Category Archives: Maine

JOY!!!

When the tongue is out, you know IT’S ALL GOOD!!!

My favorite picture from our holiday on Wells Beach, Maine. The wee one attacked the waves with vigor. Sand and sun didn’t affect her in any way. And not one spot of a sun burn, phew!

Model A Love

Augusta Bro's Baby

Augusta Bro's Baby

I believe it’s a 1931 Ford Model A and that’s St. Augustine church in Augusta. Bro took this pic and I think he did a great job.

Can’t you image Al Capone steppin’ out, swinging his Tommy Gun?

Dispatch from Maine II: Buy Old Stuff

Tourists love visiting Maine because of it’s natural beauty, charming villages and slower pace of life. The reason for the “throw back” feel is the dearth of young people. During a bicycle trip around Castine, Maine, one of those charming Down East villages, I noticed all the retirees and one standout: a mother with two toddler-aged kids. It was the standout that made me realize, “where are the people in their 20s and 30s?”

Maine knows it, too.

Maine already has the oldest population in the nation based on median age, said Charles S. Colgan of the Muskie School of Public Service. A report by the Maine State Planning Office on Maine’s aging population puts that median age at 41.2, or almost five years older than the national median age.

Colgan stresses that states such as Florida and Arizona have a higher percentage of residents at or near retirement than Maine. Maine is older in median age, he said, because the state has fewer young people than most states and that situation will continue.

AGING BOOMER EFFECT: Impending retirements will have profound impact on Maine, Kennebec Journal

Another Dead Mainer

Another Dead Mainer

One reason for the disappearing children is lack of jobs. L.L. Bean can only hire so many folks. Is it any wonder that the state’s largest employer is the State of Maine? With a disappearing tax base, that won’t last long.

What Maine needs is more antique stores. The stores will employ the young so they won’t move to Massachusetts. That’s all I did over the weekend. I visited 6 antique stores and I truly believe that the stuff sold in such stores come from the estates of all the dead Mainers.

And I certainly supported the Maine economy with my purchases. The best items I got was a porceline urinal and a huge enamel coffee pot. Both will be used as planters in my suburban oasis, i.e. the patio.

So, during your next visit to Maine, make sure to visit at least 3 antique stores. The disappearing adolescents of Maine will thank you.

Maine's economy displayed on my counter.

Maine's economy displayed on my counter.

Dispatch from Maine I: Ask Permission

This weekend I had a jolly time in Vacationland. I did so much that I’ll be splitting my posts about the trip. This first post is about an event that happened one hour after I arrived at Augusta Bro’s home.

Brother received a phone call from a next door neighbor. The conversation went like this:

“I just saw three kids jump your fence. They’re in your backyard.”

“Good. I’ll release the dogs.” (BTW: The dogs are all bark and no bite.)

“No. Don’t do that. They’re young. Like 8.”

“I want to scare them.”

Brother heads to the sizable backyard which is enclosed by a metal linked fence meant to keep the dogs from running all over the neighborhood. Brother spots the trespassers. They are about 8 years old (two boys, one girl) and have chosen the highest point in the whole yard to escape. The boys have made it over but the girl is still climbing.

At this point the “vicious” dogs have are barking at the girl and she is frozen at the top of the fence (which is chest high for you and me). Acting tough, brother says,

“You know you’re not supposed to be here. The fence is to protect you from the dogs.”

“I know that now….Can you help me?”

At that moment Brother realizes that the girl (who needs to climb more fences in her life, if you know what I mean) doesn’t have the strength to pull herself over. Her two buddies are standing in the middle of the street.

Just watching.

Not doing a bloody thing.

Brother is able to move her carcass over the fence and the three delinquents return to their journey. Lesson learned.

The Way We Get By

It’s easy to rag on Maine: nanny state government, limousine liberals crowding out the (gorgeous) coastline, a middle class struggling to make ends meet. (i.e. You may not make much money in Maine but the QUALITY OF LIFE is fantastic! Ah…not if you have to work two jobs.)

But there is a group of Mainiacs who volunteer their time to welcome returning troops landing at Bangor Airport. The trailer for a documentary about these senior citizen volunteers is extremely moving. I can’t imagine what the film must be like.

H/T: Big Hollywood

Greetings from the Pine Tree State!

This is touristy Maine

This is Tourist Maine

Howdy, Y’all! That’s how I want to talk when I’m in Maine. The Pine Tree State is the northern-most redneck state amoung the contiguous 48  in the Union. I’m visiting my Augusta Bro for a few days and it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. It was snowing at a very nice clip all morning, leaving a blanket of white for miles around.

This is Real Maine

This is Real Maine

Maine is an interesting state. It’s sort of like Massachusetts until you drive north of Brunswick and then the income plummets to welfare levels. Augusta Bro just bought a house in Gardner, ME  for $44K and is fixing it up. It was built in 1820, sits on less than an acre, and has a natural spring in the basement. Funky. Once he’s through with it, the house will be a cool place. Right now, he’s pulling out all the 1970’s interior crap and bringing it back to it’s 19th century (with 21st century accoutrements) glory. The upstairs has no electric outlet. Not a one. Good luck, Bro!

Maine's Largest Employer?

Maine's Largest Employer?

During this trip, I visited my first pawn shop. Maine is loaded with ’em. (Tells you a little about the economy here. Maine’s largest is in Lewiston; a whole seven stories of pawn shop goodness.) Actually, pawn shops are very cool. Shopping in one (Hint: Make sure it’s not owned and operated by anyone named Ivan. Russian Mafia=BAD) is very hip. It’s like drinking PBR  in a townie bar. It has the same vibe. For the record, in a Gardner pawn shop, I bought a used Reservoir Dogs DVD in nice condition for $5. Beat that, Wal Mart!

RenysIt’s not all doom and gloom in Maine. Augusta Bro brought me to the Renys in Gardner. Renys is the Maine version of Woolworth’s, a store with a little bit of everything: groceries, clothing, kitchen goods, bedding, etc. I visited on a Tuesday, around 12 pm, and the store was hopping. Granted most of the shoppers were over 50 (which makes up the majority of Maine’s population), but I was pleased to see a local business busy. I bought two boxes of Stash tea for $1.99 each. (An excellent price, BTW.) Augusta Bro bought me a knit hat all the way from Nepal for $19.99. (My Christmas present. Thanks, BRO!) I LOVE RENYS!!!!!

What else can I say about Maine? Hubby loves the state. He spent his childhood summers on Wells Beach, so he has a soft spot for the place. I love dramatic views. Since the coastline has been out-priced by carpetbaggers like Martha Stewart and a long line of biotech CEOs from Boston, the interior of the state doesn’t hold much interest for me. I prefer the craggy peaks of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. But for a slower pace of life (though state taxes do kill any sort of love for the governing), Maine can’t be beat.