31 May 2007

Lucky Rocky

Last week Tiffany, Alex, Zoe and Bobby spent hours "rescuing" a beautiful black cat from the garage attic. Of course, he's the most lovable cat ever. Purring, rolling around on your lap to get petted and he talks! And of course the kids wanted to keep it. But, having 8 living creatures to care for already, I said "Nope." This isn't the first time I've heard, "I'll take care of it." After calling shelters, the animal control officer and vets, I told them to take him to the no kill shelter in Cumberland. A couple days later Lost Cat signs popped up at Freaky Foods and the library - love a small town, somebody who knows us called the number right away. Everyone's happy and end of story.
But wait! We get a call with chapter two: Jen, the owner, had her sister stop by the shelter to pick up the cat. They told her there that not only did they not have a black cats but nobody from Gray had dropped one off recently. And, to top it all off, she got a big lecture about cat care and she was forced to leave empty handed.
Just to make sure, Jen stopped by for the kids to give a positive ID to a photo. It was definitely Rocky and he most certainly was taken to that shelter, and the kids had filled out paperwork there - including town of Gray. We had a full house when Jen stopped by as DJ and Dale were on a Harley ride and popped in. We were incredulous and mystified. Oh, the irony of trying to rescue a cat from a shelter! Everyone agreed that she had to get past the desk lady and into the "cat rooms". Dale was advocating cat commando - just push through and grab her cat and just tell them she wasn't leaving without him, and call "Johnny Law" in case of trouble.
When Jen went the next day she posed as a cat adopter, and in the very last room of cats she embraces Rocky and says she isn't leaving without him. The shelter people appear surprised at her story and offer no explanations other than "we've never had any trouble, before."
And that's the story of Lucky Rocky. Jen said Rocky will stay home 'til he gets his new tag with his phone number on it. I kind of hope he wanders over for a visit now and again!

29 May 2007

Memorial Day:

Llilacs in bloom at the cemetery at Gray, Maine

WHEN lilacs last in the door-yard bloom’d,
And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,
I mourn’d—and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.

O ever-returning spring! trinity sure to me you bring;
Lilac blooming perennial, and drooping star in the west, 5
And thought of him I love.

In the door-yard fronting an old farm-house, near the white-wash’d palings,
Stands the lilac bush, tall-growing, with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
With many a pointed blossom, rising, delicate, with the perfume strong I love,
With every leaf a miracle......and from this bush in the door-yard,
With delicate-color’d blossoms, and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
A sprig, with its flower, I break.

From Walt Whitman's elegy for Abraham Lincoln. "When Lilacs Last in the Door-yard Bloom’d"

Stranger Honored on Memorial Day

Gray, Maine sent more men to fight in the Civil War in proportion to its population than any other town in Maine.

Surrounded by flags fluttering at their tombstones, lies the body of a Confederate soldier.

Lt. Charles Colley of Gray Village went to fight for the Union. He was one of 175 men wounded in the battle at Cedar Mountain, Viriginia. Colley was removed to an Alexandria, Va medical facility where he later died. His parents, who lived in on Colley Hill, sent money for his body to be embalmed and sent home to Maine. When the coffin arrived, it wasn’t the body of their Union soldier they found, but that of a Confederate soldier. They buried the boy in the Gray Cemetery and a few weeks later, the body of Lt. Colley arrived in Gray.

The Confederate's tombstone reads, “Stranger. A soldier of the late war. Died 1862. Erected by the Ladies of Gray.”

The 15th Alabama Regiment, Confederate reenactors held ceremonies on Memorial Day at the grave of the “Stranger” in Gray Cemetery. They traveled from as far away as Massachusetts to honor the dead soldier. "His mother lost him twice," said the speaker. "Once when she sent him off to war, and again when his body was lost."

The Stranger has been featured by Charles Kurault, and in many magazine articles. It's included on the Maine Civil War Trail and people from all over stop by. When I went to the site early in the day, a medallian had been left on the tombstone reading "Sons of Confederate Veterans, Keep the Colors Flying."

23 May 2007

Beware of Flying Cat

MaxiCat was full of spit and vinegar this mornng. Now that the weather is finally above 40 up here in Maine, seems like everything is livening up! MaxiCat brought me a live mouse right to my bed - Good Morning! Zoe and I got Thunder dog out of the room, got Maxi back out the window and trapped the mouse and took it outside. Not the least bit interested in the mouse, Maxi was waiting and yowling outside the kitchen door ready to help me make lunches by trying to push everything but the tuna can off the counter, gave him the tuna juice and he pushed my other cat off the food table. Waiting for the school bus he was on the roof, flying back and forth between the tree and the roof, yowling the whole time. I don't care for the mouse in bed trick, but I've got to say that Maxi is pretty entertaning!

02 May 2007

DJ Art

DJ Landry (on the left) discusses her work with a patron at Little Sebago Gallery & Frame in Windham. DJ's work is strong and colorful, much like DJ herself. The paintings in this show explore DJ's fascination with the way free and random art connects people. The painting shown was inspired by a "parking lot band," the guys set up in a parking lot one day and played for homeless people.
DJ's art was included in the 10 year anniversary show. Try to stop in and see the art work, it's varied and by accomplished local artists. If you need framing done ask for Sandy - her framing work is incredible.

14 April 2007

Thought for the Day

For the warrior, there is no "better" or "worse"; everyone has the necessary gifts for his particular path. (Paulo Coelho)

Early, I pad from the kitchen to the computer with morning coffee. I check e-mail, then I read. Or look at art. A new thought for a new day. Sometimes I read all the "daily" stuff. Sometimes I wake up with words from my dreams and google them.

This morning I looked for art involving roads. I'm working on a community project involving roads in the village where I live. Always looking to connect the dots spiritually, it's intriguing me that a physical road is affecting my spiritual road.

The project is fixing an intersection that's unsafe for pedestrians. The peanut gallery of vocal angry people against this project can be counted upon to be against everything. They aren't Yankees, and instead of the dry cool wit of natives, they're terribly outraged at every issue. Instead of a well placed harumph, they write insulting, overlong letters to the editor using words like idiot and selfish. They are always mystified at the stupidity of the natives and disappointed in their lack of understanding. You know what they don't want, but can't figure out what they do want.

The Yankees just let them whirl around, out of control. A big dusty wind before the August rain. Yankees are tough and smart, self-assured of their place, they mean what they say without having to say what they mean. On the rare occasions where they offer an explanation, it's usually unsentimental bare facts wrapped in irony offered without apology. Respectfully delivered.

Newbies stay newbies, they never learn to merge, impatient to be heard. Meetings end up being like the counter at Mike's Bakery in Boston. A mad press for the victory cannoli.

All this around a road? I drive myself crazy, but a road isn't just a road. Wonder how the piece will come out? Probably okay if I stay on track.

This was my thought for the day. It's what my artists friends Express yourself a little bit more, and you'll be surprised where it takes you!

Your Life Path Number is 7

Your purpose in life is to find truth and meaning

You are very spiritual, and you are interested in the mysteries of life.

You are quite analytical and a great thinker. You have many theories and insights.

A life of solitude is perfect for you. You need time to think and do things your way.

In love, you are quite charming. You attract many with your confidence and wit.

While you enjoy being alone, sometimes you take it to an extreme.

You can become too isolated, shutting out loved ones and friends.

Express yourself a little bit more, and you'll be surprised where it takes you!

25 March 2007

Maine girls

It's a week after the last big snow. Balmy temperatures of 50 started the rapid melt of the snow, and the official start of mud season. It was also softball tryout day - these girls are moving up to majors and they are ready for the challenge. All the girls were really happy to be together again after a long winter. it's the official Maine coming out of the house day. Fired up by the tryouts, neighborhood girls gathered for an impromptu game of softball in the backyard. I love that second base is a sled and the outfield is a snowbank.

19 March 2007

First Pass

The first pass of the plow truck early last Saturday morning. I got up early and enjoyed my coffee watching the end of the snow and the beginning of the clean up. One of the sounds of snow is the "beep-beep-beep" of the many snowplows working on Main Street - a happy sound when you're buried in snow!

Duck demise

Thunder lovingly carried this duck slipper around for months. During the big snow storm he demolished the duck.

23 February 2007

More ice. 2007
It's so cold I can't wait for Mud Season!

15 February 2007

Seeds in Ice, winter 2007.
My garden is always surprising me.

10 February 2007

Thunder and Max, 2007.
Gratuitous cute animal photo! In the summer, you never see this cat - he's always outside. This last long cold stretch he and Thunder have taken over the comfy chair in my office that's supposed to be for clients.... they spend hours cuddling. Occasionally I'll get that feeling that someone is staring at me, and I'll look over and they've both got pitiful faces on. I laugh and assure them that spring is coming, but they've still got about a month of napping to do. They stretch luxuriously, give a long slow sigh, blink a few times and nod back off.

06 February 2007

Scepter, 2004. Beach rock, driftwood, leather, feathers, copper wire.
I really have enjoyed this piece. It was strong, and a symbol of a time which has passed. This summer I plan to travel to the secluded beach in Northern Maine where the elements were found and return them. I'll dismantle the piece and save the copper wire for a new piece, to carry forward. For some inspiration on working in nature check this out: www.naturesculpture.com.

Portrait of the Director, 2007. Windham Center Stage Theater.
It's been interesting to watch this show come together. The director is also the playwright, and he's altered his adult script to fit an all-kids cast. I was wondering what pictures he had in his head as Molly and Logan sing a beautiful duet called "What are we to do?" Pierre wants to go to war and Amelia must stay behind. It's probably the scene in the play that comes closest to what the director had in mind when he was writing lyrics for grownups. Add to it that this show is special- any kid who auditions and makes the commitment - gets a role. What's that like for the director/author? It must be torture to hear his lines getting butchered by second graders, and heart wrenching to decide where to spend limited rehearsal time tidying scenes. This is dress rehearsal week and emotions are running high. Last week, the kids were relaxed, lazy backstage, tired and bored by rehearsals (they've been rehearsing twice a week since before Christmas), and on-stage they were laughing and fooling around... . This week, backstage frenzy has hit - 46 kids crammed into a school hallway, costumes, props, and streetclothes, boots and coats in piles. The incesssant chatter from kids and backstage parents is a deafening drone. Costumes flying on and off the racks. "Where! or When! starts almost every sentence. At the stage door the cacaphony stops. On-stage, the kids sense the presence of the audience to come and instantly are wearing their characters too tightly. Tension between characters rises, faces lose the recess look,replaced with real emotion: excited, scared, happy. The director? He's sitting very very still in the front row of the audience. Suddenly, he springs from his seat, notepad flying, a whirling dervish. The flow shattered into a million pieces and everyone in the huge auditorium turns silently. Something happens. And then he sits again. Very still. And the magic starts again.

The show is "A Little Princess" and it runs this weekend and next at Windham High School. It is an entertaining musical with lots of laughs, and in a couple of spots, you might find yourself teary-eyed. 46 kids, from 8-14 years old. The director is (the patient) Michael Hjort.

02 February 2007

Ice 1, 2006. Taken in the parking lot behind the old IGA where the Subway and the credit union are now.

31 January 2007

First frost. Fall 2007.

29 January 2007

Collecting stuff

My windowsill. Rusty items in jar. 2007

24 January 2007

Paste Paper!

My altered book came to an abrupt halt when it started screaming out for paste paper. And I was out. Last weekend I didn't cook nothing for nobody. I got Zoe around where she had to go, but after that, the paste paper was calling and I shut the outside world out and surrendered to the lure of the paste and paint.

Zoe and I came up with 86 sheets that we kept for our stash.

Here's the recipe for the paste I used. It was smooth, but wasn't as pliable after drying as I would have liked.
Mix 2 cups cake flour with 2 cups water in a saucepan. Stir over medium heat (stir fast and don't stop!) just until it thickens. Stir into 10 cups of boiling water (stir fast and don't stop). When that thickens a bit, take off heat add 1 teaspoon glycerin and a 1/2 teaspoon of Dawn dish soap and let sit over night in the refrigerator. It will keep 2-3 days. If lumpy strain before using. Put some paste in a cup, add some color to your liking. I used 60lb. white laserprinting paper purchased at Staples for these papers. Paint the colored paste onto the paper. make designs in the paint by dragging combs, brushes, your fingers, lids etc., through the paint. Let dry flat, after dry, if it curls, you can iron the paper to flatten it out.

The paste papers can be used for anything! Endpapers in books, collage, greeting cards. My daughter Zoe is 10 and this is a project that she enjoyed - we spent hours making papers - every surface in the kitchen was covered with paint and drying papers! Including the floor, trash bags worked great for laying the papers on.

A note: except for the "feathery" piece, all the other samples here were made with the same "Fluff" lid cut into a funky shape. And, Garth had found a whole tub of fingerpaint and washable paint at the recycling center's "good pile". The tube acrylics made the most vivid colors, but the "kids" paints made lovely pastel - and there was plenty of it. Having plenty is a real treat for art-addicts.

14 January 2007

History displaced

Or how we ended up in the graveyard this morning by Jeanne Adams

My sister Jenna is reading a book, fiction based on fact, about a fishing village off the coast of Maine. As she was relating the story I recognized the tale. That's how we ended up at the Webber Cemetery, in New Gloucester, Maine during a snowstorm this morning.

Headstones tell a tale of endings. One at a time, people die. Excepting tragic accidents, we die one at a time.

Nine small white headstones stand in a row shrouded with a dusting of snow under gray sky. On each only a name and date of death. On each, that date is Nov. 1912. One stone lists five children, another three. One stone is for a couple. All in all, 17 people share a death date, all in a row.

They are tucked away, at the edge of a wood, behind a bigger cemetery.

But this isn't a secret borne in New Gloucester, it's a secret borne by New Gloucester.

The graves mark the final resting place of people who were forcibly removed from their homes and committed to the Pownal School for the Feeble Minded.

In 1912, Maine's Gov. Plaisted ordered the removal of the inhabitants of Malaga Island, a mixed race community just off the coast of Phippsberg, mid-coast Maine.

Malaga was a poor fishing community, and both blacks and whites were settled there. Interracial marriage was common on the island. In 1900 there were 42 individuals on the island. The towns of Phippsburg and Harpswell refused to claim the island, neither wanting to accept responsibility for the welfare of the islanders. It was a "no-mans land" and Malaga became a ward of the state. Maine was 99% white and newspaper accounts of the day sensationalized the race issue, blaming dark skin for all sorts of ills, including idleness, poverty and immorality. A combination of events, including the rise of tourism and competition for the local fishing grounds caused the state to step in with a solution to the Malaga "problem".

The people were forcibly removed, their shanty homes destroyed. Some residents floated their shanties up and down the New Meadows River, but no community would have them.

Even the island cemetary was desecrated - all remains were placed in 5 zinc-lined coffins and buried in the New Gloucester cemetary.

In spite of grandiose plans, the island never sported a fancy hotel and in fact, has remained uninhabited to this day.

This information is all available on the web, what I need to find out now, is WHY and HOW did the 17 people from Malaga Island die so soon after arriving at Pineland? I haven't been able to find out.

The book Jenna was reading is for the progam where she mentors a younger girl. It is called "Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy" by Gary D. Schmidt. It's fiction based on real events. He says that Lizzie Bright Griffin lived only 10 days after arriving at the Pownal School for the Feebleminded.

In recent years, Malaga has trickled into the media from time to time and more information pops up on the internet. The School for the Feebleminded is now a pristine and beautiful business campus with beautiful views, a YMCA, a school and arts center.

Photos by Jeanne Adams. In the top photo, are stones for residents of Pineland. The Malaga stones are centered in the first row at the top of the photo. Midddle photo: one of the stones dated Nov. 12. Here is the plaque at the cemetery;

11 January 2007

Where Are You?

help- i can't find my friend...
i've been gone all week - you'd
think she'd at least call -
instead all i get for a response is
in the comments section of this blog
we created for the studio -gallery.
so, here i am! jeanne, i'm home!
oh - the photo is a journal i burned
one november night, with jeanne's
assistance. ever have one of those
pieces of recorded history
you just need gone?
all that remains are these
beautiful photographs
jeanne took while i
stirred the pot.

01 January 2007


The engagement calender purchased at half price at Borders is titled 'Voyages...' and me - I love a journey. Whatever, wherever, whenever. I find the title of my engagement calender a strange inspiration and quickly go online to check the national weather forecasts. We're in an ice storm that is scheduled to end soon, Colorado's a definite no, New York City is so last night... hmmm. Think I'll head South and take it from there.