Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Irene's Wake

Sophie, our Siamese, surveys the backyard as both Irene and August wave goodbye. When we took trips, as a family to Old Orchard Beach, Palace Playland, the stretch of kids' amusement rides, was always the prime destination. I loved the ride through the Fun House. I was a bit apprehensive boarding, screaming mid-ride and very relieved seeing the 'light of day' at the end of the tunnel. It was a lot like the ride we took Sunday aboard Hurricane Irene, minus the screaming. Weathermen, these days on 24/7 cable TV, seem to always get things stirred up. Make sure you have available or nearby if needed: bottled water, batteries, sand bags, plywood, sump pumps, extension cords, radio, prepackaged food, important papers in plastic, ample supply of your medication, a prearranged spot for the family to meet and cell phones charged. And probably about 40-50 other things to check off the to do list that I have forgotten. Saturday, we brought in the deck furniture, secured the grill, covered the wood pile, brought in the hanging plants, filled the generator, made extra ice for the freezer, and checked the sump pump connection. The outer bands started impacting us around midnight. When I awoke Sunday morning about 5 AM, the rain was coming down in sheets, buffeted by the wind, mostly at a 45 degree angle. It came in spurts, poured for 20 minutes then a lull for 5 or so, and then it started up again. By noon the rain had ended, and for the next day of so we sat on the porch and watched Irene's gusts put on a show. We lost our power for just 22 hours, got no water in the cellar, and the dying maple on the front lawn survived to live another month. In the big picture of things, 'it was nuttin'. Friends on the East Coast, in New Jersey, New York State, New Hampshire and Vermont had it significantly much worst and are still trying to put their lives back into some semblance of normal. Even our state's Lake's Region and towns in the western mountains are still struggling to dig out of debris. So our home and yard were dealt a pretty weak hand by Irene, but all we could do was play what we had. So for us, this summer storm left with a whimper, and that was just fine with us. For us it was a big sigh of Relief!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Wish I could shed some light. Power is back but no Internet. Life moves on.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Wine Bar

Irene hits!
Lots of drenching rain and powerful winds. No power. See you on the other side

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Metal Roof, Pelting Rain

As the outer bands of steady rain begin to reach us, I'm thinking back. Hurricanes? I've had a few. We had just gotten back into the new school year grind, when Hurricane Donna, similar to our Irene, came roaring up the East Coast. On the day it was to hit, we were released early from school, and on the walk home we all agreed that attempting to survive it 20 feet up in our just-completed, best designed treehouse ever would be our next great accomplishment. Some of the creature comforts, never before seen in our neighborhood, were a partial rope ladder for security purposes( to keep girls and other unwanted visitors out), a first and second floor, two windows with canvas curtains, a very small wood stove (yes, you heard me correctly, a woodstove) for winter warmth (see, we were truly on the cutting edge), and rugs on both levels. Soon after arriving home around noon, we headed up loaded with provisions, basically cigarettes, our pipes and tobacco. I do remember the pelting rain and the tree really beginning to sway dramatically when we all thought we could detect another human voice. We were not wrong! Looking down, out the window in the pouring rain, I could barely make out the form of Leo's mom in her yellow slicker and hear her screaming for us all to get down and high-tail it home or she was calling our parents. Under our breath, as we made our way down the ladder, we all cursed her and told Leo that his mom was an roaring idiot. But, you know, she probably saved the lives of seven boys that afternoon. The demise of that structure? The next day while we were at school that gal, Georgette, made her way up the ladder with her axe and single handedly took that treehouse down in about 15 minutes. All that remained was a huge pile of lumber at the bottom. What did we boys learn that bone-drenching afternoon? Something Aesop would have been proud to tell.
*Moral of the story: during wild, news-making hurricanes, don't mess with moms!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Southside Soundcheck

Was it a calm before the storm? Hardly! Last night, a little bit of Jersey came to Maine. It was, indeed, a gorgeous evening with Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes pounding out number after number under the stars. We got to the site about 5 and were lucky enough to catch the soundcheck. It was quite a cool experience. I asked for a quick picture with Southside, and he graciously obliged. We've seen the Jukes many times, and I must agree with Elenka(Jersey girl). It was one of the best. The warm night, the tunes, the hilarious banter back and forth with audience and the man was the perfect cocktail needed. Favorite selections of the evening for me were the crowd favorite "Walk Away Renee", "Umbrella in my Drink" and "Nothing But a Heartache". Now, we prepare for the wind and battering rain of Irene, but with a wonderful soundtrack to hum away the hours with, while fortifying the homestead. Music! Music! Music!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mustard Dingy

Heard the latest? Hurricane Irene is paying us a visit. If you own a sailboat or other major piece of watercraft on the ocean, yesterday and today was and will be filled with worry and arrangements for getting your craft out of the water. This is no concern of mine. However, securing deck furniture, taking down the umbrella, filling my gas cans, pulling out the generator, filling a couple of buckets of fresh water, making sure I have sufficient batteries for the portable radio, and checking on the running of the sump pump are just a few of the jobs that the local news says I should be getting done. Right now, we're not in panic mode. But certainly by tomorrow morning we should have a much better idea what 'spaghetti noodle' track the ol' gal will be taking up through New England. The hatches will be battened down soon, but tonight it's off to a concert. My thoughts will be a million miles away.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wasp Influx

We noticed this nest a couple of weeks ago, building just off the deck in a large spruce. I'm probably going to be waiting til December or so before taking some action. Ah warm August nights, now and then. Evenings we used to while away the hours playing games like capture the flag, hide-n-seek and as we got older, even kissing hide-n-seek. Those were fun nights with 20 or so kids in our backyard. One time mid-hide-n-seek, I was 'it', and everyone had scattered. One by one I captured the young, stupid kids, who liked to giggle and always hid in the obvious places: like behind the Jones' house, in the tall grass, 1/2 way down the bottle dump and even up trees. All of a sudden, I heard a (really) bloodcurdling scream that went on forever, it seemed. Off to the left, Eddie flew out of a large hole, just behind third base. This was not normal, even for Eddie. His face was bright red, his mouth open mid-scream and his pants were around his ankles. Girls or not he was streaking around our backyard being trailed by hundreds of hornets. He was yelling and slapping and we, his countless buddies, were helpless to render aid. After a minute or so the swarm dissipated, and Mom came running down the hill to his aid. Days after, we all laughed about it, and for years the image of Eddie in his tighty-whities running around the yard, every which way, was a picture we just couldn't shake. Eddie's probably looking down on me today, sitting on a stone step in front of the big candy store in the sky. He's got his stack of Mad Magazines and Archie comics at his side, an Italian 1/2 eaten and his Pepsi at the thirst-quenching ready. I'm sure swear words are flying out of his mouth (fyi- he might very well be in the WARM place) to beat the band for sharing this across the world. Sorry pal, but I just couldn't resist it, one more time. Rest easy my friend!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Endless Days

Have you heard the term used 'endless summer'? Have you located it in your summer journeys? Where might I find it? I need it bad. Since I was a kid and had to return to school soon after Labor Day, I've been searching for this particular summer. There were always those problematic incentives. You know, heading back to meet your friends, 'back to school' shopping trips, "this year I'm really going to try to master math" and as 7th grade approached 'new relationships'. But after all, what it really meant was that another carefree summer had bit the dust, and it was time for SCHOOL! Another factor, that always was in the equation around these parts was that summer is so short in Maine. On the deck yesterday afternoon, returning from a sojourn to the ocean, Elenka dreamed a bit, while sipping her martini. "Why can't it be like this all year long? Why not in the high 70s every day, in every way." I guess that would be definitely the summer that went on forever. Hey, I'm not stingy. I don't need endless. Heck, just give me two more weeks of heat; I can take it!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Wooden Bleachers

These are not the bleachers at Fenway Park, that I've put my fanny in on many a trip to Lansdowne Street in Boston. These wooden bleachers are found behind home plate at the Oaks. Interesting word 'bleachers'. The term has been around since about 1877, referring to the boards that the baseball fans would sit on under the hot sun, hence 'bleaching' them. They were usually found in the outfield area and were unprotected and uncovered. The term not only identified the type of seats but also the inhabitants of the wooden planks. Now, there was a stretch back in the early 60's when my brother was the batboy for the Andrews Post American Legion baseball team. The team was loaded with fine high school stars and played their home games here at the Oaks. My Dad and I would take in most of the Sunday doubleheaders sitting not in the bleachers but on the cool, grassy hill behind the third base line. I chased many a foul ball among the trees on those afternoons, and occasionally got a broken bat too, that I'd take home and repair with tape for our use in backyard games. Baseball, my favorite game.

Monday, August 22, 2011

City Light

Today I'm posting my 1,oooth photograph on this my citydailyphotoblog. I haven't missed a day since December 31, 2008. I've tried hard to post just one photo and have stayed pretty true to that, with few exceptions. In my images, I've tried to show off the city of Portland, and some comings and going in my backyard, with a bit of me sprinkled in for good measure. Back then, I had been looking for a project to showcase some of my recent photos when I came across a daily photoblog and the rest is history. It's been fun and quite a challenge some days to get a picture and a few words up and posted each morning. Another piece of the project that I never expected has been all my new blog friends. Thanks to all who have stopped by with kinds words and some laughter. Click!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Best

I was to wear my Sunday best, even though I had serious issues with a few of my garments and other items I might refer to today as accessories. The black buckled boots for rainy mornings and the little English riding cap that the parents thought was so cute and beneficial, were banes of my existence on that 7th day at church. I always wore a tie, but that was no problem. After all, in a few short years, I'd spend four years wearing them in high school. And then there was the winter coat. Where or where did they find that? It was a puky brown color with some type of fur collar. I drove them crazy by demanding to wear it collar up to try to disguise it. Hey Mom, Dad, I'm trying to get girls here! Yes, even at church. Some nights, I still wake up in a cold sweat thinking I've got to find that black footwear. Fast forward to today... why oh why I'm I fixated on Project Runway, that fashion design show? Ok, take Heidi Klum out of the equation, and why, why, why?

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Like seafood? Like beer? There's a good combination here at J's Oyster on the waterfront. I used to stop by quite a bit before the proliferation of all the sports bars with their walls laden with multiple flat screen TVs. It was a fine place to get out of the heat, have a favorite brew and take in a Sox game on a summer night. I'll take on just about any kind of seafood, but never was a big oyster kind of guy though. When I see the meat of an oyster lying there on the half shell ready for the taking , I just can't help but think of... well, you really don't want to know. So here's my restaurant review today: Beer- cold!, Oysters- pass, Decor- go for the seafood not he decorations, Outside Dining- in a parking lot? You've got to be kidding! Again, go there for the seafood not the ambiance, and you'll probably leave happy.

*Yesterday, amid thunderstorms, I did sample my first Shandy (cold glass, 1/2 beer, 1/2 lemonade) the recipe courtesy of my blogfriend in Perth. I must admit. It was refreshing. Try it!

Friday, August 19, 2011


Mr. Weatherman says we're in for a stretch of days with threats of thunderstorms. That suits me fine. Staring out my bedroom windows on Stevens Avenue and Coyle Street and watching ominous clouds gather and roll, was always something I loved to do. It was exciting! These days, the summer porch with water pouring off the metal roof is a soothing spot to watch an afternoon's weather alter. After these storms, the day is usually recast in a way. It's amended. That's a good thing. I've always thought of change, in the weather and in life, as a positive thing; it's renewing; it's thirst-quenching. Work in the coming months will be frothed with changes. Some worry and are scared a bit. For me, I'll treat the upcoming days like casting off on a new adventure. One that will hopefully test, delight and make me stronger. Remember: the glass is half full!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


This is the Presumpscot School's playground. Playground equipment sure has progressed since days when I was swinging, upside down on the monkey bars. At the Gullivers Field playground, we had a merry-go-round, swings, monkey bars, 3 baseball diamonds and a teeter totter. That was about it. They were all cold, grey metal and certainly not as welcoming as this colorful set of structures. It was great fun those summers when a summer recreation teacher was hired. She was there about four hours a day and mostly did games and art activities, around a picnic table under the spreading oak in the corner of the field. Although we played baseball most days on one of the fields, the top of the monkey bars was where you could find me before she arrived in the morning. Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, why was this neat, adventurous playground empty? It's inviting to me, even today.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wet Tuesday

A couple of days of needed rain and complaints about the weather are already in the air. The first summer Elenka stayed in Maine for the entire summer, we decided to go camping at Camden Hills State Park. We packed her new Vega hatchback to the gills and headed out on a Friday afternoon for a weekend of blissful camping, hiking and campfires under starry skies. Friday night's meal of burgers and corn on the cob and the hours spent in conversation sitting around a blazing fire was right out of a textbook's guide to camping. However, as were were putting the campfire out for the night, raindrops started falling. The rain, heavy at times, lasted through the night with water leaking in and soaking our sleeping bags. In the morning, we were kind of miserable but not deterred. We WERE going to cook breakfast with our Coleman stove even in the rain. It wasn't pleasant work, but we got the job done thanks to a piece of plastic in front of our tent. We actually had scrambled eggs, toast and coffee. We survived breakfast, barely! We thought a few hours walking around Camden and the skies would clear for lunch and hiking. Wrong! Later, after crawling back into our tent, we dined on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, played many card games and suffered sore backs. Saturday afternoon, after listening to the weather report, (why we didn't do this in advance, I do not know. We go nowhere now without getting a forecast) we took the tent down in the pouring rain. Soaking wet, we drove back home. We were discouraged, but it didn't prevent us from countless other camping trips close and far away. We learned a lot that first time together and were much better prepared for future trips. And today the sun is back shinning brightly... "after the rain, sunshine". My sister had a music box that played that melody. Wet Tuesday, Sunny Wednesday. It all comes around!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011



"Grease is the word, is the word, is the word..."
And it's not 'greased lightning' either. Hardly! Making your way up this baby is one long, two day, tedious process. Lots of inquiries on yesterday's blog about the greased pole. So here it is, in all its 2011 glory. Ta da! The grease pole at St. Peter's Italian Festival. From top to bottom, I'd say the pole was about 30 feet tall, loaded with chestnut-yellow, thick grease. Back in my day, there was $100 bill attached to the pinnacle. Today, the object of the boys (why is it always boys attempting this maneuver?) attention was the small American flag flowing atop. As you might gather from these photos, the process towards the top involves assorted rags that help to eliminate the grease, and big bodies that the smaller lads stand upon as a base, before shinnying their way up to the top and glory. As for clothes and aroma, their t-shirts are ruined, a mess really, and they smell worse, if you ask me. By the way, the job is always done by Sunday evening, The flag has always been captured!

ps. In answer to the many inquiries of yesterday, I did NOT take a trip up the pole, but I did have to hold Elenka back!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Street Bazaar

Yesterday, after taking in The Wiz, the final show of the season at the Maine State Music Theater, we stopped by and enjoyed some of the atmosphere of the weekend's 86th St. Peter's Italian Street Festival. Federal Street was clogged with games of chance, Italian food and pastries, raffles, music, people and of course the grease pole. I recall the times that Teddy's mom would load her tan Oldsmobile up with a bunch of us guys and head in town. We always took in the bazaar on Saturday night. We got to stay out late and the sights, sounds and the darkness added so much. The highlight of the trip though was always the activity surrounding the grease pole with a hundred dollar bill resting at the top. Be the one to make it to the top and ol' Ben Franklin was yours. We always begged to give it a try, but all Mrs. Greene, standing among her friends, would do in return to our pleas , would be to tilt her head to the sky and let out a high pitched stream of laughter. Needless to say, Ben never graced our pockets on the ride home, but those were fun-filled nights of glee.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Taut Rope

This taut rope helps secure the Portland fireboat, the MV City of Portland IV, to its dock. I don't search it out; mischief finds me. After watching many a Hopalong Cassidy and Range Rider western on TV, my brother and I often tried out learned skills on each other. One was rope tying. We'd tie each other up to chairs, tables or anything we'd recently seen the cowboys attempt. One time, we used my little sister's small rocking chair and timed each other on how fast we could escape. He went first and somehow I escaped rather easily. Well, at least that's the version I'm relating today. My memory does get foggy at times. Now it was my turn. I used various twists and turns, tight knots and a wrapping technique that was sure to baffle even the hardest of 'criminals'. He tried and tried, but all my knots did the deed. Then I thought, why not add some drama and rock the chair... fast! It was moving so fast that it went over backwards, sending 'brother dearest' to his backside in tears. What was that I heard? The sound of my parents driving up the driveway? I scurried fast to at least release my brother from his knotty grip, but all the knots held tight. What to do? There was only one, honest thing to do; the thing that most older brothers would do when found in such a dubious position. I ran for my life! I ran and hid in my closet! Long story short. Dad was not happy. I saw his strap. I was in tears. Turn the page. As I have always said, I don't go looking for it; mischief finds me! Ouch!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ferry Fashion

Aboard our island ferries, you get to see a lot of fashion statements. From the t-shirt grunge look to parties headed out to an island for a formal wedding, the looks run the gamut. These colorful sneakers on right, spotted the other night aboard the Island Romance, got me to thinking. I got a kick out of the TV show "Project Runway" the other night. Each week the designers on the show are faced with a challenge. This past Thursday they had to design outfits for, are you ready for this, stilt walkers. That got me thinking back. One summer, we got it in our little heads that it would be great fun to build stilts and walk around high off the ground. As I remember, one night we 'borrowed' 8 foot pieces of 1x2s from Lewis Lumber Company and each of us guys commenced to construct our own pair of unique stilts, complete with a step for our feet depending how high off the ground we wanted to get. Don't ask me where we got the idea; I haven't the foggiest. But I must say that this spur of the moment 'project' entertained us for weeks that distant summer. Some fun? I'll say!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Cove Light

Yesterday afternoon, we took a ferry to Great Diamond Island, with friends Bonnie and Paul, for dinner at the Diamond's Edge. It was a warm, sun-filled afternoon and early evening on Casco Bay. After a brief stop at the bar for refreshments and a toast or two, we settled in at a white linen- covered table on the porch, overlooking the cove and the distant sailboats bobbing. We all agreed the word for our sojourn out to the island's restaurant, the weather, the delicious meal and company of best friends was, well perfect. Light was fading fast on our return trip to the ferry terminal, and some low banked clouds settling over the city provided for a stunning fading sunset over the Hill. Light's out!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Shadows and Light

There are lots of shadows and lots of light displayed on early summer mornings. Back on Market Street, this series of escapes form the backside of an Exchange Street building. It's always good to have an 'escape plan', at least that's what well-meaning friends have told me. I'm not a guy that really likes to plan ahead, although at work it's a must and through the aging process I''ve learned it can often be the road that leads to contentment and happiness, at least for awhile. So, I'm working on it. Case in point, after a couple of traveling snafus, Elenka now has convinced me that packing some spare clothes in my carry-on bag when flying is a very good idea. When I listen to her, about most things, I tend to do pretty well.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Chipped Paint

I really don't think this door needs a coat of paint yet, but there are places that are crying out for help around the old homestead. Over the last few weeks, I have obliged, and the work continues. Where are Tom and Huck when I need them? One side of the house is complete. One to go. The garage needs some stain too. That's set for the fall. Some jobs I can't do or prefer not to participate in, like seal coating the driveway and taking the big tree down. These chores will fall into the hands of others. During the summer, I have started moving some wood into the woodshed out back, but the job's half done. I think the ant in Aesop's tale, "The Ant and the Grasshopper" was really on to something. Stay busy in the fall and prepare your house for the winter climes, and you won't suffer the ill winds and harshness of winter. Experience, that great teacher, has taught me many things, especially living here in the Northeast. One being, they'll be plenty of time to 'play around' in the spring, summer and fall. Winter, up here, is no time for games... well, except for hockey and maybe Uncle Wiggily!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Natural Gas

This is a scene outback of the Metro garage for our fleet of city buses. Not only have cars changed but the look of a city bus has too. There used to be an abandoned 50's style one in a field I passed on my way home. It was there for about 25 years. Each trip past it, brought back adventures. I took the bus everyday to school from kindergarten to third grade. Kindergarten? I'm still amazed at that. I had to buy a weekly bus ticket, have it punched twice a day and not lose it. Later when I lived on Deering Street, I took the bus to work in the summer. Along the way, it picked up my 70-something buddy, Fillinger, and he would commence to regale me with anecdotes of his adventures in WWII and growing up in the city. He was what you would call a 'character'. We worked all day together and the stories came non-stop. One particular thing about him was that he gave everyone nicknames based on one's looks or deeds. He even gave Elenka one: "Doris", because he thought she looked like Doris Day. I was 'christened' Rocker, because I reminded him of some rock star gone bad. I was never called by my real name, just Rocker. His stories were tinged with bawdy humor and language and revealed a much simpler day. I enjoyed them , because the city and its history was always the backdrop. I miss the old guy. He was a fine teller of tales. He had gas to go all day!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Window Toys

I had great fun growing up, and toys were a part of it. A few jump out at me in the old memory bank. There were fun-filled summer days playing with Scotty and his many Tonka trucks on Lawn Avenue and those winter days on Stevens Avenue with the whole gang crowded in our kitchen with the that table hockey game. We had teams and tournaments that went on literally for weeks. My old trusty Teddy survived me dumping most of the contents of Mom's bottle of Chanel No. 5 on him. For years, he was the sweetest smelling teddy bear on the block. He's still with me today, riding shotgun in a box of J's stuffed animals in the attic. My bike, although maybe not a toy, was with me every step of the way, it seemed, in those formative years. And there were the assorted games, books, little green army men, the Roy Rogers Stage Coach, my cowboy outfit, skates, the orange and blue football helmet, a transistor radio, the paint by number kits found under tree on Christmas mornings. Did we get every toy we wanted? Are you crazy? We were typical kids. But as Mom and Dad would say as we got older, " Did we ever not give you anything you really needed?" And of course, the the answer honestly was always, "No." Sure there were things I felt I needed to survive and could not last the day without, but for the life of me, I can't remember what they were. I guess it's true, our brain can't remember pain.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Anne's Lace

Queen Anne's Lace, also known as the wild carrot, the bird's nest and the bishop's lace, is a flowering plant that can be found all over dry fields this time of year. I remember going out in the field behind Casco Bank once and picking a bouquet for Mom. She was so happy that she was almost moved to tears (not the only time I 'moved' my mother to tears, I might mention, and not for all the good reasons. But those are other stories). I later found out that my elaborately designed and beautiful flower was nothing more than a flowering weed found everywhere. No problem. To this day, it's one of my favorite plants growing wild. The way I see it, these simple plants are like opportunities we cross in our lives. Many pass them by, scoff at their relative unimportance, fail to see the connection between the acorn and the mighty oak. Others stop admire, take in and stumble upon life changing moments. Enjoy this piece of 'lace' today, a plant like no other.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Pandemonium breaks loose in Portland? I'm afraid not. If I was looking for excitement on this morning, I should have widened my scope. At the corner of Fore and Exchange, it wasn't a happening spot. Seen across the street here is Gritty McDuff's Brew Pub trimmed with green doors. Gritty's and Shipyard Brewing Company are two of the city's microbreweries that seem to always be going head to head to try to out do the other in new beers and label designs. I don't consider myself a micro connoisseur, but when it comes to beer I know what I like. Now, Gritty's Vacationland Summer Ale is one I order on tap each time I get a chance, but as for overall enjoyment Shipyard 's battery of Summer Ale, Export, Pumpkinhead (love that design) and their winter Prelude is the winner in my book hands down. And when it comes to label design, it's Shipyard in a walkover, if you ask me. So, let's raise a pint today!

Like beer? Do you have a favorite microbrew in your city? Share?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Guilty Pleasures

Guilty pleasures. We all have them. For some of us, it's stashing chocolate, stopping for ice cream or maybe ordering fried food when we know it's a no no. Me? I'm sort of hooked on late night 'reality tv'. It's like rubber necking at the scene of a bad car accident. I know I should say "look away, it's hideous", but I just can't. I might watch a season and never again, but will move on to the next. Hey, I'm not afraid to admit it, "The Deadliest Catch" "Ice Road Truckers", "American Pickers", "The Housewives of NYC"(all bitches!), "Storage Wars", "The Millionaire Matchmaker" and more. I've sampled them all. But the creme de la creme has to be "Project Runway" with Heidi Klum(ooh la la!) and her buddy Tim Gunn('make it work!'). Trace it to going to a Jesuit high school and wearing a tie each day, or often hearing the words of a school principal, who I heard say often to his staff,"Men look great in ties", I can't help it; I like ties. I have hundreds. I enjoy watching fashion trends, the stranger the better. And I'm often simply amazed at what the would be designers on the show create, from seemingly nothing sometimes. Ya, I'm guilty! I stand charged! Take me away! Put me in a cell! Hopefully with Heidi Klum!
Got a guilty pleasure you'd like to admit? Don't be a fraidy cat...

Thursday, August 4, 2011


This image was taken on Market Street and shows the rear outside dining area of a recently opened restaurant. Before it changed hands, it used to be one of my favorite coffee hangouts, especially during the winter months. The sound of the coffee maker perking away downstairs in the kitchen was always a welcoming sign each morning. Mom usually had a cup in hand, as she attempted to get us youngins fed and off to school. I enjoyed the aroma, hated the taste. I actually can trace my first cup back to the kitchen table at my friend Tom's house, somewhere around junior year of high school. As I remember, it was freezed-dried with artificial creamer and bitter to the taste. My other pals around the table were seasoned vets in the java world, but there I sipped my virginal cup. Today, I take mine perked, mild, black and in multiple versions. I've come a ways from that tan formica kitchen table and that first cup of Sanka. Sometimes we move in straight shots, sometimes winding paths.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Blue Bike

I had one of these in high school. I didn't want my driver's license; I wanted one of these. Dad tried his hardest to talk me out of it with many incentive-laced deals, but I had my heart set. He even said he'd get me that All-American car. Call me crazy! And by the way, many did. Nope! Not me, not then. At the time, there was a new Honda dealership opening on Forest Avenue, and I wanted in. When Mom and Dad reluctantly said yes, I paid the full price of $250 out of my paper route savings and excitedly drove out of the lot with my pride and joy. Why a bike and not a car? Well, sometimes I'm still puzzled by it myself. Maybe it was the freedom of having the wind in my hair and I had a lot; maybe it was just me listening to that 'different drummer' again calling me from off in the distance. Thank goodness I still hear that beat today. Was it the ad in the glossy magazine that touted "over 200 miles per gallon"? Are you kidding me? I guess I just needed to get it out of my system. I enjoyed immensely those years with my trusted friend. No, loved them! So few years really, so many memories made.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pouring Buckets

Got caught in a wave of thunderstorms the other day. Heavy rain, gusty winds and a little far-off lightning rolled on for over three hours. It was one of those fronts that showed massive shades of green across the radar. Frustrating and unsettling for those, like myself, that had a day of fun in the sun planned. At least it gave the local drainage system a workout. Here the water was just gushing down this walkway. These brave lads just went about their day. This guy took shelter in an overhang outside a candy store. Never have been a big candy guy; although at times, it is hard to pass up making a purchase of raspberry Twizzlers or passing a Mike and Ike machine and not throwing a couple of quarters away. And please, when Elenka's not in sight, don't put a dish of assorted jelly beans in my line of sight. Most of the time, I just like to look at it in its plastic wrapping and overpriced bags. As a kid, I did enjoy colored gum drops, those orange candy slices and the mint green leaves in a jar at my grandmothers. I always ate too many. As I said, I'm not a big candy guy. Oh, almost forgot I can never pass up needhams. It's the coconut that I crave!
Maine needham recipe:
ps. you don't even taste the potatoes... just chcolate and coconut! mmmmmm

Monday, August 1, 2011

Theme Day: Postcard-worthy

Today, August 1, 2011, is theme day across the CDPB(city daily photo blog) community. This is the Monhegan Island Lighthouse. This image is both postcard worthy and ready! The island is located 12 nautical miles off the mainland. And yes, you CAN get there from here. I think we've visited it four times, twice for day trips and twice for extended stays. Elenka and J- bring sketchbooks and paints, while I rely on my trusty Nikons. Want to get away from the zaniness and seemingly non-stop fever of that outside world for a day or a week? This would be a pretty good choice.