Friday, May 28, 2010

the view from the dike.....

On the way home from a meeting in Calais last night, Mother Nature really embraced me. In Baring, at the Moosehorn Wildlife Refuge, a male bald eagle kept me company for a bit - sailing along, white tail feathers spread, headed to his nest...
In the Meddybemps area and then again around Cooper, small herds of deer were in the fields - their coats were all shaggy from their winter shedding and the bright red of their summer colors were shining through.
With the windows open, I could smell the apples blossoms and the lilac bushes, heavy with flower cones.
I even stopped to take a picture of bee hives in a blueberry field and the quiet sounds of the evening were so soothing.
As I drove into Machias, the picture above is what greeted me from the dike. The dike protects the Middle River (in the pic) from the salt water of Machias Bay, and nearly every summer day it becomes a place of commerce - a living breathing flea market. From one end to the other, vendors stretch along the parking area on the fresh water side selling flowers, fish, antiques, junk, wooden Adirondack chairs, handmade toys and a thousand other bits.
If you stand at the dike and look west in the evening, this is your view.
Turn around at dawn and there is a similar postcard picture of the dawn.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The feeling is amazing when I take a risk...

At first it is almost unthinkable. I weigh the pros and cons. I have a little argument with myself about the worth of the risk. I feel alternately giddy and terrified.
And then I decide to go for it, and it becomes very, very scary - putting myself out there, opening myself up to rejection. I think we are all just like Sally Fields, seeking validation: "You like me! You really like me!"
When it is my art I am risking, it's like putting a piece of myself out there, a little bit of my soul, a little chunk of who I am. My art is what I am on the INSIDE - the part I too often keep hidden. A reflection of both the joy and pain in my life; it's my heart.

And so, at precisely 9:12 a.m. this morning, I did it.
I entered three pieces of my art in a JURIED art show and - can you hear the chorus of angels singing Hallelujah? - they were accepted!!!
WAHOOOOOO!!! I gambled, I risked, I took a chance, I walked the tightrope and didn't fall!!
I have never entered a juried event before and really was on pins and needles all day. This was a BIG stretch for me. I even put the paintings in my car last night so I wouldn't chicken out.
But then, pulling into the arts center parking lot this morning, I felt waves of nerves again. Two of the paintings were VERY large and I thought possibly - with limited space at the center - they might be too large. Then I thought they might not fit the theme of spring. Then I thought the colors might be too bright. Or too dark. Or....whatever, just not right somehow.
Then I caught sight of some of the other entries and my heart really sank. Boy there are some AMAZING, let me say it again, AMAZING artists in Eastport....
I dropped them off in Eastport at the Eastport Arts Center - They will be part of the EAC's Festival of the Arts - Rite of Spring. A reception will be held this Friday and the show runs until June 26.
Are you proud of me? I am feeling quite full of myself this evening ...
Now we'll have to see if I have enough courage to go to the reception......deep breaths, Sharon. Listen to your mother - "Nothing ventured, nothing gained" - and go for it! And most importantly, what should I wear?

P.S. For those of you who are interested and familiar with my paintings, I submitted "My Grandmother's Dresses," "Forget Me Nots," and "Ghosts of Herring (a version similar to the one Russ and Lyn bought last fall.)"

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I haven't forgotten you , dear readers...honestly.

I just have been working so hard and long that I have been in a spin. I promise a post tomorrow....tomorrow...tomorrow.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Another whirlwind weekend! Woot! Woot!

What a great weekend - I feel like I was immersed and drowned in love and friendship!

My bff Donna hosted a girls' gathering Friday night, and there my best friends were: sitting cross-legged on couches with a bit of food and plenty of wine. There is such depth of conversation and laughter when women who have known each other for decades relax in each other's company. Many of us were young mothers, or younger mothers, when we first met and now, all our children are grown and gone. Graduations have been held. Weddings celebrated. Grandchildren adored.

When we gather, we don't have to explain ourselves. Our history is a shared one. We have cried together, laughed as one, and as the years rolled by, almost became one. One unit: the Goddesses. When my children were little, there was a list of the Goddesses and their phone numbers on the fridge - they were instructed to call any one of them if they couldn't find me. What better example of total trust and faith is there than to hand over your childrens' well being to another woman?

We stayed too long and talked too late...but it was wonderfully spectacular.

But the joy and laughter wasn't over - not by a long shot. On Saturday morning, three of us headed out to Belfast for a bit of retail therapy and art appreciation....that was after a fabulous pedicure early Saturday (that was sort of ruined when the pedicurist talked all about politics when all I wanted was to loll my head back and revel in the feeling of the massage, whirlpool and lotions)..... Lots of art and beautiful things at Belfast and a lovely lunch.

Saturday night we celebrated a 25th anniversary at a local golf course clubhouse....good stories around the table with true friends. I got to see LOTS of people that I haven't seen in months and even learned there are exploding lakes in Cameroon, Africa. (WHO KNEW??)
Sunday morning Donna treated me with homemade, steaming popovers with raspberry lovely is that! And after church, my dear friends the Burgesses gave me all the innards to a piano: a bucket of ivory and ebony keys and the wonderful hammers and wires and STUFF - I can't imagine the assemblage art I can make with this!!! YAHOO!!! The whole weekend was topped off with a great visit with my son, daughter-in-law and baby Karlin (who is trying to sit up all by himself already!!)
The usually boring ride home along Route 9 was filled with thoughts of art and those piano guts: ideas are swirling, fueled by some fabulous pieces I saw recently at the Bangor Art Museum. I can't wait to get started...

So, back to reality today but carrying a bit of that cloud of love with me. Thank you my friends, for filling my heart and spirit and letting me know - with words and hugs and conversation and laughter and buckets of piano innards - that you care about me. Because I sure care about you. Margaret said Sunday morning that we don't say it often enough - so here, to you, my dearest ones: I LOVE YOU!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Oh Good Lord, I think I'm a JUNKIE!

I have been suffering from serious allergy issues this past week - for the first time in my life - and yesterday I finally gave in and bought Zyrtec. I was really afraid it was going to make me sleepy...


I cleaned my office, that means moving five pieces of furniture and 7,000 cans and bottles of paint, swept and vacuumed the entire house, fed and washed and walked the dog, hauled an 8 x 10 rug out to the clothesline and washed and rinsed it with the hose, did a load of wash, dried the load of wash, wrote two stories ......

all in 30 minutes.

What an effect that medication had on me - it's like I'm a hopped up, buzzed out, meth head. I can't move fast enough, I can't think fast enough. I think I could get addicted to this - what are the symptoms?
I took one of the pills last evening and was worried that I wouldn't sleep - Ha Ha and another Ha - I slept like the dead, but had the most vivid of dreams.
In the last one I remember, I was a master carpenter and was building my dream house; literally building it myself, showing others how to raise the walls, put in the plumbing, electrify it. I was strangely competent in this dream and very, I say VERY attractive. (After all, it was MY dream!)
There were three horses living in the kitchen and a boy I went to high school with (and haven't seen since 1966) was the foreman. He was tiling the kitchen ceiling with floor tiles and told me that it would be easier to clean.
Richard Nixon kept coming by and I kept throwing him out - he was pretending he was the code enforcement inspector. PALEEEEEEZ! Nixon? Following the rules?
Ella Grasso, who was the governor of Connecticut once, was installing my hot tub but the "Don't Squeeze the Charmin" man (whoever he is) was already inside it!!!
I cannot wait to turn my brain on again tonight...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Today is my 350th post....can you imagine?

and I'm completely at a loss for some superb, pithy remarks. So I've sent you this tree. That's my shoe, out there in front, to give you some perspective on its size. Remember, my shoe is an enormous size 10. Can you imagine all that tree has witnessed? It sits next to a house built in 1883 which sits on the shore of the Saint Croix River in Calais. Today the view is lovely - soft green trees rolling down to the river's edge. Trails and red beaches. When the house was built, though, it was surrounded by quarries and factories that sold the stunning red granite of the area (it puts that pale pink Acadian granite to shame for depth of color.)
When you look at the history that must have surrounded and unfolded around that tree, it really puts my pitiful blog to shame, doesn't it? Not to mention that my shoe isn't looking all that hot either.

But, it is the 350th anniversary of me getting mouthy, so I'll offer this....

Before the sun had even cracked the dawn, I was awakened at 4 a.m. by a dog - not mine, one that I'm dog-sitting for someone else = Duke, a fat, tongue-lolling, black pug with a MASSIVE underbite - who was apparently spooked by some passing deer.

When the visiting dog barked, I jumped out of my sleep, scaring the hell out of my dog, who jumped off my bed, landed in her dish of water and began barking at the visiting dog.

Duke, apparently a bit disorientated by it all, ran headlong into the wall.

My dog sat down and just looked at him.

Of course, we were all having breakfast by 4:30 a.m. and now I'm ready for a nap. I hope the mutts are too. Out under that tree would be a fine place for a snooze...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Kiley's party - for the second time around! And the latest cupcake trial:

Of course there were cupcakes - Faye's friend Amanda made little cupcakes with sugar pictures of Kiley's face on top! Faye offered a little craft - painting sailor caps. They loved it!
The guests were all from Kiley's day care at the University of Maine. There is Reilly, a tiny little girl, Jamal, Kiley's best friend, and Luke, Reilly's sister. Judah came a little late and was a bit young for this project.

Jamal is surrounded by bubbles - the hit of the party! Jamal is Kiley's best, best friend and she was ecstatic to have him at her home. "This is Kiley's house!" she kept shouting to him.

And Kiley couldn't get enough of the bubbles herself!

And discovering she actually had pockets was a sure highlight of the day!

The perfect cupcake quest continues....This weekend I made Twinkee cupcakes. They were wonderful but didn't taste like Twinkees. The filling was near perfect but the recipe called for using a pound cake recipe and gently lifting in four whipped egg whites. Sounds like it would be light and spongy but it wasn't - it was heavy like pound cake. It was a good cupcake but not what I was going for.

This coming weekend I'm going to try Hostess cupcakes - filling, chocolate smooth frosting and the little squiggle. I'll keep you posted.
Today I head to St. Croix National Park in Calais, where they are building a new rangers' station. It is not too bad out but it is overcast - if I'm headed to the sea I am selfish enough to also want the sun! And tonight there is a free concert at the university by the Town Band, a group of local folks who play Americana-type music. Should be a hoot! Wanna come?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The bbq recipe, as requested:

Here is the sauce I ended up with last year:

1/2 to 3/4s cup Jack Daniels
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 c ketchup
1/3 c vinegar
3 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 c brown sugar
3/4 c molasses
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tbsp salt
1/4 c tomato paste
1 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp hot sauce
You can add a little cayenne powder to taste for a little kick.

Cook it for several hours on very low heat, allowing it to thicken it up. It is best to make the day before you are going to use it, refrigerate it and allow the flavors to meld together. It is so much better the next day.

Enjoy - and if you try it, let me know if you liked it!