Friday, July 31, 2009


Our gardens have exploded... the mighty daylily reigns supreme these days. The scientific name for daylily is Hemerocallis. Many dictionaries spell it as two words, but I always seem to see it as one word. The etymology of the word Hemerocallis comes from two Greek words meaning "beauty" and "day," referring to the fact that each flower lasts only one day. They seem to last forever, because they have many buds on each stem. Really, by mid August their beauty has faded away to just ugly stems. We have many different colors in our gardens. My favorites are the bright yellow ones; however, these with the purple centers are stunning. Daylilies are everywhere today. Pick your favorite and enjoy!



Thursday, July 30, 2009

Boothby Square

Public art and street renovations can both stir up the hornet's nest when monies are at stake. Cobblestones are back here at Boothby Square in the Old Port, thanks to a project in 2001 to replace them at a cost of a mere $600,000 to the city. Most people feel it's a nice touch and adds to the historical aura of this area. However, a public art project, that runs along the grassy medium to the left in this photo hasn't been met with the same warm, fuzzy feeling. The project, called "Tracing the Fore", runs along Fore Street, splitting it in half. The art installation includes pieces of stainless steal that are placed to resemble waves of the Fore River along the city's edge. At a cost of $135,000, this project, by artist Shauna Gillies- Smith, has, to be kind, been met with mixed reviews. Some loved it from the beginning, some say its grown on them, while others just say it's an eyesore and should be removed. I, myself, think it's an interesting concept, but still find it hard to imagine that some inebriated, lost soul, running after 1 AM some morning, hasn't tripped hurrying across Fore and been decapitated on the spot. Rolling your eyes? Hey, stranger things have happened down there in the Old Port after the bars close.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

White Bike

This caught my eye the other evening--- a strange scene, an albino bike in Tommy's Park. I wish I had had the time to wait around and see who'd unlock and pedaled off on this. Young-old? fat-thin? male-female? liberal-conservative? freak-chic, strange-ordinary? businessman-bum? I better not go any further, but you get my point. I WAS interested!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Crescent Beach is my favorite beach in the area. It always has been. I love the look(crescent, yes), the feel of the sand, the view and even the snackbar and dressing rooms. Others will sing the praises of East End, Willard, Ferry, Scarborough, Pine Point, Higgins, or even OOB, but I was never really drawn to these. Even in high school, when Higgins Beach was the place to go to meet the girls and hang out. I'd rather take a ride with friends at night to Pine Point or Massacre Lane and stand in seemingly total darkness, have a brew and wait for the goosebumps to run the gamut of my arms to neck. Did I miss something? Like us all, I'm really not sure. A visit to the boardwalk at Seaside Heights on the Jersey Shore last week, got me thinking of these summers past.

Monday, July 27, 2009


If you wander down an alleyway just off of Temple Street, you'll find yourself looking up at these fire escapes. It reminds me a bit of the backside of the old six-links at Morrill's Corner. At least that was what my Dad called it. It was the L-shaped row of apartments that hovered over the corner, above the barbershop, Howard's Variety Store, White's 5 and 10 Cents Store and a few other small storefronts at the top of Bishop Street. As a paperboy, I had to head up the long stairwell daily, through the often darkened hallways evenings and early mornings. As I remember, it was always warm in there, whatever the season, with strange odors wafting through the hallways and interesting 'characters' behind the many doors. The floors constantly creaked, sending eerie sounds throughout my visit. There were probably 25 units within this brick building, that is still standing today. Often, my brother and sister helped me out delivering papers in this area of my route and got to experience some of these sights and sounds.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cow Pasture

Portland's a pretty good size small city(how's that for an oxymoron?), but all around the outskirts you can catch rural scenes like this. On Westbrook Street, on my way into the city, I captured this 'field of dreams', at least for this bovine. I pass it quite often, and there is usually a 100 head or so of cattle on both sides of the road. In the spring, during calving season, it's always fun to see the 'babies' struggling to find their way, running this way and that. This reminds me, anytime is a good time, in this hustle and bustle world, to stop and 'smell the cow pasture'. This intense jolt will bring you back to reality, in most cases! I'll go another route away from reality for a few hours today, taking in the Maine State Music Theater's hilarious production, "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels".

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Philly Phandom

As you know, I love the grand ol' game. This past week, I spent an evening at Citizens Bank Park in the heart of Philadelphia with good friends. If you like a pitcher's duel, you would have loved the Phillies vs Cubs game. Me? I'd rather see balls bouncing around the outfield like in a loud, flashing pinball game. It ended in the 13th with a walk-off 4-1 win for the home team. The Phillies phans went phanatical! I guess a World Series Championship will help do that for a city. In a reflective moment mid-game, looking out at 40,000 plus 'phanatical phans', I thought about watching the Sox at the Fens. If you've spent your entire MLB life in small, tight seats, searching for a reasonable parking fee, visiting inadequate, dirty restrooms, paying for overpriced franks and such (even at a baseball shrine like Fenway), you can't be anything but envious of this beautiful major league facility. In my lifetime? In Boston? I can dream can't I?
ps. Welcome Jim Ed Rice, #14, to the Baseball Hall of Fame tomorrow!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Figure in Rain

I'm just back from a trip to Philly and the New Jersey Shore with a group of teens. It was great fun, but the weather had us restructuring our days a bit. The heat was on, but comfortable, with clouds in evidence most days. What's up with this Northeast summer weather? Back here, it's heavy rain throughout this morning. Here's is a look down State Street this morning, shrouded and wet.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Lost along the shoreline at Willard Beach was this old, battered rowboat. Lots of controversy coming to a head this summer around here concerning dogs on the beach. When? Where? How? Why?(in some cases) For me, I just enjoy this small, usually quiet, get-a-way from the city close by. Since I have no dog(I'm not going there, again), I'll just sit back, take in the ocean aroma and views of bobbing sailboats in the tranquil harbor, and watch dog owners and non dog owners beat themselves senseless over this one. Quite fun!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Captured on a rock at Smuggler's Cove, these barnacles look attractive, but can and will do a job on your feet, if you are not cautious moving among the rocks here. By the way, our family often took a ride here after ice cream at Strafford Farms(strawberry was my favorite) to watch the incoming surf, especially after storms. Dad would regale us with stories of pirates and hidden treasure each trip. True tales? Who knows, but they were entertaining. His stories would expand a bit each visit, and Mom would just sit in the front seat and smile, knowingly. To this day, I still wonder what all that grinning was about.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Here's a view of Longfellow Square seen after a morning thunderstorm. Sort of a dream-like sequence, isn't it? Look closely, there's a lot going on here. This reminds me of my life at times... confusing as all get out! And don't even ask me what that stuffed puppy in the window is doing either!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sale and Move

I've always been intrigued by big ol' barns. When we were looking for an old house, back a ways, I thought I'd LOVE to have a large barn with that rural New England character. Boy, am I happy, I got talked out of that! Here's the reason... they fall down! Or they at least fall into great disrepair, cost big bucks to upkeep and in many cases are in want of a bulldozer. But, if you have some free time this summer, you might want to purchase this one on Rt. 112, take it down board by board, load it on flatbeds, transport it to parts unknown or your backyard, unload at your convenience, do major structural work and reassemble it board by board. Then sit back and admire. Another remedy, might be asking the local volunteer fire department to give you a hand in a 'controlled burn'! As for me, I think I'll take a nap after thinking about ALL that!

Sunday, July 19, 2009


I'm not a horticulturist, so I'll leave most comments to others on this one. Lovely to look at... I'll leave it at that. I'm not really a flower guy; that is to say, I'm not too knowledgeable about the various species and classifications, but a few things caught my attention with regards to this simple climbing flower on the trellis out back. Most species in English are known as clematis; however, some in North America are known by the names of: traveler's joy, old man's beard, leather flower, vase vine and virgin bower. To me, they might all look the same, but to those 'in the know' there are 297 species of clematis. See, in such simplicity, we find such complexity... or at least someone does. Enjoy a sunny Sunday!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

St. Joseph's Church

St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church celebrates its Centennial this year. Founded in 1909, lots of memories for me reside in this building on Stevens Avenue. I grew up attending Mass here and going to St. Joseph's School, next door, til the seventh grade. I received my First Communion and Confirmation at this church, went to Teddy's funeral in 1965 and in 1974 attended my sister's wedding here. As I remember, I even went to a Men's Retreat here with my Dad and thought it so strange to see a building filled with just guys. Although many of my buddies did, I can never remember skipping Mass. Most Sundays, I attended the 7 AM service after finishing my paper route. The stone columns that line the center aisle and stained glass windows on the outside walls are beautiful, and the wooden Stations of the Cross along these walls always intrigued me with their carved intricacies. Through the years, the many faces passing through the heavy, iron front doors have changed, but these walls remain firm and inviting... holding countless memories of yesterday.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Zeitman's Market

I've always liked this 'run' of buildings on Fore Street down in the Old Port, note the cobblestone streets. Above a tavern at No. 338, there is a black-and-gold sign reading 'Zeitmans'. This was Bessie and Otto Zeitman’s boarding house and grocery store. It has quite a history in the city. The architecture of the buildings, seen here, seems to be quite random, and I think leads to the allure of the area for me. The shapes and the colors just grab my eye.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Summer Porch

An old farm house with a summer porch is a wonderful thing. My days usually start out here between 5 and 6 AM. It's a cool start most mornings, but well worth it for me and the cats. For me, it's coffee and my laptop; for Molly, it's in and out, in and out. This room reminds me so much of my grandparents porch at 250 Main St., Westbrook. Growing up, many a summer night was spent sleeping on the couch on their summer porch, just off to the right of the main house. My grandfather built this 'summer addition' with help of my Dad. My stay each summer was around 2 weeks, and although I was close to home, it always felt like I was a million miles away. My days were filled with sitting on the cellar steps watching my grandfather build cabinets in the his workshop, helping my grandmother with odd jobs around the house, while listening to her 'soap operas' on the radio, thumbing through the latest LIFE and LOOK magazines (I was fascinated by the photography), and eating dilly bars at night at the nearby DQ. For a 10 year old, that was a packed day; ah... not a care in the world! Well, except for those frightening, late night, summer thunderstorms!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Nope! Still not Dwight(Yoakam), but I am getting older. Another year is under the belt. In my travels over the years, I have learned a few things about myself. Here are 10 things that today 'I Know for Sure'... whether Oprah knows or even cares.
*I can make anyone smile!
*I'm a pretty nice guy!
*The leather vest might be the most important piece of clothing ever!
*I'm sentimental as hell!
*I'm better today then I was yesterday!
*I have no filter( I struggle with this)!

*Family is most important to me!
*Next to Candyland, Baseball is the greatest game of all!
*I have nice eyes!
*I'm gonna write that book!
Ok, give me twelve.
*I can talk FOREVER!
* Life is what happens, when we're busy making other plans!
Have a wonderful day! I was born at 7:10 AM. Happy B-day to me!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Beach Portrait

Now that the warm weather is upon us here in the state, the No Vacancy signs have sprung up all along Route 1 motels and beyond. My sister arrived last week from Florida and brought her children, so pull out the Garmin and let the fun begin. The Eastern Prom to watch a softball game, Willard Beach to take in some sun, Ft. Williams for a picnic, up to Turner for a day with old friends, a evening at Ken's Place for fried clams, a cook-out at our place, fun chasing our cats around the house, their first experience handling a BB gun(safely), going to the family cemetery plot at St. Hyacinth's, a DQ trip, and a playground visit to name a few... these first days back in Maine were well packed. Coming up? I hear this week could include Popham Beach and a trip to 'the farm' in Lisbon. If you ask me, they better include a good dose of something called-- SLEEP! I think this portrait, after a day at the beach, shows the siblings' different personalities well-- the pensive one and the 'model' who's ready for anything. They get along extremely well together and are indeed each others' best buds!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Digitalis purpurea (Scrophulariaceae)

One of the loveliest of flowers! Bell-like flowers on a long spiky stem... loves partial shade. But BEWARE-- where there is extreme beauty; evil lurks. This plant is extremely poisonous! Enjoy, but do not eat! Huh????

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” Marcel Proust

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Audubon Woods

Lots of things on the 'to do list' for each summer as it rolls along, and this one is no different. One big job to get done was to get a new vehicle, not a new one but a 'previously owned' one, if you get my drift. Headed south, out along some blue highways, one rainy morning last week to check out some used car lots, but got side-tracked and ended up at the Gilsland Farm Audubon Center. I enjoy stopping by here every once in a while to take a meander along many of the footpaths on the property, checking out the gardens, the many birdhouses(of course) and the Nature Store. It's a good place to stroll and think. This day I took a walk out back of the store, along the wooded path headed towards the water. Down a muddy trail, I came across these trees. Viola! Another example of life's surprises, looking for something... finding something else.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

West Mansion

Ever driven by a home in your town and wondered what 'life' would be like walking the halls and looking out the windows? I think we all have. Since boyhood, I have always looked in awe at this beautiful home on the city's West End, just a short walk from Maine Medical Center. It looks out south over the Fore River. Driving across 295 in summer, it's shrouded in trees, but winter affords you a grand look without all the vegetation. It stands out like a full moon floating on an October sky. As you probably know, I love old homes with distinction, and this one tops the list in Portland for me. It's been for sale for about a year. I do wonder though, what the heating cost would be for a Maine winter at this residence. ps. I'm not a real estate agent; however, a close and personal friend of mine is. hahaha! Here are some of the particulars, if I've piqued your interest:

  • 9 Bedrooms
  • 5 Full Bathrooms
  • Single Family House
  • Built: 1911
  • The West Mansion' largest single family home built in Portland on Portland's West End has gorgeous original features as well as today's amenities including gourmet kitchen, master suite, large gracious rooms. 10 FPs, 9 bedrooms, 5.5 baths, gourmet kit & more!

Friday, July 10, 2009


Countless times growing up and later as an adult, I've ventured over to the SMCC campus (Southern Maine Community College) and the area around Spring Point Light called Ft. Preble. I can remember going to Willard Beach with the family in the station wagon and having to stay out of the water for two hours after eating. What to do? I'd look off to the left and ask Mom if I could go to 'the fort' and climb the rocks to the top. "Not now", was always her refrain. For a young boy... can you say frustration? At least at low tide, I could get past the large rocks and close to it. In later years, I found out that it really was a fort: Ft. Preble in South Portland. It was used to help fortify Portland in parts of three wars. I loved (and still do) to sit in the gun emplacements and look out at the passing comings and goings of the harbor. This photograph captures one of the 'windows' and looks off towards Cushings Island. Just a side-light, when the Queen Mary II and other huge ships like the USS John F. Kennedy pay the city a visit, this is a magnificent viewing point. However , be an early riser that day, they always arrive in the early morning to loaded throngs of onlookers.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Beautiful Boy

On July 9, 1986 at 8:17 PM this 'beautiful boy' entered the world, and my life changed forever. I know it's a cliche, but it was the best day of my life. Every time I hear this song my eyes tear up. Luv ya J-!
Close your eyes,
Have no fear,
The monsters gone,
He's on the run and your daddy's here,

Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful Boy,

Before you go to sleep,
Say a little prayer,
Every day in every way,
It's getting better and better,

Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful Boy,

Out on the ocean sailing away,
I can hardly wait,
To see you to come of age,
But I guess we'll both,
Just have to be patient,
Yes it's a long way to go,
But in the meantime,

Before you cross the street,
Take my hand,
Life is just what happens to you,
While your busy making other plans,

Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful Boy,
Darling J-.
By John Lennon

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


We took a weekend trip to NYC and spent the 4th of July overlooking the Hudson River. Having seen it year in and year out on the tube, we've always wanted to take in the grand fireworks display in person. So thanks to my nephew's riverside condo, and the 400th anniversary celebration of Henry Hudson's exploration of the river, the time was perfect for our trip. Saturday's fireworks show was breathtaking at times and to be there with family made it all the more memorable. On Sunday afternoon, we were back on the Hudson for more. We took a two hour excursion aboard the schooner Adirondack, an 80 foot 1890-style pilot schooner. It was a sunny afternoon with the NYC skyline on full display, along with stunning views of the Staten Island Ferry, Ground Zero, Ellis Island, Lady Liberty, Lackawanna Station in Jersey City, and the magnificent Portuguese tallship NRP Sagres II cruising past us. We even got a glimpse of the cruise ship, Norwegian Dawn, heading off on a 7 night trip to Bermuda. All in all, it was a great weekend, packed with the holiday weekend sights and sounds of the city and time with our wonderful family. But alas, it was good to get back home, even to a day of thunderstorms.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Some Color

Here's a little color for a gray morning, with threatening showers around here. I was wondering the other day after a walk downtown: what is the opposite of art? "The Housewives of Orange County"? Just plain television? Indifference? Twittering? Or for that matter, what is the opposite of graffiti? Is there an opposite? Just off Free Street, up an alleyway and around the corner, there is a 'canvas' of gray cement block walls. Recently added here is a run of wall space covered with layers of hues. After a short walk to and fro, it's difficult not to to be in a good mood. The strident coloring seems to move within me. Now, don't roll your eyes; it does me. So there! Some might look at this work(?) and just shake their heads and say why? For others, it's their artistic expression, I guess. Was this piece commissioned? Don't know, but there was a note in cursive written along an unfinished wall nearby that read "This is not done." Enjoy it for what it's worth. Something bright and alive on a cloudy morning. Maybe the sun's not far away.
"It's clever, but is it Art?" Rudyard Kipling

Some Color2

Some Color3

Monday, July 6, 2009

Lobster Pots

The Fisherman's C0-Op at Pine Point is a pretty safe place to pick up your order of tasty crustaceans this time of year. When you venture out there, you always want to have the camera at the ready- lots of sights and sounds for that matter. However, some people might rather write about lobsters than devour them, so for them today, I've provided some rhyming words compliments of the Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes so they might complete their poem: "Ode to the Lobster".
Lobster pot
• cannot •slip knot • forget-me-not •touch-me-not • topknot • whatnot •crackpot, jackpot •blackspotdashpot • sexpot • despot •fleshpot • teapot • stinkpot • tinpot •gallipot, talipot •chimney pot • nightspot • stockpot •tosspothotspot • hotpot • stewpot •fusspot • sunspot • flowerpot •pepperpot • lobster pot • tommyrotdogtrot, jogtrot •foxtrot •slapshot, snapshot •mailshot • grapeshot • slingshot •eyeshot • potshot • bloodshot •mugshot • buckshot • troubleshot •gunshot • upshot • earshot •Aldershot • Hottentot • aliquot •diddly-squat • Ofwatloquat •kumquat • somewhat • megawatt •kilowatt • paraquat • terawatt.
Ok, there ya go for a start. Again, if you'd rather eat 'em... pass the butter, please!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Water Lily

After the a day of food, food, food, drink, drink, drink, talk, talk, talk, fireworks, fireworks, fireworks, I thought a small peaceful look at a water lily in the pond down the road would be just the remedy this morning. I drive by this small pond every January and February morning, and I always look off to the right at the ice and snow cover and just marvel at nature, because I know what it holds for us in early July. I think I'm going on a cruise around a 'lady' this afternoon. Enjoy a RESTFUL 5th!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Lower Corner

Happy Fourth of July 2009! The South Buxton Cemetery is located on Rt. 112 in Bar Mills. Here's a photograph of the old 'hearse building' now the tool shed. Kate Douglas Wiggin(1856-1923), author of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm(1903) is buried here. For a time, she lived at Quillcote, her summer home in Hollis, which is now the town library. She founded the Dorcas Society of Hollis & Buxton, Maine in 1897. The Tory Hill Meeting House nearby inspired her book The Old Peabody Pew (1907). The play is performed there each Christmas season.
Enjoy the dogs, burgers and fireworks, if you got 'em!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Three Canoes

Want a nice afternoon get-a-way, even in the rain and drizzle of this southern Maine early summer? Why not rent a canoe at the Scarborough Marsh Nature Center at Pine Point and enjoy a peaceful time among the birds in Maine's largest salt marsh. A leisurely paddle on the Dunstan River provides a wonderful opportunity to experience a commune with the natural world, and one of these three canoes would fit the bill.
ps. Bring rain gear!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Riverside: One

Riverside Golf Course, Hole One- From an elevated tee, it's basically a straight shot of some 453 yards, uphill at the end to a flat landing area, with some free standing trees and a large bunker to the left. A good chunk, of my high school summers, was spent here on this beautiful course caddying for the 'boys' and the rush of Canadian golfers in the dead of summer. Always in my back pocket, or lodged in my hands, while in the caddy shack or somewhere among the 18 fairways, was one of my 'books of summer'... of my high school summer reading list. The Yearling, Shane, The Silent Spring, Huckleberry Finn, Kidnapped, Father Damian the Leper were but a few on the list at one time or another. Four summers, four different lists of book to complete, with multiple choice tests looming in September when we returned to classes. As I recall, we had to pick 8 books out of a list of 15. Leo, working at the Fish Factory, and Eddie, making his money at Hillman Electric, never were faced with such dilemmas during their school vacations! My brother and I were usually at the course between 6-7 AM, and sometimes were lucky to 'have a bag' by noon. So that afforded me lots of time to get lost in a book and knock off some chapters. Now, there were three big pastimes for caddies waiting to 'get the call' to the first tee, and they were curling up and sleeping, smoking endless cigarettes and playing poker for cash. Really, I've disliked all three most of my life, except for maybe that 'Old Gold' summer in the tree house behind the Esso station. Once on the first tee, there was little time for reading, maybe a page here, a page there, but it sure did make the down time whiz by. If you promise not to spread it around, I'll tell you a secret. I really enjoyed all those books and the places they took me, while I wasn't chasing those Titleists!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Theme Day: Empty

Today, July 1, is Theme Day in the CityDailyPhoto community around the world.
This looks like a very, vast and lonely highway, but it really ain't that much! I usually set upon it twice a day to and from work. Believe me. It's well traveled, with lots of wildlife roaming early mornings and late at night. Be aware and 'on your toes', as they say. This stretch in the AM reminds me of the early summer mornings traveling back from West Falmouth, with Dad, where he was a night janitor and watchman 5 nights a week at Falmouth High School. Starting at 9 PM, I often would accompany him on his rounds, shoot basketballs in the dim lit gym, listen to the Giants or the Dodgers playing on the West Coast, while eating baloney sandwiches that Mom made, and fall asleep in the library in my sleeping bag(no wonder I have such an affinity for literature). He'd awake me at around 4 AM, and we'd start the drive back to Portland in darkness, watching for deer on the edges of the highway. There was this one stretch of road where we'd head almost straight down, over a bridge above the Presumpscot River and then straight back up the other side. With the windows wide open, this thrill ride down the hill always gave me goose bumps. And as I recall, the road was ALWAYS empty!