30 June 2011

Panic Mode

It's the last day of June and I haven't yet been to the beach. School starts two months from today and it feels like the countdown has begun. We've been planning to go to the beach tomorrow, but it looks like it might be too chilly. And it might rain. Neither of which is conducive to a fun day at the seashore.

Maine summers are do darn short that I often feel panicky throughout the summer, as if we need to cram as much sunshiny fun into our days as possible, so we can survive the impending winter. But experience tells me that even going to the beach every single summer day will not help at all, come February.

Wow, that's a depressing thought. Forget it - I'm going outside now to water the flowers and veggie garden. No more thoughts of winter. Next time I mention it, slap me.

Copyright © 2011 - Paulla Estes

27 June 2011

Cool, Cool Summer

As opposed to Cruel, Cruel Summer. That would be the time I spent in Arizona last week where the sun tried to kill me. Cruel, yes.

In Maine so far, the summer has been cool. Refreshingly cool, I might add.

My friend, Becky, and I are thinking of walking a marathon this fall. We're actually 3 weeks into training for it, but we haven't signed up yet, because we're... chicken. Plus, as her 15-year-old son said today - you're going to WALK a marathon? His tone said, "How lame is that?"

And I sort of agree. Except that I want to do it. A few years ago when I was running, I thought I might one day run a marathon. And then I wised up. For me, walking is fine and pleasant and enjoyable while running is painful and hard and *GASP*. Yeah.

So we've been walking. A LOT. Last Friday, we walked 9+ miles, which, in Arizona, would have killed us both by the second mile. But when we did our nine miles, it was drizzling and about 55 degrees. What's not to like about that?

We've agreed to commit to the marathon (or not) by the first of August. By then we'll know if we can really do this (or not). I'll keep you posted.

And I'm pleased to report that today the sun came out and shined on Maine, and we got up into the 80s.

All our flowers are blooming and it's the time of year when I always say - Why can't it ALWAYS be like this?




Copyright © 2011 - Paulla Estes

21 June 2011

HEAT

I'm happy to report that my daughter is all registered and orientated at her new school. Now we go back to Maine for less than 2 months, and then she'll move out here for good.

But while I'm here, I have to talk about the heat. I mean, why not, as I sit here seeing the weather report in Maine (which I have always visible on the bottom corner of my computer screen). In Maine it's a perfect 70 degrees and fair. FAIR. I'm not sure anyone would ever describe the daytime summer temps in southern Arizona as FAIR. More like... Harsh. Cruel. Mean, even.

This morning at 8:30, we walked the mile from our hotel to the meeting place on campus. The sun was already high. And it was hot. It didn't just warm our backs, it bit and scorched and snarled. It threatened us. "Stay out here too long and I'll burn up your sorry ass!" Yeah, I really did hear that.

Or perhaps that was heat exhaustion.

We finished the day early so rather than walking back at 4pm when the sun is thinking about subsiding its threats for the night (only thinking about it - not really DOING it), we walked back at 1:30.

The sun was right over head and it felt like it was pushing us down into the pavement as we walked. In fact, the few other unfortunate souls I saw out walking were all trudging along very slowly, with dazed looks on their faces. It was sort of like a zombie movie, but the zombies were too hot to bother with anything.

We came back to our hotel room, shut the shades up tight, turned the A/C up all the way, and watched TV for a couple of hours. We don't even want to go to the pool because, you know, it's OUT there. That heat that will HURT you.

That 70 degrees in Maine is looking mighty inviting right about now. Yes, Arizona, I love you, but good god - you're an evil wench.

Remind me of that last sentence come January, when the tables most definitely will have turned.

Copyright © 2011 - Paulla Estes

19 June 2011

Happy Father's Day!

To my precious husband, my wonderful dad, my father-in-law, and all the other fathers out there - Happy Father's Day. I'm not with either of my favorite dads today and that makes me sad. They are hugely important in the lives of their children, grown or not.

As a friend of mine posted to all the dads on Facebook this morning - - - Your job is so much more important than you realize so keep up the good work.

I so agree.

Copyright © 2011 - Paulla Estes

18 June 2011

Out West

Once again I am not in Maine, but Arizona, where the high was 106 today. And very windy.

You know that feeling when you open a preheated oven and all the heat comes rushing out onto your face, so you draw back in horror, and try to remember not to stand so close next time? Yeah well imagine drawing back and the heat just keeps coming. That's what this is like.

It's a little scary. A little like being in Maine in January when it's 15 below zero and windy. It's one of those temperatures when you know that without putting out a lot of effort, nature could KILL you.

As we walked into our refrigerated hotel, I gasped and off-handedly said to the guy behind the counter, "wow, it's hot out there." He sort of laughed unenthusiastically and said, "Welcome to Arizona," but it was in a tone that said, "you moron."

But I don't hold it against him. 5 minutes in that heat, and to me, everyone's a moron, too.

My plan is to get up at 4:00 a.m. to go walking, which is when the weather guys says the temps will in the mid 70s. I'm sorta/kinda in training to walk a marathon this fall. But it's not official yet so don't tell anyone.

Copyright © 2011 - Paulla Estes

12 June 2011

Two down, one to go...

Our middle child graduated from high school today. I have to call her the "middle child" so she'll have fodder for therapy one day. (Sorry - it's a running joke in our family).


The ceremony was indoors because in Maine, the words JUNE and RAIN are synonymous much of the time.

I think she smiled throughout the entire 2-hours.


We couldn't be more proud.

Copyright © 2011 - Paulla Estes

11 June 2011

44

My dad always says, "I may be getting older, but hey, it's better than the alternative." I don't care how many times he says it, I always laugh.

And in recent years, I've begun to understand a bit what he means. I suppose if I'm lucky enough for the years to continue to pass for me here on Earth, then I'll understand it even more when I get older.


Either way, I'm enjoying it now and thankful to be here.

My darling husband got me a cake at my favorite European Bakery. If you go to the link, the cake he got is the one at the top of the page - chocolate with raspberry filling. Really, is there anything better than that? I'll answer that. No.


We all went to see the new X-men movie, and Maine smiled on me and gave us several days of lovely weather.

If only it was summer all the time.

Yes, really.

Copyright © 2011 - Paulla Estes

04 June 2011

Saturday

Today was a good day.

We slept past 5:30 a.m.

We drove to Falmouth to pick up a birthday cake my sweet husband ordered for me earlier this week... from my FAVORITE bakery.

We came home and sat out in the sun for two hours, reading. The temperature was in the low 70s and dry. DRY! And breezy. BREEZY! So there were no mosquitoes or black flies bothering us. It was heaven.

Then we came in and watched TV and took naps.

After that, we went shopping. We got petunias for the garden and a new rug for our living room (our post-dog rug, which means its never been puked on. Hurray!)

Leftovers for dinner so I didn't have to cook, rounded out the day, as well as cookies from the same favorite bakery.

If only every Saturday could be like this - always relaxing and ALWAYS springtime. Or summer. Either one will do.

Copyright © 2011 - Paulla Estes

03 June 2011

Final Exam

My middle daughter is a senior in high school with only days left in her high school career. Graduation is next week.

For her German 4 class, she was given the option of taking the final exam, or doing a copy of a painting by a German artist - on a school classroom ceiling tile. She opted to do the artwork.

Thankfully, she was given a ceiling tile to bring home, so no, she didn't have to hang Michelangelo-style in her German classroom all week.

Here is a photo of the original by Carl Spitzweg:


And here is the copy my daughter did on the ceiling tile:


Pretty cool, huh? My mom is very artistic, but the gene definitely skipped a generation and landed on my daughter. Me? I'd have taken the final.

Copyright © 2011 - Paulla Estes

02 June 2011

Good-bye Shiloh

Over the years I've shared here about the losses of our pets. It's that season in our lives. We acquired two dogs and two cats when our children were very small. As the kids grew, the pets aged. And one by one, we lost them.

First, we lost our dog Roxanne, who died just days before Christmas, 2007. It was sudden, unexpected, and heartbreaking. Then Ricky, our ornery but very loving cat died six months after Roxanne. Lucy, my youngest daughter's beloved cat, died 18 months after Ricky. It was a tough couple of years. But we still had Shiloh.


We all often commented that Shiloh would probably be the one to outlive the rest of them. He had been through so much - crazy illnesses, surgery several years ago, pneumonia, and he had a nasty habit of eating... any and everything. Countless times we took him to the vet because of a rock or stick or some other unidentified object that was stuck in his belly. I'll spare you the details.


He was 16-years-old, or so we think...

Shiloh came to us unexpectedly. It was 1996 and we were living in San Diego. My brother and his band from Portland, Oregon were touring through the Southwest, and they stopped one night at a rest area in Utah during a snowstorm.

Sometime during the night, they saw a strange looking little dog running around among the cars, begging and being friendly to everyone. Concerned that he would be lost in the snow, they took him into their van for the night.

The next day before they left, they stopped at every car and asked every individual if this odd-looking dog belonged to them. No one would claim him. Being the soft-hearted animal lover that he is, my brother couldn't just leave this dog on the roadside.

So he brought him to me.

From the get-go, this was one of the friendliest dogs I'd ever seen. During my brother's short visit, as we were trying to decide whether or not to keep the dog, we had a cook-out with a bunch of our neighbors. We lived in Navy housing, where every house had a handful of children, mostly toddlers. There were probably a dozen toddlers in our yard during that cook-out, and this strange little dog was gentle with and loved all those children.

That sold me.


I had just recently read the book Shiloh to my children, so that is the name they chose for this dog.

The vet told us Shiloh was at least a year old, maybe two. He wasn't the smartest or most obedient dog on the planet, but he was sweet. He loved to go for walks, ride in the car, and it only took us about 10 years to teach him to do tricks. (Tricks that our German Shepherd learned to do in less than a week. I kid you not.)


There is one person to whom Shiloh was more loyal than us, and that was my husband's mom, Barbara. He lived in her house for a few months when we were moving to Maine, and he fell in love. For all the years after that, whenever she came to visit, he went nuts. All the grueling training we had tried with him simply went out the window. Once, when she drove into our driveway, he recognized her and dug a hole under the fence to get to her. Another time, he was being so annoying with her there that we put him in the garage for a moment of peace, but he howled pitifully and tried to scratch his way through the door to get back in. At Christmas, when she sent us a bag or box of gifts, he could smell her and tried to rip into them, hoping she was hiding in one of the packages.

Another friend Shiloh loved in more recent days was our cat, Henry. Henry is one of the three cats we acquired last year from the shelter. After being snubbed for more than a decade by Lucy and Ricky, Shiloh was thrilled to have a new friend. Henry loved him and it was mutual.


Several weeks ago, Shiloh succumbed to his nasty habit of eating the wrong thing, and this time, it was too much for his tired, old belly. The only way to save him was with another surgery, but the vet told us he was too old, too weak, and it was too late. On May 7, we said good-bye to the last of the pets of our little kid years.

Now that chapter in our lives has ended.

Shiloh will be missed.



Copyright © 2011 - Paulla Estes

01 June 2011

What I Miss About Winter

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Copyright © 2011 - Paulla Estes