Friday, April 30, 2010

Bayside Art

Now for one of the most obscure pieces of public art in the city. Although obvious in its location, it's quite hard to find. Figure that out! CLOUD BENCH AND RUSTLE DIPTYCH II, Vivian Beer, Winslow Park along Baxter Boulevard is located on the Preble Street Extention at one of the entrances to Baxter Boulevard. Winslow Park and its two artistic renderings are best appreciated by pedestrians. Because unless you plan to park at the shopping center nearby, there's really no good place to park you car safely here. As a matter of fact, I'd venture to guess that most people in the city have never heard of Winslow Park or its location. I hadn't till recently. The piece of land was presented to the City of Portland in 1902 by Miriam Winslow in memory of her mother and father Ellane Whall Winslow and James N. Winslow. Although a nice respite in the city on paper, it's hard to enjoy some solace here with all the whizzing traffic around you.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bridging the Eras

"Two roads diverged..." wait a minute, these are tracks and they head North not into a 'yellow wood'. With apologies to Frost, these double set of tracks cross above Park Avenue just down from the Expo and Hadlock Field. I do remember when we'd be stopped for a red light here and see trains leaving Union Station and rushing overhead. As a youngster this was always a treat! Now, you're lucky if you seen a work engine pushing a few cars along above on the rusted bridge and the concrete trestle further down. Times have certainly changed the sights and sounds of this section of Portland.For better or worse? It depends who's talkin'.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Time and Temp

The Time and Temperature Building, as it is called around here, looms at the top of Preble Street in this early morning photograph. The building, built in 1924, is identified by the large screen at the top showing the time and temperature 24 hours a day. Something else unique about this structure-- it had the city's first 'indoor mall' shopping area. I recall visiting it while waiting for the bus home on winter nights after my 6th Grade basketball games. It was a warm respite away from the driving wind and snow whipping around Monument Square. It was quite different for its time. The hallway inside went downhill with maybe 8-10 little stores off to the left and right. It was a mall before its time.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Books and More

After thirteen months and a $7.3 million facelift, the Portland Public Library reopened for business on April 15. A new glass facade has been added at the front that makes it a sunny, welcoming space to sit with your laptop or the morning paper. No laptop? No problem. There are 35 computer stations available. There is also a brand new kids' section on the first floor not the basement like the old and a special section set aside just for teens, with an opening opposite "Freshman Alley" at Portland High School. The stacks are lower, thus letting more natural lighting to come through from end to end. Now, let me be a bit picky. Is it just me? Is something missing? Take a look at this picture taken from Monument Square. Is there a plan to add the name to this frontal area? There's plenty of room. For those visiting this fair city and/or unfamiliar with the building, I do hope there is a plan to add a bit of signage.

Monday, April 26, 2010

PO Square

I was scurrying along the other morning and just happened to glance back up Congress and low and behold Portland City Hall was looking back at me. One of those moments you're not expecting in your day, but there it was-- almost saying, "Hey, look at me!" The Post Office Square building, occupied by Maine National Bank, was completed in 1955. At the time, it was thought to be one of the linchpins of the effort to bring the city's downtown back to life in the era of 'urban renewal' of the early 70's. This area was part of what they euphemistically called the 'Golden Triangle' for its vast potential development. However, like many things in life, I guess you could say, it fell short of its growth potential. Back to image of City Hall in the photo--- it is a magnificent weathervane. Isn't it?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Low Tide

Here's a look across Back Bay at low tide. Some say, this time of day when the ebb empties the bay ain't pretty. I beg to differ. I always enjoy driving along the boulevard when the tide is out; I think it provides a very interesting glimpse of the city. A while back on Coyle, after the leaves were gone in the fall, I'd sit in the window seat on the second floor and could see all the way to Tukey's Bridge on a clear day. That was pretty cool. During the winter months, I'd always glance coming down the stairs to see just how far that view would take me. Now the smell-- call me crazy, but to take a step off the front porch and draw in a deep breath of sea air-- that, to me, was always reassuring. It was a safe time in my life. It was a simpler time and one for me anyway, was made so much enjoyable and memorable growing up so near the water. Breathe in ... can you feel it?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Azaleas and Windows

Man, these spring days I hope these windows at Portland High School on Cumberland Avenue are open wide for the sweet, aromatic pleasures of azaleas wafting through the casements. Always loved spring days in school... the windows were always open, breezes floating through, blowing the curtains this way and that. Daydreaming was a daily ritual. In lots of ways, it still is.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Best of...

Portland's Phoenix "The BEST of Portland" issue is out. These 'best of' stories are a dime a dozen it seems in the spring of the year. Around here, I always think it is funneled towards the summer tourist season on the horizon. I do believe they all are a bit skewed; voting and the ramifications seem at best a bit odd. But I venture on with a few of my favorites and a bit of commentary(please, no law suits!). Here are just a few--- Best Splurge: Fore Street(the mussels in wine sauce are to die for), Best Bagel: Mr. Bagel(I'll go with raisin and creme cheese), Best Public Event: First Friday Art Walk(always a fun night!), Best Place to People Watch: Tommy's Park(please, any place in the Old Port will do), Best Golf Course: Nonesuch Golf Course(Can't disagree here. Enjoyable course and forgiving!), Best Theater: Portland Stage Co.(Great shows!), Best TV Broadcaster: Rob Caldwell(ha! seen those two crazy guys on LockerTALK?). Any list like this... lots of debate.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Nature's Canvas

This natural canvas is down the road a bit. Although the days warm to close to 60 the early AM can still bring a hard course of reality on April mornings. This light cover of ice creates challenges for the two wood ducks trying to make a 'go of it' on the water.
Each spring I share this wee poem by ee cummings with my friends. They enjoy his stuff.
in Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little lame baloonman
whistles far and wee
and eddyandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's
when the world is puddle-wonderful
the queer
old baloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing
from hop-scotch and jump-rope and
balloonMan whistles

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


The Portland Sea Dogs are in town this week. Pictured here is the mascot Slugger 'hawking' tickets in front of Hadlock Field on Park Avenue. This summer I plan to take in a few games and watch Ryan Kalish, Lars Anderson, Jose Iglesias, Casey Kelly and Felix Doubront, future stars of Fenway. They are a far cry from the so called stars that passed for the Maine Guides, the AAA team that played their home games in the mosquito-infested Old Orchard field, the BallPark. Dad had season tickets to the Guides from 1984-87 and claimed to be the first fan to pass through the turnstiles that April '84 afternoon. He had great seats right behind the home team's dugout. I met him there often on Sunday afternoons and enjoyed the game with him. Those were fun times for me. Play Ball!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Basketball Ice

Although the snow is gone, I had to post this image of the Payson Park basketball court as soon as I saw it come up on my viewfinder. Why? It's is a vivid reminder of the driveway at 820 Stevens on winter nights and basketball. Just as soon as Dad put the basket up over the garage door and measured it at 10 feet, for me and the gang, it was Game On! Most days and nights the neighborhood boys would assemble for pickup games, in rain, snow or bright sunshine. The 'court' wasn't perfect either, as I remember it-- there was a small hill, a large overhanging tree, a bulkhead, back steps and even an in the ground garbage can that all provided obstacles and made the games even more interesting. And when we weren't out there playing games, or playing HORSE or PIG, I was out there shooting baskets til Mom flicked the lights at 11 PM. Ya, when I see a basketball court covered with snow or ice I think back to games in that driveway. Wonderful memories!

Monday, April 19, 2010

April 19, 1975

Thirty-five years ago today at 5 PM at the Portland Club, it all became history. A marriage made in heaven? Many days I really think so. The following morning we flew from Boston to Bermuda for a week of sun, aqua water, white sand beaches, motorbikes and rum runners. We said we'd return in 5 years, but like lots of events in life, it never happened. This summer, however, we'll cruise the Caribbean, and on our way we'll stop and visit Bermuda again. Now, these rings-- designed by E-, were made from melting down our high school rings and buying a bit more gold to go along. They are quite cool(if you ask me) and are often the subject of conversation when people get a good look at them and hear the story. So today, I'll just say what I try to say to her each and every day... Love ya E-! kisskisskiss!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Spring's Plight

The jogging path along Baxter Boulevard was snow covered yesterday morning, before the steady rain took it all away. Let's hope all is forgotten... the chance of more snow that is.

these black-laced branches etch scratches
across this early morning gray
our April buds
encased in white
leave dreams for perhaps another day
sometimes tomorrow never comes.

*Happy B-day to good friend and PA, Donna!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

April Cover

Looking off towards Fort Gorges and Little Diamond Island-- this morning we awake to a light, sticky winter wonderland cover. I happened to be up a 2 AM, and it was snowing like crazy. Momentarily, I was reminded that a group of friends were flying out of the Jetport at 6 AM for a week in Mexico and another fellow at my cardiac workout was doing the same on an early morning flight connecting to Aruba. Hope everyone got off without a hitch. Ah... warm, sunny beaches! Here it's still lightly snowing but not amounting to much. Just enough though to remind us that good ol' mother nature is still 'pulling the strings', and that we better not get to excited about an early spring quite yet.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tired Mailbox

Here's a 'tired' rural mailbox on the way into the city. Out this way, mailbox repair, after scuffling with violent snowplow blades all winter, is a spring ritual. There are lots of creative ways to attempt to secure the delivery box. A pole hole in the ground, a bucket filled with cement with pole, a mailbox suspended from a tree with swinging chains are all ways seen lately to get the mail delivered. Frustrated nerves rural mailbox owners? Hang in there; here's my guess-- mail delivery soon will going the way of the clothesline, 8 track stereo, the rotary phone and the record player to name just a few. Hopefully, snowplow blades won't be engaged this weekend. Forecast: bit o' rain, and maybe, just maybe... ya, you guessed it-- SNOW!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tackle Shop

For 'all things fishing in Maine and beyond', you probably should venture down to 61 India Street and hit the Tackle Shop. You might be disappointed though. You won't run into me! As you might remember, I've ranted long and hard about my distaste for the activities of fishing and bowling. Sports? I think not! What is a sport anyway? Example-- is NASCAR a sport? Sitting in a car for 4 hours or more, does that do it? My wife has driven to NJ and her sister's home plenty of times, 6 1/2 hours plus depending on traffic, but even she doesn't consider herself an athlete. So today, 'tackle' this one-- just what is needed for an activity to be considered a 'sport'. I never find it easy!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Clotheslines and irons-- items of the past? Back a ways when he was 12, I once asked my nephew S- to help me hang some clothes. He looked at me like I was from outer space! I rephrased it. "We'll hang some clothes on the clothesline off the back deck." His comment was, "What's a clothesline?" We preceded to hang a basket of laundry, and he claimed his experience with our pulley clothesline was great fun! I asked myself back then has the clothes' dryer removed clotheslines permanently out of the general lexicon? Recently, I asked a couple 'youngins' that I work with this question-- Do you iron your shirts and pants for work? They( a guy and two gals) just smiled and grinned. But how do you get your shirts and pants so wrinkle free, I asked? Incredulously, all three stated in unison... the clothes' dryer! Your witness! I rest my case, your Honor!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Our birdbath has been out for about a month now. If that ain't a sign of an early spring, I don't know what is. It looks like it needs to be balanced a bit, but that's gonna wait for another day. Birdbaths always remind me of 250 Main Street, Westbrook. My grandparents had one that sat in the middle of their backyard close to the trellis and white fence- (yes, I pulled a 'Tom Sawyer' one summer painting it). Summers it was surrounded by a ceramic mother duck and her three ducklings. As soon as the warm weather hit they 'found' their way out of the cellar and into this prime location. In their kitchen, if I crawled up next to the old sink looking out the windows, I could keep and eye on this scene all summer long. Quack! Quack!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Splash of Yellow

Forsythias are out in full force this week. Lots of yellow everywhere it seems. This is the bush right next to our garden; it provides quite a rush when leaving the back door. Interesting bush, this forsythia-- some years all we get are ugly spikes of brown and green. But some years it's an explosion of yellow! Each spring I think of this poem "FORSYTHIA" by Mary Ellen Solt in 1966. It's a favorite of mine.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Wall of Brick

Located at 291 Fore Street, Hub Furniture has been an icon in the city, selling all sorts of furniture since 1913. I seem to remember taking various trips here as a kid, and while Mom and Dad did the serious work of trying to buy a couch or new living room chair, I loved running up the old, wooden stairways and around all the countless displays trying to get lost. The building hasn't changed much. A recent sojourn out on a Saturday on a quest for some new living room furniture brought us here. The first three floors looked quite the same: walls, stairs, ceilings, smells, some displays etc. With boarded windows and many glass panes broken out, the upper floors are no longer open. The building has an interesting history prior to being a furniture warehouse. I found out it was the home, for about 50 years, to the Curtis Sons Chewing Gum company that provided flavored and sugared gum to a national market. I never knew this! In life, some things remain the same; others change for the better or worse. In our world, we get to make the call.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Square

In the heart of Portland's Downtown District is what most consider the center of the city-- Monument Square. The centerpiece of the Square is the Our Lady of Victories monument by Franklin Simmons constructed in 1891. It is also known as the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, honoring Mainers who fought for the Union in the Civil War. This classic bronze statue depicts a goddess of war with sword and shield. On Memorial Day and Veterans' Day, the morning parades end nearby at City Hall, but they fittingly march right by this 'lady'. In November 1995, shortly after Angus King was inaugurated Governor for the first time, my Dad, who was at the time the Commander of Harold T. Andrews Post, my son J- and I had just finished listening to the Veterans' Day speeches on the steps of City Hall, when on our way back to the car and the short ride to the Post in a blustery wind, a replica Civil War unit went marching by. All of a sudden, Dad yelled out. "Hey, stop by Andrews Post for a dish hot fish chowder!" The leader of the unit cried out, "Halt!". He said, "Sir, where is the Post?" Dad hastily gave directions, while J's jaw dropped in awe that his Grandfather could stop a Civil War regiment in its tracks! J- and I still share a warm, secret smile together, when we recall this November morning and many other memorable times with Dad.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Green and Yellow

This garage is located amid the hustle and bustle of a usually busy Washington Avenue. Pass this structure and you'll face a run of brick buildings all the way to Congress Street. This building to me, even with its seeming fresh coat of green and yellow, looks so out of character here looking out towards the Boulevard. It's a nice little surprise as you head up the rise. I'll handle the light rain and drizzle this morning-- hey, it's Friday! Enjoy!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Big Sky

Outside the Big Sky Bakery On Deering Avenue these bikes and scooters await the return trip home on a Sunday morning. The bakery is in a section of the old firehouse building at Woodfords Corner. On the other side is Artist and Craftsman Supply. Most days, when you're shopping for artist paper, paint or brushes, you can smell the aroma of fresh baked bread seeping its way through the walls. Back outside, as you can tell by these lonely trellises by the bikes, spring is still a bit off for some flowering vines.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Time to reflect! Another Easter morning image-- this one a reflection laced against our side window. Yesterday, as my recovery continues(really, will it ever end?), was the first day that an extended day at work really caught up to me. After a dinner of delicious pea soup, made from leftovers from Easter's ham bone, I sat down in the den ready to take in the evening's game between the Sox and yanks. The mind was willing, but the eyes failed me, soon after one time around the order. Everyone at work continues to ask how I'm doing, and "I bet you're tired at the end of the day!" Not really, I'd say... til yesterday! Yes, it is time to reflect. Take a step back and realize that recovery, in the true sense, sometimes is not benchmarked by a set number of weeks(14 this week). It's Mind, Matter and yes, Exercise(boo!).

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sun Breaks

6:19 AM Easter morning-- Seen through apple tree branches, the sunrise is caught just breaking over the tree line.

from: Sunrise on the Hills

I stood upon the hills, when heaven's wide arch
Was glorious with the sun's returning march,
And woods were brightened, and soft gales
Went forth to kiss the sun-clad vales.
The clouds were far beneath me; bathed in light,
They gathered mid-way round the wooded height,
And, in their fading glory, shone
Like hosts in battle overthrown.
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Happy National Poetry Month!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Custom House

Just up from Commercial Street sits the Custom House. It's quite a grand building that is one of the most recognizable buildings in the city. This shot is not the traditional view of this granite edifice, but it's one that I like a lot. It was constructed from 1867-1872 with New Hampshire granite and a slate roof. Through the years, the structure has seen lots of subtle changes, mostly to the interior. In 1998 the restoration of the building's entrance was started to replicate the original look. For me, the windows are magnificent and are really what draws the eye to the building.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hope Springs Eternal

Yes, hope does SPRING eternal today! It's Opening Day for the Major League Baseball season. Always in April I think back... Sparky Lyle, Jerry Adair, Ken Harrelson, Dave Morehead, Mike Andrews, Dennis Bennett, Reggie Smith, Jose Santiago, George Scott, Gary Bell, Jose Tartabull, Galen Cisco, Dalton Jones, John Wyatt, Norm Siebern, Tony Conigliaro, and of course Carl Yastrzemski were just a few of the cast of characters in the summer of '67. It was the the summer of the 'Impossible Dream' team of the Boston Red Sox. Memorable to me, because it was the first time that I ever got to witness them in a World Series. I do remember that from August on I perused the box score daily for any true signs that this would be the year that they might just go all the way. Although eventually they lost 4 games to 3 to the Cardinals, it was a benchmark time in my life. A summer I will never forget! Tonight, the SOX and their arch rivals FOREVER the yankees begin it all over again... the quest of the 'holy grail' of summer. Just one thing left to say--- Play Ball!

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Well, as I've said before on this site, language is a subject that really intrigues me. One of my many bookmarks I visit each day is:"Wordsmith" Each day I seem to find a trinket either a word I've never seen, an etymology that proves so interesting or a grammar usage that I'd never even come across before. Today, I have a word I stumbled across with my camera. Snug- Now, I've seen it used as a verb and adjective, but I have never even thought of it as a noun. After photographing this Irish bar, The Snug, heading up Munjoy Hill, I thought I'd investigate the word further. n. Chiefly British
A very small private room in a pub. noun
Etymology: short for snuggery Date: 1860
I also found that the history of "snug" began in Ireland in the late 19th century. It was typically a small, very private room that had a frosted glass window, set above head height, accessing the bar. You paid a higher price for your beer in the Snug, but nobody could see you. It was not only the well off visitors who would use these rooms. The snug was for patrons who preferred not to be seen in the public bar. Interesting! I bet my brother doesn't even know of this. This afternoon, I just might stop in here for a pint, if I can get away from the chores and the temps in the 80's!
* and no, I haven't forgotten Snug in A Midsummer Night's Dream-- all you Shakespearean scholars out there.

Friday, April 2, 2010


Well, as you can see by this picture spring hasn't really hit Maine yet. This weekend we'll be looking at temps pushing 82 and that ain't bad. Cripes, 82 in summer is a pretty nice day around here! This is a picture taken recently of Loring Park, overlooking Interstate 295 and Tukey's Bridge near Washington Avenue. It's a nice little stopping point at anytime of day to just sit and watch the world go by. There is a stone walkway, a turnout area and large boulders strewn about in organized fashion(an oxymoron if I ever saw one). On this gray morning, it was just the place to enjoy that cup of coffee and watch the city stretch and wake for the day.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Theme Day: Red

Today, April 1, 2010 is Theme Day in the CDPB CityDailyPhotoBlog community. I'm sure we've all heard the expression: "seeing red". Well, seeing red helped to ferry me through a significant part of my recovery... the evenings. My buddy C- in Atlanta gave me a subscription to Netflix, and its 'redness' was easy to spot in our mailbox. I usually watched between 4-5 per week, and they got me through the long evenings before bed. I got lots of suggestions on movie selections along the way, but some of my favorites turned out to be "Keeping Mum", "Lars and the Real Girl", "3:10 to Yuma", "Kite Runner", "Donnie Darko", "Temple Grandin", "Valkyrie", "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", "No Direction Home" and "Big Love" on HBO. As you can see, my tastes are all over the place. Ahead, I still have about 15-20 in the the Netfix queue, so that'll keep me busy this spring. Pass the Popcorn. Oh yeah, I'm back to work today, finally... after a recovery of 91 days. Ya gotta have HEART!
.No cracks about April Fools either! hahhahaha!