Sunday, November 30, 2008

Frost Heavy, Nubble Light

This Saturday I went to view the Lighting of the Nubble Lighthouse. Rather than the usual nightly, all-night occurrence, this was a holiday event with children's choirs singing seasonal ditties and free hot cocoa and cookies. Of practical interest were the shuttle buses that brought people up from the more available parking of Ellis Park to the very limited space of Cape Neddick. There were a number of folks, adults and kids, climbing around the rocks with surprisingly few flashlights in evidence. Guess who got to play lighthouse for some of them? Those close enough to the shore could see the local scuba diving chapter bring up a lit Xmas tree from the harbor bottom. At 6:00 when it was fully dark we had a count down and the lighthouse buildings came on with lights trimming every eaves and roofline. As spectacles went: it was very modest, but the charm was in the ambiance so I found it a nice enough way to kick off the holidays. Obviously many of the locals agree: I overheard a conversation about lightings of years passed.
Now some of you might be wondering why the accompanying photo shows a daytime picture of what could only be a warmer time. The reason is: I was solo on this venture. Lacking Keith meant lacking Keith's camera with its photograph it today, download it tonight capability.
I bought a disposable camera and took such pictures as I could, but now I have to wait until it's used up or sacrifice some shots. The experience has convinced me that yes, there are photo ops when Keith isn't around. Walking Pandora has also provided a few such occasions. So I've decided to get a decent camera of my own. Nothing as elaborate as Keith's, but one where I can see a preview of the shot I took, has a zoom, and can be easily operated with a dog trying to yank my arm off.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Nutcracker? Sweet!

The scan looks a little pale, but this is one of the envelopes I painted to send off in an effort to catch up with all the mail I've gotten as part of the Asian Philatelic Cover Exchange. I've let it pile up a bit since I started my move back at the start of summer, so I owe probably about a dozen covers. I sent off what ones I could find but I'm sure I have a few more lurking in the mess of our half unpacked boxes.

I used a couple of the new Nutcracker stamps and a tropical fruit stamp to more than cover the cost of sending letters overseas. And I sent them to get a special nutcracker postmark. I also noted on the enclosures that I had a new address, so I'm hoping that gets me some forgiveness for my lateness.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Coal Daze

But since Carrie has gotten out the down comforter, the nights have almost been
too warm.

Still, the past several mornings I've woken up convinced I had a cold. As the day progresses, I feel better, but each morning I've felt a little worse than the morning before. I suspect I'll be fully sick for Thanksgiving and only just well enough to go in to work at Staples for Black Friday. (Staying home on Black Friday is a guarantee of getting fired.)

Maybe having Kemmer come up to spend Thanksgiving with us (and maybe even doing some Puppet Improv) will chase the blues (and cold) away and I'll be in fine form for Friday. We plan to continue with our holiday tradition of eating out at an ethnic restaurant. This time an Indian place up in Brunswick.

Today I'm working at Pet Pantry, so I should pick up something special for the kids to have for their Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Nipping At Your Nose

Carrie suggested I take close up pictures of the frost on our windshields in the morning since I can no longer take close up pictures of cactus flowers.

Click on the photo for a larger view. Something you can do for any of the pictures we post here, but this one needs it more.

What's Up Dock?

On our Tuesday together, Carrie and I took Pandora to the Freeport docks. We then went off to the Freeport Beach. It doesn't sound very exciting, but we are enjoying our little explorations of this area so very different than the desert southwest.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Housing Around

We sold our house in Mesa! It's a big relief not to have to worry about either it (will somebody break in and strip the place?) or the real estate market (how low can it go?), but we weren't happy about the price we got for it. We had hoped to get enough so that we could buy a house here in Maine without having to get a loan, especially with THAT market the way it is now. It didn't happen.
Keith sez he's seen houses in the Casco Bay area going for $200-300k that fit the one inflexible, non-negotiable condition we have: that it have two bathrooms! That's about what we expected. According to a news story I heard: the housing bubble that's affected the rest of the country didn't get so extreme in Maine, that only 1 house loan in 400 is in danger. No desperation deals for us, it seems. Well, we're not ready to do anything more than look now, anyway. We've got a year-long lease on this house, and Keith having two part time jobs might not make us ideal candidates to the banking industry. In the meantime we compile our wish list. So far we'd like things like: 5-200 acres of land; a forest, stream, pond and/or mountain on the property; a barn or other garage-type building; a Victorian style house with a tower; 3-4 bedrooms; a fireplace or wood burning stove; a finished basement and/or attic; etc.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The secret word is "stamps"

The US Post Office will be releasing a set of 20 stamps next year honoring vintage TV shows. Their choices are partially based on what properties they could get the rights to use rather than the most deserving. There are several on the list I don't think should be there (most notably I Love Lucy which already had a stamp for it and another for its star) and several I am quite excited about. I'm sure you can guess at least one of those.

Anyway, these are the shows and they are tentatively scheduled for a September 2009 release:

Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Dinah Shore Show
Ed Sullivan Show
George Burns & Gracie Allen Show
Hopalong Cassidy
The Honeymooners
Howdy Doody
I Love Lucy
Kukla, Fran & Ollie
Lone Ranger
Perry Mason
Phil Silvers Show
Red Skelton
Texaco Star Theater
Tonight Show
Twilight Zone
You Bet Your Life

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Also on Tuesday we stopped by to see Herbie, the largest elm tree in New England at 110 feet high and 20 feet around. It's also pretty old with an approximate age of 235 years.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Light of My Life

Carrie's job has her working some saturdays instead of tuesdays. Today, I also have a day off. We decided to go to Ft Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth and see the Portland Head Light. It was a bit cold and overcast, but fun nonetheless. Pandora, as you can see in the photo, certainly agreed.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow often walked from Portland to visit this lighthouse. The Keepers were his friends and it is believed he sat here for inspiration on his poem, "The Lighthouse."

And if you want more history tied in to this place, it was commissioned by George Washington in 1790!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Gone Postal

While I was in Arizona I designed a few postmarks that were used for special events, including three for the annual ARIPEX stamp show held in Mesa last February. The only compensation I ever ask for doing these is the actual rubber stamp used for the cancellations after they are done with them.

In the mail recently were the three cancels from the ARIPEX show sent by the Mesa PO's special events person, Sue Rohde. Sue also enclosed a note thanking me as well as an official R2-D2 mailbox bank. Sue probably remembered how much fun I had with the real R2-D2 mailboxes especially as I took lots of pictures of myself and Carrie dressed up next to them!

And as a further boost to the happy feeling this package brought me, Sue writes: Your cancel artwork was definitely a hit. Never, in my 15 years in Mesa have we had requests that even came close to the number we had with those.

Wow. Thanks Sue!

Foggy, foggy days

Okay, a light fog is when things in the distance look fuzzy. A medium fog is when you neighbor's house looks fuzzy. A heavy fog is when your porch looks fuzzy. When your spouse looks fuzzy you're not wearing your glasses! We've had a couple days of medium fog, something that I experienced only once in 30 years in Phoenix. Out on errands yesterday I heard somebody say it was dreary. While it can make driving tricky, I like fog. It blurs the edges of things, putting the world into soft focus and making reality also seem indistinct. Mundane features may seem more eerie or romantic. And while I have yet to see a sea monster or a Victorian lady (etc.) step out of any fog I've been in, the potential still seems to be there...

Today is Keith's and my 17th wedding anniversary! A blessing on Aphrodite for bringing us together and Hera for her continuing patronage. All the rest of the world may envy us.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Dark North

Arizona is far enough south that it doesn't need daylight savings time. On those summer days when it was light from 5 in the morning to passed 8 at night I'd have been happy to have given some away! Moving north I knew we'd be seeing the effect of the change in latitude to the amount of daylight we had. Sure enough, getting off from work at 5 in the evening it was around sunset in October. Now with daylight savings in effect I'm driving home in the dark. Not my favorite thing to do since it makes the day seem longer. I can't adjust my hours because they're determined by the milk delivery schedule, as proven today when we were finished with our assigned work by 1, but I was nickel-and-dimed until 5 by tasks cropping up whenever a truck came in.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

That's Entertainment!

To the north of our house are a pair of narrow cement slabs with cement steps at the far end of one. This was obviously where a mobile home had been parked some time in the past. The previous tenants had planted 3 varieties of sunflowers in the dirt in between, thereby turning a white elephant of an architectural feature into a rather nice flower bed. We enjoyed the big yellow, sun-like heads, the medium brown-maroon ones, and the dainty pale yellow ones, but now they are uniformly dead and grey.


We're seeing more and more bird and animal activity in that area. Cardinals, blue jays, downy woodpeckers, squirrels, and chipmunks come to chow down on the seeds and entertain both us and the cats. Ghost sits on the shelf by the window making kitty-wants-to-hunt "Aaak-aaaak-aaaaaak!" noises when she sees something or mournful Daddy-I-want! meows if she doesn't.

Time of the Season

Frosty mornings are something we didn't have to deal with back in the desert. Carrie bought an ice scraper while still in Arizona in anticipation of her need. I still have mine from a couple of decades ago when I was living in Massachusetts.

Another thing to get used to again is Daylight Savings Time. Arizona didn't do it and I very much agree with that. I think it's an outdated concept from the days of regimented factories when they needed sunlight to illuminate the work areas. We are moving more and more to a 24 hour global economy and would be served just as well with a standardized single world time zone. But I don't see that happening any time soon. So to speak...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

X Marks the Spot

A good pic for the season is Weevil's x-ray from his vet visit. He did urinate for us (more than once) and we got a sample in to the vet's this morning. We should hear more from them later.