Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Driving to Norway!

We packed a lunch yesterday, and took a foliage drive in the warm sunshine (it reached 79°F). In past years, we've driven across to Vermont, and made an overnight stay out of it, but COVID reality kept us closer to home. This year we had to decide whether to drive all the way to Paris, Norway, Naples, or Poland! And all this without stops for conveniences like bathrooms, gas or food. Luckily for us, Maine is a state with multiple 'countries' within it, so we managed to cover a lot of ground 😀.

Our most difficult decision of the day was choosing whether to have lunch in Norway or Poland - can't beat that for relaxation! Egg salad- and Reuben- sandwiches, oranges, pecans, dried mango slices, a few salty chips, and ... a pickle (of course) tasted superb, with this view in front of us, at the outdoor rest stop in Norway:



Lunch in Norway:
Pennesseewassee Lake




We even swam in our lake (without wetsuits) when we returned home, and felt wonderfully refreshed.



Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Monday, September 28, 2020

Cosy Meals

My slow cooked pork roast dinner ready for the oven. The .99c/lb pork roast is sitting in the liquid left behind in the jar after we ate all the black olives, and I refuse to throw it away. I've interspersed our home-made sauerkraut (cabbage harvest thanks to Georgette and Dennis, with no-contact drop-off) through the liquid, and topped it off with carrots and Granny Smith apple slices. The cooked, mushy apples balance the flavor of the sauce. A perfect way to warm the house and body on a fall evening.



Sunday, September 27, 2020

Enamored ...

This native Closed Bottle Gentian fascinates me. Its blooms remain tightly closed throughout its flowering season. Bumblebees work extremely hard to get to the nectar inside, and they don't hesitate. It looks excruciatingly difficult, but they manage to pry those closed petals apart enough to get inside. When the bee leaves, the corolla clasps closed again. Because it's hard work, and requires a certain amount of strength to get inside, not all insects can do it. Selective! Or picky?




The deep, dark purple color contrasts beautifully with the greens of late summer, and then later, complements the yellows and oranges of fall.



Saturday, September 26, 2020

Lonely Leaf

 



Almost  overlooked,

 Forgotten by the roadside,

 A golden leaf glows.







Friday, September 25, 2020

Kayaker's Signature

You've heard of farmer's tan, I'm sure, but I'm here to offer a glimpse of kayaker's tan, a result of holding fingers around the paddle in the sun.

As with most sun exposure, I wasn't aware of getting burnt, having covered my arms and legs with clothing, my head with a hat, and my eyes with sunglasses. I had kayaking gloves with me, but they prevented me from touching plants, so off they came.





Thursday, September 24, 2020

Zing!

This week I discovered that I can actually move fast - I guess anyone would, with a wasp stinging you under your bra-less t-shirt! It was such a sudden, sharp, zing! I can't believe how quickly I reacted, instinctively lifting my shirt to let it out. I didn't know I could move at lightning speed, anymore 😀, but I did. I guess it's good to know.



Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Squirrel Scrimshaw

Red Squirrels have created this pattern with their teeth on a bone we hung in a tree for them. Sometimes we can hear the gnawing sounds (shudder) as they sharpen their teeth.


 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Fall Crisp is Here

 Mornings are cooling,



Patridgeberries, reddening




Coneflowers, fading.


Monday, September 21, 2020

Fresh Breadrolls, Anyone?


I didn't bake these, but they look scrumptious, don't you think? Actually, they're not breadrolls, and are probably NOT edible either - they're freshly erupted mushrooms, courtesy of mother nature. I rotated the image to make the close up look more credible.








 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

100 Days

Today I recorded 100 days since I stopped interacting personally on Facebook (aka FAKEbook!), and I'm feeling really good about it. I've reclaimed a lot of my own time and found new interests. And I don't feel lost or disconnected, or that I'm missing out. I feel more grounded, and overall less rattled. Less frazzled.

My withdrawal from social media hasn't been as difficult as I'd imagined it would be. Initially, during my COVID isolation, social media seemed like the ideal way to stay connected. But I've grown tired of 'shares' and re-posts of memes and political views, and of public, superficial concern for others. I know how I feel about humanity's issues, and I know how to get news, or do research. 

Facebook is a great way to promote a business, or a viewpoint, and to reach large numbers of people. I have found it difficult to step away from Special Interest Groups that I've subscribed to (Native Plants of New England, Lake Stewards of Maine, Print: A Bookstore) because this platform is a great way for people to contribute on-topic information from anywhere in the world. But on a PERSONAL level, it's not as satisfying just reaching hundreds on a general level, as opposed to deeply and meaningfully touching a few. I've always kept up with individuals on a private level up till now, and I can still do that.

I initially thought my withdrawal would be a temporary hiatus, a cleanse as it were, but now I see it continuing indefinitely.





Saturday, September 19, 2020

Respect for RBG

 Ruth Bader Ginsburg


Dignity and strength,

A powerful example:

Continue her work.

Triggah Fingah!

Curiously, I awoke to find I couldn't straighten my middle finger this week. Since then, it's got 'caught' in this bent position quite a few times. It feels as if there's a weight attached to my fingertip, pulling it down. It's not painful, but feels VERY weird. It stays stuck in this position until I 'click' or pop it back into place. 

I'd noticed how uncomfortable and strange my fingers felt after gripping my paddle when I resumed kayaking this fall, but thought nothing more of it. My desire to keep searching for locations of an invasive plant in our lake, overrode any discomfort. But now, this ...



I looked it up (of course!) and it's apparently known as trigger finger, and easy to self-diagnose (well, duh). People whose hobbies "require repetitive gripping actions are at higher risk" (Mayoclinic.org). Treatment is ... rest (not going to happen just yet), and the condition will usually right itself and go away. I'm applying heat and taking an anti-inflammatory for a short while though, until kayaking season is over.

And no, I'm not itching to shoot anyone ... though that seems to be a common 'solution' to things these days.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Aquatic Beauty

Look at the beauty of this: the carnivorous Common Bladderwort. It lives in nutrient poor environments, so supplements its needs by trapping living organisms. Those little black "bladders" (they're bright green when young) ingest tiny critters with a suction motion when triggered. I love seeing them in the lake - their 'leaves' are like delicate threads, and its iridescent green color glows in the underwater light. It reminds me of a fine, filigreed piece of jewelry.



Thursday, September 17, 2020

Lucky Me!

How spoiled am I? Our neighbors shared some books with me a few weeks ago, and I carefully kept them aside, untouched, for a few days before eagerly looking inside the tempting and enticing brown paper bag. 

But before I could dive into one (or two, or three), I got distracted by more urgent activities that needed taking care of on the lake - the nasty invasive European Naiad.

I'm looking forward to some more relaxing times now that the hubbub has died down - so what to delve into next? Thanks, K.


                          

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Reality Check

Oh no. I've had a very hard day - I found more of the invasive Najas minor (European Naiad) plant in our lake after the specialist suction team had cleaned up last week. 

I found more plants because the fantastic fall sunlight improved the visibility substantially, allowing me to see to greater depths. I not only found more, but I found them in an area that we had surveyed previously, albeit on a cloudy day. It was woefully depressing.

I was heartsore. Each time I sighted a new plant, I felt as if I was being stabbed in the chest, literally. It was visceral. By the time I got back home, I was hopelessly despondent and pained by my findings, close to tears. In all, we added 14 new locations to our shoreline. The rest of my day was filled with gloom, and I struggled to regain my chi. 

Somehow, after the removal of the plants last week, and subsequent surveys turning up nothing, I'd let myself believe that this was it, that we'd caught and contained it early enough; that I'd heroically saved the lake by my early discovery. Did I think that swooshing my 'superwoman' cape was enough to make it all go away? How could I be so egotistical and naive? On what planet do things turn out right the first time, after very little effort? Too many Disney movies have left me hopelessly and innocently hopeful. If I'm not running a fever, then it's time for a reality check! Time to pull up my big girl pants and keep fighting!




Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Unmasking My Sarcasm

Last week's visit to the store was the very first time that EVERY single person I encountered was wearing a mask. It's 'only' taken 6 months! I guess they found out that the hoax theory was a hoax?

Is that called rampant stupidity? Or wanton ignorance? Flagrant ignorance? Whatever the name for it, the insidious way misinformation takes root and spreads, has scary parallels with that of an actual virus, and yet the contagion and its damage isn't recognized.

And so, apocalyptic foreboding haunts me ...


Monday, September 14, 2020

Move Over, 007 ...

 ....  Agent 4119 is on the case!





I'm so happy to be a part of this group of people who care deeply about the same things I do.

I also have my own Field Guide now.




Sunday, September 13, 2020

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Deciphering my Words

Can anyone decipher these for me? I spoke into my Android's microphone to record some observations yesterday, and it took me a while to figure them out when I got back home.


Large blood award

reminisce grasses

petrol weed 

(answers below)


Do I really sound that weird when I talk? Is it really that hard to understand what I'm saying? 

Large blood award

(Large Bladderwort)

reminisce grasses

(various grasses?)

petrol weed 

(Pickerelweed)

Friday, September 11, 2020

The Scent of Tomatoes




A neighbor started a batch of tomatoes from seed, and very kindly gave us some of his plants when he discovered that his yield was more successful than he could handle. Dale put them out on our dock (safe from critters), and watered them regularly from the lake (easy access to water).



They grew like weeds, and we had to keep finding ways to support them as they grew taller. It looked as if we had a lush, tropical jungle growing on our dock.


We savored the wafting tomato scent brought to us on the wind as we swam or relaxed on the dock.
Some managed to grow their roots through their canvas bags, down through the deck slats and into the water to keep themselves hydrated.





Our copious and delicious harvest has just begun - we have 9 enormous fruits to get through in the next few days before the next lot ripen


"The raw tomato, devoured in the garden when freshly picked, is a horn of abundance of simple sensations, a radiating rush in one's mouth that brings with it every pleasure. . . . a tomato, an adventure."   -  Muriel Barbery




"The tomato offers its gift of fiery color and cool completeness"  -  Pablo Neruda

 These are Prudens Purple

 




Thursday, September 10, 2020

Flotillas of Unflattering Sun Hats ...

This week, I participated in my 3rd paddle survey with fellow Invasive Plant Patrollers (IPPers). I've been having a blast discovering that there are people out there, who are as crazy as we are! It's thrilling - we talk plants, and get excited about Bladderworts and Pondweeds, Bryozoans and algae.


I think I've found my tribe. Everybody is enthusiastic about nature, and conservation, and monitoring, and natives, and other obscure things ..... It's been so very exciting and validating to have others enjoy what I enjoy - nature and lake life! Though I return home worn out from excitement and effort, it is fulfilling and rewarding work.


Not only have I found my tribe when it comes to interests we're passionate about, but these people are also similarly practically minded. Everybody participating in the survey looked as geeky and unperturbed about how they looked, as us - for once, we didn't stand out! A common theme was: flip-up polarizing sunglasses, pants with multiple, bulging pockets, lanyards with useful things around our necks, Earth Shoes or Crocs, and enormous, unflattering sun hats. So, if you saw a flotilla of floppy sun hats, with rakes, scopes and GPSes going by, that was us!


Like-minded people
Are appearing in my life
Virt'ully, through Zoom.





Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Put a Pretty Dress on ...

Last week, after not having had an opportunity to wear a pretty dress all summer, I slid my favorite one off its hanger ... to walk to the mailbox. Did that feel good! 

It was a classic case of 'all dressed up, and nowhere to go' ... except, in the days of COVID, the mailbox is somewhere to go!

Of course, now I can't get this song out of my head:



"… Come on darling
Put a pretty dress on
We're gonna go out tonight
Dance, dance, dance… "

Steve Miller Band

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

A 10 Year Retrospective

My Mom's passing 10 years ago was unexpected and a huge shock to us all, making it a very difficult time to weather. We felt robbed. We were stunned. In the intervening years, though, I've learned to be grateful for the time we did have together, and I cherish that. Please don't think I'm sad and mournful; my intention in sharing this piece is to honor her memory:

When you are sorrowful

look into your heart

and you shall see that

you are weeping

for that which has been

your delight

~ Kahlil Gibran



Written 10 Years Ago, (September 8, 2010):

"It is with great personal sadness that Linus, Lucy, Dale and I bid Mom farewell. She and I had planned to celebrate our 50th and 80th birthdays together in the U.S. this fall, but it seems that Mom had a journey of her own to make, that did not include Boston. Instead, my courageous father will be making that trans-Atlantic journey alone, and I can see Mom smiling proudly at his decision to honor her memory by visiting their grandchildren for her.


Looking around us here today, we can see how many people Mom has brought together. Though we mourn because we still selfishly wish we could have more time with her, in a way we are still able to spend time with her, for she has sprinkled a little “essence of Maureen” into all the lives she has touched, in so may different ways. How moved I was to discover a youthful photo of Mom, in which I could see an expression that my daughter Lucy makes, a similarity I'd never noticed before. It’s beautiful and inspiring too, to see how many people loved her. And Dad LOVES that everybody loved Mom.


Mom’s colorful nature came through in both her personality, and in her extraordinary dress sense. She loved bright colors, sparkly jewelry, and shiny sequins - I recall hearing her bracelets and earrings jingling as she talked to us on Skype. She was a simple, down-to-earth, no-airs kind of person, known to many for her Irish beauty, her ladylike qualities, her perpetually happy outlook, and her love of dancing, clothes and music. She was devoted to her soulmate, & children, and being a Mom was her greatest source of pride and satisfaction - having her brood of 6 accompany her whilst shopping made her swell with pride, especially when people quizzed her to see if they were all hers. You’d think she’d just been awarded the Nobel prize! She gauged her wealth and blessings by her children.


Essence of Maureen


Only an amazing and unselfish Mom would encourage her daughter, expecting the first, long anticipated grandchild, to go ahead and take up that job offer in Germany, despite it robbing her of being around her first grandchild. She always encouraged us to spread our wings, and never begrudged us our choices. I never think of her as a sentimental, doting Mom, but rather as a fiery lionness who showed me how to love fiercely too! 


Poor Mom was also very easy to 'take the mickey out of,' but she always accepted the joking in a good-natured way, and we laughed at so many funny things together, often to the point of her having to rush to the bathroom in hysterics. We had some wonderfully happy times.


When I think of Mom, I also remember that she was no saint - she could be incredibly rude and blunt at times, and could be extremely difficult (or “otherwise,” as Dad would explain it). She was stubborn to a fault and determined to have her way. This was part of who she was. We would get the “cold shoulder” and not be spoken to for days, and man, did THAT feel chilly. She'd sometimes shock people with her saucy comments, and I recall hearing Aunty Maryann remonstrating “Maureen!” in mock exasperation or shock, at something mischievous she had said, but this would usually only encourage her to say something even more outrageous! 


These feisty qualities helped her forge her way through many difficult and trying times, and in her journey through life, she evolved into a gracious, accepting, forgiving human being. When I think of Mom, I can’t help but think of a beautifully rounded piece of shiny sea-glass, with all the sharp edges smoothed away."






Monday, September 7, 2020

My New Baby!

I'm ecstatic and exhausted, after having given birth to a new "baby" 2 weeks ago. She's a Water nymph, named Britt(le), and has kept me up at night, and sapped all my energy. But I'm loving being her caretaker, and am devoting my time to her willingly and lovingly. I'll sacrifice anything to stay involved, and be a part of her life. I'm fiercely protective and proud of her, as with any baby.

In reality, I'm the new Mom to the discovery of an invasive aquatic species (the Brittle Naiad or Water nymph, Najas minor) on my lake. Not a great thing, really, but just as babies turn out to be not quite what you anticipated, so it is with this one.



I'm pleased and proud to have detected it, and yet I'm unhappy because it means that we have yet another aggressive invader on our lake. Like a newborn, you have to get used to it, accept and work with what you have. But there is also a lot of worry, unknowns, and fear for the future.

Fighting this invader and doing battle with it has given me a new purpose! I'm not just a Mom anymore, I'm a Citizen Scientist, a certified Invasive Plant Patroller, with the successful detection of an invasive under my belt! That means I'm notorious, right?





Sunday, September 6, 2020

Lost and Found

I lost an aunt this week. I looked everywhere, and finally found her again, in the last place I looked - my heart.

She was the aunt who was always around when I was growing up. She was an integral part of the development of our lives, so much so that my parents named my youngest sister in her honor. My aunt did crafts with us, and hosted midnight feasts and enormous family gatherings. She provided a quiet haven when I was studying for exams, and took care of my grandparents for many, many years. She could be outspoken and stern, and sometimes terrifying, but she had the softest heart and the biggest hugs (one of my brothers recalls her once breaking his glasses during one of her loving hugs). Her sense of humor and love of laughter always cracked through her outwardly tough exterior.




I had the uncanny experience of dreaming about her the day she died in South Africa. In my dream, she was telling me in no uncertain terms, that I ought to be wearing a bra! It was perfect!

I have so many childhood memories that involve her, and these have carved a special place in my heart that is reserved for her.

Rest in Peace, Aunty Maryann.



Saturday, September 5, 2020

Addiction or Aging?

How bad is it when you need coffee to help you make your cup of coffee in the morning?

Ugh, I hate getting old! Or, I hate being addicted! Oh, I'm human, right?





Friday, September 4, 2020

More Spoonerism Fun

Spoonerisms are such fun! I'm always amazed at how they surreptitiously pop up in a conversation. They're usually amusing, and sometimes, Freudian-slip like! But anyway, not all make sense in the original and spoonerized version, but this one does, so thought I'd share it:


A floating dock

A doting flock

(ok, so I adjusted the spelling to make it look right, but the sounds are the same)

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Underwater Garden


Pondweeds and Milfoil,

Thick underwater "meadows"

Sway beneath my keel.






.


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Natural Bouquets


Look at these perfect, natural bouquets - they'd look wonderful as a corsage, or boutonnière, don't you think? They are exquisite and beautifully arranged, very carnation-like. Plus, these rosettes are ready-made - how fabulous is that?  😊




This lichen makes a fantastic hairpiece, too. I think it's beautiful.



What would you use these for?






 

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

The Frog Prince

I took this photo from my kayak last week, and it reminded me of the vinyl record cover of "The Frog Prince" that was my birthday present one year, way back in the Sixties.



Though I LOVED the story and the rendition of it on the record, I was petrified of the image on the cover. It was a photograph of a man dressed in what looked like a skintight, slimy frog suit, crouching down next to a wishing well with a crown on his head. On the other side of the well was a grown woman in what seemed to be a short ballerina tutu, holding a golden ball. It was freaky-scary: that frog was as big as the princess, and as creepy as heck. I'd ask my Mom to put the record on for me, but I wouldn't look at, or touch the record cover, since it scared me to death. I had to look away!

I've looked online for the cover that alarmed me so much as a child, but haven't come across it yet. If I ever do, I'll include it here. It would be very interesting to see how it compares with my childhood recollection of it. Thus far, few of my siblings recall the record cover as vivdly as I, and the chills it unduced.