Colleen & Heather Surfing in Hawaii

I made my first resolution last year, it was not vague like most resolutions are but an immediate plan of action”A frivolous one for sure – fitting into a skimpy bright green bikini for our Hawaiian vacation & to be physically fit so I could hike, swim & surf.  The time frame was of short duration, just 6 weeks, but very successful  &  the accomplishment felt darn good and set me up for a fantastic action packed year!

It was a Statement; “I might be middle aged but I will not look, feel or act middle aged” AND….who out-surfed a group of 20 year olds? Yeah ME – that’s who!

Figuring out my resolution:

  • Previous resolutions should not be repeated. Usually they are very vague ones like …. I want to lose weight…. get fit….quit smoking….quit drinking…spend more time with family…. All good stuff but Gosh darn it, what are you going to do different this time?  You need goals and a plan of action! Specific & Precise!
  • I think if you pick something that will make you feel good, it might just turn out to be a pretty good year.
  • I have spent a number of days contemplating…what to do…what to DO…what TO DO…WHAT TO DO?????
  • Hmmmm… a whole year – that is 365 days  and I want to make every day count!
  • I am a big believer in “Cosmic Clues” so I put it out there to the Universe, “WHAT SHOULD I DO?” and waited, waited some more, all the while listening & waiting…
  • and SOUL SEARCHING.

So here it is January 5th and DRUM ROLL!! I FINALLY have my resolution.

My Resolution is to pick something  from my Bucket List & do it! (yes, I have an actual list, constantly evolving though)

First Hook-up on the Pitt River

Dave & I have talked a lot this week about life & expectations. Dave says as we move into the 2nd half of our life expectancy we need to be a little more selfish:

  • To do the things we want to do.
  • Live our lives the way we want.
  • and  Pick away at our Bucket List.

So in 2011 we are going to study to become Registered Maine Guides.

  • We have many friends & mentors who are Maine Guides.
  • We love the Great Outdoors &  our “back to nature” vacations are the most memorable of times.
    • Did you know giving the kids a piece of flint & challenging them to “make a proper fire” can give you about 4 hours of free time & endless entertainment. Same goes for building a lean-to or fort or raft.
    • They also loved the orienteering courses we would set up with treats at the way-points.
  • Dave “grew up” in the North Maine Woods – learning from the old timers. They are a rare breed, not only self -reliant in the wilderness but Story Tellers who are able to put together a 3-4 course field or shore lunch over an open fire-pit. Dave is an avid Hunter & Fly-Fisherman & this is a natural fit for him. He ALREADY has “the look & the demeanor”.
  • I was taught by the Canadian Red Cross.  I learned from a younger crowd but spent 3 years teaching teenagers swimming, boating & wilderness survival skills. Culminating in taking them on a 4 day 3 night canoeing adventure where we slept under a lean -to or canoes & cooked over an open fire. I have many of the skills needed  but I know there is so much more to learn.

To become a Maine Guide in the old days you needed a veteran guide as your mentor and a Maine Game Warden to vouch for you. Today you have  an oral exam, if you pass then you take the written exam. So we have done some research & are starting to peck away at the suggested readings. I’ll fill you in on the details as we progress.

Did you know? The first registered Maine guide was a WOMAN – “Fly Rod” Crosby – an amazing ambassador for Maine!

If any of you are interested I’ll post the Books, many are just plain interesting. A lot are identification books – birds, mammals, aquatic life, trees.

SO:

It’s not too late!

Do you have a resolution for 2011 or something on your bucket list you would like to cross off?

Share it  – let us all know & we’ll keep you accountable!

Heather on December 21st, 2010

Free Range Tree

Are you ready for the holidays?

We threw a Christmas party the day after my last exam so our home got decorated, cleaned & holiday food prepared in record time!

Great way to do it – kind of like ripping a band aid off – FAST with brief flash of pain!

Living off of the beaten track works for Christmas shopping. We ordered online on the comfort of our couch, sipping a holiday cocktail, Christmas tunes in the background. (We don’t have too many gifts to buy as the extended family draws names.) Living TV free lessens the stress as we are not undulated with the “buy, buy, buy” Christmas ads.

We changed the way we do Christmas a number of years ago, taking the emphasis off of the gifts & placing them on the traditions.

  • Our first tradition of the season is going out into the woods & looking for the “perfect tree”! Well, PERFECT takes on a whole new meaning once you get off a tree farm. We were fortunate enough to have to wade through snow in the process, which totally puts you in the Christmas spirit!
  • We spent Thanksgiving Weekend at our camp where the kids made homemade Garland from running spruce & made their own wreaths for their front doors.

    Kids in their fort!

  • Dave makes Ice Candles. We are fortunate that it has been cold up here in the north so the process only took a week. His ice candles are large.His mold being 5 gal. pails with a 4″ diameter on the inside for the candle. Some of the candles are like candy canes, alternating red & clear stripes or green & clear stripes, some have evergreens mixed in with the ice. (I’ll take pix when he debuts them).
  • Our tree decorating is always a trip down memory lane as the decorations are ones the kids made over the years or they are souvenirs from all of our travels. (Like the Angel which was bought in Italy at the mine where the marble from Michelangelo’s “David” was quarried.)
  • Dave will spend a day in the kitchen with the kids baking cookies.
  • We’ll play lots of board games.
  • The cross country skis & snow shoes are ready by the door.
  • The lake is frozen so this year we’ll flood it for a skating rink. Laura (aka – Martha Stewart) wants a Post Card setting: Christmas lights, Bon-Fire under a brillant star light night, benches made of ice & I think there might even be an ice sculpture if the ice is thick enough in the cove to cut into blocks.
  • Lots of Cooking with the traditional holiday favorites.
  • and…!!! The CRAFT! This year we are going to decorate very large pine cones we brought back from a trip to California, we are going to make them look like miniature Christmas trees! YEAH!!!!

Beaver looking pretty with the first large snowfall

The kids went through a phase during their teenage years where they rebelled against some of the traditions (like having their 3rd grade ornaments displayed where their friends might see them or doing the lame craft) but not anymore!! now they are taking the initiative on stuff! AHHH – a new generation of parents in the making.

Well, I need to sign off. I have some gifts to wrap & get under the tree & some final stuff to do as the kids start arriving tomorrow.

Dave should probably secure the tree to the wall as we have 2 very energetic dogs arriving!

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to you all. We hope you enjoy the SPIRIT of the Season!

Please comment & share any Holiday traditions, stresses or rants!!

Heather on December 2nd, 2010

A good friend has been “suggesting” that I get pen to paper & get blogging again.

I have been totally focused in doing everything I can do to get into Grad school this spring & it seems that dried up my ability to reflect & pontificate  – so I didn’t blog.

But – I got the acceptance letter this week for Spring semester. I am now a GRADUATE STUDENT!!! studying to gain my Ph. D. in Civil Engineering!

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine this course change. I had been pondering Graduate School but thought it would be frivilous as there is a tremendous cost involved & I had no clear direction as to what I would do.

Sunset Moosehead Lake

That all fortuitously changed over happy hour on Moosehead Lake;  gimlets, good company and good conversation!

I mentioned to my summertime neighbor, who is in the Engineering Dept at University of Maine that I was job hunting & had looked at various positions in the Advanced Structures & Composites lab there. That I was very interested in the offshore wind lab but that all of the jobs were for engineers & there was nothing for a geologist.

Off the cuff, he mentioned their fully funded PhD program which was heavily involved in the offshore wind project. The rest is history.

Those who know me, know that I believe “things always work out”. I don’t mean we can passively sit on our derrieres but we can  seek out life’s new experiences – be proactive.

I have been busy getting up to speed, filling out applications, writing essays, studying for the GRE & taking classes (though I have a couple of years of Engineering under my belt, I will need a few more classes to complete my admission requirements).

I know the road will be fraught with obstacles BUT RIGHT NOW:

I feel like I have just jumped out of an airplane (with parachute of course) & I am free-falling! I see the world below  but have no idea where I will land!

I’m enjoying the free-fall! It is an exhilarating feeling!

Heather on September 20th, 2010

I forgot how much work school was, when do these kids find the time to have fun?

I am not complaining -  just making a valid observation that as parents we often forget the hard work & stress of school, not to mention those students who are raising kids at the same time &/or juggling  a job to pay for it. So kudos to all of you out there, young & not as young who are in the midst of it.

Dave’s away this week & I am thoroughly enjoying his absence.

Why?

  • I really appreciate a little alone time, it’s good for the soul & a little absence makes the heart grow fonder!
  • The house stays clean.
  • I am getting so much homework done. I had to play catch-up this fall. If you have been following the blog, you know I was rusty on the prerequisite courses.
  • I just signed up to take the GRE for October 14th ( I need the GRE for my graduate application) & I need to study for that. The study books should be in the mail tomorrow. Oh Boy!

Took some time off this past weekend to enjoy the beautiful fall weather & do a little hiking with friends.

Dave is back this coming weekend so I had better hit the books so I can spend a little free time with him. He is out bow hunting in Idaho with friends & hopefully he’ll be bringing home some Elk meat with him. Yum!!

Heather on September 8th, 2010

Heather studying on Crumple Island

Sorry it has been so long since I have blogged but I am in the process of creating a new routine & cramming - that’s right cramming so hard my brain hurts.

Thus the creation of a new Happy Hour, “Cosmos & Calculus”

I forgot how much work school is especially when the prerequisite courses are extremely important & I only have a vague recollection of them…..

I am only taking 2 courses – thank the good Lord for that!

  • Calculus 2
  • Strength of Materials (mechanical engineering course)

I was feeling pretty cocky a month ago, I ordered some calculus books off of Amazon & thought, a quick read through & I would be up to snuff – WRONG!!

First day of school!

Had I ever seen this stuff before?? I don’t quite recall… something seemed vaguely familiar about the material… My transcript said yes I had indeed taken the course in 1982 !? I think Calculus was such a bad experience I buried it so deep in my sub conscious that it will never surface.

Strength of Materials was better, I had recall but so many formulas to re-memorize.

So, I have been hitting the books really hard & I have a new muscle getting fit – yes the BRAIN!

You can’t just BLITZ a brain with 6 hours of Calculus a day – you need to build up to it!

This is where the Happy Hour “Cosmos & Calculus ” comes in – Nice ring to it don’t you think?

Not only is the Cosmo a great incentive – just a couple more chapters & you can have your Cosmo.

Sipping the Cosmo while studying:

  1. Settles the brain
  2. Can conjure up some great insight & ah ha moments
  3. Sets you up for a few more hours of work. The I can do anything I set my mind on mode!

But Beware – only 1 cosmo or you’ll  say, I worked hard today,I I deserve a break,  I think I’ll take the night off……

So, tonight I am sitting on the Lake edge with my Cosmo & Calculus enjoying the evening, the loons & watching the sunset and thinking “How great is this! I new Chapter in my life & I am having a blast!”

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