Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer Surprises

Remember that appellate brief I mentioned, that was going to take up a good hunk of my time? POSTPONED. Good news and bad news both, really -- I can play now, but it'll come back one of these days.

So, instead of sitting at my computer doing legal work, I've been fiddling with Photoshop and layers and textures. Wow -- a whole new avenue for play. I know I've barely scratched the surface when it comes to the things one can do with Photoshop, but right now the texture thing is keeping me engrossed. This shot, by the way, is one I took in Old Orchard Beach, on the coast of Maine. It was a gray rainy day and everything was deserted, and I love how it looks like a faded old postcard.

Lest you think I've been at my computer all week, I've been earning my Nursing merit badge. My sister, who lives alone in a charming little house across town, has had some unexpected minor health things so I've escorted her to the local emergency room, doctor's appointments, and the odd test and pharmacy-run. I've even figured out how to arrange cushions on her small living room floor to make quite a cozy bed so I can stay the night, and we've had a few sister sleep-overs. She's doing fine but it's nice to know we have each other for these curve-ball episodes.

I'm still mulling and sketching about "passion" for the upcoming 12x12 theme. Yikes -- time is running out. I think I'll be diving into fabric tomorrow. It has been a hard theme for all of us this time. Be sure to check the 12x12 blog on August 1 to see what we've each come up with!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Locked Inside

Here's a shot from our day in Salem, Massachusetts. Salem is a lovely town on the Massachusetts coast, and of course it is famous for the witch-related hysteria that took place there in 1692. Remember Arthur Miller's The Crucible?

We did a bunch of the touristy things -- the witch museum, the witch village, the witch dungeon -- you get the idea. Caroline was fascinated, and even though the attractions were a bit on the hokey side (Disney theme park quality they are not), they provide good, short overviews of the fascinating history of the place. I had been reading a new novel, The Physick of Deliverance Dane, about a Harvard grad student researching Salem witch history, which seemed appropriate, so it was fun to be immersed in the sense of the place as we walked around.

Funnily enough, we spotted SNL comedian/actor Rob Schneider in the witch museum. Celebrity sighting! There were various people trailing after him, aiming their cell phones at him, with others murmuring, "WHO is he?"

It was a fun place to walk around. I can highly recommend the Peabody-Essex museum there, which has some wonderful exhibits AND Yin Yu Tang, a house from China dating back to the 1800's which has been rebuilt stone by stone on the premises.

But there's one more reason this photo is appropriate today -- vacation and the holiday weekend are over, and I have an appellate brief to write -- so I shall be cloistering myself away in my office for a bit to dive in. The door will be closed, and if you hear scary moans and rustly noises coming from inside, don't worry. It's just me at work. :-)

Happy July!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Celebrating Quietly

Happy Independence Day! We are having a quiet day here at home, which feels wonderful. We welcomed the last piece of luggage home last evening and so I've been doing last unpacking and laundry today. We'll grill sausages tonight (we have a local place that does wonderful chicken and apple sausage) and then head into town after dark to watch the fireworks.

We were able to spend a few days in Boston when we were in New England, so we got a refresher course on Paul Revere's ride, the hanging of the lamps in the Old North Church, the dumping of the tea into Boston Harbor, etc. It *is* very cool to see where it actually happened. At one point because we were tired of walking in the rain, we hopped onto a tour bus so we finished the rest of the Freedom Trail in a warm, dry vehicle. The tour guide had an odd mix of history and social commentary, but at one point he threw out an interesting fact: that at the time the colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, there was no democratic government existing in any country. Quite remarkable, really.

So, despite the strange twists and turns our democratic process takes from time to time, our governmental system is something rather amazing. It's an honor to celebrate it, and our nation, today.

I snapped the photo above, by the way, on a walk through our friends' neighborhood in Portland, Maine. I love the delicate red and blue flowers against the white house. Seeing flower-filled window boxes all over New England made me want to put them up on our front windows!

Hope you are celebrating with friends and family and abundant relaxation!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Good to be Home

We are back from a lovely two-week vacation in New England. It is great to be home! The hydrangea next to our front door is in full bloom, which is a lovely sight. I love hydrangeas.

As for the travels... We had a wonderful time. We were in Portland, Maine for the most part, staying with our dear friends Eric and Diane. They are the sort of friends we can just hang around with doing nothing quite happily -- which is a good thing, as the weather was constantly rainy, which meant that all of our outing plans had to be changed considerably. But we did lots of fun things, rain or shine... Lobster rolls eaten outside in the sun in Portland's old port, poking through the shops there, visiting the Portland Head Light and walking around Fort Williams, visiting Old Orchard Beach on a drizzly day, having high tea at a girly-frou-frou teahouse in Freeport ...

I got over to New Hampshire to visit my law firm (a firm meeting!), have lunch with my wonder-boss Bob, and see some old (erm, long-time) friends. I stopped by the house were Roger and I lived for several years and was amazed to find that even after 10 years, 3 out of the 5 apartments in the house are occupied by the same people! I visited with a former neighbor, oohed and aahed over how lovely the property looks now (new owner), and generally felt nostalgic.

We spent a few nights in Boston, too. My plan to walk the Freedom Trail was dashed by rain, so we rode the trail in a tour bus. Much warmer and dryer, and Caroline got a good overview of the historical sights. We especially enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Legal Seafoods, one of our favorite spots.

The only not-so-fun part of the trip was the flight home. We were due to fly out of Boston to NYC, then from there to Oakland, and should have been home in California by 7pm. But thunderstorms along the east coast threw all flights into a mess, and we sat there at the airport from 10:30 am until 11pm. That's right -- 12 solid hours. But we took off at 11:30 pm, and landed in Oakland 6 hours later. I love night flights -- NOT. Our luggage apparently went to NYC without us (hope it had fun!) so after sorting through the missing luggage stuff and driving the 90 minute drive home, we hit our front doorstep at (drum roll, please...) 4:45 am pacific time. We all fell right into bed and slept until noon.

The luggage is trickling in -- Jet Blue delivered two bags last night at midnight, and will deliver the last one this afternoon.

I won't even TALK about coming home to a computer that wouldn't boot up at all, and having to do a total restoration of software and data. Sigh.

Hey, we're home, I can sleep in my own bed... No complaints!!