Tuesday, June 29, 2010

25 Years Today

Today Mike and I have been married for 25 years. I am so thankful for him and his love and care. I am also so thankful that we have kept going, especially in an era when marriage is not valued! A day like today is worthy of contemplation. Marriage is both a wonderful thing and also a thing that will test one's Christianity in a way nothing else will. It is two sinners who have decided to lawfully live under the same roof. It is self sacrifice and giving of oneself for the good of the other person, and it leads to discovery of the true depth of meaning of commitment and love. I am thankful for Mike and for the past 25 years of marriage!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Some Impressions of Our Trip

The upper half of North Carolina, on Interstate 85, is very quiet and enjoyable to travel through. It is just woods – no major cities.

Years ago when teaching geography, I always taught about the Urban Arch, starting at Richmond, VA, and ending at Boston. Well, it definitely starts at Richmond – the traffic increased noticeably once we reached that point.

One does not realize until seeing it in person how totally dominating the Washington Monument is over the landscape of DC. It is more than just its height – its base is also massive. The Lincoln Memorial is huge also, and the Capitol Building is immense.

I was disappointed that the abundance of trees makes a number of places (such as the Capitol building and the White House) difficult to see well in the summertime.

We felt like northeasterners were much friendlier and helpful than we had been led to believe. Many times we had to stop and ask for directions or tips on places to stay or eat, and no one was rude or treated us unkindly.

Northeasterners do drive more aggressively than southerners. Boston was the only place where it was very difficult to deal with, but all over the northeast we noticed that drivers are quick to cut in when a slight place is available, or take advantage of any opportunity to make a left-hand turn.

We were amazed at how clean the landscape was, and how the people seemed to take pride in keeping their state clean and neat. Unlike the south, where it is everywhere on the roadside, we rarely saw litter.

We had expected the weather to be really cool, which it was for several days, but then it turned warm. That was a disappointment, as we had hoped to escape the oppressive heat of the south. But one lady said to us, “Please do not begrudge us our one or two days of hot weather this summer!”

We saw more churches than we expected to see. There were not churches on every street corner like in the south, but there were churches of many denominations of all theological stripes – but including conservative ones.

They really like puns in Maine. There are no "Main Streets" there; the primary street in every town is "Maine Street." Guess that's to be expected. But that "Maine" pun goes on and on. "The Maine Stay Inn." "Maine-ly Sewing." Etc., etc. We saw a lot of others - wish I'd written more down - but one I did write down was "The Baits Motel." A little too realistic for comfort.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pics Post #3 (final one)

This is a lobster pound. That phrase is everywhere - we thought it meant just someplace to buy or eat lobster, but turns out it means an establishment that has a cage in the ocean outside, or a holding tank inside, to hold the lobsters live. (My friend Tim, who hails from Maine, told me it was like "a dog pound, only for stray lobsters.") Here if you look closely you can see a man cooking lobsters in those large smokers for mailing around the U.S. The smell was wonderful.

Just stopped by the side of the road, at another lobster pound, to take some pictures. We could have stopped two hundred times to take pictures with a view like this.

Mike outside the lobster pound, retrieving the first of twelve rocks we would bring home. :-) See bottom of this post.

A flea market in central Maine. Note the lobster traps.

A little fishing village as seen from one of the many high bridges we had to cross. For some reason all the bridges in the northeast are very old, very high, very rusty, and very scary.

George Bush Sr.'s home in Kennebunkport, ME. We knew it was close by and looked for it. When you come across it - it is unmistakable that you have seen the right place.

A closer look of their gorgeous home.

Mike and me outside the Bush home.

So we're looking at the beautiful home, when a speedboat comes ROARING into the cove. Lo and behold - George H.W. Bush is driving. The smaller gray boat is the secret service - the speedboat is turning around at this point to dock.
Bush can't walk very well any more, but he can really drive that boat!

This is blurry because I had to zoom in so closely - but the man in the reddish-orange pants is the former president, walking up the sidewalk with the party that was on the boat.

An art gallery on the side of the road had these beautiful bronze statues. Don't remember the price on this one, but a similar one of a doe and a fawn was $35,000. Mike had better lower his expectations that he will get this for his birthday.
The flowers around the statue are lupine, and they are everywhere right now. We were told that they are the state flower, but when I googled it (couldn't remember the name), the sources all said that the state flower of Maine is the white pinecone and tassel - not really a flower, but that's what it is.

There's nothing particularly Maine-ish about this, but we stopped to eat breakfast at a local eaterie on the way out of town, and these were in the windowbox outside our table. I thought they were pretty.

Stopped here to use the restroom - had ended up on an exit with absolutely nothing but this inn. Walked inside and there was a formal dinner going on. No one noticed me and I couldn't find anybody to ask. Could not find a women's restroom anywhere, just a men's one. No one was in the room that it was off of. You guessed what I did. Fortunately no one came in. :-)

Driver and car. 2,839 miles!

Our rocks! We stopped in every state and found a rock to bring home for the butterfly garden. One of us - maybe Mary Lee - will paint the state name on the correct rock. Wish we'd written down the stories of getting the rocks - some are rather entertaining. But we didn't.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

More pics -

We ate lobster rolls for lunch here - great place in Blue Hill, ME. A lot of restaurants are walk-ups like this, although we ate at one of six tiny booths inside. Every restaurant offers a version of chowder, lobster or crab rolls, or seafood of some sort.

For the CHARLOTTE'S WEB lovers: This is Fern's swing! We were given a wonderful tour of E.B. White's home.

E.B. White was quite a farmer - this is a copy of some of his sheep records.

Sitting in the little boathouse by the water, where White escaped to write CHARLOTTE'S WEB. This is his desk and bench. At the time that was the only furniture in this little building. Note how beautiful the view is from out of the window.

Classic Maine view, this one from the boathouse.

Outside the boathouse.

Their graves, in nearby Brooklin. When we visited the town, I realized that that was the same town where my cousin went a couple of years ago to build boats, as it's billed as the boat building capital of the world. It is very, very small.

From our hotel in Bar Harbor. This is the ferry that is used to take passengers to Nova Scotia. It was out of commission when we were there.

View from our hotel room in Bar Harbor.
More to come!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Back from our Trip!

Mike and I have gotten back from our great trip to the northeast. I had thought about making a post for each day, but decided that that might wear a little thin to those who didn't go on the trip and therefore aren't quite as "into it" as I am. :-) But I will post several pictures on this post, and will probably have several more posts with pictures in the days to come.I did not realize just how imposing the Washington Monument is! It totally dominates all of the capital, not just the area right around it. Its massive size, not only height but also width, is much greater than is conveyed in pictures.

U.S. Capitol! From our bus tour. With only one day in the capital we decided that was the way to go. Our first tour guide was a young boy who was too busy being cute to do a good job, but we got on a second bus with a much better guide. This tour was after seeing the Holocaust Museum, which Mike really wanted to do. We got tickets to get in immediately after it opened. I would have loved to see more of the Smithsonian museums, but at least I know where to go on the next trip! Just not enough time.

At the L.L. Bean store in Freeport! You have to have your picture taken by the big boot. :-)

This was the view out toward the Atlantic, from our room at the Little Island Motel, on Orrs Island in Casco Bay. Above the lower quarter of the state, the Maine coastline is fascinating. It's not like southern beaches, where you drive to the coast, you face the ocean, and you have a view. In Maine, it's like there are hundreds and hundreds of "fingers," peninsulas stretching southeastward into the Atlantic, with hundreds of islands and inlets as well. All end up in the Atlantic. The coastline of Maine is as long as the rest of the east coast states put together. You are never far from water, and it is beautiful.
The deck of our little motel on Orrs Island.
Across the inlet is a fishing village. Watched the schoolbus drop children off. Our server that night told us that the children and teens there know how to get places by water better than they know how to go on the roads.
Lobster stew! That was some very, very good eating.
Harpswell, ME - a little town we drove through on the way to eat that night. The oldest grave I found was marked 1790, but there were probably older ones. Many towns we drove through were founded in the 1700s and a few even the 1600s. The sign at right says "Cattle Pound 1793."

There was a storm during the night and several fishing boats moved into the cove for protection. This is low tide.

Seagull from the point of the Little Island Motel.

More pics to come as I have time!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Middle Age Strikes Again

Yesterday I had to get several bottles of prescription medicine, some for each of us, from our local grocery store pharmacy. I always staple the cash register receipt to the empty bag with the labels, and then keep them in case of any question at the end of the year, and this was especially important as one bottle was for some rather pricey antibiotic. (Aside: I am very thankful for a good doctor and modern medicine when needed!)

Later, while working in the kitchen, I discovered - the receipt for the medicines. What had I stapled to the empty bag with the medicine labels? Sure enough, I had carefully saved the receipt for hamburger buns and Cover Girl makeup, and had almost thrown away the one for the medicines. Sigh.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Nineteen years ago today, at 7:35 p.m. on a Wednesday night, Mike and I became parents for the second time - to a little blue-eyed bundle with a full head of dark hair, who has grown up to be a light in our lives. She is spending today with friends, so probably won't read this; but, to anyone who does read it - Happy birthday to our much-loved daughter!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ups and Downs - Facebook Edition

I finally took the plunge about two months ago and tried Facebook, at the behest of an old friend who encouraged me to do so. It is a fascinating social phenomena. The following are the opinions of this blogger only!

UP - It's been a wonderful way to connect with old friends with whom I had lost contact - as well as another way to stay in contact with family members who live afar.

DOWN - Sometimes old friends with whom I had lost contact are just that; there is nothing in common anymore, and, therefore, getting into contact with them again is somewhat meaningless, pointless, and awkward.

DOWN - I get friend requests from people who weren't even old friends - some of them former students from years and years ago whose names I barely remember, and whose status updates are of no interest to me. It appears that some people just want to increase the size of their "friends" list.

UP - It's a nice way to stay in touch with people who are currently in my life. For example, I just sent out a large number of invitations to a luncheon next Tuesday, via Facebook private message. So quick, so easy to respond. Even easier than email.

UP - It's a good way to see people's pictures.

DOWN - Those games seem to be total time wasters.
UP - It's nice to know what people are doing when they post worthwhile updates, or to read their encouraging thoughts which some post from time to time.

DOWN - Some people seem to feel the need to let other people know, on a steady basis, the most mundane, the most unnecessary, and the most pointless things. I fully expect to see, sometimes soon, "Gone to the bathroom," or something even more explicit!

I have blocked many people's feeds, as well as many of the game feeds. The overall opinion: Facebook is like every other tool - can be used well or can be used negatively. I'm not going to throw it out just because so many people are addicted to it. But I don't want to be sucked up in it either.