My Mom: A True Original

My Mom:  Mary Ellen Trigger Rogers Clemente

My Mom: Mary Ellen Trigger Rogers Clemente

“I was great for telling stories,” my mom, née Mary Ellen Rogers, told me as we sipped frosty beers and munched on chips and salsa in an old cowboy bar in Scottsdale, Arizona. “When I was a  young girl, my neighbor had a beautiful horse called Suntan,” she continued. “I dreamed of having a horse, so I started telling the story that Roy Rogers was my uncle. It was a plausible story, since my father was from Wyoming and, of course, my last name was Rogers.”

As I listened to my mom recount this tale—one that I had heard before but was relishing even more beneath the sweltering summer heat of Arizona here in this beloved watering hole where so many had come before–I sensed that she had lived this story so much that she almost believed it to be true. “When I was in the sixth grade, I had a leather belt with letters that hung down, spelling out TRIG. You know, as in Trigger, Roy Rogers’s horse. I was tall with long, bushy, blond hair, so I did sort of look like a horse.”

“I remember people calling you Trig,” I said.

“Yes, a few people—those that are still alive—still do,” my mom added as she scooped up the chunky salsa with her tortilla chip.

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A Patchwork Quilt of Memories from Annapolis

The Perfect Launching Area for Kayaking at Meadow Gardens B & B

The Perfect Launching Area for Kayaking at Meadow Gardens B & B

An Heirloom in the Making

An Heirloom in the Making

Hot weather, boating, men and women in uniform, our nation’s capital, Americana, quilts, the sound of the water, seafood, red, white and blue, family and friends gathering, centuries worth of history—-these thoughts and more flood my mind during this sunny holiday period. I won’t be celebrating July 4th much this year, since I’ve decided to take advantage of the quiet time and catch up at my desk. But I am very much in the Fourth of July spirit and am nurturing memories of these bright, summertime moments even more.

Country Breakfast

Country Breakfast

Some of the best were experienced about the same time last year in Annapolis, Maryland. I visited this charming Mid-Atlantic town with my boyfriend and his family after his brother’s wedding in Virginia. Annapolis smacks of the sea and we enjoyed many aspects of it from savoring fresh seafood, to taking a sail on the Chesapeake Bay, to peering out into one of the many water inlets that typify this long-established seaport, home to the United States Naval Academy since 1845. We stayed in a charming bed and breakfast, one of countless in Annapolis that define the character of this old, historic town as much as their brick buildings and cobbled streets.

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The Riches of Paris and The Riches of France Now eBooks

The Riches of Paris:  A Shopping and Touring Guide

The Riches of Paris: A Shopping and Touring Guide

If you’re headed to Paris soon or are just an armchair traveler that enjoys curling up with your eBook, may I recommend my books, The Riches of Paris:  A Shopping and Touring Guide and The Riches of France:  A Shopping and Touring Guide to the French Provinces. They’re perfect for Francophiles interested in knowing more about the places they’re discovering.

The eBook versions of my classic guidebooks come just in time for spring/summer travels to the French capital and the provinces of France. How handy it is to pull them up on your mobile device or eBook reader to find out about the most interesting places and products to savor.

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For Off-Season and Year-Round Enchantment: Taos, New Mexico

Contemplating Nature's Beauty at Hacienda del Sol in Taos

Contemplating Nature’s Beauty at Hacienda del Sol in Taos, New Mexico

Ahhh-hhh, off-season. Anyone that has lived in a resort town knows the true meaning of off-season. Whether it occurs in the winter or summer, spring or fall, this lull in peak travel times provides a much-needed respite from the busy-ness of high season. In Telluride, Colorado it means tons of available parking spaces, no lines at the Post Office or grocery store and a certain quietude akin to a ghost town, something that delights some and bores the heck out of others.

Most don’t mind this downturn of activity, since many take advantage of our seasonal slowdown (during the spring and fall) to go off and seek fun for themselves elsewhere. Since the mountain closed two weeks ago, we’re in the throws of off-season now, also referred to as shoulder season and in the case of the spring off-season, mud season.

Many people take off for exotic locales for as many as six weeks travel; others find their bliss within a two- to six-hour drive from our southwestern Colorado mountain town. Indeed, we’re located just a few hours away from some of the best recreation around in Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, all sunny and warm destinations this time of year where spring arrives with the intensity of the desert sun.

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Thanksgiving Reflections on a Connecticut Coastal Town Vacation

Mom and I at One of Our Favorite Culinary Discoveries of Our Trip

Mom and I at One of the Favorite Culinary Discoveries of Our Trip

Mom Enjoying Chowder in Mystic Connecticut

Mom Enjoying Chowder in Mystic, Connecticut

Thanksgiving. A time to be grateful. I practice gratitude all year long—it’s what gets me through some of the toughest times. But around Thanksgiving, it’s nice to serve up a few extra helpings.

I’m grateful for my parents still being a part of my life right now. And I’m particularly thinking about my mother who just two days ago underwent a double knee replacement at the age of eighty. The pain must have been really bad for her to have opted for such surgery. I pray that she heals well and that her two brand new knees make a difference in her life.

I’m thinking back to a trip we took together last June, the first travels we’d done together—just the two of us—in a few years. We were like two girls on the run—Thelma and Louise wannabes looking to cut loose. Mom, as my Dad’s constant companion, hadn’t been out on a fun getaway with me, her “best-est” travel buddy in years. (Plus, most of her friends have passed away, so her vacationing days are few and far between.) We’ve always traveled tons together and getting back on track to long car rides filled with constant chatter, leisurely meals showcasing regional specialities, hotel stays where we’d talk into the wee hours of the morning and shopping forays where we’d experience the best of female bonding was all long overdue. Mom and I have always shared similar tastes:  I am my mother’s daughter par excellence. So there’s little dissension about what to do and where to go; we view the world and its surroundings through a similar lens, especially when it comes to travel.

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Susan Herrmann Loomis: On Rue Tatin in Normandy

Susan Herrmann Loomis with a Tarte Tatin, Her Signature Dessert

Susan Herrmann Loomis with a Tarte Tatin, Her Signature Dessert

L'Heure de l'Apéritif at Susan's Cooking School

L’Heure de l’Apéritif at Susan’s Cooking School

“Apples are a huge part of the cooking here in Normandy,” says cookbook author Susan Herrmann Loomis on the phone from France during a Travel Fun interview with me.

And to most of us they’re such a big part of fall and Thanksgiving, so tune into the our chat below if you’d like to add a French twist to your holiday feasting. I met Susan briefly some twenty-five years (yes—a quarter of a century) in Paris at an American women’s function when I first moved to the French capital. At that time she was working as an assistant to Patricia Wells on The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris, one of my all-time favorite books.

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Play

America the Beautiful and Pikes Peak Cog Railway

Pikes Peak Cog Railway

Pikes Peak Cog Railway

In honor of Election Day, I thought I’d write about what’s really great about America—aside from our great democratic process. I could list a lot, but here I’d like to report on our breathtaking scenery, our magnificent vistas. There’s so much of it from sea to shining sea and most definitely here in the Rocky Mountain West. It was indeed from atop Pikes Peak, the 14,115-foot mountain in Colorado’s Front Range, just ten miles from Colorado Springs, that thirty-six-year-old English professor Katherine Lee Bates found inspiration for the poem “Pikes Peak” in 1893. This work would eventually be modified a few times over to become “America the Beautiful,” our National Hymn.

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A Happy Ending to My Own Horror Story

A Small Section of My Face: A Gruesome Reality

A Small Section of My Face: A Gruesome Reality

Happy Halloween everyone! I hope it’s a fun one for you and your loved ones.

I’ve been out of touch the past couple of weeks, since I’ve been dealing with my own ghoulish happenings. Truly ghastly and yes, I felt like I was wearing a mask of sorts for a whole week. I looked like a monster and it seemed like I was living a nightmare.

Unlike most Halloween doings, this wasn’t fun at all. The whole dreadful experience did, however, force me to step back and be even more thankful for what I have in my life—my own good health and the people that love and support me every day. It also reinforced my feelings of compassion. I’ve always considered myself a caring and compassionate person yet now I’m even more so because I had a good taste of what it’s like to look like a freak.

By now you might be wondering what happened to me. Well, I had a terrible reaction to some medication that literally fried my face off from the inside out. My whole visage burned and swelled and itched and cracked and peeled like a moist riverbed dried up beneath the mid-day Mojave Desert sun. It hurt like hell; only large and regular doses of self medicating could make me somewhat comfortable. It was so unsightly that it made a child gape at me wide-eyed at the Medical Center and my dermatologist exclaim, “Wow, I’ve never seen such a reaction.” I did, however, feel an overflowing of compassion from folks at the pharmacy and other doctors’ offices which I frequented a lot that week because there was no easy fix. I truly sensed that people poured there heart out to me whether they said anything or not. My attempts at hiding behind the disguise of a pink fleece hoodie proved futile and after my third visit to the pharmacy, I just let it all hang out like a terribly over ripe peach dangling from the limb of a tree. At one point, I had to pop into a market for cat food and perhaps in an effort to reach out to me, the cashier kindly complimented me on my scarf.

I just wanted to lie on my couch and retreat into my own world, generously applying cold compresses and oil to my face every half hour while listening to Mozart and sipping wine.

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    This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Maribeth Clemente. This blog sometimes accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content. The owner of this blog is sometimes compensated to provide opinion on products, services, Web sites and various other topics. Even though the owner of this blog receives compensation for certain posts or advertisements, she always gives her honest opinions, findings, beliefs or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blogger's own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.
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