Thursday Doors – From the Train

Sad - Once proud building

Sad – Once proud building

Earlier in September, I attended a business meeting in Silver Spring, Maryland. Initially, I wasn’t sure how to get to Silver Spring from Hartford, CT; I didn’t realize that the DC Metro system goes to Silver Spring. In addition to the funny story that little journey brought us, that fact also meant that I could take AMTRAK from my home town to Union Station in Washington, DC. From there, it’s about a 20-minute train ride to Silver Spring.

On the way home, riding AMTRAK’s Vermonter, I snagged a window seat on the right side of the train (facing the water in several places). I hoped to get some good photos, but there were issues – more about that on Saturday – however, I did manage to snag a few doors. The photos have been cropped and cleaned-up in Lightroom, as best I know how. Despite a few marker photos, mostly train stations, I’m not really sure where many of the photos in the gallery were taken. I suppose I could compare the timestamp to the Vermonter’s schedule, but this is Thursday Doors, not CSI Thursday Doors.

Thursday Doors, by the way, is a world-wide weekly adventure by door lovers and their cameras, paint brushes, memories and thoughts. The program is supported by Norm Frampton and is open to everyone. Take the (virtual) train up to Montreal, to Norm’s blog. Check out his door(s) and then look for the blue button. Press the button to hop onto the Doors page. There, you can add your door(s) and / or check out all the other doors.

Enjoy the rail-side doors I was able to capture. I’ve described them as best I can, in their captions. You can click on any one of them to view them all as a slideshow (one of the nicest things WordPress does for us).

Thanks for stopping by today.

Posted in Photography, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 70 Comments

One-Liner Wednesday – Cold

You’re going to need a jacket, it’s in the 40s

That was the suggestion made at 6:00 am Monday. I resisted. I dread the first day of the season than I need a jacket. It was going to warm-up during the day and that usually means that I’ll leave that jacket at work.


My Favorite Vest

What to do?

You could wear a vest.”

Yes! I love vests and I only get to wear them during a few weeks of the year. I wore my favorite vest. It’s fleece and nylon. It’s actually reversible, but I never reverse it. I like advertising for OOPSLA. The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) conference – “Object-Oriented Programs, Systems, Languages and Applications” doesn’t exist any longer. It’s been replaced by other ACM conferences, but it was my favorite technical conference for many years.

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

One Liner Wednesday

Posted in New England Life, One Line Wed, Photography | Tagged , , , , | 39 Comments

Leaves, My Breath and MuMu


Just Jump Up Here

I saw my breath yesterday morning. I got to wear my Steeler hoodie for the first time this season. When I took Maddie on our walk, we saw leaves on the ground. It’s coming. Autumn is coming. Given the hot dry summer that we’ve had, I think it’s going to come quickly. It might be a tough year for the leaf-peepers and the people whose livelihoods depend on fall-color-seeking tourists. This is New England, fall colors are an industry.

Stepping outside and instantly realizing that I needed to go back in for the hoodie was a pleasant surprise. It’s been so hot, for so long. It was 88 Thursday afternoon!

Maddie didn’t have to go out. I did. At least that’s the way it seems. By the time I roll out of bed around 6:15 am, Maddie has already taken care of business. These days, that requires a flashlight. But, we have a routine. Maddie is all about her routines. She coaxes me from the bedroom to the family room. I try to explain that I need to, um… get ready. Frustrated, she leaves the bedroom and returns with a toy, as if that will entice me to follow.


Here, I have a toy. Sit with me.

Once in the family room, we sit. OK, I kinda slouch. The couch is comfortable and slouch worthy. Maddie rests her head over one of my legs and life is good. Seriously, I could stay in that position as long as the coffee supply and my bladder hold out.

But not Maddie.

After about one or two minutes, she goes to the door. I have to go out. We often take Maddie out on a leash. The yard is fenced, but she has issues. She seems to like the leash. It’s part of the routine. She drags me around the perimeter of the yard, and back to the porch steps. That’s it. We’re done. I wipe her feets and we go inside and back to the couch. This time, we will stay on the couch until something startles her, you know, the paper guy, the wind, a neighbor’s car door, all the rage-worthy sounds that suburbia has to offer. I read a lot of your blogs at this point. Likes and typo-laden-comments are the hallmark of a weekend morning with me.

Yesterday, we had a visitor. MuMu.

MuMu is the shy-kitty half of MiMi and MuMu. MiMi is the nut-job-adventurous half. MiMi is boisterous but quiet. She barely has any voice. It was years before we heard more than a tiny squeak from her. MuMu is loud. If we had named them the other way, we could have had a screaming-MiMi cat, but no such luck. MuMu screams to be brushed. She’s been brushed. She was brushed before Maddie went out the first time. Still, she screams. I scratch her. The brush requires getting up, and neither I nor Maddie want me to do that. MuMu moves. She stands just a few millimeters out of reach and meeeeeerrrroowwwws to be scratched. Unable to reach the cat, I reach for my camera. MuMu runs.

This scene plays out over and over.

Yesterday, MuMu stayed within reach. Maybe it was the weather. She let me scratch her for a long time and she kept hinting that she wanted to get on the couch with me and Maddie. I encouraged that. The photo barrage at the top is about half the pictures I snapped while trying to sweet-talk MuMu into joining us. Maddie is getting jealous of my scratching. If I stretch both arms in opposite directions, I can barely get three fingers on MuMu’s head and three from the other hand on Maddie’s butt.

Come on up MuMu” softly. Say it loud and she bolts. When she runs, Maddie chases and all hell breaks loose. “Come on, you can make it, come on…” First the front paws, then the cat. MuMu is heavy isn’t light as light as MiMi. She only stays a moment. Maddie moves and MuMu flees.

Yeah, that's what I meant

Yeah, that’s what I meant

As your posts are read, your pictures reviewed, my comments made with ‘do’ vs. ‘so’ and ‘thd’ instead of ‘the’ and ‘Besutigul’ and other words my phone thinks make sense, Maddie gets up and cries at the chair that holds her harness. We walk her in a harness. Irish Setters have a shape that lets them back out of leashes easily. Maddie can actually back out of her harness. I double-up, leash and harness. Belts and suspenders as a friend of mine used to say. Off we go to explore the park.

Lots of pictures today. Some from my perimeter check with Maddie, some from our walks, and finally, in response to great customer demand, some of MuMu. I included one of MiMi, but she really didn’t care.

Posted in Humor, Pets, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , | 70 Comments

Busy and Busted

socs badge 2016-17I’ve been promising the voices in my head that they could have a crack at Linda G. Hill’s SoCS prompt. They were pretty mad at me when I co-opted the prompt for a bar conversation last week. I’m going to give today’s prompt to them, but I’m not sure where we’re heading.

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “bus.” Use it as it is, or find a word with the letters “bus” in it. Have fun!

Bus? Seriously, that’s the prompt you’re giving us? If you don’t mind us saying so, it seems like you’re dumping something on us that you don’t want. Hey, guess what, it doesn’t matter if you do mind us saying so, you aren’t allowed to edit this, so take that.

It’s been a very busy week at work. Like most people in small businesses, I wear a few hats. One of them, the large hat, is involved with technology. I’ve been working on a mobile App for our customers. When I work on Apps – you know, I’m not really sure ‘App’ should be capitalized. It probably shouldn’t be, but “app” looks kinda dumb. The capital ‘A’ adds an air of importance, extends a kind of dignity to an otherwise ho-hum thing. I spend a lot of time building these apps and I don’t like to think that I’m working on ho-humery. Microsoft Word doesn’t seem to care if I use ‘App’ or ‘app’ but it clearly doesn’t like ‘humery’.

What do they know?

They also don’t like ‘kinda’ and, while ‘kinda’ is kind of an inappropriate contraction, you will find it in a few online dictionaries. Yes, I know: “online dictionaries and online grammar-reference sites are not to be trusted” That’s my editor talking, and she’s talking about you, Grammar Girl.

Anyway, back to the apps I work on, the ones for our employees are all iOS apps, i.e. apps for Apple devices. Apple needs to be capitalized, ‘cuz, you know, Apple. Maybe that’s how we got ‘Apps’ in the first place. Apple was the first smartphone vendor – I know, I know, the phones aren’t smart – they gave us apps.

OK, I looked this up. According to some omnibus site for spelling, ‘App’ should only be capitalized when it’s the first word in a sentence, and the scholars who answered this question suggested writing out ‘application’ instead of ‘app’.

What do they know.

Apps aren’t applications; they’re smaller. Apps are applications in the way that putting a Band-Aid on a papercut is performing first aid. Apps are tiny. Applications are big and complex. Apps tend to do one thing. Applications typically do many things. I develop applications too. That’s another hat that I wear.

In this case, the case of the app I was working on, it’s a webapp. Oooh, Word does not like webapp. It also doesn’t like oooh, but I needed more ‘ooo’ than ‘oo’ provided, so I’m sticking with it. Wikipedia defines ‘webapp’ as follows:

In computing, a web application or web app is a client–server software application in which the client (or user interface) runs in a web browser.”

What do they know.

I know, Wikipedia is in the same not-to-be-trusted pool as Grammar Girl. In this case, I agree. In my case, ‘webapp’ refers to an app that runs in a browser but can also kinda/sorta (yeah, yeah kind of / sort of)…sheesh…be installed on your phone. It doesn’t have to be some fancy-schmancy client-server thingie. I write those too; I know what I’m talking about.

However, long before I even started working on the app/App/WebApp/webapp/thingie – I’m going to go with ‘thingie’ from now on. Before I started working on the phone thingie, my week was bad.

I came in bright and early Monday morning, only to find that the coffee maker was busted. Technically, it was leaking, but there’s no ‘bus’ in leaking. I called the coffee maker people and I had a most unpleasant conversation:


This can wait

Hi, we need service for our coffee maker.”

What’s wrong with it?

The water line going into the filter is leaking.”

OK, we will have someone out there within 48 hours.”

48 hours?!?!

That’s our standard service window.”

That’s crazy talk. 48 hours is fine for a Fax machine or a copier or for that defibrillator thingie, but this is a CAW-FEE-MAKE-ERR – we can’t go 48 hours without coffee!

I had to go out and buy Box o’Joes. Note: Box o’Joes are boxes of Dunkin Donuts coffee. Otherwise, I could be accused of abusing our employees.

After securing the Box o’Joes, I noticed that the refrigerator was also leaking. It was an appliance conspiracy.

I don’t know what was wrong with the fridge. Someone suggested that construction workers may have de-energized the power bus.

I work with engineers. They talk like that. I would have said “turned off the breaker” but…

The bottom of the fridge was full of slush. The ice in the ice-maker tray had melted and frozen into a blobish thing. The stuff in the freezer and fridge was all wet with condensation, but both compartments were cold. I told people that they might want to throw their food out, but most ignored me. I guess having no coffee and no food was too much to bear.


I don’t trust this guy

By Wednesday, we had coffee, ice and cold food, but I didn’t like the way the dishwasher was looking at me.

Posted in Humor, SoCS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 77 Comments

Thursday Doors – Save the Ville

First Church of Christ

Back door to the church

On the other side of Farmington from Miss Porter’s School, is an area known as Unionville. Unionville is not one of Connecticut’s 169 towns, but a lot of people talk about Unionville as if it’s a free state. Several years ago, there were signs in front of houses and some businesses that simply said “Save the Ville”. I’m not sure what people were being asked to save the ville from, or if the ville had fallen into an abandoned well and the folks had sent Lassie to get help.

The ville is a mix of old and new buildings. The most significant ones are arranged around a 5-way intersection that can only be described as “something you should avoid” unless you’re very familiar with the ville.

The first time I tried to get some photos for a “Unionville Doors” post, I discovered Tunxis Hose Company 1 and that consumed my entire post.

When I was feeding my daughter’s cats, back in August, I did a little walk around the ville for a doorscursion. That is now an accepted term, Norm used it in a post, so… I had hoped to dig in and do some research, but I wasn’t able to find much information about several of the buildings. One building that is featured is the First Church of Christ – Unionville, and, at least parts of this building date back to 1772 (which is a good long time). This church was a hub of the Underground Railroad. According to its webpage, the church housed the slaves of the Amistad during the first civil rights case in the United States. That’s pretty cool.

Another interesting building is The Unionville Bank and Trust Company building. In this case, the bank wasn’t nearly as sound as the building. The bank was founded in 1922. The building was finished in 1929, and the Bank failed in 1932.

There is also a wonderful old mill building that has been turned into retail and professional office space, but I wasn’t able to find out much about its history. Nor did I have much luck discovering the history of the Youth Services building or the museum. It’s OK. I love to find the history of these buildings, but sometimes, I all I get is the photos. This is one of those times.

One building in the gallery was a sad find for me. Wm. R. Hartigan & Son. “Quality woodworking since 1869.” But, sadly, they no longer seem to be in business. They were manufacturers of:

“Nailed Wood Boxes And Shook”

Do you know what “shook” is?

I do, but I had to look it up. Shook is the word used to describe the wooden pieces that can be used to assemble barrels (i.e. barrel staves) or shipping boxes. So, Wm. & Son made boxes and do-it-yourself boxes. I wonder if they shipped shook in boxes…’cuz that would be weird.

Thursday Doors, doorscursions and the research and wondering about doors and buildings that happen to have doors, is a product/service/addiction inspired and supported by Norm Frampton. If you want to present a door(s) photo, or if you just want to see a bunch of doors, head on over to Norm’s place. Check out Norm’s doors, because he always has some beauties and then look for the blue button. Click on that puppy, actually, it’s a frog, and check out the rest of the doors and/or add your own.

Posted in Connecticut, History, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , , , | 78 Comments

One-Liner Wednesday – Gotcha

“You looked like the kind of guy that wouldn’t mind…”

One Liner WednesdayLast week, I was attending a meeting in Silver Spring, Maryland. I took an AMTRAK Northeast Regional train to Washington Union Station and then took a Metro Red Line train to Silver Spring. This could not have been easier. Thursday morning, I walked from my hotel to the train station transportation center. Much busier at 6:30 am than in the afternoon when I had arrived. Lots of buses, signs to all kinds of trains, but no signs for the Metro, that I could see. I spied a security guard:

I’m trying to find the Red Line train.”

Red Line?

Metro, the Red Line train. I’m going to Union Station.”

You sure it stops here?

I got off here on Monday.”

This station?


I’m just pulling your leg. It’s right up there on your left. You walked right by it on your way here.”

We both busted out laughing. After we finished laughing and I finished shaking my head, he said I looked like the kind of guy who wouldn’t mind. I kinda like that.

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

Posted in Humor, One Line Wed, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 71 Comments

…and You Walk Like an Athlete

A while ago, Ellen explained how the men in black shoes and the right suits, control the world’s economy and who knows what else. It reminded me of the story of how I got that job in the Gold Building. I was pretty sure I had already shared this part of the story. I searched, but I couldn’t find it, so I think that lets me off the hook if I am repeating myself. Besides, I’m getting older. Follow this blog long enough and I’ll be repeating the same three posts every other week. My editor probably won’t remember either, she’ll just insert and remove the commas, “that’s” and other subjective grammatical corrections.

Yes, I know, “grammar isn’t subjective Dan and it isn’t optional” yeah yeah yeah.

Anyway, my story begins on a very bad day in Seattle, Washington. I, along with a few hundred coworkers, was laid off from Weyerhaeuser Company. This was blamed partly on the economy, home mortgage rates of 19-21% had stifled the housing market, and partly on Mt. St. Helens, whose eruption had damaged extensive swaths of Weyerhaeuser owned/leased forest land. All I remember is:

Blah, blah, blah, you’re not going to work here anymore.

We had been thinking of moving back east, so I started looking for employment opportunities in and around New York City. I arranged a couple of interviews. I made reservations (I did tell my travel story before) and I took my suits to the cleaners.

You should know that Seattle in general and Weyerhaeuser in particular were somewhat relaxed, with respect to fashion in 1981. I owned three suits: one light gray, one brown herringbone and one powder blue. All of them were 3-piece jobs, because I like vests. You need to see a skinny 6’2” (188 cm) kid in a powder blue 3-pc suit to know what “professional” looks like.

I was riding my motorcycle a lot at the time, so I didn’t try picking up my cleaning until well after the promised date. In fact, I waited until Friday afternoon of the week in which I was leaving on the Saturday red-eye for my week of interviews.

As I approached the parking lot, I saw a trailer in front of a pile of charred rubble where the dry cleaner had been. An insurance adjuster inside the trailer explained that the cleaner had been totally destroyed but that if I had my ticket he could help me. I handed him my ticket and he offered me $750 on the spot. If my shirts and suits were worth more, I’d have to file a claim.

I took the money.

It was too late to start shopping, but I was at Brooks Brother’s when they opened on Saturday morning. I explained my predicament. I needed two suits and a few shirts, and I needed them altered that day; a feat equivalent to obtaining a heart transplant before lunch. Still, the salesman seemed very interested in the $750 part of my story. He picked out a dark solid gray and a blue pinstripe suit. He added two white and two blue shirts, and two ties, at which point we had exceeded my insurance windfall.

Since my dress shoes at the time were brown, really, go read Ellen’s post, I walked across the street and bought the most expensive and most uncomfortable black shoes I’ve ever owned, while they altered my suits.

Too prevent an even longer story, I wore the blue pinstripe suit to my interview with Peat Marwick. The interview went well. I got the job.

A few months later, I had been asked to prepare a proposal to redesign the systems for a nearby school district. I drafted what I thought was a great proposal, which spoke of using recently developed systems design techniques, in which I had been trained 3 months before burning my suits.

The partner rejected my idea as being “too close to the leading edge for a school system.”

We argued:

Why not show them that we can bring cutting edge ideas to the engagement?

It will scare them. We have to use terms they understand.”

I can help them to understand this. Trust me, this is what I do!


If you didn’t plan on letting me use the skillset I have to offer, why on earth did you hire me in the first place?

He threw a copy of the New Partner brochure on the table. The cover was the headless chest of a man wearing a blue pinstripe suit, blue shirt and a red tie.

I hired you because you looked like a consultant!

You hired me for my looks?

Yes. However, if I had paid attention to the way you walk, I wouldn’t have hired you.”

What’s wrong with the way I walk?

You walk like an athlete.”

We submitted a same-old-same-old proposal. We did not get the engagement. I eventually bought comfortable shoes. To this day, I buy shoes that feel good, I’m not sure if I still walk like an athlete, or even how athletes walk. I never replaced the power blue suit.

Today’s photos are from a visit to Mt Rainier National Park in 1998. Faith and I walked like athletes during that visit.

Posted in Family, Humor, Working for a living | Tagged , , , , , , , | 81 Comments