Saturday, June 30, 2012

Blurred Time

I know. I know. You don't have to tell me, even once. Times flies these days. Time used to drag, on and on and on, but not now. It races away with me. In those teen years, I asked myself when was the future ever going to get here? You see, I had an old, tan Westclox alarm clock on the table beside my bed to get me up for school, and the mill whistle blowing at 2:15 PM told me it was time to do afternoon papers. That was all I needed. I was a simple kid. These days, if I head off to work without one of my many watches on my wrist, I'm a bit 'off kilter' all day. It's an uneasy feeling. It's like spending the day continually checking my fly, because I think it's unzipped. It's unpleasant! Earlier this week on my trip, I wore a silver number that had a dead battery. When anyone asked me what time it was, I replied, "11:45". They laughed! They finally stopped asking for the time. Mid-week, I got the battery replaced on a mall visit and a gentle calmness fell over me. Back in my college days, I used to laugh at my friend Tommy. He was an art major who wore a fancy gold wristwatch, that he had deliberately broken off the hands on. However, he would wind it religiously each day. He said he liked to hear it tick. Maybe he was on to something... no hands, no time?
Look Ma, no hands!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Big Wheel

I've been away for a few days. Did you notice? I accompanied a group of my friends for a fast trip to NYC and the Philadelphia area. Mid-week I found myself in Allentown, PA at Six Flags Great Adventure. I took a stroll among some of their rides. Here's a look up at the ferris wheel. Wheels have quite a history. There are records of them 'riding to the sky' as early as the early 1600s in Constantinople. This I did not know. For me, it was always a daring ride that upped the ante from the safe, harmless merry-go-round. When I reached the tippy top, I knew I could see forever. Well, maybe not quite that far but at least the outer reaches of Old Orchard Beach.
Big Wheel keep on rollin'...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Frat House

... the last of "My Three Hours"
An 'animal house' was not for me. I did not join a fraternity in college, and that was a very good decision. I never would have survived. College? Heck no. Life! This is indeed quite a building. My friend Kevin stayed in a room in the back of the third floor for a summer. When I visited, it was quite a treat. First of all the rooms have a maze-like quality to them and winding your way all the way up beyond the third floor you find a square cupola with seats all around. A cool place to sit and read and observe the comings and goings of a small town's life. Read? Do you do that in a frat? Hey Bluto? 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Lichen Wall

.. more "My Three Hours"
After sitting on a bench, overlooking the Atlantic for ten minutes or so, I started my walk back. Looking at the entire wall, you don't see it. Zeroing in on pieces of the wall, and there you have it. Quite a design!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Chain Lock

... more "My Three Hours"
I hear there are people who put locks all over on fences, poles and other odd places. This chain, when fully extended, would connect to nowhere. What's this all about? I found this lock and chain on a pathway high above the beach. It was nailed to a pole. Why do people do this? Any idea? Makes for an interesting picture, but that's about it. What's it all about? Can you help me get a good night's rest? Try and answer these three simple questions. Why? Why? Why?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Three Spires

... more "My Three Hours"
On our way to the beach, we stopped for breakfast in the first floor of this old church. Elenka needs it. Yogurt and cereal stuff, or a bagel and cream cheese. She needs it. Me? Give me a cup of java, and I'm good to go. This morning I broke down and bought a blueberry muffin, my favorite. Mistake. It was very dry and not very satisfying. Food critic? I'm sounding like Marchin. Sheesh! Now, I'm not a big church guy, but I do enjoy checking out old churches, especially if I can get a cup of coffee to go. I have passed this church countless times but not from this angle.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Two Peaks

"My Three Hours"
One of my favorite magazines that I peruse, pretty much, cover to cover is MAINE. Each month they spend 48 hours in a city, town or locale in the state. This week I'll be doing my version. So if you're looking for inns, bread and breakfast homesteads, 'in' restaurants, spas, pricey storefronts you're going to be greatly disappointed here. Looking for those places when you are coming Northeast? Check out MAINE. It's pretty cool. They have recently done 48 hour spreads on Camden/ Rockport, Belfast, Kennebunkport, Mt. Desert Island, Lewiston/Auburn, Boothbay Harbor and Ellsworth just to name a few.
Ok, here my take. I'll call it "My Three Hours". Here are a couple of pretty recognizable, weathered shacks near Willard Beach. When I'm not checking out the sand for some of the 'finest kind', I enjoy getting a closer look at these two shingled buildings.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Dune Flower

Such a delicate flower. Some things in life even now, after all these years, still make me sit back and shake my head in amazement. No, I'm not talking about  this delicate, wind-swept flower among the dunes at Willard Beach. I'm talking about the purple bikini top! So, Thursday we get to Willard about noon and pick out a fine spot up next to the dune grass in the warm sun and gentle ocean breeze. Perfect. Well, almost. Once I had gotten myself situated and comfortable in my chair,  I heard it. Miss Purple Bikini Top, about 10 feet away in front of us, was on her cell talking. Over the next hour, she NEVER quit. Talk! Talk! Talk! Yak! Yak! Yak! When I complained to Elenka about her incessant talking, she laughed hysterically! "You should talk!" She said. "Ya,  but I make sense when I talk..." She got a kick out of that comment! After about an hour, a miracle occurred. The call was over... but not for long. Within a minute, she was back engaged to her cell engrossed in another friendly exchange. On, and on and on. Now, you know I'm a gentle man, but after 1 1/2 hours of this all I wanted to relay to her were these few, simple, dainty words "SHUT UP!"
See, even at a sunny beach with a purple bikini dead ahead, I can shake my head in utter amazement. Do guys talk this much? I think not.
Well, a least there was a bikini involved!

Friday, June 22, 2012


"Summertime and the livin' is easy..."
Yet there are items on my agenda that can, in time, make life anything but easy. When you live here in the Northeast, summer can be a fleeting thing. Weather can play a cameo role. A couple of summers ago, June and July were loaded with more moisture than you would want. At the start of a summer, you have what seems endless miles ahead, plenty to do with plenty of time, but before you know it days are creeping shorter. Ol' Mr. Summer Sun is on the wane and many of those plans can come crashing down around you. Over the next few months, I have things that need to get done, and those that I want to get accomplished or at least I do for right now. Sometimes it's a challenge to distinguish between the two and keep myself and those around me happy and enjoying these all too brief warm days around here. So, I'll take some trips, see some friends, do some celebrating, get an important project or two or three done, buy a book, get some 'me time' in and hit a beach or two. Oh ya, almost forgot the beach...

Thursday, June 21, 2012


It's summer! It came at 7:09 last evening, but when the temperature hit 93 here in the backyard yesterday, I knew it had arrived. Haddock, lobster, shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels. If you like seafood on an open deck, in an ocean breeze, this locale is the place for you this summer. There, that's my last commercial I'll be doing for awhile. If you're are coming this way, ENJOY!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Here's your brief history and geography lesson for the day. Back in 1786, the citizens of an area in Falmouth called the Neck broke away from town and named the peninsula Portland. They named it after an isle near Dorset, England. It had fast become an important commercial and shipping center in the Northeast. It still is today, after all the main artery that runs along the water is Commercial Street. If you ever get a chance to take a look at a map of the area, it's pretty hard to miss the city of Portland. It's shaped like a 'fist', as it juts out into the Atlantic. Class dismissed for the summer!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


My earliest recollection of drive-ins was here at the Prides Corner Drive-In. We were in high school.  It wasn't $15 a carload back then. You paid per person, and we were always successful sneaking in a couple of guys in the trunk. They never checked. Maybe someday they'll make that movie about the life and times of the Birdman. Let's see who might play the lead. How about someone like Matthew McConaughey? I'm just saying...
Who might play you? Have some fun. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fun House

I know that summer is still a few days away, but I'm calling it early. This reflection in a big boat reminds of the fun house at Old Orchard Beach that as kids we use to venture to summers. The yacht itself, still on dry land as summer approaches, seems symbolic of a big kid's 'fun house' forestalled for unknown reasons. Push ahead with your dreams. Dreaming is important. Sometimes our dreams manifest themselves in much more than mere reflections of things that could have been. There are times in our lives when dreams, like this boat, WILL hit the water.

"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." Walt Disney

Sunday, June 17, 2012

the Donald

My most lasting memories of Dad and me go all the way back to the time he was working as the night janitor/watchman at the 'new' Falmouth High School. After working his regular job as a mail carrier in the city, he'd come home, catch a few hours of shut eye and after supper it was off to this second job. About once a week during the summer, he'd let me tag along. While he was working and making his rounds, I'd spend time on the new gym floor shooting baskets and pretending to make that last second game winner, or exploring some of the well lit hallways and clasrooms. About 11 PM, we'd sit down for a meal of balogna sandwiches and listen to the latest feats of some kid nicknamed the "Say Hey Kid"(Willie Mays) out on the West Coast on Dad's scratchy Motorola, a radio that eventually followed me to college.  After a little of that, it was time for bed. I curled up in my sleeping bag in the Library till about 4 AM and all that was left was the fast car ride home for a drowsy young lad. Back then, it was just summer nights with Dad. Now these times hold so much more importance.  They were special. Just me and Dad and alone time. I wish I could travel back with this guy, for just one night...
Happy Fathers' Day DMN!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Backyard Birches

Donna and Marchin have got a couple of interesting birches growing in their backyard. They are entwined towards the bottom and grow apart as they reach for the sky. Most people like the look of birches, myself included. I think Robert Frost did. He wrote a beauty about them. Today, I have a few logs for show in my office fireplace. I didn't take them down; they came in a load of firewood awhile back. I've always had an eye for birches. Bow and arrow building was a rite of summer. While others in the gang went for the branches in the 'bushes', that lined our baseball diamond, my heart was set on those white-barked trees. We had a couple small birches, down back off Stevens Avenue, and when it came time to make our bow and arrows, I headed for them. Birch branches worked wonders for me. I aways felt they made an extra-flexible bow and provided a kind of unique look. While the others carved their initials in the bow, I didn't have to. The white bow singled me out. I've always have been a bit different, even in bow construction.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ripple Effect

It the birthday of Kobayashi Issa, one of the masters of the simple but elegant haiku. In his lifetime he wrote more than 20,000 haiku, celebrating the simplicities of life in 17 syllables. Let me try one.

Breezes blow gently
Sun's waking but so slowly
Ripples echo now.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Get Lucky

In our backyard, there's a remnant of a large barn foundation. Go digging around up there, and this is an example of what you'll find. I've found quite a few horseshoes, relics of old farm equipment, bottles, hammers and assorted tools. When we moved in, there were lots of rotting floorboards, still in place, that I had to remove to make way for a small flower garden and some lawn space. When I find one of these, I try to imagine what the 'old grey mare' might have looked like and how she might have spent her day. I don't think: luck. I'm not a big fan of it. As a matter of fact, I don't believe that it's a 'big player' in this game of life. And if there is such a thing... we make our own. Ever been lucky?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Sitting in a parking lot nearby, this grader is for sale. Wanna take a chance? Down on Bishop Street, Warren Brothers Paving Company had their plant, and after hours we did lots of investigating. It was a day of no fences or gates to keep us young guys out, so after the crews left at 4:30, it was our time to shine. We climbed on the pavers and into the cabs of their dump trucks and dreamed of doing the city's work. We   raced up slippery ladders and actually made our way into the plant itself. The smell of that black, gooey tar, that covered the streets of the city, was almost overwhelming on parts of the property, especially near the tar pit. When we saw those yellow and black trucks, graders and pavers around the city the next day, we could say, "Hey, I was driving that thing last night!" Mom just looked at me and seemed to say, "What in heaven's name are you talking about, boy?"

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Llama, llama ding dong!
We were running errands the other morning in a steady rain, flying down Flaggy Meadow Road, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw this scene staring back at me. I don't often use this word, but I think cute fits here. Do you? I, also, don't keep track of these things, but I hear more and more llamas are showing up in the state. I use to just see them at 'petting zoos', but now you can drive by fields of them grazing.
All for their wolly, bully.
There, two musical references in one short post.
Sam the Sham would be so proud, I bet.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Broken Windows

"Bless me Father for I have sinned. It's been a long time since my last confession..."
Ok, let's get something straight. In my other life, I threw rocks and tried to end with a thud the lives of fat, gray squirrels, big black crows, scampering chipmunks, and loads of nasty pigeons. Thank goodness I had a bad aim, because I missed them all, and I threw A LOT of ammo. After revealing all that, this next line might throw you for a loop. Would you believe me, if I told you, that I never hurled a stone in anger or in fun at a glass window? It's true. Never threw, broke and ran. Never! File this fact under one of those mysteries of life that I've talked about before. And I had many a chance. A shattering revelation, I know.
"For all your valiant attempts to end the lives of those varmints and such... two Our Fathers and one Hail Mary, son."

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bombs Away

Because some of you inquired about 'yarn bombing', here is a section of the sculpture "Michael" at One City Center after it was 'attacked' Thursday night. This piece of public art, by sculptor  John Raimondi, has been embroiled in controversy since it landed in Portland in May of 1975. More art for art sake.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Tank 118

Get Art... while you're driving to work? The other day I was traveling into the city on 295 and angled the camera out the window for this blue shot. It is one of the structures at the Sprague Energy tank farm that was selected to be painted by Venezuelan artist Jamie Gill.  Since being chosen by Maine Center of Creativity in 2008, Gill has painted eight tank tops. A few of them are much more elaborate than this one too. Perhaps the guerilla grandmas, who 'yarn bombed' the the sculpture "Michael" in the city late Thursday night, might want to try their hand at tackling one of these babies!

Friday, June 8, 2012

CW Jacket

I attended an annual Civil War Reenactment recently and spied this front to a soldier's jacket. He's a private in Company A, Third Regiment Volunteer Infantry. Growing up, 'playing army' in the back fields was always a rite of a long summer. We had uniforms, canteens, maps and hand-made weapons of wood. We'd entertain ourselves for hours with various daring maneuvers and secret reconnaissance missions along Gulliver's Pond. Sometimes we even took our rafts to water in our elaborate war games. After a morning chock full war, it was time for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cherry Kool-Aid in the mess hall.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sunny Bucket

Sun's back!
 This large wooden bucket up back is filled with flowers reaching for the fingers of the sun this morning. Back on Stevens Avenue, I found a smaller version of one of these down in the dump, along side the Armory. When I went pollywog hunting in the cemetery ponds, it was a great receptacle for the young amphibians I caught. Later, after accumulating hundreds swimming about, I transferred them to a 5 gallon glass jug so I could watch them intently. Scrutinizing them, daily, and watching them grow their little legs and arms as they approached 'frogdom', was quite cool. When the jug started turning a slimy, ugly yellow-green and began to stink something awful, I knew the fun was over for another spring, and lugged the jug to the swamp down back and dumped the contents.
Free again! Free again!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Grange Roof

Every time I pass an old Grange Hall like this one, I'm reminded of music. It was all about dances and live music. There was one in the city and another popular one out on Rt. 302. Yesterday, I was listening to NPR's "All Things Considered" and heard a story about 'Your Mom and Dad's Record Collection', and it got me thinking about music I didn't like back then but have come to appreciate now. Dad loved Louie Prima (Just a Gigolo) and Keely Smith and his foot was always tappin' to anything by the Spike Jones band. Mom loved Perry Como and Dean Martin standards. I might not know the songs, but if I heard the music, I recognize them immediately. I can Name That Tune in just 3 notes!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Wet Grass

Ok, here's my latest news. Although there won't be any sun today around here, the steady, drenching rain of the past few days has subsided, and so I have stopped building my ark. This is a scene I pass each day heading to work. That's some tall, wet grass right there. Tall grass provides lots of adventure. One August, the City of Portland forgot, I guess, to mow our baseball fields down back, and we needed to play ball. The grass got to be almost knee high, so we took it upon ourselves to get the job done. Eddie, Leo and I got our family lawnmowers in action and the infield and outfield were taken care of quickly. While mowing the outfield near the swamp, Eddie almost ran over a huge snapping turtle. It's shell was about 2 1/2 feet in diameter, as I remember. The sight of it brought the whole neighborhood out to take a look. We tried to lift it and get it back to the nearby water, but it was too heavy and pretty angry. So we left it there, and in the morning, it was gone. Years after, we were still talking about that 'find' in the tall grass.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Turbulent Falls

It's been pouring... I mean torrential, steady downpours here for two days now. Flood warnings abound. Yesterday, I posted an image of the door of the Saccarappa power station at Saccarappa Falls. Here is a shot of the falls. They are so hard to see, because we're at flood stage here. But take my word for it, these are the falls on the Presumpscot River in Westbrook, a suburb of Portland. The original name of  the city was Saccarappa... an Indian word meaning, "towards the rising sun."
Thanks Dina for getting me thinking...

The sun... well, perhaps Wednesday. I'm thinking positive here.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Keep Out

This means YOU!
Growing up my all time favorite word had to be: Don't. Don't go past here. Don't swim here. Don't jump. Don't walk on grass. Don't read this. Don't miss Mass. Don't be late. Don't touch.
I can pretty much guarantee you, that if our gang ever came across a sign like this, (and we did, often), we'd try with all our physical powers to open said door. Mind you, I never used the words: smash, destroy, annihilate. All I said was open. Sometimes all that was needed was an extra nudge or a well placed, gentle kick. Beyond gates, locks, knobs, handles like this one, padlocks were another issue. We weren't too successful, but we didn't lack for trying. And when a door, to our surprise, suddenly flung open, what did we do? We went in, looked around, wondered why the sign Keep Out was posted on the entryway, closed it behind us and went upon our merry way. We weren't a destructive lot, you see, but wicked inquisitive.
I still have a dislike for that word. Don't get me wrong.

ps. Let me wager you this. Today, someone who has never read my blog will set eyes on this thumbnail and words Keep OUT and will be driven by some 'force inside them' to open and read. Yup, pretty powerful stuff those words: Don't and Keep Out!

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Down behind the Stevens Avenue National Guard Armory along side Gulliver's Field, they parked army trucks, jeeps and even a few tanks. There must have been hundreds of vehicles in long rows. There was no fence, so we had free range to scatter about and go investigating. While others climbed upon the rugged, faded-green tanks, I was intrigued by the large convoy trucks. I'd to seek out the largest truck I could find and sit behind the wheel bouncing along and just imagining I was on some reconnaissance mission some where in the hidden back roads of an Italian countryside. Oh, did I tell you that I went through a phase of reading and really getting into WWII historical fiction in junior high. This, I'm sure, had much to do with my daydreaming. Later that summer, the Armory surrounded the lot with a 7 foot wire fence to discourage intruders. Too neat! It just became more of a challenge for us, and we were always successful on our 'secret' missions.
Missione compiuta!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Theme Day: Tranquility

Today, June, 1, 2012 is Theme Day across the CDP(citydailyphoto) community. Here's my take on the day. No rat-a-tat-tat here. It's a drum sitting silent in the sun. I used to get most of my kicks by making a lot of noise. These days I realize I need to pick my spots. I can still get noisy, but have learned that I can still get my jollies on the sidelines watching others do the foolish stuff. Age has its rewards!