Over The Fence

20130907_170940_resized

Over the fence –

Strawberries – grow –

Over the fence –

I could climb – if I tried, I know –

Berries are nice!

But – if I stained my Apron –

God would certainly scold!

Oh, dear – I guess if He were a Boy –

He’d – climb – if He could!

 Emily Dickinson

One of the many advantages of living in this small but richly cultured New England town, is the pride we feel for the historical and notable individuals who made a mark in this community and in the world.

From Robert Frost who taught at Amherst College and retired here; to Noah Webster from our handy dictionary; to the oscar nominated,  Uma Thurman; to Richard Gere who attended Umass; to the 1st Baron Amherst, Lord Jeffrey Amherst who the town is named after; to being the home of the Eric Carle Museum and the home of the only Frank Lloyd Wright design in Massachusetts; home to Running with Scissors author, Augusten Burroughs; to the town being named the most progressively liberal region in the United States; and most famous for hosting the Dickinson Homestead, home of the famous poet and her family.  

A few weeks ago, my husband took me on somewhat of a “romantic stroll” through this wonderful town where we reside.  Next thing I know, I am walking through a cemetery.  Not just any cemetery, but the infamous West Cemetery, where Ms. Dickinson and her family eternally rest.

It turns out that on this day, the historical and original fencing constructed in the mid 19th century surrounding the Dickinson family plot, was in the finishing stages of being restored.  The Historical Commission had received Community Preservation Act funds for this project.

Our timing could not have been better.  The new shiny and restored fence was complete and stood proud and erect,  its freshly coat of paint glistening against the hot August sun, dutifully doing its job of protecting the Dickinson’s final resting place. 

I got chills as I stood in silence staring at the plot and taking in all the history that lay in this cemetery.

Old eroded fencing. googlemaps

Old eroded fencing. googlemaps

New fencing:

20130907_171039_resized 20130907_171010_resized 20130907_170940_resized 20130907_171208 20130907_171018 20130907_170952

20130907_170923

Proud to be living in this unique little town.

Weekend Getaway With My Husband And Many Of You

courtesy of brickhousechick's husband

Motif No.1 – Rockport, MA -Courtesy of brickhousechick’s husband

Ahhhh.  Who does not love summer getaways?  Even if you cannot go far away or take the whole week off, a weekend getaway can refresh your soul.  And that, it did.  

Child #1 was busy working and participating in a fishing tournament (yes, they exist – that’s for another post) and Child #2, is away for the week with her boyfriend and his family (Ay…).  He is actually a very nice young man and his family will take great care of her (my father is turning in his grave because I allowed her to go, something I would never have been allowed to do at the tender age of 17 – Sorry, Papi, she will be ok!)

I figured I would un-plug from the world for the most part, while away and focus solely on my wonderful husband who needed desperately to get out-of-town (being a town official, let’s just say he gets beaten up down often, since it is impossible to please everyone and it can be a thankless job.)

We “pricelined” our Saturday night stay, bidding low and having our bid accepted and headed out Saturday morning on our little getaway.  I love how relaxed we felt from the beginning.  No rush, no stress – just driving along with no real plan.

If you have not visited the coastal towns of Massachusetts before, it is something you must do.  We often vacation on Cape Cod (I was thinking of my buddy Joe @ http://joedegiorgio.com/ who got to go for two weeks this year) and love its beaches and sand dunes.  

We headed to the North Shore which is just as lovely.  My husband’s favorite beach is, Plum Island (named for the wild Beach Plum Shrubs that grow on the dunes) off of Newburyport.  He is an avid birder and loves the fact that some of the beach is sectioned off to protect the many nesting and endangered, Piping Plovers.

US Fish & Wildlife

US Fish & Wildlife

It is such a beautiful and pristine beach.  We took a little walk and ran into the incredible and only resort on the beach called, Blue The Inn On The Beach.

Blue Inn resort at  Plum Island

Courtesy of the Chamber of Commerce

Even though we had our non refundable Priceline reservation already, we checked out the rates for next time.  At $400/night we decided to turn back around and go sit in our great Rio Beach chairs which by the way, have built-in cup holders – so there!

While relaxing on the beach, my mind kept veering off into blogosphere.  Everything around me made me think of a post I had read, a particular blogger or a blog-worthy picture I could be taking.  Is this what happens when you have been blogging for a while? Your life is forever linked to your blog?

I kept telling myself to STOP.  Focus on your hubby and this beautiful day, brickhouse!  Forget about the blog! But, I looked at the cutest couple with their adorable little girls playing in the sand and I immediately thought of Andy ( aka father of the year) from http://ourlifein3d.com/ and his great vacation pics with his girls.

Then, as I looked in the water and saw a woman on a tube, I remembered the awesome tube the lovely Shannon at 

http://mrsugarbears.com/

got for her weekend getaway.  Shannon’s was a pumped up tube with mini fridge and all!

I kept coming back to my hubby and smiling at him.  At least he thought I was thinking about him!  We were soon hungry (when am I not soon hungry) and left the beach for an early dinner at the local Grille.

I looked at the menu and the only thing on my mind was, what would mama (my awesome friend the nutritionist) want me to order that is gluten-free?  Ay!  This place is famous for its fried clams but I knew this was not an option.  I was ok.  I ordered a lobster salad with avocado and cucumber along with mussels.  Pretty good, huh?  Except that the lobster salad was minuscule and did not even make a dent at my starvation and the mussels although in abundance…did not fill me up either.  PLUS, I could not dip the wonderful fresh smelling bread into the mussel sauce!  AY!  I filled up on the liquid variety on the menu and stayed strong.

Our overnight accommodations were…so so.  We had tried to get reservations at other more suitable places but everything was booked since our trip was last-minute.  The most interesting part about our hotel was that it was a stone’s throw from the infamous,http://www.thegoldenbanana.com/ a gentlemen’s club sort of place on Route 1.  Nothing good ever comes out of staying in a sprawl infested Route 1.  You know the kind.  But, as tempting and tantalizing as it was…we stayed away.

The next morning we headed to beautiful Rockport (and I thought about my friend’s husband who grew up there), a historic little village off of Cape Ann.  Such an eclectic and gorgeous place. An artist’s paradise.

20130804_143353 20130804_133433 20130804_130655 20130804_130223 20130804_123913 and home to

Motif No 1 20130804_141830 A fishing shack that is “the most often painted building in America”.

As we walked around, we saw many signs.

20130804_122504 20130804_142359

 I immediately thought of the inspiring Andra, who wrote a nice post about signs, 

http://andrawatkins.com/2013/08/02/i-start-in-the-middle-of-a-sentence-and-move-both-directions-at-once/.

Then I saw another sign for an Inn,

20130804_143239

and how could I NOT think about the talented Peg from

http://pegoleg.com/.  

Everywhere I turned, my blogging friends were there.

I enjoyed the gluten-free treats (and thought of my friend who is also just starting the g/f craziness with me) and did more walking than I probably should have.

20130803_180210

Sans the bread 😦

20130804_140710

Oh yea! Take that – gluten world!

It truly was a wonderful weekend.  And although y’all were not always on my mind during this getaway (wink,wink), I am glad you came along.

The Swim to My 50s – Please HOLD OFF on playing the Academy music until I finish my speech!

Very Inspiring Blog Award Nominee

Nominated by, http://www.kimcarlisle.com from: Sanity Check

Being a new blogger, I am learning the ropes and figuring out how to navigate the world of wordpress.com.  There are things I have yet to figure out but I am getting the hang of it.

One thing I know for sure is that the fellow bloggers I am meeting, are wonderful.  Everyone is truly welcoming, encouraging, hilarious and inspiring.  I have learned so much from all of you and can only hope that I can make an impact on someone else’s life – be it a little chuckle in the middle of the day or night.

A warm thank you and shout out to my nominators (not to be confused with my terminators):  

1) Kim, from http://www.kimcarlisle.com whose blog name is, Sanity Check, nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.  The irony is that we became instant blogging buddies after sharing information about our matching autoimmune disease we have both been “blessed” with.   After reading her blog about her three handsome sons and her very supportive husband, I was more than inspired.  Get to know Kim.  You will be glad you did.

2) Octavia02, from http://www.intothelightofthenightkitchen.wordpress.com, nominated me for the Liebster Award.   I immediately liked octavia02 because she seemed feisty like me!  She gets my humor and is a strong spiritual human being.  Visit her and learn how well she copes with life’s storms.

 The Rules for each award are different so I am going to break the rules a bit, combine them and make my own (can you tell I love to break rules?)  I sure hope the academy does not rescind and take my awards back!

My made-up rules (for real award rules just google them):

* Thank and link back to the blogger who has nominated you

* Nominate as many bloggers as you would like for the Award/s and list their blog sites

Notify nominees

*  Tell 5 things about you (I will be answering octavia02’s questions instead)

*  Make up your own award – if you wish 

*  Have yourself a gin and tonic (make sure it’s Hendrick’s Gin)

Disclaimer:

I want these nominees I am about to nominate to know that, if they feel pressed for time or hate rules as much as I do, that they are exempt from having to actually follow the rules.  I will, however, welcome gifts of the liquid kind, in lieu of following the rules.

The nominees deserve all types of real awards for their creativity, talent and inspiration.  In the absence of these deserving awards, I would like to nominate them with a very special award – I made up.  

This special award is called the, Brick House Award, given to a man or woman who is a 36-24-36, can likes to dance, is strong, resilient, knows how to please, makes me laugh, makes me cry and someone whose work I admire.  Feel free to  copy and paste this award logo so that others can get green with envy at your nomination. 🙂

The Brick House Award
The Brick House Award  

And the Brick House Award nominees are: 

http://jillweatherholt.wordpress.com/ – Jill is a sweetheart. She also has an autoimmune condition that she fights every day.  She is very talented, loves Bazooka bubble gum, does NOT eat glue and always makes sure to comment on my posts. 

http://susielindau.com/ – I am sure most of you know Susie.  She loves to throw blogging parties, she seems selfless, encourages other bloggers and has wonderful things to say.

http://andrawatkins.com/ – This Cootchie Mama looks great in tights/leg-ins, she also has the freshest buns of anyone I know. She is writing some great fictional stories.

http://pegoleg.com/ – I honestly have to massage my cheeks after reading her posts from laughing so much.  She is so witty and clever and deserved to Freshly Peg herself!

http://mrsugarbears.com/ – A newbie like me.  Has the most contagious beautiful smile ever and is always pointing out the positive things in life.

http://dontquotelily.com/ – A fellow Puerto Rican chica who is funny, tells it like it is and I believe does not really have an adorable white doggy but just liked the picture.

http://gremlinfoodmom.blogspot.com/ – A beautiful talented teacher/mom who has time to cook for her three sons and husband and even for me when I am not feeling well!  Her recipes are easy and so delicious.

http://www.lisaakramer.com/ – This is her new name and blog!  She is still a woman wielding words but just in a new location.  Also very talented and is a fellow Massachusetts blogger I hope to meet soon.

http://thewishfactor.wordpress.com/ – Also knows as the Guat.  She is hilarious, loves the word dude and is preparing to do a triathlon in a couple of months.  She is latina like me and I can relate to her family stories.

http://ohgodmywifeisgerman.com/ – This is the first male Brick House Award nominee!  So witty, brilliant and makes me have “accidents” in my pants from  laughing so much.  His most recent blog post about hay fever, was right on and hilarious!

http://shesamaineiac.com/ – A very creative, talented blogger who can do all kinds of cool tricks on her blog.  She opened up my eyes to the spammers out there who follow our blogs.  Beware of Zombie Cats!

http://rasjacobson.com/ – I can relate to Renee because I too have mega frizzy hair!  I would like to steal her cans of hair product she is hoarding and I know where she lives.  She also looks fabulous in Lily Pulitzer.

http://gojulesgo.com/ – I am just one of her 4,000 + followers!  She can do it all!  Write, make people laugh and sing!  She has a beautiful voice and I hope she posts more videos of her singing.

http://thewineoclocknews.com/ – I love her blog name.  She is bright, humorous and is younger than me (darn).  She reminds us to embrace our ages and our bodies.

Make sure to check out these Brick Houses’ blogs.

Answers to Octavia02’s questions she asked me after nominating me:

1.  My favorite film?  I have a lot, but I am going to have to say, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, since I have seen it 10+ times and I still laugh as if it were the first time.    You could substitute Greek for Puerto Rican and it would be the exact same movie.

2.  Favorite quote?  “Hija eres, madre serás, lo que hiciste te haran.” A Spanish idiom my mom loved to quote.  Something about daughters becoming mothers and how what you do to your mother as a daughter, your daughter will do to you and your mother will in turn, be laughing at you the whole time.

3. What always makes me cry? Looking at old videos of the kids when they were babies.  It gets me every time.

4. What always makes me laugh?  Adorable squeezable chubby huggable babies.  Just the site of one makes me giggle uncontrollably.

5.  What was my best day? Of course, my wedding and the days my children were born are tops, but this day really stands out.  It was the day I let go of all of my anger and decided to forgive, instead.  The most freeing day of my life.

6.  What was my worst day?  The day I lost my father to cancer.

7.  Emotionally closer to my family or friends?  I am blessed to have both.  I am a very open person and tend to share my emotional and physical state with family and friends.  Could not do it without both.

8. What does “transcend” mean to me? It is my way of thinking and living.  I will not let negative things get to me and will do everything in my power and beyond…to overcome adversity.  Stubbornness, may be another way to describe it.

9. Jon Steward or Stephen Colbert?  Definitely Colbert.  He is brilliant and makes me snort while laughing.  He also looks like my brother-in-law.

10. If I could choose my last word, what would it be?  Thanks.

11. What single quality represents who I am?  Hmmmm…My ability to accept the cards I have been dealt and feel blessed for what I have.  Some might call it ignorance or denial. 🙂