Monday, July 26, 2010

The Wedding

The wedding in Chicago was so much fun!

We left the House on the Cove on Thursday mid-day, after printing our boarding passes at home (first time we have done an online check-in). We chose to take a "coastal" route that took us over the Penobscot Narrows Bridge -
a truly lovely new cable-stayed bridge that has wonderful views of Fort Knox, Maine, and of Bucksport, Maine, and of the confluence of the Penobscot River with the Penobscot Bay.

The bridge is one link from the mainland to Verona Island. This picture shows the new bridge and its observation tower, with the old bridge in the background.

After our brief stop there, we made our way to Portland and arrived just in time for an early dinner at DiMillo's. DiMillo's is a former ferry boat that has been made into a restaurant. They have fabulous seafood dishes and an amazing bread pudding. Plus, you get to watch the activity in the harbor while you eat. We got to see several tall ships arrive, drop their sails, and moor during our dinner. It is a favorite of ours. From DiMillo's, we made our way to the Hampton Inn in South Portland. This place, too, is a favorite of ours. The rooms are nice and the staff is excellent. When we traveled with Papa Bear's father, they would accept delivery of oxygen equipment for us, as well as packages that contained what we did not pack in our suitcases, and they often put these into our rooms so that we had them available to us immediately.

After a restful night, we went to the jetport and had a nice flight to Chicago. I purchased a paperback book by Jennifer Weiner - Best Friends Forever- that I enjoyed greatly during the trip. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I purchased her newest book (in hard cover!) on the way back. O'Hare Airport has this wonderful moving walkway between concourses - well, it is a pretty ordinary walkway but they have their wonderful light show on the ceiling with colorful fluorescent tubes. I really enjoyed this unexpected and beautiful touch to our airport adventure. We decided to take a shuttle to the hotel, checked in, and connected with Friends from Virginia who were also there for the wedding.

That evening, after a quick purchase of some umbrellas, we took the 'L' to the rehearsal dinner at La Bocca della Verita. We connected with others there and then had a fabulous dinner. The 'L' took us back to our hotel, where we had to supply our name and room number via a speaker to the front desk to be allowed to enter. A night's rest (we slept until 9 a.m.!) and then Mama Bear went for a walk (and purchased a lipstick and some stockings, both of which she had neglected to pack) and Papa Bear read. Mama Bear saw some of the filming of the next Transformers 3 movie. It is amazing how they can take an ordinary street and dress it to look like a major disaster just happened. Prior to the wedding, we went to visit a friend of Baby Bear's, Goldilocks, who lives and works in Chicago. She picked us up from the hotel, drove us along the Magnificent Mile (amazing), along the lake (beautiful), and to her home. She had prepared a wonderful snack for us - fresh veggies and fruit with a yogurt dressing and an assortment of wonderful cheeses and crackers. It was fun to catch up with her, hear her plans, and also connect with Boo Boo (Baby Bear and Boo Boo were staying with Goldilocks.) Boo Boo had been to the Cubs game that afternoon. Goldilocks then took us to the wedding at The Dank Haus.

The ceremony was on a rooftop with the downtown Chicago skyline in the background. The reception was in a lovely room inside that had been decorated in the colors of the wedding. The ceremony was lovely and personal to the Bride and Groom: they obviously put a lot of work into making it both lovely and meaningful to them. The singer did a fantastic jazz number and the flower girls spontaneously joined her and began dancing, which added to the celebration and the song. The Celtic blessings by The Bride's uncles were warm and stirring. The reception had food that was "a Taste of Chicago" to which everyone helped themselves. It was fabulous: both Mama Bear and Papa Bear exclaimed over the deep dish pizze and Baby Bear loved the macaroni and cheese!! There was also barbeque and other foods that I do not recall other than their being so, so, so, very wonderful to eat!!

The Bride and Groom had their first dance, which was both fun and very well done: it was obvious some practice to do it had been involved, but it was fun, tasteful, and very well done.

The Bride and Group had asked people to wear pink and/or orange, and so the gathering was a sea of color and light, including these wonderful shoes on the dainty feet of a friend. Mama Bear learned that The Bride had made her gown (and the lower tiers of lace and fabric came off to give her a short dress for dancing) and The Bride's Mother made the fabulous cake!! Good food, good friends, good music: it was a fun time for relaxing, reconnecting, and celebrating.

Mama Bear and Papa Bear had an early departure at the airport, so we journeyed back to the hotel on the 'L' with our Friends from Virginia and we managed to get back before what we were calling the "hotel curfew", so we did not have to supply our names and room numbers. We arose early, went to the airport, and spent a fair amount of time providing them with our checked bags (we had done the online check-in, so we only needed stand in a very long line and do another online check-in to accomplish this task - and the ONLY thing people in this line were doing was giving them their bags - these people had all checked-in online and had boarding passes), and then going through security. I went through one of what they call the "backscatter" scanners (which I think pretty much shows all of you to whomever views the pic), flew back, and drove home. After feeding The Cat, we went to dinner at Top of the Hill in Southwest, which is rated #1 on Trip Advisor at the present time.

Today we slept in, Mama Bear did her walk/run in our really blowing wind, and we will soon go to the grocery store.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Storm

The trees are washed this morning, left over rain drops twinkling in the rising sun. Our first hint of the coming storm yesterday was just before dusk, when the blue skies and scattered white clouds gave way to the swirling of cove fog as the two fronts - a high atmosphere low and a low atmosphere low - conspired to move together to push away our warmth and moved the cove to an ever changing landscape of mist, dense fog and sun: appearing, disappearing, an instant metamorphosis from one state, from one view, to another, familiar and similar to what had been before and yet completely different and new, too. Low patches of fog that would shimmer then a mistly veil then a grey curtain followed by a clear sunny moment that then converted to yet another lovely state. The images darkened as night gathered and we were left with the white light from our compact fluorescents brightening to the windows and an ebony velvet blacknesss just beyond: impenetrable and still. After a bit, we began to see (but not hear) the lightning. A brilliant flash would rend the black at a single point that would then illumine the horizon ever so briefly and before it lowered again to ebon, all happening more quickly than could be measured easily: impressions of light rather than illumination. These fleeting flashes made us wonder if we had actually seen the light, or imagined it. The repetition of the flashes helped us to know that the light was real, not pretend. The storm approached slowly, and before long we could hear it as well as see it. We heard not the crack of a nearby strike as we would at the House on the Creek, nor a low rumble of a far storm but rather a symphony, a cacophony of sounds. Cracks, rumbles, mumbles and gravel tones spread out and unmuffled: crisp, deep, resonate and wonderous. The temperature drops and we seek long sleeves, pants and socks. And the smells: the clean smell of ozone mixed with sea air with a strong kelp component. The skies unleashed their fury - rain drops pelting trees, falling to berry bushes and ferns, thrashing the ground, fighting to fill the waters of the cove; wind tossing and turning all in its path. Windows were quickly shut to keep the outside apart. The door to the screen porch was opened wide to allow the tempest to be close. Electric power briefly lost. It was late and we headed to bed. The new day dawned bright and clean and bracing. What an amazing and awesome experience. We are so lucky to have been a part of it. My thanks to Papa Bear for the drops on the tree picture.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ducklings on Duck Cove!

The President and Mrs. Obama had an evening out without the children Saturday, and then the family went home on Sunday morning. It was nice to have them here (they vacation busily!) but the Island seems calmer without them, too, which is also nice.

Sunday Papa Bear watched the Tour de France while Mama Bear went to worship at St. John's. The Rev. George Swanson presided. For the sermon, he invited the congregation to reflect on what are our necessities. The word is from the Collect for the day, and the response from the congregation was largely centered on the Gospel text, the story of Mary and Martha. Many felt we do not celebrate the Martha's enough for what they do. Rev. George shared with me after the service that in the Middle Ages, the Cloud of Witness was struck by the fact that Jesus spoke to Martha: for that to happen was, at the time, a huge honor. One congregant wanted Jesus to say something like, "Martha: I recognize you have been working hard. Take a moment and join us and I will help you clean up later." But Jesus did not, and apparently moved far outside the normal conventions of the time even speaking to Martha. Much to ponder here.

We played at home and Papa Bear watched the Red Sox that afternoon.

On Monday, Mama Bear did her run/walk, we did some cleaning, and Papa Bear made strawberry sorbet. We used a new recipe: I like Boo Boo's recipe better, though both are good. We also did our grocery shopping early this week, and stopped by the vet in Bar Harbor to obtain some cat food. Still have not found the Real Pickles Dills for which we are searching. One of the stores carried them when we first arrived, but no longer does. These pickles are amazing and if we cannot find them soon, we will be ordering them.

We saw ducklings on Duck Cove! They seemed to having a great time!! (See picture at beginning of this blog entry.)

And we found Maine blueberries!!! They are so sweet and so small and so great!!! Mama Bear has had them with local raspberries (also great) and with a lovely peach, too, as well as all by themselves. We have a few blueberries on a bush near the street and what appear to be raspberries growing, too, though ours have yet to ripen so they could be something else.

Tuesday a.m. we took a bike ride under a blue and scattered cloud sky. It was cool and comfortable and so much fun. We await the delivery of desks later today and need to gather what we need for the trip to Chicago soon. The Cat and Mama Bear took a stroll to the cove. Mama Bear sat on a rock and surrounded The Cat with her arms while The Cat looked around. The Cat eventually took some tentative steps from Mama Bear's arms to the rock, and then Mama Bear and The Cat went back to the House on the Cove.

Weather forecast is for a nice day today, a nice day tomorrow, some rain overnight, and then more nice days. Life is, despite the predictions of an apocalypic event on 21 December 2012 on the television program on the Discovery channel, simply grand!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

We Saw ...

Friday was a quiet day for us. We watched the Tour de France. I still haven't figured out the head butting that happened earlier this week: how bizarre!

Mr. Obama and his family arrived mid-day (according to the news) and then went for a bike ride (he had not changed his clothes from what he was wearing when he left Washington, D.C.!) and then went up Cadillac Mountain (you can drive up there) to see the views from the top (they are lovely). They also went to Bar Harbor, may have take a ride on a boat, had some ice cream, and went to a lobster pound for dinner (Stewman's, Mr. and Mrs. Obama had lobster, the girls had shrimp, the waiter reports he is a decent tipper). Today they played tennis (at the Bar Harbor Club), went swimming, came to Southwest Harbor to have lunch. They may have been able to see the Friendship Sloop Regatta that happened this afternoon just off-shore there. They then visited the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse (they were allowed up on the lighthouse to see the views from there, something the normal public does not get to see.) And then they went for a hike at Ship's Harbor, or so the local press reports. On their way back to Bar Harbor, they passed through Southwest Harbor. We were there, purchasing some fruit, and saw the motorcade as they passed. So, we saw the Presidential Motorcade, if not actually laying eyes on the Presidential Family.

What did we do today? We watched the Tour de France, talked with Baby Bear (it is her birthday!), I did my walk/run, we went for a bike ride, had a fabulous dinner (pizza from Little Notch - I had broccoli, spinach and fresh and roast peppers on mine). We have now settled in for the evening. We have also been reading, taking care of the cat, doing wash, cleaning a bit, etc.

I was going to show you a picture of the fabulous red raspberries we purchased, but we ate them on the way home, so given the option of providing a picture of a green empty container or no picture, I am opting for no picture today.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The President is Coming!

The President (of the United States, aka POTUS) and his family are coming to Mount Desert Island this weekend for a brief vacation. The Island is buzzing with rumors - Where will they stay? (Latest info is the Holiday Inn Regency in Bar Harbor where the wedding scheduled for this weekend will continue to happen.) What will they do? (I do not know: I plan to stay on the Quietside of the Island this weekend if at all possible.) Papa Bear, upon hearing the news, asked if I thought that POTUS had been reading our blog, and that his reading of it is what prompted this trip. Hmmm. Somehow, I doubt it. However, if you are reading this blog, Mr. President, please have dinner at the Town Hill Bistro (best food on the Island), see the Park Loop Road, perhaps go sailing, maybe take a hike and perhaps walk to Bar Island at low tide (if the timing of low tide cooperates). A lot to do in the little time you will be here, I know. Or maybe just stop for a bit and watch the tide go in and out. I highly recommend the latter.

Monday I did my walk/run on a glorious day. We also went bicyling. There were, amazingly enough, no sports available on television. The World Cup is complete (congratulations, Spain!), Boston Red Sox did not play due to the All Star game (which the National League won on Tuesday - I am glad all the professional baseball players had a bit of a rest: these people work too many consecutive days, in my opinion), and the Tour de France had a rest day. Tuesday, forecast to be a glorious day, was foggy. Papa Bear has explained to me that when the dew point is the same temperature as the air, the air cannot hold more humidity and so its water percipitates as cloud. This phenonmenon has been happening with regularity on the Cove and we have enjoyed watching it. Last evening we watched the thinest layer of fog I have every seen hover over the Cove at low tide near sunset: it was amazingly beautiful as it shimmered while it existed, faded away, and then reappeared, sometimes in a different location. We were able to see the Cove in a new way. We do not let the fog deter us when it happens, we go about our normal routine so on Tuesday watched the Tour de France and did some grocery shopping (fresh veggies) and read. We had taco salads for dinner. I made the taco seasoning: it was amazingly good! I investigated what it would take to make my own chili powder, and as the instructions include wearing rubber gloves, I think I may pass on this activity. On our outing, we drove by the remains the The Moorings restaurant, which had burned on Monday. It is destroyed. We are thankful that no one was injured in the fire or in fighting it. For Wednesday, torrential downpours were forecast. Let me just say the the local weather prognosticators need to spend a summer in the environs of the House on the Creek before they talk about torrential downpours. We had a nice rain with the windows open (during which we watched the Tour de France: the ending was an exciting sprint won by a team Radio Shack cyclist), then I did my run/walk. We went bicycling in the afternoon. Today is another glorious sunny low-humidity day. We have watched the Tour de France, have accomplished the weekly grocery shopping (but could not find the local no-hormone bacon) and I did my walk/run. We are talking of doing a bicycle ride on this side of the Island tomorrow as our planned hike was on the other side of the Island, which we will be avoiding until after the President and his family leave.

I tend to be a joiner and so am feeling somewhat disconnected at times, but am trying to be present to this feeling: that is part of what this summer of no commitments means, sometimes feeling a bit uninvolved and wondering what is next. It is an interesting experience.

The Cat continues her routine, though of late she has wanted us to put her evening meal out at regular time but seems to want to wait to consume it until we are eating our meal. She and Papa Bear had a tussle over bed space the other night. She wanted, he says, to sleep on his feet. Not a comfortable situation, and so The Cat was invited to find another sleeping place. The picture shows The Cat on one of her vigils from the screen porch. She is inside the screen on the lower right, head between the first and second pickets (counting from the right).

New desks are now several weeks late, but had a call today that the store anticipates receiving their shipment by Monday, so we have a bring-it-here time set for Tuesday next.

Should the President and his family decide to stop by, I will let you know what happens.

Pictures today from Mama Bear taken near high tide this afternoon.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bobbing Fog

The fog has been bobbing on the cove for several days now: at times we cannot see the near shore for the fog's all-encompassing grey nothingness and yet minutes later we will be able to see the far shore through a thin mist, but cannot see the sun nor the sky. If we had need of sunshine or sky, often we would only need to drive a short distance to find them. Bar Harbor, for example, has been sunny these past few days. On some days, Southwest would be sunny, too. I need to be mindful of this situation, so that I remember to take my sunglasses when we go out in the car, in case we find a bit of sun. Today it is both foggy and gently raining, a delightful combination.

I am happy to report that new detector devices are working well and that cooking is happening in blissful silence.

Yesterday Mama Bear arose early and did her walk/run and then we went to the Flamingo Festival and Parade in Southwest. It was delightful! We took our new chairs, which I think will work better at a concert than at a parade where people crowd to the street to catch the candies thrown from the floats. Mama Bear purchased a pink balloon and made a mental note to obtain a hot pink shirt for next year. The Friends of Acadia marched, playing their wheelbarrows, rakes, and shovels. There were pink flamingos everywhere. The Southwest Polo and Yacht Club, which exists to host one event in the Festival (but has no other meetings or duties during the year) was present. We walked among the various booths near the Harbor House and near St. John's. A smattering of pink parade pictures appears at the end of this blog entry. After the parade, we purchased bread to be served with dinner. We were home in time to get our mail from the Post Office (which closes at 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays.) We watched the Tour de France and the Boston Red Sox and did a bit of reading. In the evening we watched the PBS shows Mama Bear had recorded.

We have also been shopping online: there are so many things we have trouble locating here that we can find quite easily online. I do not know if it is that we do not know where find these items here or that the items are unavailable here. I find I have limits about how far I want to drive to find something and how much time I am willing to put into it. Yes, quests are fun, but for me there are limits, too.

This morning, Mama Bear went to church, again at St. John the Divine in Southwest. The congregation, without a full-time priest, is undertaking a capital campaign. It is interesting to observe this congegration at work: I love the responsibility the laity is taking for leading worship, talking about their ministry, and carrying it out. Today the sermon was led by the Reverend Jonathan Appleyard from Bar Harbor (he shared time with two members of the congregation). My take on the sermon was the importance of being a neighbor (from the Good Samaritan story in Luke). The word neighbor has its roots in a word that means "be near." And that is what we humans are called to do: to be near each other, for when we are near each other in genuine and authentic ways, we not only minister to others, but have them minister to us, sometimes unknowingly. And that presence to each other provides grace - to both parties. I did not stay for the post-worship reception, but perhaps I need to make a practice of attending it.

The words about this lesson are my interpretation of what was said. The actual words said and ideas presented belong to Rev. Appleyard and were delivered in a manner that was more interesting and likely clearer than what I have shared here.

We have discovered we have missed the Moxie Festival, which was this weekend. I am beginning to think that there are too many festivals to attend them all. We also understand that raspberries are now in season (early this year), so we will have to watch for them.

We are having philly cheese steak sandwiches tonight, so after worship we went to the store to get bread for them, plus a few other items that were on the list. We have watched the Tour de France, the Red Sox and are now watching the World Cup game and reading.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Think Pink!

It has been a quiet week here at the House on the Cove. It has also been lovely - in the mid-70's and often foggy (which means no sun until the fog lifts, which this week has been around noon.)

Monday we watched the Tour de France and read.

Tuesday we watched the Tour de France and rode our bicycles. We decided to forego the strawberry shortcake. We have been eating much wonderful food and, believe it or not, decided that skipping this event was a good move.

Wednesday was a busy day - we watched the Tour de France and we had to take Papa Bear's car to the dealer in Ellsworth for a recall (vehicle is fine, nothing wrong) and so we combined that activity with our tea kettle quest. I had put our former empty tea kettle on what I thought was a cool burner on the electric stove. Alas! The burner was actually a hot burner. It took me a while to notice it. Hence, the need for a new tea kettle. I thought it would be nice to have a lovely yellow tea kettle until I saw their prices, at which point we decided to come home. We did stop in Southwest and make a donation and receive a flamingo from the Harbor House. We invited our flamingo to walk in some bushes in front of the House on the Cove. Flamingos seem to be popping up all over the place here (these are a part of the Flamingo Festival.) Our post office has one strutting amongst its flowers! Papa Bear has indicated to me that he would make another donation to the Harbor House if they will take the flamingo back after the Festival!On Saturday we could, should we choose, have our flamingo signed by the woman who created pink flamingos. We will not have her sign ours. I did some investigation of tea kettles after returning home and have now a better idea of what I want and how much I want to pay.

Thursday was more Tour de France and a trip to Bar Harbor to replenish the cupboard. We also received the new detectors and now will be notified if we have smoke, large particles, or carbon monoxide. We used the broiler last evening and it was great that NONE of the detectors went off (they are less sensitive). We both know where the "You are being too sensitive" switch is located (in the same place as the "Test me" switch) and so understand how to disable a false alarm (which was not possible with the former detectors, which made cooking a highly auditory experience at times.) Technical difficulties prevented Mama Bear from connecting via Skype with her House on the Creek book club. (Sadness!)

Today we watched the Tour de France and then went to Bangor to pre-order (there are many things I could say about the term "pre-order" but I will refrain for now ...) Droid-X telephones from Best Buy. Our Blackberries are almost three years old and work well, but are not nearly as functional since neither of us have/need BES Exchange linkages now. Did we consider iPhones? Yes, but "Open Source/Linux" Papa Bear really likes the Droid's ... We did some other shopping but found little, grabbed a bite to eat in the "big city" and realized while there that there are no chain fast food establishments on the Island, which we have decided we like.

The walk/run experience thus far this week has surprised me. On some days, I dreaded it until I started, and then found myself enjoying it. I am now out long enough to scale the small hill at the far end of the road, and am not minding it (though usually I dread hills - even the small ones.) Thursday I really did not want to go and felt during the first walk/run that my not wanting to go was the correct assessment, but after that first segment, it all felt good and I was glad I had persevered.

We continue sharing the cooking and other chores. We are looking forward to the Flamingo Parade tomorrow (need to arise early for this parade; we will watch the Tour de France on a replay), and perhaps the steel drum band on Monday evening. The fog did not seem to leave Duck Cove today, though other parts of the Island (Bar Harbor, for example) were fog-free (and warmer). The Cat continues to love the house. I have hidden her cat nip for a few days as she was getting really jumpy: the least noise/unexpected move and she was obviously startled. She has now relaxed a bit. Maybe catnip in small quantities will be okay. She has never reacted to catnip before, other than to eat it as an appetizer. This particular kind must be quite potent!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Fourth

For the record, the temperature in Southwest at the Bank was 18.8 all day on the 4th of July 2010. The temperature at the House on the Cove varied - cool in the morning, warmer in the afternoon, cool again in the evening.

Mama Bear went to church at St. John's again. The Reverend Vesta Kowalski gave the sermon. She talked on 2 Kings 5:1-14, and how the humans in the passage, being humans, saw what was happening as if as if they were the most important beings in the story, when, in fact, in the Bible, the most important being is usually God. She talked about how the founding fathers centered this country on the common good of all citizens. She shared her understanding of the passage from Luke 10 that we have work to do and need to do it, caring not if some of the work seems to fall on those who cannot use it: those who can use it will, others will not; we simply need to be doing the work of caring for our communities and everyone in them. We need to operate not from a me-first perspective but from a love of God and service to community perspective. A lesson well-shared (much better than I have done here) and it made me a bit less hungry for a sermon from the pastor at the church I attend at House on the Creek (Wesley Memorial United Methodist). I really like the practice of this congregation of weekly reading the names of those serving in the armed forces of the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan who have died in recent weeks. It is a wonderful way to honor the service of these people, to remember their families and to remind us of cost of our freedom and why we need to find ways to live in peace and harmony.

The words about this lesson are my interpretation of what was said. The actual words said and ideas presented belong to Rev. Kowalski and were delivered in a manner that was more interesting and likely clearer than what I have shared here.

We had our "big" meal of the day early and after a bit went to Bar Harbor for the festivities there. Papa Bear, of course, found the perfect parking place easily. He has always told me that his ability to find these spaces is linked to his relationship with the Parking Daemon - the Parking Daemon finds the spot and guides Papa Bear to it. I know not how it works, but it does seem to work.

We took a short walk to the Village Green and joined others as we awaited the beginning of the concert from the Bar Harbor Town Band. The Band was established in 1898 and offers outdoor concerts twice a week during July and August. The bandstand in which they perform was rebuilt recently through a donation from a generous patron and is looking lovely.

Papa Bear and I had taken a blanket on which we could sit. There were more than a few people our age there with those chairs you carry in a bag, and we are contemplating whether or not we should invest in two of those. The people sitting in them did look comfortable.

The bandstand was packed with musicians of a variety of ages - so packed that some of the musicians were outside the railing of the bandstand. After the band began to play, some of the younger children began to walk and run around the bandstand. They were moving with complete abandonment and utter joy. It was a delight to behold. It was not long before they were joined by older children and then parents with some even younger children and then some teens joined the dance and I even saw two grey-headed children walking around the bandstand, arms linked, smiles blazing.

Most of the songs were marches and the band sounded really great. There were also medleys of military songs. In one, The Caisson Song, The Marines Hymn, The Air Force Song, and Anchors Away were linked together. There were two trumpeters that were amazing as well as a woman who played flute and piccolo really well. The band played for about an hour and concluded with The Star Spangled Banner. Everyone stood and many sang in the gathering twilight.

We then strolled down Main Street to Agamont Park where we joined a throng of others awaiting the fireworks display. Agamont Park slopes down to the dock, and in doing so provides a natural amphitheater. Guesses were made by those around us as to crowd size and they were putting the crowd at over 10,000 people. We found a place to park ourselves and stood while we waited for the show to begin. The boats in the harbor had been moved away from the dock. There were, on some of the visible islands, lights that seemed to indicate that some had made their way to the islands to watch the festivities from there. Occasionally someone would fire a flare into the gathering darkness.

The night was cloudy (we had had a few soft drops during the concert) and just before the fireworks began, the street lights around the park went dark. A rocket went up and burst into a dandelion puff of white and gold. And then nothing for several minutes. We (the entire crowd), who had been eagerly anticipating the onset of the display and now having had our appetites now tantalizingly titilated, again waited, this time a bit more impatiently. Before long, it began. It was, I think perhaps the best display I have ever seen. Papa Bear noted that because we were seated near the top of the hill and the launching of the fireworks seemed to be from on or near the dock, we were almost directly beneath the high explosives when they burst, so it seemed more that we were a part of them instead of just viewing them. Rockets that burst into dandelion puffs of green that turned red, white star bursts that faded to gold asters, red, white and blues that twinkled on for just a moment and were gone; all soared into the darkness that enveloped us, flashed their glory ever so briefly and left us again in the dark or sometimes immediately beholding the next display. At times, the rockets climbed from the ground only half to the sky, a blazing wall of star diamonds of champagne bubbles and white tadpoles climbing and popping, sometimes ending in a short red or blue or white line. We cycled from the ground-based bubbles to the sky overhead and back several times. And just when we thought it could not possibly get any better the finale happened. Both ground-based and overhead displays so rapid and beautiful that it seemed impossible to take it all in - reds, greens, blues, whites, golds in banging star bursts and puffy dandelion shapes with a few oddly horizontal (yet lovely) flashes combined with a bubbling champagne fountain in whites, golds and other colors. There simply are not words to convey the experience.

Main Street again became a pedestrian walkway as we departed. The gentle crowd proceeded, each to their next destination. We made our way to our car and were soon traveling to the House on the Cove. It had been a lovely day, and we found that we were happy that the celebration had happened over two days: it meant we did not have to become too tired (and we wondered what families with children would have done had they had had to do it all in one day: we suspected that there would have been tired parents and even tireder children.) The Cat was glad to see us upon our return.

Papa Bear is the photographer of our pictures in this post, taking the pictures without a tripod. Quite a feat to get so many pictures in the dark that are so lovely! Know that after a few photos at the beginning of the fireworks display, Papa Bear, too, settled down to just enjoy the event. (Tip: I find if I click on a picture, it appears enlarged with a bit more detail ... you may want to try it to see what, if anything, happens for you. My browser's Back button takes me back to the blog if the picture happens to open in the same window as the blog.)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Mama Bear Joins the Booby Brigade!

And Papa Bear is eagerly anticipating their maneuvers!

We had such fun on Saturday!! A totally random selection of pictures from the day appears at the end of this blog.

I arose a bit early to do my walk/run and thought it would be a bear but instead it was refreshing. Then I wrote the earlier post, and then we went to Bar Harbor for the July 4th Festivities there.

As I was late getting cleaned up, we were late leaving, so I thought we would be unable to find parking, but Papa Bear is amazing. He had us park at the school which is but a short walk to a shady spot on the parade route. There was one officer trying to keep traffic off the parade route before the roads were closed. He was managing a huge y-intersection and having some trouble getting the attention of some drivers. Even after he erected a saw-horse "road closed" barrier, cars tried to drive around it if he did not stand with it and indicate to the drivers that they needed to turn around ...

The parade was amazing!! We stood next to a family from Vermont who spend July here each year. They have a home not far from our post office! Papa Vermont made certain I was aware of the Flamingo Festival in Southwest next Saturday - their family will be in the Samba unit of that parade!!

There were all kinds of units in the Bar Harbor parade, including several of units Shriners in fun cars/trucks/boats! There was a single elderly gentleman carrying a placard encouraging more humanity in Maine's prison system, a sobering unit from the local peace brigade who carried banners listing the names of all who have died in the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, politicians, businesses, non-profits, bands, bagpipes, a "theater in a truck" (one side of the truck is a truck, the other has doors that open to unfold a stage complete with curtain!), a flotilla of Corvettes, antique vehicles (including a steam-powered vehicle) and clowns. Candy and beads were thrown from the parade participants to the watching crowd. It was amazing and seemed to go on and on and on without being tiring. The local animal shelter threw a bag of catnip that I brought home to Mindy. She really seems to like it.

Papa Bear's favorite was the clown (appeared near the end of the parade) carrying a two-sided placard. Side one: Busta for Govnah! Side Two: Put a Real Clown in Augustah! (Augusta is the capitol of Maine, the state in which the House on the Cove is located.)

After the parade we went to the soccer field. Non-profits were located in the field; artisans were located across the street in a large parking lot. There was a section for children (with various games for them to play), booths for politicians, food from the Rotary Club (we had lobster rolls and later blueberry ice cream) and the lobster races. Picture if you will a set of steps, painted white. On four steps are long glass aquariums filled with sea water. Into each step-aquarium is placed a single lobster, who is representing a local business. Spectators are encouraged to wager a dollar on the lobster they feel will win. If their lobster wins, they win a dollar. If their lobster loses, they lose their dollar. The four lobsters are each placed in a tank, and the timer starts and everyone waits for a lobster to move. We actually saw one race where two lobsters moved, but usually only one lobster was interested in moving. Times were kept, with the fastest being 40 seconds during the time we were there.

After seven lobster heats, there is a break in the racing for a blueberry pie eating contest. Four human contestants sit in front of a blueberry pie and eat it without touching it. The winner was amazingly fast. All contestants had blueberry pie filling from over their eyebrows to under their chins. The winner received a t-shirt.

The Booby Brigade, a group of Maine women who are raising money to participate in the Boston Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk For the Cure later this summer, were selling raffle tickets for a beautiful quilt, and I bought one. I hope I win! They also sold pink rubber duckies - $5 for an only, $8 for a pair. Noble cause, but I passed on these.

We listened to some music, walked around and savored the sights, and then came back to the House on the Cove. It was an amazing experience and we had a great time!!

Upon arriving home, we watched a movie, and then went to the Little Notch Baking Company for pizza. It was exquisite and Mama Bear put a pin in their map to show where the House on the Creek is located. The bank display still shows 18.8 degrees. Today was MUCH warmer than yesterday - yesterday was in the low 60's, today was in the upper 70's, lower 80's. Display is still showing 18.8.

Hope you enjoy the pictures and am sorry you missed all the fun here.




Old car

The Philharmonic

Uncle Sam

Smokey (the) Bear


Old Fire Truck

Quilt Raffle


One Food Area

Lobster Race

Blueberry Pie Eating Contest

Pie Contestant

Papa Bear's Favorite

PB's Favorite Two