Quite unexpectedly, David and I found ourselves at home, in Maine on November 6, 2015. Â David had returned to Namibia the first of September and I joined him on October 29. Â It came as aÂ surprise when David was released early from the project and within a week’s time of my arrival, we were flying back to Maine.
We were very much in a daze for the first few days of our arrival back to the states….everything happened so quickly, that at one point, we just looked at each other and said “What just happened?”
There is a reason for everything and with that thought, we plowed forward trying to figure out what our next plan of action would be. Â We were excited to be home for the holidays with our family and decided that whatever we did, would have to wait until after the first of the year.
We have made the most of being home spending quality time with family and friends. We were home in time to help dad, who is going strong at 86 years of age, do leaf clean-up in his yard. Â
He had fun on his new riding lawn mower sucking up all of the leaves while David helped dump them once the buckets got full. Â My job was to blow them into a pileÂ so Dad could just make a quick sweep of them. Â He had a “system” and woe betide to the person who didn’t do as Dad said!!!
We try to spend as much time as possible with my dad, who lives 1 1/2 hours north of us in central Maine. Â When we are with him, we make a point to go see my brother, Mike and his family. Â To say the least, there is always activity going on and it is usually very entertaining at his home!
Mike and his wife, Kelsie, recently got a new four-legged family member, Gertie. Â She is a cutie and loves company. Â
Our nephew, Dylan, has a little girl, Allana. Â She loves being outside and playing. Â Mike bought her a small four-wheeler. Â At two years old, she is too young to drive it herself but she and her daddy have fun on it together. Â
As I write this, there is snow on the ground. Â These cute photos are of Allana getting ready to go outside and play.
At Christmas, Allana received a small snowmobile from Dylan. Â I just looked for a picture to share with you but don’t seem to have one. Â It will have make certain to get one of Allana and her dad on that to share with you. Â I predict that when she is older, Allana might become an Extreme SportÂ super athlete with the way she is being introduced to all types of machines to go fast!
My beloved Higgins Beach is still a great place for walks along the ocean. Â I love the beach this time of year because there are fewer people and I can enjoy the solitude of the ocean sounds.
Occasionally, I am blessed to have a dog join me. Â This day, I had my girlfriend’s dog, Lily. Â She loves to explore the beach and is great company. Â
A couple of events that we attended in November was Yarmouth High School’s presentation of the play Shrek. Â I saw Shrek in London when I lived there in 2013. Â I must say that the students put on a performance that would rival the professional show I saw. Â It was a wonderful night.Â
Portland, Maine can now boast of having a Science Center. Â The first exhibit was Body Worlds, which David and I visited. Â It was very interesting but there was so much information to absorb in such a short period of time. Â For those of you who have not heard of this exhibition, the bodies on display are actual human bodies that have been donated by people, during their lifetime, specifically to be used for this exhibit. Â Through a process of plastination, the body fluids are removed and replaced with various types of plastic.
This figure was called the “X-lady”. Â By presenting the body in this fashion, one can see the ball and sockets hip joints, the mouth and nasal structure and the heart, diaphragm, lungs and kidneys.
Another exhibit showed the various body parts that could be replaced to allow people to continue their active lifestyle while being pain-free. Â For example, I remember seeing what a hip and knee replacement actually looked like. Â Amazing, to say the least.
One of the more interesting part of the exhibit for me was how various diseases effected our bodies. Â In the lung exhibit, it showed a healthy lung and one of a smoker. Â After seeing that, if I were a smoker, I think I might be motivated to quit!
If you ever get an opportunity to see the Body Worlds exhibit, I would highly recommend it but just remember, to allow lots of time to be able to absorb all of the information that is presented!
December brought the Christmas season. Â I got into the Christmas spirit early by decorating our home. Â It seems like it had been ages since we could enjoy some Christmas traditions like sending out Christmas cards and decorating. Â Last Christmas, we were in summer while climbingÂ the famous red dunes of the Namib desert in Namibia! Â This year, we were in winter wonderland of Maine! Â Talk about extremes.Â
We took advantage of every opportunity to celebrate the season. Â In Lewiston, Maine, the Shriners had their annual FEZtival of Trees. Â Various businesses decorated over 40 Christmas trees each displaying a different theme…..for example, there was the NE Patriots tree with all items Patriot related, there was the Children’s tree full of toys, etc. Â Each person visiting could purchase raffle tickets to try and win a tree of their choice. Â I think it is an excellent fund-raiser and great way to “kick off” the holiday season. Â
The first two weeks of December, the town of Kennebunkport, ME ring in Christmas with their annual Christmas Prelude celebration. Â This year was the 34th year of the Christmas Prelude and I had never been. Â There certainly was a festive atmosphere the night we went. Â The stores were all brightly decorated, Christmas carols were being sung, since the streets were closed to traffic, people were milling about wearing jovial decorations, themselves….Christmas sweaters, earrings and necklaces resembling Christmas lights, fun Christmas hats. Â You couldn’t help but get caught up in the Christmas spirit!
Even Santa got into the festivities by preparing fried clams!Â
The highlight of night was the lighting of the Christmas tree in the town square. Â Since it was the 34th year, the crowd counted down from 34 to light the tree. Â As you can see, it was beautiful with the thousands of lights on it.
One of the most enjoyable Christmas events that we attended was the Christmas light display at the Botanical Garden in Boothbay Harbor. Â For those of you who regularly read my blog, you might remember that I “ran away” to Boothbay last October. (see the post Summer/Fall 2015)Â During that time, I visited the beautiful Botanical Gardens and they were putting up the Christmas lights in preparation for the December light show. Â At that time, I thought I was going to be in Africa over Christmas and didn’t think I would be able to see the display.
Being able to visit the Gardens Aglow presentation, was some of the “good” that came from the “bad” situation of David being released early from the Namibia project. Â The lights were beautiful! Â For me, Christmas isn’t about the presents but about the birth of Jesus, decorations and Christmas music. Â My photos do not give this night justice and if ever you are near Boothbay Harbor at Christmas, I would hope that you put visiting the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens Aglow on your “must do list”!
The flagship store for LL Bean in Freeport, Maine has beautiful Christmas decorations as well. Â The only photo I took, though, was of the Christmas tree. Â After dark, there is a musical presentation where the lights are synced to the music. It is quite the spectacle! Â
Near our home, is a walking trail that I frequently enjoy for morning walks. Â One day, as I was walking along this trail, I happened upon trees decorated with items from nature. Â It made me pause and smile. Â It was such a lovely reminder of how beautiful nature is. Â Often, I do not carry my cell phone but this day, fortunately, I did so can share my wonderful discovery with you.Â
Christmas was celebrated with family. Â David and I enjoyed the morning with my brother Mike and his family.
After they all finished opening their gifts, David and I spent the rest of the day with my other brother, Perry. Â We all drove to our new cottage in Cundy’s Harbor so Perry could see the progress we have made on the renovations. Â Back at Perry’s house, we exchanged gifts and had Christmas dinner. Â As you can see, Jack was all dressed up for the holiday!
New Year’s Eve was very quiet. Â David and I stayed in to watch a movie and toast the old year out and the new year in with a glass of wine.
This year, more than ever, I was more than happy to say good-bye to 2015 and welcome the new hope that 2016 offered. Â I will close this posting with wishing you a belated and joyous New Year and I hope that your year is filled with overflowing blessings.