Thursday, June 7, 2018

I say goodbye and you say hello (slightly altered, my apologies Paul McCartney)

Goodbyes suck...more often than not. I would be more than thrilled to say goodbye to plenty of things, Asthma, headaches, and #45, but I am not terribly excited about this upcoming goodbye. 41 Ashlee Dr. has been a tumultuous home filled with ridiculous challenges and wonderful memories. I hate that there is no easy way to get in this house that does not involve either a steep hill or a flight of stairs...but that's pretty much my biggest complaint! Yeah, we have a tiny master bathroom and very limited closet space, but those are really silly, first world problems. This house really is pretty great. The property has been nothing short of relaxing, calming, and wondrous the entire time we've lived here. I may be romanticizing things a bit but so what, it's my prerogative! Sitting on the deck and hearing nothing but birds has soothed me countless times. Watching wildlife right outside my window has filled me with awe Every. Single. Time! No matter how many times I see a deer or turkey in the yard, it is still exciting and beautiful. So I will miss this home and I wanted to give the new owners an idea about the wonderful place they will soon be calling home, so I wrote them a letter. I'm not sure if I will leave it for them but it was important for me to at least put it down on paper.

To the new owners of 41 Ashlee,

First, welcome to your new home! I wanted to give you a little run down of all the intricacies about this house and its' property that we have discovered over the years.

It is a warm, inviting and cozy house. By warm I mean in the general sense, not always the literal! The floors get pretty chilly in the kitchen in the winter, so wear some fuzzy sock or slippers!

The kitchen is pretty darn near perfect in size and layout and really has more storage than I ever needed. Many wonderful conversations happened around that kitchen island, I hope you experience that as well.

The great room over the garage is my favorite place in the house. In winter it is warm (literally, this time...hello, wood stove!) and can lead to some epic winter naps. In the summer you can get a lovely cross breeze and beautiful views off the deck. It's large enough for a giant kid sleepover and the best part is when the door is shut the sound is almost totally deadened!

The deck is the most relaxing place of the house. Birds would flock to the feeders I put out; juncos, chickadees, blue jays, downy woodpeckers, red bellied woodpeckers, redheaded woodpeckers, nuthatches, tufted titmice, and more. If you are quiet and still enough they will even land on the feeder with you sitting right there! The squirrels like the feeders too but if I threw seed into the grass they would tend to leave the feeders alone. Beware though, the area bear(s) have absolutely no issue opening the fence gate and sauntering on the deck to devour any seed left out (seriously this just happened the other night) So be sure to take the feeders in every night if you feed throughout the year.

That swingset has been used by birds as a place to nest more than a play place for our children but it too has seen its' fair share of daring acts of acrobatics! I hope your girls enjoy it thoroughly!

The driveway and circle at the end of the road is the perfect place for kids to ride their bikes while staying close to home when they are young. The wonderful thing about this neighborhood is it's so quiet you can hear your children playing at the circle from the house and they can hear you call to them! Speaking of the circle, it is a wonderful place to look for frog eggs, tadpoles and frogs! The trail on the right side of the circle goes all the way back to Cavender road which is Greenfield and a lovely place to walk and explore, even in winter!

The woods behind the house has many treasures as well, you can find animal scat, places of rest and all manner of garter snakes, toads, and newts. It's also an excellent place to put up game cameras. Those woods are a hot travel zone for all kinds of creatures...we've even had a moose go through! You will hear Bard owls, coyotes, fox, bobcats and fishers, regularly. It can be eerie at night but so incredible too. The neighborhood bats have been our favorite thing to look for every spring, we keep hoping that the population will increase to help with mosquito control. They are fun to watch too.

At certain times in the spring and summer you will look up and see hundreds (well maybe not hundreds but a LOT) of dragonflies swooping around and eating bugs. It's really neat to lie back in a chair and watch them zip around.

Walking this neighborhood is magical, every time! There are wonderful, friendly people and most everyone has a dog! It's 2.1 miles from your new home to the horse farm on Burke rd. and back. The sunset over the house at the end of Burke is beautiful and the sunrise over Monadnock at the horse farm is too!

So, you see, you are not just getting a house today, you are getting a whole new life, full of adventure and beauty and I hope you find as much happiness here as we have. It truly is an exceptional home.

All my best,
Erica Marshall

Tuesday, May 29, 2018


So big news to report but let me give you the run down of my lovely week first...don't skip to the end, that's just mean!

Since my last post I have done some more walking in my neighborhood...

I've done some neat crafting with friends...

This is my creation...

Went to the Seacoast Science Center with friends, ahhhhhh, the ocean aka: Happy place

Ridiculously did some shopping at the Outlets on Memorial Day...New sneakers and summer clothes for the kids ✅

Ok, big news time. The girls and I will be staying in Peterborough for the foreseeable future. The girls will be doing another year at least at their current school, SMS, and I will be re-opening my business to new clients and class offerings. Steve will commute from TN on a monthly basis for the time being and we will re-evaluate our future next summer. There of course is always the chance that we could hate the separation and just decide to bite the bullet and move to TN after all but at least for the next year it's not likely. Our current home sale is continuing to go through so we were able to find a cute but smaller home close to downtown (Rylie was wicked excited by how close the library will be). We will be out of the current house and into the new house on June 20th. There is a bit of work to do at the new house so that will happen while I am driving Rylie up to Maine for her summer camp. I will post pictures of the new home once we are in it and can call it ours!

So that's the exciting news, I will be a busy bee the next few weeks getting the house in order to move (purge, purge, purge) and as not all of our furniture will fit in the new house, designating what will be stored, what will go to TN with Steve for his new apartment and what will go to our new house in town. I hope to be able to see friends and family this summer, even though I'm not leaving I would still like to see you all more!

Enjoy your day!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Just stuff...

I really don't have much to say today. I have accomplished getting in at least a 2 mile walk every day for the last 8 days and eating better has paid off in a 3 lb loss! I have been to my daughters spring concert, Rylie's Genius Hour presentation where she impressed the hell out of me and yesterday we spent the day downtown at the annual Children and the Arts festival. I'm also dealing with dueling Greatest Showman soundtracks playing on repeat for the last week!

The girls sang in the spring concert and their songs were Dust in the Wind, Yellow Submarine and One (not the U2 song). They did a great job as did all the kids in band and chorus. But for me, the most momentous event was Rylie asking me to french braid her hair before the concert! I had to take sneak pictures of her because, well, she's 13 and a brat about pictures now!

I decided to continue getting up at 5:30 am and get my walk in before bringing the girls to school. It's been gorgeous so far every morning and my neighborhood is a beautiful place to walk. I have decided to try to take a picture every morning of something new or something neat I notice. Even though I have been walking this neighborhood for over 6 years I always notice something new or just relish how peaceful it is.



Rylie and her friend worked on a voluntary project to study the history of LGBTQ+ prejudice and they presented it at the Genius Hour at their school this past Thursday. The Genius Hour was for student directed learning. kids could work in groups or on their own to delve into a subject they were interested in and learn more about. The project presented were all really good and creative. I was so proud of Rylie (as was her teacher) for delving into such a deep subject and treating it with respect and grace. She did an excellent job in her presentation as well.

Yesterday was overcast and clouds threatened rain but it was still a great day at the Children and the Arts festival. It is a festival that takes over the buildings and green spaces downtown and showcases arts of all kinds, singing, dancing, acting, artwork etc. all involving children or for the benefit of children. There is also a wonderful themed parade that starts at the elementary school and goes through downtown. Area schools, clubs and organizations march with floats, signs or other amazing creativity. There are food and craft vendors and it is always a great time. This year was the first time I was not participating in the parade with one of the kids so I got to watch the whole thing. Rylie walked in it with her favorite teacher from 3rd. grade and Caitie was off running around downtown with her friends.

Humoring their mother since I had just given them money for the day! LOL

The crowd waiting for the parade

 The parade theme was Pirates

So, I guess I did have a lot to say! LOL

 Anyway, enjoy your day, tomorrow is never promised!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Welcome to your 40's...they suck

Hind sight is absolutely 20/20. I vehemently wish I had paid closer attention to my eating habits growing up cause now, trying to change them, is like stopping Niagra Falls! UGH, it's so frustrating how my metabolism crapped out on me after having kids, my joints and body parts don't move and work quite like they used to and I wake up with new aches and pains every day.

I had a lovely, low key Mother's Day; ordered chinese on Friday night and relaxed watching The Greatest Showman with my mom. Saturday it rained, so we went and saw Infinity War at one of those theaters you can order food in, it wasn't as nice as the one I went to in GA, but the movie was INCREDIBLE!! We then grilled some steaks for dinner and watched Supergirl episodes all together. Sunday I decided I wanted  pictures with my girls and my mom as it had been about 11 years since we'd had photos all done together. It was a beautiful day and I THOUGHT we got some good shots, it turns out my giant pumpkin head (due in large part to my second chin) made the pictures cringeworthy for me. I decided not to delete all of them because composition wise there were some nice shots, but damn, 43 does not look good on me! I had already begun trying to eat better and move my body more so now I am making sure it's not just a "when I feel like it thing". I vow not to have a pumpkin head next Mother's day!

Anyway, it was nice to spend time with my mom and to have Steve home for the weekend. We are still plugging away at the house hunting and are both getting thoroughly frustrated and discouraged. Our house is in the final stretch of purchase and everything is moving along as planned for the June 20th closing. Keep sending us your good house finding mojo please, we need all the help we can get!

Keep plugging along, tomorrow is never promised!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Catharsis and reclaiming my time

So, that lovely white house has been scrapped. We rescinded our offer due to their lack of cooperation regarding the very serious issues needing repair. It was a stressful and sad process getting to that point and once we did we didn't really feel any better as there just seemed to be no good options out there for us. We started questioning whether certain aspects in a home were really that important to us and if we could settle for something less. I can't imagine living on a tiny lot in a big neighborhood, I would feel so claustrophobic and exposed. I do not want to be able to have a conversation with my neighbor while we both sit on our own patios! I used to fantasize about life living in a condo or apartment in a place like downtown Boston or even just downtown Peterborough, being able to walk everywhere and enjoy the vibrancy of a downtown...alas, I'm really not that person. So we were panicking a little thinking we'd have to settle for a smaller lot and then spend the next year or so finding something better. As of right now we have two really good options. Neither are slam dunks but both are pretty darn close and really, to me, the most important element is the property and both have wonderful property, both a little over 5 acres and beautiful. So, we start the process over again and hopefully this time it sticks. The other nice thing about these houses is that they are both brand spanking new! So as not to jinx myself again I won't be sharing the houses until we choose one and have a contract on it!

Steve comes home this weekend, YAY!! He will have to deal with the issue of my new habit of taking over our entire Cal. King bed but I don't think he'll mind! LOL

Last night I participated in my very first Town Meeting Open Session and coincidentally my last 😔
It was quite invigorating even though it was quite inefficient in the beginning getting everyone  registered to vote. I suspect it is not always so but since last night the big issue on hand was a bond issue for a new library, the place was packed! I had originally planned to stay only for the library vote but after hearing some of the community people speak their concerns, I decided not to leave the fate of all the items on the agenda to a bunch of tight fisted, short sighted, old people! Seriously people, when I say our town is filled with old people, I am in no way exaggerating. The fastest expanding market here is Senior living facilities, they keep expanding! It's grey hair city here! Now, before you start screaming "Ageism", I have no issue with elderly, they are a great asset to a community...unless they have no vision for keeping the town vibrant and growing. We have an issue with declining students in the schools causing discussions about closing some area elementary schools. We need to think long term and make this town more attractive to young families but that means moving into the 21st century with improvements to the infrastructure. Blah, blah, blah, right? I love Peterborough and would love to see it continue to thrive. It really is a great place to raise kids in a safe and secure community. Anywhoo, The new library bond passed as did most of the other big ticket improvements to the downtown area, so I am happy I participated. I kind of wish I had been participating this whole time. I always vote but never bothered with Town meeting, regretfully.

The child drama saga continues and tonight I get to make it worse by telling Caitie she can't go to her fiends party tomorrow night. I will likely be the "worst mom ever" and I'm sure she will call me all kinds of names in her journal. Sigh...

I have been reclaiming my time from technology lately and it has been wonderful! I had started cutting down on FB scrolling but found I was still doing too much so, inspired by a friend, I deleted the app from my phone to force the issue more. It has been an adjustment to enjoy just "being" and to not be entertained every second! I have spent more time outside, more time with my dogs, listening to more music and dancing and I've been working on an especially difficult craft project that has required patience and concentration. The project has been excellent in helping me process the stress of house hunting and handling a 12 year old devil. I am really happy with how it turned out and Rylie was super thrilled with the results too (they are a gift for her new room in TN)!

I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend, enjoy your family, friends and time on this earth...tomorrow in never guaranteed! 💕

Oh, yeah, I got to finish my tattoo work on my left shoulder. The triangles are where my old band was. This was free drawn on my arm by my very talented tattoo artist. I love it!

Rylie and I got some ice cream before we went to see Black Panther in town and this rainbow graced us with it's presence!

Hanging out in town, enjoying some of my favorite spots:

Art catharsis...

Exercise catharsis...

Participating in town government!

Friday, May 4, 2018

My 12 year old is worse than your 3 year old...

I am getting into the groove of quiet days filled with time to do whatever I want. Sitting in the sun on the deck (HOLY CRAP THE SUN CAME BACK), playing with the dogs, crafting, and spending time with friends.

I am NOT in the groove of dealing with a 12 year old hormonal shit storm. You would think I would be, having just dealt with it a little over a year ago, but not so much. Rylie pretty much whiplashed me and I'm still reeling from her comedown to semi rational child. Caitie promised me she wouldn't do this, she swore she would be easier. I believed her, she's always been a pretty easy going kid. I suppose she's due for a rebellion. My saving grace is that it's only one of them, if both were struggling with their evil twin side, I'm pretty sure I'd be in a padded room speaking in tongues. I just keep repeating "I love my children, I love my children..."

I have finished my last private lesson client and am down to only one daycare puppy. It was sad but also a bit relieving as now I can focus on the enormous shit storm of finding a house in TN. Yeah, that's right, that lovely white house I was so excited about has turned into Amityville Horror and we are on the brink of walking away from it. Today is literally the last day for the sellers to decide if they are going to accept our terms for all the repairs or tell us to go pound sand. The repairs are not simple fixes either, mold was found in the air quality test and in the basement crawl space, a skylight is rotting and leaking and the HVAC units are original and there are no service records for them, oh and the stove came up as a possible recall name a few! Our options outside of this house are minimal they are either on tiny lots or super expensive. I hate this process with every fiber of my being!

Mother's day is coming up, I've got my fingers crossed that I can make it through without being huddled in a corner crying! I've got hopes of a nice pedicure with my mom, a road trip to the Flume Gorge and taking pictures of the kids and I with my mom...yeah, we'll see how that goes! Either way, I guess I'm lucky to get to spend time with my mom, I know many people that do not, including my husband. I am always acutely aware of the loss of Carol at Mother's day, when the day is centered around me and my mom. I wish all those that have lost their mother's, love and peace on this potentially heartbreaking day.

I do have a new goal in's a pretty lofty one too. I have vowed to be able to identify which show each clip in the opening credits of every season of friends is from! I am currently on season 3 (for the bajillionth time) and was doing well until, at episode 13, they changed all the opening clips! NOW, I have the question in my head of do they do that for every season? Now I have to go to episode 12 and 13 of season 1 and 2 to solve the mystery and make note of it for all other upcoming seasons. This is a big task, but I'm up for the challenge! Wish me luck in this useless endeavor! Honestly though, I can't even begin to say how many times Friends has helped drag me out of funks. I can't believe how it can still make me laugh out loud! After all this time? ALWAYS! 😜

Happy Birthday to everyone I missed on FB. I hope the year ahead is filled with more sunny skies than cloudy ones for you.

Never Give up and always be kind!

Random pictures to make up for boring post!

Enjoying the sun and furry friends

New life goal...

This makes me happy too!