Sunday, May 31, 2009

Stone Bridge

As we say goodbye to May and the seasons press on, one to another, simple words of Henry David Thoreau always seem so fitting to me.
"Within a little more than a fortnight the woods, from bare twigs, have become a sea of verdure, and young shoots have contended with one another in the race. The leaves are unfurled all over the country... Shade is produced, and birds are concealed and their economics go forward uninterruptedly."

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pier Pressure

Hard to find some docking space, just a short jaunt from Becky's this morning. It's almost hard to figure out what we have here. Are things slow with not much action, hence the jam? Or are things happening with lots of activity? On closer inspection, there were deckhands on quite a few boats here, but nothing seemed imminent. Just a day at work upon the water, in 'the city by the sea'.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Not Dwight!

Nope, it's not a Dwight Yoakam sighting way up here in the wilds of Maine. I wish! But because some have asked... ta da!--- I now present to you-- the belt! On my recent get-a-way to San Antonio, I paid a visit to the 3-D Belt Company, just to peruse some western wear, and this particular item jumped out at me. Done deal! Now, let me repeat, "I'm not a cowboy, but I do play one on TV." Hahahaha! And sometimes, just some times I do feel like I'm "A Thousand Miles from Nowhere". Hey, it's the weekend, 'Cowboy Up'!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

9 Stones

On the corner of Union and Commercial, you'll find 9 Stones. Body- Face- Spa- is what this building is all about. Never been inside these doors, and don't plan a visit soon, but it's an attractive building from the outside with a great name. At least, I think so. Often, I find some names striking and very interesting. I just love them; don't know why, just do. They just linger with me. Some I just love saying. Names of things like: book titles, beer, band names, small towns, mountains, rivers and even store names like this one. 9 Stones? I've heard of lots of standing stones, including Stonehenge. I think they call them 'druids circles'. I hear that groups of nine standing stones exist in Devon, Derbyshire, Dorset and Cornwall and Aberdeenshire in Scotland and Count Carlow in Ireland. Me? I've got about 10 acres around here with PLENTY of rocks. I guess I better make a pile of nine. I want to be a 'lucky' man!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


At the foot of Coyle Street, down a short pathway, you'll find three granite benches and this wonderful sundial. In 1894, Mayor James Phinney Baxter commissioned a group to look into the 'back cove' area, which, at the time, was not much more than an overgrown cesspool and a city health risk. He envisioned a series of 'parkways', that would connect Eastern Promenade, Back Cove, Deering Oaks and Western Promenade, modeled after the 'Emerald Necklace' of the Boston park system. This visionary's idea came to fruition as the Back Cove Boulevard was completed in 1917. A few year's later in 1921, Baxter died, leaving behind a legacy of public parks, and in fitting tribute the Portland City Council soon renamed it Baxter Boulevard. In 1925, the granite ellipse was added along with this sundial. His son, Percival P. Baxter, ex-Governor of the state of Maine spoke at its dedication. "It is given to but few men to live to see the realization of their dreams. Only occasionally is a man with a vision for the future spared to look upon the perfected structure which he planned and the foundation of which he laid."
Bold Vision, the Development of the Parks of Portland, Maine; edited by Theo H.B.M. Holtwijk and Earle Shettleworth, Jr. and published by Greater Portland Landmarks

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Riverton Park

Today, it's a walk in the woods along the Presumpscot River(near where Rt. 302 crosses), and a look back to a couple of former times, when life was really bustling around here. In the summer of 1896, the approximately forty-acre Riverton Trolley Park was created in the Deering section of the city, on the banks of this river. The Park, owned and operated by the Portland Street Railroad Company, had a casino, a dining hall, a zoo, boat launch, pony rides, and a theater, and it survived til about 1930. Its run was short. The economics of the times was its undoing. Keep walking through the woods, and you'll reach my old little league field, Little League 3. My brother and I played there for the Knights of Pythias(the team was just called KP), and it was great fun. All our friends played for different teams, Pratt Abbott, Christy's Market, KP and Christy's Hardware. It was, at the time, known as the most beautiful and well-maintained field in the city. For 12 year olds, it had it all--- well-groomed grass, a green, wooden outfield fence, in-ground dugouts, and a concession stand with an announcer's booth above home plate. Alas, the field, today, is but a shadow of its former self. Like a lot of our past times; memories gone bad!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial '09

It's a roadside in Biddeford Pool, but other than that, I don't exactly know what I've got here. Could it be just a garage? Perhaps it's a museum of some sort? I love the 'framed' bike! Perhaps similar to Portland's Friday Art Walk... it's an Art Drive? Your guess is as good as mine on this one. Oh well, enjoy the dogs, steaks and burgers etc. on the barbecue today. J- and I visited St. Hyacinth's Cemetery yesterday and tidied up a bit, put some geraniums in the urns and spent some quiet time at the Gallant plot.
Happy Memorial Day to all!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Flowering Trees

Just a short walk down from Gorham's Corner where Fore, Bank, York, Pleasant and Danforth streets meet and across a parking lot, and you'll be behind this rambling, old warehouse. Not much here, really. It houses a restaurant, a pub and a few shops. Not very attractive, if you ask me and certainly out of the flow and high traffic area of the Old Port. Here's a look at its backside: lots of bricks and two flowering trees on a spring afternoon. Now, this side, catches the eye, and makes you want to ponder a bit before you hurry on your way.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Backyard Blossoms

It's apple blossom time around here. The backyard trees have exploded this past week. This beauty is fleeting though. Soon after the trees appear fully-ladened, these beautiful, soft, pinkish petals begin to 'twinkle' to the ground and dot parts of my newly tilled garden. Back on Stevens, our baseball diamond had three apple trees that created our 'outfield fence' in dead center. Hit it over the tops, and it was an automatic 4- bagger! I got few of those as I remember, but many a shot whistled right through the branches, this time of year, sending many a delicate petal ricocheting to the ground. Ah, backyard baseball... the best!

Friday, May 22, 2009


Here's an interesting doorway at the top of Pleasant Street. But for the most part, forget about doors, in life, windows are the thing! Growing up, I loved watching all the old Laurel and Hardy 'shorts'. Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were genius at their craft. I've always remembered a line from one of their longer movies though. "Your eyes are the windows to your soul". As I remember it, the punch line to the comic scene involved one of the boys closing the eyes of a subject(while saying this line), and the other venturing to 'lift' something out of his jacket pocket. Always funny! I'm smiling, as I type those very words this morning. Quite simple, yet quite philosophical, I think.
*Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend! Dogs and burgers are the thing!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Some Color

Here's a subtle change... oil tankers(yesterday) to pastels(today). It might be, sort of, like getting hit on the side of the head with a sledgehammer! The sidewalk outside Asia West, a eclectic shop that blends home decor, furniture, jewelry, and gardening supplies, along with some women's clothing is always appealing to the eye. I find this an interesting place to stop and browse. The key word here is browse! However, I've have located a birdhouse or two in here. I enjoy shops like this, in the historic Old Port, that mix it up a bit. My guess? I find them a lot like my life--- a little bit of everything, sprinkled with a treasure or two. That's me!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


An oil tanker waits to be off loaded across the water in South Portland. Question this morning- can beauty really co-exist with ugliness in this world we find ourselves in? They just might be able to. Hidden behind this tanker is a 'tank farm', for many quite an eye-sore for years. That will change soon. London artist, Jaime Gili's artwork was the winning design for the Sprague Energy oil tank farm along the South Portland waterfront. The entire project, of over 16 oil tanks, will take 3 years to paint. Beauty vs Ugliness! I bet lots of people are rolling their eyes right now. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Off in the distance, the Casco Bay Bridge straddles the Fore River, resiliently in some early morning fog and mist(in CA they call it the marine layer... it's just fog to us). Built in 1997, the span replaced the old 'Million Dollar' Bridge that had been crossing the river between Portland and South Portland since 1916. Park just off Commercial Street and sojourn through the scrub brush, along the infamous 'hobo jungle', and you'll find a stunning 'look' across the water. You really never know what you're going to find along this section... usually not anything good. Garbage, discarded mattresses, large pieces of ripped canvas and lots of evidence of campsites. If you venture alone, I wouldn't tarry too long.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Duck House

You know it's May in Maine- the Duck House at Deering Oaks has returned from winter storage. Growing up in the city, it was almost a 'rite of passage' when the duck house and the fountain were back in service each spring. When I worked for the City of Portland in college, I remember seeing it wintered, along with the city's police horses, in a storage building next to the Expo. I always wondered, as a small child, where it went. Secret solved! I love this view of Park Avenue lined with trees. Enjoy it! Because in another week, you won't be able to see these apartment buildings. The trees will have exploded!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Up Street

Just off Congress, I spied this tunnel-vision shot with some blue sky peeking through this morning. A good harbinger of sunshine for the rest of the day, I hope. After all, it is SUNday! Trivia of the day-- Did you know that with a population of 230,000, the Greater Portland area(Portland and surrounding communities) is almost one quarter of Maine's total population? The city itself has about 64,000 inhabitants, many of whom will be taking to the the streets for the upcoming 36th Annual Old Port Festival on June 7. I was there at the inaugural fest, and it was a wonderful time with friends. It was a loud, fun-filled day, with music pounding away and lots of adult beverages flowing in the streets. As you might imagine, over the years, the powers-that-be have cleaned it up quite a bit and turned it into a more family-friendly atmosphere. After being away for a few years, I plan to check it out this year and see what's up. I dearly want to see if the 'city fathers' have ruined it like they did the New Years' Portland celebration of a few years back. Fireworks at 9 PM? What's up with that? Enough complaining; enjoy your SUNday!

Saturday, May 16, 2009


You know it's May in Maine- Project Grad activities are coming to a close for the 2009 seniors. Deering High School senior parents are captured hustling about this morning readying for their annual Plant Sale. I did not attend DHS for high school, but all my friends, from our 'corner' of the world, did. We all thought that different schools wouldn't make all that much of a difference, but of course it did. For me a another 'road', another school- a unique set of friends emerged, a few still connected on the peripheral edges of my world now. Throughout my formative years, Mom always said, "Don't worry, things always work out for the best." And I guess they really do, but on the other hand, do we really have much of a choice in the matter? I think not. With apologies to R. Frost, find your 'road' and just take it. If you work at it, the trip will be worth it.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Back in the early 80's and 90's, old warehouses on Commercial and surrounding streets in the Old Port were being gobbled up like jelly-beans and turned into expensive condos. These days, however, lots of these units around the city are in want of, as Dickens would say: "the common necessities of life"-- like tenants! I thought this 'backside' shot of this big one provided a pretty bleak look at the area. As you probably have heard, I have this affinity for brickwork, but I'm still trying to figure out the affection for the bland, cookie-cutter look of condos. I'm at a loss!
Hey, have a fabulous Friday! It looks like the temps get back into the 70's today! Yeah 70's!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Farmers' Market

You know it's May in Maine- the Farmers' Market has moved back to the Oaks. There was a little drizzle, but otherwise, it was just a 'walk in the park' the other morning. Lots of smiling faces, laughter and small talk were in evidence. I even caught sight of two, are you ready for this, belly dancers doing their thing before 8 AM. What's up with that? Do we really need entertainment, while we're buying seedlings, plants and small shrubs? Life is an intereesting ride at times.

Farmers' Market2

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ninja Turtles

You know it's May in Maine- lots of the garage sale signs have reappeared along roadsides on the weekends. The idiom 'one man's trash is another's treasure' holds true here and is certainly the lifeblood of these institutions. Usually, every other summer or so, we have a sale to unload accumulating junk and other stuff that's overwhelming the garage and attic, and yes, we often stop by sales, especially the big ones that look interesting from the road. This one above wasn't worth the stop, unless you were looking for Teenage Ninja Turtles, Spiderman replicas, mix-matched Happy Meal toys, faded plastic flowers and lots of clothes. I have a theory, interesting houses often equal great stuff on lawns at sales. This house grabbed my attention, but my hypothesis failed me miserably. Oh well, if you are going out searching this weekend; Happy Hunting!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Umbrellas in the Mist

You know it's May in Maine- lots of showers competing with the end of the high school spring sports' season. It's a 'tight' season anyway. Throw in the rain and it drives high school athletic directors crazy. Here's a view of the Southwestern Tennis Doubles Championship at the Oaks in the drizzle. That's the USM Library in the distance. Now, I love most sports, both professional and recreational, but for the life of me, I just don't get tennis, bowling and my god... fishing! Tennis and bowling? I really think it's the scoring in these two. Fifteen- Love Thirty- Love??? The scoring in bowling totally escapes me. Two balls, three balls, gutter balls, pins? Fishing? Let me get this straight, not talking in the rain, with worms and fighting black flies? Help!!! Having a little get-to-gether at the homestead Friday and got an email from a best bud over the weekend. "I'm going to get useless in Eustis for the week, but I'll be back for the party if it's not raining, and if the fish ain't biting." Come again??? Hey, I can EVEN get my brain around cheerleading and NASCAR, but these three leave me speechless! Oh well, as they say, it makes the world go round.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Road Trip

Ok, time to break a rule... two to be exact. For anyone who really knows me, that'll be no problem. I break 'em all the time, and sometimes really enjoy doing it. It drives E- crazy, but I'll survive! Rule 1: going to post vacation shots; Rule 2: going to post multiples. Shsssssh! Don't tell. But I digress! As some of you know, a couple of weeks ago, we traveled to the great Southwest for a quick 5 day get-a-way. San Antonio is amazing! It's a wonderful family-friendly place to find yourself during Fiesta Week 2009. The Riverwalk, the Alamo, nightlife, daylife, a 10 day Fiesta, great places to eat and enjoy adult beverages, the Marketplace, Tex-Mex music, mariachi bands, lots of neat shops to look for true western-wear(a secret passion- when my grandfather introduced me to the Cisco Kid, the Range Rider and Hopalong Cassidy, I was sold. Hey, I got a great belt.) and a super hotel with lots of amenities within walking distance to all of these. San Antonio, you won't be disappointed!

Road Trip2

The downtown area is very walkable. It's a very easy city to get around in. Even for me, someone who just doesn't 'do directions' hardly at all.

Road Trip3

The Alamo at night.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Let's keep it simple today.
Happy Mothers' Day to all!
Especially to my Mom- I wouldn't be here enjoying life without her. And to E- she is simply amazing! She does it ALL!

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Ocean Gateway Terminal opened in 2008 on May 30. The figurehead of the building is a clock tower that echoes the old Grand Trunk Railroad terminal, that once operated nearby. There are huge plans for this area of the waterfront, but the big project is stumbling a bit coming out of the proverbial starting blocks, as they would say. Looking past the deserted pilings to the left of the terminal building, Fort Gorges can be seen in the early morning mist. Many evenings our family's 'night on the town' ended with parking at Eastern Prom and watching the harbor activity below. Dad had lots of lore of the old Portland harbor area he knew as a youngster, and he would point out various spots and tell us a story or two each night. Funny story time... now, I always thought the name of the fort was 'Fort Gorgeous' and spelled that way. To this day, I remember saying to mom, "It certainly is, Mom, it certainly is!" I smile at this memorable faux pas on my part, every time I view this fort.

Friday, May 8, 2009

River's Edge

Along the Saco River, the water is high these days with lots of white water from the spring runoff. I love driving the cut-off on real dark nights, when the water is rolling. I stop at one favorite spot, pull over to the side and shut the truck's engine. The combination of the roar of the water and the faint white water in the distance sends goosebumps along my arms and to the back of my neck. It's a feeling I want to experience, but not for long. After a few moments, it becomes a bit discomforting, and I need to move on. Strange! I like the feeling, but really don't. Now, along the river's edge, it's hard to imagine all the 'action' mid river. Here, all is calm and peaceful, with just some gentle lapping sounds to be heard. Soothing, to sit, watch and listen.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Here's a Shakespearean Garden I enjoy visiting and viewing a lot these days. In another week or so, if I'm out here, I'll best move with caution. Birds building nests do not take lightly to humans moving around in 'their space', while they're building homes. One cool project, that kids that hang out here do each year, is constructing lots of colorful and neatly designed birdhouses. There are many, that find their way out here in the garden, sprinkled among the many plots and crabapple trees. It's just a wonderful, quiet space to gather my thoughts on one of those frenzied, crazy-like days. Today, find your spot and enjoy.

*By the way, want a reason to celebrate? Happy Odd Day! The calendar date (as written by people in the US) will be 5-7-9. Whoopie!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Stop, settle ... breathe! To me, life is a complicated web of layered switchbacks. It can really get the best of you, if you ever give it a chance. Wading through the maze of 'wants' and 'gotta haves', making intelligent decisions, while always moving forward, is the key. Keep it simple! I heard these words awhile ago from a collegiate football coach(ya, you heard me right... I'm finding some of my philosophical leanings in a locker room. Ha!)
"Make a plan, Keep to the plan, Plan for the unexpected." Coach Hep
For me, this helps... a lot! My suggestion? Find your key, and life begins to fall together.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"Natural Goodness"

As I remember, back in the 50's and 60's, there were three main dairies servicing the Portland area: Oakhurst, Hood and Old Tavern Farm. We always got our deliveries on the back step, in the insulated milk box, from Old Tavern Farm. Starting out in the 1921 with two horse-drawn milk wagons, Oakhurst Dairy began peddling the 'Natural Goodness of Maine' from an oak grove on Woodfords Street. Within a few months, Stanley T. Bennett moved his company to its present location on Forest Avenue. Today, it still is the most prominent dairy in Maine with its colorful trucks everywhere.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Castle

The actual history of Deering Oaks goes back into the 1700's. Impressive! The Castle-in-the-Park was built in 1894, as a place of refuge for skaters from the cold wind and frigid January temperatures. I recall, getting my skates on in there on wooden benches and buying hot chocolate to stay warm. Today, 'the castle' still stands at the edge of the Oaks, amid other attractive features: the wonderful duck pond, complete with a duck house and water fountain, tennis courts, a baseball diamond, volleyball nets, a wading pool, basketball courts, horseshoe pits, a bacci ball area, a large playground for the kiddies, the cobblestone foot bridge and a newly renovated bandstand for summer concerts. The last time I stopped by, they were renting paddle boats out of the building and providing travel information for the city and the southern Maine area. As far as I'm concerned these days, there are two overwhelming attractions in the park: the spectacular trees themselves(hence the name Deering Oaks) and of course the 'millions' of squirrels! Both of these are well worth a visit, anytime of year.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


A short trip south, from the backyard, takes you to this meandering dock curving off to the right along the Kennebunkport River. I like this image with the subtle shadow of railing and the peaking bare trees in the distance. There are lots of startling sights our summer visitors never get to experience. Some like this, with spring on the rise, beg us to take time in our busy lives to 'stop and smell the tidal pools'. Fascinating places are found around every corner and often as close as our doorstep. As they say, seek and ye shall find; find and ye shall want to seek a whole lot more!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Late Afternoon

'Tis a beautiful spring morning! The showers of overnight have ceased, the water on the backyard grass sparkles and branches are exploding. It makes me think of a quote on my desk from somewhere... 'few things demonstrate the cyclical nature of life more clearly than the renewal of spring and baseball'. Here, late afternoon sunlight makes for an interesting look on this apartment house on Lafayette Street. In another week, this picture will be gone. Life changes fast!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Theme Day: Shadows

Today, May 1, is Theme Day on CityDailyPhoto around the world. I've seen this 'picture' many afternoons as the sun angles its way over the buildings lining upper Congress. This tunnel-vision scene is from the front of the Portland Museum of Art, the featured architecture at Congress Square. We stopped by the other evening and checked out the latest Art Biennial. Three large installations dominate the show. The first piece you meet, as you enter the Museum's Great Hall, is what I would call a two-story hermit's cabin that might be found trashed together on some rural, side of a mountain in the state. It was fun moving around the haphazardly, pieced structure and looking through the occupant's living quarters and just plain stuff. Falsework comes next and fills a large room with brick-like pieces of what looks to be sheetrock. If you've ever been miserable sheetrocking a room at your house like I have, you might want to bypass this one. Menace is a large, colorful piece that covers a good junk of two walls. Sculpture in art always reminds me of Mom's words, "M- one man's meat is another man's poison". I really struggle getting my mind around it. The Biennial shows are always worth look, but know this-- they bring baggage and usually some controversy. I'm sure this one will be no exception. Enjoy!?