Sunday, September 28, 2014


This morning we woke up to this view from our vacation bed. Arriving late last night and only seeing stars as we relaxed on the deck made it like Christmas morning when we woke up. Gorgeous!

And this evening's view was this glorious slice of heaven - Delicious husband-prepared dinner, a glass of wine, and a magnificent sunset over Bass Harbor on Mount Desert Island, Maine. Pure delight!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


I didn't have time to get in any miles yesterday but I finished my 100 mile summer challenge today with 3.3 miles (.25 miles to spare but not a whole lot of time to spare!). 

Now it's time to switch over to the fall challenge that started on Sept 1. I know. Sept 1 is NOT fall! Apparently someone picked the random dates of Sept 1 to Nov 30 and because my summer challenge actually followed the summer dates and ended on the autumnal equinox today, I'm now 22 days behind on the "fall" challenge! Eek! I can do it though. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Reality TV...

Today I got totally sucked in to a new TV show. I'm ashamed to say that it was during a family reunion... But at least I was visiting with people while it was on. It's called American Ninja Competition... or something like that. It is a team event where four members on three teams have to make it through several rounds of these incredibly impossible looking obstacle courses... I got completely sucked into the competitive nature and sheer athletic ability of all of the competitors (one who happens to be from the next town down from my hometown). 

So... on the way home, A and I got talking about reality TV and I said that I would like to shoot a documentary/reality TV show about working for a month or so at various jobs that interest me just to see if it's something I'd like to do and to spotlight the inside view of real jobs. Obviously we can't pick something like being a surgeon  because you can't really acquire the skills necessary for some level of success in only a month but we can assist in careers that require higher levels of training and education. For fun, A and I listed off what we would each do.

Interestingly, we both started off with being cattle ranchers without even consulting each other. Apparently we are THAT compatible. Haha!

A's list also included:
Over the road truck driver
Tow truck driver
Work on a large research or salvage vessel
Rodeo announcer 
Bulldozer operator
Civilian on an aircraft carrier 
Race car pit crew 

My list included:
Eco-tour guide in Costa Rica or the like
Baker (bread etc - not so much pastry)
School counselor 
Veterinary assistant to Dr Pol (we love that show and he reminds me of A's German uncle that I adored!)
Travel agent
Military (non-specific but NOT in a submarine)
Artist/creative profession

It was fun to see where we would wander if given the opportunity! If I won the lottery, I would go do this stuff on a volunteer basis just for fun!

I love our road trips. We rarely listen to the radio etc and it's really fun to see where our conversations go!

3.05 miles...

Today A had to take his comprehensive final exam for his master's degree in Bristol, RI. And since we had to continue on to his family reunion in CT, the dogs and I decided to tag along to RI and entertain ourselves for ~5 hours while he squeezed every drop of criminal justice knowledge out of his exhausted-from-an-intense-year brain. 

So, Brody, Glacier and I went to Colt State Park for a walk along Narragansett Bay. It was a PERFECT day to be on the water - low to mid 60's, cloudless sky, and just the slightest of breeze to keep the sun from feeling too hot. I considered curling up on my yoga mat with my blanket and a good book but alas, a late night last night plus a 5:30am wake up this morning meant that I forgot my yoga mat. And a book. And a blanket. Total failure on that account. But my poor planning made the dogs very happy!

Because I had nowhere to curl up, nothing to read, and nothing but eight squirming legs and two wet snouts (incredibly well aimed at my mouth, usually, wet snouts) to cuddle with, we walked. 

We walked past the school group carrying half full trash bags of garbage they were picking up along the beaches. We walked past the family of Asians fishing off the rocks. We walked past every trash barrel in the entire park writhing the first three minutes of the walk. (This point comes clear as to why later on.) We walked past the family of three middle-school aged kids, their parents and their (silent and adorable!) beagle all huddled under the shade of a tiny sapling. We walked past several signs about irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, and colitis. 

At about 7/10 of a mile into the walk, Glacier, who NEVER poops while walking on a leash, pooped... as the Environmental Police truck rolled slowly by surely waiting to see if I was going to scoop that elephant pile or ignore it. I scooped it and then had to carry the bag for the next 2.8 miles because of the total lack of trash cans in that part of the park. Ergh!

We walked past the five ~8-9 year old boys pumping quarters into the binoculars but using them to stare at people on the walkway instead of the birds etc. We walked past the picknickers and not-sure-what-they're-doing-in-that-car-ers and the pocket dogs (anything smaller than 30 lbs) and the elderly ladies on walkers chattering to their nurse. 

We walked to the end of the walkway and sat down for a moment until I realized that someone in the gathering on the hill behind me was belting out the national anthem and with that, the sudden realization that I was about to be trampled by 300 Chrohn's, IBS and colitis sufferers during their fundraising and awareness walk that was about to unfold. 

Me, my two dogs, and my bag of dog poo I had now carried so long, I was considering naming it hit the trail ahead of the walking crew just in time! (There's an irony to leading the charge in a walk of this nature while carrying a bag of poo... But I was quite certain that although I was making myself chuckle with some of the clever witticisms I could share with the walkers, doing so would be at best, poorly delivered... at worst, insulting. I kept my bag of poo and my jokes to myself as I hoofed it back toward the truck.)

Crossing the footbridge, Glacier had caught sight of some cormorant and geese when I had her and Brody jump up on the wall for a photo. 

Glacier then spent the rest of the span of the bridge jumping up, surveying the winged community situation, and jumping back down every 8 seconds. The wind was just right and she kept looking right into the wind so that her ears stood straight up and I was laughing so hard at her I could barely snap a picture. I finally did and I've looked at it 50 times today since then and it's makes me happy too!

Above, Glacier checks out the birds by going under cover as a "skinny Samoyed". 

After 3.5 miles, I was finally able to part with my fourth child - "BoP" (Bag of Poo) and put two hot, tired dogs in the truck (after they drank ALL of my water!), and figure out my mileage. 

Another adventure in the books and all I can say is... Summer isn't over until MONDAY, Sept 22, NOT Sunday so I've got a little breathing room to finish up my last 3.05 miles and then jump right into the fall challenge ASAP! :-)

And... After an early day, a busy day, and a gorgeous day, I'm wiped out!

Monday, September 15, 2014

24 miles...

Back in June I committed to doing 100 miles of walking, running or biking between June 21 and September 21. I was off to a great start and then life really got in the way. Yesterday I realized that I had one week to complete the challenge and 24 miles to go. So... I've committed to cranking in as many miles as possible on the days that I can go and HOPE that I can reach my goal... in part because there's another 100 mile challenge already in the works that I've committed to doing as well and I've got to get going on it! 

Here's how tonight's walk went.......

8pm. I'm finally done with work and my sister (not the one recovering from a major accident) arrives. We embark on a trek. 

Me: "I've mapped out a 4 mile walk and a 5.5 mile walk. Which do you want to do in the pitch dark?" 

Lib: "I'll get my coat. Let's go with the long one."

 ..... 4.5 miles later and we haven't shut up and we are at a crossroads.... 

Me: "If we go that way we will be done in a mile, this way is even longer. Which way do you want to go?" (While trying to pretend that the howling coyote that sounds only a few hundred yards away isn't freaking me out a little...) Lib: "Let's go long." (We select the route that takes us for a second tour past our old house that we loved, past the cemetery, past the old German's house that we were sure was a Nazi war criminal with the barking/tail wagging yellow lab who replaced the scary German shepherds of our youth, through the woods Lib tells me that she's felt "spirits" in and once found an old tub in the woods with a bucket where a local color fella used to sit and soak, and I'm telling her it's the hill that tuned my thighs to near pubescent perfection riding up it on my one speed bike so I could have enough speed to blaze past the Germans and their shepherds and hold my breath past the cemetery) down to the swamp where we stand in total silence for one long minute listening to the tree frogs, the owls calling to each other and a pack of coyotes that have obviously just scored while summer afternoons of tracking beavers and turtles at this same spot swirled in my head, and then we hit the home stretch to my sister's house (the injured one), were startled by a doe just off the edge of the road in a field and secretly mourned the end of a magical walk that included the smells of dirt and wood smoke and cow manure and cut grass and sweet hay in just the right amounts to let my mind entertain only the best memories of living in this neighborhood and feel grateful for the opportunity to enjoy such treasures. In short, I did 6 miles tonight. It was perfection. Only 18 miles to go.

 Day time view of the swamp.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Lost (and found) art...

Recently I've been staying at my sister's house helping her after a bad accident at the end of August. I haven't stayed here since her boys were really little and I used to babysit them all the time while she worked at the ski area or plowed snow. The oldest is now 24 and the youngest is 19. Time flies!

The other night I went in to "tuck in" the big boy (him living at home at this age isn't weird. He's got plans. :-)) and as I was scanning his room as we chatted, I noticed a shirt he had hung up on the wall. I said "Oh! You kept your shirt!" And he said "Yeah, I found it when I was going through some stuff and I put it up. I don't know who made it though." It's funny... I just assumed he would know that it was me! I spent the most time with him as a little kid aside from his parents and the day I moved away, I cried my eyes out because I was going to miss the boys so much and miss seeing them growing up. So as any good aunt would do, I smacked him on the rump and said "It was ME doofus!" And we laughed. 

Even though he didn't remember who made it, I love that he still has it and treasured it enough to hang it up!

His parents run a ski area where he has worked since he was about 12...

And from the first moment he could walk and talk, he was OBSESSED with two things... Heavy machinery ("ack-a-baiters" aka excavators, "a-go-tahs" aka tractors, and "goomers" aka groomers) and dinosaurs. I felt I had a better chance of drawing the latter than the former as Mr Details would have explained to me the proper positioning of the smoke stack/cab position/track rotation etc) on a 1990 Pisten Bully snow groomer... (Yes, his college internship was with Pisten Bully... He was "groomed" (haha!) for that job from birth! :-)

He loved this shirt and wore it all the time! I think it's funny that 20 years later. I'm back in the shirt making "business" for someone else I love... My father in-law. More to come on that...