Monthly Archives: October 2023

Vote for My Happy Place! 1

Vote for My Happy Place!

One of my happy places is being in the woods, especially if I’m with a dog.

Vote for My Happy Place! 2

Barbour Woods, Fall 2021

There’s a sense of freedom and hope surrounded by all the beauty where I can’t help but feel comfortable and connected to something greater than myself.

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Barbour Woods, December 2021

For most of our time in Norfolk, the Barbour Woods was my go-to spot for being in the woods. I started walking Dodger there in 2017 and then in 2020 added Annie (and occasionally Fergus) to my walks.

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Barbour Woods, June 2020

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Barbour Woods, Winter 2023

The Barbour Woods has 10 different trails, all with their own woodland charms. For example, the Old Carriage Trail has the Kilarney Bridge, the Swamp Trail has vernal pools, and the Beechwood Loop Trail has a view of Haystack Mountain.

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Barbour Woods, October 2022

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Barbour Woods, October 2021

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Barbour Woods, Spring 2022

There are few places in this world where I’m happier than the Barbour Woods.

So it gives me great pleasure to announce that the Barbour Woods is a finalist in the 3rd Annual Readers’ Choice Awards from Rural Intelligence for Best Hiking Trail.

If you don’t mind sharing your name, email address, zip code, and gender with Rural Intelligence, you can vote for the Barbour Woods every day through November 13 by clicking here.

Yes, you can vote every day in each of the categories. No, you don’t have to vote for any other category if you don’t want to.

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I’ve had a lot of professional and personal disappointments these past few months, so I’m throwing myself into campaigning for the Barbour Woods to win. As a board member of the Norfolk Land Trust and Co-chair of their outreach committee, I have access to our social media accounts. I’m posting daily reminders to vote on our Instagram Stories. It’s fun because it gives me an excuse to go through my photos and find my favorites of being in the woods.

I know it’s not much, but when there are so many things out of my control right now, it feels good to have a plan: post every day on social media and remind people to vote.

So please vote for the Barbour Woods!

Even if you’ve never been on a trail there, you can take my word for it that these woods are AWESOME.

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Puppy Power! 11

Puppy Power!

I’ve been waking up every morning to these sweet little faces.

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Although struggling to get out of bed in the morning is one of the effects of narcolepsy I experience on a near-daily basis, I find myself motivated by these two. I’m especially motivated because they’ve been taught to ring a jingle bell hanging on the back door when they want to go out. The last thing I want is Mookie ringing the bell with such vigor that he wakes up Heath.

Mookie is quite expressive with his bell ringing compared to Willow. There’s his “fake news” ring that Heath identified a few days ago where Mookie only wants to get outside so he can turn around on the step and then come right back inside. Then there’s his ring which we describe as “aggressive” where it’s like he’s using the bell as a punching bag. Mookie means business with that ring!

His aggressive ring is usually what I hear first thing in the morning. Even when we all go down the stairs together and I have never once let him down by not opening the door, Mookie still runs over there and jumps on it like a dog on a mission.

So, I get out of bed no matter how tired I am. That’s Puppy Power, my friends.

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Puppy Power is also responsible for a trip Heath and I took to Niwot, CO, this past week. In 2018, a tweet appeared in my feed that showed an adorable doodle puppy announcing him as someone’s new love and that she was still trying to decide on his name.

So I did what any good dog-loving person would do. I responded with a suggestion.

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That’s when Laura and I started to get to know one another. In addition to having a love of dogs, Laura also writes children’s books and she used to live in Chicago. We’ve followed each other on Twitter ever since then and she also follows this blog.

Laura is a rare breed of author in that the first children’s book she ever wrote, Aliana Reaches for the Moon, was acquired by Eifring Publishing and published in 2019. She now has another book coming out in winter 2024 entitled An Accidental Hero: A Mostly True Wombat Story.

When Laura commented on my last blog post about how close Fort Collins is to where she lived, I suggested we meet in person. Laura, in turn, suggested The Wandering Jellyfish children’s bookstore in Niwot, CO.

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We met on Tuesday and had a wonderful time, hugging in person and discussing the ups and downs of children’s publishing.

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Laura is lovely and delightful and my first friend in Colorado. All because of Puppy Power. Is there anything that our love for dogs can’t do?

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For the purposes of this blog post, puppy is not a chronological term, but a state of mind.