31 July 2010

July - Day 31

My son in front of his new home. This looks frighteningly like the photo I took some 18 years ago on his first day of Kindergarten.

And yes, he went to "real" Kindergarten. It took me a couple of years to wise up before I brought him back home and did school there.

So the question is, is that what I should be doing now?


No seriously - hahahahaha!

Ok seriously for real - I'm so happy for him. The southwest is lucky to have him.

Copyright © 2010 - Paulla Estes

30 July 2010

July - Day 30

On the road again...

Well, not me. My girls. Off to California with their grandpa to complete the whole coast-to-coast experience.

Before we took that photo, we took about a zillion others in front of all the pretty flowers in Arizona. Yes, ALL THE FLOWERS IN ARIZONA. Seemed like it anyway. So, in this one, what I'd like to know is, WHAT were they looking at?

Care to take a guess? I'll ask and see if they remember, and we can compare notes.

Copyright © 2010 - Paulla Estes

29 July 2010

July - Day 29

More of Tucson. Such beauty.

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28 July 2010

July - Day 28

Tucson, Arizona. So warm, the only place to be is in the pool.

Copyright © 2010 - Paulla Estes

27 July 2010

July - Day 27

The Grand Canyon. No words necessary.

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26 July 2010

July - Day 26

In Winslow, Arizona...

You bet I did!

Copyright © 2010 - Paulla Estes

25 July 2010

July - Day 25

Happy Birthday to my precious son who is growing up (has grown up), is moving away (has already gone), and is making his own way in the world (still in progress).

This has been a tough year for my little boy who is now a man, but then, life is often tough, isn’t it? Amidst the life-altering decisions, painful breakup, and move 3000 miles away from home, there has been a lot of good. He got accepted to not one, but two very good grad schools. He graduated college with honors. He stayed on the Dean’s list his last semester in spite of all the turmoil. He did decide to forego the big road trip across country with me and his sisters, but he flew out west earlier than planned and has had a restful and quite warm vacation.

My son’s life in Maine is over, for the time being. He will be back to visit around Christmastime and in the summer, but he most likely will not be moving back; at least not any time soon.

For any mom, this time in life is bittersweet. I am excited for this new chapter in my son’s life and I believe it is a good thing. I also wish he was going to be just a short drive away for the rest of his life.

But for today, on his 23rd birthday, I have reunited with my son in New Mexico. He has stayed at his grandmother’s house for a few days, and tonight we all met for a birthday celebration and reunion. For today, he is just my little boy and I can do my best to make sure THIS day is a good one.

Happy Birthday, Andy.

Copyright © 2010 - Paulla Estes

24 July 2010

July - Day 24

Cog railway to the top of Pikes Peak. Then a full day of visits with old friends. And the weather couldn't be better.

How is it that here among perfection, I still miss Maine? Oh yeah, it's home. :)

Copyright © 2010 - Paulla Estes

23 July 2010

July - Day 23

We passed this guy on the road in Colorado today. He was in a very cool, but very beat up old truck, and he was swerving all over the road.

We all agreed that he looked like Santa. Santa on crack.

Drove that way, too.

Copyright © 2010 - Paulla Estes

22 July 2010

July - Day 22

We've made it to the Rockies...

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21 July 2010

July - Day 21

Happy Birthday today to my mom!

We saw friends in Missouri, made it to Kansas, and went to the Clay County Fair, in the Flint Hills Region.

Let me tell you something I did not know - Kansas is WAY more than miles and miles of miles and miles. It is scenic and lovely and beautiful. And it's so green, the entire state could be a golf course.

It's hard to leave. Our beautiful country has so many wonderful places, and we've got all these great friends along the way. Sometimes I wish it wasn't all so big. Sigh.

On to Colorado next...

Copyright © 2010 - Paulla Estes

20 July 2010

July - Day 20

Made it to St. Louis, gateway to the west. And I haven't felt such hot, muggy weather since I spent a summer in Houston as a child. *GASP*

Tonight we are in Jefferson City, Missouri. Did you know it's the capitol of Missouri? I knew that in like the 5th grade, and then didn't think of it again until we drove in and - what do you know, there's the capitol!

Also, I forgot that this is part of "The South." Some southerners might disagree, but let me tell you, these people are SOUTHERN. Everyone is friendly and they have wonderfully slow, methodical accents. I almost expect each of them to invite us home for fried chicken and cornbread. And we might stay with them forever. They're all so darned nice!

Case in point. The guy behind the counter at our hotel - an average chain hotel - gave me the card key and told me to read the 4 things that this hotel promises... then he proceeded to read the promises to me (cleanliness, make you feel welcome, and such). After reading the promises (slowly and methodically) he told me his name is Derl (yes, you read that right, it was on his name tag) and that if any of those promises weren't kept or if we needed anything at all, we should just come find Derl.

By the way, it's pronounced like "Earl" but of the two-syllable variety that can be common to southern accents. Der-l. Not Darryl, but DER-L. If you're from Maine, you'd pronounce it Duhl and he'd never know you're talking to him. Well, he'd probably answer you anyway, just because he's so nice.

Bye y'all.

Copyright © 2010 - Paulla Estes

19 July 2010

July - Day 19

Today we drove across Ohio and half of Indiana. The goal today, much like yesterday, was to see friends, not sights. And of course, to continue with our westward progression.

We drove across the middle of Ohio to a town called Marion. Before yesterday, to me, it was just a dot on a map where my friend lived. But now... not only is it a real, living, breathing, place,... it is incredibly beautiful, and if I didn't love Maine so much, I know now that I'd want to live in rural Ohio.

My daughter said it best when she told us it was time to turn off the Stephen King book we were listening to, and put on the country music. There were cornfields, tractors, giant barns, farmhouses, sunflowers, and silos. We were our own country music video!

Really now, Ohio, where have you been all my life?

We ended our day with more friends in Indianapolis, and had dinner downtown at the Old Spaghetti Factory. Lovely city. Lovely friends. Ah, if only we had more time...

Copyright © 2010 - Paulla Estes

18 July 2010

July - Day 18

Today we took I-80 across the entire state of Pennsylvania, and stopped for the night in Akron, OH.

I can describe the PA route in two words - hills and potholes.

But the scenery more than made up for the difficult driving.

Very thankful for good weather (so far) and a reliable little car.

Copyright © 2010 - Paulla Estes

17 July 2010

July - Day 17

Heading west - first part of our trip.

And yes, I drove in and all around NYC. I guess you could say it was on my bucket list. I was scared to do it, but once we got there, all my years of driving in D.C. kicked back in, and I pushed those taxis around like a champ!

Copyright © 2010 - Paulla Estes

16 July 2010

July - Day 16

This made us laugh. A Lot. Not sure why.

Copyright © 2010 - Paulla Estes

15 July 2010

July - Day 15

A couple of years ago, we had a VERY BIG tree cut down in our back yard. We cut up most of it and used it for firewood, but several really big logs were difficult to split, and they ended up just hanging around the yard. So this year, rather than stew about looking at the big logs, I decided to roll them up against the fence and "pretty" them up. It's funny how a little thing like this can transform a boring section of the yard.

In other news, my son is in Phoenix this week. The high today in Phoenix was 115. The low last night was 94. Yeah, I know it's dry heat and all that, but 115 is 115. He told me over the phone that people are getting severe burns from the pavement, which is about 180 degrees. I am seriously worried about driving a car through there, which I will do later this month. Won't the tires, like, melt to the pavement?

All I know is that the A/C had better be on its best behavior.

Copyright © 2010 - Paulla Estes

14 July 2010

July - Day 14

Always appropriately named. The bees LOVE this stuff.

In other, more melancholy news, our son left today for the first leg of his move out west. Today, before I drove him to the airport, he said good-bye to the cats and the dog. Remember, the dog is 15+ years old. My son gave him a treat (after showing him where it was since he can't see past the end of his nose) and then he said, "Well, old boy, I don't know if I'll ever see you again."

I was pretty much doing ok until he said that.

Copyright © 2010 - Paulla Estes

13 July 2010

July - Day 13

Today was my youngest daughter's half-day, which means she's 16 and 1/2. We celebrate half days because two of our kids have birthdays right around Christmas time. My mother-in-law came up with this idea and we all love it.

When the kids were younger, we gave them small gifts or did something special that day. Now, I'm sad to say, we're lucky if we remember it.

To celebrate today, the daughter in question mowed the lawn. Then she played in her summer basketball league. We did go out to dinner tonight to celebrate, but again, I'm sad to say, it wasn't specifically for her half day. It was to celebrate, or rather, commemorate, our son's last day in Maine. Tomorrow he heads out west where he will ultimately begin grad school in the fall.

A bittersweet day. And Happy Half-Day, Pumpkin. :)

(#40 is the one celebrating the half-day.)

Copyright © 2010 - Paulla Estes

12 July 2010

July - Day 12

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11 July 2010

July - Day 11

Playing in the much needed rain...

Copyright © 2010 - Paulla Estes

10 July 2010

July - Day 10

This is our very unusual cat. He is hot and cold - either in your face, begging to be hugged and cuddled and kissed, or running from you as if you have murder in your heart. And he can change on a dime. He can jump from the floor into your arms and start licking your ear. After you hug him for a while, he might attach himself to you and fall asleep, or he might freak out and struggle to get away BEFORE SOMEONE DIES!

This series of photos was about a 15 second period of time where my daughter was snuggling the kitty against his will, but then right in the middle of his struggles, he changed his mind and hugged her back.

And then as soon as she put him down he ran for his life.

Copyright © 2010 - Paulla Estes

09 July 2010

July - Day 9

As you can see, the bee balm is in bloom. And appropriately, the bees are all over it.

Our son is shipping most of his things out west for grad school, and he will leave next week. I think someone else wants to go, too...


On that same note, have you seen Toy Story 3? If so, then you'll understand why I sigh.

Copyright © 2010 - Paulla Estes