Monday, January 31, 2011

On Sunsets and Sadie at Work

So we all know Sadie is going back to Missouri. That means I need to spend as much time/take as many pictures with/of her as I can while she is still here.

So I brought her to work with me last Friday on an "emergency" basis. I really don't want to leave her with Bonnie for too long. Remember that dead camel? It's starting to rot.

While she was there I took some pictures.

I am also holding true to one of the "wants" I listed earlier: taking pictures of every Sunset I experience in Maine.

These are those pictures.

Sadie does my job at work. It's not that hard at this point.

I'm pretty sure Sadie hated me for putting this hood up.

Sadie is her usual self at the office. She sleeps the whole day.

Except for when we went on little potty walks!

January 28th Sunrise (taken with cell phone)

January 29th Sunrise (Taken with camera)

January 30th Sunrise through the moisture of the Sun room window(taken with camera)
January 30th Sunrise wide shot (taken with camera)January 30th Sunrise close up (taken with camera). This was such a nice one I took three versions of it.

January 31st Sunrise (taken with cell phone). Pretty bright, this one.

January 31st Sunrise (taken with cell phone). I really like the effect of the sun coming through the windows of the sun room. I just wish this cell phone camera could capture the rosy hue.

As you can see, many of these sunrises are accompanied with clouds. Many of these mornings the sun was there for 1/2 an hour and then obscured by clouds and the day was punctured by snow. This is actually abnormal, according to locals-this much snow. I LOVE IT. Bonnie hates it. She is ready for winter to be over. Sadly I think we're smack in the middle of it.

Now for some other random pictures.

This is the Ross Center at Merryspring again. I think it's a lovely building and wanted you to get a better look at it when it's not obscured by the falling snow.

This is a picture of Sadie I took this morning. She was sitting so patiently and cutely on the floor waiting for a morsel of food. Honestly, this past month I have not been feeding her human food because I didn't want her begging anytime Bonnie had guests over for dinner. That was the only reason. Now that I know she is going home, I am back to giving her little nibbles. I know it's a bad habit and she needs to break it, but who can say no to that face when you know you aren't going to see it for the rest of the year?

As I have been taking sunrise pictures I have also been enjoying the effect the sunrise has on the road leading down from the house and towards the ocean. I wish this showed it better but it casts a pink light on the sky which is nicely offset by the cold blue of the ocean.

And this is the bowl of produce when it's looking lovely and full. It's actually quite empty right now. This was taken over a week ago.

I would now like to take a little time and thank you, may family. You have been so supportive and generous the past month. Many of you have already come to the rescue in response to my call for aid. You are truly the Rohan to my Gondor.



Sorry. I watched Return of the King the other day. I've had Lord of the Rings on the brain ever since.

Special shout outs to Juli, Emily, and Elise for their mail surprises.

Of course an even more special shout out goes to Mom and Dad for their constant support.

A shout out to Beckie who is stepping up so kindly to this challenge of getting Sadie home.

A shout out to Kirsti for always being there to chat with me when I should be focusing on other things.

And lastly, a shout to my Bro for being my twitter support and partner in nerdery.

I love you all and know that you will be here to get me through current and future challenges. Know that you can call on me and I will try to be there in any way that I can.

Friday, January 28, 2011

On The Inevitable

Many of you have heard already, but I am being asked to wrench Sadie out of my present picture.

What happened was this. Weeks ago I spent $20 on a wooden gate to keep Sadie in the kitchen while I am at work. This is what the gate looks like. Not much to it but I figured Sadie is so small that she can't get past it. Yet she has on two other occasions. Both out of desperation, I imagine. So Bonnie was surprised when Wednesday at around 11:00am she came home to Find Sadie out of the kitchen and waiting for her at the door. I'm sure that Sadie really had to go but Bonnie isn't sure how to recognize this and tell it apart from excitement. So she put some things away and when she came back, Sadie was sitting on the couch and she had just peed on it. The couch coverings were ones that Bonnie had made and values. She had to cut them off to prevent the dog urine from getting to the cushions below.

The camel's back has been broken for a while. Sadie has been using the bathroom in the house at least once a day since I got here. Usually in the kitchen. Bonnie's patience was growing thin. So this broken backed camel was finally killed. Finished off by this unforgivable act of urination. That night, when I got home, Bonnie told me that Sadie wasn't working out.

And so plans are being made to meet Beckie halfway between Indiana and Owls Head on a weekend sometime soon.

It's been hard to not feel resentful and angry at Bonnie for not being willing to give this more time or try some new things. But after the initial grief (which I still feel every day though not as keenly as I did at first) I have come to realize that I really only have myself to blame. This has only been affirmed by this feeling that those who knew my situation were expecting something like this to happen. Everyone but me knew how bad the situation was and I was too blind to realize the direction it might take.

I wrenched Sadie out of her normalcy. I put her in a situation where she isn't with someone for most of the day. I didn't communicate well with Bonnie concerning what to expect with Sadie. I can't keep feeling mad at Bonnie when she is no way at fault. It's her house. She has a right to say "enough".

When I left Sadie in Missouri last year, it was hard but planned. I was expecting it. Coming to Maine was supposed to be made easier because I had at least one friend to keep me company while I adjusted. I don't care how much responsibility there has been in taking care of her the past month. I thrive on it. She's keeping me honest, on a schedule, giving me something to care for, to care about, to take care of. I think I have needed that. And instead of relief when she goes, I will feel this hole that was so unexpectedly punched into my life.

I wanted so much for her here. I wanted her to experience the ocean. To come on adventures with me. She's my dog, dang it, and I want to be with her. No more of this "I got a pet but I am too irresponsible to take care of it" like with Trissy(ie), or my birds, or all the other pets I have owned. I don't want to be the animal hoarder anymore. I felt like Sadie needed me and though I know she will forget about me in a week once she's home again I will forever need her.

She's not a bad dog. She's not a trouble maker. She just needs people. So she'll have her people. She'll go back to sleeping with mom and dad. She'll go back to barking at critters with Trissy(ie). It will all be for the best for her. And all for the worse for me.

I wish there were another way. I wish I could magically find some place to live where the people understand and are willing to live with a dog like Sadie. I wish my work would change their minds about letting her be here with me. I wish there were a mountain of other solutions. But there is only this.

The inevitable.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

On 20 Things I want Out of This Year

  1. I want to take a picture of every sunset I experience in Maine (too late, I've already seen some).
  2. I want to go to Baxter State Park, Acadia National Park, and Camden Hills State Park
  3. I want to go to New York City at least once
  4. I want to sing Rachmaninoff's Vespers with the Down East Singers (This could help me achieve number three)
  5. I want to learn to garden
  6. I want to cook food, not make pbj's or heat frozen dinners
  7. I want to go on at least one date while I am here. Just one. Is that too much to ask?
  8. I want to bond with the woman I live with
  9. I want my dog to fall in love with the new kennel she is getting soon
  10. I want to write letters to everyone
  11. I want to make gifts for people
  12. I want to do something challenging that I have never done before
  13. I want to complete something I started writing
  14. I want to read all the books I brought with me
  15. I want to find a big cushy chair to have in my room
  16. I want to remember the child I used to be while still being able to become the woman I have the potential to be
  17. I want to find an old guitar at a thrift store and save money or new strings, re-string it, and teach myself guitar
  18. I want to visit Bear Brook
  19. I want to fall in love with strolling through down town Rockland
  20. I want to start living my life

Saturday, January 22, 2011

On A Snow Day and a Saturday

This is an image spectacular. So prepare yourselves.

It snowed this past Friday. A lot. And for some reason, I decided I wasn't going to let a little snow stop me and I drove to work. After two hours everything was covered and it was getting pretty heavy.
Here is the view from the porch at Merryspring

This is the Ross Center also known as the main building at Merryspring. Look at all the wonderful snow!

And then it was decided that though the snow is wonderful, being trapped at work for the rest of the night isn't. So about 1/2 an hour after this picture was taken, I left.

I love the little hat's the snow puts on things.
But all things must come to an end and the snow stopped that night. The following day was bright and sunny!

This is the view up my road. To the left is the house I am living in.

This is a view from the side porch of the house I am living in. That is Bonnie's field and those are the back neighbors houses. The ones who made a big deal about property lines at one point and tried to build s stone wall. And then past them is, you guessed it, the ocean.

I was so very tempted to play in this mountain of snow in the Shaw's parking lot. Too bad Sadie was with me and I really needed to get some shopping done.

And here is a lovely image of what my window was covered with the morning after the storm. Frost so thick and beautiful I could see nothing of the street outside.

This past Saturday, I actually did something. Well, I did something last Saturday but the somethings that I did this Saturday were somethings for myself. Things that I needed to get done and I did them. Like helping Bonnie clean the house and grocery shopping (though I still feel like spending my precious money on food is a waste since I am SUPPOSED to be getting food stamps soon).

Moving on. I will document the rest of my doings in image form.

The following images are a series of before and afters (kind of). They aren't necessarily of the exact same areas, but you get the idea. I felt proud of myself for REALLY cleaning my room for the first time since I got here.

After. Look how sweet Sadie is lying there by my pillows.


After. These two really aren't a before and after. This isn't a very tidy section of the room because of the boxes. But I really have nowhere else to put them. you will notice that I mostly pushed in the drawers.

Here is the best transformation in my opinion.
Before. See if you can spot Sadie in this picture.

After. I use the end of my bed as a kind of desk when I am on the computer because right there is where I get really good reception and I can put The Wicker Chair From Downstairs (working on a story about that one) right at the end of the bed and prop my feet up on the frame. It's not ideal but it works for now since we really don't actually have internet.

And then for the heck of it, here is a close up picture of the random big plant that is in the corner of my room. When I first moved in, Bonnie asked me if I wanted it moved. I asked her what she thought. She said the plant seemed to do well in this room. So I decided that it was fine where it was even though it's just sitting on the floor in the corner. Looking like some odd growth that doesn't really belong. You can see it in some of the earlier pictures.

This is Cosmo. The dog that Bonnie has been babysitting for the last week. He is cute, but 9 months old and Sadie really doesn't like him all that much. He wants to play ALL the time.

This is Sadie putting up with him because I called them both over and they thought they were going to get something. Too bad all they got was their picture taken. This is Sadie right before the butchering of a haircut that I gave her.

This is Sadie just AFTER the butchering of a haircut that I gave her. Her face isn't all that bad if I may say so. I can't say nearly the same for the rest of her.

Unevenness was the word of the day.

The other words of the day were "bald patches". I obviously cut some of it too short. It's hard to gauge how to make things even with hair like hers. It looks like part of her has tassels!

And another better view of how horrible she looks. What can I say? If I wanted her to look good I would have paid money. But for free I can't complain. That part of her is mostly covered anyway. And in my defense, I cut it so short so that it might grow back the same length as the short hair where she had surgery.

A pile of Sadie hair. I'll probably continue to cut her hair, just do it when it is shorter and a little more manageable.

For random fun, this is a wall hanging that Bonnie has. Don't you love all the little people selling little wares? I'm pretty sure she got it in Guatemala.

This is Gail's space. Gail is the woman who works on the grounds of Merryspring. We share the basement office space.

This is MY office space. Not too shabby. The chair isn't all that comfortable.

And here is my desk. And the Mac that I use every day. I am slowly getting used to it.

And just for fun, here at the end, is Reginald. he doesn't get used. We don't have use for a wood stove. But I bet they used him at one time. Too bad. I LOVE the smell of wood stove. I wonder if all wood stoves have names. Herald was the name on the wood stove in my cabin at Bear Brook.

So there you have it folks. Another picture update. It's currently 8 degrees out and it's only going to get colder from here today. Happy Monday.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

On The Big Picture

I was writing a letter to a friend today and went of on a metaphorical tangent about what people call "the big picture".

What came out was a little odd, but it got me thinking...

Here is what I wrote to her.

"You've just become re-acquainted with something adults like to call "The Big Picture". Personally, 'still-wishing-she-were-a-college-student-so-she-doesn't-have-to-deal-with-real-life' Sarah says the big picture is over rated. And hard to lug around (bear with me while I go into a metaphor)

"It's so much easier to carry around little wallet sized pictures of life. And you can take them out and show your friends and be excited about the moment. There's nothing worse than the question "what are your plans for down the road?" or "what do you see yourself doing in a couple years?". Those, to me, aren't very fair questions. They force you to haul out this massive painting that's incomplete. There's a tiny square in the middle which is complete and beautiful but everything else is light pencil sketches so they can be erased and changed later."

I went on to tell her that it's important to be aware of the big picture but you don't have to lug it around with you all the time.

It's important to plan for the future. But looking down that "road" people ask about is not a easy as you might think. If it were one of those straight country roads that go on forever-like the ones you find in the Midwest-sure. No problem. But it's more like the roads out here in Maine. They say things like "Highway 73 South" but there are all these sharp turns and all of a sudden the road whips into another direction. So even though you are still on 73 south you are really going west. With all those unpredictable twists and turn's it really is impossible to see more than several steps ahead of you. And even more impossible to guess where those steps are taking you.

We all know the end of the road. Where it eventually leads. But it's when I am asked to think about the in between that I come upon a block.

Back to that picture. There are many things I would love to happen in the next 5 years. And so I have taken my pencil and put some very rough and vague sketches of my planned life next to all the parts of the picture that are already painted. Here I might paint a location, or a person standing next to me. But that person has no face, no distinguishing features. There are loving hands all around me but I can't make out any other features. And that's all just in the immediate vicinity of the tiny square that is my present. The majority of the big picture is empty canvas. Barren. Terrifying.

Don't get my wrong. I know that we all need to keep the big picture close. Take it out every once in a while and try to fill in that blank space. We need to keep our eyes glued to that road so that we don't make any wrong turns. But when you ask me where I see myself in 5 years, don't expect much. I don't have a pair of 5 year glasses. When I try to look that far ahead I am blind. Filled only with vague ambitions and hopes. I'm living in the present and focusing on that small picture that is the year 2011.

Check back with me in 5 years and I'll tell you what I am doing. Otherwise, expect me to make up something that sounds good because that's what I'll do.

Monday, January 17, 2011

On finding familiarity and role playing

Time has a way of fooling you, and fooling you often. The days are short and you feel like they rush past you, leaving you out of breath and frayed with loose ends. The weeks seem to be next to nothing in that context. Each day moves on until suddenly it's Wednesday. Hump day. And then Thursday, the day before the ever wonderful Friday. And then you have your weekend and it's back to the grind.

So why does it feel like I have been here for a month?

Things have become familiar already. Routine. The drive to and from work. Passing the same stores, learning the lights and the turn lanes. Sadie in, Sadie out. Breakfast at the same time every morning. Nightly ritual. Where the strongest internet signal is at my house.

What I first do when I get into work is the same every day too. Checking all e-mail accounts (I have 4 now) and all other forms of social media. Then outlining who needs to be e-mailed and called.

Lunch at noon.

I've taken to listening to WBACH-Main's classical station-when I am in the car.

There are sheets of notebook paper littered all around my car. Directions to the many places I have had to get to. Church, Waterville, Augusta, Belfast, Sister Sisco's house, etc.

I keep my car keys in my coat pocket. All the time. That way I know they will always be there.

I've started wearing my drumline necklace every day again. I don't know why, for sure.

I listen to my "soundtrack" station on Pandora every day also.

While I eat breakfast, and right before I leave, I read. I just finished "The Five People You Meet in Heaven". I am now on "The Screwtape Letters".

I still find myself crunching ice every morning and evening.

In some other news that might be a little more interesting, I got to be a character in a role playing game yesterday.

It's not what you think. I was not a wizard, or a minion, or even an elf.

This was a historic role play. There is this after school organization called The Game Loft and they encourage learning history through role playing. So there I was, dumped in the middle of this story I knew nothing about. Well, I knew a little about it.

The year was 1969. Henry Chandler is a young man, recently turned 18, who has a somewhat dysfunctional family. He has a brother who has been in prison, one who has fled to Canada to avoid the draft, and a father who was a member of the KKK. He registered for the draft, got his physical, and at the last minute refused to go to war. He is now on trial for this unlawful act.

I played Mary Helen Folsom, daughter of the man who was head of the draft board who selected Henry. Dr. Folsom is apparently always the bad guy. I'm friends with Henry and so am sympathetic to his plight. The performance was done in front of a walk in audience.

It was really interesting to hear both sides. On one hand, Henry was simply being irresponsible. On the other, how fair is the draft really? We ended up having a discussion circle and there were some very interesting opinions.

Many agree with draft, but an equal one. One that no one can get out of. Even more said that war is not ideal and neither is a draft, but there are times when it's needed to swell the ranks in the fight for a good cause.

The best was this musician who preformed earlier in the day. He is a Vietnam veteran. He was drafted. He has PTSD. And he is a wonderful performer. His songs were powerful. He had some good thoughts towards the draft and war and the like. This was such an amazing learning experience for me! And I hope that the kids as much out of it was I did!

I am so glad that I signed up.

Even better was that since this was a RPG club, all the kids were super nerdy. I ALMOST felt right at home. ALMOST. I could follow the Star Wars conversations, but I was never a RPG person and so they were still a little too nerdy for me to identify with them completely.

That was my Monday. A different day in the midst of many days that are the same. Like today.

Familiarity is good. It makes things sure. Comfortable. Easier.

Stagnation is what I fear.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

On Images of Merryspring (among others)

Let's get this picture party STARTED!
Here is the spring at Merryspring. And my reflection in it. It's kind of out of the way and hard to find, but pretty neat.
There it is again!
Here you can see a little bit of the stream it supplies to.

This fungus pretty much rules the school. I should have done a hand shot but it was bigger than my hand.
And again.
Underside! Look! There is a stick growing through it. Or rather the mushroom grew around a stick!

Then there's the Merryspring vernal pool, all frozen over for the winter.

Found this at a used bookstore in Hallowell, Maine. Anyone remember this one?
I wish I could remember WHERE this one was. But it really made me smile.
Can ANYONE tell me that they remember this book??? I do and I don't know where from! Is it an old family book? Or maybe one from school.
Lastly-SADIE. In her new home. Awwww! She's gonna need a haircut soon.

So there you have it. A little picture journey. I hope you enjoyed!

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