Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Morning Outlook

This is the view you take in from the old Shailer School site. The North Street school was dedicated on October 14, 1882 and named for the Rev. William Shailer, a minister and an education leader at the time in the city. This is truly one of those places in the city where you can, on a clear day, 'almost see forever'. That is if you can get over the graffiti in the foreground. Just beyond this weathered fence the land pretty much goes almost straight down. Have your wits about you, as they say, if you are venturing along the edge. I must say it is quite a striking view, looking off to the West.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Kiln Work

Outside of Portland Pottery, at 118 Washington Avenue, this very colorful collage, even on this drab morning, salutes the city. Sculpture has always been something I've struggled to understand. Pottery, I like but have no real desire in taking on. Now painting, on the other hand, is something I have a great interest in pursuing some day soon. I see objects to photograph; I see objects to paint... everywhere I seem to look these days. In conversation once, an artist friend (no, not her) once told me that as long as you don't lose the 'eye' to be able 'to see' images to photograph, it's ok to pass them up. Lately, I've been 'seeing' objects I'd like to tackle with a brush. Over these last 13 weeks (sometimes in solitary), I've had time to myself to do a lot of soul searching, wondering and 'seeing'. This creative piece of me too will surface someday soon!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sugaring Time

We celebrated Maine Maple Syrup Sunday by visiting a sugarhouse on the outskirts of Portland yesterday. In this photograph, the freshly-collected sap is continuously boiled in these large pots. We went to Merrifield Farm, and it was packed. It was an ideal sugarhouse to visit, especially if you were dragging small children along, because there was lots to do, eat and see. Besides a tour to see the entire process of sap to syrup, you could buy hot dogs, coffee and sodas etc. or spend some time going through the barn, viewing cows, pigs, geese and other farm animals. Of course, the main attraction were the cups of vanilla ice cream with fresh maple syrup poured over the top. At this rite of spring, the tasty maple syrup was king, with lots of aahs to go along!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Colorful Discount

Smoke 'em if ya got 'em. I smoked my last cigarette at the tender age of twelve years. As I remember, it was a filtered Old Gold and I enjoyed it in our great tree house with the gang, behind the ESSO gas station and away from meddling moms and dads. These days, I might enjoy a pipe during an evening fire while camping or a fine cigar on a very special occasion, but that's about it. And that tree house and the crazy times of youth, well, they're a million miles in my rear view. Not the way I'd like it to be all the time, but it's just the way it is.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


The Fore River Sanctuary winds through the wetlands just off Congress Street near the old Stroudwater Village. It is the home of many songbirds and small mammals along with Portland only waterfall, Jewett Falls. Pictured here, after the latest snowfall this week, is one of the first boardwalks you encounter at the trail head. This photograph is symbolic of a new part of me-- a part I've struggled with forever- a part I HATE with a passion-- exercising. This time it's going to be different. I'm in a good place after my surgery, and I know, for those I love, I must get with the program! I will!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Classic TV

This is a very knotty photograph! At least that's what I see. Now when my 'better half' looks upon this image this morning, I'm willing to bet she'll see a face in the knotty trunk. She tends to see them everywhere-- in patterns of tile work, couch fabric, wallpaper etc.. You get the picture. Me? When I saw this apple trunk up back, the first thing that jumped into my head, of course, was Nottingham... England. Remember back-- Nottingham as in the Sheriff of Nottingham- Sherwood Forest- Friar Tuck- Maid Marian- Little John- those green outfits (on black and white television they said they were green). Of course, what I 'saw' was Nottingham and the legendary English folk hero, Robin Hood and his band of merry men. I first met him weekly on the British TV series The Adventures of Robin Hood starring Richard Greene from 1955-59 in 143 episodes. I watched it so intently, as close as I could to the screen, often with my homemade bow and arrows in hand. Today, it's hard to pass one of these apple trees and not glace at the branches and wonder what kind of a bow I could finagle out of it. That kid is STILL within me, someplace!

Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, with his band of men
Feared by the bad, loved by the good;
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood!

Ya, we still have birthdays! Today a BIG Happy Birthday greeting goes out to my nephew Z- in Portsmouth, NH. I know there's a bit of the 'Hood' in him! Stay cool!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


What just happened here? What do they say about weather in Maine? Don't like it? Just wait a minute. Where did that early spring weather of last week go? We had such high hopes. Yesterday morning, we awoke to a winter wonderland outside our windows. For the last week or so I've had this sickly feeling; things were moving too fast; I'd even seen tulips pushing up in the yard. So I wasn't surprised to see all the white stuff covering the lawn. By noon, it was a winter wonderland around here, but luckily it disappeared soon.

Last evening, we celebrated P's big night at Grace Restaurant and had a delicious repast with wonderful friends. The restaurant is in the former Chestnut Street Church, a pre-Civil War building that makes the dining experience quite unique. Not quite a religious experience however.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dos Equis

Portland has so many places to dine and most of these restaurants are establishments that I have, as of yet, not frequented. However, my outlook on life, and many other things, holds very true here --there's always tomorrow! Today, we're taking a peek inside and out at what many (if you believe in restaurant reviews... be very careful when treading in these waters) say is one of the least known but best places for Mexican cuisine in the city-- Mesa Verde. Now, Mexican food is often best when spicy. I'm a VERY sensitive guy, well, at least in the food department. Believe it of not, ketchup and most mild mustards can give my palate issues. When I eat Mexican, it's mild with nothing even approaching 'warm'. However, a Dos Equis I seem to be able to handle, no problem.
Today, I'll raise a cold, Dos Equis to one of my best buds P- on his birthday! See you later today, guy!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Shadows Know

Early morning sunlight falls along some warehouses in Bayside, chasing dawn away. There's not much happening down here this morning. I find Sunday mornings the best time to prowl unencumbered in many sections of the city. Here shadows and light match wits at least for a few hours. I've always said sleep past 7 AM most days, and you might as well call it a day. I was born at 6:50 in the morning, and no matter how I've tried, I just can't shake it. I can't sleep in, too much to get done. Some mornings just watching the sun rise is worth it. I'm an early morning guy and that's it. No excuses!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Climbing Pattern

I glance at this scene a lot while I'm waiting in traffic at Longfellow Square. This can't be good for the brickwork, but I like the look of the vines spreading across the wall. While I was firing off some shots, I noticed something-- the still life bottles behind the glass in the door. It caught my eye after I had been drawn by the building's vinework. This happens a lot when you're shooting what you really think you want. It's all about the surprise that happens within the camera.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Park Cannon

Here on Munjoy Hill this cannon looks to be protecting the houses on the hill, and its history would tell you that's not far from wrong. These homes, overlooking Casco Bay, are some of my favorites in the city. This one is a house I'd love to live in. What views! Unlike a lot of people, I kill time up here near Fort Allen Park often. I get immense pleasure traveling some of these back streets, that as a kid I just remember viewing fleetingly out a bus window. But I do recall them even today.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Once called the Portland School of Art; it's now Maine College of Art and resides in the former Porteous, Mitchell, and Braun department store on Congress Street. It's right in the hub of the city with always a constant flow of activity. There are a few other buildings sprinkled around town, but this one, since 1993, has been its flagship building. I've taken photography courses on the campus from time to time, but really, for me, its main claim to fame in the 'old time machine' was that it was in the basement of this building that I experienced Santa in his workshop for the first time. Have a merry weekend!!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Red Claws

The Maine Red Claws are a D-League basketball team, with developmental players from the Boston Celtics and the Charlotte Bobcats. Tonight, I'm going to be taking in my first game, compliments of my brother. I'm looking forward to it. I've heard a lot about the cheerleaders, the BIG screen, the in-between action entertainment, the fans really getting into it and oh ya, the skilled players too. From all reports, it's top notch, quality basketball on the floor at the Expo. The Pirates on the ice, Seadogs on the diamond and now the Red Claws on the Portland parquet all have found their nitch in this great 'little city' by the bay.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fresh Haddock

Is it possible to beat fresh haddock? Growing up, we kids met each Friday's supper table with a diet of fish of some sort. When fried haddock was on the menu for the evening meal, I can't speak for the others, but I was a happy boy! Mom had a delicious recipe and I know one thing--- it beat the heck outta fish sticks and ketchup! By the way, this truck, parked daily on Forest Avenue, is a really a sign. It stays parked here through thick and thin, through each of the four seasons. The sign changes, but basically it's there to advertise some sort of seafood on sale, for the day or week. Today? Fresh haddock anyone?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick

A favorite Irish rock band of mine is the Saw Doctors. My brother, J- and I saw them a few years ago on a hot July night at Hampton Beach. They played lots of rockin, Irish-themed favorites that night, and this one on LIVE at Galway is a favorite of mine. Outside of St. Patrick's Church on outer Congress Street, the patron saint is caught in a pensive moment ready to rock! Ha! Happy St. Paddy's Day to all!
Well I didn’t see much future
When I left the Christian brothers school
So i waved it goodbye with a wistful smile
And I left the girls of Tuam
Sometimes when I’m reminiscing
I see the prefabs and my old friends
And I know that they’ll be changed or gone
By the time I get home again.
And I wish I was on the n17
Stone walls and the grass is green
And I wish I was on the n17
Stone walls and the grass is green
Travelling with just my thoughts and dreams

Well the ould fella left me to Shannon
Was the last time I traveled that road
And as we turned left at Claregalway
I could feel a lump in my throat
As I pictured the thousands of times
That I traveled that well worn track
And I know that things will be different
If I ever decide to go back.
And I wish I was on the n17
Stone walls and the grass is green
And I wish I was on the n17
Stone walls and the grass is green
Travelling with just my thoughts and dreams

Now as I tumble down highways
Or on filthy overcrowded trains
There’s no one to talk to in transit
So I sit there and daydream in vain
Behind all those muddled up problems
Of living on a foreign soil
I can still see the twists and the turns on the road
From the square to the town of the tribes
And I wish I was on the n17
Stone walls and the grass is green
Yes I wish I was on the n17
Stone walls and the grass is green
Traveling with just my thoughts and dreams

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lime Umbrella

Yesterday I had an adventure. Went looking for the city's St. Patrick's Parade, amid pounding, driving rain. Parade was at 12 noon; I was there at 12:04. Missed it! That had to be the fastest parade on record for this or any other city. I took some pictures in the rain, lost a pair of gloves, missed a parade and basically misplaced a day to the rain. It's ok I guess. I'm still not imbibing in adult beverages, because of the meds, so I even couldn't sit back out of the rain and enjoy a Smithwick's at RiRas! Pity! But on the plus side of 'me life' ledger, if all goes well at the Doctors(blood work, xray and an echocardiogram) on St. Paddy's Day, I'll be able to enjoy an adult beverage to celebrate 10 weeks and a day post surgery. I'm sort of looking forward to that. It'll take a bit of the sting of missing that parade and pictures of that pipe band and the gals Irish step dancing. I was REALLY looking forward to that. Sheesh!

Monday, March 15, 2010


Nope not some secret code-- It's the name of a restaurant that, again, I haven't visited but will real soon. I'm intrigued. It's difficult to spy in these darkened windows, but once in(I've seen pictures) easy to see the 'passing parade' out the front and side glass. I must admit this view up towards Congress Square is one of my favorites. One Congress Square, home of WCSH6, is dead ahead.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Ok, let's get some history out of the way right off the bat this morning-- this diner is Worcester Lunch Car Number 818, and was built in 1949. The diner was originally situated on Forest Avenue, but in 1964 it was moved to 49 Marginal Way to make way for the Federal Building and main Post Office . In 2007, it was moved again, pretty much across the street and has been open there in Bayside since October of 2008. And now one more 'tasty tidbit' of historical trivia-- ta da! I have never-- EVER eaten here or even WALKED through its doors in all the years that I have lived in the city. Really, I have nothing against diners. I have eaten in other diners in other cities with probably just as much historical significance--just not this one. Am I planning to make it happen? No real plans. If it happens, it happens. However, with this Sunday pounding rain, it might not be a bad way to start my day.

Happy Pi Day! 3.14

Saturday, March 13, 2010


In 1933, Don Valle opened a small restaurant in Portland; so small it had only 12 seats. From 1933-1980 the Valle Steak House chain stretched from Maine to Florida with 34 restaurants under its mantle. Their specialty was a lobster and steak repast. The first one I remember seeing was the one that was in the heart of Woodfords Corner, directly across from the Odd Fellows Hall. It was a landmark at the corner from '33 til 1960. I remember the popular dining place stretched both ways to the railroad tracks almost in one direction and to the old Cinema Theater in the other. Walking by on the narrow sidewalk, you almost felt like you were sitting in a booth with the patrons. In beginning of the 60's, Valle's moved to a brand new, ultra modern looking building on outer Brighton Avenue, where it thrived for awhile and then 'died' a quiet death. It would soon to be inhabited with a run of restaurants, that never quite matched the dream of the modern steakhouse. Seen here is the latest one to attempt a go at it: Kon's Asian Bistro. Bon Appetite!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Public Works

Captured in a quiet moment, these plows wait to be awoken from their drowsiness. Me? I'm perfectly happy seeing them 'at ease' here in the Public Services parking lot at 55 Portland Street. If the weather doesn't veer off into any real drastic tangents the remainder of the month, I think we're going to have one of the mildest winters on record around here in awhile. As my recovery progresses, I've had the extreme pleasure of watching, daily, the winter fade into early spring. Staring out my back windows, affords me a detailed look into the seasonal movements, but this year I really have enjoyed this a case study at my fingertips. Spring? Bring it on!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Market House

Many in the city were saddened to see the Portland Public Market close its doors in 2006. It was a neat place to grab a sandwich on great bread, to pick up a bottle of wine or some fresh fish for an evening's fish chowder. Shortly after the closing, the Public Market House opened here at 28 Monument Square on a smaller scale and with a simple credo: "a community gathering place that celebrates Maine people, food and agricultural traditions...". Recently a second floor has been opened. Now the shops number--K. Horton's Specialty Foods, Maine Beer and Beverage Co., Big Sky Bread, Spartan Grille, Kamasoupra, and Peanut Butter Jelly Time. I'm intrigued by this last shop. I wonder if I might get a couple of my once staples to my diet: a toasted peanut butter and jelly with banana sandwich or a toasted peanut butter and piccalilli sandwich? Bet I could!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Tribute to Mother
A picture memory brings to me;
I look across the years and see
Myself beside my mother's knee.
I feel her gentle hand restrain
My selfish moods, and know again
A child's blind sense of wrong and pain.
But wiser now,
a man gray grown,
My childhood's needs are better known.
My mother's chastening love I own.

by John Greenleaf Whittier
Happy Birthday Mom! We all miss you every day.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Old Library

One of the most prolific architects of the West End area was Francis H. Fassett (1823-1908), and along with the original Maine General Hospital, the Baxter Building, a landmark of upper Congress Street was of his design. James Phinney Baxter , mayor of the city for six years, donated the building for use as the Portland Public Library. During high school, I spent a lot of time afternoons researching in the library's collection of American Heritage magazines for my American History class. Mom would drop me here soon after 4PM, and I'd be there til she picked me up at closing. In the 70's, the city sold it to the Maine College of Art where it housed photography labs, darkrooms and other studios. It has recently been put on the market again. Finding a resting place for this grand old building, in these economic times, probably won't be easy. From this photograph, you get a bit of a taste of some of the amazing architecture and intricate design inside and out.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Sitting on the back steps of 250 Main Street, who would have ever thought she'd contemplate a 6th decade. Amazing how far we've traveled together. She was always the serious one, a sister with her Nancy Drew collection stacked meticulously behind her bed, her Beatles albums that she so willingly shared and those evening rides to Gorham. When she reached her 50's, she took on a whole different challenge. For this, I'm truly proud of what she has accomplished. I really don't know if I could have taken this on at this time in my life. For this and all the memories we've shared... Happy Birthday!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Off Ramp

A morning after a dusting of snow affords a look back from the bridge in the distance from yesterday. I've often have heard people say that in life the positive way is always keep looking forward; that looking back isn't always healthy. I guess I'm a believer in the adage... to know where you're going, you better have a 'healthy' dose of where you've been. How about you?
Don't look back?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Frozen Tree

Looking off towards the Hill, across Baxter Boulevard, you see Tukey's Bridge crossing Portland's Back Bay between the Munjoy Hill neighborhood and East Deering. The slate-gray morning sky and iced tree in the foreground looks to fool the mind and eye into thinking that today's a frozen day. It is not; rather mild really for early March. Last evening we took in the Art Walk in the city. After stopping by various galleries that we usually frequent, we headed to the bar Blue(no drinks for me still) to see two friends of E- who had some collages and paintings hanging. Then we jumped in the car and headed up the Hill to visit an artist and her a 5x5 Daily Painting Gallery. That was a full evening for me. Tired!

Friday, March 5, 2010


Hang on! It's Birthday Month in the family. Here's a real 'wildcat', who after high school played for Haverty Buick(hence the name Wildcats) in the Twilight League. Believe it or not the Twilight League is still kicking in year 106 in the city. Although Shoeless Joe Jackson played sans shoes, I never knew my brother to play shoeless. What he was up to here? I do not know. This is an interesting shot taken in June of '71 in the backyard of my grandparents home at 250 Main Street in Westbrook. For us it was a loving place with endless memories of two very amazing people of our youth. To MJN, have the best birthday ever... I have the strange feeling it will be. Happy Birthday and watch out for the high fast one!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


When you think of Maine, you think lobster! Here at
Lobsterman Square, outside of the Nicholeodeon Theater, you'll find another example of public art in the city--- the iconic lobsterman. Here's some information that I did not know about it. The original was created by Victor Kahill(1895-19650) out of plaster and exhibited at the 1939 World's Fair. This bronze replica, by Normal Therrien, was installed in its current location in 1977. In 1983, the Maine State Society of Washington, DC had another cast made and installed it on Maine Avenue in Washington, DC. There is yet another one in the hometown of the model, Elroy Johnson, in Harpswell, Maine.
All I can say at this point is, "please, pass the butter."

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Gulls on Glass

Recently, I took a early morning spin through Payson Park, just off Baxter Boulevard in the city. It got me to reminiscing about days 'lost' on my JC Higgins(bike) hanging out here. The park's a neat place. It provides entertainment through summer, fall, winter and spring with tennis, baseball fields, basketball courts, areas for skateboarding, and roller blading. It has a great hill for sledding, and this pond is ideal for skating with friends or ice hockey with your buddies. I did both. During June and July, my brother and I spent quite a few summer evenings playing for our respective Babe Ruth Baseball teams on the field here. If I remember correctly, all the teams, at the time, were named after birds. We wore the colors of the Jays(blue) and the Eagles(purple). My favorite recollection, though, was of the many days, lunch in a paperbag, my friends and I took our bikes on sojourns to the park and the 'world' of the boulevard beyond.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ice Split

I've been driving by this pond for days now, looking out at this ice with the crevice stretching across in multiple directions. Even before the pouring rains of last week, it was there. As I glanced out the window, I couldn't get this favorite poem of Frost out of my mind.

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To know that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
By Robert Frost

Monday, March 1, 2010

Theme Day: Passageway

Today, March 1, 2010, is Theme Day across CDPB CityDailyPhotoBlog community. Hallways, railroad tracks heading off to nowhere, entrances, exits, narrow waterways... there were lots of ideas to choose from on this topic. What's Benjamin Franklin famous line? "The only things certain in life are death and taxes." For my subject, I settled on a peaceful venture to a place I know well, although I know few resting there. I pondered for 20 minutes or so inside the gates of Evergreen and attempted to interpret that 'great passageway' that awaits us all someday.