Saturday, March 31, 2012
Back a few years, I was part of a team that took teens on a yearly spring outdoor expedition. We'd drive to the top of the state, pass into Canada and drop our canoes into the St. Croix River. The St. Croix forms the boarder between our state and Canada. We camped and canoed for five days n the wilderness, miles and miles away from any sort of human habitation. Each time I went on the trip I think I had as much fun as the kids, maybe more. There was rain. There was wildlife. There were wonderful evenings around the campfire telling stories. It was great fun!
Friday, March 30, 2012
Nobody's home yet in these birdhouses along the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center. I must say, the appreciation of the aroma of low tide is one you must truly acquire. I lived at the foot of Back Bay, along Baxter Boulevard throughout my high school years, and learned to get used to the sometimes stomach-turning smells coming at low tide. At other times, as the afternoon fog rolled in your nostrils were treated to the sensation of riding a glass-like seascape. It was quite a change from living inland, away from the water. For the most part you took it for granted, unless you were visited by pals from western New York State, who had never seen the ocean. Then most reactions coming up the front steps were, "Phew, what is that?" For me, you got used to it. Life at low tide... gotta love it!
Thursday, March 29, 2012
We're off to the beach! It's always fun to head to the water out of season. March is a marvelous time to venture there. The side streets are deserted, storefronts covered, cottages still boarded up, just a few bodies moving along the water's edge. Saturday, Elenka and I headed to Old Orchard Beach for a slice of Lisa's Pizza and a big box of french fries. We weren't disappointed. Hey, you've got to do something to survive the month of March around here.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
It's spring in Maine, so bring on the rain and snow showers today. A rainy day usually brought lots of adventures. It was always a fun time to sit in our two-floor treehouse behind the ESSO station and just listen to the pitter patter and smoke Old Golds. Playing football and a little baseball on our backyard fields was fun, fun, fun in the mud-lucious pouring rain. When Leo's father bought the pool table, we streamed to his cellar on those wet days and practiced our carom shots. These days I always keep the camera on my hip. Photos jump out at you when you least expect them. Out of the corner of my eye when I tuned onto our road, I caught sight of these circling raindrops. See, it's easy to make an often complicated life a bit simple again.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Just Imagine, Rod the Bod, Ten Years After, the Boss, Ian Anderson, the Hollies, Harrison, Creedence, Bowie, Keith, Mick, Allman Brothers, Cars, Fab Four, Fleetwood Mac, the Dead, Dylan, Outlaws, Peter Wolf, Page and Plante, Ram, Aerosmith, Warren Zevon, Pink Floyd all covered here. My brother has some classic covers. This is just a small taste of what he had hidden away. Sunday morning, it was a trip back. Incredible music times!
Monday, March 26, 2012
Most spring days here at Higgins Beach, you'll find a surfer or two but today walkers were all that were 'riding' waves. Today is my nephew Zack's birthday. He traveled from the East Coast to the West to catch his wave. He's in surfer heaven in Huntington Beach these days catching waves. Me? The only waves I'm catching is from my legion of fans and those are few and far between. Zack, this afternoon after work, head to the beach and catch a good one, then kick back with some favorite Marley tunes.
Happy Birthday, mon!
Sunday, March 25, 2012
It's Maine Maple Sunday. The sap has been running for awhile now, and today lots of sugarhouses will be open selling maple syrup and other products. Of course, the big draw will be the free samples poured over vanilla ice cream. Not enticed by that? You can also purchase maple sugar doughnuts, maple lollipops, maple fudge, maple nuts, and assorted maple candies. However, even the fact that I can view some domestic livestock ramping around in mud while I'm sampling some sugary delights will not be enough to get me to a sugar shack today. I plan to take a ride this morning for some photos and otherwise just watch an early spring rain drizzling through the back woods.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Here's a walkway under the 295 overpass near the Libbytown section of the city. This one of the main exits from the city center, heading off towards Westbrook, the Maine Mall area and Gorham. Don't be deceived by the lack of activity, it's a very well traveled route, just not early on a weekend morning. There's usually quite a bit of foot traffic along this stretch too. I think you can make out a traveler off in the distance, maybe trekking back from a breakfast at Denny's. If Elenka's not looking, I'll take the Grand Slam breakfast, please!
Friday, March 23, 2012
Where the heck does time go? Does it all end up someplace. Elenka and I are off tonight to celebrate good friend's Paul's birthday. He and I met when we were 6th graders and have been best buds ever since. I went off to college in New York State, and he headed off to live in Southern California. When he returned, he lived on South Street quite near us, and we reconnected. We first met at Monday night Confraternity classes at St. Joes, ate fried chicken in American History class, chased the Gorham girls with Kendall, got beer from Mrs. M-, hung out at Erebus and cursed out Rob, hid out in the cemetery in the 'covered wagon', moved him into an apartment near St. Dom's where he met his black-haired beauty and now flash forward to 2012. We don't get together as much as we'd like, but catch up over java at least once a month. Today, he's digging his way around computers, and I'm working with writers. We're both enjoying ourselves and marveling at where these years have taken us. Tonight, we'll reflect some more.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
This is the outside of Arabica, a stop on some of my Sunday journeys. This place has fine coffee and amazing front windows to watch the world go by. There's a lot of people watching that goes on here. Coffee shops. These days they are everywhere, literally on every street corner. Back before Dunkin' Donuts around here, the only place you got a cup of java in the morning was if you found a restaurant serving breakfast. Today, fall out of your car, and you've got coffee. There's money in the right coffee shop. Now, just don't get me talking about bottled water. Bottled water? For sale? Who would have thunk it?
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
I can never pass by a rambling scaffold like this on the courthouse without thinking back to summer days on the Gulliver Field monkey bars. They were sets of metal poles that kids could climb all over. Today, they might call them jungle gyms. The bars were great fun. When we were young things, it was always the challenge to get to the top and be able to oversee the entire playground. All the guys made it; few girls took the dare. Later in our teen years, it was always a good place for us guys to hang out on and talk about who liked who and who was going out with whom and swing to our hearts content. We were truly monkeys in many ways.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
It survived the winter on the garden bench up back. These days it stays up at the garden and is used to pound in bean poles and such. It's been around for a while. I remember finding it half buried down in our crawlspace, after we moved in and wondering where it came from, who had used it and for what jobs around the farm. Believe me. I wonder about these things. We've done some research on this property. We've investigated the families who have walked these floors before us and worked these fields. Someone gripped this hammer and probably wasn't happy that I left it out through the winter. Was I a bad boy?
Monday, March 19, 2012
In our years here we've seen a lot of wildlife wander here and there out back. Deer, fox, woodchucks, owls, a giant hog, raccoons, wild turkeys, skunks, a horse(wild?), Elenka claims she had a monkey in her backyard, but that was in Jersey. This has been the scene each of the last two mornings at our birdfeeders. My first reaction was that we had a bear, but Elenka did some research, emailing a wildlife researcher and finding out that it was probably raccoons causing the mischief. Too bad. I was all excited that we had a bear-drama on our hands. I'll keep you posted.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
There used to be a train... I've had trains on my mind in recent days This abandon track lies along side Sebago Lake. This weekend, I'm enjoying some spring-like temps at home and the new Springsteen CD Wrecking Ball. Thirteen tracks of Anger and Hope, and he pulls it off.
"Big wheels roll through fields
Where sunlight streams
Oh meet me in
A land of hopes and dreams
Carries saints and sinners
Carries losers and winners
Carries whores and gamblers
Carries lost souls
I said this train...
Dreams will not be thwarted
Faith will be rewarded."
Saturday, March 17, 2012
It's St. Paddy's Day. I hope to venture over to the 'emerald isle' someday. Marchin has been there twice, and the last time he actually got to Spital, home of my father's ancestors. When he got there, he stopped into a local pub for pint. He got to talking to the barkeep and shared his story of his dad's family roots. "Are there any N- family living around here?" My brother asked. His response? A sweep of his arm above the pub, from one end to the other, was his retort. I always thought that would have been a fine moment to capture in a memory bank. Marchin and I will raise a couple pints today and toast a trip to be.
Friday, March 16, 2012
These railroad tracks run across outer Congress Street near Libbytown. During my teen years, I use to be real intrigued by the hobo lifestyle. I read nonfiction stories about life on the rails crisscrossing the country. One of my favorite authors, Jack London, led quite a life on the rails and off. Dad showed me where they camped and jumped the trains near Rigby Yard. His dad worked for the railroad, so he often would hang around the train yards. He said his pals were always jumping aboard the railcars, not always successful either. Even he had a scar on his knee compliments of a slip and a fall along the tracks. One morning while walking along the tracks behind the Fox Lumber Company, a fast-moving train was heading through the corner crossing towards Canada, and I spied a man atop a railcar, with his arms outstretched in a 'crucifixion pose'. That image created a few restless nights of sleep for this boy. I still think about it now.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
They say we dream quite a bit each night. We might, but I don't remember my dreams. I have to laugh a bit when I hear that some people actually sit up and write down their dreams in the middle of the night. The other night I woke up repeatedly with strange doings. I've heard that dreams are ways our mind helps us work out our real life 'dramas'. That makes sense to me, but now I'm trying to figure out what that night was all about. One of the happenings has me still thinking about it. I do remember my emotions were torn in two directions. I was happy; I was sad. And now, I'm just confused. Sometimes things are not quite as they appear, or are they?
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Ever walk into the wrong restroom? And I don't mean one of these combo ones today. I mean a Men's or Women's restroom. I have a couple of times. The last time was a while ago, when we were in San Francisco. The gal I met inside told me I was in the wrong room, and I informed her that SHE was mistaken, that she was 'lost'. All to no avail. I walked out fast and laughing! Luckily, the 'sting' lasted only 30 seconds or so, and then it was in my rear view mirror. These days, it takes a lot to embarrass me. Walking into the wrong restroom pales in comparison to other situations I might get myself into during my day.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
I'm a beach guy not a lake guy. When Mom loaded the station wagon up with the gang it was always off to Willard Beach. Leo's family loved Forest Lake in Gray, Maine and every once in awhile on a Sunday, I got invited. It was always great fun. In the heat of July and August, it was the best way to cool off. If spending four hours repeatedly jumping off the float didn't cool you off, there was no hope for you. Occasionally, I got invited mid-week to Vinnie's camp on Crescent Lake. It was fun for different reasons. We always stayed there for a few days and got to stay ovenight in bunks. The best part though was that Vinnie's Dad ran the local convenience store and sandwich shop, so the menu always included the old man's delicious Italian Sandwiches. Ham, cheese, tomatoes, pickles, onions, green peppers, black olives, liberally sprinkled oil, salt and pepper on a fresh sub roll was a memorable way to end a day at the lake.
Monday, March 12, 2012
This is the back courtyard at the Portland Museum of Art. I really like these sculptures made of these small, round rocks. I've seen them in various places around the state. They remind me of the rock strewn beach on Schoodic Peninsula at Acadia National Park. I love visiting that beach and listening to the incoming tide rolling the rocks to and fro. That sound is quite magical.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Some early morning gray sky sets the backdrop for this working, rusted trawler. Is there a harder, more dangerous job out there then winter fishing in the North Atlantic or perhaps on the Bering Sea? I've got to think long and hard about this one. Have you ever caught a few episodes of the Deadliest Catch? Scary as all hell! It puts Ax Men to shame in my eyes. Now, the the Housewives of NYC is scary but for an altogether different reason. Ah... Reality TV, ya gotta love it. By the way, don't plan to ring, text, email or in any way try to reach me on Sunday evening, March 25, between the hours of 9 and 11 PM EST. Why you say? Season 5 of MADMEN premieres. Without a doubt, the BEST!
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Mom was always one for notes. Sometimes they were elaborate; sometimes just hen's scratchings, but she always got her point across. This baby book was special to her. First born, first chance to log in those weekly thoughts, dreams, stats in her own unique handwriting. For four years away at college, I got a weekly letter keeping me posted on the comings and going of family life back in Maine. Along with a mother's words, there were always brownies or cookies baked between the lines. I always get a warm feeling when I come across her script on a page like this or in an old family recipe for bread or beans.
Miss you today on your birthday Mom! Love BM.
Friday, March 9, 2012
I found this window, at the back of a warehouse, along the waterfront. Water and weeds make their way. There is just no way around it. It's a given. They go where they want to go with us or without. Some things in life are just beyond our control. I used to get frustrated when I couldn't get my way. I'd resign myself to just 'living with it'. Now, I'm a bit more positive. I make do with what I have. Although water and weeds still can drive me crazy.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
This morning it's Happy Birthday wishes to my sister, Connie, in Florida!
She's lived there for quite a few years now. Her 'land of lakes' is ice free all year long. Mine? Not so much! There are lots of lakes and ponds in this state, but most are still 'asleep' in ice. Although that little red line on my outside thermometer (they say) is going to be reaching 60 for the first time, in many months today. I heard on the news this morning, that if you have ice fishing shacks on lakes in Maine, ya better move 'em. On my calendar, spring is less than 3 weeks away, but looking out my back windows you wouldn't believe it. Of course, where I live, March is a winter month; heck, April sometimes is!
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
After last weekend's blow, up back looks a bit like this. Grampa was a cabinetmaker in Westbrook. His workshop was in the cellar and always smelled of sweet pine. He seemed to always have a project in the works down there. The summer of my 12th year, he helped me make and stain a cribbage board and taught me the game. I enjoyed the game a lot, and it was a nice break from playing penny ante with my grandmother. We also made my first birdhouse. I guess you could say my infatuation for birdhouses all began in that workshop. I recall little about the project other than I covered the workbench with dark blue paint and bent a pile of nails. A couple of fine memories for me. Birdman Lives!
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
This is an onion lamp. Elenka likes them a lot. I'm not so sure. Every time we're in need of some sort of outside lighting, she always seems to bring the conversation around to a fixture like this. I tend to lean towards the more basic. Call it simple. Don't get me wrong. It's not that I don't like the design. I really do, but I like them on the bigger houses. However, I must say this, I've never picked wrong going with Elenka's choices... in ANYTHING! Knobs on cabinets, paint color, carpet, rock design on the back walkway, furniture choices. Take your pick. She has the 'eye'. So, here's the bottom line---I wouldn't bet against one of these gracing our yard someday.
Monday, March 5, 2012
To my brother, Marchin, Happy Birthday wishes are headed your way today!
He's been to Ireland twice and has regaled me with wishful stories on his return. I hope the next time he ventures to the green fields, I'll be along side. A ride along the N17, a side trip to Spital and a few Dublin pubs will certainly be on our itinerary. I might even raise a Guinness.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Ever come across a shot that you just like, but for some reason you can't put you finger on the reason? Well, I do, and here's a recent one that fits the bill. J- and I went out shooting a week ago or so, and I took him to a few of my favorite haunts. This place, near a run of dilapidated warehouses, will, if all falls into place, be the new home of the Red Claws, our D-League basketball team. All of the neat buildings and stretch along the Fore River will soon all be off limits. As we were pulling out of the yard of twisting dirt roads, this tree caught my eye. I was going to leave it for another day, but thought better of it. R. Frost was echoing in my head, I guess. It isn't going to grow majestic. It ain't too pretty either, but I kind of like this scraggly old birch.
Saturday, March 3, 2012
Amtrak engine 525 is a big, powerful machine. Wilton Norman Chamberlain ( 1936-1999)was one too. He was 7 feet 1 inch and weighed 275 pounds. In the National Basketball Association, he was one incredible scoring machine too. Fifty years ago last night, my friend Billy and I were shooting baskets into a short, makeshift basketball hoop at a nearby backyard and listening to a Celtic broadcast with Johnny Most at the microphone, when we heard about an amazing feat. 'Wilt the Stilt' Chamberlain, the Big Dipper, had scored 100 points against the New York Knickerbockers. That 1961-62 season he averaged 50.4 points per game in the NBA. That night the game was not televised. There was no video tape to help document his 36 baskets and 28 foul shots. Just a meager 4,000 screaming Philadelphia Warriors' fans in Hershey, PA were there to witness history in the making. He was the Man! A man who changed the NBA forever that night. And nope Jack, I'm not even going to mention the over 20,000 women he supposedly bedded. I told you he was the 'man'.
Friday, March 2, 2012
Well, so much for an early spring around here. Portland got 13 inches of white, fluffy stuff yesterday. I knew it was too good to be true. All January, all February little or no snow action and now March, and it's POW!. It's Maine. It's going to be white! I just know it. It's like being at the tables in Vegas and you're winning and winning. If you're like me, you begin asking yourself when do I get out? When do I push back? If it can't get any better than this, now what? Oh well, March in like a lion... out like a lion? I wouldn't bet against it.
Thursday, March 1, 2012
Today, March 1, 2012, is Theme Day across the citydailyphotoblog(CDPB) community. Here's my take on today's theme. I call it SHOCKING! A week ago, I turned the corner and headed to work as if it was any other morning, but suddenly it wasn't. I came face to face with this scene. I was shocked! I saw death outside my side window. The sunrise picture above is of the same tree taken about a year ago.