Saturday, June 9, 2018

"Storybooks through the Ages" Mural

Today we found this wonderful mural high near the ceiling of the children's section of the Torrington library. It contains illustrations representing over fifty books and landmarks of Torrington. This wonderful artwork was made by Marc Stolfi painting from a scaffold in the wee hours of the morning alone, some times concerned about things that went bump in the night when he was there alone.

This is an amazing tribute that we were glad we happened across and ironically, later in the day we met the artist at Coe Park. We shared with him, George's special experience being alone at night in an old library when he was cleaning (there is an older blog about that). I was glad that we got to personally tell Marc how much we liked his mural.

Here is the rest of the mural. See how many stories and landmarks you can find, if you are willing.

Here are the list of the stories and landmarks in the mural. You will probably have to enlarge the picture to read it. We highly recommend a visit to the Torrington Library to check this out. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

Mini excursion to Connecticut Historical Society Museum

We have been here before but when they label a special new exhibit as "That's Weird", it attracted our attention. We were able to get here before this exhibit closes next month. It was fun seeing the weird things that ended up at this Connecticut museum.

One of the first things we saw was a lock of Abraham Lincoln's hair and then below that was just a couple of George Washington's hairs in a card. They have letters to back them up, but who knows for sure. On the way out, George offered to give them some of his hairs--authentic George Washington hair. Silly people didn't want them but thanked him for the offer.

Here are a few of the interesting things we saw.

This flag, which is under glass and barely holding together, was on display at Ford Theater the night that Lincoln was shot. It is said, perhaps for dramatic effect, that he may have grabbed this flag as he was shot. Still I always find things that were actually "there" in history, fascinating.

Things made out of the Charter Oak:

This was interesting in that it is very local (New Hartford). They were asking people to vote on what they would like the museum to display more--this and a couple of other options, one being the Yard goats mascot's head.

I have a special fascination of the Leather Man and I was pleased to see actual artifacts from him.

Some movies with Connecticut ties. This one kind of peaked my interest because it's the first "horror monster musical". I am really interested in that musical score!

These were from the not-weird part of the museum, but I found them interesting:

Oh, my. I guess this is not a new sentiment:

I have such fond memories of Savin Rock

Lake Compounce

I took this picture because when my parents moved to Connecticut, for a short while they both worked at Royal Typewriter (the one on the right is a Royal).

I smiled at this book, "written by a lady":

Benjamin Franklin's "Way to Wealth".  I guess people have always searched for wealth.

The witchcraft hysteria didn't miss Connecticut--in fact, we were years ahead of Salem sadly.

Finally there was a room dedicated to Tavern Signs. As this sign told us, they were required

The one in the bottom right corner is Pettibones.

Interesting name, "Strangers Resort"

I wonder what kind of entertainment was provided for horses.

Obviously the word "entertainment" wouldn't fit across...

And I'll leave you with these words of advice:

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Food and Books--need I say more?

So, when it's in the 50's on a sunny February day, what does one do? It was too nice to go inside to a museum. We're not really up to hiking. Then I stumbled across this. For those who know George and I, books and eating are two big parts of our lives. So it only seems natural that we travel nearly 50 miles to the Traveler Restaurant in Union, the smallest town in Connecticut.

We found the quaint little restaurant after a nice ride through the Suffield, Enfield, Hazardville, Stafford Springs area (not taking the highway to enjoy the scenery).  There are books for sale and what always speaks to us--books for free. The menu says one but actually they are giving three each to customers. We can never say no to free books!

For lunch we both had the fish (haddock) and chips. It was quite good and large portions, flaky breading, good coleslaw. While you are waiting for your food (which didn't take too long), you can browse the books, puzzles and cards for sale or look at the photos of authors on the wall. Here are some.

If George could have found the t-shirt in the color/size he wanted, he would have gotten one. It says it all.

It was a nice day, a scenic ride to some place different, and a nice lunch amongst books.

Here's the back of the menu with the history of the restaurant. Book lovers, I highly suggest checking out this small, but unique place for a bite and a book.

Monday, January 29, 2018

23, 741 Yesterdays

Turning 65 is not a happy number to me. Now I can't hide from the fact that I am officially, everywhere a senior citizen. Some places 62 would qualify. AARP starts soliciting you at 50. Everywhere 65 is senior. I liked 64 because it had its own song, "When I get older losing my hair, many years from now...." Nice tune, upbeat music. What's 65 got? Medicare. Wow, talk about feeling old. Where did the years go?

So many days seem like just yesterday, and they all are "just" yesterdays--days that have just passed away. I have lived over 23,741 yesterdays. Yesterdays of experiences, learning, careers started and changed, families started, loved ones found and other loved ones lost. Yesterdays of hard winters and warm summers; yesterdays of tough times and yesterdays of laughter and joy. Yesterdays of planning for all the future tomorrows, hopes and dreams and the world ahead. The more yesterdays we live, the less tomorrows are in our future, the less dreams and plans to make. Less things are physically in our grasp. But it's a time when less is expected of us and a time when we should be able to just relax and share our knowledge and experience with those who may be interested.

As we age we look back on our yesterdays, we can now see the invisible thread that connects some yesterdays to other future days and sometimes we can see the result of having lived that day to have the knowledge or wisdom to handle another, the building of experiences in our tower of life. Brick by brick, our memories are stacked day by day, year by year. Those times when I see the thread, it is made clear to me, I know it was God's divine plan. He alone, knows all our tomorrows and how our life is weaved together from our yesterdays to today.

I have to give a nod to Paul McCartney, who I adored as a teenager, and his song, "Yesterday"--"all my troubles seemed so far away, now it looks as though they're here to stay, oh, I believe in yesterday." We've all had dark days like that when yesterdays seemed so much better than the future, but it isn't good to stay in those dark thoughts. Remember and cherish those good yesterdays but be strong and hold out hope for a good tomorrow or even just a good today, believe in today or tomorrow, not yesterday as the song says.

Day by day we have a chance to start over, to touch someone somehow--to help, to encourage or to even just to share a smile or a laugh. Twenty three thousand days, I wonder how many I wasted? The older we get, the more precious those days are--knowing I will not get 23,000 more. Did I squander them? Was I fruitful? Did I touch someone?

Turning 65 makes me hear the tick tock of the clock louder. Time is passing way too fast, day by day. When my tower of memories is done being made, how long will my tower be remembered by others, keeping it alive? Will it slowly crumble away until it is forever gone?

Yes, 65 comes to me like a shot in the arm at the doctor's. You don't like it, but are glad to be avoiding the alternative. Take each tomorrow that comes and turn it into a yesterday that you will be proud or happy of having lived. Whether I live one day more or a few thousand, I hope I can make each day worthy of living, even if it's just a simple little smile passed on to someone. Don't get me wrong, I have big things I would like to accomplish too and turning 65 is a strong reminder to me that the past contains more days than the future. Each day is more precious than the last. We must keep building our towers of memories and bringing joy and happiness to not only others, but to ourselves. Remember the value of the each day before it blends into the thousands you've already lived, like an artist blending colors in a painting. And may we live long enough that our painting is a huge mural with mostly happy memories.

So, I will go on. My birthday is "just" another day in the year, another day tacked onto my life. My past reflections may harbor some regrets but my past makes me who I am and it also makes me more thankful for each day I am given. Now I will try to embrace the magic number that makes me a full fledged senior citizen. It's going to take a mental adjustment as I still feel like a kid at heart. Seniorhood, here I come, ready or not.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Christmas Ornaments for my family's info

Since I don't have really regular subscribers to my blog, I am just using this as a place to "store" this info for my family. 

Many Christmas ornaments are obvious that they are from various vacations we went on but I wanted to document some just for your information.


In the picture above, the red, white and blue bell, I made for our first Christmas.
The dried flowers are from our first Christmas too.
The rattan-type bell is part of a set but most have had to be thrown out. They were part of a wedding gift of ornaments from my childhood friend, Margie Watson. 
The angel is my little angel that my parents bought for me for my first Christmas. It has lost it's wings. I believe they bought it at G-Fox.
The wooden nativity, Dad and I bought in Pennsylvania on our honeymoon. 
The Deb mail box was made by the postmaster/boss who hired me in East Hartland, Priscilla Silkey. (she has since passed away). 
The peanut man, I am pretty sure my Mom made.
The bird houses were made by Uncle Joe.
The bird on the clothes pin I made with the kids, Tiffany and Ben.
The crochet skates were made by Dad's sister, Ellie.
The rainbow candy were just bought in honor of rainbow candy being invented in Winsted, CT.
The star was made by a customer from East Hartland, as was another ornament like that. He was a nice guy, Robert Burke and sadly died in a fire at his workshop.
All spoons used to be Grammy Washington's.
The wooden ornament is from Germany from my friend, Joanne Bazzano who was in my wedding. She bought it when she went to Germany.
The paper ornament is from Hedy Wasner, another friend from my days at CG Insurance. She brought it from Poland where she was from.

The ones above I made in a Christmas program at Valley.

I didn't take pictures of some...the one that says "teacher" is from being a Sunday School teacher at Valley.
The one that says Dear Santa shaped like a letter, was given to me from a teacher at the Hartland Elementary School for personally answering all the Santa letters from her class.
It is obvious the ones Tiffany and Ben made and that some like the fireman and wrestlers were Ben's.
All I can think of for now. Will add more if I think of more.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Ice Chunks in the Farmington River

What an awesome treat today. We happened to drive by the Farmington River in Collinsville and were so amazed to see these amazing chunks of ice that must have thawed when we had our record warm days and the river moved them to the edge as it flowed and then they re-froze when the temperatures dropped. That's the only explanation we could think of, but I just have to say it was such a treat to see them. Some chunks of ice were clear as glass and you could see through them. This was something we never saw before and were so glad to happen across it.

Truly these pictures don't give credit to the wonder of seeing these massive chunks of ice in person. I encourage you, if you are near Collinsville this week, check it out.