Sunday, July 5, 2015

Long weekend

It’s been a quiet weekend here at the old manor house on the hill. I was invited to a couple of 4th of July parties but I really just wanted to stay home, although I made a couple of salads to take just in case I changed my mind. Now I have plenty to pack for lunches this week.

I did attend one gathering last Thursday, though. It was a going away party for Beth, a long-time friend and co-worker. She and I became friends when I moved to Maryland in 1996 and our sons met in the 4th grade. She was a substitute teacher at the time and ended up coming to work at our school full-time about 15 years ago. The party was held along Pembrey Beach on the Elk River. I walked out onto the dock at sunset to capture a few photos.

20150702_203546 copy 2

20150702_203445 copy 2

I tried to photomerge this one and the one below but my program was having nothing to do with it. So I gave up rather than become frustrated. It really was not that important.


20150702_203406 copy 2

The party was nice and it was a good way to say goodbye. Lately I’ve been saying goodbye to some of my favorite co-workers but I have to remember that life is about change. Nothing can stay the same.

:   :   :

I had the day off on Friday and spent it doing some much-needed chores.

I also had a visitor to the property on Friday evening.


DSC_8978 copy 2

I was walking through the dining room on my way to the kitchen and saw a shape out of the corner of my eye which made me stop. It was a little doe with her nose to the ground. I went back to get my camera and she looked up as I ever-so-quietly opened the door.


DSC_8983 copy 2

And then she bounded away.

:   :   :

No big plans for the weekend other than getting some chores done, some of which I’m not finished and I keep putting off because I don’t want to do them. I need to get over it, though. They’re outside chores and they involve cutting back masses of vines, a chore that my husband did quite ably. I also have to attack the patio weeds because they are voracious with all the rain we’ve had. I almost want to weed it with my hands but the last time I did that, I had pain for weeks. So this is what getting old feels like!

I bought the ingredients for a spray to combat the weeds (thank you everyone for your suggestions) and plan on using it today if it doesn’t rain again.


DSC_8988 copy 2

This morning, I set up my camp chair and table under the old hickory tree on the front lawn and enjoyed my coffee accompanied by bird song and cool breezes. I had my camera and a pair of binoculars and eventually began to wake up. Sometimes it takes me awhile . . .

George wanted some stick throwing and the cats were exploring as I sipped the delicious brew that began to make me feel more alive. “Thank God for coffee”, I thought, as I reflected on just how lucky I am to be here in this place, watching the bluebirds darting to and fro looking for their breakfast in the tall grass.


DSC_9008 copy 2

Miss Blackie sticks close to home but the younger cat was out and about. He still doesn’t have a name but then, he’s not my cat. He’s my son’s.

My son is the one who should be clearing away the vines. Let’s not even begin that discussion.


DSC_8997 copy 2

I downloaded a book on my Kindle yesterday that’s full of dog tricks, one of which is teaching your pet to put all the toys away into their toybox. When I saw that trick mentioned, I thought “this is the book for me”. George can go and get a toy that he knows by name, but I’ve never been able to figure out how to get him to put all the damn things back into the box and each night before I head up to bed, I’m always putting away his toys. I’ll keep you posted on this trick, as it should be interesting.

Thanks for your kind comments and your visits here. I hope you all are having a nice weekend ~

123 Signature[5]

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Home again

I ended up not taking my laptop up to Maine with me this year. I knew that if I took it, I would be buried in it, editing photos or wasting time online and not spending time with my friends. So I left it home, posted once or twice on Facebook while I was gone, and basically stayed off the grid for the 8 days I was away.

And it was marvelous. We stayed in the coolest place, the weather was perfect (even when it rained), and we ate lobster and all kinds of great food, even finding a new and fantastic restaurant right near our rental.


DSC_8528 copy 2

The first thing I did was to head up to Cadillac Mountain to be close to my husband. This is the view looking down onto Bar Harbor.


DSC_8564 copy 2

And this is the view from our rental cottage. I was shocked to find, upon arrival, that the mountains were this close. They looked much further away on the online photos. So this was a great surprise.


DSC_8687 copy 2

I am fairly certain that this is a broad-winged hawk. The island had several of them and this tree seemed to be their favorite perch as it was the highest.


DSC_8692 copy 2

Cadillac Mountain in the clouds on a rainy day. We never minded the rain. It was a good excuse to drink sherry by the fire and read a good book.


IMG_20150621_093657 copy 2

My seat by the fireplace.


DSC_8747 copy 2

A field of daisies taken along Point Road in Hancock.


DSC_8834 copy 2

George was the happiest I’ve seen him in a long time.


DSC_8837 copy 2

Our rental cottage. It sits on the rocky ledge at the tip of Ford Island and is the only house on the 3-acre property. It’s owned by a family who runs a lobster pound. The house is accessible by a bridge that runs from the parking area over the water and up and around the length of the island. I’ve got a photo below that shows a section of the walkway with the house on the right, through the trees.

I was going to review the house but this is their last year of renting it out. The owner told my friends that he’s been renting it for 25 years and he’s going to be moving into it. I believe it’s open one more week this summer in late August. It is a fantastic place that I highly recommend. It might be available this fall too, but I’m not sure.

Surfside Cottage

DSC_8936 copy 2


DSC_8848 copy 2

I ventured out by myself several times, once to visit my friends, Lili & Henri Vansluys who live in nearby Sorrento. I took this photo at the lookout spot along Rte. 1 between Sullivan and Gouldsboro.


DSC_8863 copy 2



DSC_8887 copy 2

Cool-looking sky at Schoodic Point. Mount Desert Island in the background.


DSC_8919 copy 2

I had a picnic lunch at Prospect Harbor.


DSC_8922 copy 2

Prospect Point Lighthouse.

I had hoped to get a few photos so that I could sell them through the gallery and on my etsy site. And I think I may have realized my goal.

It was a vacation worth waiting for. Good to be home, but I wish I was still in Maine ~


Thanks for stopping by today.

123 Signature[5]

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Wake up mama, turn your lamp down low

I just finished reading The Scottish Prisoner and was wondering why on earth I was so melancholy. And then I realized that it was because the book was finished and I hadn’t wanted it to end. Earlier this year, I discovered the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I’d heard about it years ago but dismissed it, thinking it it had something to do with that old Highlander TV series and I just wasn’t interested.

This turned out to be a good thing, in the end. I’d shut the internet off to the house (it’s a long story involving my son) and while it was off, I needed something to do and decided reading would be best. So on the advice of a friend, I downloaded Outlander to my Kindle. By the time the book got to Scotland in 1743, I was totally hooked. And then, about two thirds through the first book, I discovered there was an entire TV series on Starz. And so began my obsession. Since February, I’ve read all of the books and, just for kicks the other day, decided to read one of the Lord John Grey books. He was a minor character in the Outlander series, showing up in nearly every book save the first.

Are you asleep yet?

Well, wake up! I promise I’ll stop talking about Outlander. I have some photos to share, all taken with my cell phone.


20150605_132635 copy 2

I shot this through the window of a charter bus, rented by our school for a faculty trip after the year finished up. We were heading through Amish country to Strasburg Railroad in nearby Pennsylvania.


20150605_105340 copy 2

We had tickets for lunch in a private dining car and later on, a tour of the mechanical shop.


20150605_110620 copy 2

The view from my table as the train began to chug along through the countryside.


We were served a lovely meal as the train slowly made its way east . . . then stopped and went back the other way. It was fun and everyone was in high spirits (which might have had only a little to do with the fact that someone brought a couple boxes of wine along). It was not me but I thought it was a good idea.

20150605_113703 copy 2

The trip was nearly two weeks ago and ever since, I’ve been busy clearing out the old school year and beginning to gear up for the new. People are always surprised that there’s much of anything to do at a school in the summer but there are a million things. And I’ve got a deadline, set by myself, to have so much done by this Thursday. Because on Friday . . .


DSC_0746 copy 2

I leave for Maine!

Long-time readers of this blog know how much I love coastal Maine and this year, I’ve rented a house with a couple of friends on a small island that’s only accessible by footbridge. My friends have the place for two weeks so are already there. And George is with them. My dog is on vacation without me! Anyway, I plan on taking my laptop and hopefully posting from there. Hope you’ll come back to see the photos.

Thanks for stopping by today ~

123 Signature[5]

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Hello yet again

I am having a huge issue with Blogger vs. Windows Live Writer. From what I've been able to discover, it's a Microsoft issue and Twitter blew up over it just a few days ago. Until I get it figured it, I'm trying to post directly through Blogger, something I haven't done in years, so bear with me!

:   :   :

It goes without saying that I haven’t been putting myself out there in blogland lately, but there . . . I’ve said it regardless. I’m not going to apologize but I will admit wholeheartedly that I’ve missed you. I’ve missed your kind words and your visits to this space and I’ve especially missed writing. I really have been busy and I don’t think there was a single weekend, until this one, that I’ve actually been home.

Earlier this month, I was in Massachusettes for my youngest niece’s graduation from Smith College.

It was beautiful. The weather was perfect and spirits were high. And it was such a pleasure being with my family. I’m sure they are still waiting on the photos I took that weekend but I haven’t had much time to work on them. Excuses, excuses.

My computer is running a bit slow and it’s taken me over an hour so far to edit the few photos I took this morning, then to open my blog writing program (Windows Live Writer). I ended up having to shut down once.

I’m afraid the writing is on the wall with this laptop. I’ve had it since August 2010 but I’m not going to say anything out loud for fear that it will hear me. I’m like that with machines ~

My niece on her graduation day. I have such high hopes for her future. She graduated with honors and has a great job lined up, a new apartment, and a new life away from her long years of study. So glad for her.
:   :   :

Last weekend, I visited friends in NJ and then went to a barbecue at Helen & Bob’s. Helen is my husband’s sister. My son (the one who lives in NYC) came down for the weekend and it was so great to see him again.

And look who is getting so big!

Baby M turned two in March and I think it’s time to stop calling her Baby M on this blog. Her name is Maddie and her new bff is my eldest son, who she calls “Unca Matt”.

Blowing bubbles with Unca Matt.

Maddie’s mother. My lovely niece, Kim.

:   :   :

This morning my alarm went off at 5:48 AM like it was a work day. At first, I was very upset because I was certain that my work week had ended but I guessed that I was wrong. Then I quickly realized it was Saturday but now couldn’t fall back to sleep. So I came downstairs, put on the coffee, and then opened the front door to let in Miss Blackie, who had spent the night camping outside.

And zoom . . . from behind me raced Kitten Kitten. Oh, holy heavens. I’d let my son’s cat outside.

This is the first time the cat has gone outside without being constrained. I think it’s silly, quite frankly. The cat belongs to my youngest son (the one who lives here with me) and I believe he’s afraid that the cat will run up one of the giant trees on the property and not be able to get down. My opinion is that it’s a cat. If they run up a tree, they’ll eventually come down when they get hungry. But my son doesn’t really listen to me.

I fretted for a little bit, especially after the damn thing promptly ran up one of the big trees on the property. I’m not kidding. Then I decided to relax about it and went inside to get the camera. By the time I’d popped on the long lens and came back outside, the cat was making its way back down the tree. All was well.

As you can tell from the photo above, I still haven’t addressed all of the weeds on that are growing between the bricks of the back patio. I have most of it done but the cats preferred to stay on that weedy section of it for this morning’s photo shoot.

* snort *

As you can also see, I still have pansies and johnny jumps in my planters. This is something else I need to address this weekend.

My best buddy.

 Kitty poser.

I finally got the kitty back into the house although he yowled with displeasure at this affront to his freedom.

I really think he can go outside from now on, though. My son is just being over-protective.

 My goal for this weekend: Clearing out this weed garden, putting in my husband’s giant aloe plant tubs and planting shade flowers around it. I have been meaning to do this all month and finally have set some time aside for this task. Wish me luck, ok?

So good to see you again. Thanks for taking the time to visit me here ~

Hello again

I have just written an entire new post using the program I have always used for this blog called Windows Live Writer. Perhaps because I've not posted in so long, my account went stale. I don't freaking now. What I do know is that I've spent a good two hours working on photos on this old laptop and when I went to hit publish, Blogger returned the error to WLW that I am not found. I give up. I have things to do. Just know that I'm still alive.

So exasperating.

Apparently, it is a Microsoft issue and twitter blew up mid-week over it. Thousands of people have been affected. I'm going to try to attempt to write directly into Blogger. Annoying because the reason I use WLW is the freedom I have with my photo size and position. Blogger does not have this.