- The trip to Maine to pick up Raisa was fabulous. I stayed in Ogunquit at the Bourne Bed and Breakfast (highly recommend!), walked the seaside "Marginal Way," had a great meal, and did a little fabric shopping (shhhh!). The stay with a friend and college classmate the next night in Winter Harbor was everything I hoped it would be, from absorbing the beauty of her art work (she's an artist), to meaningful conversations about creativity and life int he real world. Raisa is more beautiful in canine than I had imagined, and she has totally captured my heart (even if there's lots of behavioral work to be done). I also detoured to South Portland to visit Lulu Ceramics, a place I discovered somehow on facebook. Fun!
- I spent a day volunteering at the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary (CVHAS)with Rescue/Rebuild, clearing out undergrowth to enhance the beauty and use of the grounds. Five hours of labor was all I could manage with my back, and considering the face that I don't really do much physical labor any more, I thought this was a pretty good effort, and very reminiscent of annual maintenance efforts at Melrose.
- I enjoyed dinner in Litchfield with my friends Candy and Steve, visiting CT for a special event. I was so touched that they made the effort to carve out time, and drive some additional distance, to make that happen. The drive to Litchfield was beautiful, and I was reminded, again, that I live in a wonderful place.
- On my birthday my friend Judy and I bundled up for the "Made in Connecticut" expo that featured products made in the state. Not quite a craft fair, there were lots of vendors with soaps and lotions, hot sauces, and flavored olive oils. I came away with a set of "wooly balls" to use in the dryer. They've been great! That night I had dinner with my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew, and enjoyed time with family.
- Another friend named Judy accompanied me to the Big Apple to see Allison Janney in the Broadway revival of Six Degrees of Separation. It was my first trip to NYC since 2005, and except for some changes at Times Square, it seemed like time hadn't passed. Well, there's more of a heavily-armed police presence, but that wasn't a shock.
- I volunteered with the BeFreegle Foundation at a pet adoption event hosted by the CVHAS in early June, and a few days closed out the month of celebration by donating blood. Already a rare type, I also have other valuable stuff in my blood, but it had been so long since donating in CT that I was no longer in the database, and they weren't aware of what I brought to the table. :)
The best spontaneous thing to occur happened at dinner in New Haven, following the trip into New York to see the play. We found a small, family owned and operated Italian wine bar, named Skappo. They were celebrating the upcoming marriage of their daughter two days later, offering a free glass of wine to customers as a measure of sharing their joy. During dinner (which was fabulous) it occurred to me to offer to bless the bride on the occasion of her marriage. I asked the waitress if she thought that might be okay. Her face lit up! Moments later, Mama came to the table, throwing her arms around me and saying, "Thank you! Thank you!" I took that as a good sign. After our meal I sought out the bride, and told her I would like to offer a blessing for her marriage. The look of tender joy on her face was a treasure, and we took each other's hands and I prayed for her and her fiance, and for their marriage. She gave me a hug, and we were both teary with joy. I think this was the highlight of the entire month. Here she is with Cassie:
If you're ever in New Haven, visit Skappo!
So that about covers it! Thanks for singing along with me through this special month of unique joy and fulfillment. It really was the Best. Birthday. Ever.