Good For You

Book Review: Here If You Need Me

I heard about this book via an interview with the author on NPR. I wrote down the title then a few weeks later, I found out my mom was reading it on the suggestion of a friend. I read most of my mom's borrowed copy on a visit to Fort Kent a couple weeks ago and checked it out of the library here in Ellsworth to finish it off. It's a fast read being less then 200 pages and broken into short chapters.

Hereifyouneedme The premise of the book: Experiences of Kate Braestrup, a Uniterian Universalist minister who serves as a chaplain for the Maine Warden's Service. Why does the Maine Warden's Service need a chaplain? Because when you are waiting for a lost loved one to be found or when you're hearing heartbreaking news, it helps to have someone there for counsel on spiritual or psychological levels.

My family and I feel a particular connection to the Maine Warden's Service. They were the agency that found my father's body almost a year ago. They not only  search for missing people in out-of-the-way and sometimes dangerous places but they also break bad news. It's a hard job. In my family's case, they even showed up to pay respects and the funeral. I don't know if it was the uniform or seeing the compassion in them but I found myself throwing my arms around them and sobbing, mostly out of gratitude.

I didn't meet Kate through our experience but she seems to be someone I can relate to. She struggles with faith and fundamental questions (Why do bad things happen to good people? Is there something after this life?) but is clearly an empathetic person who understands the human condition. Anyone can learn how to deal with tragedies a little better in reading how she deals with cases she's been on. And trust me, if we can all better deal with death, most everything else feels easy.

Kate has had her own struggles with death of a loved one. Her husband died in an accident and she became a single mother of four young children years ago. It was after this that she decided to become a minister, which was something her husband was going to do.

A biography, a self help book, a short story collection, and a spiritual tutorial, "Here If You Need Me" is a great book I'd recommend to anyone but especially to someone who has experienced the effects of an accidental death or knows someone who has and wants to better understand their feelings.

While I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die. ~Leonardo Da Vinci

Read or listen to an excerpt from the book here…

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

I’m So Fabulous That Taking Myself To Vegas

Vegas I just thought I should let all of my blogosphere friends know that while I did not take a vacation this summer (unless you count a weekend camping trip and a long weekend in a hospital), I am taking a vacation this fall. I'm headed to Vegas.

Here's the story. My mother and father have a timeshare they used every year to go on vacation. As a matter of fact, the week after he died, they were supposed to go on a trip together. The time share is with Marriott and they loved to get out of town for a week, mostly in the winter.
 
My mom offered me the time share for this year since she is not up for traveling. I have to use it before the end of the year and due to the nature of my job, I can't take a lot of time off around major holidays.

Right around this same time this offer came up, Sean's mother offered for me to go to Japan with her and Sean (they go every year). His grandmother had changed her mind about Sean and I having to be married for me to visit. Dilemma.

The catch with Japan was I had to pay my own plane ticket ($1500+) and all my expenses when I was there. In short, I would have been paying $2000 or more to tag along on someone else's trip. It just didn't feel right for a few reasons and after talking with Sean, I graciously thanked his mother and turned down the offer. I really wanted to honor this gift my mom had given me by using it and, since I only get a couple weeks off a year, I'd like to spend my vacation on my own terms.

So why Vegas? Well, it's the opposite of where I live, a quality I look for in a vacation destination. It's on the other side of the country meaning a higher probability I will see some of my far flung friends. I've also never been to Vegas before though I loved the west when Sean and I went out to Moab Utah last year. Plus it's Vegas, a place I'm told everyone should see once in their lives. And it's a fairly cheap place to fly to (gee, I wonder why).

Since this trip was free to me and involves a suite on the Strip, I invited a few friends to come along. It is a lot of logistics (and time and money) but I'm hoping some of them can come. I think my mom is worried that I am vacationing alone but have recently confirmed that my friend Sarah is definitely going to be around for a long weekend, which will be great. And I've vacationed alone before and it's fine (another thing I think everyone should do once in their lives).

I have my hotel confirmation and I just bought my ticket moments ago so it's official. Vegas, here I come! I hope my mom knows how happy I am to be given an opportunity like this.

Image from: www.marketmovers.blogspot.com

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

I'm So Fabulous That Taking Myself To Vegas

Vegas I just thought I should let all of my blogosphere friends know that while I did not take a vacation this summer (unless you count a weekend camping trip and a long weekend in a hospital), I am taking a vacation this fall. I'm headed to Vegas.

Here's the story. My mother and father have a timeshare they used every year to go on vacation. As a matter of fact, the week after he died, they were supposed to go on a trip together. The time share is with Marriott and they loved to get out of town for a week, mostly in the winter.
 
My mom offered me the time share for this year since she is not up for traveling. I have to use it before the end of the year and due to the nature of my job, I can't take a lot of time off around major holidays.

Right around this same time this offer came up, Sean's mother offered for me to go to Japan with her and Sean (they go every year). His grandmother had changed her mind about Sean and I having to be married for me to visit. Dilemma.

The catch with Japan was I had to pay my own plane ticket ($1500+) and all my expenses when I was there. In short, I would have been paying $2000 or more to tag along on someone else's trip. It just didn't feel right for a few reasons and after talking with Sean, I graciously thanked his mother and turned down the offer. I really wanted to honor this gift my mom had given me by using it and, since I only get a couple weeks off a year, I'd like to spend my vacation on my own terms.

So why Vegas? Well, it's the opposite of where I live, a quality I look for in a vacation destination. It's on the other side of the country meaning a higher probability I will see some of my far flung friends. I've also never been to Vegas before though I loved the west when Sean and I went out to Moab Utah last year. Plus it's Vegas, a place I'm told everyone should see once in their lives. And it's a fairly cheap place to fly to (gee, I wonder why).

Since this trip was free to me and involves a suite on the Strip, I invited a few friends to come along. It is a lot of logistics (and time and money) but I'm hoping some of them can come. I think my mom is worried that I am vacationing alone but have recently confirmed that my friend Sarah is definitely going to be around for a long weekend, which will be great. And I've vacationed alone before and it's fine (another thing I think everyone should do once in their lives).

I have my hotel confirmation and I just bought my ticket moments ago so it's official. Vegas, here I come! I hope my mom knows how happy I am to be given an opportunity like this.

Image from: www.marketmovers.blogspot.com

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Community Gardens: More Then Just A Pretty Face

Whoa 1,000 miles, a huge party, and one wedding later, I needed to spend the day covering from my crazy weekend. A good part of the day was spent at the Asticou Thuya Garden in Northeast Harbor. We strolled around, visited the small historic house on the property, and spent a lot of time sitting in a spot with a prime view talking about life. I left completely relaxed but slightly sad I was unable to take photos due to the recent demise of my digital camera.

Asticougarden I've always enjoyed going to botanical gardens big and small. They are pretty reasonably priced (today's suggested donation was $3 a person) obviously in keeping with my standards. Here are a few other reasons to love a public garden:

1) They can give you great planting ideas as they usually feature local flora and are grouped with complimentary plants.
2) So peaceful you can do a variety of peaceful activities like read, nap, or sketch.
3) Even if you aren't the best photographer, you are guaranteed some classy photos for framing or for your computer desktop.
4) Gives people with a science degree a chance to show off their Latin by decoding the little plaques (which, thank goodness, have the common names for those of us not so in the know).
5) Nicer setting for walking then your local mall or the block you live on (unless you live in some ridiculously beautiful place- if so, good for you).
6) Your donations stay in the community and employ local people.
7) You learn something new, even if accidentally. I learned about orchard bees from the tiny bee houses built for them on the grounds. They can't borrow or build hives so they have to have their dwellings built for them.

So enjoy summer by taking the time to smell the flowers. I'm glad I finally did today.

Image from: http://picasaweb.google.com/adlazauski/NortheastHarborMEAsticouTerracesThuyaGardensAndEliotMountain

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

A Quick Visit To My Hometown

You know from yesterday's post that I drove about 400 miles on Wednesday and yesterday, I drove 300 miles to my hometown. I leave to go back home tomorrow morning. I will have driven 1,000 miles in four days. Why the insanity?

The 400 miles was for work and unavoidable. The extra miles are for a more fun reason.

I had two best friends from high school: Robby and Laura. Robby, Laura, and I pretty much did everything together. I see Robby a fair bit because we both live in Maine but Laura lives in New York City. I did the math and we haven't seen each other in five years.

Laura's sister is getting married tomorrow so she is in town. I took the day off work today and drove up so I could see her. I'm also going to visit my sister in her classroom (she teaches second grade) and I'm visiting my grandparents (memere and pepere). Should be a fun day but not much time to write.

So have a great day and I hope you get time to spend with people you love too.

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Things I Learned Spending Five Hours In A Car With A Seventeen Year Old

For a work obligation, I spent five hours yesterday in a car driven by my seventeen year old coworker. I know, big deal. You have kids or relatives that age. Or you are that age. What's so special about obligatory chilling with a minor?

But how often do you get to shoot the bull with a kid with whom you have no relation or agenda? Exactly. Here's a few things I learned from my younger co-worker who I'll call Dude.

1. It'll be fine. We were filming in Priceton Maine (if you've never been to the midddle of no where, that's it) and the details were a little sketchy but Dude was optimistic. Maybe it would be a cool place and filming probably wouldn't take long…He was less nervous then I was.

2. If you like your girlfriend and who she is after being with her a year, you'll probably keep liking her. I asked Dude if him and his girlfriend were going to stay together when he went to college. He wasn't assuming marriage or breaking up, instead he said that they've been going out over a year and he's not sick of her and since he's going to school closeby, they didn't have to make the decision yet. He's right, if you still like someone day after day, your feelings probably won't change (barring some crazy event). 

3. Sometimes, it's ok to work for the man. Dude does some freelance work but he likes that at the office, he has work he needs to do and doesn't have to take the lead dealing with people all the time. And a steady paycheck and benefits are kind of cool when you think of your job that way.

4. Moving to have less of a commute (and being flexible about things in general) is helpful. Dude is excited about having a roommate and doing his college thing in his on campus dormroom. He was going to schedule all his classes so that they only happened two or three days a week and commute but then he realized that was crazy. Way to put important things first, Dude!

5. A good teacher makes a big difference. We talked about good teachers and what makes them good. We both agreed a good teacher has knowledge, isn't trying to be one of the kids, and requires a certain ingrained talent. This conversation made me wished I still worked in a school.

6. Everyone is a visual learner. One of dude's teacher gave notes entirely in symbols and everyone loved it. The visual learners got it a lot better then they would have gotten regular notes while the verbal people could just translate the symbols into notes for their own use. For tests, the teacher would keep the symbols on the board but without their meanings. When his practices came into question, Dude's teacher gave the final test without the symbols on the board. There was some groaning but most every kid aced the test and knew the information.

7. Don't buy stuff you can't afford. Dude wanted a motorcycle at the beginning of the summer but realized he couldn't afford it. Maybe next summer. Whateve.

8. Back into a parking space in a town you don't know. Dude's grandfather gave him this advice. Basically, if you have to book it out of town, having backed into a parking space makes it easier for you to just go. Random but I thought it was good advice.

After my ride with Dude, I am much less worried about younger generations. I think they are going to be fine…and maybe teach us way out of high school a thing or two about money and life.

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26