Paugussett SF, Newtown CT

3 10 2018

 

Yay, we did it! We went to all 14 of the DEEP Sky’s the Challenge sites for 2018!

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Paugussett State Forest entrance: Hunting warning, so we wore bright colors

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Lake Zoar looking north

The falls were roaring today! Gorgeous woods and walk

 

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Lake Zoar looking east

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I inhaled my lunch before Cherry was half done with hers: Yummy falafal, lamb wrap, baba ganush, and even halvah to go…wow.

So. We did it! We printed out our photodocumentation and sent it off to DEEP with the hopes of winning a walking stick (well, at least Cherry is hoping for that). It was a great challenge and of course we enjoyed our time together.

NEXT????!!!!

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Tribute to Susan Allison

17 05 2018

 

SusanAllisonsq Rolande sky

Photo: Rolande Duprey

“I’ll be dead in a month,” she said, just as I was ready to leave. A door knob disclosure. I sat back down. Susan said her mother had predicted and orchestrated her passing. I asked what she was feeling now and Susie said, “Just a sense. And pain.” We spoke a bit longer before I had to leave, as I was already late for my grandson’s birthday cake celebration. It was the last time I saw her, about a month ago.

Susan was my muse. She started the transfer of my thoughts to paper in a more consistent way. She assigned me tasks I thought were beyond me but proved me wrong. Our interactions ebbed and flowed over the years. She came on some of my hikes while recovering from her bouts of cancer. I worked for her husband for a few seasons.

Then, after The Election, our contact reestablished through her Poet’s Corner at the library devoted to Resistance. Susan wanted to publish more of her poetry and I offered my skills and experience using self-publishing. Thus began seven months of regular meetings to review and edit her poems. Throughout all her treatments and challenges, Susan continued to revise her work. Even that final visit included the transfer of final edits of her short poems and ditties book.

Susan glowed much of the time, even while in pain. Her exterior lightness contrasted with her inner angst. Peace now, Susan. It’s all Light now. xoxo





Housatonic Meadows State Park

16 05 2018

Housatonic Meadows 6

(Text from the DEEP website) Located in the rock-strewn valley of the Housatonic River amid the rugged hills of the northwestern uplands, Housatonic Meadows is an ideal setting for a variety of outdoor recreational activities. Camping under the tall pines on the riverbank gives the overnight visitor a genuine back-to-nature feeling. The clear, cold river water also provides a fine opportunity for fly fishermen to test their skills on trout and bass. A two-mile stretch of river (including the park shore) is limited to fly fishing. In 1927 Housatonic Meadows was established as a state park.

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At the trailhead

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Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) along the way

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At the overlook of the Housatonic River Valley

 

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A group of Yale students hiking the AT

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Fellow DEEP Sky’s the Limit hiker Jim with Cherry

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Followed by lunch at the Goshette

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Our waitress understood my taking home our left over french fries for my neighbor’s chickens.





Friendly’s Highlights

10 05 2018
Beth and Cherry at Emporium Cassandra Day

Photo by Cassandra Day

Friends,

Here’s a summary (prepared by Cherry) of our Hikes for Friendly’s, which are detailed here. We were written up today in the Middletown Press!

Hiking for Friendly’s: 2015-2018

2015
June 8: Airline Trail, Portland and Cromwell Friendly’s- Where it all began!
July 13: Sprague Preserve, Franklin  and Willimantic  Friendly’s
August 17: Tyler Mill Preserve, Wallingford and North Haven Friendly’s
September 8: Ragged Mountain and Southington Friendly’s
October 27: Barnes Memorial Nature Preserve and Bristol Friendly’s

2016
March 4: Mattabesset River Trail and Cromwell Friendly’s
August 26: Lantern Hill and Mystic Friendly’s
October 11: Great Meadows and Wethersfield Friendly’s
December 21: Scantic River State Park and Enfield Friendly’s

2017
January 20: Northwest Park, Windsor and Windsor Locks Friendly’s
February 24: Milford Point and Milford Friendly’s
April 20: Naugatuck State Forest, Beacon Falls and Naugatuck Friendly’s
May 24: Windsor Locks Canal and East Windsor Friendly’s
June 28: Kettletown State Park and Southbury Friendly’s
July 10: Pauchaug State Forest, Voluntown and Norwich Friendly’s
September 11: Huntington State Park (Newton, Redding) and Danbury Friendly’s
October 18: Talcott Mountain and Avon Friendly’s
November 15: Case Mountain and Manchester Friendly’s

2018
January 12: Elizabeth Park and Hartford Friendly’s
March 2: Crescent Lake, Southington and Plainville Friendly’s
April 25: Cromwell Friendly’s- We did it!

PS Two of these Friendly’s (Milford and Hartford) have closed since our adventures

 





Crescent Lake, Southington and Plainville Friendly’s

2 03 2018

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Fourth time’s the charm! Due to weather and health issues, we’ve had to postpone our FINAL visit to Friendly’s for weeks. Finally, today we are ready to head out. And it’s a nice day, in the 50s and sunny. Cherry arrives with Spring in her hands – a lovely bouquet for me!

IMG_4511Since our last meeting, Cherry has lost her cat to a rare heart condition and we acknowledge the loss of Willa. Then we take the half hour drive to Crescent Lake. A bit breezy when we arrive at 10:30, we choose the shortest trail around the lake, about two miles, which provides lovely views. I talk about recent experiences where I felt very centered and clear; Cherry says that happens to her when she’s in nature and realizes how interconnected we are with all living things.

Some of the path is water-logged but there are enough protruding roots and strategically placed logs to make it though. Cherry tests her waterproof boots at times, but I know mine won’t stay dry and balance myself along whatever rises above the water. Cherry says she is finally winding down some family financial responsibilities and will be relieved when they’re finished.

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Along the eastern edge of the pond, we find duck boxes with metal baffles to keep raccoons out (I assume). On the northern shore, facing the sun we spotted a turtle who quickly dove into the water when it heard our approach. A welcomed sign of Spring! I am pleased to report that I passed my wildlife rehab test and am working on the next step to become certified, which involves putting in 40 volunteer hours with mentors.

IMG_4517We return to the car around noon and drive the quick trip to the Plainville Friendly’s. Our last one! We splurge with the 1,260-calorie chicken BBQ with bacon, but substitute apple sauce for the fries. Our waitress Penny teases us due to almost identical orders. “I bet you two just met,” she quips.

As we enjoy our sandwiches (and I set aside half for later), I mention that I’ve been going to the exercise classes at the local community center for the past few months, when the weather had made it more difficult to get outside. Cherry is excited that the person she nominated for a local community award has been selected!

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When it’s time to order dessert, I ask about February’s special flavor, Cherry Jubilee, but Penny says it’s gone. Moments later, she returns. “I lied. I found some in the back of the freezer!” What a treat! It is probably the best ice cream flavor I’ve ever had: moist, sweet cherries, rich dark chocolate chunks… yum. We raise our sundaes to toast the end of our Friendly’s quest.

Cherry confides in Penny about our project; our waitress says she moved back to Connecticut to raise her son where there were cone-head sundaes! Penny’s image of childhood was incomplete without them!

On our way home, we stop at the Cromwell Friendly’s, where this whole project started almost three years ago. Cherry has been working with the manager, Sean, to set up a celebration date in April. It looks like that’s falling into place. He shared some sad news that the Milford Friendly’s had closed since we have been there. But so far, the rest seem to be going strong. And so are we; stay tuned for our next hiking project!





Middletown Hero: Major General Maurice Rose

19 02 2018

Maurice Rose signA year or so ago, a sign went up on Route 9 as it passed north through my town, Middletown, CT. A section of the road was dedicated to the memory of Major General Maurice Rose. I decided to find out more.

Maurice Rose birthplace plaqueMaurice Rose was born in Middletown in 1899; a plaque marks the location on Main Street. When he was four, his family moved to Denver. Rose was determined to join the military and served in both World War I and II.

MauriceRose wiki

It was in 1944 in Germany, after multiple medals and heroic accomplishments, that Rose was shot by the Germans. His initial grave was later moved to the Netherlands.

In his memory, the following are named after him: a school in the Netherlands, a hospital in Denver, a Jewish War Veterans Post 51 in Middletown, and the Middletown Armed Forces Reserve Center.

Maurice Rose colleague Bob SwirskyThe most remarkable occurrence at a recent presentation about Rose by Post 51’s Karen Uberti was the arrival of a WWII colleague. Almost ninety-eight year old Bob Swarsky arrived by wheelchair, maneuvered by his friend Glenn, to tell of his personal recollections of the day that Rose was killed. With hearing and mental agility that surpassed most of us in the room, Swarsky spoke about many efforts of the 3rd Armored Division, First Army.

Maurice Rose display at JWV51As those who served during that time get fewer and fewer, it becomes even more important and poignant to hear their stories and honor their memories.





TWO BOOKS BY CT AUTHORS

16 02 2018

hOMEGROWN TERROR

Growing up in New London, we were taught the story of Benedict Arnold, his burning of the town, and the slaughter in Groton across the river, year after year. I thought our teachers were a bit self-aggrandizing until I heard Eric Lehman’s presentation on his new book, Homegrown Terror: Benedict Arnold and the Burning of New London. Lehman dramatically analyzes Arnold’s motives for his change in allegiance from the newly emerging United States back to England. Perhaps he was not a true traitor, but apparently Arnold was driven purely by greed, not conviction or values, to betray many friends and colleagues. This is a well-documented portrayal of events during this time.

 

 

Setting the Stage:  What We Do, How We Do It, and Why is a combination text book and memoir by David Hays, a prolific stage designer and founder of the National Theater for the Deaf. An engaging storyteller, Hays shares tips and mistakes to those interested in theater.

Both books are published by Wesleyan Press.