Still Wondering – Why Do I Live Here?

winter spring summer fall caricature art from Why Do I Live Here column in Merrimack Valley Magazine
Art by Ken Bonin from the March/April issue of Merrimack Valley Magazine


Following last week’s post bemoaning my Vacation Week Blues, the opportunity to escape to sunny Florida presented itself over the weekend and I took off running.

I know I’m not alone in my melancholy. Winter has again taken its toll and I don’t even think this year has been particularly bad. I gauge how bad or how good the weather is on Oscar’s willingness to go outside to pee. Let me tell you, his refusal rate has gone up exponentially this winter. The poor little guy can’t seem to get a break. If it’s not snowing, raining, misting or brutally cold, its been outrageously windy. Of all the inclement weather Oscar must endure, wind may be the worst of it in his book.

So as I enjoyed three lovely days away from the cold, I was reminded of the column I had written for Merrimack Valley Magazine back in 2016 – excerpt below. Interesting that the timing, right around the first of March, is the same.

The funny thing is, two years later, I’m feeling less and less like New England is where I ultimately belong. Now, I’m questioning more than ever, why do I live here? I’m not particularly in love with Florida, but I have to say the weather was gorgeous each and every day I was there.

I still think California would be the best place for me – I’d brave the earthquakes and wildfires. But could I ever really pack up and move to a warmer climate?

Could you?

Matters of Life & Beth – Why Do I Live Here?

Beth Daigle on March 1st, 2016

The following excerpt is from the March/April issue of Merrimack Valley Magazine.

“Why do I live here?” is often the first thing I ask myself when temperatures dip below 40 degrees and our region is pelted with snow, rain or sleet on more days than it seems the sun will ever shine.

This winter, more than any other, I couldn’t get this off my mind. It all started on Christmas Day 2015, when not a flake of snow had fallen and it was unseasonably warm at 62 degrees. I could not have been happier. I hosted 18 family members with windows wide open and guests gathered on my screened-in porch. The sun was shining, fresh air was flowing and everyone was exuding a joyousness that, I am confident, had as much to do with the gorgeous weather as it did with the culmination of weeks of holiday preparations. I did overhear a few conversations lamenting a white Christmas. “If only we had a light dusting of snow,” someone said. I scoffed and thought: who needs it? Yes, my ski fanatic friends, I know you do, but not I — and I know I’m not alone.

I haven’t always despised winter, but have come to with age. I’m also not a big fan of New England’s hot and humid summer months. That probably has something to do with my frizz-prone curly hair. Regardless, I like the air I breathe to be warm, dry and pleasantly between 70 and 75 degrees. More than that, I like the cheerful energy that accompanies such climates. I often suggest that the West Coast would be the perfect place for me. My local friends balk and say, “Oh sure, if you like earthquakes, mudslides and wildfires.”

 I realize there are positives and negatives no matter where you live. Read more…




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Vacation Week Blues

I wish I were here!


The kids were on vacation last week. Vacation week is supposed to be fun, right? Well, this past week was just blah. To begin with we were stuck at home while my oldest played basketball all week.

I felt a bit trapped. This would have been a really nice time to get away. It hasn’t been a particularly bad winter, just long. My desire for a vacation week getaway was reinforced whenever I scrolled through Facebook. Seriously, why do I torture myself? About every third post featured a friend’s warm weather respite or some terrific tourist destination or a cool college tour. God, they all looked great!

Of course, the posts in between the vacation pics were even more troubling. Continued reactions of the horrific Florida school shooting filled my feed and it was gut-wrenching. Yet another tragic event that left me numb.

I had to step away. With nothing more exciting to do, I should have used the time to do some writing, get some pitches out the door or even get started on book two, but I was simply not motivated.

Not even the Olympics could hold my interest. I’m not sure what that says about me, but I have never followed the Olympic games. Maybe some figure skating here and there, but not even that this year.


So, this vacation week was a bust. I did manage to find a new show on Netflix worth binge-watching. Flaked with Will Arnett was really good. It brought me to Venice Beach, CA and while it wasn’t all sunshine and smiles, I thought it was a well-developed show with good characters and an irreverent comedic slant that was enjoyable to watch.

Onward and upward

It’s a new week and almost a new month. Spring, I’m ready for you.

How was your vacation week?

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Door to Door Solicitation – How is this still a thing?

Knock, knock. Who’s there?

It’s some random person trying to sell you something you don’t want.

This really bugs me. Recently my doorbell rang at dusk and I was faced with yet another door to door solicitation. I thought, how in this crazy world is this still a thing?

For all the horror stories we hear on the news, why would anyone be expected to open their door to a stranger to listen to some spiel about whatever product, religion or political platform this person is supporting? It befuddles me that this practice is still permitted. Yet, the constitution says it can be so, so apparently it’s so.

I find this ridiculous. If I want to know anything about anything I will happily Google it in the safety of my home behind locked doors.

What’s more frustrating about these folks, who present as the friendly faces of door to door solicitation, is that unless you address them they seem not to want to go away. I’ve had my doorbell ring up to five times before these relentless peddlers give up. It’s bad enough that I have to listen to it, but I know it’s unsettling for poor Oscar and I certainly don’t want my girls to ever reach a point of frustration where they would consider opening the door.

What to Do

I firmly believe that any and all door to door solicitation should be a thing of the past. That said, in order to move these folks along as quickly as possible, I’ve adopted the following technique to kindly get them off my doorstep. A no soliciting sign at my door is also a possibility, but I’m not quite there yet.

  1. I never open the door to an unfamiliar face I am not expecting.
  2. I speak through the window of my front door to send the message that I’m not open to a conversation. If they can’t hear me, too bad.
  3. As soon as I’m 100% sure they are door to door solicitors, I put my hand up and firmly state, “I’m sorry, I do not entertain any kind of door to door solicitation.” If I have to talk over them, I do.
  4. I close with a big, loud thank you and wait until they leave.

That’s it. Every time I’ve done this, they stop their sales pitch, say OK and walk away. Truthfully, I hate to be rude, but I imagine they must understand how, in today’s day and age, what they are doing just doesn’t make sense.

How do you handle unwelcome sales calls?


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Living With Intention – Maureen Magauran, M.D.

Living With intention promotional materials

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Maureen Magauran, M.D. for several years. I first featured her home in an article I wrote on Feng Shui. Later, I called on Maureen for an article I wrote on alternative medicine. Her unique approach to treating anxiety and depression with meditation and non-medicinal therapies was compelling.

Although a board-certified physician, with the ability to prescribe medication, Maureen reserves that option for only those cases that truly require it.  Otherwise, Maureen fully supports a holistic approach. I love this and admire her integrity.

Living With Intention

Recently Maureen invited me to her free talk about Living With Intention and I was thrilled to be able to make it. I brought along a friend and together we enjoyed Maureen’s insights on how to live life fully and with purpose.

Anyone who knows me knows I love stuff like this. Just the reminder to tune into what I’m doing in life is enough to help me reset my routine in a thoughtful way. So often we are caught up in the mad rush and we lose sight of what’s important. Maureen’s talk gave me pause and got me thinking about where I’m going and what I want to do in life.

Maureen shared how the sudden loss of her youngest sister personally set her on this path to answer the question, “What am I doing here?”

My favorite exercise in the talk was when Maureen challenged each of us to write down our response to the question, “If you had two weeks to live, what would you do?” Wow, that really hit me. I’d never thought about my own mortality in such a specific, make a list, kind of way. Getting started was a little uncomfortable at first, but once I wrote one thing down, the answers kept flowing.

I’m glad to have attended Maureen’s talk. Living With Intention is something I’m excited to pay closer attention to.

To read more about the talk I attended, and other great posts, check out Maureen’s Blog Page here. And, enjoy Maureen’s FREE Stress-Less 7 Day Challenge here.

Who couldn’t benefit from a little less stress in their life?

Maureen Magauran, M.D.


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Elin Hilderbrand Winter Series – Book Club

Elin Hilderbrand Winter Series


What better time to read the Elin Hilderbrand Winter series of books than winter. In what was supposed to be a trilogy including Winter Street, Winter Stroll and Winter Storms, book club committed to read any one of the three for our last meeting. As it turned out, there was a fourth book, Winter Solstice. At least two of us in the club read all four. Unlike our last pick, The Boys in the Boat, the Elin Hilderbrand Winter series were super easy reads. Perfect distractions during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

Elin Hilderbrand Winter Series

Known as the “Queen of Summer,” author Elin Hilderbrand tackled this winter set of stories like a pro. The beauty of Hilderbrand’s books is that they are quick and lightweight. How else could I have gotten through four novels since book club’s last gathering?

Like all of Hilderbrand’s books, the entire Winter series is set on Nantucket where Hilderbrand and her family reside. It follows the Quinn family through a litany of family drama, romance, joy and sorrow.  I likened each book in the series to a soap opera. I found myself sucked into the storylines despite their hokey nature. Wisely, Hilderbrand ended each of the first three books with a cliff hanger that left me wanting answers and so onto the next book I would go.

Part of what I enjoyed about these books was Hilderbrand’s reference to actual places on Nantucket as well as Boston. It lent a certain authenticity to the novels, but I must admit there were times the mentions seemed like product placements. I wondered if the businesses named were sponsoring their spot on her pages. It was curious to me, but not off-putting.

Interested in a Synopsis?

Check out each book in the Elin Hilderband Winter Series at Goodreads.

The Fourth Book

At the close of the third book, Winter Storms, Hilderbrand had pretty much wrapped up all of the Quinn family drama and dysfunction with a neat little bow, so I was surprised that a fourth book followed. Interestingly, in the book jacket, Hilderbrand explained that her publisher had requested the fourth book when another book in their anticipated list had fallen through. She managed to squeak out Winter Solstice in four weeks. Wow! It’s no wonder she’s such a prolific author…#lifegoals!

But let me be clear, if you are a reader who enjoys some heft in your prose, Elin Hilderbrand may not be your kind of author. For me, however, her casual kind of storytelling and her Winter series were easy and enjoyable.

Next Up

Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner. Looking forward to that one!

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