Sunday, August 30, 2009

Vacation Day #7:

She's back!! After careful consideration, listening to all your comments and talking it over with my daughter and son-in-law, I've decided to keep posting Kiley here for a while longer. After all, that is the entire reason I began the blog - to share photos of my life, and girl oh girl is she a big part of my life. As I write this, the cutie patootie is sleeping in my room while her mommy and daddy have a "private afternoon" away. When she wakes up, we are going to bake cookies and have supper ready when her parents return. FUN!! Here she is at the school playground - I painted for part of the day and then spent a wonderful hour at the swings and slides.

She is absolutely fearless! She dives down the curly slide HEADFIRST! She has a fit if you stand next the slide - she wants NO help!

Miss Independent - at 15 months.... yikes... we are in for trouble....

The bubble was confusing - she expected it to be flat and couldn't figure out the curve!
What a fun afternoon...peaceful, full of laughter....

And then I continued my house renovations....I am so achy....I'm painting and plastering in the guest room. STILL waiting for the first coat of white to dry in my room (Thank you very much, Tropical Storm Danny for all the humidity)

It'll get done and you will LOVE IT... But, if the sun comes out again, I DO have my priorities straight - I'm headed straight for the beach and painting be damned...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Vacation Day #5 and 6:

5 was back breaking!!! I spent hours with an ice chipper removing the tiles from my bedroom floor....some popped right off, others shattered. These are the most brittle tiles I've ever seen - not to mention they are the dark mustard color of calf poop.

Anyway, I scraped them all off, cleaned up the mess and prepped the floor. I am sleeping on one side of the room and am doing 1/2 at a time.

My arms feel like jello .... and my shoulders feel like they have been popped out of their sockets! After supper, I went with Matt and Faye to take Kiley to a nearby playground. I couldn't even pick her up to put her on the slide!

6 was worse...I can barely move my arms this morning. Faye and I took Kiley out to breakfast at Helen's (which, I must say, is not the Helen's everyone remembers except for the pie - the 10'' high pie slices are still there! It is going quite upscale and hoity toity. A hamburger cost me $9 last week.)
Anyway, when I came home I put the first coat of the paint on. No excitement here, except it looks really clean. The base is going to be pure white. When the white is all done, I'm painting some wide stripes of a very light green (sort of a lime green). The walls are navy blue and light blue - the furniture is natural wood and my dresser is teal with green showing through. The artwork in the room is in very beachy colors (the lime, blues, teals) so the stripes will definitely pick up those colors. The bedding is white. Seriously, it'll look good - I'll show you with pictures! And the best part is that once the floor is done, at least one room in this house will finally be completed!!! Then I tackle the guest room: plastering, putting up molding, painting and new just never ends.

This afternoon I head to Bangor and the American Folk Festival. I'm meeting five of my dearest friends there for supper and fantabulous music!!! I'm thinking I'll have to drive with my knees and give my poor wrecked arms a break. See you there!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Vacation Day #4 -

I'm so bored I could croak....stacked wood for HOURS Tuesday, cleaned the house, made a kick-ass batch of barbecue sauce and snuck an interview for a story in. My justification: it's important. I don't care that I'm on vacation. News doesn't stop.

This story is about the dike, or causeway, on Rt. 1 in downtown Machias. The dike travels from White's Point to Potato Point and is very wide. There is the salt water of Machias Bay on the south side and fresh water of the Middle River on the north.
It has become a carnival of vendors on weekends - sea glass, fresh fish and clams, handmade bird baths, the farmers' market, antiques and junk....Many people sit in their cars and watch the tides change, enjoy the sunrise or sunset and their brilliance, or just visit with each other.
It is a place of commerce and socialization.

But the dike is much more than that - underneath, in concrete bunkers, are tidal gates, or flappers. They swing open when the tide is low and let the river empty into the bay. But then they swing closed at high tide to keep the salt water from entering the river basin.

The problem is that the dike is due to be replaced and one of the options under serious consideration is removal of the flappers. Residents that live along the river say the sea water will flood their land - some property owners' acreage will completely disappear - and it will also destroy a wild habitat for deer, moose, birds.
Those who favor removing the flappers want to see the basin return to the state it was in more than 150 years ago - a tidal basin that shifts with the tides and provides a place for sea run fish, such as Atlantic salmon, to spawn.
It's an interesting story but while investigating it, I also learned about Machias history and some very captivating stories about pirates and treasure....what a fascinating place I've moved to.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Vacation Days #2 and #3:

Hurricane Bill roared out to ocean but produced some enormous tides up here. This is a lovely place called Starboard (I still haven't figured out if it is a separate community or part of Machiasport) which normally has NO waves at all, just a gentle lapping of the rocks. I spent Day 2 visiting the coast and watching Mother Nature at her best - blowing and swirling the water, pushing the tides up higher and higher... It was really beautiful and awesome.

Day Three however was so sweet beach, Roque Bluffs State Park, is completely buried in kelp. In some places it is three feet deep. It is starting to stink and the flies have arrived. I'm hoping and assuming that there is some clean up planned - this is such a popular beach: salt water on one side of the road and a fresh water pond on the other. Little tables, nice clean bathrooms, great parking. All for a donation of $3 - $3, can you imagine!?!

Today is dark and drizzly - a perfect day to stay home, read and eat... and probably give Miss Emma another bath.
We have been invaded by fleas - not the house, thank goodness, but poor Miss Emma. Everytime she steps her tiny toes outside, she is jumped on. I've been trying to avoid the chemical stuff like Frontline but this is too much for us. I've been spraying the house, washing her bedding every other day and now giving her a nightly bath. Every night I find fleas...the poor little girl!
Faye and Matt have it worse. They have bombed their house three times and still can't get rid of the fleas. Tomorrow is their final stand: the cat is headed to the vet to get shaved, bathed and de-flea-ed and they are setting off flea bombs in every room and the basement.

I'm headed out again tomorrow - hopefully the beach is cleared. I will park myself with a good book and RELAX....if the stinky kelp is still there, I'll head to the fresh water side. Either way, it will be a day to do nothing. If it goes well, I'll keep repeating it each day!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Vacation Day #1:

The theme for my vacation is EXPLORE and COMPLETE - I will be exploring Washington County and completing at least one ONE of the unfinished rooms around here.....

But first to the IMPORTANT stuff: RETAIL THERAPY.

I went to Ellsworth shopping today - an hour and a half away, and even a bit further cuz I went to Orland to The Big Chicken Barn which has all kinds of antiques. I am looking for a red vintage chrome kitchen table set. No luck.

So then I went to Rooster Brothers kitchen store. Nothing.

Next stop = Reny's. Zip.
Then Marden's = Nada.
Same goes for a couple of dress shops and a shoe store and a toy store on Main Street.

Empty handed at all.

The only place I found something exciting was Home Depot - got some copper fittings and pipes for an art project.

What a total bummer of a day...........

Friday, August 21, 2009

Oh my faithful readers,

I'm having to make a decision here and I need your help. I'm worried about posting family pictures here on this blog, especially pictures of Kiley.
I'm thinking that maybe I will stop - and just do scenic stuff etc.

Please let me know what you think?

I'm heading out for two weeks' vacation and I'll be posting every day (I promise) about what I am up to!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A sunny day, a $3 sprinkler and a very happy little girl....

This was Kiley's first day in a sprinkler...curious at first...

Then a little surprised...

And then unbridled joy!

Which turned into bravado and curiosity! priceless...

The end of a wonderful day - got to ride a boat, a 16' motorboat, up the Pleasant River in Addison to Columbia Falls. It was so relaxing I almost forgot I was working. Eagles kept us company, as did kingfishers. Miles and miles of salt marshes with grasses every shade of green and blue imaginable. Our tour guide was a lobster fisherman who supplements the ridiculously low prices they get paid for the lobsters ($4 a pound off the boat) by hosting boat tours. This one was inland through the salt marshes but you can also spend an afternoon pulling lobster traps or cruising the shore.....

After several grueling weeks of work, I have tomorrow off and I'm planning on tearing apart the spare room. I'm putting up new trim, tearing off some paneling, and changing light fixtures. Then, when I'm on vacation after next week, I'll paint everything - ceiling, walls and woodwork - all a light cream. Then I'll replace the floor tiles and add the new rug and freshly decorated side table. Finally I'll have at least ONE room completed here at Sweet Pea Cabin. I might even get brave on my vacation and tackle putting the new tiles on the bathroom floor. Of course that involves removing the toilet, washer and dryer for a day.....yuk.

I think I'll avoid thinking about that and just enjoy tonight's sunset....

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Happy Birthday to ME!

I had to meet some blueberry rakers at the butt crack of dawn today but when I returned I found two cards propped up on my computer - one had been "signed" by little Kiley.

I also have a bottle of wine and a bouquet of gladioli (a stunning orange) from friends...a new purse from my daughter-in-law...a phone call with good wishes from my BFF Trudy and my sister Debra.

And my son-in-law Matt just popped his head in to say "Pick a restaurant - we're taking you out to dinner'' and to present me with a gift certificate for more garden plants. My wish is going to be yellow and white hollyhocks!


Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday photographs...

Kiley is saying "come on Queenie - let's run in the grass!"

Wild blueberry season is here and the fields are turning blue - mechanical harvesters are at work in some places while hand-held rakes are being used in others. The Machias Wild Blueberry Festival is this weekend with more than 250 craft vendors, plays, concerts, etc. What fun!

This could be the scene for a horror movie but it is a lobster pound - an indoor tank, filled with sea water chilled and aerated and home to lobsters, crabs and other seafood. The lobsters can be held indefinitely while awaiting sale or mail orders. This facility, in Lubec, also wholesales periwinkles, scallops and clams. There are elegant apartments and suites on the second floor of the warehouse, which has its own wharf and serves more than 200 fishermen as part of Maine's working waterfront. When you buy a lobster here, it is still alive and kicking, not in a coma as the one's in the supermarket are. SWEET!

I went mackerel fishing - well, I was fishing for a story - and one of the fishermen threw this gull a mackerel. He swallowed it in one bite!!! HOLY MACKEREL!!!!

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 7, 2009

It's party time!!!

Headed to not one but TWO parties this weekend at my old stompin' grounds. A birthday party tonight and a wedding party Saturday.

Won't be posting until Sunday when I'll dish all about it.

Still no skunk in the trap. **sigh**

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The skunk man returneth!

All we caught was a squirrel and he ate ALL the peanut butter bait. So, amazing Ted the skunk trapper returned this evening, reset the trap and PROMISED that tonight we would capture King Kong. We'll see...

I spent nearly all morning today on the pier at Eastport. The sun was glorious and the mackerel were running and I interviewed the greatest group of guys. I thought I was going to do a story on mackerel fishing but I found a group of buddies - all retired - that spend every day together on the pier. They were so funny and they let me reel in a mackerel and they called me "sweetheart." The story ended up being about friendship. I had a great time!

I didn't see any whales or porpoises, though. But I did see lobster boats, starfish, crabs, a sculpin (the world's most ugly fish, sort of looks like a very fat eel with a fish head), two gorgeous young Coast Guard men, and lots of mackerel.

I found a great chowder house right on Cobscook Bay, down where you can almost see Old Sow, North America's largest whirlpool, and you can watch the ferry go back and forth to Indian Island.

They had wi-fi and I was able to send my pictures and then write and send my story all while enjoying the view and eating a great spinach salad...
two more afternoon meetings and I got home just in time to hug Kiley who smelled like heaven, right from her bath.

holy mackerel, what a life....

W.O.W. - a special event

Last night I took a chance - sat in the parking lot of Tall Barney's Restaurant while the fog moved slowly in from the ocean, trying to find courage. I had been invited to W.O.W. - Women On Wednesday - an informal gathering of area women.

Everyone brings a bottle of wine, the entire back room of the restaurant is reserved and a spectacular buffet is presented.

For the first half hour, it is schmooooze time. I met so many people! Some artists, some not; older, younger; such a broad spectrum of women.
The noise level was beyond belief - 50 women all talking at once. For a while I talked to an art teacher from New Jersey; then I visited with a watercolorist/gardener from New Hampshire (we have lots of "summer people" here) who graciously shared a fabulous bottle of white wine, and ate much of my dinner with a local artist and a visitor from South Carolina.

Dinner was veggie bruschetta, toasted shrimp points, mexican layered dip, brie, fresh fruit platter, barbecued pork and fat crabmeat sandwiches.

For dessert - warm peach cobbler - I joined Etta at another table. I first met Etta last fall at a meeting of a local writers' group. I loved her from the first: bawdy, straightforward, funny. She is an incredible writer. She had two other women at her table, one visiting from Cambridge Mass and Nancy T of Great Wass Island - who I hope will become a new friend. We've already emailed back and forth and plan to meet for lunch next week. I have also signed up for Paint Jonesport Day and may end up at Nancy's house for the painting part (she has offered her bathroom as well!)

Etta and I have also made plans to take a creative writers' course this fall/winter at the University of Maine's Senior College. Just the kick in the pants I need to write more personal stuff!

As I left for home, an incredible sunset of red and orange and stripes of yellow accompanied me. It was easy to smile.
It was a good night, a very good night - lots of laughter, conversation, surrounded by the company of women.

P.S. No skunk yet.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Skunks, zero. Squirrels, one.

No skunks in the trap at bedtime but I did hear it slam shut this afternoon and went to peek.

There was one reeeeeallllllyyyy pissed off squirrel in there - he took to the peanut butter like, well, like a squirrel to peanut butter. I lifted the door and that squirrel high-tailed it straight into the woods. He must have been doing 45 miles per hour....

I've reset the trap but when I just got home from a WOW dinner (Women on Wednesdays) the door was still open.. Let's hope he's a night owl...he he he.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The skunk man cometh!!

I took an ad out in the local weekly paper yesterday. It read:

"HELP HELP HELP! The King Kong of skunks is terrorizing our neighborhood. Small children and dogs are trapped inside. Please call quickly! HELP!"

My hero called tonight. His name is Ted and he will arrive tomorrow in a red Ford Ranger with a live-trap for the King of Kongs.

He will set the trap and I am supposed to call him when his royal Kingness is trapped inside. Then I pay him twenty bucks and he takes away the King.

And then let's hope that peace will reign in my little kingdom again.

Monday, August 3, 2009

What an afternoon at the auction!

I'm sharing just a few pictures (more will come tomorrow) including the boobie bowl, made by yours truly. The auction was not as well attended as I wanted and it scared me - I thought uh oh less people, no money. But we raised an amazing $1,440.50 for breast cancer research!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My friend Dawn stepped in at the last minute, volunteering to be auctioneer, and my BFF Trudy played Vanna White, carring the bras around and semi-modeling some. Some of the stories with the bras were stunning....and moving....and inspiring. For more pictures, you can go to Here's more:

These are retired badges from former girls scouts, submitted by a current GS leader on behalf of all her little girls who have yet to get their boobies.
Carolyn did this exquisite tiled bra....

And this one represents several: lots of frills, buttons, bows, jewels. Just plain fun!

The weekend with my friends - laughing, hugging - was just what I need to chase the blues away. And we are such a party crowd, there are TWO more gatherings this coming weekend: a birthday party and a wedding party - so I get to see them all again!!!

More pictures tomorrow - I'm still trying to catch up from being away all weekend. Stopped at Home Depot on the way home and bought eight gazillion floor tiles for my kitchen, a new kitchen sink and hardware, new blinds for the bedroom, new curtain rod for the kitchen and a new living room rug. And I still have $70 left on the gift card all my dear friends gave me when I moved away. Now I'll have a bit of each of them in nearly every room in my house!

I'm interviewing the head of the Down East Community Hospital today and a group that is expanding their processing ability to market organic blueberries - the market is growing rapidly. Work, work, work. Gotta admit, I love it.