Elevate me

Yesterday at Hampton Airfield.

Helicopter + guy who knows how to fly helicopter + newspaper assignment to justify (free) helicopter ride + notebook and pen = grin.

“Write it like it’s your blog,” said the Sunday editor, living dangerously. I don’t know. Can I actually cut loose and rise above it all? There’s a form to follow, dammit. Expectations.

Here, we’re landing. (The middle part is missing because I didn’t write it yet.)

You never want it to end, of course. But at some point you’d run out of gas if you didn’t come back to earth.

I have a private pilot’s license, but this was my first helicopter ride. Small, relatively inexpensive helicopters were designed in the olden days to do that futuristic thing of getting you, as an individual, from one place, like your backyard, to another.

Best part: the stars aligned so my best friend I never met until Monday, ace photographer Marie from North Carolina, could go along for a ride too. I’m sure there will be more blogging about this all soon. And good photos by Marie and newspaper photographer Scott.

Marie and I are both still recuperating from walking the entire Odiorne trail loop, then flying, then a somewhat daring boat adventure from Rye Harbor to Portsmouth (for dinner) and back on Tuesday evening. And then she and her husband were off to Maine this morning.

Did you ever navigate by the moon? Then finish the day with a shot of moonshine? We did.

An abundance of H2O

All wet. Dog fetches ball at Bass Beach, North Hampton.

All-night thunderstorms, with rain, rain, rain. Chance of more Thor God of Thunder weather today. We must be way over normal precipitation for June and July.

Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny with a blazing high of 87 degrees.

Alert and keen, the energetic golden retriever is game to fetch thrown tennis balls until your arm wears out or he drowns. A wonderful companion and family dog, if all the members of your family are hyperactive athletes.

Tides today are low at 10:25 a.m. and high at 4:27 p.m. Hour later tomorrow. Today and the past few days are the highest tides of the month, over 9 feet.

Fishing is usually good for an hour on either side of the high tide. Old Farmer’s Almanac says July 21 through August 5 has some of the Best Days for Fishing 2009.

Marine weather forecast: Merrimack River to Portland, Maine.

When tickle-footed walks the fly

Summer Serenade
By Ogden Nash

When the thunder stalks the sky,
When tickle-footed walks the fly,
When shirt is wet and throat is dry,
Look, my darling, that’s July.

Though the grassy lawn be leather,
And prickly temper tug the tether,
Shall we postpone our love for weather?
If we must melt, let’s melt together!

From the town newsletter: Thursday, August 20, the Library will host the 2nd annual Ogden Nash celebration. Ogden Nash, the well-beloved and renowned poet and writer who, with his family lived part-time in North Hampton at 9 Atlantic Avenue, and who is buried in Little River Cemetery, will be honored by the library with a tour of the Nash home by the Lauter Family and a performance of “Home is Heaven” (the complete production) performed by Pontine Theatre.

The power of sunshine, and other good stuff

July 25: evening at North Hampton Beach, looking south past Plaice Cove to Greater Boar’s Head. (Click to enlarge.)

At last a beautiful day. When the sun came out and my energy came on, I got well through my list of to-dos. Until the day became so (comparatively) beautiful that the list lost it’s meaning. It was enough to simply exist and appreciate the day, weeding and vacuuming be damned.

I did walk 4 miles by the ocean in the early evening, but it didn’t matter that it was on the list – I would have done it anyway for pleasure, not just duty to the old body and mind.

What if I lived in a place that had more good weather (particularly of the sunshine variety)? Would I get used to it, take it for granted and sink back into my lazy, moody ways? Or would I be altogether happier and more energetic?

I’m not a big product recommender, but here is a little sunshine in a pill that has helped me be a little healthier and happier since January: fish oil from Norway. (More later on how I lost 25 lbs since then, improved the pain of degenerating discs in my lower back, decreased my inflammatory response, and entered the normal BMI range. Yes, essential fatty acids helped me be less fat.)

I’ve been taking one Omega 3-D a day religiously. I’m about to switch to the Omega 3-6-9-D for the addition of borage oil, so I can stop taking an evening primrose oil pill (basically the same stuff as borage and the only thing I’ve found works for fibrocystic condition, and PMS to some extent).

This brand, Nordic Naturals, is best for its purity, its sources (including sustainability), and for being virtually free of the disgusting all-day fishy burps of other cheaper brands I’ve tried.

The research on what is good for you and what isn’t has never been better or more consistent. Essential fatty acids and vitamin D are without question highly beneficial as well as difficult to get enough of in a typical American diet. Mild D deficiency is common, especially at my sunshine-lacking latitude.

My favorite book about being healthier, and a very complete and interesting website: The Blue Zones.

To your health!

At the stone beach

Pebbles and cobbles at Bass Beach, North Hampton.

On Thursday night and into Friday, a nor’easter soaked us through. Sheets of rain, ribbons of rain, curtains of rain, a gray-cloud-and-rain shroud to wrap and bury summer cheer. We were feeling that useless outrage at the weather. We endure so much in winter and spring, we expect more from summer. We haven’t had one truly hot day in 2009.

It is a damp-leaf, spongey-earth, cool-moist early morning. The sky is gray; the lawn in the slow leak of dawn light glows iridescent green. I slept (but not much) under the down comforter. The birds in the woods wound up and jangled at 4:50 a.m. Why can’t I sleep through birds?

I’m taking the dog to the beach.

Two if by sea

“I’m Italian. That’s right. Italian.”

Statue of Christopher Columbus. North End, Boston.

So we’re walking along in the North End and I’ve got my camera so I’m looking at things in a certain predatory ravenous exploring way and I see this place and say to my husband, “Wait. Stop. Look at that. That’s really old. Really, really old. Like in the architectural style popular in Northern Europe even before the Pilgrims.”

“Oh that?” said my husband, who was born in Massachusetts. “That’s the Paul Revere House.”

Interactive virtual map of Paul Revere’s ride.

Portrait of Back Bay on a Sunday morning.

We walked past a church playing hymns on its bells (not this one) and one of the hymns was Kumbaya. I prefer A Mighty Fortress.

The brownstones of Back Bay.

Row house, town house, brownstone:
Confused by what’s what? Here’s a primer on the buildings that help define Boston.

Longfellow Bridge

And the Lord said, After Saturday night, let there be Sunday. And Man and Woman were woken by the trash trucks, had brunch on the hotel patio, went for a walk by the Charles River when the day was still new and there were many healthy runners running and the ducks and swans were in the ponds and the sailboats were just hoisting their sails, and they saw that it was good.

Paul Revere’s Ride, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Home sweet away

In the lobby of the Back Bay Hotel, Boston.

Probably one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed in, but I’m no qualified judge. We were upgraded when my husband mentioned during check-in that we were celebrating our anniversary.

I can’t complain about anything, really, except maybe the complimentary full-length bathrobes were almost too heavy to actually wear. Also, when I got out of a long soaking bath, I sort of burned myself on the heated towel bar.

Haymarket Square, between the North End and Faneuil Hall, Saturday.

When I was looking through my photos, I liked the way the colors in the outdoor market shots matched the hotel interior.  I could just wander around looking at things all day.

We had dinner at the bar at the Todd English restaurant Bonfire. My husband was pleased to see they were cooking with the same charcoal he uses at home. So we got to talking about what kind of restaurant we would open, in a hypothetical world.

He would have a great little breakfast, lunch and maybe dinner place at an airfield – kid-friendly, good food changing with the seasons, and a fun place to hang around.

I couldn’t decide between health food and an Irish pub.

More lobby.

It was really nice to not be at home. And imagine my home looked a little like this.

My husband was indulging me; hotels are really not that fun for him since he has to endure them many nights a month for his job. (Same for restaurants.) But I’m like a little kid: I have to open the mini-shampoos and smell them, and slather on the mini-moisturizer; and stand at the windows looking out at everything. I believe I may even have bounced on the bed a little bit.

“These are the best pillows I have ever had!”

“They’re okay,” said my husband, the blasé world traveler.

A cool Boston Globe photo essay from a few years back: Scenes from Haymarket.

When I married a freshly minted American Airlines pilot back in 1987, I imagined there would be, well, a little travel involved. For me too, I mean. And I did go with him a few times on some trips in the first year and a half of our marriage, before our first kid came along and I became the one keeping the home fires burning. But he was very “junior” in the first few years and so he was flying junior equipment to junior places.

So we were there, walking through the streets, in early 1988 when Baton Rouge, Louisiana saw it’s first snow in 4 years. People came outside and stood in it, and everybody talked to everybody else.

In Harlingen, Texas we visited a huge flea market of military memorabilia from wars in the last couple of centuries, because it was free, and next to the hotel. I wanted to cry at all the old medals and ribbons and no one left to care about the soldiers who earned them.

Over the years, his job and our kids have resulted in a serious marital travel imbalance: with me restlessly longing for adventures in other places, and him wearily longing for peace and quiet at home. And both of us sometimes taking it out on each other.

But, sometimes, if we are careful, and lucky, and noticing, we find what we are looking for – wherever we are – in each other.

Through him, I travel. In me, he finds home.