Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cemetery Wall

Eastern Cemetery, located at the base of Munjoy Hill, is the oldest major burial site in the city. It's relatively small, covering only 5 acres, but it, like most old cemeteries holds some interesting stories. For instance, in the War of 1812, an American ship the "Enterprise" and its British adversary the "Boxer" battled off the coast of Maine. Their commanders are buried side by side in this plot of land overlooking the sea. I wish I knew more about them, This wall, on the back side of the cemetery runs the entire length of this street in the East Bayside neighborhood. I have photographed it quite a few times and always seem to come a way less than satisfied. I also wonder at just what the workers were trying to accomplish with what looks to be a pretty haphazard, hodgepodge of rocks and mortor.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Nesting Ducks

For the third year in a row, these two ducks have returned to nest on this nearby pond. In this day of dwindling numbers of marriages, it looks like those in the natural world are putting us to shame again. This is the first time I've driven by the water and seen them both off the nest. If I'm walking out back in early evening, I often see one honking and gliding overhead towards the pond. 
As if to say, "Honey, I'm home." 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Early Sun

What is it about eating outside these days? Granted, when I was growing up, I was the first in line for a picnic in the backyard or egg salad sandwiches at Willard Beach, but come on now. What's the deal? You've got a small restaurant, maybe here on Federal Street, an attractive corner cafe, or a micobrew pub and you MUST have to make outside seating available? I don't understand this. Is it a fad? I walked by one place the other morning, and there were two tables and four chairs. That was it. Can I share just one more peccadillo with you this morning. I really enjoy eating in peace, not stuffed together in an overcrowded room. I'm really an introvert at heart. I enjoy eating and conversing with friends around a table, however; I dislike immensely sharing my intimate thoughts with the world or anyone at the next table. You might find this a bit odd, considering what I do each morning for a 1/2 hour, but it's true. This said, do you really think I'd enjoy eating breakfast and having total strangers pass my table a mere 6 inches away. If they ever commented on my choice off the menu or my eating habits, my repast would be at an end.

Maybe if I wore my 'paperbag' all would be right in the world, and I might consume my delicious Eggs Benedict in peace.
And yes, I do have some peculiar eating habits.
And no, I'm not at liberty to share them with you, at this point in our relationship.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


I know people who can sleep on any type of public transportation. Buses, planes, backseats of cars and even here on the noisy T in Boston. I've seen them, and I've heard them. Please don't group me into any of these categories. I must say, on those long flights, I do envy those that can make the time 'fly' by snoozing. If I'm not in a book, I'm usually checking out the flight magazines for the second or third time or just idly staring at the seat upholstery patterns. On late night trips back from places like Boston, I feel too guilty to fall asleep while someone else is driving. You would think that falling asleep on this noisy, bouncing, speeding, squealing contraption might be a lost cause, but there they were recently, snoring away, while I hung on for dear life in the packed car, swinging this way and that. I guess, you could say, that sleeping on these things is some sort of art form, and I'm in no shape or form an artisan. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Three Stripes

Maine's Narrow Gauge Railroad will be up and running again come May 4. Coming to the city this summer? You might want to spend a sunny afternoon along the tracks edging Casco Bay. It's really a short trip, running 1 1/2 miles parallel to Eastern Prom, but well worth your time. The view is terrific! There is a museum too with quite a history of narrow gauge railroading in northern Maine. 
Choo Choo!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Boat Work

What do they say about icebergs? Ninety percent of them are unseen, below the surface? Did Captain Edward John Smith have this information on that fateful night on the North Atlantic? Sometimes knowing the big picture in advance is quite helpful. Back a few years, we went room by room through our house renovating it. We replaced many of the old horsehair plaster walls with sheetrock. I got to hate drywall dust; it got everywhere. I did learn one of the great facts of life, however, in the process. Most things in life take twice the time, if you want the job done right. I'd look at a room and tell Elenka this looks like a job that we can knock off in a week. Don't I wish. Doing it right would take us at least two weeks, maybe more. This is still a philosophy I employ today, sheetrocking or not. 
So, got a big job, like the below-surface scrapping of this vessel, dry-docked off of Commercial Street?
Double your work time. It'll ease your pain.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Five After

You'll find this large clock, frozen in time, on Congress Street. There are just a few of these left in the city, and none of them are in working condition. I would imagine you'd have to throw a lot of coin to get them tick-tocking again. This iconic piece sits next to the sidewalk, along side the former Hay and Peabody Funeral Parlor. If you were planning to spend some time at this establishment, this large black timepiece was an easy landmark, as you made your way up Congress. The first time I walked through the door was the wake for one of the gang. Teddy died on December 8 (I'll never forget the date) at the age of 19, a senior in high school. We always knew he had trouble with his kidneys, but we never made the connection that our lives might be this short. I'll never forget  looking around that room at the faces of my friends sitting with their parents. 
Some images are frozen in time.
This clock has read 'five minutes after Five' for many, many years.
... and I thought time never stopped.
Sometimes, stoppage would be a good thing.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Will I ever forget it? Probably not.
It was a Friday night ritual, a bag of bar-b-que chips, a Pepsi and some TV. My two favorite shows were "Highway Patrol", with Dan Matthews as Broderick Crawford driving around solving highway dramas and signing off with the classic 10-4 and "The Life of Riley", featuring William Bendix as the bumbling riveter Chester A. Riley. Both of these shows, staples of early television viewing here in the states, kept me glued to the idiot box and out of Mom's hair on Friday nights. By the way, Elenka will love this bit of movie trivia. Mr. Crawford's mom was a small time actress but had an important role in one of her all time favorite movies. She was Madge in TopHat with the dancing fool, Fred Astaire.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Spring Branches

I love trees like this. They have a good look. Don't get me wrong. My favorite season is still  summer, even though, I do believe, around here it is the shortest. When I'm driving the blue highways on the outskirts of the city, I'm always on the lookout for trees sitting majestically like this one. I just feel good stumbling on these wonders. 
You're right. It doesn't take much to get me get my attention.
And, by the way, I don't hug 'em, but I like 'em... a lot! 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Navy Yard Door

Thursday, Donna, her aunt Georgette, Donna's friend Sylvia and I spent the day in Boston. Georgette is 83, doesn't look a day over 60 and lives in a beautiful elderly housing project located in the old Boston Navy Yard. I've driven by the Navy Yard quite a few times, but never stopped to walk among the buildings. Walking around I couldn't help but wish Dad was walking along side me. He would have been in his own little world, pointing out this building and that. Detailing information and the history of the old forge and its companion buildings scattered about the yard would have brought enjoyment to him. I can hear him now, rattling off details and dates, that would mean so much to him but little to me. If I ever would have asked him if he'd like to join us riding the T and taking a tour of the Isabella Gardiner Museum, he would have been howling with a big grin from ear to ear! 
"This is my museum!" He would have reminded me , and that would have been coming from a WWII cavalry vet. Georgette is quite a feisty broad, and she kept us smiling all day. I was so happy to finally meet her. She was great fun! But I had to chuckle one more time late in the day, as we walked the North End leaving Nico's Italian Wine Bar. 
Donna asked me, "If he was still alive would they make a good couple?"
"Ya,  I answered, "if she was thirty years younger!"
You see, along with his red Cobra Mustang, Dad had an affinity for the young ladies late in life.
Zoom Zoom!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Bike Rack

Back a few years when J- was looking at colleges, he looked at at big schools with campuses lining city streets and universities with rolling hills, plenty of geenways and lots of stone buildings. Bikes are a way of life on college campuses these days whether large and sprawling or small and quaint. Here's a bike rack along a main street on the Northeastern University campus. Kids today have great minds and memories. Knowing me, if I ever left my bike locked in one of these lots, I'd probably never find it again.
It would be gone for all eternity!

Friday, April 19, 2013


I'm seeing video this morning of the Midwest and their latest snow fall. Here's hoping that what I'm looking at on one of our old adirondack chairs up back, is it for us. Took a short walk this morning up to the garden and noticed there still is some ice and dirty snow under the big spruces. 
Yesterday, I spent the day celebrating my sister-in-law D's birthday in Boston, riding the the T, visiting the Isabella Gardiner Museum, tasting wine in the Northend at Nico's, and taking in the spring-like temperatures that the city offered. Walking along the nearby campuses of Wentworth Institute, Northeastern University an Simmons College and seeing undergraduates throwing frisbees and practicing lacrosse along city streets was such a far cry from the goings on in Boston this morning.
Boston STRONG!

Today, Elenka and I celebrate our 38th anniversary separated by many miles but always together.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Want to take a stab at what we've got here?
If you checked out the title of this post, you've got a pretty good clue.
I was sitting at a table at Crema, a local coffee shop on Commercial Street, the other morning, and this contraption was hanging near my feet. The shop is in an old warehouse along the water. I like it, because even on a Sunday morning, it's open early at 7 AM.  Ok, let's get the suspense over with right now. They're weights that allow a nearby, large metal door to open and close. 
If you listen carefully, can't you just hear the faint echoes of the Band's The Weight in the distance? 
"I pulled into Nazareth, I was feelin' about half past dead..."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Watery Wednesday

Back a few years, a place like this in the spring would signal a fine time to check out the holes Mom had repaired during the winter in our comfy, gum rubbers. When a slice in our rubber boots was detected, Mom got busy. She'd go to the closet and locate the small tube-like tin and find a rubber patch that would fit the best. Next, she went inside the boot found the area, prepared it by gently sanding the spot with the tin's cover, applying the glue-like cement, taking the paper off the patch and sticking it on the cut. Given her boys almost 24 hour use of their boots in winter and spring, the repair jobs worked pretty well. Sometimes the damaged boot was beyond repair and soon warranted a trip to Zayre's Department Store (Compare, you can't do better than Zayre!) for a new pair. Spring water like this, though, was always the big test. And no matter how hard we complained and begged, the new gum rubbers would not grace our feet till November. 
"Those feet of yours are growing and inch a day!"

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Some Ties

I'm on my own this week. It's just me and the cats on holiday. Don't worry though; I've got plenty of things to occupy my hours. As you might imagine, a trip to the Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum in Boston, scheduled for Thursday, is up in the air at this point, but I'll have plenty to do otherwise. Nothing big and serious, mind you, but I'll be occupying my time. A bit of business I hope to get out of the way is learning how to tie my bow ties by myself. I don't wear them to work every day, but I do like the trendy look. Note: my love of cowboys and paisley can be seen in most. Yes, I do rely on a couple of youtube videos, but practice, practice, practice is the key... even with laughter in the background. Right now, Elenka is my backup system, so I know her fingers are crossed in Oviedo, as I type these words.
So, this week I do hope to 'tie one on'; hopefully with no hangover involved.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Layered Look

From death springs life. This area will be bringing forth lots green in another month, but for right now, it's just leftovers. What was once wet, thriving greenery swaying in August breezes has come to this in April, eight months removed. Grey matter, matted and stiff to the touch, awaits a delicate raking. Right now, it's not a pretty site, but ample sunlight and spring showers will bring forth new fruit. Life moves on. Birth.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Weathered Ash Bucket

(a look back at some pieces of my emails over the last 4 days)

payment to me
headed to Logan
should have mentioned
pie in face
all three qualified
dress up as best
i have 36
seen the movie
you can
go with what's there
changing settings
et cetera
enter to win
no doubt
coffee at crema
enjoy this time
share stories
might lose one
here and there
say farewell
thank the kids
any of you ever been
is there anyway
today is a big day

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Two Ducks

Don't panic!
It's not this bad.
We did get a cover of sleet and some light snow. The yard is white now, but it should be back to grass by tomorrow. This image was taken just down the road about a month ago in the midst of a light snowfall. 
You like white? 
Take it all in.
Savor it one last time.
Drink it all up.
You better not be seeing this much whiteness on this blog until November.
Viva la green!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Winter's Back

Well, three weeks into spring and winter's back for a day. We're scheduled for a wintery mix here near the coast. Some ice, freezing rain, sleet and a bit of snow headed back this way. My friend, Mr. Weatherman, is saying 1-3 inches of this crap throughout the morning and afternoon. Nothing falling yet outside my kitchen window at 5:15 AM, but it's coming.
Ain't life grand?

btw Here's Elenka finished work of 'snow on the Hill'. Thought it would be perfect for today.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Take two aspirin and call me in the morning.
This is the backside of  stately home nearby. Seen from the main drag , it's a beauty. The rear view shows some want for attention. Replacing a clapboard here, trashing those shaky shutters and throwing some white paint across this backside would be Dr. Birdman's prescription for repair, at least at first glance. No major surgery needed a this time, maybe a little touch of TLC might be just what this doctor would order.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Blue Truck

This is an abandon pickup in a field, that I pass often, back and forth to the house. Mr. MacDonald had a 50s, two-tone Oldsmobile dragged into the field behind his house. He was always, it seemed, ripping parts off it as he rebuilt cars in his garage. Nights, we'd pile into the front and back seats smoke a few cigarettes, tell crazy stories, dream about girls and pretend we were the 'wild ones' racing away from the cops, while swigging on beers. It was pretty much a ritual on those warm July nights. These evenings ended violently one night, when hornets decided that under the back seat would be a pretty nice place to build a nest. We flew out of that car, stumbling and screaming. Although we later returned to 'ride' in the front seat. The rear cushions never again had occupants.
Get the buzz?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


I guess dragons are alive and striving, as this ear shot will attest. I haven't seen any episodes, but many tell me that the HBO series Game of Thrones is hot these days. Author George R.R. Martin is too. Dragons here. Dragons there. They are crawling around everyplace, looking for homes or trouble, which ever comes first. Remember the busted myth that tiny, disgusting earwigs would crawl into people's ears and bore their way to the brain? Where do you think this guy is headed? And unlike the earwig, this critter breathes fire.
Hot! Hot! Hot!

Monday, April 8, 2013


Lots of us rent movies. I don't. When I was recovering from surgery, a friend gave me a subscription to Netflix. That was pretty cool, but really I could have lived without it. I'm watching less TV too. Something now or then on TCM, a few reruns of classic, comedic shows like Seinfeld or Frasier, and if the Red Sox make the summer interesting their games will fill my evenings. That's about it. Pretty sad, huh. The silver screen? There isn't a movie right now that I'd say I have to see. I've pretty much become a slave to this machine I'm staring at and typing on right now. I can't say I'm proud of this fact either. I'm really going to try to back away soon. I won't go cold turkey, but there are other things I want and need to do.  I like to play a bit of the blame game, when it comes to time on the laptop. As you know, winters are long up her in my corner of the world... ok, you're not buying that? Me neither. Exercise? 
Next topic.
By the way, Mad Men returned last night. Don't call me at 9 PM Sundays.
I really don't want to broach this subject, but did I see Heidi Klum in a commercial last night as Mrs. Robinson from the Graduate? Was she sexily hawking a bourbon, triple cheese burger?
Maybe I'll give TV another shot. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Four Windows

I like to play mind games with myself during some moments to pass the time. Looking through my favorite catalogs, I say to myself. If I could have one item on this page, what would it be? That wildly designed shirt? Those expensive shoes? Wow! How about that unique watch? Price doesn't enter the equation. Have fun, but keep the credit card at bay. Another game I like to play is called "Pick a House". In this time passer, I pick a street I'm driving or walking down. I can go in any house or apartment and wander around to take in the 'sights'. Which one would it be? The small, narrow walkup with interesting nooks and crannies, the sprawling oceanside estate high above the rocks below or maybe the interesting home on the Hill with a cupola or intriguing bay windows flushed with morning sunlight eyeing the city.
Ya, I'm busy, but from time to time, I need to fill 2-3 moments of idle time. How about you? 
Do you have any innocent games you play to fill fleeting minutes... that you would reveal?
Be brave!
Beware the snickers!
And I'm not talking milk chocolate and tasty peanuts here.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Our Medium

Here a blast from the past. While strolling through Bull Moose Records the other morning, I came across this face staring up at me. The Medium is the Massage is Marshall McLuhan's book of juxtaposed images, ordinary photographs along side the famous, and text shown backwards, mirror-like. Lots of experimental stuff and crazy collages fill the pages. The 1967 book was a groundbreaker and 'the bible' for a course I took entitled "Medium is the Message", McLuhan's famous saying. The course was on media and communication. In the book he makes his case that technologies of the modern world like the book, music, clothing and even the wheel are messages in themselves to our world. I remember I had it late on Thursday afternoons, and it was a welcome break from the rigors of Romantic Poetry and the 18th Century British Novel, two other courses I was carrying at the time. By the way, yes, the title was an error. It was supposed to be called "The Medium is the Message", but when the newly published book came from the publisher 'message' had been misprinted as 'massage'. Given the subject of the book, sort of haunting.
Also, I'd say if you're going to wade into this text, beware. Beyond the photos and the fun, it's dense. 
After all, McLuhan was a great fan of James Joyce!
ps. This gal on the cover of the book(an the album here) would certainly grab a passer-by's attention. It caught my eye again and shot me back to a Western New York campus for a bit.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Colored Pencils

Color my world.
I'm not a big colored pencil guy. My life with crayons though goes way back. Each Christmas, one of the special treats curled up in our stockings, 'hung by the chimney with care' was finding a new coloring book and a box Crayola's best. Coloring books all had themes. Ours were no different. Some years they were all about  Christmas, but cowboys and indians, trucks and cars, wild animals in the jungle and scenes depicting the seasons were also popular choices of Santa. Opening that fresh box of crayons was an event I aways looked forward to. The perfectly formed colored points and the delicious aroma that issued forth are memories I still hold true.
To tell you the truth, the smell of a lead pencil, colored or not, was troubling to me. It still is today.
These days I pay homage to the pen a lot, but...
Viva the crayon!

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Economics 101
There's a logging operation going on on Rt. 25. Tree harvesters, skidders and dozers have been busy at work cutting and removing trees for a week now. It's a  pretty big operation. These are the hoses running off one of the large harvesters. The trees look to be mostly spruce, so this would indicate to me that they are removing the trees to clear the way for some excavation work and not for any hardwood harvesting. As I said, the area has frontage on 25, so housing or commercial usage seems to be the best bet. The housing market seems to be turning around, the Markets continue to push upwards. These continued upturns really must have the economic doom-sayers in a real funk. We're not out of the woods yet, after all I've never ever implied I was any kind of economist, but I am an optimist. Like one of these gargantuan cruise ships, it takes a while to turn it around. 
Don't panic.
Stand down.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Life can be pretty pedestrian at times. Well, that was what I was thinking last weekend trying to come up with a fresh take on the topic for the first of the month. 

"Look up. Look down. Look at my thumb. Gee, you're dumb!"

I was just about ready to start sing-songing this little ditty from childhood, when I caught my shadow in front of me. I thought for a moment it was leading me on. Leading me to a photograph I might use the following day. I ran it by my two resident critics in such matters. I usually do when I'm in a sort of bind. They both resounded with big NOs. Ok, I digress a bit. I need some help from all the grammarians out there. What is the acceptable plural of 'no'? Is it nos? Noes? Or is it, can it actually be no's? In various dictionaries and grammar guides, I find all three acceptable choices. Can it be? I await your answers or guesses.

Back to my two editors. They both said use it, but not for theme day. So there you have it. I went against their wishes and rolled the dice. My theme day photo of the 'roadway in snow' was my choice, and one that I really like. Based on the comments received, many of my friends out there in the blogosphere did also. 
But forget that, I need to know the answer to my grammatical inquiry.
Nos, Noes, No's or other choices????? Which would you use?
Don't make me go consult my Strunk and White's Elements of Style... or Grammar Girl! 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Catching Darkness

A couple of Fridays ago we went to the Portland Museum of Art to see the Lois Dodd show Catching the Light. One striking point that can be said about this show is that 'Dodd does windows'. Through her windows, we see clapboard sheds, gardens, rivers, lawns, steps, barns and even the artist herself. The show isn't all about windows, but her work, seen through her casements, was for me the most revealing of her paintings. There were a few inward peeks, but most were stolen glances of outside scenes of the natural world around her. She'd probably take a pass on this windowpane, a bit too dark, murky and dust ladened for her. 
This glass shop, closed for the season, caught my eye.  A time for reflection.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Theme Day: Pedestrian

Today, April 1, 2013 is Theme Day across the CDP (citydailyphotoblog) community. The theme today is Pedestrian's Crossing, and here is my interpretation. When I think 'pedestrian' I think: stale, slow, colorless, drab, dreary, flat, ponderous, dry, ho hum, tedious, uninteresting and so on. This open stretch of highway is all this at the end of March. I have had my fill of winter here in Maine. I was looking for a respite, an island away from a boring, pedestrian crossing. I thought I'd think a bit out of the hum drum of this theme. I even found a Scottish indie band called Frightened Rabbit (Happy Easter!), and watched their video "Pedestrian Verse" on youtube. Pretty good! I was grasping for straws on this one. The 'powers that be' at CDP are probably cursing me out, but I could care. Hey, there are people in my own house today that are scratching their heads and rolling their eyes! 
I still think I took a creative leap and landed pretty well.
What do you think?
Pedestrian Crossing?
Hey I'd like a pedestrian to try to attempt a crossing here.
They might have better odds on the RMS Titanic!