November 2009

Bucks County.  What a beautiful spot.  Tom took me there on a spontaneous weekend trip.  Very spontaneous.  No reservations.  Decided to go and one hour later had some things thrown in a bag for an overnight stay.

The bright sunny weekend was the perfect backdrop for the wonderful views of Bucks County.  I’m enamored with walking trails, and the area along the Delaware River by New Hope is one long, never-ending (or it seems like it) walking path.  Thanks to the canal system where horses used to pull barges up the canal along those trails.

Charming Inns and rustic homes line the drive.  Antique shops and restaurants are everywhere.  We stayed in a cute little borough called Stockton, NJ.  Just a handful of buildings made up the town.  After settling in, we walked the length of the town, and crossed the bridge over to the PA side, investigating our dinner choices.  The two Inns had cozy and well-appointed dining rooms, already lit festively for the holidays.  The local firehouse as an interesting option, and one of the firemen enthusiastically encouraged us to attend their spaghetti dinner (homemade meatballs, garlic bread, salad, cannoli and cookies) to help them raise money for a new truck.  The “garage” of the firehouse was decked out with folding tables covered with white plastic table clothes in the bright and functional surroundings.  If gregariousness alone were swaying our decision, that is where we would have dined.

But then we passed a Sicilian restaurant.  The perfect atmosphere.  Warm, cozy, friendly, all at the same time.  That is where we returned.  The couple sitting next to us were retired and had been coming to this restaurant for 3 years.  You can’t get a better recommendation than that.  We had an expansive dinner (in terms of time), starting with calamari.  I don’t think I’ve ever praised marinara sauce, but this was wonderful – made fresh, with chunks of tomato and not at all heavy.  Then we shared a Cesar salad.   And lastly we had a pizza with sautéed peppers, artichoke hearts, mozzarella, and prosciutto.  Heaven.  We couldn’t finish it all, and the server sent us home with leftovers and some birthday cannoli.

A long stroll the next morning after breakfast was the ideal end to our stay in Stockton.  And encountering a Corgi ensured not only a good day — but a good year ahead.

Sometimes we get in a routine and the months pass with a repetitive flow.  Or at least they seem to at the time.

Last year, we had an early snow that arrived on my birthday.  It made for a magical trip to the Inn in Lancaster that Tom had chosen for a celebration.  We dug out the winter boots, gloves and scarves and pictured ourselves snuggled in front of the fire in our room.  Rather, the fireplace (sans fire) in our room.  It was memorable none the less.

The warm fall day that we enjoyed this year was a striking contrast.  An impromptu trip to Burks County was every bit as enjoyable surrounded by the scenes of fall rather than winter.  The water on the Delaware canal sparkled with the warm hues of gold.  Long walks and sunglasses were called for.

Just as the November weather was not routine, neither were the 12 months in between.  Last year, we had just rolled out a new organization at QVC.  One that would significantly change the way we work.  The country entered into a serious financial crisis that impacted the business as well.  And we undertook some strategic projects to better position the business for the future.  A pretty amazing year.  We came out of it stronger than we went in, as we predicted we would — both from a business perspective, and a leadership perspective.  Not a scenario I would want to repeat every year, but definitely one for the books.  There is something to be said for working under pressure.

A lot can happen in 12 months.

Fall is possibly my favorite season.  The explosion of color in the hills.  The freshness to the air. Enjoying cozy sweaters without the bracing chill that comes with winter.  Stew.  A fire outside on the deck.  Grape harvest.

Fall is the season that I want to last longer, while I postpone the shortening of the days.  The darkness of the season.

Growing up, fall meant going back to school and college, which I loved.  It meant apples and pumpkins, and brussel sprouts.  It meant football games and bon fires.  It meant a better color palette.

As I’ve grown up, I have come to associate it with traveling.  September and October have become our favorite months for travel.  The crowds are fewer, but the days just as warm.  One such trip was the inspiration for our marriage in Venice.

As we drove through the West Chester country side this weekend, on a spectacular fall day.  I couldn’t help but think that I could describe all of the important colors in the hue of the foliage.  Red.  Orange.  Yellow.  Green.   Blue was covered with the brilliant sky.  White was represented by the stark birch trees that are more inspiring in the winter than the summer.   Sounds like a great photo project for my list.

Thanksgiving is a great idea.  But poorly executed on my part.  Fall Colors on waterWorking in retail has completely altered my outlook on Thanksgiving and changed my ability to really enjoy the holiday as it is intended.

But that doesn’t stop me from being thankful.  The list is long:


Health… so taken for granted

Love… a husband who makes me feel completely and totally loved

Curiosity… an inquiring mind and a love of learning

A sister… with great devotion to caring for our Mom

Choices… freedom – personal and financial –  that allows us to control our lives

Happiness… enjoying the ride

Parents… that made me believe I could be anything I wanted to be

Friends… from High School, from other countries, from every new place we’ve lived

Creativity… pursuing pleasures that interest me and enjoying a unique perspective

I’m thankful for all the things that make us, us.

Have you ever been kissed by a complete stranger?  Someone you’ve never seen before and have no idea what his name is?  It’s incredible.

French Photo and FrameEven if I had to bend down to receive it.  You see, this kiss was from  a shy (well, not too shy to ask for a kiss!) French boy about 3 1/2 feet tall.  He was smitten with me.  Or so his mother said as we encountered each other in the garden of the French villa we were staying at.

It was one of those perfect moments that creates a sharp, clear, and smile-producing memory.  Ah, France.   Ah, the kiss.

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