Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Wedding Wednesday: My Nautical Bridal Shower

My bridal party, mother, and future mother-in-law threw me the most incredible bridal shower ever on September 16 at the Peekskill Brewery. I think this photo appropriately captures all the joy I felt that day:

They decided to host the shower at the brewery one of my favorite spots in Westchester, because it's delicious and also close to the train for everyone who was coming up from New York. When I walked in, I was greeted with beautiful nautical decorations, and told to wear this silly apron while I greeted everyone:

Which didn't last too long, as I took it off as soon as someone asked to take my photo. Ha! Little did I know, it was for a game later on, so I made things a bit more challenging for all the guests, who had to try to remember what was on the apron. I will say my only regret from the shower is that I completely forgot to ask for a photo with my bridal party, and with my mother and Sue. I'm so used to being the one with a camera that I completely forgot to ask for my own photos!

After greeting everyone and having a beer, we all sat down to a delicious lunch. I had the mac and cheese, which I am, frankly, still thinking about two weeks later!

As lunch was winding down, it was time for me to open the presents! I was absolutely stunned by how incredibly thoughtful and generous all of my friends and family were as far as getting us gifts to start this next chapter in our life together and help our new house feel like a home. One of my cousins gave me seeds from her grandfather's pear tree, which she told me was grown from seeds given to him as gift from our shared great-grandparents on his wedding day. My mother has been telling me we need to plant a tree on our property for this first year that we live there and get married, and so the pear seeds were truly one of the most thoughtful gifts I've ever received.

And of course there were so many other wonderful gifts as well: the softest sheets and towels you can imagine, cookbooks from my favorite chef-author, champagne and Mr. and Mrs. flutes, and an incredible set of high-end copper pots and pans from all the bridesmaids. Plus, every guest contributed a recipe to a recipe box, including some that reminded me so fully of my childhood I almost cried when I read through them a few days ago.

I will say that opening the gifts in front of a large group of people did feel a little awkward. I was never sure how to react or how much to say about each one, because I was so overwhelmed with gratitude and love for everyone there. And, of course I know that opening the gifts is often a little boring for the people watching, so I was trying to keep things moving fast at the same time. But, other than feeling a bit strange for about 20 minutes, everything about the shower was absolutely perfect and filled me with such joy.

The shower also felt like really good practice for the wedding, because it went so fast and I was left, of course, feeling like I just wanted to sit with everyone and chat with hours. I worked my way around each table and unfortunately didn't make it to the last one before everyone started to pack up and head out (sorry, Liz, Sue, and Roseanne!), so that was a reminder to try and make a better effort at the wedding and the events before and afterward.

Dessert was a delicious cannoli cake from Homestyle Bakery, decorated with the sweetest little nautical saying. A perfectly sweet ending to a perfect bridal shower!

Thank you so much, Shelby, Jill, Sarah, Molly, Mom, and Sue. You made me feel like a princess the whole day and I so appreciate all of the incredible time, effort, and creativity you put into giving me this incredible party. I love you all!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Autumn 2017

I can hardly believe we moved to Vermont a year ago, and I'm now looking at a second autumn in New England. This year has been one of great personal joys, but it hasn't been without its struggles. Autumn, of course, is always a bit sad, the middle age of the year, but it also often brings me a renewed sense of possibility and feels like a fresh start with all those sharp pencils and blank notebooks.

This fall, I'm devoting myself to the wedding of course, and to work as always, but also to reading and walking. I've been trying to do a bit of both each day, to center myself and to make sure I continue to squeeze as much out of every day as possible.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Writer Wednesday: Marianne Love

Marianne Love loves to preserve meaningful moments or images through the written word or through a camera lens. This Sandpoint author, freelance writer and retired teacher happily enjoys her passion for writing and photography as a blogger. For twelve years, and on a daily basis, she has published “slightdetour.blogspot” with its overall theme “Mutterings of a Country Hick.” Love, a Sandpoint native and lover of rural living, focuses on her slice-of-life observations as a writer and photographer living on a beautiful 20-acre Selle Valley farm, which she calls the “Lovestead.” Almost always accentuating the positive, she introduces readers and viewers to a cast of thousands, including farm pets, beloved family members, neighbors, friends, former students and colleagues. She carries her camera to local events, on walks around the farm, on road trips, and even on overseas visits. This year the Love family traveled to magical Ireland where rural, idyllic beauty is boundless. This exhibit features some samples from that trip. Enjoy. For more information about Love’s creative work, you can visit her Facebook wall under her name (the Marianne Love on an Appaloosa horse) or her blog at

Marianne Love

Who are you?​ I am a 69-year-old retired English and journalism teacher and author from Sandpoint, Idaho. My husband Bill of 42-plus years is a retired forester who never really retires. Our son William E. Love III teaches journalism and advises the high school newspaper in Sandpoint (same one I served on in high school and advised when he was going through high school). He also coaches girls varsity basketball. His wife Debbie is the director of our local food bank. Our daughter Annie travels the world on her own nickel and her company's nickel. The company in Seattle owns and manages the website. We live on a 20-acre farm north of Sandpoint where we have two horses, three dogs and one fat cat named Festus. ​

Where can you be found online? ​You can find me on Facebook under my name, Marianne Love. I'm the one sitting on a pretty Appaloosa horse, or you can find me every day, seven days a week at Let the photos do the talking. If you want to take a virtual trip to drop-dead gorgeous North Idaho, just visit my blog and scroll through the posts. ​​

What inspired you to start blogging? When did it happen?​ My brother Jim is the guilty party. He is a cartoonist (works professionally as an architect). Back in 2004, he brought a booklet of his cartoons. He wanted to know how to market them. I came up with the crazy idea of starting a blog or "blob," as most non-bloggers called them back then. I thought that I could write a few pieces dealing with my "slice-of-life," humorous adventures, and he could feature his cartoons. Then, I figured eventually I would drop off and he could run the "Slight Detour" show from there. Well, it turned out exactly the opposite. I have missed maybe a week's total of days in posting ever since December, 2004. Some of those early entries were experiments which left a lot to be desired. Eventually, however, as a lifelong local with knowledge of a lot of history of our area, I found my voice, and readers found me. So, now, it's hard to quit. My friend Helen (who also edits all the glitches after the post is published and lets me know), checks every morning, and if the blog is not up by 8:05, she's either calling or emailing, "Is something wrong out there?" So, Helen keeps me on task. In addition, as a teacher to about 4,500 students, I have found that many of them come to the blog to get a touch of home. Their enthusiastic appreciation also keeps me going. ​​

Why do you write?​ I like to tell stories and I like to tell the good stories about people and situations that I love or admire. Writing gives me that opportunity. ​​

Your writing inspires me. Who inspires you?​ As far as well-known writers, I'd say my favorite author is Laura Hillenbrand, and my favorite columnist is Kathleen Parker. I also enjoy the writings of Garrison Keillor and Ivan Doig. A couple of local writers inspire me too. Finally, my students and my own children inspire me because of how they use their writing skills, either in teaching or in their respective careers. ​​

In keeping with the admittedly loose travel theme of Not Intent On Arriving, if you could have an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go? What is your favorite place on earth?​ I would return to New Zealand and/or to Ireland in a flash. Both are charming, quaint and beautiful, as are their people. Both countries also offer a step back in time, and as a lover of the past, I like that a lot. Hard to decide which of the two is my favorite. I love them both. ​​

Anything else you'd like us to know?​ I'd just like you to know that I love learning about people and about different places in the country or on earth. Blogging, journalism and my books have enhanced the opportunity to keep learning, keep meeting and to keep observing. ​

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Wedding Wednesday - Engagement Photos

We got our engagement photos and they're more beautiful than I could ever have imagined. I was having such a cranky day that day (we'd had a loooong weekend of traveling, visiting family, and working on the house), but our incredible photographer, Amanda Summerlin, was able to get us laughing and help us look our best.

When I shared these on Facebook, I mentioned that she "made" us look incredible, and she responded, "You should know that I didn't 'make' you look any way. All I do is show up and figure out how to show you how the people who love you see you. And it was easy, because you're amazing and smart and fascinating and beautiful." Honestly, what could I even say? I'm so thrilled she'll be capturing our wedding this October.

You can see the whole set right here on Amanda's website, and if you're looking for a photographer, I can't recommend her more strongly!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Business in Boston

After our trip to the Connecticut shore, I hitched a ride back to Boston with Rob and Dave so I could attend EduWeb 2017.

The conference was fantastic, and I really learned a ton of different things. I even got to practice some sketch noting! The conference had five different tracks and each had really fascinating panels. The highlight, for me, was a keynote on “Saving Social” by Nikki Sunstrum at UMichigan. I’ve admired their social media for a while now, but she’s a total powerhouse and it was so awesome to get to know her work a little more fully. You can follow her at @nikkisunstrum if you don’t already. She spoke a lot about how social media should be more innovative at colleges than anywhere else, because we have such access to brilliant people and ideas, and how we need to really add value—and not just noise—to our followers’ feeds/lives. She showed some examples from UMich, like their active shooter snap story and their IG campaign about sexual assault. It was so thought-provoking and really inspiring to see the real work that is coming out of there, in addition to the more standard social media fare. She talked for about 45 minutes and it felt like maybe 5 had passed.

I didn't take many photos, since I was at the conference for most of the time, but I did manage to fit in a few meals with Lianne, Emily, and Lauren, which was awesome. I also met some great new colleagues, and caught up with a bunch of my NYU folks.

I also got to explore a little bit of Cambridge and the Copley Square area, and it made me want to head back to Boston again soon!