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Well, here it is, yet another Labor (laborless?) Day, and a beauty of a day it is. The end of summer comes with a bang this year, right on September 1. Tomorrow begins the mad fury of September, the back-to-school days, the beginning of fall. Well, it doesn’t have to be mad, does it? Up here on Fessenden Hill we don’t need to worry about mad rushes back to school. There’s only one family on this old road who has school age kids and they’re home schooled. So, it’ll be quiet, as usual on Fessenden Hill in the coming week. The way I like it.

Today I’m at my computer doing my seemingly endless blogging yet again. Am I addicted? Probably. But I find it fun, what the heck. I made some mods to my blog today and now here I am typing up a post. What do ya know?! But I’m curious. What did I do on some other Labor Days in past years? Let me consult some of my old journal books…..

Labor Day six years ago, Sept. 2, 2002, I started off, journaling (with pen and ink!) at 7:54am: “Quiet here. Everyone in bed. But dogs are barking somewhere….[Yesterday] I decided to try hiking ‘Rankin Trail’ off Hancock Pond road. This was around Noon. It was another adventure for me….The trail soon became a snow mobile trail going by Perley Pond and then hit a fork, one arrow pointing to Sebago and the other to Denmark and Moose Pond. I took the latter, then a narrower one which seemed to be heading toward Fessenden Hill. Just then I encountered a couple ATVs coming along the main path. They stopped and a man chatted with me telling me he owns 300 acres here and to be his guest. Two women with him said, ‘This is our playground!’ ……. Amazingly, I encountered after a lot of struggling over rocks and fallen trees, the same outcropping of rock I had stopped at on Wednesday! Was I happy! Then in another 20 minutes or so I was home.”

Well, at least I got some good exercise in six years ago. Plus blogging by pen and ink!

Labor Day Sept. 4, 1995: “….The day started cool, about 46F, but warmed up a lot and now it’s in the high 60s I think. I went for a walk a while ago. The moon is approaching full and is casting a lot of light….. This morning as I walked out to get the paper, the air felt good and I had slept well. I tried to experience the morning, the beginning — in this case, of the day. And when I went out this evening in the moonlight, my thoughts enclosed the end — in this case, of the day. A life in a day. And the end of the long weekend came. We move on. ….”

Ah, to be philosophical on Labor Day.

Labor Day Sept. 3, 1990: “I’m sitting on a couch at ‘Nancy’s farm’ [Nancy is Cyn's sister] in Denmark, Maine. The day is cool, approaching fall? Yesterday was hot but finally thickened over with clouds. Went swimming in her pool. The mosquitoes were kind of bad. [same this year!] Cyn and I left home [Carlisle, MA] yesterday at 9:36am and got here at 12:33pm, slightly under three hours and 126 miles….. Yesterday I read some in Barbara Hannah’s, ‘Encounters with the Soul: Active Imagination’. Have I met figures from my unconscious? I can think of some. But there’s always the reductionist argument: they’re just illusions, something you ate…… Had long trip home — Labor Day traffic…..”

For brevity, I’ve left out a lot of things, mainly personal. But isn’t it all about me? HAHAHA OK, but I’m shy.

So that’s a smattering of past Labor Days’ activities. This afternoon I did go for a quick walk up the road and back, keeping ahead of the mosquitoes. The wind is strong and it’s in the 70’s. Another Labor Day drawing to a close. We did have eleven people for dinner Saturday night.

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Phone Bank

Last Friday, the 22nd of August, I went over to the Fryeburg, Maine, office of the Oxford County Democrats and actually made 27 phone calls to people in the towns of Denmark, Lovell, and Sweden, Maine. This was between the hours of 2 and 4pm. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. I was assigned “seniors”, or over age 65 people, to call. I had some trouble hearing, especially when more callers arrived in the room, but mostly it wasn’t too bad.

This was mainly a voter survey with a detailed script for the caller to follow. Out of those 27 calls, I got into conversations with a mere four people. Most had their answering machines on and we didn’t leave messages then. Of the four people I chatted with, one was a strong Democrat, one a strong Republican, and two others kind of mixed. One of the “mixed” ones was hard for me to hear and I got into a too extended conversation with him I think. Two or three gave me outright refusals: “I don’t reveal my preferences over the phone.”, and one woman berated me for all those calls she’d been getting from Democrats. I found that strange because on the sheet supplied by the state Democratic party there’s a space for checking off “refused”. Are these voter sheets simply recycled afresh and the old ones stored away? Hope not.

Well, all told, my experience was tolerable but after thinking it over for a few days I decided not to go back for another session. And this after getting superlative pep talks at the Oxford County Democrats annual summer BBQ at beautiful Bryant Pond by the likes of Steve Rowe, Maine Attorney General, Cathy Newell, chair of the Oxford County Democrats, and Ben Tate, the youthful coordinator for the Obama Campaign in Maine. But hey, although I’m gung-ho in spirit, my body sometimes has trouble keeping pace. And anyway, what the hell, there’re plenty of other volunteers who could take my place, aren’t there?

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Concerned as we were about our flight north yesterday — those 90% snowflakes in the weather icon for Denmark, Maine, were worrisome to us — we arrived without a hitch about 2:30pm in Portland and found the weather not so bad after all. The sudden shock of cold air was even a bit invigorating. But it was lovely warm down there in Ranchos Davies, about twenty miles from Fort Lauderdale, in upscale horse country. We even stayed on Thoroughbred Lane. Laurie and Roberto “Faibi” Tuchman have a large home, guest house where we stayed, and a large barn plus paddocks for the six horses (two belong to them) they currently board. I snapped a lot of horse pictures plus a number of others, 78 in all (see MY FLICKR in my right sidebar). We visited a couple museums, the Viscaya in Miami and the Flamingo Park nearby. I loved those bright orange flamingos standing, perhaps asleep, on one leg.

I managed to get some reading in: over half of Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Then I completely re-read The Private Life of the Brain: Emotions, Consciousness, and the Secret of the Self by Susan Greenfield because Faibi Tuchman is a noted neurologist and I figured I might have a chance to ask him some questions about the brain. Sure enough, I did, and he gave me two books to read: On Deep History and the Brain by D. L. Smail, and In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind by Eric Kandel. I’ve started reading the latter, a fascinating part memoir, part history of brain science, and I’m up to chapter 9 out of the 30 chapters in the book. As a would-be philosopher of mind :lol: the least I can do is try to understand what scientists know about the brain before I philosophize about it? :roll: :lol:

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