Thursday, July 28, 2022

Tallest in Maine

Penobscot Narrows Bridge sign
Bridge observatories are not common, there’s only four bridge and observation towers in the world, so having the tallest public bridge observatory located in New England is noteworthy. 

The Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory is the only observatory bridge in the U.S. The other three are in China, Thailand and Slovakia. It’s also the tallest occupied structure in the state of Maine and it's less than a 4-hour drive from Nashua, NH.

Lucky for us that drive was half as long since we were staying in Belfast, ME, on our recent getaway to celebrate Grenville's birthday. What's even better is that we went to the top.
Penobscot Narrows Bridge from walkway
The Penobscot Narrows Bridge Observatory is located in the 420-foot-high western tower of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge, a cable suspension bridge over the Penobscot Narrows River between Verona Island and Prospect, Maine. The cable-stayed bridge is 447 feet tall and 2,120 feet long with the longest span at 1,161 feet. It's a striking sight when viewed along Coastal Highway U.S. Route 1.
Penobscot Narrows Bridge Observatory
The Observatory Tower (above) has become one of the most popular attractions in Midcoast Maine since its opening in 2007. It provides 360 degree, 100-mile views of the Penobscot River Valley and beyond.  
Just for some height comparisons, this observation tower is taller than the Statue of Liberty in NYC Harbor (305 feet) and the Bunker Hill Monument in Boston, MA (221 feet). It's a bit shorter than the 555-foot tall Washington Monument (DC) which opened to the public in 1888. 

Granite from Maine's Mount Waldo quarry was used in the construction of the DC monument, which was the design inspiration for the observatory’s obelisk shaped support towers that are modeled after it.
Observation Deck & Compass Rose
Ascent to the observatory tower is by elevator (42 stories up)When you get off, there's a floor to ceiling window directly in front. Just turn right and climb two short flights of stairs (there's a lift for those with mobility issues) to enter the observation room. Placards identify surrounding landmarks and history. 
This placard explains that the compass rose is from the design of a map from Samuel de Champlain, the French explorer, who passed by the site of the bridge and tower on his travels up the Penobscot River.
Views from Penobscot Bridge Observatory
At the top, 360-degree views include the river and bay below, the Atlantic Ocean, the town of Bucksport, and historic Fort Knox. On a clear day it’s possible to view Cadillac Mountain in Acadia Park on Maine's Mount Desert Island. The fort, built in 1844, is considered one of the best preserved fortifications on the New England seacoast. (Our fort visit will be detailed in a future post.)
Waldo-Hancock Bridge (online source)
The Waldo-Hancock bridge (above) had been the first long-span suspension bridge built by the American Bridge Company in Maine at a cost of $850,000 ($16 million dollars today), and was a popularly designed suspension bridge used at the time to span wide rivers, like the Penobscot River. It was named after the Waldo and Hancock counties it connected. Collected bridge tolls went towards retiring bonds issued for construction; 22 years later in October 1953, the bonds were paid off and all tolls lifted.

The bridge continued in use for 70 years. While undergoing rehabilitation by the Maine DOT, severe corrosion of the suspension cables was discovered deteriorating their ability to support the deck, roadway and traffic. By 2002, the bridge was found to be beyond repair which meant that a replacement bridge would be needed and built adjacent to the aging bridge.

Waldo-Hancock Bridge & Penobscot Narrows Bridge (online source)
When the the Penobscot Narrows Bridge was completed as a replacement for the 1931 Waldo-Hancock Bridge, the former bridge was still standing. Time from conception to completion was 42 months. The cost of both the bridge and observation deck was $85 million dollars.

Concrete pier from Waldo-Hancock Bridge
In late 2006, the Penobscot Narrows Bridge opened to traffic. Meanwhile, the Waldo-Hancock Bridge was closed at both ends to cars and pedestrians. The bridge was demolished in 2013 and the concrete piers in the river 
(like this one) are all that remain of the former bridge.
Fort Knox, Protector of the Penobscot
Access to the Penobscot Narrows Observatory is seasonal. It's open the same times of the year as Fort Knox, usually the end of May through the end of October.

We visited mid-week with no delays. Tickets for the elevator ride to the tower are purchased when entering the Fort Knox historic site. Our cost as out-or-state senior residents was $5.50 each which included the self-guided tour of the fort and the observatory. Both are well worth the cost, if you are ever in New England, specifically in the state of Maine.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Birthday Gift Cards

Spoiler Alert: This post is about a birthday, but more so an accounting of what happened to a birthday gift sent to the celebrant. This incident was a first for us, but is now a case of Buyer Beware. It's a gift we won't be repeating in future as alternate gift plans will be made.

Family celebrations continued this month. After Grenville's mid-July birthday, the next birthday was for the oldest granddaughter who celebrated her 11th birthday last week.

This year, we did not visit on her actual birthday as she and her brother would be away on a camping trip. Our visit will follow soon. 

Her mom told us that she didn't specify any specific gifts, with a suggestion to send gift cards. Gift cards were purchased, then mailed with some gifts. 

Not sure about anyone else, but every time I purchase a gift card, there's always been the concern — what if it doesn't arrive or work for the recipient?

Be careful about such thoughts . . .
The package arrived safely, but after the gift cards were tried, she let us know that the claim code on the back of the Amazon gift card would not work. Her mother confirmed this issue as well.

What to do next?
Still had the CVS receipt which showed that both gift card purchases had been activated, plus a notice that no refunds were given, once activated. A call to CVS and talk with a store manager confirmed the store had no responsibility for a non-working gift card activated there. 

I was told to contact Amazon. Yes, you can find a number to call if you poke around online. In some cases, you may have to enter your phone number for a call back, as in my case.

An Amazon representative called me and the process began. Many questions followed, too many to repeat, including what credit card was used to buy the gift card. 

No, that info was not provided as the issue was not with my card, but the gift card. Questions included where it was bought and the activation number, which her mom had provided via a text message. That info was given to Amazon and surprisingly, the claim code would not activate for the Amazon rep as well.

The first Amazon representative (yes, there were a couple) told me an email requesting much of the same information would be sent to my email and provided an email to return the responses. The email came, questions were answered, email sent, message received that the provided email did not accept emails!

That's right, another call to Amazon, another representative, more questions, more answers and FINALLY a request to give the Amazon account number. An explanation that she did not have an account, but used her mom's account and access permission would need to come from her. After providing an email address, Amazon sent her a direct email to request account access. 

More checking by the Amazon rep, most likely to verify that no gift card had been activated in the account.

Eureka !  the Amazon rep said that a gift card credit would be issued for the granddaughter's in her mom's account. We received confirmation from granddaughter and mom that this worked.

Total time for calls to CVS and Amazon — 2 hours, which wasn't how I'd planned to spend my evening, who would?

Lesson learned was not to buy gift cards in future, especially when sending to someone. That's because no matter
 where a gift card is bought and activated, that store, most likely, won't issue a refund if there's a problem. The responsibility to resolve any issues will go to the card purchaser or recipient to contact and follow-up with the card issuer. 

In some cases, like on the Amazon card, there wasn't a phone number to call, only an email contact in case of gift card scams.

Now, you know, and so do we.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Friday Funnies

If anyone is waiting for a knight in (almost) shining armor, here's a couple of candidates. 
These metal hunks were seen in Maine last week. One is a bit weathered and rusty from its post outside a flea market in Searsport. The other is indoors and cooler, holding a drink in a tool shop in Liberty. (As you can see in the background, this is quite an unusual shop, more on it later.)

I can't imagine how hot it would have been in one of these metal suits and to be jousting !

Personally, I already have a frog prince, so no need for one of these metal guys.

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone
Heat ๐Ÿฅต continues, as in many places — stay ๐Ÿ†’๐Ÿ˜Ž

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Here's the Scoop

Not a news scoop, but something better to really scream about — ice cream.
It's really a cooling topic (pun intended) for scorching ๐Ÿฅต temps in the U.S. and worldwide.

No lies here, as many already know from other posts, we really like ice cream (a lot).

Luckily Grenville's mid-July birthday was another reason to enjoy our favorite treat as here in the U.S. National Ice Cream Day was Sunday, July 17. (His birthday is July 15, so perfect timing.)

We celebrated early (and often) while on a road trip to Maine for his birthday—Andhe thanks ALL for the birthday well wishes

During a week-long road trip celebration, we took several outings (more on those later). Along the way found way too many local ice cream vendors. Of course, we had to sample and support these businesses ! Many only open seasonally, so it was a must stop and sample.
Chocolate Drop Candy Shop is a confectionery store on Main Street in Belfast, ME. This vintage era candy shop offers locally made, hand-dipped chocolates, and a selection of classic candies like Necco Wafers, Mallo Cups, Black Jack gum and jelly beans. It includes a clasic fountain counter where you can sit on a stool enjoying a treat of locally sourced ice cream.

July is Ice Cream Month in the U.S.
That's because in 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July, National Ice Cream Month. The third Sunday in July was named National Ice Cream Day. Celebrations have continued, publicized (no surprise) annually. Historically, ice cream has been a key feature in American communities. The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) reports that most ice cream companies are family owned; so many in operation for decades. Did you know that Americans lead the world in ice cream consumption and enjoy on average 23 gallons a year?

Yes, we're helping to do our part. How about you?

There's no definite date of origin or inventor who's been credited with discovering ice cream. Sure, myths abound about its start. Some credit Marco Polo bringing it back from Far East travels. Others say Catherine de Medici introduced it in France. But, ice cream goes back further. Biblical passages refer to King Solomon having cool iced drinks during harvest. In Greece, Alexander the Great reportedly indulged in icy drinks flavored with honey or wine. In Nero's reign, ice was harvested from nearby mountains and held in deep pits covered with straw. This practice of keeping ice in place of refrigeration would become commonplace for centuries.

Stone Fox Farm Creamery in Searsport sells 25 flavors of homemade super premium ice cream (some seasonal) produced at a small plant in Monroe, ME. Ingredients include milk and cream from Hilltop Farm in Maine, real sugar and natural flavorings and extracts. Flavorings and extracts are all natural, and include Maine grown fruit and maple syrup whenever possible from local outlets. Flavors include classics like chocolate, vanilla bean and strawberry to bananas foster, rum raisin and salted caramel.
In 1660, ice cream was made available to the general public when a recipe blending milk, cream, butter and eggs was introduced at the first cafรฉ in Paris.

The first advertisement for ice cream was in May 1777 in the U.S. was when British confectioner Philip Lenzi advertised that he would make ice cream available to the public in his Manhattan shop and stated in his ad, May be had almost every day.

A few things I found out: Until 1800, ice cream was a rare dessert enjoyed mostly by the elite. About 1800, insulated ice houses were invented, and making ice cream became an American industry. In 1874, the soda fountain shop created the job of "soda jerk." This title was due to the jerking action needed to swing the soda fountain handle back and forth when adding soda water to a fountain beverage. Ice cream merchants invented the Ice Cream Sunday in the late 1890s and later changed it to sunda" to remove any connection with the Sabbath in response to criticism for eating sinfully rich treats on Sunday.

You scream, I scream, We all scream for ice cream!
If you grew up in America, odds are you know this rhyme was often shouted it in anticipation of the arrival of a Good Humor ice cream truck in a neighborhood.

How did that slogan happen? 
As with most things, there's a couple of explanations. And, of course, I had to find out more (and share it here). Hopefully, this will become an ear worm for some of you.

One goes that it was a commercial slogan for a particular ice cream confection, the iconic Eskimo Pie, not it's original name (and renamed again in 2021, more on that later.)

Christian K. Nelson
This well known ice cream treat was created by Iowa school teacher and store owner Christian Kent Nelson in his home laboratory in 1920. While his store was mainly a candy store, it also carried and sold ice cream. Nelson conceived the idea to try and combine chocolate with ice cream, in one handy treat after a boy came into his store unable to decide on what to spend his money on — ice cream or a chocolate bar. Nelson figured that with his new product, customers wouldn't have to decide, and could enjoy both.

After experimenting with different ways to adhere melted chocolate to bricks of ice cream, Nelson began selling his product as the I-Scream bar. I couldn't find any information online as to why he selected this name, except that it's a homonym for ice cream.

In July 1921, Nelson filed for a patent and secured financial backing after signing 
a partnership agreement with chocolate maker Russell Stover. It was renamed Eskimo Pie, reportedly suggested by Clara Stover. The Eskimo Pie ice cream bar became popular as America's first chocolate-covered ice cream bar. It was another first in that ice cream had never before been delivered in a convenient package to a mass market. The earlier ice cream cone, was made to order, not wrapped and sold in coolersAfter franchising, Nelson became independently wealthy from sales royalties. The former teacher ended his career at Reynolds Metal Company in 1961, where he invented new methods of manufacturing (that's right) Eskimo Pies. He died in CA in 1992.

Wild Cow Creamery in Belfast, ME, produces all-natural handcrafted small batch ice cream. Each batch is made with high-quality ingredients and add-ins mixed in by hand. Most bases contain 4 to 6 basic ingredients, including cream, milk, sugar, and eggs. The homemade add-ins include walnut brownies, cookies, marshmallows, almond butter toffee, pecan turtles, cobblers, cakes, and crumbles, no high fructose corn syrup, artificial  flavors or chemical preservatives.

Back to that slogan . . .
Many have credited Nelson with a catchy advertising slogan I-scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream or as as I-scream, you scream, we all scream for the I-scream bar.

But, not all, as others claim its fame stems from a 1927 popular song written by Billy Moll, Robert King, and Howard Johnson called, I scream, You scream, We All Scream for Ice CreamThe verses talk of a fictional college in "the land of ice and snow, up among the Eskimo," the college cheer being the chorus of the song. 

After initial success as a late 1920s novelty song, it became a traditional jazz standard. The lyrics refrain has remained a part of popular culture even without the rest of the song. Notable 1920s recordings were done by Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians for Victor, Harry Reser's Syncopators for Columbia, and The Revelers for Edison Records.

Whether it was an advertising slogan before a song title is uncertain. No one knows for sure.
Splendiferous Sweet Shoppe is an Alice in Wonderland-themed shop in downtown Searsport, ME. It's run by a mother-daughter team who create and sell home-made chocolate specialties in addition to specialty coffee drinks and ice cream. The shop is housed in an a historic bank building that formerly housed a bookshop. Yes, the bank vault is still there.

It's no longer called Eskimo Pie . . .
In 2020, the current owner of Eskimo Pie, Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, announced the product would be renamed as Edy's Pie in 2021. The new name was in recognition of candy maker Joseph Edy, a co-founder of Dreyer's

Why? Because the former name, Eskimo, is often used to refer to Inuit, Yupik and Aleut people in Alaska. However, it's considered derogatory by tribe members who associate it with non-Native colonizers who often used it in racist ways.

We don't know about anyone else, but the new name doesn't quite have the same appeal to us. 

We're hoping that Klondike Bars keeps its original name.

Curiously enough, the rival ice cream novelties came on the market within a year of one another, Eskimo Pie in 1921. And, in 1922, its rival, the Klondike Bar, was created by the Isaly Dairy Company of Youngstown, OH, and named after the Klondike River in Yukon, Canada.

Eskimo Pie stuck with a tried and true formula of vanilla ice cream and a chocolate shell covering, Klondike offered a variety of ice cream flavors as early as its initial year. To date, Klondike has experimented with multiple ice cream flavors and different shells.

Just wondering —  will you celebrate National Ice ๐ŸฆCream month too?

It's ๐Ÿฅต everywhere right now, go out and scream for ice cream

And since this post wouldn't be complete without some entertainment, here's a scene from the 1986 film, Down by Law, in which 3 prisoners Jack, Zack and Roberto sing, you guessed it:  
 I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream with other prisoners joining in.
Down by Law is an American black-and-white independent film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch and starring Tom Waits, John Lurie, and Roberto Benigni in his first international role. A disc jockey, a pimp and Italian immigrant are arrested in New Orleans and housed in the same jail cell.  If you should find and watch this film, a key element in it is Robby Mรผller's slow-moving camera work, which captures the architecture of New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou where the cellmates escape.

Last, to answer a question about our favorite ice cream flavors, it's usually one that includes chocolate and coffee in any form, especially with peanut butter; salted caramel has become a recent fave. That said, we're always willing to try new flavors. On this trip, we had blueberry (no surprise being in Maine) and raspberry with "black flies" which were chocolate chips.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Let's Celebrate !

L๐Ÿ‘€k who's celebrating a ๐ŸŽ‚ today — it's Grenville ๐ŸŽ‰
We're ๐ŸŽ‰ celebrating on a road trip within New England.
Penguins are always ready to party, but they didn't come along.
Happy Birthday ๐Ÿ’š to my frog prince (it's an inside joke).

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Flowers at Home

How does your garden grow?
Flower arrangements at entry to Clocktower Place Apts and the entry to our building
Over the past few weeks, many bloggers have posted photos showing flowers either in their yards or seen on walks around their area. In this post, I'm reciprocating and showing flowers in and around our home locale.

When we owned homes in NJ and later VA, we always had flowers in the yard, whether potted or in the ground. It's quite different living in a mill apartment complex, which was formerly an industrial area. 
Large displays like these are seen throughout the mill apt grounds
But that doesn't mean, that there's a scarcity of blooms around  the mill apt grounds. The management company hires outside an landscape company which always installs seasonal plantings that are plentiful and colorful. The company also maintains the blooms as there’s no full-time gardeners on staff, only maintenance personnel.
A landscaping firm tend the flowers weekly
There are potted flowers near all the building entrances and exits. It's always uplifting to see these bright colors on a daily basis.
Our garden pansy arrangements were never this bountiful
There's also the benefits of not needing to care for them on a daily basis as we did when we owned a home. Instead, our homeowner friends, here and elsewhere, freely share their gardening tales, which includes mention of all the work involved. When they ask if we miss it, there's no hesitation in saying that we do not. Maybe one day, we'll reconsider our living options, but less work suits us now.
Examples of plantings in the City of Nashua, NH, downtown area
The City of Nashua has numerous seasonal plantings, both potted displays and ground displays along Main Street. Above is a sample of some that were seen on a recent walk. A future post will feature more of these blooms.

Friday, July 8, 2022

Friday Funnies

Don't Fence Me In is the title of a song that members of the Western Writers of America have named as one of the Top 100 Western songs. 

The song title came to mind became an ear worm when I saw this ↓ a few months ago.

Not only was the tree fenced in, but it was clearly posted No Entry.
Why anyone would want to enter this fenced area was a mystery. 

The sign on the fence has been enlarged. How would entry even be possible?
Signs can be endless sources of curiosity. This tree and its sign were on King Street, a walkable mile of centuries-old architecture, in Old Town Alexandria, VA.

Spoiler Alert: The next part of this post is a diversion as I wanted to find out more about the Don't Fence Me In song which has an interesting background—it was based on poem by an engineer, bought by Cole Porter, became a #1 hit, and led to the 1944 firing of a vocalist.

If I have piqued your curiosity, do continue . . .

Robert Fletcher-Cole Porter
What became Don't Fence Me In was written as a poem, Open Range, by Robert Fletcher, an engineer with the Department of Highways in Helena, MT, as a cowboy poem that decried the encroachment of city life. Fletcher was a popular western poet among enthusiasts of cowboy poetry during the early 20th Century (not a huge audience). His poem was published in a 1934 collection. 

Somehow, it came to Porter's attention and he paid Fletcher $250 (a hefty sum in depression years). Porter retained many of Fletcher's lyrics, but modified them as he replaced some lines, rearranged lyric phrases, and added two verses. While not a writer of cowboy songs, Porter had been commissioned to write one for a 1934 film musical, Adios, Argentina; it was never produced. While it later became one of the most popular songs of its time, Porter reportedly said it was his least favorite composition.

When the song was published, Porter wanted to co-credit Fletcher, but his publishers disagreed. The October 10, 1944 copyright publication notice in the U.S. Copyright Office credits words and music by Cole Porter. After the song became popular, Fletcher, who understood he had sold his financial rights, was disappointed about lack of credit. Here, sources differ, some claim he sued for royalties, others say he only wanted his name credited. After the Montana press made a fuss about Fletcher's lack of authorship credit, the national press became accusatory toward Porter. Although he was under no legal obligation, Porter, who was said to regret the lack of credit, arranged for Fletcher to receive a portion of the royalties.

Here's HOW it became a hit song . . .
Hollywood Canteen poster
In the 1940s, so-called “Canteen” films were popular. The story lines were: soldier(s) on leave or preparing to ship out find love, lose love, find it again, while stars of stage and screen perform for departing soldiers. In 1944, Warner Brothers was working on the film, Hollywood Canteen, and needed a song for Roy Rogers and The Sons of The Pioneers. Somehow, this forgotten Cole Porter tune was resurrected, much to the delight of filmgoers.

In 1944, Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters recorded it without having seen or heard the song. Crosby entered the studio in July and within 30 minutes, they completed the recording. It sold more than a million copies topping the Billboard pop charts for eight weeks in 1944-45. On the country & western side, Gene Autry had the hit, reaching #4 on that chart.

In the 1940s, competing record labels rushed recording stars into the studio to be first-to-market. Crosby wasn’t always first, but his records were always popular. This time, he beat the competition. The song' rise to popularity was tied to release of the film and it stayed at the top until mid-February 1945. Rogers, who introduced the song to the public in the film had been beat in singing it first. Kate Smith had introduced it on her popular radio program, two months earlier. The clip of Rogers singing the tune in Hollywood Canteen was reprised in the 1946 Cole Porter biopic film, Night and Day.

And, about that fired vocalist . . .
Frank Sinatra, Your Hit Parade
In January 1943, 27-year old Frank Sinatra launched his singing career as the star vocalist onthe CBS radio show, Your Hit Parade. (This American music program that was broadcast on radio from 1935 to 1953 and seen on TV from 1950 to 1959 sponsored by Lucky Strike cigarettes.) Sinatra appeared regularly to sing the most popular songs of the week. 

On December 23, 1944, he sang Don't Fence Me In but couldn't keep up with the lyrics and stumbled on some. After singing, I want to ride to the ridge where the West commences, he said too many words to explain his slip-up. Sinatra was fired from the show reportedly due to his on-air comment about the lyrics and for missing a cue for the #1 song. However, as his popularity zoomed, he was rehired a year later and co-starred with another popular vocalist, Doris Day.

When I was creating this Friday Funny post I wasn't certain where it would lead. Now, I know the rest of the story, and so do all of you.

Here's the recording claimed the #1 spot featuring Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters. 

Sorry about any ear worm that may result. I'm over mine now.

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone.
We're in Maine for Grenville's ham radio event & ๐ŸŽ‚ celebration

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Just Dessert ?

Following this recipe, there is an explanation about the choice of the post title.

It's been awhile since I've posted a recipe. There's a few many reasons, but mostly as there's so many recipes in cookbooks and online. Nearly everyone has a favorite, better or new recipe.

Our favorite sweet treat, as many readers of this blog may know, is ice cream๐Ÿฆ. However, we have also been known to enjoy other delights, including some made at home.

Boston Cream Cake
Dessert ๐Ÿฅง ๐Ÿฎ is a food group, isn't it?
That said, this post is for a recipe that turned out to be a not hard to prepare, delicious and a thoroughly enjoyed treat. That was the consensus of our dominoes playing friends who recently came for dinner and for dessert. 

If you enjoy Boston Cream Pie, this is not that recipe. Instead, this recipe is for a Boston Cream Cake recently featured in a local supermarket's monthly food magazine. 

While it was made at home, not everything was home made, for example the cake mix which was purchased at the grocery store. Other ingredients were purchased there too, aside from some that we (and you) may already have available like dark chocolate morsels (always stocked for chocolate chip cookies), salt, vanilla extract and honey (used as a corn syrup substitute). Heavy cream is not something usually purchased, but for the sake of trying this recipe, it was bought and leftovers would up in a mac and cheese recipe.

If you need a large sheet cake for a get together and want to give it a try, here's the recipe. 
(Of course, you could always make it for a smaller gathering with leftovers.)
Boston Cream Cake in 9x13 glass dish
Boston Cream Cake
Active Time — 45 min 
Total — 1 hr 20 min (plus chilling time)
Servings — 16

Cake Ingredients
  • 1 (15.25 oz) yellow cake mix
  • 1 C water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 C vegetable oil
  • 1 (3.4 oz) box instant vanilla pudding)
  • 1-2/3 C heavy cream
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Ganache Ingredients
  • 1-1/3 C dark chocolate morsels (about 8 oz)
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 C heavy cream
  • 2 tsp light corn syrup (can substitute honey or maple syrup)
  • Pinch of salt
Center a rack in oven and heat to 350°F.  
Grease a 9x13 baking pan/glass dish and set aside.

Cake: In medium bowl, whisk cake mix, water, eggs, and oil until smooth. Transfer to prepared pan, smooth top and bake until a toothpick inserted in cake center comes out clean (follow baking times on cake mix box), rotate halfway through total bake time.

After removing from oven, cool cake 5 minutes, then use handle of wooden spoon to poke holes all over the cake, spacing about 1 inch apart and poking down to bottom of pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk pudding mix, heavy cream, milk and vanilla until combined, about 30 seconds. Immediately pour mixture onto warm cake and spread into an even layer, pressing gently into holes. Refrigerate until pudding is set, 1 to 2 hours.

Ganache: Combine chocolate morsels and vanilla in a medium bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan, bring heavy cream, corn syrup (or substitute), and salt to a simmer. Pour over chocolate morsels and let sit 2 minutes without stirring.

Stir chocolate mixture until smooth and glossy, pour over chilled cake and spread into even layer. Refrigerate until ganache is set, about 1 hour, before serving. Cut, serve and enjoy. Repeat as necessary.

(Per serving: 440 cal, 30g fat, 75mg chol, 340mg sod 40g carb, 1g fiber, 25g sugar, 4g protein)

๐Ÿฐ  ๐Ÿจ  ๐Ÿฅฎ  ๐Ÿง  ๐Ÿง
After titling this post, I was curious about the phrase often heard as just deserts.

No, I didn't omit a letter in deserts above. Despite its pronunciation, just deserts, with a single middle S, is the proper spelling for the phrase meaning the punishment that one deserves. The punishment sense had been in use for several hundred years by the time, the after-dinner word for sweets, dessert, was adopted around 1600.

But as most modern English speakers are unfamiliar with the older sense of desert, the phrase is often written as just desserts.

Using just desserts isn't a serious writing error, and it's much more common than just deserts in 21st-century texts. That said, there are grammarists who consider it wrong usage. Whether or not this is important is for individual users to decide.

For the purpose of this post, just dessert, worked out very sweet for me.

Monday, July 4, 2022

Independence Day 2022

Nashua, NH, fireworks displays in previous years
Today, July 4, is the day set aside to celebrate the birth of the United States of America.
But, it's not actually when its independence was declared.

The actual vote for  U.S. independence happened on July 2, 1776.

The Lee Resolution ( named for Richard Henry Lee of Virginia)  also known as The Resolution for Independence  was the formal assertion passed by the Second Continental Congress on this date. It resolved that the Thirteen Colonies in America were free and independent States, separated from the British Empire creating the United States of America. 

So what happened July 4, 1776?

That's when, delegates from the 13 colonies at the Second Continental Congress  unanimously approved (ratified) the Declaration of Independence (formally The unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America) This approval became the day know regarded as the birth of American independence.

The Declaration of Independence was not signed until nearly a month later on August 2, 1776 . That's when 56 delegates of the Second Continental Congress began signing it  in Philadelphia, PA.

We're celebrating the holiday at home, so no airport or road traffic delays for us.
As in previous years, we'll watch fireworks  from the riverbank near the mill apts. 

(Comments are off today.)

Friday, July 1, 2022

Friday Funnies

Who doesn't like to save money?
Nearly everyone does, especially these days.

Sometimes there's too much savings offered on products seldom used or purchased
Does this happen to you as well?

Last week, my scanned CVS retail pharmacy card, spewed out this ticker-tape of savings.
Make It Stop !
Saving $ is nice, but over 5 feet is way too much paper and a major waste as I'm sure many others will agree. Thanks, in advance, for your comments. All these coupons were recycled.

For those unfamiliar with the name, this retail company has its start here in New England. The former Consumer Value Store was founded in 1963 in Lowell, MA. Now CVS Pharmacy, the corporation is a subsidiary of CVS Health, based in Woonsocket, RI. The name CVS was used for the first time in 1964; a former CEO said it meant Convenience, Value, and Service.

CVS Pharmacy is currently the largest U.S. pharmacy chain by number of locations (nearly 10,000) and total prescription revenue. Its parent company ranks as the 5th largest U.S. corporation in the Fortune 500 (by FY2020 revenues). By comparison, the parent company of Walgreens, its leading competitor, ranked 19th for the same period. CVS sells prescription drugs plus assorted merchandise, including over-the-counter drugs, cosmetics, photo finishing services, greeting and gift cards, and convenience foods in retail stores and online. 

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone
We've doing a home staycation for July 4th
Happy Canada Day today !