Friday, December 31, 2010

NYE 2010

One of my favorite places in the city has always been Longfellow Square pictured here at twilight. The statue of the poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, is sitting in his chair just off to the right in this view. I picked this scene to help me celebrate 2 years on the CDPB. I have not missed a day since December 31, 2008. When I started, with a post of the stone bridge in the Oaks during a snowfall, I wondered if I could do it every day. My goal back then was one year, and now look I'm at 2 years and counting. Thanks to all who have checked in and offered their thoughts. See ya tomorrow!

Oaks Snow 2008

Snowy day in Deering Oaks-- Portland, Maine.
"Often I think of the beautiful town, That is seated by the sea." H.W. Longfellow

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Shadow Tree

Recently, here at the homestead, we redesigned the look of our family room, that is filled with glass towards the back woods. Where there once was a love seat with its back to a row of windows, a comfortable chair and ottoman are now situated. Resting in that seat now gives you a whole different vantage point to view our little world. In life these days, I enjoy routines; I tend to shun changes. I wonder why that is, because really repositioning yourself on that crowded 'merry-go-round of life' can be just the boost you need to reinvigorate yourself. While making coffee the other morning, I noticed shadows falling on the field near the frozen apple tree. Most of the time, shadows don't lie.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Colorful Chairs

Out in the back hallway at Longfellow Books at Monument Square, these stacked wooden chairs wait for their next chance to 'perform'. While taking our annual afternoon stroll to the Old Port to take in the sights and sounds of the holiday, we took refuge from the wind and cold here among the books. Most of us would be hard pressed to find a bunch of colorful chairs like these. After all, aren't we all stuck in a world of gray-metal, folding devices?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Lady in Red

The aftermath. Hey, if she begs me to use my snowblower, who am I to protest... much! The fierce winds remain, but most Mainers spent the day yesterday digging out. I was ready, willing and able but was told to stay put. I obliged.

Monday, December 27, 2010


No Mercy! That was the deal over most of the Northeast yesterday and all last night. Here, the first flake fell in the yard at 5:24 PM last evening, and it's been snowing and blowing since. My weather call is that we got about 8 inches, but right now the howling wind and heavy blow is the issue. The woodbox is full, the woodstove is up and doing its work, and thanks to Elenka, Mom's fish chowder is on the menu for the day. Keep warm!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Morning After

Here at Portland Head, gifts have been exchanged, the wrapping paper has been discarded, toasts have been made, carols have been sung, the festive repast has been devoured, hilarious stories have been told, and good friends and family have departed. Its quiet once again. As Dickens once famously stated, they "knew how to keep Christmas well." And now the year moves forward to its conclusion.
btw- BIG white headed this way tonight and tomorrow.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Time

There was a time. Merry Christmas to all. Peace!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Lights Up

A beautiful day is birthing just beyond the glass in our family room. A stonewall is now half covered with new fallen snow, while iced-over branches of evergreens sparkle in the rising sun. The stage is set. Actors hit your marks. It's Christmas Eve! On Stevens the the excitement began as soon as my feet hit those cold wooden floors. "It's Christmas Eve! It's Christmas Eve!" I'd shout it about the house, even though I knew it was hours away. Growing up with lots of kids in the neighborhood, I always enjoyed inquiring about their Christmas Eve and Christmas routines. How did they celebrate? Who would be there? Did they have any Christmas traditions, like a special ornament or food that was baked? Did they ever hear Santa or reindeer on the rooftop? After hearing all their refrains, I knew that we had the BEST of all. Mom and Dad did it right, so simple, so memorable, so family! Merry Christmas to all.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bah, Humbug!

Bah, Humbug? It was anything but. Last night, our family took in Portland Stage's production of Dickens' classic "A Christmas Carol". With work, the rush, rush to get final shopping done and ideas on the mind on cleaning the house and cooking for our upcoming get-together with family and friends on Christmas afternoon, it was a stress-releasing way to spend 2 hours and really get that feeling of the season. As snow fell leaving the theater, I think I could finally say the the 'feeling of Christmas' seemed to have made an appearance, even in the world, where the dangers of ignorance, want and the need to help others is still so much in evidence.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Harness Bells

"He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake."

Is there a better New England winter poem than "Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost? The Norton Farm provides wagon rides through the Old Port these days leading up to Christmas. If you're riding, carol singing is a must. We know this is true. Growing up, J- loved these seasonal wagon rides. So mom and dad were on board for quite a few rides over quite a few years. Giddyup!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Morning Walk

This time of year, it gets kind of crazy. Time, time, time. There just doesn't seem to be enough of it in the day. Off on an early morning stroll along the Boulevard, this gal and her 'fido' have lots of time to reflect on life and plan their day. Let's listen in: "Gosh, it's really freezing out here this morning, Is Birdman's gift wrapped?, Gotta get me a bag of salt and vinegar chips, I really don't like Shelly's new haircut, Do I look fat?, Am I really up for a drive to NH in the snow this afternoon?, There's an eclipse tonight?, Wait til Mom finds out I paid $70 for that tree, Is that Statistics' final really today?. And fido? food, food, food, food... I'm going to find some 'me time' today and just RELAX! Ah... By the way, this scene looks a lot different this morning with 2-3 inches of snow on the ground.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Beyond Shopping

Pretty much it was a given. If it was the week leading up to the 25th or Christmas Eve my brother, sisters and I were busy making paper chains for the tree. Why my parents never hid the colored construction paper or just didn't say 'cut the crap' or 'enough already', I'll never know. I don't think it would have worked anyway. Building those chains was addictive. Ya, we did the strings of popcorn too, but it was these paper jobs that we had the most fun with back then. And as I remember, one of us kept eating the flour paste Mom made. I think it was my brother. To this day, each time I see these hanging or groups of kids putting them together, I think back to Stevens and Coyle and smile a bit. But art? These white ones fill one of the front windows at MCA (Maine College of Art) on Congress Street.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Holiday Bridge

Yes, we did get a couple of inches of the white stuff early last week, but the heavy rain of Wednesday took it all away. This walkway above Congress Street is not a bridge to nowhere. This is a bridge to somewhere. It connects some MMC offices to a parking garage, below the main hospital complex. And by the way, these decorated windows look a lot more festive at night when they a lit by the inside lighting and oncoming traffic. And for those of you not familiar with the city, no, it's not a ghost town, but it does have the look on an early Sunday morning.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Comin' At Ya!

This past fall many of the nearby islands suffered severe damage from quite a significant wind storm. Peaks Island was one of the hardest hit. The other morning at East End Beach, this logging truck was waiting to pick up a trailer of timber delivered from the island. The downed trees looked to be some mighty big spruce. I'd advise, if you see this number barreling down the highway at you, move aside and give her a wide berth.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Nature's Way

See the tree? See the Christmas tree? I saw it right away. Sometimes I have trouble with optical illusions and such, but not this time. It jumped right out at me. I found it on one of the back ponds at Calvary Cemetery. What do you think?

Thursday, December 16, 2010


The Wreaths Across America project is very much a part of Maine. "The Arlington Wreath program was started by Morrill Worcester (Worcester Wreath) in 1992 with the donation and laying of 5000 Christmas wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery. This became an annual journey for Mr. Worcester." I was visiting Calvary Cemetery the other morning and saw quite a few wreaths decorating the stones. Looks like this project has taken off locally, as well as in Washington.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Down River

Here we are at Stroudwater Marsh heading into the city. This is another view I enjoy. Portland Jetport is to the right in this image. Back in my past, when the old Eastern Airlines was the only game in town, we often took my Aunt Gloria to the airport on her trips back and forth to Europe(she taught at various Air Force bases throughout the continent). In these later years, J- and I often stopped by when my college buddy flew a Delta jet to the city. He always mentioned that his favorite approach was over the water, along the rocky coast, by Portland Headlight, over the city and up the river. How neat that must be!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Third Floor

One of Dad's many 'second' jobs was cleaning the former Canal Bank here at Morrill's Corner. Along with my paper route, one of the jobs I often did was help him clean the bank on the first floor and the architects' offices on the third floor. During the summer and winter, he often took a 'vacation' week from cleaning this building. So the job was left to me. Sometimes my brother or a sister helped out, but mostly it fell at my door. I really didn't mind it and sort of welcomed the added responsibilities. After all, I had the KEYS to a bank! His directions to me: dust every counter, empty all trashcans, clean the toilets, mop the linoleum floors, vacuum the teller areas and clean the ash trays. Other than that, don't touch a thing! If I hurried, I could complete the bank in about an hour. The upstairs was a treat. The minute I unlocked the door the aromatic sweetness of pipe tobacco filled my nostrils. Along with this aroma, the low hung ceilings, the small six over six windows, the stacks of blueprints scattered about the tables and the birds eye view of any happenings below on the sidewalks made for an interesting 1/2 hour or so. I always dreamed that some of my creative juices could have been explored in this profession. And here's another angle. Dad told me he often heard foot steps and doors closing upstairs, when the offices were darkened for the night. When I shut the lights up there, I always took one parting look into the darkness. Never heard or saw anything amiss.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Around these parts, this is the backside of Rocky Hill. Growing up my brother and I spent lots of days 'exploring' every nook and cranny of this Hill... literally and figuratively. I took a ride back yesterday morning in the rain. Here is one of my first posts on my photoblog, January 29, 2009. The Elephant Rock spoken of here is the largest outcropping on Rocky Hill.
"... Elephant Rock rises behind these structures. On winter days, when we lived on Washington Avenue, my brother, the neighborhood kids and I would grab large pieces of cardboard and head for this large outcropping for a day of fun sliding on the rock in the snow and ice. I remember there was one place on the back that had a long sluice-like run. The higher up the rock you could get, the longer your run. You had to be careful though, too far and you'd go over the edge to what we thought would be certain death on the rocks below. Long story short-- my brother, about 8 at the time, went into the Elephant Rock lore books one day, by losing his balance going up too high and sliding backwards off the humpback face. We ran through the snow to the front of the rock in disbelief. Around the corner, he met us with a big grin; maybe not knowing how close he had come to his early end." There are no trespassing signs everywhere now, but no matter, I plan a trip to the top soon. Some things in life, just must be done.

See: Pathway @ 12/29/2009

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snow Cover

I've heard of frost on the pumpkin, but snow? Well, poet James Whitcomb Riley’s(1853-1916) text is the authority:
"When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,"
I know that old Jack Frost visited our pumpkins on a few October nights. And most farmers around these parts had their 'fodder in the shock' well before then. Because after Halloween weather-wise, all bets are off, and snow and the harsh ravages of a Maine winter can come any day. Now, the whereabouts of this mushy pumnkin? As of yesterday, it is now resting comfortably in our compost pile.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ice Season

Little bit of ice , little bit of snow on the back roads can make for some disastrous driving around these parts, but it makes for some fascinating backyard viewing over the next few months. Right now just a few lonesome, brown tattered leaves and an old forgotten caterpillar nest or two, hanging in the balance, are about all that resist against this morning's slate gray sky. So this ice covered green and red serve a comfortable visual purpose. That ol' Mother Nature has her way, whether we like it or not. So sit back and just enjoy!

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Good Desk

Everyone needs a good desk. The summer before I started high school Mom decided that I needed a room of my own and a new desk. My brother and I had shared a room upstairs for years. We got into our share of mischief and had our secret talks, but it was time for a change. This new development was exciting to me. I was moved to the front room facing the street(my two sisters were sharing this room before), where I could keep track of any action at the corner. You know: fire trucks screaming through the intersection, the train whistle moans in darkness, the Christmas tree twinkling on the traffic island, the high school kids up to no good well after 11 PM, and the clinking, clinking of the chains on the plow trucks usually signaling a snow day away from school. It was a fun room with many memories. And as I remember, a trip to a used furniture store got me a workable desk. She painted it white, and I was ready for that 'new adventure' called high school.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Delicate Ice

The high today will be in the 20s, so this thin film of ice will soon be frozen over solid. NEWSFLASH: it's 12 above right now as I type. Brrrrr!

ice etching moments
entwined in strong spruce branches
entombed til spring thaw

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ax Work

I'm still trying to finish up some loose ends in the backyard. In the last few weeks, I've been doing some chopping, moving and stacking of wood up back. Back in September, we had a couple of trees cut down to make some room. Trees, once they get rolling, grow fast. Our plan is to try and finagle some more late afternoon sunshine in August and September. When the sun starts dipping in mid-August, these trees have grown so much, they're blocking the rays of ol' Mister Sun. Hopefully, this tree work will mean more warmth on the deck, longer in the afternoon. The trees we won't miss and the chopped wood will provide fodder to take the chill off next fall.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Rat Rumor

Recently, I read a short story entitled "Three Skelton Key" by George G. Toudouze, and it got me thinking about our furry 'friends', that frequent the docks, and river banks in most big cities. Today's post will fall squarely and firmly into what we all call the rumor mill. When the condos, in the background at Chandler's Wharf, were constructed many years ago, I heard lots of stories, none of them ever confirmed by the early condo dwellers ... with those "dramatic ocean views", about an infestation of rats. I haven't heard much talk lately. As a matter of fact, in all my illustrious years of hanging around the Old Port, I've NEVER seen one single rat. However, I've seen endless wild, dock cats running about here and there. Here kitty, kitty!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cool Space

A cold amble up Congress brings me outside the Space Gallery. There have been plenty of times that I've wanted to stop by and take a look at this place... on the inside. It'll happen. Looks like a happenin' place to me with some cool concerts and art installations. Take a look at the link.
Under exhibits, is that a whistling tea kettle? Now that image drags me back. On Washington, Stevens, Coyle and Bancroft there was always one of these whistling away the the afternoons in Mom's kitchens. And yes, on many occasions the kettle would boil away and destroy itself, but no problem, within a day or so, there was a replacement. Mom had to have her tea!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Growing Bottles

Sitting on the back window sills, these two bottles hold remnants of warm summer days. On the back porch, there is a line of old bottles found through the years, while digging around our 'back forty'. June through September, they hold tiny flowers from Elenka's gardens. As October arrives, most die off or turn to mush. But as you can see, these two impatiens have taken hold and are vigorously sending forth roots. They are with her at work these days and will soon find a home in the good earth.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

First Fall

It's early morning, after our first significant snowfall of the season. It looks to be about 3 inches of the sticky stuff hanging out in the back garden. It's a winter wonderland with everything covered with whiteness, even the garden hose and grill that still remain on the lawn and deck. It's official. The holiday season has begun. Snow is on the ground. My December 4th Advent Calendar door has two little mice huddled under the Christmas tree. The season has arrived!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Fish Barrels

Down along one of the piers the other morning, I caught sight of this design. These barrels were stacked along side a row of draggers docked nearby. In high school, 'the job' was the thing. I caddied at Riverside Golf Course, while two of my best friends worked at the Fish Factory, a fish processing plant. When I got home afternoons, I smelled of sweat, if I was lucky. The whole day out in the sun and home for dinner. L- and Eddie always smelled like fish, stinking, rotting fish and never got home til late in the evening. I swear, even after a shower, they STILL smelled of fish. Whenever I'm down along the docks and the aromatic fumes travel through the air, I think back to the Fish Factory.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bay Bridge

Here's another view of the Casco Bay Bridge, looking down Commercial Street. The bridge spans the Fore River and connects Portland and South Portland. About a year ago, I photographed the entrance ramp in the foreground and to the left. The color and the lines of the bridgework itself intrigue me as I travel under it. Do you get a bit apprehensive when driving over large, expansive bridges? I don't, but I often have dreams where I'm trapped on a mountain ledge, a precarious roof position or at the top of an extremely large tree. I've made my way up but can't get down. I reach a cul-de-sac with no way out. I'm in a death defying position, that seems so real and scary... and then it's over. Dreams. Ya gotta love 'em!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Theme Day: Time

Today, December 1, 2010 is Theme Day across the CDPB(citydailyphotoblog) community. Is time really on my side? Sometimes I think it sides with me, while at other times I cringe to think of how fast it fades away. I do realize though that it waits for no one. One of my favorite all time Stones' songs(and I do have many) is Time Is On My Side. As I remember, it was the first song they sang in the US in 1964 on the Ed Sullivan Show. Keith was badness for sure. I love it!