Sunday, May 31, 2009

Gender Stereotypes in Pink and Blue

From the looks of this Disney/Walmart ad in today's Parade magazine, you'd never guess it's 2009.

We know, of course, that the girl issuing a royal decree is a "little princess".

And the lad with the model airplane is, most assuredly, "all boy".

Back Yard Views

During a week when we've experienced a blizzard of maple seeds.

The view below, in particular, shows the results of the deluge.

One of our neighbors refuses to spread any mulch until all the silver maples on our street have shed their seeds.

The last plantings of the 2009 spring season

Or so I say today.

Looking forward to the blooms from these 3 creeping hydrangea.

The peonies are ready to pop

A bit delayed this year.

Usually the pink and white petals have littered the ground by now.

Maybe they're holding out (in?) for a purpose -- to be in full bloom for Eddie's graduation party.

Sunday Morning in Middleton

Just the Bisquick recipe, although I do add a beaten egg white to the batter. Blueberries and smashed pecans are added after the batter's on the griddle.

Friday, May 29, 2009

What Time Is It Anyway?

Time to admire Warren Pennsylvania's own Flatiron Building, the former Warren Bank & Trust, now National City Bank.

The point of this sturdy, iconic, 120-year-old building (the 4-story section) is at the angled intersection of Second Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue West.

1955 Pontiac

I had a car fetish when I was a little kid. Nothing kinky, mind you. As a result, I instantly knew the make and year of this car when I spotted it on Madison's east side a few weeks ago.

On the Streets Where He Lives

Can Your Bathroom Sink Do the Hula?

Mama and her Ducklings on Symbol Lake

Thursday, May 28
7:59 p.m.
Stricker Pond
Middleton, Wisconsin

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pansies Belong in Containers

So why did it take us 23 years to figure this out?

When we planted them in the ground, they struggled to survive -- and always became hideously toasted by early July.

According to Wikipedia, the name pansy is derived from the French word pensée, meaning "thought", and was so named because the flower resembles a human face; in August it nods forward as if deep in thought.

The pansies you see in these pictures are monkey-faced, having a dark blotch in the middle of the flower. The other main type is known as clear-faced.

There are more than 250 varieties of pansies.

What I particularly like about pansies is that they are a cold-tolerant plant. We've had them in containers for more than a month now.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Wisconsin Historical Society

This impressive Neo-Classical Revival building was completed in 1900 at a cost of $1,000,000.

I'm particularly fond of the marbled interior.

"I didn't know that." The building used to house the UW library collection until Memorial Library opened in 1952.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Liberty Street, Warren PA

This "15,000 friendly people" retail hub used to be sardine sidewalks every Friday night until the mid-1960s. Now it looks and feels like a ghost town. Shed a tear for a lost world.

But take a close look at that well-preserved, still-ready-for-its-closeup commercial architecture.

"Hail to Thee" Beaty Junior High School

First off, it's now called Beaty Middle School. When I attended during the years 1962-1965, the student body averaged 1300 7th, 8th, and 9th graders. The grade range is now 5th through 8th, and the average student population has slid to 800, I'd guess.

(On the day in 1957 when my family and I first arrived in Warren, having moved there from Great Falls, Montana, I recall a road sign proclaiming "Home to 15,000 Friendly People". According to the 2000 census, Warren's population is 10,257. Current estimates put it at 9,700.)

Thanks to 7th- and 8th-grade chorus, I can still recite the lyrics of the first verse and chorus of Beaty's insipid Alma Mater.

On the banks of the Conewango,

Just above the dam,

Stands the Beaty Junior High School

Stately and so grand.
[And indeed it is.]

True to Beaty we will ever
Loudly sing her praise.
Hail to Beaty Junior High School
Hail to thee always.

After two failed referenda -- 1923 and 1925 -- the Beaty family provided the land on the north and south sides of Third Avenue along the Conewango Creek for the school. Construction started in the spring of 1929 and was completed in time for the 1930-31 school year. (The school is on the south side of Third Avenue; a track, football field, tennis courts, and playground are on the north.)

About those Beatys......

David Beaty, the family patriarch, built the residence pictured below in the early 1870s. What you see is about half of the original structure. In 1939, his son, David Beaty II, demolished the front section, which included a four-story tower. He also replaced the original mansard roof with a pitched one. (To get a sense of how the original house looked, think "The Munsters", before dilapidation set in.)

Walter Beaty, one of the patriarch's grandsons, built the brick-and-stone Georgian mansion (shown below), complete with semi-circular driveway, in 1924.

The next picture presents a timeline, from far to near, of Beaty's growth: the original 1930 structure, a seamless 1937 addition, a sleeker 1953 addition, and a seamless 1965 addition. (At 520 students, the class of 1975 was the largest to go through the Warren public school system.)

A view below of the original section and a classroom portion of the 1953 addition.

In addition to the Alma Mater, I can still reel off my 7th-grade schedule.

1st & 5th periods. Room 210. History & Geography. First-year teacher Mr. Giordano, who kept order with his rumbling-beneath-the-surface demeanor.

2nd & 6th periods. Room 106. English. First-year teacher Miss Popielski, who left after the first semester and soon became Mrs. Shields. (Mr. Shields taught 8th grade English. Mrs. Shields eventually returned to the classroom, though long after I'd left Beaty.) Miss Popielski wore Wilma Flintstone bracelets that jangled loudly when she wrote on the blackboard. Mrs. Perry taught the class during the second semester.

3rd period. Room 219. Chorus on M-W-F. Miss Mathis, who became Mrs. Peterson before the start of 8th grade, without any noticeable effects. Gym on Tu-Th with old-as-the-hills Mr. Hutchins.

4th period. Room 105. Science (1st semester). Mr. Smith. Art (2nd semester). Miss Clepper.

7th period. Room 211. Math. Mrs. Hubbard, who was probably in her 30th year of teaching at the time. If not my favorite, she was, by far, the best teacher I had during my Beaty years.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"A Real Drug Store"

For 92 years. Gaughn's Drug Store.

Landmark Analogy

Warren PA:County Court House::Madison WI:State Capitol

Second Empire Style. Completed in 1877 at a cost of $97,434.

From "Historic Buildings in Warren County, Volume 1".
The first story vestibule was provided with stairways on either side with a wide corridor extending the length of the original building. The second story housed the Court Room, Judge's Chambers and two jury rooms. The Grand Jury Room was on the third floor.

Office and court room floors were of Georgia pine with corridor and hall floors laid with marble tiles; first floor woodwork was of walnut and that of the second story of pine.

Stone cutters earned $2.50 per day. The pressed brick was manufactured in Buffalo.

The statue of "Justice" stands 125 feet above the sidewalk.

The William Brown-Yerg House

One of my favorite houses in Warren, Pennsylvania.

Italianate design. 16 rooms. 14-foot ceilings. Floor-length bay windows. Wide central hall and staircase.

Construction began in the spring of 1868; completed in August 1869.

Beautifully restored in the late 1990s after years of neglect. (Restoration included removal of white paint slathered over original brickwork.)

A popular style of house in the oil-rich era of Warren's history.

I Discovered Batman's Hideout

(Not Swedish) Meatballs

St. Paul's Lutheran Church
Warren, Pennsylvania

The following recipe, contributed by Romaine Stanton, is from the St. Paul Lutheran Cookbook, a 1975 project of the Lutheran Church Women, or LCW, as Mom always referred to it.


1 lb. ground beef
1 c. cracker crumbs
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
1 T. parsley flakes
1 t. garlic salt
1/2 c. milk or water (I always use milk)
2 eggs (whisked)
1 1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper

Roll mixture into balls.
Place on cookie sheet (jelly-roll pan).
Bake 20 to 30 miniutes at 350.
Add to spaghetti sauce. (I bake the combined meatballs and sauce for another 20 minutes or so.)

SECRET INGREDIENT finely as you can crush them.

Madison's Elmside

Here's a piece of Madison history that I discovered while biking -- just meandering around the near-east side. The Simeon and Maria Mills House is located in the hyphen-happy Schenk-Atwood-Starkweather-Yahara neighborhood, a little more othan 2 miles northeast of the Capitol Square.

The closely related Italianate and Italian Villa styles of architecture were extremely popular in the mid-to-late 19th century.

According to Historic Madison Inc., Madison residents referred to this Italianate mansion as "Mills' Folly". At that time, the location was considered an inconceivably long commute into town.

A February 6, 2006, Capital Times article notes that the Elmside area became a "streetcar suburb" in the early 20th century.

Elmside and University Heights are classic examples of "streetcar suburbs", an especially appealing urban development form of the early twentieth century. Streetcar suburbs could provide leafier refuges for those who did not like the more tightly developed urban core, but because most streetcar customers walked to their homes when they stepped down from the trolley, development still needed to be relatively compact. About eight homes per acre was average. Moreover, most of these streetcar "suburbs" were suburban only in the sense that they were somewhat less urban in design then the central city. It is important to note that these new neighborhoods were still within the municipal boundaries of the city, not separate municipal entities altogether.