Wednesday, December 30, 2009

gorgeous - simply gorgeous...

This is where I live - can you imagine? Head of Harbour Light on Campobello Island....

The same morning, an abandoned weir off the island.

Can you imagine that I get paid to go to places like this??????? Shhhhh, don't tell my bosses!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Projects: completed and under way and yet to do...

Well, I have finally begun the kitchen floor and it is not a moment too soon! I was incredibly lucky that the old vinyl tiles practically popped right off, leaving a clean subsurface for the new ones. Now I can get to my refrig, stove but not the sink. Hopefully, I'll get a bunch more on today. The flash washes out the colors - making that wall look at bit minty - yet I assure you it is very lime green - so the tiles are actually a soft sand color. Gives the eye a place to rest in a busy kitchen....

Bedroom floor has had all subfloor removed and is now painted a crisp white with mild green stripes...they don't look green because again, the color is washed out. Eventually this will be a solid wood floor but that is not in this year's budget....patience!

Remember that dark cave of a guest room with the 1940's wallpaper??? Well it has been painted a light clay color and it brightened it up beautifully. All that is left in here is tiling the floor - not sure if I want to go light or dark....probably light. What do you think?

Coming up: the living room floor. Here is my new rug, a Christmas present to myself! I love it - it is so much fun. The flooring underneath is oak and will need to be sanded. Although I have done all the work that I've showed you myself, this job I think I will hire out. And I'll wait until summer when we can open all the windows!

Christmas was spectacular - still processing how much fun and meaning was wrapped up in the weekend before with my friends, and Christmas with family. Kiley was a joy to watch: when I asked her Christmas morning if Santa had come, she said No, the monkeys came! What goes on in that little head. She has become fascinated with penguins and has named her new fish Penguin...what fun. Her speech has suddenly jumped ahead quite a bit: she is talking in complete sentences and really expressing herself - "Silly Queenie" she says when I do a dance or act a bit nutty. She also has suddenly become very possessive - not wanting to share her food, dollies or toys. But she is also giving the tightest, best feeling hugs in the world!

The most exciting news is that in three weeks I'm headed to Connecticut to see my son David and his wife Lori, my sweet sisters and brothers, and then to New Jersey to visit my youngest son Russell and his sweetie, Taryn. I'll be meeting Taryn's family for the first time (PRESSURE!!!) and then I'll head back to Pittsfield for a little more time with friends. I think I have the right idea - stretch this holiday out for a month or so!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The snowmen have arrived.....There are the traditional little stuffed ones:

There are long-legged, funny hat wearing snowmen...

There are gawky snowgirl angels, framed by Jack Frost touched windows...

I really love those with the 1940s paper mache and glitter ones, like this silly snowman with his ruffle and bells, welcoming winter.

This is my dearest - look at that face. And I die everytime I see his little hat made from music sheets - another 1940s replica.

And of course, what would Christmas be without a tree - or three?

My shopping is done, all are wrapped except to add the ribbons at the last minute, and tomorrow I finish some last minute projects before heading off to central Maine and vacation. There is a cookie party, a bonfire solstice party, some girl-talk time, the annual Goddess Gathering and breakfast with two of my dearest, bestest friends. In between I'm getting new tires on the car, my eyes examined and a tooth repaired...

On Tuesday I head back home for my first Christmas in my little Sweet Pea Cabin. And on Christmas Eve afternoon, we'll all go to Tide Mill Farm and sing Christmas Carols to the cows...and of course drink hot chocolate and eat cookies!

If I'm lucky and get a few projects done, I might have TWO rooms completely finished before the new year. I lovely boy - so nice to look at - removed the old floor in my bedroom this morning so it is just a matter of a bit of paint and sewing two valances and that room is finito - finally.
I'm about eight floor tiles away from completing the bathroom. Got to move the toilet and then reset it to accomplish this one though...need Matt's help. My goal is to have four rooms finally completed by the end of January. And the lovely boy is available to help me tile the spare room and the broken knees for me! It sounds daunting but I've saved most of these projects for the winter because I couldn't help but be outside and at the beach all summer..... ah summer. Hard to feel it tonight, with the wind blowing the pines and the temperature below zero.

I'm so glad I have a hot wood stove to snuggle up to.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Lots of pictures today - First the paintings from the art/jewely show:

Tall Red House - SOLD! (All of the colors in the paintings appear a bit washed out because of the flash - sorry.)

Row of Houses - SOLD!

Pair of herring school - SOLD!

Very large School of Herring - SOLD!

And then there was the jewelry - how many necklaces are too many? You can NEVER have too many, sez Carla....check it out!!! Trudy's jewels are so beautiful! No plastic or elastic here.

The first snowfall was a doozy - Faye shows her little one how to make a snow angel...

And little Kiley was a bit overwhelmed. It was too much for the first one - she couldn't really walk in it. Every time she fell down she said "Again! Help" and her snowsuit wouldn't allow her to get herself back up. So cute...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

And another thing...

How incredibly wonderful is it to live in the place where I can buy organic fresh eggs, Sherwin Williams Paint, a cast iron skillet AND Finnish licorice at my local Machias Hardware Store???

I love this place.

Monday, November 30, 2009

my marvelous weekend !

Is there anything cuter in this entire world than baby toes???

These are Karlin's. We went to visit him and his parents Saturday because my nephew David and his wife Cassie drove up from Connecticut. They really surprised me by bringing my sister Robin! I only get to see her a couple of times a year and I miss her so, so much. It was such a terrific surprise!

While visiting Karlin, Kiley got to ride in a miniature horse cart with her "Poppi" who lives right next door.

This is Jonesport Harbor Sunday night - the pink on the water was a reflection of one spectacular sunset! The nearly full moon carefully watched over everything. Jonesport and its sister harbor, Beals Island, are working fishing communities where 80 percent of the population earns its livelihood from the sea, mostly fishing lobsters. For those of you who live away from Maine, those are lobster pots on the pier.

The lighting even colored this collection of dinghies.

And painted the sky with oranges and was way prettier than the picture reflects.

This was the reason I was in Jonesport Sunday night - a flotilla of lobster boats all decorated with Christmas lights. A woman on one of the boats was singing Christmas carols and the lights on the water, her voice floating over all, was just incredible. Talk about getting in a holiday mood -

I got to ride on the U.S. Coast Guard lifeboat and I must say I was a bit nervous when I discovered that the four young people piloting the boat were just 21!!!! They were very sweet, however, and promised to save me if we sank. (Which we didn't, I'm sure you have figured out.) It was freezing on the boat, which was all open to the weather, but I didn't complain. I have turned into a real boat whore: rev the engine and I'll jump on board. I love the smell and sounds of the sea; the colors; everything about it! And to be out in the harbor in the dark was a special treat. Everything on land looks completely different - the hills, the buildings, the lights. What a great adventure.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

pictures! lots of pictures!

Friday with my new little Karlin Thomas was wonderful - he has a sweet disposition, eats like a starving elephant, burps like Roseanne, and has the sweetest smile. We discovered that he really loves "Farmer in the Dell" - !! Today, Faye, Matt and Kiley drove down for the day to get their own snuggle time.

Shopping on Saturday was great - here are my bestest, bestest friends: Kathy, me, Trudy and Donna. We had lunch at a fabulous Mediterranean restaurant and I've nearly finished my holiday shopping. Also got a spectacular new mirror for my bathroom, some kick ass Finnish licorice, and a whole pile of new canvas.

Just loved this door....

The art walk was fabulous - here is the view of downtown Bangor from one of the galleries/studios. We visited dozens of studios and I saw art that absolutely inspired me. My head was swirling all night with ideas, colors.....

This is the chicken at Bohemian Moma Bakery that apparently likes to visit the rosemary!

I got up this morning and began painting and painting and painting....have three wet canvases in various stages and a huge one that I'm very excited about. It is progressing so well! Pictures tomorrow - got to get back to work. It has been so long since I just started the day with a good breakfast and then hit the studio - not thinking about anything else, just blocking out the whole world, and feeling like I am accomplishing so much. Sort of drowning in paint and color. As I type, my hands are covered: orange, lime green, a bit of yellow and one small dot of blue.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Here was the view from my office desk this morning...How does it compare to yours?

She visits every morning, sometimes alone and sometimes with another, smaller female. I'm getting very attached to her and look forward to seeing her each day. Cross your fingers that she makes it through hunting season.....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Today is the first of four days of non-stop fun!

I have been working waaaay to hard - so I had only a half day today and then met with my Writing Sisters of the Kick Ourselves in the Ass Club. We met at the Bohemian Moma's Bakery - need I say anything more???

Tomorrow I head to Detroit (Maine) to play with my newest grandson, Karlin, YAY YAY and YAY, and then meet friends in Bangor for the annual art studio tour and a pub visit! On Saturday a.m., I'm meeting more friends in Ellsworth for our yearly shopping-for-ourselves-while-we-pretend-to-shop-for-others extravaganza!

Sunday a.m. I am beginning to tile the bathroom floor - I'll post pix!
Could this be any better of a line up?
WAHOO! Let the fun begin!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

oh allergies! oh allergies!

Well it turns out the very medicine we had all been forcing down Kiley's throat for her ear infection was one she was allergic to - it was actually making her sicker!

Today = new medicine = sleeping 12 hours through the night = a happy baby.

Finally, oh joy!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Well, it will be back to the doctor's office tomorrow.

Look at that poor sick little girl and her fever-struck red miserable is she?

We seem to just be passing the germs around and around and around here. First me, then Matt, then Kiley and Faye. Then we all seem to get better and then Matt gets sick again. Now poor little Kiley.
Last week's fever turned out to be an ear infection (she told her mom she had a bug in her ear!) and once the meds kicked in, she almost seemed her same old self.
Until about 1 a.m. this morning. She awoke with the fever again and is so listless and sick.
I think it is her throat now as she is visibly cringing when she swallows.
I wish the weather was a bit colder - we could turn off the heat, open all the windows and kill all the rotten germs we seem to be passing around....

Thursday, November 12, 2009

ooooooooooo somebody is sick...

Faye just brought Kiley to my door on their way to the pediatrician's office. She woke this a.m. (2 a.m. to be exact) with a 103 degree fever and although there has been some cooling off and on throughout the day, she appears worse this afternoon.

It is so hard to see them sick: she is such a lively, active little girl and she is just so listless with her flushed cheeks and her bright red lips. You can tell it hurts her to swallow and so it has been pedialite frozen pops all day and Tylenol...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sorry, I got distracted!

Introducing Karlin Thomas Mack - one day old. My son Danny and my daughter-in-law Amanda had him last night at 10:05 p.m. 7 pounds 20 inches long and perfect. I didn't make the birth because she went so quickly. Amanda was put on bed rest three months ago and she has been incredible - no matter how bored or scared or worried she got, she did exactly what her doctors told her to.
And look at the perfect result!!! I spent the day nuzzling and smelling and hugging and kissing him. I got to feed him and darn near kidnapped him when I left......This is happiness. AHHHH.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I'm painting!

Tomorrow I'll post some photos that show a painting in progress...but for now, I'm having so much fun that I'm not going to stop!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Look at this cute little face....but don't be deceived!

Hello. My name is Anthony the Awful. And Yes, I am sitting right inside your bird feeder.

I dazzle you with my good looks - my big brown eyes. My cute little hands. My big bushy tail.
And then I attack.
I tear apart your bird feeders, ripping the plastic apart like it was a Vanilla Wafer.
I fight with my brothers, banging off the side of the house as I drive your dog to distraction, and I knock everything down.

What? You think tapping on the window will drive me out of the flat bird feeder?
HA and another HA
I'm not afraid of you, you silly woman.

After all, I am Super Squirrel. Leader of the Pack. King of the bird food station. I laugh at your attempts to feed the stupid little chickadees, or the sad little mourning doves, and even the noisy bluejays.

You can't stop me. I am an eating machine. And I'm here to stay.
Now get your ass out here and fill this feeder back up. And bring a couple of those apples too.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I love my buying club!!

A bowl full of fresh carrots - liberally sprinkled with sea salt from the Narrows at Lubec and fresh cracked black pepper...

A panful of brussells sprouts sauteing in butter and oil, and soon to be finished off with a splash of fresh squeezed lemon...

Every week, I get an email telling me what the special offerings are for the upcoming week and I email my order back. It couldn't be simpler: the email arrives each Thursday and I have until Saturday night to make my choices.
About six farmers participate in my buying club and so there is a wide range of produce and products. I can get fruit spreads, cow and goat milk, artisanal goat cheeses, organic meats, lobsters, all kinds of veggies, handmade breads, and even natural soaps. I can buy as little as a pound or as much as a gross. I pick up my order each Tuesday at a nearby coordinator's home and I pay $1 for the handling of the order. Fresh from the farms that very morning!!!!

These glorious veggies were part of last week's order. Today I ordered Spicy Rye Bread (which is so dark and contains raisins and nuts), ricotta, and frozen blueberries.

Eat your hearts out.....yummmmmmmy.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

here's a riddle: what could be worse than

first, breaking a big toe (right before a big walking trip),

and then going to a Haunted House and catching the flu and ending up in bed for 4 days,

and then having that flu fly up into your head as a full blown head cold,

and then staying up til 2 a.m. counting ballots when the entire F'ING state votes the WRONG WAY,

and then having to ride around Cobscook Bay the next morning in an open boat when it is 41 degrees?

What could be worse than all that?

Waking up this morning with a giant stye on my left eyelid.

Please. please... just shoot me now.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

It was a great Hallowe'en party!

Nikki (Cianchette) Steeves drove up to Machias from Pittsfield with her two adorable (and extraordinarily sweet and well behaved) boys for a special Halloween celebration with my daughter. The two "girls" were schoolmates and have remained close. There was pizza, a scavenger hunt and lots of making scary faces! Cole was a vampire and Drew was The Hulk, but had to forgo his mask because it scared Kiley!

It took him a while to figure out how to get the stem, but Drew did well in the apple dunking contest.

Cole plowed right in and went under - he was a bit tentative about biting, though - he has a loose tooth in the front!

Even my daughter Faye got in on the act!

And here is Kiley's booty: She thought it was much more fun to grab an apple from the water, eat a bit of it and then go for another. Not a bad idea after all....

Friday, October 30, 2009

cranberries galore!

Aren't they beautiful?? I went to a harvest this week and it was so interesting: men and women in waders, waist deep in 47 degree water, and the berries were so beautiful. Berries grown in Maine are three times the size of others and a much darker red...Yummy. I swear I would eat dog poop if it had cranberries in it. My favorite? Cranberry Orange

What a week: a stabbing, a trial for two boys accused of beating some other kids because the other kids are Indians, and a WHOLE bunch of other stuff. I'm not complaining though - some of my dear friends had to literally lock themselves in their homes because there was a manhunt for a killer in their neighborhood...Luckily they caught the guy nonchalantly having a cup of coffee this morning in a nearby restaurant. Clearly looney....

Today and this weekend are likely to be just as hectic. They still haven't found the two missing fishermen and I'm headed back to court today to deal with forgers!!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Here I am ! Thanks for all your kind words....

This is my daughter, Faye, getting a tattoo from Tom - more on that later.

Friday actually was quite special. I was able to turn off and put away my little light in the window that I keep lit for Eric, who has been serving with the Army in Afghanistan. That handsome sergeant left Thursday night for the good old U.S.A.!!! He'll be home soon and I can't wait to get my hands on him!! We thought he wasn't going to be back until between Thanksgiving and Christmas so this is even more special.

In an effort to put that rotten week behind me, my daughter and I went on a shopping day in Ellsworth. No baby, no husband, just the two of us - I think it was the only time we've been just a pair in the 18 months since she had Kiley!

We had a ball - we hit Mardens first: great items!!! I got three new tops and a jacket, two new Halloween decorations and a Halloween book for Kiley that plays creepy sounds and I didn't spend $50!! We then went to Reny's and scored new winter mittens, etc., and some amazing malted milk balls covered with expresso and latte - oh my goddess, they are heavenly! We went to Home Depot and I got that puffy stuff that you seal up cracks with?? Wish me luck, I am attempting to seal the skunk out of my crawlspace tonight. I have already sprinkled flour around the hole so I'll know when he leaves, I have a dozens rocks that I'm going to fill the hole and pile on top and then I'll seal the whole thing with the puffy stuff. I also have a pile of golf balls waiting so that if he returns, I can pelt him and scare him away. If this doesn't work, I'm moving...

Our last stop on the shopping spree was Tom's Terrific Tattoos. I got the crown put on my little girl, officially making her a Queenie, and Faye got a sprinkling of stars that start up high on her shoulder and go to the front. Each star represents a family member and is the color of their birthdstones. It came out beautifully!

It poured on the way home and the wind and rain POUNDED all night but today is gorgeous - we spent much of the morning finishing outside chores to get ready for winter. I smashed my left pointer finger with the hammer - oooooo it is a ghastly shade of black and red - but we got so much done. Now I'm putting the finishing touches on my dinner. Faye and Matt and Kiley are coming over and I'm making a special caramel pudding cake for Matt since he not only let the dog out yesterday while we were gone, but he kept filling my woodstove so the house would be all warm and cozy. Now this is the kind of son-in-law everyone should have!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Can't post tonight. I'm broken hearted.

I spent the day talking to sea urchin fishermen who are mourning the loss of three of their colleagues.

The Bottom Basher sank late yesterday in Cobscook Bay taking three young men with her to the bottom. One body has been recovered.

I am numb as is the entire Down East fishing community. This makes the sixth loss at sea in 11 months.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Quebec is a city full of art!

Even the garage doors are masterpieces - stupendous! Quebecians take advantage of every little space to bring art and beauty into their lives. There were tiny rooftop gardens, little backyard sanctuaries, and the window boxes were extravagant and still in bloom. The old city is enclosed in a wonderful stone wall - this is where the British and French fought with Canada as the prize - and even though the French lost, it is the predominant language. The beauty of the people, their language and their ways makes a visit oh so special.

Their ability to fine beauty everywhere obviously extends to the food - here at a restaurant called Largo - fabulous staff, unbelievable food. This is an olive tartine...

Even a simple Cobb Salad is divinely presented...

A little chocolate shop offered these amazing desserts....

And of course there is art at the Museum of Quebec - this chandelier, made completely of mismatched cups, saucers, dessert plates, candy dishes, etc., all in colored glass strung with fishing wire was so inspiring...

Even a simple door becomes art...

Or a light that represents a sea urchin.

Art, friends, wine - what more could I ask? We had a ball - we walked and ate and visited and laughed. All 11 of us enjoyed the weekend. Even the 4 1/2 hour ride up was entertaining because we had walkie-talkies in the three car caravan. Each evening, exhausted by all the walking up and down the hills of the old city, we gathered in my hotel room. We purchased salami, prosciutto, cheeses, olives, pate, fruit and candy at an amazing French market and then fig bread at a nearby bakery. We talked and laughed until we all began falling asleep.

Over and over this weekend I was struck by how fortunate I was to have this group of friends. They are smart - they are funny - and they are so dear to me. They are kind and caring, students of the world and loyal friends. I will save up each memory of this weekend and hold it close all winter long....