Entries Tagged as 'By Water'


Tuesday, June 16, 2015






























An alternate title for this post could be:  sea lions and whales and puffins, oh my.

We arrived in Seward, snacked on halibut tacos then boarded the Nunatak for a day cruise through the Kenai Fjords.  The weather was cool and overcast, but the rain held off – apparently a rarity here.  We pull out of the harbor and immediately see a pair of otters playing off the port side of the boat.  We spend the afternoon cruising around the bay.  There are misty whale spouts on the horizon and there are Dall sheep scaling the cliffs that drop into the bay.  Seals nap at the water’s edge; sea lions bellow then flop into the water from their perch on the rocks.  There are spinner porpoises playing in the wake of the boat.  A veritable artic safari unfolds before us in Resurrection Bay.

Glaciers frame in the bay to the west, mountains to the east and the ocean to the south.  If one were to construct a set for the play “Alaska,” I think this panorama would do nicely.

We pull into the shore for an all you can eat salmon lunch, then board the boat and continue exploring the Fjords.  The air is cold and we are bundled standing, watching, drinking in the land and seascape.  I notice that the captain is only wearing a short sleeve t-shirt.  He points out a bald eagle in a treetop, then explains the difference between the two species of puffins swimming beside the boat.

We explore nooks and crannies around the fjords.  There are uninhabited islands and we look for humpback whales.  The captain turns off the boat engine and we listen for their breathy exhalation.  All is quiet.  We scan the horizon waiting for the next appearance.  The whales surface in due course, on their own time.  Not necessarily in the places we were looking, but magnificently, nonetheless.  We are watchful, expectant, present. Quite a lovely posture, come to think of it.



Tuesday, May 26, 2015







There may be no more touristy activity, but when someone hands you a pair of tickets for the bateaux mouches, you board the boat — preferably at sunset.

Your husband announces that he has tickets and you sort of roll your eyes and then inquire somewhat incredulously as to whether he is really serious because those boats are packed with tourists, so cliché and really sort of lame.  But, we are beach kids through and through and our coastal upbringing has taught us that when you receive an invitation for a boat ride, you accept.  So we dutifully board the boat, wearing sunglasses and sort of looking at the ground as all the cool Parisian teenagers loitering in the park by the dock are smoking cigarettes and looking at us.  You can practically hear them sneering.  You sit down and then are surrounded by a group of French high school students that look equally as embarrassed to be on board.  The boat sputters to a start and our little trip down the river begins.  The high schoolers start holding hands and you notice the girls perfectly messy French hair and how they are all smack dab in the middle of evolving into French Women and you take note of how much less self-possessed you were at 16.  Then you look at your husband and think about what he was like at 16 – boisterous, athletic, cool – and think about how funny it is that it is he who you are riding next to on this (admittedly very pleasant) tourist trap in Paris.  Then you settle in, realizing that you are now just part of the mass of tourists on board and out of the direct line of sight of the elegant Parisian Women and you watch as the sun falls and the light changes and the carousel goes around and around.  You float down the river past the places you visited in the preceding days – you notice the Musee D’Orsay and Notre Dame – and you watch the people on the bank picnicking and sipping wine and laughing.  Then you think of all the famous people who have picnicked on those banks and sipped wine and laughed and think to yourself how very lucky you are to have come through this city with your husband who was once the 16 year old in your PE class.  Evening arrives and the boat finds its way back to the dock.  You disembark and notice that the sneering teenagers in the park have disappeared and you find your way to a café nearby where you too can sit by the river and sip wine and laugh while watching those oh so touristy bateaux mooches pass by.


Monday, February 23, 2015






I wrote this not long after our trip to Sedona when I was still feeling wrapped up in the same head space.  I was on the brink of something new professionally, but at the same time walking through the challenges that so often accompany life’s transitions.  This particular weekend  in Santa Monica was important in deciding where one thing would end and another would begin.   Now, from the other side, the weekend reminds me of the ways that running serves and accompanies us as we navigate change and uncertainty.

Recently, I have not wanted to run.  Last week the winds finally changed and I found myself lacing up, eager to get out the hotel door.  I landed at LAX on Saturday afternoon, greeted by sunshine and temperatures in the low 80s.  I dropped my bags at the hotel, enjoyed lunch on the veranda and then went out to run a few miles.

The next few days were really, really tough. That ever volatile combination of stress and frustration and self-imposed pressure combusted on Monday afternoon leaving me feeling at once shaky in the aftermath of a confrontational conversation and relieved for having said what needed to said.

With Tuesday morning came an important professional commitment.  I woke up early to prepare and was greeted by entirely too much of the emotion of the previous day.  As if reaching out to an old friend, I grabbed my running shoes and ran out the door.  I ran to Venice Beach, then I ran back to the Santa Monica pier and walked onto the beach.

The run was so hard — perfectly hard, I suppose.  My breath was heavy, so were my legs and so were my thoughts.  Disproportionate in difficulty to distance or level of exertion, the run perfectly mirrored the state of my heart and head – discombobulated, trying to find my breath, on the brink of exhaustion.

I stood at the shoreline for a few minutes, watching the waves.  I took in a big inhale of the salty air and thought about the day ahead.  I could see my hotel in the distance; it looked small.  I began to catch my breath and with it came the smallest sliver of perspective about the day ahead.

As I walked back up the beach to the boardwalk, I realized I wasn’t thinking about yesterday anymore.  Somewhere in the miles behind me, my mind’s vice grip on yesterday’s events had loosened and I’d let them go.

I turned back towards the hotel; internally I turned and faced the day ahead.  I consciously decided to replace my stress with hopeful expectation, then I ran back to the hotel and into a day much better than I could have imagined.

As for running, it feels so good to be back.  Seems I had almost forgotten about the power of our sport – the ability to move oneself from one point to another, the ability to create space and adjust one’s outlook.  Space to be and to think, forward movement and perspective – here’s to lacing up and letting go.


Friday, February 13, 2015









There is no better way to cap off a weekend than a bike ride — particularly if it is sunny and 70 degrees on a Sunday afternoon in February.  Nothing but good vibes and the hope that spring really may be just around the corner…


Monday, December 8, 2014













A few more photos from travels in northeast Madagascar.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

shorebreak waves in hawaii

A few summers ago there was a tropical storm off the coast of Florida that churned up the surf here at home.  On a perfect weekend afternoon our coast was just starting feel the storm’s reverberations and big, rolling waves were breaking on the shore.  I was at the beach with a group of friends, all of us born and raised in this coastal town.  We are good swimmers and so we waded in through the breakers and churned up whitewater – the kind that nearly holds you in place with the repeated force of incoming waves.  Past the breakers, we proceeded to play in the surf for the next several hours.  Diving through, floating over and riding in the waves.  The waves were humongous and we laughed at each other as we were barreled over and tossed around.  We left the beach that day waterlogged with swimsuits full of sand, tangled hair and a sense of buoyancy.

We closed on a house while I was in Madagascar.  A little hunter green beach bungalow that was built in 1955.  We are ecstatic.  In our ecstasy, we are able to look past the flaws of our new home:  the lack of air conditioning, the pet stained floors, the kitchen that hasn’t been updated since the 50s.  To put it gently, the house needs an immense amount of work.  So we’ve been spending our every waking hour outside of nine to five fixing it up.

This weekend my dad and I rented a couple of sanders to refinish the floors.  I knew going in that this wouldn’t be a diy for the faint of heart, but I sort of figured “what the heck how hard can it be?”.  (The answer, of course, is quite hard.  Quite hard, but doable.)  I googled how-to’s and read a few blogs and then off we went to Home Depot.

Tomorrow morning at 6:00am we board a plane for New York City.  A little (26.2 mile) run through the five boroughs is on the agenda.  My last long run was 17 miles the morning I flew to Madagascar…on September 8th.

It sort of struck me yesterday, as I was sitting at my desk, abs sore from ten hours spent wrangling an industrial floor sander:  life is a bit full right now.  Full, but doable.

We undertook a massive home reno with a little budget and crazy travel schedules, but I knew we could do it.  I signed up for a marathon because I knew I could do it.  Sure, I’m in over my head, but I waded into the water because I know I can swim.  Every now and then we dive in knowing we are going to get barreled.  But, hey, that’s half the fun, right?

See you on the other side of 26.2 and the home renovation.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

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Lemur spotting was at the top of my to do list in Madagascar.  One afternoon we drove to Parc Ivoloina to try our luck.  Parc Ivoloina is part zoo, part lemur natural habitat.  The Parc houses a dozen lemur species, most of which are endangered.  Species include black and white ruffed lemurs, white-fronted brown lemurs, crowned lemurs, red-bellied lemurs, grey gentle lemurs, bamboo lemurs, brown lemurs, and blue-eyed black lemurs.  A path curves along the lakeside and lemurs ruffle through the tree branches above.  These guys are incredibly quick with feline agility — kind of like a cat crossed with a flying squirrel.  We lucked out and happened upon feeding time which afforded us the perfect photo opp and the chance to see a few lemurs up close.  All in all, a great afternoon.


[Parc Ivoloina is located about 30 minutes from Tamatave on the east coast of Madagascar.  The parc is open every day from 9am-5pm.  The price of admission for foreign visitors is about $8 and guides are available for an additional $4.]


Friday, August 29, 2014

homemade peace ice cream


Running last night it hit me:  I’ve been home for almost two months (save a quick trip to Boston, meetings in DC and a weekend at the beach in North Carolina).  After traveling for the entire month of June, being stateside this has been both unexpected and welcome.

There is something magic about being seaside in the summer – maybe it’s simply the proximity to water.  Our favorite trail ends at the bay – the ideal place to recover.  After work we hop on our beach cruisers and bike to the bay – the perfect punctuation between the office and a summer evening.  On Friday nights we order takeout (or we did until our long runs got really long, now we have pasta) and head to the beach to eat and watch the sunset.

I’ve got 16 miles on tap tomorrow morning.  Afterwards, I fully intend on taking advantage of everything a seaside summer has to offer – there are plans to kayak, steam clams, make ice cream and relax at the beach.  Wishing you a long weekend full of the your favorite summertime things.


Monday, August 25, 2014

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We’ve enjoyed an uncharacteristically cool summer here on the east coast.  With a drop back week and a high of only 81 degrees, I slept in on Saturday morning and ran my eight miles late in the day.  Sunday was lazy and playful – the perfect way to usher out summer.  Ryan and I spent time at the bay catching hermit crabs and then had dinner at his parents’ house where I tested out their new tree swing [for the grandkids] while the fish was on the grill.  I was reminded on George Sheehan’s words:


“To play or not to play? That is the real question…You can have peace without the world, if you opt for death, or the world without peace if you decide for doing and having and achieving. Only in play can you have both. In play you realize simultaneously the supreme importance and the utter insignificance of what you are doing. You accept the paradox of pursuing what is at once essential and inconsequential…Play is where life lives, where the game is the game. At its borders, we slip into heresy, become serious, lose our sense of humor, fail to see the incongruities of everything we hold to be important. Right and wrong become problematical. Money, power, position become ends. The game becomes winning. And we lose the good life and the good things that play provides.”


Wishing you a week full of play.


[ PS:  If you haven’t read Running & Being, I highly recommend it. ]


Wednesday, August 20, 2014











Growing up we would spend the summers in Rhode Island.  Some of my most vivid memories are of clamming with my dad – walking through tall reeds and wet muddy sand to get to a favorite clamming spot.  My dad would rake up the clams and then I would reach down in the murky churned up water, barely keeping my head above water, to retrieve them.  He always refused to pay for a permit to clam even though I’m pretty sure it would’ve only cost like $7.  Being under the age of 14 I wasn’t required to have a permit and, as such, I was the designated clam digger.  I’m not sure what age I was when these outings began, but I think I was pretty little.  We’d bring our haul home then experiment with clam chowder recipes – my favorite soup to this day.

On Father’s Day I wanted to recreate a version of that experience.  I searched around on the internet and found a company called Southeast Expeditions that leads kayak clamming tours on the Eastern Shore.  We woke up early, met our guide, hopped in our boats and paddled out to a sandbar.  We walked around the sandbar digging our toes in the muddy sand in search of bivalves.  Within a few minutes I found one, then another and another.  Our pile mounted and we left with nearly 50 pounds of clams!  These were big quahog clams, not the little cherrystone steamer clams.  We got home and tried our hand at fritters and then made chowder.

Lucky for my dad, there is no permit required for clamming in the state of Virginia and so he was happy to do all his own clam digging.  Poetic justice and a happy Father’s Day, indeed.


[ Our experience with Southeast Expeditions was fantastic.  Our guide was wonderful and even sent a handwritten post card the following week.  I really cannot say enough good things about the company (even though I wasn’t paid or perked to do so). ]

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