Sunday, July 29, 2012

Kitchen Redo

Before - dark cupboards, octagonal island

After - new island; overhead cupboards gone!

And my favorite new addition - open shelving unit for all my pottery.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Grey Fox 2012

Today is Tuesday, July 24th - it's the second day of my fourth week of vacation.  I'm rather enjoying the life of leisure, though with all the trips we've been doing and have coming up I'm not sure I should call it leisure.    

I spent Sunday night at home and came out to camp on Monday.  We spent most of last week preparing for and then attending Grey Fox Bluegrass Music Festival in Oak Hill, NY.  We got there Wednesday, amid a very humid 90 degree day.  We found a perfect level spot next to some great folks from Vermont.  It was my first Grey Fox though Rick has been there several times.    
Our camper with Jason and Adri's tent in the background and their
 rental car in the foreground. 
The Vermont folks had the Airstream next to us, the metallic finish on which created a rather severe glare when it was hit by the sun.  I bought a couple of nice tapestries from one of the vendors and we hung them off the awning.  The results were less than perfect but serviceable. I think about 10 office clamps would do the trick nicely.  

Jason and Rick with matching hats at Grey Fox 2012

Jason and Adri listening to music at Grey Fox with a beautiful sunset behind them.
We saw some great music including the Del McCoury Band, The Hillbenders (amazing dobro player!), The Stringdusters, Lonesome River Band (we'd seen their banjo player, Sammy Shelor, at the Folk Festival in Bangor a couple years ago), Tony Trischka, Hot Rize (!), but my favorite of all I think was the Steeldrivers!  They put on a hell of a show in the Catskill Tent Saturday afternoon and another on the main stage Saturday night.  Rick said he's never seen an audience at a bluegrass festival react the way they did to these guys at the tent show.  It was pretty amazing.  
Rick and Jason pickin' some tunes with Adri looking on.  
Jason brought his mandolin with him on the flight from LA.  He's only been playing about a year but he's picked up a lot and was able to pick a few tunes and chop along to others.  I could tell Rick loved playing music with his son and was able to teach him some new things.  

Happy campers.

Rick, me, Adri, Jason.  This photo was taken on Thursday - before everyone got there.

I drove the truck and camper for the first time on our way home Sunday.  I started in Biddeford and drove it to Belgrade.  I was nervous about trying to negotiate the turn from Route 27 onto West Road so we changed drivers at Christie's Store.  The store parking lot was pretty full when I pulled in but I was able to weave through the gas pumps and some cars and park it for an easy exit.  I'd like to take it someplace to practice backing and negotiating around obstacles sometime.  I think I'd get the hang of it without too much trouble.  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Vacation - July 10th

It’s the second day of my second week of vacation.  It amazes me how I can completely disconnect from work when I’m on vacation; I guess it’s a survival mechanism I learned during my almost 35 years doing the same kind of work.    

I’m still early enough in my vacation that I haven’t started to get anxious about it almost being over.  I’ve got practically a whole month left.  The endless days of summer –  when you might kayak a few hours in the morning, read a book, have a campfire at the end of the day, or just sit and watch the fireflies and listen to the bullfrogs and loons.   There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of books written about achieving “presence” – how to; why to; when to.  Yet I wonder if there’s a defect in my character that allows me to sit there “present” for hours on end, observing all that’s happening around me.  Like the way the nuthatch takes just one seed from the feeder, flies to a nearby tree and finds a crevice to stick the seed into so he can crack it open with his beak to eat it.  I always wonder if that’s really a net gain, calorie wise.  Or the way the water is so calm you’re more likely to see a reflection of an eagle or osprey in the water before you see him flying overhead.  I like the way the ends of the maple leaves curl back in a breeze and the centers catch the sun so that they look more silver than green.    

The duckweed has started to move in and the water lilies, wild rice, and reeds have started to poke their heads above the surface of the water.  The cove is taking on the midsummer characteristics of a marsh and leaving behind the rushing and unpredictable stream of spring. 

Today is a perfect 82ish with a warm breeze that every once in a while increases in intensity and almost feels like a squall.  But then it eases back, and the sun returns as if to say, “Just wanted to make sure you were paying attention.”   I smile and say thanks. 

This morning I finished my second Elizabeth Berg book, Open House.  Predictable but a pleasant read.  Her other book was recommended to me by my son who works at the local library.  I don’t go to the library very often but that’s where our voting station is so I decided to pick up a book while I was there to vote recently.  We’re All Welcome Here I think was the name of the first one.  Much less predictable and rather remarkable actually, about a woman who became a quadriplegic from polio, raising her daughter in the South of the 60s.   A rather implausible ending but still a good read.

Let’s see, in addition to those two books, since vacation started I’ve read The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths, (loved it – about a middle aged female archaeologist turned detective.  I found it by Googling for a book that takes place on a marsh.  I love reading books that take place in the location where I’m reading.  This took place on a salt water marsh, rather than something like my own little marshy stream cove, but it worked out well because I started it here and finished it at the coast.)  I then read Hull Creek by Jim Nichols, a novel set on the coast of Maine which my friend who recommended it told me was written by a Maine native.   Just before vacation started I finished a book by Ann Rice that was recommended in an NPR article entitled, “What to Read Instead of 50 Shades of Gray.”  Apparently Rice wrote this series of 3 books under a pseudonym and only fessed up many years later when they became quite popular.  They’re pretty dark.  I just read the first one and will probably stop there though I do want to know how things end for the protagonist. 

I’ve been streaming a Lucinda Williams station on Pandora through my smartphone plugged into an iPod player with speakers.  They’re playing some wonderful music.  I just noticed it’s almost one o’clock and I haven’t even had breakfast – just a couple cups of coffee.  Maybe I’ll have some of the pasta casserole I made last night in the toaster oven – a spicy Arabiata sauce to which I added black olives, baby mushrooms, feta cheese, whole wheat organic spaghetti and a generous amount of Merlot wine.  Came out quite delicious if I do say so myself.  I finished off almost all of the remainder of the Merlot with dinner. 

The marsh is alive with dragon and damsel flies and the fish jump and snatch one for lunch every so often.  I saw an eagle soaring overhead yesterday as well as several osprey (one of the books I just read called them fish hawks).  Think I’ll head out for a paddle.  

Just enjoyed a 2 or 3 hour paddle – I never think to check the time when I leave.  Paddled down to the Route 126 bridge and then came back and went upstream to where the stream narrows by the log cottage.  I was happy to see some loons cause I haven’t heard any since I got here yesterday.  But they’re still around and looking happy.  Looks like my neighbors left while I was gone so it’ll be a quiet night.  Maybe I’ll beat on my djembe for a while – I’m sure the critters won’t object.    

Friday, July 6, 2012

Popham 2012

Full moon over Popham Beach, Phippsburg, Maine.  

We spent last week at Ocean View Campground next to Popham Beach State Park as we have the last few years.  Lots of sitting on the beach and reading, evenings of music around the campsites, good food, good company, oh, and fireworks, lots of fireworks (even though we had to wait till the 5th to shoot them off due to inclement weather).  

Brandon running after lighting one of his contributions to the fireworks display.
Tom - throwing kids into the water - they stand in line.  

We took a walk along the beach on today.  I love walking on the shoreline – the way my beach skirt flutters in the breeze and take off my hat to allow my hair to do the same.  The sand, as always, feels lovely on my toes.  I realize this is the first long walk I’ve taken this week and feel sad that it’s our last day here.  I also actually jumped into the water today; first time I’ve done that since we started staying here.  It didn’t even feel that cold.