Saturday, July 31, 2010

Flora, Fauna & Aminals (2)

So now we muddle at the middle.

Continuing with my walk down the street, we come to the house exactly two doors from the one with the funky landscaping. Its funny (and just a little bit sad) to see how some houses have changed over the course of the decades on this street of mine. I actually spent my childhood and parts of my young adulthood and adulthood growing up and living on this street. With this particular house, the current owners did a magnificent job on the landscaping and remodeling. This particular tree is a recent newcomer (by recent, I mean within the last fifteen years or so) to this house and even though you can only see the red door just off to the left of the car, the garage area was converted into a common room.

As we walk down the familiar main drag that is featured in a good percentage of my shots throughout the past year and half, you can actually see a rarity just off to the right in front of the fence: a non-family member. I try very hard not to get any other people beyond family members in my shots. I figure when I'm taking pictures the very least I can do is respect someone's privacy and not include them (an exception to that rule will pop up sometime in the fall, when I post pics from our townwide celebration called "The Extravaganza" held on 7/19/10). Anyways, this tree is the green version of the pink/white one that was featured as a header about a year ago or so.

Tulips, of the yellow and red variety. We have three major housing complexes and one apartment building for senior citizens/disabled people located in town. These tulips are located directly in front of the apartment building. I figured that these flowers have such a spotty blooming record here, that it would make very good sense to get a few shots of them before the summer time heat took them out of picture.

Same tulip bed, but a more complete view of them. This bed starts about where the previous shot was and stretches to where you see that Sovereign Bank building just off to the right.

Unfortunately, same bed, just further down a piece. As you can see, Mother Nature did it's required torching of the bed, leaving nothing but one or two flowers in its wake. Sun usually hits with full force on this side of the building and there usually isn't much in the way of shade that can save the flowers. Or the grass for that matter, as you can see a little bit of the browning that has been currently gripping our state for the better part of a couple of months now.

But....there is hope. Amongst all of those wiped out flower stalks, I found this single solitary flower, majestically and defiantly poking its head out from the floral carnage that surrounds it (sorry, been reading "To Hell And Back" by Audie Murphy this week. fantastic autobiography. if you liked the movie, you'll love the book. reissued by Henry Holt books)

And finally, two solitary white tulips. Standing majestically and proud, these bad boys were the one sign that this particular day was going to be a good day. Fortunately, the day turned out well. Unfortunately for the flowers, about week later, Mother Nature decided that they would be better off someplace else. The parking lot directly behind it, is connected to the apartment complex. That tree you see in the distance, marks the beginning of what a lot people feel (including myself) was a big waste of money by the town. The town chose to blow about $2 million dollars on repaving and redesigning the downtown public parking lot. But we'll nip that in the bud and save it for a future post elsewhere about small town politics.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Flora, Fauna, And Aminals (1)

So, as Monty Python would say, "Let's begin at the beginning."

As I've mentioned on numerous occasions, I work in the city. But that doesn't mean that there isn't any photo opportunities to speak of. Take my office building for example. As you can see, it's very much a one way outlook. Those on the inside can see out, and those on the out can't see in. This picture came about in an interesting way. I was sitting outside at a picnic table in the no-smoking area of the building (read: the entire complex is smoke free) during my morning break, when the reflection in the windows caught my eye once again. I say once again, because I'm always seeing cool reflections in the windows. This time though, I had my camera with me, so I thought I would try to get a shot of the reflection. As they say, nothing ventured nothing gained. The building in the reflection is one of many units of low-income housing that dot the streets where my office is located.
My lovely daughter Jenelle posing with two of the nearly three dozen (yes, proud poppa said three dozen) medals she's won for ice skating over the past five years or so. This was taken on the weekend, and I know this because all her competitions take place on the weekends. And yes, there are stuffed aminals in the window cheering her on.
Another pose, same area, which is the front yard. I say that based on the shadow on the swinging bench, this was taken in the early afternoon. The front porch that you'll see in the next picture, provides the shade that you see, right up until 6p, when the sun is finally over in the front of the house. People laugh, but on my side of the street, it isn't unusual to see snow in the front yard until early March.
Still yet another pose (yes, I was having a hard time coming up with photo opportunities that day). I will mention that for about three months in 2009, the front bench is where I did the bulk of my writing/blogging. However, as you can see, that thing was not made for comfort, so I skedaddled to the backyard deck and the backyard, and have been doing the bulk of my writing back there ever since. And before you ask, I used that chair next to the bench as a writing area as well. Screwed up my lower back while using those two implements to rest my delicate heiny on.
Walking as you know is one of my favorite pastimes. This is at the apex of my street looking east towards the mountain, which as you can see, is very much starting to show signs of life. One of the interesting things about this street is that the trees that you see dotting each side of the road, have not been touched by the local electrical utility. Not sure if you have something similar in your neck of the woods, but the almighty Connecticut Light & Power will trim/de-limb/destroy/decapitate any tree that happens to even remotely threaten the power line, whether due to old age, young age, damaged condition or healthier than's hate of GWB.
Not sure why I took this pic. I probably should've gotten closer, but I do respect a person's property, so no trespassing was done to take this shot. But, I will venture a guess that the landscaping in the front had a lot to do with me taking this shot. In the distance, you can see a small weathervane/windmill and one of those funky blue balls that seem to be the rage in suburbia. The gentleman that owns this house is a very decent landscaper and during the various holidays throughout the year, has the yard tastefully decorated.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Newinton Center....And Beyond! (5)

I think that this batch will lend itself for some decent captioning for a change.

This is looking easterly and southerly. I was trying to get a general purpose shot without the traffic, but as you can see, no such luck. Anywho, you can see Carvels directly across from us, a loser sitting in the crosswalk waiting to make a right on red, which is a very popular and breakable law here in Connecticut. Yes, breakable. Do you think that everyone really does a proper stop at a red light before turning? Honestly, do you? Honestly, do I? Honestly, I do. About 75% of the time, I come to a proper stop, which in that driver's manual that NOOOOOOOOBODY ever reads anymore once they pass their exam, says that your car must halt and jerk back just a little bit in order for it to be considered a complete and legal stop.

Jenelle in one of her many dance costumes this season. This particular costume was for her solo tap dance competitions. Song of choice (well, not really) was "Old Time Rock & Roll". This is what she'd danced to this past week at Wildwood, New Jersey at her latest national dance competition. Factoid: Jenelle was personally invited by an organizer to another one being held at the same time in New Hampshire. However, that one was a little more expensive and was more group oriented, whereas this one is geared towards the individual. Shot was taken in the front hallway.

This one was taken in the living room, next to a scooter and the wife's yarn collection. I will say that for this season's dance competitions, I wasn't driven completely insane by the daily two hour injection of music being played for rehearsals. Whereas the previous years either irritated the crap out of me (If I Only Had A Brain, artist unknown); or made me seriously detest an artist for years to come, (Meet The Flintstones, B-52's); this one was pretty good, as it didn't bother me much. Now if she was dancing to "Cotton Eye Joe" (skated to that instead), that would've really bothered me.

I decided to bring my camera along for my hike on Good Friday/Easter Sunday. I can truthfully pinpoint the time frame because the development date for this picture disc was April 11, 2010, and as I'd stated early on, money drives when I get my disposables developed. Anywho, I wanted to get some funky shots of what the mountain is like in the early spring. This was taken along one of the plateaus that I frequently hike. Believe it or not, in spite of the crappiness that are my legs (muscle weakness, neuropathy and what not), I can do a pretty damn good job of hiking up this funky mountain.

This is looking up the mountain towards one of the ridges. Now let me tell you, if you think that the incline in this picture looks bad, it really is. I'm estimating that incline was something like a 5 or 6% grade, which is no mean feat to climb (most steep hills that one drives on are about 4%). I actually climbed this thing a few weeks after I took this shot, and even though I did a zig-zag pattern going up and using the trees and underbrush for leverage, it was nevertheless a pretty brutal climb. Did I forget to mention that in addition the previously mentioned maladies, I have a wicked case of asthma? While I don't use inhalers, this was climb was a decent trigger just the same. Fortunately, the triggering was mild, and I was able to judiciously find some great spots to rest and let the mountain refreshen my spirit. Let me tell you, the silence on the mountain that day was incredible. No people, no traffic, just a stray bird here and there, and the wind gently blowing across with the sun beating down....does a body good.
And this brings us to the end of "Newington Center...And Beyond". Tune in next week, where we will start a brand new series of posts that will feature "Flora, Fauna and Aminals!"

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Newington Center....And Beyond (4)

Yup, still at the lower section of Mill Pond park, near the waterfalls. Gonna rest for a spell. Still got that issue with intelligent captioning again, so feel free to riff on the pictures and come up with your own captions. Betcha they'll be better than mines.

There are one or two firsts that Newington is noted for that I knew from when I was a child. The first McDonald's in Connecticut is located in Newington, right on the Berlin Turnpike (official monikers, The Wilbur Cross Highway, The Merritt Parkway & The Hartford-New Haven Turnpike). However, this isn't about that. The stone what you see in this picture commemorates the site of the first U.S. Girl Scout Day Camp, back in 1922. Repeat, first U.S. Girl Scout Day Camp. Anywhere. In the U.S.A. Not sure what else I can say about that, since obviously I never participated in the Girl Scouts nor has my daughter participated in the Girl Scouts. But, its a fun thing to brag about. Oh, in the background to the very far right, is a lovely old fashioned gazebo that when the flowers are in bloom, is quite a sight to behold.

This display (for lack of a better word) encircles the monument. The writing on the post says "May Peace Prevail On Earth" in at least four different languages. It's a very interesting concept, a post enclosed by a series of benches, and I wish I could elaborate further on it, but I'm sure someone out there will be kind enough to offer one up for me.

Same circle of harmony scene, only this one is a little more encompassing. Would be a little eerie with the barren trees if this was take at night, don't you think? A little ghostly presence...woooooooooooooo!

Small grouping of trees located on the corner of my street. You can see the mountain starting to bloom a little bit (yeah, right).

Not sure if this is the same tree or not. I do take weird shots, don't I? Anyways, just by first glance, this tree certainly don't look healthy. At second glance, this looks like a tree from the town green. Still sickly looking though.

And finally, a truly random shot, at the intersection of Cedar and Main, looking south into downtown. Can't remember if I was playing dodge the traffic prior to this shot or after this shot.
Still hoping to take my .133 batting average and rise it by couple hundred points next week. Lets hope the final batch of shots is a helluva lot better than this batch of highly ornamental, but purely dysfunctional, pictures of my town.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Newington Center....And Beyond (3)

Note: Apologies for the lack of descriptive captioning this week. Apparently I took a batch of shots that didn't really lend themselves to any kind of in-depth captioning. Next week's should hold some promise, as I need to do a little refresh for a couple of the shots that I took.

This was taken at the main feeding area for the ducks at Mill Pond. There are others feeding areas scattered around the park, but for the most part, if you want to have your little one squeal with delight, you take them to this one. In the foreground, you can see a small slice of the fenced-in landing where people congregate. In the background is the town pool.

This was taken from one of the seldom used feeding areas. In the far background, you can once again see the town pool (sort of dominates the pictures, don't it?) and a small bridge.

Tree (like D'OH!). This was taken at the waterfalls. Across the street and right next to the waterfalls is the town school bus garage (hence the buses in the background). Springtime in New England always means having at least one pine tree surrounded by hibernating trees.

Our world famous waterfalls, looking like it usually does on a non-stormy day. It's pretty much a consistently casual flow as the pond empties directly into a lower stream. I know it doesn't look like much, but after a good storm it really is a sight to behold. Same goes for those sickly plants that you see in the foreground. I do have some pics in the upcoming months that I think captures the the waterfall area quite well. The bridge up above is also a nifty feeding area, but mostly people watch a few of the ducks take their hourly baths on top of the waterfalls.

Mill Pond Falls (like really D'OH!!!!!!). In the summer this area is definitely a sight to behold. In the spring, as you can see, it looks depressingly empty. Off in the distance you can see how empty the waterfalls look, how vacant and forlorn those benches on the left feel, and how achingly silent the trees stand. Definitely makes you think, and not in a good way either.