Sunday, August 2, 2015

Cashin' In

It was a night of: "Modern Blue", "The Sunken Lands", "Etta Tune", "The Long Way Home",  50,000 Watts","I'm Moving On", "Long Black Veil", "Ode To Billie Joe", "When the  Master Calls the Roll", "World of Strange Design", "Night School", "Money Road", "Tennessee Flat Top Box", "Seven Year Ache", "Heartaches By the Numbers" and a few more. Under a perfectly warm Maine summer evening under the stars, we met Rosanne Cash for about and hour and forty minutes. What a beautiful voice! The majority of the selections were from her highly acclaimed latest album The River and the Thread and The List. She introduced most of her songs with some brief pieces of background, and when she was not playing the guitar, her hands were constantly in motion to enhance the emotion of the music. She seemed so honestly appreciative of her audience. Such a personal touch. During most of the numbers the audience was eerily quiet. Just listening so respectfully to an artist at work. "Black Veil", Ode To Billie Joe", "Seven Year Ache" and "Heartaches By the Numbers" were my favorites. Why do I get goosebumps everytime I hear that "Seven Year Ache"?
That voice.
That woman.
Those words.
That melody.
It was a night. 
When she left the stage, she walked to the back of the packed lawn right by us. She made her way within two feet of us, made eye contact, smiled at Elenka, and thanked us for listening.
We 'cashed in' for sure. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Theme Day: Bicycle

Today, August 1, is Theme Day across the world-wide  CDP (citydailyphoto) blog community. Can you think of an image that better encapsulates a warm August summer day than a bike ready for action? Sure you could, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a better one. I still remember the afternoon in July that I got my brand new JC Higgins model. Bright red with silver fenders, I was the envy of the neighborhood. Ok, I made that last sentence up in my imagination, but I envied myself, if it is possible do that. It had front and rear hand brakes, and I bet I rode it up and down Stevens practicing using them hundreds of times. It was a work bike. When I got my paper route, I put wire baskets on the back able to lug 75 newspapers through the neighborhood. It was a fun bike. Back then, we did everything it seemed and went everywhere on our bicycles. Night or day, rain or snow or hot blazing sun, we had them with us. It was my friend. I'm not exaggerating either. We were inseparable. I fell in love with it. It was a big boy bike. With silver fenders, white-wall tires, silver light on the front, a comfortable seat and a little, black, faux leather pouch hanging off the seat for 'secret stuff', we were made for each other. It served me well all through those growing up years. Well, at least until I got my Honda. Then it was bye-bye.
Best friends.
Through the good days and the not so good.
The not so good days?
Rainy days.
But then again, rain and bikes were fun too.
Boys, bikes and rain: an entirely different dimension.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Waiting Game

Life isn't always perfect.
Sometimes it rains on the best of parades. I've got a few years under my belt, and I've come to realize a couple of truisms. You've got to let life come to you. Now, on first reflection you're probably saying we don't really have a choice in the  matter. Life will do what life will do. I say seek out what you want. Prepare with the best of them. If you are depending on luck to assist you, you'll be waiting a long time. Being relegated to a holding pattern can be a beneficial ingredient in any choice looming on the horizon. One day happiness, the next tears. Patience is good though sometimes hard to locate in our world today. Don't plan for perfection. It ain't gonna occur that way. Let it try to find you.
It will.
These clouds will lift.
The sun will break through.
Just maybe not on your terms.
Today, looking up...
I'd bring the umbrella, if I were you.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Harbor Night

Night closes in on Bar Harbor on July 25.
This is the view from Jane's balcony at the Bar Harbor Inn. Quite spectacular, yet pleasantly serene. Growing up, the task of babysitting us kids, while Mom took Sister Adelaide and Sister Marie out for fried clams, often fell to Jane, and I for one took on the responsibility of trying to drive her crazy. As I remember, she took  most of my antics with a smile. "Oh Mark, ..." I must say; she hasn't changed much. Her easy going nature is still a strong attribute that makes you want to spend time with her. I like to think that I know quite a bit about our family's bloodlines, but she puts me to shame. Ask her anything about the three sisters Josie (my grandmother), Frances (her grandmother), Aunt Bea or their brother Howard, and she's a walking Wikipedia. Jane can recall our family's glories and their sins. Each time I see her she seems to reveal little known trinkets about our family's travails that I never knew, let alone remember.
Knowing Jane, she probably knows stuff about me that I don't even know about me.
Heck, about little ol' me?
Probably shouldn't see the light of day.
... or night for that matter.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wobbly Bench

It looks like this bench is going to be needing some attention pretty soon. It might be heading sideways, with a crash, at anytime now. I had a little help as I was setting up to take this shot the other afternoon. The young, blonde chap in the window of this cafe was waving at me and making stupid faces constantly, as I attempted to photograph the blue bench amid this display of flowers. I had to chuckle to myself. When my parents were away, distracted with one of the other kids or ordering ice cream for us, this was certainly something that I would have pulled. This kid was pretty persistent in his antics too. His expressions and arms were in a constant state of motion for a time. He must have been a wee bit disappointed, as I snapped and moved on down the street.
It's not often that you get a living, breathing glance at the 'back then'.
Sunday afternoon, I think I might have.
Look closely.
It's me!
Back then.
Smile!
It's a candid camera.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Bird Home

Traveling is adventurous.
Hotel livin' is always fun.
Parties are worth some aggravation.
Home is the best.
We spent the weekend celebrating my cousin Jane's 70th birthday Downeast in Bar Harbor. For everyone, it was a 'destination party'. The driving distance between Portland and Bar Harbor is 175 miles. If you are headed that way by car, you haven't got too many choices. You can tackle Route 1, but summers it's packed with our visitors getting a piece of our 'vacationland' life. VERY slow going in places. You can take the Maine Turnpike all the way to Bangor, cut over to Ellsworth, hit Route 1 and drive a short distance, and you are there. Marchin and Donna traveled this route. They have EasyPass. Elenka, my sister Connie and I took 295 out of the city to Gardiner, and hopped on the turnpike for a very short distance to Augusta. From there it was Route 3 to Belfast, where we jumped on Route 1 and motored along through Bucksport, crossing the Penobscot Narrows Bridge, to Ellsworth and on to Mt. Desert Island and the quintessential Maine summer vista of Bar Harbor. The weekend was great fun with some family members that we don't often see as much as we'd like. Great time! More coming soon.
However, home is very nice too.
Birdman likes home.
You're always safe at home.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Fog Field

This morning broke with some more fog that will burn off soon. A muggy, humid day ahead for us. This is a pretty pathetic fence that I found this morning. I don't think it could even keep the flowers out by the looks of it. There was always something special creeping around delivering the Press Herald in the heavy foggy mornings. Walking the streets of Bishop, Mayfield, Adelaide and Bell, just to name a few, at 5:30 AM always contained a hint of mystery. Add some pea soup fog, and that was only heightened. The fact that many of the houses were still dark, and most of my friends were still tucked in dreamland was an aspect of the morning that sort of fueled my day in a strange sort of way. Up earl, I was ahead of their day. Get ahead; stay ahead. I always have loved and still do the early morning. I trace it to the fact that I was born at 7:10 AM.
There, the secret of my love of mornings is out.
I can't remember the last time I overslept.
Maybe 20 years ago?
Maybe never.
I set a radio alarm, but never use it.
My head, you see, is seldom in an early fog.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Bridge Fog

It was suppose to look a lot like this yesterday with afternoon rain showers, but the lurking, foreboding, heavy cloud cover burnt off and blue skies and a warm sun broke through in the afternoon. Sitting by the pool along side Friendship Bay, with family and friends, was a close to perfect locale to spend a summer afternoon. It was also an ideal place and time for a mojito or two and me to get reacquainted. A Downeast feast was on the menu for the evening. At our table a lobster cobb salad, a scrumptious-looking lobster roll, a lobster feast with bib and all the fixens and my choice were all attacked with vigor. Jane should throw herself a 70th birthday party EVERY year. Fun time. So what do you think I ordered?
How well do you think you know me?
Need some hints?
They are fried.
Not shrimp.
Not scallops.
I have serious 'weakness' for them.
Guess.
* photo taken under the Casco Bay Bridge

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Table Place

Spread the linen tablecloths.
Place the family silverware.
Set the crystal.
Fold the napkins that special way.
Select just a perfect place on the Maine coast.
A Downeast feast is coming our way with lots of family time.
My cousin, Jane, turns 70 today!
Happiness.
Love.
Family.
Lobster.
Perfect.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Island Ferry

What we see pictured here is the wheelhouse of the Machigonne II, the car ferry of the Casco Bay Line's fleet. It can carry 399 passengers and 12 vehicles. It is 122 feet long and has a top cruising speed of 10.5 knots. Now, just a wee bit of history of the name. The city of Portland was originally named Machigonne by the Abenaki Native Americans, who settled on the peninsula at the time. Later the name was changed to Casco (1633), then Falmouth (1658) and then finally settling on Portland. The name Machigonne means 'great neck' in Abenaki, and it fits, because if you've ever seen a map of the city, it resembles a closed fist and forearm sticking out into Casco Bay. There, history and geography lesson over for today! Oh, one more piece of Birdman trivia: when I attended Lincoln Junior two of my best buddies, you guessed it, lived on Machigonne Street in the Rosemont area of the city.
Portland certainly is a port-land.
Aptly named.
But Machigonne would have been real unique.
Do you know of another city called Machigonne?
*pronunciation guide: (mash-a-gone)
A while back, the city was searching for a new slogan.
Machigonne Wild! would have worked!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Over 50

Marchin plays in the Greater Portland Senior Men's Softball League. Last evening they played a doubleheader and won both ends 13-4 and 20-2. As far as competitive games go there wasn't much there in either one. Pleasantdale (12-4) got out to early leads and kept piling it on. As they say, the outcomes were never in doubt. The games were played at Kiley Field on the Eastern Prom, overlooking sailboats cascading away in Casco Bay. Hands down I do believe, it it the best place to view a softball game, play a game of tennis or just walk your dog in the city. Often the evenings are cool up there looking out on the water, but last night was close to perfect, comfortable with a nice breeze in the air. I must say watching games up there brings back fond memories too. Buddy and Skipper's uncle played softball for a Portland Copper team back in the 50's in their maroon and white uniforms, and I often tagged along to the games. As I remember, it was a fast-pitch league back then. They were fun nights, and sometimes the guys even let us take some batting practice with them.
Swing, batter batter!
Swing!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Fishing Spot

I'm still on the water today, sort of.  Here's a piece of the city that many frequent, but not me. Big kids. Little kids. Moms and Dads. Just plain drifters. Come to the end of this wharf mid-days and after, and there's always a pretty good crowd here. But not me. Never got into the fine art of putting a worm on a hook and spending hours fighting off bugs and enduring inclement weather. I remember once we were headed here. Leo got the idea that going fishing on our bikes would be a fine way to spend a summer day. So a bunch of us got some gear together (we'd get some bait on the wharf), figured out the easiest way to get there on bikes, didn't tell our parents and we were off. As I remember, we got as far as the Baxter Boulevard, got sidetracked trying our luck in the bay and never quite made it to Commercial Street. I wasn't too excited about the prospect of droppin' a line anyway, but as always the bike adventure was fun. My grandfather took me fishing once too. No luck there, but the rain added another element. Fun time. My only real luck came a couple of times fishing for sunfish on Forest Lake. Caught a couple. No big deal. That it my entire fishing experience. 
It's over.
I'm done.
Hope these guys have fun though.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

SCF Tanker

Caught in the fading evening sun, this small sailboat glides past a large tanker unloading petroleum across the bay in South Portland at one of the tank farms. It seems like there's never a day goes by that there's not one or more vessels docked over there. My friend Peter's dad was a barge captain and pushed them up and down the East coast from Maine to Florida. I think I remember that he worked for Mobil. He was gone sometimes months at a time, enough to put some serious stress on relationships back home. I thought of him as sort of that cowboy of the open road, just on water. Like the cross-country big rig driver, it's a different life style that's for sure. Every day and night, you're someplace else, not at home. I'm always a bit envious when I see  the captain of one of the huge cruise ships we have traveled on, 'dressed to a T' in his or her dress whites walking about the ship. What a life, I think. Traveling the oceans of the world, captaining a magnificent vessel and doing what you love.
Then, I'm jolted back to reality.
And I remember.
It's work!
* if it's fun, it ain't work!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Island Cat

While on the island last week, we visited the GEM Gallery. It was hosting a show by artist Kathy Hanley, a metal sculpture artist and friend of Elenka's. Most of her designs were of birds. I especially enjoyed the one featuring five small avians perched in a row. I had to chuckle when I saw this mailbox, made of sheet metal, next door. Was she keeping a watchful eye out for her fine metal, feathered friends indoors?
Now, that's a 'tweet' I get.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Wind Machines

Tall Ships Portland 2015 is this weekend in the city. Yesterday, ten of thousands of viewers hugged the coastline at Bug Light, Spring Point Light, Willard Beach, Fort Williams, Portland Headlight and the wharfs off Commercial Street, along with big crowds covering the lawn and roadways of Eastern Prom to watch the ships come in. The ships on display and ready for guests the next two days are: USCG Eagle, Bowdoin, Lynx, Tree of Life, El Galeon Andalucia, Oliver Hazard Perry, Bagheera, Wendameen, Frances, Fritha, Alert,  and Picton Castle. I was at Bug Light in the afternoon to view the 'parade of ships'. The day wasn't perfect, rain in the morning, quite a bit of wind and cloud cover that logged in for the the entire day. Disappointed? Not really with the weather, but something I didn't expect was that most of the ships cruised in not under sail. I'm not a sailor so I really don't know why, but I must say I was a bit disheartened to see pretty much mostly the skeletons of masts as the ships sailed around Spring Point Light and into the inner harbor.
After the parade, the sitting in stalled traffic wasn't uplifting either.
They say over 100,000 people will view Tall Ships through Monday.
I've done my part.
Sail on! 

*Pictured here is The Bowdoin.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Five Kids

Just a quick follow-up to yesterday's post--
Here we ALL are sitting in the bandstand at Eastern Prom, overlooking Casco Bay. This is the first photograph that actually documented the fact that four did become five. Left to right Mr. Excitement, sister Constance, sister Diane, sister Joanne and brother Martin.
Love.
Family.
Five.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Crossing Casco

Life can be magical.
How does one go from being the oldest child in a family to a middle child in one night? Does it happen often? I doubt it. It did to me. About 15 years ago, my youngest sibling gathered the four kids together telling us only that she had some very important information to share. I asked for some hints, but she'd only say that she wanted all of us to hear it at once. What could it be, I thought, an illness? Why did she need all of us assembled together in one room to tell us? I was a bit nervous, and even somewhat confused already before she started her explanation. The story she shared over the next hour and a half was jaw-dropping to say the least. We weren't a 'gang of four' but five. Nine years before I was born, years before Mom had met and married my Dad, she had a baby girl. Her name is Diane. She's also known as Dinnie to those that know her well. She grew up in Portland, lived right along side us almost, but we never knew. Soon after Dad passed in '97, Diane made contact with my Mom's sister, Gloria. As you might imagine, Gloria was confused and even suspicious when Diane made that first call, but after receiving several correspondences with detailed information about our family, including loads of photographs, she was convinced that the information was true. She soon relayed the news to my sister with copies of the letters and photographs. That evening in Marchin's livingroom, when Joanne shared the news, the four of us became five. Diane lives in Florida now. She has three beautiful daughters. I met Dinnie for the first time September 21, 2009, and we have crossed paths on two other occasions. It was a life-changing day for me as you might imagine.
Is it possible to go from oldest to a middle child in a snap of a finger?
I'm living proof.
And I love it!
Magic.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Thank Heaven

Convenience stores--- I frequent a lot of them. I used to stop at the local 7-11 every Sunday morning to buy the Maine Sunday Telegram and the Boston Globe. I just grabbed the papers never tried their coffee. I always preferred my home brew. This store is on Congress Street in the city proper. If I stop these days, it's just for gas. I really can't remember the last time I walked through the door for anything. No papers and still no caffeine. There's a mini-mart at the head of our street now that dispenses Green Mountain Coffee, my favorite, so I stop there a lot. They brew some of my favorite flavored coffees, without the bitterness of some of the other high-priced brands that we all know and love. However, I sampled Elenka's ice coffee the other day that she bought at Cumberland Farms, another local convenience store in our area. They offer any size coffee or ice coffee for 99¢. Wow! The price is right for sure. I'm going to have to stop by and sample. 
I wonder if there's a senior discount on top of the 99¢?
Now, THAT would be a deal.
Is it sad that I'm concerned about discounts like this?
Thank Heaven for 7-11?
Not really!  

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

First EVER

Here , you have it.
Because so many have requested it.
The first EVER glimpse and photograph of yours truly, Birdman, in all his glory. Yes, because at one time I was the oldest child, but now a middle child (it's a long, yet wonderful story), and thanks to Kodak getting the low-cost Brownie camera into the hands of so many consumers, I have a Baby Book just chock full of glamor shots of good old, lovable me. Hundreds of them. Me with stupid expressions. Me with Mom and Dad. Me with relatives. Me with early friends. Lots of images of me at and with my loving grandparents.
ENJOY my day!
Nuff said...
Birthday

They say it's your birthday
Well, it's my birthday too yeah
They say it's your birthday
We're gonna have a good time
I'm glad it's your birthday
Happy birthday to you

Yes, we're going to a party party
Yes, we're going to a party party
Yes, we're going to a party party
Lennon/McCartney

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Orange Lilies

Yesterday was a perfect summer day here in the country. The temperature reached the low 80's with little humidity. Our day lilies have exploded all around our gardens. A warm Maine summer has invaded. Last evening we sat out on the deck around the new fire pit and took it all in. This wonderful home in the country has done us well over the many years, but alas there are more days behind us on this beautiful property then ahead. It won't be a happy day when we have to pack up and move the 'wagon train' along to another chapter in our lives. Elenka and I are both realists. We know the day is coming, but we're not slashing the days on a calendar sitting and waiting. It'll be here when it gets here. 
Days of bliss are days to savor. So we'll relish every hour.

Oh my gosh!
Out my kitchen window, right now, a woodchuck is a nibblin'.
It's the first one I've seen all summer.
Gotta go drag out my Havahart trap, I guess.
"Not in my garden!"
"Come to daddy! You crazy varmint."
Perfection, I guess, doesn't have a whole lot of staying power.

Monday, July 13, 2015

"Wicked Pissah"

"Hey, is that your Yamaha SR Viper snowmachine?  Wicked Pissah!"
"Too bad you missed the party, It was Wicked Pissah."
"Love the purple hair. Wicked Pissah."
"Your silver Harley out front? Fast? Wicked Pissah!"
"That a '57 Chevy? Love your custom paint job. It's Pissah!"

Well, you get the idea. Heading Downeast and you want to fit in among us natives seamlessly? You've gotta know the lingo, as Mom used to say. Put 'wicked' in front of thousands of words like good, cold, rainy, smart or old for example, and you can really start to fit in. "Gosh, you're wicked smaarrrt!"
I enjoy learning about dialects featured around the various regions of our country. So, if you ever want to confound the neighbors try using one of Maine's favorite expression. It's maybe my favorite. It just encapsulates it all in 2 just simple words! Place it after anything that you feel is really, unbelievably good. Anything! And don't be afraid to shorten' it up a bit. Maybe, you're in a hurry.
You know.
"Birdman, thanks for sharing this bit of the Downeast dialect with us."
"PISSAH!"

*Got an expression unique to your part of the world?
Share?

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Island Ave.

Island life is different.
Whether it's Monhegan, Little Diamond or a pretty populated hunk of land like Peaks, it's a bit
contrary. And that's in a good way. At least to my way of thinking it is. Even for a visitor just staying for the day or the evening, it seems the minute your feet hit land you can feel it. As a matter of fact, I always start getting a different vibe as soon as I find myself a seat on the boat or ferry. I look around and notice the items my fellow travelers have packed for the trip. Their clothes and mannerisms seem to set them apart from other voyagers like me. I'm in it for a few hours. They are in it for the long haul. Approximately 850 make it their year round dwelling on Peaks Island. As you might imagine, this number just explodes in the summer season. But even someone like me, who's there for just a few hours, life is at a different pace. Time didn't forget the place, but there seems to be no real sense of time other then the boat back to the mainland schedule. I listen; I watch; I look at the year-round 'natives' and think of none other than my old, dear friend Alfred E. Neuman who graces the cover every month of one of my all time favorite magazines, Mad
His philosophy of life works perfectly out here on an island.
"What, me worry?"
By the way, it's 5 o'clock somewhere.
Right now!
Ah, island life.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Bay Life

Spent part of yesterday on Casco Bay. We took the car ferry across to Peaks Island in the late afternoon. The trip to Portland's largest, inhabited island is but 15 minutes. Elenka has a friend who had an opening at a gallery out there. She's a welder and has a show featuring birds she has crafted. I enjoyed taking a look at her work. You know I'm a bird lover. Later, while awaiting a boat back to the mainland, we stopped at The Inn On Peaks Island for a couple of drinks and snacks. We sat on the front deck, overlooking the dock and the city off in the distance, that was bathed in the dipping evening sun. The return trip was perfect heading right towards that setting sun. I stayed out on the deck the the entire passage. 
A warm summer breeze was my companion.
Nights like this are what draw visitors to our state.
Forget about our winters.
It was a perfect summer night.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Dressed for Brunch

After many months of driving by and noticing piles of people waiting for brunch at Hot Suppa, yesterday we thought we'd see what all the fuss was about. The place is small, about 10 tables worth. There is an outside seating area in the rear that we never made it to. Many friends and acquaintances have told us that it's the best place to sit down for breakfast or brunch so we thought we'd sample the menu. I went with the Corned Beef Hash- shredded corn beef, potato and carrot, two sunnyside up eggs, hashbrowns and two slices of wheat toast. Elenka went with a special: a plate of Chorizo Hash(tri-colored baby potatoes and chorizo sausage) and an English muffin. Our waitress was on top of everything, even wishing Justin a happy birthday when checking IDs. His not ours. Oh, did I mention that we also sampled their Mimosas? Slight oversight then. If we were doing YELP reviews. we'd both give the two entrees high praise. Delicious!
While we were waiting to be seated, this gal was on her cell. What a marvelous dress with matching headscarf and an attractive rope bracelet. I've mentioned before that I'm pulled to notice large or multiple chains and bands around the wrists of women. Heck, men for that matter. She had a classy walk too, when she eventually strolled past us.
Ya, I notice jewelry and ....stuff.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

So Justin

Best.
We throw that word all over the place these days. I'm guilty of it too. Many times over. Best clams. Best sunset. Best game. Best restaurant. To my thinking I should probably use it only about ten times--- Ever. One however is easy. Justin is the BEST. For me his birth was one of my BEST days. In my mind I pretty much have a photograph of every part of the day. The wakeup. The call to the doctor. My tuna sandwich. The drive. The stop for donuts (yes, it happened! 2 chocolate coconut). Maine Medical Center. The room. The nurses. The doctor. The vital sign chart. The walks. The popsicles. The walks. The TV. Looking out the windows. The Fore River. The walks. Eating my sandwiches. The breathing. The room. The nurses. The doctor. Elenka. The breathing. The pushing. The coaching. 8:17 PM. The birth. It's a boy! Justin. The tears. The happiness. The family phone calls. The room. The blue hat. The blueberry pie. The happiness. The walking to the car. In the darkness. By myself. The ride home. Alone. The excitement. I couldn't sleep. The excitement. The happiness. 
The love. 
The Justin. 
The Best!
Happy Birthday Justin.

*Here he is on Mount Katahdin in Maine. One of my favorite photos of him.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Cooldown

Yesterday was one of those weird summer days around here. Hot sun for 15 minutes. Then clouding over for a spell, and then ol' man sun was back in earnest. I was painting the deck railings, so I was fighting the warm rays all afternoon. Elenka always reminds me not to paint in the hot sun. Haha. Sometimes, I cheat when she's looking the other way though. I was tracking the spotty showers, all over upper New England, moving our way during the afternoon on the Weather Channel, and it didn't look like much. However, when we finally got around to putting a rack of ribs on the grill about 6 PM, Boom! The skies opened up. It hit. No thunder. No lightening. But plenty of cooling rain. It did its thing for about 30 minutes or so and took the temps down quite a bit.
Umbrellas were in style.
For them, not me.
Sitting on the porch with the screen door open, amid a strong afternoon shower, that's a cool down for me.
That, I can take.
That, and the ribs on the grill. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Java Delight

I'll let these gulls finish up this discarded popcorn. I'm heading across the street to get me a chocolate coconut donut and a hazelnut ice coffee with 2 creams. Interesting. Coffee looks to be king around New England. This summer there are still new coffee shops popping up all over, and hear Starbucks is pushing up the price on all their choices. There must be a lot of moolah in java! I remember when I was in high school the first Dunkin' Donut shops first made the scene. Before our first class, a bunch of us would pile into Eddie' Chevy and head to the Woodfords Corner shop. My first sample was a small coffee, 2 sugars, 2 creams. Mmmmmm. Delicious. Certainly better than that Sanka stuff I first sampled in Tom's kitchen. Back then, DD's big draw was ALL the different types of donuts that were behind the counter on the shelves. Almost too many to choose from for little ol' me. And, oh yes, "We serve cups of coffee to go with that tasty pastry." Now, it seems like, it's the other way around. All their ads on TV and in various papers SCREAM coffee, in all its various concoctions of lattes or iced drinks. Life changes. Tastes change. We consumers have fickled tastes. We change like the tides. I'm ok with that.
What's your favorite morning beverage?
Don't tell me Tang either.
We're not out in Space today.
Well, at least I'm not.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Weathershop

So just exactly are we looking at here?
Well, throw in a little pelting rain, a dash of a gale and fire away through a pretty wet windshield and voila! You have a whole new way to capture your world. You perhaps have used the software Photoshop. I'm using the my newest inspiration. It's called Weathershop. If you haven't guessed, shot from behind the steering wheel, that's a park bench to the right in the foreground, a row of bushes and a couple of signs. In the distance, that's Casco Bay and a small three masted  schooner bobbing about in the driving rain.
I kind of like this effect.
How about you?
Better on this side of the glass, however, than out there among the elements.
Don't you agree?
Using a timer, I could have only added to this rainy composition.
Right?

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Tex-Mex

After spending the last two nights in Montreal, the Tex-Mex sounds of the Mavericks hit Freeport last evening. From the moment they strolled on the stage with no real introduction they had the audience jumping, dancing and toe-tappin'. If you know of anyone who doesn't get too excited about anything, take them to a Maverick's concert. Lead singer Raul Malo's voice is amazing. He can sing anything. And the antics of 'blue smurf' keyboardist Jerry Dale McFadden, jumping from electric piano to organ, was fun to watch. The centerpiece of the band were these two and lead guitarist Eddie Perez and drummer Paul Deakin. Backing them up was the horn section (sax and trumpet), a standup bass player and a main ingredient to any Tex-Mex influenced band, an accordion. I'm not going through the entire setlist, but I can tell you that my favorites were: "Back in Your Arms Again", "Blue Bayou", "Dance the Night Away",  "Born to Be Blue", "Guantanamera" that morphed into "Twist and Shout", that brought the audience to its feet and dancing. The encore ended with my favorite."All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down". The eight member band then took its customary bow, arm in arm, at the center of the stage and later in the darkness the tour bus pulled out headed back into Canada to St. Johns, New Brunswick. Want a fun night? Catch one of their shows. They are back in the States soon and then off to England.
Great concert.
One of the best I've seen.
And for ZERO dollars.
What a deal!
*ps I want his orange guitar!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Pretty Good Blow

Happy 4th!
This photograph was taken last week in a bit of an early morning gale at Fort Allen Park on the Eastern Prom, overlooking Casco Bay. Want to enjoy an ice coffee perusing the Portland Press Herald or just be alone with your thoughts, this is the place. Seen here is the masthead of the USS Portland, a cruiser commissioned in 1933. It was the only US ship to see action in all four aircraft battles in the Pacific: Coral Sea, Midway, Eastern Solomons and Santa Cruz islands in 1942. The ship was heavily damaged at Guadalcanal in November of that year.
Today we're heading to Bonnie and Paul's annual 4th of July soiree. We're bringing the biggest watermelon we can find. Then this evening we're off to the concert series "Summer in the Park" in Freeport. The Mavericks are on the bill. I'm in the mood for a little country music with a Latin twist.
How about you?
Second best part?
It's free!
Enjoy this Saturday whatever you are doing.