Monday, May 31, 2010


Happy Memorial Day 2010!
I never served, but by name I am very much connected. My uncle, 2nd Lieutenant 390 AAF Bomb GP, Leonard Albert Gallant, was lost over Germany April 12, 1944 in the Good War. I never met him, but I carry on his memory with my middle name. And as I've written before, my first name is derived from a general my Dad served under near Anzio. The poem is, of course, the quite famous "In Flanders Fields" by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army.
In Flanders Field - Copy of Signed Original

Sunday, May 30, 2010


I attended a Civil War Reenactment recently, and it got me thinking. I'd really like to get the opportunity some day to visit Gettysburg and some of the other Civil War sites. Although, seemingly endless summer days of my youth were spent 'playing army', I really don't think I'm cut out to be a reenactor of this war or any other for that matter, but I'd really to visit some of the battlefields. I must say though, when I see those soldiers in uniform, leading learning stations on camp life, the uniform and what the soldiers carried, musket firing, and food preparation, I can see why for history buffs there is the great intrigue.
Happy Memorial Day weekend to all. It's off to the cemetery this afternoon.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Mauve Rhodie

Memorial Day weekend has arrived. You didn't have to tell me. The sight and aroma of our front rhododendrons told me this was true. For us, this is always the time to get the remainder of the garden in and take the journey to St. Hyacinth's Cemetery in Westbrook and fill the planters on the Gallant plot with geraniums. Like I did with Mom and Dad, J- comes along with us and does all the 'heavy lifting'. It's a ritual that's important to him; I find this comforting. I stop here a lot, especially early Sunday mornings. I find cemeteries so beautiful at dawn and dusk. Sometimes when I stop, I'll read the paper, roll the windows down and let some music drift through the cool air or just sit and remember simple things: summer evenings on the Main Street porch with a dilly bar clutched in my tiny hands, those early morning swift car rides back from the old FHS with the windows all down or those rides to school on rainy days. I miss them all and more, but am just so happy they are all a part of me, today.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Lawn Ornament

I've seen colorful whirligigs spinning away against the wind, pink flamingos splattered across front lawns and snow machines in various states of disrepair, but my favorites are the vehicles. Yes, I'm talking about lawn ornaments. Once you hit the city outskirts, they're everywhere. Rural Maine is famous for them. These days, they are as frequent as yard sale signs, it seems. Some people really must think this stuff is attractive to their homes. This is a head-scratcher to me.
It's strange stuff!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Nature's Jigsaw

I always like to visit the 'Tulsa Gentleman' blog on Sunday mornings to view his photo selection for his Sunday photo jigsaw puzzle. He usually picks challenging ones. Not being a puzzle guy myself-- they look that way to me. When I saw this shot on Peaks, I immediately thought of my Mom's cousin Beverly doing her puzzles and framing them on her wall in her Florida home. Growing up on Stevens and Coyle, I also remember Mom always had them going in the den through the cold Maine winters. Could you put these pieces together?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rocks in Wicker

for awhile now
we've been searching for stolen rocks
along fortune rocks
a bottle of merlot touching our lips
we sing
and then fall back in the sand
watching kites
attack an evening sky
my hair encased in wet sand
struggles to free itself
yours is shrouded with a hood
there was some regret
long gone with that white-edged tide though
nearby my suede bag is weighted down
with our dreams
for an instant
my head seems frozen to the side
teeth caught in some animated display
eyes sparkling
'snap the picture, snap the picture'
we've been searching for stolen rocks
for awhile now.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Island Window

Just up the street from the main dock at Peaks, this building looks abandoned, but I doubt it. There are plenty lobster buoys, traps, and other sea going paraphernalia around to denote that it's a working building of some consequence.
Trivia Tuesday... Peaks is a far cry from the Hollywood scene, but did you know-
*Hollywood film director, John Ford was known as "The Mayor of Peaks Island" because of his great love of the island. He spent a lot of summers here.
*George M. Cohan tried his productions out at the island's theaters before taking them to the big time on Broadway. Growing up, I couldn't get enough of "Yankee Doodle Dandy".
*Jean Stapleton's first professional appearance in the summer of 1941 was in a production at Greenwood Garden.
I'll dream about 'island life' today... hazy, hot and humid with temps in the 90's. Summer arrives early!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Rope-a Dope

Let's get upbeat from yesterday's post. Last Friday, the sun was shining, spirits were high and the deck hands were 'dazzling the ladies' with their rope work. All was right in the world! Me? I was looking for images in my day, as I always do, with Nikon at the ready. The contrast of the the rugged rope and small sneaker caught my eye, as lines were cast and we got underway aboard the Bay Mist, a Casco Bay Lines vessel. Of course, the 'rope-a-dope' byline today was in tribute to Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.; January 17, 1942),commonly associated with Ali in his "Rumble in the Jungle", October 30, 1974, fight against George Foreman. Ali's plan was to lie against the ropes and let Foreman pummel him, 8 rounds or so, and get so tired he would NOT be ready for Ali's furious finish. Mission accomplished! Down goes Foreman! It was over. Ali... forever young!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Yellow ocean kayaks await the water here at the Peaks Island beach. I've never been on the water in one of these and don't plan to soon. They do seem to be the rage though around these parts. Which leads me to a unsettling local story. A couple of twenty something kayakers left Peaks last Sunday and headed out for fun run to Ram Island Ledge Light, a mile away. After getting to the Light, the women's return trip turned tragic. Even the experienced can get into trouble in 20 mph winds and 48 degree water. The kayaks and the unresponsive bodies were found the next day off Cape Elizabeth. A very sad end to a beautiful Sunday in May.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Carol May

A 3 hour cruise... but Gilligan was nowhere to seen.
Part of my cruise on Casco Bay yesterday included a stop on Peaks Island. It's actually a neighborhood of Portland, even though it's 3 miles away from downtown. It is the most populated island in Casco Bay with approximately 843 year round residents. Summer weekends can find it exploding to over 6,000. Summers during the 19th Century, it took on the banner of the "Coney Island of Maine" with all the hotels, theaters, homes and even an amusement park. The lobster boat, the Carol May, has been grounded here for sometime, in the sand just a short walk from the island dock. I wonder what the plans are for her? I wonder a lot!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Wind Chime

This chime is one of three that we have hanging around our yard. It's up in the garden area and weathered the winter winds and all. Its gentle swaying and tingling keeps me company early summer mornings in the garden. The windy afternoon breezes, for the past week or so, have kept the one on the porch busy. For me, the sounds are so soothing, afternoons or evenings in the darkness while busy on the computer or just taking a respite from a busy world. It has always been surprising to me, how seemingly small and insignificant pieces of our day can have such a subtle impact. I'm off cruising on Casco Bay this morning, with a sunny swing to Peaks on my dance card. It should be breezy!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!

"Mercy, Mercy, Mercy"--- I told you I had some strange tastes in music--- so here goes. This song by the Buckinghams is a favorite of mine. Don't ask me why, please. Just don't know. This is a photograph of Mercy Fore River that opened on September 10, 2008. My connection? I was born at the old Mercy Hospital on State Street. It opened in 1943 and is still operating today. Mercy!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Floral Shop

Funerals, Weddings, Anniversaries and Baby Births--- Harmon's and Barton's on Congress Street has been a part of the Portland floral scene since 1887. I knew they were an integral part of the city's history, but was amazed that they go back that far. This image is taken of the back side of the shop facing Free Street. Dad always said, "Best flowers in the city!" Now, as for that statement, I really can't say. For after all, they are just... flowers! Flowers for gosh sakes! Dad, come on!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

By the Sea...

By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea. You and me... Now. aren't you glad you couldn't hear me singing this as I posted. AND--- I know what you're thinking Brattcat... don't even go there! This plywood-repaired aqua lobster boat was docked at Union Wharf over the weekend. The color caught my eye, the repair job was an afterthought, I guess. Well, after all it's working waterfront. It cash flow not aesthetics down here.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Apple Blossom

It's that time of year, even if a bit early in these parts. The apple blossoms are here and fading fast. How do I know? Last year I posted a photo of this same tree in full 'explosion' of blossoms. This year's early spring and the 'killer frost' of last Tuesday took its toll on all the beautiful colors and aroma of our apple trees. Why do I know the frost was devastating? Hey, it killed all our bamboo on the side and even dog urine doesn't kill that stuff. Most people hate it, but not us. It provides a natural buffer of sounds from the 'passing parade.' How destructive was the frost? Stop back in September,when the apple crop comes to harvest.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Door Knocker

Knock, Knock. Who's there? Do you really want to know? I find this entrance to a home next to Waynflete School on Storer Street to be rather intimidating. How about you? I noticed a couple of things though as I photographed. There was not a 'Welcome' mat in sight, and interestingly, a UPS driver had left a package on the stoop next to the door. Did he cower on the step? Did he knock? Is this a sure sign of a nonverbal cue given by this ornamental fixture? Lots of questions today.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Last September I met my oldest sister for the first time ever. Although I had known about her existence for about 10 years, it was not til September 21, 2009 that I actually came face to face with her. My post of the next day said it all-

"To say that yesterday was a 'life altering day' for me would not be close to an overstatement. Mom always told me that certain events in life are 'worth the wait', and I'd readily agree with that. It's not often that one gets to mid-life with a close, loving family and suddenly have it grow by one. Lucky us! Throughout the day, the most frequently asked question of me was "Are you nervous?" My reply was always "No, I'm excited." I really was and still am. I thought it was especially poignant, that after meeting at a local hotel, we proceeded to the Fort Allen Park for photos at the bandstand. My 'new' sister, D-, grew up in a home nearby, actually where the Portland House now stands on Eastern Promenade. A wonderful family of four is now five, with lots more nieces and nephews in the wings. How can you beat a last day of summer that brought such an marvelous occurrence."

My thoughts are with you this morning D-! Happy Birthday!

Street Bags

'When I use a word... it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.' Humpty Dumpty

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you CAN make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master—that's all.' from Through the Looking Glass

What's your bag? I call this place the bag shop, even though the shop on 11 Free Street is rightly called Portmanteau. They craft clothes and accessories here. Not cheap, but quite cool and attractive. Their windows always grab my eye as I walk by. I've always thought, you can tell a lot about a person from their bag and the 'things they carry' in it. Interesting word: portmanteau.
"portmanteau" comes from French porter, to carry + manteau, cloak (from Old French mantel, from Latin mantellum). In then-contemporary English, a portmanteau was a suitcase. In modern French, a portemanteau (or porte-manteaux) is a clothes valet, a coat-tree or similar article of furniture for hanging up jackets, hats, umbrellas and the like.
Of course, I first came across the concept in Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky" and the ideat of blending two words into one new word, with a new meaning. Today, portmanteaus are everywhere we look in our language: Amtrak(America/track), brunch(breakfast/lunch), smog(smoke/fog), spork(spoon/fork) and wikipedia(wiki/encyclopedia) to name just a few. I guess you could say, Mr. Dumpty was on to something when he had that conversation with Alice.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Turning Points

*(a piece of a short ramble I gave last night.)
A platypus, an eighth grader and a Guidance Counselor walk into a Principal’s office... wait a minute, after 13 weeks recovery from heart surgery, I better not tell that one. It’s too hilarious!! I might injure myself. Ok, backup plan. This evening I’d like to share a few ‘words on wisdom ‘ from a couple of women and a man that I have met on my long trip that I like to call-- my Life. If you’ve spent any amount of time in my room and I know many of you have, including quite a few mom’s and know I often talk about maxims. Really, Mr. S- but I thought I was only 29! Well, I never was that good in math anyway!
*My mom, bless her soul. Every Monday morning, it seemed, I had a piece of writing due in English... a story if you will. She’s stop by my room Sunday evenings and knock and ask what my plans were for the story. On more than one occasion I uttered, “I’m writing about Why I Hate these Writing Assignments”... I never wrote that one, of course, but I must admit I struggled with everyone of those stories! Often she’s say-- these stories are important-- what do you think you’ll do in in the future? You might need all this practice. I’d answer, “that’s easy, make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and watch The Price is Right” That’s right at 12 my future was only 20 minutes away! Later, I found out that the future she was concerned about, and the future I was concerned about really weren’t anywheres near the same. But I listened to that lady-- and it’s made an amazing difference in my life.
*Mrs. Helen Kibler, of Lincoln Junior High School fame, bless her little red stained fingers! Yes, that same seventh grade English teacher that ruined all my Sunday nights with her endless writing assignments. And that’s not to mention the copious amounts of red ink she dedicated to correcting all my spelling and grammar faux pas. She wrote more in RED then I wrote in blue! Amazing! I never could get an A in her room, but it never bothered me. The drudgery of those long writing assignments though, where would they take me? Would she believe... how many years Mr. S-??? 37 1/2. Mind boggling... at least to me. I wonder, if in the big English Dept. in the sky she checks out my photoblog each morning to see how my writings are coming. If you are interested Google portcitydailyphoto take a look. As she always told our class--- 'Birdman', Writers Write!
*Coach Hep, bless his pigskin tainted hands! The late football coach at Indiana University. I heard him speak a couple of times and once he related what was the last thing he told his team every Saturday in autumn. It was a reminder about the day... but really a life lesson. I can’t get this out of my head... I think about it REALLY every day. Some of you out there probably know where I'm going with this by heart. Picture this the team is all psyched, itchin' to bust out of that locker room onto that green carpet BUT before they break he tells the--- Make a PLAN(we practiced a plan to beat this team), Keep to the PLAN(don’t waver, even when the going get tough) and PLAN for the unexpected(don’t be stubborn and afraid to change mid stream). What a wonderful lesson to carry around in your pocket or the back of the brain somewhere.
See--- this is what you’ve all done this year to make it here tonight. Your stories are simple(they’ll get a bit more complex later); there’s no real universal moral to preach to you tonight. You have unconditional, loving parents and love ones with you tonight. Tomorrow morning you’ll walk into classrooms with educators that care about you and where you are going... not just tomorrow but into all of your futures! And lastly, that person or words of wisdom that you’ll meet along your trip in life-- pack it away, in your pocket or the back of the brain. You’ll never know when you’ll need it for inspiration-- but you will. I promise!
Congratulations to you all tonight! You have a PLAN for success. It’s obvious to see. WHY? You are HERE! Don’t quit! Really Mr. S-? 37 1/2 years????
Enjoy Life!

Thursday, May 13, 2010


All Hallows Eve, Mardi Gras, Masquerade balls, wedding veils and now our secret masks we don while in our online Facebook existence. Cripes! Even the Birdman wears one on his blog site. Aren't a lot of our days filled with hiding behind different masks? Is that a bad thing?

We Wear the Mask

WE wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Lord, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask! Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


We spent our weekend near Woodpecker LN. Hey, could there be a better place for the Birdman to hangout? I think not! I hadn't been there in about two years, and as I mentioned Monday, the time was relatively short, but spent it well. A visit to a Titanic exhibit/museum, a day at the Magic Kingdom, some moving of furniture, a day in the sun(92 degrees), watching the Sox and the Yanks in Steve's air-conditioned den, an afternoon at Downtown Disney, delicious mussels and brew at Raglan Road and dinner at the Fish House were all part of the stay. But, of course, the best part of the long weekend was seeing family and spending time in laughter, with lots of smiles and catching up on stories. Typical us... we pack a lot into places we LOVE!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hot Sunglasses

Call me crazy! Know how I spent my past Saturday with the temps soaring to 92 degrees? J- and I took a stroll at Downtown Disney looking for sunglasses and a Mother's Day gift along the way. The temperatures really didn't bother me, but a stop here got a 'burn' out of me. What's up with sunglasses these days? Stopped here at the Sunglass Icon for about 20 minutes or so then moved on. I usually pay in the vicinity of $10-15 for my sunglasses. I've got 2 pair that I store in my SUV most days. I plan to NEVER buy a pair of shades, that my store associate needs to open a locked, glass cabinet to retrieve. I passed this extremely, important bit of information(I thought) along to 'junior' and his response? He laughed hysterically! What's wrong with me, I wonder. Hot, Hot, Hot!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Spanish Moss

Nope, not Maine! I just got back from a long, get-away weekend. Took a sojourn south to visit family. It was a trip that I had been putting off and needed to be done. It was a short trip but wonderful! This was one of the scenes outside my window, and I thought this tree was worth a closer inspection. At first glance, the moss looks quite stunning against the sun coming from the rear. But of course, on closer inspection, you can see the the damage being done to most of the trees it covers. Colloquially known as 'air plant', the moss apparently doesn't actually kill the trees in most cases, but to me the strangulation is obvious. It is a beautiful tree though.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


The former Roosevelt School has for many years fallen under the banner of the Roosevelt Arms Condominiums. There was a time that in a small space of about a mile you found Morrill School, St. Joseph's Grammar School, St. Joseph's Academy, Lincoln Junior High School, Longfellow School, Deering High School and Roosevelt School. Were there really that many kids in this section of Portland? Some were bulldozed into parking lots, others still function as educational institutions and this one has taken on a new life in its later years.

Happy MOTHER'S Day to E- and all the other mothers out there!

Saturday, May 8, 2010


As the our TV screens and newspaper headlines spew forth the daily blabber, oh but for just a wee bit more integrity in our daily lives. We should all ask and pray for this. Just down from Eastern Prom, these stone posts mark the perimeter of Loring Park, looking off to Back Cove. This is kind of ironic. This afternoon I caught one of my favorite movies on TCM. The Fountainhead with Gary Cooper, Patricia Neal and Raymond Massey. It has that classic line. "Aren't there any men out there with integrity anymore?" As a matter of fact, on about 3-4 occasion's you hear this word integrity echoed in dialogue. Classic movie... great word!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Law School

Always thought the University of Maine School of Law on Deering Avenue was a pretty neat building. It's Maine's only law school, public or private. And if my memory serves me well, I think it was one of the first, or the first circular buildings in the city proper.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


I just love this patterned water caught in this pool, golden in the sunlight. These endlessly moving lines and the pebbled sand bring forth the amazing hand of nature.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Backside of Cove

Cross Baxter Boulevard to the opposite side Back Cove and this is what you'll be looking at. Through the seasons, pretty in its own sort of way. Keep heading straight up and you'll run into Ocean Avenue.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Self-Deprecating Portrait

Sometimes, even when it comes to heart surgery and its repercussions, you just have to smile. Well, it was graduation day at my Cardiac Workout yesterday afternoon. It's a fun place that I think you can tell by this photo. The 24 one hour workouts in March and April went fast, and it was mostly due to a wonderful staff that monitored almost our every step while in the gym. They were quite vigilant about our workout routine but at the same time were really unobtrusive in their approach to rehab. And of course it was a fun place to be three days a week. Everyone gets to wear the tutu on their final day. Monday, I move to Phase Three at Turning Point. No heart monitor needed; basically it's an open gym from 5-6 PM with Martha and a nurse on duty. My recovery continues... one smile at a time.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Death and Decay

These decaying leaves are captured forever in a pool of cold, still water. I have a feeling the pool is deep, and the leaves are deep. Often while photographing, I'll suddenly break out in tune, or sometimes break out in 'hum'... with my wide assortment of eclectic tastes. Mom always said I hummed when I was the most happy, often eating! hahaha! Strange!? Sometimes it's obvious; at other times there is no seeming reason. I'll often say to myself,"Now, where did that come from?" When I saw this pool of water and the decay, this Byrds' (one of my all time favorite bands)song popped in my head.
Turn, Turn, Turn
To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

A time to build up,a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it's not too late

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Tulip Garden

The tulip gardens, at Bedford Park next to the campus of the University of Southern Maine, are in full bloom this week. The tulip has to be one of my favorite flowers; it is so resilient- poking its head up, like a periscope, after tough Maine winters.

"We are told that in Persia the tulip, whose blossom in its native country
is scarlet, while the centre of its glowing cup is black, is used to express
warm affection; and, when sent by a lover, will convey to the object
of his attachment the idea that like this flower, his face is warm
and his heart is consumed as a coal."
~ Anne Pratt, The Field, the Garden and the Woodland, 1838

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Theme Day: Statues

Today, May 1, 2010 is Theme Day across the CDPB CityDailyPhotoBlog community. She's on the move again. The"Little Water Girl" that is. She made her appearance in the 70's in Deering Oaks, near the Post Office on Park Avenue. Later in 1979, when the 'new' Portland Public Library was built at Monument Square, she was placed in the darkened courtyard behind the bars of the entranceway. But now, after the Library's renovations have been revealed. Voila!! She has been moved to a 'place of honor' in the lobby, overlooking the Square, inside out of the elements. And great news... the working fountain has been restored! Now, a bit of history--- there were four 'water girl' statues. The others were in London, Detroit and Chicago. The statue recognizes Lillian Ames Stevens, the second president of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, and was donated by the Union to the city in 1917. Take a look. She's a real beauty!