Friday, June 20, 2014

Regina K. Murphy

After a courageous year and a half battle with cancer, my aunt passed away peacefully in early June. Her beautiful obituary is posted below:

Regina K. Murphy, “Jeannie”, of Hingham, was the daughter of Ralph MacDonald and Sarah Fenton MacDonald, born on June 22, 1951, in Portland, Maine.  She was the third of four siblings, including her sister Teresa and her brothers Rick and John.  She attended grade school at St. Patrick’s and graduated from Portland High School in 1969.

After high school, Jeannie pursued her passions for teaching and working with children by earning a dual degree in Early Childhood Development and Home Economics from the University of Maine at Farmington.

In 1976, while living in Kingston, MA, friends set up Jeannie with a handsome, young firefighter from the neighborhood named Kevin Murphy.  Despite early troubles understanding his thick Dorchester accent, Jeannie soon fell in love and the two were married in 1977.

At Whitman-Hanson and Weymouth High Schools, Jeannie taught preschool classes in the mornings and high school Home Ec. in the afternoon.  Jeannie cleverly arranged for her Home Ec. students to partner up with the nursery school children on a one-on-one basis.  The experiment was a resounding success: It was an early parenting lesson for the high school students, and an opportunity for some shy youngsters to hang with the big kids.  Another special treat was when Kevin would visit class in his full fireman gear.  Mrs. Murphy was a pretty cool teacher to have.

Jeannie and Kevin purchased their first home in South Weymouth, MA, and Jeannie joined the local Welcome Wagon.  They started a family and had two lovely boys, Eric and Matthew.  A German Shepherd was always part of the Murphy home, and over the years Jeannie came to love Jake, Rocco and Samantha very much.

In 1988, Jeannie and Kevin finally settled into their dream home in Hingham.  The small blue house on the corner with a wrap around porch gave Jeannie a canvas to create beautiful gardens, and a place to form close friendships with neighbors.  The window boxes lining the porch were a local landmark-always brimming with color to signal the seasons and to celebrate the holidays.  Nobody did the holidays like Jeannie.  At Thanksgiving and Christmas the house was aglow with candles and filled with the aromas of cooking.  Opening presents on Christmas morning was always a big event, and stories of great gifts trickled down for decades.  Jeannie loved to report that she started buying and hiding Christmas gifts around the house--in August.

When their two sons went away for college, Jeannie returned to Maine with Kevin to spend time in the same cottage that she knew as a child.  They quickly re-adapted to the easy-going Maine lifestyle and never looked back. Jeannie loved to watch the sun rise over the ocean in the morning, and to grill with family and friends in the late afternoon.  She immersed herself in the community, volunteering with the Ocean Park Association and the Salvation Army – and occasionally judging the local dog dress-up contest.  Evenings were spent lounging on the screen porch laughing with family and friends, playing cribbage, or just relaxing with a cool glass of white wine.  The soft pink light shining on the porch at night signaled an open invitation for neighbors to stop by for a cocktail and conversation.

Jeannie was a model patient and was endlessly grateful for the wonderful care she received from all of her nurses and doctors.  She used her crafting talent to assemble small gifts for them during the holidays, and always greeted the medical staff with a wonderful smile no matter the circumstances.

When she spoke about her own legacy, Jeannie was always proudest of the two wonderful and gracious sons she had raised, and was extremely thankful for the decades of unconditional love she shared with her husband, Kevin.  She passed away peacefully and comfortably on the sunny morning of June 8, 2014, with Kevin close by her side.  She will be missed by many dear friends and family, and will always be on our minds and in our hearts.

Obituary originally posted here

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Introducing Bennett

Introducing Bennett, my new best friend! I adopted him from the Animal Welfare Society in Kennebunk. They think he is part Australian Shepherd, part some kind of retriever. He enjoys digging in the sand, sleeping in the middle of doorways & kitchens, and hogging my bed.

Solo & Bennett

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Photo by Jim Rhodes of CoolRunning

Last time I wrote about a running event is was my 10K-- my next goal was a half marathon. My freshman year roommate, Colleen, and I had pick out a race at the end of April. Unfortunately, spots sold out before we had the opportunity to sign up. Instead we compromised with a 15K race (9.3 miles) in early May.

We ran the Boston Tune-Up 15K. The majority of runners were prepping for the Boston Marathon, so clearly I did not win the race. I completed it in 1:52:41, which was just shy of my twelve minute mile goal. Next up is hopefully a half marathon mid-July.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Leave of Absence

It's a bit of a complicated story for another time, but I have taken a leave of absence for this spring semester and plan to start up again in the fall, perhaps the summer. 

So far some time off from school has been exactly what I needed-- it has left me plenty of time to spend afternoons in the park with Solo.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Since graduation, my best friend since high school, Natalie, has been living in Panama. I had always said I was going to visit, but our plans finally came to fruition over spring break.

I was only there for a week but Natalie had a schedule lined up so I would see as much of Panama as possible. Natalie, who has since returned home, was living with a Panamanian so we got the native's perspective of the country.
The flight down was painless, we spent Monday(the day I arrived) evening taking a driving tour of Panama City and catching up.   

Bright and early Tuesday we drove from Panama City to Venao Cove in Pedasi, with a stop for lunch and zip lining in El Valle de Anton. We didn't arrive to Venao Cove until late, but out hostel was directly on the beach (Pacific Ocean side). It was about a billion degrees but we fell asleep to the sound of the ocean.

View from the hostel
We spent Wednesday morning on the beach, no one was there, it was like we had our own private beach. We spent the afternoon trekking back to Panama City.
We woke up early Thursday morning to make the trip to San Blas (Atlantic Ocean side). We did a tour, and the company picked us up right outside of Natalie's apartment, drove us the two hours to San Blas, and back. It was BEAUTIFUL. Words could never describe how much like paradise this place was. 
We spent Friday exploring Panama City. We went to the Miraflores Locks in the Panama Canal, and visited the old part of the city, Casco. I got all of  my souvenir shopping there in the markets. 
Saturday morning we drove to Royal Decameron Beach Resort, an all inclusive, all you can eat, all you can drink, resort right on the beach, will a number of pools to choose from.
Sunday we headed back to Panama City, back into Casco, and I got myself a tattoo! I had been planning it for a while now, I was going to get it last year in Amsterdam, but it was going to be so expensive. In Panama, the price was right. We spent Sunday night packing Natalie & weighing suitcases, and Monday morning we both flew back to Boston for good.
On my left foot!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Move.

I spent my first two months in Boston crashing with Rachel. She technically has a one bedroom apartment off of Oak Square in Brighton, it conveniently has an "office"/large walk in closest. In theory this sounds like a really great place to throw a mattress on the floor and live with relatively cheap rent. However, living on the third floor with slanted ceilings and no windows was not all I had hoped for.

After finally settling into the city, and getting my wits about me, I began the apartment hunt. I was able to find a new apartment on Craigslist, still in Brighton, closer to the green line. This means a shorter commute, oh, and WINDOWS! I'm living with a high school teacher (she's great!), and the cutest little peekapoo (pekingese/poodle), Solo.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My first 10K!

Photo taken by by Maine Running Photos

As some of you may know I've been on a bit of a fitness kick lately. I started running in the spring, and started off not even being able to run a full mile. I completed by first 5K at the end of July, crushing my personal record, and decided to set my sights on a 10K.

I ran the Portland Trails Trail to Ale 10K at the end of September! It rained the majority of the run, but I did it!! My goal was to finish in 1:15:00, miraculously, I completed it in 1:06:45!! After 3 knee surgeries I never thought I'd call myself a runner, but here I am. Not too shabby if I do say so myself.

Next up? Hopefully a half marathon in the spring!!

Sunday, October 6, 2013


It's October, and I'm a month into grad school, how is that possible?

I'm taking 18 credits, one of them is yoga so technically it's only 17. However, grad school credits are not like undergrad grads. They're scary, and hard.

At this point I'm not working. I thought maybe I would, but the first week of classes crushed that dream. But really, how am I supposed to get this all done? The professor of my Women, Children, and Adolescents class (who reminds me of all of my Wheaton WS professors) told us the trick is not to actually read anything, just skim, skim, skim.

I'm taking: 

  • Foundations of Environmental Health
  • Intro to Epidemiology
  • Women, Children, & Adolescents: Public Health Approaches
  • The Biology of Public Health
  • Introduction to Biostatistics

My brain hurts just thinking about it.

I'm living in Brighton. The commute is a little daunting depending on the time of the day I'm trying to get to campus, but I've gotten used to it. The bus offers so many opportunities to people watch.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Summer 2013

So I'm a little behind on my posts. Its been a crazy six months! Lots of big changes!! My summer consisted of lots of work and relaxing at home. Here is a list of the highlights to get you all caught up:

  • Worked full time in Portland as a Customer Service Representative
  • Worked part time at the Ocean Park Soda Fountain scooping ice cream 
  • Started running (ran in my first 5K)

  • Got to spend about a week with Hannah who was visiting from Bulgaria!! 

  • So much family time, cook outs, and fishing
My first fish!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Deposit submitted!

After a fantastic weekend spent on campus and in Boston, I have officially accepted my offer to attend the Boston University School of Public Health in the fall!

The accepted students day was really informative and helped to solidify my decision even further to attend BU. I got to meet with professors and students from my concentration, International Health (IH). I also may have been swayed into adding a second concentration, Maternal and Child Health (MCH). I talked to a couple of the MCH professors about some of my interests and they invited me to an alumni reception their concentration was having that evening. They were all so brilliant and wonderful, I felt like I was back at a Wheaton Women's Studies event-- that awesome. 

I picked up lots of tips and tricks throughout the day about financial aid, registering for classes, and getting the most out of BU in general. 

I feel so happy, excited, and lucky. 

This is exactly where I'm meant to be.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston University

I have officially been accepted into the Boston University Master of Public Health program with a concentration in International Health, and my hope would be to focus on Sex, Sexulaity, Gender, and Health. A mouth full, but exactly the focus I want. I also was very fortunate to receive a merit scholarship, which helps make the decision a little bit easier, but I’m still not 100% sure if I’m going to go.

Why you ask? Well, that’s a complicated question.

While I know this is the program I want to do, it’s more of a question of do I want to do it right now? Or should I wait until next fall?

As most of you know, my plan was to head to Africa, not take a causal year off before grad school. While it wasn’t what I had intended, having time off was kind of a blessing in disguise. It allowed me to take a month in Europe, visit friends in DC multiple times, go to Arizona for two weeks, and just generally lead a pretty low key existence.

I got my acceptance email and I panicked. Do I want to do this yet? If I took another year I could visit Natalie in Panama, or Lauren in California, or go back to Europe and explore some more with Hannah. I could take more time to travel and volunteer, all without having the ridiculous amount of student loan payments that grad school will add to my plate.

Then there is the questioning of financing. While BU is a great program, it isn’t cheap. I know as a grad student I won't have any problem finding someone to give me a loan, but how will I ever pay them back? Should I work full time and go to school part time to try to spread out the payments? What if I just took the loans, hammered school out in 3 semesters and then started paying? What if I took a year off to save some more? The last thought is just laughable because if I’m not in school, I’m going to be travelling, not saving.

As you can see, I have a lot to think about and mull over. I’m stressing myself in circles, which really isn’t much of a surprise. I’m waiting for my financial aid packet, and for the accepted students day on campus at the end of April before I make any official decisions.

Monday, April 8, 2013


Our family trip to Arizona was thrown together a little last minute. We’ve only been saying that we were going to take a trip out to visit my uncle (my mom’s oldest brother) for 10 years now. Finally, the stars aligned and it happened. Mike could only get a week away from work, but the rest of us were there for 10 days.

We spent the beginning of our time two hours north of Phoenix in Cottonwood, where my uncle lives. He was out personal tour guide for the trip. Everyday we had something planned.

We ventured up to Jerome, more than 5,000 feet above sea level.
We dedicated a day to the Grand Canyon. The drive up through Old Creek Canyon and Sedona was beautiful.

We spent an afternoon with my Uncle in Sedona, and went on a hike.

For Easter we went back down to Phoenix to spend the holiday with my cousins. The weather the beautiful. We hid eggs for a hunt for the kids. There were lots of card games to be had.

We went to the hole in the rock.
We saw the Diamondbacks play.
And, we went out to Canyon Lake.

Overall it was an A+ family vacation. Only ten more years until the next one...