Peak Life Experiences

Age one to twelve:

  • saw a water spout form over Little Glen Lake; took cover under my bed
  • climbed the Sleeping Bear Dunes and ran back down without falling
  • rode my first roller coaster (Space Mountain at Disney World) with my dad
  • sold tickets to a haunted house that I helped create in a neighbor’s garage
  • taught myself to do a back flip off the monkey bars, without getting hurt
  • was a writer for my elementary school newspaper
  • won a blue ribbon and a first place trophy at a basketball free throw contest
  • was co-captain of my recess soccer team
  • rode an elephant
  • won the Presidential Physical Fitness Award four years in a row
  • ran the fastest 30 yard dash in my entire fourth grade class
  • won an honorable mention ribbon for my sixth grade science fair project (I should have placed higher since I actually designed and conducted my own experiment while other kids had their parents do the whole thing for them, but whatever.)
  • rode the Blue Streak at Cedar Point; held on tight & screamed
  • loved a parakeet with all my heart

My teen years:

  • rode the Corkscrew at Cedar Point; held on tight & screamed
  • rode the Gemini at Cedar Point; held on tight & screamed loudly
  • rode the Gemini again, this time from front row seat; let go & screamed louder
  • rode the Mean Streak at Cedar Point; let go & screamed until I was hoarse
  • learned to waterski and loved it
  • slept in the parking lot of Showerman’s party store, with my older sister and her friends, to buy tickets to Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A. concert
  • learned to drive an automatic

Twenties:

  • went white water rafting in West Virginia with my sister
  • camped in a tent, in the rain; got wet
  • went to Hawaii with my sister
  • learned to do a 360° turn on a knee board, without getting hurt
  • mastered a stick shift in five minutes flat
  • learned to scuba dive & earned PADI certification
  • worked my way through school, in a variety of jobs, to pay for my own education
  • helped rescue & rehabilitate one crow, one rabbit & one very large snapping turtle
  • earned a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Michigan
  • earned a secondary teaching certificate from the University of Michigan
  • adopted a cat & loved her with all my heart
  • designed and planted my own perennial cottage garden
  • won “best perennial garden” in a city-wide contest
  • was honored to be chosen as favorite teacher
  • explored The Baths at Virgin Gorda
  • worked up the courage to make a life changing move
  • rented a cottage “up north” with my sister & two nephews
  • earned a master’s degree from Eastern Michigan University while working full time
  • worked up the courage to make a life changing phone call
  • went on a road trip with my best friend
  • toured the White House
  • visited the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
  • read the actual Declaration of Independence on display at the National Archives
  • was present for the birth of my nephew John!

Thirties:

  • sea kayaked in Monterey Bay – saw sea otters, sea lions and harbor seals
  • went wine tasting in Napa with my best friend
  • married my best friend
  • purchased and restored a turn-of-the-century American Foursquare in Evanston
  • honeymooned in Paris & Reims
  • discovering Le Florimond, around the corner from our hotel in the 7th Arr.
  • rode a bicycle around Mackinac Island with my nephews, dad and husband
  • baked thousands of homemade Christmas cookies and made many gallons on homemade Irish cream for family and friends, with my sister and nephews, during our yearly (2001 – 2006) three-day baking marathon!  Even wrote a poem about it.
  • returned to Paris & Le Florimond and fell in love all over again
  • saw Stones In His Pockets at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London
  • spontaneously bought tickets & rode in a Ford Tri-Motor with my dad
  • watched the sunset over Florence from Fiesole
  • drove from Florence to Rome, via the back roads of Tuscany
  • woke up to a rooster’s cock-a-doodle-doo in Tuscany
  • visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam
  • feasted on warm tortilla de patatas every morning for breakfast in Segovia
  • smelled orange blossoms for the first time in Seville
  • attended Queen Elizabeth’s birthday Trooping the Colour in London
  • learned to surf in Hawaii
  • woke up extra early to watch the sunrise on the Charles Bridge in Prague
  • enjoyed a concert in Dvorak Hall of the famed Rudolfinum in Prague
  • celebrated our 5th anniversary in the heavenly Celestial Suite of Hacienda San Angel
  • hardly left our villa or private terrace; never knew chilaquiles could taste so good
  • visited Hong Kong and watched the evening light show from a traditional junk
  • practiced tai-chi every morning before breakfast in the Sha-Tin park & met an incredible group of women – oh how I miss them!
  • designed several silk-lined made-to-measure tailored garments in Hong Kong
  • hiked an isolated section of the Great Wall at sunrise

  • ate sushi for breakfast at the Tsukiji Market
  • had one of my silver gelatin prints shown in an art gallery
  • returned to Paris & Le Florimond … and fell in love yet again
  • ate Portugese custard tarts in Hong Kong and Lisbon
  • rescued, socialized, fell in love with and adopted two tiny kittens

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  • successfully negotiated a six figure deal
  • took my youngest nephew on his first roller coaster in Florida!

Forties:

  • purchased and restored a 1964 Eichler designed by John Brooks Boyd, A.I.A.
  • watched in stunned silence as a charm of hummingbirds swooped right past me to visit our front courtyard agapanthus!
  • took my sister & two nephews to Hawaii – snorkeled, surfed and had a blast!
  • overcame my fear and walked across the Golden Gate Bridge
  • bought a handmade rug in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar and carried it home
  • took our nephew Robert to Hawaii – surfed, swam & had a blast!
  • helped finance an independent film
  • planned & enjoyed a girls-only trip to Italy with my sister …
  • fell in love with Memmo’s spaghetti all’Amatriciana
  • walked the beaches of Anzio with my sister, while thinking of our much loved dad
  • took our nephew DJ to Rome & Orvieto; watched him fall in love with la dolce vita
  • visited Turkey and met some extraordinary people
  • celebrated Thanksgiving & the feast of San Salute in Venice
  • ate ourselves silly, once again, in Rome
  • transformed our yard into a drought tolerant, wildlife friendly, native landscape
  • hosted our youngest nephew Michael for a whole week over Spring Break
  • revisited Istanbul & came home with two more handmade rugs
  • visited Ljubljana & came home inspired!
  • started this blog (jeez, I hate that word)
  • replaced our backyard lawn with edibles and native plants (at two different houses!)
  • took a backyard chicken-keeping class; came home with four tiny chicks!
  • successfully hand raised and nurtured all four of those three-day-old chicks
  • planted my most successful vegetable garden to date!
  • returned to Venice, once again in the winter, and fell in love all over again
  • savored local razor clams & cuttlefish cooked over the wood fire at Da Romano in Burano, and was honored to be invited into the kitchen to meet “mama” while watching the chef prepare our secondi, their famed goh risotto
  • stumbled upon a Christmas market and musical advent calendar in Milan
  • successfully negotiated a seven figure deal
  • introduced our nephew Michael to Paris & London; delighted in his quick wit & zest for life (not to mention, his new-found love for foie gras & flying business class)
  • spontaneously booked flights to London, Malta & Paris on New Year’s Eve!
  • finally visited Malta & Gozo, fell in love with Valletta & Xaghra, didn’t want to leave
  • fell in love with Maltese ftira, Twistees & Kinnie
  • enjoyed spectacular fireworks over Valletta’s Grand Harbor from our private balcony
  • celebrated mass at St. John’s Co-Cathedral
  • explored every street in Valletta, walking in Grandpa Camilleri’s footsteps
  • watched the sunset over the salt-pans with new friends from France
  • savored a homemade Gozitan feast of pastizzi, gbejniet, bigilla, hobz biz-zest, fresh strawberries and local wine on our private terrace overlooking terraced gardens, the dome of Xaghra’s cathedral and beautiful Marsalforn Bay
  • hiked from our villa to the red sand beach at Ramla Bay, via the secret path
  • woke up to the Gozitan alarm clock (roosters crowing) to watch the sunrise
  • met our best friends, K & F, in Paris and joyfully celebrated news that they would soon be grandparents!
  • introduced K & F to Le Florimond, our favorite Parisian restaurant (17 years after our first visit) and were once again warmly welcomed by Laurent & Pascal (none of us will ever forget the chou farci or nougat glacé)!
  • visited Fontainebleau and had the Château and park all to ourselves
  • invited to dinner at the home of friends in Montreuil,  just outside Paris
  • had the pleasure of choosing a dozen macarons & a Tarte Infiniment Vanilla from Pierre Hermé to take as a gift & seeing the look of pure delight on our friend’s faces
  • was an honored guest at the Association Murs à Pêches 2016 Spring festival, celebrating the historic walled gardens & famed espalier fruit trees of Montreuil
  • had so much fun, we barely caught the last train back to our hotel in Paris
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