Life as I know It

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

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Maine-ly Memories

November 21, 2014 UPDATE: Read about The Lost Kitchen in this NY Times article.

Sunrise in Maine

Dear Friends,

Your once peripatetic friend is grounded. I am sitting up in bed for the second week in a row, but getting stronger every day. Watch where you're stepping when you're out in your gardens at night.
I stepped out of my studio door and ended up with a fractured ankle, torn ligaments, bumps, bruises, a head knot, a sprain, AND my first ride in an ambulance. The worst is behind me, and I am feeling good and ready to get up and run...or maybe not run, but walk again.

Being in a wheelchair has REALLY taught me a lot about the challenges that people must face. Every small bump, change in ground level, or step is a challenge, sometimes a challenge that makes even the easiest chores turn into a grueling physical effort. Hats off to all of you who wrestle with canes, crutches, and wheelchairs. Let's try to make the road smoother for everyone.

Thanks a zillion for well-wishes, calls, food, and for cards and gifts. I am humbled by your many kindnesses and will try to pay them forward to someone in need. You know who you are...Vicki Boster, Lori Hibbard, Susan Branch, Susie Bassetti, Virginia Holihan, Vicki Greene, and so many others. You are in my heart. Oh, and I should mention that my family, and Jeff have been fantastic, just fantastic. I owe them, big time.

Since my last posting I have been in New Hampshire on Lake Sunapee and in our beloved cottage/camp in Maine. I also thoroughly lost myself in the culture of apples. Every tree looked like a gift from heaven, loaded with shiny, green and red fruits, and history, volumes of history.

Please join me for a too long overdue and too long posting. Oh, and I still have to mail out the Stillmeadow Cookbook. Life has been wild. I appreciate your patience.


I have always wanted to visit Boston's famous Swan Boats and also the Robert McCloskey ducklings. Our dear friends Aline and Frank are Bostonians. They shared the adventure with us and introduced us to some of Boston's hidden treasures and neighborhoods.

There they are! I felt like a kid when I saw them!

Patrick was our captain.

Our dear friends Aline and Frank on the shore of Lake Sunapee. Pretty adorable, huh?

Just a small taste of Maine.

On Cottage Point Road in Damariscotta, Maine. A gift to any passerby from Sharon and Jim Aderman. Take a book, read a book, return it, or replace it with another. Their beautiful mini-library. I love it.

Gotta love this! On the road to Freedom, Maine.

One of my favorite little islands and lighthouses on Curtis Island. This is just outside Camden Harbor on the way to Vinalhaven, the beloved island of Margaret Wise Brown., author of Goodnight Moon (and a hundred other books, including The Little Island done in pseudonym Golden MacDonald). 

Illustrator/Caldecott Honor winner/author/ Melissa Sweet sketches as we plow through the waves toward Vinalhaven. During waking hours, the sketchbook is never far from her.

Traffic Jam

Bye bye traffic jam.

Approaching "The Only House" so named because Margaret had never owned another house. (See earlier blog posting that shows her New York City home, which she didn't own). "The Only House" is on the site of an old granite quarry.

Melissa Sweet and me on the deck of "The Only House." True bliss.

Margaret's mossy, lichened apple tree. 

I couldn't stop studying the beauty of the mosses and lichens. Look at the little British soldier lichen in full red uniform. The macrocosm is so amazing if we just take the time to really look.

No other words necessary.


If you're fascinated by Margaret Wise Brown, you should read this old classics and read Awakened by the Moon, which is a biography of her too short, but extremely productive and creative life.

Sitting on Margaret's settee beside her desk. The view is what inspired her to write her The Little Island, which maybe what inspired me to write my The Little Green Island with a Little Red House.

Here is the view of her little island.

An enlarged version of my book The Little Green Island With a Little Red House. Makes it easier for reading to big groups. This book is going into its second printing with DownEast Books, an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield, and should be out soon.

This was so touching to me. They've inscribed the tombstone with her words in The Little Island (video).

For my birthday, Jeff treated me to a dinner at The Lost Kitchen in Freedom, Maine. The restaurant is in this old mill, which has been completely renovated. You enter it by walking over a pond and stream. It is magical. Pure heaven. Everything. Pure heaven. The food, my friends, the setting, the entire experience. You must (if you're in Maine) treat yourself to this expeience, but reservations are a necessity. I think my friend Lynn Karlin made the reservations about five weeks in advance.

In the dining room.

On our table.

Back at our camp, to get reacquainted with Audrey, I pile black sunflower seeds on my foot. It is literally the first step.

Sweet Audrey. My favorite chipmunk.

I'll leave you with a heart full of gratitude for family and friends. 

I originally wanted to write a big posting about apples and apple trees, but that will have to wait till next time.

Oh, and I guess I should mention the release party for my new book.

It is on Sunday, November the 9th at 2 p.m. at the Steynberg Gallery,  1531 Monterey Street, San Luis Obispo, California. All net proceeds from book sales will benefit the gardens of the historic Dallidet Adobe and Gardens in San Luis Obispo. Come join us!

With love across the miles,


p.s. Leave a comment on this post or the previous one to be eligible to win the drawing for these gorgeous Josie Iselin books.

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