Monday, December 31, 2012


I am not motivated by any New Years eve or year-end theme, so I am going to keep on going with normal posts.

Penny teaches in a graduate education program at a local university.  Her fields are leadership in education and training teachers to work with diverse populations.  For several years, she has gone to Iceland to teach for a month or two at a time.  Iceland?

Happy New Year, everyone!

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Janet was a lawyer specializing in family law, mainly estate planning and adoptions.  After she retired a few years ago, she wanted adventure.  So, she took an apartment in Paris and spent several months brushing up on her French.  Then, she went to China for a couple of years and taught English.  Now, Janet is halfway through a Peace Corps assignment in Ukraine, teaching English again.  But, she was able to come back to Hartford to be with her children and friends for the holidays!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sisters of Saint Joseph

The convent of the Sisters of Saint Joseph is on a 177 acre property on Park Road in West Hartford, on the Hartford city line.  The Sisters have owned the property since 1898.  There is a large brick convent building and a chapel, but most of the acreage is undeveloped.

This fall the Sisters issued a request for proposals to buy and develop the property.  The town has very little undeveloped land, so this poses an opportunity as well as a risk.  I am one who thinks the property can be developed into something terrific.  We will see.

Back in Florida.  It was circuitous but I am not one to complain.  Have a great weekend, everyone.

Friday, December 28, 2012

More Snow

It snowed again overnight.  West Hartford's Town Hall had a classical look with a few inches on the ground.

I was supposed to fly back to Florida  last night, but the storm has wreaked havoc along the East Coast.  I will get back when I get back, but it is likely to be an ugly process.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Reality Check

When I show photographs of fine houses like the ones I showed yesterday, I sometimes get questions about whether everyone in greater Hartford lives like that.  No, they don't.  You usually see appealing houses here because they are the ones that attract my eye, or I am a snob, or both.

But, these houses on Arnoldale Road give me a good opportunity to show you the kind of modest houses that many middle class people in this area live in, right next door to a couple of finer houses.

Above you see them on Christmas morning and on the left you see them about 24 hours earlier.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Hartford Had a White Christmas!

OK, it was only about half an inch of snow, and it melted away by dinnertime.  But, my motto is that, so long as it is going to be cold in Connecticut, there might as well be some snow.

This is a medley of fine houses on the Hartford side of Prospect Avenue, taken early on Christmas day, before the snow had footprints. Hartford is on the east side of Prospect Avenue and West Hartford is on the west side.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Congregation anticipating last night's Christmas Eve service, Asylum Hill Congregational Church, Hartford.

The lead-glazed terracotta nativity scene on the left was crafted by Benedetto and Santi Buglioni in Florence, Italy, around 1520.  It is from the William Randolph Hearst Collection.  Currently it is in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where I photographed it with my iPhone in the summer of 2011.

Merry Christmas to all.

Monday, December 24, 2012


John is 26 today.  A photo booth was set up at the reception following Susie's wedding in September.  John was a frequent visitor.  Some say alcohol was involved.

Have a very happy birthday, John!

Sunday, December 23, 2012


The Christine E. Moser Library at the New Britain Museum of American Art is decorated for Christmas.  The NBMAA's original exhibition space was in a stately stone mansion given to the museum in 1934.  The library is in that building, which today is used mostly for research, administration and children's programs.  Most of the exhibition and gallery space is in the 2003 Chase Family Building.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Time to get the Italian Christmas cookies at Mozzicato, a bakery in Hartford's South End.  The lovely and friendly Pesta shows them off.  Pesta is from Albania.

John was in line behind me.  He gets cookies every year for his contractors.  He has been coming to Mozzicato in the holiday season since he was a child.

Friday, December 21, 2012


This was the early morning view on Monday across a water hazard and the 16th fairway.

Like reflections?  You can visit James' blog, Weekend Reflections, to see more photographs with reflections.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Lichterbogen Weihnachten

The windows in Florida aren't really designed for holiday displays, so I have my
two lichterbogen (German lighted arches) sitting on a counter that divides the entry way
 from the dining room.  One of the lichterbogen has an indoor scene.

And, of course, the other has an outdoor scene.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Out of the Jurisdiction: Christmas Parade

We will return to the Wadsworth Atheneum's exhibition of French art and sculpture later.

Last night Naples, Florida, had a nice, old-fashioned evening Christmas parade along Fifth Avenue, the main shopping and restaurant street.  Marching bands (wearing Santa hats).  Politicians (wearing Santa hats).  Decorated and lighted cars and trucks and fire engines (with drivers and passengers wearing Santa hats).

I am flying back to Hartford tomorrow for Christmas.  Scenes from Connecticut will resume in a few days.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Disturbing? It is All in Your Point of View.

In today's world, portraying a naked adult man in a close relationship to a naked infant would generate an outrage.  But, this 1774 terra-cotta  sculpture -- Faun Holding an Infant Faun -- was mainstream in the 18th century, I guess.  It is by Jacques-François-Joseph Saly.

Let's be clear.  I have NO problem with this lovely lady, but the full frontal nude would be a bit much in a modern American mainstream work.  Fortunately, there were no such reservations in the France of 1799.  This classical ewer is by Sigisbert- François Michel, who worked out of a Paris workshop.

Both are from the Wadsworth Atheneum's current exhibition of French works from the museum's collection.

I wonder if Google has censors . . .

Monday, December 17, 2012

Two Duchesses

The lead exhibition at the Wadsworth Atheneum currently shows French works from the museum's collections.  It will continue until January 27.

This painting is The Astronomy Lesson of the Duchesse du Maine, by François de Troy.  It was done in the period 1705 - 1710.  The Duc and Duchesse were favorites of King Louis XIV (the Duc was illegitimate and Louis was his father).  The Duchesse was interested in science, and is portrayed being lectured in astronomy.  The armillary sphere in the gallery is similar to the one shown in the painting.

A detail.

The painting on the right is The Duchesse du Polignac Wearing a Straw Hat, a 1782 painting by Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun.  Vigée Le Brun was one of the foremost portrait painters of 18th century France.  Marie Antoinette was her most important supporter.  The Duchesse was considered one of the great beauties of the age.  She had humble origins but married a count, who was elevated to a dukedom.  The duchess became the governess of the royal children, a high honor and a lot of work!  Vigée Le Brun and the duchess both fled France when the monarchy fell.  The Atheneum's painting is a duplicate; the original is in Versailles.  (Hi, Cieldequimper.)

A detail.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Time to take deep breaths and try to return to normal.

A patterned fabric makes a Christmas bow elegant, doesn't it?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

"I Hate Hartford"

Viewers who see my photographs of stately Hartford buildings often comment about how pretty Hartford seems to be.  But remember, on this blog you see Hartford through the eyes of an older white, privileged guy living a comfortable life in the suburbs.

There is, of course, another Hartford, the Hartford of poor, nonwhite, young people, who live in fear in dangerous urban neighborhoods.

On the lawn of the Church of the Good Shepherd, there is a pile of engraved brownstone slabs, a memorial to some of the young people who didn't make it out of that poor neighborhood.

"I hate Hartford.  
I just want to get out of this town . . . 
I want to get out of this place."  
Melvin Anthony 'Koo Koo Nutee' Kardulis, 
died in the 17th year of his age.

I googled Melvin Kardulis and learned that he was a talented student artist.  In late 1991 Melvin's uncle and he had angry words with some teenagers in a convenience store.  A 16-year old had a gun.  Kardulis was the 25th person murdered in Hartford that year.

Does anyone believe that the framers of the Constitution 
really intended that every idiot in this country could have 
any lethal weapon he wants?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Madness in Newtown, Connecticut

At least 27 people, including 18 young children, were killed this morning by a crazy person in Newtown, Connecticut, 50 miles west of Hartford.  It doesn't seem like a day to be showing light photographs of Christmas decorations, so I am replacing the original post with this one.

This is a pair of 1998 works by Hartford painter Dorothy Powers, commenting on her abhorrence of guns. These are displayed at the New Britain Museum of American Art.

The Christmas Shop

Jotham IV's Christmas Shop has room after room of knickknacks, bric-a-brac, tchotchkes, doohickeys, toys, novelties . . . and seasonal gifts and decorations.  But, it is hard to argue with one of them.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Jotham IV

Jotham IV used to work for a big company.  Forty-eight years ago he came back from a long trip and told his wife that he wasn't taking any more business trips.  They opened a gift and novelties shop in their barn in Woodstock, Connecticut and have operated it ever since. 

Their son Jotham V lives across the street in a homestead granted to an ancestor by the king.  Their grandson Jotham VI is a marine.  Jotham IV's wife Kristin calls them Four, Five and Six.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Too Much of a Good Thing is [Not Always] Wonderful

Back to Connecticut.  This was taken in New Britain over Thanksgiving.  These guys love Christmas.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Pulchritude of Weimaraners

A pride of lions, a parliament of owls, a gaggle of geese.  Until I learn differently, I am going with pulchritude for two or more weimaraners. Especially, if they are Lola and Sequoia.

Daughter Susie lives on a farm outside Johannesburg with a husband, sheep, guinea fowl and a pulchritude of weimaraners.  It is summer there now.  A feature of  South African summers is rapidly emerging cloudbursts and thunder boomers.  Susie sent on a few photos of Lola (blue collar) and Sequoia (red collar) as the clouds rolled in, for me to share with you.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Guest Photograph: Festival of Trees

The Festival of Trees is an annual exhibition at the Wadsworth Atheneum.  I wasn't in town this year, but my fellow Connecticut blogger Sue took some photos and offered this image to share with the viewers of this blog.  There will be more on Sue's gardening blog, Idyll Haven.  Thanks, Sue.

It is confession time.  Since I retired in 2010, I have been spending half the year in Florida, mainly in the winter.  I have kept this blog filled with photos from Hartford because I take and store away plenty of indoors shots and non-seasonal outdoors shots in the months when I am back in Hartford.

But, there are some some winter events in Connecticut that I just can't cover without being there.  I have thought about having a summer blog for Hartford and a different winter blog for Florida, but that is just too much work and would probably be confusing to viewers.  So, this winter I will showcase occasional guest photographs from Connecticut and my own and guest photographs from places other than Connecticut -- like Florida for me and South Africa for my daughter Susie.

But, the anchor of this blog is greater Hartford, and the vast majority [90 percent?] of the photos you will see this winter will be my photographs of Connecticut, either taken on occasional returns to Hartford or taken back when the weather was a little kinder.  OK?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Lord and Burnham Greenhouses

The greenhouses at Elizabeth Park are about 100 years old.  In this season, they hold poinsettias that will be distributed around city buildings.

The greenhouses were made by Lord and Burnham, a glass house designer and manufacturer that was formed in 1849.  Elizabeth Park's greenhouses are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Clyde Lived Here

Twenty-five years ago, my co-worker Clyde lived here.  He had a special ability to explain 30-word concepts in 300 words or more.  Clyde drove me and many other Type A personalities nuts.

Then he died unexpectedly of a heart attack.  His service was packed to the rafters with an enormous number of friends.  We slowly began to recognize that Clyde was doing his best and that many people appreciated him.  Whenever I go past his house, I feel a little guilty.  These days I am a bit more patient and a bit more tolerant.  Not much, but a bit.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Nutcracker

The Albano Ballet Company is presenting its version of The Nutcracker this season for the 50th year.  It has always been a shoestring operation financially, although I understand the Albano Ballet's performances are good.  This window sign advertising performances at Central Connecticut State University is found in a small antiques store on Park Road in West Hartford.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


They were decorating the Pond House's event hall and getting gingerbread houses ready for children to decorate.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

West End

These houses are on Oxford Street in the West End of Hartford, late in November.

These are on Girard Avenue.