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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Memories of Maine

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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Our Summer in Maine

I can’t believe I have been so slack with the blog recently. Tsk tsk I say. Anyway, here are some photo highlights of our trip to Maine this year. We had a wonderful time. Again I went for two weeks and then Steven came out. This time we stayed in Michelle’s house which was great. Nice to have the space and be able to keep to somewhat of a routine with bedtimes and whatnot.

Each year brings something new to my appreciation and enjoyment of the island. This year I managed to work out a lot more, island pilates and walks round the point helped combat the plentiful crepes and muffins rustled up by Steven’s mum.

We discovered some great new places, both on and off the island. Barre Island and the sandy beach were two notable highlights on Deer Isle itself. Barre island is a magical walk through a mossy forest, with  a lovely island separated from the mainland by a sandbar at the end. Make sure you go at low tide so you can walk across the bar.  We also went and rode our bikes along the carriage roads in Acadia which was a great day with some unforgettable views.

We continue to make some good friends here, staying for the whole month really gives me at least, time to get to know people a lot more, and the children are making friends too. So without further ado - here are some photo highlights.

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Trip to Maine

In mid-April I took Oliver back to Maine for the first of what I hope will be the start of an annual tradition – a “boys weekend” at the Farm. Sal and Lola stayed back in LA and had a ball of heir own, but this was the first time they “boys” and “girls” had a weekend apart. The good news – much fun was had by all.

While the stated goal of the trip was to renovate one of the outbuildings into a “bunkhouse” for the younger generation to sleep, that project wasn’t meant to be for a variety of reasons. However, as they say, when one door closes another opens. And open it did.

Immediately upon arrival, Oliver wanted to greet the cattle, Snowball and Woodstock. He was much more confident around them than last summer – no fear in sight. 5 times per day we’d wander out to check on the cattle – our version of call to prayer.

We also had some digging to do with the backhoe. Oliver seemed to like the idea of digging a gigantic hole with machinery (like father like son). We also loved jumping DOWN in the hole after removing boulders, soil, etc. It took some coaxing to get him OUT of the holes.

Another favorite from the trip was frequent visits to the tree house build by Grampa. Despite the chilly weather, the tree house was all toasty inside – so much so that the flies started waking up for the Spring. Oliver had great fun seeing so many flies in one place

Ever since Grampa bought the new Deere, Oliver wanted to know all the details. How big is it? What kind of horsepower does it have? All these questions were answered in his first ride. I must say I’m not sure who was more excited – me or Oliver.

And speaking of excited, the highlight of the trip was the baby lambs born at the Douglass’ next door. We were all awaiting the birth sometime during the weekend ….and when it happened Oliver was on the scene. It was very cool to see our son surrounded by so much nature – he was in heaven.

Spending time at the Farm is always comforting. And what could be more comforting than the smell of brownies coming out of the oven while you’re out and about using a power drill? Until you have witness this powerful cocktail…..don’t even try to answer this question!

While the trip to Maine was only 4 days, it was fun and memorable to be there off-season. As August approaches, the Farm seems that much closer. And thanks to this trip – my son and I seem that much closer too.

Papa

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Friday, August 7, 2009

Memories are made of this


This was a magical day, the light was perfect, the kids were in good form. Notice Lola’s new do - although I’m not saying this was her best look per se. Those boys underpants, well, I should have drawn the line there.

Steven arrived on the Friday and we were so pleased to have him. It was a lovely time here with the children by myself, forcing me out of my comfort zone, starting to get to know people on the island better. But all that being said, I am SO pleased to have him here with us!

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Letter from Maine


This year’s trip to Maine is a little unusual. Usually we all arrive together and we all leave together. We stay for a couple of weeks and it always seems too short. This was the first time, not working,  I actually could stay as long as I wanted to. So Steven flew up for the first few days and today flew back to LA. The children and I are staying here, at the farm without him for two weeks.

Our first few days has been great. It has rained on and off since we arrived, but who cares? It’s warm and the kids love it - such novelty after dry and sunny LA. The highlights so far?

Hmmm..

Dead deer head with foxes hungrily munching it. Kids most impressed, especially Oliver. It really spoke to his fascination with blood and gore.

Muskrats, more deer - alive this time - the new Scottish Highlander cows - Snowball and Woodstock. Lola is wary, Oliver is already feeding them and I’m sure will be helping Grandpa muck out by week’s end.

Oliver learnt to ride a bike! Although that sounds so much more involved than it was. I don’t know why I expected it to be a long process, but Loring gave him a push and that pretty much was that. Amazing. Brought tears to my eyes. Yikes! I think Oliver was far more impressed by the deer’s head.

Showtunes recital at the local elementary school. Need I say more.

Grandpa babysitting and listening to Oliver try and negotiate with him whilst Claudette and I hid on the stairs.

Strange now to be here without Steven. Already I feel his absence, in this his place, his home. But it is lovely to have the time to start exploring this island some more and get to know people. After Dad passing my connection to Maine is here now…  Tomorrow Oliver is going to day camp, he’ll be there a week  - a good opportunity to meet some other local families I hope.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

O Sledding


Despite this being a tough time for me, for the kids it was a great getaway. Both of them just blossom when we come here and despite my misgivings about the weather, they both found plenty to do.

Oliver is tirelessly fascinated and enthralled with helping his Grandpa and Papa with “projects”. You can clearly see how these older male role models are so critical in his development right now. From them he is learning how to be a little man, whilst still being Mama’s little boy. It’s a lovely moment in time, 3 and a half years old.

Lola on the other hand is talking like you wouldn’t believe. Every word she repeats back and is starting to put words together. “Have it” “Did it” “Love you” “Big poopees” “Nice” (when stroking Oliver’s hair) “Fall down” “I fall down” Bless her - she is a true marvel. She’s also a real sharer, constantly offering her food to you to eat as well, or giving up a toy when a fair trade is offered.

A real treat though was a couple of days of snow. The kids loved the magic of it all and we had a fun time sledding down the hill.

Of course everyone got sick, with the exception of Steven. But we cooked, we explored, we stoked the fire, we went on the ATVs and the tractors and we braved sub zero temps and lived to fight another day!

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Oliver & Grandpops


Whilst it has not been an easy visit, there have been some truly wonderful memories. I am so profoundly happy that the kids got to see Dad, and he them, before he really began to lose lucidity and strength. We had one wonderful visit. Even though we only stayed a couple of hours, it was a precious time I will always remember and cherish.

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Winter in Maine

We arrived yesterday after an uneventful red eye flight from LA. The kids slept wonderfully, Steven and I hardly slept at all. But we arrived in one piece, if a little tired. It’s been a while since I was in Maine in wintertime and boy its cold. It’s not that bone-chilling cold, where you daren’t leave the house without a hat for fear of your ears dropping off. Nonetheless it is cold and you do need long underwear and hats and gloves to feel remotely comfortable outside. Of course our first day here at the farm saw us all out on the ATVs, Oliver driving the tractor with his grandpa. Craziness. The kids are in heaven. I’ve never seen Oliver so excited, so articulate, just 100% engaged and enthralled.

I went to see Dad yesterday. What to say. It is so wonderful to see him, in many ways he is just the same, but at the same time, he is profoundly changed. He gets tired very quickly and is now pretty much in bed all the time. He looks so different, thinner obviously, but more fragile too. His voice is softer, more tentative. Sometimes it is easy to forget, to think that nothing has changed. Then it hits me and everything falls apart. I can’t imagine my life without him in it.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Welcome Visit

I’ve spent the last few days in Maine. It wasn’t a trip I was planning to make. Dad is ill having been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about a week ago. After hearing the news, I had to come up here, to see for myself how he was doing. To take advantage of a few days together as and when I can.

It’s been a wonderful couple of days. Surreal really. He hasn’t had the first appointment with the oncologist so I don’t think it’s really sunk in. He is a lot thinner, thinner than he’s ever been in his life really and it looks good on him. The jaundice has subsided since they put the stent in his pancreas so it is draining properly. He looks well, he’s in good spirits and he’s eating well.

I’ve been cooking up a storm. My way of coping, of caring I suppose.

Esther was away for a few days in Quebec which is why I chose now to come up. Gave her a few days break and me some precious time with Dad. We’ve been getting his wireless all set up properly, going for drives, out for lunch. No beers this time, for once.

If this was a movie, now would be the time for some big confrontation or revelation. Time running short and things must be said. But I feel a strange lack of urgency. Perhaps that’s just me being delusional, but everything just feels all very normal. I know it can’t last. But I’ll take these few precious days for what they are. Good times. Times to remember.

Fact: there is little research or government grants for pancreatic cancer. No-one sticks around long enough to advocate for it. They simply die too soon. Randy Pausch was one of the first.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

En famille


The very best of times. I can’t believe we are already back from Maine. Those ten wonderful, exhausting, fabulous days were gone in a flash.

More highlights:

- Anna and Steve came to visit. So great catching up with Anna again and spending some quality time together. Steve is awesome, really enjoyed hanging out with them.
- Cooking - lots of cooking - soups especially. I miss that - in LA I’m always so damn tired!
- Oliver’s language explosion! He really is a little boy right now. Getting used to debating my decsions is all new - LOL!

Being back in LA is good, getting back into the work groove. Oliver got into L’Ecole Claire Fontaine - which is fantastic! We went for one morning tour yesterday and he liked it so much he stayed for the rest of the day! Looking forward to getting more involved in that and really loving speaking my rusty French again.

But it’s hard being away from the kids so much once more, read all about my vacation withdrawal.

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