Friday, February 27, 2009

Moxie Museum

If you're not looking for it, it would be easy to miss. There is no formal store sign. Just a bunch of printer-paper posters, mostly saying "Yesssss" and a vertical line of letters on the door spelling "M O X I E."

Yep, the Moxie Museum in Lisbon Falls.

Every "real" Mainer (and most of the outa-staters who live here) has heard of Moxie. It's definitely a love-it-or-hate-it drink. It was originally created over 130 years ago as a cure-all called "Moxie Nerve Food." It was reputed to cure everything from insanity to mental imbecility to paralysis to digestive ailments.

Moxie is the official state beverage of Maine. It has a very distinctive taste (and aftertaste!), flavored by gentian root and wintergreen. It used to also contain sassafrass, but that was outlawed in the 60s. (It also originally contained cocaine.) It has been likened to drinking a Fig Newton, or a gummi bear in milk, or (as my mom puts it) motor oil. (also root beer with bitters, but that's not quite as creative a comparison, although more accurate)

The Moxie Museum is run by Frank Anicetti. It is not affiliated in any way with the company that manufactures Moxie. It's not a museum in the true sense, more a collection of privately gathered memorabilia. The shop where it is located is interesting in an architechural sense, but it's also dusty, dim and cluttered. Frank himself has an encyclopedic knowledge of Moxie, and will break out into obviously rehearsed speeches at slightest provocation. The speeches are interesting, though, and he is delighted to share them with you.

There is even a Moxie Festival held in Lisbon Falls, the second weekend in July. There are an amazing number of events, including a parade, and reputedly around 25,000 people go each year. In the off-season, Frank says he is lucky to get 12 visitors a day (I was there for quite a while, and I think that figure is closer to 1).

While I was there I of course purchased some Moxie to take with me (regular and diet, which Frank says tastes more like the original product). The kids and I had a Moxie-tasting, where each of us took at least three full drinks of the beverage, as recommended by "Mr. Moxie." We decided that it was much better after the third drink, but still not something we'd want to drink on even an irregular basis. As evidenced by the half-full bottle that has been sitting on the kitchen bar for a week, untouched. And the can of diet, unopened.

Still, it was a trip and an adventure and I'm glad I went. Pictures, naturally. mk

Frank Anicetti, "Mr. Moxie," does his best impression of the Moxie finger.

Frank has Moxie bottles collected from around the world, many with little signs that indicate which country they came from.

More of Frank's memorabilia. Ted Williams endorsed Moxie, as indicated by the tin sign in the cabinet. My dad has one of those tin signs hanging in the barn at his house.

A Moxie fan in North Carolina made this airplane from Moxie cans and sent it to Frank.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fun Monday: Kitchen Counter Edition

Ari at Beyond My Slab is hosting this week's Fun Monday.

Topic: It's time for show and tell. What does your kitchen counter look like right now? (And no fair cleaning just for the picture!) Do you have any favorite or unusual items on your counter?

OK, so having no idea what my counter would look like this morning, since I haven't been in the kitchen today but both of my children have, off I went with the camera. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was not a complete horror show, although still a bit messy.

Let's see...the popcorn popper is still out from yesterday, along with a bag of yellow popcorn. We have the rows of canisters and jars that edge the counter all the time, because I don't have nearly enough cupboard room. (containing, back row, left to right: nothing, sugar, flour, spaghetti, tri-color rotini, trail mix, nothing, ancient candy canes, splenda packs, individual water flavor packs, homemade pickles from Mom, Atkins bars [from the last time I was on Atkins, probably a year ago or longer], cookie jar filled with saltines. Front row, butter dish, pumpkin-shaped glass jar with dried fruit) There's a box of whole-wheat croutons from dinner on um, yeah, Friday, when I made breading for homemade chicken strips. The cinnamon-sugar shaker is out, along with a clothespin that probably held a bag of pretzels closed, and one of the pairs of kitchen scissors, which neither child is ever capable of putting back. A toaster. Leaning against the refrigerator, a glass cutting board.

Not technically on the counter, but there are also overripe bananas that I was going to make banana bread with today, but we're out of milk. And two dried floral arrangements from my friend Brenda's wedding last May. Between the counter and the overbright window there is a battery charger for my Black n Decker tools.

So there ya go. Not particular exciting. I'm not showing you the other counter, which is stacked with dirty dishes that apparently cannot be put in the dishwasher located *directly under that counter*.

So, now I've successfully wasted another twenty minutes or so, instead of tackling the laundry. Sigh. And now also cleaning the counter. mk

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Road To Misery Is A Dead End

In Kennebunkport, on Oak Ridge Road, there is a prophetic sign:

Sure enough, you soon reach:

And here I am, on a private Road to Misery

And yes, it's a dead end. mk

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Road Trip, February version

The kids are with their dad most of this week. I have a big stretch of time to fill. Unfortunately I have a couple of little things scattered through those days, so I can't do any extended traveling, but I am also insane to get out of here and do something different.

Equals: Road Trip. Within Maine. Tomorrow's no good, I'll be priming panels for the eighth grade dinner auction decorations. Tuesday morning I have a therapy appointment. Thursday is the eighth grade painting/work party at school. Friday the kids come home. SO. The game plan is to take off after therapy on Tuesday and come home Wednesday night.

I have a destination in mind. I have a couple of other places to possibly check out. I shall be bringing my camera. My iPod. My GPS.

Should be a trip. I. Can't. Wait. mk

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Here I Am Again

Each year, I tell myself it isn't going to be that bad. It can't be as awful as I remember it. I re-read the blog posts, and shake my head, and vow to be more spirited and happy.

And each frigging year, it's even worse than I remember, and I sink down into this huge fucking black hole of misery.

Valentine's Day is a suicide's dream.

I said, this year the kids will be with me most of the night. Kira loves these happy holidays where she can cut up paper and tape and paste things full of hearts, and tell everyone how much she loves them. She's been chirping happily around all week. Well, the part of the week I got to see her...Wednesday *and* Thursday at X's this week, they came home Friday after school on the bus.

I even volunteered to work at the school yesterday, to help the 8th grade class with their Carnation Day fundraiser. Not exactly sure what short-circuit took place in my brain to think that it would be a good idea to surround myself with that particular horror-show reinactment from my childhood. Well, I knew each of my kids was receiving at least two carnations this year: one from my parents, and one with a blank card (from me--I never did tell them last year that I did it. It was awesome to see them all lit up while they tried to figure it out). Mark actually got a third one from "Announomus." I don't know who that one is, but I might be able to find out. I've heard rumors it might be a fifth-grader.

I suppose I was thinking along the lines of "fake it till you make it." I even wore a bright-pink top and my "I ♥ nerdy boys" socks to the school.

It did not work. I spent 5.5 hours at that school, and I did not get into the Valentine's Day mood for one minute of it.

To let you know how bad it was, the high point of the day was the science teacher's lizards.

He's got these anole lizards in his room, and while the girls who were helping me with the carnations were at lunch (20 minutes), I was checking out the turtles and the anoles. I asked him about one of the lizards who had what looked like a chunk of white paper on its leg, which turned out to be molting. Then I asked what was going on with this other one, that was looking at me and had its neck swelling while it was bobbing up and down.

He laughed and said, "He likes you. It's a courting ritual."

Great. I attract lizards.

Other than turning a lizard on, the rest of the day wasn't particularly great.

And today has fucking sucked.

I woke up in a bad funk, which has only gotten worse all day. I've spent almost the entire day in bed, just waiting for the damn day to be over. I tried to cheer myself out of it, reminding myself that it's just a day, and that I don't have to bow to this consumerist pressure-laden mess, but it has not worked.

I tried to think of things to distract myself. Briefly thought of going out tonight. Maybe catch a movie. And then realized that I would be surrounded by couples doing couply-type things. Not going out.

So I checked out TV listings. Maybe House repeats. Nope. All the stations are running romantic movies. Awesome. No TV.

I grabbed my new zombie book. The Living Dead. Anthology of zombie books, including stories by Joe Hill, Stephen King (yay!) and many others. Got ready for some brain-eating and general mayhem and hysteria. And got zombie sex and love. It is a freaking ZOMBIE BOOK. There should be no LOVE here!

I am doomed, people. In a world where you can't depend on the zombies to save you, what can you count on?

It sure as hell ain't love. mk

Thursday, February 12, 2009

On Course

Last night the eighth grade students & parents had a meeting at the school. The high school principal and vice principals were there to talk about course selection for freshman year.

Freshman year! Man, even thinking about that is more than a little freaky. Because no matter how much I look at this:

All I see is:

My little boy, with a backpack bigger than he is, getting ready to head off for his first day of school.

The kids are encouraged to have a general idea what they want to do *after* graduation, so that they can plan their courses accordingly. So these kids, who aren't even in high school yet, are looking past to their adult lives. Can they really know at this age what they want to do? I know I changed my mind a billion times, when I was able to even think about it rationally at all. There were so many other things cluttering up my mind, thinking about "real life" wasn't really a priority.

Mark had wanted to be an author for the longest time. Now, he is thinking about going into the medical field. This is based on loving the dissections and biology classes in eighth grade science. Um. Yeah. So he is looking to take Latin and loads of science in high school, to prep him for pre-med.

There are worse things he could be doing. At least he is aiming high, and will be well-placed to go on to university. (gad.....UNIVERSITY!!! My boy at college! Brain....overload....warning, warning, warning! Danger, Will Robinson!)

I need to go find a paper bag to breathe into. mk