Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I live in a beautiful world

After work today, I sat outside on the back patio because it was such a beautiful day. The weather has been absolutely pleasant since we had the violent thunderstorm that came barreling through in the wee hours of Monday morning. My neighbor told me that her family actually took shelter in their basement which should give you some indication of how powerful this storm was. But it brought much cooler temps along with it and the pleasant weather continues. As I sat in my chair, I read the latest issue of Bon Appetit magazine {thanks, Daryl!} while listening to the birds sing.

I kept hearing a hawk screeching but it didn’t seem to be anything out of the ordinary and I continued to turn the pages, marveling at all the wonderful food that I would probably never make but always want to try. After about a half hour, I noticed that the sound of the hawk was still there and oddly enough, still coming from the same place. It was coming not from the sky, or from the branches of a tree and so I got up from my chair and walked toward the sound. And I was surprised to see a beautiful hawk sitting on the fence line about 50 yards from where I stood. And wonder of wonders, there was a bluebird bringing food to her babies in one of the houses along that same fence line. I had no idea a family had set up housekeeping in this box and so I went inside to get my camera.

Every time I see a hawk doing something out of the ordinary, I think that it’s my husband trying to tell me something. In this case, it would be to come and look – the bluebirds have hatched. Do you think that’s crazy?


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Regardless, I went inside for the camera.

If bugs gross you out, I apologize. But birds gotta eat, you know.


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I didn’t have to wait long until she came back to the nest and was able to capture several images of her bringing bugs to her little ones. Observing the birds with my camera on hand remains one of my favorite calming things to do. And I find it really interesting that different birds have such distinct personalities. The female bluebird will consistently bring food to their babies 90% more times than the male will. Maybe the male was just standing guard because I had moved my chair closer to the nest – I don’t know. I just find it interesting.


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All of the photos here are of the female because the male, although he had food ready in his mouth, either stood guard further down the fence line, or flew and perched nearby.

With the food in his mouth the entire time. He was NOT coming to that nest (which is why I eventually left).


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But she had a job to do and she did it relentlessly.

And she did not seem to care that I was sitting nearby.


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I live in a beautiful world.



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The grass is over a foot high, but oh well. I just hope the lawn service hasn’t forgotten us.


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All of the images in this post were edited using a free sample pack of actions that I am loving right now. (They’re my new favorite). You can download them here for Photoshop CS 2-6, PS Creative Cloud, and PS Elements 8-12.

Little Lusker – Elements of the Sea

I used Blue Whisper, Stellar, and Tropical Punch today.


Hope your week is a stellar one, my friends ~

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in

I have become a terrible blogger. Not only do I not post regularly, I have comments in my inbox that I have not yet responded to. And my grammar in that last sentence, although not deplorable, is incorrect. I can live with that. And I will eventually get back to my inbox.

This post began, as they all do, with me searching for photos to share with you. I’ve got quite the cornucopia for you today and they really are all over the place. And as I sized them, and inserted them into the program I use (Windows Live Writer), I saw that it was beginning to get dark outside.

I mean, really dark. You’ll see at the end but for now, let’s get started, shall we?


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This is sweet Baby M. She’s over a year old and is now walking. Her parents were away for the weekend over the 4th of July and her grandparents (Helen & Bob) were watching her at their home. She’s just woken from a nap here.

Being near babies is joyful. It just is.


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This is darling Baby Clare. I saw her (and the rest of my family) at my brother’s home in NJ this past weekend. Baby Clare is my sister, Char’s, granddaughter.

She is the most cheerful child, at least that’s my impression. This 5-month old might raise royal hell at home for all I know, but while she was at my brother’s house, she was an absolute delight.


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Here she is with her granddad. She is a fun little girl.


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I organized a boating outing in June as a way of saying goodbye to my dear friend, Nancy, who has retired from teaching at our school and has moved to be closer to her children in North Carolina.

It was a beautiful day in early June on the North East River in Maryland and I invited other teachers along for the ride.


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We boated to a pretty spot and dropped anchor. Then we listened to the John Mayer station on Pandora radio and had cocktails made with sweet tea vodka and Simply Limeaid. They were really yummy. Nancy said that she had a wonderful time and I’m planning on making a photo remembrance for her that will be a surprise. She doesn’t read my blog, so I think I’m safe in putting that out there.


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Daylilies in a friend’s garden in NJ.


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And this is what I captured this evening. The clouds were gathering quickly and were absolutely roiling. The dog wanted IN in a bad way so I let him back in the house when I went back for the camera. He is now upstairs in my son’s room, probably hiding under the bed.


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This summer has been a thousand times better than last summer and it’s partly due to the fact that we’ve been taking Fridays off. As long as we stay and get our work done Monday through Thursday, we can take off Friday. It’s made all the difference and it’s really fun having 3-day weekends. My friend, Daryl, can attest to this. She’s been doing it at her place of employment in NYC for the past couple? of years.

Life was more difficult last summer, too. But those who come here regularly already know that. I don’t feel like talking about it.

The post title came from a Leonard Cohen tune, “Anthem”. I was reminded of it while watching a movie on Netflix last night called Last Love. Netflix recommended this flick for me but I never wanted to view it because it looked sad. After breaking down and watching it last night, I’m recommending it. Yes, it’s a little sad and all, but hell . . . life is sad sometimes. It’s a sweet movie and the French actress, Clemence Poesy, is absolutely luminous. And it was filmed in Paris (and Brittany, Brussels, and Cologne). Very very nice. Another plus is Gillian Anderson who plays the self-absorbed daughter.

Tonight I’m watching something a little spooky, Demi Moore in Half Light. I’ve seen it before and felt like watching it again. I would love to stay in the cottage along the Cornish coast where it was filmed. It’s a stunning little place that is actually a vacation rental.

Unique Home Stays

And it’s a perfect night to watch something a little bit spooky. I’m glad my son is home though!

Until next time, my friends ~

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

These are the days

It’s a rainy evening and I just finished my dinner of leftovers while catching up on the latest episode of Longmire, my favorite tv show at the moment. For dinner, I had {this} and, oh my, was it ever good.

George has come out from his hiding place to play a little fetch with me. He’s been comfortably ensconced behind a table in the living room because he could hear the distant booming of thunder and he could see the occasional flash of lightning. But he can see I’m on my computer right now, so he’s silently waiting for me to get done.

I had a fun weekend although I had to leave my little buddy at home with my son. I don’t like doing this and I try to only go places that I can bring him. But sometimes it’s kind of impossible.

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I went to Philadelphia to visit with friends after picking up my friend, Karen, in NJ. Here we are going over the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge.


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We went to the Keswick Theater to see Natalie Merchant.


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And she was fabulous.

Karen and I went down to the stage toward the end of the concert. When Natalie Merchant and her band came out for the encore, people began giving her gifts and she was so thankful and surprised, it seemed, that she ran backstage and came out with 3 trays of chocolates. I was right at the far edge of the stage and she ran to me first, opened the chocolates and told me to take one. Wow!


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The security guards wouldn’t allow anyone to take photos so I stood behind a column and got this one above. It’s kind of crappy but there you go.

I had so much fun! I loved 10,000 Maniacs when she was the lead singer for them and then she left to pursue a solo career in 1993.

This is from when she was with 10,000 Maniacs.


And this is from her first solo album, Tigerlily, in 1995. Loved that one.


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The moon was full, the night was fun, and it was good to be out and about with long-time friends. And I still cannot believe that I didn’t get to bed until after two in the morning . . .



The next day, Karen and I went swimming at her sister-in-law’s house. No one was home, but they knew we were coming. It was so very very nice floating in the cold water on a hot summer’s day.

Huge sigh.

Sometimes it just feels like everything is ok.

You know?

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I was born in the arms of imaginary friends

I love that line from John Mayer’s ‘Half of My Heart’ – and it’s the only real reason I’m using it as my post title today. I heard it on the way home from work this afternoon and it’s been stuck in my mind ever since.

I was born in the arms of imaginary friends.

Free to roam, made a home out of everywhere I’d been . . .

Oh, half of my heart’s got a grip on the situation

half of my heart takes time . . .


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The photos in this post were all taken from the top of Mt. Battie in Camden, Maine, a couple of weeks ago. Two of my sisters and I left my house a day early on our vacation, planning to stop and visit my friends, Reena & Ralph Walkling, who have a home in Rockport. They drove us to nearby Camden and the top of Mt. Battie in order to give us a better perspective of the area.

Did you know that Camden and Mt. Desert Island are the only two places along the Atlantic Ocean where the mountains meet the sea?


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The views were extraordinary from up there.


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Reena and Ralph.


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I met Reena blogging. We found that we both shared a love of photography, specifically landscape, nature, and bird portraits. To see her beautiful photography, you can visit her at {missing moments}.

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The clouds were fabulous that day. I took this photo from the top of the tower.


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Me, Ginny, and Char.


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The famous poet, Edna St. Vincent Millay, made her home in Camden and was inspired by the beauty of the hills when at 18, she wrote her first poem, “Renascence”. There is a commemorative plaque at the top of the mountain that honors her.


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Maine is just so beautiful and it keeps calling my name ~


Thanks for coming by today.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Blackwoods Cottage, Otter Creek ME

I have just returned from a week at Blackwoods Cottage in Otter Creek Maine where I spent the most wonderful time. Our weather was perfect and the cottage was absolutely charming in an old-fashioned Maine kind of way.

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Driving from Bar Harbor to Seal Harbor, along Rte. 3, the cottage is the last dwelling on the left before you come to the Blackwoods Campground main road. It has three bedrooms, one with a very comfortable queen bed, one with two twins, and one with a daybed.


IMG_20140622_081907 copy 2The front porch was our favorite hang-out spot. It stayed cool in the shade and the bushes and trellis gave us some privacy from the main road.


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Lots of special little touches at this place.


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This is the little side porch off of the dining room.


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Standing in the backyard, you can see that the lupines were in full bloom. You can also see the chairs around the fire pit. Wood is sold all along the road which made it easy for us.


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Rather than let the flowers go to waste, we cut some and put them in a few of the many vases the owner has.


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The dining room with a piano that could use a tuning. But this is certainly not a complaint.


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The wood on the walls, ceilings, and floors is perfect for this place as are all the decorative accouterments.


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Taken from the stairway (please excuse our mess).


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The well-equipped kitchen was adorable in a retro kind of way. The frig was just a little cumbersome because the door to the porch is right next to it, as well as the laundry cupboard. But we didn’t care! We were in Maine, and it was just so beautiful.


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What a cool-looking oven and stove! The kitchen was very nicely appointed, and outside on the porch, there’s a gas grill with a burner included on it. We used the cottage lobster pot to steam our lobsters outside.


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Beautiful wood everywhere lends such warmth to the place.

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Bottom Line: I would stay here again. This place was absolutely charming. There are two drawbacks for families to consider, however. One is the proximity to the road. Rte. 3 runs right next to the cottage (you can see it in the first photo above). It’s a well-travelled road, but oddly enough, the cars never bothered us. This is probably due to the privacy lent by the big lilac bushes and the trellis of morning glories along the side and front of the porch. The second drawback is that there is no bathroom on the first floor. But I believe there are plans to add one.

I would definitely recommend this cottage as a vacation rental. Acadia National Park is all around it, and a trailhead is right across the street. Perfection!


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For more information, visit the website:

Blackwoods Cottage


Respectfully submitted,

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