Tarmac ribbons criss-crossing the landscape, dusty back roads twisting between the cool shadows of ancient pines, and less traveled pathways connecting present to past, all I wander, seeking, seeing, with my keyboard and camera capturing scenes and stories to share with you.

Now in its seventh year, this venue has become an important part of my life, a place where I can express my thoughts and feelings about the things I see and do, hoping the process brings me a bit closer to friends and family who enjoy sharing my sometimes chaotic and often nonlinear observations and ideas. A journal, I suppose, but one with which I find pleasure in thinking others are alongside me on my journey.

Comments, thoughts, or just a friendly chat, use the response box below or email me at patrickgroleau@gmail.com.

January 16, 2020

WEEK 2 OF 2020

       
... my "once a week journaling" idea is already proving more difficult a transition than i'd anticipated, but i'm going to keep at it ...

... as i've said, this year i'm going to distance myself a bit from facebook ... nothing to do with acquaintances and friends and family, it's simply that during the coming eleven months i don't believe that spending time in facebook will be healthy for me ... i'm hoping all of you will stay with me here, and that you will converse with me using messages, emails, texts, or, perhaps, even the little "comment" box on the right side of this page ... if i've not already placed you in my journal contact list, please make sure i get your email address ...

... slushy snow and slick ice this morning, so john an i made our little wanderabout of the town ... down by the 2¢ bridge i snapped a nice portrait of him, and i also managed to find a nice perspective of the 117 year-old span ...
      
  
       
... at the new hotel being constructed across the street from me i chanced upon a most interesting composition ...
      
       
... dr. bill asked me to do some family portraits for christmas ... using my home-refurbished sunpak 611 and scratch-built battery pack, i was quite pleased at how well i was able to light his daughter's living room ...
      
  
       
... from several years ago, john on one of our coastal wanderabouts ...
      
       
... christmas at the tracy's ... here walker and dan celebrate a moment of brotherly sharing (and, yes, we all enjoyed it while it lasted) ...
      
       
... dan's growing up, meagan—well, she's almost there ...
      
  
       
... grant observes while dad performs the most ancient of christmas rituals, "figuring it out" ...
      
       
... his little foot chaotically resembling a spinning windmill with a loose bearing, clearly entertained, grant has no idea that mom is also teaching him to read ...
      
  
... tom, who now towers over me and is training his way to running a marathon, while my wonderful kitchen cleanin' emily's great smile proves that some christmas presents are, indeed, timeless ...
      
  
  
... county commissioner robert asked me to take a picture of him at his "office" in the skowhegan municipal building  ... turns out that canine sheriff brady is the center of attention in somerset county ...
      


       
... my friend, bill (dr. d.), wanted a new photo for his linked-in account ... i snapped this one while he was cleaning the driveway at the cottage in milbridge ...
      
       
... a few days later he came over and i took a few more in my "studio" (read that: big room with a patch of white painted on a wall) ... this is his as usual response to my "smile a bit" request ... i'm fast on the shutter finger, and i couldn't resist playing with this result ...
      
       
... i did manage to get two nice shots of him, which, considering how he is in front of  camera, is a pretty good result ...
    
   
       
... em and dan came over to help me with house cleaning ... after we took a stroll down by the head of the falls ...
      
       
... baby little tessa is growing up so fast ... i think she figured out christmas ...
      
       
... using the latest version of photoshop, i revisited one of my favorite color slides of pa ... this was taken in 1978, when he had fulfilled his lifelong dream of "retiring" to the west indies ... he'd built a giant fish trap and had it anchored next to a coral head about sixty-feet from the shore (only another twenty-feet to his living room) ... with it he was feeding ma and himself, and also the rest of the neighborhood ... still, i miss him ...
      

... there you go, "week 2" of 2020 ... hmmmmm, maybe this'll be the year we find that monolith on the moon ... ??? ...

... what a wonderful week, indeed ...
      

January 4, 2020

CHANNELING MA WITH OATMEAL COOKIES

    
... i decided to make cookies ... all by myself ... from scratch ... figured step one was to find a recipe, then follow it ... internet for the first, the second would be will power ... put bowls holding the ingredients on my counter, then, before mixing them up i took a moment to close my eyes and step back into ma's kitchen ... i picked our house in alaska, circa 1961, of course, because cookies are most appreciated by a ten-year old ...

... as i worked i found myself immersed in a sea of memory ... waves of metallic creaking as the oven liner expanded, an aromatic fog parfait wafting about me ... "that's good, patrick, but you need to tap the pan after you've floured it" ... how satisfying, the sublime satisfaction of an egg cracked perfectly ... "no, don't add everything at once, a little of each in turn" ... pa, in the living room reading argosy magazine, suzzie galloping around the house on her little wooden stick horse, mike reading, a boys' life magazine being pretty much the only thing to distinguish him from pa ... ma, "if you don't stop eating the batter we won't have any cookies" ...

... (that was one of our serious philosophical debates: "why," we would ponder,"does it matter when we eat them" ... to this day, i believe, the issue remains unresolved) ...

... making cookies with ma, creating knowing how temporary the creation would be, was another of many lessons in the meaning of time ...

... and, yes, i cried a bit as i was licking the bowl ...
     

... as christmas should be ...
     
     
    
... from a little around town wanderabout ... the waterville's soon-to-be posh hotel ... i wonder if the tree will be respected ...
     
    
... one of my main street friends ...
     
     
    
... robert asked me to take a photograph of him in his government office ... while there i also snapped a few images of brady and his chums ...
     

     
     
    
... john and i shared a little wanderabout in the direction of pittsfield ... at vittles we enjoyed a most excellent lunch, after which i noticed some dried plants outside the bank ... while taking this picture a bank lady came out, "oh, what are you doing"  ... "just enjoying the dried plants" ... she accepted this with a smile, which i thought was nice but also—well, i mean, do you think someone would answer, "oh, i'm casing your bank for a heist i'm planning" ...
     
     
    
... i like this picture 'cause it shows exactly what i saw ...
     
     
    
... envisioned even as i pressed the shutter button, the simplicity and symmetry of the composition belies the two hours it took to coax it from the original images ...
     
     
    
... i'm going to do something a bit different this year ... rather than posting per event or happening or whim, my plan is to make a journal entry once a week ... "why," you ask ... no idea ... also, i'm going to distance myself from facebook ... again, "why" ... many reasons, but probably foremost is my belief that this year that particular venue is going to become an unhealthy place for me ... if you're not already on my journal mailing list and you'd like to have your address added, please do so using the comment box or send me an email ...

... also, this year i'm going to republish "the rocker" as an on-line ebook ... "why, this, patrick" ... that one's easy, it will please me to have more people read the stories i write ...

... time for bed, but—hmmmm, is no way i'm going to pause "caddyshack" ... after all, it is quite possibly the greatest movie ever made ...

... g'night ...


November 18, 2019

[CUE THE MUSIC] IN THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE

          
... there's a good chance this'll be my final shipboard entry ... even in the middle of the night the internet is excruciatingly slow, probably the result of work being performed by some of the many "repositioning crossing" maintenance crew members that joined us in spain ... so, at least for this hour on the calm surface of a darkened sea, here's a potpouri of photos from this wonderful experience ...

... in cadez, i believe, along what quickly became one of my all-time favorite streets ...
     
    
... as i walked through the town square i noticed a cart-guy and man-with-new-shoes in what appeared to be a most serious discussion ... right, probably about you-know-who—but in spanish ...
    
    
... while i was taking a little break on a bench in the azores i noticed this guy ... when we were kids, knowing we'd grow up to be smokers, this is how i practiced holding my candy lucky strike cigarettes ... sophisticatedly nonchalant, but never straying beyond the bounds of manliness ... thank goodness the world has moved on at least a tiny bit from that nonsense, but i still appreciate a good stance ...
    
    
... a church in the azores ... for the technical minded, 40 exposures hdr stacked, merged, color and contrast corrected, and finally, several painstaking hours, restored to geometric almost-perfection ... oh, right, did i mention the tourist wearing a flowered shirt standing dead center in the aisle—???—poof, gone (okay, amount of time it took there should be forty-fifty "o's" in that wood)...
       
    
... same church, different perspective ...
     
    
... the little lighthouse outside my window ...
    
    
... charming and charming, especially the random below-decks worker—i think he wanted his picture taking and was hiding behind the door waiting for me to walk down the corridor to my room so his friendly expression could join the rest of the crew's smiles ...
    
    
... a random guy, from the great city of ottawa, as i recall—or maybe it was oklahoma ... what counts is that no matter where he's from the shirt's cool ...
      
    
... in the next-to-poshest restaurant ...
    
    
... a moment in casablanca ...

    
... they're from england and he is named "william," or—well, they were very nice ...
    
    
... two of the ships parked near us in the azores ... the steamship is actually much, much older than the sailing vessel ...
    
    
... the "phillipine night" show ... we used to do this when we lived in guam ... my sister, sue, was wicked good at it, i usually ended up with bruised ankles ...

    
... it's quite obvious the crew is getting used to me ...


... especially dori ... when she meets passengers from past cruises she always seems to remember their names ... cool ...
    

... most of the passengers are already below decks playing cards, building puzzles, fiddling with their hand-held devices, or noddding off ...
    
    
... leaving the azores ...
   
    
... as we left italy on the second part of our wanderabout i couldn't help but think about the many ships that had navigated along these shores, perhaps even one upon which a young cabin boy looked out to the horizon and dreamed of one day becoming l. cincio ocanum maria ...
    

... soon i will be home, which is nice since i miss liz and adrien and my family and friends ... i know, however, that i am going to miss the nice people from all over the world who have been taking such wonderful care of my brother and me ... i believe this to be one of the most important parts of wanderabouting ...