Thursday, February 28, 2019

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

L-R: Joe, Mary, Bob, and Steven
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:

There were a number of things for me to do. So on Monday, we made arrangements to spend some time with the Arnolds. Mary had kept in contact with them while they were in Waltham and she visited them often. She and Doris hit it off very well. In fact on wee and Mary visited and they were to go out. Doris asked her to help get the house in shape  Mary went into the dining room, Charlie had a stack of papers lying here and there. She took them and shoved them in a drawer in a built-in cupboard off the dining room.

Charlie would go home on weekend from the Cape where he worked for the government in establishing recreation places for G.I.s. When he got home and went to the dining room to get his papers, he yelled for Doris in the kitchen. "What happened to my papers?" Doris looked at Mary. "What did you do?"

Mary told Charlie she put the papers in the drawer in the cupboard off the dining room. She said he messed up the dining room. And he shouldn't leave his papers lying around. That was your mother. Sticking her nose where it didn't belong. An attribute of her ethnic custom of her Arianesi. [ed: typical Dad ๐Ÿ˜น] It wasn't the first and it would not be the last. Any way Charlie took the lecture. And whenever Doris told him that Mary was going to visit from thereafter, he would gather his papers, run up to his room, and put the papers where they would still be in the same position. He just piled letters, paper, etc. one upon the other. And whatever paper he had to refer to  at a later date he could go the pile and pull it out.

I also kept in touch with them via mail while in the service. Mary to the date claims that she kept the friendship going. Because Skip and I were at odds. Yes, but it did not affect the friendship.

They invited us when they found out that I was coming home, to spend some time with them. {ed: Charlie and Doris had moved to Ohio] I called them and Skip gave me a number to call. It was to a man who worked for one of the aircraft companies at the airport.He told me to mention his name, that any time he needed to get a seat or seats to call him. I did and he too my number and about ten minutes later he called us and told me which airline and to give my name.The tickets would be waiting and he gave me the time to call for them so that we would be able to make the flight.

Although the war was over the nation was still in a war condition. Everything was rationed. One needed tickets for everything. Anyway in January we flew to Cleveland, Ohio. It was a nice trip. I did not need to be on the alert. Back in our war zones I flew a number of time to go to schools (Army) or to locate our positions to drop supplies during rough weather.

When we landed Charlie was waiting for us. As we told him when we were to take off from EB [ed: East Boston] our flight and arrival time.

Doris had three boys and she loved them. But when I was in Waltham, she had two boys and I asked if there would be more children. She said she would like to and have it be especially a girl. She also told me that they had had a girl but she died shortly after birth. She never mentioned the girl again. Except that she would like to try but was afraid. She did but it was a boy. Steven.

And as I note that she and Mary go along very well. Mary stood in the position of the daughter she yearned for. Even after they moved back to Massachusetts. And we visited, Doris just bloomed with Mary around and mentoring her on the short cuts to take while cooking new recipes, etc.

The move to Ohio resulted in the end of the war. In his job, Charlie moved to be in charge for New England. When the war ended , that job went to the person who had it. If they wanted it back. And most did.

I was asked if I wanted to go back to the Waltham Boys Club. I said no. So Charlie opted for the Cleveland job as it was open and had to do with housing.

Our time seemed to fly. Since most things were bought with ration tickets. Things to be plentiful in Cleveland and I bought a coat, suit, shirts which your mother said she bought. She seemed to shut her eyes that every month I was in service a percentage of my salary was sent home to her.

We got to see some of Cleveland. They had a nice city and nice stores. We had everything that we bought shipped home, no charge and no payment of taxes either. If we took the clothes they would add the taxes on the bill. We saved some money and we also took Steven with us one day and bought him a coat. He looked cute in it. Doris said we should not have done anything like that.

Like all good thing they must come to and end so we made arrangements to fly home. Mary enjoyed it. Her first and last flight.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

T Stands for Latte Art

A happy, little, time waster for today. Sit back with your favorite beverage and enjoy.


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, February 25, 2019

Happy Mail


Some extra fun, happy mail arrived in my mailbox the other day. Blog bud, Finnbadger, from Envelope 100 sent me a fun envelope to celebrate Chinese New Year and the Year of the Boar.  Finnbadger chose font colors to match the beautiful, bright pink, peach blossom stamp. And too fun he replaced the letter "O" and number "0" with a cute piggy face.

And just so the scanning machine wouldn't get confused, Finn printed my address on the back of the envelope with To: 


Inside, a card with the year. Handy so I know what year it is and 


A lovely card with a dragon and the wish that it makes me think of Summer. It's also giving me ideas for a koi pond near the Zensical garden, but only if there could be a resident dragon.

Thank you, Finnbadger, for brightening up my mailbox and now adding color to the studio wall. I crack up every time I see the piggy face.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

How Does Your Garden Grow?


The mailbox survived another snow to sleet event.



Jack Frost dropped by to paint some birds winging through clouds


Shhhh, we're hunting wabbits.


The haunted pear solar light decided to glow.


Bright sun brought an avalanche waiting to happen.


Dappled sun light


Sunday morning guests at the feeder.

How does your garden grow?

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Saturday Afternoon at the Movies

This idea came from a Facebook meme:
Over 10 days, post your 10 all time favorite films. What movie has really made an impact on you or what films can you watch over and over and never tire of? Post either the movie poster, DVD cover or even a screenshot on your timeline. No need to explain.

Only I had a hard time picking out just 10 movies so my favorites over the next few hundred Saturdays ๐Ÿ˜ธ in semi-alphabetical order:me favorite films. What movie has really made an impact on you or what films can you watch over and over and never tire of? Post either the movie poster, DVD cover or even a screenshot on your timeline. No need to explain.

Only I had a hard time picking out just 10 movies so my favorites over the next few hundred Saturdays ๐Ÿ˜ธ in semi-alphabetical order:


The Forbidden Kingdom (2008) Jackie Chan, Jet Li

If you haven't seen this movie is available for rent on YouTube and Amazon Prime.

Friday, February 22, 2019

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. Teague and I went to lunch. I had a cheat day. A real bacon cheeseburger on a bun with sweet potato fries.

2. Himself lost his wallet. Cancelling bank cards was done online.  Had all the documents needed so he could go to the AAA (American Automobile Association) office instead of the Registry to get his license replaced. Hardly any wait time.

3. We had Keto lunch at the Outback Steakhouse on the way to the AAA. Steak, summer squash, carrots, salad for Himself and salmon, broccoli, and salad for me.

4. Happy mail arrived.

5. Himself called security at school and they said someone had found his wallet and would leave it at the Framingham campus. The town police came to the door to tell him the wallet had been found and he could pick it up at the Framingham police station. And everything in his wallet. License, debit card, credit card, and $4 in cash.

How was your week?

Thursday, February 21, 2019

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 landing was not at East Boston airport [ed: Logan Airport]. We landed at a military airport and were put on a truck to get to Camp Devens. It was an overnight sleep. The next morning, we would be processed out.

I was shaving and I had a fellow on my left pushing his face forward and trying to get a look at me. I looked at him and figured that he was a little mind boggled G.I. He finally spoke to me and said do you have an Uncle Fred in Wellesley? I turned to face him and there stood my cousin, Arthur. We greeted each other. And he asked me how was I going to get home? Was someone coming to pick me up? I said by bus. So he said why don't you come with me, I'm being picked up and you can also see my father. He'll be happy to see you. And we can then take you to the bus stop in Newton. So I said ok. [ed: Arthur's brother] Charlie came to pick us up and I went with my cousins, we had gone through the process of getting our discharges, money due us, etc. Told that we should continue to see a doctor once a year. That we were in good shape and should continue to do so.

We got to Uncle Fred and he was in his glory. He had his Italian G.I. uniform on with medals attached and a bottle of liquor in his hand. He was one happy father. His sons were home. Arthur served in Europe, Tootsie had been been in the armor corps keeping rifles and artillery  in apple pie condition. Repairs, etc. with a discharge rank of Captain. The Todiscos like a lot of other families did their share.

Of course the stop delayed my getting home. But eventually I got to the bus. Got closer to Boston and finally the last trip to East Boston. On the subway I ran into Uncle Mike and we greeted each other. He asked me which house I was going to I said my wife. He said do they know that you are coming home? I said yet they expect me. But he insisted on coming with me. The old Italian mind set in. He thought they would be surprised to see me after years of being away from home, changed etc. That they could be shocked. It happened in some house where the returnee was going to surprise the family. In some cases it caused strokes, passing out, etc.

After the greetings I began to settle down and your mother was proud as a peacock. It was noon or after and it would be a long day after dinner.. It was a Sunday. We would go to my mother and father. It was a happy and tiresome day. Your grandmother was feeling her son from time to time to make sure I was all in one piece.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

T Stands for Emergency Preparedness

At the beginning of Winter and the threat of a bigger storm with loss of electricity (didn't happen), I was searching for a way of heating water for tea without a gas generator or camping stove requiring storing of flammable liquids.



And I found the Cauldryn Fyre Mobile 2.0 Smart Mug.  It comes with a battery that you charge using a wall outlet. The battery charge lasts 20 hours and also has 2 USB charging ports. The smart mug will keep your beverage at the perfect temperature you set. It also comes with a desk coaster so you can have your tea or coffee just the way you like it at your desk. The mug/bottle holds 16 oz.

According to the packaging you can take the mug camping, hiking, outdoors and you can cook food directly in the mug, sterilize water, besides heating water for tea or coffee. It's also a good device to have on hand for emergency preparedness. The insulated bottle can also be used to keep a beverage cold.

On my test run out of the package, the battery needed to be fully charged. The instructions read to fully charge the battery before every use.  The battery took 4 hours to fully charge. The temperature scale on the mug can be changed from Fahrenheit to Celsius.


Somewhere I read that 135 oF. was a good temperature for tea. It isn't. The water was tepid, and I ended up nuking it in the microwave for 20 seconds. I also forgot to time how long it took the water to reach the temperature setting.


On my next test, I used the desk coaster instead of the battery. A search for the temperature of the Keurig brewer found 192 oF. to be the perfect setting for tea or coffee. Cold tap water was 38 oF. and took 1/2 hour for the water to reach 192 oF. Not nearly as fast as a cup of coffee/tea from the Keurig brewer. Maybe as fast as water boiled in an electric kettle?

You can also buy additional accessories. A blender attachment if you want to make smoothies out in the middle of the woods, a percolator and coffee bean grinder, an adapter base so you can heat water while driving in your car or your boat.

I won't be needing any of the accessories any time soon. The mug is perfect to add to my emergency preparedness routine.

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, February 18, 2019

Monday Mea Culpa

Regular readers will remember on this past week's Friday Five, I mentioned the flowers and lovely dessert Himself made for Valentine's Day. He reprimanded me after reading the post because he was put out that I didn't tell everything. Now part of me didn't tell everything because I didn't want to brag, and I didn't take a picture of the presentation because the kitchen was a mess.

Himself didn't want me to brag, but was disappointed that I didn't show the effort he went through and his imaginative presentation.  Before that, a bit of a recap about the previous week. Regular readers will remember in  the Friday Five I mentioned getting a new car and having to clean out my old car. I had a couple of car charms, a small TARDIS and my Doctor, the 10th Doctor key chain. I thought I lost those items as I couldn't find them anywhere. 

When I told Himself, he did what any good person would do, he solved the problem. He figured he'd take care of replacing my car charms and getting me a Valentine gift at the same time so he ordered the items from Amazon. And of course, after searching high and low for the car charms, I thought the only place they could be would be in the trash bag when I cleaned out my car. And they were.

I knew I'd be getting the Funko Pop 10th Doctor and TARDIS figures because Himself had ordered them using my Amazon Prime account, and I got an email telling me my order was on its way. All good.

Himself left for school early on Valentine's Day. 


(I cleaned the kitchen table and recreated the display for this blog post.) There were the Funko Pop figures, a  lovely card, and the surprise flowers with a balloon. Also arranged like flying buttresses and creating the illusion of a pyramid were some Lily's Milk Chocolate bars. A keto treat as the chocolate is sweetened with Stevia. I wasn't quite able to stack the chocolates as he did, but you get the gist.

Himself rarely gives me flowers so my first thought was I wonder what he did?  ๐Ÿ˜บ Were they giving flowers away for free? ๐Ÿ˜บ Or did he feel guilty because I knew what the Valentine's gift was going to be ahead of time? ๐Ÿ˜บ


The Doctor figure ( 4 in.) could fit in the car cup holder, but neither of us figured the TARDIS would be so big (7 in. x 3 in. x 3 in). Maybe not suitable for the car, but toys in the office/studio are fun.

So, there you have it. The entire show and tell. Thanks, Kid, for going to great lengths to make Valentine's Day extra special for me. ๐Ÿ’™

Sunday, February 17, 2019

How Does Your Garden Grow?


Before a mid-week storm, the bird feeder was like an airport.


First sighting of the cardinal this season


Looks like he's giving a speech. Either that or complaining that there's not enough seed.


Having his snack


White lawn


The mailbox survived the snow, sleet, and icy mess


Crystal trees


Mild temps. brought a mourning dove out to chill.

How does your garden grow?

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Saturday Afternoon at the Movies

This idea came from a Facebook meme:
Over 10 days, post your 10 all time favorite films. What movie has really made an impact on you or what films can you watch over and over and never tire of? Post either the movie poster, DVD cover or even a screenshot on your timeline. No need to explain.

Only I had a hard time picking out just 10 movies so my favorites over the next few hundred Saturdays ๐Ÿ˜ธ in semi-alphabetical order:me favorite films. What movie has really made an impact on you or what films can you watch over and over and never tire of? Post either the movie poster, DVD cover or even a screenshot on your timeline. No need to explain.

Only I had a hard time picking out just 10 movies so my favorites over the next few hundred Saturdays ๐Ÿ˜ธ in semi-alphabetical order:


Field of Dreams (1989) Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, Burt Lancaster, Ray Liotta

If you haven't seen this movie, it's available for rent on YouTube.com

Friday, February 15, 2019

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. Had a wonderful, lazy Sunday

2. Because of the impending storm, the college closed early. Himself got home just as the first flakes were falling.

3. I had contacted the fella who clears our driveway of snow if he could have us cleared out by mid-afternoon so I'd be able to get to the museum to teach class. No problem

4. Surprise snow squalls left the roads slick and icy, but the new car got me home safe and sound. I thought I'd have problems getting up our hill, but the squalls missed my town.

5. Himself baked a special Valentine's dessert of gluten free brownies with a strawberry and blueberry ganache. He had to use the blueberries because as a surprise for him, I used some of the strawberries that I dipped in Lily's chocolate.

How was your week?

Thursday, February 14, 2019

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:

When MacArthur left the shelter of Corregidor, the press stated that he took all his gold, jewels and silver, etc. They did a job on him.Even to this day there are people who will tell you what he did, took treasure. No such thing. The press did not mention that the General loved to read and could go through 5 books in a day. He had a library of 5,000 books. A number of them out of print. The Japanese set it on fire and destroyed it. When he landed in Manila and things were going well he wrote to his wife that in a couple of weeks he would have her come to Manila. As it would be safe. He added a PS. "By the way your silver set has been recovered." The press did not mention that and other things he allegedly took.

While I was able to study him, I did not see any character of acting or showing off. He didn't have to. He appeared to me to be someone who knew what he wanted to do and how to do it.

The Press marginalized him. And that might have been that he did not trust it. When he was young and single he had an affair with an Asian woman whom he dumped. It appears that a reporter ran into the woman. The reporter asked if MacArthur had given her anything. He hadn't. The reporter told her that he would get her some. And he held MacArthur up for $10,000.

At the time if it made the headline that he had a mistress, it would not have hurt him if it came out in the media. He paid because he loved his mother and he knew that she would be shattered if she found out. In fact, when he was admitted to West Point, she rented a room across the street so she could keep an eye on him.

I read where she got him his Captain's promotion. General Pershing who was the Commander in Chief of the country's doughboys was not too happy with MacArthur.

In WWI the war was fought a lot different. Both sides dug in. And attacks would be planned would would get out of their trenches and attack. He would go over the top with his walking stick. On the theory that if the men saw their officer go over the top, they would follow their officer. Evidently, this put Pershing in a tough position. If MacArthur was killed, the public and the politicians would have blamed Pershing for getting him killed. It was MacArthur's father that raised a lot of the officers that fought in WWI. Maybe so and they returned the thanks with his son by promoting him. I don't think so. He would have moved to the top under any circumstances.

With the Japanese in surrender we began thinking of getting home as fast as we could. So the exit out of the Army was worked out on the number of points you had. The length of time, married, etc. and you received a number and that's how we got home.I had a high number and that allowed me to get home by Christmas [ed: 1945] And I boarded a ship again. Only this time it was headed for the good, old USA. Hence I made my second crossing of the Equator. The first time I had a Sunday that lasted 48 hours. The second a Monday that lasted 48 hours. Quite an experience.

Dad, Abe, and Spruce
We docked at San Diego, I think and we had another problem. The trains, the Western system was laid out with one track. And one had to wait until the train went to its destination, and would unload and go on a turn table and head back from whence it came. It caused a lot of problems, w were upset, our families were upset, etc. So the Government resolved the problem. We would be going home by air. And our wait was a few days. My friends were Abe and Gordon Armstrong. Gordon had an uncle in California and he was not too far. He told me that his uncle was coming to pick him up and he wanted us to go with him. It was evening when he came. I was introduced and got in the car. How long we drove I have no idea. But we got there and what a welcome we got.His wife insisted on giving us a bacon and egg breakfast. It was after midnight. They had a daughter who had married a G.I. who was shot down. He was in the air corps. Gordon was asked to go with her which was ok with us. His uncle kept good company and his wife was cooking as the smell came our way.

Gordon Armstrong in front of the MacArthur residence
It was a beautiful furnished home.The living room was one that you came to and stepped down one step. It was large and the step up was semi-circle. In due course, Gordon came back with his cousin and by this time breakfast was ready. We had a nice breakfast and a nice time.The uncle was a vice president of the Union and Pacific Railroad. And asked us what plans we had. We both said to get home. He said if you two don't land jobs or don't like what you're doing, just come back here and we will see that you get a good living.

We left in the wee hours of the morning and returned to camp.No one bothered us as everyone there was scheduled to get out of the Army. Back in Manila we were asked to stay in and if we did we would get a promotion. I would have moved from a 3-striper to a 2nd sergeant which would have brought 100 plus men in my unit. No thank you.

About a day after our episode with Gordon's uncle, I was on a plane and so was he but on a different plane.

While waiting to board different flights he was going to a Western state, he told me that his cousin was interest in me. He told her that I was married. Had I been single I would have considered advances. From what I saw I would have had it made.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

T Stands for Kintsugi



I have some luncheon plates that belonged to my grandmother. I think Dad's mother. I don't really know their provenance. I asked Ma one time who the dishes had belonged to. She said Grandma. Since Ma had them in her china cabinet for as long as I can remember, and her mother was still alive at the time of the asking, I took her answer to mean Dad's mother.

They are hand painted. The cups have "Italy" hand-painted on the bottom, and the plates are stamped "Italy." Most likely mass-produced at the turn of the 20th. century. Perhaps sent from the Old Country as a wedding gift for my grandmother. The sort of item every young bride had to entertain company.

 I have used them once. There are 4 tea cups, 6 plates, and 1 sugar bowl. One of the tea cups has 2 cracks in it. There are 8 other tea cups which I thought belonged to this set, but are slightly different. The shape of the cup is not the same, and the color of the trim is green and not blue as the luncheon set. Blue trimmed plate and green trimmed teacup are pictured above.

I don't believe they hold any value beyond sentimental. I really don't have a use for them, and I'm sure my girlies won't want them. I'd like to keep something that belonged to my grandmother as she passed a month after I was born. But what to do?

I remembered reading about a Japanese art of fixing stuff with gold. Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold. A special lacquer with gold, silver, or platinum powder is applied to the broken piece. "Since its conception, Kintsugi has been heavily influenced by prevalent philosophical ideas. Namely, the practice is related to the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, which calls for seeing beauty in the flawed or imperfect. The repair method was also born from the Japanese feeling of mottainai, which expresses regret when something is wasted, as well as mushin, the acceptance of change." from https://mymodernmet.com/kintsugi-kintsukuroi/

I don't have the special lacquer, but I do have gilding size and gold leaf. I could gild the cracks in the cup. Donate the other cups and plates to charity without feeling guilty, and keep the gilded cup as a link to my grandmother.


Gilding tools at the ready


Since the cracks were shallow and narrow, Roberson's Water Gold Size was applied to the cracks with a Brause EF66 nib, a very fine, pointed nib.


The gold size took about 20 minutes to dry. After huffing on the size, 23 karat gold leaf was applied.  


The gold was burnished through a piece of glassine paper with an agate burnisher and a shoe burnisher. Huffing, laying the gold leaf, and burnishing was repeated two  more times on both cracks. (3 layers of gold leaf)

The little cup on display,


and now more of a treasure.

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, February 11, 2019

A Matter of Perspective

When he's going to the store and asks if you need anything. You say you need some chia seeds. You tell him he can find Bob's Red Mill in the baking aisle, and you expect he'll bring home a small, 12 oz. bag.


 What he hears is chia seeds


and he brings home a 5 lb. tub.

I use a teaspoon or so of chia seeds when I make a smoothie. I sprinkle some on the Keto hamburger buns I make. I make strawberry jam (1 cup) Any other recipes for chia seeds? I may have to buy one of the chia pets to use up all these seeds.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

How Does Your Garden Grow?


Kitty can't believe it's so warm late in the afternoon, and it was just a tease


Ice coated trees loom out of the fog. 


Because of high winds and the threat of ice, the garden flag got moved into the front porch


Cold hands


Warm hearts


High winds didn't stop the chickadee from grabbing a perch on the sunflower stalk


before he decided to have a snack


A quarter to five in the afternoon and the sun isn't that low on the horizon.

How does your garden grow?