Flowers, Maine

A Look Around

For the next few months, the hubby and I have left Houston behind for Rockport, Maine. The two places are oh so different with a major difference being the plant life.

rhododendrons/flowersArriving in Maine, the first thing I do is walk around the yard where so many varieties of  blooming plants color the landscape. This year we missed the azaleas but were in time for the rhodendrons to be in full splendor.

lilacs/flowersAlongside them, the sweet smell of lilacs fills the air.

IMG_1365I was pleased to see the viburnum blooming more profusely than in recent years, but they also remind me how important it is to keep them trimmed or they can crowd out everything else.

peonyPeonies are staked thanks to advanced help and are filled with tight little buds that won’t pop for another week or two.  Just the thought of those beauties makes my heart race.

flowers/bachelor buttonTo my surprise, bachelor buttons had sprung up among the ferns.

flowersBeautiful alliums are hanging in there, but it will be only a matter of days before they are done and ready to dry for fall arrangements.

IMG_1355It is too late in the day to do more than look around, but that’s time enough to plan what needs to happen next.  And, with all this beauty, it’s impossible to resist cutting a few blooms to take inside where they add color and joy.  It doesn’t take much to make me feel right at home.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

 

ramblings, Thoughts

What To Do?

There comes a time when one has to think about what to do next as it applies to housing.  So many things influence that decision particularly health, lifestyle, empty nest.  The hubby and I are thinking we may be at that point now, but making a decision involving change is not easy.

We live in a house we love.  It is one that we dreamed about for years before finally building, and it is pretty near perfect except for the fact that we no longer need all the space.  Our daughters are gone, I’m not working in my studio as much which means the entire second floor goes unused except for those few days a year when a relative visits.

In addition, we spend half the year in Maine where we are fortunate to have another house.  Thanks to having frequent guests, its space is much more utilized, but it is not a forever home.

So, what do we do?  It makes sense in Houston to downsize.  To that end we’ve looked at so called luxury apartments thinking it makes sense to rent rather than buy.

We’ve looked at condos that reach high into the sky and open to either lovely views of Houston or rooftops with mechanical equipment and parking.

We’ve checked out midrises that seem a bit more intimate than the multistoried condos and apartments.

We’ve visited some lovely townhome developments, but a townhome doesn’t satisfy our desire to have a lock and leave place.

So, what’s a couple who’s happy in place but realizing it may no longer make sense do?  Do any of the rest of you face this conundrum and how have you addressed it? Right now I’m feeling like Scarlet O’Hara whose approach to a hard decision was often to think about it tomorrow.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Food, Tablescapes

Just the Two of Us

For the first time in several weeks, it’s just the hubby and me at home.  That means some relaxed moments on the porch enjoying the sunset over Rockport Harbor.  The days are getting shorter now, and the colors are deepening as summer begins to wane.

When it’s just the two of us, life is pretty simple.  Breakfast is a bowl of cereal or a smoothie or this time of year a blueberry muffin to go with coffee.  Lunch is whatever, maybe a sandwich, maybe hummus with crackers and cheese.  Nothing fancy for sure.

When it comes to dinner, it’s still simple, but a bit more effort goes into making it more than a stand up meal.  Always, there are flowers gathered from the garden or from the side of the road.

Whatever dishes are used are meant to complement the runner or placemats that are on the table.  This night they were from Dollar Tree which is a great place for picking up new pieces inexpensively.  No tears are shed when a plate gets broken!

It was a piece of cake to finish this table by adding accessories that repeated the colors in both the plates and the cloth.

As silly as my kids think it is, I always use cloth napkins.  Maybe it’s my contribution to saving trees and reducing what goes to the landfill!  Besides, it’s so easy to tuck them into a napkin ring which makes their presentation a bit more special.

So, that’s the table.  Now, what about dinner?  More often than not, we have seafood which is local and fresh. 

One of our favorites is scallops, likely to have been brought in from the sea that day.  They are at their best when seared quickly on each side to preserve their sweet goodness.  This night they were served over corn risotto with a simple green salad on the side.  It doesn’t get better than that!

So, there you have it, just the two of us enjoying a relaxed night at home with a few touches that make it seem a little special.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Maine

Little Piece of Heaven

Going to Maine is like my favorite fleece: the people and the memories just wrap me up in warmth and it feels like home.

I’m not sure from where I copied those words, but they sum up my feelings about returning to Maine.  Perhaps I wouldn’t love it so much if I were here all the time, but for  five plus months it is my little piece of heaven where all the stresses and concerns of life are diminished. 

So, what is it that makes Maine so special?  Well, there are a lot of things, but here are a few of my favorites. 

lobster rollLobster rolls

Walking on the dirt road

Tini time on the porch

Pipe DreamsExcursions on Pipe Dreams

MusselsFinding mussel heaven

lobster boatLobster boats

Rockport HarborRockport Harbor

fall/sunsetSunsets

There’s all this and so much more, and during the next few months I invite you to share Maine with me.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Houston

Things Change

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShortly after we married, the hubby and I bought a house in a small town that is smack dab in the middle of Houston.  At the time, the neighborhood had grown old.  Houses were mostly bungalows with a smattering of two story homes, most of which needed updating.  The majority of lots were 50×100.  

Along the way something happened.  Houston grew and grew making close in property more and more valuable.  That meant that in our little town old houses gave way to bulldozers

West Uand were replaced with big new ones.

Surprisingly, the house we lived in for 20 years stayed standing, but last week that changed.  Like all the others around it, it came down.

P3021528In a matter of minutes it was rubble, and the hubby and I had moments of nostalgia as we looked at the home that held so many memories.  The two of us had totally remodeled the house over a five year period.  We did all the work except for the sheetrock and floor tile in the space we added.  Looking back, we marvel at the energy we had and remember how proud we were of each step forward.

P3021524The house may be gone, but what didn’t come down is the sweetgum tree we planted the first year we had the house, and we laughed as we remembered its story.  It was to be a birthday surprise, but it was spoiled by the assistant who answered the phone when I called the hubby.  “Oh,” she said, “he’s not here.  He went to get your tree.”  When he came home with it, I tried to act surprised, but laughter overcame me and I had to tell him he had been foiled.

By the time we had kids, the tree had grown enough for it to become the climbing tree for every kid on the block. I can see them now and hear their young voices as they nestled in the limbs.  You know, things change, but the memories we hold dear stay with us.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

at home, Holiday Decor

Touches Here and There

The hubby has never been very interested in helping with holiday decor, and with no kids in the house some of my enthusiasm has waned.  These days less is more and the touches here and there are ever so simple.  For sure, not everything comes out of storage which makes whatever is used seem new again.

Christmas decorSo, come on in, take a look at this year’s simple touches.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou’ll not find a Christmas tree loaded with ornaments, but inside

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand out there will be one or two or maybe three trees on a tabletop.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASanta may play a holiday tune

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while his buddies dance to the rhythm.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANot all Santas are alike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwhich is what makes each one special.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor the season there are touches of red, some new  and some borrowed from another room.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEvery room has simple touches,

some adding gaiety and sparkle,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsome reminding of the meaning of Christmas.

As each piece is put in place I pause to remember its history.  Each one has a story, and it’s fun to remember the where and when.  While what you see here are this year’s favorite things, I’m sure that something different will catch my eye next time.  Or maybe some of the same things will be used differently.  You’ll have to come back next year to see!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind.

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Houston, musings

Reentry

I am very lucky to live in two places: Houston, Texas and Rockport, Maine.  We have just returned to Houston and, oh, what a difference.  Many of those differences make reentry something of a challenge.

Office View HoustonHouston is big and with that comes lots of traffic.  

HoustonRight now I drive the freeways with my heart in my mouth, fearful of changing lanes and intimidated by 18 wheelers closing in urging me to speed up or waiting to pass me by.  

img_7502That is quite a contrast to Maine where most of the roads are two lanes with 50 MPH speed limit which makes driving a bit more leisurely to say nothing of being more scenic.

img_8259As different as it is, there are things I like about being in Houston.  High on the list is Costco where I always come out with much more than  I meant to purchase.  That was especially true on this first visit when having access to so much was overwhelming!

img_8314I like that Houston winter is green with lots of blooming things, the way Maine is in summer.  By the time we leave Maine, most of the color is gone and the landscape takes a break until spring when it reawakens.

img_8332Returning to Houston means going to St. Paul’s UMC, a church I’ve loved for many years.  I appreciate its timeless Gothic architecture, the peacefulness I feel there, the way it provides opportunity for discovering your own faith walk and that it is open to all people.

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The best part of reentry is returning to my house in the area that has been home to the hubby and me since we’ve been married.  (One of these days I will have to tell you the story of how this house got me elected to office or at least how I think it helped.)

Rockport Pano 6X18

As different as it is, I enjoy the time we spend in Houston, but I must confess that I do miss waking up in the morning, turning my head and looking out on Rockport Harbor.

Rockport Harbor

No matter the season, no matter whether it’s sunny or foggy, I love the view, the activity 

winter/lobster boatsand the sight and sound of lobster boats going out for the day’s work.  The most I see upon waking in Houston is the fence that separates our and the neighbor’s property.

Despite their differences, I am lucky to live in Houston and Rockport, and each helps me appreciate the other a little more.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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