Thursday, August 29, 2013

About Getting Distracted

When the Caretaker was writing about getting distracted I had to snicker. Here is a guy who has been reprimanded countless times to show more concentration and less distraction – I was thinking of myself, if you had any doubt at all.

Getting distracted (or shall we call this side-tracked?) has been my problem ever since I started out in school. When the school miss was  trying her very best to make us understand the alphabet or simple math, I always found something more interesting outside the windows or I just happened to have an important conversation going on with my neighbours. It also seemed that there was always some student talking to me when I just tried living up to my teachers expectations – or so I thought.

When the school year was over we got our evaluations. During the first school grades we did not get characters. In Germany numbers ranged from 1 – 6 with 1 being the best and six the worst. So instead of numbers we had a written evaluation. In my booklet it read something like this:
Peter is a good and interested student, but he is side-tracked too easily.


imageI have always been interested in way to many things at the same time. But there was one thing I was never interested in – Sports. I absolutely hated all kind of ball games and often times I simply went home when the others indulged in getting their weekly drill.
Until today, I have never watched a single soccer game nor any other ball game. I never understood the meaning with it and I still hate the wild screaming  going on under those “games”.

People always tried to tell me that gym was good for our health. In reality my fellow students got off it with broken arms, stretched ankles and scrubbed up faces. Me, I was never in a hospital for things like that, and doctors have never been part of my everyday life. In fact I avoid them all I can. Something I have inherited from my Dad – no doubt.

Speaking of Dad: Talked to him today. He’s approaching ninety and complains that he can’t do “anything” anymore.  While that is absolutely true he is still very disappointed about it. I tried to tell him that everybody will be getting to that stage – but of course it’s not of any consolation to him. “When you were 30 or 40 did you ever think about getting to be eighty or even ninety?”  I asked.  No he hadn’t. When I was twenty I never thought of being sixty one day. Now I’m there. Surprisingly I still have a lot of fun. But 25-30 years down the road I might not have that fun anymore. Who knows – I better not think of it now.

Life is good!

But now I was getting side-tracked again.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Crazy “Linked-In” World

Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, XING --- they are all set up to carry your or your product name out into the endless space of cyber world. Millions have registered and the companies are making billions of revenue and income on it.
Marketing experts are happy to talk about “social media marketing” as being the most important channel to get the products sold. As a result and also for being “trendy” people from all over the world have joined various networks and are proudly getting their name out there hoping that somehow one day the big sales opportunity is gonna knock on their door. When i open my email account I’m looking at email messages sent out through the networks from India, China, Europe and “Belutschistan” – what relevance do they have? None whatsoever.
An Italian tour company is advertising its winery tours, another guy offers qualified international marketing, and CEO’s and CFO’s from all kind of outfits in every hidden-away-neck of the woods are pushing their qualifications into my email account. Delete, delete delete!

Does that mean those networks have no purpose at all?  No, no and no!

We have indeed received customers and contacts who have found us in cyber space. It was an unthinkable scenario only 10-15 years ago.
Besides of all that professional stuff there is Aunt Josefine or niece Amanda who just had a terrific day (or the opposite) and following the urge, have posted it on Facebook or tweeted it on Twitter for the world to know. Extremely interesting! It’s like having a mini version of personalized Reality TV. And it seems we are craving it or why do we read that c**p?

However, there is still a majority of people out there who do want to talk to another human being FACE TO FACE, which, in our line of work, forces us to establish an office in St.Andrews, NB. Of course this bears proof of having the ring of a human touch to it and fills me with hope that not everything is lost, even though I hate to pay for office rent and staffing.

Have a great day/evening or whatever other time you read this.


Monday, August 26, 2013

It’s Harvest Time

I can’t believe that 8 days are gone by without me doing any new posting on my blog. But the calendar is showing August 26. What has happened? Well, I guess I have been preoccupied with business matters which usually does not leave many other thoughts in my head. August has been the best month for us, even the boat traffic from St.Andrews has picked up.
Had the pleasure of driving 3 couples from Maine who had arrived with big motor yachts on the island. We all had a great time.

Visitors have been coming from all over. Lately even some folks from San Francisco have appeared wanting a tour around.
When ever I stop the van at Raccoon Beach and show a few of those ball-shaped rocks I have up in the front, people are getting excited wanting to go down the 70ft steep stairway to find a few beach treasures themselves. Of course I have to watch that they don’t stay too long or else….

And over the past 8 days we have seen the ripening of millions of blackberries (not the phone dude…) which triggered me to seek into a bramble wilderness within the Roosevelt Park. Honestly, I have NEVER seen so many blackberries in my life. They are like grapes and most of them have a nice size. Within 90 minutes I had gathered 1 gal of berries. That’s gonna be made into a delicious jelly.

This time I was armed with Dr. Watkin’s repellent which really is the only stuff having any effect. Yet the suckers discovered that they could penetrate my shirt and started happily drilling holes in my back.
But I’m getting over it. The thought of enjoying blackberry jelly makes it all worth it.

1-DSC_0003 1-DSC_0006  The weather has been a contributing fact to a huge berry harvest. We had hardly any rain over the past 3 weeks. A small shower now and then, but the sun was never far away. And while the weather was so nice Bea has been in the garden mostly every day. Some days I feared she would outdo herself and she didn’t seem to know when it was enough. But we are enjoying nice flowers all around and ….most importantly terrific vegetables which are either cooked or ending up in the most delicious salads. I really feel blessed about Bea having such a great interest and stamina to do the garden.

Nights are cooling off now and that is soo nice as we can sleep a lot better.

By the end of this week we will have another boondocker from “Boondockers Welcome”  visiting with us. It will be the third this summer, and we can’t praise this organization high enough.
1-DSC_0045 1-DSC_0046
One of these days I clambered up a ladder and sanded off another area of wooden shingles, thus preparing for new paint. But the sun was shining right on me and after a while I felt I was melting, so I better got off the ladder, before too late.

Thanks for stopping by again!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

When The Sky Turns Red

It’s Sunday evening. I got prematurely tired and had gone and gotten a coffee from the kitchen. Was now sitting on the couch, I had been listening to Radio Canada all afternoon. It’s a French radio channel and it’s the only one I find I can listen to without getting nervous. The reason is their choice of music. The French seem to love old American Broadway music and what’s commonly called American Song Book. And I happen to love that too. It fits perfectly our relaxed island life, especially if one thinks about that we live right smack in a place full of history.

The radio was still playing. It was a quarter to nine and outside I saw the sky turn red – well orange at least. It was like the darkening sky took all my thoughts away.  Now I was just thinking whether this wasn’t the way it used to be. Way back when I was a boy we used to listen to the radio. Much more than today. I
1-DSC_0001love our old radio. We found it on a church yard sale. I think I paid 5 bucks for it. It came with batteries in it. These batteries lasted for 5 years. I just recently had to replace them. Now it is playing again. It’s an old transistor radio. It looks quite battered, But who cares. We have a much newer radio too. It doesn’t have a good receiver and I can’t get the same radio channels with it. Not all the new gadgets are good.
The red of the sunset was almost gone when I heard familiar words from the old radio. It wasn’t English and certainly not French. All of a sudden I realized I was listening to a Norwegian song. Never heard that one before. I turned up the volume.  What a nice surprise!

The sky had turned completely dark.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Slow Down Visitor!

A couple of days ago I received a phone call from someone inquiring about our sightseeing tours. First question was NOT what it contained, but how long it would last. Our  standard tours are 150 minutes – 2 1/2hrs. That was too long for these people. I offered a truncated tour of 1 1/2hr., but that was still too long for these folks. Then I offered a “quickie” of one hour and they finally agreed. So I threw myself in my special outfit racing off to the Roosevelt Park to pick up these hurrying travelers. Upon my arrival a park employee came out and told me the people had actually changed their mind. They simply didn’t have ANY time to do a tour and had already left.

Obviously, these folks will never know what they missed.

In my work as a local tour operator I have noticed that an increasing number of people are spending their vacation time under wrong priorities. There seems to be a race over who is gonna “make” most destinations during their vacation journey. On their hasty way these people are going to miss most of what they could have seen if they just had been willing to spend a little more time. 

What is the reason for such poor misdirected way of spending quality time on a vacation?
Is it the ever changing media landscape we are bombarded with every day, is it the tourism industry itself who is tempting people into hasty departures and a daily change of accommodations? is it the fact that we can brag over how much terrain was covered on our trip or the way we live our entire life hunting from one thing to the other?  ACTION, ACTION, ACTION!
Cruise agencies are putting together tours where they have to herd crowds through busy places and get them back onboard where the next activity is already waiting. Bus companies are spending as little as 1hr. at the Roosevelt Cottage, before they are heading off the island again. In fact processing 50 bus passengers through customs is taking more time than the entire excursion. What a nutty way to travel!
You know there once was this tourist entering a tourist information in Banff,Alberta inquiring about where he could rent a car. When told where to go he added that he had to be in Toronto the next afternoon!

Poor man, I’d say!

People tend to think that they “can do” a new destination in a few hours. Out here on Campobello some people seem to think that by spending 2 hrs on the island they have seen and experienced everything. They couldn’t be more wrong! The interested traveler could easily spend 3 weeks on the island and never get bored. And in times of an ever weakening economy it would be significantly cheaper to do so.

But all–of-a-sudden that is not so important.

Happy trails folks – enjoy life!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Thanks, But I’m Doing Fine

The dentist had warned that some severe pain would occur after the anesthetic had worn off and that I should use some strong painkiller like Tylenol 3. She actually made out a prescription for that and half a pound of antibiotics. I hate to take ANY pills, so I never went to the pharmacy for any of those. We did have some Ibuprofen in the house along with the normal Tylenol. Precaution wise I did take a few of these before I went to bed and after I got up again, but pain was never an issue this time. I had to be a bit cautious about what food I’d process, but that was all. Either I AM a die-hard or that doc simply did a terrific job.

Now, Bea is a terrific cook (did I say that before???) and she has some wondrous ways of making very delicious soups. So we had soup for  lunch and for dinner, though I did sneak a few cookies down in the afternoon.

What did amaze me most was the fact that this dentist lady is a rookie. My guess is she is around 55yrs but she mentioned something about that the government would actually help pay down her student loan and that it was the reason why she had chosen to work in Lubec instead of making a career at some fancy schmancy place in some bigger city. Now why would a 55yr. old still struggle with a student loan?  So she did go back to school and became a dentist. Well done!


Monday, August 12, 2013

And Whoosh It Was Gone

I had had pain in it for several days and last Friday It got worse. I needed to call the dentist in Lubec, I had heard it was a lady who had started there last November. So today I had an appointment at 2:45 EDT.
I was called up pretty quick and appeared to be the only patient at the medical center. Getting into the chair I was still joking around with the doc. She asked me all these questions whether I was on drugs (God forbid..!) had taken any aspirin, or antibiotics had allergies or this or that. My answers were no, no and no. So you been suffering through this quietly? she asked. Well, the funny thing was that the pain had gone totally away once i had made that appointment and the weekend and even today I was just doing fine, In fact, I didn’t even know I had a problem.

But now it was time to examine the sucker. She took an X-Ray and when the picture came out she gasped. My tooth, it was the last one in the lower right back, was CRACKED all the way to the bottom. It was time for an EXTRACTION.

I was transported into a horizontal position, they put a piece of plastic in my open mouth and from that moment on there was no more joking and no more talking for my part. The lady told me that I was the boss and if I made as much as a noise she would stop working on me right away. That being said I looked right up into the glaring light. They worked with all kind of miniature crow bars and handles. They poked out the old filling, sawed and drilled and cut out parts of what once was a working tooth. They found the pin our Mexican dentist had cemented in place two years ago, took that out and dug some more into the core of my gum.
At one point I saw that she hauled something out with her fingers and clicked it into a container behind her. But my hope that it was the tooth was smashed the instant she started digging again. There was more to come. It creaked, cracked and crushed in my mouth and all of a sudden she put her tools away righted my seat and looked like she had accomplished something. “You brought me a challenge today, was all she said, before her assistant dropped a bunch gauze packets on my lap. “You are bleeding a lot and need to keep this in your mouth. get a bag of ice, for you gonna need it”, were her further instructions. “Don’t eat, no kissing and rinse your teeth from tomorrow every 3-4 hrs. “

Of course I was pleased that the tooth was gone, but felt a bit apprehensive about what was coming at me here. I simply hate going to bed hungry.

Oh- and the doc wants to see me again in a week. I love that place. I’m seriously thinking of inviting her over for a special sightseeing tour on Campobello. She is actually Canadian, but I bet she’s never been over her. And just maybe I get a rebate next time I have to see her. :-)

When I was going back to the Island and passing Canada Customs I got that question again: “Anything from the States?”
“Noooo, I just lost something….my tooth, and I can’t talk because I have my mouth full of cotton”.

Have a bit compassion with me. Pleeeease?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

August Days

For me August was always the important month of summer. The first days of summer heat are gone, the mornings are breathing a little cooler, and yet it is delightful during the days. Many flowers are first starting to bloom now, apples and fruits are growing bigger every day and we go harvesting raspberries and even later blackberries.
Many days are crystal clear and it is fun to take the camera and hunt for those nice photo opportunities. Yesterday I was intrigued by the bright colours and went south on the island. My first stop was at Mulholland Point where I took a few shots with the Mulholland Lighthouse and the Narrows. A boat was running up against the violent tidal current. They had the engine on full throttle, the bow came up high and the boat was producing a great wake behind.
1-DSC_0011 1-DSC_0014
It was a very quiet Sunday, with little traffic across the border. Was it the long weekend we’d had last week which made people stay put?
1-DSC_0016 1-DSC_0016-001

Anyway, time to brush up on the history of the lighthouse:

Built in 1885, Mulholland Point Lighthouse served as a guide for the many small coasters, passenger ships, and freighters traversing the narrow Lubec Channel en route to or from the United States or Canadian ports on Grand Manan.

Although the lighthouse is not open to the public, visitors are free to walk around the structure and to enjoy the picnic site next to it. From the picnic area at Mulholland Point are views of the FDR Memorial Bridge, Lubec, Maine, the Channel Lighthouse, and the islands and waters of Johnson's Bay. Often, harbor seals can be seen swimming just offshore in the Lubec Narrows.

Lighthouses remain an important cultural feature in the Maritime Provinces and have become a unique appeal to an increasing number of visitors each year.

1-DSC_0024 1-DSC_0025

I drove on to the other side east of the bridge. I met a few cars but when I reached Cranberry Point I was all by myself. Here we can look out towards the east and Grand Manan. It is a lovely inviting view. Most island visitors never get to see this. They seem to be in a hurry. For what? Whoever comes to Campobello Island needs to have time to take it all in. This is not a Mekka with tens of thousands of tourists swarming all over. It is rather a “best-kept-secret” a tip of an insider to a lonely wanderer who wants to take a few reflections over nature and life itself. I was looking for that lonely bench up on the rocky shelf. It is a place for worshipping nature. A few gulls out there, the gentle lapping of waves against ancient rocks…. That’s all there is to it.

Thanks for stopping by again!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Cookies Across The Border

She was never too eager in the kitchen department, but whenever she has a task there she makes a big splash. I’m referring to Bea, my dear wife of 26 years. Her cooking is nothing short of excellent, I have to praise her innovative garden salads and her baking skills are second to none.
If you read her last post “
Cookie Stampede” you will have to agree, that she’s been busy out of the ordinary.
The cookie stampede as part of our marketing went down last Wednesday in Lubec Maine. We are sponsors (not donors, honey…!) for a musical event they call SUMMERKEYS.
Bea had made about 390 cookies plus 2 banana breads. So here we are getting ready for departure into our neighbouring country. Our van is loaded with cookies and drinks and 3 days of work in the kitchen.
The border officer (he’s known to be a joking bird) is asking whether we bring anything into the United States of America. Me, I answer: “In fact, we do have something – 390 cookies!
Officer: “390 COOKIES! And who baked all these cookies?”
I’m pointing to my wife.
Officer: GOD BLESS YOU! Have a great evening!

T’is life at the border!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Oh No…Don’t talk To Me

oday I wanted to renew our car registration. These days you can do that kind of thing online, which should come in real handy if you live 60miles away from where the offices are. So I called up the renewal page of Service New Brunswick. When filling out reg.number and the first 6 digits of the VIN I got an error message. I tried again, but the same error kept coming up on my screen. So I decided to call the office in charge, which is on the Canadian mainland. Dial, dial dial…..ring, ring, ring, ring….you get the hang of it. Finally a machine kicks in.  “Welcome…..blah, blah blah…..All our agents are busy with other customers. Pls. call our telecentre for help”.   Dial, dial, dial….ah a voice “For service in English please press 1”.  Ring, ring, ring.  Ah a voice….”Due to a high volume of calls we may have an unusual long wait time. Please stay on the line and your call will be a……..” 
15 minutes later I was still listening to happy music tunes from my receiver interspersed with “Due to a high volume of……”
Then I hung up.

What in raving hell is wrong with our government offices? If everybody would “work” like this we’d be a third-world country.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Finally The Fog Lifted

When Sunday dawned the fog was gone. Instead we woke up to a crystal clear day with lots and lots of sunshine. At 11:30a I was down at the Roosevelt Park float dock to take 6 arriving guests up to the cottage. After their cottage tour I had them on a 90-minute sightseeing through the Natural Area of the park. With a clear day like yesterday this is indeed an experience most people will never forget.
1-DSC_0016 1-DSC_0005

We took Molly on a nice beach walk and gathered a few more round stones and a few more pieces of driftwood.
1-DSC_0089 1-DSC_0103 1-DSC_0105 1-DSC_0135

1-DSC_0119                                   Duck Family on their morning excursion

Sunday’s musical events were running at Herring Cove Provincial Park and were mostly of the folksy kind. The Park has an outside stage and the audience can just place themselves where ever they like. The campground was booked solid for the weekend. Everyone seemed to have a great time.

Sculptures along the beach
1-DSC_0133 1-DSC_0126
1-DSC_0100 1-DSC_0101
While we were wandering along the beach we saw a few sculptures, built by a creative mind.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

More Fog And More Music

Day 2 of the Fog Fest started with fog so dense it was hardly possible to see the neighbour’s house. This festival sure does honour to its name.
Looking at the program we decided to visit the library Gala at noon. The program there consisted of song writer and book author Brian Flynn’s presentation where music and literature were equal parts.

I have to add that this Brian Flynn is not just Mr. Anybody. Brian Flynn has been working with the U.S. Government for more than 20 years as Assistant Surgeon General, Associate Director, at the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. 

Brian has been at the most horrible places. He was in Manhattan after 9-11, he has been in Littleton, Colorado after the school massacre, in Oklahoma in the aftermath of terrible tornadoes, has seen horrible floods and remnants of coastal hurricanes. He has met people who didn’t know whether there would be a tomorrow or whether life could go on.
His long experience with the darkest hours of life has provided him with a unique gift of putting words to beautiful songs. It has also made him a gifted author who has recently produced 2 very interesting books “The Wisdom of Stones” and “The Voices of Stones”

”The Wisdom of Stones combines fine photography and inspirational text intended to provoke thought, promote reflection, and engender connections between people and their environment. The book was born of psychologist/ photographer Brian Flynn's observation of people's fascination and connection with beach stones on the shores of Campobello Island, Canada. Many of the island's visitors spend time walking silently on the beaches, seldom looking up from the stones underfoot. Periodically, beachcombers stoop down, pick up stones, examine them, and place them in their pockets. This often goes on for hours. At the end of the day, they proudly display their treasures for whomever will look. Seldom has a vistor left without a bag full of stones to display or add to their collection. Brain Flynn's work has been focused primarily on large-scale trauma--disasters and terrorism. These experiences have fueled his passion to find beauty where others do not (or cannot) see it, to find order in what others see as randomness and chaos, and to nurture hope and meaning where and when he can.”

Brian has a home on Campobello Island.

From 3:00p to 5:00p we went again to the beautiful Prince Cottage for yet another musical event. The performers were part of the Lubec,ME Summerkeys program. It was time to have sweet romantic dreams when Winslow Browning played South American melodies on his Spanish Guitar.
1-DSC_0062  1-DSC_0063
Another marvelous experience on this Saturday.

On our way home we saw mighty thunder clouds moving in. They all went by with some rain, but no thunderstorm.
1-DSC_0079  1-DSC_0066


Friday, August 2, 2013

It’s FOG FEST folks!

When the fog is rolling in on Campobello it is best to be inside and listen to some real good music. That was exactly what a whole lot of people did today. It all started out with “Harper’s Mae” at Jocie’s Porch at 10am. Two young people, he with a nice guitar sound and she had a pretty voice to sing off a number of  folksy songs and known melodies from long gone days. The place filled up pretty quick, Bobby and his mother Angela served the best coffee in the world (way better than any Starbucks or even Tim Horton’s) and everybody was enjoying himself.

1-DSC_0035 1-DSC_0038 
        At Jocie’s Porch
From 3:00p to 5:00p we could listen to Philip Albert’s eloquent variations of known classic jazz sets. And to give this an appropriate frame it happened in the Prince Cottage in the Roosevelt Campobello Int’l Park, The Prince Cottage sits just below the Roosevelt Cottage and opens its long classical facade towards the Passamaquoddy Bay. I couldn’t but imagine what life was like for the folks who once owned this magnificent place. The piano was part of the original furniture and dates from 1851. While Philip brought out the most beautiful melodies I looked through the large windows and saw the fog waltzing across the bay. The house was warm and offered a cozy elegance. Great coffee and cookies after Eleanore Roosevelt’s recipe.  What a treat!
1-DSC_0040 1-DSC_0043
Philip Albert at the piano
1-DSC_0045 1-DSC_0048
                                                 The Prince Cottage

Fog Fest is lasting for 2 more days, so if you happen to be in the neighbourhood why not take a trip over and see us? It’s sure worth it. Campobello Island has taken a major step forwards being a destination.

Thanks for dropping by!