Welcome to 'Attic of the Heart'!

Welcome from north-central Connecticut! In this blog I will share whatever is in my heart, on my mind, or something interesting I've found to share. Thanks for stopping by!

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Family ties...

Good Morning! And it was a rather early one at that. My stepson and his wife and our two grandchildren got up at 5AM to leave this morning to head back to Maine. I said my good-bye's last night, as 5AM is kind of rough for me. That was fine by them. So we hugged and promised to see one another soon before we headed up to bed.
They had arrived on Friday night, about midnight. Last year, I waited up. We met at the front door just after midnight, hugged, and went to bed, all of us too groggy to say much. So this year, I told them, 'I'll leave the door unlocked and the light on. See you in the morning! It worked out fine.

We had a nice visit. We hadn't seen our 15 year old granddaughter in 2 years, as she lives with her mom in Alabama, and didn't come home last summer. She barrel races, and had too many competitions to get away. She has grown so much since then and we were glad for the opportunity to see her again.  She is a typical teen who is into her books, texting, and spending time alone. I wanted to get to know her better, but teenagers don't seem to be interested much in adults at this age.

Our grandson is 12 now, and plays basketball during the school year. He loves to sit and talk and play board games, anything that involves the whole family. He also likes to play darts with his grandfather when he visits.

It is hard loving your grandchildren and not being able to be there for them. Being so far apart makes it difficult to keep in touch enough to keep up with each others lives.

They went to Six Flags yesterday.  They came home a bit sunburned and tired last night, but happy.

We are hoping for a trip to Maine on the weekend. Part vacation, part house hunting. We have entertained the idea of moving back up for the last 3 years. We are here because of the job, a really good job, but we haven't really made many friends, or connected with the area.
There are SO MANY PEOPLE here!! (read: Traffic)

For people who come from northern Maine, western NB and a quiet part of the Midwest, it is hard to get used to, even after all this time (4 years). The pace of life is definitely slower up there. The people are for the most part friendlier too.
It seems because of the transient population here, the locals are a bit reluctant to get to know you unless you've lived here long enough for them to see you aren't lunatics or serial killers. While we've grown comfortable with our neighbors and we all occasionally wave or say hello it hasn't grown into a visiting kind of thing. Perhaps it's the area of CT we reside it? Although in reading forums on city-data.com, there are several out there with concurring opinions.

I was used to the visiting kind of thing in Maine. In fact, I might have mentioned in previous posts about my 2 generous and kind neighbors I had in Waterville, Maine before we moved down here.
The first week, Mrs. Beal, who is in her 80's, came over with homemade banana muffins and brownies. Mrs. Frye, also in her 80's, on the other side of us, came at least once a week for a year and a half, to keep me company while my DH worked in Baltimore. She always waved and called out the window to him when he came home on the weekends, and they always teased each other. It was so nice. Even though we were renters, they made an effort to get to know us. Perhaps they were relieved to find we were ordinary friendly people.
They were unhappy when we left. I had done some flower gardening for Mrs. Frye, and in payment (although I wanted nothing but the joy and therapy of gardening) gave me some beautiful pink Heisey glass antique dishes, bless her heart, as a thank you.
In combination with the high cost of housing/property taxes here in CT, these are elements that are the driving force in our decision to think about moving back to Maine. Let me clarify that. 'I' move back to Maine. My poor DH will have to stay here during the week, and come home on the weekends. Such a hard decision to be apart, but when you are looking at retiring in 10 years or so, one must think about affording mortgage payments at that point in time.
Anyway, that's what's on the agenda. We will just have to walk it out.
I hope you all have a wonderful summer!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hot Chicken Provolone Sub















This is my version of a favorite sandwich from the restaurant 'Southside Two', in Caribou, Maine from long ago. I used to go there for lunch with my best friend Sandy. I don't know if they are still open, but I see from a quick search on the internet, that there is a 'Frederick's South Side'. Maybe the same owner?

Today, some 16 years later, I recreated it to the best of my memory. I think I may have hit the bulls eye with this one. It was SCRUMPTIOUS!
It was a hot chickeny, tomatoey, cheesy, oniony bundle of goodness!

I'm sorry there is no photo. It looked pretty, I was hungry, and..I ate it. Sorry. You will just have to make do with the rooster photo above. I will try to control myself next time.


Here it is:


HOT CHICKEN PROVOLONE SUB

1 Hoagie Roll, toasted on griddle or under broiler
1 Chicken breast, precooked (did mine in the oven, sprinkled with rotisserie chicken seasoning and a bit of hot sauce for flavor)

1 small tomato, sliced

A few slices of onion

2 Slices Provolone

Miracle Whip or Mayo 

Butter for saute and roll

First, I buttered a split hoagie roll, then toasted it on a griddle. (I do this with bagels, so much better than toasting them in the toaster!) I sliced the chicken breast into 3 layers, so it was thinner (the restaurant used chunks, I think slices are easier to handle) and sauteed them briefly on the griddle in a TB or 2 of butter while the bun was grilling.
This is to heat the chicken, and add a bit of moisture and flavor. The butter really does help! :0)
When the bun was done, I spread the bottom half with Miracle Whip or Mayo, then layer ingredients in this order: chicken, tomato slices, and the provolone.
I broiled this on a aluminum foil pan in my toaster oven til the cheese melted.
(I like to see a tinge of golden color forming on my cheese.)
Meanwhile, I spread a bit of Miracle Whip on the other half (top) of the hoagie roll.
When the cheese was melted, I removed it from the oven, slid it onto a plate, added the sliced onion and the top bun. Slice in two portions. Blissfully enjoy!


It tasted exactly as I remembered it from the restaurant after all these years. And yes, if you are ever up in Caribou, waaayyy at the top of Maine, try Southside. Tell 'em Susan sent you.
(ok, they will have no idea who I am, but you can tell them I mentioned them in my blog if you like.) :0)

Vive la Southside!

(PS: I'm sorry about all the font changes in this post - I have tried and tried to change that, but for some reason, they just won't 'take'. Go figure...)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Musings...





Sunrise Park, a local park we visited recently.

May 19th was my last blog? I didn't realize it was that long ago. I have a couple of posts in draft mode, but they aren't a happy light subject, so it's taking me longer to write and edit them.
In the mean time, just so you don't think I've fallen off the face of the earth (at least, not yet) I better write something on here today.
What's new, you ask? Hmmm... lets see, what's new....
Oh Yes. 15 % salary cut. Yup. Got the news Friday. Real thrilled. There goes the 'leeway'. On the other hand, we are grateful to still have a job. We hope this is just a short season, and that things will pick up again soon. Although in the steel fabrication business, it can take awhile for the actual work to funnel down after winning the bid on a quote. There are papers to sign,blueprints to draft, inventory lists, purchase orders, deliveries... but, you'd rather not hear about all that. Suffice it to say, it's likely gonna be a few months before we can see our old salary back. We hope.
We had breakfast at Friendly's on Saturday morning, and we had an unexpected treat. There were 4 or 5 guys who were apparently part of an A Cappella group, and they quietly sung a neat 'restaurant' song about liking coffee and tea, about a waitress, - just a fun song. After they were finished, the whole restaurant clapped. It was great. The old timers there were smiling during the whole song. I smiled too, and got all teary eyed. (I cry at parades, fireworks, and horseshows too. I know. I'm weird. But, as I tell my hubby, it's in a good way. :0))
My husband comes from a singing family background, and this just reminded me of family, good times, and how far away everyone lives from us. And also, I appreciate that this type of singing is still around, and that it might not always be. Barbershop quartets are not as popular as they once were. Yet it requires such talent to harmonize with several others, all without the benefit of music. It sure was a treat.

Below: Just above the red bobber is a blue dragonfly.
The catbird has taken to singing daily from an ornamental evergreen right outside my livingroom window. He has such a funny repertoire of music and sounds. I really enjoy listening to him.
The neighbor cat caught a chipmunk yesterday. I think it was a younger one, as he was quite small. We have several, and they hang out at the bird feeder daily. I felt badly for the chipmunk. I like the little critters, even though they built a nest in the motor of my van last fall.
We know to check every once in a while now for that.
Speakng of the van, our lovely 1997 plymouth voyager - which, btw, has terrible ratings, lol, - just had a complete brake job done by my honey. He bought the manual several years ago, and whenever he can, does what needs to be done. Saves us a lot of money, especially here in CT, where labor is very high. Seems to be working better, anyway. Brakes went out twice on me in the last year or two - very scary when that happens. God sure protected me both times.
It's a good thing I'm not a fast or 'sketchy' driver. I like to brake early, and give myself lots of room between vehicles. I'm just not in that big of a hurry any more. I used to be, when I was younger. It was all about how fast you could get from A to B.
A lot of people here are in a hurry all the time, and they let you know, by horns or those not so nice hand signals. Don't those people realize that there could be something in the road ahead of me, that they can't see? Or that I might have a reason for not zipping in and out around turning cars? That I don't HAVE to turn right on red if I don't want to?
Sure can upset one's day getting ripped by another driver when you really did nothing wrong at all. Ok. Don't get me started on that.
Happy thoughts...happy thoughts...
I bought basil today. Plus another 4 plants. Bad girl, I know. I was done for the summer. But, when I went for the basil, the lantana, lobelia, and million bells just called out to me. I did manage to ignore the vast majority of flowers in the greenhouse, but it was hard.
I did one more flower box, and it looks good. I want to attract hummingbird moths again this year. They are so neat. If you've never heard of them, look them up. They are like tiny hummingbirds, but really a moth. Their wings really do move that fast.
I have my hummingbird feeder up now, since that one looked in the dining room window at me as if to say - 'where's my dinner?!' I now have 2 pairs at least that visit several times a day. I bought an oriole feeder, my first, but haven't got it up yet. I saw 2 Baltimore Orioles last week just down the road, so perhaps I can entice one to my feeder.
The crow continues to eat the suet out of my suet feeder. I've just about given up on having it down in the lawn. I usually have it hanging off the deck, but wanted for the summer to have all feeders down in the lawn. Less bird doo doo on the deck. Oh well.
This crazy (smart) crow jumps up about 4 feet and grabs a chunk of suet with his beak out of the suet cage . Until it is empty. My poor woodpeckers. I have several pairs of downys, hairys, and red bellieds that come daily to an almost empty feeder. They are not happy. And momma ain't happy either. Guess I'm going to have to bring it back up after all.