Sunday, July 19, 2009
Sunny and pleasant
Here is one of my ultimate “bad kitty” photos of Violet, Elsa, and Iris on the table, where they KNOW they are not allowed!
It was quite a trip, with a rocky start due to the telephone kerflamma and the City Council meeting the night before we left. We didn’t get to sleep until 1:30 in the morning, and had to be up at 5. So, Thursday was a long day.
Traffic was bad all the way up to Maine. I guess that’s a good thing — means people are out on vacation. But it made driving — when we were already tired — more difficult. And the weather was odd — showers off and on.
We stopped in Kittery to pick up a few things, I found a few things I can use for Prague, and then headed up to York, where I restocked supplies from Stonewall Kitchen. And we got a new jam — a Strawberry Apricot Brandy concoction that is fantastic!
We had lunch in York, at a wonderful local spot called The Stolen Menu Cafe. I hardly ever eat red meat anymore, but I was craving a burger, and boy, do they make terrific ones. I had it with bacon and sauteed mushrooms — no tomato, no lettuce, no ketchup, no mustard — just a perfectly prepared burger with bacon and mushrooms. Delightful. Their coffee’s great, too.
Meandered on up Rt. 1, past the usual haunts. I miss the bookstore in Wells where I always stopped — the guy retired a few years ago, and the large old barn is still empty. We made some of our usual stops along the way, and did a bit of shopping. There was a lot of traffic, so I guess people are out spending money, doing their bit to stimulate the economy.
And I collected a bunch of information that will result in at least a 300-piece mailing to prospects for Fearless Ink clients — there are a lot of people, businesses, and organizations in New Hampshire and Maine for which I’d love to write.
Arrived in the late afternoon, caught up on the news with my great uncle, fixed dinner for everyone, and we made it a Very Early Night. I had strange dreams — something to do with John Cusack, a warehouse full of artists (as in painter and sculptors), and health care. I don’t remember the details. It was weird, because I rarely dream about actors, and I don’t dream about actors with whom I haven’t worked. I wish I could remember the details. Then maybe it would make sense.
Up early on Friday, coffee and blueberry muffins for breakfast. Out to take care of some business still related to my grandmother’s death. It was strange to be up in Maine without her.
On a whim, ran into a store to see if they had a suitcase — none of my current luggage works for Prague. They had a Samsonite bag in a lovely color in the perfect size and on sale. It is now mine. I also picked up a gorgeous pair of dress slacks on sale and a pair of jeans. The slacks are comfortable enough to wear all day sightseeing in Prague, but nice enough so I don’t have to go back to the hotel to change if we go out that night.
Picked up a few things at the grocery store, got back to the house, bundled my great uncle and my mom into the car and we drove to a little town called Cornish, that’s close to the NH border. We had a lovely lunch at a restaurant called Bay Haven — fantastic lobster casserole. Really wonderful. After lunch, we visited some of the stores, including Rosemary’s Gift Shop, where the second floor is devoted to a yarn shop. She’s got one of the best selections of alpaca, llama/silk blends, and bamboo I’ve ever come across, and at wonderful prices. I took her card and will sit down and figure out what I need for which project, and then order from her.
On the drive back, I stopped at some rapids just outside of Standish — it’s something created by the power company — really interesting. I took photographs — I’ll post them over the next few days. Great place to set something.
I’ve got a Jain Lazarus tie-in story and another Rose Olen (protag of DIXIE DUST) percolating.
My great uncle rested when we got back, but my mom and I took a walk — Little Sebago Lake is close by, but too far to walk (we discovered the hard way). I hadn’t realized how much land the family owns — it’s really wonderful.
Lots of terrifically spooky woods, and then the massive blueberry fields and all the rest. The blueberries need to be harvested soon (calendar-wise), but there hasn’t been much sun, so they’re not ripening as fast as usual. Some sort of insect bit me — not a mosquito. Whatever it was took a chunk out of the skin on the top of my wrist, leaving a little hole. Ick. It’s a little irritated — I’m going to treat it today.
I’d been wondering why I got stuck so early in DEAD MAN’S STALL, which is set in Saratoga during the summer race meet. I think it’s because there’s a Rose Olen story that happens earlier, between DIXIE DUST and DEAD MAN – and is set in Maine. I’ll give her relatives in Maine, and she and Simon visit in the summer, before heading to Saratoga. It’s starting to come together, and now the outline for DEAD MAN is even making more sense. Amazing how that works. So I”m making notes on this, inventing a new lake, because I need stuff to happen that’s different from the lakes here, but will stretch geography to place it in the vicinity. And I think that Rose’s relatives will run a Morgan horse farm. Yes, still focus the mysteries on horses, but not race horses this time. It’s all percolating. I wanted this to be a tie-in, but I have a feeling it will wind up being a novel.
I found out there was a health care reform rally in Portland, but I found out too late to go. I don’t think John Cusack was there, so that disqualifies the dream from being precognitive. ;) I was also invited to attend an art opening in Kennebunk for women artists, but found out too late — it takes about an hour to get there from here, and by the time I arrived, it would almost be over. Gosh darn it. I would have liked participating in both events. The Clam Festival started in Yarmouth today, but, since there’s an outbreak of Red Tide up here right now — I skipped it on purpose. No clams or mussels for me on this trip, I’m afraid! I’m sure the retailers are very careful . ..but so am I, especially when I don’t know the retailers personally.
I did eat way too much lobster. And I always feel like a hypocrite, because I won’t cook lobster — I cannot bring myself to put a living thing into a pot of boiling water. But I’ll eat it if someone else cooks it. So report me to PETA.
Speaking of PETA, I was so darned annoyed when they criticized President Obama for smacking a fly when the same day or maybe it was the previous day, a couple in Oklahoma skinned a puppy to make a belt. Why wasn’t PETA all over them? And where were they when the psycho teen in NY put her friend’s kitten in the oven “as a joke”? Yes, the kitten died. THAT chick’s on her way to serial killer-dom. THOSE are the types of incidents I’d respect PETA for protesting — not the President smacking a fly so that they can get attention. I’m disappointed in them.
I packed up my grandmother’s art books (she was an art teacher) and taking them back with me. I also brought back my grandfather’s college yearbooks from Amherst College in the 1920’s. They’re pretty amazing, and I can definitely use them for research.
Up early Saturday and on the road. It was raining — a shame, because Wells was supposed to have an all-day Pow-Wow. That was something else I wished I could attend. The farm stand we wanted to stop at was closed so early, but we went down to — I think it’s York Harbor — to have breakfast at Goldenrod. The staff is very nice. The food is basic and no frills — I’d have liked a bit more seasoning in the eggs. But it’s hearty and filling. We walked around the town a bit– an old-fashioned seaside town, really nice.
We went into Whispering Sands Gift Shop because they have a lot of moose-oriented merchandise, and I’m a sucker for anything with a moose or an owl or an otter — and I bought a couple of cookie cutters. When I make the spice cookies for the Christmas packets this year, some of them will be moose-shaped!
We stopped in Kittery to exchange something bought on Thursday — the place was packed. Well, people are out there doing their bit to stimulate the economy, right? We’ve all got to do our part! ;)
Instead of hopping back on I-95, we stayed on Rt. 1, and went through New Hampshire on that. Rt. 1 isn’t exactly a back road, but it isn’t the highway, ether, so we got to see a stretch of road we usually only zip past. I wanted to stop at Drake’s Antiques in North Hampton — I’d seen quite a few large advertisements and it’s supposed to have a wonderful array of furniture, linens, and books. However, when we got there, although there were flags outside saying “Open” — all the doors were locked. So we got in the car and left.
It’s a shame, because that was their one shot to get me as a customer, and once I’m a customer, I tend to come back a lot. I’m looking for some specific pieces right now, too, so I was there to buy, not just browse. It was out of our way, we arrived within posted business hours, during high season and . . .nothing. Oh, well.
For some reason, I missed the turn back to I-95 over the MA border, and before we knew it, we were in Danvers. When we’re on the highway, that stretch seems to take FOR – EV-ER! Yet going Rt. 1, even at a lower speed limit, seemed to take hardly any time at all because we were looking at new sights.
Back on the highway, navigated Rt. 128 (ick), made a note that I need to get back to up Lexington and Concord at some point in the next few months for research, and onto the Mass Pike. It moved pretty well until about 10 miles from Sturbridge, where it was heavy, slow traffic, and for no good reason.
We hopped off at Sturbridge to visit Earth Spirits, one of my go-to spots for herbs and oils. And they’re CLOSING as of July 31. I am devastated! The herbs and oils are moving down the street as part of a garden center — next time I’m in the neighborhood, I’ll stop in and see how I like it. But they won’t have the books or the stones or the candles or the incense or the other stuff that I loved. They’re selling fixtures — there’s a gorgeous oval oak table that I wanted to buy, but how would I get it back to NY? It wouldn’t fit in the car, even without all the luggage. I stocked up on herbs, they’d sold through the oils I needed, so I’ll have to get them elsewhere, got a few stones, and a couple of books, including another book on oils and blends that has some recipes I want to try. And a book on holistic pet care.
The rest of the drive back was uneventful. We got home in the late afternoon, unpacked. The cats were delighted we were back. Elsa seems fully recovered. Unpacked, played with the cats, had a quiet evening.
I was supposed to go to a holistic pet care workshop this morning, but it was cancelled. I’m going to use today to rejuvenate, maybe catch up on some correspondence, and pack some more stuff to go to storage. I want to get the bulk of that done so that I can do the furniture swap sometime next week. I’m also very tired, for whatever reason, so I bet I’ll take a nap. I was vigilant about my morning yoga practice, but I missed my evening workouts all last week, and I can feel the negative effects. I’ll have to fix that this week.
Have a great Sunday, all!