Friday, October 29, 2010

Sorry, I'm Not Into It

I will be glad when all of the carved pumpkins are at the curb. People seem to put up Halloween decorations sooner and sooner, so the Jack-o-lanterns look and smell nasty by now. And along with some creative and somewhat attractive designs, there are also many hideous and ugly scenes to look at this lovely time of year.

I'm just saying what I like. I enjoy beauty and these tableau ruin the landscape for me. When I take my grandson for a walk in his baby carriage, we pass a yard with a skeleton hanging from a tree, a man in an electric chair, and a large framed guillotine. I won't describe the details.

I'm not saying I think there should be laws or anything. I just will be glad when it is all put away for another year.

One time a restaurant got in the act with a skeleton lying in a fireplace trough and that cobwebby stuff all around it. I nearly lost my appetite.

I know the children have fun. But I'd just like to know, where is all the cry for healthy food when the kids are shipped into your neighborhood for bags and bags of candy? MacDonalds looks pretty healthy now, eh?
I used to enjoy Halloween, back when it wasn't overdone and most of the ugly yard designs hadn't even been thought of yet. As I say, my day is soon coming when I can go back to clear fall scenes without the icky extras. I told you I was a "Scrooge." Please forgive me and go on with your fun.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Colors and Styles

What would you think if someone were to goof up your decorating scheme? What if that someone were a hardworking and beloved husband? Here's my story.

My guy decides he wants new sheets and a different blanket on the bed, so we go looking at triple B. (That's Bed Bath and Beyond, where my daughter works.) We finally find sheets to his satisfaction. The colors he chooses are not my favorites, but I say, "just not the red." He picks navy blue. I would have gone with cream, turquoise, or even dark brown. I think, "Oh, well, I can live with that if we can get something to cover it." We also got the pillowcases and since there are no bedspreads to be had anymore, the pillows are going to show. We skip the quilts because they are too heavy. We finally find a cotton blanket that is a thickness he likes. Now we have the color problem again. He is willing to do cream in the blanket, but they don't have it in the right size. That leaves brown, which doesn't go now and pure white. I say, "now it will look more like French Provincial that Colonial." He gives me a look and says something like "who cares?" I think he just doesn't know that I have certain styles that I like together and some things just don't "go." He knows what colors he likes, but styles are out there in the stratosphere for him. Are most husbands this way?

I decided that since he was the one who wanted the new things, he could have whatever he wanted. (In the spring, I will have my light quilt and color scheme back.) It makes him happy, I think. At least I hope so. And hardly anyone will see our room. We don't use it to throw coats on at get-togethers or anything like that.

I got everything neat and ready and on the bed. I had to get a couch pillow whose pattern pulled the colors of the pillowcases, blanket and the room together. It didn't look bad. Did it look good? No. I wish I had my colors back. But lately, I'm thinking that I make too much of imagining what my house would look like in a magazine and just letting it be clean, neat, and comfy for my best guy. That's how I feel now. It may be a long winter.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Three Little Girls, Three Little Dolls

Here is a picture of my sisters and I out in back of our old first house that we lived in. We have in front of us our Ginny dolls. Mine has glasses on and a lovely black beret. I believe I got her when I was seven. Dolls were my world then. The advent of new walking dolls with their own fantastic wardrobes you could buy for them made me over the top.

I remember telling you that we went to Cleveland, Ohio in the fall for new school clothes. Sometimes we got to see the toy departments of the great stores: Macy's, The May Company, and others. The Ginny outfits were a bit pricey for those times. I think the real fancy ones were about $7, quite a lot of money then.

My sister on the right of the picture, Jean, the one I traveled with, always found the truly different ensembles. Her doll had a rollerskating skirt and sweater and skates that moved. She had a turquoise velvet coat with pink fuzzy pompoms and a fuzzy pink muff and hat. And the best, her doll had a nightgown and lace housecoat and a little mirror and comb set.

My doll was not completely lacking in luxuries. She had ice skates, a whirly skirt, and a cute little pink plastic suitcase. I was a bit tight with a buck and my mom made me many nice little costumes. To this day, Jean always picks things that are classy and I am still trying to save money. Not that I don't have any, I'm just a bit of a Scrooge.

My other sister, Ellen, had a pretty Ginny, too. She had cute things but she and I were so young that our dolls didn't make it to "adulthood" as well as Jean's. Mine was nice enough that I gave her and some other collectible dolls away to three little girls a while ago. Dolls should be played with. That's my motto.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Big and Little Pickers

Sunday turned out to be a wonderful day full of surprises. It began with a guest speaker at church who reminded us all how much God loves us. Simple, yet through the music he shared it became more like passion from God to us.

Then I hurried home because our family was going apple picking. I love family visits, but I was too tired for anything as vigorous as picking. Or so I thought.

We all met and started out at the fancy apple orchard in the area. It turned out that they had no apples to pick unless you wanted to use some picker on a pole and get a small bag and only one kind of apple was available. What to do? We all got in our cars and drove to the simple and ordinary orchard down the road.

We piled out and found that not only did they have many different apples available, but we all got a free wagon ride to the orchard. My grandson loved it all. At the last minute, I decided to join my sons and get a small green basket to pick raspberries. This was at the end of the trip.

My husband and I didn't need apples, and I had the only camera, so I was able to document the whole outing. What a great "sweater day." The sky was blue for pictures. We all went around to the trees and found the ones each liked best. Of course tasting one was the fun part. You should have seen my little Ty holding his apple and trying to eat it. It was small and fit right into his hand. You'd think it was a treasure the way he held on to it.

At the end, we visited the raspberry patch. I had never picked these. It took a bit of time to figure out that if the berry pulled right off the stem, it was ripe and ready. We all helped each other fill our baskets. I remember thinking how much more fun this was than staying home and resting. I guess I need to learn to like adventure better.

At the end, we all had cider and donuts. Of course, nothing ever tasted better. I love the plain "greasy" ones that are cake-like the best.

This all proves two things: plain can be better than fancy and sometimes I need to get out and do something. Hope your day was a delight as well. Nancy

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Heading For Home

We were up early the next day for our last round of sightseeing. We headed through Rhode Island and stopped at Newport. Our guide book said we could park and take a walking tour of the beautiful old homes there. We had our usual parking problems, but finally drove through the entrance of one of the houses. There a worker said we had to park and pay to see the house. Then, I guess we would have to do that for the others as well. We thanked him and drove on. Since we couldn't do what we wanted, we just drove slowly along and took pictures of the outside of some of the pretty houses. We parked at a turnaround near the water and I got a great blue show of lampposts and a house in the distance.

Traveling on to Connecticut, we aimed for Mystic. These two places were my sister's choices. They turned out to be quite charming. Jean had told me we would be eating pizza in Mystic. I knew there was a movie called Mystic Pizza. I thought it was just any old pizza place, but found out that there was an actual restaurant called Mystic Pizza. That was to be our evening treat. We found a place called Mystic Seaport. If you are from Michigan, you will know what it was like when I tell you that if was sort of a seafaring Greenfield Village.

Small shops and crafts and old time businesses were transported to the place. We saw a lady blacksmith make a Martin spike. She was so nice and a good speaker. A printer spokesman told us how upper and lower case letters got their name. It was their actual placement in a printer's box. We learned that a "first impression" is what the first printed sheet is called. "Copy" is anything you tell or write down.

This place was great for outdoor pictures. I got a picture of the boat Amistad, which was used in the movie and actually just came from Cuba.

One of my favorite things here was a whaling building which showed a film of getting a whale, from the first sighting, to the men's cleanup. All along, the narrative was from Melville's Moby Dick.

We found our restaurant and took pictures under the sign. The movie was playing non-stop and the poster was on the back wall. I will say it was great pizza. We also got a flattened penny from a machine with Mystic Pizza embossed on it. The last time I had one of those was when I was a wee girl at Niagara Falls. Such nostalgia.

We were to have one more treat. Saturday, our last day, we headed home. We ended up getting stuck for nearly two hours on the George Washington Bridge. It isn't fun when four or more lanes try to merge into two. Finally we were through and eventually passed lovely New Jersey and into Pennsylvania. We traveled on a new route 80 that was so scenic and had very few cars. I took pictures outside the car, as we finally saw some color on the trees. Then as weary travelers, still taking pictures off and on to keep busy, God put on a light show just for us. One time it seemed the clouds looked like flying saucers, other times they swished up like a brush had been at them. Finally as the light faded and the sunset colors came, we just kept getting good pictures. We put the cameras away, and then it lightened up and we took more. When we finally got home later that evening, we both burst out in a praise song to God for his loving care through the travels, the many times we just made it to some interesting spot, for the fellowship, the final light show to keep us awake, and just because He is worthy and it was such fun to let out a roar to finish the trip.

I hope you have enjoyed my travelogue. If you plan to visit New England, I know you will have a great time. I believe there is a lifetime of beauty, history, and excitement, just in those few states. Happy traveling. Nancy

I just found out that I received a lovely "One Lovely Blog Award" from Susan Reinhardt. What an unexpected honor. Thank you so much. I'd like to pass it on to Janean at Old Sweetwater Cottage for her always beautiful cottage pictures.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Literary Landmarks

Moving on from Boston, we spied the Charles River and saw some students rowing. We managed to miss seeing the swan boats by three days. It took a long time to get out of the city. Our GPS was headed for Concord. I thought that was just a destination for getting on our way, but we stopped and Jean said, get out, we're visiting here. Where? Orchard House, home of Louisa May Alcott. According to the guidebook, we had missed the tour. My sister had already apologized for that. We were just going to take some outside photos. We did and I was surprised at how close to the road the house was. I guess I thought it would be set way back in the country. Well, it probably was country then.

The lovely ladies at the museum/gift shop said we were in time for the last tour. It was just the two of us so we got a great one. It's a lovely house. The beautiful drawings and paintings were mostly done by the youngest daughter, Amy in the book. Two of my favorite things were the actual desk where Alcott wrote Little Women, and on the couch in the parlor, he mood pillow. It actually existed. Fans of the book will remember it kept Laurie from getting too close to Jo. Seeing this place was an emotional tug for me. It may be hard to imaging, but the March girls from Little Women seem so real to me that I feel that I knew them, personally.

It seemed like we were always hurrying on this vacation and we now needed to rush over and see nearby Walden Pond before it was too dark to take pictures. We were the last ones going in to the park again so we got in free. We parked and walked to the site. At the facilities, women were actually changing into bathing suits. These mostly older people walked down the path and into the water. We could have "partaken" but decided not. Walden Pond was so peaceful and serene. Yes, it looked like so many other ponds, but the fall leaves were changing and the water rippled and I could just imagine Thoreau being so full of ideas that this place helped him get them onto paper. I took quit a few pictures and couldn't part with a single one. Each had its own beauty.

This travelogue is getting lengthy, so my next installment is the last. I still have several great places to share with you. Thanks for being an armchair traveler with me. Nancy

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Visiting Boston

We left the Oyster house and did our regular evening activities. Jean planned the next day’s agenda and I checked my pictures from that day. Then we decided which pictures we wanted from the other’s stash and said goodnight.

Early next morning, we got up and wandered around Boston for awhile. We located Quincy Market and had breakfast. I finally got a bagel and my sister found some sort of fruit tart. We sat in what looked like old school desks. Above us was a dome and there were more old fashioned desks circling the place. We left and headed out to find Paul Revere’s house. We only had time to look at a few places on the Freedom Trail so we wanted to do the most important ones first. Of course we got lost, but eventually, with help from friendly Bostonians, we found the place. We took the tour and learned interesting information about Revere and his other works such as bell making. The house seemed small by our standards.

When wee were finally ready to locate Old North Church,we followed the bricks of the Freedom Trail and located our destination. I was overjoyed. I took pictures of it near and far, from the back and from the front. We went inside for a talk about the famous ride. I learned that Revere may not have himself hang the lantern, but was very much in on the plan. A plaque erected in 1924 says that he did. I don’t care. It still means so much to me and someone did put those lanterns there and warned the patriots and that’s what matters. It’s a beautiful Episcopal Church and just being there made me so happy.

We journeyed on to Faneuil Hall. The Hall provided the place where arguments burst out about practices leading up to the Revolution. I just sat in a seat and pretended to hear someone put forth a piece of information in a heated manner and someone else across the way yelling, “Oh, yeah?” or “That’s right.” The main floor room had a lovely dais and a stunning Daniel Webster picture. It’s very large and quite exciting and I hope nothing happens to it. In fact, I hope all of these sights are around for a long time to come so that future Americans can enjoy them.
My impression of Boston was a very good one, the traffic patterns and one-way streets notwithstanding. In the evening, the place seems as lovely and urban as New York City with all of the lights shining from the skyscrapers. By day, the cobblestone streets and history take you back to yesterday. Yes, I loved it very much. And the people were warm and wonderful.

Next time, we’ll visit a few literary stops to melt my heart and make me smile. See you then.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rush to The Oyster House

Last time, we just had a great dinner at the Lobster Shack. Our original plan was to go back through New Hampshire and see the fall colors. Since the leaves weren't at their peak yet, we decided to skip the scenic tour and stay in Maine for another day. That was great for me because I had already fallen love with the state.

We rose early and went on a search for lighthouses. We found that the first one was at a great distance. It was Portland Head Light in Fort Williams Park. I was fascinated by old wire lobster cages, ropes, and other materials on the beach. There was an old post with handles on each end. We weren't sure what that was for. I got a good close-up still life of good debris, but no one else was very interested in it.

We came back to the lighthouse we had seen the first night and got some great closeups of it. As far as we can tell, it was called Two Lights Lighthouse. We came back to the Lobster Shack and took lots of pictures. I just loved the coast and the crashing waves and the weathered rocks. A private lighthouse was near and we got some very good shots of that, too.

It was about here that my camera started acting up and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get any more pictures, but it just needed to be recharged once again and treated with more respect.

We left Portland and headed for Kennebunkport. We got lost of course, but it turns out that every road seems to lead there. We were very late having lunch. We had had no breakfast. So we were looking for a place called something like "It's Always Breakfast." We went through town several times. Finally got a place to park and walked around. We got directions, but still could not find the place. Finally we ended in a store/restaurant and there on a sign it said, "always breakfast." It was just to inform us of the menu, not the place we were looking for. We had a great brunch. I told my husband that Kennebunkport has the best bacon I have ever eaten. There were casual pictures of President George Bush (the first one) on the wall with some lovely looking townspeople. I even thought I saw an acquaintance in a photo on the wall, but on asking my husband about it, I guess I was mistaken. We never did find that silly old restaurant, even though we gave it one last look on the way out of town.

Now we had to hurry so we could be in Boston by about 5:00 so we could find our hotel, unpack, and get to our reservation at the Union Oyster House on time. We made it by five, but parking and missing a turn and getting back in place in Boston is very tricky. We were nearly at our wit's end, but finally got all settled. We had no time to change as we had planned, so we saw one of the oldest sights in our traveling clothes.

Jean, my sister, had lobster again - this time a lot more expensive. I had something light and Boston Cream pie. The place is very historic. There are great pictures of Daniel Webster, and battle scenes and a famous Kennedy booth. I'm so glad we went there.

Next time, the rest of Boston.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Rush to Lobster

We started our trip in Ohio, went through Pennsylvania to New York. From there we moved on to Vermont. We arrived in Bennington, Vt. in the evening. The first thing of note was The Old First Church lit up with candles in the windows. We later toured it and the graveyard where Robert Frost is buried. They still have services and it is one of the loveliest churches I have ever seen. Inside on the left, up in the balcony is a bench where young men sat and quietly whittled and whacked at the pew. So much fun to imagine those boys smiling away at the ladies across the way.

We stayed at Bennington Motor Inn where the rooms were quaint like a bed and breakfast. Dinner at Allegro was great. My salad had something unusual peeking through the leaves. It tasted like cheese and had the texture of mushrooms. My sister guessed tofu. I think she was right. Good, my first.

In the morning we found the obelisk monument to The Battle of Bennington. John Stark was the hero and his statue is out in front. Also the Green Mountain Boys come into the action. In the tower, reached by elevator, one can see out onto three states: New York, Mass., and Vt. The rest of the afternoon was spent trying to find the lovely covered bridges in the area. We were near three of them, yet managed to get lost several times. The map was a bit confusing. The blue sky and lovely landscape and the red of the bridges made for gorgeous picture taking.

One funny thing about this area was all the painted moose. There was one at the obelisk and several in town. My favorite is the "Starry Night" moose. We also got a picture of a moose silhouette on a moose crossing sign.

This left us little time to get through New Hampshire and get to our lobster dinner in Portland. We hustled across the state. The trees were just turning, so we didn't miss any scenic overlooks or anything. We finally get to near our destination at about 7:28p.m. Our GPS said this was it. "This is it?" We are at a dead end or near one. Suddenly my sister says "look," On her left was a huge lighthouse in the dusk looming over us. And "look there," I say. On the right, way up on a hill and back from the road is a building with a neon open sign. That's it. It's the Lobster Shack.

We got our order placed at 7:29 and the place quit taking orders at 7:30. Our dinner had a whole lobster caught fresh (that morning), fries, Cole slaw, and biscuits for $19. We didn't get any bibs or cracking implements. Lucking we were casually dressed. I cracked my lobster legs with my fingers. They were hot and prickly, but I persevered. Then the tail. Every bite delicious. Then I carried one of my big claws to the restroom. Several people were in front talking. I was feeling like a child, having fun. I washed it off and now it is on my bookcase.

We went out and looked at the ocean. Of course it was dark. Oh, it smelled so fresh and good. I had a huge overwhelming joy and I put my hand in the air. I think I felt like Brendan Fraser in Blast From the Past the first time he sees the ocean. It just does something to ya. More next time.