Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Rare Day in October one where I'm actually home on a Sunday morning so I can dust the cobwebs off my poor old blog.

If I were a responsible adult, I probably wouldn't be here now, either. Sunday morning is rally-roo day for Seamus and me, and we haven't been to a rally class in months due to . Don't get me wrong. I love dog shows. I love rally class. It's just that sometimes, I love taking a little break even more.

Greg's cousin Dan (actually, his mother's first cousin) and his wife Nancy came to visit from BC for the weekend, and the pups and I just bade them farewell at the door with go-cups of coffee. They're headed over to the church to hear Greg play the organ at the second service, and then they're off to visit Nancy's relatives in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. They're the first of Greg's relatives whom I've met, and they're delightful people -- plus they're Golden Retriever folks, so we had plenty in common. We took them out walking on Wells Beach and to the Weathervane for a Maine clambake (using the gift certificate I won a little while back). They and Greg shared stories about the family and old photos, and Greg played piano for them. In addition to the go-cups of coffee, we sent them off with copies of the old photos (courtesy of my scanner and Photoshop) and a CD of some of Greg's more recent pieces. I meant to cook them a proper Danish breakfast, but we ended up at the Maine Diner instead.

Anyway... sloth, glorious sloth. I have to be by myself in some distant locale in order to be able to sleep later than 9 AM any more, but it's still luxurious just to be able to greet the morning at my own pace, armed with a cup of caffeine and a complete lack of an agenda. Oh sure, I have a BCCME Board meeting this afternoon, but the afternoon is still a long ways away.

My busted finger is just about healed, enough so that I've stopped wearing the irritating "buddy tape" on my right ring and pinky fingers. Both fingers are a bit creaky from lack of use, so I have to keep practicing making a fist. At least I can close my right hand now -- a while back, I couldn't even hold on to any coins I received as change unless I did so left-handed.

If You're Ever Hungry in Portland...

Greg's birthday was October 9, already ancient history by this end of the month. His birthday-dinner instructions to me were, "Pick someplace in Portland where we don't usually go." That could be most of the city; I guess we're just creatures of habit. (I should have chosen hot dogs and beer at Hadlock Field, but that would have suited me better than him.)

It's said that Portland has more restaurants per capita now than just about any other city besides San Francisco. I'm not sure whether it's true, or whether they were counting the Mickey Ds along with the fine chef-owned establishments... but no matter. It's easy to be spoiled for choice when looking for a really good restaurant in Portland these days.

We ended up at 288 Fore Street, which (surprise, surprise!) is located at exactly that address, just one block up from the ferry terminal and just outside of the Old Port. The building was a ship's chandlery back in the day, and the interior still features the beams and brick from those days. The kitchen area is situated in the main dining area, and you can enjoy the fires from the brick roasting oven and the roasting spit while you await your meal.

And what a meal it was! Greg opted for a selection of different seafood mini-entrees featuring local crab. (The restaurant makes use of as much locally-grown and raised food as possible.) I opted for the dry-rubbed, spit-roasted pork with locally-made sauerkraut. Veggies and other side dishes are a la carte, so we ordered and split a side of fresh local beets.

What a complete pleasure everything was! The place was a little on the noisy side with a capacity crowd, but it was easy just to lose yourself in the food. Greg and I stole morsels from each other's plates. I'm shocked that we even had room for dessert, but Greg's came dressed with a birthday candle -- and no one was forced to sing.

Reservations are a pretty good idea -- even on a Tuesday, the place was humming -- but the staff does set aside a certain number of tables for last-minute diners. Whether you plan ahead of time or not, just go there sometime.

Dog Stuff

I'll get to when I'm done here. Let's just say there's a lot of it to catch up on.

Last Saturday BCCME held a fun match here in my yard. I like to think a good time was had by all, but I'm afraid that probably includes the yellowjackets (like the Bush family, yet another species with no real purpose on earth). Folks inundated us with all manner of treats, from cider and donuts to fresh-picked local apples to birthday cake to cookies to... you get the idea. Greg bundled up a lot of the leftovers and brought them to church the next morning. Everyone had fun at our "practice dog show," and I think we might even have inspired one of the new members to consider showing her new puppy when she gets one.

While all that was going on, Dinah was at the Beardie beauty parlor, getting ready for a show on Sunday. I had to be insane to let myself get talked into driving to New Jersey just for a one-day show, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat. That's a story for , though.

Sad to say, Seamus's and my next APDT rally trial, scheduled for next weekend, was cancelled. There were some problems getting the judging panel in order, apparently -- but there will be more trials next year. We might even practice for them ahead of time!

Greg Stuff

I can't believe it's almost November! Greg will be leaving for his residency at in a couple of weeks. He'll be home just in time for Thanksgiving, hopefully with some good work and some inspiration. By that time, he'll need to start making plans to head to New York for the recording session for the Sax Quartet.

We're still awaiting the master copy of the CD from Prague with the Water Suite on it. Not that Greg's been idle in the meantime. He's finished The Waking (song for voice and piano), and has been messing around with There and Back Again (instrumental for winds and percussion). He also burned a CD of the premiere performance of Clayton's Runaround and sent it, along with a printed and bound copy of the manuscript, to the owner of Clayton Farm in Mabou, NS, where the piece was inspired. (You can see a photo of Greg playing the antique pump organ at the farm .

Knitting Stuff

There hasn't been a heckuva lot of progress to report. Since I shipped off the Tofutsies socks to my sister, I've been putting in occasional moments on the second of the Sockotta socks. I've just about finished the heel turn.

Now that it's fall and my thoughts turn to wool, I hope to get back to the old sticks and string pretty soon. I've meant well -- I've carried my knitting with me everywhere I've gone this season -- but it hasn't really seen the outside of the knitting bag for more than a minute here and a minute there.

Most of the time, my stash lives in the living room on my overstuffed easy chair. Back in the olden days, only a couple of projects lived there and the rest lived downstairs in my work room. Now that the work room is in a complete shambles, all of the knitting projects are crammed into the easy chair, and no one can sit in or anywhere near it. I had to shove everything but the "sock bucket" into the bedroom closet just so our company could sit down someplace in the house. Now that our company has departed, the migration from closet to easy chair will begin again shortly.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

It's Football Season!

Our household is a loyal member of Red Sox Nation, and none of us have a lot of interest in professional (or even college) football... but Dinah Moe is always interested in a little pickup game in the backyard.