We're heading to God's Country for a week of reading, waterskiing, jet skiing, inner tubing, s'more and ice cream making, fishing with five-year-olds and just general hanging with these guys: Internet connections are spotty at best, so posting will be light to non-existant.
Have a wonderful Fourth of July, y'all. Be safe.
Friday, June 29, 2007
We're heading to God's Country for a week of reading, waterskiing, jet skiing, inner tubing, s'more and ice cream making, fishing with five-year-olds and just general hanging with these guys: Internet connections are spotty at best, so posting will be light to non-existant.
It's round up day for the carnival of Ice Cream....a big scoop of thanks to those who have already left links and for those of you who still want in, leave a comment with a link to your post in this comment thread or here.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
We have none of these in Maine....(but the photos sure are fun to look at, aren't they?)
If you still don't understand why that's a good thing, you might ask the Wisdom Weasel.
MacWorld says this is the largest product launch Evah!
This isn't going to last long folks. My hopes to see Greg Oden in Celtic Green next year have been dashed. He's going three time zones west, to Portland, where I'll never see him play. It's become clear from the past 8 years of awful luck and lottery picks, that Red Auerbach did sell his soul to the devil in exchange for a couple of World Championships.
First Pick: Trail Blazers, um let's see, um, gosh........do ya think, they....might take GREG ODEN? We're still waiting.....even though there's no drama here....we all KNOW who they'll take....do you think they might take Kevin Durant? Nah. Even if they do, the second pick goes to Seattle, so it's still three time zones.....
Portland Takes Greg Oden, of The Ohio State University.
Ok, kids. That's it. Live blog over. I might be convinced to update should Boston take the Drunken Dribbler, otherwise, tata for tonight.
UPDATE: OK, I fibbed a bit. I'm updating ahead of Boston's pick. Memphis takes Mike Conley, Jr, of The Ohio State University. He's the single season assist record holder for OSU and he made all the difference in many, many game for the Bucks this year. He's ready to run an NBA team and that was a great pick by Memphis. He and Greg Oden have never lost a home game in four years of high school basketball and one year of college ball. Great choice Memphis. Good luck Mike.
Boston and Seattle have worked out a trade. Boston takes Jeff Green. They will trade Jeff to Seattle, in exchange for Ray Allen and Wally Szczerbiak (pronounced zer-BI-ak).....Retired Guy likes this trade. Ray Allen is averaging 26 in the NBA and he has experience.
....lands at Pease Air Force Base. It is gigundus.
Update: Mainetoday.com reports on the landing:
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — President Bush arrived in New Hampshire aboard Air Force One this afternoon on his way to a one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin set for Sunday and Monday.
The president’s plane set down a few minutes before 4 p.m. on the runway at the Pease International Tradeport. Bush waved as he descended the stairs, spent a few quick minutes talking to several greeters and headed over to his helicopter, Marine One, which took him to his parent’s summer home, Walkers Point in Kennebunkport.Marine One took off for Walkers Point at 4:01, leading a five-helicopter convoy under blue skies and white clouds.
Aye-uh, that was about the sum of it from what I saw.
This week's CFA Award goes to President George W. Bush. He will arrive in Kennebunkport today. Air Force One will land at Pease Air Force Base at 3:30 this afternoon and the President will go directly to Walker's Point. (We might go over to the spur road and see if we can catch the motorcade heading north on the turnpike--although we might also hear Marine One fly overhead.)
He doesn't win the award for the inconvenience and delays he's causing for the residents of town on a holiday weekend. Rather, he wins for sticking the town of Kennebunkport with the tab for the extra police protection.
Each time the President visits Walker's Point, it costs the village about $9,000 for the extra security (this in addition to what the Secret Service and Coast Guard provide). Previously, the town has used a $27,000 Homeland Security grant to cover the costs, but that money ran out earlier this year. Kennebunkport is asking police forces from York and Kittery to send extra officers to help out for this visit and there's hope that the other villages will cover the cost of those officers.
There is a protest planned for Sunday afternoon with an estimated 2,000 protesters clogging the village. If you'd like to protest, please park at Kennebunk High School. Shuttle buses will take you to the village green.
Update: Foster's Daily Democrat has additional information on the planned protests:
At Walker's Point, featured speakers will be heard and drums will pound. In addition, a 7-foot replica of the Statue of Liberty will be placed in a coffin to mock the loss of liberties under President Bush.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
iPhones go on sale Friday night at 6 pm--which you already know unless you've been living under a rock or have just recently miraculously emerged from a coma.
Lines have started queuing at all Apple Store locations--personally, *IF I decide to buy one, I'm going on-line to buy one (if you're watching CNN this morning, they've incorrectly reported that you cannot buy an iPhone online)--and of course, there are blogs about the wait.
David Clayman is third in line in Manhattan and planning to buy two-one to give to his dad and one to auction off for charity.
Greg Packer is first in line in Manhattan. MacWorld interviewed him. Money quote?
Though he’s committed himself to spending nearly five days living on the street for the iPhone, Packer said he’s not “computer literate” and doesn’t own an iPod. “I’m not really a technology person, but I’m doing the best I can to keep up with technology,” he said.
Then there are the guys who didn't have to wait in line or even pay for an iPhone:
David Pogue gives the iPhone a great review. (It's all relative. If you've read some of his other reviews.....) Steven Levy likes it, too, but he drank the Mac koolaid long ago. Ed Baig says more of the same.
Did you know that there isn't a single Apple store in the state of Maine?
*I'm conflicted. Because of security and company policy, there's NO way to receive my company's email on the iphone (except via webmail), so I'll still be required to carry the company issued Blackberry. I currently don't pay for a cell phone, the company pays my bill (my Blackberry is my cell phone). Why would I get an iPhone? Gadget envy is the only reason and I'm having a hard time reconciling gadget envy with a two year cell phone service contract.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Growing up in Ohio, the daughter of a Preacher Man and his school teaching wife, we didn't have much money at all. But my parents were masters of creating fun with activities that didn't cost much. Making ice cream on a summer's night was one activity that always seemed to work.
After supper, we'd go up to the neighborhood pool, swim for an hour or two (we spent the entire day there as well, but all three of us were water rats), and come home just as the sky was starting to darken. By that time, Mom had whipped up a container of ice cream stuff and Dad would be out in the driveway, packing rock salt around the outside of the canister. We'd change clothes and head out to help churn. There were no electric ice cream makers for us--at first because they'd not been invented, and later because we couldn't afford one, I suspect, although Dad always said it was because the electric mixed ice cream didn't taste as good. (I asked him about that last summer as he used an electric ice cream maker and he just grunted and gave me a blank look, as if I were crazy.) We'd each take turns churning while the other kids got over-the-head-pushes on the monkey swing from dad and then the entire family would sit on the front porch and eat huge dishes of homemade ice cream.
Mom's recipes always included raw eggs and other extremely dangerous things. Those things were OK for her kids but they are decidedly NOT OK for her precious grandchildren. One of the few recipes from my childhood that still in the active rotation is Orange Crush Sherbet, and it's still one of my favorites:
1 two liter Bottle of Orange Crush
2 cans Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
2 cans evaporated milk
1 small can of crushed pineapple, drained
Combine Eagle Brand, evaporated milk and pineapple; mix well. Pour into ice cream freezer container. Slowly add Orange Crush. Make ice cream as usual. Enjoy!
I should also point out that there's no longer a monkey swing. One night, my dad gave my sister the over-the-head push and the rope broke. She landed back of the head first on the asphalt driveway. Concussion. Dad fixed the rope and we continued the over-the-head pushes until we outgrew them. No monkey swing for the grandkids, however. It's too dangerous.....
Hey folks, it's that time again.....the Carnival of Ice Cream. Temperatures around here are going to be in the 80's and 90's for the next few days, so it's a perfect time to indulge and then share your indulgence. (one of my favorites is pictured here)
Where: The June Edition is here.
When: Now until Friday June 29th. Links will be posted on Friday.
Why: Because you love ice cream (and because I'm trying to convince Amy that Brown's Ice Cream is better than Lago's-so far, it's not working)
What: Taste or make your own. Visit your favorite ice cream stand. Remember the ice cream man from those endless summer days of your childhood and the blog about it. Then submit your link in the comments section of this post.
I think we're still looking for a July and August host/hostess. Amy?
Monday, June 25, 2007
"He comes up on a holiday weekend, jams all the traffic up. We don't get any cooperation from the guy, so why should we put up with him?"Aye-uh. Some of us feel that way about all visitors. Only this one's going to be Christly* bad:
Instead of glimpses of world leaders, residents are expecting streets clogged with hundreds of protesters, who are planning to march on Ocean Avenue, calling for the impeachment of President Bush and the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Hotel rooms have been booked for weeks, disappointing would-be tourists hoping for a last-minute trip to the beach. For the hundreds expected to pour into town, crowds and chaos await.
(Quotes from the Globe article on Kennebunkport's preparations for Putin).
*Local slang substitute for wicked. It's not a swear--I've been assured.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
The rosa rugosas are in full bloom. After a tough winter for plants, we've more blooms and healthier rugosas than in previous years.
It's a perfect summer's day on the Maine coast. Mid-70's, not a cloud in the sky. So far, it's been spent catching up on necessary chores: running the vacuum, a few loads of laundry, a complete detail and washing/waxing of Lucy, weeding the garden and transplanting a few irises. My garden chores disturbed the wrens in the birdhouse. At first, mom and dad did a lot of posturing to try to distract me from the nest while the babies remained absolutely silent. After a bit, the parents decided I wasn't a threat and started the normal feeding runs again, each greeted with a huge ruckus.
Afterwards, as a reward, I took Lucy for a drive along the ocean. We raced a lobster boat along Long Sands for a bit, then took a drive down past the Bray House to see if we could catch a glimpse of the new owner. Then, I sat in the adirondack chairs and read the entire NYTimes and Maine Sunday Telegram.
Just to our north, Kennebunkport is getting ready for the arrival of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin.
And in town, the cost of the Patriots' Day storm continues to rise. Damage to the Nubble is estimated in the millions.
The Sox are up 3-0, and the rugosas smell divine. Hamburgers, potato salad and homemade strawberry shortcake for dinner.
....opens everywhere, this Friday.
It's based on Susan Minot's luminous novel by the same name and the adaptation for screen is by Michael Cunningham (The Hours). Meryl Streep, Vanessa Redgrave, Claire Danes and Toni Collette share starring roles. By all accounts, it should be a blockbuster. I'm looking forward to seeing it, but was really disappointed to learn that it was filmed in Rhode Island. A movie set partially on a Maine island is shot in RI?
No disrespect to Rhode Island, but its coast can't hold a candle to the breath-taking beauty of the Maine coast, and quite frankly, the state (and mostly the local mid-coast people) need the money generated by a huge production such as this.
The movie is co-produced by Ms. Minot, who lives on a Maine island.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
The San Diego Padres' plan to confuse Dice-K worked perfectly in the first inning, as Dice-K couldn't locate the strike zone hidden in the crazy throwback colors of the Padres. He walked the first three batters that he faced last night.
Thankfully, his eyes finally adjusted to the mess in the second inning and he got the win 2-1.
(Can you believe someone actually selected that as a team uniform?)
Friday, June 22, 2007
The Bangor Daily News covers Molly's reunion with her family. It's worth a click on the link just to see the picture of Ashley (who lost her father in the boating accident) with Molly. Dr. Linda Lord, an assistant professor at Ohio State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, has researched lost animal recovery issues as part of her work on the relationships between humans and their companion animals. Lord said researchers are still unable to explain how some animals find their way home. Some believe it is scent-related, but that seems less likely in instances where animals covered large distances, Lord said. And dogs aren’t the only pets with a strong sense of direction. Lord documented the case of an Ohio cat that had spent its entire life inside but somehow made its way 10 or 12 miles, crossing several major highways along the way, back to its original home just after the family relocated to a new home. "We really don’t have a good grasp on that, if there is some sort of sixth sense or enhanced detection ability that they have," Lord said. "But those stories are the rare ones. What we found in our study is the majority of [lost] animals are found less than a mile from home."
The Ohio State University (I can't pass up an opportunity to work in a reference to the greatest school in the country-heh) is researching how some animals can find their way home:
Dr. Linda Lord, an assistant professor at Ohio State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, has researched lost animal recovery issues as part of her work on the relationships between humans and their companion animals.
Lord said researchers are still unable to explain how some animals find their way home. Some believe it is scent-related, but that seems less likely in instances where animals covered large distances, Lord said.
And dogs aren’t the only pets with a strong sense of direction. Lord documented the case of an Ohio cat that had spent its entire life inside but somehow made its way 10 or 12 miles, crossing several major highways along the way, back to its original home just after the family relocated to a new home.
"We really don’t have a good grasp on that, if there is some sort of sixth sense or enhanced detection ability that they have," Lord said. "But those stories are the rare ones. What we found in our study is the majority of [lost] animals are found less than a mile from home."
Thursday, June 21, 2007
The longest day of the year. Flowers are blooming. The wrens' eggs have hatched. Mom and dad spend all day ferrying food to the hatchlings, who greet each arrival to the nest with cries and cheeps of joy (at least I think they're joyful. I don't speak wren) and general mayham.
Down at the beach, all the spaces are full. The Sox are 10 games ahead of the Yankees. We're grilling steak and corn and asparagus on the grill and planning to sit in the adirondack chairs on the deck until there's no light left in the western skies.
Not only will we celebrate summer solstice, but we'll keep an eye out for the deer who believe our garden is a snack bar....
This quote was on my Google home page this morning. It made me think a bit (a very rare occurrence), and I thought it worth sharing:
I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.
- Augusten Burroughs
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Molly, a Black Lab, was thought to have drowned on Memorial Day in a boating accident that took the life of her owner, Doug Harmon, and one other man. She was last seen swimming toward shore on Chamberlain Lake on Memorial Day.
On Saturday, she showed up a a Millinocket home and was recognized as the missing Lab. She was reunited with the family (Jared, Timothy and Ashley) on Monday.
Molly covered more than 200 miles of the most rugged territory in Maine and State Conservation Commissioner Patrick McGowan said he estimated her chances of survival at about one in a million due to the terrain, the black flies (when we tell you they're bad, we're not kidding) and coyotes.
Al Cowperthwaite, Director of North Maine Woods compiled a timeline of Molly's travels, which was reprinted in the Bangor Daily News Article:
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
3 bottles of pinot grigio
1 bottle American chardonnay
1 bunch white grapes (seedless)
1 bunch Chilean red grapes (seedless)
4 scoops passion fruit or mango sorbet
2 oranges cubed
1 Granny Smith apple, cubed
1 Macintosh apple
20-30 mint leaves.
Sugar to taste (no more than half a cup)
Mix all ingredients together in a large punch bowl and chill overnight. Serve in wine glasses.
The recipe makes a party sized serving, but it will go fast, I promise
Disclosure First: I fly almost 100,000 miles a year and 99% of those miles are business travel (After all that "on demand" travel, I just don't feel like leaving home for leisure). My opinion is unavoidably biased by this fact and what's important to me is shaped by the amount of time I spend on planes and in airports.
So, the Skybus flight? Overall Impression: Really Good. Surprisingly good, as a matter of fact.
Skybus has an easy to use website, which is the only way to book a flight and as a cost saving measure, they have no customer service number to call. All communication is conducted through the website. If you like to ask questions to a live person, this isn't the airline for you.
I booked my flight to Columbus five days before I was to travel. A flight to Cincinnati (my real destination) booked on the same day priced out at $998.50. The Skybus flight was $251.00 round trip, plus $5.00 to check one bag. I chose not to pay the $10.00 to upgrade to priority boarding status, a decision that wasn't easy. There weren't any $10.00 fares left for purchase for any date in June, but there were some $20.00 and $30.00 fares.
24 hours before departure, Skybus sent me an email reminder, telling me that on-line check in was now available. I clicked the link and checked in (including printing boarding passes) in less than 5 minutes. The website is intuitive and easy to navigate.
We left the house and I was standing at the bag check kiosk at Pease Airforce Base in 17 minutes. I waited three minutes for an agent to become available, handed her my boarding pass and ID. She scanned the bar code and checked my bag in less than a minute.
She directed me to security, where three people were ahead of me to clear security. (Skybus is the only commercial airline to operate out of this terminal; they have one gate, so it's logistically very easy--just so long as you don't want to grab a bite to eat while you wait for your plane. That's not an option.)
The Skybus gate doesn't have any where near enough seats. It also doesn't have near enough space for those not getting a seat to stand. It was cramped, awkward and far too warm.
The plane from Columbus landed at 9:00. It was deplaned and ready for boarding within about 15 minutes. The boarding process is cattle call, a la South West's process. First come, first served within each of the three boarding groups, but unlike SW, Skybus hasn't quite worked out the kinks of the cattle call. Some people in group one didn't realize where they should be and boarded with group three, but most people were very good natured.
I was seventh from last to board the plane, and I was pretty panicked by visions of middle seats next to screaming, cracker-throwing babies. No worries. I somehow snagged an exit row, aisle seat, with an empty middle seat. Sweet. The plane was clean, the seats were roomy.
We took off on time. We landed on time. In between, the flight crew tried to sell me water, food, sunglasses, chocolates and an electronic Sudoku game. The in-flight sales pitch was the only part of the experience that I found to be negative--it felt smarmy and cheap, but that's just me. You can't take on any food or drink, you must buy it from Skybus and while I understand their business plan, I was surprised at how hard they pushed the food and beverages. I was pretty happy when I could put in earbuds and listen to music.
The crew was a bit over-zealous in their management of the cabin ('that's not all the way under your seat, sir'), but they were friendly and kind. They seemed to be having fun.
Most of my fellow travelers didn't appear to be road-warriors. They seemed to be leisure travelers, on the flight because it was affordable. There were many families, lots of kids and as someone else noted, the kinds of people you'd expect to see at the bus station, not on a plane, but it wasn't overly noisy and no one tried to run to the bathroom during takeoff.
If I'd paid $600.00 for my ticket (and because of the way our business works, I do that far more than I like to admit), I might rate the experience a little less positively. But given the price point and because it's 15 minutes to the gate from home, I'm very pleased. I'll fly them again. Soon.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Sunset on Isle au Haut, ME (July 2005)
I'm off into the sunset on an adventure, so I leave you with am image of a Maine sunset.
Actually, it's a normal business trip to the Nasty, but I'll be flying Skybus out of Pease AFB, so it qualifies as an adventure, I think.
So far, no worries. I've checked in on-line, paid my $5.00 to check the bag, but not the $10.00 for priority boarding. I've printed out my boarding pass and discovered that I'm in Zone Three for boarding. I'll report in on the rest later.
Until then, Ta Ta!
This isn't news to anyone in Maine (or even folks who read this blog semi-regularly), but the Boston Globe is reporting on our shrinking working waterfront.
In addition to reporting that the waterfront is smaller than anyone believed:
Two years ago, in response to growing concerns on the coast, state officials and researchers set out to map the waterfront access of Maine's working fishermen. What they found was more alarming than anyone expected: Along Maine's 5,300-mile coast, only 20 miles of shoreline remain open to commercial fishermen, according to the study the Island Institute released last month. (emphasis mine)
Before this survey, 25 miles was the agreed upon length of commercial access.
The article also highlights another fact of life in Maine--the from aways versus the Mainers:
More than half of all town property is now owned by part-time residents, and the arrival of outsiders has put other pressures on fishermen, the harbormaster said. One group of newcomers started an unsuccessful petition that sought to turn down the volume on an offshore fog horn. ("I said, what would you prefer, the fog horn or an oil tanker on the rocks in front of your house?" said Schmanska.) Other arrivals proposed a noise ordinance to hush the work of fishermen at dawn.
"You have an influx of people with no connection to the working waterfront, who come because they like to see the boats," said Schmanska. "Then when they hear that engine cranking up at 5 a.m., it's a nuisance."
Honestly! We see this every day, even where we live. People from away move to a quaint Maine village because they love the quaintness of it. They love the down-eastness of it. They love the views and they love to buy lobster right off the back of the boat. They love it because it's completely unique.
Then, once they are property owners, they promptly want to make changes and add services and conveniences that destroy the down-eastness and ruins the unique experience. Don't get me wrong. I miss having 27 Starbucks within 2.1 miles of my exact location every minute of the day, but every time the question to allow chains to build restaurants comes up for vote, I vote no. Because adding a Dunkin' Donuts or Burger King would effectively change everything that makes our village wonderful. And our town gets that, I think. We've voted no on this question at least three times in five years.
So, today's Come From Away Award is handed out to those who started the petition and asked for the noise ordinance, but all part-timers receive an honorable mention. It's the Way Life Should Be, not "The Way It Is In Connecticut/New York/New Jersey/Massachusetts"
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Yesterday was a HUGE day for the village. Not only did we host a distinguished guest, but we also had a wedding on Long Sands. We witnessed a Marine in full dress blues and a beautiful bride exchanging vows in front of an assemblage of family and friends as we drove by. They created quite a gapers block, but no one--drivers or wedding party--seemed to mind.
I spent much of yesterday gazing at the view above and recovering from the red eye. There's nothing like the sound of the ocean to ease the jagged edges, is there?
Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there.
I'm off to buy Retired Guy's gift. Mac, Mattie and Spike (not a recent photo, but the only one I have of the three together) pooled their allowance and are getting this for their dad. But they can't drive, so I have to pick it up for them.
Friday, June 15, 2007
It's early for this, I know, but when it's really time, I won't be able to find the link. So I'm sharing now (and adding it to the side bar).
Oh-ate.com is the place to go for 2008 election coverage of all of the Democratic candidates.
UPDATE (a few more 2008 election sites that you might find helpful) :
Polling Report now has a 2008 election polls page.
The Pew Forum 2008 election site
Rolling Stone's Coverage
Election 2008 Blog
Here's to hoping this link isn't necessary in 2008, but just in case,
The Supreme Court of the United States Blog
I think I'll start a new link category in the side bar for 2008 election coverage. That will give me an outlet for my political obsession without posting about it and it will save you from reading the inane thoughts that pop into my head.
The new shoe department at Saks Fifth Avenue is so big that it's getting its own ZIP code.
The Manhattan store is revamping its shoe department, and when it moves from the fourth floor to an 8,500-square-foot space on the eighth floor in August, customers will be able to send mail to 10022-SHOE.
(our area code is 207, in case you wondered).
Residents of Arrowsic (a small Maine town--if you couldn't guess that based upon the number of votes cast) voted 71-17 Wednesday in favor of a resolution asking President Bush and Congress to immediately stop all war funding, to end American occupation in Iraq and to bring the troops home.
I just think it's cool that a tiny town cares enough and has enough faith in our democracy to express their views on a national issue with a vote.
W. will be in residence in early July. Maybe the town clerk should drive over to Walker's Point and drop the resolution off at the Secret Service hut.
Last night we had a really nice dinner at Geoffrey's, overlooking the Pacific and some enormous kelp beds. Pelicans dive-bombed for fish and we saw one whale spout and sound.
The food was quite good--I started with the beet and herbed goat cheese salad and enjoyed the ahi tuna entree-- but the highlight of the evening was the Ginger Martini that our server recommended. It was light and refreshing and not overly sweet.
I googled for the recipe and found a few variations. This one at the Food Network comes the closest--I think. What I had last night is good enough to make the effort of the ginger syrup worthwhile.
3 ounces vodka, any flavor
1/2 to 1 ounce ginger syrup, recipe follows
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Twist of lemon or lime
Fill a cocktail shaker or small pitcher with ice. Add the vodka, ginger syrup, and lime juice. Cover and shake vigorously, or stir, until combined and chilled, about 30 seconds. (In general, by the time the shaker mists up the drink is ready.) Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add twist and serve.
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh ginger with peel, about 8 ounces
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
Remove the outer peel of the lemon with a vegetable peeler, taking care not to include too much of the bitter white pith. Finely chop the lemon peel and ginger in a food processor.
Transfer the lemon-ginger mixture to a medium saucepan, add the sugar and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes. Strain the mixture and cool. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Now, doesn't that seem like a wonderful summer afternoon libation? I think it would go well with a straw hat and sundress.
I'm heading home on the red-eye and looking foward to an afternoon on our beach to recover from the flight.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Sorry, couldn't help but blurt that out. There's something about sitting outside on a private veranda, listening to the crashing waves of the Pacific while sipping a lovely rose' (which is so NOT White Zinfandel) wine, with a working wireless access that makes me want to start, like totally like talking in Valley Girl Speak.
In all seriousness, if you're headed to the Santa Monica/Malibu area--you simply must stay at the Casa Malibu Inn. It's inexpensive (128.00 for a room with the view of Malibu Beach--get out!); it's unbelievably charming; the service is impeccable; it's a little slice of perfection. The decor in the rooms is funky, shabby chic, but the sheets are top notch and the owners are wonderfully accommodating, friendly and welcoming. I'm a jaded, road weary traveler, who hates leaving Maine, but this joint is so perfect that I've already started plotting and planning a return trip here with Retired Guy for a bit of a vacation (after summah's over, of course).
The Commonwealth Fund has just released a report that ranks each of the 50 states' performance on health care. Maine came in 5th overall, but second in quality of care adn equity in providing care.
Even more interesting? New Hampshire and Vermont were also in the Top 5, along with Hawaii and Iowa. Way to go, Northern New England!
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Marginal Way, Ogunquit (taken on a summer day last summer)
This recipe is originally from the March 2000 issue of Cooking Light. My good friend Joan shared it with me a couple of years ago and it's become a favorite recipe, anytime of the year.
I've tried "cheating" a bit and using frozen shrimp and I've also tried pre-cooked and cleaned shrimp to save time. They'll both do in a pinch, but it's best with fresh shrimp and the fresh basil is a must. Shrimp in a Bag is what I call it but the official name is below. On a cold and blustery day like today, it's perfect to warm body and soul, but it's also light enough to serve on a warm summer night with a chilled bottle chardonnay (Oh, and my husband HATES feta, but I've never told him there's feta in the recipe and he loves this dish)
BASIL SHRIMP WITH FETA AND ORZO
- cooking spray
- 1/2 cup uncooked orzo
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 1 cup diced fresh tomato
- 3/4 cup sliced green onions
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 pound large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- One large foil oven bag
PREPARATION:Preheat oven to 450°.
Coat inside of a regular size oven bag with cooking spray. Place the bag on a large shallow baking pan.
Cook the pasta in boiling water 5 minutes, omitting salt and fat; drain. Place the pasta in a large bowl. Stir in 1 teaspoon oil and next 7 ingredients (1 teaspoon oil through pepper). Place the orzo mixture in prepared oven bag. Combine shrimp and basil. Arrange shrimp mixture on orzo mixture. Fold edge of bag over to seal (or cover baking dish). Bake at 450º for 25 minutes or until shrimp are done. Cut open bag with sharp knife, and peel back the foil. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
And I have it on good word that he shops at LLBean in the wee hours of the night. So if you need a little Saturday Night Fever fix, try lurking in Freeport around 3 am.
I'm still trying to figure out which celebrity paid the lobsterman outrageous amounts of money to ferry he/she to the mainland in the middle of the night so that he/she could work out at the gym free of gawkers.
I love this idea.
I hate that Bill Frist has anything to do with it.
As my friend Gail says, "sometimes you have to hold your nose while you work with the guy (or vote for the guy) who can get the job done."
I'll hold my nose this time, but now instead of "Can I kiss you?", the first thing I'll ask Bono when I meet him is "What were you thinking when you made Frist co-chair?"
Dr. Bill Frist? The man who gets confused about clearly known facts regarding the transmission of the AIDS virus and the reliability of condoms? He's the guy you want speaking out for this thing?
Maine became the first state to pass a resolution to "protect full, fair and non-discriminatory access to the internet."
LD1675 will help ensure that:
".... that Internet providers should not be allowed to discriminate by speeding up or slowing down Web content based on its source, ownership or destination,” said Tony Vigue of the Community Television Association of Maine.
This is especially important to Maine because it helps small businesses compete on-line with larger companies.
“With a free and open internet young people are able to start businesses that compete in the global marketplace from their homes in Maine,” said Brian Hiatt, Maine Director of Communications and Online Organizing for The League of Young Voters. “Net Neutrality levels the playing field for Mainers.”
WARNING: Most of you readers should ignore this post....
But for friends and family who drop into check out my musings, this serves to announce that the few pictures I took (and some that others took and sent to me electronically) are up for viewing here. (there's a really good one of you Ount Potty). It was so nice to not be a photographer this weekend, but now I sure am wishing that we had more photos of the event.
Monday, June 11, 2007
What's a New England wedding without some beach time and a lobster? (Actually, anytime guests are in town, Chauney Creek Lobster Pound is a must do on the list of Maine attractions.)
With Bride and Groom safely off on the honeymoon yesterday and official wedding duties completed for the rest of us, we slept in, and then enjoyed a wonderful breakfast at Cafe Amore.
We then meandered to the beach with books (which we didn't read) and deconstructed the weekend while gazing at the Nubble (for all the kidding I do about "The Nubble, The Nubble, The Nubble", it's a beautiful view on a sunny summer afternoon--it glows in the afternoon light). It was agreed that there were no "wedding outrages", that it was all lovely and it was just as the bride and groom wanted it to be, and that it was all over too fast.
Chauncey Creek is mostly outside dining (although there's a small covered portion of the deck as well as a screened porch) on a beautiful tidal creek. You pick your own picnic table (they all have a view) and you also byob (we were well practiced at the bring your own this weekend), as well as bring your own candles, table cloth, and appetizers--anything the lobster pound doesn't sell may be brought in).
So, after the beach we packed three coolers: Appetizers (cheese plate with drunken goat, herbed chevre, brie and Amish Blue; tomato/mozzarella salad; spinach dip with sesame blue corn tortilla chips; and dill dip with crudite--I call it "veggies", but I now have a daughter-in-law, so I need to grow up, so crudite it is) and Drink (white wine, Smuttynose Pale Ale, and a lovely bottle of Moet&Chandon Brut Imperial Rose Champagne.).
We sat with our dearest friend and our wonderful daughter and her equally wonderful boyfriend and we admired the stunning Coast of Maine.
We toasted the bride and groom one more time. Then we ate steamers and lobster and baked beans and cole slaw and at least one of us offered up a small prayer of thanks for all of the blessings so generously given.
Saturday, June 9, 2007
Thursday, June 7, 2007
We had some tequila (Patron) leftover from the Cinco de Mayo party and I thought that the wedding weekend was a perfect excuse to use it up. Here are two recipes (compliments of my friend from NYC) that we'll be trying out this weekend. Yee Haw:
Roxie’s Heavenly Heart
2 cups tequila, good stuff
2 cups chilled blood-orange juice (or OJ)
1 cup orange flavored liqueur (Grand Marnier, Cointreau or Triple Sec)
1 bottle chilled
All That Jazz
2 cups tequila, good stuff
2 cups chilled orange juice
½ cup fresh lime juice
1 cup orange flavored liqueur (Grand Marnier, Cointreau or Triple Sec)
How do I know? Well,
1) The Rugosas have bloomed--I think it's the earliest ever for ours
2) The Lupine are blooming
3) I saw the first swallowtail of the season flit through the backyard
4) The pansies are out, the red geraniums are in
But the indisputable determining factors is:
5) There are more cars on rt. 1 with out of state plates than there are cars on Rt. 1 with Maine plates
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
LLBean is already one of our favorite destinations (in person and for internet shopping--they're great about returns and their customer service (at least from our personal experience) is always top notch) and it's going to get even better:
FREEPORT, Maine --Mail-order retailer L.L. Bean is looking to develop a theme park-style adventure center, a move that would build on the company's outdoors heritage, drive sales and cement Freeport's place as a top tourist destination.
The project featuring lodging and dining facilities is centered on a 700-acre parcel owned by the outdoors outfitter about a mile from Bean's flagship store. Visitors to the site, and another Bean-owned property along Casco Bay, could try their hand at a range of activities, from biking and archery to kayaking and snowshoeing.
Per Amy's wishes the sun just poked through the clouds. Just as I was going to break into a chorus of "Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine In" that would make the 5th Dimension proud, I heard the rumbles of thunder.....
It's going to be a wicked doozy when it hits. Sorry Amy. Doesn't appear that it's any better where you are.
It's very early in the season to call it (kind of like calling the Yankees out of it in early June. Heh), but I'm going to go out on a limb and award this year's Comes From Away Award* to Vladimir Putin who will be visiting Kennebunkport in July.
It's hard to not award this to W. or 41, but since Putin's a first time visitor and W. and 41 are annual summer complaints**, he gets the nod.
*The Comes From Away Award is given annually, weekly, daily or hourly (at the sole discretion and whim of its founder) to the visitors from out of state who cause the most disruption to "the way life should be" quality of Maine. Fellow Mainiacs are welcome to submit nominations for the award via the comments section.
**the local term for the summer folks
Cold enough for mittens and fleece at the beach, so we took our walk along the river this morning. The rain has stopped and the sun is scheduled to make an appearance later this morning.
Last night, the wind was pounding and the rain was coming in buckets and we needed a dinner to warm the bones and the soul. It's spargal time in Germany (the country practically comees to a screeching halt) and the asparagus at our market is tender and fresh, so why not?
2 lb green asparagus
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 to 6 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste (I use just a dash)
Cut tips from 12 asparagus stalks, 1.5 inches from top. Reserve these for a garnish.
Cut stalks (I prefer to snap the stalks, as they separate easily at the point where it's too woody to be good eating) and all remaining asparagus into 1/2-inch pieces.
Cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Add asparagus pieces and salt and pepper to taste, then cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Add 5 cups broth and simmer, covered, until asparagus is very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
While soup simmers, cook reserved asparagus tips in boiling salted water until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes, then drain.
Purée soup in batches in a blender until smooth, transferring to a bowl (use caution when blending hot liquids), and return to pan. Stir in crème fraîche, then add more broth to thin soup to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Bring soup to a boil and whisk in remaining tablespoon butter.
Add lemon juice and garnish with asparagus tips.
(adapted from a recipe found at Epicurious)
Monday, June 4, 2007
I don't like to recycle emails as blog posts, but this one is so on the money that I had to share it (in its entirety) with you:
YOU KNOW YOU ARE LIVING IN 2007 when...
1. You accidentally enter your password on the microwave.
2. You haven't played Solitaire with real cards in years.
3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of 4.
4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.
5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have e-mail addresses.
6. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries.
7. Every commercial on television has a web site at the bottom of the screen.
8. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn't have the first 20 or 30 (or 50) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.
10. You get up in the morning and go on line before getting your coffee.
11. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. : )
12 You're reading this and nodding and laughing.
13. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message.
14. You are too busy to notice there was no #9 on this list.
15. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn't #9 on this list
AND NOW YOU ARE LAUGHING at yourself.
Last year during the Mother's Day Floods, Spike got a little nervous and decided he needed a boat. Or we think that's what he was doing; he spent two entire days in the bread basket (and aye-uh, I washed the napkin after he decided to get out). It's raining hard enough today that I thought this image was worth revisiting.
Our To Do List:
- get the beach stickah so the summah visitors don't have to drop quarters in the pahkin metahs down to the beach
- buy bird seed to feed the little fellahs who bring joy and amazement to the house guests, not to mention the kitty TV entertainment that they provide for the house cats
- pitch the pansies that have gotten leggy and replant deck pots with red geraniums
- change the sheets in the guest rooms. Flannels off, cottons on (although today's weather seems to call more for flannel than cotton...brr)
- set out guest towels (have to make sure we have enough for all the guests)
- take the Mini Cooper to Mini of Peabody to have the "check engine light" checked (completely unplanned but necessary as the house guests are planning to use the car)
- wash windows
- find brown shoes
- have jewelry cleaned
- mani-pedi appointments for female guests and me
- make a run to the booze store for wine, vodka, and other staples
- weed garden
- mow lawn
- finish putting up shelves in closet so Retired Guy can stop using the chair in the bedroom as his bureau
- write nasty gram to CMP--the power has gone out three times in two weeks (this morning included, when I had gotten up at 5 am to finish expense reports and administrative duties for the real job). Today I understand, as it's nasty out. The other two days were clear, windless and beautiful. That I don't understand.
- finish the expense reports, PO approvals, monthly report, contract review and approvals, financial approvals for titles moving to production and other misc. stuff so that I can go on vacation with a clear conscience.
- clean my office so the guests aren't frightened away (it frightens me and I created it)
- grocery store run to buy rations for the house guests
That thing would be the wedding of Step-son, this Saturday, June 9. Wedding, you might say....but you haven't mentioned it on the blog before. How odd!
Yes, I would say. But there are two things that I know to be true: 1) even in the very best of situations (which I absolutely have) step-families create tensions that biological, nuclear families don't have. Around wedding times, those tensions are multiplied.
2) Even in the best of situations, weddings create tensions--financial tensions, decision-making tensions, tensions over what constitutes good taste and what doesn't. This particular wedding isn't a traditional situation so it has created unique tensions (have you all ever been invited to a BYOB reception?--most likely not, and I hope you never will be, but if you got invited to this one, well....bring a bottle of Patron for me).
While the tensions were high, it didn't seem prudent to post about the the wedding... but I do realize that my blogging will be light this week and possibly non-existent next weekend. I also realized that it was beginning to seem extremely weird for me to not mention this enormous event in our lives. Consider it mentioned.
For what it's worth, we have worked through the tensions amicably. There have been reasonable compromises on all sides and now the week of the wedding has arrived, all of the decisions have been made, the work has been done and the tensions have passed. All that's left to do is write the checks.
We are so looking forward to a wonderful day, and a joyous weekend with all of our friends and family who are arriving for the event. Can't wait to see you all (don't forget the Patron)!
Sunday, June 3, 2007
Joe Queenan's essay on Summer Reading Assignments in today's New York Times might solve the question about why so many readers choose, fun trashy books from May until October.....it's a subconscious reaction to summers spent reading for Honors English:
I’m not saying it is necessarily a bad thing that schools require students to read books during the summer: culture, like vitamins, works best when imposed rather than selected.
Friday, June 1, 2007
In The New York Times round up of more beach reading books, there is a sentence that best describes the differences between winter reading and summer reading:
....it’s clear that “winter reading,” or “that endless blizzard of pages flecked with the blown soot of words,” isn’t really what they’re after. Summer reading has more to do with charmed lives, blue skies and location, location, location.
Janet Maslin reviews 11 books, some she likes, some she doesn't:
Hilma Wolitzer's Summer Reading gets a nod of approval, as does
David Shallack's travel memoir Mediterranean Summer: A Season on France's Cote d'Azur and Italy's Costa Bella.
The Prince of Nantucket by Jan Goldstein wasn't one of her favorites, but she liked The Savage Garden by Mark Mills a bit more (he also wrote Amagansett--a book that I think was a great summer beach read--so I'll buy his new one, no matter what the NYTimes thinks). She calls the novel alluring and mysterious. Oh Goody.
Ms. Maslin is favorably disposed to Bill Geist's Way of the Road, a travel book about rural America and sometimes its cuisine. He's a pretty funny guy and the book looks to be pretty entertaining.
Michael Tolliver Lives by Armistead Maupin features a character from Tales of the City (not a bad summer series in case you need more good stuff to read) and is judged to be as endearing as that series.
Elmore Leonard's Up in Honey's Room reviews well, but I'm not sure I'll be reading it. It's set in Detroit in World War II and the premise is that a bunch of German spies (including Himmler's twin brother) are trying to fit into the American Midwest.
Dream When You're Feeling Blue by Elizabeth Berg "becomes humdrum much too quickly," but Frank Deford's new novel, The Entitled is a baseball novel, featuring the Indians examines the morals of today's athletes and "transports the reader to a world of athletes whose constant traveling leaves them in true limbo."
She calls Anthony Gagliano's Straits of Fortune a memorably crisp debut and gives a positive nod to City of Fire by Robert Ellis.
Remember children: Michigan is the part of Ohio that nobody wanted.
Also remember that the reason Ohio doesn't slide into the Ohio River is because Michigan sucks.
Now, sucks isn't a nice word and it shouldn't be used, excepting when describing Michigan or the Yankees. Then we allow a special dispensation for that naughty word.
And what is May 31st? It's now going to be called Ohio Day, because it's the day that King James turned in the greatest single performance in NBA play-off history and scored 29 of the Cavs' last 30 points to beat the Pistons at the Palace at Auburn Hills in double overtime.
It's also the day that the Tribe beat the Tigers 11-5. Nice.