I just got back from a trip to New England (Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, to be specific).

Dover Friends Meeting.

It was an intense few weeks with work leading up to the trip and a little crazy actually getting out the door. We had just hosted a play on tour from England–in a town about two hours away from Fayetteville, had a board meeting at Quaker House (the locations rotate), gotten the newsletter out, made presentations at the Piedmont Friends Fellowship and Yearly Meeting’s Spring Retreat, and, just days before I left town, finally gotten our kitchen floor repaired. Thank you to all the people who donated funds to help with this necessary work and who donated a new refrigerator! Because the House is still fully working even in my absence, I needed to put things back together before I left. It was a late night with an early morning following.

Kitchen floor in need of repair from water damage.
New kitchen floor and donated fridge!









But, I made it. We made it (I met up with my daughter and son-in-law for parts of the trip). We made it to the not-unheard-of-April-sleet-and-ice-weather in New England from the fully-into-spring-70-degree-days in North Carolina. Luckily, we had checked the forecast and were prepared, and we had some well-timed coincidences.

Red Sox v Orioles. Score Red Sox 3, Orioles 1.

For example, I drove down from Maine to Boston to help my daughter and son-in-law with luggage so they could walk the Freedom Trail Tour before driving them to our next destination. They were running late, walking in the freezing rain and wild gusts of wind (same day as the Boston Marathon, if you saw those weather reports). I just happened to drive down the same one-way street in the same direction and recognized them in all their bundling. I could not pick them up there at that second (city traffic), but, amazingly, found a loading zone just around the corner that I was able to pull into without raising anyone’s ire while they caught up with me. We were still late getting them to the starting point of the tour, but my son-in-law looked out the window and wondered aloud, “Do you think that’s them?” pointing at three separate groups of poncho-clad people. They jumped out of the car and randomly picked the correct tour group that had them listed. The two history buffs were off on their tour.

Next, we visited two of my brothers and their families. It has been approximately 12 years since we have seen them and, therefore, had actually not yet met some of the newer family members.

There was lacrosse;

inflation of an indoor bouncy house while sitting in the middle of it;

baseball (Maine spring weather stops no one);

games of Foosball, Connect Four, and Apples to Apples; hair gel applied to match the visiting cousin-in-law’s style; and good food at every turn.

One of our final adventures was to buy a delicious “medium” (half-filled paper cup) of hot chocolate sold by a young guy in the parking lot of the art studios that neighbor my high-school-days home. Price: $1.00.

I returned to North Carolina about 12 hours earlier than I originally planned, and was very pleased with that decision for traveling arrangements. After that adjustment had already been implemented, I found out that the Quaker House web site was in urgent need of my focused attention. So, that timing worked out, too.

Hopefully, it will not be another decade before returning to Maine.

Rebar took on a little mentee at his sitter’s house while we were away.



Who’s Being Treated Well?

Today, Rebar The Pit Bull Dog has been in my home for exactly one week.

He is as wonderful as I had hoped. Of course, I had made sure of a few things. The sign on his kennel door at the shelter said he did well with cats. We had him “cat tested” to be sure (they walked him into the cat room where he gently sniffed the kittens, who were not sure about being sniffed). He seemed to have a good temperament and, when not distracted by other cool, potential-friend dogs and people, he was attentive to me–until we got to my car to drive home. Then, I was surprised to see him ignore the open door and ignore my happy “let’s go for a ride” encouragements. He sat down facing away from me and away from the open door and pretend neither I nor the car existed. We were invisible and I was inaudible, apparently. I had to pick up all 60 pounds of him up and put him in the car. He remained frozen like a statue in the exact position he landed for the entire ride home. Okay. Does not like car rides. Noted.

I got him a new soft bed, and that went over really well,





even if he sometimes ended up perpendicular to its general design.





He obeys Sophie The Cat’s signals not to get too close, even if it is rather dejectedly. Hopefully, Sophie will warm up to him more over time. He tries really hard to learn all these new commands and routines that I have for him.

He loves walks. I love walks. While we were out walking, we met our psychiatrist/psychologist (cannot remember which he is) neighbor. We talked a little bit about his arrival–how he had been in the Hoke County shelter, then the Cumberland County shelter, and then the Fayetteville Animal Protection Society shelter, that he had wear on his limbs from being kept constantly on a hard floor, how he was adjusting, that I was working on heeling with him. Then, my neighbor said, “You’re treating . . . ” and my mind immediately anticipated the end of his statement as something about giving him a home/saving his life–and at Christmastime, too. Luckily, I was polite enough to let him finish his own statement. He was saying, “You’re treating yourself well.”

I smiled. Indeed, I was. I now had a necessity to be outside several times a day. Today, I was outside walking while it was 67 degrees in December. Global warming is not a good thing, but not missing an opportunity like that to be outside is a good thing. I have met more of my neighbors and the guy who does the yard work at a couple of homes.

I hope 2018 is a good year for you! Don’t forget to treat yourself well, sometimes.