Monday, August 31, 2015

Three's a Crowd

It's been a while since I've shown you any of my own felines, so here goes:


On warm days, some of the boys spend their day lounging on the bed under the ceiling fan. Here Toffee is washing Possum's head while Harris hangs on to one of Possum's feet and gives me a dirty look.

It's hard to believe August is over. It looks like we'll be moving into our new condo in late September, assuming there are no surprises that prevent us from closing... and after we finish some of the work that should be done before we fill the place with books and cats. 

We're excited! Yet it doesn't seem real... and in spite of my multi-year house-hunt and desperation to end it, moving isn't unalloyed joy. The past few weeks have been stressful, scary, and sad at times for me. Moving is one of those major Life Traumas, according to the psychologists, and even though I know we're making a good decision, I've still needed a lot of time and thought to adjust. But I'm slowly wrapping my head around the situation, including possible solutions to some of the issues of the new place, which has helped a lot. We're also starting to decide how to fix up our current place to sell it. For the months that we'll be paying mortgages an fees and taxes on both places, we're going to be broke! 

When we bought this place, I thought we'd live here forever, so leaving is bittersweet. The new place doesn't quite have the grace of this one — the bedroom and office are very narrow and awkward, the bathrooms are old and tiny, the ceilings are lower, and it doesn't have all the lovely Victorian detail we've come to love in our current place. (I never thought that great ceiling molding would ever matter so very much to me....) We also have a custom kitchen and bath here that are exactly what we love. But there are definitely lots of advantages about the new place, and I'm trying to focus on those.

More to come on that subject soon.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Postcards from Maine: Italian Car Candy

Mount Desert Island is loaded with antique and vintage cars that have wintered in summer-house garages for generations. You'll spot a few on almost any trip around the island. There's also a collector who lives down the road from our inn, so there's always something to check out on our trips back and forth to town for dinner, the library, or the grocery store.

This Porsche with saddle interior is my favorite color combo, but I hardly batted an eye because it was usually parked next to his Porsche 1600 Super


And the rest of the time it was parked next to this:


This is an Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint coupe from the mid to late 1950s:


For the record, I know very little about old cars — I'm not obsessed and I don't have an encyclopedic memory for details, like car-loving friend Some Assembly Required. I just admire a great car when I spot one, which is like shooting fish in a barrel on MDI. Then I usually have to Google it... unless it's a Chevy Camaro or some other model I grew up with.

Anyway, check out the black-and-ivory interior and that gray and red upholstery. I love the piping; our Subaru BRZ has red piping, too.


Now that's Italian.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Postcards from Maine: Thuya Lodge

Thuya Lodge was the home of Joseph. H. Curtis until he died in 1928 Thuya Garden was designed decades later, on land that had been his orchard. Today, visitors are welcome to wander through the house and browse the botanical library upstairs. The house was heated by fireplaces and has much of its original rustic elegance.







Friday, August 28, 2015

Postcards from Maine: A Closer Look at Thuya Garden

Without further ado:










Postcards from Maine: Thuya Garden

We tore ourselves away from the pool and hot tub to visit Thuya Garden in Northeast Harbor. There are about 200 steps up to the garden and the original owner's house along a wooded trail. You climb up stone steps, a few easy stone ledges, and then up steps edged with planks and covered in gravel, which is raked into a pattern every morning in the style of a Japanese Garden.


It feels like you're in the woods, but the trail you are on is not just groomed but manicured:


When you turn around, there are views of Northeast Harbor, beautiful even in fog:



You pass the lodge to get to the garden. We'll visit the house later. Here's one of two carved garden gates, with carved motifs of plants, mammals, birds, and bees:




The garden was truly spectacular this year. Everything was at the peak of blooming, and as tall and bright and healthy as can be.


Here, white phlox, blue delphinium, and what I think is purple lantana:


Some garden beds with Thuya Lodge in the background:



 Future postcards will show more flowers and take you inside the lodge.

Postcards from Maine: Boats in the Harbor

I didn't see any pink sunsets over Southwest Harbor this trip, but there was still some beautiful light before the fog came to stay:




Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Postcards from Maine: The Big Chicken Barn

As we drive into Ellsworth, near the end of our long northern ride to Mount Desert Island, we ask ourselves if it's time for another visit to the Big Chicken Barn. This time, the answer was Yes, since it was closing soon, which would prevent us from becoming overwhelmed, freaked out, or bug-eyed from the experience.

Photo: BigChickenBarn.com

At 21,600 square feet on two floors, it's a darn big chicken barn. It's packed with antiques, vintage items, used books and old magazines. The thing is, a lot of the stuff in there is really weird. I quickly photographed a random selection.  Let's begin with this creepy cross-legged creature with false eyelashes and a medieval headdress:


It looks porcine but I'm not convinced. Next to it is a bakelite mousetrap that accommodates four victims. If you were a mouse and saw your brethren felled by this contraption, would you still take the bait? Maybe they have mentally challenged mice in Maine.

Nearby was an extremely ugly bear: 


I suppose this contributed to the "Acadia Mountain Chic" decor of someone's home, but I will be happy to never see it again.

I wonder if this lamp, made out of a moose leg, came from the same rustic lodge:


I grew up surrounded by hunting trophies at my grandparents' house — a pair of moose heads, a trio of deer heads, a snarling bear head, a whole fox, and 28 racks of antlers (counted during long dinners) — but this lamp still did nothing for me. The best thing I can say about it is that the moose pictured on the shade appears to have only three legs, which makes me wonder if he or she mislaid this one.

As if there isn't enough surreal material in the Big Chicken Barn, someone has taken to crafting these figurines from dolls, ceramics, and shells. Their expressions say it all:


I hadn't seen colorful old telephones like these for a while:


I have a almond Trimline model somewhere in this apartment. I like phones that go "ring, ring" instead of beeping and buzzing, so I kept it. Perhaps it will turn up when we move this fall. And I will get rid of it.

Finally, there was this, which persuaded me to leave the Big Chicken Barn:


That doll, or whatever it is, has such a hostile expression that I couldn't help feeling it was up to no good. The lady in the photography shared my concerns.

We had a great vacation... after our visit to the BCB. It put the beauties of Mount Desert Island in even higher relief.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Postcards from Maine: The Kitten Farewell


Romeow, oh Romeow.

On the way up to Mount Desert Island, we stopped to visit Connie and say goodbye to her five foster kittens. Since our previous visit in July, they'd gotten bigger, smarter, braver, cuddlier, and more adorable in every way. I've grown a little too attached to these kittens after seeing too many photos and videos on Connie's Tails of the Foster Kittens blog and Facebook page. It doesn't help that I know from Lion that she "makes" wonderful kittens.

Romeow in a bitey mood.

Angelo looking sweet and pensive.

Mimi investigates my bag.

Connie took them to the shelter on Friday, after they were neutered. Frasier was adopted very quickly, but was returned on Saturday. Since the family reportedly already had a cat and a dog, I can only assume they screwed up the introduction royally, or decided he didn't match their color scheme, or something equally foolish. It certainly wasn't Frasier's fault. He's a perfect kitten and he's going to be a superb cat. Their loss. I mean, look at him:




Holly was adopted by a shelter volunteer, and the two tuxedo cats, Mimi and Romeow, were also adopted. Angelo and Frasier were still available as of yesterday. How could anyone visiting a shelter to adopt kittens possibly resist them? We avoided the shelter on our long drive home last Saturday we drove home, we had to keep talking ourselves out of going there.

Holly is as sweet as she looks.

I kept taking shots of Angelo because he's got such a great little face, with a heart-shaped spot on his nose:




Romeow is also photogenic:


Farewell, kittens! I hope you all have found wonderful new homes full of love and healthy food. And I hope all of your new owners decide to keep in touch with Connie so we can all see photos of you as you grow up.... this never happens, says Connie. (I'm apparently abnormal since I barrage her with Lion news and photos.)