Dear Universe...

Dear Universe,

Today I submitted the application for the job I would like for next year.  It was an online application... I have applied now for several positions... and the one today, feels like it would be a GREAT fit... it for me, me for it. It's a middle school within an hour of where I currently live... and the school has a lot of diversity. It has several challenges that I would love to be a part of...  I will be waiting for the phone call that will enable me to meet with them for an interview where the mutual fit will be confirmed... I appreciate your support in this...



It arrives...

I thought since I had been keeping myself busy this week... that the arrival of April 18th would not hit so hard as it may otherwise... and maybe watching the show Private Practice in which a boy lost his mother to cancer was not a good idea... but last night... as midnight approached... I was not sleepy.. I was anxious... and my mind started returning to three years ago... the day Mom died.

My dad said it well... three years......so fresh.....and so long... yup.  Given where things are in life... I feel lucky... Three years ago, when Mom died I watched my father's heart break.... into so many pieces I never thought it could be repaired... and while I cannot speak for him, I know Dad's heart still misses mom and even though he is happy, wishes it hadn't happened as it did... which of course does not in any way, take away from how wonderful Betty and Jacey are and how lucky we are to have them as part of our family....

Three years ago... on this day, Mom stopped communicating with us in any way... the morphine was keeping her comfortable... and Dad, Sis, and I were all with her... she died around 11:00 p.m.... the moment when our lives were changed forever...

I wish there were some amazing epiphanies that have happened since then, to make this all make sense... but there haven't been... I wish there was a way for us to feel less unsettled, less anger towards cancer... but there isn't.  As Mom used to say, "It is what it is...."

So on a day where I knew I would be feeling low key, I was scheduled for a dentist's appointment.  Joy. When I was in middle school my friend's brother used to treat us pretty badly.  If we were playing in her room he would set mousetraps outside the door to try to trick us to step on them... or throw them at us... and one day he threw rocks at us while we were outside... we were running away from him and I looked back to see where he was... just as I turned a rock shattered my front tooth... so... over the years I have had to have it rebuilt twice before now... And since I have been going back to the dentist I have been wanting to get it fixed again as it was cracked in the back... and causing some discoloration... In addition I had a tiny cavity in between two of my other front teeth.  So... this meant that that I needed novacaine in the front of my mouth... leaving me feeling like someone wearing one of those tiny cat masks that people sometimes wear on their noses... felt like my nose and upper lip was sticking out.  Part way through the process I started being able to feel things on my left side and so they gave me more novacaine... After the appointment I thought I could go to the gym and work out... I didn't realize how much I breathe during a workout... and my nose kind of felt like it does when I have a bad cold and one side of my nose is all stuffed up... I kept trying to sniff a bit to make it feel better but that nostril wasn't cooperating... and when I was trying to drink from my water bottle I misjudged my lips a couple times and hit myself in the teeth.. and decided I was done... I was not even halfway done with the new routine... oh well..

Tonight I am heading out of town to visit Meg.. she needs help painting her landlord's living room... while she is house-sitting for them... I am sure we will have some laughs in between brush strokes...

Three years... life is so different...


Spring in Maine

Ahhh... another amazing day in Maine!  Temps were once again in the 80s.  
Last night I had posted on facebook that I would be kayaking again today if anyone was interested.  Sheila, one of my coworkers, wanted to go, so we were going to meet close to my house, thinking if other coworkers wanted to go it was close to everyone... 
But, this morning Sheila texted.  She got a shift on the tolls and took it.  I would have done the same.  So that left me paddling solo.  Since I had recently done the river close to my house I decided to go elsewhere... and ended up at a state park.  It was a GREAT choice!  
I have only paddled here once before... last fall with a bunch of people... I figured it would be crowded, but was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't.  I only saw two boats on the water while I was out and a couple of others putting in when I was leaving.  

The river is interesting. There are so many downed trees and because it is a state park they leave them where they fall... there are a lot.  A few times today while paddling I got into some really cool places that were really shallow, REALLY shallow.  (I would bet that if I returned in a few weeks many of the places will be impassable because the plants will have grown so much that they will block off some of the offshoots.) 

The first thing I noticed when I got out of my truck was the birds singing.  It was beautiful! 

Here's one of the trees... 

Of course I was on the prowl for turtles!  This one was in the water and keeping his eye on me! 

This was a busy log!  

The color contrast between the blue sky, green evergreens, and grays from last fall/winter got my attention...

One of the places I got into went back into the woods quite far.  I managed to get in despite mere inches of water.  I got in here and saw this really vibrant emerald green algae in the water.  It was really pretty.  

More turtles...

This guy was not afraid of me.  He looked at me as if to say, Hey Lady, make sure you get my good side... 

Then struck a pose! 

I had seen several Canada geese and they were quite loud with all their honking. I was paddling around a corner, heard loud honking and saw these geese coming right at me.  I grabbed my camera in time for this shot, but with it would have been more clear!  

As I was paddling off to the right was this really narrow path that didn't look like it went anywhere... and I almost passed by it, but decided to go in.  As I went in and it began to widen I caught sight of this guy... blue heron.  I was very excited.  Last fall I got a great video of a blue heron, a young one, catching a fish... this guy was a lot bigger, A LOT bigger... and tried to get away from me... but I was determined... 

To follow him I literally had to go in water that was maybe three inches deep in a couple of spots... My kayak dragged iin one spot and I just did the kayak shimmy shake and got over it... and kept following him... wow was he big.  

And then I got this shot.. the wind came up a bit and blew his feathers... WOW.. I was soo excited.  It is the best picture I took all day!  Such a beautiful bird... After that he flew off and I couldn't follow him any longer... I am thankful for this!  

These geese kept getting in front of me... I think they wanted their picture taken! 

Mallard ducks... pretty common... but... loved that the green really stands out and look at the curly tail-feather!  

The Maine state flower: Pinecone! 

One of the trees that was laying in the water was mostly gray but I noticed this rust color and the grain of the wood.  I love the grain of the wood... it reminds me of my grandfather.  I remember as a kid walking through the path behind our houses to visit my grandparents.  Grampie would be in the basement working on something, usually with wood.  He loved staining things to see the grain of the wood come out.  

This is where I turned around... and headed back... cute little bridge.  

It's important to drink water and have snacks as you paddle... so... I packed some rhubarb!  Yummm... The best rhubarb ever was at my grandmother's house, Dad's mom... YUM.  I bought this at Whole Foods... it was good, but not like Grammie's... Mom Loved rhubarb too!  

One of the reasons I chose this spot was that I wanted to be a bit protected from the wind.  The forecast had said hot and windy... and yesterday's paddle on an open lake was a bit choppy.. and since I was going solo, decided staying in an area that had less wind would be great.  But above the trees, the birds were soaring on the wind, dancing in the air! 

Such a pretty day!

Before returning to the boat launch, I went to what is known as "The Sandbar."  The river opens up into Maine's largest lake, Sebago Lake.  It looks a bit like a desert with the sand, and the ocean with the openness... very cool spot.  

I got out of the kayak for a minute to stretch my legs... Here's my ride... I think of Mom so much while I am in her kayak, now my kayak... It means so much to me that dad let me take her kayak... 
This week has been better than I anticipated, a far as thinking about Mom.  One thing I have not done... at least yet... is go back to my blog entries from three years ago... which I did the last two years... which brought everything back, so vividly... More on that at some point I am sure... Tomorrow marks three years... 

But... in the midst of that... it is spring in Maine... and I have been trying for the last few years to get some good tulip pictures.  Tulips are my favorite flower... along with lilacs (which make me sneeze!).  Every year I seem to miss the ideal timing to catch the tulips in their glory... today I got lucky... mostly... 

Okay I know these aren't tulips, but they were blossoming on the street near the tulips...

Ta Da!!! 

Love love love love love the colors!  How bright!  The sun was shining through the petals.. like stained glass... 

Today has been wonderful.  
Enjoy each day.  
Each day.  


Me + 80 degrees = Kayaking... it's just simple math!

So this was my truck today... loaded to the brim with kayaks!  The two on top are mine, the other two, smaller two,  belong to a friend of mine.  I stopped at her house to pick them up because one of our coworkers who was joining us on the paddle was bringing her two kids and these were the perfect size for them.  I felt pretty sporty!  

In all, there were 7 of us that paddled today... 5 adults and two kids.  I was surprised at how well the kids did.  I figured they would get tired and return to camp well before the rest of us.  Here are some pics:

Of course... TURTLE! 

Did I say Turtle? I meant TURTLES!!! 

And a baby Snapping Turtle!  Never saw a baby snapper before today!

This is one of my work friends, Judy, who hosted us today, letting us hang out at and launch from her house. Doesn't she look stressed??

This was taken as we were going under a bridge... love that we are lined up... so fun! 

We saw these birds and one person yelled out, "LOONS!"  I was so excited... but they are not loons... they are Merganser Ducks! The one on the Right I believe is the female... I have seen her more with babies later in the season... and usually her feathers are up in the back... kind of like a mohawk... Very cool to see the pair together.  

Of course, for JILL... a shot from my kayak including my toes!  

What are those???   Ok.. perhaps after kayaking we each had a nice cold beverage!  

Two days of paddling in a row makes for a happy Me!  
I used some new sunscreen today and don't think I got any additional sunburns... but do think I got some color.  I stopped in to see Sara and Phil on my way home and they thought I looked tan.  I don't worry too much about being tan... I just worry about sunscreen!  

So far I am enjoying my vacation!  


I did it... I took a day off...

Hello!  Well... After 104 days of working out in a row... I did not work out on Friday, what would have been day 105.  Thursday I participated in our school's wellness day by being the staff person supervising Zumba... and so I shook my booty for three hours... and on Friday, my body felt like I had done something for 3 hours!  And I have to say I had some anxiety on Friday, for not working out... and to be candid, had the idea of getting a big ol' pizza for dinner that night... which shows me that my body and mind have an amazing connection... when I am active my mind wants healthy food, when I am not, my body wants junk... it's a dangerous slope for me... even after 104 days of being active and eating well... my old cravings came to the surface.. I worked yesterday and went to the gym afterwards.  It was my first attempt at my new training program, set up by the trainer at my gym.  She gave me 9 exercises to do... broken into three circuits...I am supposed to do each circuit 3 times... supposed to... I made it through the first circuit and was sweating like crazy... and really struggled to do one of them... By the time I moved onto the second circuit I was unsure of how I would do... one exercise in the second circuit involves me being in push-up position (not the girlie kneeling kind, unfortunately)  and am supposed to widen my feet to help provide some balance... then I put all my weight on my left hand and with my right arm pick up a 12 lb dumbell and pull it up in a rowing motion to my side 8 times... then switch hands... I was only able to do 4 on each side... so... in the second circuit I only was able to go through it twice... and only did 4 not 8 of those pushup row thingys... by then I was sweating even more... and moved into the third circuit... really feeling like I had been on cardio equipment for a long time... heart rate was up, etc... and only did one round of those exercises and again, modified one of them... The self defeating part of myself was pretty loud... feeling really unfit, fat, and thinking my 100 days of working out was for nothing... but then I stopped.. because I realized that I am more fit than I was 100 days ago... and doubt that 100 days ago I would have been able to do as much as I did on these exercises... truly.  And... I thought about really wanting a workout to help me tone up, goodness knows I need it... I asked for it... told the trainer I wanted to focus on my core and my arms... and that's what she created for me... And I realize that if I could do that routine already... what would the point be? There would be no room or improvement... so... I need to look at it in a way that I need to do it a little at a time, push myself and see the results!  I also did something as a result of that workout that I never thought I would do... I bought a yoga mat!  Doing the exercises on yoga mats that the gym has... is gross, they are well used and look dirty... so I am more comfortable having a mat that hundreds of other people have not sweat on... so I will take my mat... and also... will have it when I go to my next yoga class... Yup, that means I will be going again!  Oh.. and I think I have another fitness goal.. which is more about overcoming things... including fear... I am thinking for my NEXT birthday, not the one coming up.. but a year from now... I want to rock climb!  Not outside on a real cliff, but at the rock gym.  I want to do it because it scares me, and think it would be good for me to do it... AND also want to be fit enough to do something like that!

The other thing on my mind... which will not surprise many ... is my Mom.  Wednesday will mark three years since she died.  Time is such a funny thing... it sometimes seems like it has been forever and other times feels raw still... Yesterday I went to Target to pick up a few things... and somehow ended up walking in the purse/bag area... and then turned and there were hats, the wide brimmed summer hats ladies often wear.  I chuckled because I saw a hat that was like the one Mom wore the last summer she was able to kayak to keep the sun off her... due to the meds she was on, she was supposed to not be exposed to the sun... and she looked funny in the hat, funny in her special way.. I can vividly picture her wearing that hat grinning like a crazy lady with her front teeth showing over her bottom lip... It's nice to see things that make me smile when I think of her...

Today I went kayaking... it was a beautiful day.  I had posted on facebook that I was going to go and if anyone wanted to join me they could... one of my former track kids, who I coached from grade 6 through grade 12 asked to go... I have rules about 'friending' kids on facebook.  My rule is that they have to be 18 or have already graduated from high school, whichever comes second.  I thought about it for a second, wondering if it was a weird boundary crossing thing if we kayaked together... but... she is 20 years old... and I figured why not... I also knew, from kayaking with her Mom last summer, that she was going through some stuff at the time and thought it would be good for her to have someone to chat with if she needed it, if she was still battling some things... So we met up and she was very excited to be outside... we had lots of cool conversations... she's really fighting hard to figure out who she is versus what she thinks people and society expect her to be.... and as we were kayaking she asked me why kayaking is something I love so much... It made me pause... and think instantly of Mom... I explained to her how Mom was the first person in our family to kayak... and how kayaking was often time that Mom and I got together to talk, to be together... and shared so much... and I really still feel a connection to my Mom when I am kayaking... I see things that I know she would notice... and I shared a couple of stories about Mom and I kayaking... It was a cool question that she asked... and again, thinking about Mom made me smile.

It's still not easy to think about Mom being gone... missing her still so much... but... I love that I can see things that trigger happy memories...

Here are some pics I took today... I didn't take many, not sure why, wasn't in the mood to photograph...maybe  I was in the mood to chat more instead...

Seeing this turtle made me get my camera out... he was shy, jumped soon after the pic! 

There is light at the end of the tunnel!  Paddled further up the river today than I had done before and found this culvert... had to take a pic... 

My paddling partner... So fun!  I'm so proud of who she is... who she is becoming.. and that she is brave enough to be her!  

On our paddle back she spotted a tiny turtle... and I caught her... named her Matilda!  (Not sure if it is male or female, but... she was adorable!... and not happy to have been picked up!) 

When I put her back on her log she stayed inside her shell for a while... but she was fine.. eventually her head came out and peeked all around!  Cute!  

These next two pictures were taken a couple weeks ago, the night I did yoga.  I had to pull over to take pics because the moon was so pretty!  

For those Portland, Oregon, fans... THIS is the REAL Portland... Maine baby!  Moon over the East End... 

My Favorite Place

My Favorite Place