Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Just a quickie

It’s going to be a good night. My favorite TV show is having its season premier (Tuesday night at 10 PM on the FX channel) and I’m leaving in a few minutes to go watch it with a friend who also loves it.

She and I have been into this show since its beginning six seasons ago. And honestly, I would never have expected someone her to like this show. She’s an erudite person, is quite refined, and teaches at our school. I was surprised that she enjoyed such a raunchy, gritty production. (Although she did have some questions for me at the beginning. “You can stand up doing that?”)

The dark comedy/drama focuses on firefighters in NYC who are dealing with the aftermath of 9/11. The show will wrap up next year, just in time for the 10th anniversary of the tragedy.

The show centers around Denis Leary who plays Tommy Gavin, a flawed, caustic, alcoholic fireman whose reckless bravado is part of the reason he’s such an exceptional firefighter. I’d want him at my back.

Or Daniel Sunjata. He loves me, you know.

Uh, oh ~ time to go. Have a great night, all!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A little water would do us good

At the risk of sounding quite the redneck, I must share with you how I spent my Saturday and Sunday afternoons. I’m only telling you because my co-worker, Rich, laughed out loud when I told him how I pretended I had a pool.

On Saturday when I was finished my chores, I thought it might be nice to get a little sun and sit by the pool out back. Although it was pretty hot this weekend, the humidity wasn’t a big factor. The big factor was that I don’t have a pool.

So I asked my husband to rig up the little froggie sprinkler under the shade of the dogwood tree, so that I could sit at the edge of it. At the edge of the canopy, I could feel the spray and then every now and then, go stand under it. Then I would turn it off for awhile and read. Or close my eyes and pretend I was in Maine.

I truly do not think this is weird. It’s using what you have at hand to accomplish a goal. The goal was to get a little sun and be able to get wet from time to time. I don’t know why everyone at work thought this was so funny.

Doesn’t everyone do stuff like this?

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I turned off the sprinkler to take this shot. I’d put a few plants under here that looked like they would benefit from some spray. See how brown the grass is? But not under the tree. Under the tree is like an oasis.

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I love this little frog. And I don’t care if it looks like I’m a hillbilly redneck.

(No offense to hillbillies and/or rednecks).

Every time a breeze blew (which was really quite often), I got the full effect of sitting under a lovely cool spray of water. And then I’d turn off the hose and read for awhile.

So here I sat in my hillbilly cabana under the dogwood tree. And life was as pleasant as pleasant can be.

In an unrelated note, does this pollen make my ass look fat?

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Seriously, do you believe the size of those pollen sacks?

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Sorry I couldn’t get in there closer. I took these with the lens that I had on the camera at the time, which was the 50mm and ran back inside to get the macro but the pollen-packed bee had gone by the time I got back.

So, for those of you who are suffering from all the crazy heat, how did you keep cool this weekend?

Respectfully submitted,

PS~ Just realized this was our turtle sprinkler. I must be so hot I can't even get my animals straight.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Going green, memories of Maine

I noticed in my vacation photo files that I have several photos that are green and wanted to share them with you today. We’ve been lacking for rain lately and it’s good to see these.

It’s late as I write this and I’m in my oasis room where I plan on sleeping tonight. The temps have been in the high 90’s and twice got to 100 this past week. Today we saw it had climbed to 92 in the breakfast nook.

I am so glad my husband picked up this window AC unit and put it in our living room!

And now for the green.

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For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver. ~Martin Luther

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It was springtime in Maine and it was beautiful. I have been home exactly one week today and am already thinking of the next time we can go.

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Long, sparkling aisles of steel-stemmed trees Bending to counterfeit a breeze. ~James R. Russell

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I’ve never before seen orange dandelions.

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This is what the leaves looked like every morning when I woke up . . .

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thanks for playing along on my Q&A this weekend. I’ve responded to everyone who has their e-mail set up and I always love reading these.

I found myself laughing out loud at this answer to the question ‘How many relatives do you have named Bob?’

No relatives, but I only marry Bobs. I am on my second.

Thanks for the giggle, Mrs. Mediocrity. And thanks to everyone who played along this week. Hope your Monday is a pleasant one.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bee happy.

I sat down to the computer this afternoon to see this beautiful photo on the desktop, courtesy of my husband. He took this image today of a carpenter bee on one of his sunflowers and I thought it was a good one.

Unfortunately, contrasty areas sort of bug me. I’m talking about the glowy areas on the yellow. It’s where the sun is hitting the petal.

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This is straight out of camera above.

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This is me getting freaky. I used Kevin Kubota’s BW Edgey. Now you can really see how blown out those yellow leaves are.

They look like x-ray leaves.

And please don’t think I’m picking on or belittling my husband’s photo taking skills.

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I like this one better, I think. I ran two actions: TRA’s Troy at 15% opacity and Rusty Cage at 27% and then cropped as a large square.


And now, folks, because it’s Friday night and because inquiring minds need to know, here’s a few questions for you:

1. When is your usual bedtime?

2. In the past month, what was your biggest OOPS?

3. How many relatives do you have named “Bob”.

4. Tea, or coffee, or juice in the morning?

5. Right now, I hear __________________ .

I love finding out more about everyone. See you in the comments, my friends.

Friday, June 25, 2010

To learn as we grow old the secrets of our souls

We drove to Baltimore this afternoon without speaking, the same route we’ve taken for years. We never know if it will be good news or bad. But today it was good.

As I steered the car through the streets of the city, a familiar song came on the radio. I hadn’t heard this particular song in a long long time and could not think of who the artist was but I knew the words, and it was a sad song in a way.

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Between the silence of the mountains

And the crashing of the sea

There lies a land I once lived in

And she's waiting there for me.

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I'm looking for someone to change my life.

I'm looking for a miracle in my life.

And if you could see what it's done to me

To lose the the love I knew

Could safely lead me to

The land that I once knew.

To learn as we grow old

The secrets of our souls.

The song is Question by The Moody Blues. I was in ninth grade when I first heard it and I thought it was beautiful.

On the way home from Johns Hopkins, crossing the Susquehanna on 95, we both glanced north and saw an angry sky. I was driving and hoped we’d make it home before it hit us. Five minutes later, a smattering of rain led to a full-force white-knuckled ride where small branches of trees were flying across the road and cars were slowed to about 20 mph with many of them lined up on the shoulder with their flashers on, waiting it out. Our exit was the next one and I could barely see. There was lightning and thunder crashing and all I could think of was how scared George must be in the house all alone.

Luckily, the driveway stayed clear and just as we got home, the rain began to abate. And suddenly, all was well. There was a very happy dog to greet us when we opened the door. And we had good news for him.

Top photo taken at Great Head, Acadia National Park, Maine. Bottom photo taken at Schoodic Point, on the Schoodic Peninsula, also a part of the national park.

Hope your weekend is a good one.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mister Adam for his madam is not

‘Cause it’s too darn hot. Too darn hot!

Sorry. I’ve been humming a tune I’ve had in my head all day long. It’s Cole Porter’s ‘Too Darn Hot’ from the show Kiss Me Kate (1948). I grew up listening to it, as my mother loved to listen to show tunes on the record player. I was pretty young when I first heard this song, but was smart enough to figure out what every average man’s favorite sport was. And it is just too darn hot here.

I ventured out into the garden today despite the heat. The ankle and the knee are doing better and I’m moving around a lot more, so no worries there.

The corn is as tall as I am and there are a few sunflowers that are well over my head. I spied this little tiny sunflower first, by the garden gate.

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Another sunflower, this one a different type.

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And another of the type in the first photo. I cut a couple of nice small zucchini’s while I was out there and took a healthy snip of the basil. I told my husband today that I was making dinner. I didn’t tell him that I’d seen the recipe on the Pioneer Woman’s blog and that I’d been salivating for it all day.

I’ve mentioned before that my husband is the cook in our house and he’s lately been saying that he’s getting tired of it all. Well, I was the cook for years in our family and his complaints are falling on deaf ears. While we were away, I told him I’d cook every night for us in Maine and I did. He was happy and he ate every bit. We had lobster or fresh fish every night.

So tonight, as a surprise, I cooked this for him.

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Made with zucchini and basil from our garden, fresh corn, grape tomatoes, and shrimp sauteed in garlic. It’s even more yummy when it’s served cold. In fact, I prefer it that way. Click on the link to go to the recipe for this Summer Stir-Fry.

During dinner tonight, my husband told me that he doesn’t like shrimp anymore. WHAT?! He explained that after eating lobster all last week, shrimp is just something he doesn’t want anymore. ‘It tries to be as good as lobster, but it’s just not’, is what he told me.

I found his announcement highly annoying but kept on eating, because you know what? It was really really yummy. And now I have extra for my lunch for the next two days.

I don’t think shrimp tries to be anything other than what it is. It’s a shrimp for heavens sake. And it’s too darn hot.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Naughty bird

Something today reminded me of a little game I used to play with my children when I was a young mother and I just wanted to share it with you.

I’ve told a couple of stories about my life when our sons were young. The weirdest one has to be the Thomasina story. But today’s story isn’t anything like that. It was just fun.

As a young mother, I loved playing with my boys. I was warned by the elders in my life that childhood would be gone in the blink of an eye and just in case it was really true, I wanted to be prepared. So I used to do fun things with my children and I tried to be a good and loving mother. Like my mother was. One day I bought a couple of hand sock puppets, nothing very fancy; they were colorful and cute. One was a blue puppy and the other was a toucan.

I would pull the puppets over my hand and pretend that they could talk. I would ask questions, the puppets would respond and my sons were thrilled to see them talk. It was like magic! The puppy was good-natured and sweet. And the toucan on the other hand, well he was a bit of a trouble-maker. Three guesses as to which puppet my sons wanted to come out and play all the time.

Toucan glass

Toucan creation by Linda Vanden-Martin (aka~perceptual enigma) on Flickr.

The toucan soon became the favorite and for a couple of years he had quite the adventures at our house. You see, he had formerly been a pirate’s bird but had escaped to the mainland, ending up in a zoo until he managed to fly through the cage all the way to Lancaster County and an Amish farm where he was promptly made into a sock.

Mommy’s crazy. Yes, I know.

The toucan liked driving the car, too. He often came with us when we went on our errands. “Make tutu drive, mommy!” they would both squeal. And so, with no other cars on the country roads we travelled, tutu would take the gear shift of the little Volvo 240D, shift into 4th gear and drive from side to side a bit.

Immediately, I would exclaim things like, “Tutu! You bad bird! Get back into 3rd gear and start acting right!” And tutu would stop but not after my boys had giggle fits about the whole thing.

The bird used to make faces behind my back and sass me, but he always apologized saying that he picked up the bad habits from his pirating days.

The boys were mesmerized.

I remember one day in particular, a day when I was uncharacteristically down-in-the-dumps and my youngest son came and said to me, “Let’s play tutu, mommy”. I told him that tutu had gone out of town for a few days, and then I quietly hid the little puppet in a really good spot. I hid him because they would find him like they always did and they would beg me to play tutu and gosh darn, I just didn’t feel like being a funny little former-pirate-sock-bird that day . . .

I looked for that bird high and low after that. I spent hours searching. And I never found him again. It makes me sad to think of it even today. I think that I put him in a big toy box that was destined for a friend who had younger children than mine. I had collected some baby toys and set them aside for her. And I think that tutu ended up in her home although she says she never saw him.

Anyway, just a memory. Everyone got over it and the blue puppy was still around but he was always second-best anyway.

And so ends my trip down memory lane.


PS ~ Healing well! Thanks for the kind thoughts. It’s always something with me.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Someday we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny

Three things here, ok?

ONE: I almost pulled yesterday’s post because I thought it was ‘stupid’. You continue to surprise me with your comments. I should know by now that anything to do with my beloved George is probably not stupid.

TWO: Name the artist and the song in the post title and you will have my undying respect. No cheating, k? I’ll even give you some more lyrics:

Someday we'll look back on this and it will all seem funny
But now you're sad, your mama's mad
And your papa says he knows that I don't have any money 
Tell him this is last chance to get his daughter in a fine romance
Because a record company, Rosie, just gave me a big advance

AND THREE: See this mountain? I hiked up this mountain last Tuesday. If you look closely, you can see the ocean to the very far right. Look closely again and you can see my two favorite guys. They’re about an inch to the left of center.

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So what do I do this morning? It’s my first day back to work. I get up early to get ready. Then I put together a lunch and snack, grab a half cup of coffee for the ride, and head out the door. George happens to be nearby and sees me and I begin to move down the cement walk that leads to the driveway when I suddenly take a mis-step between the edge of the walkway and the low-lying lawn and I went sprawling, landing on my left knee and turning my ankle. I was completely surprised and in a lot of pain, covered in coffee and all my belongings all over the place.

I wanted to cry for the pain but I had to get up. I couldn’t get up though. My knee . . . my friggen ankle . . . Between clenched teeth, I said to George, “GO. GET. DADDY.”

He looked me and then laid down next to me. “GEORGE. GO”, I told him.


I try to call my husband’s name. George got up. And he looked at me.

“GO”, I tried again, “GET. DADDY”.

And then he licked me. And that’s when I began to cry. I forced myself to stop, though. And then I forced myself up. Slowly, I managed to get myself up and hobble into the house where I cleaned the coffee and the blood from the scratches off my arms. And then I began crying. Damnit.

But crying made it feel better.

As I did, I realized how lucky I was that this happened AFTER our trip to Maine. And how really lucky I was that I didn’t turn my ankle on that mountain. With my ankle and my knee throbbing, I suddenly realized how completely lucky I was. I mean, if you’re going to fall in the first place, that is.

I did eventually make it to work, on time no less, lashing ice packs on my knee and my ankle all day, changing them to keep them cold. The ankle is doing ok as I sit with it up in our oasis of air conditioning tonight. And the knee is just badly bruised and scraped. And someday I’ll look back on this and it will all be funny.

Hell, I am already smiling.

Respectfully submitted,

Monday, June 21, 2010

And now a word from the dog

When we got home from Maine yesterday afternoon, we unpacked the car completely. And then we unpacked all of our luggage, putting everything away. We always do this because we both like getting it done. And it really doesn’t take that long.

An hour later, after he’d checked the garden and I’d watered the plants in this awful heat, my husband ~ covered in sweat ~ said that he couldn’t stand it here any more. This heat is ridiculous, he said. It’s 89 degrees in here! (We have a thermostat in the breakfast nook). And so this morning, on Father’s Day, he went out very early and picked up a window unit air conditioner and put it in our living room.

And everyone has been happy all day long.

Some of you had asked how George fared on vacation last week in Maine. And well, I think I’ll let him tell you.

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I am a dog. My name is George. My humans took me on vacation with them last week. They didn’t bring the cat and I was glad.

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I was born in Ellsworth, Maine. I don’t remember any of it. I love how Maine smells, though. And I like the rocks. I love running on them.

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I went to the restaurant at Jordan Pond. But only because my humans had to use the bathroom.

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I went kayaking with dad. If I look scared, it’s because I was.

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I took naps.

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I waited for mom to take pictures. And I posed for her.

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I looked out the window from my seat in the car.

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I tried to think deep thoughts like dad.

I’m being funny. I just want some of his power bar. My favorite is vanilla crisp.

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I sat at mom’s feet while she read books. It was cold and she was wrapped in a blanket.

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The sea air made my fur frizzy. We are watching a lobster boat.

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I do not like loud crashing waves. I hope I never go to this place again.

Dad loved it.

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This is my seat in the car. Dad brought me here after he realized how scared I was of the big waves. I feel safe in the car.

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I was the only dog with my humans on Cadillac Mountain one morning.

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I got really dirty playing in the tidal mud flats and had to have a bath.

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I love my dad. He has power bars, too.

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And I love fetch. And Maine. I hope we go back.

The end.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Where we stayed for the past week

This is the first time we’ve rented from Hearts of Maine, a realty company that specializes in waterfront rental properties in Downeast, Maine. One of the things we loved about them was that more than half of their properties allow pets.

We stayed at the Acadia Beach House in Gouldsboro, off of Schieffelin Point Road.

I like taking photos of places as soon as you walk in. This way, you don’t get all your junk in the way of the shots.  So, most of these shots were taken upon arrival.

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We entered through the main entrance, which is at the back, to the most beautiful kitchen. I think the shot is fuzzy because I was so excited. That’s a Viking range over there on the far wall.

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The dining area looking towards the living area. To the left is a little sun room which connects the two parts of the house.

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George is coming towards me after having checked out the rooms off the sunroom. My only complaint about the sunroom is that the furniture wasn’t comfortable. My husband liked it, though.

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In the back rooms are two bedrooms. This is one of the master bedrooms.

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It had this cool antique chaise lounge in the corner.

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This is the little single bedroom. I loved the vintage quilt.

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There were lots of homey touches, like this photo wall in the sunroom.

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And this old cupboard that’s doing duty these days as a bar. And speaking of bars, I found this fantastic recipe for a drink in a cookbook I found in the kitchen.


1 ounce Hennessey Cognac

1 ounce Cointreau

1 ounce lemon juice

For the Sidebar, a good chill is the key element. I like to put the shaker in the freezer before I make these and keep it in there if there is more than enough for a first round. Put enough ice in the shaker to get everything nice and cold but not so much that it will dilute the drink. Pour the liquids in and shake vigorously. Pour into a glass.

~copyright Rebecca Charles, from Lobster Rolls and Blueberry Pie: Three Generations of Recipes and Stories from Summers on the Coast of Maine

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I loved the old stuff around the house. The antique scissors still work today.  What a beautiful old chair.DSC_0424 copy 2

Little touches like this made me feel at home in this place along the coast.

I thought I had taken photos of the other bedroom (where we stayed) but there are some excellent shots on the realty page for this home. It sleeps five, two adults and a child, but there is extra space on the property if you care to pay about $200 more for the week. It’s a small cottage with a bedroom and a bathroom. I didn’t get to see inside because it was locked when we were there.

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The front of the house. My husband is getting the grill ready. This was taken last Sunday and we were having hot dogs. I know it doesn’t sound that exciting but they were Kahn’s. And they were cooked on the grill. And there was onion and bread & butter pickles and cheese and grey poupon mustard . . .

Ok.  I’ll stop now.

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Here’s the extra space you can rent, if desired. I would definitely stay here again but am inclined to keep trying different places because it’s fun to do. However, I highly recommend this cottage. Bring kayaks!

Respectfully submitted,

PS ~ I cannot believe the amount of mail in my inbox. I had very little time to check on it all while I was away. Thank you all so much for your comments on this beautiful area. I’ve already ‘met’ someone who lives locally (she left a comment) and found out about an artist over in Winter Harbor. I also love the fact that you helped me to identify what I thought were blueberry blooms and was in reality, mountain laurel. So, thank you.