Friday, May 28, 2010


12 hours left. Sunday morning was bright and fine. We slept in a little bit and woke refreshed for the day--and for breakfast!  The Bass Cottage Inn is renowned for their gourmet breakfasts, and this day was no different.  Fresh, Maine blueberry waffles with vanilla whipped cream and chicken apple sausage or potato pancake with eggs and roasted tomatoes.  All served alongside fresh strawberry yogurt, banana bread, and rich, hot coffee.

We savored the sunshine together. We listened to the other guests enjoying themselves.  We didn't hurry or bustle.  Every breath was a delight.

11 hours. When we had finished eating, we got a pot of tea and planned out the rest of our day.  We wanted to spend as much time as we could in Acadia national park, since we had yet to see it in springtime.  Last time, Taylor did a 20 mile run around the park, but I only saw a small bit.

We brought our bicycles, so we planned a ride around Jordan Pond, and we definitely wanted to hike too (it's hard to take pictures while riding a bike). We picked Beehive Mountain--a relatively short but steep climb (iron rungs for portions of the trail!), but with fabulous views of Sand Beach.

10.  We packed up our things and checked out of the Inn.  I hope we get to go back, maybe just once, before we leave the east coast. Such fond memories deserve lots of remembering..

Loading everything into our trusty car (which has served us so well for so many mountain climbs and road trips and adventures!), we headed out of Bar Harbor toward Acadia.  The drive was lovely, the weather perfect.  We could not have asked for a better day!  We (very) briefly stopped at the "Wild Gardens of Acadia" and decided we should come back later--perhaps in 50 years.  The gardens are lovely, but they might be more fun if we had small toddling children, or when we are nearly toddling again ourselves :)

On to Sand Beach to our hike!  What fun it was--up and up and up the path until we got to the rocks, then climbing rung ladders and steep slopes of huge boulders.  I have never been rock climbing before (and this wasn't really rock climbing either), but honestly--it's amazing what your fingers can hold on to :) We had a great time and made it to the top in just 20  minutes (or so).

We followed the well-marked path down the other side of the mountain (I was glad we didn't have to climb down that steeper side with the rungs), to the car, and around the park to Jordan Pond.

8.  Off with the bikes!  Helmeted, watered, snacked, we rode off onto the carriage roads through the park.  This whole "riding in the woods" thing was new to me, too.  I've ridden on desert roads before, and I've ridden a fair amount in the city, but never with trees flanking either side of my path.  The air was so fresh and the light was all golden-green and lively.  Except for avoiding the occasional horse plop (it's a shared path, after all), our 9 mile loop ride was perfect.  I even (mostly) kept up with Taylor on the hills, too--than goodness for low gears!

6.  So--it's a 5 1/2 hour drive from Bar Harbor to Boston.  It was after 2 o'clock when we finished our ride and got back in the car, and we had dinner reservations at 8 pm at OM in Cambridge...

0.  Can you believe it? Not only did we get to the restaurant 5 minutes early, but we got a (free!) parking spot 50 feet from the front door.  We even had a chance to freshen up at a rest stop (t-shirts to wipe the grime off our arms and faces, I did my hair in the sink, we changed clothes and were on our way again!).  Incredible?  We thought so :)

So, that's our 36-hour getaway.  Dinner at OM was delicious and relaxing, the wine was flowing, and the popcorn (they had popcorn instead of bread for starters) was tasty! We even splurged a bit and each got dessert (which we shared, so it was like we both got two).  We drove home (got rockstar parking right in front of our building!) and locked up the bikes, took in the essentials, and were in bed before 11.


Yes, oh yes.

'Come Saturday Morning...

It's magically become our "own" little town, a place we go where we always have fun--without work or school or outside pressures and distractions. We have this "secret" destination where we can be completely alone surrounded by people. Small enough to be immediately familiar, but busy enough that a couple from out of town isn't conspicuous.  The people are friendly and will chat with us if we venture conversation, but they are just as content to let us stroll by, lost in our own revelries.

Driving into Bar Harbor was like coming home, in a way. Arriving at our leisure, we were welcomed to the sunshiney goodness of a vacation town with a cozy fog rolling in over the sea and a bright, fresh room, just for us.

After checking in, we went to the Vigil Mass for Pentecost at Holy Redeemer Church.  I love being Catholic--maybe that's why I'm always "at home" whenever we travel.. the Mass is always the same.  The liturgy was wonderful, reminding me of my home parish in CA.  The priest has a fabulously deep, booming (Maine-mountain-man) voice, and it made us both smile as he said all the prayers and readings with such resonance.

We wandered around the small town a bit, and down to the harbor, walking hand in hand along the short beach.  Taylor skipped rocks and we looked at the sand bugs, enjoying the fresh sea-salt air and each other's company.

Our dinner reservations were not until 8, but we were both getting hungry.  So we headed to Cafe This Way, just to see if they could seat us earlier.  We were in luck! We were seated in no time and enjoyed a delicious, relaxing dinner with a fantastic bottle of wine, all in a charming atmosphere--surrounded by books!  Being so close to the ocean, we naturally ordered seafood--crab and shrimp crispy spring rolls, rare yellowfin tuna and "Brazilian" shrimp, mussels, and scallops.  Taylor forked the first shrimp and said, "This one's for you, Paolo" [his (Brazilian) criminal procedure law prof].

One of the reasons T planned this trip was as a much-deserved break between his last final (Friday) and starting his writing assignment (Monday).  Two days away was all we could spare. But it was enough.  Just 36 meandering hours before the grind begins again... we made the most of it :)

We had picked up some fudge on our wanderings-before-dinner so we decided to forgo dessert in exchange for an early night.  We snuggled up contentedly in front of our own fireplace, hot tea and fudge bites before us, and chatted the gloaming dusk away.  It wasn't cold outside, or in our room, but it was just cool enough with the windows open to enjoy the warmth of the fire.

I love being able to fall in love with my husband again and again.  Each morning when I wake up, dreams are rubbed away and the Truth and Goodness and Loveliness of my life are fresh and new.  I don't always remember this when my alarm wakes me up, reminding me to go to work, but every day there is something enchanting and mystifying being married to my Love.  I am infinitely blessed.

Thursday, May 20, 2010



a weekend retreat with my Wonderful Love, in all the sunshiney goodness of Acadia National Park.

Bringing back sweet memories of our first visit to Bar Harbor. Making lovely new ones.

Can you feel how excited I am?!  Does the breathless anticipation come through on the interblag? I don't know what it is, precisely, that makes me so excited.  Perhaps it's the wonderful time we had two years ago when we went to Bar Harbor.  Maybe I'm excited because I will have a school- and work- and homework-free Husband for two whole days :)  It could be I'm ready for fresh air and hiking and cozy fireside reading and great food and no cleaning.  Maybe it's just that Taylor takes the time to be with me, just me, when it seems I need it most (even if I don't realize it).  He's pretty smart like that :) I'm infinitely lucky to be married to him!

I also can't wait to take lots of pictures with my new camera all over Maine!  My pictures from last time were, I think, pretty good (especially considering it was a point and shoot)--the scenery is so picturesque there, it's hard not to get good shots.  It's a perfect place to become more familiar with my new toy!

The rest of today, then T's LAST FINAL on Friday, quiet evening with friends, then we go. Saturday morning can't come soon enough. So. Excited.


Friday, May 14, 2010


I haven't blogged for a little bit.

I've had plenty to blog about, like my trip to Texas, to visit my best friend and her sweet family

Claytons in May

Or doing my first maternity photo shoot, trying deliberately to do artful shots that turn out well and are worth printing


or even just taking pictures of the cat while chatting with Renee :)

Samwise the Great

But, no. I haven't been in the mood to write about it. The pictures do a good job of telling the story :) It was quite a busy weekend, but we did have so much fun.

In the meantime, there's a bit of a relief from the busy-ness in Boston, because yesterday T finished his second final (of four this semester).  We can breathe a bit easier, at least for a day or two!  I know it may seem silly to "share" in the stress of T's final, but I guess that's what wives do, huh?  While he's studying, I always do my best to leave him alone and feed him and make him tea or coffee and.. sometimes.. to distract him at the right moments :)

Next Friday is his last one, and then.. he's planning a surprise for me :)

Can I tell you how in love with this man I am?  He's always got something wonderful up his sleeve, just at the right moment.  He finds little treats when he comes grocery shopping with me, persuasively edging them into the basket, "because you'd like it," he tells me.  From birthday celebrations and presents, to planning anniversary picnics, to every-day-little-bitty things, to these sweet weekend excursions, he knows just how to take care of me.  He won't tell me where we're going, unless I want him to, but he tells me what sort of things to bring and when we'll leave and come back.  How beautiful to be so attended to.

So, I'm greatly looking forward to our own little retreat between the end-of-finals and pick-up-summer-writing-assignment and summer-internship-training-in-AZ.

It will be a busy summer, too.. working and networking and visiting and vacations.

But for now, and in just a week, we have space to breathe "ahhh" in, and I'm going to relish every bit of it.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Little Bird Told Me...

that someone ordered a custom purse

From Purses

click for more pictures.

Contact me for pricing and other information!


Is it silly to think that each anniversary is the best ever?  Do they keep getting better forever? Or is there an asymptotic feature to them, where they sort of level out after a while?

That doesn't matter to me, of course, because the mere fact that I have an anniversary is enough.  If I can spend it with my Love, in any state of happiness, this is bliss.

This year (like everyone, being strapped for cash), we planned a picnic.  There aren't enough picnics in the world these days. If there were, there would be more need for grass, and (I think) people would be happier. And if everyone was sitting on a picnic blanket their mother made them as an engagement present, that would help, too.  Also, while we're at it, if everyone was eating the ever-so-tasty prosciutto and salami that T and I got as a treat for the occasion, life really would be like a bowl of cherries. Or, rather, blackberries :)

We added to our lunch cool, crisp Asian pears, and herbed goat cheese, and fresh crust-y bread, finished off by chilled maté tea, all the while sheltered and surrounded by hundreds of trees, boughs waving high above in the wind, making soft music to accompany our simple meal.

We drove out to the Arnold Arboretum, since it's a great oasis in the midst of city-congestion--the perfect place for a picnic.  We did notice that the sign said "NO PICNICS"  ...but we figured they probably meant those picnics that include red plastic cups, loud music, lots of trash, and less-than-great bbq food. So, naturally, we just wandered around the arboretum until we found a nice secluded spot, out of sight of most of the paths, and cozily nestled ourselves in a grove of pine trees in the sunshine.

This anniversary was particularly reminiscent of our honeymoon, for several reasons.  It was a peaceful day, and we had the whole afternoon for leisure (despite the impending doom of finals and trips coming up and work schedules, etc).  We made a point to get very good food for our picnic since it was really only a small lunch, and we were going to have a nice dinner at home, too. So the prosciutto was quite fine, the berries and pears were perfectly ripe, the cheese creamy and the bread fresh and crusty. If we closed our eyes, we could imagine ourselves sitting on a bench in the tree-lined walk in front of the Galleria Borghese north of Rome, with the wind in the trees and fresh air in our lungs.

It was lovely

When we had finished eating, we cleaned up our picnic blanket (leaving only some well-loved grass and a few bread crumbs for the birds) and walked around the arboretum.

Before we left for the picnic, we'd opened our presents.  Andrew and Renee bought us this lovely teapot (we used it while I was making dinner--so good! and a stunning addition to any table).

And have you noticed anything different about my pictures?  My Daddy contributed to my "new camera fund" for our anniversary (I now have this one, used, from a good friend), and T's family gave us a new lens with a few memory cards (always helps to be able to take more pictures!).  [I know that a camera is mostly "my" present, but Taylor doesn't mind. He's just awesome like that.]  As we walked around the arboretum after eating, I had loads of fun flitting from tree to tree, taking pictures and enjoying my new lens--with it's awesome depth-of-field capabilities :)

The sun began to wester more, and we headed home so I could put the chicken to roast in the oven with spuds and herbs.  It was a tasty meal, to be sure :) rounded out by a very nice wine T chose. We got to share our fourth anniversary dinner with our Maid of Honor, my Seester Viv, and it was awesome. Just plain awesome. She liked the dessert we made, too ;) (Which dessert we ate on the new plates, also from T's family for our anniversary! One can never (ever) have too many dessert plates!)

And then T and V cleaned up the kitchen for me :) Who could ask for anything more? four blissful years of marriage, surrounded by people who love you, and a sparkly, clean kitchen. Not I. 

An Anniversary Dessert

Using the dump and stir chocolate cake recipe from Not Without Salt, I made little individual little cakes for our anniversary.  One recipe filled four molds (which was good, because I only had four).

[tip: to successfully get your cakes out of the molds, use the grease-and-flour method outlined here]

Chop seasonal berries and mix them with 1/2 to 1 cup coconut milk, adding sweetener of choice to taste.

Drizzle creamed berries on top of cake. 
Stuff into mouth. 

Lick the plate :)

Sourdough Pizza

In hopes of eating allergen-free baked goods, I have delved into the delightful and exciting realm of sourdough cultures and starters and doughs.  I am a novice, at best. But I believe I have found a method that is practical and dumbed-down enough for sourdough-challenged me.

So I did a little bit of looking around and found a sourdough pizza crust recipe that seemed do-able to me.  And.. I did it!  I made pizza without yeast, and the crust was not a dense, flat, unevenly cooked mess of flour and water.. which is all I really put into it :)  (well, that and a pinch of salt and oil for kneading).  Who knew the air was so full of little yeasty bugs?

This pizza was particularly exciting because I got to use the pizza stone that T's family got us for our anniversary :) I can't wait to bake a nice sourdough bole on it.. someday, when my starter is more mature and bubble-icious!

If I had been able to roll the dough a little bit thinner, I wouldn't have had to bake it as long.  As it was, the bottom of the pizza was just a tad too hard for my taste, but it was still delicious.  And now I have to make it again--to see if i can get it right :)

Topped with one can of diced tomatoes (drained well), chopped marinated artichokes, and a nice thick layer of leftover anniversary-salami, this pizza was pretty darn good!