Sunday, January 30, 2011

Icicles, Icicles, everywhere you look!

It is great to go for rides in the spring and summer to check out all the gardens and landscaping.

It is great to go leaf peeping in the fall.

Everyone drives around to enjoy the Christmas lights in December.

I have been enjoying driving around and looking at the icicles lately. Have you seen them??? They are huge, mammoth, gargantuan, amazon! Some are bigger than me - from head to toe and all the way around! 

This house is on my road, and sits up on a bit of an incline. Today the icicles were sparkling away at me as I drove by. This is nothing compared to others I have seen. (Coincidentally this is the same house that has wild blackberries that I pillage every morning on my jog during that much warmer and greener season. I always come home with red fingers on those days)! Today I enjoyed these and many other icicles.
So hop in the car with your kids, your best bud, or your sweetie pie, and go see how many icicles you can find!

I am a Putnamaniac since there are such great icicles on display right now!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Crabtree & Evelyn, right down the road and worldwide!

As I just used some of the "Gardeners Hand Therapy" lotion (LUSCIOUS) that my neighbors bought me at the end of last summer, it made me think of the successful businesses in our area - large and small.

Crabtree & Evelyn have their headquarters just about 2 miles from where I live, on a nice little back road, near the Woodstock Fair Ground. It is a great place to jog past in the hot summer months, since the road is shaded by trees, and a babbling river flows along beside you. Such solitude! (Just don't jog when a shift change is occurring, then it is not quite so peaceful).

Crabtree & Evelyn has stores everywhere, including one right here in Putnam, as well as throughout our nation and even in many international locations! Of course they are in the modern age as well, so you can order online, too. How cool is that?

Every business has to start somewhere, and I am so impressed by all the local businesses we have here right in Putnam (and just over the line in Woodstock, Thompson, Killingly, and so on).  Yankee industriousness surrounds me!

I am a Putnamaniac thanks to great businesses like Crabtree & Evelyn located so close to me!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Somehow I am enjoying this beautiful, snowy winter....

Somehow I am enjoying this beautiful, snowy winter....
Since I am not a fan of winter after about one week of it has passed, I am not sure how or why I am enjoying it, but I am not questioning it. I am simply enjoying it for the first time in ages. 

Perhaps it is because although my job situation is quite bleak and unfulfilling, it is only about 3 miles away from home. No hairy, scary 45-60 minute white knuckled drives for me this winter.

Perhaps it is because this season has been so breathtakingly beautiful.

I took a little drive tonight and came home the opposite way than I usually do. I stopped in the middle of the road and took this picture:
After I shoveled, I took a few pictures of the condo. It is just very pretty and picturesque everywhere you look. I guess that is why I am enjoying this winter!

Let is snow, let it snow, let it snow!

I am a Putnamaniac because this town is beautiful in the snow!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Need a Crane? It is an uplifting experience, and I "know a guy"

Since I grew up in a small town in RI, where my dad was a town police officer, my mom worked for the town school department, and my uncles worked for the highway department, everybody knew everybody.

My uncle is still a great "go to" guy. If you need "a cesspool guy" or a "cement guy" or a "tree guy", give my uncle a call. If he does not know one personally, he will find someone who knows "a guy".

Well, guess what? I think I have my uncle beat. I know a "crane guy" - in fact I know two great crane guys! You wonder what people need a crane for, let me fill you in!
Cranes can be used for these things and more:
*Lifting those heavy duty air conditioning and/or heating units onto roof tops
*Lifting and placing roof trusses up when building a new place, or adding an addition
*Lifting and setting the pieces of a modular home
*Removing and replacing the masts on the big old sail boats (like the ones in Mystic Seaport)

If you are in need of a crane and the best operators available in and around Northeast CT, call Scott and Earl Gancarz at CCI, which is based right here in Putnam.  (860) 963-8902. You will find them uplifting. They won't let you down.
I am a Putnamaniac because I know some uplifting crane guys!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Today we have snow "For Rent" in Putnam!

Last week a fellow Putnamaniac used his humor and creativity to offer "Free Snow" on his sidewalk to any takers. (Check out my previous "Free Snow" blog).  That made me laugh!

This morning I saw this sign sticking out of the snow...This guy just wants to Rent his snow!
Actually the rest of the sign that is buried under the snow is advertising a 2nd Floor Apartment... I saw it when it was not buried! However, it gave me a chuckle, and it really looks like he has snow for rent!

I am a Putnamaniac because it brings out the humor in a winter hater like me!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ode to the Snow frog in my Renegade Garden

A fan of winter, I am not.
I prefer to sweat and be quite hot.

Winter months don't have enough sunlight & these early evenings I really hate.
Like a bear, I wear my coat inside and out, and I just want to hibernate.

But as I look out to my Renegade Garden full of snow,
I picture the upcoming beauty that will be there, I just know.

My cute little decorative frog, sitting on his post, was left out there all winter for decoration,
He peeks out of the snow once in a while - a great cause for celebration!

Sometimes I see just the top of his head, and sometimes I glimpse his nose.
I'll rejoice when the snow has melted right down to his toes.

And just when I think I will see some more of Mr. Froggie O'Green,
We get socked with more snow falling, leaving us covered by a white fluffy sheen. 

So I will enjoy my snow frog for now,
To enjoy each moment, every day is my vow.

I will wait for spring, summer, and fall to produce flowers galore,
When working in my Renegade Garden is never a bore.

I am a Putnamaniac since these snowy winter days spent watching Mr. Froggie O'Green let me appreciate my Renegade Garden in all seasons! (P.S - Poor Froggie is completely under snow right now)!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Turn on the Green Lights for the Last Green Valley!

The Last Green Valley is a great organization here in Northeast CT.

A quote from their website's homepage states: The Last Green Valley is two things - it's the 35-town National Heritage Corridor where you live, and it's also your member-supported non-profit organization working locally to preserve the irreplaceable land, water, and cultural resources of the region. 

TLGV is fund-raising. They can't exist without fund-raising. To bring attention to their organization and fund-raising efforts, TLGV is having a Green Light Campaign. Residents are urged to join their neighbors in support of TLGV during its week-long Green Light Celebration, January 23 – 29, 2011, by changing out at least one exterior bulb to a green-colored bulb for the entire week.

I am still contemplating how to slip in the green bulb at my condo, without bringing the wrath of the "condo police" down on me.  Perhaps a flyer on every condo owner's doorstep will explain my outrageous behavior and encourage them to all join in. Wish me luck, and support local organizations in your area that do good and are worth it!
I am a Putnamaniac thanks to fund-raisers like the Green Light Campaign of The Last Green Valley!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Anticipation, not only a good ketchup song, but how I feel waiting for these tulips from Amsterdam!

Remember the Carly Simon song, Anticipation? It was not only thought provoking and beautifully sung, but also used in that old ketchup commercial. I wonder how many people know the song only from that commercial?

"We can never know about the days to come, But we think about them anyway
And I wonder if I'm really with you now, Or just chasing after some finer day.
Anticipation, Anticipation; Is making me late, Is keeping me waiting"

Human nature is to always look forward, and since I am a huge planner, I think that is a good thing, if not taken to an extreme. You must also enjoy the present moment and make the best of each moment you get. 
"I'm no prophet, I don't know natures way...So I'll try to see into your eyes right now
And stay right here, 'cause these are the good old days."

I'm enjoying these New England winter days now and anticipating the bloom of these tulips that my friends brought to me from their visit to Amsterdam. What a joy! See them peeking up?? Anticipation!

There is a fine line between always looking for the future and enjoying the moment. It takes some work to live a happy life, so work at it! It is well worth the moments, and the anticipation of what is to come.

I am a Putnamaniac since I love every moment and anticipate the future here, too!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Brave dog sticks his head out the car window on a blucky day like this - and loves it!

Man, it was a mucky, mushy, blucky, slushy day in the Quiet Corner.

After a few inches of snow early in the morn, we then got the predicted sleet, some rain, some more sleet, some more rain... mush and slush everywhere!

Driving was no fun, and I imagine that walking was much less fun. Walking a dog must be even worse, because the owner gets to stand in the weather and wait for Mr. or Ms. Fido to do their business. However we all grin and bear it and do what we must. We know the weather is quite fickle here. Good times and beautiful days are always around the corner.

The best sight of the dreary day was a pooch I spotted, much like this guy, with his head sticking out of his master's car as they drove by. Poochy was enjoying the sleet on his face like it was the best fun he's had in a dog's age!
It almost made me want to roll my window down and stick my head for a minute or two! Almost....

I am a Putnamaniac because the hounds know how to live it up in all weather conditions!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

"Free Snow" on the sidewalk in Putnam - for real - I saw the sign!

It is easy to get the winter blues, listen to all the complainers, focus on the bad stuff.

However, there is always something hilarious around the corner to make you forget all the bad stuff.

Today, when I was driving home from work, I went a different way. Who knows why. I was thinking I could check out these other streets and see if jogging without risking life and limb was even getting close to possible...

You know how you see a grungy old chair, or a pile of pallets, or whatever sitting on the side of the road with a sign that says "FREE STUFF" ???

Today I saw, as I glanced to my left, a sign made out of the actual 4 foot pile of snow piled up on the sidewalk, that said "FREE SNOW".

Clearly that is why I drove home that way. I intuited that there would be a hilarious moment for me. So, thank you to whomever did that!

I am a Putnamaniac thanks to the people with a great sense of humor who live here!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Trailer Park is no trash in Putnam's Complex Performing Arts Centre

I've boasted the joys of the Bradley Theater in Putnam before. However, we have two, yes, two great local theaters in Putnam.

I've also mentioned this other theater here in Putnam, which is located approximately 1/4 mile down the street from the Bradley. It is the Complex Performing Arts Centre. Tonight I saw their current performance, "The Great American Trailer Park Musical". Funny, great singing-what voices, pokes a lot of fun at the world, WONDERFUL!!!

It is so much fun to have great local entertainment! The owners and talent that are behind this fabulous business are Nichola and Carl Mercier. I was lucky enough to meet Carl in the Real Estate course I took at QVCC. After a very short time, I knew he had talent and a certain je ne sais quoi. He and Nichola are certainly in the right business, and they sure do put their talents to work!

Who'd have known that someone like me, whose favorite entertainment in life came from a variety of television shows like Hee Haw, Gilligan's Island, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Sopranos, The Simpsons, and Seinfeld would find live theater so compelling and addicting. Give it a try. You are welcome to visit Putnam to enjoy either of MY local theaters anytime, or find a place near your home and dive right in.

I am a Putnamaniac thanks to great local theater!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Down to Earth... that is what is it all about!

Small business people are everywhere.

Semi-talented people are everywhere.

Truly gifted and inspired people with vision, who run their own successful businesses are a bit more rare.

Sometimes you cross paths with people in your life, and you consider yourself charmed to have them in your circle of influence. They were planted there for a reason.

Down to Earth Gardening and Design's Lisa Withers is indeed one of these gifts to me and the Quiet Corner. She is down to earth.

Lisa has gardening in her genes. She was raised on it, has passion for it, excels in it, lives and breaths it. It brings pleasure to her, and therefore she can pass that gentle pleasure on to her customers, who may not have the skill, patience or talent that she has. She has the ability to share her pleasure with them and passes on her passion to them. Who does not enjoy pleasure and passion?

As an herbologist, she looks to nature to prevent and solve issues, mental and physical, for people and pets. How natural!

Lisa has a vision for her business, and I applaud her and will push her to continue on her path, then cheer her at every step of the climb she makes. She studies subjects deeply, and appreciates what nature gives us and we can easily overlook.

The Putnam Library recently hosted a holiday wreath making class that Lisa conducted. I missed it due to being at work, but I saw a wreath on the door when I went to get a book, and it had Down to Earth written all over it! Lisa learned to make wreaths the old fashioned way, as a girl, with coat hangers, greens, and wire!

Be sure to check out Down to Earth's website. There are many great tips. Keep your eyes and ears open for Down to Earth, as I see great things transpiring for this local business. 

I am a Putnamaniac because there are visionary local businesses like Down to Earth Gardening and Design!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Snowed under Renegade Garden and backyard beauty!

Fresh, white snow makes everything beautiful!

Shoveling is actually another thing about snow and winter that I like. Perhaps it is that special attachment that I have to my trusty red shovel that I bought at the old Benny's in East Greenwich, RI sometime around 1995. Now that is a bond!

So, after I shoveled and had some delish coffee, I looked out to my backyard. Gorgeous! The Renegade Garden is slumbering heavily under the bed of new snow and resting up for a not too far away new season of beauty!

Check it out!
I am a Putnamaniac because the snow makes it even more beautiful today!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Amaryllis Amazon from Awesome Aquaintances

My neighbors gave me an Amaryllis bulb in a nice little kit a couple of months ago. Have you ever seen one of these things? You get a pot, a little square of shrunken & dried potting substance, and a bulb. Like many things in nature, you think there is no chance that this pitiful looking thing is going to grow into anything, let alone that it may grow into something that is a pleasure to enjoy in the cold, generally blandly colored winter months.

My neighbors (a mother and her grown daughter) and I have an unspoken good neighbor program going on. We do things for each other as needed, we watch out for each other, and we do random acts of kindness for each other.

I was thrilled to get this gift from them out of the blue, as my grandfather always loved a nice Amaryllis, so it reminded me of my sweet poppa. It also reminded me that I've also always wanted one for myself, but being the ever frugal (aka cheapskate) person, I would not indulge myself.

So, I soaked the tiny little soil pod that was supposed to expand enough to fill the pot. Hey, guess what? It DID expand, and filled the pot. Next, I planted to bulb, according to directions, and found the correct spot in my home for it to bask and grow in the shortened days of December. Hey, guess what? It grew! And it grew like gangbusters! It grew so fast that I could almost see it growing before my eyes! I had to make little stakes for it so it didn't flop over! Next came the anticipation of the bloom! It got fatter and fatter and finally 2 big red blooms burst into life! GLORIOUS! The plant is 27" high, with these lovely flowers greeting me!

If you would like to learn more about Amaryllis, check out this website.
If you would like to have great neighbors like mine, move to Putnam!

I am a Putnamaniac because random acts of kindness bloom all around me!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Vanilla Bean was GREAT, and I will be frequenting it more often!

So, I think when you live near something, you can take it for granted and forget to take advantage of it.

Take it from someone who grew up in RI, and went to the famous Newport mansions only once, for my senior prom. I guess it is easy to think that since things are right there at your fingertips and so close by, you will certainly visit them. Hmmm, I believe we may put them aside forever if we don't make an effort to check them out!

Today was my first visit to The Vanilla Bean Cafe in Pomfret. It is very close to my home. It is well known in our area of the Quiet Corner of CT, and well known even further away. It is a destination! People make a point of going there. I never took the time to go and check it out.

Thank goodness a sweet friend of mine suggested we meet there for a long overdue visit while enjoying some coffee and breakfast. The Vanilla Bean is an altogether welcoming place; bright and warm, and smelling delicious. We sat for 3 1/2 hours and gabbed, looked at the paintings on the wall, solved the world's problems, and anticipated our next collaboration. We were not the only ones who enjoyed the morning in this fashion.

I not only recommend The Vanilla Bean to you, but that you also check out local attractions and businesses that you may be overlooking. I can't wait to go back to The Vanilla Bean for lunch, and dinner, and music....and I will remember to continue to enjoy every single other local place that I am lucky enough to have at my fingertips!

I am a Putnamaniac thanks to such welcoming establishments as The Vanilla Bean Cafe!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Dayville Skate Park rolls all year long!

When I moved to the Quiet Corner from RI some years ago, I lived in Danielson. A lovely place and right next door to Putnam, (just a bit south).

As with many towns in New England, there are many villages in each town. Dayville is the village I am speaking of today.

One of the nicest things about Danielson/Killingly/Dayville is Owen Bell Park. I frequented it often, as there is a running track there. It may not be in top notch condition, but they plow it when it snows, and therefore you have a place to jog in the winter snow, when streets are not so safe. There are also ball fields, a playground for the little ones, and a nice pond, which has a poofy-sprinkler-thingie that is beautiful in the spring, summer, and into the fall. Many community events, like the 4th of July fireworks, take place at Owen Bell Park.

One of the newest additions to the park is the skate park. Since day one of it's inception it has been packed with skaters and bikers. Today, a cold-snow on the ground-windy and frigid type of New England day, was no different. I was shocked to see it hopping (literally) with local youth at dusk this cold afternoon. Of course, they were all attached to their snow boards, instead of their skate boards and bikes, but none the less, they were jamming!

Killingly spent money wisely on their skate park. Check out the original story and some pictures from the Norwich Bulletin when the skate park originally opened in April 2009.

I am a Putnamaniac because we invest in our youth in many ways!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I see the Vanilla Bean in my future!

Today I am predicting the future...not too distant...and delicious!

I have a breakfast date at the Vanilla Bean in Pomfret, CT, coming up soon! 

Can you believe I have never been there before, although it is within 5 miles of where I live? Crazy stuff, but true.

The Vanilla Bean is located at a wonderful setting, at the corner of Rt 169/44 and Rt 97. Rumor has it that it is a quaint cafe, and it is partial to the arts & artists. It is a very popular stop for bikers of the motorcycle variety.

My mom from RI has been there with her friends. My cousin and his equal half have been there on their motorcycle. My former boss and his family from RI have been there. Once again I wonder how have I never been there before?

I am excited if you can't tell! And since I am meeting a friend there who has her own Landscaping/Design business, I am sure I will have more blog material!

You can check out their website to see what they are about, and maybe you will want to visit the Vanilla Bean Cafe...with me!

I am a Putnamaniac because I am SO looking forward to going to the Vanilla Bean!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Northeast CT's Biggest Loser Contest starts in a week! Resolve now!

New Year's Resolutions are popular, but many times we set unobtainable or unspecific goals for ourselves.
Crazy things like:
"I will lose 50 pounds by March." How is that reasonable or possible for an average person?
"I will be a better person." What does that mean??

Why not set your self up for success? Set reasonable goals that will not only challenge you, but give you a sense of success when you complete the goal. It will become catchy, and soon you will set goals for yourself all the time.

Years ago a friend of mine said his resolution was to read 12 books a year. Do the math. That is just an average of one book per month. Sounds quite do-able! Since I like to read, I adopted that policy. I read about 15-17 books a year and enjoy that resolution each and every year!

Everyone resolves to be more fit and healthy as well. Do what works for you! If you pick an exercise you like to do, chances are you will stick with it! Remember that the exercise session is usually a lot more fun once you have completed it for the day! Work on eating better a little at a time. Make the goals attainable! Step by step you will be able to overcome your stumbling blocks.

The Biggest Loser is one of the most popular and inspiring shows on tv. A past season's 2nd place finisher lives in our area of Northeast CT. I had the pleasure of seeing and hearing Rudy Pauls speak here in Putnam. That fine evening was featured in a Putnamania blog.

The Quiet Corner also does a Biggest Loser contest, and I'm going to sign up for it as my inspiration to get back to my better eating habits. Here is the info from Midtown Fitness' website:
Jan 11-Northeast Connecticut's "Biggest Loser " contest starts January 11th.     Contestants will compete to lose weight this winter and help to raise money Money mouth for Daily Bread and T.E.E.G. You don't need to be a Midtown member to enter or win cash and prizes.  (registration 7am-7pm).

Does anyone want to join me in the contest??? You only have yourself to thank for getting into better habits!

I am a Putnamaniac because you are encouraged to be a better person here, and a big loser, too!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Kids scribbles...kept forever

I saw this kid the other day scribbling away on a pad of paper. His mother was keeping him occupied while they were waiting, and waiting. Young Monet's palet looked like a bunch of circles, squares, and rectangles to me, but he had a quite detailed explanation of what each creation was. Vivid imagination! Future artist!

I kept thinking about that little kid and his scribbles. Memories floated in...

When we were kids and had to stay in due to bad weather, we drew, colored, and scribbled like crazy. We made cards for each other and our parents for every holiday. I still have a card that my youngest brother made for me for a Valentine's Day long ago.

One part of the card is Charlie Brown and his sister Sally's head. In his finest newly learned cursive penmanship, my brother wrote "I love you, from Si", accompanied by many X's and O's.

The second part of the card is Snoopy sitting holding a Valentine card with a heart on it. In that same little boy handwriting, he wrote "I love you, Marcy, from Si".

I have this framed, still, and hope to keep it with me forever and ever. It makes it seem as those scribbling days were not so long ago.

I am a Putnamaniac because seeing a kid scribble away at his art work makes me think of a great Valentine's Day memento!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Grilling weather in January always smells good!

Driving home from work today (yes, I got day shift hours for 2 weeks - Yippeeee), I was looking at all the dirty snow, now past pristine and the Norman Rockwell-like prime of its life.

The fog was starting to roll in...

Add to this non-scenic equation that tomorrow is garbage day in Putnam, after a holiday weekend. You can all imagine that visual.

I have not painted a lovely picture, however, there is always something to take pleasure in here in Putnam.

It was mild! The days are getting longer!

So as soon as I got home, I raced into my jogging shoes & pants, and out the door. As I hit the road, all I could smell was someone grilling steak!!!! WOW did it smell good. I very rarely eat meat (no social comment, I just can't cook it), but I sure do like to smell it being grilled!

Clearly it was a good enough day to grill and to smell it, if not to view the usual loveliness around town.

What about you? Did you find an enjoyment on this mild January day?

I am a Putnamaniac because the mild January grilling days smell so good!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A random lady feeding bread to random ducks

Setting:  Dusk. Feeling a bit down and dreary as the end of the first day of 2011 is winding down.
Decision:  Stop and walk along the River Walk.
Outcome: FANTASTIC. Turned my frown upside down, and made me happy for a few reasons.

Reason 1: An older man had 2 little kids with him in Rotary Park. He sat on the bench. They made snowmen in the snow that is still left on the ground after this mild New Year's Day. Smiles all around. Win-Win for all of them and for me, too.

Reason 2: A middle aged lady was standing precariously on the edge of the river further on down the path, throwing hunks of bread to the excited ducks. She did not have any kids with her. She was not walking a pet. She just wanted to feed the ducks. Smiles all around again. Another Win-Win.

Advice: If you ever feel grumpy, sad, or just down, make yourself get your butt moving. Go to a place that makes you feel better. If a grown man can smile watching kids play in the mushy snow, and if a full grown lady can smile throwing bread to the ducks, there is no excuse for you to feel bad.

I am a Putnamaniac because random people can always cheer you up and make you smile!