Thursday Doors–Unexpected Pleasure

Molly Wee

The Molly Wee – This is one of two entrance doors. The other is usually propped open which is good for bars and churches.

One thing I’ve learned about blogging is that you can’t get too wrapped up in your plans. Plans change. Sometimes things get in the way of plans. Sometimes better things come along. You have to be flexible.

Last weekend, my daughter invited me to spend a day with her in New York. Monday was quickly switched from a same-old-same-old day at the office to a train ride, some shopping, some walking and a couple hours at one of my favorite watering holes, The Molly Wee Pub.

I discovered The Molly Wee in the mid-90s. I was attending a conference at the Javits Center and I wanted something better for lunch than fast food. I enjoyed the experience so much that I went back for dinner. I have been going there ever since. If I am in New York (and in control of the agenda) as much as one day, I will visit the Molly Wee.

The Molly Wee is small by restaurant standards but it’s a good sized pub. When the Rangers are playing hockey, or Ireland is playing soccer, it’s standing room only and you can’t hear yourself think. During more quiet times, the bartender will engage you in conversation and joke with you, but he/she won’t pressure you to buy another round, upsell you on brand/menu items or pressure you to hit the road after that last sip. I’ve left cash on the bar while using the restroom, and while I would never go so far as to recommend the practice, I’ve left my laptop bag and luggage at the bar while taking the same trip.

Early in this century, I asked the bartender if I could take some pictures inside the bar. I explained that we have always had Irish Setters and that one was named Reilly (the Reilly family owns the Molly Wee) and that one was named Mollie. He gave me permission and a free beer. I have gone back to the Molly Wee after not having been there in six or more months, and the bartender has said “what brings you down from Connecticut today?

Once when my daughter was in her teens and we were visiting New York, she said “I can’t wait until I’m old enough to go to the Molly Wee with you and have a beer.” I was pretty sure that day would never come. She’s been going to the pub with me for almost 10 years now. Several years ago, when she took my wife to New York for the day, she also took her to the Molly Wee. When she invited me to New York this time, I’m sure she knew that I needed a picture of the door.

My favorite Molly Wee experience was when my daughter Faith and I joined Brad Lewis there for lunch. Brad had fries with his meal. Faith had fries with her salad. I had Shepherd’s Pie which is served with two large piles of creamy whipped potatoes instead of the potato crust. I hadn’t touched one pile of potatoes when Brad started dipping his fries in it. Faith soon joined him and now, dipping fries in mashed potatoes is a thing.

The most memorable Molly Wee moment was when Faith and I were drinking and lost track of time (it’s a complicated story I will share at some point). Anyway, we tossed some money on the bar and ran the one block to Penn Station only to just barely miss our train. We sulked back to the Molly Wee and reclaimed our stools. The bartended took one look at us and set us up with two pints, on the house.

The main door was propped open, and the interior door is partially masked by a sign, but I think the pictures will give you an idea of what it’s like to visit.

Like every other Thursday, this post is part of Norm Frampton’s Thursday Doors series. It’s fun and easy to join in.

Posted in Photography, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , , , , , | 51 Comments

You Blog How Often?

The weeks in WordPress' "Insights" run left to right but down by day.

The weeks in WordPress’ “Insights” run left to right but down by day.

Last week I found myself in the middle of an unplanned experiment. From Sunday to Saturday, I published a blog post every day.

I didn’t like it.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked what I wrote. I won’t push that ‘Publish’ button if I don’t like what I’ve written. I didn’t like the experience. I didn’t like the stress. Yes, I said stress. Me, Mr. NoStress himself felt anxiety because of those silly posts. I forgot the rules of the photo challenge(s) midway through the week. I had to adjust my plans because the door I wanted to share on Thursday didn’t look good in black and white. Then, we agreed to announce the Cherished Blogfest on the one day I had been planning to not post, and on which I had hoped to give my readers a break. In addition to all of that, I felt like I was asking my editor wife to read a bunch more than she agreed to in our marriage vows.

I promise to love, honor, take care of your dog, test the computer programs you write, find a place for the things you build in your shop, look at your photos, remind you to take your vitamins, make meatloaf on a regular basis and pick out your clothes and proofread the crap you write so the world thinks you have a modicum of taste and a basic understanding of grammar.”

I follow a bunch of people who blog every day. They know who they are, and they know that I find a way to sneak a look at what they are thinking/doing/writing/photographing. Usually, I tap the ‘Like’ button (which means I did like what I saw/read). Sometimes I’ll leave a comment, but there’s a lot to read and there isn’t a lot of time. You might find it unfair, but sometimes the reason I don’t comment is because of the pile of stuff in my inbox and the amount of time I have to get through it. There’s only one me, 24 hours and I have a day-job and I like to get a good night’s sleep.

I wasn’t stressing out about writing. I can write every day. It’s not like I’m writing a novel. The stuff I write today doesn’t have to relate to anything I’ve ever written before. I was stressing out over reading!

I enjoy reading the blogs I follow. I enjoy really, really enjoy reading your comments and I try to respond to each and every one of them. If you’re a new visitor to my blog and like something I wrote, or leave a comment, I always read at least two of your recent posts. Sometimes I like what you’ve written and I follow you, adding to the pile. The more I write, the more I have to read. I love reading, but, you know, time.

In addition to only having so much time, my daughter gave me a great book for Father’s Day. In addition to that, my wife bought me the DVD set of The Outer Limits. In addition to that, I have a new programming language to learn. In addition to that, Maddie likes me to sit with her when I get home from work. In addition to that, MuMu needs to be brushed – MuMu always needs to be brushed.

What’s a boy to do?

Write less often.

This boy is returning to his comfy old schedule, with one exception:

Thursday Doors – I don’t know how it happened, but Norm flicked on a switch in my brain and Thursday Doors is now a thing. Thursday Doors took me from posting twice a week to three times a week, and I’m not going back.

I’ll fill in the time between Thursdays with an occasional Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt response, a less frequent episode of “If We Were Having a Beer” and the regular old random thoughts that characterize this blog. It’s usually not going to add up to more than three posts a week. Some of you are breathing a deep sigh of relief – it’s OK honey, I understand.

Posted in Blogging, Perspective | Tagged , , , , | 86 Comments

IWWHaB–My Big Mouth

For the love of beer

The perfect place and beverage to share some casual conversation.

If we were having a beer, you would announce that you had a question for me. I’d be curious of course but I’d know that you would get around to it in your own time and in your own way. Besides, we rarely talk much of substance before the bartender brings us our first round. As is often the case, that first request sets the stage for our conversation as you order a wine and “a beer for Ann and Abbey’s brother here.”

Huh?

Well, you been talking about advice all month, I thought maybe you might be related to those crazy ladies.”

I think they’re dead. I think they died of old age. I’d be like 100.”

OK, maybe you’re Abbey’s illegitimate son.”

I think I like brother better. Anyway, I wasn’t giving advice, I was talking about good advice I had received.”

Yeah, yeah. Anyway, what I want to know is, how on earth did you manage to flunk PhysEd?

I would explain that the University of Georgia had rather archaic PE requirements. As a freshman, your choices were conditioning exercises, track or weight training, and you had to know how to swim. To pass these courses, you had to meet certain goals. Track, for example required that you run a 7-minute mile. Weight training required that you bench press your body weight or something like that. Regardless of what you took, you had to pass a swimming test. If you failed, your second PE course had to be swimming. I took conditioning exercises because you only had to show up, but it was awful.

The instructor would line us up and walk the length of the class, yelling our names straight into our face.”

ANTION” – “to which I could respond ‘here’ or ‘present’ – nothing else.”

Sounds like the Marines.”

I wouldn’t know, but he took roll again at the end of class.”

You could miss two classes. If you missed three, “you might as well miss ’em all ladies,” according to the instructor because you would fail.

That turned into a problem for me because I injured my leg and I ended up on crutches the week before Thanksgiving. I went to class on crutches, but he said that since I couldn’t exercise, I wasn’t there. I was standing in line when he yelled in my face: “ABSENT – that’s one!

Then I missed a second class the day before Thanksgiving because I flew home to Pittsburgh early so I could register for the draft.

What was your number?

123 but it didn’t matter, they didn’t call anyone from my year.”

I was 353.” You’d added with a smirk. That was a good thing, because you’re a bit older than me.

So, two absences burnt by Thanksgiving. Still, there couldn’t have been many classes left.

WVU and ISU are both in the Big-12 now. If WVU loses, I have to wear this to work. if WVU wins, my brother wears a WVU Tee to Beer Club.

WVU and ISU are both in the Big-12 now. If WVU loses, I have to wear this to work. if WVU wins, my brother wears a WVU Tee to Beer Club.

There weren’t many, and I attended all of them, including the one I had been planning to skip. The last day of class in the semester and I had to stay for PE because of those absences. I was all packed and ready to fly home. Heading out to PE, I almost gagged at the smell of my “uniform” – I don’t think I ever washed it. I pulled on the shorts, but I took an Iowa State tee shirt out of my laundry bag to wear on top.

Iowa State?

My brother went there. The shirt had been a gift. Anyway, I got to class on time for roll. Lots of guys had skipped. He yelled my name and I replied. He worked us non-stop that class.“

You would stop me and flag down the bartender.

Bring Abbey another beer, she’s getting all winded.”

I would explain that midway through class, the instructor had his son, a Marine, demonstrate the “real way” to do a chin-up. This guy grabbed the bar with his right hand and grabbed his right wrist with his left hand. Then, he became a chin-up machine. He offered to let anyone go if they could do five chin-ups like that.

Any takers?

None

After a few more mindless exercises and a few laps around the building, we were back in line for the final roll call of the semester, with me at the head of the line.

ANTION!

“Here.” He stood in front of me, staring at my shirt. Then he looked up and actually got closer to my face.

I – oh – wah – state – U – nah – vers – sit – tea??? Antion, do you go to Iowa State University?

Yes, but I heard the PE was so much better in Georgia, so I commute.”

ABSENT – That’s three – FAILED!

I’d notice that your glass was empty and I’d ask the bartender to pour you another round. You’d tap my glass and take a drink.

You’re OK Abbey. You have a big mouth, but you’re OK.”

Posted in Humor, If having a beer | Tagged , , , , , | 53 Comments

Announcing the Cherished Blogfest

I know. I’ve been talking all week about how I stink at organized blog activities, but I’m one of the organizers of a Blogfest? WTH? That’s like putting me in charge of the checkbook, or asking me to guard the bacon, or to take fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies to a bake sale.

You might not think this makes any sense, but it does.

A blogfest is a great way to meet new people, see what they have to say and get your stuff in front of them. I’ve never been part of a blogfest, but, as I understand it, it’s pretty easy:

All you have to do is to write a blog post. Post it at the designated time. Fill out a Linky thing, read a few posts, and give us your first-born child.

Oh?

Apparently, we dropped that last requirement?

Official Story

For the Cherished Blogfest, we – Paul Ruddock, Peter Nena, Sharukh Bamboat, Tom Benson, Damyanti Ghosh and me – invite you to talk to us about one of your cherished objects. Tell us what it is, post a picture of it if you like, and tell us why you cherish it.

Keep your post to 500 words, and join us on the 24th, 25th and 26th of July 2015 in sharing memories, emotions, information.

Place the badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media.

Above all, join us in making new connections, and renewing old ones. Sign up in the Cherished Linky List, which will open in a new window.

I hope you will consider joining this blogfest. Additionally, I hope you will check out the blogs of my fellow organizers and Cheryl, another member of our group (who provided the image behind the Cherished badge). These people are all very good writers. Some write fiction, some have been published and some write non-fiction. I have benefited from their support and I am in awe of their ability.

I’ve written enough this week. I’ll be having a beer with you guys tomorrow, and then I will give you a break for a few days. Thanks for reading, liking, commenting and supporting my writing.

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Posted in Blogging, Prompt | Tagged , , | 73 Comments

Thursday Doors – Denslow House

Denslow House

Side door? Front door? It;s hard to know, but it’s not a welcoming sight at the moment.

How many things can you accomplish with one blog post? At least three. I chose today’s door because it looks good in black and white. This allows me to complete the black and white five-day photo challenge that Cordelia’s Mom (CM) nominated me for a while back. The stuff I’m going to write about this door lets me also complete the Five Photo Five challenge for which I was nominated by Amy. Of course, this being a Thursday, well, doors.

I live in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Windsor Locks is only 100 years older than me (incorporated in 1854). When this area was originally settled, it was the Pine Meadows district of Windsor, CT. People migrated from Windsor to this area along the CT River and began to stake out farms and build houses. One of the first settlers in Pine Meadow was Henry Denslow, who moved there in 1663.

The second sentence in the previous paragraph is astounding to me. People migrated from Windsor to Windsor Locks. Using a point of reference that more people might understand, that’s like migrating from downtown New York City to Midtown. Which. I’m sure. People. Did.

We consider distances like this (3-5 miles) to be trivial today. I ride my bike in a 10-mile loop that takes me into the north edge of the Windsor Historic District (with homes dating back to the mid-1600s) past the Denslow house and then up into other sections of Windsor and Windsor Locks. On a good day, I can complete that loop in 45 minutes.

Henry Denslow left his family in Windsor and traveled north into the Pine Meadows section. He lived there for thirteen years, when, according to the stone marker at the historic site, he was killed by Indians.

As for the Denslow House, it’s old but not that old. Several sources point to the 375 year-old Fairbanks House in Dedham, MA as being the oldest remaining freestanding structure. The Denslow house shown here is not the original house built by Henry, but it’s well over 250 years old. It’s not in the greatest shape. Like the Lockkeeper’s house I featured last week, it needs a little TLC. Similarly, if it doesn’t get that TLC, it will someday need a restoration effort. Unlike the Lockkeeper’s house, this building is made of wood and if it’s allowed to deteriorate too long, there won’t be a chance for restoration.

This post is part of Norm Frampton’s Thursday Doors series. If you want to join the fun, click the link to Norm’s page and follow the easy instructions.

If you are a history buff, you can follow this link to a well-researched and comprehensive history of Windsor Locks. A more personal view of this history was published in 1900 in a series of sketches written and compiled by Jabez-Hasicell Hayden can be viewed here.

Posted in History, New England Life, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , , , | 45 Comments

Connecticut State Capitol

I no longer work in downtown Hartford, but I still get my hair cut there. I’ve been going to the same barber for 34 years. He’s partially retired now, so instead of getting my hair cut on Saturdays, I have to get it cut on Friday. That means I have to worry about rush hour traffic. Hartford isn’t as bad as Boston or New York, but traffic in and out of the city can get ugly. My solution, no surprise here, I go in early – my appointment is for 7:30 am. I’m usually at the barber shop by 7:15 but I’m usually in Hartford by 6:55.

That’s OK.

I love being in the city early.

The Capitol Building sits on a small hill that rises above Bushnell Park in Hartford.

The Capitol Building sits on a small hill that rises above Bushnell Park in Hartford.

At that time, the city is quiet. There’s very little traffic, very few people and there are plenty of parking places. The meter maids don’t start making their rounds until 8:00 so it’s free parking all around. I drive around looking for interesting things and I stop and take pictures of them. Lately, as you might guess, I’ve been taking pictures of doors.

Today’s picture is the Capitol Building. I chose this because, although I took a color photo, the sky and the light made it look like a B&W shot. The only thing that was obviously colored in the original was the gold dome.

In case you’re wondering why I’m sharing this today, well I’m responding to two challenges. A couple of months ago Cordelia’s Mom (CM) nominated me for a challenge that involved posting a black and white photograph on five consecutive days. A few days ago, Amy nominated me for the Five Photos Five challenge. I combined both challenges into a five-day sequence. This is Day-4. I’m not nominating folks (like I’m supposed to) but if you want to play, it’s easy. Either post a black and white photo each day for five days or post any photo a day for five days and tell a short story about the photos. Or, combine them into something like this mess that you’re reading.

By the way, you’re supposed to mention the person who nominated you, which I didn’t do on Day-1 and I forgot to do on Day-3. I stink at these organized blog things.

Posted in Blogging, Photography | Tagged , , , , , | 43 Comments

Sisters

Tuxedo Cat

MiMi is the crazier of the two girls. She flips and falls her way through life but she’s so very cute.

This is Day-3 of my combined Five Photos Five and Black and White photo challenge. I’m keeping this short because I don’t normally post this many days in a row and I don’t want my readers to get tired. After this challenge (and a special announcement on Friday) I will return to my normal schedule. Of course my normal schedule calls for a post on Saturday, so…

Enough babbling, get to the point!

(Yes girls).

Since one of the challenges is to post a black and white photo each day, MiMi and MuMu suggested that I use pictures of them. After all, they are at their best in black and white.

Tuxedo Cat

MuMu is the more predictable sister. She makes a lot of noise, but mainly so you will brush or scratch her.

I know that the challenge calls for a photo, but they’re sisters and I can’t pick one of them to represent them both. If I tried, they would fight. We used to have two male Tuxedo cats (Oreo and Cookie). Oreo was born about two years before Cookie and he passed away before Cookie as well. After Cookie passed away, we knew that we had to have cats, and we wanted Tuxedo cats. Our Vet, asked around and called us with news that a woman had two Tuxedo sisters.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Posted in Blogging, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , | 38 Comments