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Friday, January 26, 2024

Friday Funnies

Cold feet?
Surely for most humans, but what about these ducks?
On Tuesday, there was a scant snow fall in Nashua, NH. During an early morning walk by the Nashua River, I watched these Mallard ducks and Canada geese and wondered . . .

Does a duck get cold feet when swimming in icy water?
Good to learn that they don't. Good to learn as the river looked frigid and the riverbank was snow-covered. 

Why?
It's all about how blood is circulated through their feet. Ducks' feet aren't equipped with insulating layers of fat or feathers, which means they have to be able to minimize how much heat they lose through their feet through blood circulation.
The Mallard duck's bright orange legs have a counter current exchange system, this unique alignment of blood vessels, with veins and arteries lying next to each other, allows for the exchange of heat. Warm blood from the body, in the arteries, going into the duck’s feet is used to warm blood coming from the feet and back into the body in the veins. 
The reduced temperature difference results in reduced heat loss, so ducks are not losing large amounts of body heat while dabbling bottoms-up for food in the water. A duck's feet can get cold, several degrees colder than the body, but its body stays warm. Waterfowl like ducks, geese and gulls further conserve body heat by standing on one leg or sitting down.
Canada geese have certain biological features to keep warm too. Their fluffy down feathers also regulate their core temperature. They have so much down underneath their feathers to keep their bodies warm. Also, like ducks, geese can tuck their feet below their bodies to prevent the loss of body heat as well.

Now, I know (and so do you) that ducks and geese can have warmer feet than our own.

This recent snowfall was scant and short-lived, but beautiful as it clung to trees. Images below were taken in the French Park (Parc de Notre Renaissance Française) behind the Clocktower Place mill apartment buildings
Hopefully your own weather wasn't too frigid or severe this week; Nashua, NH, temps have been in the mid 30s with weekend rain in the forecast. 

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone
This weekend is amateur radio Winter Field Day
Patrick will be participating in this nationwide event

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Are You Lonely?

First, a few words to say Thank You all for your comments on the recent post celebrating the 14th anniversary of this blog and so it continues. And, now so does this post.

Internet source
The post title may seem rhetorical, but the world is becoming a lonely place. Maybe you have noticed that as well.

Writing about loneliness, I thought of song titles with lonely in them. (Feel free to test your memory, then check out a list of songs at the end of this post. Some trivia included to lighten up a serious issue.)

While loneliness isn't new to the human experience, experts say it's worsened in recent years and today has become a serious issue affecting young and old, not only in the US but worldwide. 

Recent news articles have liked it to a public crises, some calling it an epidemic. Yes, another one that's ongoing it seems.

Besides making some feel miserable, loneliness also affects mental and physical health, a lethal combinationLike illnesses that prove deadly (heart issues, dementia, stroke) loneliness can have the same effect and has even led to early deaths. 

What is loneliness?
According to some experts, loneliness occurs when the connections a person needs in life are greater than the connections they have in life.
Internet source

Not everyone feels loneliness the same way or for the same reason. Because it’s subjective, it's believed to be experienced at various stages throughout a person's life. Also, it can change due to trauma, illness or the effects of aging, sometimes more than one of these.

Interestingly, younger people have reported the highest rates of loneliness accelerated by social media replacing human interaction. While "likes" and "followers" can make someone feel good in the moment, they don't foster genuine connections with others. 

Other populations reporting a high prevalence of loneliness and isolation include those with poor physical and mental health, disabilities, financial insecurity, those living alone, single parents and senior adults. That last group came as no surprise to me.

Struggling with loneliness doesn’t mean that you’re broken or that something is wrong with you. Experts say recognition and awareness are important first steps to escaping loneliness and that building social connections is to be a vital importance.

Sometimes that can be easier said than done, especially among older adults with friends and family at a distance, which includes myself. In my case, reading, cooking, exercising, getting outdoors and blogging are all great connectors for me. 

And, I know firsthand how much pleasure correspondence and phone calls can bring folks who are older and/or living alone as I keep in contact with several folks older than myself. Here at the mill apartments, I play Scrabble regularly with a 93-year old resident who often wins. 

Current LAI Flyer
That's why when recently, another blogger said she was writing letters for this organization, Letters Against Isolation I wanted to learn more. I've always enjoyed handwritten correspondence from high school days of writing to pen pals and now.

According to the website, during the Covid-19 pandemic, two sisters, Shreya and Saffron, supported their isolated grandparents through daily phone calls. Soon, they realized that other seniors deprived of the ability to see visitors or interact with others were lonely too. The sisters began writing handwritten letters to residents of assisted living facilities and care homes. 

When the growing demand for letters outpaced their ability to keep up, they started LAI which has since expanded to serve thousands of seniors in five countries: US, Canada, UK, Australia, and Israel. There's something special about receiving a letter as many seniors grew up with this method of correspondence.

Since April 2020, LAI has sent over half a million letters and cards to over 20,000 seniors worldwide. Over 22,000 volunteers belong to the LAI community. These volunteers come from over 15 countries worldwide and all 50 states. The organization has been featured in major news outlets: The Washington Post, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, ABC, The Drew Barrymore Show, Good Morning America and MSNBC.

Internet source
How LAI Works
If you decide to participate, every other week, LAI will send a portal where you can sign up to send letters to care homes in the five countries it serves. You can write as many letters as you want, keeping in mind that the letters will be brightening days. Keep them cheerful and creative: postcards, jokes, word games, artwork is always good to include, but no gifts. Stumped for ideas on how or what to write? The LAI website and blog has lots of suggestions, many from volunteers.

Letters are sent in physical form, not email. Last week, I sent letters to facilities in TX, MN and IN and expect to send more in the next couple of weeks and beyond. It's one way of helping others feel less lonely, truthfully it helps me feel connected as well. You might feel the same.

Helpful Tips: Buying stationary supplies can be costly (and we won't even talk about postage), but Dollar Tree stores and perhaps other stores sell packages of blank note cards. 

Also, if there's a senior center you attend, very often there's an excess of donated blank cards with colorful fronts. This week, I shared details about LAI to the coordinator of the senior center that we're attend in NH. She invited me to take as many as you would like, which I did. Several blank cards contained heart images, perfect for Hearts ♥️ Day notes.
❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️

As for popular songs that include Lonely in the title, how many could you name? 
I named less than 10 on this list. There's more I'm sure. Feel free to add any in a comment.

Only the Lonely (Roy Orbison), Lonely Teenager (Dion), Mr. Lonely (Bobby Vinton), Lonely Teardrops (Jacke Wilson), Lonely Man & Are You Lonely Tonight (Elvis Presley), I've Been Lonely Too Long (Young Rascals), Lonely Man Am I (Temptations)

Hey There Lonely Boy (Ruby & the Romantics), Hey There Lonely Girl (Eddie Holman), Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (The Beatles), Ask the Lonely (Four Tops), More Lonely Nights (Paul McCartney), Lonely Boy (Paul Anka), Lonely People (America), So Lonely (The Police), One Lonely Night (Reo Speedwagon), Love or Let Me Be Lonely (Friends of Distinction)

Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight (Isley Brothers), Lonely Man & Are You Lonely Tonight (Elvis Presley), Have You Ever Been Lonely & Seven Lonely Days (Patsy Kline), Ask the Lonely (The Four Tops), Lonely Weekends (Charlie Rich), The Lonely Bull (Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass), Lonely Days (The BeeGees), Only the Lonely (The Motels)

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Blog-iversary #14

Of course, the title isn't actually a word (blog-iversary or blog-aversary?), but was cobbled together to announce a milestone
—our blog celebrates its 14th-year anniversary 🎉 todaytime that's gone by very fast.

The aptly titled First Post on Sunday, January 16, 2010 was written by Grenville, who most now know as Patrick, my husband and co-blog administrator.

In that post, he wrote: Have you ever wondered what others think of your life? Is it interesting? Sound like fun? Wish they could be living it? Think that you are wasting your time and theirs? Wonder why they are still reading about the stuff you are doing?

He further explained that the blog would be about our home, the town we lived in (back then a small town on the VA eastern shore), what we were doing, adventures taken and/or dreamed about, friends and a little (or lot) of our ramblings about life in general.

That first post elicited a scant three comments, two of which were from a friend who lived nearby. Next, it was my turn to post and that post explained that the blog name, The Frog & PenguINN, was what we had christened our VA home after learning that other homes in the area also had names. We went for a bit of fun with ours based on a collection of frog and penguin items. The INN part of the blog name happened as we briefly had thought about it being a B&B; however, after talking to a NJ friend who ran one, soon decided that would not be an option, but we kept the name. 

Frog & PenguINN, VA, before & after
Our VA home was an older one needing makeovers which kept us busy for several years after we had relocated from our native NJ in 2004. Our new town had a total population of less than 500, starting a blog seemed a fun way to reach out to others. 

Back then, we were avidly posting about everything. That first year some months had more posts than days in the month. In the fall of 2010, we went on an extended road trip to New England, not suspecting that it would become our future home in 2017 when we relocated to NH. This was the first of our future road trip posts.

In time, comments grew, up to a high of 10 and recently over 30. That number has never mattered, then or now. We've enjoyed sharing our lives and adventures and will continue to do so. Over the years, several folks whose blogs we've read or who read ours are no longer blogging, some by choice, sadly a few have passed. We're grateful that some bloggers (you know who you are) not only still comment, but have kept blogging as well. We appreciate all who stop in to visit — the Welcome mat is always out.

In case you're curious, like me, here's what was happening 14 years ago in 2010.

Internet source
Take note of the price of a USPS First Class stamp when it was 44 cents. As of January 21, 2024, the price for a First-Class Forever Postage Stamp increases from 66 cents to 68 cents (still time to stock up). Notice too that the federal minimum wage was $7.25/hour which it was increased to in 2009. This year, it's going up to at least $16 an hour in a few states. In other states, new minimum wages will range from $10 to $15. Also, this was the first year for the Apple iPad. 

As you can see, in 14 years, a lot has gone on our lives and worldwide. A BIG thanks to all who have been along for our blog adventures . . . to be continued. 

Dorothy & Patrick (aka Beatrice & Grenville)

Monday, January 15, 2024

Appreciation

The number of comments on a previous post about a change for future posts was overwhelming. Quite simply 
thank you to everyone for the comments which were appreciated as I was uncertain about sharing details in the post. Thanks also to those who shared similar situations.

Certainly, the situation described was uncomfortable, and as stated there was no right or wrong. Despite no harm was intended, some folks were rankled at what they perceived was an error on my part. Although at first resisting a reversal, I soon realized that taking a stance wasn't worth any further discord. As stated, family have never read our posts except when sent a link. So, another lesson learned was not only exclusion, but to not send a future link. Thankfully, there's been no repercussions.

In sharing my own situation and hearing about those of some others, I learned, once again, that bloggers are a wonderfully supportive community, who leave positive and uplifting comments when most needed. You rightly should be proud of yourselves.

However, recently there have been a few instances in which a fellow blogger (other than myself) has received some disparaging comments following a post. It was heartening to read that after sharing the incident that other bloggers rallied to offer their support.

Acceptance and understanding without being derogatory is what it's all about for myself and others. We all have differences, not every post will generate a response. In which case, it's far better not to do something akin to what Alice Roosevelt Longworth famously said: If you don't have anything nice to say, come sit by me.

Alice Roosevelt
These words have long been credited to the
 long-time Washington socialite known for her caustic remarks. Alice Roosevelt was born in NYC in 1884 to Alice Hathaway, a banking heiress and Theodore Roosevelt, a New York State Assemblyman and later a U.S. President. Two days after her birth, her mother died of undiagnosed kidney failure. Her father remarried in 1886. She was raised by her father and stepmother and later had five half-siblings.

Of her quotable comments, the most famous reportedly found its way onto a pillow on her settee. Other quotes often attributed to her include: You can't make a soufflĂ© rise twice; The secret to eternal youth is arrested development and perfects most aptly, My specialty is detached malevolence. She was seemingly not the kindest individual.

Thumper in 1942 film, Bambi
Perhaps, a much better quotable saying is this one: If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all. These words have various sources, but are best known as coming from the fictional cottontail rabbit character, Thumper, in the classic 1942 Walt Disney animated film, Bambi. It was released by RKO Radio Pictures, based on the 1923 novel Bambi, a Life in the Woods by Felix Salten. In the film, characters are Bambi, a white-tailed deer; his parents, his friends Thumper, a skunk, Flower, and his future mate, Faline.

In the film, there's a scene when Thumper, is corrected by his mother after he makes a rude comment about baby Bambi. In reply to his mother asking, Thumper, what did your father tell you this morning?, Thumper bashfully replies, If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say nothin’ at all. 

Charlie Brown & Snoopy
Good advice that seems harder to follow in a digital age when it is easier to be 
abusive to others online. Especially when the interface between people is a computer screen. In some cases, it has caused some people to abandon all social media, fearful of others’ harsh terms they've found it easier to give up.

It's sad when thoughtless words negatively impact others. Hopefully, we can continue to be supportive with thoughtful comments — or silence when nothing meaningful can be said.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Friday Funnies

While nearly all the snow from last weekend's first 2024 storm in Nashua, NH, has gone on streets and walkways, this group still remains optimistic about winter fun.
Snowmen are a regular seasonal display outside our apartment entry. All of them hibernate in storage during warmer months, along with the snowball supply.
The penguin and frog are always visible by our door in all types of weather and seasons, a few winter "friends" have joined them for the next few months.
'Tis true that we enjoy winter and are hopeful for more snow. That's unlikely to happen for a while as temps remain in the mid-40s and low 50s with rain on Saturday.

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone
Homemade soup & pizza plus Scottish ale will be enjoyed

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Change This Year

It's been said that change is good.
Change will affect this blog going forward. 

Future posts will neither name nor show family or details about family celebrations and milestone. While earlier posts showing family haven't been removed, names have been changed to granddaughter, grandson, daughter or family.

Why? 
To make a long story short, this action resulted from the reaction of some family members to a since deleted 2023 post. Showing and naming family members wasn't new on the blog and has been done as long as this blog has existed. When family was shown, a link was sent to those included, if not, they would remain oblivious to posts. There was never any kickback.

What Changed?
This time there was a dispute about said post that named and showed family members gathered for Thanksgiving and December birthdays. Particularly as it included a senior family member who had driven a distance to visit. Later, a family member, who was also there, suggested that details of this visit remain quiet. Concern was that other family would be upset he had driven alone. In short, silence was expected and I did not follow suit.

The after-holiday post contained photos and names and a link was shared with the family who were there. Next came a backlash of angry texts and emails from several who berated me for going public and asked/demanded the post be deleted.

Their reactions seemed extreme. The family member in question when contacted, confirmed other family knew of the trip. This detail was shared, but failed to mollify the complainants as the post had not been deleted after their initial texts/emails. In hindsight, a rather stubborn reaction on my part. 

What to Do?
Let go of my stubbornness, delete the post, send an apology to avoid further conflict, explain that earlier posts would be edited to remove names and that family would be excluded from future posts. All actions needed to soothe tempers and tensions, theirs and mine. 

Beatrice & Grenville Boyd
In an aside, a comment was made that we hid behind online aliases. So, if any new or long time readers of this blog are unaware, my name is Dorothy, my husband is Patrick. 

The blogger names, Beatrice & Grenville, were chosen years ago after two Boyds Bears figurines from our collectionThe blog name, Frog & PenguINN, was a fun name for our former VA home in which we had many frog and penguin figurines. We still do, but not as many. 

Moving Forward — It's all good.
While the reactions were surprising, change is not an issue. This blog started as a way to recount our experiences, travels, adventures, home life, so it returns to that focus.

If you've read this far, thanksThere's no right or wrong. After hesitating to share this reason for change, full disclosure seemed the best approach. 

Change happens all the time. For example, a Tuesday post earlier this week showed photos from a weekend snowfall of nearly 15-inches in Nashua, NH. 
These views were from our apartment early Wednesday after an overnight rain and most of the snow had been washed away
Another change by Wednesday mid-afternoon when, after
 a nearly 50-degree day not only was most snow gone, but a rainbow was viewed after a few rain showers.

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Let It Snow (Finally)

Yes, it did, even if it took nearly two years until we finally got a major snowstorm not only in Nashua, NH, but in most of southern New England.
The first significant snow of 2024 started late Saturday night and continued into early Sunday evening, about 15 inches fell here in Nashua, NH, over last weekend. The tall castle-like structure in the bottom right image is the Odd Fellows building on Main Street in downtown Nashua. Its first cornerstone was laid in May 1891. Odd Fellow meetings were held on the fourth floor of the building from its early days up until 2007. 
The 24-hour+ storm produced a heavy wet snowfall; lot plowing continued for several hours at the mill apartments. The upper lot parking area is plowed in sections. Residents who park outside need to move their cars starting at 7:30 a.m. to designated snow-cleared areas. Cars are to be moved in an a.m. and p.m. shift. There's also paid underground parking, which is where we park our vehicles, thankfully no need to scrape off or shovel out.
This is a now familiar early morning view from our apartment windows. Similar scenes have been posted in the past.
This view shows the pedestrian walkway across the Nashua River, also viewed from our living room windows.
Sights seen on grounds around the apartment complex include the bell that once hung in the mill's tower cupola and rung out for mill workers many years ago, a newspaper box, fire box and a resident's bike. Unlike a car, the bike did not have to be moved.
Cold seating was available on the apartment grounds and with a view by the riverside. The brick building closest to the right side houses another former mill now apartments, Lofts 34.
Because this storm produced a wet snow, trees and buses remained snow-covered for several hours. We went walking in the mill yard and along the river front but kept to a street area as the river walkway had not been cleared.
This very large (and old) tree is directly behind the mill apartments close to the river.
Beautiful even when covered in snow, this bronze sculpture of a young mill worker and her son, La Dame de Notre Renaissance Française, stands in the center of an area known as Le Parc de Notre Renaissance Française (
Renaissance Park) along the Nashua River.
This area is dedicated to French-Canadian immigrants who arrived in Nashua between 1870 and 1872 and worked in the city's textile mills. By 1936, about 14,560 of Nashua’s 31,938 residents were French. 
The average snowfall for Nashua is between 50 to 55 inches, but that snowfall amount has not even come close in recent years. That could change this year with another chance of snow this week. Forecasters are warning about a northeast storm starting Tuesday night, but switching to rain on Wednesday; flooding could be an issue in many snow-covered or low areas.

How about your area — got snow? ☃️

Friday, January 5, 2024

Friday Funnies

Here is the first, but not the last, Friday Funny for 2024.

Most of us have heard the expression to eat your word(s) as it applies to admitting that you were wrong about something.

Not only can I do that now, but the words will be enjoyable. Let me explain.

Scrabble is a game I often play here with another resident. She's 94 years young and an avid player who often wins. She gifted me with this ↓ at Christmas. Because of the small box, I thought was a travel version, at first.
It was not, instead it's a Milk Chocolate Edition in which players can really eat their words.
My friend and I will be playing and enjoying this version very soon. However, unlike the regular game, this one has consequences in the form of calories.
I received another game, a non-edible Mexican Train Dominoes game from Patrick who gave me this travel set before Christmas. We've taken it on a couple of recent trips and played without fear of gaining weight.
Yes, it is much easier to play with numbers vs. dots although we have full-size sets of both.

Your turn — Anyone else enjoy playing Scrabble or dominoes? 

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone
Winter storm watch here; total snow accumulations over 6 inches possible