Friday, June 30, 2006

Up close and personal

Up close and personal
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

One day going through the park we were stopped by a hundred or so of these wonderful buffalo as they decided to cross the road.

I was not about to argue that we should have the right of way!

Custer State Pk - Road Sign

Custer State Pk - Road Sign
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

Dipping into the photo archives: this is from 2003 when we took a trip out to the Black Hills area in South Dakota. We tent camped and stayed in a cabin in Custer State Park. Had a wonderful time taking day trips from there to Devil's Tower, Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Monument, the Badlands, Deadwood, etc...

And yes, these large wildlife did come into the road. Stay tuned for the next photo!

Summer colors

Summer colors
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

The yard is in full blooming color now. The record rains in May and June might have had something to do with this.

Happy Birthday!

Do you know who is celebrating their birthday today?
Someone who preaches about simplicity.
Someone who writes about the Nine Fruits of Leadership.
Someone who thinks England will make it to the finals of the World Cup.
Someone who fulfulled a life long dream to see the Eagles in concert.
Someone with whom it is an honor to call a friend!
Happy Birthday, Trevor!
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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Party Planning 101 - Continued

One of a series of "Lessons of The Proulx Daughters" (LOTPD)

People do tend to congregate where the food is so use this to your advantage and spread the drinks and snacks around the key room locations. Some rooms may not be conducive to a convenient delivery of food or drink so consider that and don't force the issue unless absolutely necessary. We have a party table for the cold drinks and ice bucket. A card table is just the right size for the coffee urn, cups, sugar and creamer choices. The kitchen table is used for the heated snacks (from stove to table is quicker than elsewhere). The porch table is used for the cold snacks, chips and dips, fruit, etc.

The dining room table is converted to be the buffet table and is prepared with a table cloth and center piece. Starting at one corner, located nearest the main entry point to the room are the plates, napkins and silverware. Coincidently, that corner also ends the round so if napkins or silverware were forgotten on the first pass, they can be obtained easily before leaving the room or cutting back into the line. Arrayed around the table are the foods in some order that makes sense. Generally, the cold foods are found first (salads, then sandwiches, and rolls with the condiments) followed by the hot foods either on a platter or server on a hot plate or candle light warmer.

Having made the menu, small pieces of paper can be put into each position around the table to mark the placement of the food. This is good for a few reasons:
  • confirms that all items will have a place on the table
  • confirms that all items should make it to the table (hey, there's a note here for potato salad?)
  • saves explanation of where to put the dish if someone comes in to help at the last minute (if you have the potato salad, find the slip and that's where it goes!).
Seating for the buffet service is provided in all available rooms except those actually being used for service (the kitchen and dining room). This helps to keep the flow of people and food smooth. With the rain preventing use of any outside seating, consider clearing the cars from the garage to set up tables and chairs. Depending upon the size (and contents of the garage) you could have enough for about 18 to sit and eat. Our three season porch had seats for another dozen. The living room and the family room provided rooms for an additional 16 places. If pressed, we could have pulled out and gotten creative for another 6-10 places but the rains apparently changed some plans so we had sufficient space for all to sit.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Party Planning 101

One of a series in "Lessons of the Proulx Daughters" (LOTPD)

Selecting the Date

The gathering of family and friends for a special occasion is an event that requires planning. In the case of the recent joint graduation party, the planning actually started three years ago when the two mothers (Dolores and Joanne) realized that they would be each have a graduation on the same weekend. Since that weekend was going to be busy, holding the part for the graduates that same weekend did not make sense. As Dolores worked as a teacher, getting some time to prepare for the party before school got out was also factored in, hence the party date was selected to be this past weekend, prime date = Saturday, with an option for Sunday if something came up.

Choosing the Menu

The menu was a combination of family favorites tempered with what had been done recently, what would serve a crowd, what would be easy to prepare and/or heat to serve the day of, and of course, what would compliment the rest of the menu. Some was prepared by the mothers (Proulx daughters), some was prepared by their mother, some was purchased at the local supermarket, some at the local Italian restaurant. A mix of hot and cold foods, with considerations for dietary needs and tastes resulted in the following selection:

Cold foods

Potato salad
Pasta salad
Broccoli slaw
cold sandwich meat (ham, roast beef, turkey, salami)
sandwich cheese slices (provolone, American, Swiss)
variety of sandwich rolls

Hot foods

Spiral ham
Italian sausages & peppers
Swedish meatballs
Boston baked beans
Ziti with broccoli and chicken
Chinese chicken wings
Chicken fingers

There was a glorious spread of deserts but the one family favorite that did not make it to the table this time were sticky buns.

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Monday, June 26, 2006

Sticky buns & the Proulx Daughters

The four brother-in-laws started comparing notes early on in our married lives. It was a natural things to do at a family gathering. Some topic would come up and as the conversation wended it way, someone would acknowledge doing something in a particular way, which would remind another one that, "hey, my wife does the same thing!". After a few of these conversations, we quickly came to realize that there was a clear reason for this. Mr and Mrs Proulx had taught their daughters well. Clearly, they had all been schooled in "the way" to run a household. We decided to create a "Proulx Daughter's Handbook" to help keep track of these ways so that if anyone needed to know, it would be documented.
Truth be told, the conversation has continued for many years. A topic would come up (food storage, car maintenance, spatial arrangements, budgeting, etc...) and we would acknowledge, "Yes, that is chapter 29."  or "Yep, that is Chapter 42" because we had a mental outline of what the book and chapters would be but did not go much further than that.
Of the grandchildren, my two are the only girls. During one of the Proulx Daughter gatherings last year, Allie asked who was skilled in making Grandma's Sticky Bun recipe. It turned out no one had. Why? It contained a critical ingredient, yeast. It also was a two-day process. This was not something the Proulx Daughters were into. Oh, they would do spaghetti sauce from scratch (i.e. cans of tomatoes but not the "old fashioned way"). Fortunately, Allie and Carolyn took it upon themselves to call Grandma Proulx last summer to see if they could come down to learn how to make sticky buns.
Now, what are sticky buns you might ask? Sticky buns are the most sought after delicacy of the extended Proulx household. They are provided by Ma Proulx in quantity for the major holiday meals. There is usually enough for the meal and for several for each family to bring home. Sticky buns are a delicate pastry with cinnamon and a sugary glaze. It turns out that the original recipe actually called for a sprinkle of bits of pecan on the top but since the kids didn't like them, they were left off. Allie and Carolyn did spend the two days making the sticky buns from scratch, making the dough, letting it rise and then rest overnight before continuing the preparations and baking the next day. They have also determined that the next step would be to spend another overnight to check out their notes once more. Sometime thereafter, they would make a batch themselves and see if the family can tell the difference between the original and theirs. Assuming their batch would pass the test, then they would have successfully learned the recipe.
During the conversations this weekend, the story of the sticky buns recipe came up again and it was determined that the recipe needs to be published. That the aforementioned Proulx Daughter Handbook should really be part of a series. It really covers my and my brother-in-laws relationships with our respective wives. The market for that story might be limited. But if we took the task of taking it to the next generation, that the girls can work on one with a title of "Lessons from the Proulx Daughters".and it might have a bigger market.
So this is the first of a proposed series. Some future posts will be "Lessons from the Proulx Daughters" and some will also be from "The Proulx Daughter Handbook". Whether either of them (or both) ever get published will be determined by their reception.
My daughters will get credit for their assistance in the Lessons of the Proulx Daughters.
My wife and her sisters will get credit for inspiring the brother-in-laws for the Proulx Daughter Handbook
Stick around for the recipe and some family stories.
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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Extended Family

Extended Family
Originally uploaded by

Considered part of our family, the Bastian's came from central PA for the party and visit.

Aunt Book #4

Aunt Book 5
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

Joanne & Barrie

Aunt Book #3

Aunt Book 4
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

Cathy & Bruce

Aunt Book #2

Aunt Book 2
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

My sister Joan and her husband Frank.

Aunt Book #1

Aunt Book 1
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

Prior to coming home for the holidays or to visit some of the relatives, we took out the photo album to help them become familiar with who we would be visiting and or seeing.

As we lived out of state, this was not a very frequent occurance and the use of the "aunt and uncle book" was a big help for them to recognize their relatives.

With the internet, the "aunt & uncle book" is easier.

Diane & Dave

Aunt Rose & The Proulx Daughters

Aunt Rose & The Proulx Daughters
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

Dolores, on the left, her three sisters and Aunt Rose.

The Grads

The Grads
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

The reason for this party... although Jeff also graduated this year from Northeastern, these are the two high school graduates amongst the Proulx grandchildren.

Without trying too hard, we even got them lined up with their names on the plate!

The Cousins

The Cousins
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

Connie and Joe's grandchildren; not so 'little kids' any more!

Rose & Connie

Connie & Rose
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

My mother-in-law Connie (on the right) and her sister, Rose.

Gail (Rose's daughter) brought them up from Florida for the big graduation party this weekend. A good time was had by all despite the rain.

What rain?

Friday, June 23, 2006

Morning Sunlight - another view

Sunlight 1
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

same morning, same sun, different scene and more variations of green

I also love the shadow casting

Morning Sunlight

Sunlight 2
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

The sun is glorious when it rises in the morning and starts streaming through the trees, turning the leaves luminous.

So many variations on green.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Take a dip

Let's take a dip into the archives from a year ago today... This is what I posted June 22, 2005.

From Michelle Miller at WonderBranding: Marketing to Women

Statistics show that women are three times as likely to tell others about a consumer experience (good or bad), and prefer learning about a product or service from other women.

Word of mouth has launched some of the greatest business success stories ever, including Krispy Kreme and Yellow Tail Wine. Until recently, trying to measure the effectiveness of word of mouth marketing has seemed an impossible task.

From David Weinberger at Joho the Blog

I would like to. I really would. I like it and I like you.

But we're now well past the point where any of us can keep up with all the blogs worth reading from the people worth keeping up with. Even with an aggregator.

I just can't do it any more.

Of course, it is appropriate that this gets read by me two days late :-)

From David Batstone at Right Reality
Above all, younger workers are less likely to channel their passions into a job. They are apt to see work as a means to an end. The work week gets them to the weekend, and that's when the fun begins. They are wise to the transitional economy. They know that employers will not show them loyalty over the long-term - they have watched their parents pass through an uncertain career. So they see the job as a short-term contract that can be renewed, by both parties, as long as both parties are satisfied. This generation serves as its own free agent.

Enough for now... Enjoy!

You know that dip was pretty good. These are still timely quotes for today!

What's in your archives?
What were you doing a year ago?

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Today is the day with the most daylight of the year, at least in our northern hemisphere section of the world. As I sit on the porch (working from home today to visit the dentist this afternoon), the sun is just rising above the tree line. Its rays are starting to angle through the leaves, turning them from dark green to an almost luminous lime green.
Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.... - Justice Louis Brandeis

A nice quote... sunlight, as with most things is good when taken in moderation. Of course, you don't want to get sunburn!

Natural light is the best light to see by. This is the line of thought that the Sunlight Foundation is looking to exploit with their efforts to expose the inner workings of the political world. As noted by the Hitchhiker Team, the Sunlight Foundation has three blogs:
So in the spirit of sunshine, sun light, the longest daylight of the year and especially protection against the disease of not knowing, check out the Sunlight Foundation!

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Monday, June 19, 2006

a head of the game, for a change

Ha, Monday draws to a close and I am ahead of the game for once in a great while. The weekend was full of activity: World Cup soccer, Revolution soccer, yard work, Father's Day, Pacer's Sunday run, and minimal blogging.
I have drawn upon my Bloglines feeds to draft some posts for the Hitchhiker's Guide; one a day for the remainder of the week. Stay tuned, there will be something good each day. The trail has been rich recently.
I completed a posting tying two good articles together from yesterday's Globe.
I completed a post on mentoring with my own view to help recognize the frontlines for their critical role continuing the blog Synergy effort on people not programmes.
I did not get to write on running as I have run out of time (sorry could not help that one) but I will catch up to that tomorrow. Probably after the track work out in the evening, assuming the weather holds. A cold front is supposed to move through New England tonight and tomorrow. As long as the thunder storms are mild I'll be out running.
So all in all, a good blogging Monday, balanced with work and family.
How was yours?
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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Moo Flower, Front view

Moo Flower, Front view
Originally uploaded by

The front side of the Moo Flower.

As I get around Boston this summer, I'll try and get more pictures of the other cows. There are supposed to be over 170 of them (PDF) located around the city.

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Moo Flower, rear view

Moo Flower, rear view
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

Yes, this is the Moo Flower, not to be confused with the Pilgrim ship the Mayflower. The Cow Parade has arrived in Boston and will be on show through September.

The Moo Flower is located in the grand hall at South Station where my commuter train deposits me during the week on my ride into Boston.

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

100 Bloggers - Cool Template

Check out the rotating header at 100 Bloggers.
Nice work! This is a group I am proud to be part of.
Click on over and check it out!
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Summer Time - Boston Lunch

Had a couple of meetings cancel yesterday so I was able to spend some time during lunch venturing further from the office to enjoy the nice early summer weather we had in Boston. Walked up Summer St to the Corner Mall food court, bought a gyro sandwich and a drink, and continued up Winter St to the Common. The streets were crowded at lunch. Workers out to grab their bite either in a hurry or leisurely. Some construction work underway on Winter St itself. (When did they take their break if they are still working now?) Plenty of tourists around as well. Along Tremont St, a series of school buses were parked. Some school trip was no doubt visiting the Freedom Trail today.

I found a spot on the grass at the edge of the shade under one of the big elm trees. Close enough to the sidewalk, I could over hear the conversation of those passing if I choose to tune in. A little further along the way, out in the sunshine near the junction of two paths, a single young man had set up his stand. His guitar case was open in front of him. He played and sang. He had an average voice but in the park and open space, on the sunny day it was, it still sounded good.

He sang The City of New Orleans:

Some folks passing with their kids stopped to listen. The young kids dancing to the music and clapping. An older women came by to drop some money in his case. A couple of young women came by to do likewise and stopped to chat with him when he finished a song.

He sang The House of the Rising Sun

I finished my sandwich and got up to take a leisurely walk back to the office. I dropped my trash in the barrel and my soda can in the recycle container which is new this year. I do not remember seeing this before. I wonder how the folks that come by picking through the trash for the cans and bottles to recycle like this? It should make it easier for them.

The last notes of the guitar fade in the distance behind me. I recall seeing Rocketboom in the morning (actually the previous days show). It was a video summary of the Webby Awards. Spliced through the individual awards was Prince singing a song. I could not make out the words. Not particularly a Prince fan so I did not have the desire to try and listen. I was struck at the end of the video. Amanda closed with Prince finishing his performance, lifting his guitar over his head, and then simply tossing it behind him. No concern over what would happen to it. The tool he used, quickly expendable. Worthless.

Such disrespect for an instrument does not sit well with me and helps to confirm why I am not a fan of his.

I can not believe the man in the park would treat his instrument the same.

I also recall the intensity of the words behind Melissa Ferrick's "Everything I need" as a stark contrast to the attitude displayed by Prince.

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Monday, June 12, 2006

Synergy or not? People or Process?

Trevor has started the discussion over at the blog Synergy.
I have tossed in a few of my usual 2 cents worth: here, and here.
What can you add to make it a conversation?
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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Movie Reviews

The whole family got out Friday night to see Prairie Home Companion, the new movie by Robert Altman on the long running radio show lead by Garrison Keillor. I was introduced to PHC by my brother many years ago and have been listening to it regularly. Here in MA, it is broadcast on Saturday nights and rebroadcast on Sunday at noon on WGBH 89.7 FM.
The movie is well worth it. Even though we are confirmed PHC fans, the movie was a pleasure and should be enjoyed by anyone.
Dolores and I got out for a date Saturday night and chose to see The DaVinci Code. This was probably the first time we have ever gone out to the movies two nights in a row and only the second time this year out to the movies, the first time for just the two of us.
The movie was good and exciting but the ending was changed from the book and I liked the book ending. The romantic in me would have preferred the love story angle played out instead of diffused.
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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

hearts and minds

From The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People daily calendar comes this gem:
The PC (production capability) principle is to always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers. You can buy a person's hand, but you can't buy his heart; his heart is where his enthusiasm is. You can buy his back, but you can't buy his brain. That's where his creativity is. PC work is treating employees as volunteers just as you treat customers as volunteers, because that's what they are. They volunteer the best parts - their hearts and minds.
Trevor has started the June conversation on the blog Synergy with his posting on Focus on the People not Programmes.
Are you a "people person"?
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06/06/06 - It starts here

Yes, a memorable day occurs today.

How much of a memory it will be is totally up to you.

The date itself (06/06/06) is only a starting point.

I feel comfortable within my realm.

I am confident within my sphere of influence.

Follow me.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Grads & Siblings

Grads & Siblings
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

The fearsome foursome...

A scary thought occured to us on the ride home from Burlington tonight. In four years, we could be celebrating both Mark and Joey's graduation. Mark from college and Joey from high school.

Carolyn, if she goes with the co-op plan could take five years at Northeastern and miss the event, or if she settles for the four year plan could join it.

We'll have to watch and see how this turns out.

Grads & Grandparents

Grads & Grandparents
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

Mom and Dad Proulx posing with their grand daughter and grand son.

Happy Grads

Happy Grads
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

Graduation week came to a close today. Mark had his ceremony at Burlington (MA) High School so some of the immediate family gathered for a small party.

He had to turn in his gown but was allowed to keep his cap, hence the picture as it is.

The major party, a joint celebration of their graduations, will be coming in a couple of weeks. It has been in the planning stages for about 3 years.

Assumption's Finest - Class of 1976

Assumption's Finest - Class of 1976
Originally uploaded by shersteve.

The group photo of those who made it to the reunion dinner on Saturday night. We gathered in the foyer of La Maison Francaise for this. The dinner was in the multi-purpose room to the right. When we were on campus, the room was used for special lectures and also served as our movie theater.

Set up for dinner, the food was good, the conversation even better as we caught up on what had transpired since we last met. In some cases, that was at a prior reunion; in some cases, that was way back when...

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Assumption College Class of 1976 Reunion

Heading out to the Class of 1976, the Spirit of '76, reunion tonight. Should be a good gathering of some folks whose paths haven't crossed in awhile.
Rekindling connections.
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Thursday, June 01, 2006

100Bloggers Button

Graduation Week Continued

Originally uploaded by shersteve.

Carolyn, in the center, receives her high school diploma on Friday evening. In this photo, after the baccalaureate Mass this past Sunday, she posed with her sister and Grandpa Sherlock.