Monday, August 7, 2017

August 2017 - stuff and plans

I had such a wonderful conversation with Christopher tonight.  He called me out of the blue and we talked about the concert he went to Saturday night - Alabama Shakes.  I told him that several of my friends - some who are my age; some 10 years younger, and some 10 years older, as well as himself, posted on FB about going to this concert.  So I pulled them up on my Google Music tonight and listened to them for an hour or so and loved what I heard!  He said it was an excellent concert and he caught a taxi home 10 minutes before the downpour hit Portland.  He also told me he's about to move into a new place in Portland with a friend and his fiance both of whom he really likes who recently purchased a home.  Cheaper rent and first floor room.  I'm really happy for him. Sounds like a great arrangement.

I haven't posted much since I noticed all the photos I've posted in the past couple of years or so have disappeared from this blog.  Damn technology!  Maybe some winter day when I have nothing better to do I'll try to figure it all out but I'm not holding my breath.  In the meantime . . .

We're planning a trip to Europe for this September.  From the 4th through the 28th.  This will be my first trip to Europe so I'm pretty psyched.  My brother lives in Lyon and Servagette, France and I figured in 10 days of free lodging accommodations to the trip.  I think this may turn out to be my favorite part. My brother and I butt heads sometimes but I've always thought of him as the cool little brother.  There's a Lucinda Williams song that has a lyric that says, "my brother knows where all the best bars are."  That's totally Bill and I think of him whenever I hear that song.  But at the same time, he's a very strong personality and we're not always on the same page.  But I can usually chill and go along with whatever for 10 days and probably be the better for it, so again, I'm pretty psyched.
 When I travel (which hasn't been all that much) I really like to get a feel of a place which I don't feel like you get at the tourist attractions (which I still want to see!!!) but when you can observe every day life.  You know, find a local cafe or bar where you find part of your tribe.  That's kinda what I'm hoping to find in Lyon.  

So the plan is:  4 nights in Paris; take a train to Lyon; 10 days with Bill and Fre between Lyon and Servagette; then a flight from Lyon to Venice and 5 nights on the Grand Canal; next a flight from Venice to Naples and 4 nights in Amalfi before returning to Naples for our flight back to Boston.

I've been reading some Donna Leone, Guido Brunetti detective series books that take place in Venice to get a feel for the city.  They're really building some excitement for me.  I need to find something similar for Paris to read.

It's an ambitious trip and I hope this old body holds up for it all.  I don't love flying but I do want to experience foreign locations so I'm hoping 3+ weeks isn't too much.  I'm sure I'll be happy to get home and that's a good thing too!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Damn, I can't believe I haven't posted since last October and I think that post was one I'd written back in the summer.  Anyway, here I am at camp, solo for night #2, listening to some Sweet Melissa on my Ipod and loving the beautiful breeze coming off the Cobb and the various critters scurrying around, trying to get a last morsel of something before settling down for the night and allowing the nocturnal critters their domain.  Today's highlights:  watched as an eagle swooped down and snatched a nice fish from the Cobb out in front of camp.  That was pretty much it.  Didn't paddle today.  My arms are rather sore from two days of paddling in a row.  Tomorrow I'll be out there again and maybe do the whole trip down to the dam.

I should have driven to Augusta today and voted.  I didn't.  That's not like me.  But I have to say that I'm rather discouraged politically these days.  Fucking Trump.  Fucking LePage.  Fucking Maine Legislature.  They're trying to undo 2 referendums we passed last November: Ranked Choice Voting and a 3% tax on Mane's top earners to fund education to the 55% required in the Referendum we passed 10 years ago that they never achieved.  Fuckers.  Their response:  we're trying to get there.  Fuck you.  So if I'm pulled over for drunken driving can I respond:  Hey, I'm trying to get sober, I haven't had anything to drink for at least an hour?

I didn't sleep well last night.   I think it was that damn "death by chocolate" cake that Eddie had gotten for his birthday yesterday and insisted I take some home.  It called to me until I ate some and the caffeine in the chocolate kept me up until 4 am.

This is my third night at camp and I haven't managed to wake up to watch the sunrise yet.  I only see it reflected on the western shore of The Cobb but it's often pretty spectacular. Maybe I'll see it tomorrow morning.  A beer with dinner and a glass of wine and I'm expecting an early bedtime.

Betty is coming out tomorrow for a kayak paddle!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

I came out to camp on Monday planning to spend a few nights solo as Rick is still working.  I had hoped to do a paddle on Monday but the winds were too strong and I didn't want to risk it.  But Tuesday the winds had died down and the temps were in the mid 60s so Betty came over and we did a little paddle.  Her shoulder had been bothering her so I left her soaking up some sun just beyond the bridge and got a little workout paddling down to where the stream narrows.  The last of the red winged blackbirds have left the northern marsh but there were several ducks still hanging around and I saw two or three heron flying and fishing along the shore.  I also saw one of the juvenile ospreys that hatched this year flying overhead a couple of times.  

October on the Cobb. Still a lot more color to come.

About half way back to camp we decided to give Eddie a call and invite him over to have dinner with us.  Betty had brought some sauteed venison from the deer she shot last year and we put it over some pasta and Eddie brought a nice bottle of wine to go with it all.

Tonight I met Rose down at The Depot in Gardiner for a drink and then Rick joined us for dinner at Pastaz.  Rose is here to drive her mom back to New Mexico to spend the winter with her.  She just got in this morning and will be leaving on Saturday so we won't get to spend much time together but I might try to catch up with her again tomorrow for a walk at Hobbit Land or later at The Depot again. I'd also like to get in another paddle tomorrow as it could be the last of the season for me.

Me, Rose, and Rick at Pastaz
The squirrels and birds have been very active at the feeders this week.  The flying squirrels have been coming at night but I haven't seen any skunks or raccoons.  Today I got what's probably my final propane delivery until spring.

I've been amazed at how many acorns there are this year!  I had to rake the lawn because it felt like walking on marbles everywhere.  We threw a couple in the camp fire we had last night and one kind of exploded, spreading sparks all around.  I was glad I hadn't thrown a lot of them in there given the drought conditions around much of the state.  I haven't had any problems with the well but we haven't spent lots of time out here either.  But so far, so good.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

West Coast 2016

I've spent the last couple of days at camp solo.  I realize I haven't written much in my blog since my retirement which was one of the things I was sure I'd do once I had time.  hmmm . . ..

On my kayak paddle today (September 22, 2016) - the first day of autumn - I noticed the swallows that usually nest under the Hallowell-Litchfield Road bridge had already left for warmer climes.  However, I did see a few, though very sparse, population of red-winged black birds in the northern marsh.  Most, I suspect have also headed south.  

What I call the cormorant tree on Cobbosseecontee Stream in West Gardiner

The cormorants are still around and seem to be using the old cormorant tree again this year.  Heard some loons last night.  

I have to say that I'm extremely grateful that the family that owns the rooster lives far enough away so that I can only barely hear him crow from 4 to 7 am.  If I hadn't been awake reading my book, I wouldn't have heard him.  My closest neighbor upstream used to have chickens but thankfully they never had a rooster.  

My first 10 months of retirement have been everything I expected and wanted.  I still wake up in the morning with a sense of wonder that the day is mine, to do with as I wish.  If I want to spend the whole day reading a book, I can do that. If I feel like spending time in my pottery studio, that's what I do.  I have started a routine of going to the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, so on those days that obligation is in place which is often not welcome.  But I feel stronger and have much more stamina and getting in and out of my kayak is much easier than it has been in years so the work is paying off.  I've lost 15 pounds as well so I'm happy about that.  

 We spent a couple of weeks on the West Coast in July.  We started off with a week with Jason, Adri, and Hugh in Claremont, CA, spending lots of time in their pool and playing with Hugh.  He just recently turned two and he's clearly got a mind of his own but is almost always happy, engaged, and delightful. 

"Again!" yells Hugh, until Jason's arms are like jelly.  :-)  

Rick, Hugh, and Jason walking to the park

 However, after a week of that we were ready for some adult time and rented a car and drove up to Big Sur.  We stayed a couple of nights at the Big Sur River Inn, hiked down to the Pacific Ocean at Andrew Molera State Park, had dinner at Nepenthe, and just admired the amazing views the area has to offer.  Two days after we left the area experienced some significant wildfires so I feel so fortunate that we were able to explore before that happened.  

Walking down to the beach at Molera State Park

Dipping my toes into the Pacific Ocean - it was cold and windy as heck!

Having drinks at Nepenthe

Our room at the Big Sur River Inn

We left Big Sur and drove up Route 1 to San Francisco to meet Jerry Nicosia for lunch.  Spent a couple hours with him at a nice little coffee shop in Mill Valley and then headed north again, on our way to visit Annie and Woody Woods just outside of Portland, OR.  We went inland to save time and stopped to visit some redwood forests along the way in the Avenue of the Giants.  

A magnificent redwood tree

We had decided to wing it in finding a room for the night and ended up in Eureka, CA at a sweet little hotel overlooking the rather industrial bay area. 

Our rather industrial view in Eureka, CA

 We talked to a gentleman at the Applebee's we ate at and asked about recommendations if we had just an hour or two to see the sights and he recommended an absolutely magical beach on our way about a half hour north called Houda Point in Trinadad CA and Luffenholtz Point.  Wow!  It was foggy and drizzly which really seemed to add to the magic of the place. 

Luffenholtz Point - the old man in the sea?

Houda Point, Trinadad, CA

 I could have spent days there but we were scheduled to reach Tualatin by 5 that night so we tore ourselves away and drove north, taking the James River road that took us from CA to OR.  Such beautiful, hilly, rugged country!  I really hope to come back in a camper and spend time in northern California - both the wine/ranch country north of San Francisco and the more rugged areas around Eureka. 

We arrive in Tualatin and had a wonderful visit with Annie and Woody Woods.  
Rick, Annie, Woody, and myself.  I may have had a little of that herb that's legal in Oregon.

At McMenamins on the Columbia River in Vancouver, Washington with our great friends Annie Courchesne Woods and Woody Woods.
The Columbia River Gorge - Oregon on the right and Washington on the left

At the Portland Saturday Market - great people watching

At McMinimans in Washington

Our last night in Oregon

Friday, January 1, 2016

Closing Down Camp 2015

Evidence camp was standing and in good shape when we closed it down in November 2015.  Just in case it burns down or floats away in a flood before we return in May.  

Holidays 2015

Ashley's first ever Christmas stocking

The aftermath

More aftermath
Rick's famous sausage and egg casserole and some monkey bread for Christmas breakfast
Christmas fireplace

Christmas morning - no snow - so much green!
It arrived a couple of days later though

The Bond boys (Jared, Chris, Justin, Tucker, Peter, and Jesse Bond) playing some Munchkins the night prior to the Bond family gathering at our house.

Pretty cardinal hanging out in the backyard on New Year's Day

Chilling with some Mimosas and having fun with one of my new Christmas gifts on New Year's Day 2016.