Cedar Hill Fall Arts & Crafts Fair

Cedar Hill Fall Arts & Crafts Fair

“We Love The Arts!”

Cedar Hill hosted a fantastic new craft fair in September, a fundraiser for the “We Love the Arts!” Program at Cedar Hill. This is dear to my heart, because my mom is a resident and benefits greatly from this program. We are so lucky to have the dedicated staff and volunteers, as well as all the resident artists who contributed!

Melissa Snyder Photography had a table and we had had a great day, meeting other crafters and artists, and old and new friends alike!

Another Year, Another Successful Alzheimer’s Walk

Another Year, Another Successful Alzheimer’s Walk

We could not have picked a lovelier day for our annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s. This was our 4th Walk with Cedar Hill and 3rd as Team Captain. After a cool, foggy start the sun came out and so did the walkers! We were joined this year by two of our nursing home residents who carried our Cedar Hill flag, lovingly painted by many of the residents. Thanks so much to Jen and Linda, and to Sarah and Judy for joining the fun!
We once again reached the Champions Club with our fundraising, so a big thanks to all who donated to this very worthy cause!

Congratulations to Cedar Hill for 30 Years in Business!

Congratulations to Cedar Hill for 30 Years in Business!

We want to be the first the congratulate Mary Louise Sayles and Patricia Horn and the rest of the Cedar Hill Continuing Care Community for 30 years in the business of helping seniors spend the twilight years in grace and dignity. From humble beginnings in a run-down Victorian Mansion to the flower-filled sprawling campus it is today, they have worked tirelessly over these past 30 years to make this facility the gold standard it is today. Trillium is honored to be a part of the marketing team here. 

Congratulations to the entire team, and here’s to 30 more and beyond! 

Herb Gardening Book Published!

Herb Gardening Book Published!

I can’t even believe it’s true, but it finally happened – after 3 attempts, 3 different publishers, 3 rewrites and just one incredibly determined agent, the book I wrote when I was pregnant with my first child has finally been published!

It all started way back in 1999, a couple of years after we started Barleywine Herb Farm in the spring of 1996. We had built it up fairly slowly, starting with an old wooden greenhouse frame, zero experience, and less capital, but a lot of chutzpah. By 1999 we had a greenhouse and gift shop, and I had taught myself how to start seeds, make compost, and create different styles of herb display gardens, along with making many of the herbal items in the gift shop, like teas, dip mixes and sachets. My husband Steve, who was writing books when he wasn’t helping he, had a wonderful literary agent who heard that the publishers of the “Complete Idiot’s Guide” books were looking for a humorous take on starting an herb garden, funny but with real-world advice, information, and recipes.

I can’t remember the exact timing, whether I was already pregnant or not, but I accepted the challenge and sat down at my computer and got to work. I somehow continued operating the farm that spring and summer, and churned out a finished manuscript about an hour before I went into labor, in August, 1999. [pic]

Again, the exact chain of events is murky, but Jeanne called to tell me that my publishers had been bought by the publishers of the competing series “The Dummy’s Guide”, and since they already had an herb book, they didn’t need mine so it wouldn’t be coming out after all. It was a crushing disappointment but thank goodness they let me keep the meager advance.

Long story short, Jeanne never gave up on that book. A year or so later she called again to say she had a new publisher interested, and it would just take a little reworking to tone down the highly comedic style of the first version. I agreed and got back to work. We had a problem though, because I did not have copies of my original hand-drawn sketches of garden designs, and the first publisher was long since shuttered. They were lost. No worries, they’d work around it she said. and so rewrote the book with a toddler running around an another on the way. I finished it and turned it in and guess what? The publisher went under and would not put the book out after all. Not again!!! Oh well, again they let me keep the advance.

Years pass, and I had completely switched careers, closing the farm in 2001 after the birth of my daughter, and switching gears to web design and marketing. In 2015, the phone rings and it’s Jeanne again – I told you she never gave up – and she finally had what should be a stable publisher, and they were very interested in publishing the now teenage manuscript. I was working full-time as a marketing consultant so I couldn’t devote time to re-learning everything from 1999 and didn’t even know if I still had the original computer files, but miraculously I did find it all and sent it off to them. They were so understanding and didn’t ask me to do any rewrites or anything.

My husband and teenage kids and I were all wondering how long it would take to fall through again, but lo and behold, it DID actually come out in June, 2016!  A huge thank you goes out to my wonderful agent Jeanne Fredericks, who never gave up on my little herb book that could. She had more faith in me that I ever did and I’ll always be grateful. Huge thanks also to Norton and Countryman Press for giving me another chance.

So drum roll please:

Herb Gardening by Melissa Snyder

And here I am in a cute little bookstore in Boothbay Harbor ME, finding the book on the shelves for the first time:

WPI Employee Bruce Fiene Joins Fight Against Opioid Abuse Epidemic

WPI Employee Bruce Fiene Joins Fight Against Opioid Abuse Epidemic

This article is about Learn to Cope, an organization we strongly support. It was originally published in The Daily Herd

A Rally of Support

WPI Employee Bruce Fiene Joins Fight Against Opioid Abuse Epidemic

June 15, 2016

The recent shocking death of Prince from a prescription opioid overdose introduced many to America’s opioid abuse crisis, including many in the music icon’s inner circle and the media, who purportedly had no idea that he secretly battled addiction for years—a common aspect of this exploding healthcare epidemic.

Bruce Fiene

Bruce Fiene

For Bruce Fiene, a 16-year WPI employee in the Academic Technology Center, the story of Prince’s death from fentanyl (a synthetic opioid with 50 times the potency of pharmaceutical grade heroin), as well as how well the artist kept his addiction hidden, hit close to home.

Fiene says two years ago he was just working and raising a family when he discovered, through a family friend, that his 18-year-old son was using heroin. “It came as a complete surprise,” he says.

Bruce learned that, in what appears to be a common path to addiction, his son got his first opioid pill, a prescription Percocet, around the age of 16 from a friend’s medicine cabinet at a party. At 17, he dabbled some more in legal pharmaceuticals, learning to crush and smoke them. By the time he turned 18, Fiene says, his son was shooting up much cheaper, and more readily available, heroin on a regular basis—all without his family’s knowledge. In a matter of months, the star pupil taking college courses while still a high school junior devolved into a dropout, forced to enter rehab full-time. “He lost it all,” says Fiene.

“This disease is a crisis deadlier than car wrecks or cancer in many areas of the country.” – Bruce Fiene

Even worse, Fiene had absolutely no idea what to do or where to go to for help. It was only through a bit of luck that he found Learn to Cope, a nonprofit support network offering education, resources, peer support, and hope for parents and family members coping with a loved one addicted to opiates or other drugs. Founded by Joanne Peterson in 2004, the organization now has over 8,400 members and is a nationally recognized model for peer support and prevention programming.

Fiene says that at the first Learn to Cope meeting that he and his wife, Tracy, attended, they met other families dealing with nearly identical scenarios. Attending subsequent meetings, they found resources, but, more important, the strength they needed to bolster themselves before they could help their son. Fiene points out that, as its name suggests, Learn to Cope is meant more for parents and families of addicts to heal themselves, “because they spend so much time and energy on the loved one’s addiction, the stress often takes an enormous toll on their mental and physical health … with their whole life revolving around the ups and downs of their child.”

Learn to Cope also pulled back the curtain on the pervasive nature of this epidemic, which cuts across all race, class, cultural, economic, and geographic lines. They were even more horrified to learn how serious the problem has become in their state in just a few short years. Deaths from unintended opioid overdoses in Massachusetts have doubled since 2012. Nationwide statistics are similar, thanks in large part to overprescribing by doctors, insufficient treatment options, and prescription drug education, as well as a lack of law enforcement resources to combat heroin trafficking.

Like many families, the fight against their son’s addiction took a huge toll on Bruce and Tracy, and it wasn’t until last summer that they developed the strength through Learn to Cope to talk publicly about their struggle. Once they did, Bruce became a zealous advocate, recording Public Service Announcements for the Worcester District Attorney’s office and speaking at a Worcester Police Department needle and drug drop event last fall. After those events, several people from the community expressed their appreciation for encouraging them to share their own stories of addiction, and in taking steps to overcome the stigma they felt.

Bruce astride his Harley.

Fiene now serves on the Worcester County Opiate Task Force and is chairman of the subcommittee for Housing and Workforce Development. He is also a trained facilitator and Narcan emergency opiate antidote trainer for Learn to Cope.

Fiene’s sense of mission and of raising awareness didn’t stop there. Three years ago, Bruce and Tracy began riding motorcycles as a hobby, and during their son’s struggles realized riding bikes was a cathartic way to relieve the stress of dealing with their family crisis. While participating in charity rides for The Jimmy Fund and for Goldstar Families on Cape Cod last summer, Bruce was struck with the idea, “Hey, this is something I know I could do to raise money for Learn to Cope.”

He decided to organize Rally 2 Recovery, a 40-mile motorcycle ride from Ware to Worcester this August to fundraise for the charity. Rally 2 Recovery’s mission is to help raise awareness about opioid addiction, with all proceeds going to Learn to Cope for outreach through its education and support groups. The rally will tour through parts of Central Massachusetts that have been hit hard by the current opioid epidemic. Over 1,000 riders and attendees are expected.


Fiene says it took all winter to tackle the logistics for the rally, including launching a fundraising website; getting approval from the Walmart in Ware and from WPI to hold the event on their properties; coordinating with all the local police departments along the route to provide detail officers, and scheduling celebrities and local officials to participate. Fiene says he has gotten lots of help from the community, fellow WPI employees have contributed, and the university has offered the use of its property for the event.

Linda Looft, assistant vice president for government and community relations, said several employees are donating their time to support this cause. “We’re providing the space, and we’re happy to do that. I think it’s such a worthy cause,” she said. “This is a situation that impacts so many people, we feel that it’s important to support this effort.” The rally will use an open lot at Gateway Park as its gathering spot at the end of the event.


“What helped my family and me get through this tragedy was the group Learn to Cope,” Fiene says. “Without them, I am not sure things would have turned out as well as they have. Because of this, I have decided to pay it forward and do a fundraiser for them,” Fiene wrote in an email to coworkers in April of this year, explaining his situation while calling for donations and volunteers. He immediately received eight emails from people with loved ones either suffering from addiction or who have recently lost family members to accidental overdose. None of them had ever talked about their experiences openly.

One of the most important aspects of this event, Fiene says, “is to erase the stigma of heroin addiction because the stigma keeps people suffering in silence. Like most people dealing with addiction, you keep quiet and don’t tell friends, family, or co-workers that your kid is a heroin addict.” All six New England governors agree with him, saying in a recent Harvard Medical School forum that fighting the social stigma associated with addiction is key to battling the opioid crisis raging across the region, according to an Associated Press report.

It also took Learn to Cope for Fiene to accept that addiction is a disease, “just like cancer or diabetes that require long-term treatment and compassion.” Unlike those afflictions, there are few walkathons or 5K runs sponsored by scores of participants happy to publicly share their fight. “But,” says Fiene, “this disease is a crisis deadlier than car wrecks or cancer in many areas of the country.” In fact, drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US, with 47,055 lethal drug overdoses in 2014. Opioid addiction is driving the epidemic, with 18,893 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers, and 10,574 overdose deaths related to heroin in that same year.


Now 20, Bruce’s son is making great strides in his recovery by staying sober, finding a job, and earning his GED, with hopes of entering WPI soon. Fiene is cautiously optimistic, accepting that addiction is a lifelong struggle. Despite the trauma he and his family have suffered over the past few years, Fiene says, “I’m one of the lucky ones. My son is still alive.”

Originally Published in WPI News

June 15, 2016

Proceeds from the Rally 2 Recovery will go directly to support Learn to Cope—a Nonprofit 501(c)(3)—and its programs. All donations and registrations are fully tax deductible. Registration for the ride is available online at www.rally2recovery.com or from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on Ride Day, Saturday, August 13, at the Walmart parking lot at Gibbs Crossing in Ware. The rally will travel with police motorcycle escort on Route 9 from Ware to Worcester, and will end at Gateway Park on the WPI campus where there will be food and live music by local bands Dodeca and SPF 4. Several local officials are expected to speak, in addition to several state representatives, as well as Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus. Donations can be made through the Rally 2 Recovery website.

Brand New PathWays Site set to Launch

Brand New PathWays Site set to Launch

Local Non-profit Agency Revamps Site

We are thrilled to announce the launch of the brand new Pathways of the River Valley website! It has been a long time coming, and there will be plenty of enhancements still to come, but the new PathWays site will have much more information, links and resources, and is laid out in a much more user-friendly way to assist the families of the clients they support. We are also happy to be helping PathWays with their other community outreach efforts. Non-profit agencies like this are very dear to our heart and we love to help them help the community.

As they say on their brand new website, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” ― Helen Keller

Learn more here: http://pathwaysnh.org

Happy Spring!

Dreaming of Spring

Sharing this very applicable post from our friends at Green Mountain Coffee

The calendar says it’s spring, but for those of us in the Northeast…not so much. The thermometer is stubbornly stuck below freezing. We know the ground is somewhere below a couple feet of icy snow, but grass and daffodils will continue to snooze awhile. So if you’re lucky enough to put away the hats and mittens and open up the windows, well, good for you. In the meantime, we’ll be consoling ourselves with a steaming cup of coffee to warm our hands and lift our spirits.

In the interest of daydreaming of warmer days, this edition of Trivia Tuesday is all about, spring, that most refreshing of seasons.

  1. If you stand at the equator on the first day of spring, you will see the sun pass directly overhead. This is only true two times a year: the first day of spring and the first day of autumn.
  2. Benjamin Franklin was the first American to propose Daylight Saving Time in 1784; however, it wasn’t fully implemented in the US until after the Second World War.
  3. Baby birds are born with the ability to sing, but they must learn the specific song of their species. It’s believed they acquire their songs between 10 and 60 days of age and begin to sing them the following spring when they have matured at about 300 days old.
  4. Children grow faster in spring.
  5. Spring fever is real! It commonly occurs when a sudden warm spell follows a long cold period. When the temperature rises, there’s a dilation or expansion of the blood vessels so that blood can be carried to the body surface, where heat can be released quickly. Some people experience an energetic feeling to this reaction.

Trivia sources: www.holiday-haven.com and www.parkrideflyusa.com

Doing Good for the Community

Doing Good for the Community

Following in the tradition of our innovative community outreach efforts, Trillium has been working hard to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors here in the Upper Valley. We’ve spearheaded several initiatives, including 2 in particular that are dear to our hearts.

Caregiver Pampering Day

The first, held in January after the holiday rush, was a partnership with Cedar Hill we dubbed “Caregiver Pampering Day” where caregivers for anyone, not just seniors, were treated to a special day of enjoyment, relaxation, and pampering for family members who care for sick or aging loved ones. Caregivers get to relieve some stress, learn ways to maintain good health year round, and meet other caregivers. It is our way to thank caregivers for all they do for their loved ones. The Village at Cedar Hill hosted the multi-day event that featured Chair, Table, and Hand Massages by Green Day Spa of Windsor, VT; Aromatherapy; Tea & Scones; Relaxing Music; and Gift Bags. The day was a huge success, with not just for the members of the public who came, but also for the employees at Cedar Hill who also had a chance to enjoy a break from caregiving. We can’t wait for the next one!

Leap of Kindness Day

The second event we participated in was #LeapofKindnessDay. 2016 is a #LeapYear. We all get 1 extra day, on Monday, February 29. Trillium partnered with The Okemo Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce to encourage everyone to use this “extra” day by doing something kind for someone else on #LeapofKindnessDay. For our act of kindness, we chose the residents at Cedar Hill to receive flowers and other gifts. The professional staff who cares for these residents also deserve a special thanks for the work they do. Here are some of our staff and residents delivering the gifts they received!Leap of Kindness Day Gift Giving



Ugly Sweaters for a Good Cause

Ugly Sweaters for a Good Cause

We love Christmas at Trillium, from the first candles in the windows and wreaths on the door, down to the last glass of eggnog. Most of all, we love how this time of year brings out the best in people – the incredible urge to give to those in need. Funny how this time of year also brings out the worst – in sweaters! So in honor of our new favorite holiday tradition, we are proud to participate in National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day! This year it falls on December 18, and many businesses have begun to create an opportunity to give to their favorite charities while taking advantage of a lighthearted new way to make the holidays even more fun.

My Mom might love Christmas even more than I do, and she LOVES her sweaters, and loves to share them with me. Unfortunately, for the past few years I’ve felt terribly guilty about not wanting to wear them and hurt her feelings. Thank goodness for Ugly Christmas sweater day! This year our charity is Vermont Foodbank – a worth cause any time of year, but especially during the holiday season. Won’t you join us? For every picture you share on our Facebook page of an ugly Christmas Sweater (your own, not Googled images, please!) we’ll donate a dollar to the Vermont Foodbank.

Oh yes, here’s my contribution to the cause:

Learn more at: www.nationaluglychristmassweaterday.org.

Antiques Roadshow Appraisal Fair!

Antiques Roadshow Appraisal Fair!

Fun Fundraiser for a Great Cause

We love coming up with innovative ways to help our clients get more exposure to the public and have a good time doing it.

So when Andrea Lapins, Activities Director for the Village at Cedar Hill asked us to help come up with fundraising ideas beyond the usual craft fair and bake sales, we jumped at the chance! We’ve been to antiques appraisal fairs sponsored by other groups in the past, and knew the event would pull in a great crowd and raise some needed funds for the Activities Department.

We advertised heavily in local papers and online, and had a standing room only crowd that day! Everyone had a blast and we can’t wait for the next one.

Don’t worry, there will still be craft fairs, but it’s great to have other fun alternatives!

Here are some facebook photos from the event: bit.ly/antiqueappraisalfair