Friday, October 24, 2014

Kamo Kitties

As most of you know, I'm a cat guy. Sure, I have dreams of dog ownership someday, but for right now my border collie is still just in my dreams. As for cats, we have two girls, Molly and Sophie.
Molly 15 years- (she's on the left here with Batman ears):
Nickname: Mollycakes or The Moll
Appearance: She's a tabby with a  little Maine Coon Cat in her for good measure. Has a reckless 'raccoon tail' that gets huge when on the prowl. 
Social: Very! She's a 'talker'. She makes all kinds of noise and has been known to talk on the phone. At parties, she enjoys walking on all the guests. Has a great affinity for J.
Hugs: For sure! She loves to be held.
Useful: Yes. Any chipmunk that finds its way in the house in winter is dead meat. Excellent mouser! Loves to sit on the warm driveway and watch traffic go by.
Sophie 14 years- (she's on the right):
Nickname: Sophie-Girl or Sophia
Appearance: She's got a good deal of Siamese in her. Wonderful coloring. Wicked soft!
Social: She has begun to 'talk'. Every once in a while you'll hear her Siamese cry. When she cries 'helloooooooo', it sounds eerily human. She's never met a lap she doesn't enjoy. She is special to Elenka.
Hugs: For sure! Very hugable. 
Useful: Well, sort of. After her sister catches the critter, Sophie will check out the kill. Likes to play with mice and moles. Loves to sleep on the 'magic floor'.

They are so much a part of our family and wonderful company. They are the best thing your lap  can experience, while reading a book on a long, cold, winter afternoon.
They're PURRfect!
Bringing them to the Vet right now.
Wish me luck.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Summer Gasps

Mowing grass in the warm sun.
Tending my tomato plants in hot sun.
Relatives visiting from Jersey.
Visiting art galleries along the coast.
Attempting to make sense of a crowded attic.
That early day at Willard Beach.
Fried clams at Ken's Place.
Afternoons with beverages on the deck.
That day trip to Grafton Notch.
The AmTrak adventure to Boston.
Dinner with good friends along the water.
Lobsters boiling in the pot.
Afternoon thunderstorms.
15 turkeys scooting across the backyard.
Motoring to Perkins' Cove on a whim.
Heading out alone just me and a camera.
Summer takes a few last gasps and fades.
Where does time go to hide?
Just memories now...
But I'll take them.
I always do.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Coming clean today.
How about you?
Does it ever feel like your world is spinning upside down? I'm lucky. For the most part, I'm pretty right side up most of the time. Although, some who know me well might question that last statement. Some people though can be set off by smallest of items. You know clutter, magazines strewn about or mail scattered across the kitchen table. I must admit. Situations like this give me no matter. Clutter is my friend. I used to tell colleagues that my desk confusion, that was so evident in my room, was a sense of normalcy in my world. That was a lie! It was commonplace, and it bothered me, especially when I was on the 'hunt' for an important paper or folder that I knew was around there someplace. I was always impressed with math teachers. How did they do it? Lots of tests, but their desks were always clean and organized. I always wondered where does all their crap go? Where do they put it? It can't just be their 'left brain' pumping out organization in their world. Simply put, mass confusion, like a desk or room that looks like its been attacked by the run-of-the-mill tornado, is really not to my liking. It's not good for me. I know it, but...
Can I just have just a bit of a collage of my stuff around the den and porch? You know, for weeks?
Then where can I acquire some of that left brain stuff?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


This of course was the refrain of beatnik, Maynard G. Krebs, on the old sitcom "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis". It was one of the earliest TV shows that I waited for each and every week. That word 'work', that Maynard hated, came to mind yesterday, as I began my yearly ritual of moving wood to the woodshed. Of course, "The Old Farmers Almanac", a staple in this neck of the woods, is again predicting? threatening? a long cold winter, with more snow than ever, in these parts of the great white North. I've been following, but not believing, the prognostications of this magazine since my high school days, and I can just about guarantee you that every fall the almanac is threatening an upcoming winter of weather worst than ever. It has never failed! Come April most people around here have long forgotten the dire predictions of snowpiles of 6 months ago. All we want is spring.
My plan today is to beat the rain and get a couple more loads into the shed.
Afterall, shed happens!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Orange Sea

Where's my driveway?
Why am I thinking water this morning? We did have a very strange thunderstorm Saturday evening, with lots of thunder. We're not used to thunder and that humidity mid-October, but it's not because of the storm. I've been reading Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand and a great deal of it so far is set in the waters of the Pacific near Midway and Wake Islands. But again this is not why I'm thinking water today. My 'orange' photograph today shows the bottom of my driveway strewn with maple leaves. Now, I know the aging process is kicking in, but should it influence my backing out of the driveway? Backing up, down the driveway is easy when the tar is easily distinguished. Cover everything over with 'orange' and if my mind wanders doing such a mundane activity I tend to find myself on a piece of the lawn, off significantly to the right or left. It's not as embarrassing as backing off to the right and left in snow and leaving your wild tread marks for all the neighbors to see, but it's not good.
I enjoy wandering.
I just have my wits about me, or I'll find myself in big trouble.
Could AAA drag me out of a pile of leaves?
Like I said,  somewhat embarrassing.
Water, water everywhere...

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pine Cone

Here are some facts you probably never wanted to know about the place I call home.

*Maine is the Pine Tree State. 
*The white pine tree is the state symbol.
The motto is Dirigo: "I Lead."
The state bird is the black-capped chickadee.
*There are 17 million acres of forest in the state.
* The white pine cone and tassel is the state flower, but it's not a flower at at all. It's a strobilus. Whatever that is.
*The state berry is the blueberry.
*The cat is the Maine coon cat.
*The state fish is the land-locked salmon.
*Yes, we have a state mammal: the moose.
*Our state drink is Moxie.
*"The State of Maine Song" is our state song.
*Heck, we have a state treat: the Whoopie Pie!
*We even have state dirt apparently: the Cesuncook soil series. What the...?????

If you ever travel to the state, these are just a few of the facts you won't have to look up. 
You have a head start on being a real Downeasta.

October Canoes

Friday, October 17, 2014


This is another sculpture from my visit to the Maine Audubon Society at Gilsland Farm. Here we see The Sentinel, a sculpture constructed out of sapling by The Myth Makers Andy Moerlein and Donna Dodson in 2012. This and the piece I showed yesterday are two of the 82 sculptures from 35 New England artists on display this fall in the show,"A Celebration of Art and Nature" on the property. I would imagine there is a lot of wear and tear on an installation like this. It is for sale and if bought the artists will construct you a new one wherever you choose. This 'watcher of the meadow' lurks over you as you drive up the winding path towards their main building. I hear, sometimes, when they disassemble their wooden installations, they just set them ablaze. That might be kind of exciting for an upcoming All Hallows Eve haunt.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cut Out Color

Situated on an estuary of the Presumpscot River, the 65 acre sanctuary Maine Audubon at Gilsland Farm is set within a beautiful environment. If you are looking for an exciting place to visit in southern Maine amid fall colors, put the Audubon Society near the top of your list. Lots of trails meandering through the acreage. Lots of color this time of year. Lots of sculptures throughout the property too. Besides the gardens, the educational center, the trails, the views, the pond, the meadows, the orchard the sculptures throughout your walk will add so much. This is one of my favorites.
Take a hike along these trails.
It's good for the soul. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


It's her birthday!
We've celebrated a few together.
There are more to come.
Her high school yearbook said she wanted to be an artist. Done! He friends called her El. I still do. Under her picture, it stated that she 'hates green foam rubber'. She STILL does. Fast forward four years and here she was at Monclair State working on her art and graduating with her degree. That next fall she had jumped to Maine and started teaching secondary school art. In the spring of her first year in Maine, I strolled into KMS to do my student teaching, worked in a room across the hall, saw her that first day at lunch, and it was all over.
I was captivated!
The rest is history... our history together.
Happy Birthday, darling!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Our Congress

Have you seen it?
The list of Top 10 Great Streets in America. Here they are:
Central Avenue, Hot Springs, AK
State Street, Santa Barbara, CA
Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC
Clematis Street, West Palm Beach, FL
Broadway, New York, NY
Main Street, Sag Harbor, NY
5th and 6th Avenues, Portland, OR
King's Street, Charleston, SC
25th Street, Ogden, UT
Amazing to find this street of ours among the more recognizable thoroughfares. I mean along side Broadway and Pennsylvania Avenue? It is quite a street. With plenty of shops and stores, museums, restaurants, historical monuments, music venues, diverse churches, an art college, vibrant neighborhoods and plenty of water at either end, it really has it all. I'm a bit prejudice, but I do believe that the American Planning Association got it right.
It certainly is our signature street.
Come to Portland.
Drive Congress!  

Monday, October 13, 2014

Wine Time

A Day in our Life-
We took a little saunter up Route 1 (heading Downeast) on Saturday looking for some fall colors. We checked out the Farmers' Market in Bath and later stopped at Reny's Department Store, the Maine Adventure, where I bought a pair of winter boots and a blaze orange hoodie for moving wood during hunting season here. We stopped in Camden for a late lunch. At the Camden Deli, I tried the 1/2 roast beef sandwich and a dish of seafood chowder, while Elenka sampled the veggie focaccia. Both were delicious and worth the wait. After venturing in quite a few shops, we were off for the main attraction and final destination of our road trip. It was just a short jaunt over to Lincolnville's Cellardoor Winery. Many a time over the last few years we've been in the area but never stopped. Saturday we did. The main 'tasting room' is a surprisingly large, two floor barn decorated with wine accoutrements and lots of smiling faces and laughter. We settled in the upstairs open room that looked out over their vineyards and down on the room below(seen here). There is an interesting story that goes with the winery's logo that appears on their bottles. It seems that at the turn of the 20th Century a hobo stopped by the farmhouse looking for work and a safe place to rest. He carved a design on the door that looks like the letter 'H'. In his reality, it symbolized two travelers reaching out at a welcoming place and shaking hands. In the 'hobo world' this marking meant that this building was a safe place to stop, rest and get substance.
I don't especially like the logo. Take a look. You be the judge.
We will return though.
It was a fun afternoon.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Study Hours

This is the Glickman Family Library on the campus of USM in Portland. Growing up I passed it a lot. It was factory of some sort with four sides of glass windows. These days when I pass it I just think legos. When it was bought by the University and remodeled, someone called it the 'lego building', and it stuck, at least for me. I have this thing about libraries. I'm attracted to them big time. We have had a long and dated history together. It all started on Pleasant Avenue at the Burbank Branch Library. I'd ride there on my bike and sign out 3-4 books at a time. At Lincoln Junior High, I'd sign out of any studyhall I could and head to the 3rd floor and that room of books. I found London's books The Call of the Wild and White Fang on the shelves there. In high school, Mom was always lugging me to the Portland Public Library. It where I discovered what a research project was all about. During my collegiate years, if you were looking for me, there was a pretty good chance you'd find me in my favorite study carrel. The huge windows in our middle school library that just let the sun pile in was a favorite hangout for me at work.
Lots of books.
Lots of quiet, thinking spaces there.
Oh, and yes, I must be perfectly honest now.
There was always coffee brewing in the back room.
Books and java, sort of a lethal combination for me.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Changing Munjoy

Munjoy Hill is changing. Condos are going up. Rents are going up. Lots of remodeling jobs are on going. The Hill is a pretty densely populated section of the city that overlooks Casco Bay and downtown with Eastern Prom at the very top. The Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Organization (MHNO) is a group that attempts to keep the streets vibrant, diverse and fun-filled. The neighborhood even has a monthly newspaper, "The Munjoy Observer", that keeps residents informed of issues, events and what's new to the streets. When I was in high school, the Hill was one tough place to grow up, at least that what I gathered from friends who lived there. These days there seems to be an evolution in progress. It's one of the places you want to be.
Buildings go up.
Streets change.
Life moves forward.
A city breathes.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Votive Candles

Saturday afternoons the confessionals were always open at St. Joseph's Church. After papers, I'd drop by and check out the lines. Usually, they were short, four or five in line in front of you. However, the Saturday before Easter the lines were 20 deep. Lots of 'catching up', I guess. Swearing was always a biggie for me. I got off easy. You know three Our Fathers and two Hail Marys, and I was on my way. Somedays though, I got distracted with dimes in my pocket and journeyed over to the side chapel and the small, red votive candles display. My grandfather had died recently, and if I had extra dimes, I'd plop one in the slot and light a flickering light for him. While out West, my sister and I lit candles for my Dad on his birthday at The Grotto. We bought candles at the gift shop and then placed them near the beautiful outside altar.
Life has changed.
Candles too.
These were $6 a candle.
I'd need a lot of dimes.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Gibson ES-175

Grab your guitar.
Here are just a few of the bands playing at local venues around the city in the next few weeks.
Lunch Cult
Strangled Darlings
The Real Kids
The Nervous Eaters
The Flipsides
Heavy Trash
The Cabin Project
Vinyl Cape
Mozart 212
Love and Theft
The Fogcutters
Suicide Girls
Black Veil Brides
The Dapper Gents
Geeks Who Drink
The Ghost of Paul Revere
Sky Thieves
Sunset Hearts
Squid Jiggers
I'm intrigued by some of these names.
I'm interested in taking a look at some of these performers.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Rain Drops

If you are hanging about southern Maine this morning, here's your weather.
Morning thunderstorms.
Maybe showers.
Overcast skies.
No blood moon.
No lunar eclipse.
Pressure's off.
(don't rush to the window)
Temperatures reaching 70s.
Leaves falling.
Fine fall foliage viewing.
It's fall around here too.
Hey, sun's out... 9:08 AM.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Hayseed Selfie

Hay, Hay, Hay!

Scarecrow: "Pardon me this way is very nice.
It's pleasant down this way, too.
Of course, some people do go both ways."

Certainly, watching the "Wizard of Oz" on TV, sitting on that braided rug in the living room, munching on popcorn and sipping Pepsis on Stevens Avenue always resurfaces fond memories. I must admit the scarecrow, on his search for a brain, was always a character I could identify with in the movie. I like to think it has something to do with my continuing quest for knowledge, while others who know me well might suggest other less lofty reasons. All I know is that it's yet another of these flicks that whenever I cross it I can't help but spend a few minutes with it.
Another of my feeble attempts at recapturing youth?
Who's to say.
Old guy one day.
Youth the next.
Where are we all headed?
Just down the road a piece, I guess.

Monday, October 6, 2014

That Cowboy

A boy with his new toys.
Now, let's get this right out in the open. I've never been one who has espoused any of the principles of reincarnation. But perhaps I might want to do some reading up on that subject.

Yessir pardner, went out West and fancied I get myself a Stetson. Found one in a store in Sisters, Oregon, but wasn't completely to my liking. However got all the stats I needed and yes, ordered it online. Always wanted one, and now it's done and sitting pretty atop Mr. Excitement's head. This other little baby I've been looking for since the spring. Checking out Craig's List, local ATV dealerships and word of mouth, I've been looking for either a Honda Rancher or Foreman. Both came highly recommended as a used machine. While I was 'away', my buddy Curt called and said he had found one for me in pretty 'mint' condition. He said he knew a guy at the dealership, and the machine was a 'steal'. He even got the company to knock off $200. So, I'm in west coast Portland and the atv is in Topsham, near Brunswick, Maine. A quick phone call, a passing of a number on a piece of plastic, and I was the proud owner of a Rancher 350 4X4. The mechanic, who lives up the street, even hauled it home for me and put it in the garage, safe and sound. This 4-wheeler is going to save the life of my garden tractor. No more lugging trailer loads of wood to my shed.
Now, here's the question.
Was I EVER a real cowboy in my other life?
Don't laugh.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Putting Green

I don't like to be negative, but...
I don't like to:
eat lamb
handle snakes
clean the top of the stove
sleep late
buy stuff online
read directions
do detailed things
go to the dentist

I do like to play golf. Although I don't play the game well all the time. Pretty much everything else in the world I don't mind at all.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Fake Fall

It's all about window dressing.
The news around here is that it's going to be a fall of 'hot colors'. Locals say the blame can be laid at the foot of a cool summer. Apparently they didn't experience the summer that I lived through recently. My retrospective would be this this guy 'survived' a pretty dry and relatively warm summer in these parts. Fall colors are reaching their peak around the southern Maine locale in the next week or so. At least that's the way my eyes are seeing it. This month brings lots of cruise ships unloading passengers into buses heading off to view the fall fireworks. Rain and fog will only heighten their viewing pleasure.
I say enjoy!
Captured here are 'fake colors' harboring in a store window advertising autumn fashions.  

Friday, October 3, 2014

Light Reading

Well, well, well.
Look what I found.
So I'm flying back UNITED,  and after about an hour of reading The Last Train to Zona Verde I thought it was time for a break. I reached into the back of the seat in front and from the magazine holder I pulled out the company magazine "Hemispheres". Usually in the course of a flight, I'll pull it out and do a fast skim. Every once in awhile magazines offer me ideas to write about. A couple of years, I even got ideas for our middle school's yearbook theme from them. This time, however, I found quite a treat! Well, at least I thought I did. The Q&A was pretty lame. No real insight into her life.
Heck, last night Project Runway was more revealing.
"She's got legs and knows..."
Now, that is one great ZZ Top song!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Travelog 5

It's a Bend rock.
I spent a few days in Bend on my trip out West. My sister is building a house there, so we traveled there to check everything out. What magnificent views she is going to have out all her windows. I spent about 40 minutes photographing inside and out of her new home. This rock is in their backyard. They are going to have wonderful views of Mt. Bachelor too, where they will ski often. I did find out that the mountain got its name because it 'stands apart' from the Three Sisters, a group three volcanic mountains to the northwest. If you've never been Oregon let me fill you in, the state is just chock full of big rocks, mountains and trees.
And yes, I have already picked out my room.
What a view I'll have!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Theme Day: Movement

Today, October 1, 2014, is Theme Day across the world-wide CityDailyPhotoBlog community (cdp). This month's subject is 'movement' and here we have it: the railroad station in Portland, Oregon with passengers moving toward trains. It's a two-for-one deal! My Dad took the train twice Portland to Portland to visit my sister Joanne and her husband. Both of his trips were different. The first one he stayed in the states going across country, and he slept in his coach seat all the way. Bad decision. Next trip, he went via the Canadian Rockies, and he played it smart. He got a sleeper and about $100 of silver dollars for tips. He was a hit on this trip. The conductors and the waitstaff loved him. Everywhere he ventured on board he was tossing silver pieces around. Each time he returned, he shared great stories about all his adventures. These tales and those lonesome whistles of the trains rushing through Morrills Corner at 2 AM each morning, making me roll about in bed, probably sealed my love of trains.
I'll take this train West someday.
I know I will.
"It Takes a Lot to Laugh It takes a Train to Cry" 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Travelog 4

Western Wear--
On our way to Hood River we took a side trip to Smith Rock. One of my big regrets lately, and I have a few, is my inability to do some serious hiking that I so loved. I was envious of the hikers getting into their gear and heading up the many switchbacks on these rocks. And if I just closed my eyes, I felt like I was amid canyon walls in Utah. Another magnificent aspect of this natural stone outcropping is they pop out of almost nowhere in the land, stick jaggerly out of the earth and then are gone just as fast. The next thing you realize is that you are back on a highway with Ponderosa pines and Western Whites towering over the roadway that you can almost roll down the window and touch just about all the way to the Columbia River.
It was indeed some side trip.
I'm still in wonder.
Now, if I only had a cowboy hat! 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Travelog 3

Take it all in. 
And I did.
Last week my sister took me to "The Grotto", the popular name for the National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother, just outside of Portland. For a couple of hours we  walked some of the 62 acres of the botanical gardens and chapels. At one point, we took an elevator ride up 110 feet to the top of a cliff. Pictured here is the Meditation Chapel that overlooks the city. It has comfortable leather, over-stuffed chairs amid polished granite and a wide expanse of glass. It's a lovely spot with Mt. St. Helens off in the distance.
A fabulous building in a magnificent location.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Travelog 2

It's raining books!
Yes, it's true. My sister lives in a suburb of Portland, Oregon. She basically moved from that Portland to this Portland. Powell Books has been an institution  since 1971 in this Northwest city. Powell's has about 1.6 acres of retail floor space and was rated by CNN, a while back, as one of the coolest bookstores in the world. Looking for a book? This place has something for everyone really, in its collection of out-of-print, rare, used and 'just off the press' books. This flagship store has quite a few floors and rooms within. I headed up to the third floor's Pearl Room for their music section. I had seen the Lennon book, in paperback, a couple of times in bookstores at home but wanted the hardcover. Eureka! Found it here.
If you are looking for a rare or out-of-print book, it's probably in one of these rooms on one of these floors or they know where to track it down.
Powell's is a city of books.
Visit this city.
It's the right thing to do! 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Travelog 1

So where have I been the past week? I bought books. My sister took me to Powell Books where I purchased a couple of titles that I've had my eye on over the last month or so. I do enjoy all the Paul Theroux travel books. I'm halfway through The Last Train to Zona Verde and enjoying it immensely. I also picked up The John Lennon Letters. It's a thick, hardcover collection of notes, letters and postcards that gives more insight into the man. Got it for $15 bucks. What a deal!
So where did I venture?
Any guesses?
Here's a BIG hint. 
We live approximately 3,191 miles apart.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Airport Peeve

My peeves are few. Here's one. I get a kick out of those folks who walk around in public places talking on their cells with an earpiece and a microphone for all to hear. I've been on the road recently. Yesterday, I settled into my chair with a good book at O'Hare awaiting my last leg home. No sooner had I got myself comfortable then a gal plopped herself in the seat across from me and took a call. Here's JUST part of a 30 minute conversation:
"You don't understand me, Sam.
I'm on the otherside of happy.
Put Mom on.
Landing 10:51 in Portland.
Don't care if she's cutting carrots.
Sam, I can't talk about that now.
You're an hour behind me. I'll wait.
Been waiting all my life.
Mom, Mom, Mom...
Please put Carl on.
Carl, she's crazy, you know.
Can't remember the last time I was happy.
Stop it!
You're lucky I'm coming.
We'll have a good time. I hope.
If not, welcome to my world.
Hey, they're asking for someone to give up their seat. Should I?
Taking the day off Monday.
Workshop, you know.
See you in 2 hours.
Ya, love you too."
That was my world.
How embarrassing for her.
I guess she thought I needed this.
What an idiot!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fall Work

Reality always sets in during early fall days. Summer fun is over. My mind moves into fall gear. What to do to ready the yard and the outside for winter. Clear the deck of chairs and the grill, burn brush that has accumulated over the spring and summer in the garden and move the wood. That's pretty much the big stuff.

Joanne's Helpful Hint #7
Fall Work-
It's called 'transition', and it's all good. In the Pacific North West, you want to start preparing for fall come the first of October. Although the weather is still stunningly beautiful, it's time. Beat the rainy season. Get it done early. Clear the deck of chairs, table and the umbrella. When the umbrella is down, summer is over. Bring out the pumpkins! Take the screens off and fill the birdfeeders. Roll up the hoses and do a final 'blow' of the leaves off the back deck. Do these chores in any order, but get it done. 
Oh, yes sad as it is, put away the gin and tonic glasses. G&T is summer all over! 

Everybody has a plan to 'attack' the seasons' changes.
Bottom line: Keep It Positive.
Life changes.
Deal with it.