Thursday, August 15, 2013


You may have noticed my lack of Couch to 5k updates, or a lack of posts about hiking trails. Things are on a temporary hiatus. I rolled my ankle on the way down Gorham Mountain when Thom and I were at Acadia National Park. At first I thought I just sprained my ankle, and took a week off from running to let everything rest and heal up. After three weeks of soreness and spasming, I went to my doctor's office. My doctor took x-rays and sent me to a podiatrist. What I thought was a sprained ankle is actually a torn plantar fascia tendon, which is the tendon that goes from the heel to the big toe. Mine is almost completely severed. I also have a significant bone spur on my heel.

For the time being, I am in this wonderful ski boot contraption. My doctor is hoping that the tendon will scar over and heal up. At the end of the month, I will be re-evaluated as to what can be done next, which will likely be either physical therapy or an MRI. My podiatrist is aware that I was training for a 5k, and says that I MIGHT be able to train for a November race, my gut is telling me that I am done running for the year. Here's hoping to good news at the end of the month.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Birthdays and Haircuts

Of course the first pre-season game is on his birthday
Thom and I celebrate our birthdays five days apart. It is a lot of fun, and a lot of birthday all crammed into a week. On top of that, my family celebrates my grandfather's birthday as a memorial to him, so my sister flew into town from Florida for the family celebration on Sunday. It has been a very busy few days, but worth every minute.

Thom is going back to school this fall to pursue a degree in business administration. I am so happy that he is going to college, so I decided to use his birthday as an opportunity to make sure he was starting school on the right foot. I bought him a laptop to take to class, in red of course, as well as a backpack to carry all of his gear.

Thom holding his severed ponytail
My sister flew in very early in the morning on Thom's birthday, so the three of us went out to sushi to celebrate the occasion. That evening, we went to my mother's house for a lobster dinner to celebrate my sister being in town. My sister's friend offered to give everyone haircuts, and Thom used the opportunity to cut his hair. For those of you that have been reading my blog, you have likely noticed that Thom used to wear his hair long, tied back into a ponytail. He had been contemplating trading in the long hair for a more conservative haircut, and finally decided to take the plunge on his birthday in front of the entire family. I have never seen my husband with short hair, so I was more than a little nervous. In the end, I am very happy with the results, and I think he looks great for school and all the networking he will be doing. Thom is going to donate his ponytail to Locks of Love.

My camera, wrapped in a myriad of paper from my childhood

Thom decided to give me my birthday present on his birthday so that I would have it for the remainder of the weekend. He bought me a DSLR camera. I have always wanted one, I love taking pictures and a DSLR will help me take the next step in my hobby. I was also badly in need of a camera, my iPhone actually has better resolution than my point-and-shoot camera does! There is definitely a learning curve to a DSLR, but I think I am starting to get the hang of it. I look forward to experimenting with different lenses and seeing how far my hobby can go. It is my goal to have my pictures hanging in a coffee shop some day, we shall see.

My birthday happens to be tonight, and to mark the occasion Thom is baking me a lemon strawberry cheesecake. He is definitely a keeper. After this weekend, I am guessing we are going to have a nice quiet evening in. At this point, I really do not think I would want it any other way.

Thom's new haircut, picture taken with my new camera

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Convalidating Our Marriage

Thom and I were married on September 10, 2011 in a beautiful ocean side ceremony surrounded by our best friends and family. It was a perfect day, and something that we will celebrate every year. Thom and I are also Catholic. We are what many refer to as "Cradle Catholics," we were baptized as infants and celebrated the sacraments growing up. During our 20's, for various personal reasons, we both strayed from the church. We decided to go back in the spring of 2011. At the time, we were in the final stages of planning our wedding, and, as far as the church was concerned, I was still married to my ex-husband. We worked with a priest, and made the decision to celebrate our wedding as planned in September and I would seek an annulment for my first marriage. My annulment finalized just before this past Easter. Thom and I are now registered members of our local parish, and we decided that it was time to have our marriage blessed by the Catholic church in the form of a convalidation. 

In order for a marriage to be considered valid in the eyes of the church, it is required to follow a specific ritual that follows church doctrine and tradition. Our marriage in 2011 did not follow this form, so now it needs to be convalidated. Thom and I were expecting the convalidation to be a quick ceremony with a witness or two after mass some Sunday. To our surprise, in order to follow church form, we need to have a full nuptial mass. We decided that since we have to celebrate the entire mass, we might as well invite our friends and family and since everyone will be together we should host some sort of reception after the fact. What started out as a simple ceremony quickly blossomed into an event.

That being said, we are keeping everything low key. Our nuptial mass is going to appear just like a wedding ceremony, because, in the eyes of the church, it is. Our reception is going to be more of dinner party. We are renting a private dining room at a local Italian restaurant and serving a four course dinner. The only music this time will be background music, no photographer, no dj, no fancy cake, we already did that. Although, I am going to wear my dress again, why not get a second use out of it?  Our date is set for Friday, November 22nd, so we decided on a fall theme. The tables will be decorated with leaves and lanterns, the place cards will be fixed to mini-pumpkins, the table numbers will be jars of apple butter, and the favors will be caramel apples. The restaurant is going to serve hot apple cider along with coffee and tea for cozy beverages, and dessert will be bread pudding and apple crisp. I am looking forward to welcoming our faith into our marriage, along with the excitement of what is looking to be a wonderful dinner party with our family and friends.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

Pemaquid Point lighthouse is my mom's favorite place in the state of Maine. Our original plan for Mother's Day was to kidnap my mom away to the lighthouse for the afternoon. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate. A couple Sunday's ago, the weather was absolutely perfect, so we decided to pick up mom and do some sight seeing.

Our first surprise of the day was that our state park pass was not accepted by the gatehouse. Apparently, Pemaquid Point lighthouse is owned by the town of Bristol. Admission is only a couple of dollars per person, but it is definitely something to take into consideration if you are planning a visit. Our second surprise of the day was that the lighthouse tower was open. I have been visiting the lighthouse since I was a little girl, and I have never had the chance to climb the tower of a lighthouse. Mom and I got out of the car and went directly to the line. Thom is not a fan of heights and opted to explore the rocky ledge instead.

The original stairway

The Fresnel lens and the view out of the tower

After we climbed down from the tower, we joined Thom on the rocky ledge. My mom likes to just sit and watch the ocean, it is so endless it is just hypnotizing. Thom and I like to climb on the rocks, something I have been doing since I was a kid.
Thom on a rock!

Thom on another rock! Do not try this kids, Thom is crazy

Climbing through a rock cave

Mom, enjoying the sunshine

It was a perfect afternoon. To cap everything off, we met up with my step-father at the drive-in for dinner. There is just nothing like summertime in Maine.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Saying Goodbye

My mother-in-law and grandma
Thom and I were sitting our living room, enjoying a lazy Sunday when we received a phone call from Thom's uncle. He asked us if we wanted to see grandma one last time, she had just passed away. We got ready as quickly as we could and got down to the hospital. Grandma collapsed at lunch, and her heart stopped beating. Grandma lived a full life and had been sick for the last several years. She lost her husband, Thom's grandfather, almost a decade ago and was moved out to Maine so that Thom's uncle could take care of her. Grandma was with grandpa again, but she left her family grieving.

The funeral was held the following week in Indiana, grandma's home. Thom and his uncle flew out for four days. I was unable to get grievance leave and stayed behind. There should be rules against a spouse not being permitted to accompany their spouse to a funeral. It did not help the situation that this was also our first time apart since we were married.

The last several days have been spent listening to Thom process through everything and grieve. Grandma and grandpa were a significant part of Thom's childhood. He used to spend every summer in Indiana with his grandparents. He talked about the Polish food his grandma used to make, and the walks he used to take with his grandpa. We visited a local Polish deli, and Thom relived a moment of his childhood.

Like all wounds, the loss of grandma will take time to heal. We have plans to keep her memory alive through her traditions, food, and culture.

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened" ~Dr. Suess

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Happy (Much Belated) Fourth of July

Fireworks had been banned in Maine since before I was born. When I moved out to Kansas City, I was looking forward to setting off fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July. Unfortunately, the city restrictions for fireworks were rather strict, and Thom and I both had to work on the Fourth. We then moved to Maine at the end of the month, and I was certain that my opportunity to set off fireworks had slipped by. To my surprise, Maine legalized fireworks a couple of years ago. Thom and I opted to buy our own to have our first family fireworks show. I was beyond excited. The excitement only grew stronger when we discovered the fireworks store was having a two for one sale. I had no idea what to get, but Thom helped me pick out a variety pack and some extra mortars. Basically, a little bit of everything so that we could figure out what we liked for next time.

Once Fourth of July came around, I felt like a kid on Christmas. Usually, Fourth of July is a sort of "meh" holiday for me, this year was definitely going to be different. We packed up the dog, fireworks, and homemade cole slaw and headed to my mom's house for a cook out, music, and a fireworks display. We set of fire crackers throughout the afternoon, and once the sunset, the fireworks came out. Unfortunately, I do not have pictures. I was the one that lit everything, and I opted to focus on not setting myself on fire over pictures. I decided that I really like mortars, they shoot off fireworks like you would see in a town fireworks display. I also like firecrackers, and this cone thing that sort of crackles and shoots stuff off. My sister is going to be in town in August, on what happens to be Thom's birthday, so we are planning to have a second show then to mark the occasion. 

Do you set off fireworks for Fourth of July? What are your favorites?

Monday, July 15, 2013


Hello everyone, I wanted to apologize for not posting in a while. My husband just recently lost his grandmother, and is taking the loss rather hard. I have spent the last week supporting him emotionally and trying to keep his mind off of things. I feel rather backlogged at this point, I have many stories to share. More to come, promise!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Seawall, Perry's Nut House, and Going Home

I slept in a little on Monday morning, all of our adventures during vacation really wore me out, plus I do not think my brain wanted to leave. I finally woke up when Thom took the tarp off of our tent. When I climbed out of bed, all bleary eyed, I discovered that Thom already had the screen house down. I was a little upset at first, until Thom informed me that it was almost ten and check out was noon. Back in the tent I went to roll sleeping bags and pack up our suitcase. We had a quick breakfast of cereal, then finished up tearing down camp. The last thing we did was hop in the shower, it was nice to feel human again. 

On our way off the island, we decided to explore Seawall. The Seawall is right next to the campground we stayed at, but we did not have a chance to look at it. Apparently, during low tide, there are all kinds of tide pools to explore. We arrived at the height of high tide, so all we saw was a cobble stone beach. There we could not find anywhere to sit, it was hot and humid, and our knees and ankles were a little sore from Gorham Mountain, so we snapped a few pictures and called it good. 

We also stopped at the Jordan Pond House. I would have loved to stay for popovers and lemonade, but it was lunch hour and the place was absolutely packed. I ran in to purchase a couple of souvenirs while Thom circled the parking lot. At that point, we said good bye to Acadia National Park and headed on our way.

A trip to Acadia National Park is not complete without a stop to Perry's Nut House in Belfast, Maine. It started out as an oddities museum that sold knickknacks and penny candy. Then the store was sold and all of the oddities were sold as well. The current owners are in the process of bringing the oddities back to the store, along with knickknacks, penny candy, and fudge! My intent was just to show Thom what Perry's Nut House was all about, but the homemade fudge got us, and we left with 1/4 pound of whoopie pie fudge. It did not last long. We also stopped for lunch, and then headed home. 

Overall, we had a wonderful vacation. I got to show Thom a part of Maine that was a significant part of my childhood, and he absolutely loved it. We are already making plans to go back, this time to climb a bigger mountain, go cycling on the carriage roads, or rent a kayak. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Gorham Mountain and the Ocean Path

Sunday morning we woke up to showers. Despite the rip I put through the rain fly with a tent pole (yes, I am that talented) and patched with packing tape (it was what we had), we were nice and dry in our tent. Thom through a tarp over the tent just to stay on the safe side, and we hung out in the tent for a couple hours. According to our weather apps on our phones, the sun was supposed to come out during the afternoon. After the showers stopped, we packed the hiking pack and headed over to the Park Loop Road. By the time we arrived, the sun was out, the sky was blue, and fog banks clung onto the islands in Frenchman's Bay. Perfect hiking weather. 

Thom does not have much experience with hiking mountains, so I opted for a moderate trail. My guide book suggested a hike up and over Gorham Mountain with a return on the Ocean Path trail. All in all, a 3.5 mile hike that started out moderate, and ended easy. 

We started at the Gorham Mountain parking lot, right off of the Park Loop Road and went up the south ridge of Gorham Mountain on the Gorham Mountain Trail. It is a moderate trail, but there are a couple steep points. In a couple of places the rocks are set up like stairs, in others you sort of have to fend for yourself. Thom and I jokingly called the trail the trail of lies, about 3/4 of the way up, you hit pink granite ridges with beautiful views that look like the summit, and just when you think you cannot go higher, the trail goes higher. Once we reached summit, a mighty 525', we sat and enjoyed the ocean and mountain views and the ocean breezes. 

Sand Beach and Great Head

In the distance is a lighthouse beneath the fog bank

Fog banks clinging to the Porcupine Islands

Thom and I at summit!

From left to right Cadillac Mountain, Dorr Mountain, and Champlain Mountain
I've stood on top of all three. 
After some time at the summit, it was time to head back down. We continued on the Gorham Mountain Trail up and over the summit. The decent was rather steep, but a quick hike, and I dare say a bit easier than the way up. Once we got more level ground, I stepped on a rock and rolled my ankle. It is not a true hike until I fall down, what can I say. From the Gorham Trail we went to the Bowl Trail on our way back down to the Park Loop Road. This brought us to the Sand Beach parking lot, where we were able to pick up the Ocean Path, a flat gravel path along the ocean. If you are looking for an easy hike, I recommend the Ocean Path, I have been around the Park Loop Road hundreds of times, and there are sites on the Ocean Path that I have never seen before; little coves, cobble stone beaches, and tons of areas that will be great to go tide pooling in. Once we got back to our car, we decided to head back to camp, Thom's knees were bothering him, and my ankle was sore from my earlier fall. We made dinner over the campfire and enjoyed our last night at camp.

One of the cliffs we passed on the way down Gorham Mountain

A little cove, from the Ocean Path Trail

Monument Cove, a cobblestone beach

Friday, June 28, 2013

Wild Gardens of Acadia, Otter Point, and Eagle Lake

After a busy Friday, we decided to enjoy a rather lazy Saturday. The sky was gloomy and there was a chance of showers throughout the day. We had breakfast, relaxed around the campsite, and went back to bed for a few hours. It is vacation, right?

We left camp a little after one in the afternoon, and enjoyed a low key day at the park. We visited Sieur de Monts spring, the spring where George Dorr used to enjoy the spring and surrounding mountains. He went on to work with local property owners and the government to create Acadia National Park. At Sieur de Monts, we visited the Wild Gardens of Acadia, which is a showcase of all the various plant species throughout the park. There were a lot of ferns, the lady slipper was not yet in bloom, neither were the lilies, but we were able find a lily pads, wild iris, and a pitcher plant. Thom also caught a picture of a huge dragonfly that landed on one of the stepping stones.
Lily Pads! No frogs in sight though

A wild blue iris

A pitcher plant

A dragonfly
After the Wild Gardens of Acadia, we headed back onto the Park Loop Road and headed over to Otter Point. Otter Point is a rocky outcrop that marks the entrance to Otter Cove, the point where Samual de Champlain had to moor his ship over the winter for repairs. I like Otter Point because there are some nice views and plenty of tide pools to explore. We ate lunch on one of the rocky ledges, and then I climbed down into the tide pools. Thom watched out for rouge waves.
The view from Otter Point

This is Lucy, the crab

There is a little sea urchin in this picture
After Otter Point, we decided to head back to camp to start making dinner. On the way home, we stopped by the Carriage Road entrance to Eagle Lake. The carriage roads and granite bridges were built by Rockefeller as a means of providing access to some of the quieter places within the park. Rockefeller had a strong distaste for automobiles, and purposely built the roads too narrow for a car to drive down. He believed that automobiles caused too much pollution and the noise distracted from the serenity within the park.The carriage roads were originally built for horses with carriages, which can still be seen today; however, the majority of traffic is now cyclists and hikers. There is a joke that the gravel carriage roads are the best roads in Maine. I am certainly not one to argue. Eagle Lake is a quiet place, between Cadillac and Pemetic Mountains. It is one of the deepest lakes in the park.
One of the many granite bridges

Every carriage road intersection has a numbered sign post

A mother and three baby mergansers

Eagle Lake

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Climbing South Bubble

My eighth grade class took a week long trip to Acadia National Park in order to get a hands on look at all the things we learned about in earth science that year. Part of that trip was climbing the South Bubble. I guess climbing is in the eye of the beholder, the Bubble is a little over 700' and the trail is steep, but a quick hike and nothing that you would need any special gear for. Climbing the South Bubble is a memory that I recall to this day. As a little kid, my family would visit Acadia National Park seemingly every year, we would see the sites on the Park Loop Road, but I never did any of the hikes. I remember reaching the summit as an eighth grader, walking across to the rocky ledge, and taking in the most beautiful view I could imagine. Needless to say, the view from South Bubble is one of my favorite places in the park, and despite the fact that Thom is not much of a hiker, I insisted that he joined me at the top.

As I mentioned before, the trail is steep, lots of stairs and climbing up rock piles. There are very few look outs until you are just about on summit. Normally, it would only be about a half an hour hike or less, but Thom jammed his knee while climbing around on the rocks at Schooner Head and I sprained my ankle. I'm telling you, it's all downhill after thirty. Regardless, this is a great trail for families. It is .5 of a mile from the parking lot to the summit, and there is a parking lot right off the Park Loop Road at the trail head.

Now for those pictures of the spectacular view.

Thom found this lookout just before reaching summit

Thom at summit!

The majority of the rock in Acadia National Park is pink granite!

The view from the summit, over looking Jordan Pond and the Atlantic Ocean

Photo Op!

Another view from the summit, this is Eagle Lake
Aside from admiring the view, we also checked out Bubble Rock, a glacial erratic that was left balanced on the side of the mountain by the Wisconsin glacier about 15,000 years. We also got some pictures of birds riding the air currents around the mountains.
A bald eagle

Bubble Rock

A pair of osprey

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Anemone Cave,Thunder Hole, South Bubble, and the drive up Cadillac Mountain

Otter Cliffs from Thunder Hole
We woke up Friday morning to cloudy skies. Normally, I would have been concerned, but I have been camping on Mt. Desert Island enough times to know the clouds should burn off. A weather app on my phone confirmed my theory. We had a nice leisurely morning, complete with a breakfast of bacon, eggs, and English muffins. Thom packed us a lunch while I did the dishes, and by the time we were both showered and dressed for the day, the sun was out and the skies were clear. Today was going to be a good day.

Our first stop of the day was to the Acadia National Park visitor center, where we were delighted to find out that our seven day pass was only $10. This was because it was still considered off-season. The season actually started on June 23, at which point the rate jumps to $20 for a seven day pass. For those keeping count, we got the discount for arriving two days before the price increase. I was happy.

Once we had our pass, we headed down the Park Loop Road. There were a bunch of look outs over Frenchmen's Bay and the mountains on the island, so we took our time driving and enjoyed each other's company. We passed an active beaver pond, but unfortunately beavers are nocturnal so everyone was sleeping. Just before passing through the entry gates, we headed down to Schooner Head for lunch, and to explore Anemone Cave. The cave is not found on most maps of the park due to the fragility of the wild life within it. We had lunch over looking the cave, and then I very carefully climbed down into the cave to investigate. The rocks are slick, and I jammed my ankle hard on the climb back up, but the pictures are certainly worth it.

Anemone Cave
Thom sitting at the entrance to the cave

Sea Anemones
Sea anemones

Anemone Cave
Looking out to sea from inside the cave, note Thom's profile


After climbing out of Anemone Cave, we went through the park entrance and ventured over to Thunder Hole. Thunder Hole is a small cave in the rocky coast line. The cave fills with air, and when an ocean wave crashes into it, the result is a loud booming sound with a splash. The best effects are just before high tide; unfortunately, we arrived at low tide. We still got some booming and splashing!
Thunder Hole

Thunder Hole
After Thunder Hole, we decided it was time to explore the mountains. We climbed the South Bubble, which has some amazing views over Jordan Pond and the Atlantic Oceans. I will post more about that tomorrow. We also decided to drive up Cadillac Mountain. Thom and I honeymooned in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. While there, we drove up Mount Washington. Driving up Cadillac Mountain reminded us of our honeymoon, although the road was much shorter and Thom did not have a white-knuckled death grip on the steering wheel. We did not walk the extra .2 of a mile to the summit from the auto-road, I want to save that for the day I actually hike to the top of Cadillac. In the meantime, it was a perfectly clear day and the views from the "top" of Cadillac were amazing.

View from Cadillac Mountain
Bar Harbor and Frenchmen's Bay

View from Cadillac Mountain
Looking towards the mainland, in the distance you can see Mt Katahdin

View from Cadillac Mountain
Porcupine Islands, and a cruise ship
After driving down from Cadillac, we decided it was time to call it a day. We headed back to camp, built a fire, had dinner, and roasted a few marshmallows. Such a beautiful day in a beautiful location.
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