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WordCamp Maine

We spent a long weekend in Portland for the first WordCamp Maine. It was a small and low-key WordCamp by comparison (I’ve attended others—Montreal and London—that were much larger) but it was great to see colleagues and familiar faces and meet local WordPress users/developers.

Most of my time was spent at the Happiness Bar, but I also sat on and answered questions at the design panel. Underscores got a lot of kudos, and I was even inspired to submit a pull request for Contributor Day (my first in a while).

We don’t get to southern Maine often, so it was nice to have a mini getaway, too. I didn’t realize how much of a foodie city Portland is until I’d spent a few days downtown; there are lots of little places to eat, and there wasn’t a single meal I didn’t enjoy.

From an outsider’s perspective, it went pretty smoothly. I hope that means we’ll have another WordCamp Maine to look forward to next year.

labor day weekend

big grinsWhat a gorgeous weekend! Totally makes up for the fact that last week was so unbearably hot. I say it every year, but summer is fast out-staying its welcome. I’m ready for a cool breeze and an excuse to wear fleece, and this weekend delivered on that promise.

On Saturday we drove to Freeport to see one of my absolute favorite musicians in concert. Now, I’m not what you’d call an “audiophile.” I don’t have an extensive collection of music, and my taste has been called into question on more than one occasion by an embarrassing number of people, including my parents, my brother, several roommates, and even my husband. I don’t make a concentrated effort to seek out new music. There are very few songs that move me to tears. In short, music is nice, but it’s not one of my “things” like it is for some people.

That said, there are a select few musicians who I get ridiculously excited about, whose albums I will always buy without hesitation, and who I’d happily pay good money to see in concert multiple times. Joshua Radin is one of those people. I’ve had a total crush on his music since I first heard “Winter.” When I heard he was coming to Freeport as part of L.L. Bean’s Summer in the Park concert series, I literally squealed like a schoolgirl.

The concert itself was wonderful. The weather was perfect, we had excellent seats, and the atmosphere was friendly and low-key. We got to the park several hours in advance so we could reserve our spot, did a little shopping at Bean’s, then just hung out. We watched the band set up and play a couple songs for sound check (if I hadn’t forgotten my camera, I could have gotten a picture with Josh at that point–so bummed! But he did wave and smile at me, so that was neat.) Ellie was so well-behaved, charming everyone around us. She didn’t make a peep throughout the whole concert… just laid her head on my chest and snuggled up. I cannot think of a more perfect way to spend an evening than with my family, listening to my favorite music and cuddling with my kiddo.

Yesterday we were treated to this beautiful sight for a few moments, and I’m glad I had the presence of mind to grab my camera before it faded. I did very little to enhance the photo, just a slight contrast bump and white balance adjustment.

rainbow

In celebration of our extra day off, we decided to take a little road trip to a local orchard for u-pick apples. Ellie had fun toddling between the trees and helping us throw the fruit into our grocery bag. I got a short video of her first apple-picking experience (she was more interested in eating the apples than picking them), then it was back home to make the first crisp of the season; so delicious!

baby’s got a new pair of shoes–two, in fact

EtsyMaineTeam LogoTim’s birthday was on the 8th (happy 26th, hon!) and then I got a surge of custom orders, so I’ve been absent from blog-land for the last few days, and I don’t think it’s going to slow up any time soon! I was lucky enough to be featured in yet another edition of Etsy Finds (thanks, Anda!) and have since found my sales at Calobee Doodles a little overwhelming. But overwhelming in a good way!

Speaking of Etsy, I’m quite excited about the upcoming EtsyMaineTeam meet-up this weekend in Augusta! The last meeting was snowed out and rescheduled to a time when I couldn’t make it, so I’m eager to catch up and meet everyone.

Now, we interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for a dose of girl-talk, of the “OMG SHOES SQUEE” variety. Please forgive me in advance:

On Tuesday evening we took a trip to Target, where I found not one but two pairs of cute shoes. This is amazing, because I haven’t bought a pair of shoes in a retail store in years (save for the occasional $5 flip-flops, and my annual trip to the Saucony outlet for new sneaks on-the-cheap) because they never fit. My feet are very short and wide and tall–a shape that pretty much rules out anything that has a pointed toe, or even the slightest hint of a pointed toe… in other words, anything that isn’t designed to be worn by a duck. In fact, every pair of dress shoes I’ve ever owned (that would be 2 pairs, mind you) in my adult life came out of a “special” mail-order catalog for people with ridonkulously weird feet.

That’s right, folks, my feet are “special.” And now you know why I spend 99.9% of my time in sneakers.

But my new shoes? They’re cute. And when I say cute, I mean, adorably perfect in every. single. way. They’re comfortable and stylish, dressy enough for the office but casual enough for weekend wear. I bought two pairs–one in the ribbon style, one in black–because I’ll probably never find any shoes so perfect ever again. In fact, I recommended them on ThisNext long before I’d seen them in person, so it must be fate! The shoe gods are smiling upon me.

weekend recap

Happy Halloween, Voxers!

I’d been meaning to write about our Boston trip, but MMS caught up to me.  Unfortunately there are no documentary photos to go along with this, as I never got a chance to buy film for my Olympus XA-2 point-and-shoot, and I didn’t want to drag the big, digital Pentax *ist D around.  Apologies, though this entry is not entirely without illustration.

I have to admit, I went into this trip feeling ambivalent for a number of reasons:

1) It’s a long drive from Bangor to Boston, and we weren’t familiar with the area at all.  We actually stopped and spent the night in Portland, waking up early Saturday morning to head south instead of doing the whole trip down in one night.  This wasn’t the original plan, but was a good idea nonetheless.  We got lost in Boston even in daylight, so trying to navigate the neighborhood at midnight would have been hell.

2) I’m not a city girl, and the S.O. is even less a city boy.  We’re country mice.  I love the idea of living within walking distance of everything you could possibly want to do or see, but the crowds kill me.  2-3 days in the big city and I’m ready to see wide open spaces again.

3) I knew that we’d only have a short amount of time to explore, and while I certainly wanted to see some sights, the original reason we were there was to see my friend and her future hubby.  I hadn’t really thought about it until she brought it up, but we hadn’t actually seen each other in three years!  Where the hell does the time go?  Anyway, rushing around from one stop to another like regular tourists wasn’t going to work, ’cause there was much catching up to do.

4) Finally, we planned this entirely at the last minute, and spontenaiety is not my strong suit.  The fact that we went through with it at all is a tribute to the S.O.’s patience and my own ability to hold my silly nerves at bay.  I think I did particularly well considering I only flipped out at traffic once – a giant truck came flying up on our right side, and at the time I didn’t realize we’d moved from a two-lane high-way to a three-lane.  I thought said giant truck was trying to pass us in the breakdown lane, and this meant certain death for us in our tiny little Golf.   I’m such a dork.

Anyway, as is usually the case, I had absolutely nothing to worry about.  We had a great time and did quite a bit, all things considered.

First things first, shopping!  Because you can’t visit the big city without getting mall-ed at the mall (hah-hah).  We braved the weather and headed out to the monstrousity known as the CambridgeSide Galleria.  The S.O. drooled himself silly at the Apple store (iPods) and Borders (Sony’s new book reader), while my friend and I shopped for clothes (mostly for her, some for me).  I found the best scarf and hat at Old Navy, and thoroughly enjoyed my very first Cinnabon.  Yes, I said my first – I was a Cinnabon virgin until last weekend, and I didn’t know what I’d been missing.  I probably should have stayed in the dark, because if they ever bring Cinnabon to Bangor, they’ll have to roll me out of the store like Violet from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

But I digress.  After the shopping spree our legs and feet were quite sore, so we lunched at the California Pizza Kitchen, then headed to the science museum to catch an Imax movie about Greece history.  I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I was also an Imax virgin (giving my friend a second chance to look at me incredulously and say, “You’ve never what?!?”).  The movie was okay, but the experience itself was a riot.  Now I want to see all my favorite films on a 180-degree dome screen, just for the novelty factor.

After the film, we visited the Body Worlds 2 exhibit.  It was interesting, though I enjoyed it more for the art sculpture than for the human anatomy lesson.  I understood that these were real human body parts, plasticized, but everything still looked… well, like plastic.  I really had to admire the amount of work that went into each of the sculptures, though.  It’s an artform in its own right.

After the exhibit we crashed at my friend’s place, ordered take-out, and talked until all hours.  The next morning we got up early and headed out around 9 to explore Harvard and Harvard Square.  Taking the T was easy-breezy, and the S.O. only got panhandled once!  Good times!  I enjoyed my very first (so many firsts!) chocolate croissant from Au Bon Pain, then we wandered over to the Harvard Museum of Natural History (free admission to local residents, so my friend got us in at no cost).  I’m pretty sure I visited this particular museum as a child, but I didn’t realize it was so huge.  So many exhibits!  I particularly enjoyed the minerals exhibit, the glass flowers exhibit, and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.  I think we spent a good two hours wandering the place and still didn’t see everything, but by that point we needed to think about lunch, since the S.O. and I wanted to head back to Maine around 1 or 2.  I did stop at the museum’s gift shop before we left and bought a souvenir – Cranky – the most awesome little wind-up toy.  He’s currently sitting on my desk at work, holding up my tag from the natural history museum in his left paw.   I’m in love with him, and now I want an army of crazy wind-up toys from Kikkerland.

We also stopped at the Lush body shop in Harvard Square, where I almost lost my sense of smell from sniffing all the fancy soaps and washes and cremes.  Mmmm.  After fifteen minutes there, everything smelled like cocoa butter – my hands, my clothes, my S.O. (rawr!).  When we told him we were going to the Lush shop, the S.O. thought we were talking about a liquor store, and it might as well have been just that!  A place to get drunk on smelly stuff, mmmm, smelly stuff.  I passed on purchasing anything then, but I might have to order some Chocolate Whipstick lip balm.

Finally, we had a long lunch at UNO’s before it was off into the wild blue yonder.  All around, it was a great trip.  We didn’t get a chance to do everything I wanted (we never made it out to the pastry shops in the North end, and I would have liked to have spent more time at the museums) but I expected that much.  Next time we’ll have to take a couple days off from work and do a long weekend in the city, now that we know a bit more about the area firsthand.  Thanks to everyone who recommended things to see and do!

A quick gaming update:  The S.O. and I missed it since we were out of town, but our guild finally defeated Ragnaros on Saturday; this was only their second serious attempt, but they got him, even though half the “regular” raiders were off at Halloween parties or touring Boston (*ahem*).  Now we can officially say we’ve cleared Molten Core (though I’d like to see it for myself sometime soon!)  Since it seems the Burning Crusade expansion won’t hit the shelves until January 2007, it looks like we’ll all have a shot at trying Blackwing Lair as level 60’s.  Mmm, more dragons.

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