Monday, February 28, 2011

Snow Flakes

On a walk to Congress Square in Friday's storm, this mustard store with its blood red trim caught my eye. How about yours?
Happy Birthday yesterday, February 27, 1807, to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I thought this poem of his fit the mood.

Out of the bosom of the Air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.
Even as our cloudy fancies take
Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart doth make
In the white countenance confession,
The troubled sky reveals
The grief it feels.
This is the poem of the air,
Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair.
Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
Now whispered and revealed
To wood and field.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Episode 7

(an overheard, rambling conversation at Whole Foods the other day)

Two early twenties young ladies at the next table, not overly attractive, yet interesting, talking over salads and coffee. Now, I've been accused of often meandering all over the place in some of my conversations, but in less than 10 minutes one of these gals put me to shame. If I glanced out the window at the storm and then back, I'd be lost. I had to pay attention.

"Watch this guy plowing. He's going to hit this car. Just missed! I'm still taking technology classes, you know... so, he told me I'd be good on location... do you like these bracelets? I like a lot of them on both wrists... I met him at Slainte, been seeing him quite a bit... so are we on our way... we'll pick up Anna."

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Episode 6

(an overheard conversation the other night at dinner with friends. Delicious lasagna; Garfield would have had a field day)

"Don't tease her, tease, tease... You hide the ball above the TV and claim that she's watching the Red Sox; you hide it under a napkin while everyone is engaged in talk waiting for the apple crisp; you hide the yellow ball under your shoe, rolling it back and forth, and when questioned about it you say, Oh, I didn't know it was there. Tease, tease, tease."

When he leaves the room, she says, "You know what? Annie follows him around the house constantly seeking his attention. He would never tell you that. You know what? He teases, but deep down inside he really loves that dog."

This fellow has never been an animal lover, ever, as I remember. He is soooo lucky! Annie is a BEAUTY!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Episode 5

(an overheard conversation at an outpatient Doctor's office)
Earlier this week while I'm waiting for some blood to be drawn, I'm sorting through some typical magazines found at offices like this, and I hear this back and forth between two front office workers.

"Honest, true story. One of our heart patients called the other day, about an upcoming appointment. Sophie took the call and thought she had the patient on hold-- but didn't. The patient could hear everything. Sophie turned to Sally at the next computer and commented, I thought this broad died a month ago."
Embarrassing or what? Sounds like a Seinfeld episode to me.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Episode 4

(an overheard conversation between a dad and daughter at Laroux Kitchen on Commercial Street)

"Did you see these grinders?"
"Dad, they're called pepper mills."
"I call them grinders. Honey, we need one of these...some sort of a mill."

But really! I have no good reason to have found myself in this establishment. Kitchen supplies? I'm at a loss for words!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Episode 3

(overheard conversation at the Portland Public Library, while sitting in a very comfortable chair)

Two men standing and one sitting at one of these tables. " now you'll be teaching us some Micmac words."

This was spoken just before an intoxicated woman was removed nearby by two policemen. Later as we were leaving, one of the officers returned holding a book by his thumb and forefinger at chest level, that the woman had apparently had 'borrowed' before being asked to leave. I had to smile.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Episode 2

(overheard conversation near the register at Longfellow Books, next to the indie book section)

A middle-aged guy,with thinning hair manning the register frantically says, "Real quick, tell me what I need to do here. I can help you out. Do you have the book numbers?" A young girl, looking a bit frazzled, emptying a carton of books just rolls her eyes.

"Oh, this is a great read. You're gonna love it." He utters to the next customer, a mom dragging two kids.
"I'm getting it as a gift." She tells him and turns abruptly and leaves.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Episode 1

(while in the alcove, waiting to be seated, an overheard conversation between four young ladies at Bintliff's American Cafe)

"Well, it was all to happen after swimming practice. We had everything planned out, all the moves. It was a foolproof plan. It couldn't fail.
Ah... we each got 30 days of community service."
Lots of laughter!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bus Terminal

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!
Happy Birthday to my youngest sister J- out there on the West Coast today!

The bus station here in Portland is a pretty 'plain jane' place. Pretty blank. Pretty desolate. Pretty cold too. Just like those long bus rides in college from western New York to southern Maine. I never asked for a plane ticket. I didn't think it was right with four kids. What a son! I flew once in four years. Outta the blue, a ticket was sitting on the kitchen table one morning. I usually boarded the bus around 2:30 in the afternoon and pulled into Portland, if I was lucky, at 11 AM the next day. The buses at night were cold, clammy, and greasy. That combination made trying to get some sleep almost impossible. The trip was long! I ventured home at Christmas break only; that trip was boarderline torture for the last 5-6 hours. Although I called every 10 days or so, it was so exciting to see family and friends again. The 'baby' seemed always to be the first to greet me at the front door. It was good to be away at school, away from distractions here, but great to be home again.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Maple in Snow

Don't ask me why... at 4:05 AM this morning I woke up and began humming, "Would You Like to Swing on a Star". Here are a couple verses"

"Would you like to swing on a star
Carry moonbeams home in a jar
And be better off than you are
Or would you rather be a mule

A mule is an animal with long funny ears
He kicks up at anything he hears
His back is brawny but his brain is weak
He's just plain stupid with a stubborn streak
And by the way if you hate to go to school
You may grow up to be a mule"

I first heard it, I think, either with Bing Crosby singing it in "Going My Way" or in a Little Lulu(remember her?) cartoon. And I do know that the hilarious "Far Side" parodied it with a depiction of a man-turned-pig saying to his wife, "Hey, so I made the wrong decision! (referring to the part of the song which says "Or would you rather be a pig") "But I wasn't sure I wanted to swing on a star, carry moonbeams home in a jar!"
But what made me start humming this morning though? Where do these things come from that just pop in and spend the day with us? And no, this tree out front never had a swing attached. I knew some of you are thinking that. I'm off to brunch to try to get it out of my head!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Afternoon Sun

Here in Deering Oaks, the late afternoon sun and the shadows it casts take the stage and dance their routine. As you can see, there's still some pretty deep snow in here. The many trees tend to shelter the area and keep snow cover down but not this year. It's so interesting how the sun or lack of it and the time of day can make many parts of the city almost unrecognizable at first glance. This place is such a a quiet respite amid all our small city noise. Take time this weekend, and stop and smell the snow!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Green Bridge

This is the bridge spanning the Saco River nearest our house. As you can see by the tracks, in winter it provides not only pedestrian traffic but a way for snowmobiles to travel the bridge without attempting to traverse the roadway. It's safer and smoother, especially when the pavement is bare of snow like it was this recent morning. That groundhog said winter would be coming to an end soon. What's it waiting for? Enough already!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Two Doors

This old barn, along the river, was shot a couple of months ago when there was a lot less snow cover. These days there's about 30 inches of white stuff around this small building. There's a light there for late night basketball games, but the hoop is missing. Dad put a quality hoop and a fine backboard up on our Stevens Avenue garage. What a 'monster' he created! Year round, we were like the mail. We played through driving, cold rain, heavy wet snow, biting sleet and the heat of summer. Pick-up games with friends, late night games of horse and pig in that dirt driveway, we did it all! After playing, we'd line up in Mom's kitchen, grab the cleanser in a can and wash our dirt-caked hands. We were sweaty, dirty and tired, but what fun- filled days and nights we had! And we stayed out of trouble! Probably drove the neighbors crazy, but we were safe at home.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Four Clementines

I happened to be heading out to take some snow shots the other morning, when these clementines caught my eye. They always look delicious and taste even better. When they're around, I usually take a couple to work each day. However, the huge naval orange is in a class by itself in my book and something special indeed. They peel so quickly and smoothly. Mom showed me how to cut the top and just slice a few cuts in the skin from the top cut to the bottom. After that, voila! The orange peels very easily into perfect slices. The skin of the slice doesn't break until the juice hits your tongue.

Monday, February 14, 2011


To Elenka-
In My Life

There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more
In my life I love you more

Sunday, February 13, 2011


They call it the Candelabra Tree on the edge of the Oaks near the Post Office. And yes, during the holiday season, it's fully decorated with latest Pandora LaCasse creations. For me though, the word candelabra can only conjure up those 15 minute interludes in afternoons watching with Mom those amazing fingers of Wladziu Valentino Liberace or just plain Liberace. Mom loved the piano, and she loved Liberace! We'd sit entranced for those few minutes each afternoon (from 2- 2:15 as I remember) waiting for the shot of his candelabra to appear and his rapid-paced playing that cued the beginning of his show. It was a time!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cold Park

It's a cold park morning, as the sun begins to creep over the tops of Old Port buildings. This building, in Tommy's Park, is pretty unique. Why? Well, what you are looking at is a mural. Yes, the facade of this building has been all painted. There are a few 'real' windows. Can you find them? Be careful... it's tricky.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Blue Scoreboard

This sports venue has been around for quite some time. This is the Fitzpatrick Stadium scoreboard seen from the bottom, looking up into a bold blue sky. I've viewed many games and a few concerts here, when it was just the Portland Stadium. Growing up the Thanksgiving games between Portland and Deering weren't always classics, but one in the late 50s in deep snow was a memorable event. It snowed throughout the game, with a crew constantly shoveling the yard markers. For parents, it was probably miserable, but for us guys what fun! For concerts, I caught the Bobby Fuller Four ("I Fought the Law") here in the early 60's. I could have cared about the music. I attended for other reasons. Can you guess?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Breakfast Spot

Around since 1929 on Custom House Wharf, here's another popular dining establishment that I've yet to visit. They (whoever 'they' are) preach that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It's the 'gas' you need to run your engine on to get you through the morning go, go, go. As an adult, I've never bought it, even though I grew up on Cream of Wheat, Quaker Oats oatmeal, toast and jelly and orange marmalade(Mom's favorite), soft boiled eggs in that cute holder, Cheerios and Kellogg's Corn Flakes. Most mornings I'm lucky to get down that cup of black coffee and once in a while that 1/2 a grapefruit. And of course I hear from my better half while she's putting down this gastronomical delight: 2 slices of whole wheat toast, covered with low fat cottage cheese, 4 walnuts, a few cut up prunes, milled flax seed and a cup of green tea. Good grief! Can I get me two chocolate coconut doughnuts to go? Is her breakfast healthy? I'm sure it is! Nothing goes into THAT body that isn't. But... I mean, come on Man!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pizza Oven

On a cold morning (9F outside the back door), I'd love to be working near this warm, wood-fired pizza oven at Bonobo's Pizza on Pine Street. Delicious pizza, that's a bit pricey. Once in a while I find myself 'lost' in our kitchen, looking for something to do. That was the case Sunday afternoon. Take a look at what I got myself into. Ya, got to see this.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Snow Stack

One of my fall wood stacks is all but covered after the last few storms. It's a pretty significant pile, but it looks like nothing these days. I'm not worried about it now. It's part of my summer work. Whether it was Stevens Avenue or Coyle Street, we seemed to be the only house that had a wood stove cranking in the winter. I always wondered about that, but the wonderful warmth of the kitchen soon dispelled those thoughts. Dad even tried coal for a few years. Anything to save a buck. Back then or even now a pretty good credo to follow.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Bard Brew

Early Sunday morning, Bard Coffee on Middle Street is pretty devoid of customers. It'll fill fast though, with its fanciers of espresso and wifi. Me? I prefer that basic blend in that big, round cup. Flavorful as all get out. Back in those crazy senior year days, we'd often pile into in ES's ride and motor to Dunkin' Donuts at Woodford's Corner before class at 9 for a cup of coffee and a jelly donut. The first time java touched my lips was on one of these trips. I was a late bloomer with regards to coffee. My first few cups, I remember, were a bit hard to get down in front of the guys. Thank Goodness for that jelly treat! It carried me through any embarrassment. Traveling fast up Ocean Avenue to the sounds of Junior Walker blaring out "Shotgun", Ed always had time for one more butt before class. Sunday morning, lots of sun, melting snow, hot coffee... nice!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Traveling North

Did you know that the distance between Norway and Paris is only one mile? As we roam life's roads, we use signs to keep us moving forward in our wanderings. This one posted today could really confuse your journey. Famous for over 50 years, this familiar signpost might cause the unknowing traveler a good double take, if caught by surprise. If not first hand, you might have seen it on a postcard advertising our state as, 'Welcome to Maine: the way life should be'. It's located in Lynchville, Maine(no, I don't know where this name derives from). I do know that this sign directs motorists to places all over the world like Norway, Mexico and China... Maine. There are other Maine destinations too like: Stockholm, Madrid, Egypt, Moscow, Athens, Lisbon, Lebanon and Vienna(pronounced vye ENNA). This signpost might go quite a distance proving that J.R.R. Tolkien quote, "Not all those who wander are lost", wrong!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Saco Ice

Growing up, trouble sometimes found me. I lived miles away from the closest river, the Presumpscot, and it was a mess. Miles and miles of the river was nothing but a floating, stinking, putrid mass of refuse from the mill S.D. Warren. So there was no real chance to go for a swim, float a raft or have some other type of 'adventure' on the water or nearby banks. The closest I came to it was in my caddying days along Riverside's 12th and 13th holes. I never really ventured to the Saco River, pictured here. I never knew it existed. In my small existence, it was a world away. I guess I'm glad. It probably, given the gang of kids I hung with, could only have meant some trouble-filled adventures, that even, I imagine, Huck would have paled at facing. By the way, these days the Presumpscot River has been cleaned up... the adventure awaits!

Friday, February 4, 2011

19, Bike, Tree

After all the shoveling, it's time for a sale, sale, sale! This looks to be a second hand store... excuse me a 'previously owed store'. I don't even know the name of this establishment. Corey and Co.? On this cold morning, the interior did not look toasty warm. Sometimes, storefront windows can make a place look so inviting. I want to head in and just poke around. Then again the opposite is true. If they look boring... Keep walking! I have many favorite places in the city to want a browse, even if I know I'm not going to be buying anything. If I'm traveling with Elenka, the rolling of the eyes is in fashion, as I drag her into such places. Deep inside, I do believe, sometimes, she'd rather be shoveling! By the way, more snow on the way around here for tomorrow. Old Man Winter just won't give up!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Frosted Spruce

There are a few towering spruce hidden away in Evergreen. On days like yesterday, when it was snowing like crazy, it was such fun to find one of those trees and crawl under and make our way up through the dead limbs, breaking them off as we went. Sheltered from the storm, we proceeded to build a make-shift fort and huddle away the hours. It was so quiet, with just the distant sound of flakes falling. Pipes and cigarettes were game. It was always 'smoke 'em if ya got 'em.' We always felt that we were lost to the world during those stolen moments. Some days, I long for those moments.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

White Road

This images gives you a pretty good idea what the southern Maine region is facing this morning. When I walked to the foot of our driveway and looked up the rise, this is what the visibility looked like. Not a good day for people, dogs or cats. Just about everything around this neck of the woods is closed. Local radio is saying that unless you have a good reason, like an emergency, stay home. This is a monster snowstorm stretching from Texas, blanketing the Midwest, right up through New England to Maine, with snow, ice and freezing rain. Now, that's quite a volatile cocktail of trouble. I'll not be venturing out. The wood box is stocked. The birdfeeders are loaded. The coffee is brewed. The cats are curled and sleeping, and I'll be watching this one from the other side of the glass. Uh oh! The ground is rumbling; the plow is coming. Gotta run!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Theme Day: Fountains

Today, February 1, 2011 is Theme Day across the CDPB(citydailyphotoblog) community. Back in high school, there was a time when fountain pens were all the rage. One morning in English, while the class was off attempting some poetry, I was dealing with a balky pen tip. I had a new cartridge in, but the ink just wasn't coming out. I remedied the problem by flicking it repeatedly towards the desk in front of me. Oh, I got it flowing all right, all over the collar and jacket of the kid sitting in front of me. Not one of my finer moments of sophomore year. I've always thought these pens were pretty cool, just not that morning. Here J- tackles some of the finer points of pen work.