...to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free....

30 June, 2011

settin' up Smokey's

The Fourth of July is the beginning of Fair Season 
in my part of the world.

Today I was at the right place to watch the midway 
get set up in a nearby town.

I used to love these rides.  I'd go on any of them.
A couple of years ago I went on some
sadistic ride with my grandson, like a brave grammy--
and shortly thereafter lost my lunch.
(How father time has forsaken me!!)

But I still like the excitement of the set-up,
the 'carneys' and their followers,
the wires, generators, pieces coming together--
and the kids wheeling by on their bikes,
so excited they can hardly stay on the ground.

Here's the scene from a local waterfront.
The midway opens tomorrow at 5pm,
and shuts down after the fireworks on the 4th.

Happy 4th, everyone!

28 June, 2011

placement test

If you consider it a sport to gather your food by drilling through 18 inches of ice and sitting there all day hoping that the food will swim by, 
You might live in Maine.
If your local Dairy Queen is closed from November through March, 
You might live in Maine 

If someone in a store offers you assistance, and they don't work there, 
You might live in Maine                             

If your dad's suntan stops at a line curving around the middle of his forehead,      
You might live in Maine 

If you know how to say...”Wicked”. ..”Up to camp”. .”Ayuh.”...”Can't get  they-ah from he-ah”,
 You might live in Maine 

If vacation means going "up north" for the weekend,                                                                     You might live in Maine 

If you measure distance in hours, 
You might live in Maine 

If you know several people who have hit deer more than once, 
You might live in Maine 

If you can drive 65 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, and keep drinking coffee, 
You might live in Maine                                                                                  

If you are expected (by people from away) to wear hunting clothes at social events, 
You might live in Maine

If you install security lights on your house and garage and leave both unlocked,
You might live in Maine 

If you think three of the major food groups are whoopie pies, smelts, and deer meat,   
You might live in Maine 

If you're a guy and you carry jumper cables in your car, and your wife or girlfriend knows how to use them,  
You might live in Maine  

If there are 7 empty unlocked cars running in the parking lot at Hannafords at any given time, 
You might live in Maine 

If you design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit,    
You might live in Maine

If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow,
You might live in Maine 

If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, mud season and (of course), road construction,  
You might live in Maine 

If you can identify a Massachusetts or a Southern accent,
You might live in Maine
If your idea of creative landscaping is a plastic deer next to your blue spruce, 
You might live in Maine
If "Down South" to you means Boston,
You might live in Maine.

If you know "scat" is something you don't eat (or sing),
You might live in Maine 

If you find -15 degrees "a little chilly", 
You might live in Maine 

If you actually understand these jokes, and you forward them to all your ... [BLOGGING]  friends, 
You definitely live in Maine  

(I didn't make this up.  Jeff Foxworthy did.  But I had to share!)

(I also had to edit a bit for accuracy...forgive me Jeff!)



27 June, 2011

first, one!

We celebrated my grandbaby girl's first birthday today.

Her birthday isn't for a few days, 
but all her grandparents who could come this week were assembled,
and it was not a work day for mama and daddy.

You know how there is always something that captures baby's interest
that is not the cake or the presents or any of that?
Sometimes it's the boxes, sometimes the wrapping paper.

Today it was the hats.  

Hers came off first, then all of ours were captured 
by her eager hands. 
She could have sat there and scrunched and eaten
and looked at them all day.  


Later she discovered the new books.

This child loves a good book.
(And it doesn't matter if it's right-side-up or -down, sometimes.)


Finally, the "completely good for you" cake that mama
labored over for a good part of yesterday appeared.
Cake is a new food for this little girl.

She actually liked her beans and sweet potatoes better....
But the rest of us loved that cake!!

Meantime, this was what was going on beneath the high chair tray:

I'm a nut for baby feet, aren't you??

I neither can believe it has been one whole year already,

nor can I believe there was ever a time I didn't know her.

Happy Birthday, sweet baby girl!

23 June, 2011


Chug-a-RUM!  Chug-a-RUM!  
Ploink!  Ploink!
 Wah, wah, WAH, WAH, WAH!

These are the sounds I sleep to this time of year.
(Not to mention hear all day long.)
Our pond is full of amphibian life.
You can clearly tell who the granddaddy frog is--
his is the loudest and longest Wah, wah, wah in the night.

By day my favorite intrepid frog fetchers 
occasionally creep around the shore,
wade in the shallows,
signal to each other silently.

They have a strict catch and release policy,
and have agreed not to net the big
granddaddy who lives near my bedroom window.

A rite of summer if there ever was one!

It is such exhausting labor that it calls for a little dip 
at the end of the hunt.

Happy summer, everyone!

21 June, 2011

june's eye candy

Just a few roadside (and seaside) views
from my general neighborhood in this 
extraordinary, blooming, life-creating month of June.

There is wonder everywhere.

18 June, 2011

bob and brenda's back yard

On the banks of the Kennebec River is the magic town of Hallowell.

(...and I mean "on the banks" quite literally--
there is a building on Water Street that bears markings 
showing how high the river has risen into the downtown
in various flood seasons)

It's a "one-street main street" kind of town 
and I love it for its brick buildings, funky antique stores, 
great low key restaurants, good music,
 and a memorable collection of colorful characters.

When I go to Hallowell, it is often to eat at Slate's,
which is a restaurant that serves amazing food in an atmosphere
of interesting art, musical performers and a collection
of wait staff that is equal parts endearing and funky.
On any given day, you can find legislators, common folks,
tourists and regulars eating there-- 
food lovers every one.

(Slate's burned down a few years ago, at which time
there was a collective gasp of despair 
in a large part of Maine.
It has since risen from the ashes, retaining all its wonderfulness--
instead of being "improved",  if you know what I mean.) 

But I am not even here to talk about Slate's today.
I'm here to show you a business across the street
that has been there for  23 years or so,
thriving without any advertising besides word of mouth 
and its seductive sidewalk charm.

This is Brass & friends Antiques.
Both storefronts are part of this business 
which specializes in antique lighting fixtures.
When a customer chooses one of the fixtures, the owners
restore it to its original glory
before it leaves the store.
(The ceramic wall sconces in our old farmhouse bathroom
came from there--perfect for the period
and impossible to find anywhere else.)

Before we go inside, let's look at only a few
of the critters that keep watch from the building's roof line.

I think they help set the tone, as do the stone Buddhas
you might have noticed
on the ledge over the main door.

Now, through that door:

Two huge rooms of lighting fixtures of all kinds are 
what you encounter when you come inside.
Hanging from the ceiling, attached to the walls,
also floor lamps and table lamps ...
an enchanting jumble of wonderful things. 

And not just fixtures, either.  Surprises at every glance.

In keeping with the funk, here is a representative
ensemble on one of the tables.
Old mortise and tenon remnants amidst the cut glass.

The owner Bob, and his associate Brenda
keep this treasure trove alive and well.
(Though with a very low profile--you have to hunt for them
if you want to purchase anything or ask a question.
After looking for several minutes last week,
talking out loud all the time about wanting to find someone,
I spied Brenda behind some stuff by the door
silently sitting on an easy chair reading the newspaper.) 

For me, however, the real attraction is out back.

An aside for the moment (as if there haven't already been several)
Some of you might remember the photo
below from my post "Hong Kong Central" last month.

I made oblique reference to where we are now in that Hong Kong post,
and promised to take you there one day.

That's where we are going now--to the back of this business
on a little dirt road just a stone's throw from the river.

A balcony.

And a garden trellis.

And a frieze.  

The "time out of mind" area.

Last week I tried to engage Brenda in an explanation
of how their back yard came to be.
She wasn't having any of it, responding in the 
stereotypical "you can't get there from here"
Maine laconics.

So it is all up to your imagination, 
which is probably the way it should be.  

Know the expression "junk yard dog"?

This being Hallowell, meet one of three kitties that patrol the premises.
As you can see, fierce as fierce can be....

Enough talk.  Enjoy!

(note:  I never saw more unbroken glass chimneys for oil lamps
on the ground, despite the yearly
rise and fall of the river, and the tons of snow
that come and go winter to winter.
At my house, they break just looking at them.)

Kitty says "drop by if you are in town.
(If you aren't too scared of me!)"


p.s.  Martha Stewart did a blog post of this store a few years ago.  
Martha didn't get to the back yard, 
as far as I can see.  
Or maybe she did.  Guess it isn't a M.S. kind of show.

I hope you liked it!