Friday, November 20, 2009

Update on Dogs 101

Sorry, folks, I guess we were confused. Atticus will be on Dogs 101 on Saturday night, November 21.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Random thoughts of the day

This morning I went by the courthouse to file a motion and found the hallway full of people waiting for their criminal arraignments. Here's the weird thing. Most of them were kind of old. Lots of long gray ponytails on old men--isn't crime a young man's game? True fact: If you are old enough to have gray hair down to your buttocks, you are old enough to behave yourself.

Later, a stop for tea with my parents. I smiled at the beehives all wrapped up in tar paper to insulate them against the winter cold and imagined the bees cuddled up around the queen telling stories as they nibble on honey comb.

Next stop, the county jail to see a young mother heartbroken and addicted and missing her children. My favorite guard, knowing I would be safe, let us meet in the library rather than the sterile rather icky meeting room with its one-way glass and intercom. I looked at the book collection while waiting for the young woman to be brought in--the books looked worn out and the selection leaned heavily toward thrillers and romances. John Grisham and Danielle Steele and lots of authors that I've never heard of. There was a Bible and a textbook on biology. I think my book donations from now on will be to the jail.

As I was leaving and walking down the stairway to the outside, I wondered why is the stairway railing painted orange like the suits that the prisoners wear? I understand the reasoning for the outfits to be orange--they are easy to spot in case of an escape--but the railings on the stairs aren't going to escape--they are just plain ugly--surely orange paint isn't cheaper than a nice rose color. Who makes these decisions?

Then a trip to another town to watch a 2 year old visit with his mom for the first time in 8 months. He reached for a toy lion and put it on top of a doll house and I wanted to tell him a fun fact that I learned last night while reading Cry of the Kalahari by Mark and Delia Owens. Under the right atmospheric conditions--when the desert is at its highest relative humidity between 4:30 a.m. and just after dawn--a lion's roar can be heard for 8 miles. The book says that "To roar, a lion draws air deep into its chest, tightens its abdomen with great force to compress the air, and then releases it through its vocal cords, the sound erupting from the throat with such energy that it carries great distances." I didn't tell the 2 year old all that, I just let him play with his mom. But, maybe, there was a roar, there was definitely a tightening in my chest.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A special episode

In February, I wrote about Tom and Atticus being filmed by a crew from Animal Planet for an episode on Dogs 101. The episode originally aired in October and was super duper good. Their segment was the last in the show and the producers gave lots of teasers throughout to increase the anticipation.

The episode will be repeated this Friday, November 20 at 8 and 11 p.m. and my advice--bring some kleenex and a cuddly pet with you to the couch.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rejuvenation and reminder

A month or so ago one of daughter Sara's good friends e-mailed her in Macedonia and said that she was weary of her city life and needed a nature break--did Sara think that her mother (that would be me) would let her come to Maine for a visit? Sara sent me the reply email which said "Are you kidding, of course she would!" So, it was set--Louise and a friend of hers (coincidentally named Sarah) would fly up to Maine from their busy lives in Washington, DC for Halloween weekend. The excitement of the weekend began when I met their plane in Portland late Thursday night and we noticed that Senator Olympia Snowe had been on their plane. I guess she needed a nature break, too.

One of our first stops on our nature tour was my favorite tree. Since my last posting on the tree, it has been determined to be the second largest white pine in the state of Maine. If I was more competitive that #1 tree should be in serious trouble. After hiking all over the woods checking the beaver dam and the beehives, we went back to my parents' house and had a lovely dinner where my parents fell hook, line and sinker in love with these two girls.

On Saturday, we drove up into the mountains and hiked out to Angel Falls. Angels Falls is a startlingly beautiful waterfall that is really hard to get to. The path to the falls starts 3.5 miles down the Bemis Track which is sometimes navigable by vehicle, sometimes not. We hit it lucky--there had recently been some logging along the track so it had been stabilized for the first 3 miles. After that, we were on our own and the last 1/2 mile was scary. But we made it to the trailhead and then hiked into the falls crossing the river once and then a stream once, twice, three times then navigated our way around a big boulder and there it was. Surprise!

Halloween night in between passing out candy to every little kid in the River Valley, the girls discovered Molly and Archie's craft box and the sounds of their soft voices in front of the fire as they created cute little crafts made my heart absolutely grow three sizes.

On Sunday morning, we headed off to the coast. There were no big storms out to sea and it was low tide so the waves were not impressive, but the setting was beautiful. Sarah looked out to sea, I watched birds on a nearby island with my binoculars and Louise sketched.

After a final stop at L. L. Bean on the way to the airport, we said our good-byes and went back to our lives--all touched by the weekend. Louise and Sarah said that their souls were rejuvenated by being immersed in nature, by being with a family, by having their senses touched with laughing trick or treaters and soft kitties and a warm fire but my soul was rejuvenated because once again I realized that this generation of young people, just coming into their own, is really spectacular. The future is in very good hands.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hip Hopping at the Grocery

On Sunday afternoons, I usually head to the grocery store to stock up on yogurt, skim milk and whole grain bread for the week. That is the giant yawn that has become my life here at 50 with children flown from the nest. Shopping these days is not nearly as colorful or tasty as it was back in the day when the cart was piled full with double-stuff oreos, fruit roll ups and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Until today, though, the most excitement that I had experienced at our local Hannaford was when a daughter who should remain nameless (but linked) was home for a few weeks in between college and the Peace Corps and was bemoaning the lack of social life in her home town. As we pushed our cart into the local grocery store where everybody knows your name, we noticed an older man and a younger man pushing a cart just ahead of us. We did not know these people and more importantly to daughter--the young man was quite handsome. I will admit that we did an admirable job of stalking them that day in the grocery store discerning all sorts of things about their lives from the items that they selected. Daughter and I still talk about that--she'll say, "remember the time that we saw a good looking guy at Hannaford?"

But today, as I mindlessly walked up and down the aisles looking for low unit prices and no transfat, I noticed that my step was a little bouncier, my shoulders were a little straighter, and a smile was on my face. About that time, I realized that music was loudly playing over the PA system. The next thing I knew a youngish looking good old boy on the pickle aisle caught my eye and boogied a bit as he karaokied to Play that Funky Music White Boy. So, a note to all of my male readers in the 20 to 35 age range (I know you are out there) any time that you get an opportunity to dance to Wild Cherry with a 50 year old woman in the aisles of the local grocery store--you really should do it.