Friday, August 31, 2012


I watched a seagull fighting the wind. With his wings spread he was unable to fly. The crosswinds forced him into a stall until the wind took a breath and he flew higher.

Two miles away from this rocky point the winds gently swayed grass, but here the wind gathered itself and asserted a dominance. 

We stood on the rocks and decided not to walk any further.  Sometimes it's enough to recognize the beauty inherent in a place even when it forces a change in plans. 


My friend Jan sent me an email with a connecting link to a Bird app on sale this weekend. Instead of paying $14.99 it was mine for 99 cents.

Then began a saga. Last week my ITouch went black and that forced me to visit the Apple store. 
" Your hardware," said the blond, " won't do what it's supposed to do. It's gone."

I must have looked shocked when she explained that a new battery wouldn't do anything to rectify the problem.

"But," she said, " I can sell you another ITouch, same model, for $79.00."

So I purchased a new old ITouch. Went home and spent hours setting it up with my blogs, restoring my 110 apps (I have six dictionaries ), ect.

Now when Jan sent the Bird App connection , I was delighted. So I clicked it and immediately realized that it was a fantastic deal. Then the  fun began. I tapped in my Apple ID twice and waited. After a spate of time  I received a note indicating that this was a new device and before I would be allowed to spend.99 I'd have to answer two security questions.

No problem. I always select similar questions, my favorite team, favorite teacher, first dog's name. 

But this time I was presented with two questions I don't believe I ever selected. So I attempted to think of what answer I'd give to My First Job. Would it be working at Lord & Taylor's as a stock girl or making loop pot holders and selling them to my grandmother's friends?  Maybe I wrote down my first experience, at the age of eleven, when I started my own enamel jewelry business. 

The next question: Where did I enjoy working? I don't think I liked being in a room full of hanging  garments? Did I list a location, a place, a particular job? What was I thinking when I answered a question I don't believe I ever selected.

Gandalf was my dog's name, but no one asked that question.

When my answers were found unacceptable I received a message written in red ink--until these questions are answered you are locked out of any purchases.

I called up Apple Support and was given a seven step way of contacting ITunes, but first the rep explained that I was no longer under warranty. 

"ITunes," she laboriously explained "only handles problems via email."

Since I'm not at home and since the wireless here is weak and often simply ignores desperate pleas it took me a long time to connect. 

After too much time a email form appeared and I explained my dilemma, a shorter version, and sent it out into the void. They have promised to answer within 48 hours.

 I explained that the bird deal only lasted until the end of the Labor Day weekend.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Since my encounters with large animals is scant any meeting with something other than Homo sapiens  is exciting.

Years ago while hiking in the canyons of Capital Reef, we realized that the scat we were finding on our return to our starting point had not been there at
the start of the hike.

We picked up our pace, which included my heartbeat . Later we identified , along with the help of a book and a ranger, the animal-- a cougar. They had been spotted in the area . 

Today's sighting was far less spectacular , but fascinating. We watched a cormorant dive for food. He moved closer and kept diving. I took photo after photo hoping to catch him with something in his mouth. Finally I caught him with a catch--unidentified. 

After he was satiated he found a rock and stood there quite, I imagine, pleased with his hunting prowess.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Just Listen to the Sound of the Ocean

After driving over five hours we arrive again in  Maine. These five days will be filled with the sound of the ocean, the feel of  rocks beneath my feet, and cool evenings signaling the approach of  another season.

Most places will sell soft shell lobsters, but we know where we can still purchase the hard shell variety.

Ah-- the water replenishes 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

On The Spur of the Moment

The weather —according to the pundits—sunny for the next six days, so we decided to go up to Maine. The rocks and ocean beckon. I believe in the Siren's call.

Even before getting there I know an area with miles of rocks to walk——

My spirit soars.

Alleluia—What a glorious creation.

Monday, August 27, 2012

So Many Apps

I just read an article about the proliferation of Apps for our every need.

600,000 Apps and still counting. Many are free.

And once you download an App it thinks it can simply order you around—updates abound to make them better, faster, rid of bugs, competitive, or simply to get along with the new software on you tablet or computer or phone.

The article mentioned some of our most fundamental needs—APPS for finding a restaurant, losing weight, reference works, note taking, keeping track of what you read and who reads what and becoming their friend so you can share what you read.

So I did a search of my own. When I typed in toe nails, I found five possibilities——a free one promises me beautiful toenails.

For .99 I can learn about nail art. Stars and stripes for July 4th?

I wonder what they'd suggest for Labor Day?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

There's a Void

How do you lose touch with people? Perhaps geography? Perhaps interests change, you outgrow connections. Economics change. Politics change.

Maybe you read different books? Maybe one person loves contemporary art while the other abhors anything that isn't representational. One person resonates to loud thumping music while the other person only listens to string quartets and classical music.

Maybe someone reads fiction and the other person derides anything but hard facts. Maybe one person reads cozy mysteries where the murder occupies half a page and no blood is mentioned while the other person loves standing right beside the pathologist.

Maybe someone held on to a grudge until it became a boulder.

Maybe someone doesn't know the road back.

Maybe it's just as well—there are too many differences.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Change of Scenery

After reading three espionage novels—actually after consuming the stories, I developed a penchant for looking behind my back, checking tall men wearing black, and walking a different way to the coffee shop each day.

Realizing that my abilities at survelliance were limited and my age probably precluded any additional training I moved on to other genres.

I've traded in my spy novels for tales of intrepid travelers——not tourists. This week I'm headed for Machu Picchu with author Mark Adams. He, along with a guide, mules, sleeping bags and tents follows Hiram Bingham III's travels in Peru during the early 1900s.

This means some rather arduous trekking since Mark Adams desire is to step Bingham's exact footsteps, or as close to exact as one can possible follow.

According to Adams,Dr Brigham may be the model for Indiana Jones.

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Long Day

With the help of a GPS we navigated to a rehab center to visit a friend whose leg had been amputated.

On the way home we stopped to see a friend who underwent an emergency appendectomy the previous night.

When I passed people on the street I wondered about their stories.

At the restaurant I wondered about the waiter, the people sitting at the bar watching a preseason football game, the people crowded into booths.

Each story has tentacles.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Oh the Vagaries of Life

Life is lived in seconds. Whoever thinks they know what's beyond the corner is either a fool or engages in soothsaying. And why spend too much time attempting to peek beyond the bend in the road?

Enjoy the now-- this moment. Yea, even now when the wash isn't done and what to eat for dinner still is a question mark.

Breathe fully. Engage with what is directly in front, behind, to the side and inside.

Sometimes I converse with what I'm thinking or daydream about what I'll be doing. In fact right now I'm thinking of two photos that I want to use as triggers for a collage.

It's so hard to stay right in the moment, but then again there needs to be room for contemplating ......

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Printer

I placed a sheet of paper on the scanning bed of an all-in-one printer, pressed copy and anticpated a copy. Instead, after an ominous creaking sound, a message appeared directing me to open a door and correct the paper jam. Opening the door revealed the innards of the printer, but no paper jam.

Even printers may err when sending a message, so I pressed copy again and again the same message appeared. This back and forth between the printer and the subsequent door removal continued for fifteen minutes. At that point the printer changed tack and sent the following message: no paper. Perhaps it didn't like the paper, so I put some new paper in the tray and pressed copy. Again the message: no paper.

I recognize defeat.

But why not share the laser printer.It's embilical cord was an Ethernet cable attached to the router. This should be a simple matter, but no matter what I did I couldn't add the printer. Frustration set in after nothing worked.

Weren't we better off when a lined yellow pad and an ink pen or a Royal typewriter with keys that made clicking noises when pressed satisfied the desire for a hard copy?

Now books five inches deep expound upon the intricacies of software. Help articles on every topic proliferate like invasive weeds on the Internet.

I once owned an IBM Selectra with a typeball.No longer did type bars hit the ribbon and leave an ink imprint. The type ball rotated and the carriage sat immobile. It all happened seamlessly.I recall my delight when I purchased a second typeball with a different font.

Of course the clackety clack of the type bars on my first Royal announced-- work in progress. That first typewriter was a birthday gift from my parents when I entered high school. In order to create the appropriate mood for writing I either played an LP of union songs or Pictures at an Exhibition.

It's not that I want to go back to ink ribbons, white erasure tape, or carbon paper for copies. But I may retreat to an ink pen and a composition book.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Red Sox as Metaphor

My team is dysfunctional. They bicker, run off to complain to upper management, take no responsibility for their poor play, walk around with pouts, blame the media, blame the weather, the tides, the waxing and waning of the moon, blame anyone, but never look in a mirror.

Actually they're a metaphor for the best way to point fingers, eschew real responsibility, and find culprits.

Our economy flags, unemployment soars, homes foreclosed, personal debt increases-- and our politicians point fingers to the other side.
" They did this."
" We have a better plan."

And so we move ahead to not working across the aisle,
demonizing the other political party,
and resting comfortably within a self made cocoon.

But I'm a sucker and believe that next year's team--
The next congress--

Monday, August 20, 2012

More Recollections of Trip

Finding mushrooms, lobsters and lobster boats

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Recollection of Trip

Rocks, Cobble Beaches, Granite Sculptures

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Signs or Words Seen On The Way Home

All in the family
      Recall Shop
         Annie's Pride

Jesus Turns messes into miracles

         Attention Moose
              next seventeen miles

Pray Daily
         Grace Evangelical Seminary

Watch for Moose

         Latitude Determines Attitude 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Going Home is Always Hard

I dislike packing and unpacking and then packing and unpacking again on the return trip. Perhaps if I stuck to bare essentials, perhaps if I didn't keep putting it off, procrastinating, day dreaming or making believe that it was done-- then the task might be less onerous.

Today we spent time at the rocks despite the heat and humidity. Smitten with the ocean and the cliff lines, the flat rocks, and the patterns of moving water, I couldn't leave until the top of my head and my arms felt singed by the heat.

Rather than take, yet another photo, I closed my eyes and committed the sounds to memory.

These rocks will remain where they are when I return next summer.

Now to pack.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Lobster Lover

Last night I dreamt of lobsters --hearty  Maine lobsters.  Succulent crustaceans  with large cutter and crusher claws, tails filled with meat beneath a rigid carapace.

Only those who harbor a fastidious nature desire sautéed lobster, lobster Alfredo, baked stuffed lobster, or any of the other variations.

A true  afficinado knows that  only when you crack the claws and body with a nutcracker, when you suck the meat from the legs, when you break open, unhinge, the carapace and seek the small bits of lobster meat, when you draw out the meat from the tail, and when you pile the shells in a bucket or tray --only then can you claim to love lobsters.

To take the easy way is to relinquish the title of true lobster lover.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Chickens & Granite

Chickens & Granite

To get to Obadiah's Granite Garden Studio requires a ride down a one car wide dirt and pebble road.

Once there I watched speckled chickens cross from one side of a path to their two coops. Obviously these fowl had the run of the place.

Growing up in the Bronx my knowledge of chickens remains elementary, but I expect that cow pattern chickens are unusual.

The outdoor studio abuts a family owned quarry where Obadiah cuts the granite for his sculpture.

Granite benches, abstract angels, tall statuesque obelisks, and large expressive sculptures vie with the chickens for viewing. 

Two people from Virginia, driving a VW bus with a Peace and Love sticker on the front bumper, purchased a 165 lb three piece angel. 

They wrapped each piece in a blanket and loaded the Angel into the back of the van , nestled it  between pillows and then stuffed the metal dowels that attached one piece to another under one pillow.

Fending off two flighty roosters, I entered a small cabin and purchased a three inch rock. The honor system prevails and on your way out " Please Turn the Light Off"

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cobble Beach

It's a beach with no name and no sign indicating a beach. A rock wall--the only indication that you're at the right spot to begin the downward walk.

Half way down and I see the cobbles-- rounded rocks formed by the crashing of rocks against one another. Some are large and watermelon shaped,  many fit into the palm of a hand. The large ones can't be moved and the smaller cobbles, with some imagination, may turn into vertical sculptures.

At first walking on cobbles seems precarious. There's no flat spot and my sneakers seek a steady place to stand. 

In a few minutes I'm used to the rounded rocks and walking on this uneven landscape seems natural.

Isn't that how it is with many things? What's risky, uneven , and foreign often becomes comfortable with time.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mushrooms, Rocks, and Gulls

After a long walk stalking unusual mushrooms --  we found a gaudy yellow polypore and a short stand of mushrooms looking like white fiddleheads --we headed for the rocks. 

A flat rock won't do. The perfect spot must include a view of waves breaking on cliffs.   Add some spindrift and the repetitive  sound of water. 

Two gulls spotted my Blueberry bar and joined me on the rock, much to my chagrin. I don't care for a seagull with a drop of drool on his beak--waiting. It's not that I can't share, but they don't just want a small tidbit. 

There's a lobster pound in Maine where the seagulls became so
brazen that an unattended plate of food was in danger of being ravaged by seagulls. A sign warned diners that the establishment was not responsible for meals stolen by gulls.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Rainy Day in Maine

If you have hiking boots, a rain jacket  with a hood, deep pockets to hold a bar and gorp, and a love of Maine on a misty day --

If you name the day ethereal when a fog hides a sail or a mountain --

If you love raindrops caught on the petals of a flower or on a leaf--

If you don't care if your shorts get damp because they'll dry quickly and stopping to stare at a purple flower is more important--

Today a mist or sometimes a drizzle, but not a drenching rain began early and continued all day.

Seeing a fir tree enveloped within a cloak of fog or losing the crisp outline of rocks or watching the fog descend and then ascend makes me aware of the fickleness of days.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

So Many Questions

In June I went to a juried art show and discovered a watercolor painter whose subject was Maine. 

Other artists painted boats, but he captured the soul of the sea.  Who built the boats, who sailed, who never came back?

While painting realistically, the paintings move beyond a slavish record of the scene. They remind me of Hopper's paintings-- beyond realism.

This afternoon we stopped to see a small juried art show. I strolled past a number of middling paintings-- many of Maine, but not  capturing the feel or soul of the area.

Then I stopped at a painting of three 
wooden dories tied to one another and anchored.  The entire landscape wears a mist glaze.

It provoked questions-- who built these dories? What hands put together her skeleton? When did she first enter the water? Who will return and hoist up the anchor?

Same June artist--same soul  of Maine.

I told the artist that I loved the painting. " It's evocative. If this was a story I'd say it begins in medias res."

Friday, August 10, 2012

Not Just Another Day

Today I celebrated, albeit one day late, National Book Lover's Day. 

After a long walk -- with the ocean always in view--we settled on the rocks. 


I sat on my favorite rock with a book, a bottle of  water, a bag of raisins and peanuts, and  no humidity. 

Happy Belated Book Lover's Day--

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Signs on the Way to Maine


Bare feet


Viloette's Beach

Annie's Pride

Jesus turns messes into miracles

Whose Your Family?

Guns and Coins

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

What's Behind the Door?

Doors are there. It's just a matter of recognizing a door.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Empty Spaces

The small imperfection enhances the whole leaf—adds questions to the visual. What happened? How did one small piece disappear?

If I ran my finger around the leaf contour would this empty spot cause me to stop and think of other empty places?

Monday, August 06, 2012

What's In Focus?

When a writer cites "real" history, I expect veracity for all the facts—not some of the facts, not eliminating some points because the writer thinks that they don't provide enough strength for how he wants the reader to react.

All writers need to hone down the story, but the elimination needs to adhere to the truth of the story. By forgetting some salient facts or presenting some in a different light the writer becomes untrustworthy—and the best stories are taunted by an unreliable narrator.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

On the Precipice of Uncertainty

I watched someone who was, according to the analyst,  " a certainty" for winning a gold medal. Then uncertainty, the unplanned happened. She  landed incorrectly and fell into a seated position. And someone who didn't expect a gold medal won gold.

Is anything ever certain? Isn't there always a space for the unexpected ? 

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Keeping With the Theme


I recall the Charlotte Russe of my childhood as a sweet confection. "...a simple version consisting of a square of sponge cake topped with whipped cream (sometimes with chocolate sprinkles) and a maraschino cherry."My memory precludes the sprinkles.

Candy bananas, another sweet, vied with marshmallow yellow chickens for my attention at the candy store. Mr. Davidson, the epitome of patience, filled up our bags with selected candy. I wonder what I'd think of those candies now? Now that I have mature taste buds.

Oh for a chance.

Friday, August 03, 2012

The Center

To be centered
To center oneself
To get to the center
To ignore what's on the periphery
To focus
on the next breath
the next stroke
the next step
a landing

to hone in

Thursday, August 02, 2012

How Do They Do It?

I've been watching the Olympics and wonder how they do it? How do you swim faster, run faster, vault higher, train harder? For most of the year, save for die hard fans,these athelets compete without too much fanfare. The vast majority of people keep their focus on big time sports.

Their sports rarely garner prime time television viewers. Then every four years the world watches. And I wonder why they aren't on prime time television for every major match.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Out Walking

Imagine being one of about 5000 different species of mushrooms in the United States?