Daisy

After months of scouring the internet and searching, searching, searching for a rescue dog to fit our family, I found the perfect one by accident. 

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I had planned on driving to New Jersey to pick up a nine year old Cocker rescue when I got cold feet. It just didn’t seem like the right fit. At midnight on that Friday night, I found a great lead on another dog and drove an hour and a half the next morning to find her at a rescue event. But I found a different her.

 

When I walked into the dog adoption event the dog I was very interested in was not there that week. I took a deep breath and decided to look in the other cages. Sound asleep in one of the first crates was this girl. When they took her out she was TERRIFIED. Cowering and fearful, my girl was devestated by being in the giant pet store, with all the noise and barking. She’d just arrived from a long long drive two days before. She peed all over the floor and looked at me with pleading eyes. I ran out to my car and grabbed my Finn. When I brought him over she stood up and brightened up and wagged her tail. I knew I had to take her home. I couldn’t possibly leave her there. But I had to, I secured her adoption, but she had to return to the shelter to be spayed.

 

When I went to the shelter to get her, she peed again and cowered. The vet tech told me she had come from a home, and all this shelter stuff was freaking her out.  

 

This girl walked in our home and came to life. She is 100% housebroken, sits on command, and loves with all her heart. She has absolutely no idea what the word “no”means, and she knows the sound of a bag of dog treats being opened. Someone loved this sweet girl before we found her. 

 

Daisy operates in 3 modes.... 

 

1. PLAY PLAY PLAY

2. Sleepy -can’t keep her eyes open

3. And PET ME!!!!!!! 

 

Most of the day is spent moving a dog that goes floppy when she doesn’t want to be moved and in PET ME!!!!! Mode.

 

Did I mention that she can’t tell time and sometime floppy and PET ME!!! Happens at 3 a.m..  

 

We’ve been rescued. And Finn once again has a very best friend. 

 

 

 

 

Train Travel Pro Tip: Riding Along the Hudson River

Many of us in Southern Vermont love to take Amtrak to NYC. We drive to Albany and park our cars and ride the the train along the lovely Hudson River. I keep my eyes out for boats and buildings and the famous West Point school where we used to go to football games with my father. My husband and friend Amy always watch for and find Eagles. Pro tip: Ride on the right side on the way in and on the left side on the way out. Even in bad weather it is absolutely gorgeous.

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Practical Magic brewing in Dorset, Vermont

No one throws a party like our dearest YaYa, Interior Designer extraordinaire Amy Thebault. With the ease of a well-established hostess and the eye of a true artist, Amy sets the scene for a magical soiree. Over the years there have been many occasions, each better than the next…small snowy winter birthday parties, stream side BBQs, cocktails on the front porch, big blow out celebrations and the best themes you can imagine. Last night was a celebration of the full moon, a gathering of women, and a friendship palooza. The ever wonderful Practical Magic Party!

 Little notes around her home set the stage for the evening. The one in the powder room said “Do Epic Shit” and paid homage to another YaYa Laurent Ferrante who reminds us all daily to stop waiting for the future, not miss an opportunity and to make sure…we spend our lives doing “Epic Shit”!!

Little notes around her home set the stage for the evening. The one in the powder room said “Do Epic Shit” and paid homage to another YaYa Laurent Ferrante who reminds us all daily to stop waiting for the future, not miss an opportunity and to make sure…we spend our lives doing “Epic Shit”!!

 Amy spent part of the afternoon picking flowers at an amazing garden and another part finding multiple four leaf clovers for each of her guests. Yes, you read that correctly. Amy is the Queen Four Leaf Clover Huntress. None of us have any logical explanation for it!!

Amy spent part of the afternoon picking flowers at an amazing garden and another part finding multiple four leaf clovers for each of her guests. Yes, you read that correctly. Amy is the Queen Four Leaf Clover Huntress. None of us have any logical explanation for it!!

 While Amy and Lauren put the finishing touches on a gourmet vegetarian dinner in the kitchen, guests are invited to fill the bowl with written dreams, thoughts of gratitude, prayers, or wishes.

While Amy and Lauren put the finishing touches on a gourmet vegetarian dinner in the kitchen, guests are invited to fill the bowl with written dreams, thoughts of gratitude, prayers, or wishes.

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 Our hostess setting the island buffet.

Our hostess setting the island buffet.

 “What do you want?” ….When was the last time you asked yourself THAT question??

“What do you want?” ….When was the last time you asked yourself THAT question??

 “The great thing about living in Dorset is that if I don’t know what I’m doing someone else always does.”

“The great thing about living in Dorset is that if I don’t know what I’m doing someone else always does.”

 Velvet, Cashmere, and a warm fire. I can not think of a better way to welcome Fall to the country.

Velvet, Cashmere, and a warm fire. I can not think of a better way to welcome Fall to the country.

 Pam and Lily catch up by the warm flames.

Pam and Lily catch up by the warm flames.

 Mini Lemon Lulu’s, a famous local cake from Mother Myricks in Manchester.

Mini Lemon Lulu’s, a famous local cake from Mother Myricks in Manchester.

 The bowl is full with some little country dressed fox gents to guard our dreams.

The bowl is full with some little country dressed fox gents to guard our dreams.

 Amy leads the charge as Caren leads the revelry. Our dreams and wishes come with us!

Amy leads the charge as Caren leads the revelry. Our dreams and wishes come with us!

 A fire by the stream is the perfect setting for women to gather.

A fire by the stream is the perfect setting for women to gather.

 Away we go!!

Away we go!!

 Prayers, wishes, and words of love and support of each other and our sisterhood.

Prayers, wishes, and words of love and support of each other and our sisterhood.

 Our dreams join the fire and up into the universe. Carmel insures they all make it to the right spot!

Our dreams join the fire and up into the universe. Carmel insures they all make it to the right spot!

 Women gathering, supporting other women. Some old friends, some new friends, age 18 on up.

Women gathering, supporting other women. Some old friends, some new friends, age 18 on up.

 “... a full moon shimmered over (Southern Vermont). This was no rinky-dink moon. This was a moon you had to curtsy to. A big, heavy, mysterious, beautiful, bossy moon. The kind you want to serve things to on a silver platter.”  ―  Rebecca Wells author Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

“... a full moon shimmered over (Southern Vermont). This was no rinky-dink moon. This was a moon you had to curtsy to. A big, heavy, mysterious, beautiful, bossy moon. The kind you want to serve things to on a silver platter.”
Rebecca Wells author Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

If this appeals to you and you want to learn more, I highly suggest look at Amy’s beautiful website www.thebaultdesign.com

Day four in Lucca: wine tour and massage!

As I sat down to write this I received a text from my son Colin asking me if I was looking at real estate. I figured he must have been reading my blog about interrogating Stephano our driver about real estate in Lucca. Apparently, he had not been reading it, he just knew his mother and her love of Italy, homes, and 

 This is the view from our backyard. If you look in the center of the photo you will see a big estate at the top of the hill. That is a winery! 

This is the view from our backyard. If you look in the center of the photo you will see a big estate at the top of the hill. That is a winery! 

 We took a long walk down our very windy mountain road down to the Vineyard. 

We took a long walk down our very windy mountain road down to the Vineyard. 

 This home is the former home of the Duchess of Lucca. She and the Duke had three large estates, this one was hers and is feminine in decor and style.

This home is the former home of the Duchess of Lucca. She and the Duke had three large estates, this one was hers and is feminine in decor and style.

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 Details of this gorgeous flower wreath.

Details of this gorgeous flower wreath.

 Since I know some of Kari's family is following this blog.... I thought you might get a kick out of this. While our lovely tour guide was telling us all about the vineyard, I looked over to find a certain someone sneaking peaks into the beautiful garden building. I have been joking about Lucy and Ethel go to Italy. Here is Lucy taking a little peekaboo in the part we were not allowed in. 

Since I know some of Kari's family is following this blog.... I thought you might get a kick out of this. While our lovely tour guide was telling us all about the vineyard, I looked over to find a certain someone sneaking peaks into the beautiful garden building. I have been joking about Lucy and Ethel go to Italy. Here is Lucy taking a little peekaboo in the part we were not allowed in. 

 And then I watched Lucy saunter over and check out the door!! It was locked but I learned she's been trying to get in here for two years!!! (BiG LAUGH)

And then I watched Lucy saunter over and check out the door!! It was locked but I learned she's been trying to get in here for two years!!! (BiG LAUGH)

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 The general consensus of everyone in the group was that wine by Mother Teresa was very good and we all bought some to bring back to our villa. I also purchased Olive Oil and honey from the vineyard to bring home to Vermont.

The general consensus of everyone in the group was that wine by Mother Teresa was very good and we all bought some to bring back to our villa. I also purchased Olive Oil and honey from the vineyard to bring home to Vermont.

My day ended with an AMAZING massage back here at the Villa. A great day!!

 

An evening in Pietrasanta

On Sunday evening our group divided into two groups depending on their interest. Some went into Lucca to see opera singers perform Puccini arias and some of us went to Pietrasanta. I love the opera and would have been happy to have attended but I didn't want to miss my chance to visit another Tuscan village.  I sat in the front seat with the driver on this gorgeous drive and interrogated him about real estate prices in Lucca...because well of course, I want to live here. :) I keep hearing from other people on instagram that they have American friends here in Lucca and I have heard there is another Vermonter here. How funny is that....that I am up in an old estate in the mountains and I've heard there is a Vermonter down in the valley?! Wouldn't it be funny if they heard there was some Vermonty "traveling stitcher" doing yoga up in the mountains?! :) 

Pietrasanta was an amazing experience. It's a small, very manageable town with lovely things to walk around and look at. There are many charming outdoor dining opportunities and very few tourists. In fact, there was not one other person besides my friends that I recognized as being American tourists. 

 In the early evening the restaurants begin to set up in the street, locals are walking their dogs and shop girls are waiting for diners to visit their stores.

In the early evening the restaurants begin to set up in the street, locals are walking their dogs and shop girls are waiting for diners to visit their stores.

Savonn our yogi extraordinaire and leader of our trip lead the way.  When we arrived she helped us get our bearings and we located the restaurant we would meet at later in the evening. This way we could all explore. We started together and then broke off into our own journeys.

Our first spot we visited was the square which had it's annual sculpture event in front of the sculpture museum. The museum is located in an old Catholic Church and really quite amazing. The wear and tear and well aged structure is absolutely breathtaking with a classic old Italian patina, in the church is more modern paintings and sculpture. The juxtaposition is sublime.

 Apparently there is a yoga theme all over Tuscany! Loved this happy dancing sculpture!

Apparently there is a yoga theme all over Tuscany! Loved this happy dancing sculpture!

 Sitting atop the marble steps leading into the sculpture museum church is this beauty.

Sitting atop the marble steps leading into the sculpture museum church is this beauty.

 Lisa takes in this magnificent site...and sight.

Lisa takes in this magnificent site...and sight.

 A modern marble sculpture of a mother nursing her baby surrounded by antique paintings of Madonna and her baby really captures you.

A modern marble sculpture of a mother nursing her baby surrounded by antique paintings of Madonna and her baby really captures you.

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 My dinner companions minus one after an amazing Italian dinner at Pinocchios.

My dinner companions minus one after an amazing Italian dinner at Pinocchios.

Smart things

Some of the smartest things I have done have been just rushed gut decisions. When my friend Kari asked me if I wanted to attend a yoga retreat she was going to and helping teach in Lucca, Italy  I just said "yes!!" without too much thought.  I love Italy and about 14 years ago I owned a yoga studio, it seemed like the perfect time to jump back in. My decision was simple....of course I wanted to go. I didn't put much thought into it over the last couple of months other than to contemplate the fact that I was completely out of shape. That was really my only thought. I didn't image where we would be or what our days would be like. I didn't think about what we would do or what Lucca would look like and I didn't think about the people that would be here. I'm a mom, I thought about leaving my family and preparing my business for my family to run while I was gone. 

I flew here overnight and didn't sleep on the plane so I was exhausted when I arrived. Which made the arrival that much more fun....numbness changed into pure bliss rather quickly.

 Our neighbors home we view from our pooled terrace.

Our neighbors home we view from our pooled terrace.

We were driven up gorgeous steep and curvy roads that wove through beautiful stately homes in the mountains, up and and up higher and higher until we reached our destination. Our retreat is being held in a gorgeous mountain top villa that dates back to the 1500s. 

 My bedroom is the one window above the trellis.

My bedroom is the one window above the trellis.

The estate has several guest houses with a patio and pool and gorgeous view. This is our entrance from the street. There are 10 students, 2 teachers, and an amazing staff of helpers and cooks. I hear that the masseuse is amazing but I won't meet her until Tuesday. We each have our own perfectly appointed bedroom. Some have private baths, some have shared baths. We have a large outside dining table by the pool and a lovely common room and yoga studio. There is also a steam room and laundry facilities available for use. Our vegetarian meals are made for us and are magnificent. 

 Kari and Lisa on our first evening

Kari and Lisa on our first evening

 Kari getting reacquainted with her old friend Oliver

Kari getting reacquainted with her old friend Oliver

Our first evening we had a yoga class before dinner.  It was restorative yoga and a wonderful way for all of the weary travelers to stretch out those muscles which had been jammed into airline seats and carrying heavy baggage.

Our dinner last night was a homemade vegetarian lasagna, Italian bread, salad, several vegetable side dishes and a gorgeous mixed cheese platter with dried fruit and walnuts for dessert. There is a glorious bowl of a variety of ripe wonderful seasonal fruits and tea and coffee fixings available to us at all times. There is a knife and cutting board near the fruit bowl. This easy and clever idea encourages us to dig into the fabulous fruit. The apricots are out of this world!

I slept like a rock last night in my lovely simple Italian bedroom. When my alarm went off at 7 am this morning I wondered, where it was I had to be. Wasn't I happily surprised when I remembered....yoga class in Tuscany!

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This morning's weather was outstanding. Warm and sunny. This is a view from our dining table. After another fabulous yoga class this morning we sat down to a homemade breakfast and fresh pressed juice. Kari brought us up to speed on our exciting schedule for the week and encouraged us all to sign up for massages. (I have learned to always take Kari's advice! That's what got me here!)

The morning was spent by all relaxing and having fun by the pool. I brought special Italian inspired paquets for the group and taught everyone who was interested how to needlepoint this morning under the Tuscan sun. It was great fun!! Two other students brought their gorgeous glass beads they make in Portland, Oregon and all had a lot of fun making necklaces. Many of us swam in this fantastic pool and some went off to play golf in Tuscany! 

This evening we all got to choose activities from Opera in Lucca to a road trip to another village. More on that tomorrow.  

Buona Notte!