Transitioning

If you’ve followed along for a while, you know that my life is split between Maine and Houston.  I enjoy both places, but transitioning into Houston does have its challenges.

West UThere are some highlights, including coming home to the house I love.  

Houston houseThe first few minutes are spent wandering from room to room reacquainting myself with each one.

tablescape/barEven before bags are unpacked, I go to buy foodstuffs.  Now, that is one of the joys of being in Houston.  Costco and Trader Joe’s are just a few minutes away as well as a grocery store that has everything and then some.  Between the three the pantry is well stocked and bunches of flowers make it seem like home.

Office View HoustonNow for the hard part. Compared to Rockport, Houston is a behemoth!  What that means is traffic, lots of it.  Already I’ve had to do some freeway driving and after traveling mostly two lane roads for the last few months, six lanes of cars moving at fast speeds is a trifle scary.

Houston has been home for many years, and I do have good friends here that I am anxious to see.  I appreciate the amenities this big city offers, but I miss the simple life and the natural beauty in Maine.  Heck, I even miss shopping at TJ Maxx!

Rockport HarborI especially miss opening my eyes every morning and looking out to see how Rockport Harbor is welcoming the day.  Here, when I turn my head all I see is the wooden fence that separates us from the neighbors.  

Oh well, it’s a good life and I am very grateful for all that each place affords.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Collecting Memories

IMG_1778 (1)It’s that time of year when boating is all but over. Pipe Dreams is put away for the season leaving only the kayak for a last outing. No matter how many times I paddle Rockport Harbor it’s always different. This time I want to take it all in as what I see will be stored in my head as memories for winter.

IMG_1865The tide is low which fully exposes the seaweed attached to the rocks. Its texture reminds me of a witch’s hair, appropriate, I guess, as it’s that time of year.

IMG_1870Until I spotted some movement, I completely missed the ducks marching across the rocks. What a perfect blend!

IMG_1726Sailboats line the mouth of the harbor waiting their turn to be hauled out and stored until next season. All of these boats are familiar as they’ve passed by my windows many times during the summer.

DSC01516The schooner Heron is heading out to Penobscot Bay with a full load of passengers. She, too, will soon be gone as she goes south for the winter.

lobster boats/Rockport HarborAll the lobster boats are in for the day.

IMG_1759The last one has just unloaded its haul and the truck is ready to pull away with its bounty. Boy, I’ll miss that easy access to lobster!

IMG_1914Now on the other side of the harbor it makes me smile to see people enjoying a beautiful afternoon. With cold weather coming, folks take advantage of every opportunity to be outside beneath a warm sun.

DSC00018 (1)Passing this boat reminds me of fun summer dinners and afternoon of mahjong.  Talk about a great place to have people gather!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m not the only one out taking advantage of sunshine and blue sky. There are other kayakers,

IMG_1919a paddle boarder braving the cooling water

IMG_1794and someone capturing her own images of this beautiful place.

IMG_1773As I turn and head home, I pass a loon which is a most unusual sight on the harbor as loons tend to be more common around fresh water. I wonder if this evening we will hear its mournful calls or if it will have found its way back to more familiar environs.

IMG_1812I see home drawing near, and I think one more time how lucky I am to spend time in this wonderful place. I am happy to have you share it with me.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Foiled!

dirt road winterEach year during the holidays we return to Maine for a taste of winter.  A few days is generally enough to tell us we are happy not to have to endure more.   There is something good to be said about winter in Houston.

The schooners that sail Penobscot Bay all summer were bound in shrink wrap to protect them from winter weather.

IMG_0080Some brave soul had braved the cold long enough to shimmy up the mast to top it with a tree.

IMG_0092The schooner was not the only thing to sport a tree.  So did the fuel dock at Rockport Marine where we fill Pipe Dreams with diesel to keep her running on our summer boating adventures.

IMG_0097It was so cold that the harbor was partially frozen, a sight not often seen.

IMG_0103The ice locked in place the few lobster boats that remained in the water.

Rockport Harbor - sea smoke 188 MASTERWith the temperatures well below freezing,  sea smoke floated across the water, a sight full of mystery and beauty.

IMG_0090Snow made the landscape a winter wonderland.

IMG_0083With their wooly coats, sheep seemed able to  bear the cold but they stayed close to the barn since the snow in the pasture was too deep for them to frolic

IMG_0110Yes, these are visions of winter, but this holiday was foiled by an Arctic blast with temperatures so cold outside as to be almost unbearable for more than a few minutes.  To make matters worse, the heat in our house was not working properly meaning that we stayed bundled up and spent most of our time in front of the fireplace.  We stood it for two days before the hubby decided he’d had enough of 40 degree temps in the house.  Though weather foiled our stay, it was long enough to capture some of the season’s magic and gave us yet another memory of the time we spend in Maine.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Between Happy and Sad

I like many things about fall. Rich color and texture, the smell of wood smoke, falling leaves on morning walks, pumpkins and gourds, the feel of fleece against my skin, morning coffee in front of a fire all make me happy, BUT there are some things that make me sad.
img_2391Early October means putting Pipe Dreams into winter storage and that symbolizes the loss of something I love about being in Maine.
Among my happiest moments are those when we leave Rockport Harbor behind and go exploring. Sadly, this is the last outing and the memory will have to last through the winter.
As we venture out, I see sights that are so familiar yet manage to look different every time. In the distance overlooking Penobscot Bay is Beech Hill, today shrouded by mist.
Heading out to the bay we pass Indian Island with its now inoperable lighthouse. Changing light and shifting tides always make me think I’m seeing it for the first time.
Perry CreekOur plan is to spend the night on the boat so we go to Perry Creek, a favorite spot. It’s a popular boating destination, but tonight the summer crowd is gone and all is quiet except for a soft breeze blowing through the trees and the sound of water gently lapping against the hull.
That makes it very easy to relax while the hubby and I enjoy predinner snacks and a game or two of backgammon. Yes, life is good.
We called it a day beneath a star filled sky, but we woke to a world blanketed in fog and with its own kind of beauty.

Close by a heron lingered patiently as if waiting for it to clear.

After a while a gull left its perch to check things out.

We sat munching a simple breakfast and watching the tranquil morning unfold around us.

Times like this are such special gifts, but nothing lasts forever so when the fog cleared we headed back to Rockport Harbor, and I savored every glimpse of places that I love.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

 

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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Fog: A Sure Thing

When you live on the coast of Maine, fog is a sure thing.  It may last for only a few hours or for a day.  Rarely does it linger longer, but it can which means staying inside and getting caught up on neglected chores or reading or working a jigsaw puzzle.

Here on Rockport Harbor, it is interesting to watch the fog’s journey.  Today it is creeping in from Penobscot Bay on little cat feet.

Left behind is a sky so blue that it makes the contrast between clear and mist even more dramatic.As the fog makes its way into the harbor, it begins to wrap the trees along the shore in a transparent veil.

It slinks above the boats rocking gently on their moorings

and makes its way to the head of the harbor where it outlines the vessels tied at the pier.

Gradually, the fog thickens hiding all hints of blue sky and shrouding everything in its path.

As I stand and watch the fog blanket the harbor,  all but that which is a few feet away becomes invisible. Whether it is here to stay or to disappear  soon only time will tell.  For now, it is intriguing to follow fog’s journey which makes me again marvel at nature’s mysterious ways.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Dishing It & Digging It

 

Porch Love

dinghy/Rockport HarborDuring the summer months we spend lots of time on the porch watching the action on the harbor,

enjoying birds at the feeder

or sharing tini time with family or friends.

Maintaining our special place, however, got to be a real challenge as Maine winters are hard on exterior finishes.  Finally, the porch with its rotten boards and never ending demand for paint got the best of us, and we decided to replace it with a synthetic material made by Azek.  The hard part was the hubby and me agreeing on color and composition!

That done so began a project that proved to be a major undertaking.  Piece by piece the old came out

 under the watchful eye of Willow who accompanied her boss to work every day.  She wasn’t much help when it came to the installation, but she was perfectly behaved.

The crew worked 12 hour days, and the hubby couldn’t resist getting involved.  He proved to be an able assistant.  That definitely gives him some ownership of the project as well as a few aches and pains.

In case you are thinking this was an easy job, think again.  Every piece that went in had to be carefully measured and cut as nothing of the original porch was perfect.  

When all was said and done, however, the porch is perfect and will be much appreciated when next spring no repairs will be required.

Now the birdhouses are back in place,

new plant stands replace a peeling bench and are perfect for a garden vignette.

martiniBest of all, the porch is again ready for tini time!  Cheers!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

 

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

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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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Wow Us Wednesday

What’s It Wednesday

Let Summer Begin!

Pipe DreamsUntil Pipe Dreams is back at the dock and we’ve had our first boat outing, summer hasn’t begun.  Thanks to blustery seas, it’s taken a few days to get that first trip underway.

Rockport Pano 6X18Leaving Rockport Harbor behind I begin to see all the familiar sights that are so dear.  

Indian Island Indian Island with its lighthouse still stands guard at the mouth of the harbor, and in the distance a schooner loaded with visitors is powered by a gentle breeze.

islandFarther out are the islands  that separate us from the Atlantic Ocean and make this part of the Maine coast the absolute best for boating.

North Haven/llobster buoysLobster buoys dot the water,

lobster boatsand the lobster guys are out doing their thing which reminds me I haven’t yet had a lobster!

cloudsHigh above are clouds floating in a clear blue sky, and I wonder how life could be any more perfect than at this moment.   I close my eyes in gratitude for the privilege of being in this beautiful place.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind