Friday, June 29, 2018

Friday Funnies

Now, these are really "table" legs
This table and legs were seen in a game room at the Woodstock Inn, VT, which seemed like an appropriate place for this funny find.

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Scam Alert (Again)

This post was originally quite long, I reviewed and shortened it.

Scammers never give up trying to defraud. New U.S. Medicare cards are being sent and the game is on once again. Here's what can happen: scammers call and ask for personal information, money or threaten to cancel health benefits if information isn't provided. 
Never give current Medicare card ID to a caller. It has a Social Security Number (SSN). Ignore such calls and/or hang up — It’s a scam. (You can report calls to Medicare 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).) graphic
Like the IRS, Medicare will never call and ask for information or money. The new card is FREE and being mailed; no action is neededIt will have a unique Medicare identifier, not a SSN to protect your identity. It uses numbers 0 thru 9 and letters, excluding S, L, O, I, B, and Z which are never used (excluded for ease of reading it seems). graphic
Medicare coverage and benefits will remain the same. New cards will start arriving state by state starting April 2018. Estimates are it'll take a year to mail cards nationwide, ending by April 2019. 

Once a new one is received, completely shred or cut up the old card which has a SSN. Don't toss in recycling or garbage. "Dumpster divers" search there for personal information. 

Hope this info is helpful to some folks.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Ogunquit, A Beautiful Place

In May, we went on a few short getaways, all were within New England to three neighboring states. I've written about the first two, Boston, MA and Woodstock, VT, in previous posts. The most recent trip was to Ogunquit, Maine, a coastal town that''s been called the prettiest in the state.

Legend has it that Ogunquit (pronounced /o-gun-quit/) received its name from the Native American Abenaki tribe and translates to "beautiful place by the sea." 

First settled in 1641, Ogunquit is a town on Maine’s southern coast. Ogunquit Beach, a 3-mile long, sandy peninsula with grassy dunes, lies between the Atlantic Ocean and the Ogunquit River. 

Our lodging offered a view of the Ogunquit River beach. We had a panoramic view of the Ogunquit River and watched the tide come in at evening and out in early morning.

Nearby, Marginal Way is a cliff walk that offers coastal views, benches and a lighthouse. This 1-1/4 mile paved walking path draws visitors from the U.S. and worldwide. It has eight pedestrian access points along the route from Shore Road in Ogunquit to Perkins Cove. aBenches are provided to folks to sit and enjoy the views. (More on this popular walkway in another post.)

The Ogunquit Playhouse summer theater is one of New England's historic summer-stock theaters. Built in 1937, it continues to be a showcase for top-rate musical productions. It has hosted the out-of-town premieres of many new productions. 
Many Broadway performers have been known to leave the heat of NYC to perform in the playhouse during summer months. The theatre lobby is lined with the legendary actors who have performed on its stage including Anthony Quinn, Helen Hayes and Bette Davis. 

We attended a performance of Smokey Joe's Cafea musical revue showcasing 39 pop standards, featuring rock and roll and rhythm and blues songs written by songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Some of their well-known tunes include: Ruby Baby, Poison Ivy, Love Potion #9, Dance With Me, Charlie Brown, and Hound Dog, and Yakkety-Yak.

The Ogunquit Museum of American Art is known for its sculptures and works mostly by Maine or New England artists. This small museum has a permanent collection of more than 1,600 pieces, including paintings, photography, and sculpture. It's the only Maine museum dedicated solely to American art. 

The permanent collection includes paintings, sculptures, photography, and graphics. I didn't take photos inside the museum during. During my visit, the main exhibit, Studio Light, featured 37 paintings by artist Steve Hawley, who lives and works in MA.

It was a beautiful day and I spent time outdoors exploring the gardens and appreciating the ocean views visible from inside and outside the museum. Here's a samplings of a few of the outside sculptures. I don't know the names of these works or the artists.
Here's a few more in the collection, some are more whimsical, of course I had to include a frog sculpture. I failed to get the names of these works or the artists as well. Perhaps I should have kept the museum's printed guide.
These pieces in the outdoor collection were eclectic, amusing and very large. The artist really had a sense of humor and playfulness.
I enjoyed seeing these whimsical wooden compositions so much and and wanted to learn more about the artist. Bernard Langlais, a Maine native, was formerly a well-known modernist painter. He studied in Maine and New York and was the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship to study abroad. Langlais worked in NYC in the 1950s where he developed a style that featured bold colors in landscapes and still life. He also experimented with abstraction and expressionism.
In the mid-1950s, while renovating a summer cottage in Cushing, ME, Langlais started working with wood scraps, not surprising as his father had been a carpenter. He arranged them into mosaic abstract wood reliefs he labelled "painting with wood" and subsequently left oil painting to develop this new medium. His new works were featured in several NY galleries and shows including one at the Whitney Museum of Art.
In the mid-1960s, Langlais wanted to work on a larger scale and relocated permanently to the farmhouse in his native state. In the last 11 years of his life, he constructed more than 65 monumental wood sculptures on the 80-acre River Road property. The wooden carved and carpentered menagerie included lions, bears, rhinos, and elephants as well as a statue of former President Richard Nixon flashing a victory sign. The property was recognized from the large Trojan horse sculpture on its front lawn. Langlais was only 56 when he died in 1977 of congestive heart failure.

One of his best-known commissions, dubbed the World's Tallest Indian, is in Skowhegan, ME, where Langlais attended art school. The sculpture, erected in 1969, is dedicated to Maine's Abnaki Indians. After weathering years of the elements, the work was in need of repair. After a year long project, restoration was completed in 2014. There's more information and a partial photo on the a Visit Maine siteIt's on our "to-see" list for a future road trip.

For more information on the art of Bernard Langlais than presented in this post, I watched several online videos, including this one narrated by the Colby College curator for his estate. In 2010, Colby College in Waterville, ME received a large collection of artworks by Bernard “Blackie” Langlais from the artist’s widow, Helen Langlais, and the 90-acre property in Cushing, where the couple lived from 1966 to 1977. 

The 11-minute video shows some of the massive works on the estate grounds. It also describes and shows conservation efforts to restore and preserve many of them in a joint effort by the Colby College Museum of Art, The Kohler Foundation, Inc. and the Georges River Land Trust.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Did You Miss It?

No, not the first day of summer, which this year in the Northern Hemisphere was June 21. Officially it's called the summer solstice, the annual moment when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. It happened yesterday at 6:07 a.m. EDT (eastern daylight time). 

I meant National Selfie Day which was also June 21. Folks were encouraged to take creative and appropriate selfies to share on social media. We usually take our own pics, as I did here, or together (see below). 

According to the National Selfie-Day website (yes, there's a site), the day was created June 21, 2014 by disk jockey Rick McNeely from Fishbowl Radio Network in Arlington TX. According to the website, DJ Rick considers it "a holiday." (That seems an odd choice of definition to me.)

In 2013, the word, selfie, entered the Oxford English Dictionary and was named "the word of the year." The OED, published by the Oxford University press, is the main historical record of the English language. It defined selfie as: "a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website." In July 2014, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary selected selfie as the "word of the day." 

How and where did the term originate, I wanted to know and, of course, found an answer online. While not absolutely certain it's the truth, it was nonetheless an interesting read. 
Here's the story. 

According to several sites, the OED stated that "selfie" was first used in September 2002 to describe a photo posted on a public forum run by the Australian Broadcast Network (ABC). An Australian man (identified as Hopey) described a photo he took of himself while drunk at a birthday party:

"Um, drunk at a mates 21st, I tripped ofer [sic] and landed lip first (with front teeth coming a very close second) on a set of steps," said the posting. I had a hole right through my bottom lip. And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie." 

Apparently, some linguists (those word detectives) weren't surprised that "selfie," originated in Australia where the ie suffix has long been used to create slang terms (called hypocoristics). Words like barbie (barbecue), sickie (sick day) mozzie (mosquito), lollies (sweets), sunnies (sunglasses), flannie (flannel shirt), rellie (relative) and even Aussie (Australian)..

ABC News later found Hopey (Nathan Hope) who was reportedly amazed that his post had become such a news item. According to Hope, it wasn't really a new word: "it's something that was just common slang at the time, used to describe a picture of yourself."

No, we didn't take a selfie yesterday; we've taken many others (so far) this year . . .
Yes, we expect to be taking more before the year ends. For us, it's a fun way to remember special places and times. (Our results are always better than when others offer to take a photo for us.)

How about you — do you take selfies đŸ˜Š too ?

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Grand PA Visit

It's been 6 months since we visited our youngest granddaughter and family. But, since our recent wedding trip to NJ made the trip to PA about 2-1/2 hours more, of course we extended our trip.

We last saw her in December for her first birthday. She wasn't yet walking at that time. But that has changed fast. Now she's a very active toddler who is not only walking, but running around keeping her parents (very) busy. And, like many children can be quite serious when watching something.
While waiting for dinner, she offered crayons and kisses. This little girl who is growing up fast. 
Grandpa's cap provided some entertainment and a good photo opportunity as well.
Our visit was just an overnight one this time. Her parents both work and Monday mornings come early, unlike for retirees like us. We visited a bit more after dinner, before bedtime. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

More in Woodstock VT

There's more to Woodstock, VT than just the very classic Woodstock Inn where we stayed recently for our anniversary getaway. Thanks for the comments and congrats.

Downtown Woodstock boasts its own covered bridge right near the town green. The Middle Bridge is a 139-foot long lattice truss that carries Union Street over the Ottaquechee River. It was compltely rebuilt in 1969 to replace an iron bridge that had been in use since 1877. of course, we took a selfie in front (when no cars were there).
The bridge was built using traditional methods with wooden pegs and not nails. It was built on dry land and pulled across the river on scaffolding by oxen walking around a capstan (revolving cylinder). In May 1974, the bridge was set afire by arsonists. Repairs took over 3 years and exceeded $50,000.

The Norman Williams Public Library has been in the center of Woodstock Village for over 130 years. The word “public” means that it's open to the public without charge, not that it's all publicly funded. The library receives about 40 percent of its funds from public sources. The rest is raised privately.

In the early 19th century, most libraries were subscription and charged a fee after the Ben Franklin model, making it difficult for all to access books. In 1843, John Jacob Astor opened up the first free public library and then free libraries began opening up countrywide. 
The library's namesake, Norman Williams was a prominent Woodstock citizen. After his death, his son demolished his parents unused home and outbuildings to build a library. Edward Williams founded the Norman Williams Public Library as a non-profit public library in 1884. It was built in the Romanesque style with Vermont marble and Carolina pine woodwork. 

The Woodstock courthouse is  called the Windsor County Courthouse as its in the county seat. It was built in 1855 and is located directly adjacent to the public library

It was designed by architect Thomas Silloway known for building over 400 churches in the eastern U.S more than any other individual. The distinctive brickwork is said to resemble piano keys.

In addition to being the center of local government, the Woodstock Town Hall presents a selection of events, including movies and plays for more than 35,000 people annually, both residents and out-of-town visitors. We didn't see a performance here while we were in Woodstock. 

Opened in 1900, it was originally called the Woodstock Opera House and featured a banquet hall on the first floor and a Victorian style opera house on the second floor. At the time, it was considered the best cultural center of its type rivaling even Boston.
Central Street and Elm Street are the main business and shopping streets in downtown Woodstock. They include several local restaurants, speciality shops and the Vermont Flannel Company where I bought Grenville a new shirt for the next NH winter..
Woodstock is a very walkable town, mainly because it's not very large. Its population is under 3,500 full-time residents. Of course, tourism boasts that number especially during leaf peeping fall months and warmer summer months.

Woodstock, VT was named the "prettiest small town in America" by the Ladies Home Journal Magazine. It's a comment that many people use after visiting, including us.

Laurance and Mary French Rockefeller had an enormous impact on the overall character of the town as it now exists. They built the Woodstock Inn, a center point for the town and helped preserve the 19th century architecture and the rural feel and had the village's power lines buried underground. 

Visiting this quaint New England town is an easy 90-minute ride from Nashua, NH and we're already planning a return visit.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Celebrate Fathers

To Patrick (aka Grenville) and all the fathers, stepfathers, foster dads, grandfathers, uncles, brothers and anyone who has guided a child, all good wishes. (comments are off) 
Celebrate Your day

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Love & Marriage

This past weekend was another traveling one. We spent part of it in our home state of NJ. As we were only 2+ hours away, we also took a short trip to PA to visit with the youngest granddaughter. 

Our first stop was NJ where we attended the wedding of my niece, Jamie, the younger of my brother's two daughters. 

Despite a previous weather forecast of rain, Thankfully, Saturday was bright and sunny. We were all decked out in finery that included Grenville's dress summer hat.

Oh, the anticipation as the groom, Michael, and his best man waited at the alter as the bridal party made its entrance down the aisle.
Soon, his bride, Jamie, walked down on the arm of her father, my brother Tony.
The wedding service took place in St, Bernard's Church in Plainfield, NJ. This is my family's parish church and my brother and his wife attend services there.  

Soon enough it was time for the blessing and exchange of the rings. Smiles were quickly evident compared to the solemn faces earlier.
Once the ceremony and mass had ended, the very happy couple began their exit down the aisle as Mr. & Mrs.
Then there was the traditional "meet and greet" including a newlywed kiss on the church steps.  
The bride and her parents posed for the photographer. 
The bride and groom posed with the bride's family which includes my sister Julie and her fiancĂ©, who is also named Michael. We also posed for a family photo with everyone. 
The groom with his parents and two brothers.  
This photo of a mother and her son sharing a smile was my favorite shot of the event. 
It was a breezy afternoon and the bride's veil was battling with the wind during most of the outdoor photo session. 
The entire bridal party was the final shot of the photo session.
There were the traditional "first" dances, first the newly weds, Jamie and Michael,took the dance floor.
The couple then danced with a parent, bride with her father and groom with his mother. 
Love has no age limits, you're still your parent's child as seen here. 
This traditional wedding included the cutting of the cake and feeding of the bride and groom. They were really quite neat and didn't smash each other in the face with cake.
I've always found it difficult to capture good shots on the dance floor at a wedding. The couple were having a great time as these photos show.
My brother and I posed for a photo and the groom photo bombed us. It was a fun way to end the evening. We did get a photo without Michael joining in.
In a few short months, we will be repeating these scenes in NJ. My brother's oldest daughter Julie and her fiancĂ© Michael are married in NJ at the same church. 
We returned to NH earlier this week. I'll be catching up with everyone's blogs over the next few days.    

Friday, June 8, 2018

Friday Funnies

Would this be considered . . .
Getting down to the nut and bolt of things? 
Yes, there's usually nuts and bolts, but there was only a single sculpture of each one.

Internet source
This artwork was seen in Stowe, VT outside the Helen Day Art Center and Stowe Free Public Library on a visit last year. I failed to get information on the artists, but these may have been created by a Stowe-based stone and metal sculptor.

Both facilities are housed in a Greek revival building from 1861 that's one of the most historic buildings in Stowe. The library occupies the first floor and a community art and education center is on the second floor. 

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone

(We're attending an out-of-state family event this weekend, then visiting our youngest granddaughter and family. I'll catch up with everyone when we're back.)