Can I sue, do you think? I have been testing several drinks to quench the summer thirst and today Bob brought me a bottle of Turkey Hill Fruit Punch. A very pretty label with pears, cherries, pineapples and oranges made it taste good without even having tasted it. So I took a chance and it wasn’t bad to be honest. However, I read the fine print of ingredients as I frequently do and—what’s this? No cherry. Oranges, pears and pineapples in the “10% juice,” but no cherries . . . We were trying today to remember the name of the Chinese Restaurant which used to be on Walnut just off Second; we were all frustrated—it was on the tip of our tongues; we have to thank Larry Kirkhuff for telling us it was the Canton Inn . . . Gary O’Leary sent me this interesting link that connects to the National Jukebox at the Library of Congress. Recordings from the early 1900s have been preserved (sort of) so you can hear all the early opera stars and pop recordings of the day featuring the tunes of Irving Berlin and the voice of George M. Cohan among many others. Fascinating . . . http://loc.gov/jukebox/ . . .
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Our uptown neighborhood had its first experience with the new 911 Police Dispatch System and found it sadly lacking last night. A group of friends had gathered for a chat on the Green Street sidewalk when they were approached by a boy/girl gang of black youths who had pulled up their shirts, presumably to cover their faces or to disguise the writing thereon. The arrival of additional neighbors caused the gang to move off across the street, and within a short time there was a commotion on adjacent Susquehanna Street with neighbors there yelling and giving chase. (Never learned what was done to elicit this response from the residents.) At that point one person with a cell phone reported to police and asked for help, but none was immediately forthcoming. The dispatcher engaged in a long-winded interrogation before eventually agreeing to send help; by that time the gang had dispersed, but could just as easily have perpetrated mayhem on the gathering . . . A Happy Birthday gift for a person of a certain age: Aging With Attitude: Better Than Dying With Dignity. Pithy observations on the older set, and only $9.95 . . . The TV show on the makeover of the Dodge City Restaurant will air July 6 at 10 p.m. That’s a Food Channel project, I think . . .
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Dwight Dissinger e-mailed his thanks for the mention of his mom’s birthday although I had increased her age by two years . . . Had a nice but brief visit with Jean Gerhart while we sat waiting for our scans at Harrisburg Hospital this morning. Jean is now 85 and had a flower shop in the area of 13th and Market many years ago. The building has since been torn down. We recalled what a lovely neighborhood the area was fifty years ago . . . The Hill Market where farmers sold their produce and Winters’ Display House where I bought seasonal decorations for those early days of The Bare Wall. (As fate would have it the Winters’ daughter, Nan, was in my class at Juniata College—long before I ever contemplated a move to Harrisburg, let alone having a shop here.) There were many other shops near that intersection and the area thrived . . . My scan turned out to be highly unsatisfactory but inconclusive, so another more intense scan is called for . . . Was leaving the hospital when Bob and I encountered Irene Abele of Lemoyne in the lobby. She volunteers there every Tuesday morning. She and her late husband, Nick, have patronized the shop for years and years . . . Happy birthday to Chris Zeigler . . . One person e-mailed me to say that he knew the owner of Timber Trails but had never been there. Said he couldn’t believe that such a quiet lady had this secret side . . . I have mentioned the Stoney Creek Inn in Dauphin many times but, though filled with good intentions, Bob and I have never been there. So when Robert Murray posted this picture on his Facebook page I immediately snatched it for the blog. Hope Bob approves . . . Diane Neiper e-mailed to say that her father, who worked for a Scranton bakery, actually delivered cookies to the nudist resort in Palmerton when she was just a toddler. “He always had fun telling the stories of his experiences,” Diane writes . . .
Monday, June 27, 2011
Chris and Megan’s adventure at the clothing optional lodge in the Poconos reminds me that we once had a similar venue just up the pike from the city limits. Timber Trails was located across the road from the Blue Mountain Inn and Golf Course on Fishing Creek Road. The 122-acre estate featured a swimming pool, hiking trails, and a large club house. Unfortunately an explosion and fire destroyed the building and the operation folded soon after. (I cannot remember the year; if anyone can, please let me know.) I believe the property is now part of the Felicita complex. The accompanying picture is from 1990 . . . Having ultrasound scan at Harrisburg Hospital tomorrow morning but should be back in plenty of time for an eleven o’clock opening. Looking for blockage in the kidneys which might contribute to ever rising potassium levels; but a few friends have pointed out that I was drinking a lot of Vitamin Water which has been known to elevate such readings . . . Today’s shipment included some rattan caddies for cocktail and luncheon napkins; very nice and just the thing for your patio picnics. Pretty glass dishes intended for soaps (but good for numerous uses) are just $8.50 . . . Will try for some photos of these in the near future . . .
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Daughter Jan Hallacher and son Dwight Dissinger feted their mom, Betty Immers, for her 89th birthday at the Stoney Creek Inn in Dauphin on Saturday . . . Megan and Chris Zeigler won fourth prize in the “Bouncing Buns” trail race at Sunny Rest Resort at Palmerton in the Poconos on Saturday. The resort is clothing optional and Chris did the run au naturel but Megan insisted on clothing . . . Bob’s neighbor Ed Zook led Sunday morning services on The Pride of the Susquehanna; Betty Holmboe attended and said the packed gathering got an extra-long ride thanks to the fact that the river is “up” . . . Harrisburg Art Association’s soiree on Verbeke Street last night attracted quite a number of locals and several paintings by Robert Hughes were sold . . . Dee Doud passes along her thanks to Bob Murray and Kevin Sheets for mulching the flower beds beneath the billboards at Second and Forster . . .
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Tyler Simmons celebrates his birthday tomorrow . . . Bob attended a public sale in Millersburg today and returned with some nice wall art; spent a bit more than he had planned, however . . . I managed the store for much of the day but was ignored by the public so I didn’t get any great news for today’s blog. I even went back into the archives for two years, but late June must be a slow period in all of our lives; there was nothing worth repeating from back then . . . Laws enabling gay marriage have been enacted in New York state and that has captured all of today’s headlines . . .
Friday, June 24, 2011
OH, NO! My check-up with Dr. Dowling on Wednesday appeared fine, but once the blood work was processed it revealed an unexpected complication; so it is back to the hospital on Tuesday for more tests. Have to admit to being depressed after this news . . . Angela Lawson highly recommends Allenberry’s 18-hour escape: pool time, wine and cheese, dinner, a show, overnight accommodation and breakfast. Cheap. Even nicer if you go on line and print yourself a discount coupon . . . Today’s TripAdvisor couple was Debby and John from Lebanon—Lebanon, Pa., that is . . .
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Seems we spent most of this overcast and humid day waiting for storms that have not yet formed. Otherwise it was a bonanza day as two shipments of new merchandise arrived to claim our attention. New old-fashioned children’s books ($9.95) as promised. Also blank journals, note papers, pens with extra refills, and—what could be more appropriate?—a new book called We All Scream for Ice Cream . . .
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Dr. Keith Dowling seemed quite pleased with my efforts at recovery during my visit today. He is fairly certain that he can alleviate the last remaining pain with some pills; I certainly hope so—it has been with me since the surgery at the end of March . . . Tomorrow is this blog’s second anniversary. Never expected to stick with it this long, but it is fun to go to the archives on the left and flip back to see what was happening ten or eighteen months ago. Amazing number of pictures and mentions of individuals . . .
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Organizers of the Art of the State exhibit believe the opening reception at the museum Saturday night might have been the largest ever in the history of this annual event. Admission was free as in the past, but the museum now charges a fee at other times—a recent addition that might have inspired people to come early this year. Sales of works on exhibit were also more than normal it was reported though the one for $21,000 is still available . . . David Griffith e-mailed me from the country to say that I might be disappointed in the twilight lightning bug display in the rural areas today; it is probably nothing like I remember, Dave suspects, thanks to the use of pesticides. He said that colonies were severely decimated back in the days when DDT was legal, and recovery has been slow. Suzi Marsico invited me for a twilight patio drink at her place overlooking the Susquehanna; she too enjoys the display but agrees that it is nothing like it used to be . . . I was sitting on the stoop this morning when the Google street mapping van drove down Green. Sure hope the camera was active; it would be nice to “tune in and see oneself” every now and again. Bryan and Jamie MacLeod said the van followed them from Erford Road and across Harvey Taylor bridge and into the city just a few minutes later; they too are hoping to have been caught on the Google candid camera. WE are hams, unlike the villagers in a small British hamlet who refused to let their place be “mapped” . . . Grammy sent this picture of Miss Cecilia enjoying the morning newspaper recently, but what caught my eye was the piece of salt-glaze pottery at her elbow that definitely came from The Bare Wall . . .
Monday, June 20, 2011
Julie Vinson safely back home in Hatboro after spending a week with family and friends in Harrisburg . . . My buddies the lightning bugs are making a return these days. Have always enjoyed the twilight hour when they emerge and perk up the landscape. Of course, we see far fewer in the city than in the country, so perhaps I will beg Bob for a drive to Ft. Hunter some evening . . . Mark Stevens will be celebrating his birthday on Thursday . . . This is the week little boys everywhere, JJ and Felix among them, have been waiting for: Cars 2 opens at the movie houses; we somewhat older little boys have to wait for the DVD . . .
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Saturday, June 18, 2011
A quiet no-news day. My batteries have been running on low all day (forgot to drink my Ensure) and I am in more pain than usual . . . Think I could sleep the weekend away if only we were blessed with a gentle rain instead of thunderstorms . . . One third of the town went home to be with Dad this weekend; another third is in Center City getting blotto at the summer beer-bust; the final third is attending the opening night reception for Art of the State at the museum . . . people are still muttering about the mayor's three-day fast and prayer fest meant to solve the city's financial problems. But, as one fellow pointed out, although it has taken her a year and a half, the mayor does, at last, have a plan . . .
Friday, June 17, 2011
For over a year now I have heard praises sung about Alvaro’s at Green and Peffer where one can buy all sorts of delicious baked goods with an Italian flavor. I have been warned, however, that one must rise early; the in-crowd flocks to the site almost with the coming of the sun and the various sweets quickly disappear. In no time the showcases have that “picked over” look. Well, I decided that today was my day and so I rose early, dressed, and with camera in hand took off for this Utopia of desserts—only to find that it did not open until 10 a.m . . . today’s TripAdvisor visitor was Deborah from Nashville. She came east to attend a wedding and to add to her collection of “State Capitols Visited.” She has been to more than thirty of these government buildings . . . Mayor Thompson is calling for three days of prayer and fasting as part of her plan to save a bankrupt Harrisburg . . .
Thursday, June 16, 2011
The story goes like this: We are returning to our uptown home last night after work. I pause to chat with the neighbors while Bob goes on ahead. Suddenly we hear a scream and Bob comes running, package in hand. The post office has mis-delivered and Bob cannot stop laughing. The small carton was intended for the 1500 block and is addressed to Linda Thompson! Gallant Bob goes off to make the proper delivery and finds a relative who will see the parcel delivered. “You know, it is not easy being a black woman named Linda Thompson in this city these days,” she says . . . When we paused to consider we realized that the package just might have exploded; we all were lucky . . . Happy birthday to Norfolk Southern engineer George B. Miller Jr. of Harrisburg who just happens to have a similarly named friend living in Marysville . . . Summer definitely on the horizon—we enjoyed watching an advertising blimp circle over the city late yesterday afternoon . . . a cactus patch in bloom on North Second Street and with a bee for every flower, I’d swear . . .
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Beautiful day and very busy at the store. Thanks, all . . . Had some more TripAdvisor visitors yesterday, and where were they from? Bet you didn't guess Harrisburg! The girls, local residents, decided to spend the day exploring the city and neither had ever been here . . . Am told I missed the excitement of a third-floor kitchen fire last night; it was in the apartment building at North and Willow . . . This Friday will be Third in the Burg and the Harris Street Methodist Church will be holding its fellowship gathering at the same time; stop by for a free hot dog or hamburger and chat with some of the neighbors . . . The city has decided to cut its summer celebrations to two days from the usual three or four. I wonder how that will sit with the food vendors who pay upwards of a thousand dollars for a normal weekend I am told . . . and who at city hall screwed up and scheduled the biggest paid attraction at the jazz festival directly opposite the Harrisburg Symphony which will be playing on the island. The mayor gets the blame but she has surrounded herself with a bunch of incompetents . . .
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Bob and I enjoyed the Tony Awards program on Sunday night though we haven’t been to a New York show for years and years and no longer know many of the players. The Book of Mormon was the big winner this year, and like any other product in demand it promptly raised its ticket price by $13 on Monday morning according to Playbill . . . My neighbor informed me today that this blog has become b-o-r-i-n-g and needs more pizazz than pictures of JJ and Cecilia. So I went to his blog to see what kind of excitement he was generating and found out that he had stopped blogging altogether . . . Now that we have seen just possibly the worst that the GOP has to offer, I hope that my mainstream Republican friends will unite to put forward a serious challenge to the Obama team. They may not get my vote, but what now passes for the “loyal opposition” is downright embarrassing . . . Some of my weekly “jaunts for health” take me through Capitol Heights, and it is discouraging to note that this major development project became a victim of Bush’s economic depression. There are empty lots all prepared to receive buildings and even a few unfinished houses. Sadly, a few of the new properties are also posted for not having paid one assessment or another. A few are up for sale and I have to ask a question that applies to all similar properties across the city: If you are trying to sell, why don’t you remove the trash and weeds and try to spruce up the place a little. Even a few of the new places look derelict . . . If you flip back a week or so on this blog you will see the storm damage just a few doors from Bob’s house. The mess has now been cleared, but it will be a while before the fence and the balcony are repaired . . .
Monday, June 13, 2011
Excellent day with mild temperatures and everyone in a good mood . . . Picture I took this morning that was destined for the blog tonight just didn't turn out well, so I will give it another try for later. Sorry . . . Neighbors got more than their money's worth when they purchased two large hanging planters to decorate their porch. Seems that a mother bird decided one planter was perfect and a safe place to build a nest, so now there are a lot of chirping hungry ones just overhead when one is relaxing on the swing . . .
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Bob Coldren and Jack Barnett back after several weeks in Provincetown . . . Forgot to mention yesterday that once you have opened the New York City picture you can click on it and it will become full screen. Double click a second time to shrink it or push "escape" . . . Bloggers everywhere have been having the same problems for a month now; nice to know it is not my own stupidity that is causing the trouble. The snag has been traced to the new Internet Explorer that was updated just a few weeks ago. Hopefully someone in the know is addressing this problem . . . Have received a complaint from a loyal reader: we feature a lot of pictures of JJ and too few of Cecilia. Will have to ask their parents for more photos of her. She got a butterfly "tattoo" at the Mt Gretna festivities yesterday (JJ got a dragon) . . .
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Our neighborhood ice cream man is Allan Johnson of New Cumberland who takes to the streets around 4:30 p.m. after his job at the Hilton. He is out pedaling his wares (literally) until 8:30 p.m. every evening weather permitting and offers ice cream novelties for $1 to $2. He might be found anywhere between midtown and Shipoke driving the cart that he picked up on EBay. We caught up with him on Green Street just as Dee Doud was making some purchases . . . Yesterday’s cornerstone picture was correctly identified by at least one reader (and misidentified by one, too, I might add). It is on the Salvation Army building at Green and Cumberland Streets . . . The kids are at the Mt. Gretna playground this afternoon for the program to raise funds for the park. Cecilia and JJ were pictured in the June Gretna newsletter article that promoted the event . . . If you are headed to New York and would like to know the weather situation, you can consult this camera on the Lower East side: http://glenn1965.camstreams.com/ You are looking up Asser Levy Place between East 23rd and East 25th. All the traffic on the right is on East River Drive. It is fun to check this site later in the evening just to see the buildings light up. Also, I might encourage you to Google the Asser Levy name and to read up on him. He was among the first settlers of the city, a Jewish butcher and philanthropist. Supposedly he was the first Jew to own a home in North America . . . (Hope this makes it to the blog; service today is absolutely terrible) . . .
Friday, June 10, 2011
Sure, a lot of people laugh at me or make a sour face but I truly like the original V-8 Juice. Well chilled, it is a delicious summer refresher. And by the way, can you name the eight juices that are combined in it? . . . Today’s TripAdvisor visitor was Angela from Vermont. She is spending some time at Ft. Indiantown Gap . . . Stopped for a quick chat with Lawrance Binda at the offices of TheBurg in the 1100 block of North Front Street. I elicited a groan when I said the company needed a sign bigger than the little one stuck in the front window. Seems there have been some on-going problems with the architectural review board that deals with such amenities and the company simply gave up on any outdoor sign for the moment . . . That brought back to mind my own encounter with city hall in 1972 before the review board even existed. I didn’t want to spoil the residential character of the street, so we had an “OPEN” sign made that sat on the stoop during business hours; it was brought inside at night and the street regained its residential nature . . . Some weeks after opening I received a visitor from the chieftains downtown and was told that the stoop is not part of my property—all stoops that jut onto the sidewalk belong to the city. And, THEREFORE, the city did not want my sign on its property. HOWEVER, under the zoning rules back then, it would be alright to erect a four-story thirty-two color flashing neon sign if I so desired; Just as long as it was four or so feet above the stoop . . . Quick visit with Lee Spitalny . . . Bob thought it would be nice if, on my walks, I would photograph bits of landmarks we might not generally notice and then offer them for identification on the blog; we might even make a game of it with discount coupons as prizes. But we changed our minds when we realized that a large part of our reading audience doesn’t actually roam the streets downtown or in midtown. However, here was the first photo I took in that now aborted attempt to entertain. Who knows where this is? . . .
Thursday, June 9, 2011
The air is heavily perfumed by linden trees these days. Its a heady smell unless you suffer allergies in which case it is "heady" in another sense . . . Our selection of those old-fashioned, shaped $9.95 children's books has been all but wiped out in the past week. Am placing a new order for immediate delivery . . . Summer has definitely arrived despite what the calendar says; temps in the 90s and our kayaking neighbors are out on the river . . . Can you believe it? This blog will be two years old come June 23. Got a helpful piece of advice back at the start: When you don't have anything to say just run a new picture of JJ. They will be happy with that . . . Believe we will be closing early this afternoon. It is just too hot here . . .
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Well, don’t be surprised if The Bare Wall gets a scathing review on TripAdvisor from Hans in Florida. He came shopping this morning and made some very nice selections. Unfortunately, in processing his charge card I entered the wrong amount. Then, when I tried to refund the considerable difference, the machine charged that amount to his account as well. Finally we settled on an exchange of cash and hopefully everything will come out even in the end. Nonetheless, Hans had to be highly irritated with me and I wouldn’t blame him for telling the world. (We did eventually understand the problem, but the cash exchange satisfied us both.) . . . Felix Hess will be four years old on Thursday and wants a “white radio that plays CDs” and anything else that might come along. Jack Brandt celebrates his natal day on Friday, and we owe Tim Zeigler an apology for missing his birthday June 4 . . . People are still talking about the mayor crashing the gate with her entourage at ArtsFest. Apparently her failure to support the arts programs in the area irritated a lot of people . . . I believe the stress in our lives is finally catching up with Bob and me. We both were sound asleep before eight p.m. last night . . .
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Hot and getting hotter . . . Another homeless house cat has surfaced in the neighborhood. In addition to the gray mentioned earlier we now have a tabby. Both are obviously accustomed to being indoors . . . Faithful readers will remember my fascination with Susan Boyle, the Scottish singer who just wanted a chance to go professional. Well, we all know she got it on Britain's Got Talent. Just got the latest copy of my bi-monthly Scottish magazine and learned she is now worth a modest thirteen million dollars . . . Got an eye-opening e-mail from Diane Neiper that reminded me that our American presidents come and go but that "Long Live the Queen" is a truism. The article was accompanied by pictures showing the Queen entertaining every one of our presidents since Harry Truman! . . . Work is underway on the new office building at Second and State but there is still time for local photographers to get some nice shots of St. Patrick's Cathedral facade . . .
Monday, June 6, 2011
People who have been catching up on the blog tell me that it wasn't iris but peonies that we probably took to the cemetery for grave decorations on Memorial Day. That is a good possibility since the drive down into the garage at my grandparents was lined with peony bushes . . . Todays visitors via the TripAdvisor site were from Louisiana by way of Dillsburg. One of them will be heading for a greater vacation in Paris soon . . . Another of the walking wounded: Chris Lingus had arm surgery--rotary cuff or whatever that is called . . . The soap order has arrived. Plenty of cucumber mint to keep you cool through the summer season . . . Well, the silly season has begun: Rick Santorum wants to be president . . .
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Took several short naps, finished a book and went for a long walk . . . I don't know how the Midtown Cinema is faring business-wise these days, but the building certainly does look forlorn. I think it could be easily spruced up if someone weeded out last year's dead plants and put in some new ones. Would be quite an asset to the neighborhood and perhaps a lift to the business as well . . . But wait--doesn't the Friends of Midtown beautification committee hold its monthly meetings there? Maybe there is a worthwhile project right under their noses that they haven't noticed yet . . . My friend Jon joined the rest of us by undergoing surgery on Friday; his recovery period is one to two weeks. Seems our sidewalks are now littered with a lot of older men who are trying to combat the effects of hospital visits . . . Maybe we should form a club and perhaps our care-givers could do the same . . .
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Another nice day with late afternoon showers. Not a lot of news, however. All our visitors have been in a happy mood and eager to get outdoors . . . One item you do not want to overlook is our new cookbook, just $11.50 . . . Still having trouble with posting on this site. Please stick with us; surely Google will find a cure . . .
Friday, June 3, 2011
Warm days and cool nights. Very pleasant though Bob gets angry with me since I find the evenings chilly and need a jacket . . . A gray cat is on the loose in our neighborhood. It is well groomed and appears to have been a house pet. If you have lost one of the family, come visit in the area . . . Spent time this morning looking over our stock of things for the patio. Still have some neat decorative items, some sets of bamboo place mats (four mats, $15) and jar candles that are marked down . . . Heard that the turnout for ArtsFest was not as large as last year . . . Rumor has it that the mayor wants to move the Fourth of July celebration to Reservoir Park. This is just a rumor, folks. Please, no comments like we see on PennLive . . .
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Rose early this morning to find a September-like nip in the air; that didn't last long, but the day was pleasant and breezy. Certainly would have expected to sell more than two cards, but that is the way it goes some days . . . Went to Roxy's this morning for one of their now-famous (thanks to the Pa. Secretary of Health) egg sandwiches. The order elicited a giggle from the other patrons, of course . . . While I am still getting back on my feet, I believe I am well enough to begin opening the store at 11 a.m. I am going to try during the month of June. I will admit that my energy falters in the afternoon, but by that time Bob is here to take over . . . Have been cleaning out my kitchen cabinets and offered free to the public about ten mismatched coffee mugs of various sizes. Lined them up on the stoop this morning and as of 4:30 this afternoon I have only three left . . .This curious-at-first photograph is by Al Holliday of Camp Hill, the publisher of Pennsylvania Magazine and a fellow co-worker at the Department of Education way back in the early '70s. If you study it a bit you will discover that it is the Market Square cityscape as reflected in the sculpture in front of City Hall. Pretty neat I would say . . . You can catch more of Al's photos at http://beyondsecond.com/ . . . Lots of interesting stuff there . . . And as I always remind you, click the photo to enlarge it . . .
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Much too hot for news today. Up in the 90s but supposedly falling to the 50s tonight or so. Sounds refreshing to me. Our air conditioner is now up and running in the store but the overhead apartment is all but unbearable . . . The proposed parking lot next to the Midtown Cinema is now under construction . . . Placed an order for goat milk soaps and lotions and learned that the company has obtained some more of the cucumber mint and glycerin soap that has been so popular at $3 per bar. Bought a lot of it. Also ordered oatmeal soap for those of you at work in your gardens . . . Have heard nothing but good reports about the new restaurant at the end of Green on North. A bit pricey, however . . .