29 May 2012


In spite of the rain...

Copyright © 2012 - Paulla Estes

27 May 2012

Settling Back In

It's strange how only a 3 hour time difference will kick your butt with jet lag. And it's worse going West to East than it is going East to West. When I go to Arizona, New Mexico, or California to visit family, it takes me a day or two to get on their time schedule. The only problem is that I wake up extraordinarily early the first couple of days, and then I'm all set.

Coming back to Maine from there is exhausting, for a few reasons. First of all, I'm not tired in the evenings, so it's tough to go to sleep, even though I still need to get up early. And when 6 a.m. gets here, I get a glimpse of what it must be like not to be a morning person. It hurts to wake up. It's also exhausting to come back here because I've come back to real life and real responsibilities. Although I worked harder in Arizona for those two weeks than I have here in Maine for the past few months, what with helping my son move, cleaning out his old apartment, etc., it's still not MY work. I could go to sleep every night in vacation mode, knowing it was temporary and that I would eventually walk away from it all.

I've been back five days, four of which have been muggy and dreary, and I'm still struggling to wake up each day.

But I returned to an amazing garden. While I was gone, my husband did all the spring mulching, as well as getting the vegetable garden planted. It is a lovely sight to behold. Everything is beginning to bloom and the leaves on the trees, which were still unfurling when I left, are all filled in now.

Maine is quite beautiful at this time of the year.

Copyright © 2012 - Paulla Estes

16 May 2012


This is where I am.

Don't let the high temps fool you. It is SO DRY here that 100 feels about like 80 in Maine. I'm not kidding. I never joke about things like this.

And see the chance of rain? Need I say more?

Copyright © 2012 - Paulla Estes

14 May 2012

Torn between Opposite Sides of the Country

I had decision to make for the second weekend in May.

My son graduated with his Masters degree in Arizona and my youngest daughter had her senior prom in Maine, all within 24 hours of one another. I could have jumped through hoops and taken a red-eye and somehow managed to be present for both, but in the end, I chose just one.

My daughter went to prom last year and I got to be there for the hair appointment, the make-up, the photos, the getting in the car to go, etc. If I hadn't experienced that, this decision would have been even harder. In the end, I chose to go to Arizona and watch my son graduate. Plus, let's face it, this will mostly likely be the only time in his life he graduates from grad school.

My daughter had her daddy and her sister to celebrate with her, as well as the sweet boy who escorted her. My son moves to his new apartment in Phoenix in a week, where he will start his new teaching job in the fall. Since I came here, I will get to stay and help him move. And then I'm not sure if I'll see him again until Christmas, if that.

Such is the life when the kids are mostly grown. I'm sure this is only the beginning of future tough decisions.

Today I'm thankful for the internet where we can share photos and see events we'd otherwise miss.

Copyright © 2012 - Paulla Estes

12 May 2012


Ok so I figured out a way to escape all the rain we've been having in Maine.

I left.

Yeah, I said to hell with this, I can't take it anymore, I'm leaving this soggy state and changing the name of this blog to My Corner of Arizona.

Or maybe I just got lucky with the timing and flew out of the rain to Arizona to watch my son graduate from grad school. I'll let you decide which is the truth.

And now, today, I have seen on Facebook that everyone in Maine is enjoying some desperately needed sunshine. I'm glad for you all. But I'm on my third day of endless sunshine (yes it even shines at night) and I'm sorry but I'll take this over that.

Of course soon, the amount that I miss my husband will trump my need for sunshine and then all will be right with the world once again. Either that, or I'll just have to go home when my return airline ticket says I do.

Until then, here are a few things I've seen on my early morning walks - walks where I've taken my mom's little fluffy white dog. And yes, it was very embarrassing. It doesn't look like a real dog; at least not one I'd ever have. But it's a good-natured little guy and it gladly goes with me as I roam the hills above the early morning city.

Copyright © 2012 - Paulla Estes

06 May 2012

Out Came the Sun and...

...dried up all the rain...

Copyright © 2012 - Paulla Estes

04 May 2012

The Horror of T.J. Maxx Dressing Room Lights

It's a rainy day in Maine and my youngest daughter talked me into going shopping today. I recently promised my husband I'd buy him a few new shirts, so we headed to T.J. Maxx to find some bargains.

I needed a few summer things, as over the winter I found a few extra pounds. (Whoever of you lost them, you are welcome to come take them back at any time.) What with a back injury and surgery on my leg, my miles and miles of walking last summer are a distant memory. As are the smaller thighs and trim leg and ab muscles that were a by product of all that walking.

I find trying on clothing to be an uncomfortable exercise in any format, but the T.J. Maxx dressing rooms seem to be special ordered to make everyone feel worse about themselves. The lights are too bright, the floors cold, and those mirrors have GOT to be the kind from carnivals and fairs - the ones that are designed to make us look bigger and wider than we really are.

Add that to the fact that I was in the company of an athletic 18-year-old girl, and the sad state of my body became all the more vivid. I wanted to put on furs, move to Northern Canada, secure a bottle or three of wine, and never take off my clothes again.

After trying on about 800 pieces of clothing, I found two that fit and didn't actually make me look worse. My daughter be-bopped out of the store with several things that made her look as cute and trim as she already is. If she wasn't my daughter, I would hate her. Maybe I already do. But only a little.

I really don't think I ever want to go there again. Don't get me wrong, I'm fine with growing older. I just lectured a friend earlier today about not succombing to society's lie that we all have to remain 30-years-old forever. We should grow old gracefully, but even if we don't, we WILL grow old. And besides, it's better than the alternative. Or at least that's what my dad always says.

But even if I'm ok with getting older, I don't need to deliberately go into places that make me feel bad about myself, right? Right?

Anyway, we got out of the store with some bargains and ventured back out into the rain. We came home and made hot chocolate to celebrate. (And yes I know what hot chocolate does to one's hips, and no, it's not sugar free. Stop judging me.) We put away our new clothes and sat down to rest.

And it was only then that I remembered the shirts I promised to get my husband.

Copyright © 2012 - Paulla Estes

03 May 2012

"I Love Maine" - Book Review

This children's book was sent to me a couple of months ago, and when I say children's book, I mean it's safe for babies. It's a board book, the kind that's very, very hard to destroy. I would know, because when our middle child began to crawl, she discovered many of our books on a low shelf, and destroyed several before I realized what was happening. She was the perfect kid for board books because they are tough and sturdy.

I Love Maine is a delightfully colorful board book that will give children and their parents a glimpse of what the state of Maine is all about. For anyone who has already been to Maine or lives here, it will provide rich memories of playing at the seashore in summer, hitting the slopes in winter, and enjoying the agricultural fairs that dot the state in late summer and early fall.

Of course, though we'd like the tourists to think so, there is more to Maine than being a place for vacations and recreation. I Love Maine gives children an idea of what people in Maine do for work. It has a page about the trees-to-paper industry, a page on fishing and lobstering, and a page depicting local agriculture. It even has a page about Augusta and the state capitol.

The one thing that comes to mind for so many children (and adults) when they think of Maine is the Maine moose. There are moose scattered throughout the book, as well as other examples of Maine wildlife, flora, and of course the beautiful, rocky shoreline.

If there is a baby or very young child in your life with whom you want to share the beauty of the state of Maine, I highly recommend this colorful little book.

Copyright © 2012 - Paulla Estes

02 May 2012


It's been rainy and cloudy for two days straight and while nobody should complain about only two days,... it's been TWO WHOLE DAYS.

On warm, dry, sunny days, I tell myself that I'm going to store up the sunshine and good feelings and it will get me through the crappy weather days. But it only works for about a day. And then I feel like I'm drowning under the cloud layer.

I looked at the forecast and there are rain and clouds as far as the eye can see. I started to gripe about it and then one of my insightful children remarked that I should remember the winter we just came through, that with that winter, nobody has the right to complain about a little rain.

Oh FINE then.

Copyright © 2012 - Paulla Estes