My Summer Vacation for 2011!

David and I flew back to Maine on June 30th.  I wish I could say that the flight was a normal flight but sadly, I can’t!  We flew Continental, which meant that we entered the states in Newark.  If I had my druthers I prefer to fly Jet Blue into JFK.  I love the Jet Blue terminal there….they have a great food court with a great salad bar and many other healthy choices.  Plus, the wireless connection works great.

At Newark, I wasn’t able to connect to the wireless…..I almost think you have to pay to use it.  The food court was OK but not compared to JFK.  The customs process at JFK is way easier too. Anyway, we had a 3 hour layover in Newark, arriving at 6:00 at night and flying out around 9:30 or so.  We were scheduled to land in Portland at 10:45.  That didn’t happen.  Our 3 hour layover ended up being more like 7 hours.  Continental wouldn’t tell us the reason for the delay, only the plane hadn’t left Toronto.  At midnight, they gave us each $6.00 vouchers.  Practically everything was closed but I was so mad that we were delayed and not given a proper reason that I went with David’s and my vouchers and bought $12.00 worth of water!

At 2:00 AM, we were taxiing down the runway.  We finally got to our home in Cape Elizabeth at 4:00 on Friday morning.  So, you can guess that Friday was kind of a lost day.  We slept until about 8:30 in the morning and were very tired for the rest of the day.

However, things got much, much better and the rest of our vacation was wonderful.  The 3rd of July, we went to spend the night with my sister, Kathy and her family in Herman, outside of Bangor.  My mother and stepfather came down from Moosehead. My two nephews were there, we were only missing my niece and her husband. It was a lovely family time.  At night, we sat around the fire pit and made s’mores.  It has been years since I have enjoyed that tasty marshmallow and chocolate treat!  I entertained everyone with my Judkin’s Day Camp and Wayaka Camp songs.  Amazing that I can remember all the words to those songs close to 50 years ago but I can’t remember a conversation that I had yesterday!!!

Back in Cape Elizabeth, David and I enjoyed bike rides to Higgins Beach. I know I mention it each summer that I write in the blog, but that is one of my all time favorite things to do on a summer morning.  We hop on our bikes and peddle the 4 miles to the little farm stand store where I buy a cup of coffee.  Right across from the store, is the dead end road that leads to Higgins Beach.  There we sit for a good hour, watching the children and dogs running on the beach, the Stand-Up Paddle boarders, and the surfers while I enjoy my coffee.  After, we peddle home and start the day.

One big highlight for this summer was my brother, Perry, moved back to Hallowell (the town that we grew up in) after living close to 22 years in Madison, WI.  It is really bittersweet as he ended a 12 year relationship with his partner and we all loved Michael.  Gratefully, they have kept the split amicable and have been able to remain friends.  Michael was in Maine for the first 2 weeks in July.  David and I enjoyed a walk in the woods at Camp Ketcha in Scarborough with Perry, Michael, their chocolate lab, Hunter and French bulldog, Jack.  That night was topped off with a picnic of Amato Italians at the Fort Williams Park home of the Portland Headlight.

On July 8, we laid my stepmother to rest at the Veteran’s Cemetery.  It is really a beautiful and peaceful spot.  The day was sunny and warm.  It was a very small, private family affair.  After the service, David and I loaded dad into the car and pointed the car north.  Dad is from a Oakfield, a small town in Aroostook County and he had been wanting to go to visit his friends.  David and I told him that we would love to make a trip there with him.   What a fun, fun trip it turned out to be!

The first night, we stayed in Presque Isle and Saturday morning we were on the road to Washburn to visit my cousin and her husband.  We had a great visit with them and were able to meet their beautiful grandchildren and see their son, Christopher.

We took Rt 11, the back, scenic route down to Oakfield where dad had a grand time visiting with some of his classmates.  I even think there might have been a little flirting going on with another widow!!!  When dad was growing up, Oakfield was an important hub for the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad line.  My grandfather, Kelcy Morrison worked most of his life with the railroad.  He started out as a “fireman”, which meant that it was his job to shovel coal into the engine for the duration of the trip.  On the round trip to Caribou, dad said that Grampa would shovel 28 tons of coal a night…can you imagine????  Eventually, Grampa worked his way up to the position of engineer.

Today, the Oakfield station houses a lovely museum of train and town history.  We were able to spend a little time looking at the scrapbooks.  I saw several pictures of my dad and his sisters and brothers.  The rest of the day was spent driving the back roads and listening to dad’s memories.

Shortly after David and I were married, we had a project in Madawaska, which is also in Aroostook County.  Both of us had forgotten the beauty of the area.  The rolling fields full of potato plants, some which were in bloom.  The view of Mt Kathadin, which is the end of the Appalachian, for hikers who started in Georgia.  Plus, we were amazed and impressed by the size of people’s lawns that were so neatly manicured.  It must be an all day project and definitely done with a riding lawn mower!

Before leaving the county to head home on Sunday, we took a trip to New Limerick and Linneus.  This past winter, I became interested in the Morrison history and was able to get my hands on some research that another family member had compiled.  While looking through the information, I learned that our ancestor, Samuel Morrison, founded the town of New Limerick and was buried in Linneus.  This is a picture of dad and me in front of Samuel’s gravesite.  I also found two other graves for Benjamin and Edmund in the same cemetery.

It was a great trip and weekend.  I learned that my dad is a very good and easy traveler!  Which is good as we hope to have him come visit us after the holidays, wherever we might be!

The weather was glorious while we were home!  We took advantage of the good weather by spending a day in Portland.  We parked the car near Monument Square and visited the library that had been remodeled since we have been gone.  They did a lovely job with the new design.  From the library, we walked down to the Old Port area.  This is the old warehouse area that has been converted to shops and restaurants.

We eventually made our way to the Casco Bay Ferry line and took a ride to the islands of Little Diamond, Big Diamond and Long Island.  It was fun to see the passengers and freight get unloaded and loaded.  Not to mention the gorgeous ocean views!

The day ended by enjoying a great fiddle concert at Fort Allen Park on the Eastern Promenade overlooking the Casco Bay. It was a lovely evening with great friends, scenery and music!

The third Saturday in July is Old Hallowell Day’s celebration.  As I write every year, it is a great time to see many friends that I grew up with.  This year was no exception but it seemed to pass with more of a blur compared to previous years….oh no, is it my age???  Dick Bachelder was named Hallowell’s Citizen of the Year and his children all came to see him honored.  I grew up with the Bachelder family and too much time had passed since I had seen them.  It was wonderful!!!  The day ended visiting many of my classmates at Hope MacFarland’s home.  Like I said earlier, it was a lovely day of seeing many friends but it just went by in a blur!

The day after Old Hallowell Day, David flew back to the Dominican Republic.  That following week, I went to Moosehead to spend some quality time with my mom and stepfather, Paul.  Sadly, Paul has dementia and can’t be left alone for any period of time.  My mom is his main care-taker.  With me there, I was able to give mom sometime to herself, which she greatly needed.  It was a nice time and ended all too soon.

Did I mention that David decided we needed a new kitchen while he was home?  As many of you know, we have been working on our house over the past few years….rugs have been torn up, hardwood floors have been refinished, wallpaper has been steamed off and walls have been painted, built-in shelves have been added in the living room and dining room and the bathroom has been remodeled.  So, basically, the only room left is the kitchen and yes, it is rather dated.  We have been talking about it for a few years now.  We have even tried to find a match with contractors but have not had the best of luck.  A couple of years ago, we attended a home show in Portland and one of the booths was a new store “Home Again” opening in South Portland.  They are a branch of Hancock Lumber and specialize in kitchen and bathroom remodels.  That is where we went to discuss getting a new kitchen.

Since this has been an ongoing thought process, I had a very good idea what I wanted in the kitchen.  Jeremy has been our designer and the process, believe it or not, has been fun!  We are in the final design phase and we are hoping that around the first of November,  I will fly back to Maine to begin the remodeling process.   That will be a whole other blog!

I returned to the DR on August 17 and a week later, we had Hurricane Irene pass by.  We were so very, very fortunate as early on Monday, the storm center was predicting a direct hit for us on the north shore.  As the day progressed, Irene’s track moved a little to the north of us and passed us by.  Around 2:00 on Tuesday morning, we had very heavy rain, high winds and tides.  For the most part, there was minimal damage, although there was quite a bit of beach erosion.  A week later, things are pretty much back to normal.

I am getting back into the routine of life down here. I am taking about another month worth of Spanish classes, they will end mid-September.  Spinning classes are on Mon-Wed and Fridays.  The beach dogs are fed at 5:00 or so each day and I usually spend an hour sitting or walking the beach.  Always, the trash pick-up continues……

David’s contract ends in December.  He is exploring his options to see if he is going to extend it or if go to a new project.  It is always an exciting time to see where our next project will take us for the continuation of our adventure!

Stay tuned…………..

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