Thursday, August 31, 2017

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church
East Boston
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:

We kept in touch and he [ed: Charlie Arnold] and he told me that he would have a job for me. I told him that Ruth Rainey had asked me to do work that summer at the play school as I was still active at the Center. He told me that he would talk to her and ask her to let me out of the agreement, verbal contract. She agreed and that was one step closer for me to start a permanent work career.

Also around 1932 at the Central Square Center, I met the young girl that I knew at a function. This was the first time she attended and I asked her who she was with and she said she came with a girl friend and I said if she wanted I would walk home with her since we lived close by. She agreed. And whenever she came I walked her home and stopped for an ice cream cone.

During this time things were moving close to graduation and the school scholarship committee was in session. At some time in May, my accounting teacher, Sullivan, asked me if he got me a scholarship to college would I accept it.

I told him that I had been promised a job and would start the day after the Fourth of July. So that gave me a little time between graduation and July about a week and a half vacation.

I was also pegged in the first 10% of the graduates.

On July 5th, I arrived at Charlie's home in Waltham. Doris or Mrs. Arnold as I called her was at the farm with the children.

He explained what my duties were that in the morning I would do the janitorial work and in the afternoon I would be on the floor to teach games.

Also in the winter, I would shovel coal to heat the building which included the offices at the front of the building and the apartments above the office.

He also said that he would do one thing. That when I went home to visit which would start my weekend on Saturday night when the Club closed which would give me Sundand and Monday and return on Monday night. What my father did about whether or not I attended church that was his business]

However, he [ed: Charlie] were strangers in Waltham and we would be watched because the residents felt that they should have the jobs we had. This was during the Depression. And since he was a Protestant he and his wife did not have to attend services every Sunday, etc. Since I was a Catholic, I had to attend on Sunday and days of obligation. He wanted to make sure I went to Mass. That if I did not go the community would look upon him as an evangelist and that would not be good for him. Also since he and Doris liked fish Fridays and holy days of obligation, they would also have fish on these days.

He also doubled up his boys who each had his own room and I would have a room of my own.

So I got my start and began earning money. The salary was $15.00 per week which was the average national salary.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

T Stands For Eclipse

 Last Monday, I spent eclipse day with my friend, Teague. Schedules haven't coincided since she came over to bake bread in February. We made out plans before realizing that 21. August 2017 was Eclipse Day.

Outings always include eating lunch out, but I was so happy to see Teague and hungry I didn't take pictures of eating at Friendly's. I had a bacon cheeseburger with waffle fries and a vanilla Coke. Teague had a crispy chicken wrap.

Now, I'm pretty sure Teague wasn't super interested in seeing the eclipse, but I knew she would indulge me. I didn't have the special eclipse glasses, but I had made a camera obscura from two pieces of a white cardboard CD folder.

Here in Massachusetts we only saw around 65% obscuration. Some areas around the state had clouds and for a little while, it looked like we wouldn't be able to see the eclipse either, but the sun came out.  Teague indulged me as I knew she would while I tested to see if my camera obscura would work on a patch of sunlight coming through the kitchen window.

You can see the start of the eclipse

Then around 2:45 PM, we went out to the front yard where the sun wasn't obscured by trees.

Teague's husband was working from home, and he took a break to come out to play. He held the pinhole lens and

I took a picture of the eclipse. See that crescent moon shape? That's the sun. Cool, huh? One of the neighbors came out to see what we were doing.

After all that sciencing, we needed to treat ourselves to dessert. I had seen an advertisement on television for a Dairy Queen Buy One Blizzard Get the Second at 99 cents so we went to the Dairy Queen. The promotion must have only been in certain DQs, and not in the one we visited. Since we were still full from lunch, we ended up getting mini Blizzards. A DQ Blizzard is a soft serve ice cream with added chunks of candy, cookies, or brownies served in a paper cup with a plastic spoon with a long handle (like an iced tea spoon). Teague had one with M&M candies and I had the brownie and fudge sauce. The small size was the perfect Goldilocks treat. Just the right size.

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, August 28, 2017

Untangling the Gordian Knot

I was making progress untangling the yarn. The yarn ball grew and grew until it was the size of a bowling ball. I thought I had solved untangling the Gordian knot, but the knot proved too difficult. As the ball grew and the knotted mass dwindled the yarn ball became too big to pass through the small knotted loops. I had to use the method Alexander the Great used to solve the Gordian Knot.

I had to cut it from the yarn ball and the blanket. Then I was able to untangle the small knot. Tied the end to the yarn ball and continued crocheting. This time paying more attention.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

How Does Your Garden Grow?

The grackles arrived in a huge flock. There must have been 3 dozen birds. They landed together and then lifted off together, called a murmuration. Just the movement of me readying the camera and moving towards the windows caused them to rise en masse. I had a hard time capturing them. You can see one in flight at the very top of the photograph and a few dark spots in the trees. The grackles usually arrive in October. Ink loved watching the grackles. Dozens of snacks pecking at the lawn.

The cardinal, mourning doves, and squirrel stopped by for an afternoon snack.

The squirrel took a drink of water from the birdbath.

A very nice picture of Chocolate eating his greens.

Garter snake image courtesy of
As I was turning on the garden hose to fill the birdbath, I startled a harmless, garter snake. He startled me, too. He slithered under the snowball bushes in the front yard. I didn't have my camera so couldn't capture his image. Not that I'd be able to as the garter snakes are shy and fast. A garter snake used to live by the back door before the sunroom was added. The girlies called him Mr. Scalely.

I'm disappointed the morning glories and moonflowers never bloomed. The plants in the bucket don't look too good. Some of the leaves have a yellow mottling.

The morning glory vines in Ink's garden look better, but still no blooms. 

Someone knocked over one of the milkweed plants.

The sunflower petals have mysteriously disappeared. There are no petals on the ground.

Late Summer allergy season is in full bloom. Goldenrod growing with the honey suckle vine cops the blame.

The real culprit is ragweed. I've been diffusing allergy relief essential oils to help with our symptoms.

How does your garden grow?

Saturday, August 26, 2017

This Was

a nearly finished baby blanket. All the blanket needed was a finished edging.  Something just didn't look right. A mistake somewhere. I pulled out one round, and then another. And then I found the one tiny mistake ten rounds further down. Now, I'm back to almost the beginning of the blanket, but first, have to untangle this Gordian Knot. I'm glad I don't need this gift to be ready until early December. Good thing I started early.

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. Had lunch and watched the eclipse with Teague.

2. Tagged along to another doctor's visit for Himself and then had brunch at IHOP

3. Grocery shopping with Himself. A job I hate to do. Misery loves company.

4. Wonder-ful mail arrived from Nan. So much better than a bill. I wish the postal clerk had hand cancelled the stamp instead of swiping it with a Sharpie marker. Too bad he didn't start his mark a little to the left of Wonder Woman's face. At least the swash looks a little like her lasso of truth.

5.  My cousin called and we made plans for our annual lunch visit.

How was your week?

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Throwback Thursday - Pompeii

Excerpts from The Notebooks will continue next week. I wanted to take a moment to remember 24. August 79 CE, the day Mt. Vesuvius erupted and the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were destroyed.

Pliny the Younger (a statesman in the early days of the Roman empire) was an eyewitness to the event. At 18 years old, he was staying at the home of his uncle, Pliny the Elder, at Miseunum. (The Elder died while trying to rescue people from the disaster.) Young Pliny wrote two letters detailing what happened. This description is from his second letter: 

Being at a convenient distance from the houses, we stood still, in the midst of a most dangerous and dreadful scene. The chariots, which we had ordered to be drawn out, were so agitated backwards and forwards, though upon the most level ground, that we could not keep them steady, even by supporting them with large stones. The sea seemed to roll back upon itself, and to be driven from its banks by the convulsive motion of the earth; it is certain at least the shore was considerably enlarged, and several sea animals were left upon it. On the other side, a black and dreadful cloud, broken with rapid, zigzag flashes, revealed behind it variously shaped masses of flame: these last were like sheet-lightning, but much larger.

Pompeii was near the city of Naples in the Campania region of Italy. This is the region where my family is from in the province of Avellino. Though Torre le Nocelle, the town my father's family is from, Grottaminarda where his mother's family is from, and Ariano di Puglia where my mother's parents are from, are inland, I wonder what things must have been like there in the afternoon of that day. Could they feel the eruption? Hear it? Did the sky cloud over with ash and blot the sun? I wonder if they thought it was the end of the world and how long news of the disaster took to reach them. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

T Stands For Anniversary

Friday last, Himself and I celebrated our 32nd anniversary. We had talked earlier in the year about spending our anniversary in Boston. We were going to go to the observation platform of the Prudential Tower and then have dinner at Top of The Hub restaurant with spectacular views of the city. As an aside, Boston's nickname is The Hub and not because the city is laid out in a spoke and wheel pattern, but because it's The Hub of the Universe. (-;

Himself began having problems with his back and having to use a cane to walk. He's been seeing a round of doctors and lots of tests. A trip into town would entail too much walking so plans changed.

We began the morning early with an exchange of cards left at each other's computer so we'd be sure to find them. My card to him with the baby goats (I call Himself "Kid") says Me (how I sign my emails to him) and you. We just goat together. :-D

Then out the door to drop the Eldest at the train station. She was spending her day off in Boston with some friends. After the train station, we headed to Newton-Wellesley hospital as Himself hand an appointment with another neurologist. On the way through the hospital maze, we passed by the hospital gift shop. Himself said, I found the perfect gift for you. Take a look at this. It was a tee-shirt and we both laughed. Maybe for Christmas, he said.

While Himself saw the doctor, I sat in the waiting room and worked on a crochet project. The doctor ordered another X-ray so we made our way to Imaging. With so many X-rays, CT Scans, MRI's, Himself is positively glowing. After the X-ray, we tried to follow our bread crumbs through the hospital to the parking garage. As we passed the gift shop, Himself said, I have to get you that tee-shirt. So he gave me an impulse buy anniversary gift.

From the hospital, we headed West towards home with a stop for brunch at a new IHOP (International House of Pancakes) There's an IHOP not too far away from us in White City (a section of Worcester) but it is cramped and in desperate need of a face-lift. Not a place the Little Princess likes to go even if the food is good.

When we arrived, the parking lot was full and the restaurant packed. No Time Lord technology here as the restaurant wasn't bigger on the inside. It was clean and nicely appointed so garnered an LPA (Little Princess Approval)

A welcome cuppa for me and a Pepsi for Himself.

Two weeks ago when Himself told me about the new IHOP, I saw an advertisement on television for IHOP's new French toasted donuts. Serendipity. So we both ordered the Apple Fritter French Toasted Donut. I had this as a combo with scrambled egg, bacon, and hash browns. Himself had pancakes, sausage, and an omlette. With this much food, we were good to go for the entire day.

After bruch, we headed to the cinema to see 

The Dark Tower based on the series by author, Stephen King.

We don't usually see movies at this theater as it's not close by, but we were in the area and decided to see a movie before heading home. What we didn't know was this theater is plush and offers Dine-In movies. The seats are wide, comfortable and recline.

Seats also had a swing out tray table. Reminded me of a baby's high chair.

The menu offered everything you could think of to eat. Appetizers, entree's cocktails, soft drinks, and desserts. And all brought to your seat at the push of a call button. But we had already eaten enough for a week and couldn't even manage a sip of water. We settled into our seats and watched the movie.

In my younger days, I read a lot of Stephen King. Even read the books he had written under the pen name, Richard Bachman. For some reason, I never got around to reading the Dark Tower series.

I thought the movie started a bit slow. Not a surprise since the background of the series had to be told. Once the action started, it was riveting. And what's not to like? Cowboys, demons, and an alien. parallel universe., Arthurian myth (how could I have missed this!?) and the Gunslinger's code.

Idris Elba as The Last Gunslinger, Roland Deschaine of Gilead ( descendant of King Arthur) on a quest of revenge against, The Man in Black played by Matthew McConaughey from toppling the Dark Tower which holds the universe together. Caught in the middle is the boy, Jake from New York, with The Shine, astonishing psychic abilities.

I thought Idris Elba was fabulous as the Last Gunslinger. Didn't mince words and quick on the draw. So much like Randolph Scott, Gary Cooper, and The Duke.

I've only seen Matthew McConaughey as a Southern gentleman good guy. So was stunned at his quiet, dark villain. Deliciously chilling.

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, August 21, 2017

Eclipse Day

If you're interested in viewing the Eclipse today but didn't get a pair of the special viewing glasses, you can still see the event by Live Stream or view it with a home-made projection device. NASA has lots of information, safety-tips, viewing areas, and live-streaming on NASA Eclipse 2017

The event will start at Noon EDT until 4PM. My area is not in the path of totality and a partial eclipse will occur. According to NASA a 65% obscuration for my area. Still pretty cool.

Stay safe and have a Happy Eclipse Day!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

How Does Your Garden Grow?

The sunflower bloomed.

A tiny sparrow takes a break on the morning glory cage.

Chocolate and Hassenpfeffer (I think) face off in a chow down.

I have no idea what this weed is, but it has pretty yellow-orange flowers.

A bee industriously collecting nectar.

A delicate butterfly (or a moth) enjoys a quick sip.

This meadow area is a Land of the Giants. This weed is taller than I am. Ok, 5 feet isn't very tall, but it must be tall for a weed.

A black birch or choke cherry abundant in the woods has taken seed. This will be taken down as it's growth will block the sunlight for the solar array on the West side of the house.

I had the Lawn Guy weed whack part of the meadow that was growing beyond the fence to the neighbor's yard.

The Meadow. I'd like to keep this a natural area. It attracts quite a few insects and the bunnies and squirrels take shelter here when frightened. I'll be researching how to grow and maintain a meadow.

A close-up of the sunflower.

Mid-August and a sad reminder Fall is around the corner.

And even sadder. I found this poor, little bird by the step of the sun room door. Poor, little guy must have flown into the window. Or maybe he's a gift from Mitty and Ink. I took a shovel and brought the little bird to the edge of the meadow. A euphemism. Circle of life.

How does your garden grow?

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. Spent the weekend with Reggie learning the Carolingian hand. Halfway through the course.

2. The Young One's prescription was changed from a powder mixed in food which she hated to pills. No more fussing!

3. Had a Skype session with Nan.

4.  Dinner at Five Guys

5. A car slammed into a tree across the street at the New Girl's. Thankfully, no serious injuries.

How was your week?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

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:

My fourth year was like my Junior year. I was on the honor roll. Charlie got fired and for a while, things looked bad for him, but he landed a job to establish the Boys Club of Waltham. (Before Halloween)

One of the first things he did during the beginning of his term, he learned that Halloween was just a night in which clotheslines were cut, store windows smashed, street lights shot out with BB guns, etc. He suggested to the business association that they hold an event, that they supply the chalk and pay $25.00 to the artist who chalked the best work and down to $5.00. Halloween came and went and it was a success. No windows were broken. The first time in years. He got good publicity and the business sector was happy.