Frankenstorm definitely touched us with a ghostly presence here on Sunday. Our warm and sunny week gave way to winds, cold temps and cloudy skies. I thought it rather perfect for our church Trunk or Treat — felt so Fall and Halloweeny. This year, the church asked if I could do face painting and temporary tattoos, and I jumped at the chance. For 2 1/2 solid hours I painted and tattooed, kids and adults alike. I love how every child, no matter how wild, antsy or loud they usually are, become quiet, attentive angels when getting their face painted. With the wind whipping, parents held kiddos' hair and wigs aside, while I created mini masterpieces of flowers, hearts, Spiderman, cats and dogs to my heart's content. And their little faces when I hand them a mirror . . . priceless. The pastor came over and said with a grin "you're in your element, aren't you?" I was, indeed.
Here I am with my hair all wrapped up in hair scrunchies and clips, a winter scarf around my neck and two layers of sweaters. I tried painting with my fingerless gloves, but that proved to be too awkward, so I went at it bare-handed, apologizing to my steady stream of customers for my ice-cold touch.
Survived the first week back to work after the three-week sabbatical. It was a busy week, but would have been so even if I'd not been out for that length of time. Within a day I was back in the saddle.
Am gearing up for the company Feast, which is early this year, November 5. I have crafting out the whazoo to accomplish. It will get done, always does.
Decorated for Halloween yesterday. Most of my decorations are from Dollar Tree. I LOVE that store. NOTE: The best way to get items to stick to something without damaging the surface is Floral Cling. That's how I got all my spiders in place; and they ain't goin' anywhere until I take them down. The Floral Cling can be reused.
The white spiders on the webs in the two pix below glow in the dark.
I have my beach hat hanging on the inside of the door and the haunted knocker on the outside.
When I sit in my living room, I like to see the hat, reminding me of hours on the beach.
I came home yesterday to a Welcome Home balloon dancing on my front porch. When I walked through the screen door into my kitchen, I was greeted with the homespun scent of vanilla, my melting pot plugged in and glowing. A note from my parents that said there's a bottle of Chardonnay chilling and a dinner of fresh sushi in the fridge (the wine, hand-picked for its name: The Dreaming Tree). My dad had made sure the giant puffball of mums on my front porch and the plants in my kitchen window box were watered while I was gone. And my mom was adamant that the house smell good after being closed up for two weeks, so the melting pot was plugged in well in advance of my arrival home. (I love how the idea of my house being "closed up" makes me think of coming home to a giant Victorian family estate and ripping canvas dropcloths off of slipcovered chairs and blowing a season's worth of dust off the mantle; so romantically Maine summer house). And home it was. I couldn't have asked for a sweeter homecoming: to be greeted by Chateau Gahan doing what she does best, hug everyone who enters.
The book that the bottle of wine sets on was a special gift from co-worker Laura. She made it, and it's fantastic and special. The binding technique she used makes each spread lay flat. The covers and spine are in the loveliest shades of ocean blue. I decided that all the writing I do in my head needs to make it to paper, and this book has become the basket where I put all of my words, sentences, stories and chapters.
One of my favorite good-bye gestures to Captain's Cottage (my humble A-frame vacation home) was to fill a page of the guest book. Reading all the entries, it was obvious that a lot of people have fallen in love with this house.
Have loved having the kids here for this long weekend. Harleigh and Kasey arrived around 9:00PM on Thursday night and then his brother Kyle and girlfriend Morgan got here on Friday in time for dinner. I know, for a fact, that my love language to others is entertaining and feeding people. I don't do it that often, and so when I face a house full of people who love being showered with good food lovingly planned, prepared and served, I'm "on it" with a full heart and a smile on my face.
The kids have enjoyed fat juicy burgers on fluffy sesame seed buns, dressed with mayo, lettuce and fresh-sliced tomatoes. Corn on the cob slathered with butter. Harleigh and Kasey requested hash browns for the Friday night dinner, so those were served up crispy and glistening with oil, a perfect and guilty-pleasure accompaniment to our summertime beachy meal.
Hot coffee begins the day, and I'm front and center at the grille, making French toast — sliced Italian bread dredged in egg, milk and vanilla extract — enjoyed with melted butter and syrup. There's also fresh fruit, orange juice, and a plentiful amount of bacon.
I try to provide a good variety of foods, so lunch one day was tomato slices, cold cut sandwiches, fresh veggies and Ranch dressing dip, chips and a cold seafood salad. Today it was fried chicken, red grapes, veggies and dip. And there's always plenty of sweet tea to quench the hot day.
For last night's dinner I steamed snap peas and served up a giant hot pasta dish of bow tie pasta with herbed butter and almost 2 pounds of shrimp.
There's a colossal tub of ice cream in the freezer. The cheap kind that tastes more like flavored ice than cream, but marbled with fudge and spooned out of big bowls while looking out at the beach = a dessert made to make you smile.
Tonite for dinner I got a great deal on lobster tails. So I planned a nice send-off meal for the kids that included baked potatoes and steamed asparagus.
Enough of food.
The kids usually spend the first part of the day in the ocean, bobbing and diving and jumping the waves, talking for hours. I sit on the soft sand in my beach chair, under an umbrella, reading and watching the kids. My butt goes numb, I sit so long. And that's not a complaint. After lunch, the four shower and nap, read, get on their laptops, or watch TV. In the late afternoon we go beachside again for walks or playing games in the sand.
I'm up early every day in time for the sunrise, but was surprised on Saturday morning when the boys' alarms went off at 6:45 so they could wake the girls and go sit on the beach and see the sun come up. It was quite sweet.
So this evening Harleigh and Kasey arrive. After being alone for 6 days, it will be nice to have their company. And if Kyle and Morgan come as planned (Kasey's brother and his girlfriend), then we'll have a full house, and honestly, a chance for me to cook for a crew, which I love.
Today the sun is out in full splendor, and the humidity is being chipped away at by a light breeze. I'll get my bills paid this morning, revisit my shopping list, and head into town for a post office and grocery trip. Then it's a full afternoon of beach and pool, all with a good book. The house needs a light tidying up, and then I'll shower and actually put on make-up for the kids; there has been nothing put on my face this past week except sunscreen and Dove soap.
The hair on Gideon's legs gets all curly with the salt water. And the chandelier in the living room drips with tons of clear glass balls and flowers. They remind me of fishing floats.
The shelling has been interesting. While the shells are rather common, albeit plentiful, I've chanced upon some nice specimens, including a piece of wood that will make for a great sign. Here are some of my finds that include a feather and a great piece of piling with a rusty hook.
Today is the first day I've pulled out the laptop. Believe me, books have been much better suited for my lap since setting foot in this heaven.
Gideon and I began the journey early Saturday morning, but not until after a long prayer — one said out loud so that Gideon, too, could be part of the conversation. I gave him a dose of Dramamine (my boy gets carsick) and with a few stops along the way, made it to our destination safely (and with no getting sick), ready to enjoy the whole sunny afternoon ahead of us. I shot this picture as we were leaving home, and it wasn't until I took a closer look at it today did I realize that a powerline pole above Giddy's head resembles a cross. God was indeed my co-pilot.
What I've found since I arrived and immersed myself in this delicious house and its surroundings is that I'm feeling protective. Protective of my time here and the escape it affords me. I thought I'd blog more, but being in front of a computer feels too much like my real world. I'm enjoying the disconnect from normal life. I've loved watching my dog play in the teasing waves. Relished the hours sitting in a beach chair staring at the ocean. Marveled at the nakedness of the beach, void of people. Aside from church on Sunday morning and a trip to the palm-tree landscaped Publix, I haven't left the house. I divide my days between walks on the beach and noodle-floating in my private pool, all of it punctuated with an hour here and there of good reads. The house has a steam room, and so at the end of each day I steam the suntan lotion out of my pores, take a hot shower and hug the house in a giant thank-you embrace.
I will write more tomorrow — church in a vintage horse stable overlooking the marsh and Gideon jumping into the pool, two highlights of the trip so far.
Pix below from our first two days here. The picture on the right center is of the beach conservation patrol whom I see every morning on our walks. They check the turtle nests along the beach, one of which is smack dab in front of my place.
Every morning, Gideon and I are up for the sunrise.
After a long walk on the beach, he likes to plop in the sand.
I take a seat too on the sand damp with morning, and the two of us enjoy the joy of being still.
"Our house was not unsentient matter — it had a heart and a soul, and eyes to see with; and approvals and solicitudes and deep sympathies; it was of us, and we were in its confidence and lived in its grace and in the peace of its benedictions. We never came home from an absence that its face did not light up and speak out in eloquent welcome — and we could not enter it unmoved."- Samuel Clemens
I am probably the most content person you'd ever want to meet. I have a decent job working with people I like, a loving family including a swell Old English Sheepdog, a home where nesting and curling up on slipcovered sofas is required, and a life rich in creative crafting and daydreaming. I someday want a cottage at the beach where my grandchildren can bring sandy feet into the house, wet bathing suits can dry on the front porch and everything we need to get to is a bicycle ride away.