Thursday, September 30, 2010

Red Box

Dad use to call these fireboxes. At one time they were on every street corner in the city. The gang in the neighborhood would often tempt fate by lifting the small door and then replacing it gently. I wanted no part of that. I said it would be just my luck that someone would push me, and I'd drop it breaking the glass. If that ever happened to me, the ringing would still be echoing in my ears and that image of the that red truck, maybe on two wheels, as it screeched off of Arbor Street onto Stevens would be etched in my mind forever. We lived quite close to the fire barn and many a night I was awaken from slumber by the haunting wailing of the trucks off to a fire. When the fire horn sounded, it sent shivers through my body, because Dad always said, "It's a big one."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Briefcase

Hi ho Hi ho! It's off to work I go!
In my office, my briefcase waits to be filled with stuff to do tonight. Although I do not have a man bag, I do like most bags of all sorts, from briefcases, backpacks to knapsacks. This one I've had for quite a few years now. It handles the laptop, my pocket camera, pens, notebooks, folders and most papers that get me through my day. On the job, it or my leather backpack is usually on or near my desk at the ready. For me, to be without one of these two cases would be like not wearing a watch. If and when it happens, I go through my day a bit uncomfortable. It's sort of like walking around all day with your fly unzipped. That type of uncomfortable, at least for me.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Music Music

Geno's Rock Club at 625 Congress Street, rumor has it, is one of the best places to see live bands in the city. Set in the 'arts district', next to the old Public Library, with loads of restaurants around, it's not a building that necessarily grabs your eye. But for me it's got a look! In one review I read, it said, "the natives were friendly and it's the best place in the city for indie rock". Interesting! Rock on!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Island Life1

Yesterday, it was a cool but wonderful visit to Cliff Island. The temperature was in the high 50s to low 60s, with constant breeze. At one point in mid-afternoon a light mist began to fall, but no matter we were dressed for the early fall elements. I even brought a pair of gloves along. They say Cliff Island is an hour-and-a-half and a world away from the city, and I'd say that was pretty right on. Fall is here so the summer population is noticeably diminishing from about 200 in the summer to 60 year-round residents. I've posted a few shots to try and give the feeling of island life on Cliff. The remoteness gave the buildings, roads and residents the feeling of life closer to Monhegan than Peaks. I liked that feel. It was a feeling of being away from the world for a few hours, and I liked that too.

Red-topped Cottage2

Stone Chimney3

Seaside Market4

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sail Away

Not gonna be a landlubber today. Off to Cliff Island, aboard a Casco Bay Lines ferry to celebrate a friend. Looking forward to being with good friends, recalling fond memories. I'm trying to recall if I've ever set foot on the island before. I know, awhile back, we took a day long bay cruise and stopped there, but can't remember if we had time to take a stroll. It might have been Long Island. I'll know for sure today. I'm looking forward to a scrumptious lobsta roll somewhere along my day. Dress warm. It's going to be cool with a high of 61. Seasons change!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tip Top

At Congress Square, you'll find the Eastland Park Hotel next to this ugly, concrete park hollowed out in the 70s, by more of that urban renewal animal. The hotel opened on June 15, 1927 after a 'name the hotel contest' awarded $100 in gold to city resident CE Weeks for the name Eastland. One more interesting side note: the governor at the time Ralph O. Brewster, flying over Portland Harbor, dropped the keys to the front door of the hotel into the water stating that the hotel would never close. The mural at the base of the hotels beckons us back to a bygone era of the 40s and 50s, while to the left (just out of view) another sad reminder of a time passed: the Union Station clock in its glass encased tomb. At the tip top, just below the Eastland sign, are the windows to the Top of the East, a fine spot to sip a drink and watch the sun setting over the city.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Summer Fade

Summer Fade
Some exciting... some mundane, trips to Willard, watching softball on Prom, cruising on Explorer to Caribbean, poetry alone at night, catching woodchucks, some summer rain, dinners with D and M, daiquiris on the deck with friends, losing a close friend, boardwalk at Seaside, saw the Situation?, West Coast games with the Sox, Belfast visit, abandoned farm on Route 1, turkeys in the backyard, Artwalk, Smithwicks with bro, time with family in NJ, best garden ever, Sundays at Maine State Music, special times with E- and J-, catching the balloons along the Androscoggin, walking the trail at Stroudwater, waitin' for Earl, new friends in VT, walkin' the boulevard, up before dawn on the porch, caring for the crops, sidewalk art, cutting some wood, Birdman's big day, gliding over Lake Winnipesaukee's surface, Steve Miller Band, NYC and Philly, the Three Apostles, sunny spots with Molly and Sophie, Bintliff's for brunch, surviving a tornado, that new Mellencamp CD, strawberry rhubarb pie, trying the Good Egg, 12th Night under the stars, building that scarecrow and other adventures now forgotten,
Summer Fade.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Java Moe

Ok, so it's a sad tale. Last June some time someone absconded with, broke, stole, played a dirty trick, or I just plain left it somewhere--- my Willie Shakespeare coffee cup. "To Be or Not To Be..." and all that jazz! Now, yes it's true. I know what you're thinking. Might I have just misplaced it? That's what I thought last spring, but now it's the first day of fall and (like a lost cat) seems to be gone for good. And yes, it was dearly like a good friend... I thought of it as part of my writers' family. What to do? Well, my period of mourning is over. I've moved on, as they say. Thanks to a good artist friend nearby; he came to the rescue. He makes lots ceramic pieces, including these wonderful cups, and graciously gave me one. Thanks so much Moe! You know a morning for me without java... well, I just couldn't fathom it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cool Sneaks

Kids today! Fashion today! These colors are a long way away from my simple PF Flyer days that Mom bought for me at the local discount store. Although the design of that pair, second from the left, looks pretty close. Each spring, my Mom would restock my brother and I with a brand spanking, new pair of hightop sneakers. By late August, as I remember, the colors were indistinguishable and our toes were pushing their way through major holes, thanks to endless games of baseball, hide and seek, building tree forts and our home-made racing buggies(our version of go-carts with just kid power) and just the effect of two growing pre-teen boys. My sisters and their sneakers? Who knows. They are probably still perfectly preserved somewhere out there in sneaker heaven! Hahahahaha!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Love, Family, Magic

Ya, I know Lady Gaga visited Portland yesterday afternoon, but the highlight of the day for me was the return of Dinnie, my sister. She brought another of her beautiful daughters along for a first time visit to the city. It was only my second time meeting Dinnie, but it really seems like I've known her forever! Here's my post from our first meeting:
September 21, 2009-
"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."
Dinner at Fore Street topped off a fabulous evening filled with love, family and magical moments.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sea Grass

Life moves on in mysterious ways.

My Blog entry for September 21, 2009-

"It's a special day for me. I meet a part of my life that I've never seen. She's a part of my past, a part of my 'today' and surely part of my future. Nine years ago, my brother and sisters learned we had a half-sister. Simply put-- today, we'll all be together at last. I'm excited!"

It was a wonderful evening. I spent most of the night just staring at Diane. I also met her middle daughter, Julie. Today, Diane returns. This time she'll be accompanied by her oldest daughter, Elizabeth. Comparatively speaking, my side of the family is quite small, so my son J- is really excited to meet another new cousin. We just never know where the next turn in this life will take us. I thought I knew who I was... I just didn't know all the pieces of my puzzle weren't on the table yet.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Light On

Yesterday was Maine Lighthouse Day across the state, where 25 river, ocean and island lighthouses were open for a peek inside. This is Portland Headlight the iconic light that just about symbolizes life on our rugged coast. The 1791 Light and the others sprinkled all over the state are not normally open to the public. Last year over 15,000 guests took advantage of this one day event.

selection from:
The Lighthouse
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Sail on!" it says: "sail on, ye stately ships!
And with your floating bridge the ocean span;
Be mine to guard this light from all eclipse.
Be yours to bring man neared unto man.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Morning Marsh

This is an early morning look at the Scarborough Nature Marsh. The marsh reeds and patterned water make for some interesting designs with some gray sky for a backdrop. Sunny fall weekend ahead. Get out and take it all in!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Lurking Wildlife

Maine Audubon Society has a very interesting installation, by Wendy Klemperer, along the fields and roadways leading to their main building in Falmouth. She has created an almost mythical land of 22 sculptures lurking in and about the farm grounds. Their webpage says it all. Klemerer "salvages industrial materials to construct expressive gestural sketches in steel. This exhibition features extirpated wildlife species including life size wolves, elk, caribou, and mountain lions along with native deer, fox and porcupines. Sculpture will be sited along the entry drive, woodland trails, by the pond and apple orchards of Gilsland farm, re-imagining these species on the Maine landscape." If you are traveling in southern Maine this fall, it's worth a detour. Quite neat!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Overlooking the ponds at Evergreen Cemetery are a group of above and underground tombs. This is an above ground one for the J.B. Carroll family. They all are secured with some degree of iron gates, large locks or some sort of combination of both. When I worked here, one of my jobs was cleaning the large granite tombs with my old timer Ray. He was all about rolling his own cigarettes and telling me some great stories of life in early Portland. This one is about the size of a one car garage, and it usually took us about three days to complete the job. Now, as you might notice, its been sealed with a layer of stone to prevent further entry. A sad commentary on earlier times-- they were often broken into and attempts were made to gain access to individual vaults. I think, most of us would simply say: RIP.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Some City Colors

Just down from the Portland Museum of Art, you'll find one of the more intriguing eateries in the city: The Dogfish Cafe. We went there last Friday evening, after viewing American Moderns: Masterworks on Paper from the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. I had the California Turkey Club: Marinated turkey tenderloin, sliced avocado, apple-smoked bacon, green leaf lettuce, vine-ripe tomatoes and herb mayo on grilled ciabatta. Quite delicious! Funny! Outside the restaurant, this pole to the left is loaded stickers from the museum. Kind of colorful, if you ask me.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Miyake, on 129 Spring Street, is a Japanese Restaurant. Based on customer reviews, I'd have to say is small, not much on the outside for looks but with delicious cuisine. When it comes to food, I'll sample anything but lamb(tried it, just can't get over the aroma that reminds me of a pile of dirty socks steeping for an hour). I have eaten sushi a couple of times, not at this establishment, and enjoyed it. This 'patch of blue' caught my eye the other morning on a quick saunter up Spring. Still have to wonder about this question of life though... why do people want to paint over bricks? Come on someone out there must have an answer. I'm baffled!

Monday, September 13, 2010

White Door

Once a piece of the campus of the Maine College of Art, the Clapp House is now a part of the PMA, Portland Museum of Art. It sits at 97 Spring Street and was built in 1832 as the private residence of Charles Q. Clapp and family. This morning a few shadows are falling along this side doorway, while the front facade is bathed in strong sun. It's one of my favorite buildings in the city.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Ocean Pier

Opened on July 2, 1898, the Pier at Old Orchard Beach and and Ballroom at the end had its hay-day in the 1940s with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Xavier Cugat and Benny Goodman performing there. Over the years, fires and fierce storms did great damage to the original structure. I do remember in the 70s, one last big fire reeked quite a bit of destruction(including one of my favorite rides the Jack and Jill Slide), and in 1978, a blizzard destroyed what was left of the Pier. Rebuilt and reopened in 1980, the Pier juts again out into the Atlantic and draws many summer tourists to its shops and restaurants. These days, most summer days and nights are too frantic for me here. I do so enjoy this deserted beach during winter though. Come January, It'll be me, a few gulls, a hauntingly empty Palace Playland and lonely crashing waves. I'll enjoy that.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Fall Flowers

My SUNflowers line the back row of the garden this fall. It's Saturday. It's going to be sunny. What to do... small jobs around the house call. Cut some wood, work in the cellar etc. But elsewhere: there's a cool Block Party at the Space Gallery in Portland this evening, Laudholm Nature Crafts Festival in Wells, or United Maine Craftsmen's Fall Festival of Arts and Crafts. Lots of interesting, entertaining stuff. Plenty of guilt to go around no matter what I choose. Enjoy your day!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Beach Inn

Hope this doesn't throw off the Baby Brattcat. No, we're not in London anymore. We're on West Grand Avenue in OOB on a recent rainy morning. We're 60 feet from the Atlantic Ocean and 2 minutes from the shops and amusements rides at Palace Playland. On this gray covered-ceiling morning, this was the brightest articles in view. There must be a bit o' story involved in the title of this inn, but for now it's beyond me.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Candy Apple Chevy

There were lots of classics lining the parking lot at the recently held 10th Annual WCSH6 Auto Show. Of all the cars and trucks there, this one stole my eye. It's a 1940 Chevrolet painted what I'd call candy apple red. When I stop by these shows, I'm always envious of the owners polishing their 'babies'. I'd love to roll down the avenue in this beauty, see it parked in my garage, but whether I'd have the time, desire and the expendable cash to bring it back to life is debatable. Dad always had a line of second hand cars in the driveway to take on his night jobs in Falmouth and in the city. But point of information: they NEVER looked like this!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Four Chairs

As we head into September, summer's fading fast. Around here, the 90s of last week's heat wave are fast disappearing in our rear view mirror. The temps might entice us a bit with a couple of 80s, but in southern Maine you better be resigned to sunny days in the 70s(if you're lucky) and high 60s for awhile. If not, you're going to be disappointed. On the bright side, August was the tenth straight month of above average temperatures in this area of the state. We've had a GREAT stretch. And this shot...looks like the loneliness of a long distance wave.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Peeking Apples

Stopped by to see a friend the other day and noticed an interesting desk. I don't think it would be a stretch to say writing teacher would it? Enjoys apples and other fruit? I bet. Can she split Cortlands in two though? And what's with the toy soldier? Anyone want to hazard a guess? Wait, wait, wait! Is that Einstein lying supine? What's that all about? Always good to have a short work week! Enjoy the week, even if you're working. Hey! Work is good!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Earl's Passing

Early Saturday morning in off and on rainy mist, Old Orchard Beach, near Atlantic Avenue, was hardly deserted. There were plenty of wave watchers, coffee drinkers and old men luggin' metal detectors, even at 6:45 AM. Earl was a dud, at least around here. Some rain, some wind and big, curling waves--- that was about it. The largest damage incurred was to local and cable weather anchors' fragile egos. I love it!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Northern Tooth Polypore

Got a friend at work whose husband is a mushroom guy. I mentioned to her that I came across this pretty big mushroom growing up a tree. I gave her the town and and the road and thought he might get back and ask for more particulars. But no, BD is a bit crazy (wife's words, not mine). He actually headed out and found it all on his own. It is a Northern Tooth Polypore and is a non-edible.
That same afternoon, he harvested some Chicken of the Woods in Limerick. He knows mushrooms. He has to. Why? He sells them to local restaurants in Portland. He's been doing it for the last few years. Here's another example of something we stumble upon, and it becomes a passion.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Dead Tree

Etching you a few words against a gray sky this morning. A tree like this always reminds me of the plague of Dutch Elm disease that attacked Portland in the 60s. On Stevens, I remember probably 50 or 60 elms that the Park Dept. took down in one stretch... in one day. It was so sad to see the red Xs on the trees lining the Avenue. I mean they took them ALL down. Painful! Portland was and still is the Forest City for crying out loud! When I caught site of this vacant tree yesterday, I recalled that day of screaming chainsaws and large chunks of elms scattered across lawns. I sat on our front porch, ate my peanut butter and jelly sandwich and watched the destruction. For years after, you could find sawdust along edges of the street and sidewalks. A sad requiem!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Yellow Lawn

This barn in Hollis sits in a field with lots of yellow. The heat wave of late August and September has passed, and I'll just say that working in buildings in Maine when it's 92-94, without air-conditioning, ain't a lot of fun. Scorching really! On the hurricane front, it looks like we're getting wet with some significant winds, but that's about it. They're saying the storm surge along the coast will have the largest impact.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fire Escape

Like life, some stairs are going up, while at the same time some are coming down. Age brings with it no real insurance policies. There are no guarantees that youth's stairs always push forward, and in the same token that old age always bring with it the prerequisite of going downhill. Life's journey is filled with endless twists and turns, that excite us when we least expect it. Many times like a M.C.Escher drawing, we are caught mid-step confused, as to where we are and where we are going. Enjoy every day... even if a hurricane might be headed your way.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Theme Day: Open Air Market

Today, September 1, 2010, is Theme Day across the CDPB (CityDailyPhotoBlog) community. The PICNIC Music and Art Festival was held last Saturday, August 28, under sunny skies in Lincoln Park. Following the Great Fire of 1866 in Portland, the park was created to honor President Lincoln. It is a large rectangle boarded by Market, Federal, Pearl and Congress. Here are a couple of images of the day. You might recall; I'm drawn to vintage clothing with or without my camera hence this shot. Lots of old hippies and their grown children were in evidence manning the many creative booths. Now, if you're a political junkie, you might want to divert your eyes away from the text at this point. Glenn Beck, or even the whisper of him, was nowhere to be seen at this fabulous event!

Open Air Market2