Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy 4th!

We love fireworks. But cats hate fireworks, so we're half-inclined to skip the festivities to keep ours company.  We don't like crowds so won't be picnicking by the Charles tonight with hundreds of thousands of other people and the Pops. We walked along the Esplanade last night and saw the security measures getting their finishing touches to protect everyone. Storrow Drive, the main traffic artery through our neighborhood that runs along the river, was closed. Some entry points for walkers and bikers on the Esplanade itself were already barricaded, and various police teams (city, state, park) were already patrolling. The National Guard was out, too, in full camouflage gear, looking ready for anything (and very overdressed) on a warm summer evening. 

That was enough excitement for us. We'll resume our sunset strolls in a day or two, after everything goes back to normal. 

We were invited to a party on a private roof deck on Beacon Street tonight. It's just two blocks from us, with stunning views of the fireworks and much of Boston... so we might go, and then race home afterward to draw everyone out of hiding with treats and soothing conversation. 

I tried explaining about fireworks today in advance, hoping it would keep everyone calm. Not much fazes Toffee, who has a scientific mind. He'll be fine. Lion and Wendy have already picked their hiding places (I'm not supposed to tell). Possum is trying to act cool but he hates the noise, too. In past years, he's always been wild-eyed and glad to see us when we get home, skulking around low to the floor with his fur ruffled up, so we know it's an ordeal for him. 

And Harris is... well, just look at him:

He can't believe the fireworks are going to happen again after he hated them so much last year. All I could tell him was that the world might revolve around him most of the time, but not tonight.

Maybe I'll stay home.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Glamour Don't: Falling Off on Newbury Street

What is it with crazy white "dresses" this summer? First we had this one, which has to be sleepwear or a slip pretending to be a dress. Then there was Madewell's baggy tribute to the hospital johnny.

Now, I present:

"I'm for it, of course!" said my husband when I asked him if this woman had caught his eye. He was disappointed when we passed her and discovered that this is a halter dress, which fails entirely to fulfill its promise of exciting anatomical revelation in the front. She was decently covered — at least as well as a tight, white dress can manage these days. I have no doubt that every straight guy who saw her back view was also bummed out about this.

I'm not sure if she's sorry about that or not.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Recent Adorableness, Or Not

Someone has been watching TOO MANY ZOMBIE SHOWS. (With my husband, not me!)

I think Possum was asleep and dreaming when I took this — with one eye open and his fangs showing. I woke him up just to be sure that I could.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Last Postcards from Maine: The Searsport House

I've posted photographs of this atmospheric ruin on Maine's scenic Route 1 before (see more of them here), but that was before the new "skylight" appeared in the roof of the addition:

Here's the house in 2011:

And here's the same view is in 2015:

Every time we drive to Maine, we feel anxious as we approach Searsport. Will the house still be there? Or —horrors! — will we find some crappy new building rising on its lot?

It doesn't help that we are often unsure about exactly where this house is. Every vacant, grassy field gives us a jolt. Is the house just past the Ship in a Bottle shop, or not? Isn't it right near this flea market... or is there another one? Where is it in relation to the shop that sells spiral staircases? Then we finally spot it and we are thrilled and relieved.

And we are hardly alone. Many travelers along Route 1 love and worry about this house as much as we do. And many photograph it. Here's one photographer's moody shot taken at night — something I'll never see, since we make our long drives during daylight.

Here's a moonlight photo by Michael Berry that is probably my favorite.

Another photographer, Kim Jackson, shot the house in snow and reported what she knew of its story: It was built between 1830 and 1840 for a sea captain, Joseph Loomis Park (many sea captains built fine houses in Searsport). It changed hands a few times until it was purchased by an "eccentric man" named Douglas Brown, who "has filled it with junk and left it to decay."

Keep it up, Mr. Brown. Long may you wave. Please, please, let it stay upright for as long as it can. Please never let anyone tear it down. It's one of Maine's treasures.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Postcards from Maine: By the Water

I don't have any sunset photos from this trip, but we did spend a little time on the dock, where the dinghies are just beginning to accumulate. When we go back in August, there will be many more:

We walked to the Causeway, for only about the second or third time in all of our visits. We will start going there more often, since it's a quick walk to the rocky path and some nice water views:

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Random Postcards from Maine

Random things I liked and wanted to share:

An arrangement of weathered lobster buoys and nets on the back of a lobster shack.

I think it's a great idea to match your rhododendron to your front door. Or vice versa.

A church in Southwest Harbor at twilight.

Mushrooms and pinecones — together at last! Two of my favorite things.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

All Right Already

A photo of Harris will accompany a story about pets in the neighborhood paper next month and he can't stop talking about it. Some of us are ready to move on. 

Possum told me privately that he doesn't see the point of featuring such a small cat when one could have gotten a much bigger, flashier one for the same fee. (Harris's agent negotiated for a tin of sardines.)

Postcards from Maine: Local Car Candy

A sports car collector lives down the road from our inn. He stores his substantial collection elsewhere on the island, but he drives at least some of them, so there is often something exciting parked in front of his house. When we were there earlier in the month, he was using an elegant dark blue vintage Porsche for a few days, and then he brought out this:

According to my limited car research skills, this is a Porsche 1600 Super from 1956–1958. I have to ask you: Can a car be any more red and shiny? Can you think of a more perfect summer sports car? 

This fellow's cars are always in mint condition, by the way. His house has no garage, so he uses canvas covers at night and for rain.

No one ever bothers these cars. We gawk and admire the showpiece of the day, and keep going.

To me, the saddle leather interior is the ideal complement, just as caramel belongs on a red apple. 

Postcards from Maine: Asticou Azalea Garden

We alway arrive too late in June to see the Asticou Azalea Garden (in the town of Northeast Harbor) at its peak. But there are usually enough hints of color remaining to suggest what we've missed. While the azaleas were mostly finished, some rhododendrons and other shrubs were in bloom this year. It was a gloomy day but we found plenty to admire and enjoy in this carefully tended Japanese-style garden. (Someday I would like to come across a cat in it, but so far we've only seen birds and the very occasional frog.)