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Log for the week of September 21, 2003 Georgetown, Maine and beyond

A lot of people have been asking me "What's it like to be home?" Fantastic. I still don't miss the sea, not one bit. I do miss the people, animals, and technology of some of the places we visited. And have even been checking out Veterinary meetings in Australia for 2004. But, I've been slowly disassembling the world that was Iwalani. We passed the point of no return a few weeks ago. We had all the essentials still on board. We could have picked up the anchor and disappeared with just twenty minutes notice. No longer. She's getting down to bare cupboards. Tools are finding there way back into the boatshop. Books are still in quarantine in the garage, likewise everything organic- waiting for our first frost.

I'll Keep political comentary to pictures.The last few weeks have been the best of the summer, weather wise. Dragon flies been filling the air around our house, spiraling in figure eight patterns like tiny bombers, consuming the relentless Georgetown mosquito population. Our vegetable garden was a total loss this year. We just didn't get back soon enough to bring the soil back to shape. We ended up planting all our veggies my sister had started for us in flower pots. Not a great crop I'm afraid.

We've gotten e-mail from friends who are wondering if the snow is flying. Not yet. We bought firewood this year for the woodstoves- it arrived and has been drying. Today marks the first day of fall and the air is crisp and autumnal. A faint aroma of apple wafts through the wind. Woodstove smoke just behind it.

I've been back at work in Brunswick. I decided to go back to my old clinic. My name was still on the sign and it really felt like coming home. Phil has been working for a friend and must make a big decision this week about his working life. It looks like I am losing my house husband again.

I got my first paycheck and it seemed almost obscene to get paid for taking care of animals. I can't think of a better profession on the planet. After paying our bills I bought the hardware for a cider press. I have been hoping to make our own cider for years. But, superfluous money always went to boat parts. Phil made the wooden parts out of ash- it still needs to be assembled, but the apples in our ancient orchard aren't quite ready yet anyhow. I just couldn't see the apples go to waste anymore.

Our animal collection is also on the rise. We inherited Barkley- a pug with issues from our house sitters. He really needs a psychotherapist- but short of that, I have him on anti-depressants and he's improving. Phil had memorized the pug rescue toll free phone number and recites it to Barkley from time to time, which usually suffices to cease any inappropriate behavior. The town dog officer also brought in a kitten to the clinic to be put to sleep, as she had a broken back- actually SI subluxation for those who care. Her belly was torn open too. But anyone who knows cats, knows that if you put two cat bones in the same room eventually they will find one another. A fact that can make even the most spastic cat surgeon look like Dr. Kildaire. Of course I couldn't put her to sleep- we never have had a "normal" animal- so "Martha" is now the newest addition. She's 100% healed now- and making up for lost time after forced cage rest.

On a darker note, Polly the dachshund has malignant melanoma in her mouth. I still think there is an enormous amount of cancer here in the US. Several friends and acquaintances died while we were gone- both four footed and not, many of them younger than me. The Animal medical center in NYC and Sloan Kettering have developed a DNA vaccine using a human tyrosinase gene- don't ask me how it works, but it is the closest thing to a "cure" for this nasty type of cancer. Human trials are starting right now. For dogs anyways, the results are fantastic. Polly needs to get to NYC every two weeks for a total of five treatments. Cost and time are the prohibitive factors for this voyage.

Nice carsThis past weekend Phil and I drove "Melvin" our 1969-1970 MGB to the British Invasion in Stowe Vermont, with our friends Rick and Teen in their beautifully restored Triumph and their friends in another Triumph. Rick spent the entire three years of our circumnavigation working on his car. He also has been working on a laptop enhanced fuel injection system for it. Three years of neglect did little to improve Melvin's beard stubble, rusted body or sagging frame. Yet he left the Triumph's in the dust- or perhaps it was smoke, on the trip back from Vermont.

This gathering of MG's, Triumphs, Austin Healey's, Mini's, Roll's, Bentleys, Jaguars, bangers and mash, Cadbury's and all thing's British is an annual event which appears to improve with age. For a weekend at least, we all forgot about the tea party and only poked fun at Lucas wiring. Poor Melvin didn't even win any sympathy votes. While we were at sea, Phil and I spent many a moment lamenting the fact we weren't driving a sports car through the mountains of Northern New England, witnessing the fall color pageant. The blaze of orange and scarlet in fall robed hills, the green of pastures at their feet worn like velvet slippers from Shrek's girlfriend; orange pumpkins adorning a white clapboard house like charms on a bracelet; and the crowning headdress- the blues and violets of mountains that recede off into the distance. Colors no sane dress designer would dare to blend all together. And the smells. They would bring tears to ours eyes in the smell-less desert of the deep blue sea- because we missed them so much. Apples, mowed lawns and woodstove smoke.

Our arrival in Vermont Friday night coincided with the appearance of Hurricane Isabel's whirling skirt hem. A dry zephyr blew through my parents place knocking out the electricity just as we drove up. Phil immediately got a complex- "They heard us arriving and have turned off al the lights and are hiding under their beds... " No such luck. My mother was moling about, dim flashlight in hand happy to see us.

"How hard do you think it's blowing?" we were asked.

I guessed forty-five knots and found out the next day I was still four knots over. The "awe" factor always makes you tack on a few extra knots, even when you're on dry land.

Well that's it for this week. Um, I mean last few weeks. APW