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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Mozart Family, Salzburg

Saint Sebastian's Cemetery
Salzburg, Austria




Leopold Mozart

b. 14 Nov. 1719
d. 28 May 1787

Father of Composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Composer, Conductor and Musician.

Others buried on the site [L-R]
(as related to Leopold):
Jeannette Berchtold von Sonnenburg (granddaughter)
Genovesa Weber (daughter-in-law's aunt)
Constanze Mozart Nissen (daughter-in-law)
Euphrosina Pertl (mother-in-law).


(My photo, Dec. 28, 2008)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Rest in Peace...

 Mario


b.  1996

Adopted, March 1998

d.  18 Feb 2012

As Sweet as He was Beautiful.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Family Recipe - Cauliflower Pizza

Over the last year, my family research has taught me a lot of things.  Most of all, it brings home to me, in so many ways, just how different my life today is from the lives led by my ancestors. 

While we all love grandma's cookie recipes, Mom's chicken soup, and all the other great foods of our relatives, every now and then, I, too, have a contribution to the family recipe collection.  Here's another: cauliflower pizza.  This is not my original recipe; it was given to me by my online diet support group friends.  You may be thinking, big deal, another version of a veggie pizza, just with cauliflower on top.  That's where this recipe differs.  The crust is made from cauliflower, and many people say if they didn't know that cauliflower was the crust's main ingredient, they would not be able to guess.  I must admit, I was skeptical.  But this was last Sunday's dinner, and I'm here to tell you, it's pretty darn yummy!
 
Preheat oven to 440 degrees.  I begin by trimming and cleaning a head of cauliflower, cutting into chunks, and pulverizing it in the food processor.  This turns it into a flour-like consistency, although it will be a bit moist.  That right there is something my ancestors could not have done!  "Ancestors" and "food processor" are words that you almost never see in the same sentence!

Add one cup of the mashed cauliflower with 1/4 cup of Eggbeaters, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, and 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese.  (If you are trying to go the healthy route, low-moisture, part-skim works well.) 

Spread this on a cookie sheet that has been generously sprayed with Pam or similar product.  Even better, use parchment paper to prevent sticking. 

Use a spatula and spread/pat this mixture into a circle, about ten inches or so in diameter.  Place in a preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, until very nicely browned.  The edges should look almost burnt. 

I checked my pizza "crust" at 12 minutes, and wound up cooking for a few minutes more, and more, and more.  The entire cooking time for me was almost 20 minutes.  But since all ovens are different, be sure to check it at 12 minutes.

Remove the crust from the oven.  If you used parchment, slide the paper off the pan, lightly spray the pan with Pam, then slide just the crust back onto the hot pan.  Top with three tablespoons of your favorite (sugar-free, if desired,) pizza sauce.  Then sprinkle with 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella.  Add toppings.  In the one above, I added chopped fresh spinach, then sliced up a few black olives, some mushrooms, and even some...wait for it...tofu pepperoni!

Place back in the oven, under the broiler.  Watch carefully to make sure it doesn't burn, remove when cheese is melted.  Cut into wedges.  Talk about YUM!  ENJOY!



Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Abundant Genealogy - Historical Documents

This is Week 7 of Amy Coffin's Abundant Genealogy series.  The topic is Historical Documents:
Which historical document in your possession are you happy to have?
How did you acquire this item?
What does it reveal about your ancestors?

Last week's topic was Family Heirlooms.  I wrote about the five important documents, shared between my siblings and myself, that tell the story of my dad's life.  While I consider them heirlooms of a sort, they are rightfully, Historical Documents.  But I'm not going to write about them again this week. 

I'll answer Amy's first two questions out of order and quickly:  My mom gave this document to me, along with many other papers and photos, about a year ago when I began researching the family history.  The title of the document is "Department of Defense Personnel Security Questionnaire."

My Dad in his Coast Guard Reserve uniform,
with good friend Pete Santoro.
Baltimore, 1945.
I'm not sure why my father completed the questionnaire.  I have his own copy, unsigned, dated January 31, 1961.  By then, Dad's time in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve was far behind him (Dad was 4-F and for health reasons could not serve actively.) 

At that time he was working at The Martin Company, grinding and devising tools to specifications...tools that were used in the building of aeronautical things like, oh, B-52 Bombers and such.  So perhaps everyone had to complete one of these questionnaires every once in a while.  I'll have to check what was going on around then that might be behind the need for something like this.  It doesn't matter that I don't really know the "why" of it.  What matters is everything else that's in this fantastic document!

This questionnaire is completed in my dad's meticulous, distinctive printing.  So I can count on the credibility of all the information.  BONUS!

From this document, I have learned:

Every school my dad attended, and the years.

Every job he held, some as a teenage grocery clerk, one as a Western Union messenger, until his eventual employment at The Martin Co. 

His parents and siblings, with birthdates, place of birth, addresses, and for three of those siblings, death dates.  This was helpful; I only knew of one of those siblings who died young.

Every address he lived to date, and the duration.

Five references, always a good thing to have.

Whereas the five documents I posted about last week tell the highlights, this Security Questionnaire fills in the nitty-gritty details.  And I love it!  It was a lot of fun to read through, and also very informative. 

Some (though not any family historians or genealogists worth their salt) may roll their eyes in boredom at the phrase "historical documents," but I can attest, anyone lucky enough to get their hands on a document like mine will be happy, happy, HAPPY!!!
 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Motivation Monday: On a Scale of One to Ten...

...I am an ELEVEN!  I cannot believe myself. 

There is someone inhabiting my body that I have never met before, I honestly think in my entire lifetime!  In my last Motivation post, I mentioned my new diet.  That’s responsible for all this crazy energy.  As a friend said to me, “Welcome to your new life, Jenny.”

Now, I digress.  This is a family history and genealogy blog, not my general musings.  But I had to give some back story, and that is it. 

Yes, I am an ELEVEN!! (Which probably means a twelve, but “eleven” in all capital letters with exclamation points is even better, to me, than a lower-case “twelve,” wouldn't you agree?)

The trouble is, if it can rightly be called “trouble,” is that my motivation, overflowing as it is, is not AT ALL directed toward my genealogy research. 

That’s OK, I’m not concerned, it will redirect itself eventually, once I finish completely reorganizing my entire house, office, life… 

Truly, today I sat down and wrote a list of all the nooks and crannies in my home that need re-organizing.  Honestly, I think hubby is getting a little fed up, I never sit down anymore just to relax and talk.  He sets something on the counter, and I immediately pick it up and start walking around with it, looking for a place to house it.  You know, "A place for everything and everything in its place!" 

I think he may also be a little weirded out by all this; we’ve been married almost 17 years and he probably has never seen me with this much energy. 

Just Friday at work, I spent the entire day on one project…I tore my office apart and re-organized EVERYTHING!  Threw out all the outdated stuff I had been holding on to, sorted about 20 pounds of brochures, cleaned out and re-organized two filing cabinets of stuff, pulled everything out of the information center and reorganized that, and walked four blocks up the street to visit friends, and then walked down seven flights of steps, all in three-inch heels!!! I never do that kind of stuff, what has happened to me? I LOVE THIS!!!

To some of you, that kind of thing is all in a days' work, but I can assure you that is not the case for me.  But, enough about me.  I just had to get all that out there.  I am getting lots of things done, things I have been meaning to do for months, and sadly, possibly, years.  Most of them just aren’t very genealogy-related. 

Here are the ones that are:

I made copies of this great family photo, which I talk about in Home on Leave, But Not For Long.  I've 
mailed it to several of my relatives, who I know will be happy to receive it. 

Last night, while watching our goddaughter, we made a photo mobile (more in a later post).

I'm preparing a photo album to send to my brother Ed in Dallas.

Gotten a few things listed on Find a Grave.

I’m working with hubby a little bit on his dad’s side of the family.  We’ll be visiting in a few weeks and want to have all of our research ready to go.  Hopefully, we’ll get to a few cemeteries and hometowns. 

I’m also keeping up with my blogging.  I committed to at least three times a week, and I am doing at least that.   I’m doing my best to keep up with the 100 or so geneablogs that I follow, too. 

So this is where I am right now, very happy but focused on other things.  Just today I pulled everything out of the pantry (five shelves worth of food) and re-organized it.  I’m actually starting to re-think my career…a professional organizer sounds right up my alley!  Once I get my genealogy research in order, that is!



Thursday, February 9, 2012

Treasure Chest Thursday, meet Abundant Genealogy: Family Heirlooms

This is Week 6 of Amy Coffin's Abundant Genealogy series.  The topic is Family Heirlooms.  Questions to consider:
For which family heirloom are you most thankful?
How did you acquire this treasure and what does it mean to you and your family?

I've been thinking about heirlooms for a while as I considered future blog posts.  When I read this week's topic, all kinds of ideas popped into my head:  my paternal grandma's kitchen ware, Uncle Jack's old fishing mug, the stuffed barn owl shot by Uncle Albert's father about 70 years ago,  my maternal grandmother's salt & pepper shaker collection. 

But as I looked around my house, two things really stood out:  the loose photos and photo albums currently on loan to me from Mom.  Need I say more than they are priceless!  They tell the story of so many lives, not to mention the history itself--look at the clothing and hairstyles for an idea of the 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s and beyond.  I'm scanning these to share with my family and of course for my own research and pleasure.

Remembrance of Holy Communion
The other heirloom that probably means the most to me is my dad's First Holy Communion and Confirmation certificate.  It's titled Remembrance of First Holy Communion, which he received on May 18, 1930.  He was confirmed two days later; that's also on the certificate.  This document is about 8.5" x 14" in color.  It's really beautiful, even though it is somewhat faded with age.  It has one small tape mark on it.  He or my grandma probably taped it on a wall or in an album at some time. 

Mom passed this to me after Dad died.  My two brothers, two sisters and I each received a document that was important in Dad's life. 

Here's the story:  After Dad died, Mom of course eventually got around to cleaning out his papers, where she found the five documents given to us.  She didn't tell any of us that she was planning this for Christmas.  She got the documents professionally matted and framed, they all look very nice.  She wrapped them in Christmas paper and numbered the back of each.  She wrote the numbers on pieces of paper, and on Christmas Day, had each of us pick a number.  Then she brought out the gifts.  I can tell you, my siblings and I were certainly curious about what Mom had up her sleeve.  Once everyone had their package and Mom gave us the green light to unwrap, the room fell silent as we examined our treasures.  Moments latter the noise level went through the ceiling as we all realized what we had and began chattering, "What's yours about? What do you have?"  Just thinking back to that day makes my eyes tear up!

My sister Diane received my father's hiring letter from Glen L. Martin, (later Martin Marietta and now Lockheed Martin), dated October 2, 1940. The letter says he is accepted for employment and gives the reporting date and place, along with proof of citizenship. The letter clearly states he would be earning 50 cents an hour with no chance of overtime.  His hours were 12:15 a.m. to 8 a.m.

Diane recently told me she always wanted this letter before Dad died but never mentioned it to our parents.  When she opened her gift on Christmas, she felt like it was a miracle that she was the one to receive this letter!  

Sharon received Dad's Certificate of Promotion to High School, issued June 1937, from St. Stephen's School.  Dad attended St. Stephen's for a few years when the family moved from the city to their grandparent's farm in the next county, about 30 miles away.  Now that area is strip malls and housing developments, but in the late 1930s, it was truly considered country.

Ed received my father's baptismal certificate, which is in Polish!  Ed lives in Dallas, so as he spelled words into the telephone, I typed into Google Translate.  We not only determined that my dad was baptised just one day after he was born (they didn't mess around in those days!), but the church (St. Casimir's in Baltimore), and his grandparents, his aunt and uncle (his mother's sister and brother).  Best of all, in the course of that conversation, a brick wall came tumbling down!  (More on that in a future post!)

Mike has Dad's State Department of Education high school equivalency, dated July 14, 1955.  As the second oldest son, like many young men during his time, Dad dropped out of high school to work and help support his family.  By the time he received this document, he had been married 12 years. 

It's very difficult to pick just one item, photo, or document that could be most important, that I value the most, that means the most to me.  These documents tell the story of my Dad's life.  His Polish Catholic upbringing, the family moving to the country, leaving high school to help the family, the beginning of a 42-year career at Martin's.  Even though I hold but one of five documents, the collection is special to me.  It connects me to my siblings, my Mom and my Dad in a special way.  And I'm pretty sure that my siblings and even my Mom feel the same.  I know one thing for certain, when they are at my home, I always catch at least one of them looking the Certificate. 


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Snuggle Time!

Bedtime...



My sisters Diane and Sharon look fresh from the bath and all ready for a bedtime story here.  This photo is around 1953.  My parents had just moved into this newly-built home in the County from an apartment in the city.  It was an exciting time for the young family.

My parents paid $9,000 for the one-storey, two bedroom home.  My mom says she remembers thinking "How will we ever pay off this mortgage?"  Over the years, they not only paid off the mortgage, my dad dug out and finished a basement and added another storey to the house, which created two more bedrooms for their expanding family.  Mom is still there.  I'd say they got their money's worth!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Old Bennington Cemetery, Vermont

About five years ago, hubby and I traveled throughout New England for a few weeks.  I love it there, there is so much wonderful history!  Treasure-filled antique shops!  Fascinating cemeteries!  One cemetery we visited was Old Bennington Cemetery in Vermont. 


This graveyard, located directly behind the Old First Church, contains the graves of about 75 revolutionary war patriots as well as other foreign soldiers killed in the Battle of Bennington.  There are many early politicians buried there as well.



The grave of American poet Robert Frost is also in the cemetery.  At the time we visited, I was of the belief that I should not photograph his grave, or much of the cemetery at all, out of respect. 

There are many graves of famous people that I have seen but did not photograph.  My feelings about photographing cemeteries is very different now.  Oh well, live and learn!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Shedding Light on Your Passions

Lately I am finding that my genealogy interests are running to the creative type of thing.  Besides genealogy, I really enjoy crafting and miss it when I can't find the time. 

I thought I'd share these beautiful switchplates with you.  I did not create these, but have done others that are in my home.  These were created by my friend Ann, of the Harford County Public Library Genealogy Discussion Group.  Ann is quite a multi-talented crafter: paper crafts like these, jewelry, cards, scrapbooking, she does it all, and very well. 

At our group's Christmas party, she offered as door prizes very plain wall switchplates that she had decorated beautifully with genealogy-themed scrapbooking paper.  Can I tell you, I was thrilled to be the very lucky recipient of these items.  Here they are before I hung them in the hallway.  Let me tell you, they dress up the place!

A project like this is easy enough to do.  You could even make copies of photos and use those.  Just make sure that the light toggle comes through in an acceptable place in the photo. 

You've just got to love YouTube, it's got just about everything! 
Here's an easy demo: How to decoupage a light switchplate

Have fun, and please send me photos of your results!



 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Home on Leave, But Not for Long



"Anj and the Kids"

This photo just came into my possession.  Mom found it in the house, among my Dad's papers and other things.  That's my Dad in the middle.

Mom said she remembers this day "like it was yesterday."  It was the last day of Uncle Joe's leave (he's second from left), and this was taken outside my grandmother's house, where they all grew up, just moments before my dad took his brother to the airport.   

From left to right:

Frank Walter Szymanski, known to us as Uncle Buddy
Joseph Szymanski, in his Navy whites
Agnes Szymanski Stanley
Edward John Szymanski, my dad
Grandma Angeline Szymanski, immigrated from Poland into Baltimore at age 3
Jerome Szymanski
Helen Szymanski Lay

As I studied this photo, I determine that it's probably from the early 1950s;  that's around the time that my Uncle Joe served in the US Navy.  It stuns me to look at my grandma and realize in this photo, she is about the age I am now, mid-50s.  Such a very different life! 

What a great group they all were and are!  Hard working, loyal to family, always laughing at life.  As a kid we don't think of these things, but I surely do realize now what a treasure it was to grow up surrounded by so much love.

 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Motivation Monday - January Goals Wrap-Up

Lucky for me, at the beginning of January, Stephanie at Corn and Cotton: My Family’s Story was already organized.  She had the forethought to write a great post about her desire to get willing geneabloggers to set 2012 goals, and report on a monthly basis.  I happened upon that post on a day when I was really feeling overwhelmed not just by genealogy research that was falling by the wayside, but by all the other things on my plate.  So I joined in.

My 2012 goals may seem comically light for some, but they work for me.  January goals were: decorations down, clean the house, begin to create a workspace.  So, on to what I’ve accomplished:

Continue to blog at least three times a week. 

Decorations are down and stowed in the attic until next year.

My house is clean!  From top to bottom.  Except for power-washing the outside of the house (which I never do anyway).  I've tossed a lot of stuff, and I've thrown stuff into a box labeled "Yard Sale," to be held in the spring. 

And I am still on a bit of roll.  Today I even organized a junk drawer while waiting for cookies to bake!  Can you believe it?  You have no idea what a big deal that is for me.  I struggle with that damn junk drawer every day of my life.  But would I take the time to clean it out, NOOOO!  But I did today, and isn’t it beautiful? 

You see, last week, at the library, I got hold a sweet little book called “Clutter Rehab” by Laura Wittman  Oh my, it has changed my life.  I already knew most of the tips in the book, but it refreshed those thoughts in such a great way!  Plus, I am on a new diet that gives me mega-tons of energy, so I am organizing things all over the place.  My hubby is wondering where his wife went! 

But I digress.  As for the workspace, no advances there yet.  But hubby is working on it, should be in place by end of February. 

There are also things not on the goals list that I managed to accomplish, so I’ll give myself small credit for them:

Scanned lots of photos.  I love posting these oldies on Facebook and hearing from family and friends.

Posted some photos and other info on FindAGrave.com.  I’ve decided on a good way to deal with these photos: when I finish writing a Tombstone Tuesday post, I will go straight to Find a Grave and post it there as well. 

Deb Ruth has kindly volunteered to be my tech buddy.  I have not yet followed through. 

Oh, and I spent half the morning cleaning up the labels on my blog.  Consistency, consistency. 

Going online to cancel all those catalogs!

Now I've got to start thinking about February!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Family Friday Recipe - Beef in Designer Beer


That I'm even considering a blog post on my cooking skills makes me hoot with laughter.  You see, I'm one of those people who only likes to cook when I have a lot of time.  Hubby is one of those dash-of-this, dash-of-that cooks, and everything turns out fine in 20 minutes.  Not me.  I follow the recipe line by line, measure everything exactly.  I just never got the knack of that. 
Beef in Designer Beer

Photo from Delia Online
Beef in Designer Beer is basically beef stew topped with slices of French bread, topped with Gruyere cheese.  Add your favorite adult beverage and it doesn't get much better!   

This recipe came to me by way of a dear friend who put us up for a time when we visited them in Africa a few years back.  She prepared this meal for us on our first night there.  After traveling for more than 24 hours straight, it was a welcome bit of home cooking.  Now it's part of my winter kitchen repertoire.

This is the perfect meal for a snowy day.  Having the oven on warms up the house, and everything smells terrific!  While I can't take credit for this recipe, it is one I prepare often.  It also impresses your guests, making them believe that you've been cooking all day.  The recipe is originally from Delia Smith, the British equivalent of a Martha Stewart or some other Food Network celebrity.   I copied and pasted the recipe from her website with a few changes.  For Delia's additional comments, visit here

For the croutons:  --  She refers to them as croutons--they are actually slices of French bread.
1 tablespoon olive oil --  or more as needed.  Not too much or bread will be soggy.
1 garlic clove, crushed  --  As we like garlic, I always use a bit more.
6 x 1 inch thick slives of French bread, cut slightly diagonally
6 level teaspoons of wholegrain mustard
4 oz. grated Gruyére cheese  --  I usually use a bit more Gruyére.

 
For the stew:
2 lb. of braising or stewing steak cut into 2 inch squares
15 fl. Ounces of designer beer.  --  Newcastle Brown Ale works well, but in a pinch I have even used Heineken Light and it’s still delicious!
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 oz. onions, peeled and cut into quarters
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 heaping teaspoon of plain flour
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

--
To prepare the croutons: 
You can make the croutons well ahead of time and, to do this, pre-heat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
Drizzle the olive oil on to the baking sheet, add the crushed garlic, then, using either your hands or a piece of kitchen paper, spread the oil and garlic all over the baking sheet.

Now place the bread slices on top of the oil, then turn them over so that both sides have been lightly coated with the oil. Bake for 20-25 minutes till crisp and crunchy.

--

To prepare the stew: 
When you're ready to cook the beef, lower the oven temperature to 300°F (150°C). Take the flameproof [LeCreuset or similar] casserole dish, place it over direct heat, then heat the oil until sizzling hot and fry the meat, 3 or 4 pieces at a time, until they turn a dark mahogany color on all sides. Make sure you don't overcrowd the pan or they will create steam and never become brown. As you brown the meat remove it to a plate then, when all the meat is ready, add the onions to the pan, still keeping the heat high. Toss them around until they become darkly tinged at the edges – this will take about 5 minutes. After that add the crushed garlic, let that cook for about 30 seconds or so, then turn the heat down, return the meat to the casserole and sprinkle in the flour. Using a wooden spoon, stir until all the flour has been absorbed into the juices.

It will look rather stodgy and unpromising at this stage but not to worry – the long slow cooking will transform its appearance. Now gradually stir in the beer and, when it's all in, let the whole thing gently come up to simmering point, and while that's happening add salt, freshly milled black pepper and the thyme and bay leaves. Then, just as it begins to bubble, put the lid on, transfer it to the centre shelf of the oven and leave it there for 2½ hours. Don't be tempted to taste it now or halfway through the cooking as it does take 2½ hours for the beer to mellow and become a luscious sauce.

Just before you want to serve the beef, remove bay leaves and thyme sprigs.  Pre-heat the grill, spread the croutons with the mustard and sprinkle them with the grated Gruyère, then arrange them on top of the meat and pop the casserole under the broiler until the cheese is bubbling. Then serve immediately.

ENJOY!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday's Child - Adams

Shelby Lynn Adams

 June 1, 2000
 October 20, 2000

Shine Brightly Wherever You Go...




A beautiful black marble stone with engraved roses, 
urns filled with flowers on either side.  
In the center, an etching of a hauntingly sweet face of a lovely little girl.

This tombstone is in Darlington Cemetery in Maryland. 
She is not my family member.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Year of the Dragon!

Happy Chinese New Year!  

In our house, we're happy that it's the Year of the Dragon.  According to the Chinese zodiac, hubby is a dragon.  So it's kind of like a mid-year birthday celebration for him.  Fortunately, hubby does not have a dragon-like personality in real life!


Image from Char4U.com.
We mark Chinese New Year in an odd, kind of funny way.  We might order Chinese food for dinner.  That's about it.  But hubby also likes this holiday for another reason.

Here's our new tradition.  A few years ago hubby just couldn't get it together in time to send Christmas cards to all his friends who live around the world.  So instead, he took his time, and wrote our family letter and mailed them in beautiful Chinese New Year cards.  He orders them direct from China, and they are little works of art.  People loved them! 



USPS 2012 Lunar New Year stamp.
 Friends now tell us that they (like all of us) are overwhelmed with holiday activities, but when the Chinese New Year card arrives a month after the the hubbub of year-end holidays has subsided, they really enjoy it.  The cards even spurred a visit from an old girlfriend and her family.  (It's OK, they were boyfriend-girlfriend when they were about 14!)    

The ever-politically-correct US Post Office even issues stamps specifically for the Chinese New Year.  Lovely colorful artwork of a dragon's head, another in silhouette in the upper left corner.
 
He Hua Chinese Buddhist Temple.
My photos, March 2011.
Last year we were in Amsterdam around the time of Chinese New Year.  We were quite surprised to walk down a busy city street and see this ornate Chinese Buddist temple.  Known as He Hua, which means lotus flower, it was built in 2000.  

Inside is a large space, sparingly filled with shrines, several oversized statues of the gods, musical instruments, and other traditional cultural items.  Unfortunately, photos were prohibited when we were there.  That was my first time in a temple, it was silent and serene. 



  

Goodbye Year of the Cat,
Hello Year of the Rabbit!
But only a few doors down from the temple on this bustling street was a women's clothing shop, with this Chinese cat, known as a Maneki Nako, in the window.  The mannequin behind the cat makes for an unusual sight, and unfortunately the building across the street is reflected in the photo as well, but I think you get the idea. 

Quite a clever adaptation to the traditional, to welcome in 2011's Year of the Rabbit!

However you celebrate The Year of the Dragon and Chinese New Year, enjoy!