Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Travelog #5

I like Disney!
I grew up with Walt Disney.
I had a raccoon cap just like Fess Parker in the movie Davy Crockett.  I knew that theme song by heart.
I like Disney!
We've visited Disney World many times. On a visit out to California to see one of Elenka's cousins, we even took a side trip to Disneyland. We've taken two cruises on the Disney MAGIC. We like to visit Downtown Disney. As a matter of fact, we recently walked streets there. We've stayed at Disney hotels too. Twice we've stayed at the Wilderness Lodge and Coronado Springs. 
Did I tell you I like Disney?
I like the Mouse!
I really do! 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Travelog #4

No, this is not a self-portrait of me wearing a pelican mask. Remember: things are not always as they appear. These birds look so goofy and awkward to me, while waiting for fishermen to throw castoffs their way. Yet see them in flight and they are maybe the most graceful of birds. I always know I'm in Florida when a squadron of these winged creatures pass overhead. Such an elegant bird trapped in an unseemly costume. This one was quite friendly too. Children were patting it on its head.
I passed.
That is a large mouth.
I'm happy watching them soar, overhead along the shore.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Travelog #3

Here we are on New Smyna Beach. Like Daytona Beach, vehicles are allowed to drive up and down the beach. It was my first trip to a beach like this. As you can see, you can get just about anything to make your day more enjoyable as you walk the sand. Yes, there is a tiki bar for any adult beverages one might require. We brought everything with us, except the water and sand, so we had only to relax along with Elenka's cousin, her husband and our niece. Conversation flowed. Probably the best part was that we didn't have to lug all our beach stuff from a parking lot to our chairs. Just park the car, open the trunk and take in the 'sights'.
Word to the wise?
Watch out for cars and four-wheelers and bikes traveling back and forth on the hard sand.
It was a fun afternoon with temperatures creeping towards 90.
Of course, we brought beverages!
And, yes those are my flamingos!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Travelog #2

Another day in the sun.
Another day at the beach.
This time we hung out at the Tiki Bar at the end of the pier at Coca Beach and watched the surfers below. I must admit they were pretty brazen. About a half hour before, and about a half mile down the beach, pretty much right in front of our chairs there had been a shark attack. A German tourist, swimming close to shore, received a significant bite just above his ankle. Heck, seaweed brushing against my leg in waist high water is worthy of attention let alone some fish 'scanning the menu' for dinner.
Birdman a la carte?
Elenka and I settled for a couple of rum concoctions and scanned the water from above for surfers mysteriously disappearing beneath the waves. No such luck though. As a matter of fact, I didn't even hear that spooky Jaws theme music playing in the distance.

duunnn dunn... duuuunnnn duun... duuunnnnnnnnn dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnnn dunnnn!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Travelog #1

Lost and Found.
We ventured to the beaches of Central Florida over the last week. One of our stops took us to Coca Beach. Nailed to this tree next to the rangers station was a pretty haphazard collection of junk. I don't know about you, but if I lose anything of worth and I know I've done it, I'm retracing my steps looking for it as soon as I can. At work there is a pile of stuff: nice winter jackets, a pair of wellies, jeans, sneakers among the recognizable. Why have they not been reunited to their owners? I can't figure this out for the life of me. For the most part, these items hanging from this tree will probably never find their way home. The owners are long gone, probably heading back North. Most of the articles brought a grin to me. The ranger even got a kick out of my photographic pursuit that afternoon.
Wait a minute.
This 'lost blonde' reminds me of someone.
Look, she's waving at me!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Dinner Bell

Some days it was embarrassing. Other days, it wasn't. Most of the time it depended who I was with, and if they were familiar with the routine. What was it all about? Mom had a cowbell she rang twice a day: precisely at 6 PM and then again at 9 PM. When the dinner bell sounded for supper, if I wanted to eat I had better be seated soon after I heard it. Cold food was not fun! The 'all in' bell rang at 9. If I wasn't present soon after I heard it, my 'outdoor existence' was usually cut short for the next few nights. I was lucky. I grew up in a neighborhood with plenty kids my age, guys and gals. I'm sure their parents secretly like the sound too, especially at 9. The bell was easy to hear. Mom just stepped out the back door and rang it 4-5 times. 
I lived with it.
I had no real problem with it.
Well, when I was with young ladies, it could be a bit perturbing.
On hot summer nights, if I pleaded 'pretty please', I got an extension until 10.
Mom was fair.

btw THIS isn't the bell!
If it was this one... Good Grief!
Where's the fire?????

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Spring Grass

This reminds me of our back walkway. We built it over twenty years ago using flagstone from Blue Rock Stone Center, a local stone supply company. We planned it out, picked it up ourselves, with help from Paul's pickup truck, and then Elenka and I laid it out on a hot July day. As you might imagine, Elenka did the artistic design and yours truly and Paulie did most of the heavy lifting. The last time we looked, we probably need to take a trip back to replace a couple that have seen better days. There has been lots of foot traffic, runs with the snowblower and wood trips up back with the truck. Even the plywood I throw down to cover them, does some wear and tear damage.
Work around the house is always on the schedule for summer days.
I usually have a summer project or two to work on.
As of now, no real plan.
But I have some ideas.
And some time.
... considering my soon to be new life-plan.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


They say rockers are out.
As far as I'm concerned, they will always  be in.
As a matter of fact, the last time we were at the Jetport here in Portland I waited in a great white rocker. There are probably 20 or so sprinkled around the waiting areas. Also, given the choice of a chair or a rocker for my retirement with a nice plaque attached, I opted for the rocker. In my book, you can't go wrong settling for a good rocking chair. I grew up with one in the kitchen next to the wood stove, and these days there are a couple rocking in our home. Sitting in the sun on this porch only adds to the pleasurable experience.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Sometimes, I feel I don't understand sculpture. Mr. Beckwith at Lincoln Junior High School tried to teach me a thing or two in seventh grade about it. I remember we had a sculpture assignment. The assignment was to create a person's head, not necessarily a self-portrait. I was happy with that information. I had enough teenage angst without adding to my misery. I accomplished the mission and got it fired without destruction. For me that deserved an A+. I think I recall Mr. B- going with a B, and I was happy. Mom was happy too. It made it to a bookcase in a place of honor in the den. I lost track of it when I travel off to college. I'm sure it was picked up, along with thousands of classic baseball cards, in one of many of Mom's yard sales.
My name was cut into the bottom.
If you find it in a garage sale or a museum someday, tell them you know the sculptor.
It'll be a steal for $5!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Beach Shadows

It's all downhill from here. Well, at least heading down to the beach on these wooden stairs. Shadows don't lie. I grew up with Mad Magazine. Eddie would buy them, and I'd get a look at them second-hand, with a few stains from the oil of his Italian sandwiches. I loved the movie parodies and a few of the reoccurring strips. Maybe my favorite was "Shadows Don't Lie". There were two pictures side-by-side. One showing the actual scene, and the next one relating how the person shown really felt. One was called 'Blind Date' with a guy opening the door and greeting a rather homely young lady, with complimentary words. The next picture, 'in the shadows', revealed how he truly felt. It showed him puking out fish bones, tin cans and other assorted hunks of food. 
This image still makes me chuckle.
I'll still take a look at the newsstand, if I spy the new monthly issue.
At Christmas, J- always gets the 'Year in Review' issue.
I strongly believe in the adage.
There is truth among the shadows.

Sunday, April 20, 2014


I like owls.
We had a barred owl visiting the top of our garage all winter. He was hanging out around our birdfeeders and when the garage lights were glaring... it was dinner time. I had just one regret. He came between 10 PM and midnight. They are after all nocturnal hunters. I wish he'd make a couple of swings by around 10 in the morning. The three fat squirrels would have made quite a repast.
Getting rid squirrels--- is that a bad thing?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Maple Leaf

Got this as a gift yesterday. What a neat bottle! Pancakes usually are not a part of my morning regiment. Sometimes, on weekends when I'm weak and Elenka dangles tempting blueberries at me, I'll commit the sin and partake. Saturdays usually finds me wrestling with an English muffin or two. Raspberry jelly along with peanut butter usually does the trick. Now, if there's a warm, cinnamon-raisin bagel in the vicinity, I might take a gamble. Otherwise, I might have to sample this bottle soon.
Why am I thinking the Stanley Cup Playoff looking at this? Heck, the Maple Leafs didn't even make the grade this year. Still trying to recover from the stunner last year in Game 7 with the Bruins, I guess.
Lord Stanley's fun has begun!
Go Bruins!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Tree Stump

These brown leaves might at first signal a fall scene, but on closer examination the slight remnants of snow cry out spring. Two items close, but in memories miles apart. I got a treat every summer growing up, two weeks in Westbrook with Nana and Grampa. Sleeping on the porch, penny ante on the kitchen table, scanning the latest issue of the  Saturday Evening Post, sitting on the workshop stairs listening to the saws scream and walks to the Dairy Queen almost paled next to that jug of Tropicana. With four little ones around huddled around our breakfast table, Mom settled for cans of concentrated orange juice. Small frozen cans plopped in the pitcher then four cans of water was a morning ritual. I loved cold oj in the morning, in fact, any time of day. On sweltering days in July, Mom popped in a hunk of ice cream and took it to the blender. Mmmmmmm. Like heaven! But breakfast in Westbrook was something else with that tall glass of Tropicana, sitting next to the corn flakes. The taste was so different, so delicious, so memorable.
There's a bottle in my fridge this morning.
No pulp!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Drainage Grate

It's a grate.
When it comes to drainage grates, everything heads to the sea around here. That said, we must be on alert, as to what flows through these openings. Why did I waste my time photographing this? I liked it. Simple as that. Liked the design. Liked the color. Liked the rust. There'll be no Pulitzer Prize for Featured Photography coming my way for this one. I just like it.
Remember: there is no explanation needed for taste.
And that's the name of that tune!
Ain't it grate!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


There's a little bit of everything in this image taken a few weeks ago, note snow on right. The door and the wall next to it first grabbed my eye. Then I saw the glass panels above. At first, I thought they were just glass reflecting objects from across the street, but on closer examination, it was framed art: a sort of sidewalk art show. My question this morning would be, is this an apartment or a small gallery or both? 

*By the way, the snow at the left reminds me, we had a dusting of snow last night. Towns nearby got 2-3 inches. 
April 16... I love Maine! 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Flashback this morning-
Sometimes songs, people, events just come rushing back out of the blue. Where they come from and why at a particular time, I do not know

Exhibit A- I'm looking at this image, taken on East End Beach last week, and all I'm thinking of is the Shangri Las hit "Remember, Walkin' in the Sand" recorded back somewhere around 1965. The Shangri Las were one of those slutty girl bands that that guys were pulled towards.  Not me , of course, but some guys (insert laugh track here). Although they dressed kind of pretty, I imagined they'd fit in perfectly with the greasers in the teen classic, The Outsiders. They could hide switchblades in their poofy hair! When I heard "Leader of the Pack", I knew I had to see what these girls looked like. Saw them on American Bandstand, Hullabaloo and the Lloyd Thaxton Show.
Like a comet, they flashed across the sky.
Blonde lead singer, Mary Weiss, is still performing.
That's my musical update today.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Dance Hall

This room brought back memories of dance halls of an other era. The Rug Factory, Serenity Hill, Presumpscot Grange and Frye Hall were all regular venues that pulled me in for one reason or another. Some for the good and a couple for the...  well, let's leave it at that. 
The last couple weeks here's my playlist: Lou Reed, Talking Heads, Grateful Dead, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Rosanne Cash, Steely Dan, Classical, Lucinda Williams, Queen, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck, Beatles,  Bob Marley, Radiohead, The Four Seasons, Springsteen, Brad Paisley, Buckwheat Zydeco, Jimmy Cliff, British Invasion music, Steve Miller Band, Dave Clark Five, Hall and Oats, Dropkick Murphys, Dwight Yoakum, Saw Doctors, Moody Blues, Cher, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Pretenders, Four Tops, Warren Zevon, Dylan, Oscar Peterson, Patsy Cline, Miles Davis, Chris Isaak, Dire Straits, Dusty Springfield, Dean Martin, Clapton, Allman Brothers, BB King, Van Morrison, Stones, Kinks and a few more.
As you can see, my musical tastes run all over the place.
Music plays in my world.
Who have I left out that needs to be on my rotation?  

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Two Couches

I like over-stuffed couches. I sampled both of these the other day, and I'll go with the blue one. Why do they call them over-stuffed? Most used furniture seems pretty much beat up and worn. If you are heading for one at a bar or coffee shop, you'll find cushions that have been dealt their u-shaped form by years upon years of big butt use. I can deal with the ill-formed cushions. However, it's the seats that exhibit that musty, peculiar aroma that you just can't place. Can't place, but you know it's not a good place. Both of these were free of such a malady.
These couches have stories.
I haven't read them yet though. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Beach Grass

I went to the beach last week. It was sunny, but a brisk breeze was coming off the water. It always does this time of year. I walked towards the water along a small wooden pathway. I was looking left and right for the sights and sounds of nesting birds. Piping plovers nest here from the middle of April on. I saw none. I heard none. Too early, I guess. I'm not a birder, so don't get me going on that activity. Ok, you twisted my arm... Now, counting different birds at certain times of the year? No problem. Makes sense to me, even though it seems a lot like the herding of cats to me. But manning high-powered binoculars and scanning bushes and the skies and just looking to identify birds and talking about their migration patterns seems kind of boring to me.
Maybe I'm missing something.
It won't be the first time.
You go you plovers!

Friday, April 11, 2014


Different is good!
I like to think I'm different, but in a good way. I like to think I'm a bit unique too. I was thinking about this the other day. Yes, different is good, but each day you live a different way, don't you become in a kind of a sad, boring way the SAME? Maybe I'm thinking too much this morning.
Gotta go get a coffee. 

*Hey, check this out. I've been included this morning.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Not Camo

This is not a replay of yesterday's jacket sidewalk shot. I was grabbing an afternoon coffee yesterday and perusing a couple of 'weekly rags', when I looked to my left and saw this tree literally dressed from top to bottom in lichen. I can't believe any tree covered in this fungus could be in good shape. Excluding a couple of relatively minor physical issues, I'm in better shape than this young tree. After stating this, I'm just letting you know I might might have to 'delete' another comment this morning. It won't be a crazy, religious spammer though. I'll probably be someone closer to home.
That said, I'm thinking it's getting close to a spring trip to the beach and a rack of fried clams and beach fries.
I'm just saying.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sidewalk Camo

It's not only animals that use camouflage to to escape their natural enemies. We do too. I don't hunt, although I live in a state where hunting is a large draw. From what I have seen lately, fashion has become a big part of the hunting game in and out of the woods. Don't believe me? Stop by any of the large or small outdoor gear stores. Check out the hunting sections of large businesses like LL Bean, Kittery Trading Post and Cabelas and sample the clothes' racks. I must admit this jacket is a eye-catcher on a local sidewalk. I wouldn't buy one, but I do see why others are attracted to jackets, hoodies and other outdoor wear clothes. To each his own, I say.
I'll leave it at that.
Not getting into the hunting debate here.
Not even going to go any further battling the pros and cons of fashion either.
However, Heidi would look stunning in this number, with or without the spiked heels.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Past or Future

This looks like a fall shot, but it was taken yesterday. Is it a glance back at a murky past or some sort of slow clarification of the road ahead? Take your pick. With apologies to 'chairman of the board', regrets, sure I've had a few. Mistakes/? There is a long line of those, but I really must say that I've learned quite a bit from those experiences. Embarrassments? Yes. Loss of face? Sure. Vows that that will never happen again? Many, many, many. Like most, I like to think that I've learned from all of those miscalculations. I'm not a habitual offender. Screw up big time, and I don't want that feeling again. I steer clear. At least, if I look back with my memory, it reflects back that way to me.
My memory seems a bit foggy at times though.
Perhaps Elenka might be a better judge.
Learn from mistakes.
Then turn the page.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Maple Fingers

Here we are today. The stubby fingers of our maple reach to touch the sky. It looks a bit different from yesterday's photo. Below a few lines from Gerard Manley Hopkins on the topic of spring. My journey, as an English major, crossed paths with Hopkins in a Victorian Literature class. Our professor was a 'Hopkins' nut', who did his best to showcase the English poet's daring creativeness.

By Gerard Manley Hopkins
Nothing is so beautiful as Spring –         
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;         
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush         
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring         
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
   The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush         
   The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush         
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Snow Maple

Don't panic!
This image was not taken this morning. I took it about 3 weeks ago after our last snowfall (I hope). It's the maple tree at the end of the driveway. Spring has finally sprung. 
Boing! Boing! Boing!
There. Did you hear it. 
We've got a stretch ahead, about 10 days, of 50+ temperatures headed our way. I saw about 20 robins hopping about a field on the way home from work last week. Maybe baseball fields will be showing brown grass in another week or so. Bright sun greeted me at the backdoor, as I let Molly out this morning. The driveway remains wet, and that always a good sign that the garden area is melting. Still significant snow remains piled on the deck, but I digress. Crocuses are blooming. Elenka tells me there are daffodils ready to explode on her way to work. More birds are chirping, as I shove off to work each morning at 6:30. There is plenty of dirty snow around, but I just divert my eyes. 
"Look away, it's hideous!"
So, this better be my last snow shot, but I'm not predicting anything.
I had Michigan State winning it all tomorrow night. They are long gone in the Madness that was March.
We've had snow mid-April too.
Never in May though.
I shouldn't have uttered those words.

Saturday, April 5, 2014


I don't consider work a grind. Never have. I enjoy it. I'm intrigued each day at at what I might find. I've been at it awhile, and I'm not jaded. I've seen others, younger than I, fall by the wayside, angry and crestfallen. The job's not easy. No one has ever said that. Not me. Not yet. You say, I might have found the fountain of youth. I'm not that lucky. Not yet. It's a cliche, but I take each 24 hours as it comes. Perfection in all I touch? I haven't found that 'island' yet either. I'm not searching for it either. I must say finding 'little gems' in my day helps. Every day is different. Stumbling upon these 'little sparkles of light' often shows up when I least expect them. I think we all do,  and not always at work either. I've driven by the Grind for many years but never stopped. I've always seen it as a difficult spot to park. The other day, while waiting for a car repair I had 30 minutes to kill. I got dropped off here. Lots of coffee choices. I settled on a coconut-flavored number (love anything coconut) and sat back on an over-stuffed couch among magazines and some local weeklies, and time flew. It was a warm spot on a chilly March afternoon.
No grind involved, other than its name.

Friday, April 4, 2014


Sometimes it's lonely being by yourself.
This looks to be a very economical storage alternative behind the Amtrak station. I bet it beats the heck out pricy marinas located around the harbor. Own a boat? Storage is a big ticket item to consider.
Storage for me comes down to energy storage. Unlike a fine friend and coworker next door, who is always eating to feed the metabolism, I pass on breakfast and make it to lunch before I partake. My lunch these days: cottage cheese, plain yogurt, raisins, almonds, blueberries, sliced bananas, a few grapes. It's a mess when I stir the concoction together, and yes, I get strange looks at my lunch table and a few laughs thrown in, but from my end it's delicious. 
As George Costanza says, "It's all pipes; what's the difference. It all ends up in the same place."
Storage of energy is a very good thing.
Now, that's food for thought.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Inside SALT

The Salt Institute for Documentary Studies offers courses in writing, photography, radio and new media. It's always a  fascinating stop on any Friday Art Walk, or really any day you'd like to get a taste of what is happening in the documentary arts. It's an engaging room. The walls are always lined with compelling photo essays and the room to the right usually is playing interesting video storytelling projects. The Institute has grown quite a bit from its formative years putting out a simple magazine in the 70's.
It seems like lots of changes... for the better.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Cluttered branches

As you can see by this recent photo, spring really hasn't burst around here yet. It's really difficult to find any budding breaking out. It's coming, but still seems delayed. I noticed yesterday on the news that Hadlock Field is cleared of snow and ready for the Portland Seadogs home opener tomorrow. Portland currently has a lot less snow cover than in my backyard this morning. I get a kick each year when they interview Seadog players from 'away' about playing, the game they love, in April in Maine. I attended a home opener  of the 'Dogs back somewhere in the 90's. It was some cold, brother. I passed on a delicious Seabiscuit though, the frozen ice cream sandwich, that I seem to always sample attending a game on a July evening. Even though we were dressed for winter, we vacated our seats in the seventh inning... Frozen!
See, I experienced the newest Disney movie long before it hit the theaters this past year.
FROZEN... solid.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Theme Day: Triangles

Today, April 1, 2014 is Theme Day across the CDP (citydailyphoto) community. Sometimes things just fall into your lap. J's sculpture "Rusted Triangles" made it into the spring USM juried art show. About two weeks ago, I'm wondering what  the heck am I going to have for a photograph for April. I had some pretty weak ideas: photographing in math books, a Pink Floyd album cover, a folded American flag. What was I going to do? Then I recalled that sculpture that I 'lived' with off an on in the house last spring, as it reached its completion. It has lots of triangles with an unusual rust finish that is not a glaze. It gives the appearance of rusty metal, but it's ceramic.
His professors loved it.
The judges admired it and talked to him at length about what he had done.
Even this Dad can be impressed with art.