Monday, August 31, 2009

Flatlanders on the Move

We had a fantastic vacation this summer to mark our 7th anniversary.

We started out driving to Northeastern Pennsylvania on Friday night to visit Jocelyn and Forrest at Ebb & Flow Organic Farm. ebb and flow organic farm lakewood pennsylvaniaAfter a fun night in the guest house (the newest Tiny House at Ebb and Flow Farm), and packing a load of fresh organic veggies, herbal olive oil and fresh honey from the farm into our cooler the next day we were off on the next leg of our vacation trip.
jocelyn with organic vegetables, ebb and flow farmTiny House, Ebb and Flow Organic Farm

We drove through upstate New York and along the Mass Pike from the Berkshires to north of Boston on our way to Cape Ann in Massachusetts. We arrived at the seacoast on Saturday afternoon with Hurricane Bill ... and left as Hurricane Danny passed by the following weekend. Although no damaging surf or wind came through, the waves at Good Harbor Beach were 12 feet high on Sunday. The surf was amazing and lifeguards were keeping most swimmers away from the rocks.

We spent a sunny seaport week in Gloucester, where we both enjoyed more local flavor than I did when I lived on Cape Ann 10 years ago. Every day was a beach day and we visited Good Harbor Beach, Long Beach, Bearskin Neck, Folly Cove, plus spent some time climbing the rocks at Stage Fort park and walking down Main Street in Gloucester. We had our bikes in the back of the truck, so we rode all around Rocky Neck where we met a fun artist at Imagine studio and got photos of her colorful art car.
art car, imagine studio at Rocky Neck art colony in Gloucester MassachusettsWe bought and cooked local Gloucester lobsters - fresh and lively right off the boat just a short walk from our vacation rental - for our anniversary dinner. We enjoyed the meal at sunset from the deck at our apartment overlooking East Gloucester's working harbor. We even bought 6 extra lobsters later in the week. Doug cooked, shelled and froze them to take back home to flatlandville.
lobster dinner, gloucester vacationTrish, Jim and the grandkids drove in from New Hampshire for a beach day on Tuesday. The tidal pools were full of fish, crabs, snails, starfish and seaweed - Bella had a blast looking for crabs and starfish and shells with her friend Olivia; when the tide came in the girls grabbed the boogie board and rode the incoming lazy river current under the footbridge at Good Harbor beach.
bella surfing lazy river at good harbor beach in gloucester, massachusettsOn his first trip to the ocean, Sawyer built sand castles and moats with Doug and explored the tide pools.sawyer building first sand castle at good harbor beach, gloucester massDoug and I feasted on absolutely delicious gourmet dinners at The Franklin, The Rudder, The Studio and Thai Cuisine plus I had real fried FRESH seafood and home made onion rings at Charlie's place (twice!).
live lobster, cape ann massachusettsLiving away from the beach and far from New England makes a native long for fresh haddock, scallops, lobstahs and clams. You cannot get the same thing elsewhere in the Northeast. Believe me, I've tasted and tried in PA, NJ, DE and MD. The other seaside spots can't touch the taste, freshness and quality of New England seafood restaurants. And to make this trip really foodie perfect: no MSG, no food service prepack meals and no additives and preservatives to make me sick!!!
east gloucester fishing boats in the harborWe enjoyed 10 days of grand and glorious food despite Gloucester's public water system problems that added extra work and sanitation steps to all restaurants and households in the area.
thomas e lannon sailing ship gloucester massachusettsThursday night was extra special - we visited the Cape Ann Farmer's Market at Harbor Loop in downtown Gloucester then took a sunset sail on the Thomas E. Lannon masted schooner. Captain Tom Ellis and his family and friends and talented team constructed her about 10 years ago from local timber.
Thomas E. Lannon Schooner, Gloucester Harbor August 2009Our sunset sail aboard the Thomas E. Lannon included acoustic entertainment from "Fly" Amero and Allen Estes. The entertainment was a lucky coincidence ... we wanted to sail on Wednesday but the boat was booked for a private charter.
Thursday's sunset sail was a once-annual event with the musical duo, and it was a kind of old-home event for me. When I lived in downtown Newburyport back in the mid 1990's I was a regular at The Grog whenever Fly's band hosted a special blues event in the downstairs club. I also went to other bars to dance to the Allen Estes Band in and around northern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. So it was truly a treat to discover both these musicians on board as the acoustic entertainment for our sunset cruise around Gloucester harbor.
pick your own organic raspberries, champlain orchards, shoreham vermontWe wrapped up our vacation trip to New England with a stop on Saturday afternoon in Brandon, Vermont on our way back home to Pennsylvania. We picked autumn raspberries with Keith and Bekah on Sunday morning at Champlain Orchards, then made the drive home to Pennsylvania in just 6 hours.
champlain orchards, shoreham vermont, berry pickingThe cats were happy to see us although old man Sparkey took awhile to forgive us for leaving him home with Terra for 10 days. The two of them must have driven each other nuts - she's been sleeping in the fruit bowl on the dining room table instead of on our bed
cat in fruit bowland he claimed my suitcase as his personal napping spot this morning.
sparkey on Lee's suitcase
Update - I guess our two cats actually got along quite nicely while Doug and I were on vacation. I caught them sleeping together today (they almost NEVER get cozy and are usually very possessive of their personal space) so they must have had a pleasant time at home while we were away, thanks to our wonderful neighbor who fed them and gave them love and outdoor play time every day.
cat nappers

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Back to School - Lunch Box Notes

It's Back to School Time!

I was a working mom, and so is my older daughter - in fact, she's a school bus driver in her community. I packed healthy lunches for the kids, and often would draw a picture on the paper sack or tuck a special note into a lunch box to remind them I was thinking of them. This was more than 30 years ago - I didn't have a computer then, and I had a tight budget. I still have the budget, but now I also have a computer so I can print out nifty free printables like note cards, stickers, bookmarks and labels.

I like these little animal cubbie labels to use for writing lunch box notes or to make stickers for younger children. You could even use these little square printables as book labels ... or bus tags for preschool and kindergarten age kiddos.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Woodstock as a Commodity

Did you ever think anyone could trademark a phrase that's been used for 40 years? Well, apparently Summer of Love is (according to Zazzle) the intellectual property of Live Nation - the corporate moneybag for Woodstock 2009 ... at least that's the excuse they gave me recently for pulling one of my original nostalgia designs. I was a member of the graduation class of 1969.

This design was approved and offered for sale at the Zazzle site for at least a year or more. So, out of the clear blue I got email telling me my design violated Zazzle policies and was being pulled. I tried to get a straight answer about why the design was yanked, and I just got robotic responses regarding "intellectual property" ... I'm still not sure what they consider is the actual violation on my design. It must be the words, because the art is mine.

I created the artwork used on this tee shirt more than 2 years ago. Thousands of writers and artists have used the phrase "summer of love" for at least 4 decades. It wasn't originally about Woodstock; it was actually used to describe summer/1967 in San Francisco. Perhaps someone from Live Nation can elucidate.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sick 2 Death of J-K+8

Are you still following the Gosselin show (the off-screen version, not the TLC show)? I can't help but stumble over tabloid news about Jon and his blondes or Kate and her pain - this stuff belongs in private life, not on page 1 of every celeb site. I finally succumbed to my distaste and made a comment on one fancast posting - I'll probably get banned in Berks.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

It's a GIRL

Ultrasound prediction is that the next grandbaby - due in November - is a baby girl ...