Sunday, May 27, 2012


View over Damariscotta Lake today on the way home. 

Holiday weekend here, Memorial Day. Unfortunately it's been a weekend in the office, but the nice thing is it's been at a slower pace. I have a proposal due Wednesday that i'm trying to finish up, but admit i'm having trouble knuckling down and getting it done. Overload I think. Good news this week though - I have a house closing date - 22nd June! That however might change, as I am out on the boat to Monhegan diving on the 22nd.....story of my life, always out on a boat...:0) So it might be earlier that week, or it might be the week after, but either way, all things are looking good for me to actually buy this house! My renter moves in tomorrow too - so begins sharing a house again, we'll see how that goes, it's only until August. And it's only for a few days to start - as on Weds i'm off to DC to visit the DDdd's for a whirlwind 5 day visit - so excited to see you guys, it feels like forever!

Hoping all had as sunny a weekend as we had. Today, aside from work, I swung by the garden center and picked up flowers for my flower boxes. All I need now is a lawnmower to get rid of my fields of dandelions and it might actually look like the house isn't derelict here soon....:0) I did originally think i'd wait until closing to get a lawnmower, but the state of the garden is starting to drive me nuts, so I guess when I get back i'll bite the bullet. The good news is that I have enough power outlets to get an electric one, which is exciting (ecologically, girlpower and wallet wise!). Given my inability to start the gas power washer i've borrowed, I am excited at the thought of plug and play......:0)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Intro to Tek, decompression procedures and advanced nitrox...

Yesterday saw the first pool day of the tek diving courses i'm taking this summer. I'm super excited, in a few weeks we'll be diving to over 150ft in the Gulf of Maine, with the end goal of searching for corals, probably into next year. There is a ton of equipment you have to carry on these dives, so the training is somewhat extensive, primarily just to figure out where to put stuff and to develop the muscle memory for where it is when you're happy with it. It was good to get into the pool with all the gear and try it all out before we hit the open water in a few weeks (with all the hoods and gloves that go with open water here in Maine!). 

One thing I definitely need practice with is floating life bags - you wouldn't know it, but it's quite a skill! Chris shows his lift bag levitating skills. 

One ton of gear - double steel tanks on the back (linked together) and one stage bottle under the arm for the decompression stops. They'll have different nitrox mixes in them to allow us to better off-gas nitrogen at different depths so it's safer. 

Finding my zen while weighed down by gear and discovering a leak in my drysuit......taking that to get fixed asap! 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunshiney Weekend!

What a superb weekend. Beautiful sunny weather, warm, really wiped out the cobwebs. On Saturday Barkley and I joined a friend Brandon at his "camp" (Mainer for cabin on a lake/river) for some swimming and kayaking, followed by a drive around the Belgrade Lakes area (aka just beautiful) and some ice-cream. Today saw house projects - collecting plants from Maggie's house (from a bed she's disbanding), planting them in my (overgrown) garden, collecting a pressure washer (but not having the energy to do the deed....that'll wait till the week) and washing the swamp water off Barkley. A well needed relaxing break. Can't believe it's monday already, the weekend went way too fast. It certainly looks like we're in summer now - warm weather and sunshine on the docket all week. 

Barkley - actually swimming! Only because we were out on the kayaks though, no-one was left on shore and Brandon's two dogs were busy playing in the water. It was great to see her there though, she had a blast, and the puppy Barkley came out, which is just so darn cute.  

Three swimming pups! 

Barkley eventually looked a little tired, so I made Brandon swing by and pick her up on the kayak...:0) She loves being paddled around, the perfect paddling pup. Just about time for me to get my canoe out of the basement I think. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Some good things.

Reed State Park

Some good things -

- My green card arrived! Finally, in an unmarked envelope. I'm a legal alien!

- I've started the mortgage paperwork - man there's a lot of it, but it's good to be moving forward.

- Should the mortgage be approved, i've taken on a renter for the summer. I'm not so keen to share the house (it's been 10+ years since I last shared a house), but it'll be a huge financial help to get over this start of year hump. And she's a nice grad student at the center who is only looking for some summer accommodation, so I think it'll work out.

- Looks like i'll be headed to DC to see my pals the DDdd's soon for a short whirlwind visit - woo hoo!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Life is short.

Naming my blog, almost 4 years ago (as I made the move to Hawaii), I was struck by this major life change, and yet how small it seemed in the grand scheme of things. The road we travel, and can travel, is so seemingly vast, so seemingly long, and has so many twists and turns to it. It feels like we need many life times to travel the road we would like to travel. There are so many things yet to do, no matter where we sit in life today.

I was reminded this past few weeks about how short life is. A colleague/friend from Hawaii died two weeks ago, a very short time after I had heard he was sick. One of the first things people seem to say when someone "our age" dies, is that life is short and that they were taken too soon. It gets me to wonder if he considered his life to be short before he died. It makes me wonder if I would consider my life to have been short if I died tomorrow.

The answer for me, is that I don't think I could consider my life to have been short. Yes, there is a long road still to travel, but if I look back at my past and see the things I have seen, done, experienced - I can't honestly say I haven't lived a full and eventful life. It hasn't all been ups, there have been many so very low lows; but that's all part of it. You can't go down a hill without climbing to great heights. I have loved, I have lost; I have been, I have come back. I have seen things less than a dozen people on the planet have ever seen or will ever see. I have been to places no one has ever been to before, to the bottom of the ocean and back. I have seen cultures alien to many, I have followed great leaders and I have led amazing students. It's been awe inspiring and amazing, and sure, it's been hard and emotionally crushing; but these are all things that have made the me I am today. And I am immensely happy with where, and who, I am today.

There is a long way to go, and i'm looking forward to seeing and experiencing it; but if I was to die tomorrow, it can't be said my life was short, it was full and eventful and beautiful. As for Kevin, we will never know what he considered. The same with my sister Sophie, and the (too many) friends I have lost in this journey. We will never know what they thought, just that we wish we could have known them for a little longer.

Events like this also make me step back and appreciate all I have. You could spend a lifetime chasing after those things you don't have, but the key, I think, is to realise all you need to be happy is right in front of you. If you appreciate everyday, you can indeed choose happiness.

So a poem to remind me of those who I cannot see anymore, but who i'd like to hope considered they too led a full life. This poem sits in the very first pages of my Ph.D. thesis, as I was dealing with the sudden loss of my sister.

Maggie and Millie and Molly and May
Went down to the beach to play one day

And Maggie discovered a shell that sang
So sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles

Millie befriended a stranded star
Whose rays five languid fingers were

And Mollie was chased by a horrible thing
Which raced sideways while blowing bubbles

May came home with a smooth round stone
As small as a world, and as large as alone

For whatever we lose, like you or me
It's always ourselves we find by the sea.

E.E. Cummings.