Thursday, December 6, 2007

Blue Sky...

After quite a bit of grey, we had an absolutely beautiful blue sky this morning...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

Jack Frost?

After a couple weeks, our Jack O Lanterns have become much older and more grim!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Jack! You Home?

We carved some Jack O Lanterns this year and have made them last. Here they are with a little age on them...

Colorado and Nebraska

In mid-October, my brother Rod and I accompanied my Dad out to Colorado and Nebraska to tour some of the areas he grew up in. To do so, we rented a Chrysler 300M special gangster edition.

The hay bales in Nebraska are bigger than I'm used to...

A lonely fellow we saw on the way to Chadron NE.

The town of Riverdale, NE where many of my Dad's family are buried.


Meg and I were able to spend a few days in Paris. What a beautiful city! We took this shot of the Eiffel Tower from near the Pont Alexandre.

This is at the Place de la Concorde and includes the Oblisk and the fountain. The Eiffel Tower is in the background between the two.
This is from the top of the Arc de Triomphe looking towards La Place de la Concorde and the Louvre.

We stumbled on Nuit Blanche or White Night. The walk from the Louvre up towards La Place de la Concorde was all aflame. It was amazing!

Gent Belgium

Here are some night shots from my trip to Gent in early October. It's a beautiful city, especially at night...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I Really Can't Stand Roger Clemens.

Through five innings, Roger is no-hitting the Red Sox. By contrast, our young buck Josh Beckett is struggling and has given up three runs so far. I can't believe that I have to put up with Roger freakin' Clemens no-hitting us through five. How hard can it be to hit that tomato?

Here's hoping for some chin music from Beckett to keep them off the plate and to some more patience from the Red Sox hitters.

Beckett is gaining some control and some focus. I smell some good stuff in the later innings...

Deva the Cat.

Deva, who is the bookish cat you never see, recently caught up with our new giclee that we found in New Harbor on our vacation. We've never noticed this artistic side of her before...

Speaking of strange connections, in researching giclee, we discover that this form of high quality ink jet reproduction was pioneered by Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills and Nash.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Summer Balloons

After an unsettled day, the late afternoon yesterday was gorgeous with lots of slanting orange sunlight. The ballooners must have sensed that as they were up and enjoying the evening.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Bear Strike.

We got hit this morning.

We put up some seed feeders this summer near our new backyard garden in an effort to promote bird habitation. It's worked wonderfully as we've had assorted birds there that we've not had since we moved into the house.

This morning however, the feeders attracted another kind of wildlife. Nina (aka "The Black Sentinel") alerted us about 5:30AM and we looked out to see a Momma and two cubs. The Mom raided the feeders - we tuned in as she was lumbering back to the cubs with one of the feeders in her mouth. After some dining, all three moved off into the woods.
Once there was no sign of the black marvels, I wandered out to see what had become of our feeder area. Hmmm...

Friday, August 10, 2007

More Kayaking...

Well, not really. As we were finishing up our paddle yesterday, we came back by The Contented Sole, a dockside restaurant that we've enjoyed. As we approached, we realized that the music we were hearing was indeed live. In fact, there was a Dixieland Band playing Sweet Georgia Brown as we made our way underneath their wharf! Meg snapped this picture with the tuba player and a gull enjoying the show!

Thursday, August 9, 2007


We did a little kayaking this afternoon in the Damariscotta River and St. John's Bay. Meg snapped this picture of me, with an amazing sky overhead outside St. John's Bay.

We got a nice look at a number of cormorants. This guy decided we were getting too close for comfort.

The really good news is that neither Meg nor I dumped ourselves or our cameras into the water. That's 2-0 we're ahead! Not clear we should press our luck next year...

Back Cove...

A shot of the Back Cove at New Harbor through the trees from across the cove...

Rachel Carson Salt Pond Preserve.

This may be our favorite place in New Harbor. We stopped by near low tide as the day was turning towards sunlight. Meg found this crab and got him to pose for the camera.

This is the view from the salt pond over towards Long Cove...

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


We went on a Puffin cruise tonight and though the fog was *very* thick, we saw a lot of puffins. Here are a bunch taking off as those pesky humans get too close...

Foggy Morning...

It was a foggy morning here after a considerable amount of rain yesterday afternoon and some more overnight. Though I slept in, it was still foggy when I took the short walk over to the Back Cove and took this sleepy shot.

This is the bridge that crosses over the stream into Back Cove. It's often filled with folks dropping a line in the water but not this morning...

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

We spent yesterday enjoying the grounds of the relatively new Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. It is a magical place combining natural gardens with art, mostly sculpture.

This shot shows the Meditation Garden, a beautiful construction of rock and plants near the beginning of our walk.

Perhaps the most whimsical part of our walk was the Fairy Village located in a forested section. There are several standing sculptures - a cat and a bear - inside a fenced area enclosing a number of small "fairy houses" which visitors are invited to build - but only out of "non-living" materials. It's rather beautiful and strange. Later on our walk, we found more of these fairy houses in a completely unrelated part of the gardens.

As we returned to the Visitors Center, this is a shot of the pergolas with clematis climbing up the side and cone flowers in the foreground.

Saturday, August 4, 2007


We have seen this fine fellow on our front porch the last couple mornings. We're not really sure how he climbs the stairs but he does!

He's very sleepy...

Monday, July 23, 2007

VINs etc.

We visited VINs (Vermont Institute of Natural Science) this weekend with our friends Jessica and Lee. It's a great place and we enjoyed both the "Winged Wonders" program and the walk through the cages of permanent residents. It is really amazing to see these birds up close.

We've been enjoying our own bird show in the new garden. The bee-balm is quite a draw and the finches love to enjoy the bird bath.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Men, men, men...

Sean, Tyler, Kevin, and Rod at Kevin's post-graduation party in Frostburg. We don't have enough opportunities for such a picture!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Kevin's Graduation.

My nephew Kevin graduated this weekend from Frostburg State University in western Maryland. We traveled down on Friday and were able to attend both the Honors ceremony at which Kevin received recognition as the outstanding undergraduate in the Political Science department, and the graduation itself on Saturday morning.

Both events, though long on pomp and circumstance, were really enjoyable. To see so many young men and women so intellectually curious and focused on their goals made me feel just a bit more hopeful in these troubled days. Seeing Kevin recognized for his hard work and insatiable curiosity made me proud and hopeful for the future. We wish him the greatest success in maintaining that curiosity for years to come.

Here is Kevin accepting the Honors award on Friday night:

This is a shot of Kevin entering the hall for the graduation ceremony.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


We have a new resident in the area - a wild turkey! The deer that often graze in the field found him (her?) pretty darn fascinating...

Happy Squirrel...

Snapped this guy enjoying some sunflower seeds on our deck...

Sunday, May 13, 2007


We saw this fellow hunting in the field below the house this morning. What a huge tail!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Laid up.

Well a week ago at this time, I was preparing for foot surgery. My Mom's side of the family blessed me with a full head of hair, a happy disposition, and some truly hideous feet. Ever since I can remember, shoe shopping was a chore. My earliest recollections are of having the shoe store (oh, the name escapes me...) install "cookies" or arch supports in my new sneakers. Later on in Maine I was introduced to "bio-mechanical orthodics" which was a fancier and more effective cookie.

I've been biding my time for some time with surgery lurking inevitably in the future and I finally decided that the time had come. The podiatrist suggested that waiting longer could possibly mean a more serious surgery than the one that had been discussed for some time. Though that seemed enough for me, I consulted another podiatrist who recommended the more aggressive surgery right now! After some discussion, I opted for the original surgery which itself is aggressive enough for my liking as it involves sawing bone, screws, and pins sticking through the skin.

All that said, and having gone through the first week of this experience, I'm astonished and pleased at how polished and successful this has been. Despite the saws and screws, the surgery is done via a local anesthetic with sedation - no more general anesthetic! After the surgery, they attach a local IV drip of novocaine to dull the pain. I was leaving the hospital several hours after "going under" in very reasonable comfort!

I got a glimpse of my new foot a couple days ago and it truly looks nothing like the one my Mom gave me. I'm looking forward to a vast improvement as I heal up and get to using it.

So I've been sitting around the house for the last week - generally in somewhat of a haze from pain medication - trying to occupy my time. I've read less than I would have before the advent of TV, personal computers, and video games but still managed to enjoy finishing up "Sacred Games", the sprawling and engaging novel about gangsters and policemen in Mumbai, read much of "Feeding the Monster" about the construction of the 2004 Red Sox World Championship team.

That said, much of my time has been spent on my new MacBook communicating with friends and family via email. Sometimes a forced time out is a good thing, allowing reflection on things that aren't at the top of the everyday priority list. As much as e-mail seems like a weight to bear sometimes, it's also such an amazing opportunity to be in touch (lightly) with friends from all over - a task that years ago would have required a significant amount of paper, stamps, and time.

I've started thinking about work again, called in for a meeting, and more are scheduled. I'll try to get into work for at least some time next week to get re-engaged. Seems like I've been away for a looong time which is both good and bad.

So back to sitting around a bit more... I am getting better every day with the crutches!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Winter on the Connecticut.

On the drive to work during the tail end of last week's snowstorm, I took the "long way" along the New Hampshire side of the Connecticut River and took this shot across the water.

Several times along the drive, the evergreens which were hold so much of the sticky snow, reminded me of giant weathered men's faces with bushy white eyebrows and mustaches.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

April ... Snow?

Woke up this morning to about seven inches of new wet snow. Not exactly the kind of weather we generally anticipate, but not unknown either.

Two other April snows come to my mind. The first was years ago growing up in Maine. It snowed enough that Mom and I went skiing up at Sugarloaf - I think on April 21st - and Mom broke her leg prompting a visit from Rod to take care of me while Dad finished up his trip!

Later in college, we were enjoying an early Spring and I was hosting a visit from Rod in early April when we got a huge snowstorm! The University was actually closed the next day while we shoveled out - the first time it had been closed in many years.

That won't happen today; off to work I go...

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Baseball is back!

I left work early yesterday, picked up some normally forbidden fruits at the Co-Op (Hebrew National All Beef Franks) and got home in time to watch the Red Sox start the season in Kansas City. It's great to see baseball again but I'm pretty behind on all the roster moves and had a lot of catching up to do. The Sox did their best to delight the local Kansas City crowd by offering no offense and very marginal pitching by our ace Curt Shilling, ending up losing badly in boring fashion - though I liked the nifty double play we turned in the middle innings. Defense is always fun to watch.

And so it beings. I didn't sleep well because the damn Yankees won and we lost. And we don't play today so we don't even have a chance to do anything about it.

The long haul that is the baseball season is back! Even with an opening day loss (and the Sox are not known for opening day), that is a fine thing in the turbulent times.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Twenty Seven Years...

Yesterday, Meg and I had the opportunity to catch up with an old friend of mine. Rob was my roommate for the two years that I spent at the University of Georgia in 1979 and 1980. We attended the National Science Foundation Student Science Training program at UGA in Athens for about eight weeks both summers and during that time formed a strong friendship.

Several weeks into the program in 1979, we switched roommates in order to room together. We had a fine time, combing the local records stores, playing basketball, competing in "name that song" and yes studying. After the summer ended, Rob and another friend Cindy drove up to Gilman Pond for a very quick surprise visit.

The second year was even more fun. I returned as the junior counselor for the boys and Rob returned to continue research from the previous year. The group that second year included a number of wonderful characters who became close friends. The highlight of that summer was attending a Who concert at the Omni in Atlanta with Rob and another friend from the program. We had so much fun that year that parting ways was a joyful and tearful affair.

These of course were formative teen years, with the prospect of college and the real world lurking ahead. We were away from home, actually a long way from home, and we were living amongst our peers from all over the country. Oh and there were girls there.

I got to know a number of kids in the program quite well, but none so well as Rob. I learned that despite the fact I had grown up in the wilds of Maine and he on Long Island, we were more similar than not. In fact, we found not only our interests but our values to be remarkably similar. Realizing this gave me confidence and changed the way I looked at the world. It also served as the bedrock for our friendship.

Rob and I kept in touch as we started college, me at the University of Maine, he at Amherst. I visited him on Long Island and he visited me at UMO. We wrote letters in those days and I have a cache of them describing some of the details of the day - the new band we'd discovered, concert we'd attended or college course we liked or hated.

After visiting Rob in January of 1984, our contact diminished until I realized a couple of years ago that I didn't have a current address or phone number for him. Some internet research and probing emails remedied that and we re-established contact. I learned that his parents retired to this area and that he had a brother that had actually lived in Thetford! Rob and his family periodically traveled up to see his parents so getting together should be easy!

It actually turned out to be a bit challenging as we missed each other twice due to a schedule conflicts. But yesterday, Meg and I traveled down to Quechee and met Rob, his wife Sande and children Ben and Hannah for lunch. We're not the same shape we were twenty eight years ago and neither of us have as much hair but I immediately remembered Rob's easy nature, his openness, and his honesty. His values are reflected in his family, who relate to each other with obvious love along with a bit of New Jersey bite. We spent lunch relating stories from Georgia and learning more about the intervening years.

After lunch we all traveled over to Rob's parents home where we were warmly welcomed and spent time reviewing Rob's photos from Georgia and more catching up. When we finally left, it was with a warm feeling that we would be seeing each other again. Friendships such as this are not to be taken lightly.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

More Snow!

Well winter hasn't given up on us yet. Vermont is scheduled to get between 10"-20" of snow over the course of the day. I don't think we'll get too much (we've got about 6" so far) as the snow is very heavy and coming down more like sleet at this point.

All this after we had started to see patches of grass poking through the snow and just the first hint of that Spring smell that makes you go outside and breathe deeply. As Dad says, despite what happens today, the back of Winter has been broken and Spring is inevitable now.

I'm just about ready for that.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Time Out!

We just returned from a week on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. It was a fantastic time-out for us in a beautiful setting. This is the view from the cottage we enjoyed last week.

The trip underscored the need to get away periodically. We both came back with slightly different perspectives on so many things and some energy and ideas. All this from mostly doing nothing for a week!

Actually we did snorkel almost every day and it was unbelievable. For those of us who are used to the grey colors you see snorkeling in New England lakes, this was a wonderland. We saw a huge variety of fish, several huge schools of fish, and colors like you see in National Geographic.

One bit of wildlife we did not anticipate was the tarantula that we discovered upon returning to our cottage one evening. We came into the room looking for geckos that sometimes would show up high on the walls and instead found this fellow. Though we determined that tarantulas are not common in these parts, we scanned the room carefully thereafter!