White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Reuse Recycle Repair Reimagine



Lobster buoys find a new life as art.

As a proponent of a lifestyle that tries to be more responsible with the earth's resources, I sometimes find it necessary to weigh and balance the need to conserve and be responsible with the desire to keep a bunch of stuff that can, in an instant, transport my mind to some favorite place in memory.  The problem is that reducing "stuff" and not acquiring more "stuff" is fundamentally opposed to the American consumer economy and mentality. But keeping a few things is good - for example, a hat from South Carolina that I spent weeks searching out, a small oil painting from Ecuador of indigenous folks in native dress, photos of whitewashed hill towns in Spain.  I also really enjoy using today's technology for keeping all these hundreds of blog posts saved in the cloud by Google/Blogger. Gone are bulky photo albums - plus it's free, accessible, and doesn't take up any physical space!

The power of simple things to evoke place and memory is a remarkable attribute of the human mind. The sight, sound, or smell of something long forgotten can unlock the drawer in the mind's filing cabinet to allow full access to the memory - say the trigger word and out explodes the connection. I think that's astounding.

I bet the owners of the shed in the photo above will always remember that home and their life in it, anytime or anywhere they see a similar buoy either floating in the water or elsewhere.

As another example of the power of a word to evoke memory, while beach walking recently, I met a dog named, "Fenway." For millions of Boston Red Sox fans, that word alone conjures up spectacular memories of the 2004 and 2007 baseball season winners and always will in the future. What a great way to keep the dream alive!


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

10 Fingers


I was listening to a piano concerto on a walk the other day. Wow, does that sound like a pretentious comment or what? (Disclosure: I listen to country music more often than piano concertos). It is miraculous to me that one can train one's ten fingers to do so many different things simultaneously and sequentially, maintain a consistent rhythm, and have such musical beauty produced as a result.

My ten fingers don't take individual direction very well. My ten fingers can barely type successfully and seldom accurately on a computer keyboard....... and if truth be told, I mostly just use seven of them - but I'm really partial to my favorite two. Wasn't there a little children's ditty about thumbkin, pointer, tall man, ring man, and pinkie that was popular 50+ years ago?  I'm partial to pointer - but I reluctantly admit I have used tall man on occasion when driving in rush hour commuter traffic.

And if your fingers can't type or play the piano, at least you can dress them up as puppets....

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012

What Doesn't Belong in this Photo?


In the photo below, please identify which of the four items does not belong with the others: dental floss, sandwich cookies, toothbrush, or hammer.

If you guessed the hammer, you'd be incorrect.  The hammer is used to smack yourself in the head when you want to reach repeatedly for the sandwich cookies!



Sunday, May 27, 2012

Rhododendrons, Massachusetts, USA


The following were observed randomly outdoors in Plymouth and Sandwich, many of them at the Heritage Museums and Gardens .


An azalea blossom in the process of dropping to the ground. (Azaleas are a member of the rhododendron family).

A buzzing bumblebee with a saddlebag full of pollen.










If you are getting tired of my pictures of flowers, you're in luck - this is probably the end of the early spring blossom extravaganza.



Saturday, May 26, 2012

Swan Family, Bartlett Pond, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA


And then there were only  three..........(of the original six cygnets).

Long necks and short necks but no rednecks.

Interesting daddy swan behavior.  They all approached me while I was standing still on the dock. After they apparently approached too close for comfort, daddy swan then snarls/growls/snaps aggressively at me. Like it was all my fault. Why didn't he just stay farther away? It's kinda' like wanting lower taxes and, at the same time, more government benefits - we can't have it both ways.

And then, off they went into the morning mist. 


Rite of Spring, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA


In a story played out in many locations throughout the world, the springtime exodus of boats from winter storage back to the water is under way in many New England boatyards. Sure hope those straps are strong enough...... 


Friday, May 25, 2012

It is Odd.......


........to define a thing by what it is not. Take cream cheese, for example. How do you market a non-dairy replacement?  What do you say at the table, "please pass the not-cream-cheese?" Actually, yes. Here's how those clever folks at Trader Joe's do it. You just gotta love 'em. (Good product, too, by the way - just like all their products).



Here's one of the things that chef Amy made with this product:  Vegan raspberry chocolate walnut brownies with not-cream cheese and a dollop of raspberry fruit spread.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Beach Walk


I am obsessed with beach walks. Few activities suit me more than a long walk on a beach at low tide on the firm sand. Through the relative miracle of technology, I can insert the tiny earbuds of a music player and fill my head with great music by great musicians that I choose. I can also hear the crashing surf beside me as a counter-point to the music. The salt-scented breeze is almost always blowing. Can any worldly riches truly be any better than this? The mind is free to roam - memories are triggered, thoughts and ideas for new blogs come flooding in and, most importantly, it is healthful exercise for my aging body.

Many of us talk about exercising as a priority. Simply put though, if I don't exercise then it isn't really a priority. I am kidding myself.  In the immortal words of singer/songwriter James Taylor, "....a walking man walks, any other man stops and talks, but a walking man walks...."

I'm a walking man - I think I'll go for a walk.




Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Retirement - Another Look


Is this what retired looks like? Or, is this what lazy looks like? Maybe both retired and lazy?

So how does a person be "retired"? Does it mean no work, or, some work, or, un-work, or, different work, or, unpaid work? How and why did "work" get such a bad name?

After eleven months of "retirement," I have reached a preliminary conclusion that retirement does not mean the absence of work.  Death is the absence of work. Humans are hard-wired to work. Work requires thought, plan, purpose, effort, and action regardless the subject. Humans do just that.

What retirement can offer though, is the ability to choose and control the how, when, what, where, and who, that defines work.  Work must create value and be fulfilling - whatever the subject. 

Creating blogs is now my work - I think I'll get back to it.......either that or find my blankie and take a nap.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Oceanfront vs. Pondfront, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA



Oceanfront......


.....or, pondfront?

In terms of audio and visual impact, interest, and variety, I prefer life by a pond rather than by the ocean (less expensive also). Yes, the ocean has that magical attraction and offers an endless vista looking across the water. But a freshwater pond just teems with visible and audible wildlife. Birds of many species fly back and forth to nest and bring back food to their babies. An osprey will dive into the water and grab a sunfish in its talons, then struggle mightily to become airborne again. Muskrat surface from the pondside burrow and swim across the pond to feed elsewhere. Swans vigorously and loudly flap their huge wings as they fly by at very low altitudes or surge across the surface when busking. A red-shouldered hawk perches beside the water no more than ten feet off the ground looking for snakes, eels, or frogs to catch and eat or take home to the nest for junior. The honk of geese, squawk of grackles, song of chickadees and red-winged blackbirds, the staccato burst of downy woodpeckers, cooing of doves, and chatter of squirrels, the croak of frogs - a veritable natural cacophony. Yep, pond life is more interesting. And, it is said that Plymouth has 365 ponds - one for every day of the year - lots of pondfront places to live!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Heritage Museum and Gardens, Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA


On a perfect spring day, visitors to Heritage Museum and Gardens  in Sandwich on Cape Cod were treated to a riot of  brilliant color as the annual display of blooming rhododendrons reached peak.

The gardens are spread over 100 acres of hills, paths, and trails, and also offer museums and artworks.

Almost every plant, shrub and tree is labeled discreetly with a name plaque - always a nice feature for the memory-challenged (me).



Not an advertised feature but nice nonetheless, I observed an occasional big golf cart traveling the paved sections of trail with white hairs on board. In retrospect, it seems that the cart was discreetly rescuing old folks who were not able to walk back to the starting point.



There is also an herb garden.

And as if the natural life spectacular wasn't enough, they also have whimsical creative gates on display through September. This gate was designed by artists Angela Rose and Lauren Miklavic.

Here's a detail of the eight metallic flowers.

The bright light on this sunny day was harsh and intense - I should have come on a cloudy day like the smart photographers. Oh well. That's one of the advantages of being a blogger - I don't have quite as high standards for photographs for a simple blog.

It is inspiring what a long world view some folks have. To dream, plan, and execute a garden of this scope - a garden that will only come into full fruition long after the life of the visionary. What a legacy!



Sunday, May 20, 2012

Technology



It is interesting that my generation (the baby boomers) has learned to use the incredible technology of today's world. Whether programmable stoves, microwaves, cell phones, computers, iPods, iPads, cameras, software, GPS, hardware, uploads, downloads, blogs, social media, and on and on and on. It wasn't easy because we didn't grow up with all this stuff. 

I wonder what step this is in the evolutionary process. Horse-drawn buggies gave way to the horseless carriage. Typewriters gave way to word-processors. Landline telephones are giving way to cellphones.

What will today's youngsters see and record over the course of their lives? Not much if they don't keep their sticky little fingers off the camera lens.........


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts, USA


A deserted Fenway Park sits peacefully waiting for the beloved Red Sox to return from a road trip.

Fenway Park is the oldest major league baseball stadium still in use and celebrates its 100 year anniversary this year.

Beer cups, peanut shells, hot dog wrappers all cleared away waiting for the 35,000+ fans to arrive once again and cheer the home team.

The hallowed grass and cutout at third base.

In case you ever wondered, it's official - getting hit with a baseball or a bat is not a good thing - pay attention, that way you might see it just before impact.

Right field and the city of Boston in the background.

It took 86 years before the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004.  Many old-timer fans had waited a lifetime for it to happen.   I bet if if you asked all of the fans where they were on October 27, 2004 when the last out occurred they could tell you like it was yesterday - I will always remember, I was out of town on business at a hotel in Hartford, Connecticut - it was my 52nd birthday - nice birthday present, eh?.

And they did it again in 2007.

This is the only peanut shell left in the park. It had been hiding from the sweepers but I found him attempting to escape.

Fenway Park occasionally hosts musical concerts and other special events on the hallowed grass. The note on the photo above sounds like good advice to carry with me anywhere my life takes me - concert or otherwise.