Saturday, October 18, 2008

Driving Habits

Scraping ice off the windshield this morning I was marveling at how clear and clean the air seemed to be. It truly makes the colors of the fall leaves jump out with brightness. Then I went back to thinking how cold it was. People here are remarking about the cold, but I've been told they just do this at the beginning of the fall bemoaning the anticipation of "really" cold weather. Then when spring comes and it warms up to 40 degrees, they begin remarking how warm it has gotten and wear t-shirts and shorts.
People back into parking spaces here so they don't have to deal with seeing out of foggy/frosty windows upon leaving. They drive with lights on even before the sun has set, I don't know why. They drive slowly and I suppose it is carry-over behavior from driving in snow (the roads are rough too because of winter plowing). I see your temps have cooled and you must be enjoying the fall.
The Maria Muldaur concert was really good. She must be in her 60's, but really "gets with it" on stage. She is mostly singing blues and identifies with the southern music genre.
My job has gotten more interesting with some projects I can call my own and work on independently. My current one is to organize a collection system for ordinary batteries for recycling at all the residence halls. Maine does not recognize batteries as hazardous waste and disposes of them in landfills. Since recycling them actually costs money, I am crafting a plan to fund the project as well. I send out a recycling tip each week and now, by default, I've become the recycling "expert" (Ha!) within the university system. It gives me something more interesting to do to research all the questions I receive.
I hope everyone is doing well and can wait out our economic downturn. I don't expect to be able to sell the house for 10 years or so, so I'm just hunkering down to this lower paying job and tightening my belt.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fall Foliage

As I drove to work this morning the rising sun backlit the trees overhanging the lane to make a spectacular display of brightened color. (Take note: If you plan to visit Portland for fall colors in the future, plan to be here middle of October.) I came up over a rise almost to the college and before me was a sea of multi-colored foliage with a white colonial church spire planted right in the middle of the scene. Talk about a postcard! There are plenty of driving routes here that will show all the fall color you can handle and one can stop at an apple farm for hot cider, or a local dairy for Maine-made cheese. People here really get into holidays. Almost everyone has pumpkins, corn stalks, and mums on their porches. Everyone else has ghosts and goblins. The American flag is big here too, but not in the chest-beating "America is #1" kind of way. It's a carryover from the colonies and civil war era. Many have a metal stars on their barns or houses, the origin or meaning of which is still unknown to me, but it must relate to the civil war.
Temps have dropped to near freezing at night, but days are still warm (60's). I can already tell my next car must have heated seats. I had the car winterized this week and they put in antifreeze good to 20 below! I was assured this is just a precaution and it usually won't get much below -10. I will be sure to let you know what that feels like.
I'm feeling more and more comfortable here now that I've got the apt. and more friends. Michael has had several visitors from CA and we often go out weekends at least for dinner. Tomorrow we'll see Maria Mauldar right here in Portland. I am constantly surprised at the quality of entertainment in a town smaller than Visalia (but it's the largest town in Maine).

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Get Ready for Winter

The fall colors are spectacular and I think at peak viewing time. We went for a long ride on Monday and wow, what a showing!
Had the car serviced and winterized for Maine with new tires. They use antifreeze good to 20 below here! LL Bean is having their fall sale in our outlet store, so everything that is already marked down (returns, wrong embroirded initials, just didn't want) is 50% more off. I'm not sure what I need, but I'll need something more than I have!