A Little Red Wagon ~

I was a deprived child.  I did not have a little red wagon of my own.  I did, however, have shiny metal roller skates with a key.

So I guess that makes up for it.

I don’t know if the two grown-up kids in this video were wagon deprived in their youth or not, but to me they are two shining examples that there is still a little “kid” in each of us no matter how grey hair our hair or how many wrinkles crease our cheeks.

Whatever you do today, let the child in you come out to play.  Because it really is the simple things in life that bring us joy.

Cheers!

Nancy

 

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The Big Float ~

It rains in Portland. It rains a lot!  So when summer rolls around and the sun finally shines its happy light on us, everyone heads for the great outdoors and some fun in the sun – Portland style.  Which is how hubs and I ended up at The Big Float.

Wandering the streets of downtown Portland

Wandering the streets of downtown Portland

This year more than 2,500 souls dragged their pale white bodies, their favorite flotation devices, kids, friends, grandma and in some cases, even their dogs through the streets of Southwest Portland making their way to Tom McCall Waterfront Park to pay the $6 fee that allowed them to participate in one of Portland’s most unique summer events. Continue reading

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30 thoughts on “The Big Float ~

    • Ha Char! Dawn said Portland was copying Pt Townsend. You guys have way more fun but I love sharing some of the great things that go on around here. I hope it inspires others to get out wherever they live because there is always fun happening if you look for it – as you already know.

  1. Not sure anyone would want to put their tush in the water on either of the Philadelphia rivers (hence, the skulling tradition), but this looks like fun!

    • Actually, Suzanne, this why the whole event was started. A group is promoting river clean-up and access wanted to show the river was safe and fun (now that so much work has been done to restore it) so they created the event 4 years ago. It brings people to the river and a lot of awareness to keeping the local waters clean. All good stuff and lots of fun!

    • It was pure wacky entertainment Neva. I took so many photos I had to restrain myself to just post a few on the blog.

    • It definitely was fun. Lots of dads + kids on all kinds of floating devices. Thanks for stopping by the blog.

    • It is a great area Michele. When you survive the long dark damp winters, you have to know how to get out and frolic in the sun! Portlanders have taken frolicing to an art form.

  2. Fun! Minneapolis should adopt this practice in one of the lakes, if not the river. Most people here head to Wisconsin’s Apple River for tubing. Vans (and sober drivers) retrieve the revelers down river.

  3. Portland folks know how to celebrate summer. Never heard of this before, but I’d totally love to participate (or at least witness) in all the fun sometime. I’ve never been to Portland except to change flights — a shame since I live in N. California!

    • Well Cathy, maybe its time for you and Mr. TWS to come visit. I’d be happy to give you a personal tour!

    • Mine too, Marilyn. There were so many great get-ups that it was hard to just post a few photos. Can’t wait to see what the coming weekend brings!

    • Yes I have been to the sand sculpture in Canon Beach. We also have Sand in the City where we truck in tons of sand into Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland (aka Portland’s living room) and various groups create amazing sand sculptures for charity. Portland is a great town. It’s hard to leave in the summer…so usually we don’t although we do have a Boston trip coming up in a few weeks.

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Camas, Washington ~ a small town gem

Camas, Washington ~ a small town gem and a great destination for a quickie weekend getaway.

welcome to beautiful downtown Camas

welcome to beautiful downtown Camas

A short 25 minute drive from the burbs of Beaverton takes us across the Columbia River into Washington State, land of legal pot for anyone who’s so inclined.  We weren’t there for the legal buzz but, by the end of the day as we wound our way back home we were definitely high on life and small town adventures.

Around 20,000 people reside in Camas and these lucky folks enjoy the best of both worlds – living in a small town within easy access to the big cities of Portland and Vancouver.  It’s about a 20 minute drive to the Portland airport and and easy drive east on Highway 14 takes you further into the Columbia River gorge for all manner of outdoor activities, art festivals, resorts, and wineries.  As they say in real estate – location, location, location.

Last Saturday morning, hubs and I headed out to stretch our legs and shake off the work week (me, not hubs the professional retired gentleman as his newly minted business cards proudly proclaim) with a leisurely seven mile stroll around Lacamas Lake, conveniently located just a few miles from the heart of downtown.  If I lived in Camas, I would definitely own a canoe!  While we walked, we enjoyed watching the lake come to life as the sun warmed the air and weekenders came out to play.

summer fun on Lacamas Lake

summer fun on Lacamas Lake

Kayakers paddled slowly and silently, hugging the waterlily lined shore while happy kids whooped and hollered as they hit the wake behind buzzing speed boats.  A few fisherman tried their luck and even a sea plane got into the act and skimmed the water for a graceful takeoff.

the trail meanders around much of Lacamas Lake

the trail meanders around much of Lacamas Lake

It’s hard to keep your eyes on the path with so much going on but we managed to avoid any walking accidents and made it back to the park and parking lot exercised, entertained and ready for lunch and a self-guided walking tour of downtown Camas.

First, lunch!  We headed to Nuestra Mesa (Our Table) where we savored a leisurely, al fresco Mexican lunch complete with cervesa for hubs and a pomegranate marguerita for moi.  We enjoyed authentic, well-prepared food in a lovely atmosphere and met the owners, Todd and Tania.  We chatted with Tania who shared their story of meeting in Sayulita where Todd, a surfer dude from the US, had opened a restaurant with his buddy and Tania, who grew up in Mexico City, was working in a family-owned business.  It’s a long way from a small beach town in Mexico to a small river town in western Washington, but we’re glad they’re here and we will definitely be back for more delicious tacos and tortas.  And next time I’m trying the grapefruit marguerita.  Olé.

Our bellies happy, we set out for a walk and window shopping along Fourth Street which appeared to be the main drag in downtown Camas.  It’s a beautiful tree-lined street with lots of lovely shops and a few more interesting restaurants worth a stop.  We could have spent way too much time fondling the treasures tucked away in Camas Antiques, but we moseyed on – past the beautifully restored Liberty Theater and poked our heads in for a peek at the charming B&B Camas Hotel.  What a fun place for an overnight getaway!

this shop is an antique hunter's dream

this shop is an antique hunter’s dream

enjoy the first run movies without the multiplex crowds

enjoy the first run movies without the multiplex crowds

A charming little place to tuck in for the night

A charming little place to tuck in for the night

Camas was once a mill town and a large paper mill still sits at the west end of town.  A good wind in the wrong direction and your nose will let you know it’s still in operation!  All was clear on our Saturday visit.  These days, however, although it is a short commute to the “big city”, several high tech companies like Hewlett-Packard and Sharp Microelectronics have set up shop nearby.   Camas is definitely growing.  Let’s hope it manages to keep it’s small town charm.

Sometimes we get so focused on traveling to far flung places and foreign “bucket list” destinations that we forget to explore the hidden treasures right in our own back yard.  Small towns like Camas are perfect destinations for day trips or weekend getaways and they dot the highways and back roads all over the Pacific Northwest.  What are your favorite small town gems?

See you on the road.  Let’s meet up for a glass of vino.  Hubs is buying!

Cheers,

Nancy

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2 thoughts on “Camas, Washington ~ a small town gem

  1. “Professionally Retired Frenchie”? “Retraitée”? “No longer working; t’was about time!”?
    I’ll have think about that! Is hubs from Canada also?

    • Let me know what you come up with Patricia! Hubs is an America boy, born in Boston Mass. The fleur de lis had something to do with the shop – unfortunately not Québec but just across the border from Portland in Washington state.

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Traveling with our Taste buds ~

We love to travel.  We love to eat.  And these days we’re really into walking as a way to discover interesting places to eat. I call it traveling with our taste buds. It’s my theory that if I walk for food, I can pretty much eat whatever I want and not gain (too much) weight.

From farmers markets to cooking classes to sidewalk bistros and street carts, hubs and I have eaten our way across Portland, much of the U.S. and now we’re working on eating our way across the globe.  One tasty bite at a time.

Jamon - a staple in Spain

Jamon – a staple in Spain

A pop-up sidewalk bar just when you need one.

A pop-up sidewalk bar just when you need one.

Learning to cook Oaxacan style.

Learning to cook Oaxacan style.

Walking through a market is a must stop in a new city.

A farmer’s market is a great place to stroll (and sample) in any city.

Always try the local delicacies...at least once.

Always try the local delicacies…at least once.

Buys your tortillas by the kilo - fresh, hot and muy sabrosa

Buy your tortillas by the kilo – fresh, hot and muy sabrosa

Try it...even if you aren't sure what it is.

Be adventurous. Try it…even if you aren’t sure what it is.

We’ve got a lot of traveling ahead of us and a lot of great tastes to explore.  I’m sure some of them will be more interesting than delicious.  Let’s just say that my taste buds have a long way to go before I can truly call myself an adventurous eater.  I’m working on it.  What’s the most interesting food you’ve eaten in your travels?

Bon Appetit!

Nancy

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Happy Monday ~

Happy Monday to you.

Here’s a little something to put a smile on your face, a song in your heart and a spring in your step…

Wishing you a week filled with many happy moments and unexpected adventures.

Boogie on!

Nancy

drseussonagequote

 

 

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7 thoughts on “Happy Monday ~

    • Margie, we should make our own Happy video with all the Hull folks when Les and I visit. They are doing this all over the world – old and young. Even in Iran where the young people got thrown in jail for it. You know how to make a movie happen… ???

  1. I love it! My hubby was watching over my shoulder and said, ‘that’ll be us someday’! I hope so;0)

    • I believe they are in Australia. Forgot which city. I agree, it looks like a lovely place to actively retire. Fun folks that’s for sure.

  2. I wasn’t going to watch the video because I thought I didn’t have enough time! I’m glad I did! It’s put me in a great mood for the rest of the day! I wonder if this is in Australia – we have retirement villages in WA, so I’m going to look out for one like this and get our names down for the future!!! Thanks for a fun post, and thank you for commenting on my blog yesterday too 🙂

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I Did Then and I Still Do ~

On the road of life, it’s not where you go, but who’s by your side that makes the difference.

walking the camino de santiago

wandering the roads less travelled

It’s our anniversary today.  Eleven years have zipped by so quickly.  Apparently time really does fly when you’re having fun.

Last year on this date, when I sat down to write an anniversary post and share my gratitude for the wonderful man who has shared this crazy life with me for the last ten years, I  circled back to a post I had written way back in July of 2012 for a quick walk down memory lane and a spark of inspiration.  It took me right back to that beautiful morning 11 years ago.  That post expressed my feelings perfectly.   For once, I seem to have gotten it right the first time.  So, I’ve decided to make it my special Anniversary Post.  Every year I’ll bring it back, dust it off, and change the date, because…

I did then, and I still do.

Eleven years ago today, on a beautiful sunny morning, I put on my new dress, a pair of strappy sandals with heels, took  extra care with my hair and makeup and then walked with my best friend out to the very end of the point away from Rosario Resort on Orcas Island.  We stood there under the branches of two huge oak trees whose trunks had grown twined together and looked out at the Puget Sound.  Boats glided by.  Birds soared and swooped.  The ferry passed and we waited.  In the background the lawnmowers hummed and leaf blowers buzzed as the head groundskeeper and her crew tended to their daily duties of keeping Rosario lush and beautiful.  We waited and then waited a little longer.  We watched a car approach slowly and come to a stop at the end of the narrow dirt road.  Finally, she was here.  The woman we’d been so patiently waiting for.   Another Nancy, and she had come to join my friend and I in marriage.  Fifteen minutes later we were husband and wife.  Becky (the head groundskeeper) and Barbara (a neighbor of the minister) were our witnesses.  I cried from beginning to end and, of course, never thought to bring a hankie.  An hour later, after a champagne toast, my new husband and I set sail on our first adventure as a married couple – kayaking in the San Juan Islands.   Cheers to this wonderful man who has brought so much laughter and joy to my life.  I loved you then.  I still do.  I always will.

We’re off on Life’s Next Excellent Adventure. July 18, 2003, Orcas Island WA

Here’s to many new adventures to come and my wonderful partner-in-fun who willingly goes along for the ride wherever the road leads.

Cheers!

Nancy

 

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5 thoughts on “I Did Then and I Still Do ~

  1. brought tears to my eyes again reading it for the third time and knowing you both. Cheers to you both. love you guys Evans

    • Ha ha! Thanks Evans. Even though we do a great impression of The Bickersons when Mr. Wonderful is trying to tell me how to drive :))) Have a great weekend. We are going out to a new tapas restaurant this evening to celebrate.

  2. We are near Orcas Island but can’t say I’ve ever been there. Maybe it’s time for a visit! Happy Anniversary!

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My #WDS2014 Adventure ~

You are never too old to indulge in a wee bit of World Domination!  That was my thinking anyway when I attended #WDS2014 aka The World Domination Summit – a multi-day gathering of 3000+ lively, creative and inspiring souls who traveled from all across the globe to connect in downtown Portland Oregon for the fourth annual iteration of this very cool event.

WDS was on my bucket list and this year I was lucky (early) enough to snag a ticket.  These babies sell out quickly so, you snooze, you lose and that’s what happened to me last year.  This time I jumped the day they went on sale.

Super Hero

Super Hero

When I told folks that I was going to the World Domination Summit, I got more than a few puzzled looks.  “World domination?”  “What the hell are you getting involved with?”  “That sounds…interesting.”  “Well, have a good time.”

And I had more than a good time.  I had a fabulous time.  My creative mojo was re-charged.  My head is swimming with new ideas and my waning resolve to cut the corporate umbilical cord sooner rather than later has been fully restored.  In short, getting out of Dodge has become priority number one (again).  And I have a new toolbox to work with.

For two very full days, Grandma Nancy listened and learned and shared with a whole pack of mostly 20 and 30-somethings and they blew my socks off!

Here’s how it went down.

The Great Namaste.  When an event that starts with the intent to set a new world record for the most people doing yoga in one place, you know it’s not going to be any ordinary rah rah weekend.  On Friday morning 800+ people gathered in Portland’s Living Room (Pioneer Courthouse Square), spread out their colorful yoga mats on the bricks in the 90 degree heat and OM’d their way into the Guinness Book of World Records.  So far so good.

WDS Great Namaste

The Great Namaste

How do we live a remarkable life in a conventional world?WDS keynote

This was the question that attendees were encouraged to contemplate as we listened to a well-curated line-up of inspiring, heartwarming, funny, and very thought-provoking keynote speakers with lots of time for mixing, mingling, exploring, and making connections.  Throw in a 5k run, the Portland Experience in the Park Blocks, a scavenger hunt called the Unconventional Race and the very unusual “Highly Sensitive Person Lounge” located on the mezzanine of a nearby hotel where a dimly lit room was set up with several capsule-like hammocks for napping and you have one hell of an experience.  I didn’t nap, but I did check it out.  When I peeked in, every hammock was full and a very loud buzzing noise was emanating from one in the back corner.

But it always comes down to the people.

The Poem Catcher came all the way from Scotland.

The Poem Catcher came all the way from Scotland.

This group of adventurers and inspiration seekers were absolutely delightful – full of adventurous plans, brilliant ideas and interesting stories.  I met 29 year old Kat who quit her job in 2008 to work on the first Obama campaign doing social media and has been traveling the world every since.  Kat’s doing in her late 20’s what I hope to do in my late 60’s and she had lots of great advice for me.  I sat next to Tracy from Vancouver Island who at 50+ quit her job and began a new career as a designer of edgy baby clothes and up-cycled art jewelry.

Woody & Alice

Woody & Alice

I raised a glass in the beer garden with Woody from England and Alice from Romania who were extending their WDS weekend into a two week tour of the western United States.  They loved their Airbnb stay in Cannon Beach!

And I swapped life stories and dreams for the future with twin sisters Alex and Jennifer – currently from Boston and Atlanta who were plotting their next great adventures and bought me lunch (and several glasses of vino!).

Brave Bots wearing our invisible super hero capes!

Brave Bots wearing our invisible super hero capes!

We shared our “brave bots” with our waiters and they indulged us with a photo.  We talked and laughed for so long that we totally missed the meditation in the park meet-up, so we made a quickie doughnut run to Blue Star Doughnuts and raced back to find a seat for the final session.  My young friends then partied into the night while I headed home with my mind racing and my butt dragging.

A few take-aways !

The truth is, we are ALL cousins – from the funny and brilliant A.J. Jacobs, author of My Year of Living Biblically and currently gearing up to hold the world’s largest family reunion in NYC next June.

Stop talking and listen – Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant John Francis author of Planetwalker: 17 Years of Silence, 22 Years of Walking.

Don’t be afraid to meet someone – the WDS mantra!

It’s never too late – from all the courageous folks I had the pleasure to share my story with.

You are braver than you think!  – Dee Williams, author of The Big Tiny and Gary Hirsch creater of BotJoy

What do you want to be remembered for?

What do you want to be remembered for?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A huge congratulations and Thank You! to Chris Guillebeau and the entire WDS Team.  You rocked my world!

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7 thoughts on “My #WDS2014 Adventure ~

  1. What a fun event. I can just imagine the positive energy of that many people doing yoga. Love the poem catcher.

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Senior Living Game-changer?

This could be a senior living game-changer.

A brilliant idea in inter-generational living has blossomed into the thriving community of Bridge Meadows.

Bridge Meadows, which opened in Portland in 2011, is home to three generations of residents: low income seniors who receive discounted rent in exchange for volunteering 10 hours a week; foster children; and the families who are in the process of adopting them.  There’s a grandma and grandpa or an auntie on every corner.

Old-fashioned family values have come back to life in a whole new way and it’s a very good thing for young and old alike.

Bridge Meadows is a unique multi-generational community located in the Portsmouth neighborhood of North Portland where adoptive parents, foster children, and elders – those over 55 – find a true home built with love and the shared vision of a better tomorrow.

I hope we see many creative inter-generational communities begin to bloom all across the country.

Cheers!

Nancy

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Pack Smart & Travel Light

As my favorite travel guru, Rick Steves says “You’ll never meet a traveler who, after five trips, brags:  “Every year I pack heavier.  The measure of a good traveler is how light he or she travels.  You can’t travel heavy, happy, and cheap.  Pick two.”

For me, packing light and packing right is still a work in progress.  I haven’t honed the skill of mix and match as much as I’d like.  And shoes – walking shoes, sandals, something dressy, slippers.  I have yet to find footwear that manages to go from trail to fancy night on the town.  At least not for these tired old feet.  We walk a lot so comfortable footwear is number one.

With summer finally upon us, hubs and I are planning as much travel as we can and so I’ve been working of my packing skills and looking for tips to make the job easier.   I keep muttering under my breath …backpack and rollie…backpack and rollie…backpack and rollie. If it doesn’t fit, I don’t need it.

One bag, One carry-on.  And off we go!

Check out these fun travel and packing tips I found on the web ~

1.  Stick a dryer sheet or two in your suitcase with your clothes to keep them smelling fresh and cling free.

2.  Use a 7 day pill container to store your jewelry.  And, really, how much jewelry do your really need?  Try a fun scarf to dress up a top for the evening.

3.  Roll it.  As it turns out, rolling your clothes actually takes up less space – especially if you’re packing T-shirts, which can be rolled together a couple at a time.

4.  No matter how long your trip is, don’t pack more than a week’s worth of clothes.  You can wear most things more than once and then prepare to do laundry.  Bring a travel clothesline for hand wash or find a local laundry. (Hubs and I aired our dirty laundry through the streets of Santiago in search of the tiny lavanderia tucked in the back of a small grocery store.  Later that day we were clean, pressed and back in business)

5.  Store your loose cables and chargers in an old sunglasses case to keep everything in one place.

6.  Don’t forget your phone charger, but if you do, check the back of your hotel TV.  There’s usually a USB port.  (I didn’t know this!)

7.  Scan your passport, ID, and itinerary and email it to yourself so you have a digital copy in the event of theft or loss.

8.  Pack only garments that can be color-coordinated with everything else in your travel wardrobe.  If it doesn’t work with multiple outfits, leave it at home.

9.  Pack your suitcase only two-thirds full.  Leave room for the inevitable souvenirs and treasures you’ll pick up along the way.

10.  When in doubt, leave it out.  (my new favorite)

Happy travels.

Nancy

 

 

 

 

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24 thoughts on “Pack Smart & Travel Light

  1. There is a store here in Palm Desert called “it’s in the bag” and they have a lot of great traveling hints on their site. Check it out

  2. Great tips! My daughter did #3 on her own … how did she know that at the ripe old age of 14?! Packing lightly definitely makes you think differently!

  3. Traveling light is so hard to learn! Thanks for the great tips! I have one more to add: “If you forget something, it is likely that you’ll be able to pick it up somewhere else on the road, so don’t sweat it.”

    • Exactly, Kirsten! Rick Steves also said something about being able to buy anything you needed and “if you couldn’t find what you were looking for you might ask yourself how 40 million Europeans managed without it.” Made me smile.

  4. I love reading and picking up new packing tips and yours were great. I also roll my clothes to save space and then I pack them in (my favorites!) travel compression bags. We each have three and use them in all sorts of different ways: 1)separating cold and warm weather clothes 2) clean and dirty laundry or picking out just what’s needed for a couple of nights to avoid digging through the whole suitcase. Love these!

    • Thanks for the comment about the compression bags. I keep reading about them but haven’t gone there yet. Seems like an especially good idea for puffier items like sweaters, down vests (cold weather wear).

    • I like your warm climates idea. That does make packing so much easier. When it’s cold I always try to wear the coat and bulkier things on the plane.

  5. Like you, I am still working on packing light and packing right. It is easier in the summer when clothing is light. I use many of the tips you’ve mentioned, but getting the right (i.e. not too many) combination of clothing that can be coordinated is a challenge.

    • Packing will be a work in progress for most of us Donna. Just keep traveling and figure it out as we go. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Good tips. Didn’t know about the TV USB port either! I’ve gotten pretty good over the years at packing light, but I still dread packing. That’s why I always leave it until the last minute. I always have shoe issues! We’ve managed carry-on only for a wide variety of trips. It gets really tricky if you’ve got a variety of climates on your itinerary, but packing light is still doable.

    • Winter travel still stumps me as does changing climates. I’ll keep working at it. Thanks for leaving a comment.

  7. Great tips! I think it is much easier to pack for a summer trip. Clothes are smaller and more lightweight. I don’t bring much jewelry at all, just what I can wear on the plane. Shoes are always a challenge! Loved your post! Thanks!

    • Thank you Suzanne! We all need to learn to feel stylish with one comfortable pair of shoes. That’s the trick!

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Happy Fourth of July ~

Happy Fourth of July!

Greetings from Hillsboro, Oregon 1988. 

Fourth of July Parade

I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy

I love a parade.  And one of my all time favorites is in Hillsboro.  It’s the largest 4th of July parade in Oregon.  Everything from kids decked out and ready to strut their stuff to giant John Deere tractors roll right down the middle of Main Street.  Jazzercise mamas, high school bands, church groups, hand-made floats on the back of flatbed trucks and even a local politician or two round out the entertainment.  It’s definitely 2 1/2 hours of small town wacky bliss.

America truly is a great big melting pot of weird and wonderful.  And that’s exactly why we mark this day.

Whether you choose to celebrate at a small town parade, enjoying brauts and brews in your neighbor’s backyard, lighting off bottle rockets under the cover of darkness (oh no, please don’t!) or stretched out on the grass gazing up at a night sky filled with flash and sparkle, enjoy the day and savor the moment – from sea to shining sea.

Cheers!

Nancy

 

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