The visit with Dad is going OK so far, though it's still very strange to be here without Mom. Even after two years. I think what made her absence seem most real was when I opened the pantry closet and refrigerator. I very nearly teared up when I saw the entire shelf full of canned soup in the pantry, one vegetable drawer full of Jello fruit cups and the other vegetable drawer with wilted lettuce and dried out carrots in the fridge, and all the frozen commercially prepared entrees in the freezer. Mom was an excellent homemaker and cooked every meal.
I made fried chicken, steamed broccoflower with cheese sauce, salad, and cornbread from scratch for dinner last night, and Dad kept saying how good it was. He didn't even know he had cornmeal in the pantry. (Which means that the cannister was at least two years old. It was still factory-sealed, though, and the cornbread tasted fine.) I don't think he's eating very well. He eats a lot of sandwiches and soup, and occasionally cooks up a big batch of taco filling or chili, portions it out, and puts it in the freezer to heat up later.
We went to Jasper Beach today, which is one of my favorite places. When I was at school in Machias, we would go there all the time. It's a pocket beach in a cove, way out beyond Machiasport. It's not as isolated-feeling as it was when I was in college 14 years ago (there's now a gigantic house on the point where we used to camp), but still beautiful.
The beach is composed of mostly pebbles, with some sand on the eastern end. I love pebble beaches.
This is why I began loving pebble beaches. This specific beach, which my family first found while on vacation three decades ago, and continued to visit nearly every year. That was back when the access road was a single narrow bumpy lane, rimmed by alder and wild roses. Today, there's a two lane dirt road with a parking area, and the alders and roses are mostly trimmed into oblivion. The reddish stones are the "jasper" the beach is named for, though it's actually rhyolite. The pebbles are tumbled and polished by the waves, and are unbelievable smooth.
Emma was excited to go to the beach, and despite the fact that it was about 25 degrees out (though that's warm compared to the past couple days), she had to bring her bucket and shovel.
She had fun collecting shells and rocks, and making snowcastles. I had fun looking at the pebbles, watching the waves, and listening to the sound the pebbles make when the waves retreated. The search for the "perfect pebble" continues. I'll know it when see it.