A Trio of Beautiful Weekend Warriors

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Jaycie and Jordan enjoying Salisbury Beach, MA

My two daughters and I had an amazing weekend of adventures! It was wonderful attending the Pow-Wow, showing them the parts of New England I love the most and discovering new areas together. Seeing things through their eyes and hearing what they have to say about where we went opens my eyes even wider to the wonder of it all.

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Driving back up through Boston after the Pow-Wow

This weekend’s trip was beneficial for all three of us. The girls expanded their vision further outside of NY and I was reminded of how blessed I am to have them. We are a powerful trio of beautiful weekend warriors and together we can accomplish anything! While I always enjoy my solo adventures, being a mom is central to who I am.

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My 11 year-old daughter and I by Powwow River Falls in Amesbury, MA

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My 7 year-old and I

The love my daughters and I share is a force to be reckoned with and never to be ignored. They are my heart, my world, my inspiration and my daily motivation to be the best person I can and to set a good example of what a successful and independent woman is.

There is so much more to tell but it must wait as I pack up and prepare us for the drive back to Upstate NY. On this Memorial Day as on all other days of my life, I am eternally grateful to the veteran who bestowed upon me unparalleled love, unforgettable lessons and a courageous spirit. Thank you, Dad!

Not my usual New England visit

Grand Entry at UMAss Amherst Annual Pow-wow, 4/19/2014

Grand Entry at UMAss Amherst Annual Pow-wow, 4/19/2014

During my last trip to New England I attended a pow-wow for the first time in my life. It was held at UMass Amherst on a beautiful Saturday and the experience changed me forever. If you’ve never attended a pow-wow, I believe you’re missing out on something very important to the past, present and future of this planet we call home.

I found the experience so meaningful that I decided I needed to bring my daughters to a pow-wow. I was therefore happy to discover when I looked at the Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness (MCNAA) website that the Spring Planting Moon Pow-Wow is taking place May 24th-25th. As that’s Memorial Day weekend and I have the girls for the holiday, I immediately made plans for the three of us to drive up to New England over the long weekend. If you’re in the area this weekend, I urge you to attend!

My usual trips to New England run from Wednesday to Sunday and involve me driving around solo on various adventures, wandering Amesbury and going wherever the wind blows. This will be the first time it’s just us three girls on a road trip and I’m sure it will be a fun and interesting challenge! Jaycie has been talking excitedly about it ever since I told her and I’m sure Jordan is eager as well. We’ll make the most of our time in New England and undoubtedly have stories to tell for the rest of time.

My next New England trip will follow the usual routine and take place end of June or early July. As long as the weather is nice, I get out to Massachusetts and New Hampshire as often as I can because that is where I feel most at home and welcome. It’s going to be a great summer!

The Perfect Meal at Crave Brasserie & Wine Bar

Crave Brasserie & Wine Bar, Amesbury, MA. Photo courtesy of Crave

When I’m at my home in Upstate NY I usually make all my own meals and don’t eat out a lot but when I head up to New England for one of my trips, I splurge on delicious food. My hotel room usually has a microwave and fridge but as my trips are mini vacations, living off frozen dinners really doesn’t appeal. I love freshly made and delicious food and it’s  always a bonus when someone else makes it for me.

As detailed in my blog post A chilly evening stroll in Amesbury back in April, I spent my first evening in New England wandering Amesbury during my last trip. I was quite cold after walking around and the aromas from Crave Brasserie & Wine Bar pulled me in on the way back to my car. I went inside the restaurant with its cozy illumination and reveled in the feeling of warmth seeping back into my body. I was seated at a four chair table by the windows and happily took my coat off as the chill left my skin.

I ordered coffee to wake up a bit and further thaw out and then began looking over the menu. They had an extensive wine and beer list but as I had to drive home after dinner, I couldn’t indulge in any such spirits. My waitress was very friendly and helpful and everything I ordered came in perfect time. I was the only person there alone that I saw but I’m quite used to that by now and settled in to enjoy the atmosphere and food.

Interior of Crave. Photo courtesy of Crave.

As an appetizer, I ordered the Crispy Tomatoes and Wolf Meadow Farm Mozzarella because I loved the mozzarella I had during Wolf Meadow Farm’s grand opening during my previous visit.

Crispy Tomatoes with Wolf Meadow Farm’s mozzarella. Photo courtesy of Crave.

The tomatoes were flavorful, warm and had just the right amount of crisp to go with the delectably soft and creamy mozzarella and I cleaned my plate rather quickly!

For my main meal I ordered the Seared Sea Scallops because I love scallops and hadn’t had any in a while. When the entrée arrived on a nice rectangular serving plate, it looked almost too good to eat!

Seared Sea Scallops. Pic taken on my phone

Seared Sea Scallops. Pic taken on my phone

I forced myself to mar the perfect display in order to eat the food and they were the most divine scallops! Melt in my mouth, full of flavor, cooked perfectly and superbly complimented by the savory creamed corn and roasted potatoes. I didn’t quite clean that plate because I was growing full and wanted to leave room for dessert. There was a fridge back in my room but no microwave so taking leftovers home wasn’t feasible that trip.

To finish the amazing meal off, I ordered the Flourless Chocolate Torte for dessert. It came on a nice round plate with a scoop of ice cream on top and it’s bewildering to me that such sweet, divine and delectable chocolate heaven fit in that simple plate!

Flourless Chocolate Torte. Pic taken on my phone.

Flourless Chocolate Torte. Pic taken on my phone. I nearly licked the plate!

It was absolutely the best form of chocolate dessert I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating! It was like a warm brownie kicked up to the max of chocolate decadence and I devoured it, only to be quite dismayed that it was gone.

I was pleasantly full by the time I was done and glad that I’d finally treated myself to a superb meal at Crave Brasserie & Wine Bar. I highly recommend the restaurant to anyone in the vicinity of Amesbury and to anyone in the world! It’s just one of the many fine dining establishments in Amesbury, MA and definitely one I’ll be returning to on future visits! Why are you still reading this?? It’s Friday night, go to Crave and eat some bewilderingly delicious food!

Fences, flowers, furry pups and feathered friends

Fruit tree blossoms down the road from my house

Fruit tree blossoms down the road from my house

It was another beautiful day today that felt more like summer than spring. I happily enjoyed it because 80  and humid is infinitely better than -25 and three feet of snow!

Morning thunderstorms cleared out rather quickly and have only recently started up again now that it’s dark. I don’t mind thunderstorms at night except when I have the girls. I don’t blame them for being scared when lightning flashes and thunder shakes the house. I think they’ve finally settled though so I’ll continue my rambling.

I took Jazzmin for a short walk in the early afternoon and the heat off the pavement was intense enough to make her pant by the first turn. Even on that short walk though we saw an abundance of spring beauty and I took some pictures with my phone camera. Only after returning home and looking at them did I realize that most of them included a fence of some kind. To be expected since I live in the country near several farms but certainly not intentional. Regardless, they turned out surprisingly lovely for my little camera phone.

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Upon returning home, Jazz was hot, tired and happy. She laid on the floor panting while looking eager to go back out walking once she caught her breath. Once again proof that the pup wants to walk 24/7 in any kind of weather!

Jazzmin panting a smile after our walk.

Jazzmin panting a smile after our walk.

This evening I was blessed with the return of my resident hummingbird. I was watching the birds in my wild bird oasis and in the hummingbird zipped looking for his feeder! I hadn’t put it out yet so I quickly remedied that by hanging it where the unoccupied barrel bird house had been hanging. He returned later as I watched the storms roll in and he seems to know where his feeder is now. Always nice when he returns because it means the buzzing little birdies think it’s a safe bet that warmth will stick around. I certainly hope they’re right!

The worst salesperson…

Wearing my fringed seed bead earrings I made myself for Mother's Day

Wearing my fringed seed bead earrings I made myself for Mother’s Day

I’m not a good salesperson/marketer/ware hawker or whatever you want to call it. I was in the Girl Scouts when I was a little girl and I only tried once to sell cookies door to door. I quickly learned that all my other Girl Scout friends had beat me to the punch and so I stuck to selling to family and family friends. When I was a teenager I worked at Waldenbooks and employees were required to sell a certain number of discount cards every month. I never made my quota because I didn’t like being pushy in that manner. Thankfully I never had to try selling insurance at my last job because that never would have happened!

I wrote an e-book about my first trip to Boston and it’s for sale on Amazon. I promoted it vigorously for about a week before giving up on that leading anywhere beneficial. I tried selling my freelance writing services to businesses so I wouldn’t have to go through a content mill middle man but without the ability to take credit for any of my ghost writing, I have no proof of my skills. So I continue as a ghost writer and know how fortunate I am that I get paid to write, whether I can take credit or not.

I hate being a pest, plain and simple. Marketing to me feels like being a pest and after a while of posting Facebook status updates, tweeting on Twitter, linking on LinkedIn and posting to Google+, people seem to get tired of reading what I’m putting up. I know that personally I stop following people on Twitter when they post the same exact tweet about their product every 15 minutes. It’s annoying to be constantly bombarded by sales pitches.

I started selling earrings in my CorbinGirl store on Etsy a couple of weeks ago and had some great initial success…that has now died off. I’m probably not supposed to admit that, it’s probably breaking a cardinal rule of marketing but meh. I am extremely grateful to everyone who bought my creations and I received lovely positive reviews from customers who like their earrings! I’m certainly not going to stop making earrings, but I’m the worst salesperson for my own stuff. I make earrings because it makes me happy and because the ideas won’t stop. I give earrings away as gifts to whomever wants them and list on Etsy so the rest of the world can find my creations.

Close up of my earrings

Close up of my earrings

Smaller fringe earrings I made for my mom

Smaller fringe earrings I made for my mom

My main income is as a ghost writer so the jewelry is just a hobby at this point. Trying to sell jewelry in such a saturated market is no easy task and with everything else I have going on in my life, it takes a back burner sometimes. I’ll still tweet, honk, hawk, poke, etc all over social media when I make something new and I’ll continue to explore various ways of marketing my creations, but I do know that there are people out there who will get tired of hearing it and just ignore me.

Creating jewelry is meditative therapy for me, it’s an escape from the real world just like fantasy writing used to be for me before my muse took an extended sabbatical. I have faith that eventually I’ll hit things right and everything will coalesce as it should, but for now I’ll continue trying new techniques and building my jewelry inventory. No one else makes what I make because there’s only one me…heaven knows, that’s all the world can handle!

A beautiful Mother’s Day

My daughters and our pup Jazzmin

My daughters and our pup Jazzmin

It was an absolutely beautiful day today! The sun was shining, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, it was in the mid 70’s and there weren’t tornadic winds messing things about. Truly one of the nicest Mother’s Day that I can remember!

I started my day sleeping in a bit and then hanging with my daughters inside and outside just enjoying the lovely day. Mama Nature sent three male rose-breasted grosbeaks to my feeders this morning which was quite surprising! I’ve only ever seen one before but today three came off and on and they all hung together eating without any sort of squabbling. I imagine their mates were home seating on eggs and I do hope the males were kind enough to pack a doggy bag of seeds for the special ladies in their lives.

My three male rose-breasted grosbeaks

My three male rose-breasted grosbeaks

My daughters made me wonderful gifts for Mother’s Day! Jordan drew me a picture of sparrows and gave me a box of chocolates and Jaycie had made me a bouquet of paper flowers and an adorable card. I always love their tokens of affection but truly my daughters themselves are the greatest gifts I’ve ever received and just having them in my life makes me complete.

After breakfast, I donned the fringed seed bead earrings I completed yesterday and started on a smaller version as a gift for my mother. I had the window open as I worked and the birds serenaded me with their happy songs and chirps as they frolicked in the bird oasis garden nearby. I had my mom’s earring finished by the time the girls and I headed to her house this afternoon.

Fringe earrings I made for myself

Fringe earrings I made for myself

Fringe earrings I made for my mom

Fringe earrings I made for my mom

I indulged in one of my favorite past times, a bath, at my mom’s and we went out and brought back chicken for dinner so none of us had to cook. It was nice just being together and relaxing and I was blissfully happy all day long. My mom, myself and my daughters all posed for a picture out on her sun porch and out of at least 10 pictures, we got a few good ones. We even did a picture with my oldest brother in it so we have visual evidence that we were all together on this special day.

Three generations!

Three generations!

Posing with Uncle Tim

Posing with Uncle Tim

Once the girls and I returned home, I asked them to pose by one of my lilac bushes in the back yard. The lilacs are just starting to bloom and smell fragrantly sweet and I felt my biggest bush would be the perfect background. I also thought it would be good to get Jazzmin in the picture since I’m her mama too. The best picture is at the top of this post and the one at the end of this post shows how hard it is to get a dog to look at the camera when you’re not holding a treat of some kind. Overall it was a blessed day and I loved every moment!

Jazzmin was much more interested in the field than the camera...

Jazzmin was much more interested in the field than the camera…

Blessings on Bird Wings Part 3 (conclusion)

Indigo bunting. Such a lovely shade of blue!

Indigo bunting. Such a lovely shade of blue!

There was an indigo bunting at my feeder today and as I’ve never seen one before in my life, I figured that was a sign that I need to write the conclusion to this series of blog entries. I’m not sure what drew the adorable little blue, black and purple indigo bunting to my bird feeder oasis but I’m glad he came! Maybe it was all the pretty violas and petunias I put out or the pear tree or the fountain or the addition of yet another feeder I forgot I owned. Whatever it was, I hope he comes back again and brings lots of family and friends!

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When I finished the first stage of my wild bird oasis last week, it was still light enough to take Jazzmin for a walk so we headed out over the hills. As I rounded the curve on the first road, I was reveling in my immense feelings of happiness and contentment. I was thinking how lucky I am to be able to work from home with a flexible schedule that allows me to be outside during the nice weather. I can also use my free time to work on my crafts at my table with the window open to enjoy the breeze and sounds of the birds. It’s a level of peace and fulfillment I never experienced when working outside the home.

As I walked Jazz further along the hills, I took a deep breath and said “I am blessed.” It felt amazing just saying those words and knowing how true they are! We continued along the road and I was looking up into the sky as I always do in search of hawks. I almost always see a hawk when I’m outside or when I’m driving, I just have to keep my eyes peeled. Sure enough, when we topped the next hill, I saw a hawk circling slowly above the trees. I broke out in a smile so bright it would’ve lit up the trees if the sun hadn’t already been shining.

Seeing a hawk is always a positive sign and good omen for me and the sight of this one soaring was further confirmation that I’m finally on the right path in my life. I just have to continue to have faith, trust that life will work out as it’s supposed to and of course keep enjoying the daily blessings on bird wings.