I think it's a fair indication of how much I needed a vacation that I left two posts about my deodorant difficulties up for ten days and thought nothing of it...what a treat for folks visiting my blog for the first time! (I'll have to check Statcounter to see if I got any hits from people Googling The Secret who found themselves in the midst of my Ocean Breeze/Glacier Mist dilemma).
Anyway...vacation was AMAZING. What a week. I woke up in Chicago Sunday morning, flew to Boston, then Steve and I drove further north into the woods of Maine than I ever thought possible.
My sister and her husband (both of whom are much more nature-savvy than I am; they even registered at L.L. Bean for their wedding...) found a house to rent on Mooselookmeguntic Lake. And yes, it took me the better part of the week to figure out how to pronounce it. The area is known for beautiful sights, scenic hikes, and amazing waterways, all of which recalibrated my inner world into a much more balanced place. We spent hours floating around on Styrofoam noodles, looking up at mountains and miles of ice-blue sky (my sister and I also worked hard on our synchronized noodle-swimming routine, but that will remain our little secret until someone in the family learns to use Youtube).
But the big fun in Mooselookmeguntic - the wild nightlife, so to speak - is, as the name implies, moose-looking. (Or, as my four-year old niece says, mooth-looking. I made her say it over and over again, just because it made me smile). Now, we were nothing if not dedicated mooth-lookers. The journal in the cabin we rented told amazing tales of people who had seen 8, 10, even 12 moose in their visit; my humble goal was to see just one. (EVERYONE in my family has seen a moose, except for me. My father even saw one once on the golf course). We drove for miles up and down back roads, country roads, dirt roads... And yet for all our efforts, we saw nothing. It got to be a running joke, as we wondered if perhaps the Moose were attending a convention in New Hampshire?
My sister took this picture of me towards the end of one of these trips, where the closest we came to encountering nature was when I made her pull over so I could pee. (The term "scenic overlook" has new meaning in our family). At one point we thought we saw a bald eagle circling above us, but then Meg said, "Oh. Hmm. No - that's a turkey vulture." A turkey vulture. "I bet it's preying on our dying hope..."
That night, Meg and her husband went out to dinner. Steve and I had just put the young-uns to bed when we heard tires screeching into the driveway, and my sister flying up the stairs. "Come on!" She yelled frantically, "There's a moose!" "Let me get my shoes," Steve said. "No shoes!" Meg said, herding us into the X-Terra, "There's no time!" We jumped, barefoot, into the truck (leaving my brother-in-law standing in the yard holding two cartons of leftovers) and Meg took off down the road. And there, standing in a ditch munching grass, looking a bit bewildered by the headlights and semi-hysterical squeals of glee coming from our vehicle, was a moose!
It looked like God's first draft of a horse.
Now, like all good nature watchers, I had my camera at the ready, and snapped several pictures so I could share them with all of you. But as it turns out, you can't really take pictures in the dark through the windshield. So my hard-won souvenir looks like a piece of black construction paper. Oh well. The moose knows I saw her :)
But then, as the crowning touch on what was already a pretty fantastic week, Steve and I saw this as we started back home to Boston yesterday morning: