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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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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.

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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