Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Little Music Adventure

Up the road, there is this (I think) semi-famous school for musicians/conductors. [I know the school is up there. I think it is semi-famous]. Every summer, musicians come from all over to play and study here, and, in particular, to learn to be conductors.

[bust of Pierre Monteux, the school's founder. The guy who was running the program held this up, talked about Monteux and had everyone practice their French accents by saying his name.]

A few times a week, they offer concerts, for the public. In all my nearly 44 summers here, I don't think I have actually ever gone to a concert there. [insert embarrassed emoticon here]

Once a summer, they also offer a special children's concert, in the morning. I have also never been to one of the children's concerts; of late, this has been due to the fact that they conflict with library hours. During the last few summers, Grandma (my mom, Anne, that is) has been kind enough to take Alden (and various other children, too, no doubt). This year, though, the concert happened during the time that Anne was away.

In part because I just wanted to get to go, and in part because Alden started playing the violin this year (as part of his school's regular music program, all kids play violin in 3rd grade), and will play viola next year (and will play in the 4th grade orchestra), I wanted to take him. I just want him to have as many different opportunities to see/listen to music as possible. So, I arranged to have someone do my morning library hours for me, and off Alden and I went, to the concert.

The focus was on the question" what is a conductor?" and there was a combination of lots of little pieces of music, quick intros to some of the key instruments, and lots of audience participation around the question "what does a conductor do?" The guy who led the whole thing was really good, and over the course of the hour or so that the performance went on, they talked about the conductor's job of helping the musicians play loud/soft, fast/slow, with a certain beat, all together, with a certain mood, etc etc.
Alden and I both enjoyed it a lot. It was fun to be in this funny little woodsy setting, pretty much in the middle of nowhere, hearing this real orchestra playing real music, and learning about conductors.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Calf Island

After Saturday library time, I went down to the dock, to meet Ray and the kids, and Mike and Rebecca and the girls. They had all been floating around in the bay, waiting for me to be done with work, so we could head out to sea.

Initial signs seemed to point towards heading in to Bean Island (I'm not sure why...), so I made some noises about wanting to go a little further out than that, and so Ray piped up and said we should head somewhere else. At that point, our boat had Ray and Alden and Olivia and me, while Milo had gotten himself into Mike and Rebecca's boat (and Charlotte was also in there). At some point, he was allowed to actually DRIVE Mike's boat, a major thrill for him. Now of course he wants to be allowed to drive both our boat AND our car. He's quite cross that we are not as nice as Mike!

So we headed to this funny little beach on Calf Island. Everyone else had been there, at some other time (last year), but it was new for me. Small, both in terms of width and depth, (meaning the beach itself seemed small, though I think that had more to do with the rising high tide) (and it wasn't a very wide beach - solid trees, or rocky bits, at either end mean you can't wander along the island shore for long distances, the way you can on some islands),
it's a funny little place. But, the shells and the way the beach look are lovely and interesting, and it was a nice place for a little mini-picnic and play time.

Before leaving the house, I thought about grabbing a bathing suit for Milo. But, failed to do so. Big mistake. He was totally into the water and had a great time splashing around and running in and out. I did actually have extra clothes for him, so it was okay, but, I was kicking myself for not bringing the bathing suit.

We all lounged around on the beach, with the kids variously throwing rocks, swimming and splashing, climbing rocks, eating their way through the snacks we had brought and then commencing to complain about being hungry.
Once the complaints got louder, we headed home, each family with their own children in their own boat. Mike and Rebecca headed straight home, around the point, to their place, while we did the ever popular Sorrento Harbor tour, on our way home.

Not a bad Saturday afternoon.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Weekend Highlight

Busy weekend – the 4th of July. The Library is open on Saturday mornings; though I did not do a booming business this particular Saturday, a few people did come by. Then, at noon, there was a “picnic at the pier” to celebrate the rebuilding of some of the underlying structures that hold the pier up. Funny, I don’t think we, in this community, usually call it the pier. It’s either the dock or the wharf, I think. But I guess the alliteration of picnic at the pier was too appealing to pass up (oh, and look at all those ps I just called in to play there…).

Milo and Ray had actually managed to get invited sailing with Tom, a family friend, so, they were out on the bay – in dubious conditions, foggy and therefore not much visibility. But, not pouring or cold, so, in Tom’s view, worth getting out on the water. Alden and I headed to the wharf, once the library was closed, figuring we could check out the festivities and look for Ray and Milo. Lots of people milling around, the fire department there with hot dogs and chips and the like, various other fun food contributions, and miscellaneous games. There were rowboat races – from the dock out to a moored buoy and back. I ended up giving it a shot (I actually love rowing – always have) and doing a reasonably respectable job of it. Meanwhile, Milo and Ray had showed up, and Milo wanted to get to do the rowboat races, so, I had to do it again, with Milo in the boat. Pretty fun all around.

After eating the obligatory hot dogs, baked goods, and the like, we headed back to the library to pack up for what was going to be the real highlight of the day: a hike with Emma and Steve and Cyrus. One of the hard things about being away all summer is not seeing them. We really miss them, but, lucky for us, they were around for the weekend, visiting Steve’s family, who live not too far away.

The weather slowly seemed to be improving, and we met over on Mount Desert Island, deciding to do Parkman Mountain – a medium sized hike on the not too busy side of the island (that is to say, not right in the middle of the park, where the bulk of the tourists are likely to be). We ended up having lovely conditions, while there was some thunder rumbling in the background at times, it was pretty clear, never rained, and we saw quite a bit of blue sky and sun. The kids all did a great job, enjoying the scrambling up the rocks and the promises of treats at the next good stopping place.

We made it most of the way up, found a good snack~treat stop, and decided to stay there, rather than trying for the top (as it was getting late, and the thunder and threats of rain seemed somewhat ominous). Alden and Ray ended up making a quick run up to the top (which was really pretty close), and then when they returned, Milo demanded that he get to go to the top, so Ray took him up too. I have to say, I was really pretty impressed with Milo – I really had no idea how his focus and stamina would be. But, he was a great hiker. It was really fun to get to hang out with Emma and Steve, and Cy also was a very good hiker, doing a significant amount of the hike on his own two feet!

We got back to HP in time for the annual family 4th of July picnic, where my kids get to run around like crazy with their cousins. Alden met a new-to-him cousin, and they became fast friends and proceeded to spend much of the next day together also – playing Risk, riding bikes, and going out for a brief ride in our boat, at the end of the day. All in all, a pretty good weekend!

Friday, July 3, 2009

My mom's garden: will be raspberries

Poking around Anne’s garden, while at the Big House to pick up Milo, I started looking more closely at her raspberry bushes. It took a little while, but I did eventually find wee wee raspberries.

This spring, I have been paying more attention to growing ~ gardening ~ agricultural things. We have an apple tree right outside our house in Wilton, and I carefully watched the progression from buds to flowers to tiny tiny apples, and now, more recently, slightly more apple-ish looking apples.

I find it really fun to see these beginning stages of growing things, things that in a few months will be both abundant and edible.

My big question here is, why is there a snail hanging out on a raspberry bush leaf? What exactly is it doing? where did it come from? So close to the ocean, it's hard not to think of it as a beach snail, but, I guess there are such thing as garden snails, and that must be what it is...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

With July....

...comes a little sun.

When I left the library, at the end of the first day of the season (Wed, July 1st), the sun had emerged and was actually shining gloriously behind the building. I don't think I did that great a job capturing it, but, here it is, anyway.

It's sort of an intermittent thing, really, the sun. The weather has been lousy, and isn't really improving, even though June is over and some improvement genuinely seems in order.

At any rate, here we are, getting settled at our summer home and in our summer routine. And, I see that the pics I took on this year's first day are pretty similar to those I took a year ago.

Here's a behind the house shot. All our bikes, neatly leaned up against the building. It's hard to really count them, but, I'll tell you the deal.

Six bikes, for four people, or, really, three plus, if you think about it. Milo is not yet riding his own...

Alden has three.

Ray has two.
Clarissa has one, plus the bike seat, which Milo does not actually like. His preference is to run alongside, while I ride. He actually does a pretty good job keeping up.

Welcome to summer, such as it is...