Monday, August 31, 2009

Cuteness Alert!


He's been 'Auntie Kissy'd'!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

It's 3am, I must be lonely...

(It's from a song; I'm not losing it. Yet.)

The worst part of any vacation is going home.

The worst part about leaving Boston at the end of vacation is that not only am I going home (to a God-awful mess because The Big Guy has been on his own), but that I will likely not leave again for months.


I've learned the best way to get myself on that ferry is to leave super early.
Early enough that I'm not really awake.
Early enough that if a kid gets sick and I have to stop (yeah, right. I stop for NOTHING!), I can still make the ferry.
Early enough that If I have to change a flat tire (Um, WHAT? Those days are long gone.), I can still make the ferry.

I leave in the middle of the night.

I love 3am.
Aside from the occasional drunk on the roads, it's just me and the truckers. It's dark, and it makes the drive more interesting to split the time between night and day.
It's also really, really, really hard to stay awake.

But leaving at 3am puts me in Portland, Maine right about the time the sun comes up.
And watching the sunrise over Portland Harbor is one of my favorite things on this Earth.

OK, so it's not the harbor...I was on the phone when I went past it.

p.s. I took 482 pictures, just randomly pointing and clicking without taking my eyes off the road, and this is the only one that wasn't a total blur.

Nat Geo wants me.

Saturday, August 29, 2009



by Caroline C.

(That's our lobster boat, Happyplace.)
I'll give you a minute to recover. Fantastic, isn't it?
I can't stop looking at it. I'm easily distracted anyway, and this isn't helping any!

Want to see the original?


That's my most favorite picture of this island. In 13 years, I haven't seen a prettier picture.
This is the background on my laptop (so you know how often I see this picture). It's also the view from the ferry pier, my favorite hangout (after the Store)

So you can imagine my surprise when I was given this painting.

Let's look at it again!

Thank You Caroline!! Mwah!

Friday, August 28, 2009

In today's mail:

Yeah, Baby!


and thank you for not commenting on the Other Box.

So, as my kids have been furiously picking these off our bushes:

the first thing I made was this:


This is my sweet little wokerbee mixer On Steroids.
I feel so bad for my little mixer. She was, and is, a hard worker. I put her through her paces, and she always came back for more. She didn't even have a name, but I know she was a 'she'; no male could have blindly risen to the task (oops, no pun intended) every day as she has.

And now HE is here, dominating my kitchen. Telling ME what to do.
Just look at him, all businesslike.
She was all homey and sweet. He is just cold.

So I made friends with him today, over a blueberry cake.
And you know, he wasn't so bad. Turns out he can be very gentle when he wants to. He didn't crush any of the blueberries when mixing them into that very stiff cake batter.
He gets big points for that.

Ma would look at him and say, "Que Brute!", and she would be right.
So his name is Brutus.

I tested his mettle this afternoon, with a bottle of wine. (No, I did not challenge the machine to a drinking contest; I had the wine, he made bread.)
Brutus beat the tar out of 8 loaves of bread, without so much as breaking a sweat.
He didn't have a hair out of place, which is more than can be said of me when that bottle of wine was gone.
Those must be small bottles.

Brutus can make 3 batches of my Italian bread dough at once.

We are going to get along JUST FINE.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


It didn't really seem like there was a hurricane afoot.
I've lived here through many hurricanes, including some they say weren't. Did you know that hurricanes are only classified as hurricanes April through November? We once had a storm blow through in December (about a month before my water broke with Thing One), that took down trees and truly scared the pants off me, complete with 100 mile an hour winds...but it wasn't a hurricane.
Because it was December.
To quote iCarly, "what-eva"!

No, it looked like a pretty nice day.
yes, that is my Christmas Cactus. It is having an identity crisis.

Yup, looks like August in Maine.

or not?



"The seas were rough that day, my friend."
Quick- name the tv show that line is from!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Another tragedy

OK, all the fun just went out of the remnants of Hurricane Bill.

I have lots of funnies to tell you about our vacation, and pics of the surging seas today,
but I am not feeling the funny.

A ten year old girl was swept off the rocks at Thunder Hole in Bar Harbor a few hours ago. Coast Guard choppers are out, and the Cutter is searching the shore.
All boats in the area have been asked to assist in the search.

I am sick.
God Bless that family.

This on the heels of a former islander's teenaged son's untimely death in a car accident a few days ago. Today is his Memorial service. Chris took a boatload of people over to the mainland to attend.

Is it wrong that I want to grab The Big Guy and kids inside, and lock the doors?

Hurricane Bill


The seas are building- and it's not quite hight tide yet!

Have to weed thru a 2 gig SD card full of pics, and I'm on my way down to Tammy's store where she says the boars are running in the harbor. Just popped in to dump some pics off the card to take more.
Here's what we're looking at- the ferry already cancelled today's trip- lots of vacationers marooned here until the Wednesday trip!

1212 PM EDT SUN AUG 23 2009




3 NM.




Don't look for me on the water until Thursday!! At the earliest!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Babies and Kittens and Ronald McDonald

There is a kitten on my head as I type this.

Natalia's kitten, Lucky.
Lucky is a pain in the butt for a cute little kitten.

I am all done with kittens.

They are cute and all...but they really need to live with somebody else. This one hasn't even gotten into my yarn stash and I can say that, so you know I really mean it.

Babies...I was going to tell you about our first baby.
We tried for three years to have a baby. Any baby. I would borrow them when they were around every chance I got. I was that annoying person who stopped strangers in the street and asked to hold their babies.

(Totally kidding. I w]as0-m n12 ok, see- that was the kitten. I am SO not having]] a kitten.

I was in Macy's once, with my 2 nieces. They were about 6 months old, and chewed everything like puppies. Some lady walked up to us and squeaked about how cute they were. And they were; dressed to the nines, immaculate, and cute as a bug. My sisters beamed; I went into defensive linebacker position (psycho- alert went off). She reached into their stroller....AND PUT HER FINGER INTO ONE OF THOSE BABIES' MOUTHS FOR HER TO BITE ON.
Can I just say she's lucky to still have her finger? And her head?
I'm pretty sure she learned exactly why that was a bad idea, and I'll just bet the taste of my own dirty germ-filled hand in her mouth lingers to this day.)

It took us so long to get pregnant, our midwife had to review the steps necessary for conception with us.

She questioned the copius amount of bleach present in our day to day lives, and asked if I secretly soaked parts of The Big Guy while he slept. I had fantasies about doing just that for months afterwards.

When we finally gave up, and decided to travel and spoil our nieces and nephews...I suddenly, unexpectedly became pregnant.
First words out of my mouth? "Oh my God, my Father's going to know we had sex!"
I made my Mother tell him about the baby.

I had a perfect pregnancy, and I loved every minute of it.

One morning I woke up, and went through the usual morning routine (though without coffee!).
When I got down to the kitchen...I felt a most unwelcome sensation, and thought I had become incontinent.
"Oh, lovely," I said to the cat.
"If you tell anyone about this, you're moving out!"

But I had a funny feeling, so I called my friend Linda, my midwife.
I showered while I waited for her to call back. The Big Guy showed up moments later.
I yelled at him through the door (huh, before the kids, we actually shut the bathroom door!) not to go far, that we might be going off.
It was January 26th. I don't just go off in January. Even on a beautiful, windless, cloudless day like that one.
He knew.

He was packing before I finished showering, and had already called one of the guys for a boat ride over.
Linda said, "Oh, come see me...we'll have lunch!"
Which meant 'Marissa will freak if I let on that she has 7 weeks left to go so I'll just make her think there's a party involved. She never turns down an invitation.'
And I don't, so I went.
But I knew, too.

My water didn't 'break', but it was leaking. Baby was fine.
Linda shipped me off to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor (awesome place to be shipped to), and I've only recently forgiven her for not coming with me.
She was swamped that day.
I tried to kidnap her. She's teeny tiny. I was pretty sure she'd fit in my suitcase- especially since it contained 8 pair of undies which I never got to wear, and one pair of pj's. That's it.
No clothes.
That worked out really well for me later on.

When I got to Bangor, they checked under the hood, changed the oil, etc., and determined that I was not actually going to give birth.
(I could have told them that; I wasn't planning to give birth. In fact, were it up to me, I'd still be pregnant with that kid today...) In fact, I never did go into labor.

They tucked me into bed, told The Big Guy he could sleep on the floor, strapped the baby monitor on me, and left me there for a week.
Seven whole days.
One of those days, a nurse came in to look at the monitor. She looked at the graph and asked, "Are you having any contractions?"
I said," Oh my God, I'm having contractions??!!?"
She said, "Oh My God, You ARE? You're having contractions??!!"
The Big Guy shut us both up by pointing out the fact that I was sitting on the edge of the bed, and that the roof was still on the hospital. Lynne got the picture immediately, and never asked again.
I loved those nurses! We had a blast with them. It's fun to be in a hospital when you're not really sick, and when you aren't working. We provided them with comic relief; they provided me with the best grapes I've ever had. And ice cream!
And though there was some underlying fear about the baby; I always knew it would be ok.
There was some question about the date of conception, for starters, and she was healthy. Just small, and a bit early.

A week later, they offered me a c-section.
It was an offer I couldn't refuse. It was one of the easiest things I've ever done...almost enjoyable, but I could be delusional.
And, you know, there was a baby at the end of all that!

She was 4 pounds and 2 ounces. Yikes.

Anybody who says they couldn't bond with their baby because they had a c-section can kiss my butt.
Anybody who says their relationship with their baby suffered because the babe stayed in the NICU for a bit can kiss my butt, too.

( I'm not talking about severe situations. I've seen it, and now I know what it feels like. God Bless You who suffer through those situations.)

We never left that NICU unless they threw us out (nicely, of course. But a few times, forcibly.)
The Big Guy missed one feeding the whole 9 days, and that was because he had a Doctor's appointment himself (previously scheduled). I was pumping milk every 2 hours and was sometimes strapped to the 'milking machine' at the feeding times. But, you know, I was doing my part!

I stayed in the hospital for 3 days, and when I was 'released', I left my room and walked across the hall to the NICU with my suitcase. My plan was to set up residence in the hallway. There was never any question or just was the closest place to the NICU and I was fine with that.

There was also the fun fact that all I had for clothes were what I'd had on the day we left the island.

My Mother and Father came up from Boston (in a snowstorm) the day Thing One was born, and took my clothes to a laundromat.
I wore them for the next 9 days. We burned them ceremoniously when we got home.
Dad left after a couple of days to go back to work, but my Mother stayed with us for about a month!

Those NICU nurses were all over the situation, and got us a room at the Ronald McDonald House across the street. They were making calls, making deals, offering bribes, while I sat in a rocking chair and talked baby talk to Thing One, completely unfazed and unworried. I would have just slept in that chair. The Big Guy and Mother would have slept in the car, or a waiting room. None of us were going far!

Apparently other people's c-sections have pain involved, for weeks afterwards. I had some pain going from a lying position to a sitting position, but that was only the first week or so, and truly- that was it. I've had a worse time at the dentist.

That ripped -off toenail was worse than either of my c-sections!!
Update:it's totally off now. There is some new nail underneath. It looks so disgusting I cannot put a picture on the blog...I know one of you will pass out, hit your head, and spend a month in a coma, all because of that toe. It would be totally irresponsible of me to do that.

We all stayed in one room at the McDonald House. There were 2 twin beds and a cot. We had no clothes or towels; they provided us with bedding and towels.
For the next few years, every time we passed a McDonald's my nieces and nephews asked if that was the one we slept at when the baby was born!

Before we left The House, my Mother and The Big Guy went to Walmart. They bought a mess of towels, big bottles of shampoo and laundry detergent, bars of soap, pillows, blankets...I can't even remember what else. All the things that we had found we needed, and that housemates let us use while we were there. (We shared bottles of shampoo, and liquid hand soap at the sinks...stuff like that.)
We left everything by the washer and dryer with a note that said 'Help Yourselves'.

What would I have done without that washer and dryer right outside our room? (Besides walk around in those skanky clothes??)
I changed into pj's after the 2am feeding, and snuck out into the hallway to wash my clothes every night. I pumped for the 45 minutes it took to wash, then snuck out again to put the clothes in the dryer.

I only got caught twice in 9 days. By two different husbands, who I'm sure are still receiving therapy. Sorry, guys.

After 5 or so days of this routine, we were buoyed by the fact that our daughter had needed no medical interventions, and was putting on weight. My milk had come in, but she wasn't nursing, so I continued to pump.


I pumped around the clock, every 2 hours, for 10 weeks.
I don't know what I was thinking...I just got into the routine, wasn't sleeping at all, and just kept at it. You only do things like that with a first baby!

We started making some noise about going home. It took four days to convince the nurses and docs that she was ready. We had all become very attached, but by this time we'd been gone for 19 days, and were dying to get this baby home, and be a family.

All in all we spent 19 days in Bangor, 10 days in the hospital, 9 at The Ronald McDonald House.

I couldn't be more appreciative of all the attentions we received, all the favors we were granted, all the kindness bestowed upon us.

We make a donation every year at Christmas, to show our gratitude.

And I am so pleased to report, I am making a Very Large Donation in Thing One's name with the fundraising done on the weekend of August 8th and 9th!

Thank You all for your support!!


I am no longer 4 pounds.

Monday, August 10, 2009


I know I promised you 'the rest of the story', as Paul Harvey would have said, but I'm afraid I'll have to put you off a bit longer.

I've put a link to the post in the Bar Harbor Times newspaper, which will come out in print on Thursday.
I will publish the post Thursday morning.

I will attempt to distract you with this fabulous piece of knitting, which was accomplished in the waiting room at the VA hospital in Jamaica....Jamaica Plains, that is, in Massachusetts.
Yep, we are total world travelers. (Big Guy had an allergy test.) More on that whole experience in a minute.

Yes, I am a dishcloth. Adore me.

I sent this dishcloth to Gail From Kansas, who won the yarny prize package from my recent Coveted Yarn contest. I asked her to think of me when she washes her dishes, and I made it
green with trees so it would remind her of Maine.
I'm mostly happy that I will be associated with dish soap.
Of course, it is Gail's enthusiasm and sweetness that compelled me to send the dishcloth along.

Yup, Jamaica Plain.
Hey, we did manage to go out on our second date in 8 1/2 years that weekend, so I'm not complaining!

The VA hospital in Jamaica Plain is the cleanest hospital I have ever been in.
15 years in health care.

So we were walking down one of their very wide, well lit, many windowed hallways...when I spot this small cabinet smack dab in the middle of the hall. What a weird place for a cabinet.
And I swear to all that is good and holy, that thing moved.
I mentioned it to The Big Guy.

I got The Look. (I watch a lot of horror movies. I see things move all the time. They aren't always moving.)

I stared at the thing until we got right up on it, and just as we were abreast of moved.
On its own.

The Big Guys jumped 3 feet in the air...and I was flying down that hallway like FloJo on steroids!

"I am an automated delivery system. I'm here to scare the pants offa you."


I took a lot of pictures.
I may have been following the thing around the hospital.
I may have been asked to leave.
But I can't talk about it. Homeland Security and all.
But I can tell you, had my kids been with me, they would have riddden it too.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Ronald McDonald house

I don't have time to do this properly, so this will be a brief intro, and I will fill in the blanks tonight.

When Thing One was born, she arrived (or tried to) way too early. Like, 7 weeks early.

Stubborn as I am, I crossed my legs and refused to give birth until she was the appropriate age.
(I jest.)

She ended up being 6 weeks premature, and spent 9 days in the NICU, a wonderful place for a preemie to be.

During that 9 days, we were invited to stay at the Ronald McDonald House in Bangor. This was a godsend, as we lived here on the island at the time, and would have been 2 hours and a boat ride away (in February, no less).

Also, it must be said, it was fortuitous for all involved that we were invited to stay, because I was not leaving the hospital with my daughter in it. The End.
I'm sure every parent feels the same.

In an effort to give back to the awesome organization who helped us stay together during that scary time,

The Frenchboro Bakery will donate 30% of all items sold this weekend, August 8th and 9th, to The Ronald McDonald House.
Items at all locations, including the Online Store, wholesale locations, and the Offshore Store (where we will have a table set up) will be included.

Thanks 'Ronald'!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Out of my mind?

Out of my league,

Out of my comfort zone,

Totally out of character....

But I Must Have This.

And Knit Picks is the very first to carry it. Good for them! (I heart that place!)

They are the owners of this piece of genius:


Seriously, genius.
One of my top 5 favorite ads ever.
Now go buy something from Knit Picks, but stay away from that blue Tilli Tomas, please.
(I said Please!)

EDITED TO ADD: not Knit Picks, but KPixie, who are also geniuses, and whom I also love dearly!
Plus, they have these and these!
Sorry for the confusion.

Monday, August 3, 2009

August 1

Happy Birthday to Sister 1!

bday girl