Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New Bedford and Rockport, the last two stops on our vacation!

New Bedford, Massachusetts - The City That Lit the World - is a city full of history. The whaling industry built the city and beautiful captains' homes - such as this magical pink one - are part of a lovely walking tour. We even saw the home of Nathan and Polly Johnson, who gave shelter and food to hundreds of fleeing slaves in the Underground Railroad, including Frederick Douglass. We were both so moved. It is a city made for walking - narrative plaques tell the history all around and we stopped first at the visitors' center for directions and advice. There was a great 20-minute movie about the city and we left laden with brochures and a clear sense of what to see and do.
This is the pulpit at Salem Bethel, a Quaker built church that was founded to save the souls of fishermen lost at sea. I found two relatives of my dear Eric's on a plaque commemorating lost sailors - they were cousins of his father's. Herman Melville has a marked pew in this church.

The whaling museum has enormous whale skeletons hanging overhead in the entry. Artwork and history from the whaling time made for a great visit.

Step into the jaws of a whale.....

All of the streets in downtown New Bedford are cobblestoned and when the cars go by, everything rummmmmbbbbbbles.

Here is a little view of the port - which is a short walk from downtown and the museum over a pedestrian bridge above the highway. It is very commercial still. Lots of draggers and fishing boats, including the one - very aptly named - below.

I wanted to sneak aboard and steal its life preserver with the boat's name on it but Donna wouldn't let me....

Here is a magical knot garden in one of the sea captain's mansions. The house is now used for professional offices but the garden is completely original. Following the walking trail is a must if you go!

And then we drove through Boston onto Cape Ann and into the picture-postcard town of Rockport, Massachusetts. A little sailing regatta was under way. There are two harbors: a working waterfront and a country club sailing harbor. There's a breakwater and lighthouse and vistas to die for. There are a gazillion shops and tiny restaurants and we didn't want to leave. I could have stayed for a month!

These kayaks presented a pretty picture (I took this one for Donna) below the rooftop restaurant where we had dinner. I enjoyed a fabulous sangria and we had salads....yummmy! And a man waiter - I always love to be waited on by men.

Behind all the shops were the living quarters and several tiny, lovely beaches. This village is a rare treat and one that is not too far away from Maine. We left after dinner (dark) and stumbled into our beds back in Pittsfield about midnight...

Tomorrow I'll treat you to pictures of Cape Cod - marvelous and inspiring!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

I'm back and inspired - I'm painting like crazy - here are a few!

This one's called Thursday's dinner. There were a billion art galleries in Provincetown and I made Donna go into each one.....so inspiring. The styles were all over the place but I really liked the loose, colorful ones and once I got home, I couldn't stop!

ooops - sorry. I'll have to call this one "tipsy tulips!"

A self portrait.....

And home sweet home - the sunset over Cobscook Bay from Lubec Friday night.....this one needs no explanation.

More vacation photos tomorrow! But suffice it to say: I HAD A BALL!!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

and she's off!

Won't be posting for a little bit - BFF Donna and I are heading to Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard for a week's VERY NEEDED vacation.....I'm sure I'll have adventures to share when I return!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

sad news...Bob the Builder has gone away.

The floor project has officially been halted....to be picked up at a later date.
He got about 1/2 of the floor sanded and his son became desperately ill. Something to do with breathing - oh yeah, that's important.
I told him I was not FIRING him but rather POSTPONING the whole job. He picked up his gear, I've been clearing out the sawdust and putting furniture back in.

We'll try again when I get back from vacation...oh did I not tell you?
BFF Donna and I are headed to Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard on Sunday morning! WAHOO!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I'd like you to meet Chico.

He's a little man with a VERY big temper....he moved into my yard a couple of days ago and has harrassed my poor dog ever since. He is Fearless and chitters at all who come and go: the dog, me, the mourning doves, the gray squirrels.

Saturday he tried to move into the bat box but the little slots are WAY too small for him!

I wish my floor sanding guy had as much energy as Chico - If he did, he would be done by now. Unfortunately, Bob the Builder disappears more than he sands. He is only about 1/4 done and he started Friday. He comes late, leaves for lunch, leaves early....you get the picture. Yesterday he claimed he didn't feel well. Today he has only been here two hours.

Normally I wouldn't care - I'm paying him for the job, not by the hour, and the floor is starting to look amazing.
But I'm expecting special company and I'm starting to panic.
I leave Friday for vacation on Cape Cod with BFF Donna and my special company is coming the next Thursday - the same day I'm coming home.
That means that everything - furniture, drapes, art - has to be back in place BEFORE I leave. And THAT means that I have to get all the sawdust off walls, ceiling, brickwork.......yuk...before I get to put everything back where it goes.

So, the bottom line is that the final coat of poly needs to be down by Thursday noon at the latest! Backing up, if the first coat goes on Wednesday noon, it means he must be done sanding by Wednesday mid-morning, Tuesday would be better.

I'll keep you posted....I may end up hiring Chico to finish the job.

Friday, June 11, 2010

It is not going well...

The floor, that is.
Bob the floor sander has been in and out all day (more out than in, actually). He's having a really hard time with the floor. It seems the brilliant former owners put tiles (which I removed, one by one) over the wood floor without sealing it. That means that the tile adhesive has been absorbed into the wood. As he sands, the glue gums up his sandpaper. He has gone through a TON of sandpaper and has only completed about one fifth of the floor - which looks amazing, by the way.

This is his first day:
He arrived at 11 a.m.
He left to get a different sander.
He went to lunch.
He went to get more paper.
He left at 2:30 p.m. for an appointment.
He might be back later.

I'm discouraged.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What a disaster around here!

This is my kitchen - chuck full of living room furniture. My bedroom is full of art and lamps and the spare room is all aclutter with odd chairs and ottomans. And why, you ask?

Because a lovely young man named Bob is coming in the morning to sand my living room floor!
WAHOO! I have been waiting more than a year for this and I cannot wait to see it done.

I got a jump on things this morning (before breakfast!) and sanded my nice deep windowsills - look at the difference! The finish was reallybrittle and so it came off quite easily. In some places, however, I had to sand a bit deeper to remove cat scratch marks. But once they are poly'd they will be lovely.

So cleaning up all this will take me days - a week? But it will be so worth it. One more project I can cross off my list! I promise to show off the finished floor with pictures....

And speaking of pictures, I'm working on a really different art project. Lubec is hosting a contest this summer for art made with ocean debris. I've been beach combing for weeks and a have a pile of "sea trash" that I'm working with - ropes, plastic jugs, metal pans, bait bags, lobster elastics, an orange buoy, crockery and sea glass.

I'm going to document the process and will put up the pics when it is done. I think you are going to like this one!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

back from my trip to Connecticut....

well, that was an emotional roller coaster - too complicated and personal to delve into here but suffice it to say that the next month is going to be incredibly hard for my family. Sorry I can't provide too many details but please keep my heart in your thoughts - it feels a bit broken right now.

My new granddaughter is beautiful - Arianna, nicknamed Ri, is a sweetheart. She is a quiet crier right now (I bet she gets some powerful lungs soon, though) and has wonderful coloring. Her mother says she is a good baby, a good eater and a good sleeper. She has deep dark eyes and dark black hair and the softest skin imaginable. Holding her, my second oldest son's child, was like holding my past and my future at the same time.

Usually it is hard to see everyone when we head to CT - lots of family and friends around - but we went to a lovely wedding shower for my niece on Saturday and got to see some special kin. Just a few raindrops and a soft breeze at the shower but discovered major storm damage as we drove just to the next town to my son's home. Trees were down everywhere: across roads, on power lines, into houses. It was a microburst, not a tornado, and luckily my son only lost one very large branch which crashed down on top of his rose arbor.

Most of my family came to my son's home on Sunday: my sisters, brother, nieces and nephews, and all their special people....it was really fun and so fulfilling to see them all....it always seems like too much time goes by between visits. I won't see any of them now until August. StinkyPooPooCaCa.....I hate this distance between us.

The trip home was LOOOOOONG - we left CT at 9 a.m. Monday and got home to Machias in time for supper. Kiley was amazing - have you ever tried to make a 7-hour trip (not counting any pit stops) with a two-year old in the midst of potty training???!!!! She was great - hardly complained and ate everything we could feed her... my car has more crumbs, broken crackers, spilled juice, than you could imagine. And we learned that "I'm bringing home a baby bumblebee" can indeed be sung 23 times in a row....................

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

another new start...

it seems as though there are a lot of changes under way here. I became a grandmother again on Saturday with the birth of Arianna Eilzabeth Masse Marinone. She is beautiful, 7 pounds, 13 ounces, and I hope to meet her this weekend when my daughter, granddaughter Kiley and I head to Connecticut for a wedding shower. My heart soars with the possibilities for this sweet bundle.

But this is also such a heartbreak.
My son and the baby's mother, Chris, are not together. I do not know Chris - I only met her once - and I understand that her financial situation is dire. It breaks my heart but I know that she cannot rely on my son, Mark, for assistance of any kind. What is this baby's future, I wonder. How much of a role will Chris allow the rest of Mark's family to play in her life.....
I am terrified that I will not get to know this baby girl nor will she get to know me and mine.
This baby has four uncles, four aunties, and several grandparents, two half-brothers and cousins, that are ready willing and able to shower her with love.
Well, today I will make contact and hopefully begin to build a bridge of love to that sweet baby.

I also start today with a new editor. I am broken-hearted that I have lost the editor that I had been working with for the past three years. This new journey will be interesting...

I also start a new resolution to only work my assigned hours. No more 12-14 hour days. No more working on my day off and my weekend off. ha....this one I'll have some real trouble with....