Family Weekend!

This weekend was BEAUTIFUL!  The weather was amazing and no.. I did not get out in my kayak... BUT... I had a great weekend anyway... I got to spend time with my family and am feeling pretty lucky.  
Friday, when I got home from work, Jacey was also arriving at my place... picking up her laundry.  As it worked out we ended up going out to dinner with my friend Suellen.  we tried a new place and it was delicious.  It was nice to be out, but I had kind of hoped for a quiet evening as I waited for Sis and her boyfriend to arrive... (Yes I said boyfriend!)  Despite wanting a quiet evening (to prepare for a busy weekend) dinner out was a lot of fun.  A good reminder to get out and about.  After dinner I got home and had intended to make a cake for dinner with the family on Saturday, but  Sis and her boyfriend arrived and we walked to my local watering hole and had a couple of drinks.  It was nice to see Sis with Chris... he is a nice guy, with a great sense of humor.  I can see him helping me torture Sis, so he gets points in my book.  I love seeing my sister laugh and be silly... and be herself... and am glad that she has found a man to spend time with who seems to appreciate it.  
When we got back I baked the cake.. and then went to bed... 
Saturday morning, although I was told that Chris was an early bird... I was up a couple hours ahead of everyone else... and had time to decorate the cake... The cake... was for Betty... without going into too many details, there are big changes happening in her school district and there is reason to celebrate!  I had joked with my secretary, who loves making cakes, that I wanted to do a 'the witch is dead' kind of cake...and when I got to school Friday, she had made some fondant decorations and letters for me.  She is awesome! Here is the final product: 

(Betty loved it by the way!)   

After a while we got some seafood for lunch... lobsters and mussels... (I had steak tips as I do not care for either lobster or mussels!)  When the mussels were ready the rest of the clan began munching on them... and for some reason standing around the table instead of sitting.. not sure why that happened... I wanted to take a picture of the crew around the table and it turned into this humorous scene... In the first shot, Dad had a mussel in his hand, blocking Betty.  And I said something like, "Dad, your mussel is blocking Betty..." and then... 

He smiled and blocked Betty with his muscle!  I LOVE this picture... love the joy that is on everyone's faces.. even Betty's... I know we can't see her, but she was laughing too... 
I just love the JOY in that picture.  

When Dad went back for more food I took a shot of Betty.  

I wanted to include this one, because it shows Betty really smiling.  

After lunch, it was so beautiful, we took a field trip to the ocean.  It was nice and warm and the tide was coming in and made for some beautiful waves.  

And of course there were photo opportunities!  

Dad had been here once before.. but nobody else in the crew had been, besides me.  Mom, Dad, and I came here once to enjoy the ocean and were asked to leave due to an incoming thunderstorm.  

Betty and Jacey wanted a picture together and it made me smile.  So glad to see another Mother Daughter relationship that is so strong.  Of course it makes me think of Mom too... but think she would be happy, seeing us all together like this... 

My Dad!!!  

Love this picture!  One of my favorites I have taken of crashing waves... the wave looks like a serpent or something to me... 

Aren't they cute?

These guys are cute too... (Notice the perfect timing to get the wave crashing in tha background, between them.Yes, I am good!) 

Jacey is so cute!  

I also love this wave picture because you can see the greens and blues in the water.  I love living in Maine.  

After Betty and Jacey had their pic taken we decided we needed a pic too... 

This was a picture of Jacey being her fabulous self!  

I like this next picture... Sis looks like she is laughing while about to slap her knee... perhaps she was cracking herself up... something Mom did.  It was nice to have another reminder of Mom while we were all together.  

Like this picture... 
We also needed a sister shot... this one cracks me up because Sis and I are looking down at Jacey... who is probably defending her stature... I also love the scenery! 

They both were saying something about being made to look short... so... I decided to help them out... 

And knelt on the rocks... Sis looks like she is enjoying this way too much! 

We were walking around and as Dad and Betty came towards us we were all taking pictures... and they stopped and we told them they looked cute walking and they stood in one spot while Betty proceeded to pretend to be still walking!  

This picture also makes me smile.  Look at the silly!  

On our way back to my place I drove everyone by my school so they coul see where I work.  It was nice to share that with them.  
Not long after we got back form the shore Sis and Chris left to head to one of Sis's favorite spots and the rest of us hung out... Dad, helped me out by doing one of my 'boy jobs' ... putting some hooks up so I can try to hang my kayaks on my deck... Thanks Dad! 

The cats seemed to enjoy company again this weekend... Stella was quite content to soak up some sun!  

Today we got up and met Jacey at a road race.. well, actually a mud race.  A 2.5 mile course filled with obstacles and mud... She did a great job.  It was fun to watch her!  

We decided to watch the race at the mud pit... which was quite entertaining! 

One guy kind of swam through this once he had fallen!  

She did a great job and didn't get too muddy!  

Ironically the race was based at the school where I used to work.  And these three guys are former coworkers who were running in the race.  Miss them!  (Don't miss the job!)

After the race Dad, Betty, Jacey and I went to lunch and I got home about 2:00... I really contemplated kayaking because it was so nice, but... have had a project I want to complete... and decided to work on that instead.. pics of that to come later.  (Something in a color Aunt Donna will LOVE!)  

I have to say it is so nice to have Spring here, for real!  Flowers are blooming and the temps are climbing!  I hope to get out on the water next weekend, if mother nature cooperates!  



Sometimes you go out to eat and after a great meal you peruse the dessert menu and something tempts your taste buds... you order something that you expect to be decadent and delicious... but when you get it, you are disappointed because it doesn't taste exactly like you expected it to...it's good, but not great...  I was wondering if meeting a Friend in person, someone who I have only known 'electronically', would be one of those situations... wondered if it would be good, but not great... I am happy to report that my visit with Michael was not like that at all... our visit was great... perhaps exceeded any expectations I may have had... and truth be told... I was sad to see him leave today.

For those who may not know much about Michael... I will give you a quick synopsis, as it relates to our friendship... Michael was diagnosed with PVNS when he was really young, 14.  At that time his options for surgery would have put him in a cast for a year and he refused to do it... he has lived his life with pvns with times of flare ups and other times where it has been tolerable... about two and a half years ago he began doing some research on pvns to once again look at his options and he came across my blog... and he reached out to me... he introduced himself, shared some of his story and eventually we were exchanging emails not only about pvns, but about our lives, what had happened, what was happening, and got to know a lot about each other.  He is one of my most loyal blog buddies...right up there with Jill and my family members... somewhere along the line he went from being my friend to being my Friend... (in high school one of my English teachers talked to us about how we had friends and Friends...with the uppercase version being those people who you are closest to, share the most with, depend upon the most and who are dependent upon you the most...)  Eventually we started texting and it has been rare for us to go a day without having some kind of contact.  He has become part of my life, a part of my life for which I am grateful.  Michael lives in the 'other' Portland... Oregon, with his wife and their cat.  

Michael and I have been talking for a while about meeting in person.  Wanting to get to know each other better and be able to have face to face conversations.  I was thrilled when he proposed the idea of coming to visit during part of my school vacation. I am grateful for his initiation and follow through and his friendship.  When I have talked to other people in my life about Michael I have gotten mixed reactions... some people think it's amazing that the commonality of a rare medical diagnosis brought us together and that we have built a friendship... some have questioned it, wondering why I would want to meet a man who lives on the other side of the country... and some have questioned the motives involved... those doubts, I believe, come from a place of concern... my friends want me to be safe... in their minds someone I have never met is seen as a stranger... which for me, could not be further from the truth... in my life I have had many Friendships with males... one of my best friends from high school was Todd, and when he got married I stood up with him as his best person..... and I really love having Michael,  a male in my life, who is one of my best Friends... Before I say too much more I want to take a minute to give a bit of gratitude to Michael's wife.  Jane, I am very glad to have Michael as my Friend. Thank you. I would love for you to accompany Michael on a trip here.  It will be nice to meet you in person one day and hope that you one day accept the open invitation to come visit.

Ok... the visit... Michael was supposed to be on a flight that arrived here around 5 pm on Thursday.  However, he missed his connecting flight in Chicago due to the flooding that had gone on there which had caused delays and congested air traffic... Luckily he was able to get on another flight and arrived here at 11:30pm or so... (While he was grounded in Chicago we had tried to see if going to Boston would have made more sense, but as it worked out, the events that were happening in Boston, coming to Portland was the best decision...I will probably have a separate post about Boston....)  It was great to 'meet' in person.  Given the pictures we have exchanged we knew we would easily spot one another.. (also helped that we were two of the tallest people there)... We chatted for a while and then hit the hay. Friday we got up and hit a local spot for breakfast and they went kayaking.  I wanted to show him some of the Maine attractions here and decided kayaking in a river that connected to Maine's biggest lake would be nice..It was a bit overcast, but still a nice day to be on the water.

Michael, like me, loves the water.  He is more used to exploring the water while in a sail boat, but managed to do well in the kayak.  We paddled for a while and got to do a lot of talking...it was nice to be able to chat in person about the things we have emailed and texted about.  It makes it easier to understand... I appreciate so much about Michael, that he is honest... he answers questions openly and honestly... It was really nice to talk... I was a bit disappointed in the scenery... things have yet to start blooming, so Michael didn't get to see Maine's true beauty... at least on this adventure... 

After paddling for a while, in the river, where it was pretty calm we returned to the launching point which was close to the lake.  The wind had picked up and the water out on the lake, away from where we were paddling, were crashing and it was pretty loud... we spotted this eagle, well Michael saw it first... He didn't stay around too long... 

I didn't get a chance to get too close to this guy, but do kind of like this picture.  

After kayaking we picked up some groceries, drove around a bit, went to Portland head Light (Lighthouse), drove by my school,  and then headed to one of my favorite local watering holes... for drinks and dinner.  We  then played a couple of games of scrabble... we played two different ways... his way, the traditional way... and my way... where the bonus squares, double word, triple letter, etc., stay active... the games were close... but I came out on top.  (oh yeah!) 

Saturday started with Michael cooking french toast.  It was really nice to have someone cook for me.... I am not used to that... we then headed into town and walked around, giving Michael a taste of the real Portland.  We stopped by Maine Mead Works for a tasting... a wine made with honey instead of grapes... we drove around a bit and I pointed out places that have been on the blog, like the place I went snowshoeing.  We then went to a restaurant on the coast for lunch.  It is a place I love to go, love to watch the waves... 

It was nice to be able to show this part of the coast to Michael, and it was also nice for me to be there, a good reminder of how lucky I am to live so close to this beautiful spot and need to go there more often.  We 
then headed to the beach. The forecast had predicted rain, but we got lucky.    It was windy and the water was filled with a lot of plant stuff... so the beach was not as pristine as I had hoped, but it was still nice... again to show Michael the places that I have posted about... 

One of the things that Michael and I have chatted about over the years is my frustration with having to do what I consider 'boy jobs' myself... (boy jobs, as I classify them,  are things like... hanging shelves, taking out the trash, assembling things, vehicle maintenance, etc... basically jobs that I don't enjoy, that if I had a man in my life, I would ask him to do...)  he had told me that if there were any boy jobs I wanted him to do while he was here he would be happy to help... I took him up on his offer... and had him help me move a shelf from one of my friend's houses to mine... it was nice to have help with some heavy lifting.  Then, he assembled a bookcase for me... that I got for my guest room... (A man who reads directions!!!)  
Yes, blog readers, I am capable of building my own bookcases... and have done so... but it is nice to have help... as independent as I am... I really like having some help... it felt good to have him do something for me to help me out.  Thanks!!  While he was building I was online figuring out where to go for dinner.  Once the shelf was complete and a decision about dinner had been made, we opened up a bottle of mead and once again played scrabble... We decided to take a cab into town to have dinner followed by drinks at one of my other favorite watering holes... we came back to my place and stayed up talking for a while...the content of our conversations were important to me... and the way in which we can talk is something I cherish.  
This morning once again I was treated to breakfast.  We then headed to LLBean...  The iconic LLBean boot , in this picture, is kicking Michael's ass... (kind of like what I did to him when it came to scrabble!!!! Bing!! I mean Zing!!!)  
Michael enjoyed Freeport... he and his wife love shopping and this is the place to come for that.. Michael took some pictures of the many outlets to share with Jane... maybe to entice her to come to visit!   

After leaving the retail region, we headed to the coast, with the intention of getting some lunch... but the restaurant at the pier we went to doesn't open for another week... but the views were fantastic!  

The options available for sailing are exciting for Michael.  It would be fun to sail around the area.  I have not had the chance to explore this area from the water, other than taking my nephews on the lobstering boat... and would love to see more of it.  Since the waterfront place was closed we headed back into town and went to a local diner... where we debated the proper pronunciation of scallops... skal-ups vs. scollips... the taller of us was right!  (me!)  We then played one final game of scrabble... oh, and a game of pass the pigs... and I tried to steal a pair of his shoes... he has this great pair of shoes... Polo boat shoes... that happened to fit me... quite well... but my theft attempt was foiled... 

I was sad when the time came to take Michael to the airport.  It's hard to say good bye to a Friend when you do not know when you will next get to see each other.  But.... I am so grateful he was here... 
I have so much more to write...about our visit, about music, about our friendship... but it is getting late, and my vacation is ending... I am glad I got the chance to post some of our adventures... in the meantime... 

Michael, Thank you... for coming to visit... for making me smile and laugh... but most of all, for your Friendship... I am so glad we have had our first face to face meeting and I am excited to plan the next visit.  

My Favorite Place

My Favorite Place