Dear Dad

Dear Dad, It’s been 1 year since you physically disappeared from our lives.  I didn’t know how I would feel losing you. You were the first person really close to me to die and I mourned at my own pace. We knew it was the best thing for you, given your pain and suffering. My…

Currently: December

Currently living/working in: December was dedicated to catching up to life administrative tasks and full of back-and-forth edits for Backpacker (my Spring Gear Guide Pole Reviews went through NINE passes). We purposely planned to have way fewer work projects these next few months while at our cabin in Alaska, a welcome break from the months…

Currently: November

Currently living/working in: We spent the first part of the month holed up in our cabin in Healy, Alaska, juggling writing deadlines. Then we flew to the East Coast for 3 Leave No Trace cleanup events (Jacksonville 11/17, Philadelphia 11/23 and NYC—specifically Queens—11/29) as part of the REI Opt Outside / Opt to Act campaign.…

Family Time in CO

For the past few years, we’ve mainly “lived” on the West Coast, Colorado in particular. It made sense to claim our residency and health care in Colorado, as 2 of our employers are in Boulder, and both of Justin’s sisters (and spouses/nephews), as well as his mom, live in Denver. As our “living” situation inevitably…

Currently: August

Currently living/working in: We are in route to our next Leave No Trace outreach destination: Yosemite National Park. But actually, we have a few events before getting to there (e.g., Skagit, WA, and San Francisco). This route and these destinations are still part of the Subaru/Leave No Trace Zero Landfill Initiative and we will be…

Alaska Visitor!

Because we drive around the country so much, we typically are visiting everyone in their homes, or at least their state. I’ve seen my mom a lot this year, but always in New Jersey. To change things up, she decided to visit us on the road while we’ve been in Alaska!! Her brother and his…

RIP Grandma La Vigne

Justin’s grandma, Barbara La Vigne, passed away this past week and I’d love to pay my respects to her by writing a little bit about our time on Earth with her! As soon as I met Grandma La Vigne and learned that she loved chocolate as much as I did, I knew that I would…

Eastern Caribbean Cruise

We returned from our Eastern Caribbean Holland America Cruise with our niece, Sarah, and we have 2 revelations. 1st Revelation – We like cruising!! This was actually my 3rd, Justin’s 2nd, and truly, we enjoyed. Frankly, how could you not revel in a floating resort where meals appeared and dirty dishes disappeared like magic? Our…

Rest In Peace, Dad

My dad passed away on Feb. 24. It was expected. He had been ill with a laundry list of medical conditions for years and in and out of the hospital often. But on November 15, 2018, he went into the hospital and never came home. He had been moved into a subacute facility, but was…

Currently: December

Currently living/working in: Well, I’m still in NJ helping my parents with my dad’s medical ups/downs & Justin has been hanging in CO with his family. This was the first time we were apart for Christmas probably since 2004 (Justin came to NJ for a fast weekend). But staying here in NJ has been necessary…

Currently: November

Currently living/working in: I already referenced that November was a month of “professional development” in my last blog post, as well as several Backpacker deadlines and edits. Freelance life is keeping us extremely busy at the moment!  Current mood: The month has been an emotional roller coaster, mostly because I am trying to help my…

Currently: October

Currently living/working in: Our Subaru/Leave No Trace contract ended Oct. 15 and we are in the midst of several Backpacker deadlines. We’ve been hanging out in Denver this whole month & plan to be here most of winter actually, you know, “visiting family,” which translates to squatting. Actually, we have a good mix of petsitting responsibilities,…

Currently: July

Currently living/working in: Still working on the road as the Subaru/Leave No Trace Zero Landfill Team. We wrapped up in Grand Teton National Park July 5, drove 8 days to Alaska, and we’ll be in this state until August 22. You might hear me professing my love for Alaska a million times in this and…

Christmas Festivities – Part II

Our Christmas visits continued in Denver this week with Justin’s family. Some nice traditions have been established here as well: Christmas Eve Mass, Christmas Eve dinner at J’s mom’s and opening stocking stuffers, Christmas breakfast brunch and kid gift opening, then J & I head back to his mom’s to relax for the afternoon &…

More Visitors at Fenton!

I can’t say this enough. I LOVE hosting people! So given the fact we’ve stayed in one place for more than a few months, Fenton Ranch keeps on proving to be a perfect place for doing that. Justin’s sister (Jamie) and her wife (Rachel) were our latest visitors! Their stay was filled with lots of hiking,…

Thanksgiving at Fenton Ranch

We successfully hosted our first Thanksgiving at Fenton Ranch! J’s mom, sister, husband and 2 kids drove from Denver for the celebration. We haven’t hosted a Thanksgiving–much less any holiday–since 2010, so it was a real treat to have the ability to host once again. ***Warning, picture-heavy post!*** J’s mom came a few days in…

Currently: September

Currently living/working in: We’ve taught 4 fifth grade classes and 4 fourth grade classes for the private school at Fenton Ranch and will be finishing up the season with second graders! We still love, love, love teaching environmental education and wrangling kids into the outdoors; it has been an amazing experience, so we’ll see how it…