Dan Attempts a 30-Day Cleanse – Days 15-18 – The Dog Days of My Experiment (7 of 12)

July 25Day 15 – I’m in the Dry July doldrums (30 days without alcohol).  I feel none of the energy and daily positive reinforcement that came with each previous day of successfully not drinking alcohol.

That said, without a second thought, this morning I again have sparkly water with Fran and Sue after pickleball when he has a brew and she ice coffee (Ever the thoughtful hostess, Hannah keeps Fran company with 12 ounces of Flat Tire beer.).

Still, I feel no weakening in my resolve to see this 30-day experiment though.  Hell, I am half-way through!

Cleanse Reticular AS

July 26 – Day 16 – Ever heard of your reticular activating system (RAS)?  As I understand it, it’s the part of your brain that notices things that you ordinarily might miss because now you have read or been told about them. In my case, I am more attuned to articles/information about alcohol than a normally might have been.

Yesterday in this past Sunday’s New York Times, I read a mini-article on Here to Help: How to Indulge (But Stay Healthy) on Vacation – The Alcohol Factor.  Calories from alcohol are essentially empty and add up fast without filling you up.  In addition, alcohol lowers your inhibitions, which can lead to overeating.

Cleanse crackers and cheese

It’s my experience that wine leads to my overeating, especially pita chips and cheese and crackers, which I often have with wine.  And what kind of barbarian would I be if I gave up cheese and crackers!  The overeating thing is something I’ll need to be aware once I figure out where wine fits into my life.

July 27 – Day 17 – Loyal reader Laurie Lee has come up with an apt observation about publishing the results of this 30-day experiment every three or four days.   Keep it up, Dan. I’m sure writing in a blog helps motivate you to be successful with your 30-day commitment. I would imagine if you are about to have a weak moment and give in to the temptation of a cold brew, the thought that you have to tell that to your fan-base must be a help in saying “No”. Maybe I need to start a blog!

To date, there has not been that weak moment.  Knowing I’m being watched does keep me on my toes.

July 28 – Day 18 – I think that sticking to the full thirty days gives my eventual plan for alcohol a better shot at one I can commit to for the long-term.  The time I am taking to come up with a plan will more likely keep me from implementing something rash.  I’m looking for an approach to alcohol that is sustainable for the next 365 days.  And then I’ll reevaluate.

Dan Attempts a 30-Day Cleanse – Days 12-14 – Sober Curious? (6 of 12)

July 22Day 12 – When I google no alcohol, the first thing that pops up is “11 Benefits of Quitting Alcohol.”  Though I don’t plan to quit alcohol completely, I do wonder what these benefits are.  Among them:

One, feeling better.  I’ve got to say I do feel better.  Lots better? I wouldn’t go that far.  I think that I had the misconception that with no alcohol I’ll have dramatically more energy.  Nothing dramatic, at least 12 days in.

Cleanse red wine

Six, reduces heart attacks.  That’s interesting because on the other hand the Mayo Clinic says, Red wine, in moderation, has long been thought of as heart healthy. The alcohol and certain substances in red wine called antioxidants may help prevent coronary artery disease, the condition that leads to heart attacks.  Depending on your personal bias, take your pick what you want to believe about red wine.

Ten, no more troubled sleep.  Really, no more!  Sounds a bit optimistic.  My sleep is meh, some good, some less good.  I was expecting more after nearly two weeks.

This online article is focused on giving alcoholics reasons to quit, not really directed at the one glass of red wine per day drinker like me.  All 11 Benefits are listed and described at the underlined link above.  Abstinence is not my goal.  Learning how to be intentional about alcohol consumption is.

July 23 – Day 13 – Sober curious?  Never heard the term myself.  From NPR – Breaking The Booze Habit, Even Briefly, Has Its Benefits.

Cleanse sober curious 2

The “sober curious” or “sober sometimes” movement started as a challenge for those who felt they’d partied a little too hard over New Year’s weekend.  Again, that’s not me.  I go to bed by 9P on December 31 after a 5P glass of wine with Hannah.

First there was “Dry January,” when people could brag on social media about how they were taking a break from booze.  Social media bragging?  Do 71 year olds really do that!  Not this one!  I’m off Facebook, Instagram, and never have had a Twitter presence.

A 2016 British study of about 850 men and women who volunteered to abstain from alcohol during Dry January found that participants reported a range of benefits… A sense of achievementI’d say that applies to me; it’s cool, just not amazingbetter sleepA bit better, nothing fantastic…lost some weightDon’t know since I use the same notch today on my belt to keep my pants up as I did at the start of this experiment.

July 24Day 14 –As I explore my dating relationship with alcohol, I find I’m not really longing for a drink the day after my 30 day cleanse ends (August 10).  A glass of vino?  Maybe yes, likely no.  I don’t feel the crave.  By the way for those of you wondering, our daughter Molly is 19 days into her Sober Curious experiment.

Dan Attempts a 30-Day Cleanse – Days 9-11 – A Framework Emerges (5 of 12)

Cleanse morning buzz

July 19 – Day 9 – I’m feeling peppier.  Could there be a connection to my no alcohol month?  Maybe, but there are so many factors that could be contributing to that extra energy, I just can’t say it’s no alcohol.  Take today.  Waking at 430A, I am on the tee at 515A at Amesbury (MA) Country Club with our daughter Molly.  After nine holes, we breakfast at the Morning Buzz in town.  Though a decaf drinker, I have one extra cup of regular joe knowing my workout at Coastal Fitness lies ahead.

At the gym, I am on fire!  So, is it one cup of joe, marginally better sleep that might be attributed to no alcohol, or the positive boost being with Molly?   Probably an unknowable combination of all three.

July 20 – Day 10 – Not drinking remains easy peezy.  Reading online about people giving up alcohol, I see there is not much agreement whether one loses weight or not.   When having no alcohol, I can see the temptation to have extra doughnut or dessert since I’m not having all those alcohol calories.  By the way, a glass of red wine has 125 calories, beer 154.

Cleanse mike's and sparkly water

An easy choice on our front deck

It’s a blistering hot Saturday here on the coast of Maine that reminds me of Arizona summers!  Though summertime in the Cactus State has none of the high humidity that we have this 92F day, I do feel the all-day debilitating sluggishness that comes with being outside on such days.

On the deck, on a day that would be perfect for an ice cold Mike’s Hard Lemonade, I choose sparkly water.  No sacrifice and no surprise, the sparkly water refreshes without a bit of sluggish mellowness.

July 21 – Day 11 – With our windows open wide, oscillating fans on each of us in our first floor bedroom, last night we went to bed with it being 83F in our house.  By morning it was only down to 80F!  No surprise that I sleep poorly.  Heat or no heat, I have seen no real improvement in my sleeping.

With a 93F day in the cards today, Hannah and I are off early for a bike ride to Ogunquit seven miles away.  Talking as we ride side by side, I believe this 30-day cleanse will be a success if I come out of with a personal strategy for alcohol consumption.  Likely, a glass of red wine and a brew will be a part of my life, but on what occasions and how often?   I feel a game plan evolving.

Dan Attempts a 30-Day Cleanse – Days 6-8 – Screwing up a time honored ritual (4 of 12)

July 16Day 6 – A good night of sleep.  And by that I mean, up once and no extended awake time overnight.  I’m just feeling perky this morning.  Could it be the dry 61F morning?  Could it be looking forward to the day going to the gym, walking at the marina in New Castle, NH, then dining with friends?  Or it could be, where the smart money is, the cleanse!

Cleanse mandy, lisa, and han

Mandy and Lisa with Hannah with water and a slice of lemon

This evening we dine with our friends Mandy and Lisa at the Green Bean in New Castle, NH on a patio overlooking the marina.  Spectacular night.  Reasonably priced salads and sandwiches (and by that I mean $10).  As for drinks, notice in the picture we have water with a slice of lemon.  Hannah and I do not buy $9 glasses of wine out ever, cleanse or no cleanse.  A couple our age in conversation to our right sits with a glass of wine as the sun dips towards the horizon.  I swoon briefly, then buckle up for 24 more days.

July 17Day 7 – A fine sleep but not spectacular.  Possibly being conscious of not drinking liquids after 3P has as much to do with my improved sleep as not drinking alcohol?  In addition, I do feel lighter with more pizzazz over the past week.

Og 1C H on beach

Ogunquit Beach

As we walk on the wide Ogunquit Beach at 540A, I think on this 7th day that I’m looking forward to learning something about my future with alcohol on, say, the 25th day that I just don’t know now.

Over coffee and biscuits at McDonald’s with our California friends, Scott and Tree, I learn Scott has been “cleansing” for 19+ years.  Impressive indeed, but that’s not where I am heading.

I am figuring out where alcohol fits into my life.  I want to use these 30 days without alcohol distraction to come up with a game plan – a strategy.  Clearly, I want to be intentional about my alcohol use rather than just fall back into a habit of a glass of wine each evening.  Maybe just for celebrations?  On vacation?  Stay tuned.

July 18Day 8 – Today I’ve got another favorite ritual that I will upend with my cleanse.  After an hour and a half of ping pong with my buddy George, we usually sit with a brew, toasting life and friendship.  As an excellent opponent and a better friend, George’s company tops off my afternoon.

Cleanse Geo Derby

At the Jimmy Fund 10K Fundraiser in Boston with George Derby

By the way, George is a craft beer aficionado and I learn about good beer at the feet of a master.  But having a beer with buddy is about sharing a beer with a buddy.  I’m guessing our ritual will take a hiatus.  One drinking, one not.  That just doesn’t work.  I’d love for him to have a beer while we still sit after we play.

After our ping pong, George says, “I can’t drink alone,” and he’s right.  We don’t, but this tradition is one that is coming back in 22 days.  You can take that to the bank.

Dan Attempts a 30-Day Cleanse – Days 4-5 – The Surprise (3 of 12)

July 14Day Four – I was hoping my sleep would be on a trajectory to the moon of good night sleeps as I strung together days without wine.  No such luck.  Still, into my fourth day of no alcohol, I have no waiver in me.  It’s not quite as easy (but still very doable) when the original reason (by that I mean sleeping better) is showing hit and miss results.  No one promised me it would be a bed of roses (you see what I did there!)

Sitting with Hannah in the evening is the encouraging same for me, the BA in elementary education grad from Arizona State as I munch on various veggies (green peppers, carrots, celery, and sweet potatoes).  Another small victory.

July 15Day Five – I awoke to the still darkness of the morning as our bedroom shades are only half down so the overnight cool can sweep into our room and bathe us with a comforting chill.  I lay here for 45 minutes, maybe an hour thinking, sh**, I’m not falling back asleep.

And then I notice dawn’s first light come around the window!  Hot damn, it’s nearly dawn!  Going out to the dining room to check the time, I see that it is now 445A on the microwave clock!  Victoire!  I’ve slept seven hours straight.  I’ll take that any day.  I hope it’s related to no alcohol.  Or maybe just cumulative fatigue from last night’s poor sleep?

Cleanse Family Rawding

Max (5), Molly, Owen (nearly 7), Tip

This afternoon we are in for a surprise.

Coming to Massachusetts to be with our grandsons, Owen and Max, Hannah and I find them ready to play games.  We play cornhole in their backyard, followed by card games of Uno and Zeus on the Loose at the patio picnic table.  After dinner, I read to Max from the Batman book (the boys absolute favorite) while Hannah reads to Owen.

Cleanse M and P at golf

With our first born

Once the boys are in bed, we sit outside with our daughter Molly and her hubby Tip for our usual pre-dinner glass of wine; a glass of wine, for the first time, I decline.  As I tell them about my cleanse, I notice Molly sips from her water bottle.  Molly nods and smiles.  Unbeknownst to Hannah and me, Molly has not had a glass of wine in ten days herself for she too has had trouble sleeping after a glass of wine.

What are the odds that we’d each start a July cleanse without the other knowing about it!  Go Molly Go.  Go Danny Go.

Dan Attempts a 30-Day Cleanse – Days 1-3 – Piece of Cake (2 of 12)

Cleanse pickleballs

July 11 – Day One.  If any day should be a piece of cake, this is it.  But… Fran brings four cold beers for après-pickleball this Thursday morning.   I could start tomorrow and be a decent guy (i.e. sociable) and have just one?   Turns out it was easy peezy to let Hannah join Fran with a brewski, and I toast the morning with a sparkly water over ice with our pickleball friend Joy.

After an afternoon walk in town through Steedman Woods and along the Fisherman’s Walk in York Harbor, Hannah and I sit again on our front deck under the patio table umbrella as we do each evening; she with a Trader Joe pinot noir and me, ta da,  with sliced baby carrots and celery sticks dipped in garlic Organic Humus.  Not a twinge of desire to drink along with Hannah.  One down, twenty-nine to go.  I can hear my fans cheering from the sideline.

July 12 – Day Two.  My overnight sleep is better which means it enters the good category (by that I mean one time up at night and no extended wakefulness).  Still, this cleansing is a process and I will stay the course interested to learn if my sleep improves and what else might happen by eliminating alcohol from my daily life.  Might I lose weight since wine is a stimulate to appetite?  Have more energy  throughout the day?  Not be sluggish in the evenings?  Other consequences I haven’t even thought of?

Cleanse bird feeders

Our front yard bird feeders

By late afternoon, it doesn’t seem like it should be this easy.   I sit with veggies while Hannah has some fine red wine as we look out to the bird feeders in our front yard.  We talk about Brene Brown’s ideas of the importance of being vulnerable and the value of developing shame resilience to avoid the telling of self-defeating stories. All the while, I feel no urge to imbibe.

July 13 – Day Three – I’m encouraged after another decent, yet not spectacular night’s sleep.  With the windows open, our bedroom gets down to 71F, and slumber envelops me.

Then during our 715A workout on the elliptical and recumbent bike at Coastal Fitness in Kittery, I feel more energized and fired up with my heart rate rocking in the mid-120s.  Any correlation with no wine for three days?  Too soon to tell.  One energetic morning is way too small a sample size to establish a trend, but I extrapolate anyway.

Evening wine with Hannah is again no wine for Danny.  Veggies and humus.

Dan Attempts a 30-Day Cleanse – The Plan (1 of 12)

Cleanse margaritas

Demon margaritas

I just didn’t sleep well last night.

It was another warm, humid high 80s July day in Maine, but that wasn’t the reason I didn’t sleep well.  You see, Hannah and I decided to shake things up from our usual evening glass of wine with homemade margaritas on our front deck.   Just two simple margaritas.  And now this morning I am connecting the dots between my poor sleep and those slushy, delectable margaritas.  Added to the alcohol was the extra liquid from the crushed ice that likely added to the reason I woke, peed, woke, peed time again.

Lying in bed next to Hannah before dawn (by that I mean before 4A), I was just ready to try something to sleep better.  Why not give up alcohol for 30 days to see what happens?

Cleanse Ruby's

If you know us, you know that Hannah and I rarely miss a late afternoon with a glass of wine together.  What if today is the first day of thirty going cold turkey?  No vino each evening.  No margaritas at Ruby’s with Karen.  No brewskis after ping pong with my buddy George.  No evening wine with Molly and Tip on our weekly visits to their place to see our grandsons, Owen and Max.  No Mike’s Hard Lemonade on a really hot summer afternoon.

Just days ago our son Will and his wife Laurel talked about a 30-day cleanse from alcohol they had just completed.  At the time, I thought, that’s cool (for them), and then proceeded to have wine each night with Hannah during their week long visit.

Cleanse facebook

But a seed was planted.  Along the lines of cleansing, of late I have deactivated my Facebook account, stopped following others on Instagram and deleted the app from my phone, and brought to an end playing online Scrabble (i.e. Lexulous).  I was not happy with the appendage that was my iPhone.

Why not give a 30-day cleanse from alcohol a shot.  I had always believed that I could give up alcohol if I wanted/had to.  Well, game on!

While the poor night of sleep may have been the impetus to take on this cleansing challenge, I also really want to see if I can actually go without alcohol for 30 days.  And at the end of thirty days, will I want to go back to wine or a brew at all?  Slow down, big fella, let’s not get carried away.  Come along for the ride.

Dan and Hannah’s Ogunquit (Maine) Morning

Og Will, Laurel, and Brooks

Will and Laurel with one year old Brooks

Yesterday morning after six days in York, our son Will, his wife Laurel, and our one-year old grandson, Brooks, left for home, 400 miles away in Ithaca, New York.  Good times.  Welcoming each day, we coffee-ed, feasted on Hannah’s biscuits, and talked real, albeit all the while being semi-distracted by their high motor toddler.

Og map

After four days of Arizona heat and Georgia humidity here on the coast of Maine, we wake this Sunday at 530A to a quiet morning chill (62F); we even pull on long sleeve tee-shirts for comfort in this delightful summer cool.  Skipping our usual morning stretches and meditation, we drive seven miles to Ogunquit (the next town north of York) to walk its expansive beach.

Typically in summer, we avoid Ogunquit like a plague of locusts because of the out of control congestion along Route One through town and impossible parking (and by that I mean, it’s not free).

But… just three days ago on an early July 4 morning, Hannah and I biked to Ogunquit where we’d learned that the massive beach-side parking lot is free until 8A!  Ergo, if we arrive early, we can park for free, walk for an hour plus on the beach, and return home for a relaxed breakfast.

Og 1 parking lot

Early morning at the parking lot at the beach in Ogunquit

Once at the Atlantic Ocean, on a beach just waking up with tourists and locals, we take to the sand to walk north into the wind; a muted sun behind sketchy clouds leads us towards Moody (the next small town).

Og 1A expansive beach

Ogunquit Beach with low tide still 2+ hours away

Immediately, a smiling man approaches and says, It’s just going to get colder.  WTF!

What’s that all about?  A. Is he just a negative sort who wanted to point out that our morning in paradise was not going to be as good as we think?  (but then why the genuine smile?)  B.  He’s joking (and just isn’t very funny).  C. It’s just an awkward spur of the moment comment (something we all can be guilty of).  D. He genuinely wanted us to bundle up, concerned for our comfort (please, it was in the low 60s!).   E.  God only knows.

Even so, I give you the Ogunquit Beach early on the first Sunday in July.

Og 1C H on beach

With the Ogunquit harbor in the distance, Hannah braces against the wind

Og 1D seagulls

The dunes between the beach and tidal Ogunquit River

Og 1F seagulls in formation

The Alpha Gull leading a ragtag flock who have no concept of what a formation is

 

Og 2 H by moody cottages

Hannah with the “cottages” of Moody, Maine, 30 minutes after we began our walk

 

Og 2B close up of no loitering

“Private Beach No Loitering”  There are 200 yards of sand between this seawall and the low tide mark.  Someone has issues.

Og 2C North beach Og sign

Og 2D H on lifeguard chair

In Moody with Ogunquit in the distance

Og 2E yoga class

Early morning yoga on the beach near the main parking lot

We arrive back at the parking lot just before 8A to avoid the daily fee that had not been posted when we arrived.  It is now.  See below.

Og 3 $30 parking

On the way home, we pop into the Cumberland Farms for the Sunday New York Times with its many sections which lasts us all week!

Og 1A cumby nyt

Once home on Chases Pond Road, I feel peace and love in my Namaste World with my Peet’s decaf, Hannah’s biscuits with blueberry jam, and the sports page of the Sunday Times all thanks to our Ogunquit Morning.

Og 4 on the front deck

Dan and Hannah Hike Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire

mm-map-2.png

To celebrate this Father’s Day (2019), I ask our daughter Molly and her hubby Tip to hike up Mount Monadnock in southwest New Hampshire with Hannah and me.

MM diner pancakes D

Many a good Dan and Hannah hike begins with breakfast out for some carbo loading.  Fifteen minutes from the trailhead, our diner of choice is the top-rated Hometown Diner in Rindge, NH. Hankering for blueberry pancakes, I overstep by ordering three, when the waitress tells me, They’re big!  The plate-covering behemoths do satisfy my craving, allow me to share one with Molly and Tip, and send home one for our grandsons, Owen and Max.

MM 1 at white dot trail sign

Knowing that Monadnock’s the most hiked trail in the United States and #2 in the world (See below for number one.), we arrive by 830A to insure ourselves a parking spot as well as a cooler morning hike.

Though populaire, the trail is typical New England – a mountain of rocks.  The wide path up the White Dot Trail is stone after stone, one higher than the next.  If you are hoping for a walk in the woods, this is not the hike for you.

MM 1 trail begins with H M T

What looks like a walk in the woods soon turns into…

MM 1B stone steps with M and h

…stairways of stones…

MM 1C H on stone face

…then walls of stone.

Rather quickly, we are breathing heavily as Molly sets a pace that I love; she has a relentless commitment to the top, with nary a rose smelled.  We stretch our legs to step up the mountainside boulder trail.  Leaning into the mountain, balancing with our hands, we are greeted by stone slabs which require handholds to ascend.  Though it’s a tough hike, eight and ten-year-olds are on this trail, too.

MM 1D H on stony face

Hannah on all fours climbing to the top

MM 1E M H D on rocky assent

Dan, Hannah, and Molly making their way to the summit

And then we spot two women, one with terror on her face as she explains she can’t go up the stone face nor does she feel can she climb back down.  “Panic” is what she feels and articulates.

At this point, Tip jumps into action as he did two years ago when he escorted Hannah up a rock face ravine where she had fallen 25’ to a precarious perch off the  San Ysidro Trail in Montecito, California.  Today, Tip uses all his skill and confidence-producing words to support this athletic woman, who we learn is dealing with a recently separated shoulder.  While Molly and I lead, Hannah stays close to the hikers distracting them with encouragement and interest in their story.

MM 2 M with MM in distance

Molly ready to summit Mount Monadnock in the distance

 

MM 2A D with mountain in background

As I said, there are a few rocks.

All six of us make the summit and celebrate with pictures.

MM 4A we six on top

Dan, Tip, Molly, and Angie in the back.  Hannah and Amy upfront.

MM 3 D and M on top

It was indeed windy at the top.

MM 3A T and M on top

Tip and Molly atop Mount Monadnock two days before their eighth anniversary

MM 3B we four on top

As mountain hikers know, often the climb down is even more difficult.  Rising to the challenge, Tip in front and Hannah behind support Amy on the alternate White Cross Trail down the mountain.  The slower pace allows us all to bond as we learn about each other’s lives.

MM 5 descending

MM 5D rocky descent

MM 5E angie amy H descend

MM 5B tip on tree

Successfully, back at the trailhead we feel like old friends with Amy and Angie.  Our new hiking compadres are most appreciative that we altered our hike for them and to Tip for shepherding Amy all the way down.  Fact is, meeting these women made for a more memorable experience than we ever thought possible; and as Hannah reminds me We are not here to see through each other, but to see each other through.

MM 5F d and h in descent

Hikers from Maine in New Hampshire

 

Mt. Fujiyama in Japan is numero uno.

Danny Loves Hannah – 47 Years and Counting

47 wooster

Today Hannah and I celebrate our 47th Wedding Anniversary.  In 1966, we met in Ohio at the College of Wooster, a small (1500 students), self-contained liberal arts college.  Ergo, it was no surprise that many of us first-year students were in the same classes.  In our case, I sat as close as I could, but not creepily so, to Hannah in Sociology 101 and French 103.  We also played on the tennis teams.

During our first year, Hannah, quite understandably, was hotly pursued by first-year guys as well upperclassmen.  Me?  Pursued?  Not so much.  My shyness and horned rim glasses might have had something to do with that.

I was biding my time, hoping the meteors at Wooster would flame out.

47 H at zion

Zion National Park, Observation Point Trail overlooking the Virgin River Valley (Btw, my favorite all-time picture)

Out of the blue, the summer after our first year at Wooster, I received a post card from Hannah while she was a counselor at a summer camp at Moss Lake near Old Forge, NY.

To say the least, I was pumped to return to Wooster for our sophomore year and ask Hannah out.  By that fall as nineteen year-olds, we were dating.  For one who didn’t date in high school, it was the time of my life.  We’d go to the TUB (Temporary Union Building) for cake topped with soft serve ice cream for 25 cents.  We’d play honeymoon bridge in the common area of her Wagner Hall dorm.

Later that fall, we went to the Homecoming Dance at Severance Gym.  The home to varsity basketball and dances, Severance Gym was so small that students sitting on the lowest of the six rows of bleachers had their feet on the basketball court during the game.  That night with the lights low, we slow danced all night long.

Later that night, we walked around campus, holding hands, and eventually found ourselves slipping into the empty chapel on campus.  Without much subtly, I lead Hannah to the balcony in the back of the church; we kissed for the first time.

47 ithaca 2

Taughannock Falls, Ithaca, NY, circa 2019

That sophomore year was life at its best.  Junior year not so much.  Our relationship faltered and we became “friends,” a détente that was not of my choosing.

After our junior year, I took my broken heart out West by transferring to Arizona State University.  Hannah stayed at Wooster, graduating with honors in 1970.

During the following school year, I taught fifth and sixth graders social studies, science, and Spanish at Patrick Henry School in Anaheim, California while Hannah taught elementary physical education at Thornell Road Elementary in Pittsford, New York.  We wrote letters to stay in some touch.  Phone calls were few and far between as the price of a call was $30 per hour back in the day.

47 map of az

47 young D and H

Circa 1976

In an effort to see what magic we might have, Hannah moved to Arizona in October of 1971 where I soon had a job teaching fourth graders at Holdemann Elementary School in Tempe, Arizona.  Time together in the desert climate worked for we married on July 1, 1972 on a Penfield, New York hill where her dad grew Christmas trees.

47 five kids

Our “kids” [Tip, Molly, Will, Laurel, and Robyn] circa 2016

Molly (1979) and Robyn (1981) were born at Desert Samaritan Hospital in Mesa, Arizona.  In 1982, we moved to New England to raise our family in a small town (York).  Once Will came (1983), we wrote and still write our love story on the coast of Maine for now 37 years.

With all the errors and bumps in the road in our life, we had some Ws based on…

47 ithaca

Buttermilk Falls, Ithaca, New York, circa 2019

Hannah’s belief in me that allowed my confidence to grow.  My encouragement of her to let her true self shine through.  We valued experiences over things. We sat and talked most evenings in front of the fireplace when cold and on our deck when warmer.  We celebrated each other’s small victories.

47 in cali

Point Reyes National Seashore (California coast north of San Francisco), circa 2016

I developed a voice such that I had the confidence to become a university professor at the age of 51.  With courage, she at 55, pursued her dream job – cutting hair in a nursing home and in the homes of the housebound.  She willingly came along on my wanderlust travels throughout the United States when home was her journey of choice.

I hit the jackpot going to the College of Wooster where I met the girl of my dreams who turned into the love of my life.