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 Strange bedfellows?

We are lucky to have our own symphony orchestra here in Portland.  Many people I know attend their performances regularly, but apparently it took their doing the music of Queen to get me to attend!  On Saturday night we went out with a few friends to hear the PSO take on Freddie Mercury and company. They are such a talented group and sounded beautiful, but the event was not exactly what we expected; for instance, there was a singer.  Who invited audience participation.  Who encouraged my seat-neighbors to belt out notes they couldn’t quite hit.  The University of Southern Maine Choir joined in, too, and they helped round out the vocals. Here’s a snippet:

We had fun getting out and about with friends, and it made us both want to go back for a “real” PSO performance!

 

Psssst!

April 26, 2012

Ever go out in public with unwashed hair?  Of course you have.  Doing so is no biggie since nowadays there are tons of products that help you prolong your freshly washed hair another day or so, to keep your blowout going, or to allow you to freshen up your hair by days end.  However, all of these products have eluded me.  I likely need them most: I have fine, dark brown hair.  The ‘greasies’ don’t do anyone justice, but those with darker hair get the shine faster than not.  I try different shampoos and conditioners often and sometimes I never know how the next day without washing will go…so I’m pretty sure I look like this today:

{George Clooney in Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?  with a tad too much hair pomade that his character had a penchant for. I am not wearing product though!}

Many a’ blogger { like this one & this one} have touted the fantastic results of Pssssst! dry shampoo.  It’s old school and still around…that’s enough credentials for me to give it a go~ I will let you know if it does the trick.  Check any Sephora or beauty store out there and you’ll see the science behind dry shampoos has been formulated by lots of hair care companies and we have our pick.  I’ll start with the cheap stuff first.  This may not be a great match for dark hair, but there are some on the market in shades of brown. Oh, and while greasies aren’t welcome on my head, messy hair is! Got to love a messy, tousled ponytail shown by one of my very favorite bloggers: A Cup of Jo.

Spring mating amongst birds is ever-present right now. They’ve been busy doing their dance and if you’re lucky {pun possibly intended} you’ll catch them in action.  On a recent hot, sunny day I walked over to Casco Bay Ferry Lines to pick up tickets to Peaks Island.  The party boats and ferries were proudly sitting atop the sun-sparkling water; the sea gulls were calling; the salt air was blowing!

Casco Bay Lines Bay Mist

Casco Bay Lines Island Romance

Then I glanced over and right next to “Island Romance” were two pigeons doing a choreographed dance.  It was as if  Cole Porter’s “Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall in Love” was playing in the distance, coming off the ocean like a fog, setting the scene.

pigeons

Contrary to what some may believe, Mother Nature must think we do need more pigeons! The old song and dance goes on…

These Days…

April 22, 2012

I’ve been so busy these days.  We’ve been renovating at work which means every.single.thing in the store had to be packed up and removed and then brought back in and put back out.  A labor of love!

Good stuff went on over the weekend: My father-in-law had a birthday! My step-sister’s engagement party went down! Our Sunday was lazy.  I discovered this lemon deliciousness which was fun to make and difficult to stop eating.

It’s Earth Day!!  Here it rained and the green things got greener.  The sigh of relief from our Lady Earth was audible in the spongy ground underfoot. Trees are budding and flowers like daffodils are popping up all over!

earth

Wearable Ode-to-Earth.

Cool image.

Love Your Mother.

Happy Earth Day!

Playing it Cool

April 18, 2012

Did you know that you’re a whole lot cooler when you’re not trying to be?!

Playing it cool actually means putting less effort into it…wonderfully counterintuitive to our social nature, isn’t it?

{This is a Universal Truth that applies to all of us.}

Have a great day!

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Maine Things Monday

April 16, 2012

Portland, Maine Flea-For-All

Remember when I mentioned the Flea-For-All opening in Portland?  Well, on opening day at 10am sharp I was there checking things out!  There were two floors of vendors set up {I hear they’ll be adding more and rotating the line-up} and lots of people milling about. Very exciting! Jewelry, vintage clothing, old dishes & mugs, new lamps with funky designs, handmade pottery, aprons, and owl pillows. There were bicycles, records, and some furniture in the mix, too.

Portland, Maine Flea-For-All

Everything was nicely edited. The highlight was Ziggy the Talking Clown!  {It reminded me of the movie Big!}

Ziggy the Talking Clown

The entire weekend was gorgeous and sun-filled. I started it by taking a walk around Mackworth Island with a friend:

Mackworth Island

Then a hike on Bradbury Mountain with another friend where some birders spotted an Eagle:

Bradbury Mountain Eagle siting

That tiny dot at the top of the photo is the Eagle. The sun was glaring down and I couldn’t see a thing so I literally pointed my phone camera in that direction and got what I could! Yesterday at my in-law’s house a mature Eagle took a break on the rocks long enough so we got a good look at just how large of a bird they are when they aren’t soaring up above.  I guess over the weekend they were out cruising the skies while most of us were out combing the land, enjoying the weather.

What were you up to over the weekend?

And these are a few of my favorite things

{Disclaimer: I am not Oprah so I won’t be giving these things away to all of you readers. Also, I have not ever seen The Sound of Music.}

It was 4th grade, I’m pretty sure, when I walked into a classmate’s house and heard Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians’ “What I am” playing on the stereo. Her mom was probably listening to it on record or cassette tape!  It has since been my song y’all. Or, don’t the cool kids call it “my jam”? Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars has lots of gems on it: “Nothing” and “Little Miss S.” are two of my other favorites.

When Harry Met Sally. Both Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan are excellent in this and there are some funny and memorable scenes! It highlights the way women v.s. men view relationships; platonic and otherwise.  Carrie Fisher is great in this, too.  I never get bored of this movie.

Who doesn’t like to eat? Who? Stonewall Kitchen is a Maine-grown and -based company that makes delicious, I repeat delicious, condiments, mixes, marinades, dips, and jams and so on.  This is coming with me to a friend’s birthday get-together tonight: my go-to appetizer to bring to a gathering {I add walnuts}:

Roasted Garlic Onion Jam Pizza

Stationary, for whatever reason, has always appealed to me.  It might be that you write someone to thank them, share the love, make them laugh, wish them a happy birthday or congratulations…it might be that the paper can be so lovely or fun or interesting…I think it’s the combination.  I have a stash of “last one” notecards; of the box where the rest have been used and sent, but I couldn’t bear to use the last one because I loved them so much.

Ginkgo

Blooming Mother's Day Card

So I save them to remember.  Someday I want to frame them all and put them on a tucked-away wall. Not to offend, but this one-liner about a frame cluster made me laugh!

What are a few of your favorite things?  Do tell!

Good Chi and Candy

April 12, 2012

We have a house guest this week.  He wiggles, snores, snorts, and while we’re out he sleeps pressed up against our glass doors, behind the curtains. His name is Chi.  Maybe you guessed {correctly} that he’s a pug.  A little snuggly bugger who’s a pleasure to have around.  {The photo above is not of Chi, but made me laugh!} He has chickens at home, too, so ours are no big deal to him.  We’ve been having fun this week and it will be sad when he goes. Some of our fun has to do with calling him silly names…I’ve taken to “Cheeeese” {stolen from Old School}:

The chickens are doing great after the big scare at our house the other day.  Ruby is on high alert, but we’ve been letting them hang out in our enclosed garden so there isn’t the threat of a fox. Plus, they’re turning over the soil and getting paid in worms. Win-win. Scratch-Scratch.

This week we’ve been lying low.  Renting movies like J. Edgar, making lazy dinners like scrambled eggs, and eating way too much leftover Easter candy that my sister-in-law gave to us.  Being reacquainted with Sprees and  Cadbury mini eggs is killing any health kick I thought I was on.  Who am I kidding?! The Gelato Fiasco I found in my grocery cart isn’t helping things on that end either.  And I admit that I didn’t find it in my cart; the proper word would be placed. Tomorrow I Juice.  Or at least drink kale smoothies and try to undo this voodoo. Anyone else OD’ing on sugar these days? How about dog sitting?

It’s fun to dress up sometimes, to put on an actual dress or skirt and look extra pretty, but I’ve got to say that more often than not I am in denim and keepin’ it real! Things are casual around here.  Our clothes tend to reflect the pace of the place, right? New Englanders are a sturdy sort and it’s no surprise that denim fits us just fine, and in Maine this means even for fine dining.

For those of you with casual or creative workplaces that allow denim, or for  weekends when you’re just banging around town {whatever your daily or weekly denim allowance is– I get to wear it to work every single day},  wearing denim and a fairly basic top can easily be pulled together and elevated in style by adding an interesting piece of jewelry, or a shoe in a great color, or a funky scarf.  Being as comfortable as “jeans and a tee” but looking “dressed to a T” is about choosing items that fit and flatter you, go well together, and have a point of visual interest to polish it up.  Making something your own can involve accessories, but sometimes it’s as simple as a fun color combination.

I got inspired to put together “visually interesting” and highly wearable outfits on Polyvore. This is the first set I’ve yet to create! This could be a great way to help you discover your own style or to create new looks without leaving your house or being limited by your actual wardrobe.  Then take your new inspiration as a guide for your next shopping trip. It’s clear I like pattern, color, and mixing them together.  Aside from the extras, the canvas of each outfit is a pair of jeans {skinny, boot cut, colored…these all fly; denim has never been more democratic} and a basic top {long & loose, fitted & striped, oversized & blousy}.  The most fun you can have with the basics is by giving them a twist. If you wanted to get real neighborhood-y about it you could add a cardigan like our old good friend Mr. Rogers.  Remember that he used to change into one in each episode?  Have any of you tried Polyvore yet?Spring: Denim & Tops Accessorized

Spring: Denim & Tops Accessorized by lilimz featuring stone jewelry

Live to Tell

April 10, 2012

An incredible, unbelievable thing happened at our house this morning. We were in the midst of our morning routine, getting ready for work. Luke hollered out to me that something had happened, that there were chicken feathers all over our backyard! I ran out of our room and looked out at the lawn and sure enough there were feathers from our chickens all over the place. I saw Rhode Island Red and Plymouth Rock feathers and knew more than one chicken had been attacked.  I felt sick and panicked.

Luke ran outside ahead of me and saw a fox right near our back deck run off with our rooster Ruby in it’s mouth.  I ran out second and chased the fox through our back field.  I was running, and crying, and yelling.  It was awful, and there was nothing I could do, the fox had taken off.  When I got back to the barn I asked Luke how many chickens were still there. 3 of our 5 hens were alive, but one was injured.  We had lost 2 hens and Ruby, our rooster.  We were shaken. Our injured girl didn’t seem to have obvious major injuries and she ate when I sprinkled corn on the ground for them in their coop.  I could only imagine what they had seen and what was going on in their heads.

So many things were going through my head.  Lots of what-ifs.  I felt terrible and so did Luke.  It was a moment of trauma and a reality of keeping chickens that we hadn’t yet encountered.  We had to lock up our hens and get to work.  How do you do that after something like this?  After Luke left I was walking out to my car in the front yard and happened to look across our driveway to see the missing 2 hens pop out from behind some low pine trees.  Unbelievable!  I ran over to them and coaxed them out from hiding and got them back down to the barn with the other hens.  It was just incredible!  I couldn’t believe it.  Even though we had lost Ruby {our valiant rooster who laid down his life for his hens} we still had most of our flock. Talk about shaken nerves!

An hour or so later Luke told me he was headed home from work, he wanted to check on things.  We were feeling heartsick and worried that the fox would come back to bother the hens.  When Luke called me a little bit later he asked, “Guess who is standing in the middle of our driveway?” I imagined a bold fox was back for more.  “Ruby,” he said. Ever hear anything that was both mind boggling AND beyond wonderful? I was stupified.  Say what?! Luke explained that Ruby seemed ok, he looked and was acting fine, considering he’d been in the mouth of a running fox.

Later in the morning Ruby took his hens out to the compost pile {with Luke supervising} and they went about their usual task of scratching at scraps while he kept lookout.

I’ve never felt more proud of or astonished by an animal.  These chickens that we are so fond of and who color our days, are a band of toughies, not to be messed with, who can overcome a sly fox, take a beating, and give one.  Some of them have truly ruffled feathers, but they are ALL alive.  They live to tell.

The bravest, scrappiest, most valiant rooster around these parts: Ruby!

When we looked over the photos from our trail camera we saw lots of mug shots of this guy creeping around our field:

I suppose he lives to tell, too.

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