Thursday, October 31, 2013


Happy All Hallows Eve! 
My good pal Moe is a master cutter!
He's never seen a ginormous gourd that he hasn't dreamed about 'attacking' with his carving tools. He usually gets the leftovers that master growers don't take to competition at state fairs. If they don't head to big shows at the Cumberland or Fryeburg Fairs, then they usually end up in the back of Moe's pickup. These are no little suckers either. Most of them weigh somewhere in the vicinity north of 400- 600+ pounds. As you might imagine, getting them up to the pick-up bed is a project, that either takes a hoist or 5-6 able body friends. LL Bean paid $500 bucks for this one, that he cut up at the Camp Sunshine Pumpkin Fest.

He says, "You really can't make a mistake. If you miss a cut, you just take the face in another direction."

Doing a carving like this takes 'Guts'!

"Happy Trolls" to everyone out there today!

Hey! How 'bout them SOX!  Hey Dad, the Red Sox won it all again. I'm sure you saw it!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Left Behind

I found this old house the other day, that has been left behind so to speak. As you can see, vines are beginning to creep into the scene. I looked at it for quite awhile and really couldn't get a handle on its design. If it was in a rural location, I'd give the nod to the 'classic New England farmhouse', but it's on a city street, right in the middle of everything. I'm still wondering about it. It's been empty for quite sometime too. Maybe a few spirits will be peeking out through dirty windows tomorrow night, amid the raindrops.
Are you a believer in ghosts and spirits?
Living in a 200 year old farmhouse like we do, and you're always open to possibilities.
Been sleeping here since 1977 and have heard nada, nothing.
Maybe tonight.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Here's a dad is putting some finishing touches on his son's jack-o'-lantern on Saturday. For us, this was 100% Mom's work. Hahahaha! I can't remember Dad within 20 feet of our pumpkins. He wanted no part of any cutting up, gutting out or creatively coming up with scary faces. With newspapers scattered across the kitchen and small carving knives in the hands of her little ones, that was Mom's domain.
Two days before All Hallows Eve was all about cutting up my selected pumpkin and finding just the right candle for the gutted middle.
Four jack-o'-lanterns in the front windows.
Scary time.
Now, where's that devil costume?

Monday, October 28, 2013

'Gourd' Time

We attended the Camp Sunshine annual Pumpkin Festival in Freeport on Saturday. Stacked on towers, lining the streets, covering the lawns. Everywhere you looked, it seemed, jack-o'-lanterns were giving you the creepy eyeball. If you are not a fan of the aroma of carved pumpkins, this town was not the place to be Saturday. With the band, The Ghost of Paul Revere, playing in the background, you could carve an orange gourd for a $10 donation to the camp and place your carved wonder among the 10,000 or so covering the grounds of LL Bean. Camp Sunshine is a retreat for children dealing with life-threatening illnesses and their families. Since the festival's inception in 2003, this event has raised in excess of one million dollars.
Elenka was bored.
I thought it was fun, spending time among the 'scary faces'.
We both enjoyed our dinner at the Broad Arrow Tavern at the Harraseeket Inn, however.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Wild Fuzzies

Well, I never claimed that I was in any shape or form a botanist. My understanding of flowers and plant life extends to the following vocabulary: "Oh, I like that color." "That iris is beautiful." "That might go good there."
 That's about it. Really. All kidding aside. 
I'm sure they are not 'wild' in the true sense of the word, and for all I know, in the morphology of plants, there's probably no real technical term entitled 'fuzzies'. Although I must add at this point, that I did experienced the 'warm fuzzies' once, in another life.
And I do remember, that at one point in my science study somewhere learned, I think, that there is some sort of plant kingdom somewhere or somehow.
Maybe that's where those crazy hobbits live. 
Then again, I might be way off the mark here.
I might just want to stick with fuzzies.
Fuzzies, they are!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

USM Parking

I was a late bloomer. I had no need for parking lots and parking garages till I was somewhere around 23. Ya, call me crazy. You'd have been in a long line of people to call me that. Today, I still wonder what possessed me to wait so long. It's really unexplainable, so don't even try. I thumbed. I mooched rides. I begged. I borrowed. I stole... ok, I never stole. I think,  once though, a tear rolled gently down my cheek. I do remember that it worked, and I got transported to Kennebunkport, Gorham or some place. It was not a pretty part of my history, but I'm a survivor.
These days, I hop in my SUV to travel 100 yards or so. I love to drive. I tell Elenka, I'll pretty much drive her to New Jersey any weekend. I do some of my best thinking, alone in my truck with some music.
I think back now. 
From 16-23, how did I survive?
I wonder sometimes.
I like to think, I did it my way.
For good or bad, I guess. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Rich Building

After all, it is the Rich Building on Exchange Street in the city. Built in 1892, it looks to be quite vacant on those top floors. As they say, I do believe it has some great lines. I'm sure it's thoroughly ensconced on our city's historical preservation list too. It's not going anywheres soon either, because there are just too many hoops and ladders one needs to traverse, if there might be even a hint of any inside remodeling in its future. 

Here's a bit of building trivia for you. Did you know that the tallest building in Maine is but 16 stories high? Franklin Towers, on Cumberland Avenue in Portland, holds that mantle at this time. That structure makes Maine 47th out of 50 states as far as tallest buildings go. 
"Maine, the way Life should be."
Kind of an intriguing slogan, if you ask me.
Life is still kind of slow here.
I like it that way.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Two Guys

It was about 5 PM. I stopped by Starbucks for a grande for the ride back. The parking lot was pretty much deserted. I had just left the Portland Museum of Art and was taking a short cut to my car, parked on a side street. The afternoon shadows were doing their thing, when I caught these two guys passing on the sidewalk. They'll probably never come this close together again, like two ships passing on a calm sea at night. I stopped for a few staples at Hannafords, arrived home and popped a pizza in the over for J- and me. So, that was my afternoon and early evening. See, sometimes left to my own devices, I can stay away from trouble.
Safe and sound. No issues.
Ah... but I am wondering what these two guys did that afternoon and into the night.
As  you can see, right now, I don't have a lot on my plate.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Move on, if you think today's post is going to be about cute puppies.
It's going to be about rugged man stuff: sawdust and cartoons.

When I visited my grandparents house in Westbrook, I'd often climb up next to the sink and stare off towards the Saunders Brothers mill in the distance. There was a gigantic spruce, off about a 1/2 mile in the distance, that had a misshapen top that to me resembled the antlers of Bulwinkle the moose on "Rocky and his Friends". It was a show I couldn't miss. Grampa needed his daily dose of a Hopalong Cassidy western, and I my madcap adventures of that crazy moose and friends. To this day, if I catch it on reruns, I'm captivated. Some things in life are beyond explanation. There was also one of these devices next to the 'moose tree' at the mill. It was huge compared to this one. There was also a large smokestack off to the right, but my eyes were drawn to this contraption. I didn't need to know what it was called or what it did. I just told Nana it was some sort of flying saucer landing near the house. These days I know that it's a sawdust and crap retriever. I'm sure it has a technical name, but for me it'll always remind me of an alien invasion and my pals Mr. Moose, Rocket J. Squirrel, Natasha, Boris, Sherman, Dudley Do-Right and those Fractured Fairy Tales.
Dog lovers, move on.
There's nothing to see here.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fall Ritual

Each autumn, I keep putting it off and putting it off. It's inevitable but I just can't seem to get myself the spirit to do till now. The ritual of putting the summer, garden hoses away. This weekend, I'll turn the water off, unhook the lines of hose and stretch them up the hill to let the remnants of any water left to drain away. I'll let them sit there in the sun for a couple of hours to warm and become pliable and then slowly wrap them up and carry them to the celler, safe and sound until May. The gentle scrapping of dead leaves running across the walkway and down the driveway will be all that'll remain of this tangled scene soon.

Monday, October 21, 2013


So where's the fire? 
October is fire prevention month in Maine. I still remember walking home from school, after a visit from the local firemen and pump truck, wearing my red plastic helmet we got as a gift and safety reminder. I've seen these alarms, in many cases, well above the ground but never this low. In one of our Maine nor'easters, this alarm and water attachment will be covered well under snow. Not much good, I'd say. I'm sure, in this line of restaurants and shops on Exchange Street, it's all about aesthetics and not necessarily about usefulness. They both look like they have been 'attacked' by snow removal equipment too. Low placement, to me signifies out of sight, out of mind. 
After all, will there ever be a fire here? 
(that's supposed to be the sound of a firetruck)
Yes? No?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

House Fallen

This was once a beautiful home right on the water at Stroudwater Village in the city. I always wondered, when passing it, what it would be like seeing the morning sun rising across the river or perhaps taking a little journey in the canoes stacked at the river's edge. The lawn was always perfectly manicured also. However, over the last 10 years or so, it has fallen into disrepair. It is in dire need of someone slappin' a new coat of paint all over. And the main roof... so sad. It's actually falling in on itself. At least that's what it looks like from a distance. It must have some major leaks within. The colorful flowers and wreath do nothing to belie the fact that this once stunning home has seen a few better days.
Someone, please throw this building a lifeline.
It needs some critical care.
It needs a pick-up.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


I'm not a twin. Most of us are not. We stare in the mirror, and that's the closest we're ever going to make it to twins-ville. I'm happy for that. See, you having a down day, princess? There, I've just made your day. You've done the world a favor... there's only one of you!
There's only one of me too. Thank God! I don't think I could handle an identical or fraternal hanging around. I've got enough trouble just keeping myself in line. Double trouble, if you know what I mean. So, I'll just enjoy this line of trees outside work for a few more days, as I walk to my SUV. The row is magnificently lit in an afternoon sun.
I did think 'twins' when I saw them.
They are not identical, but close enough.
The scene is set for another terrific autumn day.
Blue skies, trees on fire! 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Name Game

Scratch, scratch, scratch...
Some bows to history make a lot of sense. Others leave you scratching your head. The Eastland Park Hotel, seen here Wednesday evening, is a grand hotel in the city that carries a bit of nostalgia at the intersection of Congress and High Streets. The building that has been completely gutted and redesigned is scheduled for a December 2013 unveiling. It's got some history attached too. After all Charles Linbergh spent a night or two here and even Eleanor Roosevelt and her pooch caught some zzzzzzz's on the upper floors. Cool, huh! Even cooler, a brand new, red lettered sign went up mid-week that has a lot of residents talking, some even chuckling a bit. No, don't look for any spelling errors. They're not that dumb. Here's where some are are scratching and wondering why. You see the grand lady has been renamed for the reopening. It will now be known as, ta da... the Westin Portland Harborview!  Thousands of dollars, I'm sure, went into the new sign EASTLAND, let alone all the bucks paid out to a creative-design team that came up with the updated, hipster name 'harborview', but can you imagine the confusion you are headed for when you attempt to make a reservation from 'away'. 
"Yes, hello, yes I'd like to make a reservation for the night of the 21st at the Eastland Hotel. What? You say there is no hotel? But I'm staring at the sign. It's right here in front of me. We stayed here just last year. I know it's there,.. here."
Get the picture?
Scratch, scratch, scratch...
All I can say on this one is WHY?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Face Time

Faces are interesting accessories to our bodies. They render us quite unique. Growing up my freckles always drove me crazy. I'd look in the mirror and contemplate ways that I might rid them. These days they seem to have faded away a bit, and I've gotten use to the those little fellers sprinkled around my body. Now, in 1974 I added a mustache to my look, and I've carried it ever since. It had been presented in many different variations. Small, long and droopy, fu manchu-ish. I've worn them all. These mornings it's quite long and bushy. I've even taken to adding a little wax to the look. I hear the National Hockey League has designated the month of November as 'Movember' this year to raise money and awareness for men's cancer. Here at work, I hear the guys are going to be growing mustaches for this good cause, but what do I do?
I've got it!
I'll grow a soul patch!
Now, that's some face time that I've never worn.
Some will roll their eyes, but hey, I just say: FACE it!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Hair Job

Interesting choice of a hair salon name. I guess you could say that the act of butchering the top of someone's head is more or less a creative endeavor... or not. And I'm sure that these metal pieces dangling from the Opus sign have some attraction or at least meaning to hair treatments. I'm just not getting it this morning. I'm sure the 'hair artists' at 102 Exchange Street could explain it all to me. In a younger day I once misspoke and called one of these establishments a hair saloon. I might have been closer to the truth then I thought. Hey, I might have stumbled on to something: scissors and alcoholic beverages a lethal combination. As a matter of fact, some might say that the top of my head has been a lifelong experiment with just these tools.
I better not go there. 
I'll let this sleepin' dog lie.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Captain Chuck

I got into some mischief back when I was in college. I know this probably surprises you but I did. I got moved from one dorm to another, and I consider it the best trouble I ever got in. You see, in so doing, I made a lifelong friend. Our dormitories were set up in suites, with two roommates each sharing sinks, a toilet and a shower in between. Chuck became a suite mate for my last 3 collegiate years in western New York. Because I didn't want to travel home to Maine for long Thanksgiving weekends, I got invited to stay with him at his family's home in Buffalo. After graduation, he went off to Vietnam flying refueling tankers, and eventually even got stationed in the 'outer limits' at Loring Airforce Base in Limestone, Maine. He taught ROTC at various stops, and we visited them once when they were living in Nashua, NH and ended up babysitting their oldest son Jeff the day Greg was born. He flew for Delta Airlines for 35 years and did his 'final touchdown' Saturday morning. I spent this past weekend with him and his wonderful family in Atlanta. It was a special time that I would never have missed. In those four dorm years, we shared so much. Staying connected to friends of long ago is something he specializes in. Retirement can be so bitter-sweet at times.
I'm so lucky we connected way back then.
See? Mischief can breed fine results.
Show me the way, Chuck.

Monday, October 14, 2013


Happy Columbus Day!
Let the controversies continue. Does Chris C. deserve a day to himself? Should the Washington Redskins do the right thing and change their moniker and mascot? Will the idiots in Washington ever get their sh*t together and come back to the real world? These are just a few of the items that are ticker-taping across my brain this morning. I'm not holding my breath about any of these issues be solved soon either.
Season's change... minds take a bit longer.
Sometimes centuries.
Sometimes never.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Park Fountain

It's lonely out early on a Sunday morning. Just a couple of gulls and  some spraying water from the Lincoln Park fountain. It's in its last few days. Soon the water will be shut off for another winter, and its' basin will just fill with snow. Around these parts, I always find a bit of sadness attached when fountains are turned off. Although, it would present quite a photo op to see water here attempting to gush forth at 10˚ below zero, the damage would be felt long before the beauty. I guess I'll have to settle for some fall colors, reflecting water, prancing gulls and a building lurking in the background.
Not a bad trade, if you ask me.
Happy Autumn.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


After a couple of weeks' delay, it happened. We finally got our crap together and had our yard sale last weekend. No big deal. We approached the 3 digit profit line however, and what's more, we moved some of the clutter from our two attics and garage. Don't worry though. Now that  we've made some space, Elenka and I will start collecting new stuff this weekend. As you can see by the prices, everything was priced to move. By 4 PM, most of the items that were not sold were moved to the street with an accompanied FREE sign. Monday evening, we loaded my SUV for Goodwill or packed the rest at the bottom of the driveway, if deemed 'trash-worthy'.
Beep, beep, beep... trash truck, Tuesday AM.
Story over.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Rural Orchard

Getting from a rural setting of an apple orchard like the one seen here to the city proper is but a quick 20 minute ride. No tolls. No crowded tunnels. No miles of overlapping bridge work. No such morass as gridlock. No endless lines of yellow taxis. No streets clogged with pedestrians. Hey, it's not a nirvana. Yes, there is crime. Yes, certain times of the year and in certain places I will curse traffic jams and the freaky, crowded conditions. For the most part though, it's easy to take. When and if it gets too crazy, I just head back to the country. Rural living certainly has its perks.
Now, if we could only get rid of those cursed parking meters!
Rid those and you might see me venturing in the city more.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Bare Tree

Around these parts, Columbus Day weekend is prime viewing time for the 'leaf peepers'. Early Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday mornings the buses will be streaming up Route 25 heading over to North Conway and the Kangamangus Highway in New Hampshire. On the water, the Brilliance of the Seas, a ship in the Royal Caribbean line, will be making two stops this long weekend. They'll be buses heading off  DownEast towards Freeport and further along to Camden to take in the foliage sights. It's all about color, color, color this weekend. Me? I'll be doing some contemplation and deep thinking about why our maples out front (pictured is not one of ours) are not turning the brillant reds, oranges and yellows for about the third year in a row. They basically have gone from their green of August to dull yellow-browns in early October. Also, usually this weekend they are still hanging on for dear life. Today, our two big trees are bare to the bone. What's that all about?
I might have to call the foliage doctor.
Got his number?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Keep Positive

I walked by some of the outdoor tables at the Grill Room Sunday afternoon, as a heavy mist was falling. There was also a threat of some heavy rain moving in, but a few tables were already set and waiting for some diners. If they were planning on taking seats around this table, they certainly would be of the glass half empty ilk. They'd have a pretty positive outlook on lots of things, including the evening's weather, I bet. I must admit though, the mist, the wet patio scattered with yellow leaves added a touch of ambiance. If it was only a wee bit warmer, I might have taken the bait.
From the sunny outlook yesterday, to showers today, it's leading into that time of changing seasons.
Winter's on the horizon... keep positive and enjoy some falling leaves.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sun Splotch

Oh, when I saw this I was rocketed back to afternoon art classes in elementary school. I can smell that tempera paint still. Almost good enough to take a taste of right there on the brush. A glob of yellow resting 3/4 of the way up the paper was my start. There that was to be the sun, and I was off. I always started with the sun. It was hard, in my mind, to screw up starting with that glowing, yellow  orb. That was a safe bet. In art class with the nuns, it was gonna be a 'sunny' day. I would make it that way. A round splotch of the brightest yellow, right out of the jar, that did the trick. Kids to the right and left got on the 'kick' that the sun was always going to be coming out of the top right hand corner at the 90° angle. Of course, they had to add the 4-5 rays sprouting forth to the scene below. So realistic!
When I left class, I was pretty proud of my work. The next morning however, my wrinkled, dry effort looked the same. Pitiful!
I knew then a life of Rembrandt wasn't going to be my calling.
I can roll a wall quite nicely with the best of them. I've gotten quite adept at it.
As for the sun splotches, I'll leave the artistic stuff in more capable hands.
I can be a bit foolish at times, but I ain't crazy!
Be nice, I hear some chuckling.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Chain, Chain, Chain

Well, now I've gone and done it. Aretha Franklin will probably be in my head all day now.
"Chain, Chain, Chain..." 
That's it. I've given myself, what scientists call an 'earworm'. A song that gets stuck in your head all day is usually a song that is rhythmically and lyrically quite simple. Scientists also state that we must be 'ready' if a song is to stay with us. Are you stressed out? Do you have a good memory? What kind of mood are you in? Here's a great one. Are you bored? Well, if you fall into any of these categories this morning, look out. You just might be humming, toe-tapping and singing, poorly I might add, your way around the day.
But no fear. The Super Hero: Technology is on the way to the rescue. There is a app coming soon to a smart phone near you.
Trigger it, and you're on your way to a stupid-song-free day. What it'll do, I have no idea.
So get ready... "Call Me Maybe", "Last Train to Clarksville"...

Till then, for me, it'll be, "Chain, chain, chain... For five long years, I though you were my man..."

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Shed Doors

I like the look of these weathered doors on this shed. Well kept buildings like this always unleash the quizzical aspect within me. I partially blame it on Monty Hall and his show "Let's Make A Deal". I also partially blame it on the kid in me back then , who always wanted to know what was just beyond my reach, and of course, the kid in me now who wants a look at that vintage pick-up truck, the packed trunks of junk, or the old haying rig waiting to be sold, that's just behind these panals. 

Monty, I'll take my chances with Door #2.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Two Boats

I get the chills late at night walking along the ocean's edge. Looking out to sea and spying only the foaming turberlance at my feet, sets the goose bumps running along my arm. Cruising in the Caribbean, my late night visits to our balcony are few and far between. The smells, the darkness, the depths all come together for a goulash of an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach. During the day out on the balcony, life is grand. Sitting with Elenka, a good book, a glass of wine, and it almost can't get any better. Ten hours later, in almost total blackness, it's just plain creepy. I'm uncomfortable. I won't stay long.
Terra firma is a place I love in darkness.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Thin Lines

Take one for the little guy today.
Stand up for a color that gets no respect.
The afternoon sky was laced with a bit of fog and some light rain, but these stalks of grass stood tall and thin against the sea breeze. I've always been an admirer of late season grasses, as I drive back and forth to work. There are various places along my short trip that make for quick glances at fields waving at me in subtle shades, from dull almost yellows to that dark, recluse pigment. Brown seems like such a dull color. Few sports teams want to take on its hues. It's a tough color to sell. It seldom makes an appearance in million dollar ad campaigns that bombard us daily.  But I type before you this morning and preach to long live the colorant brown in all its tones.
Give brown a second look. 
Check it out today on your maneuvers through your world. 
Striking, really!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Lawn Apple

Came across this odd site the other afternoon. Some free range chickens, on a nearby lawn, had had their way with a bunch of apples resting under a low, spreading tree, I do believe. As I continued walking down the dirt road, I got to thinking about 'road apples'. But I had never seen horses on this road before, so I surmised that I'd be  pretty 'safe'. I guess you could say that this 'grass apple' is the distant cousin of the unpleasant 'find' of the road apple. Ok, I'm just wandering this morning. 
Please throw me a lifeline!
Maybe, I should just phone a friend.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Iron Heart

After yesterday's little jaunt with the devil, I better show my flipside. Really, I'm all about love. If you travel up to the garden and hang about the lilac tree, you'll catch a glimpse of this rusted heart hanging off a branch. It's got some peculiar angles jutting off in odd directions, a few sharp points and has the look and feel of  laced oxidized iron. Although the heart is but a symbol, this one shows the wear and tear that true loves often have to weather to survive. Time is a true measure in any relationship, and it serves well here. I have no idea where it came from. I spied it one afternoon many, many years ago while mowing the lawn. 
An iron heart seems quite an oxymoron that fits here.
It takes 'tough love' to another level.
Love is all you need.

"Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy, you must have someone to divide it with." 
Mark Twain

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Theme Day: Details

Today is October 1, 2013 and Theme Day across the citydailyphotoblog community. When I heard what the theme was going to be for the month, there was only one place I wanted to go. Just say, the devil!
The devil has always been in the DETAILS for me. Wanna be successful and happy with any big project, take time with the little things. Patience, patience, patience. It'll pay off in the long run. This is something that tends to be in short supply for me.
This self-portrait is all me. Was back when I was walking the streets of my neighborhood on Halloween and still is today.
The devil made me do it. 
I'll just leave it at that.