Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sixty years ago today, I hit the Sister Jackpot!

Sixty years ago today, my sister was born. For a while, we didn't know what to make of each other.

Apparently, we spent a lot of time posing for pictures with my mother!

And with my dad, too.

I think we had a pretty typical older sister-younger sister childhood, a mix of harmony and
discord and sometimes just plain disinterest. A few years after I left home for college, Marce spent a year in Sweden as an exchange student. We never lived at home together again.

But as we grew older, we found that life events, like graduations, brought us together.

Like Marce's graduation from Penn State (Phi Beta Kappa!) in 1980;

And Marce's daughter-in-law, Ericka's PhD from Pitt.

There were times when we didn't live near each other; and a few years when we weren't even on the same continent! But we managed to spend time together even then.

Dave and I visited Marce when she lived in West Berlin in the early '80s.
The Brandenburg Gate was off limits in the Western Sector of the city.

Gradually, our family grew with the addition of Marce's son, Drew, and my daughter, Emily, and then Marce's marriage to Jack, and Drew's marriage to Ericka.

So we did things together as a family.

like a trip to Kennywood Amusement Park.

Now that our children are grown, we have more adult time....

for visiting museums (I'm behind the camera..........)

running--well, walking REALLY fast--a 5K with Emily and Ericka....

cooking together (even decorating Drew's and Ericka's wedding cake......)

enjoying espresso at La Prima in Pittsburgh.................

and sharing dessert at the Freelance Cafe in Piermont, NY........

But no matter where we are, together or apart, I know I can count on my sister for solace when I am sad, for honest (and tactful ;->) critiques of my cooking and baking and quilting, for a hug when I need one, for the word I've lost when I'm trying to tell one of my endless stories (and the patience to listen to them with all the digressions,) for wise counsel on almost anything, for great jewelry (notice our necklaces she made,) for reminders of our shared histories, for laughter and witty banter whenever we are together (or Skyping or talking on the phone or even texting.)

So Happy Birthday, Marce! I hope we are able to celebrate many more of life's occasions together. When you were born, I truly did hit the Sister Jackpot!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Our Easternmost Adventure

In June, we spent a week in Lubec, Maine, sharing a rented house with three of our longtime friends. Lubec is a coastal town in Downeast Maine, and is the easternmost town on the continental US. Dave, our friend Marge and I drove to Lubec; Bob and Monica flew in from Mississippi.
We took our time driving up and stayed overnight at the Kennebec Inn in Bath, where we had lovely rooms and a really delicious breakfast the next day. Staying in Bath gave us the chance to have dinner with my college roommate, Peg, and her husband Chris.

Peg is a school librarian (who knew we would have similar careers?) and a photographer; Chris is a cabinet maker, which doesn't begin to reflect the magic he performs on pieces of cherry.
We visited them at their home(and Chris' workshop) the next morning before continuing on to Lubec.

Here I am with my two Margarets: Peg and Marge.
Peg and I are sparing you the musical renditions of our Alma Mater and other college songs!

The house we rented in Lubec was in town on a hill overlooking Johnson Bay. The view was spectacular, and we were lucky enough to have a week of perfect weather, good for exploring and for eating and hanging out on the deck.

This little plot of lupines was just out our front door. After many years of reading Barbara Cooney's Miss Rumphius to my students, I was happy to see lupines in person. I brought some seeds home, too, so I could have some lupines in NJ.

We spent the week enjoying lighthouses and lobster; a trip over the bridge to Campobello Island, Canada, where FDR's family vacationed and where he was diagnosed with polio; and just relaxing together, something the five of us don't get to do very often.

Mulholland Light on Campobello Island

West Quoddy Light in Lubec
(Despite the name, it's the easternmost lighthouse in the US because
East Quoddy Light is in Canada, on Campobello Island.)

East Quoddy Light

This is the life!

Our first night's dinner had to be lobster.....

And lobster rolls at the New Friendly Restaurant in Eastport were so good we went twice!

Dave and Bob were very happy to discover Cap'n Vinny's Bold Coast Smokehouse where they bought smoked salmon, smoked mussels, smoked everything and Marge and Monica and I were equally happy to find Monica's Chocolates (no relation, lol.) We all took home edible souvenirs. Yum!

At the end of the week, we said goodbye to Bob and Monica and headed back to NJ. On the way home, we stopped in at Dot's in Lincolnville to have lunch with my cousin Carole who lives in Camden. Carole and I don't get to see each other very often. (Thank goodness for Facebook!) We had a lovely visit which was much too short. ( A couple of weeks later, my cousin Linda and her family vacationed in Maine and met Carole at Dot's for lunch. It's getting to be a tradition!)

Carole and me at Dot's

I took some some hand sewing with me, but I never even took it out of the bag. And I think this is the first trip in a long time during which I haven't stopped in any quilt stores! But even though it was fabric-less this trip was a success in every way: friends, family, scenery, weather, food and relaxation. That is the perfect vacation.