Wednesday, September 30, 2009

wounded and barely walking...

Last weekend Kiley stayed with me while her mom and dad got a bit of a weekend away in Bar Harbor. We had a ball! We went to the library for a bug show, visited the playground at the nearby school, washed windows, picked up pine cones in the yard and had a feast on grilled cheese sandwiches.
But on Sunday afternoon, I did it again. Ms. Clumsiness personified went into the attic to get the Halloween decorations and in my rush to hurry back down the stairs to show Kiley, I fell. I broke my big toe. Actually, I cracked the area at the base right where my poor bunion is.
Damn this hurts. ouch. ouch. ouch.
I've been icing it and taking Tylenol (the ER doc told me that any other pain product inhibits the healing of bones - did you know that???)
I did too much Monday and paid dearly. My foot looked like it belonged to the Stay-Puffed Marshmallow Man. Yesterday I behaved myself and it was much better, although it has turned all black and gray. It still keeps waking me up throughout the night but it better be completely healed for the gang's upcoming trip to Quebec City!!!

Work has been amazing this past week - I found a new trail and beach: Bog Brook Preserve in Trescott. So incredibly isolated and beautiful. I will be bringing ALL my visitors to this one. Interviewed two guys who used to sell fish off the back of a truck and are now launching a national seafood product...and drove to Eastport to interview scallop fishermen (In case you want to know, I got it from the fishermen's mouths that it absolutely is pronounced SCOLLOP.)

I also got unbelievably lost trying to find a fatal tractor accident. The road dispatchers indicated was not on any map or in Google so I headed out blind and kept calling my photo department, other reporters, photographers, even our secretary to help me find my way. Of course I lost my cell signal every three feet so it became really challenging, to say the least.
I ended up on the back of the radar site in Columbia in the blueberry barrens when I should have been miles to the east in the woods. Eventually I spotted a rescue worker and followed him in. A poor young man had lost control of a farm tractor and tipped off the side of a wooden bridge (with no side rails) and ended up crushed under the tractor in the water.

The setting was incredibly beautiful - just feet away was a spectacular waterfall and this lovely bubbling brook was shrouded by autumn colors on the often I am struck by the raw horror of events that take place in some of the most spectacular environments. It seems so wrong, so inappropriate somehow. We all know that bad things happen to good unacceptable as that is, it is insult to injury when the setting is beautiful. I've stood in peaceful woods while police recovered bodies; by the side of a lovely river, while accident victims were pried from their mangled cars; under flowering apple trees when firefighters collapsed and died at house fires.

I suppose I can find some peace in that if this horrible thing had to happen, let it happen in beauty. But it seems so oppositional - death should not visit in lovely places. It should not walk in gardens; alongside babbling brooks; near stunning waterfalls. It should creep through dark alleys that are littered with stinking garbage....

I am also finding that it takes longer and longer for me to spiritually get past one of these accidents. This boy was 21...what an incredible waste.

Today I have an a.m. interview with an amazing music professor and an afternoon story at a large animal rescue farm. And I'm looking forward to Friday - taking a pottery lesson at a nearby learning center. yay!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Going, going, almost gone.

I stopped by my favorite beach today after lunch. I sat for a bit and read, wearing long pants and a sweater. The sun warmed my face and I slid my bare feet along the hot sand.

But it won't last. As I tucked my beach chair into the back of the car, I wondered how long before it is replaced with the snow brush and scraper.

Even the beach roses appear to have shrunk, as if in readiness from the cold onslaught from the sea. Only a blossom or two can still be found and the rose hips are red and ripe and full.

Last night I heard an owl and then the haunting sounds of geese flying overhead.
It's time to settle in; time to await the cold, the wind, the solitude winter brings out in me.
For me, this is a sad time. A tipping point - waiting on the edge of winter. And mourning the loss of summer.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The amazing walk....

Look at the people!!! There were more than 5,000 people - men, women, children and one crazy guy who painted his entire self pink - in the Race for the Cure Sunday in Bangor. Eight of us - nine including Kiley - were the Tu Tus for Ta Tas team. We raised more than $500 and I still can't get over how good I feel!

Here's the amazing team: workers at the Fat Cat Deli, my daughter's business, sons and boyfriends (my son in law behind the camera) myself and Kiley - perfect weather and perfect company.

Just when my feet started to hurt and I thought about complaining, I spotted this guy and said there was no way I wasn't finishing all 5K - and I did! Today my hips hurt a bit and my feet were killing me last night but it was worth every step.

On the backs of walkers/runners were the people they were walking for. I wrote the names on my sleeve: Babe Mack, Beth Hathaway, Brenda Beal, Sherry Thomas.

And this was how Kiley felt when the walk was over and we were enjoying a great dinner at the Texas Roadhouse - a great day!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

ahhhh the beauty of art and artists...

It was a breezy and chilly Saturday. Even the seagulls huddled on the breakwater at Lubec. It was this coastal town's fall festival and a whole bunch of brave vendors lined Main Street: homemade jewelry, homemade sweaters, felted purses, little girls' dollies, extraordinary photography, dried sea grass wreaths... It was really nice and I bought a beautiful, funky pair of glass earrings.

My friend Chessie and I left the fair and headed on the Two Countries, One Bay art tour....45 different artists along Down East's most northern coast and around Cobscook Bay.

We visited four in Lubec: the glass artist, an assemblage artist (I didn't care for hers), a gallery full of wonders and an amazing, fabulous potter and weaver. I may be taking weaving lessons this winter! Her work is extraordinary and an inspiration...

Then, we crossed the FDR bridge onto Campobello and went to several more artists there. Chessie then showed me some beautiful beaches and hiking trails in Provincial Park, across from FDR's summer home and camps. The park is immaculate, with lovely viewing platforms, incredible views and wonderful beaches. To get to the different beaches you drive through woods where the trees have grown as a canopy, creating tunnels of the roads. I can't imagine how incredible it would look in the winter. Each little road off one of these "tunnels" brings you to another special spot: Sunshine Beach, Raccoon Beach, Friar's Head.....amazing. I can't wait to show my friends and family some of these places next summer!

It was a day of inspiration and regeneration. I haven't painted much (except walls!) since I've been here and I really needed to recharge my batteries. I have a half dozen ideas swirling in my head now. I just need to find the time! I've also been asked to teach a late-winter art class at Senior College at the University of Maine here in Machias. Stella needs to get her groove back!

Sunday was the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Bangor - more than 5,000 of us. Our little team - The Tu Tus for Ta Tas - numbered nine, counting Kiley, and we wore tu tus for all 5K. Can't wait to show you the pictures was so moving and impressive and meaningful.

Now I have to go soak my feet.....
Just a bit of color for you - some flowers in pots on one of the artists' porches Saturday. Thought you could use a bit of springtime as autumn bears down on us.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Oh I know I have been a slacker.....but I have a very good excuse!

I was kidnapped by PIRATES! Avast me hearties, it is true. This scalawag (who, I might add with a sad smirk, looks NOTHING like Johnny Depp) who is clearly impaired by too much rum and a bit of B.O., slung me over his back and whisked me away from all the fun I was having at the Eastport Pirate Festival! It was was was entirely expected... He offered me silver beads and gold doubloons but I refused. "You shiver me timbers! Away, you dirty buccaneer!'' I said, fighting for my long lost virtue. He wanted me to walk the plank but he forgot where he put it, so, it was off to the stocks for me...

My cries for help were not heard...the wenches were too busy baring their booties and the pirates were all over at the salmon tent gulping down kebobs. Where or where are my rescuers??? Then the fiend of the seas threw me on a big bed and raced me down the Main Street - everyone thought my cries of terror were screams of joy. ARRRGHHH - not true!! Luckily he gave me a helmet...and a life preserver.....

Then, just when I had given up all hope of seeing my loved ones again, who should appear but THE CENTRAL MAINE PRECISION MARCHING LAWN CHAIR DRILL TEAM!!!! (This is where the symphonic music plays.)
There was an amazing struggle but the scalawag and his motley crew were no match for middle aged people armed with webbed aluminum lawn chairs. My long lost virtue intact, my friends whisked me back to the parade, we all took a rest in chairs, and then hit the streets much to the delight of hundreds of people - the cheering was awesome, the compliments were many and we truly felt like heroes.
There was no trophy, no prizes, but since we were the only PRECISION MARCHING LAWN CHAIR DRILL TEAM in the parade, we declared ourselves the winners. Of course we then retired to other fun events and ended with a party in my living room - all my dearest of dearest of dearest was spectacular!
Here they are: MY 16 HEROS and SHEROS!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Vacation Day #14: A wonderful shower

This is my sweet daughter-in-law Amanda - opening gifts at her baby shower Saturday. It was held at her home in Detroit to make it a bit easier and she isn't due until Nov. 9 so she has plenty of time to go through her gifts and see what she is missing. I don't think she can be missing anything - she got a bazillion outfits, stroller, car seat, bike carriage, swing, diapers, books. Everything was wonderful!

Look at that crazy pile of presents!

There were 11 little girls in sundresses at the shower - the older girls grabbed a front row seat for present opening.

And then they spread out in my son's fields to find butterflies.

Some of the younger ones decided that under the dining table was a great fort while Kiley pointed out that the food was on top!

And here is a tasty treat! Cupcakes and cheesecake - the buffet was scrumptious, with finger sandwiches, lots of salads and a great punch.

I stayed at BFF Donna's house which was lovely - it gave us a chance to talk and catch up. Faye and Kiley stayed at my son's and we all headed back to Machias early Sunday. Only one more day of vacation and I'm going mackerel fishing on the Eastport pier. I know my fishing ability so I'm bringing lunch and a good book!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Vacation Day 12:

A whale watch trip extra-extra-ordonnaire!!!!! This is the lighthouse on the end of Campobello Island, New Brunswick - gorgeous! The herring pens are empty because the fish haven't started running yet.

Here is a finback - the second largest whale in the world!! They were everywhere and at one point the boat was surrounded - when they blow the water we were getting showered..

Here are THREE finbacks, playing together - they went up and down dozens of times.

This was a tour boat nearby and you can get some perspective on how really HUGE these whales are!

In the cove at Wilson's Beach, this minke whale decided to put on a show - propelling herself completely out of the water and then (below) slamming back down - wonderful!!!

One of the most special moments was the surfacing of an endangered right whale - I wasn't quick enough on the camera to catch anything more than the tip of its tail as it submerged again....I was awed!

All in all, a wonderful day - which also included dozens of seals and other wildlife. Anyone who wants to go and be 100 percent guaranteed of a good time and plenty of sightings: Captain Riddle's on Campobello. I promise it is an adventure you won't forget!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Vacation Day #10:

What a spectacular day! Under a brilliant sky, I got to tour Cobscook Bay and watch seaweed harvesters work. These boats are loaded with rockweed, a seaweed (the one with the little pods that you can squish and make them squirt your friends) that is being harvested in Cobscook Bay and near Jonesport. The seaweed is used for livestock feed supplements and fertilizer. It is harvested by Maine people who work for Acadian Seaplants of New Brunswick. The seaweed is dried on runways at a NB airport that the company owns. In the photo, the harvesters are loading the seaweed into net bags on the platform that will then be closed tight and floated alongside the platform until the processing barge picks them up.

This is a very hunky 17-year-old (I feel like a cougar) harvesting the seaweed. The rake they use has tines on top and a VERY sharp blade on the bottom. Because he is experienced, he can harvest about 5 tons a day at $43 a ton - pretty good job for a high school kid! Can you even see the boat under all that weed? The harvesters usually start about 5 a.m. and they said they can often hear the whales blowing in the bay, even on a foggy morning.

The bales of seaweed are being loaded onto a barge that will take them to Canada for processing. Each bale has the tag of the harvester hooked to it so they will get paid. Each bale weighs about 1 ton. Below, Bonnie, one of the barge workers, walks on top of the floating bales and uses her body weight to push them closer to the crane. She then jumps up on the boat and climbs the bales to help guide the new bale in place. She is amazingly lithe and strong!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Vacation Days 8 and 9

Day eight included a late afternoon trip to the beach. Some days it is about the water, some days about the sand. Yesterday was about mud. It was too cold to swim but Kiley had a wonderful time digging, sitting in wet holes, throwing rocks, filling her little hands with mud and then flinging it willy nilly. We had to strip her in the parking lot and bring her home in my sweatshirt - what a wonderful mess of joy and discovery!!

Then it was back to reality and the renovations........................

This is one wall in my guest room - which my home's previous owner used as an office. Yes, that is a Delorme map of Washington County on the wall! And isn't that the most stunning ceiling light - which isn't even a ceiling light and has to be plugged into the MIDDLE of the wall!?! There was no removing the map so I primed over it and that worked. All of the rest of the room was dark, dark wood paneling. I began the makeover by removing it. That's when I found.......

Plastered walls.....
With lots of damage......Now I know why they paneled everything.

And some amazing vintage wall paper.

I consulted the Internet and figured out how to repair the plaster. Once it dried and was lightly sanded, I began painting. I picked a beautiful color called clay - which is sort of a creamy grayish cream. I painted all the walls, all the trim and even the ceiling in the same color. The room now looks about twice the size as before, and is so fresh and clean....
Pictures of the completed (nearly) project will come tomorrow. I ran out of paint with a bit of trim left to paint.

Meanwhile, I'm still painting my bedroom floor. It takes two full days for the paint to dry and I couldn't do another coat while I was babysitting Kiley because the floor enamel is so stinky!! Tomorrow I will begin painting the green stripes - such a soft color, it doesn't even look green until it is up against the white.

But - this afternoon I went on a boat trip!!! ON THE OCEAN!!! It was a seaweed harvesting trip - what an event. Informative, interesting, hunky guys in boats, brilliant sun....ahhhhhhh.
I'll post those pictures tomorrow. Now I am pooped and it is time for a glass of wine and an early bedtime.....