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 Archive for the ‘Danica Ackerman’s Posts’ Category

…it’s such a long road home.

This morning we had a bit of an early start, going to Downeast Horizons in Ellsworth at ten a.m. to meet with Jeff Jones (the first guy we’ve met with).  Jeff was very helpful with providing some ideas and feedback on the user guide, though he, like everyone else, hasn’t used it very much.

Afterward, we walked around Bar Harbor for a while and check out all the neat, artsy little shops in the area.  We had a tasty, but simple lunch in town and then continued on our way back to Auburn.  The ride was long, but we got to listen to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on tape.  I, of course, nodded off.

We got to the Marriott in Auburn and took a quick trip to the Walmart, where we bought our dinner.  It’s maybe the classiest thing I’ve ever eaten.  Spaghettios and Nestle Chocolate Milk.

We have an early morning to catch our 11 o’clock train out of Boston.  I’m pretty excited to go home, but I had a ton of fun this week and it was really interesting to get to see the places where Therap is used.  We owe a ton to Deb for putting up with us and taking us to so many cool places.  Thanks a bunch!

Pink Cadillac

Today has been a long day so far, although I haven’t done much.  We checked out of our hotel around 11:30 after having maybe the most delicious waffle of my life (and I eat a lot of waffles) and watching a show about Summer, Linda and Michael competing to win the right to design a couple’s wedding.  Deb picked us up and we started the long journey to our hotel in Ellsworth, Maine.

We received the somewhat disappointing news that our appointment for today was canceled due to some sort of unspecified crisis, which is quite worrisome.  We lunched at a Panera Bread, which was in Augusta, if I recall correctly.  Then we continued on the drive to Ellsworth, where we currently are.  The drive wasn’t too bad, since we had not only Harry Potter on tape, but also Deb’s stories about local places to keep us entertained.

Once we had checked in to the hotel, we went over Confluence with Deb, which is a little boring, so I’ll spare the details.

After that, Deb took us to Mt. Desert Island, which is part of Acadia National Park.  We took a really nice drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain, and it was pretty spectacular.  The mountain was mainly made pink granite, which looks very pretty and would make a nice counter top in my kitchen someday.  The top of that mountain might have been the windiest place I’ve ever been, which is saying a lot considering I live in a neighborhood were the winds are so strong the walls get a bit noisy.

The view from the top was really lovely, although it did serious damage to my very carefully style hair (that’s a joke, I don’t style my hair).

Bad Hair Day

After we’d finished atop the mountain, we drove down a little bit and parked near Bubble Lake, which was also pretty amazing.  We walked around there for a while, crossed over some pretty cool stepping stones (they looked really cool and geometric) and Iona went exploring into a tunnel that ran under the road, which was very brave of her.  I stayed behind and took pictures, because unlike her fancy hiking boots, my Chuck Taylors are decidedly not waterproof.

Stepping Stones

We walked along a trail for a while, which was, along with being very scenic, a loop trail, albeit a large one, so we turned back and went for dinner at Jordan Pond House Restaurant.  The food was quite good, especially their homemade ice cream (we tried peach and chocolate).  I also tried something new, called a pop-over, which is a hollow sort of croissant.  Odd, but tasty.  We spent some time browsing the gift shop.

Moose

On our way out, I saw the biggest, whitest, most fluffy dog in the world.  It was, as Iona said, “a cloud with legs.”

a cloud with legs

So now, after a long day, I’m sitting back here in the hotel, looking forward to the meeting we have planned for tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

The scent of the fragrant pines…

Once again I woke up at six a.m. this morning.  I believe it had something to do with the extraordinary brightness of the sun coming in through the windows.  I’m hoping this isn’t going to become a habit.

This morning, Deb, Iona and I met with Zoe Sweet, who is the executive director at Lutheran Social Services in Auburn, Maine.  Although she didn’t use the User Guide very much, she was still able to provide some useful feedback for Iona and I.  Our meeting was admittedly somewhat brief, although we got to sit in while Deb helped Zoe work through some problems she’d been having with Therap.

After a brief stint at Starbucks where we talked about the User Guide and some of the things we would want to see done with, including some aesthetic design changes.  I think we’d like to be able to give our new User Guide pages a cleaner, more uniform and organized look.

Our next meeting was at John F. Murphy Houses (JFM) with Laurie Cyr.  Our meeting with Laurie was longer and we got a lot of very useful feedback from her.  She gave us the great idea of including a section on tips for more advanced users, which she said she would be interesting in providing information for.  She gave us a lot of other ideas that would be a little bit dull to read about, I’m sure.

We had an awesome lunch at another of Deb’s great finds, a place called Heidi’s, where we all had bread bowls with some very tasty soup.  If you’re in the area, I would definitely recommend it.  After that there was a brief sojourn to Walmart so I could buy a bathing suit (I later found out the hotel pool is closed, but maybe we’ll have better luck at the next one) and Iona could find some batteries.

During the ride to the beach, Iona and I both nodded off, but the ride was definitely worth it.  Deb took us to Popham beach, which was also an important historical site (so important it had a passport stamp).  It is home to a military for that was used in the Civil War, the Spanish-American War and World War I.  It was really interesting and super cool to look around.

Fort Popham

Iona and I also spent about two hours wandering around the adjacent beach, collecting sand dollars and taking artsy pictures.  The beach was really beautiful and even though there were other people there, it had this sort of untouched loveliness to it.  The water was freezing!

Fort Popham Beach

After a quick dinner at Fat Boys and introducing Deb to A Very Potter Musical, we came back to the hotel and looked at all out artsy photos.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow and I can’t wait to write about it.

Our search will be in vain to find a fairer spot on earth…

This morning I woke up at about six a.m., not because I was too excited for this trip to sleep, but because I had gotten a text about a broken computer.  It would be a lie, though, to say I wasn’t very excited to going to the fine state of Maine.   Mrs. Brockie and Iona picked me up around eleven, and after standing around on the wrong platform and waiting for our somewhat delayed train to arrive at the Bridgeport train station, Iona and I went through the somewhat arduous task of find seats together.

Once we had done that, we sat. And sat. And sat.  One very long train ride that took us to Boston where Deb met us at the top of an escalator, which initially seemed to be a somewhat cryptic meeting place.  We scored some beverages from Dunkin’ Donuts and continued on our way to Portland, Maine.

On the Train

The ride to Portland was quite nice, as we were surrounded by trees and driving without the inconvenience of gridlock.  Iona, much as she had the whole trip and will surely continue to do, took pictures of the scenic route around us.  And of me, much to my chagrin.

To Portland!

In Portland, we had a delicious dinner of flatbread (which is more or less pizza)  at a restaurant the name of which I can’t recall.  It came highly recommended at the suggestion of Deb.  This place had a great sort of vibe, a fabulous view (I saw a low-flying airplane and some boats) and a waiter who remembered our order without even having to write it down.

And so that was how I came to be where I am now: at the Hilton in Auburn, Maine, typing this post with internet from the adorably named MiFi router.  I’ll admit, I’m jealous Iona gets to use the netbook.

The rest of the week promises to be busy, and more than likely productive.  We will be meeting with two companies tomorrow to gather their questions and suggestions about the User Guide, which Iona and I have been toiling at these past weeks.

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