Thursday, December 30, 2010

Twilight's glory filled with twinkling lights

Now that I am working 2nd shift, and since I am not a late night person, I really love and appreciate my nights off. I have tonight off! Hence my excitement!!

A trek to the library and a new book brightened this evening even more!

Next was a trip to the grocery store, and while I was looking into all the surly shoppers' eyes, I was beaming! I have the night off! I am happy to stand in line at 5pm on a Thursday night!

Stepping out into the parking lot, the sky was dusky and gorgeous...that blue at the top,  purple in the middle, and red/orange/yellow at the horizon kind of sky... The lights of town were twinkling, as well as the holiday lights in the park. The ducks were flying over the river, trying to decide if they should touch down or not. The piles of snow and their melty trails were starting to freeze up as Mr. Sunshine was headed to bed for the night.

GORGEOUS! And I got to see it and feel the crispy air on my face!

It is amazing that by not having something as simple as seeing the sunsets and your town at dusk let you appreciate it all the more when you do get to see it. Enjoy everything that is good!

I am a Putnamaniac because the simple things make it so enjoyable to me!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

THIS is why I am a Putnamaniac! Good Samaritans exist!

The past few days have been busy - Christmas (was awesome!), then with all this snow and wind I haven't gotten out much except to go to work and back. While driving, I was concentrating on not crashing, so I didn't stop to "smell the roses" and appreciate my Putnam like I enjoy doing.

 I just read a post on a friend's facebook, which emphasizes why I am a Putnamaniac:

"Jane Doe" got stuck in a snowbank last night in Pomfret and a carfull of good Samaritans pulled her out! They left before we could get their names. Who were those good deed doers??? Thank you!!!"

That is how it is here in the Quiet Corner. You see and hear about things like this all the time. 

I am a Putnamaniac because we are surrounded by good Samaritans!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Conspiracy of friends and neighbors...spread it like a virus!

It is Christmas Eve. I love the anticipation of everything. In face, I could have eves and anticipation forever.

I just stopped on my way home from work and took this shot of this great phrase at WINY radio's broadcast house. Read it. Think about it.

As I've mentioned in previous blogs, I have great neighbors, which is a part of what makes me a Putnamaniac.

My next door neighbors (an elderly mom and her daughter) are so thoughtful. In fact called me last night to invite me to their home for a gathering of friends who would be caroling together. This proves they are great neighbors, and our condo builder was top-notch. If they'd heard me singing through the walls, they would not have invited me to carol!

Other neighbors are as awesome. They wave to me when I am jogging. They make sure I got home from volunteering at the ReStore safely. They post wonderful messages on their business marquees. They engage in the conspiracy of love.

I am a Putnamaniac because we conspire to do wonderful things!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I saw HIM making a practice run last night! Honest!

Working 2nd shift has very few advantages for someone who'd rather get up, get moving, and enjoy the evenings off... however I am adjusting.

Last night I had a big payoff while getting out of work at 1am... the flakes were flying, it was quiet and peaceful..  except for that jingling sound somewhere in the distance... it kept ringing in and out of my ears. Could it be??? Nah... Maybe I had the Christmas music up too loud, or water in my ear, or something.

As I drove home enjoying my cozy town of Putnam, I thought of Christmas and how people get so flustered and carried away by it all. You see the frenzied look of shoppers trying to buy something, anything, and for what goal? Shouldn't Christmas' gifts be for the innocent children? People put a lot of pressure on themselves emotionally and financially to live up to some crazy expectations. Truly try to enjoy the spirit of Christmas every day. If you see a gift that someone will enjoy in July, buy it then and give it to them! If you notice a fun event to do in September, invite someone who will enjoy it, and do it then! Spreading the cheer out all year long is easy and fun to do!

Otherwise certainly make Christmas an enjoyable day, filled with anticipation of giving and receiving hugs and kind words. Then make those anticipated moments come true. Hug away, and tell those you see that you love them.

Now, back to last night... The jingling I heard got louder and seemed closer as I approached the Little River. As I drove over the bridge, I glanced up, still thinking about Christmas hugs. And what did my wondering 4 eyes appear amongst the floating snowflakes, but a flying sleigh and 8 tiny reindeer.
With jolly old Saint Nick urging them on, he waved down to me, and continued on his practice flight!

WOW! "IT" is almost here, so enjoy it for what it should be. Good times together with those you love. Keep that spirit up every day!

I am a Putnamaniac because Santa does his practice flights in my neighborhood!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Charities (not really 1 of the 12 pains of Christmas)

You know that funny Christmas song, "The 12 pains of Christmas"??? Charities are the 7th pain. Listen - you will hear it in there amongst the hangovers, rigging up the lights, etc.! 

Through a friend, I have met a lovely elderly woman, Sister Alice, who dedicated her entire life to others. 
As I am not traditionally religious (I do not belong to or go to a church, nor do I pray in the usual fashion), I do believe that you should be a good person, be responsible for yourself, treat others as you'd like to be treated, live as an example to others, and lead a life filled with actions that you are proud of.

So while I was cleaning Sister Alice's apartment the other day, and having very interesting conversations with her as usual, I got to thinking about charities. Sweet Alice gave me a calendar that she had received from some distant charity that she had always donated to. This is a woman who has had little to no income her entire life, yet she gladly donated the little bit she had. Materialistic things don't mean that much to her. She sees a bigger picture.

I worry about the elderly (and all people for that matter) being scammed or taken advantage of by groups looking for donations. The best solution is to donate locally.

It is all too easy to see that people locally need  help. It is good practice to donate something of yourself locally as often as possible. Food banks are everywhere. Find one and donate once a month. Diaper banks are the newest thing. If you have looked at the price of diapers, you wonder how young, struggling families can afford it all. (And yes, I do consider that people should plan accordingly, but sometimes stuff happens and they can just get into a bind). Be willing to help out a little bit, often. Many places need time donated, so if you can, donate some of your time, too.

Putnam's local radio station, WINY, is a great source to us here in the Quiet Corner. They hold events at their broadcast house all the time, do promos on air, and post on their website. It is easy to give a little at a time. We have a very generous area, and all walks of life & income levels chip in.

So, I have learned from Alice that although she is not monetarily wealthy, she is as rich as it comes, in goodness and life experiences. Make yourself a richer person, and be good to your community.

I am a Putnamaniac because the local charities are NOT a pain at Christmas or throughout the year!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Boot Scootin'....oops, I mean Boot Skating!

That nice little impromptu pond under the swings at the playground I wrote about the other day (12/13/10), is now frozen into a tiny little skating rink (still partially under the swing set). 

The ducks who'd been swimming there previously were lucky enough to get out of there before their DA's were frozen in place. (For you who don't know what a DA is, it was a popular boys' haircut of the 50's and 60's.... it was named because it resembled a part of a Duck's anatomy. The D was for Duck, the A was not for anatomy, nor arm... ask someone older about this phenomenon. They can fill you in on what the A was for).

Since the ducks abandoned this now frozen rink, today it was occupied by a young family. A mom, little toddler girl, and  boy of about 8 years old or so were boot skating in the glowing sun on this cold afternoon.

They went to the playground of course, to use the swings, but since they were iced in, they made the best of it and were boot skating like crazy together. Laughing, falling, sliding, hooting together in the fresh air!

Have you boot skated since you were a kid? It is a lot easier than actual ice skating since you usually have on boots (or shoes of some sorts) where these little rinks appear. Have fun and boot skate! Just be careful you don't fall and break your noggin' or something else. (Pre-wrapping yourself in bubble wrap to avoid injury is also advised)!

I am a Putnamaniac because you can see families boot skating at the playground!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Frosty Falls!

You might remember Frostbite Falls from childhood if you are old enough. That is where cartoon characters Bullwinkle and Rocky lived!

Today in Putnam, and actually lots of days in the wintertime, we have quite Frosty Falls. These falls are enjoyable year round. People are always stopping by for a view on their walks. It is very tranquilizing and hypnotic.

Enjoy this short video of our Frosty Cargill Falls:
...and a nice still shot, too:
I am a Putnamaniac because I love the mesmerizing, hypnotic Frozen Falls!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Name Game - Give me a P-U-T-N-A-M

Remember the game when you were a little kid where you had to choose an adjective for each letter to spell out something, like your name.

Remember the song; "M- is for the many things she gave me, O-is for the other things she gave me, etc - (or something like that) to spell out MOTHER. Same idea and thought process.

Today in my insane quest to keep fit, I bundled up with a gazillion layers of clothes, and I amused myself with this game in order to take my mind off the brrrrry run.  I thought of all the adjectives that spell out Putnam to me:

P - is for the plentiful positive entertainment, dining, shopping, community functions that Putnam offers.
U- is for the uniqueness of Putnam. Very small, yet clean & positive. Great variety, blending past & present.
T - is for the tremendous transformation Putnam has gone through over the last couple of decades.
N - is for the nature that surrounds us in our rivers, farms, trails, fairgrounds, woods.
A - is for the amazing audio delights we hear. Trains, church bells, water falls, WINY radio, brooks, birds.
M - is for the magical sights everywhere. People, landscapes, nature, decorations & lights.

Put them all together and they spell just the tip of the iceberg for my joy of being a Putnamaniac!

I am a Putnamaniac because even spelling and adjectives can be fun here! 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Who says ducks can't have fun at the playground?

Lots of weather the last few days.
Mother Nature keeps us guessing for sure.

Everyone has seen or at least heard of all the snow across the country, and that dramatic stadium roof collapse in MN. (Rumors are that Brett Favre set the whole thing up. He figured a roof collapse was better than having to throw another game full of interceptions)!

Here in the Quiet Corner, it was about 4 degrees and windy as heck the other day. Yesterday the skies opened and the rains pummeled us! Today is was low 50's and warm enough to go jogging in shorts. 

The local ball fields and playground near my house are flooded as often happens after lots of rain. There is clearly has a "No Dogs Allowed" sign, but there is not a "No Ducks Allowed" sign. The ducks took that as a big welcome and were happily swimming under the teeter totters and swing set! How cute to see them splashing and quacking. Even though it was far too wet for the kids to enjoy, the ducks were happy to fill in for them.

Nature makes the best of things and so should we. That old saying "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade" fits well here. Perhaps the ducks would update it to say "When life gives you rain, swim at playground ponds".

I am a Putnamaniac because the ducks make the best of things, and so do we!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Pets produce plenty of pleasantness in Putnam and all over!

My neighbor from across the street just introduced me to a one year old perky Maltese named Benji. This neighbor, an elementary school principal in town, is dog sitting until March. The two were getting ready to go shopping. She hates to leave him alone all week while she works, so she likes to spend time with him on the weekend. She is clearly going to have a hard time giving this pooch back to his owner in March...

Our family has only pets. I have 3 dog nieces and a small flock of step-chickens. Their parents love them very much, and therefore, so do I.

Many of my friends have dogs, too. Big ones, little ones, stinky ones, drooly ones, nice ones, chippy ones. These friends all love their babies. Cats, turtles, fish are also included in the many menageries. 

A gal I used to work with runs a doggie day care and grooming place here in Putnam. It started all from the love she had for her own pets and then she want to share it with others. It is Quiet Corner Grooming and Doggie Daycare. Check it out if you'd like an exceptional experience. Wendy & Brett are awesome!

So, although I do not have pets myself, I understand the love people have for their pets. I saw it loud and clear on my neighbor's face this morning. I have seen that look many times. Thank goodness a little furry, wet nosed creature can bring such joy to people.

I am a Putnamaniac because I see little pooches bring joy to a babysitting neighbor!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Go see a Christmas play at The Bradley Playhouse! No humbugs here!

Treat yourself to a present this season. Go see a Christmas play or a concert locally, on a small stage, where you can see the expressions and the glow in the eyes of the entertainers. You'll be pleasantly surprised by the local talent that surrounds you!

Here in Putnam, we have the Bradley Playhouse. I treat myself to a season's ticket each year. It is inexpensive and the best, most enjoyable form of entertainment that I can think of the spend my $$$ on!

Tonight I saw the Dickens' classic, A Christmas Carol. It is one of those stories that I've read a gazillion times and have seen a gazillion versions of; movies, plays, cartoons and any other production form you can think of.

And STILL, the Bradley manages to leave me thrilled and amazed. Local people - local kids - putting on a fantastic production! A friend's two children (Kody and Lexi Brunet), performed wonderfully tonight!

As the pleased crowd left the theater, snowflakes were flying, and the lights of the town sparkled. There is no wonder I am a Putnamaniac. This is my beautiful town and life!

If you are not in or near Putnam, find something near you and go! Even if you don't think it will be your cup of tea, open your mind and just go. I think you will be pleasantly surprised and entertained!

Honor Christmas in your heart, and try to keep it all the year.

I am a Putnamaniac thanks to the Bradley Playhouse which "continues to show me things, since I am not past all hope"... to steal a few of Chuck Dickens' words...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Howard Edwards Home Improvements-Robust Roofers...and more!

Another windelicious and frostastic day here in the Quiet Corner.

Today on my jog, I passed these guys up doing a roof. They were working at a good clip, and laughing and enjoying themselves in the process. I thought, who are these guys? Up on a roof and enjoying their work in this weather. Freezing, windy, and they were in the shade. Commendable to say the least.  In a world where jobs are scarce, it is good to see hard workers, doing not so easy jobs. 

So, since I could not make out the name on their truck as I jogged by with my eyes so blurry with wind tears, once I got back home I hopped in my car and did a drive by. I stopped and took a few pictures, and told them I wondered who these brave/crazy guys were up on that roof. They modestly said "Its not so bad out here."

If you need help in the Quiet Corner, call these guys! Howard Edwards Home Improvements. See how they can help you. 860-928-4043 or 860-928-9383.

I am a Putnamaniac thanks to hard working people like Howard Edwards Home Improvements!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Blustery beauty!

A gusty wind feels soooooo good in the summer, providing relief from the hot and humid New England.

That same wind feels soooooo evil in the winter!

However, as I was inspired by the old couple out for a walk yesterday, the jogging shoes went on today, and I hit the road.

With my nice big nose acting as a wind cutter (my own personal cow catcher if you will), and my pony tail out straight behind me, I marveled at the blustery beauty of the day.

Flags were out straight at attention, pledging allegiance to the USA or to Santa Claus.

Chimes were tink-tinkling and ching-chang-chingling in the breeze.

Chickadees were chickadeeing like they just discovered their voices for the first time.

I am so lucky to live in a place where you can put on your shoes, open your door, jog safely in any direction, and see nothing but heaven on earth. (Even with the occasional elderly driver sporting the really dark sunglasses, and coming dangerously close to you)!

Get out in all seasons. It really makes you feel good and positive about life.

When my mom had her knees and then hip replaced, her therapist advised her that one of the best things she could do is to get out and walk her dog 3 times a day. My mother replied that she had no dog. He said it didn't matter, it was the walking that mattered. What a wise man! Plus, when you come back inside this time of year, it sure feels toasty even if your heat is set at 61 degrees!

I am a Putnamaniac because I can safely enjoy a jog almost anytime!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hearty old folks aren't afraid of a few flakes!

Wind blasting. Flakes flying. Clouds cover a bright sun, then uncover it just as quickly.

Welcome to a New England winter day, and it is not officially winter by the calendar yet. That is how it goes, as we all know. 20 degrees one day, and 60 the next day! You can count on not counting on the weather. That is ok by me! It makes the winter a lot nicer when you get those toasty surprises thrown in once in a while!

This morning a hearty old couple was out walking the River Walk, bundled up and hustling along. A little wind and a few snow flakes did not discourage nor stop them. Wonderful! It makes me smile inside and out to see them brave the elements to enjoy a walk together.

Putnam is certainly filled with its share of hearty folks of all ages, (although I must confess I took the day off from jogging today...I will step back out tomorrow, no matter the weather).

I am a Putnamaniac who enjoys the old folks who aren't afraid of a few flakes, and hope to continue to be one myself!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Habitat ReStore-great bargains support a great cause!

I took time starting this summer and began to volunteer some of my time. In the past I had no time, so donated money. Times have changed, and since now I have some time and have no spare money, this works out great!

The Habitat ReStore was suggested to me by the Habitat Northeastern CT's secretary and a fellow realtor, Pegi. It is in Putnam and only a mile from my home, located at 171 Providence Street. Right across from Turtles Taco Shop. Convenient! Ideal! Most Sundays you will find me there with my new pal and fellow volunteer, Tony.

Little did I know the pleasant surprise that awaited me. I hope more and more people learn of this special place as time goes on. It is  OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. I used to think it was for builders or contractors only. Not so! Everyone is welcomed to shop (and donate). You will find doors, windows, appliances (there is a 3 year old pristine stainless refrigerator in there now for $300), furniture (today a wicker set-couch & love seat sold for $100), tools, cabinets, sinks, lights galore! It is a great place to wander through and discover a treasure for yourself. Today I bought 2 tables (which will be perfect to put some of my house plants) for just $15. They just need a little TLC and paint!

Proceeds from sales assist in a future build and getting someone into a home of their own.

Please come and visit (and tell all your friends) the Putnam Habitat ReStore, or one near you!

I am a Putnamaniac thanks to the Habitat ReStore in town! I love volunteering there!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Renegade Garden settles in for a winters nap...

I am not only a Putnamaniac, but a Renegade Gardener...

With the nickname my brother and sister gave to me, "Digger", you know there is gardening in my soul.

I was in the garden with my Poppa since the time I was in diapers. Poppa returned me to my mother, time after time, soaking wet and covered with dirt. I cried my eyes out, even before I could talk, if Poppa went back out to the earth without me. Mom gave in and let him take me back to the dirt every time. Thank goodness. I loved my Poppa and digging in the dirt.

The "tree farm family" was part of my life for 25 years, and even though I am not there this season, it is still a part of me!

Sam, the elderly neighbor I had at the first house I owned, used to drive by at 6am on his way to get coffee every morning to see what I was digging up or planting before I went to work. He used to joke that I couldn't make up my mind. Alas, that is what gardening is. Things grow, you move them! You find other new things that you just MUST have!

So now I am in a condo, with distinct and strict rules about personal displays, such as gardens. A wonderful loophole was discovered/invented (by me) in my "backyard". Where the tiny yard ends, a steep slope goes down to the river. It was nothing but weeds and rocks. LOTS of rocks - I mean this is New England.

So, I went to work, and the Renegade Garden was born. My next door neighbors love it, too, as they can view it from their porch as well. They have even contributed to the mayhem and donated a butterfly bush via a gift certificate from Sprucedale Gardens.

Now, the Renegade Gardens slumbers, like all our New England gardens. I miss it already and can't wait till next spring. A million new ideas are planted in my imagination. Long live the Renegade Garden!

I am a Putnamaniac thanks to the wonderful gardens, including my Renegade Garden!

Friday, December 3, 2010

UConn Husky Women's Basketball - catch the fever!

'Tis the season... folks are putting up wreaths, Christmas trees, shopping and planning.

'Tis also college basketball season!

I'm not sure why the frenzy exists in Northeastern CT for the UConn Husky Women's team, but it does, and I joined the followers years ago.

Fans are very loyal, many planning around the team's schedule. Babies, toddlers, teenagers, young adults, middle aged, older folks, men and women alike follow Geno's team with a fevered passion!

Could it be that they have excelled so much over the years that it is easy to follow and cheer them on? Perhaps.
Could it be that most of their games are shown on CT Public Television making it very easy to follow them? Perhaps.
Could it be that when each new season starts, we hang with anticipation to see how good this year's team will be, after the graduation of so many stars from last year? Perhaps.
Could it be that getting to know the players and having something fun to watch gets us through the long, cold, dark winters? Perhaps.

Perhaps it is a little of all of these things. Whatever it is, UConn fever is here to stay. Flags, license plate holders, bumper stickers, t-shirts all advertise our team!


I am a Putnamaniac because we support a great & entertaining women's college basketball team!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Turtles Taco Shop is DEEEELICIOUS!

Turtles Taco Shop is one of the newer food establishments in Putnam, making us Putnamaniacs that love to eat, happier than ever!

Located on Providence Street, right across from the Habitat ReStore, it is convenient (and only 1 mile away from my condo)! It is my belief that this section of town is the next up and coming section of town. Keep your eyes on this area.

Turtles Taco Shop is not at all a fast food taco place, but an authentic South California style taco shop.

The servings are HUGE, delicious, and very reasonably priced.

You'll find lots of veggie offerings. Since many folks (me included) do prefer beans and/or veggie selections when offered, that is a huge bonus!

Check out Turtle's Taco website, which includes their menu, all contact info, their hours. You can take out or eat in - plus they deliver, with a few limitations. They have picnic tables out front for the pleasures of the warmer seasons.

Wanna go? I'll meet you there! I already know I will be getting a humongous bean burrito!

I am a Putnamaniac thanks to yummy places like Turtles Taco Shop!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Christmas Carol opens Friday at the Bradley!

That's right - A Christmas Carol opens Friday at the Bradley Playhouse!

I can't wait! Two of my most favoritest things in the world - and yes, I did say favoritist!
Christmas and its ageless tale at the Bradley!

On top of my usual excitement for a trip to the Bradley, especially during the holiday season, this production features one of my friends two children. How cool is that? Talent is everywhere, in all ages in the Quiet Corner.

If you have never been to the Bradley, I strongly urge you to go. Driving by their small entrance you would never expect such intense and wonderful entertainment or the talent that explodes within! You will leave with your eyes as big as saucers and with your mouth hanging open in amazement.

Season tickets are a great idea, too. As a gift to yourself (which I so selfishly get myself each year) or to that hard to buy for person. The prices are so reasonable that you will want to pay more on your way out the door! You will not be disappointed any way you slice it.

I'm going to see A Christmas Carol on Friday, December 10th. Feel free to join me!

I am a Putnamaniac thanks to my season ticket to the Bradley Theater and great local talent!