Top 10 of 2023!
Once again I thought it would be fun to list what I felt were the top ten moments of my life from 2023!
As always, it wasn’t easy coming up with this list and truth be told, with the exception of maybe the top two or three, any of these could be in any order. I’m sure I’m missing some things as well here and there, but these are the moments that stood out the most to me from the past year. I probably would have added meeting Jackie the House Duck to this list but you can read my previous post about all that. As usual the images I’ve taken during the year helped me to remember and capture some of the moments. You can click on many of the smaller ones to see a better view. And now without further ado, let’s get right to the list!
Number 10: Cold Weekend Getaway to the Cape!
We had an opportunity to spend a couple of days out on the Cape and recharge. Although it was partly cloudy for most of the time, the only really sunny day was extremely windy which it made it feel really cold, so I didn’t go crazy getting photos, but I was pleased with I was able to capture of which a small sampling is here on this post.
We had some great food and hot chocolates and spent a bunch of time just hanging out, relaxing and reading. One weird thing about the place we were staying at is that they had their own photos on the walls with you could purchase. Just seemed a little weird to me. Also we could never figure out how to get the automatic candles to light in the fireplace which would have been really cool, but it was a fun place to crash.
I had some interest in some of the cape photos from this trip so I’ve made them available on the store page. Check it out if you like my work. Ironic, don’t you think?
Number 9: Fourth of July party!
This was the day of the BBQ that I had been hoping for since early in the year! The weather was a bit overcast but that’s alright by me, as long as it didn’t pour on us it would be fine. In fact, maybe it would even keep down the heat of the day, although it was pretty muggy out. At least the plants are all loving this kind of weather – they are growing like gangbusters. As the festivities went on though the sun came out and stayed out. It ended up being a successful outing! I was a master at grilling dogs, burgs, salmon, corn, and veggies. Did a quick fire pit, admired the garden and relaxed in the sun and for dessert….I invited my mom and sister over to partake in the festivities. I think they enjoyed themselves.
Here are the treats we made last night for the days BBQ. Aren’t they cute?! LD can be so creative at times, as she comes up with these ideas or finds out about them and we try to implement them. They are little grills with food on them! It’s actually just Little Bites for the grill, some food coloring to get the grill lines and Mike and Ike candies for the meats and vegetables. The legs are lollipop sticks. Let me tell, these were not that easy to make, but they sure were a huge hit and totally worth it!
Number 8: Bristol Rhode Island Birthday Trip!
One this day we took an afternoon trip down to beautiful Bristol RI and I got to have a nice lunch by the water. We saw some herons and egrets too. I ended up getting a Del’s Lemonade Cucumber Spritz with Vodka and a nice Seafood Linguine. I would recommend this place called the Beach House. I found my dish to be super delicious.
The before heading back we took a detour to stop by Like No Udder down in Providence to get some ice cream and slush goodies.
I also got some cool books, and a neat bamboo cutting board that includes different mats for cutting different types of foods on top of it, which will replace the current cutting board I’ve been using for a long time now.
Number 7: Father’s Day Trip
On this day I was jonesin for a little bit of Kelly’s Roast Beef out in Revere Beach, so LD was kind enough to get us there. I also wore my Carson sweatshirt which was a gift from last year but I wear it only on special occasions because it is so special. It’s actually a hoodie, with the face of Carson on the front and the text “Carson’s Dad” all hand stitched from a photo that LD sent to a woman in the Ukraine who made it. Truly a one of a kind! It took a long time to arrive but I’m amazed it came at all seeing as there is a war going on over there! I enjoyed my roast beef sandwich loaded with cheese and sauce, but I did switch hoodies when it came to eat on the beach because I would not want to get the Carson hoodie damaged in any way! It only comes out now on special rare occasions.
Then we had some friends over for an impromptu BBQ and fire pit night. We ended up just getting takeout from a great Greek food place in town and then did the S’mores thing. It was supposed to happen on Saturday but the weather looked to be crappy so it all got moved up to Friday night and it was wonderful. We did need all of Saturday to basically recuperate from it all though. Being social can take a lot out of a person!
Number 6: Going on a Hayride with Goats!
Going on a hayride with baby goats? And then walking them after? Hell, yes! Thankful that all the rain we were supposed to have pretty much held out for most of the day up in Georgetown, Massachusetts! Good memories were made this day my friends! You can click on any photo below for a bigger look.
Number 5: A Visit to the Catskills!
Oh look, another entry with goats. Seems to be a theme! Back from a lovely Easter weekend in the Catskills of New York. We got to stay in a pretty cool Airbnb , pretty much a log cabin, with a wood stove fireplace and that is attached to an actual goat sanctuary across the way and they had baby goats, which of course we snuggled! We also got to “paint with goats!” Actually we got to do a lot of things there but one of the highlights was probably LD with a sweet baby goat that fell asleep in her arms for two hours. Pretty amazing to experience. Her name is Alora by the way and she is the cutest. Probably my favorite. Click on the pics for full length versions.
Afterwards we took a little drive over to the old Catskill Game Farm, where LD went to visit as a little kid. It’s abandoned now but we visited anyway. We also passed by the largest garden gnome statue in the world (at least up until 2007) on the way.
One cool thing about the place that I forgot to mention earlier is that it was fully stacked but also had this somewhat amazing gameroom in the basement, with Poker, darts, air hockey, basketball, foosball, and even a full length ping pong table. I also spent some time in one of the various hammocks around the property. The place was pretty cool, I would definitely go back, and the drive is not bad at all.
Oh, there wasn’t even supposed to be baby goats there. we lucked out on that one. They got some goats in previously and apparently one male somehow slipped through the process and basically ended up impregnating a bunch of the ladies one night. That goat was super busy. Is that what the kids mean nowadays when they say that goat had rizz? Anyways it worked out because baby goats are the best and it ended up being a great surprise and made the experience even better in my opinion.
Number 4: Prelude in Kennebunkport!
I know, this one wasn’t that long ago! This particular weekend we went up to see the Kennebunkport Maine’s Prelude festivities. We arrived at our Airbnb on Friday night, a place that we stayed a couple of years ago for Prelude. Yes, in Arundel again, the place with the sulfur water! But, for whatever reason, it didn’t seem half as bad this time, plus the place is great otherwise. They even have a microwave now. It is a bit on the minimalist side but it suited our purposes just fine. The bed is very comfy if a bit low to the ground. Very modern type of place/look. Anyways, we didn’t attend the actual tree lighting in the center because that’s bat-shit crazy town, but we met up with our friend “E” who grew up there for a nice evening dinner at a place called Ultramar. I ended up getting this seafood bouillabaisse which was very good. I’d have to say that all the restaurants in the area are pretty top notch. Hung there for a few hours having a good time. Then we went back to our friend’s parents’ place where we played with the dogs, Pippa and Boomer. LD loves Boomer – he’s a very large dog, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. When we got back to our place to crash I decided to be a little Zen, as you can see in the photo.
Saturday was the busiest day for us as we had a lot of things planned and I’m happy to say that we got to do them all and even a bit more! .It started out with us going to check out a donkey that was going to be visiting some of the little craft shops in a corner of the town. We were so excited to see him. His name is Sylvester of all things and his fur was so so soft and he such a gentle creature. Naturally we had to get many pictures with him, which we did. Both singularly and together. Some old lady also decided to get into some of our group shots but she was cropped out of Couse. Sorry lady, No beuno!
Then it was off the to the beach for a little bit because you can’t go to Maine and not have some beach time, plus LD needs beach time. “E” brought her dog and we watched as she played in the sand, chasing balls, and meeting other dogs. The weather was actually pretty nice and there was no rain throughout the day even though that was a possibility, so we lucked out there big time. Couldn’t stay at the beach too long though because we had reservations for a trolley ride!
After that it was to the Seashore Trolley Museum to take a ride along the tracks on an old 1920s rail trolley with our couple-friends (M&M) who came up for the day! The train ride itself wasn’t all that long but it was kind of neat to be on an actual rail trolley from back in the day. What I didn’t realize is that I though since Seashore was in the name, that this ride who go along the sea shore, but alas it just goes through the woods of Maine. Still, it was an experience and we got some great pictures there in the actual museum which hosts a bunch of old train stuff.
After that we all went out to lunch back in the center of town at a place called Old Vines Wine Bar. I didn’t have any wine but we did have chicken meatballs, and I specifically had Ricotta Herbed Ravioli. The baked brie was pretty amazing as well. After that there was a hat parade going on in the center, which we weren’t a part of but got stuck in with anyway. While that was going on, there was a couple of stops in some shops and a coffee/hot chocolate run.
After saying bye to M&M who had only planned to stay for the day we headed back to the Airbnb for a few hours to recuperate before the next round of activities. It’s a good thing we did too because we’d be really dragging and hurting if we didn’t. Age is catching up to us!
It started off by visiting the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust to check out this lighted meditation labyrinth in the woods. We eventually found it, although it was much further in than we had anticipated. But we made it and did the whole follow-the-path-to-enlightenment thing. Took some pictures there but it was pretty dark so they really didn’t come out all that well. You’ll just have to experience for yourself!
Dinner was at THE BURLEIGH, a place we had all dined at before, once again meeting up with our friend. It definitely has an interesting look as the bar area looks like Christmas threw up with it’s over the top decorations. I ended up having a burger there which was great. The fries were pretty great too.
By this point it was approaching 10 pm and most of the crowds had dispersed for the night. So it was a great time to hit the lighted bridge over by the Boathouse. We got some great pictures there of all of us. We also got stuff for Carson at a little pet shop in town that we like to hit up whenever we’re in the area.
Day three was a little more of the same, although less because it would also be the day we’d be heading back. We started out by going to a charity for dogs event at a place called Vinegar Hill Farm where you can win a Christmas tree or a wreath or something of that nature, and get a pic of your pup with Old Saint Nick himself. “E” brought Pippa and her dad brought Boomer, LD’s favorite. But Boomer apparently can’t really be in this setting because he’d be like a bull in a china shop and knock everything and everyone over, even though he’s a love. He just doesn’t know his own body size or strength. In fact, while taking pictures of Boomer outside with LD and Santa, Boomer got too excited and knocked both Santa and LD over. LD actually face planted, which wasn’t good and got some back and blue on her chin, but it could have been worse. Eighty pounds of Boomer is like a Sherman Tank. Don’t worry though, everyone was alright, thank goodness.
Before heading back a went around and grabbed a few scenic pictures of the area, hitting the famous Clam Shack by the river, the Love KPT sign of course, and the truck out in front of Batson’s. We were bummed this year that Batson’s didn’t have the outdoor fish shacks which is part of the reason we went to Old Vines instead. Oh, and just before leaving the state we hit up Yummies for some candy!
Did I forget anything. Most likely, we did so many things, and there were so many people, and there was so many laughs and good times. Prelude has gotten so big now that it’s been so publicized! It’s a pretty special place and we always enjoy our time there.
Oops! I did forget something! Before heading out we went out for brunch at a place called Musette, a little tiny café where the actor Patrick Dempsey (aka McDreamy) likes to hang out. We didn’t see him there that day bit the food was tasty and the vibe was small-town-ish.
Number 3: A Brew-Tea-Ful Day!
Reservations finally came through for a little get together at a fancy tea house to help celebrate our anniversary. The food was great! I ended up going with a white tea called the Bartlett Pear which consists of White tea, pear, apple and peach pieces, pear flavor, nutmeg, cinnamon, white cornflowers, peach flavor. I must say it was quite good, very pleased with my choice. We were seated in the cutest little room, very pink and very Marie Antoinette-ish, for my lack of a better description. It was fun day to celebrate our special day!
Number 2: First Ever Bat Mitzvah
Attending our first ever Bat Mitzvah. Let me tell you, our friends know how to throw a party! From the signature cocktails to all the custom everything! The service was wonderful as well. There was so much I’m having a hard time remembering it all. I know there was a ton of dancing, and some eating, and taking pictures and just whooping it up. It was a fun time. Will most likely do it again in a couple of years when the next kid has his!
Before I get to Number 1, how about some Honorable Mentions?
HM 1: Momma Bunny Pays a Visit!
This happened on a day that was spent cleaning out some of the kitchen cabinets in anticipation of the new work that was going to be done soon. While we were in the process of doing that, LD noticed that a mother rabbit was creating a new nest for babies over on the side deck. Not the greatest place to put one since we come in and out of that door all the time, but momma is going to do what momma wants!
We’ve taken to naming this mother bunny Katherine. I’m not sure why but LD came up with it and we’re going with it. In the end, momma decided not to use this nest (what a disappointment!) must likely we believe to be because a squirrel came by later and dug up around all the work she was doing. Perhaps it spooked her. It was still really interesting to watch the process though, and we’ve been really lucky with rabbits birthing their kids in out flowerpots many times now in the last couple of years!
HM #2: Biking the new GLX Line!
On this particular day I needed to run to Somerville and while I was there, I was figuring, since it was a rather cool day out, that I’d go and do a quick bike ride down the GLX and get some exercise in. So that’s one of the things that happened
I must say that they did a really nice job with this path. I mean, it took them long enough to build it, but the wait was worth it, I would say. It’s a straight shot into Boston so it’s very convenient. Plus the scenery along the way isn’t too bad either. It ends basically just before going under the Zakim bridge where it ties in to other bike/pedestrian routes there, over that park by North Point.
HM #3: Round Hill Beach Excursions!
Can you correctly identify these four creatures? Three birds and some sort of sea creature apparently with it’s arms up out of the water.
We had so much fun on this day, we did this a couple of times. The waves were better and we basically ended up staying there until closing, Once again, thanks to LD’s friend for allowing us to use her resident pass so we could access this private beach. For lunch we munched on a Jersey Mike’s but one thing I learned is you have to eat there kind of with your food hidden, because the gulls are pretty aggressive. In fact before I knew this I was divebombed by one of them trying to get the sandwich out of my hand! It basically crashed into my head, and it kind of hurt a little, I was more surprised than anything I suppose, but it ended up empty handed as I was able to hold on to my sandwich. I also find that I like swimming at beaches with boats in the background.
HM #4: The Kitchen Renovation!
This vid was taken when it was about 98 percent done! It’s all done now. Bought a bunch of new stuff to go with the new décor, etc. It’s been a little over a month of hard work but the results are paying off now! Everyone who sees it, loves the transformation. The backsplash is the real star. LD spent a very long time on all the details and it shows! This is where I prep and cook a lot of our meals now!
And Now on to The Number One Top Moment, actually Moments,
Drum Roll Please
It was the Summer Cape Trip This Year! But Specifically One Certain Day During
Did you ever have a day where you wish it would never end and you wished it would just last forever. That’s what this day was for me this year.
This whole week was pretty much amazing, but one day in particular really stood out. One of LD’s former colleagues also came down for a couple of days and happened to be there during this stint. The visit to Harding’s beach in Chatham on this particular day was incredible and one that I’ll remember forever. We swam and swam. The water was warm, warmer than it’s ever been it seemed, like really warm, almost crazy warm, the waves were high which made riding them and splashing or jumping over them as they came in quite fun, and I was having a blast. I think we all ended up staying there from like 1:30 to 6:30. It was just the most perfect day.
And of Course by the end of the day you have to check out the sunsets.
Rock Harbor never disappoints and I got what I consider to be a great shot and one that caps off this year for me personally. I decided to walk further down along the marshy area then I have in the past. I covered myself up appropriately so that I wouldn’t get eaten by any bugs too badly and that was a smart move by me. This isn’t my first rodeo! What’s really cool about this pic is how the sun’s reflection kind of forms the shape of a heart! The universe was telling me something that day.
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”—Eckhart Tolle
Well, that’s the wrap. I also could have added the Winter Lights Outing, or the many visits to the sanctuary, the million little trips and jaunts we do, the various other hangouts with friends and family, the snuggles with Carson (that could be #1!) but I had to draw the line somewhere. Just keep following me and you will see all the craziness. It’s not all party and happiness all the time, there were some scary and sad parts, a couple of funerals to go to and the like, but I am blessed and extremely lucky that a lot of it is happiness. This post is one way for me to reflect on things and a chance for me to practice some gratitude. Growing up from the circumstances that I grew up in, I know how lucky I am but there was always love and that helped me and continues to ground me. Sooooo….
Happy New Year Everyone, let’s hope the new year is filled with more happiness and love and good stuff for you all! If you’d like to look back further into our adventures here’s the link to my top ten moments of 2022!