Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Back Cove

We walked the Back Cove yesterday, which means a 3.5 mile walk around, well, the Back Cove. I've heard a lot about it, and it was pretty cool. There were A LOT of people there. Its the kind of place where you pull into your parking spot and there are guys doing push-ups on the grass, a group of 50 runners (with numbers on their backs) warming up, people fishing off the rocks, people having picnics or playing soccer, and groups of strollers and kids running around. Its a fun place.

You can see the Portland skyline.

You could see a sunset.

But make sure you stretch before you start out.

And stop to pick flowers, for Pete's sake.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Finishing up the month.

Mike has just a few days of orthopedics left, and then he starts ED for September. Orthopedics includes a lot of splinting and casting, and I guess he hasn't had the chance to do all of them at work, so he practices on me. If you came over to our house at night, after Claire was in bed, you'd probably see me in the middle of the floor with a splint on each arm, and Mike working on one for my leg. Fun stuff. I actually don't mind, the splints heat up all 'comfy-cozy' (as Claire would say), and besides, this is one of the less invasive skills he's practiced on me.

This past weekend we went to the Art Festival in Old Port, and also caught one of the L.L. Bean Summer Concert Series concerts. Every Saturday throughout the summer, there are free outdoor concerts at the L.L. Bean Flagship store in Freeport. We heard Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, who play some fantastic Cajun music. Claire had a blast dancing. Freeport a really cool town, and its only about 20 minutes from our house. Still, its probably one of the longest drives we've taken since being out here. We've been really spoiled with having everything so close. 20 minutes was only half of Mike's one-way commute to school when we lived in Waukesha. Spoiled, that's what we are.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

What a Weekend.

We have been really busy having a great time this weekend.

During the day Friday, Mike and I spent some serious time working on landscaping. We have a lot to do outside since we've been spending the majority of our time and energy inside the house. It was a nice change to be outside working, and it felt good to get something done. Friday night we went back to the Bug Light for a bit. I saw a great sunset. Mike and Claire missed it (see the picture below). I really like going to the Bug Light. There are always lots of boats and people to watch.

Saturday we had a lot planned. This weekend was the MS Harborfest in Portland as well as the Great Falls Balloon Festival a half hour away in Lewiston. We went to the MS Harborfest first, hoping to see the sail boat parade, but we either were too late or in the wrong spot (or both?). Either way, we enjoyed our time at the Maine State Pier, and I think we may have seen one boat that was in the parade. It actually shot off a cannon as it went past. I thought it was really cool, Claire wasn't impressed (see the picture below).

After, we drove over to Lewiston for the Balloon Festival. This time we made it to the right spot at the right time for the hot air balloon launch, but it wasn't what I expected. I kind of thought the launch would include around 20 or so balloons, maybe even three or four going up at the same time. In reality, there were six balloons launched, one at a time. It was still very cool to see so close up, and I did get some really cool pictures. Some of the balloons went right over our heads, some floated off into the sunset. We also had fun just goofing around.

Then today, Sunday. Today was the work day. It was suppose to rain all day (and it did) so we figured it would be a good day to spend downstairs. We were able to get the ceiling completely painted, which was no small task. The boards that were used are all grooved, and getting the paint in all the little grooves was not fun, but now that its done, it looks great. We also got a free couch from another resident, and Mike spent a lot of time getting it downstairs. Its a sleeper-sofa, so it weighs a ton, and is pretty long as well. It was quite a project in itself.

All three of us ended up covered in paint. At the end of the night, Claire wouldn't even give me a kiss because she couldn't "find any room" on my cheeks. There was just too much paint for her taste. But lucky for me, Claire has a pair of purple sunglasses that are way too big for her. I definitely needed something to keep the paint out of my eyes, so I borrowed them. I think I looked pretty good. Maybe I'll keep them.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Alaska Pictures

I'm back from Alaska and have pictures to share. Great times. Four days spent in Seward and three in Anchorage, with lots of fishing, sightseeing and fun. Most of the fishing was in the Gulf of Alaska about 50 miles out of Resurrection Bay. Surrounded by mountains and waterfalls, there were many whale, dolphin, porpoise, sea otter and shark sightings (the seals would swim right up to the dock at night).

Sea Otters

The catch.
My fearless guides (Jason and his father Rich)

The hundred pounder!

The elusive Silver Salmon.

Thanks again to Jason for showing me around and putting me up for the week. Truly a once in a lifetime trip (well, hopefully more than once in a lifetime)!

More pictures...

The Fish!

Mike called me, on his last night in Alaska, and told me he was checking two 50 pound boxes of fish. He suggested I buy a chest freezer. So I did. Which sounds very simple, but actually, it was a very big hassle that included spending 4 hours at a wonderful local Home Improvement Center, a rental truck, and a huge confusion over the correct policy of filling the gas tank of the rental truck. I also have to say that through the whole thing, Claire was amazing. I wish I could download pictures off my phone so I could post a picture of her sitting in her car seat in the middle of the floor, reading books. She was great.

Mike was also going through quite a bit of hassle to get home. His flight out of Anchorage was delayed for long enough that he would have missed his connecting flight in Seattle on Thursday night, and the next flight from Seattle to Boston wasn't until today, Friday morning. They managed to switch airlines and pull some strings and he was home yesterday afternoon, but he was without the fish. When packed, Mike was told the fish would stay frozen for about 36 hours (I was really impressed!), and it was suppose to be delivered to our house between 10pm and 1am last night, they were really cutting it pretty close. So finally, at 12:50am, the fish came.

We opened the boxes and checked the fish... and they were hard as rocks! Still very frozen! So we put them in the (now pre-cooled) freezer and went to bed.

Tonight, I think we'll have some Halibut for dinner!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Yes Rules

As I was putting Claire to bed a few nights ago, she asked for some chocolate milk. I told her no, the only thing she could have in bed was water. She kind of whined about it and said "But I real real want some, and I can't get it myself", to which I repeated that the only thing I would get for her was water. Then she asked me why, and I told her the cavity story (again). She was quiet for a minute, and then asked again why she couldn't have chocolate milk in bed. So I said "Its the rule, its the same rule as every other night, no chocolate milk in bed". I thought that was that, but she sat up and said "Mama, I don't like No Rules. I want some Yes Rules." Clever! I almost started laughing, which at that moment would probably have made her pretty upset, so instead I said "Well the Yes Rule is that Yes! You can have water in bed! Do you want some?" And as she flopped herself back onto the pillows and squeezed her eyes shut she said quietly, 'yes', and as I walked into the kitchen to get the water, I said 'yes!' because its not always so easy to win a head-to-head battle of wits with a three-year old. They don't have any rules, much less follow any.

A few pictures.

I don't have much to write about, Claire and I have been spending a lot of time at the parks, library and beaches lately, and thats about it. The weather has been incredible, and we have been soaking it up. So I thought I'd just post a few pictures...

This picture was taken a few nights ago (in Maine). Mike called last night (from Alaska) to tell me he caught a 100 pound Halibut. I'm going to have to find a few recipes, I think!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Wild Things

A week or so ago, I asked Claire a bunch of questions. One of her answers was that the Wild Things (Where the Wild Things Are) is her favorite book. Tonight I was reading her the story before bed. We got to the wild rumpus (three pages of pictures, no words) and she stopped me and started identifying all the monsters. She really thought about each one before she told me who it was (and was amazingly consistent!), so I'm sure there is some reasoning behind it all. See for yourself:

So above, thats Dad, Sharon, Monnie (sorry about the pic, Monnie) and Nana.

Then Jimmer, "maybe thats Devin", Monnie, Grandpa and Grandma

And Jimmer, Grandpa, Nana, Grandma, and Monnie (thats better).

You might notice that Bapa, Uncle Dave and myself are left out. I can only suggest that its because we are not quite as wild (looking!) as the other Wild Things in the family.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Bug Light

There are a ton of lighthouses out here, and The Bug Light is close enough to our house to ride a bike to. We finally checked it out today, and we had a great time. There were a few people flying a lot of really cool kites when we showed up, and Claire loved it. She's in the picture, running around with her arms flung out.

We all had a great time, and we uncovered another way that Claire takes after her father

Other than that, Mike and I finished putting up the basement ceiling. Next will be the painting.

Click on this picture of Bug Light for more from today.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Its so hot, Mike booked a ticket to Alaska.

True story, except for he's not going because its hot. It is hot, and he is going, but the two are not related. Our friend, Jason, is going back home to Alaska for a few weeks (and then will drive his truck from Anchorage to Maine, you can't get more cross-country than that, scroll down and take a look at that map), and since Mike is forced to take a week of vacation in August (he gets three weeks of vacation, but there are only certain months he can use them), he thought it would be a good idea to go along. So lucky him! And since I, the Master and Commander of the Halberg Household, let him go, he has a gigantic debt to repay. If anyone has any ideas of how he should repay this, I'm looking for ideas. Chores, back massages, cooking dinner...I'm making a list.

And about it being hot, it is SO hot. I know I'm hardly the one that should be complaining about it. Its been a lot hotter in other areas than it has in Maine. And we have a almost constant sea breeze, and for the most part the nights cool way off out here, but today is brutal. Its 90, with a heat index of 99. And even that isn't so bad, I mean in Wisconsin its nothing to get up over 90 for days at a time. But in Wisconsin, when that happened, I just stayed inside because there was central air. With no central air here, its a sticky 99 inside the house. Yuck. Claire and I have already spent about three hours at the library today. We may go back. Tomorrow is suppose to be back down to the mid 70's. I much prefer that over this hot weather nonsense.