Sunday, December 31, 2006

Sunday morning - the last day of the year!

It's 29 degrees at 7:00 A.M.

(Sleeping late could get to be a habit!)

Some readers are taking too literally the post time that appears on the blog and are wondering "Do you ever sleep?" That time - fed into the post automatically by - is CALIFORNIA time: three hours earlier than Eastern Time!

Yes: I sleep!

The national weather map is colorful, and an article in this morning's Utica Observer-Dispatch warns of Slick Roads on New Year's Eve.

Trivia for the day: it's tradition - but "Why?" Read the history of Auld Lang Syne and you'll either sing more loudly - or more softly!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Friday evening

Somehow, sometime, all of the snow melted. The sky was the brightest blue and the sun so bright that it blinded my camera. Lawns - like this at the Municipal Hall - looked as if they needed to be mown!

Who would ever believe that it was December 29th?


I must ask Joe and Joan what the weather was like fifty years ago!

They'll remember, for sure!


The blogger's going to do something very unusual, tomorrow morning: sleep late! You're on your own.

To read the O-D, click HERE;

and for the morning weather forecast, click HERE.

Have a Great Day!!!

Friday morning

It's Garbage Day!

28.8 degrees, at 6:00 A.M., and no precipitation overnight.

The WKTV News Channel 2 forecast includes some dicy (and ICY!) weather!

Today: Sunshine and clouds. Pleasant. High in the mid 30s.

Tonight: Partly cloudy and cool. Lows in the upper teens to low 20s.

Saturday: Clouds and some sun. Chance of a sprinkle or flurry. High: 38, Low: 24

Sunday: Increasing clouds. High: 35, Low: 23

New Year's Eve Night: Increasing clouds. Some sleet or freezing rain possible after 1-4 AM. Temperatures in the low to mid 20s.

New Year's Day: A messy mix of sleet, freezing rain, rain and possibly some wet snow. Some ice accumulation is possible. High: 33, Low: 28


When I was visiting Dick at the Harding Nursing Home, the day before yesterday, one of his "girlfriends" came in - Lynn Timian. She had the same big smile that everyone else there seems to have, and she absolutely gleamed and glowed when she started to tell us about a concert that two of her seven children had been in on December 17th at the Stanley Theater in Utica.

It was a Utica Symphony Orchestra concert and featured 315 guest choristers from local highschools. Of that number, nearly one-third - 91 - were from Waterville, and when it was their turn to perform, alone, "you could have heard a pin drop!"

And I said, "What a grand experience for them!" and then mentioned the Marching Band's upcoming trip to Washington D.C. for the July 4th Parade. "Yes!" she said, "I've got three kids in Band, too!" And we marvelled that here, in "little old Waterville," WCS students are putting our name on the musical map of the country! (Cheers!)


As you've no doubt deduced, by now, having my husband become a resident (albeit a temporary one) at the Harding Nursing Home has been if not a thoroughly delightful experience, for me, at least not an unpleasant one, at all!

Everyone there is wonderfully friendly to ALL residents and visitors. The building is so clean! - the floors gleam, the big diningroom is as bright as can be and THE FOOD REALLY IS GOOD!!!

There are 92 residents and 130 employees, and quite a number of local residents volunteer, there, on a regular basis. I hate to name some without naming all (and perhaps I can get a complete list?) but I've seen Marie Hillary there several times and yesterday Walt Freibel was transporting folks to and from Church Service.

I'm sure that everyone knows where "the nursing home" is, tucked away behing the historic Charlemagne Tower Homestead, but I wonder if Watervillians realize how fortunate they are to have such a facility, right here in the village! I certainly appreciate it more now than I did two weeks ago!

Do make a note: there will be a Parade of Lights BOTTLE DRIVE next Saturday - January 6th - from 9 'til noon. You can either drop bottles off at the Fire House or phone one of the Parade of Lights committee-members for a pick-up.

I keep watching for activity around the Victorian Street Lamp storage trailers: perhaps next week????

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thursday morning, continued

I made a second visit to the Nursing Home, yesterday, later in the afternoon.

The Christmas Tree next to the driveway was all lit, and ..........

I wonder if the Hardings have ever considered stringing lights on the big fir tree that appears to be growing out of the roof of the building!

It was just late enough that the strings of lights on the Bell Tower showed up,

and the candle-wreaths on the telephone poles along East Main Street were bright.


Earlier in the day, I'd noticed that Tom had been looking ahead.........

and I found this notice on the Community Calendar:

Legion Riders and Ladies Auxiliary
Waterville American Legion
will sponsor a
New Year's Eve Dinner and Party
$25 couple or $15/person
for Dinner/Door Prizes/Party, 6 p.m.

$7/person for the Party at 9 p.m.

Ends at 1 a.m.

Between morning and afternoon tours of Waterville, I'd spent a great deal of time in New Hartford. On the advice of my grandson and others, I went to see "A Night at the Museum" and loved it! It's not only a delight, but a "must see" if you've ever been to the Museum of Natural History in New York City - which is where the story takes place! - or any of the other major natural history museums that are all over the country, and have wondered what would happen IF all of the animals on display and the tiny characters in dioramas actually came to life.

I really don't go to very many movies and am hardly qualified to judge good from bad, but I'd give this film a most-enthusiastic "Four Bones" rating! (Once you've seen the movie, you'll understand!)

Thursday morning

It's Recyclables Day!

28 degrees, at six o'clock, and no precipitation.

There were snowflakes in the air, most of yesterday, and although the measured accumulation may have been so small as to be insignificant........

the effect on scenery and everyone's spirits was VERY noticable!

The Gazebo and Duck Pond at the Harding Nursing Home.

Sharon Brown was at the front desk.......

Colleen was in her office,

Katie and Candy were serving coffee in the new little
service area next to the big diningroom.

..and the snowy frosting made the Courtyard Garden a pretty view.
(Sorry: the orange blobs are reflections of diningroom lights!)

Dr. Francis Chabot was on early "rounds," and Mr. Brown was in "fine fettle!"

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Wednesday morning

It's 29.5 degrees at 6 o'clock and it's SNOWING!

It must have just started, because there's just sort-of a frosting on the grass and shrubbery, but it's coming down in big flakes - do you remember "Ivory Flakes" that glistened?

Finally, it will start to look like Christmas.

Yesterday was a very gray, drippy, colorless day - but today I'll take some brighter pictures.
Until then - please enjoy these beautiful photographs, taken in the sanctuary of St. Bernard's Catholic Church on Christmas morning.

(Photo by Jean B. Davis.)

(Photo by Jean B. Davis.)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Tuesday morning


It's 34.5 degrees, outside, and drizzly.

I checked Town of Webb "videocam" in Old Forge at a little after 5:00 A.M. - still too dark to see if it's raining or snowing, there.

I also killed time by reading a few newspapers online. The Syracuse Post-Standard has a great website. If you don't know exactly what link to click on, type "Waterville" - or Sangerfield or Deansboro or ?? - into the SEARCH space and Bingo! Magic will happen!

While such a lack of snow is of real economic concern, in the North Country, it is more a disappointment around Waterville: snowmobilers and young snowman-builders sit and stare out windows hoping for a sign of something white!

The Canada Geese are either thoroughly confused or are making the most of a good thing, going South for a day or two and then circling back for another day at Prior's Pond or the cornfield behind the Sullivan Apartments on Tower Street!

All of the villagers that I spoke with, yesterday, knew exactly - and happily! - just what they were doing and where they were going WHEN.

I had a really wonderful day, thanks to family and friends. I made a couple of trips to the Harding Nursing Home. First, to exchange a few little presents with Dick, and then returning at noontime for Christmas Dinner in the big diningroom.

He and I were seated with Mr. Al Wood and his son Doug, and - what a grand serendipity! - they are history buffs from Bridgewater! We had a wonderful conversation (over roast beef, mashed potatoes, squash, mixed vegetables in a light bechamel sauce and then coffee and pie!) about everything from farming in Madison County to the story of the "Forestport Break"
on the Black River Canal. (If you're having a liesure day and like history, you'll find those links interesting.)

At a few minutes before 2 o'clock, I met Alex Meszler and his father, Dale, at the Masonic Temple and we climbed the stairs (which seemed, at least to the writer, much steeper and longer than the last time we were there!) to the room where the console and levers are situated.

You have to remember to wait until the big bell strikes the hour: and you can hear and feel the mechanism gearing up for several seconds before it actually rings and, when it does, the whole tower shakes!

Alex led off. The levers have alot of built-in resistance, but they have to be pushed down rapidly and firmly with one hand to make a bell - 12 feet higher in the tower - sound. You can't actually wait to hear the bell ring because the mechanism makes so much noise and because there's also a split-second delay. You just have to get the next note struck with the OTHER hand while the first hand gets in position to push the next lever. (You don't realize how much energy and concentration it takes: pretty good exercise !) He's good at the hand-over-hand business: even playing the "Glo-o-o-ria. glo-o-o-ria" part of "Angels we have Heard on High" ---- he didn't end up with an arm stuck between what are, essentially, wheelbarrow handles, as another chimer once did!

We took turns, playing about eight familiar Christmas carols, before deciding that it was time to let the neighbors go back to watching television or dozing, or whatever. The Meszlers went home to their Christmas Dinner and I came back to Whiskey Hollow, talked by 'phone with Allison and Rick and eight-year-old Iain about their Christmas Day, ditto Dick's sister and some far-away friends and then sat back and watched "Sahara" --- a Clive Custler/Dirk Pitt novel: a thoroughly unbelieveable tale combining all the best adventurous elements of "007" James Bond and "Indiana Jones" movies.

A good, good day!

Monday, December 25, 2006

A Little Later .....

Yesterday, Main Street was filled with shoppers and walkers.
Noreen Machold and her daughter came to a screeching halt
just to have their picture taken and say "Merry Christmas!"

Tom was busy, sometime during the night....

...but Main Street was nearly completely empty, this morning.....

...except for this lady: she was probably NOT the one who
wanted to go for a walk!

"Mackeral Sky" - and it even looked cold.

But here's Mr. B. - warm and cheery and enjoying
"all the comforts of home" (comfy chair, coffee,
and his laptop) up at Hardings'.

Christmas Morning!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

It's 26.8 degrees; no precipitation.

But the storm moving up from the South will
bring SNOW to "upstate" New York, tonight!

Monday: Mostly sunny in the morning, with increasing afternoon and evening clouds. Showers likely after 6pm. High 45 Low 32.
Tuesday: Rain and snow with breezy conditions. Accumulations likely. High 34 Low 25


For the time-being, we who might travel - whether to another part of the State or just around the village - are unhampered by anything falling from the sky!

If you are anywhere near the Masonic Temple, later this morning, you'll hear the bells being played by the Ayalas and, a few minutes after 2 o'clock this afternoon, PsBrown will join Alex Meszler at the levers.

For those who are not seeing pictures: the problem is worldwide, apparently! (At least it's not something that I did wrong!)

And for those of you who are interested in the technical aspect of such things and are wondering why I can still see pictures when you can't, it may be because:
  1. the Blogspot account recognizes my computer, or.....
  2. I'm using a MAC, OSX - 10.4.8.
  3. I compose the blog using Netscape 7.1 and
  4. publish on Safari 2.0.4 (419.3).
JPEGS of photos are uploaded from my desktop to Picassa with an uploader found in iPhoto, and from the Picassa album I copy the URL of the JPEG and paste it into the HTML of the blog. (That sounds terribly complicated, but it isn't, really!)

I'll be out and aroun d the village, this morning and will TRY to show you what Waterville looks like on Christmas Morning.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Disappearing pictures!!

I just tried via AOL: no pix; but via Netscape there are JPEGS, perhaps you'd have better luck if you can use a different browser. PsB

Sunday Morning - the Day Before Christmas

36 degrees; sort of drippy.


Grace Episcopal Church
December 24th at 10:00 A.M.
Eucharist for the Fourth Sunday in Advent
in the Chapel (no music.)
Christmas Eve Eucharist at 7:00 P.M.
with music for singers, trumpet, flute and clarinet.

St. Bernard's Catholic Church

December 24th, 8:30 and 10:30 A.M..
Christmas Eve: 4:30 Children's Service;
7:00 P.M. at St. Mary's in North Brookfield;
10:00 P.M. at St. Bernard's.
Christmas Day: 10:30 A.M. at St. Bernard's.

SouthGate Ministries

December 24 at 7:00 P.M. Candlelight Service.

United Methodist Church

December 24th, regular 9:00 A.M.
Service in East Hamilton;
10:45 A.M. in Waterville.
Christmas Eve Candlelight Services
at 6:30 in East Hamilton and 8 o'clock in Waterville.

Three Steeples

The First Presbyterian Church, Waterville

Union Presbyterian Church, Sauquoit
United Church of Christ, Paris

Sunday at 10:00 A.M.

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, Paris Hill.
8:00 P.M.

We have a grand old friend named Warren Gilman who lives in North Gorham, Maine and who reminds me eversomuch of the late "Pete" Peterson. He sent this:

Here are two items written by Virginia O’Hanlon. Do you recognize the name?

"Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus" Probably all of us have read that famous editorial that appeared in the New York Sun, and here is the letter that prompted it.

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says,
"If you see it in The Sun, it's so." Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O'Hanlon

Francis P. Church's editorial, "Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus" was an immediate sensation, and became one of the most famous editorials ever written. It first appeared in the The New York Sun in 1897, over one hundred years ago, and was reprinted annually until 1949 when the paper
went out of business.

Thirty-six years after her letter was printed, Virginia O'Hanlon recalled the events that prompted her letter:
"Quite naturally I believed in Santa Claus, for he had never disappointed me. But when less fortunate little boys and girls said there wasn't any Santa Claus, I was filled with doubts. I asked my father, and he was a little evasive on the subject.

"It was a habit in our family that whenever any doubts came up as to how to pronounce a word or some question of historical fact was in doubt, we wrote to the Question and Answer column in The Sun. Father would always say, 'If you see it in the The Sun, it's so,' and that settled the matter.

" 'Well, I'm just going to write The Sun and find out the real truth,' I said to father.

"He said, 'Go ahead, Virginia. I'm sure The Sun will give you the right answer, as it always does.' "

And so Virginia sat down and wrote her parents' favorite newspaper.

Her letter found its way into the hands of a veteran editor, Francis P. Church. Son of a Baptist minister, Church had covered the Civil War for The New York Times and had worked on the The New York Sun for 20 years, more recently as an anonymous editorial writer. Church, a sardonic man, had for his personal motto, "Endeavor to clear your mind of cant." When controversial subjects had to be tackled on the editorial page, especially those dealing with theology, the assignments were usually given to Church.

Now, he had in his hands a little girl's letter on a most controversial matter, and he was burdened with the responsibility of answering it.

"Is there a Santa Claus?" the childish scrawl in the letter asked. At once, Church knew that there was no avoiding the question. He must answer, and he must answer truthfully. And so he turned to his desk, and he began his reply which was to become one of the most memorable editorials in newspaper history.

Church married shortly after the editorial appeared. He died in April, 1906, leaving no children.

Virginia O'Hanlon went on to graduate from Hunter College with a Bachelor of Arts degree at age 21. The following year she received her Master's from Columbia, and in 1912 she began teaching in the New York City school system, later becoming a principal. After 47 years, she retired as an educator. Throughout her life she received a steady stream of mail about her Santa Claus letter, and to each reply she attached an attractive printed copy of the Church editorial. Virginia O'Hanlon Douglas died on May 13, 1971, at the age of 81, in a nursing home in Valatie, N.Y.

From the "People’s Almanac" pp. 1358-9

Presented Dec. 18, 2006 at the North Gorham Poetry meetlng – Warren B Gilman

And here, from the NEWSEUM, is Virginia's original letter and the answer to her question.

"Yes, Virginia," wrote veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church, "Your little friends are wrong. There is a Santa Claus!"

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Saturday morning

It's a balmy 47 degrees, outside, and drippy.

It's raining in Old Forge, too.

Somewhere, in our boxes of snapshots, we have a picture of Allison with my mother, Joan Olsson and me, all playing croquet on a warm Christmas day back in the 1970s.

And, during snowless times like this, I remember the first line of a poem read in second-year French class: "Mais où sont les neiges d'antan?"

According to an entry in Wikipedia, "François Villon (ca. 1431 - ca. 1474) was a French poet, thief, and vagabond. He is perhaps best known for his Testaments and his Ballade des Pendus, written while in prison. The question 'Mais où sont les neiges d'antan?', taken from the Ballade des Dames du Temps Jadis and translated by Dante Gabriel Rossetti as 'Where are the snows of yesteryear?', is one of the most famous lines of translated secular poetry in the English-speaking world."

More memories!

Take a nostalgic trip back to a time before "game boys" when Model Trains were the Best Toys Ever! The train exhibit is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and Tuesday through Friday at the Oneida County Historical Society, 1608 Genesee St., Utica.

Friday, December 22, 2006

A Christmas Card - or two, or ......

I made my first "home made" Christmas card in 1970 - a very limited edition of linoleum block prints - mostly for the members of the Centennial Committee. The next year, the design was more fun, real copying machines were coming into use and we sent three or four dozen "originals." Every year, the list has grown.

I've missed only one year: I don't remember when that was, but I know that I got alot of complaints because I sent everyone a "store bought" greeting!

I havn't really kept a collection, so to speak, and I probably don't even remember half of them. These, however, live in my computer.

Because of everything that's been going on, this winter, I have not gotten around to doing a new card - nor have I even come up with an interesting design! So - all I can say is: "Merry Christmas!




In Winter Woods
Watercolor & colored pencil

Christmas Hops
Dry-brush Watercolor

Christmas on Main Street

2001, after 9-11
Watercolor and colored pencil

Winter in the Hollow
(I'd discovered digital photography and Photoshop!)

'York State Winter
Acrylic on wood; 2.5" x 3"

Einstein on Miracles.

"There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though everything is a miracle;
The other is as though nothing is a miracle."

Christmas Cupboard
Oil on canvas; 30" x 40"

'York State Winter, 2005