Blessing of the Animals: The Degu Sisters

The Episcopal church commemorates St. Francis of Assisi, Patron Saint of Animals, by offering a blessing to all creatures brought to a service by their caretakers, usually in October. Our summer church, St. Ann’s in Kennebunkport, offers the blessing in July. Luckily for us, the wife of the Rector of our “winter” church, Rev. Sara D’Angio White, is a visiting pastor at an Episcopal church just a mile away from our home.  I asked her if she would like to come to our house and bless our new family members from the Kennebunk shelter after a Sunday service, and she readily agreed! For the week leading up to this morning I let the Degu Sisters know that the “Holy Lady” would soon be coming to honor and bless them. (Someone suggested that we have the Rev. bless only one of the sisters to see if there is a difference in behavior afterward, ha!)

Continue reading “Blessing of the Animals: The Degu Sisters”

I Won Tickets To See Chicago in Portland!

Wayne and I scored free tickets to see Chicago perform in Portland this June! It will be the third time I’m seeing them in Maine. I want to thank DJ Mike Dow for the tickets we won, whom I originally met at my first Chicago concert in Bangor. It was such a special time for me that I want to share it with you here! The photo above is from when I saw them a few years ago in Portland.

Continue reading “I Won Tickets To See Chicago in Portland!”

Lunch at Marie Joseph Spiritual Center

We had a lunch date with Sister Aline today at Marie Joseph Spiritual Center which also has a new French-trained chef for their dining hall. Wayne had the stuffed pork and a piece of blueberry cake and I enjoyed stir-fried veggies, rice, roasted acorn squash and steamed asparagus. Most importantly we got to visit with Sister Aline whom I hadn’t seen since our wedding. Despite the cold temps and blustery winds gusting over 40 mph I had to take a quick walk to the beach!

Continue reading “Lunch at Marie Joseph Spiritual Center”

Introducing The Degu Sisters!

“The Degu Sisters” sounds like a great jazzy duet, doesn’t it? Wayne and I adopted these loves (age four) from the shelter on Saturday. We had never heard of a degu before last week. While popular as pets in England they are relatively new to the US. Degus originate from the foothills of the Andes in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile and are in the same family as guinea pigs, capybaras and chinchillas. This adoption wasn’t planned; I saw their photo in my Facebook feed that was posted by the shelter and I loved them immediately. My heart had been broken by the passing of my guinea pig rescue, Tiny Tim a couple of years ago but was ready to love again! I took the photo on the left at the shelter and on the right the sisters are surveying their new home. I’ve been very busy with learning all I can and getting to know them. They are so sweet!

A Simple, Frugal Recipe: Navy Bean Soup

It was in the 1980s during my undergrad years at University of Maine in Orono when I had a memorable lunch at a “non-traditional” classmate’s house. We had been assigned to a small group to work on a project, the specifics of which I don’t recall. What I do remember is that the classmate who was hosting us was in her forties and had just finished hiking the entire Appalachian Trail with her partner which I really admired. She served us a very simple brothy bean soup that was completely vegan. It was one of the most flavorful yet basic soups I had ever had. I learned that good, filling food doesn’t have to be complex and can be affordable, even for starving students. (Admittedly that may have added to the flavor!) In any case, I still love a simple bean soup, and here is a personal recipe:

Continue reading “A Simple, Frugal Recipe: Navy Bean Soup”

Bring back simple animations, please!

Yesterday evening while flipping through the channels before “Keeping Up Appearances” came on I stopped at Alvin and the Chipmunks. Look at Alvin the Chipmunk in the 1960s versus today. Personally I think the modern day animations are mostly abominations. Alvin no longer even remotely resembles a chipmunk!

Continue reading “Bring back simple animations, please!”

Would you like to live in Maine?

Coinciding with a recent news report about record-breaking prices and sales for Maine homes, in particular the county in which I live, a home three houses away from mine just went under contract in about twenty-four hours after being listed online. They didn’t even have time to put up the “for sale” sign. It last sold only a few years ago for about $50k less! Money magazine named South Portland, Maine as the best place to live in Maine. I lived there for seven years but love my town of Scarborough more! Even British people love my locale; the Guardian named Portland one of the best towns in the US! The photo above is of a family-owned dairy farm in the town of Falmouth where I lived for two years.

This “frenzy” reminded me that I’ve been wanting to ask those of you who don’t live in Maine but have either dreamed of or considered moving here: Do you have any questions about what it’s like to move and live in the greater Portland, Maine area? I’d be happy to answer your questions as best as I’m able! Just leave your questions in the comments!

The New England Diet

The photo of me above on the left is from 2009, before I lost 10% of my body weight in 2010 by following a 1950s diet that I documented in my book American Women Didn’t Get Fat in the 1950s. The photo on the right was me at my wedding in 2018. Since 2013 I’ve been reading diet books, articles and cook books from the 19th century through World War II, many of which are New England sources. I’ve maintained my weight loss and continue to have very healthy cholesterol levels by eating a traditional New England diet. And so, I have an announcement!

Continue reading “The New England Diet”

Simplifying: Only One Blank Check

I’m always working to reduce mental clutter and recently had an opportunity to clear some out!

In the past I’ve spent too much time feeling guilty and inadequate because I had the mistaken belief that I wasn’t doing enough to help others beyond friends and family. Reading the news daily and passively witnessing reported tragedies, seeing good people fall on hard times or lose loved ones to cancer or other horrible circumstances can be so disheartening. But oh! There’s a GoFundMe! Now multiply that by a thousand. Then there are community causes that I’m passionate about, I want to serve in church and also continue my annual donation to the animal shelter. Because of so many great needs, my donations of time or money can feel like pennies thrown in a can no matter how expansive my desire to be of service. Then, having to set limits by not giving to every good and compelling cause has left me feeling powerless and anxious. Worse, I’ve often compared myself to others who have more time, energy or much deeper pockets. Until now.

Continue reading “Simplifying: Only One Blank Check”

Sunday Morning Prayer by George Dawson, 1876

O Lord of life, and Lord of love! Love us into life, and give us life to love Thee. And if the passion of our souls go not out toward Thee, yet let obedience and quiet godliness be ours, until such time as faithful doing shall bring gladsome singing, and thy statutes, which once were but statutes to us, shall “become our songs in the house of our pilgrimage.”

O Lord of boundless life, grant us life enough to put life into all things, that when we travel o’er this part of our life, and it seems but dust and barrenness, we may be of those who hope in Thee. Smite Thou the rock, that water may come. Touch this barrenness, till all things bloom. Touch those of us whose life is barrener than it need be— lacking knowledge and beauty, filled with petty interests and foolish cares, growing no Rose of Sharon, no flowers of God. Lord, forgive us that our life is so poor, and grant us the thoughts of God, that we may be enabled for the time to come to make this very desert blossom as the rose.

Continue reading “Sunday Morning Prayer by George Dawson, 1876”