Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fall is Here Now... the moon gets fuller and the evenings become colder I am in anticipation of fall and the beauty it presents us. I took my photo one kids out for a "mini field trip" this moring during "A" block and it was great for the low sun and the shadows that students found in their photographs while looking for "fall color". I am inspired to take them around the island one of these mornings!

The mist grabbed me at several spots on the way into school this morning, and the peaceful calm of that time of day is such a stress reducer!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Shopping Cart

All I needed was mints, but that low sun always gets me! Picture me running around in the parking lot moving carts into just the right light. (Yeah, I had to "set up" the photo.) Not perfect... shooting into the light and that piece of crap on the ground in the foreground I didn't notice until transfer to computer!

Monday, September 28, 2009

RoadKill? Or Something Else?

Dan and I made this discovery on the way to Haystack a couple of weekends ago, but I really wanted to post this photo... It may explain some of those animals we see in the roads here in Maine. Laughter, the best medicine! Sorry if I offend any animals activists groups, but I did post the original "roadkill" website!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Yesterday's sail...

Working on the roof to move the air exchange intake to accommodate burning some wood this winter was the main job for yesterday, then David and I headed into the bay, up around Calf Island and back for a nice afternoon sail, hopefully not the last of the fall. Today was a lot less eventful, looking over cars and a trip to Winter Harbor for steel to repair my truck. No camera today as I was recharging the battery for it, but the light was cloudy diffused anyway.
The highlight yesterday during our sail was the view of the cruise ship at Bar Harbor. We couldn't see it from our house, but I got a good shot or two from south of Sheldrake Island.
Back to school tomorrow and I will be glad in so many ways to see everyone and my young artists again.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Strange and Scary Days...

The last thing I remembered was sitting down at the kitchen table for a celebratory dinner with my youngest son Torrey and his new fiancee Allison. I gained full consciousness a day and a half later in the ICU at Eastern Maine Medical Center. I call it consciousness because I was aware of my surroundings, but it was an awareness that was very distorted and disorienting. Let me explain.
Part of my morning ritual is to go to a drawer in the pantry and take my oldest son's medication to him when I do my morning workout. He has suffered from schizophrenia for years now and is on quite a variety of "heavy duty" medications, which he takes twice daily. The evening doses of the families meds (vitamins, heart meds for me, etc.) my wife Jennifer sets out for the family as the table is set for dinner each night. Monday evening Matt had decided not to eat with the family and everyone else had taken their medications before I got to the table, so... I had to get my own pills from the pantry drawer. It seems (I do not remember specifically doing this) that I reverted to my daily routine and took the pills from Matt's pill box and swallowed them.
The rest of the details have been described to me by several members of my family, and they coincide with what I do recollect from the experience. Everyone thought I was having a stroke as I sat at the table, lowering my head and curling my fingers, palms up, and lapsing into unconsciousness. The MTs arrived within 10 minutes (what an amazing resource we have in our small communities). At some point I stopped breathing voluntarily and so had a breathing tube inserted during my trip to the Ellsworth hospital. My stay at Ellsworth was brief as there was no room in the ICU, and so I was sent directly to EMMC, where I began to slowly gain consciousness.
My regaining of awareness, strangely, was very insightful to me. I displayed to visitors (and to myself as I was aware but without control) symptoms that were very similar to the symptoms that Matthew had displayed many times over the past 15 years. I saw strangers that would appear in my room and then vanish before my eyes after I had communicated back and forth with them, I had conversations with visitors that created puzzled expressions on their faces (my thoughts were full of unconnected tangents), and I had people talking to me that I could not see, the "voices" that entered uninvited into my consciousness. My speech was slurred, I had difficulty getting words out, and any complexity to language and thought was, at first, almost impossible. As time went by, and my body purged itself of "toxic medications" my speech and thoughts began to improve, and by Thursday morning I was somewhat myself, with only a sore throat (from the tracheal tube I suspect) as a physical symptom. I had blood drawn each day as doctors (who are excellent, as are the nurses and staff at both EMH & EMMC) were concerned about pneumonia developing from bacteria in my lungs, and then Friday the blood cultures came back negative and I left the hospital around 6 p.m. that night.
If you have read this far I want to sincerely extend my deepest gratitude for your concern (or even curiosity as they are spiritually connected) and the many prayers and well wishes that have been presented to me over the past week. I firmly believe in the power of the collective spirit, and without the caring thoughts of family, friends, and colleagues I would not have survived this experience. Thank you all!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Haystack Weekend (MAEA)

I almost dislike putting up this post because it marks the end of a wonderful weekend. The opportunity for art teachers all around the state to come together for 3 days of art-making and conversation is one of the best professional development experiences that visual arts teachers receive here in Maine.
We had a great crew, Shira Singer was the only one missing, and even she was there in spirit! Everyone was in a variety of classes, and we will do a faculty "Haystack Show" in mid-October of all the work that was produced!
Haystack moves my spirit!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Neglected? Or Just Forgotten?

I attended a workshop on using First Class client software yesterday after school, or rather from 1-5 p.m., at the MDI Bio Lab. My principal and I rode down to the session together and I looked up the table as we were finishing up for the day - and he was gone! I looked around the parking lot and saw that his car was gone as well. After an initial panic, I got a ride back to school with a colleague, but had to come up with a way to respond to this somewhat insignificant oversight. I had one of the people I ride share with take this picture of me at the Taunton River Bridge and I emailed it to my principal suggesting that I made it home OK and was there before dark so felt good about the experience. I happened to be in a meeting with him this morning when he opened it and I was duly rewarded by his embarrassment. He had completely forgotten about me...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Hey! If life gives you lemons, then make lemonade, right? I don't recall how many times I have heard that, but it is a sentiment that I adhered to this morning on the way to school. I'm sitting with the engine shut off waiting for the construction as we go onto the island and looking to my left I see the "bump" sign and the sun poking through the clouds. I liked the look of it so I snapped a couple of shots. I'm pleased with the results, and there is something about the sign and the fact that we often have "bumps" in our road of life that have meaning for me. Sometimes a picture takes some time to grow on you and develop a personality.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Surprise Visit!

I love it when students come back to visit me, and many of them stay in touch and make an occasional connection through email or FaceBook. It really is amazing to see how young people change even over a few short years, and the maturity and life experience they bring back often move me in amazing ways. I've always loved to teach, and to teach young people methods and materials to express themselves is beyond belief rewarding. I have seen students just this past week gather the rhythms of full arm motion drawing (and truly appreciate the video I made of them doing it), discover a new sensibility (and sense of self) for the art of collage, and beam with glee at the results of their first photograms.

Today, one of the top art students I have ever worked with came into my room with the new life she had created. They were both beautiful! Thanks.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fall is Coming, Fog in Bar Harbor and Out for a Sail

Fall is coming for sure... when the trees start to turn it's a pretty good bet that either the nights are going to get cold or they already have. The last full moon brought temperatures dipping into the 30's during the clear nights, but it does make it good for sleeping. I don't mind the cold, but I'm a little bit "spleeny" in my old age and I like the warmth more. This shot was taken along the Blink Bonnie Golf Course shore and is really the only tree along there that is starting to turn.

Fog in Bar Harbor I guess! I snapped the shot above on my bike ride down to the Gouldsboro Grange, and there's always a good view just up beyond Young's Store. Today the fog had pushed up into Frenchman's Bay and pretty much obliterated any view of the coastal city from this side of the bay. The fog has been in and out all day, and parts of it are very dense.

Then there was the sailing! David and I went out around 2 this afternoon and got a beautiful sail around the bay and even out past Shefflin's Point. We had the boat up to 6.7 knots but only put the rail down once. The wind was steady and pretty sharp in some places out away from the islands. We went into whitecaps and pretty decent (maybe 2-3 feet) waves for a while there. It was a good afternoon, I wish there were a lot more left this fall, but I'm afraid they are about gone! It feels good to get some more pictures up here on the blog.

I'm starting school now, so I will hopefully have some things posted here on a daily basis for my photography classes.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Last Night...

Yesterday I got a boat ride from Winter Harbor to Bar Harbor for pizza at Rosalie's and then a sunset cruise back to WH. What a beautiful afternoon and evening on the water! Bar Harbor was pretty crowded as it usually is, but the pace was easy going and relaxed, and so very enjoyable. The above shot is the part of Bar Harbor that we see from our living room windows in the gap off the end of Treasure Island.

As we were coming back around Grindstone Neck the moon was just coming up and it put a gorgeous accent onto the cruise up the sound. Very little light for "moonshots", so I tried tweaking the shot a bit with photo software, but a digital shot is a lot like film in that the original (negative in film?) gives you all it can, and sometimes there is information there that you can get out and others times there isn't. In this shot there is a lot of grain that I couldn't remove without detail loss so I just sharpened it to make the grain a part of things. The composition was kind of abstract anyway, and I think the shot captured the "mellow" mood of the evening.

I am still fascinated by the movement of water and the "freezing" accomplished at high shutter speeds. I took a series of shots off the starboard side of the boat as we were heading toward Bar Harbor (and into the sun) and this is one of them. The bubbles and the droplets of water almost seem to contribute the same thing to the picture but in an opposite way.

A pair of eagles with two offspring at Winter Harbor and I got this hurried shot of the "Old Man" in a tree looking over the harbor. Boy, they are a huge bird and they really dominate the sky when they are in the air. OK, so four pictures... I am beginning to get back into the "photographer" mode, now I just need to tune up my writing to get back together.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Slowing down... Now that school has started I need to refocus for awhile. I never realized how much time (and energy) has gone into doing a post every day. It's not just the time of writing, editing, etc., it's also the constant quest for photos. I find myself "bumming out" when I pass up a shot. I had two or three yesterday and today that I know would have been great shots, but I had to get to school, or I wasn't carrying my camera (biggest mistake a "photographer" can make) and so missed the opportunities for which I am positive could have been great shots. Sooo... having said all this, I am going to revert (for the rare time - because I have posted some shots of 40 years ago that I scanned) to using an older shot that I might have taken this summer or such. Hmmm, well let's go into my iPhoto library.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

First at School and Guard Geese

Yeah, I know, hard to believe that I might be one of the first teachers at school where I live 27 miles away, but I have proof in the empty parking lot that I was in fact early. Now this doesn't or won't happen every day, but I do leave fairly early and am in general excited about getting there/here and I imagine that will continue, I just need students rather than in-service to energize me!

I took the above shot on the way into school in one of the fields on the Mud Creek Road. Neat with the ends of the "gaggle" looking up to keep an eye on things. We used to have pairs of geese come into the field next to the house, but haven't seen them for several years. An amazing creature, the Canadian Goose.