Saturday, June 27, 2020

A Day on a Lake in Maine





JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: If you were at the blog this past Sunday, you got to see the delicious dinner my family had at Celia and Victor Wakefield's. Today, I thought I'd show you some of the rest of the day. Maine's lakes are truly magical, and if you can't get to one this year, as so many can't, you can at least experience one vicariously. (The fact this give me a chance to show off my beautiful daughters is just incidental.




Here are Youngest and the Maine Millennial taking a very small amount of sun at the end of the dock. We all slather on 50 SPF, and I hope you do the same when you're outdoors!






After I took the picture above, they began singing, "Sisters, Sisters" from White Christmas. You may know the lyrics: "Never were there such devoted sisters; When a certain gentleman arrived from Rome, she wore the dress, and I stayed home!"



Youngest and Guest Son, her friend from university who's living with us (and being the most amazing help around my ridiculously large and overgrown property.) This picture of them on the paddleboard is deceiving - there was a lot of shrieking, splashing, and falling off happening between photo shoots.



Here's a 12-second film clip I took to send to the Sailor, stuck in Norfolk, VA for the foreseeable future. The Department of Defense is being very restrictive for active duty military - no traveling further than 150 miles from base, no crowds of more than 10 people, no going into bars, restaurants, etc. It makes for a rather straitened life, but I'm glad for it. He just found out his command is allowing family to visit without quarantining, so we're hoping to go down and see him near the end of July. I wonder how few rest stops we can manage?




Guest Son on the paddleboard. I honestly think Youngest might have snapped and done away with the Maine Millennial and me à la Lizzie Borden if not for having a friend and co-conspirator here.



It's a good thing to grow up in Maine.



 After five o'clock there are adult beverages for the adults, and ginger ale and seltzer for the non-drinkers. I had a Pimm's in a sturdy mason jar. It felt extremely Instagrammable, and since I now actually have an Insta account, I slapped it up there!


Photo by Celia Wakefield
The best way to end a long, active day - visiting with friends as the sun slips behind the trees. Knowing we had those sesame noodles waiting for us made it a lot easier to climb up the hill to the house.

How about you, dear readers? Are you finding some special spots to escape to during this long, strange summer?  

65 comments:

  1. These are lovely, Julia . . . thanks for sharing.

    We don’t do much escaping, but the deer wander by to visit [and the turkeys have been absent], so we’ve had a chance to smell the flowers and enjoy the quiet . . . .

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    1. Just yesterday I was wondering why I haven't seen any turkeys for the longest time! Their eggs must have hatched by now and there should be little ones all over!

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    2. Few turkeys here as well, Joan and Judi. Now I'm wondering if all that "nature has returned" stuff means the coyotes are moving in and taking them! I can't imagine any smaller predator bothering them - wild turkeys are fierce.

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  2. Wonderful pictures of the beautiful lake and your beautiful daughters, Julia! And, the boy looks like he’s having a good time, too.

    We haven’t been doing any escaping, but we did drive over to my daughter’s in Indiana, an hour away, this past Wednesday to take her a piece of furniture and to pick up the family pug to keep while they go to the lake for a few days. And, we’re enjoying our birds that visit our yard. I’m looking at plans to fix our back screened-in porch like I want it, so we can eventually have it as the peaceful escape I’m dreaming of.

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    1. I suspect there are a LOT of us doing/planning/dreaming about improvements to our homes, Kathy. There's nothing like being in the house 24/7 for close to four months to focus your attention on what you want to change about it.

      Hopefully the same isn't true about spouses! ;-)

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  3. Absolutely beautiful. Wish I could whisk myself away there for a few hours in person.

    Thanks for sharing.

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    1. My pleasure, Mark. We're all very cognizant of how lucky we are to 1) have such good friends who are 2) quarantined as much as we are and who 3) live on a lake.

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  4. I’m glad Sailor is able to get out and do things. Adrian left for basic in April. Then straight to Ft Sam for advanced training. No visitors and no leaving the fort. I understand. Ft Sam is a huge medical facility. He’ll be done in August and home again. I expect a trip to Palestine, TX in a week or so as Frank finishes up and the trailer is habitable with power and water and all that good stuff.

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    1. Pat, my husband trained in that area, at Lackland AFB, now, of course, part of Joint Base San Antonio (a designation I don't think anyone except the higher-ups refer to the Fort/Bases as that though.)

      Is Adrian training to be a medic?

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    2. I remember when SA had 5 AFBs plus Ft Sam! Ancient history. Frank spent a little time at Ft Sam recuperating from Vietnam.
      Adrian is now in the Reserves and training in dental technology. Not sure what that entails. After being an Army mechanic in Germany and Kosovo and then Cavalry Scout in Iraq he has picked a job that does not entail being shot at or blown up. Hooray!

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  5. Thanks for sharing the family time at the lake, Julia. I can almost taste the Pimms from here.

    No real escaping here (yet) from Ottawa except via summer food. So, after listening to Hank read another great book on Thursday, I dashed across town to get the best LOBSTER ROLL in Ottawa. it is a time-limited menu item. Sadly they sold out by 12:30 on the first day last week, so I was determined to get my fix. The lobster roll was a small solace from getting the real deal at a lobster shack in Maine or PEI.

    It is really weird NOT being able to go to Montreal (2 hour drive/train ride) for a summer getaway. Some summers I also either went to Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island (PEI) for vacation but all 4 Atlantic Provinces have closed off the borders to non-residents since the pandemic began. They are starting up a regional travel bubble next week and may open up the borders to non-residents later on in the summer if they can control any surge in new COVID-19 cases.

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    1. I love lobster rollls and try to grab some at least once or twice every summer. A real pleasure !

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    2. Same with me, Danielle. I get at least one lobster roll each summer for a treat. These lobsters came from Matane QC (Gaspe Peninsula). It was so good... I understand why the restaurant sold out so quickly last week!

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    3. I feel you, Grace - lobster rolls are one of my favorite once-a-summer treat, but they are EXTREMELY, shall we say, time sensitive. Good on the Provinces for holding their borders - we're still closed to visitors here in Maine (you can come, but you must self-quarantine everyone in your party for 14 days.) Our governor is under a lot of pressure from the tourism industry trade groups, but she's hold firm so far, and I think she's right to do so, as painful as it is for our economy.

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    4. I wish California would impose something similar. The surge in cases in Southern California was mainly caused by out of state tourists from Texas and Arizona. Texas and Florida have become like third world countries. All the large companies in Silicon Valley have travel bans for Texas and Florida.

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    5. Julia, same here for the Atlantic Premiers getting pressure to open up their borders for the summer tourist season to outsiders. But they have held firm on their TOTAL closure. Several Atlantic provinces have had NO new cases for over 1 month so they are going to try their regional travel bubble next week without any quarantines first. We will be watching for sure.

      And yes, the availability of lobster rolls is VERY TIME SENSITIVE here as well. Hence, the mad scramble to get my fix. They sold out of all lobster rolls in 1 hour last week but I was successful last Thursday.

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  6. Every year, when the Texas temps climb into the upper 90s, I tell myself I need a week in Maine. I haven't made it there yet, but I will. The notion of sitting on a dock, just looking at the lake--no paddle board required--can ease my blood pressure down a notch or two.

    In the meantime, it's not so bad here in Texas, at least before noon. Yesterday I went out to get the paper (yes, I still get those) and wound up sitting on my front step for the better part of an hour. It was shady. My garden was blooming all around me, and there was a brisk breeze out of the south, making the air feel soft rather than oppressively humid. My gardening goal is to create oasis spaces all around my house, so I can have more moments like that to sit and enjoy the outdoors.

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    1. A well-planned garden/landscaping can make such a difference in our ability to enjoy the outdoors, Gigi. I remember visiting a garden in Alabama - I think it was associated with an historic house, but I can't recall which - and was amazed at how nice it was to be out of doors, which is NOT always a thing you can say in Alabama in the summer! It had been sited to take advantage of prevailing winds, and had several deeply shaded benches in arbors from where you could look out onto flowerbeds in the sun.Even the flowers were in cooler colors, which made the whole place more refreshing.

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  7. I love Maine lakes! Those pictures are a delight. Also, please tell Celia I made her sesame noodles (I used soba noodles) last week and they were delicious.

    My deck is pretty nice, with a huge antique dogwood to look into (which also kindly shields us from the neighbors, as is the shade on the ground under the tree. We visited with friends on their deck on Plum Island last week, too. I know they have been careful, but we probably didn't distance quite enough, and I think we'll need to rein in the (very strong) urge to visit with friends in person.

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    1. I hear you, Edith. It's easy enough to keep six feet away from strangers, but it's so easy to inch closer to friends...

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  8. So far, we've had just one overnight trip to our cottage on Lake Winnipeg, but will soon head up there for a stretch during my vacation. We don't have a dock, just a giant rock from which I can launch my paddle board -- when the lake is calm enough. Because it is shallow relative to its size (think inland ocean or Great Lake size), it is often too rough for paddle boarding. When that is the case, I love being in the shore-side gazebo and listening to the waves, the wind and the bird song. If I'm lucky, a Bald Eagle will fly overhead. Now, that's a summer break!

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    1. The cottage sounds lovely, Amanda. I do miss living near a Great Lake. I lived for 4 years in Burlington ON which is on the western tip of Lake Ontario. Both my apartment and workplace where located right on the water, so I took advantage of Nature's best air conditioning system in the summer.

      Oddly, although Toronto is also on the shore of Lake Ontario, my family home was located the farthest north end you could be and still officially live in Toronto. So I have very few Lake Ontario childhood memories.

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    2. Your cottage seems to be the perfect place for vacationing.
      I love being near the water : river, lake or ocean. Looking the light reflecting on the water or the birds or the waves.
      Water affects me positively.

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    3. I live ten minutes from Lake Ontario, but we don't get there often, and in these times, not at all. But oh how I love looking at water.

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    4. Agreed about the water. Magical, really. When my mum spends time with us at the cottage, she always spends hours just enjoying the sound of the water against the rocky shore or, if there's no wind to make the water dance, then just looking at the water. It is so relaxing, and so different from what she can see from her downtown apartment.

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    5. Water is very soothing for sure. I plan to sit and relax along the various river parks soon now that we entered Phase 2. In Phase 1, all Ottawa parks had been WALKTHROUGH ONLY from April to early June. No stopping to rest or relax on the riverside benches, or you could get a hefty bylaw fine of $800-1200!

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    6. Wow, Grace: that is a hefty fine indeed. I hope it did, in fact, deter people. And, further, I hope that Phase 2 goes well in Ottawa. Fingers crossed! Enjoy the river parks on lovely summer days...

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  9. Julia, I saw the photo of your daughters on Instagram, and thought it needed to be a painting. It's a different dynamic, too, for adult siblings, and I wondered if their relationship has changed quite a bit this year. One of the best days of my life was the one when my middle daughter told me her (previously bratty) younger sister was her best friend.

    I've been doing a lot of quality porch sitting. One of my husband's requirements for this house was a good porch, front and back (originally he wanted wraparound porches, but these are better). They are deep enough and with a big enough overhang to protect from almost all weather, and one has a ceiling fan. Both have commanding views of the ever-evolving yards. Last night we sat for awhile after dinner, marveling at how much the newly planted flowers had grown, and how many bees and other wildlife were feasting in the yard. Birds came to the birdpath, and a bunny ventured out from under the wild blackberry patch.

    And there's a mama doe hanging out in a small copse out by the road. We're 99% sure she has a fawn stashed in there, but we haven't seen it yet. Life is good. As long as she and the bunny leave my peas and beans and tomatoes alone. Ha.

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    1. As if, Karen, LOL! I'm surprised the bunny hasn't decimate the peas and beans yet. Better get that fence built, if you haven't already. ;^)

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    2. Karen: My house fantasy includes the kind of porches you describe having. What a splendid thing to be able to do -- sit out, in all weather, and watch the outdoor life bloom and blossom in front of your eyes. Enjoy!

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    3. Karen, I agree with Edith that it is only a matter of time before the does and bunnies come to munch away!

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    4. Karen, your garden sounds more scenic than ours, at least when it comes to mammals. We have plentiful birds, bees and butterflies, but instead of charming-looking bunnies or fawns, we have the world's largest ground hog, a porcupine who loves my climbing roses and a fox family (lovely) whose father screams for hours each night to establish his territory (not at all lovely.)

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    5. Nothing more raucous than a fox! Although they are so beautiful.

      Amanda, we waited a long time for these porches. They were a high priority item.

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  10. We have a lovely screened porch and too many flower beds filled with weeds. Our usual dog walking route is along the edge of the municipal golf course. We're healthy and safe, though with the current spike in new cases, swimming pools are definitely off limits. Envy your access to a lake!

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    1. Magaret, it's sort of ironic, because we live a stone's throw away from the Saco River, less than a half-mile walk to a lovely small town park with access to a shallow beach-like area with excellent swimming. Most summers, it's fairly sparsely populated, but nowadays, it's jammed every warm day, so we're staying away.

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  11. Julia, thank you for the photos--I've been longing for a getaway to a lake somewhere--perfect timing! My getaway spot is in my yard--I have a canopied swing which I moved from its traditional spot on the back patio to a very large flowerbed. I can sit there or lie down--the back lets down to make a daybed--and enjoy the flowers, the birdsong, the warm air, the occasional white-tailed bunny.

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    1. Flora, that sounds absolutely heavenly. Just add a cold glass of lemonade and a book, and I'd stay in a spot like that all day.

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  12. Years ago we had a place on Sacandaga Lake in the Adirondacks but I haven't been there in ages. Been even longer since I've been to Maine, which I miss. However my house is in a beautiful secluded and peaceful place, totally private when the leaves are on, like now.

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    1. Judi, I love the lakes in the Adirondacks. And please come and visit us here in Maine when we reopen!

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  13. Beautiful pictures of your daughters and of the lake and, I'm sure, a good souvenir of a charming day.
    I thought how zen it was when I saw the two younger face to face on the water and then laughed when I read what you wrote. Pictures can also be deceiving.
    Maine's lakes look a lot like Quebec's lakes, beautiful and peaceful places.
    I don't feel the urge to escape right now. I love my little home in the country.

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    1. Taking my daily walk, I saw a deer this morning.

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    2. Danielle: Your "little home in the country" sounds lovely, and seeing deer on a morning walk is always a treat. The most wildlife I see in the city is squirrels and bunnies.

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    3. I agree with Amanda, Danielle. Every time you write about your country home, it sounds so pleasant and charming.

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  14. Ah, Maine! My daughter and her family are in Maine not far from you, Julia, on Peaks Island. A refuge from Brooklyn. Both parents STILL working and kids underfoot, but everyone able to breathe and go outside...

    My refuge is my garden. My husband combines walking and birding with a trip to our beautiful local cemetery, 102 acres started in 1672. Our local beaches are too crowded now to walk and keep social distanced.

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    1. Old cemeteries are always places I like to explore, even though ours around here aren't nearly as old as yours. They are usually shady, quiet, and crammed with things to speculate about.

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    2. Cemetery walking is a wonderful idea, Hallie, and I may take up the idea with the kids. It strikes me as a place that's much less likely to attract crowds or at least, crowds not wearing masks.

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  15. No escaping this year, except to my deck. Early mornings are best for bird-watching and checking out the other wildlife. I'm always amazed at the diversity here in the middle of town.

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  16. We aren't going anywhere here in L.A. (Lower Alabama). It's oppressively hot and humid and the Gulf is way too crowded with people who are not social distancing. And now we also have the Saharan Dust! You can see the sand in the bird feeder tray, so breathing outside is iffy. It's the plagues of Pharoah! I guess we'll have frogs and snakes next.

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    1. Watch out for the rivers of blood, Mary!

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  17. Good morning! My boyfriend loves Pimms. I thought it was like the English version of the Spanish sangria?

    Maine looks so beautiful. I've only been to the Portland airport. My plane was enroute to New Hampshire and it stopped in Maine on the way. And it was in late January! Someone on Instagram was very happy because this person is a big fan of yours and you started following their account.

    Places of escape? Not really. We venture outside to go for a walk and yes, we always wear masks. There is a spike in the increasing cases of COVID-19 here in California. Right now it looks like Maine has very few cases of the virus cases and I hope it stays that way!

    Stay safe, everyone!

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    1. Thanks, Diana. Yes, Maine is beautiful (although a great deal more challenging in January) and I hope you come and visit us some day!

      We've had a pretty strict lockdown, which helps keep our cases down, but also, we have the benefit of being a rural state with a population of just over a million. California's done practically everything right, but with a population larger than Canada, it's almost inevitable you're going to have tough, persistent outbreaks.

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  18. Perfect day, Julia. I really miss my usual summer in Europe but Marin County is not a bad place to be hunkered down

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    1. Rhys, I've been loving the pictures you put up on Instagram from your walks around there!

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  19. Lovely, Julia - and so nice to catch up with youngest and the Millennial. Glad that you will be able to visit the Sailor late next month, and glad that he is in Norfolk for the while.

    Hubs and I are returning to Maine mid-July (COVID-19 restrictions willing-we're renting an RV for the trip) after a 9 year absence. We have a home in the Crown of Maine and we are eager to get back. The slogan is so true - Maine, the way life should be.

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    1. Yay! We'll be glad to have you, Kait. Yes, the restrictions are easing somewhat for summer folks - you have to test negatively for the coronovirus no less that, I think, 24-48 hours before arriving, and then self quarantine for 76 hours.

      Our biggest advantage right now in Maine - aside from the lovely summer weather - is our numbers. We're the twelfth least populated state in the union (going by square footage) and there are so many places you can be outdoors without bumping into other folks.

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  20. Thank you for sharing your Maine pictures and the quick video. I agree with everyone here that being out in nature — especially on water— can be soothing to the soul. And at this point, any change of venue can feel rejuvenating. Some friends loaned my husband and I their Cape Cod cottage a couple weeks ago for 5 days and it was AMAZING. We walked on the beach, we biked, we hiked and my mood lifted so much. I have been fantasizing about people doing house exchanges just to go somewhere different for a few days. Like the rats in the famous experiment, any neutral change can elicit a positive response.

    I love that you have a Guest Son staying. It totally changes the dynamic, doesn’t it? The usual patterns of communication are disrupted, which can be a very good thing!

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    1. Leslie, it really is. As the Maine Millennial said, "He doesn't know all our jokes, and he says things we haven't already said to each other a hundred times before."

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  21. So peaceful and fantastic… Sometimes being forced to stay home brings out those everyday wonderful things… And makes them seem all the more precious! You have a whole treasure trove of precious! So gorgeous!

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    1. We're definitely lucky, Hank.

      And I'm thinking once the ducks have vacated, this might be the summer you get back into the pool!

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  22. Julia, I absolutely love the photos of your girls, and I totally think that the one of them from the back should be a painting. Is that Celia's husband sitting on the bench with you? All in all, it looks like it was a blissful day.

    No getaways here, I'm afraid. My escape is my garden. Temps have been relatively cool after that awful week the end of May (upper 80s, low 90s) so the deck and patio are lovely in the mornings. And walking the dogs in the morning, if I can get out early enough, does wonders for all three of us.

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    1. Debs, yes, that's Victor.

      The Maine Millennial takes her dog walking about three times daily, and it's been great for her mental (and physical) health. We've all noticed getting time alone, somewhere in the environs of the house or outside, is important to keep everyone happy and the group well-balanced. So taking the dogs out for a walk may eb doing wonders for Rick as well!

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  23. No getaways planned for the near or distant future. My grandparents in Washington state had a "cabin" on a lake outside Shelton, that we would visit once in while. Our family joke was that it would start raining as we crossed the Columbia so would rain at least once when we went to the lake. My last trip was more than 30 years ago but I still remember the quiet. Of course the weekends weren't as quiet with the skiers but was still nice to be away.

    As much as I dislike this apartment, the complex has beautiful mature trees. I've been waking up to doves cooing this past week, which is much more relaxing than the bottle rockets that have been set off for the last ten or more nights.

    Julia, your pictures are lovely. You are gifted to have such wonderful friends to share their waterside with your family.

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    1. Deana, I really am, and I'm grateful for it. One thing I've noticed about this shut down - we all seem to have heightened our appreciation of the small pleasures, particularly around nature. I hear the birds sing, or see a storm moving in, and it seems like so much more of an event than it used to.

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  24. That looks absolutely heavenly. I have been working a lot in my yard,trying to make it feel more like an oasis since we're trying not to travel.

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