Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Music Show

Cancelled my appointment with Toni today. We had planned to play the recorder together again, but I felt pressured by what seemed to be too many committments. I knew that I had to go to Calais to rent a wallpaper steamer, and make something to eat for the reception at the gallery tonight. I planned to spend some time working at the house, but it didn't happen since I couldn't figure out how to assemble the parts of the steamer. Even if I had, there was no water over there. I went to find Will and Lisa at the store, told them my tale, and plan to work tomorrow after Will brings water and gets the machine working.

David came over this morning to get the ladder he had leant me when I fixed the chicken house. We visited awhile, then went our separate ways. David went with me to let out the chickens, watching them clucking after me as I fed them their treat of lemon cookies. He is amused by them, and by me with them. I enjoy his interest.

Tonight we had the opening of the Music Show at the gallery. I contributed deviled eggs made from my fresh eggs, plumping out the platter with olives since I only had six eggs. People brought wonderful food, as always, and the reception was a success. I don't think any paintings were sold, but the feeling of good will generated at these gatherings is the reason for having them. I walked around in clean clothes and a hat, feeling like a person who was exactly where she belonged. I was acquainted with everybody there, and, surrounded by those who make up my life, was glad that I had found a group of kindred spirits with whom to share the rest of my time on earth.

How was I so fortunate to have found Eastport, an island at the very edge of the United States, a tiny dot within a tiny dot in the universe? It's not as if I can look back and pretend that the events of the past conspired to put me here. It was a relatively recent discovery, this place, stumbled upon by accident. It was a choice, perhaps the first free choice I ever made, to move here. Looking around tonight, I had to marvel at what a good choice it was. I could have so easily missed it all.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Yesterday's Pictures

These are some of the pictures I took yesterday at Schoodic. The ones I took of the surf, which I thought would be so wonderful, came out blurry and I deleted them. I realized afterward that I should have pressed the button differently for the zoom lense, giving it time to focus. I forgot the directions in my exhuberance.

These last two were taken in Corea, another town nearby where Thelma and I have painted many times.

Today was a relatively unproductive day, though I called Toni and she came over to resume our recorder playing. We had taken the month of July off since we both had other things to do that interrupted our usual schedule of three or four times a week. It was good to get back at it and we don't seem to have lost much of the progress we had made. I had to use my plastic recorder since I had left the wood one at Judy's in the still life I set up for the workshop. I was amazed at how much easier it was to play, even though the tone isn't as good.

I went over to the house for a few minutes and found myself loving it again, as I did the first time I saw it. Will had removed a lot of the wallpaper and I was able to see it without the personality of its former inhabitants. My furniture began to fall into place and I saw myself sitting in my living room reading, having coffee at my dining room table, and working in my studio. The place for the studio became clear in my mind once I saw where I could put the bird feeders and still see them while I read the paper in the morning. If they are outside the kitchen window, I can see them from the dining room. Then the room off the kitchen can become the studio, where I can put more feeders on the deck to look at while I work there. I felt quite relieved that I was finally seeing it as my home.

Diana called after I got home and asked me to join her and Hessa, who is visiting her, for dinner. I was glad to see Hessa again, actually, after our tumultuous relationship in the past. It felt like our meeting tonight brought everything back to where it was when we had some liking for each other. It has been difficult to think that the two of us would remain enemies for ever. The story of us may be a subject for another time.

When I got home I found that Alice had left a message on my machine. I was sorry to have missed her call, but the knowledge that she remembered to call me was almost as satisfying as talking to her would have been. She gave me a short update of what was going on with her, and hearing her voice made me smile and relax.

Now I feel quite happy.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

A Day with Thelma

I left at seven-thirty this morning to meet Thelma in Winter Harbor. She's had a hard winter of illness and recovery from wrist surgery, but finally felt well enough to drive to Maine. Her son lives in Newburgh along with her grandson and his family, so she likes to visit them. She also likes to revisit places and people here that she rarely sees since moving to New Hampshire years ago. She's eighty-five now, a fact I can hardly believe. I have known her for over twenty years, and what an impact she has had.

How can I explain what she has contributed to my life? Not only is she largely responsible for my involvement in art, she has been the person who taught me what it was like to be liked for myself. She showed me an affection that I had never experienced, a comfortable kind of relationship in which I felt valued. At times her role was almost motherly, in a way that my own mother had never been. At others it was sisterly, pulling me into her own family and allowing me to feel like a part of it. Mostly it has been a companionable friendship, deep and lasting like no other that I have had. There have been many times when I was unhappy and troubled that I was comforted just by her presence. I remember many times sitting in the passenger seat of her car while she drove and talked, wrapped up in the sound of her voice like a warm blanket. There have been other times when we have been ecstatic together, having wonderful times, and some when we have been sad. There is no one like her.

I was so happy to be able to spend the day doing the things we always do. We talked, we had lunch at Chase's, we rode around to the Point to the places we have been so many times. The sights for us are never diminished by repitition, but enhanced somehow by memories and familiarity. We took pictures. She showed me a painting she had done, asking for a critique. Discussing art with her is like discussing life--it has a place in both our lives that is like breathing. Our experience with it is so similar that there is no one with whom I feel such a kindred spirit. We share a history that no one else is privy to, and it binds us.

I am being very sentimental, but I feel sentimental. I have felt sentimental for many years about Thelma. It's good to put it into words.

So, here I am. Home again with my dogs and chickens. Happy for having had this day.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

House, Therapy, and Afterward

I took pictures of the debris generated by the beginning of renovations at the house. I'm sure I will need them later to remind me of what the place looked like at this stage. Right now I am in such a fog I question whether I will remember anything about what is happening. I feel as if I have been given a present so huge that I am having trouble recognizing it as reality. I go through the motions, but can't really believe it is happening. I look around, bewildered, unable to do what is expected of me in the way of decisions or opinions. It is as if none of it actually has anything to do with me. If it were true, the gratitude and guilt I would feel would overwhelm me. I keep it all at a distance. My underservedness precludes such an enormous gift. And yet, there it is.

One trouble I am having is the lack of my therapy sessions, where Alice assures me time after time that it is all right for good things to happen to me; that, in fact, I might actually deserve them. She is gone for three weeks to care for her daughter, who is having surgery. My jealousy is menacing and difficult to squelch. My mind spins around the awful truth, pushing it out of the way, while I try to assemble correct thoughts of sympathy and well-wishing. The effort is almost more than I can muster. The energy required to ignore these innappropriate thoughts leaves me exhausted.

Today I had an appointment with Ann, who is supposed to support me while Alice is gone. She is such a nice person that I am afraid my being in the same room with her will somehow contaminate her. Putting aside such unacceptable(according to Alice) perceptions of myself, I kept the appointment. By so doing, I missed the Wednesday art group, which Diana was hosting in Judy's absense. I came late in order to dispel the uneasiness of the day in the company of friends. It turned out that only David had come and I walked in on what was probably a long-desired opportunity for the two of them to spend time alone with one another. I felt as if I were a third wheel and wished I had gone directly home. We all tried to make the best of the situation, though, and my visit was mercifully short since they were taking the boat to Lubec for the concert. They were having dinner, which Thom had been cooking, before the boat left and were in a hurry. After I got home I had a message from David that Thom had misunderstood and set a place at the table for me, too. He said I could still come if I wanted to, but that they were quite pressed for time. I didn't go.
It is difficult to be with Diana and David together since they turn into different people from what they are when each one is alone. They snipe at one another like a married couple who vent their festering complaints in front of company to prevent consequences that might occur in a freer environment. The company (me) suffers some of the overflow of the irritability that permeates the atmosphere. It is mildly unpleasant and hard to keep in perspective, at least for me who abhors any kind of dissention. Diana has been quite testy lately anyway. I am only one of several who have mentioned it. She stuck her tongue out at me last night at the gallery meeting for a perfectly innocent remark(one of the few I managed to make in view of the incredible boredom I was experiencing). Well, the situation arises very seldom since Diana and I rarely see David at the same time.

I came home slightly disturbed, feeling that the best place for me was alone with my animals.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

What Went On Today

1. A trip to the bank to fill out papers for my mortgage loan. What's the possibility I won't get the loan even though I was pre-approved, I ask? As long as we fulfill the requirements they ask for, all will be fine, says Ann. Will the requirements be fulfilled? I wonder. Did my guess about my income come close enough? What about the discrepency between my income tax form and my stated income? How do they feel about unreported income? I chew my nails.

2. Hung the new show at the gallery and re-arranged the rest of the paintings. Risked life and limb to put Diana's and Elizabeth's painting up near the ceiling, climbing to the very top of a very tall ladder. I leaned against the wall for balance while I tied and retied the knots in the fishline to get them the right height. My vertigo kicked in several times when I looked up, but my biggest fear was throwing my precarious center of gravity forward and go over head first. This did not happen, and June and I got the job done, albeit clumsiliy. We entertained ourselves with chatter about the complaints and disapproval we were bound to endure for our trouble. No one ever likes what we do with their work, no matter how hard we try to be fair and make a good-looking show.

3. Went to book group at the library to discuss "Zen and the Art of Falling in Love." This was chosen by our youngest member, a woman who looks to be around mid-twenties. She tends to use the book discussions to ruminate on her personal life, which is twenty-something intense. I found the book to be an attempt to make a flimsy connection between meditation and finding a suitable mate. I sat out a lot of the discussion because I was too tired to explain my objections fully. I knew I would have to fight for the time to present my case and didn't feel up to it. Most of it irked me for its shallowness and incredible presumptions. "we are meant to be in love"..............."if we are not in love, something is wrong." Good grief! You can tell that someone who would choose the last name Shoshanna wrote it.....sort of like Shakti Gawain. I'm sure they have pale complexions.

4. Had dinner with David, Thom, and Shirley. Wonderful food(pork chops, sweet potatoes, peas and onions in white sauce, tomato and mozerella salad, and wine). Normally I have no affinity for vegetables, remembering the plain frozen corn and peas from my childhood. They always sat shriveled alongside the bread, onoin, and hamgurger patties and boiled potatoes that made up our nightly meals. Thom's vegetables are lovingly cared for, dressed up. and made into delicious treats. I had seconds, even though I woke up this morning promising myself I would go back on a diet.

5. Went after a problem with my mail program on the new computer that had caused me a lot of frustration earlier in the evening. David gave me some information that led to my being able to fix it finally. This computer is quite paranoid and keeps popping up alerts and exclamation points that demand attention, as if the information contained in it were so valuable that I must be ever vigilent to maintain its security. Luckily clicking a small arrow labelled "fix it" always seems to be able to save the day in very short order.

6. And now to bed, once I pull off the mattress pad and foam that Patrick chewed into fluffy white balls after I took the sheets off to be washed. When I spoke to him about it, he looked up with cotton clinging to his face, surprised and puzzled. Clean sheets will be nice, even if they have to be directly on top of the mattress.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Starting the Transition

As I woke up this morning, free of any obligations, I began to picture myself in my new house. Every move I made to feed the dogs, let them out, start the coffee, I saw a blurry vision of doing the same activities in the kitchen I will soon be living in. It was a beautiful, cool morning full of sunshine, establishing a very pleasant environment in which to imagine my coming life. I wandered around in my dark living room here and envisioned the new one full of light. I could see the dogs running out onto the new deck, and perhaps down the steps into a soon to be fenced off dog yard. It all looked very much like my house should look, and I'm happy that I am finally beginning to look forward to being there.

Dinner with Judy and Karen last night revealed a certain disatisfaction with the worshop amongst the students, at least the old ones who have been coming for so many years. I told them that I was probably not going to do another one, and they were not disapointed. I felt a little let down by their willingness to give it up, but I suppose it would have been much worse if they had begged me to continue. I probably would have given in and all of us would have eventually been sorry. It seems like the end of a very important era in my life, but I give it up gladly. I still have to teach the elderhostel workshop in September, but after that I will retire, so to speak.

I got a new camera today so that I could put pictures on this new computer. I've spent the afternoon charging the battery and learning enough about it to be able to use it. Now I'm going to try to load them. David gave me enough information before I went to get it so that i'm hoping I made a good choice. Time will tell.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Thank God Its Over

I have been busy all week with the annual painting workshop I teach each summer. The usual students were there along with three others who had never been part of the group. I believe I have done this for the last time, though I must admit I've felt this way before and gone on to repeat the experience the next year. This time, though, it seems more definite.

My experience with being a student in a workshop is that of an adoring descible of Betty Lou Schlemm. I went to her for one, two, or three weeks every summer in Rockport, Mass. for somewhere in the neighborhood of fifteen years. If I had to choose the most wonderful experiences of my life, it would be those workshops. For the first several times I headed for home in tears, devastated that it was over. Eventually I took my departure more stoically, but it was always a sad occasion. Now those weeks all blend together and I am flooded with memories without specific years. I see highway 128 north from Lynn, where I stayed with my childhood friend Lorraine, and the lush green trees that lined it, the signs that pointed to exits called Pride's Crossing, Wingarsheek Beach, then Gloucester and Rockport. The mere sight of the name filled me with excitement and unbearable anticipation.

Those were times punctuated by extreme happiness, extreme despair, pride, shame, and most of all, love. I still can feel the enormous outpouring of emotion that kept making my eyes fill up and my throat clench. The presence of the other students and Betty Lou herself made everything a thousand times bigger and better than it had ever been. The importance of art became all encompassing. Our other lives ceased to exist. We were among the most wonderful people we had ever known or would ever know, in the place that had to be the most beautiful on earth.

It is these memories that darken my perception of my own wokshops. How far short they fall of those blissful summers. How blase and uncommitted my students seem as they whisper and talk during my demonstrations, as they wander off to take pictures or get something to eat. I don't know whether to blame them or blame myself for not being able to capture their attention.
I think of the reverential way we hung on every word and move that Betty Lou made, how enraptured, almost worshipful, we were. No one would have dared breathe too loud for fear of breaking the spell. My students, by comparison, are not far from disrespectful and rude. Each year we became more enthralled rather than less so and our admiration kept growing beyond any boundary we could have imagined, whereas my students have become visibly bored with my lessons, anxious to get to their own work.

The comparison, which I can't help but make, leaves me feeling inadequate and irritable. Though I understand that Betty Lou has a certain magic about her that is unique, that I can never hope to acquire her teaching skills, I still feel that I deserve what I think of as common courtesy. The experience is unsettling and unpleasant. I like most of my students as individuals and our relationship as teacher and pupil puts a strain on feelings of friendship.

Anyway, I'm glad it's over for another year.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Real Estate Dealings

Well, I made the formal offer on the house on Wilson St. since I got the deposit money by way of a benefactor who shall remain nameless. Now I have to wait for Phyllis to accept it, which is a forgone conclusion, and then take the contract to the bank. At that point the ball should start to roll down hill and all I will have to do is keep up with it. I am still biting my nails over this move, but once things start to take on their own life, I will feel committed and out of control. I am comfortable in such situations.

I've been teaching watercolor to a fifteen year old girl this week. She's the daughter of a woman who's teaching harpsicord at Summerkeys. They are from New York and the kid has been studying at the Art Students League. The thought might have been intimidating to me, but it wasn't. Either I am comfortable with my teaching skills or I have delusions of grandeur, or , more likely, I don't have the attention span to think about it very long. Next week is the BIG workshop, when my old students flock here from points west for four days of painting, and pay me for the opportunity to have a good time. I play at being the teacher, but most of them are as good as I am. It's a reunion, though, and an acknowledgement of what we have become to one another over the years.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Crashing the Party

Not feeling quite ready to settle in for the evening, I went over to David's hoping for company and a drink. I am not supposed to want a drink, says Alice (my therapist). Alcohol is supposed to be incompatible with my medication, she says, and my inability to refuse it is "problematic." I ignore her opinion on this subject since I am not unable, but unwilling to give up this indulgence.

It turned out that David and Thom had invited Judy for dinner. The table was elegantly set, and delicious smells eminated from the kitchen. I did not feel unwelcome, but thought I would stay for a short time and then go home, leaving the three of them to visit as they had intended. Instead, I joined them for the meal; coq au vin, asparagus, little potatoes, salad of tomatoes and fresh mozzerella, and pineapple upside down cake. Eating there is always like going to a fine restaurant, complete with table linens, silverware, and candles. Glasses of wine, good coffee with cointreau, cream from a silver's all there, making us feel like this world is a special place, that the day is a special day, and that we are lucky, special people. Our conversation ran the gamut, from religion, theoretical physics, mysticism, and medicine, to teen-age crushes and recipes. We smiled at one another over the fresh peonies in the center of the table and knew that we were blessed.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Hot Day reiterated

Lytton, Benny, and Patrick try to beat the heat .

Hot Day

It's unusual to have any sun this spring, but here it is. My northeast-facing deck is so hot the dogs don't want to stay out more than ten minutes at a time. After that they drag themselves back through the dog door, panting and looking for shade. I led the chickens outside by sprinkling saltine crumbs, their favorite treat, on the ground. They stampeded throughtt he door, pecked up the crackers, and are now hovering in the two foot sqaure patch of shade near the south side of the chicken house. I worry about them there and have to keep checking. It's the most vulnerable place in the pen in terms of escape and I don't want to repeat the first few days after I contstucted it. I was constantly chasing chickens who didn't know me. Consequently, they darted here and there, just out of my grasp, until I thought I would scream. Now they would probably follow me back into the pen if they escaped, but I don't want to take the chance. Last week one of the Demeters (I can't tell the Rhode Island Reds apart so they both have the same name) got out, but when I saw her contententedly picking bugs out of the lawn I simply spoke to her and she went with me without resistence. I didn't even need to entice her with food.

The more I get to know chickens, the less I feel like eating chickens. They are nice little birds who have individual personalities, habits, and tastes. They connect with humans. It makes the obvious even more obvious: that no matter how far down the evolutionary ladder you go we are not very different from one another. It seems almost canibalistic to eat them, and abhorrent to treat them the way we do. I've seen the people from whom I bought the chickens grab them from an overcrowded pen by a wing or a leg and throw them head first into a sack as if they were turnips.

Don't get me started.

p.s. Brinab, Carrie, Jesse, David, Thom, Don, Toni, Mike, and anyone else who might read this, would you mind leaving a comment so I'll know if there's somebody out there? Once is enough. If all you want to say is "Hi", that's fine.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

later the same day.....

The zuccini bread is good but not wonderful. That's why I only ate half a loaf.

Some Thoughts on Profanity and Bread

Before I opened my own blog to write, I looked around at a few others to see what people say. I found some pretty interesting ones, along with several containing a lot of swearing. I suppose this is a place where vulgar language can be used with unaccustomed abandon, being outside the usual constraints of society. Without the shock value that accompanies such language when it is spoken, written profanity must reflect a genuine inability to come up with more specific words rather than a desire to cause a reaction. I suppose the writers may enjoy thinking about the reaction of their readers, enjoy seeing themselves as offending the sensibilities of others. Still, you'd think that one's vocabulary must atrophe after awhile, if in fact it was ever more precise and interesting. Since I believe that we think using the words we commonly use, the constant use of profanity over a long period of time would consequently shrink one's ability to think to fit inside the parameters of that language. Well, it's a hypothesis, anyway. I can and do swear, but if I really want to express something other than anger, I have to be more specific. Shit, Fuck, Piss, and whatever else George Carlin used to say were the five forbidden words in television, are much too general to describe a complicated idea. But then, farting into a tupperware container, which was what one blogger found worthy of posting, isn't particularly complicated . And I guess it is worthy of posting, since it's an amusing thing to do if you're into bathroom humor........and lots of people are. I tend to be a snob in a lot of areas, and bathroom humor is one of them.

Well, I have given enough thought to that subject. I spent some time today with Sydney, who is happy and grateful that Richard is not only alive, but coming home this week. He is recovering from triple by-pass surgery and apparently doing very well. We roamed through my new house and then had punch in the tea house while we discussed it's suitability. Yesterday David, Thom, and I toured the place. Thom took pictures to record its appearance before I turn it into my home. They will be fun to look back on. Everyone is being very supportive of my decision to buy it, for which I am grateful. I find it hard to stick to my convictions if there is much opposition from those around me.

I made zuccini bread in my new bread machine, but haven't tasted it yet. The white bread was delicious. I never thought there could be a way to make good bread without kneading it yourself, but all hail the 21st century.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Sleepless Night

I spoke to both Phyllis and Sue early last evening and began to panic about the housing situation. I felt as if both renting and buying were impossible choices, that either way I would be getting into personality problems with my benfactors. And benefactors they both portrayed themselves to be. Apparently I inspire in people a desire to help me, to take care of me. Yet these two certainly wanted me to be aware of the sacrifices they were making on my behalf. Though I do not consider myself of the "I don't want to be beholden' to anybody" type, nor do I want to feel like people are doing things for me under some self-imposed duress.

All night I tossed and turned, considering the options open to me. Rent from Sue, find another rent, buy from Phyllis, buy from someone else. WhileI was still flailing around inside my head, Phyllis called , and unaware of all the changes back and forth since our last conversation, preented me with her plan. I was swept up again by her organized, concrete thinking and found myself saying,yes, yes, yes, I'll do that. An email to Sue, refusing her offer to rent, set the course for the rest of my life.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Catching Up

I haven't gotten into a routine with this yet, and have neglected it for several days because I thought I was "too busy." Well, as I learned at art school, you can't wait for time or inspiration to motivate you to create. That muse has to be forcibly kidnapped and wrestled from the nowhere into the here. And so I return with renewed committment.

I went to the fourth of July fireworks after thinking I wouldn't. Since I didn't have any companions to go with, my auto-thinking kicked in and I didn't consider going alone until it started to get dark. At that point I realized that I wanted to go anyway. It was a relevation for me to experience the feeling that it was I who wanted to go rather than my melding with some other person or people with the communal desire. I have rarely, if ever, separated myself from the people around me enough to ascertain my individual opinion, so that it was with a heady sense of self that I strode downtown. The fireworks were beautiful and I was very aware of the enjoyment of being in the anonymous crowd, nevertheless united with it by a pure and simple focus. The rest of the world was suspended while we oohed and ahhed, whistled and yelled. Anything could have been happening anywhere as we ignored it all in favor of a sparkling summer sky. Boats circled the bay with sails stiff in the wind, and I imagined my landlord, JP, maneuvering the Sylina Beal as it went back and forth among the smaller craft. It provoked in me a kind of pride, as if I were somewhat set aside from the majority of the crowd because I knew him. I am a native of Eastport now, amongst outsiders. I will wave good-bye happily, and return to my little house while they clog the causeway on the way out of town. Jess and Sabrina had already left, and when I got home the house seemed quiet despite the throng of dogs that greeted me so enthusiastically. I felt content and at home.

Speaking of home, I guess I have decided to buy a house. The one I live in has been bought by the family that was so interested and who motivated me to make an offer. The offer was too low, and they outbid me by $13,000 dollars. Even though JP had told me that he would accept any offer from me over that of a stranger, he could not resist the extra money. He apologized profusely, but I never expected him to refuse a big offer. He may have expected it of himself, but I did not. So, I threw myself into the task of securing new digs.

My first move was to call Sue DePeters, my landlord of yesteryear whose house on Water St is for rent again. She was glad to hear from me and came down on the monthly rent so that I would move in. With that possibility as security, I looked at a house on Wilson St. that Will had mentioned to me when I was at the Real Estate office making the formal offer on this house. Phyllis was buying that house to fix up and resell.. Will and Lisa were to do the work and share the profit. The place has a great yard and a back deck, features I have come to love as I have rented this one. Sue's house has a very tiny yard and no place to sit outside if the mood should strike. Everything about the Wilson St house is, in fact, many times better than Sue's place and I fell in love with the idea.

Days went by while I struggled with the two alternatives. Financially, I would be much better off renting because I can get section 8 assistance. That house is an acceptable place to live. To return to the original place I moved to when I came to Eastport seemed almost prophetic. But if I bought a place I would be secure, wouldn't have to worry about uprooting myself again, and would have a fixed monthly payment to go along with my fixed income. I would probably enjoy being in the Wison St house enough to cure my wanderlust, since it has everything I have been looking for since I moved to Eastport.......a single house without fellow tenant or landlord problems, especially over the dogs and their behavior. The house is light and bright, a good size, and has a small water view. There is room for the chickens with two possibilities for a chicken house.

In order to make sure I could even consider the idea of buying, I applied for a low income HUD loan at the bank. Yesterday I received pre-approval. The news came shortly after my second positive decision to rent, and I almost immediately did a turnaround and have now decided to go ahead and leap into what is possibly a financial disaster for me. Sometimes I wish I were not such a risk taker, but on the other hand, I have had a varied an interesting life because I dared to make big changes. This is only the latest.

Dogs, Chickens, and Me

Monday, July 04, 2005

The Fourth of July

Eastport has one of the biggest fourth of July celebrations in Maine. The town of under 2000 swells to, well, a lot more. (I'm no good at estimates--10,000?, 100,000?, 1,000,000?) Cars are parked on both sides of every road, in every parking lot, on every lawn. They block every driveway. Pedestrians fill the streets, music fills the air, and litter covers the ground. Many people wear patriotic red, white and blue. I myself have on a shirt with red, white, and blue stripes and a boarder of stars along the bottom. I have a flag flying from my front porch and I wave to the shriners in the parade, to "Little Miss Eastport. I wave to Olympia Snow and Susan Collins. I try to forget they are republicans in order to keep with the spirit. In fact, I try to forget what America is about these days and let my public school inspired patriotism come to the fore---no questions asked.

I love the parade. I love the carnival atmosphere, the doughboys, the hot dogs, the clowns. I love the babies in their flag-colored hats, carrying their little flags. I love the teen-agers in their skimpy clothes, jostling each other and laughing. I love the old men and women, sitting in their lawn chairs in front of the nursing home, the women with little dogs, the kids on scooters and skate boards, the men on motorcycles. I love the spectacle. I don't look beyond the surface. I want to be happy.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Old Home Week

Like Brigadoon, Eastport rises out of the mist of its sleepy existance and lives again for a week each July. There are flags everywhere. Houses drip with bunting and crepe paper and images of Uncle Sam. The streets are full of people, among them sailors from the giant ship that is docked downtown for the celebration. Everyone has company, including me, and the IGA is full of people buying barbecue supplies. High school reunions are held this week, all of them as far as I know, and the whole town has the ambiance of a party of old friends not recently seen.

But now I see it is time to feed the dogs and take care of Bella, Sydney's Scottie, who is alone for the festivities. Her Dad is in the hospital, her Mom with him. Or so I thought until just now when I saw Sydney's car go by. Has something awful happened? The gallery opens in an hour as well, and I must be there with my cake.