Friday, July 31, 2009

The BRA Auction!!!!

Getting ready today for tomorrow's bra auction ( The works are amazing and the my spirit is high that we will raise a lot of money. Please go to the website and check them out....we have glass, metal, buttons and bows, quilting, painting, feathers and even one with little baby faces that plead: cure this before I get my breasts...

I'll be in court all morning - a bad man is pleading guilty to killing another man with his car, and then heading to Bangor for an editorial board meeting with some reps from a national farmers' organization (I am very suspicious about their intentions in Maine.....I'll keep you posted.)

Then I head to Pittsfield and right into the arms of the GODDESSES....boy I miss my peeps. I'm staying at dear BFF Donna's house and Miss Emma is staying in a new kennel for the first time (Cross your paws THAT goes well...)

Ta Tas for now - I can't wait to tell you all about the auction!!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

All I can say today is AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

I found the most wonderful masseuse - a huge man who found all the nooks and crannies and squashed all my stress, tension and pain away.

He's worth is weight in gold and I will be heading back his way often.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

This is my horrible day:

* Miss Emma woke me at 4 a.m. running and crying at every window in the house because there was a giant skunk, I mean a skunk on steroids, outside my bedroom window.

*They are building an addition on the house next door and they hammer, hammer, hammer ALL day. They are also renovating the house across the street. Ditto on the hammering.

*Thought I had to do two fairly uncomplicated stories this morning and ended up with four - two stressful ones. I still have to work tonight.

*My atm card won't work at the !@#$%@!! credit union here.

*Miss Emma peed on the spare room rug (she is having settling-in-at-the-new-home issues, I think.)

*When I went downtown, I forgot AGAIN to stop at the post office and file for my passport.

*I tripped over my own door sill and fell down getting into my own home. My knee hurts.

*I'm out of Ovaltine.

*A fun boat ride up the Pleasant River was canceled due to fog. I was counting on this to balance everything else out.

*I'm homesick. Really, really homesick. I miss my son Danny and his pregnant wife Amanda. I miss my Goddesses and I can't hear them laugh from here and I can't feel their hugs from here. I miss my cops and my firefighters. I miss the great chicken Ceasar salad at the Mill Pond Pizza joint. I miss sitting with the dog in Manson Park and watching the river flow by. I miss driving on roads that are as familiar to me as my children's voices.

This is a very, very sucky day. And now it is starting to rain. Again.

Monday, July 27, 2009

So I went to this public supper...

and they auctioned off all the desserts. There were cakes and cupcakes and fudge and a gazillion pies. The auctioneer was a beefy fellow, a fisherman wearing a well-worn red long john shirt, with glasses on the end of his nose and a great sense of humor. He knew every single person in that gymnasium.

"What we have here is a gen-you-ine deah meat mincemeat pie,'' he says.

"ooooooooo" goes the crowd.

"15, 15, am I bid 15?'' he begins.

There's a shout from the back of the room: "Does that mincement come from the neck a the deah?''

There's a quick check with the baker, who is busy in the nearby kitchen washing dishes.

"Yes it does, right from the neck,'' he assures the buyers.

The price begins to rise.
"20, 20, 20 dollars?'' the auctioneer asks.

"20 dollars and 62 cents,'' offers one woman, counting out her change on the table.

"22, 22?'' counters the auctioneer.

Another shout from the opposite side of the room: "That isn't road kill, is it?"
Lots of laughter this time.

"No, absolutely not,'' the auctioneer asserts. "I have it on good authority that this here deah was killed on Back Cove Road.''
More hearty laughter.

"25, 25, 25?'' he continues.

"Wait a minute here,'' another voice shouts out. "I need to know if it were a Chevy or a Ford that hit that poor deah!"

The room fills with hoots and hollers and a few men pound their hands on the tables and the pie goes for $40. And one of the cakes goes for $40. And even six little chocolate cupcakes bring $40.

People in this poor, small fishing village, spent $40 for a cake they could make for $3.50, all to help a neighbor who had lost his home to a fire.

My right hand to God, every word of this is true. And I am swelled with pride for these people and how they care for each other.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Paradise....that's what it is.

I worked this weekend. This is my view at one of the jobs. I still can't believe I get paid to work in Paradise.

Open Farm Day was Sunday - did you visit a local farmer? That's where I was - this is Tide Mill Farm, a ninth-generation family farm that grows organic meat, vegetables and milk. The farm is on Cobscook Bay in the tiny town of Edmunds. The farm is at the site of a tide-powered grist mill (now long gone - only the grinding wheel is left) that was built in 1765 by a Scottish immigrant who was shone the magical spot by a Passamaquoddy Indian. Today the farm is home to six families decended from that Scotman. The farm sits on 1600 acres of mostly forest with more than six miles of shoreline.

That's all. Just spectacular.
I can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I'm finally making new friends here...These two came to visit today, along with the sun FINALLY!

My dear friend Sue was right - the finches came back as soon as the rain stopped. This little beauty stood sentinel while all his "women" filled up on thistle seed.

Of course the squirrel - whom I have named Harold - is stealing the bird food. But he's cute to watch too. He is really funny - he attacked a seed bell by hanging upside down and then dropped to the ground to get the little bits he spilled. He hasn't bothered the feeders - just the bell. It's nice to see him high and dry, though. Everytime I have seen him in the past month he has been soaking wet...poor little Harold.

Anyway, a new friend - actually I haven't even met her yet (only talked to her a few times on the phone) - has invited me to go to a benefit supper with her in Lubec. This is for a family who lost all to fire so it is a great cause.
Kind of fun to go on a "blind date" so to speak - I wonder if we'll hit it off? Will we dislike each other from the first moment? Will I want to toss her out of the car half way there? Or will she not like me so much that the entire return trip will be in silence?
We'll seeeeeeeee!

Kiley learned the words boo boo today. My poor daughter was bitten by her cat this morning and spent a couple of hours in the emergency room. The cat has been unwell for two weeks and doesn't seem to be getting better. He has an abscess on his belly and has been on some heavy duty drugs. She was cleaning today and went to pick him up and he bit her right hand. He locked his jaws and wouldn't let go. She - who loves her cats more than anything - was forced to hit the cat against the wall to release his bite! Her hand is mauled and such a mess, all swollen. The x-rays showed no broken bones but she'll be on antibiotics herself for days and I'm afraid it will get worse before it gets better. Cat bites are notorious for infection.

On Monday, I would expect the cat to "take a ride to a nice farm in the country" so to speak.

Friday, July 24, 2009

What's wrong with these pictures?

First here are my bird feeders - notice there are no birds. Notice the wet trees, wet grass, wet birdfeeders.

Notice my poor trike, abandoned in a puddle, drenched.

And notice there is a fire in my woodstove ON THE 24TH OF JULY FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!


Thursday, July 23, 2009

There was a war here yesterday.

Not a lobster war, as in other places on the Maine coast.

It was a war between (and here you can pretend I'm talking low and loud into a microphone hanging from the ceiling) The Goldfinches in the left corner, and The Chickadees on the right.

It was a turf war. All fought over one little bird feeder. The Chickadees, I might add, were definitely here first - flying back and forth, enjoying the seeds - when this gang of Finches, wearing their colors - yellow and black - suddenly swooped in from the south. It was an all out attack and when the screaming and yelling and swooping and pecking was done, the Finches had claimed the bird feeder.

They swarmed over it and after about three seconds determined it didn't contain the kinds of seeds they like. They left as fast as they came. Leaving the poor little Chickadees defeated but with plenty of bragging rights.

So of course today I ran to four different stores (ha ha you didn't think we had FOUR stores in Machias, now did you?) and bought three more feeders, a double shepherd's crook and a thistle sock. They are all installed outside my window and although I've been here for hours, I haven't seem one damn bird. Not even a feather. Nothing. Nada.

So much for trying to orchestrate world piece.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I'm off to prison today.

But first, the obligatory Kiley picture - finally enough hair for a barrette - barely. She's 15 months old now and still no hair. Couldn't you just smooosh that sweet little face! Of course her mother reported that she kept it in for all of 15 seconds.

So I'm going to prison.
Not a good place for a claustrophobic.
Well, not actually a claustrophobic - I just have to be able to see the way out. Sometimes just a window will do or a shaft of light from an entrance. I'll be sweating bullets, you know I will.

I'm interviewing a young man who is addicted to prescription drugs - the drug of choice here in rural Washington County. It's for a series that three of us reporters are working on. It will examine the overall drug problems in Maine and then contrast rural vs. urban. There are some very scary statistics out there!

Think of me in my "cell" today - and you know I will head right for the beach - even though it is raining - just to clear my soul afterwards.

Monday, July 20, 2009

How can I compete with a tractor trailer???

So I meet this lovely man - born in South Africa so he has that beautiful lilting British accent - at a food co-op in town for an interview about his pet project.

He's fuming.

He has been stood up by a previous appointment (who, I might add, got my man to MOVE his interview with me) and he waited inside the co-op for two hours. This is not a good way to start an interview.

However, he suggests we go somewhere else as he is sick of sitting in this place and so we step outside.

And there we are presented with a lovely set of iron chairs and a table, gracing the sidewalk. A little lawn rolls off to the left and on the store are some extremely pretty window boxes with Gerber daisies in plum and poppy and carrot orange, offset by waterfalls of deep purple lobelia. Very lovely.

So he says, "Oh. Let's sit here." And we do.
And he begins to talk and not 300 feet behind him is U.S. Route 1.
Yes, THAT U.S. Route 1.
The one that goes from the border with Canada to the Keys of Florida.
Today, it is carrying every tractor trailer on the eastern seaboard and I can't hear a word this sweet man is saying.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Finally the sun and a beach day for us all! We found stuff...

Kiley found the water! She is a beach rat and loves it - we were at Roque Bluffs, a wonderful state park right on the ocean, and surprisingly the water was was low tide and there was a wonderful sandbar where we played.

Then she found seaweed - the wind was blowing and she ran up and down the sand pretending it was a kite. "Go ! Go !" she shouted as she ran.

Then she found her sunglasses in her beach bag. This clearly helped her see the bunches of little rocks that she picked up and carried everywhere.

And of course there was the wildlife! She found a snail, pulled him off his rock and then put him back on - upside down. She saw crabs, clams, some little crayfish that might have been tiny shrimp, and of course, the sea gulls.

To see the ocean and beach through the eyes of a child is a wonder all over again. I think we might have to go back tomorrow afternoon!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Salmon, fog and extremely good company....

Went to Lubec today - driving in fog the whole way - to interview two amazing photographers - a husband and wife - who have collaborated on a new book about Venice. They live on Cobscook Bay in a beautiful house with weathered shingles and amazing gardens all around - not manicured city gardens. Winding paths, little benches, a bowl for water, birdhouses. Nearby was a lovely guest house for when visitors come. Two cats waited by the door: one the color of vanilla ice cream and the other a soft grey with lime green eyes. We had pate and wafer thin slices of smoked salmon and goat cheese and hearty bread and homemade potato salad and good red wine followed by lemon-soaked pound cake and tea.

They were beyond charming. His work has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and hers hangs in museums.
So, as we lingered at the lunch table, we talked about Venice and newspapers and John Glenn and raising sons and what a joy granddaughters are....I toured their home so they could show off their photographs of a church tent revival and wardens tagging a hibernating bear and a beached whale on a foggy beach and I almost swooned with envy because they have a real, honest to goddess DIVING SUIT hanging over their bed.

They call him Richard.

And then we began talking about their book and Venice.
What does that have to do with Maine? I asked them.
Everything, they said. Look out the window. The beauty, the fog, the history. It's all the same, they said .... well, I was thinking, not quite.
Look at today's picture, a picture I made nearby the photographer's beautiful coastal home.
What you see here is aa typical Down East yard: fog shrouded garage, lobster pots everywhere and a boat. A very large boat. On dry land.
No canals. No men in little striped shirts singing gondola songs wearing tiny little hats.
Not here, no - here we have hearty fishers in high rubber boots with yellow waterproof overalls and flannel shirts. With deeply tanned and lined faces and hair bleached blonde by the sun and salt of the sea. With arms the size of logs and deep laughs and boats in their front yard and colored ropes coiled by the back steps and piles and piles of brightly painted buoys by the driveway.

And this is the mystery for me, what I can't figure out in the month that I've been here: Why are all the boats in the front yards and not in the water?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

It was skunk'n time last night!

Right at dusk I let Emma-the-dog-that-hates-water outside and expected her to hover right around the back door - she usually does. Instead she hot footed it around the corner of the house. I followed, calling her, when she suddenly came streaking back to me at 121 miles per hour, every hair on her back standing up straight.

I picked her up and that was when it hit me:

SKUNK !!!!!

TWO baths later and cream rinse for her, a full load of laundry for me (since I picked her up and it was all over me - a fact politely pointed out to me by my kids next door who sent me packing when they got a whiff), and a shower and shampoo in tomato juice for me, and I think we smelled a lot better. Of course, the scent of skunk hung so heavy in the air that I couldn't tell if it was me or the atmosphere. The "incident" happened just outside my bedroom window (of course) so the smell even woke me up several times in the night.

The perfume is still so heavy in the air this morning that I have scented candles burning everywhere. So now my house smells like: cider vanilla, juice of orange, creamsicle, clean linen, and eau de skunk.

Today I'm teaching Emma to use the potty.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

wild blueberries - amazing!

I went to the wild blueberry field day today at Blueberry Hill, the University of Maine research center in Jonesboro, and among many other things scored some fabulous blueberry recipes. I was promised that this one was one of the best (I won't get to make it until Sunday) so I'm sharing it with you:

Chicken Sate with Wild Blueberry Peanut Butter Sauce

3 T. grated fresh ginger
1 shallot or 1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1 t. olive oil
6 oz. water
3 T. crunchy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups frozen wild blueberries
1 t. cornstarch
1/2 t. salt

Heat oil and briefly saute ginger and shallot. Add water and peanut butter over medium heat and whisk together. Add frozen berries. Mix small amount of water in the cornstarch and add to berry/nut sauce. Bring to a boil and then simmer for three minutes.

2 double chicken breasts
1 T. olive oil
salt and pepper
wooden skewers

Cut the chicken breasts filets lengthwise into thin strips. Flavor with salt and pepper. Put the strips in an accordion manner onto a lightly oiled skewer. Heat oil in deep fry pan and cook the skewers on each side for three minutes or until done.

Serve with the blueberry sauce. Serves four.

More recipes can be found at

ENJOY! and if you try it, let me know how it was!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fairpoint finally found me....sort of.

The man with the truck and the know-how arrived this afternoon. Took him 10 minutes and he had my two phone lines hooked up. But - and I love how half-assed this is - no Internet. He has to put in an order.

PUT IN AN ORDER ?!$%????!#&***@???????????

e put in an order six weeks ago............................................still have to pirate the signal from next door.

Monday, July 13, 2009

4:22 p.m. Fairpoint is lost. Their headquarters just called for directions.

This is the funny part: I told them the end of Water Street. Instead, they wanted the phone number of someone on my street. Do you suppose that helped?

4:02 p.m. No Fairpoint in sight.

2:28 p.m. Still no Fairpoint.

1:37 p.m. No Fairpoint yet.

Today I wait for Fairpoint...

It has been SIX weeks since the work order was first put in for a land line and Internet service here in my office at Sweet Pea Cabin. It is now 11:19 a.m. Let's just see how long it takes them to find me.....

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The fabulous chairs was an overwhelming success!

There were 18 chairs in all - all either donated by Walpole Woodworkers or sold to sponsoring businesses at cost - What a generous, giving company, especially in this economy! This first chair was painted by Jim Hammond who patterned it after an Icelandic jacket that his late daughter had as a child. Jim's chair is displayed in front of the salon where his daughter worked.
This one is a lady going to the local Egg Festival by Pam Peltier Dickinson of Detroit. All the chairs gathered Friday night for wine and cheese and schmoozing. Many of the artists had not met each other so it was really a great time! Pam's chair is in front of the town office.
This is Connie LaGross's chair - which fittingly is at the town's library! so special...
Glass artist Alyssa Oxley did up this beautiful pastel chair - it's at Mill Pond Pizza.
This one is by Jill Schwartz, the art teacher at Maine Central Institute, our local high school. It is at Bud's Shop 'n Save.
My good buddy Hazel Mitchell's chair is none other than Humpty himself! It is also at Mill Pond Pizza.

Bonnie Mitchell took an old photograph of the original Peltoma Bridge and rendered it in black and white....what a history lesson. It is at the town office at the special request of the town manager.
And here is Russ Cox's creature - we put it at the library so the children could sit right in its mouth!
What a group of talented people, right?
I started this community art project as a goodbye gift to the people of Pittsfield after working there for 23 years as their reporter. The project is called "Get Comfortable In Pittsfield,'' which is just what I did and I hope people will use the chairs to also get comfy there! They were a gift to the town and in the fall, the council will hold a silent auction and the highest bidder for each chair gets to keep it - the proceeds will benefit the chair replacement fund at the community owned theater.

Aren't they spectacular....aren't I lucky to know or get to meet such creative, artistic and generous people??? This project turned out to be a real gift for me, to get to see the spirit of the town, the companies that sponsored the chairs and the artists that brought them to life.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

One more day of rain....that's all I can stand.

This is my poor bird bath, getting pummeled by rain - big rain. Do you see the size of those drops???? And notice that the columbine has gone beserk with all the wetness and is trying to drown itself...Even a rock has thrown itself into the water in despair.

29 days of rain in June.
rain every day so far in July.
eye yi yi.

Everything here is so wet - the rugs are wet, the towels won't dry, what hasn't rotted in the garden is stunted from lack of sun and heat, the doors won't open and if you get them open, they won't close. There is mold in the shower - attacked daily but it grows back in minutes.
There was a murder of crows in my back yard this morning and they were brazenly walking and eating - a slug was every two inches, an entire yard for a buffet.
I washed a scatter rug and it took four days to dry on the clothesline and even then, I had to finish drying it over the back of a kitchen chair.
And if I hear one more joke about building an ark....

Last Saturday night a brilliant moon peeked out for six minutes. My friends that were visiting from P'field and I jumped in the car and drove 8 miles to the beach, hoping for a view of the sea by moonlight. By the time we got there, it was raining again and we had to settle for a peek by the light of Donna's mini-flashlight. (It amazes me how prepared for everything Donna is. Need a Band Aid? She pulls one out. How about hand sanitizer? Coming right up. A bologna sandwich or a refreshing beverage? No problem.)

Yesterday it was 52 degrees in Eastport and the wind was howling off the bay so hard that I thought it would blow the hairs off my head. I built a fire in my woodstove when I got home but nearly killed myself out getting some wood because my deck is so wet that it is now covered with a fine layer of mossy mold and has become a 24-foot Slip 'N Slide.

I have had it. I'm ready to do a sun dance naked on the top of Cadillac Mountain if it will only stop. And believe me, no one - including the sun - wants to see that. I think when the rain finally stops, thousands of Mainers are going to believe they have suddenly gone drips on the metal air conditioner housing, no rumble through the gutter pipes, no hiss from the roadway traffic, no shhhhhhh from the leaves on the trees.

And then we will finally be able to hear it - it's coming closer, louder, nearly on top of us now:

The Drone of the Mosquitoes.

Finally I slept...

I have been having some sleep issues here in Paradise. Sweet Pea Cabin is dark and cozy at night, the window by my bed is always open and if it is not the sound of rain lulling me to sleep, it is the sound of the Machias River through the woods....sometimes I can hear night birds calling too.

So, it's not the setting and it is the setting. I think since the job is unchartered territory for me here, I'm being hypervigilant and I just can't shut it all off when I go to sleep. I think: did I call Calais today? Have I checked with the Machias cops? When is the next

Yesterday, I awoke at 2:30 a.m. Wide awake. Of course it didn't help that the Coast Guard shouted out a bulletin about a disabled ship every 15 minutes.....I was so used to the sounds that my old scanner made that it never woke me unless it was important. My brain even filtered out the useless stuff and could kick in only when a dispatcher or cop's voice sounded a bit urgent. But here, it is all new: the voices, the sounds, the call numbers. And even though it is far less busy here, with lots of empty air time, that scanner is driving me cuckoo.

Washington County is the size of Delaware and Rhode Island put together. That is a lot of territory for one person.....I think I'm just going to have to accept that I can't do it all and just do the best I can. Knowing me, however, that is a lot easier said than done.

Last night, though, I really slept. I was sacked out by 10 and didn't wake until 6:30....a solid, hearty night of sleep. Thank goodness. Today the kids and baby leave for a little trip to Portland so I will really have a quiet night (no playing tag before bed, no splash fests at bath time, no more little feet coming to visit me in the office for the next five days) I'm also leaving on Friday - headed back to Pittsfield for a special project (pictures will follow soon!) and a much needed visit with friends. Dominoes, laughter and hugs all await!

Let's hope I can sleep in my son's guest room!

P.S. Yesterday I stopped in The Commons in Eastport (a don't miss for anyone traveling up there) and while I was looking around at the extraordinary art work for sale, I found two handmade bowls created by my dear friend Renata. It was like a hug from home - I could have cried. Sometimes those little touchstones in the midst of a lost day can really work...

Monday, July 6, 2009

What did I do when the interviewee lit up a cig and popped the top on a PBR?

I smiled.
I said, sure, it was okay. After all, it's your business.
And I took a shower as soon as I got home!
That was the bad part of the day.
But then I thought about where I was......see above and below. And I smiled for real this time.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I'm back! Did you miss me? Here's what I've been up to...

First - here is the anchor that I ran over in South Addison Harbor. Scraped up the fender. Tire okay. The entire anchor was 22 feet long - how did I miss that, anyway?????

Look! It's Janet, Marian and Donna at Quoddy Head Light - I had my first summer company this weekend. This intrepid trio came up late Saturday, we had a big dinner and a bit of a slumber party and then Sunday hit the road for Lubec. We did the lighthouse, visited some art galleries, watched children hold relay races carrying a 20 pound salmon (Could I make this stuff up?), walked on the beach and had a dinner out. We came back to Sweet Pea Cabin for blueberry pie and then they left......suddenly Sweet Pea is so very, very quiet!

This is the entrance to one of the beaches at Lubec - the Rugosa roses are all in bloom and the air is heavy with their scent.

Janet and Donna scanned the Lubec harbor for seals and eagles (or were they looking across the water for hot Canadian men???) while the remants of a dory and a lobster pot are trapped in the seaweed at low tide.

Yup - that's a dead old salmon in his arms. I told ya.

Good food, good laughter, good friends. Add a beach, a lighthouse, and the scent of wild roses.
It doesn't get much better, does it?