Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year...

I'm wishing you all a New Year filled with joy, laughter and health.

with love, Elenka

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Merry Christmas to all my cyber friends.
It's been so great getting to 'know' you all.
Hope you have a wonderful day.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Merry Madness...

Every year, mid December, Portland, Maine has a party of sorts.  

They call it Merry Madness and it begins at one of the area hotels with wine (which you can purchase in a Merry Madness wine glass for 6 bucks) and free hor doerves, hor doreves , snacks sponsored by area restaurants.

Then the shops down in the Old Port remain open late and also have munchies and beverages to refill your Merry Madness glass that you carry around.

After attending this event for many years, Birdman and I have learned the protocol necessary to have a good time. First and foremost, GET THERE EARLY!

This year we were the 10th and 11th in line to the Ballroom. Got our pick of food.

One year we were about the 610th and 611th people in line. 10th and 11th is much better.

This year it started at the Portland Regency Hotel.

 This is the tree in their lobby.

As you can see, after the 10th and 11th people walked in, there were hundreds more.
All the shops were lit. All the shoppers were lit.

(Outside this beautifully lit window was this woman...lower right....looking down. You don't know this, but now you do, she was looking down at a little boy about 2 years old that was having a MAJOR temper tantrum in his stroller. Loud voices tend to echo in the streets of the Old Port and this young man made his presence known to most of the Merry Madnessers.  He was BAD!)

I know that Santa was watching, so this lad will probably get a lump of coal in his stocking.

But not to worry. 

He'll eventually learn that it's actually quite fun....strolling around downtown in the pitch dark, on a cold mid December night, a little wobbly on your feet, carrying your own sippy cup.

He'll learn.

Monday, December 12, 2011

New Painting......

Deering Oaks Park. Portland, Maine

Tempera paint. 17" x 25".

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Puppy portrait....

My latest pooch portrait.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Healthy breakfast......

Mr. Downeastdoingstuff aka Birdman loves to eat. By that I mean, he will eat anything while still maintaining a svelte physique. Not a fussy eater which is fortunate for me because I like to try new and exciting recipes.

All the time.

There isn't a week that goes by that I don't cook something new, sometimes several times a week.

He will eat it all.

Except for this.
My breakfast.

I don't get it. What's not to like?
Put 1/4 C of Quick Oatmeal in a old pink bowl that you buy at an antique/gift shop.
Add 1 Tbsp of Milled Flaxseed and a smidgen of Cinnamon.

Add a few Nuts (I use walnuts, my fav) and 2 or 3 snipped Prunes. (You snip 'em yourself.)

Add a little more than 1/4 C of Lowfat Cottage Cheese and the same amount of Greek Yogurt.

Stir it up to make a big smoosh. Serve with a slice of Whole Wheat Toast (low cal) and a big mug of steaming Green Tea with Lemon.

Every morning.

What's not to like??

Addendum: Mr. DEDS and I both hate lamb. But that's it.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


This was Friday morning, October 28th, 2011. 

This was today, Sunday morning, October 30, 2011.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

I'm hooked....

I am soooo hooked. All I do is look at Pinterest......all the time.
I have joined and have saved stuff.
I takes a while to figure out, but just look at what people post and then click on the picture. You will then find out where it came from and get the info you want.
SOOOO much info. I just love it.
Check it out! So cool.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


If I put candles on my birthday cake equivalent to my age, this is approximately how it would look, I'm sure.

I just paid my house insurance online a few days ago and since sometimes there are snafus in policies going through via computers, I will forego lighting any candles for a while. We also depend on the good graces of a volunteer fire department in this community so being a Saturday, they might be otherwise occupied, leaf peeping and such. So no candles.

I did get a wonderful tribute on Mr. Downeastdoingstuffs blog and I woke up to flowers, a card, some hazelnut coffee and a smooch. My new camera arrived just in the nick of time yesterday afternoon, so I am excited to try that out.

I'm not too thrilled that this day still comes religiously year after year, but I guess it's better than the alternative. So enjoy it I will.

Happy Birthday to me!

Monday, October 10, 2011

It's Bittersweet....

Bittersweet.  Ah, such is life.

But that's not the Bittersweet I am referring to.

I mean this:

I used to drive around all over creation looking for vines of this stuff  to cut and use in fall decorating. It's really lovely in flower boxes.
The Oriental species is an INVASIVE species and now has taken hold on my property. And I am not too happy about that.

You see, it can kill things, strangling trees and shrubs to death!

And, the entire plant is poisonous. 

And it's almost impossible to get rid of.

So what to do when life gives you lemons?

Make lemonade. 

Or a wreath.

So I cut off long vines of the stuff (which actually makes it grow more), stripped off the leaves and wound the vines into a wreath. Added a few beach rock touches and voila.... 

Speaking of the beach, I usually collect driftwood pieces and interesting shells when at the beach. Remember the fish I made?

I had some left over pieces of wood, so I constructed this wreath.

Probably would look nice if a added some Bittersweet berries to both of those wreaths.

They are not ripe yet. Have to wait.

Hate the stuff.  Love the stuff. (well, 'like' it...)

It sure is Bittersweet.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rest in Peace.....

Rest in Peace

Steve Jobs


I know that you have changed MY life.

Thank you.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Last chance grilled pizza....

The weather outside is not cooperating with my vision of what the weather outside should be. My vision is 78 degrees and perfect.  
Things are changing. Some people love the fall, but in my mind, although beautiful, autumn is a harbinger of freezing my tushy off.
So in these dwindling days of warmth, I can still use my grill without donning a parka. At least today I can.  

Here is a recipe for a grilled pizza....

Here is what I started with...

Sprinkle corn meal on a cookie sheet.

Take the dough, divide it into two pieces and press them into  free form shapes on top of the cornmeal.

I remembered I had some baby spinach in the fridge, so I chopped it up to add to the mixture.
I had some left over canned mushrooms, too.

Heated up the grill, turned it to medium heat and laid the dough carefully onto the grill.

When it looked like this on the bottom, I took it off the grill and put it back onto a cookie sheet, grilled side up.

I didn't use pizza sauce. I used Barbeque sauce.

I put the filling on top of the sauce.

I sprinkled some spices on top.

I put a little mozzarella chesse on it AND some blue cheese sprinkles. Put it back on the grill and grill til it's done on the bottom and the cheese is melted. (be careful not to burn it!!)

Serve with a salad and a glass of red wine or a beer.


Friday, September 16, 2011

I can't get this out of my mind....

This is a police artist sketch of what I saw a week ago today.
I was driving down Larrabee road in Westbrook, when suddenly a yellow dog ran across the street in front of my car. The yellow dog had a large jar on it's head.

It went off into the wooded area next to a side road not stopping. There were two motorcycles behind me, each with a passenger. In a panic, I pointed to the side of the road and then saw the motorcyclists looking and pointing to the dog as well. I was sooooo hoping these big motorcycle brutes would pull over and try to help the dog, but they didn't. (wimps)

A million things went through my mind. Should I have stopped and tried to help? But I'm not familiar with dogs and the dog might not have taken too kindly to me poking around in it's affairs.
Getting attacked by a dog was not on my list of things to do that Friday afternoon.

But it was creeping me out so much I couldn't stand it. I was practically in tears! I knew I had to do something.

A couple of miles down the road, in Westbrook, I knew where the police station was, so I stopped there, mentally checking the condition of my car to make sure there was nothing illegal about it first.

I talked to the receptionist and in a rather mild panic, told her what I saw. She said, "Oh dear, the animal control person just went home! You just missed him!" (4:15 pm? Really?)

"You'll have to call the dispatcher", she says.

Conveniently there was a phone on the wall right there with a very clear sign over it that said 'DISPATCHER'.

I picked it up and someone said, "Dispatcher".

I told my story again, still in a mild panic, imagining this poor dog running out of air or something. I told him I couldn't possibly go home seeing what I saw and not reporting it. I was almost sick to my stomach.

He took my info and thanked me. He told me they've been looking for this dog all day. I guess others have reported it. He was sending someone out.


Now, I don't know the end of this story.
I've googled 'dog with jar on head in Westbrook' over several days, but found nothing. I don't know if that's good or bad. I'm hoping they helped the poor thing.

But I don't know, and I can't get it out of my mind.

Like a bad dream.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I couldn't find it....

My plan today was for a post about 9/11.

Soon after 9/11, we planted a small flag in our front yard, under our majestic maple tree.

There it stayed for a couple of weeks.

Then I took it down, took the stick off, and gently folded it up and put it into a zip lock bag with a note explaining where it was, when and why.

My plan was to put it out today, in the same spot, and photograph it for my blog.

I can't find it.

I know I have it, as over the years I have come across it in my travels. But today.....I couldn't find it.  

So, no photo.

I watched the memorial this morning.

Oh yeah, I remember every minute of that day. I think we all have a 'photo' in our minds that we can pull up.

I don't need a photo.

God Bless America.

Friday, September 2, 2011

What happens when you get old....

A couple of days ago I was attempting to clean the attic. Well, not really clean, but move things around and pretend to clean. Now and then I find something to throw out and something to give to Goodwill, but most of the time I just give all the junk a new spot.

As I was going through some old photographs, I found this one.

I couldn't remember who's house it was or why I took the photo, but there was something extremely familiar about it. I'm guessing it was taken in 1984. Mostly because it said 1984 on the back.

(Remember the old days when you had to take the film to the Drug Store to be developed?)

For the life of me I couldn't figure out why that photo rung a bell. It was haunting. I had to stop working, it was so disconcerting.

Then it dawned on me. Last summer, as we drove up to spend the day in Belfast, we stopped along Route 1 and took a picture of a weird house. Could this possibly be that house?

I checked my i photos and sure enough, there it was....

See what happens when you don't take care of yourself for 27 years?*&^%%$#@

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes...

Picture this.

 A warm summer evening, under the stars, sipping Cosmopolitans, munching on chicken salad and french bread,relaxing and sitting back in our own chairs on the grass, watching one of our favorite bands with the best guy in the world.

What's not to like?

Every summer LL Beans does a summer concert series.


The concert was scheduled to start at 7:30. We got there about 5.
They were just finishing setting up the stage equipment.
Everyone brought their own chairs. (Many WERE LLBeans chairs, including ours, because that's just what you have when you live around here.) 
You are allowed to claim your territory the day of the show, so technically you can arrive there at 12:01 a.m. and plop down your chairs.
Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes was the band we came to see. We've seen them many times, mostly at the Hampton Beach Casino in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. We love them. Have his CDs.

We were also lucky enough watch him do his sound check between 5 and 5:30.

And then he performed for almost 2 hours. It was wonderful under the majestic pine trees, under the starry night.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Started school mural....

Every fall I paint a huge mural to post outside of my classroom. I have a large bulletin board in the hall, covered in glass. It's 91 inches wide by 55 inches tall. Big.

I have been doing this for twenty years, including this year.

I base the theme on a current summer movie.  The movie has to be appropriate for middle schoolers to see, so 'Hung, the movie' ** would not be a wise choice.

It usually takes me a week to design and paint. This years honoree is the movie The Smurfs.

Here's a sneak peak of the beginnings.....

More to come as I proceed..... (there's a reason why they are not all blue....I'm the boss of the brush.)

**'Hung the Movie' is not really a movie, but Hung is an actual TV program. It's about an ex school teacher who is divorced with two high school kids that have, um, issues. He shares them with his ex wife (Ann Heche) and they have issues as well. Things are not going well for him in every way until he discovers how the fact that he's, um, well 'hung', is an attribute that could make him a LOT of money, especially with an 'agent'. The warped side of me loved this show. I think it was HBO, but you can find it to watch online somewhere. Just google 'watch Hung' and see what you get. It was quirky, and I like quirky.

BYW, you never really see how well hung he is, so you have to use your imagination. 

I have a very good imagination.