Friday, June 26, 2020

Nashua This 'n That

There's been a lot re-openings here in Nashua, NH, in recent weeks and some things that are cancelled, not postponed, this year. The not happening list includes fireworks and the downtown July 4 parade.

Some venues have resumed business, but not quite as usual. Restaurants were first open for takeout, then outside dining and now indoor dining with restrictions on seating capacity, social distancing. Weather permitting, we prefer outside dining, but only weekly. The public library remains closed but offering services, the downtown farmers market reopened last weekend, and kayaking has become a popular activity on the river.

Unfortunately for myself and many city residents, the Nashua Public Library remains closed for inside use. However, starting a couple of weeks ago, the NPL started offering a new service, like grocery stores, Curbside Pickup

Here's how it works: library users order materials by placing holds in the library’s online catalog or by calling the library directly. Although its closed, librarians are working inside the building.

Once materials are ready for pickup, an email, text or phone call notification is sent. Pick-ups are done by parking in a specially designated spot, then calling the library's number. A library staff member, masked and gloved, delivers the requested materials. Since we live so close to the library, I walk and call from outside the front of the library.

According to an email sent to users, an average of 80 people daily have been using the service. Pick-up hours run Mon. to Thurs. from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and half day on Sat. Unfortunately, there’s no heads-up on as to when the library building will re-open. 

This past Sunday was opening day for the Nashua Farmers’ Market which has been relocated to the area around City Hall. In the past few years, the Sunday only market had taken place on Main St but that roadway has become narrower with the Jersey barriers in place to allow expanded outdoor dining for the nearly dozen eateries along the route. 

We walked downtown to  check out opening day activities. But it’s early in the season, and few vendors were selling local produce or fruit. In future weeks, the market is expected to expand with vendors offering baked goods, art and photography, locally produced wines, honey, homemade pasta, soaps, spices, herbs and other items.

Unlike in previous years when buyers could casually walk along either side of the roadway to check everything out, social distancing measures are in place to accommodate as many vendors as possible. Mask wearing is required for vendors and buyers and there’s a one-way flow of foot traffic. 
Masks have definitely become a must-have clothing accessory. We're required to wear them inside common areas of the mill apts (mailroom, hallways, package room). I recently bought some from a locally-based company based. I’m hopeless at attempting home-made versions, other than our bandana masks worn during the cooler months — too hot for those now. 

After finding a local firm selling reusable masks, just call me all kinds of happy. The American Quilt Co. is a fabric product manufacturer and its product line includes unisex cloth face masks for adults and children made of two layers of cotton/cotton blends with a wrap-around elastic. Masks are washable, reusable and reversible. The company operates in Nashua from a former factory building less than 10 minutes from the mill apts. 

I called the website listed 800 number and actually spoke to someone to place my order, so nice in times of anonymous online ordering. The photo ↓ shows the ones that arrived in 2 days — in time for July 4th. Since local celebrations have been cancelled, I'll wear a holiday display.
The company offers single masks or multi-packs with a random assortment of colors and styles and advertises that all are USA-made with Free USPS shipping. You indicate male/female preference and/or solid colors or prints. I'm not sure if all items are made locally, but will ask if I re-order any. You can check them out online at the website.

Kayaking has become very popular sport on the Nashua River, both on weekdays and especially on weekends. There’s a launch site put in as part of work on the walkway along the Nashua River’s north bank. But it's not a boat ramp for trailers or motorboats. It consists of a half-dozen wide, concrete steps that connect the paved Riverwalk with the Nashua River (shown in the first collage image). This lets folks carry canoes or kayaks and put them in the water without slipping and sliding on a muddy bank.
The launch site's drawback is a lack of parking. Two sizable parking lots are nearby but are both privately owned. Neither is open to the general public even on weekends; the closer lot has even been blocked off from access by concrete barriers. On recent weekends, a local kayak rental company (top photo ↑) has been bringing about half a dozen kayaks in on a trailer and folks can just rent one onsite — rates are $35 for 90 minutes.

It will soon be Play Ball when the Silver Knights, a collegiate summer baseball team based in Nashua, NH, hosts the North Shore Navigators in their delayed home season opener on July 2. The Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL) is a wood-bat league that normally includes seven teams from NH to western CT, but one team has opted out this season.  

The Silver Knights play in Holman Stadium, which once hosted professional baseball teams. The team has won the FCBL Championship in four of the league's nine years of existence and have qualified for the post-season every year. 

The walkways are blooming here thanks to the city's Public Works department which recently planted assorted flowers in planters citywide.
Another floral garden is located near the mill apts and has many new blooms too. This area is planted, weeded and watered by two neighbors who told us they missed a home garden.
The most exciting personal update is that we've went for summer haircuts this week. Hair salons and barbershops have reopened with mask wearing requirements in place. 
Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone
We're going to the White Mountains (NH) for ham radio field day

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Getting Raisins Drunk

California Raisins
No, the post title doesn’t refer to a group of California Raisins walking around tipsy that would be quite a sight.

The California Raisins' were a creation of the late clay animator Will Vinton. Their big hit was a cover of  I Heard It Through the Grapevine (a hit for Gladys Knight & the Pips and later Marvin Gaye in 1967 and 1968). Vinton was credited with creating a form of stop-animation technique called claymation which used putty or clay for a textured, somewhat cartoonish feel. 

Paul Harvey
This post isn't about claymation, but about an arthritis folk remedy popularized by the late radio personality Paul Harvey, who mentioned it his 1994 radio broadcast. According to Harvey, the remedy with gin and golden raisins had been around for 20 years. After Harvey’s broadcast, the remedy made its way into media outlets countrywide. 

Arthritis is an auto-immune disease which often causes pain and loss of mobility. At present, there's no known cure for the disease. While medical science hasn’t devised an effective treatment, drug therapies and OTC products can somewhat lessen discomfort and inflammation. These don’t work for all. 

The reason for this post is that I’ve started to experience arthritic symptoms, similar to other members in my family. 

Daily consumption of gin-soaked raisins may seem an unorthodox treatment. An online check provided many versions of the recipe along with testimonials on its effectiveness (or not). It's been widely touted in home and folk remedy publications as well. In The People's Pharmacy Guide to Home and Herbal Remedies, authors Joe and Teresa Graedon wrote that many folks highly endorsed it; others claimed it didn’t help at all.

Which is why I've decided to try this folk remedy. My decision wasn't based on Harvey's endorsement, but on that of a 93-year old neighbor. Margaret told me she’s had positive results for years. As she's got both age and experience on her side, golden raisins and a bottle of quality gin were on my recent shopping list.

What Are the Magic Ingredients?
There's just these two — golden raisins and gin. 

Golden raisins are sultana grapes to which sulfur dioxide has been added to keep them golden and are thought to have anti-inflammatory properties. Sultana grapes originate from Turkey, Greece, Iran, South Africa. They’re grown under the name Thompson seedless grapes in the U.S. 

Spoiler Alert: Anyone allergic to sulfites may need to avoid golden raisins. 
The claim is that black raisins should be avoided and only golden raisins work. That's debatable and some folks said the darker and less costly raisins worked just as well.

Gin should be distilled with juniper berries, also believed to be laden with anti-inflammatory compounds. Don't skimp on quality and avoid bargain brands say online sources. My choice was Gordon’s London Dry Gin; its website claims it uses the finest hand-picked juniper berries. I can’t vouch for the veracity of that claim, but it does makes a good gin and tonic.

When golden raisins are soaked in juniper berry gin, the gin extracts many compounds in the raisins, making them more readily absorbed when eaten. 

Here's the basic recipe
Place golden raisins in a glass jar and pour in gin made with juniper berries over the raisins. Cover loosely with a non-metallic cover to allow evaporation (paper vs. plastic wrap). Let the raisins sit for a week (or two) at room temp until they soak up the gin or are coated with a thick syrup. The time depends on temperature and humidity. The raisins won't dry out and will stay moist.
Mamie & Emily Baldwin

That’s all there is to the recipe

It's not like the one called The Recipe or Papa's Recipe prepared by the Baldwin sisters on The Waltons TV show.

Besides raisins are considered healthy. The small amount of gin in the consumed raisins won’t get anyone tipsy.

What's Next?
Eat 9 raisins regularly per day or one spoonful. You could double up with a spoonful in the morning and another at night. There's no special reason as to why 9 is the popular consensus. I found references to more or less raisins online. 

Does It Work?
That's debatable. Its effectiveness hasn't been medically provenAdvocates say a fair trial would be 2 or up to 6 weeks. Supporters cite scientific findings that make it seem feasible. Detractors believe it's a placebo effect since endorphins and natural pain mediators take over when people believe in a cure. Arthritis often has flare-ups and remission. If the timing of these coincide, it could be remission and not a successful treatment. 

So, there's no guarantee that gin-soaked raisins relieve arthritis pain. That said, there's enough anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving compounds in golden raisins and the juniper gin to possibly provide some pain relief. Many of nature's remedies may seem far-fetched or unusual, like this one, but I'm giving this one a try, along with now-resuming chiro appts.

Starting this week, so can't vouch yet for its effectiveness, but will post a future update. Even if it doesn't alleviate arthritis pain, a gin and tonic is great on a hot summer day. 

As Harvey famously said when ending his broadcasts, and now you know, the rest of the story.

Your turn — has anyone else heard of or tried this arthritis folk remedy cure? If so, please share your experiences in a comment. I'd appreciate hearing about any, others might too. 

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Father's Day 2020

Internet source
Today, June 21, is celebrated as Father's Day in the U.S. In May, moms had a national day of celebration. This holiday belongs to dads. After reading about its start, I'm sharing some of the holiday's history here.

Many assume Father’s Day (and Mother’s Day as well) are holidays designed by greeting card makers for profit motives (not a bad assumption at that). But it's not the real backstory on how it became a national holiday. That was largely the efforts of two women plus a decades-long fight to get fathers their overdue day of recognition.

Father’s Day This ’n That

Father's Day was inaugurated in the U.S. in the early 20th century to complement Mother's Day and to celebrate fathering, and fatherhood. It took years to attain holiday status.

The campaign to establish a national holiday for fathers surprisingly was spearheaded by two women, (Grace Clayton and Sonora Dodd) two years apart and in two different U.S. states to honor their late fathers on their birthdays. (Why didn't it surprise me that women were involved?)

The celebration wasn't immediately accepted after being proposed (several times). It didn’t become a national U.S. holiday until 1972, compared to Mother’s Day which was officially over 50 years before in 1914. 

Men were said to have scoffed at what they saw as sentimental attempts to domesticate manliness with gift-giving. The proposed celebration was viewed as a commercial ploy to sell more products paid for by the head of the house, dad.

This lack of enthusiasm, led a florist to reportedly comment that fathers haven’t the same sentimental appeal of mothers. This wasn't a popular sentiment in the least.

The woman credited as the holiday's founder, Sonora Smart Dodd, spelled it Fathers' Day on her original petition for the holiday. However, the spelling "Father's Day" was already used in 1913 when a bill was introduced in Congress at the first attempt to establish the holiday.

At the onset of WWII, advertisers widely suggested that celebrating Father’s Day was a way to honor American troops and support the war effort. By the end of the war, Father’s Day wasn’t yet a federal holiday, but it had become a national institution.

Where It Began — The Women Behind Father’s Day

Internet source
In July 1908, Grace Golden Clayton, the daughter of a Methodist minister, proposed a Father’s Day service in Fairmont, West Virginia to honor fathers, not only her late father, but men who had died in the worst mining accident in U.S. history. In December 1907, the Monongah Mining Disaster in West Virginia had killed over 300 men, many were fathers.

Clayton, who asked her pastor to honor these fathers, chose the Sunday nearest to her late father's July birthday. But, the Fairmont observance didn't become an annual event outside of the town. It wasn't promoted by the local church or City Council because of other local events. Instead, local headlines focused on a July 4 celebration that drew 12,000 attendants and the death of a young girl. Additionally, Clayton never promoted or discussed the event, the original sermon wasn't reproduced and was lost. The event wasn't celebrated again locally for years.
Across the country in Spokane, Washington, another woman, Sonora Smart Dodd, was similarly inspired to honor fathers, especially her own.

Internet source
In June 1910, Dodd convinced the Spokane Ministerial Association and the YMCA to set aside a Sunday in June to celebrate fathers. She also suggested the date as her late father’s birthday, June 5. Instead, the ministers selected the third Sunday in June.
They wanted more time after Mother’s Day (the second Sunday in May) to prepare their sermons. On June 19, 1910, Dodd delivered presents to handicapped fathers at the YMCA and city ministers devoted their sermons on fatherhood.

Arkansas native Dodd wanted to honor her father, William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran and single parent who had raised six children after his wife's death. After attending a Mother’s Day service in 1909, Dodd was thought to have been inspired by another woman’s crusade to establish a Mother's Day celebration. (Two months before, Anna Jarvis held a celebration for her late mother in Grafton, West Virginia. Jarvis is now widely considered the founder of the Mother's Day holiday.)

As the earlier Fairmont West Virginia event, this one also didn’t meet with much success. Dodd was studying in Chicago, stopped promoting it, and it faded into obscurity.  But, unlike Clayton, who gave up on the idea, Dodd returned to Spokane a decade later and actively promoted the celebration, helped by trade groups that would benefit most from a celebration. These included manufacturers of ties, tobacco, pipes, and any (at that time) traditional present for fathers.

Most Americans perceived it as a merchandising attempt to replicate the commercial success of Mother's Day. But trade groups persisted by promoting it. By the mid-1980s, Father’s Day was recognized as a second Christmas for men's gift-oriented industries.

What Happened Later

A bill to give the holiday national recognition was introduced in Congress in 1913. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson spoke at a Father's Day celebration in Spokane. He wanted to make it an official holiday. Congress resisted fearing that the holiday would become commercialized as was already happening with the Mother's Day holiday. (If only they knew, how right that thinking was years ago.) 

In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge urged states to observe Father’s Day nationwide, but didn't issue a national proclamation. Two earlier attempts to formally recognize the holiday had met with Congressional defeat once again.

Internet source
When the efforts reached one of its Congressional stalemates, U.S. Senator, Margaret Chase Smith (a vocal New Englander) issued a sharp rebuke, declaring: Either we honor both our parents, mother and father, or let us desist from honoring either one. But to single out just one of our two parents and omit the other is the most grievous insult imaginable. Smith, a Maine native, ranked as the longest-serving (1949-1973) Republican woman in the senate and was serving when it became a national holiday.

In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers and designating the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. But it wasn't an official holiday until 1972, when President Richard Nixon signed a Congressional resolution making it a national holiday. (This was eight years after Clayton's death and six years before Dodd’s death at the age of 96.)

Today as always, we remember ❤️ our late fathers, Anthony (left) and Robert (right) shown with their sons. The toddler is my younger brother, Tony; the young boy is my husband, Patrick (Grenville here).

Friday, June 19, 2020

Friday Funnies

I like having fun with images. It's possible to get interesting and fun images from a single image as in this post without a lot of effort. My apology, in advance, if anyone gets a bit dizzy. The same thing happens to me.

This is the original photo taken at a local hotel furniture surplus outlet. This place sells items salvaged from hotel room renovations including the furnishings, bedding, kitchen and serving wares, decorations, lighting and a lot of LED bulbs.
Here's the same photo in which a kaleidoscope effect was applied. 
Same photo again and this time a stained glass effect was used. I think this one would look better in color.
Last one (promise) is a twirl effect and it's my favorite effect, even if it does make my eyes go a little crazy, Maybe yours as well? 
Applying these effects really didn't take a lot of any effort. They were applied quite easily in the Photoscape X photo editing program by selecting from the choices shown on the right side.
I've been using playing around with PhotoScape X for the past couple of months using the FREE version downloaded from the APP store on my desktop PC. It's been a lot of fun.

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone.
We're going to the Nashua Farmers Market opening

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

We Fled to a Flea Market

Yes, that's what we did this past weekend on Sunday morning. 

It wasn't a far excursion as we visited the Londonderry Flea Market (LFM), about a 20-minute drive from Nashua, NH, where we live.

We didn't go to buy anything specific, but just wanted to get out to look at stuff we didn't need to want to buy. 

Do you plan to buy something, when going to a flea market or thrift store? 

Most folks, ourselves included, like love to browse. We can spend a lot of time doing that. It's something we've been missing in recent months with COVID-19 related shutdowns. While the LFM is an outdoor venue, we masked-up. Others did too; some didn't. It was suggested at the entrance, but not enforced.

To us, this it was an excursion. We successfully avoided bringing home more stuff

We spotted a variety of cars — very small to very large. The limo below wasn't for sale, but available for event rentals. The sign wasn't visible at first glance, and we wondered if it might be for sale. It wouldn't fit in our assigned parking space, so we'd have to pass it up anyway.

The great thing about a flea market is you never know what you'll find (or not find) there. Maybe, it's something you've been looking for or something you didn't expect to find — a treasure like fishing poles, bicycles, old tools, boxes or assorted screws. We already have a lot of those now and some of them are loose ones.
There's definitely something for everyone, like these items. After all, who wouldn't want Elvis in their home?

There was a large number of shoes from bronzed baby shoes to high heels. Our parents didn't have our baby shoes bronzed. Did yours? 

Online, I learned that since 1934, the American Bronzing Company in Columbus, OH, has bronzed over 14,000,000 baby shoes for sentimental parents at prices ranging from $65 to over $200. But, the market for bronzed baby shoes is minimal to non-existent; secondary market values range between $10 and $15, unless the baby shoes belonged to a well-known personality. The ones below were unmarked and no seller was around, but it's doubtless they belonged to anyone famous.

The LFM covers some 30 acres. It's open weekends starting in late May-early June from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., weather permitting. This was the second week of operation. Compared to a couple of visits last year, we noticed the absence of many vendors with empty stalls like these below. Most likely, we'll make a return visit later this summer.

Some sellers are regulars who maintain a regular spot area the entire season, bringing in new and/or different items weekly to increase their inventory. Others are known as weekend or yard sale sellers, who rent space to sell no-longer needed items on a one-time basis with a potentially larger buying public.

Years ago, manual typewriters were in widespread office and home use. We've seen many vintage newspaper office films showing reporters typing on them to meet their deadlines. Smith Corona was created when L.C. Smith & Bros. united with Corona Typewriter in 1926. I typed high school papers on a Smith Corona typewriter similar to the second model below.

Searching for a very low maintenance pet, these cats would certainly filled the bill.

Most weekends, there's a good-sized area where shoppers can purchase food items like burgers and hot dogs, subs, fries, and drinks. Then, sit and enjoy them at tables under a tented area. However last weekend, the food tent was empty; no food was being sold or enjoyed.

There's also an on-site pond but I didn't take a photo. Last year we saw boat rides being offered and visitors can also bring remote control boats. This year we didn't see any of this activities on our visit. Maybe, they'll resume as the season progresses.

Entry admission is $1.50 per person. Seniors 60 and over and children 12 and under get free admission. As you can imagine, we fell into one of these categories.

On the weekend, we also went to a nearby park, details and photos in another post.
Hope that as many of you as possible have been able to get outdoors too.

Friday, June 12, 2020

What's Out?

Food and other things — It seems that many things are either out of stock or cost more in local stores, not only here in Nashua, NH but everywhere. Here, it's frozen foods and canned goods.

That's why recent new headlines weren't surprising to me, and probably to you as well. They proclaimed that grocery store prices have soared upwards of 10-20%. Factors cited were more home cooking and shortages in the supply and demand chain. You think that's was really surprising to learn, I didn't either.

I'm sure you know as well as we do that supermarket prices have risen since the coronavirus outbreak has widened and disrupted the food supply chain. Some grocery stores have set purchase limits to keep from running out of stock. Others are raising prices to ration items and others are passing rising costs onto consumers.

When restaurants had to shut down, many people started cooking at home more often and some for the first time. We've always been at-home cooks, but also have enjoyed dining out at local restaurants at least once, sometimes twice a week. Local restaurants here now have expanded outdoor dining and inside dining begins June 25 with reduced capacity. We have been to a couple of local places in recent weeks and will continue with a preference for outside dining. How about you?

Not surprisingly, the demand for groceries has skyrocketed in the past few months. Farmers and food producers have become hard-pressed to quickly shift food deliveries from eateries to grocery stores. Another reason for some shortages is that panicked customers have bought food they may not need right now. Admittedly, we did buy some extra canned goods at first; now we're buying extras for the Community Food Pantry here in the mill apts. How about you, any stocking up?

That left a lot of empty store shelves as shoppers sought to buy non-perishables in the form of canned, bottled and boxed products including frozen foods.

Then, news spread about that employees at meat and poultry packing plants had caught coronavirus, which created even more shortages. Producers were shutting down plants countrywide and reports of meat and poultry shortages began. As with toilet paper before, supermarkets started to set purchase limits. 

You remember when toilet paper (TP) was in short supply seemingly everywhere here in the U.S. and elsewhere, don't you? That crisis has eased somewhat.

There was widespread accounts of TP hoarding. Supermarkets, retail pharmacies, warehouse club stores (Costco and BJs), and even discount dollar stores had empty shelves. Deliveries sold out as soon as they became available and stores limited purchases. Social media not only had many parodies and cartoons of these shortages, but people would post about availability in stores. That crisis has eased somewhat.

Then, shortages followed for hand sanitizer products, disposable gloves, paper masks. More recently, local supermarkets and other stores here have been providing some of these items for customer use at point of entry, notably to wipe cart handles.

Clorox® bleach and/or bleach related products have become hot sellers and often are hard-to-find items. Here, some stores are stocking off-brand products. There's also store shortages of other household cleaning products including toilet bowl cleaner. 

This week, two super markets we checked were completely sold out of shower cleaners of any brand with totally empty shelves. Are people showering more because of coronavirus?

That said, the local stores did have ample supplies of TP and other paper goods. I didn't see any limits posted. 

Here's even worse news, another reason for rising food costs either in the stores or at restaurants has nothing to do with shortages and/or availability. And it will most likely be ongoing. Can you guess, without reading ahead?

Did you figure out that every business and industry from farmers, producers, processing plants, grocery stores and restaurants have been and will continue to be making large financial investments in both employee and product safety? These measures include increased sanitation, plexiglass or plastic barriers between cashiers and customers, security guards to limit customer capacity during certain hours, and added signage. Admittedly, I find these 1-way signs frustrating (1) when the item needed is at the start of the aisle and (2) no other shopper(s) is around, Yes, I've cheated. Are all shoppers following the 1-way aisles where you shop?

Blog Friends, I was planning a Friday Funny today, but got sidetracked. It will return next week. We're remaining optimistic and thankful that we're doing well and grateful that family and friends are too. Some days get difficult with the new normals. Frustrations will pass, but still there's this saying on a fridge magnet in our home — Lord, please give me patience, and please make it NOW.

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone
We're heading to a flea market & the park