Life as I know It

My photo
San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Banking the Moment

A deserted lighthouse on a tiny island.

Sometimes, when life gets too hectic and I am feeling overwhelmed, I dip into my bank. Not the typical bank, but one that is filled to the brim with shining moments of joy. Banking my moments helps keep me focused, happy, and peaceful.

Try it for yourself. Choose one picture a day, drop it into your bank, and pluck it out when you need some balance. Let yourself travel into the good feelings you had when you banked your moment. Smell the aromas, remember the textures, relive the sounds. You'll feel yourself change–a change for the good.

Quiet time alone on a windy beach...

...with only one set of footprints to be seen.

The lacework edging of the sea...

...and the lacework Spanish moss dangling from the trees.

Flocks of seabirds facing into the wind.

Drifting sand dunes and distant islands.

A seahorse smoothed by the wind and sands.

A partially buried treasure.

A washboard of ripples.

The thrill of being unnoticed by a flock of shore birds.

Walking alongside a sand shark that was a few feet from shore.

Talking to the sea turtle.

Tripping upon a remarkable mushroom and taking the time to notice.

Making a ritual of saying good night to the sun.

Now it is your turn. Choose a moment, bank it, and return to it whenever you need some peace. I guarantee that it will work for you. 

We're on our way to California now and making our way through weather warning of high winds, tornados, rain, and who knows what else?

All joys,


P.S. All photos (except sea turtle) were taken on a private island on the "Gold Coast" of Georgia. Pure bliss for me to experience this place. I felt like Anne Morrow Lindbergh as she walked the beaches of Captiva Island and contemplated writing her book Gift from the Sea. One of my favorites.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Never Enough Pumpkins

Our final days in Maine are a celebration of the season: bittersweet, rose hips, and a small pumpkin amidst the candles.

Never enough pumpkins.

Early one morning, as we drove into Damariscotta, the traffic was backed up from lower Main St. to the church on the corner of the Bristol Road. We grumped about it. What? A traffic jam in October? Then we realized that the forklifts were moving the giant pumpkins into their places along Main St. Perched every few feet on a raised platform, the pumpkins would hold court over our small town until after Halloween. 

That evening artists converged on Main St. and began painting and carving into the 400 to 600 pound beauties. It was cause for a big community walk-by and enjoyment. By the Saturday of Pumpkin Fest, thousands of visitors surged into town to photograph the giants both night and day.

Artist Debra Arter carves honeycombs into this giant. See Winnie the Pooh going in for the gold? Debra also entered the pumpkin dessert contest and won 2nd place. She baked the smooth and snappy pumpkin cheesecake. It made my tastebuds sing.

A wise old owl outside of Sproul's furniture store beside the bridge.

Some pumpkins became lovely canvases.

This pumpkin reminded me of a moon cameo. This is outside Fernald's Country Store.

The children loved this one.

Outside King Eider's Pub (right next to Comfort Found)

Outside Weatherbird.

I didn't quite understand this one, but the kids loved it.

Yep, it's a pumpkin in fish clothing.

 Cinderella's coach.

Paco's Taco's built this saguarro pumpkin-cactus.

The "stringle-crested harposaurus" was done by Fred Gosbee of Castle Bay fame.

A tapestry of fish outside The River Grill.

A chef's dream pumpkin.

Outside Darling & DeLisle's gallery (below Comfort Found) sat this immense forest scene with birds. You can't see the small holes pierced through the skin, but at night it is lit from within and the tiny openings look like twinkling stars.

On the steps of our beloved Skidompha Library.

The Pumpkin Dessert Contest

 I was asked to be a judge of the Pumpkin Fest dessert contest, which is held on the Saturday of the parade. I sat on the bench with two true judges of the courts, who have discriminating palates and a good sense of humor-unless you've broken the law.

We had 14 delectable entries in the contest and awarded 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prizes, each with a monetary prize and a trophy.

This fantastic pumpkin-maple cake stole the show.

Judge Atwood asked that I be removed from the bench because I was trying "to influence the judging." Not true, the consistency of the dessert just got to me. 

We're taking things VERY seriously.

The winning trio. 

The judging was tough, but presentation, taste, and originality all played into the final decisions.

Darn it, I'd love to give you the recipes, but after examining them we were required to turn them back into the committee. Evidently some of the recipes are secret. and the creators did not want to share them. Sorry.

The Pumpkin Parade

Saturday's parade was HUGE. We positioned ourselves on the bridge between Damariscotta and Newcastle and caught the parade at its beginning. We laughed so much during this and reveled in the small town pleasure.

The puffin pumpkin boat is prepared for the regatta on Sunday morning.

Two more regatta entries.

The pumpkin contest spawned some monsters.

This was the winner of the contest and was grown by Ed Pierpont. This broke the Maine state record and weighed in at 1,471 pounds. Later in the day Ed cut it in half, distributed seeds to next year's growers, and turned the half pumpkin into a boat for the regatta. I believe Ed won $10,000.00 for this behemoth. 

Looks like nothing but bubbles and water?? Yep, it did look like this and it was the scene of the underwater pumpkin carving contest. Hundreds packed the shore to watch this...hundreds got bored and left. We stuck it out and saw the victors emerge from the depths.

Part of living in a small town is getting to know all the people and their pets. This is Raymond and he belongs to my friend Mary. Every afternoon Raymond and Mary walk to Waltz Rexall Drugs on Main St. (which still has its original 1940s soda fountain) and Mary tells Raymond to chatter his teeth-he is doing that in the photo. Then Raymond is presented a dog cookie from behind the counter.

Our canoe is inside, our hammock is rolled up for the season, our rugs are stowed, the pumpkins have all been taken to my friend Marilyn's house, and the shutters now cover the windows. I can't believe we won't step back inside our dear cottage until next May, but if the fates allow, we'll be back then and until then we'll dream of our beloved seaside haven.