Monday, September 1, 2014
Sunday, August 31, 2014
And that's just for starters.
Got some time on your hands? Not afraid of some intense, hard work? How about some cash hidden away under a mattress? Just received a substantial inheritance that you don't know where to invest? You might do a lot worse than investing it in this place. You could turn it into a showplace, or a small rustic get-a-way along Route 1. Maybe you've been thinking about those retirement years and the idea of opening a little shop to lure the tourists making a beeline for Camden or Rockland. This just might be the place.
I've already done it.
You get your hands dirty this time.
I'll just dream.
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Fall's nearly here. Winter will soon be on our doorstep. Life in this neighborhood will soon be 'frozen'. Why can't September be a summer month? Oh well. Each September, Elenka hangs a piece of art outside her classroom. The poster shows a scene from a recent movie and has a theme connected to some positive aspect that students will be working on in the coming year. It's best explained in her words,"My school 'movie mural' is done. Based on the movie FROZEN and the song "Let It Go". 'Howls' is a school thing which means 'Habits of Work and Learning', something the kids get graded on. Specifically Respect, Responsibility and Perseverance. My 23rd year of doing movie murals. 7'7"x 4'6" in size."
To think that this project of hers all started with 'You Are Never "Home Alone" at KMS' in 1991.
Rumor has it this will be her final display.
Time will tell.
Friday, August 29, 2014
I'm a big smell guy. I always have been, I guess. Elenka first brought this lure of my olfactory sense to my attention.
"Do you have to smell everything?"
I really never knew I did it, and I don't go out of my way to sample everything. To tell you the truth, I'm not really sure if I do or not. Elenka probably has tabulated a good list. Now, I don't think I'm OCD. It's not a fear, a worry, an apprehension. It provides me with no anxiety or compulsion. I'm not a hoarder, a re-checker or a compulsive washer of my hands. I do admit though that this AM I have smelled my glass of orange juice, cup of coffee, my cat, the inside of my baseball cap and a pillow on the couch. While on a walk to check out a parade of seventeen wild turkeys through the backyard, I did detour to the laundry on the line for a whiff. Ah... Very nice. A couple of days ago, I was cleaning out my workbench drawers. I hosed them out and left them to dry in the sun. When I returned, I just couldn't resist. I drew in a long scent. The pine pounded together many moons ago by my grandfather still smelled strong. Yesterday morning, I didn't even have to travel to the garage or the garden to get my 'fix'. When I walked into the bedroom these curtains were almost out straight with a strong morning breeze. That flow of wind was so aromatic and invigorating! I stretched my arms wide side to side and even my shirt was stirring. For a split second I was on the bow of the Titanic. "I'm the king of the world..."
Ok, I'm back to reality now.
Thanks for allowing me this sensual detour.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Portland got about 6.5 inches of rain that night.
Don't even mention the landing in that mess to Elenka.
It's something she wants to forget.
"Please put your seats in the upright position."
... and hang on!
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
"Love that new haircut"
"Decided to add some facial hair?"
"Did you sell your house?"
"Shaved your head? That's a new look."
"What a bike trip! I followed you for awhile."
"When did you get back?"
"Can ya help my Sox?"
"You're pregnant? So cool."
"Those blonde streaks work."
"How did the new camp work out? Kids love it?"
"Finally got to the top of Katahdin, huh?"
"How was the cruise?"
"Did you work all summer?"
"Love your new place."
"Get to the St. Louis Arch?"
"Are you done this year?"
"So funny, seeing you at Logan."
"How many pounds did you lose?"
See, adults play too.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
"Everything happens for the best"
Sometimes it takes a bit rationalizing and reflection, but on most adventures, it's a pretty good sextant to lead me.
Enjoy your trip.
Afterall, it's all you've got.
Monday, August 25, 2014
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Even now, if I ever want to immediately give myself goosebumps, I whistle that song.
Heck, I'm tappin' my foot right now!
btw The tune is aka "The Colonel Bogey March".
Written back in 1914, it was made famous later by the incomparably Mitch Miller.
Dare ya to listen to it a couple of times and not start the whistle and the toe tappin'.
Saturday, August 23, 2014
These plants prove it here. Is it possible for life to come from solid granite? Can something actually take life here? There's a large hunk of symbolism here. Ever been faced with a seemingly insurmountable job or project? We probably all have. One, for me, jumps into my head. I was taking an American Lit class in college, and I had to read Moby Dick in four days. No, I didn't go buy a copy of Cliff Notes on the novel. No, I didn't skip hundreds of pages detailing the butchering of whales and the securing of whale oil. No, I didn't scheme about skipping class and taking the test at another time. On a Thursday afternoon I opened the book, after dividing the thousand pages into four equal sections. My weekend was over! I read and read and read. I completed my task, as I remember, after midnight on Monday morning, the day of the test. Why didn't I take one of the easy routes that many in the lecture hall did? Really don't know, other than I really wanted to see what all the fuss about this classic was all about. It was probably the first time that real stubbornness raised its ugly head in my world. I do believe that my collegiate endeavor took a turn for the better that weekend.
This weekend I'll be doing some significant goofing off.
That weekend, in western New York, I didn't.
I still remember that weekend.
I think I always will.
When plants burst from rock.
Friday, August 22, 2014
Visiting galleries like these reinvigorates my camera's eye.
I need that.
*My blogging buddy Jack was there the same day, up from Connecticut. I wish we had crossed paths.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
The trip home was easy.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Hopefully, no tractor-trailer ruins my morning.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Some houses actually cry out for a landscaping service. Sure, sometimes I let the front lawn get a bit ahead of me. And yes, I dislike pushing the lawnmower around doing the trim work. Also, there are weeks where I put off weed whacking around the flower beds. Guilty as charged! However, it has never gotten THIS ahead of me. I really hope this house is abandoned. That would at least partially explain why its crept to this state. From the street, this is the only part of the house that is visible. There are lots of places in the city that really could use a good trimming of bushes and trees. Many beautiful homes are hidden away by unsightly blemishes like this.
From time to time, I have some trimming issues around the homestead.
But it has never gotten to this state.
I'd get my walking papers if it did.
Monday, August 18, 2014
On the plus side, our deck was occupied with friends and laughter yesterday. Judith and her husband Anthony from NJ, Donna and Marchin, Yelena and J- and Elenka and I enjoyed an afternoon in the sun and a delicious cookout.
Summer deck life is fading fast around here.
Some things in life are just not fair.
But afternoons like yesterday make up for a lot.
Sunday, August 17, 2014
I'm not really up on my cattle history and my animal breeding techniques. So after passing this farm a few times, I had to do some cattle homework. As you might imagine, Galloway cattle get its name from the Galloway region of Scotland. They were first introduced to American soil in 1882. These are Belted Galloways grazing on a farm in Freeport. They are created by breeding the classic Galloway with Dutch Belted cattle. It gets its name from the white stripe around its midriff. Now you are probably wondering, Hey Birdman the stripe is all well and good, but what's the deal with the black dot? I'm about to give you that information. And the answer is... I have no idea where the dot comes from, so there. I could tell you that this cow is the results of breeding the Dutch Belties with the infamous Italian Dots, but that would be a lie.
Be careful, in my formative years I loved 'connecting the dots' in those workbooks.
I could also tell a pretty good lie.
On a Sunday morning, this must be shocking to you.
Dot, dot, dash, dot...
Saturday, August 16, 2014
About a lucky man who made the grade..."
These, of course, are the opening lines to the Beatles iconic "Day in the Life". I don't know about you, but I certainly made the grade. Like most dailies, that you can still find around, they're a dying breed. In my youth, I use to spread out the Sports section and read almost every line. After listening to the Sox as I fell asleep the previous night in my sweltering bedroom, I was especially drawn to the box score of the game. For anyone who is not familiar in the baseball lingo, the box score is all the individual statistics of the game. It includes the lineup and the complete list of all players who entered the game to any degree. the the number of times a batter came to the plate and whether he made outs, or hits and whether they were singles, doubles, triples, homeruns, sacrifices etc. It also tells you the exploits of all the pitchers that entered the game, including the number of batters faced, pitches thrown, strikes, and balls. The box score includes a lot more technical stuff that I won't bore you with, but I must say it was of great interest to a twelve year old baseball fan. I still check it today, alas on line. This stubborn guy ain't paying $2.00 a paper at the local newsstand! When I do find the morning news in my hands these days, the Local & State section seems to be the place I gravitate to first.
Some people might say I've grown up.
I'll leave that to others to decide.
I still check out latest scores.
But I don't live and die with them.
Boy, when I was 12 the Sox were bad.
Those box scores were nasty to peruse.
I'm better now and so are my Sox... although the American League standings wouldn't convince you this morning.
55-66 this August 16th is not pretty.
Friday, August 15, 2014
Where does the line start?
This morning I'm going to spout maybe a little blasphemy and answer ME. Hey, I've got nothing against desserts. It's just that its not my favorite part of a meal. If we're out to a restaurant, I'll play nice and ask to see the dessert menu, but for the most part, it's just for show. I'll tell you right now, unless there's a blueberry, lemon meringue, apple or some other variety of scrumptious pie ogling back at me, I'm probably going to pass. Not a big cake guy either. I'll partake at a birthday, but for the most part it's about the celebration not the frosting. So, now we get to cupcakes. If I'll pass on cakes, it stands to reason that me and that little 'mouthful of joy' are probably not going to be seen together a lot.
No, I haven't watched the Cupcake Girls on TV.
Would that change my opinion of those little cakes?
I think not.
Now, if Giada De Laurentiiss (Everyday Italian, Giada at Home) on the Cooking Channel takes up cupcakes, I might reconsider.
Hers are the only cooking shows I care to watch.
She wears beautiful dresses too.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Viewing art at Mill Creek pond and dining under a dynamic sunset filled my day.
The supermoon kept me company along the drive home.
Could it have been any better?
In my ledger of days, place this one in the plus column.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Get me a book!
Got to get me a copy of In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette.
Have heard lots of great reviews.
Anybody read it?
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
If I remember correctly, I first saw a design on how to build a simple sundial in a seventh grade science textbook with Mr. Walker. BOYS' LIFE, the official magazine of the Boy Scouts, was one of two magazines, the other was SPORTS' ILLUSTRATED, that occupied my early teen years. In it I remember quite a color spread of how to build and read a dial. If it was early afternoon, the sun was out and the gang and I needed the time, we'd draw them in the dirt at homeplate. Our game would end at 2 PM when Leo, Teddy and I had our paper routes to do. Wristwatches? Are you kidding me? But we needed the time. In my last year working at the cemetery, Herbie the foreman, asked me to help the crew build the stone foundation and tower for the cemetery's sundial, in a new section that was opening soon. I was excited! That was pretty cool!
I stop by often to check it out.
It still looks great.
And it works!
Have you got the time?
*note: Don't be distracted by the nude in the distance.
* This beauty is found in a field of flowers at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art.
Monday, August 11, 2014
Want to talk about them here?
I'll be your confessor, if you want.
I've got a couple. Elenka probably thinks the number runs a little higher though. Let me share one. If I find a good thing, I keep going back for more. I can devour an entire, gigantic bag of salted potato chips in a sitting. I can treat a jar of peanuts with the same recklessness. I can't help myself! Take a good photo site. If you remember, last winter we found this old railroad tunnel near the Casco Bay Bridge. Since then, I've taken Marchin and a couple of friends to see it. Paulie and I ventured here after a coffee run the other day. He had never seen it either, or for that matter didn't believe it still was around. I proved him wrong, but better still these purple weeds were brightly in boom, against the bridge in the distance. I seem to keep being pulled back to this site. There's something new each visit.
Maybe not as bad as biting my nails...
I'd like to 'kick' that one.
Returning to the same place?
See, you can go 'home' again.
At least for startling colors.
Some habits are not to be broken.
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Monhegan turned 400 years old this past Tuesday. Although it was visited earlier, Captain John Smith is credited in the history books with discovering it in 1614. The island that is found about 12 nautical miles off the mainland has only about 45 year round residents, all dirt roads, a school with eight students from kindergarten through high school, no police but some the most magnificent views of the rugged, rocky coast of Maine. It also offers you a strange concoction of lobstermen, artists and tourists visiting for just the day or the summer. During the summer, the population swells to somewhere over 2,000. Elenka and I have visited here often, but we do prefer taking the boat out in the fall. I like to think that it is an idyllic piece of what we call Maine. There's something about peering out our window in the Monhegan House in the darkness and spying the sweep of the lighthouse's glow at the top of the island that fills me with a comforting feeling about this life we lead.
Sample life's pleasures.
And celebrate the small treasures you pass.
There are a lot of them!
*This is an outbuilding near the lighthouse at the top of the island.
*History buffs might want to check it out further here.
Saturday, August 9, 2014
Would my Toro riding mower love to run roughshod over this front lawn and do its stuff? You betcha! Then again. There's something that says these wild flowers, rocks and tall weeds need to remain just where they are. The old farmhouse's owners do have a working lawnmower. Evidence shows the area around the house is mowed and nicely taken care of here. You seem to find this a lot as you venture along roads heading to the water Downeast.
On the plus side, less time on the mower working, more time in a hammock in the afternoon.
An August foggy summer morn.
Friday, August 8, 2014
It's been a strange week. Thunderbumpers have been the course for the week. Lots of thunder, lightening and sunshine throughout the mornings and afternoons. Elenka leaves for week, and this is what I'm dealt? This weather and the 'ta do list' on the fridge have been keeping me company the last few days. Well, sort of... But really, the first thing I did after getting back from the jetport was to take list off the fridge and put it in a drawer. Outta sight outta mind. I'll replace it next week before I pick her up. That list is just too much of a guilt trip to handle.
I'm just happy she doesn't read this blog.
What's that old standard by Billie Holiday?
"Don't know why there's no sun up in the sky/Stormy weather..."
In more ways then one.
Thursday, August 7, 2014
How would our lives be different?
What would we have done with it?
Knowing us probably something pretty creative.
One thing I do know.
We would have plenty of crap to fill it!
Isn't that running horse weathervane atop it pretty cool?
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Two things came to my attention recently.
It's all about our friendly rodents and summer camp.
Did you know that rats play? I didn't. I didn't even know that some scientists out there are studying this stuff. I should have realized it, but it escaped me. The whitecoats are checking out their playing, sharing of food and other socializing activities. And yes, they are watching them while they are copulating. Kinda kinky if you ask me.
Topic Two- summer camps. Maine is big business when it comes to kids traveling here to frolic at seemingly hundreds of picturesque camps. Camp Gregory was a summer camp for boys. I begged my parents to let me go, but money was always the obstacle. Heck, if they ever said yes, I would have fainted dead right there on the floor. Never got the opportunity, but I have a sneaky suspicion that I couldn't have done the two weeks on the lake anyway. I was sort of a fraidy cat.
Now, here's a summer camp I could take, I bet.
Last week, Portland hosted its first Beer Camp.
Yes, you heard me... Beer Camp!
Not two weeks.
Just a Friday, Saturday, and a Sunday.
Just hundreds and hundreds of microbrews.
Now, that's a summer camp for me!
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
I suggested the following.
Say three Hail Marys and one Our Father.
There, she's off the hook!
She'll get into heaven, I think.
Monday, August 4, 2014
To be perfectly honest. Never seen one I didn't enjoy the look of. All a bit different. All good.
I don't have to tell you. We live in a world of pay, pay, pay! However, some of the best stuff in this big, wide world is free for the taking. We take lots of these freebies for granted.
Smiles are free.
Giving them and getting them.
Bank your smiles!
Sunday, August 3, 2014
Come along with me...
There was a pretty thick fog this morning. I was out and about in it. I dropped Elenka off in Freeport at her Book Arts workshop and headed to Coffee By Design on the ground floor of LL Bean for a couple of hours. I can get 'lost for hours', if the combinations of java, magazines, newspapers and a computer are involved. After a brief trip to check out a couple of photo spots, it was back to Portland and lunch at Crema. I settled for the tuna salad sandwich and an ice coffee and spent some time checking email and my blog. Yikes! I found a free parking space near Bull Moose Music and pulled in. I have some 'parting gifts' left over from my retirement party, and one is a gift certificate here. They have a super-wide selection of music, as you might imagine: CDs, new and pre-owned and classic albums. There are some with seals that have never been broken. I passed on those but did grab a book. I needed a summer read: light and uncomplicated. I grabbed Stephen King's Mr. Mercedes. There's nothing like a good serial killer to liven up a warm summer evening.
I've heard good things about it too.
A retired, fat cop chasing 'one that got away'.
And the price was right... under $20.
Sorry you had to read this, but...
I really wanted to know what that Facebook draw was all about.
I feel really good about myself now.
I told you I was in a fog, right?