Welcome Reader:

Whether you've just now tuned in to my life, or have been keeping up with my inner thoughts for quite some time now,
I welcome you.

Though you may or may not be entertained by my thoughts, it is for MYSELF that I pen a blog.

As a writer, I enjoy expressing myself.
When I write long romance novels, I am inside my head so much, I forget to focus on reality.

By writing once and a while on my blog, when the mood hits me, I have the freedom to come and go.
To pull up a chair and order lemonade or an ice cream sundae.
To either gobble it down, or eat it ever so slowly...

...until it melts into a concoction that resembles mushy milk.

Pull up a chair! Have a read. I hope you enjoy it.
I do...and that's what really matters.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Often We Are Roaming

At the line on the earth
where land meets sea
Often we are roaming-
my husband, dog, and me...
Lisa (Allen) Kennard
10:26 p.m.
(This is a test..thanks Tara, I imported a photo and hopefully the correct time)

Tara, and Cupcakes, and Blogs..oh my!

I have a few topics all rolled up into one blog, yet somehow they all relate!

I need some blogging tips: I know that Tara of http://www.whentarametblog.com/ may be able to help me out. It is because of reading Tara's blog and being impressed with how she presents herself and her varied topics, that I became so interested in blogging.

You should check out Tara's blog. It is an excellent read. Tara, for those of you who don't know her, was a bridesmaid in my charming niece's wedding. Tara went to college with my niece and her husband in Massachusetts at Wheaten College.

Tara moved from New York City to Los Angeles. She's in Public Relations. In her blog, she often tells of the places she goes, people she meets, and other tidbits of information of the goings-on in her life.

Another great pastime for Tara is participating in a LA Cupcake Meet-up Group, where she and her 'Groupies' visit bakeries to taste the specialty cupcakes. They probably have tons of fun, too. If I lived in a city, I might considering starting up a local Group.
But living in the country, I would be better off making it a sister-thing...

I am very interested in the whole 'cupcake concept.' Here in Nottingham we have an annual Nottingham Day, where townsfolk and businesses come together to celebrate our town. We do fun things like have a run/walk, free games all day for the kiddies, raffles, an auction, live bands, food, crafters, and a chicken barbecue.

I helped with the very first Nottingham Day by writing an historical short story that I adapted into a play. I directed the third-grade class who performed the skit. I also sang (with a band) my song "Our Nottingham, NH Town." I wrote lyrics telling the history of Nottingham, to the tune of "America, The Beautiful."
The Board of Selectmen voted my song as the Official Town Song!

This year, however, thanks to Tara and her cupcake-fetish, I am going to approach the Nottingham Day Committee and ask if I can organize a "Cupcake Contest." Entries could be judged on taste, display, and originality. There would be prizes in different age-ranges.
Of course, my only demand is that I am one of the judges!!! I think this contest could be a great event that could grow in popularity every year. Someday, I may be known as the "Cupcake Lady" or "Cupcake Queen!" Perhaps the concept could expand to handmade items knitted, painted, and/or sewn. Along the lines of the 4-H building at the Deerfield Fair.

Anyway, as I first wrote, I would like to learn how to interject photos into this blog. I would also like to learn how to say a word like 'cupcake' and when you put your mouse over it, it changes color, letting you know you can click on it to link to more information.
If anyone knows how to do this, please advise.
Hopefully, Tara will read this someday and let me know...

Do you have hints for blogging? Do you have interest in cupcakes?
Please Reply!

(Please note: The clock on this blog is never correct...)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I Like Fake

I am not a perfectionist, therefore, I like fake! I'm am quite happy to display fake flowers in my garden (interspersed with real ones, of course) and a flashy fake bouquet in my home. Maybe it's because while I am not a perfectionist, I do like instant gratification!

I like other fake things: hair color, curly hair, beautifully manicured fake nails. I have no need for breast implants, but if by some stroke of bad luck my current size deflated, I just might consider silicone.

I like fake food, too. Imitation flavor in zero calorie soda is great for my diet. Imitation sweeteners, like Splenda and Sweet-n-low are good, too. However, I do not like fake hamburgers. A veggie burger just doesn't cut it for me, or my husband. My husband does not like fake. He definitely prefers all-natural everything!

How about you? Are you a fake-ee or all-natural?

Please Reply!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Old Undertaker

By Lisa Allen Kennard
(Newspaper Article - 2006)

When I was growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, we used to have an undertaker and funeral home in East Northwood. His name was Ernest Pinkham. Pinkham’s Funeral Home was located in the white New Englander next to Edgerly Chapel. It seemed strategically placed across the street from First Baptist Church, and the previous, wicked-dangerous intersection of Routes 4, 9 & 202.

I recall my father and I took Ernest Pinkham’s trash to the dump for him on occasion, and we were invited into his kitchen for lemonade. The man seemed pleasant, but I was afraid to look at him, much less touch him. The place felt eerie, the air mortally stagnant. I was sure there was a dead body in the next room, and there probably was! Years later, I saw my Grampa Allen laid out in his casket there, propped up in front of the bay window.

The good thing about memories – those dear loved ones can be alive in your heart and reflections. Blow the dust off your aged photo albums with old black and whites or fading color photos. Close your eyes and purposely ponder your memories. Bring your long-passed loved ones back to life for a few moments! (May they rest in peace.)

Neighborhoods and Townfolk

By Lisa Allen Kennard
(Newspaper Article - 2006)

In the 1960’s I was a small town child. I thought my backyard was big and my neighborhood gigantic. The first day I attended first grade, reality set in. Walking around the side of the building of Northwood Elementary, my world exploded!

Mobbing the playground were more kids than I had ever seen in one place. I discovered there were other neighborhoods in Northwood: the Ridge, the Center, and the Narrows. There were more neighborhoods, of course, but with these I was most familiar.

Some of the kids I started first grade with continued as companions during my full twelve years of formal schooling, and beyond. Others popped in and out of my life. Some past friends sneak into my dreams!

These days I enjoy attending hometown events like the Craft Fair, the Memorial Day parade, and church sales and suppers. Oftentimes, I run into friends or acquaintances from all the old (and new) neighborhoods. If I know someone is part of a family I grew up with, but I don’t know their name, I simply wave and say hi. I know that even though they don’t know my name either, I look like an Allen, so they return the friendly gesture. This is part of Northwood’s charm!

Remembering Kindergarten

By Lisa Allen Kennard
(Newspaper Article - 2006)

While growing up in Northwood in the 60’s and 70’s, I had a variety of favorite people – one being Miss Gladys Gardner. Like me, many youths in my generation attended Miss Gardner’s kindergarten. Held in the long, carpeted room between the dining room and barn, there were half a dozen short tables, a multitude of tiny chairs, toys, miniature kitchen furniture, and a fish tank in our midst. She had many cats and a fishpond. For my class, she served milk in primary colored, plastic cowboy boots.

For many young town children, it was our first experience with independence. We learned ABC’s, 123’s, colors, shapes, plus a variety of other useful things. Most importantly, we learned how to make friends. Graduation was held on the knoll of Miss Gardner’s side yard. She read our names, praised us, and handed out diplomas. Though she never had children, I think she felt we were ALL hers. Among other things, Miss Gardner was a Sunday school teacher, librarian and world traveler. It was a sad day when she passed away. Knowing her, I imagine Miss Gardner put yet another notch on her traveling cane. Heaven, checkmark!

My Old School Days

By Lisa Allen Kennard
(Newspaper Article - 2006)

The kids are back to school – reminds me of waiting for the bus out in front of our house. Kids from Bow Street used to walk up the road and wait with us. It was the infamous holler of “Bus just came around the corner!” that still rings in my brain. That phrase is what I equate with going back to school.

Times were simpler back in the 60’s and 70’s. At Northwood Elementary, when Mr. Conway was principal, a kid played marbles or ‘four square’ at recess. Other entertainment was hopscotch, dodge ball, jacks, and TV tag! Athletes played basketball or ‘kick the can’. Risk taker’s played ‘spin-the-bottle’ at the edge of the woods, next to the path that led to the lower field. Now, that whole area where we used to play is either concrete building, parking lot, or jungle gym.

Old-fashioned games back then, I daresay, would not enthuse many of today’s youths. In days gone by, if we were lucky, we had a transistor radio or collection of board games. Today’s kids have ‘futuristic’ toys. They’re wicked expensive! One thing hasn’t changed in 35 years. Kids still ride the bus to school. Interestingly, one of the kids who rode the bus now owns the bus company. Hey Debbie!

Old Neighborhood Walk

By Lisa Allen Kennard
(Newspaper Article - 2006)

These days, adding exercise to my routine, I pondered where to walk. I decided to take up the path of my old stomping ground. I know it best – I feel safe there. Parking at Hannaford’s in East Northwood, I walk up Green Street at a fairly good clip. I sprint across Route 4 and then proceed down Bow Street. The lengths of the roads seem shorter than they were 35 years ago.

I go down ‘double hill’ to the place where our sleds used to lose momentum. Our family and neighbors mostly used sleds with metal runners and wooden slats or round, metal flying saucers, not plastic concoctions. Some sleds were new, others hand-me-downs, still others heirlooms from a past generation. Snowfall amounts of the 60’s and 70’s oftentimes were enormous! Not like the ‘dustings’ of today.

While walking these days, though I’m not pulling my sled back up the snow covered hills, I still feel the burn in my legs as my momentum wanes on the hot-top. I’m glad for the smooth surface. Used to be the gravel road was so steep and rough, it was impassible!

Up Bow Street I trudge, across Route 4, and back down Green Street. It’s a good walk – nearly forty-five minutes in duration. In that span I’m transferred back in time; thinking good thoughts of the families that I used to know, and still see many of today. It’s nice having lifelong friends. If you’re lucky, you know what I mean.

Childhood Neighborhood

By Lisa Allen Kennard
(Newspaper Article - 2006)

I grew up in Northwood during the 60’s and 70’s. Our house was the big white one on the corner of (Lower) Bow Street and Route 4. Now it is home to Hall Monument. My neighborhood consisted of Bow Street, Green Street, and several houses east and west on Route 4. That’s in the heart of Antique Alley.

Nearby families with kids that I knew best were named: Thurber, Durkin, Copeland, Tuttle, DeMeritt, Briggs, Colby, Burklund, Jackson, Gasper, Gammon, Grant and Josiah. People with or without children filled in the gaps.

Most of us neighborhood kids grew to reach maturity. Sadly, a few passed away. After high school I joined the Air Force. Many of the kids joined the workforce nearby or moved away, some went to college, and some I don’t have the faintest clue what became of them. At least one is/was serving in Iraq. Most now have their own families. Probably, we are all busier than we imagined we would be. Time has whizzed by!

Though I live in Nottingham now, I work in Northwood, I play in Northwood and many of my family members reside in Northwood. You can take the girl out of the neighborhood, but you can’t always take the neighborhood’s memories out of the girl? If they are decent memories, why would you want to?

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Games People Play

I have always loved board games. The attraction stems back to childhood in the 60s and 70s. As a child I had seven siblings. For birthdays and Christmas presents, my parents and relatives often gifted us with board games. Was it because board games were cheap? Or because one game could occupy so many little minds? Keep us out of trouble or out from under foot? Whatever the reasons, we Allen kids had a whole slew of board games.

We lived in an old New England Colonial house (with a lot of barns added on). All the children slept upstairs and mostly we shared rooms: the 'big girls', the 'boys', the 'other girls' and the 'baby'. As we grew up and some left home, many of us moved from room to room...

At the top of the stairs was a half-door that led to the attic. You needed a chair to get up there. If I remember correctly, once in the closet you had to swing your arm around to find the long string hanging down to turn on the single-bulb light. That illuminated two long shelves on the left. They were stuffed with different sized boxes of board games. Whatever didn't fit on those shelves were up above at the entrance to the attic. You needed a flashlight to see those. Some of them weren't merely board games, but bigger, funner stuff.

Games I recall that we had were: chess, checkers, Chinese checkers, Operation, Hands Down, Ants in the Pants, Don't Spill the Beans, Don't Break the Ice, The Dating Game, Kerplunk, Trouble, Scrabble, Monopoly, Clue, Yahtzee, Uno, The Authors (card game), Parcheesi, Light-Brite, Rock-em Sock-em Robots, Rack-O, Pick-Up Sticks, Domino's, Twister, Hang Man, Spirograph, Rummy, Black Jack, Slap Jacks, marbles, Jax, a large metal hockey game with tin players, a mini pool table, a cheap orange plastic race car track for two cars, a more sophisticated electric race car track, bats, gloves, an array of balls, badminton, Frisbees, many dolls, Tonka trucks, and a Lionel train set with transformers that used to be "Uncle Ben's". (Pardon any misspellings.)

One really big toy we had was a pool table upstairs in the barn. We had a large wooden toy box upstairs in the house, and a large metal strapped toy chest in the outside playroom that led to the patio. On the patio, we had a rowboat sandbox, while in the backyard we had several swing sets, a tether ball, and a Twirlie-Bird. We also climbed trees, rode bikes, had forts in stonewalls and snowbanks, played store, house, school, hide and seek, baseball, soccer, hopscotch, four square, jump rope, and football. A few times we put on the 'Olympics' for our neighborhood playmates.

I'm sure I have forgotten some of the games we used to have and play. I hope for my sibling's sakes I have captured and described accurately the game closet and some of the games that were pleasurable in our childhood.

Currently, I'm compiling a collection of the games that I loved playing as a child. My husband, my young niece, and I enjoy playing them when she is over to visit. She has other games, too, like Candy Land, Shoots and Ladders, Pictionary, Wack-A-Mole, and Flippin' Frogs!
(Plus many others, too.)

It seems one of my mother's (and some of my sister's) favorite games to play is Scrabble. When we get together to socialize that is a game they often want to play. Personally, I can take it or leave it. I'm not big on educational games (and I hate Trivial Pursuit). I prefer 'fun' games!

How about you - got any favorite board or other games that you played in childhood, or currently?
Did/do you have a designated place to store them?
Siblings - did I forget some of your favorite games?
Please reply!