Monday, April 30, 2012


The First Dandelion
Simple and fresh and fair from winter's close emerging,
As if no artifice of fashion, business, politics, had ever been,
Forth from its sunny nook of shelter'd grass--innocent,
golden, calm as the dawn,
The spring's first dandelion shows its trustful face
excerpt from "Leaves of Grass," by Walt Whitman

I do remember lying on our stomachs on a green field covered like this in dandelions seemingly forever. We broke them off as close to the ground as we could, so the stems were long. Then one by one we took turns and flicked the flowers off at each others' faces. It was great fun. Simple times or what. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fire Lane

I like walking back alleyways. You never know what you might stumble upon. Sometimes it turns out dark and dingy and at other times maybe a Xanadu. I like stories I read where someone with very little, practically nothing, ends up with it all, through no fault of their own. Well, this scene pictured today ain't Xanadu, but there are days where even I enjoy a good fairy tale. Beware, you never know who might be walking through that door and into your life.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Old Booth

This, I believe, is one of the old ticket booths still standing at Fitzpatrick Stadium, formally known as Portland Stadium. It was renamed in 1989 for James J. Fitzpatrick, a most respected name in the annals of city sports. I attended many a Thanksgiving Game within these fences, and I must say, I paid for every entry. I slid my dollar to some old timer, whose face seemed enshrouded in white cigar smoke as he mumbled some semi-intelligent mumbo-jumbo through his smelly smoke and cigar drool. I swear my clothes held the aroma of cigars for days after those episodes. When I complained, Dad always decried, "Oh, don't be so spleeny!" Funny thing, to this day, I kinda enjoy a cigar every so often. Do I trace it back to these Thanksgivings long past? btw Don't pass this info along to Doctor B-, ok?

Friday, April 27, 2012

New Home

Here's one of my new additions this spring. It's gently swaying in the morning rain and breeze today. It's amid some pine trees. I have a few more 'houses' to get up before the first of May. I want them all to be ready for any new residents next week. This weekend, it's supposed to be a pretty nice spring weekend around here, even though the temperatures will be stuck in the 50's. We're heading into Portland tomorrow to finally celebrate our anniversary. We have a reservation at Bresca, a place we've never been to but has had rave reviews. A little work... a little rest... a little fine food... a little relaxation. They call it the weekend.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lined Bottles

In one of our sheds up back, these old, unearthed bottles sit on a shelf. I like to think I'm a bit adventurous when it comes to my dietary needs. I'll try just about anything once. That's coming from a guy  who lives with someone who has eaten a coffee yogurt for lunch for 30 plus years and dines on only slices of cheese when pizzas are a dining option. Now, when it comes to soda, I'm drinking less and less these days. The powers that be continue to tell me that that decision is a good one. Often before 'doing papers', I'd grab a soda from the cooler at Cloutier's American gas station waiting room. It was from the Casco Bottling Company on Bell Street. It opened at the top and after sliding a dime into the slot at the side, you had to work your bottle over to the left and up through the iron grate. There were no Cokes or Pepsis in there. The choices were drinks like vanilla cream, orange, root beer, grape, strawberry and lemon-lime. I liked the strawberry the best. I always had a few dimes set aside in my delivery bag just for this delicious purpose. It gave me the needed energy to do the deed... delivering  around 70 Evening Expresses in about an hour. With the help of my bike, I was fast!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Playgrounds in the rain are pretty depressing. Whether they are large, like this one at the Oaks, or small they are laden with sadness without the screaming voices of small children. On summer afternoons, this one holds the voices, smiling faces running all over and picnicking mothers sitting on the high banks with their friends. I cannot pass one of these fountains without stopping and taking a sip. I can almost  immediately zoom back in time to Gulliver's Field and all those recognizable friends. High school reunions are not my cup of tea. I want no part of them, but I've always thought it would be great fun to renew the acquaintances of those who hung in our neighborhood, a wonderful place in time with important pieces of me.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Poodle Skirt

Poodle skirts, saddle shoes, cat-eye glasses and Elvis. Nothing screamed 50's fashion more than this combination. If you were a girl headed to a local sock hop and you wanted to be in, you were probably sporting one of these poodle skirts. Designed by Julie Lynne Charlot, the appliqued  doggie was a must have. Guys, simple back then and now, white or black tee shirt, blue jeans, a pack of ciggies rolled up on your sleeve, sneakers, your hair slicked back and you were ready, willing and able to make your mark. Jailhouse Rock!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Coffee Blurred

Sometimes life comes in all too clear and at other times it can be blurry and a bit out of focus. Met Paul here yesterday morning for our monthly coffee shop exchange. Although we had crossed paths during the week, there is always something to chat about with this guy. We had made plans to tryout a new place this Sunday, and although we had talked the previous evening and reminded each other of the meeting he still messed up. I was there at the appointed time. After about 15 minutes, I said to myself he's waiting at the Bard, I bet. Sure enough, he was 'lost' or had been led astray. When he showed up, he seemed blurred. A couple of expressos this early might do the opposite of the intended. Coffee and the morning paper... I had company till he arrived.
Sunday morning, Cremo Coffee Co.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ceramic House

Yesterday afternoon I rode around the back forty hanging a few of my leftover birdhouses. I'm not overwhelmed with them, but I have enough. Each spring when I clean them out, repair and rehang them, Elenka always seems to roll her eyes and ask, "Is that a new one?" or "Where did that one come from?" I don't usually give her a heads-up about new ones. I just hang 'em and see how long it takes her to notice. They are not in any way approaching the hundreds, and they are not in anyway shape or manner 'perfect', but as I like to say about lots of things in my world--- they're good enough. This one I picked up from an artist friend who was building them as a project with kids to place in a garden. The hole is probably too big to keep intruders out, but I just like it up back to keep me company. It's bright and has found a home here amid sturdy pine branches.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Red 200

This is the red tractor that was lurking in the shadows yesterday. It's for sale on a lot I pass heading into the city. It looks like it just got a brand new paint job too. It's RED all over. I mean all over.  Everything is covered from the seat to all engine parts. Now, when it comes to working on engines, I'm like Sgt. Shultz of Hogan's Heroes, "I see nothing." or as I like to say to all who will listen "I KNOW nothing." But I must have to alter that at this point. Painting a complete engine with red paint can't be good for this tractor. So, my guess is this is not going to be bought to work the fields but to stand as a lawn ornament. You know like a birdbath, a colorful, spinning whirligig, a mother duck with her ducklings following or one of those large blue globes. I'm not a big lawn ornament fan, you know. As a matter of fact, all I want to see on my front lawn is green grass. Not whirligigs, ceramic animals or even a life size red tractor.
What's your pleasure?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Shadow Image

Shadows sometimes can hold a lot of memories and such.

I had a toy red one of these that I would ride up and down the driveway at the Allen Avenue house. My parents rented the second floor, and my grandparents did a lot of babysitting, as I remember. The house had a big barn attached, and I often did a lot of exploring in there, under my grandparents' watchful eyes. I just stumbled upon it one day. It was piled in the back corner, looking like it was meant for a dump run in the near future. I got it upright and took it for a spin across the oil-spattered planks of the barn floor. To my surprise, even though the ride was terribly bunpy, it worked! That spring and summer, my next door neighbor Billy and I had loads of fun on it, driving it all around the yard, working the pedals.

It's an easy one. What am I?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

37 Happiness

April 19, 1975


I wanted to see the world

You led me there

I wanted to uncover mysteries

You helped me solve them

I wanted to fall in love

You stepped into my life

I wanted to seem important

You showed me why

I wanted to create a dream

You put a hand on my shoulder and took me there

I wanted to walk on a gothic beach at night

You took my hand

I wanted to try my art

You listened and didn’t smile

I wanted a beautiful home

You decorated with love

I wanted more

You were insatiable

I wanted to see myself

You gave us Justin

I wanted adventure

You took me to exotic climes

I wanted my parents proud

You made their day

I wanted to take chances

You brought me back to earth

I wanted my life-music loud

You survived

I enjoy fun people

You introduced me to Jersey

I wanted you

You wanted me


Happy Anniversary!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Feelin' a bit down in the dumps today? Want a pick-me-up? Want to feel good all over about yourself? Have I got the cure. I was up the other morning at 4 AM and listening to Coast to Coast AM. It's a talkshow with lots of crazy talk. You know the paranormal, alien abductions, time travel, conspiracies and the doomsdayers. The talk of the night was about the "Doomsday Preppers". You know them maybe as the 'end is near' faction. They are stockpiling food and ammunition, building underground shelters in their homes, and all around fearing the worst on the political, economic and nuclear fronts. The Apocalypse or a killer comet crashing to earth and taking us all at once looms around every corner for them. They fear the worst in everything and everybody. They seem to be 'living' those words of Dylan, "that he not busy being born is busy dying." If their lives weren't so sad and pathetic, it would be laughable. Ok, I'm grinning! So this morning, I'm feeling pretty darn good about myself and my life. And I thought the scariest thing in the world was walking by a graveyard at night. Boy, was I wrong!
Now, admit it, you do feel better about yourself and your life now. Don't you?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Low Tide

This is a long shot looking across Back Bay at low tide towards the Hill and East End Community School on North Street. It's a relatively new school built on the location of the old Jack Junior High School. In high school, I played Freshman football and our first game was played on a field up there. We played the Jack Junior team, and I remember lost a close game. I wore number 88 in purple and gold and spent most of that first game walking the sidelines. We played about 6 games that year and lost most of them, but really enjoyed practices, bus rides and the lockerroom camaraderie. I think I learned quite a bit in my short-lived life as a football player. So, in review... low tide but not a low time.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Happy Patriots' Day!

Did you know that this holiday is celebrated in only two states: Maine and Massachusetts? Usually, the the weather around here in mid-April is cold and damp with an occasional spotting of snow but not this year. It's a Jersey spring with everything three weeks early, or so it seems. The weather guru says temps will be in the 80's today, green grass all around, forsythias have exploded in yellow, the deck furniture is out and I'll be rototilling this afternoon. Can there be any other signs that this spring is upside down in the Northeast? It's almost time to take a cruise.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


I used to be pretty good with a lasso. Well, at least I was in my own mind. In our games of cowboys and indians, it was part of the gear you needed. Most of us were cowboys that rode the range that was my backyard. My grandmother started it all one Christmas, when she gave me a varnished pole with a horse head at the top. It even had a small set of reins to control my 'wild pony'. As I got older, any old stick would do. I got pretty good too; I could tame any old 'stick-pony'. I found a fine piece of rope, just thick enough, just long enough and my lasso was born. Each of the guys had one, and we'd practice over and over on anything we found. Back then, I'm amazed at how we'd fill the hours. Giddy Up!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Color Scheme

Today a bit of a primer on lobster buoys... not girls! Bad pun. Many visitors to our state come to dine on lobsters. They might even take a Casco Bay Lines cruise among the 'calendar islands' and if so will come across many of these brightly colored buoys floating around. These days they are made of styrofoam with the lobsterman's branded license number on them. Lobstermen are issued a color scheme for their buoys and a number by the state. The buoys are used to mark the location of their traps. And I pity the fool that goes messing with the traps that lie below. Great bodily harm or in some noted cases death will await. So enjoy mightily the sight of these bobbing in our summer sun or dine on the lobsters caught below, but 'beware the jabberwock' and anything else that might befall you if you venture below the buoys without permission.

Friday, April 13, 2012


Write what you know. This is an adage I like to follow. It wasn't always that way. Those of you who follow this site recall that my early writing years were filled with much second guessing and a few tears thrown in for good measure. My youth was filled with me, the introvert, attempting to negotiate those teen years. Where and how I became this extroverted being often has me perplexed. I've tried to trace it back to some event or meeting of minds, but I can't for the life of me figure out what happened. I do believe, if I ever discover the place, the moment, the event, I'll also unearth the metamorphosis from reluctant writer to someone who writes each day... because I want to. For me, that's a BIG change.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


This federal-style beauty sits at 116 State Street and is the home of the Cumberland Club, a private club and meeting place. Big house. Big windows. Big rooms. Big people. Well, at least in their minds they think they are. It's one of my favorite structures in the city. Over the years, my taste in buildings has evolved a few light years. Growing up, my favorite building was the over-heated laundromat at 5 AM on a winter morning, while I was getting ready to deliver papers. It's really all about perspective and, of course, aging.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


On the Dunes
If there is any life when death is over,
These tawny beaches will know much of me,
I shall come back, as constant and as changeful
As the unchanging, many-colored sea

If life was small, if it has made me scornful,
Forgive me; I shall straighten life a flame
In the great calm of death, and if you want me
Stand on the sea-ward dunes and call my name.
By Sara Teasdale

I really do wonder about life after death. Is there such a thing? Are we simply crazy to even contemplate it? Is there a heaven? If so, do we get to sit on fluffy clouds and float around all day? In life, I usually like to know where I'm heading. It gives me peace. It provides comfort. Not so in this case. It makes me restless. Late on warm summer nights, I still stare off to the heavens and look for Stephen. I like to wonder.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Life Ending

Renovations could be in the future of this Portland landmark. This is one of two entrances on the Spring Street side to the Cumberland County Civic Center(CCCC). The pending work hopes to breathe new life into this building, with revenues and added features to make this 34 year old building more competitive in attracting bigger acts. Less of Shrine Circuses and more acts like the Boss? The elimination of these steep 'suicide stairs', as they call them, is in the plans. I must agree negotiating these stairs at night in rain or snow can certainly be taking your life in your hands. Please use the handrails!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Three Faces

Yesterday morning I heard somewhere that today was going to be some sort of kindness day. I checked it out but found nothing about a celebration. It seems everywhere you turn these days you'll see a bumper sticker or hear someone note about how nice it would be to participate in a 'random' act to this end. Mom taught me a simple adage: be kind to others (now, this includes animals), and they'll be kind to you. I try to follow it everyday in my own way. Although I must admit, I have been bitten by dogs, but for the most part it has served me well. I meet many kind faces in my daily travels, and I'm sure today will follow that pattern. So, smile today... I hear it's a very good thing, and I bet you could find one of those weird studies that would tell you it's healthy too. Grin!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

All Yellow

Happy Easter to all!
This past week all the forsythias in the yard have all broken out in bright yellow. The explosion is early this spring, about three weeks ahead of schedule by my count. They usually blossom around here in early May, but with our mild winter and now with a few days in March hitting the 80's, everything here is on the upbeat. I just hope it keeps coming. Summer at Memorial Day, instead 4 weeks later. That would be something.

Gotta go hide Easter eggs! It's my inner kid. I just can't shake it. How about you?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Beach Scene

Maine is the Pine Tree state and our pines are found in all states and fashion. I took a ride to Ferry Beach yesterday and walked along the dunes. These pines are weathered greatly by the winds and salt air. I like the asymmetrical look to them and their little pine cones hanging against the elements.

Friday, April 6, 2012


We're on Church Street, and it's Good Friday. In my book, most Fridays are pretty darn good. As a matter of fact, I'm hard pressed to recall any Friday as a bad day. Growing up in the Catholic Church, I was always intrigued by the sacred events of this weekend. The re-creating of the mystical events surrounding Easter was something that always got my attention. I knelt in awe at the decorated altar and was enraptured by the pomp and circumstances of the moment. Today, I'm many miles away, and there are those days where I sit and ponder how I got so lost.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Yesterday afternoon, I was waiting for Elenka to return from the city. Usually in the afternoon, I have some music tuned to either a classical station(WBACH) or to WMPG the local college and their eclectic mix of Hendrix, Left Banke, Tim Buckley to hip hop. I often play it loud, till I hear her car in the driveway, but yesterday I settled for just listening to my grandparents' timepiece ticking away in the kitchen. I sat by the woodstove in silence with nothing but the clock's refrain. I was surprised how I enjoyed it. It was music!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Three Chairs

Grab a book or a salad and take a seat! But whatever you do, watch that first step off when you're done. It's a doozy! I'm back at the Festival of the Book here at USM in the lobby of the Abromson Center on Bedford Street. I do enjoy this piece of art of the large chairs and table every time I drive by. I was happy to finally get an up close view of the sculpture the other day. It really gives new meaning to highchairs. Baby would be in SERIOUS trouble if he ever fell out of one of these!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I read this the other day in the novel Moon Over Manifest by Claire Vanderpool that "Death is like an explosion... it makes people take notice of things they might have overlooked."
It always brings us quickly back to reality.

Monday, April 2, 2012


The Festival of the Book happened this past weekend at USM.
"The festival's goal is to encourage a dialogue between authors and readers through programs that feature readings, performances, parties and panel discussions." A weekend with books and parties? I could really go for that. I had a memory jolt this afternoon. Remember Bookmobiles? There used to be one that weekly came through our neighborhood and parked for an hour or so. We raced to the door and scrambled on board. All you needed was your library card and you could take a book for a week. At the end of the hour the 'library' was gone, and all that was left was some gassy exhaust. These mobile libraries still exist in some cities. I've seen pictures. A kid. A card. A book. What a life!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Theme Day: Cobblestones

Today, April 1, 2012 is Theme Day across the CDP(citydailyphoto) community. When you think cobblestones in this city you think Wharf Street. Along with cobblestones, you better think feet, because most hours it's open only to foot traffic. So don't be a 'fool' and do something foolish with a car. I can hear Dusty Springfield's version of Walk On By echoing in the back of my head right now.