Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Events ~ Craftopia, Pawtucket

Hope Artiste Village
1005 Main St.
Pawtucket, Rhode Island

Events ~ Record-breaking flooding in Rhode Island

There's an inch or so of water in our basement, which is small potatoes compared to the disaster-level flooding happening in parts of Providence, Warwick, Pawtucket, Westerly and other Rhode Island locales.

Flooded carnival
a carnival set up in a Olneyville parking lot was overtaken by the flooding Woonasquatucket

Stranded car
A car caught in flood waters in Manton

Our thoughts and prayers go out to our fellow Rhode Islanders as they cope with the flooding. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rhody Musicians ~ Scott Quillin

Scott Quillin
North Kingstown, Rhode Island

I had the pleasure of meeting Scott and his wife at the Newport Tweet-Up last month. Scott is a singer/songwriter/composer/musician, and has branched into video production as well. He writes and records a song each day for his Web site/blog.

Scott performing at Tazza Cafe in Providence

The story: I've been groovin' on Sligo Creek by Al Petteway since I first saw The National Parks on PBS. I knew I wanted to do a write-up on Scott, so I asked if he had written anything similar to Sligo Creek that I could feature. That was yesterday morning. Last night Scott had completed "Buttonwood Creek." Now that's a sharp combination of creativity, versatility and dedication! I was really impressed that he was able to turn it around so quickly.

Be sure to check out Scott's site and his music. If "Buttonwood Creek" isn't your style, you're sure to find something that is.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Dining ~ Little Rhody Cafe

Little Rhody Cafe
5 Day St.
Providence, Rhode Island

You wouldn't know it was there if you didn't make a quick right onto Day Street to avoid the Killingly Street/Manton Ave. intersection traffic. Little Rhody Cafe is a small almost-shed of a place, right next to Little Rhody Hot Dogs. This is their retail cafe, and they serve breakfast and lunch.

Think you don't know Little Rhody Hot Dogs? You do. They're served in N.Y. System wieners, and all over the area. You can even buy them in bulk right from the manufacturer.

Little Rhody cafe exterior

We stopped in for Sunday morning brunch a couple of weeks ago. It's a no-frills place, and the staff have a comfortable, casual relationship with the regulars - and there are plenty of regulars. Everyone was friendly, and the owner was there to make the rounds. He told me his family has been making Little Rhody hotdogs, wieners and sausages for more than four generations. The cafe has been around since about 2001.

We had breakfast. Eldest and I had sausage, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich, and Bear had her beloved Monte Cristo. Everything was served quickly, satisfying and tasty. We definitely plan to stop back. And I'll be picking up some German Snappers for barbecue season.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Rhody Artists ~ Jean Cozzens, Providence

Secret Door Projects
PO Box 244
Providence, Rhode Island

Jean Cozzens creates great prints and posters at reasonable prices. Most of the available prints focus on Providence, including Mills, neighborhoods and landmarks. The prints are colorful and fun, and very affordable. A great variety as well.

Visit the online store at Secret Door Projects.

Shop Local ~ Aggieray's Etsy Shop

Rhode Island

Aggieray makes purses and "purselets," primarily with the same structure - flat top and pleated bottom - but in a wide variety of sizes and fabrics. I think this one is adorable!

A purselet is "smaller than a purse, but bigger than a wristlet." I'm not familiar with wristlets, and I do like me a good-sized purse, but the dimensions on the medium size (above) seem generous.

Aggieray also makes pillows and keyfobs, but it's no surprise to regular readers, the purses got my attention.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Events ~ Art for Chile, Providence

232 Westminster St.
Providence, Rhode Island

Saturday afternoon was quiet at Art for Chile, the silent art auction to benefit rebuilding Chile after the series of earthquakes and tsunami.

Art for Chile Art for Chile Art for Chile

There were a few lookers when we checked in, and some of the donated works had already sold. Even more had a few bids already, with a full day to go before bidding closed.

I haven't yet heard an announcement about how much was raised, but if the bidding is anything to go by, it was a successful venture.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sights ~ Rhode Island Historical Cemetery #65, Foster

Rhode Island Historical Cemetery #65
aka Sand Hill Cemetery
South Killingly Rd.
Foster, Rhode Island

Rhode Island Historical Cemetery #65

Rhode Island Historical Cemetery #65

Not much to say about this small cemetery, except that it holds far too many babies and young people. Thank God for modern medicine.

Sights ~ Foster Town Pound, Foster

Foster Town Pound
Pole 15, South Killingly Rd.
Foster, Rhode Island

Bear was fascinated by this old (1845) stone fence enclosure.

Foster Town Pound

According to the librarians, it was used to house wandering cows, and possibly sheep, until their owners could come to claim them.

Bear @ Foster Town Pound

The Pound is about 48' by 48.5', with a wooden gate and single, unhewn granite lintel. The enclosure isn't very tall, which led Bear to conclude that cows aren't particularly good jumpers.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sights ~ Foster Public Library, Foster

Foster Public Library
184 Howard Hill Rd.
Foster, Rhode Island

Near the Town Hall and Town House, atop a gently sloping hill, is a little red schoolhouse. It's adorable. Too small for realistic modern use, you'd think it was a museum. No, it's the Foster Public Library.

Foster LIbrary

The library was converted from a one-room schoolhouse (Foster Center School), and an addition was added in 1970. The librarians pointed out the two doors on the former front of the building: one for girls and one for boys. The chalkboards are still on the walls, and you can even ring the bell, rightly housed in the children's area.

Foster Library

Although the architecture is very 1800s, the library itself is right in step with the times. There are computer classes, an active children's program and a blog. It was a fun find, and really spurred the Bear's enthusiasm.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Events ~ Impromptu Blog Meet-Up, Providence

Impromptu Blog Meet-Up
Bank of America City Center
Providence, Rhode Island

Kennedy Plaza skating rink

Greater City: Providence is organizing a Blog Meet-Up at the Bank of America City Center (the Kennedy Plaza skating rink) on Friday, March 19 at 5:00 pm. 

This is the last week of skating for the season at Kennedy Plaza, so I'm sure the Bear will be out and skating around, while I chat up our fellow bloggers. Everyone will be milling around the Beer and Wine tent, to start.

Stop by and say hello!

Sights ~ Foster Town Hall, Foster

Foster Town Hall
181 Howard Hill Rd.
Foster, Rhode Island

Foster Town Hall

Right beside the Foster Town House is Foster Town Hall, the seat of town government. It was closed when we were there, but it looks like a huge building.

Foster Town Hall entrance

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sights ~ Foster Town House, Foster

Foster Town House
180 Howard Hill Rd.
Foster, Rhode Island

Foster Town House

On the first sunny day in Spring, Bear and I took off on a road trip to Foster, taking advantage of the extra hour of daylight. Our first stop was Foster Town House.

Built in 1796 and still in use for town meetings, Foster Town House is the oldest town building in continuous use in the United States, according to Visit Rhode Island.

At first, I thought this building was Town Hall, however Foster Town Hall is next door. The Town Building is used for meetings, etc., but doesn't house the town government.

The building was locked by the time we got there, but I was able to snap a shot of the inside through the window.

Foster Town House - interior

For some reason, I found being able to look into one window and see all the way through the building and out the other side to be fascinating.

Foster Town House - window detail

The bunting adds a nice touch, and the candles in the windows are charming.

Shop Local ~ Alamodestuff Etsy Shop

Alamode Designs
Providence, Rhode Island

image: Alamode Stuff

Purses are a personal weakness of mine. I love them, and would have a different one for every day of the year if I had the money and the space. I especially like messenger bags. They can be worn cross-body, which leaves your hands free, and you don't have to worry about it sliding off your shoulder and dragging on the ground when your hands are full.

This messenger bag looks like it would stand the test of time. Made of seatbelt material, in a cool weave, it's big enough to hold whatever you need without being bulky or slouchy.

Alamodestuff also makes other types of purses as well as jewelry and other accessories...but this particular one is on my save-for list.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sights ~ Pawtucket City Hall, Pawtucket

Pawtucket City Hall
137 Roosevelt Ave.
Pawtucket, Rhode Island

Pawtucket City Hall

Pawtucket City Hall was built in 1933 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

Bear and I were there for the St. Patrick's Day parade on March 6, 2010. The building looks huge. I wonder if there's a lot of empty offices inside.

Events ~ Silent Art Auction at Whole Foods, University Heights, Providence

Silent Art Auction
Whole Foods Market
University Heights
Providence, Rhode Island

image: Whole Foods University Heights

Hope to see you there!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Events ~ Art for Chile, Providence

Art for Chile
March 18-21
232 Westminster St.
Providence, Rhode Island

A vacant storefront in Downcity Providence will turn into an art gallery and silent auction, with proceeds benefiting Chile's earthquake recovery. The benefit runs from March 18-21. It's a great opportunity to enjoy some beautiful art for a good cause.

Visit Art for Chile's Facebook page and Web site.

via Rhode Island Monthly

Events ~ The Museum of Westminster Street, Providence

The Museum of Westminster Street
Providence, Rhode Island

On Saturday, March 6, Bear and I stopped in Downcity Providence to see the Museum of Westminster Street. The Museum Online had created a museum out of a two-block segment of Westminster Street between Dorrance and Union Streets. Buildings, fixtures, even the sidewalk itself had placards describing their history, and what had been there before them. There were old photographs to give a sense of how the street had changed over the years. It was an interactive experience, and visitors were welcome to wear a sticker that said "Current Exhibit" and a placard stating something about their relationship to Westminster Street. Bear and I did, and we still have those placards at home. We still had them on while skating at Kennedy Plaza, which allowed us to let other people know about the event. I hope they went to see it!

The installation was very fun and informative. We learned a lot about the street and the people on it. Even though Bear and I have walked and shopped Westminster Street many times before, we still discovered architectural details we hadn't known were there.

This is my favorite:
O'Gorman Building
The O'Gorman Building

Just above the O'Gorman sign, you may see a bird. Here's a closeup:
O'Gorman Building detail

Behind the bird is a blue line that you follow up, up, up four stories, you see its crowning glory
O'Gorman Building Detail
A peacock tail!

We also wandered into a few of the businesses on Westminster Street, including Farmstead Cheese, where we tasted an amazing sheepsmilk cheese called Ewephoria (more on that another time).

This was such a great experiment. It really got people interested in the history and beauty of an important Downcity street, and w hope it's something they repeat in other parts of the city, and even turn into an annual event.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Food ~ Purple Pear of Providence

Purple Pear of Providence
Providence, Rhode Island

image: Purple Pear of Providence

At the Wintertime Farmer's Market I stopped by the Purple Pear of Providence table. The owner, Margaret, is a very nice lady, enthusiastic about the integrity of her product.

She sells candied pecans in three delicious flavors - buttery, cinnamon and ginger. The buttery is nice and smooth, and the ginger has a zing that would be awesome with peaches, but my favorite is the cinnamon. Just the right blend of spice and sweet that compliments the pecans perfectly.

Her Web site has some great serving suggestions, as well as a list of retailers that carry her product. It's well worth the splurge.

Retread ~ Events ~ Sarah Vowell at Brown University

originally posted October 29, 2009
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island

photo: Providence Phoenix

The Bear and I went to see Sarah Vowell speak at Brown University. This was the last leg of her tour for The Wordy Shipmates, a book on the religious persnickitiness that led to the founding of Massachusetts Bay Colony and Providence Plantations.

Like her writing, she was knowledgeable, funny, witty and really enjoyable. Although the Bear did not want to attend the talk, she ended up having a good time and asking to have our copy of The Wordy Shipmates signed to her. Vowell was friendly and gracious at the signing, even allowing another fan to take her picture (they had requested that photos be taken during the talk, not during the book signing, which holds up the line).

We've enjoyed all four of her books so far, and I'm looking forward to her next book about the history of Hawai'i.

Retread ~ Book review: The Wordy Shipmates, Sarah Vowell

The Wordy Shipmates

In The Wordy Shipmates, Sarah Vowell takes another stab at American History, this time focusing on colonial New England. She follows the turbulent journey of the "saints" from England to Massachusetts, and takes us along with them as they bicker their way into forming Rhode Island and Connecticut.

For those living in Rhode Island, Roger Williams is hard to miss, but Vowell goes into a bit more detail than the National Parks Service. It's a roller coaster ride, but it's nice to learn more about Williams than just that he founded the first colony dedicated to religious freedom.

We walk in snowy exile with Anne Hutchinson to Portsmouth, and witness the Pequot War with the wry humor of 350 years' worth of hindsight.

Most of the history is well-researched and fleshed out in vivid detail. However, the end of the book seems slapped on, as if she were in a hurry to finish.

I found this book less funny than her other books, Take the Cannoli, The Partly Cloudy Patriot, and my favorite, Assassination Vacation. Still, it's a good time and a quick read.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Events ~ St. Patrick's Day Parade, Pawtucket

We came across Pawtucket's St. Patrick's Day parade completely by accident. I was dragging an unenthusiastic Bear to the Pawtucket Library to hear a Rhody author speak about his book on the history of our fair state...but as we exited the car, Bear was sure she heard band music.

Upon further exploration, we discovered the parade and watched from the sidewalk near City Hall.

Pawtucket St. Patrick's Day parade

I don't know who this group is...sadly, several of the groups we saw didn't carry a banner. But this young lady led her troupe like a queen on progress.

Unicyclers at Pawtucket St. Patrick's Day parade

A group of unicyclists from the parade. I think Bear got most excited about this group, which I find amusing. Bear likes unicycles.


There were the obligatory bagpipers (at least two companies, maybe more) as well as clowns and pistol-firing pirates.

DSCF1082    DSCF1080
Shriner's Clown    Pirate ~ Pawtucket St. Patrick's Day parade
and lots more.

It was a fun surprise, and a nice reminder of how much I like parades.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Rhody artists ~ SeaFind Designs Etsy Shop

SeaFind Designs
Providence, RI

"Twilight" recycled marble pendant

I stumbled onto SeaFind Designs while doing an Etsy search for Rhode Island craftspeople. They have a great selection of sea glass and beach stone jewelry ranging from classic elegance to off-beat. I like the organic look of the sea glass especially, and just love the cage and "in a bottle" styles particularly.

This piece reminds me of the moon on a cloudy night.

Sights ~ Skating in Kennedy Plaza, Providence

Bank of America City Center
Kennedy Plaza

Kennedy Plaza skating rink

The Bank of America Ice Rink is located in Kennedy Plaza, smack between Providence City Hall and the Federal Courthouse. I had taken Bear and her cousin there to skate on New Years Eve, and they had a great time, so this past weekend we went back.

The weather was gorgeous. You wouldn't expect to be able to skate outdoors when it's 60+ degrees outside, but skate she did. You can see where the direct sunlight was making the ice a bit mushy, and they had to block it off for awhile.

Skaters of all ages and abilities are on the ice, so there's no need to feel self-conscious or uneasy getting out there. Skate rental is available too, if you don't want to bring your own. The cost is reasonable, and you can buy season passes to bring the per-visit cost down even further. I think that will be our option for next year.

The last day for skating this season is March 21. You can bet we'll be back one more time before then!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Events ~ Urban Greens Launch Party

Urban Greens is trying to launch Providence's first food co-op. Join them at the launch party at Loie Fuller's March 16.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Shop Local ~ A visit to Elegant Reflections salon, Cranston

Elegant Reflections
2224 Plainfield Pike
Cranston, Rhode Island

Hairdressers either love me or hate me. I let my hair grow until it irritates me by either getting in my way or becoming unruly, or I just get tired of it. Then I show up at the salon.

Here's how the conversation usually goes:

Stylist: "How would you like your hair cut?"

Me: "Well, the curl is natural, which makes it unruly. I'm tired of the length. I'd like a cut that flatters the shape of my face, but I'm a wash-and-go person. I don't want to put any effort into maintaining it. Also, after a new haircut, I tend to go back to get the cut trimmed for maybe 2-6 months, then I get tired of all that and let it grow out for a couple of years. So I need something will grow out well."

Stylist: " would you like your hair cut?"

Me: "You're the expert. Surprise me."

Timid stylists tend to trim, or maybe take off a couple of inches. One stylist gave me a fun, short, edgy style that got lots of compliments. Often the stylist will ask "do you trust me?" Honey, I wouldn't be sitting with my back to you while you've got a sharp pair of scissors at my neck if I didn't trust you.

Andrea at Elegant Reflections was one of the stylists who started out timid, but when she understood that I really wanted her to be creative, she had fun with it. She started out saying "I don't want to take off too much." I told her "I'm looking for a change. I'm not worried about losing length. It grows back."

She really came through. My hair looks and feels great. It's a real boost. I feel like I look younger. Bear asked if I was losing weight! I'm very happy with the cut, and will happily recommend Andrea to anyone who wants a stylist who has a good eye not only for hair but for how it impacts your overall look, and fits in with your lifestyle.

A big thanks to Laura, the aesthetician who did my eyebrows, too. She did a great job, is knowledgeable about skin and a pleasure to talk with. Since I used to work with dermatologists, it's easy to tell when someone's selling a line rather than knowledgeable.

Events ~ Southern Rhode Island Home Show

Southern Rhode Island Home Show
Ryan Center
Kingston, Rhode Island

This weekend Bear and I went to the Home Show at the Ryan Center. We were impressed by the number and variety of vendors. From gutter guards and shingles to finished basements and hot tubs, from indoor plumbing to outdoor gazebos, there was something for any conceivable home building or repair need.

Southern RI Home Show

We rent, so there wasn't a lot there that was relevant to us, although we did find some very nice lighting and a new RI business to check out.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The egg test

Bear and I went to the South Kingstown Winter Farmer's Market. While we were there we saw our very first goose eggs. We were very impressed by the size and weight of the eggs, and the vendor told us they are equivalent to 2-3 chicken eggs. Naturally, we had to try this exotic thing.

Goose egg vs. chicken egg
We decided to cook two goose eggs and two chicken eggs.

The yolks in the goose eggs were bigger than a whole chicken egg! We decided to do a taste comparison, and made a basic egg-and-milk-only scramble out of the goose egg and another of the chicken eggs.

Scrambled goose and chicken eggs
Goose on the left, chicken on the right

The goose eggs cooked up a brighter yellow than the chicken eggs, and it really did size up about 3-1. The goose eggs tasted a bit stronger, a little more thick than chicken eggs, but really so similar that if we weren't doing a side-by-side test, we probably wouldn't have known the difference.

We had a ridiculous amount of fun doing this. We're so easily entertained.