Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Last Sunrise

So yesterday afternoon, Mr. Birdman announces to me that he wants me to compose something for his photoblog on New Years Eve proclaiming what I think his new year’s resolutions should be. 
“HO HO!!!” I yell, SILENTLY in my own head. “GOLDMINE!!” I can feel the wheels spinning…
“What?” I quietly say, “I don’t know if I can think up any…”   trying to hide my snarky grin.
So let’s see now…….I’ve been thinking about this for hours. 
I know he can easily come up with a list a mile long for me, but I also know that he would never do that. So having him be less sarcastic and demanding wouldn’t make the list.
He’s too nice.
I might go the route of him helping more around the house now that he’s retired and I’m not….nah, he’s pretty good in that department, too. (There is one part of that which needs tweaking…. I’ll get to that later.)
This isn’t as easy as I thought. Considering I do have to continue living with the man after I post my resolutions for him….I have to be careful.
So, here we go: (these are so lame….)
Close closet doors when you are finished.
After you so some work around the house, when you are done, turn around and LOOK at it. If it’s all screwed up looking, unscrew it. (this is the tweak….)
Learn to cook.
Now, I’m at a loss………
I guess that’s a good thing. My wheels have stopped spinning….
I suppose all I really want is for him to just keep on being himself. (since he can’t be Johnny Depp…)
This is the best I could do, Bird. Sigh.
Now you may give me my gift….you know, the one you were going to give to Heidi Klum if you ever ran into her. ;-)

Elenka

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Dig 2014

Can you dig the close to ending 2014?
Was it all you hoped for?
Did those things you wished for in January past come to fruition?
Did you accomplish all you set out to do?
What did you gain?
What did you lose?
Well, Portland gained one new rag and lost another.
The Portland Daily Sun, a free daily paper, bit the dust after just a few years existence. Most of the writers got gobbled up by their sister paper The Portland Phoenix, a weekly that has outlasted other of its ilk in New England. Boston and Providence come to mind. Dig Portland is the newest 'weekly baby' to hit the streets of the city in these bright red carriers. Apparently its Boston publisher feels that P-town is still ripe for a free weekly to survive and flourish. I must admit, at this point, that I do grab a copy on a pretty regular basis. It keeps me up on the nighty comings and goings about the city.
Does your city or town have these?
Do you pick them up?
Helpful to you?
Your year---
Successes? Regrets?
I'm sure we all had a few of each.
Bye-bye 2014! 
Can ya dig it?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Square Lights

One of our favorite restaurants is Boda at Longfellow Square. It's advertised as a "very Thai" Kitchen and Bar. There is a menu filled with tapas, soups, items from the grill bar thai salads and of course quite a full list of entrees. The last few times we've been there I've leaned towards the shrimp pad thai. Delicious! This time of year, if you are seated here at the window, you'll have an exciting view of the Square and its lights. Since childhood, I've never tired of a ride-by the 'old guy' sitting in his chair by the sea. This time of year the city has him decked out in a red and white scarf with gifts stacked beneath his chair.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Wadsworth_Longfellow_Monument

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Buon Natale

Buon Natale!
Our dinner theme this Christmas was Italian, and Elenka and a few of her elves outdid themselves. Here is our menu.
Our Italian Christmas 2014
Wine Greeting-
Mulled Wine Vin Brule
Appetizers-
Antipasto Platter
Baked Brie with Balsamic Rosemary Cranberry Sauce
Pistachio Crusted Goat Cheese with PomegranateSeeds
Assorted Nuts
Assorted Crackers and Bread Sticks
Hummus
Marinated Mozzarella Balls
Figs
Assorted Olives
Toast
Prosecco
Main Course
Braciole
Italian Meatballs
Vegetarian Lasagne Roll-ups
Insalata
Cheesy Garlic Bread
Italian Wines
Campari
Italian Sparkling Water
Desserts
Tiramisu
Assorted Italian Cookies
Italian Wedding Cookies
Black Bottom Bourbon Pecan Pie
Assorted Gelato
Candies
Coffee/Tea
Bon App├ętit!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Mistake

Mistake.
Ever make one?
I did last week. I told Elenka I wanted to go to the PMA (Portland Museum of Art) and photograph the Christmas tree with the ornament designed by Christo. I seemed to recall that the tree was a permanent piece of the museum with various ornaments decorated by artists. I've always enjoyed his art, and still kick myself today that I didn't travel to NYC for his "Gates" installation in Central Park. And then to top it all off, it snowed and rendered some fabulous images of his orange curtains amid snow. Ouch! There I just kicked myself. A highlight for me in art was going to Merrill Auditorium about 10 years ago for a talk and slideshow by Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude featuring many of their world famous installations. Quite cool! Back to the tree that I called 'Christo's tree' simply for the fact that it had a 'wrapped' ornament by the artist along with many others who contributed. Entering the museum, I went right to the information desk and told the gal that we just wanted to check out the 'Christo tree' and then go to the museum shop. She said something that, a bit garbled, resembled "fine" and pointed us off towards the large hall. Driving into town, I seem to recall Elenka remarking that she thought that the tree was a piece of a traveling exhibit, while I was sure it was among the permanent pieces that the museum puts on display each holiday season. 
Long story short. 
Elenka was right... again. 
Chalk up another error for me.
I'm mistake prone at times.
The museum shop (back left) was nice though.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Exhibit A

I do. I do. I do BELIEVE!

And now I think I might have evidence. Living on Stevens Avenue one Christmas Eve I was positive I heard something walking on the roof of our house in the snow. So here's the theory of a ten year old. Noises on the roof? Santa below? I left my room and made it half way down the stairs too nervous to venture any further. I had been warned. If you see Santa, the magical spell would be over. So that's where I sat for about a half hour, stretching my neck around the banister hoping to catch a faint glimpse of that red suit. It didn't happen, and I went back to bed. At 7 AM the four of us kids raced down the stairs to the living room to find what Santa had dropped off for us. And there they were, stacked in different parts of the room: each our Christmas bounty. How did he do this? All in one night? Evidence. That's all I needed to prove that he really existed, and that he wasn't just magic. Well, yesterday in some dull morning light rain, I think I have gotten a few pieces of evidence. Reindeer footprints all over the backyard and beyond.
Reindeer footprints in the yard?
Santa on the roof in his sleigh?
Gifts under the tree?
Do you see how it's all coming together?
I still BELIEVE.
Do you?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Baby Bird

Baby's First Christmas...
Some gifts listed in my blue baby book.
Teddy Bear- Mom and Daddy
Shoe Bank and coins- Aunt Bea and Dool
Hand-Knit mittens and socks- Aunt Beverly
White Stockings- Aunt Leona and Uncle Ed
Sleigh and pajamas- Nana and Grampa Gallant
Hand Knit Brown & Yellow Suit- Aunt Mimi
Bicycle Toys- Grampa Norton
Porcelain Section Plate- Aunt Gloria
Lots of people gave me crisp $1 bills.
The only presents that I have a memory of are the big white sleigh that my grandfather constructed in his workshop and that Mom and Dad pushed around all the kids in and that shoe bank. I have a faint recollection of trying to 'get to the bottom' of it in my parents bedroom. No damage done; I was caught red-handed. Remember: when youngsters are left alone and everything seems way too quiet, some mischief is usually at the root of the silence. This tree was standing in my grandparents' house at 250 Main Street, Westbrook. No kid should be allowed to have the wonderful life-long memories that I had in every single room of this cape. I've often commented on that I'm not a gambling man, and I usually don't get to play the 'lucky card'. But when I ended up with Albert and Josephine as grandparents, I broke the bank!
Little did I know, lying on a comfy white blanket in Nana's favorite chair, how lucky those early years would be for me.
Lucky guy!

Last night, the Eve, has become bittersweet. I lost my Dad 16 years ago last night.

Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Our Eve

Even after suffering my sprain to the knee, I'm thoroughly entrenched in the Christmas spirit. Basically, I've been playing Christmas music since Thanksgiving. Such a sentimentalist! This tends to drive those that spend the most time with me crazy. My injury has made us slightly adjust our Eve schedule. Recently, each Christmas Eve we have  selected a different church and denomination to join in their services. We were planing to attend Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception tonight. We'll go next year. Maybe inviting Justin and Yelena over for pizza, watching "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" and reading a couple of Christmas stories will be in the cards. I also certainly plan to find and listen to a reading of  Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" on NPR, help Elenka (as best I can) get ready for our family party tomorrow, wrap some gifts and throw on some holiday CDs.
Oh yes, AND watch our snow disappear in the rain.
It's going to be 51°F tomorrow.
But Santa's coming.
Prancing on the roof and all that other stuff.
It's magical!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hilltop

I remember how weekends used to go. I'm looking at the guy in the rear table on the left. He looks to be in his early thirties with a stack of papers, a coffee and a red pen. That used to be me on weekends. My routine was to hold off until Sunday though. I didn't care much for correcting essays and tests 'on the road'. In a comfortable chair in the family room or upstairs in my office were my favorite work spaces at home. A coffee, a couple of correcting pens and some soft classical music playing were my friends. If I was tucked away upstairs for a couple of hours, I often would sneak a bowl or two of Captain Black pipe tobacco. These days that certainly would be a no-no here at this  hilltop coffee shop. For that matter, my pipe has been displaced for good anyway. 
I do miss the 'captain'.
I blame it all on my grandfather, Albert.
The swirling puffs of his aromatic Prince Albert had me under a spell.
Occasionally a student would complain about a small coffee stain on a paper.
But no one ever came forth and declared, "Mr. N-, smell my paper. What is it?"
Hahaha!
I miss my pipe, not the stack of papers though.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Adventure

Slogans.
They are everywhere. 
Got one?
Maine: The Way Life Should Be. If you are new to our state, you'll see this sign as you enter the state at its southern border in Kittery.
Portland, Maine: Yes. Life's Good Here. Our city has recently adopted one. Some like it. Some think it's silly.
Reny's: A Maine Adventure. Although there are only 16, Reny's Department stores seem to be all over the state. Since being born in Damariscotta in 1949, this place remains a part of only a few family owned and operated chains in the state. Looking for a last minute gift for Christmas, stocking stuffers for the kids or as they say just about 'anything', You'll probably leave satisfied if you are checking out in this store.
Slogans are funny things. A great deal of research, design and big bucks enter the equation when companies, states and other jurisdictions attempt set themselves apart from the pack with a catchy and unique slogan. I always got a kick out of the Dallas Cowboys billing themselves in the 80's as 'America's Team'. As if...
Seen a good one recently?
Share?
Birdman: Your Favorite Rubric's Cube.
See? Silly, maybe stupid. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

In Out

Coming in and going out.
These are the outer doors at the Portland Museum of Art looking out at some of the holiday lights at Congress Square. These doors were easy to negotiate compared to what I'm trying to do today. Yesterday, while walking doing a few errands, I began to feel some sensitivity in my left knee. That evening I had to apply ice to the outer edge of my knee. By 10 PM, I was in some serious throbbing pain. I couldn't straighten my knee out. I sat up all night and entertained myself with the tube. I think I probably slept a few 15 minutes intervals. That's about it. In and now out.
Elenka drove me into QuickCare at Maine Medical at 9 this morning. We just got home. I've been diagnosed  with Patellofemoral Arthralgia of the left kneen. 
That's a mouthful. 
Let me simplify.
I have a swelling of the knee!
I could have never opened this door today.
No balance.
Now the good news.
I'm on some pretty hefty painkillers.
I hope to feel nothing soon.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Stage Door

This is NOT a Christmas story.
I wouldn't want these heavy doors to slam on my fingers or hand for that matter. Once, when I was in kindergarten, I had a car door slammed on my finger. It wasn't a pretty sight. I hid my hand in the pocket of my shorts until the blood soaked through and my teacher caught sight of it. It was a bloody mess. I got the rest of the afternoon off. If a door of this weight and girth enclosed my finger, it wouldn't be blood I would be worried about. I'd be asking, where's my finger?
Will you get it for me?
I know it's around here someplace.
Agony.
Owwwwww.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday Carol

"You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There's more gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!" Charles Dickens

We attended a performance of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" at Portland Stage Company last evening. We've gone to this holiday show many, many times over the years. It is indeed a performance that for me never grows old. Each year, with a new cast, they make subtle changes that add so much. Last night was no exception. If you leave the theater and head out into the cold, dark night after this 'story' and you're not in a holiday mood, check your pulse!
Bravo!

"No space of regret can make amends for one life's opportunity misused."
C. Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Art Easels

Muse Paintbar has come to our city. Let me get this straight. They supply the paint, canvas, apron, some expertise and art to be painted. You check out their calendar and locate the picture you want to paint, show up 30 minutes before the session, and you are off chasing Piccaso. Oh yes, you do supply the cash anywheres from $35-$55 dollars. There is a kitchen and a bar that supplies wine and beer at a cost. You can also reserve the entire room for a large painting party for you and your friends. I looked in the windows at their site on Commercial Street. There were about 20-25 canvases set up paintbrush ready. I can see where this might be a pull to some, but not me. The painting would be difficult enough. Good grief! Alcohol would not be an enticement either. I can just image what my canvas might look like at the end of the two hour session.
Have you seen one of these in your city or town?
Would you take a chance?
There is a pull.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Barn Sky

I took this about a month back when fall was still hanging on for dear life around here, and there was a blanket of early morning fog about. I've photographed this barn a number of times, but never posted anything. It gets my attention every time I travel past it. Anyone else have this affliction? You know a barn, house, building or storefront that intrigues you, but you have no idea why. There are horses here. Quite often there are multiple horse trailers parked in the driveway. We have a harness racing facility, Scarborough Downs, nearby. Perhaps that is what the horses here do for a living. All I know is often, in January and February, on my drive bys the horses here enjoy galavanting about in the snow.
I've pulled over to watch them.
I enjoy it too.
What's that all about?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Trailer Art

I like to dream.
You?
Perhaps I'll take up painting again. Even though the first time I attempted it you couldn't call it, in any shape or form, 'taking it up'. I spent a day or two with it. They might get to calling me 'Grandma Birdman' for my primitive work. Hey, I might finally buy that Harley and take off into the sunset for Alaska, a la "Easy Birdman". How about buying a big sailboat and setting off down the inter-coastal highway? I'd probably get stranded on some remote island and do my best 'Robinson Birdman' bit. I might make Daniel Defoe roll over six feet under. I like to walk. Maybe I might try the Camino de Santiago and walk my 'Way' across Spain. They might get to calling me the 'Walking Bird'. Maybe one of those Ironman Triathlons might just quell my dreaming fire. 'Iron Birdman' has a nice ring to it. After all, I had a bike and liked to swim growing up.
Jeepers.
All that contemplating this morning has me pretty tired.
I better turn off the alarm and go back to sleep.
'Dreaming Birdman'.
That has a nice ring to it.
Ah... to dream.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Santa Parade

I've got a secret.
Enjoy. I haven't got many. Over the last couple of years I've been collecting little Santas. It started on a whim, and now I tell Elenka that I can't stop. I can, but it bugs her a bit when I say that. It all started two years ago when I spied a couple of 50's era Santas sitting on a shelf at the Gorham Goodwill store. I stopped to look for ties but got sidetracked. They seemed lonely. Last December I added a few and two weeks ago a few more. Like us all, I have selective memory. I can remember the strangest stuff, long past, but sometimes struggle with my plans for the day. This said, so far I have not returned to the house with a duplicate Mr. Claus. Lucky, I guess. Elenka says my collecting days are over, because this small mirrored mantle is full.
She might again be correct.
However, I wouldn't venture to Vegas with your life savings.
... if I were you.
Ho, Ho, Ho!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Stragglers

Do you straggle?
I try not to.
However, sometimes I sin.
There are stragglers in this world.
Similar to these few remaining leaves, reminders of a summer past, they cling hoping against hope that they might hold on. I really don't like to drag myself in 'after the dance has started'. I'm an early bird when it comes to most aspect of my life, up early, at my desk with coffee before the masses, at meetings on time. However, when I'm in the partying mood, I'm a strong advocate of arriving a bit on the side of being 'fashionable late'. When I have a get-to-gether, I do not want to meet and greet all 15 of the revelers at once, especially if there has been some distance since our last meeting. I'm not talking laziness here. That's an entirely different animal. Always getting a late start and dragging yourself in or around your world, not a good attribute. 
So if I arrive late, don't roll your eyes.
It won't happen again.
Have you noticed?
It's never the same leaves.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Winter Games

Our 'winter games' have started.
And no, not the Olympics.
I don't really care that my calendar is saying it's the 13th of December and not the 21st. I don't care if the winter solstice is still more than a week away. Sunrise to sunset, it bothers me not a bit that today still is not the shortest day of the year. As far as I'm concerned, it's winter! The snow blanket sticking to all the evergreens in a winterland delight, the temperatures pretty solidly encased in the 30's or below each morning and snowplows awakening me at 3 AM as they run the hill by the house are all determiners in my book of the season change. I say; it's winter. Deal with it. Oh, and my birdfeeders need refilling sooner. When my feeders are active areas it's cold or a storm is on the horizon. 
Bank on it.
Brisk chickadee action breeds winter.
I've got to load my feeders again this morning.
Enjoy the season change.
There's no avoiding it.
Play by the rules. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Going Down

Going down?
And we were, as we began our decent back to the first floor in the Victorian Mansion last week. There was a time I would have loved to just hop on these slippery, wooden balustrades and take the quick trip down instead of taking the lazy man's way. Our house on Coyle Street had a quite wide expanse of a front stairway. Nothing as elaborate as this though. It did have a large window seat, that in the winter when the trees were devoid of leaves, allowed you to lookout over Back Bay. I never tried to 'ride the banister' there, however the railing on Stevens Avenue wasn't so lucky. There were lots of trips down to our music room 'on wood' in that house. We lived there from the time I started third grade until I was a sophomore in high school, and in those early years my weight, age and the sturdy rails were a lethal combination. 
Of course, if Mom caught me I was in trouble.
But I picked my spots.
I wasn't crazy.
Going down?
Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee! 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ice Cover

Welcome to my world!
This is a bush just off the back step. It'll give you a pretty good idea of what we have been up against the last few days. No, it in no way comes close to reaching the pinnacle of ice cover we had in Maine back in 1996, but it has made moving about pretty treacherous. Now, with a solid day of heavy rain at times, getting from the back step to the safety of the dry garage floor has become quite a task. There's something about adding a 1/4 inch of water atop the ice that puts all bets off. Somedays, it almost makes you long for a six inch snowfall. 
Ah, but as they say, 'be careful what you wish for'.
A broken leg, hip or wrist, just before the holiday or anytime, wouldn't be a pretty picture.
That would be the wrong kind of ice breaker.
Tread carefully.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Reception Room

The spirit of Christmas is among us.
On Saturday Elenka and I took a little trip to "100 Years Past". We visited the Victorian Mansion on Danforth Street in all its holiday grandeur. The stately home, decked out for the holiday season, was completed in 1860 as the summer home of Mr. Ruggles Morse and his family. He made his fortune in hotels in Boston, New Orleans and New York. He died in 1893 and the home and its contents were sold to local merchant Joseph Ralph Libby. His family lived here for over 30 years without making any major changes to the house and its contents. The home was rescued from demolition in 1941 by William H. Holmes, who opened it as the Victorian Mansion, in a tribute to British Queen Victoria. What we are looking at here is the Reception Room, which is the first room you enter to the right of the main staircase. Most days I'm really not into white Christmas trees but this one was quite beautiful. Every decoration loaded on this tree seemed to give the impression of some sort of  snow-covered dream. All of the rooms on the first and second floors are open, overly decorated for Christmas and instill the holiday spirit of the times.
It was a inspiring trip back 100 years.
Sort of dream-like.
"Mr. and Mrs. Birdman here to see Mr. Ruggles Morse and his wife Olive, please."

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Chains

It doesn't look like much on an early Sunday morning, but the wharves in this port city provide few parking spots and lots of activity on a working day. While in high school, the 'fish factory' a local fish processing plant, provided working opportunities for guys and gals. I was too young to work at the time, but Leo took a chance. Pretty good money, but with a couple of downsides. The aroma was strong and followed you for days. Similar to a couple of older guys living in the six-links apartments nearby. They were painters by day and had a terrifically hard time eliminating the smell of paint and turpentine from their skin and clothes. 
The second drawback to working at the fish factory?
Every feline in the neighborhood followed you for days.
Meow!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Ice Walk

We took a stroll on Danforth Street on Saturday afternoon. After a plate of Irish nachos and something to wash it down at Bull Feeney's, we headed to the Victoria Mansion to view the rooms decked out in all their holiday splendor. As I recall, the last time I was there was as a high school junior on a field trip. When we exited close to 4:30 PM, this slushy sidewalk had began its turn to a treacherous, frozen walkway. Since this image was taken, we've seen a bright sun but with temperatures encased in the 20's not much melting. When walking on this stuff, you need your wits about you or the results might be quite  unpleasant.
Pretty scenes can lead to danger.
Slip-sliding away.
Call 911!  

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Interiors

WHAT was he thinking?
For that matter, WHAT was he doing?

Ever question why someone would do or say something and wish you could get inside their brain for about 30 seconds? You know, get 'interior'. Case in point. Did anyone else struggle through the NBC adaptation of the Peter Pan LIVE the other night? I did. I wish I hadn't. That's 3 hours of my life I'll never get back! I usually love Christopher Walken, but... What the heck was he doing for his 180 minutes? Did he forget his lines? He was constantly looking for the teleprompter. A couple of times, closeups showed him with mouth open, moving but no words coming forth. Some very odd stares. He seemed to miss his marks. He can't sing. He surely can't dance. He put so little into his performance, and I use that term so very loosely here. I mean, Cyril Ritchard (the original Captain Hook) must have been flip-floppin in his grave. Why? How could he do this? Sad to say, he looked to be under the influence of something. Some catatonic state?

The character of Hook should be hilarious as he vamps his way back and forth across the stage. His make-up was atrocious! Was he doing 'whiteface'? His entire performance should have been title "Dazed and Confused". If I was writing the review for the show, the headline might would read, "Sadly, This Peter Pan Doesn't Fly!"
Solution?
More fairy dust, please!
*If that doesn't work, cast Birdman as Hook. 
He could do it!
... or at least take a chance with say, a Nicholson or a Shatner?
Hold on.
Oh-uh!
I think Mr. Walken just rang my cell.

Check out Ritchard doing "The Captain Hook Waltz".
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlmWmGHZpHM

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Up Stairway

Up the stairs.
Down the stairs.
I do believe there used to be a restaurant at the top of these stairs back a bunch of years. These days there are a few shops up there. One looks to be a photography gallery. Photos lining the stairs? This is an interesting advertising ploy, if you ask me. Well, you really can't blame them. If you pay rent for one of these high-priced shops, you need to make some big money over these five weeks between turkey and Santa. The adage 'any port in a storm' almost works here, especially if your store is not the walk-in variety, right off the street. Having to journey up these steps would offer that extra challenge to sell your wares.
Luckily, I don't have the pressure to make rent in a downtown shop this time of year.
I can just walk and take-in what I want.
I did not venture up these stairs.
Case in point.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Nature's Tinsel

Tinsel's birth was in Nuremburg, Germany in 1610. That's where all my trouble started. You see, I really like tinsel. I used to love it, but now realize I am resigned to liking. You see, little of this silver makes its way to our tree. Long story... I still can conjure up vivid, painted memories of lying on my back in the Stevens Avenue living room under the Christmas tree trying to make my way visually to the angel riding on the top. It was quite a task. It was a dream world. I imagined myself lost in the blizzard of colored lights, sparkling decorations and of course the silver strips of tinsel. These strands of sparkle would enhance every inch of our tree, and I really thought brought the tree to life. It was always a sad that day, in the week after Christmas, when Mom deemed the holiday structure a safety hazard, and we had to take it down. All the big colorful ornaments we stored away in their boxes, long strings of synthetic garland were folded up and the fun part for me all the silver tinsel was saved for another year. I made it my job to circle the tree repeatedly gathering the shinny silver over my hand. It came off last and signaled for me the official end to the holiday. The dragging the tree out of the house into the backyard was nothing compared to removing the strands.
Tinsel, though, always brought back smiles.
Especially in March or April...
When I'd see our cat streak by me running down the hall, trailing tinsel out of his butt.
Now that's a lasting holiday image!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Burger Joint

I can commit sin.
Does the fact that cattle is classified as 'grass-fed beef' make a difference when I'm face to face with a double-decker cheese burger with a couple of slices of bacon, onions, lettuce, tomato with relish or mayo topping it off. What? Do you think I'm crazy? The temptation is too severe. I'll visit my local confessional, do my penance and deal with the guilt. This is a slice of one of our Elevation Burger establishments around the city. This one, with its rounded front, sits on Commercial Street. We visited it last winter, when it was the Farmer's Table, a full service restaurant not just a burger joint. Our meals were fine. I guess it just wasn't getting the traffic in the door needed to survive. As for this place, I've never sat down to sample its fare. I've never eaten at Red Robin either. We have one of these in the Mall area. I'm intrigued to sample one of their 'gourmet burgers' though. Their online menu looks delicious! Now, unlike these two places, I have eaten a couple of times at Five Guys. I've stopped on the run for cheese burgers. They were greasy, and the burgers slid off the roll repeatedly, but they were scrumptious! I'm cautioned often, by a close and personal friend, about how meals like this are not good for me, and my comeback is always the same. It's not like I'm sitting down across from one of these everyday. Fried food(see clams), anything that even resembles fettuccine alfredo and these greasy burgers, when I'm EVEN just glancing at these on a menu, elicit the same response from my 'food cop'. 
"Are you kidding me?"
Thanks to her, what goes into my body is good for me.
My diet is extremely nutritious.
That's a very good thing.
But can't I just sin a bit?
No? 
I didn't think so.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Maya Katherine

Welcome to the world little girl!
Let me introduce you to my new grand niece.
Maya Katherine
Born: Friday November 28, 2014
 @ 2:44 PM
6lbs. 15 1/2 oz. 20 inches.
Sleep tight little one. This world can be a crazy place some days. You'll need your rest. Can't wait to meet you.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Fish Heads

There used to be a pretty good seafood restaurant off of Commercial Street called The Holy Mackerel. It's gone now. Financial issues, I hear, took it under. I'm sure, if it was still in operation, gulls like this would be hanging around it all day too. You see seagulls have never met a french fry, a sandwich of any persuasion, seafood or not, roadkill or any example of edible trash that they didn't like and 'take care of'. They are pretty much scavengers and for the most part steer clear of people. That's good thing, because I wouldn't want to come between a gull and lunch. They can be pretty aggressive. These fish heads strew along Custom House Wharf would attest to that and be my Exhibit A.
I sat and watched them for a spell the other morning.
It was kind of disgusting, really. (I wouldn't enlarge this, if I were you).
Pick, pick, pick.
It was too early for lunch for me.
Good thing too.
There is no way I'd get a lobster roll down after watching this episode.
Life on the wharves... every gull for himself.
The heads have it!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Theme Day: Worker

Today is December 1, 2014 Theme Day across the world-wide CDP (citydailyphotoblog) community. This month's theme is of the worker population. Easy one. Find someone who's working and click away. Here's Mark making his stand. Could be his last stand. I don't really know or pardon me for saying this really, care. Unlike a lot of photo bloggers, unless I know them, they go nameless, anonymous. This guy has a hot dog stand at Tommy's Park in the Old Port. The stand has competition, lots of pushcarts and food trucks in the summer, of course, but even in winter there are always a couple of wagons in the area. Heck, this guy must have a real following. He sells t-shirt, for crying out loud. That's not an expression I use a lot, but it fits here.
Nope, never have sampled his goods.
Don't plan on doing it soon either.
Elenka has taught me a lot about what I put into my body.
Greasy dogs and burgers with cheese, onions and sauerkraut.
Tsk, tsk, tsk...
He's got a fine Christian forename though.
Mark.