Friday, November 23, 2012

Geaghan's Pub

Last Saturday we visited Geaghan’s Pub which is right next to Hollywood Slots. The pub was decent- not the best place we have been to, but not the worst. There was a small but adequate selection of beers. I tried a Bangor Brown which was a mellow brown ale. The beer complimented Christopher’s burger and my chicken club sandwich. I liked that each plate came with a small serving of coleslaw and made up for the rather lackluster French fries.Our sandwiches were good though!

Like I said, not the best place I have been to, but not the worst. You probably will not go home crying, but you won’t go home dazzled either.

I hope everyone had a wonderful, family and friend-filled Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Break Project Numero Uno

Although living in an already furnished home is a great blessing, there are a few downsides to it- there is not too much room for personalization. In our home I have been trying to take advantage of the few places there are to personalize. One such location is this dresser/vanity in our bedroom. Before it looked like this.

Now it looks like this:

Better, no? These were all picture frames I found at thrift stores for no more than fifty cents a pieces. I spray painted them black to create a more uniform look. The only one that was not spry painted was the one Christopher made for me for my last birthday. There is also a picture of my little brother next to my alarm clock. I was unable to get a decent picture of it though. What do you think?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

First Snow

On Thursday morning, Christopher poked me to wake me up. “It’s snowing!” he said. He was incredibly excited. I would not have been surprised if he had added, “It’s Christmas morning! Come see what Santa brought!” He was that excited.  

On Monday there had been a few little flurries but nothing lasting. On Wednesday night it had been chilly, but no sign of snow. Thursday morning we woke up and a blanket of snow covered everything- our house, the trees, and the street. Christopher shoveled the drive-way for the first time.

It rained all through the afternoon and was completely clear and snow-free by the next morning. The grass was green again and all that remained were a few small snow piles against the road. But still- it was snow.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Money Jar

Christopher leaves change EVERYWHERE. In the car, on dressers, in his pocket, on counters- no surface is safe from his piles and piles of coins. I needed to find a solution.

I scoured thrift stores for suitable jars, but was unable to find anything useful. One day I stumbled upon this container for twenty-five cents. 

It did not look like much, but I could see its potential. After a little paint and a hot glue gun, that nondescript wood container has been transformed into this:

Now he has no excuse. :D

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Day Tripping in Portland

This past weekend, my advisor arranged for a field trip to Portland. I was excited to not only see all the fantastic sites and museums on our agenda, but to explore a little more of the state.

Our first stop was to the Saco Museum, about twenty minutes south of Portland. A Pilgrim’s Progress panorama was displayed, partly in a former textile mill across the street and partly at the museum. Panoramas were a precursor to film and cinema. A narrator would tell the story, an orchestra would play an accompanying musical score and several men would change the scenes. This particular panorama was painted by many of the famous Hudson River Valley artists. The initial panorama was so popular that the artists painted a second, more extensive one. The original one has been lost, but the second one was found about twenty years ago and will be displayed until November 10th.  Is it not just breathtaking?
This thing is huge

We also explored the rest of the small museum which contained sermons and items from one of the original churches that was built partly by Paul Revere.

When we arrived in Portland (after a desperately needed cup of coffee from one of the many Indy shops), we explored the Maine Historical Society. The grad students in the group in particular were quite excited about the materials we were presented. Maps, articles, blue prints, books, letters, obituaries, birth certificates, business licenses- so many fantastic items I could potentially use in my research!

Afterwards we meandered to the Portland Museum of Art where there was an exhibit on Winslow Homer. Winslow Homer is considered one of the quintessential American artists. He belonged to no “school” and often painted scenes of the Maine shoreline and animals. I personally loved his paintings. Although his works were over a hundred years old, the paintings were still unique and vibrant.

We explored the remainder of the museum which contained mostly modern art a few Impressionist paintings. I will note that if you are not a modern art fan, the Portland Museum of Art should probably not be on your go-to list. All four graduate students that attended the field trip (the rest were undergrads, professors, and alumni) are eighteenth century historians and were therefore unimpressed by the large amount of modern art.
My fellow graduate students and I walked a little around downtown Portland and settled on a pub for dinner. I really enjoyed Portland. It is an awesome city filled with great restaurants, shops, and a fantastic cultural scene. It is definitely not a big city, but I liked its more low-key vibe. I am glad I was able to attend the field trip and see all the wonderful exhibits on our agenda.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Belated Halloween Post

I am sorry this post is rather late. I know everyone’s minds are now on Christmas, but hey, it’s never too late for Halloween, right? Right? Anyone?!?

Christopher worked on Halloween. It was also the day of one of my presentations, so we were unable to celebrate much.  We carved Jack-O’-Lanterns in the morning, decorated our front window and ate cinnamon doughnuts with apple juice. I also attempted to bake a “pumpkin” cake aka a regular cake decorated like a pumpkin. Mine looked horrible, but it still tasted good.  It is tradition in my family and made me think a lot of my mom. I love you Mom!

We ended the evening eating pot stickers and reading The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving by the light of our spiced pumpkin candle. I first read the tale about ten years ago and make a point of reading it at least once (often more) every October. The story is more funny than spooky, but his descriptions of an autumn in New York are absolutely wonderful. I love all of works of Washington Irving.

Despite our relative lack of festivities, we did dress up in costume! Christopher was Waldo and I was Mary Poppins! A least our outfits were festive. 

I hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween!

After the Storm

The state of Maine is incredibly fortunate to not have been hit particularly hard by Hurricane Sandy. A few thunderstorms, a few blackouts- thankfully nothing significant.  My thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the storm. If you are able, please donate something to aid those in need. The bookstore I work at is currently working with the Salvation Army to gather donations, but there are other amazing organizations such as the Red Cross asking for donations and volunteers.

After the storm ran through Maine, Christopher and I were a little stir-crazy. We went on a short walk through Prentiss Woods, a small forest that is about a mile away from our house. Prentiss Woods differs a little from Essex Woods. It is significantly darker and quieter. Whenever we laughed, I felt as if the sound tore through the forest. Perhaps there were some angry Ents lurking in the darkness.

The one lone color-turning tree

The forest was filled with pine trees, mushrooms and small streams. The smell of the pine trees was wonderful and reminded me a little of places like Lake Arrowhead back home.

In the spirit of LOTR, "Mushrooms!"

Speaking of pine trees, can you believe that Christmas merchandise and advertisements are already out? Christopher and I’s motto this year is “Give Thanksgiving a Chance”! I absolutely refuse to do anything Christmas-related until December 1st hits. Take that Starbucks peppermint mochas and Target decorations and ornaments! You cannot ensnare me!

I hope everyone affected by the storm is safe and dry! Good luck and God Bless!

The City Girl Goes to the Country

I am sorry for my sporadic posts! I have been to several interesting places in the last two weeks, but I also had two research papers to write and two presentations.  Life will be quite a bit calmer this week.
The weekend before Halloween Christopher and I searched for a pumpkin patch. We found Treworgy Farms in Levant, about twenty minutes away from our house.

There is no other way to explain the afternoon except as magical. The arrived just before dusk, the weather was gorgeous and the scenery was divine. It was everything an autumn afternoon should be. 

We raced around a corn maze and got free ice cream for our efforts. 

We picked out pumpkins, many of which were still on the vine.   

We explored the little farm which contained several horses, a few tractors and an apple orchard. We befriended the very sweet family who has worked there for fifteen years. We went home with half a peck of apples, two perfect pumpkins, an apple cider doughnut and a little present for my family. I hope to be able to visit the farm again, which is working on being open all year.  It was a wonderful, wonderful afternoon.