Saturday, May 31, 2014

Melted Candle

This candle is melted, but it's not from being afire. Even I wouldn't light it so close to my garage with my two vintage Jaguars... ok, my SUV and Elenka's Maxima. I can dream can't I? You'll give me that, right? It was the brutal sun against this garage wall, that did the dastardly deed. Speaking of sun, if you enjoy roller coasters, you'll love the weather the last couple of weeks in May here. Last weekend we must have seen showers and streaks of sun off and on about 15-20 times. It was the strangest of Memorial weekends. Let me see. I'm looking into my crystal ball right now. Today 60s chance of showers, Tomorrow 70s. Monday 80s. Things seem to be looking up as June breaks, but don't get your hopes up, if you are in the vicinity of southern Maine.
As the recording offers-----
"Make sure hands and feet are in the coaster at all times."
"Secure hats and sunglasses."
"Not responsible for lost wallets."
click, click, click, click, click...

Friday, May 30, 2014


I see patterns.
Do you?
Not just in the natural world either, but in the world that each of us walk through. Like a magnet with its pull, the moth being sucked to the flame, some people just can't help finding trouble. What's this all about anyway. We're bombarded with it from the celebrity world. Lohan, Cyrus, Bieber just can't seem to stop 'stepping in it'. That privileged lot. No tears shed for them here. My eyebrows won't rise much if one or all end up on a gurney soon. Closer to home, it can be sadder. A serial OUI driver just got a pretty stiff sentence: 7 years. Just twenty days after finishing up her latest intensive substance-abuse treatment program, you guessed it. She was back at it. 
It's a killing pattern on our roads.
How do we solve this?
These repeat offenders are the worst problem on our highways.
It's not a pretty pattern.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Doo Time

Time to 'Doo' the garden.
When the end of May hits, it's garden time. We usually head off to Broadway Gardens for our supply of seedings. We make our way through all the greenhouses looking for strong, vibrant cucumber, squashes, pumpkin, peppers, lettuce and tomato plants. The remainder of our plot goes in with seeds. It's been a wet end of May, so it's been been a bit of a struggle getting everything in. We're close. We've tried planting earlier, but the soil, most years, just isn't warm enough, and one year an early May rain rotted all our seeds. An end of May planting using does the trick for us in this southern Maine climate. When the seedings are planted, we throw in a healthy dose of manure. In years past, it was a handful of a product called Moo Doo. As the early summer moves along, I'll spread some around the garden just for good measure. This year I'm using a couple of bags of something called Moo Plus. 
Don't ask me what makes it 'Plus'.
I have no idea.
I have been told to forget buying the store-bought manure.
Rely on the ol' 'Birdman Doo'.
There ALWAYS seems to be an ample supply of that around.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Woods Walk

Around here, even in the middle of the city, you can still find a little get-a-way and take a stroll among the pines. Lose your thoughts for an hour or so. Kick up some pine needles. Listen to the squawking of swirling crows overhead. Close your eyes, and you'll be taken back in time. The way life use to be. No cells squawking. 
A silent time. 
A special time. 
Your time.
You alone with yourself.
In a place where time forgot.
Soon, you'll return.
Enjoy , while you have it.

* this fleeting zen moment brought to you by Birdman.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Unofficial Summer

Memorial Day Weekend.
Tiki bars.
I never really liked marmalade.
I never really understood it.
To tell you the truth, I still don't.
Heck, What is it?
Mom swore by it. She bought her orange marmalade in a large jar. She put it on everything toast, English muffins, in her cottage cheese. I even caught her, one time dipping a spoon in and eating it like jello. After an offer, I sampled it once, because I went through an 'orange period'. Orange sherbet, Orange Crush soda, sugared-orange candy slices, orange jello and more, more more. You name it, if it was flavored orange, I tried it. But something was up with this sticky, gooey concoction. It seemed too sweet, too stringy, too... orangey? (is that a new word?) 
Well, fast-forward to yesterday. Elenka prepared our unofficial start to summer repast on our grill: Grilled Shrimp and Pineapple Skewers on a bed of white rice with a delicious... orange marmalade sauce.
I loved it!
So, let's see.
As an adult, I've 'mastered' creme cheese and olive, black olives, pecan ice cream and now orange marmalade.
Can a meal of lamb be my next mountain to climb?
Don't place a big wager on it.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Beach Flags

It's Memorial Day!
From the Fallen
They shall grow not old, 
as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them,
nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

By Laurence Binyon 
(September 1914)

We're off to St. Hyacinth's Cemetery this afternoon to put geraniums on the family plot... and Remember.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Silver Watch

I'm people WATCHing today and learning a bit about the fashion industry while I'm at it. I enjoy the 'sport' of people watching these days. The locale doesn't really  matter: park bench, aboard a ferry heading to the islands, in a coffee shop, aboard a cruise ship or at the beach. Interesting subjects abound. I've seen quite a bit of D&G jewelry around but never from whence it came. Now I know. I did a bit of research. It's a high end luxury fashion design house started by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. They dress celebrities like Madonna and other red carpet walkers. They've designed costumes for tours and videos of Missy Elliot, Duran Duran, Beyonce and Mary J. Blige. They have outfitted the uniforms for the Italian footballers,  A.C. Milan, since 2004. D&G is as they call it a diffusion line of relatively inexpensive jewelry and clothes catering to the younger set. This watch goes for about $200.
I told you I enjoy people WATCHing, didn't I?

While I'm in a fashion mood today, did you know that The Wizard of Oz is the ultimate chick flick?
Two women trying to kill each other over SHOES!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Backwards Z

I'm thinking the letter Z this morning.
Don't ask me why, but when I looked at this tree Zorro came racing back. For three seasons 1957-1959, I watched, as Don Diego de la Vega attempted to save his part of the world. Yes, I had a cape, made from an old towel. Yes, I had a whip fashioned with a stick and a piece of thin rope. I remember. If I got it wet by dipping it in a bit of water, I could really make it snap and render a great sound. I 'rode' on a stunning white stead, dressed all in black, at least in my mind, and saved beautiful maidens one after the other. I jumped from picnic table to stairs nimbly, as my black-caped hero and could never be caught. Well, a least until I heard the cowbell, and it was time for supper. Hey, even a hero needs to eat. Growing up, I spent a lot of hours in fantasy worlds.
Some believe, from time to time, fantasy is still my thing.
I can't debate that.
I just leave the mark of Z!

Friday, May 23, 2014

One Way

Don't get excited. No, it's not 'talk like a pirate day'. But the Portland Pirates, our American Hockey League team, are back in town. After a brief hiatus last season up the Maine Turnpike to Lewiston,  the pissing match is apparently over between the Cumberland County Civic Center (CCCC) trustees and the owners of the team. The hissy fits on both sides have been soothed-over. What a waste of a season! If you follow hockey in this city, you knew it would end this way, with both sides worse for wear. Both the team and the trustees came out losers in my eyes. Both have work to do to repair the damage and their images. The Pirates already have stepped in the mud, by increasing some of their ticket prices. Oh well, maybe this newly designed lighthouse, outside of the renovated arena, can shine a light into some dark recesses of the CCCC.
One Way is not always the best way.
Hopefully, they won't drop the puck... this time.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Pink House

Life fills us with transformations. Some are good and welcomed, but some, well... 

REAL birds can live in pink houses. I think it's the first time I've ever seen a pink birdhouse. It's clean and ready for occupancy this weekend!

"Pink Houses" by John Mellencamp. Talk about changes. He started out using the stage name Johnny Cougar, then to more sophisticated John Cougar. In the 1980s, he settled on John Cougar Mellencamp and soon after, until the present, to his given name of John Mellencamp. Wow! Talk about C-C-C-Changes! Love his writing. Rolling Stone Magazine ranked "Pink Houses" #439 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of all time. Wow again! He was inspired by a scene on the Interstate, heading back home to Bloomington, Indiana. Know that Interstate well. I've got connections.
Clever song.
Clever guy.
Clever pink house.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Fire Again

Hot! Hot! Hot!
Usually, each spring and fall I get a burn permit from the town office and spend an evening tending the fire. I did last night. It's basically just a pile of brush that has accumulated over the last few months. Last night's fire took care of our discarded Christmas tree, limbs from trees that had fallen over the winter and the remnants of last summer's garden, especially the corn stalks. By 8:30, it was all but out, leaving only smoking ash. This weekend, I'll remove the ashes and do a second rototilling to ready the area for a planting. I wouldn't say I was a tree-hugging environmentalist. I recycle as much as I can, and I just refer to this as an other example. All this crap is back to mother earth now. In the old days, we just raked the leaves to the driveway and lit her up. Can't do that anymore. Everything is by regulation.
Some might take issue with my burning.
All I'll say is... 
Get over it!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Lucky Iron2

No, it's not the same shoe. Yes, there is a horseshoe in there someplace. When you live amid a 200 year old farmhouse, that once had a huge barn for horses and cows, you expect to find lots of of farm relics. There are lots of shoes scattered around our 10 acres. Now about luck...

 "Luck? I don't know anything about luck. I've never banked on it and I'm afraid of people who do. Luck to me is something else: Hard work - and realizing what is opportunity and what isn't."  Lucille Ball

I love Lucy!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Lucky Iron

I'm not a big luck guy. My world spins regardless of whether I'm lucky or not. As a matter of fact, I'm not quite sure what luck really is. I don't gamble. My theory is that most gambling comes down to a 50/50 split in the long run, anyway. For the most part, I see it as a waste of my time. I have better things to do with my life these days. Of course, there is still a good amount of debate as to what encompasses good and bad luck anyway. They say the harder you work the more luck comes your way. I don't know if I believe that though. Do you? 
Heck, for those that had the ill luck to show up late for the sailing of the Titanic was it good or bad timing? I guess I'll just leave it to Twain to sort it all out for me. 

"Indeed, none but the Deity can tell what is good luck and what is bad before the returns are all in."
Roll the dice.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

New Place

There's been an EXPLOSION!
Spring ain't the only thing bursting forth in the city these days. Hotel rooms are too! In the last year, well over 300+ rooms have been added to downtown, with a couple more in the planning stages. The Old Port area is getting two the Hyatt Place here on Fore Street, in as they say in the 'heart of the old port', and another biggie a Courtyard Marriott to open this month on Commercial Street. Even the old Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram building will be resurrected in April of 2015 as the Press Hotel. And get this. It's being advertised already as a boutique hotel. Someone, please help me as to what that is. Adding more available rooms to the city? I say, Bring It On!
After all, we are talking Maine here.
Guarantee you this.
Not enough rooms in the summer.
Plenty of available room in winter.
Come visit!

Saturday, May 17, 2014


In-between a black tank car and some sort of propane unit on the left, there's a sloop in drydock here just off Commercial Street. To me, an untrained observer, this vessel looks to be many months away from hitting open water again. I don't consider myself to be a vain man, although others might disagree. Hair replacement, botox treatments and lip enhancement surgeries are not in my life plan. Aging naturally is fine with me. Refurbishing this sloop for the open seas is the way to go in this case. In fact, it's the only way to move forward an enjoy more 'chapters' at sea.
For me, I'm going to keep 'sailing' in this condition.
I'll just be careful not to attempt angry seas.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Wispy Cloud

I don't work in in a high-rise. I don't work in the city. I look out my office window and down 2 feet and there is a wide expanse of green grass at my beck and call. As a matter of fact, I'm sitting on my back porch as I write this morning, and I'm looking out at an explosion of greenery in all its fury. It's mostly pale green, but it's here. And after the heavy rain forecast for the next few days, (ya, I wish I could send it all to the West coast), we'll be in a state of deep emerald. About 12 more hours of blue skies, and then your favorite color better be gray for the next few days.
Middle of next week and all this blue and a few wispy clouds will make their way back.
Got inside work to do.
I can hold out. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Stand Alone

Vive la difference!
A red tulip in a field of yellow.
I like this. I've always appreciated seeing the uniqueness in the world around me. It doesn't happen all the time, but I have been reminded that at times I move to the 'beat of a different drummer'. I've always said that it's always one of the perks of the aging process. I'll often say of do something, and those nearby will simply roll their eyes and and mumble, "He's 60!" Then walk away, shaking their heads. That's me.
I'm comfortable in that skin.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Nova Back

There's money in them there hills, and I mean to get me some.

After a five year hiatus without a ferry running from Portland to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia... it's baaaack! Well, sort of. The Nova Star, the $165 million ferry, will be sailing daily from Portland to the Maritimes starting tomorrow. Based on photos that have been released, this vessel is more along the lines of a small cruise ship then a taxi. The new prices have raised eyebrows around here too. An interesting happening  took place Monday in Boston. There was a ribbon-cutting ceremony that included fireboats and dignitaries speaking. Only one problem, the ferry will not be stopping in Boston, ever. What was that all about? I think you know what was up. $$$$$$$.
I will not be sailing north this summer.
If it heads to the Caribbean, I might give it a look.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Love Lock

Ever seen those chain link fences where lovers put their names on locks, secure them to the fence and throw away the key, all along professing their love FOREVER? There's one here on Commercial Street. Elenka, from time to time, has said she'd like to treat one of our padlocks in this manner. Me? Hey, we've survived 39 years together. Why mess with that, I say. Secret? Are we alike? You betcha, in endless ways. Are we different from each other? Do opposites attract? Correct again. Just look at what we're watching on the tube these days. She settles for Breaking Bad, Grimm, Revenge, Johnny Depp, The Walking Dead, Days of Our Lives and on and on... I'll kick back with a good NHL game, Heidi, Mad Men, The Housewives of NYC, Project Runway, Bar Rescue and some old black and white movies. 
Thirty-nine years and counting, you say?
Lock me up!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Magnolia At Work

This is a good sign.
The expansive magnolia, at work, has exploded. Although the tree is not as commonly found as in the South, it does have some 'roots' here. Walking in the inner garden, the combined fragrance of vanilla and lemons permeates when you near it. Well, at least for me, that's the way I smell it. I find this aroma most evident in early mornings and afternoons. I'm not a connoisseur of the odor of trees, but I think I know what I breathe. This is pleasant.
I wish my room was closer to it.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


When I was about 12, a couple of the guys and I had the bright idea to try to ride our bikes to South Portland. We thought it would be fun to cross over the then Million Dollar Bridge. We had no real idea what that meant. We had driven in our parents' cars over it. No problem. We didn't plan on a couple of factors. One was the wind. There was quite a breeze blowing going over it. Oh yeah, and back then there was no bike path, so you had travel right along with the cars and trucks whizzing by you. Another aspect that we didn't plan on was that it was a drawbridge, and the middle had the iron grid-work that made for tricky maneuvering. If you got caught in it, it could dump you easily to the pavement in the middle of traffic.
Next up?
Bloody knees.
Luckily, we escaped unscathed.
My youth was a daring time.

Happy Mother's Day, Elenka!

Saturday, May 10, 2014


We have a friend. She's a painter. She paints a lot of abstract pieces. She also paints bridges. Her favorite bridge to paint these days is Tukey's Bridge. It's a structure that separates Casco Bay from Back Bay. It's not a long bridge. It's not a pretty bridge. Like most bridges, it's big claim to fame is that it's functional. It gets thousands and thousands cars from here to there, along 295 each day. She sets up along the banks of the bay and paints. She even has Paulie bushwhacking at times for the perfect location. He usually stays with her, because she states it's not the most secure location for a gal to be alone. This picture today is not that bridge, but another image of the Casco Bay Bridge that stretches from Portland to South Portland. 
At first I thought, what is she up to? 
Are there no other subjects out there to paint?
But I'm having second thoughts.
The structures are intriguing. 

Friday, May 9, 2014


I like the beach.
I'll drive out of my way, away from the lake, to smells and sounds of the ocean. Sure, immediately after getting home I need to jump in the shower to rid myself of the sand and smell. I admit it. I'm guilty. But I love it while I'm there. The sights, the sounds, the smells. Take them all in. 
It's summer.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


Portland's not a big city. It's what I like to call a small, big city. It's an oxymoron that works. I too thought I had seen it all, until this. I saw a picture of this tunnel awhile back and really thought it was of the OTHER Portland. I've often mistakenly, Googled just 'Portland restaurants' and gotten all excited seeing places I've never visited or seen. Then I realize it's the Portland out there, not here. So when I glanced and caught a glimpse of this place, I really thought I was out West. I was wrong. Elenka and I found it this winter, but couldn't really get at it, because of snow cover leading to it. This week I returned and walked the length. It's very close. It's just off Commercial Street, and even still has a bit of track running inside.
As I said before, thought I'd seen it all.
I was wrong.
Maybe I have now.
Then again...
I doubt it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Three Rocks

I pulled over and took this picture yesterday, and I was off on my way. Back a few years, if I ever came across these, I'd jump off my bike and proceed to spend 20 minutes or so climbing and hanging on these. I had a pretty good imagination too. I could turn these rocks into anything: floating icebergs, the top of Everest, or even a cave in the ocean deep. I spent a lot of time alone growing up, but I was in good company. My sometimes over-active imagination got me close to big trouble, but I seemed to always stop short.
The imagination... the cheapest babysitter ever.
I also raised daydreaming to an art form.
Well, at least in my mind, I did.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Lost Bikes

Some people ride bikes for exercise. Some push the pedals just to get out and enjoy the outdoors. I haven't had a bicycle in a few years, but when I did have one, it was for transportation. Period! I had to get from here to there fast, or at least I thought I did. I had to get to Leo's fast! I had to get to Gulliver's fast! I had to deliver my papers fast! I had to get to Lincoln Junior fast! Get the picture? Speed was the operable word here. And my bike was available for fun 365. Yes, even after the streets were plowed of snow, boys and bikes were everywhere. I took care of mine. Kept it clean, housed it in the garage at night and did some basic maintenance.
These two look to have been tossed to the wayside.
They've been here for a few days now.
Kids today...
Tsk, tsk, tsk. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Beach Nails

Beach books are in this time of year.
This month the Boston Globe usually runs an entire section of books that just have to be in your beach bag, as you venture off to the seaside. Reading the list always gets me excited... about summer! Sure, I'll make note of a few titles that I should acquire, but that seems to be it. When it comes to book buying, I consider myself an impulse shopper. I'll have a book traveling with me  this summer, but what it'll be escapes me right now. When I make my way to a bookstore, there are authors and titles that I readily head towards.
How about you?
How do you make your choices?
Got a good selection for me?
These are not my nails, either.

Sunday, May 4, 2014


I don't have a bike.
I don't drive an 18-wheeler.
Even if I did both of these, I don't think I'd go for a wallet like this. I have a fake alligator number in red-brown. When it comes to wallets, I like brown. Light brown, dark brown. No matter. Besides the wallet, I have a few accessories, that are a part of my limited ensemble and travel with me: like a brown, leather backpack and a brown, leather briefcase. 
I like leather too.
It can all be traced back to my love of old westerns.
I have western roots, without ever living there. 
I travel light, always.
I'm a simple man.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Pale Green

When did color enter the scene in the automobile world? 
In his autobiography, Henry Ford said, "Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants  so long as it is black." I guess he was a visionary with a sense of humor. 

Black was the preferred color, because it dried faster than colored paint jobs. If you wanted it, the Model T was actually offered in the color red. I did not know this. The Chevy my Dad pulled into our Allen Avenue apartment, his first car, was basic black, as was all the coupes my grandfather took me for spins in. He liked the Pontiac and I loved that Indian hood ornament. The Willy's Jeep that was parked at our Stevens Avenue address was a gray number with a convertible top, and later, as the family grew, the station wagon that was parked in the garage was a Chevy in cream with red highlights. These days, you'd be hard-pressed to find a new, black vehicle in any showroom, I bet.
Oh well, I like this pale green.
There's a bit of me in it too!
Say, "Hi". 

*It's a '39 Plymouth.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Gray Morning

It's a gray morning looking across towards the city from South Portland. That's the Casco Bay Bridge here on the left. It connects South Portland to Portland, and can be a large pain, if for example you're heading to the beaches and get caught mid-span when the drawbridge is up. For those commuters that travel over it a couple of times a day, it can be more of an issue. I can think of just maybe three or four times in my life that the bridge has had my vehicle at a standstill. Let's keep it that way. You can travel back and forth without going over this span, but you better add 15 minutes or so to your day.
I don't suffer from gephyrophobia.
So, I can give or take going over this overpass.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Theme Day: Squares

Today, May 1, 2014, is Theme Day across the CDP (citydailyphoto) community. This month's theme is Squares, and if you slide this a bit off the corner, there you have the square resting on a table in the  lobby of Disney's Wilderness Lodge. I didn't have to look far. It just jumped out at me, while taking a break from the sun. I love this place with the Aaron Copland soundtrack playing in the distance. If you've ever wanted to spend a few days in a turn-of-the-century National Park lodge, this is a place you should visit.
Pine trees in the middle of Florida?
An 'old faithful replica' bursting each hour?
A roaring fireplace?
A feeling of untamed wilderness?
Towering wood craftsmanship?
It's all here to enjoy.
Take a trip back in time with lots of SQUARES.