Saturday, June 27, 2009


Here are the bride, Cassie, and the groom, my nephew David. For their first dance they sang the love song from Moulin Rouge and she sang the girl's part to him and he sang the boy's part to her - as far as those two were concerned, there was no one else in the room. So romantic!! It was a fun, lovely wedding - lots of dancing, laughter and surprises. Cassie is a swim instructor at a huge YMCA in Connecticut, and Dave is a swimming and diving coach at Central Connecticut State College. They recently bought a home and have spent most of the winter and spring renovating and doing a spectacular job! They are just wonderful people!

For the past two days, Blogger wouldn't let me in to download these pics - sorry for the delay!

This is my daughter-in-law Amanda and my daughter Faye watching that incredible first dance at the wedding.
Isn't she just such a beautiful bride?

Things here are chaotic!! I relocated on Tuesday and have worked my arsky off every day since. Work had to come first so you can imagine the looks of the house - even though I'm working this weekend, it will be at a slower pace than the last three days so I should start putting things in order. My son-in-law is getting the washer/dryer/air conditioners out of my office today so I can start straightening there. This will be a much needed improvement! I don't know about you, but I need my work space neat and in place before I can work. If not, my thoughts are all jumbled!

I haven't had a chance to enjoy the coast because it has rained every day and today we are completely socked in by fog. Is this almost July??? I had to wear a jacket last night and this a.m. I have a sweatshirt on! I will say that all this dampness has my flowers positively exploding - for first year growth they are truly impressive! But inside the house, I can't open some doors and can't close others. The deck is so damp that moss has started to grow on it!

The other bad thing is that FAIRPOINT - the spawn of the devil - still can't find my house. I'm pirating the Internet from my son-in-law next door. I have no Internet, fax or land line for work. urg.... Let's hope next week brings the sun and the Fairpoint service man!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The good ( ?), the bad and the just plain ugly.....

My sons Russell and Daniel - now known as The Blue Brothers - think that my brother Christopher is the funniest person on earth. Apparently, from these expressions, he is. We had a great time at the wedding and I'm only sharing the worst pictures....The pretty ones will come tomorrow. No - there wasn't a two-for-one sale; Danny lives in Maine and Russ lives in New Jersey so the twin blue shirts was a pure coincidence.
This the Y of YMCA - too bad everyone forgot how to spell it after this.....
My daughter Faye was apparently suffering from a bit of gas...
And my little sister Robin, Mother of the Groom, was thoroughly disgusted that she forgot her breasts.
And here is the final bonus: My grandson James and the Amazing Tower Of Onion Rings. James - 0, Onion Rings - 1.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Today I leave my beloved Pittsfield.

Well, this is it...Today I leave for the family wedding in
Connecticut. At first I looked at this as if it were the worst of
timings - I finish today in Pittsfield (You should see my car -
I look like a homeless person who now lives in her
Chevrolet) and start work Tuesday in Machias. But now I am
hoping for a respite, four days to breathe. I'll get to hug
brothers and sisters, love my sons to bits and take my
grandsons to the movies.

It is also absolutely amazing that a mini-reunion has been
set up for Saturday in CT. During my pre and teenage years,
I was a member of the Windsor Locks Cavaliers, a color
guard extraordinaire!

We marched all summer with the drum and bugle corps, but
in the winter we competed on our own with dozens of other
color guard drill teams and we were good, really good - for
many years we were the reigning New England champions.

I started off at about 10 years old as a rifle. Was promoted
to flag (whipping them around took some strength!) and
eventually got my saber! I KNOW - you are quaking in your
boots at the thought of me whirling around a sword. You
should be, too.

Oh the stories from those days: mooning a car load of nuns
from the back of Joyce Asselin's father's station wagon;
learning to smoke from a very hot bugle player; stabbing
captain Terry O-Donnell just under her eye with my saber;
spinning that same saber but losing control until it flew
through a closed window on the second floor of the practice
hall and ended up spearing the lawn - just feet from the
sidewalk; being able to throw myself completely into an
activity that for just a while, enabled me to forget a
miserable home life. This was my teenage sanctuary.

Whenever I hear a song with a terrific beat (some of the
new hip hop stuff has actual snare drumming) I cannot help
but march around the house. I still remember the counts
from our last drill: 12 forward, turn right, eight
forward...and don't even get me started on the movie
"Drum Line."
Today this type of activity might be thought a bit nerdy. But back in the early 60s, we were the absolute coolest - walking the halls of the high school with our Cavaliers' jackets...we were hot!

Ten of us are meeting for lunch Saturday - can you imagine?
We have not seen each other in 40 years! I'll definitely be
posting pictures for you...

Between the wedding, the reunion and the move, posting
here may be sporadic for the next few days. Forgive me - I
will be having the time of my life crying and laughing all over the place!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Two new paintings are headed to their new homes.

The first is a pair - a journey from the owners' home (bottom left) in Pittsfield, to their camp on Unity pond. This one was lots of fun - the dancing trees and the oversized daisies give it plenty of movement and each of the buildings has special meaning for the owners. My patron is picking it up tomorrow - I hope she likes it too!
And then there is "Forget-Me-Not, Trudy,'' a gift of a bouquet of forget-me-nots for my BFF Trudy. I'll give it to her before I leave for my new home.....I KNOW she'll never forget me, silly, it's symbolic of course!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

We had a "Not Going Away Party"

There was of course the most amazing food - plus veggies, meat on the grill and lots of good wine!
And the dearest friends anyone could have....
We gathered all evening, it wasn't maudlin. I made no speeches. No one cried - we would hug and say, not goodbye, but see you soon.
We ate and drank and had a delightful carrot cake baked by Karen (how fabulous!) I was given a Home Depot gift certificate to continue remodeling Sweet Pea Cabin. Midway through the evening I felt a hand on my shoulder and there stood Dustin! My BFF Trudy's son who has been in France this semester! What a surprise and a beautiful sight!
Nearly the last to leave was Trudy and we didn't want to let go of each other but we managed to keep it all together.
Four more days and then a family wedding and then I'm in Machias. This is getting kind of scary.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thanks for all your kind words...Miss Emma is well.

Just like someone flipped a switch, all symptoms are gone. She's still a bit tired but recovery is here! When I got back to Pittsfield yesterday, I built a big fire in the fireplace and she curled up on her pillow and cooked herself well. Snored like a jet plane. Farted to beat the band. But didn't choke, didn't reverse sneeze and didn't chew her little feet. WAHOO! Crisis passed.

Thanks to all the kind words about my vet experience...I've decided to make an appointment with the vet once I'm settled in Machias, update her on Miss Emma's allergies and reactions, and tell her what happened when I sought treatment last week at HER clinic. I want a GUARANTEE from her that if I come running in with a dog in distress, that dog WILL be treated. I won't settle for anything less.

I really didn't need that mess on top of everything else. I'm like a split personality right now:
I have one foot in Machias and the other in Pittsfield - trying to think in two places. My brain is scrambled eggs and I feel like I'm not accomplishing much in either place. 12 more days and I'm permanently in Machias. I hope things settle down then. But of course you know the rub: that's just 12 more days of saying goodbye down here. Actually only 7, because I head out of state for a wedding before I make the final step to Machias. How about this for a schedule: next Thursday - I work in Pittsfield; Friday through Sunday - I visit family in Connecticut; Monday - I come back to Pittsfield; Tuesday - I leave for the last time for Machias. Who's on first? Who's on second? Where did I pack my underwear?

Meanwhile, the best thing that happened today was meeting my friend Hazel for lunch and having a great dish of shepherd's pie. I loves me some shepherd's pie. And I loves me Hazel too.

Hazel and I have made a swap: she's going to watch Emma while I go to my nephew's wedding, and in return I will stay at her house and watch her dogs and her horses when she and Mike want to get away. Isn't that a great deal? Maybe I'll make her a shepherd's pie and leave it in her refrig as a little surprise!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I am shocked at the treatment we didn't receive...

Miss Emma has been in the throes of an allergy attack for two days. I have been dosing her with children's Benadryl (per my vet's advice) but yesterday afternoon I felt this choking and breathing problem had gone on long enough.

I had my daughter call HER vet - since I'm up here in Machias and 2 1/2 hours away from my beloved vet - and she explained the situation and the breathing problems and how Emma should get a steroid shot asap. The vet's asst. said she needed to see the dog right away.

We drove lickety split to the vet and were told WE HAD NO APPOINTMENT!!!!
We said it was an emergency.
We said there was difficulty breathing.
We said the dog was clearly in distress.

Sorry, the vet tech said - with a smirk, I might add - you don't have an appointment.
Drive to Brewer, we were advised, which has an emergency clinic, because this vet had no time for non-appointees.
Brewer, by the way, is about two hours away.

If the dog had been hit by a car, would the treatment have been the same?
If she had STOPPED breathing, would the treatment have been the same?

To put your mind to ease, we dosed her with a higher level of benadryl and she seems to be breathing much better. (Since there is no other vet up here our options were limited. I will be home in Pittsfield tomorrow and take her to MY vet for a shot.)

You can see that since I am moving here, and this is the only vet for hours, I am beyond thrilled at this lack of care......what to do. what to do. I think I will be dropping the vet a note, explain what happened and ask if this is the kind of treatment I can expect for Miss Emma if I choose her as my vet....and I will still be exploring other options.

My heart is heavy today.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sea Cup - Lili's amazing entry in the Bra Project

This certainly speaks for itself - inspired, inspiring and just plain gorgeous! This is Fearless Nesting's entry in the Bra Project. She titled it Sea Cup and added this little script:

Adrift and lost, amidst sea creatures and Mermaid tears,
I return,
washing up on shore at your feet.
You are the one that can help save me.
You are my cure.

Everything she used was found on the beach of her seaside home in Maine. Just superb.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Of carnivals and shadows and Lili by the sea -

The Amazing Kiley rode on a mini-train today at a small carnival in Machias with her friend Faye-bulous, and then got to go in the bouncy house and down a big puffy slide. But it was nothing compared to the joy she found when she discovered her shadow....At first she was a bit concerned that it kept following her, but she quickly decided she had found a new friend. She ran all over that parking lot, clapping her hands and squealing! Look at those turquoise socks....what a sense of style that girl has!

Yesterday, on the way to Machias, I stopped at Fearless Nester's (a faithful reader of my blog whom I had NEVER met before - please go visit her blog and see her amazing Raku pottery) to pick up her bra for the breast cancer auction. I'll post a picture tomorrow - you are going to be amazed and awed!
This sweet new FRIEND baked a banana cream pie (oh my goddess it was spectacular) and we toured her beautiful home and gardens by the sea. We talked and laughed and the visit was much too short so we are going to have to do it again really soon! It was so great to meet you Lili - and thanks a million for the tip on the antique shop in Dexter!

I spent much of today gardening (I planted a bleeding heart given to me by my dear friend Sue - "every liberal needs one,'' she said) and put a whole bunch of lobster compost and cow manure around the gardens. All that rain last week has everything looking so lush - there are 42 blooms on my begonia - all peachy and beautiful. I was going to say there were 27 blooms but I thought maybe I was exaggerating (who me?) and so I just got up and went outside and counted them. so pretty.
I also spent a bunch of time getting my office in order. It is all set - just waiting now for Fairpoint to get off their and hook up my phones and Internet. Luckily I can pirate a wireless signal for a while from my daughter's house next door....

My desk(another gift from the Stunning Sue) is right in front of two large windows that look out into the woods. There is a small section of lawn right under the window and I plan on making this a bird station with bird houses, bird feeders, bird baths, bird carnivals....whatever will attract them and make them happy. Wait! Wait! How about a bird spa for the ladies and a bird dude ranch for the gentlemen...or space camp. I could even create a mini-McDonalds, complete with a fly-through window for their Egg McMuffin in the morning. (OH MY GODDESS!!! EGG McMuffin??? What was I thinking?)

Any ideas for bird feeders or feeding suggestions will be much appreciated!! Right now I have just one feeder, in the back yard, and although the chickadees came last fall, the only thing I seem to consistently attract is crows!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I never could keep those boys from climbing on things.

It's my beautiful Eric - standing proudly atop one of his helicopters in Afghanistan. I mean, really, couldn't he have just stood by the door or posed in front of the nose or even peeked out from underneath?
Considering all the crazy stunts he pulled in the past (canoeing the Allagash in APRIL???? at just 17??!) I'm surprised he didn't tether himself to one of the propellers and go for a spin.

Ooops. I may have just given him a new idea.
Prayers and love, my sweet Eric. Stay safe and Christmas cannot come fast enough!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The move is official!

I will be leaving The Mansion and heading Downeast to my Sweet Pea Cabin before the end of the month!

I am replacing the Calais, Maine, reporter, who is retiring, and starting a Washington County Bureau in Machias - all for the same paper that I have worked for these past 23 years - the Bangor Daily News.

I'll be working right from my home...just think, if a winter storm rumbles in, I can report the news in my pajamas. Miss Emma can sleep at my feet as I work and the Amazing Kiley can toddle over for a pb&j! And before I have to write about mischief and mayhem, I can take a pit stop on the beach and sit for a while.......heaven....

We are moving the office itself this Friday and I will be up there getting acquainted with officials and meeting with my new editor on Tuesday. Then I head back to Pittsfield, work for the next two weeks, cry my way through a good-bye party (which my friends are calling the "I'm not saying goodbye" party, and go to Connecticut for my nephew (the superior swimming/diving coach) and his beloved Cassie's wedding.

My last day of work in Pittsfield will be the 18th and by the 23rd, I'll be writing from Machias. I'll be a bit schizophrenic for a while since I will be covering some things in Pittsfield via phone and email until they replace me.

I am so excited: how challenging is this to explore new territory, meet so many new people and gather such new stories. All with my family next door!! It will be invigorating and I'm sure it will shake me out of my comfort zone...Sweet Pea Cabin here I come!

The downside is saying goodbye: the fire department in Pittsfield recently invited me to their annual supper and gave me a plaque and a standing ovation for chasing them around for more than 20 years. I told them it was my HONOR and they are my HEROES, and I meant it. The work goodbyes are hard - these are some of the finest people to work with. They have opened their homes, their offices and their hearts to me. So I'm saying goodbye to them:

"For the past 23 years, I have served as your local reporter
for the Bangor Daily News. As I prepare to relocate to
Machias and new writing and life adventures there, I want to
thank the thousands of people that I encountered while

To the troopers, police officers, deputies, firefighters, EMTs
and rescue personnel: my admiration for the heroic work
you do knows know bounds. For the many times you let me
tromp through fire scenes, get too close at accidents and
provided me with critical information, I thank you.

To the town managers, council and select persons, state
legislators and town clerks: I could not have done my job
well without your cooperation and assistance. For the
unselfish dedication you have shown while serving your
fellow citizens, I thank you.

To the farmers and others in Maine's agriculture community
who have let me wander through your barns, welcomed me
into your kitchens and walked me through your fields, I
thank you. You are the heart and soul of Maine and your
work often goes unnoticed and unrewarded.

To all the artisans, craftspeople, business leaders, and just
plain people next door, I am so grateful that you let me into
your lives and allowed me to share your joys, your sorrows,
your successes and your work. It has been my pleasure to
tell your stories.

To all of you that called with information, tips and story
ideas, you were my backbone and I thank you.

It has been my great honor to have written the history of
Central Maine for the past two decades and tell the
remarkable stories of the people who live and pass through
here. I hope I have treated you fairly and have adequately
represented the amazing people that live here. There will
always been a large part of my heart running up and down
the back roads of Pittsfield, Detroit, Burnham, Skowhegan,
Newport, St. Albans, Hartland, Canaan, Corinna, Plymouth
and Palmyra - and beyond. I will sincerely miss working side
by side with many of you.''

But the goodbyes to all my friends - my dear ones - I cannot put that into words.

Just tears. Lots of tears.