Thursday Doors – Windsor Green Part II

Windsor Federal Savings

Windsor Federal Savings

Last week, I featured some of the public-use buildings around the Windsor Connecticut Historic Green. An interesting fact about those buildings, is that most of them are not historic buildings. Only the original section of the Library is on the Registry of Historic Buildings. Ironically, the Green itself is on the Registry, and the buildings in and around the area are designated as either “contributing” or “non-contributing” structures in the historic district. One of the buildings featured today is a contributing structure, but it’s not as old as I thought it would be and I had to dig for a while before it became interesting.

The building at 289 Broad Street is known (in most sources) as The Huntington House. It was built by Henry and Mary Huntington in 1901. Mary Huntington gives this post a connection to Norm, as the Windsor Chamber of Commerce mentions that:

Henry Arthur Huntington was born March 12, 1856, in Windsor, Connecticut and married Mary Margaret Dryden, born on July 12, 1872 in Montreal, Canada, on February 27, 1900.”

Norm, for those of you that might be unaware, is Norm Frampton. He is from (or near) Montreal, Canada and he is the Father of Thursday Doors. Each week, Norm establishes a landing page for door freaks aficionados from around the world to share their door photos, drawings, stories and bits of door history, if they’re so inclined. To join this weekly celebration of doors, visit Norm’s place up in Canada. Check out his doors, some of which might have been familiar to Mary Huntington, and then click on the blue frog.

Back in Windsor, it seems that Henry and Mary were simple folk. Henry was a lawyer with a law office in Hartford and he and Mary had at least two children, Clark and Walter. Walter was murdered in 1929, a crime that still remains unsolved today. Clark lived in the house with his parents and continued living there after his mother died in 1968.

According to my best friend, John (who used to live off the green), the Huntington House fell into a “terrible state of disrepair after the mother died.” He added: “at one point, the unpainted house had become such an eyesore, that someone painted the (visible) front and the right side, but left the back and left side unpainted.”

When Clark died, in 1998, the house and property were rezoned for commercial purposes. A non-profit group restored the house and established the Huntington House Museum in 2001. Unfortunately, public support for the museum was lacking and it was forced to close in 2005. In 2006, the J. Morrissey Company, an Executive Search firm, converted the building into offices. In case you’re interested in the property details:

Acreage 0.69
Square footage 5,257
Year built 1901
Tax amount $20,663
Land value $173,600
Building value $762,900
Total value $936,500

Across the street from the green are a few other buildings that are featured in today’s gallery. Among them is a bank building, and the old Windsor Post Office which now serves as the Windsor VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars). A long commercial building, The Plaza Building once housed several businesses and a movie theater on the ground level and several professional offices on the upper floors.

John lived on the side street across from the Plaza Building. When he lived there, the theater was still open for business, along with an ice cream shop that provided a nice treat after watching a movie. The rest of the ground floor was a hardware store that I loved to wander around in. The last movie we saw there was “Sophie’s Choice”. The hardware store is still in business, but it only occupies a small fraction of the space. The remaining space was carved into multiple retail segments, many of which are empty today.

The Town of Windsor has considered traffic changes to make the Historic Green more pedestrian friendly. One plan calls for choking Broad Street down to two lanes, providing space for parking, cyclists and walkers, with the hope of bringing more retail businesses into the area. I can’t imagine the traffic problems that would result, as the Green lies at the junction of several busy and important roads. The challenge looms large, but the value of this historic resource is too great to be lost to a slow decline.

Posted in History, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , , , , , | 60 Comments

One-Liner Wednesday – Sad

Tip Jar

The service is usually quite good.

I don’t use the Drive-thru lane for coffee. I prefer to go in the store. I like to see what donuts are available and whether they have the brand of orange juice I like (which is any brand other than Tropicana). When I went in last Wednesday, I was behind one customer, a woman who was not standing at the counter. We did that awkward little dance that you do when you’re not sure if you should go around the person or stand behind. I opted to stand behind.

The woman ordered a small coffee and some kind of toasted thing that required moving to the Pick-Up window at the other end of the counter. After she received her coffee, and the request for payment, she reached forward and deposited a huge pile of change on the counter. She turned back and looked at me as if I had a disapproving look on my face. I didn’t. I’ve seen lots of people pay with change. No biggie, legal tender and all that.

When I got to the counter, the clerk, a nice young lady who I had had a conversation with the week before, was still counting the change.

You should know that I’m not the kind of person to randomly strike up a conversation with a sales clerk. It usually takes a couple of visits, a couple of thank you’s exchanged before I even start saying “hi” like I know them. I had broken the ice with this woman because she was wearing an Air-Cast. The bold step was driven by the fact that I had been in an Air-Cast for several months after breaking my foot in 1988.

Anyway, when she finished sorting, counting and depositing the change, she turned to take my order. I noticed that she had a very sad look on her face. I wasn’t quite sure that I knew her well enough to ask, but:

Are you OK?

She shorted me 25 cents…”

I was angry. It’s not like coffee is a requirement. Well, OK, it is, but you can brew your own at home, you don’t have to stop at Dunkin Donuts. And, it’s not like that woman was screwing Dunkin Donuts out of 25¢ – cashiers are responsible for the money in their drawer. I knew the clerk was probably trained not to say anything to the woman. I also knew that I probably shouldn’t confront her either…but I wanted to.

When I got my coffee and donut, I paid with the Dunkin Donuts app, which has no provision to include a tip, or pay a different amount. So, I put a dollar in the tip cup. The resulting smile on the clerk’s face was priceless.

I searched my Flickr photostream for “sad” and, to my surprise, I’ve tagged quite a lot of photo with that word. Here are some that I don’t think I’ve used before:

This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s fun weekly series One-Liner Wednesday.

One Liner Wednesday

Posted in One Line Wed, Opinion | Tagged , , , , | 73 Comments

WordPress is Messing with Me

Yeah, this used to be here.

Yeah, this used to be here.

I’ve been using WordPress for well over 5 years. For the most part, I really like it. I had been using Blogger before coming here, and the experience in this community has been better than I thought a blogging experience could be. Of course, you’re the reason for that. WordPress is a good place to blog because the WordPress community is so amazing. The community is diverse, supportive, creative and intelligent.

Go ahead – nod and give yourself a pat on the shoulder – you deserve it.

One other thing that has been consistent about my blogging experience is that you never know what the folks at WordPress are going to do next. Most of the things that went off the rails in 2016, have been put back or ameliorated by follow-up changes. I wasn’t directly affected by all of these, but here’s a short list of the things I remember.

The Reader stopped showing me the blogs of the people I follow.

The Reader iPad app would crash if I tried to read the full post of a blog post shown in my timeline.

The Reader wasn’t showing bloggers whom I follow, the comments I left on their blog, via the Reader.

I stopped using the Reader. I stopped entirely. I no longer trust it. I started following more bloggers via email, but that isn’t a great solution. Some people are very prolific, and my Inbox swells under the strain. And, there is a totally different feeling when I delete an unread email than when I skip over a post in the Reader. Not every problem was related to the Reader.

Pingbacks stopped working. Then they started working again. Then they stopped working, unless you were making the reference from a free WordPress site.

I worked with the tech-support team on the first pingback thing. I came away from that experience thinking what I often think about tech-support people: they genuinely want to help, but they often can’t reach the people or influence the process that needs to change.

I was identified as a spammer on several sites.

Several of my readers were identified as spammers on my site.

I stopped receiving email notifications for a number of bloggers whom I follow.

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I started visiting my spam queue, often to release the people unfairly imprisoned there. I replied to people who commented on my blog, wondering where I was, to “check your spam” and set me free. Finally, I unfollowed several bloggers, and then refollowed them to reconnect via email.

Get this out of the spam bucket.

Get this out of the spam bucket.

My latest problem with WordPress is one that affects the iPhone app. I’m not sure that the effect is limited to that app, but that’s where I see this error and it – is – extremely – frustrating!

When I check notifications, I see items that are either white/very light blue or a slightly darker light blue. The darker colored items are the items I haven’t dealt with. Or, they used to be. Now, I am experiencing the following problems:

Comments and likes that I’ve acknowledged in my browser still show up as unread in the app.

Items that I read and ‘Like’ turn white, indicating that I’ve read them and then turn back to blue because, apparently, since I liked it, it’s now unread. The comment was read, but not the liked version of the comment.

If I reply to a comment in the app, it shows the little curved arrow, but then marks the comment as unread.

To clear these items, I have to open them again, do nothing, and return to the list. However, every now and then, for no apparent reason, 15-25 comments will randomly show as being unread and, if I have previously liked or commented, there won’t be any indication. This means that I have to rely on my memory to avoid making a second comment/reply. Leaving something to my memory is never a good idea.

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I have contacted WordPress about this latest problem, but I have not heard back from them yet. If I do hear back from them, I’ll also complain about the fact that they dropped the little Stats graph from the browser tool bar. I used to like how that gave me some quick feedback on how a post was performing. It’s not like it matters, I don’t make money from the site, but it was like a virtual high-five.

Posted in Blogging, Rant, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , | 132 Comments

Streaming Thoughts About Adobe

socs badge 2016-17Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator…sigh. Sometimes I feel like being a casual user of an Adobe product is a little like attempting your own dentistry. Actually, since the world of mouths and gums is fairly finite, maybe that’s not an adequate hyperbolic comparison. Maybe I need to liken it to orthopedic surgery. Of course, I do have at least one reader who has dabbled in oral surgery, so I better be careful. The fact of the matter is, whenever I have to get seriously cozy with an Adobe product, my head comes dangerously close to exploding.

The problem is, Adobe’s products are too powerful. That’s a hard admission to make. I spent a good portion of my career writing software, and I never thought that software tools could ever be powerful enough, let alone too powerful. Then, one day, one of our engineers asked me to help him configure footnotes, table of contents and indexes in Microsoft Word. That’s when I realized that software can, in fact, be too powerful.

Compared to Adobe Creative Suite, Word, Excel and Power Point might as well be sold under the Fisher-Price brand. Kid’s stuff. I swear, there’s a hidden multi-key combo in Photoshop that will let you bring your images to life. The average power user doesn’t know the combo, and it involves that squigly-inside-out-rounded-corner key that’s only on a MacBook, but I’m certain it can be done. The next time you visit an artist, take a good look at their cats. Those aren’t natural.

The other problem I have with Adobe is that I know more than enough to get myself in trouble. I know what I can do. I know what I’ve seen others do – like when you read one of those start-with-this-piece-of-crap-photo-and-turn-it-into-something-magical blog prompts, and the person describes what they did.

I removed all the wires, the dead tree and I replaced the new truck in front of the barn with a rusted 1932 Chevy Confederate Pickup. Then I brought the barn to life in my back yard and hired a crew of workman shore-up the foundation. Then I pulled it back into Photoshop and replaced the concrete foundation they poured with stone, using the random-rubble filter set to Scotland, circa 1640. Then I planted heritage grass, unpaved the road and changed the filtering effect of the atmosphere to what it was before the last flip of the magnetic poles.”

Yeah, I could do none of these.

Yeah, I could do none of these.

As far as using Adobe’s Suite of products goes, my capability varies. For example, I actually understand InDesign fairly well. If I were back in the dental analogy, I could put braces on your kid in InDesign. Maybe not your only child, maybe not your favorite child, but that middle boy, yeah I could do that. With Photoshop, I guess I’d be closer to fillings and simple root canals. As far as Illustrator goes, I could tell you to floss.

There’s another, lesser-known Adobe product, Dreamweaver that I am somewhat familiar with. Dreamweaver is for web development. I used to use it when it was a Macromedia product, the people who unleashed Flash on an unsuspecting world. Adobe bought Macromedia, did not give me a “suite-level” upgrade despite the fact that I owned the Macromedia Suite, and hasn’t done much to improve Dreamweaver or put us out of the misery that is Flash.

Unfortunately, Illustrator is the product that I had to work with. I was trying to produce an InfoGraphic. I hate that word, but that’s what the assignment was. My first thought was to run as far away from Illustrator as I could get. That, by the way, would be Canva, a web-based infographic-making-service. Canva proved to be extremely rigid and there was no way I was going to get the look we wanted. I knew I’d end up in Illustrator. In the past, I’ve actually used a CAD system to build complex graphics and Visio to build less-complex graphics just to avoid Illustrator.

In case you’re interested in this stuff, I mean, you are still here reading, Visio is to Illustrator what Chef Boyardee is to your Italian grandmother.

You would think, since it’s a “suite” of products, that knowing InDesign would help me understand Illustrator. That’s true…to a degree. For example, when you want to insert a graphic image, you use the “File->Place” command. Of course, the larger issue is that they didn’t call that function “Insert” instead of “place.” I get it, I’m placing an object on the page, but it’s not an object I have. It’s like rearranging the living room furniture you haven’t bought, or the furniture you bought from IKEA, but for which you’ve lost the wrench.

I think that’s the best way to describe my situation. Adobe Illustrator is like IKEA furniture without the wrench – so little chance of success – but so much potential.


This post was written by the voices that have been trapped behind a “Caution Adobe Illustrator at Work” sign all week, as part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday.

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday and Just Jot It January is: A word that starts with “P.” Find a word that begins with the letter “p,” and make it the theme of your post. Bonus points for starting and ending your post with a “p” word. Enjoy!

Someone’s getting bonus points.

The gallery has a few photos that I was going to write about, until I saw those bonus points.

Posted in Humor, SoCS, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 66 Comments

Thursday Doors – Downtown Windsor

Windsor Town Hall

Windsor Town Hall

When I first started participating in Thursday Doors, what? You don’t know what Thursday Doors is. OK, let’s get this out of the way quick like a bunny:

Thursday Doors is an amazing weekly blog-hop designed to placate the yearnings of people who simply must see, photograph and share photographs of doors. Our enabler-in-chief is Norm Frampton. If you want to share a door, or, if you just want to see a bunch of doors, head on over to Norm’s place. He’ll have his doors on display and then, just a little south of Norm’s doors, is a blue frog. Yes, frog. Click on that and add your door or check out the amazing collection.

OK, back to my story. When I first started participating, I was worried about running out of doors to photograph. I was concerned because I didn’t pass too many doors on the way to work. Of course, I didn’t yet understand that I would soon be seeking – out – doors – every – where – on – earth!

I started collecting doors while running errands, while traveling on business, while waiting for paint to be mixed and while…well, just about any time. I also started traveling just to get door photos. Not so much traveling, but altering my route to include a nice door.

I found doors everywhere. So many doors, that I didn’t notice the fact that, when I changed my route home from work, I had many more doors available to me. One such grouping of doors is in Windsor, Connecticut. If you’ve been here before on a Thursday, chances are good that you’ve seen a door from Windsor – there have been many. In fact, I once featured doors from Grace Episcopal Church in Windsor which sits between two buildings in today’s gallery.

Once I realized that the Town Green in Windsor is surrounded by some remarkable doors, I decided to stop one night on the way home. If you participate in Thursday Doors, you know how this story ends. I have many more photos than I should inflict upon share with you in one day. I decided to focus on the official town buildings today. Later, maybe next week, I’ll share some of the privately owned buildings that are located around the Town Green.

I’ve described the buildings in the gallery. If you want to know more about them, you can start a slide show by clicking on any one of them. If you’re in a hurry, you can just glance at the mosaic. WordPress’s term, not mine.

Posted in Connecticut, Photography, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , , , , | 75 Comments

One-Liner Wednesday – Cleaning Crew

One Liner WednesdaySome of my longtime readers might remember the problem I had with the ice-accretion in the freezer in the kitchen at work. Several of you offered solutions that ranged from stern warnings to actions that might involve having to hide a body. I decided to replace the refrigerator. It’s a long and complicated story, but since I am not a skilled-enough writer to make buying appliances sound interesting, I won’t bore you.

Suffice it to say, late last Friday, two men from Home Depot delivered and installed a new refrigerator. On Monday morning, people started reloading water bottles, cans of soda, Half & Half, homemade soup and leftover pizza. They also began helping themselves to chilled water, ice cubes and crushed ice, delivered from the door – yes, the door – no more ice in the freezer!

About an hour and a half later, we were told that the installers had warned us not to drink the water or use the initial supply of ice. They said that the lines should be cleared by running water and making several batches of ice…oops.

Thanks for cleaning the water lines for us!

 

This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s fun weekly series One-Liner Wednesday.

Posted in Humor, One Line Wed | Tagged , , , , | 38 Comments

This Was Fun

For the past few days, it was mt pleasure to host #JusJoJan over at Linda G. Hill’s fantastic blog.

Linda G. Hill

In exchange for hosting #JusJoJan for a few days, Linda offered the opportunity to guest post on her blog. At first, I thought: “what a great way to break my New Year’s promise to only blog 4 times a week.” You see, I did include the proviso: “…plus the occasional re-blog.” I could scrawl 1,000 words over here, re-blog it and still be in compliance.

I wouldn’t do that to Linda.

In fact, all I want to say is that hosting #JusJoJan was fun, educational and my pleasure. What? Were you thinking that “all I want to say” meant I was only going to say one thing? Seriously? This is Dan, not Linda writing.

It was my pleasure because Linda does a lot for me as a blogger. I always know that if I’m stuck for an idea for a Saturday post, I can…

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