Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pond Skate

Growing up in the city, there were lots of places to skate. The most popular venue was at the Allen Avenue pond in the North Deering area. Ah... there were lots of girls there. It was the family skating spot too. I skated there many, many times. Now, venturing to the Oaks was a real treat. One of our parents would drop us off late morning and pick us up again mid-afternoon. The many Evergreen Cemetery ponds were close by and good places for hockey. Behind Deering High School and here at Capisic Pond were places I skated seldom, maybe twice each. However, I never remembered it having so dense a crop of cat tails, as seen in this picture taken on Sunday morning. As you can see, it's certainly encroaching on ice time.

Monday, November 29, 2010

West End Water

Up on the Western Prom these water fountains will have to wait til June. Water, water, everywhere. This time of year, in our backyard or at Gullivers, football was still the game. Even as temperatures tumbled, and it snowed or was pouring rain, those were the best days. It wasn't miserable at all. The fun was actually heightened, as we went slip sliding away in the snow or got covered with serious mud in pouring rain. Explanation? Hey, we were guys! We did that for FUN! The games weren't organized. They were just the run of the mill pick-up games, with usually 10-12 of the gang decked out in our rag tag 'uniforms'(jeans, sweatshirts and of course our helmets). Mine was orange with a blue stripe and 4 stars on either side. My brother had a blue one, as I remember, with a plastic facemask. Those afternoons were just loaded with happiness and enjoyment, regardless of the weather conditions. Now the water? We carried those glass gallon jugs, that vinegar came in with the glass finger holders, filled with refreshing, ice cold water for our breaks. As the football games ended and we moved towards home, spitting water through our front teeth became the game of choice. Covering your friends with sprayed cold water or seeing who could spit through their teeth the farthest, sometimes offered just as much enjoyment as the actual romps with the pigskin, that had covered the last few hours. I have enjoyable reminders of those days.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Scratching Sky

"I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape - the loneliness of it - the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it - the whole story doesn't show."
- Andrew Wyeth

The blue sky, with clouds moving fast, is usually a cue for me that changes are in the wind. However, even with the sun shinning yesterday, the icy patches across the yard gave no evidence of leaving soon. Off in the distance at sundown, the final barrage of rifle shots were heard as deer hunting season came to a close. Maine is ready for her winter. The more things change, the more things remain the same. Growing up in this state, oh, I use to love my long, snowy, cold winters. Now, not so much. The inevitable will arrive here soon; we push on.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Some Snow

Yes, we've had our first snowfall. Well, sort of-- the night before last we had a wintery mix as the meteorologists call it. It was a bit of snow, a bit of sleet, a bit of freezing rain. As an old timer would say in these parts in that Downeast drawl, "weren't much." That first significant snow drop has always been a special day. Forget December 21. For me, the first day the snow flies is always that first day of winter. I remember sliding all the way to school, in grammar to high school, in that new fallen whiteness. These days, it's still special looking out my back window at work across the wide expanse of fields to the spruces in the distance and viewing the snowfall. Now, driving in it is a whole different ballgame some days.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Morning Light

Early mornings, driving down Free Street, this sight always catches my eye. The Downtown Holiday Inn on Spring Street sits across from CCCC and views Fore River and beyond on the opposite side. When a buddy from college, who flies for Delta, stays overnight in the city, he and the crew usually stay here. It doesn't happen often, but when it does it's always an evening of good times filled with reminiscing and hearty laughs.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


On a day noted for extravagances, especially in the culinary arts department, let's keep it simple like this milkweed in the wind. Happy Turkey Day to all!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Deering Row

The sun was kind this morning to this row of buildings on Deering Street. I know one thing for sure. There is an awful lot of brick in this city. The building on the far left is Harold T. Andrews, American Legion Post #17. My Dad was the Post Commander here for many years and would often regale us with stories surrounding the Post, its history and the many characters within its walls. A walk in the sun, on a November morning, on a brick-lined street is a pretty good thing. Now, for a cup of java!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Curved Congress

Downtown Congress things are heating up(sorry it was cold and blustery, really) for the holidays. The decorations are hung from the light poles; the large spruce is up in the Square. The official lighting of the tree comes Friday evening at dusk. We used to partake in the festivities all the time; however, lately we've traveled to Jersey to be with family there. This year, we saw everyone at the recent wedding so we'll stay put this week. So, this Friday the tree is on our 'to do' list. Action, camera, LIGHTS!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Iced In

The next sign that autumn is gone and winter's footprint is among us is that early morning's most ponds have that thin glaze of ice lacing them now. Even these ducks fear breaking through to see if I'm throwing any stale bread their way. In my toddling years, my grandmother often brought me here to this pond connected to a cemetery. I never asked why we came here so many afternoons. I was just excited about feeding the ducks. When I got older, I realized it was more than seeing and feeding the ducks that pulled her back here. Her son, killed in the 'Good War' (WWII), was here nearby. I bear his name.

November 22- I'll remember this date forever. JFK killed in Dallas. Where were you? Me? In my high school Library in Sophomore English class.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Adverbial Phrases

A friend of mine passed this little book along to me. He thought I'd like to take a look at it. It's Swinton's Language Lessons: Introductory Grammar and Composition. The copyright page is missing, but the name and address inside reads Ella M. Noyes of 117 Boston Street, Lynn Ma.
My first day in Seventh Grade found me in the new gym getting my schedule. Skipper leaned over looked at my schedule and said, "You got Kibler." A moment later, he said, "Uh, oh you've got her twice." Yes, it was true. I had her for English and social studies. That afternoon, I raced home, found Mom and told her to call Lincoln Junior and get me out of her classroom. I didn't know it then but that day was a benchmark in my life. Mom, of course, said no, and a good chunk of that school year was spent in Room 210. The first part of the year, she drove me crazy. I hated that room. She made me work so hard; she covered my papers with so much red ink, I thought I was bleeding at times. As the year progressed, something changed. She taught me to have some confidence when I took up my pen, introduced me to Jack London and made me want to go to her desk and talk to her(even with that funky, 'old lady perfume'). Bottom line, Helen Kibler was my favorite teacher of all time. I think about her room and those life lessons she taught a lot. She's been a big influence on my life in so many ways. Then there came a day in the early 90s, when I opened the Press Herald and was saddened read her obituary. That was a hard day for me. I tried to replay that entire year in my mind that morning to no avail. How strange it is that some people become attached to us beyond our control.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Here's a bookcase with no rhyme or reason to it and a few memorable lines of Dickinson. No plans for today? Need suggestions? Take a walk(wear blaze orange around here), pet a cat, visit a college, rearrange lights on an outside tree, write some rhyme, split some wood, finish the painting, plan a trip, close the laptop...

He ate and drank the precious words,
His spirit grew robust;
He knew no more that he was poor,
Nor that his frame was dust.
He danced along the dingy days,
And this bequest of wings
Was but a book. What liberty
A loosened spirit brings!
- Emily Dickinson

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Pool

Before the snow hits, here's one more view of the Oaks. This one is of the area at one end of the wading pool, this time of year without water of course. Each summer, Shakespearean plays are performed here, with this area being center stage. The gentle sloping hills on each side provide seating, if you don't bring your chair. I enjoy strolling along the sculptured walkways around this running pool.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


"Sign Sign everywhere a sign
Blocking out the scenery breaking my mind
Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign."

Ok, I'll take the bait. Sometimes, sometimes, even I'm a bit confused by this world I live in. I photographed this plywood wall at Congress Square awhile ago. Walking by it this past week, it's now covered by graffiti, posters and other placards. However, this young gal, with the molotov cocktail in hand, remains with this strange expression. When I read, "Goodbye Rape Culture", there are times I think I get it; it's obvious. But then, I read it again, and I'm really at a loss. Who is she? Looks like she has fallen out of a 50's reading primer somewhere. What is she doing? Why is she carrying the bottled gasoline? Enjoy your day. I'm going to ponder this a bit more. No, maybe not!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Back Door

I believe this back door leads to many lost yesterdays. As a matter of fact, I know it does. I found this doorway at the abandon mill with the trucks of yesterday. The inside looks to be some sort of power station for the factory nearby. It's been pretty much gutted, with just traces of ghosted machinery remaining. I didn't venture very far in for fear of the floor giving way. Really, not a fit place for man nor beast.This entrance was a beauty in its day though, I bet.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lost Trucks

Just where do aged trucks go to die? Like the economy these days, the GMC and Mack are lost in a sea of bushes, waiting out the autumn for another rugged Maine winter. I found these parked outside an abandoned factory, just outside the city. This photograph reminds me of days of jumping over the Stevens Avenue National Guard Armory fence and spending a Saturday afternoon rummaging around the front seats of the big army vehicles. We would sit for hours dreaming about driving the big trucks and never once were we ever bothered. Ah, I guess it was another time.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tribute to SS

It's all about masks! I think I've written about this fact before on this site. While on a visit to the PMA (Portland Museum of Art) in early October, I was wasting away a few idle moments in the gift/book shop, when a book grabbed my attention. It was Masquerade, by Inge Morath, a book detailing the artist Saul Steinberg's paperbag masks. Masks have always intrigued me. Whether it's for All Hallows Eve(remember my devil costume?), on stage, on a morning tv show, or even at an actual masquerade ball, they hide a lot but REVEAL more. After sharing the book, a few of my friends and I played around a bit. It was hilarious! Take a look at this example. How'd I do?


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Front Stairs

Here's the Victoria Mansion on the corner of Park and Danforth Streets in the city. Designed and built by New Haven architect Henry Austin in 1858-60. It is one of the grandest Italian villa style residences in the country. I remember on a field trip in high school, it was a real treat to walk up its grand staircase turn back and to notice the elaborate ornamental design seen on every cornice and chandelier. I haven't been back in it in a while, and in the Christmas season it's suppose to be amazingly decorated. Maybe this season, it'll be in the cards.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fear the Turtle

Thought you'd like a quick look at my work this weekend. I hope to put a dent in two cords of wood and get it moved into the woodshed out back.The wedding last weekend put my wood haulin' schedule off a bit, but it'll get done, hopefully before the snow flies in these parts. Mom reminded me often of that old adage, 'slow and steady wins the race'. And the way I look at it, if the tortoise could do it, it's good enough for me. I try to use this as a guide in all I do these days. Take BIG jobs and break them into their simple parts. The work gets done, and I remain happier for it. Why run the risk of being overwhelmed and or intimidated by that nasty thing called WORK. That turtle had his act together. Serenity soon!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Leaf Entrance

Here's another West End image. As you can see, the doorway and many of the windows are still shrouded in reds, yellows, and tinted browns. Even after the strong winds of Monday, they're still hanging on. What's up this weekend? It's going to be a beauty, with lots of sun and temps, maybe, reaching the low 60s. But me? Basically two words: moving wood.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans' Day

Happy Veterans' Day!
My Dad would have loved this flag. Last summer on the way to Kitty's place in VT, we came across this flag. Love the flag; love the windows on this one. Dad always said, when it comes to windows... "gotta have six over six". Here's 'twelve over twelve'. Whew! That's a cleaning job. His dream for me was always to have an old house. "Are ya satisfied Dad?" On our floors, settlers walked pre-Civil War. Gentleman farmer, Jacob Hamblin, traversed our fields, walked our hallways. The night we moved in in '77, I waited patiently for sounds of 'back then'. Nothing! But I'd be less than honest, if I said I haven't heard Dad and Mon whisper my name late on winter nights, like a moth dancing on a summer screen. I stir to my elbow. Silence. I'm waiting tonight.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Autumn Bridge

It's Deering Oaks Park in late autumn. In childhood and now, I never miss a chance to take a stroll 'through the Oaks'. The skating pond, the duck house, the bandstand, this bridge, the warming hut and the seemingly, endless pathways were all a part of my youthful ways and still are. I like to think that I'm still a bit 'youthful'. In many ways, the antics I pulled in Helen Kibler's seventh grade reading and social studies classes still linger very much in my adult psyche. I readily believe that those who know me well, today, certainly my siblings, would probably agree. This park is special to me, always has been. So, I was very excited, last Christmas, to open a lovely ornament of the Duck House from my PA(Personal Assistant... hahaha!) and dear friend Donna. It'll be hanging in another 3 weeks or so, filled with special times among these shrouded paths.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

November Boatyard

The wind and rain have passed from the last few days. The pre-winter clouds are moving briskly by overhead. The boats here are either wrapped for winter or will be soon. Back home, I'm passing time getting the yard and garden set for spring; collecting and cleaning birdhouses, piling brush to burn this weekend, splitting and stacking some recently cut wood and bringing in the deck furniture. Of course, it's not something I'm excited about doing. Why? It's that final 'death knell' of another summer here in southern Maine.
And this summer... my dentist recently asked me, "Ever remember a summer like this?"
"No." I replied.
"Know why?" He continued.
I took the bait.
"Why?" I said.
"Because, we've NEVER ever had a summer like this!" He laughed, grabbed his drill and went back to work.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sunday, Sunday

As the song goes, I don't know if you can trust that day or not. However, to tell you the truth, I seem to have pretty good luck with Sundays. And ya, I know it was about Mondays, but Sundays for me fall into that category. For me, unlike Mondays, my week mentally begins on that 'day of rest'. Come noon, on a Sunday, my week often begins. No matter how I try, my mind seems to always begin to drift to the coming week. We arrived back from Jersey late. Now, if the Patriots get embarrassed(34-14... the Browns?), and I wake up to a terrific, pounding wind and rain, like this morning at 4 AM, the day begins to slide downhill fast. Throw in an electricity failure and what a start! There was one positive..., but I'll keep that one to myself.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Warm Fuzzies

It was a special day: Devin and Victoria's Wedding. It was a wonderful afternoon and evening with all sorts of emotions. I like this photo taken recently. It sort of goes with a lot of the fanfare and emotions of a day like this. It's always so much fun getting together with Elenka's extended family and the Jersey crowd. We had a time!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Devin's Day

Happy Wedding Day Devin! Today, my nephew Devin and Vicky are to to be wed here in Jersey. I love this shot of the cousins Daniella, Justin and Devin, taken a few years back, on Babka and Papa's couch. Lots of mileage separate them these days, but it's always so much fun to see them interact with laughter and stories, as they did last night. There are always so many beautiful, indelible images of a wedding day. If I close my eyes, I still can replay many of of ours like they happened yesterday. Devin and Vicky enjoy yours. It's your day! LOVE you!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Another Side

This one's plain and simple. Can you beat a good Irish pub on a Friday afternoon? I think not! About a year and a half ago, I photographed and posted the other side of this establishment. The one with the large parrot. It's usually a challenge to get into before or after a concert at the nearby Civic Center. This fact reminds me of a Yogism, humorous quotes from former Yankee catching great Yogi Berra, "Nobody goes there anymore, because it's too crowded." Enjoy the weekend. Celebrate something; we will!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Orange on Peach

As my better half always says, "Jeese, take a step back and see what's in the picture... background, background, background. Do you see what you're doing?" Now, to be perfectly honest, she's mostly not talking to me, and for that I thank my lucky stars! To be perfectly honest on this one, I saw the background, but I never saw the tree... just the 'peachness' of the side wall of the house. As you can see, the black-lined branches are starting to show themselves here on the West End. The house is peach with the orange leaves holding on for dear life on a side street. Fall wanes.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Circus, Circus

Well, the elections are over, and the Circus has come to Maine... for the next four years and maybe beyond. Growing up on Stevens, the voting booths were located at the Arbor Street Fire Station. We woke up on Election Day one year and gigantic shoe prints were painted in white leading to the station. On our way to school, we figured that the neighborhood had been overrun by giants from another world, wearing HUGE shoes, until someone mentioned it was voting day. And of course, all the footprints led to the fire station, where red, white and blue bunting was hanging just above the three doors. We all had a good chuckle on that one. We kids had been had! With "We Like Ike" signs everywhere, it was Eisenhower easily winning a second term.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mr. Pumpkinhead

Look what I caught hanging around my garden Sunday just before sunset. With apologies to Jamie Wyeth and Shipyard Brewing Co. and of course Washington Irving... it's my Mr. Pumpkinhead, here among the dead sunflowers and corn stalks.



Monday, November 1, 2010

Theme Day: Public Transportation

Today, November 1, 2010 is Theme Day across the CDPB(citydailyphotoblog) community. Gotta love Converse making their way back onto the scene. I'm sure they'd say they never left, but take it from me they were GONE for quite awhile. I wore them as a teen and as an adult. High tops, low tops didn't matter. Pretty cool! As a matter of fact, there is a wonderful shot of J- sitting on my knees on the back steps. He's about 14 months; me in my red lowtops and J- wearing his red Nikes. It's one of my favorite all time family shots. Strange: teens today call these shoes; I call 'em sneakers. Kids today?!