Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The aloof red tail hawk regards us from above!

Hawks are not uncommon in Northeast CT as well as many other places.

It is still a thrill to see them, especially when you can get rather close to them. They are huge!

Early one recent morning as I jogged up the frosty country road, I spotted a big something up on a utility pole.

Since the sun was bright, and shining in my not so sharp four eyes, I was not quite sure who was up there.  This fellow was looking directly at me! Could be an owl or a hawk at first thought.

I jogged off the road and down the path to get a bit closer, hoping for a better glimpse, especially if the head turned so I could view the profile and beak, which tells a much better story of who you are looking at.

He turned, and indeed it was a hawk, sitting aloof, not caring a bit about what I was up to.

As I approached he took wing, showing off his wingspan and grand tail. A red tail.

Awesome! Just me and him. Out in the Northeast CT countryside. He could care less. Off he went to take a seat on a branch beside a big cut cornfield, in hopes of finding some breakfast.

I continued home myself, for a glass of water & a cup of coffee, but I was happy to have shared a few quality moments with my big winged friend.

What a great way to start any day!

I am a Putnamaniac that loves the red tail hawk and all my winged friends, even if they could care less about me!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Unexpected "I love you"s hit the spot - pass them out frequently and for no reason!

No need for a long explanation on why today was sort of feeling like one of "those days", but it was.  

On these sort of days sometimes the littlest thing can just surprise you into tears of amazement and thankfulness for the good people you happen to know.

Early today I sent out an email request. Honest and heartfelt, but a request none the less.

This was the reply I got back (edited for a bit of personal privacy):

Remember at uncle Gus’ funeral when you said, “I love you…people need to say that more often”?
That was nice.  And true. I love you, Marcy!!  Happy New Year!!

 Boooo hoooo hooooo - I started sniveling. No controlling it.

Gee whiz, if it is this easy to touch someone's heart and make their day feel filled with a little kindness, we should all probably do it once in a while. 

 heart tree full of love in my neighbor's yard

See love everywhere, and be sincere. Spread the love around like you are the knife on the peanut butter and jelly sandwich in life! 

I am a Putnamaniac that needs to pass out some unexpected "I love you's" more often!

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Sunday, December 28, 2014

An unexpected hike = unexpected fun!

I love to hike!

But, I also love to plan!

Sometimes I am teased for my planning, but since planning seems to work for me, and I try not to affect anyone adversely by my planning personality, I'm sticking with it. In fact, I hope that I have brought some fun to others by planning activities that they may have joined and enjoyed with me.

So you can imagine it was a wonderful surprise to be driving along on this damp, dreary and mild winter morning and to pass nearby a place that I had been only once before to hike.

You can also imagine that is was a wonderful surprise to decide to stop and hike the place again!

Southbridge MA was the place.

I love Southbridge! It has some great old buildings. It has some very nice people. It certainly has a lot of history. And it has some great places to hike!

It is amazing to me how many places I have learned and found that there are to hike - such as conservation commission lands, land trust lands, and other like properties and preserves. These are places that exist, but are far less advertised spots with hardly any fancy signage at all compared to State Parks & Forests for instance. These places are there, and you might drive right past them, but you don't even  know they are there! Unless.... someone has given you a guided tour!

For years I have taken advantage of The Last Green Valley's Walktober and also their member programs. I have discovered many new places to visit, hike, enjoy. Most times you are there by yourself or with a fellow walker. It is wonderful.

Maybe I am basically a lazy person, but instead of searching high and low for new places to discover and visit, I use others to lead me to them. I am happy to return to these locations over and over again and to introduce my friends to these same hidden finds!

I am a Putnamaniac that enjoyed unexpected fun on an unplanned hike today! 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Magnolia Forecast!

The magnolia forecast is good for the spring of 2015!

So I think!

Why the optimism for those grand buds this coming season?

Take a look at the buds formed and still forming on these trees in your New England neighborhood. They are tremendously fat.

I have no idea if this is really a good or bad thing, but being an optimist and using what I consider is a common sense look at the situation, I vote that it is a good thing!

Of course, we know that once spring is here and those magnolias bloom, we are again very dependent on the weather. Some years as soon as they bloom, Mother Nature pours down a doozy on us, knocking all those precious blooms to the ground. Other years, she shows us some mercy and lets us enjoy the beauty for a longer spell of time.

In any case, these magnolia blossoms are something we look forward to. They are surely a sign that spring has sprung!

Do you look forward to these spring things, even now when it is only late December? That is a great thing about living in Northeast CT and enjoying all four seasons!

I am a Putnamaniac that predicts big magnolia blossoms this coming spring!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Overheard: An old gentleman's thank you on the street!

I've been itching to share this short but sweet story.

Thank goodness there is a moment today to get it out of my brain and into this blog.

Downtown Putnam. A couple of days before Christmas 2014. Lights sparkling, music joyfully playing. Hustle and bustle all around.

As I rush out of Sawmill Pottery with gorgeous new mugs made for The Last Green Valley to deliver to a loyal supporter, Linda at Taylor Brooke Winery, I see an older gentleman stop a young robust Putnam police officer. Both are on the sidewalk just up the way from me.

The older gentleman is sincerely expressing his thanks to the young police officer, who is clearly a stranger to him. I catch bits of the conversation and his carefully chosen words "We really appreciate your work", "You're making a difference", "We love to see you around all the time", and so it went. 

The young officer shook his hand and said his own thanks to the older gentleman for his kind words.

See how easy it is to make a difference - of good - in the world.

Speak up, be thankful, express appreciation. Don't be shy!

Enjoy this. Share this. Look for these sorts of great stories yourself. You will find them!

I am a Putnamaniac that approves of giving thanks for things you appreciate - even to strangers on the street!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Do not forget about Habitat for Humanity and their simple mission!

Habitat: noun:
1. the natural environment of an organism; place that is natural for the life and growth of an organism.

2. the place where a person or thing is usually found.
3. a special environment for living in over an extended period.

Humanity: noun: 
1. all human beings collectively; the human race; humankind.
2. the quality or condition of being human; human nature.
3. the quality of being humane; kindness; benevolence.

It makes a lot of sense that Habitat for Humanity of Eastern CT's mission is simply this:  
To create decent and affordable homes in partnership with families in need - through the dedicated efforts of community volunteers, financial sponsors and partner families who find rewarding experiences by sharing their time, talents and resources. Their goal is to make a difference in the lives of others, fulfill the dream of home ownership and help eliminate sub-standard housing in Eastern Connecticut.

Volunteers are a big part of this equation - you can help! Every little bit adds up. Do not overwhelm or overextend yourself. Do what you can, when you can. Each of us has a special talent.

After a very busy time and being away from volunteering in the ReStore, I will start the New Year off by dedicating just a few hours a month. I know what I can do in a few hours, and it will all add up and help our community. I urge you to join me! We can have a lot of rewarding fun along the way!

Habitat founder, Millard Fuller says “For a community to be whole and healthy, it must be based on people's love and concern for each other.”

Yup - we know that, and we can do that!

Check out Habitat for Humanity of Eastern CT here, and you can sign up to volunteer!

I am a Putnamaniac that knows a bunch of little bits adds up to a lot! 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Chase Graphis offers the best service and product ever ~ and they are local!

Chase Graphics is the name of a local business. This is their logo, and they recently celebrated their 25th anniversary.

The 2 words "Chase Graphics" does not come close to describing everything they do.

Let me expand on this and enlighten you...

I had the pleasure to work on the employee side of the counter for a time at Chase.

You drive by their building and it looks quite peaceful.... quiet even.


That place is hopping from the start to finish of each day, and even stretches out to each side of that business day.

It was shocking to me how many times a day the phone rang and how many people came through the door (...the front door that is. Many more folks came in through the back door where the shop is located! I didn't keep track of them)!

An average of 25 calls AND 25 walk in customers came through Chase Graphics doors every day! That does not count all of the emails received, their sales team's orders, and yes, even still some good old fashioned faxes that rolled in every day.

Chase Graphics' list of services and products is endless. Chances are that you have received lots of their work, in your mail perhaps - in the form of an annual report or advertisement. You see their menus out at restaurants. There are business cards passing hands everywhere, thanks to Chase Graphics. Calendars, wedding invitations, newsletters, event tickets, funeral programs, show programs, signs on the streets, for special events and in businesses are courtesy of Chase Graphics.

Need a logo? They do that, thanks to their very creative design team. They are not cookie cutter designers. They do not have a style - they create what you describe to them. Imagine getting the idea out of your head and into something visible? Yup - Chase Graphics does that.

Enlargements, laminations, printing photos, scanning old memories, banners for trade shows, coozies for family events... the list is endless. If you are wondering if Chase Graphics can do it, just ask them. Chances are, they can!

How do they do it? Great people! Hard workers! A family - literally as owners Jimmy & Deb are married, their sister in law Kathy is part of the team, and Tracie, Danny, Jenn & Melissa have worked their since forever, some from the beginning (and before). There are some other great talents chipping in at Chase, too - Mike the Mailman, the Whittler, Big Paul and Carolyn to name a few.

So, stop in and see what Chase Graphics can do for you!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The best gift EVER!!! Proud Membership to The Last Green Valley - or whatever is a good fit!

People complain about their money and financial situations all the time.

I get that - it is standard fare, like the weather.

The realization that some folks are in dire financial straits, even though they are working hard and cautious with their money is also understood. Been there, done that.



Don't you think we should be very cautious, choosy, picky, even quite thoughtful about what we spend our gift money for?

I do!

If you have family or friends and feel obliged to give a gift on special occasions, such as birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries... whatever... do it thoughtfully.

"Stuff" is not always as long a lasting gift as something as thoughtful as a membership or a donation to an organization meaningful to the giftee or some time together with that special someone - maybe tickets to a show to enjoy together - or a nice dinner out to have some visiting time.

This past year I saw a 70 year man receive a rare birthday gift, but one he loved from a friend. Since they are both hunters, one friend presented the 70 year old birthday boy a permission slip from a land owner to hunt on his land. This was rich territory, and the birthday boy has hunted vigorously on that property this season. What a cool gift, even if you don't like or agree with hunting. It was thought out.

Recently someone else made a donation to a hospice care organization, who provided wonderful care to that person's loved one in their final days.

Since I've volunteered for The Last Green Valley for some years now, and am actually a staff person now, I always think of the gift of membership or a donation to this fine organization.

However, I think that you should think about your gifts, and your money, and what that hard earned money that you spend will mean to the person on the receiving end. Give it a try! There are many great gifts out there, that will do some good in the world!

I am a Putnamaniac that likes to "give" well thought gifts! 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

I'm Positive!

As I've mentioned in the past, this blog began so I could make sure I focused on at least one positive thing every single day. It was a good exercise, because you sure can get busy in life "doing" things, and forget to stop and appreciate the good things.

 Well, this week has been an exceptionally busy one, so although I did not find the time to sit and write a blog, I still found many wonders to notice and appreciate each day.

A story on the local radio of a prayer tree, a child who asked for his birthday party guests to bring canned goods to donate to the food bank instead of presents for him, a shared memory of someone's school years and the impact they as students had on the school janitor that he treasured many years later, the wonderful businesses in our town who bond together fabulously, the kind people I know... there are way more good things to notice than not.

So, be sure that you each take time each day to actually notice something good. Appreciate the goodness. It is far more uplifting than the bad. Stay positive - however you can - do what works for you! You definitely will have an impact on your own life and perhaps on other's lives, too!

I am a Putnamaniac that believes in the power of POSITIVE!

Monday, December 8, 2014

I like Putnam because I like the people who make up Putnam!

Or maybe I should say that I love Putnam because I love the people who make up Putnam.

Some folks I know a lot better than other folks, but plain and simple, they are all awesome.

I can't paint a clearer picture.

Check out The Putnam Business Association website, the Discover Putnam website, and the WINY Radio website. You will find some great people on these sites, as well as great businesses and lots of events. When you come visit Putnam, you can judge for yourself.

True love will follow!

 I am a Putnamaniac that loves my town and the people who make it up!

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Cleaning up down garbage hill has resulted in some treasures!

The lesson today is that it is good to pick up trash.


You may find treasure!

And because you will most certainly make a difference by cleaning up an unsightly place in the very least.

Case study:

We bought a house last year. The last house on a dead end street. Perfect!

However, there is a big gully right next to our house. That is both a plus and a minus.

+ It certainly is unbuildable - a very wet spot a lot of the year. That is good, because it is like having a nice woodsy space for yourself, and yet not have to pay for it.

- It was used in the past as a dumping ground by goodness knows how many people. Certainly the family that used to live in the house we bought used it. They previously had a home that burned down on the lot, and it looks like they tossed a lot over what I have dubbed "garbage hill". There is a big porcelain bathtub, a water heater, a big 50 gallon metal drum, tires, just to name a few of the bigger pieces of garbage. There are also lots of chunks of wood, cement, and more. You get it - "garbage hill".

+ As I've been going over garbage hill and picking up garbage as I see it, (and at this time of year with no leaves on the trees, you see it), I do find some treasures amongst the trash.

On the side of good, someone's trash became my treasure in the mascot lion now guarding our yard, bricks that I used for the little area under my bench & bird feeder, and today I found FOUR suet feeders - all like brand new!

Here is Gilligan the Lion, mascot of our yard!

Here is a shot of the bricks from this summer after I dragged them up garbage hill and reused them!

I can remember years ago, when I owned my 2nd house and was preparing to have a new fence put it. Early that morning I headed out to do a cleanup of that area, and found a $10 bill!

So, you never know what you will find, trash or treasure. But, one thing is guaranteed - you will find a much nicer looking area after you do a cleanup!

I am a Putnamaniac that has found some treasures in the trash on garbage hill!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Bradley's A Christmas Carol is worthy of 2 blogs in a row!

My last blog from a few days ago was titled Bradley Theater Tickets are great gifts! Kick off the season and gift giving with A Christmas Carol!

That blog was written BEFORE I went to see the current show at the Bradley, which is indeed A Christmas Carol. 

I am telling you that you MUST see this show! Last night was the first performance, and they nailed it! The characters are cast perfectly, and although I am quite partial to the Bradley, love every show, love to volunteer there, love the business manager, Pat, my opinion was not influenced by any of those things.

It was really amazing, which is something to say about a show that you've seen every which way over the years, plus you read the book every Christmas! I felt so touched in a new way by the story that I felt close to tears a few times.


But true.

I would seriously suggest that you treat yourself to the Bradley Playhouse's A Christmas Carol. There is still time!

 I am a Putnamaniac that thinks the Bradley's A Christmas Carol was very worthy of two blogs in a row!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Bradley Theater Tickets are great gifts! Kick off the season and gift giving with A Christmas Carol!

Everyone knows Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

I've read it a gazillion times, and seen many movie and on stage versions over the years, too.

And I still love it!

There are so many ways that each character has been portrayed by so many, including when they come to life in my imagination as I read it yet again.

The good news - I mean the GREAT NEWS is that The Bradley Theater's Christmas show this year is A Christmas Carol. It is starting this Friday, December 5th, and will run on Friday & Saturday (7:30pm) and Sunday (2:00pm) for the next 3 weeks.

More good news - I mean GREAT NEWS is that The Bradley Theater sells season tickets and flex tickets. What an awesome gift! Just think of someone who has all they need, but theater tickets are always nice! If they have no one to go with, get tickets for yourself and them, and you can take them out to a show once in a while! How thoughtful!

Get a move on it! The big show is starting soon, and Christmas is almost here. You will definitely be on Santa's good list if you are a thoughtful giver.