Sun, Sun, Sun, Here It Comes

Let’s just say that I’ve been busy. On Wednesday, I took a tumble from my bike, and while I got some lumps—one as big as a large orange—I didn’t break anything or get hit by the oncoming car that stopped for me. For that I am grateful. Very grateful.

Then, on Thursday, with sore legs, it was off to Railroad Square Cinema for a meeting and a movie to screen. Clif and I belong to the Cinema Explorations committee, and for the next month so we’ll be meeting regularly to discuss, watch, and select movies that will be featured at the snappy little film series—Cinema Explorations—which has been showing for at least ten years. So much fun to be a part of this group, and, if I do say so myself, we put together a wicked good film series.

All this is a somewhat lengthy explanation as to why I didn’t post my usual Three Things Thursday yesterday. But never fear. Barring another tumble from my bike, I plan to continue next week.

So, instead, today, I present you with a sunny flower for Friday. This beauty was taken in the little garden at Railroad Square. It might be October, but there are still some flowers in bloom. No really hard frosts yet, at least in central Maine.

And today, I’m off with my friend Dawna to Damariscotta to get some pictures along its pumpkin trail, an annual fall event for this little town and one that I’ve never been to.

I’ll report back with pictures.



The Solace of the Seasons

Yesterday, the calendar flipped from September to October, and I could not have imagined a more perfect fall day. The night before, the temperature dipped to a little below 50°F, and during the day it rose to 65°F with nary a hint of humidity.

A perfect day for a bike ride by Maranacook Lake. The cloudless azure sky was a sight to behold, and the water—I know.  I see it everywhere—was Maya blue. Best of all, there were no snakes on the road, very common in Maine in the fall. I suppose the warmth attracts them.

Oh, for three or four more months of these perfect days. For the farmers and the nursery garden owners, rain at night, between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. until there is enough water to satisfy those who grow things. Then warm, sunny days for those of us who like to bike, walk, and sit on the patio. I realize that’s asking for a lot, but if I were in charge, that’s how the weather would be.

Right now, the leaves have just a hit of color, and there is still a lot of green.

Apples have begun to ripen, and I bought a small bag of Cortlands, crisp and tart, at the grocery store. My plan is to go to Lakeside Orchard and by a big bag of the beauties. That way, when I invite friends over for coffee and tea, I can serve warm, fragrant baked apples with just a touch of vanilla ice cream on top.

I’m always sorry to see the end of summer—the profusion of flowers, the nights on the patio, the warm weather for bike riding. But the apples, the blue of the sky, and the asters remind me that fall brings its own pleasures.

At night, the crickets are still singing and should continue until the cold silences them.  However the hummingbirds—those feisty yet ethereal creatures—are gone, and yesterday I took in their feeders and gave them a good scrubbing. Out the feeders will come next spring, when the cycle begins again. a cycle that is old but is never stale, always a delight, always renewing.

With all that is going on in our country, in the world, this cycle brings me great comfort.

This photo is for you, Quercus



Three Things Thursday: Cooler Weather, Fruit Infusion Pitcher, Clif at 66

My weekly exercise in gratitude, or as some of my blogging friends put it, three things that made me smile this week.

First, the weather. All right, compared with what the poor folks in the Caribbean have had to endure, the weather in Maine is nothing to complain about. However…traditionally in Maine, September has been a crisp month of warm days and brisk nights and low humidity. All that seems to be changing, and I have semi-jokingly began referring to  September in Maine as the “new August.”

This week, with its high heat—over 90 degrees on some days—and high humidity, it has certainly felt like August. Actually, make that the end of July. But last night, the wind came, blowing away the humidity and bringing down the heat. It is still a little warm for the end of September, but it is lovely rather than too hot. Inf fact, the temperature has gone down so much that I might have to shut the windows tonight.

Second, a totally awesome fruit infusion pitcher that I found for half price at our local supermarket. As a rule, Clif and and I are very careful about stuff—new or second hand—that we bring into the house. We are mindful of the energy required to make new stuff, and our tolerance for clutter seems to be dropping precipitously as we age. However, yesterday when I saw this fruit infusion pitcher in the discount bin, I barely hesitated before snapping it up. Our daughter Dee has been singing the praises of her infusion pitcher, and I am a huge fan of all things fruit or berries.

Therefore, it was with great anticipation that we filled the center section with raspberries and lemons, and readers, I was not in the least disappointed.  The resulting flavored water is utterly delicious, has no calories, and no artificial sweeteners. Quick as a wink, I drank two glasses of this lovely  water, and if it hadn’t been so close to bedtime, I would have had another glass. The infusion mixture can be used for a couple of days, and that is what I call a lot of bang for a berry and citrus buck.

Finally and perhaps best of all, Clif at 66. To celebrate his birthday, we went on a thirteen-mile bike ride on the rail trail in Augusta, and even though it was hot, we utterly enjoyed ourselves. I am so grateful to have a husband, who at sixty-six, has the energy and the enthusiasm to go on longish bike rides when it’s 85°. Bike on, Dude! Bike on.

A Great Time at the Great Falls Comic Expo (2017)

Last Saturday, right on the heels of all the birthday brouhaha, Clif and I had a table at the first ever Great Falls Comic Expo in Lewiston, Maine. Tired from all the festivities of the past two weeks, we weren’t sure what to expect at the Expo, but I am happy to report we had a great time. While the focus was on comic books and costumes, there was plenty of room for fantasy and horror and other overlapping genres.

First and very important, we sold enough books—Maya and the Book of Everything and The Wave of Time–to make the day worthwhile. This is always a very good thing. (How depressing to go to an event and barely make the table fee. Alas, this has happened to us a few times.)

Second, the other vendors were so friendly and wonderfully generous. They gave me tips about the many other comic book conventions in Maine. (I had no idea there were so many.) It didn’t take me long to realize I was among a group of kindred spirits who had a passion for fantasy and folderol.

Third, it was just plain to fun see all the people in various costumes—Ghost Busters, many Doctor Whos, and lots of other wild and creative characters. There were various events to spice up the Expo, including a drawing smack-down where two artists on stage had to quickly draw a scenario suggested by members of the audience.  One particularly good rendition—I think it was of a dragon being analyzed by the Cat in the Hat—was immediately sold to someone in the audience.

Many thanks to Benjamin Santos of Cosplay Convention Center for organizing such a terrfic event. Thanks to Benjamin, Clif and I will be attending more comic book conventions.

More Birthday Folderol

What a two weeks I had of birthday preparations and folderol. They whipped by in a happy blur, first with my daughter Shannon and then with my daughter Dee. Their stay here overlapped long enough for all of us to go to Riverside Farm Restaurant for a birthday brunch on the lovely deck overlooking fields and a stream.

The best present, of course, was having my daughters here. Shannon lives in North Carolina, and we only see her twice a year. Dee lives closer, in New York City, but even so we don’t see her as often as we would like. This means when they are here, I focus pretty much exclusively on them, and I cherish the time I have with my daughters.

Normally, our birthdays are simple and low key, but as this was a 40th and a 60th, the celebrations and gifts were a little more elaborate. One of the sweetest gifts I received and have ever received was this necklace from both Dee and Shannon: A little bird “nest” with two fresh water pearls, symbolizing my two girls.

Here is a closer look.

Among other things, they also gave me a Maya-blue water feature that is solar powered. Right now, it’s on the patio, but next summer it will go directly in the garden. The water pouring from bowl to bowl makes a lovely, relaxing sound.

Going along with the gardening theme, my husband Clif gave me these snappy clogs. However, they are far too pretty for me to wear in the garden. At least not yet. Instead, I will wear them out and about on damp autumn and spring days. I have a scuffed pair of garden clogs for mucking around, and when these are scuffed, they will be worn in the garden.

For Dee, we decided to do something both fun and foolish—forty presents in honor of her forty years.  Numbered, so that she would open them in the proper order. Let’s just say there was a flurry of getting ready for this present extravaganza, and we all agreed that forty was as high as we would want to go with this idea.

Dee lives in a small apartment, and we made sure to mostly give her presents she could eat, drink, wear, or experience. Naturally, we had to indulge in a few punny gifts—four boxes of tea, four T-shirts, forty rocks in a vase. (Shannon came up with that last one, and I love it.) We all had some good laughs as Dee unwrapped her forty presents.

So now the celebrations are over, and Dee and Shannon are back in New York and North Carolina. I don’t mind saying it’s been a bit of a let down as Clif and I settle back into our routine of biking, working on our various projects, and taking care of the house.

Well, birthday celebrations can’t last forever, and what a good time we had. Happy memories for both Dee and me as we go forth into our respective decades.

One more thing to note: We also celebrated Clif’s 66th birthday, but it was definitely eclipsed by Dee’s and my birthday. However, please don’t fret for Clif. When he turned 60, we threw a big party for him,  which he thoroughly enjoyed.


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