Monday, August 31, 2009

Middle ground...and 'nuff said!

Well, there were some great responses to the question asked in the last blog, and I am truly grateful to everyone who commented or took the time to email me with good so many instances the "middle ground" is much broader than we recognize, and many of us are not nearly so far apart in our thinking as it might on the surface seem. "Walking a mile" in each others shoes is important if we are to understand different ideals. This was the reason for my question, as I knew that there were lots of folks with interesting stands. :)

We've also had some great debates here on the island this weekend with our much loved liberal and conservative friends...and while sharing a glass of wine or two.....we all acknowledged that it's good to get the discussions going in an understanding manner...and that in the scheme of things, we're all still buddies enjoying enjoying the river breeze and late summer sunsets. Hey...maybe we should all go to Washington....we could probably get something done if we took the Blueberry wine with us!
Hugs to everyone and 'nuff said!

Friday, August 28, 2009

How do you become a "liberal"?..

This has been the latest topic of discussion for Bob and I during the did we become "Republicans"...with more or less conservative values, and how did others... become liberal (more or less) "Democrats"? Well, it was somewhat easy for us...our parents were die hard, dyed-in-the-wool Republicans....and we both feel that "personal responsibility" is where it stops and starts. Having said that, we don't care what color you are, what country you hail from, or even what your personal preferences still have an obligation to be personally responsible for yourself, your dependants and your choices. Having said that, we don't feel that we should be made to pay the price for anyone else's LOUSY choices in life, nor them for ours. On the other hand, we do feel a moral and personal obligation to contribute to those who have a mental or physical deficit, that is not reversable, and strive, with pleasure, to fulfill this obligation. We do not, however, subscribe to the theory of "transfer of wealth", which removes both the choice and the personal joy of helping others.

Since we are, more or less, moderates, we thought it would be very interesting to have the conversation about " liberal" vs "conservative" values, with some of our very dear liberal friends...yes, indeed, we do have some of those...lots of them, in fact, and we think the world of them. Now, I won't name names, as I sure don't want to embarass any of those liberals by naming them here, in this, most famous and widely read blog! :)

In so many instances, we feel that many of the disadvantaged are "disenfranchised" by the very politicians who dangle the carrot of "entitlement" services before them. Is this a ploy by the same politicians to remain in power and retain "job security"? We can only wonder about this! But for the educated and informed "liberals' did you get there? How did you decide that any government power could and should transfer your wealth to others who have made different choices in their lives, resulting in a, perhaps, less than satisfactory life style? (In this statement, please let me say that we specifically exclude those with a true disability or impairment, in which instance, "choice" does not apply...the hand they were dealt was flawed in the womb or by other irreversible instance)

How can one choose any form of socialized policies, whereby your own concious choices and enhanced work ethic, provided you with a different lifestyle than that of others? Did you work harder or smarter? or use your resources more wisely? Did you save and sacrifice, while others were spending and playing? And if so, why must you pay the penalty for those who did not choose to do so, or perhaps, did not have the mental tenacity to further themselves in the same manner? How does this influence personal growth and incentives for betterment? Increased levels of expectations?

It often seems that it is the "conservatives" who are "giving" their tenth to charities and Churches, giving their time and talents for the betterment of the disadvantaged, most often doing it "quietly" (without a lot of fanfare), while the "liberals" are mandating "entitlements" that are paid for with "someone else's money", diluting the work ethic and ingenuity that made this the great country that it once was. And, yes, that was the past tense intended.

Does where you spent your formative years, or earned your livelihood, make a difference? Is there something different seen in the South, or the Mid-West, inside the Beltway, in Southern California or upstate New York, that shapes your mindset?? I think that this does, indeed, make a huge difference in how we view the "entitlements" and the process. Would my mindset be different if I had grown up in Long Island? The answer, is yes, I think. Having been blessed to travel all over the world and to spend much time in many areas of this country, we have seen first-hand the different mind-sets and circumstances that we all bring to the table. Just think, I might be a left wing, Yellow Dog Democrat, if only I weren't born in the South and raised by my Republican Momma and Daddy! Well..... maybe not! :)

How many moderates are put off by a dogged "Republican" social policy....forcing theological dictates on the masses? It would be most interesting to know the answer to this question. How much does the issue of "Choice" play in this matter? I've no clue what the answer is! Oh, but what debates can come of these topics with our friends on both sides of the aisle!!

For those who would choose to remove "God" from the can you entertain any issue of "right or wrong", "entitled" or not...if there is no supreme being guiding your conscience? Who, then, gave you the abililty to discern between your "right or wrong", or any right to intervene on your own or any one else's behalf? If there is no "supremeness or Godliness" then how can there be any sense of wrong, or disenfranchisement? What or who, would be the dictator?

At heart, we are truly fiscal conservatives, and mostly political moderates. We absolutley disagree with Socialism (remember Margaret'll soon run out of other people's money). We are also "live and let live", non-judgemental folks...we don't expect anyone to think like we do...nor do we think that anyone else should expect us to think as they do.....and most especially, they should not expect us to pay for their way of life or their way of thinking, nor do we expect anyone else to sustain our lifestyle!!

No one is ENTITLED to is not always fair and if you think it should be, then you just as well get over that now, because it just ain't so! To a great degree, we make our own "luck", based on the choices we make in life. (The Parent Lottery is a discussion for another day!) We strongly believe in "Providence", but we need to recognize and co-operate with it!

Why all of this rambling today?? Mostly because we have been doing so much soul searching and conversing about the current state of affairs "inside the Beltway" associated with "Health Care Reform". I could write volumes about our concerns, ideas and opinions about this heated topic, but, in it's basic form, it all really comes back to the things I've just said.

Am I my brother's keeper? Absolutely, but whatever have I accomplished if I allow him to pull me down into the gutter with him, because he refuses to pull himself up? Nothing. The difference is that there are now two people in the gutter!

So, now will someone please tell do you become a "liberal"? I am genuinely most interested in this answer??

Monday, August 24, 2009

Camp "Run Amok"

Monday found us heading South, towards Catonsville, Maryland to spend a few days with Tiff and Scott. The route we follow is West of the coast, once we traverse Massachusetts, avoiding the I-95 corridor thru Connecticut and New York City, following I-295, I-84, I-81, and I-83, thru the Catskills and Poconos, and to I-695 down near Baltimore.

Patapsaco State Park is just a couple of miles from Tiff's home, so the plan was to stay there a few days. We knew that there was a bridge only 11"4 restricting the entry to the Park from the East side of Route 40, so a little past 4:30, we stopped at a large PetSmart lot in Catonsville and unhooked the toad, so Bob could drive past the park, make a big U-turn and use the West entry. However, there was a HUGE sign at the West entry also, warning of the 11'4 entrance (I didn't remember seeing the sign on the West side) I bypassed it again, in the car, and Bob followed me back to the PetSmart parking lot once again. He hopped in the car and we drove back to the park to check out the entry. My memory was correct, we could have entered from the West side....don't know why that sign is there??....we decided to check in, since we were there, so after waiting 30 minutes for the Park "Stranger" to show up at the entrance, and waiting another 20 minutes for him to find his passcode to the computer system, and another 20 minutes to register us, we finally got a site!! So back again to the MH waiting at the PetSmart, West on Route 40 past the Park for one more motorhome U-Turn...we finally entered the Park around 6:45 PM!! Frustration was setting in by this time, but we got a good chuckle over the thick black line representing the many trips back and forth over the same route, that Lola (the GPS) was showing on our route between Catonsville and the State Park!

Patapsaco is a large and lovely wooded park..... but a little tight for a 40 footer, so we had to grease the MH to get around the park loop to our site....which, Bob....ooops..... missed, and drove by the first time around!!! Of course, the entire park knew this because I was behind him blowing the horn and waving like crazy, trying to stop him before he bypassed it!! Oh well, he just got to drive that tight little loop again!!!! :) I would have driven in front, but I'd had to park the car and go punch in the entry code for the gate, so he could drive the MH thru.....this put me to his rear!! He got it backed in while I held the small trees out of the way!!! We DID laugh about this!! :)
We were finally parked in "Camp Run Amok" for a few days with the kids, but it was after 7 PM! By this time we were really hungry and just a little stressed..... the kids pulled up in the car so we hopped in with them and went to Ellicott City for dinner! It was great to see them....and the two or three stressful hours were quickly forgotten!! Yay....a couple of days to spend a little time with Scott and Tiff, and little oggie doggie, Dixie!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lobstah Rally at the Pumpkin Patch

Well, the SKP's Chapter 3 Lobster Rally was a lot of fun! These Mainer's really know how to do a Rally! There were plenty of Haddock Chowder and Lobstahs, plus Happy Hours.....along with an interesting Wine tasting by the nearby Winterport Winery, featuring blueberry and cranberry wines that were amazing! Norah & Howie and Bob & I paid a visit to the folks at Winterport Winery and you just might see some Blueberry wine at the next Happy Hour! You will be very surprised at just how good it is....we were! (Perhaps Norah will share HERS!) :)

Here you see Jane Sloan getting her steamed corn from Bob's basket.......

.....Howie and Bob are fraternizing with the lobsters before they hit the plate....

....the huge steamer baskets used to steam the lobstahs and corn.....
and Howie and Norah contemplating the feast before them!
It didn't take long to devour the little fellows! One of the Maine gals, Marsha, was kind enough to show us how to "pick" the body of the lobsters and remove the meat there to be used for a Lobster Stew! Picking the bodies of four lobsters yielded more than enough tender meat to make a wonderful Lobster Stew!! I made the stew for our dinner one evening, and wow! was it delicious!!
We will sure miss the wonderful fare, fresh from the cool seas in Maine as we head South. We'll miss the cool pleasant weather also!! But we have more great memories with old friends and new!
Hugs to everyone!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Quintessentially Maine.......

Stonington Harbor on Deer Isle

Having heard that the coastal village of Stonington on Deer Isle was the "quintessential, old Maine Lobstering town", we made the drive to see what it might present. It's true.....and the drive there is just as lovely as the harbor town itself. (If you've read any of Linda Greenlaw's "Lobstermen" books i.e. All Fishermen are Liars, etc, this is her locale and Isle a Haut lies just off the shore) are a few photos that seem to be "quintessentially Maine" in so many ways!

This is most definitely my idea of an "Ocean View House"!!!.......

A magnificent OceanView House, in Stonington!!

We especially love the dories, tied to most docks, awaiting the arrival of their Captains!......

The Lobstermens' Dories in Stonington Harbor

More dories in Stonington

Even the Post Office is quaint!

Porches and window boxes are two things that have always captured my attention....this one was a favorite.........

This is quintessentially Maine!

Of course, the flowers bloom here like nowhere else.....must be the crisp nights and cool days......
Brilliant blossoms everywhere!

Garden walkway...beautiful Fuchsia!

and the Church steeples tower in each little village, peeking over the horizon to welcome you....

The requisite Maine church, in Blue Hill

This view looking West over the Penobscot Bay towards Searsport, captures the essence of coastal Maine from the is one of my favorites..........
Penobscot bay, viewed from the road to Stonington

Yet another white clapboard home, with bountiful blooms.................
The side garden of a home in Blue Hill

and just one more windowbox, at Boyce's Motel in Stonington..............

Amazing how the Fuchsia grows in Maine!! just makes you feel alive and refreshed to take in the beauty of this New England area. It is, indeed, a special place......and we are priviledged to share it.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

On Blueberry Hill.....

Yes, more seems around every hill as you travel in DownEast Maine, is another blueberry hill and the workers are raking them every day..............

another Blueberry Hill.....

and here are the tiny Maine wild blue berries!

Here we have three pounds of the little blueberries from the Berry Patch! there's been ample opportunities to stop for blueberries.....if only my freezer were just a little larger, we could transport a few more of them!! August is prime blueberry time here in Maine!

Before we left Searsport Shores, Bob made fresh Blueberry pancakes for breakfast with Jeff and Neal and Ron and Doris........

Bob making fresh Blueberry Pancakes! YUM!

Ron and Doris "Cookie", Jeff and Neal ready for Blueberry Pancakes and Maple Syrup!

Those were mighty tasty with the Maine Maple Syrup on them!!! UmmUmmm good!!! Then we said our goodbyes to Ron and Doris as we would be heading on to Bar Harbor later that day. Neal rode in the MH with us so that a plan could be made for their trip to Martha's Vineyard. Jeff followed in the car, then we spent the day in Bar Harbor eating big bowls of Lobster Stew, Chowder and toasted Lobster Rolls, overlooking Frenchmen's Bay. It was another one of those crystal clear, perfect days that we so love, here on the coast of Maine!! (I neglected to take the camera from the, Jeff will have to supply the photos from this outing!)

From Bar Harbor, we drove into Acadia National Park and up to Cadillac Mountain for the lovely views of the Porcupine Islands, and to view the spot where the sun first shines on the United States each day. I remember my mom speaking of their trips to Maine, and how they would arise around 4 am (now, I didn't know there was ANOTHER 4:00!:) ), to be at the top of Cadillac Mountain and see the sun as it's first rays fell on the USA. There are photos of she and Dad, with their traveling buddies, Jackie and Robert, and others, there with the dawning sunshine. Many years ago she gave her "travel journal" to me, in which she had detailed notes about their travels. More than once, we have followed their travel path almost exactly and stopped to read her amusing anecdotes along the the way. The small black, three-ring notebook with yellowed and frayed pages is considered one of my "treasures"!

There was also one more trip to Young's Lobster Pound, to eat Lobstah's and steamers yet again....

Waiting on the Lobstah's!

....and this photo is for Darrell.....the view of his hometown, the charming town of Belfast, viewed from across the water, at Young's wharf......................
Searsport is such a lovely spot and it has been a truly pleasant week. Jeff and Neal headed down to Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard, and we miss them...but we'll meet Norah and Howie up in Hermon for the Lobster Rally.......oh boy...more fun and more Lobstah!
Hugs to everyone!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Lobsters, Blueberries and brilliant blue skies......

Monday found us leaving the River heading North....destination: the coast of Maine....... to eat Lobsters and Blueberries, meet up with Jeff and Neal (River buddies) and Jeff's folks, and to find some cool and refreshing temps! It has been good to find all of these things in the little village of Searsport!

Young's Lobster Pound....a favorite place to eat lobsters!

Sweet, wild Maine Blueberries at the Blueberry Patch!

A visit to Maine means waking to invigorating morning temps laced with balsam fir and sea breezes, picking blueberries on the hills covered with the berry bushes, eating fresh lobsters at the seaside pounds, and just feeling refreshed with the bright and lovely skies.

Looking out over the many vistas around Penobscot Bay, where flowers bloom abundantly and the loons and gulls drift over the water just makes you want to stay forever.....well, maybe not forever, but at least for a while long as there is no SNOW in the forecast!!

Cool blue water and refreshing blue skies over the Penobscot Bay

And then there are Lobster Bakes........and the one at Searsport Shores Campground is amazing!We met Jeff and Neal, and Jeff's Mom and Step-Dad, Doris and Ron at Searsport Shores and have been sharing some wicked - good meals! The Lobster bake on Saturday night left us all stuffed full of Lobsters, Mussels, steamers (clams), steamed corn, potatoes, onions, homemade rolls, and even a huge blueberry-peach cobbler cooked in the biggest DutchOven we've ever seen in the hot coals!!

A traditional Maine seaside Lobster bake at Searsport Shores Campground!

The hot fire with lobsters, clams, mussels and corn in wet seaweed under the oil cloth, with potatoes and onions baking alonRemove Formatting from selectiongside.....blueberry cobbler in the Dutch Oven at the edge of the coals!

There have also been several visits to Young's Lobster pound, to select Lobsters, Mussells, and Steamers from their tanks in the pound, and watch them steam the seafood in their huge vats.......

The huge brick steaming vat at Young's!

UmUm...Good...steamed corn with lobsters and butter!

Yum Yum!!!!

Doris, Ron, Molly and Bob in Searsport

Next week we will head up to Bangor to meet Norah and Howie at the Chapter 3 Lobster Rally....mmmm....more lobster and buddies to share them with!!