Monday, April 8, 2013

Random pics

44 Things About Me

It is my birthday. I am taking my wife's advice and writing 44 things about me for my birthday blog.
1. My middle name is Paul
2. I love photography
3. I have 3 children. David 25, Danielle 20 and Will 7
4. My favorite food is Haddock
5. I am 6'1"
6. I clear a calculator 3 times when I am done before turning it off or starting a new calculation
7. I always carry a blistex in my left front pocket
8. I have a dog named Max
9. I have been an automotive technician
10. A service advisor
11. An assistant service manager
12. A service manager
13. A bagel maker
14. A police officer
15. My fist job was a gas station attendant at age 13
16. I have owned a business with Brad Faxon, PGA Tour Professional
17.  I write poetry
18. I've been divorced
19. I love golf
20. I want to own an eclectic coffee shop
21. I'm an introvert
22. I'm very good at math
23. I am afraid of heights
24. I've owned a landscaping business that was name Rooted in Pride
25. I'm allergic to bees
26. I love to cook
27. I love to work in my yard
28. I am slightly OCD
29. I make latte art - very amateur
30. I'm having a really hard time coming up with 44 things about me
31. I ski
32. I drive an Acura TL

Oh well I gave you 32 things about me. Leave me some comments with things about you.

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Few Photos from this Morning

Just a few photos from this morning, some were through my window so the quality is not perfect

Thursday, March 21, 2013


There are few people in this world that know me, the real me. My wife Alyssa, Lys, is one of them. One day, after we had been married probably 3 years, I told her I always wanted to own a coffee shop. She was genuinely surprised, that creative slide of me she had only seen a glimpse of in poems I had written. Complicated some have called me, many would never guess I have an artistic side.

Not a breakfast diner type of place, but rather one of the eclectic type places where artists of all mediums hung out. A place you could go and hear some jazz or rock or poetry or see some great art or photography. I still hold that dream.

Just as the brook in the yard has slowly exposed the tangled roots below so to has my creative, artistic side been slowly exposed. I have discovered photography and truly enjoy it. I am learning, slowly, all I can about it. I created this blog initially to trace my journey in learning. It has become more than that.

I find that through the lens of the camera I can create emotion in a photograph. I enjoy that and I want that to be experienced by more people. Twitter is helping me spread the word about my blog and introducing my photographs to others.

I look forward to the day I can open the doors to my coffee shop, with my photographs, my wife's artwork and Twitter friends works all mixed together on the walls. A local jazz musician playing some smooth tunes and of course my camera in my hand to capture it all.


It's was cold out today, for the second full day of spring. It is really disappointing for me. I want to get out in my yard and see the daffodils piercing the ground, reaching for the warm sunlight. Watch as the rhododendrons buds swell like a sponge in water and then explode as if a firework in the air.
All the plants start emerging from their long winter naps and stretch their stems. They lift their arms upward and finally express their love of summer with beautiful flowers of all shapes, sizes and colors. I'll move some of them to new homes, divide some and share with friends and still others will be new additions from the nursery.
Working in my yard is truly a labor of love. Such satisfaction comes from making such beautiful beautiful plants happy. It is a love I inherited from my dad. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Stockbridge. The first in his family to graduate college. He instilled this love of the yard in me, and I am so very thankful for it.
Soon I will be out among the plants, plotting out a new bed or two, weeding others, adding mulch, moving plants that were originally transplanted from my dad's yard and enjoying every minute of it! I can't wait for spring to actually emerge.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Let Your kids Jump Out of Trees

I'm sitting in my dining area, part of my kitchen as I live in simple ranch house. I am gazing outside as the sun come up through the trees Illuminate the multi-textured bark of the trees partially covered with yesterdays snow. My family is still snug in their beds, well, my soon to be 7 year old son is snug in mine, but same idea. I have Smooth Jazz playing on my iPhone, and I have a , mostly gone now, latte that I made a little while ago.

I'm sitting here this morning in amazement at all the wonder around me. A beautiful bright red Cardinal sits in the Birch tree singing with the sun gleaming on its belly and the white of the tree in which it sits. In the sky behind it a far off jet streaks by, affectionately called a skyscraper by my son for the vapor trail left behind. A snow covered birdhouse sits empty waiting for the birds and spring to return it to life.

As I started to write this morning my thoughts were actually with my young son. I am a believer in letting kids explore their worlds without scaring them into a life on the couch playing video games. I believe that much of the video game problem is created by parents buying into the logic that the world is filled with bad people just waiting to do something bad to their children. I do not believe that. Do I believe their are bad people, yes, ones that want to hurt children, yes, of course but they are not lurking everywhere! But I refuse to make my child scared to be outside.

I will grant you that I live in a safe town, and I really only have one neighbor that is closer than 100 feet.My son goes outside alone, and I know that freaks many people out. We have a brook that runs down the side of our house and around the back yard, he has a healthy respect for it, not a fear. We have a fire pit that we sit around in the nice weather and enjoy conversation, s'mores and the sounds of my child and a friend or two playing. Yes in the dark!

I have taught my son that if he feels the need to explore something to tell me. He was inquisitive of fire, we lit fires, safely in the fire pit. He knows what it does, the damage to things and life it can do and he knows he can ask me anytime and I'll let him light one! Instead of just telling him it is dangerous and never to do it, and having him light the house on fire or worse, burn himself badly. Same logic applies to the brook. We play in it together, we move rocks and watch what it does to the water, he walks through it while I am right there. Again he knows he can play in it, around it and through anytime as long as I am there. If you let these things be forbidden to your children then they will do them!

I also believe that children should be allowed to be just that. I did not see a need to tell him about the tragedy in New Town, CT, what good would that do?  I shelter him from the news, because the latest murder in Mattapan is not relevant to his life.

Don't get me wrong, my son loves the iPad, loves playing games. But given the choice between playing games on the couch and being outside, he almost always chooses outside. I believe that is because he is allowed to live in his world and is not a prisoner to it. I haven't found anything he will not try, except for a few veggies! The pictures below were taken yesterday, we were playing in the snow, I was throwing him into the deep snow and then I said, "I'll put you on that branch and you can jump out of the tree!" His answer, "Really?" Absolutely I said and up he went! He stood there, a little more than a bit scared at first. With some gentle 1,2,3 counts he finally did it! And then went back up 4 more times!

Don't encase you children in a glass box in which they can see the world around them but are sheltered from all the beautiful experiences. Let them jump out of trees!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

I did, Not I Couldn't

Did you ever have one of those moments in your life when something happens, or you see or hear something and it just smacks your view of things around? I've had them multiple times but for this writing it is about the most recent one.

I was skiing at Wachusett Mountain in Princeton, MA. with my 6 year old son. He was snowboarding. As we approached the chair lift a skier with no legs in a specially designed ski chair went past us and into the line, there was an employee of Wachusett with him. My son looked up at me as if to say "did you see that?" and I nodded at him and I said "That is why I don't accept it when you tell me you can't do something."

Then as we waited behind them to board the chair, it happened, I had the thought of the times when I recently had said I couldn't do something! I couldn't go out and walk on my day off because it was raining, I couldn't eat better because of the hours I worked, I couldn't get out to take pictures because there was too much to do during the day, I couldn't, I couldn't I couldn't. I was disappointed with myself. I am a very positive person, I believe in myself! And I had let myself down.

I realized that day, quite swiftly, that I needed to step it up! I believe I let winter get me down and I have always refused to let anyone or anything but myself determine my mood. Starting to ski again after 25 years this year has been awesome! To be out on the mountain with my wife and son just made it sweeter. Skiing was one of the things I said "I couldn't" to earlier in the year!

My son and I have had a few walks in the woods since then. I've also said that I will hike Mt. Washington, and for the second time I've said it on the internet! 2013 will be a year of I did, not I Couldn't.

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Beautiful Morning

These are unedited photographs shot from my kitchen window.

Who am I? A Poem

Walking through life, who am I?
A light spring snow falling from the sky

The wind that blows the hair about your face
Walking through life exploring my space

My wife, my love, keeper of my heart
There till the end, there from the start

The feeling when I watch you walk to me
Deep in my brain I feel things I cannot see

Complicated and simple is the life that's mine
Like the photograph, just a moment in time 

Spring flowers rise from their sleep
Come alive evoking feelings so  deep

Watching my children grow and live
To them, Guidance I give

Lessons  for them to learn
You must stoke the fire for it to burn

Touch the roses, see the smells 
Feel the sound of the bells

Walking through life, who am I?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Customer service

I live in a customer service world. Or so I always thought! As I make my way around different businesses from grocery stores, to coffee joints, sports venues to restaurants I am continually amazed at the low level of service that is considered acceptable.

I had a redeeming experience recently at Wachusett Mountain in Princeton, MA. I had originally learned to ski there back in 1980 (ish) and had not been back there to ski since 1987. I had attended many other events during the off season that are held there.

My 6 year old son and his 19 year old sister decided they wanted to learn how to snowboard. I will not go into the debacle I created when I scheduled the wrong lessons for them, but, let me say that this started my great experience with them.

Everyone that I encountered over the phone was gracious and willing to help. When I arrived at the mountain I was kindly directed to where I needed to go. The lessons were fantastic! We went inside after a while to get some lunch. Inside I was actually surprised to see Carolyn, one of the owners, carrying trays! Little did I know but that was one of the reasons the place runs so well!

Over the next couple of visits I met rental people, cafeteria workers, ski instructors, retail agents in the ski shop and a couple of maintenance workers scraping ice off the deck area, without a doubt the worst job to have that day! Everyone that I met was happy, willing to help, and represented their employer with class!

I contacted the office to get Carolyn's email to send her a detailed account of my great experiences and sent it along. I wanted her to know how great it was. You see I am in customer service myself, I know how difficult it is to maintain that smile all the time. I know that it is even harder to motivate your employees to have that smile all the time!

I was impressed and I hope to learn more about the secrets of this perpetual "smile" ! Thank you to all the employees of Wachusett Mountain!