Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Woodie

In a parking lot at Congress Square this woodie, with its rear bodywork of wood, sits waiting for the surf to rise. The vehicle had its birth somewhere in the mid- 1930s but reached its zenith of sales in the '40s and '50s. There were versions of it in sedans and convertibles, but the most popular, at least in the US, seem to be the station wagons. The older guys on Mayfield were always tinkering with old cars trying to convert them into street rods. Us little guys were always around, it seemed, to help push their cars down the road to get them started. The payoff for us? Once the cars were rolling, we got a free ride! That was 50s cool! One the of their cars was an old woodie from the 40's, I think. It was a Ford, as I recall. It was faded-maroon with all that rear wood. The Beach Boys and Jan and Dean in the 60s made the woodie quite a popular icon of the surfing crowd, by putting them all over their album covers. Jan and Dean would have been envious of that maroon woodie!


Monday, August 30, 2010

Window Art

Looking out at Middle Street from the confines of the Good Egg Cafe, this window caught my eye as soon as I sat down. It's one of those eateries with a split personality. In the AM, it's the Good Egg Cafe, serving a regular breakfast fare with a healthy twist, and come evening, it turns into the PepperClub: "offering local seafood, local beef and lamb, creative poultry, as well as vegan and vegetarian meals." The PepperClub brings forth pleasant memories of one of my favorite all time establishments in Portland, The Hollow Reed, a wonderful vegetarian restaurant. It made the BEST toasted, tuna sandwiches(my favorite all time lunch entree), with plenty of sprouts and thick slices of homemade bread. Many a Saturday, we'd venture down to the Old Port, and I'd partake in one of these. Mom taught me well. They were(my words) to DIE for. Honest!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sidewalk Sale

It was a busy Saturday morning for me yesterday. I was up early and into the city to meet P- at the Good Egg for breakfast. After, I walked up Congress Street and took in the 45th Annual WCSH6 Sidewalk Art Festival. I was there early and stayed around till 11 to check out a few of the artists, photographers and the affiliated Car Show. Later, it was off to Lincoln Park to visit the PICNIC Music & Art Festival and view all the (all grown-up) flower children of the 60's and their children and grandchildren manning the booths selling anything from t-shirts, art, metalworks, second-hand clothes, homemade leather bags and jewelry, used bicycles, assorted oils and perfumes and lots of just plain junk. It was a beautiful morning to be out and about, and I was!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


This sculpture, The Fireman's Memorial, originally rested on Western Promenade (1898-1910), and then was moved to the hallowed grounds of Evergreen Cemetery (1910-1987). I passed this memorial almost every day at work and marveled at the intricate work of sculptor, Edward Souther Griffin (1834-1928). Interesting fact department: he was a wood carver, and this was his first time working with granite. Dedicated on September 5, 1898, he created the piece to honor the brave men of the city's Fire Department. Since 1987, it has resided at 380 Congress Street on the site of our Central Fire Station. The Department has quite a history in the city. I knew a bit about it, but nothing really about its origin as far back as 1768. That's a lot of fires! That's a lot of dedicated service to the City of Portland.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Maine '33

A few weeks ago, while I was in the land of Brotherly Love, Elenka was working on sheetrocking a ceiling heading down cellar, when she happened upon this item. Depending on where you live, they call these license plates or tags. This one is, as you can see, a Maine plate from 1933. My Dad graduated from Cheverus High School in that year. He would have gotten a kick out of this 'find'. There are thousands and thousands of Specialty Plates out there on the highways these days and, of course, an endless supply of Vanity Plates to serve everyone's taste and sense of humor. We had a green-tinted Loon Plate when they first came out back in '95. Don't ask me why... I think vanity plates and specialty plates are a waste of time. Ya, I know they raise money for special causes... now, whatever you do don't get me started on inspection stickers!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


This small building on Congress near the Franklin Street Arterial has always attracted my eye. It's had many different 'lives'. Now, Z Fabrics is a sewing and fabric supply store. All decked out in lavender and white, I always seem to glance that way while stopped at the light. By the way, you don't want me anywhere near a sewing machine, especially after I saw Buddy's mom put a needle right through her finger. It didn't look or sound pretty, coming from a grown woman. Those machines can do damage! Although I must say, I'm impressed to see the creative pieces that come from Elenka's hands, with the help of one of those machines. She made some of the coolest travel bags, for some family members, from just remnants. Amazing!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Railroad Trestle

Near the Portland-Falmouth line, you'll find this railroad trestle,with Route 295 humming in the distance with dinner time traffic. When I was 12, I took a 'Learn to Caddy' course at our local Portland Boys Club, and my love of golf was given birth. From that point on through my high school years, my summer days were spent at Riverside Golf Course luggin' bags. On the really hot and humid afternoons, many caddies said the heck with walking and sweating through 18 holes and headed off to this railroad trestle to dive and swim in the cool, refreshing waters below. Me? Mostly, I stayed behind in the shade with my summer high school novels and hoped to 'get out' as we'd say and make some money. No regrets!

ps Tonight, I'm thinking about Elenka. She's stranded overnight at Philadelphia International Airport with just a blanket, pillow, computer, cell, book, snacks, glaring industrial lighting, repetitive TV monitors and airport muzak. By the way, she doesn't do sleep deprivation well at all. This should be interesting! Sleep tight!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

River Rise

Traveling along waterways on early, sunny mornings affords one many opportunities for different looks at scenes we pass each day. Here's one of some brick buildings, at sunrise, seen in a narrow canal. A watercolor for the eyes in more ways than one. Enjoy!

Monday, August 23, 2010


Power to the people! 312 Congress Street plots its power here, on the side of the brick building. Central Maine Power Company provides electrical power for the Southern Maine area. Love 'em or hate 'em! They're the only game in town, for public power that is. The company is the Goliath around these parts, and I must say most people have few good words to say about it. As Dad told me, standing next to the back wall on Stevens, "Kid, it's as simple as this. The the faster that dial there spins and those numbers keep flipin', the more money CMP is taking from our pockets."

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Iced Coffee

Lots going on here: Moody Blues, St. Christopher, iPhone, or a summer drink? Where do I go? On warm summer afternoons on Stevens Avenue, I often found Mom in her favorite reading chair in the den with a ice-beaded glass of her favorite summer beverage: iced coffee. Many times, I do recall, she asked if I wanted a sip. It always looked so icy and refreshing. I never turned down the opportunity, but my facial reaction(some sort of visual contortion) and the comment, "ewwww" was always the same. "Mom, how can you drink that crap?" I'd say. My!!! How things have changed!

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Up, up and away... I was up early yesterday and off again just after 5 AM. This time I was 'flying' solo to the Great Falls Balloon Festival on Lincoln Street in Lewiston, Maine, about 45 minutes away from home. Got there just after 6 AM and by 7:15 all the balloons had flown. There were about 20 all in all, this first morning of the Fest. Weather permitting, the balloons go up at 6AM and 6PM each day. I had seen one or two go up in a nearby playground about ten years back, and there was the time back about 20 years or so that one or two would wake us up each Sunday morning, as they barely cleared our rooftop. We'd wave back and forth, as they showed us their champagne bottle they were making their way through, even at this early hour. Enjoy a few shots!





Friday, August 20, 2010

The Mount

It was another summer Day Trip for us yesterday. We pulled out of the driveway around 9:15 AM, accompanied by my new Garmin GPS, and headed west. We wanted to try it out, and this adventure seemed just the ticket for a test run. We ventured across the boarder and headed to the largest lake in New Hampshire, Lake Winnipesaukee. Our day consisted of a round trip of the lake( a total of 63 miles), but certainly the highlight of the day was our 2 1/2 hour trip aboard the M/S Mount Washington docked at Weirs Beach. And what a day, even under a full steam it was very HOT, in the sun of the top deck. Very hot, but very cool!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Working Locks

The classic question is always asked. Locks keep people in or out? Route 295 looms in the distance this morning in this shot. Got the new John Mellencamp cd(NO BETTER THAN THIS)as a surprise gift yesterday from E-. This guy can write! If you're ever locked away and feel you can't escape, value greatly your dreams. Here's a bit of my favorite cut, "Save Some Time to Dream". Want a wonderful night of music? Catch his fall tour across the US.
Save some time to dream
Save some time for yourself
Don’t let your time slip away
Or be stolen by somebody else
Save some time for those you love
For they’ll remember what you gave
Save some time for the songs you sing
And the music that you’ve made

Could it be that this is all there is?
Could it be there’s nothing more at all?
Save some time to dream
‘Cause your dream could save us all


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Baked Beans

I've never been to Hershey Pennsylvania, but I've heard that indeed the smell of chocolate can be detected in the air. Given this fact, the factory and the city itself might be seen as enablers to chocolateholics. Around these parts, the B&M plant, just off Route 295 near Tukey's Bridge often emits a wonderful aroma of baked beans, especially when the big pots are baking and the weather's right. The company, Burnham & Morrill Co., has been a landmark in the city for quite awhile. It all started back in 1867 on 13 Franklin Street. The plant moved to its present site around 1910, and as they say the rest is history--- of baked beans in the city, that is. Homemade baked beans, homemade bread and rolls were staples of a Saturday night growing up in our house, and if I ever want to bring those memories trickling back, all it often takes is a quick drive over the bridge with open windows.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Time and Temperature

On yesterday's blog, Ken Mac asked about a few more details on the Time and Temperature Building on Congress Street. In 1924, it was 12 stories high, when it was built and called the Chapman Building. It was, perhaps, the first indoor mall in the state. I remember during the 50's, stopping by after basketball games and visiting some of the small shops off the center aisle. The hallway went downhill inside, and I thought that was interesting as heck. In 1964, two additional floors were added and the large flashing sign was attached at the top.
Today, most city 'natives' just call it the Time and Temperature Building, and the name(for some reason) has stuck. As you can see, even the owners have incorporated it into the building's name now. If you travel to Portland, you can't miss it. The flashing sign stands above the city.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Market in Rain

The weather around these parts is changing a bit these days. Last night it poured off and on, and now there are gentle showers falling. Our garden says, "Yeah! Finally!" The Portland Farmers' Market is open at Monument Square on Mondays and Wednesdays 7 AM to 2 PM. This summer's bountiful harvest is on parade here in the sun or rain. As you can see, it's situated right across from the famous Time and Temperature Building. This summer, if you haven't got a garden to tend yourself, this is a good place to stop by and visit. Got a busy Monday planned. Places to go! People to see!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Morning on Deck

It's a Sunday AM on the deck. A cup of coffee, a good book and plenty of sun has been a pretty good combination this summer. Better enjoy today; I hear showers moving in the first of the week. We're off to the final show at the Maine State Music Theater: SPAMALOT! I must say, I've been looking ahead to this show all summer. Love Monty Python's Flying Circus!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Beach Patrol

At Seaside Heights, NJ mid-week, it was free swimming, lifeguards on duty, no serious riptides and fireworks to end the day at 9 PM. Now, Maine beaches are still free all the time, and OOB has fireworks each Thursday, I believe. Free beaches in Maine-- 'The way life should be'.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Helen McAllister

He's BACK...from his get-a-way to NYC, Philly and Seaside Heights. Last Sunday, I found my way to the dock area just under the Brooklyn Bridge. While I was waiting for our group to rendezvous back after dinner , I happen to see the tug Helen McAllister over my shoulder. Tugs have always intrigued me, since my youth. They accomplish so much, with so seemingly little effort. I envy them.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Watering Can

Up in our garden, the watering can waits for the next afternoon shower to continue filling. The combination of a new higher fence that we put in in May, my havahart trap and perhaps the BEST summer weather ever has produced a lush, bountiful crop. The corn, squash, pumpkin, beans, cucumbers(my favorite), peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, basil and sunflowers are all doing fine. After the pitiful harvest of last summer, we all needed this. Support a farmstand near you!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hello in There

Although others have claimed it, the closest I have ever come(at least to my knowledge) to an 'out of body' experience has been times like this, when I quick glance to the left puts me in another world for a quick respite from my daily humdrum existence. This one caught me by surprise last week. It almost looks like it goes on forever.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Window Bottles

On our back, summer porch these small, old bottles want to jump for joy having made these colorful friends. Elenka seems to complain often about the many old bottles I have hanging around, but yesterday filled with water and with simple flowers added, they looked pretty darn nice, if you ask me. Ok, you didn't ask, but I telling you anyway!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Josie: the Scarecrow

Finally, it's complete! Started about 3 weeks ago, the final touches have been added, and it is done. Before the head was added, I called it 'drunk scarecrow', but now it's Josie, in homage to my grandmother and her nutty sense of humor. I'm sure she would have loved it. As for its usefulness and whether she's working or not, my guess is as good as yours. However, I will say this no crows or other birds have been seen on her shoulders. Anyway--- THAT would be a bad sign!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Willie in Park

Last evening we packed dinner, grabbed our folding chairs and headed in to Deering Oaks to take in some Shakespeare in the park. The Fenix Theatre Company presented the comedy 12th Night at the wading pool, and it was a hilarious hour and a half of madcap zaniness. It was a wonderful evening of the troupe weaving the bard's tale. I don't know who enjoyed it more the audience or the actors. Bravo!

ps. I'm away from my computer this week, but stop by anyway. I'm posting some neat shots. By the way, my scarecrow is complete. Coming soon to a Blog near you!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Three Apostles

I wouldn't trade anything for experiencing the Sixties-- this city, the music, my family are all a part of the mix. Another important ingredient were friendships made. When I look back, I had few real close friends. In lots of ways I valued a bit of reclusiveness that my third floor bedroom on Coyle provided. However, I do have two best buds from those times. We've been hanging with each other, in various degrees, since somewhere in the crazy decade. One goes back to Confraternity classes at St. Joseph's, while in seventh grade at Lincoln. Through high school, we sat close to each other in most classes. In the latter years of high school, I spent a lot of time in Gorham. Let's just leave it at--- they were the 'Gorham girls'. I met the other, through high school friends there, while he was walking on South Street. On Christmas Day and usually a sunny August afternoon, the three apostles get together with friends to share stories and a few daiquiris. We did yesterday, and it was riotous laughter and some zany stories as usual. Why the three apostles? Well, if you knew our true identities, you'd know. Best friends: they truly are worth their weight in gold!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Biker Dream

"Don't touch! Don't touch! Don't touch! If I say it again, you're all back in the car!"

In downtown Belfast, this white trimmed Harley waits for me. As you can see it has lots of silver and is covered with copious amounts of white. In Maine these days motorcycles have grabbed the headlines back. Police are cracking down and issuing tickets for excessive noise this summer. The ordinance reads: "excessive or unusual noise" or "motor noise emitted by a motor vehicle that is noticeably louder than similar vehicles in the environment." Bikers aren't happy! And thanks to the biker traveling 50mph down 302, standing up on his bike's seat, waving at passers-by, then being pitched over his handlebars and taking a quick trip to see his maker, there is more and more talk of a mandatory helmet law in the state. Bikers aren't happy! But me, I'd still like to see this BEAUTY parked in my garage. I'd be shining it right now! Don't tell Elenka though.

"Home again Finnegin!"

After our Sunday family drive, this was always Mom's line as our car pulled into our garage. I thought it only fitting way to end my 'trip'. Hope you enjoyed the week away.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Kayaks Waiting

"The answer is NO! You've never been in one of these. It's too expensive anyway. Let's get ice cream! Mmmmm. Ice cream!"

In Camden Harbor, these kayaks lie waiting to hit the water in the morning. They were being washed and readied for another day at sea. There were about 15 of them in assorted bright colors. Looks like an easy job to me, especially manning a hose on these hot, steamy days.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Rusted Tractor

"... and whatever you do STAY off that tractor. You'll hurt yourself for sure! By the way, there are snakes in that field."

Soon after leaving Belfast, we pulled off near a grassy field, overlooking the ocean. There were 4-5 pieces of rusting farm equipment strewn about. This view sent me back to Scotty's backyard on Lawn Avenue and afternoons spent with his many Tonka trucks. I think I might have been happy driving a big rig cross country, sort of that modern day cowboy in a steel rig. But those are dreams for another day.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tied Boat

"Be careful, be careful. Whatever you do, don't fall in and drown. You'll ruin my whole day."

At Rockport Harbor, I took a walk along the water's edge after dinner. Quite a few big boats nearby, but the seeming loneliness of this skiff brought me back. Off to the right there was a small rocky beach. The ocean at dusk is an unbeatable view for me. A short time later, we were off and on our way back home.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Roadside Farm

"Has everyone used the bathroom, because I'm not stoppin' til Belfast!" (That was a lie.)

As long shadows began to creep in the afternoon sunlight, we came across this crumpling, neglected farmhouse, as we headed back to Camden Harbor. I ventured out alone. E- wanted no part of moving through the overgrown, chest-high weeds and rotting timbers. At one time, this had to have been quite a piece of property, I bet. Now, it is home for a few confused crows flying through broken second floor windows. Eventually, we made our way to the Waterfront Restaurant along the water for mussels in wine sauce and beers. Nice evening.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Theme Day: Bright Colors

Today, August 1, 2010, is Theme Day across the CDPB (CityDailyPhotoBlog) community. Route 1 runs from Key West, Florida north to Fort Kent, Maine, at the Canadian border- a distance of 3, 800 miles. On Tuesday past, we pulled out of our driveway about 9 AM, got coffees and gas and set off on our 'adventure'. Our destination for the day was Belfast, but we stopped quite a few times along the way. Here, we pulled over in Wiscasset after this banner caught E- eye, and I took this photo. Remember my theory about 'open signs' in front of stores, restaurants(especially restaurants), shops, offices etc. Do you REALLY want to eat at a restaurant that has to advertise that it's open? Think about it. Over the next few days, I'm going to post a few images from our 'adventure' DownEast. Enjoy the trip!