Friday, September 28, 2018

Friday Funnies

This chair looks fit for a Giant . . .
Wonder if there were more chairs and matching table also imaging the size dining room that would be needed for such a set?

I'm not really sure where this oversized chair was placed, but most likely it was outside a furniture store somewhere on our travels. Maybe someone else has seen it too?

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone

Monday, September 24, 2018

Fall Outside Our Door

This past weekend, Saturday, September 22, was the first day of fall in the U.S. Autumn has arrived on time outside our apt, despite warmer-than-usual outdoor temperatures.

Scarecrows Simon and Cyrus (yes, they have names) have taken up entry way residence the past couple of seasons and they stand in a pumpkin patch surrounded by leaves that we (happily) don't have to rake. The small pumpkin signs are "new" and were purchased at an after-the-season mark-down sale last year, but it was too late to include them then.
These exterior decorations were done with minimal cost (as in very cheaply). The local Dollar Tree store is a wonderful place to buy seasonal decos for less $ (as are thrift stores). And, keeping the cost to $10 or less is a challenge and fun too. 

"Percy" Penguin and "Ferdinand" Frog remain outside our entry for all seasons. They formerly hung out on our VA front porch and relocated to NH with us. They're always decked out for the current season.

The flags in the lower left and top right of this collage were used at our former VA home Since we don't have a yard or front porch to display them, they are used to decorate the outer walls here.
As you can see, scarecrows and pumpkins are the fall theme at our apt home. Decorations are seasonal rather than for a specific holiday, which is why there are no Halloween-themed items on display. The scarecrows will remain in place until replaced by snowmen in December. Those fellows will remain until spring, or at until the snow melts.

Many folks here in the mill apartments don't decorate their apt entries, but for myself it's a way of personalizing our apt, which is now our home.

Call me curious, but do YOU decorate outside your home (or apt) entry way?

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Celebrating Together

This weekend would have marked the 72nd wedding anniversary of my parents. They looked like a very happy couple on their wedding day in September 1946. (My favorite wedding photo is the second one in the top row.)
My mother (Clara) was a beautiful bride of 24 years old and my father (Anthony) was 32. They married in September 1946, a year after the end of World War II. 

GM Eastern Aircraft Division, Linden, NJ (Internet source)
During the war years, my mother worked at the former Eastern Aircraft Division of General Motors in Linden, NJ. She and other women (including her sister, Anna)  built wing assemblies for FM-2 Wildcat fighter planes. The term Rosie the Riveter referred to these women who worked in U.S. factories and shipyards during WW II to replace male workers who were serving in the armed forces. 

My father was an electrician working for the U.S. Naval Shipyard on Puget Sound in Bremerton, Washington. 

My parents were childhood sweethearts. Although they are both deceased now, I believe they're celebrating this special day together ❤️ now, and that makes me feel very happy.

Occasionally, I'll be sharing blog posts that include vintage family photos. I'm currently researching my family tree which is like "going down a "rabbit hole." 

Friday, September 21, 2018

Blogger Issues

Is anyone having an issue with Blogger the past few days, specifically the "dashboard" at the top right of the home page not showing the blog email address and other options? Here's what I mean by "dashboard" and what it displays:
For the record, I'm using an Apple iMac desktop PC with the Safari Internet browser and am not sure if this issue is related specifically to that browser. It could be a coincidence, but all was OK until a recent Safari update to "improve compatibility, privacy and security."  After updating, the issue started. I searched online and came up with other blogger issues and websites that showed "fixes," but I'm not willing to mess with the PC's settings (in these areas, I am tech savy-less).

Here's the recent "issue" the last day. When I open Safari, then access the Frog & Penguinn blog site, the site shows no email or other options (as before).
I selected Sign In because maybe I'd been signed out of Google and then maybe the "dashboard" would return. When I clicked Sign In, it showed me as still signed into Google. This shown below, where you edit posts, and check items (stats, comments, pages, layout, theme, settings, etc.) displayed.  You can also create create a New Post
Selecting View Blog, on the top far right, went back to the blog's home page and again did not display the full "dashboard" but only Create Blog and Sign In (as shown above). This was fast becoming quite frustrating.

What to do?
First, I cleared the computer's website "History" for the past week, closed the browser and reopened it. This time, I had to sign into Google AND the full blog site "dashboard" was back ! Alas, it was temporary. AGAIN, cleared "History" completely (then hd to re-log onto often-used sites. It didn't solve the issue which repeated every time I left the blog site or closed the browser.

A call to Apple Support wasn't helpful and the support rep advised me to contact Google. (Good luck with that I'm thinking BUT see the UPDATE below)

Just wondering — anyone else having recent Google/Blogger issues and, if so, any solution(s) ? 

UPDATE: Shortly after preparing this rant post, I posted to an online Blogger Help Forum and received a reply from Chuck Croll (expert level 10). He posted on the forum and emailed a detailed explanation of possible causes for my "issue." Here's his suggested solutions: 

"This is a known problem (with many symptoms) with Blogger blogs. You are not logged in as the owner of the blog. Log all of the way, out of Blogger/Google and login, again.  When you use the Google login screen, be sure to choose the right account name - and use the right password. Don't use a default Gmail address, unless that is the correct address for your Blogger account.  Blogger / Google will let you use any email address needed, but you have to login carefully. The email address at the top right (which you may or may not see when viewing your blog) tells you what Blogger/Google account you are logged into. This may or may not be the blog owner account."

This was not the problem with my issue, but may be with some bloggers. 

"It's also possible that you have a cookie or script filter, that's blocking your identity from being provided to the "My blogs" wizard.  The Blogger/Google login status, and the ability to use the various pages in the Blogger dashboard, is sensitive to both cookie and script filters.  Each page may be separately affected, by any filter. You may have to clear cache, cookies, and sessions (yes, all 3) - then restart the browser, and login."

This suggestion succeeded in getting the blog "dashboard" to display again. However, I did not delete all cookies, instead selectively removed some which seemed either questionable or were for websites no longer used. Cookies re-populate every day!

Before you try any of these suggestions, clearing the browser history and/or cache and removing cookies be sure will not remove anything that could cause you more "issues" on other websites you access. 

My personal opinion is that the recent Safari update, which included security changes, affected a setting that then affected Blogger on my Apple PC. So, if you're using a different PC, Windows or another Internet browser, this may not be an "issue" for you.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

School Days

It's been awhile since we've visited with the grandkids in RI and PA. We're looking forward to seeing all within the next couple of months. (The photos are from their parents.) 

Grandson (almost 12) and granddaughter(newly 7) started 5th and 2nd grade last month. They posed for a "traditional" first day of class photo. 
The youngest grand will begin attending daycare within the next few weeks. She visited an indoor play space recently that offers all-day play as children explore playhouses including a salon, hospital, cafe, garage, library, market, theater and a firehouse. (Maybe she'll take after Grandpa Grenville, a retired NJ firefighter?)

Yes, they are growing up very quickly it seems and perhaps even faster for grandchildren. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Hot Roast Sunday Dinner

After nearly 50 days of road travel (and road food) it's good not only to be home, but cooking in our own kitchen again. Last week, there was a sale on beef eye round at the local supermarket, perfect for an at-home Sunday dinner on a fall weekend as Grenville watched a late afternoon football game.

Outside it was more summer-like than autumn with daytime temperatures in the mid-80s. Regardless, we craved a Sunday dinner at home, and a roast was on the dinner menu.

A traditional cooking method, and one I used for years, would have been 350℉ for about 20 minutes per pound, so a 3 lb. roast would take about an hour or so. Since dinner would be later due to the game, I wanted a recipe with a longer cooking time and found one.

The method below took nearly 3 times longer. But the results were deliciously amazing; it's now my go-to beef roasting recipe. YES, the oven was set at 500℉ degrees (at first).
The roast was taken out a half hour earlier and warmed to room temperature. While the oven was heating, it was seasoned with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, rosemary, and crushed garlic. Seasoning with garlic powder, salt and pepper would work too.
Another addition was the use of Gravy Master seasoning. It was brushed on the roast first with a basting brush. It was was a bit messy when brushed on. Here's the seasoned roast ready for the oven (fat side up). Use a metal pan and not a glass roasting dish at this high oven temperature. Do not cover or add water to the pan
NOW, lower the oven temperature to 475℉ and set a timer for  7 minutes per pound, which for this 3 lb. was 21 minutes for medium-rare roast. If you prefer it more cooked, set the timer for 8-9 minutes per pound.

When the timer goes off, DO NOT OPEN the oven door. Turn OFF the oven and let the roast sit in the hot oven for 2-1/2 hours. (Yes, I was skeptical too, but trust me on this.)

Remove the roast from the ovenThe internal temp should be at least 145℉. Tent with foil and let it sit tented for 20 minutes, before carving to serve with your meal. Our Sunday dinner menu included steamed vegetables and oven-roasted potatoes.

Cooking the beef this way left time for doing other things, and it was ready when the football game ended. (Unfortunately, the New England Patriots lost this week.) But, Grenville declared this meal a winner and gave it two forks up. Best of all, there were leftovers for a couple of meals this week.
The high temperature cooking method really worked out well for this cut of beef. Has anyone else used a similar cooking method — if so, were the results good?

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Down a Rabbit Hole

The post title is not literal, but a figurative way to describe something that resulted from a stop in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Credit for the post title goes to author Lewis Carroll. It's a reference to his Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The rabbit hole is the place where everything starts. The phrase going down the rabbit hole has become a metaphor for many things and often refers to starting a process that's problematic, difficult, unusual and can become more complex as it develops.

In my case, the rabbit hole refers to starting my family tree. It's something long thought about, but never started. My grandparents, grandparents, aunts and uncles are gone and, regretfully, family history was never discussed. Perhaps it's like that in many families?

So why did I suddenly get motivated? 

It's because we stopped at Temple Square in Salt Lake City on our recent cross country road trip. I wanted to visit the Family History Library operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It's the largest library in the world that deals with genealogy and this was an amazing facility. Before I knew it, the very helpful specialists there were leading me down the path of starting my family tree to learn about my family ancestry; it hooked me into spending over 3 hours there.

Their FamilySearch website was previously called the Genealogical Society of Utah and is now the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch maintains a collection of records, resources, and services to help people discover their family history. You sign up with a free registered account to get access to what's become one of the most well used online genealogy sites. In addition, FamilySearch offers personal assistance at more than 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries. There's a local family history center here in Nashua, NH and I'm going there soon. 

If your ancestors came to the U.S. from Europe, you can search immigration records online as well.  Both my maternal and paternal grandparents (shown below) immigrated from Italy.

America's first official immigration center from August 1855 to April 1890 was Castle Garden. When it closed, the reception center for immigrants to the U.S. was relocated to the U.S. Barge Office on the eastern edge of The Battery waterfront. This facility operated until the U.S. Office of Immigration opened the newly built Ellis Island in 1892.

Castle Garden has a free database developed and funded by The Battery Conservancy that has 11 million records of immigrants who arrived at the Port of New York from 1820 to 1892. 
You can search for ancestors who disembarked on Ellis Island in NY by creating a free account at the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island website. It's where I found a record of my grandfather's arrival from Italy.)
(FYI - The entire collection of Ellis Island New York Passenger Arrival Lists from 1820 to 1957 is now available online at and the Statue of Liberty–Ellis Island Foundation.) 
Another source to search is the U.S. Census Records in the National Archives. The first U.S. Federal Population Census was taken in 1790, and every 10 years since then. But, you won't find data from the most recent U.S. census because of a 72-year restriction. The most current year available is 1940. You will need a relatives name and state that he/she resided in to start a census record search.

It may sound spooky, but gravesites are another way to discover your family's history and you don't have to go to cemeteries, but can do that online too. 

Calling itself "the world's largest online gravesite collection," Find A Grave claims to have over 170 million memorials created since 1995. While I wasn't able to find all my deceased ancestors, I located the gravesite of grandparents and several family members and did not have to create an online account to search.

A similar site, BillionGraves claims to be the world′s largest resource for searchable GPS cemetery data. I had to set up a free online account to search its free index. According to its website, located information can be copied into partner sites including FamilySearch, MyHeritage and Findmypast. 

Has anyone else gone down the same rabbit hole and, if so, please share any information. I have really become quite involved in this research the past 2 weeks.

    Friday, September 7, 2018

    Friday Funnies

    Mixing it up? 

    Grenville seems ready to do that at this oversize appliance. (This photo was not taken during our recent road trip. We suspect it was a destination someplace in New England, just can't recall where.) 

    Hi Everyone, nearly a week after returning home from our 7,675-mile cross country road trip, we're still catching up with everything in NH and I'll return to blog reading soon. 

    Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

    Sunday, September 2, 2018

    We're Home (At Last)

    We're (finally) back in NH to our apt home.

    Our cross country road trip from New Hampshire to Oregon covered some 7,676 miles through 20 states. In response to those who have asked us which place we liked "best" we have said "many of them." That said, we didn't find any place we would rather live than here in New England. we came home to clear and smoke-free skies, unlike many of the states we toured.

    BIG THANKS to everyone who followed our adventures and for ALL your comments too. We know that many others, like some friends and relatives, followed along but didn't comment. That's OK. It was fun to share and learn new things about where we'd been.

    Daily blogging was a challenge. We started our road trip on Sat, July 14, but I first posted week later we'd been been through several states. Afterwards. I created a post nightly, although the blog was never current with our location. We would often be in a couple of places in one day.

    Grenville was the designated driver. He did a terrific job keeping us safe on Interstates in the southwest where the speed limit was between 70-80 mph, many folks went even faster.

    I was the designated navigator, even though we have a GPS unit, "Richard." I referred to paper maps (courtesy of AAA ). Using these wasn't a duplication. A few times, the paper maps showed side-trips we might not otherwise have taken. There were also a couple of few times when "Richard" routed us off a main road onto rather desolate side routes. We ignored the route when the paper map showed otherwise, even if it meant a longer ride.

    Seeing so much of the USA was a wonderful experience and one we're glad to have experienced together. This was a double celebratory trip — we celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary on August 21 in Denver, CO at the famous Brown Palace Hotel. It was also to mark being "houseless" as of February when our VA home finally got a new owner.

    Weather-wise, we escaped delay-causing weather, aside from prolonged rain in South Bend, IN. There were some hot days. While we were away many East coast states had even hotter days and a lot of rain. 

    We traveled the entire route in our 2007 Jeep Liberty, which celebrated a milestone of its own as it reached 100,000 miles in CA. It's now a couple of thousand miles past that number and good to go for the next 100,000 miles (we hope)

    Renting a car was an option, but the $1600-$1700 cost for a 30-day timeframe was a downer. It didn't include "extras" like the GPS we own or Sirius satellite radio (extra costs). After weighing pros and (more) cons, we used the "newer" of our vehicles, a 2007 Jeep Liberty (the other one is a 2004 Jeep) . We had it serviced before leaving and it performed flawlessly despite high speed driving and daily a/c use. 

    The only "casualties" were the insects and butterflies that committed suicide by crashing into the windshield, front of the car and into the radiator grill. We went through 2 gallons of windshield-bug washer fluid plus 3 car washes with another one set for this week.

    Renting a car was considered, but the $1600-$1700 cost for 30-days didn't include "extras" like the GPS we own or Sirius satellite radio (already in our Jeeps). After weighing the pros and more cons, we opted to use the "newer" of our vehicles (the other one is a 2004 Jeep) and had it serviced first. The Jeep performed flawlessly despite high speed driving and daily a/c use. The only "casualties" were the countless insects and yellow sulpher butterflies that committed suicide by crash landing on the windshield, car front, and into the radiator grill. We used 2 gallons of windshield washer fluid plus 3 car washes with another one set for this week.

    The Jeep will go for follow-up servicing next week as we look forward to the next (shorter) road trips. In early October we're going to our home state of NJ for a family wedding; in November we'll spend Thanksgiving week in Lancaster, PA.

    The next LONG road trip could come after the holidays. We're considering another US road trip to visit family and friends who live in parts of the southern US. We'll keep folks posted.

    The photo on the right is for John of The AC is On. We stopped at one of his favorite places traveling through New York state on the way back to NH.

    It's the final U.S. summer holiday of Labor Day . We wish fellow bloggers a restful and happy weekend as summer activities start to wind down. Best wishes to ALL. 

    We'll be enjoying some R&R as well and catching up on sleep too!

    After taking a blog break to catch up on all YOUR blogs, I'll be back in a few days. There's more road trip adventures to post about.

    Saturday, September 1, 2018

    Big Boots to Fill

    We're currently on a cross country road trip from New Hampshire to Oregon and posting about sites along the way. This post is about stop in MN and NV.

    If a giant even needed boots, the place to go would be the Red Wing Shoe Company. That's where we found this one-of-a kind boot, and it is just a single boot, no matched pair here, so a really BIG giant would be out of luck.
    The GIANT of a boot is the star exhibit at the Red Wing Shoe Company in downtown Red Wing, MN. In 2005, the Red Wing Shoe Company celebrated its 100th anniversary by crafting the world's largest boot which can be seen on the first floor of its flagship shoe store  on Main Street

    Aside from its enormous size, the world's largest boot was built using the exact same design and materials used to build the Red Wing Shoes classic style number 877. 

    Over 60 volunteers worked 13 months to design, engineer and build a 16-foot tall replica of the  company’s classic work boot. The giant boot took 4,000 hours to design, engineer and fabricate.  It’s even too big for the Statue of Liberty to wear. Here's the specifications of this oversize footwear:

    Size: 638 ½D (US), 638 (UK), 850 (EUR) 
    Length: 20 feet (6.096m)
    Width: 7 feet (2.133m)
    Height: 16 feet (4.876m)

    Of course, we had to take our photo next to this boot (who wouldn't?) It was a challenge to get the entire boot and ourselves in the shot, but we did.
    This wasn't the only oversize footwear we saw on our road trip. Not to be outdone, the Cowboy Arts & Gear Museum and the Western Folklife Center, both in Elko, NV, had these big boots — western style. These boots were on a smaller scale, but still very large.

    If you're wondering about that boot inscription, I was as well. Turns out there's a very big connection between crooner Bing Crosby and Elko, NV. 

    Crosby is said to have caught Western fever after starring in the 1936 B&W cowboy musical Rhythm on the Range. In 1944, he purchased the Quarter Circle S, the first of seven Elko cattle ranches that he owned until 1958.  Crosby made Nevada his "home away from home" in between records, concerts, movies, and radio performances. He developed a reputation as a seasoned cattle and horse rancher. In 1949, Elko named Crosby honorary mayor — the first one in Nevada history. Crosby has been credited with helping to raise the town’s profile by holding the world premiere of his 1951 film Here Comes the Groom in Elko.

    And now I know, and so do all of you.