Saturday, July 22, 2017

Copyright Free Photos

 On the Friday Five Good Things from July 21, 2017, Da Tabbies O' Trout Town asked: and the photo is amazing...did you take this ! ☺☺♥♥

They were referring to the photo on the left.

My bad, Tabbies, I should have left the attribution in the comments. This photo came from a copyright free site called Pexels

The site offers high-quality stock photos free to use under the Creative Commons Zero license (CC0). I learned about this great resource from blog buddy, Blogoratti. As you can see, the photos are beautiful. The photos are free to use for personal or commercial purposes. Photos can also be edited or modified.

So, if you're looking for an image for your blog or a project, check out Pexels.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. A breakfast date which turned into a lunch date because Friendly's was packed at 10:30 am and a long wait. Breakfast ends at 11 AM and we had an errand to do. So we left headed in the direction of our errand and stopped for lunch.

2. We eagerly enjoyed the season premiere of Game of Thrones. The Eldest joined us.

3. Another breakfast date. This time we got to Friendly's very early.

4. The contractor had time in his schedule to start the install of the mini-split AC earlier than we were expecting. Work begins next week.

5. Some bad news this week, but even when things seem bleak, there's always a silver lining.

How was your week?

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

image from
To clear up some confusion, the Notebook passages posted on Throwback Thursday were written by my father and found by me after he passed away. They were his attempt to tell the family history. He was in his late 80s or early 90s when he wrote them. Today's chapter:

It still was no picnic [ed: working at the Center under Nelson] I know that I was able to make enough money to be able to buy my books, ring which I eventually gave to The Brother. And I also had a small amount to be able to take in a movie. I did not sit for a picture for the class book. All I did was submit something and let that go.

While things were going ok at home, my father was still struggling and my mother had her hands full. And he also had during this period he began drinking still feeling bad about his alleged friends.

If he enjoyed anything it was listening to the operas on the radio. Other than that he was somewhat [ed: sentence not finished]

Uncle Vincent was instrumental in getting him a job as a tailor with the state police. He repaired the uniforms or tailored them and it required that he work at the Framingham barracks and he would come home on weekends. At night he would either go out with the police in their cruiser or with either or both of his brothers. [ed: His brother, Joe, a barber had his own barbershop and lived in Framingham. His brother Alfred, a cobbler, had his own shop and lived in nearby Wellesley]

He also during the time before he got the job began making friends with your mother's people. And he did not have anything to do with his own again. Since some were related he would at least acknowledge but he would not visit them or have them over to the house. He changed personality and mother did not sing anymore either.

She went out to work and her life got better. She began to be herself again. And it wasn't hard for her to make friends. Her attitude was wonderful and with all her troubles, she was still able to encourage people. Tomorrow would be a better day

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

T Stands for Matisse

While at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Nan and I also went to see the Matisse exhibit. Fascinating because besides displaying Matisse's art, the objects he used in his paintings were also on display. Matisse loved the objects (chocolate pots, vases, furniture) he had. Often having them brought to him when he moved around.

I liked the color study

It wasn't enough for him to paint still lifes. Sometimes, he had to sculpt the object he wanted to paint

I found a teacup. At least, I think it's a teacup.

Across from the American Cafe which was too crowded for us to have lunch, is the Lime Green Icicle Tower (42.5 ft x 7 ft or 13 m. x 2.1 m.) by Dale Chihuly, an American glass sculptor.

Drop by hosts, Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog to find out what the rest of the T Stands For gang is up to. If you want to play, include in your Tuesday post a beverage or container for a beverage. Don't forget to link your blog to Bleubeard and Elizabeth's page.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Family Art Journal - Part 1

Over the weekend, I began a 3 part Family Art Journal workshop at the main branch of the Worcester Public Library. This program is administered by the Worcester Arts Council, for the Local Cultural Council – an agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

We didn't get as many participants as we hoped, but those that came were enthusiastic. 

We began by making a small book from one sheet of paper. The book provided space to brainstorm the journal format, and the stories to be included in the journal.

We talked about layout and explored various ways to include a header, picture(s) and text to tell the story. Participants were provided with a binder, cardstock to build the page and various decorated papers, and embellishments to create the page.

Finished pages were put into sheet protectors

If you're in the Worcester area next Saturday, 22. July from 1 PM - 3 PM, drop into the main branch of the Worcester Public Library at 3 Salem Square. The workshop is open to 1 to 4 family members (Family can be defined as significants, friends) Children ages 9 and up are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult. We will be meeting in the Saxe Room. Register for the workshop.

 Bring 6 or so copies of photographs to use for your journal pages. We'll learn a few ways to make our own stickers.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Gregor Samsa came to visit.

Early morning dew caught in a web looks like a fairy bride lost her veil. Several of these webs dotted the lawn.

A mourning dove enjoys the bird bath

Morning glories doing well in the bucket.

Looks like Birdsy came by an graffitied Ink.

Downpours only dropped about an inch and a half of rain this week. Didn't need to water the petunias.

I was expecting to the the morning glory in the pot tall enough to climb the shephard's hook, but

Sunny beaches! Some bunny ate the top off the morning glory!

I was about to pull this tall weed among the milkweed, but I think it's a sunflower. Someone must have dropped a seed from the bird feeder.

Wild Morning Glory, aka Devil's Weed, winds its way through the side garden choking out everything. Good thing this area will be torn out for the mini split compressor.

The hollyhock managed to escape the choking wild morning glory vine.

Dedo plays peek-a-boo among the hydrangeas.

So many blooms on the hydrangea. I might be able to bring some inside.

With all the rain we've had, the garden kites are still hanging on.

How does your garden grow?

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Tools, Gadgets, and Widgets - Lepow Moonstone Portable Charger

The other day, while snapping photos at the museum, my phone's battery quickly became depleted. I couldn't let my phone battery get low because my train ticket was on my phone. What to do? Come prepared.

I brought the phone cord with me, and I also brought along the Lepow Moonstone Portable Charger. I bought this device a few years ago. I bought it in case we lost electricity during a storm, I'd still be able to use my phone as we had gotten rid of our landline.

The Moonstone connects with its USB cable to your computer to charge. It holds a charge for quite a long time. When needed using your phone cord, you connect your phone or device to the Moonstone. There are two USB ports so you can charge two devices at once.

The Moonstone is sleek, fits in the palm of your hand and is not heavy. I don't remember how much I paid for it. Maybe $50? However much it was, it paid for itself.

At Visitor Services at the museum, I had asked if there were charging stations to charge devices. The aide said guests were welcome to use the outlets across from the service desk. There were only a couple of outlets available and all in use. No worries, I could plug my phone into the Moonstone and keep phone and charger in my bag. I didn't have to be tethered to the wall for half an hour or better. I could still enjoy browsing the museum while my phone was charging.

I'm not sure this particular device is still available, but adding a portable charger to your toolbox wouldn't be a bad thing. No worries not having your phone available when you need it while out and about especially if a wall outlet or charging station isn't handy.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. Enjoyed the day at the MFA with Nan

2. Saw a high school friend pop up on Facebook. I sent her a thinking of you email, and she called in the evening. We had a very long chat catching up.

3. The Eldest came home after spending the weekend at Connecticon, an anime convention. She had texted me a picture of a Dalek (arch-enemy of The Doctor from Doctor Who) and brought us a poster of Mr. Spock with a black cat. If the kitty had black whiskers, he could have been Ink.

4. Burning allergy eyes and my usual Bausch and Lomb OpCon A eye drops just weren't working. Tried the Zaditor eye drops recommended by my eye doctor. Ahhhh. How do you spell relief?

5. We finally found an Outback that was still open where we could use gift cards. The Eldest had picked the restaurant for her birthday dinner. I finally got my surf and turf, a steak with coconut shrimp.

How was your week?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

Dad, center, referees a group of boys
To clear up some confusion, the Notebook passages posted on Throwback Thursday were written by my father and found by me after he passed away. They were his attempt to tell the family history. He was in his late 80s or early 90s when he wrote them. Today's chapter:

By this time, Charlie Arnold was my mentor and so wasn't Doris also beginning to do the same.

During this period, we did a lot of things around the outdoors. We built a stone wall a the sidewalk as the lawn was below grade. We did a good job and it looked like it would last. Also in my Junior year, he and Doris went to visit her parents in Rhode Island, and they would be gone for a couple of weeks. He had me paint all of the windows outside with a black paint and instructed me that if I ran out of paint to go to the hardware store and get more paint, making sure that I got the same kind and to charge his account. He had spoken to the hardware store owner who knew I worked for him.

They left on Friday and Saturday I went to the house. He gave me a set of keys and began to start. I opened the can and dipped the brush in the can and boy that paint was thick. I had a hard time trying to have the paint flow. I put some in another pail and began adding turpentine. I got it right, not too thin and not too thick and painted all the windows over their vacation period. The windows looked good.

On the Monday of the third week, I went to the house. They were there and one of the first things Charlie asked me was how much paint did I buy. My answer was none. I explained what I did and "Oh, no!" Doris came by and she asked what was the matter. He said, "He painted the windows with turpentine." Then he said well it's done so we probably have to do them again.

We went along. And in my last year at high school, I also was on the Honor Roll. I finished well up the top and my accounting teacher, Mr. Sullivan, no relation to my 9th grade teacher, asked if I was interested in going to college as he would get me a scholarship. I said that I would be working at the time.

Charlie's buying of the house put him in bad with the Director who had to live in one of the settlement houses that was owned by the Center. Of course, when Charlie announced that he had bought the house, those he told it to said it was a bad move because he had better than his boss who also had employees living next door to him. And I think that it was sort of a community living. They may have had dinner together, etc.

And the other thing was that Max Nelson had hired Charlie at the New York Center that he worked at with the understanding that he would make Charlie, Executive Director. In any event, either the first, or that Charlie asked him about the promotions and that may have caused him to be fired.

Anyway it put the Arnold's in a bad situation he was without a job and he lived up to his salary. So things got tough. Anyway he hung in there and in 1937 he landed a job. Director of the Waltham Boys Club.

He also spoke to Nelson about me and suggested that he assign me to a part-time after school job. I don't think that Nelsom as very much in favor, but one of the things that the regular employees we committed to was the training of the locals to take over the operation of the Center..

So Nelson said he wanted to talk with me and to call him. I called a couple of times and got him on the third call. He told me that he wanted me to be in charge of the Saturday night dances. And he wold talk with his secretary who would pay me once a month. That was all. He did not sit down and explain what was expected or what my working part-time would get me.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

T Stands For Botticelli

Art accessories for my outfit. A Starry Night scarf with a matching bangle bracelet. I couldn't decide whether to wear the matching Starry Night socks or the Botticelli Venus. So I wore one of each.
My friend, Nan, (formerly A.) mentioned during our Skype session if I would like to go to the MFA to see the Botticelli exhibit. I told her if we were going to see the exhibit, it would have to be soon as the exhibit was closing on July 9, 2017. We made plans to meet in town (Boston) on Friday. The Commuter Rail which I was taking and the Orange Line on the T (subway line) crossed at Back Bay Station in the Copley Square area of the city. Across the street is Copley Place, an upscale mall. We arranged to meet in the Au Bon Pain, a cafe around 9 AM. We could sit and chat before walking to the Copley subway station to catch a trolley to the museum. The MFA opens at 10 AM.

Waiting for the E Line - Heath St. trolley at Copley Station

Waiting for the MFA doors to open
Botticelli. This way.
According to the PBS production Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance, "Botticelli" was a nickname given to Sandro by an older brother who raised him. Botticelli means "Little Barrel" Alessandro Filipepi, must have been chubby as a little fellow. I think it's cute, and the nickname stuck.

Virgin and Child, Filippo Lippi,

Botticelli apprenticed under Filippo Lippi. I wonder if the clam shell in Botticelli's famous painting of The Birth of Venus was inspired by the shell surrounding Mary and her child.

Paintings by other contemporary artists were also on exhibit.

The exhibit was crowded so it was hard to get close enough to take pictures. Waiting for the crowds to move away, was worth the wait. Here she is, Venus. Just beautiful.

 The exhibit was subtitled The Search for the Divine. In his early works, Botticelli painted stories from classical mythology.

A shift in his art occurred after he heard fiery sermons by Friar Savonarola. Botticelli's artistic subject became more religious especially after the death of his patron, Lorenzo de Medici. I don't doubt the artist's piety, but I wonder if the shift was also due to "go along to get along" and paid.

I saw a movie about King Arthur starring Julianna Margulies. Margulies played Arthur's half sister, Morgana. She followed the old pagan ways and tried not to get swept up in the new religious fervor. At the end of the movie, Morgana is looking at a statue of the Virgin Mary. The thought occurs to her that she does not have to abandon her worship of the Goddess, earth mother. She sees Mary as the Goddess, just a different way of looking at her.

I wonder if some of that figured into Botticelli's later works.

As Game of Thrones followers, Nan pointed out that Lorenzo's death mask looked like it was right out of the House of Black and White in Braavos.
Death Mask of Lorenzo de Medici
attributed to Benintendi and Sogliani

By this time it was lunchtime, but there were long lines at the museums 4 restaurants. We decided to brave the crowds viewing the Matisse exhibit. I'll save those for next week. We were also thinking of going over to the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum as it was Free Friday and admission to the Gardner was free. By this time it was pouring buckets, and the Gardner was closing early at 5 PM. We decided to save the Gardner for another outing.

By 2 PM, there was still a line at the American Cafe just as we were about to get in line, one of the wait staff put up a closed sign behind the last people in line. If only we had been 5 minutes earlier. We were worried that all the restaurants would be closing, but only this one as there was a museum function coming in.

We decided we would try Bravo, a fancy restaurant. We were on an outing so we were going to treat ourselves. As we neared Bravo, it seemed promising as there were several empty tables. The host informed us we needed a reservation and they were booked.

There was a cafeteria in the basement, but just not suitable for a special outing. There was still a long line for another cafe that offered beer, wine, salads, and Sandwich 1 and Sandwich 2. The sandwich offerings were a pulled chicken and a veggie offering. Nothing to write home about.

Nan mentioned the Flour Bakery near Back Bay Station (where we needed to catch our trains). She said her daughter who worked nearby raved about the sandwiches. So we opted for amazing sandwiches rather than ho-hum, and we weren't disappointed.

I had applewood-smoked bacon, arugula, tomato, mayo, balsamic vinaigrette, on toasted focaccia with iced tea with lemon. Nan had smoked turkey, zucchini relish, arugula, aged cheddar, mayo, on toasted multigrain. I think her beverage was a Morrocan mint iced tea.

Drop by hosts, Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog to find out what the rest of the T Stands For gang is up to. If you want to play, include in your Tuesday post a beverage or container for a beverage. Don't forget to link your blog to Bleubeard and Elizabeth's page.