Friday, November 23, 2007

Welcome to our home...

After living in Maine for close to a year, Chris and I have finally started to turn our house into a home. We are getting more and more settled as the weeks go by and thought it was time to share some photos with those of you who have not had the opportunity to visit ever, since the wedding or in the last week. That is how quickly things have been changing!

Welcome to our home! Please take off your coat and stay a while. Our entry way has recently been enhanced by some nicer shoe racks, a basket for our hats and gloves, and some coat hooks for when guests (read you!) visit.

Our entry way quickly turns into the living room. For those of you who have not been here in a while, please take note of the new storage boxes for vinyl. They have tidied things up a bit and can fit 100 records in each box. Not bad! We got new curtains from one of our favorite thrift stores - not only do they match, but they were inexpensive and insulated! We've also added a curtain to the entertainment area.

At the end of the couch, we also have a newly purchased end table. Found in the corner of a trailer in town we were able to spruce this guy up with some brown paint and a good cleaning. Now we have someplace to store the million magazines that we get each month! Now you'll know where to look when you want to read the most recent edition of National Geographic Adventure or Runner's World.

The next stop is the dining room. The shelving unit on the back wall is perhaps our newest addition. It is stocked with all of the fun things that we haven't been able to put out in our house such as some of our more unique wedding gifts like the service set from Sarah, the depression glass from Aunt Sharon and Uncle Bob and the Japanese tea set from Dave and Eri. We also added some of our own purchases such as the Dakin Dream Pets that we have been looking at for the past couple of months.

Leaving the dining room, or rather, turning away from the dining room, you enter the kitchen. This summer we were able to purchase this beautiful wine fridge with gift cards that we were given to Target as wedding gifts. We recently added shelving to our "pantry" so that we can be a little more organized. We also made the beautiful curtains that you see. They are insulated and are sure to keep us warm this winter!

As you turn away from the kitchen, you have a lovely view of our new desk. It was salvaged from the Teen Center's basement and given a good sanding, a fresh coat of paint, and some new pulls. We love it and it fits just perfectly in the little niche that had been created for computer work. You can also see one of the first pieces of art that we picked out together, the sailboat print above the desk.

Around the corner from the desk is our non-working fireplace/ storage space for our bags. This is also where we store a plethora of books and display some more art work. Namely National Toboggan Championship posters (the races are held locally) and some sweet cards that Chris picked out at an art co-op in New Orleans.

As long as I am talking about art at this time, I will take a brief pause from the tour to point out one of our newest pieces that Chris created. It is a collage that he pieced together of NYC and is hanging above the windows in our kitchen/dining room. It's really quite cool and took a lot of work on his part between sizing the photos and then piecing them back together again.
Keep an eye out as we enter the bedroom as there is another one of Chris' creations hanging on the wall there. This time a beautiful magnolia in black and white. This photo was taken while he was doing disaster relief in Florida. It's amazing the beauty that can exist in the midst of destruction.

So, here we are in the bedroom. And there's that collage that I was talking about. Also, take note of that purple dresser in the corner. This is another piece of furniture that we salvaged. This time from a place down the road that advertises "Six Buildings of Used Furniture!" (This is also where we found that end table...) It is definitely used furniture. Chris spent quite a bit of time last winter putting the drawers back together. After a lot of sanding and painting and adding new pulls, we finally created a working piece of storage.

I guess the only other place we are missing is the bathroom. I promise we have one. It's tiny with a shower, sink and toilet. There isn't anything really exciting in there, except perhaps more artwork. These prints were purchased right here in Maine, before we moved here. On one wall we have a sketch of an oceanside barn. On the other, an old man holding a crow. They are beautiful black and whites and match the gray wall perfectly...don't you think?

Last but not least, we have a wonderful place for you to stay when you come visit! Just down the hall from the main portion of our house is this delightful bedroom! It comes complete with a collection of games that we will gladly play with you and some world maps for you to plan your next adventure!

Hope you enjoyed the tour. It's amazing how such a small place can take so long to explore! Remember, you're always welcome in Maine...we'd love to take you on our next adventure (if you wait until spring, the adventures will be much more exciting than they are now)!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The unending quest...

Chris and I have been married for nearly 4 months now, so I would love to share some of the photos from our special day. They are truly amazing, however, we still do not have them.

(Photography by Karen Lewis)

Our quest to capture all of the fun that was had on August 11 has turned into one large lion hunt that is unsuccessful. You can see the photos online, we just don't have them in our hands. Not that I would want a lion in my hands (although I have held a baby tiger before), but you get the idea. We've paid for the experience, we just need some follow through.

About a month ago we finally pushed enough and our photos appeared online. This was an exciting step, almost like getting our itinerary for what was to come. We could see that there was something to be had. We just needed the ticket to get there. We were told that we would have something in our hands in just three weeks! How exciting!

Fast forward one month. We're psyched about our proof book and CD magically showing up in the mail. As a part of our package deal we have secured digital rights to the photographs from that day in August. The lion is lurking in the woods behind our house. It is just within reach, you can almost see the glowing cat eyes as the sun sets at 3:30. We can almost reach out and grab hold of what we have been waiting for. However, we also have the knowledge in the back of our minds that we are a week past when our special delivery should have landed on our doorstep.

I call the photographer. She says, "I'm so glad you called. Well...a funny thing happened. OK, so maybe it's not funny. So, what happened is, we have your proof book. However, the names on it are Jessica and Steven."

Funny, real funny. I reply, "So when will we have our photos? We were told we'd have them 3 weeks after they went online. It's been a month now. Our wedding was in August."

Photographer: "We've ordered a new proof book. It should be there within a week. I'll call the owner of the company to double check."

Me: "We were really hoping to have these by the holidays. We wanted to be able to show them to people. We want the pictures in our hands. We want the CD. It's been nearly four months of waiting now."

Photographer: "I'll call you back later today."

An hour later I get a phone call back. I am told, "It's probably going to be a week. A week and a half at most. I'm really sorry about this. Thank you so much for being so patient."

Me: "So what does this do to our coffee table book? Online it says four to six weeks for proofs. No more than three months for your coffee table book."

Photographer: "I'll call the owner back and check up on that."

An hour later again I get a phone call. I am unable to answer though as I am getting my frustration out by kicking and punching and free grappling downstairs in the martial arts studio at where my office is located. I come back from class with the following message from the owner of the photography company.

"I'm so sorry that things are taking so long. We started out having problems because the photographer uses a Mac and I use a PC. We had trouble getting the photos switched over. Then I made a mistake and ordered your book with the wrong names on it. I am so sorry. I know that this has taken a really long time and I am going to take the time frame off of my website. In regards to your coffee table book, I am working in chronological order. I am currently on June's events. What I can do is throw in a parent album at no charge. This is a smaller version of your coffee table book. I know it's not perfect, but that's what I can offer. Again, thanks for your patience."

My question is, how does switching from a Mac to a PC make that much of a difference? I work on a Mac and my boss on a PC and one of our other coordinators at work uses another processing system altogether. We do not have have problems swapping .jpgs at work. Chris and I also operate on a Mac and PC at home, no problems there! I guess we just don't do it right!

This is becoming quite the hunt. We know that the photos exist. We have seen a mere glimpse of them. They just keep finding their way out of our reach. We'll keep hunting though. They aren't going to lead us astray for much longer. We'll have them, hopefully by Christmas. Maybe we'll even have our coffee table book before our anniversary (at which time another wedding season will be in place and so more delays will ensue...). I'll be sure to keep you updated.

In the meantime, you can see photos online. I will give credit where it is due, Karen Lewis of Kim Chapman Photography did an amazing job. She really captured the day, which is why we want the photos in our hands so badly!

For a quick preview, I do have this collage to post. After talking with Ashley yesterday about the whole situation, she did what any loving sister would do. She went online and stole a couple of photos and created this for Chris and I.

Please enjoy this glimpse into our day until I can post more!

Sunday, October 14, 2007


We just completed another marathon. My second and Tarah's third. The event was on beautiful Mount Desert Island, home to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. The course was amazing and grueling. Yet again, our training fell off quite a bit, read: none at all, but we both survived and we'll be back at it again next year, hopefully in a bit better shape.
The festivities kicked off last evening with a delicious all you could eat pasta and salad dinner, an impromptu auction to raise funds for the Island's new ASPCA, and guest speaker, 1984 Olympic Marathon Champion, Joan Benoit Samuelson.
Before the wedding and honeymoon and job craziness, we were both doing a pretty great job of training for our big scenic run, but alas, our lives caught up with our training pace and put a pretty big damper on our preparation. I thought that I might even be able to qualify for Bean Town's Patriot Day run, but after last year's fiasco of attempting to qualify without training I decided to go out a little more conservatively. I didn't quite get my goal of a sub 4 hour race, but I think that I'll be able to do my job at the Teen Center tomorrow, which is pretty important. Tarah came in just a bit over 6 hours and fortunate enough to be one of the last people to receive a massage at the finish line, though.
All in all, it was a pretty good day. The hills were a little more brutal than I had anticipated, but the sights were even better than I imagined. We knocked off another state and we met some pretty great people.

Now it's time for a giant pizza and some couch time.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Two Hours to Freedom

We ended up cutting our time in New Brunswick a little shorter than initially planned because of inclement weather and body aches. Despite leaving a day early, our time in Canada wasn't quite as short as we had hoped. It took us nearly two hours to cross the St. Croix River and return to the land of Bruce Springsteen, Apple Pie and FREEDOM!!!
To cross into Canada we waited in line for approximately 5 minutes. We told the patrolman where we were from, where we were going and why; we didn't even show ID. Can you believe that it could be so easy to get into a foreign country? What, with the world in the state it's in. Shoe bombs, liquid bombs, smart bombs... Obviously Canada hates freedom, I mean, even her signs are half in French.
Upon arriving in the border town, we were able to listen to nearly three full LPs. Granted it was nice to be able to do research for the impending Best of 2007 List, but I'd much rather have done that in the comfort of our home, not in a car full of wet and smelly backpacking equipment.
Along with filling the air with sweet indie music bliss, we also were also able to spew out about a pound of Carbon Monoxide, while we waited, with dozens of other automobiles also spewing out emissions. It's hard to believe that there is any Ozone left above St. Stephen.
When we finally made it to the gate, the patrolman checked our documents and questioned our activities. He couldn't believe that we were away for nearly a week and weren't coming back with a car full of Canadian goods.
"You said you were there for a week, and you didn't buy anything?"
"We were camping and backpacking."
"No T-shirts or souvenirs?"
As we finally pulled away from the interrogation gate, we passed a sign stating that we were entering the Eastern Time Zone, making our clocks report that we had only wasted one hour, trying to get back into our homeland, not two, like we had originally thought.
I couldn't believe that it took so much time and effort to return to the country that we are citizens of, then I saw the difference. The people on this side of the river didn't have shackles on their wrists and ankles, they could own guns and practice whatever religion they chose, they all had homes and plenty of food in their fridges...

Monday, September 3, 2007


A few photographs from the big day. We'll post more as we get them.rock stars
the beautiful bride
ready for our march up the aisle
waiting for the guests
the wedding party
time for some sweets
our first dance

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Download This

To begin our honeymoon, we traveled to Mansfield, Massachusetts for the Download festival. The trip was not without its setbacks, but the show more than made up for those. After a brief stop at DeLorme headquarters, home to Eartha and 1,00os of maps, just not any of Fundy National Park, we were pulled by forces beyond us to Freeport.

For those who aren't familiar with Freeport, it is home to the L.L. Bean flagship store and a number of exquisite outlet stores, including North Face and Patagonia. After drooling over lots of equipment and apparel that we didn't really need, we picked up a dry sack for trash to use in the woods so that we could be sure to leave no trace, while not contaminating the rest of our gear with nastiness.

Back on the road, we made the mistake of thinking that Massachusetts had common sense and numbered its exits based on miles, not numerical order. So, thinking that we were making good time and only 30 miles from the venue we stopped at I.H.O.P. for a bite to eat. The food was delicious and arrived in no time, we even got our check when we got our food. We were sure that we'd be able to see Band of Horses and maybe even part of the opening band's set. I was fairly excited to Bang Camaro, a band that, in their words, took all of the good things (sing along choruses and guitar solos) about 80s metal and got rid of all the crap (lead singers and verses). Although we had our check and payment ready, it took over 30 minutes to pay for our meal. Back on the road and creeping towards the time that Band of Horses were to take the stage, we realized that we had 25 exits to go, not 25 miles.

We ended up making it to the venue just before Wolf Parade were to take the stage, we could here them doing their sound check. As we walked to what we thought was the entrance, we passed hundreds of people priming for the Guster show, and I was quickly reminded what it was about college and drinking that I hated. After walking some distance and past many people in event t-shirts we were greeted by others in event t-shirts who told us that we had to walk all the way around the parking lot and fenced in stage. (I want the convenience and facility fees, that doubled the ticket cost, back)

Upon arrival at the gate, the attendants scanned our tickets and directed us into the abyss that is the Tweeter Center. Once inside, we found our seats and didn't see or hear Wolf Parade. A little confused, we wondered around and eventually made it back outside, yet inside of the fenced in stage area. Wolf Parade were on stage and making things happen. Apparently they were not a big draw, as most people were still tailgating and throwing footballs. Despite the crowd's disinterest, Wolf Parade were awesome. They played mostly new/unreleased material and it was all really good, I'm excited for a new LP, as long as they can put their side projects away, long enough to record.

After a very energetic set, we followed the masses back inside, through throngs of "Ahoy Girls" passing out Old Spice samples and pinup girls posters (apparently Old Spice is trying to get on the Axe/Tag/Bod bandwagon), posters deriding the environmental effects of bottled water coupled with vendors selling $4 bottles of water, and an extra long line at the beer/mixed drink garden.

Back at our seats, we soon were treated to an amazing performance from Neko Case. Her voice is absolutely golden and the backing musicians were top-notch. Highlights were Neko's caws and when she played an acoustic guitar, sans pick guard, that I don't think will make through the end of the year. Unfortunately most people in attendance didn't have any idea who they were witnessing or, to be more precise, missing.

Once Neko cleared the stage it was time for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, surprisingly there still weren't a whole lot of people in attendance to Karen O and the boys. The YYYs have yet to let me down when they perform live. Brian was the most excited drummer I've ever seen. He had a smile from ear to ear for the entire show. Karen was as out of control as ever and I swear Nick stole the amps from Spinal Tap. As with Wolf Parade, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs played some really good new material.

The penultimate bad was the one, that we couldn't really care less about. It soon became evident, however, that Guster had sold a lot of the event's tickets. During their set, I took the opportunity to use the facilities and purchase an overcooked, underheated, and overpriced "soft" pretzel. Delicious. Looking back, I guess it was just preparation for the food on the trail. The guys in Guster are definitely good musicians, I just don't really get into the hippie jam bandy stuff, though I find it interesting that the greeks have an affinity for it. Guster closed their set with a blistering dance punk rendition of a classic that I recognized from the H.O.R.D.E. festival back in '98. Before they left the stage, the lead singer confessed his love for the fellow bands at the festival and shared that he had a poster of Johnny Marr, on his wall, in high school.

Finally, it was time for the headliners. Modest Mouse were marvelous. They used two drum kits and multiple instrument arrangements to create sheer bliss. Isaac even used two different mics, one with effects. My only gripe is that almost everything they played was from "Good News" or "We were Dead." They did open my eyes the banjo though, I never realized how awesome the banjo can be, until I saw Isaac shred on his. It was incredible to hear Isaac, speak, sing and growl. He is so soft spoken, but a real show man when he has his guitar or banjo and is singing and when we gets into a song, he's like a man possessed.

Monday, August 13, 2007

We're Married!!!!

OK, so more to come...but for now, we've tied the knot!

Stay tuned for photos and more!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Pre-Wedding Celebration

August 4th brought not only friends, but fun, excitement, and outdoor adventure. We were blessed to have a small group that was able to escape their hectic lives for the weekend, and so we felt it was only appropriate to expose them to our crazy antics!

We had a relaxed morning of hanging out at the house and catching up before hitting the road north to Acadia. It is an exciting thing to take 8 people on their first adventure to one of the most beautiful places I know.

Not wanting to hold back, we took took most of the crew up the Beehive Trail where clung to the sides of cliffs and looked anxiously for ladders where there was nothing else to hold onto. We made it to the top only to experience a breathtaking view of the Atlantic and the beach below where the rest of our crew was exploring.

After the cliffs made our hearts flutter, we settled on an easy jaunt to The Bowl, a pristine pond on top of the mountain. Surrounded by the woods and a big blue sky, everyone decided (OK, some decided, others fell to peer pressure...but the kind that doesn't have any negative repercussions) to take a little breather from hiking by jumping in and enjoying the nice cool playing around with Jimmy's waterproof camera, being startled by unexpected seaweed, and being chased by leaches (maybe they didn't really chase us, but unless you were up there, I guess I can describe the blood-sucking creatures however I choose).

We took the easy way down and attempted to dry off in the sun that miraculously disappeared as soon as we all jumped into the water. Making our way to the sandy beach and gathering the rest of our crew, we decided to make a stop at Thunder Hole. While it was pretty quiet while we were there, the Fire 2 crew did get a nice little splash while posing for the photo above.

Needing to refuel we made a trip into Bar Harbor. We had a simultaneous search for good food and lobster ice cream and succeeded at both. Between amazing seafood at Route 66 and Jimmy's conquest of lobster ice cream we were full beyond belief as we ventured back to our cars. On our way we discovered the joys of parking on side streets in an incredibly crowded town. One, it was very easy for us to find the cars, and two, we were not targeted by the skilled driver who managed to run into a parked car.

After inspecting our cars for nicks from other skilled drivers, we ventured to Pirate's Cove. If you ever come visit us, have us take you on this amazing mini-golf adventure. Seeing as it was only fair, the group split into a 5v5, boys versus women tournament. With Laura doing some amazing putting and making several hole-in-ones, we put up quite a fight. But, not wanting to hurt the egos of those males partaking, we let them win by a fair margin. It was a wonderful evening though and full of laughs.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

The Getaway Plan

After a delayed beginning, our honeymoon will consist of three acts.

Act I
Our honeymoon will begin on August 18 at the Download Festival in Boston, Mass. At this show we will pay witness to some truly fabulous music including. but not limited to: Modest Mouse, Wolf Parade, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Neko Case and Band of Horses.

Act II

After being rocked by the amazing lineup at Download, we will be rocked by waves of the Atlantic as we pursue whales and puffins on a whale watching trip out of Bar Harbor.


Following our adventures on the high seas, we will head further north, to Fundy National Park, in New Brunswick. While we are there, we will forgo many of the amenities normally associated with honeymoons and embrace nature. We plan to do a little back country camping, canoing/kayaking and lots and lots of hiking.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Invitations, Vol. 2: Green Card

Since we are tree huggers and eco-conscious we decided to forgo traditional paper-laden invitations and create earth-friendly digital invitations to our pre-wedding celebration. So, here's the information in tree saving format:

Friday, June 8, 2007

The Story

While looking through past blog postings, I realized that I never actually told the story of how Chris proposed (and since I was just asked the other day, I figured I would share here as well). The story itself is kind of funny and completely resembles our lives.

It all started on Christmas Eve day when Chris and I were driving around Ogallala so that I could get a feel for where he grew up and hear some of the crazy stories about when he was younger. We went to Lake McConaughy, to the the park to look at eagles, to one of the numerous recreational areas, and then started making our way out to one of the beaches where he would run for cross country practice. On the trip to the beach we managed to get stuck in snow, hence his plan to propose was foiled. Granted, I did not know this at the time, (but even if he had asked while we were pushing the car I would have said yes).

His next plan was also foiled. When I moved to Maine in January he had plans of asking me after I arrived. However, in my excitement to see him again, I got into town a good number of hours earlier than he had expected me. While I can blame nature for Decembers events, I ruined his plans the second time around.

As the saying goes, the third time is the charm. Our one year anniversary was in January and so he had plans to ask me then. The only problem was it was my first day of work at a new job and he had to work late. So, while the plans were in the works, he decided not to wait any longer and allow our ever-changing lives to interfere again. On January 21 while we were talking he just went with the flow of conversation and asked me then and there. It was the perfect way to end the day and it was the best proposal I could imagine due the the sincerity of it all. It means much more to me than any big show of a proposal could have.

So there you have it, the story of how we got to where we are today (and of how our lives are crazy - even when we try to make plans!)

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

In the mail...or email as the case may be!

It's official. The invitations have gone out and R.S.V.P.s have been making their way to our email and voicemail over the past couple of weeks. If you have not received one, my deepest apologies, but we are trying to keep our wedding as small as possible. However, for that group of you who we have managed to keep in touch with after crazy years of service with AmeriCorps, keep an eye out for an email from us in the coming weeks as we want to celebrate with you as well! I'll get to that later though!

So, after getting a couple of questions from family about our invitations, I decided that maybe a little explanation was in order. First off, Chris and I decided that we didn't want to do the whole formal invitation thing as we aren't exactly the most formal people on earth. Plus, we want to have a day that is fun for everyone and though the invitations would get things started on the right foot. Secondly, we didn't want our invitations to just be another one that people looked at to get the date and never looked at again. Pretty much what happened next was Chris sat at his computer for hours on end while I played around online and checked out his progress on occasion. He created this wonderful masterpiece and I hit the order button online. I think it was an equal effort if ever there was one!

OK, back to the explanation part. Questions have come my way about the objects on our invites. I think the two of us is pretty self-explanatory. The rest of the pairs are too, for the most part. The running shoes represent how we spent much of our time when we first met (aside from training that is). We would finish a day of sitting inside by running a couple of miles around Perry Point. The wine and glasses speak for themselves, the bottle is from our first vacation together last summer. Our iPods come together with our love of music. The magazines are ones that we have been subscribing to and represent a bit of our individual personalities. The one that I have really gotten questions about are the stuffed animals. For those of you who were part of Class XII it probably makes a little more sense, but for the rest of you. The monkey is representative of my year with the Fire Monkeys (widely known as Fire 6). The goat is for Chris' team, the Dirty Dozen (or Fire 2) and their experiences in the sunny south with a goat that was pretty tough and became a mascot for the remainder of the year.

So, that's a little bit about us as what went into the invitations that got sent in the mail.

Now, for those of you that I told to keep an eye out for an email here's the deal. In our desire to celebrate with those of you who have had an impact on our lives over the past several years we decided to throw a party. So in the coming weeks Chris has plans of finalizing some pretty sweet digital invites and get them flying through cyberspace. (Plus, email is environmentally friendly!)

And now I leave you with hopes of seeing you this summer...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

It's like spinning around in circles until you fall down...

That's how excited we are that the wedding is now only 3 months away!

We have been getting things in order, such as who is wearing what, who will be invited, and what we are going to eat. So many plans, and really, now that I look at it, so little time! There are flowers to be ordered, cakes to be decided upon and invitations to put in the mail.

We have also been trying to get buff for the big day. No, not doing the typical gym routine, but through exploring the wonderful area that we live in. We have frequented Camden Hills State Park in the past couple of weeks, ever since the sun started to shine and the fresh buds of spring began revealing themselves in the trees. Spending several long afternoons outdoors has led us on some new adventures that are not wedding related, but have definitely left us sore in the end, letting us know that on August 11 we will not be struggling to make the walk down the aisle (or beach, depending on how you look at it), and that we'll be looking good while doing it (we'll be wearing some pretty snazzy threads too!).

Now, just so you can get a feel for what we have been doing, I think the best quote from last weekend's hike was "Next time we take the trail, but today we've got a story to tell...". These words came out of Chris' mouth as we were traveling through a bog in order to cut from one trail to the next without needing to walk along the unappealing "multi-purpose"trail. Because really, who wants to walk down a gravel path when you can enjoy nature while leaping from root to
root? We discovered that Gor-Tex is only good in water that is lower than your boots are high, that compasses really do work, and that if you are determined enough you can make your way through water logged land and stay relatively dry! The rest of the day consisted of us hiking towards views of the ocean and then chasing the sunset as we turned around and headed west towards the car and the cliff from which we would try to capture the moment.

So, needless to say our lives consist of one big adventure followed by another. And of course, all of those smaller ones that are guiding us towards the big day this summer!