Sunday, July 29, 2007

My mom's garden: Part One

My mom has this beautiful garden here. Really, it is a bunch of different gardens, fruits and veggies on one side of the porch steps, flowers on the other side. Then up around the corner, outside the kitchen, a little kitchen garden with lettuce and herbs. They have salad almost every night for supper here.

Gardening is a place where I wonder how my mom and I can be related. She is really good at this. I think her garden is totally wonderful – I am not sure that she even knows that. Meanwhile, I have this terrible black thumb, absolutely cannot grow things, and finally, in the last few years, have pretty much accepted this and let go, and have now given myself permission to NOT try to grow things. Somehow, I always feel like there is this pressure out there to garden. Really, I am just too busy for that, and not interested, and have plenty of other things I like to do, like make cakes, and hang out with my kids...

I don’t think the pictures I have taken so far really adequately capture the garden, so, I’ll try to work on that in the next little while.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My Birthday

I had a really lovely (42nd) birthday.

It started with a present from Ray and Alden, beautifully wrapped.

You'll have to check back to see what the present actually was, since it turns out I haven't got a photo of it yet.

After work, a family boat ride.

Then, home for supper - homemade pizza, a nice bottle of wine, and a sweet cupcake with fresh Maine blueberries, made by Joanna and Laura (Joanna is my first cousin. At 42, I'm the oldest of the set of 9 first cousins from my grandparents, Henry and Henrietta; at 15, almost 16, Joanna is the youngest.)

more later, about the birthday (I think).

Sunday, July 22, 2007

A perfect day

We get just one real full day off a week: Sunday. Ray off work, library closed all day. Total freedom.

The day began with a trip to Tunk Lake, for morning play and beach time.
It was pretty much Alden's idea. He got a new Playmobil toy, "Blue Marlin", and really needed to put it through its paces.

Tunk was great: Alden played with his boat, Milo played in the sand and gradually warmed up to the water. In the end, he was venturing a few feet out, and even managed to sort of fall in a few times (and we, of course, scooped him out).


After we got back from Tunk, Milo napped, and we had some peaceful time at home. Ray had a typically epic phone conversation with his brother Matt.
Alden and I read, and we had tea and cookies (I made chocolate chip cookies). The children's room is a lovely place to hang out on a Sunday afternoon.

Milo woke up eventually, and we played around a bit more, then headed out for a little bike ride and abandoned house snooping. We also went and found Anne and invited her to supper.

All in all, a perfect day.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Intrepid Kayakers

They are all crazy for kayaking, down there at the Big House. Ray and I are still pretty much lurking around the edges of this cult. It's fun to watch them all set off, though.

And, as you can see, getting the boats down to the water is good fun, too.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Sleeping Bag Story Hour

As part of my librarian's duties, I hold story hour on Thursday mornings. Sometimes just a few kids show up, sometimes lots. Sometimes it is all just my family members, sometimes there are lots of non-family members.

This week, just a few turned out - on a very rainy morning - and it was all family. James, Nora, and Alden snuggled in the sleeping bag, and I read a story about a loon family.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Next generation of Dave Mirra

Turns out there is an extremely exciting skatepark in Sullivan (next town over). Alden has been spending a lot of time there of late (even in spite of pretty inclement weather).

Alden says:

"first I roll in on the far end of the skatepark, then I go off the box in the middle, get air, then I come down getting just as much speed back, then I go off the quarter pipe, as you can see!

Monday, July 16, 2007

The talking has begun

Finally, words are beginning to form. Not that we have been impatient, but, it really is fun to see (hear...) it actually happening.

so far:



juice (often said when there is beer around. Poor kid, reaching and yelling for the beer, and us without any apple juice to fend him off with)

Ray! (said so sweetly and lovingly)




I know there are a few more, but those are the ones I can think of for now.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Goin' to goin' to goin' to goin' to......

Bean Island.

You wouldn't think that there were 2-4 foot waves just around the corner looking at this picture. But, there were. Last year we drove to Sand Beach (a sort of once a summer or so treat, going over to Mt Desert Island to a big sandy beach for the day), and there was a certain amount of chanting in the car "we're goin' to, goin' to goin' to Sand Beach" - in spite of the fact that, in theory, chanting in the car is NOT OKAY.

This year, the chanting carried on, and the trip to Sand Beach was much talked about and long awaited. This year, though, the idea was to have a group go over in the motor boat. A typical epic Ray boat adventure. Everyone was really excited, but the weather was not that cooperative, and so the days went by and we kept not being able to go. Finally, we just had to go for it. So, Sunday morning was the appointed day. 9:00 departure from the dock. Departure really was more like 9:45.... The boat had Ray and Samantha, and Max, Kira, and Alden. Clarissa and Milo driving (the long way...) with ALL sorts of gear, food, toys, etc. in the car.

Before I was even all the way up the HP road, I got the phone call: "we're aborting... 2-4 foot waves, totally impossible to get there."

So, new plan. Lots of cajoling and browbeating, in order to get Max and Alden on board with the new plan:

goin' to goin' to goin' to goin' to..... Bean Island (much closer and oft-visited. So, not much of a treat or exciting at all).

Sort of a disappointment, but, in the lee of Bean, it really was totally calm and lovely, and we ended up having a very nice time.

Plus, big score for Ray in the "weird found metal object" department (he used it as an anchor for the boat while we were at the island.)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

We love Lily!

We love a lot of people, really. But, this post is going to be about Lily.
Lily is Alden's third cousin. She is first cousins with James and Nora. Her dad Greg is Jean Louise's older brother. There is another crazy extended family, connections across all sorts of contexts story here. Short version: Greg's and Jean Louise's dad's partner/girlfriend is a professor, and not just any old professor, but a professor of education no less, and in a field similar to mine, and, more importantly, she is close friends and colleagues with my dissertation advisor, the wonderful Pam Grossman. Small world small world.

Anyway, back to Lily. Unfortunately, Lily is only here for two weeks (and last year, she and her family were only here for one week. They spent their other summer vacation week at Block Island. What were they thinking?) Anyway, this year we had almost two whole weeks with them (we also love Lily's parents, Greg and Sue, and her two cool older brothers, Max and Evan).

Alden and Lily have a good time hanging out, playing, playing tennis, eating, etc.

A highlight for me was getting to ride Lily on the back of my bike for a short bit. Lily is petite (a word I love, but cannot usually use with my own immediate family members), and she was just barely able to still fit in the seat. I needed to bring her to the library to see Alden, and my bike was the best mode of transport for the task. It was great fun to ride down the road with her right behind me. She's a better conversationalist than my usual biking friend (Milo...). Don't be fooled, though - Lily does usually ride a two wheeler on her own, with grace and confidence!

Friday, July 13, 2007

And it is not just Clarissa's crazy extended family, the history and the connections go on...

I hope I can make this short and sweet, but, really, it may be difficult, as it is layered and complex...

So, Hancock Point has more than just Thompsons; there are other families, some similarly large and extended. Some families live right down at the end of "the point" (Hancock Point is a peninsula sticking out into a bay. Actually, it is technically an island. But, we'll come back to that later) and everybody sort of knows and sees each other regularly. Other families live down at the end of long dirt roads, and exist only as names, on little wooden signposts, at the tops of the roads. Growing up, I knew certain families, and other families, I only knew of.

The road just before "the Eddy Road" (the Eddy road goes down to the first house my great grandparents ever built and owned here) has a sign at the top of it that says Zabriskie. So, growing up, I knew there were Zabriskies down there, but beyond that, I knew nothing. They kept to themselves, those Zabriskies.

Switch gears a bit now:
Before some family members got into the whole kayaking thing, we had this metal Grumman canoe (I think we actually still have it, stored under the Big House). At that time, if you wanted to go out on the water, the canoe was pretty much the only option. The story I am about to tell features my mom, who, one day, many years ago now, decided to head out in the canoe. Alone. All fine and good, until the wind picked up, by which time she had gotten pretty far out and, all by her self in the canoe, she just couldn't paddle back in the face of that wind.

Well, lucky for her, along comes a sailboat, with some nice people in it, and they rescue her, bringing her aboard and towing the canoe back. Mom knew, at least vaguely, one of the boat's occupants (they were Zabriskies). In the course of the sail home and casual conversation, she discovered that the other two people on the boat had this connection to the Putney School, a place I was either currently working, or had been working at. So, funny small world, here we are on Hancock Point, and there Clarissa was, working at the Putney School, and there are these nice people, with some sort of a Putney School connection, rescuing my mom.
And then there is Ray, who went to Putney School, as some of you know.

Somewhere along the way, Ray and I meet, and eventually we move in together, get married and have some kids.
Here we are, nearly 20 years later.
Now, we need to try to tie up this crazy story...

Back to those Zabriskies, remember? They have a place at Hancock Point, and some of them rescued my mom that day, long ago, and established some sort of a Putney School connection.
Turns out, those other two people in the boat that day, rescuing my mom, were Mike and Rebecca. Who are Mike and Rebecca, you might ask. Rebecca and Ray were high school classmates, both starting at Putney in the ninth grade, so, four years of high school together for those two. Mike also went to Putney, though he is older than Ray and Rebecca, by a few years. Mike and Ray became friends over summers, after they had both finished high school, but were still hanging around in the summers and working on the farm at Putney.

Somewhere along the way, Mike and Rebecca also got married and had kids.

In addition to being a Putney person, and a classmate of Ray's from way back, Rebecca is also a Zabriskie. And as such, has some claim to some time each year at a house here, down at the end of one of those roads I mentioned above. Odd, how it's not that big a place, Hancock Point, yet growing up summers here, she and I never knew each other.

But now, here we all are, almost 20 years later, spending a little time together each summer, here in Maine, on the beach, with the kids: Charlotte and Olivia, and Alden and Milo.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Cousin Sandwich (and a little family history)

James and Nora are hugging Milo. They are third cousins. This is one of the amazing things about Hancock Point - the extended family. James and Nora are the children of my (second)cousin Jean, usually called Jean Louise here, to distinguish her from her mom, also named Jean. (Jean and my mom are first cousins. Jean's mom Norma and my mom's dad, Henry (my grandfather, that is), were siblings. It was that generation who first came to Hancock Point, as teenagers, I think - probably it was in the 1920s or so (perhaps someone who knows more can fill in, at some point, Anne... hint hint...).

There were four of them - the Thompson children. In order of age, I think: Tyler, Norma, Henry, and the baby, Eunice. Eunice just died this spring, the last of the four siblings to go. They all lived amazingly long lives, all dying within just the last few years, either in or very close to their 90s. Now, the place (Hancock Point) is wildly overpopulated with their offspring, and there are nowhere near enough houses to go around (which is why we live in a library). Maybe I'll try to draw and scan in a little sketch at some point, of the family tree. Drawing it is easy - I am good at this sort of family map/connection thing. It is the scanning part that might get me.

Anyway, now, my kids get to hang out with all sorts of different cousins, and it is a wonderful thing. Here, James and Nora, who are totally lovely kids, are hanging out in the library. Nora reminds Ray and me of Maeve, for all you Raintree Ct folks. Plus, she's got the Irish name thing going on. We miss you, Maeve!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Misty Maine Morning

I know, I know, very cliche... but, it really WAS a misty morning, and we are in Maine, and Milo woke up at 6:30. So, what were we to do?

Go for a nice long walk.

So many interesting things to look at:

I made Milo ride in the stroller as we were walking along here (below), only because it was getting on towards 9:00 AM, and I needed to get back and open the library. (the flowers are probably more with the cliche... but, I have always really liked these roses.

When I got back to the library, Ray was ready to take over and head back out with our toddling toddler.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Beach Afternoon

What I love about Tuesday afternoons is that they are "free" afternoons, meaning the library is only open in the morning, and after noon, I am a free woman.

Milo has been really wanting to go down on the beach at the Big House, but, the last few times we have been there for supper, the tide has been so high that there has been NO beach at all. So we stand at the bottom of the steps, just watching the water.

Finally, we had time and the tide was right. Sitting on the beach and throwing small handfuls of rocks is a very good activity for an 18 month old.
This HUGE yacht came really close to us (closer than they usually get):

Milo was interested:

Monday, July 9, 2007

(We live in a library...) so we read.

Ray and Alden having some after supper reading time. Ray is gripped by some book about tractors and the Ukraine, a loan to the library from my mom. Alden is fully engaged by TinTin.

Max and Alden having, honestly, quiet reading time in the children's room (hard to imagine, but, it is true).