29 September 2011

Blog-Novel... Blovel?

Recently I was alerted to the writing of a blog-novel which is set on the coast of Maine. Ideally I should have posted news about it here back in JULY when it was first being published on a daily basis. But then, I'm slow like that.

Now we're at the end of September, and the entire thing has been published. But that's a good thing, right? Because now you don't have to wait until the following day to find out what happens next.

The author is Michael Evans and the book/blog-novel(sorry, I just can't seem to bring myself to use the word 'blovel') is called Island Wars.

This is a fun read. If you've ever read a novel by Stuart Woods, then you'll love this, because it's written in that first-person, no-nonsense, quick conversational style. And you'll be glad you can just click to the next day's entry to see how the story progresses.

If you've like to read Island Wars, visit Down East Magazine at DownEast.Com Then go to the top right of the page and click on "BLOGS." Scroll down a bit and you will see Island Wars.

Or, just CLICK HERE and you'll be taken right to the blog. Remember it's been written in blog form, so you'll be viewing the last post. Scroll down to get to the beginning.

You'll be glad you did!

Copyright © 2011 - Paulla Estes

26 September 2011

Summer, you little tease.

Yesterday and today it was 85 degrees on the mid-coast of Maine. Yesterday I wore jeans to church and I was hot. We came home to watch football, eat lasagna, and pop popcorn, but we had to turn on the A/C, which we miraculously have not yet put away for the season. It was a weird, late September day. (By the way, don't tell my mom I wore jeans to church.)

It happened again today, but I was smart enough not to wear jeans. A friend and I drove to Portland together to run errands, and we stopped at Chipotle for lunch. We sat outside. Wearing tank tops. And then we drove all around town with the sunroof open. By the afternoon, we had to turn on the A/C in the car - yes, it was THAT warm.

I have mixed feelings about this.

Every year, we in Maine squeeze as much out of summer as we possibly can. We are very frugal about our summer and we don't let any of it go to waste. But when September arrives, and with it the cooler temperatures, changing leaves, fall breezes, and school, we resign ourselves to the fact that summer has once again left us until next June. Or maybe July, as is often the case.

When summer is over, we are melancholy for a few days, and then we move on. There is work to be done. firewood to stack, gardens to harvest, leaves to rake, apple pies to make, sweaters and jeans to wear. Before we know it, we're enjoying the crisp, fall air, and summer is a distant memory.

And then... it's 85 degrees on September 26. It's as if my best friend moved far away; we had the farewell party, we said our good-byes, we cried, we hugged, we made promises to visit, we cried some more, and then we waved until she was down the road and out of sight. And then a couple of days later, there she was, just hanging out in my back yard as if nothing ever happened.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the incredibly beautiful weather today, and was thankful to get to be out in it, a few times I couldn't help but think...

"But I already told summer good-bye."

Copyright © 2011 - Paulla Estes

24 September 2011

A Few Things I've Learned

With all this marathon training, I’ve learned that…

- In just one summer, I can get in really, really good shape.

- I need a goal-oriented exercise program.

- If running or walking is your preferred method of exercise, a treadmill is a great investment. Especially if you live in Maine.

- The right shoes make all the difference.

- Fresh air and sunshine take the edge off otherwise difficult days.

- I’m not competitive with anyone other than myself.

- I AM very competitive with myself, always trying to improve my time.

- Our town and the neighboring town aren’t very big at all. I can walk all the way around both in a matter of hours.

- I can walk to places in town rather than exercising at home and then driving later. Two birds with one stone and all that.

- I can walk just about anywhere I need to go, and the round trip is not too much more than 8 miles. Like I said, small town.

- I like walking and running for about 8 miles at a stretch – but really no more than that.

- The only other marathon that interests me is the ING New York City Marathon, because. . . what a great way to see the city!

- Having the next goal-oriented program ready and waiting, inspires me to do my best at this one, and come out of it as healthy and fit as possible.

- Having a photo of Jennifer Lopez’s legs on my treadmill spurs me on to run faster and harder (she’s only two years younger than me, so it’s not THAT far of a stretch to try to have legs like hers).

- Actually, yes it is, but I’ll settle for the best legs *I* can have, and that’s what counts.

Copyright © 2011 - Paulla Estes

22 September 2011

The Work Bench

Ever since my middle daughter left for college AND the public school sub jobs have been sparse, at best, I’ve been doing spring cleaning. I do that every fall. I can’t bring myself to do it in the spring when the weather is nice and I’ve been inside all winter.

That said, I have recently come upon some interesting things in our house.

My husband has a work bench in the basement. It’s actually a big table made from what used to be a door, and two large shelves on either side, holding it up. It’s huge. Right next to it is a peg board from which many of my husband tools hang neatly. However, somewhere along the way, the work bench became the place where we put everything that doesn’t have a home.

Here it is:

On the work bench are many Home Depot bags with little screws or nails or gadgets still in the bag – WITH the receipt. I won’t even begin to speculate on why this is so, but I have it on good authority that his father does the same exact thing.

So yesterday I came across a bag of lovely, round light bulbs– the kind that go in those fancy bathroom lights. Years ago, my sweet husband bought a light fixture like that for me and promised to put it up in our bathroom. He even went so far as to drill a BIG hole in the wall above the mirror.

That’s as far as he got.

Until yesterday, the fixture sat in the bathroom closet, collecting dust. I moved it to a more permanent home – ON THE WORK BENCH. And that’s when I found the bag with the light bulbs. And in that bag I found a receipt… from 2005.


When my husband got home later in the evening, I had him guess the year of the receipt. He guessed 2008. Ha. Not even close. When he found out it had been SIX YEARS, his response?

“Well, it’s a complicated project.”

I think it’s time to call an electrician. Maybe an electrician would clean off the work bench, too.

Copyright © 2011 - Paulla Estes

20 September 2011

Trail to Ale 10K in Portland

The Trail to Ale was a lovely route that began on Portland Harbor, went up and around Back Bay, and ended up once again back at the harbor. All 2000 of us bunched up on the Eastern Promenade Trail, with the fastest runners up front, and the walkers and strollers in the rear. We started just ahead of those bringing up the rear.

Our daughter, however, runs Cross Country and decided to run ahead of us. This was the last we saw of her until the finish line.

The gun went off, and just as the crowd was beginning to surge forward toward the starting line, my husband claimed he needed to run off to use the bathroom.

Great timing, hon!

I started jogging slowly, crossed the starting line, and figured he'd catch up... which he did within less than a minute. Remember his military background - he can go quickly if he needs to. Apparently he took a pic as he was catching up.

We had a great time, looking at the boats and chatting as we went. I alternated between fast walking and slow jogging. He alternated between slow walking and faster jogging. Somehow, with that combination, we managed to stay together pretty much the whole way.

The thing that really bugged me is what he wore.

Notice we all started out wearing sweatshirts, long-sleeves, or jackets. It was only 60 degrees and very breezy down on the water. But after the first mile or two, off came the long sleeves... for MOST of us. He had on long sleeves AND a heavy sweatshirt AND shorts AND long, warm sweats. It made me hot just looking at him, and not in the way he hoped.

But somehow he survived the entire thing without dropping dead, which is always a bonus, and he took lots of photos.

So all was well right up to the finish. We finished in about 90 minutes, and found our daughter waiting for us. She finished in well under an hour. Then we only had to walk the 1/2 mile walk back to Shipyard Brewing Company for the free beer and pizza, the whole reason we had been doing this in the first place.

But when we got there, it was packed and they had just started serving. There were huge crowds and long lines, and only about 5-10 minutes after we got there, we were told the beer and pizza was already gone.

This was a big disappointment. Not for me, so much, but for my husband, who agreed to do this with me only because of the beer; and my daughter who agreed to do it only because of the pizza. And it seems many participants didn't get beer and pizza, but many of the family members and spectators did. Not a good system, if you ask me.

So while we have bittersweet memories about the ending, the day was fun all in all. And when we found that there was no food, we went to Buffalo Wild Wings and had a fun lunch, just the three of us. No crowds, no waiting, and no standing around.

Now, on to the marathon... just 12 short days away.

Copyright © 2011 - Paulla Estes

16 September 2011

Two Weeks to Go

The marathon is just around the corner and I am ready. I've done two 20-milers, 12 miles today, and I'll do only 8 miles for the long walk next week, as I taper down the miles in hopes that the 26.2 won't kill me.

This afternoon I drove to Portland to get race tags for yet another road race, since you know, the marathon isn't enough. This Sunday, my husband, daughter and I, as well as several friends, are doing the Trail to Ale 10K.

My husband, whose idea of exercise is to run from the couch to the refrigerator, claims he is going to run it while I walk/jog. I have only one response for this: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Good luck with that, Sweetie.

The cool thing about this race is the free beer and pizza at the end. Sure, it'll be around 11:00 on a Sunday morning (in fact, we'll be missing church for it) but what the heck. Just don't tell anyone at my church that I'm skipping so I can go drinking. Tell them I'm walking. For a good cause. Yeah.

Copyright © 2011 - Paulla Estes

12 September 2011

September 12

Yesterday, with the rest of America, I remembered. I mean, who doesn't? Anyone old enough to have watched the horror unfold on TV remembers.

My youngest child was 7-years-old at the time, and now a senior in high school, she remembers it vividly. Many people told me at the time that I shouldn't allow my children to watch the images on TV: the images of the planes crashing, the buildings burning and falling, and the people jumping out of the World Trade Center. But my children sat with me as we huddled together in front of the TV, stunned and riveted.

It was scary for them. It was scary for me. It still is. All those years ago, someone said that if they continue to show the images on TV, we will become calloused to them and they will no longer shock us. I disagree. Every time I see the replay of any of it, it's like seeing it again for the first time.

I'm glad I let my children watch that awful day. They got more from that day than they would ever get reading about it in a history book.

* * * * *

We spent this weekend in Boston and the weather yesterday was identical to the day of tragedy 10 years ago. It was sunny, clear, crisp. People were all over the waterfront, laughing, talking, eating ice cream, enjoying the breeze and sunshine.

But we were all aware of what day it was. When we took the subway to dinner, there were ongoing announcements over the loud-speakers about staying aware, watching others, and reporting anything suspicious. The crowds were jovial, but we watched each other, slightly cautious, and sad that it has to be that way.

It's the world we now live in. We live our lives and enjoy ourselves, but now we are aware. Our eyes were opened on that day 10 years ago. And they will stay open, whether we want them to or not.

Copyright © 2011 - Paulla Estes

07 September 2011

More Tropical Rain

Tropical Storm Lee is edging its way into Maine today, dumping more water on us that we really don't need. Even worse, it's dumping water on Vermont, the state that really took a terrible beating from last week's Hurricane Irene.

Some years it seems like we get stuck in these weather patterns that plague us for a whole season. A couple of years ago, it rained nearly all summer. About every 6 or 7 years, we get way more snow than usual, which means it snows nearly a foot about every 3 or 4 days. All winter.

This year the hurricanes and tropical storms seem to have their eyes on us. So I'm here to stand up and say...


Copyright © 2011 - Paulla Estes