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This year is the fifth anniversary of this blog. For the first year I was unsure about how many photos I could actually upload because of the free WordPress.com blogging account has a space limit. So I kept photo uploads limited to just my arts and crafts along with any photographs that I actually exhibited in a show. Over time I learned such things as graphic optimization so I was able to upload more photos that way than I thought I could. So for the rest of the year I’m going to devote Throwback Thursday to photos from previous blog entries (along with links to the original posts) that I should’ve uploaded five years earlier but I didn’t.

In mid-July my then-husband and I travelled to Connecticut for the wedding of his oldest nephew. Before the trip I purchased a pair of plain looking shoes, which I then embellished with sequins and I wrote all about in this post I wrote on July 13, 2010 titled Turning a New Pair of Shoes From “Blah!” to “Fab!”

Shoes-Before and After

After I posted this announcement regarding my imminent departure to Connecticut, my husband and I boarded an Amtrak from Maryland to New London, Connecticut then we rented a car for the duration of our time there. We spent part of both the first and second days at Mystic Seaport, where I took these pictures.

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During our time in Connecticut, I remembered that an earthquake actually hit Washington, DC but it was a relatively minor one. I also remember that there was talk about me photographing the wedding rehearsal the afternoon before. My husband spoke with his nephew on the phone and the nephew said that my photography services wouldn’t be needed because they had plenty of people with cameras who would be there at the rehearsal. So we had originally planned to spend the entire first day at Mystic Seaport then eat dinner on our own. While we were at Mystic Seaport, my husband’s sister (and his nephew’s mother) called us on his cell phone wondering where we were. When my husband told her about her son saying that they didn’t need us there, his sister overruled what her son said and basically told us to be there and I was to photograph the rehearsal. So I did it. After the rehearsal we were invited to this picnic dinner at a nearby park where I took some pretty decent sunset photos.

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As I recounted in this post that I uploaded after I returned from that trip, the wedding took place the following afternoon. It was held at Mohegan Sun, a casino resort that’s operated by a Native American tribe. The wedding and reception were both held at a golf club facility that was located far from the buildings where the gambling usually takes place. The wedding took place outside on this large deck overlooking a lake. It provided plenty of nature photography opportunities.

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Here is what the deck looked like on the actual wedding day itself. The bride wore white while the groom, who’s currently serving in the U.S. Navy, wore his formal dress uniform.

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The reception was held in this lodge located just a few feet away from the wedding deck.

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Inside the lodge was really lovely. I’ll end this post with a couple of shots of the wedding cake itself. This one was among the more unique wedding cakes I’ve seen because it was decorated with ladybugs made from cake frosting. (The bride likes ladybugs, which is why they were there on the cake.)

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Since that time the couple has moved to Charleston, South Carolina (when the groom was transferred by the Navy) and they are now the parents of a two-year-old son. I still keep up with them via Facebook despite the fact that I’m now divorced from the groom’s uncle.

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Like many Americans I was horrified by the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. As details emerged about the shooter, the media initially gave the name of the shooter’s brother mainly because the shooter used that brother’s ID while he engaged on his murderous rampage. It was later revealed that the shooter himself suffered from mental health related issues yet, for some reason, the shooter’s mother decided that it would be okay for her to purchase the weapons later used in that rampage and keep such weapons in her home where her son was able to gain access to them. It was literally a fatal mistake on her part since she was among the shooting victims.

As I heard more and more in the media about Newtown and how swarms of media people from all over the world have descended on that small town, I began to feel grateful that my husband’s nephew and his wife live 83 miles away from Newtown. They are currently expecting their first child and they have enough to worry about without having to deal with media people intruding on their property, banging on their doors, and shoving microphones in their faces asking about what do they know about the shooter or his victims. (For the record, neither one of them have ever met anyone who lives in Newtown. In fact, I don’t even know if either of them have ever even set foot in Newtown.)

Last Friday I wrote a blog entry urging people to not to go after the shooter’s family because we don’t know the full details about the family’s dealings with the shooter. I wrote about my own experiences dealing with a family member who has engaged in increasingly odd behaviors for nearly a year that are out of character for that person and my own realization that I can’t do anything about that person because he won’t face up to his problems and he refuses to do anything about them and I can’t control him at all. I also wrote that I’m glad that he hasn’t shown any violent tendencies (or at least he hasn’t shown any violent tendencies in my presence) so, for now, I don’t have to worry about this person doing anything as horrifying as what happened in Newtown.

On the same day another woman wrote a blog entry on the same topic, which received way more attention than my blog entry. It’s called "Thinking the Unthinkable" and it has been re-posted on other sites under the title "I am Adam Lanza’s Mother". It’s about the struggles she has gone through with getting mental health services for her 13-year-old son, who can get violent at times. I found this entry very gut-wrenching, especially with this paragraph.

I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am James Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.

I can understand the anguish that this mother is going through. I have gone through similar anguish with my own family member and have felt frustration with trying to get help for that person when he doesn’t want it. In some ways it’s harder for me because this person is an adult and he doesn’t live with me. There are times when I have felt totally alone and isolated in this. I am only grateful that this person is nowhere nearly as violent as that woman’s son. I felt that the mother was being very brave in openly discussing her problems in dealing with her son. When her blog entry went viral, I was happy for her because I hoped that, with her blog entry being more widely read, someone would come forward offering her sound advice in dealing with her son.

Instead she has gotten a lot of criticism and derision. It has gotten so bad that there are even articles about the negative backlash like this one. It’s a shame that she has gotten lots of negative feedback like that because I agree that there have been a dearth of mental health services for people who really need them and there’s an even bigger dearth of support services for family members. There are times when I really hate the whole individualistic "you’re on your own and you gotta pull yourself up by your own bootstraps" philosophy that this nation has adopted, especially since the 1980’s. I hate to be the one to say this but there are times when you can’t do things on your own, it’s too difficult to even pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and you do need help from other people. Had there been proper mental health services for the Newtown shooter, it’s likely that this tragedy could have been avoided altogether.

I think what happened in Newtown was horrible. Yet four days after that horror, the U.S. media is still largely focused on that tragedy almost to the exclusion of other news. Turn on any American cable news channel and you’ll hear nothing else but the shootings in Newtown. I have gotten so burned out on the Newtown news that I’m currently alternating between watching Al Jazeera and RT because they have other news besides Newtown.

Here are some other horrifying news that the U.S. cable news channels have largely ignored: Gunmen in Pakistan have killed health care workers who were about to distribute vaccines to prevent polio. There are more violent clashes in Syria between those calling for the removal of Syrian President Bashar Assad and pro-government forces. A 23-year-old woman was gang-raped on a bus in Delhi, India. Six people have been kidnapped in southern Nigeria. Two teenagers in the UK have received life sentences for killing a schoolboy. Two police officers have been shot dead in Topeka, Kansas. Police in Washington, DC are investigating the possible murder of a middle-aged man whose body was found near an elementary school.

And it’s not just the cable news channels who are obsessed with the Newtown shootings. I’ve gone on various websites and Facebook pages that mention that incident, even though the websites/Facebook pages in question usually have conent that aren’t focused on news of any kind.

I think it’s great that people are feeling sad over what happened in Newtown. But there’s a fine line between feeling sad and horrified over what happened in Newtown and wallowing in the news about Newtown to the point where you’re totally obsessed over every last detail about the shooter or the victims’ funerals to the point of everything else going on in life—especially if you are not even directly affected by what happened in Newtown.

Unless you are a friend or family member of those affected by the shooter, you need to stop wallowing over what happened in Newtown and let the police do their job in finding out what happened. I’m especially talking to you, members of the mainstream media. Instead of wasting time wallowing about the tragedy, do something more constructive like advocating for increased gun regulations (I find it outrageous that I have to go through more effort in order to maintain the privilege of driving a car than I would if I wanted to buy a semi-automatic assault weapon at a traveling gun show) and improved access to mental health services for the mentally ill and their loved ones. You can start doing this by writing letters or sending e-mails to elected officials. You can volunteer your time to groups like NAMI or the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Just don’t sit at home and wallow in the mainstream media’s continuous coverage of Newtown. If most people don’t do anything but obsess over the Newtown shooting, it’ll be inevitable that someone else with mental health issues who, for some reason, doesn’t have access to needed mental health services will obtain powerful weapons either from a gun show (like what happened at Columbine High School in 1999) or from a friend/relative who purchased them legally (just like in Newtown) and do another shooting rampage that will lead to more deaths of men, women, and children.

As for me, I’m going to do my part in putting this tragedy behind me by not making any more blog posts about the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut after this one. I don’t want to contribute to the problem of wallowing in other people’s tragedies. I want to be part of the solution by moving on from that incident. As of right now, I’m declaring this blog to be a Newtown-Free Zone. In celebration of that declaration, here’s a video of a lion cub and tiger cub playing with each other.

Once again there is another senseless shooting in the U.S. This time someone killed his own mother, then moved on to an elementary school where he shot both children and adults before he shot himself. Many people are expressing their sadness and sympathy over the victims and that’s the right thing to do. As I’m hearing more and more details about this shooting, my thoughts have turned to the brother of the gunman. This poor guy was questioned by the police because his brother used his ID when he went on his shooting rampage and that has compounded experiencing his brother doing these horrible things, including murdering their own mother.

I know fthat some people will read these words and feel aghast over what I have just written. They will say to themselves "How dare she express any kind of sympathy towards the shooter’s family!" I know first-hand what it’s like to see someone you love act and behave in an erratic manner that’s totally out of character for that person. I know what it’s like to tell that person to please see a doctor only to get ignored. I know what it’s like to look helplessly as that loved one has changed into a total stranger and knowing that there isn’t anything I can do to change him back to the person he used to be and he won’t let me help him. I know what it’s like to have that person avoid you and refuse to speak to you even though you’ve tried to open the lines of communication numerous times.

I am only lucky in that this loved one hasn’t gotten violent or developed a fascination with guns. (Or at least I haven’t witnessed such behavior.) I can only imagine the horror that Ryan Lanza is going through knowing that his brother killed his mother then started killing other innocent people for no discernable reason. He’s probably going to question his past dealings with his brother and wondering if he could’ve done anything else to prevent this. He may even feel responsible or guilty over what happened.

Over the past year I’ve gotten a hard lesson in how you can’t control anyone else’s behavior other than your own. Anyone who tells you differently is either delusional or doesn’t realize that the person is only allowing him/herself to be controlled by others and that could change at any time. If someone doesn’t want to do anything to help him/herself, all the begging, pleading, cajoling, or bribery in the world isn’t going to get this person to change his/her mind.

All I’m saying is please refrain from forming a lynch mob and go after Ryan Lanza or other members of the shooter’s family. They are suffering just as much as the family of the victims. We don’t know if they had any advanced knowledge of what their loved one was going to do nor do we know anything about whether the shooter has a history of mental illness or drug abuse or something similar. For all we know the shooter could’ve been troubled for years and the family tried to get help for him only to either 1) not get any professional to take them seriously, 2) not able to find decent mental health facilities, or 3) the shooter refused to get help.

I’m just going to end this rant with a video of cute baby black panthers.

Last night I learned via Facebook that the wife of my husband’s nephew is pregnant with their first child. The baby is due in June. Knowing them both, I am very confident that they will be good parents. They are both pretty calm and level-headed people so I won’t have any worries about them as they enter a new phase in their lives.

In some ways the news is bittersweet. My husband still refuses to speak to me and it has been that way since he abruptly walked out on me three days after Christmas last year. I’m still having a hard time recovering from this because of the way that it abruptly ended. We were very loving towards each other up until the night he came home from work and announced that he was moving out. If he hadn’t done what he did, we would’ve been rejoicing at the news that we were going to have a grandniece or grandnephew. It’s quite possible that we would’ve celebrated by going to this French restaurant that we always loved going to on special occasions.

I still remember happier times when my husband and I traveled to Connecticut to attend that nephew’s wedding two years ago. We spent the weekend in Mystic and we visited Mystic Seaport where I purchased a copy of Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac, which led to this blog’s regular feature Benjamin Franklin Friday.

I can’t believe that this nephew is going to be a father. It seemed like yesterday when we learned that my husband’s sister was pregnant with him. I was so thrilled that I was going to be an aunt that I purchased this counted cross-stitch embroidery kit. It included a bunch of teddy bears surrounding a blank oval space where you personalized it with the baby’s name, birthdate, weight, and length. I selected it because it was cute and it was gender-neutral (at the sime my sister-in-law was still pregnant and she didn’t get any advanced notice on what the baby’s sex would be). I did the teddy bears part of the cross-stitch then put it away for a while. Once the baby arrived, I picked up the cross-stitch again and added the information in the center. After that I purchased a frame for the piece then gave it to my sister-in-law and her then-husband as a present.

I don’t remember where I got the cross-stitch kit from but I probably purchased it from one of two stores that no longer exist. One was a locally-owned mom-and-pop store in Lanham, Maryland called Family Crafts (or something like that) and I really loved that store. Sadly it went under due to competition from the big-box retailers like Michaels Arts & Crafts and A.C. Moore, which is a story similar to the many mom-and-pop stores throughout the United States that went under starting around 1985 because it couldn’t keep up with competition from their larger and wealthier rivals.

The other store was part of a chain that no longer exists. It was called Frank’s Nursery and Crafts and it was a hybrid nursery and craft supply store. In the spring and summer you could shop in the nursery section for something to plant outdoors. By the fall the nursery would be temporarily closed until November when it would reopen for the Christmas season. After Christmas it would close again for a few months until the spring. The craft supply store part was indoors so it was opened year-round. It sold a variety of yarns and craft kits for all ages. I loved shopping there. I was very sad when that chain went under because of the competition from the bigger chain stores like Michaels Arts & Crafts and A.C. Moore, which had larger floor space than Frank’s and didn’t bother with selling live plants, trees, and bushes.

It also seemed like yesterday when this nephew was a kid. He was rambunctious growing up but he was basically a good kid. He managed to remain a good kid despite his parents’ rocky marriage and subsequent divorce. The only time that I recall ever seeing him losing his way was when he went away to college where, without going into any details, his freshman year was so disasterous for him that he dropped out of school. He worked for Walmart for a while but he realized that he had no future with an employer notorious for low wages and benefits so crappy that many Walmart employees end up on food stamps. He has a paternal grandfather who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II so he decided to follow in those footsteps and enlist as well and he has done well ever since. He studied nuclear technology and he now serves on nuclear submarines. He met his future wife while he was stationed in Charleston and now he is stationed in the Groton-New London area of Connecticut while he and his wife await their first child.

I am happy for them and I really wish them well in the future.

Santa Claus

Ever feel like you’re in this weird cycle where things that happened to you a few months earlier seems to echo back at you? Well, it seemed to have happened to me.

Back in October my husband and I were in Western Massachusetts where his family held a memorial service for my mother-in-law, who died back in March. This service was for my mother-in-law’s friends who weren’t able to make it to her funeral service, which was held in March in Phoenix (where she had spent the last years of her life). Towards the end of that trip my husband and I took a driving trip from Williamstown, Massachusetts to Mystic, Connecticut (where we had to return our rental car before boarding the Amtrak for the trip back to DC).

During that driving trip we attempted to go to the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden in Springfield but the gates were closed by the time we arrived. We managed to see one of the statues behind the locked gates but that was about it. On Christmas Day my husband and I went to a special ice show at National Harbor based on Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Before entering the main part of that exhibit, we were treated to a pre-show exhibit that not only provided information about the hometown of the Chinese ice sculptors who worked on that exhibit but also provided artwork and information about the life and career of Dr. Seuss. We saw photographs of the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden in Springfield so we got an idea of what we missed when we arrived at the place too late back in October.

The main reason why we arrived too late to the Springfield Dr. Seuss site is because, earlier in the day, my husband and I spent a few hours at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and we ended up spending more time there than we originally planned. A few months before our visit to this museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC had opened a special exhibit that feature Rockwell art from the private collections of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.

It’s pretty ironic that we went all the way to Stockbridge to see Rockwell art when there was a special Rockwell exhibit in a museum closer to our home. After our visit to the Stockbridge museum, we made plans to see the DC exhibit before it closes. Unfortunately, with my husband’s travel, my mother’s health problems, my husband’s lung infection, and my own cold, we weren’t able to see that exhibit for a while. When I saw in the local papers that the exhibit was going to close after New Year’s weekend, we knew that we had to see it now.

So we spent New Year’s Day yesterday visiting the Rockwell exhibit in DC. It was really amazing to see and we were able to compare and contrast between the two exhibits.

The Stockbridge museum has examples from throughout Rockwell’s entire career and it included some of his later works, which were a bit more edgy with pointed political commentary, such the integration of the public schools. The DC exhibit was more narrowly focused. It’s been said that you can learn about a collector’s personality by viewing his/her collection. After looking at Spielberg’s and Lucas’ collections, I got a feeling about their preferences for collecting those Rockwell pieces which not only tell a story but also provides a portrayal of an idealistic America.

Since Spielberg and Lucas are both directors, it’s no surprise that they prefer those pieces that seemed to tell a full story. And if you look at their overall films like Schindler’s List, Jaws, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, you know that they prefer to make uplifting films that show heroism and good triumphing over evil. So it’s also no surprise that they would prefer Rockwell’s more uplifting work over his edgier work.

The most interesting part about that exhibit is that both Spielberg and Lucas collected Rockwell’s rough drafts as well as Rockwell’s completed works. Much of the work on display in that exhibition were black and white drawings done in pencil and charcoal on newsprint. These drawings were originally done as rough drafts but both Spielberg and Lucas were drawn to them as if they were finished pieces. Rockwell’s rough drafts were very detailed and well done and I can see why those two directors didn’t hesitate to buy them and frame them.

That exhibit was crowded since it’s the final weekend. We arrived at the museum around noon, ate lunch there, then visited the Rockwell exhibit after we finished eating. We were done by 3 p.m. so we decided to take a break at the atrium near the exhibit’s entrance. By that point, a long line had formed outside the exhibit and a security guard had to limit people entering the area. We were so glad that we arrived at the museum earlier so we were able to beat the worst of the crowds.

But it’s kind of interesting that we sort of come full circle between the Western Massachusetts trip in October and this holiday season in the DC area.

I thought what I wrote yesterday was going to be it as far as my recent trip was concerned. But then something else happened so I’m writing this short entry

My husband and I took the long Amtrak train trip from New London to the Amtrak stop at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport. It was an uneventful trip until the end when my husband walked to the back of the car to gather the luggage. A friend of ours from the neighborhood was on that same train in the same car but we didn’t notice each other until the very end.

It turned out that the friend has a job that requires him to take Amtrak to New York City on a weekly basis. He boarded the train at Penn Station in the same car as where we boarded in New London. He usually takes the Amtrak to BWI Airport then switch to a Metrobus that takes him to the Greenbelt Metro Station. We were feeling generious so we offered him a ride in our car on one condition–we hadn’t eaten dinner so we told him that he would have to go to the DuClaw brew pub that’s located in nearby Arundel Mills.

So the three of us ended up splitting appetizers and drinking beer while watching live coverage of the rescue of the Chilean miners who had been trapped underground since August on one of the many television screens taht were up in the bar. Man, it was amazing to see the first of the miners get hauled up to the ground.

Today the rescue is still ongoing. As of this writing, half of the trapped miners have been rescued. I hope the rest of the operation ends well with no deaths. What’s really cool is that originally the miners were expected to remain trapped until Christmas but, thanks to the rescuers, it looks like the men will be rescued just in time for Halloween. That’s great news! 😀

My husband and I had originally intended to spend a couple of hours touring the U.S.S. Nautilus today. Except that the sub is closed on Tuesdays and today is Tuesday. We looked at other possibilities in Mystic but we decided to just spend our last few hours in Mystic just surfing the Internet until it’s time to return the rental car and board the Amtrak back to DC.

We realized that we had grown extremely tired because of all the touring around the Berkshires and visiting people and we just prefer to be lazy today. It’s no big deal really. I’ve seen Mystic Seaport before on previous trips. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Mystic Aquarium except I’m way too tired to do so today and I’ve been to other aquariums before (the most notable is the National Aquarium in Baltimore).

I wrote my last entry for my usual Benjamin Franklin Friday late last night after coming off of a grueling long trip. Before we headed off, I heard brief references to John Lennon’s 70th birthday and when my husband and I had a late dinner at this local tavern, we heard one of his songs. When we came back to the hotel room and I logged into the Internet, I saw that special Google logo featuring a brief animated tribute to John Lennon.

So I thought yesterday was John Lennon’s birthday. Wrong! Today is the actual day of what would’ve been John Lennon’s 70th birthday. Nearly two months later, it will be the 30th anniversary of his murder (December 8, 1980).

Like I wrote earlier, I underwent a grueling trip last night. We boarded a train that arrived 30 minutes later than scheduled then endured a five-hour trip to New London, Connecticut where the final leg was really slow because that station is currently undergoing renovation and there was only one track available and our train had to wait until another train going in the other direction finished using it. We got a rental car for the final leg of the journey to Western Massachusetts only to encounter horrendous bouts of rush hour traffic. (We were surprised as to how even smaller cities like Springfield, Massachusetts can get tied up in rush hour traffic.)

So now we’re in Western Massachusetts.

I’m announcing a new feature of this blog, my Twitter account, and my Facebook account. This is something that grew out of my recent trip to Connecticut.

While my husband and I were in that state attending our nephew’s wedding, we made a side trip to Mystic Seaport. On my way out of that place, we stopped at a gift shop where I found copies of Benjamin Franklin’s classic Poor Richard’s Almanack on sale for $10. I had long heard of that book and had even read brief excepts from it when I took an American Studies class during my college freshman year a long time ago.

I began to thumb through that book and I realized one major thing: the book consists of brief words of wisdom, much of which would fit in with Twitter’s 140-character limit. I began to come up with an idea, one that I hope will get increased readers to my blog/Facebook page/Twitter account.

I know that for the past few months, Keith Olbermann has been devoting the last few minutes of his MSNBC show every Friday to reading one of James Thurber’s short stories. I thought about doing something similar for Benjamin Franklin. In fact, Franklin is ideal since his writings in Poor Richard’s Almanack is way shorter than one of Thurber’s stories. Franklin mostly devoted one or two lines to a platitude or words of wisdom. Occasionally he would do a very short poem but the writings in this book are mostly very short.

On top of that, in recent months Glenn Beck has been appropriating Ben Franklin (as well as the other Founding Fathers) to misuse them to make increasingly wacky far right extremist points in his controversial Fox News show. I want to do something to rectify this by showing Benjamin Franklin’s words as he really wrote them, not how Glenn Beck has twisted them to suit his own agenda.

After reading through parts of Poor Richard’s Almanack, I realized that it contains sayings that could inspire anyone regardless of political or religious beliefs. In fact, you don’t even have to be an American to appreciate what Franklin wrote. Even though that book was published in the 18th century, much of the content is still relevant today.

Even though Benjamin Franklin is listed as the author of Poor Richard’s Almanack and he wrote some of the content himself, he didn’t originate all of the words of wisdom in that book. Much of the sayings were commonly uttered by his contemporaries in the 18th century. Franklin basically wrote down much of what he heard other people say and compiled them together into a book. What Franklin did was no different from what the Brothers Grimm did when they travelled throughout Central Europe and copied down commonly told folktales that resulted in their classic Fairy Tales book You can say that Benjamin Franklin was an editor.

Over time I’m hoping for two things: 1) increased readership of my blog/Facebook page/Twitter account and 2) people will learn more about Benjamin Franklin than as the face of the US$100 bill or the guy who once flew a kite in bad weather. Here are a few parameters of this new weekly feature. Each Friday I will provide one short quote from Poor Richard’s Almanack and I will cross-post this quote in this blog, my Facebook page, and Twitter account.

Each quote will be presented as is. I will not correct spelling or punctuation because I want to preserve Franklin’s writings as he wrote them. I also used the British spelling of certain words (such as "neighbour" instead of "neighbor") because Franklin used it. I won’t offer any interpretations of what Franklin wrote because I want each reader to come to his/her conclusion as to what he/she thinks Franklin really meant.

So, without further ado, here is the first Benjamin Franklin quote from Poor Richard’s Almanack.

Benjamin Franklin

WITH the old Almanack and the old Year, Leave thy old Vices, tho’ ever so dear.

My husband and I arrived late Saturday from Connecticut, where we attended our nephew’s wedding. Here is a brief description of what we did. We arrived in Connecticut via Amtrak late Wednesday night. We spent Thursday morning and early afternoon at Mystic Seaport, where we saw lots of historical buildings and ships along a beautiful waterfront. We went to the wedding rehearsal late Thursday afternoon because I was asked to shoot some photos of that event. After the rehearsal we went to a rehearsal picnic at a waterfront park where we saw this lovely sunset.

Friday morning my husband and I slept in late at our hotel room. We headed back to Mystic Seaport to check out a few attractions that we missed yesterday and we also took a nice horse carriage ride of the entire place. Then we went back to the hotel room where we changed into our nice clothes and headed to the wedding and reception.

Here’s something cool that I encountered. Both the wedding and reception were held in this golf clubhouse facility. When I got out of my car, a woman wearing golf clothes took one look at me and praised not only my new outfit (which I recently purchased at Nordstrom’s) but also my shoes. I was especially thrilled about the shoes comment since, if you’ve read my entry from a couple of days ago, I had customized those shoes myself.

The wedding and reception were both lovely. Both events were pulled off without any major drama or glitches. I’m happy that my nephew picked a lovely person to marry.

While my husband and I were away, we’ve learned that our hometown of Washington, DC was hit with a 3.6 earthquake. There were no reports of any deaths or even major damage so we were able to continue to enjoy our weekend in Connecticut without any major worries.

There was one minor annoyance. The hotel we were staying at had cable but the choice of channels were so limited that it didn’t even offer the Bravo channel, which sucked because I had to miss the latest episode of Work of Art. I tried looking on Bravo’s website but the people behind that website have been incredibly slow in uploading the latest episode online. (As of this writing, only the previous episodes I have already seen are available to view online.) It was the first hotel I’ve been in that had such a limited cable lineup like that.

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