Sunday, July 31, 2016

Good to be back...

Made it back to dear old Short Pump at 2:30 this afternoon. Have spent the past few hours getting reacquainted with my house. It seems bigger somehow, but the yard feels smaller. Lucy was quite surprised to be back. It was as if she never expected to ever come back here...and she was fine with that. But now that she's back, she's a very happy dog.

The mail had been collected by the US Postal Service all month, and delivered to us in a double grocery bag. Took me thirty minutes to sort through it all. Based on my consumption behavior over the past thirty days, the marketing colossus which is the American banking industry saw fit to send me no less than eleven credit card offers. I took surprising joy in ripping all of them up. There were several bills and a few checks so, some good, some bad.

It will be the same tomorrow at work, some good, some bad. It was actually that way in Maine too...more good than bad but still a bit of both. Such is life. Our month on Hobbs Pond was a delight, a treasure trove of memories that can never be taken from us, making them even more valuable as years go by. But every one of them was made possible by the very mundane things done here in Short Pump, the work, the day to day.

So, I don't despair at returning here. I miss Maine. I count the days until I can go back. But I will never resent the here and now or wish it would pass. Tomorrow I get to go back to work to make it all happen again. I have missed the people there. They are every bit the blessings to me that the loons on the lake have been. Come to think of it...I get to be surrounded by loons all year!

Pam is at Martins replenishing the shelves. Lucy is happily asleep on her sofa spot, and I am writing this in my library while listening to a live performance by Duke Ellington...Take the A-Train...

Good to be back...

Friday, July 29, 2016

Last Day...

Day 29

This will be our last full day in Maine. We will head into Camden Deli for some blueberry pancakes. Pam will stop by the Smiling Cow to pick out her whirlligig thing...a polished bronze thing that catches the wind and twirls around. Something like this...

She's wanted one forever so today she will pick one out and have it shipped home since there won't be any room in our car. We will kick around in town for a while, then make the drive back to the lake where the packing up will begin. It's hard to believe that this month is almost over. It has flown by. While doing so, it has exceeded our wildest expectations. The weather hasn't been perfect, but pretty close. The house wasn't perfect but pretty close. We never once got bored or ran out of places to go and see and things to do. The fishing was crazy. The lake was beautiful. The call of the loons, enchanting. We read a load of books. The television was on maybe a couple of hours all month...for an inning or two of baseball. Having no wifi was a hassle, but we managed perfectly well gobbling up data on our cell phones. Having Paula and Ron for a visit and of course, the kids, was wonderful. But we also enjoyed our time just the two of us. Lucy was a champion. She has had the time of her life and is now a lake dog for life.

We will miss everything about Duck Cove Cottage and Hobbs Pond. It will be a strange feeling tomorrow morning pulling out of here. Gratitude and sadness.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Waiting On The Storm

Day 28

Astute readers will recall that ten days ago I played a round of golf at the Rockland Golf Club with three wonderful Mainers in a driving rainstorm. Well, today I decided that I couldn't leave this place without playing that course in the sunlight. So I left the house at 6:30 this morning with no tee time and took my chances. By 6:55, I teed off as the first golfer of the day, with rented clubs and a push cart. Two hours and twenty seven minutes later, I walked off the 18th green with my Map My Fitness app telling me I had walked exactly six miles. It was the finest six mile walk of my life.

I shot an 86. Not horrible, not great. 

Two stories... My worst shot of the day was a badly hooked tee shot on a par five which featured a partially blind tee shot. The minute I hit it, I knew it was deep in the woods and hopelessly lost. But when I crested the hill, right in the general area where my shot probably entered the woods were these guys...

Yes, a flock of wild turkeys reminded me just how bad my shot actually was!

My best shot was on an uphill, into the wind par 3 that the scorecard said was 215 yards but looked much longer. I hit a 3 wood to 15 feet...

Me, being me...I left the birdie putt two foot short!

This terrific course featured lots of gorgeous views which I hadn't noticed in the monsoon earlier. Pictures don't really capture the beauty...

This particular one is of number 16 I think. I took it because to the left rear of the picture is a big house on the mountain that overlooks not only the course, but Rockland harbor as well. The water can be seen beyond the spruce trees on the right.

Now, it's 4:30 in the afternoon and we are waiting on a storm to pass through. It's all over the radar about ten miles away. I'm on one end of the great front porch writing this blog while chewing on beef jerky. Pam is drinking her afternoon coffee and eating French horns. There is no illustration that better sums up our relationship!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Bad Dinner...sorta.

Day 27

So, last night...after a long and lazy day spent recuperating from waiting on our four kids for a week...Pam and I decided to drive into Rockland for dinner. There were over thirty restaurants to choose from in our handy Guide to Midcoast Dining magazine. We finally decided on this place...

Archers on the Pier was described as being located, "directly on Rockland's pristine waterfront." Analysis? True.

Then we were told, "come enjoy an innovative and tasty menu." Analysis? Misleading. Unless by "innovative" they meant...make patrons wait an hour for a table, then another thirty minutes for their food to arrive, resulting in ravaging hunger which would make boiled cardboard seem tasty. The best part of Archers was arriving and leaving. We parked on the far end of the harbor and took a gorgeous walk around the bay on a wide and flowered boardwalk with the sun setting behind us. When we arrived we were told that there would be a twenty minute wait. We found a seat at the outdoor bar and ordered a Cajun shrimp appetizer which turned out to be the very best thing we ate during our two hour stay. The breeze off the ocean was divinely inspired, it's staggered timing, perfect! Actually, we could have sat out there eating Cajun shrimp for two hours and left happy. But unfortunately, eventually our table was ready...inside, next to the kitchen, in very close proximity to two talkative Italian 
retirees from Ohio. It was a loooong night. This was the before-selfie...

We didn't take an after-selfie...good thing. Still, worse things could happen to people than having to spend over two hours at a restaurant. We could have caught the Zika virus or even worse...been forced to watch the Democrat Convention. I heard that Bubba was particularly gifted/disingenuous in his attempt to describe his relationship with Hillary as a romance. So, thank God for slow service.

Last couple of days have had Pam on edge. She doesn't do well if she's "hot." Although, outside has been a pleasant 82 or so, this house has been a bit toasty at times. No air-conditioning will do that. The beautiful ceiling fan above our bed would ordinarily provide welcomed relief from the sometimes muggy conditions. But in our case the fan is merely ornamental since turning it on would send Lucy scrambling out the door in a full fledged panic. So, we soldier on! 

Three more days here. With each passing day, the real world gets closer and responsibility starts to cloud the mind. Soon, this will all be over. Bummer.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Motives Unclear?

Day 26

When I scan the Internet for news, the headline is everything. For instance, if the words "Beiber" or "Khardashian" appear, the story isn't getting read. This is why I love the Wall Street Journal so much since every story in the paper begins on the front page, hardly any of which contain those two words, making my news gathering experience more efficient. Now, I'm aware that I probably miss many perfectly fine articles because of poorly written headlines, but that's win some and you lose some.

But lately, a particular type of headline appears more and more in my news feeds. It is some variation of the same theme. This morning, it comes from the UK's Telegraph...

Isis Knifemen slit Priest's throat while yelling "Daesh"...motives unclear.

Yes, Telegraph, perhaps these Knifemen were unhappy with the Priest's views on Eucharistic adoration. Or maybe they were unhappy with the inconvenience of his confession hours. Why, just the other day there was the story of the Baptist Deacon who barged into a mosque shouting, "It is God's will!!!" and chopped that Imam's head off. What? You don't remember that story? Me neither, because it didn't happen. But, if it did does anyone believe that the New York Times would report that the killer's motives were unclear? It's like the old joke about the headline in the New York Times the morning after a meteor destroys New York City...METEOR WIPES OUT CITY....woman and minorities hardest hit.

...but enough about the path of death and destruction being cut through the world by radical Islam. Let's change the subject to something more uplifting, like the fact that even though all my kids are gone, Pam and I still have four more days in this beautiful place. There are still things we want to do and places we want to see. If I were reporting on our activities for the New York Times, perhaps the headline would read...Local couple frantic to cross "things to do on vacation" off of their list as vacation draws to close...MOTIVES UNCLEAR.

Monday, July 25, 2016

My Russian Problem

Day 25

This guy is big boy number two. I caught him last night around 8:15 after dinner, along with a couple decent sized lake trout. Then it got too dark to see the bobber. More fun than a barrel of monkeys. At that point there was only one thing we all could possibly think to do...go get ice cream.

There's an amazing little place in town called River Ducks. It sports this menu, which Pam has taken as a personal challenge. She fully intends to try each and every "Maine Inspired Flavor" on this menu before we come home!

A couple of odd notes...

When I woke up this morning after a fabulous night's sleep, I thought that one of two things had happened. Either Camden Cappuccino Crunch has regenerative powers that had miraculously healed my myopia overnight, or I had forgotten to take out my contacts. Unfortunately, it was the latter.

For no apparent reason, The Tempest has become quite popular in...Russia. For the past three days, I have gotten more page views from the land of Putin and Vodka than I have from the USA. Patrick suggests that it's probably something called a spam bot. Of course, his easy explanation ignores the very real possibility that my writing has hit a nerve in the Russian psyche. Is it so outlandish that the land that gave us Dostoevsky could warm to the stylings of my blog?? Patrick is sticking with spam bots. 

Still, what with all of the Russian involvement in the Wikileaks thing with the DNC, I shouldn't be too careful. If the Ruskies are in cahoots with Trump, my blog might be on some kind of enemies list. You know...the kind of blog that could reach an audience of hundreds with the subversive message that Donld Trump is a moron. Well, fear not matter what personal danger I might be placing myself in, my voice will NOT be silenced. Although...if I ever get arrested I fully expect all of you to set up a GOFUNDME thing to pay my bail.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The End Is Coming...but it ain't here yet.

Day 24

The kids fly back home tomorrow. Today was their last full day here. It has been everything that Pam and I were hoping it would be. And now that they are leaving, it's a bit sad for two reasons. First, we don't get very many opportunities to have them all together in the same house very often. Once during the summer, maybe for a few days at Christmas, and a fall weekend if everybody's schedule cooperates. So, these family times have become increasingly rare. But the real reason for sadness is that when they leave, we only have four more days left. These days have flown by.

But, there will be no whining and complaining. This has been an incredible month and we are lucky to have had the chance to come here. It has been a splendid getaway, more so than we ever dreamed possible. The fact is that God has been extrordinarily good to us, for reasons that remain a mystery to me. All I can think to be is grateful. 

We still have four more days, and I intend to wring every last drop of fun out of them. The rest of this vacation begins with tonight's dinner...a repeat of this...

Saturday, July 23, 2016

An Adventure

Day 23

Yesterday, it was time for an adventure, so we all got into the car and drove into Camden for an Eco-Tour on the good ship, Lovely Lady. Although it was quite warm in town, once we got out into Penobscot Bay, the chilly air cooled us down. It was Sarah's first boat ride in twenty years. Early on, she looked confident...

Thirty minutes in, we were in the midst of four foot seas, and the both of them were soaked! Meanwhile, Jon and Kaitlin were the picture of chill...

The woman in pink was either our Homeland Security ranger doing an excellent imitation of a civilian, or...struggling with the early stages of sea sickness. Then this happened...

We got a tutorial on how to bring up a lobster pot and determine wether or not the lobsters are big enough to keep. We also learned how to tell the difference between male and female lobsters...hint...female lobsters get paid less than male lobsters for the same work!

The views alone on this tour were worth the money...

"Where the mountains meet the sea" is Camden's slogan. Well deserved.

By the time we got back to the lake, Miss Lucy had been cooped up for nearly four hours and was ready for one thing and one thing only...

This girl has become a water-maniac. With each new dive she gets even more air, and has developed quite a diving flair. Unfortunately, she also still has her flair for thunderstorm freak outs. A rather loud one rolled in around 3 am last night and she was not amused. But this morning has broken clear and fair, and our agenda contains:

1. Eat
2. Fish
3. Swim
4. Float
5. Kayak
6. Eat
7. Make snide remarks about Donald and Hillary
8. Read
9. Eat

I better get started...

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Walking to Pushaw

It took me exactly an hour, this walk of mine, a unit of time which carries no meaning here. An hour? An hour of what? I left the lake house and made the slow climb up Meadow Lane, a narrow path of a thing which oddly qualifies as a "lane" in Knox County, Maine. Then I took a left unto the two lane dirt road, Crabtree Lane. The names of the roads...Meadow, Crabtree, Cove, and finally, Pushaw. 

There once was a time when the majority of roads in this country were dirt and gravel. Now, whenever you happen upon one, you immediately declare that you are in the boonies. Meadow Lane is the scary .31 miles that leads directly to the lake. It is a pile of rocks and dirt and drops probably 100 feet from beginning to end. There is one odd section where years ago someone thought about paving the thing. Maybe the money ran out, or someone got eaten by a bear while making the attempt, but now all that remains in a couple hundred feet of choppy blacktop.

Crabtree Lane is majestic, for a dirt road. Both sides are covered with deep woods, healthy stands of pines, maples and oaks. Every so often there is a birch tree with its feathery white bark, protected by statute here in Maine... like royalty. At the mile and a half mark there is a sweeping valley to the right, then at the end of long climb, an ancient hilly field of rolling grass and giant boulders. Making dotted lines through the landscape are several low stone fences constructed a century ago when there was some reason for their existence. Now they are grown over in spots, their stones black and covered with moss and the accumulated abuse of a hundred Maine winters. They are stubborn, aching things now...but they remain. I walk swiftly past them wondering what stories they could tell. 

Finally, the steep, weary climb up to Pushaw Lane, a climb that sets your lungs and thighs on fire on the way up, and everything else on fire on the way down. The sides of the roads on my walk are lined with Black-eyed Susans, ragweed, dandelions, and asiatic lilies. A more romantically inclined man might have remembered to bring scissors along to bring some home for his love. I make a mental note to bring scissors next time.

I stumble back down Meadow Lane, past the blueberry fields. I see the lake through the trees. Map My Fitness says I walked exactly four miles in exactly one hour. Such precision seems impossibly for such a place so untouched by most of modern life. The fact that I have such amazing cell phone coverage way out here is a bittersweet experience. After three weeks, I have become strangely protective of 67 Meadow Lane. Please world...leave this beautiful place alone. Please...

Lucy Finds Her Groove

Day 21

Lucy has made a discovery. Heretofore whenever we wanted her to jump into the water, ( in other words...when it was convenient and appropriate for us ), we would have to nudge, throw, heave. Once she was in she seemed to have great fun, but getting in required a great deal of persuasion. Not any more.

It happened when I decided to toss her favorite toy...her coveted frisbee, into the lake. Without any urging from us, she bolted headlong after her prize. Once this Rubicon was crossed, there has been no turning back. " Wait, is that Dad out there on the swimming float?" SPLASH! " Are those ducks I see a half a mile across the lake?" SPLASH! " Ooh...what's that green thing floating in the water?" SPLASH!

Watching this dog become enchanted with her newly discovered skill at swimming has been one of the many joys of this trip. The swimming vest we bought her helps her to relax while she's out there, but she no longer needs it...and she knows it! Any doubts we had about bringing her up here have been destroyed watching her frolic in Hobbs Pond. hasn't all been moonlight and magnolias either. When Lucy spies another dog, any dog on the property, no boundary, obstacle or fortification will stop her from giving maniacle chase. If there are people at the adjacent camp about 500 feet to our left, she cannot be let off the leash or she will make a mad dash to introduce herself to half a dozen terrified geriatrics, or even worse, ten mothers with small children. Speaking of the camp next door...we're not entirely sure what's up over there. Their "camp" consist of one ramshackle cabin, an outhouse, and an impressive outdoor stone oven thing. It seems to have a different group of day visitors every day. Nobody ever seems to stay overnight. One day there will be 25 old people singing hymns, the next day a group of teenagers swinging on a very cool rope and splashing into the water. So, the place could simply be a place that gets rented out to groups for day trips, or it might be some sort of survivalist, quasi-religious commune with communist sympathies. Either way, I'm keeping a sharp eye out for any subversive behavior. Lucy just wants to party with them.

Today seems to be shaping up as another beauty, 80 and magnificent. We will spend it in some combination of frivolity and highjinks, then end the day in Camden having dinner together.

Editors note: My fishing has improved considerably since I started fishing late in the afternoon/evening. Several nice, 7 inch lake trout have been caught!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

They're Here!!

Day 19

It occurs to me that we spend half of our lives waiting. When we were kids we waited for Christmas morning. When we were teenagers we waited to turn 18...then 21. We waited to find the one, we waited for kids, promotions, for our ship to come in. We waited for the kids we waited so long for to get their act together. We waited all day for them to fly into Portland, then because America has the worst airlines in the world, we waited...forever. But, good things come to those who wait, the sages told us. They were right. At 2:45 am this morning, I finally got them all home. Now, I'm waiting for them to wake up so I can show them this...

During all the waiting last night, I happened to catch some of Melania Trump's speech. My first reaction,( after, My God, what a stunning woman...), was that she makes more sense in her second language than her husband makes in his native tongue. It was only later when I discovered that several lines in her speech were dead ringers for lines spoken by Michelle Obama in her big speech to the Democratic convention in 2008. There are two possibilities here. One is that whoever wrote her speech flat out lifted those lines without attribution, an unpardonable sin in the age of Google. The second possibility is that the sort of things that potential First Ladies say when being introduced to the country are so inherently insipid, so full of boiler plate dreck about opportunity and challenges, that repetition is unavoidable. Still, the similarities in a couple of places were just too exact to be pure coincidence. But if after everything we have been through to get to this convention, this is what finally pisses us off...then we are insane.

And that is all I have to say about a former model made filthy rich by marrying a billionaire. I have bigger fish to fry...wait...did I just hear someone stirring upstairs????.

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Kids Are Coming!!!

Day 18

Today is travel day for the kids. Jon and Kaitlin will drive to Charlotte and catch a flight to Portland. Knowing my daughters luck with flights, their luggage will probably land in Portland, Oregon. Patrick and Sarah will fly from Nashville to Portland. I will pick them up, God willing, around 8 o'clock this evening. Pam and Lucy will be here at the house making preparations for the big reunion, which...because Pam is Pam...will include a welcome bag of Maine treats on their pillows and some sort of yet to be determined Maine snack upon their arrival. Good Lord, how I do love that woman!

The weather for the first four days of this week looks like something ordered up by the Camden Chamber of Commerce...upper 70's over middle 50's. Of course, it should be pointed out that weather forecasts around here are about as dependable as Bill Clinton's marriage vows. In one single day it isn't unusual for the weather forecast here to change three times. Seriously! The other day the forecast at 6 am called for cloudy skies with a chance of rain. By noon it declared the rest of the day sunny and clear. By evening, it warned of heavy fog. Which brings me to my golf experience yesterday...

I showed up at Rockland Golf Club for my 7:00 am tee time with grave doubts that I would be able to get even nine holes in. The clouds were low, thick and heavy and a light rain had already started to fall. But then, I got paired with three local Mainers, Sean, Greg and Essie. They were all in their thirties, all lifelong residents of Rockland, with the thickest, most hilarious Maine accents you've ever heard. They all assured me that it was only a "passing showah!!" So, off we charged, into the breach.

After six holes, I was wetter than Bill Clinton's hot-tub, soaked to the bone. Meanwhile, my local weather experts seemed unfazed by the deluge, constantly finding evidence in the clouds of pending sunshine. By the turn at 9, it looked more ominous than when we started, but my new buddies remained committed. "They're playing the British Open right now, right? It's the least we can do!"

These three guys were about as good a bunch of dudes as you could imagine being paired up with on a golf course. Sean was an excellent golfer, Greg and Essie, not so much. However, all of them played very quickly...always a bonus. Essie had the added benefit of being a stone cold, lead pipe ringer for a young Tom Cruise. It was uncanny! By the end of the round, all three of them had given me their cell phone numbers and told me to not even think about renting clubs when I play again..."just call one of us and you can borrow ours!" 

So now, I can cross- play an entire round of golf in pouring rain - off of my bucket list. As crazy as it seems, I had a blast! Didn't even keep a scorecard, just kept a running total of how many pars I had...six. My boys want to do it again next Sunday morning.

Yesterday afternoon on the float.

Lucy playing fetch in the lake.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Hot enough for ya??

Day 16

The last couple of days here have been..."hot." I use scare quotes here because the term is relative. These have been the sort of days that Mainers get maybe a half dozen of all year, those rare occasions when they actually wonder if perhaps they should have considered air conditioning for the car. It was actually 90 yesterday, and 84 today with the sort of humidity that people in Richmond would call a cool spell. However, with no AC in a big house like this one...

...90 without a breeze and with humidity is the sort of thing that one doesn't expect in Maine. In fact, it makes you want to call the Chamber of Commerce and demand a refund.

Observant readers will notice Lucy's inquisitive nose poking between the slats of the marvelous porch on the front of our house. The past few days we have spent a lot of time out here...


And, why not? It's cool and the chairs are super comfortable. 

Lucy is doing very well here, although she still gets spooked by the oddest things. The other day, we were all out on the dock when suddenly some clouds rolled in and the wind began to blow. It didn't last too long, but Miss Lucy was not a fan. She took refuge between my legs...

Two nights ago..or maybe it was three, one day just melts into the next here...we had the finest meal of the trip so far, all cooked on the grill...

I swear y'all, this meal was beyond my ability to describe. Maybe it's because we were outside all day, maybe it was because we ate later in the evening. But whatever it was, this combination of flavors had me in food heaven. That's a New York strip steak with a butter/garlic concoction melting on top. The potatoes are seasoned with garlic and rosemary and cooked on the grill in a foil bag for forty minutes. The Brussels sprouts were slathered in olive oil and basted in a Dijon mustard sauce then skewered and grilled for fifteen minutes. As Frank Barone might say..Holy Crap!!!

Tomorrow morning, I have a 7:00 am tee time at the Rockland Golf Club, a mere 18 minutes from here. I'll be back on the dock by noon trying desperately to catch some fish. Then, after dinner, we will start to get all giddy at the impending arrival of our kids Monday evening. Having your whole family all together under one roof for a week in Maine is like Christmas for parents!!!

Friday, July 15, 2016

The World Intrudes

Day 15

There is a pattern developing to life here in Maine. Just about the time I find myself thinking that life couldn't possibly get any better, some deranged psychopath kills a bunch of innocents. Last night when I read Pam the horrifying news from Nice, she asked plaintively..." Why can't these people just come to Maine?" She hadn't intended to make a joke about so serious a catastrophe, but I couldn't help laughing. Why, indeed?

Part of me wonders if it's entirely appropriate for me to be enjoying such a leisurely, care-free month up here while the rest of the world seems to be falling apart. I read about the 80 dead in Nice right after a meal of steaks from the grill covered in garlic butter sauce, Brussels sprouts-kabobs in mustard sauce, and grilled potatoes. The news of the cop ambush in Dallas came while we were having lobster. So, because I'm an heir of western civilization, I battle with the one emotion that the West does best...guilt.

But, I deal with the G word swiftly. Unlike many of my younger friends, I refuse to accept the premise of the day that suggest that any success I enjoy comes from some entrenched privilege. I find no evidence that requires me to apologize for my good fortune, as if the very fact of my success suggests that somebody else more deserving was denied the chance. This view of the world requires the assumption that the world is a finite pie, that there is only so much success to go around. It's impossible to expand the pie, so we must allocate the pie more fairly. This world view empowers only those holding the knife, the bureaucrats, the redistributors. 

In my life, I have had a lot of help. Nobody is a self-made man, nobody. I had great parents who taught me right from wrong. I got a great education thanks to a series of life changing teachers who challenged me to think. I benefitted from several amazing mentors who taught me what no teacher could. I was blessed to be born a citizen of a country that allowed me to decide what I wanted to be and do. Me, not some government hack in an office somewhere. But, my government helped too. They built a network of roads and bridges that allowed me to move about with ease. They provided a system of justice that protected my rights and my property, and although that system is flawed and has had glaring failures, it's still the best in the world in much the same way as democracy is the worst system of government in the world...except for all of the others. 

But, despite all of the help I have been given, success was not guaranteed. It wasn't preordained. Good government, good parents and good teachers are present in the lives of millions who wind up in the gutter. All of the tools in the world can be given to someone, but the house won't get built until work is done, and mistakes of effort are made. Trial and error, multiple failures, then at last, success. Everyone I know who has done well in life has had to overcome failure, sometimes many failures. Luckily for us, we live in a country that supplies us with the most essential tool of all...freedom.

So, no. I will not apologize for being an American. I am proud of my country,( although that pride is taking a beating this election cycle). But, this too shall pass. We have overcome worse than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

And no, I will not feel guilty for being on vacation while terrible things happen to innocent people. Instead, I will double down on my profound gratitude for the blessings of life, and endeavor to be a mentor to someone struggling to find their way in the world when I get back home.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Typical Day

This place is hard to describe to anyone who has never been to Maine. There are many states in America that contain mountains, lakes and ocean access, for example, so when I tell them about these things they're like..."So??" What makes Maine unique however is the proximity of all of these things to each other. The view above is our little cove on Hobbs Pond, a 266 acre lake with a 5 mile perimeter surrounded by mountains. But, get in the car and make a 15 minute drive in which you pass three other lakes, and you find yourself here...

This is Camden Hills State park. That body of water is Penobscot Bay...the Atlantic Ocean. This park is divided by what remains of number 1 highway, yes...THAT number one highway. On the other side opposite the bay is Mount Battie and the wonderful old World War I memorial at its peak. From the top you can take pictures like this...

Yesterday, Pam and I stopped by one of the many food shacks that dot the landscape here and bought some sandwiches and took them here to have lunch. The breeze coming off the ocean was cool and strong, heavy with that most odd combination of scents...briny and pine. I may have found my new office...

After lunch we headed back to the lake and used up the last rays of sunshine sitting on our dock. After it got dark, Lucy was out like a light. We played a couple of games of Rummikub, then went to bed. All in all, it was a slow day. Nothing important happened. We didn't have much of a plan for the day. It just happened. The highlight of Pam's day was probably this...

So, this is how we roll in Maine. It may sound boring to some. To some it would be boring. But for us there's nothing better. Well, actually it will get even better when our kids get here. For the next four days, it will just be the three of us. Now, if you all will excuse me, my wife has had a fifteen minute head start in her kayak, and I have to catch up!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

My Parents Are Going Crazy

Day 12

My name is Lucy. I belong to Doug and Pam Dunnevant. Most of the time, they have been the greatest parents ever. But honestly, lately I have had my doubts about them. I'm starting to think they may be losing their minds. The last 12 days have been nuts.

First, they took me on a two day, 18 hour car trip. Then we get to this great place called Maine. I love it, really I do. It's got this big hill down to a lake. It's got huge places to run with no fences anywhere! But there's also a huge scary house at the top of the hill I was talking about. There are ceiling fans everywhere, and this screen door which makes a terrible noise every time it opens. Oh, and the ceiling? It must be at least a mile high and smack dab in the middle of it, the biggest ceiling fan in the world! Horrifying.

But despite the house, I have been happy here. We have been on many scary/fun adventures. We went to a lighthouse and I got to walk on a rocky beach at the ocean below it. Then, this huge truck showed up with a giant hose that hooked up to the little green houses marked " men and women", and started making a loud sound. Then all of a sudden everything smelled like my poops. It was weird. 

Yesterday, my Mom and Dad took me into town...

It wasn't too bad...until the huge trucks came. Why do they have to be so loud?? Anyway, we stopped into a store that smelled great. It was filled with dog treats, dog toys and other really cool stuff. But instead of buying me any of that stuff, Mom and Dad bought me...this!

They all made a huge fuss over how great I look in it. Although, I do kinda like how it feels, I think I look stupid. But, what am I gonna do? I had no idea what this new thing was for, but it didn't take long to figure it out. See, this lake has this cool dock which I get to stand on and watch everything. But, it also has this scary floating thing way out in the water...

My Dad is constantly swimming out there and begging me to jump in and come out and join him. It's very frustrating because I really, really want to, but it's just so scary. So mostly I just stand on the very edge of the dock and whine and whine and whine. parents seem to think that this new jacket thing will make jumping into the freezing water less scary. See why I'm worried about them? Well, yesterday, there I was on the edge whining when suddenly I either slipped, or somebody pushed me...probably Uncle Ron. Anyway, the other times I've been swimming, all I wanted to do was get the hell out of the water, but this time, it seemed easier, less scary. Before I knew what was happening, there I was swimming out to the scary float thing...

I made it!!! I also found out that I could fetch balls while I was out there which was great fun except for the fact that I kept getting water up my nose. Still, very fun. When it was time to swim back to the dock, I got to go swimming with Dad!!!

Coolest. Thing. Ever!!!

Although, by the time we made it to the dock, I was starting to worry about Dad. He looked exhausted!!! Maybe he needs one of these stupid, ugly jackets.

So, that was my day yesterday. Fun, and scary. Story of my life lately.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Lobstah Dinnah

Day 11

For those of you who secretly resent these celebratory vacation posts, I should admit that yesterday it poured down rain all day. Not only that but it was our fourth consecutive day without sunshine. Even though one prepares for bad weather on vacation, after four days you've used up all of your bad weather day activities. We went to see a lighthouse. A museum was visited. Bills were paid. We've probably read more books in four days than Donald Trump has his entire life. So, last night...desperate for stimulation...we decided to have a lobster dinner, despite the fact that none of us have ever actually prepared a lobster before. This could have gone either way, but a risk worth taking. First, Ron drew the short straw and was forced to drive into town to pick up the lobsters...

We assigned our dinner guests names, George, Eunice, Ethel and Frank. They seemed less than thrilled to be here...

Apparently, crustacean lives don't matter. 

While these guys and gals were being introduced to the 350 degree delights of our lobster pot, the rest of us were busy with other things...

Pam whipped up some cheddar biscuits.

I grilled up some potatoes and corn on the cob.

My sister was busy comforting a clearly exasperated Lucy.

Now, it was time to check on our guests...

They had finally warmed to the place.

This morning the sun is back. Pam is already kayaking. Lucy is chomping at the bit to go down to the dock. Forecast?...75 and sunny.