Friday, June 27, 2008

Bette Davis Thighs

Bette Davis once said: "Growing old is not for sissies." Damn straight!

After participating in the Chase Corporate Challenge Race last night (a three mile foot-powered excursion through the streets of Boston) I totally agree! I am humbled, sissified and sore... not to mention I probably had 25 years or more on most of the participants!

I did, however, finish the race and I wasn't the last one to the finish line (though not really in the same half hour as this guy) - and I got a cool t-shirt and contributed to charity besides. Though there was probably a reason most of the people my age were working the first aid or cheering sections... Sissies!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Louise and Alex love Harry Potter

Much to the dismay of both spouses, Louise and Alex have a tiny obsession with Harry Potter. Okay, maybe not so tiny. But we can stop anytime.... Jim and Michael put up with re-watching of the five Harry Potter movies whenever they appear on television - because it MIGHT be the version where they include outtakes... lots of space taken up in the bookcases by American paperback versions, British paperback versions, hardback versions, "special" hardback versions... lots of space taken up in luggage toting one or more HP books while traveling to and fro...

Last summer we (Louise and Alex) attended HP5 in Burlington, MA, while Alex was here for a visit to see her college roommate Diane in Portsmouth, NH. Along with the beloved TomTom, Louise provided Alex with suitable accessories for the BIG event - the release of the final volume of Harry Potter, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Louise also had appropriate adornment for the release parties. Alex stood in line in New York City (having reserved her copy at a bookstore near her hotel) while Louise (taking pity on Jim after dragging him to the Potterfest in Harvard Square earlier in the day) waited (in costume) at the local Borders in Cambridge. As the minutes ticked away toward midnight, our excitement grew and we texted each other as to our progress in the line. At last we clutched our respective copies.

I almost couldn't bear to read the book because it was the end of an era - but then I couldn't bear NOT to read the book. Late through the night and into the morning, I could be heard gasping and moaning as the story unfolded. A year later, I'm still not sure how I feel about how the series ended. However, that doesn't stop me (or Alex) from greatly desiring the British paperback version of Deathly Hallows due out this July. Alas, although I did SERIOUSLY consider it, the $1K or more price tag for flights to Great Britain to pick up the book has dissuaded me! I'll have to hope for world (business) traveler Alex to take pity on me.

And then there is the Harry Potter theme park opening up in Florida.... Hmm.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Lifescan - Images of the past

It is amazing to me how our lives have changed in the past 50 odd years. Our children, and now our children's children, are growing up in such drastically different technological environments. I've been going through boxes and albums of old drawings and photographs, and scanning items for posterity. What posterity, I wonder? Will anyone value them when digital records are so easy now? Does anyone else care where we came from?

I watched "Seabiscuit" last night, which was a very poignant movie. Part of what made it so compelling was a glimpse, through old photographs and film clips as well as the dramatization, at a bygone era. If I scan enough of my past, perhaps I can evoke that same sense of nostalgia. . . . Here are some selected multi-generational photographs.

Generation 1 (or maybe 0!) - Juliet Rankin Greeno Hadden with her Great-Grandmother

Generation 2 - John Rankin Greeno and Louise Squibb Greeno

Generation 3 - Juliet Rankin Greeno Hadden, Philip and Warrene McIntosh, and Richard Ray Hadden

Generation 4 - Louise Squibb Hadden, Jeremy Chapman Hadden, Philip and Jim McIntosh, Alexandra Greeno Hadden, and Louise Squibb Hadden
Generation 5 - Juliet Ciel Wendel, Britton Tyler Collins Wendel, and Jaime Dorian Wendel
Generation 6 - Sylvia Joy Hidalgo

Rose City Roving

Portland is justifiably known as the "Rose City."
We were lucky enough to be in Portland for (a) a beautiful sunny Sunday, (b) Father's Day, and (c) the annual Portland Rose Festival, all totally unplanned. We were happy to be able to celebrate Miguel's first Father's day with him!

Miguel, Aurelia and Sylvia took us to the Rose Test Garden high in the hills over Portland. The roses were stunning and overwhelming in variety and quantity - and besides that, they smelled good!

Sylvia was enchanting, quietly enjoying her day out in the park cuddled close to Mom and taking all the sights and smells in.

The views of the city below were incredible.

As Miguel commented, millions of digital images must have been taken there that day. I accounted for about 100 of those!

To the Doghouse: by Virginia Woof

I was entranced to see, while Miguel took us on a whirlwind tour of downtown PDX, a doggie day care named "Virginia Woof". It's good to see that literary irony is not lost on the West Coast!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bouncing Baby Girl!

Long, long ago in the dark ages of parenthood, we had (gasp) antiquated wood things called "rocking chairs." This is a new era, though, and the gentle rocking can be replicated in an easy, more portable way. Sylvia (and her parents and other relatives) have a ball with an exercise ball! It gives rockin' and ROLLIN' new meaning.

Other views from NE Halsey: Proud dad Miguel, Uncle Ian, and gMom4.

School Daze PDX style

Our first night in Portland Miguel, Aurelia, Sylvia and Ian took us to a great multi-re-use former school building (the Kennedy School) with a wonderful brewpub/restaurant (serving McMenamins) in it. The architectural detail was amazing.

The food was also great but Sylvia did NOT approve of Dad's menu choice!

The Beet Generation

We get a delivery of organic fruits, vegetables, eggs, etc. delivered every week. It inspires me to find tasty ways to prepare and serve all sorts of produce, some that I had never heard of. Celery roots? Jerusalem artichokes? helps me out when I am at a total loss! While we were in PDX visiting Sylvia (and her parents) we contributed a meal including a roasted beet salad, which turned out to be a big hit.

Roasted Beet Salad


A bunch of beets (preferably with greens - at least 3 good-sized beets)
1/2 cup pecans (either pre-chopped or chop them yourself)
1/2 cup dried tart cherries or cranberries (if cherries, chop into cranberry or raisin sized pieces)
1 small log of goat cheese
2 1/2 tsps olive oil (2 for the roasted beets, 1/2 for the greens)
1 tablespoon water (for greens)
2 tsps vinegar (balsamic, cider, tarragon depending on your taste)
Prepared salad mix (spring mix, arugula, baby romaine) to supplement or replace beet greens


Remove greens from beets
Wash greens thoroughly to remove dirt and sand and drain
Chop greens finely (I like to roll the leaves up like a cigar, slice lengthwise holding together, then make coin sized slices)
Saute with 1/2 tsp olive oil, 1 tbsp water, and 1 tsp vinegar on medium heat until green parts are bright green stirring occasionally (about 5 minutes)
Reserve both greens and liquid (liquid will be part of salad dressing)
Peel beets
Chop beets into 1/2 to 3/4 inch squarish pieces
Toss with 2 tsps olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
Roast in 350 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes turning once. The beets should look a little dry on their top sides but not dessicated.
Remove from oven and let cool in roasting pan, reserving oil (also part of dressing)
When beets are cool, toss beets and oil, greens and liquid (if using), salad mix (if using), dried fruit (cranberries/cherries), and nuts thoroughly to "dress" the salad. You can add 1 tsp of vinegar at this point to taste, more or less depending on whether you have the beet green mixture. Salt and pepper to taste. Crumble the log of goat cheese over the top before serving. Some people like to serve the salad and put a slice of goat cheese on top instead, garnishing with a whole pecan, depending on how fancy the occasion is.

This also works well with crumbled gorgonzola or blue cheese instead of the goat cheese. Other options are using roasted turnips, roasted squash, etc.

And the beet goes on. . . .

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Interrupted Travel

Traveling to PDX to see Sylvia, the newest Rose of Portland, proved to be a challenge.... but well worthwhile! Our flight out of Boston was delayed (slugabed Louise moaning all the way to the airport at 4 am only to find out the flight was late!) causing us to miss our connecting flight in Cincinnati (an airport Louise knows all too intimately.)

A simple one stop journey became a two stop journey with plenty of quality time spent in various airports across the country - our new itinerary added a stop (and a few hours) in Salt Lake City. On the plus side? Since it was the airline's fault, we were upgraded to first class (for the first and probably only times in our lives!) from Cincinnati to Salt Lake City. Oh, those plush, roomy leather seats, free food, drink and movies, and absolutely stunning views out the window. In addition, we were given a food voucher for the quality time we were spending in CVG. On the minus side, those lost eight hours with Sylvia were priceless! Not to mention Jim's dismay when spending the food voucher yielded - see through coffee! Quelle horreur!

Salt Lake City was pretty amazing looking from the air, and also from the airport. We took one of these dinky SkyWest commuter planes on to Portland. Again, the views were stunning but they forgot to take the mini-plane through the car wash before the flight so the window was a tad dirty.
Finally, we arrived in PDX and thanks to Tom Tom the Second we were rewarded with our first meeting with Sylvia! Here's one happy gPop!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Animal Planet has it going on with Matriarchal Societies

Two of my favorite shows on Animal Planet are Lemur Kingdom, and Meerkat Manor. Both lemurs and meerkats have female-dominant societies which are quite successful and interesting. Of course, the tv shows anthropomorphize to a great extent. Nonetheless, I think we can all learn things from watching these shows. (Of course, I was severely traumatized by the demise of Flower last year, but I'm bearing up under it.)

This past year, Scott Adams also did a series in the Dilbert comic strips on lemurs ( This inspired us to register the domain name, and also inspired Louise to take pictures at the Dublin Zoo and photoshop them. More on drunken lemurs later!