Friday, February 28, 2014
Thursday, February 27, 2014
I've been blamed for lots of things in my life. I must admit that for most of the charges, I stand guilty as charged. However, believe it of not, there were lots of times growing up that I found myself in the wrong place at the wrong time. For example, I and others had nothing to do with burning Lewis Lumber Company down that fall evening. We seemed guilty, but we were proven innocent. But I know who did. I had nothing to do with the large, back field that caught fire that afternoon after school. But I know who did. Did I find mischief? Sure did. Did I do a few things I regret now? Sure did. Was I ever framed for a deed I had absolutely nothing to do with? Absolutely not. Somedays, I wish I had been.
It would have made a heck of a story.
By the way, I am framing this weekend.
Does that count?
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Well, no it's not really a treasure, or even an item that's treasured. It's our summer sprinkling can sticking its head up giraffe-like from under snow. Since the appearance of robins are still a ways away, I'm placing this in the corner of a harbinger of spring. I really know it's coming. I'm going to keep repeating this to myself today, as I peer out my windows at snow showers. Well, on the plus side of the ledger at least, the 'dusting' will cover up all the dirty snow staring at us around here.
See, even in dark hours, without robins, I can keep things positive!
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Let me see.
How many days until Florida?
Monday, February 24, 2014
The NBC broadcast was embarrassing. Jingoism is alive and well and 'living' amongst us. Why, why, why when a US skier comes in 24th is he interviewed first, leaving the winners nowhere to be seen. To be perfectly honest, I want to see the great Olympic athletes compete and win their medals, NOT just the US athletes.
Oh well, with the almighty dollar in control of the Games, this will never change.
Bottomline: what I watched, I enjoyed.
How about you?
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Mid-afternoon last week and the set of lamps at the Post Office are a glow already.
Heading into Portland this morning to meet Paulie for breakfast and get this day off to a fast start. We're going to a new place at the bottom of Brackett Street called Omi's. I think it's short for Naomi's. I'll fill you in on the details of my visit later today.
Well, I enjoyed a mild Mexican Roast, while Paulie took his double Espresso in fine fashion. We met Naomi, the owner of 5 months. After serving us, she ventured to the back, plopped herself into an overstuffed chair and regaled us on the trials and tribulations of running a small coffee shop in the dead of this cold, Maine winter. It's a small cozy spot, consisting of a couple of rooms of mixed-matched furniture and sunny window seats in the front. There'a small lending 'library' in the front too. Books, fine coffee and comfortable seating: a pretty good combination. The artwork on the walls was nothing to write home about, but I will return.
The coffee itself is enough of a draw.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
This world can be a rather mysterious place, even for a pretty normal guy.
This is The Pilgrim. It's an apartment building on West Street in the West End. Walk in and ring his room. He'd buzz me in. I remember it always being toasty warm on mornings in winter. Bear a bit to the right and 'call' the elevator, and it was usually there in 30 seconds or less. Slide the heavy brass to the side and open a cage-like inner door and you were in. The ride to the 3rd floor was fast and the short amble down the hall was always met with the door ajar to let me. I'd sit at the small table overlooking the street below or take a place on the couch, and we'd talk about just about anything: antiques, our old farmhouse, a cruise that was in his future plans, some politics or even a course in Celtic he was planning on taking. I miss those visits. J- does too. We often travelled there together.
Dad's been gone since Christmas Eve 1997.
Here's another little secret of mine.
Until last year, I would drive out of my way not to venture down West Street.
It was too hard.
Once about 5 years ago, I took a 'wrong' turn and found myself on the street.
I focused straight ahead.
Wouldn't look to the right.
I guess I'm better now.
I took this photo last week.
I really like this building.
Friday, February 21, 2014
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Here I am walking among the driving snowflakes Tuesday afternoon, just around the corner from One City Center. I had a choice to make, a respite from the weather. My choices were two: a wine bar here on the right or a favorite coffee hangout across the street. Decisions, decisions, decisions. It was around 3:30 PM; I decided on a hot java sitting at a window seat watching the storm go by.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Mustard brown, pink, light blue
All in a string.
Where have you been
All of my life?
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
These traps will have to wait out another 'snow event' though.
Nine inches more said to be on the way this afternoon.
Ha! It's spitting snow already.
Monday, February 17, 2014
Well, sort of.
I've heard the tales from my father and others about frigid winters in the city.
How cold was it?
It was so nasty that Portland Harbor froze over, and you could actually walk the 3 miles or so to Peaks Island. My father said he did it with friends. I don't think I'd attempt that these days, but in my youth... I do think I'm a bit smarter today then back a few years. Elenka has regaled me of the time she and friends walked across Sebago Lake in the dead of night. Knowing her cautious nature, I've got to believe some alcohol was involved in this episode. The harbor does freeze over from time to time though. I do remember seeing a good deal of the harbor solid ice sometime in the Seventies, not all the way to Peaks though.
The scene depicted here today was after a stretch of below 0° temperatures for a couple of days straight.
All I can say is, if it froze to Peaks, that must have been some bone chillin' weather.
What's up with winter?
We just returned from a snowy wedding in Jersey, and there was more snow there this year than I've ever seen.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
To Daniella and Christopher:
May these next many, many years not go by in a blur.
Saturday, February 15, 2014
If it doesn't stop, this crap could be here in June.
I'm crying uncle!
Let me check my reservation for Florida again.
Friday, February 14, 2014
Lots of love to spread around today.
Passing along some LOVE to my special Valentine, Elenka!
And Happy V-Day to all!
Thursday, February 13, 2014
I just kind of liked this bit of color down at East End Beach, and the shadows added to the intrigue. I took this picture about a week ago. On this blog, some days I try to picture the city with recognizable images, like the photo of steeple of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception yesterday. However on others I post photos that I like, pieces of the city that grab my eye. Most not recognizable at all, unless, for example, you might own or use these skiffs during the summer. I follow rules. Most days, I post a single shot. Another rule, my rule, that I try to follow is that I don't post collections of photos taken together on consecutive days. Most weeks, I'm pretty good at that. My thinking is that I could never capture every single piece, so I shoot lots of different location photos. A different particle of the jigsaw puzzle that is Portland.
When I head into the city, I always have one of my cameras.
However, I love Sundays.
Most 'rest days' I'm shooting.
That's how I do it.
Work the magic!
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
No, religion is not a fear of mine.
For me, water can be difficult. I'm not talking water at the beach here. I'm talking about deep ocean water. There's a mysterious, gothic quality to it. What do they say dreaming is all about? Working out difficult problems in your real world? My most reoccurring, disturbing dreams over the last few years have progressed beyond forgetting my high school locker combination to some horrors of height. I'll find myself somewhere on a rugged mountain top clinging in an impossible situation on a ledge with no way up or down. In another favorite, I'll find myself atop a church steeple like this one and no foreseeable rescue in sight.
On second thought, maybe there is something to this religious thing.
I've left out real life fears like the stock market, retirement and losing my car keys.
Some days, I'm better off just not thinking.
So, beware snakes, getting shocked, ordering food in a foreign country or struggling through a bad tuna tetrazzini recipe.
Face your fears!
Well, sort of.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
That's the mantra to be followed in this scene.
Sometimes, taking the easy way out doesn't get you the rewards that you are seeking. Then again, I hear of some that have plopped down a few bucks, at a local convenience store, playing the lottery and are set for life. I don't play poker. I don't play the weekly big tickets. I don't enjoy a good gamble. However, one or twice, when the pot looms the largest, I'll throw a buck here or there. I don't expect to walk away with anything, but it makes me feel a bit better in some strange way.
Most make their way down an escape to safety.
Today, I'm climbing to daylight.
I might pass you on my way up.
Monday, February 10, 2014
I did once.
It was that crazy newsboy instinct inside me. During my four years away at college, Mom subscribed to the weekly paper and had it delivered straight to my dorm mailbox. It was always four days late, but I looked forward to its arrival. I must admit I mostly skimmed it except for the sports' pages, but it brought the city, that I had never been away from, right to my bedside off in Western New York. For an emotional kid, who missed home more than I led on, it was an anchor I needed. College life had enough distractions that would lead me astray, if I let them. It's arrival was a constant reminder to 'stay the course'.
And that life was not always 'full speed ahead'.
It must have worked.
Sunday, February 9, 2014
"Close your eyes and I'll kiss you..."
And with that Ed Sullivan introduction and the first chords and words of those fab guys from Liverpool, I think my life changed, 50 years ago tonight February 9, 1964.
I had been alerted to this event by my sister and some of the girls in the neighborhood. The Ed Sullivan Show was a Sunday night staple in our Stevens Avenue house. I sat through shows filled with Perry Como, Teresa Brewer, Jackie Mason, the Lennon Sisters, Eydie Gorme and Steve Lawrence, that mouse Topo Gigio and the zany Banana Man, but this night was different.
Mom said, "They sure look handsome in those suits." Dad just sat back and shook his head and smiled. I was moved by the music, and when I saw the reaction of the girls in the audience, I knew I wanted some of that.
I changed forever.
I took the pledge: the hair was going to grow.
One night at college in a bar, I was approached by 5 girls, who said I resembled 'Harrison', and for the next 3 years or so, if I ever ran into them, they called me "George".
I'm quite sure a couple never really knew my real name.
But I didn't care.
My love affair with music, I can honestly trace back to 50 years ago tonight in front of that round screen Philco with the family.
Call me crazy, but I've always had a weak spot for Revolver.
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!
Saturday, February 8, 2014
Well, the 2014 high school basketball schedule has run its course, and it's Tournament Time. In Class A (largest enrollment schools) Boys, it's the top 3 and then all the rest. I have to chuckle. Some years it certainly is wide-open but not this year. The local sport pundits caution that this might be the year of the underdog. I say, not this year fellers! Portland High (18-0), Falmouth High (17-1) and Bonny Eagle High (17-1) are the class of the 17 schools. A couple of points here-- Portland dispatched all comers, including a solid beating of Bonny Eagle on a neutral court in their only meeting. I was in attendance to see Falmouth manhandle BE in a Holiday Tournament game. This game did not count in the standings, but said a lot. There was no stopping the Yachtmen's height. Falmouth played a quirky schedule, all Class B teams. They'll play a full Class A schedule next year, but how will they fare next week playing the A schools? Bonny Eagle has lost the last three years in the Western A Final. Is this their year to finally take the last step to a State Final and a chance to hoist the Gold Ball?
Don't bet against PHS Bulldogs in the Western Maine Finals.
It might be quite a State Final against Hampden Academy (#1 in Eastern Maine) also 18-0 this morning.
I've got a funny feeling about Bonny Eagle though.
This just might be the Scots' year.
Let's play the games!
Friday, February 7, 2014
This rusted piece of rigging on a docked dragger, I'm sure, serves a useful purpose bringing fish aboard. It helps bring this vessel through its day.
Idioms do the same for me. I use a lot of them.
Here are a few that often are a part of my day:
close to the vest
loaded for bear
devil in the details
head above water
spill the beans
take a leak
kick the bucket
add fuel to the fire
it's Greek to me
in the same boat
high as kite
back to square one
eyes bigger than your stomach
chip off the block
cut to the chase
down to the wire
fish or cut bait
out on a limb
hit the books
heat of the moment
method to the madness
pedal to the metal
saved by the bell
Elenka has heard them all, and when she hears a few of them, she just says, "What are you talking about?"
Do you have some favorites?
Thursday, February 6, 2014
1/2 lb bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup of chopped celery
1/2 cup of chopped carrots
1 quart of milk
2 tbsp flour
1 can of cream style corn
1 can of diced potatoes
salt and pepper to taste
In a large saucepan, fry bacon til crisp. Pour all but 3 tbsp drip from saucepan. Add onion and celery to drip in pan. Cook and stir tip the onion is tender. Remove from heat-- blend in flour. Cook over low heat, stirring tip mixture is bubbly. Remove from heat. Put in milk. Bring to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Stir in corn, potatoes, salt, pepper. Heat then stir in bacon.
Now, where's my favorite mug that I got on a trip to Rangeley?
It was delicious!
Elenka's homemade bread only added to the meal.
Bet you can't guess.
The recipe card was written in Mom's distinctive, cursive style.
It made a cold night just a bit warmer.
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
It really always comes back to nature's way.
*Note the Portland Landmarks sign Brooks Bakery 1887.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
But I've glanced at the menu.
I'd take a chance.
Monday, February 3, 2014
I guess I couldn't stay 6 feet forever.
This is gonna take some getting used to.
Don't tell anyone our little secret.
ps. Did anyone else have a Mom who religiously marked the vertical growth of her kids on a wall someplace in the house? Ours was in the kitchen next to the woodstove. I got so excited by my growth. It was all about the little things.
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Well, we thought it was a great idea. And we could make some money at it too. Catching and raising homing pigeons and then selling them off. We had a plan, but no real knowledge about the training of these birds. No idea at all. But it would be a fun and beneficial way to spend a long boring summer. It was Teddy’s bright idea. He claimed he had caught lots of pigeons with other friends in years past. He said it would be easy, and he knew just where to find them. He led us across the tracks, down to a couple of the large lumber sheds of the NT Fox Co. When we got to the buildings, we were staring up at large stacks of lumber that smelled so sweet drying in the summer heat. He then proceeded to tell us what the ‘plan’ was. We’d each work our way to the top of the piles and reach in and grab the birds, while they sat perched and cooing on the eaves. It just seemed too darn easy. After about an hour of moving around precariously on the top of the wood stacks and not even coming close to touching a bird, we all realized our dreams of ‘hitting the big-time’ in the world of raising and selling homing pigeons was going to be a dream that we would fall short of by a wide margin.
I suggested, “Teddy, maybe if we got some cardboard boxes, filled them with pigeon food (by the way, what do pigeons eat anyway? peanuts?), tied a string to the lid, sat below, they’d walk in so we might close the lid from below.”
“They’re not that stupid.”, he laughed in front of all the guys. I was the one feeling kinda stupid now. I guess writing that great American story entitled: “My Life in Pigeon Cages” was going to have to be delayed for a few years. Now that I look back on it, it probably wouldn’t have went well anyway, given that Dad had already released the rabbit I caught in the field weeks ago. He said it escaped, but I knew better. If he couldn’t handle a small rabbit, how would he ever survive the cooing on the roof of the house of twenty pigeons.
Later, after an afternoon of pickup baseball, I asked, Teddy, “Don'’t you have to have a special breed of pigeon to make them keep returning and delivering messages?”
I had read a story recently about how these birds were used effectively in WW2.
He came back with the retort, “Hey any animal can be trained. They’re all pretty stupid anyway.”
Teddy was the oldest kid in our gang, but he had a lot to learn about life and pigeons.
Saturday, February 1, 2014
This month theme is "Entry", and I attempted to capture it by leaning over on a slippery wharf and peering in this lobster boat door. I would hope that all endeavors that we attempt have challenges built in that supply us with the hidden will to push on and eventually reach our goals. After all, where we end in life, is usually is a place far removed from where we entered. It's filled with many twists and turns, joys and heartbreaks. Coming through it all intact and a far better person is really what it's all about in my book. For me, it'll be important to be able to turn around at the conclusion and say, "Now, that was a ride!"
I plan to do that soon.
I'll remember this too---
It's not the 'entry' that counts.
It's the culmination and the faces you've encountered along the way..
"All's well that ends well."