Sunday, January 31, 2010


I spend a lot of my time in the close proximity of words. Love words. Love etymologies. Love the sounds of some words. Here's one... amaryllis. It's one of those words I just love saying... amaryllis! Ah, nice. This morning E- and I are off to breakfast in the city somewhere and then look for some suitable images of cold and winter. These should be easy to find this morning around here. The flower amaryllis and these stifling, frigid temperatures; quite a juxtaposition, I'd say.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Studio Table

Rise and shine on this windswept, coldest of mornings. It's a good time to seek refuge in this artist's studio. Sit awhile and rest.

Let these colors clash
against the iced windowpanes
and long to leap to an end
and yet the turbulence below.

"One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself."
--Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, January 29, 2010


Harbinger of spring? Wait a minute let me take one more look at my calendar. Not yet turned to February and out on the deck yesterday there were 12, yes count them, 12 red breasted robins! What was the occasion? They were tackling the red winterberries in the planters. It started with 2-3, and they just kept coming. It was an amazing sight! Ice, snow, temperatures in the 30's in Maine in January and we have robins? Yes, amazing and very strange at the same time. Now I know crocuses, around here, are along way off, but robins...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cattails in Snow

Caught in an early morning snow fall, these cattails hang tough along a country roadside. Growing up skating on all of Evergreen's ponds, the day often ended in a 'sword fight' along the cemetery's many snow covered pathways. With our skates around our necks, we'd all grab the largest cattails we could find and attempt to do our best impression of Robin Hood or Sir Lancelot with our creative swords. It was great fun! On the recovery front--- yesterday I had a liter of fluid removed from my chest cavity, that was causing some shortness of breath. I feel a lot better now.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Early Sun

Up early at 6:45 AM will get you this shot of the Fore River near the Stroudwater neighborhood, and usually this time of year will get you some sea smoke thrown in as a bonus. No, I didn't take it this week... I'm still under 'reconstruction'. It was shot January '09. Off this morning to have some fluid removed from my chest cavity. Not out of the ordinary, after surgery like mine. So says the surgeon with the needle.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Barn Flag

Here's a barn down the road a bit captured in some snow. It's one of those images sort of caught out of place... flag in snow? I like this picture. Today, was my first trip back to the surgeon. All my signs, all my numbers are pretty much where they are suppose to be three weeks out. He says I'm looking good! Got a bit of fluid in one of my lung quadrants, that's causing a little shortness of breath. That'll be remedied this week in his office.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Icy Rain

It's going to be a wet day here in southern Maine. Heavy rain's a gonna' fall. My guess is that by afternoon the backdrop to our property might take on this appearance. Me? I'm off to see the surgeon for my first check-up. Hoping for good news; at least from this point not expecting any other. Got some questions; answers forthcoming I hope. See you when the rain ends.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Snow Maple

At the end of the driveway rides this big maple. In all the seasons it has entertained us these past thirty-three years. Through blizzards, thunderstorms, summer heat and brightly colored oranges, reds and yellows of our fall this hardwood has stood strong. I have photographed it from all angles, but don't think I have posted one looking up towards the run of spruce up back.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


The Cumberland County Civic Center, built in 1977, although not the greatest of venues, has a little bit of history with it. Along with the Maine Mariners and Portland Pirates hockey teams, countless Home and Boat Shows and the seemingly endless Disney on Ice shows and such, there has been an endless flow of concerts. If my memory serves me well, first concert held: ZZ Top. Most times performed there: Heart(I think). Of course, the building's biggest claim to fame was that Elvis was set to perform there the night after his demise. Pick your poison: Classic Rock, Rap, Heavy Metal, Country, Hip Hop and everything in between. They have all entertained to full houses here. Like most, I pick and choose where I spend my concert dollars these days. For me, best concerts here? Dylan, Kinks, Rod Stewart, Mellancamp... how about you?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Engine Company No. 5

This is Central Station on Congress Street. I've told you before that growing up, if it was a 'big one' Dad was off chasing the firetrucks. I remember a Friday night. I was sitting on my bed and seemingly all of a sudden there was an explosion of orange/yellow light on my back wall; almost simultaneously the fire horn atop the station on Arbor Srreet around the corner was blaring and signaling a general alarm already. I jumped off my bed and headed to my window facing Stevens. As soon as I got there, I could already feel heat on my face, the smell of tarred timbers afire and see large ashes floating skyward. It was the old, deserted warehouse over on Forest, directly across from our house, a street away. Around our house, we'd been waiting for this place to 'go up'. As they say, it was fully engaged. Before I raced off into the darkness to find my friends and get as close as we could, I took a step back and Mom and Dad hands were on my shoulders half lending comfort, half just trying to get a better view as to just was up a street away. It was eerie, but when I looked back over my shoulder, I saw the fire's reflection across their faces. The scarcest thing was the the triple-decker just to the left of the warehouse. When I finally got in front of it, there were the third floor tenants still on the back porch screaming. That night still holds one of the most frightening images of my lifetime.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Here's Amtrak's Downeaster just pulling into the Portland station on a recent morning. The train is still an 'in process experiment' bringing back the rail travel to the city, if you ask me. Now, ask the powers that be in the city, and they'll probably tell you the train is back! To be honest, ask most people, and they'll tell you, they hope train travel in southern Maine and north, for that matter works. But really, making this work is still up in the air around here... with, of course, economics at the base of the issue. We took the 8:30 train to Boston two summers ago. The trip down was quite fun passing all the stations south to big city. The day was perfect, yet a bit warm for walking the Freedom Trail, but it was something we had wanted to do as a family for a long time. J- is a history buff and shared numerous insightful historical moments along the Old Boston trail. Along the way, we even took in a draught at The Bell in Hand, the country's oldest continuously operating pub. The day was warm and tiring, so the trip back was sleepytime.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Under Cover

Here's J's WRX under a two day blanket of whiteness. I look out my window right now, and it's still coming down, barely, but flakes are still falling. Today was a bit of a long day for me. It was tiring again. The day's pace was similar to watching a run of cold molasses. We rented UP and for the most part it was anything but. The ending certainly was upbeat, but a lot of the in between, you might categorize as DOWN. A bit about the shot. Looking off in this direction, past these large spruce, when the sun has broken through, after a heavy snow, is one of my favorite winter viewing spots on our land. So close to the back door, yet so seemingly isolated in this wintertide. The sun shining brilliant, still low in the morning sky and the gentle breeze sending snow cascading. Beautiful!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Never EVER believe the weatherman! The report on the Late News Sunday evening @ 11 PM was 2-4 inches. J- just finished blowing a path to the woodshed. It looks like a good 15 inches or so. Here' another look out our back windows towards some hardwood. Some birdhouses I bring in in the late fall others weather the harsh winters around here. This gray one, on close examination, has been attacked by some larger birds this summer. Notice the crude, enlarged opening. Another example of London's survival of the fittest, I guess you could say. On the recovery front today-- my best day of exercise and I actually climbed the front stairway.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Blue Doors

Yesterday, I just had to get out and shoot. I woke up and I felt really tired after a pretty restful night. Hey, what's up with that? Problem #1 I needed a chauffeur, because I'm still about two weeks from being handed over my keys again. This was easily solved, E- said she's drive me around for awhile. I had a few areas I wanted to take a look at on this cloudy morning. Heading home, we found ourselves over in North Deering, along side Evergreen Cemetery. I have walked, rode my bike and motorcycle, and driven my car by this expanded garage many, may times. There were always new tenants here with interesting vehicles and piles of what seemed like just rubble. It just seemed like every year or so it took on a new look. Today, I took my camera out and recorded it.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


selection from :
Look Through Any Window

The Hollies

Look through any window, yeah
What do you see
Smiling faces all around
Rushing through the busy town

Where do they go
Moving on their way
Walkin' down the highways and the byways
Where do they go
Moving on their way
People with their shy ways, and their sly ways

Oh, you can see the little children all around
Oh, you can see the little ladies in their gowns, when you
Look through any window, yeah
Any time of day.

asically, I've been looking out windows
this whole first week of recovery.

Everyone told me 'Birdman, it's going
to go a lot slower than you think',

and they were right on, for sure.
We've got a huge backyard with lots
going on at times,
and that can keep
you entertained for a while. I've found
that the 'mental recovery' might be as
hard as the 'physical recovery' ahead
for me, but I have a wonderful 'nurse',
fine friends, music and lots of windows.
This Hollies song came to mind, as I
walked throughout our home this past
week for exercise. By the way, congrats
to the Hollies, elected recently to
the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame.
For me? Week one down...
forever ahead!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Orange Couch

Here's a nice sunny spot, amid a lot of orange. Up early, up late it's always a nice spot to stop and smell the coffee, grab the Sunday paper and just kick back. Although the seating is a bit limited, it seems you can always find a spot near one of the big windows for a favorite morning beverage, that book you're making your way through or a WiFi hookup. Love this colorful wallhanging in the back area at this Free Street coffee shop.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Oh, one last parting shot. For all of you lucky ones who didn't get a chance to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of my R1 Room 114A, here's one last chance to take a look at my room. Not much there, really. Basically, on my side of the curtain there was my bed to the left, a recliner that I'm sitting in to take the shot, a chair for a guest and a closet. There was a walker somewhere around here and first four days or so nurses were swarming! Straight head, there was a chart that held my RN and CNA names for the next 12 hours and the latest 'vitals' on yours truly.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Well, here's my latest hangout. It's a look at the backside of Maine Medical Center. In the Fifties, the hospital was called Maine General Hospital, and I remember visiting it on at least three occasions. Once I fell out of a tree and dislocated my shoulder, another time I broke a knuckle swinging(I'm sorry to say) in anger. Getting my tonsils was my big adventure; they both were removed in morning and I spent the rest of the day on our Washington Avenue couch sucking on popsicles. Remember, until this past January 4, I had never spent an overnight in a hospital. During those last two sleepless nights, I took a few eerie photographs of these gothic towers. I have often found the dynamic and spooky at the same time. Against the early morning murky sky, looking from the inside of the complex, they pulled your eye towards them. All of the rooms had but night lighting in them and projected forth a somewhat Stephen King-ish feel to them. The morning of the 11th, I shot this image driving away. I don't think I'll miss it!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lost Sunflowers

Lost in the garden this time of year are the remnants of our once beautiful sunflowers. Below freezing temperatures, snow and bouts of icy rain have taken their toll, but they are still stunning to me, beating back these ravishing early days of winter. They remind me of my recent turmoil... I look and feel a bit shaky still, but I know my world is on its way back together. I learned a lot about the resiliency of the human body and spirit. You go through open heart surgery: with a four month lead up, then a 3 week delay caused by an antibiotic that threw your white blood cell count haywire, then it's a 7 day blur of pain, seemingly endless nights of nurses' visits, noise and lights, wires and tubes, adventures creeping down hallways with a walker that makes you feel like you're in your nineties. Now, you're ready to get back home. They all say you're ready: nurses, doctors and friends. Everything is a 'go' except that darn bloodchart... the harsh reality of time. You've been comforted through the week by family, friends and blogmates, and they all have been a part of an endless lifeline, it seems, that streams on forever. Finally, this past Monday, it was home, comfort, recovery and a rebirth.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


From NJ this set of silver has traveled a long way. It was bought by my mother-in-law, AP, while she was living in Maplewood, NJ. It was one of the first purchases she made for herself, while working as live-in help, after she came to this country. It now resides under our bed and and mkes an appearance for all special family events. In the early Forties, she bought the set for $80 at Bamberger's.

Monday, January 11, 2010


This area of the city is called Libbytown, with Interstate 295 rumbling above. One very memorable time here for me was when, riding my bike into the driveway on Stevens Avenue, Dad stopped me in my tracks and yelled to jump in the old Jag with him. I had no idea what was up, but as soon as I heard the wail of firetrucks in front of us, I knew. We headed here and saw the night sky lit like daytime with a general alarm fire. As I remember, three tenements were up in orange and yellow flames. Strange what is interred in our memories. I have never forgotten this night. By the way, yesterday was the first day I was back actively checking out my Blog

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Central Maine

The Central Maine Railroad offices are on Cumberland Avenue. Before the demise of Union Station in the early Sixties, this was a hustling expanse of buildings. Today, this beautiful complex of brick and stone are all that remain of a bygone era, when steam locomotives were seen racing through intersections and lonesome whistles were heard restlessly awaking your dreams. Now, CMR offices are located in just a couple of buildings with doctors' offices, a restaurant and other establishments filling the others.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Here's the Portland International Jetport. I dropped my sister there two weeks ago, as she headed back to Oregon. Her plan was to spent some time before the surgery with me and then a few days to help out after here at home. It didn't work out that way, but we had a week together and that was even better.

Friday, January 8, 2010

La Bodega Latina

Just as Congress Street bends towards MMC, you'll find the La Bodega Latina, a local market that has streams of clientele going through the doors most days. Me? I just love that green against that, oh so blue, winter sky. Made a couple of loaves of homemade bread this past weekend to go with the great pea soup E- made from the remnants of our Christmas ham. Love pea soup! And every time I see or smell bread being made, I think of Mom's wonderful bread, rolls and fried dough that she prepared with the beans in the kitchen on Coyle on Saturday afternoons.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Here's the head of Carlton Street and Congress in late morning sun. It's a one way, hence the two stop signs. Behind the camera in this shot, the area is just loaded with stunningly unique, large, brick family homes. Dad, who delivered mail in the Western Prom, always said, "Have you seen those brick buildings on Carlton? They're are beautiful; relics of a past time". Some of the streets up here are maze-like.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

More Apples

One of the back apple trees takes on a bit of a different look this morning. I'm away, but there it sits, saying "Hey, take a look at me! Birdman's under the weather, but I'm lookin' just fine. He left this picture of me behind. He's told me I only look better when I'm exploding in apple blossoms in June! Do you believe how this fluffy snow, just doesn't leave my branches? I love this guy!"

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I Miss...

I like looking out our front windows and door these days, at the trees across the street. I long for a quick trip here and back to the friendly confines. Always like to watch a storm from behind glass. I remember sitting on the second floor window seat on Coyle, pressing my forehead against the glass to feel the cold, as I watched the storm build. These days, sitting in the family room, a Nor'easter brewin' beyond the glass, it's beautiful show! Really, so much more exciting then the TV. I'll be back there soon.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Here is one of the entrances to the Oaks. This has always been a special place to me, and I guess it has shown up that way in this Blog, because I got a special Christmas ornament (of the Duck House) from a dear friend D-. Thank you to all who have left comments about my images and about my upcoming 'little procedure', lately. I'm taking all your kind words and thoughts with me this morning. Peace!

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Much happens in a year. This clock photo was taken last January at Monument Square, during some snow. If you are standing in this spot this AM, you'd be a bit disappointed. The face has been covered by the city seal. Hopefully, the clock is under repair somewhere. From this point, it's just a casual stroll to the top of the Old Port. In snow, this is one of my favorite spots in the city. Time waits for no man, as they say, and the new year brings a a first time experience for me... a hospital stay. I have never spent an overnight there, and although I'm upbeat about my upcoming 'little procedure' the thought of staying there for a while and saying goodbye to my family each day does not appeal to me. At this point, this is my only real trepidation, and I'm sure, after having a 'whole bunch things' done for me this will fade soon. Ha! Hopefully, there won't be a replay of two weeks ago, and I'll enter a new chapter. One that, down the road, will allow me to do a lot of the events that I take for granted, easily again. Time pushes forward, whether we want it to or not. I'm ready!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Iced In

The pond down the road looks different everyday, depending on the time of day, sunlight and snowfall. Riding by ponds like this always remind me of playing ice hockey with my buddies. This week there was a blue moon, full and lighting up the snowfields, well til dawn. Whether it was the frozen field at Gullivers. the popular Allen Avenue pond or one of the small ice covered pools in Evergreen Cemetery, it was always a bit more special skating below a floating full moon. Sentimental me, I always did and still do relish in these unique moments in time.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Theme Day: Changes

Happy New Year!
Today, January 1, 2010, is Theme Day in the CityDailyPhotoBlog community around the world. With apologies to Neil Young (Rust Never Sleeps), I post this metal warehouse wall along the waterfront. The theme today is Changes, and I'd have to say that the image is a sober lament to the 'damage done' over time by this evil. There's one of those freaky 3 day storms headed our way. Got a little yesterday, more tonight and the most tomorrow, if it comes at all. Could be a dusting or 10 inches, they just don't know yet. Ya, as they say around here: "Don't like the weather? Wait a minute." My real first experiences with rust took place each January, when for delivering papers I put the JC Higgins away and rigged up my Uncle Leonard's long sled with a rectangular peach basket attached with wire for the papers. The first1/2 mile or so was a bit slow with the sled leaving behind long, brown rust streaks in the snow, but after a while I was flying! Funny thought here-- two reoccurring dreams that I have are: I'm alone in my high school hallway, staring at my locker with out my combination and the bell is ringing, and I'm delivering the now defunct Portland Evening Express, and I've lost my way on a route filled with families whose names and faces I still remember today. Strange! The mind is a mysterious thing. I remember these things, but can't remember where I put my watch. Oh, it's on my wrist!