Monday, February 8, 2016

Snow We Got

Yes, we (finally) had almost a whole day of snow here in Nashua, NH last Friday. What was supposed to be a light snow of 2-3 inches ended up leaving behind about 5-6 inches. It was a beautiful snowfall that clung to the trees and branches.

When the storm was over by early afternoon, the temperature was warming up and so I took a walk outdoors. 

The maintenance crew here at the mill apartment where we live always do a great job of keeping the walkways cleared.  

There were some nice views from our apartment windows; the grounds and trees were snow-covered and the late afternoon sky was a tapestry of pale hues.

The imagery is a bit blurred in this shot as shooting through the windows was challenging due to condensation. This view shows the Nashua River and at the very far end is Main Street in downtown Nashua, NH.

This view across the Nashua River shows another mill building which is undergoing renovations and will be converted to apartments.

All of these mill buildings are located in what is known as the Nashua Millyard district and many were formerly connected to the Nashua Manufacturing Company, a textile mill. The district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Some buildings have been converted into apartment housing, artist workshops, and a technology complex.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday Funnies

This one says it all . . .
Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

(BIG Thanks to All for the birthday wishes this week — they were much appreciated!)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Color Me Happy

Because it's my birthday and unexpected surprises came in the mail this week.
Coloring books, markers and LOTS of cards with well wishes — happiness abounds!

The books and markers are gifts from daughter Coleen and husband Paulo. 
The cards are from friends, family and fellow bloggers. 

A couple of months ago we started going to adult coloring sessions at the public library. The daytime session meets weekly and an evening session meets twice a month. The library provides supplies: coloring books, pencils, markers, gel pens, crayons. Many participants bring their own supplies too. I hadn't invested in books and was using an older set of pencils. Getting my own book and pens was thought about, but not yet accomplished. 
Now, I am all set for the next sessions!

Today, I am graciously sharing my birthday with many notable personalities, including:  Joey Bishop, Shelly Berman, James Michener, Amal Aladdin Clooney, Gertrude Stein, Norman Rockwell, Elizabeth Blackwell, Horace Greeley, Nathan Lane, Blythe Danner, Henry Heimlich, Felix Mendelssohn.

And especially my cousins Rick (Feb 3) on the left below and John (Feb 5) on the right. That's younger cousin Michael in the middle. We were ALL younger then — can't you tell by the wallpaper and sofa?

Do you color too ?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Rise and Shine - It's Groundhog Day !

YES, folks it's that day again

Time for our annual viewing of the film, Groundhog Day.

For anyone unfamiliar with the film, here's a (very) quick rundown: Phil Connors (Bill Murray), a weatherman, is out to cover the annual emergence of the groundhog from its burrow in Punxsutawney, PA. He gets caught in a blizzard that he didn't predict and finds himself trapped in a time warp. He's doomed to re-live the same day over and over again until he gets it right with some hilarious results.

Contrary to its title, the film was released after Groundhog Day on February 12, 1993. It was directed by the late Harold Ramis. The featured song was "I Got You Babe."

The 6 a.m. time is crucial in the film because it signals the start of yet a(another) new day for Phil to re-live.  it always starts this same way:

D.J. #1: Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don't forget your booties 'cause it's cooooold out there today. 
D.J. #2: It's coooold out there every day. What is this, Miami Beach? 
D.J. #1: Not hardly. And you know, you can expect hazardous travel later today with that, you know, that, uh, that blizzard thing. 
D.J. #2: [mockingly] That blizzard - thing. That blizzard - thing. Oh, well, here's the report! The National Weather Service is calling for a "big blizzard thing!" 
D.J. #1: Yessss, they are. But you know, there's another reason why today is especially exciting. 
D.J. #2: Especially cold! 
D.J. #1: Especially cold, okay, but the big question on everybody's lips... 
D.J. #2: On their chapped lips... 
D.J. #1: On their chapped lips, right: Do ya think Phil is gonna come out and see his shadow? 
D.J. #2: Punxsutawney Phil! 
D.J. #1: That's right, woodchuck-chuckers - it's... 
D.J. #1D.J. #2: [in unison] GROUNDHOG DAY!
Compared to last Feb 2, we haven't had much winter weather in Nashua, NH. We dodged even a snowflake in the recent major snowstorm that buried hit the East Coast. So a prediction of 6 more weeks of winter would be just a start.  

Monday, February 1, 2016

Love It or Leave It

Good advice — most times, especially when decluttering your clothing wardrobe.

And easier to say then do, so maybe its why organizing consultant Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, is an international best seller.

Sure, I've tackled this task by other names  simplifying, de-cluttering, downsizing. What’s different now?

Ms. Kondo’s approach, the KonMari Method, is two-fold: First, place your hands on things you own and, this is very important, ask yourself if it sparks joy. If it doesn't, then chuck it. When only your most joyful items are left, organize each where its visible, accessible and easily put back.

Following this approach this per Ms. Kondo’s directions will not only clear your place, but also your mind. That's what's the book states, but I can't vouch for that claim. And don't yoga and gate chai classes make similar claims?

Admittedly, I haven’t read the entire book, only some portions; however, have read about Ms. Kondo and her methods, and various watched online videos.

Almost forgot, a very important tenant before discarding/donating items — remember to thank them for their service. So, yes, you will be talking to your belongings and this might best be done in private, depending on how emotionally attached you are to your shirts, socks, jeans. If any talk back, be very afraid. There's no advice on how to handle sassy clothes. 

And, it’s not OK to say everything brings you joy without handling it first. “Don’t just
open up your closet (drawer) and decide after a quick look that everything in it gives you a thrill,” Ms. Kondo states, adding: “You must take each outfit in your hand."

“When we take our clothes in our hands and fold them neatly,” she writes, “we are, I believe, transmitting energy, which has a positive effect on our clothes.”

Sounds far-fetched, I agree. But she emits a positive energy in photos and online videos, so I figured a couple of dresser drawers could benefit from positive vibes.

Prepare to spend time doing this because the book states that “tidying is a dialogue with oneself.”

Like I said before, best done in private. Admittedly, you might forget to thank all toss-outs after several hours of talking to them. (And, who could blame you?)

After you’re all talked out, what's next for those items that spark joy?

Items stored in a drawer, you fold neatly. The KonMari Method of folding can be widely seen on YouTube videos. Basically, you fold everything into a long rectangle, then fold that in upon itself to make a smaller rectangle, then roll that up into a tube, like a sushi roll, then set items upright in the drawers.

Hanging clothes gets more challenging as Ms. Kondo advises hanging anything that “looks
happier hung up.”

How to know? Maybe once you get some experience talking to your things, just ask them their preferences?

According to Ms. Kondo: “Clothes, like people, can relax more freely when in the company of others who are very similar in type, and therefore organizing them by category helps them feel more comfortable and secure.”

After all, we want our clothing to feel secure, don’t we? (No need to answer this.)

I didn’t follow the exact KonMari Method in purging a couple of dresser drawers last week, then rearranging contents based on the visibility and accessibility principles. It was neater than before (forgot that photo). Maybe these turtlenecks and socks are happy too as they made the cut and got to stay. (Lots of socks, I know, but we are living in New England now. I foresee more clothes talking/purging at a future date.)

It’s worth mentioning that Ms. Kondo’s instruction on paper sorting is the most liberating of all her advice: Just throw them all away. She writes: “There is nothing more annoying than papers . . . After all, they will never spark joy, no matter how carefully you keep them.”

Amen to that, Ms. Kondo. (Except I'm not sure how the IRS would feel if we were called in to explain something on a filed return without supporting documentation.)

Have you sorted out things that no longer bring you joy?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Bisquick Blueberry Cobbler

Dessert is not a regular occurrence at The Frog & PenguINN, but last weekend we had some blueberries just begging to be used in a dessert. OK maybe it was Grenville who was begging for a treat. We had an open box of Bisquick mix with enough left for a treat and cobbler came to mind. An online search produced many recipes and some included a topping. This one does not, but we topped it with ice cream.

Bisquick Blueberry Cobbler

First, a recipe mix-up confession is needed here. When I read the recipe, I completely missed the fact that the batter was supposed to go in first. Instead, I put the blueberries and lemon in first over the melted butter, then poured the Bisquick mix on top.
  • 6 TBSP butter, melted
  • 1-1/4 C Bisquick 
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 2/3  C milk
  • 3 C fresh blueberries (frozen would work too I read)
  • 2 tsp lemon zest (orange zest works too)
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
Pre-heat oven to 350°F. 
  1. Pour melted butter into 8 or 9-inch square baking dish.
  2. Whisk together Bisquick, sugar, milk; pour over melted butter.
  3. Stir lemon zest, lemon juice and blueberries together.
  4. Place evenly over Bisquick batter.
Bake 42 to 47 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm alone or with a scoop of ice cream. (It was also good when served cold the next couple of evenings.)

Even with my mix-up, the dessert was delicious — just ask Grenville.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

After the Storm

Family and Friends who live in various parts of the East Coast are digging out this week after the big HUMONGOUS weekend snowstorm. All are safe, but a bit very tired.
Thanks to everyone for your comments on the previous post. 

While we were disappointed at being bypassed this time, we know there's a lot more winter left to come. We will most likely "get ours" speaking of snowfall that is.

We were very envious of everyone's bonanza snowfall, so it was hard to understand their collective lack of enthusiasm. After listening to friends' stories of spending hours clearing drives and walkways, we know WHY — been there and done that ourselves for many years, especially when living in NJ.

Here's a few more photos sent by family and friends after the storm was over. My brother, who lives in NJ, said the headgear we gave him came in handy. Two friends, also in NJ, sent photos of the snow piles in their front yards. Granddaughter Ellie in RI had the most fun making snow angels in the yard. 

With no new snowfall in Nashua, NH, we  took a weekend walk in nearby Mine Falls Park. The leftovers from two earlier and very small January snowfalls are slowly melting away. 

Most of that snow has been trampled down and refrozen so it's bumpy and lumpy ice in many places. But we navigated fine, thanks to wearing the STABILicers Walk cleats that we bought in the sporting goods store with our snowshoes. We've heard fellow bloggers to the north, like ACtalk about the benefits of wearing pull-on rubber cleats for walking on ice. This was our first experience wearing them. We highly recommend theses or one of other similar brands for anyone who treads on icy walkways. A plus is that this brand is USA made in Maine by Stabil.

Warmer daytime temps in the 40s this week will put our snowshoeing excursions on the back burner until a significant storm occurs. Still, there were some nice images to see on our walk. All were taken with a cell phone.

We hope all those who had snow this weekend were safe. 
(Could you deliver just a little to us?)

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Got Snow?

Today in Nashua, NH, the snowfall total from the current East Coast storm is . . . 


Yup, not a single flake fell here this weekend — not even a flurry (or two).

That wasn't true for many areas along the East Coast hit with a massive nor'easter blizzard that blanketed states with the heaviest snow seen in years, shutting down Washington D.C. and New York City.

We phoned family and friends in PA, RI NJ, and DC, who were all hard hit as well, asking if they could send us some of their snow bounty  without hesitation, they all said YES!

The grands, Bobby and Ellie, shoveled out at their RI home where they got 8-10 inches.

Friends in southern NJ sent us this photo taken from their front door. Over 18 inches had fallen there by mid-day on Saturday.

In PA, "Grand" puppy Lola romped in more than 2 feet of snow in her back yard.

Her owners, daughter Coleen and husband Paulo, were kept busy clearing a path an estimated 2 feet of snow.

And, the only "flakes" found in our area were ourselves

Since there wasn't enough snow cover to snowshoe on Friday, we went for a chilly morning walk through Mine Falls Park. Yes, we know that there's a lot more winter to go and before long we will have more than our share of s-n-o-w.

Meanwhile, our family and friends were all safe. We hope everyone else was as well.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday Funnies

Vacancy  — how quickly it's over.

This photo was taken a few days after Christmas at an area mall. We were back last week and, of course, everything is long-gone. But if you're wondering how many days until the 2016 holiday season, here's a countdown.

A winter storm is predicted for the east coast this weekend. Many states are expected to be hard hit, including our home state of NJ and where we formerly lived in VA. Oddly enough, forecasters are not predicting much snow (if any) to affect Nashua, NH. While we'd like some snow, we recognize that it can create havoc and danger for many others. We hope that fellow bloggers and others will be safe. (And, if anyone wants to send some snow, that's OK with us and lots of skiers too we're sure.)
Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Unexpected Nice Surprise

Perhaps it's happened to you as well — you receive an unexpected gift.
On the weekend, Grenville (Pat) helped fellow apartment residents whose car had a dead battery. Yesterday morning we had a surprise visit from them; they brought wine and a very nice card.

Not only was their visit unexpected, but we will be thankful again when we enjoy the wine with dinner this week.

Unexpected surprises are always good — Ever happen to you?
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