30 September 2009

Some whining for your viewing pleasure.

I am sick and when I am sick, I can't remember what it felt like NOT to be sick. I also can't imagine what it will be like to feel well again. For me, being sick is totally living in the moment. Sort of like being pregnant; but thankfully, not as long.

The worst (best?) part is that I don't even have something that can be treated by doctors or with medicine. I have a cold. A COLD. But it's a BAD cold, let me tell you. I've missed work - because no one wants me hacking up a lung while holding a baby. It's just not nice. I haven't smelled anything in days. I haven't had a good night's sleep in a week. I've bitten the heads off my husband and children so many times that Terry Pratchett would have a field day about their abilities to regenerate their own heads. Even my favorite tea is starting to taste like medicine.

* * * * *

On a different but sort of, not really, related note... I hate our dog. Our dog is about 14 or 15 years old. He was given to us by my brother, who found him abandoned at a rest area in Utah. During a blizzard. Maybe that little fact should have tipped us off, but we welcomed him into our home back in late 1996. And he's still with us. Don't ask me what kind of dog he is, because really, sometimes we're not even sure he's a dog. He's freakish. Here he is...





Don't be fooled. This may look like a dog. It may even look like a nice dog. But really, he is the angel of death.

In recent years, this dog has aged, noticably, though for years I called him Dick Clark, because I thought he would never get old. Now his eyesight is marginal and he's lost a few of his teeth. A few years ago, he began getting into the garbage. At that time, we still had our German Shepherd, so for the longest time, we weren't sure who was the culprit. We SHOULD have known because our Shepherd was perfect and never did anything wrong. REALLY! She was the best dog ever. Two years ago, when she died unexpectedly, I secretly wondered why it couldn't have been the OTHER dog. Why did it have to be the dog I LOVED and WANTED, rather than the one I only tolerated.

Ok, before you think I'm a complete ogre, I have loved this little dog. He has had his good points over the years. But now he is just bad. The garbage thing grew and evolved and now we are prisoners in our own home. And yard. This dog eats ANYTHING. Let me rephrase that. He eats ANYTHING. We locked up the garbage in the kitchen, but he can open cabinets and pick locks. We keep the bathroom doors shut. We keep bedroom doors shut. Problem is, in the winter, we heat with a wood stove, so we need the doors to remain open, or the only warm spaces in our home are the hallways.

So last winter, we put up baby gates so the dog would have access only to the kitchen and living room, which have been dog-proofed. But we also have a cat who demands access to the entire house. I won't go into the whole drama about the gates, but suffice it to say - we hate them. They are a nuisance. It's one thing to use a baby gate to protect the baby (or the house) for a set period of time, until said baby is old enough to go into the other parts of the house. But we have been dealing with these gates for years and this dog is still around. I think he might be immortal.

I even have proof.

I mentioned before that this dog eats anything. We're talking rocks, sticks, cat poop, toys, and chocolate (oh yes, he's stolen LOTS of it and didn't even get sick). He's sampled just about every plant and flower in our yard. I'm sure SOME of them have to be poisonous. Don't they? DON'T THEY?! We've had this little monster into the vet so many times over the years that he is known as "the repeat offender." I finally just gave them one of our credit cards for their enjoyment.

Why am I bringing this up now?

On Sunday, when I was really feeling sick and knowing I would never feel well again (just like I feel today), we went to church anyway, and came home to find that the dog had broken through ALL the gates and had shredded all the garbage in the house. Yes, all the doors were open, because THE GATES WERE UP. The next day, when I was home sick from work, I had to take my also-sick daughter into school late. I was gone maybe 20 minutes, but when I came home, the garbage had been attacked again.

Understand that we take our garbage out daily. This isn't some big stink. And we aren't putting raw meat or dog food or squirrels into our garbage. He likes tissues. And styrofoam. And gross bathroom stuff you don't even want me to mention.

Let me just say - that dog was ASLEEP when I left the house. For a while, I've thought this was part of growing old. You know, a senility issue. But this dog is smart. And conniving. He WAITS until we are gone or asleep. He NEVER does this when we are home or awake. Yes, he knows the difference. That is a smart and a very BAD dog.

Do you see why I hate this dog? And when I scold him, he looks at me as if he can't see me, faking blindness. Yes, I think he fakes, because he is evil like that. He has no problem finding the GARBAGE!

Ok, well that's pretty much the end of my rant. We'll keep this dog until his dying day or until we have to put him down (though don't think I don't think about doing it BEFORE he gets too old and ill to live).

* * * * *

On another, shockingly cheerful note, the trees are changing in Maine and as always, they are simply breath-taking. :)

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

20 September 2009

Getting Darker

I'm always amazed at how dark it gets at this time of the year - and how quickly. Two days ago, I went out for an early walk at 6:15 a.m. and it was light out. The sun wasn't up, but it was well on its way. Today, at 6:20, I'm looking out the window and it is DARK. I see a little hint of light in the east, but there's no way I'm going out walking when it's this dark.

When is that fall/back time change thing coming, anyway? That is always the BEST day - at least the first half of the day is. You know how you wake up early feeling rested, you see that the sun is up earlier and all is well.

And then suddenly it's dark at 4 p.m.

Sigh.

Oh wow, and on another random note, I just looked out the window again and noticed the thermometer is reading 35 degrees. It's only a matter of time... until I start obsessing about the weather. Again.

Ok, off to make more tea for my youngest daughter who has the distinct family honor of having the first cold of the season. But I'm not worried, I'm sure she'll share it with the rest of us. She's generous like that.

PS ~ I have no idea why the time stamp at the bottom of this post says 5:15 rather than 6:15. I checked with blogger, and apparently they think it's 5:15 on the East Coast. Whatever. I'm looking at all the clocks in my kitchen, and while they rarely agree on the exact time, they all tell me it is well past 6:00. And it's still dark.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

13 September 2009

Three-Hour Tour

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from this not-so-tropic port
Aboard this tiny ship...



The mate was a mighty sailing man,
The skipper brave and sure.
Five (+) passengers set sail that day
For a three hour tour, a three hour tour...




CREAK!!!!! That was the sound of the record scratching.

Our shocked expressions in the photo above indicate that it was much more chilly on the boat ride than we'd anticipated. This also should clarify that it wasn't really a tropical tour in the least.

My son, who, when we'd told him we were going on a sunset/dinner cruise, somehow got the idea that it would be more like DiMillo's than this. Ha ha ha. Yeah. He was the one who was the least thrilled about the cold. And his sisters found this hilarious.




But let me tell you about the food. Ah, the food. We are in Maine, remember, so lobster is not a luxury, but a staple for many folks. We had lobster rolls, shrimp, crab appetizers, and all kinds of other goodies. We also had wine. After all, it WAS chilly, so the wine was sort of... medicinal. Yeah.



We left from Freeport and saw some lovely sights on the islands around Casco Bay. Cool houses, an eagles nest, and seals, though none of our photos of the seals came out right.




The weather started getting rough,
The tiny ship was tossed,
If not for the courage of the fearless crew
The minnow would be lost, the minnow would be lost...

Ok, not really. The weather was beautiful, as was the primary reason we came - the sunset. I took about 3000 photos of the sunset, but here are some of the best.







Aren't those colors in the water amazing? This last shot is looking back, out to sea, away from the sunset. Looks pretty bleak and cold to me. I tip my hat to all the lobstermen who are out there every day, working hard, hardly on a pleasure cruise. But I do envy the scenery they get to see. I can't imagine ever getting tired of that.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

07 September 2009

Sunrise over Bailey Island

Yesterday I was bemoaning the fact that no one in my family likes to do anything fun. Ever. It was a beautiful sunny day and they all wanted to stay inside and watch a DVD. Granted, they had spent the day before outside, as well as part of that morning, but for me, it's never enough. Especially with the impending winter just around the corner. As John Wayne would say, "we were burning daylight!"

So my husband said something that shocked me. He suggested we get up early the next morning and drive to the end of Bailey Island to watch the sunrise over the ocean.

That's true love, folks. This is a man who is not a morning person and who rarely gets a good night's sleep. He has to be up before dawn every day, and one of the things he likes to do most is to sleep in. So of course I jumped at the chance before he changed his mind.

Then at 4:30 this morning when my alarm went off, I wondered what the heck I was thinking when I agreed to this. It was COLD. And DARK. Had I slept through fall, only to find winter at my doorstep?

We dressed for the 40 degree chill and made the quiet drive to Bailey Island.

And this is what we saw...




Did I mention there was a full moon?



Lobstermen were already out working hard.




Here it comes...



We applauded when it peeked over the horizon.




What a way to start the day.




After that, we went out for breakfast and then everyone came home and went back to bed.

Happy Labor Day, everyone.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

Our Garden, such as it is...

My husband says we had an English Garden summer, meaning, with all the rain, it was a summer for flowers, not vegetables. In a way he's right. I mean, flowers all over the area have been stunning this year. But living in our dead zone, our flowers seemed to hate the water. Whatever. I've stopped trying to figure it out. I've decided that if only one or two things grow in our yard, THAT is what I will plant and nurture.

All summer, our vegetable garden looked like the cherry on top of the dead zone sundae. The tomato plants choked and struggled, the peppers keeled over and rotted clean away. We didn't even bother with cucumbers this year, though I've heard some of our neighbors had a bumper crop. Go figure!

For the past two weeks we have had nothing but sunshine, and lo and behold, a few tomatoes survived. Oddly, though they had so little sun all summer, the marigolds are thriving. And the giant sunflower we planted has grown to an astronomical height of about 5 feet. We took a picture while lying on the ground, just to make it feel special.





I'd love to show you the beautiful roses, clematis, hollyhocks and bee balm... but some never even came up. The ones that did were, shall we say, less than impressive.

But I'll say what I say every year at this time, regarding our gardens... there's always next year!

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

End of Summer Hike

So last Monday, the day before school began, I planned to take my girls on a small hike and picnic, sort of as a last hurrah. As fate would have it, my younger daughter had sports practice at school that day. Although I tried to talk her into skipping, she wouldn't do it, so the hike ended up as a twosome, with just me and my older daughter.

Since we didn't have all day and wanted something easy, we opted for one of our favorite spots - Bradbury Mountain. We took the one-mile trail to the summit, which is more of a leisurely walk than a hike, but that's what we were looking for. We took our lunch and sat on the big flat rock at the top, looking out over the trees to the ocean in the distance.

I highly recommend this.








For the walk down, we opted for the 1/5 mile route, which is steep and treacherous in winter, but quick and pretty in summer.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

02 September 2009

Clarifying

After the comment on my last post, I suppose I should clarify what was going on when I wrote it. I forget sometimes that people reading these words do not know us personally.

My husband is a practical joker, pure and simple. I could write a book on the things he's done to us all - oh the torment! And in a bigger sense, much of our family dynamics is based on humor. We joke around a LOT. We all know how to take a joke (usually) and we know how to laugh at ourselves. Bottom line, we don't take ourselves very seriously and we have a lot of fun.

So when I told my husband to go spend quality time with our daughters, here was the scenario...

It was the night before the first day of school. Our house was buzzing with the typical back-to-school goings-on. Clothes had already been chosen for the next day, and I was in the process of putting lunches together. One daughter was in her room and one was in the living room; both were putting together their backpacks, notebooks, etc. for the big day.

After my suggestion, Todd decided that everyone was entirely too nervous and serious, so he sat next to our younger daughter on the sofa and started staring at her. When that didn't work, he poked at her arm. When THAT didn't work, he tickled her. It was at that moment that I heard the cry of frustration from my daughter - - and of course, her dad skulked away with mock hurt.

After that, father and daughter exchanged a series of very strange text messages that most of you wouldn't understand, so I'll spare you. Suffice it to say, the ice was broken and my daughters can add this little scenario to the long list of reasons why they will one day need therapy. :)

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes