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By Roz Rogoff

About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Visiting Maine

Uploaded: Oct 26, 2012
I took my annual trek to Maine last week. Actually I skipped going last year and I was almost ready to skip this year. I was a worry wreck for a month preceding since I had a lot of repair and maintenance work needed around the house. Handymen kept quitting on me and I didn't want anyone to know I would be away for a week.

I reserved two seats on Jet Blue from Oakland to JFK with a connecting flight to Portland, Maine from New York. I don't like to fly and I don't like to travel and I'm still fat even though I dropped 50 lbs from my heaviest; so I always buy two seats. This way I can spread out and be comfortable.

When the person at the baggage check at the Oakland Airport saw I had two seats she gave me the aisle seat too, but she didn't give me two boarding passes for the two seats I bought. The stewardess on the flight told me she almost gave my extra seats away because of that.

It was a good thing I kept the whole row because the landing at JFK Airport in New York was delayed because of fog, and we were diverted to another airport to wait until the fog lifted. I recalled a similar situation almost one year ago when passengers were stuck on a plane for seven hours without food or clean bathrooms. I try to avoid those little bathrooms, but I figured I'd better go before we landed at Stewart Air Force Base. I didn't know how long we'd be stuck there.

It was a good decision. We were stuck on the ground for four hours and the whole plane was lined up to use the lavatory after we landed. The stewardess told us anyone who got off could not get back on. This was upstate New York near West Point and there were no rental cars available. Only one person got off the plane. The rest of us stuck it out. Everyone was calm and the situation never got as bad as the one depicted in the videos from last year.

My flight from Oakland was supposed to arrive in JFK at 6 am, but with the fog delay we didn't land until 10:30 am. My connecting flight to Portland was scheduled to leave at 10:40 am. Of course the gate to the other flight was on the other side of the terminal. I reached it just as the plane was rolling away from the gate.

One of my new Rozism is: "No matter what your gate number is at the airport, it will always be the one furthest from where you are."

The next flight to Portland was at 4:40 pm. Jet Blue customer service switched me and my second self to this flight. I planned to rent a car in Portland. I always rent a Mustang when I'm there, but I didn't want to drive to my mother's place in Scarborough after dark. The 4:40 pm flight would be coming in around 6 pm, so I phoned my brother, Martin, to pick me up.

Fortunately he keeps his cell phone handy and he answered right away. He said he had to check with his wife to see if he could get the car and call me back. That's when I noticed that my cell phone, which I hardly ever use, needed charging. I thought I charged it before I left, but I was sure I had the charger with me. I looked in my carry on bag and purse, but the only charger I had was for the Bluetooth earpiece which I never use. So I was worried that my phone would die, and there were no pay phones in the Jet Blue terminal.

Martin called back and left a Voicemail message that he would be able to pick me up, but every time I tried to make a call an annoying message would tell me my Go Phone subscription was running out and I needed to refill it soon. I knew that, but I had a week left on my annual subscription and didn't need to fill it right away. This message just wasted my time and battery power.

The flight to Portland was speedy. The pilot told us it would be a quick 43 minutes. That was good, but the landing was in 100% fog. We couldn't land at JFK for 4 hours because visibility was less than ½ mile, but we landed in Portland, Maine in zero visibility.

Another new Rozisms is: "Everyone wants to win the money lottery, but nobody wants to win the air crash lottery." I have won neither so far.

My brother was waiting for me at the Portland airport and drove me to Piper Shores retirement community in Scarborough where my mother has a spacious two bedroom apartment on the third floor with a partial ocean view.

I needed to clean up first and change clothes. So I had security give me a key to the guest room mother reserved for me. Then I went up to her apartment where she had a take-out dinner from the Dining Room for me.

Mother looks good for 96. Her hair still isn't completely gray. She is losing her eyesight to macular degeneration, but she's able to see shapes and read the newspaper with a large magnifying glass. She gets around with a rollator, one of those 4-wheeled walkers with a seat. Almost everyone at Piper Shores uses a rollator. I don't know how many rooms there are in the facility, but it is quite large and there's a lot of walking to get from one side to another.

Mother talked me into bringing a swim suit to use their new pool. We went on Wednesday morning. The pool is huge, but mother and I were the only ones there.

The pool was moved to make room for a new great room and auditorium for meetings. This room was being added to the building right across from my guest room the week I was there.

I was awakened at 7:30 am (EDT) on Monday to banging on pipes, jackhammers, and chain saws. I asked one of the workmen on Wednesday if they could be a little quieter that early in the morning. They were much quieter on Thursday morning, but I was already up early to get ready to leave.

On Sunday night my brother drove mother and me to my Nephew's new home in Freeport. Ben and his family lived in a small house on Bow Street a few blocks from L L Bean's, but they had outgrown it. They found a huge house on the on 3.5 acres. Ben and his family had just moved in two weeks earlier. The photo with this blog is of the view from the back of the house and almost every window.

Ben's wife Sarah is running for State Assembly as the Freeport representative. She's been serving on the Freeport Town Council for the last three years. Her Republican opponent isn't well known and doesn't have much chance of winning. She's running under the name Sarah Gideon in case you want to check the election results in November.

My brother's youngest son, Seth, is visiting from Germany with his wife and daughter. His wife, Jana, is from the Czech Republic but she is working on her Doctorate at Humboldt University in Berlin. Her degree is in Russian Studies. I asked her why she chose that.

Czechoslovakia was occupied by Russia for many years and the Czechs were not too fond of their Soviet occupiers. She said she was only 13 when the Russians left, so she did not develop the animosity towards them her parents had. She also appreciated their art, literature, music, and films.

Her dissertation is almost identical to my Master's Thesis, except about Russian film. Mine was about the pre-history of the American sound film and hers is about the pre-history of the Russian sound film. I told her I'd send her a copy of my Master's Thesis if I can still find it.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Oct 27, 2012 at 1:45 am

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

Ben's house is located on the Harraseeket River, which is view in the photo. I spelled it incorrectly at first and took it out to look up the correct spelling, but then I forgot to put it back into the story.

Posted by Brenda, a resident of San Ramon,
on Oct 30, 2012 at 7:51 am

My daughter is a student at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, so it was interesting to read about your recent trip to Maine. I've been a lifelong resident of the East Bay (16 years in San Ramon), and have found that it's been nice to learn more about that part of the country, through my daughter's great experiences so far...and now through your enjoyable column(blog).

Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Oct 30, 2012 at 10:11 am

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.


Thanks for the comment. Bowdoin is a very good small, liberal arts college, and Brunswick is a wonderful town to attend college.

My favorite part of Maine is the "Central Coast," from Freeport to Bath. There are a couple of lovely retirement communities in Topsham, Maine, just West of Bowdoin. I almost bought a small house in Highland Green, but I put my house in San Ramon on a reverse mortgage instead.

Maine might seem like an odd place to retire, but retirement communities are growing there just like other parts of the country. The one my mother is in, Piper Shores in Scarborough, is beautiful and very well maintained. Mother would like me to buy an apartment there, but it's too big and busy for me.


Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Oct 31, 2012 at 7:37 am

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

I usually bring good weather when I go to Maine. It was unseasonably warm and sunny when I was there last week, but this is the first time my leaving ushered in a hurricane! Maine was hit mostly with rain but not a sea surge or high winds.

I spoke to my mother in Scarborough yesterday. She said everything is fine where she lives and the power stayed on where my brother lives in Portland. My nephew in Freeport has a generator at his new house, but I don't know if he had to use it.

I hope all of your friends and family on the East Coast, or now in the midwest, will be safe and secure. But please, can we all agree NOW that something MUST be done about the changing weather!


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