Sunday, February 28, 2010

Red Building

We sure are experiencing some strange weather these last few days. I happen to be watching the weather on TV about Wednesday last week and icons above the days of the next week were all snow flakes and rain drops, and so far I have to admit that the weatherman has been right on. Last Thursday torrential rain and winds pounded southern Maine. This is what our back yard looked like yesterday afternoon with huge snowflakes tumbling all around. We returned from seeing the movie "Up in the Air" and these flakes certainly were in the air, at least for a short time. March, ready like the lion? Adios February!!!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Recovery Comes

I had a late afternoon visit from good friends B/P this week. They came bearing gifts: tulips and veggie lasagna. Thank you good friends! My recovery reached a 'turning point' this week, as I started a cardiac rehabilitation program. I'm attending a 7:30 AM(I'm a morning person... no more sleep ins for me!) one hour session with about 6 others in my group. As my journey continues, I have to stop and marvel a bit. Almost 8 weeks ago, I entered MMC upbeat, positive, but really a bit apprehensive of what lay ahead. This morning, I'm looking at eating well, regular exercise(this will be a 'mountain' for me but I'm willing to try), mindful living and my overall wellness. The adventure continues, but now I feel much more in control of where I'm going, how to get there, and what I need to enjoy the experience with friends and those I love.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Our Vigilant woodstove has been around for awhile, just about 30 years in this kitchen. Two nights of driving rain and wind and a couple damp days with the cold lingering really makes for woodstove weather. Last night was amazing! The wind howled and the rain pelted the front of our house so much that my 'better half' even contemplated moving to the couch to get away from that roaring sensation that sounded like the "3:10 to Yuma" racing through the bedroom. As suddenly as it started, it was over about midnight. Lots of communities in southern Maine lost power last night and are struggling with flooding this morning. Us? Sump pump's doing its thing, the trimming of trees CMP did last fall worked and the Vigilant has the kitchen toasty. Snow is forecast for later today. Bring it on!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Brick and Blue

Looking up from Commercial Street towards Danforth Street in the morning sunlight this sight comes into view. If you venture out back of the warehouse down on West Commercial you'll find this 'run' of stones leading up to the street above. Really quite beautiful and that's before you get to the houses and the blue sky that rides heavenly. Besides the Casco Bay Bridge and water on the right, look to the left for one of the first views you'll get of the city rising towards the Hill.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Used Books

Yes Books is a used bookstore at Congress Square. It's really bigger than it looks like from the outside. It's deep with loaded shelves. These shops are wonderful hangouts on rainy days.

A Book
There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!

Emily Dickinson

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


It stinks like urine; it's graffiti filled; it's kind of claustrophobic; it's hard to negotiate if you meet someone half way across, but it's still pretty cool. Walking near here, no matter the season, I always glance down this passageway to see what's up. This is the 'slice' you get looking from the dingy, back parking lot towards Exchange. Not pretty, not pleasant, not too safe at night either but a favorite place in the city. Call me crazy!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Water Spigot

Photos show up sometimes in the strangest of places. Last week, driving along the myriad of roads that crisscross Evergreen Cemetery, I was looking for a place to stop, rest, and enjoy the view of melting snow and quiet gravestones. I had picked up a toasted, tuna sub (my favorite) along the way for some company and just wanted a sunny spot to enjoy lunch. I think in the past, I have mentioned on more than one occasion that I spent many a childhood day playing amongst the stones and parts of 9 years working for the City of Portland, doing among other things: digging graves, mowing grass, cleaning gravestones and feeding the ducks. From mowing grass for eight hours a day to finally getting to ride around with the foreman all day in his jeep, keeping him company by listening to his endless stories, it was quite a progression and one that I welcomed. Eight hours of pushing a mower can get a bit boring and tiring, as you might imagine. There are still many of these cast iron frames that in case the cemetery's water faucets along the dirt roads. Their patterns are quite delicately carved also. The smells of spring were everywhere that late morning, and the sandwich was delicious!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

McLellan Again

I don't like to go back to the well too often. Seldom have I posted photographs of the same subject over again. However, last year I posted a picture, about this time, of the entire front view of the McLellan House on a gray day. Last week, I was driving by it and saw these shadows. I had to stop and shoot. My first experience with this building was as a junior year in high school. We took a field trip here, and I remember I was amazed at the windows with all that glass, letting sunlight just flood into the rooms. I thought it was so cool, that at one time a family had actually had lived in this beautiful home and walked these long hallways. We learned a lot about the McLellan family and their impact on this city that day. The building is now connected to the Portland Museum of Art, having been refurbished and reopened in 2002.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

aka Judy Jones

Here she's caught in an unguarded moment, long before TMZ was ever dreamed up. Yes, my friends this is the 'Hollywood famous', world renowned Judy Jones caught without her makeup and fans chasing her. You might not recognize her without her white gloves to her elbows, my older sister's party dress, Mom's high heels and pocketbook in the crook of her arm and her sitting in her aqua T-bird waving to her fans. Yes, February 20 is her special day. Happy Birthday wishes to my little sister today, waking up in Oregon!

* Just a special 'thank you' to J- she's called me everyday since 1/5/10(my heart surgery) to see how I'm doing. I'll never forget that!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bridge Ramp

Here's an entrance ramp to our relatively new bridge the Casco Bay Bridge, that opened in 1997. It took the place of the Million Dollar Bridge(that WAS the name of it... because it cost what to build?... ya, you guessed it! a Million in 1916). This photograph was shot from Commercial Street, looking up at the ramp, some houses and the great shadow. I took about 30 shots this morning, but this one ended up being a favorite. I like the whole wrap around effect and this bold stanchion standing in the sun.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Slice o' Blue

Sometimes things are not as they truly appear. Although to the innocent bystander a puzzle or maze might seem easy to solve at first sight. The deeper you sink into the solving the the more expanse the possibilities. I felt my teen years were loaded with dilemmas and rubric cube-like situations like this. Whether it was seemingly endless dramas with the Gorham girls and beyond, a few Mayfield Street realities or some of my Frye Hall clandestine meetings, my teenage years were froth with classic innocence and dubious choices that I view with great suspicion, now that the great teacher-- experience-- is with me firsthand. We call it Life!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Morning After

When it comes to growing up, I remember a couple of interesting mornings in February at St. Joseph's Church. The first was February 3, the feast of St. Blaise, the patron saint of throat illnesses. In elementary school, we'd head next door into church with our classes for the 'blessing of throats'(as the story goes St. Blaise saved a small boy's life who had swallowed a fishbone) and kneel at the altar rail. The priest then placed two blessed candles crisscrossed under our throats and said a short prayer. I guess as far as the other parts of the body went--- it was good luck! The second and even a more intriguing day was Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. It was the day after all that partying and debauchery(see today's image from placard on Congress Street). On our way to school, we'd stop by church to get ashes on our foreheads(placing ashes on the foreheads of the faithful as a sign of repentance). The 'cross of ashes' usually stayed there for a couple hours. Now for me, it was a time at Lincoln Junior that you got to find out who all the other Catholics were in school besides yourself. "Oh god... Shelly's a Catholic?" We'd say. Back in my seventh grade classroom there were ashes everywhere. Today? They're hard to find.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fat Tuesday

It's Mardi Gras time in the French Quarter! Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, when Catholics begin the Lenten 40 days of penance before Easter. It started out as a time to eat rich food, so you could survive the rugged days of Lent. Somehow, its evolved into lots of partying, heavy drinking and feats of debauchery, none of which is looked on too favorable by the Catholic Church, I would imagine. Here, outside of the coffee shop, next to the Nickelodeon movie theater this granite sculpture on the ground reminds me of masks that will be seen on many of the floats in New Orleans tonight. Party on!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Presidents Day Sale

A little red, a little white and a little blue... it's all about Presidents Day. How did Presidents Day and the selling of new cars ever get connected? It seems like rather incongruous behavior to me. Cars and Presidents??? I bought my first car here in '75; it was a Camaro with a 350 engine-- but not red. It was yellow with a black leather roof. Here on the lot, ready to be sitting in someone's driveway this afternoon, is the new 2010 Camaro. I do believe the impetus for Presidents' Day car sales has little to do with patriotism or buying American. But what it really is escapes me at this moment. Varooooom!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Bandit Strike

Tulips... two lips kiss! As this sleepy town begins to rub its eyes awake this Sunday morning, hearts are everywhere! The explanation? The Valentine Bandit has left his mark around the city again this February 14th. Just who this is that 'litters' the windows around this town with masking taped hearts is unknown to most. They certainly are the kind of 'bandits'(it must be a small army?!) that most don't want caught..., although I bet there are some that treat this small heartfelt thought more as litter than love. As the ancient tale tells us sometimes it's just the way of the world.
All I'll say is 'stop draggin' my heart around", and Happy Valentines' Day to my special Elenka!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Thursday night I finally got to use my Christmas present, tickets to the Garrison Keillor one man show at Merrill Auditorium. For two plus hours, he entertained the full house, amazingly without one sip of water. He sang, recited poetry and told wonderful stories, all the while wearing his trademark red sneakers. I have lots of stories inside me too, just waiting to burst out, and I enjoy sharing them. It's fun!

Friday, February 12, 2010


With metal lobster traps to the side, the city is off in the distance waiting for some snow. The outlook is better for me. No storm clouds in sight. Smooth sailing I hope. Next week, I move into Phase II of my recovery here at home. I join the Outpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation Program called Turning Point. I'm looking forward to this. I heard wonderful things about this rehab program while I was in MMC. Happy Weekend!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Never Say Never

I certainly have to say that 'never say never' is a pretty good outlook on life. I wonder about the ultimate use of the word never in any language. Does it really make any sense to use it at all? If you do it'll usually come back to haunt you. My Mom loved Gloria Swanson and especially loved Sunset Boulevard. "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."
"Never say never, for if you live long enough, chances are you will not be able to abide by its restrictions. Never is a long, undependable time, and life is too full of rich possibilities to have restrictions placed upon it."
Gloria Swanson
US actress (1899 - 1983)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Here's a look at the backside of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception from Congress Street. There's not this much snow around here anymore. As a matter of fact, Portland's WinteRush, the city's winter festival this weekend is on the verge of being canceled because of get this-- lack of snow! They say if we don't get significant snow by today; it will be canceled or at least postponed. Vancouver can ship in snow for Olympic events, but we can't? Oh well, this year it's not a problem for me. I visited my cardiologist yesterday, and all the signs continue to point towards a recovery that is steadily, moving ahead, on course.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hard Runnin' Tide

Here on Portland Pier at high tide the water's coming over the sides of the dock and onto the street. As I mentioned in a previous post, I heard about the phenomenon but had never seen it til this morning. They say it's quite common. I'm sure there are days when cars and offices are difficult to reach. Again, this day was not about a blizzard or storm front moving in; however, there was a full moon and it was approaching high tide at 11 AM. Very interesting!

Monday, February 8, 2010

All Aboard!

Down at the bottom of the Old Port you can take a trip back in time aboard the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad. You can ride in antique coach cars pulled by locomotives and take in wonderful views of the harbor. Yet not all is pretty. Seen here is one of a few boxcars and cabooses in a grievous state of disrepair rotting away on a side track.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Pick your pain... I mean pane. Seen through glass, our world is not exactly as it might appear at first. These panes found at The Portland Company complex.

"Reflection is the business of man; a sense of his state is his first duty: but who remembereth himself in joy? Is it not in mercy then that sorrow is allotted unto us?
-William Shakespeare

Saturday, February 6, 2010

City by the Sea

For those of you who have never had the please of visiting the the 'city by the sea' here's a look from across the harbor. As you can see by this photo, a good part of the city of Portland sits on a hill overlooking the water. Another unique aspect of the look of the city is that when you see a map of it against the water, it takes the shape of a forearm and fist reaching out to the harbor.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Groundhog Day Redux!
Punxsutawney Phil's northern cousin Buxton Bill is captured with the camera at the exact moment that he saw his shadow on Tuesday. Six more weeks of winter around here. What a rare moment indeed!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Portland Company

The Sunday morning drive included a swing through The Portland Company lot of meandering buildings. Lots of brick, sun and great shadows made for some interesting pictures. Well, my surgery is now a month and a couple of days in my rear view mirror, and I've had about 5 solid days in a row of physically feeling very good. The big change that I've noticed lately is that I seem to be moving into a much better place mentally. I'm more focused, less foggy. Recovery continues!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


It's an early Sunday morning
and a run of
buildings creak an early song
at the corner voices muffled

amid the frozen numbers
locked away behind these scattered doors
are someone's dreams
once secure and reachable
now silent; there's privacy here
hidden forever.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ice Shack

Happy Groundhog Day!
Here on Sebago Lake is the Smith's home away from home during the frozen days of January and February. I wish I could solve the riddle of the lure of fishing... covered with mosquitoes in May is one thing, but really I have no real interest in sitting on a frozen lake or pond in the middle of a Maine winter and doing something called ice fishing. I guess I just don't understand it. Never will! For me, one of the unsolved mysteries of the universe.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Theme Day: Wood

Today, February 1, 2010, is Theme Day across the CityDailyPhotoBlog community . Took a ride on Custom House Wharf yesterday at high tide. At the end of the street, you can actually drive on planking that stretches side to side with some small warehouses on either side. Don't panic. These boards, in this image, were off to the side away from the traffic area. I was surprised to see the water, in certain sections, was overflowing the pier itself and running quickly into the street. I had heard about this phenomenom, usually during storms, but never seen it til today.

Happy Birthday to my sister-in-law Judka Budka!