Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Back in Maine

Well, here we are, back in Maine, at least for the next several weeks. While here we are staying upstairs in this, the Webber homestead. Curt and Judy, who have appeared on this blog during their October '07 and November '08 visits have generously provided space for us and Maggie to live while we become reacquainted with our old stomping ground, so to speak. We have been having comfortably cool weather, generally fair, and been able to enjoy being off the road for awhile!

On one of our first evenings here, June Spear, a former colleague of mine at Central Maine Community College, hosted a gathering at her home for some of our friends and colleagues. Here are some photos:

Here are June (on the left) and Judy Frost, the librarian at the college. (Sorry Judy. I should have taken a photo with your eyes open!). June was an excellent adjunct faculty member 12 years ago before I quit being department chair. Judy is a good friend and confidante, whose husband, Rick, is the librarian at the Lewiston Public Library, and made it possible for us to access Rosetta Stone to study our Spanish before moving to Mexico.

Lucy Coombs and John Blois are former colleagues of mine from the Humanities Department at CMMC. Lucy took over my job as chair and has clearly been much better suited for the rigors of that job! John teaches, among other things, Asian studies. Here is a link to a You
Tube film he produced on a recent rip to India and Tibet with his sons. This is footage of a traditional Tibetan home:

And here is Pearl Sawyer who I only came to know several years ago in our Unitarian Universalist church inAuburn, Maine. Pearl began writing poetry later in life and has been an ongoing inspiration to me in my own attempts at poetry as well as a loving friend.

Liette Morin, left, worked in the cafeteria at CMCC, and helped me many times with my quilting. She always encouraged me and taught me many tricks. She is a creative and loving force in this community. Bonnie Santos taught for CMCC for many years and regaled us at the party with her stories of living in France as a child.

Lloyd Pulsifer has been a friend, and co-Sox fan, for many years. He chairs the Machine Tool Department at CMCC. Kathy, his wife, is a nurse, and has been a former student of mine. They are both avid followers of "Maine to Mexico!"

While on the trip up, we stopped for a brief visit with our friend Fred and Mardele Harland, from Ajijic, who were visiting thair daughter and family in Erie, PA. Their son-in-law Matt, a physician, was instrumental, when visiting Ajijic this spring, in convincing me to change medical care and get the scans I needed to diagnose my brain hemmorhage. (I still don't think he looks old enough to be a doctor!) Fred, also shown here, is a dear friend and fellow member of our UU fellowship (as is Mardele) as well as a member of our Great Books discussion group.

We visited my dad and stepmom, Joy, in Waldoboro this past weekend. You can tell they both love spending time with Maggie. We are planning to return for another extended visit before we leave Maine in the middle of August.

Here's Pixie and our oldest daughter, Wendy, soaking up some rare (this year) Maine sun while on our visit in Waldoboro.

Our youngest daughter, Cassie, who has been attending her MFA program in Hartford, Connecticut, these past two weeks is suffering from a stubborn urinary tract infection, so we are modifying our plans and will go to Providence next week to be with her. I will probably do another update from New England before we start our return trip south.

I hope all our friends in Mexico are enjoying the rainy season and the cooler weather. We miss you all, and look forward anxiously to our return which we plan for August 29.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Almost Back in Maine

Well. after more than two weeks on the road, we are in Albany, NY, ready to arrive back in Maine tomorrow for our long summer visit. Our trip north so far has been fairly uneventful, which is good. Being back in the United States, though, has been an adustment, however, from our simple, dusty life in Mexico. Everything is so organized and clean! The roads have such wide shoulders and are so clearly marked. they tell us about the exit coming up starting several miles ahead of the exit. In Mexico, the traffic signs are sometimes blocked by trees and difficult to see. And the notice that we have to exit the highway often appears only a few meters from the actual exit point. People in the US follow the rules very carefully and are not as casual about the rule of law as the Mexicans sometimes are.

Sticker shock is another adjustment we have to make. Prices seem so high here, especially when we have been spoiled not only by the lower prices in Mexico, but have been spoiled by the devaluations of the Mexican peso (now 13.6 pesos to the US dollar) which have made our money go even further. I can see we'll have to watch ourpennies carefully this summer!

We have been having a strange problem with our 2007 RAV4. For about a year, whenever we took a right turn we would hear a loud "thump" coming from the rear of the vehicle. Additionally, for almost the entire trip, we have had a "4WD" warning light onthe dash. In Muncie, Indiana, where we stopped to visit our son Eric and his family, we took the vehicle to the local Toyota dealership (there are Toyota dealerships in Mexico, but the warranty is not honored on a vehicle purchased in the US!). Well they discovered the problem: whenI had the right rear tire replaced in Mexico, they put on a tire the wrong size; about 2 inches short. As a result, when we took a right turn, the axle was sensing that the car needed to engage the all-wheel drive, and tried, unsuccessfully to engage. Thus the thump, and the warning light. New tire, problem solved.
Who knew?

At any rate, we had a lovely visit in Indiana and spending time with our grand daughter, Isabelle, who is now 16 month old. Here are some more photos:

So tomorrow we'll be arriving at our friends' Curt and Judy Webbers house for the next five weeks. They have been to visit us twice at Lake Chapala, and were very generous to offer their house for us to use as a home base while we are in Maine. We will be busy spending time with old friends and family. We will head back to Muncie in the middle of August and be back home in Mexico by the end of August. Maine has been experiencing cold, rainy weather during June and early July. We hope to bring the warm Mexican sun when we arrive!