Sunday, October 31, 2010

Time to Put the Rockers Away

Here's to a snowy Halloween day. We have been sitting on the porch even with chill in the air, but now that the snow has arrived, I think it's time to put the chairs away. One finds a home in the sunny corner in the kitchen and the other one lives in the mudroom for the winter. The sunny corner is my favorite one to sit in on a cold, winter day.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mr. Neewollah's Yearly Visit

Each year, right around Halloween, my neighbor, Mr. Neewollah, comes to my classroom for a visit. He is a man of few words. As a matter of fact, he doesn't talk at all. He shuffles in the classroom, "reads" Tell Me a Scary Story (with the help of the CD player and a page turner), leaves the class awestruck with a bag of treats and heads back to his quiet home next door to mine. I am thankful for Mr. Neewollah. Over the years, he has created many surprised faces with wide eyes!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

First Steps

This post is late-but I wanted to honor my youngest daughter's 25th birthday with this poem by Kate Miller

First Steps
when you were new
just minutes old
and baby bare
they caught your
pedaling feet
just long enough
to ink them black
and press their prints
upon a glossy sheet
of pearl-white paper

two tapered soles
of elfin size
creased with lines
unique to you that
mark you mine
ten rounded toes
like stepping stones
left and right
a perfect pair
adventure bound

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Flat Iron Pond

Flat Iron Pond Cabins
We went for a beautiful ride in the woods last Saturday. Although the leaves are not as vibrant as in past years, they are still pretty. We set out to visit the Flat Iron Pond Cabins as we are thinking of renting one next summer. I first learned about this place when I went to Gilmoor's Ice-Cream stand in Lincoln on my daughter's last day of scooping ice-cream. The owners of the cabins had parked beside me and they had their dog leashed letting her drink water and enjoying a small doggie ice-cream treat. We chatted about our dogs and I asked them where the cabins they had advertised on their truck were located. Surprise-pretty much in our back yard-actually about an hour's drive through the woods. I told them we'd be by to visit sometime.
I packed my cooler (the blue one that goes everywhere I go!) with a veggie wrap, yogurt, and a banana. The dogs hopped in the back seat donning their orange neck warmers and Mark put all his hunting gear under the back seat to attempt some "heater hunting" on the trip out. He gave me the Gazette. I am not a map reader and he knows it. He said, "Today's a good day to learn." My attitude has always been-he'll get me there. If not, I'll go with someone that can! I'd rather go to every gas station along the way than read a map! I think it runs in my family. My dad has a hard time reading maps, my mom doesn't even attempt, and just a few weeks ago, my oldest sister followed me out of the Webb Cove camp road and after giving her explicit directions of how to get back to my mom and dad's house, she took a left where I had told her to take a right and ended up in Burlington. She called me 1/2 hour later and said, "I think I went the wrong way!" So there you have it, I'm not sure if my sister Karen can read a map, but I'm pretty sure my other sister Rodonna could find her way our of a cave with a map. I mean, she drove to Alaska once!
I had a million things to do at home and decided to just take my cooler and my camera and enjoy the ride. About 5 minutes into the ride, Boomer began whining. We stopped on the dirt road and let him out thinking he had to go to the bathroom. He just wanted to sniff around and see where we were! Once the dogs got settled in, the ride was peaceful and I even closed my eyes a few times. We didn't see any birds, so Mark was a bit bummed because we've been watching the turkeys in our yard for so long, he thinks he's forgotten what a partridge looks like! We finally arrived at the sign that pointed us to the cabins. We went down a long, narrow, winding drive. The pond came into view along with the main cabin. (Our dogs liked their dog, Bella. That's promising!)
The owners built all of these cabins by themselves. They have outfitted each one with handmade furniture. I'll take you inside one of them:

They took us through all 3 cabins and showed us the shower house that is powered by a generator. Then we all went down to the beach and that sand looked like it belonged on an exotic beach. It was a fine, white sand and I could just imagine feeling it between my toes on a hot summer day. Before we left, I went for a swing. I've been asking for a swing just like this since I moved. I'm asking for one for my birthday next year. Maybe I'll finally get one! After the swing, we loaded up the dogs, rode home through route 11, stopped for a coffee and tried to figure out a way we could be the owners of those cabins. We both got up on Monday morning to teach. But I have thought of those cabins every single day since. I think I could live there.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Funny Things My Students Say

Lining up to go home, a student in line passed gas. I thought it was ignored. The student in front just had to tell me something before we headed down for dismissal:
"Ms. O., we have a little tradition at our house."
Me: "Oh yeah? I love traditions!"
Student: "Well, whenever anyone farts..."
Me interrupting: "Let's call it 'toot'."
Student: "What's that?"
Me: "Well, growing up, my girls thought the other word was a swear word, so we called it a 'toot'."
Student: "Well anyway, whenever anyone farts at my house, we all yell, "Go, Boston!" I don't know why-I think we saw it on a movie or something."
Me: "Interesting, you know what we do in my family when that happens?"
Student: "What?"
Me: "We ignore it or we say, 'Excuse me.'"
Student: "Huh...." (With a quizzical look on his face!)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

From the Porch

Here's an attempt at a blog post that might be interesting. I and still trying to"find my voice" here and have yet to do that as I sit in front of the screen. When I was on my porch today, I thought about how chilly it's getting (I'm loving the cooler air) and then I began thinking about the season that just passed and I rehearsed a wonderful post in my head. That seems to be my problem. I have rehearsed many wonderful posts, but once I sit down to type them...not so good.

This past summer was probably the best one I've had in a long time. I felt good-really good. Last summer I couldn't get anything done because I was extremely exhausted all the time. Last fall, I got my health in order and what a difference a year makes. I got to see my girls a lot. Kristie trained for a bike ride with us, so we saw her more than usual. Nikki worked most of the summer, but needed help with her big black bear of a dog, Guinness, so we saw her at drop-off or pick-up. We love our grand-dogs: Izzi and Guinness.

We got an old boat and took that out on the river, Stump Pond, and Cold Stream. The motor gave us some troubles, but we still had fun getting it in the water and cruising around in it. Next summer we'll be able to go even more.

We biked a lot. I currently have 1,536 miles on my bike and I haven't hung it up yet! We did two organized rides, one with the Health Access Network that Dr. Nesin organized. That was a 54 mile ride from Enfield to Old Town then back to Enfield via the Southgate Road. Another ride was for the Penobscot Land Trust. That was a shorter one of only 28 miles around the river through Old Town, Brewer and Bangor. All the rest of our mileage was put on close to home with loop-trips we designed. I think my favorite ride of the summer was a 40 mile loop ride we did in "The County" where Mark is from. Beautiful country. Beautiful farms. Beautiful porches.I rode in Brad's airplane. My son-in-law got his pilot's license and bought an airplane. He took me for a ride over my house so I could take aerial shots and he thought he was quite funny when he banked the plane back over again so I could get more shots. Kristie and I both turned green and I was looking for a barf bag after that. I got a lot of shots (most I had no clue I took because as soon as he banked the plane, I just began snapping pictures). I pretended I was fine because wouldn't that look bad if I was the first person to ride in his plane and get sick?? Then he took us north and we flew through the peaks of Mt. Katahdin. This is the second time I've flown over Katahdin and it's amazing. I've climbed it 6 times and it's so majestic to see it either way-from the air or underfoot. He got a thumbs up from me for being a great pilot. It's amazing how much he had to learn and I am in awe of it all. I'm going up again soon to see the fall leaves.
Our annual Hayburgh Weekend was a success. We've been having our camping party at the Hayburgh Acres (Hayburgh Acres is actually my house! Mark's last name is Hayward and mine is Oldenburgh-so we combined the names) now for 4 years in an effort to get the whole family together for a whole weekend in a camping atmosphere. The weekend is completely full of fun outdoor activities. Sometimes we start the event off with line dancing and there's always good food. There's swimming in the pool. Badminton, wrap around, and beanbag madness are games everyone likes to play as well. Each night we have a campfire. This year, we all shared our favorite memories of mom and dad knowing it was the year of their 50th. During the day, everyone goes over to Kristie and Brad's camp to ride their boat and the Jet-ski. While we're all there, Mark stays back and sets up the best part of the weekend. Each year, (being the phys. ed. teacher he is) he designs some sort of a physical challenge game we all compete in. One year it was a scavenger hunt through the woods. Each time we found an item, we had to go back for our next hunt but before we could go find it, we had to do a physical challenge (jump a weighted rope 100 times, throw a fox tail in a bulls eye, etc). One year we did an amazing race sort of game where he had clues in envelopes and we had to find trail markers hidden everywhere. This past year he did a version of A Minute to Win It-he called ours I'm in it to Win It. It was raining, so we had to do everything in the garage. It was fun though. My niece is trying to capture an Oreo in her mouth by scrunching her face up to make it move!

I worked all summer, but only when I wanted to! I love that kind of a job. I work for Jan K. at the university in her book room. It's such a different job than what I do year round. I unpack new books and label them. I organize the books in her book room. I restock books on the shelf that others have left. Then Jan comes up with a new idea (Let's put all the books in Room 308!) and I move them all again! So, it's a physical job, but a good one. Whenever she'd ask me when I'd be in the next week, I'd say, "When it rains." Because of the incredible weather we had, I had to break my own rules about working. Many days I worked when it wasn't raining!

I took two classes over the summer. I wrote stories in the Northeast Writing Institute. I actually worked on some stories for my parents anniversary book. I might be able to figure out how to link it here so you can all look at it. I also took a fiction course instructed by Kate Kennedy. She's an amazing writer and an amazing instructor. I was really working out of my comfort level, because I rarely write fiction. She truly guided us all along to get our pieces done!

Mark painted the kitchen cupboards during my fiction seminar I took. It's something I've been wanting to do since we moved in here, but I have a hard time starting big projects like that and finishing them! And...he's a much better, maybe neater, painter than I am. They look amazing. I chose a cream color for the top cupboards and an avocado green for the bottom. I love them.

We celebrated my parents 50th anniversary. They make it all look so easy.

I went to the wedding of my best friend's daughter. It was a beautiful day on the coast of Maine.

Mark and I got interested in Geocaching. We might make our own caches next year for others to find!

I sat on my front porch every single day. I had tea with my best friend on my front porch. I practiced my guitar on my front porch. On my front porch, we had a sing along while my uncle and my cousin played guitar. On my front porch, I watched summer turn into fall. I love my front porch. I am truly blessed.