In which Quinn is thwarted

Me: When this cup is completely empty, I will get ready for the day.

Quinn: Really?

Quinn: <casually gets up, stretches, starts walking towards me>

Me: <grabs the cup>

Him: <stares at me>

Me: <takes a little sip>

Him & Me: STAREDOWN

Him: WHAT?

Me: I can’t tell if you are going to take my cup and dump it out or not.

Him: <laughing>DAMMIT!

My almost empty coffee cup

Maine 2018

We made an impromptu trip to Maine with our friends Sam and Joanne.

There’s a back-story: we were supposed to be camping this week with Sam and Joanne (and others) but a conflict with school forced some to cancel, and eventually everyone canceled.  Since we all had the time off already scheduled I had the idea for a quick road trip with S&J.  Meghan made the arrangements when they bought in, so game on.

dock and reflection
Found this very stereotypical Maine view while biking on Friday morning

Day 1: Foul Weather, Destination Southport

We left home on Thursday.  S&J had the longer drive, but our house was on the way so we met up here and caravaned the rest of the way together.

A bundle of rain followed them from Connecticut, and would continue to follow us all the rest of the way.

Meghan and I neglected to pack until they arrived, as we were running around all morning doing chores, so they got in a short, much-needed break from driving in the rain.

We rolled into the Ocean Gate hotel around 5 pm.  We had rented three rooms: one for S&J and their son; one for Alpha and Beta; and one for Meghan, me, and Butter-the-dog.  We were spread across different buildings in the resort, but the girls were close to S&J so that was ok.

Our room, unlike the others, had a full kitchen — indeed, that was one of the selling points for us.  It was billed as “not having a view” but that was a lie: the view was, in fact, beautiful.

sunrise
Sunrise on Saturday morning. I didn’t mean to wake up at 5 am, but I’m glad I did since I got to see this.

We went out to dinner at a tiny-but-tony restaurant called Oliver’s at Cozy Harbor.  The food was excellent, btw.  Joanne went high-end and got a “lobstertini,” lobster meat served in a martini glass, but most everyone else went basic with burgers or fish-and-chips.

group photo
Sitting down to dinner at Oliver’s. Everyone was tired. and nobody but the server saw me taking the picture, which is why everyone looks bored

We did check out some of the “traditional” Maine sight-seeing, which is to say we took pictures of the fog:

foggy harbor
The very foggy view from Oliver’s [click to expand]

Day 2: Swimming, Shopping, Dinner at Home

Sam and I started Friday off with a bang: we went biking.  The kids started off with fun: they went swimming in the pool.  Meghan and Joanne started off with style: they took a dip in the hot tub.

After everyone felt ready to start their day, we packed into the cars and took a short ride to Boothbay Harbor.  It was hot so we had an ice cream lunch.  The girls shopped, while I took Butter on a walk up and down the main drag.  She’s truly an adorable dog and we stopped to talk to several people that wanted to “say hi” to her.

sam in kayak
Sam braved rumbles of thunder to discover that a nearby island is not, in fact, an island.

We all took a siesta in the late afternoon back at the hotel, except for Sam who ignored the impending thunderstorm and went kayaking.

After a brief downpour and a bit of lightning, we got going on our planned “traditional get together” dinner: spaghetti and sauce.  This is why the in-room kitchen was important, you see.

For years, when we lived near each other, we would gather at one house or the other and feed everyone with a simple pasta, meat sauce, and garlic bread dinner.  From time to time we do it even now, but the drive is much longer.

I made the pasta, Sam made the garlic bread, and the kids watched TV.  This was about as traditional as you can get without being home.

preparing dinner

After dinner I washed up while everyone else played a game at the table until bedtime.

Day 3: Freeport and Home

Our stay was intentionally short because we were trying a too-good-to-be-true hotel and everything came together last-minute.  Much too short.

After a big breakfast we packed up and rolled out, destination: Freeport.  Sam had only passed through Maine before, never stopping, and Joanne has never been at all.  Both wanted to see the main L.L. Bean store in Freeport.  Meghan is always game to go there.  I walked around with Butter while everyone wandered inside the store for an hour because I just can’t even.  We also made time for the Ben and Jerry’s store, of course.

We made our final leg home, where S&J paid us a final visit before making their way home as well.

Meghan Makes Rank of “Captain Jack”

Our friend Sam is scout master for his son’s Boy Scout troop.  In order to teach the kids knots he put together a knot board to tie eight of the most important knots to know.

There are ranks.  “Captain Jack” is when you can tie all eight, in under two minutes… while blindfolded.

We are very proud of Meghan, who missed being “Fleet Admiral” (all eight, under a minute, blindfolded) by mere seconds.  She beat the pants of every member of the troop, including Sam’s own son.  Fortunately for my own ego we had to leave and could not try for Fleet Admiral one more time.

Patio Furniture FTW

kids on new patio furniture
There was at least one of these three ensconced here for the remainder of the afternoon

Bought some new patio furniture on a lark today, now I just need to finish preparing the patio.

We stuck it on the deck in the meantime, where it attracted some squatters almost immediately.  I think they like it.  They should, as the human children gave me puppy-dog eyes until I caved and agreed to buy it.  (Butter had nothing to do with the purchase, but she spent the most time of anyone on it today.)

Beta Goes Rock Climbing

Way back at Christmas, Meghan came up with a most appropriate gift for Beta: time at the local rock climbing gym.

We didn’t use it right away because we were out of the country, and then something always seemed to come up or we just weren’t thinking about it, until this past week.  I remembered about the rock gym, Meghan arranged a time, and this morning (Mother’s Day to boot) we showed up for the first of five sessions.

A rock climbing gym, in case you’ve never been, is a series of walls with a random assortment of hand-holds embedded into the surface.  It’s meant to simulate rock climbing enough to help you build strength and skill.

rock wall climbing
Beta nearing the top of a difficult ascent

You wear a harness and clip onto a rope.  Some faces have auto-belays, some have ropes slung and wrapped over a bar above the face (pulley-style) so a partner eases you down.  The ‘cave’ wall has no ropes, as the entire face is inverted.  It has a very thick pad to land on instead.

We booked two hours, and Beta made it through impressive one and a half hours of it.  By the end she had “spaghetti arms,” but she was talking about going back before we were even back in the car.  Score one for mom!

Egg Roll in a Bowl

eggroll in a bowl

Ingredients

You’ll need a pretty big pan with high sides for this recipe.  A 14″ cast iron pan is good.

It’s a pretty low maintenance dish, so you can easily cook it alongside other things.  Bagged slaw saves a ton of time.

This makes a pretty good meal by itself, or goes great as a side dish.

  • Sesame oil
  • 1 pound of ground Chicken or Pork
  • 1 small or 1/2 medium white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger
  • 1 bag (14 oz) dry slaw mix
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (reduced sodium is fine)
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sesame seeds (optional)

Steps

  1. Heat a tablespoon of sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add in the meat and onions.
  2. When the meat is nearly done and onion is soft and translucent, stir in garlic and ginger.  Cook for a few more minutes, stirring on occasion.
  3. Dump in soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and slaw.  Stir frequently until everything is well-mixed, the soy sauce and rice wine vinegar reduce,and the slaw softens up.

Season with salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Adapted from http://theskinnyfork.com/blog/chicken-egg-roll-bowl