Friday, October 28, 2011

This Moment

I thought I'd link up with Amanda Blake Soule of SouleMama today and participate in her Friday ritual, this moment

A single photo, no words, capturing a simple, special moment from my week that I'd like to savor and enjoy.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Marking the Moments

There are times, like yesterday when I was sitting and staring out at the sea, that I realize I'm probably not going to remember that moment forever. So I just try to take in as much as I can. I breathe more slowly. I am amazed by the eagles flying overhead and how red the mountain ash berries have become. The way Patrick keeps sniffing the air like he's receiving a special message. All you can do is enjoy it. Really enjoy it. Let it wash over you. Because chances are, in a whole lifetime of moments, that moment will be lost.

Each day is made up of so many of these moments. Some special. Some not quite so special. But then there are those moments that remain vivid. Special hashmarks along the time line that makes up our lives. Like the other day...

...I was pretty cranky. I had decided I should go for a run. Wouldn't you know it? I couldn't find my headphones. Well, this was almost enough to stop me in my tracks. Almost. I was so cranky my stubbornness took over. I would not let the missing earphones stop me from my running, dammit!

Substitute earphones jammed over my ears, along with an orange wool cap, I set off.

As I headed toward Dog Island, I saw it. The most gorgeous, full rainbow. And it seemed to be growing more brilliant with each second. I kept looping around the cul-de-sac so I could enjoy it, pausing every once in a while to just stare at the rainbow spanning from Deer Island way over to Campobello. I usually don't meet many cars on my run, but folks seemed to want to catch a closeup of this afternoon treat. And Dog Island was a most supreme viewing spot.

Seeing this rainbow, at that moment in time, had a profound effect on me for some reason. Maybe it was hormones.  Maybe it was the endorphins kicking in from my run. Who knows? But as I witnessed that rainbow and the light play on the golden trees of Campobello, I felt so good.

Do you ever have those moments when all is right with the world? When you feel you are at your very best? Well, I was having one of those moments. I could feel my resilience, strength, power, love, wisdom, compassion, and a deep sense of faith in all that is good in the world. The certainty that everything was going to be okay.

I've had other moments like this. Moments that I can only describe as spiritual. Oftentimes they happen in nature. Like the time in New Mexico when the wind was bending our tent poles so severely that we had to camp out under the stars. I will never forget looking up into that huge sky, smiling like a loon as the wind washed over me and told me secrets about my life. How my life would be full of good fortune and love.

Other times, the moments don't happen in nature, but are just as profound and will stay with me forever. Like the time I told my future husband, just days after we met, that I was absolutely and insanely crazy for him (in a good way!). I can't remember another time in my life where time actually stood still.

When I held my sons in my arms for the very first time, I was completely at peace and so certain of my love and my ability to care for and nurture these little boys. Given the fact that I had had virtually no experience with children or babies meant absolutely nothing. These babes in my arms just felt so right.

Remembering these moments helps me. When I am feeling not so resilient or hopeful, these memories are my touchstones. They remind me how good and powerful I can feel and how much love there is in this world. They remind me of my strength. And they remind me that even a simple life lived on a small coastal island is full of adventure.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Estate Sale, Seals, and Shaggy Manes

Boy, we've hit the jackpot with fabulous weekends around here lately!

Picking away at the chores in a leisurely fashion, along with plenty of relaxation and fun, make for the best weekends in my opinion.

Most of our chores this weekend consisted of the outside variety. Yes, I do believe we'll be preparing for winter until the snow flies, if not after! But we're getting there. I've made a pretty sizable dent in the wood pile, and Heron and Kieran have completed the trim on the mudroom. It shouldn't take them long to shingle it.

My neighbor surprised me with a bag of yarn she'd picked up at an estate sale. Isn't that sweet? Lucky for us that's just the kind of neighbor Mary Ann is.

This got me pretty excited. A house full of goodies, all of it for sale, sounds pretty magical to a thrifter like myself! Kieran and I dropped our work gloves and headed on down to check it out.

Turns out, the woman who lived there had been a crafter, knitter, and avid sewer. There were beautiful knitting needles, fabric, ribbon, thread, yarn, and lots of other crafting gear. Kieran patiently and carefully looked around with me, and at times commented, "This woman had a lot of stuff!"

I learned from her son that the woman had been ill for a long time. A shut in who did a lot of shopping online. I think she may have been a bit of a hoarder. She had moved away from Eastport a couple of years before and had died in another state. Minnessota, maybe? I can't remember now. Her name was Morgan. I don't believe I ever laid eyes on her even though she lived in town for twelve years.

It was strange roaming through her house looking at all of her things. Among the crafting supplies and knick knacks (and lots and lots of other stuff) were handwritten notes and tubes of lipbalm. I couldn't help but wonder what her life had been like. 

I left with a couple of things, including some fabric and vintage ribbon. Kieran found a pack of 64 Crayola crayons. I wished her son well. Although he seemed to be in good spirits, it must have been bittersweet for him to see people picking over all that remained of his mother's life.

I knit this safety orange neckband for Patrick.
Saturday night saw us at a bonfire, beer and brats party with a great group of friends. It was such fun to catch up with folks I hadn't seen in awhile, and I laughed till my belly hurt. Mostly at myself, but still, a laugh is a laugh, right?!

Kieran enjoyed spending Sunday with his grandparents in Trescott. Heron and I worked outside, with me taking lots of knitting and coffee breaks. Later in the afternoon Patrick and I headed out for an adventure (which is where all the photos in this post were taken). We started at Reggie's Beach. The tide was very low so we were able to walk along the shore to Dog Island and ended up all the way at Treasure Beach, at the end of Clark Street.

We took our sweet time, and spied shags, gulls, an eagle, and seals. I tried talking to the seals, inviting them to come closer to shore so we could make friends. But they seemed to be happy right where they were, about 75 yards or so off shore.

As we made our way back up Clark Street we discovered a pretty good-sized patch of shaggy manes (funny looking little white-capped mushrooms). I've heard they're good eating. But since I don't like eating mushrooms, I prefer to imagine that this patch of 'shrooms is home to tiny gnomes and wee faeries.

Patrick did a little exploring all his own, apparently. When we got home I noticed that he was sporting a most powerful dead fish odor. After plopping him in the sink and sudsing him up twice, he still smells pretty gnarly. Ah, well. It was worth it.

He stinks, but I love him!
Hope you all had a lovely weekend.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Graduation Day

Well, we did it! Patrick and I graduated from the Basic Obedience Class we have been taking for the past six weeks!

This is us on Graduation Night. Don't we look happy? Patrick even got a haircut in order to look his best for this special occasion. I must tell you that he got lots of compliments.

This accomplishment is no small feat. It has been a big commitment on both our parts. The class is held one evening a week in Machias, which puts me back in the car for an extra two hours. Not to mention the expense of the class itself and the money for gas. Then there is practicing each day, which isn't really a hardship but it is something that must be done daily.

After the first class I wasn't sure we'd be able to stick it out. But I was pretty determined, and I must say I'm so glad that we did. I was incredibly impressed with our instructor, Betsy Newman. Her teaching style was one that I responded to immediately. She broke everything down in such a way that not only did we understand what we were doing and how to achieve that goal, but why we're doing it the way we're doing it.  This helps us to understand a bit better how our dogs think and feel. It also helps that she has a wonderful sense of humor and an obvious adoration for the dogs.

Now, it's no secret that I absolutely adore Patrick, and am thankful daily that I decided to share our home with him. But through this class, our bond has strengthened. Learning the basic rules of obedience can only be achieved with patience, trust, and respect. I feel a new respect and appreciation for Patrick's abilities that might not have happened if not for the class. I was so moved and inspired by this class that I submitted a student comment to Betsy's website. Please check it out if you like.

Oh, yeah, and we're not stopping at just Basic. We're movin' on up to Intermediate! Woot!

Most of our dogs are just waiting to be taken home to the mother ship...
And just for giggles, today I think I'd like to step over the boundary of "way too much information" and share the fact that today....

....I had a root canal!

Here's me in my special goggles and bib after they numbed me up.
Let it be known that I've had lots of work done on my teeth in recent years. I do believe the view of this overhead lamp from my reclining chair is burned on my brain.  In the center of this light is the word "Belmont." It is highly possible that the last word uttered from my lips on my deathbed will indeed by "Belmont." You know, sort of like "Rosebud..."

I look pretty chipper for someone who's going to get the nerves of her tooth pulled out of her head! Honestly, though, if there is such a thing as enjoying going to the dentist, I actually do, which is sort of a miracle and a blessing! They are easygoing and super friendly, not to mention fabulous at their jobs. Shout out to the crew at Dr. Brian Hoops office in Woodland! Yeah!
I think my work here is done!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Since Kieran has begun attending Montessori school 50 minutes away, I have been in the car a lot more than usual (luckily, my dear friend does the bulk of the driving).  But it looks like a schedule change means that I will be in the car even more. Oh well. Living where we do, you kind of have to accept the fact that you need to drive. Thankfully, we have a reliable car (with the exception of the battery dying the other day!) that I enjoy driving. I call her Bridget.

At any rate, I took Kieran to school today. After I dropped him off I treated myself to doughnuts at a little place in Machias called the Towne Fryer. I chose the old-fashioned plain, and oh my gosh...absolute heaven! You must try these When I returned home after my run this evening, my husband (rather gleefully) informed me that the doughnut maker himself had called. Apparently, instead of filling out a check for the $4 charge, I had written out a check in the amount of $400! Can you believe this? Now, this was before my morning coffee, but still! Sheesh!  At least it gives me an excuse to stop into the shop again...

Once sated with coffee and doughnuts (and a little thrifting, too!) I struck out for the return drive to Eastport. It being a gorgeous, sunny fall day, I decided to take the time to stop and take some pictures of a couple of things that have stood out to me on this commute. For example, this lone bull in a large, green field. The field is mostly grass, but also includes some blueberry barrens, which have turned that fall crimson color. I love the way he watched me as I snapped pics of him. From a very, very safe distance, I might add.

This field happens to abut the cemetery where one set of my grandparents is buried. I decided to park in the cemetery to take some pics of the bull, then decided to take a few photos of the cemetery itself. I happen to appreciate cemeteries. My dad is an amateur genealogist, and ever since I can remember he and my mom would drive one of our jalopies down endless dirt roads in search of grave markers. I distinctly remember the thick dust from the road rising up through the floorboards. I didn't appreciate this at the time, but apparently a love of cemeteries creeped in there along the way. So quiet, so peaceful. The stones. The stories.

My next stop was this old, abandoned building that has intrigued me ever since I was a small child. For some reason, it reminds me a bit of an adobe structure that you might find out west. Or, that's what I thought when I was a kid, anyway.

Lastly, I simply must share with you my thrifting score of the day.

A new ottoman to go with my $2 chair. Isn't she a beauty? Look at those colors!

I must admit that though I don't like to be in the car this much, as commutes go, this one is really quite lovely.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Thoroughly Wholesome Weekend

Yes, our weekend saw us spending the bulk of our time outside (thankfully the weather cooperated wonderfully) in activities of the thoroughly wholesome variety.

I mean, what could be more wholesome then touring a local farm, hanging out at the beach, and pressing apple cider? Not much, I can tell you.

Kilby Ridge Farm in Dennysville was having an open farm day, and that is where we found ourselves on Saturday afternoon. Since I made the decision to buy more of our food locally, we've been enjoying some of the delicious vegetables that this farm produces.  As I strolled around the grounds of this beautiful farm (which looks out over the Denys River) I felt so good knowing that this is where some of our food comes from. I also got the chance to speak to the farmers from Old Sow Farm and Creamery, a local dairy farm. We have been loving their milk, and their yogurt is delicious, too.

Kieran ran all over the farm with his friends.
Could we be any more wholesome?

Those at the farm were treated to music by Heron and his jazz trio. Don't they look happy?

Kieran, Patrick and I capped off the day with a walk to the beach. Kieran crawled around on the rocks while I sat in the late afternoon sun and worked on my neverending wool poncho.

Wholesome, downeast Maine boy.
The kids enjoy a wholesome tractor ride at the cider pressing party.
My friend has the most gorgeous, auburn hair I've ever seen. It's like mermaid hair!
The kids are crawling all over the apple trees.

Yup, we Westons are a wholesome bunch!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Message in a Bottle

So, I was thinking about using this space to have a wee rant this morning. But then, on the beach with Patrick around mid morning, I spied this:

The plastic baggie was neatly folded and nestled in a small plastic juice container. The cap was on there pretty good, so I gave it a little muscle to get it off. I was so excited by this find that I had to calm myself so I wouldn't tear up the contents as I tried to extricate the baggie from the bottle. What I found inside the baggie was this:

When I saw this, I couldn't help but smile. I even teared up a little. At that moment, it didn't seem so bad that 1) I'd run out of chicken food; 2) we've been without hot water for six days; 3) my hair and my kitchen are pretty dirty 4) the car battery died this morning so I can't get the chicken food or the parts necessary to fix the hot water heater. 

All these little things that seemed like such a drag were quickly put into perspective by Nicholas' happy drawing. Instead of focusing on these inconveniences, I started wondering who Nicholas was and where he lives. Who is that with him in the drawing? His mom? Sister? Is that even him in the picture? Was this "message in a bottle" part of a school project? Did he realize he'd change the course of a person's day by sending his drawing out to sea?

I am constantly reminded of how cyclical life is. The ups and downs of life that seem to occur on an almost daily basis. As I get older (and wiser, I hope!) my faith in the pendulum swinging back around, returning me to a place of balance and joy, grows stronger.  That saying "you've got to take the bitter with the sweet" is all too real. Sometimes I tolerate those bitter times with grace. Sometimes not. But no matter what, I have absolute faith in that cycle. It is that faith that provides me with comfort when I am faced with life's hardships, big or small.

And so, we'll boost the car. We'll have hot water back by tomorrow (fingers crossed!). And in the meantime I'll heat water to wash dishes and I'll make sure the chickens get plenty of grass. And despite my greasy hair, I'll remind myself that basically, my life is pretty kick-ass. Thanks, Nicholas...

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Weekend of Wood and Wool

So even though the weather this weekend was absolutely spectacular (it was in the 70s both days), this is October. And we do live in Downeast Maine. This means that every spare second we have, especially when the weather permits, must be spent preparing for the winter season.

To that end, practically one whole day was spent transporting seasoned wood from the lot across the street our property. We generally buy a truckload of wood each year. We let it sit for a while, then cut and split it. This wood has been sitting for a long time, and it's nice and dry. Oh, it's going to burn so hot! One year we burned wet wood, and this completely sucked. So I feel especially grateful that we have 1) an abundant supply of wood, and that 2) the wood will not hiss and steam when I'm tending the fire this winter.

My guys hard at work!
This might be a good time for me to confess that I actually did not participate in this particular activity. In my defense, piling the wood under cover will be primarily my job (with a little help from Kieran, no doubt). No, I was involved in other pursuits that urgently needed my attention. Like working on knitting this wool poncho for myself:

Here's a picture of what this thing will actually look like.

Pretty cute, right? It's actually a free pattern from Paton's Yarn. It's knit in two pieces, front and back. I've completed the front and I'm well on my way to completing the back. It's easy, mindless knitting, which suits me just fine right now.
I made a mobile out of these cute little guys. 

I also made another cute mobile for my friend's birthday.

This isn't made of wool, but I just wanted to prove that I was also busy while Kieran and Heron were busy schlepping all that wood...
The gorgeous weather makes it hard to believe that winter is just around the corner. But it is. I really need to get my butt in gear. Operation "Batten Down the Hatches" must commence in earnest in the upcoming weeks. It's gonna take more then a poncho and a woolen owl mobile to keep us warm this winter!