The Boys...

I am enjoying time with my nephews... they have grown so much.. not just physically, but they are maturing... well... to a point.. they are after all three boys, ages 9, 11, and 13!  Yesterday they were troopers... we went on an all day adventure on our way to see Dad and Betty and there were a few tense moments, but overall they did great! 

We left my place around 9:00 and stopped along the way to find rain ponchos.. because despite my pleading with mother nature, she decided the day would be rainy...After being in the truck for a couple of hours,  our first stop was a surprise to the boys. We went to Hope, Maine to meet Rosie and Opal at Hope Elephants.  Rosie and Opal are two Asian elephants who  have retired to Maine from the circus.  It is a neat place.  I loved it...

After visiting the elephants we stopped in Rockport... where there is a statue of Andre the Seal.  Andre, for those who are not native to Maine and who may not have read the books or seen the movie about him, was a harbor seal.  In the 1970s it was legal for people to capture seal pups and one man captured Andre and as Andre became part of this man's family he learned some tricks and every summer would perform in harbor for people to see.  I remember going to see Andre as a child and since the boys were born they have heard about Andre and have read the picture books numerous times.  It was cool for them to see the statue... in the pouring rain!  But... it was still fun!  There was something, I must say..about this place... the boys had hit a moment of grumpy prior to visiting Andre...and despite the rain, the whole mood/energy shifted here... for the positive.  It was neat. 

Mother nature, while spending the majority of her day raining, decided to give us a reprieve at our next stop.  We went to Fort Knox in Prospect.  There is an observation tower there that is taller than the statue of liberty and shorter than the Washington Monument... so pretty high.. and for this chick, afraid of heights, was a bit of a challenge.  But... Davin held my hand and we made it to the top.  It was beautiful... made my stomach churn a bit, but beautiful. 
Look how little my truck looked!!  EEK!

From there it was time to explore the Fort... The boys were excited... Wednesday night we watched the Ghost Hunters Episode (Season 7, episode 7) of Fort Knox.  Jack had taken notes during the episode to help us search for ghosts... we did not get any hits but we had fun.  I think my favorite part was Ben being scared in the fort as we explored... he is so grown up, but still so young... Love that kid! 
This was taken with a flash, but other than that we had no light source... Jack was trying to get the ghosts to turn on the flashlight that is on the ground...
Jack IN the cannon!

After the fort we stopped at the cemetery in Busckport to see Colonel Buck's gravestone... legend says that Colonel Buck ordered a woman to be burned at the stake after being accused of witchcraft... and as she was burning she told him she would curse him forever... this 'foot' appeared on his gravestone years after his death.  Local legend claims it had been replaced several times and the foot keeps reappearing... there was a plaque here that said the stone has not been replaced.. but... the boys and I believe that's part of the cover up! 
Today it was nice to wake up at the lake... we all slept in and as soon as they woke up they all headed for the lake, even Ben!  We swam and kayaked and swam... and had a great dinner... followed by an INTENSE game of canasta.. Davin and I lost to Ben and Jack... Booooo!!! 
I love seeing the boys here... and sharing so much of Maine with them.  Maybe its the educator in me, but I am happy they get to see and experience so much of the state where their family has spent so much time. 
On a side note... today Dad and I went grocery shopping to prepare for the next several days... and in the store we ran into a woman who was close friends with Mom.  She used to paint with mom and they would go to craft fairs together.  She is a highly religious person... even giving up her job because she refuses to authorize a marriage license for same sex couples... her question to me in the grocery store was if I have found anyone special yet... I told her I know lots of special people.  She smiled, and told me I knew what she meant... and pried a bit about my dating life.  I told her that I was quite happy as a single person, and her response was... that she will pray for me.  Pray for me? Because I am single? This makes me shake my head.. for oh so many reasons... first... as if being single is an illness or something that needs curing... that she feels that she needs to pray for me because something is wrong... I understand people wanting other people to be happy... but defining one person's happiness by how you define your own is narrow minded.  If you are going to pray, I ask you to pray for things that warrant prayers... there are so many more worthy causes... (Given my most recent dating experience... well... maybe I will pray to stay single!) 
At that point Dad approached, and this woman asked how he was doing.  He said he was well and I threw him under the bus... told her that he has been shacking up with Betty for a while now, living in sin... and she said she would pray for him too! 
Anyway... I am going to sign off for tonight.. lots of adventures to be had in the upcoming days.. Feeling lucky to have the boys around... and to have Dad and Betty in such a beautiful place and willing to share it with us... and grateful for Sis for letting us steal the boys for a while! 
Summer Memories...


Do what you love, anticipation, and some other thoughts...

It is funny... people tell us all to do what we love and things will eventually fall into place.  I am not sure how much buy in I have to that philosophy, but... I must say that a couple of recent events has made me pause an say... ok... do what you love... and see what happens... I love kayaking, it is my serenity, my peace... and it has lead me to another passion, photography.  I love taking pictures and kayaking is a natural pairing.  Over the years I have focused more (no pun intended) on taking pictures and get positive feedback from people about the photos I take.  Many people have been hounding me to "do something" with my pictures... be it entering photo contests, making note cards, selling them, etc... and there is a part of me that would be interested in pursuing that, but at this point it really has remained something I do because I love doing it, without any extrinsic reward.  Last summer I was contacted by a local magazine asking if they could use one of my pictures.  When in return I asked for a free copy of the issue in which the picture would appear, my request was denied, and I opted to not give them permission to use my photograph.  (It is a matter of principal after all... you cannot 'afford' to give me a free copy of your magazine after using my picture? I think not... it is not in the spirit of good karma!)  In addition to this blog, I also write a blog about where to kayak in and around Maine.  Last summer I had also been contacted by an organization that tries to help people connect using recreation and asked if they could link my blog to their site and I said yes.  This spring, I have received several emails about my kayaking blog.  Emails have ranged from people enjoying the pictures (many of which I post here!)  to people sharing their experiences on the same waterways and most recently interest in collaboration on a book!
When I first received the email I was excited, but cautious.  I met with one of the two women who have been working on a book for about five years.  They have had this vision of a book that would provide clear directions to places where people could find easily and photographs of what people could expect to find once they got there.  As it turns out, their idea stemmed from necessity, not unlike my blog.  As a kayaker I have looked for various places to explore.  In an effort to do so I have my Maine Gazetteer... it has little boats stamped throughout its maps, showing places to launch.  The problem being that the launch sites are not clearly aligned with specific roads, making finding some of the launch sites difficult to locate.  I began searching the internet for great kayaking places in southern Maine. What I found were a few random posts, but nothing that was a consistent resource.  I wanted a site where I could look for a town or a specific lake/pond and find specific directions and maybe even know what to expect for a launch site... would there be bathroom facilities available? Were there fees? etc... those kinds of things... and I didn't find one... so... I started one.  I began posting locations with directions, a description of the launch sites, what parking was like, whether or not there are fees and whether or not there are bathroom facilities available.... the things I felt were important.  I also noted what wildlife may be seen and described the level of difficulty.  What I have found is that I also find it important to include places where you can walk into the water to launch one's kayak versus launching from a dock.  (I am not yet that coordinated!)  So... these women, who are trying to write a book found my blog as they have been researching places to go... what they have told me is that my vision matches theirs.  Both are women who like to kayak for many reasons, but at the top of the list includes being women who can do things independently and wanting to make it easy for others, specifically women, to do as well.  The woman I met with, said that when she found the blog, she thought that my format was exactly what they were trying to create.  So... over the last five years they have been trying to decide what to include, what parameters should be in place for a trip to be included, and they are ready to put this project to bed.  In an effort to finish it by the end of this summer, they enlisted my help.  As it turns out I have been to locations they have not been to, and I think the part they like best, is my pictures.  This is a huge compliment.  We talked and she asked what I use for a camera.  When I told her it was a handheld digital camera, a cannon powershot, she chuckled... they were sure I had professional equipment.  The woman I met with said that her partner has been their photographer and that she was beginning to feel intimidated by my pictures.  (Intimidated? hmm... that fed my ego!) So I asked what my role would be and she told me they had considered whether I would want to be a co-author or a contributor.  It has been their baby for five years...becoming a co-author, does not seem fair.  I said that being a contributing writer/photographer would be fine with me.  Which means... I agreed to be a part of the project!  We have not yet talked about specifics when it comes to compensation, but... what it will come down to is I will get paid a set amount for every book sold.  How cool is that?!  The woman I met with has connections at LLBean and believes that we would be carried by them, easily.  I am very excited about this!  (Also very excited to meet another person who shares my passion for paddling!) I will keep you posted on this endeavor... then.. last night I received an email from one of the few major newspapers in Maine, asking if I would be interested in having my kayaking blog be one of their featured blog.  I figure I have nothing to lose by doing so.  I do have some questions for them, but I think it would be a good thing.  There is an opportunity to add their advertisers to my blog page, allowing me to get some revenue, but I am not sure I want to turn my blog into a commercial.  I want people to view the blog without feeling like they are being targeted by advertisers.  So... you never know what will happen... The book idea has given me other ideas, things we could do to branch off the original book, that could turn into other books... we'll see!

This is an exciting week!  Tomorrow I get the boys!!!!!  My nephews!!!  ALL three of them!!!!  For TEN days!!!  I have so many things planned for them... and I hope that it is half as fun as I think it is going to be.  We are going to visit elephants, see seals being rehabilitated, explore a fort, visit some places that the boys have heard about, but never been... go camping with Dad and Betty, and of course hit the beach.  I cannot wait... I have been getting ready, yesterday obtaining two more kayaks (borrowing from a friend) so that the boys can have some freedom when we are camping, to escape if they want/need to and have some independent time.  I am getting the boys because Sis is heading to college for a couple of weeks.  I am so proud of her.  She has been working on her masters degree... and the program in which she is enrolled is done mostly online, but two weeks in the summer, she is required to go to the college and participate in what they call a residency program.  Sooo... the boys would have been put into day camps, which they have told me they are not fond of... so... what better chance to take them and enjoy them??!!

My sinuses have been weighing me down... and yesterday when I woke up and my congestion from my sinuses had moved into my right ear, I was a bit concerned that I would not be feeling great when having the boys... but am relieved that today I feel better.  I am still very stuffed up... despite finishing the antibiotics a few days ago... Yes I know the medicine will stay in my system and continue to fight the bacteria, but I was hoping to feel better than I am feeling.  The worst part is that I am tired.  fortunately I have been able to breathe well enough to sleep a bit better than I was a week ago at this time, so I am getting some rest.  I so just want to feel better... it does make me realize that surgery... is probably my best option at this time.  I need relief...

I headed to Boston last weekend... one of my friends from high school and I had talked earlier this summer, about choosing a weekend to head to Beantown to explore the city and to have some girl time.  It was fun.  (Though too hot!)  She had been there Friday night and had stayed out late with one of her college friends, so when I arrived on Saturday she was pretty wiped out... and as it worked out, I was still feeling run down from the sinus infection and was still sore from my fall earlier in the week, so we were both in the mode of being low key.  We walked around a little, found a good spot to have lunch then returned to the hotel for some down time to include napping and swimming.  It was a great decision to have that down time, because by the time we got ready to go out later, we were energized.  We went to dinner and then tried to go to a few bars.  She is recently divorced and is hoping to navigate the dating world once again... and thinks that bars is not a bad place to get her feet wet... she knows she does not want a relationship from someone she may meet at a bar, but thinks the opportunity to flirt there is good... so that's what we did.. or tried to do... The spots she had chosen were filled with kids in their early twenties... so I think she was a bit discouraged... but we had fun anyway... She is fairly tall, 5'11" or so, and I am 6'6"... an we both wore our heels as we were roving around town... As we were walking around, she told me that when she is with me she becomes invisible... because people focus so much on me.. because of my height... I do get a lot of attention for my height... While we were walking around we were on the sidewalk and this group of men walked by, old enough to behave themselves... and one of them.. when he saw me... made this really funny face and I knew as soon as we walked by he was going to have all his buddies turn to look at me... So.. I turned and waited.. and sure enough... he had them all turn around and when he saw me standing there he suddenly stopped talking... I said hello to him and he started smiling and said, Wow honey, what are you like 7 feet tall?  I responded by laughing and said.. oh just like a man to over exaggerate... tonight I am only 6'8, but I'm cheating a bit because I got my heels on! They all laughed and we kept walking... it is a fine line for me in those situations... do I stop and address them, or do I just ignore them... I never know people's intentions when they say things or do things like that in regard to my height, but... I just try to have fun... my friend just shakes her head and said how do you do that? react so confidently... not sure it is confidence as much as just calling people out on their behavior... I wish that when people saw someone who looked different, or who stands out, our immediate reaction would be to say something positive... to offer our comments as a compliment... even if it is a characteristic that takes us by surprise and even if we are not sure it is a positive attribute... why can we not just feed people some positivity?

Anyway... that's it for now...  stay tuned... I am hoping to be able to post some pictures of the boys as we go though our time together, but... it may end up that there are a couple of massive posts instead...

I do hope that people are doing what they love.. and finding some happiness along the way!


Sailing Sailing... ok.. not really

No I did not sail today, but I paddled... around some beautiful sail boats... and it made me think a lot of sailing... which I have never done, except on a schooner... once... which was beautiful... This morning I met up early with some friends, newbie paddlers, per se... One friend, Tracey, wants so badly to buy a kayak, and is struggling with what kind she wants... and then one of my old coworkers and his wife, who, bought a tandem kayak two weeks ago.  He is a GREAT guy and one of the people I miss from my old job...

Today, paddling, reminded me of why I stay in Maine... how much I love it here... (In the summer!) 

Where we put in there was a sign that warned us that at low tide, there is no water here... so... we made sure to return well before low tide! 


It was beautiful... the sun was hiding a bit, so the lighting was funky to take pictures, but it was beautiful... and cool on the water... 

Sailboats are so pretty! 

For some reason... this was my favorite sail boat today... 

Cool to get so close to the boats.

  Cormorant... asking me to dance, I believe! 

Osprey nest...human provided... very cool! 

Parents circled as we got closer... the baby was quite chatty... 

Then one of the parents landed and gave us the evil eye! 

A boat called... "I'm easy"... like it because it looks like a little cottage... paned glass door... CUTE! 

Bye Bye boys... have fun storming the castle!  (Oh wait.. that's from the Princess Bride... what's a castle doing here?) 

Colorful kayaks... 

we located the LLBean kayak school dock... 

LOVE the colors! 

Some bruises from last night's performance of "Ass over Tea Kettle!" 

Different view of bruises.. not sure you can see the cut on my ankle too..

Tried to show the bruise/swelling on my foot too... but hard to see in the picture, outer top part of mid foot...

A house I could live in... if they asked me to! 

Sailing School

My home away from home!  

Back to the nest... 

LOVE this picture... not sure why... but I do

What a beautiful morning... 
followed by a meeting about being a contributor to a kayaking book!  More on that later! 

My Favorite Place

My Favorite Place