Thursday, July 24, 2014

Upta Camp

We recently returned from our annual week "Upta Camp" on Lower Richardson Lake in western Maine's Rangeley Lakes area.

Our Casita is small but has everything we need.

This was our 4th year at South Arm Campground, which is so remote that there are no cell phone or wifi services. In fact, to get to the campground, you either have to drive 12 miles down a bumpy dirt road from the tiny town of Andover, Maine,  or take a boat or seaplane in.
Our favorite part of camping is the people we meet and South Arm is no exception. The same families camp there the same week of every year and we've made close friends who we look forward to spending time with every summer. Our little group makes for some interesting campfire stories . . . there are teachers, bankers, a carpenter, a nurse, a surgeon, a commercial pilot . . . and us!

There are three sisters who camp near us each year with their husbands . . . we love being a part of their summer family for one special week every year.

Meet Laurie . . .
Teresa (on the left, with Laurie) . . .
and Rosalie.

Rosalie travels all over the country by herself in her "little" camper. Since her husband is a pilot, he meets up with her whenever he can, wherever she happens to be.
I think she's so brave! 

This year Rosalie, Hank and I decided NOT to go on the Sunset Cruise. If you missed my blog post about our narrow escape last summer, you can read it here.

Just to put our decision into better perspective, here's what Rosalie and I looked like when we "made landfall" after the boat ride from hell sunset cruise last year. Glad they added the "weather permitting" part this year!

We're lucky to meet such wonderful people wherever we go. In another week, we'll be off again . . . this time to Searsport Shores, our favorite campground on the coast of Maine and another place where we've made some amazing friends.

Looking forward to going back "upta camp" (a noun here in Maine) soon,


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Update on "Summer in Japan"

In case you were looking for it . . .
I removed my July 9 "Summer in Japan" post at the request of my son and daughter-in-law. . .
I guess I still have a lot to learn about Japanese culture!

Japanese Green Tea Twist Ice Cream Cone...oishii!
Thanks so much for the thoughtful comments each of you . . . blog friends and Applegate friends . . . left on the original post. . .

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Summer in Japan

Last year, our grandchildren came to visit us in Maine for the summer and got to know many of our neighbors here in Applegate. This year they are spending the summer with their maternal grandparents in Wakayama, Japan.

As we know from experience, it's a l-o-n-g plane trip but it looks as if the kids had plenty to eat on JAL.

This is "Baba" (short for Obaasan, or "grandmother" in Japanese) showing Toshi how to prepare the cucumbers for sushi...

And Toshi enjoying a peach from the garden.

Taka loves to cook and makes a mean apple pie when he's here in Maine. In Japan, he seems to be enjoying KP duty...peeling a big bucket of potatoes...

And making sushi rice with Baba.

Miyo is helping Baba too. I love the little chair they use for her!

Taka's sushi looks...

oishii (delicious)!

After all that cooking, the kids took a walk with Baba and Jiji (short for the Japanese word for "grandfather", ojiisan).

I love that our grandchildren have the opportunity to be immersed in two cultures, and that they are fluent in two languages. Their grandparents in Japan, Umeyo and Tokuhide, are gracious, talented, funny, wonderful people who can teach so much to Taka, Toshi and Miyo.
And Japan...just beautiful . . . I still miss the noodle shops!

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Christmas Promise Kept

Our grandson, Brian, has always wanted to see a professional production of The Phantom of the Opera.  So, his Christmas gift from us was a white mask and, under it, tickets to The Phantom for July 4, 2014 at the Boston Opera House.

Over the winter, it seemed as if the big day would never get here...but it finally did. On Friday, we boarded the 8:00 a.m. Amtrak Downeaster in Portland and headed for Boston. Since we ended up with an extra ticket to The Phantom, our friend, "Aunt Carolyn" joined us when the train stopped in Wells, Maine on its way south.

Neither Brain nor Carolyn had seen The Phantom before so part of our enjoyment was watching them experience it for the first time. DH and I have been lucky. . . this was our 4th time! This version of the show lacked some of the special effects we had seen in New York and London due to the limited size of the Opera House stage (and the area above and below it). But the vocals were wonderful, music as haunting as always, and the acting excellent.

And the chandelier was there, of course.

The little boy seated behind us was really in the spirit of the Phantom...he even had opera glasses!

After the show, we had dinner at La Cantina Italiana, a favorite restaurant of ours in Boston's North End. The decor is really a little dated but the food is very traditional and absolutely fantastic. Our waiter was from Florence and was quite the conversationalist, adding to the fun of the evening. If you go to La Cantina, try their homemade Sangria, which ferments in a huge fruit-filled glass jar on the corner of the bar.

After a quick stop at Mike's Pastry for cannoli, we boarded the 7:30 Downeaster for the sleepy, cannoli-stuffed, trip back to Maine. It was the perfect way to spend a rainy, windy, Hurricane Arthur-is-coming, 4th of July

Christmas in July...what could be better?
Think we'll do this every year!
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