To many, Memorial Day is just a three-day weekend. It’s known as the day that marks start of summer and a day for great shopping deals.
The significance of Memorial Day goes far beyond these things. Celebration of the holiday began after the Civil War, when it was known as “Decoration Day.” It was originally founded to honor the soldiers who died in the Civil War.
Today, Memorial Day honors all Americans who have died in military service. It is a federal U.S. holiday that is observed annually on the last Monday in May — that's today.
So in between the cookouts, get-togethers and/or shopping excursions, take time to thank someone for his/her service. It will be appreciated and a good thing to do today.
No, this doesn't refer to Rudolph the Reindeer (more on that famous reindeer below).
Red Nose Day is Thursday, May 26, when NBC will host a live TV event which will include stars of comedy, film, TV, and music. The 2016 Red Nose Fund is a program sponsored by Comic Relief. Monies raised will go to charities working to deliver basic needs to children living in poverty in the U.S. and some of the poorest communities worldwide. Where to get your Red Nose . . . At Walgreens, since this chain is is the exclusive U.S. retailer of red noses and related materials to raise funds that go to the Red Nose Day Fund which will distribute funds raised.
It's not a "new" event in the UK . . .
In the United Kingdom, Red Nose Day has been a popular fundraiser for 30 years and is held every 2 years.Since its 1988 launch, it's nearly become a British institution since it was co-founded in 1985 by writer-director Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones's Diary). Comic Relief UK is built on the premise that media and celebrities can raise money and awareness of poverty to save and change millions of lives.
But relatively "new" in the U.S. Unlike its British counterpart, Red Nose Day in the U.S. started in 2015. The inaugural event special raised over $23 million split among 12 domestic and international charities. The U.S. and UK Comic Relief are independent sister organizations sharing a goal to effect positive change through the power of entertainment. Find more information at rednoseday.org
What are you waiting for? — Get your own red nose — there's still time!
Now, about that Rudolph, the reindeer . . . In 1939, Robert Lewis May created Rudolph, the young red-nosed reindeer buck as a copywriting assignment for the Chicago-based retailer Montgomery Ward. He was said to have considered "other" names (Rollo or Reginald) before deciding on Rudolph originally a moose, but later changed as a reindeer was deemed "friendlier". May's project happened as MW had been buying and giving away coloring books at Christmas annually. MW executives decided that creating an in-house book would save money and be a good-will gesture to customers. Rudolph almost didn't get that signature red nose as this trait was closely associated with drunks. The story idea was rejected until Denver Gillen, May's illustrator friend at MW, draw reindeer similar to those that May's 4-year old daughter enjoyed at the Chicago Zoo. The bouncy red-nosed animal character that Gillen created overcame management objections. The book was a give-away during the 1939 holiday season at MW and proved very popular with shoppers; 2.4 million copies were given out. Then, WW II restrictions on paper use prohibited a re-issue until 1946, when 3.6 million copies were given to MW shoppers. In 1948, Johnny Marks, May's brother-in-law, adapted Rudolph into a song that was turned down by popular vocalists like Bing Crosby and Dinah Shore. Big Huge whoops since in 1949 the "singing cowboy" Gene Autry recorded Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and it hit No. 1 on the Billboard pop singles charts that Christmas selling over 2.5 million copies the first year and 25 million copies overall. It remained the second best-selling record until the 1960s and has sold more records than that "other" Christmas song, coincidentally Crosby's White Christmas. NOW you know more about red noses than before reading this post.
It's a month or so early, but the summer beach season kicked off last weekend in RI at Misquamicut Beach State Park in Westerly. And, we were there along with grandkids, Bobby and Elizabeth, their mom Shannon, and CT family members.
This 6th (now) annual event, called Misquamicut Springfest, drew over 12,000 visitors from several New England states.
Our little group represented 3 of these states, NH, RI and CT. There was no shortage of activity with music, rides, petting zoo, arts, crafts, magic and music shows, and food vendors selling typical beach fare: french fries, fried oysters, sausage sandwiches, fried dough, funnel cakes, lemonade, definitely not the healthiest food, but when at the beach, you eat there and that meant an order of "loaded" fries (sour cream, bacon, chives were added). They were really good! The rides were the biggest attraction for the younger ones in our group, Bobby and Ellie. Although their mom and grandpa Grenville did bump into challenge them on this ride. It was ridden a couple of times.
Ellie and Shannon had their "ups and downs" on this one.
Springiest ran the entire weekend, Friday evening through Sunday and we spent most of Saturday afternoon there. It was a fun day with family, even though we are not especially fond of the rides.
What happened? We'll give you a few minutes seconds to think about this, while we have a short getaway and head to the hills mountains of NH. Give Up? It's the anniversary of our first date May 16, 1997. Yes, we do celebrate — it's one of our favorite dates. We'll be back in a few days. (Blogger was acting up this morning and I wasn't able to add a photo of where we're staying — a majestic, historic and VERY large hotel, The Mountain View Grand.)
After a week of gusty wind and rain, this past weekend brought a bit of sunshine. Sunday was overcast with breaks of sun when we walked along a paved riverwalk with a view of our mill apartment building, formerly the Nashua Manufacturing Company.
Our apartment is just above the word "company."
There was enough sun for this large group of terrapins to catch some rays.
A blue heron and Canada geese were also on the river. (The heron was across the river and alas the zoom wasn't long enough to get a clear image.)
Despite the recent cool weather, these colorful blooms were seen on our walk.
The mill complex is now called Clocktower Place. (Can you tell why?)
Or, more often, called Tuna Casserole. It's a classic take-along dish to pot-luck suppers, gatherings of family and friends, or family dinner. But, it's not one we prepare as many recipes use condensed soup, crushed potato chips, or canned fried onions — none of which are "staples" in our pantry. But, this one is different. It includes none of those ingredients. This (slightly modified) version was on the Martha Stewart website. Instead of canned condensed soup it uses chicken broth, milk and flour for the sauce. (In fairness, celebrity chef Rachel Ray also has one that avoids condensed soup or chips. I'll try that one next.)
This altered version of the MS recipe added mushrooms and chopped celery as both are "staples" here. If you forget to advance defrost the peas, just put them in a small colander and run hot water over them. I used whatever pasta product was already opened vs. elbow macaroni. Tuna Casserole (ala Martha & Beatrice)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3/4 lb tubetti or elbow macaroni (or substitute another macaroni)
1 C panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/2 ounce Parmesan, grated (2 TBSP)
2 TBSP plus 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced small
3/4 C mushrooms (modified recipe add-in)
2 stalks celery, diced (modified recipe add-in)
3 TBSP all-purpose flour
2 1/2 C low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 C whole milk
2 cans solid light tuna packed in water, drained and flaked
1 C frozen peas, thawed
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 2 minutes less than package instructions (it will be undercooked). Drain. In a small bowl, toss together panko, Parmesan, and 2 teaspoons oil.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high in pot. Add onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook until softened, 8 minutes. Add flour and whisk to coat onion with flour. Slowly whisk in broth, then milk.
Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until sauce is thickened, about 8 minutes. Stir in pasta, tuna, and peas and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer tuna mixture to 9-by-13-in.baking dish, top with panko mixture. Bake until sauce bubbles and crust is golden (17 to 20 minutes). Cool 10 minutes.
Grenville declared this one "a keeper" with a "fork up."
That might be what folks along Main Street here
in Nashua, NHcould be saying from spring until
fall, even without piano player Sam*.
Because as of this past weekend, there are 2 publicly
playable pianos downtown.
The pianos were painted by local artists and placed in two downtown locations for anyone to play and
enjoy at anytime.
The Nashua Street Pianos project is supported by the City of Nashua,
local businesses and individuals.
The pianos will stay outdoors from May to October with maintenance and tuning twice a month. Business sponsors will help cover the pianos during inclement weather.
The Nashua Street Piano Project was inspired by British artist Luke Jerram’s internationally touring “Play Me, I’m
Yours” street pianos project which has placed nearly 1,500 pianos in over 50 cities worldwide since its 2008 start.
Along with the pianos, there's also some temporary public art projects on downtown streets.
The art was provided by ARTventures Nashua.
This public art program facilitates temporary art projects, performances, and special events that create
a fun environment for downtown shopping, dining, culture and entertainment.
ART ventures is funded by the City of Nashua Downtown Improvement Committee. The art is created from everyday recycled items.
* "Play it again, Sam"has become one of the most misquoted lines in filmdom. Yet, the line is never spoken in the film, Casablanca.
Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) asks piano player, Sam (Dooley Wilson)
to “Play it once, Sam, for old times’
sake.” When he hesitates she says, “Play it, Sam.”
Later, in an exchange between Sam and Rick (Humphrey
Bogart) Rick says:You played it for her,
you can play it for me” and “If she
can stand it, I can. Play it.”