Saturday, October 30, 2010

Furlough Weekend

Welcome to the humdrum life of a state employee. Come with me on a journey of enlightenment where we explore what its like to spend a day out of work on our own dime, because the powers that be in state guv'ment decreed that (at least for me) the other eighteen thousand three hundred ninety-nine dimes and one nickel with three cents should be given back so as to help COUGH! COUGH! balance the budget.

Anywho, this entire series of posts, which will be spanning five weeks, was taken over the course of the July 4th weekend. Scratch that, it was taken on July 2nd through July 6th (which is when I got back to work). So we shall begin at the beginning.

Oh, did I mention that I was stupidly carrying a folder of blank paper and a notebook filled with my latest story that day? So not only was I carrying the camera, I was prior to the squirrel pics, carrying a folder of blank paper, a notebook, a bottle water and a bag of chips.

This and the following pics were taken on Friday morning during my now legendary 8+ mile walk to the credit union (which I started at around 8:30) and back (mapquest stated that the driving route was 2.3 miles but the walking route that I took was at least an extra .8 of a mile). Anyways, this little statue of a fireman (with a functional fire hose I might add), is located directly behind the old firehouse that was featured in this post. The main reason as to why I took this picture is simple: I needed to find out once and for all, which picture was numero uno once my disposable camera got developed. Turns out that number 27 on the picture disc is numero uno.

You'll have to enlarge this picture to see the squirrel standing on the hill just to the right of the tree. He was gathering nuts (I think) and was taking a breather underneath the shady portion of the tree (it was in the lo 90's I believe). Very rarely do I get the opportunity to get this up close and personal to a squirrel, so of the opportunity did I take advantage thereof.

Another view of the same squirrel, and let me tell you, I took full advantage of that particular section of shade. As a matter of fact, I was very fortunate that my entire route of Main Street was shady that day, because it got to be hotter than frying pan that day.

Traffic was incredibly heavy that Friday morning (trust me, the phrase "playing in traffic" was the topic of choice that day), so after dodging all kinds of cars, I crossed the street to the local firehouse to take this picture of a old fashioned fire hose/fire truck memorial.

If you enlarge the picture, you'll see that its a memorial dedicated to those volunteer firemen who made the supreme sacrifice. And yes, that shadow at the bottom is me, which is due to the fact that I wanted to get a detailed shot of the memorial plaque, thus I had to get up close and personal.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Round & Round (4)

And finally, we come to the final part of this latest series. So let's begin at the ending and see what we shall see. And as always, the journey starts after you take that initial step.

The weather was definitely more agreeable this time around as the tiger lilies were in full bloom around the pond. With the way the sun was breaking through the trees in the backyard, I would venture to guess that this shot was taken around 6 in the evening (remember, we're still in the beginning of summer here, so the days are super duper long).

The Keeney Manufacturing plant (they make plumbing parts and supplies) has always been one of my favorite subjects for photographing since I started blogging back in 2008. They have the funkiest water sculpture that I've seen in quite sometime and the landscaping is second to none. I think the reason as to why it looks so immaculate and inviting, is that all the parades that happen here (Memorial day and Veteran's day) take place right on this particular section of Main Street. And I can always get a fantastic shot of those two majestic flags flapping away in the breeze.

Now, you'll probably have to click on the picture to enlarge it, but that is a helicopter in the upper middle of this photo. Apparently some kind of celebration was going on (not sure what, but it definitely wasn't the Extravaganza that will be popping up here in a couple of months), but there were a lot cars and of course, the helicopter, which I thought was pretty neat. Yeah, that is TD Bank(north) to your left.

Now, this is another one of those pictures that I took that I don't have a clue as to why I did. But, let's try to narrow it down, shall we? It could be that I like taking pictures of white picket fences. Or, it could be that I enjoy taking pictures of flowers and trees in bloom. Or....well, I don't know what the third "or" is, but in any event, you gotta admit that its a great picture of what a typical homeowner here in Newington does with their property.

I was going through my birdy phase this summer when mother dearest moved the birdbath from the side of the yard to the front yard. So I took it upon myself to make sure that it was filled with clean water every day this past summer (every day boys and girls. M-F I filled it up once I pulled into the driveway after work and S & S before I took off for my morning and afternoon errands respectively). And as you can see, I had some fantastic feathered friends visit the bird bath. Once I added birdseed, I pretty much had a constant steady stream from May thru early September.

A shot of a solitary bird taken after its companions flew the coop. I did have some fantastic looking birds partake of the refreshments for the summer in great quantities. And yes, that is my hunk o' junk car that you see just off to the right, and my neighbor's house was for sale, but he eventually took it off the market. That little stump is all that remains of the hedge that used to clutter up the front yard for the past forty odd years or so. And if the birdbath looks crooked, you're right. Because the front yard slopes downwards, I had to eventually level off the birdbath with a piece of metal. This is prior to the leveling.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Round & Round (3)

After a ton of problems trying to upload these seven photos the way I wanted to do it but Blogger didn't want to let me do it the way I wanted (mainly, trying to upload one at time as opposed to all in one shot), I now bring to you the end of the middle.

I would like to say that this is one of my stock shots of the mountain that I took over a year ago, but it isn't. It is a current photo that was taken for this particular set of photos. Note the lush greeness of the mountain and the trees that line both sides of the street. This was taken on the tail end of the incredible long walk that was highlighted in last week's post, and let me tell you, my dogs were barking and growling by the time I got home.... this lovely front yard image. This is the bay window on the left side of the porch (the right side was shown last week, which featured my cat Holly. In this photo, you can see the thingamabob from last week, along with a teddy, a electronic parrot (trust me, we don't need an electronic parrot), a drawing of a potato head, another teddy bear and the reflection of the trees from across the street.
The world famous looking-up-into-the-tree-canopy shot. This one came about in much the same way as the one from a couple of weeks ago. A little while after I got home from my long walk and after the previous picture, I decided to sit in my backyard and write (HA!!). In addition to the pen, paper, lap desk and whatever story I happen to be working on, I also have my camera. Because nothing of note was bleeding from my brain to the paper, I decided to sit back and vegetate for a while. This shot came from that one hour's worth of vegetating.

This picture was taken while I was driving back from Middletown one Friday afternoon, which of course was during rush hour. Anyways, I decided to take a crack at taking a few shots of the boats that were sailing down the Connecticut river. However, a small problem quickly emerged. In addition to having no manual dexterity to speak of anymore, I also can't hold a camera and press the button with the same hand. End result is what you see here: a guardrail, a couple of trees, a few boats, my side mirror and my very dirty and worn out interior of the passenger door.

Another one of my world famous redundantly non-stock photo of the main intersection of downtown Newington. I say redundant because this one features the the flag at half staff, which most of you know is for when a U.S. soldier from Connecticut dies overseas in either Iraq or Afghanistan. I'm pretty sure that this is the reason as to why, simply because of the blue sign that you see in the center trumpeting the fact that one stream recycling is coming to town (which hit us in late July) and these photos were taken in late May/early June.

Another one of my world famous (redundant, ain't it?) non-stock photos of the backyard pond. Not sure why I took this one, other than the background weather looks a tad gloomy, which turn gives the photo a particular gloomy feel, especially around the edges of the photo. Anywho, you can see a great shot of the shed and a few of the wind chimes.
And a shot of my young two year old nephew Bryce. I would like to give a status update as it applies to our relationship. Previously I mentioned that whenever Bryce sees me, he flips out and runs to the nearest relative screaming his tiny little head off. I am happy to announce that he no long flips out and goes screaming off into the night whenever he sees me. Now when he sees me, he says, "Uh-oh!" then goes back to whatever it was that he was doing prior to me walking into the room.

Not sure if this "Uh-oh!" is an improvement over the screaming anxiety attacks, but I'll take the tiny little victories wherever I can grab them.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Round & Round (2)

Once again were back with yet another scintillatingly original (for a change of pace) post on one of the many blogs that make up my empire. So, without further adieu or adios or goodbyes or talk you later for I have to book, we muddle through the early middle.
My lovely daughter Jenelle posing with her thingmabob on the swinging bench in the front yard.

Another shot of her with her thingambob on the front bench, simply because I wanted to make sure that just in case I goofed up the previous shot, I would have a back up shot to take the place of the goofed up shot.

This was taken during our local Memorial Day parade. The building that this wonderful old relic is actually a restored firehouse. The sidewalk that you see was put together one by one, and paid for with our hard earned and seriously wasted tax dollars from about four or five years ago.

I decided that I needed another good short of my finger that day, and the firehouse and fire truck was the perfect background for my finger. It's a little fuzzy, but you can see that my fingernail is a pretty healthy specimen and the finger itself has quite a bit of muscle tone to it.

Not a freakin' clue as to why I took this shot. It's a house that I pass by every day on my morning commute to work and every weekend on my walks to the center of town. Beyond that, a no vacancy sign currently hangs in the spot of my memory cells for this photo.

Now here's a picture that I can actually talk about. This is Holly in one of her favorite resting/sleeping/vegging out spots in the house: the front window. It has a perfect view of the front yard, a perfect view of the birds, and the sun comes blazing in throughout most of the day so that she can do her best imitation of Hobbes. I was able to sneak up on her and take this shot because hey, that's what I do best.

This shot was taken on a Sunday when I decided to really stretch my legs and walk in a such a big fat circle that the top circle touched at our local Catholic church that sits directly across West Meadow Cemetery. The church itself is about a good one and a half miles from my house and with the route I took that day, this was about at the three mile mark of my walk. The route itself? I walked next to the mountain all the way to the Hartford Regional Center, walked down the road until got to the road featured in this post, then walked up Market Square (soon to be feature next year in a post about the Waterfall festival), then to CVS for a bottle of water, then continued in a zig-zag pattern until I got to here.

The caption on the statue is from Isaiah 49:15 and it reads, "Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you."

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Round & Round (1)

So yet we embark on yet another photographic journey around the town that is Newington. I call this series "Round & Round" because of the simple fact that these pictures were taken while I was walking in multiple circles. And no, I wasn't twirling around like a ballerina, I was simply walking in one large circle that started at my house and ended at my house. So, to use that moldy oldy quote from John Cleese, let us begin at the beginning.....

...with ducks. Yes, here were are back at Mill Pond park taking yet more pictures of ducks. This shot was taken on the bridge that crosses the waterfalls, specifically, the rocky ledge on the left that divides the waterfall from the pond. The ducks usually use this area as their local bathing hole, and of which the ledge is used as the drying/preening area.

A shot of a duck contemplating whether or not a bath or a swim is to be executed, and yes, that pasty looking solid shadow is my thumb. The white shadow on the water is in fact the sun, and yes, this is still taken from the bridge.

Now this is what the waterfall is supposed to look like: madly rushing over the rocks and forming a foamy pool at the bottom. Hasn't been like that for months and in fact, is probably like that now since Connecticut has been socked with a two day (so far) deluge (as of the date of this post). This shot was taken at the landing on the lower bottom of the park, which is used during the summer for wedding photos.

The flowers aren't quite in bloom yet, but this little plant island is what you see as you approach the landing. Once the flowers are in full bloom it is quite a sight to see. Just off to the upper left is a staircase that will take you to the walk path that rings the pond, and in the center background between the trees is this (please check the second photo).

If you think that I took a shot of about one dozen school buses, then you would be WRONG. If you'd guessed that I took a shot of the trees, you'd be WRONG TOO. If you look real close and squint your eyes until you get a headache, you will see between the gravel path and the tree a tiny bird. Yup, I took a pretty bad shot of bird. How bad? I had to go back to my computer, bring up the photo and zoom in 500%, just so that I can tell you it was a bird. Nifty looking skool buses though, eh? Pretty color for a tree trunk, eh?

Okay, back to the flowers. These two planters are part of a group of five that dot this church's parking lot (first pic). This actually used to be an entrance/exit driveway, but considering that right over my right shoulder is a busy intersection, they got smart and closed it up. To the near right is this shopping plaza (last pic) and to the left of the white picket fence is the church's cemetery, which gets decorated with American flags on either Memorial Day, July 4th or Labor Day.

And finally, the unknown object. Not a clue on what this is suppose to be. The bench you've already seen in other picture posts, but this, no idea. Your guess is as good as mine on what this particular item is, but don't it look purty?