Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Where Am I? Oh, Yeah. Arizona.

I had what was, to me, a hilarious conversation today.

My Mom's neighbor, George, came out to get his mail while my Mom and I were hanging Christmas lights.  The three of us got to talking.  My Mom mentioned that my rabbits LOVE going outside every day.  (A blog post on them soon.)

George replied that he hoped I wasn't putting them out in the morning, since when George takes his morning walk he's been seeing coyotes, and he's worried about coyotes smelling -- and eating -- my bunnies.

Well, it turns out that George TAKES HIS WALK AT 4:30 AM.  Those of you who know me at all know that 4:30am is not a time when I'm up, unless I haven't gone to sleep yet.  No one in my family gets up anywhere near that time.  It's a genetic thing, I think.  That's why getting up at 5:45am to go to work in Maine nearly killed me.  So yeah, my bunnies aren't going out at 4:30am.  More like noon.

So that was hysterical part number 1.

My Mom said that she really wished George would go for his walk a little later, since it's still dark (because it's nighttime, NOT morning) and because of the coyotes.  That's when George said, "Oh, don't worry.  I take my gun."

This was the Best. Response. Ever.  I suddenly remembered that I live in Arizona.  Mainers are big hunters, but you have to realize that here, we live in the suburbs.

Later my Mom told me that, if she ever says she's going for a walk before bed (like I said, we do not go to bed early or wake up early), to remind her that it's dark and George is armed out there.

Monday, November 28, 2016

A Little Island with Big Fun

One place I loved in Maine was Peaks Island.  Peaks Island is an island (shocker) off the coast of Portland, only a 15-minute ferry ride away.

Here's the view of Portland from Peaks Island:

Peaks Island is fascinating because, like many towns in Maine, there is a year-round population and a summer population.  Peaks Island has one of the most dramatic differences that I know of: between 800-900 year-round residents, and triple to quadruple that in the summer.

I was introduced to Peaks Island by two friends, Jessica and Devin, and started taking every out-of-town visitor there.

The best thing is to bike around the island.  It's only 4 miles.  I took my Dad and Stepmom there when they came to visit:

One of the shores is super rocky...

...and people build the most amazing cairns there.  My friends and I had to join in, of course:

My oh-so-snazzy design:

Jessica's design, complete with berry decor.  She is an artist:

Me peering through an actual arch that I built:

Even my Dad built one:

My Stepmom, Sue, chose to pose with hers:

Near the ferry landing is a gorgeous hotel with a delicious restaurant named, creatively, The Inn at Peaks Island:

Anyway, a person or family can easily spend the day there.  There are beaches, too.  I highly recommend it!

I may add to this post later if I find more pictures.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Happy Halloween!

My sister and brother-in-law opened their own store this past April: Black Box Gaming. It's a retro video game store, and it's done incredibly well!  I didn't really know that retro gaming was a thing, but it's really a thing.

Every Saturday night they have tournaments with a different game and system.  When I first moved here, in honor of me and my old age they did an Atari tournament.  I have lost my skills (and believe you me, I was SKILLED), but my sister came in second!

Anyway, in order to raise their profile, they have started doing a few community events, and one was a Halloween event in the parking lot of a bowling alley.

My brother-in-law owns a Jurassic Park Jeep.  We took that, and I dressed up as a Jurassic Park safari guide.  Kevin even played the soundtrack to the movie while kids visited us to trick-or-treat.

Everyone loved it!  And even better, a bunch of kids came as dinosaurs, so we took pictures of them with the Jeep. I'll have to get those pictures from Kevin and post them here.  I'll update when I get them!

Also, see that horse trailer in the background?  It had ponies in it, and the ponies ended up being next to us in the parking lot.  Four hours of ponies!  It was fantastic!

Next Black Box Gaming holiday event is the Prescott Valley Christmas Parade.  Kevin and Allyson own a golf cart, and they're decorating it and being in the parade!  I'll post pictures after it happens.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

To Infinity and Beyond! (And Presque Isle)

Maine is chock full of fun and weird and cool things to see and do.  I found out about the Maine Solar System Model, built by the people of Aroostook County and led by the University of Maine -- Presque Isle.  The sun and our solar system's planets are spaced to scale along Route 1 from Houlton to Presque Isle.

Luckily, I've headed up to Presque Isle and the surrounding areas a few times and have made it a point to find as many of the planets as I could.  There are still a couple missing, but they're hard to find!  I thought I'd share them with you.  And ask you to keep an eye out for the ones I've missed!

First, Pluto* is found at the Houlton Welcome Center, where a lovely woman showed me to the planet and gave me a very helpful brochure.

Not only are the planets included, but their moons, too.  See that Pluto's moon Charon is below.

Next up: Neptune!

And now, your anus.  Hahahahahaha, snort!  Sorry -- a bit of my 3rd grader coming out.  I mean to say: Uranus.

On to: Saturn, with moon Titan!

Note Titan hangin' out to the left:

Let's continue to Jupiter and his four moons:

And Mars.  It's much easier to get to this Mars than the real one.  Now, do you see how tiny Mars is?  I'm telling you, some of these planets were really hard to find, especially as I was trying to drive.

And now, our Home Planet and the best moon in the universe!

It's hard to see the moon, but it's to the right of Earth.  Look at the pole coming out of the snow.  The actual moon is hidden by the background trees.  I guess I'm not the best photographer.

And now Venus:

And finally, little, bitty Mercury:

Now here's where it gets embarrassing. The sun is on the UMPI campus.  After risking life and limb, driving while looking for planets (Can you imagine if the police/sheriff had pulled me over for what they thought was Driving While Impaired, only to find out I was trying to spy Route 1 planets?  That would have been really embarrassing.  I wonder if it's happened before.) and parking on shoulders and in ditches to get out and take pictures in the winter while semis blew by, I forgot to go to UMPI to take a picture of the sun.  How idiotic.

And so, my Mainer friends -- especially those who live in The County -- I am begging you to stop in at Folsom Hall on the UMPI campus next time you are up Presque Isle way and take pictures for me.  Please send me the pictures, I'll add them to this blog post, and I'll praise you to the heavens for helping me out.  Thanks!

*You may have noticed that I lump Pluto in with the planets.  Despite science, this whole "dwarf planet" stuff is garbage.  I spent WAY too many years in elementary school learning about the solar system and planets to change now.  It's kind of like how grammar has changed so that it is now correct to NOT place a comma after the penultimate item in a list.  Baloney.  I had to work on grammar through high school and beyond.  I'm not changing now.  Hm.  It appears I may be getting a bit set in my ways and knowledge in my old age.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Sometimes a Hard Hat Is NOT just a Hard Hat

As much as I miss Maine, Arizona has some equally fantastic and hilarious culture.  For example, as I was waiting at a stoplight recently, I saw this:

I thought, "Well, I guess fashion over safety."  While I didn't want this guy to fall and crack his head open, I did think it was kind of awesome that he was wearing a cowboy hat while putting up city flags.

Imagine my shock when a friend (you know who you are, Amy ☺) told me that there are cowboy hats with hard hats built into them. Which is the coolest thing I've ever heard.

Welcome to the wild west of Arizona!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Shannon Time Travels

Well, it appears I haven't posted on this blog since 2014.  Oops. As I just downloaded pictures from my camera (you the young-uns, there used to be cameras that were separate from phones -- I am an old fogey and still use one).  Apparently, most of my pictures are from my time in Maine.

Therefore, this blog will begin jumping all over, time-wise.  I'll go back and forth between Maine and my new home, Arizona.

Good grief.  Shall we start with my move to Maine?  (Man, my blog-laziness is pitiful.)

So, despite the fact that Maine moose hate me, personally, moose are a big deal in the Pine Tree State!  This is evidenced by a big ol' moose welcoming all visitors at turnpike rest stops.

While I'm talking moose, allow me to share the deliciousness that is Len Libby's Chocolates.  Len Libby has amazing chocolate, but the big draw is a life-sized chocolate moose.  Oh, yes, you heard me.  Here is the proof:

Of course, they also added some bears, bear cubs, and fantastic scenery:

And that, my friends, is how Maine does chocolate.