Friday, December 2, 2011

On November

I'll be honest. There is little to nothing motivating my to write this post. The simple truth is I have been putting off for the past month and as I watch life march by I just keep thinking of all the things I SHOULD be mentioning.

If I don't get this November entry posted I will feel like I left a whole months worth of my life out of the internet universe (which, to be honest, would NOT be the end of the world). And so I go through this constant conflict in my brain whenever I look at this unwritten post that goes something like this:

"I should write a blog post updating what's happened since my LAST blog post."

"But SO MUCH has happened! I don't want to think about consolidating it all..."

"But I need to start somewhere. Let's just get a couple lines down."


*types a couple lines*

"Blah. This is taking too long. Lets go do something more fun!"


*A Few Days Later*

"I should write a blog post updating what's happened since my LAST blog post."


It hasn't helped that in an attempt to NOT become an internet zombie during my current stint of unemployment, I have hidden my laptop in a corner of the living room. Out of sight and out of mind.

It's been liberating, actually. I don't spend hours updating social media, pinning, stumbling, and watching YouTube. Instead I spend my time waking up early, trying to get outdoors before it gets too cold, reading, applying for jobs, helping around the house, and watching episodes of my new addiction (which I shall not name here).

Since I spend less time on the internet, I have less motivation to blog.

But the gaping hole of November is growing ever wider and deeper and I just need to get this over with.

So, in fast, concise bullet style I am going to update my life for my small bundle of readers.

-I'm back in Columbia, Missouri now
-$444 of repairs got me and my over-stuffed car safely here
-I visited sisters along the way (Syracuse, NY and Lafayette, IN and St. Louis, MO-Thanks for the hospitality and wonderful time, gals!)
-I said goodbye to my life in Maine (tragic, really)
-I experienced a full on digestive system rebellion as a result of Thanksgiving
-I've gotten back on my bike and my backside is not thanking me
-I've been exploring Rock Bridge Memorial State Park
-I applied to 5 jobs so far, had an interview with 1 (A Doctor's Assistant position at All Creature's Animal Hospital), and don't think any of them will be responding.
-I cooked some awesome food
-I discovered red velvet cake chocolate tea
-I've fallen in love with Beef Jerky

Wow, I think that's it really. I feel like more happened. I guess it just seemed that way with all the packing and worrying about my car and saying goodbye that happened in the first two weeks of the month.

Well, it's December now.

I feel I have become considerably more boring since my return home.

Here are some pictures.

Decorative pumpkin with little mummy pumpkin (painted on Halloween)

Decorative pumpkin and black cat pumpkin

Goodbye house of Kathy. I will miss you.

Megunticook River and old mill

Mechanic Street, Camden (smoke stack)

Horse outside the MOST (Museum Of Science & Technology) in Syracuse, NY

Elise crouching inside a giant heart at the MOST

Model train set at the MOST

Elise was almost eaten by a T-Rex at the MOST

The only thing I made for Thanksgiving that turned out exactly how I planned (Cranberry Brie bites)

There. It's done. Updates after a month silence are never interesting. The fun and exciting thoughts of the moment are lost when you let them pass by. And all that's left are these vague impressions of how you felt-impressions which don't seem to matter much anymore now that the event has passed.


Now what?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

On Late October/Early November

As I walk to work or in downtown Camden, along familiar routes, I come to realize just how much I've been taking all this for granted. The fact that I can walk to the library, the market, the harbor, the park, and work. The smell of the ocean. The wonderful weather. The early morning Autumn fog rolling over the nearby Camden Hills. The golden sunlight.

Good, local food. The charming feel of everything. The BEAUTIFUL houses and churches.

I don't think I will ever find a living situation as ideal as the one I have with Kathy. The location, the room, HER.

I'm filled with mixed emotions as I come to my last week and 1/2.

Every time I am with the Young Women I feel this tragic sense of parting. These girls (and women) have changed my life here. And it doesn't help that they "pretend" resent me for leaving.

When I think of all I have in Camden and in Maine-all that I am going to be leaving-I heave a great sigh of regret. One that is exclusively related to where I live and the friends I have made, NOT to the place I work.

I am counting down the HOURS until I am done here. It gets harder and HARDER to get myself out of the warm covers and get ready for work.

As I walk the 5.6 miles I take to Merryspring, I drink in every sight and smell. The air is filled with the scent of wood burning fires. Something you can sometimes smell in Columbia in the right place at the right time. But this is something that I imagine every native of Maine has come to associate with these months of chilly mornings. Someday I will live in a house heated by wood stove and I will adore it. Every morning, as I walk into this shallow valley boardered by the river I am met with fog. This gets kind of scary, walking on an almost non-existent shoulder with cars driving by too fast. But I usually flash my head lamp at them to let them know I am there. If I am lucky, the fog is restricted to the river and mountains and I am awarded with a spectacular view. I love the way the sun shines through the trees and mists in the morning. The crows, chickadees, and blue-jays fill the early hours with their chorus.

And guess what? If you didn't hear, New England got Hammered with a huge October winter storm. Camden only got maybe 3-4 inches but only 1/2-1 inch in terms of accumulation (it rained before and after so it melted a lot)-it's those ocean breezes. Even a couple miles inland they were getting more accumulation than us(around 4-6 inches). It was still a sight to behold-SNOW in October.

Here are some pictures of the morning after.

My favorite view of the Camden Hills as I walk to work.

This is an old house that was built in the 1800's!

Another slightly older and BEAUTIFUL house. I want to live here. It's got land, it has a view of the river, and it's close to town! And it's red. LOVE it.

Halloween also happened. Thank you SO much to all those who helped with my costume (Emily, Melanie, Elise,) and thanks to those who were so WILLING to help (Beckie, Tamara). I LOVE that all of you rose to the call. You have no idea how wonderful it feels to have that kind of support even as I am so far away.

You wanted a picture and this is the best on that was taken of me.

This is me at the Trunk-or-treat with the Young Women. Next to me is Riley and next to her is Laura. Both AMAZING girls.

Fall color has been easing away but we've still has some late bloomer flashes.

A line of red maples on my way home from work.

Just outside Merryspring is this house that is used as a meeting center for a church. I think a family lives there also. This is their cat amongst the pumpkins.

And just for Gicks and Kiggles here is a view up the smokestack that is the tallest point on the Camden skyline.

I really have come to love this place and all it has to offer. I felt the more at home here than I have any other place I have been (besides Columbia).

Leaving New Hampshire was about leaving a little piece of woodsy paradise and 30 new friends.

Leaving Camden is like leaving a piece of myself. A part of me that I have come to find and hope that I never lose. I thought I learned a lot about myself last year, but here, I BECAME myself.

I can't help but think that if there was a way to come back to Camden in the future that I would do it. That some part of me will always be trying to find a way to come back. I mean, I've kept finding ways to get to the east coast-maybe something is drawing me there.

Well-who knows. My stress level has decreased. And I'm doing fine. I'm not depressed because I am leaving and I am not DESPERATE to be home.

In my heart I know what going home really means. It is a step. Something that I need to do to put me on the path to whatever is next. I know that I'm not going to stay there forever. And I can't help but feel that I am not leaving HERE forever.

I explained it to Kathy this way: I have nothing but my branch family and the beauty of Maine keeping me HERE and nothing but a loving family and a precious dog pulling me home. Not that THOSE things are nothing-but there is this void of purpose in either location (at the current moment). But I know that I'll get to where I need to go. And that void will be filled sooner or later.

Time kind of coasts and I begin to fill the thrill one gets when things are almost done. Where you can REALLY see the end. Like the end of Finals week in school. But at the same time it's almost like the feeling you get at the end of summer. The knowledge that something wonderful is coming to an end.

Like I said-mixed emotions.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

On a Parental Visit

NOTE: I was too lazy to go back and spell check this. Ignore the grammatical errors that I am SURE are there.

I have 16 days left and boy am I EVER counting down.

It's cold now in the basement at work and the heater doesn't work.

I can't even take walks around Merryspring now because I have so much office work to do.

I guess that there have been some happy things in the past week:

I got this idea off Pinterest. Little bat cheese balls rolled in poppy seeds, blue corn chips for wings, and olives for eyes. I made these for FHE.

And then of course there is the Mom and Dad visit. They decided that they wanted to get a look at Maine in the Fall. I don't blame them. It's pretty amazing-though I have heard this has been an off year. If this is OFF I can't even imagine what a NOT OFF year is like!

First I picked them up from the Manchester Airport (it rained the whole drive there). Things sunnied out and we headed to the State Park I worked at last year-Pawtuckaway

Here are Mom and Dad next to a giant White Pine tree.

Dad in front of one of the Many glacial erratics (AKA big rocks) at Pawtuckaway.

Burnham Marsh in the fading light.

The colors on Pawtuckaway Lake. They were actually BETTER in New Hampshire!

We got home late but enjoyed some AWESOME and GIANT wraps at a restaurant called "Silly's". Of course it took us FOREVER to find it...but it was SO worth it. You know, you can get a peanut butter bacon shake there? Seriously, you HAVE to go and check out there menu HERE

The next day was Owls Head/Rockland day. First we drove to Birch Point state park in Owls Head.

Leaves and moss and sun

Dad looking through a large tube of white birch bark. He thought it was SO COOL how the insides rotted before the bark and you could pick up the log and all the insides would fall out leaving this hollow sleeve of bark.

Mom and Dad as we walked to Birch Point.
I actually think this was at the top of Mt. Battie. Maybe. Or maybe at Merryspring. Oh well. Dad holding up a large golden Striped Maple leaf in front of his face.

Mom and Dad in front is the courthouse I think...well...SOME cool building in Rockland.

Here's that cool building again.

A cool metal sculpture of Kestrels in downtown Rockland

Mom and Dad stand under The Strand theater for me.

Train Track no longer used in Rockland.

THEN we went to the Breakwater Lighthouse. This is kind of a "need to do" thing in the area.

Mom and Dad at the lighthouse. It was COLD and WINDY.

Mom is flattened by the wind against the lighthouse!

Okay...not really...

The Jetty.

And then there was dinner. Even though we were ALL super exhausted, we made stuffed baked pumpkins. Italian sausage, dried cherries, pumpkin, peppers, onion, apples, a butternut squash was amazing.

Yeah, so this PICTURE isn't amazing. But it was horrible light!!

Huh. I guess I decided not to include any Saturday pictures. I guess I figured you have seen PLENTY of picture of Mt. Battie and Camden.

We went breakfast at The Mariner's restaurant. I would pass that place all the time when I walked downtown and there is a hand painted sign that says "blueberry pancakes" with a hand-painted picture of blueberry pancakes drenched in syrup. It always makes me want BLUEBERRY PANCAKES!

Guess what I didn't get there? Right. Blueberry pancakes. I got a breakfast Monte Cristo (on French toast) and a BANANA pancake. I didn't KNOW they had things that sounded better than Blueberry pancakes! But dad got one and shared. It was ALL very good.

Then we went to the farmers market. I love that little market and my FAVORITE place is Polly's (who is apparently leaving next year! I'm glad I caught them). They sell jams and pickeled things. They always have free samples and the old man that usually runs that place is the cutest old man EVER. I LOVE him.

We wandered downtown, we drove to some pretty places in Rockport, we drove to the top of Mt. Battie, and then we made Lobster Mac and Cheese for dinner. It was spectacular. Oh yeah, I took Mom and Dad to Fresh off the Farm. I LOVE that place!

Sunday, we went to church, napped, and I took them around Merryspring. Nothing amazing.


We drove to Bar Harbor/Acadia National Park

A view of one of the streets of Downtown Bar Harbor. This place was SO touristy. A place I only need to visit once. It reminded me of Gatlinburg in Tennessee (which is like this FAKE old fashioned looking town just outside the Great Smokey Mountains National Park). Bar Harbor was like FAKE cute New England. But it was still an experience. And I enjoyed it!

We got lunch at this "gluten free" place called Morning Glory Bakery. They didn't have as much gluten free as we hoped. But I got a shrimp, tomato, Parmesan quiche and Italian artichoke soup. I also got a hazlenut "steamer" (which I guess is just steamed milk). Warm/hot milk always sounds gross. But add a flavor? YUM. It was so good.

Mom and Dad after lunch which we ate at the Bar Harbor Village Green.

Dad next to the ice cream lobster in front of this ice cream/fudge place that looked SO GOOD but they overcharged EVERYTHING. I was so upset because I was REALLY looking forward to fudge and ice cream!!

After some window shopping we finally headed into the park. I have to say, it wasn't super user friendly finding out how to get to a place to pay for entry. I guess that's what we get for going in the off season. But once we got going it was wonderful. We didn't have a lot of time so we drove a lot around this road that went on part of the perimeter of the park.

The road we took.

A view from the summit of Mt. Cadillac. I think that's the Gulf of Maine in the distance.

From the summit of Mt. Cadillac (that's Bar Harbor down there with TWO cruise ships)

This was taken CLOSE to the summit of Mt. Cadillac. Lovely.

Just another view along the drive.

We walked one of the rocky beaches. It was low tide and this large rocks were covered in glistening seaweed.

How amazing would it be to live in that house??

We got our fill of views (I could have seen more but we were losing our light. Darn you Maine for being in the furthest part of the Eastern time zone!!)

We went to a lighthouse nearby. I actually don't remember the name...I was kind of tired.

Here is a view of the setting sun in the clouds and the rocky beach at the lighthouse.

Dad reading a sign at the lighthouse.

Another full day. I let Mom drive home and slept part of the way back. If *I* was that worn out I can't even IMAGINE how tired Mom and Dad must have been!

The next day we arose early so that we could see a giant chocolate moose and eat yummy food before I took Mom and Dad to the airport.

This is at Len Libby's. An amazing candy shop. Lenny is the life size moose crafted entirely from CHOCOLATE!!! The mama bear in front of him is libby and she has two dark chocolate cube in the background there. AMAZING!! The water that Lenny is standing in is white chocolate!

The Red Arrow Diner in Manchester NH. I've been there twice and their food is awesome. It's this tiny little diner. Maybe even smaller than Broadway diner. And they are known for having had lots of famous people eat there. Like Adam Sandler, Sarah Silverman, Patrick Dempsey to name a few. Their special was Shepherd's pie, which I got. YUM, but so HUGE! Gosh I love that place.

Then it was time to say goodbye. I dropped mom and dad off and headed back home.

On the way back I stopped by Smiling Hill Farm (somewhere Jason had apparently gone). There wasn't much. There might be more to do on weekends or during the summer. But I stopped by the restaurant/ice cream shop at the top of the hill. I got Indian Pudding ice cream. It's basically gingerbread flavored ice cream and raisins. YUM! I also bought some mint Oreo fudge (since I didn't get any in Bar Harbor, humph!), blueberry milk, and some Havarti dill cheese. WOO! Gotta love dairy farms!

Here is a flock of geese on the lovely, picturesque farm.

And that was the fun time I had with Mom and Dad. CONDENSED believe it or not. I'm sure they will have their own account of things.

Meanwhile, I have NO job lined up for when I get home. No clue exactly what I am going to do. And TONS of things to do at work. And it's almost IMPOSSIBLE for me to focus on doing work on the computer ALL DAY.

And lets not forget how cold it is in that basement.

And my stupid uncomfortable chair.

Sorry. After wonderful and grand times it's been hard being sucked mercilessly back into reality.

Two and 1/2 weeks.

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