Category Archives: Celebrate

One More Celebratory Trip: Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Park

Last Friday, to cap our celebratory week, we went to Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Park, a rocky spike of land that juts into the ocean. (Maine has an astonishing 5,000 miles of coastline, even more than California. How does Maine accomplish this? By a multitude of peninsulas that cut in and out, in and out, from New Hampshire all the way to Canada.)

The lighthouse was commissioned in 1827 by John Quincy Adams, and it has become an iconic image of the Maine coast. The lighthouse and the keeper’s cottage have a simple, old-timey look, very pleasing to this Mainer who loves clean lines and simplicity.

And what is a lighthouse without views? (Look who photobombed the first picture.)

Maine has been called “The Country of the Pointed Firs,” and the above photos certainly illustrate this.

As we were wandering around, admiring the scenery and taking pictures, dark clouds swept in, providing a perfectly spooky backdrop for the lighthouse. (After all, Halloween is coming.)

Dee said, “We’d better have our tea and cookies before it rains.”

“Right,” I replied, and we found a bench big enough for the three of us.

Amazingly, like a scene from a fantasy novel, the clouds swept by, leaving blue sky and sunshine and time to take pictures of monarchs and asters. Alas, the little beauties wouldn’t pose with open wings, and this is the best that I got.

The bee on the rose was a little more obliging.

Now, it’s back to work and projects, which I must admit is a bit of a letdown. No more day trips to the ocean, no more stops for ice cream on the way home, no more late afternoon cocktails.

But what a grand week we had celebrating Clif’s 70th birthday.


Nifty Posts from Some of the Lovely Blogs I Follow:

From Touring my Backyard, Ju-Lyn revels in revisiting the Asian Civilizations Museum and discovering that the ice cream cart outside the museum has finally reopened.

From Thistles and Kiwis, pictures of mouthwatering food featuring something I’d never heard of—tamarillo.

Ever wondered how you could make a snappy sculpture out of a cultivator wheel, some red paint, and part of a log? Wonder no more. Judy, of New England Garden Thread, yet again illustrates that she has more creativity in her little finger than most people have in their whole bodies.

Anne, from Something over Tea, shares pictures of various roadblocks she encounters. Let’s just say that roadblocks in Maine are very boring in comparison.

In the northern hemisphere, it is harvest time for many folks, and at Going Batty in Wales it is picklefest time. Oh, yum!

From Lavinia Ross, of Salmon Brook Farm, a seasonal update of what is going on at her farm in Oregon. Beautiful writing and beautiful singing. What a lovely, lovely voice Lavinia has.



Clif’s 70th Birthday

Yesterday was the actual date of Clif’s birthday. As regular readers know, we are firm believers in celebrating birthdays early and often. We had his big party a week or so ago, but we couldn’t let the 27th go by without doing a little something.

So off to Hallowell we went, to grab appetizers from the local Chinese restaurant and settle by the river to enjoy them.

The day was cloudy but warm, perfect, actually, to be by the water.  In a flash, two hours went by as we ate, chatted, and watched the river, which caught bands of rippling blue from the sky.

We saw a number of cormorants swimming, fishing, and resting. Here is a picture of one flapping its wings.

We also saw gulls, but I wasn’t able to get a good picture as they were on the move.

Afterward, we came home and had drinks on the patio.

We all agreed it was a lovely way to celebrate a birthday.

Seventy Turns Around the Sun

My week off was quite the busy one. Much of it was spent in the bathroom…painting trim. Very fussy work, especially when a dark color—red—is being replaced by white. It has taken four coats to get everything to look the way it should. My goal was to finish the painting by the end of the week, and I almost made it. Just a bit of the trim left to go, and for that I must stand on the toilet to do a good job. (Some of the trim needed to be replaced. Painted and ready to go, it is down cellar and waiting for me to finish.)

We even bought a new cabinet and light, replacing the ones that had been there since the house was built in 1969. I wish I had thought to take a picture of the old cabinet and lights, but here is a picture of the new ones, with knick-knacks that illustrate how our minds naturally turn to fantasy.

We are certainly not ones to replace things willy-nilly.

My birthday was midweek, and my present to myself was to take the day off from painting. Nerdy woman that I am, I spent the afternoon reading on the couch. I might have had a few special treats, too.

The big event of the week was the celebration of Clif’s 70th birthday. (His actual birthday is September 27. Never fear. There will be more little celebrations to mark this milestone event.)

We had a brunch with food we seldom indulge in.

And a geeky birthday cake for a man who is still young at heart.

We Zoomed with our North Carolina kids, who had cupcakes to celebrate from afar.

We all chipped in to buy Clif a new television to replace our old, smaller one. We are film buffs, and it will be a treat to watch movies on a bigger screen. The sleek white cabinet, which replaces an old clunky one made for a deeper television, was my birthday present. (We will be getting white covers for the cords.)

Despite the pandemic, which prevented our North Carolina kids from joining us, it was a jolly celebration.

Happy birthday, Clif!

Drinks on the Patio

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, our daughter Dee is staying with us until she must return to her office. (No official date on that yet.) Having her here has been like a tonic for Clif and me, a real pick-me-up during this time of Covid.

This week, Dee is on vacation, and we have a week planned with simple pleasures, including a trip to the ocean, friends coming over for drinks and appetizers, and Thai take-out.

On Saturday, to kick-off Dee’s vacation, we had drinks on the patio

along with Clif’s legendary grilled bread.

Little Miss Watson joined us for drinks,

as did Chip. (Or was this Dale? We have a hard time telling them apart.)

We also had this jumper come to the table.

A note about Little Miss: She is an old cat whose instinct for hunting is weak.  Basically, she is an indoor cat and usually only goes out with us and then comes back in when we do. The chipmunks do not fear Little Miss, and they run around freely when she is out. Little Miss watches the chipmunks as they scamper, and I get the impression that she doesn’t think it’s worth her while to chase them.

Anyway…as we are on vacation with Dee, posts will be short and filled with pictures. Next Monday, I’ll return to sharing posts from blogging friends.


Happy Earth Day 2021

Today, as you all know, is Earth Day. In our household, in addition to celebrating this beautiful planet we live on, we also celebrate the birthday of our beautiful daughter Shannon. Because she and her husband live in North Carolina, we will actually be celebrating, via Zoom, on Saturday. But today is the anniversary of the day she was born forty-two years ago. Happy, happy, happy, Earth Day girl!

This year, to honor Earth Day, here are some pictures of small things taken in my very own yard. Now, I love grand vistas as much as the next person does, but there is a special place in my heart for the small things in the world—creatures that hop, creep, or fly as well as tiny plants that often go unnoticed as we hurry from task to task.

They have their own quiet beauty if we but take the time to look.

Happy Earth Day to you all!

Friday Favorites: A Forty-Fourth Anniversary, See’s Chocolates, and Jon Batiste

Today is our forty-fourth wedding anniversary.  Hoo-boy! As I like to note, those who get married in Maine in March are apt to be hardy couples who can weather most anything. And so it is with Clif and me.

Because of the pandemic, there will be no going anywhere special. No matter. We bought plenty of tasty treats, including shrimp—the highest on the food chain that we’ll eat—good bread, real butter—oh, wowsah!—and a small chocolate cake. Holy cats! I can’t remember the last time I had chocolate cake.

We also bought some Sees chocolates and nuts, which will last us for a long while.

As we got married in March in Maine, you might think that we went somewhere warm for our honeymoon, but you would be wrong. Instead, we went to Montréal, where the snowbanks were as high as they were in Maine, and the snowplows traveled at a clip that was terrifying.

But what a wonderful trip it was, and yesterday Clif and I had a lovely time reminiscing about that gray European-like city. We ate tourtière pie, went to small cafés and pastry shops, visited a museum with a fabulous King Tut exhibit, stayed in a delightful hotel that could have been in the middle of Paris, and laughed at a smartly dressed woman who swore in French when a car splashed her at an intersection.

In those days, we traveled with the help of AAA, with little bound paper strips of maps called TripTiks. Readers, they were awesome and really made traveling easier. We found our delightful hotel through AAA. I think we just stumbled on the cafés, but that was forty-four years ago, and we might have used AAA for guidance with that, too.

Anyway, despite the passage of time, it made us both smile to talk and think about going to Montréal.

This week, for music in honor of our anniversary, I am turning to the buoyant Jon Batiste and his “I Need You.”


Here are some simple pleasures and favorites from blogging friends.

From Piglet in Portugal, a jar of smiles.

Ju-Lyn, of Touring my Backyard, got warmth from a snowy scene. (Someone from Maine just might have sent her a card.)

Thistles and Kiwis shared the many wonderful things popping up in Wellington.

Dawn, from Change is Hard, featured a picture of one of the loveliest harbingers of spring in the northern United States, the red-winged blackbird.


Friday Favorites: Scenes from an Inauguration

Wednesday was a huge day for Clif and me, for this country, and, I think, for the world. Despite the assault on the Capitol two weeks ago, we had a lawful transfer of power. Joseph Biden is now the president of the United States.

Finally, finally, Trump, his family, and their entourage left Washington, DC. I could write all kinds of snarky things about his departure, but I won’t.

Instead, I will focus on President Biden’s inauguration ceremony. Despite the restrictions that were put into place because of the raging pandemic and enough security after 1/6 to make the Capitol look like the Green Zone in Baghdad, the inauguration was a joyous, beautiful event filled with firm resolve and hope.

Here are some scenes, clipped from YouTube, that I was particularly struck by.

First, Lady Gaga, who sang “The Star-Spangled Banner,” our national anthem. As the comedian Stephen Colbert noted, Lady Gaga looked as though she were wearing a red carpet instead of walking on one. Yes, she did. Lady Gaga is someone who certainly likes to make an entrance. But holy cats can she ever sing. “The Star-Spangled Banner” is not a song for the fainthearted, and Lady Gaga didn’t stumble even once. Indeed, she knocked it out of the park, as the saying goes.

Wednesday was also a day of firsts as Kamala Harris—the first woman, Black, and South Asian—was sworn in as vice president. Even though it has taken too long to have a woman as vice president, this was a proud moment for this country. I hope I live long enough to see a woman sworn in as president.

Then, of course, the main event—Joe Bidden and his uplifting yet honest, plain-spoken words as his speech outlined the many challenges this country faces. And his confidence that this country was up to overcoming those challenges.

The most beautiful, luminous part of the inauguration was when a young poet, Amanda Gorman, delivered her radiant poem, “The Hill We Climb.” When she was done, I wanted to stand up and cheer.

For comic relief, there was Vermont’s Senator Bernie Sanders, one of my favorites, complete with mittens and a practical jacket. Bernie is never anything less than who he is, and for this I am grateful.

Finally Demi Lovato’s soaring song “Lovely Day” from the Celebrating America broadcast, an evening program which followed President Biden’s inauguration.

In the background, as Lovato sings, are faces that are black, brown, white. There are women, men, and children of various ethnicities. This is what America looks like, and we should rejoice.

The Holiday Week in Six Pictures

The 2020 holiday week was one of the strangest (and loneliest) we have ever had. Here is what our living room looked like the day before Christmas, when we Zoomed with our kids and opened presents.

A wind storm and power outages—which have unfortunately become the norm in Maine—were predicted for Christmas Day, and we decided to play it safe by celebrating the day before.

We made the occasion as festive as possible with drinks and special snacks. But, as I’m sure you all know, there is no substitution for having those you love actually with you. Zoom was certainly better than nothing, but we sure did miss our family.

On the bright side, along with many other lovely presents from family and friends, I received a stack of books as well as chocolates and snappy bookmarks. Woo-hoo! Few things fill my heart with more pleasure than having new books to read and chocolate to nibble on. Readers of my Great Library Series will perhaps get the “man who doesn’t smile” reference on one of the bookmarks. Beware, indeed!

On Christmas Day, the rain bucketed down. Fortunately, the wind wasn’t as bad as forecasted, and we didn’t lose our power.

We watched Pixar’s new movie Soul, available on Disney+. Such a deep, beautiful film about a middle-aged musician who has had a disappointing life and must come to terms with this. Not for young children, but it will certainly ring true for many adults, and it moved me to tears more than once. My favorite movie of the year, and I highly recommend it.

All that rain melted the snow, and out came the patio chairs for hardy friends who don’t mind visiting when the weather is a little on the brisk side. Actually, more than a little brisk, and I certainly understand why this kind of visit isn’t for everyone.

On the second day of the New Year, snow came. The chairs, along with the and blankets and little tables, were tucked down cellar.

Will we bring them out again? I expect we will. Several of our friends have indicated they would be up for a driveway visit if there is too much snow on the patio. With my creaky knees, standing in one place is not a good thing, and even though the weather might be chilly, sitting is a better way for me to visit.

The pandemic has been terrible, but it has taught us how to be creative and patient. Nevertheless, I certainly hope that the vaccine is widespread enough so that the 2021 holiday season isn’t as lonely.



Onward, Ho, to 2021!

Phew, what a year it has been! I remember thinking last January 1 that 2020 might be a year for clarity. It certainly was but not in a way that I expected. Not in a way that any of us expected, I think.

Yesterday, on the last day of 2020, Clif and I took a walk to the Narrows. The day was gray, but the Narrows were soothing and peaceful in the way that inland water usually is. It does my spirit good to look upon water, and one of my 2021 goals is to walk regularly to the Narrows, only about a quarter of a mile away from our home.

I am feeling refreshed from my break, and on Monday I will be back to to my regular blogging schedule of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I also will be back to reading all the wonderful posts from my blogging friends from around the world. Finally, I’ll begin working on Book Four of the Great Library series as well as a podcast that features a spin-off story.

Busy times ahead, but it feels good to be back in the saddle again, so to speak. I am someone who needs creative projects to work on, and without them my life just doesn’t have any fizz.

A very happy New Year to you all! Onward, ho, to 2021. Let us hope that it is a better year than 2020.