Tag Archives: Connecticut

Philip R. Smith Elementary School: Thank you for “Avery” thing

Thank you to all the teachers, staff, cafeteria workers, volunteers, parents and everybody who made Philip R. Smith an amazing place to go to elementary school.

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Halloween 1988

arthur mullen helen blasko happy pinky katharine mullen south windsor connecticut ct halloween 1988 philip r smith elementary school kindergarten mrs foster 3rdarm

It’s time for a throwback to Halloween 1988: I was the Devil. Here I am getting ready with Happy.

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Kindergarten Halloween party, Mrs. Foster’s classroom. Whoever is wearing the California raisin costume wins…

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My sister Kate’s make-up was done by Ippy. Maybe too much candy?

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Definitely too much candy!

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The Traprock Mountains

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Chef Wil: Hey, is everything ok?

Me: Not at all.

Chef Wil: Do you want to talk about it?

Me: Etta breaking up with me. Taking it really hard .

Chef Wil: Oh no! Sorry to hear! Has she told you why?

Me: Drifted apart no longer feels the spark. Wants to date other people. I’m sure she has met somebody. I’m coming down from the full blown panic attack part of it now. 😦

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Chef Wil: Well I don’t know much about your relationship with her…. And I know all you can do is tell her how much you care about her. Unfortunately we can’t make anybody do or feel anything they don’t want to do… And if you respect her, you will have to respect her decision even if you don’t like it. It will hurt… But it won’t last forever.

Me: Thank you chef. Definitely good thought.

Chef Wil: There is a quote that stuck with me that I read on a college bar bathroom. “No matter how great she is, somebody somewhere is tired of her shit” and that helped me get over a girl in college and also Jennifer.

Me: Haha I like it.

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Chef Wil: If you want to just talk about it and let it all out, don’t be shy. Road dogs for life!

Me: Man there is something about loss that really gets to me. Loss of routine, loss of comfort, loss of control. It goes all the way to my moms issues and her passing away. Thanks for giving me a little buoyancy. I was not in a good place.

Chef Wil: Loss is always hard. We feel good having things… But just because you lose something special and important doesn’t mean you don’t have anything.

Me: That’s true.

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Chef Wil: And try not to assume the worst of people. It could be that she is scared… And needs some space… Or doesn’t know where she fits in… So maybe letting her know what you feel about her and saying something like “I’m sorry I may have taken you for granted” will help her settle… And even if it doesn’t work it will get it out of your chest a little. Just try not to hold it in… It will just destroy you… Like a plane flying at the speed of sound… You will just fall apart…

Me: I musta got a lot of it out. Used brawny paper towels instead of kleenex. Like a man.

Chef Wil: Hahaha! Just let it all out! It’s tough… And I can’t imagine how tough it is after such a long relationship… The worst thing you can do is get defensive and shut her out.

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Me: I think I got a paper towel rash.

Chef Wil: That will heal in time too.

Me: Bad news is… girlfriend of 6+ years broke up with me for playing too much Quake2. Good news is… have new girlfriend named Quake2.

Chef Wil: Hahaha. Quake 2 will never break your heart! Maybe your mouse though… 😀

Me: Thank you for cheering me up chef. And a special thanks to my homie “The Weed”.

Chef Wil: Hahaha! Making everything less important since middle school!

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Metacomet Ridge

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North Guilford is a community within the town of Guilford, CT. This is the quieter part of Guilford, miles inland from the beaches and seemingly far removed from the tourists jamming I-95 and Route 1. This part of town Aunt Judy claims more closely resembles Vermont, as it shows the range of nature’s beauty along the Connecticut Shore.

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As you drive north on Long Hill Road, across Route 80, you enter rolling hills. This would be the part of the Metacomet Ridge, a line of traprock that runs 100 miles from Guilford / Branford all the way to the Vermont / New Hampshire border. The highest point in town, Bluff Head, is a feature of this ridge. Accessible off Route 77 in North Guilford: it’s a tough hike with beautiful views.

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The heart of North Guilford is where Long Hill Rd joins Ledge Hill Rd. A school, church, cemetery, and farm all abut one another to form the center of the community. It’s a beautiful spot to stop the car, stretch the legs, and take stock of the quaint northern section of town.

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Clam Rolls

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Here is a quick description of the 3 Lenny & Joe’s locations:

New Haven: table service, awesome seafood, beer and wine, right on the water

Westbrook: table service, awesome seafood, beer and wine, cozy sit-down restaurant

Madison: counter service, awesome seafood, no alcohol but they have soft serve ice cream & there’s a massive outdoor seating area with carousel, located right across Route 1 from state park beach

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The Madison location is the Lenny & Joe’s I have eaten at the most, and it’s my favorite, for the casual nature and the beautiful outdoor seating area, where even Roxie the dog is welcome. There is a full size carousel with all proceeds going to charity, and a separate walk-up counter for soft serve ice cream.

In the summer, Aunty’s favorite is the CT-style lobster rolls (hot buttered lobster on a toasted hotdog bun) and in the colder months, she prefers the fried clam roll with tartar on the side. Either way, there will be indigestion.

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Apple Cider

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Bishop’s Orchard is one of the most badass local, seasonal grocery stores in the country, not just in Connecticut. Their orchard encompasses rolling hills alongside I-95 in Guilford, and on the lower, flatter fields adjacent the Bishops family grows other fruits and berries. These are sold in their natural form, and also transformed into award-winning apple cider donuts, apple coffee cake, cinnamon bread, and more by Bishop’s magical bakers.

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When I was feeling a little under the weather, due to seasonal changes, Bishop’s heirloom apple cider brought my health back up to 100%. When I am just feeling down, their small stable of alpacas and llamas never fails to brighten my day. Bishop’s is also a producer of wine and hard cider, and a must-stop visit on the Connecticut wine trail. Just try to plan your visit during off hours, as the secret is clearly out!

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Baby Feet

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3rdarm: Fearing first pedicure in life.

maxfromchicago: Pedicurist feels more fear, she texted me

3rdarm: when the pedicurist started massaging my right foot, my mind went totally blank and I forgot what I was saying mid sentence! #awkward

maxfromchicago: Hahaha first and only time I had pedi I dropped my phone in the foot bath #footjuicephone

strongholdclimb: Do you have baby feet?

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Aunt Judy took me to Skinsations for my first pedicure in life. I was scared for myself, to try something new and outside of my comfort zone, and for the pedicurist, dealing with the feet of a calloused restaurant manager. Tracy did a great job finding the perfect balance between friendly and professional, and put me right at ease. I relaxed and let my feet’s physical memory of all the hard work dissipate. I left feeling like a new man, walking on baby feet!

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Cheese Blintzes

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Chicago’s weather is on an autumn rollercoaster, with lows in the twenties and highs in the seventies. I escaped the Midwest altogether for a 4-day trip to visit Aunty Judy, just as the sickness overtook me.

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At Rein’s Delicatessen I ate 3 eggs over easy, roasted potatoes, buttered rye toast, a Hebrew National hotdog with sauerkraut, cheese blintzes with sour cream, and of course, sweet and sour pickles. I started to feel a little better!

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Bluefish Hobo Pack

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I’m a big fan of yelp and an even bigger fan of The Place, my favorite restaurant in Connecticut, maybe the world. It bugs me that The Place’s review average has dropped to 3.5 stars, seemingly on the back of a single one star rating from a night when they were short-staffed. I know that’s the nature of the restaurant business: you’re only as good as your last service.

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The Place deserves more respect, putting out delicious and unduplicable offerings from a huge backyard firepit since the early seventies! I returned this summer with my aunt for dinner. The clams were briny and spicy, hot off that blazing fire pit. I burned my tongue on a hot clam because I seriously JUST COULD NOT WAIT. The bluefish was one of the best pieces of fish I have ever had: it was unbelievably fresh and cooked to perfection in its hobo pack.

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The owner (man with beard) was everywhere, making sure all details from the kitchen and in the stump-filled dining room were on point. That’s the recipe for success! It was the best dinner of my summer so far. This the one Place I tell my restaurant industry colleagues in Chicago HAVE to visit when they find themselves on the Connecticut shore.

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The cooks were super nice (over the top enthusiastic, actually!) to answer a couple questions at the end of dinner about their old school firing board. Basically they’re marking long domino-like tiles with pencil to group tables’ orders into pick-ups. Refreshingly old school, unique and with a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” mentality, just like The Place!

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Hot Dogs and Mac

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As a lover of hot dogs and macaroni and cheese, Jordan’s Hot Dogs and Mac caught my attention. It looked good on paper, but how does that combination actually taste? Amazing.

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I met my friend Ray who works down the street for lunch. If I worked down the street, I could see myself having lunch here at least twice a month. What can I say: I love hotdogs and mac!

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