Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Wedding Watchers ?

Time to 'fess up.
Did many of you watch the royal wedding this weekend?

OK, I'll go first. Yes I did watch some of the celebration. That said I did not get up at 4 or 5 a.m. to turn on the TV broadcasts. Instead, I watched some on my tablet while reading the news and drinking my usual cup of coffee. No, I didn't switch to tea for the occasion.

Thankfully, the weather was picture perfect considering that it took place in a country not where conditions can be iffy. The lyrics of Camelot by Frederick Lowe seemed most appropriate for the Windsor ceremony . . . 
But in Camelot, Camelot That's how conditions are.The rain may never fall till after sundown.By eight, the morning fog must disappear.
Here's a bride and groom we saw up walking in Boston during our recent getaway there (notice a sole attendant and many photographers). I'm not sure if this is a local tradition. Have you ever seen a bridal couple walking the street(s) in your local area?
Even though I didn't have morning or afternoon tea, our Saturday night dinner was a shepherd's pie casserole. Yes, it was made (partly) the tradition British way with lamb included.
It was very good, according to Grenville and our dinner guests.

Thanks to all for the anniversary well wishes which were read and much appreciated. We've had a couple of short getaways since that post. I've fallen a bit behind with blog reading and posting, but will be catching up this week.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Baked Pasta Primavera

Whenever we're leaving for a few days, it's time to clear out the fridge. 
Last week was no exception.But what to do for dinner?

This easy pasta dinner was adapted from a couple of online recipe sites as I didn't have some of the listed ingredients. So, I made substitutions. Do you do the same?

Baked Pasta Primavera & Cream Cheese Sauce
There is some prep time needed to chop and dice the veggies and then to make the sauce. You can substitute vegetables. For example, online recipes used cherry tomatoes and yellow squash. I prefer zucchini and found the assorted peppers we had more colorful.
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 C diced onion OR 2 shallots chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 C zucchini, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, cholled
  • 1/2 yellow pepper chopped
  • 1/2 orange peper chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste and Italian seasonings
  • 1-1/212 C cooked small penne pasta (or a similar pasta)
Sauce & Topping
  • 1 TBSP melted butter
  • 1 TBSP flour
  • 1 C milk 
  • 3/4 C grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 3/4 shredded mozzarella or Italian cheese mix
  • 4 TBSP cream cheese
  • 1 C panko bread crumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and grease 9x13-inch (or round) baking dish.
  2. Heat oil in skillet and cook onion and garlic until softened.
  3. Add zucchini and peppers, season with salt and pepper and Italian seasonings. Sauté until vegetables are soft.
  4. Mix vegetables with cooked pasta.
  5. Melt butter in saucepan, then stir in flour. Stir and cook for 2 minutes then add milk slowly. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and stir 5 minutes until thickened.
  6. Add in parmesan and cream cheeses and stir to mix.
  7. Put into baking dish with vegetables and pasta and combine. Add mozzarella cheese and cover with panko bread crumbs.
Bake 15 minutes until bubbly. Place under broiler for 3-4 minutes to brown breadcrumbs if desired. 

Leftovers will be appreciated the following night. Grenville gave this recipe a two forks up.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

21 Years Ago . . .

We had our first date on May 16, 1997 when we were living in NJ.

YES, we really celebrate the date annually whether spending the day together and/or going out for dinner. 

In recent years, we've started planning short getaways as well. Special occasions only happen once a year, after all, so we always celebrate them. Do you?
Our recent Boston getaway included a champagne toast courtesy of the Parker House hotel. This week we're on the road to celebrate the actual date in another locale ! 

We'll celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary in August. After that, we'll have to start planning a extra-special celebration in for our 20th in 2019. One idea is to visit friends living in England who share the same wedding anniversary date.

We're open to all suggestions.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Not a Funny Photo

Since I'm always on the looking for Friday Funnies photo posts, my first thought on seeing this statue with pigeons on the statues heads was something like new head gear — pigeon caps ?
But, this is not a funny photo and I'm thankful that I took the time to learn more about its significance. After taking the photo on our recent Boston visit, I realized that I hadn't taken the time to learn anything out about the statue. It's simply amazing what can be found online and so I searched for Boston statue. Yes, I'm addicted to online searches.

The statue above is one of two statues that comprise the Boston Irish Famine Memorial. The sculptures were done by Robert Shure, a graduate of the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts. His work has been featured in several Boston museums and galleries. The two works are in a memorial park on a plaza along the Freedom Trail in Boston, MA. 

The one below depicts a ragged and starving Irish family suffering during the Great Famine of 1845-1852. This statue is in sharp contrast to the one above that depicts a family that had emigrated to America representing hope for the future.
The statues and memorial park were funded by a trust led by Boston businessman and philanthropist Thomas Flatley. The park opened in 1998 to mark 150 years since the height of the Great Famine
Internet source: Robert Shure website

Since then, it's has been labelled as "the most mocked and reviled public sculpture in Boston" by the art critic of The Boston GlobeMaintenance was cut back after Flatley's 2008 death. The Downtown Boston Business Improvement District and a nearby business help to clean the park area. Still, the site has been described in as a "magnet for vagrants and pigeons."

Sadly, as shown, those pigeons are a frequent sight atop the statues. They are fed by compulsive pigeon feeders who frequent the park during daylight hours. Until such feeding is discouraged and prohibited, it's impossible to keep the birds from landing on and fouling the statues. Panhandling also has been cited as a deterrent to keep visitors from stopping in the park.

Given the park’s position along the Freedom Trail, the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District is working to clean it up. The group sees the park as a welcoming and space and plans to add an information kiosk on the plaza.

Maybe changes will be made because the sculptures deserve better.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Friday Funnies

Open W-I-D-E . . .
This could be perfect displayed in a (very large) dental office. What do you think?

(We're away for a family event this weekend. Thanks, in advance, for your comments. I'll be reading and commenting on blogs in a few days.)

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Pre-Celebration Getaway

Ever go away for even a short trip then return home and find that catching up takes longer than expected?

That explains my absence — not only from posting but blog reading too. We're back in Nashua, NH, catching up before our next getaway for a family event and more.

Our recent Boston weekend excursion was wonderful, especially as we decided to stay in the city for a few overnights for an early celebration. We went to many "sightseeing" attractions. We didn't mind being tourists and thankfully the weather (mostly) cooperated. 

Some attractions we chalked off to "once only," partly because they were pricey and they are now categorized as "been there, done that" experiences. One is the land-water tour we took in the "duck" boat pictured below. It travels on Boston city streets  before going into the Charles River. 
We also rode in another bird-themed vehicle that cruises the lagoon in the Boston Public Garden on a 12-15 minute operator-pedaled ride. (More on both in a future post.)

Getting to Boston is relatively easy and inexpensive from Nashua, NH. The Boston Express bus offers a reduced senior rate; round trip costs $13 and takes about an hour each way. It's much less costly than driving and parking a car with free parking in the bus lot.  

We stayed at the Omni Parker House for this pre-anniversary celebration of our 1st date, which we plan to celebrate again this month. We met in NJ, 21 years ago this month. 

Founded in 1855 by Harvey D. Parker, the hotel is the oldest of Boston’s elegant inns and the longest continuously operating hotel in the U.S. The contemporary, full-service hotel has maintained its 19th century sense of history. The lobby has vintage oak with overhead crystal chandeliers and oversized chairs and elevators have decorative bronze.

The hotel has hosted famous folks over the years including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Joan Crawford, Judy Garland, James Dean, Ann-Margret, and Yo-Yo Ma to name a few.

The Parker House kitchen is renowned for the Parker House Roll. It's also where Boston Cream Pie (official State Dessert of Massachusetts) was perfected. BCP was a letdown for us. First, because it wasn’t a pie, but cake with a custard filling. Second, it needed more filling and chocolate.

The term “scrod,” is associated with the Parker House too and there's no such fish. Years ago fishing schooners would return to the Boston fish pier, loaded with fish to be auctioned off. Fancy hotels like the Parker House wanted choice, fresh fish from the top layers. The problem was that the chefs didn't know what sort of fish would be on the top layer. If the menu featured haddock and the top layer was pollack, it might work other places, but not in Boston. A new name was coined for the seafood, and scrod derived as a contraction of “sacred and cod.” 
We enjoyed this champagne toast in our room, courtesy of the Parker House. (When celebrating an occasion like a birthday or anniversary mention it to a restaurant when dining out or your hotel, if traveling.) We shared with hotel reservations that was an anniversary tripand received a mini bottle of champagne and Boston cream pie.

There'll be future posts about the Boston trip, but this week I'm reading and commenting on your blogs. 

Thanks all for your comments on the Olympus Stylus yard sale digital camera bargain. It takes good photos during daytime, but wasn't great in low light situations. These Boston skyscrapers were taken with it on a clear Saturday.
Considering its very low $5 cost, this compact camera was handy to tote around. I'll try some custom settings on future outings.

to be continued . . .

Monday, May 7, 2018

Taco Good Eats Tour

It wasn't actually a tour, but a taco eating fest. We each had at least 6 different ones.

Last Thursday evening on May 3, we joined our friends and an estimated crowd of 30,000 in Manchester, NH for the 8th annual Hippo de Mayo event. Billed as New England's largest Cinco de Mayo celebration, it takes place before May 5. It started in 2011 to encourage people to visit downtown Manchester, NH and attracted over 5,000 people the first year. Now, it's one of the city's largest annual events. 

We were first-time participants for this outdoor eating event that featured $2 tacos served al fresco on the street with 50 local participating restaurants. And, like everyone else, we walked from eatery to eatery during the 4 to 9 pm event. This was strictly a pedestrian event as the city of Manchester closed down Elm Street, one of its main roadways for the 4 hour event. 
Eateries charged $2 per taco with monies going towards a charity. No advance tickets were sold as the tacos were on a first-come, first-eat basis until inventory ran out. We arrived with our friends before 5 pm

These were not the standard cheese, tomato and beef tacos as we sampled pulled pork, eggplant, apple crisp, grilled cheese, fish, crispy chicken, sushi, and BBQ chicken tacos. 
Some of the more creative combinations included dessert tacos with chocolate, Korean tacos with kimchi, and Greek tacos with tzatziki sauce and French fries.

The event was sponsored by The HippoNew Hampshire's largest circulation weekday publication with a net distribution of over 40,000. This free weekly publication is distributed Thursdays throughout southern New Hampshire at over 1,200 locations. 

It was a perfect evening with warmer temperatures (finally). We had a fun time and are planning to return for next year's event.

Many folks who celebrate Cinco de Mayo on May 5 are in the dark about the the history of the date. While it's sometimes referred to as Mexico's Independence Day, that's incorrect as that celebration is on Sept. 15. 

Instead, the Cinco de Mayo celebration marks the Mexican army's defeat over the French forces of Napoleon III in 1862, at the Battle of Puebla. Mexico had difficulty paying back war debts to European countries, and France had come to Mexico to collect the debt.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Friday Funnies

This load would really make a GIANT load of pick-up sticks.
Thanks for your comments on my recent camera flea market bargain. I used it to take these photos of downtown Nashua this week after sunset on a cloudy evening after with available light.
It will get more use this weekend. We're going to Boston for a (late) celebration of my Feb birthday, the VA house sale, and Grenville's recovery from a lingering seasonal cold.

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Weekend Sale Finds

The weekend weather wasn't exactly warm, but at least it was rain and snow-free and just windy. A great day for the annual yard sale of the Nashua area Humane Society.The sale was in the warehouse of a former rubber boot factory which was chillier inside than outside.

There was an assortment of goods spread out on tables, some were individually priced and others items were group marked with signage. Sale items included children's clothing, tote bags, games and puzzles, fabrics, photo frames, books, CDs, sporting goods, movies and lots of housewares, crafts, and holiday items. 

It was a 2-day weekend sale from 8 am to noon. The best bargains were on Sunday when a bagful of books, CDs or movies were mix and match at $1 a bag (grocery bags were provided). Shown below are my book purchases, some for grandchildren and others. The pasta books have been added to my cookbook collection (for now). 
The CD selection while not as extensive was still fun to sort through and shown below are ones included in my bagful. Once home, several CDs were found to be duplicates of ones already in our collection, and others were not well-liked. The duplicates and un-likeables will be donated to the local library for its annual book and music sale.
My best "find" was this digital camera, which wasn't on my shopping radar, but who doesn't love a bargain — not me. It was marked $20 and sold for $5 as there was no assurance it was working and it hadn't sold on the first sale day. The package included the camera, charger, batteries, and memory card so it was definitely worth taking a chance. Online research showed that is was introduced in 2008, which makes it an "oldie" by today's digital photo standards. Features include a 7x zoom, image stabilization, and 10 megapixel. A drawback is the use of xD storage media, but 3 were included with the package.
Once the batteries were fully charged, the camera was tested and it is working. I'm going to try shooting indoors and outdoors later this week and will include the results in a future post.

Now that the weather is slowly warming up, there will be outdoor yard sales and flea markets in and around the area. 

Do you go to any if these — if so, what's been your best find? 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Friday Funnies

Taken quite literally . . .X definitely marked the spot square.
We're hoping for some sun here in Nashua, NH this weekend. While no rain or snow is forecast, the temperatures won't be very spring-like as you can see below. 
Luckily, we have alternate plans to spend part of Saturday morning at an indoor yard sale sponsored by the Nashua area Humane Society. This annual event is always well attended and it's been a couple of years since we last went to one — looking is always free and fun.

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone. 
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