Category Archives: Family

Living in Vacationland – Part 3A – Whale Watching

It’s been a long time since I’ve been on a whale watching trip. We thought it would be fun to do with my visiting father-in-law. We drove to Boothbay Harbor for an excursion on Captain Fish’s Whale Watching Trips.

Unfortunately we didn’t see any whales but we did see some dolphins.



A video of the dolphins – the loved surfing in the wake of the boat.

Living in Vacationland – Part 2 – The Coast

As I mentioned in my previous post, my father-in-law came to visit recently. The first day he was here we spent the afternoon on Peaks Island with a picnic lunch.

The next two days, after all that walking, we thought it might make sense to take it easy. We drove to Kennebunkport the day after Peaks Island and then meandered our way back along the coast, which includes views of Walker Point (the Bush residence) and Ferry Beach.

Walker Point, Kennebunkport, ME

Dad and Don at Ferry Beach

The next day we made our way around closer to Portland with a trip the the Observatory, Two Lights, including lunch at The Lobster Shack, and Fort Williams/Portland Head Light.

View of the Portland Observatory

View of Portland Harbor from the Observatory

My lunch of fried clams at The Lobster Shack

The last stop of the day was to the iconic Portland Head Light.

The most photographed lighthouse in Maine, Portland Head Light.


The best part of the week’s events planned was still yet to come. Stay tuned for that post!

Living in Vacationland – Part 1 – Peaks Island

If you live in Maine, chances are you have people that visit from other parts of the country in the summer. It’s usually family but sometimes it’s friends, too.

A couple weeks ago my father-in-law came to visit. He had a break during classes (he just graduated from Eastern Kentucky University this spring and has started classes for his masters in History) so we had him fly up for a week’s visit.

He’s 76-years-old and spry! So we had a lot planned for the week.

One of the first things we did was go to Peaks Island by ferry. It’s approximately 4-5 miles if you walk all the way around, which we did and it was hot! We packed a picnic lunch and found a shady spot on the rocks under a piece of ledge.

A view from Peaks Island

Our lunch spot - a respite from the sun.

A healthy lunch for all of us consisting of fruit, veggies, humus and sweet potato chips.

Me & Dad

One of my favorite photos of the day was this one – I took it of both Don and his Dad taking photos of flowers. It made me chuckle.

Photographing flowers.

Stay tuned. I’ll wright more about the other adventures during Dad’s recent visit to Vacationland.


Losing a Dear Friend

Recently I lost a dear friend – my beloved cat, Sarah.

We had inherited our two cats from friends that moved away almost 7 years ago. Solomon is an attention seeking cat and not bashful about wanting affection and he’s always been like that. Sarah, on the other hand, was always shy and wouldn’t get near many people, especially strangers.

After having these cats, Sarah really came out of her shell. She became my puppy dog, following me around the house, cuddling up near me on the sofa and on the bed. Often she would coax me into the bedroom where I’d lay down on the bed so she could curl up next to me. Then we’d both fall asleep.

Sarah also became the type of cat that would greet you at the door when you arrived home and come out when we had company.

Most recently she turned into a huge lap cat. She would walk up to my husband and force herself onto his lap, regardless of what might be on it, including her brother, Solomon.

Unfortunately Sarah became ill quickly and we had to put her to sleep. We are fortunate that she didn’t suffer long. Even though we knew our cats were old, we still didn’t think we’d ever lose them. I think most pet owners feel this way.

Pets become a huge part of our family – they are our children and when they are gone there is a big hole in our hearts. Still, I’m fortunate for the time we had with Sarah. She was a special cat and the joy she brought to our lives for over 6 years will be cherrished.


I Scream, You Scream

We all scream for ice cream!

Recently my husband bought a gelato maker and it’s awesome!

We don’t eat a ton of ice cream but this time of year we eat a bit more than normal. It’s hard to find ice cream that’s reasonably priced with good ingredients, meaning that it’s corn syrup free. We’ve been happy with Bryer’s All Natural and Turkey Hill All Natural, the latter we haven’t been able to find in the stores lately.

So now we are making our own. It’s great because we can make it with soy milk or with cream and we can control the ingredients – a true benefit of making it yourself.

So far we’ve made blueberry, banana and chocolate mint. All have tasted incredible but I think the banana might be my favorite so far.

We’ve bought some frozen fruits like peaches and cherries to use in our future ice cream experiments. I look forward to being creative and making some interesting flavors. One in particular will be lemon – that should be the best.

Snow Shoeing

We finally had a chance to use our snow shoes today at a local golf course a few miles from our home. It was a beautiful day with temps in the mid-30’s and not a cloud in the sky. There are lots of groomed areas for skiers and plenty of pure powder to trudge in.

(Husband Don and friend Tracey.)

(Groomed trails with bright blue sky.)

(Lots of virgin snow.)

(A genuine smile on my face.)

Tomorrow it’s supposed to be equally as nice. As tempting as a bike ride would be, I might head out on the snow shoes again instead. I’ll dress with fewer layers if I do – I was highly over dressed today.

Restful Vacation

I ended 2009 while on vacation. I didn’t go any place exotic or warm, it was just a long break from work.

Things I did on vacation:

Rode my bike a couple times outside. Once on Christmas Day and again on the 28th. On the 28th it was 46 degrees, partly sunny and I was happily dressed in my kit, leg and arm warmers, with a vest. That’s it! Pretty darn nice for the end of December!

Slept. A Lot! Like 9 hours a day a lot. I rarely sleep that much and during vacation I slept that much every day. I usually end up somewhere between 7 and 8 hours of sleep and I’m very happy with that. Somehow my body felt compelled to sleep more when I was on vacation.

Made some videos for training. I’ve been recording some recent road rides and converting the video with music and instructions for working out. It makes being on the trainer a bit more bearable.

Watched movies. We watched the entire series year to date of 30 Rock on Netflix, in addition to some other regular recordings, the Star Trek movie, and Up.

Worked out. I managed to get on the trainer and the treadmill a few times during that week in an attempt to get back in shape, lose some weight that has been packing on since August, and refocus on the upcoming season.

Entertained. We had guests over to relax in front of the fire on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day evening.

Watched it snow. Yup, it snowed off and on for 4 days from Thursday through Sunday. Luckily we only ended up with about 8 inches for that entire time, which is a bit better than the 2 feet of snow some areas of Maine received. By choice, due to the snow, we decided to hibernate and not go anywhere for a few days. (4 to be exact.)

Shoveled a little snow. Due to the above.

Recharged my battery. Isn’t that what a vacation is all about?

I won’t lie when I say it was nice to be back to work. Not because of the work but because of the routine. Sometimes it’s nice to have a routine. Perhaps I wouldn’t have felt ready to go back to work with a short vacation, but since I started the afternoon before Christmas and went back on January 4th, it felt like a pretty long break.

Christmas Wish List

What’s on your Christmas list this year? (Biking related or not.)

I didn’t have much of a list this year. My husband has done well in buying practically everything I could ever want/need for my cycling addiction. I did have fenders on that list for winter riding, and think Santa might be bringing those for me. He might also be giving me a time trial helmet, that I put on my list rather late.

One of the hot items this year is also an I am Not Ted King t-shirt. I have it on good authority from a very credible elf that one will be under the tree for me.

I think I have actually done better purchasing for my husband this year than in years past. Usually I’m at a loss for gifts for him. He falls into that “hard to buy for” category. Not because he’s difficult, but because he tends to buy what he needs throughout the year. And he’s a bit of a techy so I wouldn’t know where to begin in that department. This year is different. Thankfully I asked him for a list of things he might want and from that list I’ve been able to build on it. (I should have done this before!) I’ll elaborate on this after Christmas, that is if my gifts are well received.

The only thing really on my wish list is the lack of snow through most of January, or at least until after New Year’s. I want to have more road rides before we get too much snow and since I’m on vacation between Christmas and New Year’s, it would be a nice time to ride on snow-free roads. (I suppose I should be asking Mother Nature for this as opposed to Santa.) That said, we did just buy snow shoes for when it does finally snow. To that end, now that we are “prepared for winter” from a recreation standpoint, we probably won’t get much snow. Call it a jinx if you will. And if so, I’ll buy skis next year…

Happy Holidays! I hope you’ve been good enough for Santa to bring you at least one item on your list.

Long-lost Siblings, a Really Cool Story

This is a cool local story.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “ siblings recall e…“, posted with vodpod

But then you have to follow that up with this: they are looking for another sister, Claire Marie. Guess what, she has a blog and writes:

This morning on the Today show, Randy, Gary, and Joanne told their story.
Meredith Viera (sp?) asked about another sister that they have never met and were still looking for, Joanne said yes, her birth name was Claire Marie, she would be about 39 years old.

That’s me.
I’m Claire Marie.
I’m the sister they are searching for, and the Today Show is flying me and my youngest son to New York tonight to meet my sister and brothers, and be on the Today Show tomorrow morning.

You can read the entire posting on her blog HERE. How cool is that? The Today Show just got a two-fer!

A Tragic Loss – Death of a Friend

I found out on August 24th that a good friend of mine had passed away in a cycling accident the previous day in Pennsylvania while visiting with family in the area.

Robert Anderson was a dear friend of mine. He was an avid cyclists in all disciplines: mountain biking, cyclocross, and road cycling.

I met him through our mutual club CCCP but I really got to know him on my first Trek Across Maine in June 2007. We rode a fair bit of the three days together. I remember Robert telling me after the first day that he had changed out his entire drive train the night before. When I asked him why he had done that, he proclaimed, “So I could have a 19 mile per hour average!” (At that point, that was our average for the day, which was quite a bit higher than the day before.)

At that point I hadn’t known Robert long and didn’t know he was an artist with a Masters in Fine Arts. (His talents also funneled into cabinetry and furniture making.) I found this out during the Trek when he and his friend, Joey, gave Tracey and I a tour of the Colby College Museum after the second leg of the tour. It was a great treat for them to point out certain things about the art on the wall and the various artists.


(Me, Patrick, Robert, and Tracey after the completion of the Trek Across Maine 2007)

The following year we formed an official CCCP team for the Trek and were fortunate to have Robert part of that team that year.


(Robert in middle row on the far left.)

From then on we came to know more and more about Robert. Not only did we see him on many club rides and working at Back Bay Bicycle part-time, but we also started seeing him at various races. That was the next step for him. He participated in a few mountain bike races with another BBB employee, Paul, and they even did the 12-Hour Bradbury Challenge in the fall of 2008 as a relay team. (This year they had planned on racing it individually.) Robert also appeared in several cyclocross events in New England last fall, in addition to the Deerfield Dirt Road Randonnee (D2R2), and Tour of the Battenkill and the Scarborough Crit Series in the spring of this year.


(Robert at Pineland Cyclocross)


(Robert in center foreground at the Scarborough Crit series – the first of the season)

Robert was the type of person that people were drawn to. He radiated happiness and enthusiasm for life. He had a great sense of humor and when climbing with some of the best cyclists in our club, he’d look over as ask, “what else ya got?”

Robert died instantly of head and neck injuries when he flew over his handlebars while mountain biking. I take comfort knowing he died doing something he loved. However, he will be greatly missed by me, the entire Portland cycling community, and his wife and young daughter.

Rest in peace my dear friend. I’m glad we had the time together that we did.