Tuesday, July 17, 2012

hello old friends, hello

I'm back. sort of.
I'm running this one time test to see if this blog is operable. I'm sort of feeling the need to get the blog up and going again. What do you think?

Friday, March 18, 2011


It has taken me months to solve a hijack problem here on my blog. I have been unable to post as well as have been receiving THOUSANDS of emails directed from the blog to my personal email that are all spam or advertising.

I will be suspending this account.

I'll let you all know when I have a new one on a safer server.

Adios muchachas!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I'm unbalanced. A bit unsteady on my feet.

My family has had an injury this week - a close call that could have been oh so much worse, as painful as it is. My beloved granddaughter fell down the cellar stairs and broke both wrists. The mailbox has been full every day. People sent cards; called; emailed; baked her cookies and came to play. A stuffed pink flamingo arrived in the mail. A bouquet of pink carnations was delivered in a snowstorm.

I went to an amazing farmers' market convention Friday - yes, the same convention I was on the way to last year when I totaled my car, a fact that I OBSESSED about all week, making myself CRAZY about driving back there again - but I got there safely and spent hours in the company of passionate, dedicated, wonderful people who spend their lives in the dirt to feed us.

And tonight I went to a public supper and auction for a friend's husband, who is suffering through pancreatic cancer. More than 200 people showed up, dropping $20 bills they couldn't afford into a barrel and then eating soggy spaghetti and overdressed salad, swaying to the music of a ukulele band playing "Stand By Me" and "You've Got a Friend."

I am overwhelmed with the kindness that has been revealed to me this week.
I am overwhelmed by the passion that Maine's farmers have to provide safe, quality food.
I am overwhelmed with the outpouring of an ENTIRE county to help one of its own.

It would be easy to say that all is right with the world. That it is all apple pie and Cheerios and fine red wine.
But there has to be balance, it seems. The pendulum must swing in both directions for it to work at all - some sort of idiotic rule of nature. We all seem to shout "That's not fair!" when the deck is stacked against us, but not when it is stacked in our favor...

And so today I wrote a story about a 55-year-old woman, dearly loved by her community, that fell down her stairs and died.
And a man out for an afternoon snowmobile ride hit a moose and was killed.
And as I sit here, the scanner is squawking about a house fire a few towns over.
And Egypt has gone berserk.

So much is out of our control - waves of bad news that can knock us down. A friend wrote today "We are such fragile vessels."
Yet, we are vessels that share what we contain.
We enrich others lives when our owns are lacking.
We give because we want to, not because we have to.
We share.
We love.
We shovel our neighbors' driveways and carry pies to a public supper and fix the wheel on the child's bike and send flowers and a stuffed snowman to a suffering little girl. We line up to donate blood and drop our change in all the canisters sitting by every cash register. We bring supper to a shut-in, knit a blanket for a cold child, shop at our neighbor's stores even when it is inconvenient and more expensive.
We are good and we deserve good.

Tonight I will go to sleep knowing that there will be more bad things to write about tomorrow, another tragedy to report. I am a realist. But I will not lay sleepless in worry because I believe in us and I have hope. I know hope because it was revealed to me this week.
For me, the glass is more than half full. Tonight I feel it brimming over and I'm thankful.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The ice cream on the pie!

Today I head off to the Maine Agricultural Trades Show at Augusta - I always feel like this is dessert for many of the farming stories I write throughout the year.
It's a big convention center filled with everything from homemade sausage vendors to milking machines, huge tractors, beekeeping supplies, and every farming agency you can imagine.
The event is showcased by dozens of workshops held over the three days that deal with issues farmers are facing - marketing, pests, certification, networking.

One group - Food for Maine's Future - is a bit of an extreme, alternative group, but they have come up with a spectacular plan. They are presenting our new governor with a list of changes that are required to keep the small family farms that populate Maine going and growing.

They have suggested:
* Enact an immediate moratorium on farm foreclosures.
*Conduct an inquiry into how corporate concentration and free trade has impacted Maine farmers.
*Provide assurances that Maine farms, cottage-scale food processors and cooperative food buying clubs will not be subjected to the harsh law enforcement tactics being used in other parts of the U.S.

As for the last one, many states, including Maine, have been cracking down on the sale of raw milk. Raw milk sales are illegal in many states, but they are legal here in Maine. However, some inspectors have gotten a bit extreme in their desire to regulate and test raw milk. Not in Maine, but in other states, people have been held at gunpoint when their food was seized for testing.
This does not concern me in Maine. If a producer is a clean producer, making good milk, he/she has nothing to fear when the inspectors come around. Enough said.

The other two issues, I believe, are real and serious. Many large producers, for example General Mills and Smithfield, are able to leverage government programs that allow them to buy inputs such as wheat or corn, below the cost of production. Smithfield has been particularly shrewd in using NAFTA terms to move much of its production out of the country, to Mexico and Germany.
All of this, as FMF states "undercuts Maine producers who have higher standards and charge the true cost of their food."

My answer? Buy local whenever possible. Don't purchase products from companies whose business practices are suspect or you personally have researched and found unacceptable. Simplify what we buy. Don't expect peaches in January - be real in the seasonal expectations you want. When food/fresh veggies are plentiful in the summer, can or freeze the bounty. You can buy in bulk at all farmers' markets and buying clubs when the veggie is at its premium.

It all comes down to personal choices. What is best for you? What is best for your family? And what can you afford?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Oh help, help, help, help, help.

I've done either an incredibly brave thing or a very stupid thing - depending on which side of the issue you stand.
Today, while visiting Facebook, one of my "friends," who is actually a service-provider and I don't know her well, described her child's classmate as "the colored child."

The COLORED child. I actually got nauseous. What is this - 1965? Are we whipping out the fire hoses Thursday afternoon? Are we getting ready to hang signs up over the water coolers again?
In my mind, COLORED is a racial slur. An ethnic insult. A polite way to cover the word nigger.
With all the black host students who have lived in my home over the past decades, you can imagine we have had plenty of deep, meaningful discussions about the power of words.

I stood in my driveway as a child and sing-songed "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me." But that is such a lie - scientists have found that just hearing sentences about elderly people led research subjects to walk more slowly. In other research, individuals read words of 'loving kindness' showed increases in self-compassion, improved mood, and reduced anxiety.

But today, it was damn hard to look prejudice in the face.

And so I was faced with a choice. I could have skipped on down to any other message, watched a video, gone back to writing, and ignored the remark.
Or I could do what I believed was right and take a stand.

I confronted. I sent her a short message that said I found her choice of a racial slur unacceptable and could no longer be her friend. I then "un-friended" her.

I'll admit - it was hard to be a bit confrontational. Hard to call someone out like that.
And it had ramifications.
Several of her friends and relatives began bombarding me with FB messages.
Her husband telephoned me.

I asked him where I was supposed to draw the line? Should I get upset if my friend's child is called a faggot? How about when my son is called a dago or my daughter a squaw? Do I accept kike or queer or cracker or honkey? Do I only react when a label is pasted on someone I know? Or someone I love?

Advise me, dear friends. I'm not feeling like a brave activist tonight - in fact, these people have me feeling like I've done something wrong.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Why don't the tiny, hollow bones of birds freeze in the winter time?

Or - Do dogs get headaches?
I have been driving myself crazy with these questions all day.

What the hell did we ever do before Google?
Well, I often asked my grandma and she didn't have too many answers - or any that actually made sense.
I remember the giant 12-inch thick DICTIONARY at my house, which was mostly used when babies came to visit to allow them to be tall enough to sit at the dinner table with us. If they were really little, we could always grab a couple of Collier's Encyclopedias.

Google has made it possible for every tidbit of information that we would ever want - not need, mind you - to be reached in a nano-second.

A friend told me when I asked someone about this Saturday that before Google "We walked around stupid."

I like to think it was uneducated but I really think she was a bit right. How often did we not check, research, look into something because it would have been a cumbersome process? And so that question would go unanswered. And 35 years later, when someone asks you how to blanche almonds... see? You don't know! What else did we fail to know? Could there have been information out there that would have changed each of our lives, set us on a different path, given us options (am I projecting too much here?)

And look beyond Google's educational value.
We can watch penguins dance, grown men make fools of themselves by trying out their sons' skateboards, our grandchildren proposing to their prospective brides, document and keep the sounds of our children's first words, find out how much shipping would be on a full-size leather ottoman, and reunite with lost loves. Wait - scratch that last one. As some of my friends remember, that didn't work out too well...

So I think it would be stupid to not get rid of a little stupid. I've thought about this all day and I can't really see a downside to this landslide of available information. I'm going to turn into a Googling Fool, a G-Maniac. I'm gonna Google this willy-nilly and Google that madcap. I'm going to look up cherry vanilla cake recipes and classmates from 1966. I'm going to check the words to Stairway to Heaven. I'm watching marching bands take the field, cats sing dance tunes, and listing which plants will grow best in my shady yard.
And I'm finding out why birds don't freeze and if dogs get headaches.

Hold on there - it only takes .00034 seconds.
And, voila!

Birds actually use several tricks to keep their legs from freezing. First they can stand on one leg and pull the other up under their feathers when one leg starts getting too cold. And if it gets really cold, they can squat to cover both legs with breast feathers. If you see a bird doing this, they may be getting uncomfortably cold legs.

And yes, scientists believe that dogs get headaches. But apparently not enough - have you heard about the exploding pet population???

Sunday, January 2, 2011

So there I was, enjoying Christmas.

When along came "THE BUG."
First it struck my granddaughter.
Then my daughter.
Then me.
Then my son in law.
Then my daughter's friend's mother.

Well, you get the idea.

Five days later, I crawled up off the bathroom floor and headed off to work.
And there - on the shores of Passamaquoddy Bay, where Maine kisses the Atlantic Ocean and if you had radar vision you could see Europe - is where I found Molly, Suzie and Donna. They also seemed a bit surprised to find themselves there.

Three old ladies, they called themselves.
On just two days' notice, they flew 15 hours from Seattle to watch the sun rise over Eastport, the country's easternmost city.
They are 62 to 70. They've watched husbands die, lost their parents, worked entire careers and retired, and one day about five years ago, they took a good look at each other. They saw three old ladies. Gray hair. Sweet wrinkled faces. Bodies that sag into themselves. And they said What The Hell Are We Waiting For?

And so they hit the road - together.
They've been swimming with the dolphins in the Bahamas.
Flew by bush plane into a remote village in Alaska, seeking long-gone gold mining relatives's graves and found them.
Watched humpbacks breaching in the cold Pacific and sat in a yurt in minus 30 degree weather waiting for the Northern Lights - which didn't show up.
They've experienced the Ernest Hemmingway Look Alike Contest and all the rowdiness that entails at Key West.
They've seen volcanoes at Maui.
At Eastport, they dove up the elbows in their first Maine lobster dinner while tipping Coronas.
They put on silly pointed party hats and watched a four foot sardine fly from a building at midnight.
And they stood together the next morning overlooking the ocean and watched the first sunrise of the year, and pondered their own insignificance.

Through it all, they told me, they have one goal: to find out what makes each place they visit individual, what the heart of the place is. All along their travels, they stop and talk to all the people. They don't just stand at the rim of a canyon, snap a photo and sigh. They turn to the person next to them on the ridge, in the train, at the tourist shop, and begin a conversation. A dialogue about life. They ask. And then they listen.
And by engaging with those around them, they learn. They learn about the place they are in, about new places, about dreams, about love, about loss, about all the good bad and ugly details that make this a life. And through this process, they have learned the most about themselves.

And isn't this just what we all want? To get to the heart of a place, a person, the matter? And while we making that trip, to get to even the most deep part of ourselves?
The rock in the bottom of the stew of our lives is always the question "Who am I?" and the quest is always to find the answer.

So here's a New Year's toast to Molly, Suzie and Donna - they have truly embraced the premise that life is REALLY all about the journey and are willing to step out on that ledge and leap.
Where next? I asked them. "We have no idea," they answered, with a hearty laugh. They seem to laugh alot, these three.

Let's start our own journey of discovery this year. Let's look a little deeper, be a bit more reflective, and - along the way - have a grand adventure or two. I for one am more than ready.
Who else is coming along?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Well, it's a happy new year, isn't it?

I'm not making any resolutions - I fail miserably at that - but small promises to myself. One of them includes adopting a healthier lifestyle.....Oh, I eat healthily. I'm not a big sweets eater and junk food is to a minimum. My problem is quantity. I just can't stop....being sick for a week with the stomach flu has given me an edge on that! What a great diet...I still can't look at food. Ginger ale, tea and some bits of bread are all I can manage.

So when I was falling asleep last night (or was that early this morning?) I was reflecting on what the people of 1911 would think of us, here at the cusp of 2011. You know, I was sort of assessing our lifestyle choices.
What would they think of our constant cell phone chatter - everywhere at anytime?
What would their thoughts be on how addicted we have become to our computers, our social networks, our email communication?
And how about instant food? From soups in a can to frozen mashed potatoes, when I see the array in the grocery store, it is hard to believe that anyone cooks from real, raw, healthy food anymore.

So here are some of my goals:
Turn my cell phone off when I am not working.
Write at least one letter a week to someone that would have received a quick email.
Give up all prepared food. (except Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee, of course.)
Carry no tales, share no gossip, speak not a word of ill will - even if it IS true - about anyone.
Be more spontaneous - say yes instead of a quick no to new adventures and offerings.
Renew my promise to work 37.5 hours a week and no more. (unless I get paid for it.)
Make one new friend a week, at least.
Swim every day.

I can't promise to keep these goals - but I do promise to try. If I fail, I'll start again, and that is part of this too - accepting my mistakes and forgiving myself for them so I can move on.

What about you?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My New Year's resolution is to return to writing my blog with a vengeance!

I have been away solving problems: health, family, snot and vomit - you know, the usual stuff.

But baby I am back!
I promise a new look and enthusiasm for 2011. There will be stories, photos, pathos, maybe a bit of humor, but always a truthfulness.

See you faithful followers then!!!
Happy solstice, merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, Kwanza and New Year!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

this is harder than I thought!

I'm having a bit of a hard time this week with gratitude.
So today I will only say that I'm grateful for the delicious cornbread served at lunch.

That's all.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

gratitude, continued.

Today I am grateful for the poor man from DishTV that has been up and down on my roof, in and out of my livingroom, emptied every single tool and receiver out of his truck, and is still here trying to install Dish service.

He got here at 7 a.m. It is now ten minutes to three.

The poor dude.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The glass is half full.

Today I interviewed a lovely woman who is dedicating her life to positivity.
You know, that elusive state of mind where you see the good and reject the bad.
Not an easy task. Negativity seems to surround us - the clerk at the store is grumpy and foul-tempered.
A family member misinterprets a conversation.
Television shows are full of murder and mayhem, even the comedies.

I've been thinking all day about how hard it is for me to see the positive aspects of many of the situations and stories I find myself writing about.
How can anything positive come from the death of an entire family, including a four year old, in a car crash? How can three young men drowning at sea carry even a breath of positivity? or fires? or drug incidents, or any number of bad news events. Some days it seems as though I wallow in bad news and some days that is very difficult to withstand.

And then I found myself thinking of that sweet, violin playing Rutgers freshman that jumped from the George Washington Bridge.
An indisputable tragedy, for certain.

But look at the national conversation it has started.
People are actually talking about kindness and acceptance. They are talking to each other. They are posting on Facebook, having conversations on talk radio and television news. College campuses are holding vigils and seminars on acceptance.
Could all of this outcry of wrongness over this suicide and what led up to it possibly churn off a little positive energy? Could it spark a tempest of outrage?

Could one young man or woman who feels outcast - different than their peers - could one person feel a little hopeful?

Could one person feel less alone, less stigmatized, less shunned?

Could one person who has been hateful begin to understand what it feels like to be different than the rest of the crowd?
Could one person who has been hateful begin to understand the implications of their actions and thoughts? The implications of a limp-wrist joke? The power of insults, name calling, derision?

And, taking it just a small step further, could that person's viewpoint and actions shift - actually shift - away from hate to acceptance, to a place of actual caring?

The woman I interviewed this morning suggested everyone start a Gratitude Journal and every day list three things to be thankful for.
Today I am thankful for L, J, A, V and D, who have shown me that courage wears many faces.
Today I am thankful that the world is at least paying attention to the loss of one young man who had to fly from a bridge to find peace.
And today I am thankful that a conversation has begun in many dark corners about acceptance.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sincere apologies - I have been remiss.

I have been so busy here Down East over the past year that I have truly neglected my blog.
Oh yeah, I posted some pictures here and there.
But I never really had a good conversation...never shared the depth and breadth of my life or debated world issues or the joy of relationships.
Now, There are so many changes under way that I have decided to post with renewed vigor - every day!
So today is devoted to my apology.
When I first moved Down East, I was believing that it was going to be a slower, easier day at work for me. HA HA and HA.
I have never been so busy in my life! It's been a good busy however and I've had so many new adventures. I also discovered I'm a boat whore and will do almost anything to go out on the ocean.

But an old ugly habit reared its head - I tend to let work overtake my life. If I have no plans, I work. If I am lonely, I work.
I fill every hour with scanner traffic, calls for information, research.
This has to stop.
When I went on summer vacation to Cape Cod with BFF Donna, I returned with a promise to stick to a 40-hour week. Most weeks, I am doing well. Some days, I fail miserably. But I'll keep at it!
Also, I made a promise to my daughter go to the doctor about an annoying problem and I did and it has been corrected! Just this little change has brightened my spirits tremendously.
(Okay, all my Goddesses - don't start bombarding me with questions. I will give no answers. I only mention this because I am now happier and more content than I have been in a long time.)

I'm heading into my second winter in Sweet Pea Cabin and I'm really looking forward to it - definitely a shift change for me. I always saw winter as such a burden. Now I'm waiting for that snuggling in feeling and that I have plans for several fall/winter trips helps ease that feeling that winter can be endless.
I'm headed to P'town later this month, Florida in February and likely NYC in March or April.
Winter doesn't scare me - I've instead shifted to a settled feeling.

I have also begun swimming again. I know this is ridiculous but I stopped because my bathing suit kept falling off. Really. It was 12 years old for gawd's sake.
I ordered a new one on-line and it took 8 weeks for it to come!
So it is back into the pool and I'm pleased.

I am finally also coming to grips with being without my best friends from P'town. It has been an extraordinarily difficult transition. I've made a dozen trips back over the past year to visit and have been so fortunate to have several BFF's come up here and visit. But still the shift to spending weeks without my friends......not an easy road,

So, I apologize for being neglectful.
That changes today.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Finally, the reunion photos! A great time at Danny's house!

The wonderful, beautiful Karlin welcomed everyone that came - even though there were a few bumps in the road like an overflowing dishwasher, a crash between a two year old and a husky, a drowned ATV, a great time was had by all~

Here is my niece Jessica setting up her tent - I think after a pretty horrible experience at Lovely's Motel in Newport, everyone will be tenting next year!
There were horseshoes - here's Danny and Russ getting very serious...
And lots of fun conversations...girlie style...

The talent show was a big hit - Here is Tobin, my great-nephew, showing off his hula hoop skills!

And his sister Amelia was amazing! The pair won best in show and got the first annual BETTYFest award...

Even Karlin performed - here he is doing the Smarty Pants Dance!

Yup, that's me with Jenny's arms! We did a Julia Child's skit about making the perfect peanut butter sandwich while drinking wine directly from the bottle!

Jenny acted as awards' announcer!

My sister Debra performed Sandra Dee from "Grease"...

My nephew David sang (the only accomplished performer in our group!)

And the boys did a terrible finger-snapping poetry rendition....just so bad!

My sisters were Sonny and Cher and really made us laugh! That's Susan on the left and Robin on the right - they were fantastic!

We can't wait for next year!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Connecticut wedding!

Connecticut was cool and raining most of the weekend. Boy did they need it - everything was crispy brown, burnt by the very hot summer they are having. My son's garden only had sunflowers left in bloom... On Friday, it was off to Danielle and Steve's wedding in West Hartford. Danielle is my niece - here she is coming down the aisle with her dad, Pasquale.

And now she and Steven are married! I just love the way the sun decided to shine on them as they turned from the altar.

Here they are greeting people outside the church - look at the evil eye my sister in law, Jennifer (jiffy) is giving me!

The reception was held at Aqua Turf, an amazingly beautiful venue about a 1/2 hour outside of West Hartford. God bless Google directions!

My little Karlin says "Hi Grammie! Can I have your camera!"

Russ and Taryn were there too! Didn't they look great?

But the music was tooooo loud for little Karlin I think. Such a serious face!

Daddy enjoys a quiet moment with his little man, overlooking all the fountains.

Here's a sweet shot of the groom, Steven, talking with his new father in law, Pasquale.

It was a great weekend but ended on a sour note: Trudy had planned a goddess party at her house for Monday night and so I arrived expecting a gathering. Her brother, however, has taken a turn for the worse so there was no party. I ended up heading home and it was so good to sleep in my own house!
Tune in tomorrow for unbelievable pictures of BETTYfest, the Kiley reunion at Danny's house that we held two weeks ago...you are in for a treat!

Monday, August 2, 2010

weekend company - YAY!!

My dear friends Donna and Janet came this weekend for a Downeast visit. It was so wonderful to have them here! I love Downeast but it is hard without friends...I think most of the people here have large families around them and do not host friends the way we did in central Maine. I had a party a while back and there were almost 40 people that came and said what a great time they had. But....not one return invitation. In the full year that I have been here, only one person has invited me to their home. One.....sad. and lonely....and that is why visits from my beloved Pittsfield friends are so important to me. We laugh, play and just have such good times together. Thank you for coming D and J!

Part of our weekend was spent on Campobello Island, where Donna's parents are buried. We paid our respects and then hit the park. Do you believe this view????

We hiked for a while Friday afternoon (on Saturday they did TWO hikes - Bold Coast and the Western Head Preserve while I worked for a couple hours) and talked and laughed the whole time!

Donna in a pensive moment on a pier at Campobello....she spent many days here in her youth and was feeling so comfortable and at home on the island.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt's cottage - an amazing park, an amazing historical tour.

And we timed it right - the gardens were glorious in their blooming, including the dahlias below.

Saturday night was for enjoying gourmet pizza, drinking wine and playing dominoes. When they left Sunday morning, my heart was heavy. I miss everyone so much and just love sharing my beautiful Downeast with them....

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I've been painting up a storm....but first =

Just a little dinghy (haven't we all been there) sort of abandoned in a flower-filled field. Neglected. Forlorn. But at the same time just lovely and peaceful.

Fish on a plate....inspired by Cape Cod....

I've been painting red teapots all weekend. Big ones, smaller ones. Fat ones and tall ones. I am having so much fun. There is something magical in a tea pot - I actually have a small collection. Women have been gathering around tea pots forever: sharing their secrets, telling their stories, seeking comfort and solace and celebrating joyous events and accomplishments. Not to mention how damn good a cup of tea tastes.....

See anything you might like??? Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

It's very quiet here on the hill....

Sweet Pea Cabin is silent today.

My little Kiley has gone away to the beach with her parents until Sunday.
While on the one hand I will miss her little voice, her sweet smile and her emerging personality, a little time to myself is going to be interesting. I've already put a second coat of poly on the freshly sanded living room floor without worrying about little footprints ruining the finish, and I'm taking myself out to dinner tonight - a good beginning.

Here's what else I intend to do:
1. Paint all day Saturday without interruption.
2. Walk around in my underwear.
3. Eat junk food anytime I want.
4. Turn my music on REALLY loud.

I will also call her three times a day to see if she is having a good time and cook her a special sgetti dinner when she comes home! I'm already missing her giggle...and the way she climbs into my bed AFTER I have already made it....and how she arrives each morning and asks for toast....and how she smells after her bath when she comes over for a kiss and hug good night....and how she knocks on my office door and asks me to go to the beach in the afternoons...yikes. Sunday can't come fast enough!

It's interesting to see how completely I have shifted, first from having a house full of children to then living alone, to now sharing my life with my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter across the driveway. There are times when I crave a little quiet and alone time; while other times I march across the driveway every fifteen minutes to visit.
It's an interesting experiment and we have to be careful to be very kind to each other so we don't interfere, hurt each others' feelings or overstep personal boundaries.
I think we do a pretty good job and we are having such a wonderful time sharing our dreams, goals, ideas and lives. What an exciting journey!

And I still miss that little pumpkin....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Finally...The Cape Cod pix I promised!

Don't you love this painting??? There was so much art on Cape Cod and in Rockport (MA) and I swear Donna and I went into every gallery we passed..... In Sandwich on the Cape we went to a sculpture garden and salt marsh walk. The sculpture below is called "Nest." Do you see the nest of stones inside the outer structure?

The walk to the salt marsh took us over a VERY rickety rope bridge over a bog.....scary!
One of the days, we spent the whole morning and part of the afternoon at the National Seashore - from the temperature of the water, to the number of people, to the absence of rocks, we were certainly 100 percent sure we weren't in Maine! I am going to have to paint this trio of colorful umbrellas...
I found a new boyfriend in Provincetown. Everywhere you looked, there was art.

This little village of plaster architecture graced the entrance to one of the best galleries....

The bay at Provincetown is full of pleasure boats - very few working vessels.

In between the many stores and galleries at Provincetown are little garden entrances to even more special places....
And here is my lovely traveling partner - Donna - test driving a new pair of earrings.

Look at that sky - this is the National Seashore and it is incredible.

We had the best time. New adventures, new sights, laughter and good food. But most of all it was wonderful to just get away for a bit. Since I've been back I've been keeping to my new rule: no more 60 hour weeks. I head to the beach in the afternoon if I have a night meeting; I stop when my day is done; and I've been painting, painting, painting. The galleries and the atmosphere at the Cape got my artistic juices flowing.

Since I've been back I've gone on a whale watch, hiked the Western Head Preserve, and taken another trip back to Pittsfield to visit with Donna and friends (and see amazing fireworks!)
Sorry about the delay in posting - I promise to be more prompt!

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!!