Hello Summer! The gift of living in a state with four seasons.

Today is the first official day of summer. It always feels anticlimactic. Our weather has been teasing summer for awhile now. The warmer days arrived earlier breaking up the cooler and often much damper days of spring. It always happens slowly. An unexpected day or two where temperatures climb higher than expected. A gently reminder to hang on because warmer days are coming.

We have four seasons in Maine. Some people say five. They count spring twice. The warmer days of early spring when everything reawakens. And, the much maligned mud season. I only count spring once. Maybe because it’s actually my least least favorite season. The mosquitoes dominate these milder months and as the snow retreats it leaves everything brown and anemic until finally a burst of green improves the palette.

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#AtoZChallenge | W is for Warmth and why I can’t give up my chair.

I recently took up meditation, which I wrote about in my previous A to Z Challenge Post: J is for Juggling thoughts and learning to stay in the moment. In addition to the meditation practice, there were mindfulness challenges each week.

For the first week, we worked on being more aware of habits by changing the chair we typically sit in each day. When I went into our weekly work meeting that Monday, I glanced around at the small oval table, where I typically sit facing the entrance door, and paused. I had arrived early, so my options were open. I mixed things up and grabbed a chair opposite where I usually sit, with my back to the door. My coworker noticed and even commented on the fact that I wasn’t in my usual spot. Habit busted.

That night with my husband traveling and girls away at school, I was alone for dinner. After I finished cooking, I started to head into the living room with my plate of food but stopped. Instead, I sat down on one of the bar stools that line our kitchen island. I slowly and deliberately ate my dinner there instead of in front of the television. Habit busted.

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Get cozy, stay warm and binge one of these seven shows this winter.

I love winter. I’ve posted many blogs about winter hiking and embracing the cold weather. Last April for the A to Z Blogging Challenge, my theme was “Winter in Maine“.  I really like winter. That hasn’t changed. I’m still a fan.

But, sometimes when the temperatures drop, I grab the remote and click on the propane fireplace as I flip-up the footrest on my nearby recliner. I settle into the chair with my favorite fuzzy blanket draped over all but my arms and head. Before I get cozy, I make sure that the nearby table has everything I could possibly need for an extended period including remotes, a snack or two and a seltzer, or glass of wine, or both.

Hunkering down and streaming a new show is one of my favorite weekend activities and this winter I succumbed even more easily than usual probably because my youngest left for college so I’m still adjusting to the empty nest. Streaming does fill the time.

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Looking for free things to do? Here’s a monthly breakdown of free events in Maine for 2019.

A few years ago, my family and I did the Living Well Spending Zero challenge from Ruth Soukup. As part of the challenge, we spent minimal money for the entire month. No groceries, no entertainment, no take-out. We allowed ourselves a small amount of cash at the start of the month for minor necessities, and activities that had already been planned, but that was it. We ate through the food in our refrigerator and pantry, learned to ration our seltzer, and went to some free events like the Fork Food Lab grand opening.

Overall, we did a great job, or at least until the last day of the month when our cat came down with a UTI, and we had to do an emergency visit to the vet complete with x-rays, anesthesia, and multiple antibiotics, all of which negated most of our savings from our zero spend month. Still it was a fun, creative experiment and one we are about to embark on again.

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#AtoZChallenge | Z is for Zero Degrees, Staying Warm and Embracing Winter

I went to Iceland in January three years ago. When packing for my trip, I knew I needed to bring warm clothing as we were taking an adventure tour and would be spending most of our time outside exploring. Packing for Iceland wasn’t a problem because the first thing I learned upon arriving is that Maine is colder.

Having the right winter gear is essential if you want to truly embrace winter. You’re not going to have fun if you are cold or wet. So how do I dress for winter? Layers, Layers, Layers. The colder the weather, the more you want add on the layers.

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