Veteran's Day

The girls' school holds the nicest Veteran's Day assembly each year.  The kids gather and sing patriotic songs and put together a slideshow with pictures sent in by local veterans.  They also make cards to hand out to the attending veterans thanking them for their service.  It's such a special time and always leaves me in tears.  Even though Doug was unable to attend last year, we sent his picture in, and Anna got to stand up when the photo of Daddy appeared on screen.  He was able to be there this year and attended in uniform.  I decided to send in a picture of myself this year also.  I didn't realize how few pictures I had of myself in uniform, or for that matter how poor they were, until I started to go through our albums.  The girls didn't seem to care though as they proudly stood up for both Daddy and Mommy.

There were a lot of WWII veterans there and it was so nice to see them being honored by this younger generation.  There was a nice gentleman sitting next to us who spoke with Doug through most of the assembly.  When Doug left near the end to take Jacob out, the former submariner slid over next to me and said, "So, Jennifer, you were in the Air Force also?" (I'm not sure where he got Jennifer from as the slide show listed me as "Anna Kleist, mother to Anna and Lauren"...it was apparently a tough day for names).  I told him I was.  He was very polite, asked me if I had been a pilot also, and then told me he had been on submarines in the Navy.  I told him I had had the opportunity many years ago while deployed to tour a nuclear sub.  Now, I should stop for a moment and say that whenever I have the opportunity to speak with an older gentleman about the military, it invariably comes up that they are unsure/opposed/unhappy about the idea of women in the military.  I thought this might be the first time it didn't happen....I thought it might not...but it did.  He began to talk about all the trouble women on a sub were going to cause.  I found an opportunity, thanked him for his service to our country, and politely slipped away.

 In the meantime the children, on their way out, had been bringing us their handmade cards.  Oh my goodness, they were the sweetest, most wonderful gifts.  I wish every single veteran could have at least one of those cards on Veteran's Day.  I'm so proud of our students, our school, their patriotism and their tribute to those men  AND women who have served.  Here are a few pictures from our day.

Waiting for the assembly to start.  Jacob is currently obsessed with "choo-choos".

Lauren is sitting on the left of the group of children closest to the bleachers.  You may notice she's wearing dogtags (they're mine).  She wanted to wear the USA shirt that Anna is wearing.  I had to give her something special so she would agree to wear a dress (they were supposed to wear red,white, and blue and we're a little short on red).  She kept saying she wanted a badge, and I think she meant a squadron patch.  She seemed very happy with the dogtags though and put the dress on without a complaint.

 Singing "All American, Me and You."

The children waving the cards they had made for the veterans during one of the songs.

Thanks so much to the wonderful teachers, parents, and students for putting together such a fabulous morning.  It was really special.


Maine, Day 5

Almost done with the travel photos, guys. Just bear me with me for one more day!
We left Bangor on our way to Portland and stopped in Gardiner at the A1 Diner for breakfast.  Again, super interesting history in this little diner sitting on stilts, with 40's music playing in the background and THE nicest folks running the place.

Take a moment to read what's on the daily menu in the shot below.  Not what I would expect for diner food.  I took a look at their FB page the other day and this was the post " Here's a little of what we're serving up at the A1 tonight ... Carrot & rutabaga soup, Creole beans and rice, Chicken & sausage jambalaya , Gorgonzola risotto cakes w/ grilled portobello mushrooms, Russian chocolate torte and Pumpkin caramel pudding. What are you doing for dinner tonight ?"  Hmmm (mouth watering here).  Needless to say I was very impressed.

This corned beef hash was the best hash I've ever eaten in my life, made with potatoes, celery, parsley and who knows what else...just delicious.

Added to the hash, a plate of banana-almond french toast...heaven.

Can't forget the homemade grilled biscuits.

We finally arrived in Portland and really liked it there.

I enjoyed seeing both sides of Portland, the old and the new.  Here's a bit of the new...

Compared to a bit of the old. This is the backside of the  Harbor Fish Market area.

We were invited into the New Meadow Lobster Company to look around and take a few pictures.  Check out the size of that claw.

The owner was very nice and told us a story about these lobsters that are naturally of a redder color even before being cooked.  A friend of his took one and put it in the freezer for a bit and then stuck it, surrounded by fries, on the plate of an old classmate who was in town visiting.  When the friend went to touch the lobster, it popped back to life.  The lady at the next table over started screaming and wouldn't stop.  I guess they eventually paid for her dinner, drinks, and dessert to try and help calm her back down.

Back to the front side of the fish market...

We drove out to the Portland Head Lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth.  There was a man sitting near the gift shop with a picture he had taken of the huge waves crashing into the lighthouse during the "perfect storm" that occurred near here.  It's the same storm (the remnants of Hurricane Grace) that inspired the movie with George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg.

We decided to have a late lunch/early dinner back in Portland and ate at Bull Feeney's.  We had hand cut pub fries with curry mayo, a hot crab dip, and lamb chili.  Well, that's what I had.  Doug of course had lobster, this time in a caesar salad.  He kept me in stitches.  He would have eaten lobster morning, noon, and night if possible.  I'd been seeing Maine's "wicked" whoopie pies all over the place.  Since it was our last day, I thought I couldn't leave without at least trying one.  It was absolutely delicious, or should I say, "It was wicked, ayuh."


Maine, Day 4

We had planned to spend the entire day in Acadia but as we had been so impressed with the beauty and ambience in the smaller coastal towns, we decided to divert into another small village we'd read about called Castine.  I didn't get many shots but it was a really special place, so much history around every corner.  It's also home to the Marine Maritime Academy and there were young sailors in uniform throughout the town.

We got such a kick out of our GPS on this trip.  We had plugged in Bar Harbor as our next destination.  The GPS took us right into Bar Harbor, right through Bar Harbor, right out of Bar Harbor, had us turn on a dead-end road and brought us to a stop next to a barren field by saying, "Arriving in Bar Harbor, on right".  We just had to laugh.  We turned around and drove back into Bar Harbor but only stayed long enough for a few pictures as there was a cruise ship off the coast and the town was quite busy.

From Bar Harbor, we drove into Acadia National Park and spent the rest of the morning being blown away by the beauty of the area.

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