Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Consumer Culture Does Not Want Men and Women to Love Each Other.

In fact, they depend on this.


Because, it would then be the downfall of civilization as we know it, meaning, of male dominance.

Women who love themselves are threatening, but men who love real women, possibly even more so.

The last thing our consumer culture wants is for the sexes to figure out how to love each other. The $1.5 trillion retail and sale industry depend on the sexual estrangement between men and women. It is fueled by sexual dissatisfaction.

Ads do not sell us sex. This would be counter-intuitive. Then, men and women would turn toward each other, they would be gratified and generally fulfilled within their relations with one another. They would stop buying into consumer culture if this were the case.

What consumer culture sells instead is sexual discontent.

Consumer culture depends on maintaining broken lines of communication between the sexes, as well as, presses on society the promotion of fierce emotional insecurities in each.

The beauty myth that our culture crushes women with as a perpetual life pursuit keeps a gap and mirage of misleading and disappointing fantasy ever-present between men and women. It keeps us spending vast sums of money and looking distractedly about us, instead of noticing, focusing on, investing in, and loving each other. The authentic human beings, of varied look, body type, color, and temperaments, right in front of us.

Consumer culture is supported best by markets of men who want objects, and women who want to be objects. To make things more distracting, the object desired is ever-changing, disposable, and dictated and decided upon by our market at large. This keeps women ever scrambling, and men ever distracted.

Culture tells us what is beautiful, sexy, or desirable, and we follow along mimicking, molding, and melding ourselves in numerous attempts at filling this fantasy, pretend ideal, in order to be “seen” and desired.

This object of desire which consumer culture and pornography dictates also ensures that as few men as possible will form a significant and lasting bond with one woman for years, or for a lifetime, and simultaneously, that women's dissatisfaction with themselves will only grow over time. This encouraging the diminishment of women’s mental, emotional, and even physical health.

Emotionally unstable relationships, self-hating women, emotionally unavailable and uncaring men, high divorce rates, all of this is both created by consumer culture and serves as kindling in the continued fueling of that fire. It maintains distance and distress between men and women.

All of which is good for consumer culture and economy. And all of which is terrible for healthy or fulfilling relationships, as well as, the individual lives of men and women.

Beauty porn and the false images of our media are intent on making real sex between women and men, boring, uncaring, anti-erotic, and even brutal, for both sexes.

The military, to which the US government allows nearly one-third of its budget, depends on men buying into the standard propaganda of militarism: that their wives and children will somehow benefit from their “heroic” death.

Yet, if men’s love for women and their own children instead led them to and let them define themselves first, as fathers and lovers, the propaganda of war would crumble.

The consumer economy also hinges on a male work structure that denies family. Men police one another's sexuality, forbidding each other to put sexual, romantic, or familial love at the center of their lives. This occurs both in the work realm and outside of it.

Consider such comments by men to other men such as “wow, he is so whipped,” or “oh, a real family man now, are you?” Men are ridiculed, demeaned, and challenged if, in any way, they choose to make a woman and family their central life focus. As though this is somehow misguided and pathetic.

Advertising and porn are useful in preventing that from occurring as well (men placing utmost respect, love, and priority on a woman for whom he cares). For men, the effect is to keep them from finding peace, satisfaction, and fulfillment in sexual love. From the airbrushed centerfold to even the pornified ways in which women are encouraged to dress throughout wider culture today, all of this connected to porn and brothel culture, being made prevalent throughout our society for many reasons.

All of it is designed to keep women down, diminished, insecure, ever feeling unworthy in how she looks, and always in pursuit of “looking” or “being” better so she might be desirable and loveable (since, per our culture, a woman is not either of those things unless she is a flawless centerfold quality “beauty”). As well as, advertising and porn are used to keep men distracted, in pursuit of, and unable to focus on the real beauty of the woman right in front of him- known, familiar, eventually lined and marked, the one with whom he wakes up each morning.

Today's urbanites now put their sexual fate in the hands of online dating, swiping through faces akin to shopping in a catalog, and workaholics, handing over their libidos to work. Careerism, a gold medal in the world of work, and a title over which we glow and use as a form of bragging. Yet, emotionally and romantically, we are growing more disconnected and distracted by the second.

One need not look far to notice our general, growing interpersonal disconnection with each other. Just glance down the length of a subway car, or within a city bus, or even, across the expanse of a cafe. A vast majority of people will be sitting, heads down, fingers tap, tap, tapping, gazes trained on screens and not on the human beings right in front of them. It’s now commonplace to see families sitting at restaurant booths, all of them looking down at their own separate screens and not interacting at all. Couples, doing the exact same thing.

Images that flatten sex into “beauty” and beauty into something inhuman or impossible, or that subject women to eroticized torment, are politically and socioeconomically welcome, in that they subvert female sexual pride, they keep women insecure and ultimately down, and they ensure that men and women are unlikely to form a common cause against the social order, which so feeds on their mutual antagonism and insecurities.

Now, imagine for a moment if women stopped buying into, going along with, and chasing after our culture’s narrowly prescribed, rigid, homogenized, unattainable, and at times even cruel beauty myth and picture if instead, women rejected that cultural construct and started truly loving themselves.

What might happen then?

Women who truly, legitimately love themselves are convinced of their self and social worth. Their love for their bodies would then be unqualified. Thus, eating disorders would cease. Plastic surgeons would go out of business. The advertising agencies would need to invent entirely new imagery. The diet industry would go under.

Women would no longer choose, feel pressure toward, or a need in chasing after a singular, narrowly prescribed beauty ideal, and one that hurts women in numerous ways (because eating disorders, cutting open one's body and inserting it with foreign objects to “look better” for one’s cultural demands of “beauty”, as well as, general self-hatred and feeling constant insecurity and dissatisfaction with oneself, these are all inflictions of violence on oneself).

Women who know in full and are truly convinced of their worth would demand equal pay to men. They would ask for what they want in bed. They would stop confusing their sexuality with the posing for and catering to the desires of men. Women would stop dressing like sex workers in everyday life
and further, confusing it with liberation.

They would demand paid childcare, as well as, fair pay for the plethora of additional work women do (from elderly care to childcare, and work around the house).

Women in the workforce would suddenly pervade all fields. Their main gigs would not remain, as they are still today, relegated to jobs like teacher, nurse, and administrative assistant.

They would relish and revel in food, the way that most men do freely, and the way that women should. Women would treat food as nutrition, fuel, pleasure, and sustenance. Instead of all the disordered ways in which we are trained to think of and approach it now.

They would treat exercise as a means to the maintenance of health and vibrancy, as opposed to something done in an obsessive, self-punishing, anxiety-laden manner.

They would cease remaining silent and even quiet. Women’s voices would be heard, in equal measure, with men’s.

The force of women would become so great that men and our culture as a whole would be forced to reckon with what women want, deserve, and would then be demanding, in terms of respect, pay for their work, treatment in their interpersonal relationships, equal social standing, within the sexual realm, and throughout the world.

We would be unstoppable.

The patriarchy would fall.

Relationships between men and women would flourish, they would grow tender, healthier, and become a true life force, the one which they are meant to be.

Our culture does what it can to keep men and women from authentically loving and truly seeing each other as they are, and, to erode women's love for themselves.

If we pushed back on, challenged, and rejected this, all of it, we could and would change the world.

We could change the way love is experienced between men and women.

We could change women’s physical and emotional lives.

We would change our whole culture at large, in wildly positive, significant, awesome ways.

This article was inspired by the profound insights of Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth- How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women.

Friday, September 20, 2019

In Just Six Months...Adventuring Halfway Across the World

Hi Fellow Adventure Lovers,

In just 6 months, I'll be off to...Japan!!!

Tickets are booked.  The ball is in motion!

We will jet come the end of March and be in Japan for two weeks, through the beginning of April.

While I've traveled extensively throughout Europe during the years which I lived there (though still, much remains for me to discover and see on that front), have been to Canada, as well as Barbados, I haven't yet been to this part of the world. 

I have no doubt it's going to be mind-blowing and a world apart from anything I've experienced culturally, prior.

A glimpse of what is definitely on the docket:

- Green tea is huge in Japan.  Thus, we will most certainly be partaking in one of their traditional Japanese tea ceremonies.

- Spending the night up in the mountains and in a rural, remote part of Japan within a Buddhist monastery with monks.  My god, I cannot wait for this.  I have no doubt that it will be emotionally moving, awe-inducing, culturally rich, relaxing, spiritual, and just amazing.

- Wander the streets of Gion in Kyoto, as well as, see the cherry blossoms in full bloom.

- Eating a boatload of high quality, read-deal, authentic Japanese food.

- Monkey Park Iwatayama.  This is a gorgeous, open range park, nestled within scenic mountains, within which monkeys roam free (and in abundance).

- Walk the Philosophers Path in Kyoto, one of the most gorgeous places to experience cherry blossoms.

- Visiting the city of Kanazawa (Google this place- supposed to be incredible).  Apparently few foreign tourists make it here. Kanazawa is a quieter place to experience geisha districts with preserved wooden buildings. There is also one of the most beautiful gardens in the country, a stunning castle, and many art museums to explore.

- Visit the city of Hiroshima.

- Venturing to Koya-San.  Koya-san (Mount Koya) is one of the most interesting places in Japan to experience the traditional side of the country. This secluded and sacred temple town is located in the forest-covered mountains of Kansai and is one of the best places to get a taste of life as a monk by staying in a shukubo or temple lodging.

Monkey Park Iwatayama.

The Philosophers Path.

Japan's Gion district

Thursday, September 19, 2019

The One Truth That Matters Regarding Toxic Relationships, Family or Other

image by Ben White from Unsplash.com

The One Truth That Matters.

If it feels like growth or something that will nourish you, follow that. And that might mean walking away from people you care about – parents, sisters, brothers, friends – you name the person.  But, this can be done with love and the door left open for when they are able to meet you closer to your terms.  

Ones that don’t break you.

Set the boundaries with grace and love, and leave it to the toxic person to decide which side of that boundary they want to stand on. 

Boundaries aren’t about spite or manipulation and they don’t have to be about ending the relationship. They are something drawn in strength and courage to let people see with great clarity where the doorway is to you. 

Then, if the relationship ends, it’s not because of your lack of love or loyalty, but because the toxic person chose not to treat you in the way you deserve. 

Their choice.

Though it is up to you to decide the conditions on which you will let someone close to you, whether or not somebody wants to be close to you enough to respect those conditions is up to them. The choice to trample over what you need means they are choosing not to be with you. It doesn’t mean you are excluding them from your life.

Toxic people also have their conditions of relationship and though they might not be explicit, they are likely to include an expectation that you will tolerate ridicule, judgment, criticism, oppression, lying, manipulation – whatever they do. 

No relationship is worth that and it is always okay to say ‘no’ to anything that diminishes you.

Sometimes choosing health and wholeness means stepping bravely away from that which would see your spirit broken or malnourished.

There is absolutely no obligation to choose people who are toxic just because they are family

If they are toxic, the simple truth is that they have not chosen you

The version of you that they have chosen is the one that is less than the person you would be without them.

The Growth.

Walking away from a toxic relationship isn’t easy, but it is always brave and always strong. It is always okay. And it is always – always – worth it. 

This is the learning and the growth that is hidden in the toxic mess.

Letting go will likely come with guilt, anger, and grief for the family or person you thought you had. They might fight harder for you to stay. They will probably be crueler, more manipulative and more toxic than ever. They will do what they’ve always done because it has always worked. Keep moving forward and let every hurtful, small-hearted thing they say or do fuel your step.

You can love people, let go of them and keep the door open on your terms, for whenever they are ready to treat you with love, respect, and kindness. This is one of the hardest lessons but one of the most life-giving and courageous ones.

Sometimes there are not two sides. There is only one. Toxic people will have you believe that the one truthful side is theirs. It’s not. It never was. 

Don’t believe their highly diseased, stingy version of love. It’s been drawing your breath, suffocating you and it will slowly kill you if you let it, and the way you ‘let it’ is by standing still while it spirals around you, takes aim, and shoots.

Love never holds people back from growing. It doesn’t diminish, and it doesn’t contaminate. If someone loves you, it feels like love. It feels supportive and nurturing and life-giving. 

If it doesn’t do this, it’s not love. 

It’s self-serving crap designed to keep you tethered and bound to someone else’s idea of how you should be.

Why Are Toxic Relationships So Destructive?

In any healthy relationship, love is circular – when you give love, it comes back. When what comes back is scrappy, stingy intent under the guise of love, it will eventually leave you small and depleted, which falls wildly, terrifyingly short of where anyone is meant to be.

The obligation to love and stay loyal to a family member can be immense but love and loyalty are two separate things and they don’t always belong together.

Loyalty can be a confusing, loaded term and is often the reason that people stay stuck in toxic relationships. 

What you need to know is this: When loyalty comes with a diminishing of the self, it’s not loyalty, it’s submission.

If toxic people were an ingestible substance, they would come with a high-powered warning and secure packaging to prevent any chance of accidental contact. Sadly, families are not immune to the poisonous lashings of a toxic relationship.

Though families and relationships can feel impossibly tough at times, they were never meant to ruin. All relationships have their flaws and none of them come packaged with the permanent glow of sunlight and goodness and beautiful things. In any normal relationship there will be fights from time to time. Things will be said and done and forgiven, and occasionally rehashed at strategic moments. 

For the most part, though, they will feel nurturing and life-giving to be in.

In any toxic relationship, there will be other qualities missing too, such as respect, kindness, and compassion, but at the heart of a toxic person’s behavior is the lack of concern around their impact on others. They come with a critical failure to see past their own needs and wants.

Toxic people thrive on control. Not the loving, healthy control that tries to keep everyone safe and happy – buckle your seatbelt, be kind, wear sunscreen – but the type that keeps people small and diminished.
Everything they do is to keep people small and manageable. 

This will play out through criticism, judgment, oppression – whatever it takes to keep someone in their place. The more you try to step out of ‘your place’, the more a toxic person will call on toxic behavior to bring you back and squash you into the tiny box they believe you belong in.

Remember though, you can love people, let go of them and keep the door open on your terms, for whenever they are ready to treat you with love, respect, and kindness. This is one of the hardest lessons but one of the most life-giving and courageous ones.

And, walking away from a toxic relationship isn’t easy, but it is always brave and always strong. It is always okay. And it is always – always – worth it. 

This is the learning and the growth that is hidden in the toxic mess.

All of this is from the article: When Someone You Love is Toxic- How to Let Go, Without the Guilt by Karen Young, from HeySigmund.com.  This piece is just so excellent, I had to share it.  I want to make clear though, I did not write this.  The insightful and articulate Karen Young did.  

Friday, September 13, 2019

How Reading is Sexy.

The cheapest, easiest, and most time-tested way to sharpen your brain is right in front of your face. It’s called reading. And sharp brains are sexy.

Reading makes you smarter. And people find intelligence smokin’ hot. At least cool people do. Those who read tend to be more open-minded and empathetic, well versed in a variety of topics, more articulate, and perform better on standardized tests.
Reading signals to others that you are curious, inquisitive, interested in growth and further knowledge. This indicates a person who is more likely to be interesting and engaging.
Reading helps make you a better communicator. This lends to your being more appealing (and, more likely to be likable) to others, whether as a friend, prospective romantic partner, potential employee, or other.
Reading can assist in building your self-esteem. People with solid confidence and a stable sense of self-worth are far more appealing and attractive to others, as well as tend to attract and choose healthier relationships throughout their lives.
Reading improves your sense of focus and concentration, a skill necessary to further life skills and learning, as well as for the forming of deep connections and relationships with others.
An easy way to judge how open a person’s mind is, as well as in what they are interested, is to look at their book collection and see what they are putting in that brain of theirs.
In a study published in Science, David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano revealed the benefits of reading literary fiction. They found that reading literary fiction can help with deciphering emotions. This is important because “understanding others’ mental states is a crucial skill that enables the complex social relationships which characterize human societies,” they said. People who have these skills are far more attractive than those who do not.
If a date or prospective friend unabashedly admitted that they don’t read much because fiction or that reading “bores” them, I would be dumbfounded. How could using your imagination be such a bore, such a chore? How can diving headfirst into another world of your choosing be a drag? How could learning something new which interests you not be a fulfilling activity and pursuit?
People’s attitudes toward reading say something of their character, values, sense of curiosity and focus, their interest in learning and the greater world around them, and the workings of their inner mind.
Sex appeal is relative, but most people agree that less is moreThe forbidden is enticingThat which is hidden, we long to see revealed and know. Half dressed is sexier than undressed (want more psychological proof of this statement? Take a look at the widely read and clapped for article, “The Shocking Secret to Being Sexier”).
All of which connects to why reading is sexy.
Movies and television, they tend to show it all. We watch and see all of the details.
But books, they entice and reveal things slowly.
When you read, you must use your imagination, and you don’t get the whole story at once. You must puzzle, wonder, and piece it together yourself. You turn the pages and gradually the narrative is revealed, climbing slowly and building toward a climax.
People who read understand this and it becomes a part of them too. Thus, those who read tend to exhibit some of this same sense of mystery and of more tentative, slower revelation of themselves to others as individuals too.
They often live in such a way that is more romantic than others, observant, focused, insightful and thoughtful, and reveled in with greater intent.
Reading is way sexy. It also enriches and adds to your life in innumerable ways. Reading is the cheapest, most accessible, easiest way to add to your life (entertainment, further knowledge, additional life skills, experiencing the perception of another or an entirely different culture or world altogether- books teach us how to be human and how to live).

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Our Current Day Resumes Tell Us Next To Nothing About A Person.

Our routine, standardized template of a resume nowadays tell us next to nill about someone’s depth of character (or lack thereof), nor much at all with regards to who a person is on the inside.
On scanning the length of a resume, sure, you can discover where someone worked. The “impressive” titles they may have garnered while at that particular workplace. Some of the general items they might have completed, achieved or routinely been working on.
That is about it though.
We have become a society in which we look at titles, outward indicators of status, and items achieved as evidence for as someone deserving of a position (or, of being “good enough” for the role) as opposed to at their depth of character and potential, which is far more telling.
This is why, frequently, we are overseen by mediocre or even miserably awful managers.
It is why, often enough, someone is hired who seems “perfect” for the job, only to result in later down the road, our discovering they are a flop. (Because really, how much can the information we uncover within our limited methods of interviewing really tell us about someone?)
Resumes do not tell us much of anything in terms of true relevance about a person.
Instead, they offer a limited laundry list of some things that person has done.
To truly gain an impression of someone, as well as, how well (or not) they might function and flourish in a particular role, one needs to know more depth to that person’s soul and being.
The questions we tend to ask in an interview, as well as what we list on our resumes, does not give us much with regards to that information.
A person has been a manager or CEO of such and such company. So what? Does this tell us if they are honest? Fair-minded and kind-hearted? Will they treat their colleagues with flexibility, openness, and as equal teammates? Or, will they treat their colleagues as less than? Will they be tyrannical? Unreasonable? A micro-manager and dictator type?
Someone who has only ever worked at “lowlier” type jobs, such as data entry, administrative assistant, and the like. We assume they are unlikely up to the task of anything more challenging. Yet, shocking as it may be for many to consider, it is not infrequent that the people who have occupied these roles may be far more intelligent, with more grit, heart, and talent, and with more top-notch character, than many of those who have been dubbed their superiors.
Instead, they, more often than not, haven’t been given the opportunities yet to prove this, because their “resume deems them unqualified.” So they remain relegated to and stuck within roles which keep them boxed in and functioning at far below their potential.
Hierarchies, promotions, and the like, are largely a result of politics, “playing the game”, and who you know. They are far less about true talent, personal potential, and strength of character than we like to hope.
A resume does not tell you whether someone is reliable. Nor does it tell you if they are brave.
A resume tells us nothing about if a person is emotionally mature. Nor does it tell us whether someone has spunk and innovative ideas.
A resume does not tell us someone’s inner values, nor of their innate talents, passions, and personal projects.
All of which are incredibly relevant to the character of a person, and all of which are quite informative as to both the type of worker someone will be, as well as, in what ways they might grow.
We hire people after looking at the statuses they have garnered, the “impressive” names of where they have worked, and the attention-grabbing titles they have attained. These reasons ignore and dismiss whole sweeps of significant information about a person, ones which can hint to us far more of their potential than the narrow, basic trajectory and information of a resume.
A resume is black and white, as well as largely one dimensional.
Personal character is a kaleidoscope of nuances, temperaments, behaviors, and relevant information.
Resumes reveal little to none of this.
We might better ask potential job applicants questions such as, of what are you most proud in your life to date?
What is the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
When was a time in which you stood for something you believed in when it was quite difficult emotionally to do so?
What lights your soul on fire?
What areas of personal growth and development most interest you?
Why does this particular position draw you?
In what ways do you feel you would both be challenged, as well as flourish and grow within this position?
What motivates and excites you?
What is an innovative idea you’ve had? (Whether it actualized or not is beside the point).
What is a project you worked on or an idea you brought to actualization within a previous role for which you feel accomplished and satisfied?
What is one of the kindest things you’ve ever done?
What do you believe makes up the facets of a great colleague?
What was a time when it was difficult for you to push forward or muster motivation at work on a particular project or within a certain aspect of your job? How did you get through it?
The list of potential questions can go on. However, we tend to ask narrow, limiting questions during interviews which do not tell us nearly enough relevant information about someone, as other questions might.
Want to avoid hiring that seemingly awesome person, who ends up being a dud behind closed doors down the road? Want to keep from working with people who are pot-stirrers, emotional vampires, drama or gossip queens, those who are unreliable and limp of heart, or who might be dishonest, manipulative, even cruel?
We should start better tailoring and guiding both the information offered on our resumes, as well as the questions we ask during interviews, in such a way that we learn more relevant and telling information about someone’s character, as opposed to their mundane and not very indicative laundry list of job titles.
Our current-day resume format tells us next to nothing of true relevance about a person. In shifting this template and in what ways we consider someone for a position, we would be far more likely to build more productive, emotionally happy, contented, and better functioning workplaces, thus increasing our likelihood toward choosing, more mindfully, the right people for the position the first time around.

Friday, September 6, 2019

The Best of Bar Harbor, Maine

Labor Day weekend was an adventure to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park in Maine!! 

This included a plethora of delicious food, decadent desserts, hiking through moss-laden woods, and much gazing into the forest of stars in the night sky above.

First stop though: Portland!

Maxx, Ida and I walked the red-brick lain, quaint streets of the city, stopping for cupcakes, Whoopie pie, and tea in between.

Loved this.  Portland was charming, quiet, trendy, and laid back.  The colorful storefronts and awnings, standing out with a splash against the otherwise mostly uniform red brick backdrop.

Then, it was onward to Bar Harbor.  We had dinner at Cafe This Way, sitting outside on the back porch so Ida could join us too, in the slightly chilly air.  Enjoying edamame falafel in a tahini yogurt sauce, smothered baked potato chips in duck meat, cheese, lime crema and corn salsa, pan-fried fishcakes, skillet bibimbap, and for dessert, chocolate truffle cake with raspberry and homemade blueberry pie.  SO good.

The next day, we woke up bright and early for some hiking.  Venturing down the Carriage Roads, though narrow, shrouded woods, alongside sun-dappled streams, pausing for pictures, and for Ida to play in the water.

Then, we paused for lunch with the below as our background.  There was a little cafe on the lawn in front of us, the Jordan Pond Carriage Road House.  We dined on a lobster roll, chicken salad, and their famous popovers with butter and jam.  Delectable.  With, of course, phenomenal views at the forefront.

That afternoon, we embarked on a boat ride amidst the islands of Bar Harbor.  See the first photo below.  The huge white ship, partially covered by the green one in front, that was our boat. 

This was leisurely, scenic, and great fun.  I volunteered to assist with hoisting the sails- hilarious, laughter-inducing, and physically challenging.  Throughout the boat ride, the breeze was strong, rushing across our faces, whipping our hair.  Luckily, the sun was warm. 

It was a gorgeous and laid back afternoon activity.

We finished the night, after a scrumptious dinner at Havana of fish and appetizers of deviled eggs and Papas Bravas, all of which, we agreed, was excellent.  Then, headed to the park pictured below, which offers gorgeous, sweeping views of the harbor and nearby islands.  We hung out and relaxed here for a bit, people watching and chatting.  Ida took a nap <3.  Then, we headed back to our little cabin in the woods.

The next day, Maxx picked the hike, and it was a steep one.  Luckily, it wasn't too long, as I might have keeled over and died if it were both steep and for a significant length of time ;-). 

The view at the peak though?  Totally worth it.

We found a tiny toad along the way!

At the mountain peak, Ida was freaked out by the steep incline of the rocks on which Maxx and I were sitting, so she went and hid in the woods haha.

Later on that day, we headed to The Burning Tree for dinner.  Man, oh, man, was this yummy.  We had a salad of spiced greens (dandelion greens and arugula) topped with a gorgonzola cream dressing, so good.  As well as, an Asian inspired breaded and fried dish.  As an entree, Maxx had monkfish and I tried the baked Sol fish.  For dessert, walnut cake, lemon mousse, and earl gray ice cream were enjoyed (aka, devoured).

Then, back to our little cabin and stargazing was in order.  The night sky, looking like a forest of stars, something like the photo just below.

I Googled "Maine Night Sky."  This is the one that appeared most like what we saw.

Then, below, another awesome hike we did the following day, through a flatter, though rather magical, moss-laden, winding and hilly wood.  Loved this.

Following the hike, we went on a kayaking expedition through the waters surrounding Bar Harbor.  Aside from being a bit nervous, for me, in the imagining of sharks, this was incredible.  Serene.  Wildly scenic.  Quiet.  We saw several bald eagles (most of which, Maxx spotted!), as well as, a group of porpoise which swam within roughly 7-8 feet of Maxx and me!  SO cool.  This was a thrilling and awesome moment. 

Then, we had a phenomenal dinner at Sweet Pea cafe of meatballs and marinara (with housemade ricotta), spicy green beans, and a cucumber and seaweed salad (for appetizers).  Maxx ate the chorizo, pepper, and onion pizza for his entree, while I had the salmon with polenta, both were great.  And for dessert, with slight hesitation, we sampled the chocolate beer cake, which was one of the better chocolate cakes I've ever had.  Moist, light, super chocolatey, it was superb.  I'm still dreaming about it, much to my surprise.

The below pictures were taken on our last morning, at Thunder Hole.  Gorgeous.

Can you spot the seal's head!?  It's a harbor seal.

Can you spot the TWO harbor seals?