Monthly Archives: February 2016

Record Breaking, Back Breaking, Pig Squealing, Sappy Week

Children squealed YES and NO in unison when Joe Gray asked if they wanted to hear his pigs squeal.  The annual Farmers Market at the Auburn Public Library featured  jams, jellies, creams, crafters, sweets and guitar playing librarian, not veggies and earth stuff like at a regular farmers market.  Little piggies running around on a blue tarp spread out in the Grand Reading Room, I was in heaven.  I was happy as a pig in shi….mud.  Cute little kids and pigs, can’t miss.   The funky chicken was a little disturbing.  Ugly as ugly gets.


Anna Bartlett, right, 2, patiently waits with her mother Lina, to pet a 2 month old pig that Joe Gray of Valley View Farm in Auburn is holding. It was the first pig Anna had ever seen and was getting up the courage to pet her like Nevaeh Howes, 3, of Lewiston, center. The petting farm was part of Friday night’s Farmers Market at the Auburn Public Library. For more photos from the farmers market, visit

I gingerly leaned over the 2 foot fence on my hands and knees.  My fancy new camera has a tilting viewfinder, so I can see what I’m shooting as I am angling the camera up from a low angle.  Andree Kehn suggested I buy this camera, and it has worked out like a charm. D750.

Earlier this week she brought me ski poles. I sent her home with her poles, but headed all the advice about helping my back get better.  You see, last Sunday I played pickle ball like a champ with some of my old friends.  I was no more sore than usual after, but when as I was walking my dog a couple hours later, I stepped off a curb just wrong and herniated a disc.  Right in front of my house.  I have been on the mend since, so when I came back to the office after the library shoot Friday night, I was greeted by an ergonomically thoughtful gesture by my cohorts at work.  All that was missing was duct tape.  Holding up my mouse pad is a vintage case containing the pool 300mm lens that mostly collects dust as the wicked sharp 400 is the cats meow and long lens of choice.RRD_3797

My wife has magical hands and is helping work out the last of the knots in my lower back.  She showed me a few new stretches and I am feeling tons better. Screenshot_2016-02-27-13-10-42

Took Allie for a long walk and recorded it with one of those new fangled apps that shows me just where I went and how long it took.  We lollygag quite a bit.  Lots to sniff you know, and a couple dogs barking in a window.20160227_114122

And lots to photograph.

When I got back home this afternoon, I checked on the results of the Big 10 Championships that my son of a different mother…and father….was competing in.  After helping his relay team win yesterday, and qualifying as the top seed in the 800, the stage was set.  Isaiah Harris blew away the field on his way to a facility, Penn State and Big 10 record performance.  He opened some eyes today! How sweet it is.  Ann cried…..of course. Sky is the limit for him.  I hope to be BACK on track myself next week.  Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 1.29.39 AM




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February 28, 2016 · 1:44 am

Wallet update

Two weeks after my wallet was stolen from the bank, I patiently wait for the name of the jerk who took it.  When I talked to the police officer who came to take the initial report, I told him it would be the easiest case he would ever have.  Despite having video footage from at least 2 cameras and his name, police have been unable to track him down.  “It’s not the easiest case like you thought it would be.” said Officer Laliberte on my voice mail last week.  “First of all, he could say that he just found it and was returning it.  He lives out of town and we want to talk to him about a number of burglaries.  We are looking, but so far we have not been able to catch up with him.  We will let you know when we find out any more.”

He was returning the wallet?  Yeah sure.  Instead of handing it to a teller or manager 2 feet away, he walks over to Hannaford and drops it off at the ATM machine.  I suppose my wallet fell out of his hand and the cash and blank check inside just blew away.  Oh, and the credit cards and other documents also fell out and you placed them back.  It’s the only explanation why they were all in different spots.  Certainly he didn’t just pocket the cash and blank check and rummage through everything else looking for more.  20160216_182545

Thank goodness criminals are not very bright.  I assume he wasn’t concerned with the bank cards or credit cards, although I still had them frozen.  But there was a Hannaford gift card, Office Max and several other untraceable gift cards that he COULD have taken with no way to cancel them or track down who uses them.  Guess I kinda have a last laugh of sorts.

It was my fault that I forgot my wallet on the bank counter.  But it was there all of 4 or 5 minutes that I drove out of the bank parking lot and discovered it missing.  I drove around the block and went back in to discover it gone.  What are the odds that somebody as dishonest, and stupid, would walk in during that short time-frame.  I am betting 99% of the people who came through that door on that day would have picked it up and given it to a bank employee, or simply walked past not wanting to get involved.  Just my luck.

How desperate must he have been to take it, knowing that he was being recorded.  The cameras are incredibly obvious.  I am guessing that he has a rap sheet and with the impending new burglary charges, he does not care.  Besides, his mother made him do it.

The lessons learned from this are good for me.  The time wasted changing all my account numbers sucked.  The feeling of being compromised is eerie. But I stripped down what I keep in my wallet and I am more vigilant about everything now.

I hope the police soon catch up to the guy and I can ask what he was thinking taking a wallet inside a bank, in full view of cameras.  I’m betting the response won’t be printable, but most likely entertaining.

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Lost, Found and Stolen Wallet Karma

Walking through Bates College with my dog over the past 11 years I have picked up 4 wallets, a ski pass, cash and lots of dog poop. I throw away the poop, keep most of the cash, but return everything else of value I find.  Believe it or not, on occasion I have witnessed people losing money, including a couple of years ago. I was right behind a kid coming from the Commons when he pulled out his phone and a $10 bill floated to the ground as he continued on.  I yelled, but his music must have been cranking and he couldn’t hear so I picked it up and tapped him on his shoulder.  I scared the living daylights out of him.  Wish I had it on video.Last month I found a wallet in the quad and walked it 100 yards over to the security office and dropped it off.  I didn’t know how long it would take to locate him, so I looked up Geoffrey **** on Facebook,  and found a profile of a Bates student who looked just like the ID.  I messaged him.  Within seconds, I got back:  “I was just tearing through my room! Thank you very much! Good karma always comes around.”karma

Today, I went to the bank and karma pinched me back, in the cheek.  Just like the pinch you get from your grandmother when you were young. Nice, but embarrassing as hell.

I was on cloud 9 as we got a check this afternoon for a couple hundred extra bucks that we were not expecting.  My son Chris has been so patient about not getting his broken phone fixed and now we could.  The day was looking up and it was sunny and warm out.  After cashing the check and getting a bank check for rent, I stopped at the vestibule across from the ATM in the lobby of the bank.  I set down my phone, wallet and other papers I had with me.  I put the rent into an envelope and wrote the name of my landlord, the absolute best landlord I have ever had,  George Greenwood is one of the most generous and kind guys I know.

As I drove out and stopped at the traffic light, I remembered I had filled out the insurance form for Chris’ phone and all I had to do was plug-in my credit card numbers and it would be on its way.  I looked on my front seat where all my papers, enveolopoe,  phone and wallet were and had that “oh shit moment.”  That feeling.  The second you realize……like a big rollercoaster drop, a ticklebump….heart palpitation and a sinking feeling in your stomach: I lost my wallet.

I immediately pulled over in the Hannaford parking lot and rifled through my car.  Panic begins to sink in.  Did I drop it in the parking lot?  I think back to the last time I knew I had it.  Talking to Cindy at the teller station when I stuffed the $20 bill I got back with the bank check.

It was no more than 5 minutes since I left.  I must have left it at the counter and Cindy will have it, I thought.  How embarrassing, but if there was anywhere in the world you would want to forget your wallet, the bank’s the place. I’ll take some ribbing and think about telling my wife about it.

I parked in the same spot and wondered if I had dropped it.  Fat chance I would have and not noticed my George Costanza wallet go tumbling.  Best case scenario was I had left it on the counter across from the ATM.  I would grab it, slink out,  and nobody would know of my bonehead move.  Could I be that lucky!

Of course not.  It wasn’t there, nor did Cindy have it.

I walked back to my car and tore it apart.  Nope.  Not there.   Several bank employees showed genuine concern and resolve.  They jumped into action.  A quick call to the security division and they were all over it.

As I sat in one of the cubicles waiting, I began to look around.  It had only been a few minutes since I left, so my wallet could have been in the pocket of somebody within a few feet of me.  At one point I caught myself going down the road of suspecting everyone.  Anger surfaced.  Hair on the back of my neck standing on end.  Hate.  More anger.  I was suspicious of everyone.  It could be any one of them.  But probably not.  Stop thinking evil thoughts, I told myself.

I still had an uneasiness.  As I looked around with a different perspective, instead of looking for the one who did steal my wallet, I began ruling everyone out.  But the older, weathered woman , sitting 2 feet from me, in another managers office with just a glass wall between us was screaming guilty.  I could sense uneasiness about her…..something…..suspicious????   It was probably nothing, my mind going off again.  After all, who doesn’t look uneasy when they are in a bank asking for money they don’t have, but promise to pay it back — you hope.  Been there, done that.

But somebody had to have taken it.  Or was I just a bonehead and lost it somehow.

No sooner had the old woman walked out the door, security called.  I listened to the manager talking and watched her click and begin to squint.  At that point where I figured she was looking at the video, or a photo,  I made a decision.  I would sneak a peek at the monitor.  If I asked, I know they could not legally show me the photo.  So I didn’t ask .  I just stood up and bent over and had a sneak a peek.  Sure enough, it was the old woman sitting not 2 feet away 2 minutes ago.  In the photo, the split second I glanced at it before she turned the monitor away, I noticed my suspect was talking to a young man.

The bank manager called the police.  Security video confirmed it had been taken.  But was it technically stolen?  As we waited for police to arrive,  my phone rang.  It was the Sun Journal.  Shit.  My shift just started and while I didn’t have anything scheduled at the moment, I had seen a cruiser speed past a few minutes ago Code3.  Was there breaking news I had to go cover?

“Did you lose your wallet?” said my sister on the other end of the phone.  Sarah, a customer service rep at the Sun Journal was calling.  My immediate thought was that everyone in the newsroom knew I lost my wallet and the police were coming to file a report.  I was thinking I was the laughing-stock of the newsroom as it filtered over to her.  I figured they must have heard the call for the cops to respond to the bank for a Russ Dillingham who got his wallet stolen at the bank.  Front page headlines flashed through my mind.  “Knucklehead gets wallet stolen at bank.”

“What?” my sister said.  “Somebody just dropped your wallet off at the front counter.  They said it was found at the Hannaford ATM in Auburn.”

That’s about 100 yards from the bank.

Auburn police showed up moments later and I told Officer Laliberte that this will probably be the easiest bank robbery ever solved.  And I thought to myself,  and one for the dumb criminals episodes on TV.  Who would take a wallet sitting in a bank, across from the ATM with not only the camera from the ATM looking directly at where the wallet was, but another conspicuous one on the ceiling above.  It had to be someone who really needed the money, desperate and not very smart.  Or a combination.

I feel bad for the woman or guy she was with who took it.  They had to have known there was a chance of their actions being filmed.  But perhaps they thought they would get lucky and the cameras wouldn’t be working. Or the guy who lost the wallet wouldn’t figure he lost it until later and not know it was at the bank where he lost it.

Forget the moral, ethical question.  What is the percentage of people who would return a lost wallet?  Does it depend on where you found it.  Or how much cash was in it.  Do you take the cash  and drop the wallet someplace where somebody else would find it, like they did?  Or take the cash and bury it, or toss it in the garbage?

When I returned this last wallet I found at Bates recently I had opened it up to see who was the owner.  I noticed there was no cash.  I didn’t look at cards or secret spots where he might have tucked some away, I just noticed there was none in the main compartment.  Did somebody steal it and drop it in the quad after taking the cash?  Does he think I found it and took the cash and returned it……or did it just fall out of his pocket and there was none  in the first place.  That thought crossed my mind later in the day and I contemplated messaging him to inquire.  I decided it was better not to know.  If he said there was no cash in it, my sub-conscience would be clear.  But if he said there was money in it when he lost it, how much time would I waste thinking about what he was thinking about me.  Feeling bad that he thought it was me who took it.  Should I have even contacted him.  Now he knows who I am.  Too much to contemplate.  Better to let a good deed go unturned……or something like that.  His reply about karma resonated.  Even if he thought I stole the cash, the Gods know better and my conscience is clear.

So I sit here trying to figure what exactly happened.  Officer Laliberte said to call in the morning and he would have the name of the “guy”.  Did he just pocket the cash and quickly drop it off where it could be found because they felt guilty and somebody else took the cash and turned it in.   Either way, he, or she, deserves some credit for caring enough to try to make sure I got the wallet back.

They could have dumped it in a trash can, and I would never know.  They were doing me a favor and returning the important things I had in it.

The credit cards and other items were all put back in the wrong places, so they definitely combed through my wallet.  Could they have written down the credit card numbers and start going online and buying stuff. I don’t think so.  And if so, they won’t get much.   And there were a couple of gift cards still there.  If they were going to take more than just the cash, they would certainly scoffed untraceable gift cards.

I have a gut feeling they are hoping I would get my wallet back and be happy about it, not file a police report and they would pocket the cash and be done with it.  That certainly is not the case.  The question is how far do I want to take it.  I think.

And talk about ironic.  I found a wallet last month at the drive through ATM just 50 feet from where I left mine today.  That one had cash in it.  I dropped it off at APD.  More good mojo for me.

There is a whole lot more to that story if you care to ask next time you see me.

When I left the bank to come to work tonight, I  told Officer Laliberte I wanted to talk to the person who they determined stole my wallet.  I am torn.  Do I drop any charges because it was my fault that I left the wallet in the first place and it was a temptation they could not pass up.  Or do I press charges if that is even possible.   I got a gift today, should I return the good will.  Or should I make sure they are punished for doing it, especially for being so dumb to do it

I received several gifts today, unexpected ones that should not have happened, yet made a big difference in my life.  I also lost and got my wallet back and learned a big lesson from this ordeal.  Should I return the good will.  Put more good karma in the bank, or should I make sure they are punished for being dishonest and dumb.

I think I’ll go home, kiss my wife, hug my only son left at home, scratch my dog’s belly, have a beer and think about it. Well….probably leave out hugging my son.  Knuckles or high-five goes over a little better with a 16 year old.



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