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A trip to the library

One thing I take for granted is the public library system, but it wasn't always so. "Back in the day", library membership cost money. The "Free Library" in Philadelphia (now known as Parkway Central Library) was an innovation, allowing people to come and browse, read, and check out books at no cost. It opened in 1927, and it is an impressive building indeed, designed by Julian Abele, a prominent black architect who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. Among his notable works is the chapel at Duke University in Durham NC, another architectural marvel. 

The intricate detail is of the ceilings are different in each of the many different sections of the library.

The marble floors and walls are a thing of beauty.

There is magnificent art work throughout, giving the library "museum quality".

During World War II, the port of Philadelphia was felt to be at risk for enemy bombs, so the beautiful skylights were painted over to prevent light from making the library an easy target.

The paint used to paint the skylight was full of toxic material such as lead, so the cost of restoring them is phenomenal.

Someone in the library ensured that the home team received a place of honor! Go Phillies!
In the section devoted to music, it is possible for patrons to check out musical instruments such as a cello or violin. Other branches of the library have sections for checking out unusual items. Have a friend who's a fan of Micky Mouse and you want to bake a Micky Mouse cake for his birthday? You can check out a cake pan that will allow you to do so without cluttering up your kitchen for years with a pan you'll only use once!



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Groundhog alert!


Outside of the gym I used to attend it was common to see a pair of groundhogs. Unfortunately I never caught sight of the 5 babies they had. I learned that while groundhogs may have up to 10 in a litter, 3-5 is more common.If you ever get this question on Trivial Pursuit, you'll now know the answer!

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Wynne's extra special granola!

 When you have a friend named Wynne who's a FABULOUS cook, you sit up and take notice. I've never been a big fan of granola... until now.

Yum!


Pre-Heat oven to a LOW 275 degrees. Hotter and the nuts will scorch.

Makes about 20 snack-sized servings — 1/3 cup.

 Ingredients:

2 cups regular oatmeal (not steel cut, but the ‘ol Quaker kind, it is already cooked — did you know that?) – NOTE – Wynne doubles this.
1-2 cups large flake unsweetened coconut
2 cups RAW, UNSALTED cashews (if you don’t use raw nuts, they get too brown)
2 cups RAW, UNSALTED pecan halves
1 cup RAW UNSALTED almonds, or blanched almond slivers, (personal preference)
½ to ¾ cup maple syrup (DO NOT USE PANCAKE SYRUP!) grade A or B is fine, but it must be PURE maple syrup
½ cup coconut oil, melted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp sea salt or kosher salt

Assembly:

Put the 2 cups of oatmeal in a large mixing bowl.

Add coconut 1-2 cups (depending on how much you like coconut, and be sure it is the LARGE flakes, not the grated kind, it won’t work that way.)

Combine oatmeal with the coconut and mix.

Add in the nuts you want. I used cashews, pecans and almonds, you can also put in walnuts, filberts, macademia, etc.

Mix them all together.  Then, combine the melted coconut oil, the vanilla extract and the maple syrup and the oatmeal/coconut/nut mixture well, it will be wet and sticky.

Lay it on a heavy jelly roll pan (a cookie sheet with sides).  The heavy ones don’t warp and heat evenly.  A baking pan will do, you want to spread it out thin, so that it is a single layer. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the top.

Cook at 275 degrees F for 40 – 70 minutes.  Using a spatula, move the granola from the corners to the center after about 20 minutes so new areas brown up (corners will brown up faster, so shift the mixture around.)

You want the coconut and nuts to turn light brown.  Keep a watch, it can turn fast!

Take it out and use a spatula to scrape it off the pan.  When cooled completely, put in a airtight container so it doesn’t lose it’s crunch.

Ways to customize:

  • Dried fruit:  add it the last 15 min. of baking, otherwise you’ll end up with “hard bits”.  I have used dried diced apricots, dark sweet or tart cherries, cranberries, raisins, etc.  NOTE: I don’t put in dried fruit (glycemic load is too high), but I vary the nuts based on what I have.  If you’re trying to lose weight or have insulin resistance, I would STRONGLY encourage you to stay away from dried fruit. (see below)
  • Dark chocolate can be added when it is cooled slightly, but be sure it is above 70% cocoa, otherwise it will have too  much sugar.
  • Change the vanilla to almond extract for an almond inspired batch of granola.


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Looking forward to seeing sights like this!


It's early spring here but soon... very soon... summer will be upon us!





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Le Musee d'Art Sacre


Just a few images from the Museum of Sacred Art in Pary le Monial. The last photo in the series is a panoramic view of one of the rooms there. I thought it made for an intersting image.
Mariner's cross
The objects on the cross symbolize events from Holy Week
With apologies to other great masters, I find this image of the last supper most intriguing.


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Le Hostellerie des Trois Pigeons


I have to say that for pure charm, it's hard to imagine a better choice than the Hotel of the Three Pigeons in Paray le Monial. Unfortunately my photos weren't able to capture just how delightful this place was. I never did learn how it earned this name, though.


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The Chapel of the Apparitions in Paray le Monial


This lovely chapel honors the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Devotion to the Sacred Heart - in its modern form - was received by Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque in a series of visions. Sister Margaret Mary was a Visitation Sister who lived in the 17th century in the monastery in Paray le Monial.

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And a few street scenes from Paray le Monial


A truly charming city!
Along the Bourbince River
I'm not precisely sure what that sign is trying to convey!


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