit of African American quilts reflecting 400 years of history. Incredible!

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From the upstairs window, I loved watching Audrey and Grace help Jean on the bus to day camp.

Auntie M, Caitlyn and I visited Murray’s Home Again, a thrift store in Peterborough, where I scored jeans, a top and skirt (love the embroidery at bottom), then went to Joseph’s Coat where there were beautifully colored goodies from across the world.

We visited a shop Auntie M loves and she picked up a new, beautiful crystal.

img_20180928_122725Took a break from sorting clothes on the bed. When I returned, this beautiful fuzzball (Kit-Kat) was sound asleep in the middle. I’d heard about him being unpredictable and a scratcher. We spent a fair amount of time together on the garden bench and he didn’t scratch me even once. Yea! 

Hung out for the rest of the evening, before calling it a night.

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