Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday Funnies

Where the sidewalk ends — OR where it begins (with apologies to Shel SIlverstein)

The photo title has nothing to do with the title of his 1974 collection of children's poetry titled, Where the Sidewalk Ends, which address childhood concerns in fanciful stories; here's the title poem.
Where the Sidewalk Ends (Shel Silverstein)
There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Snow We Got

And a LOT of it too, measured in feet, just over 2 feet in Nashua, NH.

The snow started late Monday night and continued all day Tuesday in NH and the total amount here was nearly 29 inches. Needless to say, the city was shut down.

By comparison, our VA eastern shore home received a half-inch of snow, enough to delay schools by 2 hours. In that area, anything above a half inch will do that as there are no snow plows and humped roads roads with deep ditches on both sides.

The last photo in this previous post showed a view of the Nashua River after a 6-inch weekend snowfall. 

This is the same view early yesterday morning showing the river and partial city view. By late afternoon, conditions had deteriorated to a point where the river couldn't be seen from our 5th floor mill apartment window.

The only group that seemed to be enjoying the river was a resident flock of gulls (had to include these as fellow blogger Denise is a fan of seagulls; better shots another day.) 
Our thanks to several bloggers who emailed to ask if we were doing OK during the storm.

YES, we were — all safe and secure indoors with a crock pot meal prepared, and some classic films (Cary Grand and Gene Kelly) to view borrowed from the library yesterday. It was also a good day to catch up on laundry and a nap (just ask Grenville). All the above photos were taken from indoor vantage points (our cars are parked underground

Family and fiends in our native NJ emailed to say that predicted snowfall amounts there never happened with under a foot of snow received. 

Just wondering . . .

How did those of you who were in the path of winter storm Juno fare?

Did you get more or less snow amounts than previously forecast — were you disappointed or glad? 

And, how do YOU spend snow (or bad weather) days? 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Saturday Snowfall

While we were not exactly up to our eyeballs after this weekend's snowfall (see previous post), the 6 inches received in Nashua, NH during most of Saturday created some pretty snow scenes as the snow clung to tree tops.

It was a beautiful winter wonderland, while it lasted. Luckily we didn't have anywhere we needed to drive to, so we didn't. Instead, we took a walk to the downtown area. 

By Sunday mid morning, the major roadways were dry and snow cleared. Also, most of the walkways were clear which was nice for foot travelers like ourselves.

But, this is the proverbial quiet before the storm as a major snowstorm (winter storm Juno) is being forecast for most of the Northeast, starting late Monday through Tuesday. It's being predicted to leave as much as up to 36 inches of snow in New York and Boston. Blizzard conditions are being predicted for some states, including our native NJ. 

This morning's view from our NH apartment gave little indication of nasty weather to come in the next 24-36 hours.
We plan to stay indoors most of the next 24-36 hours. And, if we should venture out , it will most be on foot again. We hope that fellow bloggers who may live in states predicted to be in Juno's path will be safe as well. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Funnies

Just wondering . . .

Anyone up to your eyeballs in snow?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Anniversary (a Day Late)

Yesterday was an anniversary which Grenville and I forgot to post — Whoops
Not our anniversary . . . but the day we closed on our home, The Frog & PenguINN

It's been 12 years since 01/21/2003 which was also Lee-Jackson Day that year, a holiday that we Northerners had never heard of before (but know about now in VA)

We have so many good great times in this home from sharing get-togethers and celebrations with family and friends to enjoying it together as well. And as with owning any old(er) home, there has been a lot of hard work too, but it has all been worth it for us especially as this was the first home we owned together.

As many of you know, we are trying to sell the F&P. We hope that other folks will come to enjoy love this home as much as we have in our dozen years here, until then . . .

Happy Anniversary, Frog & PenguINN
Beatrice & Grenville

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Currier but Not Ives

The title is not in reference to famed American lithographers Nathaniel Currier and James Merritt Ives, as the New England museum we visited is not connected with either man.

The Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, NH is an internationally renowned art museum with a collection of over 10,000 European and American works of art paintings, decorative arts, sculpture and photographs including works by Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Jamie Wyeth with special exhibitions year-round. The museum, originally known as the Currier Gallery of Art, was founded in 1929 from a bequest of former NH Governor Moody Currier and his wife, Hannah Slade Currier.

Currier's will provided for the establishment of an art museum "for the benefit and advancement of humanity." Although not personally an art collector, Currier's funding allowed for the purchase of a great deal of art. After his wife's death in 1915, a board of trustees was appointed to carry out the Currier's wishes that a structure be constructed that met their requirements. 

The art gallery opened its new facility in 1929. Its first director, Maud Briggs Knowlton, was one of the first U.S. female museum administrators. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. New pavilions were built in 1982 to accommodate the collections; in 2002 it was renamed the Currier Museum of Art.

In addition to special exhibits and programs, the museum features a monthly jazz brunch which was the reason for this visit. This event includes a very tasty selection of made-to-order omelettes, French toast, fruits, pastries, and other brunch items (see Grenville's taste testing). Music was provided by a single guitarist who played many standards during a 3-hour period.
Another museum highlight are tours of the Isadore and Lucille Zimmerman House, the only Frank Lloyd Wright designed house open to the public in New England. Tours are limited to 12 people and only offered from March to December. The house is referred to as a “Usonian House” a style popularized by Wright. It has with the former owners original furnishings including their collection of art, pottery and sculpture. Wright designed the house exterior and interior, furniture, gardens, even the mailbox. In 1979, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Zimmermans bequeathed it to the Currier Museum in 1988 following Lucille’s death; her husband had died in 1984. In 1990, it was opened to the public. We plan to tour it when it's re-opened this spring. (You can read about it in this 2013 issue of New Hampshire Home which has complete detail and photos on the house and its background.)
Curious about the term, Usonia, learned that it refers to Wright’s vision for the U.S.
landscape which included the planning of cities and building architecture. Homes designed in this style were usually small, single-story dwellings without a garage or much storage and often L-shaped to fit around a garden space.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Only in Virginia

Today is a holiday, but there’s no need to check your calendars to see if you missed it because it’s only celebrated in one U.S. state.

It's Lee–Jackson Day, which is celebrated solely in Virginia to mark the birthdays of Virginia natives Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, who served as Confederate generals in the Civil WarLee led military and naval forces during the Civil War until he surrendered to General Ulysses Grant in 1865, marking the war's end. Jackson's greatest victory was when he led his troops around the Union right flank at Chancellorsville to route the 11th Corps and mortally wounded, died eight days later on May 10, 1863.

The original holiday created in 1889 only celebrated Lee's birthday; in 1904, Jackson's name was added. In 1983, the holiday oddly was merged with a new federal holiday to celebrate the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. And, in Virginia only, from 1984-2000, it was Lee-Jackson-King Day. The merge was reversed after a debate on whether celebrating the lives of Confederate generals and a civil rights leader was inconsistent. 

Yes, it does seem odd that it took so long to figure that out. But, then some areas of the South have never adjusted to fact that their side lost the Civil War.

The two holidays are celebrated separatelyLee–Jackson Day is observed on the Friday before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which is January 19 this year; it's always the third Monday in January. Virginia state offices are closed for both holidays, yet many schools and businesses remain open.

Virginia is not alone in having a state holiday for anyone associated with the unsuccessful Southern rebellion. The birthday of Confederate President Jefferson Davis is marked as a state holiday in Mississippi. (Davis was born in Kentucky, but raised in Mississippi.) 

When we first moved to Virginia 15 years ago, this unique observance was an oddity to us “northerners.” The day was memorable to us not for reasons noted herein, but because it was the day we closed on The Frog & Penguinn, our "new" home. And, it continues to be remembered solely for that reason. The concept of celebrating men whose legacy involved fighting on the side of a nation founded to expand human bondage seems very strange, even more so today.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Frosted Panes

Maybe you also live in places that have been hit by cold and nasty winter weather. Well, it is that time of year. These are some of recent window views.

Here, the worst has been bitter cold temps which have kept the 2 inches of snow we've received during a couple of recent storms around awhile. It's hard for Mr. Sun to make progress when overnight temps go down to 0 or below and daytime temps stay in the teens.

Looking out these frosted windows, I started to think of the first line of a well-known holiday song. (Yes, Christmas is ended for another year, but memories linger.) Would it surprise you to know its title? — The Christmas Waltz — and that it was requested by and written specifically for Old Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra. If you didn't know the lyrics . . .

The Christmas Waltz
(by Sammy Cahn & Jule Style)

Frosted window panes
Candles gleaming inside
Painted candy canes on the tree
Santa's on his way
He's filled his sleigh with things
Things for you and for me

It's that time of year

When the world falls in love
Every song you hear seems to say
"Merry Christmas,
May your New Year dreams come true"

And this song of mine

In three-quarter time
Wishes you and yours
The same thing too

The story goes that Styne called Cahn during a California hot spell and told him that Sinatra wanted a Christmas song, so the two men began work on the project. Cahn asked Styne if there had ever been a Christmas waltz and asked him to play one. Styne did and Cahn began work on the The Christmas Waltz lyrics.

Sinatra first recorded it in August 1954 as the B-side of a new recording of White Christmas, in 1957 for the LP, A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra, and in 1968 for The Sinatra Family Wish You a Merry Christmas.
It's been recorded by various artistsMel Tormé, Peggy Lee, Doris Day, Pat Boone, The Lettermen, Robert Goulet, Nancy Wilson, The Carpenters, Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis, Rosemary Clooney, Barry Manilow, Tony Bennett, and others. Yet, no recorded version ever reached the Billboard magazine charts until 2003 when Harry Connick, Jr. included it on Harry for the Holidays and it reached number 26 on the Adult Contemporary chart during a two-week run.

Are you thinking of any melodies and keeping warm in this New Year ?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Crock Pot Kielbasa

Yes, it's here — my first (but not the last) crock pot recipe for 2015 and it's a new one (at least for us). Usually our crock pot has ingredients that include chicken or beef cooking for dinner. We needed to try something new. A friend recommended this recipe for slow cooker kielbasa and sauerkraut — a welcome change.

First, (sorry couldn't resist) this is one of the easiest recipes I've done in the crock pot from prep time to finish. Who doesn't like easy meals any time of year. This low-cost meal was ready in under 6 hours and there were leftovers (another plus). 

Rinsing the sauerkraut and adding brown sugar and caraway seeds gave this meal more of a "sweet" vs. "sour" kraut taste. For variations, add bite-size pieces of peeled and diced Yukon potatoes and/or cut up pieces of peeled apple.

Prep time: 15-20 minutes. Cooking time: 4-6 hours

Crock Pot Kielbasa & Sauerkraut

2 lbs sauerkraut (refrigerated in a bag)
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1 links Kielbasa or Polish sausage
1/2 C apple juice or apple cider
  1. Pour sauerkraut into a colander and rinse well with water. Allow to drain and press down with a large spoon to remove excess water.
  2. Place rinsed and drained sauerkraut into slow cooker. Add brown sugar, salt and caraway seeds and mix well.
  3. Place kielbasa on top and pour juice or cider on top.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. If adding potatoes, cooking time may be longer. Check that potatoes are done after 6 hours and raise temp to High for last hour if not.
Serve with your choice of mustard and some rye bread and a beverage of your choice: glass of beer or apple cider.

Friday, January 2, 2015

What's New This New Year?

Happy New Year Folks !

It's that traditional time of year— a new beginning — and many folks often make one or more of resolutions similar to these: 

  • Lose weight
  • Exercise more
  • Volunteer
  • Quit smoking
  • Save money
  • Eat healthier
  • Manage stress
  • Travel to new places
  • Manage debt
  • Drink less
  • Look for another/better job
  • Reduce waste/recycle more
  • Get organized/reduce clutter
  • Spend time with family/friends
  • Attend church/religious services more often

Have you made any of these today or in previous years? Since I asked, here's my resolution list (so far) for this New Year:

  • Smile more
  • Compliment people (everyone needs to hear something nice)
  • Call/write friends regularly (not via social media)
  • Say I love you to family/friends as often as possible
  • Go to the fitness center 3X weekly (no excuse as it's in the mill-apt complex)
  • Argue less and accept more 
  • Be more honest with myself and others
  • Lose weight (something my late mother urged nagged me to do, so it's in her memory and, more importantly, my better health)

HOW did you spend the 1st day of 2015? Here's what we did:

  • Paid bills
  • Caught up on laundry
  • Opened holiday cards (received while we were away)
  • Took a walk
  • Cooked a crock pot dinner (no surprise)
  • Wrote this first post of 2015

FYI, modern Westerners were not the first to make New Year’s resolutions, studies have shown that Babylonians, Romans, and Medieval knights made vows as well. It's not known how many they kept, but if they were anything like folks today, it can be assumed there was a fair amount of the “I’ll start tomorrow” philosophy. Today less than 50 percent of Americans make resolutions and less than 10 percent achieve them.

So, how do you think you will do?