Monthly Archives: May 2015

Art in Common Places – Look Down

Storm Drain Cover

Sometimes you can find art in the most common places. Try to really concentrate and look for art objects as you travel about. This storm drain cover is located in the PF Chang’s parking lot in Loveland, CO. The artwork shows water running from open hands and reads “City of Loveland Storm Water. Share the Earth. Don’t Pollute. No dumping. Drains to Waterway. East Jordan Iron Works, Made in USA.” It is marvelous that someone decided to make this a  beautiful piece instead of the typical designs that one normally sees. I will be looking for more of these treasures during my travels and will be posting as I find interesting covers.



Mary Ann’s Chicken Corn Soup Recipe

Mary Ann's Chicken Corn Soup RecipeI love regional cooking. I did not realize when I was young that much of the food I grew up with was regional. I grew up in Lancaster, PA and the predominate cuisine in that area of the country is Pennsylvania Dutch. I made this Chicken Corn Soup recipe with my mother and grandmother, every year. The best time of year to make it is August, using fresh corn.

Boil one whole Chicken for about an hour with salt & pepper. Take out of pot and pick all the chicken off of the bones. Tear into small pieces. Skim the chicken broth that is left behind, so that it is fairly clear. While you are boning the chicken add veggies to the clear broth. (You can add a little bit of chicken stock seasoning such as Herb Ox Brand.)

Chop into small pieces – one onion and 5 – 8 stalks of celery – Simmer until tender. Add the chicken that you have taken off the bones.

Add 1 bag of frozen corn. If you can find white corn or fresh corn, that is best.

Add 3 finely chopped hard boiled eggs.

Cook a small bag of thin egg noodles in boiling water just until they are al dente’ – drain off water. Add noodles so that you have a thick soup, but not so much that it soaks up all the broth.

Add chopped parsley right at the end.

The Beginning of My Walkabouts

This is a long blog post, if you like history, you should enjoy this. Go grab a cup of tea and start reading. If you don’t like history, you may want to skip this post.

Mary AnnI began doing walkabouts at a young age, walking all over Lancaster County, PA. Lancaster was the capital of Pennsylvania from 1799 to 1812. I lived near the Thaddeus Stevens School of Technology. I would walk to my grandparent’s apartment almost 14 E. Walnut Streetevery other weekend; two miles each way. My grandparents, Clara and Harry, lived in an apartment building within blocks of the downtown area – 14 East Walnut Street. My favorite aunt, Auntie Bert, lived a few blocks from my grandparents, near Lancaster General Hospital. None of them owned a car, so we walked everywhere.

The highlight of my visits with my grandparents was the trip to the downtown farmer’s market. My grandmother would take me with her when she shopped at the Lancaster Central Market (the country’s oldest farmers’ market). She would carry a large wicker basket for the week’s groceries and I would carry my small wicker basket. I found this old photo of Clara’s basket and wish I had a photo of mine. My basket would be filled with Utz’s chips, Muenster cheese, and whoppie pies. Grandma’s basket would have items like scrapple, chow chow relish, shoe fly pie, Lebanon bologna from the S. Clyde Weaver booth, homemade Amish egg noodles, and amazing produce. As a treat, I was allowed to get a soft pretzel before we left the market. All the vendors knew my grandmother and called her by name. Quaint does not begin to describe the experience of going to market on a Saturday morning. This is one of my favorite memories.

Clara Frimd's Market Basket
Clara’s Basket

Neighborhood grocery stores abounded in the city of Lancaster, as well as taverns, penny candy shops, and malt shops. My two aunts (grandfather’s sisters, Aunt Mary and Aunt Grace) lived in the same apartment building that my grandparents lived in. They all had their groceries delivered from the corner grocery that was located a block away.

Lancaster Central Market
Lancaster Central Market

I have read that shopping can release endorphins. I am quite certain that the stimulation of all the colors and textures in a farmers’ market can do that. I believe there is a real possibility that endorphins can be released into your body during a walkabout and a warm glow will come over you.

When I was young, the Lancaster downtown area was magical. The historic buildings were magnificent (most are gone today, in the name of progress and modernization). In the 60’s and 70’s entire blocks were razed through an urban renewal program – out with the old, in with the new. It was heart-breaking to watch the demolition of the buildings and watch the history disappear. What came after was horrifying to me; large cement structures that took over entire blocks.

There were three large department stores in downtown Lancaster, Watt & Shand, Hager Brothers Department Store, and M.T. Garvin & Co. Watt & Shand operated from 1879 to 1992. It is now the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square. The Hager Brothers building, designed by Lancaster architect C. Emlen Urban, was built in 1910, sold to Watt & Shand in 1968 and closed in 1977. It is currently the site of The Shops at Hager and The Condominiums at Hager are located upstairs.

Garvins Department Strore, Lancaster, PA
Postcard of Downtown Lancaster, PA

In 1970, Watt & Shand opened a store in the new mall outside town, Park City. Building that mall was another act accomplished by spinning it as keeping up with modern times. All the cities, at that time, were developing malls. And we continue to this day to try and attract people to go back to their downtown areas. Elaborate development plans are created to resurrect downtown areas. Instead of renovating the buildings that create charm, we let them deteriorate and build new buildings far from urban locations. It is encouraging that many cities have “seen the light” and are now spending the money to save buildings or at least build in a sympathetic style to integrate into existing historical sites. I realize I am on my soap-box talking about this. I have watched this happen in many other cities throughout the United States. It is a slippery slope when store and restaurant/tavern owners leave a downtown area. Crime escalates in the neighborhoods and people stay away. Turning that scenario around is a challenge. Kudos to the brave souls who take the chance and revitalize downtown areas.

Clara & Bertha
Grandma & Auntie Bert

Encouraging Words

I write posts for the Loveland Center for Business Development (LCBD) blog, facilitate the LCBD Bloggers – a LinkedIn group, and  just started Mary Ann’s Walkabout blog. I am an apprehensive writer and within minutes of posting, I can find fault in the writing.

I received a lovely email from an LCBD client the other day and in the note she wrote: “I wanted to tell you how much I love your first blog post :). It was very inspiring.  So often, we get caught up in our own little worlds and forget to truly open our eyes and soak in the wonders of Mother Nature. She can help us to center ourselves if we truly opeMary Ann's Lilacsn our eyes, ears, and hearts. Thank you again! I took a screenshot of your post as it will serve as a daily mantra. I was pretty bummed out yesterday.” (this LCBD client just went through some very serious surgery) “Your post lifted my spirits. I went outside in the backyard and took note of all that Mother Nature had to offer. You really are inspiring me to write.”

I had a very difficult time writing my first post for this blog. This email made my day; hearing that it helped brighten someone’s day.


Walkabout May 6, 2015

It’s hard to get me motivated to drive to downtown Loveland during the week. I drive in the opposite direction when I leave work. The event that sparked my interest yesterday was the screening of the 2015 Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts at the Rialto Theater. The screening was part of the Phyllis Walbye Film Series. If you missed this event last night, you have another opportunity to see the Live Action Shorts on June 10. I would highly recommend attending. I am a huge fan of animated shorts and have only viewed them on my computer. Seeing them on a big screen was fantastic. It is a real toss- up which film was my favorite – A Single Life and The Dam Keeper were a tie, in my mind.

Origins Wine Bar and Wood Fired PizzaMy husband and I had time to kill before heading over to the Rialto last night. First stop, we dropped by The Laureate for a Cider and a beer and to see what fabulous dessert Chef David made that day. We always try and make time to visit with Jacki Marsh at Rabbask Designs when we are downtown. On the way to Rabbask Designs, we noticed a great deal of activity at Origins Wine Bar and Wood Fired Pizza, which is slated to open soon. What a great surprise awaitePizza from Originsd us when we walked through the front door of Origins. Karin Vandermerwe, head chef, was  cooking sample pizza to test out the new wood fired pizza oven. Karin was a delight to talk to and had some great stories about the origin of the Margherita pizza. The pizza oven is a work of art. We have eaten at many fabulous pizza restaurants in New York City, when we lived in Connecticut. The pizza we sampled last night was as good, if not better, than any we have had in the past.

After leaving Origins, we stopped to look at a bronze sculpture on the way to the Rialto Theater. We are truly blessed to have a large number of public pieces of sculpture and artwork in Loveland. This is a favorite of mine, located on Lincoln Ave. (across from Carl’s Canteen). If you are attending an event at the Rialto, make sure you take a few minutes to walk around and enjoy the beautiful public artwork in the downtown area.Bronze Sculpture


My Idea of a Walkabout

Lemon BalmA walkabout can be anything you want it to be. You can start small and expand. Start in your own backyard. Take time to really look at the beauty that is right before your eyes. In the spring look for plants poking their first growth through the soil. Listen to the birds and watch to see if they are building a hidden nest. If you have a lilac bush, oh I hope that you do, smell the blossoms every day. This treasure comes and goes so swiftly – truly take time to stop and smell the flowers. Watch for signs that usher in each season and celebrate the small wonders.

Mary Ann's 1st ZentangleA walkabout can also be in your imagination. Find a vehicle that takes you to that place where you leave all the cares of the world behind. That could be reading a book you can’t put down or taking a long nap, dreaming of far off lands. You could pick up a Zentangle book and start creating doodle art. Carry a small drawing pad and when you find yourself needing a creative outlet, start doodling. Whatever tickles your fancy, pursue that pleasure and find your own path.