Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Funnies

Well connected — or wired well?

Enjoy your weekend, everyone
(Look for the fun side of life as there's usually one.)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

PEM: A Salem Surprise

Whenever we visit a museum, there's usually one exhibit we go to see as on a recent trip to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA where we viewed Audacious.

But there's a lot more to see in the PEM which dates to the 1799 founding of the East India Marine Society, an organization of Salem-based sea captains who had sailed beyond the Cape of Good Hope (Africa) or Cape Horn (South America). Their charter included a provision for the establishment of "a cabinet of natural and artificial curiosities" — in modern terms, a museum. 

It was surprising to learn that not only is the PEM one of the oldest continuously operating U.S. museums, but ranks among the top 20 art museums measured by gallery space and endowment. It holds over 840,000 works, one of the major U.S. collections of Asian art with total holdings of about 1.3 million pieces, 22 historic buildings, and two large libraries with over 400,000 manuscripts. 

The PEM combines the collections of the former Peabody Museum of Salem (which acquired the East India Marine Society's collection) and the Essex InstituteThe Peabody was named for its benefactor, philanthropist and entrepreneur, George Peabody, a Massachusetts native. In the late 1860s, the Essex Institute refined its mission to the collection and presentation of regional art, history and architecture and transferred its natural history and archaeology collections to the East India Marine Society's descendant organization, the Peabody Academy of Science. 

In the early 20th century, the Peabody Academy of Science was renamed the Peabody Museum of Salem and focused on international art and culture. The Essex and the Peabody museums merged in 1992 forming the current PEM.

The museum hosts special exhibits throughout the year. On our brief visit, we toured In Plain Sight which displayed furniture crafted by Salem's top 18th century cabinet maker, Nathaniel Gould, who died at age 47 in 1781. His built desks, bookcases, chests and tables from imported mahogany. The pieces have a distinctive style; Gould carved pinwheels and scalloped designs into them; many feature claw feet legs.

Other exhibit rooms have models of various sailing ships, including this 20-foot replica of the Queen Elizabeth, the second largest cruise ship constructed by the Cunard Line (exceeded only by the Queen Mary 2). According to an information card, this model was formerly housed in the main offices of the Cunard LineThe very detailed model fills most of an exhibit room which also has posters for various steamship lines.

We enjoyed our mid-week visit, which made for light crowds in the exhibit rooms. It's definitely worth a return trip to a city infamously known for the 1692 witch trials.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

What the %&*#$ is this?????

This unknown object has been rumored to be just around the corner. Of course we are not sure which corner, or how far away it really is, since many of our corners are still obscured. We are hoping that our loyal readers will be able to ID this.


We have been diligently watching out our window for the first signs of Spring, and can report that the ice on the river has finally broken up. Fewer icebergs have been sighted floating East, AND the Mergansers are making their annual migration stopover.

The Boys are all hoping to "get lucky"

These folks are heading North to their summer breeding grounds, and boy are they excited. Except for the poor female in the middle of all those males!!!!!!

And although some people are proposing that winter is over just because today is March 21, and are proclaiming that we should be celebrating Alban Eiler, the view from our window indicates that this is a preposterous idea.........

Alpine vista across the river
Maybe celebrating with skiing or Alpine Yodeling would be better than dancing nekid under the full moon for this years celebration.

On a more serious note (probably a b flat), Beatrice and I hope you all have a wonderful

 "First Day Of SPRING"!!!!!


Spring UPDATE!!!!!!

So what is this?????? It is what is happening outside our window this morning. The background is the river and those pesky white flakey things are ........... You Guessed It
First official day of spring and we have SNOW!!!!!

Might be a little hard to see but that is NOT FOG outside our window.... No sireeee it is 

BUT the forecast says it will end this afternoon and we should be less that one inch. 

Trying to put a good spin on this snowy morning, i have to say ..... 

This little dusting (New Englandese for less than 3 inches of accumulation) will put a nice cover coat on the piles of dirty SNOW that are found all over the place here. 

YES folks, that is SNOW behind me as of yesterday.... 
This morning it will have a nice white cover... just in time for SPRING??????

Grenville, Still looking for Spring....

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Funnies

Wining allowed . . .
And, a good workout too . . .

(These "funnies" were seen at a kitchen goods store on a recent shopping trip.)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Audacious Wood

The adjective audacious derives from the Latin audacia and its definitions include: daring, bold, venturesome, and courageous.

It seemed like an unusual word choice to describe a museum exhibit. However, in this context, the focus is all about the end result — wood sculptures.

Recently, we took a road trip to Salem, MA, to see a special exhibit, Audacious: The Fine Art of Wood at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem, MA. The PEM, as its most commonly called, is considered one of the oldest continuously operating museums in the U.S.

The exhibit focuses largely, but not exclusively, on the private collection of Robert M. and Lillian Montalto Bohlen, a Massachusetts couple, who have spent years collecting contemporary wood art and have assembled one of the most extensive and impressive collections in the world. 

Grenville, was especially interested in this exhibit since he has done both hand carving and wood turnings. We were both awed by the beauty of these contemporary wood sculptures. 

The sculptures include common and exotic woods such as quilted maple, ponderosa pine, blue mahoe, European boxwood, pearwood, locust, coconut palm, and buckeye burl. Many of the works were fashioned from downed or damaged trees; others include materials such as metals and stone for the completed piece.

The exhibition features the work of more than 75 artists and coincides with the couple's donation of 47 pieces of contemporary word art to PEM.

The couple's collection is international in its scope and reflects over 20 years of travel.

The exhibit includes 105 pieces created using a variety of tools. Many of which are beautifully colorful as shown in these works.
The collection has been exhibited in other museums throughout the U.S. — The Museum of Modern Art & Design in NYC, Mobile Museum of Art in Alabama, and three Michigan museums: University of Michigan Museum of Art, Saginaw Museum of Art, and the Detroit Museum of Art.

Audacious runs until June 21 and coincides with the couple's donation of 47 pieces of contemporary word art to PEM.

If you happen to be anywhere in the Salem, MA, area within the next 3 months, it's definitely worth a stop at the PEM. We also saw some of the museum's other exhibits; details will be included in a future post.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday Funnies

Careful, it's Friday the 13th, so here's a few funnies to start the day . . .

Snow song? — Don't Fence Me In

Then and now: Same sign after 2 weeks and snow piles are going down
Snow Sculptures . . .

It's amazing what can be learned by some Internet surfing . . .

  • Yes, this is the second one for 2015 and right after Feb 13. For those planning ahead, the next (and final) one in 2015 falls on November 13.
  • The year 2015 started on a Thursday. Whenever a common year of 365 days starts on a Thursday, it’s inevitable that the months of February, March and November will start on a Sunday. Any month starting on a Sunday always has a Friday the 13th.
  • This February-March-November Friday the 13th trilogy repeats often.The last sequence was in 2009 for the first time in the 21st century. It happens again in 2026, 11 years away.
  • Scared of Friday the 13th?  There's a name for folks who fear the date —  friggatriskaidekaphobia (Friday is named for Frigga is the Norse goddess of fertility and love). Christians called Frigga a witch and referred to Friday as the witches’ Sabbath.

Enjoy your weekend !

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Playtime in Snow

Snow time is fun time for kids. This winter there's been a lot of time for outdoor playing.
Our grandchildren dressed up and ready to go out. The snow piles in their driveway were high fun for an afternoon of sledding down them.

They are not the only ones who enjoy the snow — we do too (but are so ready for spring).
We know, that many other folks are too!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Snow White No More

Just after a snowfall, everything looks so serene and white — like the expression "pure as new-fallen snow" which it is, of course.

Curious about the origins of that phrase, I sleuthed online to learn it's found in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Maybe, one day I'll read it, not very likely; there's also a 1995 film version. This 1850 fictional story set in 17th-century Puritan Boston explores sin, guilt, legalism in telling about a married woman who has an affair and child with a local minister. He's tormented by his actions, which are unknown to towns folk, and says in a passage . . . So, to their own unutterable torment, they go among their fellow-creatures, looking pure as new-fallen snow; while their hearts are all speckled and spotted with iniquity of which they cannot rid themselves." 

So now we all know the literary background of this expression in case you thought this post just had snow pics.

Snow is not pretty or pure once cleanup and melting has begun. Then it turns dirty and dinghy-looking on neighborhood sidewalks, streets, and along highways. 

Empty lots and fields where it's being dumped in many areas have been dubbed "snow farms"  — like this one in Salem, MA.

Spring is due soon according to the calendar, just NOT soon enough for a lot of snow and winter-weary folks. If you're among them, here's what's coming . . .

Hang on till then — it's worth the wait

Friday, March 6, 2015

Friday Funnies

It's time for a sing along — There's "snow" people like . . .
These snow folks were seen a couple of weeks ago on a downtown Nashua, NH sidewalk.

While this was a "fun" find, there are folks in so many states (and abroad) dealing with the effects of winter weather — snow, ice, freezing rain, flooding. We too have family and friends in other places and keep their safety and well being in our thoughts and prayers as we also do for many others. 

Enjoy the weekend, everyone. But, for some of us, there's an hour less to do so, Daylight Savings Time begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 8. But, not for everyone — the time change is not observed in Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Garlic Parmesan Chicken

As any regular reader (and some newer ones) will learn, cooking is a favorite activity in our home and both Grenville and I share kitchen time.

Chicken and fish are often main ingredients followed by 3 simple words: easy, quick  delicious. Eating what we cook is another favorite activity.

This chicken recipe met all our prerequisites and pairs great with any side dish: veggies, rice, or salad or a combination of these. This recipe was slightly modified from an online version and I also halved the recipe shown below for the two of us.  But, if you have more than that for dinner and/or want leftovers, then you can prepare as shown.

Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 C dry bread crumbs
  • 2/3 C grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Use olive oil or lightly grease  bottom of 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
  2. Blend olive oil and garlic in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, basil, and pepper.
  3. Dip each chicken breast in oil mixture, then in bread crumb mixture. Arrange coated chicken breasts in prepared baking dish; top with remaining bread crumb mixture.
  4. Bake 30 minutes in preheated oven, or until chicken is not pink and juices run clear.
Serve with a salad or veggies and enjoy.
How did we enjoy this recipe — in Grenville's words, it's "a keeper."