Thursday, July 27, 2006

No Time to Blog

I've been working non-stop this whole month. When I'm not landscaping the back yard, I'm at work or asleep or fighting with the idiot contractor who took nearly four months to finish my deck/patio/fence instead of the 4.5 week turnaround promised in the contract I signed on April 6th.

I love the yard work, but it's exhausting - and the heat and humidity have been unbearable. My right hand is so swollen from shovel use that I can't even wear rings on my fingers. (And the work only exasperated my carpal tunnel and cubital tunnel syndromes that are keeping me awake at night - ugh!)

So I haven't had time to blog. I'm off to Seattle to see my surgeon and will catch up on the blogging afterward. Maybe I'll even get done with the yard so I can post pictures.

Cheers everyone.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Maine: The Pine Tree State

I think it's an interesting bit of trivia that when the sun rises each morning, Maine is the first state in our nation to receive its rays. It’s also the only state name to have just one syllable. Many cars don license plates that read Vacationland. That’s Maine – sunny, simple, and beautiful.

While touring Portland, I kept thinking that it’s the best of both worlds – it has many of the good features of a big city (the shopping, arts, theater, great restaurants, and other attractions) – but with that small-town feel (nice people, nice locally owned shops, no traffic, etc.) In fact, I don't think I saw a single Home Depot there. But as I thought about it, I just couldn’t come up with the right words to describe what I was thinking. . ."A big city with a small-town feel," "A small city with a big-town feel. . . ." What is the best way to verbalize what I'm feeling about this place?

And then tonight I came across this blurb on a real estate site on the Web—it’s the perfect description:

Portland is a small city that mixes urban sophistication with home-town friendliness. On the southern Maine coast, only a two-hour drive from Boston, Portland lies at the mouth of Casco Bay. With a population of about 65,000, this coastal hub has more than its share of interesting shops and great restaurants. Museums and theaters tend to be small and friendly. Art galleries and musical performances reflect the area's wealth of creativity.

Honestly, I was amazed by the politeness that abounds there. Even teenage boys are polite. "I'm sorry, would you like to get by?" a young man of maybe 15 queried in a crowded kitchen shop. Now that's something you rarely see (without Mom shoving them to "apologize to that nice lady").

While I was eating buttery, fresh lobster at DeMillo's, there was a table of two young couples sitting nearby. None of them could have been a day over 18. I couldn't help but overhear a comment one of the young women made to her her friends, "People just aren't courteous anymore." Hmmm. . . Had she been to Maryland lately, I wondered? Because this certainly isn't the case in Portland. The courteousness was borderline Stepford-like! Trust me, I'm not complaining. I was smiling the entire time (except that one time after security guard jerk gave me attitude). I even met a beautiful brendle Boxer puppy that reminded me of my family's old boxer, Ginny Dawg, that was part of our family in the 1970's. You rarely see brendle Boxers anymore. My mom would've just cried if she'd seen this one.

Anyway, Portland is a great place. Maybe I'll sell everything and move there and live on a boat. Martin would love that fisherman's port smell in the air. Here are some photos of the town, the harbor, the bay, and the islands of Portland for you. Enjoy!

p.s. Believe it or not, National Deck & Patio still hasn't finished the deck/fence/patio job at my home that they were supposed to complete in May but didn't start until June and have now worked on for nearly five weeks. According to my contract, this job was estimated to take 7-10 days. Using which calendar, I wonder?

What I-95 looked like the entire 9 hours between NYC and Portland, ME . . . (this is one of a thousand toll booths in that 300-mile stretch) Posted by Picasa

Entering Maine for the first time in my life Posted by Picasa

Dusk in Portland Posted by Picasa

Old Port - where the shopping is to die for Posted by Picasa

Portland Lobster Co. car Posted by Picasa

Another restaurant at Long Wharf Posted by Picasa

Fisherman's Wharf area Posted by Picasa

Where I'd like to live . . . Posted by Picasa

DeMillo's famous floating restaurant (where I ate Lazy Lobster) Posted by Picasa

Long Wharf Posted by Picasa

What $340,000 buys you in Portland (with water view), and on a lovely street named Summer Place, no less Posted by Picasa

Cobblestone street in Old Port (my favorite area of Portland) Posted by Picasa

Diamond Cove - home of Fort McKinley (manned during WWI & WWII) Posted by Picasa

Kayakers near Diamond Cove Posted by Picasa

Long Island - former WWII naval refueling port Posted by Picasa

Smallest lighthouse registered in U.S. Posted by Picasa

Picking up passengers at Great Diamond Island (woman and her 7-mo. old Bernese) Posted by Picasa

Pulling away from Great Diamond Island Posted by Picasa

Cove of Great Diamond Island Posted by Picasa

Lobster traps stacked up on a pier Posted by Picasa

Little Diamond Island Posted by Picasa

Transporting supplies at Little Diamond Island Posted by Picasa

Docking at Little Diamond Island Posted by Picasa

In Portland Harbor Posted by Picasa