Celebrating the life of Theodora Elkinton Waring, my Granny.

Granny passed away this fall, in the comfort of her daughter’s loving care. Although in the end she didn’t recognize Abby, and was confused anew every day by the virus and pandemic conditions, she died peacefully, and had a very good life. We celebrated her, like we do everything this year, over Zoom. More than 100 people and families showed up.

A zoom memorial for Granny was not what we had ever imagined, and would have seemed like a loss, but it was just what we all needed, and it was delightful to see so many Waring relatives who I get to see so rarely, and who are such lovely people.

The ceremony was well prepared and carefully organized by Sarah and Jonathan. The children (Topher, Kitty, Nat, Abby, Lydia) all spoke, as did the grandchildren, each for a single minute. Here is what I read.

Granny was a magical thinker.

She loved telling stories about history.
Quaker history and family history being the best two types. Dearie.
She would liberally add details of which she could never have known.
Precisely what the wife of a general had said
Where she had once stood,
or just how she felt.
It was a part of the story because
the story was better that way.
Because she wanted it to be true.
And so, for her, it was.

I saw this in our conversations about Tom, in the years after his death.
She would imagine forgiving Tom.
Imagine Tom coming back to her.
Imagine reclaiming Tom.
Tom was a part of her story because
Her story was better that way.
Because she wanted it to be true.
And so, for her, it was.

Thank thee, Granny. We love thee. And thee will stay with us.

Air tag, Turtle tag, and Penzi tag

During the pandemic we have more time at home as a family. A lot more time. This has led to some innovation in terms of play. Reid especially has been creative. We now regularly play various types of tag around the house that involve flying stuffed animals (‘stuffies’). I’ll be taking a break from my ‘office’ to get a snack or go to the bathroom, and BLAM! a flying stuffed turtle (one of the multiple such we have at hand) will come flying out of nowhere and hit me. This is shortly followed by the rapid dissapearance of Reid as he calls out “YOU’RE IT DADDY!” I then grab the turtle and give chase. There are always instant tag-backs. That’s the primary rule. As a result there is a lot of running around the house these days.

I think the blue ninja turtle is Leonardo.

Penzi Tag has been played more, with Penzi the stuffed baby rottwieler, a celebrity among the stuffies. In Penzi Tag, once you tag someone, you may also then pick Penzi back up and chuck him away, so that it is harder for the new “it” to return fire. This adds a whole new level of complication, and so most of the game is played as a close-range tossing-kicking-tagging scramble for the doggie. It’s pretty intense.

Penzi from a few years ago. He has hardly aged, but Reid now has front teeth.

Finally there is Air Tag. Air Tag is great because all you have to do is jump and be in the air when you tag someone. However, that makes it complex, because you are rarely ready to run away after landing your jump. So some of Air Tag is silly: for example, standing close to someone, and alternating hop-touches with them. Air Tag is also spreading as Reid has taught some other kids as well.

Cobscook Bay 2020

State Parks are amazing. We need more of them, more support for them and more time for everyone to take advantage of them. Wow. Cobscook State Park in Maine is such a little gem. Of course, you need to be hardy to biting insects, like flies, etc. However, it’s an extremely special place. The tidal shift is gigantic, and the landscape changes dramatically over the course of the day, alternating from a simmable, boatable bay to a massive, sticky, mudflat. The tide changes so quickly, in fact, that you can watch the water level change over just one minute!

I love the mornings where the water and the sky are one. I paddled out into this blank white nothingness. It was silent, still, perfection.
We hiked a bit on the Cutler Trail. Here is Reid on that hike, on a shockingly steep pennisular point with scary drops on either side. Naturally, we had lunch here.
On the same Cutler Trail hike, we visited a stunning rounded-rock beach and made endless cairns and skipped a great many perfect stones.
Another view from the Cutler Trail.
But just being on Cobscook is something special all by itself. When the tide is out, you have to walk in the mud!
And fire. There’s nothing like fire.
We allowed ourselves to just hang out. Read the NY Times. Read books. Mess around on the water. Wow. I want to do this forever.
Katie demostrates the feeling, in a nutshell. Just honored to be here!

Katadhin for Katie 44!

For Katie’s birthday this year we did one of her favorite things: a family hike. This year, with Reid 10 and Liam 13, we hiked Katadhin, the highest mountain in the state. One mile up, one mile down, and 9.8 miles sideways. No biggie!

Katie Q and the kids on Pamola Peak with the Knife’s Edge, South Peak (just left of Katie’s hat) and Baxter Peak (flat with cairns to the right) in the background.
The day before our first night in the Baxter State Park. Reid explores the beautiful Roaring Brook.
Dinner the evening of July 14, 2020, the day before the hike.
July 15th, 2020, Katie’s Birthday. Liam, on the way up. Trees getting shorter. Liam getting taller.
Well above the trees on the way to Pamola.
Quirks on Pamola Peak.
Hiking the Knife’s Edge! Hard to take bad photos of this.
Liam and Daddy make Baxter peak, and the cairn that people have erected to help the peak touch 1 mile in height. At 5,269 ft, it’s just 11 feet short!
On the way back down, at the ranger’s station at Chimney Pond. Katie checked out the pond and now we want to camp there next time!
Reid was an amazing hiker, always ready to spring ahead. Although the last few miles were hard for everyone.
The next morning, some of us braved the cool waters of Roaring Brook. Okay, only one of us. It was cold but invigorating!

Happy Birthday Katie Quirk! You are the best mother and partner we could hope for! Here’s to another awesome 44 years together!

Black Lives Matter and Protesting Trump in Bangor

We missed the recent local rallies and protests in support of Black Lives Matter, and George Floyd in the last couple of weeks, so when we heard that Trump was coming to Maine for a photo op with a company that makes swabs used in COVID-19 testing, and there was a protest, we thought we should do it!

Pandemic. Snow Storm. Power Out. Heck, Yeah!

It was a beautiful morning. The snow stuck to everything, walls, trees, branches, everything.

The snow stuck to everything.
A few branches in the driveway.
Katie and I explore the brand new same old woods.
It was stunning.
Liam and Reid’s fort survived a tree fall, and kept the snow out.
White and brown stripes.

We shoveled the drive. I used the chainsaw. I cooked bacon and eggs on the campstove for lunch. We heated tea water on the woodstove. I had cold instant coffee. We did a 4 person exercise routine. We sat around by the fire and read. And blessedly, we couldn’t do a lick of computer-based work. It was glorious!