Friday, November 30, 2012
There is a fantastic article in this month's Downeast Magazine about Belfast. What a swell little city!
This weekend and next there are lots of events in town around the theme of "An Old Fashioned Christmas."
It all starts with an early bird sale on Saturday morning: http://ourtownbelfast.org/welcome/holiday-early-bird-121/
Have a great weekend!
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Belfast is home to the only curling club in Maine. Because the Belfast Curling Club is here, I watched curling last time the winter Olympics came around. It's a sport that I'd never known anything about, and it looked like fun. I kept saying that I wanted check it out, and a friend who has long been a member of the curling club said she knew I'd like it if I came in to give it a try.
This afternoon, J and I stopped in for a quick lesson. It's hard. As hard as it looks. And just as much fun!
I'm sure we'll be back to give it another try. Or I will. J will have to wait a few years. The stones that players slide across the ice weigh nearly as much as she does!
Disney's Princess Leia?
On a completely different note, last month I heard that Disney has purchased LucasFilms -- including all of the rights to Star Wars. Have you heard about this? I keep thinking about Princess Leia, one of my childhood heroes (Princess Leia and Debbie Harry, of course, with Olivia Newton-John following close behind). How long before we see a new animated princess movie starring a weirdly-large-eyed version of Leia? I don't think I'd care for that.
Thanksgiving in Belfast
For those who will be in Belfast over the Thanksgiving holiday, Bell the Cat will be showing the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special on Wednesday night on their 136" projection television. "Bring the kiddos in to relax a little before the big holiday...show starts @ 6pm." We went in to see "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" after trick-or-treating and it was such a nice way to end the evening.
A healthy and happy Thanksgiving to all!
Friday, November 9, 2012
There is a lot of catching up to be done. We've been so busy this fall that I haven't had a chance to write about some of our exciting outings.
They are closed for the season now, but I wanted to be sure to write about the Desert of Maine. I adore a good old-fashoined tourist trap. Honestly. Years ago, on a camping trip in the California redwoods, I was suckered into paying $5 to visit a drive-through tree. As the car emerged at the completion of a short uphill drive that ended with a squeeze through a decades-old tunnel through a gorgeous old redwood, I wondered whether it was worth the price of admission. Absolutely! The goal is simply to take these experiences for what they are -- a burst of kitschy fun -- and enjoy the moment. Expecting sophistication where none has been promised is a direct road to disappointment.
Which brings me back to the Desert of Maine. Just an odd little roadside attraction in Freeport. My favorite bit of the tour was the hilltop home to two fiberglass camels. J enjoyed hearing that there were once real camels in this desert, but they spit at people and were generally unfriendly, so that had to be re-located. Let's hope they sent them back to their natural environs. Maine is no place for a camel!
It's really quite a beautiful landscape -- sparse, bright, and warm, with the early October sun beating down on the sand. There are some nice short hiking trails through the woods as well. And, for all it's surface kitsch, they do a great job of explaining the environmental mismanagement that caused the desert to appear in Maine. They also give a clear explanation of how the forest is slowly taking back the land. Don't miss the 18th-century barn, which includes a replica of a period farmhouse kitchen and a fascinating collection of sands from all over the world.
This week, I also wanted to write about how excited we all were to meet Angus King a few days before the election. We had a chance to say hello when his campaign bus stopped in Belfast. Now, when we hear about Senator King on the news, J will be able to make a connection to a real person. I love how opportunities like this make politics, local and in Washington DC, seem close to home. I was also so pleased that J got to share this experience with her grandmother, who has followed King's career for years.
Seems an odd collection of subjects here today: Drive-through trees, misplaced deserts, and the senator elect. Life in America, right?
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
I made a deal with myself to begin running again in time to complete the last local 5k of the season without keeling over. A few good friends made it both fun to launch into a dedicated training schedule and impossible to back out of my commitment to run the race. With only 10 days to prepare, I ran every day, adding a bit more distance one day, backing off the next.
My goal was simply to complete the race, and that's all I did. I'm not terribly competitive by nature (not when it comes to sports at least), but I was relieved not to come in dead last. My daughter, J, who is now nearly 6 years old, kept asking me if I was going to win. I kept telling her that I had no intention of winning. I was full of long-winded advice along the lines of: winning isn't the goal; setting goals for yourself is more important; it won't do to compare yourself with others...
On some level she was buying it, but I think these are messages that I have to keep repeating. Somewhere between the summer Olympics, friends playing sports, and occasionally watching Jeopardy or singing competition shows (I know...but we love to sing...) with me, she has been exposed to the idea that doing well means doing better that everyone else. Sure -- that's how our competitive society works. And yes -- a bit of healthy competition is probably a good thing. Still -- It's so much more fun just to do something that you love for the love of doing it.
Which brings me back to running. I have never really loved it. But once I made the decision to do it more consistently I noticed some promising changes. First of all, every day was a bit easier than the last. I have noticed this in the past, but it was much more pronounced this time, likely because I took such a long break and then started up again with determination and a set goal. I was exhausted at first. But over the course of the time it took to train, I realized that I was sleeping better, and felt generally less scatterbrained. And, most surprising of all, the running itself became more fun. As I have continued on a regular schedule, I enjoy it more and more. Running with friends helps a lot, as does the delightful fall weather. There are actually moments now when I do love it. And I love the way it feels at the end of a good run.
I'd like to keep it up. I hope I will be able to maintain the enthusiasm over the winter. One thing I have to do is find time to download some new music. I'd love some suggestions! This one, by Tina Dico, isn't the best choice for keeping up a good running pace, but it's a great song, and I've had it in my head all day.
By the way, Open Creamery Day was so much fun. We had a fantastic visit to Appleton Creamery and brought home some delightful goat's milk soap made by Sisters Soap of Camden.
Saturday, October 6, 2012
We're off to join Mary Weaver at this morning's Church Street party!
Here is a fun article from the Pen Bay Pilot: http://www.penbaypilot.com/article/belfasts-last-weird-street-party-needs-you/4143
Also this weekend:
The Belfast Rotary Club sponsors the annual Pancake 5k -- Race starts at 9:00am on Sunday, October 7 at Belfast Area High School. Registration begins at 8:15. A pancake breakfast follows the race in the HS cafeteria.
Sunday is Open Creamery Day!
11am to 3pm
As the hardwood foliage bursts in a blaze of colors on Columbus Day weekend, take in the spectacular sights and taste some award-winning cheese during the Maine Cheese Guild’s annual Open Creamery Day. Visit many of Maine’s cheese makers in their creameries, meet the animals, and learn the stories behind Maine’s more than 150 artisan cheeses. Along the way you can also visit a farmers’ market, stop at an orchard, explore one of Maine’s premier breweries or wineries, pick fruit at Maine’s legendary orchards, and drop-in on one of the many artisan bread makers our state has to offer. You’ll love the views, and the taste of Maine cheese, straight from the source, will be the best memory of all!
And Hope Orchards hosts Fruit and Fiber day on Sunday:
Join local fiber producers and fiber artists at Hope Orchards as they show their
products and demonstrate their skills in hand-dying, knitting, spinning, and more!
Have a great weekend!
Friday, September 28, 2012
Where did this month go? With the start of kindergarten and various other fun activities, my weekly postings have flown out the window... Everyone is probably too busy to read blog posts at this time of year anyway, right?
September has been loads of fun around here! J, her Grandma and I started the month with a trip to Boothbay Harbor for a whale watch on a gorgeous Saturday morning.
Boothbay Whale Watch gave us passes to head out on another day. A perfectly fine outcome, and, since no one felt the least bit seasick, still a lovely day out.
Seeing as we were heading back early, we decided to stop at Moody's Diner in Waldoboro for slices of pie. What better way to break up the drive home?
Another September highlight was the Common Ground Fair. We always have a great time at the fair. This year's best moments:
And the donkey obstacle course. This little guy was our favorite.
Finally, it's apple picking season! This week we went with J's school to Maine-ly Apples in Dixmont, a lovely orchard. We were the first to pick empire apples. I've never seen trees so full.
We visited Hope Orchards a few weeks ago, too. We'll be back to one or both of these before the season is over.
So many possibilities for the coming weekend! I'm considering Vinfest at Cellardoor Vineyard in Lincolnville. Check out the schedule here: http://mainewine.com/events-2/vinfest-2012-festival/
Maybe the Harvest Moon Celebration at Beech Nut in Rockport:
Coastal Mountains Land Trust and the Camden Public Library will team up to celebrate the full Harvest Moon and Great Maine Outdoor Weekend at Beech Hill Preserve. Land Trust volunteers will open Beech Nut, the historic sod-roofed stone hut on top of Beech Hill, for this special evening open house. Miss Amy of Camden Library, will read stories in the firelit hut, and the library’s telescope will be on hand to view the full moon up close. Be sure to bring a blanket to sit on and a flashlight to help guide your way up and down the ¾-mile hike. FMI: http://
Coming up in October:
Open Creamery Day sponsored by the Maine Cheese Guild: Sunday, October 7. 11am - 3pm.
As the hardwood foliage bursts in a blaze of colors on Columbus Day weekend, take in the spectacular sights and taste some award-winning cheese during the Maine Cheese Guild’s annual Open Creamery Day. Visit many of Maine’s cheese makers in their creameries, meet the animals, and learn the stories behind Maine’s more than 150 artisan cheeses. FMI: http://www.mainecheeseguild.org/?tag=open-creamery-day
We're excited to meet the goats at Appleton Creamery!
Also, Maine moms raising daughters mark your calendars: Friday, October 26, 2012. 5:00-9:30 PM.
The Maine Mother Daughter Project: A Conference For Women on Cultivating Strong Bonds With Our Daughters
University of Maine’s Hutchinson Center
80 Belmont Avenue (Rt 3)
Belfast, ME 04915
This is such a great project.
Enough already! See you before another month has passed.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a new Guide to Healthy Cleaning out this month. There is some scary information here. There are many good suggestions, too.
I clean most things with vinegar (floors, drains, wooden cutting boards...). But there are some other cleaning products that I buy regularly.
Simple Green, for example, which I now see is at the top of EWG's Hall of Shame list. Here is what they have to say about Simple Green:
"Simple Green Concentrated All-Purpose CleanerIt's labeled "non-toxic" and "biodegradable." It contains:
- 2-butoxyethanol, a solvent absorbed through the skin that damages red blood cells and irritates eyes;
- A secret blend of alcohol ethoxylate surfactants. Some members of this chemical family are banned in the European Union.
Now, where is the list of products that will keep this clean house uncluttered?
Posted by Erica Rubin Irish at 11:15 AM