January 5, 2015

Jon and the Soup

I'm standing on the right side of the picture, and my brother Jon is sitting in the high chair.  I am probably about 4 in this picture and Jon about 1 year old plus a couple of months maybe.  My shirt was red, with a black placket and collar.  I was going through a cowboy phase that lasted several years, and I would only wear Levi's 501's, and cowboy shirts, and usually cowboy boots too, to the extent possible.  This is a cowboy shirt, at least, that is what my mother told me, because I would not wear it otherwise.  I believed it to be an authentic cowboy shirt, because I knew that cowboy shirts had snaps instead of buttons, and this particular shirt has snaps, rather than buttons, therefore, it passed muster as a cowboy shirt, and I believed my mother.

The reason I posted the photo though is because around the same time, there was a very memorable meal.  One of the few meals I remember from this age.  Mom had made us Campbell's tomato soup.  Jon was wearing a white onesie and a bib, and sitting is this very high chair, which by the way has held me, all my siblings, all of my nieces and nephews, and most of my kids, and is still giving service in my parents home. 

It may have been late afternoon, at any rate Jon was tired.  Mom gave us each a bowl of soup and then stepped away.  I watch Jon start nodding off.  I was on the edge of my seat as his little head dipped forward, closer and closer, until with one last nod, he plunged his face into the soup. 

Instantly he woke, screaming, with a perfect mask of orange soup from his neck, to the top of his head.  I laughed and laughed, as it was the funniest thing I had ever seen in my life to that point.  Mom came rushing in to see her baby covered in soup, crying like a banshee.  She scolded me for not warning her of the impending catastrophe, but I was laughing to hard for it to have any impact.

January 4, 2015

So much for my New Year's Revolution

So last night I was going to write a post about how I had already done three posts in a row, and how that had exceeded my expectations, but then, I didn't post.  I totally met my expectations!  Now I predict that I will feebly type one more (apologetic) post next week, promising to do better, then nothing till next January.

I am really hoping to get in the habit of writing a little bit.  I am old.  I feel old.  I don't feel like I have a lot of time left, and that's fine with me.  I would, however, like to leave something behind for my kids or grandkids to read, to know a little about who I was and what I thought about.  I have a number of two or three page "personal histories" written by some of my forebears, and they are a treasure. I also have a lot of ancestors that left little or no trace behind.  I feel much less close to those people.  I hope what I have written, or will write, will be of some benefit to my descendants, if only to understand that everyone's life is a mix of fun and sorrow.

January 2, 2015


I spend a lot of time in jail.  I have spent more time in jail than most of my clients. Jails are not very effective at treating mental health problems, or substance abuse. Today I went to see my client, but he was naked and screaming, so the guards didn't bring him out.  That's too bad because he is only looking at 7 days, and he's already done more than that, but a couple of weeks ago he quit taking his meds, so now he will spend months locked up while he is found competent, or not.

After failing to see my first client I drove an hour to Dover to see another client.  He is very polite and well spoken.  I have been dreading going up to see him, and I put it off as long as I could, but he was just happy to see me. He is in quite a bit of trouble, but we'll see how things turn out.

January 1, 2015

New Year's Revolution

One of my goals for 2015 is to write more on my blog.  Today was a nice lazy day, Wisconsin upset Auburn and Oregon creamed Florida State.  I accomplished nothing, but I enjoyed myself.  I'm reading Illium.  It's  pretty good.

March 16, 2011

Jan Camp 2011

Every year I make a resolution to camp out at least one night in every month. After Man Camp, I always think, "Hey, I've got the hard one done, if I can make it through January and February, I'll have it made!" Then I don't camp out again till July.

Maybe 2011 will be different. I did make it out on January14th. Just a solo trip, no fire. It was kind of a proof of concept to see if 2 three season sleeping bags would work as one four season sleeping bag. It worked swimmingly. I brought too much stuff, as per usual, but made it down and back in one trip, which is unusual, and an improvement.

It got sub zero, maybe -2 or something, so I feel like I have actually been winter camping. I stayed quite warm, listened to iTunes most of the night. One key seemed to be sleeping in my clothes, including my mukluk liners. Then getting dressed in the morning consisted on putting on my boots over my warm liners. No trying to stick a warm body in cold clothes.

I kept my water bottle under the one of the sleeping bags, and it didn't freeze. I used my candle lantern, it was awesome, casting the picturesque glow of a fire, but without the hassle.

March 15, 2011

The Kick Off to Boat Season 2011

Don has a friend who commissioned a boat to be build by Doug Hylan on the Benjamin River in Brooklin.

As they finished the boat they had an open house towards the end of January, so we went down to take a look. I was eager to go because I wanted to check on the progress to Robert and JoDee Baird's cat boat, the Mollie B., which is undergoing a fairly involved restoration there.

Doug had moved the Mollie B. outside for a breath of fresh air, and to open some room for the open house.

Here you can see the tale tell signs of a major refastening, and I think new ribs, as well.

This is the Deliverance, which has the look of an old fashioned sardine carrier:

Check out the fancy detail on the bottom of the sliding door:

In this one you can see Don plotting a course for Head Harbor:

On thing that I think about when I go aboard some of these yachts, is how luxury is relative. For example, here is the master stateroom on the Deliverance:

The picture above is the starboard side berth, looking forward. Below is the port side, looking towards the stern.

As you can probably piece together, the stateroom is about 8 feet long, and, at it's widest, about 9 or 10 feet wide, if that. You have to climb down a ladder to get into the room. Keep in mind that the Deliverance might be worth a half million dollars, and the only other place to sleep on the whole boat is the kitchen table in the galley. But to sit in that stateroom, even with its narrow berths, and the only natural light coming through two deck prisms and two 6" portholes, you feel like it would be the neatest bedroom in the world. Part of it is the finish, and the thought put into everything in the room. Nothing is happenstance, nothing is an afterthought. Every piece of wood is carefully thought out, individually crafted, and designed to squeeze the maximum utility and comfort out of every cubic inch of available space. Part of it too is just the romance of a big boat.

Anyway, I think there is a lesson that can be learned from this, namely, that living space can be small and wonderful at the same time, the two terms are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Here is the galley, with a footprint of 2' x 7', yet still beautiful and functional:

Compare that with the engine room, which is probably 8' x 12'. You can tell someone has their priorities right.

Here is a . . . uh . . . freezer? . . . ice maker? . . . something beautiful, anyway:

And on the starboard side, a tool locker, complete with benchtop vise:

Anyway, it is a beautiful boat, and it was a fun afternoon. A great start to the 2011 boat season.

March 14, 2011

Man Camp 2010

Man Camp continued the trend of adding an additional person every year. This year Peter Dauk joined Jason Barrett, Justin Millis and me at Camp Bravo.

I also continued my trend of bringing a little bit less gear than the prior year, but I still brought stuff, a fair amount of stuff, that I didn't need. Especially since the weather was so calm this year.

Peter had visited a few weeks before the big event and together we cut nearly a cord of firewood, but didn't haul any of it to the campsite. That made a huge difference in terms of comfort. Unfortunately it snowed a couple of times, effectively burying the firewood we had cut. Justin and I were tramping through the snow in the dark, looking for lumps that betrayed the firewood hidden beneath the snow.

The temps got down in the single digits, but the fire kept us warm. There was no wind, so most of us didn't bother with tents. I didn't bother with a sleeping bag or blanket either. I was very comfortable though. I think I suffered far more from the heat of the fire, which literally gave me the equivalent of a sunburn, rather than the cold, which was insignificant.

I rigged up a tripod with some board leaning against it, and then insulated my back and the ground with some foam rubber that I was going to take to the dump. I had fashioned a red-neck recliner, and it made all the difference. No cold could penetrate from below or behind, And the radiant heat from the fire could slowly roast me. I could lean back and doze, or listen to my iPod, and still feel the warmth from the fire.

Justin and Jason had a traditional bedroll going on. I think the old timers were on to something.
Justin's set up:

Jason's set up:

Peter had set up an improvised tipi, which I am sad to say I did not photograph. He brought his dog, and they made it through the night in fine style. I think he will bring less stuff next year, as will I. It is hard to resist the temptation to bring one more thing.

One thing we learned is that there were some dead trees that we cut down, old pines that had died several years ago, maybe many years ago, that Peter and I cut up. I thought they were too old and rotten to be much good. By morning, however, we were throwing 20" diameter tree trunks cut into 2' lengths on the fire and marveling how they burst into flame and put out searing heat in every direction.

Anyway, another great outing, and I think we will look back on this year as the year Man Camp became an institution, rather than an experiment.

March 13, 2011

Squeezie's Hobo Tooth

A short film. By me.

You're welcome!

By the way, I made this video a couple of weeks ago, maybe three weeks ago. The Hobo Tooth is still hanging on.

December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve in Maine

This is an attempt to post a video. Did it work?